Psychiatrist’s 8 Tips to Reducing Holiday Stress

The festive season is so much fun for many people. However, for some, family get-togethers, festive season shopping, cooking, and more make them feel stressed and anxious. Festive season stress is a real thing and it’s something that mental health professionals help their patients with during November and December. How can you help yourself feel better?

Vinay Saranga, M.D.

Vinay Saranga, M.D.

Vinay Saranga M.D., is a psychiatrist and founder of Saranga Comprehensive Psychiatry (www.sarangapsychiatry.com).

He offers these tips:

  •  Breathe: One of the best ways to reduce stress and anxiety is to slowdown your breathing. When we are stressed, overwhelmed, worried or something is bothering us, our breathing tends to get fast and shallow. This actually makes us feel worse than we are already feeling. Focus on slowing down your breathing. Breath in through the diaphragm (stomach area), hold for a few seconds, and slowly exhale through the lips.
  •  Mindfulness: When you start worrying about preparing Thanksgiving dinner, shopping for gifts, or uncomfortable topics of conversation coming up with family you don’t see that often, practice mindfulness. This is the act of being present and immersing yourself in the present moment. It’s easy to dwell on the past and worry about the future, but being in the present moment is the best place to focus your energy.
  •  Take a break: The festive season can be overwhelming for many people. It’s okay to take a break. Go for a walk. Take a drive and turn up the tunes. Hit the gym. Surf the web. Go to your favorite place and just people watch. It doesn’t matter what you do. If you feel your anxiety levels rising, take a break from what you’re doing and connect to something that makes you feel good.
  •  Avoid controversial issues: There’s nothing like a heated debate over things like sex, politics or religion to ruin what should be a nice family together and stress you out. If a topic feels too far out there, or if you know that people have very differing points of views, stay away from it. Focus conversations around TV shows, movies, music, books, reliving memories and other fun and interesting topics.
  •  Get outdoors: It’s easy to get stuck inside watching the parades and footballs games, but getting some fresh air and a little activity can be good for everyone. Think of games to play outside. Go for a bike ride or a walk around the block. Watch the kids get involved in an activity. A little fresh air can relieve stress and holiday tension.
  •  Comfort yourself: Whether you don’t like the family get-togethers or large gatherings just stress you out, be kind to yourself with the language you choose. Remind yourself that it’s only a few hours and you can get through it. Spend time around the people with whom you have the most in common or the ones who don’t stress you out as much. Remember to smile as this not only makes you appear to be enjoying yourself, it really will help you feel better.
  •  Stay on your meds and keep doctor appointments: The festive season and long family get-togethers can be tough for many people, but even more so if you are suffering with a mental health condition. The holiday season is not the time to come off your medication. Remember to keep all doctor appointments and stick to your therapeutic routine. 
  •  Take a trip: If the festive season really stresses you out that much, there is no shame in telling people that this year you are getting away and taking a family vacation. Going on a cruise, heading to the mountains or whatever you choose to do is perfectly acceptable. You are not being selfish by putting the needs of you and your family first and foremost.

How to Get Great Skin Before the Ball Drops on 2019

Most women seem to experience skin care problems just when they want to look their best. Every woman can relate to waking up with a huge zit right at the tip of her nose, or huge dark circles under the eyes, and the list goes on. There are pre-emptive measure one can take with less than two weeks until the New Year to ward off these skin care evils. We turned to Dr. Manish Shah, a Denver board certified plastic surgeon for guidance on what to do without breaking the bank or having invasive surgery.

Facial Extractions by a licensed aesthetician- Dr. Manish Shah says, “When done correctly extraction facials can clear closed comedones (AKA those tiny, flesh-colored bumps that never come to a head, yet never really go away), remove whiteheads and blackheads, and give your skin a newer, fresher foundation for your skincare products to penetrate. Basically, extractions can be the kiss of life for your lifeless broken out skin.”

Drink Alcohol in Moderation – If you plan on ringing into 2019 with a few glasses of bubbly, Dr. Shah recommends moderating your alcohol consumption leading up to the big day. He explains, “Alcohol can dehydrate the skin and cause it to appear less fresh and vibrant, which can certainly hinder your skin care efforts.” 

Cleanse your Face Every Night - You have just arrived home at 2 am from a holiday Party. It may be tempting to flop into bed without washing your face. Don’t do it! Dr. Shah says that, “Sun damage isn’t the only environmental factor you have to worry about. Small micro particles from air pollutants might just hurt your skin, too. Play it safe by remembering to take a minute to cleanse your face to remove debris that could be weakening your skin. In addition, that foundation and pressed powder you have been wearing all night can clog your pores and cause breakouts.”

Start Exfoliating – Want brighter, younger-looking skin? It starts with a great at home exfoliator! Dr. Shah explains that, “As your skin replenishes itself, dead skin cells start to build up on the top layer, leaving you looking dull. Exfoliating regularly removes this layer, revealing fresh, healthy skin. Regular exfoliation also allows your moisturizer and other topical products to penetrate more deeply, making them more effective.” 

Clean Your Makeup Brushes – You would not eat food on dirty dishes, would you? Applying makeup with dirty brushes is not so different. Not only will dirty brushes give you a spotty application, but they can harbor bacteria, dirt and oil, leading to acne and breakouts which necessitates piling on even more makeup to cover it up. 

Don’t Squeeze Your Pimples! – Here’s a secret that many a supermodel or actress use: Steroid shots. Dr. Shah explains that, “when we discuss treating acne with cortisone or “steroid” shots, we are referring to the process of gently placing a very dilute quantity of a “glucocorticoid” steroid into the cyst. Glucocorticoids are a class of steroid molecules that are naturally produced by our bodies and have numerous functions including the regulation of human metabolism, immunity, and inflammation. They have very potent anti-inflammatory effects, so they are often used to treat inflammatory diseases in medicine. They can be formulated as creams to treat skin rashes or as pills to treat systemic disease. They can also be injected directly into local areas of inflammation such as in arthritic joints and inflamed acne cysts. Within one or two days of injection into a cyst, the steroid will shrink the inflammation producing relief of pain and almost immediate cosmetic improvement.”

Peels – Look for AHA/BHA/PHA peels that will exfoliate the skin and help release the top layers of dead skin cells allowing for a more radiant underlay to come through.

Microdermabrasion – This professional treatment exfoliates at a deeper level (like a peel), with a mechanical handheld device that buffs away the upper layers of the skin. 

Add vitamin C to your routine. – Dr. Shah suggests applying several drops of vitamin C serum underneath SPF each morning to target free radical damage, help lighten brown spots, and even out your skin tone. 

Moisturizer – It may seem obvious, but when it comes to dewy, glowing skin, moisturizing is essential. “When your skin is dry, it looks dull, so hydrating ingredients can help bring back that glow,” says Dr.  Shah. For skin types already prone to shine, adding moisture may seem like the last thing you need, but an oil-free hydrator with ingredients like hyaluronic acid could actually help reduce your sebum production and even out slickness into a sleek glow.

About Dr. Manish Shah

Manish Shah, M.D., F.A.C.S. was born in Canada and raised in the Washington, D.C. area. He graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania, receiving a degree in biomedical engineering. He then completed his medical training at the University of Virginia, earning his Medical Doctorate. During this time, he also completed a one-year fellowship in microsurgery research at the New York University School of Medicine / Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery. As a prelude to his plastic surgery training, Dr. Shah completed a rigorous five-year training program in General and Trauma Surgery at Emory University and the Medical College of Georgia. His formal training in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery was completed at the Univ. of Tennessee College of Medicine – Chattanooga Unit. After completing his plastic surgery training, he moved to New York City when he was selected for the prestigious Aesthetic Surgery Fellowship at Manhattan Eye, Ear, and Throat Hospital. He underwent extensive, advanced training in aesthetic surgery of the face, breasts, and body at the hands of some of the most renowned cosmetic surgeons in the world. This fellowship is widely considered to be the best of its kind in the world. Dr. Shah is one of only a select few plastic surgeons in the country who have undergone formal post-graduate training in aesthetic surgery.

Dr. Shah’s specialties include revision facial aesthetic surgery, rhinoplasty (“nose reshaping”), and aesthetic surgery of the breast (breast augmentation, breast lift, breast reduction). He is, however, well-trained in all areas of aesthetic surgery.

Dr. Shah’s aim is to obtain a natural appearing transformation that complements the real you!

Dr. Shah is a past Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center based at Denver Health Medical Center, the Rocky Mountain region’s only academic Level I trauma center. He is a past Chief of Plastic Surgery at Denver Health Medical Center. He also maintains a private practice in Aesthetic and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery on the Dry Creek Medical Center campus (DTC/Denver) and up in the Aspen Valley (Basalt – in the office of MD Aesthetics – Tim Kruse, M.D.).

Dr. Shah is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

Dr. Shah is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Don’t Let Winter Turn Your Skin Into a Parched Desert

For many people, it’s like clockwork: the weather cools and within a few weeks their skin is itchy, red, cracked, and bone dry. Falling humidity levels kickoff annual dry skin season—skin tends to have the same moisture level as the environment it’s in, so as the weather gets dryer, we do too. Dips in temperature can exacerbate the problem further and mature, sensitive, or acneic skin types are particularly affected by the changing weather. But that doesn’t mean you have to suffer through the season. There are ways to keep dryness at bay and maintain smooth and irritation-free skin, year-round. Here’s how:

  1. Avoid Harsh Exfoliants: If your skin has dried out during the winter months, take a step back from your harsh chemical or physical exfoliants. This doesn’t mean you need to stop using them completely—exfoliation is important for cell turnover—but pumping the brakes for a few days while your skin resets could prove useful. And if you’re still feeling dry, opt for a natural cleansing oil instead of your usual face wash, which can often strip the skin of natural oils.
  2. Use a Low-Molecular-Weight Hyaluronic Acid: A low-molecular-weight hyaluronic acid (HA) is recommended for its ability to hold 1000 times its weight in water. HA helps your skin retain moisture and assists in keeping its surface smooth and soft. It even helps calm redness or irritation from particularly harsh climates.
  3. Layer Up: In the winter, it’s all about layering—both clothes and skincare. Start with a serum equipped to handle your toughest skin concerns. For maximum TLC, use FACTORFIVE’s regenerative serum—the only growth factor serum that lists human stem cell media as its first ingredient. FACTORFIVE’s stem cells are ethically derived and maintained in their own lab, meaning a group of highly trained scientists control the quality from start to finish. As a bonus, FACTORFIVE’s regenerative serum is high in hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, and wrinkle-fighting peptides.

Next up, opt for a cream that’s light enough to layer and calming enough to soothe your winter redness. FACTORFIVE’s anti-aging cream boasts the same powerful human stem cell media as its serum. Plus, it has the added soothing benefits of Aloe Vera and green tea extract. To form a protective seal over the skin and lock in the growth factors, apply the cream after the serum.

  1. Apply Morning & Night: Don’t forget to use the serum and cream combo in the morning, after washing your face and before makeup, and in the evening, when your face is clean and ready for bed.
  2. Don’t Forget Your Eyes: Our eyes are sensitive to the cold and dry climate of wintertime. Make sure to replenish your delicate eye area with a natural, non-irritating, fast-absorbing product like FACTORFIVE’s eye/lash cream. FACTORFIVE growth factor technology helps to smooth and tighten the under-eye skin and assists in the growth of your eyelashes and brows. It’s also prostaglandin free, which means it won’t alter the color of your eyes or leave them irritated and red.
  3. Don’t Forget SPF: Even though it’s cold outside, the sun’s rays are still powerful. A physical sunscreen, applied in the morning—after your serums and creams should be part of your daily routine. Use an SPF of at least 30 and if you are out in the sun for long periods of time, apply every two hours.
  4. Stay Hydrated: A simple, but effective tip. Drinking enough water helps your skin look dewy, plump, and gives you that just-walked-off-the-beach summer glow.
  5. Check Your Diet: Our skin is often a great indicator of what’s going on inside. Monitor what you eat and take notice if your skin flares up or feels extra dry after particular meals or food groups. Always consult a physician before changing anything about your diet.

It’s impossible to control the weather, but it is possible to control how you treat your skin during low humidity and low temperatures. And, if your skin cannot take it anymore, you can always plan a trip to a tropical destination where the humidity is high and your skin can recuperate— just remember to pack the sunscreen.

A Time-Saving Family Meal

Leading a busy lifestyle doesn’t always leave time for spending hours in the kitchen, and these Mystic Mini Turkey Loaves can be made in advance and frozen for later use. Perfect for simplifying busy evenings, they are made with mushrooms, yellow onions, oat milk, pumpkin pie spice and almond milk yogurt. This and other kid-friendly recipes are part of Dole’s healthy-living alliance with Disney’s Frozen 2. For more details and recipes, visit dole.com/Disney. #Dole #DoleRecipes

Watch video to see how to make this recipe!

Mystic Mini Turkey Loaves

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

Serves: 8

  • 1          large egg
  • 2          pounds 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1          medium DOLE® Yellow Onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2       cup oat milk
  • 1/2       cup whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs
  • 2          teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1          teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1          tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2       package (8 ounces) Dole Mushrooms, sliced
  • 2          cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 3          tablespoons whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4       cup plain almond milk yogurt
  • 1/4       teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1          tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Line rimmed baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In large bowl, whisk egg; gently mix in turkey, onion, oat milk, breadcrumbs, pumpkin pie spice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Form turkey mixture into eight (4-by-2 1/2-inch) loaves; place on prepared pan. Bake loaves 40 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165° F.
  3. In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil; add mushrooms and cook 5 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally. In medium bowl, whisk chicken stock and flour; add to skillet and cook 3 minutes, or until thickened, whisking occasionally. Whisk in yogurt, pepper and remaining salt.
  4. Serve loaves topped with gravy and sprinkled with parsley.

Tip: To freeze loaves, prepare turkey loaves but do not bake; freeze 2 hours, or until frozen. Wrap loaves tightly with plastic wrap and freeze in freezer-safe, zip-top plastic bags up to 3 months. Thaw loaves in refrigerator overnight then bake on parchment-lined rimmed baking pan at 350° F 40 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165° F. Proceed with remaining instructions.

Approximate nutritional information per serving (1 loaf, 1/3 cup gravy): 216 calories; 94 calories from fat; 10 g fat; 3 g polyunsaturated fat; 4 g monounsaturated fat; 88 mg cholesterol; 397 mg sodium; 344 mg potassium; 11 g carbohydrates; 2 g fiber; 2 g sugars; 21 g protein; vitamin A 4%; vitamin C 2%; calcium 4%; iron 10%; vitamin E 2%; thiamin 8%; vitamin B6 20%; phosphorus 15%; magnesium 6%; manganese 10%. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Dole/Disney

Welcome the World to Your Kitchen

As a physical representation of cultures and regions from around the world, food can be more than just sustenance – it can connect you and your kitchen to faraway places. Whether you have opportunities to travel the globe or prefer to stick closer to home, foods can bring the heritage of other countries right to your own plate.

To take your own taste tour of the globe, consider these plant-based recipes including Sabra Hummus. More than just a dip, hummus can serve as a canvas for a variety of flavors. Working as a transformative ingredient to elevate nearly any dish, hummus is an ideal base for exploring a world of flavor in your kitchen.

For example, these Vegetarian Spicy Noodles combine angel hair pasta and a soy-hummus sauce that’s creamy and rich with distinct Thai flavors. Chipotle Hummus and Mushroom Tacos provide a meatless version of a south-of-the-border favorite with a rich umami base topped with fresh cabbage and lime.

Visit Sabra.com to discover the many ways that hummus can be more than a dip.

Vegetarian Spicy Noodles

Prep time: 10-15 minutes

Cook time 10-15 minutes

Servings: 2

Sauce:

  • 4          tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2          tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2       cup water
  • 6          tablespoons Sabra Supremely Spicy Hummus, plus additional for garnish
  • 4          quarts water
  • 3          ounces dry angel hair pasta
  • 1          tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 2          cups thinly sliced bell pepper
  • 1          cup thinly sliced cherry tomatoes
  • 1          tablespoon thinly sliced Thai basil, divided
  • 1          tablespoon sliced scallions, divided
  1. To make sauce: In large frying pan over medium heat, cook soy sauce, sugar, water and hummus 1-2 minutes until hot and mixed together.
  2. To make noodles: Bring water to boil.
  3. Add pasta to boiling water and cook 5 minutes, or until tender. Strain noodles.
  4. Add garlic, bell peppers and cherry tomatoes to sauce. Let simmer 2 minutes. Add noodles and mix to fully coat noodles, 1-2 minutes. Add 1/2 tablespoon basil and 1/2 tablespoon scallions; reserve remainder for garnish.
  5. Place noodles in bowls and top with hummus and remaining basil and scallions.

Chipotle Hummus and Mushroom Tacos

Prep time: 10-15 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Servings: 2

Chipotle Hummus:

  • 6          tablespoons Sabra Classic Hummus
  • 1/2       teaspoon ground chipotle, dried

Slaw:

  • 1/4       cup finely shredded purple cabbage
  • 1/2       teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4       teaspoon lime juice
  • 1/8       teaspoon salt

Mushrooms:

  • 1/2       tablespoon olive oil
  • 8          ounces sliced mushrooms (brown or white)
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt
  • 1/8       teaspoon black pepper
  • 4          small tortillas (corn or flour)
  • 1/2       ounce feta cheese (optional)
  1. To make chipotle hummus: In small bowl, mix hummus and ground chipotle; set aside.
  2. To make slaw: Cut cabbage into quarters to easily remove core; thinly slice. In small mixing bowl, combine cabbage, cilantro, lime juice and salt. Using clean hands, crunch or squeeze together ingredients to bruise cabbage and incorporate.
  3. To make mushrooms: In large frying pan, heat olive oil over high heat. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper. Cook about 6 minutes until all sides of mushrooms are browned. Remove mushrooms from pan.
  4. Using hot pan, add tortillas one at a time to warm up, about 20 seconds on each side.
  5. Spread tortillas with chipotle hummus. Place hot mushrooms in centers of tortillas. Top with slaw and feta cheese, if desired. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Sabra

Are Your Lungs Trying to Tell You Something?

Do you get short of breath doing daily activities? Feel like you’re unable to take deep breaths? Are you constantly coughing or wheezing? If you said yes to any of these questions, you may be experiencing symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a serious, potentially devastating lung disease also known as chronic bronchitis or emphysema. Though it’s easy to think of these symptoms as just part of “getting older’’ or as problems that come with allergies, often they are not.

Nearly 16 million people in the United States are currently living with a COPD diagnosis, and millions more don’t know they have it. COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of disability.

In people with COPD, the airways that carry air in and out of the lungs become partially blocked, which makes it increasingly difficult to breathe. If left undetected, the disease can greatly affect your quality of life and your ability to complete even ordinary daily activities.

COPD often occurs in people who have a history of smoking or long-term exposure to secondhand smoke and other lung irritants, such as air pollution, chemical fumes, and dusts from the environment or workplace. The chances of getting COPD also increases significantly in people who have alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, a rare genetic condition.

While COPD develops slowly and worsens over time, its symptoms can be treated and its progression can be slowed, which is why early detection and treatment are so important. If you are noticing any issues with your breathing, talk to your health care provider about getting tested for COPD. The sooner you get a diagnosis, the sooner treatment can begin. Your provider will design a treatment plan to help address your symptoms and improve your lung function and quality of life.

The key to keeping COPD at bay – or preventing it from getting worse – is to understand and recognize the signs and symptoms early and discuss them with your health care provider. The sooner this happens, the sooner you can get back to doing the things you love.

Through educational efforts like the Learn More Breathe Better program (https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/breathebetter ), the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute shares valuable information about the symptoms of COPD, as well as how to diagnose and treat it. With these tools, those living with COPD can effectively manage the disease, and those who have symptoms can find the support and assistance they need. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

How to Find the Right Dog for Your Family

Adding a four-legged friend to the family is no small decision, and it’s easy to get distracted by sweet eyes pleading to be taken home. Becoming a dog parent is a major commitment, so it’s important to do your research and make well-informed choices before deciding on a new dog.

No matter what stage of acquiring a dog you’re in, educate yourself about your options. A resource like Be Dog Smart, an online tool designed to guide consumers through the process of looking for a dog, can help you every step of the way, regardless of whether you’re considering getting a dog from a professional breeder, pet store, friend, family member or adopting from a shelter or rescue.

By asking the right questions, researching credible sources and requesting transparency from those who provide companion animals, you can rest assured you are taking the right steps to bring home a new furry family member.

Take smarter steps to bring your new fur-baby home with these tips from the Pet Leadership Council, the creators of the Be Dog Smart initiative:

  1. Determine the responsible environment you would like to acquire your dog from. One way to ensure those who raise and supply dogs maintain proper care standards is to understand the acquisition process and thoroughly vet breeders, retailers, shelters and rescues before supporting their operations. Ask questions about their businesses, policies, animal care and referral sources. Visit the locations personally to get a sense for the environment before making a decision. Once you settle on a source for your dog, interview several options to determine the best fit.

  1. Consider how a dog fits into your living situation. For example, if you work long hours, you’ll need to consider ways for your dog to be let outside during the day. Although some breeds require less space for exercise, all dogs need daily activity and regular access to relieve themselves.
  1. Think about the time and monetary investment. Dogs typically do not understand being left in their crates because you have a busy work schedule or social life. Contemplate your available time and how you would adjust to accommodate your pet. The same can be said for your finances. Ensure you can afford essentials such as food, grooming items and veterinary care as well as extras like toys and treats before making the commitment.
  1. Learn about the differences between purebred and mixed breeds. With so many breeds of dogs available, it’s tough to know which one is the right fit for you. Purebred dogs, which are dogs whose parents belong to the same breed, offer predictability in size, appearance, temperament, health issues, grooming needs and energy level. Mixed breeds, whose parents come from different breeds or are mixed breeds themselves, have a lower chance of being born with inherited congenital diseases and often inherit only the best traits from each parent.
  1. Weigh the benefits of a puppy versus an adult dog. Puppies are typically sweet and fun, and there are advantages to bonding with a puppy from its earliest stages of life. However, puppies quickly grow and can require a lot of work and training. Puppies are also more likely to be destructive. At rescues and shelters you’ll often find older dogs, many who were abandoned due to their owner’s life circumstances, not anything they did wrong. These dogs can be wonderful additions to a family and may be house trained and have previous basic command training, but there is a possibility of not getting a clear understanding of the dog’s past.  (Family Features)

For additional tips and to learn more, visit BeDogSmart.org.

SOURCE:
Pet Leadership Council

Delectably Sweet Dessert

(Culinary.net) If you’re looking for an easy dessert, this Whoopie Pie recipe is the perfect way to cap off weeknight meals.

Find more dessert recipes at Culinary.net.

Watch video to see how to make this recipe!

Whoopie Pies

  • 1          box spice cake mix
  • 1 1/2    cups apple butter
  • 1/2       cup canola oil
  • 2          eggs
  • 8          ounces cream cheese
  • 4          tablespoons butter
  • 3          cups powdered sugar
  • 2          tablespoons milk
  • 1          teaspoon vanilla
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In large bowl, whisk spice cake mix, apple butter, oil and eggs.
  4. With ice cream scoop or large tablespoon, spoon batter into rounded heaps, about 2-3 inches in diameter, onto parchment paper. Space spooned batter 2 inches apart.
  5. Bake 14 minutes. Let cool.
  6. In large bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar until smooth. Add milk and vanilla; beat until blended.
  7. Frost flat sides of pie halves and place halves together.
  8. Refrigerate and store in sealed container.

SOURCE:
Culinary.net

4 Fun Ways to Take a Home Sports Viewing Party to New Heights

There’s nothing better than having all your favorite people over to watch a sporting event together. No matter the sport, team, or event – be it a random NBA game, the Super Bowl, or March Madness – there’s just something fun and relaxing about watching with your own crowd. And you can make the experience even better by shaking things up a bit, and upping your watch party preparation to include more than chips, dip, and beer.
Amp Up the Eats

Chips and salsa may be easy to dump into a bowl when company’s coming, but it’s usually nothing special. And if it’s become a common staple at watch parties, it’s time to try something else anyway! One way to spice it up (pun fully intended) is to try a nacho-style fondue station. You can add something like Ro-Tel dip to the cheese if you want it to be hotter, and then give guests dipping choices besides tortilla chips. Add in extras like pretzels, bite-size sausages, or even french fries. It’s basically the ideal snack station, it doesn’t take a whole lot of effort, and everyone will wind up satisfied.

Have An In-House Betting Pool

If you and your friends are all into it, you can certainly have fun getting your own game going while you watch whatever event is on TV. Online sports bookie sites are becoming more readily available and more user-accessible than ever before, which in turn means more people are becoming familiar with the ins and outs of betting (in terms of how to read odds, which tips to trust, etc.). You might all simply place bets together at one of these sites, but you could also use them as a basis to set up your own, in-house betting pool. And really, it doesn’t even have to involve money. Betting candies, gift cards, or anything else fun and innocent can be a great way to give everyone a stake in the action. And for that matter, if you have regular watch parties, you could even organize season-long betting pools!

Watch Outside

Another very fun way to spice up a watch party is to structure it like your own home tailgate, no matter the season. You can get some lawn games going, set up a tent outside, and move a TV out under the shade if it’s super hot – or put the TV in the garage and set up heaters if it’s a cold fall day. Supply extra jackets or mittens for your guests, and even a hot coffee, hot chocolate and/or cider station. (If you’re feeling extra festive, add single shots of whiskey to make those hot drinks even more delicious.) Whatever the case, you can set up a grill outside, embrace the elements, and make whatever you’re watching the game with that much more satisfying in the process – be it a cool beer on a hot day or a piping-hot burger in a chilly garage.

Go Virtual

While watching at home generally gives you a better view than nosebleed seats at the stadium, there is now a way to get an even better angle. Watching a game through a VR headset is becoming an option, and allows you to enjoy the best seats in the house even though you’re at home. Not all leagues and games facilitate the option yet, but if it is an option, your friends might love getting in on the action together. Granted, it takes a little bit of the communal fun out of things, in theory, but particularly while it’s still aa novelty, we don’t think that will be a problem. It will be a blast to sit and talk with friends on comfortable couches while all enjoying first-person stadium views together.

You can always find fun ways to change up watch parties according to your personal interests and those of your friends as well. Maybe there’s something you all like to eat or drink every time, or maybe you have your own sort of betting or fantasy side game to go along with the action. But for more general ideas that anyone can try, the above options can make watching sports with the gang more fun than ever.