Groundhog Day Crossword

Invite your students to learn more about Groundhog Day by matching the clue with the appropriate term in this fun crossword puzzle. Each of the key terms used have been provided in a word bank to make the activity accessible for younger students. 

10 things I wish I knew before buying an air fryer

By olito@businessinsider.com (Frank Olito)  for Insider©

Slide 1 of 11:  My air fryer changed my cooking for the better, but there are some things I wish I knew before buying it.  The air fryer is small, so you can't cook for many people, and you can't cook multiple foods at the same time. I find that you will need a cookbook and olive oil to successfully use an air fryer.  Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. Throughout 2020, I heard many friends and people all over social media raving about their air fryers.When the holidays came around, I decided to finally find out what all the fuss was about. Instantly, I understood why so many people have fallen in love with the kitchen appliance. The air fryer became a game changer in my kitchen, allowing me to cook dinner in minutes and fry chicken, vegetables, and other foods without submerging them in unhealthy oil.Even though the appliance changed my cooking lifestyle for the better, there were still a few things about the air fryer that surprised me and that I wish I knew before I made the purchase. Read the original article on Insider
©frank olito
  • My air fryer changed my cooking for the better, but there are some things I wish I knew before buying it. 
  • The air fryer is small, so you can’t cook for many people, and you can’t cook multiple foods at the same time.
  • I find that you will need a cookbook and olive oil to successfully use an air fryer. 

Throughout 2020, I heard many friends and people all over social media raving about their air fryers. When the holidays came around, I decided to finally find out what all the fuss was about. Instantly, I understood why so many people have fallen in love with the kitchen appliance. The air fryer became a game changer in my kitchen, allowing me to cook dinner in minutes and fry chicken, vegetables, and other foods without submerging them in unhealthy oil.

Even though the appliance changed my cooking lifestyle for the better, there were still a few things about the air fryer that surprised me and that I wish I knew before I made the purchase. 

There are many different types of air fryers, and the one you choose is important.

There are a ton of air fryers on the market, but they mostly boil down to two models: a convection-oven air fryer and a basket air fryer. The first one resembles a mini toaster or convection oven. On the other hand, the basket air fryer is the more traditional air fryer that uses a drawerlike compartment to cook food.

I was not expecting there to be so many options, so I had to do a lot of research to make sure I was making the right decision. In the end, I decided to buy the Cuisinart convection-oven air fryer for $100 because it has more capabilities, like broiling, toasting, and roasting.

Air fryers can take up a lot of counter space.

Though some are small enough to fit in a cabinet, the air fryer I bought could not easily be stored away. Measuring 11.75 inches by 12 inches, my air fryer needed plenty of counter space, to my surprise. When I unboxed the new appliance, I needed to find 2 feet of counter space in my small Brooklyn apartment. Eventually, I found a spot next to my microwave that has become what I call the appliance corner.

Everything cooks so fast — sometimes too fast.

When cooking in an air fryer, most foods take less than 15 minutes to fully cook, which is always a surprise for me. Typically, I’m used to waiting 20 or 30 minutes to bake chicken breasts in the oven. While the chicken breasts bake, I typically wash the kitchen and tidy up.

Sometimes, things cook so fast that I don’t even realize they’re done. One night, I cooked a meatloaf, and it was finished in under 15 minutes. I was expecting it would take closer to 20, so I left it in there too long. That night, I had burned meatloaf for dinner.

You have to flip most foods halfway through the cooking time for an even cook.

In my air fryer, it’s difficult to get an even cooking texture. Most times, the top of the food becomes crispy and delicious, while the bottom remains soggy. For example, when I made breaded chicken cutlets, one side of them was crunchy, while the other looked mushy. 

I learned quite quickly that I had to flip the food halfway through to get the underside crispy as well. It’s not something I was used to doing with a regular oven.

Some air fryers come with a basket and a tray, and it’s confusing when you should use which.

My air fryer came with a basket and a tray. Some recipes I’ve used told me to use the tray and others told me to use the basket. When I’m not using a recipe to cook dinner, I often struggle to decide which is best to use — something I never had to struggle with before I had an air fryer. I tend to lean toward the basket when I’m attempting to fry something and the tray when I’m roasting.

Following an air-fryer cookbook — especially in the beginning — is a lifesaver.

Since my air fryer looks so much like an oven, I’ve caught myself using it like one. Instead of following a recipe, there have been a few times where I’ve just thrown food in and set the temperature to 375 degrees. In these incidences, the meal never turns out great because it’s not a typical oven. It’s an air fryer that relies on temperature and timing controls that I’m not familiar with just yet.

When I follow an air-fryer-specific recipe that tells me what to put the temperature on and how long to cook it for, the food always turns out much better.

Many air fryers are best for one to two servings and can’t really be used for big dinners.

Though the air fryer was bigger than I expected, and I struggled to find counter space for it, the space where food is cooked is quite small. I can’t imagine you can cook for a large group of people with this appliance — at least not in the model I own. You’d have to cook in batches.

For instance, some recipes I’ve followed said I should put in only two strips of chicken breasts at a time to ensure even cooking and then do a second batch.

I’d recommend staying away from the air fryer if you’re cooking for more than two people.

Similarly, you can’t cook the meat and the vegetables at the same time.

I’m used to baking chicken and vegetables on one giant sheet in the oven. That’s not possible in an air fryer because of its size.

One night I was cooking chicken, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, and they all needed to go in the air fryer, according to their recipes. Instead of putting them all on one tray, as I would have with a traditional oven, I had to cook the chicken first, then the vegetables. By the time everything was finished cooking, the meat was cold. 

Olive oil is still necessary when cooking with an air fryer.

A common misconception is that air fryers completely eliminate the need for olive oil. The truth is that most recipes I’ve used still want me to drizzle olive oil on my food so that it will crisp up in the air fryer. But it is important to note that I’ve used significantly less olive oil with the air fryer than I would have if I traditionally fried my foods.

When the food is cooking, it’s difficult to check if it’s done.

Though my air fryer has a window, the space inside is so small that it’s difficult to see if something is cooked or not. With basket air fryers, there is no window, so it’s impossible to see how your food is doing. Instead, you have to rely solely on the timer.

Many times I’ve had to open the door, let out the precious heat, and pull out the tray just to see if something is cooked through.

Source: 10 things I wish I knew before buying an air fryer (msn.com)

Everything You Need to Know About Groundhog Day

Alex Wong / Getty Images

By Albrecht Powell

Every year on February 2, exactly halfway between the winter solstice and spring equinox, Americans eagerly await the emergence of Punxsutawney Phil, the Western Pennsylvania groundhog who predicts the conclusion of winter by seeing his own shadow. Whether or not you believe in the folklore, Groundhog Day is a cherished tradition with a long history and international renown, primarily due to the 1993 hit movie, “Groundhog Day.”

Although the holiday, as it is today, is a uniquely American tradition, the history stretches hundreds of years back before the first Europeans ever crossed the Atlantic.

Religious Beginnings

The roots of Groundhog Day go all the way back to a different celebration, the Christian feast day of Candlemas. On February 2, Christians traditionally bring candles to their local church to be blessed, which in turn bring light and warmth to the home for the remainder of winter.

At some point, a Candlemas folk song appeared in England that added the element of weather forecast to the holiday:

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again.

Due to the song, the connection between Candlemas and the beginning of spring spread across all of Europe, but still without any connection to an animal.

Introduction of the Groundhog

Germany created its own interpretation of Candlemas and incorporated small hibernating animals into the lore, such as hedgehogs. If a hedgehog emerged on February 2 and saw its own shadow, there would be six more weeks of cold weather. If it didn’t see its own shadow, then spring would come early.

As early German immigrants arrived in America and settled in what is now Pennsylvania, Candlemas is just one of the many customs they brought with them. Because hedgehogs are native to Europe and don’t exist in the wild in North America, the German settlers searched for another burrowing animal in the area to consult and found the groundhog.

First Groundhog Day

The first official Groundhog Day was celebrated on February 2, 1886, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, with a proclamation in The Punxsutawney Spirit by the newspaper’s editor, Clymer Freas: “Today is Groundhog Day and up to the time of going to press the beast has not seen its shadow.” Exactly one year later, townspeople made the first trip to Gobbler’s Knob, the hill where the famous groundhog emerges from, and thus began the modern tradition of Groundhog Day. The local paper proclaimed that Punxsutawney Phil, as he was affectionately named, was the one and only official weather prognosticating groundhog.

Phil’s fame began to spread and newspapers from around the world began to report his predictions. Growing legions of fans started making the trek to Punxsutawney every February 2, and with the release of the movie “Groundhog Day,” the crowds began to number in the tens of thousands. Phil’s yearly Groundhog Day predictions are even entered into the Congressional Record.

Groundhog Day Inspectors with Groundhog
Bettmann Archive / Getty Images

Punxsutawney Groundhog Day Celebration

Many major news networks show the festivities for viewers to watch live online or on TV from the comfort of your own home, which takes place at 7:25 a.m. Eastern time.

If you want to catch a glimpse of Phil’s prediction in person, arrive in Punxsutawney a few hours early or, ideally, at least the day before. Thousands of tourists descend on the small town each February, so lodging and parking are severely limited. Several shuttles provide transportation throughout the morning from the town center to Gobbler’s Knob.

If you decide to spend a few days in Punxsutawney, you’ll see that the celebrations are stretched out across the week. A city-wide festival in the days leading up to February 2 includes ice carving sculpture competitions, food tours, wine tasting, kids’ scavenger hunts, live music concerts, and more.

Punxsutawney Phil

The groundhog’s full name is actually “Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators and Weather-Prophet Extraordinary.” It was so proclaimed by the “Punxsutawney Groundhog Club” in 1887, the same year they declared Punxsutawney to be the weather capital of the world.

For most of the year, Phil lives in a climate-controlled home at the Punxsutawney Library. He is taken to Gobbler’s Knob and placed in a heated burrow underneath a simulated tree stump on stage before being pulled out at 7:25 a.m. on Groundhog Day, February 2, to make his prediction.

Phil is reputed by townspeople to be more than 100 years old, surviving far beyond a marmot’s normal life span.

Source: Groundhog Day: Origins, Facts, and Punxsutawney Phil (thoughtco.com)

26 Plants You Should Always Grow Side-By-Side

by The House Beautiful Editors

a close up of a flower garden: Companion planting uses one species' advantages to help another. Check out these 13 power pairs!
© Willowpix – Getty Images

Seasoned gardeners know that a diverse mix of plants makes for a healthy and beautiful garden. Many believe that certain plant combinations have extraordinary (even mysterious) powers to help each other grow. Scientific study of the process, called companion planting, has confirmed that some combinations have real benefits unique to those pairings.

Companions help each other grow and use garden space efficiently. Tall plants, for example, provide shade for sun-sensitive shorter plants. Vines can cover the ground while tall stalks grow skywards, allowing two plants to occupy the same patch.

Some couplings also prevent pest problems. Plants can repel harmful organisms or lure the bad bugs away from more delicate species.

These combinations of plants do way better, together:

Roses and Garlic

Gardeners have been planting garlic with roses for eons since the bulbs can help to repel rose pests. Garlic chives are probably just as repellent, and their small purple or white flowers in late spring look great with rose flowers and foliage.

Marigolds and Melons

Certain marigold varieties control nematodes in the roots of melon without using chemical treatments.

Tomatoes and Cabbage

Tomatoes repel diamondback moth larvae, which can chew large holes in cabbage leaves.

Cucumbers and Nasturtiums

The nasturtium’s vining stems make them a great companion rambling among your growing cucumbers and squash plants, suggests Sally Jean Cunningham, master gardener and author of Great Garden Companions>>>P. Nasturtiums reputedly repel cucumber beetles, but they can also serve as a habitat for predatory insects like spiders and ground beetles.

Peppers and Pigweed

Leafminers preferred both pigweed (also called amaranthus) and ragweed to pepper plants in a study at the Coastal Plains Experiment Station in Tifton, Georgia. Just be careful to remove the flowers before the weeds set seed.

Cabbage and Dill

“Dill is a great companion for cabbage family plants, such as broccoli and brussels sprouts,” Cunningham says. The cabbages support the floppy dill, while the dill attracts the helpful wasps that control cabbage worms and other pests.

Corn and Beans

The beans attract beneficial insects that prey on corn pests such as leafhoppers, fall armyworms, and leaf beetles. The vines can also climb up the corn stalks.

Lettuce and Tall Flowers

Nicotiana (flowering tobacco) and cleome (spider flower) give lettuce the light shade it grows best in.

Radishes and Spinach

Planting radishes among your spinach will draw leafminers away from the healthy greens>>>P. The damage the leafminers do to radish leaves doesn’t prevent the radishes from growing nicely underground.

Potatoes and Sweet Alyssum

The sweet alyssum has tiny flowers that attract delicate beneficial insects>>>P, such as predatory wasps. Plant sweet alyssum alongside bushy crops like potatoes>>>P, or let it spread to form a living ground cover under arching plants like broccoli. Bonus: The alyssum’s sweet fragrance will scent your garden all summer longer.

Cauliflower and Dwarf Zinnias

The nectar from the dwarf zinnias lures ladybugs and other predators that help protect cauliflower>>>P.

Collards and Catnip

Studies have found that planting catnip alongside collards reduces flea-beetle damage on the collards. The fragrant plant may also help repel mosquitoes>>>P.

Strawberries and Love-In-A-Mist

Tall, blue-flowered love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena)”looks wonderful planted in the center of a wide row of strawberries,” Cunningham says.

Source: 26 Plants You Should Always Grow Side-By-Side (msn.com)

Welcome to Easy English Level 3

This will be a new, continuing feature for tutoringyou.org readers. Easy to read and understand, this feature introduces you to words you may not have seen or used before. It is in story format with level 1 on Mondays, Level 2 on Tuesdays, and Level 3 on Wednesday. Each Level more harder than the previous Level. Not to worry, though. The new words are linked to their definitions, so I think you will be able to read at your Level without much difficulty. Always attempt to read at the higher Level. That’s how quicker learning is accomplished. Good luck and have fun learning English !

Dalai Lama Speaks with Greta – level 3

Dalai Lama Speaks with Greta

20-01-2021

Last week, the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, virtually met the Swedish climate activist and one of the world´s most recognizable individuals, Greta Thunberg.

They were joined by two leading climate scientists for a discussion titled ´The Crisis of Climate Feedback Loops´. The Dalai Lama honored the courage that Thunberg and millions of young people around the world were demonstrating by standing up for and demanding climate justice. His primary message throughout the event was that all 7.8 billion humans needed to think and act as a single community.

The Dalai Lama said that he felt real hope after hearing Thunberg speak while Thunberg urged people to educate themselves on climate issues.

Difficult words: recognizable (somebody who people can immediately identify), climate feedback loop (something that speeds up or slows down a climate change), climate justice (a term that is used to frame global warming as an ethical and political issue rather than a purely environmental or natural issue).

Source: Dalai Lama Speaks with Greta – level 3 | News in Levels

Happy National Chocolate Cake Day 2021

By Alexis Ty  for IBT™

  Photo: Mastro’s Restaurants 

KEY POINTS

  • There are several ways to up one’s chocolate cake game
  • The right measurement of ingredients is key in making the perfect chocolate cake
  • Even the temperature of the ingredients plays a part in baking the perfect cake

Chocolate cake is a classic favorite, and many chefs and amateur cooks have made their own versions of this delicious treat over the years. National Chocolate Cake Day is celebrated every Jan. 27 to commemorate the baked good loved across the country and around the world.

To celebrate the occasion this Wednesday, here are 12 secrets to making a cake the best and chocolatiest it can be for National Chocolate Cake Day:

1. Use the best chocolate available

Since chocolate is the main flavor one will be tasting, make sure that the quality of the chocolate to be used in the cake is of high quality. A good rule of thumb is to use chocolate that one wouldn’t mind snacking on from a bowl. This ensures that the batter, frosting or filling of the cake will be top-notch.

2. Use high-quality unsweetened cocoa

The deep, rich flavor that comes with chocolate cake is from cocoa, and the darker the hue of the cocoa, the more satisfying the flavor will be, according to Mashed.com. Using unsweetened cocoa will allow one to gauge how much additional sugar is needed to get the best result.

3. Measure flour and sugar carefully

The right measurement is key in making the perfect chocolate cake. Using too much sugar will make the crust too dark, while putting in less sugar will prevent the cake from getting that rich hue always present in good chocolate cake, Domino Sugar said. As for flour, adding too much will cause the top of the cake to crack.

4. Dust parchment-lined pan with cocoa instead of flour

Dusting the pan with flour before adding the batter will help in getting a clean release after baking, but cocoa powder does a good job of it as well. A bonus when using cocoa powder for chocolate cake is that it provides more depth of flavor, per the Los Angeles Times.

5. Mayonnaise is instrumental in making a moist cake

Mayonnaise can add to the moisture of a cake, although this practice is less popular with modern bakers. Follow this homemade mayonnaise recipe to see if it works for you.

6. Add a dash of sea salt

One should never forget salt when baking a cake. Even though the recipe for chocolate cake only requires a small amount of it, don’t underestimate the richness salt can bring to the table. It acts as a flavor enhancer and makes the cocoa more prominent while balancing out the sweetness of the cake.

7. Milk is necessary

Milk gives the cake its creamy texture so a lot of recipes call for bakers to include it or some other type of dairy in their cake-baking process.

8. Use shiny pans

When baking chocolate cake, opt for shiny pans instead of dark ones. Dark-colored pans absorb more of the oven’s heat, which could cause premature over-browning.

9. Use room temperature ingredients

Even the temperature of the ingredients plays a part in baking the perfect cake. Using eggs, butter and dairy ingredients that are at room temperature will create an emulsion that traps air, which eventually expands with the oven’s heat, resulting in a chocolate cake that’s fluffy.

10. Start and end with the dry ingredients

When adding in the wet and dry ingredients to the creamed butter and sugar mixture for cake, be sure to alternate between the dry and the wet, beginning with the dry and ending with the dry as well.

11. Vanilla extract can be skipped

If you wish to experience the rich flavor of chocolate in all its glory, opt not to add vanilla extract to the mixture.

12. Don’t over mix the batter

Chocolate cake batter should never be overmixed as this could lead to tough cake textures.

Source: National Chocolate Cake Day 2021: 12 Baking Secrets To Making The Chocolatiest Cake (ibtimes.com)

Welcome to Easy English Level 2

This will be a new, continuing feature for tutoringyou.org readers. Easy to read and understand, this feature introduces you to words you may not have seen or used before. It is in story format with level 1 on Mondays, Level2 on Tuesdays, and Level 3 on Wednesday. Each Level more harder than the previous Level. Not to worry, though. The new words are linked to their definitions, so I think you will be able to read at your Level without much difficulty. Always attempt to read at the higher Level. That’s how quicker learning is accomplished. Good luck and have fun learning English !

Dalai Lama Speaks with Greta – level 2

Dalai Lama Speaks with Greta

20-01-2021

The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of Tibet, and he is interested in global problems. Last week, he spoke to Greta Thunberg. Greta Thunberg is a Swedish girl who became a leader of young people who wanted to stop climate change.

The Dalai Lama, Thunberg, and two scientists spoke about the climate crisis. The Dalai Lama said that Thunberg was a very brave young woman and that she gave him hope for a better future.

The Dalai Lama said that all people in the world had to think and work together. Thunberg said that people needed to learn more about climate problems and do something to stop them.

Difficult words: climate change (the change of usual weather of the planet), climate crisis (the changes of the usual weather of the planet which are dangerous for people, and it is not possible to stop them), hope (the feeling that something good will happen).

Source: Dalai Lama Speaks with Greta – level 2 | News in Levels

Welcome to Easy English

This will be a new, continuing feature for tutoringyou.org readers. Easy to read and understand, this feature introduces you to words you may not have seen or used before. It is in story format with level 1 on Mondays, Level2 on Tuesdays, and Level 3 on Wednesday. Each Level more harder than the previous Level. Not to worry, though. The new words are linked to their definitions, so I think you will be able to read at your Level without much difficulty. Always attempt to read at the higher Level. That’s how quicker learning is accomplished. Good luck and have fun learning English !

Dalai Lama Speaks with Greta – level 1

Dalai Lama Speaks with Greta

20-01-2021

The Dalai Lama is the leader of Tibet. Buddhists choose him as their leader. He is not an official leader because Tibet belongs to China. The Dalai Lama is 85 years old.

Greta Thunberg comes from Sweden. She is 18 years old. She is an environmental activist. It means that she wants to make political changes and protect our planet.

She speaks to politicians about climate problems. Many people in the world know Greta. They want to be like Greta. They care about the environment.

The Dalai Lama speaks with Greta. The Dalai Lama thinks that all people in the world must work together. He believes that young people can change the world. Greta says that all people must learn about climate problems.

Difficult words: protect (to keep something well and safe), climate problems (problems with the air, water, and weather on the planet), environment (the natural world).

Source: Dalai Lama Speaks with Greta – level 1 | News in Levels