Friday, October 28, 2016

Mealtime Magic: Personal Pizza Recipe from Kontos

Pizza is the natural go-to meal on Halloween for many reasons, but if your little goblins are bored with frozen pizzas and standard takeout, here’s a new take on an old classic: Personal-Size, Three-Cheese Pepperoni Pizza. This pizza blends mozzarella, provolone and Parmigiano-Reggiano on a delicious crust. It’s also crafted into perfectly-sized individual portions your kids will love, and can carry as they continue grabbing for more candy.
Kontos Foods, maker of artisan flatbreads and other ethnic foods, suggests using Kontos Plain or Multi-Grain Pizza Parlor Crust –– to make this tasty pizza featuring prepared sauce and sliced pepperoni. It also comes together in a flash, so you can get back to enjoying the holiday.

1 pkg. (14 oz.) Kontos® Plain or Multi-Grain Personal Pizza Parlor Crust (5 crusts)
1 1/4 cups prepared pizza sauce
5 oz. provolone cheese, sliced
5 oz. sliced pepperoni
1 1/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (5 oz.)
Shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Instructions: Serves 5
1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

2. Arrange Pizza Crusts on two baking sheets. Spread 1/4 cup pizza sauce on each crust.
Top with provolone, pepperoni and mozzarella. Sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.
For a crispier crust, place pizzas directly on the oven rack.
Kontos sells its products to retailers and foodservice establishments across North America and around the world. Find Kontos Foods on Twitter @KontosFoods, on Facebook at and on Pinterest at

About Kontos Foods
Founded in 1987, Kontos Foods, Inc. is a Paterson, New Jersey-based provider of traditional Mediterranean foods for restaurants, hotels, food service, retail specialty stores and supermarkets worldwide. The family-owned company specializes in hand-stretched flatbreads, including the Kontos Pocket-Less Pita®, Fillo dough, pastries, olives, gyro meats, and Greek yogurts, as well as nearly 50 varieties of multi-ethnic flatbreads. Kontos, which has over 225 employees and was founded by Evripides (Evris) Kontos with his son Steven, together bring over 100 years’ experience in the premium food industry. The company’s bread and Fillo products are made in the USA.

Smart Safety: Halloween

With Halloween just a few days away, many consumers may not realize how frightening this scary night could be for their personal safety, their property or their bank accounts. Trusted Choice® independent insurance agents can help families and businesses better prepare for hazards that may approach in disguise or on Halloween night.
To help individuals, families and businesses enjoy the holiday and protect themselves against spooky Halloween risks, Trusted Choice®, the consumer branding program for independent insurance agents and brokers, offers the following safety tips:
  • Don’t be a Scary Driver: Drive sober, slowly and even more carefully than usual on Halloween. Watch for children who may be running, not watching where they are going or wearing dark costumes.
  • Don’t be a Scary Pedestrian: Do not text or unnecessarily use a cell phone while walking, especially as pedestrian traffic and the number of children outdoors increase throughout the day and evening.
  • Hear and Be Heard: Make sure your hearing isn’t impaired with cumbersome costumes or earphones. Listen and be alert to the sounds of moving vehicles, other groups of pedestrians or bicyclists, animals, and listen to all of your surroundings.
  • Stay Accident-free: Remove or move lawn furniture, garden gnomes and decorations, or any other obstacles, to avoid accidents or damage. Ensure your home’s entry is in good condition, free of loose or broken pieces on stairwells, and its walkways are clear to avoid trick-or-treaters’ injuries on your property.
  • Prevent Fires: Prevent fire dangers by making sure pumpkins containing candles are placed at a distance where a costume cannot be ignited or a curious or clumsy guest may tip it over. Extinguish all candles before going to bed. Use battery operated lights if possible. A variety of Jack-O-Lantern lights are available at many stores that sell Halloween decor.
  • Costume Safety: Costumes can hide more than someone’s true identity and may cloak hazards. All disguises should be made from flame-resistant materials and shouldn’t contain sharp accessories or be too long. Avoid masks that may obscure vision and hypo-allergenic make-up if possible.
  • See and Be Seen: Encourage all trick-or-treaters and adult chaperones to each carry a flashlight and, if possible, wear light colors. Apply light-reflecting material to costumes for added safety.
  • Power in Numbers: When traveling on foot, walk in groups and cross only at corners and crosswalks—never between parked cars. Stay on well-lit streets.
  • Unwelcomed Guests: Thieves and vandals often use the chaos of Halloween night to strike. Scare them away from your property by keeping outdoor lights on.
  • Pet Safety: Keep pets indoors. Warn children to stay away from animals as they go door-to-door. Halloween night can be stressful, even to the friendliest creature including the neighborhood dogs and cats.
  • Candy Inspection: Cavities aren’t the only candy-related risks on Halloween. Inspect all trick-or-treat candy and other treats. Never eat unwrapped, tampered or expired items. Collect candy only from people you know and trust and ask the local police department if it offers a candy x-ray and/or inspection service. Throw away any suspicious candy.
  • Allergy Awareness: Be aware of any allergens and, if you’re passing treats out, offer allergen-friendly treats if possible.
  • Carry an Umbrella: Make sure you’ve got homeowners (or tenant/renters’) insurance which can provide protection in the event of slips and falls, a burning pumpkin candle that sets a costume on fire, claims of tainted candy, etc. An umbrella policy may be the best option.
Trusted Choice® was launched by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) and several independent agency companies to highlight the benefits independent agencies and brokerage firms offer consumers—choice of companies, customization of policies and advocacy support. It is the premier consumer brand for independent insurance agents and provides national advertising and other strategic tools to reach consumers.       
Trusted Choice® educates consumers about the benefits of using independent agents and brokers for their insurance needs: choice of companies, customized policies and advocacy support. Trusted Choice® is the consumer marketing identity for approximately 26,000 independent insurance agencies and brokerage firms and 70 leading insurance companies. For more information, go to
Founded in 1896, the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of approximately a quarter of a million agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life and health—as well as employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address:

Fun Freetime: Greeting Cards from Cricket Magazine

Just in time for the Witching Hour, Send Halloween Cheer with FREE
Whimsical Halloween Greeting Cards and Printables, Courtesy of Cricket!
Halloween's around the corner, and, this spooky-ooky season, Cricket Media cordially invites all bats and ghouls to celebrate the season with some delightful tricks and treats!

LADYBUG (suitable for ages 3-6), SPIDER (ages 6-9) and CRICKET Magazines (ages 9-14) have dressed up their October issues for Halloween, with fun-filled, hair-raising (and age-appropriate) stories, poems, Halloween crafts and much more!  Simply click on the link above and you'll have the opportunity to sample some of the terrific stories in this month's issues including "The Halloween Parade Problem" (Ladybug), "Won't You Be My Frankenstein" (Spider) and the spine-tingling quiz, "Which Monster Are You?" (Cricket).  And don't forget to send some Halloween cheer with a wide assortment of whimsically-illustrated Cricket greeting cards and printables - for FREE!

Freebies: IHOP Pancakes for Halloween

This Halloween, IHOP Restaurants will transform into the “International Haunted House of Pancakes” with their frighteningly delicious Scary Face Pancakes! Little ones will get to enjoy this customizable treat for FREE for kids 12 and under from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday, October 31st! 
Children can let their imaginations run wild by decorating their own Scary Face Pancake at IHOP! Scary Face Pancakes come with a world-famous Buttermilk Pancake topped with whipped cream, a strawberry nose and served with a side of OREO® cookies and candy corn so your kids can let their silliness shine through with their monster creations.

Fun Freetime: Midwest Fall Attractions

Classic fall attractions such as corn mazes, apples orchards and haunted houses are in full swing. Whether traveling from the Chicagoland area or even out of state, driving through the Illinois tollways shouldn’t be a concern. FastToll, a new toll tracking mobile app, saves travelers time by tracking the toll plazas drivers’ pass through and allowing motorists to pay their tolls at a later date within a seven day time period. This allows drivers without an active IPASS account to drive through the tolls and get to their destination quickly and efficiently. Here are the top attractions to visit from FastToll:
1.       Okaw Valley Orchard: Located in Sullivan IL, this family-run orchard has over 1,500 trees that grow 27 varieties of apples, peaches, plums and pears. Okaw Valley Orchard offers educational tours, a kid’s play area and a shop filled with fruit, honey, jellies and plenty of baked goods.
2.       Basement of the Dead: Built on the site of an Aurora, IL laundry company’s remains after a boiler explosion occurred in the 1960’s, Basement of the Dead offers a 3D haunted house experience open to both adults and children. Listed as one of the top 13 haunted houses in America, Basement of the Dead is open throughout the Halloween season until November 5.
3.       Goebbert’s Pumpkin Patch: Goebbert’s Pumpkin Patch is a 200-acre family-owned farm located in Hampshire, IL. The pumpkin patch offers pumpkin carving, the opportunity to feed giraffes, a pumpkin express train, a pumpkin-eating dinosaur and camel rides. Goebbert’s Pumpkin Patch is open from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. until October 31.
4.       Morton Arboretum: The Fall Color Festival is the perfect place to bring the family for a fun day of activities. From mystery dinners, a scarecrow trail and a hand blown glass pumpkin patch, the fun doesn’t stop. The Arboretum, located in Lisle, IL is open all year round from 7 a.m. – sunset, but the Fall Color Festival runs through October 31.
5.       Sonny Acres Farm: Sonny Acres Farm is located in West Chicago and offers displays of pumpkins, brightly colored gourdes, gourmet caramel apples, carnival rides, a Halloween costume shop and haunted wagon rides. October attractions are open Monday – Thursday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Friday – Sunday from 10 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.

Contest: Beautyrest Halloween

In the spirit of Halloween, Beautyrest Brand is asking entrants to share a picture of their group dressed in Halloween costumes, for the chance to win up to six (6) Beautyrest Recharge mattresses. To enter, visit from now through Monday, November 7 at 11:59 AM ET for more information.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Parenting Pointers: Halloween Etiquette

It’s time for scary costumes, carving pumpkins, candy and trick or treating.  As Halloween approaches, there are somethings parents and children need to remember.   

Sharon Schweitzer, an international etiquette expert, author, and founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide, offers these 10 Halloween etiquette tips and tricks:
-        Select Appropriate Costumes: Costumes that represent a culture, race, ethnic or religious group or someone with a serious illness, poverty or other hardship, are inappropriate.  Sexually explicit costumes and those mocking LGBT or gender identity encourage negativity. During this election year, our public political figures are certainly on the table; expect to see Clinton and Trump. 
-        Age Appropriateness: While many adults enjoy Halloween dress up, remember this is mostly a children’s holiday.  What your teenager might wear, is not a good fit for a first-grade Halloween party.  Gage the costume based on your child’s age, and the age of his or her peers. Even if you think your young child might be able to handle dressing up as Freddy Krueger, it might be too much for his or her friends. 
-         Candy Alternatives: Traditional chocolate or sugar-laced candy are always a hit. With more health conscious parents, consider sealed mini bottled water, pre-packaged popcorn, coloring books, pre-packaged healthy snacks, small inexpensive toys, or pens/pencils.
-        Don’t Ring Doorbell or Knock: By simply turning off the outside lights, you will alert trick or treaters to skip your house and go on to the next.  As an option, consider leaving a bowl of candy by the front door.  Putting the car in the garage may also remove the question of whether someone is home. 
-        Knock One Time and One Time Only: If no one answers, move on to the next house.  There’s no need to be excessive and knock 10 times. The homeowner might be on an important call or trying to help a baby to sleep. On a related note: know when it’s appropriate to knock. Trick or treating generally starts just before sunset and ends by 9pm. 
-        No Homemade Treats: While it’s a nice thought to want to bake homemade Halloween treats, don’t do it.  Parents have heightened safety concerns for good reason, and will discard these items.  Buy pre-packaged candy from trusted brands like Hershey, M&M, Skittles, Dove, Reece’s. 
-        Teach Your Kids Manners: Halloween is a great opportunity to teach your kids manners, such as greeting and thanking each homeowner who gives them candy. Explain to older kids and teenagers that bullying and pushing smaller kids out of the way won’t be tolerated. When they encounter a bowl of candy at the door, make sure they are considerate and only take one or two pieces.  Be sure they respect private property, including homeowner decorations, and don’t leave unwanted candy or wrappers in lawns.
-        Never Arrive Empty Handed: Anyone invited to a Halloween party, does not arrive empty handed.  Bring a small hostess gift such as tea towels, diffuser, candle, coasters, fresh fruit, wine, packaged sweets, or children’s game.
-        Office & School Policies: Office culture varies, so be sure to research your workplace policy. Ask a trusted colleague about the ‘unwritten rules.’ Some offices encourage tasteful costumes, while others frown upon the practice.  Education policies vary, so don’t assume children may wear their costumes to school.  In many school districts across the nation, costumes are prohibited for safety reasons. Double check and don’t assume. 
-         Stay Safe: Younger children should always be accompanied by parents or a designated chaperone. Older children and teens should trick or treat as part of a group.  Never enter someone’s home you don’t know, no matter how nice they seem.  Carry a flashlight and mobile phone.  Follow your intuition and if you have a bad feeling about something, avoid it. 

Pet Pointers: Halloween Pet Safety

BOO! Halloween is almost here and that means ghosts, goblins and lots of situations that could be harmful to our furry friends. From Halloween decorations to trick-or-treating, precautionary measures must be taken to ensure the safety of pets.
Erin Askeland, CPT-KA and Training and / Expert at Camp Bow Wow (North America’s largest and most trusted pet care franchise), has offered her insights and tips for Halloween Pet Safety.

·         Fido may look adorable in his new superhero costume, but that cape won’t necessarily keep him out of harm’s way. Dressing up your pet for Halloween can be harmful. Costumes should not constrict the animal's movement, hearing or sight, or impede their ability to breathe, bark or meow. Also, it may be helpful to try on costumes before the big night. If your pet seems distressed or shows abnormal behavior, don’t bother.
·         Before your pet participates in any Halloween activities, take a closer look at his or her costume and make sure it does not have small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that they could choke on. Also, watch out for ill-fitting outfits which can get twisted on external objects on your pet, leading to injury.
·         Putting make-up or face paint on your pet can be harmful. Paints could potentially irritate their skin, or may be eaten. Even make-up that is non-toxic could cause stomachaches or worse.
·         Candy bags are strictly for the enjoyment of trick-or-treaters, not your pet. Chocolate in all forms, especially dark or baking chocolate, can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Give your pooch their own Halloween candy by treating them to their favorite doggy snack. If you do suspect that your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or your local control center immediately.
·         Keep an eye out for decorative edible items like Halloween pumpkins and candy corn, when participating in this year’s festivities with your pet. While these are considered to be relatively nontoxic, they can be harmful, causing stomach upset in pets who nibble on them.
·         Do not take your pets trick or treating. It’s possible that your dog could get spooked by a ghost or goblin and a dog bite or fight could occur.

Thrifty Thinking: DIY Costume Ideas from Zulilly

According to a survey written by zulily, an online retailer obsessed with bringing customers special finds every day—all at incredible prices - it’s split nearly 50/50, among those who make their own Halloween costume (23%) and those who buy a Halloween costume (19%).


For those Halloween enthusiasts feeling crafty, Senior Lifestyle Editor at, Amy E. Goodman, shares easy, last minute costume ideas that you can make in a snap (or a snip)!


  • Odd Mom Out:  For a pop culture reference and a “punny” take on everyone’s favorite Bravo mom, iron on odd numbers to a shirt and draw arrows pointing away from the center = Odd Mom Out
  • Final Five: As a way to pay homage to the Olympics, why not create a winning group costume to wear with your besties?  Sport red, white and blue leotards with gold medals draped around your necks. Wear signature buns and high-ponytails to complete the look!
  • Sriracha – This costume is hot, hot, hot! Dress up all in red--the sexier the better--and add the rooster label to your midriff or as a hat. Don’t forget to carry a couple of bottles as props!
  • Baby Corn: For the little ones, cut out a corn-on-the-cob shape from yellow felt and attach it to your Baby Bjorn with the baby facing outwards. Write “butter” across the baby’s hat and your little ear o’ corn is ready!



Home Depot Kids Workshop November 5th