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Friday, April 20, 2018

What are all those blood test

Visit the doctor and more than likely you will have a blood test done. Blood test are common and offer information that other wise may not be known. There are many blood test types and many different reasons blood may be taken. Some of the most common and important type of blood test include:

  • A Full Blood Count test may be completed if blood levels are needed to be known. 
  • blood test for kidneys is done to check the health of the kidney or sign of kidney failure
  • liver function test are used for the detection of possible injury or inflammation to the liver. 
  • Blood sample is taken in the morning and checked for glucose levels to check for diabetes
  • Pricking a finger is an easy way to check for cholesterol in the body. 
  • urinalysis have been used for decades and offers doctor an idea how body is functioning during metabolically
  • cancer test are used to detect the presence of particular types of cancer and to monitor progress of the body
  • heart test shows presence of calcium in the arteries 

Beets come in more colors than red

 Beets have often been given a rough way to go but they may just surprise you. The garden beets root and leaves can both be eaten. Other beets are used to feed livestock. Beets became rather desired during the 19th century when it was discovered beets were a concentrated sense of sugar. It was Napoleon who decreed that the beet be used as the primary source of sugar. Around that same time beets were brought to the United States. Sugar beets now grow freely in the United States. Around 30% of the worlds sugar comes from beets.

One of the most common beet is the red beet. Red beets are also known as the garden beet, the table been and the beet. Red beets are often boiled and cooked to be eaten, they can also be eaten cold in a salad as well Some will enjoy beet soup as well. No matter how you enjoy red beets they are good for the body.

\Red Beets are a good source of vitamin C. Through time beets have been used to battle against vitamin C deficiencies such as scurvy. Beets are also a good source of betaine, a nutrient that is vital to good cardiovascular health. Betaine helps guard against strokes and heart disease. The nutrient is also beneficial in protecting the liver and raises the level of stomach acid

Beetroot juice is also beneficial and yes comes from the red beet. The juice helps to reduce high blood pressure The nitrate present in beetroot helps to make this true. 

Some times You Just Have To Turnip

Turnips are a lot like potatoes in both texture and appearance. Turnips, however, have a bitter flavor that pairs well with sweet meat like pork. Turnips are root vegetables that can be found year round in the produce aisle. Turnips are normally in season October - March. Turnips can add a number of vitamins and minerals that will benefit your overall health.

Turnips are white skinned root vegetable. They are used both in recipes for humans and to feed livestock. Turnip greens are consumed in some parts of the world. The leaves are often bitter and must be boiled down to be palatable much like mustard greens. Turnips are made in a number of recipes a few of the way turnips are used culinary are:

  • young or baby turnips are harvested at an early stage and are delicate and sweet in taste. Perfect for vegetable salad. Often served along with cabbage, carrot, and beetroot. Older turnips have a woody taste that is too strong for salads
  • Turnips can be diced into cubes and added to a piping hot vegetable stew. Ingredients such as potatoes, carrots, and shallots go well with recipes with turnips. Turnip greens as well as flesh can be cooked in soups and curries. 
  • In places such as India, Pakistan, and Iran enjoy turnip cubes that are pickled just like carrots
  • Raw turnips can be used in dips or coleslaw. Turnip strips or shreds can be used in dips, salad or coleslaw.

Turnips have many nutritional reasons to eat as well

Volunteer ...... Help Others..... Help Yourself

Have you ever considered volunteering with your family?? The benefits are enormous and are for the entire family from toddler and preschoolers to grand-parents. Lessons learned include empathy, tolerance, gratitude and community responsibility. Children who volunteer are the ones that most likely will volunteer as adults. The small things that we can all do make large differences in our family, community, town, state and world.

There are lots of volunteer jobs perfect for families. What will you do?? Do you want to volunteer just one time or would you rather volunteer on a long term commitment. There are many volunteer opportunities that you can find by contacting your church. When you decide what volunteer opportunity your family will participate in talk about it with your family and if your children have questions be sure to answer them. The most important thing is that you make sure you have fun There are many great ways that you can create family memories while helping other. Here is a short list

  • Do a bit of shopping whether in your own pantry or at the store. Get a bagful of items to donate to a food pantry
  • Take a walk to fight disease, this week in our area there are 2 great walks one for MS and the other from arthritis
  • Decorate shoe boxes and fill them with a deck of cards, small games and puzzle books to donate to local shelters and hospitals. 
  • Visit a nursing home, your family can find one special person to adopt as a "grandparent" or you can make a weekly visit to see many
  • pick up litter at a local park or while you take a walk in your own neighborhood. While doing this activity you may want to make sure your child wears work gloves
  • volunteer for a local charity that delivers meals. Not only will you bring them some thing filling but you can also provide companship
  • provide rides to elderly people or patients with AIDS or cancer to dr appointments. 
  • have your child practice their reading skills by reading to children in the hospital. 
  • Volunteer at an animal shelpter and help care for abandoned dogs or cats. 

Breakfast Casserole

8 eggs
2 cups milk
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
12 slices of Texas toast, toasted, buttered and diced into large cubes
1 tube of Jimmy Dean's original sausage
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 tomatoes, diced
2 handfuls spinach, lightly chopped
¼ cup butter (4 tablespoons), melted

Butter a 9x13 baking dish; set aside. When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Cook sausage in a skillet until browned, set aside
Toast and butter the bread then dice into large chunks. You can do this in the oven, toaster oven, or toaster.
In a medium bowl, mix eggs, milk, salt and pepper; set aside
To assemble, place half of the cubed bread in the buttered baking dish. Top with half of the sausage, spinach, tomatoes, and cheese. Place the other half of cubed bread on top of the first layer and top with the other half of sausage, spinach, tomatoes and cheese.
Evenly pour the egg mixture on top of the casserole, lightly pressing the bread down.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or over night even. This will allow the bread to soak up all of the egg mixture, otherwise the bread would be dry.
Before baking drizzle ¼ cup melted butter on top, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 1 hour. Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes then serve.

recipe source here

Stress Awareness Month

Stress is a real part of most lives. Working hard at their job may also come with a price. The price of success may result in poor health, stress and burnout. April brings this issue and other issues of stress into the spot light with National Stress Awareness Month. Leaving stress behind at work may be a bit difficult for many. There are some things that you can do to have a happier life.

Take the time to unwind. Stress happens, sometimes it can not be avoided. That is why it is important to relax, renew and rejuvenate. Holding stress in is not good for the body. Long time stress can lead to headaches, stomach disorders and depression. Stress can also lead to strokes and heart disease. 

It does not matter who in your house is stressed, it is a good to get everyone together over dinner for some time to unwind and get together. More than 1/2 Americans turn to their family or friends when they feel stressed, another 1/3 try to withstand the stress alone. The fight or flight sympathetic stress response is a survival mechanism that is hardwired into our nervous system. This mechanism is good when quick reflexes are needed but chronic stress can lead to illness

Chronic stress can be combated. Be willing to be flexible you may have to choose your response techniques:

  • Recognize times when you dont have control and let it go
  • Dont get anxious about situations that you can not change
  • Control your own reactions and focus your mind on something that makes you feel calm and in control. 
  • Develop your own vision of a healthy living, wellness and personal growth and set realistic goals to help you realize your vision.

There are some was that you can help cheer yourself up. Start with keeping photos by your desk or an inspiring quote by your nightstand. Visual cues trigger your brain to think of good memories and creates  positive emotion. Visual cues can also help you to recall that goal you accomplished in the past and that you can do it again. 

In addition to visual cues be sure to take time to relax and recharge. Taking time to take care of yourself each day can help you be able to handle stress that life offers you. A few things you can take a little time and combat stress include:
  • taking a walk
  • reading a  book
  • going for a run
  • have a cup of tea or coffee
  • play a sport
  • spend time with a friend or loved one
  • practice yoga or meditation.

Stress will never go away but you can improve how you deal with it. A healthy balanced life, time for work and time for play, good relationships, a bit of time to relax and have fun
One last way to help yourself deal with stress is to get enough sleep. The brain processes things differently when it is low on sleep. It seems that while we work many hours we do not give our bodies the rest and rejuvenation that they need. While you may consider 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night a waste of time it is truly an investment in the making. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Braised Chinese Mustard Greens

1 head of Chinese mustard greens
10 fresh shiitake mushrooms
1 medium carrot
1 T oil
3 slices fresh ginger root
salt, to taste – you may not need any

1 T light soy sauce
1 tsp brown or raw cane sugar
1/2 c water or broth (or, if you’re using rehydrated mushrooms, the liquid from soaking them is a great one to use for this)
1 T cornstarch

Bring a pot of water to a boil.
Separate the stalks of the greens from the core and soak 10 m in cool water. Rinse and repeat until no grit remains in the bowl or sink.
Cut the leafy part of the greens away from the stem, shake or pat them dry, and reserve them for another dish, even another day. Cut the stems into large bite-sized pieces, roughly 1.5″ on a side.
Remove the mushroom stems and reserve them for making broth. Cut the caps into halves or quarters if large.
Peel the carrot and cut into 1/8″ thick slices: you can do this on the diagonal, lengthwise, or even make carrot flowers by cutting long grooves lengthwise, then slicing crosswise for an extra pretty presentation.
Blanch and shock the mustard green stems and carrots – they should be crisp-tender and brightly colored.
Combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Heat the oil in the wok over high heat, explode the ginger root just until fragrant.
Add the mushrooms, stirfry quickly for 1 m.
Add the sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook out the starchy flavor, stirring for approximately 1-2 m.
Add the greens and carrots just until they are heated through.
Adjust the seasoning and serve.

Benefits of Mustard Greens and a Delicious Salad Recipe with green beans and potatoes

This recipe offers a good source of mustard greens. As you can see from the above mustard greens offers health benefits ranging from the ability to fight cancer to helping to detoxify the body The recipe source is realfood, you can find many other great recipes there as well.

This particular potato salad recipe can be made ahead of time. The more it sits the better it taste. If there are leftovers simply freshen the salad up by adding a can of drained tuna and a can of drained chickpeas, a chopped hard boiled egg. One great thing about this recipe is that it is gluten free, dairy free, mayo free and vegetarian.

1 ½ pounds small baby potatoes
1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small shallot, very thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup red wine vinegar
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley

1. Drop the potatoes into a large pot of boiling salted water and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until they are just cooked through. Strain the potatoes and set aside, leaving the water boiling in the pot.

2. Drop the green beans into the boiling water. Boil until just cooked and bright green, 3-5 minutes, being careful not to overcook. Drain and rinse with very cold water to stop the cooking process.

3. Make the dressing by combining the garlic, honey, mustard, salt, and red wine vinegar in a small bowl, whisking to combine. Stream in the olive oil, whisking until well incorporated.

4. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle slice in half. Add the sliced potatoes, green beans and shallots to a large bowl. Pour over the dressing and stir to combine. Let sit at least 10 minutes for the dressing to absorb. Sprinkle with parsley, then serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Best served at room temperature.

Serves 8 as a side.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Diversity in Workplace

While you may think that having proper ratio of workers is equal to having a diverse work place you could be no further from the truth. Diversity has more to do with promoting acceptance, respect, and teamwork. It matters not race, age, gender, language, politics, religion or sex. I myself was considered an older worker recently by one of the managers at the place I work. This did not mean and I was not treated any different but it does happen.

Having a more diverse workplace makes for a better more relaxed place as well. Employees from a wide variety of demographics and backgrounds can come together to create innovative results. Working together to achieve a common goal is a place of business that practices diversity and inclusion in the workplace

Being able to accept co-workers is the start of successfully creating a diversified workplace. Lack of  acceptance among employees may arise in conflict. It has been shown that no respect can lead to violent conflict in the workplace. Being able to accept co-workers has a much different result. One of which can mean sharing of ideas and collaboration among co-workers.

Have your ever felt a bit nervous when sharing your cultural, spiritual, and political beliefs?? Conversation on these subjects can sometimes pose a challenge in a diverse workplace. Employees should be instructed not to discuss religion, ethnicity and personal beliefs while working

While many have worked to create a model of a diverse workplace but sadly, issues from ethnic and cultural differences are still present in the workplace. Cultural sensitivities training and diversity awareness programs in the workplace can hopefully help.

Black Women's History Month

Black Women's History Month is to embrace achievements, build understanding and awareness and celebrating the rich history of the past, present and future. Not only Black women but those in minority including

  • African American                    Afro Bolivian                         Afro Caribbean
  • Afro Mexican                           Afro Colombian                     Afro Cuban
  • Afro Latino                              Afro Guyanese                         Afro Dominican
  • Afro Argentine                         Afro Peruvian                         Afro Puerto Rican
  • Afro Brazilian                          Afro Bahamian                        Afro Saint Lucian
  • Afro European                          Afro Barbadian                       Afro Trinidadian and Tobagonian
  • Afro Vincentian                      Afro Asian                                 Italians of African descent
  • Afro Greeks                             Afro French                             Afro Germans
  • Black British                            
Black Women History Month is about unifying the community by promoting visibility, education, empowerment, contribution and achievement which positively impacts communities across the globe. 

When Is A Pie Truly a Cake?? When it is a Pecan Pie Cake Roll

3  Eggs
1 cup Sugar
3 Tbsp Cold Water
1 cup Organic Unbleached White All-Purpose Flour or Unbleached White All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Butter Nut Flavoring
2 cups Pecans chopped
1/2 cup Confectioner’s Sugar for dusting towel
1 cup Sugar
1-1/2 cups Corn Syrup
4  Eggs
1/4 cup Butter melted
1-1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 cups Pecans chopped

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a greased jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat eggs for 3 minutes. Gradually add sugar; beat eggs in a mixer on high for 2 minutes or until mixture becomes thick. Stir in water.
Combine dry ingredients and gently fold the mixture into the eggs. Don’t over mix, you don’t want to deflate the eggs.
Pour the batter into the pan and spread it evenly. You want to make sure it is even so the edges don’t cook more than the center and crumble when you go to roll the cake.
Bake 13 - 15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Halfway through baking sprinkle chopped pecans over cake and press down very lightly. Continue baking the remainder of the time then remove from oven and cool cake in pan for 5 minutes.
Invert cake onto a kitchen towel dusted with confectioners' sugar and peel off parchment paper. Starting with a short side roll the cake up in the towel. Let the cake cool completely like that. Unroll the cake and spread filling evenly over cake leaving a little space around the edges. Roll the cake back up. Store in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl then pour into a 9 inch pie dish and bake 45 minutes or until only the center jiggles when moved. Use a spoon to stir filling up every 10 minutes.
When ready remove filling stove top, stir again and let cool for 10 minutes before spreading on cake.

recipe source here

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Southern "Soul Food" Style Greens

As a teen I moved with my family from a small rural town in central Illinois to a town in far southern Illinois. I was lucky and met a great friend and later found out that her mom could cook. I am not sure what made our friendship stronger, that my friend was awesome or that her mother was an awesome cook. It was at her house that I would gain my first taste of soul food.

One dish that she often cooked was  greens. You know those delicious green vegetable greens serve year round in most Southern homes but something this small town girl from a rural farming community had not ate.

1 - Pound of Greens (collard greens, mustard greens or whatever you prefer), washed well and chopped.
1 - Smoked Ham Hock (about 4oz) or fat back, hog jowl or streak-o-lean
1 - Medium Onion, chopped
2 - Cloves of Garlic, chopped
1 - teaspoon of Black Pepper
1 - Tablespoon of Salt
1 - Tablespoon of Sugar
1 - Tablespoon of  Hot Sauce
1 - Tablespoon of Butter
3 - Quarts of Water

Place 3 cups of water in a large pot and bring to a boil.
Wash and scrub the Ham Hock well, cut into sections and add to the boiling water.
Let Ham Hock simmer for about 30 minutes on medium heat.
Wash the  greens scrubbing each leaf under cool running water until clean.
Fold each  leaf in half, either in your hand or on your cutting board.
Pull the leaf section away from the stem. Discard stems.
Stack a couple of leaves together on your cutting board.
Begin at one end and roll the leaves up tightly. Then, cut lengthwise down the center of the roll.
Squeeze the cut sections back together, rotate and cut the roll into about 3/4 inch slices.
Add leaves to the pot a little at a time, let them cook down a minute and then add more.
Reduce heat to a low simmer, leave the pot uncovered and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Chop the onions and chop or mince the garlic cloves.
In a small saucepan on medium low heat, add the butter and let it melt.
Add the chopped onions and garlic to the butter and sauté until onions are translucent.
Add the cooked onions and garlic to your stock pot with the  leaves.
Add salt, sugar, black pepper and Texas Pete Hot Sauce in amounts listed. Stir well.
Let simmer another 15 minutes or until the  are as tender as you prefer.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the greens and place in a bowl. Let the liquid continue to simmer.
Chop the greens into smaller pieces but not to the point of being mushy.
Remove the ham hock, chop the meatier portions into small pieces and return to the liquid.
Return the chopped  greens to the liquid and stir well.
Keep warm until ready to serve.

Cornbread goes well with  Greens. Some folks like to dip their cornbread in the "potlikker" or liquid and eat it that way. Leftover potlikker and even some of the greens can be used to make Potlikker Soup.

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The Dolphin Faces Extinction

Dolphins have their own day in April, Saturday April 14th. I believe that sharing an appreciation with those who visit my blog. While the day has passed I still want to share with you about the dolphin.

Dolphin facts:

  • dolphins have built in sonar
  • dolphins are born tail first
  • dolphins communicate via whistling
  • The Bottlenose dolphin is on of the smartest animals on earth

Dolphins are mammals and belong in the same category as humans. Dolphins live in the water and look like large fish. Many do not realize that dolphins do not belong to the fish family but  to the mammal family. Dolphins breathe air through blowholes and must come to surface to breathe. Dolphins also give birth to live babies like all mammals do. Fish lay eggs. Other mammal qualities dolphins have include nursing their young and being warm blooded. 

Dolphins are found all over the world. There are 34 different species of dolphins that live in the various oceans and even a few dolphins that live in rivers. Did you know that killer whales are dolphins as well. Dolphins live in groups called pods or schools. There are around a dozen dolphins in each pod but if pods combine they form superpods. Superpods can have more than 1,000 members.

Dolphins are social animals and enjoy living together. Bonds are formed with their mates as they help each other. When sick or hurt the members of the pod will come together to help the members who struggle.

Dolphins are threatened with extinction. The cousin of the dolphin the wales also face extinction due to:

  • being caught in fishing gear
  • injury or death from being hit by ships
  • melting ice is changing the seawater into more fresh water like. Dolphins who have adapted to living in saltwater don't survive well in freshwater
  • Toxic chemicals in water damage the dolphins reproductive and immune system
  • Dolphins are hunted 
One type of dolphin that faces extinction is the Vaquita. 

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Radishes are great Roasted #recipe

Recently I shared all about the radish and a great way to serve the radish raw. Today, another way to serve radishes, as a side dish roasted.

3 bunches assorted radishes (about 1 1⁄2 pounds)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 sprigs fresh thyme
Coarse salt, sea salt, or Fleur de sel*
Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Trim off radish greens; reserve for another use.
Wash radishes, pat dry, and transfer to a large bowl with olive oil and thyme.  Toss to combine; season with salt and pepper.
Place prepared radishes into a shallow baking dish and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown and a small knife slides easily into radishes, approximately 40 to 50 minutes.

Makes 2 to 4 servings.

recipe source here

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Diabetes Awareness

During Diabetes Prevention week why not take some time to learn about the risks of diabetes, April is Diabetic awareness month and the week of April 16 to 22 is a week to bring awareness to Type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is often linked to lifestyle. If diabetes is left untreated it can lead to stroke, blindness, heart disease, kidney failure and lower limb amputation. Even if one is not at high risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, one can reduce their risk by losing weight, eating healthy and being more active. Small simple steps can help prevent Type 2 diabetes. One small change is to drink or tea or coffee without sugar another step may be to take a walk to do close errands or eating brown bread instead of white bread. Improved food choices, weight loss and personal exercise programs are great ways to reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is a long term illness and often has an impact on ones mental health. Have  your been tested to see if you are a diabetic?? At the age of 30 I was tested and diagnosed as a diabetic. At the age of 47 I am still a Type 2 diabetic and living with medication, diets and good health choices.

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spring time and easy peach cobbler

For many the taste of a peach is the first moment of summer. Memories such as the swing in the back yard and the slap of the closing screen door, the feel of warm summer dew in the grass and the hum of insect wings for me are right there with peach season. The sweet, soft and fuzzy skin of the peach helps me relive fond memories.

Here are a few tips on how to select the best peaches of the season

  • look for a peach with a creamy undertone for the best. Peaches with rosy coloring may be under ripe just like those with green ground color. Peaches that are not ripe will lack flavor and shrivel and become tough
  • Peaches that are firm to a bit soft and free from bruises are the ones that you are looking for
  • Peaches that have a fragrance that is sweet and peachy means the fruit is ready to eat.

  • 6 Tbsp (3/4 cup) melted, unsalted butter 
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar (separated)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 29 oz can sliced peaches in syrup*
  • cinnamon, optional

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Pour butter into 13 x 9 baking dish.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add 1 cup sugar and milk. Mix to combine.
  • Pour batter over butter (do not stir). Pour sliced peaches, with juices, on top of batter (do not stir).
  • Pour 1/2 cup of sugar evenly over top of mixture in the dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired.
  • Bake at 375° for 45 - 60 minutes or until golden brown. Serve cobbler warm or cool, topped with ice cream or without.

  • *If it's peach season, and you'd like to use fresh peaches, you certainly can. First, you'll need to to peel, pit and slice approximately 5 fresh peaches. Bring 1 cup sugar, peach slices, and a Tbsp of lemon juice to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Use this in place of the canned peaches in the recipe.
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Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. During the month survivors and advocates will be sharing their stories and offer prevention tips. The serious widespread issue of sexual violence is something to take a stand for. The month of April will help to generate opportunities to help energize and expand prevention efforts.

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center started observing April as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month in 2001. Many groups and organizations since that time have taken time to bring awareness to their own communities. The teal ribbon was designed to bring awareness to the subject of Sexual Assault Awareness month

Are You Aware:
Every 2 minutes someone in the United States will be sexually assaulted resulting in an average of 213,000 victims to sexual assault each year.  . Sexual assault is not an age thing it affects all. For children under the age of 18 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually assaulted. At least 1 in 6 women will become victims of sexual assault during their lifetime. Sexual assault also affects men with 1 in every 33 men being sexual assaulted sometime during their life.

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Fennel Provides an Licorice Taste in Spring Salad

Fennel have filigreed leave similar to dill. The color of this plant is darker than dill, at times it also holds a bronze color. Fennel will produce yellow flowers. Fennel is a great plant to fill up the back or corners of a garden. The anise licorice like smell and taste is provided by Fennel. Insects that are beneficial to garden plants are attracted to the smell of fennel. If you are attracted to butterflies you may like that the black swallowtail butterfly is attracted to the fennel plant. If you happen to see a caterpillar with black and yellow markings be aware they are dining on fennel leaves and it is just the larva of the swallowtail butterfly. 

Fennel is one plant that often reseeds and is often grown for its leaves, seeds and stems. The stems of the fennel plant are round, smooth, and blue green in color. The leaves of the fennel plant are fine and feathery and alternate the branch from the stalk. The fennel plant can grow as tall as 4 or 5 feet. 
Fennel is not recommended to be grown in heavy clay soils. Once the plant is well established the good thing is that every part of the plant is edible. The leaves can be snipped and stored in containers or frozen for later use. The stems can be harvested around 80 day mark when the stems are fat. Seeds can be harvested but may be a bit tricky. The seeds will turn from yellow green to brown. Cut the entire head of the fennel , drop into a brown paper bag and store in warm dark place to dry. Store in jars for year round keeping once dried. 

Fennel provides a softer taste of licorice. Fresh leaves can be used in salads or as garnishment. The stems can be eaten like celery. Fennel goes well with fish, sausage, duck, barley, rice, cabbage, sauerkraut, beets, pickles, potatoes, lentils, breads, eggs and cheese. Both the leaves and stems add aroma and flavor to herb butters, salad dressings and Chinese marinades. 
Fennel often has a licorice flavor when prepared the right way and with the right pairing. Tarragon also can add a slight licorice flavor in dishes. This spring salad mix with boiled egg and a mustard tarragon vinaigrette is perfect for a salad luncheon for both those who like licorice and those who do not. 

Spring Mix Salad with Mustard Tarragon Vinaigrette
Recipe source: The Foodie Patootie

  • Spring Mix
  • 1 egg, hard boiled
  • [b]Dressing[/b]
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp diced tarragon
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Place spring mix and sliced hard boiled egg in bowl.
  2. To make the dressing, whisk together the mustard, tarragon, and balsamic vinegar. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until you reach the desired consistency and taste. Add salt and pepper to taste.
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Radishes Can Be Eaten Raw

Radishes are a root crop. They have many taste points from juicy to pungent and even sweet. The colors of radishes vary as well. White, red, purple, black, pink and the list goes on. The shape of radishes is as variable as the color . Shapes can be long, cylindrical or round. Radishes can be prepared raw, cooked or pickled. The radish oil is another valuable item that comes from radishes.

Radish oil is used in a many health applications. Another name for radishes is daikon. While daikons or radishes are small in size they pack lots of use. The whole radish including leaves, flowers, pods and seeds can be used.

resource organic facts

1 cucumber, seeded and sliced into matchsticks
1 medium carrots, shredded
6 medium radishes, shredded
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey (optional)
3 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Add the cucumber, carrot, and radishes to a medium bowl. Mix with the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup or honey (if using), and cilantro. Top with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

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Keep America Beautiful +

In 1953 a group of American business , nonprofit organizations, government agencies and concerned citizens started a way to combat highway litter. The group was tired of the litter that plagued the highways after the Interstate Highway system had been constructed. The litter was partly due to the growing mobile an convenience oriented America. The goal of the group was to help draw awareness to the issue thus reducing litter through public service advertising.

The term "litterbug" was made popular due to the Keep America Beautiful group and the New York Transit Authority. The group wanted to forward the idea that every individual must help protect against the effects litter has on the environment. Characters such as Susan Spotless were made popular by a television campaign in 1963 - 1964.

In the 1970's a new campaign was started by the Keep American Beautiful group titled "People Start Pollution People can stop it" This ad was known by many as the "Crying Indian ad"

By the mid 1970s Keep America Beautiful introduced a "Clean Community System" The system encouraged local communities to prevent litter. Education efforts, advertising, local research, mapping of litter "hotspots" and cleanup activities. Thousands of letters came in wanting to join programs. The "clean community system" evolved into Keep America Beautiful current network of roughly 580 local "Keep my Town Beautiful"

The goal of a "Great American Cleanup" campaign began in 1999. The  program focuses on local efforts at beautification where volunteers organize to clean up litter and illegal dumpsites in their communities, remove graffiti, plant trees and flowers and organizing a community garden.

Keep America Beautiful is a highly rated nonprofit, 4-star ranking by independent organization Charity Navigator and is an EarthShare member charity In 2010 the Great American Cleanup annual signature event organized 3.9 million volunteers, more than 5.7 million hours to improve more than 33,700 communities in all 50 states. More than 75 million pounds of litter from landscapes and waterways were collected, more than 15 million pounds of metals and 90 million pounds of newprint were collected. In addition more than 1 million tires and 7 million pounds of electronics were collected as well in the cleanup.

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Sunday, April 15, 2018

Winter Was Hard on The Lawn.... Dont worry Spring is Here

Winter weather can be hard on your lawn. This is a true fact as we all know. Winter often leaves behind dead grass, salt damage, snow mold, thatches and more. While it seems there is nothing that can be done dont worry Spring is coming. 

Spring is the perfect time for lawn and garden care. First thing to find out is if your soil has been damaged during the winter weather. Easy test is to push screwdriver into ground if it is easy to push into ground the soil is in good condition, however, if it is not then your soil has been compacted. Your lawn will need to be aerated, this can be done easily by a lawn aerator that can be rented from your local rental center. 

If you happen to find wilted leaves or discolored grass on the lawn it may be time for your lawn to be limed. In order to lime your yard the early frost mornings must be completed. 

Have you found bald spots where your lawn needs to be reseeded?? You will need to apply a slow release nitrogen fertilizer as well as a quick release nitrogen fertilizer after 5 weeks when the grass begins to germinate. 

As April is Lawn and Garden Month I will be sharing more tips and how to's in the coming days. Be sure to come back and see what we share

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Brussels Sprouts Trivia including the babies with a mind changing #recipe as well

Once again we are sharing a delicious brussels sprouts recipe and a little information again. To catch up perhaps you would like to read our first post in this three part series
Did you know that Brussels sprouts are named for Belgians. Brussels sprouts are from Brussels, well at least a version of them are. The vegetable truly dates back to ancient Rome but modern day Brussels sprouts were embraced and widely cultivated in Belgium starting in the 16th century.

Did you know that Brussels sprouts are prescribed as a treatment by those studying Chinese medicine they are believed to help the digestive system.

Did you know that Brussels Sprouts are the most hated vegetable in the United States and Great Britain according to a survey Heinz completed in 2008. Perhaps this recipe that uses baby Brussels Sprouts may change some minds. Baby Brussels sprouts come from the very top of the stalk. They may resemble small peas. Find the smallest sprouts and use them if you can not find pre-packaged baby brussels sprouts

1 pound baby Brussels Sprouts
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and fresh pepper
12 oz of your favorite pasta
1 cup heavy cream
the juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 cup freshly grated hard Italian cheese
parsley for garnish

Trim just the very bottoms off the Brussels sprouts and leave them whole. You can halve them if yours are a little bigger. Saute them in the butter and olive oil for about 10 minutes over medium heat. Don't let them get too brown. They should be al dente.
Cook your pasta to an al dente stage.
Add the cream to the sprouts and heat to simmering. Simmer for a few minutes to let the cream reduce a bit and finish cooking the sprouts. You want to sprouts to retain some of their bite.
Add the lemon and zest to the cream and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Slowly sprinkle in the cheese while stirring to melt and incorporate the cheese.
Add in the cooked pasta and stir to combine. If the sauce is too thick, add some pasta water. If it is still very thin, add some more cheese.
Serve with a garnish of parsley and lemon zest.

recipe source here