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Thursday, February 21, 2019

Angel Hair Pasta with Red Pepper Pesto Sauce #Recipe

medium red bell peppers or bottled roasted red peppers
1 tablespoon pine nuts
1 small garlic clove, smashed
1/4 cup basil leaves, plus 2 tablespoons chopped basil
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound angel hair pasta
1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese

Roast the red peppers over a gas flame or under the broiler, turning occasionally, until charred all over. Transfer the peppers to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool. Peel, core and chop the peppers.
In a small skillet, toast the pine nuts over moderate heat until golden, about 4 minutes. Let cool.
Transfer the peppers and pine nuts to a blender or food processor. Add the garlic and whole basil leaves and blend until coarsely chopped. Add the olive oil and cheese and puree to a chunky pesto. Season with salt and pepper.
In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and cool slightly under running water. Transfer the pasta to a bowl and toss with the pesto. Season the pasta with salt and pepper. Top with the chopped basil and pecorino and serve at room temperature.

recipe resource here 

Chocolate Drop Bread Pudding

1/2 Cup Dark Cocoa
3 Cups Milk (or sub all non-dairy coffee creamer, plain/vanilla)
5 Eggs
1 Cup Sour Cream
1 Cup Belgian Chocolate Coffee Mate
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
5 Tbs. Melted Butter
1 tsp. Salt
1 Tbs. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 tsp. Almond extract

Wisk all of those above ingredients together really well.
Take 8 really large Sub rolls or one loaf of french bread and cube up into 1 inch cubes. Toss bread and 6 oz. Chocolate Chips into a large bowl. Pour the wet ingredients all over and stir gently. Spray a deep 13″ x 9″ pan with cooking spray and pour the pudding in your pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. Enjoy warm or cold with whipped cream!

recipe resource here 

Jam Bars #recipe

Jam Bars 

1/2 cup/110g unsalted butter or coconut oil (vegan!), at room temperature
1/3 cup/85g smooth almond butter
2 Tbsp brown rice syrup or maple syrup
1 1/2 cups/150g rolled oats
1 cup/120g almond flour
1 cup/120g oat flour
6 Tbsp/90g granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp/340g jam (I used Bonne Maman Raspberry)
1 tsp lemon juice
Pinch of sea salt
sliced almonds (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Line a 9 by 13-inch/23 by 33cm baking pan with parchment paper. Combine the butter or coconut oil, almond butter, and brown rice syrup or maple syrup in a large bowl and, using a wooden spoon, mix well.
Add the rolled oats, almond flour, oat flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, vanilla and almond extracts, and cinnamon to the butter mixture and stir until a soft dough forms. Divide the dough into thirds. Press two-thirds of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan and reserve the remaining one-third for the topping.
Stir together the jam, lemon juice, and salt and then spread the mixture evenly over the bottom crust.
Crumble the remaining one-third dough over the jam filling. Optional: I scattered some sliced almond on top.
Bake the jam bars until golden brown around the edges, about 35 minutes (push it a little bit, you don’t want them pale). Let the pastry cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before cutting into bars.
The jam bars will keep, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to 4 days (or in the fridge, which is kind of nice too).

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Invention of the Disposable Diaper

Marion Donovan it seemed was meant to be an inventor from the time she was born. Several men in her family including her brothers, dad and uncle all had proven to be ingenious inventors. Many of their inventions were based around factory machines. However, Marion Donovan inventions would be based more around the domestic way of life.

One issue that has been around for quite some time is the babies dirty diapers. No wonder that one of Marion Donovan's first inventions had to do with a new way to take care of this task. The Boater as it was known may have came before it's time but was a worthy invention. At the time cloth diapers and rubber baby pants were the "in" fashion. However, the issue that often came up was a bad diaper rash.

It seemed that the boater that would help relieve the rash part of diapering would be the way to go. Manufacturers did not agree and refused to  back this new plan. In 1951 she sold the idea and plan to these disposable briefs. It would be the Europeans to first manufacture disposable diapers but in 1956 Pampers would begin to sell the disposable diapers. The world of caring for the babies wetness has changed thanks to the invention of Marion Donovan.

Potatoes Do them Your Way

If you have been searching for a sneaky way to get more calcium rich dairy products into your children's diet then you will love this recipe. Scalloped Potatoes is a great recipe that can be suited to fit your taste and palate.

                    Scalloped Potatoes

Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan
Heat oven to 375º F

Thinly slice
3 pounds potatoes
1 large onion

3 slices bacon (optional)

In a large bowl combine
1 10 ounce can of condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon black pepper

Add the sliced potatoes and onion Toss to evenly coat. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the chopped bacon pieces over the potatoes and cover with aluminum foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Make the potatoes the way you want them. Here are a few ideas:

  • add onions whether green or yellow or leave them out entirely.
  •  Add a bit of spice to your taste so the recipe truly becomes your own. 
  • Potatoes are the same way whether you choose to use whole potato whether sweet or russet or perhaps you have frozen hash brown potatoes. Simply stir them into the sauce and for the later cut baking time 30 minutes. 
  • another great way to cut time is to microwave the potatoes 1/2 way done. Slice potatoes and stir into sauce where they cook 30 more minutes.
  • Swap out condensed cream of mushroom or broccoli soup
  • add a bit of meat by topping the potatoes with whatever you have on hand. Pork chops or ham slices work well


Bikers Against Animal Abuse and Neglect

In the past when bikers were mentioned minds may have turned to the large gangs of bikers and the trouble that may or may not have accompanied them. As many of us know the world is much more different than it was then and bikers have lives just like you and me and care about the world as well. One organization that bikers are involved in is the care of animals. In addition, the organization Bikers Against Animal Abuse and Neglect is comprised of bikers that ride, support members and volunteer members.

As those in the biking world know each of us play an important role in determining success. The goal of the Bikers Against Animal Abuse and Neglect is to work with local animal rescue groups, animal shelters, law enforcement and the public to be able to help neglected animals, locate abusers and assist in rescues when needed. Bikers want animals to provide the same unconditional love they give us

about B.A.A.C
In September of 2007 a focus on shelter animals and financial assistance for animals without owners or owners who had cruelty victimize these pets. Take for example the 2007 Michael Vick animal cruelty case that was being talked about everywhere.

The group B.A.A.C has helped dogs, cats, horses, pigs and many other pets. The members are expected to follow the state animal cruelty laws when working with local authorities and Animal Control officers. Fundraising takes place to help shelter and rescue organizations to provide urgent medical care to animals that have fallen prey to animal cruelty. The group helps to:

  • provide food and material support for non profit organizations, shelters and pet food pantries
  • offer outreach and educational materials to increase public awareness to animal cruelty funding to families to help with cost of spay / neuter surgery 
  • support other reputable organizations by supporting pre adoption home checks and filling transportation needs. 
  • help bring awareness to animal cruelty through special events, and social media sites

Animal cruelty comes in many forms including direct (deliberate) to indirect (neglect)  Individuals of all ways of life may abuse an animal. Some may be simply cruel individuals and others just not be educated in what it takes to be a pet owner. Animal abuse covers many different animals and stories which often makes it seems that the issue will never go away. However, working together will hopefully make the issue better.

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
5 tablespoons ice water
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 cups whole pitted sour cherries
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tablespoon milk


Whisk flour, sugar, and salt in large bowl to blend. Add butter and rub in with fingertips until small pea-size clumps form. Add 5 tablespoons ice water; mix lightly with fork until dough holds together when small pieces are pressed between fingertips, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough together; divide into two pieces. Form each piece into a ball, then flatten into disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Can be made up to two days ahead. Keep chilled. Let soften slightly before rolling out.


Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 425° F. Whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Stir in cherries, lemon juice, and vanilla. Set aside.

Roll out 1 dough disk on floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch glass pie dish. Trim dough overhang to 1/2 inch. Roll out second dough disk on floured surface to 12-inch round. Using large knife or pastry wheel with fluted edge, cut ten 3/4-inch wide strips from dough round. Transfer filling to dough-lined dish, mounding slightly in center. Dot with butter. Arrange dough strips atop filling, forming lattice; trim dough strip overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold bottom crust up over ends of strips and crimp edges to seal. Brush lattice crust (not edges) with milk. Sprinkle lattice with 1 tablespoon of sugar.

Place pie on rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375°. Bake pie until filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown, covering edges with foil collar if browning too quickly, about 1 hour longer. Transfer pie to rack and cool completely. Cut into wedges and serve with vanilla ice cream.

recipe resource here 

Peach Dump Cake

6 to 8 ripe peaches, pitted, peeled and sliced
1 can (354 mL) evaporated milk
3 whole eggs
1 cup white sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 box Betty Crocker™ SuperMoist™ white cake mix
1 cup sliced almonds (optional)
3/4 cup butter, melted
8 cups vanilla ice cream, for serving if desired
1 cup caramel sauce, for serving if desired

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.
In a large bowl, mix peaches, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar and cinnamon until well blended. Spread peach mixture in prepared baking dish. Mixture will be very wet. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly on top of the batter. (Do not prepare cake batter.)
If adding pecans, sprinkle them over the top of the dry cake mix. Pour melted butter evenly over the top of the cake mix. Bake 50 minutes. Let cool.
Top with ice cream and caramel sauce as desired.

recipe resource here

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Cinnamon Biscuits #Recipe

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
~1 tbsp. baking powder
~1 tsp. salt
~1/4 tsp. baking soda
~1/4 c. vegetable oil
~3/4 c. buttermilk
~8 tbsp. butter, softened
~3/4 c. granulated sugar
~1 tsp. cinnamon

~Combine flour, baking powder, salt & baking soda in a medium bowl and mix well.
~Stir in vegetable oil.
~Add buttermilk and stir just until blended.
~Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth.
~Roll dough into a 15x18-inch rectangle.
~Pre-heat oven to 400'F.
~Grease a 9-inch round baking pan lightly.
~Spread butter over dough.
~Combine sugar & cinnamon in a small bowl and mix well.
~Sprinkle over butter.
~Roll up rectangle, jelly roll fashion, starting from one long side. Pinch seam to seal.
~Cut the roll into 1 1/2-inch slices.
~Arrange the slices, cut side up, in prepared baking pan.
~Bake until lightly browned, about 15-20 minutes.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Gardening Inside with Houseplants

When it is cold outside we often bring the plants that we can inside. Indoor plants are not everyone's favorite but for those that love this informational post is for you. One thing you may want to know is that there are houseplants that may emit carbon dioxide. However, this should not be a worry for pets or humans.

Houseplants help to improve indoor air quality significantly. Indoor plants emit oxygen, humidity and negative ions. These plants can also absorb dust, mold, bacteria and allergens from the air. In addition houseplants help add beauty to the room.

Here are a few common houseplants that you may want to invest in:

  • Snake Plant can take a lot of wear and tare. It can tolerate low light and neglect as well. The snake plant helps the home by filtering toxins such as formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, xylene and toluene. Offering this plant a place with moderate to low light and water a couple times a month will keep it happy

  • The Rubber Tree is a common houseplant that enjoys moderate to bright light. The tree will filter out toxins such as formaldehyde from the indoor air. Simply watering the plant at least 1 time a week is all that is required.

  • The Philodendron is one of my favorite houseplants partly because of the heart shaped leaves and trailing vines it offers. This plant grows fast with vines that can grow to 10 feet long. Don't worry it is small in size only standing about 8" tall so will be perfect in a small space as well. The only care needed is a moderate to low light area and being watered 2 times a month.

  • A houseplant my mother loves and had many when I was a child as well is the spider plant. The noted arching green and white striped leaves make it the perfect hanging planter. The plant is resilient and easily to make more of by taking a simple cut This plant grows well in most areas with a once a week watering. 
What is your favorite house plant?? 

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Moroccan Coconut Cookie #Recipe

1 ½ cup dried unsweetened coconut
1/3 cup semolina
½ cup icing sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
2 ½ tbsp. vegetable or coconut oil
1 large egg
A pinch of salt
½ tsp. lemon zest
Orange blossom water (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F(175 C) and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the coconut, semolina, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat the egg with the icing sugar until light and fluffy. Add the lemon zest and the oil. Mix until well combined, and then gradually blend in the dry ingredients.
Cover the dough and let it rest for about 20 minutes.
Wet your hands with some water or orange blossom water and roll the dough into small balls, dip one side in icing sugar, flatten slightly in your palm and place on the prepared baking sheet, about 3 inches apart. Repeat the process until all the dough has been shaped.
Bake for no more than 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. These cookies are so soft when hot, so you need to let them cool down on the baking sheet.
When cookies are at room temperature, dust with icing sugar and transfer to a plate or store in airtight container for up to one week.

recipe resource here

A Bit About February

January and February were the last two months to be added to the Roman calendar. The Romans considered winter a monthless period of time. Around 713 B.C. the two months were added to the calendar with February the last month of the year. THis changed in and around 450 BC when it became the second month. However, the number of days in the month changed from 23 - 27 days because of the strive to realign the year with the seasons. Names offered to February included the old English term Solmonath meaning the mud month and Kale month meaning cabbage month.

The Violet is the "birth flower" of February

The birthstone of February is amethyst. The stone amethyst symbolizes humility, spiritual wisdom and sincerity.

For those born on February 19th or before the sign of Aquarius is the zodiac sign. Individuals born after February 20th are born under the sign of Pisces

PTA Founders Day

 1970 the National Congress of Parents and Teachers (PTA) and the National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers merged to serve all children. Now the largest volunteer child advocacy organization in the nation. The association fights for good education for all children as well as

  • Creation of Kindergarten classes
  • Child labor laws
  • Public health service
  • Hot and healthy lunch programs
  • Juvenile justice system
  • Mandatory immunization
  • Arts in Education
  • School Safety
The PTA organization celebrates founders day on February 17th. Together the group works to give every child an education with good health and safety. The members pledge to:
  • Be a powerful voice for all children
  • Be a relevant resource for parents
  • Be a strong advocate for public education
The PTA was created to improve the lives and future of all children Women who were full of imagination and courage came together to form the organization. 

Founders Day celebrates the role that the PTA has played locally regionally and nationally. The support that they offer parents to become involved and work for all children and families. Founders day is a day to honor founders Phoebe Apperson Hearst and Alice McLellan Birney. It is also a day to honor Georgia's Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers Selena Sloan Butler

Indian Pudding

This basic Indian Pudding recipe was first published in a cookbook by Lydia Maria Child in 1829. Julia Child later published this recipe in the cookbook Julia Child and Company in 1979.  Recipe makes about 6 cups of pudding. A simple addition of a light whip cream or vanilla ice cream would be great.

1/4 cup of corn meal (stone ground is best)
2 cups of cold milk (you can use low fat)
2 or 3 Tb of butter or beef suet
1 tsp kosher or sea salt
2 tsp powdered ginger (make sure it is still fragrant)
1/2 cup of dark unsulphured molasses
1 tart apple, peeled, cored, coarsely grated (should be about a cup)
1 cup of additional milk

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Put the cornmeal in a heavy bottomed 2 quart sauce pan and gradually whisk in the 2 cups of milk. Put the pot over medium heat, add the butter, salt, ginger and molasses. Gradually bring to a boil stirring with the wire whisk to make sure it is nice and smooth. Once at the boil add the apple and then simmer for about 15 minutes more stirring frequently to keep it from scorching on the bottom. You should wind up with a think porridge like mixture.
Pour your pudding mixture in into a buttered 2 quart baking dish and set it uncovered in the middle of the hot oven and cook for 20 minutes or until it bubbles. Stir it and add 1/2 cup of the additional milk and blend it in. Clean the sides of the dish with a heat proof spatula and return the dish to the oven turning down the temperature to 250 degrees and cook it for another hour and a half to two hours. Remove from the oven and stir as before scraping down the sides as well. This time pour the additional 1/2 cup of milk over the top but don't stir it in. It is going to form a dark skin on the pudding as you cook it for another 3 or 4 hours.
This needs to be served warm so if you are not ready to serve it can be kept covered in a warm oven for a while.
Serve this thick brown sauce like dessert with the whipped cream, ice cream or custard. I imagine in the old days it was just served with some heavy cream and maybe some sugar.
You can make this ahead a day or two and just reheat in a water bath. This is earthy and elemental and a far cry from the sweet desserts we know today.

I know this seems like a long time from beginning to end but actual hands on is small. This is slow food and you cannot get the same result by speeding up the process as many modern recipes try and do. This is way our ancestors cooked, trying to make the best out of some lowly ingredients. It is worth the trouble.

Cabbage Good and Bad with a Recipe as well

Cabbage is closely related to the broccoli and cauliflower and is high in nutritional value. It comes in a range of colors from green, red (purple) or white (pale green). Smooth leafted, firm headed green cabbages are the most common cabbage type and weigh between 1 to 9 lbs normally. However, cabbages can grow quite large with the heaviest cabbage weighing 138.25 lbs.

Cabbages have been used in domesticated cooking since around 1000 BC. Europeans were most likely the first to use this vegetable. The Middle Ages would see cabbage become a large part of the diets of Europeans. Even today cabbages are prepared a number of different ways:

  • pickled for dishes such as sauerkraut
  • steamed
  • stewed
  • sauteed 
  • braised
  • raw

Cabbage consumption is varied around the world. Russia is the highest annual consumption with an average 44 lbs per person digested. Second is Belgium with an average of 10 lbs per person. The Netherlands, Spain and Americans come in around the same amount with an average of 8 lbs per person. Some worldly dishes that contain cabbage include 

  • Chinese kimchi is often made from Chinese cabbage 
  • British have a dish known as bubble and squeak made with leftover potato and boiled cabbage and eaten with cold meat
  • Those in Poland serve cabbage cooked or pickled in dishes such as bigos. Bigos is a dish made with cabbage, kraut, meat and wild mushrooms as its main ingredients) 
  • A spicy salad in Ethiopia includes cabbage

Cabbage is a rich source of vitamin C and K, a moderate source of vitamin B6 and folate, and good source of fiber. Cabbage has also been used through history as a medicinal herb. Ancient Greeks recommended cabbage to be used as a laxative and the juice to be used for accidental mushroom poisoning. Cabbage has been used to help make eye salves and liniments for bruises. Ancient Roman's used cabbage in both culinary and medicinal manners. There it was used for the effects of alcohol and hangovers Ancient Egyptians would eat cooked cabbage at the start of the meal to reduce the effects of wine. However, it was not just digesting cabbage that inspired its use in healthful ways

Cabbage leaves were used during World War I to treat trench foot. The leaves have also been used for ulcer compressions and breast abscesses. European folk medicine speaks of using the leaves to relieve sore feet as well as a child's croup. Mashed cabbage have been used to remove boils and treat warts, pneumonia, appendicitis and ulcers While there seems to be many good uses of cabbage through out time with all good things must come something bad.

Cabbage has some side effects that many may try to avoid. These include
  • bloating may come about with an excessive consumption of cabbage Increases intestinal gas causing bloating and flatulence may happen when the small intestine cannot digest. 
  • History shows that cabbage has been linked to outbreaks of food borne illnesses. Listeria monocytogenes and Clostridium botulinum have both been linked to cabbage in one form or another Ecoli has also been lined to cabbage consumption in the United States. Contamination at many different stages of the cabbage growing, harvesting, and packaging processes. From water, human, animal and soil all have the potential to be transferred to the cabbage and then to the consumer. 
  • Those who have a deficient intake amount of Iodine may see goiters form 

1 1/2 to 2 pounds lean ground beef
1 tablespoon oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small cabbage,chopped
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes (32.5 carbs approx)
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce ( 32.5 carbs approx)
1/2 cup water
Salt & Pepper to taste

Cook ground beef, drain fat and rinse.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and cook onion until tender.
Add the garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute.
Add the chopped cabbage, tomatoes, tomato sauce, pepper, and salt.
Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until cabbage is tender.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

For those eating trim healthy style, if you divide this in to 7, you'll be at approx 9 carbs

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Protect Your Child's Teeth

Our children's health is at the top of mine and I am sure yours as well. I am always looking out for them and striving to make sure they are in good health. Both oral, dental and mental health are at the top of my mind as it should be yours. However, did you know that tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has shared that early childhood cavities are even more common than asthma, early childhood obesity or diabetes. That is not to say that dental cavities can not be prevented. Following a few tips will help ensure your child has a future smile as bright as you wish it to be. These tips include:

  • brushing twice a day to reduce the bacteria in the mouth and keep the gums clean. Even before our children are born wiping off their gums will help prevent dental issues. 
  • While many fear fluoride it is one of the most effective methods for strengthening teeth and preventing cavities. Fluoride occurs naturally in the world and is in our water. 
  • Floss daily for children 4 years and up. 
  • Limit eating to 3 meals a day and 2 snacks. Frequent snacking and eating is a major contributor to tooth decay. Sugary foods and starchy foods contain sugar that can increase tooth decay. Likewise, limiting juice to 4 oz a day is recommended. 
  • Regular dental check-ups are important Do not wait til a problem exist. 

You can truly help you child get on the right foot for good dental health. These tips can get you started out right and keep you going Cavities can be prevented and stopped if all ready started

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Bird Seed Bars for our WInter Birds

2 cups Birdseed Mix
2 cups Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
1 cup Raisins
2 cups Cornmeal or Flour (I did one cup of each)
3 cups Lard

In a large bowl combine the birdseed mix, the sunflower seeds, the raisins, and the cornmeal and/or flour.  Stir until everything is well mixed together.
Place the lard in a microwave safe bowl.  Heat in the microwave until melted.  This took 2 minutes and 30 seconds for me.  There were just a few chunks still not melted, but I just stirred them around and they quickly dissolved.
Pour the melted lard over the birdseed mixture.  Stir until everything is well moistened with the melted lard.
Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper.  Pour the mixture into the lined pan and spread it around evenly, making sure to get it spread out well to the edges too.  You may want to add a few pencil size holes for hanging later
Put the pan in the refrigerator for several hours to cool and harden.
After several hours the birdseed cakes should be hard enough to cut.  Lift the parchment paper out of the pan and cut the block into 6 cakes that should be the perfect size to fit in most birdseed cake “cages” on bird feeders.

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Slow Cook Recipe ::: Poor Man's Chili

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained
1 (15-ounce) can corn, drained
1 (24-ounce) jar prepared pasta sauce
1 cup baby tomatoes (optional, they pop after slow cooking!)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric (not really a "poor" spice, it's a substitute for saffron, but I had it in the cupboard. If you don't have any, you can try a mixture of curry and cardamom, or just omit it all together)
1 cinnamon stick

used a 6 quart slow cooker. Drain the beans and corn, and put the can contents into your crock. Top with tomatoes, if using, and the pasta sauce. Stir in spices, and add cinnamon stick. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or on high for about 4. If the tomatoes haven't popped on their own, gently poke them with a wooden spoon to pop before serving.

recipe resource here

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Black History Month ::: Frederick Douglass

February 16, 1874 – Frederick Douglass elected president of Freedman’s Bank and Trust.

Frederick Douglass an American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer and statesman. Douglass was also an escaped slave from Maryland as well as a national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York. His writings and speeches gave fear to slaveholders argument that slaves lacked intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens.

As a requirement in my college History class we read The Narrative of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave Douglass would battle against slavery as well as women's suffrage. He believed that all people were equal to one another and it not matter upon color of skin, male or female, Native American or immigrant.

Who was Frederick Douglas::

Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey was born into slavery. He resided on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay in Talbot County , Maryland on a large plantation. No one is quite sure of his birthdate or of his father. While, we know Frederick Douglass was of mixed race which may have been Native American and African. In addition, Frederick would choose his surname Douglass after he escaped to freedom.

Did you know these facts about Frederick Douglass

  • The wife of a slave owner taught him his alphabet around the age of 12. After this time he was clever in learning at one time trading pieces of bread to kids that would help him
  • Douglas would teach other slaves to read. He would use the bibles new testament to do such learning
  • Fredericks first wife was a free woman when they met and helped Douglas to escape. 
  • He would often have his picture taken thinking of it as a "democratic" tool of sorts
  • he gained acceptance from President Lincoln to allow black men to join the Union army
  • Later in life, Douglass became more of a statesman, serving in highly appointed federal positions, including U.S. Marshal for D.C., Recorder of Deeds for D.C., and Minister Resident and Consul General to Haiti. Rutherford B. Hayes was the first to appoint Douglass to a position in 1877, and Presidents Garfield, Arthur, Cleveland, and Benjamin Harrison each sought his counsel in various positions as well.
  • Remarried after his first wife passed away. Not only was his first wife white but also 20 years younger than him
  • The book that Frederick Douglas wrote can be found for free online here

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Almonds are found in Russian Tea Cakes

Almonds are an ancient food that became domesticated around 3000 BC. Almonds have been found in king Tut's tomb as well as noted in Greek mythology.
  • According to Greek mythology, the lovely princess Phyllis was dumped at the altar on her wedding day by Demophon, her fiance As she waited for him to return to her she died of a broken heart. The gods took pity and transformed her into an almond tree. Demophon would finally wise up and return to find Phyllis turned into a flowerless tree. He embraced her and the tree burst into blooms. Thus, proving his love was greater than death. 

Spanish missionaries were the group responsible for bringing almonds to California. Today, 100 % of all almonds grown in the United States comes from  California as well as 80% of the entire world supply. 

Almonds are high in antioxidants as well as vitamin E. They may also help lower LDL (bad cholesterol) 

The uses of almonds in the culinary world are limitless. From sprinkling on salads and other dishes to cooking them into recipes.

Russian Tea Cakes 
(recipe Resource here)
Makes about 4 dozen

1 cup (8 ounces or 225 grams) butter, room temperature
2 cups (240 grams) powdered sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
2 cups (250 grams) all purpose flour
1 cup (about 110 grams) pecans, hazelnuts or other nuts, toasted and finely ground (if using hazelnuts, wrap in a dishtowel while still warm and roll about until most of the brown skins come off)
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar and vanilla; beat until well blended. Beat in flour, then nuts. Divide dough in half; form each half into ball. Wrap separately in plastic; chill until cold, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk remaining 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and cinnamon, if using, in pie dish to blend. Set cinnamon sugar aside.
Working with half of chilled dough, roll dough by 2 teaspoonfuls between palms into balls. Arrange balls on heavy large baking sheet, spacing 1/2 inch apart. Bake cookies until golden brown on bottom and just pale golden on top, about 18 minutes. Cool cookies 5 minutes on baking sheet. Gently toss warm cookies in cinnamon sugar to coat completely. Transfer coated cookies to rack and cool completely. Repeat procedure with remaining half of dough. (Cookies can be prepared 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature; reserve remaining cinnamon sugar.)
Sift remaining cinnamon sugar over cookies and serve.

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Friday, February 15, 2019

State of Wisconsin and a Slow Cooker Soup Recipe

February 15th of every year recognizes the state of WIsconsin. Other wise known as the Badger state the state of Wisconsin became the 30th state. It all stated with a French explorer Jean Nicolet reached Wisconsin while looking for a passage to China. However, it would be a mining boom not fur trading that would lead to the nickname of the state.

MInes in Wisconsin would see miners burrowed into the hillsides much like badgers in search of shelter. Settlers to this area would destroy the homelands of the Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Chippewa and other indigenous people. The state of Wisconsin would gain much from dairy production. In addition breweries became a fixture in the state as well.

During the 1850s immigrants saw many Brewers across Wisconsin the 18th amendment of 1919 prohibited alcohol and many of the self brewers would die out during this time period. In 1933 when the amendment was repealed there was only a few brewers that remained.

The waterways in Wisconsin offer the citizens and visitors of the state many forms of water recreation and sport. Trails around the state help offer perfect places for hiking during warm weather as well Don't forget all the great fun that can be had in the snow in this area as well.

1 medium onion, diced
1/4 cup butter
1 large head of cauliflower (2.5 lbs of
3 cups water
2 tsp chicken bouillon (or 1 tsp Shirley J
chicken bouillon)
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2/3 cup warmed heavy cream
1/2 cup grated pepper jack cheese
1 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
Toppings:  crumbled bacon, croutons, green onions, grated cheddar

1.  Heat a pan over medium high heat on the stove top.  Melt the butter in the pan.  When butter is melted, add the diced onions and sauté for about 5 minutes or until they are translucent and soft.  Add onions and butter to slow cooker.
2.  Cut the cauliflower into florets.  (They don’t have to be super small since you’ll be pureeing it later).  Add the cauliflower to the slow cooker.
3.  Add water, bouillon, salt and pepper to the slow cooker.
4.  Cover and cook on LOW for about 6-8 hours or on HIGH for about 3-4 hours, or until cauliflower is very soft.
5.  Carefully pour or ladle contents of slow cooker into a large blender (you may have to do this part in batches).  Puree until creamy and smooth.  Add back into the slow cooker.
6.  Add the warmed cream into the slow cooker.  Stir in the Dijon mustard and cheeses until they are melted.
7.  Ladle the soup into serving bowls and top with desired toppings.

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Who WIll Take Care of Our Loved Ones

Every day we all make decisions in our lives. Some of these decisions are not as important as others. What will we watch on T.V., what will we wear to school or work, or what supper will be are all decisions that are daily questions that will not change or harm our lives. However, questions such as choosing a care giver for an older loved one can seemingly change the world as we know it.

Choosing the right care giver can offer help for you and your loved one. They can responsibly improve the quality of love of your loved one. The right caregiver will be able to care for your loved one as well as foster a friendship allowing you to be able to rest knowing that you have made the right decision. However, not all caregivers are the same and there will be some that may just not be the right choice for your loved one.

Caregivers may have the right heart and be willing to do what it takes to care for your loved one and still not be the right one. Sadly, there are some caretakers that turn out to be not what they appear. Abuse no matter what form it comes in is not welcome. These reasons makes the decision of who to care for your loved one is a bit scary. However, there are things that you can do to make you feel better about making the choice.

Keeping a thoughtful open mind and being serious about the decision to choose the right caregiver is the place to start Keep in mind that a caregiver is an employee that works for you and your loved one. If for any reason issues arise and it does not seem to work out you can find a replacement. Here are some tips that may help you find the right caregiver to start with:

  • What are your home care needs?? Does your loved one require help with daily functions?? Someone to ensure their safety?? Someone to take them to appointments and activities?? Someone to cook, clean, handle medicinal regimes?? Part of finding the best caregiver for your loved ones is to start with knowing what type of care they need
  • What are your finances like?? How much can you afford to pay for a caregiver?? Taking care of an older loved one can be stressful without adding to it an overwhelming cost for care.  Are there relatives that re willing to help?? A family meeting of the minds may be needed to discuss options and to consider all opinions of what to do. Some available options may include            ** agency or private care ** are there any activity centers, social clubs or anywhere that adults hang out??  ** consider online reviews and others opinions when deciding upon care. 
  • Interview the individual(s) you are considering to take care of your loved one. Find out past history experiences of similar work. Find out a bit about their personality, who they are, where they are from etc...Tell them your expectations and be firm not rude or overbearing when describing what you will expect them to do in their role of caregiver. 
  • Conduct Background checks are a must in these days and times. Check credentials to ensure they are who they say they are whether that be a CNA or a nurse, Criminal background checks are a good idea as well. 

In the end after you have performed your research, interview and the rest the decision may still be hard. The best thing to do is to go with your gut feeling Go with what you think is right, take a leap of faith and remember it is not the final decision. If things do not work out you can make adjustments and changes .

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Eat the Food on Your Own Plate


Is it okay for someone to reach over and take a nibble from the food you are eating??

Sharing food is often left for those with close relationships. The entire animal kingdom including man considers food a resource. Food can be considered such a treasure that we choose not to share. So what happens when someone simply reaches over and takes??

When someone decides to share your food when you are unwilling it may be bad for a relationships. The power display of the individual who takes the food without being invited is very dominant. Thus leading to possible hurt feelings and a bit of irritation.

When we choose to share our food with a good friend or romantic partner the bond we have together may be strengthened. When we choose to share our food the action shows emotions and helps to build a bond.

What do you Think??

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