5 Tips for Haunting Your House this Halloween

Halloween

Still looking for some fun ideas on decorating your home for Halloween? Check out these ideas! (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

Halloween is almost here and if you want to have the creepiest trick or treating house on the street, now is the time to get down to decorating. Here are some ghoulishly good tips for haunting up your house in time to give out candy.

1.   Light Up the Night

Help trick-or-treaters navigate their way to your door by creating a path with Halloween themed luminaries. You can make the containers for your luminaries from a variety of materials including paper bags, empty milk jugs, or even tin cans. Create jack-o-lantern faces or ghostly scenes on your luminaries and place an electric candle or glowstick inside so that the light illuminates the pattern. Line your driveway and/or walkway with the luminaries to create a haunting path for the kids to take to get their candy.

2.   Create Creatures in the Yard

With a little creativity, some old clothes, and a bit of chicken wire you can create everything from ghosts to witches to a ring of little monsters in the front yard. Use the chicken wire to create the shape of your creatures and dress them up appropriately. If you are making ghosts, toss a light stick inside the frame and see how they glow!

3.   Make a Bunch of Mini Ghosts

You can create a ghostly tree or decorate your porch with a gaggle of mini-ghosts with some Styrofoam balls, cheesecloth, and fishing line. Wrap a piece of cheesecloth around a Styrofoam ball, punch a hole in the top and attach the fishing line, and hang wherever you want to create ghostly ambience.

4.   Make a Jack-o-Lantern House

You can do this one of two ways. You can turn the entire house into a jack-o-lantern or you can turn each window into its own jack-o-lantern. To make a jack-o-lantern house, cut cardboard into the shapes for the eyes, nose, and mouth. Spray paint the cardboard black and outline the cardboard with orange lights. Hang the cardboard on the outside of the house to make the face. You can also do this on a smaller scale using the garage door.   To make the windows into jack-o-lanterns, cut pieces of cardboard that will fit each window. Cut the eyes, nose, and mouth shapes out of the cardboard. Paint the cardboard orange and push it into the window. When the lights in the house are on, each window will look like a jack-o-lantern face.

You can make both of these even better by using orange light bulbs in all the outside lights.

5.   Create a Creepy Cemetery

You don’t have to spend a ton of money on fake gravestones to turn your yard into a creepy cemetery. Simply cut tombstone shapes out of cardboard and paint with stone colored spray paint. Use black paint to decorate each gravestone and to bring your cemetery to life. You can up the creepy factor by hanging some cheesecloth ghosts from any trees or by spreading some fake bones throughout the scene. Backlight the tombstones with solar spotlights for a ghostly effect at night.

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Fill Your Truck and Help End Hunger!

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50 Fun Ways to Use Apples

apples in season arizona

Don’t miss out on these delicious recipes using in season apples. (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

Nothing beats a sunny fall Saturday spent picking apples in a local Arizona orchard! While our desert climate may not seem ideal for growing apples, there are orchards all over the state that grow a broad range of apple varieties. You should have no trouble finding a place to pick your own apples or a farmer’s market that is well-stocked this season.

Worried that you won’t know what to do with all those apples? Here are 50 fun and fabulous ways to use apples.

  1. Apple Bacon Slaw
  2. Apple Cider Syrup
  3. Apple Compote
  4. Apple Crisp
  5. Apple Mesquite Crunch
  6. Apple Pear Salad
  7. Apple Raspberry Pie
  8. Apple and Cream Crumb
  9. Baked Apples
  10. Baked Pork Chops and Apples
  11. Crockpot Apple Butter
  12. Crunchy Apple Salad
  13. German Apple Pancakes
  14. Pumpkin Apple Bread
  15. Red Hot Stuffed Apples
  16. Sautéed Apples
  17. Stuffed Pumpkin
  18. Waldorf Salad
  19. Apple Squares
  20. French Apple Tart
  21. Caramel Apple Pork Chops
  22. Apple Butter Braised Pork Chops
  23. Fruity Curry Chicken Salad
  24. Apple Dumplings
  25. Sweet Potato, Carrot, Apple, and Lentil Soup
  26. Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
  27. Apple Oatmeal Crisp
  28. Apple Cider Doughnuts
  29. Apple Stuffed Chicken Breast
  30. Honey Mustard Chicken and Apples
  31. Apple Turnovers
  32. Apple Stuffed Pork Loin
  33. Apple Cinnamon Muffins
  34. Apple Fritters
  35. Apple Scones
  36. Pan-Seared Salmon with Kale and Apple Salad
  37. Applesauce Pancakes
  38. Apple Streusel Coffee Cake
  39. Apple and Butternut Squash Soup
  40. Apple Coleslaw
  41. Apple Cake
  42. Pork Roast with Apple Mustard Glaze
  43. Apple, Cranberry, and Pear Crisp
  44. Apple, Pecan, and Bleu Cheese Salad
  45. Chicken and Apple Curry
  46. Israeli Couscous with Apples, Cranberries, and Herbs
  47. Apples and Sweet Potatoes
  48. Caramel Apples
  49. Herbed Pork and Apples
  50. Cranberry Apple Cake
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Get Passionate about Pineapple!!

pineapple

Looking for delicious recipes using pineapple? Look no further! (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

When you think of pineapple, you probably think of somewhere tropical like Hawaii, not the dry desert climate of Arizona. But our climate is almost ideal for October’s sweet, juicy fruit of the month. The sunny color and summertime taste of pineapple can brighten even the bleakest fall day. To help you get as passionate about pineapple as we are at Fill Your Plate, here are some fun facts, helpful tips, and creative ways to use pineapple at every meal.

Historically Speaking

Pineapples are native to the Caribbean and South America.   When Christopher Columbus came to the New World in 1492-93, he experienced his first pineapple on one of the Caribbean Islands.   In colonial times, pineapples, like other exotic fruit, were seen as a luxury because of the time and expense required to import them from Central America.

The Sum of Its Parts

Although we think of a pineapple as a single fruit, it is actually created by the joining of many different fruitlets around a single core.   Pineapples provide a good source of vitamin C and are believed to help support your body’s immune system and help relieve inflammation. An average cup of pineapple has 75 calories.

Choosing and Caring for Your Pineapple

When picking a pineapple, avoid any that are bruised or visibly damaged. Once you find one that looks good, hold it up to your nose and breathe in, if it smells sour at all, choose a different one.   When you get it home, let it sit on the counter for one or two days to get the softest, juiciest result.

The best way to cut your pineapple is to start by slicing off the top and bottom with a sharp knife. Stand the pineapple up on the newly flat bottom and slice downward to remove the skin. Next, slice the fleshy fruit away from the core and discard the core. Cut the remaining fruit into chunks or slices.

How to Use It

Pineapple is great as a snack any time of day but it can also be a sweet addition to any meal. Here are some ways you can get more pineapple on your plate.

Breakfast

Salads

Main Dishes

Side Dishes

Desserts

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Cereal Flavored Milk, for the Kid in All of Us

flavored milk

Looking for a delicious way to drink milk? (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

Do you remember watching Saturday morning cartoons as you slurped down the milk left in the bottom of your cereal bowl? Now you can skip the cereal and get right to enjoying that specially flavored milk thanks to the folks at Cow Wow.

This uniquely flavored milk seeks to bring the same smile to your face that slurping up that cereal milk did when you were a kid. But unlike the super sweet cereals that you used to use to make that special milk, the organic, single-serve boxes of deliciously flavored milk only have 6 additional grams of sugar. Like all milk, it contains essential vitamins and nutrients like calcium, protein, and potassium.   And, for families on the go, the self-stable milk, which is specially pasteurized so it doesn’t need to be refrigerated, can be the healthy beverage their kids need to stay on the go.

Although it was originally envisioned as a drink for kids, the folks at Cow Wow have come to understand what we have known all along – people of all ages love milk. In order to be even more appealing to the “man-child” market that seems to love their products, the original Cow Wow carton has been “upsized” and the juicebox-like straw has been replaced by a screw top.   Cow Wow currently comes in two flavors, Fruity Trudy and Chocolate Chip Cathy with two new flavors, Peanut Butter Bessie and Cinny Minny coming soon.

Here in Arizona, we know the importance of milk to a healthy diet. Cows currently provide 90% of the world’s milk supply and they are an important part of Arizona Agriculture. Our local dairy farmers add more than $400 million dollars to the state’s economy each year just from the milk their cows produce.   An average dairy cow is milked 305 days per year and produces about 121 glasses of milk. But Arizona cows average about 160 glasses per day which is 25% higher than the average in many other places.

What a cow eats impacts how much milk it produces, even here in Arizona. Cows that only eat grass produce about 50 glasses of milk a day. However, when cows are fed a mixed diet containing grass, corn, hay, and other feed, that average jumps up to 121.

Another thing that distinguishes Arizona dairy farms from most others in the country is their size. We have almost 200,000 milk-producing cows in Arizona with each of the 100 commercial dairy farms housing about 1500-2000 cows. In most other states, the average herd size is 100-150 cows.

Automation and new technology are an important part of modern dairies and these advances are one of the reasons our dairy farmers can keep such large herds. When farmers must milk a cow by hand, they can milk about 6 cows in an hour but with automated milking machines, 250-400 cows can be milked in the same amount of time.

You can learn more about Cow Wow cereal flavored milk from their website. For more information on the Arizona Dairy Industry, visit the Dairy Council of Arizona or the Arizona Farm Bureau.

 

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