Sunday, September 14, 2014
     
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS If you enjoy gardening, you might have what it takes to become a master gardener.  Classes start soon for those who are interested in taking it to the next level.

If you think you might have what it takes to be a master gardener, Carbon County is looking for you.

Classes will be starting soon, and Master Gardener Slate Altenburg, of West Penn Township, is hoping to attract more home gardeners and enthusiasts.

He says becoming a master gardener is a great way to increase your knowledge and skills and have fun while sharing with others.

For Altenburg, it seems that "fun" may be the best part.

KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS If you enjoy gardening, you might have what it takes to become a master gardener.  Classes start soon for those who are interested in taking it to the next level.

If you think you might have what it takes to be a master gardener, Carbon County is looking for you.

Classes will be starting soon, and Master Gardener Slate Altenburg, of West Penn Township, is hoping to attract more home gardeners and enthusiasts.

He says becoming a master gardener is a great way to increase your knowledge and skills and have fun while sharing with others.

For Altenburg, it seems that "fun" may be the best part.

The Lehighton High School Class of 1965 will meet on Wednesday to plan for the 50th anniversary reunion. The breakfast meeting will be held at 9 a.m. at 443 Beacon Restaurant, Blakeslee Boulevard, Lehighton. All class members are welcome to attend. Any questions can be addressed at lehighton1965@gmail.com.

Q. Is it possible to donate your own blood to yourself?

Yes you can. This is called "autologous" blood donation. It's done in the weeks before nonemergency surgery. The blood is stored until the operation. Autologous donation is most often employed in surgery on bones, blood vessels, the urinary tract, and the heart, when the likelihood of transfusion is high. This form of blood donation is good for the patient, but it's beneficial to society, too.

Q. I'm considering having a hip replaced. What are the odds that this operation will work?

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons says joint replacement surgery is successful in more than 9 out of 10 people.

And replacement of a hip or knee lasts at least 20 years in about 80 percent of those who have the surgery.

In the procedure, an arthritic or damaged joint is removed and replaced with an artificial joint called a "prosthesis."

Q. I'm a Baby Boomer who still loves rock concerts, but sometimes I worry if the noise is hurting my old ears.

Sound volume is measured in decibels. You risk hearing loss when you are exposed to sounds at 85 dBs or more. The louder the sound and the longer the exposure, the greater the risk.

Here's the bad news: rock music is on many lists as an example of a dangerous sound. Here's one of those lists:

30 dB = library

50 dB = rain

60 dB = conversation (apolitical)

70 dB = vacuum cleaner

80 dB = busy street

90 dB = shop tools

Q. What is acetaminophen and why do I see it listed on so many products in my medicine cabinet?

Acetaminophen is the most widely used pain-reliever and fever-reducer in the world. It is contained in more than 100 products. Tylenol is the best known over-the-counter acetaminophen product.

It is also a component of well-known prescription drugs such as Darvocet and Percocet. Acetaminophen also is known as paracetamol and N-acetyl-p-aminophenol.

This June 9, 2014 photo shows easy overnight ham and cheese casserole in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

Those first few weeks when the kids head back to school can be among the most hectic for families.

The lazy days of summer quickly give way to crazy schedules, homework and after-school activities. And don't forget somehow managing to slip dinner into the middle of all that.

This is why a do-ahead dinner can be a lifesaver as families get accustomed to their new routines.

So we created this easy, kid-friendly ham and cheese casserole that can be prepped and refrigerated the night before, then just popped in the oven the next evening.

This July 21, 2014 photo shows tangy tomato-eggplant crostini in Concord, N.H. Salting and draining the eggplants and tomatoes removes excess water, which not only makes for a meatier texture, it also concentrates the flavors. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

Want to get the most out of your late summer tomatoes and eggplants? Try the simple two-step prep we use for these easy crostini.

We start by salting and draining the eggplants and tomatoes.

This removes excess water, which not only makes for a meatier texture, it also concentrates the flavors.

After the draining, the vegetables are roasted, which caramelizes their natural sugars, further deepening the flavors. The result is incredibly rich and naturally sweet.

The whole thing gets tied together with a sweet-tangy balsamic glaze and bit of salty Parmesan.

This July 21, 2014 photo shows grilled chicken paillard with peach and arugula salad in Concord, N.H. Chicken paillard serves as an alternative summer dish that is light, refreshing and substantial. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

Labor Day, summer's last hurrah, is a feast day. And mostly Tell the truth! we tend to overdo it. Ribs, steaks, burgers and hot dogs? Check, check, check and check!

Vegetables and other light fare? Not so much. The standard routine amounts to the summer version of Thanksgiving, except that after the meal everyone collapses onto the lawn rather than a couch.

The 27th annual Times News Cookbook and Recipe Contest is underway!

This year, after serious consideration, we decided to move the annual contest to the fall in order to focus on the fun and food that surround the holidays and take advantage of the great recipes our local cooks stir up over this festive season.

Recipes will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. Oct. 5 and the cookbook will be included in the Nov. 6 issue of the Times News.

Every entrant will receive a special gift. The winners in each category will win some terrific prizes, as will the grand prize winner.