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Posts Tagged ‘DIY’

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Food and family (and lots of fun)

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011


Food is an integral part of life. It not only sustains us, but is often part of our celebrations and milestones. This past weekend my family celebrated my grandmother’s birthday and held a family reunion in North Carolina. Approximately 80 of her 100+ children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren were in attendance. As you might imagine, feeding all those people was quite a challenge. Fortunately, we have several chefs in the family – nonetheless, what transpired was awfully impressive.


This is the BBQ that was used. What is most impressive about this rig is not necessarily the size or scale, but that my cousin Eric built the entire thing in his shop. Wow. Dinner was to feature a whole hog (Claudette), three whole briskets, 16 chickens, and two bushels of corn.


Chef Eric throwing the dry-rubbed briskets on the BBQ next to Claudette.


Eric loading the side stack smoker/roaster the corn and chickens.


Meanwhile, the National Anthem is sung (by my cousin Mark) before a game of kickball.


Chef Chad slicing brisket and breaking down chickens – we’re getting close to chow time…


Dinner is served.


Now, does that look like a proud grandmother or what? The family comes together and sings happy birthday to grandma. This was truly a wonderful event.


Q: What do you do when it’s hot as hades outside?

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

A: Get your hands on some watermelon.

Yesterday we had a severe heat warning in Indiana. Boy, was it hot – my dwarf lime tree started wilting.

There is one fruit, however, that is uniquely suited for this type of hot weather and that is the watermelon. Slightly sweet and full of juice, watermelon is super refreshing on a hot day. Watermelons are a staple for picnics, backyard BBQs, and summer gatherings; however, I rarely buy watermelon when I’m not having a group of people over. I think this is because I don’t know what to do with such a large amount of watermelon. As least I didn’t until I read this piece from Fine Cooking.

Here they provide recipes for watermelon cocktails like the Watermelon Blush made with Prosecco and the Watermelon Mule made with vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer. Appetizers might include Grilled Watermelon Salsa or Grilled Watermelon Gazpacho. For a main course or a second course, you could make this Watermelon, Grapefruit, and Scallop Ceviche, Watermelon and Cress Salad with Grilled Shrimp and Hearts of Palm, or a Coffee-rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Watermelon Rind Relish (that’s right, you can even use the rind!). Lastly, you could finish off the meal with a Watermelon and Tea Granita for dessert.

Enjoy (and stay cool).


Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Hat tip to the folks over at the Nudge blog for alerting us to a recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on flu shots. Here’s the setup:

1. Large companies offer free flu shots to their employees

2. All eligible employees receive reminder mailings with the times and locations of the free flu shots, but some employees are asked to write down when they would plan to get a flu shot

3. The main outcome of interest is what percentage of people in each group get a free flu shot

The interesting twist here is that some of the people were asked to write down a date only and others were asked to write down a date and a time. What do you think happened?

First, only 33.1% of the employees who only received reminders got a free flu shot. Having folks write down a date increased the vaccination rate by 1.5%, but that effect was not statistically different from the “reminder only” condition. However, having folks write down a date and a time increased the vaccination rate by 4.2% – a rate that the authors state, “is both statistically significant and of meaningful magnitude.”

So, think about how you make your plans for working out or for heading over to the farmers market on the weekend. If you currently plan on going “sometime on Saturday” you might plan more effectively by setting up a specific appointment with yourself – “I’m gonna go to the gym at 8 and then get breakfast at the farmers market at 10.”

Lastly, if you have been thinking about or planning on making a purchase from the Dan’s Plan store, but haven’t gotten around to it yet, consider making an appointment with yourself to do so before the end of July. Why? Because from now until July we will be offering free shipping on all orders. One of our goals is to make it easier for you to achieve your goals, so if you’ve just been curious or “on the fence” regarding any of the products, please feel free to take advantage of this offer.


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