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Saturday, March 16, 2019

Irish Apple Cake

3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 egg yolks
1 cup butter, softened
1 lemon, zest grated
1 3/4 cups applesauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Grease a 9x9-inch baking pan.
Mix flour, sugar, and salt together in a bowl.
Beat in egg yolks, butter, and lemon zest until dough is thoroughly mixed.
Mix applesauce, cinnamon, and cloves together in a small bowl.
Press half the dough into the prepared baking pan; spread applesauce mixture over dough in a layer. Top with remaining dough.
Bake in the preheated oven until cake is browned, 40 to 45 minutes.

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Caffeine Awareness

Have you ever wondered which foods contain caffeine

  • An 8.4-oz. energy drink, a 20-oz. diet cola, and a shot of espresso, all undeniable sources of our glorious jolts, contain about the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee (80 mg). 
  • A cup of green tea or a 12-oz. can of soda, both of which contain about 40 mg of caffeine.
  • A 1.5-oz. chocolate bar, which contains about 10 mg of caffeine, whereas a darker chocolate bar the same size contains about 30 mg of caffeine.
Did you know:::
  • caffeine is found in the seeds and leaves of more than 60 plants around the world. Coffee beans, tea leaves, cocoa beans, and kola nuts are just a few
  • Caffeine may naturally occur in coffee or tea or be synthetically like in made from cola or energy drink is the chemical structure is identical and the effects on human body is the same
  • Birds, dogs and cats should not have caffeine as they can not metabolize it. That is why chocolate is not good for pets. 
  • The darker the coffee roast, the less caffeine in the coffee bean. Now this seems odd to me as I thought it would be higher. Un-roasted green coffee beans have a higher concentration of caffeine. 
  • Tea is the exact opposite of coffee as the darker the tea the higher caffeine
  • Caffeine offers a pick me up but is also a weapon against Parkinson and Alzheimer. To much caffeine can result in side effects such as nervousness, anxiety, sleeplessness and jitters. 
  • It is estimated that 85 percent of the US population consume caffeine daily. The top drink of choice is coffee. Tea and soda make up about 1/2 of all drinkers and less than 10% consume energy drinks
  • It takes about 15 to 45 minutes for the consumed caffeine to offer any pick me up. 
  • Caffeine is not recommended for pregnant women or children. 
Do you consume caffeine??

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artichoke month

Have you ever noticed that anything you eat or drink following dining on an artichoke tastes sweeter than it normally would have?? The answer has to do with what makes up an artichoke Artichokes contain chlorogenic acid and cynarin. Together these components help to inhibit the sweet receptors of your tongue fooling your brain into thinking something is sweet even if it is not.

A medium artichoke has around 60 calories and 7 grams of fiber. The minerals magnesium and potassium are also plentiful in artichokes. Cynarin also helps increase the liver's production of bile, helping to remove cholesterol from the body.

Prepping Artichokes
with lemon juice at hand to make sure peeled parts dont go brown. Use the juice to rub on artichoke every few peels Trim the stem off at the base and then peel off the hard outer petals Continue to use the lemon juice to protect the artichoke from browning. Stop peeling when you reach pale cream inner petals. These are the petals that can be eaten remember to use lemon juice. However, do not eat the bit of fine white fuzz that can be found in the midst. 

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Great Day To Wrap Up in Quilt

My grandmothers came from a long line of women who loved to make their own quilts. I am sure a time or two they participated in group quilting days. In fact so many enjoy quilting for both the beauty and need aspects that a national day of quilting was created. Today, March 16th is that day.

National quilting day celebrates fabulous quilts and those who make them. It is the day that recognizes quilt makers, their skills and the quilts that are created. It is a great day to feel blessed for the talent you have as a quilt maker, to recognize the quilt makers in your life or to simply gather a quilt and wrap up for a period of comfort.

National Quilting Day first occurred in 1991. Started by the National Quilting Association at the 22nd Annual Show in Lincoln Nebraska

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Get Ready For the Race

Today, March 16th is the day that the 12 hour sports car endurance race the Sebring is held in Sebring, Florida. The Sebring is the oldest American sports car endurance race. Starting in 1952 the Sebring has been held on the Sebring Regional Airport grounds. Thus bringing together teams, fans and sports car owners together from all over the world.

Can't make it to the race?? Watch it on T.V. I can recall visiting my grandparents and watching the races with them all the time. Today, why not make your own memories by having a race day party. Wear your favorite sports car tee, invite friends over and enjoy some snacks

this easy to make recipe only requires 2 ingredients. 4 apples and 16 grapes.

Gather all ingredients. Cut two full cheeks from each apple. Slice out the centre third so you have a wedge.Slip 2 toothpicks into each apple wedge to become the car axles. Place grape halves on each side of the toothpick for wheels. Vroom vroom!

To preserve the cars for later use drop them into a bowl of water with a squeeze of lemon in it to help prevent them from dis-coloring If you choose substitute the apples for pears and you can switch the color of grapes if you choose as well.
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Friday, March 15, 2019

Peanuts as in growers, diet and sweet recipe

The groundnut, goober and monkey nut are all names used for what most of us know as the peanut. A legume crop which may be considered a grain is grown primarily for its edible seeds. The tropics and subtropics are the main places you will find peanuts growing. However, peanuts are grown in the United States as well.

There are three major areas where peanuts are produced in the United States.

  • The southeastern United States region includes Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. 
  • The southwestern United States region includes New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. 
  • The general eastern United States includes Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina
There are good reasons for everyone including dieters to love peanut butter. Some of these reasons are:

  • Peanuts and peanut butter are packed with fiber and protein. The feeling of being satisfied lasts for about 2 1/2 hours helping to manage the hunger. Most high carb foods only keep the body satisfied for around 30 minutes. 
  • Peanuts can increase the metabolic rate. 
  • The fat in peanuts is considered "good fat" and provides satiety and taste satisfaction. Peanuts stabilize your blood sugar with their low hypoglycemic index and decrease cravings. 

Candied Peanuts

2 cups (275g) raw or roasted (unsalted) peanuts
1 cup (200g) sugar
1/3 cup (75ml) water
a sprinkle of coarse sea salt, or smoked salt
optional: ground cinnamon or chili powder

In a wide, heavy-duty skillet, mix the peanuts with the sugar and water. Cook the ingredients over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the liquid seizes up. It will take a few minutes.
At this point, the peanuts will get crusty and the sugar will crystallize.
The peanuts will become dry and sandy, which is perfectly normal. Don’t worry; you didn’t mess up. Lower the heat and keep going, scraping up any syrup collecting in the bottom of the pan and stir the peanuts in it, coating them as much as possible.
As you go, tilt the pan, removing it from the heat from time-to-time to regulate the heat and the syrup, so you can coat the nuts with the liquid as it darkens without burning the peanuts or the syrup. This is the only tricky part—I like to get the peanuts as deeply-bronzed as possible. if the mixture starts to smoke, remove it from the heat and stir.
Right before they’re done, sprinkle the peanuts with a sizable pinch of flaky salt (and pinch of cinnamon or chili powder, if you want), stir them a couple of times, then tilt the peanuts out onto a baking sheet or a marble countertop.
Let the peanuts cool completely, then break up any clumps. Store in an airtight container, where they’ll keep up to a week.

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Spring Salad and Blue Cheese Salad #Recipe

Spring Chicken and Blue Cheese Salad (Adapted from Eating Well)

For the dressing
2 ounces blue cheese
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons Greek-style yogurt, if desired
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

For the salad
1 cup Greek-style yogurt
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 head butterhead lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
1/2 head radicchio, cored and thinly sliced
1 cup baby spinach
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

In a medium bowl, mash together blue cheese, oil, vinegar, tarragon and honey until well combined. Stir in yogurt, if desired, for a creamier dressing. For a creamier dressing, add yogurt 1 tablespoon at a time, if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and chill until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 350
In a large bowl, stir together yogurt, garlic, oil and tarragon. Season chicken with salt and pepper - place into the yogurt mixture in the bowl and turn to coat. Place the chicken mixture into a baking dish and cover with any remaining yogurt mixture.
Bake until the chicken is cooked through, roughly 35 to 45 minutes. Remove and carefully transfer chicken breasts to a cutting board. Let cool slightly, then thinly slice.
In a medium bowl, toss together lettuce, radicchio and spinach - evenly divide mixture between 4 plates, top each portion with a sliced chicken breast and spoon about 2 tablespoons worth of the dressing over the top. Sprinkle each salad with the walnuts.
Makes 4 servings.

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White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread

White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread (Adapted from Land O Lakes)

For the shortbread
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vanilla sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup dried cherries, chopped
4 1/2 ounces (about 3/4 cup) white chocolate chips or chunks

For the drizzle
3 ounces (about 1/2 cup) chopped white chocolate, melted

To prepare the shortbread
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter, sugar and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Add dry ingredients and mix just until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Add chopped cherries and white chocolate, stirring until combined and a dough starts to form.
Divide dough between two 9" round baking pans - press mixture down firmly in each to form an even layer. Place into the oven and bake until the edges are light golden brown, about 20 to 24 minutes. Remove and place pans on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Immediately cut each pan into 12 wedges and allow to cool completely. Remove wedges from the pan.
For the drizzle
Drizzle chocolate over the tops of the wedges and allow shortbread to stand until the chocolate sets before serving.
Makes 24 cookies.

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Thursday, March 14, 2019

Potato Onion Frittata

Potato-Onion Frittata (Adapted from Martha Stewart)

1 pound small new potatoes
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 small onions, thinly sliced
salt and fresh ground black pepper
8 large eggs
4 large egg whites
2 ounces (about 1/2 cup) shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium saucepan, add potatoes and cover with cold water. Bring potatoes to a boil - reduce heat and simmer until just tender when tested with a knife, about 9 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain - set potatoes aside to cool. Cut potatoes into 1/4" thick slices.
In an oven-safe 10" skillet, heat oil over miedum-high. Add onion and cook just until softened, about 4 minutes. Add potatoes to the skillet - cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes have started to brown, about 4 to 6 minutes. Season mixture with salt and fresh ground black pepper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and cheese - season with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Reduce heat to medium and pour egg mixture into the skillet. Drop dollops of sour cream over the top of the eggs, then quickly swirl the sour cream and eggs together with a table knife. Let mixture cook until the edges have just begun to set, about 2 minutes. Carefully slide the skillet into the oven - bake until the center of the mixture is firm and just set, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for 2 minutes. Invert frittata onto a cutting board or serving plate and let cool lightly before serving.
Makes about 6 servings.

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Grilled Mahi Mahi with Shisito Tartar Sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise 112 g
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice 15 ml
1 1/2 tsp yellow mustard 7 g
3 g whole shisito peppers about 15, stems and seeds removed
2 tbsp minced onion 10 g
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp capers
salt and pepper to taste
For the fish:
4-6 fillets mahi mahi or other firm white fish
2 tbsp olive oil

In a small food processor, pulse together the tartar sauce ingredients until the pepper is finely chopped. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, then refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
Heat a charcoal or gas grill to medium heat, or use a grill pan over medium flame.
Brush both sides of each fillet liberally with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Grill the fish 3-4 minutes on the first side, then 2-3 minutes on the second until just cooked through.
Top with sauce and serve immediately.
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Spring Ham #Recipe

Easter at our house always includes a ham as the main attraction. We have had it catered, homemade and bought at the deli. Each way offers its own values and declines.
We choose to do our ham at home. You can too. This great recipe combines brown sugar, mustard and honey to make a delicious sweet and tangy glaze.

Brown Sugar and Honey Glazed Ham

1 half or whole Ham, labeled as "fully cooked", or "ready to eat"
**** See directions below for a ham that is not fully cooked
1 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup yellow mustard
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the ham on a rack in a roasting pan. Bake uncovered for 17 minutes per pound for a whole ham, or 22 minutes per pound for a half ham. Use a thermometer to check the temperature-it should read 140 degrees. ABOUT 30 MINUTES BEFORE THE HAM IS FINISHED, combine mustard, brown sugar, and honey in medium bowl; season lightly with salt and pepper. Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Remove ham from the oven and slash the fatty part of the ham in a diamond pattern, if desired. Slather the ham with the glaze. Return the ham to the oven for the remaining 30 minutes. Let the ham rest for 20 minutes before slicing. Ladle any syrupy juices from the pan over the sliced ham.
***** For a ham that requires cooking before eating, follow the directions above, but cook the ham for 18-20 minutes per pound for a whole ham, and 20 minutes per pound for a half ham. For a shank or butt portion, cook for 35 minutes per pound. Cook the ham to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
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Cumin Roasted Potatoes #recipe

Cumin Roasted Potatoes

2 large russet potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Preheat oven to 500
Clean potatoes, cut into 1/2" slices and place in a medium bowl.
In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, cumin, garlic, salt and cayenne. Spoon over potatoes and toss well to coat.
Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray and bake for 20 minutes or until done.
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Chicken and Biscuits lighter version

Lighter Chicken and Biscuits (Adapted from Everyday Food)

For the biscuits
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg white
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup milk

For the chicken
2 teaspoons canola oil
5 carrots, thinly sliced
5 celery stalks, thinly sliced
10 ounces frozen pearl onions, thawed
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" pieces

For the biscuits
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder and salt.
In a small bowl, whisk together egg white, oil and milk. Pour into the flour mixture and stir just until combined. Drop four 1/4-cup scoops of dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper - bake until golden, about 12 to 15 minutes.

For the chicken
Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high. Add carrots, celery, and onions - season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 7 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle in flour - stir and cook for 1 minute. Stir in milk, water and thyme - simmer until liquid is thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add chicken and continue simmering until the chicken has cooked through, about 3 to 6 minutes. Serve stew with biscuits.
Makes 4 servings.

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Granola Bars with Jam

For the chunky jam
80 grams (about 1 cup) dried apples
160 grams (about 1 cup) dried apricots
160 grams (about 1 cup) dried cranberries
70 grams (about 1/3 cup) granulated sugar
480 grams (2 cups) water
pinch salt

For the granola bar base
100 grams (about 1 cup) walnut halves, toasted and cooled
245 grams (about 1 3/4 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
150 grams (1 1/2 cups) old-fashioned rolled oats
150 grams (about 2/3 cup) packed brown sugar
80 grams (about 2/3 cup) sweetened shredded coconut
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
228 grams (16 tablespoons, 1 cup or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, softened
128 grams (about 6 tablespoons) honey
3 tablespoons flaxseeds
3 tablespoons millet
3 tablespoons sunflower seeds

To prepare chunky jam
In a medium saucepan, combine the apples, apricots, cranberries, sugar, water and salt - bring mixture to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat and set aside - let stand for 1 hour. Scoop mixture into a food processor and pulse until a chunky jam forms, about 8 to 12 pulses. Scrap mixture out into a bowl and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In the food processor, add cooled walnuts, flour, oats, brown sugar, coconut, salt, cinnamon and butter - pulse mixture until evenly combined, about 12 to 15 pulses. Scoop mixture into a medium bowl and drizzle honey all over the top. Using your hands, work honey into the mixture until it comes together.
Take two-thirds of the mixture and press it over the bottom of a 9" x 13" baking pan lined with parchment paper. Take remaining mixture left behind and place into the refrigerator.
Place pan into the oven and bake until lightly golden brown, about 28 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven - scoop chunky jam on top and spread to an even layer with an off-set spatula.

Remove reserved granola base from the refrigerator - break up mixture into small pieces. Stir in flaxseeds, sunflower seeds and millet. Evenly scatter the mixture over the top of the jam.
Place pan back into the oven and bake until the top is golden brown, about 50 to 60 minutes. Remove and place pan on a wire rack to cool completely before cutting into bars.
Makes about 12 large bars or 24 squares.
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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Upside Down Shepherds Pie

Our family loves Shepherd's Pie. In fact I can recall it being served to us in school under the title of hamburger roast as well. The recipe I share today, has a bit of a twist with it. Enjoy!!!

Upside-Down Shepherd's Pie

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, cut in chunks
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, divided
1 pound ground sirloin
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup beef broth
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup shredded white Cheddar cheese

In a large pot of salted water, add potatoes - bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain off water and place potatoes back in the hot pan to evaporate some of the excess water. Add milk, butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper - mash until desired consistency. Scoop the mixture into a 2 quart casserole dish lightly coated with nonstick spray. Spray to an even thickness - use damp fingers to form a little lip around the edge to hold in the meat mixture.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high, add beef and onions - cook until the beef has cooked through and the onions soften, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with flour and continue to cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes.
Stir in corn, stock, ketchup, Worcestershire, remaining salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes.
Preheat broiler.
Scoop the meat mixture over the potatoes and scatter the top with cheese. Place under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly and melted.
Makes about 4 to 6 servings.
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Get Ready For Spring Flowers

I love flowers. I guess I always have. With many blue ribbons when I was younger from the 4H fair it is no wonder. But my love for flowers started much earlier in life and if it could be said may have simply been in my genes. With generations of women going back to great - greats including my mom and grandma the the green thumb seems to run deep. However, even if you are new to the scene of growing flowers it is not to late to start.

Spring flowers start making their appearance each year starting often in late February and often grow until the heat gets them around June. I can not tell you how many times my school teachers in primary school would receive lilacs or daffodils on a spring school morn. Many spring flowers spring forth from bulbs that will soon grow into stems and blooms. Perhaps you have planted these bulbs many years ago and if not you are preparing to.

Planting of spring flowers often depends on many factors. Will you be planting seeds, seedlings, plants or bulbs??

  • Seeds can come from plants that are all ready existing. In this case they are planted a.s.a.p. following the seed pods ripening in the summer. Some spring flowers will re-seed their selves in late summer and fall. If you sow your own seeds from store bought packets plant in fall. 
  • Some flowers will grow from thick clumps that can be divided to make new plants. This type of growth are known as divisions and should be planted in mid to late fall after dividing into bulbs. You will want to get plants in the ground no later than  a month prior to cold weather. 
  • Bulbs grow from narrow neck at top and rounded base on bottom. Local nurseries and growers can offer planting directions and hardiness zone information

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Pecan Logs #recipe

Pecan Logs (Adapted from Martha Stewart)

2 cups raw pecans, toasted
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
16 tablespoons (1 cup or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla

Place pecans into a food processor and pulse just until finely ground.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and half of the ground pecans.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and confectioners' sugar until smooth and combined. Beat in egg and vanilla until well combined. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
Using a tablespoon cookie scoop, portion out level balls of dough and place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Shape each ball into a 2 1/2" long log. Roll logs in remaining pecans to coat, then place onto parchment or silpat-lined baking sheets, spacing them about 1" apart. Place into the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place cookies into the oven and bake, rotating baking sheets halfway through, until the cookies are pale golden and the tops are slightly cracked, about 13 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 40 cookies.

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I Support K9 Veterans Day

Dogs all over the world have helped out for hundreds of years. They offer love and protection, security, helped watch the flocks, guarded the home, and have been used to do important jobs It seems that dogs have been used for a vast variety of jobs and are called upon whenever needed. Perhaps, one of the bravest jobs that dogs do comes through the line of combat.

Recorded history has the earliest dates that dogs entered into war goes back to 600 B.C. Over 2,000 dogs have served in the U.S. military. In the military dogs are trained to track suspects, defend their units, detect drugs, and sniff out explosives. Dogs are perfect candidates to be members of the military because of their loyalty, bravery and their ability to be trained. Thus it has come time to salute these talented canines.

National K9 Veterans day occurs on March 13th of each and every year. It is on this day that all military and working dogs are honored for their service and sacrifice for our nation.

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Toasted Coconut Vanilla Marshmallows

2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
2 1/2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 light corn syrup
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
Confectioners' sugar to dust

Preheat oven to 350

Scatter coconut in an even layer on a large baking sheet. Place in the oven and toast until they are golden - making sure to stir often to keep from burning. This should take 2-6 minutes. Remove and let cool.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water. Let sit for 20-30 minutes to bloom.

In a small saucepan, add granulated sugar, corn syrup, brown rice syrup, 1/2 cup water, and salt. Heat over low and gently stir just until the sugar dissolves. Using a wet brush, wipe down the sides to remove any sugar crystals. Increase the heat to high and cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reads at least 244 degrees. Remove from heat.

Turn the mixer on low and slowly pour hot syrup in a steady stream into the gelatin. Slowly bring the mixter to high and let it go for 12-15 minutes - until very thick. Turn the mixer to low and add in the vanilla. Return to high and mix another minute to combine. Be careful when you do this as the mixture tends to expand quickly when the vanilla is added.

Spray a 9x13" baking dish with cooking spray. Dust the entire pan with sifted confectioners' sugar. Line the bottom with an even layer of the toasted coconut. Scoop the thick marshmallow mixture into pan and spread to form an even layer. This is pretty sticky, so to help spread, add a little more sifted confectioners' sugar and pat it smooth with your fingers. Add a final light layer of confectioners' sugar and leave uncovered overnight to dry.

Dust a working surface with confectioners' sugar and turn the marshmallows out. Using a bench scraper, or sharp knife, cut into squares. Dredge the cut sides into confectioners' sugar to keep them from sticking to your hands.

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No bake , Chocolate Fruit Snack #Recipe

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cocoa
2 cups old-fashioned (large flake) oats
1/4-1/2 cup dried fruit, coconut or other additions (optional)
pinch salt

In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar, peanut butter, milk and cocoa to a simmer - it will be thick, but stir it until it’s melted and bubbling around the edges. Remove from the heat and stir in the oats, salt and any other ingredients you want to add. Drop by the spoonful onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and let sit at room temperature or refrigerate until firm.
Makes 1 to 1 1/2 dozen balls.
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Spring Time Pickled Veggies #recipe

Crisp Pickled Vegetables
Adam Perry Lang for Food & Wine

3 cups cauliflower florets
1/2 pound baby carrots, halved lengthwise
1 fennel bulb, cored and cut into 2-by-1/2-inch matchsticks
1 red bell pepper, cut into 2-by- 1/2-inch matchsticks
1 zucchini ( 1/2 pound), cut into 2-by-1/2-inch matchsticks
1/2 pound yellow wax beans or green beans, cut into 2-inch lengths
3 dried guajillo chiles, seeded and cut into thin strips*
Boiling water*
3 cups cider vinegar
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
3/4 cup sugar**
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon coriander seeds***
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon julienned fresh ginger
1 bay leaf
8 garlic cloves, smashed
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup snipped chives

In a large, deep, nonreactive bowl or heatproof glass jar, combine the cauliflower, carrots, fennel, red bell pepper, zucchini and beans.
In a medium heatproof bowl, cover the chiles with boiling water and let stand until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain the chiles and transfer to a large saucepan. Add the cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, sugar, salt, coriander, peppercorns, ginger, bay leaf and garlic. Add 3 cups of water and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Pour the hot liquid over the vegetables and cover with a plate to keep the vegetables submerged. Let cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 3 days.
Drain the vegetables and transfer to a large platter. Drizzle with olive oil, garnish with the parsley and chives and serve.

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Nap Time

With the switch to daylight savings time , March 10, 2019 all those involved will lose an hour of sleep. Many of us will need a nap to compensate for the lost hour. A nap is a short period of time that allows our bodies to unplug. How long will that nap be??

Napping is something we have all had a chance to do from time to time. We start napping in early infancy and continue through adulthood. Kids may dread naps that parents insist on but as they grow older they may their selves become demanding on taking naps. The trick of napping is knowing how long to take one. Thus finding a medium between sleeping too much will lead to not getting proper sleeping patterns to getting a nap that is long enough to rest our bodies just enough.

Napping can help to reduce sleepiness, improve cognitive functions, psycho-motor performance, short term memory and mood. While not all of us take naps the health benefits suggest we should. However, knowing how long to take that nap will make the benefits even better:

  • A short nap between 10 to 20 minutes is known as a power nap. I often take one of these at work during my lunch. This quick nap allows you to get a jolt of alertness and helps to decrease fatigue. This is a great nap to take if you are on a road trip and feel a bit drowsy a power nap will help greatly. 
  • Be careful taking a 30 minute nap as this may be too long of a nap. The effects of sleep will start settling in and your brain goes to sleep and struggles to quickly wake up
  • A 60 minute short term nap allows the brain waves to slow down and start:      Remembering facts                                                                                            Remembering places you’ve been                                                                    Remembering names and faces                                                                                                                                                                                                napping helps to push our memories to our brains permanent storage facility while we sleep. In turn we are prevented from losing any data However, there is a down side that is still in point and that is the grogginess that may be present after a short nap
  • A longer period of time (90 minutes) is known as REM napping. Rapid Eye Movement napping is where you reached your full sleeping cycle and dream. This type of napping can improve                                                              Creativity                                                                                                           Emotional and procedural memory, such as learning a new skill                                                                                                                                        REM style of napping will help you to avoid sleep inertia and make it easier to wake up. Save this for the weekend as a nap of this length may not be a good thing
Happy napping!

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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Stuffed Zucchini Cups

2 large zucchini or yellow squash, about 12 inches long
2 tsp. + 2 tsp. olive oil (or more, depending on your pan)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 green pepper, finely chopped
2 T finely minced fresh garlic
1 lb. ground beef
12 oz. ground turkey, turkey Italian sausage, or pork Italian sausage. Use any combination of ground meat you’d like, but use low-fat ground meat for the South Beach Diet and full-fat for low-carb or Keto.
1-2 tsp. Spike seasoning (optional but recommended)
2 C flavorful tomato-basil pasta sauce (with low sugar)
2 cups mozzarella or other mild white cheese (I used a blend of six cheeses called Italian blend.)
Preheat oven to 350F/175C.
Chop onion and green pepper.
Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a non-stick pan, then saute onion and pepper for 3-4 minutes, until just starting to soften.
Add minced garlic and saute about 1 minute more, being careful not to brown the garlic.
Remove the onion, pepper, and garlic mixture to a bowl.
Add 2 tsp. more olive oil to the pan.
Crumble in the ground beef and ground turkey (or ground sausage), season with Spike seasoning and cook over medium heat until the meat is well browned.
Tilt pan to see if there is any extra fat, and remove with a spoon if there desired, then stir cooked vegetables and garlic back into the meat.
Add tomato sauce and simmer until the mixture has thickened and liquid has cooked off, about 10 minutes, then turn off heat.
While meat cools, cut zucchini into 2 inch thick slices, discarding ends.
Use a sharp spoon or melon baller to hollow out a cup in each zucchini slice, leaving just over 1/4 inch of zucchini flesh. Be careful not to get too close to the skin or the cups will leak liquid when they cook.
Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray and stand up zucchini cups, open end up.
Stir 1 1/2 cups grated cheese into the cooled meat mixture (it doesn’t need to be completely cool), then spoon the meat-cheese mixture into zucchini cups, pressing down with the spoon and mounding it up a little over the top of the zucchini.
Bake zucchini cups for 20 minutes, then remove from oven and use remaining cheese to top each one with a generous pinch of cheese.
Put back in oven and bake 10-15 minutes more, until zucchini is slightly soft when pierced with a fork and cheese is melted and lightly browned.
Serve hot.
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Great Reasons To Make Sunglasses Part of Winter Wardrobe

Sunglasses are not just for summer sunny days. Winter time often has bright days and some studies show that winter time brings even more of a threat to ones eyes. It does not matter summer or winter sun rays continue to carry the same UVA and UVB rays. However, in snowy regions the sun can reflect off the rays making them even more dangerous.

In the cold winter many areas will be snow covered. White snow can reflect the bright sun rays leading to glare spot These glares can lead to impair in your vision. The inability to see even for a moment can cause your daily activities such as driving or skiing to be dangerous. Therefore wearing a pair of sunglasses even on winter days can protect your vision and help keep you safe

The sun's harmful UV rays can harm eyes no matter the time of year. UV rays have been linked to eye conditions such as

  • Cataracts
  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration
  • Eye cancer

Sunglasses can help filter out harmful UV rays and lower the risk of developing vision loss. Sunglasses can also help you keep looking young by preventing eye wrinkles.  Sunglasses also offer a protecting cover to your eyes so if the wind was to blow dust or debris into your face the glasses would help protect the eye from pain

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Frugally Made Homemade Rolls #Recipe

Grandma's Buttery Holiday Rolls
Estimated Cost: $2.50 for 32 rolls

5 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (baby bottle warm)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup softened butter (or heat it with milk in microwave)
1 and 1/2 cups warm milk (baby bottle warm)
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt
5 and 1/2 cups flour, plus more for rolling
4-8 tablespoons softened butter, for spreading

In a large bowl (or freestand mixer) combine yeast, water, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Let stand for 10 minutes to "proof" the yeast. If the yeast rises, continue. If it does not, discard the yeast and begin again. Add butter, milk, eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt. Stir in 2 and 1/2 cups flour with a wooden spoon. Dough will be extremely sticky. Let stand, covered in a warm place for one hour. Add remaining flour, stirring with a wooden spoon for two minutes. Dough will be sticky and ragged. Place dough in refrigerator or cold place (basement or garage?) overnight. About 90 minutes before serving time, divide dough into two balls. On a floured surface, roll one ball out into 12 inch circle. Generously butter top of circle. Cut circle into 16 equal wedges. Roll up, beginning with wide edge. Tuck raggedy edge under and place on greased cookie sheet. Allow to rise, covered in a warm spot for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until almost doubled. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes. (Rolls can be frozen at this point, tightly wrapped. Bring to room temperature before warming in oven for five minutes.)
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Gumbo #recipe

Gumbo is a popular dish in the United States. The state of Louisiana prepares this creole inspired stew so much it is the official state dish. Made up of strong flavored stock, meat or shellfish, a thickener and the "Holy Trinity" of vegetables (celery, bell peppers and onions) Another ingredient fondly found in Gumbo is okra. Tomatoes are often found in creole gumbo as well. Shellfish, fowl, sausage or ham are often added to the gumbos after the veggies cook down. Dish simmers for around 3 hours. Gumbo is served over rice traditionally. However, there is also another form of gumbo that is primarily vegetarian.

Cultures of African, French, Spanish, German and Choctaw have all prepared gumbo using their own cultural background, ingredients and practices. Gumbo was first found in a cookbook in 1802. Later in the second half of the 19th century the recipe was found in a variety of cookbooks as well. During the 1970s the United States Senate dining room added gumbo to the menu in honor of the senator from Louisiana. This drew more popularity for the dish and in 1980s chef Paul Prudhomme spurred even more interest in the dish.

2/3 cup oil,
2/3 cup flour,
4 cup measuring cup,
2 cups onion, chopped,
1 cup celery, chopped,
1/2 cup bell pepper, chopped,
4 cloves garlic, minced,
1/4 cup parsley, chopped,
1/4 cup green onion tops, chopped.
 Approximately 1/4 cup water


1 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 quarts hot water
1 T salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 lbs shrimp
1 link sausage
4 cups okra, chopped

Mix flour and oil together in a 4-cup measure. Microwave on high 6 1/2- 7 minutes, stirring well in 1-2 minute increments, Roux will be dark caramel.  Then add onion, celery, and peppers, pressing them down in roux.  Microwave for 3 minutes, stir.  Then add green onion, garlic, and parsley, stir well and microwave 2 minutes.  Add hot water to bring mixture to 4 cup mark, (optional, I didn’t need to use any water).  Pour into large stock pot. Add chicken stock and hot water, cover and cook for 10 minutes, then add half okra cook another 10 minutes, then add the rest of okra and link of sausage, cook another 10 minutes, then add shrimp and rest of the okra cook for 10 more minutes. Remove the sausage, slice and return to gumbo.  Serve of a bed of rice.

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Endometriosis #awareness

Endometriosis is the development of uterine-lining tissue outside the uterus. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, heavy periods, and infertility. Treatment options include pain relievers, hormones, and surgery.

Menstrual cramps can be tough to get through but endometriosis is so much more. The pain of endometriosis is very intense and can bring your daily routine to an entire halt. Those menstrual cramps with endometriosis are made even more painful. If you think you may have endometriosis you should contact your doctor

Other symptoms caused by endometriosis include:

  • Really long or extremely heavy periods
  • Severe migraines or lower back pain during your period
  • Painful bowel movements
  • Allergies that get worse around your period
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
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Donate Blood

Every 2 seconds, someone somewhere needs blood. One of every 7 seconds people who enter the hospital will need blood. That person may be you, your loved one, friend or co-worker. With all the wonderful advances in modern medicine, there still is NO substitute for human blood. The blood that helps patients comes only from caring people who volunteer to help others by donating their life-saving blood.

In the short time it took to read the above paragraph, 11 people needed blood

Those in need of blood include

Anyone at least 16 years of age, weighing at least 110 pounds and is in good health can donate blood.

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Monday, March 11, 2019

Easy Pasta Salad #Recipe

1 lb pasta fusilli, penne, rotini
1 red bell pepper chopped
1 yellow pepper chopped
2 cups halved grape tomatoes
1 cup sliced black olives
1 cup Italian dressing use your favorite store bought dressing
1/2 cup chopped basil
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot of salted boiling water, add the pasta. Cook according to package instructions. Drain and rinse the pasta with cold water. Drain the pasta well after rinsing.
In a large bowl, combine the pasta, bell peppers, tomatoes, and olives. Add the dressing and stir until pasta noodles and vegetables are well coated.
Stir in the basil and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Serve at room temperature or cold.
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Thumbprint cookies

6 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
3/4 cup chopped salted peanuts
1/2 cup jam

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, cream butter and peanut butter. Add sugars and egg yolk. Stir in vanilla. Add flour and stir to form soft dough. Roll cookies into small balls. Dip balls into egg white and roll in peanuts, if desired. (I skipped this step on some.) Poke a hole in the center of the cookie with the spoon handle. (The hole will expand in the oven.) Bake cookies for about 15-18 minutes, or until just beginning to color. Cool completely. Heat jam in microwave safe bowl. Spoon jam into cookies. Makes about 30.

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On the Run ==== Snack Recipe ----- Blender Salsa

Super Fast Blender Salsa
Estimated Cost: $$1.50

1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 white onion, chopped
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes with jalapenos, undrained
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, with some tender stems
juice of 1 lime
salt, to taste

Combine ingredients in the blender in the order listed. Puree until smooth, or leave a little chunky, if desired.

Money saving tip: watch for sales on tomatoes. There are also coupons for tomatoes that will appear in magazines, newspapers and printable as well. If you can't find cheap tomatoes with jalapenos, buy a jalapeno separately and use plain diced tomatoes. A lemon can swap in for the lime as well.
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Sunday, March 10, 2019

Lunchbox Special ---- Deviled Egg Salad

6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and diced
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp yellow mustard
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp pepper

In a bowl add the diced hard boiled eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, sea salt and pepper.  Stir until combined.
Divide into 4 air tight containers (4 for kids, or 2 or adults) for storage.  Serve on bread, toast, crackers, cucumber slices or eaten as is!
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You May Need A Bit of Energy ------ #Recipe

1 1/4 cup old fashioned or quick oats
3/4 cup crisp rice cereal
1/4 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup add-ins of your choice (see suggestions above)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of salt
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
3 tbsp coconut oil

Line a 8x8" dish with parchment paper. Leave a bit of an overhang so you can easily remove the bars when ready.
In a medium bowl, add the oats, crisp rice cereal, chocolate chips, add-ins, cinnamon and salt. Mix together to combine.
In a small saucepan, add the brown rice syrup and the coconut oil. Stir to combine and heat until hot, but don't let it boil. You want it to get hot enough to be able to melt the chocolate chips.
Pour the liquid into the dry mixture and stir to combine until the chocolate chips are melted.
Pour the mixture into the parchment-lined dish and using a rubber spatula, flatten and even it out.
Place the dish in the fridge and allow it to cool and harden. It should take about one hour.
Take the dish out of the fridge, and using the parchment overhang, remove the bars from the dish.
Cut into squares or bars making them as big or small as you like. I like to cut mine into bars, and I cut out 12.
Individually wrap the bars or place into a storage container and store in the refrigerator.
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Wake Up!!! It's Daylight Savings Time

If you did not heed warning then you most likely have overslept and may find yourself in a bit of trouble.

Today, March 10, 2019, is the start of Daylight Savings Time, and if you’re just waking up confused as to why you slept so late, do not worry. It wasn’t entirely your fault. Why?

Daylight Savings Time began Sunday, March 10 at 2 a.m.
For locations that observe it, Daylight Savings Time will last until Sunday, November 3rd, when it will end and the clocks will fall back an hour. (Always remember, if nothing else, clocks spring forward in the spring and fall back in the fall.)

Why do we have Daylight Savings Time?
I have always said "dirt is in my blood" the reasoning is because as far as I have known there have always been farming in my blood. Even today, that some members of the family have moved into town we all still have large lots of areas where we raise large gardens and beautiful blooms. So where am I leading to by saying this?? To the area where we gain a large tool by nature in the matter of time.

In the late 19th century the practice of daylight savings time was started. The thought behind it all was to give farmers more of a fighting chance and time to accomplish all the tasks in the morning. However, not all states take advantage of this time saving task.

Some countries have adopted a permanent stance of Daylight Savings Time and made it a standard time. Some states including Florida, Maine and Massachusetts would love to go to a standard time as well allowing more daylight time. However, Arizona does not observe Daylight Savings time.

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