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The Apple Cake That Thinks it’s a Pie

18 Oct Slice of marcellarousseau apple cake.pie

Sometimes even the health conscious crave a sugary treat. The recipe below is not very sugary and it has a lot of healthful ingredients in it. It’s great for breakfast or dessert with a cup of coffee or tea or even a glass of milk. I would not say it is an easy recipe for a novice baker but if you take your time and read the directions carefully, you may find yourself rewarded with a very delectable cake. Frankly, I have trouble calling this a cake because you slice it like a pie if you bake it in a pie pan. However, the crust is not really like a pie crust. It is like a cake! Whether you call it cake or pie, it’s delicious!

 

The interesting thing about this recipe is that you can put the dough in a cake pan OR a pie pan! I opted for the pie pan. The dough is a “basic” dough that you could also use to make doughnuts or crullers. I won’t be recommending those because you have to fry the dough and that would not be good for your health!

 

What IS good for your health is the milk, eggs, cinnamon, and apples that go into the cake. Butter also goes into this recipe and I’m not one to say butter is bad for your health. You need some fat in your diet! As for the amount of sugar, most cakes call for at least one cup of sugar. There is only ½ cup of sugar in this recipe. You can even feel good about serving your kids a slice.

 

I know your kids will love it but this is a cake fit for company. This is an invite your in-laws for dinner cake. It’s an invite your boss for dinner cake. It’s fancy. If you want to impress someone, this is the cake to do it. It would pass inspection by Julia Child herself. Just so you know!

 

NOTE: The recipe makes enough dough for two cakes. So, only use half of the recipe for the cake, OK?  I missed that point when I made the dough so I ended up freezing the half of the dough that I didn’t use. I’ll be making the cake again with that dough and although my recipe doesn’t say anything about freezing this dough, I think it will be all right.

 

Ingredients for Dough:

 

1/2 cup scalded milk

1/4 cup soft butter

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg beaten briefly

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 package dry yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)

3 cups sifted all-purpose flour

 

Additional ingredients are listed in the directions below.

 

In a bowl, mix the scalded milk, butter, sugar, and salt. When dissolved, add the beaten egg and vanilla. When ingredients are lukewarm, add the dissolved yeast. Then add the flour a little at a time and form a soft dough. Turn out dough onto counter and knead for several minutes with a little extra flour until it does not stick to hands . Place in a well greased bowl and brush the top with melted butter. Cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour. Then, turn the dough out again and knead again one minute. Again, place in a greased bowl and brush top with melted butter and allow to rise until doubled.

Dough rising in my microwave

Basic dough rising

 

Decide if you want to use a 9-inch pie pan or square cake pan and then grease it well. Divide the dough in half, take one half and stretch it to fit the pan bringing it up the sides about 1 inch. Reserve the other half for another pie or save it for another day in the freezer.

Slice apples uniformly for best appearance

Slice apples uniformly for best appearance

 

Pare and core about 3 medium-sized apples. Slice them very thin. Arrange as shown in the photo or in a circular pattern. Take special pains to do this because the better you do it, the prettier your finished cake will be. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar mixed with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg. See photo.

Cinnamon-sugar mixture on apple pie

Cinnamon-sugar mixture on apple pie

 

Combine 2 tablespoons melted butter, 1 tablespoon milk, and 1 slightly beaten egg yolk. Make sure the melted butter is not too hot. You don’t want to scramble the egg yolk! Pour over the apple slices. Let it cake stand about 15 minutes before placing in the oven.

Butter egg yolk mix on cake/pie

Butter egg yolk mix on cake/pie

 

Bake at 350 degrees 45 – 60 minutes or until crust is brown and apples are soft.

 

You can use apples, peaches, apricots, or plums for this recipe. I think you could also use nectarines or pears. I used Jonamac apples. Jonathan or Winesap would also be good. I used Quick Rise yeast. I bake everything now in my convection toaster oven so I have to adjust the temperature and the time. My cake was browned at 40 minutes but the center was still a little loose. I turned down the oven to 325 degrees. Then at 50 minutes I turned the oven off and left the door ajar. If you know your apples are going to be very juicy, you can sprinkle 3 tablespoons of plain bread crumbs on the stretched out dough before you lay in the apple slices. I didn’t because I like a juicy pie.

My baked apple cake/pie

My baked apple cake/pie

 

This cake tastes best warm. I stored it in the refrigerator covered. When I wanted a slice, I put the slice in the microwave for 20 seconds. It was like it just came out of the oven. You could serve it with whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream but I wouldn’t. It would detract from the delicate flavor of the cake.

 

The down side of making this cake is that you have to let it rise 2 times. I’ve made other apple pies that were a lot quicker to make but not as delectable as this cake and not as good for you. Good things come to those who wait!

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Quinoa Makes a Good Cookie: Biscotti – New Food Friday Flash

17 Oct https://marcellarousseau.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/biscotti-garden-tomatoes-nectarines.jpg

When everyone began talking about quinoa, I decided to jump on the bandwagon. So, I bought a package of Bob’s Red Mill quinoa flour. My mistake. Everyone was talking about the grain and I bought the flour. Undaunted, I found a recipe using the flour. It was terrible. I had to throw it out.

 

Month’s later, while riffling through cookbooks at my local library, I came across a recipe using quinoa flour that sounded good. It was for quinoa biscotti. I had never made biscotti before and it was on my bucket list to do. With those thoughts in mind, quinoa is the new food for this month’s New Food Friday Flash.

 

The original recipe came from the book, Eating in Color. The one alert for this recipe is that it called for 1 3/4 cups quinoa flour. That was not enough flour. Either the author forgot to add another flour to the ingredient list or she got the measurements wrong. I knew right away because the directions said to shape the dough into a loaf and there was no way you could shape this blob of a batter into a loaf. I added some white flour and then some whole wheat flour to the tune of approximately 3/4 – 1 cup additional flour. I had to keep adding flour until I could shape the dough into a long loaf. The whole wheat made the recipe more nutritious. I wouldn’t add more quinoa flour because it has a strong flavor and needs another flour to mellow the flavor a bit in my opinion.

 

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups quinoa flour

3/4 – 1 cup white and whole wheat flours combined

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

3 large eggs

1/4 cup canola oil (I used olive oil)

1 teaspoon orange zest

1 tablespoon orange juice

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup raw almonds toasted, chopped

1/2 cup dried currents (I used golden raisins)

1/2 cup dried cherries (I used frozen sweet cherries and dried them myself, it’s cheaper!)

1/4 cup dried cranberries – optional (I had them in the cupboard and thought, why not?)

 

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350. (I used my convection-toaster oven.) Place parchment paper on a baking sheet so the biscotti cookies don’t stick and for easier cleanup. Mix flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk eggs, oil, orange zest, orange juice, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and combine. Stir in almonds, cherries, raisins, and cranberries. Flour your hands and separate the dough into two halves to form each into an 8″ long loaf on the baking sheet. This is a little messy. Bake 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool for 20 minutes on the baking sheet then remove to a cutting board. Slice cookies 1/2″ wide on an angle. Using a spatula, carefully transfer biscotti back onto baking sheet, cut side down and bake again 14 minutes or until tops are dry to touch and hard nearly all the way through. They will further harden when cooling.

 

These cookies are hard and that’s the way biscotti are supposed to be. Biscotti cookies are for dunking in a beverage to soften them up. The usual dunking beverages are either coffee or wine. I tried dunking them in coffee but preferred them dunked in wine. I had a rather sweet wine that was a blend of red sweet wines by Barefoot. I like wines that are on the sweet side but this wine was even too sweet for me to drink with a meal. However, it was perfect for dunking the biscotti. So, I recommend a sweeter wine for dunking your biscotti. You could try dunking them in tea, milk, hot chocolate, etc. Experiment!

 

We’ve had a lot of rainy weather and the humidity has been high so after 2 days, my biscotti were not hard anymore and were edible without any dunking. This was when I enjoyed them even more.  I froze them after a few days and they keep well frozen. I have four left. They are a delicious cookie, nutritious and good for you! I hope you try them.

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Roundabout, Not to be Confused with a Roustabout

15 Oct Roundabout

Recently I wrote a post about pedestrians being killed by hit-and-run drivers. This brought up a conversation regarding Roundabouts.  In case you are not familiar with them, they are relatively new ways to divert and direct traffic without stop signs or traffic lights. People seem to be having problems getting used to them.  At night, drivers unfamiliar with the area, tend to drive straight through them instead of circling around them which is what you’re supposed to do.

Drivers are reckless in other ways too on roundabouts. They overtake drivers in 2-lane roundabouts. They enter the roundabout instead of waiting for a driver who is already in the circle and who therefore has the right of way.

I was confused myself about these new, modern wonders  because of what the other drivers were doing and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles doesn’t  require mandatory refresher classes so, I did what I always do when I need information: I google it.

I found a PDF brochure explaining the rules of the roundabout I use. Take time to read the link.  You may find out something you didn’t know about them.  For example, when exiting a roundabout, you should put on your turn signal. I’ve yet to see anyone use their turn signal while exiting a roundabout. I’m the only one I know who does it and I do it to let the other drivers near me know that I’m going to exit so we don’t clip each other!

In fact, after the experience I had yesterday with this particular roundabout, I decided to take the optional right turn lane at the roundabout to avoid the roundabout altogether.  I was running later than usual yesterday so traffic was at a peak and drivers were whizzing around the roundabout without regard for life or limb. So, this morning in taking the optional right turn lane route, I discovered that I can eliminate waiting for one traffic light on the way to my destination. Yay! Who needs a roundabout?! They aren’t any safer than traffic lights or stop signs! They don’t seem to be any less expensive either. At a cost of $1.4 million to build a roundabout, it seems doubtful that it saves energy and resources. http://www.indystar.com/story/news/local/hendricks-county/2014/07/27/quite-carmel-avon-rolls-roundabouts/13192109/ Read on!

Two women in separate car crashes were injured at the roundabout that I use; one seriously. According to an article in the Indianapolis newspaper “Car crashes spike in the first year as people learn to use them.” 

This is the land of the Indy 500 and NASCAR. The word “slow” is not in the Hoosier dictionary. I’d rather have a delay at a signal as I am not in that much of a hurry. In my opinion, we’d be better off with a traffic light instead of a 2-lane roundabout. I’m ok with 1-lane roundabouts but not the 2-lane type. How about you?

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Exercise, the Mood Altering Drug

14 Oct Sports car

Of all the mood-altering drugs available on and off the market, the one I use is free: exercise. The original reason I began exercising was to lift my mood.  Divorce, living in a new town with no family or friends, raising a son on my own, it’s something I faced years ago as many women still do today. I read an article that exercise was good for depression. The author was right. I’ve exercised to keep depression at bay and I’ve never regretted it. Of course, there are other benefits to exercise.

Exercise Promotes Weight Loss and Stamina

When you’re overweight it’s difficult to feel energetic. Carrying around all that excess weight baggage is tiring. Exercise helps people lose weight and keep it off. I lost over 20 pounds exercising and my original goal as I mentioned above wasn’t weight loss! I don’t want to put that weight back on and that motivates me to continue exercising. Not only that, but I have tremendous energy, even after I work out. I find that the more I do, the more I CAN do!

And speaking of can do, as a homeowner, I can find plenty of things to do. I mow my lawn, wash and wax my car, do housework, shovel snow off my driveway, paint, putty, plant trees, and so on. I like being independent and doing these things myself. Exercising keeps me limber and helps me get these jobs done. When I’ve completed a painting job that includes puttying and or Spackling, my body doesn’t ache all over because my muscles are accustomed to being used – and I’m no spring chicken!

When you compare the benefits of exercising, even on days when you don’t feel up to it, to sitting on the couch with a bag of chips watching TV, can you really ignore all the benefits you’d derive from exercising? It doesn’t mean that I never buy a bag of chips to eat when I watch TV. But when I do, I buy tortilla chips that aren’t fried or are made in a healthful way and I don’t buy the biggest bag out there! On the other hand, I enjoy a nice cold, crunchy, juicy, apple with peanut butter just as much and it’s much better for me without the guilt!

Exercise Reduces the Need for Medications and Doctor Visits

They’re saying that the older generation is hell-bent on exercising and following a healthful diet because they want to live “forever.” I don’t want to live forever but I want to live healthfully until I die, even if I die tomorrow. I am motivated to exercise so I can stay off medications, set up only wellness visits to my doctors, and enjoy an active lifestyle until the day I die.

Exercise and Mediterranean Diet Dodge Cancer

Several years ago when my sister went for a checkup, she happened to mention me to her doctor. The doctor said, “If she’s 65 and hasn’t had any cancer, she’s doing very well!” I exercise and follow the Mediterranean diet to avoid getting cancer  and it’s been working for me so far.

Treat Your Body Like a New Car

Think of it this way if it helps, treat yourself like a new car. Would you put inferior gas in your new car? You wouldn’t abuse your car that way. Yet you would abuse your body with junk food! Why would you treat your car, a hunk of metal, plastic, paint, glass, and textiles, better than your body? Would you allow the tires to go flat, skip oil changes, and ignore other maintenance necessary to keep your car running smoothly? Your car can’t take you where you want to go if you ignore the necessary upkeep. The same is true of your body.

Death Becomes Her

When we were kids growing up in the neighborhood, we thought it was cool to say, “Live fast, die young, and have a good-looking corpse.” Well, my living fast days are over; it’s too late for me to die young, but I think I still have a shot at having a good-looking corpse. Not that I’m in any hurry.

If this and all pep talks don’t motivate you to exercise and watch your diet, see your doctor to find out why.

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How Do They Know When You Are Actually Dead?

13 Oct Biotech

The debate over when life begins hampers research in embryonic stem cell research, but can harvesting cells from a dead body solve this debate or will it start a new one?

 

Scientists in France discovered that some stem cells can lay dormant for more than two weeks in a dead person and then be revived to divide into new, functioning cells. Furthermore, skeletal muscle stem cells can survive for 17 days. It may be ghoulish to think about, but when is dead really dead? If these cells continue to live after a person is pronounced dead, it makes me wonder what else continues to live when one is six feet under.

 

Olga Shustova, a morbid anatomist says there is a hypothesis that cerebellum cells, known as the Purkinje cells, can remain active within four days after a person’s death.

 

When Life Begins vs. When Life Ends

If scientists and researchers are still discovering cells that live on after a body is dead, what might they discover in the future? We’re all familiar with the hot debate over when life begins, but perhaps we need to look more carefully at when life ends.

 

What Else Lives On in a Dead Body?

Tuberculosis, hepatitis B and C, HIV and diarrheal diseases can last up to two days in a dead body (except for HIV, which may survive up to six days). I don’t know how long or if Ebola can live on in a dead body but that is certainly an important question considering the current world events.

 

Embryonic Stem Cells

Most of the current methods used to harvest embryonic stem cells destroy the embryo and this poses the moral dilemma for some: do you sacrifice a life to save a life? Harvesting usable cells from a dead body suggests that such cells can help extend the life of patients with, for example, cardiovascular disease, the number one cause of death in the United States.

 

The Dead’s Stem Cells

If there is less of a moral dilemma or none at all while using a dead person’s stem cells, it could have enormous potential for repairing damaged organs, or testing new drugs. But how will that be accomplished when there is already a shortage of bodies donated to medical science? Students in medical schools share cadavers among four or more other students because of this shortage.

 

Using stem cells from dead bodies may resolve the issue of using embryonic stem cells but there are still hurdles to overcome. Scientists must tread lightly on the dead assuming they are actually dead when their stem cells are harvested.

 

*This post was originally published on Yahoo but I’ve added some updates.

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Pedestrians Used to Have the Right of Way

11 Oct Pedestrians sign

It seems that there isn’t a day that goes by when a reporter relates how a pedestrian was run over and/or killed by a hit-and-run driver. Just recently a man in Indianapolis was hit by a hit-and-run driver and the man briefly survived. While crawling to the curb he was then hit in succession by three more hit-and-run drivers! He didn’t survive that. It’s unspeakable!

 

More than 5,000 pedestrians are killed on the world’s roads each week. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends increased implementation of strategies known to save pedestrians’ lives, including 1) installing and/or upgrading crosswalks, sidewalks, overpasses, underpasses, raised medians, and road signs and signals; 2) slowing vehicle speeds by “calming” streets with speed bumps and rumble strips; 3) enforcing laws against speeding and distracted driving; 4) creating walking streets or pedestrian zones; 5) improving mass transit route design and access; 6) improving lighting around pedestrian crossings; and 7) enhancing the visibility of pedestrians through the use of reflective materials.

 

That is all well and good and money well spent, but ultimately we pedestrians are responsible for our own lives.

 

When I grocery shop at my local Meijer, they have in place four large STOP signs on their parking lot. Yet there are drivers who drive too fast or don’t seem to realize that a pedestrian has the right of way. Drivers can be especially lethal when sharply turning up an aisle to park, forgetting that pedestrians have parked their car and are now walking towards the store entrance. But drivers aren’t always the ones at fault.

 

Several times when I’ve slowed down for the stop sign in front of one of the entrances to Meijer, I’ve witnessed pedestrians walking across the drivers’ lanes and DON’T LOOK LEFT OR RIGHT! This boggles my mind! How can you walk in front of cars without looking either way even if you have the right of way?

 

What is worse than that is parents who don’t hold on to their kids’ hands or are so busy loading groceries into their van that they don’t see their kid jutting out in front of traffic. Please, put your kids in the car first, then load your groceries!

 

Anytime I am walking in a supermarket parking lot, I always make sure I look directly into the oncoming driver’s eyes. I want to be sure they are conscious of seeing me! Usually they stop at the stop sign or the crosswalk of a supermarket. BUT NOT ALWAYS! Just recently I was walking towards the entrance of a major supermarket while a young woman in a car didn’t stop as she looked directly at me and continued driving while I had to wait for her to pass. The driver behind her saw the incident and waved me on. When these incidents happen, I’m tempted to yell out, “Hey, you’re supposed to stop – the pedestrian has the right of way!”

 

I actually did that once while I was on a college campus. I was in my car pulling into the parking lot and another driver in the lot who was supposed to stop at the stop sign at the entrance, didn’t and crossed in front of my car. Boy, he caught me on the wrong day. I was really irritated. As luck would have it, we parked at about the same time so I knew it was the same driver. Although he was walking ahead of me, I yelled out, “Hey, you know you’re supposed to stop at that stop sign!” He turned around and looked at me and RECOGNIZED me and knew he had done wrong but at least had the decency to apologize. In this instance, he may have thought I was a teacher and would get him in hot water. Actually, I WAS a teacher at that time! (How to get a failing grade in your class.) I’m less likely to react like that at the supermarkets because I’d probably get shot. No kidding. The homicides in Indianapolis are going through the roof this year.

 

So, pedestrians, look both ways before you cross please. Let’s not make ourselves easy targets for careless drivers. Parents, keep a better eye on your kids around traffic. And drivers, show some respect for pedestrians. If you hit one and run, you never know who will be jotting down your license plate. No matter how late you are running for your appointment, or how quickly you think you can text or talk on your cell, it won’t be worth it if you hit a pedestrian, or if your kid gets hit. Your insurance rate will go up, there will be medical bills to pay off and/or you’ll be paying your mechanic for the damage to the body of your car. Then you also have to live with the guilt of killing someone or maiming them for life. Think about it.

 

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Top Exercise Excuses and Their Solutions

10 Oct https://marcellarousseau.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/440911-handstand-woman.jpg

There are many excuses (or obstacles if you prefer) that can influence whether or not a person exercises. These obstacles are dependent on location, what injuries someone might have at the moment, motivation level, having children, age, and availability of time to exercise.

Where You Live

I am fortunate in that where I live now, I have the option to use any one of several health clubs. I also live near a few parks with trails. This wasn’t always the case. If you don’t have access to a health club or trails where you live, consider walking or working out where you work.

When I was working full time, I started an exercise group during lunchtime at a company where I worked. When I worked at another company, I walked at a trail nearby. I walked during my lunch hour. Keep your eyes and ears open for similar possibilities to exercise during work hours.

Injuries

Mild injuries don’t have to stop you from exercising. Exercise helps circulation and can keep you from becoming depressed while you’re on the sidelines. Continuing to exercise prevents you from gaining weight. I have an old injury in my right foot that flares up now and then. When it flares up, I don’t do any kickboxing or walking exercises. Instead, I workout with DVDs that use stretch bands. Or I do upper body conditioning. But if you have serious or long-lasting pain, see a doctor.

Motivation Level

I am well-motivated to exercise. It has become a habit. Exercise makes me feel good and is therefore reinforcing. Exercise allows me to eat whatever I want – and I love to eat! Don’t get me wrong. I don’t eat junk food, but I do allow myself to cheat. Otherwise, I am very health conscious and follow the Mediterranean diet.

Even so, there are days when I’ve got all my gear (towels, water bottle, change of clothes, shampoo, etc.) packed and ready to go and I’ll be standing in front of my doorway with no motivation to walk through it. Sometimes I can force myself to go; sometimes I can’t. If you can force yourself to go you will feel good about it later. I always do. If you can’t, just promise yourself to exercise a little bit harder the next time. Then make sure you follow through. I make sure I do, otherwise the guilt will get to me!

Having Children

After giving birth, my weight crept up to 180 lbs and I had a difficult time bringing it down. Raising children definitely interferes with exercising. Once your child is in school or daycare, you can work out again if you want to wait that long.

I had a very physically fit neighbor who beat me at tennis when she was six months pregnant! She would take her toddler in a stroller and go walking for hours. When her toddler became old enough to walk, he would hold on to the stroller while his baby sister would sit in the stroller as mom pushed. This little boy had calf muscles like you wouldn’t believe! You’re never too young to start exercising, and it’s never too late to be a good role model for your children.

Age

When I was a kid, I climbed trees and ran up and down eight flights of stairs all day with my friends. (We lived on the fourth floor of an apartment building with no elevator.) In my twenties and thirties I played tennis. After I injured my hand playing tennis (not with my neighbor), I decided to join the health club world, and say goodbye to tennis. Experts tell us that aging doesn’t have to interfere with exercising for good health. I don’t let my age prevent me from exercising. You shouldn’t either.

Availability of Time

Availability of time ebbs and flows. When I worked during the day full-time, if I couldn’t exercise during working hours like lunchtime, I exercised after work. You may feel tired after work, but once you get started exercising, your body will reinvigorate itself. When you’re done, you’ll feel relaxed.

There are many exercise DVDs available now for home use when time issues are an obstacle to exercise. Some of these exercise DVDs are broken down into 10-minute routines. Everybody has 10 minutes to spare. If you do 10 minutes before breakfast, 10 before lunch, and 10 before dinner, you will have done 30 minutes in one day.

Nothing in your life is as important as your health. Take the time to exercise, if you don’t, you may find you’re running out of time sooner than you thought.

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Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook – The Essential Guide to Caring for Everything in Your Home – REVIEW

9 Oct Cleaning

Martha Stewart never does anything half way. The Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook – The Essential Guide to Caring for Everything in Your Home was started by Martha but it apparently took on a life of its own. So she formed a team of people who helped her with  researching and adding their own homekeeping experiences to produce the ultimate of all homekeeping handbooks.

 

The copyright of the handbook is 2006, so as you might guess, there are a few tips that are outdated. There are 744 pages which makes it a hefty book and I guarantee that you will learn a few things reading it! It’s a very readable book.

 

Martha and her team divided the book in an interesting way. From page 31 to page 477 it’s broken down room by room. The rooms are as follows:

 

Kitchen

Dining room

Living room

Home office

Library

Entryways, stairs, and hallways

Bedroom

Bathroom

Closets

Laundry room

Utility spaces

Outdoor spaces

 

So, if you only want information on everything kitchen, you could browse the kitchen chapter.

 

She doesn’t stop at room domesticity. The next section covers Throughout The House which is further divided by Routine cleaning such as dusting, sweeping, mopping, etc. then Periodic Maintenance such as Floors and Floor Coverings, Ceilings, Walls and Woodwork, etc.

 

If that wasn’t enough, the next section covers Comfort and Safety. This includes Lighting, Electricity, Pest Control, Water systems, Home security, and more.

 

The next section covers Moving. After that is a section called Materials Guide. That would be diamonds, lucite, pewter, taxidermy, tortoiseshell, terra cotta, vinyl records…she didn’t leave any stone unturned. She didn’t include stones per se, but she did include onyx which well, actually is a stone!

 

Finally, she included a Reference section.

 

Martha is nothing if not thorough and I think that’s one of the things I like about her. I also like that you can rely on her advice. She has some amazing tips and hints that I’ve never heard of. For example, it is best to store paint cans upside down (after sealing them carefully) so that the paint will form an airtight seal around the lid. I was very interested in her paint insights since I have been doing painting projects around my house recently. So far I’ve painted a coat closet and the trim around my garage door and back door. I’d like to do a lot more but if I start thinking about it, I’ll feel overwhelmed!

 

There are many photos in Martha’s handbook and she is not shy in showing photos of her own brand such as Martha Stewart latex paint. All photos are in black and white and are of high quality.

 

You can find the most basic help such as How to Wash Dishes by Hand, or Sewing on a Button to more complex help such as How to Fix a Compression Faucet or How to Replace a Wall Switch. Anything electrical has always been something I’ve shied away from but with Martha’s step by step instruction…I might be tempted!

 

My only criticism of this book is her “cleaning calendar.” If I cleaned all the things she suggests you clean daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonally, I would probably die of exhaustion and would never need to exercise! Maybe these are the things I should be doing when I wake up at 3:00 am and can’t get back to sleep! That would be the only way I could fit in all the cleaning. Other than that, I highly recommend Martha’s handbook. It would make a great gift at a bridal shower or for a young person getting their first apartment if you don’t mind spending $45.00.

5 stars *****

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Authentic Recipes From the Mediterranean

7 Oct https://marcellarousseau.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/1382262_376997511.jpg

You’ve heard of the Mediterranean Diet but exactly what are some of the recipes enjoyed on this “diet”?

There are about 21 countries in the Mediterranean but I can only speak authentically for one: Italy. My mother’s side of the family came from Bari, Italy (southern Italy) and my father’s side of the family came from Arzignano, Italy (northern Italy).

The differences in their cuisine were as different as their dialects! The northern side of the family ate Polenta, risotto, salads of bean, asparagus, and frittatas (egg dishes with vegetables). The southern side of the family ate deep-dish pizzas (no cheese), nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds), pastas (ravioli, penne, spaghetti, stars, orecchiette), cold cuts (mortadella, prosciutto, ham, capacola – spelled many ways), and osso buco.

Of course, they ate more dishes than those, but those are the ones I remember. Add to this mix the dishes my American-born mother would prepare. I would assume that she learned many of her dishes from her mother.

Let’s talk about the unusual dishes that my family made and get that out of the way first. I won’t point fingers at who prepared/ate these dishes but if you want to guess, be my guest.

  1. Cow’s tongue. I still remember seeing a big, fat cow’s tongue sitting on a plate after it had been boiled. It looked awful. It tasted awful and I’ve never been a picky eater. Was this Italian fare? I have no idea!
  2. Chicken feet. I still remember trying these things. Legs of just skin and bones. This was the Mediterranean Diet? No wonder they were all so slim. Last, but certainly not least:
  3. Birds. Don’t argue with me, argue with them. That’s what they called them: birds. I remember going out in the backyard as a kid with my grandfather and he would kill the birds in the trees with a stone. They never knew what hit them. He was quite a shot. I don’t remember ever eating a “bird.”

And you thought it was just anchovies that were awful! OK, now for the less strange.

Asparagus and Hard Boiled Egg Salad

This salad is delicious and low calorie and chances are you’ve never heard of it. It’s also easy to prepare. Snap off and discard the tough ends of the asparagus and boil the remainders until tender. Boil two eggs until hard-boiled. Allow everything to cool completely. Mash the asparagus and the eggs together. Add a little olive oil and red wine vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Delicious!

Red Kidney Bean Salad

Drain one can of red kidney beans and pour into a bowl. Mince one clove of garlic and finely chop two tablespoons parsley and add both to the bowl. Add oil and red wine vinegar to taste. Add salt and pepper to taste. Easy, delicious, and good for you. I make this often in the summer.

Double-decker Thick Crust Pizza

If I had the original recipe I would share it. This was a two-layer pizza. The bottom layer was thick and the top layer was thin. In the middle were glazed onion slices, big green olive halves, and anchovies (which I used to pick out when I was a kid). The ends of this dough were very high and thick, higher and thicker than any other pizza I’ve ever seen. The crust was the oiliest I’ve ever eaten. It was the best thick crust pizza I’ve ever eaten and ever will eat, guaranteed. Your best bet is to use a recipe for a thick crust pizza dough. Add a good amount of olive oil to the pan and while it’s rising, prepare the onion, olive, and anchovy mixture. I swear, I can still smell and taste this pizza. I came close to duplicating it once.

Risotto

Nobody made risotto like my grandmother. It seemed like she cooked it for hours, occasionally adding more chicken stock and would stir and stir. She also added bits of chicken liver which I picked out when I was a kid. Something about her risotto made it stay hot so I would spread it out on my large plate to the very edges with my fork and eat around the edges which were the coolest parts. I never came close to duplicating it and I never added chicken livers.

Dandelion, Broccoli Rabe, Escarole, Broccoli, Artichokes

These green vegetables are prepared pretty much the same way with chopped garlic, olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes to taste and some water and they’re all delicious. Wash and trim them carefully. Cut into pieces that are comfortable for you. I like to cut my dandelion (yes, the weed but you buy it in the supermarket) in half. For broccoli rabe or rapini, I like to cut the lower end into small pieces since the lower ends are tougher and take longer to cook. For the escarole I cut the leaves in half. Escarole is very versatile. I use it in place of lettuce in sandwiches and I cook it as a green vegetable for a side dish. It is delicious! I’ll give the directions for the artichokes last.

Be careful not to overcook the broccoli. Overcooked broccoli causes the same reaction as eating baked beans. Make sure you have enough water in the pan. If all the water evaporates you will burn the broccoli, the house will smell awful and you won’t want to eat it. So, add more water in the broccoli pan than you do for the other greens. The same is true for the artichokes – more water but don’t cover them with water.

My mother used to quarter the artichokes. (Remember to remove the hairy chokes in the middle and the thorns at the tips because you can’t eat those parts.) I like to stuff my artichokes with seasoned bread crumbs. They take longer to cook that way. Nowadays, every chef I see preparing artichokes on TV removes all the leaves and only prepares the heart of the artichoke. I think they’re missing out on all the fun of scraping the leaves between your teeth. Also, a good chef will know how to prepare a good dipping sauce for the leaves. If you’ve never tried an artichoke before, order one in a restaurant. It’s a delicate flavor, creamy and delicious when artichokes are at their peak of goodness.

Lentils, split-peas, chick peas (Garbanzos, or cici beans), navy beans, cannellini beans, lima beans and fava beans.

My mother made soups out of each of these except for the fava beans although she ate them too. Nothing fancy, just good!

Meats

Sausages, lamb chops, pork chops, spare ribs, steak, veal cutlets, chicken, hamburger. These were all cooked by my mother mostly broiled except for the spare ribs which she put in a tomato sauce. I only remember one dish that my grandmother made with either lamb chops or pork chops. She put the chops in a pan, sliced up about a half cup onion, sliced two potatoes, peeled; quartered a tomato, add spices (probably oregano or thyme, salt and pepper), and about a cup of water and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Bake covered until tender. Delicious. I make this once in a while. Don’t forget to dunk crusty Italian bread in those juices!

So, if you’ve ever wondered what recipes folks from the Mediterranean enjoyed, these are some of them.

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Top Reasons to Drink Water When Exercising

5 Oct Cool Water

Just as an observer in several health clubs, I rarely see anyone drinking water. It’s ironic that these exercise enthusiasts are sweating to attain good health yet not drinking enough water while exercising can ultimately give them kidney stones.

 

The number of people in the United States with kidney stones has been increasing over the past 30 years. In fact, the number nearly doubled since 1997. There are other health problems from not drinking enough water.

 

Limited Water Intake Symptoms

Limited water intake can cause dry coughs, bronchitis, dry skin, acne, nose bleeds, urinary tract infections, constant sneezing, sinus pressure, and headaches and the above-mentioned kidney stones.

 

Benefits of drinking water when you exercise.

 

  • Water with Lemon. Besides quenching your thirst after a workout, lemons have a high concentration of citrate  which naturally inhibits kidney stone formation. If you can’t drink water, drink lemonade.

 

  • Metabolism Boost. Drinking cold water amps up your metabolism. Since your body has to work to warm up the water, you will be burning a few extra calories in the process.

 

 

  • Your Skin. If you allow your body to get dehydrated by not drinking enough water, fine lines and wrinkles deepen. Water flushes out impurities and improves circulation besides plumping the skin.

 

  • Digestion. Water helps pass waste in the body. If you are dehydrated, your body will absorb water meant for your colon and other areas of the body. This will leave your colon dry and make it difficult to pass waste.

 

How You Lose Water

You lose several cups of water everyday through breathing alone . The lungs require humid air to work. The average adult loses about six cups of water a day through urination and during exercise up to four cups per hour. When these loses are added up, it’s easy to see why the body needs fluid replenishment.

 

Understanding why water is so beneficial to the body makes it a little easier to drink.

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