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Friday, December 8, 2017

The old Westport Spice Company

The Olde Westport Spice company has been around for 36+ years. The company began in a family kitchen where Olde Bill was known as a cook extraordinaire. In his kitchen he would try different recipes adding spice blends to compliment the dish. This helped boost his love of cooking and others thought the spice blends boosted the taste of the food. Soon the spices were available in local Kansas City retail stores and later through mail order. It only took a bit later for the Olde Westport Spicee & Trading Company to begin. Now, 30 + years later the company has grown into a successful wholesale and online retail spice, seasoning, and dry soup retailer. The commitment to quality, customer service and reasonable rates have been with the company since the beginning.

For more information or to place an order, please visit or call 1-800-537-6470.

Some of the great products available include:

an Italian seasoning blend to dress up all those pasta dishes. Cook up this great recipe , just one available online at the Old Westport Spice company website.

2 (14½ ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
½ cup burgundy wine (regular or cooking wine)
4 tablespoons Antonio’s Italian Spice Blend®
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 small sirloin steaks (use any cut of meat)
16 ounces (2 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese
12 ounces extra-wide egg noodles

In a sauce pan, combine stewed tomatoes, wine, Antonio’s Italian Spice Blend® and cheese. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until thickened. Heat oil in a skillet and brown steaks on both sides. Place steaks in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Pour sauce over steaks, spread Mozzarella cheese evenly over top and place into a preheated 350 degree oven 45 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare egg noodles to package directions. Serve steaks with noodles on the side and spoon sauce over both.

Want even more great recipes?? Check out their cookbook collection. 
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Be Safe Out There=== Tips for Older Drivers

We all know that we can not stay young forever. The age of those living in the United States is getting older. The physical,  mental and sensory abilities of older individuals can decrease the ability to do things for those that are getting older. Driving is one of those activities. 
The thoughts between older folks driving and Occupational therapist is vehicle safety. Older Driver Safety Awareness Week occurs this year December 4th - 8th. The goal is to help all understand th importanc of mobility and transportation to ensure older adults remain active in the community. To allow older adults to continue to shop, work and volunteer without barrier to get around. 

At the age of 16 for many of us driving became a right of passage. A gateway to freedom and part of the growing up process This for many mean that we have the right to drive as long as we have the ability to do so. As we get older though reaction time slows, night blindness is a new behavior and pain many older individuals also have pain that may hinder driving skills. Learning ideas and tips can help those in their golden years drive as long as they can. 
  • Arthritis in hands makes small things like seat belts hard to manage. One tip is to attach a cloth loop to the seat belt to make grabbing the belt easier. To depress the seat belt latch use a small tool to press in the click button. 
  • Older drivers may have a bit of anxiety with driving. Not being able to see the best to drive at night may be one of those fears. For many older drivers choosing to drive only during daylight hours offers a bit of relief. Errands should be planned to be done at times where the roads are not as busy. Whenever possible accept rides when you are not able to drive yourself. 
  • No driver should use a cell phone while driving. for older drivers with less reaction time this may be even more dangerous. They should look into using a caller I.D. and not texting or talking on phone while driving

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Fight the Flu with the Flu Shot

As a health care employee I am offered and take the flu shot annually. There are many reasons as to why others (including you) should be vaccinated as well. Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and at times death. Flu season is not the same every year as there are different strands of the virus. The flu can also affect people differently. Even if you do not get sick yourself you can get others sick by spreading it to them. In the years between 1976 and 2007 an estimated 3,000 to 49,000 deaths have been associated with influenza. Over 2/3s of these deaths associated with those over the age of 65.

The flu virus can be slowed by the flu shot or nasal spray flu vaccine. Seasonal flu can be reduced as well as spreading it to others by using one of the vaccine methods. More individuals to be vaccinated means less chance the flu has to spread through out the community. Older individuals as well as individuals with chronic health conditions, young children, should be vaccinated as well as all those they come into daily contact with.

The flu vaccination may not always stop the illness but if one does get it the symptoms should be milder. Hospitalizations and deaths are often curbed by using the vaccination. So get your flu shot, wash your hands and stay healthy this winter season.

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Happy Birthday Popeye and a Gift of a Spinach Recipe he would Love

Living in Southern Illinois with a husband who grew up in Chester Illinois, the home of popeye, I simply have to wish the sailor man a Happy Birthday. Elzie Crisler Segar creeated the fictional character of Popeye the Sailor. Popeye made his entrance January 17th, 1929 and since that time has appeared in theater, television and comic strips.

The one eyed sailor man is featured in his own comic strip. During the 1930s his popularity grew. Segar would pass away in 1938 but the comic strip would continue to grow with aide of other writers and artists. Popeye would be captured in a series of theatrical cartoon shorts for Paramount pictures in 1933. As time would go on Popeye would be featured in arcade games, advertisements and on products from spinach to candy. Robin Williams would star in a 1980 film as Popeye.

6 cup fresh spinach leaves trimmed, washed (230 g) see note for frozen/cooked spinach
3 cup boiling water
3 eggs
1/2 cup grated cheese (60g) - I used Cheddar, use grated parmesan or grated emmental for more cheese flavor
1/4 cup fresh herbs of your choice, finely chopped I used cilantro
1 cup Gluten Free Panko Crumbs (75 g)
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Preheat oven to  350 F (180 C).
Trim and wash the fresh spinach leaves.
Place the leaves in a large mixing bowl and over with boiling water. Cover and set aside for 3 minutes.
Rinse the spinach with cold tap water. Drain using your hands to squeeze all the remaining water. You should obtain about 2/3 cup (160 g) of packed cooked spinach leaves. If you are using frozen spinach, defrost and measure this quantity.
Place on a chop board and finely chop the cooked spinach. Transfer into a mixing bowl.
Add eggs, cheese, herbs and panko gluten free crumbs. You can also add salt and pepper if your cheese is not very salty. I did not add salt.
Combine with a spoon or your hands, until it forms a batter from which you are able to form balls with your hands or use a small cookie scoop maker to avoid the mess
If too moist add slightly more crumb until easy to roll as ball with your hands palms.
Place the balls on a non-stick cookie tray covered with baking paper.
Bake at 350F (180C) for 15-20 minutes or until golden on the top.
Serve immediately or cold in luchboxes.
Serve with dips of your choice like pesto, hummus or homemade ketchup.

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Peppermint Brownies

Peppermint Brownies
adapted from Ghirardelli

4 oz unsweetened chocolate
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3 eggs, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
4 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup crushed candy canes (about 3 candy canes)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line a 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on opposite sides (so you can easily lift the brownies out).  Spray the prepared pan with cooking spray.

Add the unsweetened chocolate and butter to a heatproof bowl, and set it over a pan of simmering water.  Stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter have melted completely.  Cool the mixture to room temperature.  In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, peppermint extract and salt until well combined.  Add the chocolate mixture, whisking to combine, and then use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour.

Pour the batter (it’ll be fairly thick) into the prepared pan.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached.  Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the chopped semisweet chocolate evenly over the top of the brownies.  Return the pan to the oven for 1 minute, or until the chocolate softens.  Use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate in an even layer over the brownies.  Sprinkle immediately with the chopped candy canes.

Cool the brownies completely in the pan then use the foil handles to lift the brownies from the pan and cut them into squares.

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Immaculate Conception and a recipe to Celebrate the Day with

The Feast of Immaculate Conception observed each year on December 8th celebrates the solemn celebration of belief in the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The feast is observed around the world and is one of the most important dates in the Roman Catholic church.

Argentina, Brazil, Korea, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Philippines, Spain, and the United States observe The Feast of Immaculate Conception as a pontifical designation and decree. The pope , the Bishop of Rome, will visit the Column of the Immaculate Conception in Piazza di Spagna There he will offer prayers during a solemn event. Popes have been participating in this anually since 1708 when Pope Clement XII solemnized the event.

Parades, fireworks, processions, ethnic foods, and cultural festivities will be offered to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary. The day is often considered a family day An amazing feast is often hosted by many on this wondrous day. All will dine on a meal with family and then share a delicious dessert in most cases. This cake may be one choice to serve on this day

2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 t vanilla
3 egg whites, room temp
1/4 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoon half & half
2 tablespoon hot water
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in mixing bowl.
Add milk, shortening and 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.
Beat at medium speed until well blended.
Add egg whites, beat 2 minutes.
Pour batter into greased and floured 13″x9″ pan.
Bake at 350° F degrees for 20-25 minutes, until cake tests done with a toothpick.
Melt butter in heavy saucepan.
Cook over low heat until butter is golden brown.
Remove from heat and add powdered sugar, half & half, water and vanilla.
Beat with a whisk for 3 minutes, or until smooth.
Spread evenly over top of cake.

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Braided Candy Cane Cookie Recipe

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon green food coloring

Using an electric mixer set on medium-high speed, cream the butter. Continue beating and gradually add the sugar.
Beat in the egg until evenly mixed, then add the vanilla extract, the peppermint extract, and the salt and blend well.
Use a wooden spoon to stir in the flour, one third at a time, until evenly mixed.
Divide the dough into thirds. Add the red food coloring to one third and the green food coloring to another, then knead the coloring into the dough. Flatten each third into a K-inch-thick rectangle, cover it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 375°. On a lightly floured surface, roll a pair of tablespoon-size pieces of contrasting colored dough into 8-inch-long ropes. Twist them together, pinch the ends, then bend the cookies into a candy cane shape. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Bake the cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet until set but not brown, about 10 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through. Cool the sheets on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to the rack to continue cooling.

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Be Sure To Wash Your Hands

 National Hand washing Awareness Week happens the first full week of December every year. It is a great time to remind us all that hand washing is very important. The hope behind this week is to decrease the spread of the flu and other infection diseases by informing individuals to educate and help others in their communities. 
The CDC states that the most important thing you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands. By frequently washing your hands you wash away germs that you have picked up from other people, contaminated surfaces and pets.Wash your hands when:
  • you cough, sneeze or blow your nose
  • after eating or touching food
  • after using the bathroom
  • when you come in from work or playing outdoors
  • play with a pet or pick up animal waste

Using alcohol based hand sanitizer is a great way to wash your hands These require no water making them convenient. However, if hands are visibly dirty, wash your hands with soap and water.

Using soap and water is the best way to wash your hands. To do so wet hands with warm running water. Use a small amount of soap either bar or liquid soap. Rub hands together about 10 times. Wash up to your wrist and out to the finger tips. Rinse hands under warm running water. Don't forget to dry hands well with towel. 

Many uses of cookie cutters

The first weekend in December is always known as cookie cutter week. It is a great time to get out those cookie cutters that you have collected just waiting for a good time to use them. It is also a great time to go buy a new cookie cutter or two. The best thing of all to do this week is to bake up some cookies using the cutters and make a few memories.

The National Cookie Cutter Week was started in the mid 1990s by Paula Mullins from Kentucky. She wanted to bring attention to her cookie cutter collector's club. A cookie cutter is a tool used to cut out cookie dough in a particular shape. There are few variations to cookie cutters. The cutout cookie cutters are made of copper, tin, stainless steel, aluminum or plastic. These cutters are the simplest cooki cutter and are simply used to "cut out" the shape in dough.

Cookie cutters that are made out of copper, tin or plastic and are not only used to cut out the dough but to also imprint details. The imprint will last on the dough through baking.

Cookie molds are special cookie cutters made out of wood, ceramic or plastic. Cookie molds can be traced back to the 14th century.

Cookie press can be automated or hand operated. The press is used to make large batches of cookies quickly.

Cookie Cutters can be used for more than just cookies. Cookie cutters can be used to cut and shape tea sandwiches and more :

  • Any dessert firm enough to hold shape can be cut with cookie cutters. Fudge, rice krispies treats, and brownies are all great to cut into fun shapes. 
  • Cookie cutters can be great at breakfast time for omelets or pancakes. Metal cookie cutters will need to be used here. 
  • Mini cookie cutters are great to help decorate a pie. Put designs on the top crust of pie making it really fun
  • cookies and cakes often run together and when it comes to decorating it works well. Cookie cutters can be used to make impressions in a cake's frosting or make a stencil for sprinkling colored  sugar or sprinkles. Tiny cookie cutters are great for fondant 
  • summer time can be even more fun when you fill cookie cutters with softened ice cream and refreeze til hard. Use cookie cutters to cut shapes out of cookies or cakes and create ice cream sandwiches. 
  • Use cookie cutters to dress up appetizers, pasta, pizza, potato salad or any meal. Cheese, meats, veggies can all be cut out using cookie cutters and displayed on a tray. Another fun idea is to cut pepperoni into shapes to place on pizza. 
What is your favorite cookie cutter shape?? Other than cookies what do you like to do with your cookie cutters

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Pams Party Practical Tips

Crockpot Beef Stew

2 pounds beef stew meat, (cut into bite-sized pieces)
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp pepper
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, sliced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
6oz can tomato paste
32oz beef broth
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 cups baby carrots carrots
4-5 small red potatoes,cut into bite-sized pieces (about 3 cups)
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon oregano
1 cups frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup water

 Combine beef, celery, carrots, red onion, potatoes, salt,  pepper, garlic, parsley, oregano, Worcestershire sauce, beef broth, and tomato paste in the crock pot. I used a 6 qt crockpot for this stew.  Cook on LOW for 10 hours or on HIGH for 6-7 hours.

 About 30 minutes before serving, mix the flour and the water together in a small dish and pour into the crockpot. Mix until well combined. This will add a nice thickness to the stew. Next add in your frozen peas and corn. Continue cooking covered for 30 minutes.

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Make A Candy Airplane in Honor of Civil Aviation Day

Each year on December 7th in the United States International Civil Aviation Day is observed. The Organization of Civil Aviation was established in 1944 by the U.N. General Assembly. The goal was to manage the administration and governance of the Convention of International Civil Aviation. During this one day celebration the importance of international civil aviation and how it impacts the social and economic development of the country is discussed.

Smarties candy
1 Red stick chewing gum (Big Red)
2 Peppermint Lifesavers (individually wrapped kind)
Rubberband (medium to small sized and thin)
Small heart stickers

Open up your Lifesavers from their wrappers and insert the rubber band through them.  Position the Smarties candy between the Lifesavers over top of the rubber band.  Place the stick of gum across the top and loop the ends of the rubber band over the gum to hold it all in place.  Add small heart stickers to the top of the gum to make it more festive!

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Cotton Candy Helps Make Christmas Sweeter

It seems that many of us love cotton candy so why not decorate this delicious treat. A sweet treat of Christmas fudge can offer a delicious flavor of cotton candy as well

1 container (7 oz) Marshmallow Fluff
2 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
3/4 cup butter, unsalted
1/2 cup Truvia Baking Blend
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Pinch of Salt
1 packet Duncan Hines Frosting Creations Cotton Candy flavor

Prepare 9 inch square pan with parchment paper or wax paper
In a large mixing bowl, add the marshmallow fluff and white chocolate chips
In a medium saucepan, combine butter, Truvia Baking Blend, heavy cream and salt
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly and boil for 5 minutes, continuing to stir
Remove from heat, whisk in the Cotton Candy flavor packet until mixture is smooth
Carefully pour into large mixing bowl and beat until smooth
Pour mixture into pan and spread evenly
Place in fridge to set at least 2 hours or overnight
Cut into small squares to serve

Do You Remember

December 7th 1941 is a date in history that will live forever in infamy. President Franklin D. Roosevelt shared is thoughts with the United States on December 8th 1941. The day after Pearl Harbor was attacked. There were 2,403 lives lost and nearly 2000 other individuals were injured. Lives were not the only thing damage or lost as battleships, cruisers, destroyers and other air craft were lost or destroyed.

Every year since the attack December 7th has been "observed" as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. Millions of individuals will travel to the Pearl Harbor Memorial in Hawaii. Those who survived the terrible day and those that have heard the story will all travel to pay tribute and remember those that gave the ultimate sacrifice. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

13th Amendment

It all began during colonial days. African Americans in those days were considered servants for life. In other words they were slaves to their owners. In the 1800s this practice became one of several causes for civil war. It took the 13th amendment to right a wrong.

The 13th amendment was proposed by Congress on January 31, 1865 and ratified by the states on December 6, 1865.

If there was ever a time that slaves look forward to many say that it would be Christmas. While enduring living conditions not fit for anyone there was a bit of joy around during this time of year. Both house slaves and field slaves were given a break from work for a few days. Authors such as Fredrick Douglas has shared stories in novels that further share the hardships of the life of a slave.

Christmas Greetings Around The World

We attended a Christmas Around the World Festival. It was a blast and we learned many things about the different countries as well. To celebrate the great time we had I want to share with you how many different ways a Christmas greeting may be given.

Merry Christmas is the greeting most often shared in the United States, Canada, England, Antarctica, as well as Jamaica, Fiji, the Cayman Islands and Christmas Island.

Ireland offers you a Nollaig Shona Dhuit!

Feliz Natal is the greeting offered in Brazil in South America to Indonesia. Portugal and other Portuguese speaking African Countries offer you a Boas Festas as well. 

Feliz Navidad! is not only the greeting offered in a popular Christmas song but is also the greeting of choice in nearly every Spanish Speaking country. Mexico and Central America, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. South American countries of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela all offer you this Christmas greeting as well. 

Joyeux Noël! is the greeting choice of the Christmas season for France and many parts of Canada as well. Many African nations also share this greeting. 

Zalig Kerstfeest! is the greeting of choice in Dutch speaking countries. This greeting is one offered by those living in Belgium and the Netherlands. 

The greeting Buon Natale! is Italian for Merry Christmas. The greeting is said with gusto iin places such as San Marino and Libya.

In the Middle East countries of Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Syria and more offers the Christmas tiding of Milad Mubarak! 

The list of Christmas Greetings go on and on. If you want to find more simply do a search for Christmas Greetings around the world. For me and mine we wish you a

                Merry Christmas!!!

Microwavable Christmas Pudding

300g/10ozs high quality mincemeat (home-made is best)
140g/5 oz currants
225g/8 oz soft light brown sugar
115g/4 oz self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
115g/4 oz fresh white bread crumbs
1 to 2 teaspoons mixed spice
2 free-range eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon black treacle
4 tablespoons whisky, rum or brandy
100mls stout or dark beer
115g/4 oz frozen butter, grated or chopped to fine pieces
half a Bramley apple, cut into small pieces, no need to peel
Grated zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon

1 Grease with butter and the line a 2 pint pudding basin with grease proof paper.
2 Thoroughly mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.
3 Spoon the mixture into the greased bowl and cover it with some cling-film, with holes punctured to allow the steam to escape.
4 Put the pudding bowl on an upturned plate and cook in microwave on medium power for 20 - 25 minutes. (Medium is about 500 watts.)
5 Test it with a skewer - if it is done the skewer will come out clean. Leave to rest for 5 minutes.
6 Carefully turn on to serving plate and decorate with holly. Serve with brandy butter, rum butter or rum Sauce, custard or cream.

If making ahead – store covered in the fridge, and re-heat on Christmas Day for 3 to 4 minutes on high power. Allow to rest for 2 to 3 minutes before serving as before.
Step 8 Steaming instructions: This pudding can also be steamed; cover the pudding with greaseproof paper and then some foil, and tie a string handle around it. Steam over a pan of boiling water, making sure you top the water up regularly, for 3 hours.

recipe source here

Mitten Tree

December 6th has long been Mitten Tree day. Every year mitten tree day is a great time to put your own mittens and head outside. Many times others have collected mittens and hanged them on a tree. These mittens are then given to children who are in need.

The origin of mitten tree is unknown. It is believed that a few school teachers may have come together to celebrate the Christmas season. Others believe that "The Mitten Tree" book authored by Candace Christiansen.

Mitten Tree Day has been celebrated on December 6 of every year. It is a fun holiday that would especially beloved by the children. During this snowy day, mittens would have assisted us to stay little warm. They have helped us make a snowball and even the giant snowman. The role of mittens during the chill snowflake is quite significant. Today, we celebrate these cosy fuzzy mittens with a Mitten Tree Day in the calendar.

Which is better gloves or mittens?? They each have a good point to make :

hands can move more freely in gloves
warmth may be found in mittens as all fingers are kept together

Swedish Tea Ring

My grandmother was one of 12 children. She grew up in a home where someone was always cooking, baking or creating something very tasty. She so wanted to carry this on to her own family. Each year when I was a child we enjoyed Swedish Tea Ring on Christmas Morn. I hope you find it tasty as well. 

3 1/2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups very warm milk 120 degrees F
1 egg beaten
3 tablespoons butter softened
5 tablespoons butter softened
1/2 cup brown sugar packed
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
candied red and green cherries optional

In the bowl of your stand mixer using the paddle attachment combine 2 cups of the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Add warm milk, egg and butter until well combined. Slowly add in remaining flour until the dough starts to come together. Change to your dough hook and knead for 5 minutes. Cover and allow to rise until double in a warm place. (About 25 minutes)
Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the brown sugar, sugar and cinnamon for the filling of the tea ring, set aside. Lightly grease a large baking pan and set aside.
Punch dough down and roll out to a 20"x12" rectangle. Spread with softened butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture. With the long side facing you begin to roll up the dough into a long log. Seal the seam by pinching the dough together. Bring the ends together and pinch the dough together to seal. Place on prepared baking sheet seam side down.
Using a pair of kitchen scissors cut the dough in 1 to 1 1/2" sections around the ring be careful not to cut the whole way through. Gently pull up each section and give it a small twist and lay back on the pan. Cover and let rise until double.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Decorate with optional candied cherries. Also may drizzle with a powdered sugar glaze.

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Gazpacho is a soup made of raw blended veggies and served cold. The southern Spanish region of Andalusia was the original location of the creation of Gazpacho. The dish is enjoyed in Spain as well as near by Portugal and is often served during the hot summer months.

Serves: 8
Time: 1 hour working plus an 4 hour rest.

More super recipes!

A. good red tomatoes 1.5 pounds
red bell peppers 1 pound
cucumbers 2
garlic 4 cloves
white onion 0.5 medium A whole onion is too much.
red wine vinegar 0.3 cup
balsamic wine vinegar 2 tablespoons
salt 0.25 teaspoon
fresh ground black pepper 0.25 teaspoon
ingredient amount
Cut tomatoes in half and remove the seeds.

Peel the cucumber and remove seeds.

Remove the seeds and stem from the pepper.

Dice the tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, and onion into 1/4 inch cubes. Uniform size makes a big difference in this soup.

Mince the garlic very finely.

Combine tomatoes, bell pepper, cucumber, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and vinegars.

Let stand for 5 minutes.

B. tomato juice 5 cups I used Campbell's
  Tabasco sauce 1 teaspoon
Habanero sauce 1/8 teaspoon

Mix in tomato juice and hot sauces (careful with that Habanero sauce, a little goes a looooong way).

Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

C. extra virgin olive oil 0.25 cup

When ready to serve, remove one cup of the mixed vegetables.

Use a handheld food processor or blender to purée the rest. I have also served it without this step and while it is good, the purée is a big step better.

Spoon into bowls, add a spoonful of the reserved chopped veggies and drizzle a little olive oil in each bowl. Or mix it all together now and put it into a thermos bottle for your picnic.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Where would Christmas be without Walt Disney. There are so many great movies, characters and stories that have been inspired by the man Walt Disney.

Walt Disney was born December 5th 1901. From the great state of Illinois, he was born in Chicago. As a young boy he would draw farm animals. This talent would lead him to gain a job as an artist. In Walt's twenties he moved to Hollywood and shortly after in 1928 Steamboat Willie would be produced. The main character would of course be Mickey Mouse. Short of 10 years the first Disney full length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

In 1955 Disney would open the Disneyland amusement park in Anaheim California. It would be after the death of Walt Disney that in 1960 the Disney World in Florida would open. The company this young boy from Illinois would build is now a top of the world company.

Make half batch of Rice Krispy Treats or a normal batch in a cookie sheet so it’s thin enough to use a cookie cutter

Place Krispy Treats on waxed paper, press cookie cutter, pull away krispy’s

Melt chocolate chips with 1 tsp oil in microwave until creamy and smooth

Melt chocolate chips with 1 tsp oil in microwave until creamy and smooth Use spoon to help cover treat

Add sprinkles while chocolate is wet so they stick Let dry until set (appox 1-2 hours)

recipe resource here

Rosa Parks Pancakes #Recipe

December 5, 1955 the Montgomery Alabama bus boycott began in response to the arrest of Rosa Parks. Parks had refused to give up her seat on a municipal bus to a white man. The African American community had organizes a boycott that would last until December 20, 1956. On that same date a U.S. Supreme Court ruling would integrate the public transportation system.

1 cup flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup peanut butter (I used Peanut Butter & Co. Smooth Operator)
1 tablespoon shortening or oil (for the pan)

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar and set aside.
In a separate bowl, blend the egg, milk, and peanut butter together until smooth.
Combine the dry and wet mixtures. To keep the pancakes tender, don't over mix. A few small lumps are ok.
Add the oil or shortening to a hot griddle or frying pan (Ms. Parks specified 275°F). And cook for about 60 seconds on each side. Enjoy with maple syrup, honey, or a dollop of jam.

Grinch Drink :: 2 versions

December 5, 1933 was for some a very important day. The 19th amendment took place on this date. The 18th amendment had prohibited the manufacture and sale of alcohol. It took the 19th amendment to repel the 18th. For nearly 14 years from January 29, 1920 alcoholic beverages and the manufacture, transportation and sale of alcohol had been outlawed in the United States.

In honor of this historical dates I am sharing a few drink recipes.

Hawaiian Punch Lemon Lime Splash
Lemon Lime Soda (e.g. 7UP)
1 Gal Vanilla Ice Cream
Green Sparkling Sugar

Pour sparkling sugar on small plate.
Wet rim of glass and place in sugar and rotate to create rim.
Fill glass with 3 parts Hawaiian punch and 1 part soda.
Add a half scoop of ice cream and stir with straw.

2 quarts lime sherbet*
2 liters Sprite, 7-Up or Ginger Ale
1 gallon green Hawaiian punch
1 (46-ounce) can pineapple juice
Maraschino cherries or frozen strawberries, optional, for a little red color
Pineapple sherbet, optional, to add to top for extra flavor and color (see photo)
Green food coloring if you want more color

In a large punch bowl, add half of lime sherbet.
Pour half the Sprite/7-Up/Ginger Ale over the top and then add half of the pineapple juice and half of the Hawaiian Punch.
Add in cherries or strawberries, if using.

Day of Volunteering

Have you ever had the chance  privilege to volunteer?? If you have then more than likely you may be like me and enjoyed yourself very much. I believe that each time I volunteer I learn. It is a great time to get together with others that support the same as you do. I also want to say thank you and invite you to celebrate today as it is International Volunteer day.

Each year on December 5th volunteers every where can take a good pat on the back. Most volunteers I personally know will tell they volunteer because they care. The United Nations in 1985 designated December 5th to be a day to thank those that volunteer through International Volunteer Day. This day is awesome for sharing opportunities for volunteers and organizations alike. Raising awareness of needs faced by organizations, to say thank-you to those that volunteer

All cultures welcome volunteers. Language and religious beliefs do not stop the need for volunteers. Each year hundreds of millions of people volunteer time and skills to help make world a better place. Volunteers help to make the lives of others better but volunteers often improve their own lives as well by gaining a sense of belonging to a community.

Looking for somewhere to volunteer?? Chances are all around from the school, hospitals, and more. Here is a list of ideas

  • if you like animals then volunteer in an animal shelter
  • enjoy history?? Then the national park service may be able to use you. Park volunteers are more than cleaning up as many historical locations are in need of role actors and guides as well
  • One area that benefits from volunteers are food pantries. I have spent time volunteering at food pantries and soup kitchens you would be surprised if you saw all the faces that come in needing help. 
  • If you enjoy books and reading then why not check for volunteer jobs at your local library. 
  • If you have a special talent that you would like to share?? Visit retirement homes and let them know that you would be interested in volunteering. 
Take a look around somewhere you will find the perfect opportunity for you.