Caprese salad

3 Sweet Spring Recipes to Pair With Your Farmer’s Market Finds!

It may not feel like springtime yet, but pretty soon everyone will be attending the local farmer’s market, throwing backyard BBQ parties, and breaking out the baseball gloves for an impromptu game of catch.

What goes better with BBQ and warmer weather than enjoying some tasty fresh fruits and vegetables? Here are some delectable dishes to make the most of your farmer’s market finds this spring:

For starters, a fresh light salad:

Chopped Caprese Salad

Ingredients

  • 16 oz tomatoes, chopped (Any kind will do. We use grape tomatoes, quartered)
  • 8 oz mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large salad bowl, toss the chopped tomatoes, cubed mozzarella, and basil until combined.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil vinegar and garlic with a fork. Pour over top of the tomato and mozzarella mixture.
  3. Season generously with salt and fresh pepper, then toss until the entire mixture is evenly coated.
  4. Serve immediately, or store covered with a damp paper towel in the refrigerator until ready to serve, no more than a few hours.

A savory side:

Grilled Mexican Corn

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ears corn
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup crema Mexicana
  • 6 lime wedges

Instructions

  1. Prepare grill.
  2. Combine first 3 ingredients.
  3. Place corn on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; cook 12 minutes or until corn is lightly browned, turning frequently. Place corn on a platter; drizzle with crema. Sprinkle with chipotle mixture. Garnish with lime wedges.

 

Now for a sweet ending to a delicious meal!

Grilled Peach Crisp Recipe

Ingredients

2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 medium peaches, halved and pitted

4 cups reduced-fat vanilla ice cream

1 cup reduced-fat granola

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over cut sides of peaches. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Using long-handled tons, moisten a paper towel with cooking oil and lightly coat the grill rack. Place peaches cut side down on grill rack. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until peaches are tender and begin to caramelize.
  3. Place peaches in dessert bowls. Serve with ice cream and granola. Yield: 8 servings.

 

These recipes are sure to make your next cookout the talk of the neighborhood! The recipe for peace of mind is knowing that your property is protected by Madison Mutual. Call us today at 1-800-766-MMIC, visit us online at www.madisonmutual.com, or feel free to stop by our office!

dangerous spring weather

Get Ready for Wild Spring Weather With Our 10 Trusty Tips!

Ahhhhhhhh… smell that? Spring is in the air – finally! With the season of spring comes gardening, barbeques and beautiful but often tumultuous weather. That’s right, we are entering the rainy, windy, tornado-producing time of the year.

Tornado season typically lasts from March through early June, and if scientists are correct, El Niño could wreak havoc with thunderstorms this spring and summer.

We recommend taking the following precautions to ensure spring weather preparedness for you and your family. Follow our tips below to keep you and your family safe this spring!

Prepare Before the StormThe best way to protect your family against potential weather disasters and emergency situations is to be prepared. Here’s what you can do now!

Compile a disaster supply kit – This should include flashlights, batteries, a battery-operated radio, water, food, pet food if you have pets, medications, first aid kit, and important documents.

Make a game plan with your family – Figure out where your “safe room” is – typically, it would be your basement or most interior room. Also, determine where you will meet if anyone is separated, know who your out-of-town contact will be, and where you will keep your disaster supply kit.

Document Your Contents – Take pictures or videos of your home contents for insurance purposes and store at a friend’s or relative’s house.

Know Your Home – Be sure to locate your gas and water shut-off valves in your home!

Plan for Your Pets – Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date and contact emergency shelters to find out if they accept pets, just in case an emergency occurs at your home. Always make sure to bring your pets inside during inclement weather!

Make Final Preparations – Before a storm enters your area, be sure to fill your vehicle’s gas tank, listen to emergency announcements, and follow any directions they give you. Also, get a bit of cash – without power, credit cards are unusable!
Be Smart After the Storm

Listen to Emergency Announcements – After the storm hits, wait for the “all clear” signal to know that it is safe to return home. Once home, be sure to check for damage in and around the house.

Call the Proper Contacts – Your loved ones are bound to be worried about you. Be sure to contact your out-of-town family members or point of contact to let them know that you’re okay. Also, contact your insurance provider to report any damages and check on your neighbors, especially the elderly or disabled persons, to make sure they are also doing well.

Keep Your Pets Safe – If you’re a pet owner, confine your pets during the clean-up period and walk them on a leash until they become reoriented to the home. If you cannot find your pet, contact your local animal control office immediately.

Clean Up and Stay Safe – If you happen to have a mess on your hands after a spring storm, clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, gasoline, and other flammable liquids immediately. Repair or block access to anything in your home that is damaged and could cause injuries, and be sure to stay far away from downed power lines.

Enjoy the warmer weather that spring will bring, but remember how quickly it can change! If you receive any damage to your property, be sure to contact your Madison Mutual agent. Call us at 1-800-766-MMIC or visit us online at www.madisonmutual.com!

young driver

6 Ways You Can Protect Your Young Driver This Spring!

The arrival of spring is upon us, and with it comes spring break and prom. While these typically fun and carefree events seem like a rite of passage for teens, it can also be a dangerous time. Sadly, vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for people ages 16-24.

Moreover, statistics show that 16- and 17-year-old driver death rates increase with each additional passenger.

We want our teens to enjoy themselves, but it is always important to keep safety in mind at all times. Here are some tips to keep your young driver safe:

Always buckle up – It’s the law, and more importantly, it truly can save lives in the event of an accident.

Eliminate distractions while driving – Do not change the radio station, put on makeup, or allow passengers to make the driver lose his or her focus on the road.

Do not talk on the cellphone (hand-held or hands-free) or text while driving – Laws vary from state to state, but for young drivers it is recommended to avoid their phone completely while driving. Better yet, put the phone in the back of the car so there won’t be temptation!

Drive defensively – Always be alert while driving and anticipate potentially dangerous situations to better avoid accidents.

Drive slowly – This is especially important in inclement weather. It may seem obvious to take it easy when driving in snow, ice, and torrential downpours, but most young drivers don’t know that roads are slickest immediately after it starts raining because the rain mixes with the oil on the surface of the road.

Go for a tune-up – Make sure the car is in good working order before students drive to their spring break destination in order to avoid being stranded on the side of the road.

Did you know that Madison Mutual offers discounts to safe drivers and students with good grades? Call us at 1-800-766-MMIC or visit us online at www.madisonmutual.com to find out more!

Trimming Your Trees

Are Your Trees Ready for The Spring Storms?

We survived this brutal, record-setting winter – now to brave spring! Hopefully you have your severe weather plan in place, but have you taken the time to prepare the exterior of your home? It is much easier to prep your trees before a storm than to remove that 100 year-old oak tree from your living room.

Check out our helpful tips below to help you prepare your trees for springtime storms!

Things that increase a tree’s chances of blow over:

*Trees close to homes that have been built in the last five years or so.  Many of these trees will have root damage from lot clearing and home construction!

*Newly cleared areas with scattered trees remaining.  The trees have not adjusted to the newly open growing conditions and higher winds.

*Areas with loose, gravelly soil.

Characteristics that increase a tree’s susceptibility to storm damage:

*Included bark where large stems meet (maple and ash).

*Rot in the roots, stem, or branches

*Lopsided treetops. This includes trees with previous storm damage or Bradford pears.

*Trees with numerous small branches and twigs that create a sail effect. Topping and poor pruning often causes this.

*Mechanical damage and poor maintenance (soil compaction, damaged tree)
Homeowners should examine their trees long before a storm happens. Here is your to-do list when it comes to keeping your trees strong and yourself, family, and home safe:

*Remove trees with large cracks, splits, or severe root damage.

*Remove rotted tree branches.

*Advise the power company of any trees that have branches interfering with power lines.

*Contact a competent, certified arborist.

*Good branch angles are 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock; branches that are placed closer together are typically weaker and are more likely to break.

*Remove rubbing and broken branches.

*Prune properly – do not flush cut to the stem, but do not leave big stubs that will rot either!

Trees don’t have to be something you need to dread, though. In fact, there are several benefits to planting trees in your home as long as it is grown in the proper conditions and soil. Mark your calendars for Arbor Day this year on Friday, April 25 to plant your favorite kinds of tree in yard. After all, in the famous words of Lucy Larcom, “He who plants a tree plants a hope.”

Remember, with forces of nature, anything can happen. If a storm caused a tree or part of a tree to damage your home, don’t hesitate to call us – we’ll take care of you! Call us at 1-800-766-MMIC or visit us online at www.madisonmutual.com to learn how we can help!