Friday, January 19, 2018

Money Makers: Top 100 Companies for Remote Jobs

FlexJobs recently released its annual list of the Top 100 Companies to Watch for Remote Jobs in 2018. This list is based on an analysis of over 49,000 companies and their remote job posting histories in the FlexJobs database to identify the top 100 companies with the highest number of remote job openings during 2017.

Snapshot of the 2018 Top 100 Companies:
5: Fully remote companies
8: Countries represented
9: Companies with fewer than 200 employees
18: Healthcare companies (the top remote career industry)
19: Industries represented
29: Companies featured on the top 100 list all 5 years
30: New companies to the list this year
 
To be considered, the jobs offered by these companies had to be remote-friendly, either allowing for candidates to telecommute entirely or part of the time.
 
Remote jobs in the education sector have increased significantly, moving up from past years into the third most represented industry on the list. Remote job opportunities in travel and hospitality have also grown, now among the top seven industries FlexJobs identifies annually. The healthcare and computer/IT industries continue to offer the most remote-friendly jobs, with sales and customer service remote jobs also in high demand. Overall, these 100 companies represent 19 different industries and are headquartered across eight different countries. Five of these companies are fully remote.
 
“As leaders in the remote job industry, FlexJobs has once again taken a dedicated look at which companies job seekers should pay close attention to as they search for a better, more flexible job --one that allows them to lead fulfilling professional lives and also enjoy the other commitments, like family, health, volunteering, and travel, that are important to having fulfilling personal lives,” said Sara Sutton Fell, founder and CEO of FlexJobs. “In reviewing this data annually for five years and in working with hundreds of companies across different industries, we’ve seen remote work transform into a much more mainstream mode of working. Now, as more companies accept and integrate telecommuters into their business models, 2018 is an ideal time for job seekers to pursue their search for a better, more flexible job.”
 
The English language-learning service company VIPKID earned the number one spot on the 2018 Top 100 list, with companies such as Amazon, Conduent, and Dell among the top ten companies with the highest number of remote jobs posted in 2017. Some, such as PRA Health Services, Toyota, and Williams-Sonoma, are newcomers to FlexJobs' annual Top 100 list, while others, such as Hilton, Kelly Services, and SAP were also on last year's list. Kaplan, UnitedHealth Group, and Xerox have been featured on the list since 2014, really showing their ongoing commitment to remote working within their strategies.
 
“At Hilton, we are as hospitable to our Team Members as we are to our guests,” said Matt Welsh, Vice President of Global Recruiting at Hilton. “Offering our Team Members flexibility in their work schedule and location is one way that we can help them thrive, which is a benefit that they value. Our remote working opportunities for reservation sales roles allows Team Members to achieve better work-life balance, and allows us to empower, maintain and attract world-class talent,” Welsh concluded.
 
The top seven career fields, followed by examples of companies on the 2018 Top 100 list hiring for remote jobs are:
1.  Medical and Health: Magellan Health, UnitedHealth Group, Anthem
2.  Computer and IT: Dell, Xerox, Teradata
3.  Education and Training: VIPKID, Kaplan, K12
4.  Sales: HD Supply, NCH Corporation, William-Sonoma
5.  Customer Service: SYKES, Working Solutions, Amazon
6.  Finance: JLL- Jones Lang LaSalle, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase
7.  Travel and Hospitality: Hilton, BCD Travel, World Travel Holdings 

Five of the fastest-growing remote career categories are therapy, virtual administration, client services, tutoring, and state and local government. While a wide variety of jobs can be done from home, the twenty most common telecommuting job titles include teacher, writer, developer, analyst, sales representative, nurse, accountant, and program manager.
 
To view the entire 2018 Top 100 Companies for Remote Jobs list, please visit https://www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/100-top-companies-with-remote-jobs-in-2018 or contact Kathy Gardner at kgardner@flexjobs.com.

For more information about remote jobs, please attend the upcoming webinar, "Dell, VIPKID, and Hilton Talk to You About Hiring for Remote Jobs," which will feature representatives from each company. It is scheduled for Tuesday, February 6th at 1:00 p.m. ET. To register, please visit: https://www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/webinar-dell-vipkid-hilton-talk-hiring-remote-jobs/

About FlexJobs
FlexJobs is committed to helping people find a better way to work. As the leading online service for professionals seeking remote, flexible schedule, part-time, and freelance jobs, FlexJobs offers opportunities in over 50 career categories, ranging from entry-level to executive and freelance to full-time. FlexJobs also sets itself apart by providing job seekers with a better, safer, and more efficient way to find professional and legitimate flexible jobs. Having helped nearly three million people in their job searches, FlexJobs has appeared in CNN, CNBC, TIME, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, and hundreds of other trusted media outlets. To further assist people in bettering their lives through flexible and remote work, FlexJobs' Founder & CEO Sara Sutton Fell has also launched two additional partner sites, Remote.co and 1 Million for Work Flexibility, to help provide education and awareness about the viability and benefits of remote working and work flexibility. Sutton Fell is also the creator of The TRaD* Works Forum (*Telecommuting, Remote, & Distributed), dedicated to helping companies leverage the benefits of telecommuting, remote and distributed teams.

Pet Pointers: Change a Pet’s Life Day

Lucky the TurfMutt, a former street dog who is now the spokesdog of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s (OPEI) environmental education program, encourages pet lovers across the country to participate in Change a Pet’s Life Day on January 24. Lucky was rescued by Kris Kiser, President & CEO of OPEI, and his life has never been the same. Now he’s “pawing it forward,” by sharing this worthy cause. Change a Pet’s Life Day draws attention to homeless pets and encourages people to consider adopting a pet from their local shelter or rescue organization and spreading awareness of animal welfare issues.
“I didn’t know Lucky was a superhero when I rescued him, but that’s the great thing about taking the leap to change a pet’s life. It’s an act that has ripple effects you can’t begin to imagine,” says Kiser. “Sure, I gave Lucky a good home, but he’s given me so much more, and I know there are plenty of pets in shelters who have the same capacity to make a huge impact. They just need someone to give them a chance.”
Kiser says there are many ways pet lovers can change a pet’s life, including:
Adopting a pet from your local shelter
Fostering a pet for a rescue organization
Volunteering at your local shelter
Spreading the word about the benefits of adopting a rescue pet
Sharing your pet rescue story with friends and family
Helping an elderly friend or neighbor by offering to walk their dog or spend time cuddling their cat

“There are millions of cats and dogs who are currently in shelters across the U.S.,” says Mr. Kiser. “Lucky and I encourage everyone to help where they can.”

In addition to encouraging pet adoption, Lucky the TurfMutt crusades for living landscapes by teaching kids and their parents about the many health and environmental benefits of their family yard. To learn more about TurfMutt’s mission to save the planet one yard at a time, visit www.TurfMutt.com.

About TurfMutt
TurfMutt was created by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s (OPEI) Research and Education Foundation and has reached more than 68 million children, educators and families since 2009. Through classroom materials developed with Scholastic, TurfMutt teaches students and teachers how to “save the planet, one yard at a time.” TurfMutt is an official USGBC® Education Partner and education resource at the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Green Apple, the Center for Green Schools, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids, the National Energy Education Development (NEED) project, Climate Change Live, Petfinder and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In 2017, the TurfMutt animated video series won the coveted Cynopsis Kids Imagination Award for Best Interstitial Series. TurfMutt’s personal, home habitat also is featured in the 2017 and the upcoming 2018 Wildlife Habitat Council calendars. More information at www.TurfMutt.com.


Mealtime Magic: DIY Sangria

Bottled Sangria continues to be a popular go-to cocktail amongst consumers, especially for this time of year as seen in its steady boost in popularity and continued growth in sales (according to Market Watch Mag). However with high demand, of course, comes increased price points in both retail locations and in restaurants. I was recently sent some DIY Sangria Recipes courtesy of Santa Margherita and Sparkling Ice that you can try for yourself.
Red Sangria
Recipe Credit: Santa Margherita
SERVINGS: 4
INGREDIENTS
DIRECTIONS
  1. Add fruit to a large pitcher.
  2. Top with Santa Margherita Chianti Classico Riserva.
  3. Place in fridge for an hour before serving.
  4. Spoon fruit into glass before pouring wine.
  5. Garnish with cinnamon stick.
  6. Add ice to top (optional).
Sparkling Sangria
Recipe Credit: Sparkling Ice
INGREDIENTS
1 peach, sliced
½ orange, sliced
¾ cup peach brandy
1 bottle white wine, chilled
DIRECTIONS
Place peaches, oranges, and brandy in a pitcher then lightly muddle. Add wine and Sparkling Ice Classic Lemonade and stir. Serve over ice and garnish with a peach slice.
Winter Sangria
Recipe Credit: Sparkling Ice
INGREDIENTS
1/2 Apple, sliced
1 orange, sliced
1/2 pear, sliced
Cinnamon Stick
1 bottle red wine
1/2 cup Brandy
DIRECTIONS
Cut fruit into equal sizes and place in pitcher with the cinnamon stick. Pour in the bottle of wine, bourbon, and Sparkling Ice Orange Mango over fruit. Gently stir to combine. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 3 hours, up to 2 days. Serve cold over ice.

Healthy Habits: 6 Unconventional Ways To Stop Snoring

An estimated 90 million American adults snore, according to sleepfoundation.org. And over half the country – 59 percent – has a partner who snores.
Millions of people are looking for remedies, and after years of unsuccessful tries with more traditional methods, it may be time to try other techniques to stop the sawing of logs. However you go about solving the issue, it’s important to take it seriously and address it in some way.
“Snoring is more than just annoyance,” says Dr. Gene Sambataro, DDS (www.juliandentist.com), author of the book Stop The Snore. “There are serious health consequences for ignoring what could be a bigger issue. If you know someone who snores, then you can no longer wait to find out what is going on.”
Sambataro lists interesting and effective ways people can address their snoring:
  • Dental or oral devices. The goal of resolving sleep-disordered breathing is to remove the obstruction in the airway. The tongue is usually the culprit. One device that can be recommended for the snorer or sleep apnea sufferer is the mandibular advancement device.  “This is one of the most widely-accepted dental appliances for the treatment of sleep apnea. It’s useful in forcing the lower jaw down and forward slightly,” Sambataro says.  “By creating an appliance that is worn at night, an oral physician can help a patient’s jaw carefully and methodically move forward, which automatically moves the base of the tongue out of the back of the throat.”
  • Use a tennis ball. Snoring is almost always worse when you sleep on your back.  This causes your tongue to fall back in your throat, which then disrupts your airflow. One solution is to attach a tennis ball to the back of a T-shirt, making it uncomfortable to sleep on your back and forcing you to sleep on your side. “Eventually, side sleeping should become a habit and you won't need a tennis ball attached,” Sambataro says.
  • Do tongue aerobics. Muscle weakness within the tongue, mouth, and upper throat may lead to snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Strengthening exercises called myofunctional therapy target the facial muscles used to chew and swallow. .Research shows that doing certain facial and tongue exercises every day can reduce your chances of snoring.
  • Change your pillows. The allergens in your bedroom and in your pillow may contribute to snoring. "If you feel fine during the day but obstructed at night, these things may be contributing to your snoring," Sambataro says. “Everyone should evaluate whether your pillows are creating some nasal congestion due to a reaction to the material.
  • Nose cones. These are placed in each nostril to expand the nostrils. This technique has a similar effect as strips, without the irritation of removing them in the morning.
  • Nasal sprays. When used regularly, sprays can help eliminate any bacteria or fungus what are mucous-producing and cause obstruction of the nasal airway.

“Be careful not to look for quick fixes,” Sambataro says. “Today’s American society is intent on finding solutions for instant gratification. There are remedies out there – traditional and unconventional – but you should be thorough to remedy what can be a serious problem.”

About Dr. Gene Sambataro
Dr. Gene A. Sambataro, DDS, FAGD, (http://www.juliandentist.com/Ellicott-City-Sleep-Apnea.asp) author of the book Stop the Snore, has been a leader in the field of dentistry for more than 35 years. He is the director and clinician at the Julian Center for Comprehensive Dentistry, where he and his team practice integrative holistic dentistry intended to heal the mind, body, and spirit, with a special emphasis on treating sleep-disordered breathing issues, like sleep apnea.

Parenting Pointers: 3 Ways Parents & Family Can Cope When A Child Has A Deadly Disease

When a child is stricken with a deadly, little-known disease, the home can suddenly feel like a lost sailboat in a stormy sea. Waves of emotion overwhelm what had been a serene, happy place, and each family member faces challenges of how to move forward.
News of the diagnosis can take everyone off-guard, including the parents. Knowing their role is to always be in control, they find their world turned upside-down. But somehow they must cope and help the terminally ill child and the siblings do the same.
For a heartbroken mother or father, positive steps start by finding gratitude and savoring each day the affected child is alive while fostering that perspective for the rest of the family, says Charlotte Benson, whose daughter Christiane, 15, suffers from juvenile Batten disease, an incurable neurological disorder that results in blindness, seizures, loss of motor functions and speech. 
“Every day has to count,” Benson says. “You learn that when you receive a diagnosis that’s devastating. Every day is a gift. It’s an opportunity to share a moment together.”
Benson, who with her husband, Craig, started the Beyond Batten Disease Foundation (www.beyondbatten.org), specifies three areas where parents can help their family deal with the reality of a child’s terminal condition. 
  •  With honesty/acceptance. Parents may want to hide or delay the diagnosis, so as to protect the siblings emotionally. Benson, however, says honesty helps establish a new normal and gives the siblings coping skills for their adult lives. “One thing that’s been very successful for us has been to take the approach of complete honesty about Christiane’s condition with the children from the very beginning,” Benson says. “It’s kind of a gradual assimilation to a different reality. If you give children a chance to adapt to their circumstances, they do it beautifully.”
  • With faith and inspiration.  “Our faith has been an irreplaceable source of comfort,” Benson says. “We believe that Christiane’s life has purpose and meaning, and trusting that God has a plan for her life allows us to accept the places where we are powerless. We’ve also tried to teach our children that it’s not what happens to you in life that matters, it’s how you handle it that counts. A diagnosis like Batten has the potential to take you out at the knees and cripple you for life. But then you have a choice of whether you want to live feeling sorry for yourself, try to make the most of what you have, or even better, live trying to use your misfortune in a positive way for the good of others.”
  • As a small window in a big picture.  Benson says the challenge of having a child with special needs “completely changes your life in every perspective.”  With a child’s life shortened, the “future” has a more fleeting definition. “It really paralyzes your ability to dream about a future in a conventional sense,” Benson says. “You have to re-frame how you think about the future. You try to keep your dreaming in finite chunks, because you may not know what your child’s condition will be a year from now.”
“Any life path can be full of extraordinary trials,” Benson says. “In our case, we are inspired by Christiane, who continues to be independent, spirited, determined, and courageous as she faces her own challenges of living with a deadly disease.  She reminds us that we can all decide to believe beyond our own limitations and fears.”
About The Beyond Batten Disease Foundation
The Beyond Batten Disease Foundation (www.beyondbatten.org) was launched in 2008 by Craig and Charlotte Benson, whose daughter, Christiane, has juvenile Batten disease. The non-profit foundation’s goal is to help eradicate the disease by raising awareness about Batten and funding research for a cure. As part of that effort, the foundation is trying to raise $6 million to advance an important medical breakthrough that slows the disease’s progress. The money is needed to get the research through an expensive validation and development process so that it can receive FDA approval for clinical trials.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Caring Causes: Promise Walk

Thousands of women and babies die or get very sick each year from preeclampsia, a life-threatening disorder that occurs only during pregnancy and the postpartum period.
You can make a difference for those affected by the condition – mothers, babies, fathers and their families. Join our community and become a part of the 2018 Promise Walk for Preeclampsia, a Preeclampsia Foundation signature event. Your support will make it possible for us to provide patient support and education, raise public awareness, and improve healthcare practices.
Register here today for your local Promise Walk for Preeclampsia, then raise $100 by February 14, 2018. When you do, as a thank you for being part of our team, on walk day, you’ll receive this exclusive Promise Walk t-shirt.
Your support makes the Preeclampsia Foundation’s work possible! Together, we make a difference in the lives of thousands of families.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Thrifty Thinking: Identity Theft and the New Tax Bill

BY ADAM LEVIN
The 2017 filing season could be the worst yet for tax-related crime. With widespread confusion about the new tax law, IRS budget cuts, and a record-breaking year for data compromises, there's an opening for fraud that should be serious cause for alarm, but doesn't seem to be.
The bottom line: you should be concerned.
Last tax year, the IRS stopped 787,000 confirmed identity theft returns, totaling more than $4 billion. For the same nine-month period in 2015, the IRS stopped 1.2 million confirmed identity theft returns, totaling about $7.2 billion. There were many other widely reported wins. But what did not get reported was how much money scammers stole. Given the IRS's estimate that 2016 would see a loss of $21 billion via fraud, one wonders.
That was then. The compromise of 143 million people in the Equifax breach changed all that. It included Social Security numbers—compromised SSNs being the most common "pre-existing condition" of crimes committed against the U.S. Treasury, and as such that breach poses a significantly increased threat difference over previous years.
We're looking at a far more significant threat of tax-related fraud in the 2017 filing season than ever before. Compounding this situation, the IRS is less able to fend off the threat of identity-related tax fraud than it was last year.
Overworked
I know it's risky to publicly sympathize with the nation's most hated federal agency, but I can't imagine it's been much fun to work at the Internal Revenue Service since Congress passed its new tax bill (note that I'm not suggesting there was ever a time I could imagine it might be fun to work at the IRS).
With the new tax year just begun, the agency is racing to find real-world applications for the numerous changes to the tax code conceived in the hothouse of Congress, where ideas do not always (or perhaps even very often) jibe with real life, and the daily concerns of actual Americans has more the feel of an annoyance than a matter of, say, central importance.
There are significant logistical challenges posed by the new tax bill. First order of business is getting the changes in place that need to be implemented now, for instance the coding to adjust withholding, which the IRS hopes will make its first appearance on pay stubs as early as February. There are other provisions that affect the here-and-now, like the new trigger for healthcare deductions, as well as a decent-sized punch list of smaller changes—all of which needing the immediate attention of a greatly diminished staff in the coming months.
Underpaid
Remember those cuts back in 2010? The agency was denuded of $900 million, which led to the loss of 21,000 jobs. That's a major problem right now.
The last time there was tax overhaul like the current one, "Walk Like an Egyptian" was on the radio and cable TV was just finding its way into the suburbs. Today, Twitter feeds are reloaded continually, and late-show hosts joke about the size of the presidential button.
In 1986, the IRS got a budget increase to accomplish the increased workload, but this time around, "the House and Senate appropriations bills for 2018 would cut the IRS budget by an additional $155 million and $124 million, respectively," according to the National Treasury Employees Union.
What You Can Do
Wait times were more than an hour last year. The helpline matters because people don't read tax bills, or even news stories about them. The questions will be many—far more than usual. They will be on a host of topics. People will call in reaction to good, bad and neutral information.
Is there nothing to worry about till this time next year? Do I need to fill out a new W4? Is my tax bracket the same?
The only question that matters is this one: What's the best way to avoid becoming a victim of tax-related fraud. The answer: file your tax return as soon as you have all the necessary documents to get the job done.
While it's important to sort out what's what with regard to the coming changes in our nation's tax code, it's crucial to take a look at the simple fact that people are confused, and that creates a beneficial state for fraud to flourish.
For time being, the only "solution" is beating scammers to the punch.
With everything that the IRS needs to do to function well, budgetary issues necessarily come to the fore. We should all be voicing concern about the agency's ability to safeguard taxpayers from refund fraud given the current situation. And we should all be doing everything we can to protect ourselves in a hostile environment.

Adam K. Levin is a consumer advocate with more than 30 years of experience and is a nationally recognized expert on cybersecurity, privacy, identity theft, fraud, and personal finance. A former Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, Mr. Levin is Chairman and founder of CyberScout and co-founder of Credit.com.  Adam Levin is the author of Amazon Best Selling Book Swiped:  How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers and Identity Thieves.

Healthy Habits: Community Immunity



This is the first installment of a three-part series highlighting the theme of community immunity this flu season. Because flu prevention goes beyond individual health and the health of our families -- it extends to the community at large. 

From coast to coast, many hospital emergency rooms are teeming with people suffering from flu or flu-like symptoms, as experts warn this could be one of the worst flu seasons in recent memory. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the flu and flu-like illnesses are widespread, now reaching most states; the outbreak is described as “high” in 26 states. The vast majority of these cases are from the influenza A H3N2 virus, which has been associated with a higher than normal number of hospitalizations and deaths among young children and senior citizens over the age of 65.  
For parents sending their children to school during flu season, it may feel like you’re playing a game of Russian roulette with your child’s health. After all, children are one of the groups that have a high rate of influenza infection.  And with so many students in close contact throughout the school day, touching dirty doorknobs, sharing desks, and eating together at lunch time, it’s the ideal environment for an infectious illness to spread.
Many parents may not realize that the flu and a cold are not the same thing. They are caused by different viruses, and while they are both respiratory illnesses with a few similar symptoms, a cold is much milder than the flu, which can have serious complications.  
Typical flu symptoms include: 
  • fever and/or chills
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • muscle aches
  • headache
  • tiredness.  
  • In some cases, symptoms can include vomiting and diarrhea, but this is more likely to occur in children than grown-ups.

The flu ordinarily runs its course in a few days to a couple of weeks. But parents may not know that complications from the flu can land their child in the hospital, and in some cases, it can be fatal. Five-year-old Caroline Miller was one of the lucky ones; she survived, but her recovery from flu complications took several months.


Short of keeping your child in a bubble, the best way to protect your children – and yourself – is to get a flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a “Take 3” approach to fending off the flu – vaccination, healthy habits, and taking anti-viral drugs if prescribed by your doctor. Another resource for parents is Families Fighting Flu. This group has partnered with the CDC in its “Keep Flu Out of School” program to help raise awareness about the burden of influenza in schools. This helpful website and associated resources highlight ways to help schools minimize the potential for students to contract – or spread – illness this flu season.
If, despite your best efforts, your child does contract the flu, the CDC even offers useful advice to help you take care of your ailing student, and explains when it’s okay to send your child back to school.  
For more information, visit www.familiesfightingflu.org. To learn more about helping your children avoid the flu bug at school, visit www.familiesfightingflu.org/keep-flu-school/.

The next installment in the community immunity series tackles the topic of how to protect your home and family this flu season. Check back with us in February for part two of the series.



Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Mealtime Magic: Yummy Gummies

Ingredients
• 1 cup juice (try carrot/orange and cranberry/raspberry)
• 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
Step-by-Step Directions
1. Measure 1 cup of juice. Pour 2/3 of the cup into the cooking pot. Leave 1/3 cup in the measuring cup and sprinkle it with the unflavored gelatin and let it sit.
2. Meanwhile, a grown-up can help heat the juice until it starts to boil. Carefully pour the hot juice over the gelatin.
3. Stir for about 5 minutes, or until the gelatin dissolves.
4. Pour it into the candy molds and/or ice cube trays (work in the sink in case there are spills!).
5. Refrigerate until the gummies set, about 5 hours. Run the molds under hot water and slip out the shapes. Eat right away or cover and store in the fridge for up to a week.
Makes 4 Servings (makes 12 to 60 gummies, depending on the size of your ice cube trays or candy molds)
About Kidstir
Kidstir is a unique subscription service for children that can be joined or given as a gift, or you can send one of the single kits, as well. Each month, Kidstir will send your child a cooking kit filled with three delicious, nutritious recipes, kid-size cooking tools, games and activities! With a focus on fresh, nutritious food and hands-on fun, Kidstir was created by moms who know that through cooking, children will gain important life skills in the kitchen — and cook up some fun family memories in the process! 3 month, 6 month, and 12 month subscriptions available. www.kidstir.com

Learn more:  @Kidstir on Twitter | Kidstirbusiness on Facebook

Mealtime Magic: Sweet Tea Bread


Sweet Tea Bread

Makes 1 loaf
Sweet Tea is so ubiquitous and all encompassing in the South, we use it in just about any way we can. This light, delicately flavored quick bread is perfect for breakfast or an afternoon gathering, packaged up nicely with a ribbon or sliced on a silver platter.
  • 1 family-sized tea bag
  • 2 sprigs mint, plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • Zest of one medium lemon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar

  1. Put the tea bag and 2 sprigs of mint in a measuring cup. Add 1 cup boiling water. Steep for 30 minutes, then remove the tea bag and mint. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with baking spray.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Beat in the lemon zest and 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh mint. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl.
  4. Measure out ½ cup of the tea, reserving the rest for the glaze. Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the butter in the bowl in three additions, alternating with the tea and scraping down the sides of the bowl. When everything is well combined, beat on high for 5 seconds, then scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer.
  5. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze.
  6. Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a small bowl. Whisk in the remaining tea slowly, until you have a pourable glaze about the consistency of heavy cream. Drizzle the glaze over the cake with a spoon, spreading to cover the top with a few attractive drips down the sides. Let the glaze set for about an hour.
  7. The loaf will keep in an airtight container for a day.
 In times of needed comfort we often turn to food. There may be no better way to express condolences to the bereaved than to show up with "funeral food": comforting casseroles, cheesy potatoes, sweet sheet cakes. THE SOUTHERN SYMPATHY COOKBOOK: Funeral Food with a Twist by Perre Coleman Magness provides a bevy of hearty bites for those with heavy hearts, whether you're feeding an entire congregation or delivering a meal to a friend in need. 

The Southern Sympathy Cookbook covers all meals from The Great Awakening (Breakfast and Breads) to The Sweet Hereafter (Desserts and Sweets). Recipes include Three Bean Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette, Pulled Pork with Homemade Barbecue Sauce, Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls and Buttermilk Bacon Stuffed Eggs. Throughout these Southern funeral recipe staples are woven unexpectedly humorous obituaries and anecdotes. Readers get a glimpse into the Southern grieving process and the story behind why these foods are so important in times of mourning. 

Perre Coleman Magness is an event planner, food writer, and the author of Pimento Cheese: The Cookbook (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2014) and the blog The Runaway Spoon. Perre has studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study in London, Morocco, Thailand, and Mexico. Her kitchen of choice is at home in Memphis, Tennessee, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.