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Saturday, September 30, 2017

Mulled Cider

The air was a bit cooler and crisper today. I personally loved it but for others they are not ready for the weather change. I am not only ready for the weather change but the delicious holiday celebrated every September 30. The national hot mulled cider. Mulled cider is a cider simmered on a stove on low heat with spices and if you choose brown sugar. Normally cinnamon sticks and full cloves are the main spices that are added to the cider. In addition spices such as nutmeg, cardamom, allspice and star anise can be used. Lemon zest, orange slices and fresh ginger are normally present as well. Simmer at least half an hour. 

1 gallon Apple Cider (preferably Filtered, But Not Necessary)
½ cups Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Allspice, Whole
3 teaspoons Cloves, Whole
4 sticks Cinnamon
2 dashes Nutmeg
1 whole Orange, Cut In Half
Pour cider into crock pot. Stir in brown sugar. In a coffee filter or cheesecloth, place the allspice, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. Carefully fold up the coffee filter, making sure none of the spices can fall out. Tie up with butcher’s twine and place into the cider. 
Slice an orange in half and place sliced side down into the cider. Cover and heat on low for several hours before guests arrive, or can be heated on high for an hour or two until it’s hot enough and then turn the heat down to low.
Keep spice bag and orange halves in the cider the entire time

recipe source here

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National Chewing Gum Day

Today, September 30th is a day for all those that enjoy the act of chewing gum. Chewing gum started many many years ago in several locations. In the 19th century America developed chewing gum in the form that we all know. Before this time civilizations would chew substances such as plants and resigns that could easily be found where they lived. The Aztecs and Mayans civilizations chewed a substance known as chicle. The Greeks enjoyed chewing resin from mastic trees. In America the natives chewed resign from the sap of spruce trees. When the new settlers arrived in America they enjoyed resin from the spruce trees as well. Then in 1848 John B. Curtis made the first commercial chewing gum. It was called Maine Pure Spruce Gum.

John Colgan created the first flavored chewing gum in Louisville Kentucky in 1860. The gum was created using powdered sugar with tolu from balsam trees. The invention was named Taffy Tolu Another invention in 1871 from Thomas Adams from Staten Island New York helped popularize chicle and set up chicle company known as Adams New York No. 1 chewing gum. Later his company also sold Black Jack. Black jack was a licorice flavored gum

Another chewing gum maker sold his product under the named Wrigley. William Wrigley was the largest maker of chewing gum and sold both spearmint and juicy fruit in the 1890s. In the early 1900s  chewing gum could be purchased in gumball machines in New York City.

Bubble gum came a bit later in 1906. It was not the bubble gum that we enjoy today but it was the beginning and needed work. World War II helped promote bubble gum. GI's enjoyed chewing it but could also trade it with locals . Topps Chewing gum company sold Bazooka gum.

It has been shown that chewing gum while taking a test can help with cognitive abilities. Chewing gum may help hold back halitosis or bad breath. Chewing gum is filled with sugar but there are also low sugar gum like Dentyne. There is even a gum called xylitol that helps fight cavities and plaque.

I have loved chewing gum as long as I can remember. I thought it super fun when I was a teen and could blow bubbles with my bubble gum. Do you chew gum?? 

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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Strawberry Banana Cream Pie

Strawberry Banana Cream Pie
adapted from Panera Bread

1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup white sugar
6 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 1/2 cups milk
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 egg
3 egg yolks
1 tbsp unsalted butter, cut in pieces
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 banana, thinly sliced
1 pint small strawberries, sliced

Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, melted butter, and cinnamon until well blended. Press mixture into a 9 inch pie plate.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 7-10 minutes. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile, make the custard. Whisk 2 cups of the milk, the sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. Put over medium heat and bring to a boil. In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk remaining 1/2 cup milk and cornstarch. Whisk the egg and egg yolks into the cornstarch mixture. Slowly whisk a third of the hot milk into the cornstarch mixture. As milk continues to boil, whisk warmed egg mixture back into milk, whisking constantly until mixture comes to a gentle boil. Whisk constantly for a couple of minutes until mixture thickens; then continue whisking and cook for 30 seconds more. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla.

Pour half of the hot filling into the piecrust. Layer on all of the sliced banana. Pour the remaining half of the filling over the banana, scraping the pan clean with a rubber spatula. Use the spatula to smooth over the top. Press plastic wrap directly onto the filling and refrigerate the pie until cold, at least 1 hour. Before serving, let the pie sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Arrange sliced strawberries in a spoke pattern over the top just before serving.

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Stupid Question Day

Tomorrow, the last day of school for not only the week but the month of September as well. An original as well as unofficial American holiday will occur tomorrow as it does the last day of school in September every school year. This day has become known as "Ask a Stupid Question Day"

As I tell those I care for, children are told in school and most of us have heard "there is no stupid question" If you want to know something then ask. This day was started to encourage students to ask more questions in the classrooms. Many fear asking questions that other's may think are stupid and therefore do not ask the question. Often these questions do need asked and answered to better understand the subject of the lesson.

Instead of being embarrassed by that question you are wanting to ask simply ask it. Yes, it may be a bit embarrassing or when you get the answer you may be surprised it was as simple as it is. The only stupid question that exist is the question not asked.

How did this day come about?? It was in the 1980s (when I was in school as well) that a bunch of teachers were surprised no questions were being asked in the classrooms. They created not only a day but a way students could ask questions they thought were "stupid". The day has become an annual tradition in American schools and has been started in Britain and India as well. All sorts of questions were asked from those that were funny to more serious ones.

I have just one question for my readers today. What brought you to my blog today

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Freedom of Information Day

While some holidays are created a long time ago in history. There are many more that have been created throughout history. There are many reasons for all of these special days to remember. Today, September 28th is International Right To Know Day was created September in 2002. It was the last day of a three day "Freedom of Information Conference" This conference had been hosted in Sofia Bulgaria

Fifteen Nations had sent representatives to take part in the "Freedom of Information Conference" The representatives helped establish the International Freedom of Information Advocates Network. The new group planned to work together to promote the right of access to information. Today there are over 200 organizations and civil groups around the world with representatives around the world. 

September 28th 2015 was declared "International Day for Universal Access of Information" The goal for this day is to raise awareness on the right information and to campaign for open , democratic societies that full citizen empowerment and participation in government is present. Everyone should from citizens, journalists and non governmental organizations should fee free to search for information. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Mad Science Brings Science To Life While Entertaining

Science one subject that we can find naturally in the environment is brought to life in science enrichment programs at Mad Science of St. Louis. Children of all ages enjoy the "fun" in science that through dedication , many years of hard work and resources that have been established that Mad Science provides. For 20+ imaginations have been sparked in to learning in schools, homes and even the business world.

Mad Science located in St. Louis Mo. hosts birthday parties, holiday parties and programs directed at different age groups. After school programs, summer amps,and other workshops are just a few different types of projects they offer. Through Mad Science science is made not only educational but also entertaining. The best thing is that Mad Science can come to where you are.

Children of all ages will enjoy a series of hands on experiments when Mad Science comes for a visit. The guest are not only entertained but also feel as if they are inside a scientific world. Thrills and excitement are promised and helps provide a well balance experience for all.

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PCOS Awareness

September is PCOS Awareness Month Both of my daughters are among the many women that are speaking out and sharing their own stories on blogs, facebook, instagram, and support group. Awareness starts by spreading their own stories. PCOS is misunderstood in the medical field many times and leaves women with it feeling sad and depressed

PCOS is a disease that effects 1 in every 10 women. There is not always a genetic tie but other times there is. There is a lot still unknown about PCOS and this leaves many doctors with the issue of not being able to understand. PCOS does not look the same in every one.

The textbook definition of PCOS
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a condition in which a woman's levels of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone are out of balance. This leads to the growth of ovarian cysts (benign masses on the ovaries). PCOS can affect a women's menstrual cycle, fertility, cardiac function, and appearance.

While some believe that being overweight is reason for PCOS. This is not always the case. Many women do struggle with their weight and also suffer from PCOS Others with PCOS are slender There is no one size fits all for PCOS. 

Many times those with PCOS suffer for months with pain and no real reason

Some say that high blood sugar causes PCOS. Many women are insulin resistance and have higher than normal blood sugar levels. Again, some women may even be hypoglycemic.

Often doctors do not know a diagnosis for what the problem  may be.

PCOS has high testosterone and this in itself results in excess hair growth on the face and other body areas. Other women suffer from estrogen dominance One of my daughter struggles to have hair and still has PCOS.

Another fact that is not always present with PCOS is cysts. Many symptoms that correlate with PCOS and lead to diagnosis. Women who do have cysts like my daughter suffer from pain.

There is no cure for PCOS. Use of birth control pills help manage symptoms. Healthy diet and exercise, right amount of vitamins and regular communication with a healthcare professional help.
Infertility is not always the outcome as medication can help here as well. Simply remember that PCOS is not the same for every woman. It is not who they are instead it is what they struggle with. Talking to the doctor can help it may not cure but they can help control it. Start today if you suffer from PCOS, and call the doctor

Monday, September 25, 2017

Wild Rice Salad with Vinaigrette

September is Whole Grain Month. This includes wild rice and to celebrate here is a delicious wild rice salad


1 cup cooked and cooled basmati rice (or other long grained rice)
1/2 cup cooked and cooled wild rice
1/2 cup cooked and cooled quinoa
2 tablespoons butter
12 ounces asparagus, woody ends removed, cut into bitesized pieces
12 ounces button mushrooms, cut into thin slices
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
1/4 cup chives, finely chopped
1/2 cup feta/goat cheese, crumbled (optional)

   Lemon thyme vinaigrette:

Zest of 2 lemons
1/4 cup lemon juice (approximately 2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the vinaigrette:  In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, zest, thyme, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper until well combined.
For the wild rice salad: In a large bowl, mix together the basmati, wild rice, quinoa and chives.
In a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook over medium heat for 11 minutes, stirring infrequently until they are starting to well browned.
Add the asparagus to pan with the mushrooms. Cook over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes, until the asparagus turn a bright greed.
Add the minced garlic, salt and pepper to the pan and cook for one minute more, stirring constantly.
Add the cooked mushrooms and asparagus to the rice mixture and pour the vinaigrette over the salad. Mix gently to combine.
Top with slivered almonds, chives, and feta (if using). Serve immediately. Keeps 1-2 days, refrigerated and covered.

recipe source here 

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Time To Tune Car Up

Regular vehicle maintenance is the best way to help protect the investment you made in your vehicle. Performing a tune up will help extend the life of it. A tune up helps ensure that your car or truck continues to run as it should. It should also help boost the life of your engine as well as its performance. Fuel economy is often helped by regular tune-ups as well.

An engine tune up is simply and adjustment, modification of internal combustion or modification to the engine control unit. A tune up helps to yield optimal performance , increases an engine's power output, economy or durability.

A tune up often includes checking the spark plugs, plug wires, air filter and fuel filter. This is also a great time to check out any belts, hoses and fluids as well as anything that has not been running up to par. In some cases the rotor and or distributor cap will be checked. Older vehicles should also be checked for ignition timing, idle speed and idle mixture as well as O2 sensor(s)

Older vehicles with non electronic ignitions should be tuned up every 10,000 to 12,000 miles or every year whichever happens first. New cars with electronic ignition and fuel injection systems are scheduled for tune ups every 25,000 to 100,000 miles.

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Lobster Roll Cups

  • 2 cups cooked lobster meat, chopped (about 2  1.25 lb lobsters)
  • 2 Tbsp Smart Balance mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp finely diced celery
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 24 Phyllo shells
  • dash of cayenne pepper, optional for garnish
In a medium bowl, gently stir the lobster meat, mayonnaise, celery, lemon juice, and zest to combine. *The mixture can be made a few hours ahead of time and refrigerated before placing in phyllo cups.*
Place one heaping teaspoon of the lobster mixture into each phyllo cup. Sprinkle a small amount of cayenne pepper on the top of each cup if desired.
Serve immediately.
Yields about 24 phyllo cups
recipe Source: The Way to His Heart

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Printing Press Arrived in America September 1638

The printing press may be where it all started. It was first invented in the Holy Roman Empire by German Johannes Gutenberg around 1440. It was based on screw presses that all ready existed Gutenberg worked as a goldsmith and businessman. He borrowed money to invent technology that would change the world of printing. The printing press with replaceable and movable wooden or metal letters would come to be

The inked plate presses onto a soft roller, transfers to the printed image on it and the roller presses against the printing surface. The press does not directly print onto the surface but rather the printed image is first offset to the roller and transferred across. The printing press helped with mass production of printed materials possible. The dissemination of knowledge and literacy became much wider throughout the socioeconomic classes. 

In September of 1638 a puritan clergyman, the Reverend Joseph Glover, decided to bring printing equipment from England to the United States. During the planning stage Glover passed away. but the printing press still came to America

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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Gallbladder Good Health Day

So I know many individuals that have had surgery to remove their gallbladder. So from that I know that the gallbladder is not a required organ to live. But that was about all that I was aware of. So I did a bit of research , I like to stay up to date so that if something occurs and I need the information I have it.

The gallbladder is part of the digestive system and also helps keep liver healthy. Fatty greasy foods are not good for the gall bladder.

Women are 3 to 4 times more likely to suffer gallbladder attacks than men. So what does the gall bladder look like and what can you and I do to avoid attacks

A gall bladder is 4 to 5 inches big and looks like a baby eggplant ( in some opinions) It is located just under the rib cage and liver. It is rare for people under 40 to need their gallbladder removed. There are a few things you can do to help avoid future gall bladder problems These include:

Foods that help keep your gallbladder healthy includee:

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Banana Split Burrito

1½ tsp unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tbsp slivered almonds
1 high fiber, high protein wrap (I used a low-cal flatbread)
1 tbsp Chobani vanilla greek yogurt
½ tsp cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark)
1-2 drops liquid vanilla stevia (optional)
½ fresh banana, sliced
1 large strawberry (about ⅛ cup), hulled and sliced
⅛ cup fresh pineapple or 1 canned pineapple ring, chopped
4 fresh cherries, stems and seeds removed

Heat coconut and almonds in a small pan over medium heat until toasted or light brown in color, about 2-3 mins. Remove from heat.
In a small bowl, mix together yogurt, cocoa powder, and stevia until well incorporated.
Spread the yogurt mixture onto the wrap.
On the edge of the wrap closest to you, layer the banana, strawberries, pineapple, toasted coconut and almonds, and top with cherries.
Roll the wrap and cut as desired.

Mascarpone Rice Pudding with Dried Cherries

Mascarpone Rice Pudding with Dried Cherries
Yields 8 servings

1 1/4 cups arborio rice
2 cups water
3 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 3-inch pieces of stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, or to taste
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup dried tart cherries

Place arborio rice in a large saucepan. Add water to completely cover rice (about 2 cups). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle boil and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Drain rice, discarding the liquid.

In the same pan, combine the rice, milk, cream, sugar, stick cinnamon, ground spices, salt, and vanilla extract. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for about 15-20 minutes or until the rice is tender, stirring frequently. Remove cinnamon stick and stir in mascarpone cheese. Add dried cherries.

Adapted from a recipe found in

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Antioxidants What Are They

These days there is a lot of talk about anti-oxidants. But what are anti-oxidants?? Anti-oxidant rich food provides more nutrition than do other foods. For example one cup of green tea offers 10 to 40 mg of polyphenols and has antioxidants that are effectively greater than a serving of broccoli. It is the high antioxidant activity in green tea that makes it beneficial for protecting the body from damage.

An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is the chemical reaction that can produce free radicals, leading to chain reactions that may damage cells. Antioxidants terminate the chain reactions. Antioxidants also help protect cells from effects of free radicals. Free radicals are produced when your body breaks down food or is exposed to tobacco smoke and radiation. Free radicals may play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases.

Antioxidants can be man made or natural. They all prevent or delay some type of cell damage. Diets high in veggies and fruits help a person stay healthy as all fruits and veggies are good sources of antioxidants. Antioxidant supplements to be beneficial in preventing diseases.

To get the most anioxidants from fruit and  veggies here are a few tips:

  1. Don't peel.
  2. Minimize chopping.
  3. Don't soak in water pre-cooking.
  4. Cook quickly at a high heat rather than slowly on a lower heat.
  5. Don't cook in copper pots (this reduces the amount of vitamin C)
  6. Frozen veggies are good sources of antioxidants.

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Thanksgiving in September

A special day in September perfect for giving thanks occurs in the month of September on the 24th day. It is the longest continually celebrated Thanksgiving in the country. But why have many of us never heard of it?? 

There were fewer than 200 people who came to North America and settled the Pennsylvania Dutch region in 1733 and September 1734. They were aligned with the British and on September 24 they would offer thanksgiving to God for having they delivered from persecution. Now in this day and time the Schwenkfelder churches have fewer than 3,000 people as members. 

The Schwenkfelder Thanksgiving occurs each year on September 24th. There is no feast but rather a simple meal of water, bread , butter and apple butter. The date of the first Schwenkfelder Thanksgiving was September 24, 1734. There were no crops to harvest as they had just arrived. The people were thankful for escaping without religious persecution that they faced in Europe. Many members faced being driven from their homes, imprisoment in dungeon or being sold into slavery. 

The Schwenkfelders are descendents of a small Protestant sect that sprang up in Germany around the time of the Reformation. Their leader was Caspar Schwenkfeld and their church that still survives was the Schwenkfelder Church. 

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Gold Star Mother's Day

Every mother has a child and every child has a mother. An active duty service member dies his or her mother will automatically become a Gold Star Mother. While no mother wants to be a member of this club it is one that they will proudly be part of.

To the members of the Gold Star Mother's and Family's Day:
I would like to thank you for your family members service. Yes, I am not a diplomat or an individual with any governing powers. Instead, I am a citizen of the United States that is protected by those in the service. I am thankful that your child or family member wanted to be one of those that stood up and out to serve those they did not know but all members of the United States. You have paid the ultimate price for our Nation's freedom with the life of loved ones. Together, with you I grieve the loss of your loved one but also know the pride you must hold for your son or daughter.

Thank You

Since the beginning our country has been built on men and women who willingly defend our Nation and its security. The members of the Armed Forces take an oath to protect our freedoms and liberty with the understanding of the commitment to defend our way of life. Those that loose their lives should not die in vain. They gave their life to protect and defend the freedoms for us all.

When the last rifle volley is fired, the final note of Taps echoes and fades away, and the carefully-folded National Colors are presented, it is our sacred duty to stand with these patriotic families to ensure they receive the care, compassion, and respect they have earned. On this day of remembrance, we pay tribute to those brave men and women in uniform who died protecting our great Nation, and we stand with the families who nurtured and loved them. Gold Star families have our sympathy, but more importantly, they have our respect and our gratitude.

The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 115 of June 23, 1936 (49 Stat. 1895 as amended), has designated the last Sunday in September as "Gold Star Mother's Day."

Gold Star day is celebrated the last Sunday in September. This year this occurs on September 24th with Donald Trump as president.

Blue Moon

While "Blue Moon" may have been a great song it is not the only meaning for the term. A True Blue Moon happens when the moon appears to a casual observer as being bluish in color. Many things from smoke or dust particles can help change the color of the moon. The forest fires in Sweden and Canad in 1950 and '51 helped create a bluish color on the moon. Many spoke of a blue moon after the Mount St. Helens volcanic eruption in 1980 as well as the Mount Pinatubo in 1991.

The visual of a blue moon occurs when the wavelength of red light is hidden by larger particles slightly wider with no other particles present. Blue moons are rare but occur at times during volcanic eruptions or forest fires. Ash and dust clouds caused by fires and storms normally contain a mix of particles with wide range of sizes. These particles tend to create blue light. Red moons are created during this process and are more common than blue moons.

The farmer's almanac states that a moon can also be considered "blue moon" when there are three full moons in a season of four full moons. In this thinking blue moons have occurred or will occur on:
  • 2009: December 2, December 31 (partial lunar eclipse visible in some parts of the world), only in time zones west of UTC+05.
  • 2010: January 1 (partial lunar eclipse), January 30, only in time zones east of UTC+04:30.
  • 2010: March 1, March 30, only in time zones east of UTC+07.
  • 2012: August 2, August 31, only in time zones west of UTC+10.
  • 2012: September 1, September 30, only in time zones east of UTC+10:30.
  • 2015: July 2, July 31.
  • 2018: January 2, January 31, only in time zones west of UTC+11.
  • 2018: March 2, March 31, only in time zones west of UTC+12.
  • 2020: October 1, October 31 only in time zones west of UTC+10.

As I stated before "Blue Moon" is also a popular song 
"Once in a Very Blue Moon" another song about the blue moon was wrote by Patrick Alger and recorded by Nanci Griffith in 1984. 
Yet another song released in 1990 was wrote and recorded by Traveling Wilburys. The title of this song was "New Blue Moon"  

There are many songs that mention and have the title of the "Blue Moon" One of my personal favorites is "Blue Moon of Kentucky" It is a bluegrass song that was wrote by Bill Monroe in 1946