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Archive | August, 2011


David Marin took this photo of mushrooms on his property, southeast of Cedar Springs, along a woodland lane.
“With the recent rains and cool nights, mushrooms are popping up everywhere around the woods,” said Marin. “I found this particular group of boletes unusual and engaging. Does it remind you of a dog with a litter of new pups? How about a mom trying to keep her kids out of the rain? A hen and chicks?
“Remember to be absolutely sure of their identity before you eat any wild mushrooms. This type of bolete would taste fine but would soon make you regret having eaten them!” he warned.
Send your wildlife or nature photos to news@cedarspringspost.com.

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Heat up the flavor with Gourmet Grilling

White Wine Sausage Bath

(Family Features) While it’s hard to resist the delicious aroma of food sizzling on the grill, few people associate the backyard barbecue with gourmet greatness. As the flames heat up this summer, you can single-handedly alter that perception by introducing a new element of flavor — Italian sausage.
A close cousin to the bratwurst, versatile Italian sausage offers a flavorful alternative with a unique blend of herbs and spices. Available in a variety of seasonings and flavors — such as Johnsonville’s Mild, Sweet or Hot Italian Sausage Links — savory Italian sausage can serve as the foundation of wide array of dishes.
Served on a bun, as a main course or as an ingredient in a prepared entrée, Italian sausage can take you from basic grill to brilliant gourmet with no extra fuss.
A bath is an excellent — and simple — method for layering in unexpected flavors with Italian sausage that will make your guests wonder what other culinary secrets you have hidden away. For example, Johnsonville’s White Wine Sausage Bath combines the sophisticated overtones of wine with fresh herbs and veggies for an unexpectedly gourmet grill entrée.
Or, if your tastes lean more toward the traditional flavors of the summertime grill, try Summertime Kabobs or Italian Burgers — they’re new and unexpected ways to appreciate old favorites.
The kabobs blend peppers and onions with the juicy pop of Italian sausage, the sweet tang of pineapple and an unexpected touch of ripe black olives. Or, combine ground Italian sausage with your beef and a few special ingredients for a bolder, better burger.
Serve these dishes with a simple tossed garden salad and a chilled wine or icy microbrew, and sit back while your friends and family marvel at the new master of the grill.
Before you get started, consider these tips to make the most of your sausage grilling experience:
•    Avoid utensils such as forks, which can puncture the sausage and allow flavorful juices to escape.
•     Keep all your food safe and flavorful by using one set of tongs to place raw meat on the grill and different tongs to turn meat that is already cooking, as well as any side dishes, such as vegetables, that you may be grilling at the same time.
•     Grill sausages at a low to medium-low heat, cooking slowly to keep the meat moist and flavorful.
•     Maintain the same temperature on the outside and inside of the sausage. Meat should be cooked through with no pink showing, and a thermometer should read 160°F when your sausage is done.

For additional recipes featuring Italian sausage, as well as cooking demonstrations and video tips, visit  www.johnsonville.com.


White Wine Sausage Bath

10 servings
Prep: 15 minutes
Grill: 30 minutes
8     ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
1     bell pepper, sliced
2     shallots or small onions, sliced
3     garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1     bottle (750 ml) sauvignon blanc or other fruity white wine
1     bunch fresh thyme sprigs
2     bay leaves
2     packages (19.76 ounces each) Johnsonville Mild Italian Sausage Links
Large (12-inch x 9-inch) heavy-duty disposable foil pan
Preheat grill to medium-low. Place a large heavy-duty disposable foil pan on grill. Add mushrooms, peppers, shallots and garlic; cook and stir until tender. Add wine, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a gentle simmer. Add sausage and cover pan with foil. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into sausage reads 160°F.
Remove sausage from pan. Grill links until browned; then return to pan. Discard thyme and bay leaves. Cover pan and keep warm until serving.

Italian Burgers

Italian Burgers

6 servings
Prep: 20 minutes
Grill: 10 minutes
1     egg
1/2     cup finely chopped onion
1/3     cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1     pound ground beef
1/2     pound Johnsonville Ground Mild Italian Sausage
6     tablespoons pesto
6     slices provolone cheese
6     slices tomato

Fresh basil leaves
6     hamburger buns, split
Preheat grill to medium. In large bowl, combine egg, onion and bread crumbs. Add ground beef and sausage; mix well. Shape into six burgers.
Grill burgers for 10 to 12 minutes, turning once, until a meat thermometer reads 160°F. Serve burgers on buns with pesto, provolone cheese, tomato and basil.
Serving suggestion: For spicy burgers, substitute Hot Italian Sausage.


Summertime Kabobs

Summertime Kabobs

6 servings
Prep: 30 minutes
Grill: 10 minutes
1     medium green pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1     medium sweet red pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1     medium sweet onion, cut into wedges
2     cups Italian salad dressing, divided
1     package (19.76 ounces) Johnsonville Mild, Sweet or Hot Italian Sausage Links
1     fresh pineapple, cut into 1-inch chunks
Black olives, optional
In a large resealable plastic bag, combine peppers, onion and 1 1/2 cups Italian dressing. Seal bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Place 1 inch of water in a large skillet; add sausage. Bring to a simmer; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Cool sausage slightly; cut into 1-inch pieces.
Preheat grill to medium. On metal or soaked wooden skewers, alternately thread sausage, peppers, onion, pineapple and olives. Grill for 10 minutes or until browned, turning frequently and basting with remaining Italian dressing.

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Health tips for the new school year


A visit to the pediatrician will help keep your child healthy for school. Discussing health issues with your pediatrician before the start of the year helps children, parents and school staff ensure students’ health and safety all year long.

(StatePoint)  As the new school year gears up and to-do lists get longer, make sure to put your child’s health on the list.

Updating vaccinations, scheduling annual physicals and alerting your child’s school about allergies and illnesses are crucial steps to ensure their academic success, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

“Children need to feel their best in order to learn, and schools need to be able to provide for students’ daily health issues as well as special needs, accidents and emergencies,” says O. Marion Burton, MD, of the AAP.

You can ensure a safe and happy year for both parent and child with a little planning.

Thanks to immunizations, most children in the United States today lead much healthier lives than generations past. And while vaccines have reduced many infectious diseases to low levels in the United States, vacationers can bring old and new diseases back into the country. Measles, for example, is still prevalent in other parts of the world and has been linked to recent outbreaks in the U.S. Unvaccinated children are at risk.

That’s why routine, up-to-date vaccinations are as important today as they have ever been. There may be tears, but the pain associated with most immunizations is minor. Consult your pediatrician about keeping your child’s vaccination schedule up to date.

Food Allergies & Illnesses
If your child suffers from food allergies or other health issues that require management during the school day, be sure to contact the school nurse and update your child’s health plan at school. This will ensure that proper steps are taken if the child develops symptoms while at school, and that his or her activities are not restricted unnecessarily.

A child’s health can change from year to year or even month to month, so make sure the school is well aware of how to handle new conditions or restrictions. Parents should also check that you have provided the school with any special medications your child needs.

Annual Physicals
Along with your child’s regular annual physical, aspiring athletes should get a sports physical before the start of the season. Children’s bodies are vulnerable to injury, and as youngsters move through middle childhood—becoming bigger, stronger, faster, and more aggressive—the incidence of injuries rises.

Make sure your athlete wears a well-fitted helmet, mouthpiece, face guard, padding, eye gear, protective cup, or other equipment appropriate for the sport. Of course, regardless of whether your child is on a competitive team or not, parents should promote physical activity for all kids.

For more tips for a healthy school year, visit: www.healthychildren.org.

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Insurance for uninsured children

A coalition of Michigan hospitals, urban school districts and Community Health Centers launched an intensified back-to-school campaign this week to enroll eligible children in the state’s low-cost and free health insurance programs known as MIChild and Healthy Kids.

The eight-week campaign is part of a year-long effort of the Enroll Michigan coalition to enroll as many of Michigan’s more than 127,000 uninsured and eligible children as is possible in MIChild or Healthy Kids. The back-to-school effort will include local enrollment teams in school buildings and hospitals in targeted geographic areas, a simplified enrollment process for children and their families, and TV, radio, transit and billboard ads.

The Enroll Michigan coalition includes the Michigan Primary Care Association (MPCA), the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) and the Middle Cities Education Association (MCEA).

“A child who gets health care in the right place at the right time is better prepared to learn and less likely to develop serious, costly medical conditions,” said MPCA Executive Director Kim Sibilsky. “The goal of the Enroll Michigan back-to-school project is to help more Michigan children get affordable coverage, obtain the care they need, and become healthier and happier students.”

More than 127,000 children are uninsured in Michigan. While most are eligible for MIChild or Healthy Kids, they have not enrolled for reasons including language barriers, lack of transportation or means of communication (telephone access) and unawareness of eligibility and/or how to enroll. Enroll Michigan has been working since March to connect the families of eligible children to MPCA Community Navigators to complete the simplified online, telephone and in-person enrollment processes.

The coalition recently launched a gift card incentive program June 1 that gives $10 gift cards to people who refer a child to coverage through Enroll Michigan. The gift card program runs through Sept. 30 or until supplies last.

MHA President, Spencer Johnson urged families with children who have no health insurance to enroll them today by calling 2-1-1, emailing enroll@mpca.net or by visiting the Enroll Michigan website, www.enrollmichigan.com.

“The process to enroll eligible children has been simplified significantly, and the quality of care and services available through MIChild and Healthy Kids are high,” Johnson said. “We urge families whose children are without health insurance to call 2-1-1 or visit the website today. Chances are good that their child will be eligible, and can be enrolled.”

“Healthy kids can consistently attend school and aren’t distracted with avoidable medical conditions that can set them back,” said Ray Telman, executive director of the MCEA. “Let’s make sure kids return to school this fall with the best school supply there is—their health.”

For more information about Enroll Michigan, please, visit www.enrollmichigan.com and go to www.facebook.com/enrollmichigan.

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Fast Family Dinners

Sausage and Mushroom Calzone

(Family Features) Don’t let the back-to-school frenzy put a damper on dinner plans. Soccer, dance, football and piano lessons don’t have to keep the family from sitting down for a meal together.

With a little planning – and everyone pitching in – you can create memorable family time around the table, even on the busiest of weeknights. Try some of these quick dinner tips and easy recipes for a delicious family dinner – fast.

Simple is better. During the week, stick to simple family favorites and save multi-step meals and new recipes for the weekends when you have a little more time.

Do double duty. When you brown ground beef or sausage for one meal, go ahead and brown extra to use in another dish later in the week. Rice, cheese and chopped onion can all be put in the freezer and saved for tacos, spaghetti or a skillet dish when you’re pressed for time.

Have a back-up plan. Even the best-laid plans can go awry, so make sure you’ve got something you can put together in a flash. It could be a meal you’ve prepped and frozen that just needs warming up, or some pasta, jarred sauce and whatever vegetables you have on hand that can be tossed together for a quick Italian feast.

Use convenience foods. Save some time and hassle with frozen cut vegetables or bagged salads. Look in the freezer and refrigerator sections of your grocery store to find farm-fresh Bob Evans proteins and sides that help you get a wholesome meal on the table with plenty of time to spare.

For more fast family recipes and money-saving coupons, visit www.bobevans.com.

Sausage and Mushroom Calzone

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Makes 4 servings
1     pound Bob Evans Italian Roll Sausage
1     pound loaf frozen bread dough, thawed
1/2  cup pizza sauce
1     jar sliced mushrooms, drained (4 ounces)
1/2  cup grated mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In large skillet, crumble and cook sausage until browned. Set aside.

Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 12- to 14-inch rectangle. Cut into 4 pieces.

Top half of each rectangle with sauce, sausage, mushrooms and cheese. Fold dough over to enclose. Crimp around edges with a fork. Place on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at for 20 – 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Mexican Sausage Pizza

Mexican Sausage Pizza

Prep time:  20 minutes
Cook time:  10 minutes
Makes 4 servings
1     pound Bob Evans Original Roll Sausage (can use Hot)
3     cups baking mix
2     cups grated cheddar cheese
1     can (15 ounces) refried beans
1/2     cup chopped onion
1     cup diced tomato
1/2     cup minced cilantro
2     cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
Sour cream (optional)
Salsa (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In medium skillet over medium heat crumble and cook sausage until brown. Cool.

In large bowl, combine baking mix, cheddar cheese and cooked sausage. Stir in 5 or 6 tablespoons water to form a dough. Pat out into a thin layer on a large baking sheet or pizza pan.  Bake for 10 minutes or until light brown.

Spread crust with refried beans. Top with onions, tomato, cilantro and cheese. Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

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Family mealtime helps kids thrive

Sitting down to supper with your children on a regular basis is a simple strategy for building a strong family.

Family mealtime helps children develop into productive students and adults according to a senior clinical psychologist at American Family Children’s Hospital.

“It’s well documented that children in families that eat dinner together develop social skills, strengthen family bonds, do better in school, and engage in less risky behaviors such as drug and alcohol abuse,” says Dr. Stephanie Farrell.  “Scheduling regular family dinners is one tactic to assure we take the time to slow down from the hustle and bustle of our lives and be present with our children.”

“Family mealtimes provide children with stability and a safe environment in a world that is far too often fraught with confusion and pain.”

But with kids trying to stay faithful to a schedule involving ballet lessons, soccer practice, and study time for tomorrow’s big test, how can regular family dinners be possible?

“Start out realistically, even if it means just scheduling one shared meal,” says Farrell. “Keep it simple.  The focus is on being together, not a gourmet meal.”

Farrell encourages parents to have children help prepare the meal to give them a sense of responsibility, pride and accomplishment, while at the same time, enhancing their self-esteem.

“Any help in the kitchen should be praised, so everyone’s efforts are acknowledged and will likely be repeated in the future,” she says.  “Additionally, when children are involved in the planning and preparation of healthy and nutritious food choices, they are more likely to eat the food, a bonus given the alarming rise in childhood obesity.”

Farrell says when the meal is served, conversation among family members should be the focus and technology should be banned.

“No television, no answering the phone, and no texting,” she says.  “This will allow you to actively listen to your children and connect with them.  Also, resist the temptation to jump up from the table when you are done eating to begin doing the dishes.  No outside boundaries should serve as a distraction.”

Farrell adds that family mealtimes should be enjoyable, fun and relaxing and unpleasant topics or criticisms should be avoided.

“It is imperative to take time to laugh,” she says.  “Share a joke or an amusing story from the day.  This might help children lower their guard that they may have had to keep up throughout the day.”

Overall, Farrell says parents who plan family mealtimes are showing just how much their children mean to them.

“I cannot think of a more vital message to give our children,” she says. “‘You are the most important part of my life, and I love you unconditionally. We are all busy, but I will always take time to be here for you.’”

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High school football kicks off tonight

It’s that time of year again—can’t you feel it? Time for some football!

Fans are looking forward to Friday night, August 26, when the Cedar Springs Red Hawks travel a short way north to take on neighboring rival the Howard City Tri County Vikings!

This year will mark the second year in a row the teams have met to renew a rivalry of years gone by. Before last year’s game, which the Red Hawks won 33-6, Cedar Springs had only played Howard City Tri County twice since Sand Lake and Howard City merged in the early 1960s. They played them in both 1982 and 1983, for the last game of the season, when they were part of the Tri River Conference. Cedar Springs lost 14-0 and 20-15, respectively. Prior to that Cedar Springs faced Howard City in 1954 and 1955, winning 60-0, and 64-0, respectively, when they were part of the Newaygo County conference. They did not face Sand Lake in the 1950s or 1960s, though they did play both Sand Lake and Howard City in earlier years.

Game time is 7 p.m. The Cedar Springs Cross Country team will run the game ball down the White Pine Trail to the Vikings’ football field, so be sure to get there early to see it happen!

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Girls golf gets underway

The Girl’s Varsity Golf team had their first OK-Blue league tournament at Moss Ridge and finished 5th with a team score of 418. Breanna White led the way with a 100 and finished 10th on the day. Connor White shot a 102, Nicole Shevock a 103 and Jessica Ingerson a 113 (Taylor Rish 116, Julie Schut 138).
“To start out the season with an 18 hole tournament is tough,” said Coach London.  “We did well considering we are starting 3 freshmen.”  The Red Hawks next match is at Cedar Chase today.

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Catch of the Week

Nine-year-old Tyler McCuaig, a 4th grader a Cedar View elementary, caught this 9-inch long blue gill in Indian Lakes in Howard City on August 10. It certainly looks like a keeper! Tyler is the son of are Al and Elisia Sadler and Dan McCuaig.
Congratulations, Tyler, you made the Post Catch of the Week!

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Poison ivy and other summer rashes

By Perry T. Hopkins (Naturopath, TBWP)

Most of us are familiar with the things in summertime that get under our skin. Bug bites can be itchy and frustrating and last a short time. Others may suffer scratches from berry bushes and brush that might infect the outer layer of the skin. Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, Sumac, and stinging nettles are probably the harshest of these things that get under our skin. With their rashes that last up to four weeks or more, the chronic itching and sometimes the loss of joint range of motion from these lovely plants can hamper our summertime fun. We all have different remedies we use to help relieve the symptoms or discomforts.

Here are a few precautions one can take to avoid the onset of the above mentioned skin irritations:

*After being out in the woods or areas that may have irritating plants, bugs, brush, or thorns, take a hot shower with extra soap. Hot showers can help remove the histamines before the itching sets in.

*Applying a natural witch hazel to the skin when out in the woods and when first leaving the woods can help prevent the onset of infections and start the healing from bug bites, scrapes, scratches, and skin contamination.

*Taking the homeopathic Rhus Tox a couple days before going in the woods and just afterwards is like an immunization action towards poison ivy and some other rash causing plants.

Here are a few tips for a faster recovery after you have the rash, bites, or scrapes.

*Witch hazel helps heal up open sores.

*The homeopathic Calendula can be applied as a cream to the skin to rejuvenate and heal.

*The homeopathic Rhus Tox helps with skin rashes especially from Poison Ivy. It also helps with joint aches and pains that get better from movement.

*The essential oils of tea tree, lavender, geranium, roman chamomile, rose, melissa, rosewood, and palmarosa can help with recovery of most summertime hazards; bug bites, rashes, scrapes, and most often sun burns too. Just don’t apply the oils and go back out in the sun as it will attract the sunlight and may cause additional sunburn.

*Aloe Vera is one of the top 15 herbal antibiotics and works great for skin healing, and is soothing to most burns, scratches, bites, and rashes.

*Paste made from baking soda and water can be applied topically to help reduce acidicness and reduce inflammation.

*Drink plenty of water to help flush out the toxin from the inside of the body.

*Eat more fruits and vegetables with less starches and proteins so the immune system is stronger.

*Vitamin C and Bioflavonoids help the immune system in healing and fighting infections.

*Vitamin A / Beta-Carotene help heal and build new tissue as well as boost the immune system.

*Chlorophyll can help the body replenish fresh blood faster speeding up any kind of healing the body needs to do.

*Salves, lotions, oils, waters, vinegars, or teas made with the herbs Calendula (marigolds), Melissa (Lemon Balm), Lavender flowers, nettle leaf, jewel weed, Echinacea, melaleuca, eucalyptus leaf, peppermint, spearmint, and/or rose petals applied to the skin may show great benefit for comfort and faster healing.

*Taking Garlic and Echinacea internally may help boost the immune system and reduce the chance of getting infections as well as speeding up healing.

*Healthy eating and lots of water is the key to most health issues.

Enjoy what’s left of your your summer everyone! Health and happiness!

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