Tuesday, April 4

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Portillo's celebrates anniversary with chocolate cake for 54 cents

Portillo's is offering guests a sweet treat in celebration of the brand's 54th anniversary. On Thursday, April 6th, customers can purchase a slice of Portillo's Famous Chocolate Cake for just 54-cents. The double-layer cakes are baked fresh every morning, before being frosted with chocolate icing. 

The special offer is available at all restaurant locations, while supplies last, with a limit of one slice per customer. To find the nearest Portillo's location, guests can visit www.portillos.com

Portillo's fans can also visit www.portillos.com/freecake to receive a complimentary slice of the Famous Chocolate Cake on their birthday.

Why your OTC allergy meds aren't working 

If you're an allergy sufferer, and you've tried everything, there are a few reasons you might not be finding relief this season. Are you making allergy medicine mistakes? We visit with Dr. Amy Shah to find out why the over-the-counter meds might not be working for you, and how you can quickly find relief. 

Mistakes people make include:
1. your meds might not be targeting the right symptoms. (each med has a different mechanism?)
2. you had a late start on beginning your allergy meds. (2 weeks to build up in your body?)
3. you may not be consistent. (continue taking meds even if your symptoms disappear?) 

source: Healthcentral.com

1. Your medication may not be targeting the right symptoms.
Some patients enter my office frustrated because of the failure of their antihistamine pills (e.g. Claritin (loratadine), Zyrtec (cetirizine) and Allegra (fexofenadine) to relieve symptoms of nasal-sinus congestion.

Antihistamines chiefly dry up the nose and reduce itching and sneezing. Symptoms of stuffy nose and sinus pressure, however, are not usually relieved by antihistamines. Decongestants (such as Sudafed or phenylephrine) target nasal congestion and sinus pressure by constricting blood vessels in the nose.

2. You had a late start on beginning your allergy medication.
Tree season in the Midwest may begin as early as February if there is a warm spell. Grass season is often underway by May. I instruct my patients with tree pollen allergy to start their antihistamine and prescribed nasal spray by mid-March (sooner if there are allergy symptoms prior to this date). Those who are not allergic to trees but who are allergic to grass begin treatment in mid-April. The point is to have treatment initiated 1-2 weeks before the pollen or other allergy triggers are in the air.

Taking allergy medication before having any allergy symptoms is a difficult concept for some people and parents of allergy patients. I often spend several minutes explaining how certain allergy meds work. 

Imagine a world class boxer being told by his coach to put his arms up to protect his face from a punch, after feeling the first punch. The first punch could knock him out. In the same regard, you shouldn't wait for allergy symptoms to tell you it is time to take your medication. Of course, it may be difficult to figure out when to start allergy meds if you have not had allergy testing. It is essential to know what you are allergic to.

3. You may not be consistent in taking your medication
On a daily basis, I warn patients not to miss doses of their allergy pills and nasal sprays as the season progresses. A few rainy days may reduce pollen and mold counts considerably but this is often followed by a surge of pollen and mold on the first warm and windy day that follows. If you have missed a few doses or days of your allergy meds, you will be more sensitive to the surge in outdoor allergen. Typically, an allergy patient jumps back on the medication in desperation, but finds that it isn't as effective as before. "Have I become immune to my allergy medication?" I am often asked.

Most people do not build a tolerance or develop immunity to allergy medication. The antihistamine still blocks histamine in your body at the same level as earlier in the season, but if you didn't take your medication regularly, you may have allowed the intensity of your allergic problem to reach a much higher level than before. See the point? The medication is not doing less for you.

What can you do?
First, try to avoid the above pitfalls. Additionally, if you are on a prescribed nasal med has your nasal spray technique regularly checked by your doctor (another reason allergy treatment may fail to work).

If your allergy problems affect your work or school productivity or causes you to miss sleep, suffer from daytime fatigue, stay indoors or feel constantly sick, see a board-certified allergist. Allergy testing may give you a roadmap for better planning on when and how long to take medications. If meds and environmental controls aren't enough, allergy shots may be recommended.

For more information, visit: www.azvent.com

Harlem Globetrotters

The Harlem Globetrotters prepare to bring their 2017 World Tour to Glendale, Gila River Arena on Friday, and Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix on Saturday.

Glendale Game: Gila River Arena, Friday, April 7, at 7 p.m.
Phoenix Game: Talking Stick Resort Arena, Saturday, April 8, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

For ticket information and information on the Globetrotters, visit: www.harlemglobetrotters.com and www.facebook.com/harlemglobetrotters.

Macramé: The ultimate boho trend

You can learn to macramé and add a touch of this popular boho trend to your house. Pinspiration is holding its very first Macramé workshop in partnership with Desert Loom. 

Please call ahead at 480-636-8010 or email info@pinspirationaz.com before visiting so we can make sure your space is reserved for your group.

Visit their website at: www.pinspirationaz.com

5410 E. High Street, Ste 105
Phoenix, AZ 85054

Mediation and mala beads

Blending together a little bit of yoga with a simple DIY at Pinspiration. Tess Rafols previews a workshop where you can learn how to craft your very own set of mala beads from beginning to end, meditate in the moment and ground yourself with a simple DIY. 

Please call ahead at 480-636-8010 or email info@pinspirationaz.com before visiting so we can make sure your space is reserved for your group.

Visit their website at: www.pinspirationaz.com

5410 E. High Street, Ste 105
Phoenix, AZ 85054

Fruit Cocktail Cake with Joanie Simon

This recipe was passed down from Joanie's great great grandmother and is a classic mid-century dessert. After serving it to guests several times, everyone wants the recipe. 

Fruit Cocktail Cake

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp cinnamon
1 egg + 1 egg white
15.2 oz. drained fruit cocktail
½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
3 Tbsp. sugar in the raw (turbinado)

Sift together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.
Fold in egg and egg white and fruit cocktail.
Pour into greased 8 x 8 pan.  
Mix 2 - 3 tablespoons of sugar with a half-cup of chopped nuts, and spread over the top of the batter. 
Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes.  
Top with Cool Whip, whip cream or ice cream. 

You can find the recipe in Joanie's new free e-cookbook on www.JoanieSimon.com.

Carrot Cake Trifle with Joanie Simon

Trifles are a fun presentation option for holidays, especially if you have a fun trifle bowl. You can create your own unique flavor combos with trifle, but for Easter, go with carrot cake, whip, carrot pudding and malted robins eggs.  

Carrot Cake Trifle

5.25 oz Instant vanilla pudding
3 cups cold milk
4 eggs
1 cup oil
1.5 cups sugar
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. softened butter
2 cups cake flour
¼ tsp cardamom
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
4 large carrots shredded
2 carrots
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cloves
16 oz. whipped cream or Cool Whip, divided
8 oz. cream cheese softened
1 cup chopped pecans
½ cup chopped Robins Eggs *optional

Prepare the Instant vanilla pudding according to package directions in a large bowl with 3 cups cold milk and chill for at least an hour.
Heat the oven to 350F.
Prepare the cake by combining the eggs, oil, sugar and mixing vigorously until yolks are combined and the mixture is a light-yellow color. Then add in the butter and honey and continue mixing until smooth.
Combine the cake flour, cardamom, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp baking soda, ½ tsp salt and mix with a fork then add in the flour mix a ¼ cup at a time to the wet mixture, mixing until incorporated, then add in the four shredded carrots and mix until combined.
Pour the cake batter into a greased and floured 9 x 13 dark baking pan and bake at 350F for 20 minutes or until a toothpick that is inserted comes out clean.
While the cake bakes, combine ½ of the whipped cream with 8 oz. softened cream cheese and beat until mixed and smooth.
Once the pudding has set, put half of it in a blender with two carrots and blend until smooth, then add the carrot pudding mix back into the remaining vanilla pudding and mix with a spoon to incorporate.
When you're ready to assemble the trifle, cut up the carrot cake into cubes. Layer half of the cake into the bottom of your trifle bowl, then add a layer of half of the carrot pudding, then add a layer of ? of the chopped walnuts, then a layer of all of the cream cheese whip, then the remaining chopped cake, remaining carrot pudding, ? of the chopped walnuts and then a layer of remaining whipped topping then finally topped with remaining walnuts.
Serve cold.
*If you like Robins Eggs, chop those up and add them in with the chopped pecans

For more information visit her website: www.JoanieSimon.com

You can email Joanie Simon at food@joaniesimon.com

Arizona-based "Just Like Us" documentary premiere at Phoenix Film Festival 

Documentary short film, "Just Like Us" will premiere at the 2017 Phoenix Film Festival this weekend. It follows campers with special needs at Arizona's Camp Tatiyee in Pinetop-Lakeside, and explores their lives as they attend this free, summer camp, away from home in the White Mountains. Director Adam Benavides says the film can help educate people who either don't know about those with specials needs or may have preconceived ideas about them.     

The film was a life changing experience for Benavides. "I had never been exposed to people with special needs and didn't know how to act around them.  We filmed over the course of eight weeks and during the editing process, I literally watched myself evolve.  I learned the very message that we are trying to send, and that is these people are just like us."
The film will be shown twice during the Phoenix Film Festival on Saturday April 8 at 9:05 a.m. and Sunday April 9 at 4:30 p.m.      

For more information, visit: http://www.phoenixfilmfestival.com/

Phoenix Film Festival
April 6-13, 2017
Harkins Scottsdale 101 
7000 E. Mayo Blvd. Phoenix, AZ 
PETA's Cutest Vegan Kid from Gilbert

Gilbert's Rhyan Antonowicz is the winner of PETA Kids' 2017 Cutest Vegan Kids Contest.

For more information, visit: www.PETAKids.com