Her Times
By Pam Parker Erie Times-News staff blogger
Pam Parker's blog takes on everything from women's fun to momisms to lifestyles around Lake Erie and real estate. She'll take you down Memory Lane, up through sports and fun and off the grid. Get ready for laughs — it's more than just Pam. It's Pamdemonium.   Read more about this blog.
 Phone: 814-870-1821
Posts tagged ‘chocolate’
Posted: March 18th, 2014

chocolate chipsFinally, a study I won’t make fun of.

Yesterday, the Associated Press reported that pills with all those good nutrients in dark chocolate might have the ability to prevent heart attacks and strokes.

The four-year study has 18,000 participants — why oh why didn’t they call me?

This is no joke. The study quoted Dr. JoAnn Manson, of Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Who are the sponsors – you guessed it – chocolate manufacturers — Mars Inc., famous for M&M’s and Snickers — and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Why Mars? It patented extraction of cocoa flavanols and converts them into capsules.

The study will also analyze multivitamins — no chocolate in there. To read the full Associated Press report on NPR, click here.

More healthy stories from NPR — a fascinating story on how doctors in Ann Arbor used a 3-D printer to replicate a baby’s windpipe and save his life. Read it here. More health stories: Do iPads help or harm your toddlers? and look out for the Mumps Outbreak at Ohio State University. Theres a big drop in colon cancer — 30 percent in people 50 and older — read about it here.

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyleHer Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. She is mom to three, stepmom to three and GramPam to one.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: January 13th, 2014

coffeeOur last issue of Her Times talked about health, and it was one of the most widely read issues we have ever published.

In it, I discussed that I had cut my caffeine consumption in half. I like coffee, and I often drank whole pots of it myself in my younger years. Last year, when my blood pressure edged into uncharted territory, I knew it was time for some drastic cuts. Caffeine was one of the first to go because I have trimmed it before.

I had Facebook friends and neighbors teasing me this week that they couldn’t believe I had trimmed my caffeine consumption, but I didn’t do it overnight. Here are some tips that worked for me:

I drink one cup of caffeinated coffee as soon as I get up in the morning. And I make the strongest stuff I can find. I go for deep roast, dark blends, five-star intensity. In fact, I’m usually a black coffee drinker, but I’ve found that Peet’s and Gevalia brands for the Keurig need a little cream in them when I make the small cup. And I go full-out half and half — not whitener. This is about taste and giving up caffeine — not deleting a tablespoon of cream from my diet. After the first cup, I go straight to decaf — same brands –strongest flavor I can find. It works for me. I didn’t get beastly headaches or become a basket case, but if this doesn’t work for you, then do it more gradually.

Other caffeine:  I knocked off diet pop with caffeine in it years ago, and then I stopped drinking decaf diet pop — gradually — except for a rare diet ginger ale. I did it because a friend of mine had long ago been advised by her physician to stop drinking carbonated beverages — he had determined that joint pain she had might be due to the amount of pop was she drinking. She switched to decaf tea, and voila — pain was gone. Decaf tea is a great beverage – it will never replace coffee in my cup.

I often ordered half caffeine/half decaf coffee at takeout or a restaurant. It’s an easy way to take control.

Chocolate — I cut way back. Waaay back. But don’t get in my way if I want some. Once again, I go for really good, really tasty, strong chocolate — Godiva, Ghirardelli, Dove, some of the rich Hershey’s stuff — it has to be rich chocolate — not just ultra sweet cocoa. And I try to eat some with nuts or caramel in it — nuts have protein. Caramel doesn’t, but it’s soothing. And sweet.

I stopped drinking caffeine after 10 a.m. Debbie DeAngelo wrote an article for Her Times that discussed how long caffeine stays in our systems. She explained that we can be losing sleep — or having trouble getting and staying asleep because of caffeine we drank 10-12 hours earlier. That was an eye opener.  

If you have high blood pressure, see a doctor. Make a plan. Cutting caffeine is just one step in a plan for reducing blood pressure that worked for me, but we all need a lot more than that if we want to have healthy hearts. For my family, caffeine has always been a trigger, and cutting back on it worked for everyone in two generations. My blood pressure is back in the normal range for me, and it doesn’t happen overnight. You can’t reduce your caffeine and expect your blood pressure to drop like a stone the next day. For me it took a good month. I also reduced sodium — but I have never been a sodium addict. I’m still working on that, and I’ll share what works for me another day. happy face mug with clown wig

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyleHer Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. She is mom to three, stepmom to three and GramPam to one.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: October 9th, 2013

Movie PopcornWell I am certainly late to this party, but what a party it is: wine flavored popcorn.

A New York City popcorn company — Populence (the web site is under maintenance, so if it doesn’t work, don’t pop your cork) – teamed with Kim Crawford, a winery out of  New Zealand to develop two popcorn flavors: Pinot Noir Chocolate Drizzle and Sauvignon Blanc Kettle.

And what should you pair with the popcorn? Wine! Kim Crawford Marlborough Pinot Noir 2011 and Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012.

While fruit of the vine flavors popcorn, the vegan, gluten-free popcorn has no alcohol content.

And who came up with this idea? A woman, of course! Maggie Paulus, originally from Florida, founded Populence in NYC in 2011. It’s all over Facebook and Twitter @PopulenceJimmy Kimmel weighed in @LateNightJimmy, and I learned about it from my October issue of InStyle magazine.

Paulus was educated at the Fashion Institute of Technology, but turned to dressing up popcorn with seasonal favorites that include caramel, raspberry, chocolate, cheddar and other flavors. The store is a hit, and so are the wine flavors. You can get a gallon of popcorn for $35 on the website and for $28 at the NYC retail store.

And just in case you prefer other packaged foods, Foodbeast suggests steak-flavored Ruffles or Pepperidge Farm’s goldfish-flavored Mac and cheese. Or you can read about 200 other articles about foods that taste like other foods. Reminds me of the old “tastes like chicken” (Wikipedia dedicated a page to the phrase) — what some folks say about frogs’ legs. Hmm.

ABC News food blogger Lauren Effron noted that this isn’t the first snack to have some adult beverage flavor. Pub-Corn, out of Kansas City,  manufactures non-alcoholic beer and cocktail-flavored popcorn. Cary Silverman, of the University of Missouri, invented Pub-Corn in 2008. Current flavors include pina colada, beer and Irish creme.  It is $3.49 per bag.

I think I need some popcorn!

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyleHer Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. She is the mom of three, stepmom to three and GramPam to one.



Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 29th, 2013
Chocolate Cake Slice with RaspberriesApparently it was yesterday, July 28, and I still don’t know how I missed it. I must celebrate today.

There seem to be a lot of national chocolate days, according to the website Gone-ta-pott.

Since I’ve blown my chance to holiday on chocolate  until August, I want to make sure all my chocoholic friends know that there are countless lists of chocolate holidays from assorted websites including Punchbowl.com and the National Confectioners Association.
Here are some of the holidays to relish, but I think there are many more:
  • National Chocolate Chip Day – Aug. 4 (This one is also celebrated again in May — I think it is a biannual event!)
  • National S’mores Day – Aug 10
  • International Chocolate Day – Sept. 13
  • National Chocolate Milkshake Day - Sept. 12 
  • National White Chocolate Day - Sept. 22
  • National Chocolate Day - Oct. 28
  • National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day - Nov. 7
  • National Chocolate Covered Anything Day – Dec. 16
  • National Chocolate Day - Dec. 28
  • National Chocolate Day – Dec. 29
  • National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day – Jan. 3
  • Bittersweet Chocolate Day – Jan. 10
  • National Chocolate Cake Day - Jan. 27
  • National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day – Jan. 3
  • National Chocolate Fondue Day – Feb. 5
  • National Chocolate Mint Day - Feb.19
  • National Chocolate Covered nuts day – Feb. 25
  • National Chocolate Caramel Day – March 19
  • National Chocolate Covered Raisins Day - March 24
  • National Chocolate Covered Cashews Day. - April 21
  • National Chocolate Chip Day - May 15
  • National Chocolate Ice Cream Day - June 7
  • National Chocolate Eclair Day – June 22
  • National Chocolate Pudding Day - June 26
  • National Milk Chocolate Day - July 28

Pam Parker is the editor of House to HomeLake Erie LifeStyle and Her Times at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. She is the mom of three, stepmom to three and GramPam to one.


Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: January 25th, 2013

chocolate-dress-lambertz-lgThere’s an entire fashion show dedicated to chocolate clothing. See the video here.  Of course this topic made me think of Lady Gaga’s meat dress — it has its own Wikipedia page — see it here. But instead of showing a picture of that, I found some other fun stuff.

Kara Rodemer from Delish.com wrote about some yummy and oddly stylish dresses like the one at left, a chocolate bubble dress. She had more — like Cloris Leachman in a cabbage dress,  a spaghetti and meatballs dress, an artichoke dress, a creampuff dress, stale bread dresses (and slippers) and more salad dressings — err make that dresses. Click here to see 10 fun outfits all made from food on the Delish.com website.


Now, we know what to do with those leftovers!

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyleHer Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. She is the mom of three, stepmom to three and step-grandmom to one.  






Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: February 25th, 2012

On Shark Tank, Arizona mom Raven Thomas brought in tasty Painted Pretzels, chocolate-covered pretzels topped with everything from Heath bars to coconut — all homemade with her family’s help. She’s got orders from Neiman Marcus and a $2 million order pending from Sam’s Club. She wanted a $100,000 investment for a 25 percent share.  Mark Cuban gave her the money and promised to sell them at Dallas Maverick games and in the Landmark Theaters he owns.

A stay-at-home mom  goes CEO!

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: February 14th, 2012

If you waited until the last minute, it’s OK. Here’s what procrastinators can do: Contrary to popular belief, gift cards are acceptable. Just add a flower, a card and/or some candy, and you are done. Do it at lunch.

A spa service, manicure, pedicure,  massage or facial will make your loved one smile. Or, try tickets to a Bayhawks or Otters game, Playhouse event or Erie Phil concert.

For sweet treats, choose something your honey loves but would never buy for himself or herself. Around my house, chocolate-covered pretzels, bridge mix, strawberries, sponge candy, raspberries or potato chips (yes they do make them, and they are tasty), are fave treats. You don’t have to buy out the store — just enough to show you care.

Jewelry is always thoughtful, and you can finds gifts for under $20 (and even under $10) from regional boutiques like All That Glitters in the Colony Plaza. Another cool gift — try some beach glass gems from Relish. If your loved one loves art or something artsy — head to any one of the galleries, and don’t miss Glass Growers Gallery.

And if you have a real chocolate fan to buy for, buy tickets to Chocolate Sunday this Sunday at the Bayfront Convention Center. Now, that is a treat.

It doesn’t matter what you buy, just be thoughtful and romantic. The fact that you cared enough to think about a terrific gift will impress. Oh, and dinner — takeout can be a treat. Even if it’s Dairy Queen! Enjoy the day.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: November 18th, 2009

Three things I’m loving this week:


1.Chocolate Tootsie Pops. How awesome is it that they now make entire bags full of just the chocolate-flavor Tootsie Pops? I found some on clearance after Halloween and grabbed them right up. Honestly, I don’t even know why they make the other flavors.

How many licks does it take to get to the center? I’ll never know, I can’t resist chomping into it halfway through.


2. A women-only trip to sunny Florida with 4,000 of my closest friends. More about that here (if you get the “warning” message, ignore it…it’s safe, trust me!).


3. “Mommy Mantras.” This little book is chocked full of great advice. The cover says it all: “Affirmations and Insights to Keep You From Losing Your Mind.” You can read more about it in this Sunday’s Nov. 22 issue of Her Times magazine in your Erie Times-News.

My favorite Mantra so far? “Within me there is a peacefulness that cannot be disturbed.”

“At any given moment, you have the ability to feel tranquil. Period. While it might seem alien or bizarre to lay aside the anxiety, fear and frustration that we often associate with stressful situations, it’s find to do this.”

“Mommy Mantras” calls this a mega-mantra and says, “if you can really internalize its logic and power, you have the ability to radically alter the way you manage stress in your life.”


Three things I’m not loving this week:

1. Holey socks. Seems every pair of trouser socks I own now has holes on both sides (you know how usually you can just put the hole on the bottom..no more…now I have holes on the top and bottom) and it’s driving me insane.

I keep checking the local stores for new ones, but refuse to shell out good money for flimsy, thin, nylon-like trouser socks. I want the thick tights-like trouser socks. Seen any locally? Share and I’m certain that karma will reward you.


2. “Yesterday’s News” cat litter. I’m all about recycling and, of course, I’m all about finding a creative use for old newsprint, but this cat litter is, well, crap. I had to use it when one of my kittens came home from a spay/declaw operation and could only hack about 5 days of it before I tossed the entire lot of it into a bag and took it outside.

First, it’s expensive. Second, you can’t effectively “scoop” it. Third, it does not, ahem, control odors.

I’ll take Fresh Step or Tidy Cat over Yesterday’s News any day.

3. Christmas shopping. Bah humbug. I’m just not in the mood to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on Christmas gifts. Sorry Santa, I’m just not that into you anymore.