Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Male or Female

Male or Female?    You might not have known this, but a lot of non-living objects are actually either male or female.  Here are some examples:   


They are male, because they hold everything in, but you can see right through them.

These are female, because once turned off; it takes a while to warm them up again. They are an effective reproductive device if the right buttons are pushed, but can also wreak havoc if you push the wrong Buttons.

Tires are male, because they go bald easily and are often over inflated

Also a male object, because to get them to go anywhere, you have to light a fire under their butt.

These are female, because they are soft, squeezable and retain water.

Female, because they're constantly being looked at and frequently getting hit on.

Definitely male, because they always use the same old lines for picking up people..

Egg timers are female because, over time, all the weight shifts to the bottom.

Male, because in the last 5000 years, they've hardly changed at all, and are occasionally handy to have around.

Female. Ha! You probably thought it would be male, but consider this: It easily gives a man pleasure, he'd be lost without it, and while he doesn't always know which buttons to push, he just keeps trying

New Law:

With the high rate of attacks on women in secluded parking lots, especially during evening hours, the Minneapolis City Council has established a 'Women Only' parking lot at the Mall of America. Even the parking lot attendants are exclusively female so that a comfortable and safe environment is created for patrons.

Below is the first picture available of this world-first women-only parking lot in Minnesota .  


Send this to all the women you care about...and to any men who appreciate a good laugh !

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Brine for a Turkey

For a tastier and juicier turkey this Thanksgiving:
Basic Brine
2 cups kosher salt
2 cups sugar
2 gallons of water (orange juice or apple cider can be substituted for some water)

Optional ingredients for flavor:
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup of your favorite dried herbs and spices (sage, oregano, thyme, basil, cloves, cinnamon, etc.)
1 tablespoon cracked black peppercorns
lemon or orange slices
crushed garlic cloves

First In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, combine 1 gallon of water, salt, sugar and optional flavor ingredients. Stir until sugar and salt have dissolved, but do not boil. Remove pot from heat and let cool for 15 minutes.

Next Spread a layer of ice into the bottom of a cooler that is a little larger than the turkey. Set the brining bag inside cooler of ice and place turkey, breast side down, inside bag. Pour cooled brine over turkey, plus an additional 1 gallon of water or juice. To further cool brine, add 2 scoops of ice into brine bag. Seal bag, making sure to let out as much air as possible. Add additional ice to cooler so that your turkey stays at 40 degrees Fahrenheit while brining. Brine for one hour per pound of turkey. Do not over brine, or turkey will be salty.

Last Remove turkey from brine, scooping some of the herbs and spices from brine solution and spreading onto the skin of the turkey for extra flavor. Brush turkey with vegetable oil or melted butter and cook as desired (roasting or smoking) until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Discard brine and use an antibacterial cleaner to clean area exposed to raw poultry.

I do not recommend stuffing a turkey -- brined or not -- because in order for the stuffing to reach a safe temperature of 160 degrees F, the turkey itself will be overcooked. You can store a brined turkey in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before cooking. Store turkey on a V rack set inside a roasting pan, uncovered.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Many ways to support tomatoes (repost)

Original is at:


Many ways to support tomatoes

Posted by Marc
from Garden Desk

My garden has no tomato plants in it right now. It is Fall in my garden and I am growing lots of broccoli, cabbage and lettuce in the space where tomatoes grew during Summer. Now that time in the garden is getting shorter, I can begin planning for next season. It is time for me to reflect on how things went this year in the vegetable garden, and figure out ways to improve next year's garden.

The main thing I like to experiment with in my garden is tomatoes. I'm always looking for different kinds of tomatoes, different color tomatoes, and different heirloom tomatoes. This year, I raised over 30 different kinds of tomatoes and had at least two plants of each kind. The biggest problem I had was that I never managed to put any support on some of my tomato plants.

If you don't stake or tie up your plants, it can get pretty messy.

The biggest problem with not supporting the plants is that the fruits lay on the ground. There they are more susceptible to animals and are prone to rot.

So if the above pictures show what not to do, what is the best way to support tomatoes?

Many people tie each plant to a stake. Others use store-bought cages, but they tend to fall over on me after my plants reach about five feet tall. How to support tomato plants is another thing I have experimented with a great deal and my favorite three methods are; Topless Tables, A tomato tower trellis, and the Florida Stake and Weave.

1. Topless Tables

Several years ago when I still tried to use store-bought tomato cages, I grew more plants than I had cages for. My solution was to build tomato cages out of scrap wood. To me they looked more like tables without a top, so my family began calling them "topless tables". Here is one compared to the regular cages:

These don't look pretty, but they keep the tomatoes off the ground without any pruning, staking or tying. The tomato plant grows through the middle and the branches sprawl over the sides. I have experimented with making double-decker tomato tables, but I don't think it is necessary.

2. Tomato Tower Trellis.

At least one of my raised beds occupies our grand tomato trellis each year.

It is basically a very tall trellis in which you tie twine or clothesline from the top and then loop the other end around the base of the plant (you do not tie it to the plant). You then wind the twine around the central stem as the tomato plant grows.

This keeps the plant growing straight and upright. It works best if you keep the suckers pruned off of the central stem. I have used this method for years, but you can only support a limited number of plants this way. This year, instead of placing the tomato plants directly under the trellis frame, I put the trellis in the center of two rows of plants and made the twine go from a plant on one side, over the top, and to a plant on the other side. This doubled production of the trellis, but looked a bit confusing.

3. Stake and Weave

The Florida Stake and Weave gets its name from the practice that Florida commercial tomato farmers developed many years ago. It works well in the backyard garden too.

You put stakes in between each plant or every few plants depending on how closely spaced you tomatoes are. You then tie twine or clothesline from post to post, weaving in and out of the tomato plants. With subsequent twines above one another weaving the opposite direction, you can easily "suspend" your tomato plants.

My improvement this year was to use 2x4s as the stakes and instead of tying the twine to each post, I drilled a hole in the stake for the twine to go through. I still weaved the plants in the same way, but these stakes made the system look much cleaner.

So what about you? How do you support your tomatoes? Stakes or cages? Stake and Weave or some other system? Do you tie them up or use a trellis? Do you have your own creative way of keeping those tomatoes off the ground? I am always looking for a new idea to try and I'd love to know your thoughts here.

Thanks and Happy Tomato Picking!

Keep Growing,
- Marc

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Monday, November 02, 2009

How to tell the difference Between a Cold and H1N1 Flu - FYI

Know the Difference between a Cold and H1N1 Flu Symptoms

H1N1 Flu
Fever is rare with a cold.
Fever is usually present with the flu in up to 80% of all flu cases. A temperature of 100°F or higher for 3 to 4 days is associated with the  H1N1 flu.
A hacking, productive (mucus- producing) cough is often present with a cold.
A non-productive (non-mucus producing) cough is usually present with the  H1N1 flu (sometimes referred to as dry cough).
Slight body aches and pains can be part of a cold.
Severe aches and pains are common with the  H1N1 flu.
Stuffy Nose
Stuffy nose is commonly present with a cold and typically resolves spontaneously within a week.
Stuffy nose is not commonly present with the  H1N1 flu.
Chills are uncommon with a cold.
60% of people who have the  H1N1 flu experience chills.
Tiredness is fairly mild with a cold.
Tiredness is moderate to severe with the  H1N1  flu.
Sneezing is commonly present with a cold.
Sneezing is not common with the  H1N1 flu.
Sudden Symptoms
Cold symptoms tend to develop over a few days.
The  H1N1 flu has a rapid onset within 3-6 hours. The flu hits hard and includes sudden symptoms like high fever, aches and pains.
A headache is fairly uncommon with a cold.
A headache is very common with the  H1N1 flu, present in 80% of flu cases.
Sore Throat
Sore throat is commonly present with a cold.
Sore throat is not commonly present with the  H1N1 flu.
Chest Discomfort
Chest discomfort is mild to moderate with a cold.
Chest discomfort is often severe with the  H1N1 flu.

The only way to stop the spread of the epidemic is to spread the awareness.

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Garden: How To Make Compost Tea

Vol. 4, Num. 44, October 29, 2009 (Read It Online)

Hello Dee, Leaves are changing color and falling in the Pacific Northwest, as they probably are where you live. Today we have a great article from Ellen about Compost "Tea" and a tip about using your leaves as mulch. Please send in your tips and photos for gardening this time of year, such as how you are preparing for winter or next spring.

Thanks for reading,

The ThriftyFun Team

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Garden: Walking Stick

I started out of the front door the other day only to stop dead in my tracks seeing this walking stick sunning on the glass. I rerouted my steps to grab the camera and finished my coffee inside!

By melody_yesterday from Otterville, MO

Garden: Walking Stick

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Garden: Volunteer Gourd

The seed that started this plant was dropped in front of our hay rake and started growing. It climbed up our rose and grew quite large! You can see a small gourd growing if you look closely!

By Jackie from Enumclaw, WA

Garden: Volunteer Gourd

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Garden: Burning Bush

This is our brilliant fall burning bush and variegated barberry.

By Jackie from Enumclaw, WA

Garden: Burning Bush

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Reuse Halloween Pumpkins In Fall Displays

After Halloween last year, I took down my scarecrow, but his pumpkin head was still fresh. I added his head to a bale of hay in the front yard for a fall decoration. My granddaughter asked, "How did the scarecrow get inside of the hay?"

By Vickie from Earle, AR

Reuse Halloween Pumpkins In Fall Displays

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Tips and Articles:

Leaves are Free Fertilizer

Why are people raking or blowing their leaves to the street for the city government to collect? Leaves are a type of free fertilizer, and yet we pay our cities to haul our free fertilizer away every fall, and then buy unnatural, non-organic chemicals, or organic fertilizers in the spring to replenish our lawns.

Why are we doing this? This has been bothering me for years. I garden; and, because we all need to "think green," (before the mulching mower) I would rake all the leaves up, and dig a huge hole in the garden, or vice-versa, and rake all of the leaves into the hole I created in the garden, then back fill all of the dirt into the hole.

The first spring, when I dug into that tree leaf back fill, I was surprised by some of the darkest, most lovely soil I had ever seen in my life.

I truly feel that deciduous trees are trying to give back to us in the fall everything they accumulated from the sun, rain, and soil that spring and summer.

Yet, without thought, so many of us rake those leaves up, waiting for the city to come take them away, and we devoid our own property of those nutrients, replenishing them in the spring with other nutrients - organic, or not.

In the years that have passed, I've gotten married, and we now own a mulching lawnmower. I really like the idea that the lawnmower mulches the fallen leaves; however, the mulching lawnmower uses gasoline.

For ourselves, and those that are here, and those to come, let's "think green." Really, what are we doing to our own properties when we give the city our leaves, and devoid our own land of those nutrients?

Source: Myself. I was inspired to write this today, after I heard a noise outside and asked my husband what that noise was. He replied that it sounded like it might have been a leaf-blower, or even a leaf-mulcher.

By Carol L. from South Bend, IN

Leaves are Free Fertilizer

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Frugal: Steak by Any Other Name - FYI

Steak by Any Other Name - AARP - Paul Lempert

"There are more than 60 different cuts of beef in the average supermarket today. And identical ones can go by lots of different names, making the navigation of the meat case more than a bit confusing.

Did you know that a New York strip is the same as a top loin boneless steak? And that sometimes packages for those two could be sitting side-by-side in the case at difference prices per pound?

Here's a quick reference list to make sure you are not getting ripped off."

Name of cut: T-bone
Also known as: Porterhouse

Name of cut: Tenderloin
Also known as: Filet, Chateaubriand

Name of cut: Top loin boneless
Also known as: Strip, Kansas City, New York strip

Name of cut: Top loin bone-in
Also known as: Strip, Sirloin strip, Club

Name of cut: Ribeye
Also known as: Delmonico

Name of cut: Skirt
Also known as: Fajita meat, Philadelphia

Name of cut: Hanger
Also known as: Hanging tenderloin

Name of cut: Flank
Also known as: London broil

Name of cut: Sirloin
Also known as: Flat-bone, Round-bone

Name of cut: Top sirloin boneless
Also known as: London broil, Sirloin butt

Name of cut: Round tip, thin sliced
Also known as: Beef sirloin tip, Sandwich steak, Minute steak

Name of cut: Top round
Also known as: Top round London broil

Name of cut: Top blade boneless
Also known as: Flatiron, Butler

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Recipes: Easy Diet-Diabetic Desserts - FYI

Subject: Recipes: Easy Diet-Diabetic Desserts - FYI

Easy Diet-Diabetic Desserts from Eating

Quick "Cheesecake"
4 whole-wheat graham crackers
4 tablespoons part-skim ricotta cheese
8 teaspoons sugar free jam
Spread each graham cracker w/ 1 tablespoon part-skim ricotta cheese and 2 tsps jam.
159 Calories; 6 g Fat; 2 g Sat; 1 g Mono; 10 mg Cholesterol; 42 g Carbohydrates; 7 g Protein; 2 g Fiber; 259 mg Sodium; 39 mg Potassium 3 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 3 other carbohydrate, 1 fat

Chocolate Malted Ricotta
1/4 cup part-skim ricotta
1 tablespoon hot cocoa mix
1 teaspoon malted-milk powder
Combine ricotta with hot cocoa mix and malted-milk powder.
128 calories; 6 g fat (4 g sat, 2 g mono); 21 mg cholesterol; 11 g carbohydrates; 9 g protein; 2 g fiber; 107 mg sodium; 212 mg potassium. 1 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 1 1/2 medium-fat meat, 1 carbohydrate

Baby Tiramisu
1/2 cup nonfat ricotta cheese, (4 ounces)
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 ladyfingers
4 tablespoons brewed espresso, or strong coffee, divided
2 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate chips, melted (see Tip)
Combine ricotta, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
Place 6 ladyfingers in a 9-by-5-inch (or similar size) loaf pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons espresso (or coffee). Spread the ricotta mixture over the ladyfingers. Place another layer of ladyfingers over the ricotta and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons espresso (or coffee). Drizzle with melted chocolate. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.
Tip: To melt chocolate: Microwave on Medium for 1 minute. Stir, then continue microwaving on Medium in 20-second intervals until melted, stirring after each interval. Or place in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not boiling, water. Stir until melted.
107 calories; 2 g fat (1 g sat, 0 g mono); 3 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrates; 3 g protein; 0 g fiber; 125 mg sodium; 29 mg potassium. 1 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 1 carbohydrate (other), 1/2 fat

Chocolate Pudding with Chopped Nuts
1 prepared low-fat chocolate pudding snack cup
1 tablespoon chopped pistachios or any other nuts
147 calories; 4 g fat (1 g sat, 2 g mono); 2 mg cholesterol; 25 g carbohydrates; 5 g protein; 2 g fiber; 193 mg sodium; 318 mg potassium. 1 1/2 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 1 1/2 other carbohydrate, 1 fat

Chocolate Banana Slices
1 tablespoon semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 banana, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon nonfat vanilla yogurt
Melt chocolate chips in a small bowl in the microwave. Top banana slices with the chocolate and yogurt.
117 calories; 3 g fat (2 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 23 g carbohydrates; 2 g protein; 2 g fiber; 14 mg sodium; 277 mg potassium. 1 1/2 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 1 fruit, 1 other carbohydrate, 1 fat

Cinnamon Oranges
4 navel oranges
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
With a sharp knife, remove rind and white pith from oranges. Cut each into 5 or 6 slices and arrange on 4 plates. Whisk together orange juice and lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon. Spoon over the orange slices.
86 Calories; 0 g Fat; 0 g Sat; 0 g Mono; 0 mg Cholesterol; 22 g Carbohydrates; 1 g Protein; 3 g Fiber; 2 mg Sodium; 258 mg Potassium 1 1/2 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 1 1/2 fruit

Chocolate Ginger Snaps
Dip gingersnaps into melted chocolate. Let the excess drip off. Place on a wax paper-lined plate. Sprinkle with crystallized ginger and cranberries. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, about 30 minutes. 
Tip: To melt chocolate: Microwave on Medium for 1 minute. Stir, then continue microwaving on Medium in 20-second intervals until melted, stirring after each interval. Or place in the top of a double boiler over hot water. Stir until melted.
157 calories; 6 g fat (3 g sat, 1 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 28 g carbohydrates; 2 g protein; 1 g fiber; 97 mg sodium; 96 mg potassium. 2 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 2 carbohydrates

Peach Ginger Gratin
4 peaches, halved and pitted
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
4 gingersnaps, crushed
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Place peaches cut-side up in a shallow 1-quart baking dish. Bring sugar, lemon juice, water and ginger to a simmer in a small saucepan. Pour over the peaches and sprinkle with gingersnaps. Bake until the peaches are tender and the syrup is thickened, 15 to 20 minutes.
168 Calories; 1 g Fat; 0 g Sat; 0 g Mono; 0 mg Cholesterol; 42 g Carbohydrates; 1 g Protein; 2 g Fiber; 46 mg Sodium; 306 mg Potassium 3 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 1 fruit, 2 other carbohydrate

Pineapple or Orange Parfait
1/3 cup reduced-fat vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup crushed canned pineapple, or canned mandarin oranges
1 tablespoon toasted coconut, (see Tip)
Top yogurt with pineapple (or canned mandarin oranges) and coconut.
Per serving (with pineapple) : 155 Calories; 3 g Fat; 3 g Sat; 0 g Mono; 4 mg Cholesterol; 28 g Carbohydrates; 5 g Protein; 2 g Fiber; 57 mg Sodium; 325 mg Potassium 2 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: pineapple: 1/2 low-fat milk, 1 fruit, oranges: 1/2 low-fat milk, 1 fruit
Nutrition Note: Per serving (with oranges): 133 calories; 3 g fat (3 g sat, 0 g mono); 4 mg cholesterol; 22 g carbohydrate; 5 g protein; 1 g fiber; 60 mg sodium; 333 mg potassium.1 1/2 Carbohydrate Servings
Exchanges: 1/2 low-fat milk, 1 fruit
Tip: To toast: Place coconut in a small dry skillet & cook until golden, about 5 minutes

1 banana
1 11-ounce can mandarin oranges
1 cup fresh or canned, drained pineapple chunks
1 8-ounce container low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 cup mini marshmallows
Cut banana into thin slices. Put slices in a large bowl. Open can of oranges and pour juice into a small bowl. Add oranges and pineapple chunks to the bananas in the large bowl. Add yogurt to the large bowl and stir yogurt and fruit together with a wooden spoon. Add marshmallows and some of the juice you saved.
115 Calories; 1 g Fat; 0 g Sat; 0 g Mono; 2 mg Cholesterol; 27 g Carbohydrates; 3 g Protein; 1 g Fiber; 35 mg Sodium; 263 mg Potassium 1 1/2 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 1 fruit, 1 other carbohydrate
and other tasty treats
Vanilla Banana Cookie

1 Vanilla cookie
1 slice banana on it
1 tsp. instant diet vanilla pudding on top of banana
Sprinkle a little vanilla cookie crumbs

Cinnamon Popcorn
4 Qts Popped Popcorn
3 Tbl I can’t believe its not Butter
1/4 Cup Splenda
1 Tbls Water
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Salt
Place popcorn in a large roasting pan coated with nonstick cooking spray. In a saucepan, slowly heat the ICBIN butter over low heat. Add the splenda, water, cinnamon and salt; cook and stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Pour over popcorn; toss to coat. Bake, uncovered, at 300 degrees F for 10-15 minutes. Serve immediately

Zucchini Brownies
2 cups grated zucchini
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup light olive oil
1-1/4 cup No Sugar maple syrup
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and mix. Gently stir in the grated zucchini. Pour into a greased and floured 9 x 13 inch pan, and bake for 25-30 minutes, testing with a toothpick. Remove from oven and let cool before cutting into 24 squares.

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