A Simple Plant Kills Up To 98% Of Cancer Cells – And Stops Diabetes

Bitter-Melon

By: Dr. Robert Rowen | I’m always looking for natural substances that throw a “monkey wrench” into the peculiar metabolism of cancer cells. It’s vital these substances kill cancer cells and leave normal cells untouched.

I’ve told you about some of my discoveries in the past. They include resveratrol, green tea, Seanol, and others. But today I’m going to tell you about another plant that safely starves cancer cells as efficiently as a powerful chemo drug. In fact, it even works on pancreatic cancer cells, which are particularly difficult to kill. Continue reading A Simple Plant Kills Up To 98% Of Cancer Cells – And Stops Diabetes

Virgin Coconut Oil Effective in Treating Diabetes

natural_coconut_oil

A Reblog | by Brian and Marianita Shilhavy |  Indeed Virgin Coconut Oil has a substantial effect on blood sugar levels. My wife and daughter (both have type 2 diabetes) measure their blood sugar levels at least three times a day. When they eat the wrong foods and their blood sugar levels get to 80-100 points above normal, they don’t take extra medication, they take 2-3 tablespoons of the coconut oil directly from the bottle. Within a half hour their blood sugar levels will come back to normal. Ed Coconut Diet Forums

25.8 million children and adults in the United States, 8.3% of the population, have diabetes.1 The current rate of people becoming diabetic in the United states is doubling every 10 years. This has resulted in a windfall for pharmaceutical companies capitalizing on this “disease” with drugs designed to treat type 2 diabetes, but not deal with the underlying cause. These drugs have serious side effects. Continue reading Virgin Coconut Oil Effective in Treating Diabetes

Baked Grated Cassava with Pineapple

  By: Fernando Lachica

A Filipino delicacy called bibingka with crushed pineapple and coconut milk. Best for snacks, picnic or just a family get-together.

Ingredients:

3 cups grated cassava
2 pieces eggs
1 & 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 tbsp butter or margarine
1 & 1/2 cups thick coconut milk
1 (439g) canned Del Monte Fresh
Cut Crushed Pineapple, well drained
1/3 cup pure coconut milk
Grated cheese for toppings
Salt Continue reading Baked Grated Cassava with Pineapple

10 Steps to Improve Yourself as a Cook

By Walter Trupp > Train your Taste. One of the most important keys to being a successful cook is to understand and learn when something tastes right.

At the beginning of your journey with food and its preparation, almost everything new to you will taste amazing. Learning about food is easy, and the process can be sped up by paying attention to the food you consume every day and by asking as many questions as possible. Continue reading 10 Steps to Improve Yourself as a Cook

Five ways to use Saffron

Norfolk Saffron producer Sally Francis reveals her top tips, tricks and recipes for making the most of the flower.

Reblog from: The Telegraph ♦  By: Sally Francis

Never throw saffron threads whole into your cooking. To get the most from your it, crumble the required number of threads into a small container, or ideally grind them in a pestle & mortar. How fine you grind saffron is up to you. Saffron is known as the sunshine spice, and the finer the saffron, the more uniformly yellow the food will be. Coarsely grinding or simply crumbling it into pieces 1-3mm long looks great in pilaus as it gives a yellow background colour with hotspots of rich orangey-red. Continue reading Five ways to use Saffron

Why we pay any price for a good cup of coffee

 

  By: Fernando Ceballos <||> What is the appeal of the coffee shop? What makes people go to coffee shops every day? Why do people pay the outrageous amounts of money for a cup coffee they can just as well make at home?

Simply enough, it’s because people just love coffee! They love the taste and the smell of the hot liquid craved by so many. It’s that “eye-opening” sensation you get from that first cup of coffee of the day. Of course, everyone has a favorite so the tastes and smells of the coffees and blends will vary from person to person. But from the first sip to the last, people love coffee. Some might argue that it’s the stimulating affect of the caffeine of the coffee bean that keeps them coming back again and again; however, those who drink decaf still can’t seem to get enough either! Continue reading Why we pay any price for a good cup of coffee

Grapefruit + Cinnamon DIY Home Humidifier

Blogger Stephanie Gerber wrote in her blog to welcome the new year: Happy New Year! We welcomed the new year with a wet, cold and rather dreary day. Which means my heat is running almost nonstop. I found a DIY home humidifier trick from Good Housekeeping that adds some much needed moisture to the air. Bonus: it makes my house smell amazing! Continue reading Grapefruit + Cinnamon DIY Home Humidifier

Here’s another “weed” that is actually a superfood

Yet another weed that most of us pull and throw away has been uncovered as a super healing wonder herb. A recent study has found nettle to potently kill breast cancer cells.

If you have nettles in the backyard we strongly recommend that you collect and use them as part of your daily diet. Not only are the roots and the young leafy tops of stinging nettle edible, they are also very good for you. You can cook them and eat as food, use as an extract or herbal tea. Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) can supply your body with lots of beneficial nutrients. Continue reading Here’s another “weed” that is actually a superfood

Citrus Salad with Ginger Honey

Citrus Salad with Ginger Honey

By: Emily Ho | A medley of citrus stars in this vibrant fruit salad, enhanced with just a drizzle of sweet ginger honey and a sprinkle of mint and lime. It never fails to impress at brunch gatherings and makes a lovely, light dessert (perfect after the indulgence of the holidays). The combination of citrus in the recipe is simply a suggestion; feel free to use what’s available at your farmers’ market or growing in your neighborhood. Continue reading Citrus Salad with Ginger Honey

Hot Goat’s Cheese Salad with a Honey Mustard Dressing

By Karen Burns-Booth

Karen shows how the melted unctuousness of  hot goat’s cheese paired crisp, cool and perfectly dressed salad leaves makes for a divine combination.

It may seem like a cliché, but a hot goat’s cheese salad is still a favourite with me. I particularly like the combination of hot and cold – the melted unctuousness of the cheese with crisp, cool salad leaves makes for a divine combination, and a nice bit of “chèvre” is always welcome on my table, whether it be in salads, with bread and/or crackers or with fresh fruit and nuts. Continue reading Hot Goat’s Cheese Salad with a Honey Mustard Dressing

Iced Green Tea with Grapefruit and Lemongrass

Iced Green Tea with Grapefruit and Lemongrass

By: Emily Ho | A Reblog from: kcet.org  | The other day I came home from a citrus grove with an overwhelming 25 pounds of fresh-picked grapefruit, and I’ve pretty much been eating and drinking grapefruit for every meal since.  I recalled that citrus juice can boost the antioxidant benefits of green tea and squeezed some grapefruit into a glass of iced sencha — a fun change from the usual lemon wedge. Following some more experimentation I came up with this drink combining green tea, grapefruit, lemongrass, and mint. It’s clean and refreshing and just right for these warm days of the new year. Continue reading Iced Green Tea with Grapefruit and Lemongrass

In Praise of Women

women presidents
Chile’s president Michelle Bachelet (L) and Argentine’s newly elected president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

Guest Post by: Ferdinand Luyun | Most women of today are focused on personal and professional growth, building good family values, performing community services and creating friendships. Whether you want to give back to your community, develop your individual talents in speaking, writing and other areas or make great new friends, women especially mothers are always there to lend a helping hand. They deserve all the deep appreciation for the positive difference that they are making and contributing for a better world. Continue reading In Praise of Women

Alkaline Spring-time Soup

Alkaline Spring-time Soup

A Reblog | By: Trupp Cooking School  | Just in time to celebrate spring!

Alkaline Spring-time Soup Recipe Continue reading Alkaline Spring-time Soup

Fresh summer rolls with basil, avocado, kale + spicy garlic peanut sauce

A Reblog from: thisrawsomeveganlife.com | You can make these totally raw by leaving out the vermicelli and using collard greens or seaweed instead of rice paper. Otherwise, let’s get riced!

Okay apparently “riced” is a legitimate word because word check didn’t put a squiggly red line under it. Who knew.
Continue reading Fresh summer rolls with basil, avocado, kale + spicy garlic peanut sauce

Sauteed Bittermelon with Egg

By: Sherry Sorono | We call it “Ampalaya”. In the Visayas Region of the Philippines, they call it “Amargoso” because of its bitterness. In Southeast Asia like in India, Pakistan and Banladesh; they call it “Bittergourd” or “Bittermellon”. Photo credit: Tastebuds Unlimited by Beth Celis

Ugly they are! and bitter too. But it is that bitterness that health expert s claim rids the body of its toxicity. We have gotten around that bitterness issue by concocting so many recipes, versions and twists in dealing with it.

Chopped in thin slices, its innards are scraped away by a spoon and then the slices are sprinkled with a little salt and after they are mixed in a mixing bowl, they are squeezed to take a little f that bitterness out.
Continue reading Sauteed Bittermelon with Egg

Health Benefits of Water Spinach

I bet most of us know Popeye and his very famous energy booster, the mighty spinach. When we were kids, we probably thought that it can only be found on cartoons, but wait, did you know that we have our very own type of Spinach growing here in the Philippines?

This tropical plant is the Water Spinach, with a scientific name of Ipomea Aquatica, or more commonly known here in our country as our very own “Kangkong”. You wouldn’t have any difficulties in finding this vegetable as this is popular among Filipinos, offered at a very cheap price at $0.25 per bundle (that’s about Philippine Peso: 10) over at the market or grocery supermarkets. Continue reading Health Benefits of Water Spinach

Tips for Growing a Kitchen Herb Garden

Growing and Using Culinary Herbs

By: Marie Iannotti, Reblogged from: About.com Guide

herbs

Probably the most popular herbs to grow and use are the culinary herbs. Herbs used for cooking and seasoning can be incorporated into your existing flower or vegetable beds, grown separately near the kitchen door or kept handy on the kitchen counter. Growing culinary herbs is very similar to growing vegetables. The two most important considerations are to harvest at full flavor and to never use any fertilizer or pesticide on them that isn’t labeled for use on edible plants. Here are some more tips for growing flavorful culinary herbs.

Planting & Growing Kitchen Herbs

  • Annual herbs are inexpensive and easy to start from seed. Woody, perennial herbs establish better if you purchase seedlings or take cuttings.
  • Plant your herbs in a rich, well-draining soil and avoid heavy feeding with supplemental fertilizer. The scent and flavor of herbs tends to concentrate when they are grown in slightly lean conditions. (Going to the extreme and starving them or growing them in poor soil will have the opposite effect. The plants will be stressed and stunted.)
  • Limit pesticide use to an absolute minimum. If you must spray, use the least toxic solution.

Design Considerations for a Kitchen Herb Garden

  • Keep them handy. You will use them more often if they are within easy reach. And their beauty and scent will probably inspire your cooking creativity.
  • Culinary herbs can do double duty as ornamental plants. Parsley, especially the curly variety, makes a wonderful edging plant, if you don’t have rabbits nearby. Tall herbs, like bay laurel, can be potted and used as focal points. Herbs with variegated leaves, like golden or tri-color sage, are great in mixed containers. Don’t let the notion that these are seasoning herbs limit your use of them.
  • Herbs that tend to spread, like mint and oregano, can be grown in containers. The containers can be sunk into the ground, in the garden, or used as accent pots. Just don’t let the tips of the plants hang over and touch the ground, or they will root and grow.

Tips for Using Culinary Herbs

  • Most annual herbs taste their best before they flower. Once the annual herbs flower, they older leaves begin to decline and new leaves are smaller and bitter.
  • Pinch and use often. Even young plants need to be pinched back to encourage them to branch out and become full. Annual herbs, like basil, can be pinched when they are 3-4 inches tall.
  • If your herb plants begin setting flowers in earnest, shear back the whole plant by 1/3 and try to start using them more frequently.

Growing Tips for Specific Herbs

Basil Garlic Lavender
Mint Oregano Parsley
Rosemary Sage Thyme

7 Old Myths About Cooking Pasta That Need to Go Away!

There are many myths about cooking pasta that simply aren’t correct and yet they persist. Read on for a few that we would like to see disappear! Photo credit: ouritaliantable.com

Oil in the water. Don’t add oil to the pasta water. It will only make your pasta slippery, causing the sauce to run off.

Drain well. Don’t drain every last bit of water off of the pasta. A little water is often good for the sauce and sometimes you will even want to add more (see ‘saving a scoop of water’ in this post.)
Continue reading 7 Old Myths About Cooking Pasta That Need to Go Away!

Top Reasons to Shop at a Farmers’ Market

Why shop at a Farmers Market?

Access to fresh, locally grown foods, for starters. That may be one of the best reasons, but there are many more. Farmers markets have fruits and vegetables at the peak of the growing season. This means produce is at its freshest and tastes the best. The food is typically grown near where you live, not thousands of miles away or another country. Shopping at farmers markets also supports your local farmers and keeps the money you spend on food closer to your neighborhood.
Continue reading Top Reasons to Shop at a Farmers’ Market

What? White Rice Better Than Brown?

A Reblog from: TheHealthyHomeEconomist | By Sarah  Thanks to Manang Kusinera for the link!  

My last videoblog titled Healthy Chinese drew some comments from folks questioning my choice of rice. Why was I using white basmati rice instead of brown?  Isn’t brown rice the healthier choice, after all?

Ok, I’ll spill the beans, rice.   Here are my reasons …

Truth is, neither my husband or myself have ever enjoyed brown rice.   Every time we eat it, it just seems to not sit very well in our stomachs.  It, well, uh, sits like a brick for lack of a better word.
Continue reading What? White Rice Better Than Brown?

Sweden Becomes First Western Nation to Reject Low-fat Diet Dogma

Sweden has become the first Western nation to develop national dietary guidelines that reject the popular low-fat diet dogma in favor of  low-carb high-fat nutrition advice.

The switch in dietary advice followed the publication of a two-year study by the independent Swedish Council on Health Technology Assessment. The committee reviewed 16,000 studies published through May 31, 2013.

Swedish doctor, Andreas Eenfeldt, who runs the most popular health blog in Scandinavia (DietDoctor.com) published some of the highlights of this study in English:
Continue reading Sweden Becomes First Western Nation to Reject Low-fat Diet Dogma

Health Benefits of ” Mint ”

Mentha (also known as Mint, from Greek míntha,Linear B  mi-ta)is a genus of plants in the family Lamiaceae (mint family).The species  are not clearly distinct and estimates of the number of species varies from 13 to 18. Hybridization between some of the species occurs naturally. Many other hybrids as well as numerous cultivars are known in cultivation.
Continue reading Health Benefits of ” Mint ”

The Language of Food

chit juan 2By Chit U. Juan | On a recent trip to Legaspi City in the southeastern tip of the main island of Luzon in the Philippines, I was to attend a dinner with academics who were guests and speakers at the 3rd International Colloquium of the Bicol University Graduate School. As soon as we reached the mall, the rain poured and there was no way I could even alight from the car to join my party. Instead, we made a quick decision to join the dinner of Father Jovic and my colleagues at the Social Enterprise Development Center where I sit in the Board as an Independent Director.

So in the rain we went to find this special place called Iking’s or Mr. D’s Pizza as it is written on the menu.
Continue reading The Language of Food

Whole Wheat Couscous Salad with Za’atar Roasted Eggplant

A Reblog | By: kabcphotography | In Tel Aviv, with 85 degree weather,  its hard to say that its Fall. As much as I love long summer days filled with the beach and watermelons, I truly miss the feeling of Autumn. I miss apple orchards and pumpkin patches and the scent of warm spices.

While patiently waiting for soup season to kick in, I’ve prepared a light, whole grain salad filled with mediterranean flavors.
Continue reading Whole Wheat Couscous Salad with Za’atar Roasted Eggplant

Piad’s Seafood Restaurant in Dumangas

By: Flavors of Iloilo | A Reblog | Famous for a row seafood restaurants dotting the coastline, a certain portion of the town of Dumangas is like a magnet to travelers as well as foodies who opt to enjoy seafood and homestyle Ilonggo cuisine at affordable prices. A few days ago, our Lamon-Lagaw group had our first out town lunch break (yup, we all went back to our respective works after) at Piad’s Seafood Restaurant in Dumangas. Traversing the Iloilo Coastal Road, it was around 30 minutes of smooth driving, scenic land and seascapes and almost zero traffic. At times, ours was the only vehicle on the road!
Continue reading Piad’s Seafood Restaurant in Dumangas

Fish Sauce: An Ancient Roman Condiment Rises Again

by Deena Prichep | A Reblog via http://www.npr.org  &nbsp; >   Ava Gene’s, a Roman-inspired restaurant in Portland, Ore., incorporates colatura, a modern descendant of ancient Roman fish sauce, into several of its dishes.

Fish sauce — that funky, flavor-enhancing fermented condiment — is part of what gives Southeast Asian cooking its distinctive taste. But it turns out, this cornerstone of Eastern cooking actually has a long history on another continent: Europe. And it goes all the way back to the Roman Empire.
Continue reading Fish Sauce: An Ancient Roman Condiment Rises Again

Is Bacon Bad For You, or Good? The Salty, Crunchy Truth

By: Kris Gunnars | A Reblog  |  Many people have a love-hate relationship with bacon.

They love the taste and crunchiness, but are still worried that all that processed meat and fat may be harming them.

Well, there are many myths in the history of nutrition that haven’t stood the test of time.

Is the idea that bacon causes harm one of them? Let’s find out…
Continue reading Is Bacon Bad For You, or Good? The Salty, Crunchy Truth

Fish Fillet with Tausi (Fermented Black Beans)

By on latest.recipes.com | A Reblog  > I used to hate this dish when I was young, I didn’t like the taste of fermented black beans and the milk fish has too many fine bones that makes it difficult to eat.  My mother, she used to make it regularly- no matter how much complaining/whining I did- hoping that I will eventually like it. After so many years, finally, I am able to appreciate this dish and make it for my family too, but my little boy doesn’t like the black beans..no surprise there, I guess.😉

When making this dish, usually whole or milk fish slices are fried then served with adobo-like sauce with fermented black beans. I make mine with fish fillet and skipped the frying part. It’s easier, quicker and healthier.
Continue reading Fish Fillet with Tausi (Fermented Black Beans)

UK garden centre grows Britain’s first black tomato

By: Yahoo UK | A Reblog | A plant nursery has become the first in Britain to grow BLACK tomatoes.
The unusual fruit, which has a jet black skin, is among the first in the world to contain anthocyanins, an antioxidant thought to have a number of health benefits.

Its unusual colour stems from pigments in the skin which develop when exposed to sunlight.

Ray Brown, 66, who runs Plant World Seeds, first came across the unusual fruit when a customer sent him a mystery package entitled ‘black tomato’.
Continue reading UK garden centre grows Britain’s first black tomato

Strawberry thrives in unique hot climate in the Philippines

By: Juan Escandor, Jr. | A Reblog from Inquirer News |  Agribusiness graduate Leonardo Libreja successfully propagated strawberry in the lowland of his town in Camarines Sur; demonstrating that the plant can thrive in a hot climate and bear fruit “sweeter” than those found in the Mountain Province in the Philippines.

It has been a common belief here that plants thriving in cold climate, such as strawberry, apple and tangerine (a citrus fruit similar to the mandarin orange) will barely survive in a tropical climate like in Ocampo town, northeast of Naga City.
Continue reading Strawberry thrives in unique hot climate in the Philippines

Savoring the foods of Spain, Mexico and Cuba in Boracay

By: Karen Bermejo | A Reblog | Since it started its operation in August 2005, Olé Spanish Tapas Bar and Restaurant has since become one of the most active restaurants in the island paradise of Boracay.

As what this Spanish word means, it has done a “good job” in serving its customers from over one hundred countries that have visited this unique and very palatable place, represented by the flags at the entrance of the restaurant.

Olé for some is also an expression of excitement.

Thus, the restaurant offers an exciting gastronomic experience of Spanish, Mexican & Cuban cuisine, and Filipino dishes too.

Olé is famous for its Spanish Paella, Mexican Fajitas and Cuban Palomilla Steak with Black Beans.

ImageMexican FajitasImageSpanish Paella

Other favorites include Nachos & Tacos, the Chicken Curry, the Filet Mignon and its various Fish and Seafood Entrees.

ImageImageImage

An Olé in Boracay experience is never complete too without the cold and hot Tapas, or Spanish appetizers and snacks with over 28 choices which include – Gambas Ajillo, Tabla de Chorizo, Shrimp Cocktail, Tabla de Manchego and Jamon Serrano which could tempt anyone to just eat more.

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They also have a brand new breakfast menu that features healthy dishes made with poached eggs, salmon, spinach and other all the good things to eat.

Other choices include the famous favorites like French toast, pancakes; and eggs which could be cooked in nine different ways depending on how you like them.

For those in plant-based diet or in meatless lifestyle, Olé also offers vegetarian delights.

Indeed, there is something for everyone.

You can feast at Olé 24 hours a day and choose breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes all throughout the period.

To complete your sumptuous meal, another must try is their Spanish national drink, the Sangria. They also have a wide selection of wine from Spain, France, America, Australia and Chile at their bar. Beer lovers too could feast on over 20 selections of imported drinks. For healthy buffs, fresh special fruit shakes are also on their menu list to choose from.

The latest news from Olé is that they are expanding to cater more diners.

Come October, the second floor will soon be available to cater hungry locals and tourists alike – to bring its famous dishes to more customers.

What could be better dining experience is having the nicest people around. Olé thus have a capable, large staff supervised by experienced managers.

So, the next time you visit the island, give yourself “a treat you deserve.”

Never miss to drop by at Olé Spanish Tapas Bar and Restaurant along D’ Mall Boracay.*

To know more about Olé Spanish Tapas Bar and Restaurant in Boracay, visit their website at http://www.oleinboracay.com/

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by SugarWithaSpice on September 18, 2013

Bloglink: http://sugarwithaspice.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/savoring-the-foods-of-spain-mexico-and-cuba-in-boracay/

The Colors Of Health

Veg_5

dorota.sssBy Dorota Trupp, Nutritionist | A Reblog | According to a new study by the Harvard School of Public Health, eating plenty of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables helps prevent neurological disease. The combination of nutrients in these foods also enhances your brain function, making you a happier, more optimistic person.

So, you may ask, what is it about colourful fruits and vegetables that makes them so special? Well, it turns out that a heightened level of antioxidants is the magic ingredient that benefits our neurological health.

Previous studies have pointed to the link between positive brain function and antioxidants, especially vitamin E. The Harvard study focused on a type of antioxidant known as a carotenoid, a natural pigment that gives vegetables and fruits their bright colouring, from yellow through orange, red and deep green. It found that carotenoids have particularly strong health-enhancing qualities – so strong, in fact, that individuals whose diets contained large amounts of this antioxidant were revealed to be more likely to exercise and have an advanced degree!

In addition, when we look at the cultures that consume natural foods rich in carotenoids, we see that they are generally very healthy and experience a lower mortality rate because of chronic illness.

I bet that any parent who reads this will want their children to consume more-colourful veggies and fruits to ensure they have a better start in life!

Brightly Coloured Vegetables

Which fruit and vegetables are the most beneficial?

Any of the brightly coloured fruits and vegetables at your local fresh food market are a good choice. But remember that variety is important. Include on your shopping list vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, pumpkin, red paprika, sweet potatoes, beetroot, broccoli, kale, spinach, brussels sprouts, asparagus and herbs such as parsley, dill, thyme, coriander and basil. Fruits that are abundant in carotenoids include apricots, mangoes, cherries, strawberries, other berries, citrus fruits and cantaloupe.

This is really just a rough guide. The main thing is that the brighter, more intense is the colour of a plant, the richer is its antioxidant content.

3-7 servings of colourful vegetables and fruits a day

How many servings do I need to get the full health benefits?

It’s been recommended that you should have somewhere between 3–7 servings of colourful fruits and vegetables each day – the more you have, the better it will be for you!

A Taste of Happiness

Should I eat these foods raw or cooked?

All fruit should be consumed raw, when it is at its ripest – this is when it will contain the highest levels of antioxidants and vitamin C. The best option is to buy naturally ripened fruit from your local farmers market or organic grocery store.

Some of the vegetables mentioned above may need to be cooked to make them easier to digest. When you do this, add some butter from grass-fed animals, which is also abundant in antioxidants such as vitamins A, D, E and K2. In salads, you can use extra virgin olive oil, which contains vitamins E and K. To maximise the bioavailability of the antioxidants in vegetables, don’t forget to mix them with ‘good’ fats, such as those found in animal-sourced fats, nuts and unprocessed vegetable oils.

Trupp School Australia
The Trupp Cooking School Blog
http://www.truppcookingschool.com/blog/

Images:  Lead Photo; A Google Image. All other images by: The Trupp Cooking School

References

Ryan Jaslow, ‘ALS risk reduced by eating brightly coloured vegetables, study suggests’, CBS News, 29 January 2013, http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57566420/als-risk-reduced-by-eating-brightly-colored-vegetables-study-suggests/

EurekaAlert!, ‘Eating bright-colored fruits and vegetables may prevent or delay ALS’, 29 January 2013, http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-01/w-ebf012513.php

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Bloglink:  http://www.truppcookingschool.com/blog/2013/07/23/the-colours-of-good-health/

Excessive omega fatty acids may make inflammation worse, not better

Salmon Plated

By: Randy Shore, Postmedia News  | A Reblog  | Research at the University of B.C.’s Okanagan campus is calling into question the value of fish-oil based supplements as a way to combat cardiac and inflammatory disease.

Fish oil supplements fed to mice already on a diet rich in vegetable oil interfered with the ability of tissues in the gastrointestinal system to repair themselves, according to recent research by Sanjoy Ghosh published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Additional unpublished results point to a similar effect on cardiac tissues.

The cellular disruption that led to tissue injury — called oxidative stress — appears to be caused by the combination of omega-6 fatty acids in vegetable-based oils and the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil, according to Ghosh, an assistant professor of biology.

In the past 50 years, North Americans have replaced much of the saturated fat in their diet with unsaturated fats, dramatically increasing their consumption of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and altering the balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Previous studies of human populations that consume large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids as part of their normal diet suggest a protective effect against cardiac and inflammatory disease.

But when researchers added the omega-3 rich fish oil to the diet of mice to see if it would reduce the inflammation caused by omega-6 rich vegetable oils, they were stunned when it made matters worse.

“Our hypothesis is that levels of omega 6 are so high in our bodies that any more unsaturated fatty acid — even omega 3, despite its health benefits — will actually contribute to the negative effects omega 6 PUFA have on the heart and gut,” said Ghosh. “When there is too much [polyunsaturated fatty acid], the body doesn’t know what to do with it.”

This is not the first time that Ghosh has produced findings that turned popular notions about nutrition and health on their head.

As a graduate student Ghosh discovered by accident that so-called “heart healthy” oils rich in Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids inflicted damage to the hearts of rats and neo-natal pigs.
The result was so shocking that Ghosh was turned down for publication by all the major scientific journals.

‘Vegetable-based oils like corn and canola were promoted to the public as a healthier alternative to animal-based fats, but there was never any research that said they are any healthier’

The results of the rat-based study were eventually published by the journal Nutrition in 2004.
Subsequent research vindicated Ghosh and opened up a new line of scientific inquiry questioning popularly held notions about the health benefits of vegetable-based oils.

“Vegetable-based oils like corn and canola were promoted to the public as a healthier alternative to animal-based fats, but there was never any research that said they are any healthier,” said Ghosh.

In fact, recent research has linked excessive levels of omega-6 to colitis, insulin resistance, diabetes and obesity, he said. And people’s attempts to “balance” omega-6 levels with omega-3 supplements may be damaging their health.

‘There is no magic pill that fixes a bad diet’

“There is no magic pill that fixes a bad diet,” he said.

“The vast majority of studies that show omega 3 oils are beneficial are based on eating fish, not pills,” he said. “When you eat a lot of fish you automatically eat less of other oils and it’s a healthier balance.”

The polyunsaturated fats in vegetable oils have only been added to the human diet very recently, roughly coinciding with a steady rise in diet-related illness, he said.

A diet rich in saturated fats and healthy unsaturated fats will promote a more natural balance of fats

A diet that includes foods rich in saturated fats, such as cheese and butter, and healthy unsaturated fats, such as those in olive oil and nuts, will promote a more natural balance of fats, not unlike the Mediterranean diet, he said.

Photo: A Google Image

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Bloglink:  http://life.nationalpost.com/2013/01/23/excessive-omega-fatty-acids-may-make-heart-health-worse-not-better-b-c-researchers/

Why Americans Are Eating Less Hotdogs

A Reblog  |  By Paul Lukas | BusinessWeek  |  Americans spent $1.7 billion on hot dogs last year—and that’s just at supermarkets; it doesn’t count wieners purchased at restaurants and sports facilities or from street vendors. And no day is better for hot dog consumption than the Fourth of July, when Americans are expected to eat about 150 million of them—enough to stretch from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles more than five times.

While those numbers are impressive, overall hot dog sales are declining. According to figures from IRI, a Chicago-based market-research firm, sales dropped more than 3 percent in 2012 from 2011, following two consecutive years of smaller declines. Figures for this year are looking soft as well. The slump is surprising in light of the sluggish economy—hot dogs are usually considered the ideal recession foodstuff.

Ronald Plain, a professor of agricultural economics at the University of Missouri, offered a few possible explanations for the frankfurter’s failing fortunes. Hot dogs are particularly popular among children, for example, so America’s declining birth rate may be to blame. Changing immigration patterns and demographic profile may also play a role. Janet Riley, president of the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, a trade group, sees other factors at work. “Higher raw-material costs are leading to higher retail price points,” she says. “Consumers are very sensitive to that.” Ryan Stalker, brand manager for Hebrew National, whose sales are off by 5 percent this year, agrees. “The biggest challenge facing our industry is the rising costs of goods, especially beef prices, over the past few years, which usually translates into softness in sales.”

None of this surprises Josh Ozersky, a food journalist and historian. He predicts the hot dog will become increasingly marginalized as the U.S. palate broadens. “I would be willing to bet that more Americans, and especially younger Americans, now eat nachos or tacos than hot dogs,” he says. But what about the many outlets that serve nachos on hot dogs? “That’s just proof of the desperate state of the hot dog!” he says. “That’s like a middle-aged actress who gets Botox and breast implants to try to stay relevant.”

One brand has bucked the downward trend: Nathan’s Famous (NATH), whose sales are up 17 percent from last year. “Naturally, I think it’s because we have the best hot dog,” says President Wayne Norbitz. “In tough times, if people are going to eat fewer hot dogs, they often choose a premium product. They choose to indulge.” Nathan’s also gets a promotional boost from its annual July 4 hot-dog-eating contest at Coney Island.

The hot dog still has one stronghold: baseball stadiums. Fans can buy everything from sushi to barbecued ribs, but hot dogs remain the top seller at almost every big league ballpark. (The exception: Miller Park in Milwaukee, where sausage is king.) There’s also a smattering of artisanal dog restaurants, such as Bark, in Brooklyn. The owner, Josh Sharkey, bastes his hot dogs with “Bark sauce,” a concoction of smoked lard whipped with butter.

Even Sharkey says it’s not easy being in his line of work. “It’s a pretty tough business model, because it’s based on a low price point,” he says. “So it’s a volume business—you have to sell a lot of hot dogs.”

Image by: Getty Images | | Featured Imaged: by hotdogtruck.blogspot.com

Bloglink:  http://finance.yahoo.com/news/why-americans-are-eating-fewer-hot-dogs-173515942.html

Six Writing Lessons From The Garden

veg gardenBy: Deborah Lee Luskin  |  A Reblog  |  I love to garden. It’s a meditative activity – something I can do while my mind freewheels. Last Sunday, I found myself thinking how preparing a small vegetable patch is like writing a book.

Lesson 1: Writing is Solitary.Scarecrow

For the first time in thirty years, I’m planting the garden solo. My husband helped me install the fence posts (just as he built the studio where I write), but he prefers to nurture the orchard. I’m on my own, just as I write by myself during the week while he’s off tending to his patients’ health.

Lesson 2: Selectivity is Good.

There was a time when we grew and preserved all our food – but no longer. We’re now supplied with locally grown produce from a neighbor’s organic farm, so I’m only planting high-value items that are harder to find in local markets – shallots and leeks, fennel, veg garden2escarole and Brussels sprouts – as well as items we consume in quantity – cucumbers and cherry tomatoes, hot peppers and a wide assortment of culinary herbs.

I’m leaving the prosaic vegetables – the zucchini and green beans, the carrots and potatoes – to the production professionals. In a similar way, I’ve retired from the teaching, managerial and editorial jobs that others can do as well as or even better than I can. No one else can tell the stories I imagine, so I’m concentrating on them.

Lesson 3: Limits are Helpful.

GardenPrep050513I started by limiting the scope of my garden. I’ve fenced off an eight- by sixteen-foot rectangle to keep the free-range chickens out, and to keep my intentions focused – and manageable. Our previous gardens were huge, time-sucking affairs, and sometimes we raised an equal quantity of weeds as tomatoes. Similarly, over the past year, I’ve drafted thousands of words about my character’s life. But recently, I’ve come to realize that the story I’m telling takes place over the course of nineteen months. So that’s what I’ll develop; everything else must come out, just like the weeds.

Lesson 4: Wrisundialting Takes Time.

At the outset, a hundred and twenty-eight square feet looks just as big as a 100,000-word novel, and turning it over with a hand fork appears as daunting as filling a ream of paper by pen. My husband offered to do this heavy task for me; he would have had the garden-plot ready in less than an hour. I thanked him and said I would do it myself. It took me three hours, during which time I meditated on how preparing the garden is like writing a novel. I stopped only for water and to take pictures for this post, which I was composing as I dug.

gardenprep10

Lesson 5: Small Tasks Yield Success.

A week earlier, I’d covered my plot with a tarp to warm the earth and kill weeds. The weeds continued to flourish, however, and the prospect of turning the soil by hand and pulling the weeds out by the root was too much. So I put the tarp back in place and working a small section at a time uncovered only a quarter of the space. After I turned those thirty-two square feet, I peeled the tarp back again, turning and weeding the next section. Now, the job was half done. I folded the tarp back again and again, always giving myself a small, measurable task that I could reasonably accomplish. Writing a book is just the same: I break each chapter into sections, and each section into paragraphs, each paragaph into sentences, each sentence into words. Each time I stuck the fork into the soil, it was a reminder that books are written one word at a time.

Working a small section at a time.

By the time I had raked the soil into beds and outlined the footpath with string, my neck was sunburned, my back was sore, and I was ready for a bath. I was done – for the day. I now had a well-defined garden plot with clearly outlined beds as weed-free as a clean piece of paper. Even though I was done-in, I’m anything but done. In fact, I’m just ready to start.

GardenPrep8Ellen, the novel I’m crafting, is further along than my garden. But the garden is a good reminder about how to maintain forward progress on this first draft. My afternoon preparing my garden yielded these six truths: 1) Even though I work alone, I’m deeply engaged with my characters; 2) every time I cut out a scene or a character or an unnecessary word, I gain a clearer sense of what aspect of the story to nurture; 3) knowing the limit of the narrative has helped me focus on the story I have to tell; 4) drafting the novel is taking a long time – and I make progress daily; 5) I experience the elation of success when I set myself small, measurable tasks; and 6) every time I finish a section, a chapter, an entire draft, I’m ready to begin another section, another chapter, another draft.  And even when that’s done – even when the writing and revision are finished – there’s another whole set of steps to see a book to completion, but those are chores of another season.

This growing season has just started. I tell myself, if I write word by word, weed by weed, my effort will blossom, and in time, I’ll see my book in my readers’ hands.

Meanwhile, I have a lovely garden bed ready for seeds.

photo: M. Shafer

photo: M. Shafer

Author Deborah Lee Luskin gardens and writes in southern Vermont and can be found on the web at www.deborahleeluskin.com

How to Grow Herbs Indoor

herb pot mint

Gardening Indoors Can Be Done Easily

A Reblog | The Tasteful Garden | Gardening Indoors can be done easily if you have the proper conditions in your home. The key to success is having enough light for the plants to do well. West and South facing windows provide the most light. If the herbs are not getting enough light they will just stop growing and may eventually have insects or diseases attack them.

Humidity

Another problem with growing indoors is humidity or lack of it. Our heating systems are primarily dry heat and the plants can suffer from lack of moisture in their leaves even though they are watered. This can be corrected by misting or washing your plant’s leaves every 2 weeks.

Most Herbs Prefer Temperatures from 65-80 Degrees

arrow green with textMost herbs prefer temperatures from 65-80 degrees and watering when the soil is dry to the touch. Never let your plants sit in a tray of water as their roots will drown. Also, make sure that the pots you use are large enough for the plant to grow for up to 6 months. Pots that are 8″ in diameter are best.

Moving Your Plants Outdoors

It is generally best to move your plants outdoors as soon as it is warm and they will really appreciate an afternoon of sunshine on warm days, just remember to bring them back indoors during the cool nights.

Preparing Perennial Herbs for Winter

In very mild winter areas nothing needs to be done except a light pruning, cutting off about a third of the plant to trim up and encourage a nice form for spring.

Cold Winter Areas

In cold winter areas, the annual herbs will die as soon as the first frost hits them. The perennials can last if they are hardy to your zone. Rosemary, Sage, Lavender and others need to be pruned (about a third) and then mulched with anything that will protect them from the cold and wet. Cover their stems and root systems with hay or leaves or pine straw to keep the freezing wind from doing damage.

Taking Cuttings of Your Plants

You can also take cuttings of your plants and root them indoors keeping them moist and in a humid environment until they are rooted and then pot them. Another option is to dig up your herbs and put them in large pots to bring indoors for the winter.

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Bloglink: http://www.tastefulgarden.com/store/pc/Indoor-Herb-Growing-d55.htm
The Tasteful Garden

Building a Bamboo Future

The founders of Green School gave the award winning design-firm, Ibuku, the task to build the world’s “Greenest School.”

Every step of the design and construction process was unique. Instead of traditional blueprints, architects build bamboo models to scale with bamboo sticks. The sticks were bent, cut, and woven until the perfect model was created. The usual onsite visual of bulldozers moving the earth was nowhere to be found. The land remained as it was.  Buildings were designed to rise out of the earth’s natural contour, ensuring as little disturbance to the surrounding environment as possible.

Green School in Bali - Instead of traditional blueprints, architects build bamboo models to scale with bamboo sticks

Given both the setting of Bali and the sustainable task at hand, it is hardly surprising that Ibuku choose bamboo as their building material of choice. It is one of the fastest and most resilient growing plants on earth, and as such, environmentally-friendly.  “With very few resources or attention, a bamboo shoot can become a structural column within three years,” says Elora Hardy,  CEO of Ibuku. “And a building built from that bamboo could stand strong for a lifetime.” (View Slideshow)

The choice of bamboo, created strong buildings but also allowed for unique designs. Unlike the typical four-walled, cement classrooms, Green School rooms were woven together, creating spectacular webs of bamboo. Every formation there is unique and more complex looking than the last. Dynamic spirals and shapes spring from the ground creating spectacular open expanses, reflecting the magic spaces present within nature.

Green School in Bali completed architectural design by Ibukuarrow green with text

The designers, architects and local Balinese craftsmen behind these living structures have done an excellent job in imitating and integrating the beauty and complex perfection of the school’s tropical surroundings. Buildings weave harmoniously through the beautiful backdrop, integrating with the environment instead of standing apart from it. Aesthetically these bamboo structures entice a great sense of wonder and achievement. They are bamboo works of art that stand as a true testament to the creative potential and infinite possibility that lies within this resilient building material.

GBTV brings you the second in a series of guest blogs from Green School in Bali.  Their first blog, Welcome to the Greenest School on Earth, was an introduction, not only to their building practices, but to their amazing concept in teaching. This blog takes us behind the scenes to the details of building with bamboo.

Visit Green School for more information, Like them on Facebook and follow on Twitter. Find out more information about Ibuku and their work with Green Village Bali.

Bloglink: http://greenbuildtv.com/blog/building-a-bamboo-future/#more-12016

In Asuncion, Paraguay, Small-Scale Charms and a Complex History

Roasting a chipa caburé, a type of cake, in a tatakua, or traditional oven.By: Seth Kugel |  A Reblog  > Roasting a chipa caburé, a type of cake, in a tatakua, or traditional oven. Cooking a chipa caburé in a tatakua is surprisingly like roasting a marshmallow in a campfire. After wrapping dough around a stick, you place it just barely inside the edge of the domed brick oven and rotate it slowly. Get too close to the wood fire and the exterior burns; rotate it just enough and it browns beautifully as the inside cooks through, ready to be slid off the stick and eaten hot.

I roasted my first ever chipa caburé – a corn, cheese and manioc starch cake the size of a corn dog with a doughnut hole where the dog would be – on a recent Saturday in the home of María Jacinta Leguizamón. Doña Jacinta, as she is known, lives in Asunción, the rarely visited capital of the rarely visited (and landlocked) country of Paraguay. On weekends she runs an informal prepared-foods service out of her humble home for the Loma San Jerónimo neighborhood, selling traditional foods like chicharo huiti (pork meat coated in corn meal) and sopa paraguaya, a tender cornbread. Nearby were the tatakua, a couple of gobbling turkeys and a slew of family members. “She’s anti-commercial,” her daughter-in-law, Zunilda Arce, a pediatrician, told me. “She does it the way you’re supposed to do it.”

arrow green with textCuzco and Rio de Janeiro need not fear: Asunción, a city of about 500,000, is not poised to become the next tourism capital of South America. But it is a fascinating window into Paraguayan history and culture. Over the last 150 years, the country has been beaten up by two punishing wars and one wicked dictatorship, but has emerged with a fierce and peculiar independent spirit represented by (among other things) a national indigenous language — Guaraní — that just about everyone mixes liberally with Spanish. The city (and country) make for an interesting side trip from Buenos Aires or Iguazú Falls — or, though it would be a bold call, a trip of its own for travelers who prefer their destinations off-beat, unexplored, mighty friendly and shockingly inexpensive. Asunción was a bargain in just about every way imaginable (except for the $160 entry visa for Americans); for starters, its buses cost 2,000 guaraníes, or 50 cents at 4,000 guaraníes to the dollar, and get you just about anywhere.

At Bartholu’s, sandwiches go for less than $5, and diners can customize them with a long row of toppings.Seth Kugel At Bartholu’s, sandwiches go for less than $5, and diners can customize them with a long row of toppings.

But it is not a journey of the obvious. A good orientation involves reading a little history – you know, history, the part of the guidebook you usually skip past – and soaking up two powerful museums that go a long way to explaining Paraguayan identity.  > Read More

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Bloglink: A Reblog from | The Frugal Traveler > http://frugaltraveler.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/16/in-asuncion-paraguay-small-scale-charms-and-a-complex-history/?smid=fb-share&_r=0

Exploring the Seedy Side of Philadelphia: Heirloom seed-savers are preserving our area’s rich horticultural heritage

Story by Brian Rademaekers | Photos by Rob Cardillo  A Reblog from GRID Magazine | The Fish Pepper was an African-American heirloom plant popular in Philadelphia and Baltimore, dating to before the 1870s. As anyone with the gardening bug knows, the bleakness of midwinter in Philadelphia has a way of making you dream of warmer times, often hatching ambitious plans for your raised beds. I had one of those moments this winter while looking through the glossy pages of a seed catalog. Among the hundreds of pages of colorful fruits, flowers and vegetables, a particular plant caught my attention: the Fish Pepper.

With distinct white-striped leaves and young green fruit, the pepper bush was interesting in on a purely visual level. But what really got my attention was the pepper’s history as an African-American heirloom plant popular in Philadelphia and Baltimore, dating to before the 1870s. Heirlooms are plants whose seeds have been saved over generations, replanted year after year, consistently reproducing similar traits. Many vegetables offered at nurseries and big-box stores are hybrids that can produce sterile seeds or offspring with erratic traits.

The idea of a plant with deep roots in our history intrigued me. How many others plants like this were out there? What is our region’s history in growing heirloom food plants? Could I make a whole garden featuring heirloom plants with Philadelphia ties? Thus began my seed-searching quest to create the ultimate Philadelphia heirloom garden.

Center Seedy

As I quickly found, such a garden needn’t lack diversity. The Philadelphia region has long been a powerhouse of heirloom seed production, starting with Native Americans and Quakers and growing with seed companies like D. Landreth Seed Company (founded in 1784) and Burpee (founded in 1876), right through the 19th and 20th centuries.“We had Quakers in the city who were always interested in botany and food production improvement,” says William Woys Weaver, a Chester County author who has been collecting and growing local heirlooms since the 1970s. He inherited his grandfather’s seed collection of hundreds of local heirlooms and has since expanded it to include thousands of local plants. (Learn more about Weaver’s work on p. 46.)

“Philadelphia has always, since at least the 1700s, had a special interest in growing things, so we’re ahead of the game,” Weaver says. “You had all these people growing things here, and the list of heirlooms to come out of this region is incredibly huge, more so than any other part of the country, I think.”

arrow green with textGenerally, heirlooms are considered “any variety that’s older than 50 years,” says Tim Mountz, founder of Happy Cat Seeds in Kennett Square. But not all heirloom-type plants go back 50 years. “We call anything newer than 50 years ‘open pollinated’ varieties,” Mountz explains.  If you’ve ever grown or eaten a Green Zebra Tomato, you know a “new heirloom.”

Open pollinated or “OP” varieties are created through  a process in which two plants with different traits — say, a green tomato and a yellow tomato — are interbred to create a hybrid, explains Mountz. This is done across six generations of plants, with the grower tracking a desirable trait over successive generations. After six generations, the plant can be considered stable. After 50 years, it can be called an heirloom. The Green Zebra Tomato, bred in 1984, is now stable and can be called its own variety, but it is not yet an heirloom.

Happy Cat is one of many places where gardeners can find heirlooms with local roots. One of Mountz’s favorites is the Stoltzfus String Bean, which he found in his grandfather’s collection after he passed away. “It had been extinct for 70 years before we brought it back,” Mountz says. “It’s a string bean, so we’ll eat it green before its beans develop in the pod, and we’ll also dry them and then soak them overnight for use in the winter as a cooking bean for things like refried beans.” Beyond the good eating, he says it’s just a good looking plant. “The flowers are more beautiful, the plant itself is more beautiful, and the bean itself is a dark purple.”

Williams Woy Weaver. photo by Rob CardilloWeavers Way Co-op in Mt. Airy, Primex Garden Center in Glenside, and Burpee Seeds in Warminster all carry local heirloom seed varieties, but the Fish Pepper that first caught my eye came from the Baker Creek catalog, based out of Missouri. Baker Creek owner Jere Gettle cites the Jersey Devil tomato as one of his favorite heirlooms from our region. “It looks sort of like a horn, which is where I guess the ‘devil’ part comes from. It’s my favorite paste-type tomato … they’re just incredibly good eating.”

Growing Local

Weaver notes that there currently isn’t an extensive guide to regional heirlooms, let alone a one-stop shop for buying them. Finding them takes some research and “hunting and pecking through catalogs,” he says. But, one great resource can be seed exchange groups like the Philly Seed Exchange.

Aimee Hill, a co-coordinator with the Philly Seed Exchange, says the group doesn’t only focus on seeds with historic ties to the area, but since they come from plants grown in the region, they are by default local heirlooms.

“The idea is to get as many local seeds as possible and have people save seeds no matter where they came from in the first place,” Hill says. “As they’re grown and saved and grown over generations, they become more adapted to the Philly area.” They’ve gotten many seeds from the pre-1800s collection at Bartram’s Garden and the Pendle Hill Quaker community in Wallingford, Pa.

While proponents of heirlooms have long lauded the superior taste compared to hybrid versions grown for commercial markets, there are many other reasons to grow not just heirlooms, but local heirlooms.

arrow green with text“If you have organically raised heirloom food plants in your garden, you’re going to be living a lot healthier than if you’re just growing hybrids. The heirlooms have not declined in their nutritional value the way these hybridized plants have,” Weaver says, citing studies from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “Since the 1950s, hybridization has bled out nutrition for the sake of shelf life, or for whatever reason. It’s just not there.”

Mountz and Weaver also extol the vigor of plants that have been bred to cope with our climate, soil and pests. “They’ll either germinate earlier, or be more resistant to humidity or insects,” Mountz says. “It’s really great to see the local traits you’ll get; it’s not just the local flavor and the local history, but the ability to grow in a climate that’s really cold in the wintertime, but then subtropical for two-and-a-half months in the summer.”

Tim Mountz found the Stoltzfus String Bean in his grandfather’s seed collection after he passed away.Hill agrees. “If you grow things over generations and save the seeds from specific areas, they become more resilient. It’s like terroir with wine and grapes grown in specific areas,” he says. “They’re better at getting all the good stuff, the fancy stuff, out of that soil so they taste better.”  It also enhances economic independence, because seed savers don’t have to buy new seeds each year.

Saving for a Seedier Future

I look forward to contributing to that diversity with my “ultimate Philadelphia heirloom garden.” This spring and summer, in addition to the Fish Pepper and the Stoltzfus String Bean, I will be growing Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage, Amish Deer Tongue Lettuce, Philadelphia White Box Radishes and Jenny Lind Melons. My local tomatoes will include Jersey Devil, one called London Grove (from Happy Cat), and of course some Brandywines — the superstar of our regional heirlooms.

Saving local seeds does more than put delicious food on your plate, it keeps alive a history that is rich but fragile. As Weaver explains, those superstar Brandywine tomatoes, first grown on the banks of the Brandywine Creek in Chester County, are the perfect illustration of that fragility.  Just a month after delivering the seeds to a seed company, the grower who gave Brandywines their name was thrown from a horse and killed. Had he died a month earlier, the Brandywine tomato as we know it might have died along with him.

Weaver compares preserving local heirlooms to linguists preserving endangered languages. “With languages, if you lose the speakers, you lose the language,” Weaver says. “It’s the same with these plants — if you lose them, they’re gone. I’ve come very close to losing some things, and it scares me because I shouldn’t be the only one on planet earth with some of this stuff.”
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Bloglink: http://www.gridphilly.com/grid-magazine/2013/4/11/exploring-the-seedy-side-of-philadelphia-heirloom-seed-saver.html
Featured Photo: The People’s Community Garden

Your Life is Too Valuable to Waste Chasing Possessions

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” ― Mae West

By: Joshua Becker | A Reblog | There is more joy in pursuing less than can be found in pursuing more. In many ways, this is a message that we already know to be true.

It’s just that, since the day we were born, we have been told something different. We have been told that possessions equal joy. And because we have heard that message so many times and from so many angles, we have begun to believe it. As a result, we spend our lives working long hours to make good money so that we can buy nice stuff.

But when we again hear the simple message that there is more joy in pursuing less than can be found in pursuing more, it rings true in our hearts… because deep down, we already know it to be true. We know that possessions don’t equal joy. And we know that our life is far too valuable to waste chasing them.

It just helps to be reminded from time to time. So today, remember…

  • Our life is short. We only get one shot at it. The time goes by quick. And once we use it up, we can’t get it back. So make the most of it. Possessions steal our time and energy. They require unending maintenance to be cleaned, maintained, fixed, replaced, and removed. They steal our precious attention, time, and energy and we don’t even notice it… until it’s too late.
  • Our life is unique. Our look, our personality, our talents, and the people who have influenced our lives have made us special. As a result, our life is exactly like no one else. And just because everyone else is chasing material possessions doesn’t mean we have to too.
  • Our life is significant. Far more than success, our hearts desire significance because significance lasts forever. On the other hand, possessions are temporal. They perish, spoil, and fade. And most of them, by design.
  • Our life is designed to inspire. Let’s make footprints worth following. Nobody ever changed the world by following someone else. Instead, people who change the world live differently and inspire others to do the same. Possessions may briefly impress, but they never inspire.
  • Our life is important. Our heart and soul makes us valuable. Don’t sacrifice your important role in this world by settling for possessions that can be purchased with a card of plastic.
  • Our life deserves better. Joy, happiness, and fulfillment are found in the invisible things of life: love, hope, peace, and relationships. And they are not on sale at your local department store. Stop looking for them there. People who live their lives in the pursuit of possessions are never content. They always desire newer, faster, or bigger because material possessions can never satisfy our deepest heart desires.

Be reminded that your life is far too valuable to waste chasing material possessions. And find more joy today by choosing to pursue “better,” rather than “more.”

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joshua-becker-becoming-minimalist1Bloglink: http://www.becomingminimalist.com/your-life-is-too-valuable-to-waste-chasing-possessions/

Joshua Becker is an author and blogger and host the blogsite: Becoming Minimalist.

Drink More Water! Benefits and Why You Shouldn’t Neglect Consuming H2O

glass of waterThe Most Overlooked Liquid

A Reblog | By Dave Hunter | People simply do not get enough water in their diet. The majority of us will trade water for any other kind of beverage packed with unnecessary additives and sapping the health qualities of water on it’s own.

Water takes up around 60 percent of our body weight . This liquid contributes nutrients needed for cells, flushes toxins  out of vital organs and creates the perfect atmosphere for tissues in the throat, ear and nose. Every system inside your body relies on water. So what do you want your body running on? It’s funny to joke around and say “Yeah, my body runs on coffee”, but it’s an entirely different thing when your body is literally fueled by it!

Now it’s true that all liquids are comprised of some amount of water, but the problem is some beverages actually work against waters original capabilities. More on that later!

Does it matter if I lack water?

One of the most common conditions that people incur is dehydration due to a lack of water. Even a minor level of dehydration can leave you feeling sapped of energy since you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out it’s normal functions.

14 things water helps with:

  1. Digestion
  2. Weight loss
  3. Kidney health
  4. Headaches
  5. Replaces potential food so you feel full and don’t overeat
  6. Younger and healthier looking skin
  7. Relieves fatigue
  8. Preventing sickness
  9. Exercise productivity
  10. Reduces risk of cancer
  11. Work productivity
  12. Improves mood
  13. Preventing cramps and sprains
  14. Helps with regular bowel movements

Consuming an appropriate amount of water will aid your heart in pumping blood and deliver essential nutrients to your cells more efficiently. It also helps to transport oxygen in your blood.

arrow green with textBoosting your muscles and preventing cramps is also a helpful trait of water. This can be a fairly significant property if you find yourself always feeling tired while working out. You should be chugging back a couple cups of H2O around two hours before you exercise. Water will reduce fatigue during exercise and and activities  in addition to helping you keep more alert and awake. If you tend to work often and for long hours this can be one of the single best things you can do to keep in check.

different drinks in convenience store

Water vs. Other Liquids

Some companies try to sell the idea that their drink product can be better than water. This is not the case! There’s a major difference between drinking water and drinking something that contains water. Some positive effects of water on it’s own are masked because of added ingredients.

Caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea and pop are frequently chosen before water. Although it may taste better, the water contained in these beverages does not help the body as effectively as just drinking water on it’s own could. These processed liquids stimulate the adrenal glands in the body and act as diuretics. High amounts of phosphorus are found in soft drinks which could result with calcium depletion in your bones.

Even a lot of fruit juices that we associate with being healthy can have harmful effects on the body. Pop and fruit juices can stimulate the pancreas due to their high sugar content. Blood glucose is converted by your body to energy through a hormone called insulin. Eating too much sugar in one sitting isn’t too big of an issue as your pancreas can handle the extra insulin. However, if you frequently eat too much sugar, your pancreas may “age” faster than the rest of your body. Ultimately, this can result in pancreatic failure or diabetes. An average can of pop contains over 9 teaspoons of sugar, not to mention a decent load of calories. These particular beverages can therefore cause some undesired effects.

Some people like to consume sports drinks especially after an intense workout. Now this can be useful however they contain syrup and among several other ingredients that aren’t beneficial to your body in the long run.

There are a fair amount of people who don’t like drinking water because of the lack of flavour. Although it’s highly recommended to drink this precious liquid on it’s own, here are a few healthy ways to improve the taste of water if you really must:

  • Add some fresh lemon, orange slices, lime or mint to your water
  • Put a handful of frozen berries into your water bottle. As the day passes on the frozen berries will help keep the water chilly and infuse the fruit flavour.
  • Make natural herbal iced teas without adding sugar to use in place of plain water.
  •  Fruits on their own can be up to 90% water content so one of these suckers can boost your fluid intake on it’s own

dry cracking skin dehydrated

Lack of water?

Thirsty? You may already be dehydrated!

When your thirst mechanism kicks in, your body is signalling that you are already dehydrated. When exercising you ideally want to be drinking water before, during and after the exercise. This ensures that you don’t reach the stage where you feel thirsty.

Pitting edema is when a section of your body (usually a limb) is so swollen that when you press your finger down on their skin, the finger print hole stays for several minutes. It is an additional symptom that occurs with dehydration in some of the elderly and needs to be checked every so often if they are on prescriptions that might reduce this.

Signs and symptoms for dehydration in adults and teenagers:

  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Dry lips
  • Nausea
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dry eyes
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Lack of sweat
  • Dark urine (orange/yellow coloured and an especially strong odor)
  • Inability to urinate

Dehydration signs and symptoms in children and infants include:

  • Crying without tears
  • Over three hours without a wet diaper
  • Dry mouth and tongue
  • General fatigue
  • Irritability
  • High fever
  • Sunken eyes cheeks or abdomen
  • Pitting edema

glasses of water filled

How much water is needed per day?

You have probably heard  that you should be drinking eight 8 ounce glasses of water per day. This isn’t necessarily accurate but is at least an easy thing to remember and to have as a base amount. The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of fluids per day. The AI for women is 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of fluids per day.

Every day you lose water from breathing, perspiring, urinating and bowel movements. For your body to function properly it’s important to replenish this water supply. If you spend time in hot or dry weather, exercise or consume a significant amount of caffeinated drinks you may need more water!

Can you drink too much water?

Realistically you can take in too much of any liquid or solid than your body can physically handle.

It’s pretty rare but there’s a condition called water intoxication. Drinking too much water will dilute the electrolytes in your body which can affect your heart. There’s even been athletes getting heart attacks because they consumed too much water, but it’s extremely uncommon. Don’t worry, your body won’t get over hydrated drinking 15 cups of water a day. You’d have to be drinking a ridiculous amount of water to reach that level of extreme.

Wrap Up

On average, people aren’t getting enough liquids in their body and even less are primarily consuming pure water on it’s own. This is a critical and essential asset to your health. Keep your body running on the cleanest liquid fuel around and it will do wonders. Don’t forget most fruits primarily consist of water so you can never go wrong with indulging in them!

Hope you liked this post! Please feel free to like, share, tweet and comment. If you want to discuss your favorite interests and make money while doing it then click here.

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Bloglink:  http://reachingutopia.com/

Re Purposed Crutches Into A Pea Trellis

Iamsoaking

A Reblog from the “Homestead Survival”  |  Thanks to Deb Mathenia for FB share  A creative reader at helpful gardener shared this amazing idea to re pupose an old unused pair of crutches instead of purchasing a trellis …. she made one.

This is a very frugal concept.

1. Dig a hole on each end on the length of the garden row.

2. Position crutch horizontally and firm in the dirt firmly around it. Use your feet to firmly pressed down around the crutch. Repeat with other crutch.

3. Tie twine to the bottom of one crutch. Loop several times around then string the across garden row to other crutch. Repeat looping and stringing twine across to other crutch as you jump two inches with every vertical layer

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Bloglink:  http://thehomesteadsurvival.com/purposed-crutches-pea-trellis/#.UaLFWNiJiK9

When life gives you lemons, make Lemoncello!!

ObstaclesBy: Claire Capetta | A Reblog |  > Firstly, I want to apologise for my lack of writing recently posts recently. Last year we were happily renting a beautiful apartment in an old colonial in the village untill we found out that the Landlord lost it to the bank… A Foreclosure. We were given a 30 day notice to vacate and the only place available down by the water. We moved in and 10 days later we rode through Sandy, losing much of our papers, documents, Christmas decorations and all sorts of various items packed up still waiting to be organised. We lost a lot but grateful as we could have lost so much more as many other people did. But this you already know…

Now for some reason the storm must be good for ants because we became overun with them… everywhere! We notified the Inpiration, writing, motivationLandlord who told us they were our problem to solve as was apparently the leak from the tenants tiolet upstairs into our bathroom. We also didn’t like the fact that we were paying for the electric for the ‘shared washer/dryer” the whole basement which was shared use along with hall light and outside light so when it came to signing another 6 month lease he appeared surprised when we declined his offer… Strange huh? What were we thinking? lol

Well, we thought we could easily find another aprtment with no leaks or ants… How wrong we were! Therefore I’m now trying to catch up with all my social media, writing etc from a motel room… Hurray! This is our third week but this weekend it’s all sytems go as a new apartment awaits us this Saturday and the best part about it is… The Landlord will let us rent month to month… Happy dance!

Why? The wonderful thing about having a huge upheaval, putting your belongings into storage and paring everything down to clothes and essentials for a 3 week period has given us time to reflect as to what truly is important to us. We have been looking to buy a house here but I’m tired of the cold winters and huge price tags for everything from property tax, price of houses, gas. The list is endless! Now don’t get me wrong we are not paupers and we have loved New York’s summertimes and travelling around the city, I mean, you gotta love the city, especially in Summer. But when we sit and think about what we would get for our money else where it’s crazy! We both work from home so we are not tied down and then suddenly this light went on! If we move state we can affrod to buy a house here in the US and the UK. We can travel back and forth… Whoa! Loving the light switch!

Inspiration, motivation, aha moment, life

So we are taking a road trip (something I have always wanted to do!) with a 2 night stop in Washington DC then onto North Carolina to see my sister-in-laws for 2 days. We will be stopping for a couple of nights in Savanah, Georgia then onto Florida where we are going to look around and see where we want to live because yes… We are moving to Florida! Happy, sunny Florida here we come!

I have it all worked out too! I will be doing the concert here in New York and the show, Transformation from Abuse will be filmed in Miami… I am also going to start taking bookings for speaking at events too! Whoo Hoo! See? As they say ‘When life gives you lemons, make Lemoncello!!

Lemoncello

In the meantime on the 1st and 2nd of June will be hosting an Author Table at our local Spring Fair! Can’t wait! So many good times are awaiting for us and I sincerely hope they are for you too! I hope you had a wonderful Spring, that it is treating you well and wonderful adventures await you too!

I missed you guys and I will be back on track catching up with everyone’s exciting adventures :-)

 

 

My debut my first novel, ‘A Broken Ring’ about A Woman’s Journey from Abuse to Empowerment was released on the 23rd September on Amazon.
Believing in empowerment and inspiration from adversity and abuse!Claire CapettaBloglink:  http://clairecappetta.wordpress.com/2013/05/22/when-life-gives-you-lemons-make-lemoncello/

Sticky Photo by: Imperrfections.com

For The Love Of Tea! – Health Benefits And Beyond

Reblogged from: Reaching Utopia by

tea types octagon

> Tea is the most consumed beverage in the world besides water. There is nothing better than curling up on your couch with a cup of this ancient brew. Not only is it comforting and tastes great, but it has many health benefits that are worth the drink.

People are told time and again that tea is great for your body, but why? All tea originates from the plant Camellia sinensis. This plant contains substances called flavonoids and polyphenols which contain antioxidants. The antioxidants are the important part that helps your body stay healthy. The concentrations of these antioxidants are higher in the tea plant than in fruits and vegetables. The most significant polyphenol is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).

EGCG could be the markers to fight off Alzheimer’s (due to decreases in beta-amyloid plaques), Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s disease (due to rises in dopamine levels). It prevents brain cells from dying and if damaged, promotes repair. It also binds with iron and blocks pathways that cause brain deterioration. Also if you’re looking for a new inexpensive way to have glowing, fresh skin, look no more. EGCG can regenerate skin cell growth for newer skin more quickly.

We all know the four major categories of teas- green, white, black, and oolong. Have you ever wondered what makes the flavours their own if they all come from the same plant? Each tea group goes through a different process to make it its own. Green tea leaves are steamed which prevents the EGCG compound from being oxidized. Black and oolong tea are fermented which makes the EGCG turn into other compounds. White tea is said to be the purest in antioxidants due to its process of being steamed to inactivate polyphenol oxidation, and then dried from new growth buds and young leaves.

pouring tea

Due to the fermentation processes, the health benefits of tea are higher in white and green teas. This is because of the less EGCG that is taken away from the oxidation process. So if you are looking to get your maximal health benefits from tea go with the green or white before a black or oolong.

Research shows that antiviral and germ killers are higher in white teas than in green teas. Although green tea helps the metabolic system by getting rid of sugars quicker and not storing them as fat. Green tea kills cancer cells and inhibits growth of cancer cells. It does this without even damaging healthy tissue. Not only does this amazing brew fight off bad cells but it also helps you with weight loss!

Tea helps in the maintenance of blood pressure and blood vessels, fighting against cardiovascular disease. It is possible the reasoning why cardiovascular disease is reduced by tea is because flavonoids decrease inflammation and cholesterol which reduces the chances of blood clot formation. There is 11 times more flavonoid intake by tea drinkers than non tea drinkers. If you drink five or more cups of tea a day you are 31% more likely not to die from cardiovascular disease.

There are some things to keep in mind the next time you brew a cup. Decaf teas have less flavonoids so try to go for the natural blends. Iced teas have more sugars so either go with the naturally hot brew or try making your own so you can limit added sugars. The more processed the tea the less polyphenols present so try to go with a more organic and natural tea. Instead of added sweeteners try throwing in a slice of lemon, or a squeeze of some citrus juice, it boosts the absorption in the GI tract. Pepper does this as well if you want to add a little spice like a chai blend.

Overall you cannot go wrong with drinking tea. Even fitting a cup a day into your life will reward you with some amazing health benefits. From renewing your skin, to fighting off cancer and degenerative diseases, tea’s natural antioxidants are helpful and tasteful. So what are you waiting for? Go and make yourself a cup!

tea glass

Hope you liked this post! Please feel free to like, share, tweet and comment. If you want to discuss your favorite interests and make money while doing it then click here.

Bloglink: http://reachingutopia.com/

Cinnamon – A Natural Medicine

A natural medicine - Cinnamon

A Reblog  |  Published by Editorial Staff of MyHealthList.net  |  The magic stick of cinnamon can have astounding effects on human health. It is believed that in ancient times cinnamon was more expensive than gold. Its name has also been mentioned in the Bible. The well known herb is actually a bark of several trees from the genus Cinnamomum that is dried and then rolled into sticks called quills. The dried cinnamon barks are also grounded to make cinnamon powder. This small tree is mostly grown in Brazil, India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Egypt. Found in it is an essential oil called cinnamonaldehyde, which gives it a magnificent taste and aroma.

There are 4 varieties of this spice; out of which two are the most popular ones, Ceylon cinnamon and Cassia cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon is also known as true cinnamon; it has a sweet taste and is more expensive than Cassia cinnamon. You can find them in specialty stores. Its quills are soft enough to be grounded for coffee.

Cinnamon mostly found in North American supermarkets is Cassia cinnamon and is relatively cheap. It is dark in color and its quills are hard. It has been traditionally used in Chinese medicine and in Indian Ayurvedic medicines. Let’s find out why is it known as a natural medicine?

Cure for diabetes
Research has proved that cinnamon is beneficial for curing Type 2 Diabetes. The evidence was first revealed in the journal, “Diabetes Care” in the year 2003.

This study was conducted by US department of Agriculture, on 60 participants from Pakistan with type 2 Diabetes. Each participant was given 1 mg of cinnamon for 40 days. It was evident from the research that the blood sugar level, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol was significantly reduced. The beneficial after effects of the cinnamon persisted for 20 days even after stopping its use.

However it is highly recommended that patients taking prescribed medicines for cholesterol should not substitute them with cinnamon supplements.

Antibacterial and Antifungal Properties
Preliminary lab research and animal studies helped to find the antifungal and antibacterial properties of Cinnamon. This amazing spice helps to fight Candid albicans, a fungus that is known to cause yeast infection. The bacteria called Helicobacter pylori, is also curable with the help of cinnamon, responsible for causing stomach ulcers.

Cinnamon bark and esential oil

Some doctors claim that memory and performance of certain mental tasks can be improved just by smelling cinnamon

arrow green with textCinnamon as an anti-inflammatory spice
Today the growing problem is increased intake of processed, fatty and fried foods that cause inflammation of internal organs and tissues, and further cause heart diseases. In a book called “Natural Health, Natural Medicine”, Andrew Weil claims cinnamon to be beneficial for decreasing inflammation of the artery walls that causes atherosclerosis and other heart diseases.

Rich source of Minerals and Dietary fibers
Cinnamon contains essential minerals such as manganese, iron and calcium. The perfect combination of fiber and calcium has proven to protect the colon cells from getting damaged by removing bile; as a result it prevents colon cancer.

Cures Constipation
The dietary fibers found in cinnamon have also been found helpful in curing IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and constipation.

Improves Memory
Quiet unbelievable, but true! Some doctors claim that memory and performance of certain mental tasks can be improved just by smelling cinnamon. It is also beneficial in curing Alzheimer’s disease. Migraine and headaches can also be relieved with the use of cinnamon.

Cures Cough
Cinnamon has been used in Chinese medicine for a long time. It is a natural remedy for common cold and coughs. You can treat your sore throat by drinking a cup of cinnamon tea. Take a cup of water and add a cinnamon stick to it, bring it to a boil and remove the stick. Use this tea twice a day you will feel better within 3 days; otherwise consult a doctor.

For cough take a teaspoon of warm honey with a pinch of cinnamon powder in it. It will cure your cough in a few days.

Relieves Toothache
An easy home remedy for toothache lies in cinnamon. Make a paste of 5 teaspoon honey with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder and apply it to your aching teeth 2 to 3 times in a day. You can store this paste at room temperature in a container.

How can you use cinnamon?
Cinnamon can be added to a number of foods and cereals in powdered form. A small stick can be added to give flavor to the soups. Even an herbal tea made out of cinnamon can be taken once a day.

Cinnamon is also available in the form of capsules which helps in its consumption process.

Bloglink:    http://myhealthlist.net/2013/02/cinnamon-a-natural-medicine/

Six Writing Lessons From The Garden

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A Reblog  |  By: Deborah Lee Luskin >

veg garden

I love to garden. It’s a meditative activity – something I can do while my mind freewheels. Last Sunday, I found myself thinking how preparing a small vegetable patch is like writing a book.

Lesson 1: Writing is Solitary.Scarecrow

For the first time in thirty years, I’m planting the garden solo. My husband helped me install the fence posts (just as he built the studio where I write), but he prefers to nurture the orchard. I’m on my own, just as I write by myself during the week while he’s off tending to his patients’ health.

Lesson 2: Selectivity is Good.

There was a time when we grew and preserved all our food – but no longer. We’re now supplied with locally grown produce from a neighbor’s organic farm, so I’m only planting high-value items that are harder to find in local markets – shallots and leeks, fennel, veg garden2escarole and Brussels sprouts – as well as items we consume in quantity – cucumbers and cherry tomatoes, hot peppers and a wide assortment of culinary herbs.

I’m leaving the prosaic vegetables – the zucchini and green beans, the carrots and potatoes – to the production professionals. In a similar way, I’ve retired from the teaching, managerial and editorial jobs that others can do as well as or even better than I can. No one else can tell the stories I imagine, so I’m concentrating on them.

Lesson 3: Limits are Helpful.

GardenPrep050513I started by limiting the scope of my garden. I’ve fenced off an eight- by sixteen-foot rectangle to keep the free-range chickens out, and to keep my intentions focused – and manageable. Our previous gardens were huge, time-sucking affairs, and sometimes we raised an equal quantity of weeds as tomatoes. Similarly, over the past year, I’ve drafted thousands of words about my character’s life. But recently, I’ve come to realize that the story I’m telling takes place over the course of nineteen months. So that’s what I’ll develop; everything else must come out, just like the weeds.

Lesson 4: Writing Takes Time.

At the outset, a hundred and twenty-eight square feet looks just as big as a 100,000-word novel, and turning it over with a hand fork appears as daunting as filling a ream of paper by pen. My husband offered to do this heavy task for me; he sundialwould have had the garden-plot ready in less than an hour. I thanked him and said I would do it myself. It took me three hours, during which time I meditated on how preparing the garden is like writing a novel. I stopped only for water and to take pictures for this post, which I was composing as I dug.

Lesson 5: Small Tasks Yield Success.

gardenprep10A week earlier, I’d covered my plot with a tarp to warm the earth and kill weeds. The weeds continued to flourish, however, and the prospect of turning the soil by hand and pulling the weeds out by the root was too much. So I put the tarp back in place and

Working a small section at a time.

Working a small section at a time.

uncovered only a quarter of the space. After I turned those thirty-two square feet, I peeled the tarp back again, turning and weeding the next section. Now, the job was half done. I folded the tarp back again and again, always giving myself a small, measurable task that I could reasonably accomplish. Writing a book is just the same: I break each chapter into sections, and each section into paragraphs, each paragraph into sentences, each sentence into words. Each time I stuck the fork into the soil, it was a reminder that books are written one word at a time.
Lesson 6: The End is the Beginning

By the time I had raked the soil into beds and outlined the footpath with string, my neck was sunburned, my back was sore, and I was ready for a bath. I was done – for the day. I now had a well-defined garden plot with clearly outlined beds as weed-free as a clean piece of paper. Even though I was done-in, I’m anything but done. In fact, I’m just ready to start.

GardenPrep8Ellen, the novel I’m crafting, is further along than my garden. But the garden is a good reminder about how to maintain forward progress on this first draft. My afternoon preparing my garden yielded these six truths: 1) Even though I work alone, I’m deeply engaged with my characters; 2) every time I cut out a scene or a character or an unnecessary word, I gain a clearer sense of what aspect of the story to nurture; 3) knowing the limit of the narrative has helped me focus on the story I have to tell; 4) drafting the novel is taking a long time – and I make progress daily; 5) I experience the elation of success when I set myself small, measurable tasks; and 6) every time I finish a section, a chapter, an entire draft, I’m ready to begin another section, another chapter, another draft.  And even when that’s done – even when the writing and revision are finished – there’s another whole set of steps to see a book to completion, but those are chores of another season.

This growing season has just started. I tell myself, if I write word by word, weed by weed, my effort will blossom, and in time, I’ll see my book in my readers’ hands.

Meanwhile, I have a lovely garden bed ready for seeds.

photo: M. Shafer

photo: M. Shafer

Author Deborah Lee Luskin gardens and writes in southern Vermont and can be found on the web at www.deborahleeluskin.com

Bacon Cups. Really!

A Reblog from “not martha” by Megan  |  I had an occasion calling for bacon themed food and my mind immediately turned towards the famed bacon mat. I needed something a little more single-serving though, so I decided to attempt bacon cups. In the bacon mat instructions there is mention of draping the mat over an overturned metal bowl and cooking it so that it would turn out in as a bowl shape. I decided to try using the backs of various muffin and mini cake pans, I ran out of bacon before I got to try as many as I would have liked so I’ll have to try more at a later date. Any excuse for more bacon.

I set the oven at 400 degrees and carefully formed foil over the back of the muffin pan. I did not coat with cooking spray, it would have been easier to remove but I suspect that the bacon would not have held the form as well if the foil was oiled and would have popped apart half way through cooking. On the other hand some bacon did break when I was peeling away the foil. I cooked the bacon, moving the pans around, until it was crisp looking and waited for it to cool before removing the foil and shaped bacon.

This all took three hours and my house filled with smoke, but it was worth it. Be sure to put a cookie sheet with a rim below the cooking bacon in the oven, there was a lot of dripping fat and I saw a few flames. Watch your oven carefully!

For cup shapes I used the back of this Wilton King-Size Muffin Pan. These are the width of jumbo muffins but are almost twice as tall (see this cupcake for a visual).

For the first try I used two layers of bacon on the sides and wove it like a basket, or at least like I imagine a basket would be woven:

I turned out to not be enough after the bacon cooked and shrank:

It held its structure very well though:

The next time I used three layers of bacon on the sides, this worked out better:

For as floppy as the bacon is when trying to weave it, it keeps its shape really well once cooked to the point that it is crisp.

I also tried to make small round bowls using the back of a Betty Crocker mini filled cake pan.

It shrank up quite a lot, leaving more of a shallow rounded shape:

Going for a breadless BLT I filled the cups with lettuce (the arugula was the best) and sliced cherry tomato. After some serious investigation it was determined that the shallow bowls were the easiest to eat as finger food, while the cups were dramatic.

I had hoped to make a mayo-based salad dressing to really fill out my the BLT theme but I completely ran out of time. Overall, a success!

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Bloglink:  http://www.notmartha.org/archives/2008/02/27/bacon-cups/

Turkey Basics: Taking the mystery out of preparing your bird

A Reblog | from the Kitchn | Are you roasting a whole turkey for the first time this year? Or perhaps you’ve done this many times before, but you want a quick refresher to brush up on the basics? We’ll help you make your mama proud with these step-by-step instructions for roasting a delicious turkey. Here’s our super basic, super simple, super easy tutorial for roasting a super beautiful turkey this Thanksgiving.

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The Simplest Turkey Method

Now, we know that many people have strong opinions on the best way to cook a turkey. You may fry it, roast it overnight, or do it in a slow cooker. You may brine religiously, or have a secret family spice rub. But just to keep things simple and straightforward we are taking a completely no-frills approach in this tutorial. There are lots of places along the way where you can add some spice, flavor, or personal touches. Consider this a recipe template and feel free to play with it as much or as little as you like; our goal is simply to give you a foolproof way to get that turkey roasted and onto plates with as little stress as possible. This method will work with any turkey: big or small, brined or not, free-range or otherwise. Cooking times will vary, but the basic technique will be the same. For reference, the turkey in the photos was a pre-brined 16-pound turkey from Williams-Sonoma.

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Thawing the Turkey

Be sure to let your turkey completely thaw before cooking. If it was frozen through when you bought it, the turkey will thaw within a few days in the fridge, approximately 24 hours for every five pounds of turkey. For quicker thawing, place the turkey in a cold water bath and change the water every 30 minutes until it’s thawed. For more information on safe turkey thawing, check out the USDA website: • Turkey Basics: Safe Thawing from the USDA

Brining the Turkey

One thing we’re not talking about here is brining the turkey. This method has become popular over the last few years and involves immersing the turkey in a salt water solution for a day or so before cooking. The end result of this process is moist, perfectly seasoned turkey meat. We’ve had great results with brining and heartily endorse it. For a full explanation, check out this post: • Quick Tip: How to Brine Meat If you want to brine, great! If you don’t, this method will still work perfectly. Are you ready? Let’s cook some turkey. (And make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom to see a video showing how to carve it, too!)

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How to Roast a Turkey

What You Need

Ingredients 1 turkey, any size 2 cups broth or water Melted unsalted butter (optional, for basting) Equipment Roasting pan (or alternative) Roasting rack (or something to lift the turkey off the pan) Turkey baster or spoon

Instructions

1. Prepare the Turkey for Roasting – About an hour before roasting, take the turkey out of the fridge. Remove any packaging and the bag of giblets (check in the body cavity and in the neck cavity). Set the turkey breast-side up on the roasting rack and let it sit. This takes the chill off the meat, which helps the meat cook faster and more evenly, and it dries out the skin, which promotes browning and crisping. 2. Heat the Oven to 450°F – Position an oven rack in the bottom third of your oven. If you brined your turkey, as we did, no need to do anything now. If your turkey is straight out of the package, rub it with some salt and pepper before putting it in the oven. We recommend leaving your turkey un-stuffed and un-trussed, both because it’s easier and because the turkey will cook more evenly. Optional Extras – Rub your turkey with butter or oil for a richer flavor and browner skin, rub minced herbs or ground spices into (or beneath) the skin for more flavor, place a few halved lemons or garlic cloves inside the cavity of the turkey. 3. Roast the Turkey – Pour two cups of broth or water into the roasting pan. Place the turkey in the oven and turn down the heat to 350°F. We’re going for a breast-side up approach here. Some recipes advocate starting the turkey breast-side down to shield the breast meat, but the idea of flipping a hot, sputtering turkey is not our idea of a good time. Instead, we like to shield the breast meat with foil toward the end of cooking if it starts getting too browned. 4. Cooking Time – The rule of thumb for cooking a turkey is 13 minutes per pound. So our 16-pound turkey should have taken about 3 1/2 hours to cook. However, some factors like brining the bird, cooking with an empty (un-stuffed) cavity, and leaving the legs un-trussed will contribute to much faster cooking. Plan on the 13-minute-per-pound rule, but start checking the temperature of your turkey about halfway through the scheduled cooking time to gauge how fast it’s cooking. 5. Baste the Turkey – Every 45 minutes, remove the turkey from the oven, close the oven door (don’t let that heat out!), and baste the turkey all over. To baste, tilt the pan and use a turkey baster or spoon to scoop up the liquids and drizzle them on top of the turkey. Basting with pan juices cools the surface of the turkey and slows down cooking, which in turn keeps the breast meat cooking at close to the same rate as the legs and thighs. Optional Extra – In the last 45 minutes or so of cooking, baste the turkey with melted butter or oil. This helps crisp up the skin and turn it a beautiful deep golden brown. 5. Check the Temperature – To make sure that turkey is fully cooked through and through, we like to check its temperature in three places: the breast, the outer thigh, and the inside thigh (see photos above). In every case, the meat should be at least 165°F. If any place is under that temperature, put the turkey back in the oven for another 20 minutes. Shield the breast meat with foil if needed to keep it from overcooking. 6. Rest the Turkey – Grab one side of the roasting rack with an oven mitt and tilt the turkey so liquids inside the cavity run out into the pan. (These juices are used to make the gravy.) Then, lift the whole turkey (still on the rack) and transfer it to a cutting board. Tent the turkey with aluminum foil and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. This gives time for the meat to firm up and the juices to be re-absorbed into the muscle tissue, making the turkey easier to slice and taste juicier. 7. Carve the Turkey – Carve the turkey the same way you would carve a chicken (click that link to see a video of the entire process of carving a chicken): Remove the wings first, then the thighs, then the breast meat. Once you have the meat off, you can separate the thighs into thighs and drumsticks and carve the breast meat into individual slices. That’s all there is to it! Roasting a turkey is really just like roasting a large chicken. The same methods and ideas apply. Even if you don’t get fancy with spices or special basting liquids, your turkey will still turn out browned, moist, and flavorful. One final note! Once you’ve sat down at the table, don’t forget about the turkey back on the counter. The leftover meat needs to be refrigerated within two hours of cooking, after which the risk of something nasty taking up residence starts to increase exponentially. Be safe, kids!

Carving the Turkey

Now that your turkey is cooked, see how to carve it in this super quick video from Maxwell, our CEO and founder. What other tricks, tips, and bits of advice do you have for roasting a turkey?

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Article and photos belong to the orginal Blog.
Feature photo by: Ray Adrian Abarintos
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