Tag Archives: advice

Skewers on the Grill

The 10 Best Magazines for Great Grilling Recipes and Advice

Whether you’re a grill master or an aspiring one, you’ll find all the tools of the trade and plenty of recipes to make while honing your skills in these ten magazines.

Grilling season may unofficially run from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but don’t think you have to have to put away the grill and tongs just yet. Fall is the perfect time to keep it burning!

The weather’s nice and cooler, plus what goes hand in hand with tailgating better than breaking out the grill?

Whether you’re watching the game from your own luxury suite at home or you’re traveling to support your favorite team, you’ll need plenty of good recipes and advice to try something new or hone your skills, if even just a little.

These are the ten best magazines for tips, shortcuts and recipes for any occasion or meal, so don that apron and fire up the grill!

1. Food Network Magazine: Every issue contains pointers from the network’s celebrity chefs, including grill master Bobby Flay.

2. Southern Living: In the South where football is nearly akin to religion, this magazine reveres the tailgate. In fact, check out its recently published Official SEC Tailgating Cookbook too, which is packed with spirited treats prepared on and off the grill.

3. Cooking Light: Enjoy the fruits of the flame even by cutting back on calories, fats and more, all while searing in good—and good-for-you—flavor.

4. Every Day With Rachael Ray: An all-grilling issue is published in the summer, but Rachael’s still got great advice and recipes to share year-round.

5. Food & Wine: If you want to go beyond the grilling basics—chicken, beef and pork—you’ll find tips for preparing other meats, like lamb, here.

6. Cook’s Illustrated: Marinade not sticking? Meat overdone? This in-depth how-to publication explains what’s going wrong—and how to make it right.

7. Everyday Food: Throw the whole meal on the grill, including simple and flavorful sides often found in this magazine.

8. Taste of Home: Don’t forget dessert! Fruits like peaches can be prepared over the open flame to complement a main dish, enjoy as an in-season appetizer or after-dinner treat.

9. Clean Eating: Vegetarians and carnivores alike will find palatable recipes in this healthy publication. Think everything from grilled Portobello burgers to grilled shrimp skewers.

10. Whole Living: Turn here for tips on preparing the healthiest of grilled fare while being mindful of your environmental footprint. For example, opt for charcoal rather than using lighter fluid as it’s easier on the ozone. Same goes for fabric napkins and sturdy plastic flatware—over just tossing the cheaper versions after one use.

Eduardo Xol's sea-themed party place setting

6 Ways to Be a Better Party Planner by Using Your Senses

Eduardo Xol place setting

Texture and color will make a place setting pop.

Have a party to plan? Let me, designer Eduardo Xol, give you a head start with a six-step cheat sheet that will help you host a stimulating event.

The burden of planning a party can be daunting. There’s quite a bit of pressure on you as a host to create a fun and welcoming environment and a memorable event. But I’m here to ease the tension with six tips that will help you set an amazing stage. As I say in my book, “Extreme Entertaining Made Simple,” it all comes down to pleasing the senses.

  1. Define your theme. First, be sure you are clear on the theme of the party. This lets you create the look, which is usually the first determining factor that will define what the party’s environment will be.
  2. Define the smells. What should the environment smell like? When a guest walks into your party, especially if you are hosting in your own home, what images do you want that smell to conjure up?
  3. Define the taste. What do you want the taste of the food to represent? There is a particular essence that one tastes first, then smells. Eventually through the mind, your guests will “feel” the food! Think about how you want to be represented. Think about your guests’ tastes. To define this essence is to know yourself, and your guests. I know, it’s a lot, so here I would advise you to get some help from a friend (because we all have those friends that are good at something special, especially cooking), or if you have the budget, hire a chef.
  4. Define the soundtrack. The music that you play at your parties will be the soundtrack to that event. I constantly hear my friends say that songs are about memories, so remember that there are two ways to create a soundtrack for an event: A) Around the theme. B) Based on the appeal of your guests. You are the DJ. I suggest you take this task on yourself because it’s really fun, but again, if you trust a friend who is more musically inclined, or you have the budget to hire a DJ, then consider the other options.
  5. Define the texture. When you throw a party you know that your guests will inevitably be touching the china, linens, and flowers, so why not add textures for your event that will stimulate their tactile senses intentionally? A good example would be using pillows and throws. If you don’t already have items like these as part of your décor, they aren’t too expensive to purchase and you can use them every time you throw a party!
  6. Define a plan. Reflect on your theme and make sure your choices are cohesive and make sense together. The best way to accomplish a wonderfully cohesive event is to make lists and keep a schedule.

By following the above tips and thinking seriously about reflecting yourself and your guests at the event, you’ll be well on your way to planning a great party. Meanwhile, I’m curious: What are your favorite party themes that you’ve had success with? Let me know in the comments area below.

For more tips on how to be a better party planner, follow me on Twitter or my Facebook page.

pediatrician otoscope for ear examination

5 Ways to Get the Most From Your Child’s Visit to the Pediatrician

pediatrician otoscope for ear examination

Photo credit: Doug Brumley

Our pediatrician is fabulous, and I’ve never once felt rushed during our well check-ups and sick visits. It always feels more like a coffee date with a friend than a doctor’s appointment. But I know she’s not the norm. Studies show parents get an average of 15 minutes with the pediatrician during a typical well visit. And if you’re trying to pay attention and pacify squirmy kids at the same time, the minutes can fly by.

Back in May, fellow mom and parenting blogger Kara Gause wrote a post about how to make the most of your visit to the pediatrician. Then the August issue of Parenting Early Years magazine had another great article on how to talk to your child’s doctor. It laid out specific instructions on making the most of your next visit. Here’s a little of what I learned:

  1. Stick to a single provider. Though it’s tempting to run to a walk-in clinic when your child has a fever, having a home base for health care is the best option for your child. Find a doctor (or practice) that you like, and establish a relationship. That way, the burden won’t be on you to remember your child’s entire medical history. The pediatrician will be your partner. The only downside is that you have to plan ahead: Most offices need about a one-month window to get an appointment for a well check with the doctor of your choice.
  2. Know your child’s medical history. While you don’t have to be a walking medical record, don’t rely on your pediatrician to know everything about your child’s history. Keep a list of medications–current and past. That way, if an antibiotic that made your kid sick last time is prescribed for an ear infection, you can step in and ask for something else right away.
  3. Be prepared. I’m bad at this one. One of my good friends keeps a running list on her computer of questions to ask at well checkups. I tend to try to think of what I meant to ask when I’m pulling into the parking lot for our visit. Being prepared makes the visit more effective and shows the doctor you’re a concerned parent.
  4. Take notes. Often, physicians talk quickly during their explanations. Don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat what they said–and even spell medications and conditions you’re not familiar with. The article recommends reviewing your notes one month after the visit to make sure you did your part. And even if they say no news is good news, follow up on any tests in case paperwork slipped through the cracks.
  5. Second-guess without guilt. Many people hate to question doctors because they don’t feel as informed. But who knows your child better? If you aren’t comfortable with the treatment or diagnosis, ask for another option. And if you still don’t like the answer, get a second opinion.
Working Mother magazine August September 2011 cover close-up

3 Simple Steps to Curbing Back-to-School Jitters

Working Mother magazine August September 2011 cover

Working Mother magazine offers sage advice for making the first few days of school as smooth as possible–for student and parent alike.

Believe it or not, many schools here in the South are already back to school, and I must admit, I’m relieved to not be starting a new school year as a teacher. The beginning of the year can be exciting for teachers, students, and especially parents, but it’s also met with a lot of anxiety all around. And for no one more than a kid. I myself can remember feeling physically ill with equal parts excitement and worry at starting off the year right.

The August/September issue of Working Mother is offering up some simple yet very effective strategies for curbing first-day jitters, the most important being making yourself available to your kid. Here are some ways to help get Junior out the door feeling safe and secure.

  1. Take a trial run. Like all major life events, a run-through certainly helps get the wrinkles out of a new routine for both parent and child. Before school starts, ask to take a tour of the school building and possibly meet with the teacher to calm nerves. At the very least, get a class list and point out which of your child’s friends are in her class.
  2. Pack a memento. Collaborate with your child on finding a special item to help him transition from home to school and place it in his backpack. Consider snipping off a piece of a favorite blankie or pack a photo key chain with a pic of the two of you.
  3. Listen up! Kids worry about everything from who’s going to sit with them at lunch to what’s being served for lunch. Take the time  to hear Junior out instead of just saying everything will shake out all right. Like his parents, a kid often just really wants to be heard.

Besides, sometimes school lunches are absolutely terrifying.