Monday, July 23, 2012

National Hot Dog Day!

Yes, it’s a day set aside to celebrate the hot dog. And there are many kinds of hot dogs, as well as multitudes of toppings that make them tasty.

Hot dogs have been around for quite some time, but one story as to their origin says they were “invented” in 1874 at Coney Island when Charles Feltman, a German immigrant, put a sausage into a bun. Wonder what toppings they used back then?

It really sounds strange and a bit awful now, but back in the 70s when our kids were small, I would roll  hot dogs in a mixture of mustard and ketchup, then in crushed potato chips and bake them. The boys liked them, but our daughter wasn’t thrilled with them. To this day, she will not touch hot dogs!

Here is a good recipe for hot dog sauce:

1 pound ground beef,cooked
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. chili seasoning
1 Tbsp. mustard
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 large bottle Heinz ketchup

Brown hamburger in a medium saucepan. While meat is browning, dice up onion and add to meat. Cook meat and onion until no longer pink. (If meat is fatty, drain but leave some grease for flavor.) With pan on low heat, add the chili seasoning and mustard to meat mixture; stir well. Add vinegar and sugar. Stir this mixture slightly.

While stirring, add ketchup a little at a time to desired consistency. Cook for 45 - 50 minutes on low heat, stirring often.

Note: If you cook the sauce uncovered, it will become somewhat thicker.

(Recipe submitted to www.cooks.com by Ruscee Ferrell)

Around here we enjoy cheese coneys with Cincinnati-style chili, onions and cheese on top. Yum!

Have a great week, and, as always, your comments and suggestions are welcome! Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

Independence Day – we’re so grateful for all our freedoms, and to all those who have sacrificed to make them possible.

Fly the flag proudly, especially today. Wouldn’t it be great to see a sea of flags waving all across the country?

I grew up in a fairly small town, and the 4th was always celebrated with a carnival and a fireworks show. And there was always a parade. My sister and I were always so excited to go see the marching bands, clowns, horses, the screaming fire trucks – all followed by the street sweeper driven by someone we’d known “forever”.

These days our celebrations are more quiet, and we stay close to home. The memories of great holiday times linger, and the feelings of pride and patriotism continue.

Due to the dry, hot weather, as well as community budget cuts, many fireworks displays have been canceled this year. They continue to sell fireworks to the public, and I hope everyone who uses them does so in a safe manner.

I wish you all a very happy, safe holiday.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Notes and Tips

The past few days have certainly been challenging for many people, and may continue to be for many more days. The weather extremes have brought all sorts of trials, from devastating fires to scorching heat to storms and power outages for millions. We truly hope everyone comes through these troubles safely – and that it all ends very soon.

While sitting in a 7-hour power outage here the other night, and while bemoaning our lack of “comforts”, we began discussing how things must have been many years ago. Truthfully, we are all fairly spoiled these days. All the appliances, electronics and gadgets have become so commonplace that it’s hard to imagine life without them – and a few hours seem to be true deprivation. But when you think back a hundred years or more, our ancestors had no idea that all the things we find it so hard to live without would ever exist. They lived with fireplaces for heat, oil lamps and candles for light, and with no modern conveniences of any kind. And I’m sure even during times of extreme weather the work didn’t stop. I’m convinced they were a much hardier lot than we are!

Even as recently as the 1950s things were still what we’d call “primitive”. I can recall never having air conditioning in either our house or the car. And washing clothes using a wringer washer and/or washtub & washboard, then hanging them outside on a clothesline. That does give some indication as to my age, doesn’t it?

The internet, newspapers and television are full of information about surviving the terrible heat wave that’s blanketing several states, but I thought I’d put it here as well.

1) Wear light-colored, loose clothing. Avoid dark colors.

2) Drink plenty of fluids, but avoid alcohol and caffeine. Eat light foods – avoid heavy, spicy, hot foods. This is a perfect time for salads and fruit!

3) If there’s a breeze at all, a spot outside in the shade could be more comfortable than inside the house.

4) Know the signs of heat exhaustion/stroke: headaches, confusion, red and/or hot dry skin, dizziness, agitation, breathing problems, lack of sweating. Seek medical help for these symptoms.

Also, be sure to check often on the sick and elderly in your family and your neighborhood.

Pets suffer in the heat as well. Make sure they have plenty of water and a shady place to rest.

Many people are buying and using generators, and they are certainly helpful in keeping comfortable and preventing the loss of food in the refrigerator and freezer. However, there are a couple of very important rules for using them.

1) Be sure to never use them inside the house or garage.

2) Keep them several feet from the house.

Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to prevent cooling loss. Food in the refrigerator will stay cool up to 12 hours or so, and in the freezer a little longer – if left unopened. Use a thermometer in the refrigerator, and when the temperature of the food inside drops below 40 degrees, dispose of its contents – they will no longer be safe. Food poisoning on top of the extreme heat is something nobody would need.

I’ve been thinking we need a disaster preparedness kit but, like many other folks, just haven’t gotten around to it. Now would be the perfect time to make that shopping list and stock up. Be sure to check back here for Disaster Preparedness 101!

Have a great day and keep cool. As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome. And if you have a super trick or idea for keeping cool in the heat, please share with the rest of us!

Thanks for reading.