Simple Apple Tart Recipe

Julia Rutland, author of our upcoming cookbook Apples: 50 Tried and True Recipes, shares with us her Simple Apple Tart recipe. The apple is America’s favorite fruit, and Julia’s apple pie is simply delicious. We tried the recipe and so should you! INGREDIENTS2 large apples2 tablespoons melted butter1/4 cup brown sugar1 tablespoon honey1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed1 large egg1 teaspoon waterSifted powdered sugar (optional) PREPARATION Preheat oven to 375º. Peel apples and thinly slice. Place in a large bowl. Stir together butter, sugar, honey, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add to apples, folding gently until apples are coated. Cover and set aside.  Roll puff pastry out on a piece of parchment paper or nonstick aluminum foil to remove seams. Beat egg and 1 teaspoon water together in a small bowl; brush over puff pastry.  Score a 1/2-inch border around the pastry. Do not cut all the way through the pastry. Transfer to...

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Niagara Falls: A Natural Wonder Not to Be Missed

The world is full of amazing things, but nothing surpasses what nature has given us. Take a simple day trip—or string together a longer vacation—to enjoy the natural wonder of Niagara Falls.  Whether you have a weekend or several days, this 400-acre park provides plenty of activities to fill your time. You can view the falls and get wet from the Hurricane Deck; hike the paths (download the walking tour app from the App Store or Google Play); learn about the history of the falls with interactive displays at the Discovery Center; explore the ruins of a former power station in the Niagara Gorge; and so much more. Consider purchasing a Discovery Pass if you’re interested in experiencing all the attractions, like the Maid of the Mist and Cave of the Winds, and you’ll get a better rate. The park and falls are free to visit. Frederick Law Olmsted, the creator of...

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rock collection

How to Start a Rock Collection

Starting a rock collection is a fun and easy way to take home some treasures and learn about the Earth. It is a fabulous family activity and kids will love the treasure hunt. Here are some basic instructions to help you start your own rock collection.What You Need to Start a Rock CollectionA field guideAn adultA container for your finds What To DoStart out by learning about your area’s geology. One of the easiest ways to do this is to simply pay attention to the rocks found in your neighborhood. When you’re walking around your neighborhood, or when you’re at a park, look at the landscaping rocks or road/trail materials. Chances are, those rocks come from a source nearby. For example, in Minnesota, gravel at playgrounds often comes from Lake Superior, so if you look hard enough in it, you’ll find Lake Superior agates.  In Florida, you’ll find coquina, a building material that...

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Black Vultures, While not Popular, are Really Cool Birds

Stan Tekelia, wildlife photographer and naturalist, conveys his fascination with a much-ignored bird, the Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus). It seems that a lot of people are only interested in the glamorous or top-tier species of mammals and birds. For example, no one seems to be interested in mice, voles, or shrews. You don’t see television documentary shows on these tiny critters. But it’s a different story when it comes to wolves, bears, or moose. Everyone wants to see or photograph these large megafaunas. Black Vulture taken in South Eastern Florida The same can be said for birds. Everyone seems to love hawks and eagles. These high-flying birds are on the top of the list for many photographers and bird-watchers. And nothing stirs up the emotions like the owls. This group of birds seems to attract more attention than any other birds.  But I am often drawn to the lesser known, or less glamorous,...

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New York Day Trips by Theme

Have you ever asked, “What should we do today?” If so, you need New York Day Trips by Theme. This comprehensive guide to the Empire State is jam-packed with hundreds of New York’s top spots for fun and entertainment. Take a simple day trip, or string together a longer vacation of activities that catch your interest. Destinations in the book are organized by themes, such as Adventure, Family Fun, and Natural Wonders, so you can decide what to do and then figure out where to do it. Useful for singles, couples, and families―visitors and residents alike―this guide by Sandra Mardenfeld encompasses a wide range of interests.  Discover the state’s unique attractions―lighthouses, museums, rail-trails, winter activities, and more. The book’s handy size makes it perfect for bringing along on your road trips. Plus, with tips for other things to do in the area, you’re sure to maximize the fun on every outing. With New...

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Christmas in July Giveaway

Whether you are planning a vacation or staycation, we are ready to celebrate summer with a Christmas in July GIVEAWAY. Read on to find out how to enter. Make sure to enter for your chance to win Stan Tekiela’s book Amazing Hummingbirds and a set of three glass hummingbird Christmas ornaments. One lucky winner will get to claim both by the end of August.  Hummingbirds are wondrous and beautiful. Watching them in action is almost magical. Professional naturalist and wildlife photographer Stan Tekiela adores them, and this adoration led him to spend more than 10 years traveling across the United States to observe and photograph the various species. His dazzling photography captures the allure of these beloved backyard visitors, and your coffee table won’t be complete without Amazing Hummingbirds. So without further adieu, enter our Christmas in July giveaway! a Rafflecopter giveaway About the author: Naturalist, wildlife photographer, and writer Stan Tekiela has written more than 175 field guides,...

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Kids Love Bugs

In today’s post we tell you how to take your kids on an exciting bug hunt. Bugs are everywhere, and this is a great family activity. Here is what you need to get started: A store-bought bug house, or a clear plastic/glass container with holes in the top for air and a moist paper towel insideA camera or a notebookGlovesField guides for your area Finding bugs is easy. From the fruit flies you might see in your kitchen to the ants crawling around on the sidewalk outside, bugs can be found almost anywhere. (There’s even a bug—a midge—that lives in Antarctica!) For the purposes of this activity, we’re defining “bug” as anything that’s creepy-crawly, squirmy, or fun to find. This includes true insects such as ants, beetles, and butterflies; to arachnids (spiders); terrestrial crustaceans (isopods, aka pillbugs); and myriapods (centipedes and millipedes). Finding a number of different insects and related species is a...

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Maple-Soy Glazed Salmon Recipe

Corrine Kozlak shares with us her Maple-Soy Glazed Salmon recipe. I tried it at home, and it is delicious. But don't take my word for it—try it yourself! INGREDIENTS1⁄4 cup soy sauce*2 tablespoons maple syrup2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce* 2–4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets PREPARATIONPreheat oven to 375º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine soy sauce, maple syrup, cilantro, and chili sauce in a shallow glass dish. Marinate salmon in glaze 5 minutes on each side. Place salmon on prepared pan, and bake 12 minutes. *Gluten-free versions may be substituted. This dish is delicious topped with a lightly cooked mixture of tomato, onion, and garlic. Asparagus or broccoli makes for a healthy accompaniment. Easy to find and easy to make, maple syrup is one of nature’s sweetest treats. It is widely known as a sugary breakfast condiment for pancakes, waffles, and more―and it is enjoyed daily in homes across the country. Maple...

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