Home Archives 2008 December

Monthly Archives: December 2008

One thing I know for sure about resolutions is that they don’t work unless you do two things first: 

1.  Break ’em down; and

2.  Make a plan. 

Here’s an example:  Let’s say you resolve to be a better athlete, have a better body, or “get stronger” this year.  Those alone are not resolutions that will bear fruit.  Besides being too vague, they are “results” rather than “actions”.  So, let’s break it down and make a plan.

Improving the strength of your “core” – your abdomen and back – will make you stronger and more toned (and make those back problems disappear).  Breaking it down even further, if you improve your balance, you’ll strengthen your core and add speed and agility to the equation.  So, improving your balance = strengthening your core = having a better, more toned, athletically superior body.  See?  Now you just need to get a plan.  Read up on balance, check out some balance products.  Get them.  Set aside some time everyday to use them.  Believe me, you’ll know when you are improving.  You’ll stop falling off the dang balance trainer when you try to stand on it.  Before you know it, you’re stronger, you’ve maybe lost some weight, you’re faster and you feel better.  If you play sports, you’ll notice a distinct edge over your opponents when it comes to flexibility, agility and speed.

Moving on.  Here are some other examples of resolutions that work:

  • Lose Weight.  If you want the end game to be weight loss, then think about what is causing you to keep the weight on.  Break it down and get a plan.  Drink a lot of soda pop?  Cut it out and replace it with a flavored, unsweetened water.  Can’t control your portions?  Go on a plan that measures them for you – Jenny Craig or NutriSystem for example.  Can’t stop eating sugar?  Go without any carbs/sugar for 48 hours and your cravings will be pretty much gone.  Then follow a low sugar plan.  Research, prepare, plan and do.  And one more thing about weight loss…  go slow.  Lose the first 2 lbs. and go from there.  Don’t say “I need to lose 20 lbs, or 50 lbs., or even 10”.  Say, “I need to lose 2″… and then 2 more, and then 5 more, etc. 


  • Get in Shape.  Many of you will go out and buy a gym membership in the next couple weeks, thinking that is going to make you get in shape.  Not so.  Think about who you are and where you are and how you like to spend your time.  If there’s a good chance that you won’t get to the gym because of proximity or time constraints, then you’re already doomed.  Start simple instead.  My gym closed a few years ago and I decided to just work out the old fashioned way at home.  I got some hand weights (I use them while watching TV) and some Therabands, a Fitball, some Yoga, Cardio and Pilates gear, along some good walking and hiking shoes and now I can do my routines without worrying about getting to the gym.  There are all kinds of exercise/fitness products to use at home.  You can even put together your own home gym.  The thing is, you have to have a plan.  I do a quick 15 minute Yoga routine morning and night and I always take a walk.  That is the very least every day.  Other than that, I like to do the Pilates mat routines on the weekends along with hiking (or cardio if it’s too cold out).   Get a friend or significant other to walk with you.  Todd is a great inspiration to me.  He pushes me to hike and bike, and I push him to stretch and meditate.  What a team.


  • Get a Life.  If you’re watching too much TV, not expanding your mind or learning, or maybe you’re not socializing enough then you probably should get a life.  Break it down.  What do you love?  What do you watch on TV?  These will give you hints as to how you can get a life.  If you love to travel then you should plan a trip, learn a language, take classes to prepare for an adventure (SCUBA certification, sailing, trekking).  If you love the cooking channel then get your bottom to a cooking class, or take a course online and be a gourmet chef at home.  Anything you enjoy thinking about or dreaming of can become part of your world.  Want to join a rock band?  Get a Wii!  Then besides playing the guitar you can fish, drive race cars, play tennis, improve your memory, work out… a million things.  Do you love pets?  Become a foster parent to your favorite breed or volunteer at an aminal shelter.  Love kids?  Become a scout leader, a Big Brother or Big Sister, read to kids at the library, rock babies at a local nursery.  Want to learn to sew?  Check out local classes and get going.  Just do it.  It’s addictive.  I’ve taken classes on caligraphy, stamp making,  SCUBA, painting, scrapbooking, sewing, Spanish, Italian, Yoga and more.   This year we’re going to take sailing lessons.  In Phoenix there are classes and groups for absoultely every interest.  If your town doesn’t have a group that you’d like to belong to…start one!

What ever it is that you resolve to do this year, you can do it!!  Did you know that spending only an hour per day on something, anything, will make you an “expert” within 2 years?  Think what you can get done in just one year.

I hope you have an excellent New Year.  Thanks, as always, for being an Allegro customer. 

If you have a resolution to share, along with a breakdown and a plan, please leave a comment!   Good luck.


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I hope you have the best Christmas ever, ever, ever!  And if you’re not celebrating Christmas, I hope today is still among your best.

We realize it’s been a tough year for a lot of people.  Let’s all take a moment today to reflect on the good things – the things we can be thankful for even if times are rough.  Whether it is having a warm place to sleep or plenty of food, a loving family or good health, it’s not hard to think of something to be grateful for. 

At Allegro we count our loyal customers at the top of our many blessings.  2008 was our best year yet, and we have you to thank.  You mean more to us than you could ever know. 

We’re also grateful for the support and dedication of our employees who work so hard every day to make Allegro great.  Their passion for helping people is reflected in everything they do.     

Next year we’ll be taking everyone’s hard work to the next level.  You’ll see more and different products on the site, new brands, exciting promotions and increased functionality in our processes and efficiencies.  There’s much more in store. 

In the meantime it would mean a lot to us if you continue to recommend Allegro to your friends and family, and as always, remember to check Allegro first for your medical supplies, fitness equipment, dietary supplements, maternity products…  well, let’s just say that you should check here for just about everything.  I’m always finding things on the site that I didn’t even know we carried!

I’ll end with a hearty Merry Christmas!! And THANKS again for your business.  Now, before I go all boo hoo on you, get out of here and go buy something at AllegroMedical.com.  Go’on, git.  🙂


Without a doubt the best part about the holiday season, for me, is the food.   In fact, I  feel sorry for people who don’t love food as much as I do.  I am totally serious.  It’s my #1 passion.  I’m happiest when I’m planning, shopping and cooking a meal for a whole bunch of people.  Todd and I are having 16 for Christmas dinner and I can hardly concentrate, I’m so excited.

A couple years ago I self-published “Val’s Friends & Family Cookbook”, primarily to get my family recipes in one place (instead of scattered through cookbooks on scraps of paper).   The book ended up to be 200 pages of my favorite recipes of all time.   It even has a 4 page spread on how to deep fry a turkey without burning down your neighborhood.  This, courtesy of my brother Bill, who is known for his wit, his cajun turkeys and his flatulence . . . in that order.

But I digress.

Here are a few holiday family recipes that we’ll be serving on Christmas day. 

Baked Brie with Cranberries

8 oz Brie

1/3 crushed cranberry sauce

2 T. brown sugar

1/4 tsp. rum or orange extract

1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

2 T. sliced almonds

Peel off top of Brie.  Mix canberries, brown sugar, extrat and nutmeg and pour over Brie.  Bake at 500 degrees for 5 minutes.  Top with sliced almonds.  I serve this beautiful appetizer at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Everyone loves it.

Hot Mulled Cider

1 qt. (4 cups) cider

3 sticks cinnamon

6 whole cloves

1/3 c. brown sugar

1 tsp. rum extract

Mix all ingredients together in a saucepan and heat until sugar dissolves.  Remove cloves and cinnamon sticks.  Serve hot.  Makes 1 qt.  You can use red wine too.  I wonder if it would be good with white wine… hmmm. 

Broccoli and Rice Casserole

1/4 c. butter

1 c. celery

1/2 c. onion

1/2 c. green pepper

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 lg pkg frozen broccoli, cooked slightly

2 c. cooked rice

1/2 c. milk

1 c. grated cheese

Melt butter; add celery, onion and peppers.  Saute until almost tener.  Blend in soups, broccoli, rice and milk.  Sprinle cheese on top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  This is a staple at all of our holidays, along with green bean casserole, sauerkraut & tomato casserole and sweet potato casserole.  We love us some casserole in the midwest.

Sausage, Apple and Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing

1 1/2 c. cubed wheat bread

3 3/4 c. cubed cornbread

1 lb. ground turkey sausage

1 c. chopped onion

3/4 c. chooped celery

2 1/2 tsp. dried sage

1 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1 Gold Delicious apple, corred and chopped

3/4 c. dried cranberries

1/3 c. minced fresh parsley

3/4 c. turkey stock

4 T. unsalted butter, melted

Makes 10 servings.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread the bread cubes in a single layer on a large baking sheet.  Bake for 5 to 7 minutes in the preheated oven, or until evenly toasted.  Transfer toasted bread cubes to a large bowl.  In a large skillet, cook the sausage and onions over medium heat, stirring and breaking up the lumps until evenly browned.  Add the celery, sage, rosemary and thyme;  cook, stirring for 2 minutes to blend flavors.  Pour sausage mixture over bread in bowl.  Mix in chopped apples, dried cranberries and parsley.  Drizzle with turkey stock and melted butter and mix lightly.  Spoon into turkey to loosely fill.

Fresh Cranberry Lemon Jello Salad

2 pkgs. fresh cranberries

5 lg. celery stalks

2 cans mandarin oranges, drained and mashed

2 c. sugar

3 pkgs. lemon Jell-O dissolved in 2 c. boiling water

Wash cranberries and celery.  Chop cranberries and celery in food processor with knife blade.  Let Jell-O mixture cool and add the rest of the ingredients and stir together.  This salad can be frozen to use at a later date.  It is one of my very favorite salad recipes.  There’s something about the lemon and the cranberry taste, followed by the crunch of the celery.

German Apple Cake with Go-Over


2 c. sugar

1 c. shortening

2 eggs

2 c. flour

2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. nutmeg

2 tsp. cinnamon

6 apples, finely chopped

1 c. raisins (ground)

1 c. chopped nuts


1 c. sugar

1 c. brown sugar

1 c. margarine

1 c. cream or half-and-half

Cream together sugar and shortening.  Add 2 eggs and beat well.  Use electric mixer.  Sift flour, soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon and add gradually to first mixture.  Add apples and blend. Add raisins and nuts.  dough will be VERY stiff.  Spread in a greased and floured 9×13 pan.  Bake for 75 minutes at 325 degrees (300 degrees if in a glass pan).  cut in squares and top with “go-over” sauce. 

Melt ingredients for go-over in a saucepan or microwave until hot.  Don’t overheat, as sauce will sugar.  If sugared, add a little coffee creamer and blend.   This dense moist cake is a staple at family gatherings.

I am so hungry right now.

Please share a recipe or two of your own!  I’d love to try some new ones including cultural ones and non-Christmas holiday fare.

There are a lot of reasons you could become stranded on the road – running out of gas, a dead battery, a flat tire, getting stuck in the mud or snow, bad weather, losing your keys or mechanical failures to name a few.

If you do get stranded remember to stay calm, use your head and you’ll be fine. Rule of thumb – stay in your car and call for help.

Here are some tips on what to do in different circumstances:

If You’re Standed on an Interstate or Highway:


  • Try to pull off to the shoulder or completely off the road.
  • Use your cell phone to call the police or your vehicle’s roadside assistance and tell them you’re stranded.
  • If it is nice out and traffic is light enough that you can safely exit the vehicle, get out and raise your hood and tie your emergency flag to a radio antenna or door handle (or hang it out the window). Put on your flashers and wait until help arrives. Some say you should wait outside and away from the car in case another vehicle strikes your car. I’m not so sure about that rule but I guess it depends on the situation.
  • If you can’t get cell coverage, or you have no phone, assess whether to walk for help. There might be an emergency phone down the road or a gas station within walking distance but use extreme caution if walking near a busy roadway. Don’t attempt to cross a busy, multi-lane highway. If help is far away or the road is too busy, you should stay near your car.
  • Don’t risk your life to change your tire on a busy road. You’re better off ruining your tire and rim driving to a nearby gas station.


If You’re Stranded in a Blizzard


  • Stay inside your car so you don’t get lost or frostbitten.
  • Put on your emergency hazard lights, call for help and wait until it arrives. If you can’t get cell service, you’ll most likely get help from a police officer patrolling the area.
  • Put your emergency flag out on the antenna or window, or a bright colored piece of cloth.
  • Run your heater for about 10 minutes per hour or every half hour if it is really, really cold.
  • Remove the snow from your tailpipe occasionaly to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and crack a window if you have an old rusty car with a leaky exhaust system. It’s a good idea to keep one window cracked open anyway, so the freezing wind and wet snow don’t seal the vehicle.
  • Clear heater vents – the grill under the windshield.
  • Try not to sleep if the engine is running and you are alone.
  • Move around every once in a while to keep the circulation going.
  • To avoid frostbite, keep your skin covered when you get out of the car to clear the tailpipe and vents.
  • When the storm passes, write “HELP” in large letters in the snow outside your car.


Hedge your bet against mechanical failures by Winterizing Your Car.

See all Emergency Preparation Products.

If You’re Stranded in a Flood:


  • Stay in your car (unless it is sinking) and wait for help.
  • Open your car windows in case you need to climb out.
  • Use your cell phone to call for help, turn on your hazard lights and hang a cloth or emergency flag out the window.
  • If you have to get out of your car because it is sinking and the area is flooded, swim to a tree or something sturdy that you can hold onto.


Once you’ve taken the Steps to Winterize your Car, it is unlikely that you’ll experience a breakdown due to mechanical failure, but you never know what else might leave you stuck in your car. Millions of motorists are stranded each year because of bad weather, accidents, flat tires, getting stuck in the mud or snow, losing their keys and other unfortunate situations.

With a few basic items, though, you can not only survive, but be safe and comfortable while you wait to be rescued.

Basic Emergency Items

  • Cell phone
  • Triple A (AAA) or other roadside assistance subscription & card
  • Snowbrush and Ice Scraper
  • Bag of Sand or kitty litter to help with traction on snow and ice
  • Shovel for scraping snow away from the tires
  • Windshield Washer Fluid
  • Winter clothes including a complete change of clothes, a scarf, hat, extra gloves and boots
  • Duct Tape to fix a broken windshield, hold things together, pick up glass shards, mend hoses, serve as a gas cap, and a million other things
  • Emergency Sign or brightly colored cloth to signal for help
  • Booster Cables
  • Extra Fuses
  • Bottled water to drink (or to use in cars that overheat or need battery water)
  • And last but not least, a good book 🙂

Don’t go out in bad weather unless absolutely necessary and please know the weather report before you go out! A Winter Storm Watch means that winter storms are in your area. A Winter Storm Warnings means that storms are heading your way. A Blizzard Warning means all hell is about to break loose… er, i mean, strong winds and dangerous wind chills are expected.

Get your Emergency Car Kit together now. Be safe!

Here’s What to Do if You’re Stranded in your Car.

Cold weather is hard on cars.  It makes things that you thought were just fine stop working, break, snap or  freeze up.  I’m worried that some people haven’t formally gone through the checklist to make sure their vehicle is ready.  

I went over this checklist with my mom and thank goodness she was already set.  Are you?

There’s still time to save yourself from a break-down or worse.  Do it today.

Get your car checked out and tuned up.  Make sure they check your battery, antifreeze (50-50 mix of coolant to water), rear defroster, wipers, washer fluid, leaks, tire pressure… everything.


  • Check your tire pressure.  Tire pressure drops by one pound per ten degrees so if you’re driving around in sub-zero weather your tires may be dangerously low.


  • Keep a jug of  high quality windshield washer solution in your trunk for refills. 


  • Invest in heavy winter wipers that keep ice from forming on the blade.  Remove them in the spring so they don’t stress your wiper motor unecessarily and remember to turn them off before shutting off the engine so they don’t freeze to the windshield.


  • Keep your gas tank full.  If you get stuck or stranded you’ll need the heater to keep you warm.  You can run it at idle for as long as it takes.  It won’t hurt anything. 


  • If you have to weather the storm inside an old rusty car, crack the window so you don’t fill the car with carbon monoxide.  And if you’re in a blizzard, new car or old, get out every once in a while to clear the snow out of the tailpipe.


  • Sandbag.  Put a bag or two of sand or kitty litter behind your rear axle if you have rear-wheel-drive.  It will increase the traction of the rear wheels.  Start with 20lbs and see how it drives. You can add more from there if it still squirly.  Too much weight will lift the front end.  Put it in the middle front of the trunk, not in the passenger compartment. It could become a projectile in a wreck.   Don’t bother if you have front-wheel-drive because the heavy engine is already sitting over the powered wheels.


  • To make sure your freezing cold car always starts in the morning (and you have instant heat),  hook your engine to a block heater.  This is an electric heater that keeps your engine warm while it’s parked.  It plugs into a regular AC outlet overnight.  Just remember to unplug it before taking off!  I vividly remember my dad forgetting that…


  • Understand your car.  If you have teenagers or other family members driving your car, make sure they know what kind of steering system and tires they are driving on.  Cars handle differently if they have front-wheel-drive, rear-wheel-drive, part-time or full-time 4-wheel drive; antilock brakes, traction control or stability control.  Practice driving on snow in an empty parking lot to see how it handles different situations.


  • Buy good snow tires if you must drive in the snow.  Even if you can only afford 2 of them, they are better than nothing to get around before the streets are plowed or even for increased traction when braking or turning on packed snow.  If you are only getting two, mount them on the wheels that are driven by the engine.  For all-wheel drive you really need four snow tires. 


  • Consider chains for your tires.  If you’re someplace that permits or requires chains, make sure you’ve practiced putting them on.  Keep them in the trunk.  Instead, there are ladder-like devices (one is called Tiger Paws)  that unfold and allow your tire to grip it if you’re stuck in the snow or ice. 


  • Clean your car completely of snow and grime before setting out.  Don’t be like me, as a teenager, just wiping a small peephole in the drivers side windshield and heading off to school.  Yikes.  Visibility is key in nasty weather, especially so you don’t hit another car or pedestrian.  Clean off the whole car including every window, mirror, and headlight.  Besides it is the law in most states.  If I sound like your mother, it is only because I care. 🙂

Print this out and check off everything.  Then, at least your car is ready on the outside.  Next, make sure you have your winter emergency car kit put together.   Hopefully you don’t run into any trouble. But just in case, do you know what to do if you are standed in your car?

Now I remember why I moved to Arizona.

Do you have a tip or two?  Please share them in the comments area! 


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It would be great to know what you think we should add to the site.

For example, what specific medical supplies and brands do you buy from others that you can’t get at AllegroMedical.com?  Give us the scoop on the latest greatest thing in catheters, diabetes supplies, fitness products, maternity, dietary supplements or pain relief.  Reply below, or send me a private message at v (no space) paxton (at) allegro (no space) medical (dot) com.

Is there anything you buy somewhere else because you can get it cheaper there?  Lay it on me.  Everything.  Anything.  I’ll see what I can do.

Meanwhile, here’s one for ya:  AllegroMedical.com is trying so hard to please everyone that we’re now selling Fractional Shares of the Illinois Senate Seat, courtesy of our very funny President & CEO, Craig Hood.


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We’re a turkey house on both Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Sure, I enjoy a little ham on the side, but I certainly wouldn’t serve JUST ham.  Growing up in Nebraska, however, I saw a lot of beef for Christmas dinner.  Who doesn’t love a nice prime rib at your holiday feast?  Me, that’s who.  I will probably be cast out of my family of cattle ranchers for saying so, but seriously… folks… give me the bird for Christmas.  But don’t try to goose me!

What about you?  Fowl, Swine or Bovine? Tofurky?

State your case in the “reply” section below.  Thanks!

Happy Holidays!


I’m Craig Hood, President of Allegro Medical. Over a decade ago I started this great company with the express goal of helping folks like you find the medical supplies and equipment needed to take care of yourself, your families and your patients. Many said it wouldn’t work – that people wouldn’t buy medical equipment on the Internet – but I disagreed.

We launched our website with only 500 products, but we offered everything from wheelchairs and walkers to catheters and ostomy supplies. This made us the first in the world to have such a wide variety of medical supplies and equipment, and people loved it. Since then, our business has grown faster than a pack of dogs after a 3-legged cat.

Today, with more than 45,000 items, we have the largest selection of health care products on the web, backed by the best customer service and low prices to boot.

Our goal is still to help people become more independent, mobile, fit and healthy. We are grateful that you have allowed us to help you as well.

By choosing to shop with us, you are among the nearly 1 million customers nationwide who have played an important role in the success of this small American business.

 Feel proud that you shop at a company with:

•  More life enhancing products than hair in Donald Trump’s toupee

•  A solid history with more than 10 years in business

•  Prices so low our accountant can’t sleep at night

•  Customer Service that’s got your back

•  Fast Shipping – faster than a supermodel chasing a doughnut down hill

Thank you for shopping at Allegro Medical!

The success of this small American business is because of you and we know it.

As a token of appreciation for your business I am offering a special gift: please take 15% off* your next order at AllegroMedical.com. Use code ELF15 at checkout until Midnight, Monday December 15th.


Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy Holiday from all of us at AllegroMedical.com

– Craig

Out of town guests for the holidays?  Face it, the last thing you need to worry about while entertaining is your niece sticking her barrette in the light socket, or the neighbor’s kid falling down the stairs or your boss’s little cutie pulling the bookshelf over on top of herself.  Ahhhh….

Do yourself a favor this season and make your house ready for the pint-sized guests.  There are so many great products to make your life easier when hosting (or raising) kids in your home.  

Take a look at these lifesavers…


Outlet Plugs – Fit in any standard outlet and stops all barrettes and little fingers.  Shocking…, but true.  Along the same lines, you may consider a Power Strip Cover for your home office.


Adjustable “Keep Out of my Stuff” Straps – 24 of these might not be enough.  Keeps little fingers from opening appliances, doors, diaries, boxes, everything! 


Easy-Fit Plastic Gate – Keep ’em in, Keep ’em out.  No hardware required.  Super easy to install.  Here’s one with a few more gizmos: Lift & Lock Security Gate.


Furniture Wall Straps – Use these super sturdy, easy to install canvas straps to secure your bureaus, book cases, shelf units, china cabinets and armoires to the wall.  Please use these on ALL of your tall furniture!  Kids have been severely injured, or worse, by pulling furniture over on top of themselves.


Medical Emergency Magnetic Memo Board for Children – Would you know what to do if a child in your home needed emergency medical attention?  This could save a life.  First aid and step-by-step instructions for CPR & choking.  Makes a great gift for new moms.


 Dim N’ Bright Auto Sensor Night Light – Set the level of brightness.  Light the bedroom,  hallway AND bathroom.  That way, all of your guests – dim and bright alike – can navigate to the toitee safely.  We also carry the Soothing Stars Nighlights.


3-in-1 Potty ‘N Step Stool – It’s the potty that turns into a step (and then late at night it transforms into an evil robot bent on world domination – but don’t tell the kids)… Anyway, they say it’s real comfortable.  Pack of 2. 


Railnet – This is mesh netting that keeps little people and animals from poking through railings.  We sell it in a pack of 6, which means you get 60 feet of it, but you can use it on all of your railings, balconies and banisters – indoors and out. 


Furniture Corner Cushions – Edge guards for sharp cornered tables, chairs and low shelves.  Totally and completely required in a house with kids.  We’ve all seen the ‘coffee table corner in the eye trick’ and it ain’t pretty.  24 in each order.


Tub Spout Cover – Avoid bonks to the bean with this soft inflatable tub spout cover.  And get the water temperature just right with a Bath Pal Thermometer.  For the wee ones spring for a Safety Infant Bathtub with built-in water temperature strip. 


****Bonus Tip.  Mom’s, Dads, Grandma’s, Grandpa’s, listen up.  Our Easy Up Kneeler and Seat does double duty as a gardening stool AND a “save your knees while giving the kids a bath” stool!  I’ve seen it in action and it’s totally awesome.  Makes a great gift.

See all Safety 1st Products!

Thanks for buying all of your medical supplies and safety products from AllegroMedical.com.  We appreciate your business a whole bunch.

Have a happy and safe holiday.