Macarons & Macaroons: What’s the Difference?

Potato, Potahto. Tomato, Tomahto…. Macaron, Macaroon? Don’t call the whole thing off! Let’s figure this out.

May 31, 2024 is National Macaroon Day while Macarons had their national day on March 20, 2024. Some will ask, “Why different days? Aren’t they the same thing?” and the answer to that is, “no, they are different”.

History & Origination

Before I get into those differences though, it’s important to note that both sweet treats ultimately started from the same place. Where that place is, is a question not yet answered.

Some say the origination goes back to the Arab empire in the years 600-700. During this time, it’s said that the cookies were made with honey and ground up nut flour (likely pistachio nuts) and their presence was expanding north as the empire expanded.

Some say these cookies originated in France. Others believe French monks in Renaissance Venice initially baked them in Italy. Depending upon who you ask though, some say the cookies originated when two Benedictine nuns baked these cookies to pay for their housing while seeking asylum during the French Revolution.

Others say, there were no changes to the original cookie until a prominent Italian woman married into French royalty and required that French chefs must make her favorite Italian cookies.

I’ll let you decide.


What we do know, is that the cookies were single and dome-shaped with a crumbly top. After some adaptations, the ingredients were fairly simple: sugar, almonds, and egg. Without flour, the egg provided the leavening agent.

However, over the centuries, the recipe changed (and ingredients) resulting in two different cookies and thus, Macaron vs. Macaroon. The main changes include:

  • Hand-ground almond flour mixed with powdered sugar rather than ground almond, likely occurring in the mid-1600s.
  • Replacing almond meal with ground coconut when newly planted coconut palms were all the craze in the late 1800s.

Now getting to the big question – what’s the difference between Macarons and Macaroons?

  1. Macaron is pronounced mac-a-rohn while Macaroon is pronounced mack-a-roon.
  2. Most agree that Macarons are French pastries and Macaroons are Italian pastries.
  3. Macarons are sandwich-like desserts with a ganache filling while Macaroons look like messes of coconut.

In fact, Macarons weren’t always sandwich-like cookies. French bakery and tearoom Ladurée is credited with making Macarons what they are today by serving two cookies together with a ganache in the middle, starting sometime in the 1930s.

With all that said, there is no need to travel to France or anywhere else for that matter to secure some of these delectable baked goods. Many bakeries offer both treats or you can make some of your own, with these highly-rated recipes:

Don’t forget. If you’re interested in more recipes or food tips & tricks, check out FlexTrades’ Blog page!

Happy Eating!



There is an old saying that here in Minnesota, we have 11 seasons rather than the typical four. Those are:

  1. Winter
  2. Fool’s Spring
  3. Second Winter
  4. Spring of Deception
  5. Third Winter
  6. Mud Season
  7. Actual Spring
  8. Summer
  9. False Fall
  10. Second Summer
  11. Actual Fall

If you asked me, I’d say that right now, Minnesota has emerged from the Third Winter as well as Mud Season, is currently in Actual Spring, and getting closer to Summer with every day. With summer comes outdoor activities, mosquitos and sunshine so store shelves are full of bug spray and sunscreen which is how we got to wondering how sunscreen is made? We’ve got the answer for this month’s How It’s Made article!

How Is Sunscreen Made?

First and foremost, let’s outline just what sunscreen does. The sun emits three types of light: infrared, visible, and ultraviolet. Of the three, ultraviolet is the worst for humans. There are two types of ultraviolet rays (UVA and UVB). Depending upon which one, they will either penetrate the skin to cause damage to our cells and immune system, damage our eyes’ corneas and lenses, and/or cause skin cancer. Therefore, sunscreen does two things. It will either block these ultraviolet rays or  absorb the rays before they can penetrate our skin. To do this, sunscreen contains one or more of the following ingredients:

  1. Titanium Dioxide
  2. Avobenzone
  3. Zinc Oxide
  4. Octisalate
  5. Oxybenzone
  6. Homosalate

These ingredients are considered sunscreen actives which are combined with many other ingredients including liquids (purified water), functional ingredients (synthetics, emulsifiers, and preservatives), and skin-nourishing ingredients (Vitamin E). You can see the general percentages of each in this graph!

Sunscreen Ingredient Percentages

So, what happens next? What do we do with all these ingredients? Read on below to find out!

Four Steps to Making Sunscreen

Step 1: Water is purified through the use of reverse osmosis.

Step 2: Mix Purified water with all other ingredients.

  • The other ingredients will come in solid, powder, or flake form.
  • Ingredients are mixed in large vats or kettles. Mixing follows a recipe which outlines the exact measurements of each ingredient as well as the time, speed, and temperatures needed for mixing operations.

Step 3: Mixed ingredients are moved through stainless steel piping to stainless steel tanks and into a sterile room.

  • These tanks can have capacities of as much as 1,000 gallons.

Step 4: From these stainless steel tanks, the product then moves through more stainless steel piping to pressurized filling machines.

  • A conveyor brings the mottles into a sterile room and also to these machines.
  • The amount dispensed depends upon the bottle size and is controlled by machine programs.
  • Nozzles on the machinery extend and retract over and over into the bottles for filling operations.
  • Filled bottles are capped and packaged automatically by the equipment.
  • Once boxed, then palletized, and wrapped, it’s ready to ship!

Now, this summary of sunscreen manufacturing is simplified. However, buying sunscreen can be anything but simple. If you’re like me, and many others standing in sunscreen aisles, you don’t know what to buy! Check out this helpful article from the American Academy of Dermatology outlining answers for all the common Sunscreen FAQs including which sunscreens to use and when to use them. Additionally, here’s a great article explaining SPF -Sun Protection Factor!

And remember, regardless of how many real “seasons” your state may have, it’s important to wear sunscreen year-round!

Happy (and SAFE) Sunning!

Kim Mooney – Technical Manager & Coach

Charles Taylor built the engine that powered the Wright Brothers’ airplane, Kittyhawk, in 1903. May 24, his birthday, is recognized as National Aviation Maintenance Technician Day. This day allows the rest of us to celebrate those founders of flight who, like Mr. Taylor, made aviation possible. It also encourages us to show appreciation for the many other men and women who still keep air travel possible today.

History of the Day

National Aviation Maintenance Technician Day started as a resolution in the United States House of Representatives, sponsored by Congressman Bob Filner of California, in 2007. The resolution passed by voice vote the following year. Today, 45 different states officially observe this day of recognition. It might not get you out of work, but there are some things you can do to show your appreciation for the Americans involved with the maintenance that keeps the aviation industry flying high.

How to Show Appreciation

  • Encourage the next generation to follow you into the field. If you work in the aviation maintenance industry, simply talk to friends and family or a local classroom about your career.
  • Send a short note or tasty goodies to a person in your life who works in this field. Little gestures are easy ways to show big thanks.
  • Getting on a plane today? Print up a thank you in large font and hold it in your window. As your plane pushes back from your gate, the ramp agents will see it and spread the word.
  • Did you have a great flight? Did everything work well? Share recognition. Take the time to send a positive review to your airline or post about it on their social media platforms.

If you’re interested in ways you can show appreciation for other industries, read our blog about National HVAC Tech Day. If you’d like to know more about the ways you can show your appreciation for other kinds of work, AT WORK, read our blog on Love and Appreciation at Work. Whatever you do, work in a Thank You today, and the day will thank you too!

After decades spent in fields,  shops, and at jobsites, I know that food options can be limited for those trying to fuel themselves through yet another long shift. From workplace to drive-thru to gas station fare, the reality is that S4L (Sandwich, Soup, Salad, Snack, and Leftovers) can get expensive. Not to mention, unhealthy and boring. But don’t worry, PMG isn’t just about the work, we’re here for you in regards to food too.

If you’re wondering what this has to do with America’s manufacturing workforce, check out our webinar on the importance of healthy habits for those working in manufacturing to learn more. Otherwise, read on for barbequing tips & tricks for the unofficial start of grilling season this Memorial Day!


When it comes to steak it’s all about patience. Allow your meat to sit at room temperature at least 20 minutes prior to putting it on the grill. Let steaks rest after cooking as well. The juices will redistribute during this time creating a much juicier experience from bite to bite. The residual heat of the meat will also keep the steak cooking so don’t be afraid to remove it slightly earlier than expected. Additionally, while burgers don’t require the same rest time as steaks, a simple dimple in your patty will help keep them flat while grilling!

Grilling Season Steak


The simplest trick starts with a clean grill. This helps avoid that over-charred taste AND limits the chances of grease fires that can quickly ruin your meal or your grill. Another helpful item for any grill guru is a hamburger press. Whether plastic or metal, a good press can make forming the perfect patty much faster and easier while also producing burgers that cook more evenly.


We all have a favorite standby method or recipe for grilling meat but how many have a dessert recipe they can grill too? In case you don’t, checkout this great recipe for grilled peaches next time you want to impress the neighbors during grilling season. Garnish to taste but, please know, the subtle combination of savory and sweet is more than enough for this fruit to fly solo after your main course too!

If you liked this recipe check out our earlier hacks on our blog page now. If you have a recipe, tip, or trick of your own you’d like to share, we’d love to spread the word for you. Send them to and keep an eye out for future Lunchbox Hacks! Either way, we hope you all work safe and eat well today!

FAQs for PMG

National Third Shift Day is celebrated every year on the second Wednesday of May. This year, it’s observed on May 12, 2021. The observation of this day began in the early part of this century to recognize the men and women that work overnights to keep our communities safe and our businesses operational.

In today’s era of an ever-widening skills gap, the day is important not just for showing appreciation to those who fill these shifts but to increase awareness of how vital these roles are to society.

To honor such workers, we will answer one of the most common questions we get in this month’s PMG FAQ.

Why would anyone work third shift and how do they survive it if they do?

We get this question a lot. We’re not surprised when we do either because most of us love our habits including sleep! However, shift work is nothing new. It’s been around as long as people. Even early humans had a night shift to guard their food sources and themselves. While most of us left hunting and gathering behind generations ago, night shift work still remains. Why does anyone choose to work it and how do they make it work for them?

Similar to our previous FAQ regarding travel work, here are three benefits and three tips to help understand why and how third shift works.

The Benefits are Real


Traffic is a real thing, and a real headache, for most of us. However, night shift workers have a different experience. If you want to reduce your time and frustration, while commuting, then a third shift might be your first option. There’s no surer way to beat traffic than by avoiding it entirely!


We all have errands and appointments. Most of us struggle trying to fit them around our business hours when those are the same hours for other businesses too. But not third shifters! One of the best benefits to working overnights is having your pick of the most available hours to complete your non-work tasks. The lack of a crowd when you get where you’re going is a big cherry on top!


Put plainly, night shift pays better! Since an overnight schedule isn’t for everybody, employers generally have to pay a premium to entice enough employees to work it. This means working night shift can make you more for doing the same work as your daytime colleagues. At some companies, in certain industries, the difference can be close to double!

Night (Life) Hacks


No matter what you do, starting on third shift is hard and your body will need to adapt to it. There are ways you can help it do just that! When beginning a new shift, schedule as few non-work activities as possible in the first month. This will give you more opportunity to get extra sleep to help your body catch up. Avoiding alarms, except to get ready for work, is very helpful too.


Most of us had to learn how to fall asleep in the dark. That wasn’t easy as kids but it’s a hard habit to break once ingrained. Having the right tools can make it easier. Sleep masks, blackout shades, ear plugs, and even noise machines are all great aides for making daylight sleeping easier and better.


Getting your work schedule and sleep schedule aligned is only part of it. If you’re going to work third shift for any amount of time, you need to commit completely. Trying to switch between shifts from one day to the next will only make things worse. This means, you’ll need to bring your sleep schedule to your off-days too. If you can’t go to bed and get up at roughly the same time for most days, you will regret it eventually. A good day planner or scheduling app helps with this hack as much as a clock can.

Additional Resources

We hope this answer helps you live the night shift life. If you’d like to learn more about ways PMG can help your company find folks to fill out your third shift needs, contact our Client Solutions Team. If this answered your question, you can always get other answers from us too. Just send your questions to our Writing Team and keep an eye out for future FAQ’s. We can’t wait to share our next answer with you

Mother. Mom. Mama. Mommy. Matushka. Madre. Mutter.

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To those of you with a mother:

Whether your relationship with your mother is solid or borderline depressing, Mother’s Day is the perfect opportunity to stop and reflect on the women who made you the person you are today. Their paths may not always reflect your own path, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t pave the road that made the most sense to them at any given time in their lives.

Those women may be your mom, your grandma, your aunt, your sister, your best friends’ mom, or the neighbor lady who always made sure you had food in your belly or shoes on your feet as you spent your summers roaming around the neighborhood. If you’re really lucky, it’s all of those ladies.

As you reflect, consider picking up the phone and letting them know what a difference they’ve made. I promise you won’t regret it.

To those of you that are a mother or dream of being a mother:

Whether you’ve been a mother for decades, are celebrating your first Mother’s Day with your little one, or have wished for years that your struggles to conceive were just an awful nightmare – I hope you realize what a difference you have made in the lives of those who look to you for wisdom, for a shoulder to cry on, for a goofy face to make them smile, for a hug to lean into, or simply for an excuse to hear they are loved.

To those of you who have had to say good-bye to your mother recently:

I can only imagine Mother’s Day after your mother is gone is a hard pill to swallow; a date on the calendar that you dread because you don’t know how you’ll feel but you know it’s not going to be good. I hope you take Mother’s Day as an opportunity to thank your mother still for all that she did for you, for raising you to be the person you are today, and for the blessing THAT bestowed on the people YOU love.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Beth Bangtson, HR Manager

Passwords. Just the thought of having to change one makes me nostalgic. Some of my passwords have been with me for over a decade. That’s longer than I’ve been at any one employer. It’s longer than some of my relationships. For goodness sake, my passwords are older than my middle-school-aged children.

If you’re like me, you know you’re not supposed to be writing your passwords down, but you also know that losing your password means being locked out of your favorite social media site or your favorite on-line shopping site until the end of eternity – you can’t risk that! Or can you?

Cyber security has become more of a risk than ever before and you can help slow the attacks by using unique passwords and finding a way to manage your passwords that doesn’t include a post-it-note on your computer monitor (don’t laugh, we all know those people).

As we celebrate World Password Day, I hope you consider moving on from that decades-old password and finding a new love; maybe one with a $@%! and a number or two thrown in for good measure. Turning Password1 into P@ssw0rd! could make all the difference.

Beth Bangtson, HR Manager