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The W in Christmas, an email I received I had to share.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The "W" in Christmas
author unknown

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.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEFIANTVEGAN 12/15/2011 6:37PM

    OH My Yvonne

I got chills all over my body and my eyes just watered that was awesome I didn't see it coming.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 12/15/2011 6:37:59 PM

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EWEINHISPASTURE 12/14/2011 10:58AM

    I loved this! Thanks for sharing!

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OLDERDANDRT 12/14/2011 10:06AM

    Love this!

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SEASONS_CHANGE 12/13/2011 7:27PM

    Great post Yvonne

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SANDY-RENO 12/13/2011 6:42PM

    Wow, I just got goosebumps. So amazing!

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LGAR519 12/13/2011 2:37PM


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WILLOW49 12/13/2011 12:31PM


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MERAINA 12/13/2011 12:05PM

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WILDLOTUS16 12/13/2011 11:40AM

    O my Gosh!!! Yay! Thanks so much! and how very true!

Comment edited on: 12/13/2011 11:41:43 AM

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TEDYBEAR2838 12/13/2011 10:52AM

    Yes Christ is LOVE!

The best kind.

Thanks for that Yvonne!


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L*I*T*A* 12/13/2011 10:39AM

    loved it...........
blessings and hugs.......lita

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VICKLET31 12/13/2011 9:59AM

    That was awesome! Thanks!!!

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THOMS1 12/13/2011 9:20AM

    emoticon emoticon

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Artificial Sweetener Disease; a new breed of sickness

Monday, December 12, 2011

One of the 1st things I mastered after joining Spark People was giving up my daily diet soda. It was hard but I did it. I gave up artificial sweeteners of all types in all foods. Maybe after you read this article you may decide to do the same thing. I hope so, it is poison!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GLAMNGLOWDIVA 12/13/2011 2:02AM

    It is hard to give them up, but I know it needs to be done. Thanks for putting up the article.

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TEDYBEAR2838 12/12/2011 9:01PM

    It really is hard to give them up.

I will go read the article. Anything that I can read
to make me stop is a good thing.

Thanks for all the wonderful things you
share with us.

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SEASONS_CHANGE 12/12/2011 6:37PM

    Holy cow... I didn't have a clue... thanks for posting

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DEBBIEANNE1124 12/12/2011 3:58PM

    I had no idea about any of this. Wow!

I, too, stopped the diet soda and threw out all sweeteners. I do add honey to hot tea.
Thanks Yvonne for bringing this to light. I'll probably be sharing this link with my other teams.


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HOUNDLOVER1 12/12/2011 1:29PM

    Thanks for passing on this article. I have no doubt that all the sweeteners mentioned in the article are a very bad idea to add to anyone's diet and Xylitol and Stevia are better options. Stevia in the white powder form is not a natural food, though, so I'd recommend buying a plant and keeping it on the window sill.
Also coconut crystals are a low-glycemic natural sweetener.
Unfortunately there is not enough research to "prove" all the damage of artificial sweeteners but with the anecdotal evidence we have any further tests would be inhumane.

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WILLOW49 12/12/2011 12:47PM

    Thanks for posting this, Yvonne!

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HOBBITGAL 12/12/2011 11:22AM

    Amen! I gave up my Diet Mountain Dew two months ago, and all soft drinks the day before Thanksgiving. I can't believe what a difference that has made.

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L*I*T*A* 12/12/2011 10:51AM

    i am so glad i never had that issue...
great reminder...thanks....
blessings and hugs.....lita

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LGAR519 12/12/2011 10:49AM

    I am really trying to do without sweeteners of any kind. I think they are responsible for my sore mouth.

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MRSNOAHDRAKE 12/12/2011 10:41AM

    When I went to my doctor for help losing weight, he said no fake sugar. He said it doesnt satisfy the body and some people end up craving more sugar and more sweets because it doesnt signal the brain that its had enough. He said it can mess with metabolism, so even if its lower calorie than the regular sugar option, the regular item is the better choice. So even if it wasnt "poison" its still not our friend.

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PIXIESTIX6669 12/12/2011 10:26AM

    Yep, it does horrible things to your insides, that's for sure...not to mention hormone damage...and processed cane sugar is just as bad, if not new lifestyle was easy transition because I kicked my sugar habit...

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THINANDFITEMILY 12/12/2011 10:23AM

    and then there is the animal testing too-
It IS poison but oh does touch a nerve with many!

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Found a new show for me on TLC...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Wow, I don't have to leave my living room to see beautiful Christmas light displays. Nothing was on last night so I started flipping through the channels and ended up at TLC and their Christmas Light shows. They have Extreme Christmas Lights and Extreme Trees. There is even a European version of extreme Lights. I was in heaven. There were some neighbors that were annoyed in various cities and even went to the police to complain about the lights, traffic by the house, and the noise. What Scrooges! I thought they were GREAT!

This is an example of Extreme Christmas Lights (not profiled on TV last night)

How to Annoy Your Neighbors: Christmas Lights Edition

I especially love the synchronized lights. I was fascinated when the new chasing lights came out a few years ago. Who knew people made displays synchronized to music? Not me till I saw these on TV and then Youtube.

The Best Dancing Christmas Lights Ever

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEFIANTVEGAN 12/15/2011 6:34PM

    Well I'm glad you got your fix it was better then nothing.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GLAMNGLOWDIVA 12/12/2011 1:05AM

    I saw that show too, Yvonne. It was great to see all that wonderful Christmas Spirit. I decorate outside, have pictures up on a blog, but I am nothing like that. Maybe some day.

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SLS-NY2IN 12/11/2011 10:45PM

    Hope I see the program on a re-run. Sounds great.

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.DUSTY. 12/11/2011 10:42PM

    OMG me too Yvonne! I was trying to find something to watch also and got hooked. People are amazing!

The only thing for me would be that they have to start so early decorating that they skip over Halloween. Something I couldn't do, LOL! I mean Muhahahahaha!

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TEDYBEAR2838 12/11/2011 10:35PM

    emoticon emoticon

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MR54BLD54 12/11/2011 8:20PM

    I love this program and also am tickled with the neighbors who did not like them. Yet when some complain, they did it in such great detail. They must have soaked it all in before they called and complained. LOL Merry Christmas emoticon

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SWEETLIPS 12/11/2011 7:41PM

    I like that show as well and thank you for the candy cane. I have loved that so much. Get a chance, stop by my blog - you will like it. Blessing.

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LADYJAKE1 12/11/2011 5:33PM

    I love when it is snowing, the lights seem so much prettier!

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L*I*T*A* 12/11/2011 5:10PM

    i saw the program last night as well.........
was awesome...
thanks for sharing.....
blessings and hugs............lita

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One of my favorite things to do at Christmas and it is free...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

One of the things I looked forward to the most during the Christmas season was driving around to see the Christmas lights. My Mom would pack us all up in the car and off we would go driving around to different developments to see all of the decorated holidays. Well fast forward 30 years plus and I still do this by myself as I have no children. Tried doing this with the boyfriend and he thought I was nuts, how can anyone not enjoy looking at the lights? Scrooge! Some years I used to take my 90+ year old neighbor on my Christmas light drives to get her out of the house and do something different. She loved it! She has since passed. I think tonight after Church I will take in some of the neighborhoods. Yes I am a child at heart.

Check out these lights on Youtube:

OMG so many lights.

BEST Christmas Synchronized Light Show

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEFIANTVEGAN 12/15/2011 6:32PM

    Thats emoticonYvonne! I love doing the same.

I remember with my husband now in the past we use to gather the kids and drive to LA Zoo for the festival of lights, Christmas Tree Lane in Pasadena, CA and the Balian House in Altadena to view the props and thousands of lights that were up.

We would grab an extra large pizza and take a drive well I know better then to pick up a pizza now but loved doing it then so I think we might just start it up again this time with something else in tow.

maybe some raw almond joy balls. Hmmm... emoticon

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VARMINT3 12/12/2011 8:39PM

    My family used to do this when I was a kid, too, and I still will "take the long way home" with my daughter & look at lights all over our neighborhood - even on roads that we don't normally drive past.

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NONIE_C 12/12/2011 8:46AM

    We always did this too...happy memories.

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1COUNTRY_GAL 12/11/2011 9:53PM

    Thank you,the links were awesome.I could just sit and look at our Christmas tree and the lights in the dark,it's so magical! I do enjoy going to look at lights,some displays are so awesome! emoticonDiana

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HIKINGSD 12/11/2011 2:08PM

    I LOVE driving around in search of great Christmas lights :) Enjoy! Your boyfriend is the nutty one! Don't let him stop you from enjoying your tradition :)

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BE-THE-CHANGE 12/11/2011 4:53AM

    I love to drive through different neighborhoods and look at the lights!

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SEASONS_CHANGE 12/10/2011 9:21PM

    Awesome... it is nice to drive around the neighborhoods to see the decorations.

Thanks for sharing the links!


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SPARKLELA 12/10/2011 7:30PM

    emoticon emoticon I love the beauty and peacefulness of the lights too. Thanks for the links!

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WILLOW49 12/10/2011 7:10PM

    One of my favorite things to do, also. Can't wait to do it in GA this year!

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EGRAMMY 12/10/2011 6:18PM

    Thanks for the links. you just gave us a Christmas gift.. emoticon

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TEDYBEAR2838 12/10/2011 2:20PM

    I love to do that also. One year I took 2 of the Grandkids and
was weaving back and forth on the side streets in my neighborhood.
I got stopped by a cop. I told him there was no traffic & I was pulling
over to each house that looked really Kewl and was showing the
grandkids. He was ok with it. Just said be careful, which I was.
He thought maybe I had too much of the Christmas Spirit.

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GLAMNGLOWDIVA 12/10/2011 1:13PM

    I love Christmas and everything about it. I'm actually going to check out Christmas lights in downtown Denver tonight, they light up all the building. There's nothing like having some hot cocoa, Christmas music on the radio and looking at the lights.

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KMIRANDA2000 12/10/2011 1:09PM

    I love it too!

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LGAR519 12/10/2011 12:08PM

    I love to drive around and look at the Vhristmas lights. I use to take my Mom with me. She loved it. Now, it's not so easy for her to go out. When I was a child, we use to go Christmas caroling. And stop afterwards at someone's house for hot chocolare.

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YELLOWDAHLIA 12/10/2011 11:17AM

    I've asked my boyfriend to take me around to look at the Christmas light displays. I can tell he's not as excited about doing that as I am, but...hee's a new relationship (2 months) and we're still in the stage where we'll do whatever the other person wants. So i'll take advantage of it- LoL.

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LILBITWANNABE 12/10/2011 11:03AM

    Agreed! I love driving around looking at lights:) We have someone in the next town that has a drive around and Santa stands outside and gives all the kids candy canes as you drive through. Then there's tons of lights and displays and it's just almost magical! Mrs Santa passed away, but Santa still does it for now and it's just really neat!

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DEBBIEANNE1124 12/10/2011 11:01AM

    I, too, love driving at night viewing the Christmas lights on the homes. Robert, too is a scrooge. Bah humbug!

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PARKERB2 12/10/2011 10:53AM

    I love that too. We go at least one night, sometimes more. My daughter (at around 30) went with us and she enjoyed it very much. A friend lost her job and we took her and she remembers it to this day. She mentioned it to me just recently. So, lights are to be enjoyed, by both young and old. Have a great Christmas.

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L*I*T*A* 12/10/2011 10:41AM


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Turmeric: Spice of the Week

Friday, December 09, 2011

Turmeric grows wild in the forests of South and Southeast Asia. It has become the key ingredient for many Indian, Persian and Thai dishes such as in curry and many more. It is used in canned beverages and baked products, dairy products, ice cream, yogurt, yellow cakes, orange juice, biscuits, popcorn color, sweets, cake icings, cereals, sauces, gelatins, etc. It is a significant ingredient in most commercial curry powders. Turmeric is mostly used in savory dishes, as well as some sweet dishes. Although usually used in its dried, powdered form, turmeric is also used fresh, much like ginger. It is in the ginger family and even looks like ginger.

Turmeric has been used for 4,000 years to treat a variety of conditions. Studies show that turmeric may help fight infections and some cancers, reduce inflammation, and treat digestive problems, and it has gotten a lot of press lately.
I personally am interested in turmeric for 3 reasons:

May prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain.

May prevent metastases from occurring in many different forms of cancer.

It is a potent natural anti-inflammatory that works as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects.

There are many other benefits as well. Please read:

Possible Interactions:

If you are being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use turmeric or curcumin in medicinal forms without first talking to your health care provider.
Blood-thinning Medications -- Turmeric may make the effects of these drugs stronger, raising the risk of bleeding. Blood-thinners include warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), and aspirin, among others.

Drugs that reduce stomach acid -- Turmeric may interfere with the action of these drugs, increasing the production of stomach acid:
Cimetidine (Tagamet)
Famotidine (Pepcid)
Ranitidine (Zantac)
Esomeprazole (Nexium)
Lansoprazole (Prevacid)

Diabetes Medications -- Turmeric may make the effects of these drugs stronger, increasing the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).


Try this TurmericAde as a cool drink or a shot: Put one to two teaspoons of organic turmeric in a cup (or shot glass), and add the juice of half a lemon and a drop of organic stevia or coconut palm nectar. Add water to your desire, and kick inflammation to the curb.

Soothing Green Soup

1 small avocado
some basil leaves
garlic clove
salt to taste
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp. turmeric
few sprigs parsley
handful coral lettuce leaves
cherry tomatoes (as many as want to eat with the soup)

Blend all ingredients except tomatoes with a little water until smooth.
Pour over halved cherry tomatoes.

The Weekly Detox Smoothie:

Blend the following:

Juice and pith of 1 lemon (only throw out the peel)
2 pears (seeded and cored)
2 apples (seeded and cored)
3 Tablespoons flax oil
½ teaspoon of Turmeric
¼ teaspoon of Celtic sea salt
Pinch of Cayenne pepper
3-4 cups filtered water

Fresh Turmeric Juice by Tera

5 pieces of fresh turmeric root, washed
- 1 lemon
- warm water
- 2 tablespoon honey
- cold water

Put the turmeric root, and the the lemon through your juicer, you can put the pulp back a second and maybe even a third time to get all the goodness out.
Leave the juicer running and pour about 1/2 cup warm water through.
Mix in the honey. If you don’t want to use honey, either swap the lemon for an orange or use a different sweetener (it wont be as medicinal, but it will be sweeter…)
Top up with 1-2 cups cold water and store in fridge (keeps for a few days).
Serve over ice in short glasses. Turmeric also goes really well with freshly juiced pineapple and gives you a nice natural buzzy feeling..

Coconut Thai Rice Curry

10 1/2 oz brown basmati rice
1/4 cup organic coconut milk
2 cups roasted root vegetables, cut into 1-inch cubes (sweet potatoes, rutabaga, beets, etc.)
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbsp curry powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp organic miso paste
1 tsp cardamom

Cook the rice based on directions in the rice cooker.

After about 15 minutes, start cooking the rest of the meal. Warm up the coconut milk along with root vegetables, shallot, garlic, ginger, bay leaf, and cinnamon stick in a medium to large-size pot over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes.

Add curry powder and turmeric and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook 3 more minutes.

Add cooked rice along with soy sauce, miso, and cardamom and combine. Simmer for five more minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaf and serve.

Golden Turmeric Latkes with Applesauce from Eating Well

1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup unsweetened applesauce


2 cups shredded peeled russet potatoes
1 small onion, finely chopped
1-2 fresh green serrano chiles, stemmed and finely chopped
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
1/2 cup chickpea flour (see Note) or unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided

To prepare sauce: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add ginger and cook, stirring, until light brown and aromatic, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in turmeric and cloves. Cook until the spices are fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute more. Scrape the spices into the applesauce in a small bowl and stir well to combine.

Preheat oven to 200°F. Place a baking sheet in the oven.

To prepare latkes: Thoroughly mix potatoes, onion, chiles to taste, cilantro, flour, cumin, salt, turmeric and eggs in a large bowl.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Place a heaping tablespoon of the potato mixture in the skillet and flatten with a spatula into a disk roughly 3 inches in diameter. Form as many latkes as you can in the pan without overcrowding. Cook until golden brown and crispy on the bottom, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip and continue cooking until the other side is golden brown and crispy, 3 to 5 minutes. Briefly drain on a paper towel-lined plate, then transfer to the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining oil and potato mixture.

Serve the latkes with the seasoned applesauce

Roasted Cauliflower with Turmeric

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ELISADENK 12/15/2011 10:55PM


Great info.

The recipes sound awful to me, tho! emoticon

I've got more of a sweet tooth than a spicy one.

However, I'm willing to try new recipes, especially if it will help with my health issues.

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EGRAMMY 12/10/2011 6:30PM

    Wow you'e good

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GLAMNGLOWDIVA 12/10/2011 2:01AM

    Great recipes, I don't use this spice that much. I will try some of these recipes, thanks!

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L*I*T*A* 12/9/2011 10:27PM

    great recipes.....
thanks for sharing....
blessings and hugs.......lita

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SEASONS_CHANGE 12/9/2011 9:03PM

    Thanks for posting this. I especially like the Coconut Thai Rice Curry recipe... yum

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TEDYBEAR2838 12/9/2011 7:56PM

    Why does it seem like all the healthy stuff comes from
other Countries. Thanks Nicole

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LGAR519 12/9/2011 3:01PM

    What a timely blog. I read an article the other day about Tumeric and decided to do further research. You have done my work for me. Thanx!! I'm looking into it due to my osteoarthritis. It's starting to get the best of me!!

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