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At Home JULY-AUGUST 2013

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Feasts from the fire and the freezer Cool and clean: Refreshing rooms dressed in white

You can win: A sleek, smart vacuum for college cleaning

Protecting your home: Please don’t feed the termites


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July-August 2013

What is it?

Hint: This could be used as a functional accent table in the home of a person who enjoys a certain animalrelated sport.

Hint: Specialized fighters carried an essential liquid in this.

Visit Golden Bee Antiques in Westfield to get a closer look, or find the answers and more on AtHomeNJ.com.

141A East Broad Street, Westfield, NJ 07090 Phone: (908) 654-6824 ■ stores.ebay.com/Golden-Bee-Antiques Hours: Wednesday-Friday 10:30-6, Thursday until 8; Saturday 10-5; Sunday 12-4 Closed Monday & Tuesday Fine Home Furnishings ■ Collectibles ■ Gifts ■ French Antiques ■ Estate Jewelry Buy ■ Sell ■ Consignment ■ Estate Sales

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Many parents of first-year college students will be packing them up to ship off to campus at the all-to-soon end of summer. In addition to the personal items and clothing, the shopping list will likely include sheets, towels, a microwave and a mini fridge for the dorm room. Don’t forget the cleaning supplies! Any campus tour veteran knows the cleaning staff works only in common areas outside the rooms. So, your kid is on his or her own when it comes to presenting a well-scrubbed place to visiting fellow dorm dwellers. Electrolux offers its slim profile Ergorapido as a space-saving bagless vac, weighing about 5 pounds. A motorized brush cleans bare floors, and it doubles as a hand-held vacuum that’s perfect for picking up the inevitable messes of student living. Crevice and upholstery tools help with hard-to-reach areas and spot cleaning. Ergorapido is widely available online and in stores, selling for about $130. Win the vac! For a chance to win an Electrolux Ergorapido for your student — or yourself — e-mail Win@AtHomeNJ.com with your name, address and phone number by Aug. 11. Make “Electrolux” the subject. Elaine Carman of Scotch Plains wins “1001 Wedding Ideas” and the “Newlywed Edition” of the Betty Crocker cookbook.

THIS N I W CESPA NG SAVI UM! VACU

Congratulations, grads! On a recent June day, a plain white envelope arrived at my home. It bore an address printed in the careful, yet still unevenly sized letters of an early middleschool student. Inside was a letter my then fifth-grade daughter had written into the future to herself as a high-school senior. Her former teacher, Mrs. Ana Gomez-Cagnassola, had amazingly saved letters written by her young students for more than seven years and then timed their mailing to arrive just days before this year’s graduation. “Have you made any good grades lately?” my daughter asks her high-school self in the letter. “I have,” she brags. “Have you read every book in the kids section of the Fanwood Library? What, you forgot that was one of your goals?” That letter, and the congratulatory letters of advice written to my daughter more recently by Scotch Plains-Fanwood first- through third-graders, were so delightful to read. The elementary schoolers who wrote to my daughter advised her to “Make excellent choices” and “Skip drugs.” Those little ones were speaking to her with adult voices that reminded her to “Remember to dream big and believe in yourself,” obviously the repeated advice of their parents and teachers. In congratulating the graduates myself, I’d like to also thank all the district teachers who continue this letter-writing tradition. They not only develop communication skills, they remind us parents that our children hear us when we guide them. They let us know that our words of wisdom are not spoken in vain. There’s also a lot of wisdom from many sources in this issue of At Home. It ranges from ways to help protect your house against termites, to cooling down with delicious frozen fruit pops, to living each day to the fullest. It’s our goal to always share the sort of information that helps in making excellent choices. Enjoy the summer! Kim Editor@AtHomeNJ.com

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THE BEST OF LIFE WHERE YOU LIVE

Contents PETS Hitting the road DESIGN Wrapped in white

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11

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ENTERTAINING Cooking over fire

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FOOD Asian flavors

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GARDENS Tours and projects

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MAINTENANCE Home checkup

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FITNESS Vacation strategies

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FAMILY Coping with cancer

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AT HOME NEW JERSEY Mail: P.O. Box 193 Fanwood, NJ 07023 Telephone: (908) 656-0385 E-mail: Editor@AtHomeNJ.com Web: AtHomeNJ.com

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All opinions expressed in the articles and advertisements that appear in this publication are the opinion of the producer and not necessarily those of this publication. We reserve the right to edit submissions for clarity, accuracy, relevance and length. Letters to the editor must include the writer’s telephone number and address for verification. On the cover: An All-American summer spread with spice-rubbed pork ribs. Courtesy of PorkBeInspired.com.


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Pet friendly If summer travel involves a pet, consult these tips for ease and safety from two expert sources: the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Marc Morrone, host of Hallmark Channel’s “Petkeeping with Marc Morrone.” Whether you travel by car or by air, make sure your accommodations at your destination are pet-friendly. The AAA Pet Book, revised each year, includes more than 14,000 AAA-approved hotels, campgrounds and attractions that welcome pets. Emergency clinics and dog parks are included in print ($18.95) or digital ($9.99) editions of the guide. Learn more at aaa.com/petbook. And if your pet is sick, very young, old or high-strung, it’s best for it to avoid traveling, says Morrone. Both you and your pet will be happier if you leave it in the care of a friend or reliable boarding facility.

Travel by car To ease anxiety, get your pet comfortable with a crate by putting him or her in it for short periods each day before your trip. Also, going on regular car rides will make your pet more comfortable and relaxed on a long driving trip. Never leave your pet unattended in a car, even with windows cracked. Even on a seemingly mild day, with temperatures in the 70s, enough heat can build up in the car to harm or even kill your pet. Feed your pet a light meal three to four hours before departing. Don’t feed your pet in a moving vehicle.

Bring along some food, water, bowls, a leash, a waste scoop and plastic bags, grooming supplies, a first-aid kit, medication and vaccination records. Also stow a favorite toy or pillow to give your pet a sense of familiarity. Be sure your pet is wearing proper identification or is micro-chipped. Include your contact information and your destination on your pet’s collar.

Hit the road with your pet and keep his tail waggin’

pets may be earlier. Small pets may be considered carry ons. If your pet is a small dog (under 10 pounds), cat, or ferret, you may be able to take it on board the airplane with you in a carrying case. This is the best, and least traumatizing, way to fly with a pet. With larger pets, only buy crates designed specifically for air travel. Larger pets will have to travel in the plane’s baggage compartment. Crates for air travel must have ventilation on

Travel by plane Unless your animal is small enough to fit under your seat and you can bring him or her in the cabin, the ASPCA recommends pet owners not fly with their animal on commercial airlines. When making plans for air travel, be sure to check the airline’s policy on transporting animals before buying tickets. Each airline has different regulations, and some don’t accommodate animals at all. Check-in time for passengers carrying

all sides so that air can circulate even if it is pushed up against a wall. If your pet must travel in a plane’s cargo hold, write “Live Animal” in large letters on the crate and draw arrows to indicate the crate’s upright position. Also, attach a current photo of your pet to the crate in case your pet escapes. If the plane is delayed, or if you have any concerns about the welfare of your pet, insist that airline personnel check the animal whenever feasible. In certain situations, removing the pet from the cargo hold and deplaning may be warranted. Line the crate’s bottom with plenty of shredded newspaper, but don’t use blankets or towels. These will get bunched up by a nervous pet and keep it from getting a firm footing in the crate. Unless your vet specifically recommends it, tranquilizing your pet for travel is not advisable. A pet is better off in an unfamiliar situation if it has all of its faculties and can balance and maintain equilibrium when being moved about. In addition, the increased altitude can create respiratory and cardiovascular difficulties in some sedated animals. Attach a water bottle on the outside of the pet’s crate so airline personnel can refill it in the Photo by event of unexpected delays.

Roman Balog

Make the litter box a place your cat will want to go By Ashlee Gonigam

Litter box issues are probably the most annoying pet problem among cat owners. A cat creating alternative litter areas around the house usually means attention is needed at the appointed litter box. Jessica Vogelsang, a veterinarian, working mother and author of the website “Paw Curious,” is passionate about pets and their place in the family. She has expertise in cats and litter box issues — the leading reason people give up their cat. Known as Dr. V, she blogs about pet, family and health matters at her site. Here are her litter box tips to help keep cats and their families happy and in harmony.

Rescue groups often suggest adopting two kittens so they won’t be alone. But if you have two cats, you need three litter boxes, veterinarians say.

l Keep your cat using the box by keeping it nice and tidy. Think of the box as your cat’s bathroom experience: No one likes a gross, stinky bathroom! Scoop solids from the box daily, and clean the box entirely once a week. l Strong smells can act as a litter box deterrent for some cats. Stick to unscented or lightly scented litters instead of filling the room with an air freshener scent. l If you have multiple cats, use the N+1 rule

(where N equals the number of cats) to determine the ideal number of boxes. A two-cat household, for example, needs three boxes. Providing an extra litter box reduces competition and inappropriate elimination (going outside the box, in your shoe, etc.). l Cats are very individual and each cat has different preferences for litter box types. Some like covered, others like uncovered. Setting two up side by side can help you determine your cat’s preference. l Involve the kids. As soon as your toddler is old enough to show interest in the cat, teach him or her proper interaction such as gentle pets on the chest. Teach them from the get-go to avoid pulling tails, and that when kitty walks away, it means he needs a break. This will help ensure a lifelong positive relationship. As the kids get older, involve them in daily feeding, grooming and litter box scooping. All of these activities should be monitored, especially in the beginning. Make sure your child is washing his or her hands afterwards. l If you are expecting, there’s no need to get rid of your cat. Talk to your veterinarian and your OB about what you can do to stay healthy. Extra bonus: Nine months of freedom from litter box duty.


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Wonders of white

Courtesy of Country Living/Miki Duisterhofw

A gauzy canopy with a subtle spray of floral print makes an inviting summer retreat. White is clean and calm for the bath, and brightened by touches of yellow in a frilly dining room.

How does an all-white room feel on the hottest summer day? Cool, calm, clean — the perfect antidote to sticky and sweaty conditions. But at any time of the year, white “may be the single most nimble color in the decorating arsenal, ranging from rich warm shades to ethereal, cool hues,” according to the new Country Living book “Decorating with White” (Hearst Books, $24.95). White has undertones ranging from blue to yellow,

and can complement decorating styles from modern to traditional. Those who dare to go with white interiors will find numerous inspiring images in this 160-page volume. More idea book than serious design guide, this is an easy-read collection of tips that can facilitate quick-change seasonal decorating. Solutions suggested for living with white and a family include white leather, stain-resistant “performance” fabrics usually intended for outdoors, and cotton slipcovers that can be brightened with bleach. White also is offered as the answer for flawed architecture and other interior challenges: “It can raise the ceiling, open up an

awkward space, and create an envelope in which an eclectic array of furnishings can shine.” Success in decorating with white relies on variety — mixing visual and tactile elements, according to the book. And if you use white as the foundation, any accent color will pop. Full chapters are devoted to exploration of the interplay between white with colors in duo-tone decorating. Think blue and white or black and white. In chillier months, an abundance of white can be warmed effectively by the presence of wood tones. Chapters cover bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchens and other living areas. For dis-

playing collections, image after image illustrates the visual relief in shelves filled with all-white dishes. The interest in these displays comes, as stated previously, from variation of shape and texture. Favorite tips: In a black-and-white decorating scheme: “Treat black furniture like sculpture; silhouetted against a light backdrop, each piece can make a statement. Walls painted stark white or a soft ivory provide the perfect canvas for photographs and artwork presented in black or white frames. Contrasting textures are important, too — think velvet, glass, metal, mohair, lace, corduroy, and distressed surfaces.”

ELLA ALLURE interior design center It’s all about the fabric Beacon Hill

UPHOLSTERY l WINDOW TREATMENTS l INTERIOR DESIGN 220 E. BROAD STREET, WESTFIELD, NJ EllaAllure.com 908.654.3527

Thibaut


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July-August 2013

Everybody loves Candice

Pick your paint

Upload a photo at LetsChipIt.com and get 10 matching Sherwin-Williams color suggestions. A godsend for those who find decorating inspiration on image-driven interior design websites, the new online paint selection tool also works on printed images scanned into the computer. Create a Chip It! account to save your results. The site also has a sign-up page for “preferred customers” who can get $10 off a $50 purchase, sale alerts and other offers. Chip It! is the latest of the paint maker’s interactive color-selection tools. With Color Visualizer, upload a room or home exterior photo and try updates in more than 1,500 colors. For smart phones and tablets, ColorSnap apps can match paint colors to shots taken with the devices. Color varies on the screens, so the company recommends visiting one of its stores for the final selection.

What is it about Candice Olson? She’s model thin with runway height at 6 feet tall, blonde, beautiful. But more likely its the wit, bright smile and engaging personality of this beloved celebrity designer that endears her to fans. We watch her on HGTV (“Divine Design,” “Candice Tells All”) – as much for her appealing room designs as to see what she’ll wear. We consult her online advice, read her books and buy an increasing number of products that she’s either designed, endorsed or used in her projects. This Canadian style-setter who began working on interiors in her 20s is now one of America’s top design celebrities. Beds, bedding, furniture, lighting, rugs, paints and wallpaper carry her name. Links to her numerous collections can be found at CandiceOlson.com. Click on a link below each of her four most recent books at CandiceOlsonBooks.com, and there will 25-30 images with source lists of the products she used.

Candice Olson design books are being churned out, with her sixth, “Everyday Elegance,” expected in August. Her most recent book, “Favorite Design Challenges” (Houfhton Mifflin Harcourt, $19.99) shows 24 transformed rooms with more than 200 before and after photos. The goal of the book is to help readers imagine and plan their own redecorating with Olson’s in-depth explanation of how she handled each problematic space. In several of the rooms, wallpaper is a solution. Subtle texture comes from grass-cloth that “wraps the whole room in cocoon-like warmth.” Her own wallpapers for York often include metallic strings woven through, and for a basement mother-in-law’s suite, a touch of metallic in the wallcovering gives the room a glowy effect that grabs and reflects light and makes the room feel like a little jewel box.” In Olson’s line, her Haze wallpaper, shown above right in Blackberry with Silver, is priced like jewels at $290 per

Candice Olson’s Haze wallpaper for York.

roll. “If you’re looking for a great way to freshen up a room, wallpaper can define a space and add drama,” says Olson. Win books by Candice Olson: We’ll be giving away a library of all six of the designer’s books in August. For a chance to win, e-mail Win@AtHomeNJ.com by Aug. 18 with your name, address and phone number. Make “Candice” the subject.

“Strinberg Mappen” by Joan Miro

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Design book has an array of exceptional interiors There is beauty in function. That sentence sums up the interior designs of Stephanie Stokes as well as her new book “Elegant Rooms That Work” (Rizzoli, $50). “What I’ve tried to accomplish here is to create a ‘beauty’ book on chic storage and comfortable living, illustrated with photos of rooms that are practical and timeless, not trendy or faddish; workable and beautiful, not untouchable and precious” she writes in the book’s introduction. Timeless is illustrated in the sedate neutral palette of an apartment at New York’s Plaza Hotel. Practical is in the room’s sturdy coffee table with a virtually indestructible finish of automobile lacquer. Beautiful is the multi-purpose library with its network of green cabinetry and shelving that showcases numerous books. Workable is this room’s numerous examples of concealed storage. Behind what appears to be rows of books is a fully stocked home bar. A flat panel television is ingeniously mounted on the front of a large pull-out drawer. The pull-out holds stored file folders and binders, hidden but nevertheless chic in their uniform red color. Near the television, drawers are designed in the perfect size to store DVDs. A sofa bed lets the library serve as a guest room, with a built-in closet for linens. In many of the featured rooms hidden niches and dual-duty decorative devices abound.

“There is beauty in having a closet so well organized that you can dress quickly with no frantic searches,” Stokes writes. “Saving time is a form of beauty.” Perhaps most impressive are Stokes’ own living quarters — present and former. She says her knack at using space efficiently was developed in part by the youthful challenge of creating elegant living space in a studio apartment. The apartment, where she lived at the start of her professional career, was featured in the New York Times. In one photo, the elaborate draperies of a canopy bed are pulled aside to reveal evening gowns hanging on the wall. In the years since, Stokes has come to specialize in unexpected places for everything (jewels might be hidden in crown molding, for example). “Building good storage is an art,” she says. The book also reveals a keen knowledge of fine art. Numerous original paintings become exceptional focal points, perfectly complementing the given room’s furnishings and decoration while holding interest on their own. Beyond the pretty pictures, Stokes has an engaging story. Previous experiences as a photojournalist and as an investment banker inform her design work. She has a master’s degree in art history from New York University, and has traveled widely. She writes: “My limitless curiosity about the world and its many wonders is a potent driving force for all aspects of my life.” Photos courtesy of Rizzoli

Well-dressed beds, above, are a recurring feature in bedrooms designed by Stephanie Stokes, author of “Elegant Rooms that Work.” On the wall beneath the canopy, the image of a fantasy tree is embroidered on a headboard covered in pale blue linen. The lamp bases are Indonesian fish traps. Far right, a library that also serves as guest room and entertaining area with its pull-out sofa bed and a bar cabinet hidden behind faux books. At right, sequential paintings by artist Bill Jacklin share a frame. Well-selected artwork is often prominently displayed in Stokes’ designs.


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July-August 2013

Better barbecue: Grill ribs over indirect heat Ribs are one of the top foods grilled, according to a Weber survey. For irresistible ribs, grilling expert Elizabeth Karmel recommends cooking meat over indirect heat and adding barbecue sauce toward the end of cooking time to prevent the sauce from burning. The same technique works for chicken, says Howie Velie, a Culinary Institute of America chef. “Most people burn their barbecue chicken because they put the sauce on too early and keep it constantly on high heat,” Velie says. “The sauce is full of sugar, and it is the sugar that starts to burn and char on the meat. It is best to first make the cross hatch marks on both sides with high heat and to turn the meat quickly so it does not burn. Once it is marked, after about three minutes, apply the sauce on both sides and finish cooking on the cooler side of the grill.” Controlling the temperature of the grill as foods cook is one of the challenges facing the outdoor chef, Velie says. His recommendation for larger gas grills is to leave one of the burners off, creating a cooler side to move the meat onto and keep it from burning. For coals, make a pile on one side of the grill leaving the other side for indirect heat. Using direct or indirect heat gives you the flexibility to prepare almost any food on the grill. The CIA offers grilling recipes, such as Black Jack Chicken, at Enthusiasts.ciaChef.edu. Get more recipes in “The Culinary Institute of America’s Grilling Cookbook” (LebharFriedman 2006, $35). Need ideas for grilling chicken? Check out McCormick.com. The featured recipe for grilled orange-ginger chicken (below) from the site uses a quick marinade with Asian flavors. All spices are available under the McCormick label.

National Pork Board

Cooking over direct heat, above, is best for making the first grill marks. Finish cooking meat over indirect heat.

Grilled Asian orange-ginger chicken

Firecracker pork ribs

1. In a medium bowl, mix marinade: 1/4 cup each of orange juice, soy sauce and vegetable oil with 2 tablespoons sesame seeds; 1 tablespoon each of garlic powder, ground ginger and freshly grated orange peel; 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper.

(8 servings)

2. Place 1-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken in large resealable bag. Set aside 2 tablespoons of marinade for brushing chicken on the grill. Add remaining marinade to chicken; turn to coat well. Massage chicken and marinade for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove chicken from marinade. Discard marinade. 3. Grill chicken over medium heat 6 to 7 minutes per side or until cooked through, brushing with marinade. — Recipe, photo courtesy of McCormick

4 pounds pork spareribs 16-ounce bottle of white vinegar 1 teaspoon onion powder 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon chili powder 1/4 cup brown sugar 3/4 cup buffalo-style wing sauce (or barbecue sauce) 1. In a pan, cover ribs with vinegar and soak for one hour. Discard vinegar, rinse ribs and pat dry. Mix onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder and sugar in a bowl. Rub mixture evenly over ribs, place in a

plastic food storage bag and refrigerate up to 3 hours. 2. Place ribs meaty-side-up in a pan, cover with foil and oven roast for an hour at 300 degrees. Brush ribs with sauce. Grill over indirect heat 30 minutes or until meat is tender, brushing with more sauce after 15 minutes. Put ribs on a cutting board, loosely cover with foil. Let rest 15 minutes. Nutrition information (per serving): 693 calories, 52g fat (17g saturated), 179mg cholesterol, 533mg sodium, 18g carbs, 0g fiber, 15g sugars, 35g protein – Adapted from PorkBeInspired.com

Easy recipes you’ll enjoy around the campfire

It goes without saying that food is one of the most important elements of a camping trip. But mess up the food, and the trip is guaranteed to fail, according to Kevin Callan and Margaret Howard, authors of “The New Trailside Cookbook” (Firefly, $19.95). To prevent dining-related camp-out disasters, the book covers every aspect of meal planning. It’s a guide for campsite fans filling up their coolers as well as those wilderness explorers who must carry several days worth of sustenance on their backs. Included are shopping lists, tips to protect foodstuffs from animals, guidance for dehydrating and for

cooking over campfires. Since the point of camping is to see and enjoy the great outdoors, the authors advise against wasting a lot of time on breakfast, preparing lunch to take along, and cooking dinner as the main event. “Dinner makes up a good part of the camping trip’s entertainment,” they write. “It’s basically social hour, when everyone is in a relaxed pace after a long day.” And to make happy campers, dinner should take 30 minutes or less to prepare, they say. Recipes are organized by meal type, and always include a few more involved recipes that will be enjoyed by leisure campers. Each recipe

has time-saving steps to do ahead at home. Peanut butter-banana muffins can be made ahead and frozen or baked at the campsite in a huge, covered cast iron pot known as a Dutch oven. “Snacks are the lifeblood of any good trip,” according to the authors, so the “Quick Pickups” chapter offers recipes for refueling. There’s a mix of healthy bars and dips for apple slices. The authors are experienced group campers and have come up with a fun way to keep the food quality high in their ultimate camp cookoff. Winners get a prize, and the losing cooks must surrender their remaining spirits (rum, scotch, vodka, etc.) to those who do better.


July-August 2013

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Showcasing squash Ming Tsai joins Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford at the White House for a healthy cooking video on Asian cuisine.

From the White House

In a White House-produced YouTube video, Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford cooks up a healthy chicken, shrimp and vegetable stir-fry with celcbrity chef Ming Tsai. The chefs fill the wok with lots of vegetables, following the guidelines of MyPlate, which replaced the food pyramid as a visual cue designed to remind Americans to make healthier selections from the five food groups The video points to ChooseMyPlate.gov which offers tools and informtion to put the new vegetable-focused dietary guidelines into action. “It’s so important to me that we think about Filipino food not just in terms of what’s delicious, but in terms of what’s healthy and nourishing for our families,” says Comerford, who grew up in the Philippines. In the video, she shares common culinary traditons with Tsai, a Chinese American. Here are a few stir-frying tips from the chefs: 1. Have all ingredients chopped and ready for the wok. 2. Cook meats, seafood and other proteins first, remove them before cooking vegetables. Combine everthing togther once the vegetables have cooked. 3. A hot wok is key to effective stir-frying. If the wok gets too hot, cool it down with each stirred-in ingredient. 4. Use canola oil, which is low in saturated fat, instead of peanut oil, typically preferred for its higher smoking point. 5. When cutting sodium, add rice vinegar to enhance flavor. To get recipes from the video, search “Asian” at LetsMove.gov for Comerford’s May 17 entry.

Your healthy take-along party dish doesn’t need to sit uneaten on the buffet table. You can make yummy food to share while still following the advice often given to dieters, vegetarians and those on healthsupporting diets to bring a dish you can enjoy without guilt, risk or undue imposition on the host. In “Indian Vegetarian Feast,” (Sterling Epicure, $24.95), veteran cookbook author Anjum Anand has produced a volume full of party-friendly options. Among her “fresh, simple, healthy dishes for today’s family” are new spins on traditional Indian recipes and recipes that blend Indian flavors into the dishes of other cultures. A particularly appropriate take-along choice is her griddled zucchini carpaccio. On a large round platter, a presentation like a radiating flower blossom is eye-catching and appetizing. And the complex combination of flavors makes this Photo by Emma Lee dish stand up to its good looks. Zucchini carpaccio from “Indian Vegetarian Feast” is a delicious layering On its own, the pan-grilled zucchini is of flavors including pan-grilled squash, roasted spices and feta cheese. delicious, its flavor intensified and sweetened chickpea “salsa” and blender-made pistacho dressing. with caramelization of its natural sugars through the gridAnand cooks with eyes and nose. We’re instructed to stir dling. To prepare this dish at its best, a grill pan is essential, gram flour over gentle heat until it has “a toasted smell” imparting the char marks and the flavor. and “golden color.” Garlic should “no longer smell raw.” Being fans of the indoor-outdoor versatility of cast iron, For those put off by okra’s slimy quality — can you say we tested the recipe with a double-burner Lodge revers“mucilaginous”? — she skillet-cooks whole pods without ible grill pan/griddle. It reduced the time required to cook liquid and then adds them to a tomato sauce seasoned with so many squash slices. The griddle-sweetened squash is whole seeds of cumin, fennel and six other spices. topped with the perfect salty complement of feta cheese, a

Zucchini carpaccio with pistachio dressing (4 servings)

Vassilis Dourdounis

Converted to brown rice

Chef Ming Tsai has a tip for those who are unaccustomed to brown rice. Make what he calls “house rice” by mixing equal portions of brown rice and white rice. How to cook it: Soak the brown rice in water for an hour, blend it with the white rice and cook both together to be done in the time it takes to cook the white rice alone. With higher nutritional value, the blend will be more palatable to those who enjoy white rice.

For salad: 4 large zucchini olive oil or olive oil spray 14-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed 1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, or to taste 1 scant tablespoon roasted ground cumin 1 small tomato, finely chopped 1/3 to 1/2 small red onion, minced salt, to taste 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (leaves and stems) 3-1/2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled For dressing: 3/4 to 1 tablespoon red or white wine vinegar, or to taste 1 small garlic clove, peeled

2 tablespoons pistachios 2-1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, or to taste 1/4 teaspoon superfine sugar 1. Heat a stovetop grill pan until quite hot. Slice zucchini on the diagonal into thin slices, no more than 1/4-inch thick. Oil the slices, place on griddle in a single layer, and cook, undisturbed, for three minutes, or until base has wellcharred lines. Turn and repeat on the other side. Repeat with remaining zucchini. 2. Transfer to a plate as you cook each batch. Stir together chickpeas, lemon juice, roasted cumin, tomato and red onion, season to taste.

3. Blend together all the ingredients for the dressing with 2 tablespoons water until smooth with a stick blender or mortar and pestle. Adjust seasoning and vinegar to taste, set aside. 4. To assemble, place zucchini on plates or a platter, slightly overlapping at the edges. Drizzle with dressing. Mix cilantro into chickpeas, scatter over squash with feta. Nutrition information (per serving): 403 calories, 20g fat (6g saturated), 22mg cholesterol, 316mg sodium, 43g carbs, 12g fiber, 13g sugars, 18g protein – Adapted from “Indian Vegetarian Feast” (Sterling Epicure)


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July-August 2013

Taste tomatillos!

Gazpacho chicken salad (6 servings) Grated zest and juice of 1 lime 1 large garlic clove, minced 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 2 pounds tomatoes, coarsely chopped 6 tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and chopped 1 large red bell pepper, cut into ½-inch dice 1/2 English (seedless) cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch dice 1/4 red onion, sliced 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced 3 cups sliced cooked skinless chicken breast 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

1. To make dressing, whisk together lime zest and juice, garlic, oil, salt, and black pepper in large bowl. 2. Add all remaining ingredients except chicken and cilantro to dressing; toss until mixed well. Divide vegetable mixture evenly among 6 plates or large shallow bowls. Top each serving with 1/2 cup of chicken; sprinkle with cilantro. Nutrition information (per serving): 286 calories, 8g fat (2g saturated) no trans fat, 89mg cholesterol, 529mg sodium, 18g carbs, 11g sugars, 6g fiber, 36g protein — From “Weight Watcher’s One Pot Cookbook” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $29.99)

The “Weight Watchers One Pot” cookbook includes four recipes using tomatillos, a fruit related to tomatoes that is essential for many salsas. There are tomatillos in a citrus sauce that accompanies crispy oven-fried chicken breasts; a chicken enchillada casserole, and the salsa that tops a vegetarian tortilla casserole. But the best way to try tomatillos for the first time is likely in the cookbook’s summery chicken gazpacho salad. It offers those who are unfamiliar with the tomatillo’s flavor an opportunity to experience it uncooked and with less serious competition from other ingredients. Pronounced “to ma TEE yo,” the firm fruit grows in a papery green wrapper that turns from green to tan when they are overly ripe. Tomatillos are sometimes called Mexican green tomatoes, or husk tomatoes because of the outer skin. They are essential to salsa verde for their color and somewhat citrusy, bright, piquant flavor. Available year round, tomatillos can be eaten raw or cooked. Select fruits that are firm, bright green beneath a somewhat open husk, and free of blemishes and dark spots. They become sweeter as they ripen, which usually isn’t desired for salsas where tomatillos typically add acidity, but it could be great in a salad. According to the Weight Watchers cookbook: “The easiest way to husk a tomatillo is to hold it under cool running water while peeling off the husk. Be sure to rub the outside of the tomatillo until any residual stickiness is washed away.” Tomatillos are often sold at better-stocked produce stores and supermarkets. Most frequently, they are found at stores specializing in Latin-American groceries. Beyond the tomatillo recipes, the “Weight Watchers One Pot Cookbook” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $29.99) is highly recommended. Its offerings allow cooks with adventurous palates to sample recipes influenced by numerous cultures using lesscommon ingredients that are easy to find.

Smart pan

Pampered Chef’s grill pan and press

Pair Pampered Chef ’s square grill pan with a grill press and you have a space-saving alternative to a panini maker with a lot more options. The sturdy pan is made of hardanodized aluminum with a lifetime guarantee. It’s oven safe to 400 degrees and sells for $149. Used with the grill pan, the $38 press is made of heavyweight cast iron for perfect grillmarked sandwiches or flat, crispy bacon. The duo also reduces cooking time for meats and veggies. Host a Pampered Chef demonstration party, and you can earn high-quality products free. Shop online at PamperedChef.com.

Courtesy of Burpee.com

An essential ingredient in salsas, tomatillos are a tart distant relative of tomatoes.

And, of course, the ease is in recipes that are prepared in a bowl, skillet, wok, saucepan, Dutch oven, casserole dish, slow-cooker or baking pan. Options like lobster mac and cheese, French-style beef stew, shrimp and kielbasa jambalaya, and raspberry cheesecake cups have flavor that belies their lean take on fats and calories. You can try making chicken mole or posole, a stew (with cheddar, scallions and cilantro) based on hominy, super-size corn kernels that have been soaked in an alkali to remove the hull. Other options: a red curry tofu-noodle bowl, or bibimbap, a Korean mixed rice dish topped with sirloin steak and vegetables. In all, there are dishes that draw from China, Italy, Thailand, Morocco, France, Mexico, India, Ireland, Vietnam and regional American cuisines (Cincinnati Four-Way Chili, Low-Country gumbo). Classics like the filet mignon and mushroom stroganoff add to numerous options that will excite weight watchers and those who dine with them. The book has nutrition information for each recipe, Points Plus values and healthy-eating tips.

Don’t you believe it You’ve heard that all the alcohol cooks off soups and other dishes to which it’s been added for flavor. Or that you shouldn’t chop lettuce, wash mushrooms or refreeze thawed foods. Wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong, say Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, authors of “Lobsters Scream When You Boil Them and 100 Other Myths About Food and Cooking.” The book explores the origins of erroneous beliefs, using science to dispel them. Meats thawed in the fridge are safely refrozen but won’t be as juicy, they say. Mushrooms, which grow in manure, should meet water, and they suggest testing for yourself the browning time of cut versus torn lettuce.


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Creamy avocado is a natural for desserts Avocado is a luscious addition to salads or sandwiches, but with its subtle flavor, smooth texture and good-for-you fat, avocado is increasingly used to develop healthier desserts. In recipes where avocado can replace butter, consider these numbers: two tablespoons of mashed avocado have about 50 calories, 5 grams of unsaturated fat, a gram of saturated fat and no cholesterol. The same amount of butter has about 205 calories, 23 grams of fat, 15 grams of which is saturated fat, and 61 milligrams of cholesterol. In the cookbook “200 Best Ice Pop Recipes,” author Andrew Chase discusses how avocados are often used to make sweets in Central America and Asia. Lime is the dominant flavor in his avocado ice pop, to which avocado lends its richness and an all-natural green tint. Our avocado cheesecake bites recipe is from Hass Avocado Board. In testing, we lightened it with reduced-fat cream cheese. We used non-fat yogurt and traded the whipping cream for half and half. (Recipe on AtHomeNJ.com.) The result was a fresh-flavored dessert with the slightest vegetal quality. This was the only case — with all three recipes tested — where there was a hint of avocado’s presence. Otherwise, the higher ratio of cream cheese or the more dominant lime or chocolate flavors masked the avocado. For each recipe, ripe avocados are essential. Give the fruit a gentle squeeze. It should feel somewhat soft, giving slightly, but not be so mushy that it’s ready for the guacamole bowl.

Avocado ice pops

RobertRose.ca

(6-8 pops) 1 cup chopped ripe avocado 1⁄3 cup sweetened condensed milk 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice Pinch salt 2/3 cup water 3 tbsp extra-fine sugar or granulated sugar 1. Place avocado, condensed milk, lime juice and a scant pinch of salt in blender. Stir together water and sugar until sugar is dissolved; add to blender. Purée at medium-high speed. 2. Pour into molds, tapping them on work surface to remove any air pockets. Insert sticks and freeze until solid, for at least 4 hours. If you are using an ice pop kit, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Nutrition information (per serving): 130 calories, 7g fat (1g saturated), 4mg cholesterol, 18mg sodium, 17g carbs, 3g fiber, 14g sugars, 2g protein

— From “150 Best Ice Pop Recipes” by Andrew Chase (© 2013 Robert Rose Inc. RobertRose.ca May not be reprinted without publisher permission)

Avocado cheesecake bites with pistachio crust (16 servings)

For crust: 5.3 ounces shortbread cookies 1 cup shelled (unsalted) pistachios, lightly toasted 1/4 cup sugar 1/2 tablespoon sea salt 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel 4 tablespoons butter, melted For cheesecake: 1-1/2 tablespoon powdered gelatin 1/2 cup water 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese 1/2 cup sugar 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 2 ripe Hass avocados, peeled, seeded and quartered 7 ounces yogurt 8 ounces whipping cream 2 tablespoons finely chopped pistachio, for garnish

1. For crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inchsquare cake pan with parchment paper. 2. Using a food processor, pulse together shortbread, pistachios, sugar, salt and lemon peel until finely broken up. Add melted butter and pulse until small clumps form. 3. Press crust into prepared cake pan. Refrigerate for 15 minutes before baking. Bake for 15-20 minutes or

until crust browns slightly. Cool completely before adding cheesecake mixture. 4. For cheesecake: Combine gelatin and water in a small bowl. Place over double boiler, stirring until gelatin dissolves. Remove from heat and set aside. 5. In a standing mixer with paddle attachment, cream together cream cheese and sugar until combined and smooth. Set aside.

6. In a food processor, add lemon juice with avocado and process until smooth. Add avocado mixture to cream cheese mixture and mix until well combined.

7. Place whisk attachment on mixer. With mixer running, gradually add the warm gelatin to the avocado-cream cheese mixture and whisk until well combined. Add yogurt and mix until well combined. Set aside. 8. Using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer, whip whipping cream to soft peaks. Fold whipped cream into avocado mixture. Pour mixture onto prepared crust. Refrigerator overnight to completely set. Once cool, cut into 2-inch squares. Top with finely chopped pistachios to liking.

Nutrition information (per serving): 340 calories, 27g fat (13g saturated), 60mg cholesterol, 210mg sodium, 19g carbs, 2g fiber, 8g sugars, 6g protein ­— Recipe, photo courtesy of AvocadoCentral.com

Silky pudding with a secret

Chocolate pudding is fairly easy to make by heating together chocolate, milk, cornstarch and sweetener until the mixture thickens. This easy, uncooked version has the added nutritional value of fresh avocado and cottage cheese. To make it, place 16 ounces of non-fat, low-fat or regular cottage cheese in the work bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup of sugar, 2 Hass avocados (peeled, seeded and quartered). Puree until the avocado is completely incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Set aside. Place 6 ounces of chopped bittersweet dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high at 30-second intervals, stirring until the chocolate has melted. With the food processor running, pour chocolate through the feed tube and blend with avocado mixture until completely incorporated. Cover and chill until ready to serve.


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Frosty s Not for kids: Layered Mai Tai Tiki Pops, above, have rum-spiked coconut milk and yogurt beneath a mango blend with more rum and two liqueurs. Recipes for regular and light versions are at BettyCrocker.com. In “Poptails” (Octopus, $14.99), Laura Fyfe fills a slim volume with 40 mixed drink recipes to freeze into colorful pops and ices. English Summer Cups have cuts of strawberries, apples and mint leaves suspended in a frosty blend of Pimm’s and ginger beer sweetened with simple syrup. They are among numerous options where fresh fruits and herbs enhance the spirits. A savory frozen gazpacho is made of tomatoes, cukes and vodka. One martini is made with espresso, and El Diablo is chocolate ice cream, rum and a kick of chili pepper.

Banana ice pops (9-12 pops) 2-1/2 cups sliced ripe bananas (3 medium-large) 2/3 cup whole milk or evaporated milk 1/2 cup water 3 tablespoons brown rice syrup or agave nectar 1 teaspoon molasses 1. In blender at medium-high speed, purée bananas, milk, water, syrup and molasses. 2. Pour into molds and freeze until slushy, then insert sticks and freeze until solid, at least 4 hours. If you are using an ice pop kit, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Notes: Use ripe, sweet bananas. Molasses adds a lot to these treats; use whatever type you have.

Nutrition information (per serving): 75 calories, 1g fat (0g saturated), 2mg cholesterol, 13mg sodium, 18g carbs, 1g fiber, 9g sugars, 1g protein — From “150 Best Ice Pop Recipes” by Andrew Chase (© 2013 Robert Rose Inc. RobertRose.ca. May not be reprinted without publisher permission)

© RobertRose.ca

With global experiences increasing our exposure to new cuisines, there’s a growing desire to experiment with foods and flavor. In recent years, cookbooks have presented a world of options. For frozen treats, Canadian chef Andrew Chase proves a worthy guide with “200 Best Ice Pop Recipes” (Robert Rose, $24.95). “North American, East Asian, Southeast Asian, Latin American, Mediterranean and Indian flavors, among others, are explored,” he writes. Two-hundred recipes make room for the less familiar in pink or green gooseberries, and black, red or white currants. Here’s a chance to finally try kumquats, prickly pears or star fruits. In the chapter on tropical fruit recipes, we learn that jackfruit is a large, intensely fragrant tree-borne fruit with sweet and slightly juicy yellow flesh. For jackfruit ice pops, Chase recommends the canned or frozen fruit typically found at Asian markets. The chapter on Indian-style pops features frozen flavors of the creamy fruit drink known as lassi. There are several kulfi ice pops, including an ultra-rich quick version made with evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, half and half, pistachios and almonds. Chai teas are featured in some pops, and floral flavors include chrysanthemum tea; hibiscus appears in Mexican Jamaica ice pops. While Chase has funneled his interest in international cuisines into this volume, he is “confident that everyone will find some favorite flavors to enjoy.” Soda fountain pops are based on milkshakes and soft drinks, while “less-drip ice pops for kids” have cherry, vanilla pudding, milk chocolate and red apple-berry flavors. For the holidays: a Thanksgiving pumpkin ice pop and a layered Valentine’s Day pop of frozen strawberries and white chocolate. Chase also includes about two dozen cocktail ice pop recipes. “It’s precisely because ice pops aren’t essential that they should be fun and exciting, extremely flavorful and available in as many varieties as possible,” he writes. In his introduction, Chase discusses how Popsicles recall the first taste of freedom as a youngster. If he and his sisters behaved well, they were rewarded with a quarter each, which they took to the corner store to buy their favorite frozen pop and penny candies. “My memories of these childhood excursions are vivid,” Chase writes. Nevertheless, his adult palate is more discriminating: “Nowadays, I want to make better, tastier, more natural ice pops for myself.” That goal means pops without artificial flavorings, sweeteners or colorings in options ranging from fruity to creamy. Chase, a former contributing food editor at Canadian Living magazine, has previously compiled cookbooks on blender recipes, cocktails and Asian cuisine.


AtHomeNJ.com

gust 2013

sweets

Watermelon.org

Fresh and fruity pops in a flash

When summer fruit is at peak, enjoy it in frozen treats. The fruitjuice sweetened Frozen Strawberry Pops dancing across the page top are made with California strawberries. Recipe: In a blender, place a half pound of stemmed strawberries, 5 ounces of evaporated milk and 3 tablespoons of frozen orange, cranberry or pineapple juice concentrate. Blend ingredients until smooth. Pour into ice pop molds and freeze about 4 hours. Frozen pops can be stored in a zip-top freezer bag. The pops are among frozen treat recipes at CaliforniaStrawberries. com. Look for the graham-cracker crusted strawberry cheesecake on a stick, Italian ice, sorbets and more. Beyond the frozen goods, the site is worth a look for its imaginative recipes using fresh strawberries. Making the frozen watermelon pops shown above is as easy as pulsing watermelon chunks in a blender, mixing in small cuts of fresh fruit and freezing the blend in your favorite ice pop molds. Using watermelon as a base, experiment with a variety of seasonal fruits to come up with your favorite flavor combinations.

Sicilian fudge pops (6-12 pops) 3 cups whole milk 2/3 cup granulated sugar 3/4 cup Scharffen Berger Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder 1-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1. In medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of the milk to a simmer over medium-low heat. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining cup of milk with the sugar, cocoa and cornstarch. Scrape the cocoa mixture into the hot milk. Cook, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and bubbles a little at the edges. Stir and cook for a minute longer. Strain through a fine wiremesh strainer into a clean bowl and cool. Cover the surface of the mixture with plastic wrap and chill

overnight. (You may also set the bowl over an ice bath and stir the hot gelato mixture frequently until cool). 2. Divide the chilled mixture between the ice pop molds and place in the freezer overnight to set. These will have a slightly icy texture. If you have an ice cream maker and would like a finer-textured fudge pop, freeze the mixture according to your ice cream maker’s instructions, then divide between ice pop molds. Place in the freezer overnight to set. Nutrition information (per serving): 201 calories, 5g fat (3g saturated), 12mg cholesterol, 51mg sodium, 39g carbs, 4g fiber, 29g sugars, 6g protein — Recipe, photo courtesy of Scharffen Berger

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Talking trees Courtesy Davey Tree Expert Company

Have large trees on your property evaluated by a tree expert who can assess injuries and damage. Unhealthy trees are more likely to uproot, risking injury to homes and people.

Help your landscape withstand a hurricane’s winds and high waters By Katie Dubow

port them sufficiently.

With hurricane and storm season upon us, we need to protect our homes and our trees. Storms wreak havoc on local ecosystems, downing trees and breaking limbs that can cause power loss or even fatal harm. There are several types of tree defects that can increase risk. To protect your property, here are 10 ways to identify a potentially damaging tree.

6. Excessively thick branches and foliage catch more wind during stormy weather. Heavy canopies increase the risk of branch breakage and uprooting.

1. Look out for open cavities in a tree’s trunk. They can create a weak spot in the entire structure. 2. Dead trees and large, dead branches can fall at any time. 3. Cracks or deep splits through a tree’s bark extend into the wood and can indicate the presence of internal cavities.

7. Stems or branches are prone to breaking off near cankers, which are caused by fungi. Cankers occur on the stems or branches of trees. 8. Look out for nearby construction that may sever large tree roots or compact the soil too much to allow for healthy root growth. Without a strong root system, trees are more likely to be uprooted or blown over in stormy weather.

4. In advanced stages, tree decay or soft wood can create hazardous conditions.

9. Keep an eye out for excessive leaning of the tree, or branches growing out of proportion with the rest of the tree crown. Odd growth patterns may indicate general weakness or structural imbalance.

5. When two or more branches grow too closely together, the bark between such weak unions does not hold them together or sup-

10. Neglected trees are often at greater risk during storms. Maintenance can mean a world of difference when it comes to tree

strength. A certified arborist will evaluate tree species, soil conditions, wind exposure, defects, overall health and other factors to determine a tree’s hazard potential.

Save your trees Not all tree risks are visible or obvious. Advanced analysis, sometimes through the use of specialized arborist tools or techniques, may be necessary. Although defective trees are dangerous, not all of them need to be removed. Some defects can be treated to prolong a tree’s life. Proper pruning thins the tree canopy, allowing wind to blow through it instead of against it as though it were a sail. Pruning also removes potentially hazardous dead or weak branches. Strong branches make stronger trees. Have a question about your trees? The Davey Tree Expert Company offers Arborist Advice at Davey.com/Contact. Click the link to find tree-related articles, search for answers to common tree questions and even ask a specific question of the local arborist.

Flood watch

Floodwaters during a storm can be bad news for trees, drowning roots cells and causing them to die from a lack of oxygen. Excess water also can wash away soil from the root zone, destabilizing tree trunks. Healthy trees will be better able to withstand flooding, but homeowners should check for exposed roots or an unstable trunk if trees have been flooded. Structural damage, wilted leaves, discolored foliage and die-back also can result from standing water around the trunk. Unstable or leaning trees should be reset or staked to avoid uprooting. The soil level around them should be returned to original grade, with mulch added to protect new roots and improve aeration. Prune away dead or broken branches.


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Tour Colonia garden and other Open Days plots

A dramatic waterfall and koi pond are among the features of Babbling Brook, a 3-1/2-acre private garden in Colonia that will be open noon to 4 p.m. for public touring on July 20. Adjacent to the Colonia Country Club, the garden has been in the same family for more than 50 years. Gardening is a major hobby of the present owner, a partner in two family-run fitness centers. The expansive home garden, which sits majestically on a hill overlooking the fairway, has been featured on the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days tour for several years. Those who wander through will discover two ponds and a brook, a greenhouse, a wild garden as well as cultivated gardens and perennial borders. The house, which will not be open for the tour, features an indoor pool to rival the one outdoors. The Colonia garden, at 335 New Dover Road, will be one of two Open Days garden sites featured that day. In Hunterdon County, a six-acre Glen Gardener site will be open noon to 4 p.m. at 103 Green Oaks Road. It showcases numerous garden “rooms” along its woodland paths. Participating gardens in what is America’s only national garden-visiting program are in 18 states. The location of each Open Days garden can be viewed at GardenConservancy.org. Admission to each garden is $5 per person at the gate. Please do not contact garden owners in advance of, or after, the tour date.

Denise Riordan

A koi pond is one of several water features at Babbling Brook, a 3-1/2-acre private Colonia garden that will be open to the public on July 20.

Beautify your garden with website’s DIY projects

Garden paths and fountains are among numerous projects at TheFamilyHandyman.com. Projects are rated for difficulty and required skills.

Maybe you’ve always wanted a backyard fountain or the season-extending warmth of a fire pit. TheFamilyHandyman.com includes instructions to complete these and other outdoor improvements among easy “Weekend Projects” that the magazine’s editors say can be accomplished over two or three days. A circular fire pit is constructed from pavers set in place with Liquid Nails adhesive. And how about a garden trellis formed from a network of copper pipes, or a self-watering planter box perfect for starting lettuce, spinach and other fall crops in late August? In an on-site video, learn to beautify your home’s foundation with facing that resembles stones. Not as inspiring, but still necessary, are instructions to repair rotting wooden window sills or crumbling concrete steps. Weekend warriors will find numerous quick projects for inside the house as well. Install crown molding, improve garage storage, build a desk or create a mosaic tile backsplash. These are just a few of the ways to enjoy a very productive weekend with the payoff of more pleasant surroundings.


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July-August 2013

Every home needs an annual checkup

Garnet Hill

Don’t hide your pretty towels; show them off on a console table with a lower shelf.

Towels on the table

In a house that’s short on linen closet space, a tall cabinet is a great place to hide the stacks of towels. But when your towels are as pretty as these options from Garnet Hill, we like the idea of showing them off. This photo that displays the company’s Dot-to-Dot, Regatta Stripe, Damask Floral and Signature solid-color towels also presents an inspired storage solution. A chunky distressed console table outfitted with a lower shelf becomes a convenient holding area just outside the master bath, stocking an array of towels. While the goal in this image is obviously to show off the towels, adding a few coordinating storage boxes would be a practical way to conceal smaller bath essentials when the display is used for a guest bedroom. Another idea: To corral smaller washcloths, tuck them — folded or rolled — in an appropriately sized decorator box turned on its side to show off the contents. If you’ve got a little Martha Stewart in your system, tie up a double stack of washcloths with coordinating satin ribbon to add some variation and make things pretty for visitors. The colorful, highly rated towels sell for $14.50 to $50 at GarnetHill.com.

Looking over your home — from roof to foundation — on a regular basis will keep it lovely and its systems in good working order. Adding trim around the garage door or updating the window shutters, below, (all from Fypon) also can improve your house for a reasonable price.

Eventually, all building products in a home need to be replaced, so it’s a good idea to make a yearly assessment of your home so problems can be addressed as needed. “Start by looking ‘from the top down’ on your home to determine what projects need to be tackled first,” suggests Mark Clement, a professional contractor and host of the home improvement radio show “My Fix it Up Life.” “It may be time to add a new roof, replace your windows or door, or even spruce up your home’s exterior with new shutters or trim,” he says. “All of these projects can add to the curb appeal and overall value of your home.” Vinyl windows, fiberglass doors, PVC trim and polymer-slate roof tiles have a longer life than their traditional counterparts, says Clement. Here is his “top-down must-do” list for the exterior home features that homeowners should review annually. If you get in the practice of evaluating these six items regularly, Clement says “you’ll always make sure you’re staying on top of your home’s needs and keeping it looking great.” Check the roof. Using either a ladder, or binoculars from across the street, look for problem areas, such as missing or broken shingles, along with roofing tiles that may be “flapping” in the wind. These are all indications that a new roof may be in your future. If that’s the case, research the newer products on the market, such as polymer shake and slate roofing tiles. These impact-resistant tiles are man-made in a wide variety of colors. Clean and assess the siding. Scrubbing and/or pressure-washing with environmentally friendly detergents will work well for many homes to remove the dirt and algae

consider replacement windows. Vinyl framed windows have the highest growth rate in the country due to their energy-efficiency, aesthetic appeal and durability. Some of the best have fusion-welded corners and multi-chambered construction. Plus, maintenance hassles are so low you’ll forget the horrors of rotting frames, scraping and repainting that come with wood windows. Clement selected vinyl home windows from Simonton while renovating his home. He liked the selection of exterior frame color options in their Energy Star qualified windows.

that can grow on siding. Remember never to pressure-wash trim pieces, windows or their screens. The extreme high pressure could crack or destroy the caulking around the units. While cleaning the siding, make sure to check for changes in the exterior, and be alert to buckling, warping, peeling paint or insect damage that may need to be addressed. Check the gutters. Don’t underestimate the importance of the gutter system on your home. Each year, homeowners should check to make sure their gutters are clean, leak-free, unclogged, securely attached to the home and that they remain sloped for proper drainage. Plus, make sure the water running off the roof doesn’t cause damage to the house, landscaping or other property below the roof. Evaluate the windows. If your home windows don’t operate easily, or there’s air leaking in or out, or there’s condensation between the glass panes, it may be time to

Spend time with your doors. If you can see light around a door from the inside, it might be time for a new door. Even if you can’t see light, air may be moving through gaps in the weather stripping at a surprising rate. More support for replacement: your door is warped, or it’s hard to close or lock. Also, think about the weather conditions your home doors face, and the amount of your energy bills. If either run to the extreme, consider replacing an inefficient entryway with a high-performance fiberglass door. These can have up to four times more insulation value than wood doors. Look at your home’s accessories. Spend time with your shutters, trim and louvers to see if they’re rotting or deteriorating. Check for water spots, decay or peeling paint in the bottoms and tops of columns and near the joints in crown and other mouldings. See if they’re deteriorating in any way. They may also be suffering from termites, insect infestations or warping. When it’s time to replace these items, low-maintenance urethane or PVC products are lightweight and easy to install.


July-August 2013

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Homeowners: Avoid Top 10 termite mistakes Termites are hungry, and to them, your house is food. To stop them and make your place less appetizing, Sentricon System asked more than 100 termite experts to give the most common mistakes homeowners make when it comes to termites.

8. Leaving old tree stumps In nature, termites have a role as decomposers, helping to eliminate dead plant materials. Naturally, that makes dead trees desirable to termites. With Sandy’s enduring damage to numerous area trees, there are lots of stumps around. Allow them to remain in your yard, and they can serve as a launch pad for a termite attack on your home. 10. Too much mulch Oh, boy, do termites love mulch. Too much against your home can create a termite feeding area. And it retains soil moisture, which termites also love. “The mulch typically used around homes is often a soft wood like pine, which is a great food source for termites,” says Jonathan Schoppe of Dial Pest Control in Roseland. “I’ve personally seen termites foraging in and around mulch just one inch deep. If the mulch is piled very high up on the foundation of a structure, it makes a natural bridge the termites can use to enter the structure.”

9. Installing untreated fences Yes, that beautiful new fence will keep Rover in the yard, but untreated wood posts placed against your house also can help termites in. Opt for treated wood or vinyl fencing, or at least leave a gap between the fencing and your house.

7. Not protecting home additions If you’ve added a sunroom, expanded your kitchen or installed a new patio, the addition also needs to be protected against termites.

6. Wood structures on the ground If a portion of your wooden porch or deck is touching soil, you’re asking for termites. Soil + wood contact = termites. It’s straightforward math.

5. Disturbing previous treatment Repairing utilities on the property can disrupt previous termite soil treatment. If your home has been treated with a liquid termiticide, having your lawn dug up for plumbing, gas or electrical work can compromise the barrier created by your termite treatment.

2. Planting in treated areas Liquid termite treatments around your foundation are effective only if left undisturbed. So, if you dig around your house to plant a rosebush, you may open a hole for termites to crawl through. If your home is protected by a termite-baiting product such as the Sentricon System, digging around your foundation isn’t a concern as long as the stations remain undisturbed.

4. Firewood close to the house Firewood against your house is like a welcome mat for the termites. They can burrow into the woodpile and then right into your house.

3. Doing it yourself Termite control is not like fixing a leaky faucet. Fail to do it right, and you and your home will most likely pay the price. Instead of using store-bought products to try to control termites, leave termite treatment to the pros.

1. Forgetting termite inspections The No. 1 mistake homeowners make when it comes to termites is not getting professional termite inspections. Termites are not easy to detect, and failing to have your home routinely checked and treated against them can result in thousands of dollars in damage if they infest wood in or around your home. Trained professional termite inspectors know termite behavior — where they like to hide, what their damage looks like, what they leave behind as evidence. You probably don’t. To learn more about termite control, visit LetsTalkTermites.com.


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July-August 2013

Shades of gray make bathrooms hot

NKBA

A palette of gray, black and stainless steel carries the design of this bathroom where switches, outlets and towels are hidden from view.

Following its popularity in fashion, designers say gray is now a hot color for kitchens and bathrooms. The Hackettstown-based National Kitchen and Bath Association recently polled its more than 300 members about top trends. “Among the overall trends identified for this year, gray color schemes in both kitchens and baths have witnessed a dramatic escalation since 2010,” according to the poll report. “Used currently in 55 percent of kitchens and 56 percent of bathrooms, shades of gray are growing in appeal, creating chic, sophisticated spaces that many consumers desire.” Despite gray’s recent appeal, however, white and off-white are still most popular, used in 73 percent of kitchens and 71 percent of bathrooms. Beige and bone come next in popularity, followed by grays and browns, according to the NKBA. Other trends noted in the poll: Quartz countertops, “transitional” kitchen designs blending classic and contemporary features, the glass backsplash, LED lighting, touchactivated faucets, satin nickel faucet finishes and savvy spending. The minimalist contemporary bathroom shown was designed by

“Gray’s newfound popularity is a testament to homeowners’ desire for something fresh and new,” says Christopher Grubb, designer of the C.G. Collection Monterey vanity shown in gray oak finish. Starting at $2,399 through ModernBathroom.com.

Barbara E. Murphy, of Oregon-based Neil Kelly Design. A palette of gray, stainless and black carries the clean design where switches, outlets and towels are hidden from view. Heated towel bars and the radiant heating that runs under its tile floors and into the shower “ensure a comfortable, warm beginning to cold winter mornings,” the designer says. Cus-

tom cabinet pulls contribute to the unobstructed visual flow. The bath, third-place winner in the 2010 NKBA design competition, is among bathrooms featured in the “Dream” gallery at nkba.org. Awardwinning kitchens and baths of all sizes are featured. With each photo are the designer’s comments, the floorplan and a list of materials used.

Put some personality in the powder room Maybe you’d never dare wallpaper a bathroom in black with vibrant florals, but there’s a lesson in following your own taste in this powder room designed by Tamara Sayago-Dunner. The smaller size of powder rooms makes them a perfect place to explore more costly — and maybe more daring — materials and designs. If you long for a luxury treatment that seems slightly out of reach, the outlay can be more manageable in a powder room because less will be needed. “I love to design a powder room that is fun, pretty and interesting all at the same time,” says Sayago-Dunner, who designs from New York and Hong Kong offices. “A powder room should be welcoming for your guests and should give them a glimpse of your personality and taste,” she says. The room shown was designed for a businesswoman who travels frequently and wanted to create a home that felt like her haven, the designer says. “The style of my client’s home

Time to remodel

If you’re dreaming of a new bathroom or kitchen, the National Kitchen and Bath Association has several helpful resources. In addition to the “Dream” gallery of inspiring photos by its member designers, kitchen and bath planning tools are available for free download at nkba.org. While the organization’s goal is to promote its member designers, the planner’s questionnaire goes through steps in the process and is useful for anyone planning to remodel. is like an English cottage, and she wanted the powder room to mimic that. Being in love with the outdoors and gardening, she wanted to bring the colors of her garden inside. The aesthetics of the home make it a quiet and soothing place to escape after work and travel. Because of

its cottage feel, the home is colorful, comfortable and inviting. Every room in the house reflects her personality and displays interesting and beautiful finds from her travels.” To those who avoid decorating with dark colors because they fear doing so might make a room appear smaller, Sayago-Dunner would counter that they can do just the opposite. “Dark walls add drama to a room and create a warm, inviting feeling,” she says. The dark Thibaut wallpaper with a floral motif also was chosen because it gives the powder room dimension, character and life while incorporating the garden theme, she says. “The design is very elegant, yet comforting.” “The Asia-inspired mahogany wood vanity with a dark brown and black trim and a hand-painted gold floral theme fits the setting of the room and the English cottage vibe,” she says. On the wall, an oil painting features a rabbit, similar to those found in the client’s garden, adding life and whimsy.

Interior designer Tamara Sayago-Dunner worked with florals in this powder room for a client who loves gardening.


July-August 2013

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Summer projects: Bring new luster to old stuff

J. Aaron Greene/Chronicle Books

Bottles in interesting shapes are fun to use as is, but spray paint them as shown at right and their decorative possibilities are expanded. Check craft stores for paints formulated especially for glass, as in the white vase project from “Furniture Makeovers.”

There are times when we just need to buy something new. At other times, our old things can be revived in crafty ways that make them like new. In the latter case, there’s satisfaction in using one’s own creativity to make something beautiful out of what might have been a castoff. Lots of inspiration for such creative recycling is found in the new book “Furniture Makeovers” (Chronicle Books, $24.95). Author Barb Blair shows many of the ways she has transformed old pieces with paint, stains, paper, stencils and more. Solid chapters cover the tools, materials and techniques used to accomplish the book’s more than 30 projects. Included are decorative items such as mirrors, wall art and vases. “Bottles painted with a flat white paint take on a ceramic look that is beautiful and clean looking,” Blair writes, discussing the spray-painted bottle vases shown. “Sprucing up bottles is a good way to give new life to something ordinary.” Here are Blair’s instructions to do that: Clean out bottles with warm soapy water and dry thoroughly. Make sure the area in which you are spray painting is well ventilated. If the weather is good, paint outside. Spray painting creates a lot of over-spray, so be sure that you cover anything and everything you want to keep clean. Use drop cloths or plastic for this. Spray paint has high VOC (volatile organic compound) levels, so it is important to wear a respirator when applying it to keep your lungs safe from the harsh chemicals. Blair also recommends safety glasses to protect your eyes. Apply matte spray paint in even coats. To avoid drips: Keep the spray-stream 10 to 11 inches away from the piece while spraying, to avoid having too much paint in any given area. It’s better to do several light coats — with drying time in between — rather than thick, heavy ones.

Decoupage delivers In the project below, Blair updates a jewelry box with a coat of latex paint and door insets accented with patterned wrapping paper. Similar “before” and “after” shots are included throughout the book. How she did it: Make the surface of the piece completely smooth before applying paint and paper. Fill any unevenness with wood filler using a putty spatula. When dry, smooth with a fine sanding sponge and wipe with a damp shop cloth. Apply latex paint to the piece with small craft brushes. When dry, smooth lightly using a fine sanding sponge.

Measure and cut the paper carefully, matching the area to be covered. Keeping the adhesive only in the area where you are working, use a craft brush to apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to both the surface of the piece and the back of the paper. It dries quickly, so apply the paper immediately. Working from the center out to the edges, use a small plastic squeegee to smooth the paper, squeezing out any air bubbles and excess glue that will cause rippling. Use towels to clean your fingers while working with the paper. Working in a well-lit area, use a high-quality White China Brush to apply a finish of water-based polyurethane over the entire piece.

“Before” and “after” views of Barb Blair’s jazzed-up jewelry chest, updated with paint and avian-theme wrapping paper.


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July-August 2013

A juicy new guide to heath-promoting drinks

ingredients,” Calbom says. “You can supplement your diet with a glass of fresh juice, Most people just don’t eat enough brightly or go on a days-long cleansing ‘juice fast.’ colored vegetables and fruits to make a difAnd you can use different combinations of ference in their overall health, says nutrition- ingredients to improve your mood or boost ist Cherie Calbom. your energy or even help But turn those vegalleviate physical ailments,” etables and fruits into she says. juice and it will be easier Calbom, who has a masto meet daily nutrition ter’s in nutrition science needs. “People can juice from Bastyr University a wide variety of produce in Washington, offers in a short time,” Calbom many recipes and juicing says. “It’s easy to drink two tips on her website servings in one 12-ounce JuiceLadyCherie.com. glass. Have two glasses of Here are a few fruit and freshly made veggie and vegetable combinations fruit juice a day, and you’ve she recommends pushing sipped four servings. That through the juicer: will make a difference in l One handful of parshow you look.” ley; one dark green lettuce CHERIE CALBOM And also how you feel. In leaf; four carrots, scrubbed her latest book, “The Juice Lady’s Big Book of well, tops removed and ends trimmed; two Juices and Green Smoothies,” Calbom shares tomatoes; two ribs of celery with leaves; a recipes for veggie combinations that she says dash of hot sauce; a dash of Celtic can soothe headaches, cleanse the liver, boost sea salt. The adrenal glands reendorphins and help heal stomach ulcers, spond to stress; when they’re among other ailments. overworked and fatigued, A 2011 study published in the journal you can experience Evolution and Human Behavior found that mood swings and people who eat more portions of fruits and weight gain. Hot vegetables per day have more attractive skin peppers and parsley coloring thanks to substances called carotare rich in vitaenoids. These antioxidants help soak up min C and celery toxins and damaging compounds produced is a great source by the stresses of everyday living, poor food of natural sodium, choices and environmental toxins. both of which are very beneficial for the Calbom says she witnessed the transforadrenal glands. mation of a woman who, after six weeks of l One handful of flat leaf parsley; one juicing in the morning and before dinner, dark green lettuce leaf; three to four carrots, lost 12 pounds and felt more energetic. More scrubbed well, tops removed, ends trimmed; important, the woman reported an end two stalks of celery with leaves; a 2-inchto back and arthritis pain that was severe chunk of ginger root; and one lemon, peeled enough to cause many nights of interrupted if not organic. Ginger has anti-inflammatory sleep, Calbom says. properties that can help reduce arthritic “For decades, people with acute medical joint pain and combat oxidative damage to conditions and those striving for optimum joints. health have turned to juicing nutrient-dense l Five carrots, scrubbed well, tops By Ginny Grimsley

removed, ends trimmed; five to six radishes with leaves; one green apple; half a lemon, peeled if not organic. This makes one serving and can be served chilled or at room temperature. Radish is a traditional asthma remedy. l Half a ripe cantaloupe with seeds and rind removed; half of a cucumber, peeled if not organic; a 1- to 2-inch chunk of ginger root, peeled. Cantaloupe and ginger root have been shown to reduce platelet stickiness, which is related to migraine headaches. l Four medium-sized carrots, scrubbed well, tops removed, ends trimmed; two ribs of celery, with leaves; two kale leaves; one green apple, such as a Granny Smith, or pippin peeled if not organic; a 1-inch chunk of fresh ginger root, scrubbed or peeled. Ginger root has been shown in numerous scientific studies to reduce inflammation. It’s inflammation that is implicated in heart disease. If you are looking to lower your LDL cholesterol, juice an apple with your ginger root. Apples contain antioxidants that help to halt harmful oxidation of LDL cholesterol, she says. “As with any fresh juice cocktail, these drinks are best imbibed as soon as possible after being

processed,” Calbom says. “This is ‘live food,’ which has a full complement of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, biophotons and enzymes. You can make it the night before, however, and drink in the morning or take it with you if you keep it chilled in a covered container.” Calbom is the author of 21 books, including the best-seller “Juicing for Life,” published in 23 countries with 2 million copies sold in the United States. Known as “the Juice Lady” for her work with juicing and health, she was a clinical nutritionist at St. Luke Medical Center, Bellevue, Wash., and a celebrity nutritionist for George Foreman and Richard Simmons. Papaya Dreamsicle: Dice a papaya and freeze. Blender-mix papaya with a cup of almond milk, 1/2 cup of chopped flat-leaf parsley, and a teaspoon each of organic lemon zest and vanilla extract.

Ten easy ways to tackle childhood obesity this summer By Claire McIntosh

From the tempting tune of the ice-cream truck to the smell of funnel cakes at the local fair, summer is loaded with sensory cues to consume empty calories,” says Kelvin R. Williams, director of Football Fitness Academy, a local youth sports-readiness camp in Union. As the father of 8-year-old twin boys and a physical education teacher during the school year, he’s seen many students return in September carrying extra weight along with their books. Here’s his game plan to get youngsters moving and eating right:

1. Just add water. Look for ways to add a splash of fun to fitness. Think tag with water blasters or hand washing the car to music. 2. Try a Turtleback Zoo “safari.” Grab a site map and make it your family’s goal to spot every creature listed. You’ll be amazed how much exercise this “expedition” affords. 3. Keep it moving on rainy days. Opt for a bounce emporium or roller-skating over movies or the arcade. 4. Enjoy healthy frozen treats. Italian ices, sorbet and frozen fruit bars cool and satisfy just like dairy desserts — at a fraction of the

calories. Freeze canned pineapple rings. Top frozen yogurt with strawberries. 5. Grow good habits. They’ll “dig” eating veggies they planted and harvested themselves. Plus, tilling, clearing brush, pushing a wheelbarrow and weeding requires as much energy as many fitness activities. 6. Gear up for fall sports. A supportive camp atmosphere can instill a love of the game, good sportsmanship, proper techniques and training on injury avoidance. 7. Model movement. Park farther away. Take the stairs. Walk to the parade, play date

or other area activities. 8. Clean up their act. Construction bricks, action figures and video games everywhere? Set a timer, play music and have kids scramble to stow their gear. 9. Have a dance contest. Who can dream up the next “Gangnam Style” or “Harlem Shake?” Award prizes for best choreography. 10. Let it flow. Make frequent hydration a priority. Pre-fill water bottles, and flavor with lemon slices or fresh mint. “As temperatures and activity levels increase, our kids need increased fluids,” says Williams.


July-August 2013

Plug in at the gym

Technology can get a bad rap, and is often blamed for American’s increasingly sedentary lifestyles. But your phone and tablet don’t have to be a license to sit still. In a global survey of exercisers, Life Fitness found that those who use technology to support their workouts consider themselves to be more successful at achieving weight and fitness goals. Life Fitness recently opened the programming interface for its cardio equipment to app developers worldwide without limitations. This level of access is unprecedented in the industry and enables third parties, including gyms, to create personalized applications that work directly with Life Fitness cardio equipment. This means a smart phone’s fitness app can talk directly to a Life Fitness treadmill. App developers are already using LFOpen to build the next generation Life Fitness of personalized and intePlan workouts on the go. grated fitness tools. Some examples of apps compatible with Life Fitness machines include: Lose It!, Runtastic, SoFit, Wahoo Fitness and LFconnect. With the LFconnect, you can choose your machine settings from home, and instantly access your customized settings at the gym just by plugging your phone into a compatible Life Fitness machine. Meal tracking also is easier thanks to apps. Lose It! has an extensive database of foods to help count calories, and it syncs with Life Fitness cardio equipment to track workout stats and calories burned. Not sure how healthy that granola bar really is? Fooducate analyzes nutritional content, giving products a grade of A through F. If you need extra incentives to stay on top of your workouts, try apps like Fitocracy or Teemo. They can help set up fun fitness competition among friends. And for real motivation, take it one step further with GymPact, an app that charges you real money every time you miss a scheduled workout. The collected cash funds rewards for members who keep their fitness pact.

Healthy destination

Fairmont Sc­ottsdale Princess, a distinctive AAA Five-Diamond resort in Arizona, has introduced a medically guided spa program. Well & Being at Willow Stream Spa is a personal wellness program launched this year to allow guests to incorporate optimal health into their vacations. Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is the first U.S. luxury resort to implement a medically guided and fully customized spa wellness experience, combining nutrition, integrative medicine, fitness and advanced skincare. Services and programs, also available to the general public, are offered a la carte or with overnight packages.

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Fit for the road

When you think vacation, visions of sun, a good book and a frosty drink probably come to mind. Then you remember how challenging it is to maintain your exercise routine when you go away. The good news is you don’t have to choose between total indulgence and dedicated fitness. Try these tips for your next vacation. 1. Visit a spa. If life has been crazy and stressful, you can plan a fitness-focused vacation to a spa that specializes in wellness. Partake in yoga or meditation, and eat healthy foods all in one location. Recharge your mind and body, and you’ll feel refreshed without the guilt of fatty foods and calorie-ridden drinks. 2. Plan an adventure vacation. If you need to get away, plan a cruise that makes stops at exotic locations where you can rock climb, snorkel, hike, bike or swim. Many cruises have tracks where you can power walk or jog, and often offer topnotch gyms on board. If ships and open water isn’t your thing, plan a trip to a tropical destination where you can trek through the rainforest or a mountain adventure, which will guarantee a good calorie burn. 3. Stay active at your traditional vacation spot. If you like going to the same beach or vacation spot each year, you can find ways to fit more fitness into your days there. Always look for opportunities to walk rather than taking a cab or bus. Schedule activities for the day that involve being active, like paddle-boarding or windsurfing. Find some walking trails, swim laps, play a game of tennis or golf — and skip the golf cart! 4. Take a staycation. Sometimes a vacation at home can be just as enjoyable as a destination vacation. Staycations can be excellent opportunities to start new routines and seek out healthy activities near your home. Try a fitness class at your gym, get the whole family together for a rollerblading adventure or explore a new bike path for a peaceful ride with the family or by yourself. Vacations can include the right amount of rest, relaxation and fitness with just a little bit of planning.

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Author sees bright future through her troubled past Acamea Deadwiler’s earliest memories are the two weeks when she, at age 6, and her brother, 5, nearly starved to death as her mother suffered a mental breakdown. Her stepfather, a Navy man, was away for extended periods, leaving Acamea and her brother alone with their mother, who was convinced the outside world was out to harm the family. Deadwiler’s mother kept the three shut in their home and, eventually, restricted all food for fear of poisoning. “I often think about what I’d say if I could write a letter to my 6-year-old self,” Deadwiler writes in the first chapter of her self-published memoir, “Life, Love, and Lack Thereof ” (Xlibris, $15.99). “It would begin: ‘I would love to tell you not to be afraid but, actually, there is much to fear. Things will get worse, much worse, before they will get better. But, they do get better eventually. Somehow, despite every justifiable reason to be weak, you grow up to be strong. Though you will never understand, you will endure. You will be alright.’ ” She would discover reading as a way to escape her trials, journal writing as a way to cope with them, and basketball as a constructive pastime. “In my mind, I was going to the WNBA or overseas to play professional basketball,” says the Las Vegasbased freelance writer, who is now working part-time on a second master’s degree. Deadwiler, 33, says she unknowingly began writing “Life, Love, and Lack Thereof ” as a journal, and it grew into the book. Despite a childhood that included abuse and so much uncertainty, she was a good student who would go on to accomplish many challenging goals she set for herself. “Somewhere along the way, I just started to believe that I could be anything I wanted to

ACAMEA DEADWILER Author’s family photo

Acamea Deadwiler as a little girl with her brother David. Her no-nonsense stance speaks to an inner strength that would help her overcome and thrive despite childhood trauma.

be,” she said in a recent interview. “That was a turning point in my life. I learned that if I wanted something badly enough, I could work hard and achieve it.” For young people and others who don’t yet have accomplishments from which to derive confidence: “Take it from someone else’s,” Deadwiler suggests. “You kind of look at what they did, obstacles they might have overcome and say ‘I can do that, too.’ ” In a sentimental foreword to the book, Deadwiler’s mother recalls how “Camey” seemed to have a well-formed self-concept at an early age. “She would also read the books of famous athletes such as Michael Jordan to get the mental outlook of an athletic person,” her mother wrote. Deadwiler believes children raised in families affected by mental illness, substance abuse, domestic violence or extreme poverty can turn the disadvantages of childhood into adult strengths. “Don’t look at the things

Mixed messages

that happened to you as baggage,” she says. “Instead, look at the admirable qualities they helped shape, and focus on building those.” She speaks from personal experience. “The decision to let go of the past was a conscious one because I wanted to be happy,” she said. “I decided that I didn’t need answers, and I didn’t need apologies. I just needed to let go. Not in the sense of avoiding what I have been through, but accepting it as an unchangeable past that has no bearing on my present or future.” Here are four strong character traits she believes can be developed from a troubled childhood: Independence: When you feel like you have no one to turn to, you turn to yourself, she says. Children who are neglected or suffer abuse, advertently or inadvertently, often guide themselves into a new way of constructively viewing and participating in society. These children are resourceful and

adaptable and are not merely products of how they’re treated by their parents. Perseverance and endurance: Some kids are sheltered their entire lives, and it’s not until they’re away from the safety of their parents’ protective wing that they learn the trials of life, she says. Those who have suffered while at home, however, are often optimistic about what the world has to offer them. They’ve already suffered and have developed the mental endurance that typically comes later in life for others. Outside-the-box perspective: Children who do not succumb to the emotional and mental pitfalls of bad parenting break the mold by seeking another way. Very often, this becomes a life habit that can lead to innovation in all aspects of life. Empathy: To say that an adult’s mistreatment of another is due to the baggage of their childhood is to abdicate personal responsibility. “The only reason we have baggage is because we choose to carry it with us,” Deadwiler says. In fact, having been mistreated, she says, is all the more reason to treat others well.

Unscramble the words below to reveal an inspirational quote about working toward a goal. Solution on AtHomeNJ.com

yarrep si het ouls litgkan ot ogd. godin thyangni tiwh eldwheothrea fertfo, hicwh liwl kilyel culiedn atemkis retaf stemika, si eht ulso kitganl ot odg ni a redtifnfe tegonu. — Gail Sher, from “One Continuous Mistake”


July-August 2013

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23

ASK DR. BARB

Coping with the challenges of serious illness Dear Readers: Thanks so much to those of you who have contacted me about this column. It’s wonderful to know that you have been able to use my advice on family and marital issues in productive ways. For me, as a psychologist, it is always very satisfying to help others with problems that worry or depress them. Unfortunately, very recently, I had my own issue of great concern. In March of this year, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After so many years of helping clients with their anxieties, I now was facing my own fears in having a potentially life-threatening illness. At the beginning, a breast cancer diagnosis can feel scary and overwhelming. Suddenly, you are given a lot of new and confusing information in order to make a life-saving surgical decision. My options were lumpectomy, a surgical procedure which removes the cancer itself, or mastectomy, which removes the whole breast, with or without reconstruction. Consulting with doctors as well as other cancer survivors and sorting out my own personal feelings, I have experienced many moments of confusion and anxiety. In time, I was able to turn to my own favorite therapy approach, cognitive behavior modification, which so often I have used in assisting others in my practice. This method confronts a client’s irrational beliefs and ideas in order to minimize self-defeating emotions and behaviors. In essence, you have to learn to talk to yourself in a reasonable way. As an example, any idea that I could have prevented this illness would be irrational and would make me feel even more anxious. After all, I am just another human being, as vulnerable as anyone else to serious illness. I

needed to accept the reality of the cancer and to let go of the belief that I should have total control and complete certainty about future outcomes. The attitude of acceptance has become one of my most helpful coping strategies in managing my fears. First, by letting go, I was better able to face an unfortunate reality without self-blame or criticism. Second, an attitude of acceptance enabled me to feel emotions without trying to push them away or to avoid the feelings altogether.

“It is important to stay as positive as you can about having breast cancer.” So, whatever feelings surfaced, whether sadness (about the unpleasant nature of the situation), fear (of the unknown), anger (because there is no way to prevent this) or confusion (having to weigh imperfect options), I stayed with them all without letting myself feel weak or powerless. In time, acceptance of these emotions as natural human reactions led me to a feeling of compassion, not only for myself but for all others who had or will have experienced what I am currently experiencing. Although it is normal to feel unpleasant emotions as they come and go, it is also important to stay as positive as you can about having breast cancer. In order to maintain a positive outlook, I’ve tried to be mindful of not letting my thoughts and internal images turn to the worst-case scenario. Moreover, I have reminded myself that there is effective

treatment for the disease, and the rate of survival is very high — especially if caught early. And if thoughts of unpleasant treatments or side effects come to mind, I try to remind myself that a long and healthy life, enjoying future celebrations with family and friends, is more important than temporary physical discomfort. And speaking of family and friends, I am so grateful for their reaching out and being there for me. Their outpourings of good wishes and prayers have offered me comfort and reassurance that I am not alone. Even those who are only acquaintances have been easy to reach out to for support, questions and information. Of course, occasionally, friends or family members inadvertently have said things that aren’t helpful, such as asking too many questions or mentioning something that scared me. However, I remind myself that they’re trying their best to be helpful and no one can do that perfectly. Also, being able to accept and appreciate social support has made it a lot easier when waiting for test results, undergoing treatment and completing the healing process. Whereas friends and family members have stood by me, I have tried very hard not to lose my sense of self throughout this ordeal. My belief is that I am and will always be more than the cancer. I continue to keep up my usual routine both at home and at work. Whatever I always have enjoyed doing, I continue to do. Although my health needs are priorities for now, engaging in pleasurable social activities and keeping up my work with clients help to keep my life as normal as possible. Moreover, there is one huge benefit that comes from this whole experience: One never really knows what can happen very

BARBARA ROSENBERG

suddenly, therefore, my advice is to live each day with enthusiasm. Wake up taking care of things you might otherwise put off. The idea that life is very precious now means even more to me than it used to. Barbara L. Rosenberg, Ph.D, is a licensed psychologist and chair of educational and social programs for the Essex-Union County Association of Psychologists. Her Summit practice serves individuals of all ages, as well as couples and families. E-mail questions to AskDrBarb@AtHomeNJ.com, or contact Dr. Barb through BarbaraRosenberg.com.

How you can improve the world By Diane Lang

Making the world a better place doesn’t always require grand efforts or a far-reaching cause. Starting with small gestures close to home, you can have a positive impact on those around you. It only takes one person to start a change that makes things brighter. Here’s a list of simple things we each can do to improve many lives.

DIANE LANG

1. Really listen to what someone is saying to you. Don’t think about your answer, just be in the moment. 2. Hug someone you love and tell them. 3. Be a good friend. Call one you haven’t talked to in awhile. 4. Treat yourself with respect. If you don’t, others will follow suit.

5. Smile. A positive attitude is contagious. Share it. 6. Learn to forgive others and yourself. 7. Share the benefit of your wisdom. 8. Be part of your community. Volunteer, join a charity 9. Keep your world clean. Put trash in the cans. Pick up around your home and community. 10. Adopt a pet and reap the benefits. A few good reasons to take in a homeless animal: Pets give unconditional love and loyalty, they help relieve stress and bring so much love, hope and friendship. 11. Do good. Always ask how you can make a difference. Help one person each day. 12. Pick the right perspective. If you perceive the world as negative, then what

you see will support that. Choose to see the world positively, and people will seem kinder. The world will become inviting and full of opportunities. 13. Support local businesses. Buy local produce. Visit family pharmacies and small, independent stores to help keep the American dream alive. 14. Give and receive compliments. When was the last time you just said “thank you” for a compliment? 15. Be the person you always wanted to be. Diane Lang, a Flanders-based psychotherapist, is also an adjunct professor at Montclair State University and Centenary College. She has authored two books and is a frequent guest on radio and TV shows. Contact her through dlcounseling.com.


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