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!
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!
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
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:
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:
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
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 Warner.com
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
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