Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Small Town Seasoning Blend Has National Flavor

"The American Dream is different for every individual, but the ingredients are always the same: blood, sweat, tears, and imagination," says Tim Lawhorn, CEO of Lawhorn's Signature Seasonings. The final product of these dreams sometimes reaches the public, in some way, shape or form, and revolutionizes the way they live. The microwave revolutionized the way we cook in the kitchen, the Corvette, the way sports cars are built, and the TV, the way families spend time together.
Lawhorn is making his own revolution in the kitchen with Lawhorn's Signature Seasonings. This All-Natural, Kosher seasoning blend contains 65-70% less sodium than most regular all-purpose seasoned salts. Lawhorn's revolutionary seasoning blend's versatility far surpasses anything in the Spice Isle on America's grocery shelves today. The incredible natural flavor-enhancing properties prompts first time tasters young and old alike to say things like, "WOW!", "Awesome!","Amazing" and "Oh My God!".
Over the past year, Lawhorn has held cooking demonstrations in local grocery stores across the state of Florida. Here, he sometimes records the raving reactions of the public, as they taste the seasoning on steak, chicken, vegetables, and more. Videos on the company's YouTube channel and facebook page show moms with notoriously picky-eaters, watching their kids eating squash and zucchini and loving it! You can watch these videos here.
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The creator of this "miracle blend" former Restaurateur & Executive Chef, Tim Lawhorn says, "People like the fact that it's all-natural and is lower in sodium than most blends out there, it's healthier for them… but what really gets their attention is its flavor-enhancing value, the way it tastes different on everything you cook with it."
After spending most of his career in the Food and Beverage Industry, with no entrepreneurial experience, Lawhorn believes that his success has to be the work of God, "because I'm just not that smart," he says laughing. "We've been blessed beyond belief!"
Lawhorn's Signature Seasonings, based in Haines City, Florida, was introduced commercially in mid 2009 in select Publix Super Markets across Florida. In just 18 months time they have expanded their distribution to a national audience through Wal-Mart's new "Neighborhood Stores" and regional placements in Winn-Dixie, Whole Foods Market, Sweet Bay and Chamberlin's/Akin's Natural Food Stores across the Southern US.
National Food Service Director, Mitch DiMarco of Spice World, Inc., a packaging company based in Orlando, FL, thought Tim was nuts when he when he met with the company 3 years ago holding a zip-lock baggie sample in the conference room. DiMarco says, "He told me once when we first started getting his stuff together that ‘one day Lawhorn's Signature Seasonings is going to be a household name in America!' I laughed about it back then, but you know what? He is making it happen. I believe it now!"
Lawhorn is driving his company full speed into the future, announcing this week the hiring of Tampa, FL based AMT Sales and Marketing and its subsidiary, Consumer Product Management in Atlanta GA to manage and facilitate their national branding and placement efforts. AMT/CPM will be leading the attack on Supermarket and Natural Foods retailers across the U.S. developing distributors, brokers and retail outlets in support of the brand. Also ahead, Lawhorn confirmed that they are in the final stages of product testing for a Mexican and Italian variation of their seasoning to hit stores sometime early next year. Between the three blends, there's no cuisine that Lawhorn's wouldn't make better!

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Seasons On Earth

The Earth's seasons are not caused by the differences in the distance from the Sun throughout the year (these differences are extremely small). The seasons are the result of the tilt of the Earth's axis.
The Earth's axis is tilted from perpendicular to the plane of the ecliptic by 23.45°. This tilting is what gives us the four seasons of the year - spring, summer, autumn (fall) and winter. Since the axis is tilted, different parts of the globe are oriented towards the Sun at different times of the year.
Summer is warmer than winter (in each hemisphere) because the Sun's rays hit the Earth at a more direct angle during summer than during winter and also because the days are much longer than the nights during the summer. During the winter, the Sun's rays hit the Earth at an extreme angle, and the days are very short. These effects are due to the tilt of the Earth's axis.
The solstices are days when the Sun reaches its farthest northern and southern declinations. The winter solstice occurs on December 21 or 22 and marks the beginning of winter (this is the shortest day of the year). The summer solstice occurs on June 21 and marks the beginning of summer (this is the longest day of the year).
Equinoxes are days in which day and night are of equal duration. The two yearly equinoxes occur when the Sun crosses the celestial equator.
The vernal equinox occurs in late March (this is the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of fall in the Southern Hemisphere); the autumnal equinox occurs in late September (this is the beginning of fall in the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of spring in the Southern Hemisphere).

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fall Is The Best Season In Four For Planting

Fall is the best season to plant just about everything in Southern California, from holiday color to spring bloom, says Wendy Akiyama, who with her husband, Ron, owns Sunflower Farms Nursery in Torrance.
"Go ahead and plant this month," she says. "Don't wait for spring. Now is the time to get your gardens and landscape ready for the holidays and get a head start in establishing roots for maximum spring bloom."
If you have been longing to plant a tree that reflects the four seasons, choose a deciduous variety such as Japanese maple, liquidambar, gingko or white birch.
Other good candidates for flowering trees are Chinese fringe tree, which blooms in spring with clusters of beautiful white flowers; flowering cherry "Pink Cloud"; purple leaf plum; Tabebuia tree with trumpet-shaped flowers in gold, purple or pink; and crape myrtle, with red, coral, pink or lavender flowers.
As a general rule, when planting a tree, never bury any part of the trunk. If you bury even a half-inch of the trunk, it could be fatal to young trees, Akiyama says. In fact, this is the most common cause of death of a newly planted tree. Plant just above the root ball, and leave soil exactly at the same level that it is in the pot.
November also is the perfect time for planting flowering shrubs. Look for dwarf sweet pea bush, lantana, Mexican marigold, breath of heaven, salvia mystic spires, escallonia, leptospermum, pyracantha (with red berries for holiday

decorating), anisodontea (cape mallow), purple princess flower, buddleja and lavatera.
Increasingly, homeowners are forsaking hybrid tea roses in their garden landscapes and moving to floribunda roses, which are more prolific bloomers and offer ongoing color from March/April to January, when they should be pruned.
Akiyama favors the ever-popular Iceberg along with other ultra-disease-resistant varieties such as Livin' Easy, Bonica, Hot Cocoa and the red rose Trumpeter. She says you still can get one last bloom show in time for Christmas from these and other floribundas by deadheading and fertilizing those in your garden. Or add some new ones now.
For instant color to welcome guests for Thanksgiving and other holiday parties, plant winter/spring blooming annuals such as pansies, snapdragons, stock, viola, ornamental kale and Iceland poppies. You can also plant English primroses now for color in the new year.
For holiday color that won't look dated after the holidays, try red and white cyclamen, which are in good supply at nurseries and will last well into spring. This year, our cyclamen planted last December bloomed nearly all year, probably because of our mostly cool summer weather.
And for a tropical Christmas, try red anthuriums, which can stay outdoors until the cold weather hits (50s at night), then keep them on a sheltered patio or bring them indoors.
Perennials you can plant now for instant color include campanula, chrysanthemums, gaillardia, Oriental poppies, salvia chiapensis and physostegia virginiana - a spectacular plant with spiky blooms resembling snapdragons. Also plant spring-blooming perennials such as adenophora (lady bells), foxglove, delphinium, echinacea (cornflower) and veronica.
Winter- and spring-producing vegetables are available in nurseries for instant planting and in many cases holiday harvesting. Look for spinach, lettuces, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Swiss chard, sugar peas, onions and strawberries. These vegetables don't have to be planted strictly in a vegetable garden. They can be attractive additions to any garden bed or border.
Consider adding other edibles, such as rosemary, society garlic, blueberries, pineapple guava, strawberry bush, artichokes, gray sage and lemongrass. These also will add fragrance to your garden.
If you haven't been to Sunflower Farms Nursery, do yourself a favor and make a visit. It's at 17609 S. Western Ave. , just north of Artesia Boulevard.
I hadn't been there in several months and was surprised to see some significant changes. Be sure to visit the area that Akiyama calls the "Bali section," where you can walk down a pathway laden with tropical plants and almost believe you are in the South Seas. In fact, this was the setting the Akiyamas' daughter, Lisa Akiyama Robenson, chose for her wedding last year, under a pergola her dad built years ago from branches of trimmed trees.
The nursery still has its secret garden, which is fun for children and others to try to discover. But best of all, the quality of plants is first-rate and the nursery staff is knowledgeable and ready to help with everything from plant selection to loading plants into your car.
They also will do on-the-spot garden designs. Bring in a photograph of the area with measurements and sun/shade exposure, and you can walk out with a customized plan for a beautiful landscape.

Friday, November 18, 2011

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Four Seasons Baltimore offers luxury Experience

  "I've opened many hotels and have never seen this demand," said Carralero, who opened the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace in Budapest, where he served as general manager for nine years, and also managed the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris.
  The $200 million luxury hotel opens as the U.S. travel industry is recovering slowly. But the hotel — long planned as one of the final pieces of the Harbor East neighborhood of offices, condos, apartments and shops just east of the Inner Harbor — should help boost tourism downtown, experts said.
  The opening of the hotel, one of five in Harbor East, also comes on the heels of a double whammy: the recession and a hotel building boom in Baltimore. Average hotel occupancy in downtown Baltimore has declined over the past couple of years, though business has been recovering along with the economy. Occupancy grew 3 percent to just over 60 percent in 2010 over the previous year.
  Business travel, driven by strong corporate earnings, has been the first tourism segment to recover, followed by group and convention business, which is growing slowly, said Rod Petrik, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus in Baltimore, who added that the leisure segment has remained flat. Experts say tourism nationwide is not likely to recover fully until at least 2013.
  "The concern with the downtown marketplace is we probably went from having too few hotel rooms to having too many in a matter of a few years," Petrik said.
  Baltimore's biggest hotel — the city-owned, 757-room Hilton Baltimore Convention Center Hotel — opened in 2008 with a goal of boosting convention center business.
  "Now that we have the rooms … [downtown] is going to go through a couple of tough years with oversupply," which can slow the growth in room rates, Petrik said.
  The 256-room Four Seasons, just steps from the harbor, offers rooms and suites with waterfront views and features such as Blu-ray DVD players, 40-inch LCD TVs and marble baths with soaking tubs. Guests have plenty of options: a spa and fitness center; an elevated deck with an infinity pool, hot tubs and cabanas; and a tavern and café. Rates range from $279 to $1,500 per night for most rooms.
  "It's a positive reflection of downtown Baltimore's health that we have continued to open up new product" in a still-struggling economy, said Kirby Fowler, president of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore Inc. "It's always in downtown's benefit to add a high-caliber hotel like the Four Seasons."
  With the Hotel Monaco, an upscale boutique hotel in the center of downtown, and the Four Seasons on the waterfront, he said, Baltimore has "two strong pillars for high-end travelers."
  Though it touts itself as an urban resort, the Four Seasons is unlikely to attract guests who come just for the hotel, Petrik said.
  The hotel will likely appeal to a mix of business travelers, downtown tourists, convention-goers seeking high-end accommodations, and patients undergoing long-term care at nearby medical facilities, he said.
  "I don't think that the Four Seasons is a destination unto itself," Petrik said. "It will be the highest-priced hotel in the city. It remains to be seen whether Baltimore can support a hotel like the Four Seasons."
  The Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, which operates the hotel, as well as H&S Properties Development Corp. and city tourism officials are all betting on the hotel's success.
  "I look at the Four Seasons as balancing out our entire [hotel] package," said Tom Noonan, president and chief executive of Visit Baltimore, the city's tourism and convention bureau.
  Continued Noonan: "What I tell customers, when they're looking at us as a convention destination, is: 'Thirty years ago you had fish markets and fruit stands. … Thirty years later you have Ritz-Carlton [condominiums] on the left and on the right is Four Seasons.' And that's symbolic of how much the city has changed. Those are two higher-end brands and both are in downtown Baltimore."
  Noonan said he expected the Four Seasons would inspire other area hotels, much as the Hilton did when it opened as a convention center hotel.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Flowering Loropetalum is a Shrub for All Seasons

  Photo: Wikimedia Commons
“I was sorry because I had no loropetalum, and then I met a man who had no snowdrop.”
With tongue in cheek, the famed garden columnist Henry Mitchell wrote these words three decades ago, and I had to smile when I read them recently in an anthology of his work. The only loropetalum that gardeners knew way back then was the original species – Loropetalum chinense, sometimes known as the Chinese fringe flower, a rather nondescript evergreen shrub that wasn’t especially popular.
But things things have changed since then!
If the great man were alive today, I bet he’d trade his snowdrops in a heartbeat to get his hands on one of the modern loropetalum cultivars pictured here. The hybridizers and nurserymen have really done their magic. Today, bright flowers, burgundy foliage, and a graceful, arching habit combine to give loropetalum year-round appeal.
It was back in the early 1990s when these pink-flowered selections made their debut, and I can still remember when they first hit the garden centers. They’re usually classified as Loropetalum chinense var. rubrum, and they are currently seen absolutely everywhere where winters are relatively mild (they are hardy as far north as zone 6).

  Photo: Terry DelValle, University of Florida extension service
In early spring, usually March, loropetalum will be in its full glory. The hot pink flowers are like little tassels, made up of delicate, fringe-like petals. The show starts slowly, as just a few blossoms open at a time, but by the time the shrub reaches its peak, it can rival an azalea in full bloom. Altogether you can expect three weeks of flowers from loropetalum. At one time, I happened to underplant one of mine with a creeping veronica (Veronica peduncularis ‘Georgia Blue’) and it was a happy accident to find that the two bloom at exactly the same time. The brilliant, cobalt blue veronica combined with the fuchsia tassels of the loropetalum is probably the most spectacular plant combination I’ve ever seen – and it was especially gorgeous where loropetalum’s branches would arch down low toward the ground, so the colors could really mingle. I wish I had a picture of it, but I don’t.
More than any other flowering shrub I can think of, loropetalum has year-round appeal. After they bloom, most of these new cultivars put out reddish-colored new growth that can actually look like flowers from a distance. This new foliage eventually matures to a dark olive or purplish green that makes a nice backdrop for your summer perennials. When cool weather arrives in fall, the foliage deepens again, to a deep burgundy shade – and because it’s evergreen, it makes a nice focal point in the winter garden. During warm spells in December and January, the shrubs will even surprise you by throwing out a few colorful, sporadic blossoms – just a little taste of what’s to come again in the spring.
All things considered, you just can’t go wrong with loropetalum. It fits in everywhere and no matter what the season, as my next-door neighbor puts it, “it just always looks good.”