Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thanksgiving is a fire hazard – You Turkey.

Mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberries and pumpkin pie – staples of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Probably the most iconic of all the items that make it onto your table is the turkey. And while that Thanksgiving turkey is a delicious way to spend time with friends and families, it is also a major fire hazard. 

In fact, did you know that the National Fire Protection Association reports that some 4,000 fires occur on Thanksgiving annually?  So, in order to help you avoid becoming a statistic this year, here are the top perpetrators to watch. 

    1. Stove – With so many friends and family running around, it is easy to get distracted while cooking. Make sure you turn handles on pots and pans inward and turn off the stove when you leave the room; even if it is just for a minute

    2. Candles – When the smell of real pumpkin pie begins to merge with the candle smell you lit earlier in the day, it can be easy to forget that you lit the candle in the first place. Many fires have started because of a small, forgotten flame burning on the shelf. Don’t make the same mistake, before leaving or going to bed make a final check to be sure you blew those candles out. 

   3. Deep Fryer – The best way to make sure your turkey makes it to the table warm and juicy is to deep fry your bird. However, it is also very dangerous (as shown in this video). To avoid the danger, always fry outside, make sure the turkey is 100% defrosted and turn the flames off as you slowly lower the turkey into the oil.

4. Alcohol – If you are planning on enjoying any liquid courage this year, just remember that alcohol will make all of the above items even more of a hazard. Don’t ever cook - or for goodness sake deep fry a turkey - while drinking.

With these tips you will be able to enjoy Thanksgiving without any incidents. If in the event you do have a fire, just get out and call 911. If a grease fire occurs, don’t throw water on it (as this safety video demonstrates). Above all, enjoy yourself; It’s Thanksgiving you turkey!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

4 Ways to Use Your Pumpkin after Halloween

You spent hours planning, carving and admiring your jack-o-lantern, and we believe you when you say that it is a true work of art. However, now your work of art is rotting and looks a little more interpretive then you intended. Here are four great ideas to use your pumpkin before it stains your porch.

1.    Compost – Take a sledgehammer to that pumpkin or drop it off the roof, then bury those pumpkin pieces in the garden. Leftover jack-o-lanterns make great fertilizer for next-years garden, and burying them will keep your yard smell-free.

2.    Feed Animals – If you live in an area where wildlife frequent, you can attract some furry friends by throwing chunks of pumpkin out in your yard. The only problem is that you’ll have to get up early to see Bambi and his friends eating your treat.

You can also use any leftover pumpkin seeds in your bird feeder. – Don’t have a bird feeder? Cut one of those pumpkin in half and WHAMO! You have a bird feeder.

3.    Make a Planter – Run out to your local nursery and buy some seasonal flowers, fill your jack-o-lantern with soil and you’ve got a seasonal planter. It will be a festive decoration for a few days, and then you can plant the whole thing right in the backyard. The pumpkin will naturally compost and provide fertilizer for your plant.

4.    *Eat it – Pumpkin purée is the No. 1 use for the fleshy insides of your pumpkin, and it’s easy to do. Start by cutting your pumpkin in half. Place your pumpkin cut-side down in a baking dish with about a cup of water, and bake until the flesh is tender. Then, scoop out the flesh and puree in a food processor. Once you’ve made your pumpkin purée, it’s ready for use in all your favorite pumpkin recipes, from pies to cookies. Any extra can be stored in the freezer for several months. 

You don’t like any of these suggestions? The simple solution to your pumpkin problem is to toss it. Just remember to get rid of it before it begins to smell and stain your porch. If you are like me, you’ve probably waited too long and now don’t want to touch your once-proud work or art. So, here’s my pro tip: use a shovel. There you go four ways to re-use or dispose of your pumpkin.

*Be sure that any pumpkins chosen for eating are in good condition and suitable for human consumption.