AMBA’s April Recipe: Mint Pesto Vegetable Salad

In the springtime, seasonal salads are a smart choice and healthy go-to.

AMBA’s April recipe comes from a reader in North Carolina. It’s a bright green beauty filled with English peas, green beans, snap peas, and a minty pesto.

This delicious recipe serves 4, can be prepared in 30 minutes, and is a perfect complement to chicken, fish, burgers, or on its own!

Salad Ingredients

  • 6 ounces green beans
  • 6 ounces sugar snap peas, halved
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup whole almonds with skins
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup mint pesto
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 2 ounces (1/2 cup) crumbled feta
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are fragrant. Let cool and coarsely chop or crush them.
  3. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Prepare a bowl of ice water. Add the beans to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Add the sugar snap peas and peas, and let cook for 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. (Total cooking time is 5 minutes.)
  4. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the vegetables to the bowl of ice water. Swish them around for about 1 minute. Drain them in a colander and spread them on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Pat dry.
  5. In a large bowl, toss the beans, snap peas, peas, and radishes with the oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add the mint pesto and toss again.
  6. Taste and add more salt, pepper, or vinegar, if you like. Transfer to a bowl or platter. Sprinkle with the almonds, feta, and mint leaves.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Want to Reduce Stress? AMBA Makes It Easy with 5 Simple Tips

April is Stress Awareness Month. It’s the perfect opportunity to shed light on stress management and promote strategies for healthier living. From preparing taxes, to paying bills, to demands on our schedules, stress is something we all must deal with. Managing stress can not only simplify our lives but is vital for our wellbeing. For many, stress can affect our mental and physical health and can cause major health issues including anxiety, insomnia, and even a heart attack. However, there are effective ways to manage stress. Here are some tips to help you alleviate stress and a timely reminder of how AMBA can support your journey to reduce stress.

Quick Stress-Relief Strategies

1) Embrace Mindfulness

Incorporate meditation or mindfulness into your daily routine to help calm your mind and reduce stress. Just a few minutes can make a significant difference.

AMBA Discounts offers 15% on solu n.o.w. Tone Therapy meditation speakers. Discover for yourself the simplest way to relieve stress and anxiety, and to open to deep peace and clarity. Visit passportcorporate.com for more information.

2) Stay Physically Active

 Regular exercise is a proven stress buster. Whether it’s a walk, a cycle, or a dance class, moving your body releases endorphins, can improve your mood, and can reduce stress levels.

AMBA Discounts has great savings on many gyms and studios, including 305 Fitness, Alo Yoga, 24 Hour Fitness, and more. Check passportcorporate.com for more information.

3) Connect with Nature

Spending time outside can enhance your mood and decrease stress. Activities like walking in a park or gardening can offer a refreshing mental reset.

With AMBA Discounts, connecting with nature is easy. Get great discounts on apparel at Adidas and Sunglass Hut, gear like Garmin and Case Logic, and more. Visit passportcorporte.com for more.

4) Build Strong Social Ties

Keeping in touch with friends and family provides emotional support and helps buffer against stress. Simple acts of connection can bring immense comfort and relaxation.

Entertainment and dining out are excellent ways to bond with friends and loved ones. AMBA Discounts offers big savings on movie tickets, sporting events, and many popular restaurants. Check passportcorporate.com for more information.

5) Prioritize Quality Sleep

Good sleep is crucial for stress management. Establish a relaxing nighttime routine and strive for 7-9 hours of sleep to help your body and mind recover from daily stresses.

Getting great sleep starts with a comfortable mattress. Saatva offers high-quality handcrafted mattresses, bedding & furniture. And with AMBA Discounts, you can enjoy 10% off online purchases! Check passportcorporate.com for more information.

Simplify Your Health Concerns with NCRGEA & AMBA

Health worries, particularly about dental and vision care, can add unnecessary stress to your life. NCRGEA & AMBA offer comprehensive dental and vision policies to ease these concerns, letting you focus on enjoying life. Our plans provide peace of mind, ensuring you and your loved ones can access the care you need without the stress of out-of-pocket surprises.

Discover the benefits of securing your dental and vision coverage through NCRGEA & AMBA today. Without the worry of dental and vision health hanging over your head, you’re free to lead a happier, healthier, and stress-reduced lifestyle. Schedule your Benefits Review today at www.amba-review.com/NCRGEA or call 800-956-1228 Mon.-Fri 9am-6pm ET.

Members, if you don’t have your activation code, please call our office at 919-834-4652 or 800-356-1190.

AMBA Discounts Can Help You Prepare & File Your Taxes For Less

If you’re like many people, you meant to get ahead of your taxes early this year. But in what seems like the blink of an eye, it’s already April. Don’t worry. AMBA is here to help you get your taxes filed on time. AMBA Discounts has great deals with the services and professionals who can help you file your taxes and who have the expertise to potentially help you get a refund! And no one has ever complained about saving time and money!

TurboTax

There are 3 great reasons why TurboTax is America’s #1 brand of tax software. First, TurboTax searches hundreds of tax deductions to find every tax deduction and credit you qualify for, so you get your maximum tax refund. Secondly, you can file with complete confidence. TurboTax scans your return from beginning to end, so you can be confident it’s accurate before you file. Best of all, if TurboTax’s calculations aren’t 100% accurate, they’ll pay you any IRS penalties. As if those guarantees aren’t enough, here’s one more: AMBA Discounts can help you save up to an additional 20% on TurboTax.

TaxAct

TaxAct has helped over 90 million people file their returns since 2000. They have everything you need to file with confidence that your return will be accurate, and you’ll get the maximum return possible. TaxAct’s software makes it easy as you’re walked step-by-step through the process. Plus, TaxAct offers additional support, including free, convenient live help from a tax expert who can review your return. And TaxAct’s safeguards, procedures, and practices help keep your data safe and protected. When you sign up for TaxAct with AMBA Discounts, you can save 25% on your federal and state filings with TaxAct.

There are so many more savings to explore with AMBA Discounts, like clothing, dining, hotels, and car rentals. Best of all, your AMBA Discounts membership is absolutely FREE.

Members, if you don’t have your activation code, please call our office at 919-834-4652 or 800-356-1190.

Already have an account? Start browsing by visiting www.passportcorporate.com.

The Top 6 Dental Care Resolutions for 2024

Far more than any other time of the year, New Year’s is filled with gleaming, bright optimism to improve our overall health. Your resolutions can help give your teeth and oral health the attention and care they need. Want to raise the attractiveness of your smile and lower the costs of your dental care?

Our Top Dental Resolutions for the New Year

1) Brush for a Full 2 Minutes

Brushing your teeth is one thing. But brushing your teeth well is something lese altogether. Studies have concluded that most Americans brush for less than 60 seconds. Make sure you brush your teeth for the recommended two minutes. To ensure you’re brushing long enough, use a timer or an electric toothbrush with a built-in timer.

Pro-Tip: To add a little fun, try singing a “timing” song. For example, the Jeopardy! theme is a good choice. It’s 30 seconds long – so, sing it once for each quadrant in your mouth.

2) Floss Regularly

There’s always a good excuse not to floss – you’re tired, flossing is annoying, you’ll do it tomorrow. But there’s an even better reason to floss: –flossing can reduce your risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Plus, you’ll have fresher breath!

Pro-Tip: Choose a time of day that will make it easy to remember and stay committed to flossing regularly. If you find your rush in the morning, make the evening the time of day you floss. However, if you feel too tired at night, try to create a morning routine. The more you make it something easy to do, the more you’ll look forward to doing it!

3)  Stay Away from Staining Foods

Stained teeth have a big impact on your appearance (and self-confidence). While frequently irresistible and delicious, foods like chocolate, coffee, tea, cokes, red wine, dark beer, and berries can significantly stain your teeth. If you can’t cut these food choices out entirely, at least try to cut back – even a small reduction can make a big difference.

Pro-Tip: Teeth whiteners can have excellent initial results, but the improvement won’t last if you don’t stop consuming staining foods and beverages.

4) Stay Hydrated

In addition to cutting down on hunger and fatigue, staying hydrated also boosts your oral hygiene. When your mouth dries out, there isn’t enough saliva to consistently wash bacteria away from your teeth. As a result, it can increase the risk of cavities and bad breath.

Pro-Tip: A fancy new water bottle to sip from throughout the day can be the best investment you make for your dental hygiene!

5) Get Enough Calcium

Remember when you were a kid and were told to drink your milk so you can “grow up big and strong”? Even at this stage of life, adequate calcium intake remains a key nutrient for our bodies, bones, and teeth. Calcium keeps the roots of your teeth strong and secure in your gums.

Pro-Tip: You can still get calcium from milk, yogurt, cheese, broccoli, tofu, almonds, and dietary supplements.

6) Visit the Dentist Regularly

Another good resolution for the coming year is to see your dentist at least every six months for an examination and cleaning. Regular cleanings remove tartar and plaque, which cause cavities and tooth decay. And, if you’re prone to gingivitis or gum disease, routine dental visits increase the likelihood of early detection, making it easier to manage symptoms and reverse damage when possible.

Pro-Tip: NCRGEA and AMBA have a Dental Plan that’s right for you. Get coverage for routine checkups, exams, fillings, and many other procedures. Not only are you GUARANTEED COVERAGE, this plan also lets you see any dentist you choose with even bigger savings by choosing an In-Network provider! Enroll today at www.AMBAdentalvision.com/NCRGEA or call 800-956-1228.

Envisioning a New Future in Eyecare: Man Receives First Complete Eye Transplant Ever

Although surgeons have been able to transplant corneas successfully for years, the quest for a complete eye transplant has remained elusive. That is, until now.

Surgeons say Aaron James, who suffered a high-voltage electrical accident, is the first patient who has undergone the world’s first complete eye transplant on a man.

Although it is not certain James, a military veteran, will regain vision, this breakthrough is a pivotal moment in a decades-long search to restore sight to millions of people.

James, a high-voltage utility line worker from Arkansas, lost most of his face when it accidentally touched a 7,200-volt live wire in 2021. He had to have his left eye removed because of the pain.

A Dream Team To Do The Eye Transplant

In May of 2023, James underwent numerous surgeries. In all, more than 140 healthcare professionals were involved to help replace half of his face, provide him with a prosthetic arm, and – perhaps the most complex of all – the eye transplant.

The donated face and eye came from a single male donor in his 30s. During the surgery, doctors injected adult stem cells from the donor’s bone marrow into the optic nerve to encourage its repair.

Doctors say the donated eye is recovering well and looks remarkably healthy. The breakthrough surgery offers scientists an unprecedented window into how the human eye tries to heal. In fact, one of the reasons the doctors are most optimistic James may regain his sight in his left eye is that there is direct blood flow to the retina – the part of the eye that sends images to the brain.

He says he is “grateful beyond words” to the donor and their family for making the surgery possible and describes the eye transplant and its possibilities “life-changing”.

The future holds incredible breakthroughs and miracles for our eyes and vision. Even today, with the help of regular checkups and proper eyecare, maintaining healthy vision for our lifetimes is more likely than ever. That’s why regular eye exams are so important. The Vision Plan from NCRGEA and AMBA covers annual WellVision exams, 100% coverage for most lenses, even progressives, and thousands of nationwide in-network providers. Sign up today – acceptance is GUARANTEED! – at www.AMBAdentalvision.com/NCRGEA#vision or call 800-956-1228.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/surgeons-new-york-announce-worlds-first-eye-transplant-2023-11-09/

Stuck in Bad Habits? Here’s How to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick

Did you know New Year’s Resolutions go all the way back to ancient times? Since the Babylonians, people have been making – and, inevitably, breaking – New Year’s resolutions.

In 2000 B.C., the Babylonians celebrated the New Year during a 12-day festival called Akitu. Since it was an agriculturally based society, one of the most common resolutions was the vow to return borrowed farm equipment.

The ancient Romans adopted the Babylonian New Year as well as the tradition of resolutions. The timing, however, eventually shifted with the Julian calendar in 46 B.C., which declared January 1st as the start of the new year.

In fact, January is named after the Roman god, Janus. With his two faces, Janus simultaneously peers forward to new beginnings and backward for reflection and resolution. The Romans would offer sacrifices to Janus and make promises of good behavior for the year ahead.

More People Succeed at New Year’s Resolutions Than You Think

Today, even without making sacrifices to two-faced deities, more people succeed at New Year’s resolutions than you’d think. 68% of people who make New Year’s resolutions succeed. You can do it!

What’s the secret to succeeding at New Year’s resolutions? It’s a combination of factors:

  • Frame your resolution positively!

For example, instead of saying, “I want to stop smoking” say “I want to breathe and feel better.” Each day, as you sit down at the breakfast table, long a long, deep breath in and appreciate how much better you feel and the progress you’re making.

  • Pick a goal that is truly for YOU.

Research has proven that if you’re not truly motivated at a task, achieving it becomes that much harder. On the other hand, how you frame your resolution can make a difference. “I’m quitting smoking for my kids” might not be enough. “I’m quitting smoking so I might be around to see my grandkids get married someday” might incentivize you more.  

  • Make mistakes cost you. 

Then again, another way to incentivize yourself is by imposing penalties. For example, let’s say your goal is to stop using your phone at dinner. If you take it out and use it, then you need to give a family member at the table a dollar. 

  • Know your history.

One of the best ways to keep your New Year’s resolution is to avoid making the same resolutions – and the same mistakes – that you’ve made in the past. If you choose to set the same goals that you’ve tried in recent years, your confidence might be shaken. Take time to evaluate what you set to achieve in the past, what went wrong, and what strategies will enable you to make progress. With the right approach, you are likely to achieve your goals.

  • Don’t mistake a mistake to be a failure.

It’s the second you admit failure and throw in the towel that you fail, and not a second before. It doesn’t matter if you caved and smoked one cigarette. The only way to get back on track is to start over. Never make a big deal about a mistake. Remember: there’s a big difference between a slip and failing.

Whether we’re resolving to return borrowed farm equipment or drop a few pounds, we’re tapping into an ancient and powerful longing for a new beginning. But even if you do have trouble maintaining your New Year’s resolutions, you won’t have any issues getting a Whole Life policy. NCRGEA and AMBA have a Whole Life policy that guarantees acceptance. Not only that, you’ll never be dropped for any reason as long as premiums are paid. This plan even features a no-obligation 60-day return policy. You can now purchase your Whole Life Insurance Policy from NCRGEA and AMBA online. Learn more at www.AMBAlifeinsurance.com/NCRGEA or call 800-956-1228.

Source: https://maristpoll.marist.edu/polls/1220-being-a-better-person-weight-loss-top-2018-new-years-resolutions/#sthash.T6d3y43k.dpbs

https://www.almanac.com/history-of-new-years-resolutions

Who Gets the Call? Are Your Emergency Contacts Up To Date?

Nobody wants to think about a medical emergency happening to them. But everyone needs to recognize the importance of being prepared.

No matter your age or how healthy you are, emergency contacts are one of the most important ways to be ready in case of a medical emergency. After all, unforeseen events like car accidents, severe weather events, or natural disasters can happen to anyone, anytime. An emergency contact is more than a formality when filling out enrollment forms or completing paperwork at a doctor’s office. Immediate health issues might necessitate quick communication with family or specific healthcare professionals in times of need.

How to Choose Your Emergency Contact:

Having reliable emergency contacts can act as a safety net. Your emergency contact list should be people who:

  • Are close to you, you trust, and know your needs and wants.
  • Can talk knowledgeably to medical professionals about your medical history, current medications allergies, and chronic conditions.
  • Can make critical, life-saving medical decisions.
  • Is willing and mentally fit to take on the responsibility.
  • Also has the legal right to act on your behalf.
  • Can provide emotional support and comfort in times of distress.

How to Ensure a Reliable Emergency Contact

  • Regularly Update Information: Contacts might change over time. Whether it is a change in phone number or someone else becoming the primary point of contact, be sure to keep the information up to date.
  • Multiple Contacts: Having more than one emergency contact is always a good idea. This increases the chances of reaching someone quickly during urgent situations.
  • Clarify Roles: Clearly outline what each emergency contact is responsible for. For instance, one might be the primary contact for medical decisions, while another could be for logistical or day-to-day concerns.

The importance of emergency contacts cannot be overstated. These contacts serve as a bridge, ensuring you are always connected to loved ones and receive the care and support you need, no matter the situation. By maintaining updated and reliable emergency contacts, you can ensure the well-being and peace of mind. Likewise, being prepared for the cost of emergency medical transportation also can’t be overstated. A ground ambulance or air transport could cost thousands of dollars. Medicare may not cover this. Medical Air Services Association (MASA) provides the MASA Emergency Shield Plan for lifesaving emergency transportation services. Services are paid in full, with no deductibles, co-pays, or dollar limits. Whether you’re home or traveling, MASA Emergency Shield covers your ambulance or airlift, regardless of your age or medical condition. Plus, you can get your plan through a trusted source: NCRGEA and AMBA. Get your plan now at www.AMBAmedtransport.com/NCRGEA or call 800-956-1228.

The Easiest (and Tastiest) Recipe Ever for Healthy Pancakes

We all love pancakes, right? They’re filling, a great winter comfort food, and – oh, yes! – absolutely deeeelicious! But this carb-heavy favorite don’t help us stick with our New Year’s resolution to lose weight. Or can they?

This recipe is from a reader in Texas. She describes these pancakes as a good source of protein, fiber, and – believe it or not – flavor. She writes, “I know ingredients like rolled oats and cottage cheese don’t sound like the ideal recipe for pancakes but give them a shot. They look like regular pancakes, and they sure do taste them too! It’s simply phenomenal you’re also cutting calories with these!”

Ingredients

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 cup rolled oats (dry)
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Put all ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Heat a large non-stick skillet and spray with non-stick cooking spray or use a non-stick pan. Pour 1/4 cup of the batter for each pancake. Flip when they begin bubbling.
  3. Cook until golden brown.
  4. Repeat with the remaining batter.

Tip: You can serve these up however you usually like your pancakes! with some powdered sugar and fresh berries.

Getting on Track to Meet Your Financial Goals

Get the Steps with Our Year-End Checklist

As you get ready to welcome 2024, it’s important to make sure you’re financially prepared. Do you have the insights and protections you need to maintain peace of mind in the new year? Here are the essential financial tips to take now.

7 Steps to Meet Your Financial Goals

Review Your Financial Plan

Whether you and your significant other have plans to travel more in 2024 or have had a medical setback and need to accommodate for the extra expenses, if there are any changes in your goals or situation, review how those expenses will impact your financial goals. Carefully plan how to make the necessary adjustments to avoid financial issues down the road.

Check-In on Your Emergency Fund

If you dipped into your emergency savings in 2023, try rebuilding it, the sooner the better. The conventional wisdom for many household financial goals is to maintain 3 to 6 months of expenses in a liquid account to help cover unexpected expenses.

Check Your Credit Report

Each of the major credit bureaus allows consumers to access one free report each year. Take the opportunity to double-check your credit score and identify any unexpected errors.

Take Steps to Lower Your Tax Liability

Do you have the opportunity to lower your tax bill by taking advantage of year-end tax loss harvesting? Not only can selling off losing investments potentially help lower your 2023 taxes, it also lets you use that money to rebalance your investment portfolio to ensure it’s up-to-date and in line with your financial goals and risk tolerances.

Year-End Charitable Donations

Another great way to lower your taxable income and increase your financial goals is through charitable donations. Research if a donor-advised fund (DAF) will allow you to receive an immediate charitable tax deduction in 2023 by filing an itemized return while having the flexibility to make donations from the DAF to your favorite charities later.

Review Estate Planning Documents and Beneficiary Designations

Regardless of your age, if you haven’t implemented estate planning documents, it’s important to do so ASAP. If you haven’t reviewed your documents in a while, be sure to do so to ensure they remain with your current wishes.

Likewise, beneficiary designations can supersede your will and trust directives. Be sure to locate and identify the designations of your assigned beneficiaries and update them if necessary.

Review Your Existing Insurance Coverage and Risk Management Needs

2024 is a new year, and with it you may also have new needs for your insurance coverage. If there have been any changes in your life or health that necessitate updating your current benefits. Additionally, maybe there are some policies you’d like to add for the additional peace of mind they can provide you and your loved ones.

As NCRGEA’s trusted benefits partner, AMBA provides knowledgeable Customer Service Associates and insightful Field Agents who are here to help you review options and determine the right coverage for you – whether it’s dental insurance, vision plans, or other policies. They’re just a phone call or an online form away. It’s nice to know that anytime you have questions about your insurance benefits, someone is ready to assist.

Request a FREE Benefits Review with an AMBA field agent at amba-review.com/NCRGEA or call 800-956-1228 Mon.-Fri 8am-5pm EST.

Greasy Spoons in the Garden State: Couple Visiting Every Diner in New Jersey

Any diner devotee knows New Jersey is the diner capital of the world. There are over 400 greasy spoons across the state. One couple embarked on a mission to eat at every single one within state lines.

In 2015, Jon and Karri Ricklin began their journey to eat at every diner in the Garden State. “We just thought it would be cool to drive around the state and sample and eat at every one of them,” says Jon. “It’s turning out to be a bigger quest than we originally anticipated!

What Inspired Their Adventure? 

“You gotta eat!” says Karri.

The quip is funny, but there’s more to the backstory. One day while eating at a local diner, Karri took out her phone to take a picture of her husband while he was holding the menu. Jokingly, he said, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we took this same exact picture at every diner in New Jersey?”

At the time, he was unaware of the quantity of diners across New Jersey and the challenge they’d set for themselves. New Jersey is particularly known for its diners, of which there are approximately 425, the most of any state. Various foods invented in the state, such as the pork roll, and saltwater taffy, remain popular there today. How do they keep up? “I have a database and I try to keep up with it as best I can,” says Jon.

So far, the couple have visited nearly half. Does being able to make it to the remaining locations seem daunting?

“Nah,” says Karri. “It’s a piece of cake – or maybe I should say key lime pie!”

At every location, Karri takes a picture of Jon holding up a menu that they post on their social media.

Another highlight of their road trips for Jon? “Talking to some of the waitresses is great! They’ll call you “hon”.

Road Trips Are Great, But Be Prepared

Accidents and health issues are always a possibility while driving long distances on highways (and who’s to say a pork roll might not agree with your stomach?). A ground ambulance or air transport could cost thousands of dollars. Medicare may not cover this. It’s important to protect yourself. Medical Air Services Association (MASA) provides the MASA Emergency Shield Plan for lifesaving emergency transportation services. Services are paid in full, with no deductibles, co-pays, or dollar limits. Whether you’re home or traveling, MASA Emergency Shield covers your ambulance or airlift, regardless of your age or medical condition. Plus, you can get your plan through a trusted source: NCRGEA and AMBA. Get your plan now at www.AMBAmedtransport.com/NCRGEA or call 800-956-1228.

Source: https://abc7ny.com/new-jersey-diner-couple-visits-every/13304251/