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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Be Proud of who you are and Accept All in Society

Annie Hopkins was an individual that would not accept that she had physical limitations. She demanded on living a full, exciting, independent life. She only lived 25 years but in those years she was an advocate, entrepreneur, artist, student, activist and always a lover of life. She stood out to the entire world as a story to acceptance. 

She had a dream, a dream to change the world and how they saw people with disabilities. Annie created the wheelchair heart symbol to unify people of all abilities. Together Annie and her brother Steve launched 3ELove. The group 3ELove was put together to offer social ambition of education, embrace and empower all. 

Annie left this world on January 20th 2009. The mission to help the world see her message was left with all that care. As a remembrance of all that Annie did and to celebrate social acceptance year your heart on your sleeve. Let others know that you love who you are and that you are a person with social rights. Share it on all social media sites. We can all make a difference for others in this world. We can have a voice as a parent, sibling, relative, spouse, children, lover, co-worker, teacher, friend or anyone that just wants others to know we "accept" them.

Turnip and Leek Soup

Winter time is a great time to use up root veggies. As I have said before root veggies are very versatile and can help save the food budget. This turnip and leek soup was created but if you would rather have potato instead of turnip simply substitute. If you enjoy a vegan diet, dairy free or gluten free this soup may be perfect for you.

3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
3 medium leeks, washed and sliced thin (using just the white and light green parts)
3 lbs 24 ounces turnips, peeled and cubed
salt and pepper to taste, 1.5-2 teaspoons of salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cut off the dark green parts of the leeks then slice the leeks in half lengthwise. Rinse the layers under cold water to remove any dirt. Slice thin and set aside about 1/4 cup (for a topping)
Heat a stock pot over medium high heat and add the butter or oil. Add the sliced leeks and sauté for 5-8 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Add in the turnips and cook, stirring, for another 5 minutes. Add enough water to cover over all of the turnips. Cook for 25 minutes or until turnips are soft. Season with salt and pepper. Puree using an immersion blender or let cool then puree in a standing blender. Taste and add additional seasoning to your preference.
Serve warm with toasted bread, herb oil, chives, or crispy fried leeks.

parsnips or yukon gold potatoes may be used instead of turnips.

Creamy Corn and Bacon Dip

4 slices bacon, diced
3 cups corn kernels, frozen, canned or roasted
1/2 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced, optional
4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
2 tablespoons milk, or more, to taste
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sugar, or more, to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Drain excess fat, reserving 1 tablespoon.
Add corn, onion, bell pepper and jalapeño to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in cream cheese and milk until well combined, about 2-3 minutes. If the mixture is too thick, add more milk as needed until desired consistency is reached.
Stir in green onions and sugar; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Serve immediately, sprinkled with bacon.*
*To reheat, bake for 15-20 minutes at 325 degrees F, or until completely heated through.

Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.

Week of Prayer 2018

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
James 1:2-3

 My grandmother used to always tell me that when life gives you lemons make lemonade. I know this sounds quite common but the truth is she lived her life like that. My grandmother was on her deathbed but held out to find out that all of her children and grand-children were contacted. Yes, that is right she continued to ask until we finally had to tell her that they all had been contacted and we would make sure all were o.k. 

Perseverance that James speaks of is something that is hard to have but a trait that many good men do have. Many accomplishments have happened in life because of perseverance. Take a look at Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King. Luck only exist when perseverance has continued long enough that a "magical moment" is predictable. When nothing seems to be going right hang in there just a bit longer persevere God's love will prove true and others will see this through you.  

Tonight I am thankful for the love that our God allows us. For his son that through unchangeable, unshakable love suffered, bled and died on that cross. I pray that through me, my friends may see a person who loves Christ and trust that all our needs will be met. It is through his provision that all around has happened, the friends in our lives, the job we work, the love of our family and simply everything. I ask the Holy Spirit to stay by my side as tough times occur. That I am able to stand up when battles come so that I can prove that my life is an open book. I pray that I am allowed the courage to trust and endure so that others can see my life as it should be. 


Friday, January 19, 2018

Southern Style Speckled Butter Beans

  • 1 meaty smoked ham hock or other smoked meat
  • 1 quart of water
  • 1 pound of fresh or frozen speckled butter beans or baby limas (about 4 cups)
  • 1/4 cup of minced, smoked ham
  • 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings
  • 1 tablespoon of half and halfoptional
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher saltor to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepperor to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Creole or Cajun seasoningor to taste, optional
Slash ham hock with a knife and place in a pot; add water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Rinse fresh beans and sort through for any stems or other debris. Add the beans, bring back up to a boil, stir, reduce heat to a very low simmer, cover and cook for 40 minutes.

Remove the ham hock and pull any meat off; return meat to pot and discard bone. Add in minced, smoked ham. Stir in the bacon fat or butter, half and half, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil again. Reduce heat to medium, and continue cooking, uncovered, about 10 to 15 minutes longer, or until beans reach the texture desired. Taste and adjust seasonings. Cover and let rest 10 minutes in the juices. Even better the next day.

The dish above shows beans with polish sausage. Oh so yummy I hope you enjoy

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Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

With so much snow and ice and illness traveling around I thought it was time to make up some chicken noodle soup. They say it can make all days brighter and a home made touch can put a smile on any face. Enjoy!!! 

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 boneless skinless chicken breast cut half
1 cup baby carrots diced
2 celery ribs diced
1 and 1/2 cup wide noddles
3 cups chicken stock or broth
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Heat up olive oil in a stock pot. Add chicken breast and brown on both sides, 2 minutes or so.
Remove the chicken onto a plate and set aside. Add diced veggies to the pot. Add more oil if needed.
Saute for about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the chicken back. Add stock or broth, Italian seasoning and oregano.
Bring to boil and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add noodles and cook until done. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To speed up cooking time cut the chicken breast in half or dice the chicken.
baby carrots are sweeter and have no need to peel. Simply dice
you can add 1/2 cup of diced onion if you choose, simply add to veggie mix.
Make the recipe yours

recipe source here

Popcorn, Get Your Hot Fresh Popcorn

National Popcorn day is hosted annually January 19th. Popcorn can be sweet or savory. being made in a variety of ways. Whether you enjoy popcorn plain, with a bit of butter or even caramelized you are not alone. 

Popcorn comes from Old English with corn meaning grain. Maize was grown in America and the English simply applied the term "corn". Popcorn was used in a great variety of ways through out time. In the 16th century you could find popcorn used in Aztec headdresses in ceremonies that honored the god of maize Tlaloc. 

Spanish explorers found the corn like grains unusual as they had white like flowers that would pop out of them when heated. The popcorn was a beloved treat and through time it became the popcorn that is known today. Two types of popcorn exist with one being white and the other yellow. It is the yellow that is prepared in movie theaters and more familiar. 

In the mid 1800s popcorn was tops in America. Charles Cretors owned a candy store where he made pop corn using steam. This would lead to horse drawn popcorn wagons traveling through streets of Chicago. Another tasty treat was created by Louise Ruckheim. Peanuts and molasses was added to popcorn and the treat of Cracker Jack was created. 

It may surprise you but popcorn was not always welcomed at the movies. Selling popcorn at the theater was a bit expensive until the invention of Glen Dickson. It was Dickson who would make it possible for popcorn to be inside. Now days, we pop our popcorn in the microwave and enjoy our movies on the T.V. at home. Popcorn has made it many years and the love of it will be here for many more. 

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Week of Prayer

The theme for the celebrated "Week of Prayer for Christian Unity" is "Your Right Hand, O Lord, Glorious in Power" The scripture used will be Exodus 15:6.

The bible shares time and time again the story of salvation. The Lord desires to change hearts so that He could call them His own. Our Lord offers his people justice, compassion and mercy. It is up to us to reconcile that love via repentance. It is the hopes and prayer that Christians will unite in order to glorify the name of Jesus.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity began as an eight day period of prayer. It was known as the Church Unity Octave and was established by founders of the Society of Atonement. It is meant to bring Christians together to work and pray. In our world today there are many activities, plans, and outside sources pulling us away from the Christian world by coming together Christians will be able to know they are not alone and the strength to continue the battle.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Stylin' Fig Newton's

Growing up in the '70s was a bit different than this day and age but the fig newton was just as loved then as it is now.

Whether you loved 'em or you hated 'em you most likely remember 'em. The newton was a pretty popular cookie when I was a kid and has been for over a century. It was during the 19th century that physicians began to promote increase in biscuits and fruit in the diet to help remedy digestive problems. Fig rolls hit the scene in 1891 Charles Roser would invent an easier way to place fig paste into dough. Nabisco would gain control of the fig roll and the name would change to "Fig Newton". 

1 C dried Figs coarsely chopped (UPDATE: If you are a vegan who does not eat figs, try this recipe with dates, apricots or other dried fruits of your choice. Most will work very well!)
1-1/2 C Water
1 C Orange Juice apple will work here as well
1/4 C Sugar
1/8 tsp Orange Zest
Cookie Dough:
1/2 C vegan Margarine such as Earth Balance
1/2 C Sugar
FLAX EGG - 1 Tbl ground Flax Seed plus 3 Tbl water simmered for 5 minutes & cooled
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1-1/2 C All-Purpose Flour

Make the fig filling:
Coarsely chop the dried figs.

In a medium saucepan, add the chopped figs, water, orange juice and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. The mixture should reduce considerably (see how it goes from this to very little liquid left in photos below) and once pureed, be spreadable like jam. Keep a close eye on this towards the end, it goes fast. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and process until smooth. Refrigerate overnight

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the margarine and sugar for 2 minutes.
We are using what's known as a "flax egg" here to simulate one egg white. To make the flax egg, combine 1 Tbl of ground flax seeds and 3 Tbl of water in a small saucepan. Simmer on low heat for 5 minutes, stirring until it becomes thick and gelatinous. Cool completely.

Add the flax egg to the butter/sugar mixture along with the vanilla. Mix to combine, scraping the sides of the bowl.
Add the flour and mix until the dough starts to form a ball. It will be very sticky at this point. Wrap in plastic wrap forming into a disc and refrigerate overnight.

This will make handling much easier.
The following day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment. I normally use a Silpat, but parchment seems to work much better in this application.
Divide the dough and filling into four equal portions keeping the rest refrigerated while working with one at a time.
Shape one piece of dough on the parchment into a rectangle about 12" long and 4" wide. Trim if needed.

Spoon a line of filling down the center of each rectangle.

Fold one half of the dough over the filling, using an offset spatula or knife to assist you if needed. Repeat with the other side and then use the parchment to help shape and roll it seam side down.

  1. Refrigerate each completed log as you work with the next.
  2. Using a sharp, or serrated knife, before baking cut into 5 or 6 evenly sized cookies.

At this point, if the oven is not yet preheated, place the cut cookies into the refrigerator so they remain chilled.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until the edges are lightly golden. I always rotate the cookie sheets as I bake to ensure they bake evenly.
Allow to cool on a rack and then store in an airtight container.

They are best the next day as they have time to soften into the Newton's you know and love 

recipe source heres

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Be Aware of Stalking Awareness

Each year in the United States an average of 7 million individuals will be stalked. Both men and women have experienced stalking. It is a very fearful time where many believe that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed. My own sister experienced time where she was stalked by an ex-boyfriend.

Most stalking victims are stalked by someone they know. More than 1/2 the women and almost 1/2 of all men are stalked by an ex-partner. Another 25% report that it was an acquaintance that they were stalked by. Over half of all stalking incidents happen prior to victim turning 25 years old, with a few happening during teen years.

Stalkers will show up in places their victim did not want them to be, make unwanted phone calls, leave the victim unwanted messages and / or use other devices to spy on their victim. The actions leave those being stalked in fear of not knowing what will happen next. Victims often begin to fear that the stalking will never end and in a few cases the stalker has continued for years. Many victims lose time at work, have to move or change jobs, or develop anxiety, insomnia, or severe depressions.

In all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. territories and federal government stalking is a crime. More than 1/2 states classify stalking as a felony upon second offense or when there are aggravating factors. Less than 1/3 states classify stalking as a felony upon first offense.  For a compilation of state, tribal, and federal laws visit

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My New Favorite Fruit and a Great Game Day Recipe

The blood orange is a variety of orange that has crimson almost blood colored flesh. The color is de to presence of anthocyanins. The antioxidant pigments are common in flowers and fruit but not so common in citrus fruits. At times the dark coloring shows up on the rind as well. Another difference is the skin can be tougher and harder to peel than that of other oranges. 

1 1/2 cups fresh squeezed blood orange juice about 5 oranges
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1 clove garlic minced
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice
1/4 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
1 tsp cayenne pepper powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp corn starch
2 tbsp cold water
2 14.4 oz. packages Hillshire Farm® Beef Lit'l Smokies® sausages
Chopped chives or scallions for garnish

Add freshly squeezed blood orange juice, onions, garlic, brown sugar, vinegar, and spices to a medium saucepan and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In a small bowl, whisk together corn starch and cold water, then stir into the sauce. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes until sauce has thickened, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, add Lit'l Smokies® sausages to a crockpot set of high heat, when the sauce is ready, pour it over the Lit'l Smokies® sausages and cook on high until the sausages register a temperature of 170 degrees F. About 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Serve straight out of the crockpot or transfer to a serving dish, garnish with chives or scallions, and serve with forks or toothpicks.
Reduce crockpot to warm if any sausages are left in it.

if you can not find blood oranges then ruby red grapefruits substitute well.

recipe source here

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Remember the Children

International Child Centered Divorce month is a great way to alert divorced parents the needs of their children. Ways to prevent emotional and psychological damage to children during and after divorce are available.

ICCD month is a great time for professionals to help parents, children and families with ways to make sure children are cared for. January is chosen as the month of awareness as more divorces begin in January. It is a time to alert parents about the harm to their children when divorce is not handled correctly. It is not the divorce but the matters that come before, during and after divorce.

Respectful co-parenting is among the many items of discussion. Mediation is the choice of discussion rather than litigation that can be damaging. Communication skills that can help guide parents away from what may end up costly mistakes that scar all involved in the divorce including the children, teens and adults.

Divorce attorneys, mediators, therapists, financial planners, coaches, educators and other professionals may be involved. With the same goal in mind is to promote peaceful divorce, cooperative co-parenting and educating parents about how to prevent negative consequences for children who are affected by separation or divorce.

Our Story::
My daughter was a beautiful bride when she was 20 years old. Her new husband and her together tried to make a successful union. Purchasing a home, having a child and the dream began to grow. Unfortunately, there were some circumstances that happened and they lost the home and had to move. In attempts to bring the family together again they had a second child and for a while all seemed fine. Then one day, the dream was over, feelings had changed and the two decided they could not stay together. They both wanted out but what about the kids. The good thing is that the children were taken care of in the divorce as well allowing for them to have a life, a time with both parents and a chance to do their own thing. 

If you find yourself with a dream ending then take a moment and remember the children as well as your happiness and do the right thing.

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What Was In The Bucket

Thirty-one years ago I found myself a teenage bride. Not having much money and still in high-school my dad tried to take care of his "little girl" I can recall the time he showed up with a 20 lb bucket of black eyed peas. He knew I could do something with them and I did. I would love to say I knew how to cook back even in those days but that has taken time to reach where it is today. In those days I took the bucket and traded it to a friend with a large family in return for a T.V..  I found more use in the later as we normally enjoyed meals at my husbands parents, the place I also learned where to cook and some of those delicious recipes. I found this recipe for Louisiana style black eyed peas and thought it was a great place to share a story about me and a new recipe as well. Enjoy!!!

1 large onion chopped
1 green bell pepper chopped
1 rib celery chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
2 cups dried black-eyed peas picked over and rinsed
5 cups water
15 ounces canned diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/8 teaspoon cayenne or more to taste
1 tablespoon hot sauce or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Liquid Smoke flavoring

Heat a large pressure cooker over high heat (use the Sauté button on the Instant Pot). Add the onion and sauté until it begins to brown; add the bell pepper, celery, and garlic and cook for another 2 minutes, adding a tablespoon or two of water if needed to prevent sticking. Add the black-eyed peas and water, seal the cooker, and bring to high pressure. Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes. (Use the Manual button on the IP and set to 10 minutes.) Remove from heat and allow pressure to come down naturally.

Once the pressure is down, open the cooker and add all remaining ingredients except Liquid Smoke. Return to the heat and simmer for 15-30 minutes, until peas are completely soft and thickened. (Use Sauté on IP and adjust to low.) Add the Liquid Smoke and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve hot over rice with more hot sauce on the table.

To make without a pressure cooker, soak the peas overnight in cold water. Drain. Follow the directions for sautéing the vegetables. Then add all ingredients except liquid smoke to the pot, along with enough additional water to cover the peas by one inch. Cook until peas are completely tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, adding more water as necessary. When they’re tender, add the Liquid Smoke, cook for 5 more minutes, and serve over rice.

recipe source here

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