A great place to live and work

Archive for July, 2012

Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

July is National Blueberry Month and July 30th is National Cheesecake Day. Any excuse for a celebration, right?

So here’s our recipe for Blueberry Cheesecake Bars. Please try them and let us know what you think!

1. In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup blueberries with 2 Tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons corn starch, and 1/4 cup juice (we used Cranberry Lime because that’s what we had in the house, but orange works even better).

2. Heat until bubbly and thick. Let cool.

3. In a mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, and 2
sticks of butter.

4. Combine until crumbly, and then press into a parchment lined 9″x13″ pan.

5. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

6. Meanwhile, combine 8 ounces of cream cheese (we used low fat) and 1/2 cup sugar in a mixing bowl. Mix well.

7. Add 2 teaspoons of flour, the zest of 1 orange, a teaspoon of vanilla, and 2 eggs. Mix well.

8. When the crust is done, pour the cream cheese mixture on top and then spoon the blue berry mixture in lumps on top.

9. Swirl the blueberries into the cream cheese mixture using a knife.

10. Pop back into the oven for another 20 minutes.

11. After the cookies are done baking, they have to cool at least 2 hours. You probably should even chill them in the refrigerator for a while, if you have that kind of patience ūüôā

12. Slice and serve!

Advertisements

15 Tips for Safe Propane Grilling

Safe Propane Grilling Tips

 In 2005-2009, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 8,200 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues per year, including an average of 3,400 structure fires and 4,800 outside fires. These 8,200 fires caused an annual average of 15 civilian deaths, 120 civilian injuries and $75 million in direct property damage.

  1. When preparing to use the grill for the first time this season, never use matches or lighters to check for leaks. Instead, apply a thick soapy water or leak-detection solution around the connection between the propane cylinder and grill hose. Bubbles will form if propane is escaping. If a grill has a gas leak, call the local fire department.Image
  2. Use your grill outdoors in well-ventilated areas only. Avoid grilling on porches, in garages, or on an apartment terrace. Do not use the grill in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or under a surface that can catch fire.
  3.  Keep the top open when lighting a grill.
  4.  Use and store propane cylinders outdoors in an upright (vertical) position and away from high temperatures. This includes storing spare cylinders under or near the grill.
  5. Avoid smoking while handling a propane cylinder. Extinguish all smoking materials and other open flames immediately if gas is smelled.
  6. Ask the propane vendor to check for any rust, damage or corrosion on the cylinder.
  7. Transport cylinders in well-ventilated areas of vehicles and drive directly to the destination where it will be used. Keep your vehicle ventilated with the cylinder valve closed and plugged or capped. Do not leave the cylinder in your car.
  8. Make sure cylinders have an overfill prevention device (OPD), which shuts off the flow of propane before capacity is reached (OPDs are easily identified by their triangular-shaped hand wheel).
  9. Always follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions for your grill and keep written materials and manuals in a safe, accessible place.

10. Make sure the grill burner controls are closed and the cylinder valve closed when not in use.

11. When your grill is not in use, cover disconnected hose-end fittings and burner air intakes with small plastic bags, or obtain protective fitting caps from your propane supplier to keep out dirt, insects and moisture.

12. Do not allow children to tamper or play with the cylinder or grill. Keep children and pets away from the grill area by declaring a 3-foot “kid-free” safety zone around the grill.

13. Do not apply any aerosols or flammable materials (including sunscreen) near a grill or open flame.

14. Grills should be kept clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grill itself and in the trays below the grill.

15. Never leave a grill unattended.

Creamsicle Pie

Remember orange creamsicles? I LOVED them as a child, and was reunited with the memory at the Jersey shore a few weeks ago. Fantastic mixture of vanilla custard and orange sherbet.

Here’s an idea to make your own creamsicle pie for dessert tonight.

Make a pie crust from graham crackers and butter. About 1 1/2  cups graham crackers crumbs and 1/2 stick of melted butter or margarine mixed together and flattened into a pie plate.

Bake the pie crust in a 375 degree oven for about 7 minutes – just enough to set it. And then let it cool!

While the pie crust is baking and cooling, take some vanilla ice cream and some orange sherbet out of the freezer. A 2:1 ratio is my favorite – 2 pints of orange sherbet for 1 pint of vanilla ice cream. Let them get soft, but not completely melted. Just soft enough to spread, like peanut butter, into the crust.

I put the vanilla ice cream into the pie crust first, spread it around. And then layer the orange sherbet on top. Feel like being creative? Make 4 layers – vanilla, orange, vanilla, orange. (Mine got quite messy, as you can see.)

Pop the whole thing in the freezer to hard set for about 2 hours or more.

Slice, squirt of whipped cream. Voila! Dessert that will make you feel 7 years old again!

8 Years

Today, we celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary. One of our dearest friends and fellow astronomers, Tony, sang this great song by Tracy Byrd for us as we walked down the aisle.

 

 

It was no accident me finding you

Someone had a hand in it

Long before we ever knew

Now I just can’t believe you’re in my life
Heaven’s smilin’ down on me
As I look at you tonight

I tip my hat to the keeper of the stars

He sure knew what he was doin’

When he joined these two hearts
I hold everything
When I hold you in my arms
I’ve got all I’ll ever need
Thanks to the keeper of the stars

 

Bee Stings

I was watering the garden last night when I felt something sting my leg under my pants. A few seconds later, it happened again, a few inches away. I shook my pants leg and millions (ok, it was actually only 5 or 6) bees flew out from my pants leg!File:Apis mellifera carnica worker hive entrance.jpg

Although I have no history of bee sting allergies, I had my resident EMT (my 16 year old son who just passed his EMT certification test) check out my legs. He said that there were 2 obvious bites with minor swelling, gave me an ice pack and said I would survive.

When a honey bee stings a person, it cannot pull its stinger back out. It leaves behind not only the stinger, but also part of its abdomen, resulting in the death of the bee. When a bee dies, it releases pheromoes which prompt other nearby bees to attack, so one sting often results in multiple stings.

Bee stings contain the toxin melittin which causes the pain associated with bee stings. They also contain histamine which causes itching, just like a mosquito bite.

Bee On Flower

People have differing responses to the stings of various insects, and a person who is allergic to bees could potentially have a dangerous anaphylactic response – hives, throat swelling, inability to breathe – that would require an ambulance ride to the hospital.

What to do?

  • The first step is to remove the stinger itself in any way possible – some people pinch the skin, others scrape off the stinger. The quicker this occurs, the less toxin can be delivered.
  • After that, pain and swelling can be reduced with a cold compress.
  • Any sign of anaphylaxis should be followed by a call to 9-1-1!

If the pain of the sting doesn’t get better after a week, or if the localized swelling covers an area greater than 3 or 4 inches, a doctor should be seen.

Of course, the easiest way to protect yourself is to avoid being stung in the first place. Bug repellent ¬†should do the trick, and I know I’ll be wearing some the next time I water my garden!

 

Fourth of July Fireworks in Union County!

Where can you go to see Fourth of July Fireworks in Union County?

Clark – Arthur L. Johnson Regional High School, 365 Westfield Ave – DJ and vendors in front of town hall beginning at 7:30.

Cranford – Nomahegan ParkFile:Fireworks4 amk.jpg

Elizabeth – Veteran’s Memorial Waterfront at the intersection of Front Street and Elizabeth Avenue.

Mountainside – Fields behind Our Lady of Lourdes and Deerfield School. Free ice cream for the kids!

Roselle Park – Herm Shaw Field at Roselle Park High School on West Colfax.

Springfield – 5:00 pm rides, petting zoo, pony rides, trackless train ride at Meisel Field; 7:30 concert; fireworks at dusk.

Summit – rides and amusements all day, concert at 7:45, fireworks at 9:15.

Union – Biertuempfel Park concert followed by fireworks at 9:00.

Happy Fourth of July!

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: