Blog Posts by Associated Press

  • Great grilling with 3 tricks to tender, tasty beef

    You don't have to go to some high-end steakhouse or shell out $200 a pound for ultramarbled Wagyu beef from Japan to get flavorful, tender beef for your next barbecue. Just keep three crucial factors in mind: the grade, the grain and the aging. A well-informed purchase and a couple of easy prep steps can make the difference between a so-so steak and one that sends your eyeballs skyward.

    Step No. 1 — buy the best meat that fits your budget. To do that, you need to know a bit about how beef is graded in the U.S. The system is based mostly on the age of the animal and the amount of marbling in the meat.

    "USDA prime" is the highest grade. Only about 3 percent of cattle meet the criteria, so most prime-grade meat is snatched up by fancy restaurants and specialty butchers before it makes it to supermarkets. Below that is "choice," followed by "select." Anything below these is best avoided for steaks, ribs and roasts. In Canada, the equivalent grades are called "Canada prime," AAA, and AA.

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  • Adults get 11 percent of calories from fast food

    ATLANTA (AP) -- On an average day, U.S. adults get roughly 11 percent of their calories from fast food, a government study shows.

    That's down slightly from the 13 percent reported the last time the government tried to pin down how much of the American diet is coming from fast food. Eating fast food too frequently has been seen as a driver of America's obesity problem.

    For the research, about 11,000 adults were asked extensive questions about what they ate and drank over the previous 24 hours to come up with the results.

    Among the findings:

    — Young adults eat more fast food than their elders; 15 percent of calories for ages 20 to 39 and dropping to 6 percent for those 60 and older.

    — Blacks get more of their calories from fast-food, 15 percent compared to 11 percent for whites and Hispanics.

    — Young black adults got a whopping 21 percent from the likes of Wendy's, Taco Bell and KFC.

    The figures are averages. Included in the calculations are some people who almost never

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  • Fed watchdog nabs Nap Nanny maker after five infant deaths

    (AP Photo/The Consumer Product Safety Commission) WASHINGTON — The government is taking action against the makers of a portable baby recliner called the Nap Nanny after five infant deaths.

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission filed an administrative complaint Wednesday alleging that the new model of the Nap Nanny, called the Chill, and two earlier versions "pose a substantial risk of injury and death to infants."

    The commission is seeking an order that would require Nap Nanny maker Baby Matters LLC of Berwyn, Pa., to notify the public about what the agency deems a serious product defect. The agency also wants the company to offer consumers a full refund.

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    Baby Matters went out of business a month ago, according to an email from the company. On its website is a message from owner and founder Leslie Gudel that says, "We do not believe the complaint has merit and stand behind the safety of our product when used as instructed."

    She adds that "no infant using the Nap Nanny

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  • Judy Blume Battling Breast Cancer

    Judy Blume in April, 2012.Beloved author Judy Blume wrote in a blog post Wednesday that she is recovering after undergoing a masectomy for breast cancer that was diagnosed in June.

    The 74-year-old author, whose books inspired the "Fudge" TV series and the new film "Tiger Eyes," said she was planning to spend five weeks at an artists' colony in Italy, where she hoped to finish her latest novel. But on June 12 she underwent a biopsy that revealed cancer.

    "The biopsy report came back a few days later while I was with my GYN in her office (a long standing appointment)," Blume wrote in the blog entry, entitled "!@#$% Happens."

    "It was good that I wasn't alone and that she, who has been my doctor for seventeen years, could explain it to me," she said. "Very early. Very small. Well differentiated. All good news. But it was invasive ductal carcinoma."

    Blume describes her treatment plan with the humor and frankness that has won her millions of fans. At one point she references Margaret Simon, the protagonist of "Are

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  • Adult Milkshakes Anything but Plain Vanilla

    A purple velvet milkshake in Concord, N.H.By MICHELLE LOCKE | Associated Press

    Smooth, sweet, cold and just the ticket for contracting a case of brain freeze on a sweltering summer day. There's a reason milkshakes are a staple of American childhood.

    But why should the kids have all the fun?

    Sure, strawberry, chocolate and vanilla make fine beverages for summer. But for an after-dinner twist just for the grownups, how about stirring in a little black raspberry liqueur or a dash of bourbon? Bartenders around the country are doing just that as they shake up the seasonal staple.

    Two fresh approaches to the classic milkshake

    At Hill Country Barbecue Market in Washington, the maple bourbon milkshake pays homage to the retro diners and soda fountains of the 1950s. Served in the classic style with two straws in one large glass, this shake made for sharing combines a rich blend of bourbon with vanilla ice cream and maple syrup infused with vanilla beans. The whole thing is topped with maraschino cherries in the classic

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  • Vidal Sassoon, Hairstyling Pioneer, Dies at 84 in LA

    Vidal Sassoon died yesterday at the age of 84.By SANDY COHEN
    Associated Press

    LOS ANGELES (AP) - Hairstylist Vidal Sassoon, who undid the beehive with his wash-and-wear cuts and went on to become an international name in hair care, died Wednesday. He was 84.

    Sassoon died at his home on Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles, police spokesman Kevin Maiberger said. Officers were summoned to the home at about 10:30 a.m., where they found Sassoon dead with his family. They determined that he died of natural causes, and there will be no further police investigation, Maiberger said.

    When Sassoon picked up his shears in the 1950s, styled hair was typically curled, teased, piled high and shellacked into place. Then came the 1960s, and Sassoon's creative cuts, which required little styling and fell into place perfectly every time, fit right in with the fledgling women's liberation movement.

    "My idea was to cut shape into the hair, to use it like fabric and take away everything that was superfluous," Sassoon said in 1993 in the

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  • Police: Ex-teacher Arrested for Sex Abuse of Minor

    Associated PressMODESTO, Calif. (AP) - A former California teacher who made national headlines when he left his job and family to move in with an 18-year-old student was arrested Friday on suspicion of sexually abusing a different student more than a decade ago, police said.

    Christopher James Hooker, 41, was arrested for investigation of oral copulation with a minor.

    Police said the case stems from a 1998 relationship he had with a 17-year-old student from Davis High School in Modesto, where he once taught.

    Hooker appeared in court Friday. A judge set his bail at $50,000 and assigned him a public defender, the Modesto Bee reported.

    Hooker requested that his bail amount be reduced, and the judge set a hearing next Tuesday to consider the matter.

    Watch: ABC News' exclusive interview with Hooker and Powers

    Police said the investigation started after Hooker announced his relationship in February with Jordan Powers, whom he taught at Enochs High School in Modesto.

    Appearing on numerous

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  • Docs Ask Out Patients Online; Some Get Reported

    By LINDSEY TANNER
    AP Medical Writer

    CHICAGO (AP) -- New research suggests doctors are contacting patients on Internet dating sites and engaging in other unprofessional online behavior - and sometimes getting caught.

    That's according to a survey of most state medical boards that license and discipline doctors.

    Most boards said they'd received at least one complaint about unprofessional online behavior; 25 percent had received more than three complaints.

    The most common violation was asking patients out online. Others were prescribing medicine and overstating medical credentials online.

    More than half said complaints led to serious punishment including revoking medical licenses.

    The survey appears in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association. Violations occurred over about 10 years.

    The Federation of State Medical Boards is considering adopting professional guidelines for doctors' use of social networks and other online behavior.

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  • Job Seekers Getting Asked for Facebook Passwords

    When Robert Collins of Baltimore returned from a leave of absence from his job as a security guard he was asked for his Facebook login.SEATTLE (AP) -- When Justin Bassett interviewed for a new job, he expected the usual questions about experience and references. So he was astonished when the interviewer asked for something else: his Facebook username and password.

    Bassett, a New York City statistician, had just finished answering a few character questions when the interviewer turned to her computer to search for his Facebook page. But she couldn't see his private profile. She turned back and asked him to hand over his login information.

    Bassett refused and withdrew his application, saying he didn't want to work for a company that would seek such personal information. But as the job market steadily improves, other job candidates are confronting the same question from prospective employers, and some of them cannot afford to say no.

    In their efforts to vet applicants, some companies and government agencies are going beyond merely glancing at a person's social networking profiles and instead asking to log in as

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  • Facebook 'friend' Offer Exposes Man's Other Wife

    TACOMA, Wash. (AP) -- A county corrections officer in Washington state has been charged with bigamy after Facebook discovered two women were connected to him and suggested they might want to be "friends."

    Pierce County prosecutors say Alan L. O'Neill married a woman in 2001, moved out in 2009, changed his name and remarried without divorcing wife No. 1.

    Wife No. 1 recently found out about Wife No. 2 when Facebook detected their connection to O'Neill and suggested the friendship connection.

    Wife No. 1 then called the defendant's mother, Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist told The News Tribune ( http://is.gd/cRE9Mf ).

    [Watch: Dad shoots daughter's laptop after Facebook rant]

    "An hour later the defendant arrived at (Wife No. 1's) apartment, and she asked him several times if they were divorced," court records show. "The defendant said, `No, we are still married.'"

    Neither O'Neill nor his first wife had filed for divorce, according to charging documents. The name

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