Tips for Making Exciting Ice Cream Sundaes

The Roman emperor Nero ate flavored ice to get through Italy’s stifling summers, and frozen treats have only become more popular since the 4th century B.C.  According to the International Dairy Foods Association, the United States produced 1.5 billion gallons of ice cream in 2008, and 90 percent of the population enjoys the sweet treat.

Americans also like to stick with the classics – vanilla accounts for over 25 percent of all ice cream sales. But there’s far more to ice cream than vanilla in a cone. Cold Stone Creamery , an ice cream parlor known for its customizable offerings, has a few tips for exploring more unique possibilities:

•  Think beyond chocolate sauce and cherries.
Cereal, chocolate chips, fruit, jams, sprinkles, pie fillings, cookies crumbles, brownie chunks, chopped nuts and whipped cream are only the beginning!

Tips to Keep Packed Food Cold This Summer

For millions of families, the coming summer season means activities — and lots of them. From the beach, to the pool, to games, camping, picnics and backyard barbecues, it’s often a mad dash from one adventure to the next with no break in between. Coolers have become the must-have summer accessory for busy families, helping to keep food and drinks cold as they travel from place to place. And under the current economic conditions, more people are relying on coolers to keep their meal costs down.

Tips to Keep Packed Food Cold This Summer

<b>Tips to Keep Packed Food Cold This Summer</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – For millions of families, the coming summer season means activities — and lots of them. From the beach, to the pool, to games, camping, picnics and backyard barbecues, it’s often a mad dash from one adventure to the next with no break in between. Coolers have become the must-have summer accessory for busy families, helping to keep food and drinks cold as they travel from place to place. And under the current economic conditions, more people are relying on coolers to keep their meal costs down.

Of course, not all coolers are created equal. California Innovations has engineered insulated coolers that withstand the rigors of summer. And to help people get the most out of their coolers, they’re offering the following tips:

* Use a high-performance cooler. Arctic Zone IceCOLD coolers use radiant barrier technology to deflect heat from the sun, helping the interior of the cooler stay cold.

* Pack a lot. Don’t be afraid to pack your cooler to the max, because that cuts off the flow of air, which can warm the cooler. The tighter the fit, the less air is able to circulate.

* Keep the cooler in the shade as much as possible. Heat from the sun will warm up your cooler faster. So stick it under a tree or an umbrella to protect it from the sun’s rays.

* Place the cooler on a table or blanket. The ground absorbs heat and transfers it directly to your cooler. Keeping it elevated makes it tougher for the warm air to get in.

* Always keep the cooler closed when not in use. It’s easy to forget, but even a few minutes can make the difference between having ice or water. Using a cooler with zipperless technology makes it easier to open and close quickly.

* Use plenty of ice or ice packs. The more ice you pack, the longer the contents stay cool.

* For faster cooling, add a little extra water to the ice. The water aids in surface conduction, which speeds up the cooling process. However, this method can also cause the ice to melt faster.

To find the right cooler for you this summer, go to www.californiainnovations.com.

Tips to Prevent Slips and Falls This Winter

<b>Tips to Prevent Slips and Falls This Winter</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Ice sends thousands sliding, slipping and falling each year. And unfortunately, many of those falls result in serious injury.

You can’t control the weather, but you may be able to keep ice from forming on your walkways. One innovative company, HeatTrak (www.heattrak.com), manufactures outdoor mats that, when plugged into an electrical outlet, melt snow and ice at a rate of two inches per hour. Commonly used by businesses and university campuses, HeatTrak mats have recently become available to homeowners. The mats are durable and meant to stay outside all season. Those who want to enjoy slip-free walkways and stairs simply need to install the mats, then turn them on when snow first starts to fall — the mats will prevent ice and snow from accumulating.

Of course, it’s hard to avoid snow and ice the whole winter, so it’s best to take precautions against slips and falls. Here are some tips for safer winter walking:

– Wear the proper foot gear. Slippery soles will make icy conditions even more hazardous. Wear shoes with non-slip soles and deep treads.

– Watch where you’re walking. Stick to sidewalks whenever possible. If a surface looks slippery, tap it with your toe before stepping forward. Be especially wary about black ice, which can be hard to detect visually. Walk at a slow, even pace — running or jumping makes it easier to lose your footing. If you do have to walk over ice, bend you knees slightly and take shorter steps.

– Stay balanced. Keep your hands free to help you balance. If there are handrails, use them. Try to avoid carrying heavy packages up and down icy stairs, and don’t carry loads that you can’t see over.

– Don’t let clothes obscure your vision. You need to stay warm, but don’t wear ski masks, scarves, hats or hoodies that restrict your vision.

– Watch out for ice from above. Falling icicles can cause serious injury. Avoid walking underneath the edges of buildings.

For more information on the HeatTrak products, visit www.heattrak.com.

Heated Stairs Step Up Safety, Convenience

<b>Heated Stairs Step Up Safety, Convenience</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Anyone who has lived with snow knows that stairs present a unique challenge. They ice up quickly, becoming slippery and dangerous. Outdoor stairs, which often come in irregular sizes, can be difficult to shovel, especially for senior citizens.

And even if you remove snow, your stairs may still ice up. Melting snow from the roof often falls on stairs leading up to a doorstep, creating dangerous ice layers. Using sand or rock salt is hardly an ideal situation. Many Americans are not physically able to carry heavy bags. When the salt dissolves, it poses a threat to local flora and fauna.

Companies and schools with large facilities have taken a unique approach to ensuring safer stairs in wintery weather — instead of trying to remove snow after it falls, they’re using a product that melts snow before it has a chance to build up.

At age 15, Hillel Glazer decided he no longer wanted to shovel snow, so he disassembled a heating pad and combined it with a doormat, promptly shorting out the electricity in his parents’ home. As an adult — and with the help of engineers — Glazer returned to his original snow-melting mat idea.

Today, Glazer’s company, HeatTrak, makes heated mats that keep walkways clear of snow. Long used by large commercial facilities, HeatTrak’s Stair Mats are now available to homeowners.

Built with weatherproof, ribbed carpet, HeatTrak Residential Stair Mats are durable enough to be left outside for the entire winter. The mats plug into standard outlets and generate enough heat to melt snow at a rate of two inches per hour. If homeowners turn the mats on when snow first begins to fall, snowflakes will dissolve as soon as they hit the mats, leaving slip-free stairs.

HeatTrak Stair Mats are safe to own and operate. Each mat has a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) that instantly shuts off the mat when it senses a current leak. HeatTrak products are sold throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.

For more information, visit www.heattrak.com.

Save Time and Money Buying Your Next Refrigerator

<b>Save Time and Money Buying Your Next Refrigerator</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Nearly everyone is more cautious with money these days, so major purchases are approached with additional consideration and planning. A new refrigerator, for example, can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars and may be in your home for 10 or more years. So when it is necessary to replace, budget-focused consumers may first consider the purchase price. However, a refrigerator’s reliability, energy efficiency, usable features and ability to store more-affordable bulk foods are also important factors and can offset the initial cost.

Since consumers are in the market for appliances so infrequently, the purchase process can easily become confusing and overwhelming. The tips and guidelines below will help even the most discerning and energy-minded shoppers navigate the showroom floor and identify a reliable refrigerator that will meet their needs.

Compare the capacity and storage. Models with more shelves and bins have a greater surface area, which creates more space for fresh and frozen food deals bought in bulk. Consider a model that will not only fit everything, but will also provide easy access to the most-used items. The Maytag® ICE2O® refrigerator has a bottom mount freezer drawer that features a SmoothClose™ track system with heavy-duty ball bearing slides that can hold up to 120 pounds of food. The wide drawer can hold deli platters, while durable bins and four Spill-Catcher™ glass shelves help store food in an organized way.

Look for the ENERGY STAR® label. The refrigerator consumes more energy than any other kitchen appliance. According to ENERGY STAR®, replacing a model from the 1980s with an ENERGY STAR-qualified model will offer a savings of $100 per year on utility bills, or $200 per year if the model is from the 1970s. Features such as a door alarm, power outage indicator, airtight door seals and easy-to-use temperature controls will help maintain a constant temperature and contribute to the efficiency rating.

Consider the usability of the features. Add-on features can save time and money if they eliminate a cost or save a step. A removable ice bucket can be easily brought to the table or cooler. Filtered ice and water dispensers can help save money and the environment by preventing the disposal of plastic water bottles. Some of the newest refrigerators also have ice makers that produce smaller cubes that fit into refillable water bottles.

Examine the hardware. How durable the handles are and how strong the hinges are will directly impact the life of the refrigerator. Open and close the door and drawers to test their strength, and look for heavy-duty stainless steel handles that will remain secure even in the most active households.

Barbecue Basics On a Budget

<b>Barbecue Basics On a Budget</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Simplify your summer entertaining and save money by heading outdoors for a barbecue. They’re the perfect way to enjoy friends, food and the beautiful weather. Here are some practical tips to help you save money while making every barbecue a fun-filled and delicious event:

– Use simple decorations. The summer sky and the great outdoors provide natural beauty, so there’s no need for ice sculptures or china plates. Inexpensive table cloths and color-coordinated plasticware provide ample decoration. For a simple centerpiece, pick flowers from your yard, and place them in a vase or plastic pitcher.

– Keep bugs away by using citronella candles. They provide light and help keep gnats and mosquitoes off guests.

– Use disposable plates, napkins and utensils to make clean-up easy. For example, Dollar General sells packages of paper napkins, foam plates and plastic cups starting at just $1 each. You can also get inexpensive trash bags at Dollar General.

– At the start of summer, stock up on grilling supplies, which can be found inexpensively at discount stores. If needed, buy a new grill. And, don’t forget accessories like scrubbers, grill and basting brushes, baskets, forks and spatulas.

– Plan a simple menu, which will help keep costs low. Choose your main dish, such as hot dogs or hamburgers, and build your menu around it. Serve side dishes that are inexpensive and easy to prepare such as potato chips, pretzels, canned baked beans and pasta salad. Or make your party a potluck and have your guests bring the side dishes. For easy and inexpensive recipe ideas, visit www.dollargeneral.com.

– Build a condiment bar, including essentials such as ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, pickles and relish.

– And don’t forget drinks. Fill a plastic tub with ice for serving cold drinks such as soda, juice boxes and bottled water.

– End your barbecue on a sweet note. Use brownie, cake or cookie mixes to make a sweet treat without any mess or fuss. For a cool treat, make a pitcher of Kool-Aid, pour it into ice trays, insert popsicle sticks into each cube and freeze.

Cookie Sundae Adds Fun Twist to Classic

<b>Cookie Sundae Adds Fun Twist to Classic</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Cake and ice cream and brownie sundaes. The warmth of the freshly baked pastry, slowly working its way through decadent ice cream smothered in chocolate topping is a temptation few people can resist. And while the indulgent dessert remains popular, it takes a little innovation to make the dish unique.

Uno Chicago Grill, famous for their Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, put their spin on the dessert and now serve “The Deep Dish Cookie Sundae,” a cookie baked into a deep-dish shape, then covered with whipped cream and ice cream, and topped with chocolate sauce. Lucky for us, the dessert is easy to make at home:

The Deep Dish Cookie Sundae

8 ounces chocolate chip

cookie dough

1 scoop vanilla ice cream

1/2 cup whipped cream

1 ounce chocolate sauce

1 7-inch, deep-dish or cake pan

Temperature-resistant plate, lined with a moist napkin

Cooking spray (such as Pam)

1. Spray the pan, bottom and sides, with cooking spray.

2. Place your favorite cookie dough into the pan. Press the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan.

3. Bake the cookie according to dough directions.

4. Place hot cookie pizza onto the temperature-resistant plate lined with a moistened napkin.

5. Place a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the center of the cookie pizza.

6. Place whipped cream next to the ice cream in a decorative fashion.

7. Stripe chocolate sauce over the entire cookie pizza.

8. Serve immediately.

For other fun variations, try:

– A peanut butter cookie dough with chocolate and vanilla ice cream

– A chocolate-chip cookie dough with coffee ice cream.

– A sugar cookie dough with strawberry or blackberry ice cream

– A chocolate cookie dough with mint chocolate chip ice cream

– A snickerdoodle cookie dough with vanilla bean ice cream

– A chocolate cookie dough with cookies-and-cream ice cream

Learn the Correct Way To Control Carb Intake

<b>Learn the Correct Way To Control Carb Intake</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – For Americans who want to control their carbs, learning how to consume “good” carbohydrates in balance with a variety of proteins and “good” fats can be confusing.

To help people understand the science underlying this nutritional approach, “Atkins for Life,” the book that set the gold standard for controlled-carbohydrate lifestyles, provides clear and complete explanations of how carbohydrates, protein and fat function in the body.

This resource, now available in paperback, contains an extensive meal-planning section with 125 recipes for everything from appetizers to desserts, snacks, entrees, soups, salads and sauces, along with 200 meal plans at various levels of carbohydrate intake.

Charts throughout the book provide information on “good” and “bad” carbs; the order in which carb foods should be added back into meals; the Atkins Glycemic Ranking (showing which carbs can be eaten regularly, which occasionally, and which rarely and in small amounts); and how to count carbs in individual foods. It also includes a restaurant guide to help Atkins enthusiasts choose the right foods when dining out.

The following recipe from the Atkins Kitchen takes a traditional dessert and adds a subtle and natural coconut flavor that really shines through in this slightly sweet ice cream. Pair it with sugar-free chocolate syrup mixed with a drizzle of rum for a tropical treat.

COCONUT ICE CREAM

(Makes 8 servings)

6 egg yolks

14 packets sugar substitute

2 cups heavy cream

1 (13.5-ounce) can unsweetened

coconut milk

2 teaspoons coconut extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, lightly toasted

In a medium bowl, whisk yolks and sugar substitute to combine. In a medium pot, bring heavy cream to a simmer over medium-low heat.

Slowly pour 1 cup cream into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Pour yolk mixture back into pot. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat. Stir in coconut milk, coconut and vanilla extracts. Chill 4 hours.

Pour ice cream mix into ice cream maker. Process according to manufacturer’s directions. About 5 minutes before ice cream is finished, add the toasted coconut.

Nutritional information per serving: 6 g carbohydrates, 4.5 g net carbohydrates, 1.5 g fiber, 4 g protein, 32 g fat, 326 calories.

Atkins offers a free newsletter with product updates, low-carb diet tips and recipes. For great recipes, look for “Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution” (Harper Collins) and “Atkins for Life” (St. Martin’s Press). For more information, visit www.atkins.com.