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Savings / Safety Tips for February 2019 from All Safety Products, Inc.

Check Your Headlights. Now!

According to the AAA, headlights are dimming on older cars. Through the years, the plastic coating on headlights can become so yellowed or clouded that they may provide a mere 20 percent of the light they did when the car was bought.  Eighty percent  treacherous?

The AAA's findings stress all the evidence that car owners should routinely check the coating on their headlights and, when necessary, restore or replace them. Driving at night with headlights producing less than 80 percent of the required light is extremely dangerous and a risk that drivers should not take, according to Greg Brannon, AAA's director of automotive engineering.

Brannon went on to say that convenient and inexpensive solutions are available that can dramatically improve the headlights of older vehicles.  At a minimum, drivers need 300 to 350 feet at 60 miles an hour to see, react, and brake for whatever occurs ahead.  Using lab-tested headlights from two popular sedans about 11 years old,  the AAA studied the impact of deterioration on the amount of light a beacon produces as sunlight breaks down its protective plastic coatings.

The results were measured against new headlights to quantify the amount of light produced and, depending on where and how the vehicle is used, headlights can begin showing signs of deterioration in as little as three to five years.

In separate research, it was discovered that some makes and models seem to be more susceptible than others to clouding. It depends on the size, angle, and composition of the lens and whether the car is garaged or spends its life parked on the street. The effects can vary from just a slight haze to making lenses almost opaque.

As a result, carefully examine your headlight lenses before purchasing any restoration kits. If they appear bright, leave them alone. And before using any restoration kit, watch the manufacturer's instructional videos online.  If the lenses are clear, but the lights appear to be dimmer than they used to be, you may need new bulbs.  All bulbs dim over time and should be replaced after a few years.     

Regularly clean your lenses with a household glass cleaner.  Even a simple cleaning can make a big difference in how well you can see, especially if you live in an area with a lot of snow, ice, or road salt.
Modern medications rally heart patients

According to data from 12 separate clinical trials, today's heart-failure patients are much less likely to die from sudden cardiac arrest.  In fact, sudden death from heart failure has declined by almost 50 percent in the last 20 years, according to Dr. John McMurray, the University of Glasgow cardiology professor in Scotland who organized the trials.  Vigorous combinations of powerful heart medications have turned the tide, according to McMurray.

Patients can experience substantial or even complete recovery from their heart muscle dysfunction, he said.  Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. In most cases, patients have developed reduced ejection fraction, a condition in which the heart's lower chambers cannot squeeze hard enough to pump oxygen-rich blood through the body.

After reviewing the study, Dr. David Majure, medical director of mechanical circulatory support at Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital in New York, complimented the researchers, agreeing that people with heart failure tend to die from failure of the pump but not so much from sudden cardiac death.     

To prevent ejection fraction, many heart failure patients receive an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD), a device that monitors heart rhythm and delivers an electrical shock to restore normal rhythm when the heartbeat starts to go astray.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the study's data also showed that sudden death rates have decreased by 44 percent in patients who have not received an ICD. However, UCLA cardiologist Dr. Gregg Fonarow wasn't ready to go that far. While acknowledging that heart-failure victims are living longer and better, Fonarow said patients receiving all the guideline-recommended heart failure medications still have a residual risk of sudden death. That risk can be reduced with ICDs.

Dr. Chris O'Connor, editor-in-chief of The Journal of the American College of Cardiology, said cardiologists are not seeing optimal sudden death reduction because patients do not get, or sometimes do not take, the correct doses of medicines.


Delicious Recipe: Moussaka is the perfect comfort food from Athens to Anaheim

Moussaka is a dish that can be found in many parts of Europe and the Middle East. It can be prepared in a variety of ways, depending on the area, but nearly all recipes call for eggplant as the primary ingredient, according to Cooking in Plain Greek.

Introduced to the Western world in about 1500 AD, eggplants were originally kept as ornamental plants because they were thought to be poisonous.  The modern Greek moussaka has elements from many different cultures, especially the bechamel sauce borrowed from French cuisine. The quintessential Greek comfort food, a good moussaka is a hearty meal sure to please with all of the lamb, cheese, and spices inside.

Moussaka can be even better the next day, so make it ahead!

8 garlic cloves, finely grated, divided
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped mint, divided
2 tablespoons chopped oregano
3 medium eggplants (about 3 1/2 pounds total), sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch thick rounds
2 1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more
2 pounds ground lamb
2 medium onions, chopped
1 3-inch cinnamon stick
2 Fresno chiles, finely chopped
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 28-ounce can whole, peeled tomatoes  Bechamel sauce
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk, warmed
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces farmer cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
2 ounces Pecorino or Parmesan, finely grated (about 1 3/4 cups), divided
3 large egg yolks, beaten to blend

For the eggplant and lamb, preheat oven to 475 degrees.
Whisk together half the garlic, half a cup of olive oil, 1 tablespoon mint, and 1 tablespoon oregano.
Brush around both sides of the eggplant rounds, covering well.
Season with salt and pepper.
Place eggplant slices into a rimmed baking sheet.
Roast them until brown, about 35-45 minutes.
Reduce your oven to 400 degrees.
Meanwhile, make the meat sauce: Heat the rest of the olive oil in a large, wide pot over high heat.
Cook the lamb until brown, breaking it up as you go.
Strain the fat but save 3 tablespoons.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the lamb fat in the same pot over medium-high heat.
Add onion, cinnamon stick, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 2 1/2 teaspoons salt.
Cook until onions are translucent.
Add chiles and remaining garlic into the mixture, scraping the bottom of the pot.
Add tomato paste and paprika and cook everything until it reaches a uniform red color, about a minute.
Add the wine and cook until reduced, about 3 minutes.
Add tomatoes, gently breaking them up with a wooden spoon.
Add lamb, remaining mint, and oregano and cook into a thick meat sauce, about 5-7 minutes.
Discard the cinnamon stick.
Bechamel and final assembly
Heat butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat until it foams.
Add the flour, whisk constantly for about 1 minute.
Whisk in the warm milk and bring to a boil.
Cook until it becomes the consistency of pudding, about 5 minutes.
Then, add salt.
Remove the mixture from heat and whisk in farmer cheese and half of Pecorino. Let the cheese melt.
Add the egg yolks, whisking until golden yellow.
Brush a 9x13" baking pan with the last of the lamb fat.
Layer half the eggplant along the bottom.
Spread half the lamb sauce over the eggplant.
Repeat with the last two halves of each mixture.
Top everything with the bechamel and smooth over.
Sprinkle remaining Pecorino cheese over the top.
With assembly completed, bake in the oven for about 30-45 minutes, until it is bubbling vigorously.

Let it cool 30 minutes before serving.


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