Deb's Monthly Review
bullet October 1999 bullet

Festivals for Travelers, Sites of the Month, Special Feature, Quotes, Opinions, Rants, Praises.
Unless otherwise noted, opinions are solely that of the editor.

Special Quote
"You may delay,
but time will not."
--Benjamin Franklin
divider To parents, teachers, and other guardians of children:
The Review is a place where adults or kids should be able
to stop by and browse.
But, remember - I have no control over outside links.
For happiest results, please surf the Web with your kids!


The Artsy Site
Of The Month:

Antioch Publishing Gallery of Bookplate Art
Books were once a rare possession treasured by
owners who found decorative ways to declare that ownership.

Personal Home Page
Of The Month:

Fontaine's Game of Life
Cleverly disguised as a Monopoly game.

Web Page Design Site
Of The Month:

The Web Robots Pages
Crawlers, robots, spiders--whatever you call them,
they can do a lot for your web page.

Seasonal Site
Of The Month:

Trick or Treat for UNICEF
Children have already collected over
$100 million for other children.

Just Fun Site
Of The Month:

U.S. Lawn Mower Racing Association
Mow madness!

Downright Serious Site
Of The Month:

Protect Your Pet From Disasters
Please take care of your pets in bad times as well as good.

Historical Site
Of The Month:

The Story Behind A Loaf Of Bread
The history of bread from a British viewpoint.

October Events
festivals For October Travelers

October 1-3, 1999
National Storytelling Festival
College Street and other venues, Jonesborough, Arkansas.
27th annual occurence of the event, with six regions of the United States being
represented. In addition, there will be special appearances by storytellers
such as Ray Hicks (he tells the "Jack tales" related to "Jack and the Beanstalk",
which have roots in some old Celtic stories. Ray has been at each year's festival.)
Corinne Stavish specializes in Jewish folklore. Doug and Frankie Quimby offer the
history of the islands south of Georgia through story and song. Others planning to
tell stories are Kathryn Windham, Pat Mendoza and Kevin Locke.
More information: Call 800-952-8392 or 423-753-2171.

October 1-3, 1999
Whole Enchilada Festival
Downtown Mall, Las Cruces, New Mexico.
In addition to a gigantic enchilada that is made with 65 pound tortillas, the festival
features a carnival, roving entertainment, vendors, and more Mexican foods.
Contact: Call 505-524-6832.

October 1-10, 1999
Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival
Egyptian Theater, 6712 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, California.
In this third year the festival is featuring over 70 Latino films. If you don't speak
Spanish, but do speak English, come. There will be English subtitles for all films.
Tickets: Call 323-469-9066.

October 2-3, 1999
Morro Bay Harbor Festival
Harbor area, Morro Bay, California.
Hawaiian shirt contest (categories include best seasonal, loudest and ugliest), beach
fun run, swing dance contest, ship tours, the California Seafood Faire, wine tasting,
microbrew tasting, musical entertainment.
Further information: Call 805-772-1155.

October 2-3, 1999
Gretna Heritage Festival
Gretna Market, Huey P. Long Avenue, Gretna, Louisiana.
Area native Frankie Ford does his old hit Sea Cruise and is joined by the likes of
Jean Knight, Bobby Cure and the Summertime Blues, and The Charlie Daniels
Band. There will be an American Heart Walk, Bayou Brigade Harley Ride-In,
classic car show, auction, arts and crafts, food.
Further details: Call 504-363-1580 or 888-4-GRETNA.

October 2-3, 1999
Johnny Appleseed Days
Paradise, California.
Apple recipe contest, arts and crafts, apple pies, entertainment.
Additional information: Call 916-877-9356.

October 2-3, 9-10, 1999
Fall Foliage Festival
Fort Bedford Park, other venues, Bedford, Pennsylvania.
Wagon train parade, antique car parade, hundreds of craft booths, quilt show,
Children's Discovery Festival, candied apples, barbecue sandwiches, popcorn, apple
dumplings, funnel cakes (these are off-the-scale in the fatty foods category, but
everyone should have a chance to sample just one in their lifetime), musical entertainment.
More information: Call 800-765-3331.
Note: If you have a fondness for covered bridges, this area will seem like Heaven to
you, with over a dozen of them to enjoy.
Bedford County had simple beginnings as a trading post back in 1750, and still boasts
many areas of territory suitable for hiking and camping.
Ask locally about finding Gravity Hill, where your car will roll slowly uphill in neutral
gear. Is it only an illusion?

October 7-10, 1999
Peanut Festival
Suffolk Municipal Airport, Suffolk, Virginia.
Demolition derby, tractor pull, fireworks, commercial exhibits, arts and crafts
vendors, air and military exhibits (the festival coincides with Fleet Week), peanut
butter sculpture contest, entertainment by local school choruses and bands, professional
entertainment (Billy Ray Cyrus is scheduled to appear this year), bingo, pony rides,
petting zoo, bass casting competition. Over 200 people attended last year.
Additional Information: Call 757-539-8295 or 757-622-2312.

October 9-10, 1999
Historic Appomattox Railroad Festival
Courthouse Square and downtown area, Appomattox, Virginia.
In its 27th year, the festival's theme this year is "An Adventure Around Every Bend".
Parade, Teddy Bear parade, Wild West Follies, fireworks, spaghetti supper at the
Masonic Lodge, chain saw sculture carving, petting zoo, train exhibits, demonstrations,
food, music, arts and crafts vendors.
Further details: Call 804-352-2338 or 804-352-2621.
Note: This is an area rich in Civil War history. There is a self-guided walking tour
of 44 historic homes. Surrender Triangle is here, where arms and flags were laid down
by Confederate troops. Grant and Lee met at the McLean House here.
You're close to the Blue Ridge Mountains, Stonewall Vineyards, and much more, since
Appomattox is centrally located in the state.

October 9-10, 1999
Sisters Harvest Faire
Downtown, Sisters, Oregon.
Over 170 juried vendors of arts and crafts, plus food and entertainment.
Details: Call 541-549-0251 or 541-318-4023.

October 9-10, 1999
Apple Butter Festival
Main park area, courthouse, other venues, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia.
The festival is in its 26th year. Parade, children's carnival, apple butter and bake
contests, Dixieland jazz, beard and mustache contests, exhibits, bluegrass music, apple
butter making in the square.
Further information: Call 800-447-8797.

October 15-17, 1999
York Village Green at York Street, York, Maine
Juried crafts show, hay rides, apple pressing, colonial crafts demonstrations, 5k
road race, Taste of the Yorks, Kidsfest area, food booths, antique auction.
Further information: 207-363-4422.

October 16-17, 1999
Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival
Main Street, Half Moon Bay, California.
Costume contest, pie-eating contests, masquerade ball, pumpkin carving contest,
pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, other foods, Grinn and Barrett show, the winning
Great Pumpkin Weigh-off pumpkin on display, haunted house, arts and crafts.
More Details: Call 650-726-9652.
Note: While you are here, go for a sunset beach ride on horseback, with or without a
guide, through Sea Horse Ranch (phone 650-726-9903).

October 29-31, 1999
Community College, Recreation Center, other venues, Arkansas City, Kansas.
Parade, mountain bike race, craft show, concessions.
More Information: 316-442-0230.



frantic cook in kitchen
Pressure Cooker Or Just Pressured Cooks?

Several commented on the "Sometimes I Feel Like A Pecan" feature in the March 1999 Review.
You liked the idea of trying something new in the kitchen, and most of you liked using nuts as real food and not just snacks, but you also said your main problems in the kitchen are
1) Time
2) Money.

Single fathers, senior women, veteran married couples, and others all seem to want to spend less time preparing food these days, unless their hobby is cooking. Many also look for economy in meal preparation.
Let's look at the time factor for a few minutes.

When you shop, stock up on canned goods and things that will keep at home, even if you have to reorganize a cabinet or keep a few boxes in the garage to store things. If you have a freezer you can stock up on even more, and cut down on store trips. Just remember to use older foods and replace them with newer ones. Some people keep a dated list of what was put into the freezer.

Buy some of the convenience foods you just don't have time to make at home every time you cook. They make canned (or bottled) white sauce, gravy, spaghetti sauce, enchilada sauce, marinades, frosting, and pie filling. Take advantage of them.

Combine home-cooking with fast food or deli items. Reheat that pot of beans (or warm leftover brown rice in the microwave) and bring home tacos to go with it. Macaroni salad from the deli counter can go right on the plates with the home-broiled fish and steamed veggies.

Those take-and-bake pizzas give you the pizza aroma while it bakes without having to assemble the thing and clean up. If there are two or more of you to do this, and one is home (or gets home first), have the one at home get that oven going while you order the pizza. By the time you reach home the oven will be ready to bake.
One restaurant we frequent makes a really good dark loaf of bread. As we get ready to leave we always order a loaf to take home and use with one of the next day's meals.

If you shop at one store more than any other, take time to put a grocery list on your computer in the order in which the store is laid out. Then you can just put a mark beside the items you want and rush right through.
NOTE: There are pitfalls to this device. Both stores where we do most of our grocery shopping have recently undergone "chain" change-of-ownership, and have completely redone the store layout.

If you're just getting in from work, and know you're going to bake or broil, turn the appliance on as soon as you walk in the door and let it heat while you change clothes or attend to the kids. If you know you're going to be doing pasta, get the water in the pot and start the range burner.

Whenever possible, make more than you need when you do cook, especially with things like soup, chili, and baked goods. Freeze extras for later. Or, if you are the type who gets tired of foods quickly and you think you won't use that second batch, find someone to trade with, and you'll each get a whole new meal out of the deal.

We used to live in a rural area where it took about 20 minutes to drive to a grocery store. He would drive, and I would go through the coupons on the way to the store. Again, you need a shopping buddy for this to work smoothly. Coupons are not always a big time-saver, but if you clip them and go through them once every month or two, you can take advantage of quite a few for at least one shopping trip.

If you can shop at night or early morning, the stores are much less crowded and you can often get out of there more quickly.

If the only time you can shop is after a 9-to-5 job, and then you feel you have little time or energy to cook that evening, use the take-and-bake pizza idea (call ahead and they'll have it ready for you, and you can heat that oven while you put frozen foods away when you get home.) Or, call the nearest Chinese food place for take-out, and they'll have your order ready by the time you finish grocery shopping.

This is a touchy one for some folks. Do not take children into the grocery store unless they never ask for extras, never throw tantrums and never get tired while you shop. Find a friend who will sit with them at home, or even sit with them in the car while you shop.
NOTE: A few times I have seen really savvy parents take children into the store and give them part of the grocery list and send them to pick up the items. If you can teach your child to do this, you have accomplished a great time-management device, and you have also taught your children more about a basic skill in life. Bravo!

Speaking of children, whatever happened to families working together to get a meal on the table? One of my best school friends grew up in a large family, and the kids learned to clip coupons, bake bread, rinse their own dinner plates, and shell peas. These days children seem to fill their afternoons with soccer and wandering the streets. Children do need time to play, but learning about food and cooking is a skill they can take with them to the ends of their days. Don't rob them of that opportunity.

I maintain that it isn't always the cooking that's tough. It's the clean-up. If you must cook, get hot sudsy water going and wash utensils as you go. When you empty the cooking pan, get some hot water into it immediately. Don't be afraid to use paper cups and plates once in awhile. Invest in some really good non-stick cookware to make clean-up go more smoothly. If you have a dishwasher, take advantage of it. But if you find you always need a container that's dirty and sitting in the dishwasher, maybe you should buy extras of things like utensils, bowls, and measuring cups.

When you cook pasta, use a big pot. When the pasta is almost done, turn up the heat and add frozen chopped vegetables to cook quickly. If you use frozen peas, add them just that last minute, and they'll keep that nice pop they have when fresh.

I made fun of those bagged salads when they first came out. Now I use them. They also sell spinach leaves, and already-shredded cabbage and carrots, great for quick cooking or adding to tossed salads.

If you don't have time to make desserts and your family craves something sweet after dinner, always have a bit of candy on hand. It's sweet and easy to serve. It may not have the nutrition of a home-baked apple pie, but it does have other rewards of saving time and frustration.

If you always have trouble putting together menus, take some time to write down a few basic ones, and refer to them when you feel stuck for ideas.

Develop a base of quick recipes to aid you in the plan.
Here are some ideas you can use to begin.

Baked potato wedges are tasty, but they take about 45 minutes to cook. Here's a faster way: Cut the potatoes into wedges while you melt a little margarine (or use olive oil) in a glass baking dish in the microwave oven. (choose a dish which can go also go into a conventional oven.) Put the wedges into the dish, and turn them so that the cut sides get a bit of margarine or oil on them. Sprinkle the potatoes with your favorite seasonings, or use a purchased blend. Cover dish and vent a corner. Microwave, stirring once or twice, for about 8-10 minutes (time depends on how many potatoes you cook), until the potatoes are just tender. In the meantime, heat the broiler. Remove the cover from the dish and put the dish under broiler to brown wedges for 4 or 5 minutes. Top with shredded cheese if you wish.

Another easy potato one: Scrub baking potatoes and pierce with a fork. Cook in microwave until tender. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut a thin slice off the top of each potato and scoop out the insides, leaving just a shell. Mash the insides with a little sour cream. Add some concentrated canned Cheddar cheese soup and mix well. Spoon mixture back into the potato shells. You can pop under broiler to brown if you wish. Serve with chives, green onions, and/or paprika. Even kids like potatoes done this way.

Quick Rolls: Dissolve a package of dry yeast and 1 Tablespoon of sugar in 1/4 cup of warm water. Add 1/4 cup warm milk and 2 cups of biscuit mix (such as Bisquick brand). Mix. Put more dry baking mix on a board or counter and knead the dough about 1 dozen times. Shape into rolls or cut with a biscuit cutter. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about half an hour. Bake at 425 degrees for 7-10 minutes, until nice and golden.
Note: If you live in a high altitude, let them rise only about 20 minutes and bake at 450 degrees for only about 5-6 minutes.
TIP: I'm told that a really sharp biscuit cutter and cutting only once through dough (don't twist the cutter!) is the secret to getting rolls or biscuits with nice high sides.

Make Stroganoff with ground sirloin. It cooks faster than beef strips, and no one will complain that it isn't tender beef, I assure you.
You can make Stroganoff and by-pass meat altogether. Use lots of sliced mushrooms instead.

If you use chicken, buy the skinless boneless breasts and slice them into thin strips. They take only a few minutes to cook, and with this ingredient, you now have the start for several different dishes.
For an Italian meal, cook the chicken strips using cooking spray, and you can add sliced mushrooms and/or thinly sliced onion. Add cooked veggies if you like, and simmer all in bought spaghetti sauce or primavera sauce. Serve with pasta.

For a Greek variation, cook the chicken and add onion, Greek seasonings, olives, feta cheese, lemon juice, and olive oil.

For sweet-and-sour, cook the chicken, adding green and red bell pepper strips, thin slices of carrot if you like, thinly sliced onion, and canned pineapple chunks. Thicken the pineapple juice with cornstarch, add soy sauce, vinegar or lemon juice and a little brown sugar. You can add tomato wedges just at serving, for even more color. Serve with rice.

For a Mexican variation, cook the chicken with onion and/or garlic, add canned chopped chiles or jalapenos, canned or frozen corn, salsa, canned beans, and shredded cheese.

Freeze beef, and with that sharp knife you've invested in, cut across the grain into really thin slices. Cook with vegetables as a stir fry, adding sauces as desired.

For even faster cooking, keep on hand some of those canned or frozen vegetable protein products to use instead of meat. Tofu is also quick.

If homemade bread is a big deal to you, and you don't have time to bake it conventionally, get a bread machine. Crockpots and slow cookers are nice for putting ingredients into the container and letting simmer all day (or all night). For fast-cooking beans and other foods that generally take awhile, consider investing in a good pressure cooker.

Some people swear by the method of only cooking once or twice a month, and then building meals around the food cooked that day. If you have the multi-tasking ability to do this, it might be an answer for you. Think of things like roasting whole turkeys and cutting them up for casseroles and stir-fry dishes, making huge pots of spaghetti sauce, and freezing casseroles, baked goods and other dishes. I can't imagine doing this without a large amount of freezer space, but if you are more desperate to save time than money, you can invest in a freezer.
If you'd like to know more about cooking once a month check out OAMC 101.

In some areas you can now buy groceries online and have them delivered. Check out NetGrocer Online Grocery Shopping.

When all else fails, find a Chinese restaurant and a pizza place that deliver, and keep those phone numbers on speed dial!


Shameless Promotion Here
But You'll Be Glad I Told You This

If your pastor asked you to write a Public Service Announcement for the opening of the church-sponsored day care center, would you know what to do?

If your child's school needed to raise money for sports equipment, would you know who to approach to ask for donations?

If the 4-H kid at your house came home and said their group wanted to put on a variety show to raise money, would you know how to help them find a venue, coordinate the talent search, find lighting and sound technicians? And could you find a place to print all the tickets for free?

They say the next best thing to knowing something is knowing where to find out about it.
Well, I know where to find out how to raise money.

We just put up the web page for the author of
"Blueprints For Greenbacks"

For just under $20 you'll have step-by-step directions in your hands for making your favorite organization's budget do what you need to do to help others in your community.

I wish I'd had this book when I was asked to do Public Relations for my church 20 years ago.

This book is going to save you time, money, and frustration.

It's going to put a smile on your face and on other faces!



The Hollywood Reporter will recognize young performers with its Youngstar Awards on November 7. Among those nominated are Ryan Merriman, who portrays young Jarod in NBC's "The Pretender", Craig Lawlor who does the character Adam Hughes on CBS' "As The World Turns", teen blues singer Jonny Lang (who sounds like a rough old guy and plays guitar that would match skills with many older performers), and young Raven Symone who does Nebula in "Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century". You might remember Raven in an even younger role on "The Cosby Show".

We're bombarded every day with tales of kids going wrong and causing trouble, so it's fun to be able to recognize kids who are doing something positive with their lives.

The Youngstar Awards benefit the Skills for Teen Aids Reduction (S.T.A.R.R.) program.


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Archive of past Monthly Reviews.

September 1997
October 1997
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January 1998
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March 1998
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September 1999

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