Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cut Your Gasoline Costs And Save Some Bucks!

Most of us drive our cars every day and fill the tanks with gas much too often. With gas prices fluctuating wildly over the last couple of years, it’s clear that anything we can do to cut our gas costs will save us big bucks in the long run.

Some things, like driving slower, are common sense solutions, but there are a more options that are less-known, and this article addresses those.

Here are eight simple ways to drive your way to cost savings….

1.  Tighten your gas cap….

Always ensure that your cap clicks into place. This means that the cap is tight and your gasoline won’t evaporate. Gasoline costs too much to allow it to evaporate into the air. Also, a friend of mine took her SUV to the dealership because the “Service Engine Soon” light was one. It was caused by the gasoline cap not being clicked into place. So, not tightening her gasoline cap cost her much more than just evaporated gasoline.

2.  Avoid premium gasoline….

Most cars are engineered to run perfectly fine on regular gasoline. Paying more the premium is like pouring your money down the drain.

3.  Purchase your gasoline at the coolest time of the day….

Usually early morning or night purchases are best. When it’s warm, gasoline expands and gas pumps charge by volume, so you will get more gasoline for the money if you fill up when it’s cooler.

4.  Fill your tank less….

Fill up only when you have a quarter tank or less of gasoline (or if you notice gas prices have dropped). The lighter your car, the better gasoline mileage it will get, and a tank of gasoline is very heavy, to drive more when your car is lighter and resist the temptation to fill up at a half-tank. Again, the exception to this rule is if you notice that the price has dropped and you want to take advantage of that.

5.  Don’t idle….

Idling for a minute or more wastes a lot of gasoline. It costs less to turn off the engine and restart the car if you are waiting for more than a minute.

6.  Shut off the air conditioning….

Air conditioning uses gasoline. If you shut off the air conditioning 5 or 10 minutes before you arrive at your destination, you will save a little money. In the Spring and Fall seasons, turn off the air conditioning and use the “outside air” option on your system, if available.

7.  Don’t warm up….

It’s unnecessary to warm up your car for more than 30 seconds on cold days, and it’s a big gas waster. The only things you accomplish by warming up your car are air pollution and wasting money. So, let your car warm up while you are putting on your seat belt, and that will be sufficient.

8.  Steer away from left turns….

Waiting to turn left wastes gasoline, and left turns are more dangerous than right turns. UPS drivers are trained to take routes that avoid left turns, and you should, too.

So, with a little extra attention you can cut your gasoline costs and help the environment as well.

Happy driving!

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Friday Dog Blog

Are we ready for the weekend?  Here is a big dog to help you get in the mood....

Cassie from Florida is a beautiful Great Dane whose specialty is etiquette.  Here you see Cassie giving instruction on the proper way to sit on a couch....

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Knit For Your Health?

Healthy living is not all about food and exercise.  We all need calming influences to combat the everyday stresses and struggles of normal living.  Often people will find their calm in a hobby.  Hobbies can range from gaming systems to coin collecting, but one hobby that has exploded in popularity over the past few years is knitting.

Knitting (and crocheting) keeps hands busy while freeing up the person to talk, watch television, sit in a waiting room, take a car ride, listen to a speech or any number of other things.  Many believe that the activity provides a calm environment in a crazy world.  Maybe there's something to it.  Knitting "wool" is soft, warm and colorful, and the clack of the needles is somehow comforting.  Not to mention that, no matter what object is being knitted, progress is being made and in the end the knitter will have something nice to show for his/her work.

All kinds of things can be knitted or crocheted.  I decided to take up knitting in November, when my five pound pup had to make trips to the frigid backyard and needed a sweater.  A trip to Petsmart was enough to encourage me to learn to knit the sweaters for her.  A plain sweater the size of a postage stamp cost me over $20.00, and she grew out of that one in a month.

A trip to Michaels for a set of needles, a couple skeins of yarn and a "how to knit" booklet, and I was set to go.  My first project would be a jaunty red scarf.  This pattern uses only one stitch, the garter stitch.  This stitch is so easy that I suspect a baboon could pick it up in 5 minutes, but it was more challenging for me than I care to admit.  The scarf was to be 56 inches, which seemed pretty easy at the time.  Almost 3 months later, I am up to 46 inches and the end is in sight.

I have to say, knitting is very calming and soothing after a long day at work.  I am already thinking about the next project, where I will add yet another stitch to my small knitting font of knowledge.

Knitting or crocheting is cheap and, really, pretty easy to learn.  Plus, you can get your Christmas gifts taken care of early and lower your blood pressure at the same time.  It's worth a try!

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Monday Recipe Blog

Hello....This is a little bit of a different recipe today. It's an instruction on how to make sour cherry jam.... We are stuck in the doldrums of February, and the groundhog gave us no hope, so we need something to look forward to - something to remind us that summer is coming, it's really coming....

When warm weather finally arrives and fruits and berries are in season, visit your local farmers' market and pick up a supply. In addition to enjoying these luscious treats now, you can also preserve them to eat during the long, cold winter.

Freezing is an option if you have room for a freezer, but a terrific alternative is canning, which isn't as challenging as you may have heard.

For most fruits and berries, a water bath canner is the only special equipment you will need, since they are adequately acidic. If you want to add vegetable canning to your skill set, you will need a pressure canner or freezer, since most vegetables do not contain enough acid to use a water bath canner.

Cherries normally come into season around July 1.

Sour Cherry Jam:

Things You'll Need:

Water canner, available at most hardware stores and discount stores like Wal Mart for $20-30.00.
powdered pectin such as Sure-Jel, available at discount or grocery stores
Jars, rings, lids, available at most hardware stores and discount stores.

Read the directions on your box of powdered pectin (I use Sure-Jel for low or no sugar jam/jelly)very carefully. You will learn that it takes 5 cups of pitted, chopped cherries to make about 6 pints of jam. You should make one batch at a time.

Wash your jars in a dishwasher earlier and leave them in there to stay warm until you need them. Get your water canner on the stove first, and turn it on high. The canner will be 1/2 to 2/3 full of water, which will take quite a while to boil. If you start with hot water, that will cut some time. Put the lid on it to speed up the process.Follow the pectin directions on how to prepare your lids and rings, and do this before you start cooking your fruit.

Cook the cherries while the water is heating in your canner.

Cook the fruit, adding the pectin and sugar exactly as directed. Following the recipe is very important when canning. When the fruit is ready, spoon it into the jars quickly. Run a knife around the jar to remove air bubbles. Make sure the top of the jar is clean with no spilled fruit before you place the lid and screw on the ring.

Load the canner rack with the 6 jars and lower it into the water. Replace the lid and watch it carefully for when it begins boiling again. Boil for 10 minutes. Remove the jars from the rack using tongs, and place them on the counter. Listen for the pops of the jar lids as they seal.

When all the jars have sealed and cooled, label the lids with a Sharpie pen, be sure and add the year, as canned produce will last for several years. Store them in a cool, dry cupboard or pantry. Refrigerate after opening.

This is a great way to enjoy fruit and berries all year long, while cutting down on your food budget. Your very small investment will pay off in many ways, and your local farmers and community will benefit as well. What's more, you will help the environment by not purchasing foods grown hundreds of miles away, canned in a factory and trucked to your town. And there's something really satisfying about preserving food.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Have You Ever Been Curious About Old Order Amish?

The Old Order Amish church is a Christian denomination that split from the more liberal Amish Mennonites in the mid-1800’s. The first thing that usually springs to our minds when we hear Old Order Amish is the severe black buggy seen in so many pictures, but there is so much more to the Old Order Amish than their mode of transportation and their unique dress.

There is a large population of Old Order Amish in my home state of Oklahoma. They settled in the tiny town of Clarita, and live among the non-Amish farmers and ranchers as valued members of the community. It is easy to dismiss the Old Order Amish as a fringe of our society, but before we do this, we should try to understand them. The following are a few tips on how to understand the Old Order Amish….

There are Old Order Amish communities in 27 states and Ontario, Canada. They live in close proximity to each other, on large farms usually in isolated areas.

A family might open a retail business that attracts other Amish (such as a buggy shop), the general public (grocery store, Amish furniture store) or tourists (quilt store or Amish bakery, generally on a well-traveled highway).

Although they will not accept electricity or phone service in their homes, the Old Order Amish will sometimes have these in a retail business if necessary.

Most of the Old Order Amish are descendants of Amish who migrated to America in the 1700’s from Germany or Switzerland. The Amish name is taken from founder Jakob Ammann, born in the mid-1600’s in Switzerland, who believed that the Mennonites were going away from traditional teachings. The first Amish settled in Pennsylvania. In the mid-1860’s the Old Order Amish split from the Amish Mennonites over what they felt was an acceptance of modernization by the Amish Mennonites.

Old Order Amish are Christians who use the Bible. They live by a set of rules called the Ordnung, which sets out their way of life and which must be obeyed by every member. Old Order Amish do not accept government payments of any kind, including Medicare and Social Security. They do not buy insurance, use line electricity or telephones in their homes and refuse to serve in the military. They do not own automobiles, and most do not own tractors. Horses provide the horsepower, literally. However, they will ride in automobiles and use battery-powered appliances and gas-fueled generators in their homes.

Old Order Amish have a strict dress code and most do not allow zippers or belts. Most clothing is made in the home.

Family is extremely important to Old Order Amish, and both the father and mother take big roles in child care and nurturing. They believe in spanking children if necessary. Divorce is non-existent, and elderly parents are generally cared for in the home of one of their children.

Education is usually ended after the eighth grade, and older girls generally serve as teachers. Usually a community-built school in an isolated location will serve all of the children. The Amish speak a German dialect called Pennsylvania German as well as English. Pennsylvania German is always spoken in the home and with other Amish – learning English is just for the benefit of communicating with non-Amish.

Normally the Old Order Amish do not build churches but rather hold services in members’ homes. Sunday services are generally an all-day event, with a big community lunch being served on the lawn.

Old Order Amish do not usually allow pictures to be taken of them, since this is considered a sin of vanity. When I take their pictures, I usually take them from the back of the person.

When you see the Amish suffering in the heat of the summer with no air conditioning or shivering in their buggies during the snowy season, it’s difficult to understand why anyone would choose this life. However, they seem to be very happy and content, always smiling and friendly.

There is much, much more to the Old Order Amish than what this article can cover. If you would like to know more, there is a wealth of information on the Internet.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Friday Dog Blog

Happy Friday - TGIF!! Here's a dog for your entertainment....

When we last saw Bill's Bella, the Brittany Spaniel was deep into reading a novel.  She also loves to travel to the exotic places that she reads about and saves her owner big bucks in doggie airline fees by packing away into luggage.  Nice!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Promote Your Fellow Church Members' Health

Your church is a bully pulpit in more ways than one. We are facing a serious health crisis in our country, and churches have a wonderful opportunity to step forward and lend a hand.

The first step is to talk about it. A small committee of interested people is always good to get things done. The following are some ideas for them to consider...Encourage and talk about exercise:Start an after-church walking club. Start an after-church aerobics class, using a popular aerobics video. Check with your local fitness club to see if they would offer reduced membership fees for church members.

Encourage and talk about healthy eating: Have a once-a-month farmer’s market after church, inviting local farmers as well as church member gardeners to fill tables with healthy produce for sale.Start a church garden on church property, and sign up members to work in the garden in exchange for future bounty. If your church has a website, post a healthy living tip of the week.

Encourage and talk about weight loss: Have a horseshoes tournament after church.Allow members to post their weight goals and progress on the church bulletin board (but don’t pressure them to do it).

Start a stop smoking support group at your church.

Start slowly and add activities as you go along. Hopefully the pastor will frequently mention healthy living in his/her messages and will open up the dialogue. Creating and working a healthy living plan for your church could be fun and might open up a whole new world.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Monday Recipe Blog

What a great Monday - How about a really healthy snack recipe - Healthy Pecan/Apricot Trail Mix

Here is a great snack to take to work or pack in your child’s lunch box. It’s super-healthy, combining dried fruit with pecans, coconut and oats, among other things.  It's a snack that you don't have to feel guilty about!

My mother had the best apricot tree in her yard.  Every year or so it would produce bushels and bushels of the best apricots I've ever tasted.  We froze as much as the freezer would hold, and had fried apricot pies all winter long.  Finally the terrific tree blew over in a huge Oklahoma wind. 

This mix is also great to take along on trips. Mix some up, put it in separate zip-lock bags and pass them out to your fellow travelers.

Here is the recipe for Pecan/Apricot Trail Mix….


2 1/2 Cups rolled oats

3 Tablespoons wheat germ

2 Tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes, shredded

1 Teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 Cup chopped pecans

1 Cup apple juice

1/2 Cup dried apricots, chopped

Grease 3 baking sheets lightly with olive oil and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix in a large bowl the oats, wheat germ, coconut, pecans, cinnamon and apple juice.

Spread all of this out on the three baking sheets.

Bake 25 minutes. Stir once in a while, and remove when the mix is evenly browned.

Let cool, then stir in the dried apricots.

Store in an airtight container up to a month.

Tip: This can also be used as your morning cereal, served with milk or soy milk.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Have A Great Trip On I-40 Texas to Oklahoma City

If you are planning a trip that will take you on Interstate 40 east through Oklahoma, you will find some terrific places to stop between the Texas border and Oklahoma City. OKC is the approximate half-way point if you are traveling all the way across the state.

I-40 is a major west-east highway, beginning in Barstow, California and ending in Wilmington, North Carolina. It is 331 miles across Oklahoma. I-40 from the Texas border to OKC parallels or crosses old historic Route 66.

If you like to stop at casinos, you may never get out of Oklahoma. You will see numerous signs for casinos, more as you go further east from the west, and you can check them all out. There is a particularly well-known one on this stretch, which is noted in this post.

If you are going from the west to the east, you will first encounter the flat Oklahoma, entering from flat Texas. There are really two Oklahomas – the Dust Bowl area, which encompasses this stretch of I-40, and the green area, which is the half of Oklahoma east of Oklahoma City. If you are traveling across the entire state, you will definitely notice the difference!

Cherokee Trading Post - Near Clinton is the Cherokee Trading Post on the north side of I-40. You HAVE to pull off here and wander around. It’s a great place to pick up a pair of moccasins or a nice piece of authentic native American art. (Note: This is NOT where the Cherokees settled after the Trail of Tears – that’s Talequah, on the northeast side of the state, and I-40 does not go through it.)

Red Rock Canyon - After that, keep an eye peeled for Hinton, and take the exit south. Hinton is just a few miles, and it is home to a really nice place to have a picnic and as much exploration as you have time for. It’s called Red Rock Canyon, and the signs will point you there. You will wind your way down into the canyon, which is walled with gorgeous red rock. This was a favorite hide-away for the numerous outlaws that roamed Oklahoma in the wild west days, and you can easily see why.

Back on the road, you will pass Yukon, where Garth Brooks grew up, and El Reno, home to historic Fort Reno, which is worth pulling off to see if you have time. If you stop in El Reno to see Fort Reno, be sure and pick up some world-famous onion-burgers. El Reno is known for its onion-burgers, and for good reason. There are several onion-burger joints there, most of them old and small, and all of them are really good.

Casino Alert!! Just a few miles north of El Reno on Highway 81 is the Lucky Star Casino.

On I-40 again, you are almost immediately in the Oklahoma City metro area after you pass El Reno.

OKC is a treasure trove of great places, many of them right off of the Interstate. Here are a few: Bricktown – This is an area immediate to I-40 that has numerous excellent eating joints ….Chilenos - Mexican, T. Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill - Barbeque, The Mantle – Upscale steak place, Bricktown Brewery – Brewpub, and many, many more.

Bricktown has Seg-Ways, horse-drawn buggies and rickshaws that you can use to see the sights (for a modest price).

Take a ride on the Bricktown canal boat for a great view of everything.

Bricktown is home to the Oklahoma Redhawks AAA baseball stadium and the Ford Center, home to the Oklahoma City Thunder professional basketball team. Basketball tickets are not always readily available, so you might consider ordering them in advance if you know when you will be in OKC.

The Oklahoma City Memorial (Murrah Building Bombing) is in walking distance of Bricktown, and Bricktown has numerous ambassadors walking around that will be happy to steer you in the right direction or provide you with maps.

I-40 from the Oklahoma/Texas border to OKC can be an adventure, if you have a little knowledge starting out. While I prefer the I-40 corridor from OKC east to Arkansas, there is a lot to recommend on the Texas to OKC stretch. Preparation and planning are keys.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Friday Dog Blog

Happy Friday, folks, and there is a BIG poodle on the Dog Blog today....

From Eastern Oklahoma, Vicki's Princess Leia is a black beauty that I call the 10 foot tall poodle.  I didn't know they made dog sweaters that big.  I believe those footprints actually belong to her! ;)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Become A Locavore!

A locavore is a person that buys all or a large portion of food that is produced locally – usually within a hundred or so miles from home.
Paying more attention to buying local food helps the farmers, ranchers and your local economy. Even better, eating locally-produced food at home is generally much healthier than purchasing processed foods at the grocery store or your local fast-food restaurant.

Onions are already in the ground in Oklahoma, and St. Patrick's Day will see potatoes being planted all over the Sooner State.  Fresh veggies are fast-approaching.   But no matter where you live, there are tons of locally-produced natural foods - look for the farmers' markets in your town and you will find a gold mine of good taste!

The following are some tips on how to become a locavore….

Make a plan….

You can do this in a hit-or-miss manner, but to be a successful locavore you will need a plan.

Use your local newspaper and the Internet to search and find Farmers’ Markets in your area, and plan to be there early at the next opportunity.

Determine what foods are in season in your area, and concentrate on them when their times come. In the spring you will find lettuce, onions, new potatoes and many other vegetables. In the summer, sweet corn makes its appearance, along with numerous other vegetables and fruits. In the fall comes the squashes, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, apples and other great things.

Buy a food freezer. Food preservation is essential if you are planning to be a serious locavore. If you have the space in your garage or somewhere else, a freezer is a wonderful investment. You can freeze just about every kind of food for use in the winter, when nothing is in season.

Learn to can. You can use a simple water bath canner on many fruits, jellies and jams, because they have sufficient acidity to ward off bacteria. For less acidic foods, including most vegetables, you will need a pressure canner. These can be purchased now at a very reasonable price. Imagine rows and rows of fruits, vegetables, jellies and jams that you preserved yourself! You will save bunches of money on your grocery bill.

When a food is in season, buy it in bulk from your local Farmer’s Market or orchard-owner, then prepare it and preserve it by freezing or canning. Stock up on recipes that feature these foods for later use.

If you eat meat, determine where you can purchase locally-grown meat. This could be at a local ranch or retail store that features locally-grown meat.

Use the Internet to search out a source for local cheeses and milk. You might also find this at the Farmers’ Market.

If you are a fortunate locavore, there will be a local source for whole-grain flour, oats, masa and cornmeal. You may also find a source for healthy cooking oil. The Internet is invaluable for researching these.

If you have motivation and determination, you will find local sources for most major foods. It’s doubtful that your diet will ever be totally locally-produced, because there will be some things that just aren’t produced in your area. Spices, salt and sugar spring to mind.

To be a locavore, you may also have to adjust your food wants and desires, and you will probably be cooking much more than usual. This is not an easy thing to do, and you will need your entire family to be on board. However, if you are serious and make a sincere effort, you will definitely find the locavore experience rewarding, healthy and money-saving.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Monday Recipe Blog

How About Making Some Snow Ice Cream!

Hello everybody and happy Monday.....

In Oklahoma, making snow ice cream when we get a big snowfall is a tradition, as I’m sure it is in a lot of places. With the rough winter we have had here so far, this is a good time for the snow ice cream recipe – it may come in handy when the next blast hits us.
For those of you languishing on the beaches of Florida and Southern California, too bad for you.  This is one of the few perks of living in a place that gets wintery weather every year. 

Snow Ice Cream:

1 c. half and half
1 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. corn starch
1 egg
Pinch of salt
1 Tbsp. vanilla
Clean, fresh snow

Combine all of the ingredients except the snow in a medium saucepan.

Cook over medium heat until the mixture becomes thick.

Remove from heat and cool thoroughly.

Add enough snow to achieve the consistency that you want, mix well and eat quickly.

Snow ice cream actually tastes pretty good, and if there are kids in your household, they will absolutely love it.  Making snow ice cream is something everyone should do at least once in his/her life. It should be on everyone's bucket list.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Can Oklahoma Find A Use For The Red Cedar?

Ok, I will admit up front that I have a strong opinion about Oklahoma's Eastern Red Cedar trees.  I am a tree lover by nature.  Growing up on a ranch, I was surrounded by wonderful people whose main goal in life seemed to be to cut down the forests to make room for more fields.  Yes, I protested loudly and lost every single argument, but I did what I could.  I guess I never lost the fervor.

Surprisingly, my cowboy family didn't seem to mind the little Red Cedars that would spring up here and there - they were more focused on the hated Bois d' Arc trees.  The Bois d' Arcs' thorns would tear at the cowboys and their horses as they rode trails, and the fruit of the tree, the big horseapples, would trip a horse if he didn't look where he was going and stepped on one.  Plus, the wood of the Bois d' Arc was strong and hard, making for terrific fence posts that are still standing on my family's place today - some are sixty years old.

My history with Red Cedar has everything to do with Christmas.  Before my mother fell in love with artificial trees, in mid-December, my dad and I would traipse out to find the perfect Red Cedar for our Christmas tree.  We always chose trees that were too big, according to my mother, but they always looked good.  Maybe it wasn't the perfect Montana pine, but it was definitely Oklahoma, and suited our tastes.  The Red Cedar was the Christmas tree for my grandparents and their parents before them.  Readily available and free for the taking,  I thought they were top-notch.  Still do.

Now I'm hearing that our Red Cedars are considered a scourge for several reasons.  Their wood is oily and they go up like fireworks when they are hit by a spark.  They multiply like crazy, accounting for fields full of little Red Cedars.  Many farmers and ranchers consider them to be weeds.  The State is considering declaring some sort of Cedar Emergency to rid our state of the pests.

Well, fair enough.  I understand the fire hazard, as well as the objections of the farmers.  But could we search a little harder for a solution to the problem?  We have a little business making writing pens and other wood objects from trees in various states, and the best-selling Oklahoma pen by far is the Red Cedar. Bois d' Arc and walnut pens are easily outdistanced by the fragrant and beautiful Red Cedar.  Its wood is absolutely gorgeous.  Have you ever seen a Red Cedar bedroom suite?  Once you do, you won't forget it.  But many of us don't seem to appreciate Red Cedar wood for anything except cedar chests.

I think we have a great cash crop in Red Cedar wood.  If we are going to destroy the trees anyway, why not help our economy while we're at it?  Promote the wood and products made from it.  See what the big furniture makers think.  At least give it a try.  Systematic destruction of this beautiful wood seems unnecessarily silly and rash.  Do we still have an Oklahoma Department of Agriculture?  One would think that they would be interested in promoting the best interests of Oklahoma agriculture, but then, maybe not.

Anyway, I guess that's my rant for the year.  What do you think?  All comments are welcome!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Friday Dog Blog

It's Friday, time for another Dog Blog. Today, Emma's Elly would like to send a big, happy Schnauzer hello to everyone!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Make A Wound Disappear Quickly!

We all get them, a cut of some kind that requires home treatment, but is not serious enough for professional medical care. There are a few simple steps that, if taken, can ensure that your wound will heal quickly with no infection….

Stop the bleeding. Normally bleeding will stop on its own, after coagulating at the source of the wound. If you cannot stop the bleeding or the bleeding is profuse, seek professional medical care as soon as possible. Stop the bleeding by applying gentle but firm pressure to the wound. You can also run cool water over the wound. If that doesn’t work, try applying pressure to the closest pressure point on the body. Inside the thigh and inside the upper arm are two good pressure points.

Cleanse the wound. This is the most important step in wound treatment. If the wound is left with dirt particles in it, an infection may develop quickly. If you cleanse the wound with an antiseptic, you will remove the dirt and kill the germs with one step. If you only have plain soap and water, use that. Hydrogen Peroxide (3%, not the kind that bleaches hair!) is an excellent cleanser, as it foams up and gets deep into the wound. A baking soda solution draws fluid and swelling out of the wound while it cleanses.

Scrub out any dirt particles that you can see. This might be a bit painful, but it’s critical. Scrub vigorously, if necessary. Continue cleaning until you can see no more dirt in the wound. If you cannot get the dirt out of the wound, seek medical advice – don’t just bandage it up with the dirt still in it.

Bandage the wound. If the wound is properly cleaned, using an antibiotic cream is probably not necessary. Use an adhesive bandage of the correct size for the wound, or dress the wound with a larger bandage, if necessary.

Soak the wound twice a day. Use a solution of baking soda – 1 tablespoon dissolved in a cup of warm water. Soak a cloth with the solution and place it on the wound for 10 minutes, twice a day.

Give the wound some air. It’s important that the wound receive fresh air several times a day, for as long as possible. This will speed the healing process.

If you will follow these steps, your wound will be history before you know it!

**Photo by Simon Howden

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Monday Recipe Blog

Happy Monday, everyone.  Here is a really easy recipe for a great and timeless snack food....Super-Spicy Pretzels!

Have you ever tasted pretzels at a party or office gathering that were spicy and just hot enough to get your attention? Most people find these tasty and very, very addictive. Here is a recipe for the tasty snacks and you won’t even have to heat up the oven. Once you make these Super-Spicy Pretzels, they will be your go-to snack for every party…

Super-Spicy Pretzels:

Small pretzels – 1 pound bag (these are sometimes known as Tiny Twists)

1/2 Cup canola oil

1 Tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning

1 Tablespoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 package dry ranch dressing mix

Take a large bag that will hold the pretzels and that you can close once they are all in the bag. A 2 gallon zip lock bag would work.

Mix all of the ingredients except for the pretzels in a medium bowl. When all the ingredients are sufficiently mixed, pour the mixture over the pretzels in the bag.

Shake, shake and shake some more. The more you shake the bag, the better the pretzels will be coated.

That’s it. You will have a pound of very spicy and addictive pretzels to take to your next party or family gathering.