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Saturday, April 11, 2020

Moment in History April 11, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson made history by signing the 1968 Civil Rights Act into law.

Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 is commonly known as the Fair Housing Act and was meant as a follow‑up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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Friday, April 10, 2020

History of the BLT

Many might recall that BLT day occurs in July but for the entire month of April the BLT is celebrated as a National Month event. Made up of bread that is often toasted, lettuce, tomato, bacon and mayo the BLT is a favorite of many. But how did all of this come together??

Bread or toast is found at the base as well as the top of the BLT. The ancient Egyptians had long enjoyed flatbread but eventually they would prepare loaves of bread that were made with yeast and offered a chance to create different items and taste.

Ancient Egyptians have also been credited with cultivating lettuce which was first commonly thought of as a weed into food. Early on many types of lettuce were grown by both Greeks and Romans.

Wild boar meat was smoked, salted, and dried as early as the stone ages common to the manner in which early bacon was made. Wild boars became domesticated and pigs were raised by farmers aprox 13,000 B.C It would not be until the 1700s that bacon as we know it began to come on scene. Even then "bacon" was titled to only the back part of porks and later to all cured pork. Eventually "bacon" would become distinguished as the side of pork, cured with salt.

Whether it be fruit or vegetable tomatoes came from Europe to the new world during the 16th century. They did not appear as large or even red rather they were yellow cherry tomatoes that were thought to be poison. These early tomatoes were raised as houseplants and would not be eaten until the great famine in Italy during the 1800s.

Mayonnaise was invented in 1756. It like other parts of the BLT was nothing like the topping that is prepared for the BLT today. The great chef from France Marie Antoine Careme would change the first early recipe for mayo sauce by blending veggie oil and egg yolks into an emulsion that would lead to the creation of the mayonnaise that is popular today.

With all parts of the BLT present now how would they all come together??

The act of forming a sandwich came out of necessity. The fourth Earl of Sandwich who was also a great gambler refused to leave the table to eat. So in 1762 during a game he asked for his meat and bread to be put together and brought to him so he could continue the game this way he could eat without any utensils. For more than 100 years this new way of eating the "sandwich" would continue before someone would take the next step and create a club sandwich.

The romance of the Victorian ear would find tea sandwiches made with bacon, lettuce and tomato. Most possibly created in the USA at the Saratoga Club in Saratoga New York this club sandwich would begin to spread to other clubs Eventually a printed recipe in 1903 would appear in the Good Housekeeping Everyday Cook Book calling for bacon, lettuce, mayo and a slice of turkey that was put together in the form of a sandwich

Today BLT's are created in a number of different ways with the same common principles in mind. Whether you serve it

  • with different breads that are toasted or not, serve it on a croissant or in a wrap is your choice. 
  • make your BLT with bacon, bacon jam, canadian bacon, jowl bacon, pancetta, pepper bacon, or pork belly is your choice as well. 
  • lettuce as well comes in a variety ranging from bibb, romaine, watercress or perhaps just a few sprouts
  • tomatoes are still present but maybe as easy as cherry tomatoes, fried green, heirloom tomatoes, sundried, or another of different ways
The BLT has become a very versatile sandwich and one loved by many. How do you enjoy your BLT??

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Thursday, April 9, 2020

Grapefruit and Pistachio vinaigrette

2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice from ½ grapefruit
1 teaspoon cider viner
½ teaspoon honey
Salt, to taste
2 tablespoon toasted pistachios

This Grapefruit Pistachio Vinaigrette is so easy and so delicious. It really brightens up and salad, and it’s also perfect on salmon. Adding citrus to any meal will bring out its flavor.

Whisk all ingredients until combined. Taste and adjust seasonings.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Life In Southern Illinois

Ways to help protect the earth

  • Conserve water when a drought is possible You can do this by by turning the sink off when brushing your teeth, shorten showers, and let the car go dirty on the outside avoiding car washes
  • Avoid build up of greenhouse gas emissions by walking or biking. Not only will you be exercising but helping the planet as well. 
  • Recycle glass, plastic, paper and tinfoil there are many ways to do this and you may make a bit of money by recycling as well. Take that extra step and recycle batteries and electronics as well by taking them to recycling center near you.
  • Planning a garden?? Perhaps it is a a great time to start composting as well. Composting offers your garden great nutrients and also lessens space taken up by landfills.
  • Use recyclable bags and go without paper or plastic bags. 
  • Donate unused but good clothing and shoes to charitable organizations. 
  • When cleaning choose "green" cleaning products rather than toxic products. Vinegar, lemon and baking soda are common ingredients that can help you make your own cleaners. 
  • Plant flowers and trees to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, clean pollution and provide shade for your self as well as animals. 
  • Find other ways to help you curbside waste
What are some ways you help take care of your planet??

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Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Rhubarb Coffee Cake #Recipe

April 7th is National Coffee Cake Day. The coffee cake is intended to be eaten while enjoying a cup of coffee. With no mention at all of what time of day the cake is to be eaten as many enjoy coffee all day long. Coffee cake can be enjoyed during breakfast or at any time a coffee break is needed. However, another way to think of this cake is to serve it to guest around your coffee table. 
While the name of the cake does contain the word coffee the cake itself does not contain any coffee. Coffee cakes are normally single layer cakes made in a square, rectangle or ring shape. Spices such as cinnamon are often included in the cake. However, seeds, nuts or fruit may help complete the flavor of the cake that often is topped with a glaze drizzle or crumb topping. 

3 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. sugar
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. Salt
1 c. butter or margarine
1 c. buttermilk
2 slightly beaten eggs
1/2 t vanilla
1 recipe Rhubarb filling
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. butter or margarine
3 c. fresh rhubarb or 13 oz. pkg. frozen unsweetened rhubarb thawed
16 oz. pkg. frozen sliced strawberries, thawed
1 T. Lemon juice
3/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. cornstarch

For filling: Cut rhubarb into 1-inch pieces. In saucepan, combine rhubarb and thawed strawberries. Cook fruit, covered about 5 minutes.
Add lemon juice. Combine sugar and cornstarch; add to rhubarb mixture.
Cook and stir 4-5 minutes until bubbly; cool.
For coffee cake: In mixing bowl, stir together 3 c. flour, 1 c. sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Cut in the butter or margarine to fine crumbs.
In another bowl, beat together buttermilk, eggs and vanilla; add to dry ingredients. Stir to moisten.
Spread 2/3 of the batter in a 13x9-inch baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray.
Spread cooled filling over batter in pan.
Spoon remaining batter in small mounds on top of filling.
Combine remaining sugar and flour; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle crumbs over batter in pan.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes or until done in center.

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Prepare Chicken Quesadillas for your Family

                         Chicken Quesadilla:

1 1/2 Chicken breast cubed
1 large red onion
Large tomato
Baby Spring Mix
Sour Cream
16 oz of cheese
Olive oil
Black pepper

1) Season your chicken and drizzle olive oil over it and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Next, you can cook your chicken two ways. The first way is to cut up your chicken and toss in pan till cook through. Or you can grill your chicken breast on the grill and set aside for 5 minutes and then cut into thin slices. I cook my chicken both ways, but today I did the first method.

2) Next chop up your red onion, drizzle olive oil and cook onion till translucent.

 3) Place tortillas on the grill or pan till lightly golden.

4) To assemble place chicken, cheese, onions, tomato and any other sides you like to your tortilla and then place the other tortilla on top and grill till the cheese melts.

5) Plate up quesadilla with a side of sour cream, salsa and side salad. Enjoy!

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Autism Awareness

What is Autism?? 
Autism and ASD or Autism Spectrum disorder are characterized by a broad range of conditions and challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. Approximately 1 in every 54 children are affected by autism according to CDC. Both genetic and environmental factors influence individuals that are considered to have autism. Thus challenging the way individuals with autism learn, think and problem solve. 

Autism may develop in individuals in many different ways. Factors that often involve sensitivities to sensory issues as well as medical issues are both looked at. Gastrointestinal disorders, seizures, sleep disorders as well as mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression and attention issues are often present in the lives of those who suffer with autistic tendencies.     

Autistic indicators appear early around the age of 2-3. Developmental delays often appear earlier and may be diagnosed as early as 18 months. Early intervention leads to more positive outcomes that help individuals that suffer from autism. Therefore one of the most important tools to helping those with autism is Early Intervention.

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Monday, April 6, 2020

Pamper Your Pooch Without Breaking the Bank

During this time of uncertainty money may be tight. Man's best friend can still be treated to lots of love even when spending wads of cash are out of the picture. While doggy spas and boutiques catering to the lucky pups are out of the question there are still ways you can help your best friend look and feel like a million bucks. Thus introduce your pup to a DIY bath event full of fun and lots of attention
Often our furry friends are looking for attention and time and can do without the glitz. A good massage will help them find much fondness and in return offer you that loving feeling. Act as your hair dresser as you massage the shampoo into the fur of your dog and talk in that fond voice as you wonder what your pet has been up to. Offering your pet this sort of attention will leave them desiring more and maybe leave you wanting more time with your pet as well

Another way to a dog's heart is thru their stomach. Make up this great recipe and you may just have your pooch eating out of your hand

                                                     Chicken Casserole 

two chicken breasts
¼ cup rolled oats
A cup of mixed vegetables (green beans, carrots, potatoes, broccoli)
Two cups chicken broth
Olive oil

Cut the chicken breast pieces into desired sizes.
Take a pan and pour some oil.
Put it on medium heat and transfer the chicken pieces into it.
Sauté them until cooked.
Pour the chicken broth, mixed vegetables, and rolled oats.
Cover the pan and allow the ingredients to simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
Let it cool down before serving.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       recipe source                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  retweet post        
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Bubble and Squeak

With St Patrick Day coming up I thought we may take a look at a few dishes that are common in Ireland. Bubble and Squeak is a traditional British breakfast dish made from potatoes and cabbage. The dish is often made up with leftover veggies that may have been cooked with a roast. Potatoes and cabbage both dishes that are common in Ireland are the main ingredients.

4 tbsp butter  
½ cup onion, finely chopped 
Leftover mashed potato 
Any leftover vegetables, cabbage, swede, carrots, peas, Brussels Sprouts, finely chopped 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large frying pan melt the butter, add the chopped onion and fry gently for 3 mins or until soft. Turn the heat up slightly and add the mashed potato and vegetables. Fry for 10 mins turning over in the melted butter two or three times ensuring the potato and vegetables are thoroughly reheated. Press the potato mixture on to the base of the pan with a spatula and leave to cook for 1 min. Flip over and repeat.

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Parsnips made into tasty fries

Parsnips are root veggies that occur during spring in Illinois. Parsnips are related to both carrots and parsley and are shaped more like a carrot but have tops like parsley. Best when harvested when they are young. Parsnips can be eaten raw or cooked and provide lots of vitamins, minerals sch as potassium and manganese and are also full of fiber. Parsnips are sweeter than carrots and can be prepared in the same manner as carrots. Perhaps you have had the opportunity to enjoy them in chicken broths, soups, or sauteed, steamed, mashed, pureed, roasted, in stews or fried. 

Easily found at farmer markets parsnips can be placed in refrigerator and stored for up to 10 days. Before using be sure to scrub with a brush under running water or peel to cook or eat. Parsnips have been eaten since ancient times by both those from Greek and Roman nations. Parsnips in ancient times were primarily white or purple in color. Another bit of trivia fact is that parsnips were once used as source of sugar before cane and beet sugars were available. 

The French colonists brought parsnips to North America to be used as a root veggie. In the middle 19th century the parsnip was replaced by the potato. However as demonstrated by the following recipe both parsnips and potatoes make tasty fries:

recipe source

2 pounds parsnips peeled and cut in 1/2 inch thick fries
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Couple cracks fresh pepper

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees with a large sheet pan inside.
Toss the cut parsnips with all of the remaining ingredients and mix well.
Carefully arrange the parsnips on the hot sheet pan in one singe layer.
Cook for 25 minutes, flip the fries over if they look well browned on top, and cook for another 10-20 minutes until well browned.
If the fries are not browned on top after 20 minutes, don't bother turning them, just continue cooking.

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Sunday, April 5, 2020

Ham and Cheese Overnight Breakfast Casserole

8 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream (or substitute half and half)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 - 2 cups cubed ham
2 cups cheddar cheese shredded & divided
4 cups cubed bread
2 to 3 scallions diced (optional)

Spray a 9 by 13 inch casserole dish with cooking spray.
In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, heavy cream and seasoning.
Stir in the ham, bread, and 1 cup of the cheese. Make sure that the bread is fully coated with the egg mixture.  Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish.  Top with the remaining cheese.  Cover with foil and put in the refrigerator overnight.

In the morning, leave the casserole covered with tin foil, and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake for 15 minutes.  Serve warm!
recipe source

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