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Watering Lawn 101

Watering your lawn properly protects the lawn from temperature changes, helps nutrients move through the grass and makes the lawn more durable.

How to Properly Water Your Lawn
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Cake Frosting 101

Buying frosting from the store is easy, but you may find your choice limited and more expensive than what you could make at home.

How to Make Homemade Cake Frosting
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Frozen Strawberries

Whether purchased from the grocery store, picked at a berry farm or harvested fresh from your own garden, strawberries are a delicious summertime treat..

How to Freeze Strawberries
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Lose That Weight

Losing weight should be easy. The basics are simple: eat less and exercise more. When it comes to putting these simple rules into practice, however, things begin to get difficult..

How To Lose Weight
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Children Coping

Divorce affects thousands of children each year. Whether the divorce process has been amicable or stormy, kids will most likely feel anger, fear and anxiety.

How to Help Children Cope With a Divorce
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How To Budget Your Money

Budgeting is an essential part of life unless you plan on living paycheck to paycheck. While some people find the idea of a budget constraining.

How To Budget Your Money
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Internet Speed

Your Internet test speed that your ISP (Internet Service Provider) is promising you is an important aspect of your overall online experience.

How To Test Your Internet Speed
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Pumpkin Seeds

The next time you carve a jack o’ lantern or prepare a recipe with fresh pumpkin, set the pumpkin seeds aside for roasting.

How To Prepare Pumpkin Seeds

How to Fight Grubs in Your Lawn

  • 7/6/12
  • Green Lawn
    Fighting Grubs
    Late summer may reveal uneven brown patches of grass that lift easily from the surface of your lawn. The culprits are most likely lawn grubs, pests that live in the ground and consume grass roots. The grubs themselves are the larvae of the Japanese beetle. The beetles remain dormant during the winter and then begin laying eggs in the middle of July. The grubs make their appearance in August and may even attract raccoons and skunks, which feed on the grubs and may cause further damage to your lawn.

    Examine your lawn carefully to determine that your lawn has grubs, and take steps to eliminate them.

    1. Check the root area of brown spots of grass for curled, white grubs. The presence of more than five worms per ¼-square foot of lawn indicates a need for treatment.

    2. Treat the worms at summer's end or in early autumn when they are small and near the ground surface.

    3. Apply an insecticide, such as trichlorfon or diazinon, carefully following label directions. The ingredient portion of the label will list active ingredients.

    4. Apply nematodes in liquid form or in a water mixture if you prefer natural grub treatment. These tiny worms kill grubs by releasing grub-hostile bacteria into the ground. Neem oil and milky spore also work to kill grubs. These three natural treatments, which are considered effective and safe, can be found at garden centers.

    5. Repair your lawn in early autumn if it has suffered significant damage. Remove debris by raking, and water the damaged area to help grass recover. Reseed thin areas of lawn.

    6. Prevent the return of grubs by keeping your grass at least two inches long. Beetles rarely lay eggs in longer grass. Overseed your lawn to encourage thick grass growth, which will help repel many beetles.

    Image Credit: प्रतीक's
    Written By: Shannon R

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    How to Cook Steak

  • 6/27/12
  • Grilling Steak
    Grilling Steak
    Many people love a juicy steak but are not sure how to cook one properly at home. Choose the right recipe, and you can have restaurant-quality steak without paying restaurant prices.

    Read on to learn how to prepare great steak by grilling it or by searing it on the stove top and finishing in the oven.

    Grill

    You will need:

    • 4 pounds sirloin steak
    • ½ cup butter
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
    • Salt and pepper

    1. Preheat outdoor grill to high.

    2. Melt butter in small saucepan over medium-high heat, and mix in minced garlic and garlic powder. Put to the side.

    3. Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper on both sides.

    4. Grill steaks for 4 or 5 minutes on each side or until done.

    5. Place on plates, and brush with melted garlic butter.

    6. Let rest for 2 minutes before serving.

    Stove Top/Oven

    • Sirloin steaks
    • Olive oil
    • Salt and pepper

    1. Bring steaks to room temperature.

    2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

    3. Pat steaks dry, and season them with salt and pepper.

    4. Cover bottom of oven-proof skillet with oil, and heat on medium-high burner on stove top.

    5. Sear steaks for 3 or 4 minutes per side, turning only once. Use your oven fan because steaks will smoke at this point.

    6. Transfer steaks in oven-proof skillet to middle rack of hot oven.

    7. Bake 5 to 10 minutes.

    8. Check temperature with thermometer to see if steak is done. Take steak from oven when thermometer registers 145 degrees F.

    9. Cover steak with foil and allow to rest 5 minutes before serving. The meat will continue to cook during this time, and the juices will settle.

    Tips:
    • Select steaks that are bright red in color and evenly marbled with thin streaks of fat.
    • Trim fat after the steak is cooked because it adds moisture during cooking.
    • Do not pierce the steak before cooking because you will allow juices to escape, resulting in drier meat.
    Image Credit: Another Pint Please
    Written By: Shannon R
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    How to Cook Eggplant

  • 6/22/12
  • Eggplants
    Eggplant Recipe
    Mildly flavored eggplant is actually a fruit related to both the potato and tomato. Its shiny skin varies in color from familiar purple to yellow, red, green and white. One of the benefits of eggplant is its tendency to take on the flavor of foods and spices with which it is cooked.

    Check out these recipes for frying, broiling and baking eggplant.


    Fry

    You will need:

    • 1 eggplant, peeled and sliced
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 3 beaten eggs
    • 2 cups bread crumbs

    1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in large skillet.

    2. Dip eggplant in egg, and then dip in bread crumbs.

    3. Set carefully in hot oil, and fry 2 or 3 minutes on each side. Eggplant should be golden brown.

    4. Set on paper towels to drain.

    Broil

    You will need:

    • 1 eggplant, peeled and sliced into 1-inch rounds
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • Salt
    • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    • 3 cloves minced garlic

    1. Sprinkle eggplant rounds with salt, and leave for 20 minutes. Rinse slices, and pat dry.

    2. Preheat oven to broil.

    3. Set eggplant on greased baking sheet.

    4. Broil for 4 to 5 minutes.

    5. Take eggplant from oven, and brush with vinegar and olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic.

    6. Broil an additional 5 minutes.

    Bake

    You will need:

    • 2 eggplants, medium-size
    • 1 cup flour
    • 2 beaten eggs
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup olive oil
    • ½ pound mozzarella cheese, sliced thinly
    • Tomato sauce

    1. Peel eggplant and cut into ¼-inch slices.

    2. Sprinkle slices with salt, and leave 1 hour.

    3. Pat slices dry. Dip in flour, and then dip in beaten egg.

    4. Fry in hot oil until slices turn golden brown.

    5. Set on paper towel to drain.

    6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

    7. Add thin layer of tomato sauce to bottom of casserole dish. Spread a layer of eggplant slices on top. Add a layer of mozzarella slices.

    8. Repeat until you have used all of the eggplant. End with mozzarella layer.

    9. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes, until cheese has melted.

    Tips:
    • Use eggplants within one or two days of purchase.
    • Look for smaller eggplants, which are sweeter and contain fewer seeds.
    Image Credit: Christopher Held
    Written By: Shannon R

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    How to Cook Bacon

  • 6/18/12
  • Bacon Strips - Cooking Bacon
    Methods Of Cooking Bacon
    Almost everybody loves to hear the sizzle of bacon and smell the delicious aroma filling the kitchen. Not everyone knows how to cook the perfect slice of crispy bacon, however. Bacon can be cooked in several ways to produce crisp, flavorful results.

    Read on to learn how to pan fry, bake and microwave bacon.


    Pan Fry

    You will need:

    • Large, flat frying pan
    • Enough bacon to fill pan without overlapping

    1. Let bacon reach room temperature.

    2. Place bacon in skillet, and set over medium heat.

    3. After about 10 minutes, depending on the temperature of your burner, flip bacon once.

    4. Place bacon on paper towels when it has reached desired degree of crispiness, and serve.

    Bake

    • Slotted baking sheet or regular baking sheet
    • Bacon

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

    2. Set bacon onto tray, taking care not to overlap slices, and place in oven.

    3. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, watching for desired degree of doneness.

    4. Remove from oven, and serve.

    Microwave

    You will need:

    • Microwave-safe plate
    • Paper towels
    • Bacon

    1. Place two layers of paper towels on plate.

    2. Set up to six strips of bacon on plate.

    3. Place one layer of paper towel over bacon strips.

    4. Microwave on high setting for 90 seconds per strip. Monitor for doneness because cooking power varies by microwave.

    5. Remove bacon from microwave, and place on a fresh paper towel to drain.

    Tips:
    • Use opened packages of bacon that have been tightly rewrapped within one week of opening.
    • Freeze sealed packages of bacon for up to one month.
    Image Credit: Sappymoosetree
    Written By: Shannon R
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    How to Cook Beets

  • 6/10/12
  • Fresh Beets
    Cooking Beets
    Beets can be prepared in a number of ways. They can be eaten raw in salads or baked to a deliciously soft consistency. These delicious vegetables are nutritious as well as tasty, containing large amounts of fiber and nutrients that protect against birth defects, heart disease and certain cancers. The juice, in particular, has been demonstrated to reduce high blood pressure.

    Enjoy beets by baking, steaming or microwaving them.

    Bake

    You will need:

    • Whole, fresh beets
    • Olive oil

    1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

    2. Wash and scrub beets, carefully removing all dirt.

    3. Remove stems and ends.

    4. Cover baking sheet with aluminum foil, and place beets in one layer on sheet.

    5. Coat beets with olive oil.

    6. Cover beets with another layer of aluminum foil, pinching at sides to seal.

    7. Roast 1 to 2 hours, according to size of beets and until tender.

    8. Remove beets from oven, and remove foil.

    9. Remove skins once beets have cooled by hand or with a paring knife.

    Steam

    1. Wash and scrub beets.

    2. Remove stems and ends.

    3. Add water to a pot to a level just below steamer insert.

    4. Bring water to a boil, and arrange beets in steamer.

    5. Cook for 45 minutes or until tender.

    6. Remove beets from burner, dunk into cold water and remove skins with a dampened cloth.

    Microwave

    1. Wash and scrub beets.

    2. Remove stems and ends.

    3. Cut beets into 1-inch cubes.

    4. Place in glass microwave-proof dish. Pour in 2 tablespoons of water per 2 ½ cups of beet cubes.

    5. Place lid on dish, and cook on high power for 5 minutes.

    6. Stir, and heat for an additional 3 minutes or until tender.

    7. Avoid overcooking to retain nutritional value.

    Tips:
    • Wear kitchen gloves when working with beets to avoid staining your hands.
    • Look for brightly colored, firm beets. Avoid those with a soft texture.
    • Soak out-of-season beets in cold water overnight to reduce toughness and cooking time.
    • Wash and grate raw beets for a tasty addition to salads.
    • Raw beets may be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks.
    Image Credit: Ed Yourdon
    Written By: Shannon R

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    How to Cook Butternut Squash

  • 5/29/12
  • Butternut Squash
    Cooking Butternut Squash
    Butternut squash, among the sweetest of winter squashes, is easy to peel and cook. Pear-shaped and golden yellow, butternut squash is low in calories and high in dietary fiber and nutrients. This nutritious squash contains more vitamin A than pumpkin and high levels of minerals and protein.

    Try baking butternut squash on its own, or use it as the main ingredient in a delicious soup.

    Baked

    You will need:

    • 1 butternut squash
    • Olive oil
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

    2. Wash butternut squash, and cut down the middle lengthwise.

    3. Scoop out and discard seeds.

    4. Lightly coat meaty exposed areas with olive oil.

    5. Season with salt and pepper.

    6. Set cut-side up in baking pan.

    7. Add 1 inch of water to pan.

    8. Cook about 1 hour, until tender and lightly browned.

    9. Serve in the shell, or remove from shell and mash.

    Soup

    You will need:

    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • 10 tablespoons chopped onion
    • 6 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
    • 3 cups water
    • 4 chicken bouillon cubes
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • ½ teaspoon marjoram
    • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese

    1. Sauté onions in butter in large saucepan until tender.

    2. Mix in squash, water, bouillon, pepper, marjoram and cayenne pepper.

    3. Bring to a boil, and cook for 20 minutes, until squash becomes tender.

    4. Add squash and cream cheese to a food processor or blender in batches, and puree until mixture is smooth.

    5. Return soup to saucepan, and heat. Do not boil.

    Tips:
    • Buy squash whole rather than in sections, and avoid any with wrinkled skin, cuts, spots or bruises.
    • Choose a squash that is solid and heavy.
    • Avoid a shiny skin, which indicates the squash was picked before it ripened.
    • Look for long-necked butternut squashes because they contain more meat and fewer seeds. 
    Questions:

    1. How do you cook butternut squash?

    Image Credit: mary.w.e.
    Written By: Shannon R 

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    How to Cook a Ham

  • Cooked Ham
    Cooking Ham
    Moist, delicious ham is always a family favorite no matter which method you use to prepare it. Read on to learn how to prepare delicious ham by baking, preparing in a crock-pot or by grilling.

    Bake

    You will need:

    • 1 12-pound bone-in ham
    • 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
    • ½ cup whole cloves
    • 4 cups water

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

    2. Set ham in roasting pan, and pierce it with cloves at 1-inch intervals.

    3. Apply brown sugar in a layer.

    4. Add water to roasting pan to a depth of 1 inch.

    5. Cover pan with lid or aluminum foil.

    6. Bake approximately 22 minutes per pound, 4 ½ to 5 hours.

    7. Internal temperature of ham should reach 160 degrees F. Meat thermometer should not be touching the bone.

    8. Let sit 20 minutes before serving.

    Crock-pot

    • You will need:
    • 1 cured picnic ham with bone, about 7 to 8 pounds
    • 2 cups brown sugar
    • ½ cup pineapple juice, unsweetened

    1. Apply cooking spray to inside of crock-pot.

    2. Add pineapple juice to crock-pot.

    3. Add 1 ½ cups brown sugar.

    4. Apply the other ½ cup of brown sugar on top of ham.

    5. Place ham in crock-pot, fat-side down.

    6. Set lid on crock-pot, and bake for 8 to 9 hours on low setting.

    Grill

    You will need:

    • One 1 1/2-pound slice of cooked ham
    • 1 cup white grape juice
    • 1 cup pineapple juice
    • ½ cup brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
    • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 2 teaspoons ground mustard
    • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
    • ¾ teaspoon ginger

    1. Mix grape juice, pineapple juice, brown sugar, vinegar, oil, mustard, cloves and ginger.

    2. Pour over ham in a shallow dish.

    3. Leave in refrigerator overnight.

    4. Grill on barbecue over low coals for 15 minutes on each side. Baste frequently with marinade.

    Tips:
    • Choose a fresh ham with nicely marbled lean section and a firm layer of white fat.
    • Select a cured ham that is plump, firm and rosy pink. If the cured ham is wrapped, check the dating code and producer name to judge the quality of the ham inside.
    • Freeze leftovers for up to one month.
    Image Credit: artizone
    Written By: Shannon R

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