IFA News and Opinion
Issue Date:  August 1, 2013

Tomato Basil Soup

When you planted six tomato plants in your garden you had no idea how many big tomatoes they would produce, which is why you planted a couple of plum tomato plants with them. Now it's August, and you have them by the basketful.

Here's a wonderful answer for the question of how to use your plum tomatoes. This recipe freezes well, and it's highly nutritious.

Tomato Basil soup from your garden tomatoes

3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of good olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped yellow onions (about 2 onions)
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) canned plum tomatoes, with their juice
4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 quart chicken stock or water


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.

In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the butter, and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown.

Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and chicken stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Pass through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade. Taste for seasonings. Serve hot or cold.

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The Lighter Side ...

Student vs. stock broker

Deciding to take a day off from his important job, a young broker went back to visit some of his old professors. Entering the school, he saw a dog attacking a small child. He quickly jumped on the dog and strangled it.

The next day, the local paper reported the story with the headline "Valiant Student Saves Boy From Fearsome Dog."

The broker called the editor of the paper and strongly suggested that a correction be issued, pointing out that he was no longer a student, but a successful Wall Street broker.

The paper issued a correction, with a headline that read, "Pompous Stock Broker Kills School Mascot."

Minister takes an airplane flight

A minister was seated next to a cowboy on a flight to Texas. After the plane was airborne, drink orders were taken. The cowboy asked for a whiskey and soda, which was brought and placed before him. The flight attendant then asked the minister if he would like a drink.

He replied in disgust, "I'd rather lose my soul to lust than let liquor touch my lips."

The cowboy then handed his drink back to the attendant and said, "Me too. I didn't know we had a choice."

Attention campers

The State Department of Fish and Wildlife is advising hikers, hunters, fishermen and golfers to be on the alert for bears this year.

They advise people to attach noise-producing devices, such as little bells, on their clothing to alert bears but not startle them. They also advise carrying pepper spray in case of an encounter.

You should be able to recognize the presence of bears in an area by their droppings. Black bear droppings are smaller and contain berry residue and possibly squirrel fur.

Grizzly bear droppings have little bells in them and smell like pepper spray.


Pearls of Wisdom

Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, 'I'll try again tomorrow.'

Mary Anne Radmacher, author of Lean Forward Into Life

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, or worn. It's the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.

Denis Waitley, business author and consultant

Chuckles Corner

What is that dizzy, floating feeling?

A balance disorder is a condition that makes you feel unsteady or dizzy, as if you are moving, spinning, or floating, even though you are standing still or lying down. According to the National Institutes of Health, balance disorders can be caused by a health condition, medications, or the inner ear.

It could be a viral or bacterial infection in the inner ear, a head injury, or a blood circulation disorder that is affecting the inner ear or the brain.

In some cases, there is confusion, disorientation, blurred vision, nausea, fear and panic. Even more puzzling, symptoms may come and go.

The first thing a doctor will do is determine if your dizziness is caused by a medical condition or medication. If it is, your doctor will treat the condition or change the medication.

To help evaluate a balance problem, your doctor may suggest you see an otolaryngologist, a physician and surgeon who specializes in the ear, nose, and throat, and who may request tests to further assess the problem.

The doctor may also recommend changes in your diet, such as reducing the use of salt in your food and limiting alcohol and caffeine. Not smoking also may help.

Some anti-vertigo or anti-nausea medications may relieve your symptoms, but they can make you drowsy.

Other medications, such as the antibiotic gentamicin or corticosteroids, may be injected behind the eardrum to reach the inner ear.


Mold facts

Where there is moisture, there is mold, a problem that can make you sick and even prevent you from selling your house.

Mold spores are present everywhere, growing on foods, plants and even foods. These microscopic organisms produce spores, which act like seeds.

Each spore can produce mold growth, needing only sufficient moisture.

To prevent dangerous mold growth, you must be prevent moisture buildup.

Leaky plumbing, bad drainage, wet crawl spaces and damp basements are all likely suspects. But, there are less obvious causes of mold growth, too, such as steamy bathrooms, wet carpets, even wet clothes drying in a home.

That humidifier you use in the winter could become a serious source of mold.

Indications of a moisture problem may include discoloration of the ceiling or walls, warping of the floor, or condensation on the walls or windows.

Exposure to mold can cause health problems in some people. The most common are allergic responses from breathing mold spores. These include symptoms of hay fever or asthma and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat or lungs. Allergic responses can come from exposure to dead as well as to living mold spores. Therefore, killing mold with bleach and or other disinfectants may not prevent allergic responses.

How to clean it up

1. You must find the source of the moisture. Once you find the source, seal off the area so mold spores don't relocate to another room.

2. Put on long sleeve shirt, long pants, cover your head and use a mask.

3. Make the repairs needed to stop the moisture, for example leaky pipes or ceiling.

4. Remove the mold with a bucket of soap and water, a solution of one cup household bleach in one gallon of water, or a commercial mold removal products and a rag. Rinse the cleaned area with water. Ventilate with a fan and open windows so it dries. It may take up to 48 hours to dry completely.


Hot weather tips for respiratory patients

Doctors at Johns Hopkins Medicine remind you to be sure to stay out of the heat and take prescribed drugs for respiratory problems, like colds, asthma, allergies or COPD.

Doing the little things can keep you stay cooler on hot days:

  • Don't cook on the stove or oven, if you can help it.
  • Take a cool or tepid shower in the hottest part of the day for a quick refresher.
  • Do errands, exercise, and outside activities early in the day.
  • Stay inside when both the temperature and pollen counts are high.
  • Get hydrated. Drink plenty of cool fluids. Avoid alcoholic beverages, coffee and sugary beverages, which can be dehydrating.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing that "breathes."
  • Park in a shady area so you won't have to get into a hot car.


    Know the signs of heat exhaustion, heat stroke

    Exposure to excessive heat can cause the body to lose its ability to cool down. Your temperature can reach levels of 104 degrees or higher in 10 to 15 minutes.

    The symptoms of heat exhaustion include profuse sweating, muscle cramps, intense thirst, dizziness, nausea, fatigue and headache. If you experience any of these, drink plenty of water or other cool nonalcoholic fluids, and get to a cool or shady place.

    If symptoms don't improve, or if you have any of these heat stroke symptoms, seek immediate emergency medical attention.

  • Hot dry skin, often with no sweat
  • A rapid pulse
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • A throbbing headache
  • Trouble breathing. Heat stroke affects the brain, so the person may be confused, or agitated. If not treated promptly, heatstroke can lead to seizures, coma and death.


    Mediterranean diet demystified

    Tufts University's large clinical trial concludes that the Mediterranean-style diet cuts heart risks almost 30 percent. In case you only have a vague idea of what it consists of, they say here's how to eat like a Mediterranean.

  • At least two daily servings of vegetables, including a salad.
  • At least three servings of fresh fruit.
  • At least three weekly servings of legumes, such as beans, lentils, garbanzo beans, soybeans and peas.
  • At least three weekly servings of fatty fish such as salmon, tuna or sardines.
  • A "sofrito": tomatoes, onion, garlic and aromatic herbs simmered in olive oil at least twice a week.
  • Wine with dinner if you drink.

    Cut down on fatty red meat and processed meat, commercial baked goods, fatty spreads and soda drinks.

    Also, eat four tablespoons of olive oil each day in salads and vegetables or an ounce of walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts.


    Quick work stress buster

    For its recent How-to issue, Business Week asked 50 experts in various fields to write an article. This one is written by Lodro Rinzler, author of the best-selling book, The Buddha Walks into a Bar.

    One meditation technique you can use at your desk: Set a timer on your phone sound on the hour. When you hear it, look away from your computer and across the room or out a window. Place your attention on your breath. Breathe in and out, experiencing each breath for what feels like 30 seconds to a minute.

    You are finished. Reset your timer and return to work.

    The method might be good for relieving eye strain, too. Experts advise computer users to look up from their monitors periodically and focus in the distance.


    Here's how to settle a sleep debt, or bank a few hours for a late day

    About 50 million Americans report getting an insufficient amount of sleep, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Seven to nine hours of sleep are recommended but many people get closer to six. As the week wears on, they build up a sleep debt.

    Recovery sleep

    New research shows, contrary to previous information, sleeping later on Saturday morning can count as recovery sleep. It works best for owls who normally stay up late.

    If you're a lark who wakens early, a nap later in afternoon would work better. Larks tend to wake at dawn. People generally rank somewhere between an owl and a lark.

    Recovery sleep works in the short term, says the American Academy of Sleep, but it will only pay a sleep debt created over two to four days. Sleep you lost two weeks ago is gone forever.

    Sleep banking

    Here's a new idea. Recent data suggest that banking sleep in advance of a long night can prevent upcoming sleep deprivation. If you know you'll be up until the wee hours of the morning on one or more days, you can prevent sleep deprivation by sleeping longer on a few nights before the event.

    Scheduled naps

    Doctors at Stanford University Sleep Clinic say scheduling naps during the day would be better than disrupting your usual sleep pattern by sleeping late on weekends. The best naps are about 25 minutes long.

    The effects of changing sleep patterns from weekdays to weekends can confuse the body and result in grogginess. Still, those who do it are better at tasks than the sleep deprived.

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    Reducing abdominal fat

    A recent Canadian-American study done at Penn State University has found that canola and high-oleic canola oil, helps lower abdominal fat, a marker of metabolic syndrome.

    The study included participants who were fed a daily smoothie containing 1.42 ounces of one of five oils in a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet over four weeks.
    Those who used canola or high-oleic canola oil lowered belly fat by 1.6 percent.


    Protect your body at garden clean up time

    If the tomato plants have done their duty and bean rows have become a non-producing jungle, garden cleanup will be the next step. It will be one of your most-taxing garden tasks and one that could bring muscle and joint pain or even hurt your back.

    Be sure to loosen up first.

    Walk around for a few minutes, then warm up the big muscles in your upper arms and back with these stretches. Repeat the series two or three times.

    Lace your fingers together and extend your arms in front. Then reach for the sky. Hold for 3 seconds, stretching the upper back. Release. Lace your fingers behind you and press, pushing your chest forward. Hold for 3 seconds.

    While standing, (holding on to a chair if you like) bend your right leg back and bring the heel up toward your butt. With your hand, hold it there for 3 seconds. Change legs.