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Saturday, October 20, 2018

Apple Picking Time

I can recall each and every fall heading out to the orchard to pick apples. The drive out to the orchard was enchanting with the leaves changing colors and the cooler air that we could enjoy. The environment was full of seasonal baking, football and carving pumpkins.

Apples are perfect for snacking. They are low in potassium with an average medium raw apple without skin has 142 mg of potassium and 77 calories. Apples have no fat, sodium or cholesterol.

Apples are grown in all 50 states. There are 2500 varieties of apples grown in the United States. Apples are often picked in pecks that weigh about 10.5 lbs. Most apples are still picked by hand.

Apples stand alone as main ingredients in many recipes including entrees, desserts and salads. There are recipes for quick no-bake desserts as well as apple recipes that are served warm right out of oven. Not to sound like bubba on forest gump but there are:

What are some of your favorite apple recipes? Do you have any that you’d like to share?

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Super Healthy Granola Snacks

With many that suffer from ADHD finding convenient snacks is a challenge. Many snacks that are conveniently packaged also are loaded with ingredients that help them last longer on the shelves. Between the additives, food sensitivities, and added sugars they are not doable for individuals on ADHD diet.

One thing that can be made at home fast and easy are granola bars. Home made granola bars are easy to pack in lunch boxes, trips and on the go no time to eat events.

The key is to boost protein and lower sugar intake. Carbohydrates add up quickly and cause blood sugar spikes when unbalanced. To balance carbs eat with protein and fat A protein / fat packed granola bar would be terrifically in an ADHD restricted diet.

 The great thing is there are lots of different ingredients you can pack into these granola snacks Some recommended ingredients include:

  • Crushed nuts (cashews, almonds, walnuts, etc.)
  • Seeds (pepitas, sunflower, chia, etc.)
  • Nut and seed butters (peanut, almond, cashew, sesame, seeds…)
  • Ground flax
  • Cocoa powder
  • Protein powder
  • Fine ground nuts (walnut, almond…)
  • Healthy oils (extra virgin olive, coconut, etc…)
  • Coconut flakes
  • Vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon

Puffed brown rice also is a great add in, offers shape and does not have excessive carbs or sugar.

Oatmeal is a friendly add in that offers goodness. Peanut butter as well as other nut butters and oils will help all stick together. Adding sugar or syrup of one form or another is needed to keep them together. There are some choices better than others. Some of the better ones include

  • brown rice syrup similar to the taste and viscosity  of honey
  • molasses is a great choice if you like the taste if not then don't use
  • malt syrup
There are a few things that are recommended not to use if making up special for an individual with ADHD. These ingredients are full of carbs and sugars and should not be used:
  • dried fruits such as raisins or craisins
  • chocolate chips
  • honey
  • agave syrup
  • maple syrup
  • corn syrup

1 cup puffed brown rice
1 cup smashed, BHT-free rice or corn chex
½ cup popped amaranth
½ cup ground flax seed
¼ cup hemp protein powder
½ cup pepitas
1 cup crushed cashews
½ cup ground almonds
2 tsps cinnamon

⅛ cup olive oil
⅓ cup sunflower seed butter
1-½ tsps vanilla extract
⅓ – ½ cup brown rice syrup

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl
Stir/whisk the wet ingredients together in a small mixing bowl
Mix the blended wet ingredients into the blended dry ingredients until even in consistency – you may have to get your hands in there
Use an ice cream scoop to create even portions of granola – smash the granola together in your hands to shape it into a bar or ball
Wrap the granola bars in wax paper, saran wrap or convenient snack bags for later use
Store in the freezer if flax was one of the ingredients

~ Makes about 15 bars

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Happy Sweetest Day

Today, the 3rd Saturday in the month of October, is known as the sweetest day of the year. The thought behind the sweetest day occured in Cleveland in 1922. A philanthropist and candy company employee wanted to bring happiness into the lives of orphans, shut ins and others who felt as if they had been forgotten. Together with friends they distributed candy and small gifts to the underprivileged.

The first year Sweetest day was celebrated the famous movie star Ann Pennington presented 2,200 Cleveland newspaper boys with boxes of candy to thank them for their service Theda Bara another popular movie star distributed 10,000 boxes of candy to people in Cleveland hospitals and gave them candy to all who watched her movie in the local theater

The top states for sweetest day sales are Ohio, Michigan and Illinois.

Sweetest Day is an original American holiday. It is not based on any religious tradition A thoughtful word, deed or small gift enriches the life of the recipient as well as person giving

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Mammogram What To Expect

Time To Evaluate YOur Life

October 19th is the National day to Evaluate Your life. Our lives are all different, which helps make each of us unique. When we take time to evaluate our lives it allows us to see how much progress in life we have made, where we stand currently and what needs to be done to get us back on track or to stay on track.
Today, offers us all a chance to take a look at our personal lives to see what we need to do differently. If all is well there may be just something small to change or increase what you are all ready doing. It is an opportunity to create a healthier and happier life.

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Potato Pizza

1 large baking potato per person
pizza sauce (recipe below)
your choice of toppings (I used onion, bell pepper, zucchini, calamata olives, green olives, and mushrooms)
fresh basil
almond parmesan (optional)
Pizza Sauce (makes enough for 2 servings/potatoes):
1/2 onion , chopped
2 cloves garlic , minced or pressed
1 16-ounce can diced tomatoes (I used Italian style)
1/8 teaspoon fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil

salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
Start with potatoes that are at least 1-1/2 inches thick in the middle. Scrub each potato well. Cut into three slices, making the outer two a little wider than the middle one. Take the two outer slices and trim a little bit off the bottom (rounded side) in order to make them lie flat.
Place them on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper and bake at 350 F for about 40 minutes, until cooked throughout. (I was just making one serving, so I did this in the toaster oven with excellent results.)
While the potatoes are cooking, make the pizza sauce: Sauté the onion in a non-stick saucepan until it becomes translucent. Add the garlic and sauté one minute more. Pour about 1/3 of the can of tomatoes into the saucepan. Using a blender or hand blender, puree the remaining tomatoes and add them to the pan. (I do this right in the can with a hand blender.) Add the remaining sauce ingredients, and simmer on low until the potatoes are ready.
When the potatoes are done, take them out of the oven, spread each one with sauce, and top with your choice of toppings. (I made one with zucchini-calamata olives-red bell pepper, another with mushrooms-green olives-onions, and another with everything.) Put them back into the oven and bake for 15-20 more minutes, until the toppings are done to your taste.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with lots of fresh basil and vegan parmesan, if desired. Careful, they will be hot! But once they’re cooled, you can pick them up like regular pizza.

Get as creative as you like with the toppings. Enjoy!

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Friday, October 19, 2018

Black Poetry shares much history

Black Poetry is celebrated in October. It gives us a chance to honor past and present black poets. It celebrates black heritage and literacy and the contributions made by black poets. 

Black poetry refers to poems written by African Americans in the United States of America. African American poetry predates the written word and is linked to a rich oral tradition. Inspiration for black poetry comes from musical traditions of gospel, blues, jazz and rap. It comes from stories of life in America ranging from slavery to segregation and more.

Phillis Wheatley is one of the great American poets. Most of her life was spent in colonial society in the 18th century New England. She was a Christian, a slave, a woman, a poet and and African. Through her poetry whe could share her thoughts as she experienced discrimination. 
It is not known how long Wheatley lived in Africa as no one is quite sure of her age or where she was born. As a young girl she came from West Africa to Boston on the slave ship Phillis. She was purchased by John and Susannah Wheatley who named her after the slave ship. She could never escape the fact that she was a slave as well as a piece of property as the constant reminder was her name. 
I, young in life, by seeming cruel fate
was snatched from Afric’s fancied happy seat:
What pants excruciating must molest
What sorrows labor in my parent’s breast!
Steeled was that soul, and by no misery moved,
That from a father seized his babe beloved:
Such, such my case. And can I then but pray
Others may never feel tyrannic sway?
Phillis was lucky in one aspect as the Wheatleys provided her with a basic education in English, poetry, math and philosophy. This was a privilege that was not afforded to most slaves as well as many poor white children. In fact laws that made it illegal for a slave to learn to read The educated slave became a "show piece" of sorts. It was a way for the Wheatleys to get into some society groups they may not have it was not for the feat of Phillis. 

In early 1770s Wheatley was sent to London to recoup from T.B. She may have contacted this on the slave ship where conditions led to contagious diseases. While in London she entertained high English nobility. She would find support and publish her first book . The book would be shared in Boston as well but it would be met with skepticism. They figured the book a fraud that a slave girl could not create such a book. In the end a committee decided that Wheatley had authored the book It would go on to be sold in America and England with eleven more editions printed. 

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Pickled Jalapeno Peppers 2 way

Whether it is your end of season late effort to harvest your peppers or you may be able to find them with grocery stores and farmer markets. They can often be found at great prices and putting them in this dish would be a tasty treat for later.

If you like spicy hot food you will love these pickled peppers. Use them on nachos, quesadillas, sandwiches, paninis, burgers, salads, and chili.

Refrigerator pickled peppers can be assembled in jars and put in fridge. Allow the peppers to marinate in fridge a few days, They will stay good in fridge several months

Canned pickled peppers can be shelf ready for up to 1 year when stored in dark pantry

  • 2 lbs. jalapenos
  • 2-1/4 cups vinegar (white distilled, apple cider, or a combination of the two)
  • 2-1/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or honey (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black pepper corns
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 whole garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/8 teaspoon Pickle Crisp granules (optional)

Thinly slice jalapenos in 1/8" rounds, discarding stem ends.

Wash 4 pint jars & lids in hot sudsy water according to standard canning procedures. Keep jars warm until it's time to fill them.

In 2 quart pan, combine vinegar, water, & sugar (or honey); heat until just before it starts to boil. Add salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, bay leaf, garlic, (and Pickle Crisp, if using) to each jar.

Add jalapeno slices to jars, pressing down and packing them in compactly until jars are filled. For more attractive appearance, use a chopstick or your finger to position some slices vertically along sides of jar.

Pour hot vinegar mixture into each jar, leaving 1/2" head space. Insert bubble remover tool (or chopstick) down side of jar and press in toward center to release any bubbles. Clean jar rims with wet paper towel. Add jar lids and rings, making them "finger tight."

FOR REFRIGERATOR PICKLED PEPPERS: Allow jars to cool to room temperature and then store in fridge. Allow to marinate at least 3 days before eating. Good for several months.

FOR CANNED PICKLED PEPPERS: Process using standard USDA water process canning procedures.
--Fill water process canner or large pot with enough water to cover jars with 1" of water. Bring water to boil.
--Place hot, filled jars inside pot, return water to a boil, and process 12 minutes.
--Turn off heat, remove cover, and leave jars in water for 5 minutes.
--Remove jars and cool, undisturbed for at least 12 hours.
--Store in cool, dark place. May be eaten within a few days, but best if allowed to cure for 4-6 weeks.
--Good for at least 1 year.
--If any jars don't seal, cool and move to refrigerator where they will be good for several months.

TO ADJUST INGREDIENTS FOR DIFFERENT QUANTITIES, for each jar of pickled jalapeno slices:
--1/2 pound jalapenos
--1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon vinegar
--1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
--1-1/2 teaspoons sugar or honey (optional)
--add seasoning to jars according to the ingredient list

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Leaf Rice Krispie Treat

First make up the rice Krispie material. You know those beloved rice krispie treats

6 Tbsp. Butter
6 Cups Mini Marshmallows
6 Cups Rice Krispie Cereal

Melt the butter in a medium pan on medium heat.
Add Mini Marshmallows, stir until they are completely melted.
Turn off the heat.
Add the Rice Krispie Cereal and mix until the cereal is completely coated with the Marshmallow Mixture.
Spoon into a 9×11″ shallow pan.
Press down into the pan.
Allow to cool.

Now mix in various colors . I have shared some ideas but you can truly choose what others you would be interested in. Use the cookie cutter to cut leaf shapes. Enjoy

Burgandy Food Coloring
 Orange Food Coloring
 Moss Green Food Coloring
Brown Food Coloring
Leaf Cookie Cutter

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Bullying Is Harmful to All

Has your child ever came home and said that they had been "picked on" or someone was "being mean to them" or have you ever felt this way?? Bullying is happening at an alarming rate. Children, teens and even adults are finding that they are being "bullied" Power is the key of the game for those doing the bullying. Persistent threats, insults and humiliation are all part of bullying.

Bullying can easily be hastened when adults react quickly and consistently to bully like behaviors. By standing up and stopping bullying the message is being sent to the bully that it will not be accepted Parents, school staff and other adults can help get kids to talking instead of bullying, build a safe school environment and create community wide bullying prevention strategy.

There is no one that truly likes a bully, except for possibly another bully. If you are being bullied don't go alone gather your friends and stand to stop bullying once and for all. If you know that bullying is going on then report to a parent or teacher and if they are being physically hurt run and get help from an adult. If you witness someone being bullied take a stand and stick up for the individual being bullied. Your friends may be able to help.

Never join in bullying someone. If the bully invites you to do so refuse and walk away. Don't help spread rumours about others. If rumours, offensive comments and pictures are on social media do not add to it or share the post further. Bullying on the internet is known as cyber bullying.

]Talk to the individual being bullied, let them know they are not alone. ]Encourage them to report what is really happening. Tell them if they want you will go with them to talk to an adult.  low Those that are bullied seem to behave

  • have lower self esteem
  • develop depression or anxiety
  • become socially withdrawn, isolated and lonely
  • lower academic achievements due to avoiding or becoming disengaged
  • inability to form trusting, healthy relationships with friends, parents
If the bully is someone you know or even your friend. Let them know that you do not like what they are doing Bullying can affect everyone involved. Some proven ways include
  • problems in school 
  • criminal behavior
  • suffer with depression or anxiety
  • becomes abusive in personal relationships
Witnesses to Bullying suffer via
  • feeling powerless
  • living in fear and guilt
  • having an impact on their academics

Warning signs to be aware of that may signify  a child is being bullied:
  • injuries that are unexplained
  • possessions that are either lost or broken
  • losing friends
  • child not wanting to be involved in social situations
  • attitude or behavior changes
  • trouble sleeping or wetting the bed. 
  • lack of interest in school
  • refusal to discuss issues 

The individual being bullies more than likely needs a friend. Offer them a chance to sit with you at lunch, ask them to hang around you and friends and let them know they have friends.

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Thursday, October 18, 2018

Halloween Recipe : Sugar Cookies

3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 egg

Preheat oven to 400.
Prepare baking sheet by lining with parchment paper.
Add butter to mixer, and mix until whipped.
Slowly add the sugar, and mix until combined.
Add the egg and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Slowly add the flour mixture, and mix until combined.
Lightly flour working surface.
Roll out cookie dough, cut out with shapes, and place onto baking sheet.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on how thick you make the shapes.
Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool.
Decorate with favorite frosting (I used buttercream).

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Right Or Left Brain

Have you ever heard the sayings like your heart made you do it or if you had only thought about it. Those words may have been said to or spoke about someone who thinks with their right brain. When they think with their feelings there is a tendency to miscommunicate and misinterpret what is trying to be said. Those who think with the left brain demand facts for explanation while the right brainer tries to understand how everyone would feel.

Individuals who think with their left brain seem to reason with creativity or intuition to find explanation. The world of the world with someone who thinks with the left brain is the life similar to a scientist. Individuals who think rather with their right brain have enough talent and are determined to look into science after finding the answer first.

Individuals who are right brain thinkers hold their beliefs strong. They could be called stubborn They are hard to sell new thoughts to and often can foretell the future. They choose to control their own destination. Right hand brain thinkers are inspirational, do not get writers block and can come up with shocking original statements out of the blue. Perhaps bloggers are mainly right brain thinkers as well??

Those who think with their right brain do not like to be constrained. They will battle against supervision and would rather choose to be their own boss. Regardless of what you offer an individual with right brain thinking they will choose to walk away rather than work constrained with opinionation, overwhelming policies or micromanaging.

What side of your brain do you think with??

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What is Spina Bifida

Spina bifida is one birth defect that affects the spine and spinal cord. The two do not go together and is part of the neural tube defects where embryonic structure that eventually develops into the baby's brain and spinal cord and tissues between them.

The neural tube forms early in pregnancy and by the 28th day it closes. Babies develop spina bifida when a portion of the neural tube fails to close properly or develop. The result is a spinal cord defect or bones in the spine. The defect can range from mild to severe all depending on location, complication, type and size.

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Polish American Cooking

Jamestown, Virginia the first Polish settlers arrive in 1608. The first ever Polish American heritage month was celebrated in 1981. The first Polish settlers were among the first skilled workers in America. Prior to that it was celebrated in August. It was President Ronald Reagan who in 1987 recognized Polish Americans and their importance in the United States.

This classic recipe is remarkable for its hearty flavors and adaptability because it pairs really well with just about any meat.  We like it best with braised pork or kielbasa, and of course with a glass or hearty red wine, Polish beer or glass of ice-cold Polish vodka.

• 1 ounce dried mushrooms, washed  (or 4 ounces fresh mushrooms)
• ½ cup water
• 2 pounds sauerkraut, drained, well rinsed and drained again
• 2 small onions, sliced
• 6 slices bacon, partially cooked, and the bacon drippings
• 3 tablespoons flour
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• salt & pepper to taste

Soak the dried mushrooms in boiling water for 45 minutes.  Drain but keep the mushroom water because it has all that good flavor.  Rinse the rehydrated mushrooms in fresh water to make sure no sand is left.  Drain well and slice thinly.  Note:  if using fresh mushrooms, they should be washed, quartered and sautéed in butter or oil.  A little mushroom bullion, available in Polish or Russian delis, can also intensify the mushroom flavor.

Bring the sauerkraut to a low boil and then simmer.  Sauté the sliced onions in butter or oil until they are just golden and add to the pot.  Cut the partially cooked bacon slices into one-inch pieces and add to the pot along with the bacon drippings.  Mix in the flour and sugar and simmer some more.  Season to taste with salt & pepper.  Let the mix stew for another 30 minutes or so, just making sure the pot does not go dry.  Add water or stock as needed.

This sauerkraut can be served after an hour of stewing but the flavors will be more pronounced if made a day early, cooled and reheated for at least 30 minutes.  One variation which we like a lot, is to add well browned pork chops or a small pork roast to the pot and let the meat braise until fork-tender. One-inch pork chops take about 45 minutes and a small pork roast can take up to two hours.  In either case, as the sauerkraut stews, the flavor actually becomes a bit milder.  And there’s no need to wait until tomorrow.

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Energy Awareness

Wow!!! If you have visited my blog before you know that there have been several special days in October all ready. If you have never visited, take a second and look around. Today, is no different as I bring you another great awareness event that takes place in October. This time the cause is Energy Awareness.

October often brings thoughts of  bonfires, hay rides, pumpkins and so much more. But as you switch your warm weather clothes for your cooler weather ones think about how you can be more aware of how much energy your family uses.
Get your family involved by inquiring with them what they think energy is.

Inform your children that energy comes in a variety of forms. Heat, light, motion, and chemicals are all forms of energy. From the supper that is cooked using energy from gas, electricity or even charcoal grill. The food that we eat is even full of energy. Our bodies stores until it needs it to help your body work and put you in motion. Other ways our family use energy include:

  • The form of transportation that we use to get around depends on energy use of gas or electricity. 
  • Our clothes are washed using energy as well. The machines run on gas or electricity.
  • The games, t.v. , stereo and more are all ran on one energy source or another. 
  • Using the fire pit when wood is being burned chemical energy is being used
The list of ways that energy used is limitless. 

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Christmas Seals

Christmas seals are labels placed on mail during the Christmas season It is a way to raise funds and bring awareness to many charitable programs.Causes such as that for lung diseases, child welfare and other good and decent causes. They are not postal stamps or related to them

History of Christmas Seals
The early 1900s found a fear of tuberculosis with good reason. Einar Holboll a postal clerk came up with an idea to add an extra charitable stamp on holiday greetings that were being mailed. The money raised would be used to help sick children who suffered from tuberculosis. The King of Denmark as well as the postmaster thought well of the idea and Christmas seals were created.

In the first year of Christmas seal over 4 million were sold. The early years of Christmas seals made enough money to build a sanatorium in Kolding in 1911. It would not take long before Sweden and Iceland followed Denmark and created their own Christmas seal program. Christmas seals have remained popular in every major Scandinavian country in Europe.

In 1907 Emily Bissell introduced Christmas seals to United States. The hopes was to raise money for a sanitarium in Delaware. Bissell's idea would grow and come to be administered by National Association for the Study and Prevention of T.B. and the American Red Cross. The Red Cross would later bow out of the Christmas Seals.

Christmas seals in America today benefit the American Lung Association and other lung related issues. Tuberculosis remains one of the most common major infectious diseases in the world.

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Country Ham and Buttermilk Biscuits

One of my husbands favorite treats is a good country ham. Nearly every holiday we will serve a country ham. A country ham is a ham that is found in southern states of Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia, Maryland and other close states. The special methods used to cure and smoke the ham is one that we enjoy.

Country hams are salt-cured for an average 1 - 3 months. Hardwoods such as hickory or red oak are used to smoke the ham but there are a few varieties of country ham that are not smoked. The country ham known as the Missouri uses acure mix made with brown sugar and is less salty and milder than other styles. Cured hams can be aged for up to 3 years as they are not fully cooked but are preserved thru the cure.

Country hams can often be seen packaged in rough cotton bags with identifying markings and stamps. The hams do not require refrigeration and can be cooked in a number of different ways. From simply slicing and pan frying to baking whole or even simmering in a bath of water several hours a country ham can be a tasty treat.

Because of the salt cure country hams often have to be soaked in a bath of water and scrubbed.

Country Ham is commonly served with Red Eye Gravy and Buttermilk Biscuits

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 c. buttermilk (the cheat version is okay)
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup cold water, divided*
1 stick cold or frozen butter, cubed

Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder.
Create a well in the middle of the bowl. Add the buttermilk, egg, shortening, and 2 tbsp of the cold water into the well. Use a wooden spoon to start mixing and "cutting" to form a dough. Take care to not over-mix.
Add the cubes of butter, and use your hands to knead the butter into the dough (no more than 7-8 times). Some of the butter will incorporate to help moisten the dough, but mostly you want the butter to REMAIN in small chunks throughout the dough. This will make the biscuits fluffy.
Turn dough out onto a non-stick surface (use cooking spray if you need to, but try to avoid using flour which will dry the biscuits out). Press into a 1 1/2 inch layer, making it as level as you can.
Use a round cutter to cut biscuits out. Place each one on the prepared cookie sheet, edges touching each other.
Sprinkle salt over top of the dough.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, until outer edges start turning golden brown.
Serve warm! Or store at room temperature in a sealed container for up to 2 days. However: best fresh!

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Whats Your FUture Hold?? Try some Fortune Telling Bread

An Irish tradition that I recently was made aware of is the making of Barbrack for Halloween. Barbrack is a yeasted bread with sultanas and raisins. Barmbrack is a speckled loaf of bread that is made in flattened rounds.

Served toasted at an afternoon tea as part of an Irish Halloween tradition. The cake has several objects including fruit inside of it. The objects are in the special bread to work as a prediction tool. It is a fortune telling game of sorts. If you find:::

the coin: you will enjoy good fortune or become rich!
the ring: wow, you will be wed within the year: romance is in the air!
the stick: you will be in disputes with your partner
the rag: sorry, you are going to be poor!
the pea: you are not going to get married next year… maybe next-one?

Halloween is historically based on a celtic festival known as "Samhain" which in respect means "Summer's End". In the 1600s the Scottish colonists brought to the plantations the festival of All Hallows' Eve. It was said that on All Hallows' Eve the souls of the dead  walked the earth that night and supernatural encounters were said to be very popular To help protect oneself holy water was sprinkled on outhouses, sheds, and farm animals and mirrors in the house were covered with sheets so that the poor souls could not re-enter the living world.

Halloween Barmbrack a sweet speckled fruit bread was served. Each family member was served a slice of the bread. It was a way to test destiny. Make your own , just for fun, :

3 1/2 cups plain flour (450g)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons (1 sachet) dried yeast (7g)
4 tablespoons butter (75g)
1/3 cup castor sugar (75g)
1 cup milk (250ml)
1 beaten egg
1 cup raisins (150g)
3/4 cup currants (100g)
1/4 cup chopped dried fruit peel (50g)
Some melted butter for greasing

Warm the milk, add the butter and let it melt in the warm milk Mix the yeast with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Add half the warmed milk mixture. Add the beaten egg.
Sift the cinnamon with the flour into a bowl. Make a well in the center and pour the yeast and liquid mixture into it. Sprinkle a little flour over the liquid and leave it in a warm place for 20 minutes until the yeast froths up. Add in the remainder of the liquid and mix the whole lot into a dough. Turn it out onto a floured board, sprinkle with the sugar, raisins, currants and chopped peel and knead them into the dough.
Put the dough into a butter-greased large bowl, cover with clingwrap and leave in a warm place until doubled in size. Knead it back again and then shape into your greased bread tin. Brush the top with melted butter and cover until doubled in bulk again. 
Bake for 40 minutes in a preheated hot oven at 400°F (200°C /Gas mark 6) until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
To give it a nice glaze, stir 1 tablespoon sugar into 2 fl oz boiling water (50ml) and brush this over the top of the loaf when it comes out of the oven and is still hot. Leave to cool before cutting.
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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Potato and Cheese Casserole

4-5 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced thin (about 2 pounds)
2 tablespoons butter, divided
½ medium-sized sweet onion, sliced thin
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pint heavy cream, divided in half
2 ¼ cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
¼ cup Asiago cheese, grated
1 teaspoon smoked Spanish hot paprika, divided in half (I use Savory’s)
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes, divided in half
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
½ grated Parmesan cheese (you can also use Parmesan/Reggiano)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.** Spray a 1½ quart (or larger) casserole dish with cooking spray. Layer half of the potatoes in the bottom of the dish and dot with half of the butter. Place all of the onion slices and minced garlic on top of the potato slices, and then pour half of the cream on top of that.

Mix the cheddar and Asiago cheeses together and place half of it on the potatoes. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of parsley, salt and pepper to taste on top of the cheese

Add the rest of the cream, cheese, paprika and parsley. Add more salt and pepper if desired. Bake for 30 minutes and then sprinkle the grated Parmesan on top.
Bake for another 30 minutes or so, until the potatoes are tender and the cheese is bubbly. I like to broil this for a couple of minutes so the top gets nicely browned.

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thursday home and garden 

Roast Pheasant and Gravy

1 pheasant (substitute for Cornish hen)
3 shallots, coarsely chopped (or 1 onion)
2 carrots
2 stalks celery
2 potatoes
1 sweet potato
Fresh thyme
Fresh sage
Salt and pepper
Grape seed oil (or any oil you choose)

4 slices of bacon (optional)

Pre-heat oven 400
Chop all vegetables into chunks. Cut garlic cloves in half. Place all vegetables on bottom of roasting pan. Drizzle vegetables with oil and mix.
Chop herbs finely and have them ready.
Wash and oil pheasant.
Place pheasant in the center of roasting pan, ensuring the pheasant touches the bottom of the pan.
Salt and pepper the bird and vegetables.
Rub pheasant with generous amount of sage and thyme. Sprinkle vegetables with remaining herbs.
Place bacon on top of pheasant.
Uncovered, place roasting pan in oven. Cook 15 minutes until bacon is cooked.
Remove bacon from top of bird, and put in with the vegetables.
Cover and roast for an additional 45 minutes, or until bird is done.

Pheasant or Hen Gravy
Drippings from your roasted pheasant or chicken
Cracked pepper
Vegetta (vegetable bouillon)

Put drippings in pot. Add water to thin out fats, until the desired volume of gravy is reached.
Add cracked pepper, and vegetta to taste. Thicken with flour.
To thicken, dissolve flour in water before adding to the gravy.

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The Scoop

Selecting, Cutting and Making a Yummy Pineapple Recipe

When searching for that perfect pineapple do you know what to look for?? I can tell you one thing , external color does not indicate ripeness. The best bet is to choose fresh looking pineapple with green leaves and a firm shell.

Whole pineapples should be stored at room temp and eaten within a few days. If you need to keep it longer put it in the fridge. For even longer use time cut the pineapple up and freeze it, but beware freezing pineapple may cause it to lose some flavor.

Slicing pineapple:

  • Cut off the top crown and bottom of pineapple.
  • With pineapple on but base start to cut away the peel in strips. Cuts should be deep enough to remove the eyes

  • Cut pineapple in half lengthwise and then in half lengthwise again. 
  • With pineapple in quarters it should be easy to cut out center of pineapple
  • Chunk up pineapple 
  • enjoy

1 butter cake mix or yellow
1 egg
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup pineapple juice
4 cups blueberries
8 oz. cream cheese
2 eggs
1 16 oz. can crushed pineapple - drained - reserve juice
1/2 cup butter - melted
3 cups confectioner sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a mixing bowl dump the cake mix, egg, 1.2 cup melted butter and pineapple juice. Mix until it is thoroughly combined. Press on the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 pan.
Sprinkle the blueberries over the base. Press them down lightly into the batter.
In another bowl combine the cream cheese, 1/2 cup melted butter, eggs and vanilla. Mix until combined. Make sure the crushed pineapple is well drained. Add to the cream cheese. Mix until combined and add the confectionery sugar. When mixed pour over the blueberries.
Bake at 350 (325 if a glass pan) for an hour. Check several times before that. A tester should be clean when you check it. If in doubt leave in another 5 minutes.

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inspire me tuesday

Reuben Dog

When I was a kid, on special occasions we would go to the local drug store where they also had a small diner and enjoy lunch. I can recall the great reubens that they would serve there. This reuben dog helps bring back those great childhood memories 

4 polska kielbasa-style sausages
Homemade Russian Dressing (recipe below)
4 pretzel rolls, split down the middle with “hinge” intact
4 slices Swiss cheese
1 cup sauerkraut

Heat your outdoor grill until nice and hot (or you can even use an indoor grill pan, if you prefer); add the sausage and grill for a few minutes on all sides until nice and charred and smoky; set aside and keep warm.
Turn off the grill, and place a foil-lined baking sheet onto the grates, and close the grill to keep it hot (you will need the heat to melt the cheese once the rolls are assembled).

-To assemble the “rolls”, generously spread some of the Homemade Russian Dressing onto both top’s and bottom’s of the toasted pretzel rolls, and add in the Swiss cheese; place the rolls onto the foil-lined baking sheet inside the grill, and close the grill to allow the cheese to melt in the residual heat; add the sausage, and top with about ¼ cup of the sauerkraut.

Homemade Russian Dressing 

1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon very finely minced onion
1 ½ tablespoons prepared horseradish sauce
Dash or two hot sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish (optional)
Pinch salt
Pinch black pepper

-Add all ingredients to a small bowl, and whisk to combine; use immediately, or store in fridge in a covered container.

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Monday, October 15, 2018

October is Pizza Month check out these Great Halloween Month

In 1984 October became the month to observe National Pizza Month. Most of North America will observe National Pizza Month. Many, an estimated 94% of Americans eat pizza at least once a month. To feed all those individuals pizza there has to be a lot of pizzerias, an estimated 60,000 + exist in the United States. A hefty amount, nearly 23 lbs or 45 slices of pizza a person is consumed by each person in the United States in a year.

The love of pizza started like many other things do. It was brought home to the United States by American soldiers who were based in Italy during World War II. While there they fell in love with the taste of pizza and brought this love for the treat back home to those they love in America.

During the month there should be lots of great deals, sales, new pizza combos created and a grand variety of themes as every one celebrates National Pizza Month.

Try some of these great pizza ideas for halloween

These fun spider pizzas look hauntingly fun check them out here 

how about a great jack o lantern pizza found out more here 

or create your own the way you want to. Find this great post here 

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Farmhouse Sandwich

1⁄4 cup mayonnaise
1⁄4 cup sour cream
1⁄4 teaspoon caraway seed, crushed
1⁄8 teaspoon black pepper
1⁄2 cup sauerkraut, drained (1/2 of an 8-oz can)
3⁄4 tablespoon butter, melted
12 slices country bread
18 slices swiss cheese
6 slices ham (thinly sliced)
pickle (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.
In a small mixing bowl, combine mayo, sour cream, seeds & pepper; stir in kraut; set aside.
On a foil-lined baking sheet, place six slices bread--first brush each with melted butter (save some for the other half of the sammie); top with a slice of cheese, then 1/6th of the kraut mixture,then a slice of ham and two slices of cheese--do this on all six slices of bread.
Brush remaining six slices of bread with melted butter; place on cheese--with butter side up, to make six sandwiches.
Bake for 10 minutes (cheese is melted, bread is lightly browned)--turn once during that time.
Remove from oven; slice diagonally, serve with pickles.

SEPTEMBER HARVEST: Remember Johnny Appleseed by placing a few thin slices of apple between the ham and cheese.

NEBRASKA REUBEN: Salute Omaha's claim to fame and use thinly sliced corned beef instead of the ham.

CRUNCHY BITES: Add a few sunflower kernels to the sauerkraut mixture and honor those hardy souls in North Dakota who raise huge fields of sunflowers!

BOOST YOUR PROTEIN: Stir about a 1/4-cup of cooked edible soybeans (edamame) into the sauerkraut mixture and thank a South Dakota farmer!

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merry monday

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Safe Sleep Prevent SIDS and other Sleep Issues in Babies

Each year in the Untied States there will be 3,500 sleep related deaths among babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics has stated that this number is an accumulation of all sleep deaths including SIDS. Thus creating a safe sleep area for babies is very important.

Some tips that may help you prepare that safe sleep area include:

  • Babies should sleep om their backs at both night time and naps. A babies gag reflex will prevent them from choking while sleeping on their backs. Babies sleeping on their backs are much less likely to die of SIDS. 
  • Babies should sleep on a crib mattress or other firm, flat sleep surface. Softer surfaces can increase the risk of sleep related deaths.  The firm sleep surface helps reduce risk of SIDS and suffocation. 

  • Baby should sleep in same room as parents for the first 6 months years of age, some recommend the first year. Allowing the baby to sleep in caregiver bed may make unsafe sleep surfaces or lead to suffocation or strangulation. 
  • Blankets, pillows, bumper pads and soft toys should not be in babies immediate sleep area. Babies head should not be covered when sleeping. Blankets and comforters can increase heat and lead to suffocation. 

Pear Season

The USA is proud growers and suppliers of many crops both fruit and veggies. One fruit grown in the United States is pears. There are ten varieties of pears grown in the states. Each type of pear has its own color, flavor, and texture. With the great climate and growing season in the United States pears are in season year round. Pears offer fiber, potassium, antioxidants and vitamin C.

When serving pears consider using winter spices to dress them up. Ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, and star anise. For a simple dish with lots of taste slice up a pear, sprinkle with a mix of cinnamon, ginger , nutmeg and cloves and roast in oven 10 to 15 minutes

Poached pears make a delicious dessert. Poaching liquid can be anything from red wine, beetroot, or ginger syrup. Pears also go well in tarts and pies. Pears are delicious served with wild game bird. Pears can be roasted along other veggies such as carrots, garlic and shallots to be served along side the game bird.

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