Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Doc Andy in the House

If you'd like to know more about today's guest, Dr. Andrea Robinson, here's her website and contact info:


Robinson Dental Studio
2900 Lyndhurst Avenue
Winston Salem, NC 27103
336/765-2921336/765-2923 (fax)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Chef Jeff's Tips for a Perfect Roast

By: Jeff Bacon CEC CCA CDM AAC Executive Chef – Triad Community Kitchen

During the seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas many old memories are revived and new ones made based upon the smells and flavors of family recipes and dishes. The smell of baked bread and apple pie bring back euphoric recall of Grandma’s kitchen. Some of the recipes I have developed myself as a chef over the years and then tried out on friends and family have also formed cherished memories. Many of these cherished dishes are from the bakery and pantry. Indeed if I had to pick an area of expertise for either of my grandmothers or my mother it would be in the area of sweets, salads and side dishes. The center piece of any holiday meal should be the protein right? A golden roasted work of art, succulent in its caramelization and juices. How many true master pieces have we really experienced over the years if we stop to think about it? Aren’t most of our memories of the Thanksgiving turkey those of longing anticipation as we relish the roasting aromas of browning poultry, only at long last to be disappointed by dry meat that crumbles as it is sliced? The pork roast that, while tasty, lacks that certain something that would make it worthy of being the star of the meal? I have assembled some basic techniques that will make a huge difference in the star quality of your holiday protein. These are not at all complex, just good solid science and classical methodology that may just allow you to cook some roasts worthy of cherished memory status.

Don’t over cook! This is the number one mistake, especially with poultry. We are so concerned with food safety (as well we should be) that we ere on the side of incineration. Perfect poultry should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees. Never use the pop up thermometers that come in supermarket turkeys. They are normally set to “pop” at 175-180 which is a good 10-15 degree to the “bad” side of perfection. Remember that large roasts will “carry over” cook once removed from the oven and the internal temperature will continue to rise. A 20 pound turkey will continue to cook another 10 degrees once removed from the oven so I usually pull it at around 155 leaving the thermometer in while it rests (removing it while the roast is piping hot just creates a hole for juices to squirt out of). Pork roasts are done at 145 degrees. Beef roasts are medium rare at 132-135 and medium at 140. These temperatures are for naturally tender cuts that are roasted to temp. For pot roasts and such where a fork tender product is the goal, cook temperatures will be higher.

Purchase a good meat thermometer. You can get a professional bimetallic stemmed pocket thermometer for $5 - $10 at Sam’s or Target. I have included a link of where to find several online http://www.instawares.com/test-thermometers.150.3.6548.0.0.8.htm . Remember to get one that reads from 0 -220 degrees Fahrenheit.

Rest first. All roasts must rest 15-30 minutes before carving. A 20 pound turkey should rest at least 45 minutes. Try covering with foil as they rest to retain moisture and heat. I know you’ve waited all day and you’re hungry so start early enough to allow for this step! Carving meat while piping hot allows all of the natural juices to run out onto the carving board instead of staying in the meat. This simple rule makes a huge difference.

Keep the door closed. For a crisp crusty exterior and a moist interior it is important to keep the heat in the oven, thus a closed door. Constant fiddling, basting and checking will adversely affect the final product. Basting in fact, while promotinga flavorful crust, does nothing for the moistness of the final product. More will be gained for the exterior by leaving the door closed, so basting is a no win proposition. An additional tool that is helpful for this and will also help with keeping proper internal cook temperatures is a remote probe oven thermometer. You will insert the thermometer probe into your roast at the beginning of the cooking process and it connects to the actual thermometer via a remote cable. This allows you to constantly monitor the internal temperature of your roast without ever opening the door. Many of these are available for between $15 and $40, like the Taylor remote thermometer http://www.amazon.com/Taylor-Digital-Oven-Thermometer-Timer/dp/B00004XSC5

Trying any or all of these techniques should make a noticeable difference in your roasts. The principles of utilizing proper internal cooking temperatures, resting, and leaving the door closed are universal and work with any type of roast. Brining is a no go for beef and lamb, however brining is an excellent technique for any poultry type, pork, veal and many types of game work well too. I have included a couple of brine recipes below as well as a step by step recipe to brining then roasting.

Basic Brine for Poultry, Game or Pork
(Will accommodate up to a 12 pound roast for larger size roasts modify to 1 ½ gallon or 2 gallon)

1 gallon cold water
1 cup salt
½ cup sugar

Herb Infused Brine
(Will accommodate up to a 12 pound roast for larger size roasts modify to 1 ½ gallon or 2 gallon)

1 gallon cold water
3 Tablespoons each fresh Sage ,Thyme, Marjoram, Oregano
1 cup salt
½ cup sugar
Place herbs in hot skillet or frying pan and toast until aromatic before adding to brine

Step by Step Brine and Roast Recipe

Choose desired brine and mix according to recipe in a container large enough to hold brine and roast without overflowing. Submerge thawed roast completely in brine.

(A stock pot will work for the smaller batches and will usually fit on the bottom shelf of your fridge. For larger roasts and turkeys requiring a 2 gallon or larger brine, a clean five gallon bucket is usually required. This may present a problem fitting in most home refrigerators. A solution is to situate the bucket in a large cooler surrounded by ice and water then place brine and roast in bucket. You must carefully monitor the water temperature of the brine during this process making sure that it stays at 40 degrees or colder to ensure food safety You may need to add extra ice through the process to maintain temp)

After 12-24 hours remove roast from brine and drain well. You may wish to blot exterior dry and rub with a light coating of oil to promote browning. Season as desired but utilize salt very lightly.

Roast in hot oven. Start cooking at 450 degrees for the first 20 minutes then reduce heat to 325 for the remainder of cook time. Roast until desired internal temperature is achieved. Do not open oven excessively during roasting. Allow roast to rest for 20-30 minutes depending upon size.

Additional notes for brining. If stuffing a bird or pork roast, do not use salt or salted bouillon or broth in the stuffing recipe. The salt from the brined bird will infuse into the stuffing. Actually the stuffing will draw some of the salt from the roast reducing its effectiveness. For best results you may wish to prepare stuffing in a separate pan. If using the pan drippings for gravy you will want to use low or no sodium broth to extend the drippings. If using water do not add additional salt.

Navy Bean & Ham Soup

By :Jeff Bacon CEC CCA AAC
Serving Size : 14 Preparation Time : 2:00
Categories : Soups & Stews
Amount--Measure--Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1/2 pound navy beans
1/2 cup celery -- diced
1 cup carrots -- diced
1 cup onion -- diced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 gallon water
1 pound ham -- diced
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon
2 tablespoons margarine
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Pick and sort the dried beans and discard any debris.
Put beans in a large pot and cover with water.
Let stand 8 hours or overnight. The next day, drain beans
and add fresh water (1/2 gal.), salt and chicken base.
You should add a leftover ham bone here if there is one.
Simmer 60 minutes or until beans are tender.

Chop celery, carrots, ham and onions into 1/4 inch pieces.
Sauté in margarine. Add vegetables, remaining chicken base,
black pepper and ham simmer 20 more minutes
Yield: "1/4 ounce"
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 116 Calories;
4g Fat (31.4% calories from fat); 8g Protein;
13g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 12mg Cholesterol;
476mg Sodium

Sweet Potato Torte

Recipe By: Jeff Bacon CEC CCA AAC
Serving Size : 12 Preparation Time :1:45
Categories : desserts vegetables

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shortening --chilled
2 tablespoons water -- chilled
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 each egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar

2 1/4 pounds sweet potato
1 3/4 cups sweetened condensed milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter -- melted
1/4 cup honey
2 each eggs
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Crust

Combine flour, sugar, and salt in processor;
blend 10 seconds.

Add shortening and blend in pulses until mixture
resembles coarse meal.

In another bowl whisk together ice water, oil, yolk,
and vinegar

Pulse into flour mixture until dough forms clumps,
add more ice water if dough is too dry.

Gather into ball and flatten into disk and wrap in plastic.

Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

For Filling

Cook sweet potatoes until tender and remove
flesh from skins

Mash flesh until smooth

Measure 3 cups flesh into bowl and
add remaining ingredients

Beat until blended and smooth

Preheat oven to 375

Roll out dough on floured surface into a 13 inch circle

Transfer into a 9 inch spring form pan and press into
bottom and up sides until 3/4 inch from top. Seal any cracks.

Add filling to pan and bake until starting to brown at edges and just
set in center (about 1 1/2 hours)

Cool 45 minutes

"3 1/2 pounds"
Start to Finish Time:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 518 Calories;
26g Fat (45.0% calories from fat); 8g Protein; 64g Carbohydrate;
2g Dietary Fiber; 80mg Cholesterol; 387mg Sodium.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Recipe By :Jeff Bacon CEC CCA CDM AAC
Serving Size : 12 Preparation Time :1:00

Amount--Measure--Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
3 pounds sweet potatoes -- cooked
1 1/2 ounces powdered milk
2 cups water
1/4 pound margarine
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 fluid ounce lemon juice
3/4 pound sugar
2/3 cup eggs
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 ounces flour
1 pinch nutmeg
1/8 fluid ounce lemon extract
1 1/2 cups marshmallows -- mini

Steam or boil potatoes for 45 min. to an hour until soft enough to peel.

Place peeled potatoes in large mixing bowl and mix on
slow speed until potatoes are thoroughly mashed.

Add all other ingredients, mixing until well combined.

Pour mixture into greased 2" hotel pans and bake at 325° for
45 minutes.

Hold at 135 F until needed then top with marshmallows and
place back in oven for 2-4 minutes to brown tops.

"5 pounds"
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 403 Calories;
10g Fat (20.9% calories from fat); 5g Protein; 77g Carbohydrate;
3g Dietary Fiber; 59mg Cholesterol; 452mg Sodium.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

By:Jeff Bacon
Serving Size: 32
Preparation Time :2:00
Categories: desserts

Amount--Measure--Ingredient -- Preparation Method
2 pounds ream cheese -- Softened
2 cups sugar
2 cups Pumpkin --cooked or canned
5 each eggs
1/4 cup cream
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon clove, ground
1 teaspoon allspice
3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter -- melted

Cream cheese and sugar together in mixer until smooth.
Add pumpkin and blend in. Add vanilla, cream, yolks, and
eggs and mix.

Blend crumbs, sugar and butter. Press into spring form
pan and up sides.

Pour batter into graham cracker crusts. Bake in steam bath at 325
for 1-1.5 hours or until middle is set. Allow to cool at room temperature
until cool enough to touch with bare hands.
Refrigerate overnight
Garnish with fried pumpkin chip and whipped cream
Yield: 2 - 9 inch cheesecakes
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 242 Calories;
15g Fat (55.6%calories from fat); 4g Protein; 23g Carbohydrate;
trace Dietary Fiber; 90mg Cholesterol; 171mg Sodium.

Classic Tart Tatin

Recipe By : Jeff Bacon CEC CCA AAC
Serving Size : 10 Preparation Time :2:00
Categories : Desserts

Amount--Measure--Ingredient -- Preparation Method
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter -- cut 1/2-inch thick
6 tablespoons sour cream

1/2 cup unsalted butter -- softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar -- packed
10 each granny Smith apple -- small, peeled
quartered & cored
2 teaspoons lemon juice


Combine flour, sugar and salt in processor,
blend five seconds

Add chilled cut butter and pulse in processor until coarse
meal forms

Add 5 tablespoons of the sour cream, pulse into dough until
clumps start to form. If dough is too dry add remaining 1 Tbsp

Gather dough into ball then flatten into a disk, wrap and chill
for at least 2 hours and up to a day.

Roll out dough into 13 inch round. Slide onto rimless baking sheet
and refrigerate until ready to use.


Preheat oven to 425

Heat a large (12 inch) skillet and add butter and sugars,
whisk until blended.

Turn off heat and add apple quarters flat side down in a circle
around perimeter of pan. Crown tight and arrange additional
concentric circles until pan bottom is covered.

Sprinkle tops of apples with lemon juice.

Cook over medium high heat until syrup is deep amber and thick.
Fit in any remaining apples as space permits.

Remove skillet from heat and slide chilled crust onto the top of
the apples.

Press crust edges down around apples at edge of skillet.

Cut slits in crust to allow steam to vent

Bake until crust is deep golden brown, about 35 minutes.

Let cool 5 minutes and cut around edges of tart to losen from pan.

Place a large platter over skillet and invert, allowing tart to
settle onto platter. Wait 3 minutes.

Slowly lift off skillet replacing any apples that have moved.

Let stand at least 30 minutes before serving.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 435 Calories;
23g Fat (46.0% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 58g Carbohydrate;
3g; Dietary Fiber; 60mg Cholesterol; 119mg Sodium

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Babysitter Pay Calculator

What's the going rate for babysitters in your town? Check out this Babysitter's Pay Calculator

Monday, November 17, 2008

Learn More about Lung Cancer


Lung Cancer in the United States: Facts

Approximately 215,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer in the U.S. each year – over 100,000 women and nearly 115,000 men. This means an American is diagnosed with lung cancer every 2.5 minutes. (1)

Lung cancer kills more than 160,000 people annually – more people than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined.( 1)

Lung cancer is responsible for more than 29% of all cancer-related deaths every year. (1)

Smoking is the primary cause of lung cancer. Approximately 87 percent of lung cancer cases occur in people who are currently smoking or have previously smoked. (2)

Although the risk of developing lung cancer goes down with smoking cessation, a significant risk remains for 20 years or longer after quitting. (2, 3)

Approximately 50 percent of all lung cancers (106,500) occur in people who have already quit smoking. (4)

Radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer, and the leading cause of lung cancer among never-smokers. (5)

More people who have never smoked die from lung cancer than do people from AIDS or liver cancer or ovarian cancer. (6, 7)

Risk factors for lung cancer other than those from smoking include lung scarring from tuberculosis, and occupational or environmental exposures to radon, second-hand smoke, radiation, asbestos, air pollution, arsenic and some organic chemicals. (1)

Only 16 percent of lung cancer patients are diagnosed before their disease has spread to other parts of their bodies, (e.g., regional lymph nodes and beyond), compared to more than 50 percent of breast cancer patients, and 90 percent of prostate cancer patients. (1, 8)

Men’s mortality (death) rates from lung cancer began declining more than 20 years ago, while women’s lung cancer mortality rates have been rising for decades and just recently began to stabilize. (9)

African Americans experience the highest incidence of lung cancer, and the highest death rate.(10)

Roughly 84 percent of people diagnosed with lung cancer die within five years of their diagnosis, compared to 11 percent of breast cancer and less than 1 percent of prostate cancer patients. (1)

Less money is spent on lung cancer research than on research on other cancers. In 2006, the National Cancer Institute estimated it spent only it spent only $1,638 per lung cancer death compared to $13,519 per breast cancer death, $11,298 per prostate cancer death, and $4,588 per colorectal cancer. (1, 11)

How Can I Reduce My Risk?

If you smoke, get the help you need to quit (state quitlines can be accessed at www.naquitline.org or by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW).

If you live in an area with high levels of radon coming from the bedrock (see www.epa.gov/radon), consider having your house tested for radon exposure. If radon levels are too high, a device can be installed to reduce them.

Eat a well-balanced diet and exercise. These activities help reduce the risk of all cancers.

If you smoke now or smoked in the past, or have a family history of lung cancer, consider speaking to your doctor about screening tests that may be available to you. Cancer is most treatable when it is detected early.

References Cited
American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2007. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2007. Satcher, D., T.G. Thompson and J.P. Kaplan, Women and smoking: a report of the Surgeon General. Nicotine Tob Res, 2002. 4(1): p. 7-20.

Ebbert, J.O., et al., Lung cancer risk reduction after smoking cessation: observations from a prospective cohort of women. J Clin Oncol, 2003. 21(5): p. 921-6.

Tong, L., M.R. Spitz, J.J. Fueger, and C.A. Amos, Lung carcinoma in former smokers. Cancer, 1996. 78(5): p. 1004-10.

National Research Council, Health Effects of Exposure to Radon: BEIR V. National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 1999.

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2005; 54(25):625-628

Hoyert, D.L., M.P. Heron, S.L. Murphy, H. Kung. Deaths: Final Data for 2003. National vital statistics reports; 54(13). Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2006.

American Cancer Society, Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2005-2006. Atlanta: American Cancer Society, Inc.

Jemal, A., R.C. Tiwari, T. Murray, A. Ghafoor, A. Samuels, E. Ward, E.J. Feuer, and M.J. Thun, Cancer statistics, 2004. CA Cancer J Clin, 2004. 54(1): p. 8-29.

Centers for disease Control and Prevention, Health, United States, 2006 National Center for Health Statistics: Atlanta, GA. p. 180, 244.

National Cancer Institute Snapshots: http://planning.cancer.gov/disease/snapshots.shtml
Last updated 01/07/08

Friday, November 14, 2008

LYT presents 'A Christmas Carol'

A Family Friendly version of the Dicken's classic performed by students ages K-12th grade.

Show times: Thursday - Saturday (Nov 13 - 15) 7pm and Sunday Nov 16) at 2pm.

Location: Smith Civic Center on Main Street in Lexington

Tickets are $8.00 (plus a non-perishable food item to help local charities)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sending Holiday Cheer to Veterans

The Red Cross together with Pitney Bowes is launching its Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign Tuesday, allowing people to send their cards with a message of thanks and cheer.

The two organizations will screen cards for hazardous materials, sort and package the cards, and deliver them to military bases and hospitals, veteran's hospitals, and other locations during the holidays.

Greetings must be received by December tenth to insure delivery by Christmas.

Mail can be sent to: Holiday Mail For Heroes P.O. Box 5456 Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456