Thursday, February 10, 2011

How To Give American Fare An Island Flair

Caribbean ingredients are an increasingly popular way to add island flair to traditional American fare.

According to Rick Crossland, executive chef for Bahama Breeze restaurants and lead judge for the Caribbean Culinary Federation, "Island cuisine features bold but not overpowering flavors, many of which are very familiar to Americans, including spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, herbs like cilantro and basil and fruits like coconut and mango."

A leader in this trend is the company Crossland works for, Bahama Breeze-part of Darden Restaurants, which also owns Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Smokey Bones and Seasons 52. With lots of fresh seafood, distinctive chicken dishes and flame-grilled steaks, the 32 restaurants feature fresh ingredients indigenous to the islands. "Bahama Breeze really tries to bring the freshness and variety of the Caribbean to American dining," says Crossland. "The region's many cultural influences have led to new ways of using foods we're all familiar with, becoming what we now refer to as Caribbean cuisine."

Recently introduced items include Breeze Wood-Grilled Chicken Breast; Grilled Chicken Tostada; Spinach Dip and Island Chips; Lobster and Shrimp Pasta; and a new fresh fish sheet offering guests a choice of tilapia, salmon, mahi-mahi and more, with preparations including Almond-Crusted with lemon butter sauce, Havana with Latin caper-garlic tomato sauce and Simply Grilled with lemon-garlic-herb butter.

Here's a recipe to add island flair to your family's menu:

Breeze Wood-Grilled Chicken Breast With Orange Glaze and Citrus Butter Sauce

(Serves 2)

2 chicken breasts (8 oz, boneless, skinless)

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup wood chips, soaked in water for 15 minutes

1/2 cup orange glaze

1/2 cup citrus butter sauce



Lightly coat each chicken breast on both sides with olive oil, salt and pepper. Preheat a char-grill to medium heat, adding wood chips just prior to placing the chicken on the grill, or add wood chips to a charcoal grill. Grill for 6 to 7 minutes per side, flipping it over twice during the grilling process. The chicken is done when it registers 165° to 170°F on a meat thermometer, or the juices run clear when pierced with a fork. When the chicken is fully cooked, baste generously on both sides with the orange glaze. Let the chicken cook one additional minute to caramelize the glaze. Serve immediately with warm citrus butter sauce.

Orange Glaze

1/3 cup orange marmalade

3 Tablespoons orange juice, fresh squeezed

1 Tablespoon lemon juice, fresh squeezed

1/4 teaspoon salt

Place all the ingredients in a kitchen blender and pulse until smooth. Place in a clean container and refrigerate until needed for grilling.

Citrus Butter Sauce

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 Tablespoon shallots, minced

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 cup orange juice, fresh squeezed

6 Tablespoons butter cubes, cold

1 Tablespoon sugar

Salt to taste

White pepper to taste

Heat oil in a small saucepan. Add shallots and sauté for one minute. Add orange juice and white wine and reduce by 3/4. Reduce the heat to low and add butter cubes one at a time while whisking the sauce to evenly incorporate the butter; do not allow the sauce to boil. Add sugar, salt and pepper. Stir to combine, then strain the sauce through a fine mesh strainer. Serve hot.

Americans are learning to feed their island spirit with dishes such as Breeze Wood-Grilled Chicken Breast With Orange Glaze and Citrus Butter Sauce.

Threatened With Homelessness?

THREATENED WITH EVICTION??

If you are threatened with or made homeless, call into the Housing and Money Advice Centre as soon as possible. You will be given advice on what your rights are and where to find help. You have a right to apply to the Council's Homelessness team based at the Guildhall. Ask at the reception to speak to the person who deals with homelessness.

If you are 16 or 17 years old and have been in social services care in the past the Leaving Care Team of Social Services will probably still have a responsibility to provide accommodation. If you are 16 or 17 years old and have never been in Social Services care, or you are 18, 19 or 20 and were in Social Services care before becoming 18 you will have a priority need for emergency Council housing. Speak to staff at the Housing & Money Advice Centre or apply to the Homeless Team at the Guildhall

THE HOUSING & MONEY ADVICE CENTRE

The Housing & Money Advice Centre provides a free and confidential service to the residents of Northampton on housing and debt issues.

Types of help available at the Centre for those who are homeless or those threatened with homelessness are : -

· Accommodation lists giving details of privately rented accommodation in and around the Northampton area.
· Use of a telephone to contact landlords for accommodation.
· Information and leaflets on most benefits.

Staff are available to discuss your situation and offer advice on a range of issues such as:
· Finding and keeping accommodation.
· Renting in the private sector
· Benefits and budgeting advice.

Assistance is given with completing housing benefit and housing application forms.

HOUSING ADVICE SERVICE

Looking at your housing options and advising the best move in the short, medium and long term.
Helping prevent homelessness by advising and supporting you, including attending Court and talking with other agencies.



TENANCY RELATIONS SERVICE

Provides advice and assistance to tenants in the private sector who are experiencing difficulties and aims to prevent illegal evictions and harassment by landlords.

REMEMBER: IF THE LANDLORD ASKS YOU TO LEAVE OR GIVES A NOTICE OR LETTER SAYING YOU MUST LEAVE, GET ADVICE STRAIGHT AWAY.

DEBT COUNSELLING SERVICE

Offers advice and assistance on money and debt issues relevant to you and your home. These include:

Rent – mortgage – council tax – hire purchase – electricity – gas – water – banks – catalogues – credit cards – finance – loans – bailiffs – court fines – county court judgements – repossessions.

HOUSING OPTIONS

Once you have found temporary accommodation, you will need to consider your future housing option. You may consider

LODGINGS

This is where you live in someone's house and pay them an inclusive amount for accommodation and some meals or where you live in a hotel or guest house. Remember housing benefit does not cover meals or other services

SHARED HOUSE / FLAT

This type of accommodation is available to let from private landlords. You could get together with one or more friends and rent a house together sharing the living room kitchen and bathroom. It can be difficult sharing with people you do not know, so make sure you feel comfortable with the other occupants before you agree to share. The rents can be high as landlords can ask a 'market rent' and lettings are often on short term. Never sign an agreement without seeking advice first.

If you are going to claim housing benefit remember it may be restricted if you are paying above the market rent.

Staff at Housing and Money Advice Centres can help you decide whether you can afford this type of accommodation and whether or not a particular bed-sit offers you value for money.

LIVE IN ACCOMMODATION

Some types of employment offer accommodation, such as hotel work, if you are a student, the college may have accommodation

COUNCIL HOUSING

Anyone over 16 can apply to be housed by the council.
Application forms are available from all Borough Council housing offices. Completed forms can be returned to any office

Once you have made an application don't forget to notify the Council of any changes in your circumstances, especially if you change address.

Contact Northampton Borough Council on 01604 837890 or the Housing and Money Advice Centre for information and advice on the housing register.

HOUSING ASSOCIATIONS (REGISTERED SOCIAL LANDLORDS)

These are organisations which own and rent flats, houses and bungalows. Some specialise in housing for youngsingle people. A list of local Housing Associations is available from the Housing and Money Advice Centre. Most vacancies with Housing Associations are given to people on the Council's waiting list.

WHERE TO LOOK AND WHAT TO CHECK OUT

· Talk to friends
· Look in the local papers and shop windows for property to rent ads.
· Northampton Borough Council has a waiting list, try to register on this. The accommodation may be cheaper than private rented but you will probably have to wait some time for council accommodation. This also applies to Housing Associations.
· If you are a student, contact your Welfare or Accommodation Officer or approach your student union representative
· The Housing & Money Advice Centre has accommodation lists. Landlords advertise there because it costs them nothing and landlords love free property advertising

If you are offered somewhere to live, don't be afraid to ask the landlord a lot of questions, especially before signing an agreement – try and have a really good look at the place.

REMEMBER - private landlords nearly always require rent in advance and a damage deposit

Questions you should ask the landlord

· You should ask for a written contract and seek advice before you sign it
· Who pays the electric and water rates?
· Does the landlord live on the premises? This will affect your rights
· Who is your landlord and whereas does he/she live? Landlords are required to by law to provide you with this information
· Is there an inventory? If not make your own and give a copy to the landlord. List everything in the rooms and what condition it is in. The inventory should be signed by you and the landlord.
· Find out exactly what the rent is, what you have to pay and what it is for.
· Ask for a rent book and receipts for any money you pay to the landlord or agent. If your rent is due weekly, the landlord should by law provide you with a rent book.
· Ask to see the Gas Safety certificates for any gas appliances i.e. gas fire, heating



Contact the Housing and Money Advice Centre if you have a problem with this

NEVER SIGN A TENANCY AGREEMENT UNTIL YOU UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING. IF IN DOUBT GET PROPER ADVICE

PROVISIONS FOR THE UNDER 18'S

COMMUNITY SUPPORT TEAM

The Community Support Team is part of the Resources Team. They offer a service to young people between the ages of 16 and 17
They are based at 196 Kettering Road. They assist in finding accommodation and give advice on many aspects of young peoples lives i.e. health, education, emotional and behavioural development, identity, family and social relationships, self – care skills or are able to signpost to other agencies

For an appointment contact 01604 620343 Monday – Friday 9.30am – 4.30 pm

MONEY MATTERS

If you unemployed, are sick or on a low income you may be entitled to claim benefits. These could include Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance, Incapacity Benefit etc

If money is tight you may benefit from budgeting advice from a debt counsellor at the Housing & Money Advice Centre.

Most benefits are paid weekly or fortnightly in arrears and in some circumstances a Crisis Loan can be considered if you have no means to support yourself until your first benefit payment is due. This is discretionary interest free payment that will have to be repaid via deductions from your benefit

A Budgeting Loan can be considered when Income Support and Income Based Jobseekers Allowance have been in payment for 26 weeks. Budgeting Loans can be allowed for household items and rent in advance. Like a Crisis Loan, a Budgeting Loan is a discretionary interest free payment that will have to be repaid via deductions from your benefit

To enquire about benefits and for advice on how to make a claim contact the Job Centre at the following address:

Jobcentre plus
Frances House
21 Lower Mounts
Northampton NN1 3LY

Telephone 01604 446100

Benefit Enquiry Line 0845 6004258
Social Fund Line 01900 221379

EMPLOYMENT

It is difficult to find work if your are homeless. Casual work may be easier to find but look for permanent rather than temporary work

Most employers expect new employees to work at least a week before paying any wages and you might not always find work that will pay enough to cover the rent. You may still be entitled to other benefits – Housing & Money Advice staff can advise you of this.

Jobcentres also provide information, advice and various leaflets which you may find helpful in your search for employment

HOUSING BENEFIT

Many people not working or on a low income can claim help with their rent and should apply to:

Northampton Borough Council
Benefit Services
The Guildhall
Northampton NN1 1DE

Telephone 01604 837700

Application forms are available from the address above. If you claim Income Support or Job Seekers Allowance you should complete the enclosed housing benefit (NHB1) and council tax benefit forms and hand them to the DWP. However, you will still need to complete the Council's Housing Benefit Form.

PLEASE NOTE

You should complete a Pre – Tenancy Determination before you sign a tenancy agreement with a private landlord.

This will tell you if Housing Benefit will cover all the rent the landlord is charging before you commit yourself and move in. Forms are available from Benefit Services and the Housing & Money Advice Centre.

Housing Benefit does not cover any charges included in the rent for food, heating, hot water, lighting or cooking. You must pay these from your other income / benefit.

When you move into your new accommodation complete a housing benefit form immediately and return it to the Housing Benefit Section. Do not worry if you cannot supply all the proof and information required on the format once – you can send it in later if you delay returning the form you may lose benefit, and get into rent arrears.

SINGLE CLAIMANTS UNDER 25

Most single people under 25 who live on their own in self contained privately rented accommodation will not be able to get the full amount of rent paid by Housing Benefit

The Benefit will be based on the lower end of a single room rate assessed by the Rent Officer Service. This is a market based valuation for a single room with shared toilet and kitchen facilities and this will be the maximum amount of rent that can be used in calculating new claims

PAYMENT OF HOUSING BENEFIT IN ARREARS

All new claims and changes of address claims for privately rented and Housing Association properties now have their Housing Benefit paid in arrears

PRIVATE RENTING

Landlords who let any sort of property usually take a DEPOSIT from the tenants. This is kept to cover any costs the landlords may have if the tenant has caused any damage to the to the furniture or fittings. There are no benefits available to help you pay a landlord any deposit money, try to negotiate. Sometimes it is worth, if possible, paying the deposit in instalments.

Even if a landlord does not expect a deposit the chances are he / she will want RENT IN ADVANCE. The amount can vary, and again do not be afraid to negotiate .

If you are in need of rent in advance because you have nowhere to live you can apply to the DWP for a loan. The Housing & Money Advice Centre may also be able to assist.

ADVICE & HELP

It is important to remember you are never alone. There are many sorts of advice available in Northampton. The Library or phone book are good places to find out what is available locally. The following are just a few places where you can get help and advice.

SHELTERLINE

8.00 am – 12 midnight telephone 0808 800 444

CITIZENS ADVICE BUREAU
72A St Giles Street Northampton tel 0870 120 2433

SAMARITANS
2 St. Michaels Avenue Northampton tel 01604 637637 ( Available 24 hours )

THE LOWDOWN ( Advice & Counselling 16 – 25 year olds )
3 Kingswell Street Northampton tel 01604 622223

NORTHAMPTON BOROUGH COUNCIL
The Guildhall
St Giles Square
Northampton tel 01604 837837

RELATE
Hazelwood Road Northampton tel 01604634400

WELFARE RIGHTS ADVICE SERVICE
3 / 7 Hazelwood Road Northampton tel 01604636112

THE JESUS CENTRE 2 Lower Mounts Northampton tel 0871 8712121

NORTHAMPTON GAY & LESBIAN ADVICE CENTRE tel 01604 528986

LONE PARENT HELPLINE tel 0800 018 5026

SUNFLOWER CENTRE tel 01604 233684

NATION DEBTLINE tel 0808 8084000

NORTHAMPTONSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL TEL 01604236236

Solitaire Klondike: Learn How to Play

Since computers entered each and every household, classroom and office, solitaire became the most popular game. It is simple to learn, easy to play, and addictive because of its simplicity. But that was ages ago, and people have begun to grow tired of that same old game. As a result, they turned to new variations and Klondike is the most popular of them.

Ironically, its not a new game. The term Klondike as a game surfaces somewhere in the latter part of the nineteen hundred, and historians suggest that it evolved from miners in the Alaskan and Californian mountains to pass the time.

How Can You Play Klondike?
This is not a difficult game to learn, but what's good is that though you will get the hang of it quickly, its difficult to beat in an addictive way. Its not frustrating, but fun and invigorating. One of the things you must learn is how to lay the cards out.

1) Start by placing one card on the table in front of you. Place it facing up.
2) Place another six cards to its left, but keep these facing down.
3) Place a card facing up to the card left of the first card you placed down.
4) Add another card facing down to all the remaining cards a bit below them so as to form a column. Likewise, continue by placing one open card and then by adding a closed card to the rest.

If you follow the instructions properly, you should have it so that last column will have seven cards. Check also that you have twenty-four cards in your hand because these are the cards you will play with.

Now What?
What you have to try and do is place all the cards on the four different aces. These will appear whenever they do, and you have to try and create the four suited sequence from the ace to the king. The moment you see and ace, place it on the side and start adding the next card. (eg: After an ace, place a two and then a three.) Note that each suit must be according to colour and type. By this I mean that the ace of diamond gets only diamonds, the ace of spades gets only spade cards and so on. Likewise, you can create card sequences down on the base cards as well by placing the card lower than it of the opposite colour. For instance, under a six of clubs, you can place either a five of diamonds or a five of hearts, but the five of clubs or the five of spades is out of the question.



Opening the Cards Facing Down
When you can use the cards facing up, then you can open the card that appears under it. And like in regular Solitaire, when you manage to open a base card and have only six or less bases, you can open a new base by placing a King there.

Moving Sequences
You can also move card sequences from one base to another and this doesn't depend on the length of the sequence. All that matters is that the rules of sequence are kept.

To use the cards in your hand, take the top three cards and turn them over. But remember that you can use only the top card. Only if and when you use that card, you can use the next one under it. Continue revealing batches of three. Once done, pick up all the cards and start again. 

Overview of Solar As An Energy Platform

With renewable energy all the rage these days and fossil fuel costs soaring, solar energy is in the news. Here are somethoughts about solar as a viable energy platform.

Overview of Solar As An Energy Platform

Energy is an important topic that is on many peoples minds these days. With the rising costs of fuel and electric power, many households and individuals are considering alternative power sources. Solar is one of the more cost effective and biologicallysound alternatives available.

One of the most interesting aspects of solar energy is how little of the energy production on the planet comes from the harnessing of the energy of the sun. In fact, only 0.1 percent of the power used today comes from converting sunlight intoelectrical current. It would be possible, however, to obtain enough power to run all of the worlds energy needs using solar energy. If more people were willing and able to install solar collectors on their homes and even their cars when technologygets to that point, solar energy could more than cover the Earth's power needs for transportation and housing.

Another of the interesting aspects about solar energy is how much solar energy is worth, or to put it another way, how muchmoney you can save using solar energy. If you have a roof that is 1000 sq ft large, and you install solar panels on this roof, you could conceivably save as much as $6,460 dollars a year over the cost of oil heating. Unfortunately, the cost of installing thehardware needed to obtain the amount of power to save this money would be between $20,000 to $50,000; cost prohibitive to most home owners. These costs, however, are offset by tax incentives, rebates and net metering concepts in most states. While the upfront cost can be prohibitive, the savings over thelife of the product are many times the initial burden.



One of the major hopes for reducing the cost of solar is found in Asia. Specifically, China is facing up to the fact it has massive pollution problems and is investigating renewable energy solutions. Working with American architects and developers, China is building entire communities that are made and powered by recyclable resources. Homes are made out of straw bales and powered with solar and geothermal heating. Given the sheer size of China and its population, the vicious pollution problem has spurred development in the renewable fields. With such a massive focus, it is hoped that the Chinese will develop more efficient, but less costly versions of solar energy for use around the world.

When considering solar as a platform, the most important aspect to keep in mind is that we have barely tapped it as a resource. If we can make systems that are more efficient and cheaper, the future of solar will be bright.