A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

 TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (30)

9-22 FOR THE WATCHFUL EYE

The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and there a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many…. September is dressing herself in showy dahlias and splendid marigolds and starry zinnias. October, the extravagant sister, has ordered an immense amount of the most gorgeous forest tapestry for her grand reception.  – Oliver Wendell Holmes

I’ve shared a bit of the fun we have in late summer/early fall here in Kansas!  Our menus change from salads to stews!  Every woman in Kansas is reviewing their recipe cards and stocking up on slow cooker liners.  I’ve found a few coupons for those liners (they are expensive, let’s admit it).  The most important small appliance in my kitchen is my crock pot.  I use it quite often because it’s so simple to dump and cook.  That’s my style – dump and cook!  🙂

I was inspired by our trip to Louisburg, KS for the apple festival on September 10th to search for recipes that use apples.  We brought home a couple of jars of their wonderful sugar-free apple butter, but in my search today, look what I found!

CROCK POT APPLE BUTTER

Approximately 3 lb. apples ( make sure 1/2 are Granny Smith )
Gala , Fugi, Or Granny Smith
3 cups sugar (I will definitely use Splenda)
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
Dash of salt
3/4 cup water or fresh apple cider

Fill Crock-pot 3/4 full with peeled, cored and sliced apples. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until evenly mixed. Cover and cook on low setting overnight or until the butter is of a thick, spreadable consistency.

If apple butter has too much liquid, remove lid and cook on high until thickened. Stir often as butter thickens to prevent scorching.

Mash Apple Butter until chunky or smooth with hand-held masher or blender
Store in refrigerator for up to 6 weeks. Freeze for longer storage.
Put in jars with water bath processing also.

Found on Pinterest and Holly’s kitchen

I found a video tour from 2014:

https://youtu.be/khCFDem01YQ

I don’t think I’ve shared my photos from Louisburg with y’all.  If I have, just humor me and look at them again.  😉

APPLES-screenshot

top left:  I wish you could have heard that sign squeaking as it blew back and forth.  Squeak…  squeak…  sounds so much like autumn to me!

top right:  The business of this business is apple cider!  This is the barn where all the apple cider is made.  You can’t tell from this photo, but behind the barn there are apples floating around in water – they go up a conveyor belt and through all the different processes from there.  I wish you could have smelled the APPLE scent inside that barn – it’s better than any scentsy wax melt I’ve ever used!

bottom left:  Their own label of sparkling apple cider!  Ah – it is amazing!

bottom right:  Yep – it’s an apple cider donut!  Hey – I’m not gonna drive all those miles and not have one little apple cider donut.  That was lunch – and mmm…  it was yummilicious!  🙂

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JULY IS HERBAL / PRESCRIPTION INTERACTION AWARENESS MONTH

TL JULY IS HERBAL  PRESCRIPTION INTERACTION AWARENESS MONTH

HAPPY PILLS

Most of us have had to fill out paperwork before having surgery.  They always want you to list your medications, including herbal supplements.  Have you ever wondered why?

Just as our prescription medication does a certain job, so the herbal supplements do a certain job.  I want to urge you to look through your medications, including the herbal supplements, and find out if there may be some interaction between them.

http://www.webmd.com/interaction-checker/

There are other sites that offer this service, but I trust WebMD.  If you are unable to find a drug or herbal supplement on here, please write down the name of it and contact your pharmacist about possible interactions.

While we should not discount the use of herbal supplements, I do think we should be aware of what they are capable of doing before just popping them because sister so-and-so has had great results with them.

Here are just a few drug interactions that I’m aware of.  In most cases, the herbal supplement basically does the same job as the prescription medication – so it’s like getting too much of a good thing – which is not always good.

  • An anticoagulant prescribed by the doctor should not be combined with Chamomile, Ginger or Ginseng.  Large amounts of cranberry juice or a cranberry supplement should not be taken.  Green tea has a blood-thinning quality and could cause problems.  Coenzyme Q10 and Feverfew also thin blood.
  • An anti-depressant prescribed by the doctor should not be combined with St. John’s Wort, Yohimbe, or Goldenseal.
  • An anti-seizure medication prescribed by the doctor should not be combined with Ginko Biloba or Evening Primrose Oil.
  • An oral contraceptive or hormone replacement therapy should not be combined with Saw Palmetto.
  • If you ingest much caffeine, Echinacea should not be used.  It slows  digestion of the caffeine, causing headaches.
  • Acetaminophen interacts with Black Cohosh.
  • Pain medications interact with Valerian.
  • Buprenorphine interacts with Kava.

Obviously, this is not a complete list.  Of course, if you have more concerns, talk to your pharmacist. 🙂

 

ST. PATRICK’S DAY

TL 3-17 ST. PATRICK'S DAY

If a man who cannot count finds a four-leaf clover, is he lucky?  – Stanislaw J. Lec

My friend Mary has been to Ireland.  As she explained all the sights she saw, I imagined myself being there.  There’s a reason it’s called The Emerald Isle, it looks like the grass is just as green as green can be.  The land looks so rich and lush, with a lot of rocks to go with it, which I suppose explains all the stone walls we see in photographs.

May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.
– Irish Blessing

I’m not Irish, but who cares?  Today I will wear my Celtic knot necklace and matching earrings and pretend I am Irish!  We will probably eat at a local Irish pub and talk about the rainbow and the pot o’ gold at the end of it!  I’ll have a non-alcoholic green drink and sing off-key if the occasion calls for it.

Did you know that a rainbow is actually a full circle?  So technically, there is not an “end” of the rainbow – it goes on and on…  so much for that Irish tradition.  I’m not joking – to see a photo, go to

http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2014/09/17/circular_rainbow_rare_optic_effect_seen_from_the_air.html

Don’t get me started on the gold.  I heard there are some of those gold companies that have been accused of short-changing their ounces, if you know what I mean.  Ugh – these are days to be wary of any transaction you undertake to be sure!

I like this poem by Lucinda Berry Hill.

I don’t have one negative thing to say about emerald-green!  As far as I know, emerald-green is still the color to be wearing today (unless you’re fond of being pinched).   I have no particular aversion to being pinched, depending on how hard and by whom…  LOL!

Oh, I hope you will subscribe to my You Tube channel!  See you there!  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCS7sW2Aph5FkgrJUBbXLQcA

As we think of the luck of the Irish today, I am reminded of a story about a very unlucky bank robber:

When an attempted robbery at a home-improvement store went awry, the suspect fled across the street and jumped a fence…  right into a nudist resort.  As the Orlando Sentinel pointed out, because the would-be criminal was “one of the only folks wearing clothing,” he was easily spotted by police.

May God be with you as you celebrate today!  🙂

 

 

MARCH IS NATIONAL CAFFEINE AWARENESS MONTH

TL MARCH IS NATIONAL CAFFEINE AWARENESS MONTH

I know it’s Monday and you might be tempted to call in and skip work.  I thought I might give you a few suggestions about the excuse you give.  These excuses didn’t work the first time, so chances are they won’t fly a second time either:

  • My false teeth flew out the window while I was driving down the highway.
  • I quit smoking and I’m grouchy.
  • My favorite football team lost on Sunday, so I needed Monday to recover.
  • I received a threatening phone call from the electric company and needed to report it to the FBI.
  • I got lost and ended up in a different state.

And while I’m giving you Monday morning advice – let me tell you what NOT to say to the officer who pulls you over for speeding this morning:

  • Officer, I was speeding because I hit a skunk a few miles back and I was trying to outrun the smell.

Yes, folks – that’s a real excuse that my husband, a former officer, heard from a guy.  Actually, it did work because it made my husband laugh – he did let the guy go.

March is NATIONAL CAFFEINE AWARENESS MONTH!!!  My question is…  can one consume too much caffeine on a Monday morning???

Wow – there’s something to think about.

moe-595955
What is your Monday morning source of caffeine???

It’s amazing how quickly an office full of people can go through one pot of freshly brewed coffee.  There are other sources of caffeine besides coffee though – I know it’s hard to believe, but it seems there is a new trend toward those energy drinks – like Red Bull.

A few years ago there were several reports of deaths from over consumption of energy drinks.  Apparently the caffeine over stimulated the heart, causing death.  I haven’t heard any of those stories lately – and I’m not sure if it’s because young people have gotten smarter or the stories just don’t make headlines anymore.  I’m sure there is still some pending litigation.

Caffeine is a drug – a stimulant!  I know if I have too much caffeine and then don’t have any for a while – I get a huge migraine headache.  Excedrin Migraine (which, interestingly enough, contains caffeine) is the answer for me.  Weird though – I have to take the migraine pill – I can’t just load up on caffeine from any other source – that makes the headache worse.

A girl I worked with used to have a diet Dr. Pepper every morning of the world – that was her caffeine source.  A lot of people choose pop instead of coffee for their morning fix.  I used to walk in to work every morning with my large refillable mug of coffee from the QT.  There’s no way I was going to throw stones at the pop drinkers I worked with.

I have a flirting acquaintance with diet pop.  In my mind I know it’s not good for me – it’s got all those chemicals I can’t pronounce and is sweetened with aspartame to boot.  It’s unhealthy bad stuff – but I go back to diet Dr. Pepper time and again.  I quit and say I won’t drink anymore – but once in a while I just have to indulge again.

The main sources of caffeine for me are chocolate, coffee and diet Dr. Pepper…  oh, and Excedrin Migraine when I get a migraine headache from withdrawal.  Am I aware of caffeine?  Yeah, I think it’s safe to say I’m quite aware of it.  🙂

 

NATIONAL COFFEE BREAK DAY

TL 1-20 NATIONAL COFFEE BREAK DAY

1-20 PUTTING ON THE COFFEE

1-20 SO YOU WANT TO TAKE A COFFEE BREAK

Oh the adventures in coffee I’ve had!  The coffee break stories I could tell you…  hmm.  I have some favorite coffee breaks, like the one I took back in 1985…  but I digress.  This day is to teach you how to take a coffee break.  What’s that?  You didn’t know there was a right way and a wrong way?  Well, you’ve come to the right place.  Let’s begin.

Here are some suggestions about how to celebrate NATIONAL COFFEE BREAK DAY:

It doesn’t take much to entertain me, especially on the internet!  I found a really cute place where you can design your own coffee mug!  I put my “Wanted” poster on a mug, and a photo of the very handsome Cary Grant on another one (let’s face it, looking at him first thing in the morning would not be a bad thing).  Here’s the link if you’d like to design your own mug.  http://www.nationalcoffeebreak.org/new/design.php

If you click on some of the other tabs there, you can learn everything you ever wanted to know about coffee and coffee breaks!  Down through the years, I have seen folks do coffee breaks all wrong.  For example, I used to work with a girl who would take her laptop into the break room and continue working through her coffee break.  Hmm…  what’s wrong with this picture???  The idea of a coffee break is to take a BREAK from working for just a few minutes.

Another coffee break disaster has to do with the one who actually put the coffee pot on.  You can tell which people engage in serious coffee drinking and which ones just dabble at it.  It’s never a good idea to have the dabblers make the coffee.  You don’t know what you might end up with.  You could end up with grounds in the bottom of your coffee cup! Eeeewww…  that has the potential to wreck the rest of your otherwise happy day.

GROUNDS IN YOUR CUP

So leave the coffee prep to the professional coffee drinkers!  You might want to put a sign on the coffee maker at work – COFFEE DABBLERS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO TOUCH THIS COFFEE MAKER.  If it’s anything like our office, you’ll have everyone claiming to be a dabbler because nobody wants to make the coffee.  Sigh!  That’s when the office needs a COFFEE HERO – that one person who admits they are a professional coffee drinker and they are qualified to make good coffee for the rest of the office.  In our office that person was me.  While everyone stood around the coffee maker arguing about who would make the next pot, I walked in and physically removed all of them and just did it.  I made the coffee – and you know what?  It never hurt me to take the time.  My productivity was not in any way impaired for stepping up!  Strange, huh???

I also observe the people who take a coffee break with a cell phone in the other hand.  Again, unless it is an emergency, put the phone down, sit in your chair and enjoy your coffee undistracted by outside forces.  Coffee breaks are a time to kick back and let the caffeine kick in.

There are also the donut / pastry / junk out of the vending machine dunking people.  I like to watch them in action.  If I could join them I would because it would be fun to be a dunker.  Since I’m diabetic it’s really not something I should even get started, but I enjoy watching someone dunk their sweet whatever in a piping hot cup of java!  I think they must enjoy their coffee break the most.

So, to recap (or is that recup – get it, coffee cup?  Oh never mind):

  • Design a coffee mug at  http://www.nationalcoffeebreak.org/new/design.php
  • Click on other tabs to learn more about coffee and coffee breaks
  • No dabblers should be allowed to make coffee – professional coffee drinkers only
  • No cell phones should be allowed during your coffee break
  • Dunking is allowed only if you are healthy

I hope this little tutorial has been helpful.  It’s only Tuesday, so you may need more than one cup of coffee when you take your break.  You have my permission…  Wink!  😉

 

 

INTERNATIONAL COFFEE DAY

TL 9-29 INTERNATIONAL COFFEE DAY

What kind of sweetener do you use in your morning cup of Joe???

A diabetic needs as many facts as possible when choosing foods, but have you given much thought to the sweetener you use? There are so many choices out there! Most of us know that sugar is not really an option because it’s a simple carbohydrate and raises blood sugar very quickly. It has 15 calories per teaspoon.

When I was a kid in the 1960’s, the first diet soda, TAB, hit the market. That is the only soda my mother would drink. It was sweetened with SACCHARIN, which was linked to cancer back then, but that research was debunked, and the FDA and the National Cancer Institute believe it is safe. Saccharin these days goes under the name SWEET ‘N LOW. I call it as PINK SWEET. I don’t use pink, but I just don’t like the aftertaste.

A product containing ASPARTAME came out called EQUAL. It has 4 calories per teaspoon and is 200 times sweeter than sugar. It’s not easy to cook with and doesn’t work well in baked goods. Aspartame is deemed safe by the FDA and the National Cancer Institute, however, a study of more than 3,000 women linked it with kidney decline. Diabetics fight kidney issues to begin with, so for that reason alone I choose to leave aspartame alone. I call Equal BLUE SWEET. I don’t use blue, but it’s because I don’t like the aftertaste. I hate to disagree with Cher, but… oh well.

Then an artificial sweetener came out that begins as table sugar, undergoes a chemical process, and comes out 600 times sweeter than sugar with no calories. When you cook with it, use only half cup for one cup of sugar and check baked goods a few minutes before the recipe suggests. SPLENDA is my number two choice of artificial sweeteners. I call it YELLOW SWEET. I’m cautiously optimistic about SUCRALOSE, but wonder about chemically altering sugarcane. I think it’s too soon to tell if there are any side effects. It’s just too soon to tell. I use it – mostly in store-bought “diet” products such as diet cranberry juice, etc.

I use STEVIA, a zero-calorie sweetener extracted from a South American plant that is 200-300 times sweeter than sugar. I do not recommend the brand Pure Via or Truvia. I like spoonable Stevia and liquid stevia in coffee flavor for my coffee in the morning. There are also flavors like English toffee and lemon drop. Go to http://www.iherb.com for more information. And you can use Leslie’s code to save $5 off your first order.

OK – I think this guy is nuts – but there ya go.

Other natural choices would be agave nectar and monk fruit extract. Surprisingly, agave’s glycemic index is lower than sugar’s. It is not, however, calorie-free. It is better than sugar but not ideal in my opinion. Monk fruit extract is calorie-free and 150-300 times sweeter than sugar. It’s a little tricky to cook with because it varies in sweetness. Something more consistent should be used for cooking or baking.

We’ve come a long way since the days of TAB and horrible aftertaste! It’s great that we have so many choices these days. I’m so glad that diabetics can enjoy just a bit of SWEET once in a while. 😉

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

COOKIE

I’m celebrating with a cookie today!  On this day in 1971, the first episode of COLUMBO was broadcast on NBC-TV.  That was one of my favorite shows!  I remember watching it with a glass of milk and a cookie.

Well, diabetes has brought about a challenge and I can’t just eat any old cookie anymore.  I do have a pretty good recipe for peanut butter cookies.  I’ll make these and watch the very first episode of COLUMBO on DVD!  I tried to post the YouTube video of this episode, but due to copyright it was pulled by YouTube.  Hopefully you have the DVD and can watch it to celebrate.

CHEWY PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES

Ingredients:
•1 cup creamy peanut butter
•1/3 cup honey (I use HoneyTree Imitation Honey)
•1 egg
•1/2 tsp baking soda
•1/4 tsp natural sea salt

Directions:
1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2.Mix all ingredients together until you have a sticky dough.

3.Drop level cookie scoops onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. (Don’t press with a fork until later)
4.Bake for 10-12 minutes.
5.Remove from oven and let cool completely on the cookie sheet.
6.Halfway through the cooling process, press a crisscross into the cookies with a fork, if desired.
7.NOTE: the cookies with become more firm as they cool.
8.MAKES 20 COOKIES.

Nutritional Facts for 1 Cookie
Calories 95
Total Fat 6 g
Sodium 365 mg
Carbohydrates 7 g
Protein 3 g

Hey – make a batch of cookies and enjoy COLUMBO!  Weren’t the 1970’s great???  😉