Wednesday, October 1, 2014
     
BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS

Brad Fedor and Hannah Zoba were crowned 2014 Homecoming King and Queen at Tamaqua Area High School Friday during

half-time ceremonies as the Blue Raiders took on the Panthers of Panther Valley.

Q. Are vitamins worth taking?

It's very important to talk with your doctor before you take any vitamin and mineral pills, especially if you take prescription medicines, have any health problems or are elderly. Taking too much of a vitamin or mineral can cause problems with some medical tests or interfere with drugs you're taking.

Vitamins and minerals are "micronutrients" your body needs in small but steady amounts. Your body can't make most micronutrients, so you must get them elsewhere.

Q. Is it dangerous to take a beta blocker for high blood pressure?

There was one study that found that beta blockers may increase the risk of having a heart attack or stroke if you are using them to treat high blood pressure alone. If you are taking a beta blocker, discuss it with your doctor. Warning: Don't stop taking the drug on your own.

Q. Do you get more heartburn when you are older?

More than 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month, and more than 15 million Americans experience heartburn daily. Heartburn is more common among the elderly.

Heartburn two or more times weekly may be caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. See a doctor if you have heartburn too often. The doctor can test for GERD.

In the upper GI series, you swallow a liquid barium mixture.

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.

This June 9, 2014 photo shows Dijon tomato and sweet onion pie in Concord, N.H. The Tomato Pie is a classic Southern dish made in summer when the tomato plants are heavy with ripe fruit. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

Tomato Pie is a classic Southern dish made in late summer when the tomato plants are heavy with ripe fruit, but everyone has had their fill of tomato sandwiches and salads. It is essentially a pie shell filled with fresh sliced tomatoes and sweet onions, topped with mixture of shredded cheese and served with a sprinkle of fresh basil.

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.