Friday, December 16, 2011
One of my teams, The 50 Pound Challenge, has challenged us to blog about a Traditional HOLIDAY recipes REVAMPED "Spark Style". What could simpler to revamp than Cranberry Relish? I love the Whole Cranberry Sauce and not the jelly. I love the Fresh Cranberry Relish Recipe by Ocean Spray but that recipe has way too much sugar in it. Here is one I make and like:
1 16 oz package fresh cranberries
1 medium pear, diced
1 medium apple, diced
1 large orange
zest of 1 large orange
2 Tbsp. to 1/4 cup agave (I think 2 T is sweet enough for me)
Blend cranberries in a blender or food processor.
In a bowl, combine blended cranberries and rest of ingredients.
I have added it to Spark Recipes as I will make this quite often throughout the winter. I stocked up when the cranberries were on sale at Aldi's for $1.09.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
British town grows all of its own vegetables, witnesses improved civic life and reduced crime as a result
"When the small British mill town of Todmorden, tucked in between Yorkshire and Lancashire, first began installing fruit and vegetable gardens all around the area as part of the Incredible Edible program, it likely had no idea that the novel, yet simple, concept would make the town a foremost inspirational and self-sustaining model of the future.
Fresh herbs, succulent greens, and tasty fruits can be found growing near civic buildings, college campuses, supermarket parking lots, and various other places. Small garden plots, raised planting beds, and even small soil strips in these areas can be found brimming with fresh produce, all of which are free to anyone who want it, and at any time.
It is all part of a program called Incredible Edible..."
This idea is genius. We have so many people that can no longer make ends meet. Fruit and vegetables are missing from their diets. Food Banks are suffering from lack of donations because in today's world demand exceeds supply. Why not incorporate this in our cities. Let the school students do this as a course in Intermediate and High School and receive school credits for this. Heck, Grade School students would benefit from learning how to grow their own, it would be a great class project.
We all know the quote, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." Well let's substitute fish for learning how to plant a garden and just imagine the possibilities.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
How did he do that? Amazing!
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
The "W" in Christmas
Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience.
I had cut back on nonessential obligations - extensive card writing,
endless baking, decorating, and even overspending.
Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the
precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of
My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting
season for a six year old.
For weeks, he'd been memorizing songs for his school's "Winter Pageant."
I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd be working the night of the production.
Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his
teacher. She assured me there'd be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation.
All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then.
Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise.
So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor
and sat down. Around the room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats.
As I waited, the students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legon the floor. Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song.
Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as "Christmas," I didn't expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment
songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer.
So, when my son's class rose to sing, "Christmas Love," I was slightly taken aback by its bold title.
Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads.
Those in the front row- center stage - held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song.
As the class would sing "C is for Christmas," a child would hold up the letter C. Then, "H is for Happy," and
on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, "Christmas Love."
The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly,
we noticed her; a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter "M" upside down - totally unaware
her letter "M" appeared as a "W".
The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered
at this little one's mistake. But she had no idea they
were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her "W".
Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised,
and we all saw it together.
A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen.
In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities.
For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear:
"C H R I S T W A S L O V E"
And, I believe, He still is.
Amazed in His presence... .humbled by His love.
Again, HAVE A BLESSED CHRISTMAS SEASON!
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