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Saturday, May 11, 2019

easy pasta salad

1 pound dried pasta like fusilli, penne, rotini or farfalle (bow tie)
1 cup sliced bell pepper (1 medium)
1 cup thinly sliced zucchini (1/2 medium)
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions (5 to 6)
1/4 cup sliced pepperoncini or banana peppers, optional
1 cup (4 ounces) halved mixed olives
1 cup (2 ounces) grated parmesan cheese
1 cup (6 ounces) fresh mozzarella balls, chopped
1/3 cup fresh parsley or basil, optional

1/3 cup red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 to 3 tablespoons juice from pepperoncini jar, optional
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until tender, 6 to 10 minutes (check the package for recommended cook time). Drain and rinse well under cold water.

While the pasta cooks, in the bottom of a large bowl, make the dressing. Whisk the red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano, pepperoncini juice (if using), and the olive oil until blended. Add the drained and rinsed pasta to the dressing and mix well.

Stir in the bell pepper, zucchini, tomatoes, scallions, pepperoncini (if using), olives, parmesan, mozzarella, and the herbs (if using). Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper as needed. Serve or for the best results, cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 5 days.

recipe resource here

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Friday, May 10, 2019

National Water Safety Month

May is Water Safety Month. Some important tips to keep in mind when in and around water include:

  • Always supervise children in and around the water. Designate at least one adult to watch at all times
  • Never swim alone. Swimming is safer and more fun with a buddy!
  • Don’t dive or jump into water that you can’t see through. Obstacles like rocks and stumps may be hiding under the surface!
  • Never turn your back to the ocean. Big surf and strong riptides can come without warning
  • Don’t depend on floating toys to keep you safe. Inner tubes, water wings, and other inflatables are not safe substitutes for life jackets.
  • Children and non-swimmers should always wear life jackets in open water.
  • Don’t prolong the time you hold your breath underwater. Holding your breath longer than necessary underwater can result in a loss of consciousness and lead to drowning
  • Swim only in designated swim areas. Signs are posted for a reason; there may be hidden dangers in non-designated areas.
  • Don’t leave toys or other fl oatables in an unsupervised pool. Floating toys may attract children. 
  • Learn to swim. 

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salad season

Warm weather often also means that it is salad season. There are many ways to make a salad, with tons of recipes as well. It is also o.k. to take your favorite ingredients and create your own salad. Here is a great list of items that go nicely in a salad.

  • chopped greens: typically a mix of romaine, spring mix, spinach, arugula, or butter lettuce 
  • tomatoes: sliced or chopped
  • cucumber: sliced or chopped 
  • corn: canned, frozen, or fresh
  • bell peppers: sliced thin or chopped small
  • red onions: sliced thin
  • green onions: sliced thin
  • your choice of protein that can be prepared specially for the salad or leftover from a previous meal.

Don't forget the toppings as that is one thing I look forward to when dining on salad

  • cheese: shredded, diced, or crumbled
  • avocado: sliced or diced
  • fruits: diced apples or pears, orange slices, fresh berries
  • plenty of crunch: croutons, tortilla chips, or  Fritos
  • fresh lime
  • salt and pepper
Top it all off with your favorite salad dressing

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Mental Health Awareness Month

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental health should be considered as important as physical health. While we often worry about what we eat and getting enough exercise we often neglect the health of important health information behind our ears.

Surprisingly to many mental health conditions are common and treatable. Anxiety is a major issue that causes disorder in 18% of adults in the United States Treatment for mental health conditions range from medication to psychotherapy.

Information for Mental Health First Aid training can be found here

 My connection:
My family has been afflicted with mental illness for many years. My mother has suffered from anxiety and depression since here 20s. My little sister was diagnosed with Schizophrenia in her late teens / early 20's. Many other members suffer with depression / anxiety. While I have suffered from time to time with anxiety I have learned many coping mechanisms to help Through the years I have worked with mental health for over 25+ years with 11 years being in a behavioral ward. Many of these individuals had many conflicts with their mental health but all of them needed love.

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Thursday, May 9, 2019

Water Safety Tips from American Red Cross

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summer linkup

Many Reasons To Ride Your Bike

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Military Appreciation Month

May is National Military Appreciation Month. During this month the United States citizens are encouraged to observe the month in an unified major. The month honors both current and former members of the United States Armed Forces. Those that were killed in battles fighting for freedom are honored during this month as well. During the month of May there are six national observances that highlight the contributions of those that have served. 

  • Loyalty Day is a day set aside for the reaffirmation of loyalty to the United States It is time to reflect on the proud heritage of our American freedom 
  • The week of May 5th to May 11th is celebrated at Public Service Recognition Week. It is a time to honor the men and women who serve our nation as federal, state, county and local government employees. 
  • May 8th is also known as V-E day. It celebrates victory in Europe Day in 1945. On this day in history the Germans unconditionally surrendered to the Allies. The day also marks the end of World War II
  • May 10th offers the spouses of those in the Military a day to be recognized. The date is the Friday prior to Mother's Day. Military Spouses are honored with ceremonies and activities. The role they play are very important keeping the family going and allows  their spouse to serve in the military. 
  • The third Saturday of May celebrates Armed Forces Day. It is a day to thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country. Everyone serving in the United States Military, no matter what branch, is honored on this day. 
  • The federal holiday of Memorial day will be celebrated in 2019 on Monday May 27th. The day always occurs on the last Monday in May. It is a time to remember those veterans of the past as well as men and women who have died in military service. 

National Military Appreciation Month was designated to occur during the month of May in 1999. Both the Senate and House of Representatives would adopt the resolution that would call for Americans to recognize and honor U.S. Service members. In addition the president of the United States observed  the months awareness and issued a proclamation calling the citizens do so as well. 

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The Expedition Begins

An American expedition set up by Thomas Jefferson would depart on this day May 14th 1804 The team was to cross the western portion of the United States and was made up of select group of U.S. Army Volunteers. In command was Captain Meriwether Lewis and his Second Lieutenant William Clark. Together the men would lead an exploration and create a map to the new United States territory known as the Louisiana Purchase. In addition the men would study area's plants, animal life and geography to allow a closer view and establish trade with local American Indian tribes.

Thomas Jefferson as president set up goals for the expediton

  • find "most direct and practicable water way across the continent for the purpose of commerce
  • declaring the United States sovereignty over the land with some many Indian tribes along the Missouri River
  • finding out what resources was acquired during the Louisiana Purchase. 

The Lewis and Clark expedition remained hidden in history until around the 20th century. In the years 1904 and 1905 two important expositions in both St. Louis and Portland Oregon took place. The pair of Lewis and Clark were showcased as American pioneers. However the expedition received the most celebration during recent times. 

Gary E. Moulton created a complete and reliable set of expedition journals documenting the Lewis and Clark expedition . 

  • May 14 , 1804 Lewis met up with Clark in St. Charles Missouri. Soon they would start a voyage to the Pacific Coast

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Make Your Own Veggie Stock #Recipe

resource here

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Meatloaf Cupcakes with Mashed Potatoes Frosting

1 ½ pounds ground beef sirloin (at least 90% lean)
⅔ cup onion, grated
3 garlic cloves, very finely minced
1 extra large egg, lightly beaten
¾ cup quick-cooking oats, uncooked
½ cup tomato sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
4 cups prepared mashed potatoes, hot
chives or Italian parsley, chopped, for garnish

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a standard 12-cup muffin tin with vegetable cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine beef, onion, garlic, egg, oats, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Mix well to blend ingredients thoroughly, but avoid over-mixing.
Divide meatloaf mixture evenly between 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 160 degrees when inserted in the center of several cups. Cool in pan on wire rack for 1 minute, then remove to rack or plate.
Frost each meatloaf cupcake with a heaping scoop of mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with chives or parsley. Serve immediately.

recipe resource here

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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Sheet Pan Fajitas #Recipe

1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 ½-2 pounds flat iron steak, sliced thinly
1 red pepper, sliced
1 yellow pepper, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine spices.
Toss steak, peppers and onion in spice mixture until evenly coated. Coat a large baking sheet with the oil.
Place meat and veggies on baking sheet with about a half-inch between each piece of food. Bake for 30 minutes.

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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Italian Roast #Recipe

1 roast beef (any pot roast will work)
½ package Good Seasons Zesty Italian dressing mix
1 envelope Lipton onion mushroom soup mix
1 can cream of mushroom soup
½ jar pepperoncini peppers (with ½ of the liquid)

Place roast in crock pot. Add all ingredients and cook on low all day.

recipe resource here

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Monday, May 6, 2019

National Stroke Awareness Month

Each year strokes kill twice as many women as breast cancer. While many women know how to complete a self breast exam many do not know what the symptoms of a stroke are.

Top 7 ways to prevent stroke:

Monitor your blood pressure.
Control your cholesterol.
Keep your blood sugar down.
Get active.
Eat better.
Lose weight if you need to.
Don’t smoke, period.

About 80% of strokes can be prevented by not smoking, making healthy choices, getting physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight and treating conditions such as high blood sugar,  cholesterol and blood pressure.

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Tips to Brew The Perfect Cup

Can you believe that since around the 13th century humans have been consuming coffee. In North America during the 19th century specialty coffee shops, roasters, and grinding mills popped up all across little towns in North America. It was during the 20th century that the vacuum tin was invented and coffee could be offered at the markets. After the tins became popular many roasters and small coffee shops disappeared. \

Eventually, the specialty coffee shops in North America started a come back. Grocery stores are still selling coffee in the can as well as in bean form from around the world. Other changes in the coffee world include the manner in how it is brewed. If you are in search of that cup full of smooth deliciousness here are some tips:

Always start with high quality fresh coffee beans and good tasting water. It only makes sense that if what you put into make the coffee will bring a delicious flavor out as well. Be sure to follow instructions for your specific brewing equipment

Coffee filters can affect the taste of coffee. Rinse the filter with warm water prior to brewing to wash out any dust and to eliminate any taste of paper.

The ratio of water and coffee can also make a difference to taste. Experiment to find your desired strength.

The more time you make coffee. The more coffee you make. Make the great flavor your flavor

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National BarBQ month

National BBQ Month occurs each year in May. While around here the weather has not been perfect for barbecuing with all the rain we squeeze it in whenever possible. The term barbecue refers to pork that has been cooked over a high smoke fuel source like wood or charcoal. However,  the term now includes other meats and foods and refers to the cooking method not a special dish.

The method of cooking barbq style is thought to have originated from the aboriginal peoples in the Caribbean and Florida. Barbecue during the mid 18th century mean "a dressed whole hog," While the two terms barbecue and grilling out are occasionally used together there is a difference. Grilling often uses more direct heat from lower smoke fuels and may even allow the flames to touch the meat. Barbecue uses a more indirect heat, and higher smoke fuels. Either way summer time is here get out and do some cooking.

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Liver and Onion #Recipe

2 lbs. Kosher calves liver or other livers can be substituted
3-4 tbsp. oil
2 large sweet onions cut in rings
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided 1/4 cup to dredge liver, 1/4 cup to cook onions later in recipe
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt to taste
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper to taste

Mix 1/4 cup flour with salt and pepper. Dredge liver slices in the flour. Set aside.
Heat oil in large skillet on medium high heat. Add onions and saute till transparent. Remove from pan. Set aside.
Lower heat to medium low. Brown liver on both sides. Do not overcook. Remove from pan. Set aside.
Put onions back in pan and add 1 tablespoon flour.and little water and stir. Scrape up any bits of meat and mix in with the gravy. Use your judgment and add up to 1/4 cup of flour, a tablespoon at a time, and up to 1/4 cup of water, a little at a time, stirring constantly, until you achieve a gravy consistency. If it looks too thick, add a little water. If too thin, add a little flour. Once you achieve desired consistency, lower heat and cook for about 5 minutes.
Then add liver back to pan and cook for about 5+ minutes. Judge if it is done by cutting into liver. Liver should look slightly pink in the center.

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National Beef Month

May is the month to recognize beef farmers, beef nutrition and beef recipes. Beef is one of the top agricultural industries for the United States as well as many places in the world. The beef industry includes those that raise beef, those that process beef and those that prepare and sell beef to the consumer. Another fact that you may not be aware of is that there are more than 94 million head of beef cattle that are produced by 1 million producers here in the United States.

Many beef producers in the United States are on family owned farm. Texas is the top producer of beef in the U.S. Following Texas are the states Nebraska, Missouri, Oklahoma and South Dakota. The most popular breed of beef that are raised in the United States are Hereford, Angus, Brahman and Charolais all though there are many other breeds raised as well. In addition the basic cuts are chuck, loin, rib and round. 

The names of the cut of meat may range from area to area. One serving of beef is 3 ounces no matter the cut. One serving will provide more than half of the required protein that is needed in the day. Needed amino acids will be gained through the consumption of beef. 

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Sunday, May 5, 2019

Cinco De Mayo ==== Mexican Day of Independence

Happy Cinco de Mayo. Did you know that today, May 5th, is thought to be a day of independence for Mexico and is celebrated as Cinco de Mayo. It is the day that  the Mexicans gained victory over the French who had armies stationed around Mexico in 1862. Perhaps Napoleon should have thought twice before trying to establish a permanent colony in Central America

Napoleon sent Prince Maximilian and his wife Carolota to set up a permanent residence and make it ready for others to arrive safely as well. Colonel Diaz would defend the city of Pueblo. Out numbered and facing stronger weapons Diaz would stand strong.  Thus a battle similar to David vs Goliath in the bible.

While the Mexico territory was battling the French the American Civil War was also taking place. The United States would offer a bit of help to the Mexican army by offering guns and ammunition. Many American soldiers would also help the Mexican army in battle. However, it would take a total of 5 years before the French would all together leave the area.

Cinco de Mayo is not an official holiday in the United States, although many towns observe it and have celebrations to celebrate it.