Livingston Reporting - page 272

BBQ Burgers: How to Get It Just Right

Who doesn’t love a good burger? Hamburgers are a staple dinner in most American homes. On a nice warm summer day, what better way to spend it than some potato salad, watermelon, and grilled burger made to perfection. Burgers can be topped in so many ways but really the most important step to the whole process is preparation and grilling. Without those two things you are just eating beef and why would anyone want to do this when they could have the best.

Let’s start with first things first – preparation of that patty. Many people are tempted to use super lean meat and use fillers such as breadcrumbs and egg to “beef” up the patty. These things are not necessary at all for a remarkably juicy hamburger. What you really need is beef that is at least twenty – three percent fat and some seasoning salts, lots of seasoning salt!

Next you will want to divide the meat and make patties. Make the patties an hour or two before you are going to grill them. Storing them in the refrigerator will allow them time to get firm and will permit the meat to stick together during grilling. You will also want to handle the meat as little as possible. Don’t pack the meat solid you really want a light “fluffy” patty. Most people think thick burgers are the best. In my opinion in order to get an evenly cooked burger it is better to go bigger not thicker. Especially using beef that has a high fat content what will happen during the grilling process is that the fat will drip off the burger and will shrink in roundness. You want to avoid having more bun than beef at all costs. The experience is the beef itself not the bun.

Now prepare the grill. Warm the grill to medium – high heat, scrape any residue off that is left over from the last time you grilled and get ready to BBQ the best burgers of your life. Once the grill is warm allow yourself time to just grill, block all other things out and bring your meat out to meet the grill. Here it goes put the burger on the grill and let it sit, don’t touch it! Leave the lid open and just sit and watch the grill take over. It may be difficult for you not to touch it and squish it down to make sure the insides are getting cooked but trust me don’t! Let it sit for a full 4 minutes and then…Flip it over and do the exact same thing to the other side. After 8 minutes on medium-high BBQ grill heat you will have a little slice of hamburger heaven.

A Guide to Find the Best Restaurants

Eating out is such a luxury these days and really if you are going to spend forty to fifty dollars on a meal don’t you want to make sure you are going to get good food, great service, and an atmosphere you can’t wait to return to? I have several ideas to help you locate a restaurant in your home town or on vacation that will leave your taste buds satisfied.

A great source out there is of course the internet. Also, phone books give us a detailed list of restaurants in the area that are available. This list will help you at least narrow down what is available for your taste buds and allow you to at least narrow the field ethnically. There isn’t a need for a great bbq joint if you are craving burgers or seafood when craving steak. After you have settled on that you can then start the real hunt.

Start asking local people you run into. A lot of locals will be more than happy to share their knowledge of the local food arena. If you are on vacation this especially true. The best part of this is when you engage a local in conversation not only will they be able to give you information on local places to eat but will probably be apt to share their knowledge of local attractions, boutiques, spas and so forth.

Of course if you are out and about and your nose smells something delicious go in and try it out. Look around you will be able to tell if the customer seems pleased. Check out the menu that is always free. Ask the hostess about specials and the establishment’s reputation. Most of the time a hostess is a minimum waged employee who will be happy to tell you if the restaurants food is not very tasty. Of course this is only true if their boss isn’t lurking near by.

If you see a restaurant that has a full parking lot that is usually a pretty favorable sign that you have hit the jack pot. My suggestion is to put your name in with the hostess, and sit at the bar for a drink. By the time your wait is up my guess is that the bartender and locals will have filled you in on what entrée they would choose.

Put yourself out on facebook. Most of the time a friend or two will have an acquaintance in the area that can lead you in the right direction. Social networks are great for this type of thing. People love to give their opinion you just need to ask.

Following this advice I am almost certain your taste buds will be smiling. Enjoy a good meal out with someone you appreciate. Take time to savor the food and memories that you are sharing and pass the favor on. Share with people you know about good places to go to eat.

Want a Good Time? Find a Bar

What is a Bar? A bar defined is an establishment that serves alcoholic drinks; beer, wine, liquor, and cocktails, for consumption on the premises. A bar, to me, is a place to hang out, drink beverages you don’t get to enjoy at home, in the company of friends. No matter how you define it bar mean different things to each individual who is a patron. The type of bar that is good for one is not always good for another. Bars can be elegant, bars can be dives, some charge a cover (a fee to get in), some serve dinner, some have entertainment, some don’t. Bars are all different that is part of the fun and excitement that comes from going to the bar.

The origin of the word bar comes from a particular counter that beverages are served on. When you sit at the bar in an establishment you are in direct dealings with the bartender. The chairs around the bar are usually a stool with some type of high back for support. The chairs are squeezed together to promote mingling between customers. Behind the bar is the location where the bartender keeps all the glasses and bottles of liquor. Sometimes, depending on the décor of the establishment the bar has shelves where lights, mirror, and ornately decorated woodwork.

What type of bar you visit is up to you. There are all types so whether you are a classic lady trying to get a glass of wine or a biker looking malt beverages well equipped bars will have something for you. There are some important differences that distinguish the type of bar. Although, a bar might be intended for one demographic and end up being favored by another for reasons as simple as the dance floor.

Types of bars:

Cocktail bars/lounges are usually set up inside of public places like an airport or hotel. These bars are usually a bit more upscale and require certain more appropriate public attire.

Dive bar (Biker bars) are usually a little seedier. They are set up on the outskirts of towns and are very informal. These are the bars you attend when you are looking for a place to really just chill and drink – a lot. It is a place popular among the locals hang out like being part of a club. Many dive bars also have pool tables, dart boards, and juke boxes for entertainment.

Wine bars are classy establishments. Patrons go there to have a quiet drink. Food is not a requirement for a wine bar. Most give you the opportunity to sample a vast selection of wine before you choose one to order. Usually all wine bars serve is wine, beer and liquor are not served.

Entertainment bars serve many different types of patrons. Topless bars, dance clubs/bars, sports bars all draw their own crowds. Still the main purpose of an entertainment bar is to provide the customer with something to do while enjoying their beverages. These types of bars are incredibly popular throughout Michigan. Whether you want to play a game of pool or just sit back and enjoy the view entertainment bars usually have something for everyone.

Whether you are married or single bars have and will continue to be a place to visit, relax, enjoy old friends and make new friends. If you are ever considering a move to a new area visit the local watering hole to get a feel for the locals. It can’t hurt that’s for sure, a few drinks among strangers never really hurts anyone does it and what better way to be introduce to a new community?

What Type of Burger Will You Try Tonight?

Heavenly, delightful, juicy, delightful, tantalizing, mouthwatering, enjoyable, delicious, tasty, scrumptious, delectable these are just a few of the words that describe a hamburger. Burgers have been a part of America’s favorite past times forever. Whether it is a bbq, a picnic or a night out the occasion is most likely perfect for a burger. Burgers are perfect for any situation. Hamburgers, more commonly known as burgers, are defined as a cooked patty of ground meat, most often beef, which is served between two buns. Goodies such as ketchup, mustard, lettuce, onion, cheese and pickles usually accompany the burger to enhance the flavor. Hamburgers have grown in popularity and thus so have the combinations of condiments that can accompany them.

Burgers can be made out of all types of ground meats and ground vegetables. Beef is the most popular type of meat used in the United States. Ground turkey, ground sausage, ground chicken, ground tofu and ground vegetables are often popular choices also. Some people often use chicken breast and refer to this as a burger also.

Popular burger combinations vary all around the United States and world for that matter. In this section we will look at all the different combinations and maybe it will be the inspiration for tonight’s dinner.
The term with the “lot” will refer to the following toppings being added tomato, beetroot, lettuce, onion, fried egg, bacon, pineapple, and cheese.

Texas Burger: A beef patty covered with mustard, jalapenos, cheese, with or without vegetables.

An Australian Burger: A beef patty with the “lot”

A Sloppy Joe Burger: Ground beef that is left loose served with chilies and a mixture of bbq sauce, brown sugar, and mustard. These burgers are best eaten with a knife and fork.

A Butter Burger: This is a regular beef patty served with a bun that is grilled with butter on it.

A Patty Melt Burger: This is a thin patty of beef served with cheese and sautéed onions served between two pieces of rye bread and then fried to perfection.

A Hawaiian Burger: This is a beef patty served with ham, bacon, pineapple, teriyaki sauce and cheese.

A low Carb Burger: This is a ground turkey or chicken patty served between two pieces of lettuce.

A Juicy Lucy Burger: This is a burger in which the cheese is squished between the ground beef. Warning: The cheese will be hot – use caution when taking that first bite.

A Cheeseburger: This is the traditional way to eat a burger. A ground beef patty is cooked to order and then covered with cheeses, pickles, onions, lettuce, ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise.

A Barbecue Burger: This burger is made form a mixture of ground beef, onions and barbeque sauce grilled to order. The bun is then coated with a layer of bbq sauce and grilled enhancing the bbq flavor of the meat.

A Carolina Burger: This is a ground beef burger served with cheese, chili, onions, mustard, and coleslaw.

A Curry Burger: This burger mixes ground beef, ground chicken, and ground lamb and seasons it with curry powder, yogurt, onions, and green peppers and then served on a bun.

A California Burgers: This is a ground beef patty served with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, guacamole, bacon and cheese.

A Slider Burger: This is a small beef patty served on a small bun with added sautéed onions.

A Colossal Colon Clogger: This is a burger popular in Canada. It is a 24 ounce ground beef patty, served with a quarter pound of cheese, a quarter pound of bacon and two fried eggs.

A Luther Burger: This is a beef burger served with bacon placed between a bun made out of donuts.

A Slug Burger: This is a burger made entirely from a mixture of meat, such as pork, soybeans and is deep fried in oil.

Tonight try one of these variations. You can grill at home or visit a tavern in your local area to discover one of these explosions of goodness. You will for sure taste some burger goodness.

Connecting With Kids During Pizza Night

By Friday night I am spent. A long week at work, kid’s activities that spill over into our Saturdays so I know that tomorrow is looking busy already. Fridays are the one night I don’t want to think about washing dishes, cleaning the house, worrying about what I am going to make for dinner, if there is even food in the house or kids whining that they don’t want to eat what there is for dinner. So instead of worrying about any of this I instituted Friday, Family Pizza Night. Whether we are home in Northville or on vacation in the UP say in Marquette my kids insist on finding a pizza joint!

Kids love PIZZA! It is the biggest treat for them to go out to dinner because we only make time for this on Friday nights. So after a long week I know when I pull in the driveway there will be a Caravan of kids waiting for me to venture out for pizza. This is my favorite time of the entire week – pizza dinner with my family. So if your family is anything at all like ours you might think about instituting your own special night of the week. The family bonding we do over pizza on Friday nights is beyond comparison.

Kids tend to talk when they are happy and pizza night makes them happy. They will begin to tell you all about their week. Who did what during class, what girls wore what brands, yes some of it is just the stuff of preteens but what are family has found is that these Friday night pizza nights have allowed us to have some of the more serious topics. Pizza night allowed us to information that our daughter keeps private thinking she will get someone in trouble if she “tells”. Pizza night is not like “telling” it is having a conversation with mom and dad where the information about kids smoking and talking about drugs comes out. It allows us to keep the lines of communication open with her so for us pizza night with her is our moment in the week to find out all the things that are going through her head.

I am so thankful for Pizza night in my home. Take my suggestion and add a pizza night, or whatever food night your kids love, to your family’s routine. You will find out more about what is going on in your child’s head then you ever thought was going on and it is the prefect non-threatening time to do just that – Pizza night.

Easy Tips to Save a Few Bucks While Eating Out

In times such as these eating out is a luxury. Who can possible afford forty-five dollars for one meal out, each week, for a family of four? Although, there are times when going out is almost a necessity, coming home from soccer, dance practice, football games or on those days when everyone is just to whipped to plan a meal. Eating out is so convenient for busy days and days when you just need a break. However, a budget is easily blown to bits when a family of four decides to take a break from their kitchen to eat out. Think about it, on average, forty-five dollars a week times fifty-two weeks is a whopping two thousand three hundred forty dollars a year. Here are some easy to follow tips so that your family can continue to enjoy a night out even while going through this economic downturn.

Beverage Choice: The first suggestion is to drink water. Soda beverages run about two dollars and fifty cents per drink. For a family of four that is ten dollars in drinks alone. If usually a fruity cocktail or draft beer was the drink of choice that could run upwards of ten dollars for just two adult beverages. Water is free, with unlimited refills. Another benefit of drinking water at a restaurant is that is fills you up so you won’t be as famished when your meal arrives. If you just must have an adult drink, ask about any specials or current promotions to save a bit of money. The other tip is to share a drink – just make sure the waitress isn’t peeking shares are individually charged if caught!

Try Something New: You always get the chicken salad so why not try something that the restaurant is trying to promote. These meals are distributed at a discount price to get people to try them. So ask your server or check the insert in your menu. Something new, at a discount, could be your new favorite!

Sign Up: Many restaurants have deals on the internet. If you fill out their customer form they will send you coupons, often buy one get one free type offers, to keep you coming back. Another great things about signing up for these promotions is that around your birthday they pass out free meals, free desserts and such as a gift to you from them. At the very least you are bound to come up with a coupon that gives you a percentage or straight dollar amount off and who doesn’t like to save a few bucks!

Eat Linner: Instead of waiting for dinner try stretching out lunch into an early dinner, late lunch. Meals are often times less expensive off the lunch menu. If you just can’t ask for a lunch portion at dinner. Many restaurants will do this, allowing you a less expensive meal with almost the same amount of food. Portion sizes are often so out of control at dinner time that a lunch size meal will do the job and save you a pretty penny.

Follow the Golden Rule – Share: Sharing a meal is a great way to get a deal. Dinner portions are often served larger than any other time of the day. Dinner meals, at most restaurants, can easily be shared between two people. This is sort of like that buy one get one free deal. If you just can not share a meal make sure to divide your meal when it arrives at the table and take the second portion home for leftovers. Leftovers make a terrific quick lunch for busy professionals.

Ditch Dessert: Is it really worth five or six dollars for one slice of pie or scoop of ice cream? No, if you are craving dessert stopping at a local bakery or ice cream joint it is a lot less expensive. Half gallons of ice cream these days are only around three bucks, pick one up and enjoy a sundae bar at home. What kid or adult, for that matter, wouldn’t love to create dessert? That is an extra special treat after a wonderful night out.

Reasons to Scope out a Local Tavern

The word “tavern” means a place to gather, eat good food, and enjoy some beverages. It is interesting that the word actually encompassed so much more in the history of the United States. Taverns were the epicenter of towns. Travelers could actually stay in rooms provided at the larger taverns, also known as inns. In the days of old a tavern was essential for commerce, colonists could trade prices on their crop, arrange trades of goods, newspapers were read, and business opportunities were exchanged. Taverns were a place to spend what free time people had enjoying cards games and pool tables filled the higher class establishments.

As history tells us views on women mingling in taverns all had one thing in common – women were not welcome to mingle only allowed to serve. History usually leaves out that two-thirds of taverns were operated by women. This comes out of necessity. Local governments, who issued the licenses for such establishments, often would find local widows to operate taverns. This would keep them from becoming a burden, financially, on the government. Widowed women were seen as a threat to the government because without the business most would be left impoverished and become dependant on the services of the country. So as the government saw it Taverns run by local women was a win-win solution. Women and children were never allowed to eat, drink, or socialize in the taverns. The times have sure changed.

Taverns today are still the epicenter of many towns and cities. Today taverns are places that locals go to relax, eat, drink and be merry. Often a round of pool will be shot, some darts thrown, possible even some karaoke sang. Taverns allow us a place to sit and enjoy friends after long work weeks. They allow us to grab a burger with our families on those nights that we are running from one sporting event to another. Taverns today are places that invite the entire family out during the week however that usually changes when the weekend rolls around. Visit a tavern on any given night and I guarantee the bar will be full, music will be playing, the aroma of a juicy burger will be lofting through the air and a cold beverage will be near.

Taverns have taken their place in history and manage to stay in the forefront of the good times of today. Taverns still exist in all types of environments, all different price ranges and activities to do. Hopefully this article will lead you to research taverns and local watering holes in your area. It is almost a guarantee you will find yourself having a great time at your local tavern. Awaken your senses with a juicy sirloin, loaded baked potato and ale of some kind. Taverns are places to feed your soul. They were and continue to be the epicenter of towns and cities not only in America but all over the word.

The Benefits of Blinds Between the Glass

Imagine a day without having to dust your blinds to keep your asthma at bay. What about a day when you don’t worry that your child will fall out of bed and get tangled in the cord of the blinds. What about those pesky little pets who think it is major fun to chew on the ends of the blind cords? It gets really old seeing the cord shredded and the plastic/wood piece at the bottom chewed into oblivion. An answer has been found to all of these issues the solution…blinds between the glass. This article will explain several advantages to having blinds that sit between the glass. If you weren’t already convinced they were better for your home you will after you read this.

Installation is a no brainer. There are no blinds to install. They are already installed into the window. How much easier can that be? Think about how happy you would be if you didn’t have to mess with all of those teeny hardware pieces installing mini blinds.

Windows with blinds between the glass have little to no maintenance. It is not like regular blinds where you have to take each individual blind and wipe it down to remove the built up dust. Not to mention all the time you spend doing the tedious task. With blinds between the windows there isn’t any need to wipe down the blinds. They are not exposed to the dirt and grime of the outside world.

Another thing that is great about blinds between the glass is in bay window area and window seats. How nice would it be to actually use the seat without wreaking the blinds in the mean time? No one will be leaning up against your blinds, bending them, if they are incased with in the glass if the window.

I think windows with blinds between the glass are a no brainer for people with allergies. Nothing like breathing a little easier while you are in the comfort of your home. No blinds outside the glass means no dust to settle and less allergens to collect to cause your family health issues. Also, there won’t be blinds outside of the glass to collect dog and cat hair which are allergen issues in themselves.

Anyone with an animal already knows the benefit that would be found with blinds placed between the glass. Animals love hanging objects. Anything that dangles is an animal toy in their minds. The cords of blinds installed outside of the glass are left out attracting pets. The plastic or wood stoppers on the end of the cords become chew toys and then leave a big mess for you to look at for the life of your blinds. That is may not be the best option for home decor.

Speaking of home decor, what looks classier then blinds placed in between the glass in your new windows. They add a touch of pizzazz to boring, old, regular, plastic mini blinds. Obviously, the benefits of windows with blinds inside the glass are not limited to their high class look benefit you get from by purchasing them. It sure doesn’t hurt though.

Enjoy all the benefits that you will get out of your replacement windows with the blinds installed between the glass. Surely you will find a benefit that has been missed because really the benefits are endless.

The Great Debate: Windows with Blinds or Windows with Curtains – What Will You Decide?

With so many options in blinds and curtains these days how does one really make a good choice on which is good for their home? The choices in blinds and curtains are endless. There are several questions to ask yourself before you begin the daunting task of searching for blinds or curtains. If you can figure out if you want blinds or curtains before you head out to the store it will make the purchase a little less intimidating. This way you can focus on the stores selection of one or the other. Picking out the exact curtains or blinds is all up to – the following tips can help determine whether blinds or curtains are best for your home.

Five Things to Consider When Choosing Blinds or Curtains:

Location: There are many things to consider in regards to the location of your window treatment. Are the windows in an area of high traffic where they would get grubby? Are the window treatments in a room that has a lot of moisture like a bathroom or kitchen? Is the window in an area with kids and pets playing? Location might just be the most important consideration when deciding whether to choose blinds or curtains. You for sure don’t want to get dramatic floor length curtains in a room occupied by a busy kitten.
• Kitchens have natural light and occasional messes. Most of the times it is beneficial to have curtains that will be easy to remove and clean from the grease and grime kitchens produce. Also, the kitchen isn’t necessarily a spot you need to block light out which blinds tend to do.
• In a bedroom however, blocking the natural light out is one of the most important things to consider. Choosing shades seem like a natural choice for they block out the most light and will provide an environment more favorable to sleeping.

Purpose: Are the window coverings serving a purpose? Do they need to block out or control light? Are you installing them for the sole purpose of privacy? Is there a breeze or some type of moisture that needs to be blocked? Are the window coverings for decoration only? Determining the purpose that your window coverings will serve is going to make a large difference in the final decision on what to buy.
• If you are looking for fresh air curtains are a better choice. You can pull them back to let air and light in.
• If you are purposely trying to block our moisture and are looking for maximum privacy blinds seem to be a better option for your window treatments.

Aesthetics – Decor: This is the fun part of picking out window treatments. What is the look and feel you are hoping to gain from applying window treatments to your home?
• Are you looking for something modern? Do you want sleek lines and solid colors?
• Maybe country or classic is more your style? Do you think wood blinds or rooster curtains are the look you are trying to obtain? This is the part that only your eyes matter. Of course, remember it should compliment the fell the room already has.

Health: This is something I am sure you have not considered when choosing between blinds and curtains but it is incredibly important.
• Blinds tend to be an attractant to dust so if someone in your household has severe allergies it is probably best to stay away from blinds.
• Curtains are much easier to keep dust free. Dry cleaning and regular washings is all the care most curtains need to keep them free of extra dander and allergens.

Price: Although you can find window treatments in all price ranges it is still something to consider.
• Blinds can be found from $2.99 and up. You need to consider wear and tear when pricing blinds. Most inexpensive blinds are plastic which have a tendency to break easily. Blinds that are made of hard plastic or wood are considerably more durable and still relatively inexpensive. The really nice part about blinds is that they usually come with all the hardware that is needed for their installation making blinds relatively cheaper than curtains.

• Curtains are a little bit more expensive due to the hardware expense. Even if you find reasonably priced curtains you are still looking at how you are going to hang them. Hardware for curtain installation is another expense to consider when choosing curtains.

It is a difficult decision between blinds and curtains. What will you decide?

Advantages to Buying Replacement Windows

So much consideration goes into if you really need to replace your windows. The cost alone drives many of us into thinking that we should reconsider other improvements to our home before we purchase replacement windows. There are many reasons why taking on the challenge of replacing your windows is worth it. In this article we will explore heating and cooling costs, curb appeal and ease of maintenance.

First let’s discuss the money savings that goes along with replacement windows in regards to heating and cooling. To see the expense/profit ratio equal out you really need to be in your home for the long haul. It is most advantageous to purchase replacement windows if you plan on inhabiting your residents for more than 10 years. This is the point where the savings equals the cost. For instance, say the cost of replacement windows plus installation, for your home is $6,000.00, which is average. An average heating and cooling bill, per month, in Michigan is $150.00, with new windows you could easily take this bill down to $100.00 a month. Saving $50.00 am month x 12 months = $600.00 a year. In 10 years the windows would have paid for themselves.

Next is curb appeal. If your old windows are rotting and painting is peeling you can guarantee people will assume the rest of your home is kept up in the same manner. Purchasing replacement windows in wood or vinyl will make your home more attractive causing prospective buyers to feel like the home is one worth looking into because care was taken in regards to the homes up keep. The value in resale alone, in this situation, makes replacement windows a great buy.

If you are concerned at all about maintenance new windows will be beneficial. Many newer models of windows have the ability to be washed from the inside of your home. Replacement windows come so that you are able to flip the top and bottoms in to throughly wash them. Also, many windows now come in vinyl or wood that is throughly treated so no extra painting or staining is needed. That beats the up keep on older windows where you need to repaint or restain them every few years to keep them looking fresh and to prevent wear from the weather. Replacment windows can be almost completely maintenance free.

There are many reasons to buying replacement windows. You won’t be disappointed replacing your worn, outdated windows with energy efficient, maintenance free, value adding windows. As I see it the only choice now is vinyl or wood, single or double hung, contractor or do it yourself and you though replacing your old windows was going to be an easy decision.