Taking a ‘Peeps’ at Your Easter Basket

Easter is around the corner, which means that you’ll probably be tempted by some sweet snacks – it is Peeps season, after all! But it’s important to know that even though some popular Easter candies are delicious, they can wreak havoc on your teeth. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common Eastertime treats – which to avoid and which are OK to indulge in a little bit.

Good-for-You Treats

Fruits

Fruits like apples, strawberries and peaches are chock full of sugar, but indulging with some fruit won’t rot your teeth – as long as you remember to brush afterwards. If you have a loose tooth or are prone to chipping your teeth, slice your apple into bite-size pieces before you dive in. And as for the peaches, just remember that the meat of the fruit is nice and soft, but the pit will chip your front teeth if you accidentally bite into it!

Gum

Chewing gum is another common practice, and according to Colgate, it can actually be good for your teeth! As you chew on sugar-free gum, you’re helping to fight cavities. The gum works to remove food particles from the surface of your teeth and also causes your mouth to produce bacteria-killing saliva. So, this Easter, if you spot a pack of sugar-free gum in your basket, help yourself! But as always, don’t overdo it – gum that’s too hard or too sweet can have the opposite effect.

Nuts

If you happen to receive a gift basket or two at Easter time, chances are there will be some yummy nuts included. Nuts like almonds and cashews are full of fiber and vitamins, which can help keep your teeth strong and nourished. Just avoid the candied nuts – those can get stuck in your teeth and allow bacteria to grow and plaque to form!

Treats to Avoid

Sticky Candies

Sticky candies like Tootsie Rolls and Jolly Ranchers may be favorites, but they can wreak havoc on your teeth, so avoid them if you can. They can stick in the crevices of your teeth and allow cavities to form if you don’t clean your teeth properly after eating them. Skip the sticky sweets and keep your teeth in good shape.

Dry Fruits

Even though you’ll be munching on some nuts this Easter, stay away from the dried fruits that often come with them. Dried apricots, raisins and other fruits are tasty, but they are also sticky and sugary. Yep, you guessed it – that means they can also get stuck in your teeth. Noticing a pattern?

Lollipops

Lollipops, suckers and other hard candies should be avoided, too. The longer you suck or chew on something like a lollipop, the longer your teeth are exposed to harmful sugars. You’re basically allowing your mouth to serve as a sugar bathtub, creating the optimal environment for bacteria growth. If you must indulge, be sure to rinse your mouth with water afterwards and brush your teeth, as well.

This Easter, think about the Easter Bunny and his big, bright buck teeth. It’s not just the carrots that help him keep his teeth looking white and clean – it’s good dental habits! Make sure you and your family take care of your teeth and you’ll have a healthy and happy Easter season.

If you are interested in learning more or need to schedule a dental appointment, please call Norman Dental today at 336-282-2120.

Foods to Avoid at Your Valentine’s Day Dinner

Valentine's Day DinnerA date on Valentine’s Day, whether it’s with someone you’ve been with for a long time or a new love interest, can be a little awkward. There’s tons of pressure for the night to go perfectly, so probably the last thing on your mind is how your dinner choices could affect not only your teeth, but also your breath – all the more important on Valentine’s Day! Not to worry: at Norman Dental, we’ve put together a few recommendations to not only help your date go smoothly, but to protect your pearly whites at the same time!

Hard Candies and Cracked Teeth

One item that you should avoid eating before your date is Valentine’s Day candy. Not only are the sugars and food colors bad for our teeth, but they also tend to give us really bad breath as the sugar serves as fuel for bad-breath bacteria! Stay away from hard candies, especially. While those little candy hearts may be the candy that everyone associates with the holiday, the American Dental Association says to avoid them because the hard chalky treat could actually cause dental emergencies like cracked or broken teeth – not how you want to end your date!

Red Meat and Bad Breath

Men’s Health reports that one of the leading causes of bad breath is red meat. Eating that big, juicy steak is a treat for your palate, but it can also lead to bad bacteria building up in your teeth and gums. This Valentine’s Day, skip the steak entrée and choose something lighter or a vegetarian option instead. Foods like spinach, which is liable to get stuck in your teeth, is actually really good for you. Just make sure you swallow the whole bite before you start talking – your date will thank you later.

Alcohol Consumption and Saliva

The ADA also says on a regular day to avoid drinking too much alcohol, and that’s especially true while on your Valentine’s Day date. High levels of alcohol consumption over time can lead to decreased saliva, which can make your mouth a breeding ground for bad bacteria and could even cause infection. So keep it classy and only have a glass of wine or two – preferably a white. That way you won’t have to worry about stains from the dark red wine.

If you want to come in for a cleaning to make sure your teeth are in tip top shape before your Valentine’s Day date, call us at Norman Dental today at 336-282-2120 and schedule an appointment!

Happy New Year!!! Tips for Caregivers on excellent oral hygiene…

Caregivers are responsible for the oral and overall health of those they care for.  As a caregiver, many questions may come to mind regarding your responsibilities for one’s oral health:

 

How should I go about caring for someone’s mouth and teeth?  What type of dental hygiene routine is best for my loved-one, friend or patient?  What is the proper way to brush and floss teeth?  How often should my dependant see his/her Professional Dental Team?  What types of oral health products should I use that will allow me to provide the best oral care I can?  How do I clean false teeth?

 

Our goal is to help answer these questions and to provide information that you can use to improve your overall practices for excellent dental health, whether it be your own or someone else’s.

 

When the question of how to provide care for someone else’s oral health comes to mind, try to think of how you would care for your own mouth.  Brushing your teeth twice a day (morning/night) and flossing once a day, should come to mind…  When brushing, be sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste that contains fluoride.  Fluoride helps strengthen the outer layer of the teeth to prevent cavities.  You shouldn’t use a medium or hard-bristled toothbrush because the rigid bristles can damage the gums and cause them to recede.  When the toothbrush bristles become ‘wilted or frayed’ in appearance, it’s time to change to a new one.  A good rule of thumb is to replace your toothbrush every three months, or whenever you’ve been sick.  Changing your toothbrush after you’ve been sick is extremely important—the bristles can harbor bacteria and prolong your illness.  Always use a light, but firm pressure when brushing.  For instance, imagine that you are brushing a ripe tomato and don’t want to bruise it.  These use and maintenance tips also apply to those who use electric toothbrushes.

 

It can be more difficult flossing someone else’s then than flossing your own, but the principles are the same.  To properly floss, take a piece of floss approximately           18-inches long and wrap it around your middle fingers.  Use your index fingers and thumbs to guide the floss between the teeth.  Once the floss is in between two adjacent teeth, be sure to adapt the floss to each tooth, forming the floss into a ‘C’ shape.  Gently slide the floss below the gumline, adapt to the adjacent tooth and do the same.  There are several flossers or floss picks on the market that can help assist with this motion.  The concept remains the same…you must adapt the floss to each tooth!

proper-flossing-technique

 

Ideally, everyone should see their dentist every six months and in some cases, more frequently.  Your dentist and dental hygienist work together at these visits to assess the health of your gums and teeth.  The dental team will determine the proper visit interval to ensure that an excellent level of health is maintained in your mouth.  Aside from assessing the health of your mouth and having a professional cleaning, the doctor will also perform an oral cancer screening at your regular visit.  The members of your dental team are the only health care professionals that look into your mouth on a regular basis.  It is imperative for them to establish a baseline of what your mouth looks like and record the presence of any abnormalities.  Regular oral cancer screens ensure your mouth is examined for cancer on a consistent basis and the necessary precautions and/or treatments are performed in the event an abnormality is found.

 

dentist

The following are important points when caring for those with false teeth or dentures:  Make sure the dentures are taken out every night before sleeping.  Your gums need to breathe!  Keeping the dentures in place all day and night can cause the gum tissue to become red and irritated.  Irritated gum tissue can cause discomfort when wearing the dentures.  Constant wearing of dentures can also cause oral infections.  When cleaning dentures, be sure to brush them as you would your own teeth.  Use a denture brush or a soft-bristled toothbrush and denture cleaner—you may also use an antibacterial soap or a mild dishwashing liquid.  When the dentures are out of the mouth, they can be soaked in a denture cleanser or water, to help avoid drying and potentially losing their form.  Before replacing the dentures in the mouth, gently brush the gums and tongue to stimulate circulation and remove any plaque debris that may be present.

acrylic_dentures_1

 

Remember that your Professional Dental Team is here to help you.  If you need any assistance or have any questions about caring for your loved ones, don’t hesitate to contact them.  As a caregiver, be sure to remember what is necessary to care for one’s oral health: brushing twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste, daily flossing, eating well-balanced meals, and visiting your Dentist regularly.

 

Having a Happy Holiday: Foods to Avoid this Festive Season

TeethThe holidays are a time for indulging a bit in delicious treats, but that doesn’t mean you should stop taking care of your teeth! Here at Norman Dental, we believe that everything in moderation is OK, as long as you’re getting your regular cleanings and checkups at your dentist. But if you want to go the extra mile this season to protect your pearly whites, here are some foods to avoid this festive season.

Candy Canes

If you’re going to enjoy a candy cane, make sure not to bite into it. Hard candies like candy canes are full of bad-for-your-teeth sugar – and have been known to cause a lot of chipped teeth! Avoid these treats, if possible, but if you must indulge, try melting one into your tea or cocoa instead.

Corn on the Cob

Corn on the cob is a nutritious side dish, but eating it can be a bit dangerous. People are likely to crack fillings or loosen sealants, and corn on the cob can cause serious damage to orthodontia. If you can, slice the corn off of the cob with a sharp knife, so you can enjoy the delicious treat without the dental risk.

Dried Fruit and Taffy

Dried fruits are a yummy holiday snack, but they can get stuck in your teeth. These kinds of foods can get lodged in the crevices of your teeth where they can allow bacteria to grow and thrive on sugars. In turn, this can increase your risk of developing cavities. We suggest sticking to peanuts instead!

Coffee and Soda

During the holiday season, it can be easy to overindulge in things like coffee, soda and even red wine. Just remember: these dark liquids can wreak havoc on your teeth, even causing them to appear stained or yellow. If you’re a coffee or soda lover, make sure to only have a cup in moderation. You should also brush your teeth afterwards, but wait at least 15 minutes after finishing your drink before you brush. Acidic drinks like sodas, energy drinks and coffee can actually weaken tooth enamel for a short period, which means that brushing could cause additional damage to your teeth.

For more tips to keep your pearly whites safe during the holidays, or to schedule an appointment for tooth whitening before heading off to see family, call Norman Dental today at 336-282-2120.

 

Holiday Reminders from Norman Dental!!

Just Some Reminders…

 

The year has flown by, and the holidays will be here before we know it!  With our schedules changing due to get-together’s, family coming into town, or work outings, we wanted to mention a few things that tend to get neglected this time of year!

 

Don’t forget to brush!  Sometimes with the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it’s easy to fall into bed before doing your oral hygiene regimen at night!  We get so exhausted, it’s easy to forget.  Try to continue your brushing and flossing habit throughout the holidays, even if you’re getting to bed later, have company at your house, or travelling more.

 

 

brushing

 

There have been speculations that cranberries have properties that help prevent tooth decay.  As it has been shown that the pigmentation in cranberries help prevent plaque formation on your teeth, which in turn helps prevent cavities, just keep in mind that cranberries are acidic and cranberry juice is typically full of sugar—both of which can tend to cause tooth decay!  So again, remember your brushing and flossing techniques after having cranberries, or juice.

 

cranberries

Keep your regular dental visits!  During the holidays, we tend to ignore our diets a bit—eat more desserts, have a nightcap with friends or family—so it’s crucial to remain on your routine dental visits.

 

With the holidays approaching, it’s always good to have reminders, even for the simple things!

Don’t Get Tricked: Worst Halloween Candy for Your Teeth

With autumn comes the increased consumption of sugary treats and drinks, as the stores fill their shelves with our favorite fall candies and flavors (pumpkin spice, anyone?). While enjoying caramel apple lollipops all day and eating candy corn by the spoonful like cereal sounds like a tasty idea, it’s a terrible idea for your health and especially your teeth!

Halloween brings us even more candy, especially with trick-or-treating and other fall festivals and activities. Of course you want to indulge in a bit of candy to celebrate the season, but how can you do so while protecting your teeth?

Don’t get tricked. Let’s take a look at the top three worst types of Halloween candies for your teeth and some better alternatives.

Sour CandiesSour Candies

According to the Academy of General Dentistry, sour candy is highly acidic and breaks down tooth enamel quickly. Enamel plays an important role for your teeth, protecting them during their day-to-day use like chewing, biting, crunching and grinding. Enamel also insulates teeth from potentially painful temperatures and chemicals. When enamel erodes, your teeth become more prone to cavities and tooth decay.

The AGD also mentions that saliva helps to restore the natural balance of acid in your mouth, but you need to wait at least 30 minutes to brush your teeth after consuming sour candies. If you don’t, brushing will only help spread the acid around your mouth, exposing more teeth to risk.

Sticky Candies

An article on Parenting magazine’s website lists taffy and candies filled with caramel, coconut or nuts as the worst kinds of candy for your teeth. These chewy, sticky candies stick in the grooves of your teeth, and the longer the sweet stays there, the longer bacteria feeds on it. This leads to the cavity-causing acids that adults and kids alike should avoid.

Avoid sticky, chewy candies this Halloween season, especially candies containing caramel, and your teeth (and dentist) will appreciate the gesture.

Hard Candies

Lollipops, jawbreakers and other hard candies rank among the worst candies for your teeth. Hard candies require you to suck on the sweet for an extended period of time while it dissolves, providing a steady flow of sugar for oral bacteria to feed and thrive. The bacteria then create acids that destroy tooth enamel, leading to cavities.

So, maybe instead of sucking on the candy, you choose to bite it – however, this also causes issues. Especially in the case of the rock-hard jawbreakers, biting on hard candies can crack or chip your teeth. The only way around it? Forgo the hard candies this fall.

So, What Sweets to Eat?

Avoiding sour, sticky and sugary hard candies will likely be a challenge, but there are other tooth-friendly candies available to help you enjoy your Halloween.

If you must have a lollipop or other hard candy, find something sugar-free. This can help to stimulate saliva, which helps you avoid dry mouth. Dry mouth allows plaque to build up on teeth faster, increasing your risk for cavities, but sugar-free candies won’t help encourage bacteria growth. Another great option? Sugar-free gum. You can prevent cavities with this treat by dislodging food particles from your teeth and increasing saliva to neutralize your mouth acids.

If you need your chocolate fix, choose a solid chocolate with no sticky centers. Dark chocolate is an especially good option, as this kind is filled with antioxidants that are potentially good for the heart.

Keep your smile intact by choosing smart candies to indulge on this Halloween season! And don’t forget to trick-or-treat your teeth by scheduling your next appointment with Norman Dental today by calling 336-282-2120.

Flossing Unproven? We Disagree!

The dental industry was rocked recently when a story published by The Associated Press announced findings that flossing may not be as good for our teeth as we may have previously thought.

Pretty surprising, isn’t it? It surprised us, too.

In the piece, the AP reported that the departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture failed to provide them with evidence that flossing has any significant benefits for our teeth, even though we have been told – and we have been telling you – for decades that daily flossing is essential to our dental health.

FlossingStill, even though there is little evidence that proves that daily flossing can save us from the most extreme of mouth diseases, many dentists, including those from the National Institutes of Health admit that flossing can still be beneficial to our health.

And their words remain fact.

Flossing may not be glamorous, but it does offer plenty of benefits. As a matter of fact, numerous other studies prove that regular flossing can assist in reducing gum inflammation and can also result in a significant decrease in gingival bleeding.

If avoiding these undesirable situations isn’t enough, just think logically about how flossing can release all those morsels of food between your teeth. Without even discussing the benefits of removing those leftovers – which, if left in your mouth can help foster bacteria growth – just think about how much better you feel when you have clean, flossed teeth.

It is also important to remove the food between your teeth because this practice can help you to avoid problems like halitosis or bad breath. Plus, having gunk between your gumline and your teeth can result in many other periodontal diseases.

Long story short: don’t throw that dental floss out just yet. Despite these reports, most dentists – including us here at Norman Dental – still heavily recommend daily flossing as part of your regular oral hygiene routine. Flossing is an easy and inexpensive process, and even if it offers less significant benefits than previously thought, isn’t it worthwhile to do everything you can to keep your teeth and your mouth healthy?

At Norman Dental, we promote good dental health in all of its incarnations. If you are unsure what your specific dental issues may be, are in need of a routine cleaning and checkup, or you are just looking for advice, give our office a call at 336-282-2120 today.

Drilling Down on Dental Implants

At Norman Dental, we know that dental implants are often an ideal way to help our customers repair damage to their teeth. Dental implants are a great option for people that lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, injury or another reason.

A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is surgically implanted into your jaw and used as an anchor to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. There are two major types of dental implants: endosteal and subperiosteal.

Dental ImplantEndosteal Implants

Endosteal implants, or those placed into the bone, are the most commonly used type of implant. They include screws, cylinders or blades surgically placed into the jawbone. Each implant holds one or more prosthetic teeth and is generally used for patients with bridges or other types of dentures.

Subperiosteal Implants

By contrast, subperiosteal implants are placed on top of the jawbone. The metal framework posts protrude through the gum to hold the prosthesis. These implants are frequently used for patients unable to wear conventional dentures.

Candidates for dental implants must have good general and oral health. They need to have strong jawbones that are capable of supporting the implant and have gums free of periodontal disease.

As mouth problems become worse, surrounding teeth shift and facial structures fade to compensate. Dental implants can replace missing teeth, taking away pain, embarrassment and frustration. With dental implants, you can feel better and have a full and functional smile. You’ll can enjoy eating, smiling and speaking without pain and live an overall more comfortable lifestyle with dental implants.

At Norman Dental, we are experts in dental implants. At your first consultation we will explore your full oral healthy by using cutting-edge Cone Beam 3D imaging. With that information, we can position the implant in the perfect place to restore your smile. If you think a dental implant is right for you, contact Norman Dental today by calling 336-282-2120 to schedule an appointment.

Diabetes and Oral Health

Natl_Diabetes_Month

 

In the US alone, there are currently around 30 million people living with diabetes and another 86 million with pre-diabetes.  Diabetes is a metabolic disease that causes a person to have high blood sugar, for a long period of time.  People that have diabetes can suffer from a wide variety of health issues and we are learning more and more about the relationship between diabetes and having a healthy mouth.

 

As diabetes progresses, so does the likelihood of an individual developing chronic periodontitis or disease of the gum tissues.  If a patient that has diabetes develops periodontitis or gum disease, it’s likely the both conditions will worsen if both are not treated and kept under control.  There is huge amount research currently being done regarding uncontrolled diabetes and its interference with glucose (sugar) regulation in the body.  Interference with glucose regulation makes the diabetic condition worse; leading to other medical conditions.  Diabetic patients commonly have swollen and inflamed gums and can notice a bad taste in their mouth. When our gums become inflamed, our inflammatory response sends mediators into the blood stream which cause a negative effect on glucose regulation, therefore worsening the diabetic condition.

 

By properly treating periodontal disease, sugar levels have a much better chance of returning to a more normal state and improving overall health. Home care for a diabetic should be strict and consist of brushing twice a day, flossing once a day and seeing a dentist twice a year. In some cases, diabetics may need to see a dentist more often.  Please contact your dental team at Norman Dental if you have any questions or concerns about how diabetes can affect your overall health.

Summertime Recipes

August is a great time for entertaining and grilling!  Our team has put together our favorite summer recipes!

 

drink

Vickie’s Watermelon Margarita

½ cup white sugar
½ water
3 strips orange zest
2 cups cubed seeded watermelon
¾ cup white tequila
¼ cup lime juice
Salt or sugar for rimming glasses
1 lime, cut into wedges (optional)
2 cups crushed ice, or as needed

Directions:

  1. Bring ½ cup sugar, water, and orange zest in a small saucepan to boil, stirring constantly. Simmer until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes.  Remove simple syrup from heat and allow to cool completely.
  2. Place watermelon in a blender or food processor. Pulse until pureed.
  3. Stir watermelon puree into a large pitcher with simple syrup, tequila, and lime juice.
  4. Place a small amount of salt or sugar into saucer. Rub edge of margarita glasses with a lime wedge to moisten. Lightly dip the rim of the glass into the saucer to rim the glass; tap off excess salt or sugar.
  5. Fill rimmed glasses with crushed ice; pour margarita mixture into glasses and garnish with lime wedges to serve. Enjoy!

 

jalapeno roll ups

Katie’s Jalapeno Roll Ups

2 – 8oz. pkg. cream cheese (room temperature)
1 jar dried beef, chopped
2-3 tbsp. diced jalapenos (more if you like it hot)
1 pkg. larger flour tortilla shells

Directions:

  1. Mix by hand, all ingredients except the shells.
  2. Spread out evenly on as many tortillas as it takes.
  3. Roll up like jelly rolls or cinnamon rolls.
  4. Place rolls in large plastic container, side by side, making sure paper towels are in the bottom and on top of rolls to collect moisture. Secure lid on and place in fridge overnight so flavors can develop.
  5. When ready to serve, take out and slice in 1” thick slices, eating the end pieces as you go, since they usually aren’t full of filling and not presentable for serving. Arrange on platter, standing up, but leaning on each other at a 45° angle…Enjoy!!

 

rotel dip

 Stacie’s Sausage Rotel Dip

1 lb. sausage
2 – 8oz. pkgs. cream cheese
1 – 10oz. can Rotel, with liquid drained out

Directions:

  1. Brown sausage in skillet; drain excess grease.
  2. Add cream cheese and cook over medium heat until melted.
  3. Add Rotel and mix well.
  4. Serve warm with chips.

 

mango-blackbean-salsa

 Sharon and Dr. Charles Norman’s Black Bean & Corn Salsa

2 – 15½ oz. cans Black Beans, rinsed and drained
2 large Tomatoes, seeded and chipped
½ cup “Medium” Salsa (any brand)
2 tbsp. fresh Cilantro or Parsley (optional)
1 tsp. Salt
1 tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
1 – 14½ oz. can Yellow Corn, rinsed and drained
3 Green Onions, sliced
Juice of 1 Fresh Lime
1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ tsp. Pepper
1 Avocado, cut into chunks

Directions:

With the exception of the avocado, combine all ingredients in a glass bowl: black beans, tomatoes, medium salsa, cilantro, salt, red wine vinegar, yellow corn, green onions, lime juice, extra virgin olive oil, and pepper.  Toss, cover and refrigerate.  Just prior to serving, add avocado and gently toss mixture.  May be served with corn chips, or as a chilled salad.  Tastes best when prepared the day ahead.

 

potatoes

 Lisa’s Onion-Roasted Potatoes

1 envelope Lipton Recipe Secrets Onion Soup Mix
4 medium all-purpose potatoes, cut into large chunks (about 2 lbs.)
1/3 cup olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Combine all ingredients into a Ziplock bag to mix.  Place in a 13 x 9 baking or roasting pan.
  2. Bake, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender and golden brown, about 35 minutes.

orzo salad

Mandy’s Summertime Orzo and Chicken

¾ cup uncooked orzo pasta
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1” pieces
1 medium cucumber, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
¼ cup fresh parsley, minced
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet coated with cooking spray, cook chicken over medium heat for 6-8 minutes or until no longer pink.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cucumber, onion, parsley and chicken mixture. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper.  Pour over chicken mixture; toss to coat.  Serve warm or cold.  Just before serving, sprinkle with cheese.

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Zora’s Tomato Zucchini Casserole

 1½ cups grated Cheddar cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. driel basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 medium zucchinis, thinly sliced
5 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
¼ cup butter
2 tbsp. finely chopped onion
¾ cup fine bread crumbs

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly butter a 9 x 9-inch pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine Cheddar, Parmesan, oregano, basil and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
  3. Arrange half of the zucchini slices in the pan. Sprinkle ¼ of the cheese and herb mixture on top. Arrange half of the tomatoes, and top with another ¼ of the cheese mixture.  Repeat layers.
  4. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in onions, and cook until soft and translucent.  Stir in breadcrumbs; cook until they have absorbed the butter.  Sprinkle on top of casserole.
  5. Cover loosely with foil, and bake in a preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake until the top is crusty and the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

 

Grilled

  Chandler & Dr. Matt Norman’s BBQ Wings

Chicken Wings (whole portion, not just drumstick)
Chicken Spice Rub (Your choice)
Olive Oil
BBQ Sauce (Your choice, standard Kraft BBQ Sauce is good)
Red Pepper Flakes
Apple Cider Vinegar

Directions:

  1. Rub the chicken wings with olive oil and the spice rub in a bowl. Once they are coated, place the wings in a ziploc bag for at least 4  No more than overnight.
  2. Set your grill on low heat and place the wings all in the same direction and same side.  Cook for 10 minutes and flip.
  3. Mix BBQ sauce, vinegar and red pepper to the desired thickness (thinner is better, so add more vinegar).  Place on a burner and let simmer while the wings cook.
  4. Continue to flip the wings every 10 minutes for a total of 50 minutes. Then dip each of the wings into your sauce and grill for an additional 10 minutes.
  5. Place on a platter and enjoy with a good cornbread and slaw!

 

Margarita-Cupcakes-Topped-with-Limes

Michelle’s Margarita Cupcakes

Cupcakes

  • One Box White or Vanilla Cake Mix
  • 1 1/3 Cups Premade Margarita Mix (the kind with tequila already included)
  • 2 TBSP Vegetable Oil
  • 3 Egg Whites
  • 1½ TBSP Lime Zest

Tequila Glaze

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon water (may need slightly more)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Tequila (if you want to skip the tequila, just replace it with water and a few drops of lime juice)

Lime Frosting

  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese – softened
  • 1 Cup Butter – softened
  • 5 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 3 TBSP Lime Juice
  • Green Food Coloring (optional)

Garnish

  • ½ cup crystal sugar sprinkles
  • ¼ – ½ tsp salt – mix the sugar and salt together

Cupcake Directions

  1. Preheat oven as directed on cake mix. Prepare your cupcake pan with liners.

2. Combine cake mix, margarita mix, egg whites, oil and lime zest, stirring until well mixed. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for two minutes.

3. Spoon batter into your lined cupcake pan, filling each liner approximately 2/3 of the way full.

4. Bake according to package directions, typically about 18-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Glaze

Combine powdered sugar, water and tequila and stir well to create your glaze. You may need slightly more water to thin out the glaze so that you can brush it on to your cupcakes. Once your cupcakes have been removed from the oven and cooled for approx 5-10 minutes, brush a layer of glaze over the top of each. Allow them to cool completely.

Frosting

Combine butter and cream cheese in a bowl and mix with mixer until light and fluffy.

Add in your lime juice and green food coloring until desired shade is reached (remember it will lighten slightly when you add your powdered sugar).

Add in your powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until the desired consistency has been reached (could be slightly less or more than five cups).

Frost each cupcake as desired. You can pipe on a ring of frosting and sprinkle with sugar and salt mixture, then finish frosting your cupcake, or frost your entire cupcake and sprinkle the sugar and salt mixture on top.

Due to the cream cheese in the frosting, it’s best to store these in the refrigerator.