A Fresh Tailgate Menu

Quick and tasty ideas for game day

(Family Features) Take your tailgating game to new heights this season with fresh dishes that are easy to make and serve, whether your tailgating tradition takes place at the game or at home.

Fast prep times and short ingredient lists make these recipes a cinch to prepare in advance and have ready to go as soon as you reach the parking lot or before guests arrive. The star ingredients are naturally hardwood-smoked sausages and seasoned deli meats from Eckrich, which offers a variety of smoked sausage flavors in traditional ropes and bun-length links as well as gluten-free deli meats such as Black Forest ham and oven-roasted turkey, all with just the right blend of seasonings for a rich, savory taste.

You can switch up the flavors of these recipes by subbing in different varieties of smoked sausage, such as replacing the original rope-style smoked sausage with Eckrich Jalapeno & Cheddar Links. The roll-ups are also easy to customize for guests using any type of deli meat, and they’re easy to enjoy on the go if you need a quick bite on the way to the stadium.

Tailgate Like a Pro

Try New Toppings
Smoked sausage and deli meats are easy to add to a bun for an instant meal, and there’s plenty of ways to dress your tailgate menu up or down based upon the preferences of your guests. Be sure to keep some basics on hand for those who prefer traditional preparation, but for the more adventurous types, try out these ideas for toppings that create a new dimension of flavor.

  • Grilled onion
  • Grilled peppers
  • Grilled, roasted or sauteed mushrooms
  • Spicy mustard
  • Flavored ketchup (think spicy, fruity or sweet)
  • Ethnic flavors like curry or marinara sauce
  • Hot sauce
  • Roasted corn relish
  • Crumbled or shredded cheese
  • Bacon crumbles

Handy Hacks

  • Repurpose coffee filters as holders for your sandwiches. They’re easy to hold and help keep your favorite toppings contained.
  • Up-cycle an empty six-pack container into a convenient cookout caddy to hold napkins, condiments and utensils. Not only is it quick to grab and place on the table, but it helps keep napkins from blowing away in a breeze.
  • For kabobs, keep wooden skewers from charring by soaking them in water before threading on ingredients.
  • Prepare toppings the night before and arrange them in a disposable foil pan for a quick and easy DIY topping bar.

Million Dollar Moment

This season, Eckrich – the official smoked sausage and deli meat sponsor of the College Football Playoff – is once again hosting the Road to the National Championship sweepstakes. Fans around the country will have the chance to make a 20-yard throw for $1 million at some of the biggest college football games of the season, including the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship in Atlanta. Visit EckrichFootball.com for your chance to win.

Find more game-day recipes at Eckrich.com.

Grilled Sausage Skewer Sandwiches

Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 1          regular size package Eckrich Smoked Sausage
  • 1          small red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1          red bell pepper, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6          wooden skewers, 10 inches long
  • 1/2       cup Italian salad dressing, divided
  • 6          bolillo or sandwich rolls, split
  • 1          avocado, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1/4       cup cilantro leaves
  1. Heat grill to medium-high.
  2. Cut sausage into 1/2-inch thick slices. Thread sausage, onion and bell peppers alternately onto skewers. Brush 1/4 cup salad dressing on skewered sausage and vegetables.
  3. Grill until sausage is golden brown and vegetables are crisp-tender, about 10 minutes, turning once.
  4. Brush remaining salad dressing on rolls. Fill rolls with grilled sausage and vegetables. Divide avocado and cilantro onto each.

Tip: To broil sausage rather than grill, heat broiler to medium-high, follow the same skewer preparation instructions and broil about 10 minutes, or until sausage is golden brown and vegetables are crisp-tender.

Ham and Turkey Roll-ups

Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2

  • 4          ounces Eckrich Deli Oven Roasted Turkey Breast
  • 4          ounces Eckrich Deli Black Forest Ham
  • lettuce leaves
  • 2          tablespoons chunky guacamole
  • 1/4       cup chopped cucumbers
  • 1          tablespoon shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2          slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  1. Layer turkey and ham slices. Layer lettuce, guacamole, cucumber, cheese and bacon crumbles. Roll meat and secure with toothpick.

Potato Salad with Smoked Sausage

Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 3/4       regular size package Eckrich Smoked Sausage, halved lengthwise, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 3          small red potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds), cooked and quartered
  • 1          can (4 ounces) pitted ripe olives, drained and halved
  • 2          cups Italian dressing
  • 1          green onion, sliced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1          clove garlic, minced
  • 2          teaspoons ground black pepper
  1. In large skillet over medium heat, cook sausage 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in potatoes; cook until heated through, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
  2. Add olives, dressing, onions, garlic and pepper; mix lightly.

SOURCE:
Eckrich

Trick-or-Treat for a New Kind of Thrill

(Family Features) For most kids, Halloween is all about costumes and candy, but it can also be a chance to demonstrate how helping others brings its own set of rewards.

This October, children, families and schools across the country will join in Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, a month-long celebration of the power and impact of kids helping kids. Throughout the month, kids, parents and teachers can add purpose to their Halloween activities by collecting donations in support of vulnerable children.

Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF encourages children to be “scary good” this Halloween and help their peers around the world. Equipped with iconic orange collection boxes, kids can raise funds that add up to lifesaving change: $8 can buy a kit to give one family clean water to drink; $15 can buy a box of five mosquito nets to protect kids from deadly malaria; and $55 can buy one box of therapeutic food treatment to save a child from severe acute malnutrition.

Sharing the caring
In addition, a series of partners and supporters are also making it easy to help.

This year, HSNi Cares, as a national partner, will continue to raise funds and awareness to support UNICEF through all of its brands: Ballard Designs, Frontgate, Garnet Hill, Grandin Road, HSN and Improvements. Throughout September, customers will be able make a donation to the children’s humanitarian organization online or over the phone at all brands.

Key Club International will participate by raising funds for The Eliminate Project, which seeks to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus, a deadly disease that claims the lives of thousands of babies and mothers each year. Key Club International, a student-led service leadership program of Kiwanis International, is the oldest and largest service program for high school students. For more information, visit TheEliminateProject.org or KeyClub.org.

American Airlines will support the campaign through UNICEF’s Change for Good program, which converts customers’ donations of foreign and domestic currency into lifesaving services for children. From Oct.16-31, American Airlines flight attendant volunteers will make Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF-themed announcements and collect donations from customers on select international flights.

Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, will team up with Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its best-selling children’s book series “Goosebumps.” Popular character Slappy and his monstrous friends will be featured on the collection boxes as well as trickortreatforunicef.org.

Make it social
Families are invited to share their Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF story on social media with the hashtag #ScaryGood. Parents and teachers who participated when they were children are also invited to share their experience with the hashtag #TBTOT4UNICEF.

Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF – the original kids helping kids campaign – has raised nearly $177 million since 1950 to help UNICEF provide children around the world with lifesaving nutrition, water, vaccines and more. For more information, visit trickortreatforunicef.org.

SOURCE:
UNICEF

Scary Good Seasonal Treats

(Family Features) Whether your tastes tend toward the spooky or spectacular, or maybe a little of both, this Halloween you can set the scene for a scary good time with a menu that entices goblins big and small.

You won’t have to scour a witch’s lair to find the right ingredients for these treats. All you need is Limited Edition TruMoo Orange Scream Milk, which is inspired by an orange frozen ice pop with vanilla ice cream. It’s tasty served on its own in a cold glass, or added to Halloween-inspired recipes perfect for hosting your fellow ghouls and goblins.

Try using it for non-traditional recipes, such as Orange-Cranberry Scones for hosting a scary fun Halloween get-together. Or for another creative snack option at your ghoulish gala, go for Bread Pudding to send guests home screaming with delight.

An added bonus, TruMoo Orange Scream Milk leaves out lots of things. It contains no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial growth hormones, no artificial sweeteners and no artificial flavors, so all that’s left is a nutritious, family-friendly and tasty fun time. TruMoo Orange Scream Milk has no GMO ingredients.

For more Halloween-inspired recipes, visit TruMoo.com, and find TruMoo Milk on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Orange-Cranberry Scones

Servings: 6 scones

Scones:

  • 2 1/4    cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4       cup granulated sugar
  • 2          teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 4          tablespoons cold butter
  • 2          large eggs
  • 1/2       cup TruMoo Orange Scream Milk
  • 1/2       cup dried cranberries
  • 1          tablespoon grated orange peel

Orange Glaze:

  • 1/2       cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1          tablespoon TruMoo Orange Scream Milk
  1. To prepare Scones: Heat oven to 425° F. In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. With pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in eggs, one at a time, then milk, cranberries and orange peel.
  2. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Refrigerate 30 minutes, or until firm. Pat dough into 8-inch round, about 3/4-inch thick. Cut into six wedges; carefully separate wedges and place on parchment-lined baking sheet about two inches apart. Bake about 15 minutes until lightly golden and crusty.
  3. To prepare Orange Glaze: In small bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar and milk until well blended. Cool scones slightly. Drizzle scones with glaze.

Orange Custard Bread Pudding

Servings: 6

  • 1          loaf (16 ounces) sliced raisin-cinnamon bread
  • 2          cups TruMoo Orange Scream Milk
  • 3          large eggs
  • 1/2       cup granulated sugar
  • 1          tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 1/4       teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4       teaspoon orange extract
  • 1/8       teaspoon salt
  • confectioners’ sugar
  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Cut raisin bread into 1-inch pieces (about 8 cups). In large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, sugar, orange peel, nutmeg, orange extract and salt. Toss with raisin bread to mix well.
  2. Butter 2-quart casserole or baking dish. Pour bread mixture into dish. Place in center of deep, ovenproof pan. Pour boiling water into pan until it reaches halfway up sides of dish. Place pan on center rack in oven. Bake until just set, about 40 minutes. Carefully remove from oven.
  3. To serve, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Serve warm.

SOURCE:
TruMoo

Get Focused

Plan to make productivity a priority

(Family Features) Although there are many reasons to feel stressed in the workplace, productivity is often at the root. After all, productive employees are often perceived as the most valuable employees and when productivity fails, it tends to put everyone on edge.

Concerns about productivity are broadly founded. They may be related to your self-assessment of your own performance, or it could be that a manager is demanding more. Or maybe you’re collaborating with a team of peers and are struggling to find your footing, and collectively productivity is down.

Productivity is not only good for business; it’s good for worker morale, too. A productive work day can produce a sense of accomplishment and pride, and may result in a less stressful work environment. You can take a proactive role in improving your own productivity with these ideas.

 

1. Face a challenge head on. Procrastination can be the ultimate roadblock to productivity. For many, that means saving the least desired task on your to-do lists for the end of the day. However, by the end of the day, it’s too easy to delay the task until tomorrow. Instead, start the day with your least desired task. This is when you’ll have the most energy and you’ll kick off your day feeling accomplished, ready to tackle whatever comes next.

2. Be intentional with your time. It may seem counterintuitive, but taking breaks can help you have a more productive day. When you feel your energy start to wane, give yourself a timeout. Take a 15-minute walk, run the stairs or spend some time drawing in your notebook. Over the course of a week, pay attention to your schedule and start to plan your meetings and tasks around breaks so you’re working during periods of the day when you’re the most energized.

3. Capture ideas when they come. Let’s face it: not every great idea arrives at the ideal moment. While it’s possible to key your ideas immediately into your smartphone, that can come with multiple obnoxious distractions. However, trying to recreate that flash of inspiration at a more opportune time more often than not falls short with missing details.

An option like the Bamboo Slate smartpad allows you to write naturally with pen on any paper without the social media notifications and email alerts. With the push of a button, you can then convert your handwritten notes into “living” digital files. With Wacom Inkspace, you can organize, edit and share your notes and sketches on your enabled smartphone, tablet or other devices. In case you’re not near your mobile device when inspiration strikes, you can store up to 100 pages on your smartpad and sync later. Learn more at bamboo.wacom.com.

4. Identify areas for collaboration. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. The key is knowing yourself well enough to know when you need to ask for help to be more productive. Wasting time on tasks you don’t excel in can slow everyone down. Rather, find others whom you can collaborate with and learn from to help you improve your productivity over time.

5. Stay organized. When you’re working under continuous deadlines, things can really start to pile up – literally. Digging through a mess to find the report containing the data you need or the invoice to cross reference is a waste of precious time. Allow the clutter to build during the work day if you must, but make it a goal to never leave the office without bringing some order to the day’s chaos. Coming in each morning to a desk that is de-cluttered and ready for the day ahead can be a big productivity booster.

Learn to Make Lists with Purpose

List-making has long been revered as the classic time management tool, and technology makes it easier than ever to blend this analog task with your digital world by using smart notebooks like the Bamboo Slate to create an online to-do list.

Consider these three list styles to determine the approach that best fits your work style to put you on your way to more productive days:

Categorized lists. Most people start with a daily to-do list, focusing just on the most urgent tasks for the day. Once you’ve mastered that approach, try looking ahead to the future to help you meet your goals. For this technique, you might consider an annual list or even a life list to help put the big picture in perspective and make it more manageable to accomplish your desires. Others go so far as to categorize their time to focus their attention on different types of tasks on different days.

To-do vs. done lists. Another option is to use lists to catalog both the items you need to do and those you’ve already completed. A “done list” can be a motivating factor in pushing forward with your to-do list by letting you see your accomplishments in writing.

Bullet journaling. The bullet journal approach is a four-step process designed to make the to-do list less of a chore and more efficient. A step-by-step guide shows you how to create more productive lists you can easily reference in the future.

SOURCE:
Wacom

Earn an A+

(Family Features) Back-to-school season means it’s time to get back to the business of learning. This year you can ace your back-to-school shopping excursion with these time- and money-saving steps that can make getting the whole family ready for a new school year a breeze.

Start with a list.
Walking into the store without a list is an open invitation for impulse buys and forgotten items that end up costing you more time and money with a return trip. Create a thorough list by categorizing all the items you’ll shop for, such as supplies, electronics and clothing. If you want to take an extra-organized approach, try color coding items by the section of the store where you would expect to find them.

Set a budget.
Knowing what you can afford to spend ahead of time can save regret and returns after you shop. Calculate how much you’ll need to cover all the items your students truly need, then tack on some room for wants. One must-have is a high-quality backpack, like the High Sierra Access Backpack, which includes a dedicated storage area for your child’s laptop, among other features. If your total budgeted expenses exceed your available funds, consider browsing weekly circulars to keep your budget in check.

Explore your inventory.
It may be buried under a summer’s worth of knick-knacks, but digging out the supplies your child cast aside at the end of the last school year may be worth the effort. Items like scissors, rulers and protractors may not need to be replaced every year if they’re still in working condition. Assess what items you have that can be reused and those that need to be replaced for the new school year.

Cut extra stops.
Dashing all over town to find all the items on your supply list is not only time-consuming, it’s unnecessary. At stores like Office Depot and OfficeMax, you can find all the academic tools and supplies your student needs to head back to the classroom. What’s more, a store that specializes in school supplies will have a broad selection and ample stock of the essentials.

Try online shopping.
When you know exactly what you need, shopping online is a great time-saving solution. Online shopping makes it incredibly simple to keep tabs on your budget before you make purchases and easily keep track of the items in your shopping cart. If you need to hand-select a few items in person, you can always take advantage of a “buy online, pick-up in store” option. This service lets you do your shopping from home with just a quick stop in-store to pick-up your purchases.

Buy in bulk.
It may seem counter-intuitive when you’re trying to trim your spending, but if you can swing it, go ahead and buy extra items that you’ll likely need to replace mid-year. The sale prices during the back-to-school season aren’t likely to repeat during the school year, so in the long run you’ll save money and avoid a last-minute shopping trip on a busy school night in the future. Items like Stellar fashion notebooks, which give note-taking a fashionable twist, are great to have on hand throughout the school year.

Research specials and promotions.
For many stores, the back-to-school shopping season is second only to the holidays. This means you can expect widespread sales, promotions and special deals, such as “deals as low as a penny.” Some states also offer tax-free holidays near the beginning of the school year, which are honored at multiple retailers and generally restricted to school-related purchases like clothing, supplies and some technology.

Weigh quality vs. quantity.
When you have a lengthy list of items to purchase for each child, it can be tempting to cut corners and skimp on spending. In some cases, being cost-efficient is smart, but do your research beforehand to avoid selecting items based solely on price. Value and quality don’t always go hand-in-hand and if you buy an item that falls apart or breaks down quickly, you may end up spending more to replace the items later. While it may be simpler for students to use printers and other machines at school, an all-in-one Epson Expression EcoTank Wireless Printer at home can be a convenient solution when late-night homework is bearing down.

Make dollars do double duty.
While most families expect to spend a sizable amount on back-to-school purchases (nearly $700, according to a 2016 survey by the National Retail Federation), making that money go a little further can soften the blow. You can help improve education in your community by shopping at stores that give a percentage of proceeds back to local schools. Programs vary; in some cases, you can even designate proceeds to the school district of your choice.

Take more notes on smart back-to-school shopping ideas and deals at officedepot.com.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

SOURCE:
Office Depot

Fire Up the Fourth with Tasty Backyard Recipes

(Family Features) Fireworks, family and food are what the Fourth of July is all about. This year, add some spark to backyard staples like grilled chicken and potato salad with a little help from tangy condiments, smoky rubs and your cast-iron skillet.

For a main dish that’s sure to be a crowd pleaser, smother grilled chicken with a white barbecue sauce – the South’s tangy little secret. It’s made with simple pantry ingredients like mayonnaise, cider vinegar and mustard.

Make a one-pan side dish next to the cooking chicken by placing your cast-iron skillet directly on the grates. Smash whole potatoes in the pan then top with bacon, cheese and a chipotle seasoning. Let it all melt together and then top with sour cream for a smoking side.

Round out the meal with a festive cake that looks as impressive as it tastes. Dye white cake mix batter red and blue using food color then assemble in a flag shape with whipped cream and berries.

Find more recipes and ideas to fire up your Fourth of July at McCormick.com.

White Barbecue Sauce with Smoky Chicken

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6

White Barbecue Sauce:

  • 1          cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2       cup cider vinegar
  • 2          tablespoons Zatarain’s Creole Mustard
  • 1          teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • 1/2       teaspoon McCormick Coarse Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2       teaspoon McCormick Garlic Powder
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt

Smoky Chicken:

  • 1          cup hickory wood chips
  • 2          pounds bone-in chicken parts
  • 2          tablespoons McCormick Grill Mates Applewood Rub
  1. To make sauce: In medium bowl, mix mayonnaise, vinegar, creole mustard, horseradish, black pepper, garlic and salt until well blended. Cover. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving to blend flavors.
  2. To make chicken: Cover wood chips in water and soak 30 minutes. Season chicken with rub. Drain wood chips. Fill smoker box with wet wood chips. Place smoker box under grill rack on one side of grill before lighting. Close grill.
  3. Prepare grill for indirect medium heat (350-375° F). Heat grill by turning all burners to medium. Once cooking temperature is reached, turn off burner(s) on one side. Place chicken on unlit side of grill. Close grill cover.
  4. Grill, turning occasionally, 30-40 minutes, or until internal temperature of thickest part of chicken is 165 F. Move chicken to lit side of grill with skin side down. Turn lit side of grill to high.
  5. Grill, uncovered, 3-5 minutes longer, or until chicken is charred. Serve chicken with White Barbecue Sauce.

Test Kitchen Tip: Refrigerate any leftover sauce and use as salad dressing, condiment for burgers or dipping sauce for pretzels and vegetables.

Grilled and Loaded Smashed Potatoes

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 12

  • 1 1/2    pounds medium Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1          tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 5          teaspoons McCormick Grill Mates Bacon Chipotle Seasoning, divided
  • 6          slices Applewood smoked bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1          cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2       cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2       cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2          tablespoons finely chopped green onions
  • 1/4       cup sour cream
  1. Heat grill to medium.
  2. Place potatoes on microwavable plate. Pierce potatoes with fork several times. Microwave on high 5-6 minutes, or until fork-tender but still firm. Let stand until cool enough to handle. In large bowl, toss potatoes, oil and 3 teaspoons seasoning until well coated.
  3. Place potatoes on grill and cook, turning frequently, 4-5 minutes or until skin is crispy. In large cast-iron skillet on grill, cook and stir bacon 8-10 minutes, or until crisp. Add yellow onion and bell pepper; cook and stir 2-3 minutes, or until tender-crisp.
  4. Push bacon mixture to one side of skillet. Add potatoes to other side of skillet. Smash each potato with heavy spatula, bottom of small sturdy bowl or meat pounder. Sprinkle potatoes with remaining seasoning. Spoon bacon mixture over potatoes. Sprinkle with cheese.
  5. Cover pan or close grill. Cook 3-5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. To serve, sprinkle with green onions and dollops of sour cream.

Test Kitchen Tip: Cooking potatoes before grilling reduces overall grill time.

Red, White and Blue Cake

Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12

  • 1          package (2-layer size) white cake mix
  • 2          teaspoons McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2       teaspoon Blue McCormick Assorted Neon Food Colors & Egg Dye
  • 2          tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2          teaspoons McCormick Red Food Color
  • nonstick spray
  • 1          container (16 ounces) white frosting
  • 1          cup raspberries
  • 1/2       cup blueberries
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Prepare cake mix as directed on package, adding vanilla. Transfer 1 1/2 cups batter to small bowl and tint with neon blue food color. Tint remaining batter red by adding cocoa powder and red food color. Pour each color batter into separate 9-by-5-inch loaf pans sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Bake blue-tinted cake 20-25 minutes; red-tinted cake 30-35 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely.
  4. Trim cakes to remove rounded tops and edges. Slice red cake in half horizontally to form two thin layers. Place one layer on platter. Slice remaining red cake layer in half lengthwise. Slice blue cake in half lengthwise. (Blue and red cakes should be same dimensions.)
  5. Frost red cake layer on platter with 1/3 frosting. Top with lengthwise slices of red and blue cake side-by-side. Frost with 1/3 frosting. Repeat cake layer and frosting. Garnish with raspberries and blueberries to resemble flag.

SOURCE:
McCormick Spice

How Rural Women Can Make an Impact

(Family Features) For hundreds of years, women have been a key pillar of the agriculture industry, accounting for one-third of the country’s farmers according to the 2012 Census of Agriculture.

While not always thought of in a traditional “farmer” role, women make an impact in the industry and in helping feed the rapidly growing global population. These “farm moms” play vital and integral roles on the farm, with their families and in their communities.

Susan Brocksmith – named the 2017 America’s Farmers Mom of the Year, sponsored by Monsanto – has been involved in supporting Helping His Hands and both the North Knox and South Knox County FFA chapters for many years, and while she finds the experience incredibly rewarding, she also recognizes juggling these responsibilities on top of work and family can be difficult. She offers these tips to other women who are looking for simple ways to get involved in their communities:

  1. Start small. It’s easy to want to take on a lot of responsibilities to help nonprofit organizations in your community, but starting small can help prevent you from becoming overwhelmed. Start by looking for small volunteer opportunities, such as volunteering to staff a local event, and then look for opportunities to take on a larger role.
  2. Involve the whole family. Volunteering should be a family affair. Bringing the kids along not only allows you to spend time with them, but also sets the example that giving back is an important responsibility for all.
  3. Find an impactful cause. Everyone brings a unique set of skills and perspectives to the table. Find an opportunity that fits you and values your contributions.

“I am humbled and blessed to be named the 2017 America’s Farmers Mom of Year,” Brocksmith said. “I was raised on a family farm and was able to raise my daughters on our family farm. I have strived to instill the core values of faith, family and agriculture into my daughters, as well as my college students. Thanks to the support I received from family, friends and the community, I was able to receive this award. This outpouring of support proves anything is possible. Thank you Monsanto for providing this outreach opportunity.”

Brocksmith’s America’s Farmers Mom of the Year award, which honors the significant contributions women make on their farms and in their families, communities and beyond, gifted  $4,000 to be divided among the three organizations she is involved with Helping His Hands is a disaster relief organization and local food pantry. Both North Knox FFA and South Knox FFA are long-standing chapters that make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

“Farm moms like Susan are not only respected leaders in the agriculture industry, but also a critical part of the ecosystem that supports rural communities across America,” said Jessica Lane Rommel, Monsanto business communications manager. “We’re excited to celebrate Susan and all of the women who play such a vital role in rural communities.”

Since the program began in 2010, America’s Farmers Mom of the Year program has recognized 40 individuals for their roles in American farms, families, rural communities and the agriculture industry. To learn more about the program, visit AmericasFarmers.com.

SOURCE:
Monsanto

Bring Your Idea to Life

(Family Features) Like any idea, the great ones come when you formulate a plan and turn that idea into action. Starting your own business can be stressful and demanding, but also both personally and professionally fulfilling. Getting a business up and running takes planning, smart financial decision-making and backing, and stacks of paperwork, but these tips can help guide you through the development stage and help you ready your idea for unveiling.

Create a Business Plan
To get started, create a simple overview of the business you intend to start. This plan will be your roadmap moving forward and should include a mission statement, a company executive summary, a list of services and/or products offered and their costs, a target market analysis, an organizational structure, financial projections and expected cost of operations. Remember, this is a fluid process, so keeping it simple at the beginning may be beneficial in the long run.

Finance Your Business
Whether you plan on self-funding your business – be it through savings, credit cards or personal loans – or looking for other sources of start-up income, i.e. grants or venture capitalists, you’re going to need funding to get your idea off the ground. If you don’t have the capital to fund the venture yourself, look for investors who share your passion and that you believe you can work with or aid in the form of research grants or small business loans backed by the government.

Determine the Legal Structure
Decide on which form of ownership is best for you: sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company, corporation, S corporation, nonprofit or cooperative. Owning your own business comes with federal tax obligations related to the type of business entity you establish. Often, during the infantile stages of your business, it can best serve you to register as a sole proprietor – which comes with less paperwork and upfront expenses. Acting as a sole proprietor does carry personal risks, however, so be sure to consult an attorney prior to finalizing the ownership structure.

Choose a Name and Location
Regardless of whether your business will be brick and mortar or online, deciding on a name that best suits your product or service and appeals to your intended audience is an important step. Once you’ve picked a name, select a location that offers opportunity for growth, proximity to suppliers, accessibility to customers and an acceptable level of competition, then check to see if the domain name is available online and make sure it is usable in your county and state. If it’s available, register it with the county clerk, secure the domain name and register a trademark at both the state and federal levels.

Register for Taxes, Licenses and Permits
When starting your business, you need to account for city licensing, state incorporation, business entity fees and more. Conduct a thorough search beforehand to determine applicable filing fees. In addition to fees, your business will have to pay certain state, local and federal taxes, including income taxes and employment taxes, based on the legal structure of your company. You’ll also need to obtain any licenses or permits, potentially including city or county business permits, liquor licenses or zoning variances.

Find more tips for starting and managing a small business at eLivingToday.com.

Cultivating Connections

How networking can build your business

Business is built on relationships. For many entrepreneurs whose small businesses are thriving, successful networking is one of the most common threads.

Making connections and building relationships are among the most beneficial aspects of networking with other small businesses, according to more than half of the respondents in a survey by The UPS Store. This is especially true among younger business owners, who are more likely than their older counterparts to take advantage of networking opportunities with fellow small business owners.

Not only do they crave these connections, 61 percent of small business owners say they want to establish in-person relationships. Attending networking and meetup events is a great way for entrepreneurs to form new relationships, share experiences and celebrate their hard work. In honor of National Small Business Week, The UPS Store will offer several networking events to facilitate small business connections. The following tips can help small business owners make the most of networking events.

Practice your “elevator pitch.” When introducing yourself, be prepared to give a brief explanation of your business, boiled down to a couple of sentences. Be sure to include your business name, the solution you provide and anything that makes you unique. The key is to deliver enough context that others can engage in meaningful conversation, while keeping it succinct enough that you have plenty of time to listen. If you think your elevator pitch is perfected, submit a 90-second video describing the business or idea to enter The UPS Store national Pitch Off contest at theupsstore.com/pitchoff for a chance to win $10,000.

Embrace the competition. It may feel counterintuitive to forge a relationship with a direct competitor, but there’s some obvious benefit to trading notes with someone who is operating in your market from a similar vantage point. Remember, while neither of you is going to give up proprietary information, a respectful dialogue may get your wheels turning to think about solving a problem in a new way.

Represent your brand well. A networking event is intended to be social, but it shouldn’t be treated casually. You are every bit the face of your business in this setting as you are within your business walls. Dress the part and present yourself as you would to potential customers. Make sure you have updated business cards, as 75 percent of survey respondents said they are the most common marketing tool used to promote their business, and any other printed materials such as brochures or fliers that showcase your business.

Find networking opportunities and more ideas to grow your small business at theupsstore.com/smallbizsalute.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

SOURCE:
eLivingToday.com

Sweet Meets Spicy

(Family Features) There’s no better way to spice up a party than by using unexpected ingredients in fun, flavorful dishes and drinks. For your next fiesta, celebrate a star of the party with sweet and juicy watermelon.

Not only does versatile watermelon lend a unique taste to your menu, it’s a healthy ingredient that provides natural hydration with 92 percent water content, along with the antioxidant lycopene and the amino acid citrulline.

These recipes show how, with a little creative carving, you can use the whole melon, including flesh, juice and rind, for big value and zero waste.

Find more fiesta-ready recipes at watermelon.org.

Cactus Carving

  • Medium-large oval or oblong watermelon (seeded or seedless)
  • Cutting board
  • Paring knife
  • Dry erase marker
  • Kitchen knife
  • Scoop
  • Cactus cookie cutter
  • Small flower cookie cutters
  • Toothpicks
  • Fire and Ice Salsa (recipe below)
  1. Wash watermelon under cool, running water and pat dry.

  1. On cutting board, place watermelon on its side and cut off 1/4 inch-1/2 inch from stem end; this will provide a sturdy base. Reserve end piece to make into small cactus.
  2. Stand watermelon upright on base. Use dry erase marker to draw simple outline of cactus shape.
  3. One-third up from bottom of watermelon, draw straight line around back, being careful not to go through cactus outline; this will create a serving bowl for watermelon salsa.
  4. Use kitchen knife to cut around outline, leaving just bowl with cactus attached. Scoop out base to form bowl.

  1. From pieces of watermelon that were cut away, use cookie cutters to make cactus pieces and flower pieces to decorate with, and chop remaining watermelon to make watermelon salsa and watermelon margaritas, or juice.

  1. Attach toothpicks randomly around cactus to make thorns and decorate with watermelon flowers. Decorate bottom rind scrap with toothpicks to resemble short, round cactus.
  2. Fill bowl with Fire and Ice Salsa and serve with tortilla chips.

Fire and Ice Salsa

Makes: 3 cups

  • 3          cups seeded and finely chopped watermelon
  • 1/2       cup finely diced green peppers
  • 2          tablespoons lime juice
  • 1          tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1          tablespoon finely sliced green onion
  • 1-2       tablespoons finely diced jalapeno peppers
  1. Combine ingredients; mix well and cover. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

Nachos with Watermelon Avocado Salsa

Makes: 8 servings

  • 1          avocado, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 2          teaspoons lime juice
  • 1/4       cup chopped cilantro
  • 1          minced garlic clove
  • 1          can (4 ounces) diced green chilies, drained
  • 2          tablespoons diced red onion
  • 1 1/2    cups diced watermelon
  • 16        ounces fat-free refried beans
  • 11        ounces corn tortilla chips
  • 1 1/2    cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/3       cup fat-free sour cream
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. To make salsa: In medium bowl, combine avocado, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, chilies and red onion; toss to thoroughly mix. Add watermelon and toss gently. Set aside.
  3. Over medium heat, heat beans until hot. Mash if preferred.
  4. Place chips on flat, oven-proof plate or cookie sheet and top with beans and cheese. Repeat layers as desired. Heat in oven 10 minutes, or until cheese has melted and chips are hot.
  5. Top with salsa mixture and sour cream.

Tip: Reserve some salsa to place in bowl for dipping.

Blended Watermelon Margarita

Makes: 2 margaritas

  • 2          cups seedless watermelon, cubed and frozen
  • 1/2       cup water
  • 3          ounces silver tequila
  • 1 1/2    ounces lime juice
  • 1          ounce elderflower liqueur
  • pinch of salt
  • lime slices, for garnish
  1. In blender, combine watermelon, water, tequila, lime juice, elderflower liqueur and salt. Blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into two chilled margarita glasses and garnish with lime slices.

Watermelon Margarita on the Rocks

Makes: 2 margaritas

Watermelon Simple Syrup:

  • 2          cups seedless watermelon, cubed
  • 1          cup sugar

Watermelon Juice:

  • 2          cups seedless watermelon, cubed
  • 1/2       cup water

Margarita:

  • lime wedges
  • coarse salt
  • ice
  • 4          ounces silver tequila
  • 4          ounces watermelon juice
  • 2          ounces lime juice
  • 1          ounce watermelon simple syrup
  1. To make watermelon simple syrup: In small saucepan over medium heat, combine watermelon and sugar. Use potato masher to mash watermelon and sugar together, pushing out liquid and dissolving sugar. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour mixture through fine mesh sieve set over bowl or jar, pressing watermelon to extract all liquid. Set aside to cool completely.
  2. To make watermelon juice: In blender, combine watermelon and water. Blend until smooth then pour through fine mesh sieve set over bowl or jar.
  3. To assemble margaritas: use lime wedge to line rims of two glasses with juice. Dip glasses in coarse salt and carefully fill glasses with ice.
  4. Combine tequila, watermelon juice, lime juice and simple syrup in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until thoroughly chilled, about 30 seconds, and pour into prepared glasses. Garnish with lime wedges.

SOURCE:
National Watermelon Promotion Board

Add a Tex-Mex Favorite to Your Menu

(Family Features) A tortilla plus a tasty filling makes a household favorite – a taco. This simple, casual, versatile, fun food knows no boundaries. Tacos can be right for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even snacks and dessert, depending on the filling.

For tacos with a unique, delicious twist on tradition, try these Chicken Soft Tacos with Pickled Beet Salsa that are ready in 30 minutes. The antioxidant-rich Aunt Nellie’s Pickled Beets lend color, as well as a refreshing sweet-tangy flavor that’s complementary to the lime juice, cilantro and red onion in the salsa. This sassy salsa is a perfect partner for rotisserie, roasted or grilled chicken, arugula and a dollop of jalapeno mustard-sour cream sauce nestled inside a soft flour tortilla.

For your taco fiesta, just set out the tortillas, salsa and other toppings and let everyone help themselves to a fun and delicious dinner.

For other versatile recipes, visit AuntNellies.com.

Chicken Soft Tacos with Pickled Beet Salsa

Prep time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

Salsa:

  • 1          jar (16 ounces) Aunt Nellie’s Baby Whole Pickled Beets
  • 2          tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 2          tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1          tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon ground black pepper

Tacos:

  • 1/3       cup sour cream
  • 1          tablespoon jalapeno mustard
  • 4          soft flour tortillas (6-inch diameter)
  • 2          cups fresh arugula
  • 2          cups chopped cooked rotisserie chicken (hot or cold)
  • 1/4       cup crumbled queso fresco
  1. To make salsa: drain beets and chop. In medium bowl, combine beets, onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper.
  2. To make tacos: In small bowl, stir together sour cream and mustard; set aside.
  3. On one half of each tortilla, place equal amounts of salsa, arugula, chicken and cheese. Top with dollops of mustard-sour cream. Fold over.

Substitution: Sliced pickled beets or three single-serve cups of Aunt Nellie’s Diced Pickled Beets may be substituted for baby whole pickled beets.

Nutritional information per serving: 380 calories; 20 g protein; 28 g carbohydrates;
20 g total fat; 650 mg sodium; 80 mg cholesterol; 1 g dietary fiber; 2 mg iron; 0.15 mg thiamin;
460 IU vitamin A; 4 mg vitamin C.

SOURCE:
Aunt Nellie’s

Mix Up Something Eclectic

(Family Features) For most homes, there’s one room that serves as the hub of all activity. From preparing mouthwatering meals to entertaining a house full of guests to grabbing a few minutes to relax with a mug of steaming coffee, the kitchen is the place where it all happens. That’s why such careful planning is necessary when you set out to redesign this essential living space.

Layout

Arguably the most important decision is the overall layout of the kitchen, defining which appliances will go where and what architectural details – such as windows and doors – need to be integrated into the plans. Determining how many and what kind of cabinets you need can be even more complex, and contemporary design can help open up plenty of options.

In the past, cabinetry was fairly straightforward. Lower cabinets were topped with a counter, then a backsplash and a matching set of cabinets above. These days, design is far less predictable, and introducing variety through the cabinetry is a savvy designer’s trick to grab attention. The comprehensive product lines from Wellborn Cabinet, Inc. make it easy to mix diverse finishes, door styles and wood species to blend different design techniques while achieving an eclectic but cohesive feel.

For example, you could pair complementary styles and colors for the upper and lower cabinets, or create some contrast between the perimeter and island to capture an on-trend, eye-catching look that is anything but boring. You can also rely on varying heights and sizes to create more visual variety.

Color

A more eclectic kitchen style brings plenty of character on its own, so a color palette that lets the architectural and structural details really shine is more appropriate than bold splashes of vibrant color. That said, there’s still plenty of room to create visual interest and integrate multiple hues to give the room extra depth and charm.

Subtle shades of gray may be just the ticket. Gray cabinetry has grown in popularity in recent years. In fact, more than two-thirds of designers believe gray is the fastest growing color trend in cabinetry, according to data from RICKI Research. The Nature Collection from Wellborn Cabinet is one way to achieve this look. The line of gray paints and stains is available in one stain option and two paint options, allowing for nearly endless possibilities, especially when you consider integrating a standout color to make a feature like an island countertop really pop.

Function

While the exterior of the cabinets is what you (and your guests) will appreciate when they first enter the room, it’s what lies hidden behind doors that makes a good kitchen truly great. After spending so much time creating the perfect look, your kitchen demands the right tools and enhancements to make it functional. The trick is to look for unexpected ways to add practical performance.

For example, a shallow drawer is an ideal location for kitchen knives so you can free up counter space from a bulky butcher block. A slotted wood knife drawer is the perfect solution to securely hold each of your knives and help prevent dull blades and cut fingers.

If you’re stuck with an awkward space, look for creative ways to make it work for you. For example, a narrow gap could be closed with a unique pull-out cabinet, such as Wellborn Cabinet’s Base Canister Organizer Pullout Cabinet, which holds three small, one medium and three large containers. The quart containers are included with this canister organizer when ordered direct from the company.

Storage

Keeping what’s inside your cabinets organized only adds to a newly redesigned kitchen’s enhanced function. One often-overlooked solution is using drawers for pots and pans. The ability to store each pot with its corresponding lid eliminates the jumbled stacks and hard-to-reach pieces common in many kitchens. Extra-deep drawers, paired with drawer storage options provide sectioned, adjustable options depending upon size of pots and pans. Another option: an adjustable wood board peg system that lets you customize the peg locations to fit your pots and pans just right.

Find more inspiration and planning tools to create the contemporary kitchen of your dreams at wellborn.com.

Going Gray

Gray may be neutral, but today’s designers know that the subtle hue is anything but dull. Follow these tips to help make the most of this versatile shade.

  1. Although a sleek and modern design may be the first look you envision with gray, you can also create warm, cozy spaces by using materials like wood and rich tones such as red, yellow and orange.
  2. Avoid overdoing bold accent colors, which can overpower the gray and make a room seem busy. Rely on lighting and white accents, such as countertops and backsplashes, to add some brightness to the room.
  3. If the idea of going all gray is overwhelming, opt instead to do a statement piece in gray, such as an island or other feature element you want to showcase.

SOURCE:
Wellborn Cabinet, Inc.

Banish Biting Season

(Family Features) As the weather gets warmer, mosquitoes can prevent homeowners from reaping the benefits of living life outside.

According to a Harris Poll conducted on behalf of TruGreen, 85 percent of Americans say that mosquitoes limit their family’s outdoor activities during the months they’re most active. The same survey also found that nearly two-thirds of Americans are concerned about protecting themselves and their family from Zika or other mosquito-borne illnesses.


A majority of respondents reported using bug spray on themselves and their family members to combat mosquitoes outdoors at home. Although it’s the leading preventative measure, still only half say it is most effective at preventing mosquitoes from biting.

Depending on where you live, the mosquito biting season lasts 5-7 months. If spray isn’t adequate to combat the mosquitoes at your home, it may be necessary to take additional measures.

These tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the pest control experts at TruGreen can help combat mosquitoes outside of the home:

Remove standing water. Mosquitoes generally lay eggs near water, so once a week take time to dump anything that may hold water in the yard. This includes buckets, kiddie pools and birdbaths. Don’t overlook items like toys, planters and flowerpot saucers. For containers intended to hold water, like cisterns or rain barrels, regularly check that the lid is secure so mosquitoes can’t gain access. A finely woven mesh is a good alternative if there is no lid. If you can’t cover the container and won’t be drinking from it, use a larvicide to treat the water.

Be wary of unexpected reservoirs. Natural features such as shrubbery and tree stumps can also collect water, and they may be more difficult to remedy. Keep dense shrubs thinned and pruned. Increasing the air flow can make these areas less attractive. If removing a tree stump is impractical, a professional can guide you in proper treatment.

Apply a broad-application pest eliminator. Use an outdoor insect spray or professional service to kill mosquitoes in areas where they rest all over the yard. A professionally applied treatment such as TruGreen Mosquito Defense targets pests where they live, and the company’s professionally trained specialists use an innovative mosquito control formula to treat all areas of the yard where mosquitoes hide, including trees, shrubs, mulched areas and all types of ground cover.

“Mosquitoes are a nuisance for many of our customers, inhibiting the time they can spend enjoying outdoor activities,” said John Bell, board certified entomologist and TruGreen regional technical manager. “Most people protect against mosquitoes by using a repellant or citronella candles, but these methods do not target the places mosquitoes hide including low-hanging limbs, ornamental foliage, potted plants and ground cover. The TruGreen Mosquito Defense treatment program targets these places, eradicating the mosquito population in homeowners’ yards and allowing people to spend more time living life outside.”

Make regular rounds to spot trouble. Humans are creatures of habit, and that can mean certain areas of the yard receive much less traffic than other spots. Take time each week to tour the entire yard and keep an eye out for potential pest problems, including standing water in containers or low spots in the ground.

Mosquitoes’ favorite Habitats

Because mosquitoes typically lay their eggs near water, places in the yard where water can pool up are often desired breeding grounds. These areas of stagnating water allow the mosquitoes a favorite spot, but there are some other areas around the house to be wary of as potential habitats:

  • Ornamental foliage. Keeping foliage like bushes and brush trimmed properly can help them maintain shape while also exposing them to more sunlight, helping to keep them dry.
  • Low-hanging limbs. Trim limbs to a proper height so that they aren’t so close to the ground, which is more welcoming for mosquitoes.
  • Ground covers. Certain plants, especially those with wide leaves, can sometimes hold water either on the leaf itself or in the axil, which is where the leaf meets the stem.
  • Wood piles. Consider covering your wood pile tightly with a tarp to help block mosquitoes and other pests from invading.
  • Mulched areas. Frequently disturbing mulch with a rake or other garden tool, especially when it’s wet after a rain, can deter mosquitoes from moving in by helping to dry out the underlying mulch.
  • Hanging and potted plants. Just like other objects that can hold standing water, be sure to empty saucers underneath plants that could provide a water source.

For more year-round lawn care tips, visit TruGreen.com/mosquito.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (family dining outdoors)

Illustration courtesy of Getty Images (infographic)

SOURCE:
TruGreen

Slide Into Summer Safety

(Family Features) Summer is a time for playground fun, camping, boating, swimming, biking and other outdoor activities. Longer days mean more time outside and more physical activity, which translates to increased potential for injuries. Playground falls, lawnmower accidents, campfire and fire pit burns are some common childhood injuries that can happen during summer months.

“Sustaining a serious injury can be a life-altering event for a child,” said Chris Smith, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Shriners Hospitals for Children®. “We see patients every day with injuries caused by accidents and we are committed to raising awareness about how to stay safe.”

These tips from Shriners Hospitals for Children can help your family enjoy a fun, injury-free summer.

Go Outside and Play
Outdoor play provides physical and mental health benefits, including opportunities for exercise, creative expression, stress reduction and access to a free and natural source of vitamin D – sunlight. Before sending kids out to play, make sure they are wearing shoes to protect their feet from cuts, scrapes and splinters, and wearing sunscreen to protect against sunburns and harmful ultraviolet rays.

Playground 101
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger every year for playground-related injuries. Before your kids head to the playground, keep these precautions in mind:

  • Choose parks and playgrounds that are appropriate for their age and offer shock-absorbing surfaces.
  • Teach children that pushing and shoving on the playground can result in accidents and injuries.
  • Remind kids to go down the slide one at a time and to wait until the slide is completely clear before taking their turn. Teach them to always sit facing forward with their legs straight in front of them and to never slide down headfirst.
  • Remind children to swing sitting down. Encourage them to wait until the swing stops before getting off and to be careful when walking in front of moving swings.

Make a Safe Splash
While playing poolside may be a blast, Safe Kids Worldwide reports that drowning is the leading cause of injury-related deaths for children ages 1-4 and the third-leading cause of injury-related deaths among those under 19. Additionally, the University of Michigan Health Systems estimate that about 6,000 kids under the age of 14 are hospitalized because of diving injuries each year, with 1 in 5 sustaining a spinal cord injury.

Prevent accidents and injuries with these tips to ensure your family’s safety around water:

  • Instruct children to never swim alone or go near water without an adult present.
  • Give children your undivided attention when they are swimming or near any body of water.
  • Always jump in feet first to check the depth before diving into any body of water.
  • Never dive in the shallow end of the pool or into above-ground pools.

Fun on the Water
Boating, tubing and other water sports can be great fun but can also be dangerous. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, nearly 71 percent of all boating fatalities are drownings, 85 percent of which are a result of not wearing a life jacket. Here is what you can do to enjoy the water safely:

  • Always have children wear a Coast Guard-approved, properly fitted life jacket while on a boat, around an open body of water or when participating in water sports.
  • Educate yourself. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 86 percent of boating accident deaths involve boaters who have not completed a safety course.
  • Always check water conditions and forecasts before going out on the water.

Fire Safety Simplified
According to the CDC, more than 300 children ages 19 and under are treated in emergency rooms for fire- and burn-related injuries each day. Use these tips to help keep children safe around fires, fireworks, grills and other heat sources:

  • Teach kids to never play with matches, gasoline, lighter fluid or lighters. Make a habit of placing these items out of the reach of young children.
  • Do not leave children unattended near grills, campfires, fire pits or bonfires. Always have a bucket of water or fire extinguisher nearby whenever there is an open flame.
  • Take your child to a doctor or hospital immediately if he or she is injured in a fire or by fireworks.
  • Leave fireworks to the professionals.

To see more tips, find activity pages and learn how to become a “Superhero of Summer Safety,” visit shrinershospitalsforchildren.org/safesummer.

When the Unexpected Happens
It was a beautiful, sunny day when Jordan Nerski headed to the playground with his mother, like millions of other kids on summer vacation. One minute Jordan was climbing on the jungle gym and the next he was on the ground with a broken elbow.

Accidents like these are why emergency room doctors and staff refer to the summer months as “trauma season.” During these warm, action-packed months, kids spend more hours active and outdoors, often without adult supervision, increasing the chance of injury. When these accidents occur, parents want the best care possible for their children.

Jordan’s mother Jackie received a recommendation from a friend who suggested that she bring her son to the Shriners Hospital for Children — Portland walk-in fracture clinic.

“The experience we had was truly amazing,” Jackie Nerski said. “It was a stressful time since he was in a lot of pain, but everyone from the greeter at check-in to the doctor made it the best experience.”

A simple and streamlined process, Jordan, equipped with an X-ray documenting his break, was checked-in at the fracture clinic, treated and casted in under 2 hours. Jordan returned with his mother for follow-up visits to ensure his elbow was healing properly and they found every visit to be stress-free and informative.

“At each visit, every care was taken for his comfort and to answer all my questions to appease my anxiety,” Jackie Nerski said. “It was an experience that was fantastic; though one I hope we don’t need again, but if we do, we know where to go.”

Including the Portland location, there are 22 Shriners Hospitals for Children in the United States, Canada and Mexico that provide specialized care to children with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate, regardless of the families’ ability to pay. Of these 22 hospitals, 13 also offer walk-in fracture clinics.

SOURCE:
Shriners Hospitals for Children

Beyond the Flame

(Family Features) Just ask any dad, he’s sure to agree: a perfectly seasoned steak flame-kissed to perfection is one of the great pleasures of summer grilling. This Father’s Day, you may be able to teach dad a few tricks of your own.

Start by selecting a premium-quality steak like those from Omaha Steaks, which are aged at least 21 days to reach the peak of tenderness then flash frozen to stay that way. Then take that guaranteed quality to the grill and try a new method, such as slow, steady smoking, for an ultimate flavor experience.

Gas or Charcoal Grill

For gas grill, ignite one burner and leave others off. Adjust side burner until thermometer in grill lid reads 400° F. Place smoking box or foil pouch of wood chips over ignited burner. Place steak on grate over burners that are off. Keep grill covered and maintain temperature at 400° F.

For charcoal grill, arrange hot coals evenly on one side of charcoal grate. Add wood chunks to coals and allow to smoke 10 minutes. Place drip pan with water in center of grate to keep drippings from burning. Place cooking grate over coals and place steak on grate, centered over drip pan. Place lid on grill. Adjust air vents to bring temperature to 400° F.

Face side with filet mignon away from hottest portion of grill; larger side should be facing heat source. Smoke 40-55 minutes for medium-rare 48-ounce T-bone steak. Flip steak one time, halfway through cooking time. Verify temperature using kitchen thermometer before removing from grill. If desired, finish exterior of smoked steak over direct heat 1-2 minutes per side once it reaches desired temperature. Allow steak to rest 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Kettle or Bullet Smoker

Arrange hot coals evenly on one bottom of smoker grate. Add wood chunks to coals and allow to smoke 10 minutes. Place drip pan with water under rack. Place cooking grate over coals and place steak on cooking grate centered over drip pan. Place lid on smoker. Adjust air vents to maintain 250° F.

A medium-rare 48-ounce T-bone steak rested at room temperature for 1 hour prior to cooking should require 1 hour-1 hour and 15 minutes to reach proper temperature, which can be verified with a kitchen thermometer. If desired, finish exterior of smoked steak over direct heat 1-2 minutes per side once it reaches desired temperature. Allow steak to rest 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

7 Steps to Great Steak

Achieve steakhouse-worthy results at home with these tips from Omaha Steaks Executive Chef Grant Hon.

  1. Proper preparation. Clean and heat your grill to high. Make sure to oil grates after cleaning.
  2. Prepare your steaks. Pat steaks dry and season food before grilling. Use sea salt and freshly cracked pepper or a complete steak seasoning or rub.
  3. Searing. Sear steaks over high heat and avoid moving them before they’re fully seared on all sides to protect flavor and juiciness.
  4. Handling steaks on the grill. Use tongs or a spatula to turn meat on the grill; poking with a fork can damage the meat.
  5. Controlling your cook. Close grill cover as much as possible while cooking to maintain a temperature around 450° F. This helps lock in flavor and prevent flare-ups. After determining the amount of time you’ll need to reach your desired doneness, use the 60/40 grilling method. Grill 60 percent on the first side then 40 percent after you turn the steak over for an even cook.
  6. Juiciness. After grilling, allow steaks to rest tented with foil for 5 minutes between cooking and serving. This lets juices redistribute for the best-tasting and juiciest steak.
  7. Finish and enjoy. Garnish steak and serve with style. Add colors, textures and flavors to make perfectly grilled steak even more memorable.

Find tips to make your summer grilling great at omahasteaks.com.

Beef on Steak Salt

Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

  • 1          Omaha Steaks T-Bone (30 ounces)
  • 1          package (3 ounces) Omaha Steaks Original Beef Jerky
  • 3          tablespoons kosher salt
  1. Thaw steak 24-48 hours in refrigerator.
  2. Using box grater finely shred enough beef jerky to yield 2 tablespoons; mix with kosher salt. Pat steak dry on both sides and season with 1-1 1/2 tablespoons jerky salt. Allow seasoned steak to sit 45 minutes-1 hour, uncovered, at room temperature.
  3. Heat gas or charcoal grill to 450° F and oil grates to prevent sticking.
  4. Grill to desired doneness based on thickness of steak. Let steak rest 5 minutes.
  5. Garnish steak with remaining jerky salt.

Smoked King Cut T-Bone

  • 1          Omaha Steaks King Cut T-Bone (48 ounces)
  • 1          tablespoon Omaha Steaks Steak Seasoning
  • 2          tablespoons kosher salt
  1. Thaw steak in refrigerator 48-72 hours.
  2. Remove steak from vacuum packaging. Prepare dry brine by combining steak seasoning and salt and rubbing into meat on both sides. Place meat on wire rack uncovered; refrigerate 18-24 hours or overnight.

Tip: If time doesn’t allow for overnight brining, let rubbed steak sit on wire rack at room temperature at least 1 hour.

Cook to desired doneness with preferred indirect grilling method, placing food next to, instead of directly over, the fire.

SOURCE:
Omaha Steaks

Bring Brunch Home

(Family Features) There’s no denying that brunch is a popular favorite, but you don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home to enjoy a delicious spread with family and friends.

Enjoy this weekend luxury every day and bring brunch home with premium ingredients like Smithfield’s Hometown Original Bacon, Anytime Favorites Diced Ham and Fresh Breakfast Sausage.

Delight friends and family with a full spread of mouthwatering recipes like Sausage and Egg Tarts dressed with Asparagus and Tomatoes, Cheesy Bacon Jalapeno Corn Muffins, Cinnamon French Toast Sausage Roll-Ups and Scrambled Eggs and Ham in a Waffle Cup. Then enhance your menu with options for customization like jams, butters and toppings to make brunch at home unique and unforgettable.

Boost Brunch with a Bloody Mary Bar
Premium ingredients and worthwhile recipes are a great way to make brunch at home, and adding a Bloody Mary bar to the mix is one way to give your spread extra flair. Provide your guests multiple options for toppings so they can perfectly customize their adult beverages with garnishes like these:

  • Salt (plain or flavored)
  • Pepper
  • Horseradish
  • Smithfield Hometown Original Bacon
  • Celery stalks
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Hot sauces
  • Stuffed olives
  • Pickled green beans
  • Pickle spears
  • Onions
  • Cheese cubes
  • Cherry tomatoes

For more brunch and entertaining recipe inspiration, visit Smithfield.com.

Cheesy Bacon Jalapeno Corn Muffins

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1          package (16 ounces) Smithfield Hometown Original Bacon
  • 3/4       cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4       cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 1          cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2          eggs
  • 6          tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3       cup honey
  • 3/4       cup milk or buttermilk
  • 1          can corn kernels, drained
  • 2          medium jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1          medium jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
  1. Heat oven to 375° F.
  2. Line rimmed baking pan with foil and set lightly sprayed baking rack in pan. Cut bacon crosswise into thirds and lay out bacon strips on rack, being careful not to overlap slices. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until bacon has just begun to crisp. Remove from oven and drain on paper towels. Increase oven temperature to 400° F.
  3. In large bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and cheese until well mixed.
  4. In small bowl, whisk eggs until frothy and stir in melted butter, honey and milk. Add milk mixture to dry ingredients and stir until combined. Fold in corn and diced jalapeno and reserve.
  5. Lightly spray or butter 12-cup muffin tin and line each cup with two slices of bacon. Evenly divide muffin batter into cups, filling about three-fourths full and top with remaining bacon and sliced jalapeno. Bake muffins 20 minutes, or until golden brown, using toothpick to test doneness. Let cool briefly, remove muffins from tin and serve while still warm.

Sausage and Egg Tarts with Asparagus and Tomatoes

  • Flour, for dusting
  • 1          package (about 1 pound) frozen prepared puff pastry, thawed
  • 9          eggs, brought to room temperature for 30 minutes, divided
  • 1          teaspoon water
  • 1          Smithfield Hometown Original Fresh Sausage Roll, sliced into 8 patties, cooked and halved
  • 1          pound fresh asparagus spears, cut into pieces
  • 1          pint grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2       cup shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. On lightly floured surface, roll out pastry and cut into eight 4-5-inch squares and transfer to greased or parchment-lined baking sheets spaced about 1 inch apart. Using small knife, lightly score line 1/2-inch inside edges of squares to create framed border. With fork, prick several holes in center of pastry squares.
  3. Bake squares 7-8 minutes, or until pastry has puffed substantially yet not begun to brown. Remove from oven and immediately tamp down centers inside of scored line carefully with back of fork.
  4. Lightly beat 1 egg with water and brush outside frames of pastry with egg wash. Slightly overlapping framed pastry borders, equally divide and arrange sausage, asparagus and tomatoes in pastry squares, leaving centers open for eggs. Top each with cracked egg, seasoning with salt and pepper and sprinkling with cheese, if desired.
  5. Return to oven and bake 8-10 minutes, or until puff pastry is golden brown and eggs have just set. Let cool slightly and transfer tarts with spatula to serving plate and serve warm.

Cinnamon French Toast Sausage Roll-Ups

  • 12        Smithfield Fresh Sausage Links
  • 2          eggs
  • 2/3       cup milk
  • 3          tablespoons almond liquor (optional)
  • 1/2       teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6          slices whole-wheat bread, crust removed and cut in half
  • 3          tablespoons butter
  1. Cook sausage according to package directions; keep warm.
  2. Beat together eggs, milk, almond liquor and cinnamon. Dip one bread slice half in egg mixture and wrap around one sausage link. Press bread edges together where they overlap to keep from unrolling. Repeat with remaining bread and sausage links.
  3. Heat large skillet over medium heat; add butter and let melt. Place French toast-wrapped sausages in skillet, seam-side down. Cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes total.

Scrambled Eggs and Ham in a Waffle Cup

  • 6          eggs
  • 1/2       cup milk
  • 1/2       cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 1/2       teaspoon pepper
  • 2          cups Smithfield Honey Cured Boneless Ham Steak, diced
  • 1          tablespoon butter
  • 8          waffle cups (4 ounces each)
  • 4          teaspoons maple syrup, warm, divided
  • 1          teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  1. In bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cheese, salt and pepper; stir in ham.
  2. In 10-inch, nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add egg mixture; reduce heat to medium-low.
  3. Using wooden spoon, scrape eggs from edges of pan to center. Continue stirring eggs 3-5 minutes, or until fluffy.
  4. Scoop 1/2 cup warm scrambled eggs into waffle cup and drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup. Garnish with fresh thyme leaves. Repeat for each waffle cup.

SOURCE:
Smithfield