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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Erase It With Pride

Joseph Priestley discovered the rubber eraser on April 15, 1770. His invention was of an item made from rubber imported from Brazil that would simply "rub out" pencil marks. 

South American Indian Tribes used rubber to make bouncing balls to play with and also as an adhesive for attaching feathers and other objects to their bodies. A French scientist and explorer first brought the substance known as "India" rubber back to Europe. 
Sir Joseph Priestley discovered that using "India" gum made the perfect eraser. Europeans were soon erasing marks. The erasers became known as "peaux de negres". Rubber was not an easy substance to work with because it went bad very easily as it rots. 

Prevent Cruelty to Animals

April is "Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month" The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) started this important month for animals. The nationwide campaign helps celebrate human animal bond.

You can help by being aware of your neighborhood and your neighbor pets. Keep aware to any dangers that they may face By being aware you can help the police and animal control. 

Knowing the signs of animal abuse is important as well. Animal abuse is physical or emotional. Signs include:
person hitting, striking or physically abusing the animal

neglecting dogs or cats of food, water or being chained up in yard or roaming neighborhoods

dogs or cats kept outside without shelter in extreme weather conditions not matter the weather conditions: rain, snow, freezing or heat and left directly in sun

tick or flea infestations or with knotted, dirty or mangy fur. Conditions if left untreated by a vet can lead to an animal becoming sick or even death 

Teach your kids to take care of animals and be kind to them. Remind them that fresh daily water and food are important for animals. 

7 Layer BLT Dip

7 Layer BLT Dip
recipe source

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup minced lettuce ( I purchase already shredded)
1/4 cup minced water chestnuts (optional)( I did not add)
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup shredded monterey jack cheese 
8 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
4 roma tomatoes or grape tomatoes,  chopped
3 green onions, chopped

Combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl.
Spread the mixture onto a serving plate.
Mix together the minced lettuce with the water chestnuts (if using).
Top the cream cheese mixture with remaining ingredients, in order: lettuce/water chestnut, the cheeses, cooked and crumbled bacon, chopped tomatoes, and green onions.
Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
Serve with crackers, bread rounds or pita chips.
Note: you can also mix the water chestnuts into the cream cheese mixture instead of into the lettuce, if you prefer.
7 layered BLT Dip

Spring Salad with Strawberries and Almonds

Spring Mixed Strawberry Almond Salad
Adapted from
(click here to print)

Salad Dressing:

1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup white wine or champagne vinegar
1/4 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. dried chopped or minced onion
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. poppy seeds

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and heat for a couple of minutes or until the sugar dissolves.  You can also do this in the microwave, if you prefer, but watch it closely and make sure your cup is large enough so it doesn't overflow.  Cool.  (I pour it into a pyrex measuring cup and put it in the freezer to speed up the cooling process.)

Salad Ingredients:

3/4 cup sliced almonds 
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds (optional)
1 lb. fresh strawberries
1 lb. Spring Mix or salad greens of your choice

Combine almonds, sugar, and sesame seeds (if using) in a small nonstick skillet.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar caramelizes and coats the almonds.   Turn nuts out onto a piece of waxed paper or parchment to cool.  Guard the nuts zealously or munchkins will eat them all when your back is turned.  

Wash and spin dry 1 lb. of Spring Mix or the lettuce(s) you prefer.

Slice 1 lb. of fresh strawberries.

Just before serving, combine strawberries, sugared almonds, salad greens, and some of the salad dressing.  Toss well and serve immediately.

If you have a small family, you can halve this recipe.  Or keep the extra ingredients (separated) in the refrigerator and toss it together later.

Spiral Sliced Ham with Maple Orange Glaze

Spiral-Sliced Ham with Maple-Orange Glaze
Source:  Cooks Illustrated magazine

7-10 lb. bone-in spiral-sliced half ham
1 large oven cooking bag 

The ham should come factory-wrapped in plastic and may have a netting around it as well.  Do not remove the plastic from the ham but do remove the netting, if applicable.

Get a large food-safe pail (mine was 5 gallons) or even a large cooler and fill it halfway with HOT tap water.  Submerge the plastic-wrapped ham completely.  If your ham is foil-wrapped instead of plastic wrapped, transfer it to a large ziptop bag (2 or 2.5 gallon size) first.

Submerged ham

Let ham sit in the hot water for 45 minutes, then drain and repeat: add HOT water to submerge the ham and allow it sit in the water for an additional 45 minutes.  This allows the ham to slowly warm so that it doesn't have to bake as long in the oven.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees and set the rack to the bottom-most level.  Remove ham from the water and the original plastic covering.  Remove the plastic disk at the wide end of ham.  Place the entire ham cut-side down into a large oven cooking bag and use a  twist-tie to secure, trimming off excess plastic.  Place the bag cut-side down into a shallow roasting pan, pierce the top of the bag with a knife in 3 or 4 places, and place in the preheated oven.

Ham in oven cooking bag
Bake for 10 minutes per pound.  My ham was 8 lbs., so I cooked it for 80 minutes.  Remove ham and increase oven temperature to 350 degrees.  Meanwhile, cut open the oven cooking bag and push it down to expose the top and sides of the ham.

unglazed ham after 80 minutes

Brush the ham with one-third of the glaze and return to the oven for 10 minutes or until the glaze is sticky.

Remove the ham from the oven and brush with another third of the glaze mixture.

Marvelous Maple-Orange Glazed Ham

Let the ham rest for 15 minutes, loosely tented with foil.  While ham rests, mix the remaining glaze with a couple tablespooons of the ham juices and reserve.  Carve ham and serve with the reserved sauce.

Maple Orange Glaze

3/4 cup pure maple syrup (the real deal!)
1/2 cup orange marmalade
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Combine all ingredients and cook over medium heat until thick and syrupy, about 5-7 minutes.  Use to glaze ham.

Words Not Needed

Autism Awareness

The Autism Society wants to make the world aware of autism. They wish to make all aware of inclusion and self determination for all. Assuring that each person with ASD is provided with the opportunity to achieve the highest possible quality of life. It is important that friends and collaborators become partners in the movement toward acceptance and appreciation. 
While the Autism Society has been active for 50 years I have to say that I did not hear about it until attending college in my  30s. The word has been sent to all around with previous campaigns and activities. Making sure that those with autism is included and accepted in schools and communities results in true appreciation of the unique aspects of all. 

In the United States nearly 1 in 68 individuals will be born with autism. Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability. More than 3.5 million Americans live with a form of Autism. Autism is a condition resulting neurological disorders that have an effect on normal brain function, affecting development of the individuals communication and social interaction skills. No two individuals will have the same symptoms and some cases will be more severe than others
A person diagnosed with Autism may seem a bit socially clumsy and sometimes offensive. An autistic individual may even come off as not interested in others at all. Those with autism may not possess the skills for talking and playing with others. 
Children with autism often do not like surprises, smells, loud noises or physical contact. If the child knows what is going to happen they can learn to cope with the situation better than surprising them. Children will autism will also develop differently than others. Their cognitive skills may develop at relatively harmonious rate but their social and language skills may be slower. They may not be able to throw a ball as far as others but they may have a larger vocabulary. Autistic Children take longer to develop all skills as their learning process may be unpredictable. They may at first learn the hard way before they learn the easy way. Individuals with autism still are like all humans and feel happy, sad, mad, frustrated, and other emotions. They may not be able to express their feelings the way others do but they are still very present. 

#42 Jackie Robinson

April 15, 1947 would change baseball and the nation forever. On this day Jackie Robinson wearing the number 42 uniform would walk onto Ebbets Field ready to play ball. A victory for civil rights, a large cultural shift if not a shock and the beginning of a journey that would change many. The Brooklyn Dodgers first baseman was not any ordinary baseball player.

Jackie Robinson Day is marked each year in Major League Baseball. Honoring Jackie Robinson and his major league debut on April 15, 1947 started in 2004. The day is celebrated for becoming the first black major league baseball player. He debuted opening day with the Brooklyn Dodgers ended 80 years of baseball segregation. The baseball color line or barrier had been in place with leagues of black men playing on teams of their own.

Time for Some McDonald's

April 15, 1955 Ray Kroc opened his first McDonald's location in Des Plaines Illinois. Who knew 60+ years later it would still be going strong. Kroc had been a seller of milkshake machines when he opened up the first McDonald's. 

The first McDonald's offered a simple menu of hamburgers, cheeseburgers, fries and drinks. The movement of McDonald's had been started by brothers Maurice and Richard McDonald. It took Kroc and his vision to make McDonald's famous. The creative and organized set up that the brothers had designed led Kroc to believing that a franchise eateries nation wide be opened. 

Kroc came up with a plan to use the McDonald's name and system when the brothers were reluctant to expand. Kroc wanted all the burgers to taste the same in every McDonald's so he set strict rules that governed portion size, cooking method and packaging. In 1961 Kroc bought out the McDonald brothers for $2.7 million. In 1963 McDonald's sold its millionth hamburger and introduced Ronald McDonald. The golden arches which is actually a large M was based on Richard McDonald's original design. In 1968 the big mac made its first appearance on the menu. 

McDonald's corporation and its subsidiaries operates more than 35,000 restaurants in 118 countries, serving 68 million people every day. Every 14.5 hours a new McDonald's restaurant will open. More than 75 hamburgers are sold every second. Countries without a McDonald's include North Korea, Bolivia, Ghana, Zimbabwe and Bermuda. 

Head Neck Cancer Awareness

April 12 through the 18th is oral, head, and neck cancer awareness week. This includes cancers in the oral cavity, nasal cavity, sinuses, lips, salivary glands, throat and larynx. The National Cancer Institute reports these cancers account for 3% of all cancer cases in the United States. These cancers are closely related to where food and beverage are ingested, modified and moved.

Changes in nutrition intake, calorie consumption, and hydration may lead to decreased weight and muscle mass, increased infection, delayed treatment and unplanned hospitalization. Individuals with head and neck cancers carry one of the highest rates of malnutrition among all cancer diagnoses with 25 to 50% of these people at risk for malnutrition prior to starting treatments. Treatments can trigger additional issues such as difficulty swallowing, sore mouth, changes in taste and smell, dry mouth, and nausea

With this type of cancer treatment is important not to be interrupted. For every day that radiation is interrupted control rate is 1% reduced. Weight loss as small as 6% predicts a reduced response to oncology treatment, reduced survival and reduced quality of life.

This broad category of cancers normally does not include the brain. It does include all other tissues from the neck up. Highly sensitive areas such as glands and membranes are often exposed to higher levels of pathogens, toxins and other substances through eating and breathing. Specific cancers include:
  • Cancer of the mouth cavity
  • Tongue
  • Lip
  • Any area of the throat cavity
  • Voice box (larynx)
  • Thyroid
  • Rarer cancers can occur in the:
  • Sinuses
  • Salivary glands
  • Inner ear
As always any unusual changes or experience unexplained discomfort anywhere on your body you should seek advice from the doctor. The most common symptoms of oral, head and neck cancers include:
  • Persistent white or red sores or patches in the mouth.
  • A change in the sound of your voice.
  • A persistent sore throat.
  • Earache, particularly when it occurs on only one side.
  • Mouth ulcers that last more than a few weeks.
  • Swelling or a lump anywhere.
  • Pain or numbness anywhere.
  • Nosebleeds.
  • Loose teeth.
Don't immediately panic if you do have any of these symptoms. In most cases there is another, simpler cause. As always there are risk factors that increase your chance of getting any cancer and these include:
  • Alcohol use
  • Tobacco use (smoking, chewing or any other form)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Excessive sun exposure
  • Chemical exposure
  • Family history of such cancers

Holy Saturday

Black Saturday can be found every year laying between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It is also known as Holy Saturday or Easter Eve. It is the last day of Lent and the last day of Holy Week. It is the only full day that Jesus Christ's body laid in the tomb. This is a day to reflect and wait for the resurrection.

The Saturday of Holy Week has also been known as  the Great Sabbath, "Joyous Saturday" or "the Saturday of Light". This day should be a calm and quiet day of the church. While Christ lies in the grave, the Church sits near and mourns. He is finally resting in peace after the great battle. His body has signs of mortal wounds but his body is still visible. The enemies of Jesus are still furious and continue to try to erase the memory of our Lord. Mary and the disciples are grief stricken. Mother Mary waits near the Lord's tomb and awaits for his resurrection.

Many on this day may take part in the Easter Vigil. This is the day that many of the faithful will stay awake to pray and do devotional exercises in anticipation of the feast. The resurrection of Christ is the foundation of our faith and hope.

Recognizing All Student Employees

A student employee is a part time employee that is enrolled in at least 1/2 time credit load with the goal of achieving a degree. This is how many students like my son made it through college. He would work at the local campus store while not in class. He was just like any other employee with a schedule for work and also attending class. This helped him live in the dorms on campus as well as having a bit of money. These students balance work and their education. 

Do you know some student employees?? Are you involved in business that hires student employees?? Here are a few ways that you can say thank you 

Care packages are a great idea to give students when away from home. Include in these packages crackers, cookies, trail mix, or candy. 

There are times that being personal means the most. A personalized thank you note or an e-card stating your appreciation will put a smile on yours and their heart. 

Take your student out to lunch or bring lunch in. Something sweet like dessert or snack may be great as well.

During this week or any time a pat on the back is always appreciated. Someone saying that "a good job" was done can put a smile on any ones face. 

Thank You To Those Behind The Scenes

There are heros that we see every day. The fire fighters, police offers, and the list goes on but what about those that work behind the scenes?? There are many dispatchers that are always present and ready to answer the call. They are ready to provide a needed service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. So why not take some time and honor them for doing just that. 

Public safety telecommunications week is a great time to applaud the heroes behind the scenes and honor their dedication with appreciation. No better time to celebrate and thank those who dedicate their lives to serving the public. It is a great week to bring awareness to their hard work and dedication. 

The titanic was a mammoth passenger liner that set sail on April 6. There were 2,223 people on board as it set sail from Southampton England. The ship was bound for New York CIty but would not meet its destination. The Titanic would strike an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean on April 15, 1912. It would not take long for the ship to be destroyed in fact the time was estimated at 2 hours and 40 minutes as the ship split apart and sunk. There were 1,157 people that would drown in freezing waters

The Titanic has been said to be unsinkable. When the unfortunate happened fascination grew around the world. Titanic Mania followed with movies, stories and conversations being shared concerning the great ship. 

The Titanic had been constructed to be one of three Olympic class ocean liners. The iceberg striking the large ship was not only epic in scale but also tragic. The words of this age old song can help you understand how sad that very day was

Friday, April 14, 2017

Happy Birthday Air Force Reserve

The Air Force Reserve was established on April 14, 1948. The thought of the reserve goes back much further  to the National Defense Act of 1916. The group of Air Force Reserve Corps were very valuable in winning WWI. The joint Department of the Army and Department of Air Force established the U.S. Air Force Reserve and the U.S. Air Force Honorary Reserve.

After World War II the Air Force Reserve started to fade away. It was in hopes that the reserve could be formed into an effective and efficient organization of Airmen in Reserve. Before this could be done the reservist were called back to service. Numbered at 146,000 the reservist would become active in military service and serve between one and three years. The Korean war would see the reservist helped out but after the conflict was found to be in disarray and needed rebuilding.

The era during the 1960's would see the Air Force Reserve airmen active in numerous mobilizations due to the Cold War. Operations from the Berlin Crisis 1961-62, Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, and the Southeast mobilizations in 1968.

The 1970s saw the Department of Defense adopt total force policy. This had the Air Force Reserve program having to meet the same readiness standards as their active duty counterparts. The 1980s saw the Reserve become more modern and expanding. Military operations in Grenada, Libya and Panama were just a few activities the reserve was involved in

The 1990s saw the Air Force Reserve going through change again. The Persian Gulf War was a time that saw the reserve teaming up with the Air Force and working together. More than 15,000 Air Force Reservists were present and quickly performed duty in support of Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. By the end of the activities 23,500 Reservists had played a role in service. Between combat in Persian Gulf, providing vital support services at overseas locations as well as serving at home stations or helping deployed active duty members.

In February 1997 the Air Force Reserve officially became the Air Force Reserve Command, the Air Force's ninth major command. The reservist still serve to help in places such as war on Terrorism. So in the past 68th years the air force reserve has came along way. From loosely organized group of weekend fliers to an integrated, flexible and combat ready force that provides accessible sustainable capabilities as an Air Force component supporting U.S. national security.

Interested in joining the Air Force Reserve?? Check out these requirements to join::

  • must be 17 years old to enter with parents consent or 18 without parent consent
  • must be in good physical condition and at a certain weight
  • able to pass a standard physical
  • good education, high school diploma is best 
  • U.S. citizen or green card is needed

Stuffed Shells


I made the whole recipe and split it into two pans. A 8x6 pan and a 8x11 pan.  We ate the smaller pan for dinner which was more than enough for my small family of 3!  I did not bake the other pan.  Instead, I wrapped it in 2 layers of saran wrap and aluminum foil and popped it in my freezer to have a meal ready after I have my baby. (Six weeks left!) 

I make up the whole amount of Emeril's seasoning and keep it in a jar in my spice cupboard.  It is a great seasoning!


  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 (12-ounce) box jumbo pasta shells (18 to 20 shells)
  • 2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Essence, recipe follows
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Basic Red Sauce, recipe follows


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 2-quart casserole dish with 1 teaspoon of olive oil.

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt and the pasta shells, and cook until al dente, 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally with a long-handled spoon to prevent the shells from sticking together. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Drain
In a medium skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until very soft, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the ground veal and cook, stirring, until cooked and browned. Add the squeezed spinach and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, eggs, Parmesan cheese, and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Add the spinach mixture, the extra-virgin olive oil, Essence, remaining teaspoon of salt, the basil, oregano, and pepper, and stir to combine thoroughly. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the spinach-ricotta filling into each cooked pasta shell. Place the filled shells in the prepared dish.
Pour the Basic Red Sauce over the filled shells and top with the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Bake, uncovered, until bubbly, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.


  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Yield: about 2/3 cup


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 16 ounces whole peeled tomatoes, broken into pieces, and their juices
  • 16 ounces tomato sauce
  • 4 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
In a medium pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, salt, basil, oregano, and pepper, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, and sugar and stir well. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until thickened and fragrant, 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from the heat and keep warm until ready to use.
Yield: 3 cups

source the food network