Fireworks and Good Food: Fourth of July’s Winning Combination

4th of july fireworks

Fireworks and Good Food: Fourth of July’s Winning Combination

As springtime slips into summer, people begin to look forward to the Fourth of July. They remember the fireworks and good food, Fourth of July’s winning combination that so many enjoy. They can’t wait for the sights, sounds, and tastes of summer that only come around this Day of Independence.

bbq grillingEarly in the day you’re likely to find, instead of the smoke from fireworks, the telltale signs of barbecues in home after home around town. The smell of charcoal lighter fluid and barbecue sauce are common on this day. But what are some of the normal foods you’ll find on the Fourth of July?

Barbecues will be lit, making the way for summer’s bounty. Hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs, chicken, bratwurst, and steaks are all common food enjoyed on this day. Don’t just rely on the old standbys, though – try grilling some fish, fruits, or vegetables. You may be surprised at how much you enjoy a change of pace for the entrée.

Corn on the cob, potato salad, baked beans, coleslaw, and deviled eggs compliment almost any meat dish. You may also want to serve dishes that may not be your typical Fourth of July, such as ethnic foods. To top off the meal, why not make homemade ice cream, a cake decorated with fresh strawberries or blueberries, fresh baked apple pie, or ice cold watermelon.strawberry cake

Be sure to keep perishable foods cold until its time to eat to make sure food doesn’t begin to spoil. Serve foods as soon as possible after they come off the grill for the same reason. If the weather’s hot outside, foods can begin to develop harmful bacteria in as little as thirty minutes.

As the evening draws to a close and darkness descends, it’s time for the big show to begin. Most larger cities around the country have fireworks so that their citizens can be safe. While fireworks are not legal within most city limits, this doesn’t stop some people from buying and firing them.

Children and teens may purchase fireworks with the intent to use them on the Fourth of July. Unfortunately, children and teens aren’t always careful with fireworks and injuries happen. If they are legal in your area, make sure there is a responsible adult to light the fireworks.

4th of july fireworks displayChildren of all ages love fireworks and good food. Fourth of July’s winning combination is something to look forward to even while it’s still springtime. Why not begin making plans now for your family’s celebration. You’ll need to plan early if you’d like to rent an area in a local park. It’s never too early to plan; the Fourth of July will be here before you know it.

Yankee Doodle Dandy Pasta Salad

Yankee Doodle Dandy Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

1 (16 ounce) box medium pasta shells
1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
1/3 cup hamburger dills, chopped
1/4 cup sweet onions, chopped
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 teaspoon season salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 (8 ounce) package shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
Pepper to taste

Instructions:

Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Drain well. Place the pasta in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, chopped hamburger dills and chopped onion. In a small bowl mix together the mayonnaise, celery seeds, season salt and pepper. Fold in the cheddar cheese. Pour mixture over pasta and stir well. Be sure all the pasta, eggs, pickles and onions are covered well with the mayonnaise mixture. Cover and place in the refrigerator for one hour or in the freezer 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

How to Grow Your Own Herb Garden

grow your own herb garden

How to Grow Your Own Herb Garden –

Plus an Easy Recipe!

Want to try growing something and then actually use your results in the meals you prepare? How about growing your very own herb garden? Well you can, and here are some helpful tips on how to create your own little garden of herbs.

First decide which herbs you want to grow. Would you like to try sage, rosemary and thyme? How about including dill, mint, chives, and cilantro? Now that you’ve chosen what you want to plant in your herb garden, you need to know a little bit about the herbs. For example, coriander, dill and basil die after one season. Parsley lives for two; and chives, thyme, mint, marjoram and tarragon bloom every year. Next, ascertain how large your herb garden will be. Ensure to keep the annuals and perennials separate from each other.

Drainage is the key to a successful herb garden. After you choose the site for your garden, make sure you consider drainage and soil fertility first. Without proper drainage, your garden will fail. So, improve drainage at the garden site by removing the soil to a depth of 15 to 18 inches. Place a 3-inch layer of crushed stone on the bottom. Mix some compost or peat and sand then refill the site higher than the original level to allow for the settling of the soil. Since the soil does not have to be fertile, it does not require additional fertilizer. Once the site and soil are ready for planting, you can proceed to purchase the seeds.

For parsley, sow the seeds in the latter part of spring directly into the ground. Work the soil surface to achieve a really fine texture; then wet it slightly. Sow the seeds in very shallow rows with soil over them. Do not sow the seeds too deeply. It is important to cover the seed bed with either wet burlap or paper to keep the soil moist during germination. Water the seeds with a fine spray to prevent the washing away of the soil.

In order to protect your perennial and biennial herbs, use mulch about four inches deep to protect the plants. Place the mulch after the ground has frozen in early winter. Do not remove the mulch until the plants show signs of growth in early spring. Early removal could result in some early frost damage. You can check online or ask your gardening supply store for more information on what herbs you can grow now and later on in the year. Create your own herb garden and be proud of your accomplishment!

Here is a tasty and easy recipe that you can try once your herb garden is in bloom. Enjoy!

tomato and mozzarella salad

Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

2 lbs ripe tomatoes
12 slices of mozzarella cheese
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp honey
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 sprigs marjoram
10 basil leaves

Cut up tomatoes and place on a plate with the mozzarella. In a bowl, whisk the salt, vinegar, and honey, then add the olive oil, mixing well. Pour over tomatoes. Using kitchen scissors, cut the fresh herbs into the salad. Salt to taste.

Tips for Cleaning Your Home’s Windows

window washing tips

Tips for Cleaning Your Home’s Windows

In the old days, washing windows simply involved taking some soap and water and cleaning the windows, frames and sills; the top and bottom of the casing, and you were done. With the advent of glass cleaners, it certainly made cleaning windows much easier. Now that we have become environmentally aware of toxins and chemicals; we are returning back to the old days but with a slight twist.

Using vinegar and water is one way in which you can clean your windows. The process begins with removing window shades, blinds and curtains. Use a clean rag to wipe away any dirt or grime from the frame and sills. Use a wet rag to rid your windows of dirt and grime as well. Then using water and vinegar; clean your windows from top to bottom. Go over the glass with a clean cloth; then proceed to wash the frames and sills with a damp cloth. Dry and you’re done!

Some people who have used this method claim that using vinegar left streaks on their windows. The remedy is to add a minute bit of dish soap to the vinegar and water. Voila! No more streaks! Read more

Tips for Keeping Your Carpet Looking Great

how to clean carpets

Tips for Keeping Your Carpet Looking Great

When you buy new carpet for your living room, or any room in your house, you probably are extra anxious about keeping it clean. Some people love that “new carpet” smell. But, just like in a new car, that smell can quickly turn to “ewww” if you don’t take care of your new carpet. A home is meant to be lived in; just because a new carpet has been installed doesn’t mean rooms should be roped off and only used on certain occasions. There will be the occasional spills. Families with pets will have even more mess. It’s inevitable.

So, to help you avoid accumulation of dust or other crud that gets packed into the house, here are tips for cleaning your carpet:

* Vacuum often
* If you spill anything on the carpet; take a paper towel and pat down on the spill until it is absorbed onto the paper towel.
* Whenever possible, use door mats to have your family wipe their shoes so nothing is tracked onto the carpet.
* Be careful when using certain cleaning supplies*
* If you choose to have your carpet shampooed; be sure to ask if the scotch guard will be removed in the process.
* Do not allow anyone to eat in the living room.

While these are just a few tips for cleaning your carpets, you may certainly have your own tried and tested methods to keep your carpet clean. Preventative measures are the best way to avoid soiling your new carpet. Read more