Tag: diy

Homemade Pie Crust Made Easy + Turkey Vegetable Pot Pie Recipe

Pot pie makes for a delicious meal, especially when home cooks go the extra mile and prepare homemade pie crust. Some may be intimidated by the idea of making their own pie crusts, but the following recipe for “Turkey Vegetable Pot Pie with Whole-Wheat Crust” from Michelle Dudash’s “Clean Eating for Busy Families” (Fair Winds) simplifies that process, ensuring a fun and easy time cooking and, ultimately, a delicious meal.

Turkey Vegetable Pot Pie with Whole-Wheat Crust (Serves 6)

For the crust:

1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup corn oil
1/3 cup orange juice

For the filling:

1 carton condensed cream of chicken soup (organic preferred)
1/2 cup low-fat milk
11/4 pound boneless, skinless turkey breast, thinly sliced into bite-size pieces
1 cup thinly sliced carrots (or frozen sliced carrots, thawed)
1 cup leeks, quartered lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise, using white and pale green parts only
3/4 cup thinly sliced celery
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
3 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons dried herbes de
Provence (or 1/2 teaspoon each thyme, rosemary and basil)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

To make the crust: Combine flours and salt in a medium bowl. Pour in oil and orange juice and stir until moistened. Press dough to flatten and chill.
To make the filling: Blend soup and 1/2 cup of milk in a large bowl. Mix in the remaining ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Divide dough into 2 balls, one slightly larger than the other. Roll the larger ball between 2 large sheets of waxed paper until it is 1/8-inch-thick or until it fits in the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan. Remove the top sheet of waxed paper. Turn dough over and carefully place in the pie pan, removing remaining piece of waxed paper. Press out any bubbles and patch holes with scraps of dough. Pour filling into the prepared pan. Roll remaining dough and lay it on top. Cut any excess dough hanging from the edges and crimp the crust between your thumb and forefinger to seal. Cut a heart into the center to allow steam to escape.

Place the pie on a sheet pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until center of crust becomes golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the pie’s center reaches 165 F, covering browned edges only with foil about halfway through cooking. Remove the pie from the oven and allow it to rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting.

The Best Ways to Cheer on Favorite Sports Teams

Autumn weather calls to mind sipping warm cider and raking leaves. But for sports fans, fall is all about sports.

American football, field hockey, ice hockey, and basketball are just a few of the sports that make autumn an exciting time for sports fans.

Even the most ardent fan may have room for improvement when it comes to supporting his or her team. Here are a few ideas to make cheering for a favorite team even more enjoyable.

Attend a game

Fans who never get to see their team play in person may miss out on a unique experience. The atmosphere and energy of sitting in a stadium or arena cannot compete with a television simulcast. Ardent fans can resolve to attend a game in person this season. Enroll in employee entertainment clubs to receive discounts on sports tickets among other types of entertainment.

Host a game watch

Build camaraderie with fellow fans by hosting a game watch. A routine sports night is a great way to get together with friends and family members. Gather a group at your house each week to watch a favorite team battle it out on the big screen. Or get together with fellow fans in the community at a sports bar or restaurant, combining a night out on the town with your passion for sports.

Get the kids involved

Spread the love of fandom to a new generation. Schools and youth organizations can encourage children to support local scholastic teams. Organize field trips to sporting events to involve as many students as possible.

Fall sports are heating up, and fans can do their part to support their favorite teams in various ways.

5 Ways to Get Acquainted With a New Neighborhood

Across the country, people are packing boxes, hiring trucks and moving short and long distances. The U.S. Census Bureau says that around 12 percent of the population moves each year. According to a survey by DuProprio, a Quebec-based real estate advice site, 28 percent of Canadians feel the need to move every five years. Surprisingly, DuProprio also found that 14 percent of owners wish they could move every year.

The main reasons people move are expansion of the family, a career change, retirement, empty nest situations, or when moving is more practical than large-scale home renovations. While some people stick close to previous home locations, a 2015 American Community Survey found approximately 16.9 million people moved to a different county in 2015.

Whether a move is across county lines or overseas, it can take some time to acclimate to a new neighborhood. These tips can help anyone get acquainted with their new surroundings and make friends in the process.

1. Host a housewarming party. Get to know immediate neighbors by hosting a party. After some unpacking is done, host a simple get-together for people who live nearby. Ask if neighbors can help out by bringing chairs. Offer light refreshments and some type of activities for children. The event doesn’t have to be extensive, just long enough to engage in some conversation and introduce yourself.

2. Walk and drive around. Scout out the area by driving around and making note of shopping centers, parks and places of interest. Schedule times when you will get out of the car and walk around on foot, which makes it easier to take everything in. Use a website like Walkscore.com to find places within walking distance of your new home. Bring the dog along. Dogs can be great ice breakers with new neighbors.

3. Check out community blotters. Community events may be posted in print and distributed through a local newspaper and also on municipal websites. Find out where the locals go on weekends or during the week. Communities may take pride in certain activities. It’s easier to get a feel for the neighborhood by spending time with the locals.

4. Become active in the community. Find a volunteer organization or join a local house of worship. Check with the local chamber of commerce for ways to get involved or clubs to join. Like-minded people can make living in a new locale more enjoyable.

5. Dine out once a week. If budget allows, try a new neighborhood eating establishment each week to get a lay of the land. You’ll identify hot spots and hidden gems and will also be able to mingle with the community. An app such as Open Table can help you find places to eat nearby.

Give Boring Lunches a Big Boost

Lunch might not be the most exciting meal of the day, and conventional wisdom might not suggest it’s the most important meal. But that does not mean lunch has to be boring.

For those who tend to lean on sandwiches for their midday meals, straying from the sandwich norm can provide some variety and flavor. The following recipe for “Warm Tandoori Chicken Wraps” from Vicki Liley’s “Asian Wraps & Rolls” (Periplus) can make for a unique lunch for the whole family or even serve as an easily prepared dinner.

Warm Tandoori Chicken Wraps (Makes 6 wraps)

1/3 cup plain tandoori paste
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup plain yogurt
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
12 chicken tenderloin fillets or 3 skinless, boneless chicken breast fillets
2 carrots, peeled
1 English (hothouse) cucumber, halved and seeded
6 pieces naan
1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Leaves from 6 fresh mint sprigs, plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

In a small bowl, combine tandoori paste, 2 tablespoons yogurt, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Put chicken in a baking dish. Pour tandoori mixture over and stir until chicken is coated. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Light a fire in a charcoal grill or heat a grill pan. Brush grill or pan lightly with oil. Cook chicken for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until juices run clear when pierced with a skewer. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut each tenderloin into 2 long strips (if using chicken breast fillets, slice each fillet into 4 long strips).

Using a vegetable peeler, cut carrot and cucumber into thin ribbons. To heat naan, follow instructions on packet. In a small bowl, stir 1/2 cup yogurt, garlic and chopped mint together.

Place naan on a work surface. Divide chicken, cucumber, carrot, and mint leaves among naan. Drizzle with yogurt mixture. Wrap the naan around filling and serve immediately.

Green Tomatoes Not Just for the Frying Pan

Perhaps in part due to the popular 1991 film “Fried Green Tomatoes,” many people are familiar with the Southern United States side dish of the same name. But as proven by the following recipe for “Grilled Green Tomato ‘Sandwiches’ with Herbed Cream Cheese” from Karen Adler and Judith Fertig’s “The Gardener & The Grill” (Running Press), green tomatoes can be even more delicious when grilled than they are when fried.

Grilled Green Tomato “Sandwiches” with Herbed Cream Cheese (Serves 6)

Herbed Cream Cheese

1 8-ounce package cream cheese at room temperature
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives

Tomatoes

4 large green tomatoes (about 11/2 pounds), sliced 3/4-inch thick (to make 12 slices)

Olive oil, for brushing

2 teaspoons Seasoning Salt (see below) or kosher salt

Ground black pepper

Prepare a medium-hot fire in your grill. Place a well-oiled perforated grill rack over direct heat.

In a bowl, blend the cream cheese, garlic, basil, and chives together until smooth. Set aside.

Brush the tomato slices with olive oil on both sides and season with seasoning salt and pepper. Place the slices on a baking sheet and bring out to the grill with the bowl of Herbed Cream Cheese and a knife for spreading.

Grill all of the tomatoes on one side for about 3 minutes with the lid open, then flip and grill on the other side for 3 minutes more, or until the tomatoes have good grill marks.

Remove the tomato slices from the grill and allow to cool slightly on the baking sheet. Spread Herbed Cream Cheese on half of the slices, top with a second slice and set the sandwiches on a platter. Serve the sandwiches hot, with oozing cream cheese filling.

Variation: Grill all of the tomato slices as above and top each grilled tomato with a dollop of the cream cheese and serve open-faced.

Seasoning Salt (Makes 11/4 cups)

1 cup sea salt
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
1 teaspoon dried chives
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a glass jar and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Shake to blend. This keeps for several months in the pantry.

Pack Well For A Hike In The Wilderness

September may enjoy the title of National Wilderness Month, but any time of year is a good time to enjoy the great outdoors. One of the ways to immerse oneself in nature is to enjoy a day hike or overnight backpacking excursion.

Millions of people take to trails or create their own paths all across the world each and every year. Hiking is a great way to enjoy the beauty of nature, but it also has other benefits. The American Hiking Society notes that research has consistently shown that hiking as regular exercise can improve overall health and fitness. It also may lengthen and improve quality of life. Hiking as a form of low-impact walking can reduce risk for heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and anxiety.

Preparing for a hike involves packing accordingly for the trip. These items should be brought along on hiking trips to ensure such excursions are comfortable, safe and successful.

· Water: Bring along water whether you’re hiking in warm or cool temperatures. Water can be heavy, so some experienced hikers prefer to bring a filtration device or purifying tablets so they can rely on natural water sources for their drinks.

· Proper footwear: Trail shoes may be adequate for shorter hikes or when you are not carrying much gear. Otherwise, opt for sturdy hiking boots with plenty of sole and ankle support.

· Nutrition: Bring along lightweight food to keep you well fed. Any number of situations, including difficult trails and getting lost, can prolong hiking trips. Nutritious snacks can help hikers maintain their energy levels.

· Rain gear/extra clothing: Dressing in layers and having a change of clothes enables you to adjust your attire according to the weather conditions. Wear water-repellant materials that wick away sweat.

· Sun protection: Sun protection encompasses sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat.

· Illumination: Pack a headlamp or flashlight, and don’t forget the batteries. Light will help you navigate if you are out after sundown. Flashlights also can be used to signal others if you’re lost.

· Navigational tools: A compass and map will help keep you on course. Remember, cell phones may not work in remote areas.

· Fire starter: A night spent in the wilderness may not be on the itinerary, but chemical fire starters, matches or even dryer lint can help start fires in emergency situations.

· Multipurpose tool: A multipurpose tool can be used to cut items, open cans and much more.

· First aid kit: Don’t forget a prepackaged first aid kit to treat minor or major injuries. Taking a first aid course is also helpful.

· Toilet paper: When nature calls in nature, a roll of toilet paper can make things much easier.

· Emergency shelter: Tarps, tents or even reflective blankets can be put to use if a day trip needs to be turned into an overnight stay.

Hiking is a fun way to enjoy the wilderness. Hikers must pack accordingly for every trip.

Impress Guests With Homemade Salsa At Your Next Soirée

Gatherings of family and friends are better with food, and few foods are more universally beloved than salsa! Whether they’re hosting a gathering for the big game or a celebration of Hispanic culture and cuisine, hosts who want to go the extra mile can forgo store-bought salsa for the following homemade recipe for “Warm Black Bean Salsa” courtesy of Judith Finlayson’s “The Health Slow Cooker: 135 Gluten-Free Recipes for Health and Wellness” (Robert Rose).

Warm Black Bean Salsa (Makes about 3 cups)

2 cups cooked black beans, drained, rinsed and mashed (see tip 1 below)
1 cup diced tomatoes (see tip 2 below)
4 green onions, finely chopped
2 roasted peppers (poblano or sweet), peeled and diced
1 roasted jalapeño, seeded and diced, or 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon puréed garlic (see tip 3 below)
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 cups shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves

Finely chopped green onions

1. In slow cooker stoneware, combine beans, tomatoes, green onions, poblano, jalapeño peppers, garlic, lime zest and juice, and cheese. Stir well. Cover and cook on high for 11/2 hours, until mixture is hot and bubbly. Stir in cilantro, sprinkle with green onions, if using, and serve.

Tips

1. Use 14- to 19-ounce can of no-salt-added beans, drained. Or cook dried beans yourself (see below).
2. For convenience, substitute 1 cup drained no-salt-added diced canned tomatoes.
3. To purée garlic, use a sharp-toothed grater.

Basic Beans (Makes approximately 2 cups)

1 cup dried white beans (see tip below)
3 cups water

Garlic (optional)
Bay leaves (optional)
Bouquet garni (optional)

1. Long soak: In a bowl, combine beans and water. Soak for at least 6 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Beans are now ready for cooking.
2. Quick soak: In a pot, combine beans and water. Boil for 3 minutes. Turn off heat and soak for 1 hour. Drain and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Beans are now ready to cook.
3. Cooking: In slow cooker stoneware, combine 1 cup presoaked beans and 3 cups fresh cold water. If desired, season with garlic, bay leaves or a bouquet garni made from your favorite herbs tied together in a cheesecloth. Cover and cook on low for 10 to 12 hours or overnight or on high for 5 to 6 hours, until beans are tender. Drain and rinse. If not using immediately, cover and refrigerate. The beans are now ready for use.

Tip: If you have difficulty digesting legumes, add 2 teaspoons cider vinegar or lemon juice to the water when soaking dried beans.

Paint-Free Ways to Brighten Your Home

Autumn is a beautiful time of year marked by pleasant temperatures and colorful fall foliage. But as vibrant as nature can be in the weeks after summer has ended, homeowners know that the shortened days of autumn mean less light inside their homes, which can become dreary even in the weeks before the arrival of winter.

Many homeowners pick up their paintbrushes in an effort to make their homes more colorful. But homeowners need not embrace their inner Picasso to brighten their homes’ interiors. The following are a handful of paint-free ways to add some splashes of color to your home this fall.

* Bring nature inside. Flowers and plants can make colorful additions to a home’s interior. Flowers tend to be aromatic, which can make a stuffy house in which windows need to be kept closed a lot more pleasant. Plants and flowers also can improve indoor air quality. Several studies, including one published in the Journal for the AmericanSociety for Horticultural Science, have shown that houseplants improve indoor air quality by filtering out volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, that can be harmful to human health. That’s especially important come late fall and winter, when homeowners typically shut their windows and keep them shut until spring, making it difficult for fresh air to enter a home.

* Invest in some colorful throw pillows. Natural sunlight brightens a room come spring and summer. But sunlight is increasingly scarce as fall turns into winter, and rooms that do not boast too many colorful accents can quickly grow drab as summertime sunlight dwindles. Instead of buying new furniture, invest in some colorful throw pillows to give a room a more vibrant look. Patterns can be mixed and matched to provide some contrast and transform a room from somewhere to spend time into a sight to behold.

* Paper the walls. While many of today’s homeowners prefer paint to wallpaper, those who want a less permanent solution to brighten up their homes may want to consider removable wallpaper. Such paper is less expensive than traditional wallpaper, and many do-it-yourselfers find removable wallpaper is easy to both install and remove. Choose a colorful pattern that can turn an otherwise plain wall into a potent palette that adds some life to your home’s interior. Because removable wallpaper does not require a significant financial investment, you can experiment with various colors or change things up each month if you so desire.

* Add some artwork. Another way to add color to the walls inside your home without dusting off your paintbrush is to hang some colorful artwork. Paintings that feature bold colors tend to draw your immediate attention when you enter a room, and that quality can make you forget the room is not benefitting from natural light. If you want to go the extra mile, find a painting that features colors which match throw pillows or other accessories in the room. This way your walls and your accessories are working in concert to make a room more colorful.

* Rug it out. A patterned throw rug is another accessory that can effectively brighten a room without much effort or financial investment on the part of homeowners. When choosing a throw rug, find one that’s colorful but does not clash considerably with existing furnishings, as you don’t want the rug to draw attention for all the wrong reasons. You have more freedom with regard to rugs if you’re furnishing an empty room, as you can choose whichever rug you look and then choose additional furnishings based on the rug.

Homes tend to darken as late fall turns into winter. But homeowners can brighten their homes in various ways, even if they prefer not to paint.

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How to Save on School Supplies

Back to school season can be as expensive for parents as it is exciting for students. Once the initial letdown of the end of summer vacation wears off, many kids are excited to return to school, where they can see their friends, study their favorite subjects and participate in extracurricular activities.

Parents of school-aged youngsters may share in that excitement while also knowing that back to school season can stretch their budgets. One of the ways to salvage those budgets is to save on school supplies. Fortunately, there are several ways parents can do just that.

· Be patient. Shopping early can save shoppers money in many instances, but parents may benefit by exercising patience when it comes to buying school supplies for their children. Teachers often give students lists of supplies they will need for each class, and parents who wait to receive such lists can avoid spending money on items their kids won’t need. Even if you wait it out, you may be able to get a head start, as some teachers may post supply lists on school websites, while others might email lists to parents before back to school season hits full swing.

· Take inventory. If you have more than one child, chances are you already have lots of school supplies around the house. Dust off kids’ backpacks and study areas from last school year to determine which supplies you need to buy and which you already have. Going forward, encourage kids to store their supplies in a predetermined area once the school year ends, as this will make next year’s inventory that much easier to examine and assess.

· Spend more now to save later. While inexpensive supplies can be hard to resist, such items likely won’t withstand the test of time, forcing you to spend time and money each year buying replacement supplies. Paying more now for certain items, including stronger backpacks and more highly rated calculators, may end up saving you money in the long run, even if the initial pill is somewhat tough to swallow.

· Use technology to your advantage. Department stores and businesses that sell school supplies, such as pharmacies and office stores, may or may not discount too many items once back to school season hits full swing. But savvy parents can still find deals by using technology to their advantage when shopping for school supplies. Download apps like RetailMeNot to your smartphone and enable its updates so your phone essentially notifies you of any discounts the moment you walk into a given store. If you don’t receive any updates, search for discounts via the app or the Internet as you shop. Chances are strong that there are deals to be had, even if you don’t learn of the deals until you arrive at the store.

School supplies can be expensive, but parents can employ several strategies to save on school supplies now and in the future.

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Guide to End-of-Summer Sales

The end of summer is marked by mixed feelings. Come the end of summer, vacations may be coming to an end as children ready themselves for a new school year. But shoppers know the end of summer is an ideal time to find great deals on an array of items.

Although back-to-school sales flood the marketplace this time of year, plenty of other sales take place in the final weeks of summer – and consumers can save substantial amounts of money if they know where to look.

Outdoor furniture

As stores clear out their seasonal items, shoppers can score big deals on patio sets and other outdoor furniture. Retailers need to make room for snowblowers, rakes, shovels, and holiday merchandise, so shoppers are bound to find discounted tables, chairs, fire pits, umbrellas, and chaise lounges. Individuals can use this opportunity to update worn-out patio furniture and other seasonal items they can store over the winter.

Camping/hiking equipment

Only the most devoted campers camp out when the temperatures begin to dip, so consumers can use this opportunity to grab camping equipment before it’s gone for another season. Tents, flashlights, cooking gear, backpacks, outdoor recreational items, such as kayaks or fishing tackle, water bladders, and heaters may be available at steep discounts.

Grills

Backyard barbecues are a staple of summer. If your barbecue or outdoor cooking equipment experienced heavy use throughout the summer, now is a great time to shop sales on grills and outdoor cooking gear.

Travel

Consumer Reports says that prices tend to drop on airfare, hotels and theme parks after Labor Day. Deals on luggage also can be had once summer travel season ends. Tuesdays are a great day to book airline tickets because they tend to be cheaper on Tuesday than other days of the week. Travelers can use this information to their advantage, booking trips to destinations that have super weather throughout the fall, such as Hawaii or the Mediterranean. Caribbean destinations also are good choices, though travelers should consider travel insurance to protect against hurricane-related cancellations.

Vehicles

Many dealerships tend to begin discounting cars when new models begin to debut in August and September. The longer a dealership holds on to a vehicle, the more money it tends to lose. Prospective car buyers may be able to negotiate a good deal this time of year, ultimately walking away with a brand new vehicle with a solid warranty. It’s not unheard of to receive a discount of 15 percent or more on previous year models.

Spa treatments

Many spas have begun discounting massages and facials at the end of summer, according to the International Spa Association. Shoppers can use this opportunity to try out new spas and save some money in the process.

In addition to these discounts, bathing suits, summer clothing, lawn and garden equipment, and pool/spa items may be discounted come the fall.

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