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Food in the news: Pancakes are coming; raise a glass of bubbly

IHOP’s National Pancake Day returns March 3.

To date, IHOP has raised nearly $16 million for children’s and other charities. This will mark the 10th annual event.

You can get a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes, but the restaurant asks for a donation to charities such as the Children’s Miracle Network hospitals, Shriners hospitals for children, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society or other charities. You can stop by from 7-10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 3.

In the time leading up to National Pancake Day, IHOP will sell $5 balloons to benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals; in turn, buyers will get a $5 discount coupon that can be used at the next visit.

Bubbly stuff for Valentines

Here’s a few tips on picking out a sparkling wine for your Valentine.

If it comes from France, it’s Champagne. From Italy, proseco. In Spain, they make Cava, and here in the U.S., we make sparkling wine.

Is it sweet? Dry bubbly is called brut, a little sweet is extra brut, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. If the label says sec, demi-sec or doux, it’s sweet.

It all needs to be well-chilled and served in a flute, not those flat glasses from the past. The flutes maintain the bubbles, while the flat lets them all escape.

Prices range from about $10 to “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.” Some very acceptable sparkling wines, American, French, Italian and Spanish, can be had for under $25.

And, there’s always sparkling cider for people who want to avoid alcohol. Or club soda or tonic. If you’re on a diet, try diet tonic water with a simple fruit embellishment — a frozen strawberry, say, or a fresh raspberry or twist of lemon peel.

Community Care advice

Community Care of North Carolina, based in Raleigh, offers these five tips for healthy eating in 2015:

1. Start your day with a high-protein breakfast. Eggs are a quick and easy option.

2. Don’t eat while distracted. Turn off the TV, put down your phone. Eating distracted leads to overeating.

3. Choose a healthier way to cook, such as roasting, grilling or baking.

4. Keep a food journal of what you eat and when. It keeps you accountable.

5. Set realistic goals. Satisfy your cravings every once in a while.

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