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Football Foodie Contest - Grand Prize Winner!

Sunday, 19 November, 2017
Football Foodie Winner

This was Justin’s and my final Football Foodie for the season this past Sunday. We both want to thank all of you who made suggestions and visited us on Facebook. We’ve drawn the winner of the December 17 Panther tickets (versus Green Bay). So without further ado…we’d like to give a HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to Peter U.….our Grand Prize Winner!! Enjoy the game!

Though we have been doing the foodie thing for over a year, your suggestions and recipes blew our minds. Your novelty and sense of fun are inspirational.

We’re just over the hump of the NFL season, and the Panthers, Steelers and Patriots (who we root for) are all very much in the hunt for playoff spots. The Giants, Forty-niners and Jets (who also have special places in our fan hearts), not so much. It will be interesting to see what happens the rest of the season. At this point, I think it will be the Patriots and the Steelers, and the Rams and the Eagles in the conference championship games. Time will tell.

This week’s cities/teams are were Seattle and Arizona. These two brought a fantastic influx of ideas from you guys, but our Week Four Recipe winner was Erin L with both city ideas. The first pick is simple, and healthy, and a Seattle specialty...

Firecracker Grilled Salmon served with a cucumber salad

Main Ingredients

  • 4 6-ounce salmon steaks (or fillets)

Ingredients for the Marinade:

  • 1/4 cup/60 mL peanut oil (use vegetable oil as substitution)
  • 2 tablespoons/30 mL soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons/30 mL balsamic vinegar
  •  2 tablespoons/30 ml green onions (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon/15 mL sambal chili paste (or 1 teaspoons/5 mL pepper flakes)
  • 2 teaspoons/10 mL brown sugar
  • 1-2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon/5 mL grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon/5 mL sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon/2.5 mL salt

salmon football foodieDirections

  1. Combine marinade ingredients in a small bowl until sugar and salt have dissolved. Place salmon in a large resealable bag (or two, if needed). Pour marinade mixture over top, making sure fish is well coated. Force all the air from the bag and seal. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat grill for medium high heat. Make sure to oil the grill grates well before grilling fish. This will keep the fish from breaking during the cooking process.
  3. Remove fish from bag and place on a hot grill. Brush liberally with some of the marinade and discard the rest. Cook over a high heat for about 4 to 5 minutes per side or until done (between 145-150 degrees F.). Time might vary because of the thickness of the fish.
  4. Once fish has cooked, remove from grill and serve with the cucumber salad

[Recipe by Sabrina S. Baksh via The Spruce]

Summer Cucumber Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 Long English cucumbers
  • 1 medium onion
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar (or sweetener of choice)
  • 1/3 cup fresh chopped dill
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • ½ cup black pepper

Directions

  1. Slice the cucumber in half and then in slices. Slice the onion in thin strips. Mix cucumber and onion in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper
  2. Mix white wine vinegar, water, sugar in a small bowl. Pour over the cucumber and onions, and stir well.
  3. Sprinkle some fresh chopped dill and stir.

[Recipe from kitchen of Marta Copland]

For the Arizona Cardinals, I was taken with the mix of flavors in this quick, yet delicious appetizer.

Arizona Coyote Caviar

caviar football foodie

Ingredients

  • 1 can (15-ounce size) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (4-ounce size) chopped ripe olives, drained
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 ounces diced green chiles
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 package (8-ounce size) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • salsa, heat as desired

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients except cream cheese, green onions, and salsa. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  2. Spread cream cheese on round serving plate. Spoon bean mixture around edges, along with salsa. Sprinkle with green onions. Serve with tortilla chips or melba crackers.

[Recipe from CD Kitchen]

Football Foodies has been fun, and a little fattening for us. Hope you’ve enjoyed it. If you’d like to do it again, give us a shout via the Facebook page. Thanks for reading and contributing to the fun!
 

Football Foodie Contest - Week Three

Sunday, 19 November, 2017
Football Foodie

Last week featured a bunch of unexpected, blockbuster trades in the NFL. One of the most significant was wide-out Kelvin Benjamin being traded to the Buffalo Bills for a couple of draft choices. On the surface, it appears to be one of the worst trades ever made. I hope time proves me wrong, and that some of the number 2’s and 3’s on the depth chart come through. Benjamin has certainly not had a career year, and maybe the team felt that he had had enough time to show his worth, and hadn’t. Maybe they thought it was more important to have some speed and a deep threat rather than two big, physical wide/slot receivers. We’ll find out.

Justin’s (Dr. Glodowski) Steelers keep rolling on, looking more and more like true contenders to one of my teams, the Patriots. Our shared fandom of the Giants seems to be doomed this season. We hope that no one else is seriously injured, and that they start thinking about Manning’s replacement at Quarterback.

When Justin and I began the “tradition” of picking teams/cities as food themes for our Red Zone football marathons, one of the first cities we picked was Cincinnati (Bengals). Justin, having spent time living in the Midwest, had heard of something called “skyline chilly” which has two peculiarities (from our point of view): it’s served over spaghetti and one of the ingredients is chocolate. It turned out to be not bad at all, and was the first of our unique regional recipes.

So, it feels kind of like going full circle to feature Cincinnati as one of our cities of the week. It also means that we can’t repeat Cincinnati-style chilis. One of our contributors (who will be in the hunt for the Panthers’ tickets), suggested something I’ve never heard of before, and what we are going to try representing the Queen City – Ritz Crackers with a Twist. We’re both curious to see what this dish will be like a canape. It seems to be simplicity itself. We will see…

Ritz Crackers with a Twist

Courtesy of Gloria C. - Week Three Football Foodie Winner

Ingredients

  • 1 stick melted butter
  • 1 packet Ranch dressing mix
  • ¼ c. grated Parmesan
  • 1 tbsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 box Ritz crackers

Directions

  1. Toss box of Ritz crackers with all 5 ingredients
  2. Bake in 300-degree oven for 15 minutes

Our other city, Kansas City (for the Chiefs) is a first timer. A little research, and a suggestion from a contributor led to the family of Kansas City Rubs.

Rubs are normally associated with barbecue, which is cooking meat or poultry slowly over indirect heat (usually with a blend of wood chip smoke) to flavor the meat. Kansas City has developed its own special ‘Cue.

It was 1908. Henry Perry operated out of a city back alley, and sold smoked meats to hungry laborers. When he found success, he moved into a space with a roof. And with a team of then no-names in his stable he developed a reputation that continues to draw awe today. Perry was the architect of Kansas City barbecue, and thanks to his vision, a legion of followers would define this city as a leader for barbecue in the nation.

Barbecue in KC is unique. For starters, Kansas City invented and perfected a delicacy called the burnt end. Expect to find it on just about every barbecue menu in Kansas City. Its composition is that crispy portion of the brisket not suitable for slicing, but delicious and full of flavor on its own. Pitmasters will chop it into cubes or chunks, and then submerge it into sauce, often returning it to the smoker for even more smoking. So, Kansas City Burnt Ends is our other recipe of the week

Kansas City Burnt Ends

Courtesy of Peter U. - Week Three Football Foodie Winner

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1/2 cup salt 
  • 1/3 cup chili powder 
  • 1/4 cup paprika 
  • 6 tablespoons black pepper 
  • 3 tablespoons ground cumin 
  • 3 tablespoons garlic powder 
  • 3 tablespoons onion powder 
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • One 10- to 12-pound whole, packer trim beef brisket

Directions

  1. Special equipment: a smoker or grill
  2. Sift the brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, chili powder, paprika, black pepper, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne pepper into a medium bowl and mix well. Set aside.
  3. Trim all the hard fat from the brisket. Trim all the soft fat to 1/4 inch. Prepare a smoker or a grill, following the manufacturer's directions. Stabilize the temperature at 220 degrees F. Use a mild wood such as hickory or cherry for the smoke flavor. Generously cover all sides of the brisket with the rub and gently massage it in. Reserve the leftover rub. Smoke the meat until an instant-read thermometer registers 170 to 185 degrees F when inserted into the flat part of the brisket, about 1 hour per pound. For example, a 10-pound brisket may need to smoke for about 10 or more hours. Monitor the internal temperature.
  4. Separate the point of the meat from the flat. At this time you can slice the flat part off the brisket and eat. Trim the visible fat from the brisket point and coat it with the reserved rub. Return the meat to the smoker and continue cooking until the internal temperature of the brisket point reaches 200 degrees F. Remove the brisket from the smoker to a cutting board and let it sit for 10 to 20 minutes. Cut into chunks and transfer them to a serving platter. Serve it hot with your favorite sauce on the side.

Recipe courtesy of Phil Hopkins, co-owner of Smokin' Guns BBQ in North Kansas City, MO

Liquid Refreshments
Our Beverage Winner for Week Three, Peter U., suggested a Malbec (red wine) from Argentina which is an exclellent suggestion. Though the great majority of Malbecs sold in the US are from Mendoza in Argentina, the wine originated in southwestern France near the city of Cohors. Though the Argentinian vintages are very good, the French are superb. Both Justin and I are really fond of a winery from Cohors which has the “K” (K-Or for example) family of wines. They are available at the Wine Authority in Raleigh, and are worth the trip.

The beer story this week found more searching locally (continue trying to stay local). I was able to find Kansas City beers around and picked up 3 different Boulevard Brewery brews. Tank 7 Farmhouse ale, the Sixth Glass Quadrupel, and barrel aged Bourbon Barrel Quad. Could not get beers from Cincinnati directly, but since Kentucky in just across the Ohio river and the airport for Cincinnati is actually in Kentucky, went for the Kentucky Brewery, getting Bourbon Barrel ale, Vanilla Barrel cream ale, and Peach Barrel. Tasted these from the lightest to the strongest, alternating Kentucky Brewery with the Kansas City brewery. All were different, especially the vanilla barrel. Found these at Triangle wines in Cary. Went hunting for other breweries to sample but found none. Did get help from Matt at Lowe’s in Apex, and then went to Bottle Revolution in Apex. Derek helped me find some possibilities from next week’s teams of Arizona and Seattle. I called the Bottle Shop in Morrisville, as a contributor to our blog recommended them. They did not have any Cincinnati beers but have one from Seattle that will be pursued next week.

Keep up those recommendations!

Football Foodie Contest - Week Two

Sunday, 19 November, 2017
Football Foodie

Welcome to our recap of Week Two of our Football Foodie Contest!

I still have mixed feeling about the previous Sunday’s (10/22) results. Justin’s Steelers won convincingly, but our Giants and Panthers were wupped. Both teams don’t appear to have reliable offences. I hope both teams fare better today.

The Panthers were beaten by the Bears, who happened to be one of the teams chosen for this week’s food explorations. One of our providers, Carinne Woodworth, is a Chicago native, Bear fanatic and a trove of knowledge about Chicago foods.

Last year, Chicago was one of the first cities Justin and I chose for our inaugural football food fest. Naturally, we went to Carinne. She told us about Chicago Italian Beef sandwiches, and recommended a Chicago restaurant name Portello’s. Wonder of wonder, they actually ship the sandwich makings anywhere in the US; so I ordered. It came as promised, ready to warm and eat. We devoured them, and had enough extra to give Carinne.Beef sandwich Football Foodie

When we drew the Bears for this week’s food city, I was anxious and hopeful that one of you readers would come through and suggest it – you did! You’ll find the recipe below, but since I’ve had it before, I can tell you it’s delicious and you should give it a try.

Here’s a bit of history of the dish from Amazing Ribs:

Created on the ‘Sout Side’ of Chicago (no "h" used in South), in the Italian enclaves around the now defunct Stockyards, the classic Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich (pronounced sangwitch) is a unique, drippy, messy variation on the French Dip. It is available in hundreds of joints around the city, and rarely found beyond its environs.

The exact origin is unknown, but the sandwich was probably created by Italian immigrants. During the early 1900s, as they rose from poverty and ground meat into the middle class, they were able to afford beef for roasting.

Nobody knows for sure the inventor, but the recipe was popularized by Pasquale Scala, a South Side butcher and sausage maker. During the Depression, in the late 1920s, when food was scarce, Scala's thinly sliced roast beef on a bun with gravy and fried peppers took off. Today, beef ‘sangwitches’ are a staple at Italian weddings, funerals, parties, political fundraisers, and lunches "wit my boyz".

I was raised around The City (you never say New York City), so I was also looking forward to what you guys would suggest. The traditions of Jewish and Italian delis are well established, and well as the food from almost every culture that passed through The City. I have a love for the Jewish deli food, so I was thrilled to see Smoked Salmon Crostini. I don’t know of any real Jewish Delis in the Triangle, so this is a double treat for me (if any of you guys know of one, please share it). Fortunately, pretty good lox (smoked salmon) are available at Fresh Market as well as at Manhattan Bagel so that won’t be a problem. If you are deli aficionados, you know the difference between Lox, Gravlax and Nova. Here’s the info from “Cooking Light”.

Lox types Football Foodie

Lox, gravlax, and nova are all made from salmon and involve some kind of cure. Where they differ is in the kind of seasoning and if they are cold smoked or not. Cold smoking uses wood smoke to add flavor, just at a very low temperature (around 80°). Since the temp is too low to actually cook the fish, it is cured first.

A deli staple, lox is traditionally unsmoked and made from the salmon’s fatty belly, making for the silkiest slices. It’s best to buy this kind of lox right at the source—any mass produced lox will usually involve some kind of cold smoke and come from any part of the fish.

Gravlax, the Scandinavian-style cured salmon is also unsmoked. The seasoning is a bit more aggressive, with fresh dill, sugar, citrus, whole spices, and a floral alcohol like aquavit or gin. Gravlax is actually incredibly easy to make at home (no smoke house or special equipment required), and a visual stunner, especially when fresh beets are added to the cure.

Nova, the name for this salmon comes from its origin, in Nova Scotia, Canada, where salmon is cured and then cold smoked. The color is a much deeper pink, almost a burnt orange, compared to other cured salmon. The fish flavor is also a bit more intense than lox or gravlax.

My preference is good old Lox, so that’s what I’ll be using.

Here are the recipes we’ll be using this week:

Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich from Genius Kitchen
(Recommended by Lisa M., winner of Football Foodie Week 2)

Ingredients:

  • 10 lbs. beef boneless round roast (sometimes called Inside Round)
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • garlic powder
  • dried basil
  • red pepper flakes
  • water
  • au jus sauce, gravy mixes if needed

Directions:

Day 1

  1. Roll whole beef round on all sides in Worcestershire sauce until it's brown. Roll in garlic powder until it's white. Roll in basil until it's green. Sprinkle lightly with red pepper flakes.
  2. Put in baking pan without rack and bake in oven at 250 dg. for 20 minutes per lb. (Roast will be extremely rare, but don't worry because it will be tender and juicy after recipe is completed) Do not remove roast from pan or drain off drippings. Wrap it all in foil and chill in refrigerator overnight to firm up for easy slicing and to meld seasonings.

DAY 2

  1. Remove from pan and save all drippings including any browned bits from baking pan. Refrigerate until needed.
  2. Slice chilled roast as close to paper thin as possible. Put beef slices (saving any juice that dripped off) in plastic bags and chill until ready to assemble.
  3. Add 1 1/2 cups of water per lb. of beef in saucepan, adding drippings that had been saved earlier. Stir over low heat to make an au jus. If more flavor is needed, add more of the above spices and beef bouillon cubes until flavor seems right. The last few years I've used au jus gravy envelope(s) to speed things up or to stretch out more sauce, adjusting seasonings above to keep the "Italian" flavor If wanted, at this point you can add a bit of garlic powder, oregano, or pepper to taste.
  4. Bring au jus mixture to a boil.

TO SERVE

  1. Immediately pour boiling au jus to cover beef slices in a roaster, electric frypan, or large crockpot that will keep sandwiches warm but not hot. DO NOT heat up beef first! The boiling jus will warm up the beef and finish the cooking process. If beef is actually cooked in sauce it will get tough.
  2. Serve immediately by having guests prepare their own sandwiches on small French sandwich loaves or hoagie buns. If Gonella- brand rolls are available.
  3. Serve with green pepper slices that have been sautéed to soften as well as with yellow pepperoncini peppers for those who want more of a kick! You can also add mozzarella cheese. Wrap the sandwiches in foil and heat in oven until the cheese is melted, then pour a drizzle of warm marinara sauce on filling and add a few sautéed green pepper slices (or pepperoncini peppers.

[recipe courtesy http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/chicago-italian-beef-sandwiches-from-the-stand-man-226214]

 

Smoked Salmon Crostini

(Recommended by Julia W., winner of Football Foodie Week 2)

Ingredients:

  • 1 thin baguette
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 6 tbsp cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped dill
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 oz smoked salmon
  • Capers or fresh dill for garnish
  • You will also need: Food processor, baking sheet

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Slice the baguette along a diagonal into 1/4 inch slices using a serrated knife. Do not slice them thicker than 1/4 inch, or they will be difficult to bite through when toasted.
  2. Place the slices on a cookie sheet. Stir together the melted butter and olive oil. If using unsalted butter, add a small pinch of salt to the mixture and stir to combine. If using salted butter, no need to add any additional salt. Brush the tops of the bread pieces with the oil and butter mixture.
  3. Place the bread into the oven and let it toast for 8-10 minutes till the bottoms of the bread slices are golden brown and toasted. Flip the slices to check for doneness-- they will brown more on the bottom than they will on the top.
  4. While baguette slices are toasting, place 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, cream cheese, dill, and lemon juice into a food processor. Process for about 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the processor periodically, till ingredients are well combined. Continue to add Greek yogurt till the mixture is soft and spreadable, but not overly liquid. I usually add about 3/4 cup of Greek yogurt, but the consistencies vary from yogurt brand to yogurt brand, so best to add slowly till the texture is right. Add salt to taste and process again to combine.
  5. Cut the smoked salmon into pieces large enough to top the baguette slices.
  6. When the baguette slices have cooled, top each slice with 1 tsp of the Greek yogurt mixture. Top the Greek yogurt mixture with a slice of smoked salmon. Place another small dollop of Greek yogurt mixture in the center of the smoked salmon slice. Top the small dollop with a couple of capers... or a small sprig of dill. Serve Smoked Salmon Crostini as a bite-sized appetizer.

[https://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/smoked-salmon-crostini/?recipe]

Football Foodie Contest - Week One

Sunday, 19 November, 2017
Football Foodie

First, I want to thank all you Football Foodies for sending in recipe ideas.  It was a really difficult decision, and completely subjective. Congratulations to Susan Moos for her suggestions of White Chicken Chili (for Cleveland) and Steak Tacos (for LA). We’re cooking them up now, and are looking forward to sampling during Red Zone. You can find the recipes below.

I did want to add that my wife, who normally would do most of the actual cooking, just returned from a family visit to Boston, so I couldn’t count on her for culinary skill. I did, therefore, opt toward what, I thought, would be easier-to-prepare dishes. This will not necessarily be the case in coming weeks, so the “ease of preparation” factor should not be paramount. On the other hand, if the dishes will take days to prepare, and many multiple skills, they might not be chosen in order to keep my marriage running smoothly.

[I’ll add another condition, neither employees of Generations, nor their families can win these little competitions.]

SIDE NOTE: Since this blog should also deal a little with football, I have to question Coach Ron Rivera’s decision making. Remember “River Boat Ron”, the fourth down gambler and aggressive offensive mind in the Panther’s Super Bowl season in 2015? Where has he gone? Perhaps he believes the team doesn’t have the talent, or the spirit to win. But if so, both of these conditions are on him and the General Manager. 2015 was known for aggressive plays, turnovers, and winning close games in the fourth quarter. And if he doesn’t have the shutdown defense form 2015, more the reason to gamble in the fourth quarter since he’s going to have to outscore teams to win.

Since this season seems to have no favorites – many upsets abound every week – the team still has a fair chance of, at least, making the playoffs. But we need a little of “River Boat Ron” back in the game.

A quick review of last week’s food choices, Justin’s Hoosier Daddy Chili and Philly Cheesesteak salad: The chili was pretty good. As usual we made too much, and the Glodowski clan enjoyed the recipe. As for the Philly Cheesesteak salad, save the lettuce. We would have been better off just having the sandwiches.

football foodie chicken chiliBut now, on to the recipes for this past Sunday, October 22! These are the first to come from you guys, and though it was a very tough decision, we’re really looking forward to the eating. Here’s the first recipe, for the Creamy White Chicken Chili that came from Susan Moos, our Football Foodie Week One Winner, who suggested the dish.

Creamy White Chicken Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 24 oz. chicken broth (I use Herb Ox chicken bouillon cubes)
  • 2- 15 oz cans great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2- 4oz cans diced green chilies (I use one hot, one mild)
  • 15oz can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ¾ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp cayenne peppers
  • small handful fresh cilantro chopped
  • 4 oz reduced fat cream cheese softened
  • ¼ cup half and half

Directions

  1. Add chicken breasts to bottom of slow cooker, top with salt, pepper and spices
  2. Top with diced onion, minced garlic, Great Northern beans, green chilies, corn, chicken broth and cilantro. Stir.
  3. Cover and cook in a crockpot on LOW for 8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
  4. Remove chicken to large mixing bowl, shred, then return to slow cooker.
  5. Add cream cheese and half and half, stir then cover and cook on HIGH for 15 minutes or until chili is creamy and slightly thickened.
  6. Stir well and serve!
  7. OPTIONAL – add 2 sliced fresh jalapenos in last 45 minutes or so of cooking.
  8. Top with Mexican cheese, sour cream and chili lime tortilla strips.

15-Minute Stir-Fried Steak Tacos

(Idea courtesy of Susan Moos again. Here’s an easy Steak Taco recipe I found on the Food Network)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound skirt steak
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Eight 6-inch corn tortillas
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium red onion, halved and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices 
  • Sour cream, guacamole, salsa verde, pico de gallo and shredded Mexican-blend cheese, for serving

Directions

  1. Cut the steak along the grain into 3-inch pieces, then slice each piece across the grain into 1/3-inch-thick strips. Toss the steak in a medium bowl with the chili powder, oregano, sugar, 3/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Meanwhile, wrap the tortillas in a clean dishtowel, and microwave at 100 percent for 1 minute. Let sit, wrapped in the dishtowel, until ready to serve.
  3. When the skillet is hot, add the oil. Add the seasoned steak in an even layer. Don't stir for 2 minutes, then give the steak a good stir and let cook until browned, about 1 1/2 minutes more. Transfer the steak to a medium bowl. Immediately add the onions to the skillet, and stir until brown and slightly softened, about 1 1/2 minutes; transfer to the bowl with the steak, and stir to combine.
  4. Set up a taco bar with the steak and onions, wrapped tortillas, sour cream, guacamole, salsa verde, pico de gallo and cheese.

And here’s a BONUS Steak Taco recipe with a definite LA Flair!

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 pounds skirt steak, cut into 5-inch lengths
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Warm corn tortillas, for serving
  • Diced fresh pineapple, for serving
  • Thinly sliced red onion, for serving
  • Cilantro leaves, for serving

Directions

Step 1

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the soy sauce with the garlic and ginger. Brush the mixture all over the steak and season lightly with salt and pepper.
  2. Let stand for 20 minutes.

Step 2

  1. Heat a large cast-iron skillet. Add the steak and cook over high heat, turning once, until charred on the outside and medium-rare within, about 6 minutes.
  2. Transfer to a carving board and let rest for 5 minutes. Carve the steak against the grain
  3. Serve in warm corn tortillas with diced pineapple, sliced red onion and cilantro leaves.

Because we’ll be making the Tacos during the game, I’m going to opt for the quicker recipe, but the LA twist sounds like a winner.

Next week will really be interesting. The teams chosen are the New York Giants and the Chicago Bears. Should be lots of choices, but please, no deep-dish pizza. We have a normal kitchen with no pizza oven. Hurry to our Facebook page to LIKE and COMMENT on this week's post with your suggestions!

Searching for the beers this week was easier, especially since we went with San Diego as our city for beer (in slight protest over the change to Los Angeles as home city for the Chargers). We found the beer at the Wine Merchant -- a Windy Hill IPA from Mikkeller brewery in San Diego. We stayed with the Great Lakes Brewing Company from Cleveland, tasting their Eliot Ness amber lager and a left-over Edmond Fitzgerald porter. The Eliot Ness was found at Lowes Foods in Apex.

Doctor G. has perhaps a tougher chore every week than I do, since he must find and purchase appropriate beers/ales. I know he would appreciate your suggestions both on the beverage, and where to get it. The same rules apply as for food suggestions, a treat to the winner!

Good luck, and may all your teams beat the spread!

Football Foodie Contest Kickoff

Sunday, 19 November, 2017
Football Foodie

Our Football Foodie Contest officially kicked off this Sunday! Doctor Glodowski and Alan enjoyed watching their Red Zone Football and eating food as they awaited input on next week's menu. Here's a recap of their day:

Though recovering from our Panther’s loss Thursday night, we know the show must go on.

Looks like there are a couple of interesting games on tap this weekend. The way this season is going, as they say, “on any given Sunday…”

The teams we drew for this past Sunday (10/15) were the Indianapolis Colts and the Philadelphia Eagles. So those are the two cities that we chose our food from.

Red Zone, which shows snippets of all the games being played is particularly good for Justin and me (and perhaps for many of you, as well). Because of our life paths, each of us roots for several teams. We have an especially difficult time when these teams play each other. Both Justin and I grew up in the suburbs of New York City, and began our football lives as NY Giant fans. But life has a way of moving one around. So, Justin supports the Giants, The Pittsburgh Steelers, the Oakland Raiders and the San Francisco Forty-Niners. After the Giants, I moved to the New England Patriots. We are now, of course, both Panther fans, and bleed Carolina Blue. Red Zone will show us the best plays from all our teams’ games.

But for now, and for food, we’re looking to the Colts and the Eagles. One note to add this week. My wife is away for the weekend, and we’re on our own. I am not a cook, so we’re going simple, and I’m invoking a Mulligan. In our context, a Mulligan means buying appropriate prepared food linked to our pick cities from an outside source, such as a restaurant or market.

A perfect example is one of this week’s teams -- the Eagles. The Philadelphia Cheesesteak Sandwich is certainly the signature dish from the City of Brotherly Love. There are a bunch of good recipes for this specialty, one of which we’ll share. But it would require stepping away from the TV for half an hour, and that would be a disaster. I’ll be buying Philly Cheese steak sandwiches from Jersey Mike’s instead (which was recommended by a couple of Philadelphia natives I know), and then using it to make a Philly Cheese Steak Salad.

According to Philadelphia's official tourism website, South Philadelphia hot dog vendor Pat Olivieri invented the cheesesteak in the 1930s. According to the legend, he decided to grill some beef from the butcher and put it on an Italian roll. A cab driver caught a whiff and asked for a steak sandwich.

football foodie Doctor GWord spread rapidly through the cabbie rumor mill, and drivers from all over the city soon visited Olivieri for steak sandwiches. Olivieri eventually opened up Pat's King of Steaks on 9th Street and Passyunk Avenue. Philadelphia Magazine says cheese was added to the mix in the '40s by Pat's manager Joe Lorenza.

But what's an iconic figure in the City of Brotherly Love without a fierce, but friendly, rivalry?

Geno's Steaks, located on the north side of the corner of 9th and Passyunk, was started in 1966. When Joey Vento saw the name "GINO" painted on a broken door in the back of his shop, he changed the "I" to an "E," and the cheesesteak joint became Geno's. Some believe that Vento was actually the first to put the cheese in cheesesteak.

Regardless, Pat's versus Geno's is the Yankees versus Mets of the Philadelphia food scene, and you are most likely going to end up picking sides and defending your choice.

Here we go.

Philadelphia Cheesesteak

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf Italian bread, or French bread or 2 large hoagie or sub rolls
  • 1⁄2 lb deli roast beef , (very rare, sliced wafer thin, or you can use a frozen rib-eye roast shaved on an electric slicer)
  • 1 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1⁄2 lb provolone cheese, thinly sliced, OR, according to some partisans Cheese Wiz
  • 1 extra-virgin olive oil, for grilling
  • 1 salt
  • 1 marinara sauce (optional topping)
  • 1 black pepper

Directions

  1. Heat a griddle or a large saute pan over medium-high heat.
  2. When hot, cover bottom with olive oil.
  3. Add the onions and bell pepper and cook, stirring, until carmelized, which will take about 6 to 8 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, salt and pepper, and cook for about 30 seconds.
  5. Then, push the mixture off to one side of the griddle.
  6. Add the meat to the hot part of the griddle.
  7. Cook, continuously flipping the meat over and slightly chopping the meat into slightly smaller pieces with 2 spatulas, until the meat is not pink, which should take about 2 minutes.
  8. Mix the meat and the carmelized onions and bell pepper together.
  9. Divide into 2 portions, and top both portions with the cheese to melt.
  10. If using Italian or French bread, cut the bread in half, crosswise, and slice lengthwise to open for the 2 sandwiches.
  11. Hollow out some of the soft white bread part from inside and place face down on top of the meat and cheese.
  12. When the cheese is melted, and with 1 or 2 spatulas, flip the sandwiches over and add topping, such as marinara sauce or ketchup, if desired, and serve immediately.

Recipe originally inspired by Food.com with 5-star rating

But, as I said, making this would take me away from the game, so we’re buying the sandwiches and using them this way…

Buy the sandwiches, bring them home and remove the bread. Refrigerate the meat and such until needed. About five minutes before eating, warm the sandwich ingredients in a medium oven. Meanwhile, divide a bag of readymade salad mix evenly between 2 bowls. Divide the hot mixture evenly over the bowls of salad, and serve immediately. If you’re feeling adventurous, throw in a couple of tomato slices.

football foodie AlanIndianapolis was harder. The web said the favorite food was fried pickles (I don’t believe it). But I kept hunting, and one recipe jumped off the screen…

Justin’s Hoosier Daddy Chili. With a name like that, how could I not choose it as an accompaniment to the cheesesteak.

According to a couple of sources, it was developed by Justin Swarens of Sellersburg, Indiana. Unfortunately, Justin’s origin and fate has been obscured by the mists of the web. But here’s his recipe.

Justin’s Hoosier Daddy Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 Pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 Teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed tomato soup
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 5 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 Teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 2 (15.5 ounce) cans pinto beans, drained (optional)

Directions

  1. Crumble the ground beef into a soup pot over medium-high heat. Cook and stir until evenly browned. Drain off most of the grease. Add onion, red pepper flakes, and half of the cumin; cook and stir until onion is tender.
  2. Pour in the tomato soup, chicken broth, and crushed tomatoes. Season with chili powder, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes. Pour in the beans, and season with remaining cumin and cayenne pepper; simmer for another 30 minutes. Now enjoy.

The recipe can be found at http://allrecipes.com/recipe/84475/justins-hoosier-daddy-chili/

A note: this was a little on the hot side for me, so you can add a couple of teaspoons of sugar or equivalent sweetener to cut the heat (or reduce the chili).

A note on the foraging for the beer from Philadelphia and Indianapolis: Searching locally for beers from these cities was generally unsuccessful. I went to or called beer and wine shops. Many stores have their beers arranged by the type of beer, IPA, Belgian ale, Seasonal, etc, and by country, but not by cities. I was able to find many breweries from Philadelphia and Indianapolis but could not find those breweries’ products in our local stores. Everyone I spoke with was very friendly and helpful, even suggesting going to other stores than their own. I went or called Totally Wine, Pharmacy Bottle and Beverage, Triangle Wine and Great Grapes. Found a brewery from Easton, PA, Weyerbacher, the Merry Monks which was close to Philadelphia. Since I could not find the Indianapolis beer, we went with Sam Adams Octoberfest. Can’t go wrong there. Next week are the Los Angeles Chargers and the Cleveland Browns. Any thoughts?

Next Week’s Teams: Los Angeles Chargers and Cleveland Browns

Football Foodie Fun

Sunday, 19 November, 2017
Football Foodie

How Football Foodies Began

By: Alan Copland, Generations Family Practice COO

Several years ago, Dr. Glodowski and I began an enjoyable custom. Since I have NFL Red Zone on my cable service, he came over every Sunday and we glutted ourselves on six solid hours of NFL highlights, live. Following the action of each game is engaging, as it is constantly switching from game to game to catch the best plays, but all in all, having solid action and no commercials feels worth it.

Last year we added a new custom to our ritual: choice of eats and beer. We put the names of each team in the league on strips of paper and put them in a hat. Every Sunday we drew two teams from the hat. The rule was that the food we would serve (picture two grown, hungry men sitting on a couch for six hours with ample beer) had to be related to the city that the teams drawn came from. For example, the Packers would require food known or loved by folks in Green Bay, Wisconsin – fondue and/or brats is the answer for that one. We can get esoteric – Cincinnati’s food was Skyline Chili (a chili recipe including chocolate, which was not bad) which comes from a locally well-known chain in the Cincinnati area,. The dishes could be cooked in our kitchen, or purchased locally or via the web (as long it was available Sunday afternoon). The beer also had to originate from one of the target cities (and often came from both). We became "Football Foodies."

Why are we sharing this story?

football foodie guys

We thought that some of you might like to get in on our fun by helping us choose what to eat (We will try not to blame you for the Monday morning GI issues tasting the cuisine). To sweeten the deal, we decided to turn it into a Football Foodie Contest! Every Sunday, for four weeks in a row, we’ll draw the cities for the following week and let you know what they are. Check Facebook (make sure to Follow Us) on Sunday evenings. LIKE that week's Contest Post AND COMMENT with your culinary suggestions for those cities. We’ll choose from the recipes you suggest, and prepare and devour (hopefully) an appetizer and a main course. EVERY WEEK WILL HAVE A WINNER! The winning entries for each week will receive a $20 Gift Certificate to a local eatery of our choice.

We will compile the names of ALL ENTRIES for the four week period and hold a GRAND PRIZE DRAWING. Everyone who submits a recipe will be entered for a chance to WIN a pair of tickets to the Carolina Panthers / Green Bay Packers game in Charlotte on December 17, 2017!!

Each week, to make it more fun, we’ll share with you the food choices for the coming Sunday and maybe a little history of that dish. We will also save the names of the folks whose recipes we sampled and have a surprise for each of you at the end of the season.

Here is an example to get you started...

Two weeks ago, we drew the Minnesota Vikings and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After racking our brains, and with some help from Google, we came up with Booyah for the Vikes and Tampa Bay Grits for the Bucs.

Booyah comes from northern Minnesota and Michigan. It is a beef/chicken/vegetable soup/stew. According to Wikipedia, it is a thick stew, probably of Belgian origin, found throughout the northern/ mid-western states. Since it is normally made in 30-gallon “Booyah kettles”, big pots simmered all day over an open fire (we cheated), it is also the name of an Autumn party at which the main entertainment is Booyah.

Tampa Bay Grits are a shrimp and sausage grits recipe from the West Coast of Florida. There seems to be a good variability in the recipe, and it is served in several noted restaurants in the Tampa area. Seems like a great football meal to us.

These are very different dishes from different cuisines, yet oddly, combined with the brews of the afternoon -- Florida Cracker Belgian style white ale (Cigar City Brewing) and Edmund Fitzgerald Porter (Great Lakes Brewing Company) -- they were perfectly matched.

Can’t wait for next week’s kickoff!

And the recipes with their sources...

BOOYAH

Ingredients:

  • 2-1/2 lbs. bone-in, English-style short ribs, trimmed, meat and bones separated (I used bone-in beef chuck short ribs)
  • 2-1/2 lbs. bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 T. vegetable oil
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped fine
  • 2 ribs celery, minced
  • 8 c. low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 c. shredded green cabbage
  • 1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 8 oz. rutabaga, peeled and cut into ½” pieces
  • 1 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½” pieces
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced ¼” thick
  • 1 c. frozen peas
  • 1 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Pat beef and chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and black pepper. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown beef on all sides, about 10 minutes; transfer to plate. Cook chicken until browned all over, about 10 minutes; transfer to plate. When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard skin.
  2. Pour off all but 1-1/2 teaspoons fat from pot. Add onions and celery and cook over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in broth and bay leaves, scraping up any browned bits. Add beef, beef bones, and chicken, and bring to boil.
  3. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until chicken registers 175° F, about 30 minutes. Transfer chicken to bowl. When chicken is cool enough to handle, shred into bite-size pieces, discarding bones. Cover chicken and refrigerate. Continue to simmer stew until beef is tender, about 1-1/4 hours longer. Transfer beef to plate. When cool enough to handle, shred into bite-size pieces, discarding fat. Remove beef bones and bay leaves. Strain broth through fine-mesh strainer; discard solids. Allow liquid to settle, about 5 minutes, then skim off fat and return liquid to pot.
  4. Add shredded beef, cabbage, tomatoes, rutabaga, 1-1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper to liquid and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until rutabaga is translucent around edges, about 15 minutes. Stir in potatoes and carrots and cook until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Add chicken and peas, and simmer until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve

Recipe from https://www.afarmgirlsdabbles.com/booyah-soup-recipe

 

TAMPA BAY GRITS

Ingredients

  • 1 package mild or beef smoked sausage
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 large green or yellow pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ Cup white wine
  • Grits Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ¼ cup heavy cream (if calories and fat content are an issue for your family, low-fat half and half can replace this ingredient)
  • 1 clove finely minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons butter (again, if dietary concerns are a worry for your family, margarine can be used as a substitute)
  • 1 teaspoon each of chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, oregano, parsley and thyme (our personal favorites are basil, sage, dill, and oregano. Feel free to experiment with different combinations of spices. We encourage fresh spices though, jarred can be too strong in flavor)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups milk (you can use skim milk for this step. It saves calories and still contains all of the nutrients of 2% milk)
  • 1 cup stone ground white cornmeal (the layman’s term is grits. We promise you that once you have grits, you will never look back)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese (we suggest getting this fresh from the deli section of your local supermarket)

Directions

  1. Prepare grits in a large saucepan. Start by combining the herbs, garlic oil and 1 tablespoon butter or margarine. On low heat, stir for about 3 minutes.
  2. Gradually stir in water and milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Be careful heating the milk so it doesn’t burn.
  3. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal. You want to do this slowly and consistently. You don’t want grits recipe that is clumpy. Reduce heat to low. Cook and stir for 5-6 minutes until the grits have a thick texture like oatmeal.
  4. Next stir in the cream and remaining butter. Mix until well blended. Add in the fresh Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Slice the Uncle John’s Pride Hot Country Sausage into pieces. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook sausage until it is browned, approximately 5-7 minutes. In the same skillet, add the peppers, onions, and garlic. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Slowly stir in the wine. Cook and stir until onions and peppers are tender and the wine has reduced. Spoon the prepared grits onto plates. Top with sausage, peppers, and onions. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and additional Parmesan cheese.

Recipe from http://unclejohnspride.com/sausage-peppers-grits-recipe

football foodie

What Can a Parent Do if They Think Their Child is Being Bullied?

Sunday, 19 November, 2017
is your child being bullied

Children being bullied is an important topic among parents these days. While the rates of bullying are not increasing, more study of the issue has led to a higher awareness of this public health problem. We dove into bullying in our October newsletter. Here, we’ll explain what steps parents can take to address bullying.

If Your Child is Bullied

In cases of bullying, children may not ask for help. One study indicated an adult was notified 40 percent of the time. Children who are bullied may not tell someone because they feel weak or feel like a tattletale. Others want to handle it on their own to regain control. They may fear backlash from the bully or fear further social isolation from peers.

To help your child, you must first determine if he or she is being bullied, but it’s best not to ask directly. You can ask about bullying at school in general. You can also ask about his/her friends, who he/she sits with at lunch or on the bus. Ask about kids who might leave your child out of activities or if anyone teases him/her in a mean way.

Parents and teachers must address bullying if it occurs, so if your child is being bullied, tell them you love them and want to help and that they can talk to you about any problems. Do not tell them to “let it go” or “suck it up.”

Next, speak with school officials, starting with the teacher. He or she knows more about what’s going on between students. If you don’t feel teachers are addressing the problem, you can speak to the principal.

In an interview with the American Psychological Association, bullying expert Susan Swearer said, “First, they must tell the student(s) who are doing the bullying to stop. They need to document what they saw and keep records of the bullying behaviors. Victims need to feel that they have a support network of kids and adults. Help the student who is being bullied feel connected to school and home. Students who are also being bullied might benefit from individual or group therapy in order to create a place where they can express their feelings openly.”

In other words, help your child identify groups he/she can turn to for help. You can also work with him or her on ways to deal with bullies. If you are worried your child is feeling depressed or socially isolated, speak to a counselor.

If You Think Your Child is the Bully

No one wants to think of their child as hurting others, but of course, we must consider that our children are not perfect. If your child is the bully, let your child know that bullying is harmful to others and can have legal consequences. Model positive behavior at home. Address and discipline any mean behavior. You may also have your child speak to a counselor or therapist who can help him/her figure out why they bully. Many children with low self-esteem bully to feel better about themselves.

Discuss bullying with your child’s pediatrician here at Generations Family Practice during your next visit or contact us for an appointment now.

 

We love this infographic from E-learning Inforgraphics about Bullying

is your child bullied

Understanding and Addressing Childhood Obesity

Sunday, 19 November, 2017
childhood obesity

Childhood obesity is on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the percentage of children with obesity in the United States has more than tripled since the 1970s. Today, about one in five school-aged children (ages 6–19) is obese.

Why This Matters
As you know, excess weight can cause many health problems, especially in children, who can suffer from asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, type 2 diabetes, and risk factors for heart disease, hypertension, early puberty, and orthopedic problems.

Children who are overweight or obese are more likely to suffer bullying, which can lead to social isolation, depression, and a lower self-esteem, along with eating disorders and behavior and learning problems. Finally, children who are obese are apt to remain so into adulthood, which further risks their health, leading to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Defining Childhood Obesity
Children grow at different rates and in different ways, so a child who looks larger than his peers may not be overweight or obese.

You probably have heard of Body Mass Index or BMI. To calculate BMI, divide weight in kilograms by the square of height in meters. A child is considered overweight if his/her BMI is at or above the 85th percentile, but below the 95th percentile for children and teens of the same age and sex. A child is obese if his/her BMI is at or above the 95th percentile. (This is different than how we categorize overweight and obesity in adults, who are no longer growing.)

There have been some changes in obesity rates due to more awareness of the issue. Despite those declines in the early 2000s, from 2011-2014, the prevalence of obesity remained about the same. About 17 percent of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years are obese — which is 12.7 million people.

Risk Factors
Poor diet and lack of exercise can cause childhood obesity. Genetics can also play a role. Some children overeat for psychological reasons, to cope with emotions or to fight boredom. Sleep also plays a role; children who lack a bedtime routine and do not get enough sleep are often heavier than their peers.

Socioeconomic status may lead to childhood obesity in households where less-healthy food is cheaper, quicker to prepare, and won’t spoil easily. According to statistics, children in low-income households are far more likely to be overweight or obese.

childhood obesity complications

 

Prevention and Cures
September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. Managing childhood obesity starts at home but extends to the community. One of the best approaches is to improve the eating and exercise habits of your entire family. Parents can encourage their children to eat healthy and get physical activity in many ways:

As a community, we can work to reduce the rate of childhood obesity. Here are some of the ways communities are addressing the problem:

  • The Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and the Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP) help low-income families buy more nutritious foods.
  • Schools can help by creating policies and practices that support healthy eating, regular physical activity, and by providing opportunities for students to learn about and practice these behaviors.
  • Childcare providers can encourage regular physical activity and healthful eating.

If you have concerns about your child’s weight, contact our pediatric providers to discuss your child’s weight and whether it’s cause for concern.
 

It's Flu Shot Time

Sunday, 19 November, 2017
flu shots available

Influenza season is just around the corner! Time to protect yourself and your loved ones by getting your flu shot.

This year, Generations Family Practice will be offering vaccines for all patients ages 6-months and older. For our youngest patients (6-25 months) Fluzone will once again replace the Flumist for increased effectiveness. Flucelvax quad is available for those patients age 4-years and older. This is the first FDA approved flu vaccine made from cells instead of chicken eggs, antibiotic free, preservative free and latex free and offers the same protection as traditional egg-based flu vaccine. We will also have the high-dose flu vaccine for patients age 65-years and older.

All vaccines are available NOW. Call our office to schedule your flu vaccine today! Established patient walk-ins are also welcome as a nurse visit, Monday through Saturday during regular office hours.

Want to know more about the flu shot and what’s new this year? Here is a great piece by Live Science outlining what you need to know!

Flu Shot Facts & Side Effects

The seasonal flu shot is a yearly vaccine administered to protect against the flu, or influenza.

In the United States, flu shots are recommended for everyone ages 6 months and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The flu can be a very serious illness, especially in young children, adults ages 65 and over, those with underlying health conditions, and pregnant women.

The flu shot is the best way to protect yourself and family from the flu, the CDC says.

Strains of the flu virus are constantly changing, so a new flu vaccine is made each year. Scientists make the vaccine before the flu season starts by predicting which flu strains are likely to be the most common during the upcoming season.

"Since the flu virus frequently drifts in its genetic composition, you have to reformulate the vaccine, and this is one of the reasons that people have to [get a flu shot] on an annual basis," said Dr. William Schaffner, a preventive medicine and infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

What kinds of flu shots are there?
Flu shots protect against three or four strains of flu virus. Trivalent flu vaccines protect against two influenza A strains -- H1N1 and H3N2 -- and one influenza B strain. Quadrivalent flu vaccines — offered for the first time in the 2013-2014 flu season — protect against the same strains as the trivalent vaccine, as well as an extra influenza B strain.

In addition to the standard-dose flu vaccine given through a needle, flu shots are available in several different forms, including a high-dose version for those ages 65 and older, a small-needle version (intradermal flu vaccine) for people ages 18 to 64, an egg-free version that's grown in animal cells rather than hen's eggs and is approved for people ages 4 and older, and a nasal spray, which is approved for healthy people ages 2 to 49.

There is also a needle-free flu shot, delivered by a so-called jet injector, which uses a high-pressure stream of fluid to inject the vaccine, the CDC says. It is approved for adults ages 18 to 64.

Flu vaccines for the 2017 to 2018 season
The composition of the 2017-2018 flu shot will be slightly different from last season's flu shot. Specifically, there will be a different strain of the H1N1 virus in this season's flu shot, compared with last season's shot. According to the CDC, the 2017-2018 trivalent flu shot will contain the following strains of the flu virus:

• A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus – This is the H1N1 component that is different from last year's flu shot.
• A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus – This is the H3N2 component that is the same as last year's flu shot.
• B/Brisbane/60/2008-like (B/Victoria lineage) virus – This is the influenza B strain component that is the same as last year's shot.

The 2017-2018 quadrivalent vaccine will also contain a second influenza B strain called "B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (B/Yamagata lineage) virus," which was also included in last season's quadrivalent vaccine.

Just like the last flu season, the flu nasal spray is not recommended for anyone during the 2017-2018 flu season. This is the second year in a row that the CDC has omitted the nasal spray from the list of recommended flu shot types. This decision was based on data showing that the nasal spray was not very effective at preventing flu from 2013 to 2016, the CDC says. In addition, omitting the nasal spray during the 2016-2017 flu season did not affect the overall percentage of Americans who received a flu shot that season, according to American Academy of Family Physicians. It's not clear whether this recommendation will change in future seasons.

In addition, the CDC clarified that pregnant women may receive any of the flu vaccines recommended for their age group, except the nasal spray (also called the live attenuated influenza vaccine, or LAIV.) This means pregnant women can receive either "inactivated" (killed) flu vaccine, or the "recombinant" flu vaccine, which is produced without the use of chicken eggs and can be given to people with egg allergies. Previously, the CDC had said pregnant women should receive the "inactivated," but did not mention use of recombinant vaccines.

When should you get a flu shot?
Exactly when the flu season starts and ends is unpredictable, so health officials recommend that people get their flu shot in early fall, preferably by the end of October, the CDC says. Flu activity typically peaks in January or February.

"We'd like to get as many people protected against influenza before influenza becomes active in communities across the country," Schaffner said.

Most flu vaccines are given before Thanksgiving, Schaffner said, but people can still get their shot throughout the winter months. Each season's flu shot expires in June of that year, but Schaffner said that he would consider it "too late" to get a flu vaccine after March, unless a person is traveling to the Southern Hemisphere (where the flu season will be starting).

After vaccination, it takes a person about two weeks to build up immunity against the flu.

People can visit the CDC's HealthMap Vaccine Finder to find flu shot locations, although they should call the location ahead of time to see if they have the vaccine in stock.

How effective is the flu vaccine?
The effectiveness of the seasonal flu vaccine depends upon several factors, including how well the flu strains in the vaccine match the strains in circulation. Some studies show that when strains in the vaccine are a good match with the ones that are circulating, vaccinated individuals are 60 percent less likely to catch the flu than people who aren't vaccinated, according to the CDC.

Flu vaccine effectiveness can also vary depending on the person being vaccinated — the vaccine tends to work best in healthy adults and older children, and less well in older adults.

For instance, a 2013 study from the CDC found that the year's flu vaccine was not very effective in adults ages 65 and over: Older people who got the vaccine were just as likely to visit the doctor for flu symptoms as those who did not get the vaccine. But other studies suggest that individuals who do get sick develop less serve symptoms if they are vaccinated. A 2013 study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases found that people who got the flu shot were less likely to be hospitalized with the flu.

There are some studies that suggest the high-dose flu vaccine provides better protection for older adults. The high-dose flu vaccine contains four times the dose of the standard vaccine, Schaffner said. A 2014 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the high-dose vaccine provides 24 percent more protection against the flu than the standard dose, Schaffner said.

Are flu vaccines safe for pregnant women?
Yes. Studies show flu vaccines are safe for women in any stage of pregnancy, the CDC says.

There are several reasons why it's important for pregnant women to get a flu shot, Schaffner said.

"Pregnant women, when they get influenza, have a tendency to get a more severe disease," and are at increased risk for complications and hospitalization from the disease, Schaffner said.

In addition, flu vaccination in pregnancy helps to protect the baby against flu during the first six months of life, when the baby is too young to receive a flu shot, Schaffner said. The mother "passes that protection on to her newborn baby," Schaffner said.

What are the side effects?
According to the CDC, mild side effects from the flu shot include soreness, redness or swelling at the injection site, low-grade fever and aches. Only about 1 percent to 2 percent of people who get a flu shot will have fever as a side effect, Schaffner said. Rare but serious side effects can occur, including allergic reactions. Symptoms of serious side effects include difficulty breathing, swelling around the eyes or lips, hives, racing heart, dizziness and high fever. If you experience serious side effects, you should seek medical care immediately, the CDC says.

For children, side effects from the flu nasal spray can include runny nose, wheezing, headache, vomiting, muscle aches and fever. For adults, side effects include runny nose, headache, sore throat and cough. These side effects last a short time compared to the actual flu illness, the CDC says.

Can you get the flu from the flu shot?
"It's a myth that you can get flu from the flu vaccine," Schaffner said.

The viruses in the flu shot are killed, so people cannot get the flu from a flu vaccine. However, because it takes about two weeks for people to build up immunity after they get the flu vaccine, some people may catch the flu shortly after their vaccinated, if they are exposed to the flu during this time period.

Some people may also mistakenly attribute symptoms of a cold to the vaccine, Schaffner said.

The nasal spray vaccine contains a "live attenuated" flu virus, but the virus is weakened so that it cannot cause the flu. The viruses in the nasal spray can't replicate in the warm temperatures of the lungs and other parts in the body.

However, because temperatures in the nose are colder, the virus causes a small infection in the nose. This infection does not cause symptoms in most people, but in some people, it causes symptoms such as runny nose and sore throat, Schaffner said.

This local infection will prompt the body to make antibodies against the flu virus, Schaffner said. "That provides better protection against the real flu, which is of course, is a virus that can make you seriously ill," Schaffner said.

Who should not get a flu vaccine?
Children younger than 6 months cannot get a flu shot. Those who've had a severe allergic reaction to a flu vaccine in the past should generally not be vaccinated, the CDC says.

You should not get the flu vaccine if you have a high fever. (You should wait until the fever is gone.)

However, if you have minor illness, like a mild cold or a headache, you can still get a flu shot, Schaffner said. "The vaccine does perfectly well in those folks."

By Rachael Rettner, Senior Writer, Live Science

7 Tips for Beach Safety

Sunday, 19 November, 2017
beach safety
In the Triangle, summer means trips to the beach! Nothing ruins a vacation like a trip to the emergency department. Stay safe with these 7 beach safety tips:

Beach Safety Tips

  • Beware of rip currents. A rip current is water flowing away from the shore. The water flow can be up to 8 feet per second, faster than an Olympic swimmer! Avoid them. But if you get stuck, relax, then swim parallel to shore. Here is more information about rip currents and here is a handy chart.
  • Understand beach warning flags. Lifeguards watch most of our area beaches during peak season, and they will post warning flags. A red flag means the water is hazardous and only strong swimmers should go in. Two red flags indicate swimming is prohibited. A yellow flag means use caution; there are dangerous currents and undertows. A green flag means all clear. Some beaches use blue and purple flags to warn of sharks or jellyfish.
  • Part of beach safety includes keeping an eye out for sharks. Sharks aren’t always a problem in North Carolina, but we do see them off the coast sometimes. National Shark Week is in July, and it’s not just time to binge watch the Discovery channel. Keep safe by monitoring the beach warning flags. If all is clear, try to swim in a group, don’t stray too far from shore. You can also lower your risk by not swimming at night, dawn, or dusk. Don’t enter the water if you are bleeding and don’t wear shiny jewelry.
  • Seek shelter during storms. Summer storms can be exciting but may come with damaging winds, hail, and lightning. According to the National Weather Service, most lightning deaths occur during leisure activities such as boating, camping, fishing, and bicycle riding. While it’s inconvenient to stop what you are doing and seek shelter, especially if you are out on a lake, it’s important to do so. 

     

  • Protect your skin from the sun. Sunburn isn’t just uncomfortable; on average, a person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns. Wear hats and sunscreen of at least SPF 30 when you are out. Reapply sunscreen after swimming or sweating and every hour. At the beach, plant an umbrella or tent so you can take breaks in the shade. Keep in mind tents will not block all the sun’s rays though, so you’ll still need to reapply sunscreen.
  • Avoid food poisoning. Food on the beach will get warm quickly. Temperatures between 40 degrees and 140 degrees is known as the “danger zone” for cooked food. At those temperatures, food can only be left out for two hours. But if it’s a hot day, say 90 degrees, you only get one hour. Prevent bacteria from forming by putting things back in the cooler when you are done.
  • Stay hydrated. While many people enjoy alcohol at the beach, the combined heat and sun will dehydrate your body faster. Plus, alcohol can make your skin more sensitive to light, which means a higher risk of sunburn. Experts recommend drinking 8 ounces of water after every alcoholic beverage. 
 
Our team at Generations Family Practice hopes you have a happy, safe summer and practice these beach safety tips on your next vacation!

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