Archive for June, 2012

Summer Picnic Recipes

June 25, 2012

You can tell it’s summer just by taking a look at the thermometer.  That means it’s almost time to celebrate the 4th of July!  Many of us celebrate with picnics and backyard barbecues.  Whatever your tradition, if you’re anything like me, you are in desperate need of some new recipe ideas.  I just can’t bring myself to take the same old, tired potato salad to my family gathering this year.  So, I scoured the internet for fresh ideas, here are a few of the best.

Potluck Pasta Salad
What is a picnic without pasta salad?  I found this yummy recipe for pasta salad with an Italian twist.  Simple, fresh flavors in a quick and easy recipe.  Perfect.

Ingredients

3 cups Farfalle (Bowtie) Pasta, cooked according to package directions and drained.
2 cups Baby Spinach Leaves
1 cup Feta (crumbled)
1 cup Grape Tomatoes
¾ cups Canned Chickpeas, Rinsed and Drained
1 cup Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

Place everything in a large bowl; mix lightly. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. (Recipe & photo from www.tastykitchen.com)

Cucumber Dip
If you are a home gardener (or know one), you probably have a bumper crop of cucumbers right about now.  My green-thumbed dad gave us enough cucumbers to feed the neighborhood recently, and I stumbled upon this delicious recipe for cucumber dip.  Cool and refreshing, this dip is perfect for a hot summer day and feeds a crowd.

Ingredients

2 cups, peeled, grated cucumber
1 ½ cups plain Greek yogurt
1 T chives, finely chopped
1 T basil, finely chopped
1 T dill, finely chopped
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together, chill and serve with carrots or pita chips. (photo from FamilyFun.com)

Red, White and Blue Ice Cream Sundaes
For dessert, you can’t go wrong with this festive red, white and blue ice cream sundae. Kids will love it!

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups strawberries or raspberries or both, plus extra for garnish
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, divided
2 teaspoons lemon juice, divided
1 1/2 cups blueberries or blackberries or both, plus extra for garnish
1 pint vanilla ice cream
Whipped cream (optional), for garnish
Maraschino cherries and/or decorative sprinkles (optional), for garnish

Purée strawberries or raspberries (or both) in a blender. Sift 1/2 cup of the confectioners’ sugar on top (depending on how sweet the berries are); blend until smooth. Stir in 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice. Spoon a few tablespoons of the red berry sauce into each of 4 dessert glasses (set aside any extra sauce for garnish).

Purée blueberries or blackberries (or both) in a blender. Sift the remaining 1/2 cup of the confectioners’ sugar on top (depending on how sweet the berries are); blend until smooth. Stir in remaining 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice.

Dollop 1 scoop of the ice cream on top of red berry sauce in each glass. Top with a few tablespoons of the blueberry sauce and another scoop of ice cream (or two!). Top with fresh berries and any extra sauce. Garnish with berries, whipped cream, maraschino cherries and/or sprinkles, if you like. (Recipe & photo from www.delish.com)

Roasted Potato Salad
As for that old stand-by, potato salad, if you just can’t imagine your picnic without it,try this healthier version instead.

Ingredients

Potatoes:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 pounds small red potatoes, quartered
Cooking spray
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
4 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled

Vinaigrette:
2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 450°. To prepare potatoes, combine first 3 ingredients. Arrange evenly on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 30 minutes or until tender. Let cool. Combine potatoes, onions, parsley, and bacon.To prepare vinaigrette, combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a jar. Cover tightly; shake vigorously. Add vinaigrette to potato mixture; toss well. Serve immediately. Note: Store the vinaigrette separately and toss with the potato mixture right before serving. Don’t have a jar for the dressing? Whisk the ingredients in a small bowl, and then transfer to a sturdy zip-top plastic bag to take to the picnic. (Recipe from Cooking Light, 2005).

Bon Appetit!

A Staycation in Atlanta

June 18, 2012

Summer vacation anyone? Yes Please!

But if you’re trying to save money this summer or you don’t have a lot of time to get away, do the next best thing: a ‘staycation’ in Atlanta. I took a few minutes to research some things to do around the city on the cheap and I was blown away by all the options! Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we have so many great attractions so close to home.

Totally Free

Centennial Olympic Park – The fountains and the free concerts make this a perfect spot for a picnic!

Castleberry Hill - First Thursday Artwalk offers a chance to check out some art, tour historic districts of Downtown and enjoy discounts at Downtown restaurants.

 Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site - Visit a piece of history with year-round tours of Dr. King’s birth home, the church where his father preached, Ebenezer Baptist Church, his and wife Coretta Scott King’s final resting places, the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame and the Visitor Center exhibiting civil rights memorabilia.

Center for Puppetry Arts – Every Thursday from 1 to 3 you can see the permanent exhibit of Puppeteer, Jim Henson.

The Federal Reserve Bank Money Museum – Tour the museum and learn the history of banking in America – totally free!

On the Cheap 

Fernbank Science Center - A planetarium, nature trails, and an observatory all for $4 and $3 for students.

Starlight Drive-In Theater – Six screen options – only $6. Cheapest movie theater in town!

Atlanta Braves Baseball - Check out this great family value plan or you can try your luck at getting a $1 seat just before the game, but there are only a few hundred of those available for each game.

Legoland Discovery Center – Buying online gets you a ticket for $12.50 at the Phipps Plaza location in Buckhead.

City Pass – This is the ultimate way to experience Atlanta – at a 45% discount! You can choose 5 attractions like the GA Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, Inside CNN Studio Tour, High Museum of Art, and Zoo Atlanta. Do it all for $69 per pass or $49 for kids. That’s a great deal if you’re planning to spend some time hitting up the Atlanta hot spots.

Hope your summer vacation is budget-friendly and full of fun!

Why Does Credit Union Membership Matter?

June 11, 2012

Credit Union membership reflects ownership.  When you join NWGACU, you are a member for life.

We are a member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperative that exists solely for the benefit of you, our member.  Membership means we return our profits to our members in the form of higher savings rates and lower loan rates.  Plus, your money is federally insured to at least $250,000 by the National Credit Union Administration.

Each credit union member has equal ownership in NWGACU and one vote.  Regardless of how much money you have on deposit, everyone is treated the same.  We are also under the leadership of a volunteer Board of Directors.  They are elected by and from the credit union’s membership.  They provide impartial leadership that is in the best interest of their fellow members.

At NWGACU, membership is open to anyone that works at one of our Select Employer Groups, or by a family relationship through anyone that already has an account with us.  You can also join if you are a resident of Floyd County.

The credit union philosophy is “Not for profit, not for charity, but for service.  Our purpose is people helping people.  We exist to help people and to serve our members well, because our members are a part of our credit union family.  We value your business and we strive to give you Unbelievable service each time you walk into our office.  We care about your financial well-being.  We want to be able to help you in the good times as well as the bad.  Each member has a special story to tell that makes them unique.  We care about each and every one of our members’ stories and we want to be here for you through each milestone in life.  We want to help you achieve your financial dreams.

Our members are our top priority.  We want you to be a part of our credit union family.  Come in to either of our locations today and let us start a new member relationship with you.

So, what is a credit union anyway?

June 4, 2012

I have to admit, before I started working at the Credit Union in 2004 I was not too well versed in what a credit union was.  I had heard of them and knew that credit unions were good things but I didn’t know how to get into one.  I knew that they were sorta like a bank (shh, we don’t like that word around here) but I didn’t know anymore than that.  Then I got the opportunity to work at Northwest Georgia Credit Union.  What better way to learn about a credit union than to work at one?

It wasn’t long before I realized that, although credit unions offer the many of the same products as banks, the service they provide for those products is much friendlier and the fees for those products are either non-existent or much lower than those at the banks.  At the Credit Union, when profits are made they are paid to the member-owners of the credit union in the form of dividends.  Everyone who has an account at the credit union is a member.  Banks don’t pay their profits to their account holders. Banks make money off of their customers with all of the fees that they charge.  Credit Unions try to save money for their members.

Our credit union works at providing superior services with little or no fees in addition to low interest rate loans to save our members money.  Credit Unions were founded on the principle of People Helping People.  Most credit unions have membership requirements of some sort; meaning that you have to work for a particular set of employers or be a family member of someone who already has an account.  But in recent years, many credit unions have been able to open up to a more community wide field of membership due to where a person lives, works, or worships.  Northwest Georgia Credit Union was able to open up our field of membership just recently to anyone who lives in Floyd County as well as the many employers that we are already open to.  We can also offer membership through the Getting Ahead Association.  If you don’t already have an account, I bet that we can open one for you!

A lot of people have started leaving their banks and coming to credit unions in the past year.  With National Bank Transfer Day and other similar movements, people realized that they don’t have to pay fees to have checking accounts or to use their debit cards, and as a bonus, they get much friendlier service at the credit unions than they ever got at their big banks.

If you haven’t already tried our Unbelievable Checking (it’s free), and No Fee debit cards, come give us a try.  We’re sure you’ll like what you find.

photo credit: http://www.thenextweb.com


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