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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Child Center Divorce

Last year we saw our daughter end her marriage and go through a divorce. This was hard for all. Our little princess felt it a lot as well. I have heard her say more than once "I wish my mommy and daddy were still together" or "back when mom and dad and me lived in one house" While divorce is hard for all we should always be ready to help the children and keep them in mind when decisions are made.
 
 
 


Take some time and think about these questions to ensure that you are doing the best for your child. While staying together is not always possible it is best to help the child out and remember they love both mom and dad

• Did you respect the fact that children innately love both parents and are wounded when one of them is disparaged, regardless of your personal perspective about it?
• Did you force your child to be a spy or go-between, taking on responsibilities that children should not bear?
• Did you ask your child to choose between loving Mom or Dad, or take sides in any way?
• Did you keep their other parent from active participation in their life because you wanted to hurt your spouse?

All of the things are above are behaviors that are often made without considering the children's feelings and often out of revenge. Children often are left scarred from the inside out. Often the issues that cause the damage is not needed. The divorce is not what harms the child it is the actions that take place during a divorce. Tension, discord, anger, and disrespect toward the other parent is actions that harm children.

Think twice before you act or speak. Is it really needed or is it something that is only there to hurt your ex-partner. Keep the feelings of your children in mind, they will thank you and remember when they grow up.

Healthy Stir Fry

 Many of us will want to start a new this January as we welcome the New Year in. For some of us including myself that means eating healthier. The yummy recipes that can be healthy for us as well are some of my favorites. Check out this stir fry recipe and great news it is a healthy recipe as well.

 

Chicken, veggie, and cashew stir-fry

Serves 4
  • 1/2 lb chicken breast, poached and cut into 1/8-inch wide, 3-inch long strips
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrots
  • 1/2 cup sliced onion
  • 1/2 cup sliced green pepper
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 2 cups zucchini, cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup cashew pieces
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
Heat oil in a skillet and sauté the garlic for 1 minute. Add the carrots, onion, green pepper, and soy sauce, cover, and stir fry for 3 to 4 minutes. Add zucchini, bean sprouts, and cooked chicken and stir fry for 3 to 4 minutes. Mix cornstarch and water until smooth. Pour it slowly into the chicken and vegetable mixture, stirring constantly. Cook until thickened and the mixture is well coated. Toss in cashew pieces and serve with brown rice.

recipe source here

Easy Apricot Bars

Easy Apricot Bars



1 1/2 C. oats (I used the regular, not the quick-cooking kind)
1 C. packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 3/4 sticks salted butter
1 C. apricot preserves
Powdered sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  Add butter, slightly softened, cut into 1″ pieces.  Stir until well-combined, but still slightly crumbly.  Press half of the oat crumbles into a buttered 8×8 glass baking pan.  Next, spread the apricot preserves on top of the crust.  Sprinkle the rest of the oatmeal crumbles on top of the apricot preserves layer.  Pay down gently.  Bake 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.  If desired, sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Allow to cool before cutting.  Enjoy

recipe source here

Biscuit Baking Day



Biscuits may have been the first convenience food and in the days of the wood fired stoves almost fast food. Biscuits were quick, easy and required few ingredients that they were commonly found on the tables in the south. Moms in the south commonly cooked biscuits up for their families every morning. They would eat them for breakfast and take them in their pails for lunch.

My husbands grandmother would whip a pan of biscuits nearly every day. My husband lived at home with her and I would often stop by and enjoy a biscuit with warm butter. It was very tasty and she would tell me stories of old. Old stories that were stories of her life. Every day for most of her life she would make up some biscuits for her grandma that raised her, for her parents, and her husband and children.


  • Chill the bowl used to mix the dough as well as the pastry blender to prevent the butter or shortening from warming up.
    • Cut the butter into flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Cold bits of butter or fat will melt during baking, creating pockets of steam that give biscuits their flakiness.
    • When working with butter, cut it into small pieces, and chill again before adding to dry ingredients.
    • Dip the cutter in flour. Cut the biscuits smoothly and cleanly straight down without twisting. Twisting can seal the dough and prevent the rise.
    • As Nathalie used to tell me, “Get your hot little hands off that dough.” Handle the dough as little as possible. You don’t want to make the biscuits tough by overworking, and you want the fat to stay cold until the biscuits bake.
    • A very hot oven is essential. The steam interacts with the baking powder to create the biscuit’s ideal textures inside and out.
    • The perfect biscuit should be golden brown and slightly crisp on the outside, with a light, airy interior. For a flaky, tender biscuit, don’t overwork the dough: gently combine the ingredients until just blended

    2 cups White Lily or other Southern all-purpose flour, or cake flour (not self-rising), more for rolling out
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon fine sea salt
    4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits and chilled
    3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk
     
    1. Preheat the oven to 500°F. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Pour in the buttermilk, and gently mix until just combined.
    2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead lightly, using the heel of your hand to compress and push the dough away from you, then fold it back over itself. Give the dough a small turn and repeat 8 or so times. (It’s not yeast bread; you want to just barely activate the gluten, not overwork it.) Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out 1/2 inch thick. Cut out rounds of dough with a 21/4-inch round cutter dipped in flour; press the cutter straight down without twisting so the biscuits will rise evenly when baked.
    3. Place the biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet or in an 8- by 2-inch round cake pan. If the biscuits are baked close together the sides will be moist. If the biscuits are baked further apart, the sides will be crisp.
    4. Bake until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool just slightly. Serve warm.
    5. variation: If I don’t feel like rolling out biscuits, or just want a different texture, I tweak the recipe by adding more buttermilk to the dough and make drop biscuits: use 3 cups of flour—2 for the dough and 1 cup placed in a bowl to shape the dough into biscuits. Increase the buttermilk to 2 cups. The dough will be very wet and resemble cottage cheese. To form the biscuits into balls, scoop up some dough with a large ice cream scoop; place the dough balls in the bowl with the 1 cup of flour. Working one at a time, roll the balls to coat in flour, then set in an ungreased 8- by 2-inch round cake pan. The baking time will be the same as for cut biscuits



    Histor of the Cassoulet and a Delicious Recipe

    Cassoulet is legendary dish that dates back to the 14th century. Southwest France during the hundred year war was the environment for creating a dish that would feed those that needed it that day and become a dish that would go down in history as well. As the soldiers found their selves surrounded they pulled together to make a meal with their last remaining rations. Though, the battle was lost the new filling dish became known as the cassoulet became a fixture in the cuisine style of the land.

    Madame Mouriere's Cassoulet




    4-5 legs of duck confit
    2 pounds dried white beans (Great Northern are excellent)
    1 pound fresh pork rind or bacon, cubed
    2 bay leaves
    1 teaspoon dried thyme
    1/2 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
    1 tablespoon salt
    1/2 cup goose fat (see note) or butter
    2 1/2 pounds fresh all-pork garlic sausage (Polish or German sausage is fine)
    1 pound medium-sized onions (about 4) thin sliced
    2 cloves garlic
    2 1-pound-10 3/4-ounce cans imported plum tomatoes, undrained
    2 cups fresh bread crumbs, blended with
    2 cloves finely minced garlic


    1. The day before the cassoulet will be served prepare the beans. Rinse them well and pick them over to eliminate tiny stones. Put them in a Dutch oven or large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, cover and remove from the heat. Allow to sit 40 minutes.

    2. Meanwhile, in another large saucepan cover the fresh pork rind or bacon with cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. Simmer for several minutes, rinse, drain and set aside. This is done to remove the salt, which would have a toughening effect on the beans.

    3. By this time the beans should have swollen. Discard the liquid (to help make the beans more digestible), rinse the beans and cover them again with cold water. Add the bay leaves, thyme, and drained pork rind or bacon and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil vigorously for about 45 minutes to one hour, or until the beans are quite well-cooked but still a bit firm. Add the carrots and additional boiling water if necessary and cook an additional 15 minutes, or just until the carrots are cooked. The mixture should not be too dry. Remove from the heat, stir in a tablespoon salt and allow to cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

    4. In a very large frying pan melt three tablespoons goose fat (or butter). Add the sausages all in a single coil, if you can, and cook them over medium heat for about 12 minutes on one side, about 6 minutes on the other side. (Remember which side was cooked for the shorter time. When the cassoulet is assembled, you will place the sausage with the less cooked side down, so the remaining fat will soak into the bean mixture.) You need not prick the sausage. Remove the sausage from the pan and set aside.

    5. In the same saucepan, add an additional three tablespoons goose fat (if necessary) to cook the confit. Let it come to room temperature to soften the fat and remove all of the confit pieces, wiping off the fat as you remove them. Now saute the pieces of confit over medium-high heat until the skin is very crisp and turns a rich, deep brown. Baste off the fat as necessary. The duck should cook about five to 10 minutes on each side. Remove from the frying pan, drain and set aside.

    6. Remove the bean mixture from the refrigerator to bring to room temperature.

    7. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

    8. In the same frying pan, add two tablespoons goose fat (if necessary) and cook the onions over high heat for about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the liquid and a clove of garlic and cook until the mixture is fairly dry, or about 30 minutes. The mixture should be a rich, deep red. Combine the bean and carrot mixture with the tomato and onion mixture.

    9. Remove the bones from the duck confit and cut the duck into large chunks without removing the skin.

    10. Assemble the cassoulet in a large, earthenware casserole. An oval casserole measuring 12 by 17 by 3 inches deep is a perfect size for this recipe. Rub the inside of the casserole with one clove of garlic and discard the garlic. Layer in this order: a single layer of the bean mixture, using about a third of it. Cover this with the cutup pieces of duck. Add a second layer of the bean mixture. Add the sausages in one layer with less-cooked side down. Add the last layer of beans. Finally, add the bread-crumb mixture. Be sure there is at least half an inch of growing space between the bread crumbs and the rim of the casserole.

    11. Place in the oven and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the crust is golden and firm. Serve immediately.

    YIELD: 10 to 12 servings

    No til farming

    Growing up in the country with grandparents that were farmers I remember the work was year round. One thing farmers do after the harvest and before the planting season is to tend to their fields. The choice is no till or to till  the fields.
     
    NO till is a method used by those in agricultural where farmers do not turn the soil between seasons. Leaving crop residue in the fields between season is a way to protect the fields against erosion. Not tilling the fields leaves the roots of the plants intact.  The roots help protect the fields against both wind and water erosion. The soil is also able to regenerate natural soil horizons and reduce emissions of CO2 because the no till field undergoes less oxidation.
     
    The one downside of the no till method is that to protect the fields from weeds more herbicides must be used. 
     

    Friday, January 8, 2016

    Organize your desk

    January is National Organized Month. So why not join in and start organizing your place as well. Perhaps it was a resolution of yours to make your desk neater and looking great. Here are a few tips that will help you do just that



    Take the items off your desk that you need to keep but rarely use and put the in a drawer that is clearly marked for what you put in it.



    Use a binder to organize the documents you need to keep. This will help keep all those lose papers in one place.



    Create folders on your computer to keep programs and documents that you need. They will all be I one place organized.


    .

    Buffalo "Chicken" Lollipops

    Buffalo "Chicken" Lollipops
    (makes approx. 27)
     
     

    20 ounces (1.25 lbs.) 99% Fat Free Ground Turkey Breast
    1/2 cup finely grated zucchini (approx. 1 medium, grated on the finest side of a box grater)
    1/3 cup finely grated carrot (approx. 1 medium, peeled, then grated on the finest side of a box grater)
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    1 teaspoon onion powder
    1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
    1 large egg, beaten
    1 tablespoon butter
    1/2 cup of your favorite wing sauce (mine is Frank's Red Hot)
    4 ribs of celery, sliced into quarters vertically, then cut in half horizontally (for a total of 8 pieces per rib)
    Reduced fat Blue Cheese Dressing, for dipping (my favorite is Marzetti Simply Dressed Light, which can be found in the produce section of most grocery stores near the bagged lettuce.)

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    In a large bowl, combine turkey, vegetables, spices beaten egg and 1 teaspoon wing sauce.  I find hands to be the best tool for gently mixing the ingredients together.  Do not squeeze or overmix.
    Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.  Scoop meat mixture into 2 Tablespoon sized portions.  I tried making smaller balls, but they need to be big enough for the celery stick to be inserted without breaking the whole meatball apart.  Roll portion gently between palms to form a smooth ball.  Place on baking sheet.
    Bake meatballs on center rack for 15 minutes.  While meatballs are cooking, melt butter in a large bowl.  Stir in 1/4 cup of wing sauce.  Set aside.
    Remove meatballs from oven.  Transfer meatballs to the bowl of sauce and toss to coat.  Let the meatballs sit in the sauce while you raise the oven temperature to 450.  Drain the moisture and wipe the grease from the baking sheet.  Apply a fresh coat of nonstick spray.
    When oven has reached 450, give meatballs another toss in the bowl, then transfer, sauce and all to the baking sheet.  Bake, on the top rack of the oven for 12-15 minutes.
    Place remaining portion of wing sauce in a small bowl.  Gently insert a celery stick into the top of each meatball.  Using the celery as a handle, pick up the meatball and roll in the remaining wing sauce to coat before plating.  This step is optional, but gives the meatballs a nice final shine.  Serve with low fat blue cheese dressing.
     
    recipe source here

    War on Poverty Continues...




    The War on Poverty has been an ongoing battle for many years. Dating back to President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. It was then that Economic Opportunity Act was passed to give more a chance in life. During the era of the Great Society President Johnson placed the government in charge of education and health care to help prevent and stop and hopefully win the battle on Poverty.



    Today the measures that President Johnson achieved are still present in the fields of head start, Job Corps and many other programs The 1980s and 1990s saw a change in the war on poverty and in fact the welfare system was ended by Bill Clinton.


    I believe that there were way to many in the past that lived on the system. I myself went to work at the age of 21 and continue to work and care for our family. There are many though that are not made like me and had lots of problems. In addition, in certain areas there are very few jobs and many that need them. The government as of late has started to cut back on so many places and programs that helped individuals and families.

    What do you think??

    This Bug You May Want To Catch

    Tis the season for cod and flus and washing our hands to keep germs away. Not wanting to catch anything from the sniffles to a virus many will become very aware of germs and not wanting to catch any of them. Armed with alcohol gel and eagerly washing hands with soap and water we strive to keep those germs at bay. What if I told you there was one germ you may want to catch and share with others as well.



    There is one sort of germ that you might not be too worried about catching, however: A Joy Germ!
    A Joy Germ is a little germ of joy that is spread by smiling at people, making people laugh, and generally spreading happiness everywhere you go. Imagine a day where everyone is smiling, laughing and spreading happiness – that’s Joy Germ Day!
    It’s very easy to participate. The first step is to park your cynicism at home. The second step is to go out into the world. The third step is up to you – just feel the joy, and spread it around!

     
    Here are a few ways to catch the Joy bug and spread it around:
     
    • smile for the entire day
    • sit and talk with family or friends
    • let someone in the checkout aisle with fewer items go first
    • get in the kitchen and cook with your kids
    • take a walk
    • make soup and share it with all you love
    • visit or call a sick friend or someone unable to get out
    • volunteer at an animal shelter
    • tell someone you believe in them
    •  
     
     
     
     

    Natural Tips To Cleaning The Bathroom

     My family is the world to me and I strive to do the best for them. One of the ways that I  try my best to keep them safe, healthy and happy is by using the least chemicals to clean. Here are some of my tips:


    • glass and mirrors can be cleaned with 50/50 vinegar and water mix in a spray bottle and wiped with old rags from cut-up tees or newspapers.
    • microfiber cloths are awesome for cleaning without chemicals. Keep a few around on hand for washing, polishing and drying
    • use a 50/50 vinegar/water solution to clean tile, counters, cabinet fronts, and soap scum in the shower
    • baking soda and water paste will clean stuck on gunk in the shower and tub. If you have a super stuck on stain use vinegar with soda to clean.
    • clean grout with baking soda and undiluted hydrogen peroxide. Scrub with a toothbrush
    • sprinkle baking soda around the inside of the toilet to coat, dump a cup of undiluted white vinegar in the water. Use a toilet brush to scrub and the chemical reaction of the baking soda and vinegar to remove stains and odors (also use on the floor around toilet to clean up that area as well)

     

    happy bubble bath day

     
     
     
     
     


    DIY Bubble Bath for Kids
     
    ½ cup clear or light-colored shampoo
    ¾ cup water
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    Food Coloring (Optional)
    Mix shampoo and water into a medium bowl.
    Add ¼ teaspoon salt. Wait for the mixture to thicken.
    Add a drop of food coloring and stir. Continue to add until you have the color you want.

    Happy Birthday Elvis

    More than likely we have all heard about the love Elvis had for his peanut butter and banana sandwiches. The yummy taste can be found in this birthday cake. Since today is Elvis's birthday we decided to share this beautiful cake with all of you.

    Banana Layer Cake with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting


    Sour Cream Banana Cake Recipe

    Adapted from Margaret Wehling via All Recipes and also seen on Food Mayhem

    1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 cup packed brown sugar 1 cup granulated sugar 4 large eggs 4 large ripe bananas, mashed
    1 cup sour cream (I used 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    4 cups sifted cake flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt

    Preheat oven to 350°F.  Spray three 9” round cake pans with non-stick baking spray and set aside. Cream butter and sugars together with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add bananas, sour cream, and vanilla, and beat until just combined. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.  Sift through a sieve at least once.  Add to the wet ingredients in three additions, folding with a spatula until just combined. Pour the batter equally into the three prepared pans.  Weigh each pan to ensure that they are equal, and spread the batter in each pan as evenly as possible.  Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean, rotating pans halfway through.  Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

    Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

    1 8-oz package cream cheese, at room temperature (I used reduced fat)
    1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
    1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
    Pinch of salt
    1 cup icing sugar

    Beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy, about one minute.  Add the butter and beat for another minute until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Add the peanut butter and pinch of salt and beat until combined.  Slowly add the icing sugar and mix on low until incorporated. Taste and add more icing sugar if it’s not sweet enough for your tastes.  Store in the refrigerator until ready to use, but remove from fridge at least 10 minutes before frosting so it is easier to spread.

    1 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature (I used reduced fat) 1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature 
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1-1/2 cups icing sugar,
    3/4 cup chilled heavy whipping cream

    Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth, about one minute.  Add butter and beat for another minute until smooth.  Add vanilla and 3/4 cup icing sugar, and mix on low until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk whipping cream and remaining 3/4 cup icing sugar until medium-firm peaks form.  I did this by hand but you could use an electric mixer to make it easier. Gently fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture in 3 additions.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour
    1. Trim the tops of the cakes with a large serrated knife or cake leveler to level them, if necessary (I just took a bit off the top centers).  Place one cake layer on a cake stand or large plate and insert strips of wax paper or parchment paper underneath for easy clean-up later.
    2. Spread about 1 cup of peanut butter frosting over the cake.  Try to make it thicker around the edges.
    3. Top with second cake layer, then spread another 1 cup of peanut butter frosting on top, and top with third cake layer.  Make sure you're lining the cakes up evenly.  You should have a bit of leftover peanut butter cream cheese frosting which you can save for decorating the cake later.
    4. Spread a thin layer of cream cheese frosting over the top and sides of cake to form a crumb coat.  Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. 
    5. Spread remaining cream cheese frosting over the top and sides of cake, smoothing it out as evenly as possible with a spatula.  Decorate with reserved peanut butter cream cheese frosting and banana chips, if desired.  Remove wax paper strips from base of cake.

    have a slice on us.




    English Toffee

    English Toffee is the focus of celebration on the 8th of January. While it is not known who or when toffee was first made in England it is thought to have gained popular vote during the 1800s. More than likely it was during that time that sugar was able to be purchased cheaper than in earlier years.
     
    Toffee is a sweet confectionary that is made by boiling sugar til the mixture thickens enough to set. A variety of toffees have been made over the years including soft brittle, light brittle or dark brittle. Each of them with or without nuts and maybe even raisins included in the pulled or poured treat.
     
     
    recipe source here
     
    1  butter
    1 C sugar
    1 C chopped almonds
    1 C chocolate
    Mix the butter and sugar in a sauce pan and cook over medium/high heat
    Continue to cook without stirring until the candy thermometer is at the “Cracked Stage” on candy thermometer or when it's caramel colored and starting to smoke.
    Stir in the Almonds.
    Line a 9x13 glass pan with parchment paper
    Pour the candy into the pan
    Let it cool a just a bit and sprinkle half the chocolate over the top, it will melt and you can spread it around.
    Top with finely chopped almonds
    Once that side is set flip it over, melt the rest of the chocolate and spread it over the second side.
    Top with finely chopped almonds
     
     
     

    Thursday, January 7, 2016

    Bittersweet chocolate scones




    .6 ounces white rice flour (about 1/2 cup)
    2.3 ounces brown rice flour (about 1/2 cup)
    2.1 ounces sweet white sorghum flour (about 1/2 cup)
    1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon xanthan gum
    1 teaspoon baking soda

    1/8 teaspoon salt
    3 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
    2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
    1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon nonfat buttermilk, divided
    1 large egg

     Preheat oven to 400°.
    Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, 1/2 cup sugar, and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in chocolate.
    Combine 1/2 cup buttermilk and egg in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Add to flour mixture; stir just until moist.
    Turn dough out onto a surface lightly dusted with white rice flour. Pat dough into an 8-inch circle; cut into 10 wedges. Place wedges on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush 1 tablespoon
    buttermilk over surface of dough; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar.
    Bake at 400° for 18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove scones from baking sheet to a wire rack. Serve warm

    recipe source My Recipes

    Can You Donate




    Each and every day blood is in need. In one day more than 41,000 blood donations are needed each day. Only 10% of all eligible blood donors actually donate. Our society needs and relies on each other.



    Since 1970, National Blood Donor Month has been observed in January, when seasonal illnesses and bad weather make it especially hard to collect enough blood for patient needs. Find out if you are eligible to donate blood.

     Unable to Give Blood? You can help people facing emergencies by making a financial donation to support the Red Cross’s greatest needs. Your gift enables the Red Cross to ensure an ongoing blood supply, provide humanitarian support to families in need and prepare communities by teaching lifesaving skills.

    financial wellness



    So the new year has started and you have decided to take the higher financial freedom road. Whether you have decided to save money, get out of debt or simply make wiser financial decisions the world is yours and I hope you stay on the great road.

    The starting point should of been by taking a close look at your personal financial status. Look at your income, expenses, and overall debt career. What does your financial future look like? It may look healthy and well put together or it could look hopeless where you want to throw in the towel Are you ready to accept responsibility for changing your financial situation?



    January is National Financial Wellness Month. Since January is a month of resolutions and many of those have something to do with individuals financial information. Saving more, spending less, using coupons or whatever the resolution may be it can be met if you set your mind to it.


    Two quick tips:

    Pay yourself first. 
    If you wait until the end of the month to see how much money is left over for saving, you’ll probably find that the answer is nothing. Pay yourself first, and then find ways to reduce spending to pay the rest of your bills.
    Establish an emergency cash reserve. 
    This will give you funds to deal with short-term emergencies such as a temporary job loss, a short-term disability, a major home repair, or a large medical bill. How much you need in the reserve will depend on your age, health, job outlook, and ability to borrow quickly.



    Don't Worry He Has it all under control


    Life can be difficult at times. No one ever promised it would be a rose garden. Everything from stress at work to children being sick make my day a bit harder The thing is somehow to keep a smile on my face and a song in my heart. Keep our faith high because I know he has it all and while the plan may not be what I want it is what he had in the works since time began.



    Let me share a quick praise report:
    recently a good friend and a co-worker went to the doctor because she was not feeling well. The hospital did many test and found a spot on her chest. Not knowing what it was they scheduled her for more test. We prayed and prayed and had faith that all would be o.k. We knew that it would and that he had it all in control as he holds the whole world in his hands. When the test results came back there was no sign of any spot. Praise God!!! She told the doctors they may not understand but it is a God thing.



    Share your praise report as every day holds one whether it be big or small.

    Carrot Spoon Cake




    Carrot Spoon Cake

    butter flavor Pam
    box spice cake mix
    2 c shredded carrots
    1 box instant butterscotch pudding and pie filling mix
    4 eggs
    1 8oz can crush pineapple
    1 c sour cream
    1 c water
    3/4 c oil
    whip cream

    Coat slow cooker with Pam Mix in bowl the cake mix, carrots, pudding, eggs, pineapple, sour cream, and oil. Beat with mixer 2 minutes Transfer to slow cooker. cover cook low 5 hours Serve warm with whip cream

    recipe source :
    Sandra Lee Semi Homemade

    Elvis Week : Jailhouse Rock




    Jailhouse Rock the sound track to Elvis Presley's third movie. The song was wrote by Jerry Lieber and Mike Stroller. Song about a party in the "old cellblock" where inmates are rockin' it up. Rock and Roll at its best with lyrics that have proven to be timeless. One of Presley's finest musical number in all of his movies, the one production number that actually worked for him as a singer and as a dancer.






    lose the weight and feel great



    So now you have made the commitment to start a diet and the first week is doing well. The week(s) after this may get harder. You can do it!!! Stay strong and keep going on. Here are a few tips that may help you along the way. They have helped me.

    My story: I am the child of a father who was an insulin diabetic. He was not a good dieter, really did not try to eat right and in the end lost the battle. Me, I was diagnosed diabetic after working as a nurse aide and never being able to stop my thirst. I simply kept drinking koolaid and the thirst never left. They took my blood pressure told me I was in stroke danger and my sugar was to high to register. I made a dr. appointment and found out that I was a diabetic. Medicine and diet were prescribed and I worked hard to stay on my diet, get my weight done and simply feel better Was I successful, well after 10 years I am still only on pills no insulin and while not perfect (I still like my sweets) I have learned to live on a diet.

    I know we have all heard it and not always agreed but must say. if I can stay on a diet then you can to. Try these simple steps:





    eat small meals throughout the day. This helps to stop the stopping snacking between meals Eating something every 3 to 4 hours. Remember proteins and carbs travel hand in hand and should be eaten together.



    set your environment up for your new diet life style. Live like a champ you will be a champ. Instead of having candy and chips at hands reach replace it with fruit and veggies.



    Keep hydrated to be successful. Hunger pains and thirst pains are a lot alike and when you are thirsty you may end up getting something to eat because you miss read signals.



    Most of all keep your head up. Be positive that you will get it done that it has to be done so there is no way that you will fail. Keep a smile on your face, love in your heart and fight in your spirit. You can do this









    hamburger soup




    1 pound ground beef
    1 onion, diced
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    1 1/2 c. frozen peas
    1 small head of cabbage, chopped
    2 medium red potatoes, diced
    2 large carrots, sliced
    1- 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
    10 c. beef broth
    1- 15.25 oz can corn
    1- 15.8 oz can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
    1 tsp basil
    salt and pepper
    1 c. small shell noodles

    In a large soup pot, fry ground beef, onions, garlic, salt and pepper until beef is cooked through. Add the rest of the ingredients except the pasta. Cook over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes. Add the shell pasta and continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes until pasta is cooked through and veggies are tender.

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

    Joan of Arc A Leader of so many



    Joan of Arc a young girl who lived during the 1400s. She was nicknamed "The Maid of Orleans" and was a heroine of France as well as a Roman Catholic Saint. Born to a peasant family Joan believed she was gifted with visions of saints that would instruct her to support Charles VII. France at that time was under English domination Charles would send Joan to help take Orleans back for the French At the age of 18 she would be captured by the English and put on trial and found guilty on a variety of charges. On May 30 1431 when Joan was still a teenager she was burned at the stake.

    In 1456 the court authorized by Pope Callixtus III would examine the trial of Joan and find the charges against false and pronounce her innocent declaring her a martyr. She would become a symbol of the Catholic League and in 1803 be declared a national symbol of France as declared by Napoleon Bonaparte. Joan of Arc is one of the nine secondary patron saints of France and remains a popular figure in literature, painting, sculpture and other cultural works since the time of her death.

    — Stephen Richey
    The people who came after her in the five centuries since her death tried to make everything of her: demonic fanatic, spiritual mystic, naive and tragically ill-used tool of the powerful, creator and icon of modern popular nationalism, adored heroine, saint. She insisted, even when threatened with torture and faced with death by fire, that she was guided by voices from God. Voices or no voices, her achievements leave anyone who knows her story shaking his head in amazed wonder.

    The Joan of Arc parade kicked of the Carnival season tonight.
     
     
     
     

    Oatmeal Scotchies with Pecans



    Oatmeal Scotchies with Pecans Adapted from Nestle - I increased the cinnamon and added pecans to the recipe. The cookie dough freezes well, if you don't want to bake the whole recipe.

    Ingredients:
    1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1 cup butter, softened
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
    2 large eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    3 cups of quick cooking oats (or may use old fashioned oats)
    11 ounce package of Nestle Butterscotch Morsels
    3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
    In a small bowl combine the flour, soda, salt and cinnamon.
    In a large bowl cream the softened butter with the sugars. Stir in the eggs and vanilla until well combined.
    Gradually  beat in the flour mixture. Stir in the oatmeal, butterscotch morsels, and the pecans.
    Drop dough by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
    Bake for about 7-9 minutes for chewy cookies. Cool cookies on baking sheets for about 2 minutes; then remove to cooling racks. Enjoy! Makes about 4 dozen

    January Cervican Cancer Screening Month



    January is Cervical Cancer Awareness month. The goal is to increase the publics understanding of the disease. Cervical Cancer affects the cervix, the part of the body that connects the uterus to the vagina. Every year more than 11,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and approximately 4,000 die from the disease each year.

    There has been a lot of talk lately about the HPV vaccine and whether to take it or not. The good thing about the vaccine is that it may help prevent HPV which has been shown to lead to cervical cancer. The key is to stay informed with the latest news so you are ready for what comes your way. Prevention and screening is an important step in reducing your risk of developing cervical cancer.
     
    More information on Cervical Cancer HERE! 

    Easy Peasy Mixed Bean Salad

    EASY PEASY MIXED BEAN SALAD



    1 can cannellini beans
    1 can kidney beans
    1 can chickpeas
    (Please note that ANY beans of your choice may be used!)
    1 tin of sweetcorn
    1 medium red onion
    Handful of fresh parsley
    Handful of fresh coriander
    Some sweet red pepper (I used ones from a jar as I didn’t have any fresh and this worked really well but I’m sure fresh would be good too!)
    Handful spring onions
    2-4 cloves of garlic
    Sprinkle of paprika
    Olive oil (a good swish)
    White wine vinegar (start with 2 tablespoons)
    Juice of half a lime

    In essence just mix all of the above into a large mixing bowl! In terms of the olive oil, just add a good swish to the bean/sweetcorn/pepper/herb mix to coat. Don’t drown in oil of course otherwise it won’t end up being very healthy but just add a swish of oil then the white wine vinegar and lime juice and taste and adjust to your liking.
    I added paprika but you don’t “have” to.
    I used 2 garlic cloves so as not to offend anyone I might see that day with my garlic breath but you can add more of course.
    Once you are happy with your bean mix refrigerate for a few hours before serving to allow the beans to soak up the flavour of the dressing. My other half couldn’t wait for a few hours so we did have a serving straightaway and it tasted very nice- if you have time to refrigerate it just adds to the flavour.
    This amount (using 3 tins of beans) does last for a few lunches so if you don’t want to be eating beans for days then you could halve the amount of beans used. We loved this so much though that we were happy to have it for a few days in a row.

    shared here

    Cuddle Up Day



    The last month or so has been very full and very busy. With all the goings on with the holidays I am sure that many of you just need to take a deep breath and relax for a moment. Why not take a moment and cuddle up with someone you love It can be your spouse, your child, your pet whatever it may be. Perhaps you just want a second alone to cuddle up with a blanket and a good book or the T.V. remote control.

    The weather this year has been pretty warm so cuddling up to rub noses may seem a far stretch. The truth is that cuddling up warm weather or cold does the body good. Cuddle Up day occurs every year on the 6th of January and it is your choice to celebrate or not. Our little princess is always looking for someone to cuddle up with and my husband and I never miss an opportunity no matter how brief to enjoy a cuddle.

    Peach Pie Bars

     
    These delicious bar type cookies offer all the great flavor of a peach pie with a shortbread crust and streusel topping. Yummy!!! The delicious summer time taste comes in a cookie best made when peaches are in season but today's canned peaches are tasty as well.
     
    makes 24 bars
    CRUST:
    3 cups UNBLEACHED all-purpose flour (bleached flour toughens baked goods)
    1 ½ cups sugar
    ¼ tsp. kosher or sea salt
    3 sticks unsalted butter, chilled
    PEACH PIE FILLING:
    3 cups peeled, finely diced peaches
    1 ½ cups sugar
    4 large eggs
    1 cup sour cream
    ½ tsp. cinnamon
    dash of salt
    1 tsp. vanilla
    ¾ cup UNBLEACHED all-purpose flour (bleached flour toughens baked goods)
    CRUST
    Stir sugar, salt and flour together in a large mixing bowl.
    Cut in butter with a pastry blender until coarse crumbs form.
    Measure out 1 ½ cups of ingredients for topping and set aside.
    Press remaining ingredients into the bottom of a greased 9x13” glass baking dish.
    Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned.
    PEACH PIE FILLING
    Whisk eggs in a large mixing bowl.
    Whisk in sugar, sour cream, cinnamon, salt, vanilla and flour to combine.
    Gently fold in peaches until combined.
    Pour peach mixture over hot crust.
    Sprinkle with remaining 1 ½ cups crumb mixture.
    Bake an additional 55-65 minutes or until set.
    Cool at least one hour before cutting into bars.
     
    recipe source here

    Tuesday, January 5, 2016

    River Rock Trivet

    January 7th is a day that takes a new look at old rocks. While these trivets are made up of new rocks rather than old they are an awesome inside craft that is perfect for the cold winter months.











    craft resource here




    bag of river rocks (you won’t use them all for just 1 trivet though)
    felt
    glue gun
    square cork mat (about 1′ x 1′)
    pencil
    scissors

    Take a pot and place on top of your square cork mat. Trace around the bottom of the pot onto the cork with a pencil. Cut out the cork circle. Place a piece felt on top of the cork circle and trace it so that it’s the same size as the cork circle. Then, cut out that circle. Glue the felt to the cork with a glue gun. Let dry. Then with the hot glue gun, glue the rocks to the top of the felt in any pattern you want. It works better if you have flatter stones so keep that in mind when planning your design. Let dry.

    Apple Tea For Two



    1 cup water
    4 whole allspice
    2 individual black tea bags
    1 cup unsweetened apple juice or cider
    2 tablespoons honey

    In a small saucepan, bring water and allspice just to a boil; add tea bags. Remove from the heat; cover and steep for 3 minutes. Discard allspice and tea bags. Stir in apple juice and honey; heat through.

    recipe source here

    pear chutney

    Pear Chutney

    chutneys are traditional Indian condiments that are often prepared from raw ingredients. Chutneys balance out meals. They help ensure that all 6 tastes of  sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, astringent are met
     
     
    6 cup peeled and finely chopped pears
    1/4 cup currants
    1/4 cup organic sugar (sucanat or coconut sugar work well)
    1/4 cup water
    1 Tbsp lemon juice
    1 tsp apple cider vingegar
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 Tbsp peeled & minced fresh ginger
    Optional: 1 pinch cayenne pepper
    1 cinnamon stick
    1/4 tsp gr. cloves
    Optional: 4 green cardamom pods
     
    Peel, core and chop the pears in 1/2 inch dice Combine all ingredients in a large stainless steel cooking pot Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low Cook, stirring frequently, until the pears are soft and the mixture is thick Transfer to a sterile glass jar, with a tight lid Cool, and store in refrigerator

    Whipped Cream Day and a Delicious Cupcak Recipe




    Today is a day to honor the birthday of the man who was known as the whipped cream King. Aaron Lapin born on January 5th 1914 in Missouri was the inventor of whipped cream in the aerosol can. Lapin big invention of Reddi Wip is one of my all time favorites. Oh my what fun we have had with this sweet whip cream in a can. The fun of watching the whip cream shoot out when the valve on the can was pushed out all of it being worked by nitrogen gas in the can.

    Reddi Wip was and is the convenient way of making whipped cream. Before, one would make whip cream by pouring cream into a bowl, sweeten it and whip by hand or mixer til it was thick and creamy. The aerosol can allowed the whipped cream to last longer which pleased many as well. As an extra bonus Lapin created a valve that was fluted so that the whipped cream came out with a swirly pattern.

    If you want to try to make whipped cream from hand follow this easy to make recipe
    An easy recipe just takes a half a pint of cream, a teaspoon of vanilla and of course 3 tablespoons of sugar.  Just whip it up with a whisk or in your blender but don’t over whisk it because then you will have butter on your hands!!


    Reddi Wip Filled Cupcakes

    PAM® Baking Spray
    1 pkg (18.25 oz each) extra moist cake mix, any flavor
    1 can (6.5 oz each) Reddi-wip® Original Dairy Whipped Topping
    Topping suggestions - Reddi-wip, prepared frosting, ice cream toppings, optional
    'Sprinkle' Suggestions -- candy sprinkles, chopped nuts, toasted coconut, fresh fruit, candy pieces, optional

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 24 medium muffin cups with baking spray. Do NOT use cupcake liners. Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin cups. Bake according to package directions.
    Cool cupcakes in pan 5 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.
    Assemble selected toppings and sprinkles, if desired. When ready to serve, fill each cupcake to be eaten immediately with Reddi-wip according to the Cook's Tips. Immediately 'frost' with a topping and 'sprinkle' if desired. Serve immediately.

    Cook's Tips
    To fill cupcakes, shake Reddi-wip can. Turn can completely upside down, insert tip into bottom of cupcake and press nozzle sideways to gently fill without cracking cupcake. (Don't worry -- 'blow outs' are tasty too!) Cupcakes may be baked the day before. Store between sheets of parchment paper in an airtight container. Fill and enjoy as desired.

    recipe source here