Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Tips for Making Great Mashed Potatoes

A graduate of the University of Colorado and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Medical School, Dr. Steven Armus has practiced medicine for more than two decades, most recently serving as the owner of Dermatology Consultants of Wisconsin. Also an active gardener and environmentalist, Dr. Steven Armus owns and operates Native Prairie Restoration. In his free time, Dr. Armus enjoys the challenges of cooking seafood and Italian dishes, but feels he has mastered the art of making mashed potatoes.

When making mashed potatoes, the most important consideration is choosing the proper type of potato. A variety of potato that is high in starch, such as a Russet or Yukon gold, should be used over low starch varieties such as red potatoes. The high starch results in light rather than gummy mashed potatoes.

Once the correct potato is selected and peeled, the cooking process can begin. Salt should be added to the water before boiling, since the starches in potatoes absorb water (and salt along with it) during the cooking process. This results in well seasoned potatoes. To ensure they're cooked evenly, potatoes should be started in cold water. Once boiled, the potatoes should be drained completely and mashed gently. Avoid overworking them to ensure they are light and fluffy. Lastly, avoid making them ahead of time. Mashed potatoes are best when served within minutes of being prepared.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

FDA-Approved Ways of Selecting and Storing Seafood

Steven Armus is the owner of both Dermatology Consultants of Wisconsin and Native Prairie Restoration, where he serves as an environmental biologist and a prairie technician. A lover of great food, Steven Armus enjoys cooking seafood.

Fish and shellfish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, compounds known to reduce the risk for cardiac disease. In fact, the US Department of Agriculture recommends that adults eat at least two servings of seafood per week.

In order to gain the full health benefits of eating seafood, however, there are several steps that the US Food and Drug Administration recommends consumers take when choosing and storing seafood:

- When buying, ensure that seafood is fresh. The smell of fresh seafood is usually characterized as mild, not sour and fishy. Avoid anything that smells like ammonia.

- Avoid frozen seafood that has been opened or that shows signs of frozen crystals.

- If you will eat the seafood within two days, it can be stored in the refrigerator. If you intend to keep it for longer than that, pack it tightly in plastic and store it in the freezer.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Caring for an Orchid after It Blooms

The owner of Dermatology Consultants of Wisconsin, Steven Armus also remediates natural areas as an environmental biologist, prairie technician, and owner of Native Prairie Restoration. In his free time, Steven Armus is a passionate orchid grower and a member of the Wisconsin Orchid Society.

Orchid care after flowering revolves around the stem that held the flowers. Also known as the flower spike, this stem can bloom one or two more times if left intact. However, this is only true if the stem is still healthy. 

Healthy stems are green and do not show any signs of rot, such as soft points along the stem’s length. After the orchid has flowered, you can cut a healthy stem at the second or third node to promote another bloom, taking care to leave the stem partially intact.

If there are any soft spots along the stem, or if it has turned yellow or brown, remove it altogether. Doing so prevents the stem rot from spreading throughout the plant, and allows the orchid to refocus its energy on developing its roots. You can cut away the soft spot with a sterile blade that can either be discarded after use or disinfected with fire or alcohol. Be sure to cut at the base of the plant, and apply a fungicide to prevent fungal disease.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Importance of Controlled Burning for Prairie Restoration

Saturday, August 5, 2017

American Landscapes - Prairies

A physician and entrepreneur, Dr. Steven Armus owns and operates Native Prairie Restoration, a company dedicated to restoring natural prairie environments on behalf of its clients. In fact, as an undergraduate at the University of Colorado Boulder, Dr. Steven Armus studied biology with an emphasis on native habitat preservation.

Emily Dickinson once wrote:

“To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee.
And revery.”

This is not far from the truth, as prairie ecosystems are sustained in part by the interaction between native prairie flowers and grasses and important pollinators, like bees and birds. Prairies are characterized by vast planes of grassland dotted by the occasional tree. They’re also defined by climate features such as moderate rainfall and temperatures.

Unfortunately, America’s prairie landscapes are threatened. Once, central North America was dominated by prairies, but today only 5 percent of the continent’s original prairies survive. Prairie loss is largely a result of habitat destruction, competition from invasive species, and climate change.

There are myriad ways Americans can get involved in saving what remains of the country’s prairies. For instance, they can support efforts to prevent soil erosion and endorse measures to restore wetlands, which contribute beneficially to grassland ecologies.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Counseling Clinic at Guest House of Milwaukee

An experienced medical professional, Dr. Steven Armus serves as the owner of Dermatology Consultants of Wisconsin LLC in Franksville, where he treats patients with various skin conditions. Additionally, he uses his skills as an environmental biologist to help restore prairie areas with Native Prairie Restoration. Outside of his career, Dr. Steven Armus supports his community through local charities, such as the Guest House of Milwaukee. 

The Guest House of Milwaukee provides shelter and meal services to those without permanent homes, which is what one might expect. The shelter, however, offers a number of other programs which are aimed at treating the whole person and providing them with a level of care beyond a warm bed at a hot meal. One of these services is counseling through a clinic that provides mental health care and addiction recovery assistance. 

A Wisconsin-certified mental health center, the Guest House’s counseling clinic works with clients to help them deal with drug and alcohol abuse issues, as well as learn how to cope with any mental illnesses they may have. The clinic also points them in the direction of other community resources that will help them along their recovery journey.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Process to Starting a Community Garden in Milwaukee

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Madison, Steven Armus serves Dermatology Consultants of Wisconsin as physician and owner. An environmentalist, Steven Armus also owns Native Prairie Restoration and is actively involved in community gardens in the Milwaukee area.

The city of Milwaukee defines community gardens as land that is used to grow plants. Community gardens, which can be operated by public entities, nonprofit organizations, or individuals, often engage in composting as well as the sale of produce they grow.

Starting a community garden in Milwaukee is a multi-step process. Initially, a permit must be obtained from environmental nonprofit Groundwork Milwaukee by filing an application, which is later sent to the appropriate alderperson for approval or denial. Applicants are advised to reach out to their alderperson early in the process to make them aware of the proposed garden. If approved, city staff will then provide a seasonal garden license, and if rejected, the city will notify the applicant. 

Detailed information on the process can be found at www.city.milwaukee.gov/NeighborhoodGardens#.