News

Finally, a reason to be excited about zucchini

Concord Monitor Living - Wed, 09/19/2012 - 00:00

The trouble with late summer's bounty of zucchini isn't in the volume of the vegetable itself. Rather, it is the lack of creative recipes for using it.

Because frankly what the world most certainly does not need are more recipes for zucchini muffins and breads and casseroles. The website AllRecipes.com, for example, lists some 244 recipes for zucchini bread alone. In fact, there are so many that users of the site have stopped even trying to come up with creative names for the recipes, instead resorting to Roman numerals. A slice of Zucchini Bread VI, anyone?

It has been a long time since I have been impressed by a zucchini recipe. Using a vegetable peeler to turn it into ribbons for a salad is benign. Shredding it into strands for "pasta" is creative, if not particularly delicious. And I have no interest in yet another variant of stuffing and baking these squash, no matter how much bacon, sausage and cheese gets jammed in there.

Categories: Concord News

Chili on the cheap

Concord Monitor Living - Wed, 09/19/2012 - 00:00

I can never seem to produce budget recipes at their advertised prices; perhaps the cost of living in the Washington area makes it more of a challenge. But this one-pot dish is inexpensive to make. More important, it's a light, not-too-spicy kind of chili. There's lots of spinach and just enough bacon to produce a smoky flavor. Leftovers would be good for a Thermos lunch. You could make a double batch and freeze half.

Spinach and Bacon Chili

4 strips uncooked bacon

30 ounces (2 cans) home-cooked or canned, no-salt-added kidney or pinto beans

12 ounces lean ground beef

15-ounce can no-salt-added crushed or diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon chili powder, preferably ancho

5 to 8 ounces fresh baby spinach

1 cup hot water

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

Line a plate with a few layers of paper towels.

Categories: Concord News

A calmer Niagara

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 09/16/2012 - 00:00
Ontario Charming town boasts ample wineries and an annual theater festival

Mention Niagara and most travelers think of the famous falls, which deserve their reputation as the mother of all tourist attractions. But there's another place with Niagara in its name just a half-hour drive from the falls that should be part of any visit to the area: Niagara-on-the-Lake, a lovely Ontario town known for wineries, an annual theater festival and a charming downtown.

And while summer is high season for visiting the waterfalls, September and October are among the busiest months of the year in Niagara-on-the-Lake. There are more than 30 wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake and 80 altogether in the region, and fall is the season when visitors can see and experience the harvest and the pressing of the grapes.

Categories: Concord News

Cats on the move

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 09/16/2012 - 00:00
Many felines are stepping out - on leashes - these days

Karen Nichols wanted a life unchained to the monotony of twice-daily dog walks, so she got herself three cats. But she still strolls the neighborhood on nice days - with her cat Skeezix.

Nichols took part in a program recently that encouraged finding ways to bring out the wild nature in her cat. Some cat behavior problems stem from boredom, which can be stymied by enriching their environment and involving them in activities, experts told the class.

So Nichols started training Skeezix to walk with a leash before he turned 1. It took a couple of weeks to get him used to a leash and a stroller. (Skeezix goes into the stroller when a dog approaches.)

Categories: Concord News

There's much work to be done in the fall garden

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 09/16/2012 - 00:00

The pumpkins are round and ripe save for one green slacker that has hung on to a tomato cage and is finally about to lower itself to the ground. Indian summer will soon turn its hide the burnished orange of mellow ripeness. This "flying pumpkin" will have a special place on our front porch and in our hearts this year.

Little baby onions have been harvested and dried in mesh bags that will be stored hanging in a cool dry place. There is nothing like a fresh onion from your own garden, they are so sweet and crisp. I like the small yellow ones best for cooking.

The beans are having a last hurrah, this was a great year for beans, and the ones that have grown up high and out of reach are pregnant with swollen seeds that will be saved and planted next spring. This is their seventh generation, and I suspect that one reason they climb so far out of reach is for the sole purpose of being preserved for next year.

Categories: Concord News

Another apocalypse

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 09/16/2012 - 00:00
TV review New Abrams show hammy, gripping

You know the drill: Something goes wrong and most everyone dies, but not the pretty people, who are left to congregate in dystopian survival, their days lived out as a series of cliff-hanging tests of character. Because of our mutual paranoia that the things we love most cannot possibly last - America, the Constitution, gasoline, temperate weather, Medicare - the preferred storytelling genre so far in the 21st century has been all-apocalypse, all the time. As a compelling backdrop, the end of the world is hard to beat.

Categories: Concord News

Let go of ex-friend's lies

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 09/16/2012 - 00:00
Baggage Check

Q: I'm a guy, and my high school best friend was female. I became even better friends with her now-ex-husband - I'm the best man at his upcoming wedding. He recently told me that his ex-wife claimed that I tried to sleep with her. This is 100 percent false. I'm currently engaged also, so these allegations are frightening. I talked to my fiancee to keep her in the loop and she knows I'd never do it, but we're both angry. I haven't said anything to her yet because she and my friend have a child together and he is fearful of her reaction because she controls his visitation. Do I confront her?

A: Confront her? Seriously? Here are the important facts: Your former best friend is a troubled, manipulative woman; her ex-husband knows this and does not believe her lies, and your fiancee doesn't believe them, either. Don't give this woman a reason to spread more lies about you. You're lucky they seem to have ended with what she told her ex.

Categories: Concord News

Priceless views

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 09/16/2012 - 00:00
A local land trust is working hard to preserve four tracts of land in Gilmanton Embed multimedia (photos, galleries, audio, map):  Campaign to preserve Gilmanton's view. Campaign to preserve Gilmanton's vew Campaign to preserve Gilmanton's vew

It's easy to get lost in your own little world when you're in your car. But you won't get away with that on Route 107 in Gilmanton. As you crest what's known as Frisky Hill, you'll be alerted to look out your window by a prominent (but tasteful looking) white sign proclaiming "Gilmanton's Greatest Views." A little beyond that, you'll spot another, asking "What's this view worth to you?" and a third insisting, "Saving this view is up to you."

Not that you're likely to miss any of these roadside panoramas, no matter how absorbed you may be in your favorite new song or that Bluetooth conversation. The first one you'll come across is an absolute stunner of a view, a lush expanse of grassy field with an inset of dark blue water, bordered in back by the Belknap Mountain range.

Two others offer views that sweep all the way into Vermont across acres of seemingly untouched nature.

Categories: Concord News

2012 Chevy Volt: Love less dependence

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 09/16/2012 - 00:00

Nature has a way of showing the interdependency of things, of bringing to naught man's boasts of innovative triumph and, at the same time, highlighting the need for creative thinking and nobility of human spirit.

And so it happened that an unusually forceful storm roared through a wide swath of the United States earlier this summer, toppling trees, severing branches, damaging homes and cars, and consigning several souls to eternity.

I and mine were lucky. The only thing we lost was electricity. But it was a dysfunction that lasted long enough to highlight the genius and shortcomings of the 2012 Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in hybrid electric car.

The Volt is a midsize four-door hatchback whose front wheels are driven by an electric motor delivering the equivalent of 149 horsepower and 273 foot-pounds of torque. The car can travel at speeds up to 100 mph for 35 to 50 miles - depending on driving style and conditions - on battery power alone.

Categories: Concord News

Ready to sing

Concord Monitor Living - Thu, 09/13/2012 - 00:00
Concord Suncook Valley Chorale welcomes all for group

While those Granite Staters who fancy themselves shining stars among shower singers may never consider trying out to be the next American Idol star, there is at least one local group that would love to have them.

The Suncook Valley Chorale will be holding a "no-commitment-needed" Open Sing on Monday at 7 p.m. This community chorus is a non-auditioned group, said publicity chairwoman Holly Ares Snyder. The only requirements, she said, are a love of singing, the ability to attend Monday evening rehearsals and the concerts held Jan. 19 and 20.

"We take all comers," said Choral Director Scott Lounsbury. "We start with where they are and bring them further to the best performance we can create."

While some choral directors think that taking anyone at any level of talent is a risky endeavor when it comes to quality, Lounsbury said he couldn't disagree more.

Categories: Concord News

Ready to play

Concord Monitor Living - Thu, 09/13/2012 - 00:00
Concord U.S. Marine Band making rare stop

The greatest band in the world is coming to Concord.

On Oct. 12, the William H. Giles Concert Series will present a free concert at the Capitol Center for the Arts by an historical musical group that has no equal: "The President's Own" United States Marine Band.

Established by an act of Congress, signed by John Adams in 1798, the U.S. Marine Band today is the oldest continuously active musical group in our country. Now in its third century the band's primary mission holds true today: to provide music for the president of the United States.

Senior Assistant Director Jason Fettig, a Manchester native, recognizes the importance of that historical role.

"I always hoped that I would be a part of an organization that makes great music, but I never imagined that I would be in an organization where I would witness slices of American history that are so important to our nation," he said.

Categories: Concord News

Muffins are tops

Concord Monitor Living - Wed, 09/12/2012 - 00:00
You can't beat their ease and versatility for a quick, on-the-move breakfast Embed multimedia (photos, galleries, audio, map):  Gluten-free muffins

For the first time in I'd rather not say how long, I've joined the back-to-school rush, waking near dawn to take the bus to Boston, where I'm studying the history and future of journalism.

A long commute means breakfasts on the go, and few foods are more portable than muffins. Too often, though, store-bought varieties are packed with sugar, simple carbs and gluten. Homemade muffins, on the other hand, can be the foundation of a healthy breakfast, free of gluten and full of whole grains, fruits and protein.

Muffins are also a good way to ease into gluten-free baking. They tend to cook more consistently than loaves of quick bread, and it's easy to adjust the size of the batch based on your needs. Plus, the possibilities are endless: sweet, savory, common, exotic. For some inspiration, pick up a copy of 150 Best Gluten-Free Muffin Recipes by Camilla V. Saulsbury.

Categories: Concord News

'Possession' still tops weak field

Concord Monitor Living - Mon, 09/10/2012 - 00:00
Overall, box office receipts at new low

The Possession occupied the top spot at a nearly comatose box office.

The fright flick with Kyra Sedgwick and Jeffrey Dean Morgan playing the parents of a girl possessed by a demon earned $9.5 million in its second outing, the lowest grossing weekend for the box office this year and one of the worst weekends at the box office in a decade. It marked the first time since 2008 that no film managed to crack the $10 million mark.

The weekend after Labor Day is typically the slowest of the year, but this weekend's grosses were down 20 percent over last year when Contagion opened in first place with $22.4 million. Total box office revenue is estimated at $67 million, which would make this the worst weekend at the box office since the weekend after 9/11 when revenue was $59.7 million.

Categories: Concord News

When it feels right, splurge

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 09/09/2012 - 00:00

I often write about how to get the best possible deal on airfares and other aspects of travel. But sometimes people ask me if we think it's ever worth it to pay for upgraded, luxury or even ultra-luxury, travel. My answer is yes and no - depending upon the amount of money at your disposal for travel, the length and breadth of your travel bucket list and the aspects of travel that really "wow" you.

Club and concierge rooms: Many national and international hotel brands provide opportunities to upgrade to a club or concierge room. These are often larger rooms, sometimes suites, with better views and amenities like free WiFi, pool access and such. The price differential can be 10 to 25 percent, so a $200 room might be bumped up to $220 or $250 and is indeed frequently worth it.

Categories: Concord News

Celebs out in force for fashionable night

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 09/09/2012 - 00:00
New York / Paris / London

Donna Karan mingled with Miss Piggy, Michael Kors judged karaoke with Debra Messing and Kim Kardashian signed perfume sets as shoppers broke out their stilettos - and their wallets - for the fourth annual Fashion's Night Out.

The celebrity-studded night on Thursday was designed to lure shoppers into stores for celebrity spotting, music, giveaways, food and drinks, and, of course, shopping. By early evening in New York, the basement beauty floor of Bergdorf Goodman was packed.

Madeleine Russell of Manhattan, wearing her FNO shirt from last year, got her nails done ahead of a long line. She attends FNO events every year.

"I'm inspired by all the fashion around me and I get my own ideas," she said.

The event - launched in 2009 in New York by Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour - has proven so popular that it's now a fixture in some 19 countries, over three weeks involving tens of thousands of shoppers.

Categories: Concord News

The fall garden

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 09/09/2012 - 00:00
Adding late bloomers now can bring new life to your waning flower beds Embed multimedia (photos, galleries, audio, map):  Auturmn blooms Auturmn blooms Auturmn blooms

It has been a wacky gardening season. An early spring got things up and blooming much sooner than usual, and many perennials blossomed far ahead of schedule, leaving very little now to keep the garden colorful until frost. The plants we usually depend on to carry us into fall have come and gone. Luckily, September is a great planting month. Cooler temperatures, warm soil, frequent rainfall and more time make for less stress on the plants and on us. If your perennial garden has pooped out, look for some of these late bloomers to add a last blast of color to your fall garden.

Categories: Concord News

Go for the pinot noir

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 09/09/2012 - 00:00
Oregon Northwestern wine country produces the best on earth

Driving southwest from Portland an hour or so through the suburbs, you hit the heart of Oregon's wine country rather suddenly. Here the mountainous Coast Range slopes to the Willamette Valley floor, which is smothered with vineyards that produce some of the best pinot noir on earth.

Almost too quickly, you're far from Portland and into lush, green farmland where white-on-blue signs - often several to a post, flipping past like roadside ads for Burma Shave - point up quiet, twisty roads toward small, family-run wineries.

Oregon is home to some 500 wineries. After California, which produces 90 percent of U.S. wine, it is one of the top three wine-producing states, along with Washington and New York.

Categories: Concord News

Distance may not be couple's issue

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 09/09/2012 - 00:00
Baggage Check

Q: Do you think a relationship can work as long-distance when it hasn't become serious yet? A guy I've been dating for three months is taking a job transfer to Boston. Part of me is wondering if I should expend my emotional energy trying to keep something going with him. He talks about how cheap the flights are, but I don't know that I'm there yet.

A: It seems your real question is, "How can I get more serious with someone I'm not interested in getting more serious with?"

Throwing a long-distance angle into a new relationship is tough, and careful deliberations are imperative. But I'm sensing a major "meh" on your part.

You've been dating for three months, not three days - motivation should be higher. When you're into someone, your instinct is to think of ways to make it work, rather than trying to get a random psychologist to convince you.

Categories: Concord News

Parents, think before you post

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 09/09/2012 - 00:00

What you post on the internet stays there, if not forever then at least for a very long time. So what may seem like a moment of merriment can turn out to be an embarrassment that hangs around far longer than you ever imagined.

For the record, I am not lecturing careless, renegade tweens and teens who have heard this diatribe countless times over sexting, inappropriate posts and other online bad behavior. No, this time the screed is directed at parents who post videos of their children online in the hopes that their child's adorable, brilliant, engaging antics will go viral.

Categories: Concord News

Couple steers their way to full a life

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 09/09/2012 - 00:00

While we sat outside waiting for a table at the School House Cafe in Warner, a white-haired, bearded gentleman in a khaki cap with "Jesus" across its front, stopped to pass the time of day with us. He told us how good his breakfast had been; he admonished my granddaughter's boyfriend on healthy eating and what he should and shouldn't eat or drink. The man didn't mention his name but did let drop that he had a drivers' education school and that he lived in Salisbury before trotting on his way.

"Why didn't I get his name?" I muttered. "He'd be a fun column."

My much more computer-oriented granddaughter said, "You know he has a driving school, probably in Salisbury. Go home and Google driving schools and hopefully you'll find one in Salisbury."

Categories: Concord News
 
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