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Level-Up Your Efficiency and Budgeting With Vacuum Sealers

The kitchen is a place for innovation, patience and efficiency. It is where a household will be able to prepare its meals, store its produce for the days to come and generally ensure the health and well-being of those living in it. This may sound like more than it really is, but those who have to maintain a home understand how difficult it can be to work in the kitchen. Think about it: you have to figure out meal plans, make sure there is enough food and they are stored properly, and of course watch out for expiration dates. A lot of planning and budgeting goes into it, and new families often have to figure out how everything will pan out for the beginning.

One of the reasons why kitchen appliances, big and small, are so popular is that people need specific tools in order to create different meals. This goes doubly so for those who like to experiment in the kitchen and who love trying out new recipes and making gourmet meals at home. The other, equally significant, reason, is that there are some tools that make the budget easier to manage by means of improving storage and shelf life.

One such tool is a vacuum sealer. A plain old vacuum sealer may not look like much when you first get to know what it is, but once you actually understand how it does its job and how you can use it for so many different things, it becomes a brilliant companion in the kitchen. The way a vacuum sealer works is that, you will put your food in a special bag, and the machine will suck out all the oxygen from the inside, trapping the food, and sealing the bag shut with an airtight heat seal.

  • The first thing you have to understand is that oxygen promotes bacterial growth. In short, if food is exposed to air, it will spoil much, much faster. Since a vacuum sealer essentially removes the air from inside the bag, bacteria will not be able to grow as compared to when it is exposed to oxygen. In turn, this means that you will have to waste less food by throwing it away.
  • How many times have you bought groceries in bulk during sales, only to have to toss it in the rubbish after a few months? You will see very many vacuum sealer reviews stating how much money they have saved due to this machine, or how it made buying and storing food much more efficient.

Another rather common occurrence in the kitchen is freezer burn. Freezer burn is when the surface of the food stored in the freezer becomes dehydrated as it is exposed to the freezing, dry and cold temperature. This will greatly ruin the texture of some foods, such as broccoli. You will end up throwing that away, as freezer burned food is a bit difficult to appreciate, especially compared to fresh ingredients. That’s money wasted.


If you use a vacuum sealer on your food before storing it in the freezer, it will be protected from the cold air- and, once you bring it out for cooking, it will still look, smell and taste fresh even if it was stored for weeks. The vacuum sealer works brilliantly for veggies and meat, especially. Talking about meat, having the bag devoid of air will help the marinating process go faster. The marinade sinks quicker into the meat, greatly shortening the processes of preparation and cooking.

  1. A vacuum sealer like the foodsaver V4880, as the name would suggest, will not only save your food but save you loads of money as well. In hindsight, that was actually a clever name for a product, as it really gets the point across.
  2. Aside from food, it can also be used to pack away other items such as cloth, linen and metal objects, all of which eventually degrade when exposed to the elements. All in all, a food vacuum sealer will not only save you money from buying food, but also from having to buy tools and clothes that have gotten ruined over time.

At the end of the day, a mechanical tool should complement humans, by making tasks quicker, more efficient and have better results. A vacuum sealer is one such tool.

Tips on How To Choose A Paint Sprayer For You

Paint Sprayer

The benefit from a paints prayer is you can do your painting faster and more uniform coverage, so you have a professional look on your own.

All you have to deal with is to choose the right paint sprayer for every project of painting job. Painting a furniture outside or painting your ceiling and walls inside the house will require you to use a different paint sprayer. So it is essential for you to choose a best paint sprayer that suit for your work.

Take the professional advice from a Sales and Marketing Director, Steve Engleson about how to choose a paint sprayer. To choose a paint sprayer, Steve said, you have to ask yourself about ;

  • What your paint sprayer can do for you?
  • How frequent you’re going to use it?
  • What type of work you are up to?

The answer for each question will help you a lot in choosing your own paint sprayer when you are arrived at the paint and accessories store.

How to choose it

A paint sprayer can be used to pumps color material including paint, coloring stain, and other coloring liquid that can goes through the spraying tip when you are doing your painting job. The bigger tip you are going to use, the flow rate that supported of the sprayer will be higher as well. Common spray usually have tips opening about 0.011 to 0.021 inches in the market. But if you are painting latex, you will need a tip that above .015inches. Other material to paint such as viscose material or sealers, you can use tip 0.011 to 0.015 inches in size.

You have to remember that is you are increasing the tip sizes, the viscosity of fluid also can be increased as well. The spray-pattern width is also can be determined by the size of the tip too. You can select what kind of spray-pattern width that you would like to use by choosing the right tip size. You can ask the sale adviser or the sale manager to recommend you the right tip size for your liking. You might be ask about what is your work load. You have to know your work load before you are heading to buy your paint sprayer and tip.

You also need the right tool to support your work later in painting. The right tool can provide you a consistent service for all of your painting job. You have to use your paint sprayer with the help of several appropriate tools so your paint sprayer can have a longer life. A project Manager, Jerry Falk at Wagner Spray Tech Corp, advice the buyer to well maintained their paint sprayer and use their paint sprayer frequently on the right type of material only.

Falk also saying that, the durability of a paint sprayer that owned by a person that always have paint project days a week, is longer than a homeowner with a few painting job in a year. So you have to know your work load and ask the sale representative to the right tools to accompany your paint sprayer.

Spray Tip Guidelines

You are already know that the right paint spray and the right tip is needed to do your paint work and get the job done effortlessly. This is your easy guide to help you to choose spray tip:

  • Small Tip: 0.011 to 0.013 – You can use for spraying stain, varnish type, or polyurethane type
  • Medium Tip: 0.013 to 0.015 – You can use for enamel paints, oil-based paints, latex paint, and thicker stains type
  • Large Tip: 0.015 to 0.021 – Use for premium latex paint, barn and fence paint, roof coatings paint, and thicker, elastomeric coatings type

Using a Paint Sprayer For A Daily Work

Daily painting with paint sprayer might make you busy and cause you to overlook some other features. Here are new or seldom-used features for paint sprayer.

  1. There is one exclusive feature of the Titan XT line which is the pusher valve. Top Four models of that line has a pusher valve that can automatically disengages the ball from the ball seat when the sprayer is turned on. The feature labeled as SureFlo and you can ask the sale manager if they have this product in store.
  2. If you are looking for piston-pump system, you can look paint sprayer brand such as Graco and Magnum. This brand offering this feature and you can adjust the spray pattern using it pressure-control knobs.
  3. If you like to buy a user friendly paint sprayer, Magnum series is the answer for you and it is offering you a quick readability for the beginner.
  4. The pro contractor would like to choose The Graco 190ES features. It has a power-flush cleaning system to let them do the cleaning easily. It is also saving the pro contractor time during working.
  5. To let you carry the paint sprayer easier, you can choose transportation features that also available in Titan Xt440 and Wagner brand. It has collapsible cart and easy for you to carry for your painting job.

Different Sliding Compound Miter Saws and Their Comparison

A sliding compound miter saw is one of the best miter saws and you can do so many things with it. Most of the time people ask this common question “what is in the name?”, well the word sliding compound miter saw is enough to tell a woodworker or a DIY enthusiast that you are talking about something very excellent.

It all started with a small and portable power miter saw. This type of saw is capable of doing unimaginable things.  Furthermore, advanced versions of miter saw were made and launched with much fanfare. Let us try to explore more about the best miter saw and its different models launched by different companies.

The DeWalt DW708 Model

  • The best thing about DeWalt DW708 Model is that it comes with twin rails which are vertically stacked. It has a overhead motor and high quality belt drive. A 12 inch blade is also attached and this saw looks amazing with design. This model from DeWalt is the loudest and it is suggested that one should use ear plugs while using it. Though DeWalt has been offering many more other models but this miter saw model is the largest selling model by the company.

Hitachi C 10FS has removable sliding fences

  • The Hitachi C 10FS is one of the best miter saw models launched by the Hitachi Company. It comes with a belt drive and an overhead motor. The unique thing about this saw is that it has removable sliding fences. Though it is small but it is little complicated. Hence, before you use this model for your work make sure to read to operation manual carefully. Hitachi is one of the best companies of the world and you should always insist on using original parts for your Hitachi miter saw for exceptional results.

There are basically 4 different kinds of miter saws

  • Sliding compound
  • Dual Compound
  • Compound
  • Basic miter saws

Basic functions

  • Basic miter saws are capable of cutting straight or angled, whereas the compound miter saw helps you to cut excellent bevels with variation in angles. If you want to use your saw in both the directions then make sure to follow the instructions mentioned in the user manual
  • A compound miter can cut bevels in either left or right sides. If you wish to cut bevels in two different directions, you will need to make sure that a dual compound miter saw is used.
  • If you want that both the features are combined, then the sliding compound is the ideal miter saw for your work. It comes with multiple features and is available at a cost effective price.

Follow simple safety instructions and enjoy your work

  • Whenever you plan to use the best miter saw for your work, you need to make sure that the entire set of safety instructions laid by the company are followed in a religious manner. A slight deviation from whatever said by the company may cause serious injury.
  • Before you start with the wood cutting work make sure to wear that protective gear such as glasses, ear plugs and the most important safety gloves. You also need to make sure that children are kept completely out of the reach of such equipment. Make sure that the children are not allowed to enter into the workshop.

Here are some important tips to follow:

  • Make it a routine to check everything is in place, no damage is there, and the blades are moving smoothly before making the cut. You should develop safely habits and by doing this you can easily avoid numerous problems while working.
  • You should also check if the saw is clean or dirty. If you see any dust particles laying inside the blade of the saw then you should immediately wipe the blade clean.
  • Whenever you plan to change the old blade of the best miter saw make sure to disconnect the power. At times due to lack of concentration the ON button gets pressed and may cause serious injuries.
  • Always make sure that the best miter saw is installed on a stable platform. It is good if the saw is clamped to a bench or mounted on a special miter saw stand offered by the company.
  • Always wait for the blade to wind up which means it should complete to full RPM before starting with the cut. The miter saw blade is specially designed to cut at that speed. By following this point you will be able to make perfect and precise cuts.
  • Never divert your attention. It means if somebody is trying to call you when you are doing the cutting work, you need to make sure that you give full concentration to the job. A slight miscalculation can lead to an accident.

How to find the best miter saw without a hole in your pocket?

  • Buying a high quality miter saw at an affordable price is quite easy. The foremost important thing to do is to read enough miter saw reviews on the internet. There are several honest forums that are especially dedicated to tools and techniques.
  • Once you come to know about the best reviews, it is time to search for the shortlisted saw across the internet. Most of the professional miter saw companies offer loads of information about their products on their websites.
  • You will be able to find the best miter saw through these websites at a decent price. Branded ones are little expensive but are quite durable and can be used for a longer period of time.

I believe the above said information is sufficient for you to get the best miter saw. Always remember this fact that proper knowledge about miter saw can help you get the best equipment and you will be able to achieve excellent results out of your daily work.

Stay safe and enjoy working with the best miter saw!

Significance of Reading the Vacuum Sealer Reviews before Buying

Vacuum sealers are very useful machine to have in your home, because using Vacuum sealers is the most advanced and nowadays a really popular way for preserving foodstuffs extensively. Housewives, professional cooks, hunters and fishermen including experienced shopkeepers, in short everyone who faces problem of preserving food, recommend using Vacuum sealers for this purpose.

The main benefit of using the best Vacuum sealer is they make the food container airtight properly which helps preserving food for a long time and protecting it from disastrous germs. And correctly sealed food also doesn’t go freezer burn or become tasteless. And after all that, totally wrapped food is easier and stress-free to prepare for eat even after a very long time.

Vacuum Sealer Reviews

What Should You Look in Vacuum Sealer Reviews

Want to find a long-time preserver of your food? Following are some fundamental features you should find in all best vacuum sealer reviews or read here for more information.

  • It Should be capable of making a perfect seal
  • It Should have a strong air sucker
  • It should be portable
  • It should have warranty (at least 1 year)

The Seal must be perfect and faultless or there will be no use of your vacuum sealer. Air sucking function of a sealer should be powerful to take out every dust particle from the container. You can take many benefits from its portable ability. Long warranty of vacuum sealers is a plus point.

Many people think that Size of a vacuum sealer doesn’t matter but believe me it does. Vacuum sealers are not only used in homes, they are also helpful when you go on camping and picnics, and for that they have to be of portable size. So, it is suggested to buy the vacuum sealer of portable size and structure.

Find Best Vacuum SealerWhile picking up the vacuum sealer for your home, you also have to think about your kitchen space and the size of sealer you are buying will it look good in that. There are also some vacuum sealers which are small in size and can be bring anywhere you want because they are very light in weight as well.

The second thing you should also determine is the quantity of the food you are going to seal and how frequently you will use your sealer. If you answer is large or even big quantity then it is recommended that you use minimum 15 inches of sealer food bags. You can also found small size bags in the market.

If you want to find the most effective vacuum sealer in low price then you should look at the different brand vacuum sealer reviews. It will help you to understand better what you are going to buy and which feature costs what.

Choosing the Best Vacuum Sealer

Always pick the vacuum sealer according to your specific needs. Not every time the top rated product could satisfy you and your needs, so don’t just search for vacuum sealers rating also see their features and performance. Consider your needs like what you are going to wrap with your vacuum sealer and how long you will want your food packaging safe and sound. After that, compare every single model of vacuum sealers on scale of your desires.

When you have your own vacuum sealer you can buy mangoes, apples and everything that you like in bulk and save them for future use. Sometimes when you found some high prices fruits on sale, when you have a vacuum sealer you can buy them in large quantity and can preserve them in the refrigerator for longer. Vacuum sealers are also known as space savers; using them you can store more things at once without any trouble. When you have got a lot of things preserved already you are able to save your time and take out your stored meals.

It is always helpful to read some top Vacuum Sealers reviews to know what latest technology in market is. You can also search for the best but low cost vacuum sealers, which can save you a lot of bucks. After picking a reliable and popular brand, search for their best and heavy duty material. And after doing that you can go to buying step and enjoy the fresh food packed by vacuum sealers forever.

The kitchen – hazardous to your health?

Knives, boiling oil, scaling water, flames, electrical sparks, chemicals that will eat through flesh …Wow! Sounds like a medieval torture chamber, doesn’t it? But it’s really a slightly exaggerated description of the hazards in the most dangerous room of your house–the kitchen. One out of 10 Americans suffers injuries in the home each year. The majority occur in the kitchen. Many of these accidents are due to our own lack of preventive actions–eliminating potential hazards.


Let’s take a look at ways to make your kitchen a safe place for food and converstion instead of a minefield of accidents waiting to happen.

It’s Electric

All those new electrical appliances have made big changes. In some older homes, the amount of electricity required in the kitchen by microwaves, toasters, blenders, and toaster oven often exceeds its wiring capabilities. One clue to this overload is a dimming of the lights when an appliance is started. A more obvious clue is fuses blowing or circuit breakers tripping when kitchen appliances are used. Discoloration or heat around outlets can also be a warning. An electrician should be consulted when these clues appear.

Another hazard is not maintaining electricasl appliances. For example, a refrigerator needs room to “breathe.” That means it requires dust-free space around it for ventilation. Toasters need to be kept clean, but never by dumping them in water. All electrical appliances need to have cords that are not worn or run under rugs, as well as secure plugs. Never wrap cords around appliances, especially those that give off heat.

And be sure electrical outlets are not overloaded. Never connect more than one heating or two motor-driven appliances to one circuit. When disconnecting an appliance plug, make sure your hands are dry and pull the plug itself, not just the cord. It’s smart to disconnect appliances when they’re not in use or when you’re leaving the house.

Using extension cords is not a good idea. An appliance cord is made to withstand the wattage of that appliance, but an extension cord may not be. Also, throw away any extension cord that does not have three prongs, and be sure outlets in your home accept three-prong plugs.

You have probably heard it’s not wise to use a knife to go fishing for your bagel when it’s stuck in the toaster. You can get quite a shock. So far stuck bagels, unplug the toaster first. While you have it unplugged, clean the crumbs out of the bottom.

Since electricity and water don’t Mix, do not position appliances near the sink. If a mixer or toaster is pushed into a sink filled with water, electrocution may quickly follow.

Cooking Concerns

Have you ever left a towel or pot holder on the stove and smelled it burning? This ia common cause of kitchen fires. So is reaching across flames and having your long sleeve ignite. Here are a few more tips about using the stove:

  1. Turn pot handles inward, but be sure they are not over another burner in use or you’re in for a burned hand.
  2. Clean beneath stove burners. Collected grease can start a fire.
  3. Keep matches in a metal container and away from children.
  4. Be sure curtains or towel cannot blow over flames.
  5. Never spray aerosol cans near an open flame.
  6. Remove stove knobs except when in use if you have toddlers in your home.
  7. Do not leave small children unsupervised in the kitchen.
  8. Have a spoon holder near the stove so spoons are not left in hot foods and burn your hand.

Sharp Knives, Spills, and Poisons

Did you ever lose control of a knife and try to “catch” it only to discover you caught the blade instead o the handle? Knives head the list of hazardous household tools. They cause more than 350,000 serious accidents yearly. Believe it or not, the first step in preventing cuts is to have your knives sharpened. Dull knives require strong pressure, and they can slip. Sharp knives go where you want them to with little pressure. If a knife starts to fall, LET IT FALL and step back. The floor can handle the damage a lot better than your hand. Don’t use knives to do jobs other than cutting. Knives are not meant to pry open lids or turn screws. Store knives in a place where all the points can face the same direction and where they cannot be reached by children.


Falls in the kitchen are usually related to spilled objects, food, and drinks on the floor. Clean up spills immediately.

Last but not least is thhe fact that under your sink is a chemistry lab full of poisonous substances. Cleaners, waxes, shoe polish, dishwasher soap, bleach, lye–the list goes on and on. If there are children in your home, these items should be locked in a cabinet children cannot open.

Some of your fondest memories will be centered around the kitchen. Take the time to be sure no nightmares will originate in your kitchen instead.

Recovering Heat From Air Compressors

Compressed air is an extremely vital utility for the proper operation of most plants. Many plant engineers specify packaged air compressors strictly for air supply. Often overlooked, however, is the potential for recovering the heat of compression. When properly applied, compressed air heat recovery systems can significantly cut plant operating costs.

Once, energy expenditures were only a small portion of the plant’s total operating costs and few considered using the heat of compression. However, today’s energy costs make focusing on recovering energy released from compressors both sensible and practical.

All types of packaged air compressors produce heat from compression and from power transmission losses. The laws of thermodynamics dictate that air compression cannot be accomplished without generating a substantial amount of heat. The higher the compression ratio, the higher the compressor air discharge temperature. To achieve 125 psig discharge, a dry, singlestage compression process generates a discharge temperature of 500 F.

Often, compressors are staged and equipped with intercooling to reduce the air temperature rise. In lubricated compressors, oil is injected into the compression chamber to provide lubrication and sealing, and to cool the air. Before the air is discharged, the oil can be removed by mechanical separation. Following the separation process, the hot oil can be used as a heating medium for other applications. With a typical lubricated rotary screw compressor, approximately 72% of the total electric power energy input can be recovered with oil cooling. Only 13% is recoverable from the compressed air by aftercooling.

In packaged air compressors, power transmission losses occur in the electric motor drive, cooling fan, windings, and bearings and seals, as well as in the compressor bearings and seals and the drive belts or couplings. For a typical unit, these losses amount to approximately 9% of the electrical energy input. The heat generated by these losses can be recovered if the package is configured to direct the heat where it is needed.

Configuration Requirements

Heat recovery is simpler in a rotary screw compressor self-contained in an enclosed cabinet than in other arrangements. In some brands, this feature is standard and includes sound-absorbing materials and cabinet flooring. A built-in motor-driven cooling fan draws ambient air through intake filter mats, which provide the primary filtration. A portion of this air enters the intake filter/canister first, and then the compressor housing. The remaining air flows past the primary components of the compressor package (motor, compressor housing, air/oil separator, and drive belt arrangement), absorbing the heat created by power transmission losses. The prefiltered ambient air helps maintain moderate operating temperatures and allows the compressor to run at rated capacity continuously without overheating or overloading.

Before the air leaves the compressor cabinet, one portion of it passes through the oil cooler and another passes through the adjacent air aftercooler. Approximately 85% of the total input energy in the air passing through the coolers is available for heat recovery. This usable hot air emerges in sufficient volume and with ample velocity to make it suitable for ducting to areas where heating is required. Some compressor manufacturers will even make provisions for connecting standard duct sizes to the compressor/cooler interface.

Types of Systems

Three basic heat recovery systems are available: space heating, hot water heating, and combined space/hot water heating. Space heating is the most common. It is low in installed cost, simple, and easy to maintain. Heated ambient air exhausted from the oil/air cooler is ducted directly to the area to be heated.

A manually or thermostatically controlled hinged vent can be used to divert the warm air to the atmosphere when required. Thermostatically controlled vents can be designed to provide a constant temperature in a given space. Before any space heating duct is installed, the compressor manufacturer should be consulted about pressure drops. If excessive duct lengths are needed, booster duct fans may be required to assist the compressor cooling fan.

Hot water heating systems extract heat from the compressor injection oil with a liquid-to-liquid heat exchanger. Because the oil contains approximately 5.5 times more heat than the compressed air, an airto-water heat exchanger is not as economical as an all liquid heat exchanger.

The oil-water heat exchanger is typically mounted outside the compressor package. Fittings are provided to connect piping to the plant hot water system. When the compressor is started up and the oil is cold, an open bypass valve routes the oil directly through the oil filter to the compressor injection ports. Once the oil reaches a preset temperature (usually 131 F), the bypass valve begins to close and divert the oil to the oil-water heat exchanger. When the oil temperature reaches 149 F, the bypass valve is completely closed. If the oil temperature goes higher, the oil cooler thermostatic control valve diverts the oil so that it may be cooled by the ambient airflow through the air compressor package.

Most compressor manufacturers offer a variety of heat exchanger designs. Maximum hot water temperatures typically range ftom 130 to 160 F. Hot water systems typically recover approximately 22% less heat than a space heating configuration because of the lack of heat recovery from the compressed air and the power transmission losses.

In combined space/hot water heating systems, 72% of the total electric power input is available for producing hot water and 22% for producing heated air.

System Applications and Economics

Energy savings vary with the compressor horsepower rating, fuel availability and cost, and heat distribution system design. However, typical annual fuel savings for a space heating system are shown in the table. Figures are based on a fuel heating value of 128,000 Btu/gal; fuel cost of $1/gal, heating efficiency of 70%, and a 2000-hour, si ngle-shift plant operating year. For additional shifts, the savings should be multiplied accordingly. Heat recovery systems allow maximum use of energy. With a properly designed system, full economic payback can be realized in less than one heating season.

Space heating systems can be used to provide supplemental or complete heating of manufacturing, assembly, and storage facilities; accelerate drying after painting, varnishing, and cleaning; provide warm air curtains; preheat aspirated air for oil burners to increase efficiency; and maintain temperatures of large areas above the freezing point.

Hot water heating systems are installed wherever potable water is not required. They can be used to supplement central heating systems and for industrial cleaning, laundry, and chemical and pharmaceutical processes. The increased use of air-cooled packaged air compressors has inherent advantages for recovering heat from water. In light of today’s energy costs, such a situation can lead to an attractive rate of return for an air compressor heat recovery installation.

Valley New-Home Affordability Declines

With costs for land, labor and materials on the rise, new homes in the Valley no longer are the bargains they once were.

The Valley, once one of the best places in the nation to find affordable homes, has seen a sharp rise in new-home prices during the past 18 months.

According to a national study prepared by E&Y Kenneth Leventhal Real Estate Group, the Phoenix metropolitan area is now the 32nd most affordable city in which to purchase a home, down from the No. 22 spot in 1994 among the 75 major markets surveyed.

The cost to build a new home in the Valley has jumped dramatically, driving up prices and erasing affordability. In addition to increased costs associated with higher interest rates, costs are up for labor, building materials, municipal charges and land prices.

Any increase in prices affects affordability,” said Kathy Ferron, a senior manager with E&Y Kenneth Leventhal Real Estate Group.

Home Price

From March 1994 to March 1995, the median home price in the Valley increased from $118,000 to $132,000, a jump of more than 11.5 percent, Ferron said.

During the same time, the average home price has risen from $135,000 to $155,000, she said.

According to the survey, average Valley residents would have to spend 23.2 percent of their after-tax income to purchase a four-bedroom, 2,200-square-foot single-family house.

While the average household income has increased in the Valley during the same time, it has not kept pace with rising home costs.

During 1994, wages for Valley workers climbed 6.3 percent, according to the Arizona Department of Economic Security.

The median household income in the Valley is $32,546.

Now, with nearly a quarter of a resident’s income required to purchase a home, the Valley has dropped behind several of its Southwest neighbors for affordability.

We have seen a substantial shift in new home prices,” said R.L. Brown, publisher of The Phoenix Housing Market Letter, which tracks the Valley’s new home development. “It isn’t that the builder has gotten greedy, the cost of the animal has increased substantially.”

Costs to build new homes have been on the steady increase in the Valley for more than a year, he said. Lot and land prices have increased, as well as labor and lumber costs, he said.

Just three years ago, the Valley was awash with former Resolution Trust Corp.-owned lots in master-planned communities. The high availability of inexpensive land allowed homebuilders to buy a lot for approximately 14 to 15 percent of the cost of a home, Brown said.

The home building boom of the past 18 months has absorbed all the cheap land and is forcing homebuilders toward more expensive lots, an expense that is passed along to the buyer. The average price of a lot now makes up 20 percent of the cost of a home, and in some cases is as high as 24 percent, he said.

While most homebuilders are selling well, their profit margins have dwindled as prices and competition have increased, Brown said.

With the homebuilding boom in full swing, municipalities have taken the opportunity to increase the fees they charge to homebuilders for new homes, Brown said. That is another added cost that is passed along to the homebuyers, he said.

“You never see increases like that when the times are bad,” he said. Costs will only continue to rise in the near future, although some modest relief in terms of interest rates is expected, Brown predicted.

We are losing affordability,” he said. “That will eventually impact economic development.”

While the cost of living, including new home affordability, is a factor for some companies looking at the Valley as a new site for their business, for others it is a low priority, said Roy Williams, the chief operating officer of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.

“There are many other things that are high up in influencing a site location,” he said.

For a company with millions of dollars in manufacturing equipment, one of the most important factors is property tax, he said.

Quality of life issues are most important to companies that need to attract and retain highly skilled employees who are in demand in other places, he said.

While the Valley may not be as affordable as it once was, it is affordable compared with many of the cities in competition for the same relocating companies, he said.

Unlike many other places, such as most California cities, the affordability of new Valley homes is still a positive for economic development, Williams said.

The Valley is not the only place where rising costs have lowered affordability.

Tucson is the eighth least affordable location of the cities examined to purchase a home, moving down one place from ninth on last year’s survey.

The Affordable Housing

The West Coast still offers the least affordable housing of anywhere in the nation. Four large urban areas in California, as well as perennial high-cost Honolulu, rank among the 10 least affordable large housing markets nationwide.

The least affordable cities in the nation are: San Francisco; Honolulu; New York; Los Angeles: Oakland-East Bay, Calif.; San Diego; Boston; Tucson; Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla,; and San Jose, Calif.

Tucson’s rank has more to do with the low median household income than it does with the price of homes, Ferron said.

Because of the high percentage of retirees in Tucson, the average annual income is quite low in relation to the price of homes, she said. While the average home price is not out of line with other cities, the median household income is low at $26,877, she said.

  • Some cities in the Northwest have seen the greatest decrease in affordability in the past few years.
  • Strong in-migration in recent years is partly to blame for the rising costs, the study found.
  • From 1994 to 1995, Portland has gone from the 27th most affordable city to the 52nd, and Seattle has slipped from 28th to 43rd.

With a consistent number of Californians continuing to migrate eastward, and bringing along sizable home-buying budgets, the Valley may see even more dramatic increases in new home costs in the coming years, Ferron said.

While new home prices have increased during the past year, the price of existing homes has remained nearly constant, rising only 2 percent from March 1994 to March 1995, Ferron said. The median home price of existing homes increased from $82,000 to $83,500 during that time.

Although resale prices have remained steady, affordability has decreased sharply because the Valley is such a strong new home-buying market, Ferron said.

The relative lack of change in existing home prices is an indication that the value of Valley homes has not risen as much as building build have increased, Brown said.

In an effort to keep home prices competitive, homebuilders are going to build houses with fewer amenities and are going to build them in more rural areas, where land is cheaper and municipal fees are not quite so high, Brown said.

Bosch 14.4-volt Impactor Cordless Impact Driver

I like to think that I keep up with building trends and new tools, so I was surprised to find a whole new category of power tools that I was completely unaware of: cordless impact drivers. While they look a little like conventional cordless drill/drivers, these tools aren’t for drilling. They’re designed solely for driving screws and tightening bolts.

Like their larger cousin, the impact wrench, impact drivers use a rapidly rotating hammer and anvil inside the gearbox. The force created by the spinning hammer striking the anvil explains how a relatively low-voltage impact driver can produce more torque than an 18-volt cordless drill. That force is also what gives impact drivers their distinctive rat-a-tat sound.

To see if a cordless impact driver was any better at driving screws than my cordless drill, I recently tested Bosch’s 14.4-volt Impactor for JLC. Like other cordless impact drivers, this tool doesn’t start impacting immediately; the impacting starts when increased resistance makes it necessary.

When I first got the Bosch, I hustled out to my shop and ran a few 3-inch screws into some framing lumber. They went in nicely, but not noticeably better than they would have with my cordless drill; the biggest difference was the racket the Bosch made.

At this point, I wasn’t so sure I’d like my new tool. However, first impressions can be misleading, so I decided to use it on an upcoming deck project. I figured that driving hundreds of deck screws would be an ideal way of putting it to the test.


The 14.4-volt Impactor is a very compact unit, just 6 1/2 inches from the collet to the rear end. It weighs only 4 pounds and, in terms of power, ranks about midway in a line that includes 9.6-, 12-, and 18-volt models.

Its collet accepts 1/4-inch hex-shank bits, which is typical for impact drivers designed for general use. The collet works smoothly; it releases and accepts bits with a sliding ring, and holds them securely while allowing fast changes from one type to another.

The tool has a metal gear case and produces a maximum torque of 1,150 inch-pounds.


Well-balanced and comfortable to use, the Impactor boasts some really nice features. One of my favorites is a spring-loaded belt clip that pops up when a pair of buttons are squeezed. When you don’t need it, the clip–which mounts on either side of the tool–can be left tucked into its housing.

Another nifty feature is the LED light located just above the battery; it shines a beam directly on the bit and fastener.

Other perks are a bit-holder at the rear of the tool and a nice rubberized grip.

The kit model I tested came with two batteries and a plastic case with extra compartments for bits and fasteners.

Tests and Results

My deck design included a double 2×8 girder supported on 6×6 posts and triple joists around the perimeter. These built-up beams, I reasoned, would provide a real test of the Impactor’s strength and stamina.

When the tool drove in the 2 1/2-inch square-drive screws for my girder, I was struck by how easily it did so and by how much control the impact action gave me. The added control means that you can set or countersink screws exactly where you want them. In my case, I wanted to bury the heads, and the tool did so effortlessly.

My next test was with 3-inch screws and the triple joists. Again, driving the screws was effortless and comfortable, and I could depend on the tool to drive them all the way. I was even beginning to get used to the impact sound; there was a certain comfort in knowing that the extra power had kicked in.

Perhaps the most revealing test was with the 5-inch LedgerLok screws commonly used–as the name suggests–for attaching deck ledgers. I needed them for some tricky corners and joist intersections. Once more, the Impactor drove the fasteners home without pilot holes or splitting. What was amazing was how it applied so much torque to the bolt yet very little to my wrist and arm.

When I tried using my cordless drill for the same task, it completely stalled, with the LedgerLok halfway in.

The Verdict

I’m a fairly critical guy and hold my tools to a high standard, so I generally have at least one complaint with any new tool. But in this case, I have none. Zero. Zilch. In fact, the Impactor has become one of my favorite power tools.

With a case and two 2.0 amp-hour batteries, it sells for $220.

Bosch 14.4-Volt Impactor, Model 23614

Weight: 4.0 pounds (including battery)

Maximum torque: 1,150 inch-pounds

Rpm: 0-2,800

Impact rate: 0-3,200 blows per minute

Width: 6 1/2 inches

Bosch Tool Corp.


Regular or Convection, They’re a Necessity

Microwave ovens are perhaps some of the most functional cooking devices that have gained meager attention from both distributors and manufacturers. Used primarily as a medium for heating water, these devices may actually be used in a plethora of cooking applications including baking, rethermalizing, steaming and retaining heat. Microwave ovens work by increasing the agitation among dipole molecules, which in turn, generates enough heat to cook a variety of food.

microwave oven

They’ve been around for quite a while and most of your customers have one. They’re microwave ovens and they are probably the most underutilized piece of equipment in kitchens today. Sure, they are great for heating up water, warming a couple of rolls or baking a potato when the last table orders four bakers and there are only three in the pan. The truth is, entire menus can be built around microwave ovens. Sure, you can take the passive route and offer a microwave to replace an existing unit, but with an understanding of how the technology works and how to position microwaves as a primary cooking device, you could help your customers and boost your sales volume at the same time.


Microwave energy cooks food by exciting water – or other dipole molecules – in foods. The molecules actually move, and in so doing create friction that creates heat. It’s that simple. However, microwaves do not penetrate through a thick piece of meat or potato, as do ionizing gamma waves used in food irradiation. Rather, the heat that is generated near the surface of a food product is conducted toward the center of the food.

Therein lies one of the inherent problems with microwave cooking. Microwaves can overheat the outer layer of food products before the center is heated to a safe temperature. The heating can also cause excessive shrinkage and toughening of protein strands.

cooking with microwave ovenAnother important point is that if one potato takes four minutes to cook, two potatoes will take eight minutes and three potatoes will take 12 minutes. As the mass of food increases so too will the cooking time.

Today, microwave ovens have a variety of control features that make it possible to cook a wider range of foods with great success. These ovens can be microwave-only and microwave with convection air cooking. Microwave-only units are ideal for cooking or reheating items that do not need to be browned or served with a crisp coat. With the addition of convected air, foods will brown, develop a crisp coating and cook faster. Programmable presets make it possible to set cooking levels and times for up to 20 frequently served items.


Let’s take a look at some of the most prevalent applications for microwave ovens.


Foods formulated to be held chilled and then reheated are a great way to use a microwave oven. Take New England style clam chowder, for example. If it’s held at too high a temperature, the milk protein will break. The alternative is to hold the chowder in a refrigerated area. When an order is placed, the chowder is portioned and reheated in the microwave.

Holding foods at high enough temperatures so that pathogens won’t grow, yet cool enough so that the product will not dry out is a tough task for customers. Keeping foods in a chilled state only to be reheated when ordered contributes greatly to anyone’s HACCP efforts.


Conventional microwave cooking is a form of moist-heat cooking. While the application has been around for years, microwaves are only now being seen as a great way to steam food. With a large microwave oven, your customers can steam 8-pounds of frozen mixed vegetables in under 10 minutes, or a single, 6-ounce serving in just over one minute.

Retaining Heat

Any of your customers who try to deliver “hot foods hot” will love this application. While the food is being cooked, they can load a patented thermal sink pad into a microwave oven where it is heated for a few minutes. They then place the pad into an insulated bag along with the packaged food and the pad will keep the food hot for hours. These microwave-heated pads are ideal for pizza delivery or any other type of operation where maintaining food temperature with a passive technology is the only option.

Old-fashioned Craftsmanship’s an Art in The Hands of Woodworker Weaver

Behind every grand scheme is a dreamer. The Sonoma County Astronomical Society had one. He was Robert H. Ferguson, a beloved club member who passed away in 1993. As a youngster, he looked up at the night sky and wondered what was out there. Many years later he made his first telescope in John Dobson’s class in San Francisco. In the early 1980s Ferguson ground, polished, and silvered a 16-inch mirror and constructed a large white Dobsonian mount for it. Youngsters loved that white scope and its white-haired inspirational owner. “The kids know a big kid when they see one,” he said.

Ferguson recognized that young people’s interest in science was lagging in school, and he wanted to do something about it. He knew astronomy could strike a spark of interest among students in many of its allied branches, such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, and geology. So in 1985 he proposed his telescope giveaway plan to the SCAS, which heartily approved it.

Seven club-built telescopes were awarded to seven students in 1986, the first year of Striking Sparks. Ferguson and his friend and fellow club member, Larry McCune, paid for all the materials out of their own pockets at that time. As polka and accordion music wafted through the garage, they fabricated the telescopes’ mirrors, tubes, and mounts. Ferguson cut mirror blanks out of 14-inch-diameter plate glass using a “biscuit cutter” fashioned out of an ammunition shell casing and attached to a drill press. He chose an initial size of 5 1/2 inches instead of the standard 6 inches so the mirrors would fit inside the inexpensive PVC plastic irrigation pipe sections he had selected for the telescope tubes. For focusers he used drainpipe fittings as eyepiece drawtubes. McCune designed the telescope mount, and his original design is still used to this day.

  • Beginning in 1987, an average of 10 telescopes have been made and given away annually. One SCAS member is now assigned the responsibility of grinding and polishing one primary mirror. Club members Herb Larsen and Steve Follett test each mirror and figure its shape from a sphere to a paraboloid.
  • Once all the mirrors have been precisely figured, more volunteers don work shirts and tool belts and gather at Cloverdale High School’s wood shop. Lynn Anderson, the school’s shop teacher and an SCAS member, supervises the construction work. As table saws scream and other power tools whirr and drill, pieces of plywood begin to take on the familiar telescope shape.
  • Two weekends later members glue and nail together the mounts and paint them white. Each telescope is then equipped with a Telrad finder and a rack-and-pinion focuser. Finally, the optics are mounted and aligned inside the PVC tubes. The Striking Sparks scopes are now ready for action.

Each telescope costs $175 to build, and 10 sponsors are usually easy to find. For years former Sparks program chair Cindy Megill and other members had set up telescopes in shopping centers and held raffles to raise funds for the program. Nowadays each telescope is sponsored by an individual, family, service organization, or business.

Every year the club shops for 10 sets of Telrads, secondary mirrors, focusers, eyepieces, planispheres, red flashlights, and star charts. Astronomy companies such as California’s Orion Telescopes and Binoculars and Scope City, New York’s Adorama, and Arizona’s Crazy Ed Optical have given generous product discounts and donations. Bob Fies of Aluminum Coating in San Carlos, California, aluminizes the mirrors in his garage.

“It seems like we tackle a million tasks each year to pull off Striking Sparks,” say program coordinators Vicki Tandecke and Victoria Vertrees. “We don’t know how we get it all done, but when we see a child hug his or her new telescope or see the look in a proud teacher’s eye, we know it was all worth it.”

The Personality Itself, of Course, is not a Further Item in The Inventory

About halfway through the installation of Sol LeWitt’s art on the fourth floor of New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art, a small alcove gallery is given over entirely to Autobiography, a work from 1980. Autobiography consists, by my calculation, of 1,071 simple black-and-white photographs, arranged in 3×3 square grids. The pictures are of an almost striking banality, with a degree of photographic distinction near zero, and they show, for the most part, the most ordinary of objects: tools, balls of twine, shoes and articles of clothing, kitchen utensils, snapshots, books, houseplants. Except for the flat-files and drafting instruments–triangles, T-squares, templates, protractors, rulers and the like–their counterparts would have been found in most households of the Western world at the time. The inventory defines domestic normality for persons of a certain class–not too wealthy, not too poor. More metaphysically, the objects participate in what Heidegger designates as Zuhandenheit–the “Ready-to-Hand”–the kinds of things one notices only when they are not ready to hand, their absence impeding the smooth flow of daily life. Their inventoried presence accordingly testifies to the orderliness of this household, in which everything is present and accounted for, and to the organizational disposition of Sol LeWitt, whose household it was.

The personality itself, of course, is not a further item in the inventory. We know from external sources that LeWitt was about to vacate his living space in 1980 and move to Spoleto, Italy; and that he wanted to photograph each object with which he lived. In a video interview, Sol LeWitt: Four Decades, on continuous view outside the lobby gallery, the artist tells the exhibition’s curator, Gary Garrels, that a far better picture of him can be gotten from the photographs of all the things he lived with than from an ordinary portrait. The question has been raised as to why he did not then title the work Self-Portrait. My sense is that it is because “autobiography” implies the concept of a life, and a life is something lived. The ordinariness of the objects inventoried further implies that there is nothing out of the ordinary in LeWitt’s life, that it could be the autobiography of Whoever, Wherever. It may be remarked that there is no photograph in Autobiography of Autobiography itself–though it would be philosophically daring to have included the representation of the life as a further item in the life represented. I cannot forbear observing the philosophical significance of the fact that Autobiography fails to include a photograph of LeWitt himself. “When I enter most intimately into what I call myself,” the philosopher David Hume once wrote, “I always stumble on some particular perception or other…. I never can catch myself at any time without a perception, and never can observe anything but the perception.” There is no experience of the self, Hume concludes, and so the term is without meaning.

  • Still, not everyone would photograph each of his possessions, as if for a yard sale, and organize them into a set of 3×3 grids. Nor can the work be rid of one’s own subjectivity by organizing its components meticulously. If anything, character and disposition are revealed through the order or absence of order in one’s life. In a way, the LeWitt exhibition could itself be titled Autobiography.
  • It is difficult to believe that someone who took and arranged the photographs as compulsively as LeWitt appears to have done would leave the content and organization of a life’s worth of his art to another. “If you require a monument,” Sir Christopher Wren inscribed in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, “look around you.”
  • The relevance of this to LeWitt’s oeuvre, in whole and in part, lies in the philosophy he articulated in a crucial text, “Paragraphs on Conceptual Art,” first published in Artforum in 1967. In the late 1960s there would have been relatively little to appreciate in the work other than the way it exemplified the theory. In its own right it was what the Italian critic Achille Bonito Oliva recently called “minimalial,” even if it was not Minimalist in the strict ideological meaning

“When an artist uses a conceptual form of art,” LeWitt wrote, “it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair.”

The implication is that the work of art is the transcription of an idea, in the medium its idea specifies. In 1967 it would have been LeWitt’s practice to transcribe his own ideas; but later, when he began to do the wall drawings that were to become the genre most distinctive of his work, he more and more left the transcription of his ideas to what he terms “draftsmen.” In a text from 1971 he wrote, “The artist conceives and plans the wall drawing. It is realized by draftsmen. (The artist can act as his own draftsman.) The plan, written, spoken or a drawing, is interpreted by the draftsman.” It is fairly clear that between “artist” and “draftsman” there is a functional distinction involving different skills, and that it is in no sense necessary that a single individual incorporate both functions.

An example of a work for which the plan can be spoken is Wall Drawing #51: All Architectural Points Connected by Straight Lines. Blue snap lines. A “snap line” is a length of chalked cord, tautly stretched along a flat surface. It is plucked, like a violin string, leaving a straight line, the color of the chalk. The number of vectored lines will be a function of the number of “architectural points” the lines connect. Wall Drawing #51 was done in 1970 and “installed” that year in the Museo di Torino in Turin, Italy. Its latest installation, done in 2000, can be seen on the extreme north section of the east wall of the fourth-floor gallery, where the viewer will initially register it as a network of pale blue straight lines connecting corners with corners. It may have been done at other times, on different walls, and one hopes it will go on being installed, transcribed by different draftsmen, when we are all long gone. The installations themselves can be painted over or destroyed in other ways, but the plan itself has only the reality of a concept. And it need never have existed in the form of a drawing. It would have been enough for it to be a plan, scribbled down as an instruction to the draftsman or communicated by phone or on a tape, and so need no more resemble the set of its embodiments than a set of scrubbed floors need resemble the injunction “Scrub the floors!” Neither must the transcriptions resemble one another, as long as they comply with the plan. The distribution of “architectural points” will differ from actual wall to actual wall. I find it delicious that there are lines that connect the corners of the room with the corners of the alarm systems that happen to be placed in the wall chosen for the present installation of #51–and perhaps chosen to illustrate the point. In the catalogue illustration of the same work, the lines densely converge on the electrical outlets near the floor. It looks like the maps of airline routes one sees on in-flight magazines, shown radiating out from hubs.

There is an unmistakable skill in using snap lines to make nice, clean vectors on the wall, and there is no reason to suppose that LeWitt himself has such skills. The aesthetic of #51 is really inconsistent with casual, smudged marks, and part of the pleasure of the work derives from the impeccability of its execution. Compare it, though, with a 1972 work that shows a page from a publication about art, and indeed the art of certain of LeWitt’s contemporaries–Marcel Duchamp, Robert Rauschenberg, Robert Morris, Jasper Johns and several others. It addresses the topic of “human control,” which of course plays a central role in LeWitt’s philosophy. I don’t know who the author is. In any case, the plan of the work is in effect its title: From the Word “Art”: Blue Lines to Four Corners, Green Lines to Four Sides, and Red Lines Between the Words “Art” on the Printed Page. My hunch is that the draftsman of this work was LeWitt himself, using colored ink and pencil, and perhaps one of the straightedges we see in Autobiography. But anyone possessing the minimal skills required to execute diagrams in high school geometry class could do this work. Who but LeWitt, however, could or would have formed the concept of connecting the word “art,” as an isomorphic set of physical entities composed of ink molecules, with the perimeters of the physical surface on which they are deposited, as well as with one another? The work is witty, slyly deflationist of the concept of art as well as some of its theories, and exceedingly arch in the way it refers, as work, to the content of the text it unites with its page. The pleasures here, as with #51, are only marginally sensuous. They are largely conceptual pleasures, and perhaps best appreciated by those who belonged in the same intellectual atmosphere to which the works themselves belong. (I have to say that I love these works!)


Brown Bagging Nutrition

Decisions, decisions. Should you take your lunch to school or should you buy it? Brown-bagging is a good way to create a nutritious, inexpensive lunch. But who wants to get up earlier to pack it?

Buying lunch is much more convenient; however, it also can get expensive. And it may not always be healthy. How can you know?

Armed with some nutrition basics and a little planning know-how, you can take control of your lunchtime choices-even when you’re on the run.

Make It Your Way

If you’re a last-minute sleeper, prepack foods and store them until needed. When you’re packing your lunch, keep the environment in mind. Use reusable paper and plastic bags. Try plastic ware that can be cleaned and used again and again. Also think about buying an insulated lunch box.


Some foods lend themselves to being stored in the freezer. For example:

  • prepared sandwiches (without the “extras” such as fresh vegetables or condiments)
  • single-serving boxes of fruit juice and containers of yogurt (When frozen, these can help keep other foods in your bag cool until it’s time to eat.)
  • single-serving portions of quick breads and muffins in small plastic bags
  • leftovers from dinner, such as lasagna, soups, and burgers – if you have access to a microwave oven at lunch.

These items can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator:

  • assorted cut-up fresh veggies in plastic bags (When you pack the veggies in your lunch the next day, toss an ice cube or two in the plastic bag to keep them cool until lunch.)
  • portioned pasta, potato, or rice salad in reusable plastic ware
  • prebaked potatoes or leftover vegetable pizza – if you can get to a microwave oven (or you like to eat them cold)
  • mini-containers of condiments and salad dressings.

Many foods can come straight from the cupboard, such as:

  1. ready-to-serve soups (Several brands are now lower in salt and fat. Either bring soup in a thermos or heat it in a microwave at lunchtime.)
  2. single-serving boxes of raisins and other dried fruits
  3. portioned bags of pretzels, mini-rice cakes, breadsticks, baked tortilla chips, or other low-fat crunchies
  4. portioned bags of fig bars, vanilla wafers, gingersnaps, graham crackers, or other lower-fat cookies.

Mix and Match Sandwiches

Even a plain ole’ turkey sandwich can become a gourmet treat when you add fresh spinach and cucumbers and onions and chutney and…It’s time to get out of your sandwich rut and start cross training your palate. Mix and match the types of breads, protein foods, fruits and veggies, and condiments you use. Choose one item from both the bread and protein columns and one or more from the vegetable/fruit and condiment columns.

They Do It Their Way

With a quick zap of the microwave oven, you can have prepared macaroni and cheese, burritos, pizza, tacos, and more. They’re fast and convenient, but are these foods healthy?

Some of these meals can provide up to 60 percent of their calories from fat and more than two-thirds of your sodium requirement for the entire day. Before you put a packaged meal in your grocery basket, read the label to make sure it meets the following criteria:

  1. No more than 3 grams of fat for every 100 calories
  2. No more than 800 mg sodium
  3. No more than 100 mg cholesterol

Let Someone Else Do It Your Way

If making your own lunch is not your bag, let someone else do the work. But don’t sacrifice good nutrition for convenience.

While yesterday the phrase “fast food” typically conjured up images of grease, many convenience food stops have now expanded their menus to include additional selections for the health-conscious consumer. If you’re not sure how an item is prepared, ask. The chart above can show you how hidden extras can add up to a lot of calories and fat.

However you decide to do lunch, be sure that you put nutrition in the bag.


Guidelines for Ordering

Lower-Fat Lunches

  • Choose roast beef or the new 91 percent fat-free hamburger sandwiches over regular hamburgers. 4-ounce 91 percent fat-free hamburger = 320 calories, 10 grams fat 1 roast beef sandwich = 340 calories, 10 grams fat 4-ounce regular hamburger = 410 calories, 21 grams fat
  • If ordering regular hamburgers, ask for plain, smaller ones, and top them with your favorites among mustard, ketchup, BBQ sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles. * Choose a plain grilled or BBQ chicken sandwich instead of a fried chicken sandwich. 1 grilled chicken sandwich = 289 calories, 8 grams fat

(without mayo or sauce) 1 fried chicken sandwich = 685 calories, 40 grams fat

(with mayo or sauce)

  • Request a plain cheese pizza with vegetable toppings rather than with extra fat-filled cheeses and meats. 2 slices cheese pizza = 375 calories, 10 grams fat 2 slices of double cheese = 545 calories, 25 grams fat

(with pepperoni)

  • Choose low-fat frozen yogurt instead of a shake. 1 frozen yogurt with cone = 140 calories, 5 grams fat 1 vanilla shake = 350 calories, 10 grams fat
  • Order a baked potato instead of french fries. 1 plain baked potato = 290 calories, 0 grams fat fries (equal weight) = 840 calories, 40 grams fat
  • Choose a vegetable salad. Ask for oil-based instead of cream-based dressings. Request it on the side, and use it sparingly. 1 small salad = 25 calories, 0 grams fat 2 ounces ranch dressing = 350 calories, 37 grams fat