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Saturday, March 23, 2019

Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry was:

  • the son of John Henry from Scotland. During the 1720s the father was an educated man who had attended the King's College in Aberdeen, Scotland. It was after John Henry married a wealthy widow named Sarah and together they created Patrick Henry and  took him home to the family farm in Hanover Virginia. 
  • Patrick Henry went to public school and was tutored by his father. His education did not go much farther as he married a young gal and lived on a 300 acre farm with a house and six slaves. 
  • Patrick Henry was not successful with tobacco farming. The house that the family lived in burned down in 1757. This brought on another ambitious plan for Henry as he taught himself law. In 1760 Patrick Henry would start his life of law when he took the Virginia Bar exam in Williamsburg.  In 1764 the family would sell the unsuccessful plantation. 

It would be an issue involving salaries of Anglican clergy that would bring Henry to fame. Primarily paid in tobacco the clergy men found the rise in tobacco and the Virginia Colonial legislature Two-Penny Act was not fair. The act meant that the clergy men could be paid back at the previous rate. Thus giving the decision to the king to pass

 “I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!”

Clergy, Rev. James Murray of Hanover sued the county for back wages. Patrick Henry would defend the county and the king would try to rule over all. Henry would win the battle and make him very popular 

  • Following the declaration of the State's independence from Great Britain in 1776 Patrick Henry was the first elected governor of the new state named Virginia. Serving previously as the Colonel of the First Virginia Regiment and Commander in Chief of the Virginia militia the time for leaving the military had come. He would serve 10 years as governor

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Did You Know ::: Potato Chips

The snack world changed forever in 1853. George Crum a Native American / African American chef invented the potato chip while working at the Moon Lake Lodge resort in Saratoga Springs, New York, USA. The chips were invented simply as a mistake due to a customer refusing to eat the thick french fries he had been served. Thus having the chef create fries that were to thin to eat with a fork delighting the customer.

The new super thin potatoes were known as Crum's chips and Saratoga chips. The New England area started to package and sell the chips. Crum himself became a bit famous leading him to open his own restaurant However that was just the beginning of the potato chip. Other great attempts would increase the popularity of the potato chip:

  • 1895 William Tappendon prepared and sold chips in Cleveland Ohio
  • 1920s would find Herman Lay selling potato chips in the southern part of the United States. 
  • 1926 would find Laura Schudder owning a potato chip factory in MOnterey Park, California. Schudder would invent the wax paper potato chip bag that would keep the chips fresher and crunchier. 
Microwave Potato Chips from Taste of Home

3 medium red potatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Curry powder

Layer three paper towels on a microwave-safe plate; set aside.
Scrub potatoes and cut into 1/16-in.-thick slices. Brush slices on both sides with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with salt and curry. Arrange on prepared plate (do not overlap).
Microwave on high for 3 minutes; turn and microwave 2-3 minutes longer or until chips are dry and brittle. Repeat with remaining potatoes, oil and seasonings. Let chips cool for at least 1 minute before serving. Store in an airtight container.

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Jochebed the Mother of Moses

Jochebed was the daughter of Levi and mother of Aaron, Miriam and Moses. Jochebed is buried in Tiberias and is praised for faith in the Epistle to the Hebrews

Jochebed's story can be found in the bible Exodus 2:1-10:

Some facts that we know include:

  • She lived in Egypt, where the descendants of Israel were being oppressed. 
  • The Pharaoh had decreed that all their baby boys were to be thrown into the Nile, because he feared that they might become too powerful. 
  • Moses, her youngest child, was born, Jochebed therefore hid him for three months until she could hide him no longer. 
  • To save her son's life, she made a wooden chest of bulrushes, made it watertight with slime and pitch and put the child in it. Jochebed placed Moses in a basket and released him in the flow of River Nile.
  •  The basket fell in the hands of the Pharaoh’s daughter who was bathing in the river. She was a kind-hearted lady and was filled with love and compassion on seeing the baby. Moved with compassion when she discovered the child, she decided to adopt him. 
  • The "sister" of the child (presumed to be Miriam), who had come forward, suggested to find her a Hebrew woman to nurse the child. The Pharaoh's daughter agreed and so Miriam called her mother, who was appointed to take care of him. Thus Jochebed nursed her son until he was old enough and brought him to the Pharaoh's daughter, who adopted him as her son.
  •  As Moses grew up Jochebed educated Moses in the religion and history of Israel, ensuring that Moses did not lose his Hebrew identity. As result, he could not bear the injustice done by Egyptians on the Hebrews. 
  • Moses convinced the Pharaoh to amend his oppressive laws. His behavior made him popular among the Hebrews. 
  • The story continues with Moses, who grew up to become the leader of the Exodus, leading his people out of the land of Egypt.
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Dairy Free Potato Skins

8 russet potatoes, scrubbed and dried
2 tablespoons vegan butter*
Sea salt
Black pepper
2 cups shredded vegan cheddar cheese**
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
fresh chives, chopped
1/2 cup vegan mozzarella cheese**
1/2 cup sweetened almond milk***

Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pierce each potato on each side with a fork. Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack and bake for 50 minutes, until the skins are crisp and the potatoes tender enough to cut. Transfer to a wire rack until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile make your cheese sauce and set aside.
Set oven to broil on high.
Slice each potato in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh, leaving about 1/4 inch intact. Brush the insides of the potatoes with melted vegan butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Flip the potatoes over, brush the skin sides with butter, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Evenly space the potato halves skin-side up on a baking sheet and broil until the skins start to crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes (keep a close watch so they don’t burn). Flip the potato halves over and broil until the top edges just start to brown, about 2 to 3 minutes more.
Evenly fill each skin with vegan cheese and crumbled bacon. Place in the broiler and broil until the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Remove from the broiler and drizzle with white cheese sauce then sprinkle with chives. Serve immediately.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring almond milk to a simmer.
Add vegan mozzarella and whisk until smooth and thickened. Remove from heat.

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Chips an Dip Day

Chips and Dip have long been used as components for simple meals, entertaining and simply snacking. It matter not if the chips are potato, tortilla, corn, bean, veggie, pita or other chip style. At times crackers may be used rather than chips to complete the simple side. In addition, there are a great variety of chips that are available as well.

In the United States chips and dip became popular during the 1950s. The Lipton company shared advertising that drew attention to their French onion dip recipe. Other companies created special dip and chip holding dishes during this time as well. While there are many great reasons to enjoy chips and dips the National day of Chip and Dip occurs on March 23rd each year.

One rule of known chip and dip snackers is that Double Dipping is not allowed. Double Dipping is done by dipping a chip into a dip, taking a bite and then re-dipping the chip into a dip. Double Dipping allows the transfer of bacteria from an individuals mouth into a dip, then potentially into another dippers mouth. In addition, a U.S. brand tortilla chip and dip company hired Ketchum communication agency to perform a survey that found double dipping was done more by male chip / dip eaters and that over half would not consume the dip after seeing another double dip.

More Than Just Chia Pets

Chia seeds are members of the mint family and come from the Salvia Hispanica plant. Cutlivated as a food source in central and South America started as far back as 3500 B.C. They were also used as offerings to the Aztec gods. More recently chia seeds were commonly used in the Chia pet craze of the 1990s.

Native Americans and others were aware of the seeds usefulness as they were commonly used for nutrition. Chia seeds are high in omega-3, antioxidants, fiber and complete protein. Other Nutritional Facts concerning Chia Sees include:

  • 8x more Omega-3s than salmon
  • 25% more fiber than flaxseed
  • 30% more antioxidants than blueberries
  • 2x more potassium than bananas
  • 6x more calcium than milk

Chia seeds can easily be digested whole. With barely any flavor of their own chia seeds are easily made part of another dish as to gain the nutritional benefits Chia seeds can also be used easily as toppings by sprinkling the seeds over things like yogurt, oats, salads and grain bowls. Keep in mind though that when chia seeds are combined with liquid the chia sees will form a gel like consistency so start slowly In addition, chia seeds can help to make dressings and sauces that are made at home creamier. 

for 4 servings
1 banana, mashed
½ cup  greek yogurt
1 cup  almond milk
1 teaspoon  vanilla extract
¼ cup  chia seeds
1 cup  strawberry, diced
1 banana, sliced
1 handful strawberry, diced

Mash the banana in a medium bowl.
Mix the banana and the yogurt together until smooth.
Pour in the almond milk, vanilla extract, chia seeds, and strawberries, and mix until well combined.
Pour the mixture into an airtight container and refrigerate, covered for 4 hours..
Spoon the pudding into desired serving dish and top with sliced bananas and diced strawberries.

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Melba Toast ==== Recipe included

Melba toast is a dry, crisp thinly sliced toast. It is often served with soup and salad and may be topped with melted cheese or pate.

Famous chef Auguste Excoffier is the name behind the famous Melba toast that was originally known as "Toast Marie". With such a personal name one figures it must have been named after a personality that was loved by many. Guess what, one would be right. Dame Nellie Melba, a famous Australian opera singer, lived on a limited diet while ill and dined on dry toast that was later named in honor "Melba Toast". Perhaps now that we know how the name was reached we should dig a bit further on the subject.

Melba toast differs from regular average slice of toast in a few ways

  • Melba toast is lightly toasted under a grill and then sliced again before being returned to the grill making melba toast much thinner than regular toast
Make Your Own Melba Toast 

cocktail rye bread (other cocktail bread is fine as well)

olive oil as needed
garlic powder or other seasonings (optional)

Preheat oven to 250F.
Place bread in a single layer on a cookie sheet.
Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil and sprinkle with seasonings (if desired.)
Bake 30 minutes in a low oven; then turn toasts over and bake about 30 minutes more, or until dry and crisp.
Allow to cool, then store in an airtight container until needed.
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Friday, March 22, 2019

Fish Taco Night

Mango Avocado Salsa

1 ripe and firm mango, peeled and chopped
1 red pepper, diced
1 tomato, diced
2 avocados, peeled and chopped
1/4 red onion, diced
1 dash garlic salt (optional)

Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and chill 20-30 minutes before serving.

Tomato Salsa

1 14.5oz can petite diced tomatoes
1/3 cup diced red onion (about half a small-sized one)
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tbsp fresh jalapeno, diced (about half a medium-sized one)
2 tsp garlic, minced (about 2 cloves)
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.

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Time for Corn Dogs

Homemade Corn Dogs

2 cups of yellow or white cornmeal
1/2 cup of flour plus more for dusting the hot dogs
1 heaping tsp baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 cups of buttermilk
a package of hot dogs (around 8)
thin sticks with pointy ends
1 quart of peanut oil

Depending on how many you're making, heat an oven or toaster oven to 350°F and line a tray with foil. Line up hot dogs on the foil so that they don't touch. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the skins have split. (I usually just stick them in when the oven is preheating, and then bake for required time when the oven is ready.)
Mix the cornmeal, 1/2 cup of the flour, baking powder and salt.
Beat the egg into the buttermilk and add mixture to dry ingredients.
Pour the batter into a tall glass or quart-sized Mason jar.
Heat peanut oil in a large pot or Dutch oven until it gets to 365°F. Or if you have one, use a deep fryer.
Remove the hot dogs from the oven and carefully skewer the hot dogs until you've still got enough stick to serve as a handle. If you use disposable chopsticks, you may need to skewer them to the end, as the chopsticks are rather long.
Put a couple of heaping tablespoons of flour on a flat plate and roll the hot dog in it until it's coated.
Dip the hot dog into the batter, pulling out carefully so that you have a good thick coating of batter, then add it to the oil.
Cook for three minutes, turning occasionally (if you're using a deep fryer, you can skip the turning). Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.

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World Water Day

World Water Day helps bring attention to the importance as well as lack  of sustainable management of freshwater resources as well as the importance of how we can take action to address the issues. UN-Water is a group that coordinates the United Nations work on sanitation and water. In addition, they set a theme for the day to celebrated each year.

Water is an essential resource that is needed for survival. A critical element in the economic, social and human development fields. While water is a needed resource there are many issues such as scarcity and pollution that makes it hard to retain. Individuals around the world deal with contaminated water or struggling to find a near by quality source. In the world today, there are more than 2 billion people that do not have safe water at home and more than 660 million people do not have a near by source of water. All though it may seem those that live in rural areas would suffer with the problem more those that have had to flee homes because of uncontrolled factors deal with the issue as well. 
The goal is to have water for all by 2030. To reach this goal seems a bit difficult. There are billions of people that are still living without safe water. It seemed that there were several times when I was growing up that the pipes would freeze and we would not have fresh water in the house to use til the pipes thawed out. While, those times were rough it is nothing compared to those that do not have a ready source to fresh water. 

Most of us have learned to rely on the fact that when we turn the tap on that we will get water for drinking, cooking and bathing. But do you know how much water you use?? Learning how to reduce your water usage can help to reduce your water consumption as well as your water bill Consider the fact that the earth is covered with water but very little of it is available for use by humans. Population, pollution and seasons puts an even tighter grip on the available amount of useful water. Perhaps these tips to help you reduce your water usage will help. 
  • Older shower heads use more water around 5 gallons per minute compared to the newer shower heads that use 2.5 gallons per minute for a newer one
  • Take a shower rather than a bath. Filling the tub may take around 36 gallons of water showers often take less In addition while shaving, brushing your teeth or washing your face use the on off on motion of water to save a few gallons of water from running down the drain. 
  • replace your old toilet with a low-flow one. The newer version will save several gallons of water leading to  money savings on your water bill. 
  • Fix any faucet, shower head, or pipe leaks a.s.a.p A leak that is one drip per second wastes over 1,600 gallon of water and $35 annually

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Ode to Classical Music

Take a look around and you will find many modes of technology, dance crazes and social media sites entertaining the world today. Hundreds of years ago there was another form of entertainment that was entertaining many in the world. Classical music was the form of entertainment that many adored and is still apparent in the world today. No, it is not played daily on hundreds of radio stations but it is still played and many of today's musicians find inspiration from it as well. Furthermore, it is the building blocks that many of today's musicians learn to play music

Classical music has left its footnotes in the modern music. Bach, Schubert, and Mozart have shared their personal genres of music for many. Modern stars such as Adelie, Justin Bieber , Coldplay and others have all used classical music in their own music

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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Recognizing all Single Parents

The Late President Ronald Reagan, one of the greatest presidents, deemed March 21st the day to acknowledge the hard work of single parents. This honored date was first recognized in 1984. Yes, there was all ready dates such as Mothers day and Father's day but Single Parent day recognizes the individual that plays a double roll. Were you aware that there are more than 14 million single parents in the United States??

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Down Syndrome Awareness

World Down Syndrome day occurs on March 21st each year. A global awareness day that is recognized all over the world and by the United Nations since 2012. It is a day to help raise awareness of what Down syndrome is, what it means to have down syndrome, and how everyone in the community can play a role in helping everyone be successful in life Moreover to bring awareness to the day the day of March 21st was selected because it is the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome that causes Down Syndrome

Down Syndrome is a chromosomal condition. Some characteristics of Down Syndrome are

  • an intellectual disability
  • characteristic facial appearance 
  • weak muscle tone in infancy
Individuals with Down Syndrome may have a variety of birth defects. Around half of all affected children are born with a heart defect. Individuals with Down Syndrome also have an increased risk of developing several medical conditions. Gastroesophageal reflux and celiac disease are common in those with down syndrome. In addition, those born with down syndrome may have increased hearing and vision issues, thyroid issues and higher chance to develop leukemia. 

Children with Down Syndrome often demonstrate delayed development and behavioral issues. Individuals with Down Syndrome speech and language development comes slower than others Behavioral issues of tantrums, stubbornness, attention issues, and obsessive / compulsive behavior occurs frequently as well. A few individuals with Downs Syndrome will be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders as well. 

Aging gracefully is one thing many with Down Syndrome does not do well. A gradual decline in thinking occurs as an individual with Down Syndrome nears the age of 50. The risk of Alzheimer disease goes up when an individual has Down Syndrome as well. Half of all adults with Down Syndrome will develop Alzheimer disease. 

Facts about Down Syndrome :
  • Down Syndrome is named after the English doctor John Langdon Down. 
  • Dr. Jerome Lejeune discovered that individuals with Down Syndrome has three copies of chromosome 21 instead of two.
  • cause of down syndrome is unknown
  • The mothers age increases chance of having baby with Down Syndrome. 
  • Down Syndrome does not discriminate. There are individuals of every race, nationality, rich and poor, and religious status that are born with Down Syndrome
  • An estimated 400,000 individuals are in the U.S. living with Down Syndrome. There may be more than 6 million individual living with Down Syndrome world wide. 
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World Forestry Day

Living here at the mouth of the Shawnee National Forest we find many benefits. It is a great place to go hike, swim, and simply have fun. Forests offer so much more in a great variety of reasons. Daily tasks like drinking a glass of water, writing on paper, taking fever medication for a fever or build a house are all connected to forest. In addition, forests are key to combating climate change, helps with prosperity of current and future generations, plays a role in poverty alleviation and Sustainable Development Goals.

March 21st is the date that the United Nations raises awareness of the importance of all types of forest.

International Day of Forests is celebrated on March 21st every year. The entire world celebrates the day and helps bring awareness to the role the forests play. Forests help to safeguard the ecological security and helps the livelihood of many all around the world.

Interesting facts about the International Day of Forests:

  • Forests cover 31% of the World's total land area
  • Over 1.6 billion individuals depend on forests for their livelihoods
  • Forests are home to 300 million people around the world
  • Around 30% of forests are used for the production of wood and non wood products. 
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The Festival of Purim

Purim begins at sundown on the fourteenth day of Adar. Adar is the twelth month of the Jewish calendar. Purim is the most festive holiday of the Jewish Holidays. Children dress in costume and people give gifts. Even solemn synagogues are turned into festive arenas. Perhaps it would be worthy to know what the festive holiday is all about.

Purim commemorates the salvation of the Jewish people in ancient Persia from Haman's plot "to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews, young and old. men, women, children and infants in a single day" You can find the story in the bible book of Esther.

Purim means "lots" and is the holiday which Jews commemorate being saved from persecution in the ancient Persian Empire. The Jews of the city of Shushan were threatened by a villain Haman who has convinced the King to kill all the Jews. He was mad that the Jews would not bow down to Haman. Haman would determine the date he would carry out his plan. The Jews would be saved by Queen Esther, Mordecai's niece. The king will discover that Queen Esther is a Jew as well and decides to reverse Haman's decree. Rather than the Jews being killed Haman and his sons would be killed.

Some activities that may take place this day include:

  • Reading the book of Esther and about the Purim miracle. 
  • Money is given to at least two poor people
  • giving gifts of two kinds of food to at least one person
  • A Purim festival feast including wine and other ales 

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Pickled Slaw Mix

Pickling mixture
1 cup distilled white vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
1 cup cold water

Slaw mixture

4 to 5 cups mixed slivered or julienned* firm, raw vegetables

Heat vinegar, sugar, salt and mustard seeds to a simmer in a small, non-reactive pot over moderate heat, stirring only until sugar and salt dissolve. Stir in water, which should bring the mixture’s temperature down significantly. Let cool to lukewarm.
Divide vegetables between jars. (I used two 3/4 liter jars.) Pour vinegar mixture over vegetables and refrigerate until needed. You’ll find the vegetables to be lightly pickled within an hour, and deliciously pickled within a day. They will get slightly more pickled as they sit, but the change shouldn’t be too dramatic from the 24 hour level.
Eat with/on sandwiches, aside grilled food and pack it along for picnics — it goes with almost anything. Then make more, because this stuff is habit-forming.

Do ahead: can keep in the fridge for a month without any change in taste or appearance make sure that your vegetables are submerged in the brine for them to keep this long.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Did You Know::: Irish Americans

Irish Americans have quite a reputation to withhold with Catholicism. JFK, St. Patrick's Day parades and Irish Pride connections. There are a few other facts about Irish Americans that you may not be so aware of

  • It was an Irishman that was the first person to step off Columbus ship and walk onto the ground where America would be built. 
  • The first woman to walk into space was an Irish American
  • There have been 15 U.S. presidents that have confirmed Irish Ancestry President Andrew Jackson and James Buchanan parents were born in Ireland and thus were two of the "most Irish" 
  • Dubliner Richard Montgomery was an Irish American general that served in the Revolutionary war as a general and was the first to die. He was killed during the invasion of Canada in the Battle of Quebec. To honor Montgomery the navy has named several ships after him and the city of Philadelphia has a statue of him in Fairmont park. 
  • The Declaration of Independence was signed by 3 Irishmen from Ireland. 
  • Irishmen directly helped with building the White House. The White House is modeled after an Irish building and was built by Irish immigrants. 
  • A blind Irishman wrote the "Star Spangled Banner" John Stafford Smith was born in 1750 based the music by a great Irish blind Harper Turlough O'Carolan
  • John Barry, an Irishman is known as "The Father of the American Navy" Appointed to be Captain in the Continental Navy on December 7, 1775 he would lead his crew into battle for America. 
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National Ag Day

National Agriculture Day this year occurs on March 20th, however the date can vary. No matter the day that it occurs it is a time to salute the American Agriculture world. Those that raise the crop, universities that support the farmers, associations that brings them together with the local news and others. Thus celebrating the entire farm to table scenario.

I grew up around farms, farmers and the farming world. From planting crops to harvesting, raising farm animals, gathering eggs and the rest I have a pretty good knowledge of what it is like to live on a farm. But there is so much more that goes into the world of agriculture. National Agriculture Day is a great time to:

  • Learn how food is produced and distributed
  • attend an ag fair
  • Encourage people to enter ag as a career
  • Eat foods that are ag produced

From the second I saw this little video I have thought about the farmers in my life that I have loved. Take a listen and find out just what a farmer may experience and the strength they must have as well as the beautiful life may feel they live. 

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Happy First Day of Spring

Oh the first day of spring, the spring vernal equinox, has finally arrived. Spring has sprung and now daylight is meant to be measured. The Vernal Equinox of Spring occurs when the sun crosses the celestial equator moving northward. This year the first day of spring is March 20th however depending on the year and month it could occur on the 19th, 20th or 21st of March.  The first day of spring helps put it all in balance with 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of nighttime. However, this rule only occurs in one place, the equator.

While some may still follow the wise weatherman known as the groundhog they have been proven wrong for too long to even be taken seriously. In fact, this year spring should have all ready have been here according to the no shadow rule but no such luck as fair weather is finally arriving following several weeks of winter. Perhaps it is wiser to follow the assumption that the Spring Equinox is simply a calendar date with real spring arriving when the weather in your area feels like spring. This often occurs in different areas depending on where you live in Northern Hemisphere.

Spring may sneak up on you, not allowing you to see subtle changes. Days before and after spring equinox daylight hours will begin to change. The other night had my 8 year old grandson find himself surprised that it was still daylight outside when it had normally been dark just days before. These subtle changes should reassure you that spring weather is on its way. 

Now a bit of good / bad news the autumn equinox thus fall and winter will occur 6 months from now.

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Ravioli #Recipe

1 pint grape tomatoes
16 oz bag frozen cheese ravioli
15 oz bag baby spinach
1/2 cup basil leaves, chopped
2 cups marinara sauce
3/4 cup diced or shredded mozzarella
3 tbsp grated parmesan

Heat broiler with oven rack 6 inches below. Line the bottom of a 2-quart baking dish with foil and add grape tomatoes. Broil until tomatoes are just soft and skin is charred, about 5 min.
Remove tomatoes and foil and set aside. Set oven to 400ºF.
In the baking dish, toss together the charred tomatoes, ravioli, spinach, basil, marinara and the mozzarella. Cover with foil and bake until cooked through, about 25 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with extra mozzarella and the Parmesan and bake another 10 minutes until the cheese is melted.

Serve with extra Parmesan, and French bread on the side.
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Shrimp and Cheese Grits

shrimp and cheese grits

for the grits: 
1 cup water
1 cup skim milk
generous 1/4 cup shredded cheese (any kind)
generous 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
2 tbsp. grated Parmesan
1 tbsp. butter
6 tbsp. quick grits

for the shrimp:
1 lb. fresh, raw shrimp (peeled and de-veined, shells reserved)
1 to 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 to 2 tbsp. canola oil
3 vine-ripe tomatoes, seeds and pulp removed, and diced
half of a medium yellow or orange bell pepper, finely diced
half of a red onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 to 3/4 cup shrimp stock (see below) or water
6 sprigs of fresh thyme, stripped and chopped
5 leaves of fresh basil, chopped
black pepper and kosher sea salt

for the shrimp stock:
reserved raw shrimp shells
1/4 cup dry white wine
lemon wedge (or two)
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tbsp. whole black peppercorns
1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning (or more, if you like)
1/2 tsp. kosher sea salt

Prepare the shrimp and stock: Peel and de-vein the shrimp, reserving the shells and discarding the veins. Place shrimp shells, wine, lemon wedge(s), butter, thyme, peppercorns, Old Bay, and salt in a small saucepan and add just enough water to cover it all. Boil gently until reduced and concentrated, about 15 or 20 minutes. Let the stock cool, and then strain it into a bowl or measuring cup. (Bonus: there should be more stock left over than you will use for this recipe, which means you can freeze the extra cup or two and use it later in a soup or another sauce.)

Make cheese grits: Add water, skim milk, grits, and a little salt and pepper to a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook until grits are thick, about three to five minutes. Remove from heat and add butter, a sprinkling of fresh thyme, and cheeses. Stir until the cheese is melted. Cover and set aside. (If the grits thicken too much while they sit, you can always stir in a few tablespoons of leftover shrimp broth, milk, or half-and-half to thin them a bit later, as well as re-warming them before serving if needed.)

Now for the shrimp: Heat the canola oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and pepper and cook until it is beginning to soften, several minutes. Melt a tiny pat of additional butter and add the garlic. Cook just until fragrant, about 30 to 45 seconds.
 Stir in tomatoes and thyme, turn up the heat a little, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until they are incorporated into the sauce and beginning to caramelize, but not brown. Add wine and cook until reduced a bit. Add shrimp stock (or water) in small amounts and let it evaporate—this will concentrate the sauce and add flavor.

During the last few minutes, while you still have some liquid in the pan, stir in the shrimp and saute for 2 to 3 minutes, tossing occasionally so that they cook on all sides. Reduce heat to low and add basil and remaining tablespoon of butter. Heat through. Spoon shrimp and sauce over cheese grits, and garnish with chopped fresh basil or Italian parsley.
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What Do YOu KNow :::: Clara Barton

Clara Barton was a nurse but she was so much more. Clara lived a life where accomplished much. Starting out life the youngest of 5 brothers and sister Clarissa Harlowe Barton was born December 1821 in North Oxford Massachusetts. Clara's father was a militia captain and could spin stories very well. Her mother was a very odd individual.

At the young age of 15 a suggestion was made to her parents that Clara should go into teaching. she followed the suggestion and worked for a bit at Oxford Massachusetts schools. After about 6 years Clara Barton would open a school in 1845 that would serve the children of workers in her brother's mill. Later Clara would create a free public school in New Jersey that would grow so large that leaders refused to let her lead it and hired a male principle.

Clara Barton left the world of education for a bit and found herself in 1833 taking care of her brother after he fell off the roof of a barn. Two years of her life would be given to the care of his brother and his recovery. She then would enter the Civil War as a nurse at the age of 39. Perhaps her strength of past experiences was what inspired her to take care of the injured in the civil war.

Injured soldiers were housed in the senate chamber of the U.S. capital. Clara Barton would bring her own supplies to care for the wounded. She would later form her own supply distribution agency. Her acts would earn her the nickname of "Angel of the Battlefield" She would work hard to care for the wounded following the civil war battles. Thus at times placing herself in danger
The Battle of Antietam nearly took her life. While she was lifting a wounded man's head to offer water, a bullet ripped  through the sleeve of her dress. Though she survived the injured did not.

The actions that she saw often left her depressed. The thought of killing herself a few different times. It was the worth and purpose of life that would help her get out of the depression. Acting as a professional angel allowed her to thrive in scenarios that others would run from In addition, her actions would not go unrecognized

January 1, 1863 Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. The end of the civil war left many soldiers missing. May of that same year Clara Barton would return to the profession of Education. She would teach the newly freed slaves. In addition, Clara would set up an Office of Correspondence with Friends of the Missing Men of the U.S. Army in 1865. The organization that Clara Barton organized would locate 22,000 missing soldiers which of 13,000 had perished in the Andersonville Prison

Following the civil war Clara Barton was part of a nationwide lecture tour for the Woman's rights movement. Frederick Douglas, Ralph Waldo Emerson and others would join her. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony would support the interest as well.

“I did not purchase my freedom with a price; I was born free; and when, as a younger woman I heard the subject discussed, it seemed simply ridiculous that any sensible, sane person should question it,” 
Clara Barton

The Office of Correspondence would eventually close down. Clara Barton would then travel to Europe to recuperate. She would learn about the International Red Cross in Switzerland. The office had been founded in 1863 to help victims of humanitarian crisis. Following her trip she could see no reason why there could not be an American Red Cross here in the United States.

May 21, 1881 Clara Barton would co-find the American Red Cross with Adolphus Solomons. She would serve as president of the organization and would serve for 23 years never with a pay day. The American Red Cross helped those affected by the war as well as survivors of natural disasters.

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Pickled Garlicky Red Peppers

Pickled Garlicky Red Peppers

2 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
3 cups water
2/3 to 3/4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons kosher salt or 1/4 cup table salt*
10 bell peppers, all red or a mix of red, orange and yellow (the sweet varieties)
4 large cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped**

Roast the peppers: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line peppers on a large baking sheet and roast them for 45 minutes, turning them once, or until they are soft. Better to extend the cooking time than shorten it, as the skins will only come off easily if they’re fully cooked.
Prepare pickling liquid: Bring vinegar, water, sugar and salt to a boil in a 3-quart nonreactive saucepan over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Cool about 30 minutes. (Want to speed this process up? Leave aside two cups of the water, only boiling one. Once the sugar is dissolved, pour that cold water back in. It should take no time at all for it to finish cooling.)
Once peppers are roasted: While they’re hot, throw the peppers in a large bowl and cover it with a lid or plate, trapping the steam inside. In 15 minutes, they should be cooled, and their skins should be easy to remove. If not, give it another 10 or 15 minutes to rest.
Once all of the pepper skins are removed, remove the core and seeds, and tear the peppers into strips, tossing them into a large bowl, jar or container. Pour the pickling liquid over the peppers (if you have extra brine, save it for next time) and add the chopped garlic. Chill them, covered with a lid or plastic wrap, for one day.

Do ahead: Pickled vegetables keep, covered and chilled, for 1 week.

* Technically the conversion for kosher to table salt is 1.5, so a more accurate equivalent would be 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons, if you want to be a fusspot about it.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Corned Beef Hash

2-3 cups corned beef, chopped or minced
2-3 medium potatoes
1/2 cup chopped onion or to taste (use green onion if you prefer)
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1/4 cup to 1/3 cup heavy cream or broth from cooking corned beef (enough to moisten)
2 tablespoons melted butter
Salt and Pepper to taste
Dash of paprika (optional)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)

Boil the potatoes with skins on in the corned beef broth until tender or bake in oven until soft
Remove from broth or oven and let stand until cool enough to handle
Skin potatoes and crumble into the minced or chopped corned beef (in a bowl)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet over low heat and saute the onions and parsley until the onions are soft
Add potato and meat mixture, seasonings, cream or broth (just enough to moisten) and salt and pepper and toss to combine well
Pour half the melted butter in a pie plate, pack in the corned beef hash mixture and drizzle the rest of the butter over the top
Bake at 450 degrees F for 15 minutes
Remove hash from oven Serve the hash with eggs and biscuits or toast.

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