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Christian Gooden/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS

On Valentine's Day, say it with chocolate

Entertainment / Entertaining /

On Valentine’s Day, chocolate is romance. On Valentine’s Day, romance is chocolate.

Either way, there is a definite mid-February correlation between love and the popular product of refined cacao beans.

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. They say candy is dandy. In both cases, thick, luscious chocolate helps to ...Read more

A Valentine's Day feast on a budget

Entertainment / Entertaining /

The best dates are cheap dates.

Maybe you’re just getting to know someone you hope to get to know better. Maybe you’re spending time with someone and want to do something nice for them.

Maybe you’re just cheap.

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and if you don’t want to shell out the cash for a fancy restaurant meal (served by an ...Read more

Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS

How to keep your dip, wings and guac from poisoning your Super Bowl party guests

Entertainment / Entertaining /

No matter whether you’re at a Super Bowl party as host, NFL fan, commercials fan or person in a relationship with any of the above, you don’t want your post-game to involve getting sick from food or alcohol poisoning.

That means knowing not only that veterans pace themselves with alcohol, but knowing how to avoid food-borne illnesses. Here...Read more

Dave Lobeck/TNS/TNS

BBQ My Way: Smoked pork tenderloin sandwiches with spicy jam

Entertainment / Entertaining /

As most of my readers know, I really appreciate the value of well-prepared pork, especially when you look at the low cost of pork compared to beef. Also, pork is a clean culinary canvas with a lot of versatility that can handle almost only preparation and flavor. These sandwiches I describe today were so easy to make it’s almost embarrassing ...Read more

Dave Lobeck/TNS/TNS

BBQ My Way: How to make the perfect steak

Entertainment / Entertaining /

I have been on a lifelong quest — well, at least the past 40 years — to prepare and present the perfect steak. One disclaimer. Please realize it is almost impossible to compete with the steaks offered at top steakhouses, places like Jeff Ruby’s, Ruth's Chris Steak House, etc., primarily due to two reasons.

First, top-end steakhouses ...Read more

Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS

Here’s your best party-food secret weapon

Entertainment / Entertaining /

Pimento cheese is the duct tape of party foods. Seriously: You can nuke it, spread it, mix it with something else, slap it on a tray surrounded by crackers, turn it into a fast dinner, even use it for a hangover-nursing breakfast.

There just aren’t many things a tub of pimento cheese can’t handle. And while homemade is certainly the best, ...Read more

Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS

How to keep kids safe around Christmas and Hanukkah decorations

Entertainment / Entertaining /

It's the most, wonderful time of the year! It's also a dangerous time of the year. Sometimes kids and holiday decorations don't mix.

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers these tips for families:

Christmas trees

— When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. The needles should be hard to pull off, and should not break when you bend...Read more

Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS

Key lime pie can add a tropical twist to your holiday dessert menu

Entertainment / Entertaining /

The holiday season is all about traditions, of course, and that includes pie-making. Apple pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, chocolate pie. Every family has a favorite pie recipe, and every recipe has a story behind it.

Maybe it’s time to let a little sunshine smile through the winter by introducing a new pie tradition, one that adds a tropical ...Read more

Roo/Roo/TNS

This year’s best gifts for your plant people

Entertainment / Entertaining /

Gardeners love their gadgets, especially if they make work easier, yet so many of us are also spendthrifts, reluctant to drop our coin on the tools and accessories we secretly crave.

That’s where you come in, mighty gift giver, making those covetous garden wishes come true.

Braid & Wood plant hanger

Enjoy your hanging plants from every ...Read more

Mediheal/Mediheal/TNS

TikTok-approved skin care products perfect for stockings

Entertainment / Entertaining /

What does your brain look like on skin care TikTok? Here are the signs: suddenly inquiring if everyone in your family put on their sunscreen today. Talking constantly about something called "slugging." Ordering pimple patches in bulk. Asking for LED devices for your birthday instead of, you know, jewelry. Having a nighttime routine that includes...Read more

Modern Dane/Modern Dane/TNS

The coziest gifts to give this holiday season

Entertainment / Entertaining /

The pandemic has changed how we spend time, with many of us hanging out at home more than ever. Does your gift list include loved ones who are experiencing cabin fever? Here are some items that will make life at home a little bit cozier.

Parachute Cloud unisex cotton robe

Parachute Home is known for its muted, machine-washable, luxurious ...Read more

Giant Robot/Giant Robot/TNS

Shopping for Gen Z? Gifts for the ‘youths’ on your list

Entertainment / Entertaining /

Technically, Gen Z accounts for anyone born from roughly 1996 to 2010. Maybe that’s you, and you’re just looking for ideas. But if Gen Z makes you think of a teen or young adult in your life who wears clothes that were popular 20 to 30 years ago and says things like, “I don’t dream of labor,” this list is for you too. Maybe you don’t...Read more

Ornot/Ornot/TNS

The best gifts and gear for the outdoor enthusiasts in your life

Entertainment / Entertaining /

Not everyone on your list wants sun gloves or a handlebar bike bag, but those who do will treasure your gift all year long.

Here are items to make life outdoors a little more comfy.

Keymaster Games’ Trails board game

There are good reasons to take a hike on the new board game Trails from Keymaster Games. First, it’s visually stunning. ...Read more

Pantheon/Pantheon/TNS

The best nonfiction books to gift literature lovers this holiday season

Entertainment / Entertaining /

It’s commonly assumed that some books, especially bulky nonfiction, are designed to be gifted on a holiday, given pride of place on a bookshelf and never opened.

For those who have other plans, the following 10 books are the opposite (with perhaps one exception). They are enticing, pleasurable and insightful — stories of people, places and...Read more

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Books your creative friends actually will want on their coffee table

Entertainment / Entertaining /

Books to read, books for looking at the pictures, books to read while looking at the pictures. Here are a variety of recent options for the art-interested:

'Alma W. Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful'

Seth Feman and Jonathan Frederick Walz; Yale University Press; 336 pages

Alma W. Thomas was 80 in the spring of 1972, when she now-famously ...Read more

Polaroid/Polaroid/TNS

Gifts for the very online person in your life

Entertainment / Entertaining /

Everyone's internet experience is different, which means there's no one way to be "very online." This gift guide is our attempt to address that. For some, online-ness means a nice laptop and phone cases. For others, it means being involved in social justice causes and supporting meaningful organizations. And in a lot of cases it means they've ...Read more

Laurie Skrivan/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS

6 recipes to make your New Year's Eve party festive

Entertainment / Entertaining /

Perfection is usually impossible to attain, but a perfect New Year's Eve party is actually pretty easy to have.

First, you need a critical mass of people, so your guests can freely circulate among themselves without any one of them having to spend too much time stuck talking to the guy whose only interest is antique telephones.

If you drink, ...Read more

Colter Peterson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS

8 breakfast recipes worthy of Christmas morning

Entertainment / Entertaining /

It’s Christmas morning. The presents have been opened. Everything is festive and there is a sense of good cheer in the air.

Now: What’s for breakfast?

Christmas breakfast is a special occasion that does not get the attention that is given to many other noteworthy meals. But it should stand out as a particularly happy time, a meal for ...Read more

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/TNS

Chicken schnitzel recipe is perfect for Hanukkah

Entertainment / Entertaining /

It wouldn’t be Hanukkah without fried foods like potato pancakes (latkes), jelly doughnuts (sufganiyot) and chicken schnitzel. These foods are prepared and eaten throughout the holiday to celebrate the Jewish victory over a tyrant king and the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem. As the legend goes, a small quantity of oil to light the ...Read more

Colter Peterson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS

An English dinner for Christmas

Entertainment / Entertaining /

I don’t have a drop of English blood in me, but when I think about Christmas dinner, my imagination heads directly to England.

For some reason, it’s always Victorian England I picture. Christmas to me is horse-drawn carriages in the snow, gas lights flickering merrily, rosy-cheeked children on wooden sleds, men in top hats and women in silk...Read more