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Saturday, January 12, 2019

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo #recipe

This easy version of Chicken and Sausage Gumbo offers a bit of Cajun and a bit of health through a delicious gumbo. Louisiana cuisine always includes gumbo. This gumbo recipe offers one that is a bit healthier as well. It is hard to find diabetic chicken gumbo recipes especially one that taste great. Better yet, this gumbo recipe will not have you cooking over the stove for hours at a time. It is easy to cook the roux, chop up the seasoning ahead of time takes a lot of time out of cooking this meal. 

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 lb reduced-fat sausage cut in 1/4-inch pieces
2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in pieces
1 onion chopped
1 tsp garlic minced
1 green bell pepper cored and chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
8 cup fat-free chicken broth
1 16-ounce package frozen cut okra or fresh cut okra
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 bunch green onions chopped

Preheat oven 400ºF.
Place flour on baking sheet and bake 20 minutes.  Stir every 7–10 minutes or until dark nutty brown color. Set aside.
In large nonstick pot coated with nonstick cooking spray, stir-fry sausage over medium heat and cook until crispy brown.  Set aside and remove any excess grease.  Recoat skillet with nonstick cooking spray.
Add chicken and cook, stirring until starting to brown and then add onion, garlic, green pepper, and celery, cooking until tender. Stir in browned flour, stir continuously.
Gradually add chicken broth, okra, thyme, cayenne, and season to taste.  Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer 30 minutes or until chicken is tender. Add sausage and green onions cooking 5 more minutes.

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Low Carb Indian Inspired Chicken #Recipe

Legend has it that butter chicken was created by a chef at the Moti Mahal restaurant. By mixing leftover tandoori juice with tomato and butter then tossing it with tandoori cooked chicken the dish was created. It seemed that the dish had a strong drawing with many fans that were wild about it.

Butter is used to cook leftover tandori chicken. If butter is not used then reheating will turn the meat dry and leathery. Butter can be thought of as the gravy that gets it all together. Butter chicken closely resembles another Indian inspired dish chicken tikka masala. If you are familiar with this dish the difference is that tikka masala will have a more complex layered flavor from spices but butter chicken tastes like butter with a milder sweeter gravy.

Butter chicken is one of the most popular Indian dishes in the world.

12⁄3 lbs boneless chicken thighs
1 tomato
1 yellow onion
2 tbsp fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp garam masala seasoning
½ tbsp dried coriander (cilantro) leaves
½ tbsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
3 oz. butter or ghee

Oven-baked cauliflower
1 lb cauliflower
½ tsp turmeric
½ tbsp coriander seed
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
2 oz. butter

Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
Into a food processor, add tomato, onion, ginger, peeled and chopped garlic, tomato paste and spices. Blend until smooth. Add the cream and mix for a couple of seconds.
Marinate the chicken in the mixture for at least 20 minutes, but preferably more, in the refrigerator.
Place a large frying pan over medium high heat and add a third of the butter. Add the chicken in the pan and fry for a couple of minutes.
Pour the remaining marinade over the chicken and add the rest of the butter. Let simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked. Salt to taste.
Garnish with fresh cilantro and drizzle with a splash of cream.
Oven-roasted cauliflower
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
Trim the cauliflower and cut into small slices.
Spread them out on a baking tray, sprinkle over seasoning and butter. Bake for 15 minutes in the oven.

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What To Ask The Pharmacist

When the doctor prescribes  a new prescription to be taken the individual that can help answer our questions regarding the new medication is the pharmacist. Trained to offer counseling and help you understand your medication it is best to talk to our pharmacist and answer any and all questions regarding the medication. Not sure what to ask here are a few good questions to get you started. 

what is the medication for?
how much do I need to take within a 24 hour period of time
how often should I take the medication
how should it be stored
are there are potential side effects
what medications should be avoided while taking this drug

Following the consultation with the pharmacist you should be aware of a few facts:

  • the name of the medication
  • what the medication is being taken for
  • how to take the prescribed medication
  • how you will know if medication is working and what to expect 
The consultation with a Pharmacist should be a good conversation as well as a learning experience. They have valuable information that you may not know otherwise

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Thyroid Awareness

The new year has ushered in with many heading back to the gym to get in shape. It is a chance for new beginnings. It is also Thyroid awareness month. The thyroid is a small glad that is part of the endocrine system and is located at the base of your neck While small in size the thyroid gland actually has a big job.

The thyroid glad is responsible for various functions including:

  • helps in the bodies metabolism
  • regulates body temp
  • cognitive functioning
  • digestion
The thyroid is one glad that affects the entire body. If it is not working properly one will definitely feel the effects. One problem that may go wrong with the thyroid is known as hypothyroidism. 

Hypothyroidism is the condition where the thyroid gland is not producing enough of the thyroid hormone needed for the body to function properly. There are other conditions as well that are caused by the thyroid gland not working properly. Hyperthyroidism occurs when the the thyroid gland is in over active state. Other conditions that occur when the thyroid does not work properly include Graves' disease and Hashimoto disease both of which are autoimmune disease, goiter, thyroid nodules which are growths on the thyroid gland and thyroid cancer. 

Symptoms of the thyroid dysfunctioning include:
  • Cold hands/feet (hypothyroidism)
  • Dry skin (hypothyroidism)
  • Unexplained weight gain (hypothyroidism)
  • Unexplained weight loss (hyperthyroidism)
  • Loose bowels/diarrhea (hyperthyroidism)
  • Vision issues (Graves’ disease)
  • Difficulty swallowing (goiter/thyroid nodules)

If you would like to learn more are concerned for your own health then you should consult your personal doctor

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Did You Know::: Birth Defects

Babies are very delicate individuals. Even before they are born things can go wrong within the womb. Some babies may have problems with their organ and body parts. At times they will not work properly. When this happens these issues are known as birth defects. Birth defects can range from minor to serious, the minor issues may need no treatment while the more serious birth defects causing disabilities as well as possibly facing medical or surgical treatment. The March of Dimes figures that 1 baby out of 33 will be born in the United States with a birth defect.

Structural birth defects are those where the baby is born with part of their body missing or malformed. The most serious of this type of birth defect are heart defects followed closely by spina bifida, cleft palate, clubfoot, and congenital dislocated hip.

Metabolic birth defects are caused when baby's body chemistry has a problem. This form of birth defect prevents the body from properly breaking down food to create energy. Two of the most common type of metabolic birth defects are issues with the central nervous system and the manner in how the body produces protein.

Moms to be can do their babies a favor by taking folic acid and having enough iodine in their diet. Most babies that are born with birth defects have 2 healthy parents with no known risk factors. Many times the doctor may not know what caused the baby's birth defect. At times the cause may be environmental such as exposure to chemicals or viruses in the womb.

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Chocolate Sandwich Biscuits

100g butter, softened
½ cup treacle sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup flour
¼ cup desiccated coconut
¼ tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3 tbsp cocoa
80g dark chocolate

1.) Preheat your oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
2.) Cream the butter and treacle sugar together until combined. Mix in the vanilla extract.
3.) Add the flour, coconut, baking powder, salt and cocoa and mix until everything has combined and you have a soft dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
4.) Roll small balls of the dough, about the size of a large marble, and arrange them on the tray. Press each ball down lightly to make little discs that are roughly 5mm thick. Bake for 12 minutes until starting to crack a little on top. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
5.) Melt the dark chocolate in a small bowl. Sandwich two cooled cookies together with a teaspoon of melted chocolate. Leave to set. Store the cookies in an airtight container.

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The Chocolate Factory

There is a location in south-eastern Illinois that is one of the sweetest places of the state. Head down Illinois Route 146 to the Shawnee National Forest and you will directly go  by The Chocolate Factory. Chocolate lovers will love this place full of everything from truffles and homemade peanut butter cups to assorted boxes all made with the finest cocoa. In addition you will find a variety of homemade fudge in flavors such as maple walnut, chocolate with pecans, and peanut butter. Don't worry there are also sugar-free goodies and chocolate to allow everyone in on the fun.

The Chocolate factory started out in 1977 when Linda Meherg and a couple of her friends started a chocolate business across from the Dixon Springs State Park. Gourmet chocolates were the first goodies sold but later items such as fudge and ice cream were added to the menu.

Chocolate lovers flock to the Chocolate Factory in Golconda Illinois. Sweet teeth every where will be pleased with the sweet and delectable goodies that can be found there. From creamy, rich milk chocolate to fudge and sugar free treats no one is left out. The chocolate factory fashions to businesses, weddings, holidays and what ever you may need. "Novelties are their specialties"

Some of my Favorite Products include

heart box of chocolate

cute chocolate doctor kit

anyone who loves to fish will love this sweet set as well

order from the Chocolate Factory on phone

  • Call us toll-free at 877-949-3829 for custom orders!
Order online at their website and locate great gifts and send any where you may need them to go. Shipping is free to family and friends across the country

Shop in person at the Chocolate Factory shop on Illinois Route 146 The shop is located directly across from the Dixon Springs State Park, in the heart of Shawnee national Forest on the beautiful Ohio River Scenic By Way in Southern Illinois. 

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It's OK to be Different

School day... School day... Good old Golden Rule days... Back in the day I attended school at a small town elementary school. Later our family would move to a bigger area and I would attend high school with about 4X the amount of children that started out in my early years. While they were two different classes I found great friends in both and found the path to be me.
I was always a bit different as I loved to be silly and make all those around me smile and chat. I do not believe that I have ever met a stranger. I still have close friendships with both my primary grade classmates as well as those I met in later years. We all learned to become who we were and grow with in it. If only today's generation was as close as we were in those days and times.

We all learned it was o.k. to be different it was o.k. to be us. For some of us money was no issue, for some like my family our parents worked but we did  get by nicely and others even had to live on the government systems, To us (the kids / friends) it made no difference. If it mattered to our parents they did not say anything. All we knew was that we were friends and in many cases still are today.

So teach your children while they are young, its ok to be different.

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Friday, January 11, 2019

Clean the fridge

After the holidays and all the leftovers the fridge has seen its share of heavy work. In fact your fridge may look a bit like this

If this resembles your fridge then it is time to get ready to clean and organize the fridge. Start with by gathering needed supplies

  • microfiber cloth
  • cloth to wash
  • bowl warm water with dish soap added
  • bins that can be found in your home supply aisle 
Start with a couple of shelves at a time. This will ensure that the food will not be out of fridge too long or fridge door is not open too long. As you go through each section be sure to remove shelves and bins to wash in sink. Wipe down each section of fridge and dry then replace food keeping like items together. Check labels making sure that expiration dates have not passed. 

One great way to organize the fridge is by using bins. Bins that are large enough to run the entire depth of the fridge will help keep it all together. All too often little items get pushed to the back of the fridge where they are forgotten about and may go bad. Bins will help to keep those small items from being pushed back and expiring.

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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Enjoy A Bit of Soup

Tonight is one of the colder nights of January with a winter weather storm issued. In this type of weather I love to prepare and eat a good meal of soup. The best thing is that there is a great variety of soups. With ingredients such as meat, poultry, fish, seafood, veggies, fruits, milk, cream, sour cream, cheese, wine, eggs, herbs, spices, grains and noodles the many varieties are tasty and filling. Thus offering a meal that sticks to the ribs and helps us warm up

I can recall Sunday nights being the one night a week that we would have soup. We may have soup other nights but no matter what Sunday night was the night we would eat soup. Many times the soup would be made up of left over meat from the week as well as any extra veggies we may have. Now days, our family is so large that we do not have a lot of leftovers but we still have soup. Soup styles from chunky to smooth, thick to thin , clear broth to creamy, hot to cold, makes them perfect for any night of the week. Perhaps you are a bit short on veggies you can add a bit of pasta instead, however you prepare your soup you can do it to your taste and style choice.

Soup can be served as an appetizer, entree, to pair up with a sandwich, the first course of a large dinner or even a dessert. Serve it with crackers, rolls, breads, corn muffins or toppings like sour cream, cheese, herbs , chives, croutons or tortilla chips. There are so many great soup choices that you can have a different one every night, served up a different way each night for a month. Simply do a quick search on the internet or in cookbooks. From a french soup known as Billy bi to a Chinese soup known as birds nest soup can even be international. In addition there are soups that are common favorites to local areas like Burgoo a thick stew made out in big pots that was a Kentucky favorite that is often served to hundreds at festivals and fundraisers.

Finally what are the differences between soups, stocks and stews. Soups often contain veggies, fruits, meat and or fish cooked in a liquid. Stocks strain liquid from cooking veggies, meat or fish and other seasonings in water. Stews contain meat, veggies and a thick soup like broth made from stewing liquid and natural juices of food stewed.

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Introducing the Communication System Known as Braille

Growing up in a town in central Illinois I was introduced to a vast world of many different populations. In nearby Jacksonville Illinois not only was there 2 colleges but also a school for the deaf and on the other side of town a school for the blind. I learned quickly not to judge anyone at face value and to try to learn all I could from those I met on my path through life. Perhaps that is how we should all look at life as we never know the story of those we meet along the way

I spent time learning sign language to be able to communicate with those in the deaf community, all though many of them could read lips. I also learned that being blind did not mean that individuals were helpless and did not want those with sight to help them with all in life. They had many strong leaders in their community history and these leaders had created many devices to help them move beyond the ability to not see and learn to not only survive but to go beyond their means in life. For example, braille was created to help those without sight to read.

The inventor of the 6 dot fingertip reading system that helps those unable to see was Louis Braille. He created the system as a means for communication for people who are blind. The communication holds more than just his last name as the title it also holds a brilliant memory that would help the blind forever. Furthermore, it must be realized that braille is not a language but a communication system

Louis Braille was born in France January 4th , 1809. The communication he would devise was created after an introduction to Charles Barbier, a captain n Napoleons army. Barbier shared a communication code knows as Night Writing with students at Brailles bind school. At that time Braille was 10 years old but it would not take long to use this newly learned code that Braille learned to help others. Finally, there was a communication system that used 6 dots to communicate through any language.

Many years later in 2016 the Unified English Braille was introduced. This new unified code replaced the English Braille American Edition that had been created many years ago.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Oatmeal Baths Sooth Dry Skin

Winter weather can play havoc on our skin. From the cold temperatures and wind to the indoor form of heat our skin can become very dry. Dry skin can be itchy, dry and inflamed and make us feel on edge. One remedy that has been around for quite a while and has been shown to be successful is an oatmeal bath.

Avena, sativa, the plant that grows oats itself is high in calcium, chromium, magnesium, vitamin A, and vitamin B. Soaking in a bath of oatmeal will help calm and soothe the nerves. Scientist believe that the oat plant itself and what is made up of is responsible for its soothing abilities with poison ivy, poison oak and chicken pox. The same anti inflammatory elements that helps relieve those conditions can help relieve eczema and dry skin.

One way is to pour the dried oatmeal directly into the bathtub. But after enjoying the soothing effects you may find it a bit difficult to get it all cleaned up. Another way and one that I prefer is to use an old sock. (you know one of those mismatched socks that hangs around in the basket finally has a job to do) A tall sock will be needed as you will stuff it full of 1/2 cup of oats. The old fashioned oats work better When the oatmeal is in the sock tie it shut.

Fill a bath tub full of warm water (hot water will irritate the itch even more) Getting the sock soaked and squeezing it often will make a slick and soapy feeling. The water will turn a cloudy milky like color Enjoy your bath

Following the bath the sock can be used to dap on areas that still feel itchy. The sock can be dried and rewet for later use. Oatmeal baths can be taken several times a day but if they are needed more than 3 times a day time to go see a doctor.

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IMportance of Blood Donation

As we all know time is a commodity that we never seem to have enough of. As a health care worker I know that time in critical situations seems even more important. For example, did you know that every 2 seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. Blood is needed in surgeries, cancer treatment, chronic illnesses and traumatic injuries. I have seen certain situations where routine care, surgeries and other procedures could not be completed because of the lack of blood. However, you can be the one to make the difference by making a generous donation. 

Those who wish to make a donation of blood to help others must meet a few requirements. 

  • You must be in good health and feeling well
  • You must be at least 16 years old in most states
  • You must weigh at least 110 lbs

In addition, there must be 56 days between times an individual donates their blood. Each time a person donates there is a chance to save 3 lives. In addition to saving lives there are a number of reasons why donating blood is important

  • Blood can not be manufactured Medical and technological advances have not been able to make blood. That is why donations are the only way to give blood to those who need it
  • The demand of blood is fierce. Every 2 seconds someone will need a donation of blood. 
  • Only about 1/3 of the country's population can donate blood making those donations even more important
  • We never know who receives our blood. Our friends or family may need to get blood someday
Please take into account all that you have learned about donating blood and seriously consider donating. 

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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Give Me That Old Time Rock and Roll

This old song is one that I welcomed in every morning through my high school years. It was z100 from Evansville Illinois that would wake me up with this song on the radio and get my blood pumping. Do you have any songs that you can recall that got you rocking and rolling

Just take those old records off the shelf
I'll sit and listen to 'em by myself
Today's music ain't got the same soul
I like that old time rock 'n' roll
Don't try to take me to a disco
You'll never even get me out on the floor
In ten minutes I'll be late for the door
I like that old time rock'n' roll
Still like that old time rock'n' roll
That kind of music just soothes the soul
I reminisce about the days of old
With that old time rock 'n' roll
Won't go to hear them play a tango
I'd rather hear some blues or funky old soul
There's only sure way to get me to go
Start playing old time rock 'n' roll
Call me a relic, call me what you will
Say I'm old-fashioned, say I'm over the hill
Today' music ain't got the same soul
I like that old time rock 'n' roll
Still like that old time rock 'n' roll
That kind of music just soothes the soul
I reminisce about the days of old
With that old time rock 'n' roll
Still like that old time rock 'n' roll
That kind of music just soothes the soul
I reminisce about the days of old
With that old time rock 'n' roll
Still like that old time rock 'n' roll
That kind of music just soothes the soul
I reminisce about the days of old
With that old time rock 'n' roll
Hey, still like that old time rock 'n' roll
That kind of music just soothes the soul
I reminisce about the days of old
With that old time rock 'n' roll
Still like that old time rock 'n' roll
Songwriters: George Henry Jackson / Thomas Earl Jones Iii

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Grow a Salad Through Container Gardening

January is a great time for container gardening. There are cold weather veggies that can grow in containers and brought in the house or placed on covered porch in the bitter winter. The best plants for a cold weather container garden are those that grow well in small pots. Some ideas would be :

Beetroot (here’s how to prepare beets)
Chicory can grow in containers with at least twelve inch deep soil medium
Cress will grow in a shallow container (and even in a moist paper towel)
Garlic, a favorite spice in cooking that can be grown in a shallow container
Lettuce, a popular leaf vegetable that has a very good tolerance for cold conditions and can grow well using container gardening
Mesclun, a leafy vegetable, will grow well in containers. With a short vegetative stage, it will be ready for harvest in four to six weeks
Misome, a type of mustard, will be a slow grower in the winter, but will give you some variety
Silverbeet, also known as  rainbow chard, can be harvested continuously
green onions

So if you want to start gardening early then try container gardening

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chicken tortilla less soup

This great soup recipe offers a bunch of veggies and healing broth with very little sugar

2 ½ lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp. ghee (we recommend Pure Indian Foods)
1 medium onion, diced
1 small red pepper, diced
8 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 jalapenos, minced (optional; seeds and membranes removed for less heat)
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. taco seasoning (such as our Whole30 Taco Seasoning recipe)
½ tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. sea salt
3-4 cupsWhole30-compliant chicken broth (or homemade broth)
1 28-ounce can fire roasted crushed tomatoes (may substitute diced tomatoes)
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Diced avocado and lime wedges for serving

Place a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add ghee.
When ghee is melted, nestle chicken breasts into the bottom of the Dutch oven in a single layer. Cook 5-7 minutes then flip and cook an additional 5-7 minutes.
Push chicken breasts to the side (stacking them is okay), add onions, red peppers, jalapenos, taco seasoning, cumin and sea salt. Stir to combine and cook for 5 minutes or until onion and peppers start to soften. Add garlic and cook an additional 30-60 seconds or until fragrant.
Add 3 cups broth and crushed tomatoes. Bring soup just to a boil then cover and reduce heat to simmer.
Cook 20 minutes until vegetables are tender and chicken breasts are cooked through.
Remove chicken to a cutting board and allow to cool before shredding with two forks. Add additional broth, if needed, to reach desired consistency.
Return shredded chicken to pot and stir. Add cilantro and lime juice.
Serve with diced avocado and lime wedges.

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Monday, January 7, 2019

How Is Your New Year Resolution Going

So your New Year resolutions have been created and this year you intend to make it. Now, a week later how do you feel?? Many will fail their resolutions after the first week of January.

Hopefully you have picked a realistic goal that is not to large. If so you may want to break this down into smaller steps To ensure that you can see the progress you are making keep your results on an app of sorts.

It’s way too easy to come up with New Year’s resolutions submerged in the heat of enthusiasm of the upcoming Year. But, most of us are more familiar with the difficulty of sticking to the resolutions! Well, these tips are more than enough to help you stick to the plan. Always be optimistic and look forward to a rejoice and prosperous Year!!

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Feeling A Bit Under The Weather Try a Hot Toddy

One of winter's favorite drinks is a hot toddy. There are many a variation most of them starting out with a mug of hot water with or without a bit of whisky. Add in a bit of lemon, spices and sugar and there you have it a delicious winter drink. The hot toddy started out in Western Europe during the 18th century in the many pubs that served Scotch whiskey with a splash of boiling water. The drink was thought to help fend off the bitter Scottish cold. 

When trade routes through the British Empire made supplies like sugar and spices available the two were added into the mixture. The hot toddy was also adapted through the India trade routes offering medicinal hot beverages made out of tree sap. 

Another possible origin of the hot toddy was that of a physician during the mid 19th century Robert Bentley Todd from Dublin. One of Dr. Todd's prescriptions was a cure all mixture of brandy, white cinnamon, sugar and hot water. No matter the origin of the hot toddy many of them today still include a spirit base (normally whiskey), hot water, sweetener (honey or sugar) and a variety of spices. 

The hot toddy is primarily made according to taste and use of local ingredients. A hot toddy from New England may use maple syrup another with an Irish flare may use Irish whisky but one in Scotland is more than likely made using scotch. The nature of a hot toddy invites variations. 

 Blood Orange Spiced Tea Toddy

8 fluid oz. boiling water
1 Bold Breakfast Black Tea pyramid sachet
1 cinnamon stick
1 cardamom pod
1 whole star anise
1 ½  fluid oz. whiskey*
1 oz. orange liqueur*
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 fluid oz. orange juice, fresh squeezed
Orange peel (garnish)

In a mug, combine boiling water, one Bold Breakfast Black tea sachet, and spices.
Steep for 4-6 minutes.
Remove tea bag and spices (You can leave them in as well if desired).
Add the remaining ingredients and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
Garnish with an orange peel.
Enjoy warm and stay cozy!

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Take Your Pet for a Walk

Welcome to 2019!!! It is a new year, a new chance to start out. Did you make any resolutions?? Most people, including myself, have made some resolutions to change the way things have been done. Many will make resolutions concerning fitness, weight loss, or getting healthier. One great way to do this and include one of your close friends, you know the one with 4 paws. In addition it will allow you to take part in the National Walk Your Pet Month event.

Young dogs need at least an hour of exercise a day. The age and fitness levels of the dog determines how long and how vigorous the outing will be. That is the same for the dog and owner. There are many benefits to taking your dog for a walk a few of these include:

  • Improved Health--- regular exercise will help improve your overall health. The health of your dog will improve as well. Stress levels will also improve with regular exercise In addition risk factors for many chronic health conditions in both pets and people should be reduced. 
  • The winter months may lead to inactivity for both pet and owner. This inactivity normally leads to excess weight.  In the beginning you may want to start off with shorter walks and built up to longer excursions 
  • Getting out and walking on regular basis will help with digestion and constipation Do the right thing when you take walks and pick up dog waste
  • Dogs destructive behavior can be curbed when taken on regular walks. The behaviors are often from boredom that both owners and dogs suffer from but getting out and about can cure boredom of all
  • Not sleeping well?? Regular walks will help burn off excess energy and help calm excitable pets as well as promote better sleep habits. 
  • How well do you know the area you live in?? Get outside, walk your dog and learn more about them. Both individuals along the way and dogs will love getting out and socializing. 
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Start Planning The Garden

Gardening is a hobby for some and a way of life for others. Either way gardening can be done every month of the year. Here in Illinois January and February are normally bitterly cold--- this year not so bad but never know what will happen tomorrow. Anywho: during the months of January and February planning for the garden takes place. It is time to order seeds and garden supplies as well as prepare for those plants that we start inside and transplant during warmer weather. Therefore the first two months of the year are for planning and preparing.

Start with where to order the seeds we will need and get ideas for what to do in the garden in 2019. There are actually seed companies that are looking for people to send their catalogs too. The reason is because the more more catalogs out the more people look at them the more sales they hopefully make.Therefore, getting several seed catalogs is good for you and them both.

Don't just rely on one seed catalog. Flipping through the pages will help you dream of warmer gardening weather and help you prepare for the new garden season. The more seed catalogs you have the better. Getting seed catalogs is easy simply go to a local seed company website and click on "request a catalog" No credit card information needed since you are not buying anything. Getting the catalogs in January will have you set for early seed planting.

So get yourself signed up for a bunch of seed catalogs TODAY so you are ready for spring planting in a few months. Yay!

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Carnival Cookie #Recipe

Carnival Cookies
recipe from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Everyday

3 bananas, mashed very well
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1-1/2 rolled oats
1/2 cup almond meal or flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate of choice
2/3 cup shelled unsalted peanuts
1-1/2 cups air-popped popcorn

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix the banana, vanilla, and coconut oil.  In another bowl, combine the oats, almond meal, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Add this to the wet ingredients and combine.  Add the chocolate and peanuts and combine, and then gently incorporate the popcorn.  Form heaping tablespoons of the mixture into balls (I used my hands to get these together since the mixture is very loose) and place on a lined baking sheet about an inch apart from eachother.  Bake for 15-18 minutes.  If using two trays at a time, rotate them halfway through the cooking time.

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Chinese Chicken Salad #Recipe

2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1 can (10.5 ounces) mandarin oranges, drained
1 cup broccoli slaw
⅛ cup peanuts
1 green onion, thinly sliced
for the Sesame-Ginger Dressing:
⅓ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
4 tablespoons honey
¼ cup sesame oil
⅓ cup peanut oil
2 cloves minced garlic
½ teaspoon ground ginger

for the Sesame-Ginger Dressing:
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well
for the chicken salad:
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the shredded chicken, mandarin oranges, broccoli slaw, peanuts & green onion. Toss to mix well.
Drizzle 2 - 3 tablespoons of the sesame dressing over the mixture and toss to coat.
Serve on rolls or wrapped in tortillas. Drizzle more dressing over the chicken salad sandwich before serving if desired.

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Sunday, January 6, 2019

Dried Plums Good For Your Body

Dried plums are very good for your health. They can help your body in a variety of ways .

  • a serving of 5 dried plums or 1/4 cup pitted plum provides 3.5 grams of dietary fiber. The good part is that 55% of the fiber in dried plums is soluble. Soluble fiber is effective in normalizing and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels which helps to reduce risk of heart disease. It also slows the rate digested food leaves the stomach helping to keep blood glucose levels under control. Dried plums also help to relieve constipation 
  • One serving of five dried plums provides 36% of vitamin K needed in a day. Vitamin K is needed for blood coagulation and bone formation. Dried plums are also a significant source of vitamin A. Vitamin A is useful in sight and to help healthy immune system and bone growth. Vitamin B is also found in dried plums 
  • Dried plums are high in potassium and offers a 10% daily value for every 5. Potassium helps distribute and maintain balanced fluids throughout the body. Blood pressure is regulated and is needed for normal muscle contraction and nerve transmission. Dried plums also help to provide copper to the body. Copper is needed to form red blood cells and utilize iron. 

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3 Kings Bread #Recipe

Please do read all the recipe instructions and notes before you start baking.
1/2 cup of warm water
1 Envelopes 2 1/4 teaspoons or 7 grams of dry active yeast
4 cups (565 grams or 20 oz) all-purpose flour plus 2 or 3 Tbsp. more for dusting
3/4 cup of sugar 150 grams, if you want sweeter add 1/4 cup extra.
3 LARGE whole eggs
3 egg yolks mixed with 4 Tablespoons of milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 Tablespoon orange extract
1 1/2 stick unsalted butter softened (169 grams, or 3/4 cup) Plus more for the mixing bowl and plastic wrap.
Freshly grated orange zest from one orange
Ingredients for the topping:
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup of all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons margarine or shortening.
1/2 cup of confectioner sugar
Dry fruit like figs candied citron, quince paste stripes, orange peels or cherries.*
1 egg beaten for glazing the bread
1 tablespoon whole milk or water
White sugar to sprinkle on top of the bread
2 or 3 plastic baby dolls

Pour lukewarm water into a bowl, and sprinkle with yeast. Stir with a fork until yeast has dissolved, then let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup of the flour, and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 25 minutes.
In the meantime, mix flour, eggs, egg yolks, sugar, orange extract, orange zest, salt and butter in a large bowl. Mix until crumbly. Even though I have a Stand mixer this time I kneaded the dough by hand since not everyone has a large mixer but you can do these steps in your Kitchen Aid.
Add yeast mixture to the bowl and mix. It will be very sticky but manageable, add flour if needed. Place on a lightly floured surface and start kneading until you have a smooth dough. It will take about 15-20 minutes to get this results. 7 minutes in your Kitchen Aid. DO NOT add too much flour to your working area, the texture should be very soft, sort of wet but manageable. If you add more flour than needed your bread will be dry.
Once your dough is smooth and soft, place in a buttered bowl, and cover with buttered plastic wrap. The pictures don’t show the texture and feel of the dough, but it must be wet and elastic. Let dough stand in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 and 1/2 hours. Make sure your kitchen is warm to help your dough to rise. If the dough doesn’t double in volume after this time let it rest longer. The fermentation process develops flavor, so slower and longer is always best.
While the dough is resting, mix the following ingredients for the decoration: margarine with the confectioner sugar until it creamy. Then add in the flour and egg yolk. Until you have a smooth paste.
After the first resting period. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead a few times, then shape into a round cushion and making a hole in the middle shape into a large ring. Transfer to a greased rimmed baking sheet, and loosely cover with buttered plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes or more until almost double in volume. Gather all your decorations and the egg wash. For the egg wash whisk remaining egg with milk or water.
Preheat oven at least 20 minutes before baking at 375 degrees, with rack in lower third.
Brush the dough with the egg wash two times for a golden crust. Form strips with the confectioner sugar paste and decorate the dough. Place some of the dried fruit pressing them gently into the dough. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 10 more minutes until bread is a nice golden brown color. Depending on your oven it will require more time. (Some readers had reported baking for 30 minutes)
Transfer the bread to a wire rack to cool. After the bread has cooled insert the plastic baby dolls from the bottom of the bread. Do not forget to let your guests know that there is a baby toy inside the bread. Rosca de Reyes can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

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Epiphany comes from a Greek word that means manifestation or appearance. To Christians Epiphany refers to the manifestation of the divine nature of Jesus and is marked by a feast day. Epiphany to many also means a sudden flash of understanding or insight.

3 gifts God offers us:

Like the three gifts that were offered to baby Jesus from the wise men God also offers us 3 gifts as well.
  • Gift of Character to know how to look for what we ought to and be ready t do and suffer anything and everything to develop a life of faith and virtue. Pray daily, seek God in reconciliation and become an affirming person by committing our selves. 
  • The ability to look for Jesus through internal and external resources that God gives so that we may succeed in our quest. The journey may be difficult and long but to reach our personal peace we should be faithful to educating our selves about God's love. 
  • We have been blessed to have people in our lives to travel the journey with. God intends for us to build loving, affirming as well as serve the community. 
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Strawberry Granola Bar

hese fruit-filled bars are perfect for breakfast, snacks, or a light sweet treat! Store them in the refrigerator to maintain a firm texture and prevent them from browning.

1 tsp coconut oil, melted
½ c mashed banana (about one 8” banana)
1/3 c skim milk
1 tbsp honey
2 ½ c old-fashioned oats (gluten-free, if necessary)
1 c frozen unsweetened strawberries, thawed slightly and diced
Preheat the oven to 300°F, and lightly coat an 8”-square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, mix together the coconut oil, mashed banana, milk, and honey. Stir in the oats until thoroughly coated. Gently fold in the diced strawberries. Press the mixture into the prepared pan, and bake at 300°F for 15-19 minutes. Cool completely to room temperature in the pan before slicing into bars. Cover the bars with plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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National Shortbread Day with Recipe

Shortbread is made up of 3 ingredients. Equal parts of sugar, powder sugar and a bit of salt. White flour is the choice for shortbread as well. The crumbly texture created by the high fat content of the butter is a feature of shortbread.

Shortbread is a crunchy buttery cookie. The three main ingredients of shortbread cookies are flour, sugar and butter with a dash of salt.

Shortbread began as a medieval biscuit that was baked a second time. Shortbread and biscotti are all relatives. Rumors have it that shortbread may have appeared during the 12th century in Britain but others say that Scotland is the home of shortbread "short" bread cookies were fancy desserts meant to be served to the wealthy and on special occasions. In addition they were a favorite of Mary, Queen of Scots

The shape of shortbread has ranged from round, rectangular, diamond shaped, and wedge. Originally though, shortbread was in the shapes of large divided into segments, round biscuits, or thick rectangular slab cut into fingers.

Adapted from Traditional Scottish Recipes

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (about 6 ounces)
1 stick unsalted butter, softened (4 ounces)
½ cup granulated sugar (about 2 ounces)
¼ cup cornstarch (about 1 ounce)
¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Cut the butter into pieces. Using a wooden spoon, mix the butter and sugar by hand until pale and creamy. Mixing Butter and Sugar
Sift the flour, cornstarch and salt into the bowl of creamed butter and sugar, and mix well, continuing to use your wooden spoon.
It will begin to come together in a somewhat crumbly dough, but it should very easily clump together if you gather it with your hand.
Lightly flour a work surface. Place the dough on top. Roll out the dough until it is about ¼-inch thick.
Decide what shape you’d like the shortbread in. If you’d like it to be a round, shape it into a circle by hand. If you’d like it to bake in a pan, press it into a greased 8″ by 8″ pan. Or, simply cut the rolled dough using a lightly floured cutter.
Score the dough if it will be sliced after baking, and lightly prick all over with the tines of a fork.
If baking as a large round or as small cutout cookies, transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until the sides and bottoms are lightly browned but the top is just set. 
Let cool on the pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Don’t get greedy, or you might burn your mouth.
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Lumber Jack Beans #Recipe

8 slices bacon
1 small onion
1 3/4 C brown sugar
1/3 C plus 2 T apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 t dry mustard
1 1/2 t ginger
1 1/2 t salt
1  16 oz can butter beans
1  16 oz can pinto beans
1  16 oz can red kidney beans
1  30 oz can Bush’s Homestyle Baked Beans

In a large skillet fry up your bacon, until it is crispy and browned along the edges. Remove it from the pan onto a plate lined with paper towels. Discard ALMOST all of the bacon grease. Leave about 1-2 teaspoons in the pan. (( hubby says do not discard grease but rather save in jar for later uses))

Toss your onions into the hot pan. Cook until they are golden and wilted.
While your onions cook stir together the brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, dry mustard, ginger and salt. Pour the sauce over the wilted onions.

Let mix simmer Drain and rinse the butter, pinto and kidney beans

Pour baked beans into 3 qt casserole Pour the rest of beans on top and then top with crumbled bacon. Pour saucy onion mix over all. Stir

Cover dish and bake 350 degrees 1 hour. Take dish out of oven give beans a stir and put back in oven without lid for 30 minutes.

If you would rather use the slow cooker cook all for 3 to 4 hours

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