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Saturday, May 18, 2019

Dealing with Grief is Hard ..... Especially when you are a Child

Earlier this month, my younger sister , Erin passed away. It was very unexpected and took the entire family for a shock. While her own children were grown adults it did not hurt any less to loose their mom. There were other younger generations that looked up to this great lady as their "Aunt Erin". Sharing with them that she had passed was not easy to do. Thus, we looked for an easy way to share with them.

A guide that we found suggest that even infants and toddler can notice an absence in their life and feel a loss. Family members are often feeling grief and this grief can be sensed by the youngest. To help the youngest through this age spend a good amount of time holding and cuddling the child. In addition, it is best if you can keep the child on a regular schedule as much as possible since any interruption can upset the child more.

Death is a hard subject for many of us to understand. It can often be misunderstood and somehow get lost between fact and fantasy. It is important that we help children understand that it is not a punishment and the individual that passed did not always want to go but simply could not stay.  However, it is important to talk directly to the child in a language that they can understand when we explain to them about someone that has passed away.

My own nephew and grand-daughter who are in their pre-teen ages fear death. In fact many adults I know are not too sure about it either. Many times it is thought to occur to those who are old or have been sick for quite some time. This was not the case with my sister who was barely over the age of 40 and had no known medical issues. Allowing them to answer questions and answering them the best we can is what many say is the right thing to do. In fact, if and when possible allowing them to talk to a professional about the issue may work out well.

Many times teenagers can deal with subjects like adults. Anger and sadness may occur as they are trying to I.D. this stage in their life. Allowing them to vent is one of the best ways to help them after they experience a loss like this in their life. Being the individual that will listen may be a great gift for them at this time. Always remind them that they are normal and life is a puzzle that is difficult to understand.

Knowing these easy steps will help you talk to the child in your life about death:

  • Use language that they understand. Use the word "death" rather than "went to sleep" as it may confuse and may even scare them. 
  • Let children know it is a process of life when our bodies can go no longer 
  • always encourage questions and answer them the best you can 
  • Being honest can be a very comforting feeling 
  • offer an open ear for the child to vent and express their emotions
  • grief affects all children differently
  • children will often have fears it is best to spend some time talking to them and comforting your child 
  • allowing children to see you grieve can help them know it is o.k. 
  • know when to get professional help.
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Friday, May 17, 2019

Hawaiian Chicken Salad #recipe

2 chicken breasts
1 tablespoon or 1 cube chicken bullion
2 cups cooked macaroni
3/4 cup diagonally sliced celery
1/4 cup red pepper
8 oz. pineapple tidbits, drained
1 cup seedless green grapes
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
1/4 cup macadamia nuts (or pecans)
2 scallions, green parts only, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
dash lemon pepper
salt to taste

Poach chicken breasts with bullion in water. When cooked, cool and cut in bite-size pieces. While still warm, sprinkle with lemon juice and tarragon vinegar, tossing to mix. Allow to marinate for an hour or so. Place all ingredients in large bowl, add nuts last. Mix in mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon pepper, and salt.

Serve with fruit on the side – cantaloupe, mango or peaches are good.

8-10 servings

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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Crunchy Broccoli Salad

1 head of broccoli
1/4 cup of shaved carrot
1/2 medium onion
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup mayo, I use a Vegan mayo because eggs disagree with me
2 tbsp. white sugar or honey
1 tbsp. of vinegar
6 slices bacon

Fry bacon till crispy. Remove from pan and set aside.
Cut broccoli into bite size pieces.
Dice onion.
In a medium bowl combine all salad ingredients.
Mix mayo, sugar or honey and vinegar together and pour over salad.
Mix till combined.

Refrigerate for 1 hour and then serve cold.

recipe resource here

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Keeping Active with Asthma

Asthma is a condition that affects nearly 1 in every 11 children and 1 in every 12 adults.

It has been known to be a leading reason to miss work and school. Common symptoms include:

  • coughing
  • wheezing
  • shortness of breath
  • tightness in chest
  • trouble breathing 

Around this time of year little league sports have started ups. Parents of children with asthma may be concerned if their child should participate or not. The first thing that these parents should do and most likely all ready have is to make their self aware of what allergies are common. For example is the pollen count high?? The time of day as well as weather can make the count higher than at other times Therefore, knowing this information your child's coach should be aware that they may not make all practices. 

In addition a few other tips include:
  • ensuring that the child takes their allergy medications and pack an emergency inhaler
  •   Keep a copy of emergency instructions in their bag and give one to the coach explaining steps to take if an asthma attack occurs. 
  • It is always important to educate your child on what their triggers are 
  • directly after practice or game children with asthma must take a shower and change clothes so that they do not become bothered with pollen that may come in with them. 

When you and your child decide what sport if any to play keep in mind that some sports your child will be better fit for than others. With proper training and medication your child can participate in any sport that the doctor agrees they can play However, if emergencies do occur remember to stay calm and watch for signs such as 

  • after taking asthma medication child's wheezing or coughing does not improve
  • the child's chest or neck starts pulling in while they struggle to breathe
  • child has trouble walking or talking
  • child's fingernails or lips  turn blue or gray
  • while the child is breathing their ribs start to suck in
Because asthma is different for every person the signs above are general signs that often occur in emergency situations. 

resource for this post were found here and here

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American Wetland Month

American Wetlands Month occurs during the month of May. The month celebrates the importance of wetlands to the Nations ecological, economic, and social health. During the month the goal of educating individuals on the value of the natural resource known as wetlands. In addition, the month helps to inspire individuals to work throughout the year to protect, preserve and expand wetlands.

Wetlands cover  wide definition of land types. Bogs, marshes, estuaries, coral reefs lagoons, swamps, prairie potholes, lakes, mudflats, ponds , deltas, lagoons, floodplains and more are covered under the wetland category. Wetlands are the hero's behind the world ecosystems. Without wetlands the world's environmental ecological and socioeconomic systems.

Wetlands provide significant benefits for fish, wildlife and all society. From protecting and improving water quality, providing fish and wildlife habitat, floodwater storage, coastal protection and increased water storage and supply.

For an area of land to be labeled as a wetland it must:

  • must be an area where water accumulates on the landscape. It matter not whether it be in an upland depression or in low lying area next to streams, lakes or oceans 
  • The area must have soil that stays saturated for extended period of time each year. This helps as wetlands must support plants which grow in wet or moist conditions

Legislators recognize the importance of the wetlands to our ecosystem and have created protective acts for them. In 1986 the Swamp Buster Act that stops the destruction of wetlands unless a wetland of the same size is created. However, most historic wetlands in North America have sadly been destroyed and constructed wetlands are striving to replace the wetlands.

Wetlands that are built need to have a proper hydrology, soil and plant life within them. Many of the wetlands that are natural are now being kept as well as possible. Whether it be newly constructed or historic wetlands they are very important to flood control, water quality, and wildlife habitat.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Note about Chestnuts and a great Recipe

Water chestnuts can be found fresh in the grocery stores at different times. If you purchase yours fresh then make sure there is no sign of mold which may appear as blue green spots. Water chestnuts should be plump and firm and may be a bit dirty at times.  Purchased water chestnuts should be used within a few days of buying. Store the chestnuts wrapped in paper in the fridge.

To prepare water chestnuts they should be washed, the tops and bottoms cut off and then peeled. If any spots of blue mold or bright yellow fresh are noticed they should be sliced off. Rinse the chestnuts again and they are ready to be sliced however needed.

Cilantro Chicken with Fresh Water Chestnuts and Baby Bok Choy

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast or thigh, cut into 1 1/2″ X 1/2″ X 1/4″ strips
2 tablespoons Shao Hsing wine or dry sherry
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground, toasted Sichuan peppercorns
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
2″ cube fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin slices
2-4 fresh Thai chilies, sliced thinly on the diagonal
8 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
5 large scallions, thinly sliced on the bias, light green and white parts only (reserve the dark green slices for garnish)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup Shao Hsing wine or dry sherry
2 cups fresh water chestnuts, peeled and thinly sliced into rectangles
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
12 baby bok choy, bottoms trimmed, rinsed and dried (I use a salad spinner)
1/3 cup chicken broth
3 cups roughly chopped cilantro leaves (about two big bunches from the store)
reserved thinly sliced dark green scallions
1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Toss together the chicken, wine, soy sauce, Sichuan peppercorns and cornstarch and allow to marinate for at least twenty minutes, but no more than an hour and a half.
Heat wok on the highest heat your stove can produce until a thin wisp of smoke rises from the bottom. Drizzle oil into the wok, and allow to heat for about thirty seconds or so, or just until the oil shimmers in the bottom of the wok.
Add ginger and stir fry for about a minute. Add chilies, garlic and scallions and stir fry for thirty seconds.
Spread chicken in a single layer over the bottom of the wok, and allow to sit undisturbed for about a minute. While chicken is browning on the bottom, sprinkle with the sugar and salt. When chicken has browned a bit, stir fry until almost all of the pink is gone from the chicken. You will see that browned bits of marinade have begun to stick to the sides of the wok.
Drizzle the wine around the sides of the wok, and deglaze, scraping up the browned bits.
Continue stir frying until all of the pink is gone from the chicken, then toss in the water chestnuts.
Add soy sauce, bok choy, and chicken broth, and stir fry until bok choy leaves go limp and the stalks are still tender-crisp.
Throw in the cilantro and scallion tops, and stir fry for about one minute more.
Remove from heat and drizzle with sesame oil.

Serve immediately with steamed rice.

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Monday, May 13, 2019

Black Sesame Cookies

Flaky Black Sesame Cookie

3/4 C AP flour
1/2 C white whole wheat flour (if you don't have it AP flour is fine)
4 Tbsp cold shortening
4 Tbsp cold butter
1/4 C sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp black sesame seeds
3 - 5 Tbsp ice cold water
1 - 2 Tbsp raw sugar

Mix the two flours, sugar, salt, and black sesame seeds until everything is evenly combined. Cut the shortening and butter into cubes and scatter them in flour. Make sure your shortening and butter are very cold. Use a food processor and pulse the butter with the flour until the mixture looks crumbly and the butter pieces are no bigger than a pea. Alternatively use a pastry cutter or two forks and cut the butter into the flour.
Start with 3 tablespoons of water and scatter it over the mixture. Pulse in the food processor slightly until the dough comes together. If it still looks dry add a little bit more water (I used a little over 4 tablespoons). If you're doing this by hand, scatter the water over the mixture and fold with a spatula and press the crumbs together until the dough starts to come together.
Form the dough into a flat disc, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for at least an hour or in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Flour your work surface and roll out the dough into a rectangle until it is about 1/4 inch to 3/8 inch thick. Scatter raw sugar on top of the dough and gently press in. Cut into 1 inch by 2 inch portions and place them on a baking sheet. Bake until the cookies are golden, about 25 to 30 minutes.

recipe resource here

May is the month to salute our smiles

National Smile Month is a campaign that helps promote good oral health. Many individuals and organisations help bring the message about the information of good oral health. There are a few things that we can all do to keep our mouths healthy:

  • Brush your teeth last thing at night and on at least one other occasion with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Cut down on how much sugary food and drink you have, and how often you have them.
  • Visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

National smile month takes place between May 13th and June 13th. The goal of the event is to encourage dental and health professionals, schools, pharmacies, community groups, colleges and workplaces. In fact National smile month should be an interest to anyone who is interested in good oral healthcare. Why don't you join the cause and help educate, motivate and communicate positive oral health information. Working together the entire world can welcome good oral health care

Through the campaign there will be lots of fun to be had to create a positive attitude and promote the value of a smile. Good oral health care is important for both our physical health as well our mental well being as well. Look for National Smile activities in your local area.

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Red Beans and Rice

Jamaican Style Red Beans and Rice

2 tablespoons bacon drippings plus 1 tablespoon olive oil (or 3 tablespoons olive oil)
2 cups diced onions
1 cup diced red sweet bell pepper
8 large garlic cloves, peeled and mince
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
freshly ground black pepper to taste or 1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper flakes
1 ham hock or 1 smoked turkey wing or 1 tablespoon smoked Spanish paprika
1 or 2 19 ounce cans Mae Ploy coconut milk
1 whole scotch bonnet pepper or habanero –optional
1 pound dried red beans, picked over, rinsed and drained
water as needed
1-3 tablespoons jerk rub, marinade or seasoning (the amount depends on how hot your seasoning is with Scotch Bonnet Pepper)
salt to taste
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup scallion tops, dark green parts only, thinly sliced
1 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
cooked long grain rice–I used about six cups of it–measured -after- cooking

Heat bacon drippings and or olive oil over medium high heat in pressure cooker or regular pot. Add onions and sweet pepper, and cook, stirring, until the onions turn golden. Add the garlic, dried thyme, paprika and the black pepper or Aleppo pepper flakes, and continue to cook, stirring, until the onions turn brown, the peppers brown on the edges and the garlic turns golden. Add the ham hock and cook for a minute or two, turning the hock once or twice. Add the coconut milk, the optional chili pepper and the dried beans. Stir, and if necessary, add water to cover the beans with at least 2 inches of liquid above the top of the beans. (2 1/2″ to 3″ of water over the beans is better.)
Bring to a boil, cover up the pressure cooker and bring to full pressure. Turn down heat to low and cook for 40-45 minutes on high pressure. Quick release pressure, open the cooker and test the beans for doneness. The skins should split easily when you blow on them and the beans themselves should be soft and meltingly tender without falling apart when you touch them. (If you have no pressure cooker, cover beans loosely with lid, turn down heat and simmer the beans until they are done–which will take anywhere from three to five hours depending on how hot your stove is and how fresh the dried beans are. Stir now and again and add water as needed to keep the beans from sticking.)
Once you have determined that the beans are done, fish out the ham hock, add the jerk seasoning and turn the heat up on the stove. Leaving the pot uncovered, and stirring often, boil off the excess water. The sauce should reduce until it is thick and will cling to the back of a spoon without dripping off easily. Season to taste with salt and stir in the fresh thyme, scallion tops and cilantro leaves. Then, stir in the rice, until the sauce, rice and beans are completely combined.

Note–if you cook this in a pressure cooker, the ham hock may fall apart. If it does, you can fish it out in pieces. Take out the bones, skin and fat for sure, but if you want and if the meat is tender enough to shred easily, you can just stir the lean meat into the beans to make the dish even tastier. (This is the way it happened when I made the dish this time–and let me tell you, it made the beans so good that Dan said they were the best beans and rice he had ever had–and he has eaten a lot of beans and rice. You also have the added benefit of not wasting the meat.)

recipe resource here
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Sunday, May 12, 2019

Honey Chicken with Snap Peas and Carrots

1 medium boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1″X1/4″x1/2″ strips
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons pale rice wine
2 tablespoons thin or light or Japanese style soy sauce
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
3 scallions, trimmed and white parts and light green parts minced
2″ cube fresh ginger, peeled and minced
5 baby carrots, scrubbed and cut on the bias into 1/8″ thick oval slices (use multicolored carrots if you can get them)
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons light rice wine
8 ounces snap peas, stringed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, picked off the stems

Toss chicken with next four ingredients and allow to marinate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients–about 20 minutes.
Heat wok over high heat until a thin ribbon of smoke rises from the heated metal surface. Add the canola or peanut oil and swirl wok to coat bottom. Allow to heat for about thirty seconds or until you can see the surface of the oil shimmer and move with convection currents.
Add the chicken, reserving any marinade that is not clinging to the meat. Spread the chicken out into a single layer on the bottom of the wok and sprinkle the garlic, scallion and ginger over the top of the chicken.
Allow the chicken to sit undisturbed on the bottom of the wok to brown for at least a minute. THEN and only then begin to stir fry, stirring constantly to keep the chicken and the aromatics from sticking.
When the chicken is mostly done–very little pink is showing–it is mostly brown and white–add the carrots, and the second measures of soy sauce, honey and mirin and keep cooking and stirring for another thirty seconds or so. Add the peas, and cook, stirring, until the chicken is done and the peas have taken on a bit of brownish color from the hot wok.
Add the lemon juice, stir it in thoroughly, remove from heat and stir in the sesame oil and cilantro.
Scrape onto a heated platter and serve right away with steamed jasmine rice.

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Orange Chicken

2 lbs chicken wings, tips removed, drumettes and middle sections separated
1 tablespoon oil
Black Pepper

Orange Sauce:
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1 tablespoon Rooster brand Huy Fong Garlic Chili Sauce, (optional)
3 tablespoons chicken broth or water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
5 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon Apple cider vinegar, red wine or Chinese white vinegar
2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry, (optional)
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Rinse the chicken wings and pat dry with paper towels. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with the oil, some salt and black pepper. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and then place a baking rack on top. Arrange the wings in a single layer on the rack
Bake, rotating pan half-way through, until fully cooked and crispy, about 45 to 50 minutes. Make sure you keep checking on them.
Mix all the ingredients in the Orange Sauce in sauce pan. Heat it up until it thickens and slightly bubbles. Turn off the heat and set aside.
When the chicken are done, transfer them out of the oven and add to the Orange Sauce. Toss a few times to coat well.
Drizzle some sesame seeds and chopped cilantro on top of the chicken wings. Serve immediately.

recipe resource here 

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Beauty In Green Emerald

The emerald is often refereed to as the "Stone of Successful Love" The emerald opens and nurtures the heart. It is considered to have soothing energy that helps with healing, offers freshness and vitality to the spirit. The emerald is the stone of inspiration and infinite patience that embodies unity, compassion and unconditional love. In addition, it is also the birthstone of May.

An emerald is a precious gemstone. The green gemstone is the most famous. It is also the most durable and rare gemstone. Most would consider a diamond to be more valuable than an emerald. This is not always the case depending on the quality and rarity of gemstones including emeralds. Among all colors of emeralds the green is the most desired.

The color green is not the only color that emeralds can appear in. Green is the most desired color but there is more then color to consider when selecting the correct piece of gemstone. The cut of the stone can help deepen or lighten the color of the stone as well. The choice of cut that is often searched for is the "emerald cut"

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