With concern about pesticides and genetically-modified food products growing, more and more people are opting to purchase organic produce whenever possible. Unfortunately, the added cost to many organic products makes it hard to manage in a limited budget. If you have to make the hard choices on buying organic, this article should help. These five vegetables are the ones that you should buy organic whenever possible, for a number of reasons.
- Celery is top on the list of vegetables that should be purchased organic whenever possible. The unique shape of the celery stalk makes it very vulnerable to contamination from pesticides, and because the majority of the plant grows above-ground, it has a lot of exposure.
- Spinach is a great leafy green that packs a load of nutrients, but the nature of the leaves makes it very good at absorbing chemicals from the air. No matter how many times it is washed, it still retains traces of pesticides.
- Lettuce, as well, should be purchased organically-grown whenever you can. Most leafy greens are particularly vulnerable to chemical contamination because of their large cell structures and exposed surface area.
- Kale is one of the best vegetables in terms of nutritional value, but much like spinach and lettuce, the shape of its leaves make it dangerous in terms of absorbing pesticides.
- You wouldn’t think that potatoes would benefit from organic growing, but not only are organic potatoes better for you, they almost always taste better too. Many large-scale potato farmers keep a side crop of organic spuds growing away from their main crop to feed friends and family.
We all know Ben Franklin. He flew a kite in a thunderstorm and his face is on the 100 dollar bill. He signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
There’s a bit more to him than that.
Franklin was a pioneering scientist, inventor, journalist, printer, humorist, philosopher, diplomat, politician and philanthropist. Perhaps more than any other Founding Father, his work shapes our daily lives. Here are just a few examples:
1. He won the Revolutionary War.
Aged 70, Franklin went to France in 1776 to secure their support for the Revolutionary cause. His diplomacy was a great success, with France’s military and financial backing a critical factor in the war. Franklin also negotiated the Treaty of Paris (1783), which finally gave America its freedom from Britain.
2. He gave you books.
As a young man, Franklin couldn’t afford books. So he founded America’s first free lending library, sparking a trend that continues to educate the country.
3. When it rains, he saves your life.
When the weatherman tells you to stay indoors during a storm, thank Franklin’s kite. His famous experiment with a kite and key confirmed that metal conducts electricity, leading him to invent the lighting rod. More than 300 years later they operate much as Franklin intended, saving untold amounts of lives and property.
4. He lived the original American story.
Franklin was educated to age eight, after which he was apprenticed to his brother James, a printer. He ran away to Philadelphia aged 17 and arrived penniless, owning nothing but the clothes on his back and two loaves of bread. He became one of the great renaissance men, arguably the most important American ever.
Franklin’s Autobiography (1790) tells a story of hard work, smart spending, and relentless curiosity. He knew how to laugh at himself. He respected authority, but was skeptical of it. And he believed that with sweat and faith, anything is possible. Over two hundred years after his death, these are universal American values. We see ourselves in Franklin’s image. He looks over your shoulder every day.
For more on Franklin, check out this book.
The cupcake trend has swept the country, with charming little bakeries opening up from coast to coast serving the bite-sized cakes with decadent frosting. If you want to make cupcakes at home, here are five great ideas for recipes that will go beyond the traditional chocolate and vanilla:
- Salted caramel is a popular flavor among more mature eaters – the tang of the salt mixes perfectly with the sweetness of the caramel. For the body of the cupcake, use a dark chocolate flavor to add complexity, then add icing made with salt and caramel. Top with a few large grains of sea salt.
- Red velvet cupcakes are popular because of their dramatic coloration and rich, satisfying flavor. A true red velvet cake uses vinegar and buttermilk to release the red coloration in cocoa, but it’s fine to use food coloring as well. Top with a white buttercream icing.
- Lemon cake is a great choice for cupcakes, as the intensity of the tart flavor works well in a small serving. Use fresh lemon zest in your batter and top with a lemony icing, then crush lemon drop candies or other sour confections in a food processor and sprinkle lightly on top.
- Chocolate peanut butter cupcakes are a great way to make a dense, satisfying dessert. The peanut butter in the batter makes the cupcakes a little heavier than normal, and topping them with a whipped peanut butter icing adds a different texture.
- Another popular way to combine salty and sweet flavors is by making maple bacon cupcakes. Using maple sugar in the batter and icing adds an earthy sweetness, and topping the iced cupcake with candied bacon adds crunch, salt and fat.
No trip to New York City is complete without a visit to the Great White Way. If you’re bound for the Big Apple this fall, make sure you head to Broadway to catch at least one of these exciting shows:
A moving and socially charged play that explores the events before Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1968 assassination. Starring performances by Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett. (Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, 242 West 45th Street)
A laughter-filled evening of three one-act plays by some of today’s leading comedy writers: “Honeymoon Hotel,” by Woody Allen, “Talking Cure,” by Ethan Coen (of Coen brothers fame), and “George is Dead” by Elaine May. (Brooks Atkinson Theatre, 256 West 47th Street)
An innovative new comedy by Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang, “Chinglish” follows an American business who travels to China for work. The play explores communication, miscommunication, and human connection, packing in lots of laughs along the way. (Longacre Theatre, 220 West 48th Street)
Other Desert Cities
This is a wry and sometimes scathing drama about a woman who returns home after a six year absence to celebrate Christmas with her parents and siblings. When she announces that she's about to publish a memoir focusing on an intense chapter in the family’s history, the tension escalates. (Booth Theatre, 222 West 45th Street)
A sharp comedy with dark undertones, centered on four young writers participating in a private seminar taught by a major literary figure. Attractions, allegiances, and rivalries abound. Alan Rickman stars. (John Golden Theatre, 252 West 45th Street)
As Autumn falls upon Pennsylvania many great events await you: from huge block parties and film festivals to haunted houses and apple picking. Here’s a look at some of them:
Bloktoberfest – On October 15th from noon to 8 p.m., South Philly’s premiere block party returns and it's bigger than ever. Three blocks on South Street will be filled with great food and live music during an event that benefits education initiatives tied to the area’s schools and students.
Philadelphia Film Festival – Starting on October 20th, the Philadelphia Film Society celebrates 14 days of independent, feature length, and documentary film during the Society's 20th anniversary.
Haunted Houses – With Fright Factory, Terror Behind The Walls, The Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride, Sleepy Hollow Hayride, Lulu’s House of Horrors, and more, Pennsylvania is filled with plenty of places to experience thrills and chills during Halloween season.
Apple Picking, Pumpkin Patches, and more – Fall is the perfect season for picking apples, getting pumpkins, and harvesting a variety of other fruits and vegetables. There are also plenty of great places for picking up other fall goods like apple butter, pumpkin bread, and canning supplies. For an extensive list of farms around Pennsylvania, click here.
Craft Beer Express – Climb aboard on November 12th as a special party bus shuttles you back and forth between 12 of Philadelphia’s best craft beer bars as they host a plethora of special theme events.
Too cold to play outside? These books make great companions!
The Flint Heart by Katherine Paterson
An ancient, heart-shaped charm brings a violent power to all who wear it—until 12 year old Charlie manages to destroy it forever.
Mister Creecher by Chris Priestly
On the streets of Victorian London, a monstrous man saves Billy’s life. Then the man introduces Billy to his ‘father’: Dr. Frankenstein.
The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot by Margaret McNamara
A surprising take on The Three Little Pigs.
With a Name Like Love by Tess Hilmo
In this vivid and big-hearted mystery set in 1957 Arkansas, Ollie, the daughter of an itinerant preacher, befriends a boy whose mother is wrongfully accused of murder.
Dinosaur vs. the Library by Bob Shea
Bob Shea’s toothy and gregarious hero returns to face his toughest opponent yet: the library! Can he be quiet for an entire story?
The benefits of fruits and vegetables for your health have been well-established. And there’s a new class of fruit that can have even more powerful effects. Dubbed “superfruits,” these miracles of nature pack exceptional amounts of antioxidants and vitamins to get your body looking and feeling great. Here are five of the best.
1. Acai. This Brazilian berry grows on palm trees, and was first introduced to the American market in 2004. The fruit contains exceptional polyphenol and antioxidant properties, and has also been shown to reduce cholesterol in tests. It is served as pulp or in juice blends.
2. Goji. Also known as the Chinese wolfberry, these Asian fruits overflow with a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, as well as helpful phytochemicals that may have beneficial health effects. They're most commonly eaten dry. Chinese medicinal cuisine uses them in soups as well.
3. Blueberries. The humble blueberry has been a staple of pancakes for decades. But for best results don’t cook it! This fruit has some of the highest antioxidant levels of any on this list, and it also produces tannins that have been shown to inhibit the development of cancer.
4. Pomegranate. This difficult-to-eat fruit may be worth it, as the juicy seeds have been shown to inhibit risk factors that contribute to coronary artery disease in clinical tests. Many companies sell pomegranate juice, either straight or blended with other fruits for flavor.
5. Sea Buckthorn. This small, orange berry is very acidic and difficult to eat raw. However, when the juice is extracted, it boasts a spectacular dose of vitamin C and phytonutrients that may work as anti-inflammatories.
As you may know, a tropical storm is heading our way this weekend. The prolonged high winds and heavy rains represent potential hazards like: flooding, power outages and wind damage.
We strongly request that all residents properly prepare in advance, and below is a list of suggested actions:
- We are requiring you to secure all balcony/patio and yard furniture, as well as, all outside personal belongings (toys, planters, grills), preferably bring them inside.
- e a flashlight with fresh batteries on each floor of your home.
- Please use candles with extreme caution, and never leave a burning candle unattended.
- Have a battery-powered radio and clock available.
- Stay away from downed and loose wires and report them immediately to PECO and the Office if the wires are within the Community.
- If you lose power, move items from your refrigerator into your freezer to keep them cold as long as possible, and open your freezer and refrigerator as little as possible.
- Close your blinds and windows, and stay away from windows during the height of the storm.
- Generators are not permitted to be used at any time. This includes storing the generator on the patio or balcony for use inside the apartment.
- Consider placing a rolled towel at the bottom of patio on front entrance door if water intrusion is an issue, and keep the doors closed.
- Walk or drive cautiously. Debris-filled streets and pathways are very dangerous. Washouts may weaken road and bridge structures. Please be mindful, and observe any blocked out or taped off roadways and pathways.
- Stay indoors! Resist the temptation to watch the storm outside as the high winds may create projectiles that could put you at risk of injury.
Keep PECO’s emergency telephone number 800-841-4141 handy. The more customers who call to report an outage, the faster they may dispatch crews and restore your service. Restoring power is typically not a matter that our site Management team has any control over.
Some other important numbers to keep at the ready are:
The Police Department number is:
Our Emergency “On-Call” number is:
We thank you in advance for your patience. We expect that there may be problems and our staff is making every effort to plan accordingly. It takes a team effort to deal with storm related matters and clean-up after a storm. Should damage to the property occur, please report the matter to the Management Office and we will make an inspection to assess the damages as soon as possible. Repairs will be schedule in the order of severity.
Forecasters project that Hurricane Irene will strike the North Carolina coast Saturday morning, then move northeast along the east coast. On Saturday and Sunday, states in the mid-Atlantic and New England will suffer torrential rain and hurricane force winds from the Category 2 storm. According to weather.com, Hurricane Irene has the potential to produce flooding rains, high winds, downed trees, and widespread power outages in and around cities like Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston.
If you don't already have one, now's a good time to create a disaster preparedness plan for you and your family. You can read the National Hurricane Center's hurricane preparedness tips at www.nhc.noaa.gov/HAW2/english/disaster_prevention.shtml. The page offers tips on developing a family disaster plan, creating a disaster supply kit, and evacuation.
And most importantly, be safe!
When you can’t make it down to Starbucks, you've always got the option to make your own coffee at home. But with so many different ways to brew a cup of joe, which one's the best for your lifestyle? Here’s a quick rundown of some of the most popular methods.
Automatic drip coffeemakers are some of the most common appliances in American kitchens, but they are beginning to fall out of fashion. Their greatest advantage is consistency – their automatic heat and drip settings create quality coffee every time. Unfortunately, many of them feature a warming plate under the pot that can make coffee taste bad if left too long.
One of the more popular new trends in home coffeemaking is the single-serve “coffee pods” made with brand names like K-cups and Nestle’s Dolce Gusto. The advantage of these machines is that they brew only as much coffee as you want. Each pod makes a single cup very quickly. However, some people don't like that the pods are thrown out after use.
If you don’t have a power source nearby, a French press is a popular way of brewing coffee. This simple machine requires roughly ground coffee, which is poured into a glass vessel and covered with hot water. After waiting a few minutes, a wire mesh screen is pressed down, straining out the grounds and leaving rich, dark coffee behind. The French press's main drawback is that you must time how long the grounds are left to steep quite carefully. Otherwise, you'll get coffee that's too light or too dark.
Brewed coffee's acidity can be difficult for sensitive stomachs. But there's a way to make delicious coffee that makes it much less acidic. Cold-brewed coffee, where grounds are steeped in cold water for as long as 24 hours before being strained, creates a dense coffee concentrate that can be mixed with hot water, cold water, or milk for a fresh, tasty cup of java.
By Nevit Dilmen (Own work) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons