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How To Shovel Without Injuring Your Back

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Wed, Jan 23, 2019

shoveling-without-hurting-your-back

Has Old Man Winter dropped snow on your driveway yet this year? Shoveling any amount of snow can be hard on your back if you go about it the wrong way. I have some tips to give you this week on how to clear the snow off of your driveway without ending up laid out on the couch with a heating pad.

Warm Up Before You Shovel

Taking a few minutes to stretch before going out to shovel is a good way to warm up your muscles. Stretching helps you avoid strained or pulled muscles that start to show up the day after shoveling.

Dress in Lightweight Layers

Even though it's cold outside, you're going to sweat as you shovel snow. Dress in layers of light, breathable clothing to allow the perspiration to evaporate from your skin. If you get too warm, it's easy to take off one layer and continue your work.

Use the Proper Shoveling Technique

The right technique for shoveling snow can save you from an achy back. First, position your feet on the ground about hip-width apart. Keep the shovel near your body, and bend at the knees when you go to lift the snow. To increase leverage, your hands should be about 12 inches apart on the handle. Be sure to switch hands throughout the task so you're not using the same muscles for the entire shoveling job. Also, if you can push the snow to the side of your driveway instead of lifting it, then go with that technique. Pushing snow is a lot less strenuous than lifting the shovel and tossing a load of snow!

Take Frequent Breaks

Taking breaks often is an excellent way to avoid overexertion when shoveling your driveway. Put aside the caffeinated drinks and enjoy some water to help you stay hydrated throughout the task.

Decide Where the Snow Will Go

Before you start to shovel, make the decision of where to put the snow. I suggest you pile it on each side of your driveway, leaving access to your mailbox and front walkway. Trying to carry all of the snow over to one pile on one side of the driveway or piling it in many different places increases the chances you'll make a wrong move and hurt your back.

Use a Shovel With the Right Design

There are lots of snow shovels sold at this time of year. A shovel with an adjustable handle allows you to lengthen or shorten the handle to suit your height. As a rule, the handle grip should reach chest height when you stand the shovel upright on the ground. Also, shovel with a small plastic blade is easier to maneuver than one with a traditional metal blade. I suggest picking up several shovels in the hardware store to test their weight and see how comfortable you are using them.

Don't Wait Too Long to Shovel

Time your shoveling in a way that doesn't leave you with an overwhelming task. If possible, shovel the snow off of your driveway right away after each snowfall. In a bad storm, you might even want to shovel during a lull before it's over, then again after it ends. Ideally, you want to avoid tackling a pileup of snow that's accumulated after several snowfalls over a few days.

Remember to enjoy the snow, the icicles glowing in the moonlight, and all of the other beautiful sights of the winter season. Thanks for reading. - Alan

6 Tips For Sticking To Your New Years Resolutions

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Mon, Jan 14, 2019

sticking-to-your-new-years-resolutions

Did you make a resolution or two for the new year? Maybe you want to learn a new language, start an exercise regimen, take a class, or clear out an extra room in your home to create a home office. About 80% of people who make New Year's resolutions toss them aside by February. Check out some tips to help you become one of the 20% of people who follow through with their resolutions this year.

  1. Use Technology to Your Advantage. Technology can help you organize your time and efforts in order to achieve your New Year's resolution. If you want to lose weight, there are apps available where you can log your calories and record your exercise time each day. You can see all of the progress you've made at a glance! Also, there are apps to help you organize tasks. If you resolved to declutter your garage, you can use an app to make a plan of what you'll do each day to get the job done. Technology can bring focus and organization to practically any resolution.
  2. Pair Up With a Friend to Achieve Your Goal. If you resolved to exercise five days a week, enlist a friend to do it with you. Walking, jogging, swimming, or bicycling is more fun when chatting with a friend. Plus, when you exercise with a friend, you and your friend are accountable to one another. If your resolution is to take a class at the local public library, ask your friend to take it with you so you can share the experience and get more enjoyment out of it. I have a feeling you're going to know your friend a lot better after pairing up to keep your New Year's resolution!
  3. Make a Short-Term Goal to Build On. The key to achieving a large goal is to break it down into smaller ones. If you've resolved to lose 50 pounds, break it down into ten short-term goals of five pounds each. Do it this way and you're less likely to get overwhelmed or discouraged. If you resolve to learn a new language, break the goal down into separate units. Your first short-term goal is to learn 20 vocabulary words. After achieving that, double the words to 40. Set yourself up for success!
  4. Reward the Achievement of Short-Term Goals. Giving yourself a reward after achieving a short-term goal is an excellent way to persist in following through with your resolutions. Say you resolved to exercise three times a week. After doing so for a month, treat yourself to a movie or buy a new novel online. Give yourself a pat on the back!
  5. Forgive Yourself for Slipping Up. If you skipped one day of exercise after resolving to exercise five days a week, forgive yourself and move on. Don't let a slip-up give you a reason dump your resolutions. Instead, focus on all of the progress you've made!
  6. Record Your Successes in a Journal. Start a journal to record your successes with your resolution. It can be as intricate and detailed or as simple as you want it to be. The purpose of the journal is to provide you with encouragement when you feel discouraged about your resolutions. You can look at its pages (virtual or paper) and see all that you've accomplished already.

Resolutions or not, enjoy the beginning of this bright new year! Thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: new years resolutions

How To Keep Your Houseplants Happy Through The Winter

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Mon, Jan 7, 2019

houseplants-in-the-winter

Do you have a favorite Boston fern in your living room or foyer? Maybe you have an African violet that adds beauty to your home office. Houseplants produce oxygen and help to clean the air in your home as well as add appeal to your décor. But did you know that they need a different type of care in the winter than they do in the warmer months? Today, I've got some tips for how you can keep your houseplants healthy through the wintertime.

Move Your Plants to a Sunny Area

In the wintertime, we get fewer hours of sunlight and it's less intense than in the summer. Your houseplants need sunlight to maintain good health throughout the seasons, so you should move your houseplants to windows and other areas where they will get the most sunlight. If you don't have a window that provides enough sunlight for your houseplants in the winter, use a sun lamp to give them additional light.

Use a Humidifier in Your Home

The air in a home gets dry in the wintertime. This can affect the health of your plants. Hook up a humidifier to provide your houseplants with the moisture they need to thrive.

Keep Your Windows Clean

Putting your houseplants near a sunny window is important. It's also important to keep those windows free of dust and other debris that can block the sunlight. You'd be surprised how much sunlight can be blocked by a thin film of dust on a window!

Move Your Plants Away From Windows With Drafts

Before putting a houseplant near a window, make sure there are no cold drafts leaking through. These cold breezes can kill a plant.

Keep Your Plants Away From Too Much Heat

It's equally important to keep your houseplants away from blasts of warm air from a furnace vent, radiator, space heater, or other heat source. A houseplant exposed to waves of heat can dry out and die due to the drastic temperature changes.

Clean the Dust Off of Your Plant's Leaves

Maybe you've noticed a lot of dust starting to settle on the leaves of your African violets, ferns, pothos, or other houseplants. When you clean the leaves of your houseplants, it keeps their pores clear so they can soak up as much sunlight as possible. A paintbrush with soft bristles, a pipe cleaner, or a soft toothbrush are all tools you can use to clean dust off of the leaves of your houseplants. I suggest getting the kids or grandkids to help you with this task. They'll have fun using a paintbrush or pipe cleaner on the leaves of your plants!

Don't Fertilize Your Plants During the Cold Season

The growth of your houseplants has slowed down with the change of season, so it's best to stop fertilizing them until their growth cycle picks up speed again in the spring.

Adjust Your Watering Schedule

The slowdown in the growth of your plants means they need less water. In fact, continuing to water them on their spring/summer schedule can lead to rot.

Follow these easy tips and your houseplants will stay content and beautiful over the winter months. Thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: houseplants in winter

15 Tips For Moving Into A New Home In The Winter

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Fri, Jan 4, 2019

moving-into-new-home-in-winter-snow

'Moving in the Cold, Snowy Weather'

Moving into a new place is always exciting. But, the weather this time of year can make the process of moving a bit tricky. If you're planning a move during the winter, I have some tips to share that I think will help it to get done without a hitch.

15 Tips for Moving into a New Home in the Winter

  1. Clear the Path Before Your Move. If you have any snow or ice on the sidewalks, driveway or other walkways around your new home, take some time to shovel the snow and throw down some salt.
  2. Secure a Plastic Covering to the Floors of Your New Home. If there's snow on the ground outside, your shoes and the movers' shoes are going to be covered with dirty slush. So, take the time to secure plastic tarps to your carpet and flooring to protect them from dirt and moisture.
  3. Make Other Arrangements for Your Pets on Moving Day. Ask a friend to keep your dogs, cats, and other pets while you move into your home. That way, they can stay warm and not get underfoot as you move items into your new home.
  4. Turn Off the Furnace During the Move. The doors to your new home will be constantly opening and closing on moving day. It's best to turn off the heat to avoid driving up your heating bill.
  5. Put a Portable Heater in One Room of the New House. Put a portable heater in a bathroom or a bedroom and close the door. This will be the room anyone can go into to warm up on a cold moving day.
  6. Check to See the Utilities Work in Your New Place. Make sure your utilities are turned on in the new house the day before you move so you have electricity, heat, and water right away.
  7. Factor Extra Travel Time into the Move. Snow and ice on the ground can affect travel time to the new house so leaving early is a good idea.
  8. Keep an Extra Pair of Gloves Handy. As you move, your gloves are likely to become wet. This is why it's best to pack an extra pair of gloves, so you can change.
  9. Cover Large Furniture Items During the Move. Use sheets and blankets to throw over your chairs, sofas, and tables so they are protected from snow and freezing rain as they're carried into your home.
  10. Keep an Eye on the Weather Report. If you see that a big snowstorm is due to arrive on your moving day, call the moving company to reschedule.
  11. Keep Hot Drinks Available. Bring a container of hot tea, hot chocolate or another hot drink as well as some cups to keep in your warm room in your new place. These drinks can be enjoyed by you and the movers on a quick break.
  12. Start Moving Before Moving Day. If possible, start taking small items and boxes over to your new place ahead of moving day. So, no matter the weather, you'll have a lot of the work done when the big day arrives. I suggest taking a few things to the new house each day so it's not an overwhelming task.
  13. Invest in a Good Pair of Boots. Even though you've cleared the walkways around your place, it's a good idea to wear boots with traction on the soles.
  14. Take Care When Packing Your Fragile Items. Use extra care when packing fragile items. If a box does slip to the ground, you want to keep its contents as secure as possible.
  15. Dress in Layers. On a cold day, wear a t-shirt, sweater, jacket, and coat so you can take layers off as you warm up with all of the activity on moving day.

Remember to enjoy your moving day no matter the weather! Thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: moving into new home in winter

The Biggest New Years Eve Celebrations Across The Country

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Wed, Dec 19, 2018

new-years-celebrations

What are you planning for your New Year's Eve celebration this year? If you're in the mood to travel to a fun destination, there are plenty of celebrations going on across our beautiful country. Check out a few ideas to consider as we say goodbye to 2018 and a big hello to 2019.

  • Times Square in New York City. This has been one of the most popular places to spend New Year's Eve since 1904. In fact, more than a million people ring in the New Year in Times Square. Visitors can eat at one of the many restaurants in the area or check out the variety of shops for keepsakes. Many well-known musicians take the concert stages in Times Square on New Year's Eve to get the party started. Don't forget the highlight of the evening: the New Year's Eve ball dropping at midnight along with lots of confetti.
  • Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Since 1971, visitors to Disney World have been ringing in the New Year with Mickey Mouse and his friends! I like the idea of welcoming the new year in the happiest place on earth. Travel to Disney World and enjoy a delicious meal at Epcot and live music before taking in their beautiful Magic Kingdom Fantasy in the Sky fireworks display at midnight. This event is very popular with kids and adults and attracts more than a hundred thousand people.
  • Grand Park in Los Angeles, California. Make plans to travel to downtown Los Angeles this year to celebrate New Year's in Grand Park. Sample new cuisine and beverages from the food trucks parked in the area. Listen to live music while watching as colorful projections appear on the City Hall building in lieu of fireworks. Check out one of the many photo booths so you can have a keepsake of your fun night in Grand Park! This is a no-alcohol event, which means it's appropriate for the whole family. Thousands of people have gathered at Grand Park on New Year's Eve since the start of the event in 2012.
  • Music Note Drop in Nashville, Tennessee. Nashville is the place to be any day of the year, but especially on New Year's Eve. Enjoy live music played by well-known bands, food, and drinks as you prepare to watch the Music Note Drop signaling the arrival of midnight. This celebration wouldn't be complete without fireworks and confetti. About 100,000 people have enjoyed this event each year since 2008.
  • Jackson Square in New Orleans, Louisiana. What better place to travel for the last/first party of the year than New Orleans? Plus, this bustling city is celebrating its 300th, year so you know it's going to be a great NYE party! It takes place in the French Quarter in Jackson Square. Enjoy the unique cuisine of New Orleans as well as live music while waiting excitedly for midnight to arrive. At midnight, a fleur-de-lis drops, and fireworks begin to soar out over the Mississippi River in celebration of the new year. You may even want to take a cruise on the Creole Queen to view the fireworks from the water. Thousands of people flock to this fun New Year's Eve bash held on a mild December night in New Orleans.

Whether you stay at home or venture to one of these interesting places this New Year's Eve, I hope you have a fun time with family and friends. Thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: New Years Celebrations

How to Have A Truly Green Christmas

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Wed, Dec 12, 2018

christmas-green-tips

Are you looking forward to exchanging gifts with your family and friends this Christmas season? It's always fun to see the reaction on a loved one's face when you give them a gift they will enjoy. As you enjoy this time with your family, why not take a few steps to make this an eco-friendly Christmas? Not surprisingly, a lot of extra waste ends up in landfills this time of year. In fact, Americans produce an extra 25 million tons of garbage during the holiday season. Fortunately, we can reduce the amount of garbage going into our landfills and nurture the health of our environment by trying just a few new things during the holidays.

Eight Tips for a Truly Green Christmas

  1. Make an Edible Gift This Year. Take one Mason jar, add the basic ingredients to make delectable chocolate chip cookies, and you have a beautiful, eco-friendly Christmas gift. Other ideas for this Mason jar gift include ingredients to make pasta soup, hot cocoa, cornbread, or bean soup. Be sure to write the steps of the recipe on a small card to attach to the jar. The recipient can reuse the Mason jar, so there's little to no waste.
  2. Bring Reusable Bags on Your Shopping Trips. Gather up all of your reusable shopping bags for you and your family members before going out to shop. This prevents the circulation of more plastic bags that may end up in the landfill.
  3. Make Your Own Wrapping Paper. Use old newspaper or colorful scrap paper as gift wrap this year. I suggest getting the kids or grandkids involved by letting them decorate your homemade gift wrap with crayons, paint, and markers. This gives new life to paper that may have been tossed into the trash.
  4. Shop for Presents Online. Instead of getting into your car and cruising the mall for a parking space, shop online for your gifts. You can save gas and reduce air pollution created by so many cars on the road this time of year.
  5. Give the Gift of Your Time and Talents. Do you have a talent for fixing small appliances, painting interior walls, or putting up new kitchen cabinets? In lieu of giving a traditional gift, share your talents with your loved ones this year. If your friend needs help painting a room, volunteer for the job. If your niece needs help putting a new tire on her bike, give her a hand! Your loved ones will get great gifts without any wrapping paper or waste involved.
  6. Send E-Cards Instead of Traditional Cards. When you send e-cards out to your family and friends, you save paper as well as the gas used by the mail carrier to deliver your cards to their recipients.
  7. Recycle Your Christmas Tree. After enjoying your tree this year, consider using its branches for mulch. Or you can throw your tree into the woods to serve as a winter home for birds, rodents, or other wildlife.
  8. Use LED Lights for Your Tree. LED lights are energy-efficient, using 80 percent less energy than traditional Christmas lights. Make the switch to LED lights this year and save energy while enhancing the beauty of the season.

Try one or more of these tips and start a green Christmas tradition for your family this year. Thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: green christmas

The 5 Best Live Christmas Trees

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Mon, Dec 3, 2018

best-live-christmas-trees

Do you have your heart set on getting a real Christmas tree this year? If so, there are a lot of trees to choose from, and they're all beautiful in their own way. Take a closer look at the five most popular live Christmas trees to pick the type that's best for you.

Douglas Fir

The Advantages

The sweet fragrance of this tree is one of the many reasons why it's such a popular Christmas tree. Also, the Douglas fir lasts a lengthy four weeks, great if you like to keep your tree up past New Year's Day. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, it will be especially easy to find a Douglas fir for Christmas. Of course, these trees are sent eastward and sold across the country, too.

Disadvantages

The Douglas fir is a very big tree, so it wouldn't be suitable for a small apartment or a small space in a house.

Blue Spruce

Advantages

The silver blue color of a blue spruce makes it a favorite in many households around Christmas time. Also, the branches of this tree have an upward tilt, which makes hanging ornaments especially easy. I think the branches of the blue spruce give it a unique look.

Disadvantages

One downside of a blue spruce is that its needles tend to start to fall off sooner than other types of trees. Also, this tree only lasts about two weeks in its stand, and the needles give off an unpleasant odor when crushed.

Fraser Fir

Advantages

A Fraser fir can hold onto its needles for a long time when it's properly watered and kept away from heating vents. Just make sure the family dog doesn't use your Christmas tree stand as a second water bowl! The needles of this tree have a coating that makes them shine under your Christmas tree lights. A Fraser fir usually lasts for about five weeks and gives off a lovely fragrance. This tree is slender, making it especially suitable for small rooms or a small area within a room.

Disadvantages

A Fraser fir doesn't have the fullness of a Douglas fir and is shorter. Some people prefer a tree with a denser collection of branches.

Norway Spruce

Advantages

Looking for a cone-shaped, medium-sized Christmas tree? If so, go with a Norway spruce. This tree gives off a subtle scent and features deep green needles.

Disadvantages

This tree loses its needles fairly easily if someone brushes by it or it's shaken in its stand.

Balsam Fir

Advantages

One of the most notable advantages of getting a balsam fir is its traditional Christmas tree shape. It lasts a long time after being cut and has a beautiful scent that lingers around its deep green needles.

Disadvantages

Though the scent of this tree is beautiful, it is very strong, which may not be a plus in some households.

I hope these facts are helpful as you make a decision on a Christmas tree for this year. By the way, don't forget to recycle your tree when you decide to move it out of the house. Your beautiful Christmas tree can be helpful to the environment after making your Christmas celebration all the more special.

Thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: best live Christmas trees

Cut Your Heating Bill In 9 Easy Ways

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Mon, Dec 3, 2018

cut-your-heating-bill

Did you get an unwelcome surprise every time you opened your heating bill last winter? Well, I have good news. If you're on a mission to lower your heating bill this winter, there are some easy things you can do to accomplish that goal.

  1. Put Weather-Stripping on Windows and Doors. Weather-stripping is an inexpensive purchase that can block cold air from leaking in through windows and doors. Simply remove the backing from the weather-stripping, unroll it, and secure it around the edges of your doors and windows. Run your fingers around the edges of your windows and doors to make sure you covered all of the areas where air is leaking out or in. You can save from 10% to 15% on your energy bill by closing leaks around windows and doors.
  2. Exchange Light Curtains for Heavy Drapes. If you have windows that let cold air in and warm air out, take down lightweight curtains and put up heavy drapes for the winter. These will block the cold air from coming in. Plus, you can open them midday to let the sunlight help to warm your rooms. Another idea I like is leaving the lightweight curtains up and adding the heavy curtains on the outer edge of the curtain rod. That way, you can open the heavy curtains on a sunny day to let some warmth into the room but leave the lightweight ones closed.
  3. Install Storm Doors and Windows. Storm doors and windows are investments that are worth making. They are designed to keep warm air in and cold air out. They are an effective extra layer in the fight to keep the warm air inside your home.
  4. Change the Direction of Your Fan. When a ceiling fan is turning clockwise, it pushes warm air down from the ceiling and into the living space. A ceiling fan is relatively inexpensive, and by setting the fan's direction, you can give your furnace a break for a while.
  5. Turn Down the Temperature on Your Water Heater. Check the temperature setting on your water heater. If it's set at the typical 140 degrees, consider turning it down to 120 degrees. It takes less energy to heat the water to 120 degrees, and you'll hardly notice a difference in the temperature of your shower, bath, etc.
  6. Put in a Programmable Thermostat. If you have a traditional thermostat, think about swapping it out for a programmable one. You can purchase one online and install it yourself following the instructions. You'll be able to set the heat for certain times of day and control it remotely, so it doesn't run when no one is at home. You can save 10% per year on your utility bill by setting your thermostat at a lower temperature while you're out of the house for most of the day.
  7. Change Your Furnace Filter. Check the filter in your furnace every two or three months to see if it is clogged with hair, dust, and other debris. If it is, swap it out for a new one so the furnace can work at top efficiency to deliver heat into your home. Changing your filter and keeping your furnace running efficiently can save you 7.5% on your bill each month.
  8. Do the Bubble Wrap Trick. If you don't have storm windows, you may want to try the bubble wrap trick. Trim a piece of bubble wrap so it fits perfectly over your window. Spray your window with a light film of water and stick the bubble wrap against it. This simple fix keeps the heat from escaping while allowing sunlight to warm your room.
  9. Check the Chimney Damper. If you have a fireplace in your home, it may be allowing warm air out and cold air in through its damper. The damper is the flap you open when you want to start a fire in the fireplace. Reach into your fireplace and make sure the damper is securely closed while the fireplace is not in use.

Try one or more of these money-saving ideas this winter and see how much of a difference it makes on your heating bill. Thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: cut your heating bill

8 Tips For Protecting Your Lawn In The Winter

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Mon, Dec 3, 2018

protect-your-lawn-in-winter

'Frost on the Grass'

For many, the cold weather season is fast approaching, and your lawn is preparing to take its winter sleep. You may be tempted to throw a plastic cover over your lawn mower and put the yard tools away for the season. But, wait, there's more to do before your lawn tools can start their well-deserved winter nap. Check out eight things you can do to protect the condition of your lawn over the winter.

8 Tips for Protecting Your Lawn in The Winter

  1. Rake the Last of the Leaves. You've probably been raking leaves on and off for about a month now. It's important to make sure all of them are off your lawn before the first frost. Removing leaves allows your lawn access to the sunlight and oxygen it needs to remain healthy. What should you do with those leaves? See #2 on my list.
  2. Mulch. Turn the raked leaves into mulch by rolling your lawnmower over them to shred them. Next, pile the mulch around trees and shrubs in your yard to protect their roots from cold temps. As a note, leave two inches of space between the piled mulch and the tree trunk or shrub to prevent rotting. I suggest letting your kids or grandkids help with this task. Be sure to let them jump in the leaves first!
  3. Aerate Your Lawn. Aerating your lawn is essentially the process of poking holes in the soil. This breaks up compacted soil allowing sunlight and water to nourish your grass.
  4. Water Your Lawn. Watering your lawn in the fall helps it recover from the summer months and gets it into healthy condition before it goes dormant. Your lawn needs about one inch of water each week. You can factor any rainfall you receive into that inch. The more well-nourished it is in the fall, the more likely it will start off on a good note in the springtime.
  5. Fertilize. Use an organic fertilizer on your lawn before the first frost. This is another way to give your lawn more nourishment and get it into shipshape before the cold weather and snow enter the picture.
  6. Relax Your Grass. Did you know that piles of snow, cold temps and foot traffic can stress out your lawn in the wintertime? Though you can't do much about the snow or cold temps, you can avoid walking on the grass during the cold weather months. Ask your kids to play on a nearby playground or in a park instead of in the backyard. A lawn that has experienced very little stress over the winter is able to recover more quickly when the snow begins to melt.
  7. Mow Your Lawn. Continue to mow your lawn every 10 to 14 days until the first frost. Trimming it to the recommended minimum height can help prevent the growth of fungus on the grass beneath the snow.
  8. Remove Weeds. Pull any weeds you see on your lawn in the fall. Being proactive about pulling weeds now helps you avoid pulling even bigger weeds in the springtime.

These are just a few easy things you can do now to help the appearance and health of your lawn in the spring. While you're weeding, mowing and watering, remember to enjoy all of the beautiful sights and smells autumn has to offer. Thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: protecting lawn in winter

How To Cook A Turkey In 10 Different Ways

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Tue, Nov 13, 2018

cook-a-turkey-10-different-ways

Do you have a Thanksgiving Day meal planned for your family? Maybe you prepare the turkey the same way every year. Traditions like that can be very special as well as comforting. But if you're looking to try a little something new this Thanksgiving, I have some ideas on how to cook your turkey in a non-traditional way. Enjoy!

  1. Roasting: Rinse the parts of the raw turkey. Rub its skin with your favorite spices and put it in the oven on a roasting rack for 30 minutes at 450 degrees. Then, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and cook for another 2 hours and 45 minutes.
  2. Braising: To braise a turkey, combine one cup of sugar and one cup of salt in two gallons of cold water. Immerse the turkey in this mixture, cover, and put it in the refrigerator for four hours. Remove the turkey from the mixture, pat it dry with paper towels, and put it in the pan with onions, celery, carrots, and garlic in a 500-degree oven for about 20 minutes. Take the turkey out of the oven and reduce the heat to 325 degrees. Pour broth over your turkey and into the pan so it reaches about three quarters of the way up its thighs. Cover it with foil and cook for another hour and 45 minutes. The turkey is done when the temperature of the thickest part of its thigh is 170 degrees.
  3. Deep-Frying: First, wash your thawed turkey and set up your turkey fryer outside. Put your turkey in the fryer and pour water on top of it until it's covered, then take the turkey out and make note of the level of water. This is how much peanut oil you will need to deep-fry the turkey. Remove the water, pour in the peanut oil, and heat it to 350 degrees. A turkey requires 3 minutes of frying per pound. After the turkey is finished, put it on paper towels to soak up excess oil. And remember, NEVER fry a frozen turkey that hasn't been thawed; putting a frozen turkey into hot oil can cause it to explode.
  4. Grilled: Preheat your grill to 350 degrees. Wash the turkey and rub it with your favorite spices. Next, put the turkey on the grill and close the lid. Your cooking time will be about 11 minutes per pound of bird. Put a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the turkey breast. It is done when it reaches 165 degrees.
  5. Smoked: Cooking a Thanksgiving turkey in a smoker is an easy process. Of course, you have to have a smoker that can do the job. Put a little pepper and salt on your raw turkey before putting it in the smoker. The cooking time here is 30 to 40 minutes per pound of bird.
  6. Beer Can Turkey: This is a fun way to cook a delicious turkey using your grill. Start with a half-full can of beer and pour your favorite spices right into the can. Wash the parts of your raw turkey, set the beer can on a pan, and place the bird on top of it: The opening of the beer can should be up inside the bird. Rub the outside of the turkey with more of your favorite spices. Next, place the turkey inside a grill heated to about 375 degrees. Cook for about an hour, then turn the bird around in the grill and cook for an additional hour. The beer and spices in the can add flavor and keep the inside of the turkey moist. Take care when removing the beer can at the end of the process: The can and the beer inside will be hot.
  7. Spatchcocking: This method involves removing the backbone of the turkey, rubbing its skin with spices, and putting it into the refrigerator overnight. Cook it in a 450-degree oven for an hour and 30 minutes or until the thermometer reads 170 degrees when stuck into the thickest part of the turkey's thigh. This method helps your turkey to cook evenly and more quickly than other methods.
  8. Turducken: Making turducken involves stuffing a turkey with a chicken and a duck. This method for Turkey Day is one of the more time-consuming options, but it's a delicious change of pace.
  9. Stewed: A stewed turkey is an option if you want to keep the meat as moist as possible. This cooking method takes about two hours and 20 minutes. I like the idea of enjoying carrots, peas, onions, and other vegetables with the turkey in one dish.
  10. Sous Vide: Do you want to sous vide a turkey this year? If so, you must commit 16 hours to the process. Vacuum-sealing the turkey in a pouch and cooking it in a hot water bath can help the bird to cook more evenly than it might in a conventional oven. If you're feeling adventurous this year, sous vide may be for you!

The best way to defrost your frozen turkey is to put it into the refrigerator. Be sure it's on the bottom shelf so it won't drip onto other foods in your fridge. Allow 24 hours of thawing time for every four to five pounds of turkey.

The amount of time you cook your turkey depends on the weight of the bird. It breaks down to about 15 minutes of cooking time for every pound of turkey.

I hope you try something new for your turkey dinner this year. Thanks for reading! - Alan

Topics: cook a turkey

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