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Halloween 101: How to Carve a Pumpkin

October 16, 2014 10:03 am

Carving a pumpkin might seem like child's play, but there's an art behind this favorite fall activity. To help ensure your jack-o'-lantern shines bright this Halloween, follow these simple tips.

1) Choose your pumpkin.
Larger pumpkins will be easier to work with than smaller pumpkins, and certain shapes can help complement your intended design. Opt for a gourd with a flat bottom so that your jack-'o-lantern will stand upright in its own.

2) Prep your pumpkin.
Wipe your pumpkin with a damp cloth, then place it upon a work surface of newspaper or a trash bag. Use a serrated knife to remove the top "lid" of the pumpkin. Remove the seeds and fibrous flesh of the pumpkin using a large metal spoon, scraping the walls of the pumpkin to create a uniform thickness of about one inch.

3) Draw and carve.
Now for the fun part: the carving! Trace a stencil onto your pumpkin, or draw your design free-hand, then get to carving! Remember to always cut away from yourself to avoid accidents, and leave the sawing to the grown-ups. Place a couple battery-operated tealights into your pumpkin, then stand back to admire your spooky design!

How to Carve a Pumpkin [Martha Stewart]
How to Carve a Pumpkin [Taste of Home]
How to Carve a Pumpkin [BBC]

Category: Miscellaneous Tags: , , ,

Alameda Creek Trails: Get Out and Get Some Fresh Air

October 8, 2014 9:02 am

Joggers, hikers, cyclists, and horseback riders will appreciate the Alameda Creek Trails, 12 miles of paths extending from Old Canyon Road in Fremont to the San Francisco Bay along the banks of Alameda Creek. Bikers, runners, and walkers are welcomed on the south side of Alameda Creek, while the north side is reserved for equestrians. A visit to the Alameda Creek Trails will bring you face-to-face with some of the area’s most common wildlife, including cranes, geese, and fish. Dogs are welcomed on the trails at no additional fee.

Free parking and other facilities are available at the Isherwood Staging Area in Fremont as well as at other staging areas along the trail. If you’re hiking or jogging on the Alameda Creek Trails, watch out for cyclists—they zoom by quickly. If you’re cycling on the trails, ring your bell to warn pedestrians of your approach. The trails are open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

Alameda Creek Trails
2250 Isherwood Way
Fremont, CA 94536
(888) 327-2757

Category: Things To Do Tags: , ,

New to Cooking? Learn These Must-Know Culinary Terms!

September 24, 2014 9:03 am

If you’re an aspiring at-home chef who wants to learn a bit more about cooking, becoming familiar with the proper terminology is a great place to start. Here are a few must-know kitchen terms for both baking and cooking.

  1. Baste. To baste something, like a turkey or a chicken, means to moisten the foods with their own pan drippings or sauces to add extra flavor while cooking. This also prevents your foods from drying out in the oven. Basting is usually done with a long plastic tube with a rubber bulb at the end, which can help you to easily suck up liquids and spray them over the meat.
  2. Cream. Creaming involves softening a fat, like butter or shortening, by beating it at room temperature. Oftentimes ingredients like butter and sugar must be creamed together to create a sweet and fluffy paste.
  3. Dice. Many people use the same technique whether a recipe calls for dicing, chopping, or mincing, but it’s important to know the difference between these cutting styles. To dice something like onions or vegetables means to cut them into small cubes of similar shapes and sizes.

Glossary of Basic Cooking Terms [Les Petites Gourmettes]
Cooking Terms [Recipe Goldmine]
Glossary of Cooking Terms [UMN]
Glossary of Cooking Terms [Better Homes & Gardens]
Culinary Terms [About.com]

Category: Miscellaneous Tags: , , ,