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Saturday, March 30, 2019

Get Out Take A Walk

The beautiful spring weather may be inspiring you to get out and take a walk. Walking is one of the easiest physical exercises one can take part in. By simply putting on your shoes and getting your feet to moving you can take part in this physical activity. It matter not where you walk or at what speed as long as you are on the go you are exercising. The many benefits that walking offers include:

  • Walking helps to lower the body mass index. Walking more and sitting less has shown to lower BMI's 
  • Walking helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Walking has been shown to help lower the fasting blood sugar level. Higher blood glucose levels are a risk factor for diabetes. 
  • Walking has also shown to increase memory and cognitive functioning. 
  • Walking can help lower stress and improved mood Walking out in nature helps increase this as well. The stimulation produces neurotransmitters in the brain that help improve your mental state
  • Walking has been shown to improve the length of ones life. Walking around 3 hours a week can help reduce risk of premature death. 
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Thank The Doctor

National Doctor's Day was created March 30th 1933. Eudora Brown Almond of Winder, Georgia started the day that was first celebrated as a national day in 1991. The day was created to show appreciation to doctors. Thus thanking them for taking good care for both you and your loved ones.

Doctors are responsible for performing vital diagnosis, treatment and care for yourself and your family. These actions are performed to both keep you well and help you when you are sick. Doctors are responsible for taking care of our health needs while many times we are responsible for our health by following the doctors advice. I would suggest today that you thank the doctor or do it at your next regularly scheduled appointment

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Friday, March 29, 2019

Brazil Nut Shortbread Cookies #Recipe

Start by chopping 2 cups (500 ml) Brazilian nuts. Don't chop to fine as chunky is better in these cookies. But if you don't like chunks then by all means cut them to suit your taste . Add 200 g butter (at room temperature) to the nuts. Mix the nuts and the butter well. My butter melted because of the extreme heat of the day and the kitchen. Now add 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) of sugar and 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla essence to the mix. Mix well.
Add 4 cups (1000 ml) flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Optionally, you can add 2 cups flour and 2 cups maizena/cornflour. This will make the cookie much finer and will result in a melt-in-the-mouth sensation. Using only flour makes the cookie a little more chewy. Both versions are wonderful. Mix well and roll with hands

Space the balls on a baking sheet and stick it in a preheated oven at 180°C for 15 minutes.

Put about two cups of icing sugar in a round bowl. Get a fork ready. As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, roll them in the icing sugar.

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Thursday, March 28, 2019

Enjoy a Ham Sandwich

Do you love ham?? Do you understand the differences among the ham world?? Our family loves ham and I have learned a lot over the years. Let me share just a bit of what I know

  • A fresh ham may also be known as a green ham. This type of ham is uncured and uncooked as well. Roasting or baking the ham are two of the best known ways to cook this type of ham. Fresh hams can also be smoked or cured for later use. 
  • A cured ham is flavored with salt, sugar and other flavorings. One cured ham, the city ham is soaked in or injected with brine and then smoked or boiled. This type of ham can be found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store and is normally marked "ready to cook" "partially cooked" or "ready to serve"                                                                                                 A country ham is dry cured with salt, sometimes then smoked and aged. This type of ham is often salty but can be cured using less salt. 
  • Smoking is another form of curing. Hams are normally salt cured or brined to control the development of bacteria during smoking. The ham spends many hours, days even, in a smokehouse to allow the essence of hickory or maple smoke to infuse the meat. 
I love to make sandwiches with ham. With the warm weather approaching I thought it might be a great time to share with you one of our all time favorite picnic ham sandwich recipe 

1-2 tomatoes thinly sliced
½ cup Italian dressing
6 croissants
½ (6.5 oz) container garlic and herb spreadable cheese
½ lb. thinly sliced deli ham (I used black forest)
½ pound thinly sliced hard salami, cut circles in half
6 slices provolone cheese, cut circles in half
6 leaves of red lettuce

Place tomatoes in a small container along with Italian dressing. Place in the fridge and allow to marinate for at least 1 hour but longer is even better.
Slice croissants in half. Spread top half of each croissant with the garlic and herb spreadable cheese.
On the bottom half, layer sandwich ingredients beginning with provolone followed by ham, salami, and lettuce.
Place top of croissants on each sandwich. Wrap each sandwich well with plastic wrap and refrigerate until picnic time. This can be done as early as the night before.
To serve, unwrap sandwiches and place marinated tomatoes on the sandwiches.

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Much A Do About Weeds

A weed is any plant that is not in a place where you want it to be. Even edible, medicinal, herbal plants, and even flowers, are considered weeds to those who don't want them where they pop up. So what does this include:

  • flowers that creep into the veggie garden. These flowers can be transplanted and pulled them out 
  • when flowers, veggies or herbs appear in sidewalk cracks or other areas While some may enjoy them they are not meant to be there and thus many times will be time to rid
  • Those dreaded dandelions that pop up all over the lawn may delight a child but many stress over them
  • dreaded weeds like ragweed that drive everyone a bit crazy

With all the reasons that we may not like weeds here are some  reasons why we might 

  • Some weeds do offer nutrients. For example there are some weeds that are often considered salad greens. Dandelions can be eaten and enjoyed in a few different was as well. 
  • Birds and other wildlife depend on weeds for food and shelter
  • Weeds often produce beautiful flowers
  • Some weeds are very important to those in the pharmacy world. Perhaps it will be a weed in your yard that ends up being a cure for an illness
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Dry Ingredients
¾ cup gluten-free rolled oats
¼ cup gluten-free oat flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
Wet Ingredients
2 flax eggs (whisk together 2 tablespoons ground flax + 6 tablespoons water, let set for 10 mins)
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons natural, unsalted creamy almond butter
¼ cup coconut sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Add-in Ingredients
½ cup vegan chocolate chips
½ cup walnuts, chopped
Optional topping
2 tablespoons each: vegan chocolate chips and chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or greased foil. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients: oats, flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the wet ingredients: flax eggs, coconut oil, almond butter, coconut sugar and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.
Pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture. Use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to fold the ingredients together until well combined. Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts.
Scoop 2 tablespoons of cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheet, spaced evenly apart. Using a fork, flatten cookies to desired thickness. They will not spread during baking. Optionally, press chocolate chips and walnuts into the top of each cookie.
Bake for 10-14 minutes. Using a heatproof spatula, lift cookies off the sheet and transfer to a cooling rack. Cool for 1 hour. Enjoy! Storing notes below.
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Great Variety of Salsa

One aspect of Mexican cuisine is salsa fresca, hot salsa and salsa picante. These types of salsa are often used as dips. Salsa is often based, and includes ingredients such as onions, chilies and acid and herbs. Salsa can range from mild to extremely hot. While the Spanish call these sauces salsa the English language would not consider them a cooked sauce but one that is raw or near raw sauce that is used as dips

Through out the ages salsa has become very versatile. The traditional Mexican salsa was traditionally produced using the mortar and pestle. Today, salsa is made up of blenders are more commonly used. Wikipedia helps to define the various types of salsa:

  • A "red sauce" known as Salsa roja is used as a condiment in Mexican and Southwestern United States. This salsa includes tomatoes, chili peppers, onion, garlic and fresh cilantro
  • Salsa fresca or pico de gallo is made up of raw tomatoes, lime juice, chilies, onions , cilantro leaves and other chopped raw ingredients. 
  • salsa cruda or "raw sauce" is made up of chopped tomatoes, onions, jalapeno chilies and cilantro
  • The "green sauce" or salsa verde is made up of tomatilos 
  • A salsa considered to be "taco sauce" is made up on tomatillos and morita chili, tomato puree, vinegar and chili pepper
  • A sweet spicy salsa is made from mangoes and used to top nachos, garnish grilled chicken or fish. Substitute pineapple for mango to make a pineapple salsa. 
  • wnt a spicier salsa use chipotle salsa or habanero salsa
  • corn salsa is made from sweet corn with other ingredients

NO matter the type of salsa that you prefer the World Health Organization reminds you to be safe during care, prep and storage stages . E. Coli can be a potentially dangerous form of bacteria that can be 
found in the many raw varieties of salsa. Refrigeration is "the key to safe" 
sauces. Fresh lime juice and fresh garlic are also important ingredients 
that can prevent the growth of bacteria 

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Cornbread Salad

Cornbread Salad

1 (16-ounce) package cornbread mix
10 slices bacon
1 ½ cup sour cream
1 ½ cup mayonnaise
1 (1-ounce) package ranch dressing mix
2 cans pinto beans or red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
3 large tomatoes, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup green onions, chopped
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 cups whole corn, drained

1. Mix cornbread according to directions on package. Bake and allow to cool.
2. Fry bacon. Place on paper towels to drain. Crumble the cooled bacon into small pieces.
3. Mix sour cream, mayo, and dressing mix in a bowl; set aside.
4. In a large bowl crumble half the cornbread, beans, tomatoes, pepper, and onion together.
5. In a trifle or clear bowl add the first crumbled layer (around ⅓ of the mix, reserving the remaining for 2 more layers).
6. Follow with layers of cheese, corn, bacon, and cover with a layer of dressing mixture.
7. Repeat for 2 more layers, ending with the dressing. Garnish with shredded cheese.
8. Cover and chill for 10–12 hours.
yield: 6 servings

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Spanish Inspired Turkey and Sausage Paella

When in Spain do as those that live in Spain do. But believe me the Spanish are prepared for the tourist with entertainment, music, history and much more. One dish that possess a name that means "strictly for tourists" is "paella turista" This is American style of paella, a mix of ingredients from land and sea that is served over rice that is must likely is overcooked and may be artificially colored. However, if your are not sure what paella is then that is where the story must begin.

Valencia, Spain on the eastern coastline is a great area for producing rice. Paella was grown there and then cooked outdoors over wood burning fires for farm workers Often the rice would be cooked with rabbit, snails and beans.

If you visit spain today, you will find groups of family and friends getting together to cook paella over an open fire or grill. It is the paellera pan that not only gave the dish its name but also offers a great taste as well. The paellera is shallow, wide and round with sloping sides. The best paelleras are thin carbon like steel pans and can be found at cookware shops. In the case you do not have a paelleras pan the n use a stainless steel or aluminum skillet as cast iron and nonstick pans are discouraged.

Turkey-Sausage Paella
(Start to finish 42 minutes)

2 3/4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
Cooking spray
2 ounces Spanish chorizo sausage
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup uncooked Arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
14 1/2-ounce can petite diced tomatoes, drained
2 cups shredded cooked turkey breast (about 8 ounces)
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Combine broth and saffron in a small saucepan over low heat; bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chorizo to pan; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Remove chorizo from pan with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Add onion and pepper to pan; cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes. Add rice; cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add wine and paprika; cook 1 minute or until liquid evaporates, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in broth mixture and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Gently stir in turkey, peas and parsley; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Makes 4 servings (serving size 1 1/2 cups).

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Rustic Chocolate Pie

Rustic Chocolate Pie (recipe by Alice Medrich, from February 2010 issue of Better Homes & Gardens)

3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
5 tbsp cold, unsalted butter
1 1/2-2 tbsp cold water
6 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (not to exceed 62% cacao), coarsely chopped
2 eggs whites, at room temperature
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
3 tbsp pine nuts, toasted (optional)
chocolate shavings (optional)

To make crust, in bowl thoroughly mix flour and 1/4 tsp salt. Cut butter in chunks and add to bowl. With two knives or pastry blender, cut butter into flour, tossing to coat with flour until largest pieces are size of pine nuts and remaining resemble coarse bread crumbs. As you work, scrape flour up from bottom of bowl, and scrape butter from knives or pastry blender. Do not let butter melt or blend completely into flour. Drizzle 1 1/2 tbsp cold water over flour mixture while tossing and mixing, until just moist enough to hold together when pressed. Add remaining water if needed. Turn out on plastic wrap. Gather into flat disk, pressing in any loose pieces. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate 30 minutes or up to 3 days.
Position rack in lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 400°F. Let dough stand 30 minutes at room temperature, or until pliable enough to roll without cracking. On lightly floured surface, roll dough to 14x9-inch oval, about 1/8 inch thick, rotating and dusting with flour to prevent sticking. Brush excess flour from dough; fold in half to transfer to a piece of parchment slightly larger than dough. Unfold dough. Loosely fold and roll edge, without pressing, to form rimmed crust. Place parchment with pastry on baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until light golden brown (crust edge will be a little raw inside).
Meanwhile, for filling, melt chocolate in microwave on 50% power (medium) about 2 minutes. Stir frequently until chocolate is almost completely melted. Remove from microwave. Stir until melted; set aside.
In bowl beat egg whites with cream of tartar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and 1/8 tsp salt. Beat until whites are stiff but not dry. Pour pecans and melted chocolate over whites; fold with spatula until batter is uniform color.
Remove crust from oven. Reduce oven to 350°F. Dollop filling on crust. Spread to 1/2 inch thick. Bake 10 minutes, or until surface looks dry and slightly cracked (fudgy inside). Cool on baking sheet on rack. Serve warm or cool. Cover and refrigerate after 2 hours or up to 24 hours. To serve, sprinkle pine nuts and chocolate shavings.

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Another Chile Con Queso

Matt Martinez’s Chile con Queso
(Serves 6 to 8)

1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1/2 cup finely chopped
jalapeño (you can use canned green chiles if you prefer; just add them with the tomatoes)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup chicken broth
8 ounces American cheese (I like the white American; if all you can find are the singles, stack them up and cut into little blocks)
1 cup chopped tomatoes

Using a heavy pot, heat the oil on medium-high and sauté the onion, jalapeño, and dry ingredients for 2 to 3 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the broth and heat 3 to 4 minutes, allowing the sauce to thicken, then add the cheese and tomatoes. Carefully simmer the queso on low heat for 3 to 5 minutes, adjusting its thickness to suit your taste by adding broth or cheese. Serve hot and keep warm, stirring every so often to avoid the dreaded “cheese skin.”

Adapted from Matt Martinez’s Culinary Frontier: A Real Texas Cookbook, by Matt Martinez Jr. and Steve Pate. Published by Doubleday.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Creamed Spinach

Creamed spinach 
Makes 4 side-dish servings \

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter plus 2 tablespoons softened, divided use
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk or half and half2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 small bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound fresh spinach
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small saucepan, melt 1 stick butter over medium heat until foamy, then add flour and stir until light brown in color. Add onion and seasonings and then whisk in milk, stirring until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens.
Reduce the heat and cook for 5 minutes. Pass through a fine strainer and reserve. The sauce will be very thick.
Cook 1 pound spinach immersed in boiling water for one minute. Remove and immerse in ice water to stop the cooking process. Squeeze spinach until very dry and puree in a food processor. Set aside.
Just before serving, combine the sauce with the pureed spinach and cook on low heat, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Finish by stirring in the remaining 2 tablespoons softened butter. Serve warm.

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The Sweetness of Nougat

March 26th has a sweetness to it. It is a day to celebrate a soft and chewy hard and crunchy candy known as nougat. Look inside of some candy bars and you will find a nougat center.

Nougat is made up of whipped egg whites, sugar or honey, roasted nuts and / or candied fruit. This sweet recipe has been around since ancient Rome. Nougat can be dined on alone or paired with chocolate or other sweet source. A favorite world wide some names of nougat your may be aware of are

  • Italy === torrone
  • Spain === turron
  • United States === divinity

Divinity Center:
2 large egg whites
2½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
½ cup water
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Caramel Coating:
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cup dark corn syrup
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch pieces
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup whipping (heavy) cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Pecan Coating:
3 cups pecans, toasted, coarsely chopped

Line one large baking sheet with parchment paper, wax paper, or a non-stick baking mat. Set aside.
Tip: Before beginning to make the candy, have all ingredients, equipment, and tools prepared and ready to use.
Divinity Center:
In a large bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. Set aside. Tip: Use a stand mixer; a hand mixer is not likely to have enough power for the heavy texture of the candy.
In a medium-size heavy-bottomed pan, combine sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Stir gently to avoid splashing the mixture onto the sides of the pan. When the mixture begins to simmer, cover the pan tightly with a lid for 3 to 4 minutes to allow condensation to form and run down the inside of the pan to help wash away stray sugar crystals.
Remove the lid and increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil, without stirring, until the syrup reaches a temperature of 260 degrees F, a hard ball stage, using a candy or instant read thermometer to gauge the temperature. While the syrup is cooking, wash away any sugar crystals that form on the sides of the pan by wiping upwards with a damp pastry brush so the sugar crystals don’t fall back into the syrup.
Meanwhile, as the temperature of the syrup reaches about 240 degrees F, continue beating the egg whites on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Stop the mixer, remove the whisk attachment and attach the paddle.
When the sugar mixture reaches 260 degrees F, Immediately remove pan from the heat. Tip: Lower the heat when the temperature reaches about 250 degrees to slow the cooking because at this point it will quickly reach 260 degrees. In addition, remove the pan from the heat just before the syrup reaches 260 degrees to prevent it from going over 260 degrees.
Immediately start pouring the hot sugar mixture, in a thin steady stream, into the beaten egg whites, while beating with the electric mixer at medium speed. This will cause the egg whites to double in volume. Be careful, the sugar is extremely hot and will burn your skin if you touch it.
Slowly add the vanilla. Increase the speed to high and continue beating at high speed until the candy cools and changes from a smooth shiny texture to a rough dull texture. This can take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. As soon as the texture changes to the rough dull texture, stop beating and remove the bowl from the mixer.
Quickly pour the divinity onto the prepared pan. Let the divinity set until just it is cool enough that you can handle it.
Separate divinity into 4 equal portions and roll each portion into a log about 5 inches long. Wrap each log in parchment paper and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 to 6 hours or overnight. Keep refrigerated until ready to dip in the caramel coating.
Caramel Coating:
Line a baking pan with parchment paper or waxed paper. Set aside.
Placed toasted and chopped pecans in a shallow dish, such as a pie plate. Set aside.
In a large heavy-bottomed pan, combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until the sugar is completely dissolved and the butter is melted. Stir in the whipping cream. Stir gently to avoid splashing the mixture onto the sides of the pan. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil, stirring frequently and scraping the pan bottom to avoid scorching, until the mixture reaches a temperature of 250 degrees F, a firm ball stage, using a candy or instant read thermometer to gauge the temperature. Immediately remove pan from the heat. Tip: Lower the heat when the temperature reaches about 240 degrees to slow the cooking because at this point it will quickly reach 250 degrees.
Let the hot mixture sit about 30 seconds to let the bubbling subside. Working carefully to prevent splattering, add the vanilla and stir just until mixed.
Dipping and Nut Coating:
Remove the divinity rolls from the refrigerator. Place one roll at a time in the hot caramel; gently turn it over with a kitchen fork or wooden spoon. Use the fork or wooden spoon to lift the roll out of the caramel, letting excess caramel drip back into the pan. Be careful, the caramel is extremely hot and will burn your skin if you touch it. Immediately place the caramel covered roll into the pan of chopped pecans and roll until completely covered with the pecans. Lift the roll out of the pecans and place on the prepared pan. Refrigerate the rolls about 30 minutes for the caramel to become cool and firm.
Slice rolls into about ¼ inch slices.

There are also 3 basic kinds of nougats:
  • white === egg whites and honey
  • brown === no egg whites, a bit firmer and a bit crunchier
  • German ==== chocolate nut praline
In the United States you can find nougat in many candy bars like 

3 Musketeers, Mars, Snickers, Milky Way, Zero, Salted Nut Rolls, Reese’s Fast Break, Reese’s Whipps, Baby Ruth, and other

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Purple Day Celebration

I am in hopes that you wore your the color purple today. Today, is the day to help bring awareness to epilepsy by donning the color purple. Known as "purple day" it is the day to bring awareness to epilepsy that affects nearly 50 million people around the world. Perhaps one of the fears is that a fear exist among individuals when differences show their face. 

Epilepsy is not contagious and there should be no fear that one can catch "it". Causes for epilepsy are not always known. Some reasons could be due to disease or injury or perhaps it came about following strokes or infections Epilepsy is a treatable condition.

The individual behind Purple Day is Cassidy Megan from Nova Scotia Canada. Purple Day was a chance to bring awareness to epilepsy and cast away myths Thank you Cassidy for helping to bring awareness to epilepsy and stop some of the myths that surround it

Myths about Epilepsy

Epilepsy is one condition that remains misunderstood by many. It was once believed by some to be caused by possession of a demon or ghost and in some rural areas this may still be believed. Witch doctors are saught after to drive the demon out of the bodies of those affected by epilepsy. Sadly this is not the only myth and misunderstanding about epilepsy:

  • Some individuals thing that a person with epilepsy also is mentally deranged or challenged. The truth is that Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain where clusters of nerves signal abnormal signalling strange sensations, emotions behaviors, muscle spasms, convulsions and loss of consciousness. While individuals with mental retardation may have epileptic attacks , epilepsy will not cause mental retardation or a decrease in IQ
  • Individuals like Sir Alfred Nobel, Napoleon and Socrates all suffered with epilepsy. 
  • While many think that convulsions are present with every epileptic attack this is not true. Several different types of epileptic attacks come with altered sensations, repetitive movement, and auras but do not always bring on convulsions. 
  • Another myth is that epilepsy is hereditary. This is not completely true. Yes, there may be genetics involved but it is not the only cause. Brain injuries, tumors, meningitis, illness, fever, Alzheimer's disease, head injuries and alcoholism are also on the list of causes of epilepsy. 
  • Epileptic attacks being hosted with no triggers which causes them to come on suddenly with no warning of place or time is yet another myth. The fact is that there are a few triggers that cause these attacks to come on. Lack of sleep, stress, alcohol, hormones during menstruation, smoking and other things can trigger an attack
  • Some believe that individuals with epilepsy are dependent on others People with epilepsy can lead a normal life with proper treatment. It is great if family and friends understand the condition and how to help in emergency. However, individuals with epilepsy are forbidden to drive or participate in dangerous sports

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Morning Boost Smoothie

1/2 banana
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup oats (gluten free)
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/4 scoop brown rice protein powder
1/2 teaspoon coconut oil (optional)
Almond milk

In a blender, combine fruit, oats, chia seeds, protein powder, and coconut oil. Pour almond milk over ingredients until just covered. Blend on high until smooth. Add more almond milk to thin if necessary.
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Vegan Mexican 7 Layer Dip

1 16-ounce can vegetarian refried beans (Trader Joe’s are already seasoned)
3/4 cup Vegan Mexican Cheese Spread + hot water (see instructions)
1 cup Favorite Guacamole (recipe below)
1 cup Favorite Salsa or Pico De Gallo (recipe below)
1/2 bell pepper (diced)
1/4 cup black olives (optional // diced)
1 handful fresh cilantro (optional // chopped)
2 ripe avocados
1 medium lime (juiced)
1 pinch sea salt
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes (diced)
1/4 cup red onion (diced)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 pinch each salt and pepper

To prepare the cheese layer, scoop out 3/4 cup of spreadable Mexican Cheese and whisk in very hot water until it resembles queso - about 1/2 cup (amounts as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). Alternatively, use my Cashew-less Vegan Queso.
Next, prepare the guacamole by mashing all ingredients together in a bowl and adjusting seasonings to preference. Do the same with the pico de gallo (or just use your favorite salsa).
To assemble the dip: Spread out vegetarian refried beans, then top with cheese layer, then guacamole, then pico or salsa, then bell pepper, then black olives, then cilantro.
Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate. Can be made up to 1 day in advance.
recipe resource here

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Broccoli Alfredo

Broccoli Alfredo

2 servings of dried fettucini noodles
1 serving creamed broccoli
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup hot starchy pasta water

In a medium saucepan, boil water for the pasta. Add enough salt so that it's lightly salted. Do not add additional oil. When it's boiling, add the pasta and cook as directed.
While the water is boiling, melt the butter in a wide saucepan. When it's melted, add the creamed broccoli and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the pasta is nearly done -- the cream sauce should reduce by 1/3 or 1/2. Stir occasionally to make sure the sauce doesn't burn. You probably also have time to grate the cheese.
When the pasta is done, use tongs to transfer it into the bubbling broccoli and butter mixture. You don't have to be too conscientious about the water.
Toss the parmesan onto the pasta, and give everything a good stir. Turn off the heat at this point, as you don't want it to boil again, which will make the sauce separate.
Add the indicated amount of pasta water to the pasta and sauce. Stir briefly. The starchy, salted water will help thicken the sauce and flavor it at the same time.
Use tongs to dish out the pasta. Serve hot and enjoy!

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White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookie

White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking soda
10 ounces white chocolate (chips or bars cut in chunks)
1 cup macadamia nuts, chopped into chunks

Heat oven to 375 F. In large bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt with electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs, beat well. Stir together flour, and the baking soda; gradually add to butter mixture,beating until well blended. Stir in white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. (Edges are golden brown and center is set.) Cool slightly, remove from cookie sheet to wire rack to cool completely.
recipe resource here

Caramelized Onion Dip Mix

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large yellow onions (about 1 1/2 pounds), finely chopped
3/4 cup sour cream (low-fat is fine if you like)
3/4 cup Greek yogurt (low-fat is fine if you like)
3 teaspoons dehydrated onion powder/granulates (salt-free, natural)
very scant 1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large thick-bottomed skillet over medium heat saute the chopped onions in the olive oil along with a couple pinches of salt. Stir occasionally with a wood or metal spatula and cook until the onions are deeply golden, brown, and caramelized - roughly 40 or 50 minutes (see photo). Set aside and let cool.

In the meantime, whisk together the sour cream, yogurt, onion powder, and salt. The important thing is to add whatever onion powder you are using to taste. Add a bit at a time until it tastes really good. Set aside until the caramelized onions have cooled to room temperature. Stir in 2/3 of the caramelized onions, scoop into a serving bowl, and top with the remaining onions. I think this dip is best at room temperature.

Makes about 2 cups.
recipe source here

Monday, March 25, 2019

Have A Cupcake Enjoy Spring

If you are like me then you have been enjoying the spring like weather. These little buttermilk cupcakes with lemon icing will help to share the great taste that come with spring as well. Enjoy!!!

Buttermilk Cake
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups bleached flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter cake pans and line bottom with parchment paper or line put papers in cupcake pan. Beat hte butter and sugar for 5 minutes at medium speed until light and fluffy (be sure to do the entire 5 minutes – this makes a big difference!). Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping bowl and beaters between each to incorporate.

Sift flour with the baking powder and baking soda. Add a quarter of the flour mixture to the butter-egg mixture. Then add vanilla and a third of the buttermilk. Repeat, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and scraping well after each addition.

Pour batter into prepared pans and spread to edges. Bake 25-30 minutes for layer cakes 18-20 minutes for cupcakes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool pans on a rack for 5 minutes. Turn cakes out and cool completely.

Lemon Frosting
2 sticks butter, firm but not cold
zest of one lemon
1/8 tsp. salt
3 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
2-4 tsp. buttermilk

Beat butter, zest and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, gradually add sugar, beat until blended. Add the vanill and lemon juice and beat until smooth. Do not over mix or frosting will incorporate too much air. It will be creamy and dense. Add buttermilk 1 tsp. at a time until frosting has a spreadable consistency.

recipe resource here

Retreat recipe here

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Cashew Nut Cookies

Cashew Nut Cookies
Adapted from My Kitchen Snippets, January 2009
Makes 80 bite-sized cookies.

270g cashew nuts, roasted and salted (70g are for the garnish)
250g plain flour
60g cornflour
1/2 tsp baking powder
210g butter (or lard for a more authentic flavour)
100g sugar (could increase to 120g)
1 egg, separated
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Pick out the best-looking whole cashew nuts for the garnish.  Halve them lengthwise, where they naturally want to split.  If a nut doesn't split cleanly, try again with another nut, so you have 80 beautiful halves and maybe a few more to spare, and set aside.
Measure out 200g of the rest of the nuts, using up the broken bits, and either grind or finely chop them.
Sift flour, cornflour and baking powder into the same bowl as the ground nuts and mix.
In a separate large bowl, cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy.  Add in egg yolk and vanilla essence.  Mix well.
Stir in the dry ingredients and mix well.  Here, I get my hands dirty and turn the crumbly clumps into a dough ball.
Chill dough in fridge for 40 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180°C (or if using a fan-forced oven, 160°C).
Shape dough into small balls, around 2cm in diameter, and place onto lined baking tray.
Press a cashew nut half into each cookie ball, so that it is slightly flattened and cracks a little at the edges.
Beat egg white and brush onto cookies.
Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool and store in airtight container.

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Sunday, March 24, 2019

Who Was Harry Houdini

Erik Weisz was born March 24, 1874 in Budapest to Rabbi Mayer Samuel Weisz and his wife Cecilia Steiner. In 1878 the family would travel to the United States and change their name toe Weiss. The family would live in Appleton WIsoconsin and his father served as Rabbi for the Zion Reform Jewish Congregation Later the family would become official American citizens and move to Milwaukee

The Weiss family would live in poverty in Milwaukee and eventually the young boy and his father would move to New York City. Eventually the remaining family would join. At the age of 9 the young boy Ehrich Weiss would find work as a trapeze artist. Other talents would be that of a cross country runner and magic. Perhaps it was when he became a professional magician and called himself "Harry Houdini" that his popularity would begin.
Harry Houdini became an American illusionist and stunt performer. Vaudeville would be the stop in the beginning. The act of "Harry Handcuff Houdini" challenged police forces to keep him locked up When this drew attention another step had to be taken, that step would include chains, ropes, straight jackets under water and escaping from sealed milk can with water in it.

Did You Know Harry Houdini:

  • he acted in several silent films prior to opening his own movie production studio even acting in two silent films. When the acting was not profitable he abandoned the world of acting
  • Houdini took an interest in communicating with the dead after his mothers death. However he soon went on to discredit and vilify those that claimed they could talk to the dead. However, following the death of Harry Houdini his wife desperately tried to talk to him.
  • While many claim that Houdini died on Halloween but was rather poisoned to death by pro = spiritualists 
  • Houdini was not burred next to his wife. He was jewish and she was Catholic
  • Houdini instructed WWI soldiers how to escape from ropes, handcuffs and shipwrecks
  • Houdini was an athlete with endurance , stamina and strength but also had the key hidden in such a place that the crowd could not see it
  • When the magic career dwindled Harry Houdini performed as the Wildman at museums, sideshows and the circus
  • Houdini and his brother Theodore both performed as escape artist 
  • President Woodrow Wilson once stated:                                                              "I envy your ability to escape out of tight places. Sometimes I wish I were able to do the same thing"
  • Houdini worked as an undercover agent for the American and British government for several years. 

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Chocolate Covered Raisin Cookies

One of my husband's sweet weaknesses is chocolate covered raisins. He is not alone with his admiration of these little bites. You can find them in boxes of theater snacks, in trail mixes, cookies and many other treats. The raisin itself is a treat in itself, one that many of us enjoyed as children and still do today. However, when those tasty raisins are covered with a milk chocolate then a sweet and rich flavor is created in a delicious treat. 

Raisinets is one of the most popular brands of these chocolate raisin treats. They were introduce at the world fair in 1927. Several other brands sell chocolate covered raisins as well but it is Raisenetts that seem to stand out. 

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup 2 sticks butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 package 11oz Nestle Raisinets Milk Chocolate-Covered Raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
Chocolate for drizzling optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl.
Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and eggs; gradually beat in flour mixture.
Stir in oats, Raisinets and walnuts.
Drop by tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheet.
Bake for 9 to 11 minutes. Cool then drizzle chocolate on top.
recipe resource here

Retreat here

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bacon cinnamon rolls

Bacon seems to be found every where now days. The taste of bacon is one that is being craved by many. It is perfect for breakfast, lunch or supper and a snack in between as well. Try these Bacon Cinnamon Rolls and get your bacon crave met

Bacon Cinnamon Rolls
Makes about 15 rolls

1 cup milk (heated approximately 1 minute in microwave)
1/4 cup warm water (about 110 degrees F.)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature and beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
5 cups bread flour
3 teaspoons instant active dry yeast
15 strips of good smoked bacon
Cinnamon Filling (see recipe below)
Frosting (optional)

1/2 cup butter softened
1 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
5 tablespoons ground cinnamon

In a large bowl or in the bowl of a 5 quart stand mixer, combine all the ingredients in the order given except the bacon and Cinnamon Filling and the Butter Frosting. Using a dough hook of a stand mixer, mix everything together until a soft dough forms, about 10 minutes. Without a stand mixer, turn dough onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for 10 minutes. Put the dough in a bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.

Butter a 9×13×2-inch baking pan and an 8 inch square pan; set aside. After dough has rested, roll and stretch the dough into approximately a 15×24-inch rectangle. Brush the 1/2 cup softened butter over the top of the dough with a rubber spatula. Combine the cinnamon and brown sugar well in a separate bowl. Sprinkle the cinnamon filling over the butter. Starting with long edge, roll up dough; pinch seams to seal.

With a knife, lightly mark roll into 1 to 1/2 inch sections. Use a sharp knife (I like to use a serrated knife and saw very gently) to cut sections. Place cut side up in buttered pan. The unbaked cinnamon rolls should not touch each other before rising and baking. Do not pack the unbaked cinnamon rolls together.

If you want to bake immediately: cover and let rise in a warm place for approximately 45 to 60 minutes or until doubled in size (after rising, rolls should be touching each other and the sides of the pan).

To bake the next morning: Put them in the refrigerator covered. They will rise slowly overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. While the oven is preheating, cook the strips of bacon until done but not crisp. They need to be pliable. One by one, carefully unroll each cinnamon roll and place the bacon inside, aligning the bacon with the top edge of the roll so you will see it when it bakes. Roll back up and replace in your baking dish.

Bake in a regular oven approximately 20 to 25 or until they are a light golden brown.

Once baked, spread the warm rolls with frosting if desired.

2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered (confectioners) sugar
1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon lemon extract or oil (optional, I did not use it.)

In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and butter until creamy. Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon extract or oil until well mixed and creamy. Refrigerate frosting until ready to use and then bring to room temperature before spreading.

recipe resource here

Retreat recipe here

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Put Some Zing Into The Deviled Eggs #Recipe

Zippy Deviled Eggs

6 eggs, boiled
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
salt and pepper to taste
ancho chili powder, for garnish

  Peel eggs cut them in half gently and scoop the yolks into a bowl.  Add mayonnaise, onion, relish, horseradish, mustard and salt and pepper.  Mix together well with a fork or use an electric mixer for creamier filling.  Spoon the mixture back into the egg whites.  Use a piping bag if you want a fancier look.  Sprinkle with Ancho Chili powder.
recipe resource here

Retreat recipe here

Nuts great for snacking and in #Cookies

Looking to shape up, loose a bit of weight and look great for warm weather?? One food that you may want to consider snacking on is nuts. Nuts are among the healthiest foods that you can eat. Loaded with antioxidants, fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. Nuts can also lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of cancer, lead to better heart health and keep weight under control. However, like most things not all nuts are equal, there are some that are healthier than others.

  • Macadamia nuts contain more heart healthy monounsaturated fat than any other nut. This fat can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Cashews contain high volumes of iron zinc and magnesium that are responsible for keeping blood oxygenated, help with immune system and improve memory
  • Brazil nuts contain selenium can help prevent cancer. Eating to many of these nuts can be dangerous as well so limit yourself to about 5 Brazil nuts a day 
  • Almonds contain more fiber and Vitamin E than any other nut

1 cup roasted almonds
1 cup lightly salted peanuts
1 cup cashews
1 cup sugar
2 eggs

Give the nuts a whir in your food processor (or magic bullet in my case).
In a bowl combine whirred nuts, eggs and sugar. Mix well.
Drop on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes. Enjoy!
. recipe resource here

Retreat recipe here
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Celebrate with Cake Pops

If you are a cake lover this may be a day that you enjoy. It is a day to share cake pops, cake balls, cupcake pops and cake on a stick. Oh yes, it is a great day to take cake on the go. NO more excuses, except for the fact that the calories are still found in this cake on the go just like the regular slice of cake. However, the cake pop can now be found in an appealing shape, hand dipped in frosting and decorated to taste.
It is not known for sure who created cake pops. Some say it was Bakerella, a popular baking blog Cake pops came on scene around 2011 and were considered the newest and most popular confectionery food trend of the time. Want to make some cakeballs of your own?? Check out the recipe here

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World TB Day

It was March 24th, 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch shared his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis the cause of tuberculosis (TB). Each year on March 24th we commemorate World TB day to raise public awareness of the health, social and economic issues caused by TB. It is hopes that by keeping these issues in the forefront that one day the TB epidemic will end. Thus it was that special date of March 24th 1882 that began the movement towards finding a cure and one day eradicating the world of T.B.

TB is the world's deadliest infectious killer. Every day around 4500 individuals will lose their lives to TB and nearly 30,000 will become ill due to T.B. Around the world individuals and groups are trying to reduce the TB mortality. In addition Heads of State meeting brought many together to end TB at the first ever UN High Level Meeting in September 2018.

The 2019 theme for TB day is "It's Time" , its time for all to work together to defeat this terrible disease. It is time to:

  • offer more in prevention and treatment
  • build accountability for all
  • making funds for research available
  • end the stigma and discrimination that is attached to TB
  • have an outlet for all those suffering from TB that offers rights and a way to respond 

Did you know that up to 13 million people in the United States have latent TB infection and currently are living without treatment risking the chance that in the future they may develop TB. This demonstrates the great need to strengthen TB education and awareness among those in the health care field. 

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