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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Thyroid Awareness

My mother, my daughter and my sister all have thyroid issues. Many may not be aware of what jobs your thyroid does. The thyroid plays a role in the health of your heart, brain, liver, kidneys and skin by helping to regulate the organs functions. January has been set aside to educate yourself and your loved ones about the importance of thyroid health. 

The thyroid is located at the base of the neck. Many problems can develop with your thyroid that may not easily be detected. The thyroid may be over active or under active. Like my family with so many members having issues with their thyroid it often runs in families and are more prevalent in women than in men. If a parent suffers from a thyroid issue then doctors will recommend that children be checked as well. 

Thyroid problems range from a rapid heart rate to drowsiness and fatigue. Weight may be an issue as well but it is both gaining and losing weight. Even over active and under active thyroid problems may have different symptoms. Often patients are given a synthetic hormone replacement for the rest of their lives. Patients also will see an endocrinologist If you think you have symptoms of a thyroid problem, ask your doctor if you should be tested. Individuals with symptoms or risk factors may need tests more often. 

Find out more at American Thyroid Association.

Spicy Whiskey BBQ Sliders

Spicy Whiskey BBQ Slider (yields 6 sliders):

  • 1 lb hamburger meat
  • 4 tbs butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/4 cup jarred jalapeno pepper slices
  • 1/2 cup whiskey
  • 1 cup bbq sauce (online it says 1 cup, her book says 2 cups - I'd do it to your taste)
  • 6 slider buns
Spicy Whiskey BBQ Slider directions:
  • Form 6 small patties from hamburger meat
  • Salt and pepper both sides of the patties
Whiskey BBQ Sliders
  •  Melt butter in skillet and cook burgers completely through, about 3 mins per side
Whiskey BBQ Sliders
  • Take off of heat and wrap up in aluminum foil to keep warm
  • Drain off all but about 2 tbs of grease
  • Pour in whiskey (careful if using gas oven - remove from burner while pouring in just to be safe)
Whiskey BBQ Sliders
  • Mix in jalapeno slices and BBQ sauce
Whiskey BBQ Sliders
  •  Place patties in BBQ mixture and heat on both sides to fully cover with sauce
Whiskey BBQ Sliders
  • Place burger on slider buns and spoon on more sauce/jalapenos

Monday, January 16, 2017

Fig Newton Day

Fig Newtons have been around for 125 years. Fig Newtons first appeared in 1891. Fig Newtons were named after Newton Mass. not Sir Isaac Newton.

However, alert this may startle you a bit!!! While the cookie now comes in a great amount of fruit filling the fig flavor is still available but the stigma is leaving. The word "Fig" has been removed. The problem is that the "fig" has a bad reputation. Many think of it as geriatric food it also reminds many of prunes. We all know what prunes have a tendency to make someone do.

Be sure to visit the Fig Newton page to find some great recipes
Speaking of recipes why not a copycat recipe:
1 lb. dried figs or 2 lbs. fresh figs
1 C. sugar
1 C. water for dried figs; 1/2 C. for fresh figs
1/2 C. butter, room temperature
1 C. sugar
1 egg
1 Tbs. cream or milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 3/4 C. flour

Dice figs and soak in water 1 hour.

Add sugar & cook on medium heat until of thin jam consistency.

Beat sugar, butter, egg, milk & vanilla until well blended.

Add dry ingredients.

Mix well and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Place 1/2 of the dough on well floured dough cloth; knead about 6 times.

Roll out to 1/4" thick and plcce in a 13 x 9" glass dish; cover with figs. 
  1. Roll remaining dough and place over the figs.

Cook at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Let cool and cut into squares.

So tell me what do you think about the fig newton?? I grew up with them and still enjoy them. Have you tried the flavored ones?? Which one is your favorite

Appreciate A Dragon Day

Today, is Appreciate a Dragon Day. My grand-son gets a kick out of this one because at the age of 5 he is in love with dragon and dinosaur world. He definitely had no problem appreciating many dragons. This is a new holiday for us and may be for you as well.

If you want to have some fun with it why not download some Dragon worthy word searches

download here 

Even us older folks remember this song about Puff The Magic Dragon

The dragon is a powerful symbol in mythology all over the world, from Europe to Asia and beyond. Appreciate A Dragon Day encourages you to explore the cultural significance of the dragon in your society and history!

Spanish White Bean Soup

The day before soak 1 1/2 pounds of dried Great Northern beans. I used jowl bacon to start this recipe. If you can't get your hands on a jowl, just use a thick smokey bacon instead. Dice it into small cubes and cook it until it is crispy in a heavy pot. Remove it and set it aside. Leave the grease in the pot.

It will take a bit of time to render the bacon. Cook it over medium heat and be patient. While the bacon is cooking, dice 4 carrots, 2 parsnips (optional), 2 large onions and 4 stalks of celery.

Add the vegetables to the grease in the pot and saute' until they begin to soften. Dice 6 cloves of garlic. Add the garlic to the pot with 4 bay leaves and several sprigs of fresh rosemary.

Add 3 tablespoons of dried thyme and a tablespoon of cracked black pepper. Add 16 cups of chicken stock. This recipe can be cut in half

Add a package of chicken demi glace'. If you can't find this in your neck of the woods, use 5 large chicken bouillon cubes. Drain and add the soaked beans. Add the sausage

I also added 2 smoked ham hocks.  Simmer for a couple hours. Keep pushing the ham hock down and if you want go ahead and cut it off the bone. Take sausage out and slice it if you want to as well

Now time for the next ingredient , many dishes like this would call for potatoes but for this one I added a box of boiled pasta shells. Cook the past for only 1/2 the time you normally would.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Day is a federal holiday hosted on the third Monday of January. The day celebrates the life and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr. who was an influential American civil rights leader. King fought to end racial segregation on public transport and racial equality in the U.S. 

I simply love it when our children learn from the past. The other day my Princess started a conversation about Martin Luther King. She wanted to know if I knew that there used to be laws against little black boys and girls from riding the school bus with little white boys and girls. I said yes that it was not when I was a little girl but her great grand-ma remembers that rather well. That opened the door and we talked about why it was not right as well as what we should do. The truth is if we learn from our past we are less likely to repeat it

Martin Luther King was an important civil rights activist  He was not the only one but many individuals remember he because of his movements to end racial segregation in the U.S. and his "I Have a Dream" speech. He advocated for non-violent protest and became the youngest man to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1968 King was assassinated. 

In the same year as his death a campaign was started for his birthday to become a holiday to honor him. Trade unions lead the campaign for the federal holiday. The day was endorsed in 1976. Stevie Wonder and his hit "Happy Birthday" as well as a signature with 6 million signatures helped bring the bill to a law in 1983. The day was first observed in 1986. 

Religious Freedom Day

Each year the President declares January 16th to be Religious Freedom Day. All Americans are asked to "observe this day through appropriate events and activities in homes, schools, and places of worship"

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 16, 2017, as Religious Freedom Day. I call on all Americans to commemorate this day with events and activities that teach us about this critical foundation of our Nation's liberty, and that show us how we can protect it for future generations at home and around the world.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-first.

resource ( visit to read the entire passage

National Religious Freedom Day took place first on January 16th 1786, On this date the Virginia General Assembly adopted the statue of Thomas Jefferson's. Later an establishment clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. constitution which led to freedom of religion for all Americans.

All About Leeks and a Recipe for Easy Chicken, Asparagus and Leek recipe

Leeks are considered one of the best foods to have in your diet. This vegetable should find its way into your daily diet. The amount should be 1/2 cup or greater.  Leeks could be cut up very thinly and sauteed. Leeks are related to both onions and garlic. 

Leeks are thought to have come from Central Asia. Grown in Europe for thousand of years possibly. Prized by the ancient Greeks and Romans because of their health benefits. Leeks were used in a number of ways but the benefits to throat was most appreciated. 

It is believed that the Romans introduced leeks to the United Kingdom. The cold weather in the United Kingdom helped the leeks to flourish. Leeks serve as Wales national emblem. Leeks remain even today to be an important vegetable in many Northern European cuisines and are grown in many European countries.

1 whole butterflied chicken (about 4 pounds, see note), neck and backbone reserved
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large leeks, whites and greens reserved separately, whites trimmed, washed, and split in half lengthwise
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 pounds asparagus stalks, trimmed and peeled if necessary
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

The oven rack should be at the center position. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season on all sides with salt and pepper. Line a heavy duty baking pan with foil. Place chicken on top of foil, skin side up. Transfer to oven and roast until thick part of breast registers 140 to 150 degrees on meat thermometer (about 45 minutes) Remove from oven, transfer chicken to cutting board and allow to rest 15 minutes.
Chop neck and back bone into 1 inch chunks with a cleaver, heavy chef's knife or poultry shears. Place in a medium saucepan and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally with  wooden spoon til brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add leek greens and bay leaves and cover with water. Simmer 30 minutes, then strain discarding solids. You should have 2 cups. 

Place leek whites in a large saucepan and pour chicken mix on top. After chicken comes out of oven, bring leeks to simmer, reduce heat to low, cover and allow to cook til leeks are tender and chicken is ready to serve, about 15 minutes. Season leeks and chicken mix with salt and pepper. 

Let chicken rest, Place asparagus in the empty pan that the chicken roasted in. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast til tender and brown about 10 minutes. 

Carve chicken into serving pieces. Transfer leeks to serving platter with slotted spoon so the jus stays in pan. Stir butter into pan til mixed in. Transfer asparagus and chicken to serving platter and pour jus over all Serve.

Nothing Day

I believe a day without anything to do would be great. A nothing day so to speak where there is nothing that needs fixed to eat, nothing that needs to be done for the children and nothing to do at work. Sounds like a great day, wait that may just a bit boring. But there was a Nothing Day created or so to speak.

In 1972 a Nothing day of sorts was proposted by columnist Harold Pullman Coffin. Since that time Nothing day has been observed each year on January 16th since 1973. Not really a public holiday because that would need an act of Congress. NO, this holiday was proposed and is meant to provide Americans with one National Day where they can sit around without celebrating observing or honoring anything. The day is sponsored by Coffin's National Nothing Foundation. This foundation can be found in Capitola California. 

Normally the third Monday of every January has been inaugurated as Martin Luther King Jr. day. So this year Do Nothing Day occurs on a public holiday. 

So I hope you had the chance to enjoy Do Nothing Day if not it will occur again next year same day make a not of it but do that tomorrow as today is do nothing day

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Slow Cooker Beef Marsala Stew

January is a great time to drag out that slow cooker and get busy


Recipes like this take me back to yesterday where the meals were served up family style. The best part is that unlike when mom would slave over a meal all day I can serve up a meal like this and use the slow cooker. 

Reviewed by: 
Recipe type: Stew
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8 servings
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
2 pounds boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
12 ounces cipollini onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted tomato paste
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sweet Marsala wine, divided
1½ cups unsalted beef stock
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 thyme sprigs
8 ounces small button mushrooms
4 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Thyme sprigs

Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add half of beef; cook 8 minutes or until well browned, turning to brown on all sides. Place browned beef in a 6-quart electric slow cooker; sprinkle with ⅛ teaspoon salt. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon oil, remaining beef, and ⅛ teaspoon salt.
Add onions to pan; cook 1 minute on each side or until browned. Add onions to slow cooker. Add garlic to pan; sauté 1 minute. Add tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add ½ cup wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; cook 2 minutes or until half of liquid evaporates. Add stock and pepper; bring to a simmer. Carefully pour stock mixture into slow cooker; nestle thyme sprigs into liquid. Top beef mixture with mushrooms; scatter carrots over top.
Cover and cook on LOW for 7½ hours.
Strain mixture through a colander over a Dutch oven or large skillet; discard thyme sprigs. Bring cooking liquid to a boil; cook 6 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 2 cups. Stir in remaining ¾ teaspoon salt. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons wine and flour, stirring with a whisk to form a slurry. Stir into cooking liquid; cook 1 minute or until bubbly and thickened, stirring constantly. Pour over beef mixture; toss gently to combine. Garnish with thyme sprigs.

Hat Day

When I met my husband 31 years ago he wore a hat in fact he would not go out without a hat. He loved hats and if you are like him and like hats as well then today is your day. National hat day is a great way to show off your hat with style. 

There are two days for those who love hats. The first happens on November 25th as International Hat Day. Today, January 15th is National Hat Day  However, if you dont like hats then you can choose not to celebrate either of these days. 

Hats are great to keep your head warm, cover bald spots on your head or disguise a bad hair day. On hot sunny days keep the sun out of your eyes by wearing a hat. 

The business of designing and manufacturing hats is called millinery. This is because that the best hats came from Milan Italy. This job was traditionally the job of a woman. Hats were often indication of where someone stood in their social status. Men should remove their hat while inside but women may continue to wear them. 

Celebrate hat day by wearing a hat. It would be fun if you could get a group of friends together to wear hats. Another idea is to gather several hats and change throughout the day. A stylish , silly or edgy hat would be great to wear out and about.  Be sure to document the day by taking selfies throughout the day. 

Peach Melba

The peach Melba is a dessert of peaches and raspberry sauce with vanilla ice cream. The dish was invented in 1892 or 1893 by the French chef Auguste Escoffier at the Savory Hotel in London. The dish honored the Australian soprano Nellie Melba. 

Nellie Melba entertained at the Wagner's Opera at Covent Garden in 1892.The Duke of Orleans gave a dinner party to celebrate her triumph. For this occasion and in Melba's honor a new dessert would be created. 


Peach Melba Parfait

YIELD: 4 servings

* 1 1/2 cup cups water (can also replace up to half of this amount with a white wine)
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 1/2 vanilla bean pod, split lengthwise
* 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
* 4 peaches, cut in half
Raspberry sauce:
* 1 1/2 cups raspberries
* 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
* 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
* 1 pint vanilla ice

Heat the water (and wine, if using), sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla pod in a large saucepan over medium heat to dissolve the sugar. Bring the pan to the boil and let it cook for several minutes. Reduce heat and bring the syrup to a fast simmer. Poach the peaches for several minutes until just softened. Remove the peaches to a plate and let cool. When cool, remove the peels and pits and cut each peach half into 4 pieces.
Combine the raspberries, powdered sugar, and lemon juice in a blender or a food processor and blend until smooth. If you’re using a standard blender or food processor, sieve to remove the seeds… if you’re using a high speed blender like a Vitamix, you can skip this step.
To assemble alternate layers of the poached peaches, the raspberry sauce and vanilla ice cream and garnish with a couple raspberries.
Adapted from Nigella Lawson

Three Minute High Protein Egg White Oatmeal

Mornings are very fast paced, hectic and most of all early around here. I have to be at work at 6 a.m. my son works with me and so my husband is in charge of all 3 grand kids making sure they are at school by 7:30 a.m. So with all the active morning activities there still needs to be breakfast. I often look for something quick. I recently found this yummy oatmeal breakfast it only takes a couple of minutes. It is filling and has plenty of protein as well..
Egg White Oatmeal Recipe
This recipe can also be made the night before and have it ready for breakfast the next day. This would save even more time if you needed it which I often find myself needing more time. The egg whites in this recipe will help the oatmeal fill even more filling. They may even make the oatmeal more fluffier. 
Egg White Oatmeal Ingredients

Adding items to the oatmeal like nut butter, protein powder or fruit offers more flavor. The oats will also taste lighter and tastier. 
mashed banana
Three minutes is all it takes to create a tasty breakfast. The microwave is a valuable help with time as well

  • ½ cup quick cooking oats (you may use regular oats, but the cooking time will be a little longer)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • ½ cup milk of your choice (I typically use almond milk)
  • ¾ cup liquid egg whites (I use egg whites from a carton to make them easy to measure and pour)
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Peel and mash banana
  2. Stir banana and remaining ingredients together in a medium-size bowl, with room at the top so the oats can “grow” in the microwave without overflowing
  3. Microwave on high for three minutes, stirring after 75 seconds and then again every 30 to 45 seconds until three minutes are up
  4. Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!
recipe source here 

What is your favorite way to prepare oatmeal? Any tips or tricks for making it more filling?

Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese on Endive

1 pound medium beets, trimmed (or one15-ounce can whole beets, drained and chopped fine)
1 cup crumbled goat cheese
¼ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or tarragon, or combination
Salt and pepper
2 heads endive, cut in half lengthwise, leaves of each half separated
1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap each beet separately in foil and roast until paring knife can be inserted with little resistance, 70 to 80 minutes. Cool until easy to handle, at least 20 minutes. Use paper towels to remove skin and cut beets into small dice. (if using canned beets, just drain and dice)
2. Whisk together vinegar, herbs, orange juice and shallot. Whisking continuously, slowly pour in the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Toss beets with vinegar mixture, cheese, and walnuts. Cover and refrigerate until flavors meld, at least 30 minutes.  Spoon mixture onto each endive, garnish plate with fresh herbs and serve.

recipe source here

January National Blood Donor Month

Last month we gave gifts of love many of which had monetary limits. This month you can offer your fellow man a great gift and it does not cost to give. Getting the word out, rolling your sleeve up and donating blood is the goal this month. January is National Blood Donor Month. 

National Blood Donor Month - give to charity Jan 2015January often sees fewer donations of blood because of the holidays, people traveling, and the business of this time of year. The blood supply dips down but the need is still very much present and the level drops to critical. 

Just one pint of blood can save up to three lives. Just 1/2 hour of time can make miracles happen. Look for community blood drives as well as the local bloodmobile. 
Before giving blood there will be a few questions for you to answer. This will help to know if you are eligible to donate blood Certain illnesses or taking certain medications within certain time frame may eliminate you at the time from donating blood. Teens between the ages of 16 to 18 must be 130 lbs and also parental consent. Those over 18 must weigh more than 110 lbs in order to donate blood. Find out more information about donating blood at The Blood Center’s website lists all the requirements, and Red Cross also provides information about donating blood.

Approximately 340,000 units of blood is needed each day in hospitals and Emergency rooms across the United States. This blood is needed to treat life threatening and chronic conditions. 

Valentine Strawberry Ice Cream Shake

Perfect for Valentines day a Strawberry Ice Cream Shake. So very special and looks so very pretty as well.Three easy steps

Step 1 – Put three large scoops of Vanilla Ice Cream in your cup or mug
Step 2 – Pour Strawberry Pop over the Ice Cream until the cup is completely filled
Step 3 – Add Whip cream, strawberry and straw.  Enjoy!

Carrot Fritters

My son in law really loves carrots. It is a bit of a surprise as none of my children actually loved them. My daughter does her best to prepare them for him and one of their favorite ways is with cinnamon, brown sugar and ginger. Yummy for sure but these fritters are even more of a treat. 

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon canola oil
3 cups shredded carrots
Oil for deep-fat frying

In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Whisk the eggs, milk and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in carrots.
In an electric skillet or deep-fat fryer, heat oil to 375°. Drop batter by 2 tablespoonfuls into hot oil; press lightly to flatten. Fry until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels.Yield: 20 fritters.

taste of home recipe