Archive for July, 2011
You’re making your favorite dessert and talking to a friend on the phone. Trying to juggle the phone and the ingredients is a bit tricky, but you’ve done it before. All of a sudden, the phone makes a dive for the bowl and before you can retrieve it, it has sunk to the bottom.
Now what are you going to do? Replacing the phone will cost a small fortune. You fish the phone out of the batter and finish up the cake.
While you wait for it to bake you decide to find another phone online. While surfing you happen to see a link for Straight Talk. Sounds pretty interesting so you click on it.
As you look at the site you realize that your disaster may not be so bad after all. Straight talk looks like it’s a pretty good deal. There’s no contract, no activation fee, and no termination fees. Sounds way better than cell phone packages with all their do’s and don’ts.
The prices are pretty amazing, too. For just $45 a month you get unlimited service, including calls, text, web, and even picture texting. That way when you call a friend, you can send them pictures of your latest concoction. You take a look at one of their YouTube clips
After viewing it, you pull out your current phone bill and realize that you can save a fortune with Straight Talk. You didn’t realize how many hidden charges were added to your bill every month. Lucky for you your current contract is about to expire.
Then you see that reconditioned phone cost as little as $10. That way you can try out the service and if you like it you can upgrade to a nice smart phone, with all the bells and whistles, later on. Some of those features sound pretty good, too; app capabilities; voice navigation; camera; video recorder; music player; instant messaging; and Bluetooth. They have everything you need.
Straight Talk reels you in hook, line and sinker when you notice that they have international long distance, too. You want to be able to keep in contact with your brother, who’s stationed overseas right now. You add going to Walmart to pick up a new phone to your to-do list for the morning.
As children we often had tea parties with our friends and toys. We’d set out a little table and covered it with a cloth, or put down a picnic blanket. Then we’d place out tiny little tea cups for each guest. We’d entertain our friends with “tea,” which was usually water, and desserts, which were sometimes fresh baked cookies that Mom had made for our special gathering, and sometimes flowers or other interesting things from the garden.
For many of us, as we got older, we began thinking of tea as something to drink in the winter to stay warm. But a delicious glass of iced gourmet tea is one of the best thirst quenchers there is on a hot summer day.
So, why not set out the table, cover it with a bright summer table cloth, bring out your best china tea cups and saucers, prepare some tasty cool summer treats, and invite your friends over to enjoy an afternoon tea party. You could even “play dress-up” and request that everyone where a festive hat, or white gloves, or both. Allow the child in you to come out and play for the afternoon. Indulge in lots of yummy treats, lots of cooling tea, and lots of lighthearted talk.
If it too hot in the afternoon, in your area, then have a morning or evening tryst in the garden. I can’t think of anything more relaxing than an evening in the screened in porch, with just candlelight, the lightening bugs as entertainment, some fresh fruit to munch on, and a tall ice-cold glass of tea to keep the humidity at bay.
Contribution by Stevie Kirby
My Mom and Dad have run a roadside vegetable /fruit stand for years and are known throughout their area for having the freshest produce around. They have been seeing an increasing amount of business from people just passing through the area, in addition to their regular local customers. They have always done all their business in cash transactions, or “on credit” with their local customers. However, many of the tourists who have stopped at their stand when passing through the area do not carry cash and they were stumped as to how to deal with this situation. I suggested they do some research at http://bank-card-processing.com to find out the best way to solve the problem. They found a way to accept credit cards from their customers and their business has grown by leaps and bounds. They have even seen an increase in the amount of items being purchased by local folks who can purchase with credit cards. Even though my folks are what I would call “old school,” I’m proud of them for realizing technology could make life easier for them.
Last post I promised that I would talk about the different types of basil and how to use them. Nowdays there are many more flavors of basil than just sweet. One of the most popular is lemon basil.
Lemon basil has a delicate flavor, distinctly lemon with a hint of basil spiciness. It is not as robust, nor does it grow as large or with as big of leaves as sweet basil. The essential oil that creates the lemony flavor is easily destroyed with high temperature cooking, so it is best to add lemon basil at the end of the cooking cycle, except in baking when it cannot be added at the end. Lemon basil is excellent in raw dishes, too, especially salads and in salad dressing.
Low temperature dehydrating is a must for this type of basil in order to retain its delicate lemony taste.
Next is licorice basil. It is distinctly licorice with a strong basil spiciness, too. It is a smaller plant and leaf, as well. It is delicious in both cooked and raw dishes. It’s flavor is robust and strong and not easily damaged with cooking. It is excellent on pizzas in place of or combination with sweet basil.
Dry it the same way you would sweet basil.
Cinnamon basil has a sweet cinnamony pungence with sweet basil overtones. It also is a smaller plant and leaf than sweet basil. It holds it flavor well in cooking and can be used in raw dishes as well.
Dry it like sweet basil.
Holy basil. This basil has a very distinct flavor. The plant is smaller with smaller leaves than sweet basil. The leaves and stems are slightly hairy. I’ve only used holy basil for tea, so don’t know if it works well in cooking or raw preparations.
It dries excellently and is a prolific self-seeder in this area (zone 7a).
All basils are best if cut and dried before flowers set, but that can be hard, especially with holy basil, which seems to blossom almost from day one.
More basils next time. (Yes there are even more to choose from.)
The summer heat is on here with days in the 90s. That’s enough to make anyone want to turn off their stove or oven. I was browsing around the Internet, looking for new and interesting recipes when I found several salad recipes on Mother Nature Network. Two of the salads actually call for cooking, but the other 3 are no-cook varieties.
I’m particularly interested in the tomato-watermelon salad, as this is the second time in a week that I’ve seen a recipe call for tomatoes and watermelon in the same dish. I must try that combo out, as it is not one I would ordinarily have combined. I’ll let you know what I think.
Take a look at 5 Summer Salad Recipes to find some interesting and very gourmet looking salads to cool off this summer.