Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Top 10 Turkey Tips.....

Whether you're tackling a Thanksgiving turkey for the first or hundredth time, our top 10 tips will ensure your big bird is the best it can be. From the Food Network.

1. Thawing a frozen turkey requires patience. The safest method is to thaw turkey in the refrigerator. Be sure to plan ahead — it takes approximately 3 days for a 20 pound turkey to fully defrost.

2. For crisper skin, unwrap the turkey the day before roasting and leave it uncovered in the refrigerator overnight.

3. Cooking times will differ depending on whether your bird was purchased fresh or frozen. Plan on 20 minutes per pound in a 350 degree F oven for a defrosted turkey and 10 to 15 minutes per pound for fresh.

4. A turkey will cook more evenly if it is not densely stuffed. Consider adding flavor by loosely filling the cavity with aromatic vegetables — carrots, celery, onion or garlic work nicely — or by carefully tucking fresh herbs underneath the breast skin. For the stuffing lovers, cook the dressing in a casserole dish on the side.

5. For even roasting, truss your turkey.

6. Before roasting, coat the outside of the turkey with vegetable or olive oil, season with salt and pepper and tightly cover the breast with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning (it will be removed in step 7).

7. Don't be a peeping tom (no pun intended)! Once you get the turkey in the oven, resist the temptation to open the oven door and admire your handiwork. When the oven temperature fluctuates, you're only increasing the likelihood of a dry bird. About 45 minutes before you think the turkey is done, remove the foil from the breast to allow it to brown.

8. Remove the turkey from the oven when the deepest spot between the leg and the breast reads 180 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Check the internal temperature of the stuffing as well; it should be at least 165 degrees.

9. Tent the bird with foil and let rest for about 15 minutes before carving. If you need more time to make gravy, heat up side dishes, etc., you can let the turkey set for up to an hour without losing too much heat. Note from Lucy: Resting the turkey is one of the most important tips......

10. Remember to carve your turkey with a very sharp or electic knife.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! Remember to thank your Heavenly Father for all the he has given you.... I am grateful for all of my blogging friends.....

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cranberry-Nut Pumpkin Bread

(Makes 2 loaves)
3⁄4 cup butter
2 1⁄2 cups sugar
4 eggs
16 oz. can pumpkin (pure pumpkin, not pumpkin filling)
2/3 cup water
3/ 1⁄2 cups unbleached flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1⁄2 tsp. salt
1 1⁄2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon (I use 1 1⁄2 tsp.)
1 tsp. ground cloves
2/3 cup chopped nuts (I use walnuts)
1⁄2 cup of dried cranberries
In large bowl cream together butter, sugar and 2 eggs. Add remaining eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly. Next, stir in pumpkin and water.
In separate bowl combine all remaining ingredients (except nuts and cranberries) and mix well. Add to pumpkin mixture, a little at a time, and stir until batter is thoroughly blended. Fold in the nuts and cranberries. Spoon batter into 2 greased and floured loaf pans.
Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center, comes out clean. Cool about 15 minutes before removing from loaf pans.

Recipe by: Leslie Gonzales

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thought you would want to know.

I got this from a friend through email...I don't know how true it is but it should be a heads up for those of you are shopping for gift cards.
Heads up if you tend to give gift cards around the holidays, you need to be careful that the cards will not be honored after the holidays.

Stores that are planning to close after Christmas are still selling the cards through the holidays even though the cards will be worthless January 1. There is no law preventing them from doing this. On the contrary, it is referred to as 'Bankruptcy Planning.
Below is a partial list of stores that you need to be cautious about.
Circuit City (filed Chapter 11)
Ann Taylor 117 stores nationwide closing
Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug ,and Catherine's to close 150 stores nationwide
Eddie Bauer to close stores 27 stores and more after January
Cache will close all stores
Talbots closing down specialty stores
J. Jill closing all stores (owned by Talbots) Pacific Sunwear (also owned by Talbots)
GAP closing 85 stores
Footlocker closing 140 stores more to close after January
Wickes Furniture closing down
Levitz closing down remaining stores
Bombay closing remaining stores
Zales closing down 82 stores and 105 after January
Whitehall closing all stores
Piercing Pagoda closing all stores
Disney closing 98 stores and will close more after January.
Home Depot closing 15 stores 1 in NJ ( New Brunswick )
Macys to close 9 stores after January
Linens and Things closing all stores
Movie Galley Closing all stores
Pep Boys Closing 33 stores
Sprint/Nextel closing 133 stores
JC Penney closing a number of stores after January
Ethan Allen closing down 12 stores.
Wilson Leather closing down all stores
Sharper Image closing down all stores
K B Toys closing 356 stores
Loews to close down some stores
Dillard's to close some stores

I know for sure that Linen and Things are closeing all of their stores. I saw the sign on the building today and went inside to check out the sales....It is sad that our economy is sinking so fast. I think people are just afraid to buy things right now, with all of the uncertainties...

Note from Lucy: I'm not posting this to scare anyone, but I just wanted you to be aware of some store closing.....When you shop at these stores just don't buy a gift card, it doesn't mean you shouldn't shop there....Just a clarification.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Coupons and Holiday Recipes


Stores are starting to pull out all the stops now to try to get your business. These new marketing ploys can benefit you. Many stores now have requests on the bottom of their receipts that ask you to complete surveys for various incentives. Many will enter your name in a drawing for cash, free products, coupons, or gift cards. While the odds aren’t great that you will win a drawing, someone has to win, you can’t win if you don’t enter, and it’s a free entry. A store near us gives us a coupon for a free loaf of French bread when we complete their surveys. J. C. Penney’s will give you a 15% off coupon that can be used and reused until it expires (it’s usually good for a month). If you do get a coupon that is reusable, be sure to ask for the coupon back when you use it, many cashiers will automatically put it in their drawer. We’d been using the 15% off coupons for over a year before a cashier told us it could be reused. Many stores also have “clubs” that give you money off coupons once you have spent a certain amount in their stores. Sometimes they’ll even have special sales just for the people on their lists. It never hurts to subscribe to store ads either, as many of them will send special email or mail offers.


At this time of year we often receive emails from readers who are trying to find an old family recipe, or in some cases how to healthify (ok, I don’t think it’s a word, but it should be J) old family recipes. We’d like to direct you to our favorite online recipe sites with huge recipe databases and lots of easy search features.
I especially love Pillsbury’s Bake Off Contest section, because regular people like you and I came up with the recipes, and enough people loved them to get them to the Bake Off Finals. On these sites you can search for recipes you’ve lost, shortcut recipes, healthy recipes, look for easy recipes, or fancy ones, old fashioned classic recipes or brand new surprises for your guests. These websites are so loaded with great ideas, that it’ll make it hard to sign off. On some sites you can even adjust the printing so it’ll print recipe card sized. Enjoy. POST IT...in your recipe box, and shopping list. Both of these small articles were taken from the Make a Note by weekly email that I receive….

Note from Lucy: The last couple of weeks have been really busy for me. Between family, church, food orders and ham radio; I’ve been a busy bee. Late yesterday afternoon, I called in an order for herbs and spices. We have been doing this, once a year order, for over 15 years now and this year we topped $2,000.00. With 447 items coming in sometime next week, I shutter to think of me sorting through, inventorying and bagging all of this. Thankfully my friend Sonja may be able to help me with this, if she is not working the day it comes in. With the chocolate order behind us and the frozen berry order coming in tomorrow, I should be able to settle down some. Once we get the herbs and spices done, then all I have left are the nuts and seeds order. This is a very busy time of year for me. I am also trying to get the house ready for Thanksgiving and do some paper work for TF’s business.

Have a great week everyone……..

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Heat and Electricity 101

-- Inflation Fighter --by Amy L. Thomas Dollar Stretcher
Establish good conservation habits for now and the future

I always heard ways to save money, but I never listened to them. After all, the people telling me these ideas were my parents, those older people who did not know how things are in today's world, how people my age wanted to live. Cue up an
economic crisis and costs that are rising as we speak, and now I have a different perspective. I just opened up my electric bill, and decided that something has to change. I cannot pay over my family's hard-earned money for a simple utility.

I called my mother to ask, very politely, what were those things that she and Dad did to save money on their heat and electricity? I am very sorry I scoffed at the idea last year, since saving $300 for a small change in convenience seems like
a wondrous thing. As luck would have it, my mother is a very understanding person, and she quickly reeled off ideas that have been put into practice and work.

1. Don't just turn off your technology, unplug. Those little lights that keep on while we are asleep or not using the VCR, DVD player, cable box, coffee maker, etc. do use electricity while they are not in use. Go around your home and find how
many things you have that are inactive but are sucking away at a current. You will be amazed.

2. Shut your computer and printer completely down. I had always been under the impression that this was not a good thing. I thought that it actually took more electricity to boot up your PC, Mac, laptop, and printer than it did not just
leave it on all of the time. Not true. I called a computer manufacturer and asked. It does not take any more to boot up your system than it does to turn on any other appliance. Keeping these off when not in use can save a lot, especially in today's household when there are often multiple computers going. When you leave for a vacation or are spending time away from home, you can also shut down your Internet cable box and your wireless hubs, connectors, etc. Why spend money to have a
signal come into your home when no one is around to use it?

3. Only keep lights on in rooms that are occupied. This sounds simple, but how many of us think that we will be returning to the upstairs, basement, or another room only to get sidetracked and never get there? Also, shut off all garage lights and outside lights when they are not needed. If you like to keep some light on outside overnight, invest in a few solar lights that use a free resource to keep any space or
walkway lit up.

4. Shut the door of any room or bedroom that does not have to be used during the winter months. Place towels or door cozies around the bottom of the door, and shut the registers to that room. The heat will be redistributed to the other areas you
want it, and you will save big time. Why heat something that is not being used or is used very little?

5. Taking a bath is a definite luxury for some, but the amount of water used and the energy spent heating it makes it a pricey indulgence. Limit baths to an occasional treat. Shower smart by using the coolest water temperature necessary, and only turning the water on as needed for rinsing, not letting it run continuously as you soap, shampoo or shave. While kids love to take long showers, you may need to limit their time by using a kitchen timer to remind them to only use the length of
time that is necessary.

6. Kids can use lots of energy and utilities if they are not kept in check. You sure do not want to sound like a drill sergeant, but as my mother delicately put it, you cannot afford to raise them to be wasteful and unaware of the cost of living. I once came home to find three people in my house with almost every light on, two televisions running but not being watched by anyone, three air conditioners blasting in rooms that were not occupied, and a shower being taken that lasted for over fifteen minutes. No more. have become the utility manager in my house, and have sat down and explained that while I want to keep the luxuries we have, if things do not
improve, we will have to give up some creature comforts. This did the trick. No one wanted to give up the televisions, computers, air conditioners, etc., so they all decided to be smarter about their use of these things. It worked. I also told them they would appreciate my "guidance" when they were on their own and had to pay their own bills.

7. Clothes should only be washed in cold water and rinsed in cold water. With today's laundry detergents, there is no need to use warm or hot water.

8. Your thermostat should stay at a constant temperature. Pick the lowest temperature that works for your family when everyone is at home, and leave it on that. If your house will be empty for a long weekend or a vacation, you can drop the
temperature for that time period, but keep it consistent on a day-to-day basis, rather than dropping it during the day when no one is home and then raising it at night.

Saving money and saving energy is important for any family. Taking a few tips from your elders and those who are frugal can help you and those in your household establish good conservation habits for now and the future.

Take the Next Step:
- Subscribe to our new weekly "Inflation Fighters" newsletter.

Note from Lucy: How many of you have other tricks to save electricity or gas this winter. I think some of the best ideas came from our parents or grandparents. To put humidity in the air, when I was growing up, my dad used to put an old coffee can full of water on top of the gas heater at night. I don't remember us having a humidifier back in those days, but it worked like a charm. TF and I have also have put 1 liter soda bottles filled with very warm water under the blankets at night to keep our feet warm....You would be surprised how long those bottles stay warm under a blanket.
Let me hear some of your stories.......Have a great week everyone!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Is your cell phone safe?

I was reading an article on the internet about safe cell phone use and thought you might like to read this information too. The article has two long paragraphs talking about testing that is being done on the safety of cell phones. Here is the suggestions from the doctor, writing the article, on how to stay safe while using you cell phone.......

Dr. Herberman's memo included 10 practical suggestions for the safe use of cell phones, developed by a committee of international experts, of which he is a member. Here is an edited version...

1. Do not allow children under 10 to use a cell phone, except for emergencies. (Note: The developing organs of a fetus or child are especially sensitive to electromagnetic fields, so pregnant moms and parents with young children should pay particular attention.)

2. Hold your cell phone as far away from your body as you can, even while talking -- for instance, using a headset or speaker whenever possible. The amplitude of the electromagnetic field goes down to one-fourth when the phone is held two inches away ... and to 1/16 at four inches. A wireless Bluetooth headset has less than 1/100th of the electromagnetic emission of a normal cell phone. Also, be aware that the phones typically ramp up power at the start of a call.

3. Avoid using your cell phone in crowded places, where you'll be exposing others to your phone's electromagnetic fields.

4. Reduce electromagnetic emissions by minimizing time spent carrying your cell phone on your person or even sitting nearby -- for instance, while sleeping, keep your phone at least two feet away. This is especially important if you are pregnant. Another safety strategy is to use the "flight" or "off-line" mode, which blocks emissions but still lets you play games or check your calendar.

5. If your cell phone has an internal antenna, keep the back of the phone pointed out and away from you so that the transmitted electromagnetic fields are not directed at your body.

6. Use your cell phone to establish contact or only for brief conversations. For longer conversations, use a land line.

7. When making a call, wait till the person you are calling has picked up before putting your cell phone to the ear. This limits both the power and duration of your electromagnetic exposure. Also, regularly switch from one ear to the other while talking.

8. If your cell phone signal is weak, wait until it is stronger to use it. Similarly avoid using it when you are traveling in a vehicle at high speed -- this automatically increases the phone's power output as it repeatedly attempts to connect to a new relay antenna.

9. Text messages limit duration of exposure and proximity of the phone to the body -- use these instead of calls to communicate whenever you can.

10. Choose a device with the lowest SAR possible (SAR = Specific Absorption Rate, which is a measure of the amount of radiofrequency energy absorbed by the body). Aim for an SAR of below 1.6 watts per kilogram of body weight.


Ronald B. Herberman, MD, founding director, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Pittsburgh.

Note from Lucy: As some of you know, I go to a natural health care doctor. He tested me, while holding my cell phone, and suggested that I wear a magnetic bracelet on my wrist while using the cell phone. Ever since then, I wear two little magnetic bracelets when I am using my cell phone or am using my ham radio, since the emit radio waves. I think I would rather be safe than sorry. TF used a hands free unit while driving. So far I haven't been able to get him to wear the magnetic bracelets.....it just isn't "manly"....

Have a great week everyone......

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Voting Day……

Good morning friends. I’m up early this morning getting ready for a busy day. I have dry pack canning this morning and again tonight. People from our church come over to the cannery and put up food into # 10 cans or in mylar bags for storage. Our church believes in being prepared for whatever may come your way. An example of that would be Hurricane Ike that ripped through here last month, leaving us without power for 12 days. I had plenty of canned goods and other food that helped us through that situation. Last year, when TF had his gallbladder surgery and didn’t work for a month, we didn’t have to worry about paying for food. We had plenty set aside for an emergency and that was the least of our worries. With the economy in a down turn it doesn’t hurt to have a supply on hand in case you lose your job. The old saying goes, “If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.” An example of what we “put up” is: wheat, rice, beans, flour, dehydrated apples, macaroni, regular and quick oats, sugar, potato flakes, dehydrated beans, hot cocoa mix, powdered milk and other basic items. We are advised to acquire a three months supply of “whatever you eat” and then work on long term storage.

Last week I went to a friend’s house and she taught me how to can chicken. I took lots of pictures and am really excited to give it a try myself. I will have to buy a large pressure canner and get some pint sized jars, but I am ready to put up some chicken and meat for our storage. I think canned tuna and spam will only go so far…..lol. We plan to do a power point demonstration on the procedure and get it out to others interested in learning how to do this. In the past she had put up, beef, chicken and pork and her family loves the meat. While we were there we all got to eat chicken tacos made from chicken she put up three years ago, wow it was great….She won me over.

OK, I side tracked a little……..After my dry packing, I will head over to our polling place to vote….I wonder how long the lines will be. I would have liked to vote last week, during early voting, but the lines were huge. I know this is an important election year and I am not going to miss my chance to vote for my candidate. Just so you know, I am voting for a free society, not a socialist one….. I have told that to several people and they didn’t even know what socialism was…..How can anyone vote and not even know the difference between the two? I have really been praying for our country…..

Frugal advice for today: Be prepared for whatever comes you way……….
Have a great day everyone……Get out and vote!!! Please make your voice heard.