Archive for December, 2010

Fun Non-Alcoholic Drinks to Serve this New Years Eve

Non-Alcoholic “Mocktails”

Designated Driver’s Delight

  • ‚ 2 1/2 oz. orange juice
  • ‚ 1 1/4 oz. pineapple juice
  • ‚ 1 1/4 oz. cranberry juice
  • ‚ 2 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • ‚ 3-4 frozen strawberries

Mix in a blender until smooth. Serve in a hurricane glass with an orange slide and a strawberry.

The Enforcer

  • ‚ Fresh brewed coffee
  • ‚ Whipped cream
  • ‚ Chocolate sprinkles
  • ‚ Sugar cubes
  • ‚ Cinnamon

Pour coffee into a mug and stir in two sugar cubes and a dash of cinnamon. Top with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles.

Citrus Collins

  • ‚ 2 oz. orange or grapefruit juice
  • ‚ 1 oz. lemon juice
  • ‚ 1 oz. simple syrup*

Fill a 10-12 oz. glass with ice. Add ingredients above and then fill with club soda. Garnish with ½ orange slide and cherry.

* HINT: Simple Syrup — In a saucepan, combine 2 cups sugar and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil gently for 5 minutes. Makes about 2 cups. Will keep 6 months in the refrigerator.

Pink Mist

  • ‚ 5 oz. grapefruit juice
  • ‚ 1 oz. grenadine
  • ‚ 2 oz. pina colada mix
  • ‚ Splash of seltzer

Blend ingredients, serve over ice, garnish with pineapple and cherries.

Coffee Eggnog

  • ‚ 2 eggs, separated
  • ‚ 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ‚ 1/3 cup sugar
  • ‚ 1/3 cup instant coffee
  • ‚ dash salt
  • ‚ 2 cups milk, chilled
  • ‚ 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • ‚ shaved, unsweetened chocolate

In a small bowl with electric mixer at high speed, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar until stiff peaks form. In large bowl, beat egg yolks until lemon colored. Gradually beat in coffee, salt, vanilla, milk and 3/4 cup water. Stir in egg-white mixture and whipped cream. Mix well. Serve well chilled, with chocolate sprinkled over each serving. Makes 12 servings.

Red Delicious Punch

Pour 2 bottles of nonalcoholic sparkling cider into a punch bowl. Mix in 1 quart of cranberry juice. Float a frozen ice ring and garnish with sprigs of mint.

Kaux Kir

For each serving, half fill a large wine glass with chilled white grape juice. Stir in 1 tbsp. nonalcoholic grenadine syrup. Fill with cold raspberry ginger ale.

New Year’s Eve Kiss

Pour 2 oz. passion fruit juice in a champagne flute. Fill with club soda.


Top Tips for a Safe New Year’s

No matter if you are the party host or guest this New Year’s Eve, below are the Top Tips for having a fun time and staying safe.

The mix of New Year’s Eve parties and alcohol can be a deadly combination. Here are the top tips to follow if you choose to drink.

  • Set a limit and stick to it!
  • Eat before you drink because food will slow down the absorption of alcohol in your bloodstream.
  • Drink a glass of water between each alcoholic drink.
  • Remember only Time will free the body from the effects of alcohol. Coffee, cold showers and exercise don’t speed up the process to sobriety.

If you are hosting a New Year’s Eve Party with alcohol follow these tips to help your guests have a fun and safe time:

  • Always serve food that is protein-based like cheese and meat verses thirst-provoking appetizers like chips or other salty snacks.
  • Make it easy for guests to make frequent trips to the food table or pass around trays.
  • Plan the party to focus on people and events, not the drinking.
  • Offer non-alcoholic beverages and make them readily available for all guests.
  • If preparing an alcoholic punch, use a non-carbonated base like fruit juice instead of a carbonated base because the alcohol will be absorbed slower.
  • Shut down the bar an hour before the end of the party and have non-alcoholic beverages available at that time.
  • If a guest has been over served, offer to drive them home or call a cab.
  • Recruit friends ahead of time who will not be drinking to help you make sure everyone has a safe ride home.

The choice is yours to drink on New Year’s. If you choose to drink, pay attention to the amount of alcohol you drink and set a limit. Here’s the low down on alcohol consumption.

A 12-ounce can of beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine and a 1.5 ounce shot of 80 proof liquor all contain the same amount of alcohol. Each one-half ounce of alcohol takes the average body about one hour to process and eliminate. The Texas limit for blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) when you’re driving is 0.08%.  Texas is also a zero-tolerance state for underage drinking; any detectable amount of alcohol in drivers under 21 is a crime.

While a DWI conviction requires a BAC of 0.08% or above, any driver can be cited for “driving while impaired” by drugs or lower concentrations of alcohol. For more information about the penalties in the state of Texas, please visit

According to Kevin B. Lewis, chief executive officer of Southwest Florida Addiction Services. “A person who weighs 140 pounds will reach that limit (0.08%) with three drinks in an hour. Because a person may not feel drunk, they may not realize that their reaction time and driving skills are measurably impaired. Not eating properly, prescription and over the counter medications and fatigue can all enhance the effect of alcohol on an individual.“

Common Holiday Pet Hazards

Don’t forget about your pets this holiday season and I am not talking about gift giving. The holidays are a time for good food and treats, but when it comes to giving food and treats to your pet, be cautious.

This years list of most common holiday hazards for pets are feeding problems, foreign-body ingestion and accidental poisoning according to Gina Spadafori at

Tricks or Treats?

You may be tempted to give your pet something special like a piece of turkey skin or a little bit of aunt Sue’s secret dip, but please resist. Fatty foods like this can be too rich or spicy and can trigger something minor like an upset stomach or serious inflammation of the pancreas or intestines that could mean a life-threatening medical emergency.

How can you avoid this problem? Beef or poultry won’t hurt your animal, but remember to steer clear of the skin, which contains more fat.

If you would like to treat your pet to a special bone, stick to knuckle bones for large dogs and oxtails for small ones. These treats can be found at the meat counter and are inexpensive. Poultry bones and turkey bones are prone to splintering and can drive shards through your pet’s intestines. Always remember to supervise your dog’s chewing. If you have a dog that prefers to eat the bones rather than chew, make certain these bones aren’t causing internal problems like, constipation or blockage.

While the Christmas tree is a great decoration, it can hazardous for your pets. Ornaments and ribbon can be very appealing for cats and kittens. If ingested, the ribbon, string or yarn can twist up the intestines. The water under the tree contains secretions that can at the very least cause a stomachache. Cats have also been known to climb the limbs of trees. To avoid any problems, make the tree inaccessible to your pets.

Truth or Myth?

Which holiday plants should you decorate with that are not toxic to your pets? Mistletoe and bulbs of the amaryllis plant may seam harmless, but they are toxic. Surprisingly, the maligned poinsettia is a safe plant to have around this holiday season, even though it has been thought of as the poster child for holiday pet poisoning.

Please remember to use common sense when treating your pets this holiday season. Now you have it, the top reasons you don’t want to visit your vet in the next few weeks.

Toxic Toys This Holiday Season

Why do your kids need “healthy toys?” has tested thousands of toys since 2007. Their intension is to help consumers with the information they need to make better choices when purchasing toys and other children’s products. The most recent Toy Test Screening Results are now posted.

Some of the key findings include:

  • Levels of lead continue to decline in toys and children’s products. While lead was detected in 61% of products, none of the products contained lead at over 300 ppm (the current CPSIA limit for lead in substrates).
  • Far too many toys and children’s products continue to be made out of PVC.  78% of the products tested contained PVC in one or more components.
  • Toys and children’s product’s still contain too many other chemical hazards.  48% had cadmium levels greater then 40 ppm; 77% had tin levels greater than 40 ppm.

The information on is meant to provide general information to the public on whether or not certain chemicals were detected in tested consumer products. did NOT conduct studies to determine if the chemicals of concern will migrate or come out of the product, causing a direct exposure. Therefore, can not determine whether the presence of these chemicals in a product results in human exposure, nor can estimate the health risk posed by any product. Studies intended to examine whether or not chemicals of concern do come out of products under various conditions can be done. Some manufacturers report having done studies of this kind. Please contact manufacturers directly if you are interested in that information.

The test results shown on the site apply only to the specific products tested. Earlier or later versions of the same products may contain different chemical formulations.

The Truth About “Fake Pot”

The U.S. government recently took action on the new fad drug, “fake pot”. The chemicals that form this new drug are sold in head shops and on the Internet, marketing the drug toward teens and young adults as incense.

A blend of herbs laced with synthetic marijuana, known popularly as K2, is being sold openly. K2 often sends users to hospitals with symptoms varying from soaring heart rates to paranoia to near-death experiences, according to health professionals.

K2 has become popular with people that have regular drug screenings because the substance does not show up on drug tests.

Little is known about the long-term effects of the legal substance, also known as Spice, Demon, Genie, Zohai and a host of other names. Authorities believe K2 could have been behind the death of an Iowa teen that committed suicide shortly after smoking it.

“At least with pot you know what it is,” DEA spokeswoman Barbara Carreno said. “You have some idea how potent it is and you know how it affects you. With these things, you don’t know what you’re getting.

The Drug Enforcement Administration is taking action by launching a 30-day investigation to possibly put these chemicals in the same drug category as heroin and cocaine.

DEA spokeswoman Dawn Dearden says law enforcement will be using chemical tests to determine which products violate the ban and will focus on distributors, not individual users.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers have reported receiving more than 1,500 calls from 48 states about products spiked with these chemicals.


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