Memorial Day: 20 Green Grilling Tips

It’s Memorial Day weekend and many families around the US may be hosting barbecues and cook-outs in celebration of the holiday remembering fallen soldiers of war or military servicemen who have passed away. As you prepare to host an event in your home, consider implementing some of these simple suggestions for having a Green, Eco-Friendly and Environmentally-friendly event.

  1. Plan ahead so you don’t have too much food.
  2. Use natural charcoal or better yet natural gas or propane grill which are more environmentally friendly. 
  3. Buy local produce from local farmer’s markets
  4. Buy organic foods
  5. Consider vegan or vegetarian options which are better for the digestive system
  6. Use all natural insect repellent and bug sprays which are better on the skin, especially for small children
  7. Bring home the goods in a recyclable or paper not plastic bags
  8. Serve food on reusable plates and utensils or biodegradable or recyclable flat and tableware
  9. Start your fire with a chimney starter instead of lighter fluid
  10. Cook with pans and items made of recyclable materials
  11. Spread the energy consumed cooking around by having guests bring a dish
  12. Grill as much as you can, and even cook the foods in the burners on the grill because it saves energy
  13. Cover pans while cooking to reduce cooking time or energy bill if you are cooking on the stove in the kitchen
  14. Cut up the food into smaller pieces to let them cook faster and save energy
  15. Consider using a water-filter pitcher or a faucet mounted filter for water instead of bottle water
  16. Mix up a batch of lemonade or iced tea and serve in a large pitcher or punch bowl to cut down on cans and plastic bottles
  17. Figure out creative ways to “remix” the leftovers rather than dump them out. 
  18. Compost the veggies or grill scraps. 
  19. Clean up using non-toxic cleansers and Green cleaning products
  20. Recycle when you’re done!

Even if you can institute a few of these suggestions, you would have done at least something to reduce your carbon footprint, and give back to Mother Earth. Happy Grilling!

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5 Last Minute Memorial Day Cook out Salad Recipes

If you’re heading out to a cook out for Memorial Day and still scratching your head on what to take over to the host’s home or what salad to make if you are hosing a barbecue or cookout, here are 5 easy and simple salad recipes from the FoodNetwork to consider. Above is the Roman Salad


Ingredients

1 cup balsamic vinegar

1 cup pitted green and black olives, halved
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
3 anchovy fillets, drained and chopped
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
8 fresh basil leaves, shredded
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound vine-ripened tomatoes (about 3 tomatoes)
Directions
Cook the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over low heat until thick, syrupy, and measuring 1/4 cup, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Combine the olives, parsley, anchovies, capers, garlic, basil, pepper, and olive oil in a small bowl and toss to combine.
To serve, slice the tomatoes into 1/4-inch thick rounds and place, slightly overlapping, on a serving plate. Spoon the olive and parsley mixture over the tomatoes. Drizzle the reduced balsamic over the salad and serve.
Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/cda/recipe_print/0,1946,FOOD_9936_36960_RECIPE-PRINT-FULL-PAGE-FORMATTER,00.html?oc=linkback

BLT Pasta Salad

Ingredients

12 ounces corkscrew-shaped pasta

1/2 cup milk
12 ounces lean bacon
3 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons chopped chives or scallion greens
5 heads Bibb lettuce, quartered, or 5 cups chopped romaine hearts
Directions
Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water as the label directs. Drain and toss with the milk in a large bowl; set aside.
Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Discard all but 3 tablespoons drippings from the pan. Add the tomatoes, thyme and garlic to the pan and toss until warmed through; season with salt and pepper. Crumble the bacon into bite-size pieces; set aside 1/4 cup for garnish. Toss the remaining bacon and the tomato mixture with the pasta.
Mix the mayonnaise, sour cream and 3 tablespoons chives with the pasta until evenly combined. Season with salt and pepper. Add the lettuce; toss again to coat. Garnish with the reserved bacon and the remaining 1 tablespoon chives. Serve at room temperature.
Per serving: Calories 960; Fat 56 g (Sat. 20 g; Mono. 30 g; Poly. 18 g); Cholesterol 125 mg; Sodium 2,114 mg; Carbohydrate 73 g; Fiber 5 g; Protein 44 g

Black Bean and Corn Salad

4 ears corn, husks removed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup diced red bell pepper
3/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup snow peas, julienned
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
Directions
Preheat the grill to medium.
Grill the corn until lightly charred, about 2 minutes, turning frequently. Transfer the corn to a cutting board and using a serrated knife remove the kernels. Set aside.
In a medium saute pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil, then the red bell pepper and the red onion. Saute for 3 minutes, then add the vinegar, beans and corn and saute for 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and the snow peas and saute for 1 minute more. Remove from the heat to a serving bowl and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or cold.


Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Black Olives

Ingredients

Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Quinoa Salad:
4 cups salted water or vegetable stock
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 cups quinoa
16 spears asparagus, trimmed
Olive oil, for brushing
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup pitted nicoise olives
4 ounces aged goat cheese, shaved
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
Directions
For the vinaigrette: Combine the vinegar, honey and mustard in a blender and blend until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil and blend until emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste and pulse a few times to incorporate.
For the quinoa salad: Bring the salted water or vegetable stock to a boil and add the thyme. Stir in the quinoa, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until cooked through, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Preheat the grill. Brush the asparagus with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill on all sides until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove from the grill and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl, fold in the asparagus, olives, goat cheese, basil and parsley. Add just enough vinaigrette to moisten the salad; don’t make it too wet. Transfer to a platter and drizzle with more of the vinaigrette.
Serves: 6; Calories: 477; Total Fat: 29 grams; Saturated Fat: 6 grams; Protein: 13 grams; Total carbohydrates: 43 grams; Sugar: 6 grams; Fiber: 5 grams; Cholesterol: 9 milligrams; Sodium: 446 milligrams

Orzo Salad With Shrimp and Feta

Ingredients

Kosher salt

8 ounces orzo pasta (about 2 cups)
1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (tails removed), coarsely chopped
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Freshly ground pepper
Grated zest of 2 lemons, plus 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
1 cup diced English cucumber
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons halved kalamata olives
Directions
Preheat the broiler. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente (about 2 minutes less than the label directs). Drain and rinse under cool water; shake off the excess. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside while you make the shrimp, stirring occasionally to prevent clumping.
Toss the shrimp on a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon olive oil, the garlic, and salt and pepper to taste; arrange in a single layer. Broil the shrimp, turning once, until opaque and just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the shrimp, lemon zest and juice, scallions, mint, dill, cucumber, feta, olives and the remaining 1/3 cup olive oil to the bowl with the pasta; toss. Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, up to 6 hours. (Bring to room temperature before serving.)

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10 Father’s Day Gift Ideas for Every Type of Dad

Bellyitch Rewind
If you are racking your brain trying to figure out what to get for your dad, husband or partner this upcoming Father’s Day, here are some gift ideas you can consider putting together or gifting him:
  1. The Academic: A basket filled with a collection of books and book marks and/or downloads of his favorite titles on Nook, Kindle or Audible.com.
  2. The Sports Dad: Two tickets to a game or his favorite team’s jersey and cap.
  3. The Movie Loving Dad: A movie prize pack including theater ticket vouchers, a sample of movies, microwave popcorn and/or candy assembled in a basket.
  4. The Cigar Loving Dad: A couple of his favorite cigars and/or a cigar holder, engraved with his initials if you still have time to get that done.
  5. The Jazz Loving Dad: An old jazz album of his that you put in a frame that you can pick up from Target or Walmart and/or tickets to a local jazz performance or club
  6. The Outdoorsy Dad: A collection of common accessories items he needs for a day out hiking, or bike riding or kayaking  that has gotten worn down and need replacing. Assemble a few items of each with some sporting magazines in a basket.
  7. The Businessman Dad: Cuff links, suspenders, a tie tack and/or the traditional tie would be perfect. Anything that can be quickly monogrammed is a plus.
  8. The Nascar loving dad: A poster, cap and other car accessories featuring the logos of his favorite driver
  9. The Hipster dad: A coffee mug with a Starbucks gift card and an iTunes gift card (and or a music mix on a jump drive or CD of his favorite songs)
  10. The Wine Loving dad: A basket with an assortment of his favorite wines, a pack of gourmet crackers, a wedge of aged cheese and a wine bottle opener

Good luck!
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DIY: Memorial Day-inspired Nails and Make-Up

Congress has in place recommendations and rules that limits the way the American flag is displayed and used, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. For example, it should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise; it should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free; should never have anything placed on it; and never  advertising purpose, nor embroidered on cushions or handkerchiefs, printed on paper napkins or boxes, nor used as any portion of a costume. 

That doesn’t stop make up and nail polish design aficionados from using the colors and Old Glory to inspire their designs and looks. Here is a collection of unique interpretations from our Pinterest following.


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WANTED: Expecting Mom-to-Be to Model in a Houston baby expo

My friend Monica is putting on another one of her fabulous pregnancy and maternity expos. This time it is in Houston, Texas and she is looking for models!
Here is her casting call:
Are you Pregnant and Fabulous?  We Want You! 
Baby Bash and Bling Expo & Show Presents “Bump the Runway” in Houston, Texas. 
We need YOU, baby bumps, fashionistas and fabulous moms-to-be! Must be able to walk in the “Bump the Runway” fashion show on JUNE 6th (Houston, Texas) 
 
Send us a photo and in the subject line please put “Expectant Mom” to Maggy François at bbbeventcasting@gmail.com
Presenting partners include Babies R Us, The Bump and others.
Baby Bash and Bling Expo & Show 
Saturday June 6, 2015
11am-3pm
Hotel Derek
2525 West Loop South
Houston, Texas 77027
Details, tickets and more visit www.BABYBASHANDBLING.com

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Mid-flight, Canadian couple welcome first baby they weren’t even expecting (VIDEO)

A vacationing young British Columbia couple on an Air Canada flight to Narita, Japan were surprised by in-flight birth of a child they weren’t even expecting!
“We just thought she had a bad stomach ache, or cramps or ulcer or something,”  Wes Branch told Global News about hi girlfriend Ada Guan‘s unplanned delivery. “She told me, ‘Something fell out of me.’ I lifted up her pants and I saw a head and then I heard, ‘Waah!’
Branch was dumbfounded about the unexpected birth of their first child, a daughter, they named Chloe. The couple left Calgary not knowing they had a baby on the way.
“I thought, ‘Oh my god, I think we have a kid’,” he added.
Fortunately for them, there were two doctors on the plane who helped deliver the baby. 
Branch told the paper that his girlfriend did not have any outward physical appearances of being pregnant.
“Her belly wasn’t even big,” he said. “She just thought she was gaining a little bit of a weight. She didn’t think anything out of it.”
The plane landed at Narita airport 30 minutes ahead of schedule after being bumped up the queue by air traffic controllers.

Flight attendants wheeled her out as dad carried his newborn daughter out the plane. 
Air Canada sent out a congratulatory tweet after the plane landed in Japan. Guan and her baby were taken to a hospital for observation.
They returned home last week. Check out a video on their return.



h/t Stuff
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2015 Billboard Music Awards Recap – Bellyitch style!

Tonight was the 2015 Billboard Music Awards which took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
It was a star-studded event. As usual, the celeb women we’ve featured on Bellyitch in the past rocked the red carpet: Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez in Charbel Zoe, Taraji P. Henson, Britney Spears, Idina Menzel and Danica McKellar all looked stunning.
As did model Lily Aldridge who is married to Kings of Leon band member Caleb Followill.
Britney Spears made a triumphant return to the Billboards stage performing her hit song with Iggy Azalea, “Pretty Girls”. WATCH


Maria Carey took us back in time with a glorious performance of her classic song “Vision of Love” and finished up with her latest single, “Infinity.”

Kelly Clarkson gave a memorable performance of her hit song “Invincible” and looked amazing doing it in her new rocker girl hair.
And finally, the fashion trend for tonight was creme and black and plunging necklines as seen on Henson, Taylor Swift (who looked amazing and very sexy), co-host for the night Chrissy Teigen and Rita Ora. 

photos: Getty

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The models who inspired your kid's fave Disney characters

Have you ever wanted to see the real life reference models that Disney’s animation team used to create some of the physical appearances, facial expressions and mannerisms of some of your favorite Disney characters?
Zimbo put together a pictorial with background insight into the women who helped bring these characters to life, including Maleficent from Snow White above:
Sleeping Beauty

Snow White

Tinkerbell

See the complete list and read the back story HERE!


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STUDY: Alcohol consumption during first 3-4 weeks of pregnancy impacts baby

It is well established that consuming alcohol during pregnancy can cause harm to the fetus. Now, a new study finds that drinking alcohol as early as 3-4 weeks into pregnancy – before many women even realize they are expecting – may alter gene functioning in the brains of offspring, leading to long-term changes in brain structure.
The study, conducted in mice and published in the journal PLOS ONE, also identified changes in gene functioning in other body tissues as a result of alcohol consumption in early pregnancy.
The research team, led by Dr. Nina Kaminen-Ahola of the University of Helsinki in Finland, says their findings indicate that alcohol exposure in early pregnancy may cause lifelong changes to gene regulation in embryonic stem cells – the earliest cells to emerge from a developing embryo.

15 Memorial Day Cookout Grilling Tips

If you are grilling for Memorial Day next week and need some grilling tips, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 10 of our fave tips we spotted from various sources and around the web and assembled into top 15 tips:

1. Gas vs. Charcoal? – The age-old debate over which grilling method is “better” involves multiple variables, from flavor to cost to convenience. While no studies prove that either is healthier, gas does burn cleaner. Charcoal grills emit more carbon monoxide, particulate matter and soot into the atmosphere, contributing to increased pollution and higher concentrations of ground-level ozone. From a taste perspective, on the other hand, many people prefer the smokier, richer taste of food cooked on a charcoal grill.
2. Get It Hot!– Preheat your grill 15 to 25 minutes before you start cooking to make sure it reaches the right temperature (and to kill any bacteria). Your grill should be 400-450°F for high, 350-400°F for medium-high, 300-350°F for medium and 250-300°F for low heat. A properly heated grill sears foods on contact, keeps the insides moist and helps prevent sticking. While searing doesn’t “seal in” the juices (contrary to popular belief ), it does create improved flavors through caramelization.
3. Brush It Off – It’s easier to remove debris when the grill is hot, so after preheating, use a long-handled wire grill brush on your grill rack to clean off charred debris from prior meals. Scrape again immediately after use.
4. Oil It Up– Even on a clean grill, lean foods may stick when placed directly on the rack. Reduce sticking by oiling your hot grill rack with a vegetable oil-soaked paper towel: hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.)
5. Marinate Your Meat -Marinating does more than infuse food with flavor; it also inhibits the formation of potentially carcinogenic HCAs (heterocyclic amines), which form when grilling “muscle meats” like poultry, red meat and fish. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), marinating can reduce HCA formation by as much as 92 to 99 percent.
6. Is It Done?The best way to know if protein is fully cooked is to check its internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer.
7. The Hand Test- To gauge the temperature of a grill without a thermometer, place your open palm about 5 inches above the grill rack; the fire is high if you have to move your hand in 2 seconds, medium if you have to move your hand in 5 seconds and low if you have to move your hand in 10 seconds.
8. Tame The Flames- Flare-ups happen when fat drips onto the heat source and catches fire. This causes carcinogenic PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) to form and accumulate on your food. Meat licked by flames also tastes “off” and flames may char the outside of food before the inside has thoroughly cooked. To reduce flare-ups, select lean cuts of meat, trim excess fat and remove poultry skin. And, keep a squirt bottle of water near the grill to quickly douse any unexpected flare-ups.
9. Give It A Rest – Let finished meats rest on a clean platter, tented with foil, for about 10 minutes before carving so juices can redistribute evenly.
10. Veggies Lift –  Keep the lid up for Veggies so they don’t become too limp and are crisp not soggy
11. Fishy Fish – For fish, slice lemon and make a bed of them and lay the fish on top to grill.
12. Ribs Boil – Boil ribs for 10 to 15 minutes before grilling to make sure you kill all bacteria from them. 

13. Get Saucy – Add the sauce during the last 15 minutes of grilling. 

14. Keep it Juicy – Don’t flatten your burgers and cause all the succulent juice to run out. Instead poke them with a fork. 

15. Portion control – To avoid overcooking or undercooking, grill smaller pieces of meat at a time. 

Enjoy!
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