Tuesday, June 6, 2017

ON THE MENU - WHO IS GAME?

ON THE MENU is my way of creating a game plan for living authentically.  Each of us will find our own path through this rugged and delightful, BITTER AND SWEET world, finding ways to spice up our routine and live well.  Look to the WORD GAME for words to use or come up with your own.  Keep adding words that are meaningful to you.  Today you may need more understanding and need to show more kindness.  Tomorrow is another story.

You can name your life recipes whatever you desire such as "LIVING WITH JOY"  This sample recipe is called "CREATING POSSIBILITIES"  My first attempt was to begin as an ordinary recipe with precise measurements; a cup of this, 2 Tablespoons of that but quickly realized that this is far from an ordinary recipe and the rules of adjustment and building as you go along, still apply.  I choose not to put my ingredients in precise measurement but you certainly have the flexibility of doing just that.

The ritual powers up my day, feeds my body and just as important, nourishes my soul.

                               RECIPE FOR CREATING POSSIBILITIES

                                          Start with positive vibes,
                                          Throw in understanding,
                                           Kindness and respect,
                                           Patience and fortitude.
                                           Add a dollop of compassion,
                                           For wholesome goodness.
                                           Make adjustment for bitter taste,
                                           Add more delights, A good amount of wisdom,
                                           A pile of Hope, with a joyful spirit.
                                           Sprinkle lots of GRATITUDE
                                           And mix thoroughly
                                           To balance it out; sealing the flavor
                                           And keeping it preserved.
                                            Savor it all.
                                            Offer a BIG SERVING, every chance you get!

ON THE MENU - WORD GAME
                      {No Special Order}


Adjustment
Awareness
Balance
Compassion
Connect
Courage
Daily Intentions
Declutter
Delights
Determination
Expand
Explore
Fitness
Forgiveness
Fortitude
Goodwill
Gratitude
Healthy
Hurdles
Inspired
Journey
Joyful Spirit
Kindness
Lift Up
Love
Mindful
Movement
Nutrition
Nourishment
Overcome
Paradise
Patience
Possibility
Positive Vibes
Recalculating
Recharge
Rejuvenate
Revitalize
Respect
Rest stop
Savor
Sensitivity
Soar
Soul Satisfying
Sustainable
Understanding
Venture
Welcome
Wholesome
Wisdom

SIDE ORDERS:  Add your choice of words

Peace &Love





Saturday, April 22, 2017

A BIG DOSE OF KINDNESS & GRATITUDE COME TO LIFE

Today, was the day to make merry, it is April 15 and we are about to meet the young boys and girls and their families who were invited to our event for the day.  CHOOSE TO  CARE (CTC) and NUTRITIONISTS & FRIENDS IN ACTION (NAFIA) members came out to lend a helping hand.  Despite a free day from work, they were there in full force all revved up and ready to go.

Of course this event included the health benefits of nutrition and physical activities.  We borrowed from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), the theme "Put Your Best Fork Forward"  One of the team members shared the greatness of whole grains, naming bulgur, quinoa, millet, rice, etc. Some one else led the group through songs and shouted the actions we should take, such as touching our head and moving down to our toes, moving left and right, stomping our feet and sliding.  We tried to keep up with the orders but it was a feat and peals of laughter and excitement rang through the crowd.

After the workout we were hungry and watched as another member demonstrated the preparation of the Fiesta Rice Salad we were waiting to devour. The menu featured this refreshing salad, packed with a variety of ingredients that you can swap out for the ones you prefer(see recipe).  Some of the kids moved closer to watch the "chef" tossed and mixed.  It was such a good sign to see the attentive youth, a nod to our healthier lifestyle movement, we hope will take root in our community.  We know this can be achieved and we are depending on the children to actively participate.  Another of our team member "the commentator" guided us through the preparation steps of this delicious dish and we shared the recipe so that the families can make it at home.

This event gave us our first "intern" who was inspired to approach us to be of assistance.  We are delighted and will surely contact her for our next event in August 2017.  The children left with a brand new pair of shoes, fulfilling CTC's mission which is to provide a brand new pair of shoes for the youth in need.  We continue to hope that exposing the families to these hands-on activities will result in positive outcomes.  We are proud to provide these few hours of cheers and fun for a good cause.

"The passion to serve
runs through your soul.
You cannot escape, even
if you wanted to.  It has landed
on your body, for the world to see."
PSW

                                               
                                                                 


                                                 FIESTA RICE SALAD

Makes 4 Servings
This cool and refreshing salad is a great way to use leftover rice and turn it into dinner on a hot summer night.

Ingredients
1 cup brown rice (cooked)
1 carrot (shredded)
1 cup broccoli (finely chopped)
1 small red onion (chopped)
1 cup tomato (chopped)
1 bell pepper (green, red, yellow)
1 can kidney beans (15oz, drained, rinsed)
2 tbs. cilantro (or other fresh herbs, finely chopped)
2 tbs. red wine vinegar(white or cider)
1 tbs. vegetable oil
Salt & pepper (to taste)

Directions

  1. Wash & chop vegetables & mix with cooked rice.
  2. In a small bowl, add vinegar, oil, dill, salt & pepper(or use your favorite dressing.)
  3. Pour over rice mixture
  4. Add beans and toss well. Serve and enjoy.





                                         


Saturday, April 15, 2017

CALLING FOR EDIFICATION

                                                        Her body is erect
                                                        Straight as an arrow
                                                        With her head held high
                                                        She moves with caution
                                                       Aware of the proverbial knife in her back
                                                       She has no fear
                                                       As she waits for the one
                                                       Who will bury it deep.


                                                      Hateful Dora has a plan
                                                      I know I can, I know I can
                                                      Let's begin a blame game
                                                      And scandalize her name
                                                      At things like this I am a pro
                                                      I will let everyone know she is a foe
                                                     Already I can feel the delightful glow
                                                     Wow this is hot
                                                     Come on, let's thicken this plot


                                                    Join me, let's show her a thing or two
                                                   Working together is not hard to do
                                                    Let's pull her down
                                                    And make her frown
                                                    In her pitiful self, she will drown
                                                    And at last, they will hand us the crown.


                                                    The plan they thought was tightly woven
                                                    Fell apart as was proven
                                                   And the one they wished to conquer
                                                   Held her head to the sky
                                                  And only asked why?
                                                  Victorious for the moment
                                                  But cautious she remained
                                                  I will never let you break me
                                                  she whispered.

Peace & Love

Saturday, March 25, 2017

ADDING FLAVOR WITH SPICES AND HERBS

Search out the following herbs and spices and add zest to your meals.  Some come both fresh and dried.

Annatto: Also known as achiote are orange red seeds.Used to flavor soups,stews and rice and fish dishes.  The seeds are often steeped in oil, which takes on the color of the annatto.

Anise:  This wild herb has a slightly minty and licorice flavor; gives a tasty flavor to beverages and fruit salads.

Basil:  Pairs well with parmesan, ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, tomatoes, pasta, eggs; gives off an aroma of lemon,mint and licorice.

Berbere:  This is a popular spice used in many Ethiopian dishes.  Contains allspice, coriander, paprika, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, onion and fenugreek.  used to season vegetables and meat.

Cinnamon:  Made from leaves and sticks of the cinnamon plant and are used to flavor puddings, cereals and beverages.

Chervil:  The leaves resemble those of the carrots and are used fresh and dried, added to cream based soups, scrambled eggs, green salads and fish dishes.

Chives:  Used in egg dishes, cream cheese, sauces and soups, root vegetables, particularly potatoes.

Cilantro:  The fresh leaves are used in soups, stews, curries, vegetables and salads.  It has a lemony, floral flavor and used in Thai, Indian and Mexican cuisine.

Coriander:  The fresh leaves are used in stews, soups and vegetable dishes.  The seeds are crushed and used to thicken sauces such as curries.

Culantro:  Used in soups, curries and noodle dishes. It comes with serrated leaves and although related to cilantro has a deeper aroma.

Curry Leaf:  The aroma reminds one of a mix of citrus and anise. These leaves are native to India and are green on top and pale on the bottom, mainly used in legumes and vegetables and savory pastries such as samosa.

Dill :  Fine and feathery leaves, used in mild cheeses, omelets, herrings, salmon.  The seeds are added to stews, rice and breads.

Garam Masala:  A mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, mace, peppercorns, coriander and cumin.  Used in Indian recipes and breads.

Ginger:  The ginger root has pale brown skin and cream-colored flesh.  Scrape off the skin and then slice, chop or grate to add to vegetable, meat, poultry and seafood dishes.  Also used in puddings and cakes.

Lemongrass:  A coarse tropical grass also called citronella.  The bulb and the white portion of the stalk are used as seasonings.  Sliced or chopped lemongrass can be used in soups, sauces and stir-fry. Use in Thai, Vietnamese cuisines.

Mint:  Used in herb teas, meat, poultry,fish and sweet dishes.  Mint has a deep green color and has a cooling effect.

Nutmeg:  is a light brown kernel encased in a web of mace and both spices are aromatic, used in sweet dishes, eggnog, winter squash, potatoes, carrots and cauliflower.

Oregano:  native to the Mediterranean,has soft green leaves, pungent and robust aroma, used in stews, soups, casseroles and sauces.

Parsley:  Used in Middle Eastern cooking and can be added to a variety of dishes, such as stews, salads, fish, poultry, pasta, rice, tabbouleh or used as garnish.

Ras el Hanout:  A mixture of many spices and is basic to Moroccan cooking.

Rosemary:  Can be found year round in the grocery store.  Used in meat, chicken, vegetable dishes and goes well with potatoes.

Sage:  Used in stuffing, salads, sauces and pasta dishes.

Thyme:  A small grayish green leaf herb, which is used to season meat, poultry, vegetable dishes, stews and soups.  Thyme is available fresh yer round in the grocery store.

Zatar:  This is a tangy blend of herbs and spices such as thyme,oregano, toasted sesame seeds and sumac; can be used to season meats or mixed with plain yogurt and a drizzle of olive oil for a dip.




DRIED  HERB  BLEND


2 tsps                             Ground black pepper
2 tsps                               Sage
2 tsps                               Allspice
2 tbs                                Thyme
8 tbs                                 Oregano
8 tbs                                 Onion Powder
3 tbs                                 Rosemary
3 tbs                                 Basil
3 tbs                                 Garlic Powder


Mix all ingredients together and store in a glass container.

Tip:  Stir up your own dried herb blend and liven up your dishes.  A plus when you have to reduce your salt intake.






Peace & Love
Spread joy wherever you go!




Wednesday, December 21, 2016

THE INVITATION

The invitation said:
                                MEET ME AT ENERGIZED &JOYFUL STREETS

and one by one they came on the tenth of December 2016, they knew exactly where to find us.  This was Choose To Care's and Nutritionist and Friends in Action (NAFIA) celebration of the youth and their families.  They were introduced to the variety of squash and their goodness; rich sources of beta-carotene, vitamin C, Potassium and Fiber.  Of course the roasted seeds make a tasty and nutritious snack.

A basket on display, featured a few varieties such as butternut, acorn, kabocha and spaghetti squash.  A guessing game of naming them turned into a fun exercise and we introduced ways to use these versatile root vegetables from soup and salad to entree and dessert.

The fun continued with lively music that had us moving to the beat.  Then we settled down to the hearty kabocha flan, that came with an easy to make recipe. The children and parents came back for seconds, it was heartwarming to hear some of the mothers said they would make this dish at home.

And this is what life is about, we took a familiar recipe for flan and made a substitution of pineapple to kabocha squash, that was a delight.  The fear of trying out something new diminished; they experienced trust, they recognized caring from the hands that provided this treat at this special gathering.  As they left with their packages of a brand new pair of shoes, we had once more accomplished Choose To Care's mission of providing this small token to a deserving group of children.  One child at a time indeed!

On behalf of Choose To Care and NAFIA, I want to extend my best wishes to you and your family for a joyful, healthy holiday and a wonderful 2017.

Peace and Love!

Please enjoy the Kabocha Flan recipe:

Ingredients:
*     Kabocha - 1 cup
*     Eggs - 6 medium
*     Condensed milk - 1 (12 oz. can)
*     Evaporated milk - 1 (12 oz. can)
*     Skim milk - 1 cup
*     Cinnamon - 1 teaspoon

Caramel:
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water

Preparation:

1.    Cut the kabocha into pieces and boil until tender.  Remove and peel the kabocha pieces.
2.     Place peeled kabocha and all other ingredients together in  a blender and blend until it reaches a
        thick and smooth consistency.
3.     Mix the sugar and water to form the caramel, then place in a baking dish.
4.     Add the kabocha mixture to the baking dish.  Place the baking dish on a large oven- proof  
         container with water. The water should go halfway up the side of the baking dish.
5.     Place in the preheated oven (350 degrees F.).  Bake for 45 minutes. Best served cold.
                                       

Friday, November 25, 2016

A MOST CAPTIVATING PASSING OF TIME

"I have always known that at last I would take this road but
yesterday I did not know it would be today."
Akiro No Narihara

I have began so many of my stories with that quote, which truly describes my life's journey.  Every now and then I have the urge to look at my list of the places I would like to travel to.  I make adjustments, mark off the places I have visited, erase those I no longer desire to see for whatever reasons and add to the ever growing list, gems that I continue to discover through travel magazines and conversations with other travelers. I know for sure that a lifetime is not enough to see this vast world of ours.  I want to share this amazing pilgrimage, my first, that took me from Venice, Florence, Assisi and to Rome and the Vatican City.

A group of women  and men, forty-seven total, traveled together from the St. Boniface Parish for this unforgettable experience.  A priest from the Church commanded this gathering in celebration of his 25th anniversary as a Priest.  His Bishop from his country of birth the Philippines also came along. We landed in Zurich and headed out  to Venice, a beautiful city surrounded by water.  The gondola ride and the men singing their heart out kept us smiling even though the clouds opened up and the rain drops came sprinkling down. We lingered for a day and night doing the city tour, some shopping and giving thanks during the celebration of our first mass in Italy.

Then we were off to Florence, passing through Tuscany I remembered Lydia the TV Chef who is always cooking up a storm and singing praises for the fresh produce in the market, while she shop or pick from the family's farm; a rich agricultural region indeed.

In Assisi, the mountain air did us good and our breathtaking hotel served up deliciously grown food from the valley.  I am reminded of the prayer I carry around year after year by St. Francis of Assisi, labeled "A Simple Prayer" that begins "Lord Make Me An instrument of your peace...." I certainly had a peaceful and humbling experience to be where he lived.

Rome, the highlight of my trip.  Linda, the amazing and knowledgeable tour guide wanted us to get the best seat in the house to see Pope Francis. It was Wednesday, the day that Pap1 Francis as he is fondly called comes out to the square to greet the followers.  Linda, kept repeating "we are not competitive but we want to be first."  This became our mantra as we prepare to beat out the many thousands of people lined up to see this special man of the cloth.  She had schooled us on how to position ourselves in the long lines and where to push to reach the ideal spot with us.  We were in the fourth row and couldn't ask for a better place.  We watched with excitement as Pope Francis traveled in his motorcade through the sea of people and got out to talk to the disabled,children, those in poor health, ordinary citizens who revered this humble and God-fearing man. The mass on the square was celebrated in different languages and then the name of the Parish that the individuals came from, all over the world was read.  We clapped when when we heard our Parish, St. Boniface.

This walking tour took us to many places of interests, too many to describe them all here.  The architecture of the Coliseum, the Pantheon, the tour of the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel, left my traveling companions and I in awe.  The preservation of these historical buildings for the general public is a remarkable feat.  As I pass through this vast metropolis of millions, I noticed the homeless, the beggars, merchants hustling to sell knickknacks, vying for our attention. We were warned about groups of robbers, using children as as a distraction to peddle from the public.  This description fits our city also, so we knew to travel with care.

Daily masses served as a reminder that we are our brothers and sisters keepers.  On the trip we had some of our companions who needed assistance and great kindness was shown to them and many of the downtrodden we met.  The accomodations, no complaints. The food, delicious, so many culinary discoveries in the course of my travel.  It was the Greek Philosopher, Socrates, who said "Some people eat to live and some live to eat"  For sure, food feeds the stomach but it also feeds the heart.  A shout out to Linda, so authentic, no frills.  Thanks for the peaceful existence on our tour among the 47 travelers, respectful communication was the key.

"It always seem impossible until it is done"
Nelson Mandela

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

THE TWAIN SHOULD NEVER MEET

Yesterday Mendacity beat upon her with words of hatred; tongue lashing, fiery words of contempt spewed from her lips.  She has worked herself into a frenzy.  Her face twisted in fury, her eyes bulging with an expression of fear, exhausted she flopped herself down, consumed with bitterness.

Today she invited the one she has cursed with wishes of fire and brimstone, to view her rendition of well-being.  Posted on the wall for the world to see were words and picture scenes, assembled with messages of health.

As if to prolong her presence with the one she despises, she painstakingly explained the meaning of this display, step by step.  She moved with excitement as the RECEIVER of her condemnation looked on in awe.  This is a far cry from the carnage she continues to bring upon her.  These words flashed through her mind, DECEIVER, PRETENDER, BETRAYER, CALLOUS MANIPULATOR, TORTURER.

Dear Savior of the world, bestow kindness, mercy and gentleness on this bearer of DANGER; keep her targets far away from her, keep them from her reach, protect them all.

One Love!

REFLECTION:

*Mendacity is an unusual name - seek the meaning.

*Why do you think she has invited the one she cursed to view her renderings?

*Take a guess at a possible meaning for the picture & word scenes with messages of well-being

*She lingered as she showed her work of art - why?

*What makes you think that the cursed one does not trust this joy and excitement?

*Read again the: "Dear Savior" passage - Why is there a call for mercy and safeguarding at the same time?