Monday, October. 9

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Picking out the best Fall produce 

Fall is finally here and picking out the freshest produce can be a challenge. We're breaking it down to help you pick the freshest seasonal ingredients. 

1.    Winter Squash
a.    Best storage results when you stash squash in a cool, dry spot. For most winter squash, store at 50º to 55º F with relative humidity of 60 to 70 percent. 
b.    The one exception, Acorn squash, which should be kept at temperatures less than 55. Higher temperatures cause the flesh to become stringy. Avoid storing squash in higher humidity, which can promote rot.
c.    Acorn squash, small pie pumpkins, spaghetti squash (1-3 months)
Buttercup squash, kabocha squash, larger pumpkins (3-4 months)
Blue Hubbard squash, butternut squash (6 months or more)

2.    Apples/Pears
a.    The ideal storage temperature is 30 to 35 degrees F. with 90 to 95 percent relative humidity. I
b.    if you don't have a lot of apples, the refrigerator is a good option.
c.    Place them in the crisper drawer in a plastic bag with holes in it or cover the apples with a damp paper towel. 
d.    Don't store other vegetables in the same drawer, because apples give off ethylene gas, which can speed the decay of neighboring produce.

3.    Herbs
a.    Some leafy herbs, like cilantro, parsley and tarragon, come bunched together with a rubber band.
b.    Remove the band, then wrap the herbs loosely in a damp paper towel
c.    Store sealed in a resealable bag. Tip: Use softer herbs, like cilantro, within 2 to 3 days.
d.    Woody herbs, like rosemary and thyme, will last a couple of weeks stored the same way in a damp paper towel.

For more information, visit: 

Motivational Monday: Dance your way to better health and get dancer legs through ballroom dance

It's no secret professional dancers have the best legs. So, how do you get that look? Ballroom dance is a good place to start. It can be low impact, fun, and you'll be working up a sweat without even realizing. And, if you think ballroom dance lessons are too expensive, think again. Group classes on any given night at Fatcats Ballroom & Dance Company run between $5.00 to $7.00. 

For more information, visit:

Fatcat Ballroom & Dance Company
3131 E Thunderbird Rd, Ste 33, Phoenix, AZ 85032
Phone: 602-324-7119

Queen of Clean/ Fall Clean Up for Your Home

Time to get some of those chores out of the way before the holidays.  

Windows: Giving the windows a good cleaning inside and out now will save you time around the holidays. Plus, you can see out of them again!

Inside Windows: 
The easiest and fastest way to clean them is with a micro fiber cloth.  Use a wet one to wash the inside glass and then use a dry one to dry and polish the glass.  Keep the wet cloth rinsed out well and have dry cloths ready to use to prevent streaks.

Spray Cleaner:
Fill a spray bottle with ½ water and ½ rubbing alcohol.   Spray and wipe.  This not only cleans, but it dries quickly to eliminate streaks.

Outside Windows:
Fill a bucket with warm water.  Add ½ cup of cornstarch and mix well.  Use a sponge to wash the window and then buff dry. 

Tough Job Cleaner: 
This formula removes screen stain, bugs, hard water and the worst dirt.  It contains no water.
In a container combine 1 pint of rubbing alcohol, 1 Tablespoon of ammonia and 1 Tablespoon of liquid dish soap.  Wash the window using a scrubbing sponge, rinse and buff dry.  

Got Streaks?
Use a blackboard eraser to erase them away! 

Now's the time to wash the mattress pad, blankets, comforters, pillow shams etc.  Always read the care label before you start.  Don't over crowd the washing machine.  Use ¼ to ½ cup of white vinegar for softening.  
Toss some clean tennis balls or a clean athletic shoe in the dryer with bulky bedding to dry it quickly and restore some loft. 
Be sure everything is dry before you fold and store it. 

Put the pillows in the dryer with tennis balls and set to air-dry.  Flip for 20 minutes or so and then remove.  This will remove dust and debris and also fluff the pillow up again.  Don't put a fabric softener sheet in.  You don't want to lay your head on those chemicals all night.

Here's a quick way to get clothes ready to wear that have been stored all summer.  Put them in the dry on air-fluff and let them spin for 10 minutes or so.  It will help remove wrinkles, dust and storage odor.  Rehang right away or fold.

For more information visit Linda's website and Facebook page.

GMAZ Junior Chefs:  Ashlyn and Briony

Briony and Ashlyn Campisi are twins, and among all of the things they share, a love of cooking is right up there at the top of the list.  They both compete in (and have won) cooking competitions before.  They’ll join us to make a Halloween cake that has a hollowed out middle, spilling out sprinkles.  They'll also share favorite dinner recipe for Israeli couscous with chicken, arugula and a balsamic reduction.  

Ashlyn's Halloween Surprise Cake Recipe

Vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream frosting 
Ingredients: six large egg whites, 1 2/3 cup granulated sugar, six sticks of butter, softened, 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste, 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted, food coloring (Halloween themed)

Step 1 
In a medium sauce pan, combine the sugar and egg whites. Heat on medium low heat, whisking constantly, until the sugar is melted and the mixture reaches 160°. Run the mixture through a strainer to eliminate any cooked egg bits or shells. Transfer to a standard mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whip on high-speed for 9 to 10 minutes, until the meringue begins to pull away from the sides of the ball. 
Step 2 
Remove the whisk attachment and switch to the paddle attachment. Add the sticks of butter, one at a time, mixing on medium low speed, combining each before adding the next. 
Step 3. 
Stop the mixer and add in the vanilla bean paste and powdered sugar. Start mixing on low speed until the sugar is combined, then slowly increase the speed too high for about one minute, until the frosting sticks to the sides of the bowl.
Step 4.
Put frosting in smaller bowls and add desired colors of food coloring in and stir.
Step 5.
Put the various colors of frosting into piping bags, but also leave enough frosting to cover each layer of the cake and create a crumb coat.

Cake ingredients:
6 large eggs, 2 cups granulated sugar, 1 cup vegetable oil, 1 cup sour cream, 1 teaspoon princess baking a motion, 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, 3 cups flour, sifted, 3 tablespoons baking powder, sifted, 1 cup of Halloween chocolate candies for the inside of the cake

Step 1
Preheat oven to 300°. Prepare to 6-inch round cake pans by coding them with butter and lining them with parchment paper. 
Step 2
Using a standard mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, mix the eggs and sugar on medium speed five or six for about seven minutes, until very light in color and fluffy. 
Step 3
In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Set aside. 
Step 4
In a large mixing bowl, combine the vegetable oil, sour cream, princess emulsion, and vanilla bean paste. Whisk quickly until smooth and combined. 
Step 5
Slowly add vegetable oil mixture to the egg mixture. Mix on medium speed until combined. Step 6
Now add the flour mixture in 2 to 3 batches. Mixing on low speed until combined. 
Step 7
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans until about 2/3 full. Bake in the oven at 300° for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 
Step 8
Remove from the heat and allow them to cool completely before removing them from the cake pans.
Step 9
Once the cakes have completely cooled, using a cookie-cutter punch holes in the same spot through the bottom and inside (not the top cake layer) cake layers to make room for the sprinkles or candies inside.
Step 10
Begin frosting the cakes layer by layer. Once the bottom and middle cake layers are frosted together, put your sprinkles or candy in the center of the cake.  The. frost the middle layer and lay the final top layer of the cake in place. Once the sprinkles or candy inside is secured and your top layer of cake is in place, begin creating a thin crumb coat all over the cake. You can put the cake in the refrigerator to allow it to set. This will prevent the cake layers from sliding around as you go to do the final frosting and decorating.
Step 11
Using your frosting, create your final layer on all sides and the top of the cake. Now use your imagination and all the colored frosting bags to decorate your cake according to your theme.

Briony's recipe
Arugula, Israeli couscous with chicken, roasted tomatoes, pinenuts and balsamic reduction

Two grilled chicken breasts, 1 cup balsamic vinegar, 4 cups of arugula, 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, 6 tbsp. olive oil, 3 cups of chicken stock, 2 cups of Israeli couscous, 1 large onion, 1/4 cup roasted pinenuts, 1/4 cup shaved parmesan cheese, 4 tbsp. butter, salt and pepper to taste

Step 1
In a medium size skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter plus 2 tbsp. olive oil and add the diced onion. Sauté 2 minutes until softened. 
Step 2
Add 2 more tbsp. of butter and olive oil to the onion mixture. Add 2 cups of couscous and 3 cups of chicken stock. Cook on low uncovered until the chicken stock is absorbed and couscous is tender. Do not overcook.
Step 3 
Place cherry tomatoes in a roasting pan with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and salt/pepper. Toss the tomatoes in the olive oil and bake in the oven at 375° for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Stir the tomatoes periodically and remove from the oven when they have softened and are starting to turn brown/roast.
Step 4
In a small sauce pan add the balsamic vinegar. Over low heat cook the balsamic vinegar until it reduces (it will reduce to a runny syrup). Once the balsamic vinegar is reduced sufficiently, remove from heat and set aside.
Step 5
Place the arugula on a serving tray. Top the arugula with the Israeli couscous and onion mixture. Layer the roasted tomatoes on top of the couscous. Now place chopped grilled chicken on top of the tomatoes. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the dish followed by a drizzling of the balsamic reduction over the dish. Salt and pepper to taste and add your shaved Parmesan and roasted pinenuts as garnish.

Phoenician James Tanton starts Global Math Project

This year, James has selected Exploding Dots as the mathematics topic of choice. Exploding Dots is an astounding mathematical story that starts at the very beginning of mathematics it assumes nothing and swiftly takes you on a wondrous journey through grade school arithmetic, polynomial algebra, and infinite sums to unsolved problems baffling mathematicians to this day. 

Known at the Global Math Project, James is asking teachers, math leaders, and other math educators to conduct one short math experience with students and to share that experience via social media with #gmw2017 and #explodingdots. This year, James has selected Exploding Dots as the mathematics topic of choice. Exploding Dots is an astounding mathematical story that starts at the very beginning of mathematics it assumes nothing and swiftly takes you on a wondrous journey through grade school arithmetic, polynomial algebra, and infinite sums to unsolved problems baffling mathematicians to this day. Take a look at this tutorial for more information and a better understanding.

Want to join the conversation? Here is what you need to do:
1.) Have a quick look at Exploding Dots for yourself
2.) Register yourself and your students (with your city and your country)
3.) Conduct an Exploding Dots experience with your students some time during Global Math Week (Oct.10-17th)
4.) Share comments and photos on twitter with #gmw2017 or #explodingdots - and on The Global Math Project's Facebook page:

For more information, visit:

Adding pumpkin to your beauty regime for vitamin A benefits

Did you know one cup of pumpkin contains almost double the recommended daily amount of Vitamin A, which promotes good vision and helps to maintain healthy skin, teeth and bones among other benefits like providing fiber, phytoestrogens and beta-carotene? Newly opened Lake Pleasant Hand & Stone shows us how to get into the spirit of Fall by adding pumpkin to your facial!

  • Even with temps climbing to 100, Phoenix residents are still looking for ways to embrace fall and that includes everything pumpkin, which now includes the pumpkin facial.
  • Recently owned Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa is offering a pumpkin facial and foot scrub this autumn
  • One cup of cubed pumpkin has double the daily Vitamin A, promotes good vision, healthy skin, teeth and bones among other benefits 

For more information and spa locations, visit:

Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Space-Lake Pleasant
24640 North Lake Pleasant Parkway
Peoria AZ 85383
Spa Phone: 623-806-8403