Halloween is a busy night at our house. With three young kids, and two older boys plus their friends -- not to mention a surprise guest or two -- I like to make up Halloween dinner ahead of time and just pop it in the oven that evening. I serve it up buffet style with bread, veggies. This year I'm making --
FYI - Mushrooms are relatively high in protein, averaging about 20% of their dried mass. They contribute a wide range of essential amino acids, are low in fat (0.3 - 2.0%), high in fiber and provide several groups of vitamins, particularly thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, biotin, and ascorbic acid. While nutrients vary from one kind of mushroom to the next, many contain protein, vitamins A and C, B-vitamins and minerals including iron, selenium, potassium and phosphorus. Phytochemicals found in some mushrooms are being studied as possible cancer-fighting substances, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research.
_ Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil with 1 tablespoon salt and a splash of oil. Add the lasagna noodles and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and set aside.
_ For the white sauce, bring the milk to a simmer in a saucepan. Set aside. Melt 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of the butter in a large saucepan. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture all at once. Add 1 tablespoon salt, the pepper, and nutmeg, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring first with the wooden spoon and then with a whisk, for 3 to 5 minutes, until thick. Set aside off the heat.
_ Since commercially-available mushrooms are grown in a sterile medium, invest in a soft mushroom brush and simply brush away any clinging growing medium rather than washing with water. If you must, wipe them with a damp paper towel. Separate the mushroom stems from the caps and discard the stems. Slice the caps 1/4-inch thick. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large (12-inch) saute pan. When the butter melts, add half the mushrooms, sprinkle with salt, and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender and they release some of their juices. If they become too dry, add a little more oil. Toss occasionally to make sure the mushrooms cook evenly. Repeat with the remaining mushrooms and set all the mushrooms aside.
_ To assemble the lasagna, spread some of the sauce in the bottom of an 8 by 12 by 2-inch baking dish. Arrange a layer of noodles on top, then more sauce, then 1/3 of the mushrooms, and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan. Repeat 2 more times, layering noodles, sauce, mushrooms, and Parmesan. Top with a final layer of noodles and sauce, and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan.
_ Bake the lasagna for 45 minutes, or until the top is browned the sauce is bubbly and hot. Allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes and serve hot.
_ ____November 2008 Issue _ Actress Diane Keaton is a trustee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation - who knew. _ She was quoted as recently saying, "We’ve treated old buildings like we once treated plastic shopping bags — we haven’t reused them, and when we’ve finished with them, we’ve tossed them out. This has to stop. Preservation must stand alongside conservation as an equal force in the sustainability game. More older and historic buildings have to be protected from demolition, not only because it affects our pocketbooks but more important because it threatens our environment. Let’s face it, our free ride at the expense of the planet is over." _ Diane apparently has a passion for restoration. This Spanish Colonial Revival in Beverly Hills she actually bought at the beginning of the decade, but backed out during escrow and let another buyer take it. “It needed a lot of work,” she explained, “and I got cold feet.” When it went up for sale again two years ago, she bought it a second time—this time for keeps. _ The house was designed in the 1920s by California architect Ralph Flewelling. __ _____Beverly Hills, California _ _
Architecture by Ralph Flewelling/Architectural and Interior Design by Stephen Shadley Text by Gerald Clarke/Photography by Scott Frances Portraits by Peggy Sirota
_ _ _ To calculate the trade off in your local community go to Federal Budget Trade-Offs via the National Priorities Project. _ Taxpayers in Santa Rosa, California (where I live) will pay $388.4 million for total Iraq war spending approved to date. For the same amount of money, the following could have been provided: _ 159,853 People with Health Care for One Year OR 691,999 Homes with Renewable Electricity for One Year OR 6,938 Public Safety Officers for One year OR 5,487 Music and Arts Teachers for One Year OR 58,368 Scholarships for University Students for One Year OR 1,163 Affordable Housing Units OR 145,180 Children with Health Care for One Year OR 46,457 Head Start Places for Children for One Year OR 5,578 Elementary School Teachers for One Year OR 4,905 Port Container Inspectors for One year _
Denying animals the ability even to turn around is surely not an example of good stewardship.
Prop 2 a ballot initiative is an unprecedented measure that would free nearly 20 million animals from intensive confinement in cages and crates. This California ballot initiative could improve the lives of nearly 20 million creatures and spark nationwide reform.
A recent study by the prestigious Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production makes clear, the proposed California reforms are far from radical. The report, which concludes that factory farms pose unacceptable risks to public health, animal well-being, and the environment, was authored by commissioners with wide-ranging backgrounds, including former Kansas Gov. John Carlin, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman, cattle rancher Bill Niman, and University of Tennessee veterinarian Michael Blackwell.
_ Veal crates.
In order to produce veal, most calves are taken from their mothers when they are just hours or days old and then tethered by their necks in crates too narrow for them to turn around or even lie down comfortably. Virtually immobilized and prevented from engaging in natural behavior, they suffer immensely.
_ Gestation crates.
During nearly their entire four-month pregnancies, millions of female pigs used for breeding are confined in barren gestation crates – individual, metal stalls only two-feet wide. The crates are so small that the animals cannot even turn around. Barely able to move, these highly intelligent and social animals suffer terribly and develop crippling joint disorders and lameness.
_ Battery cages.
Nationwide, hundreds of millions of egg‐laying hens are confined in tiny, barren, battery cages so small that the birds can’t spread their wings, nest, dust-bathe, perch, or even walk more than a few painful steps. Each caged hen has less space than a sheet of letter‐sized paper on which to live for more than a year before she is killed.
PAPER PUMPKIN ORNAMENTS _ Materials: • 1-2 pieces of orange construction paper • 1 piece of green construction paper • 1 piece of brown construction paper • scissors • paper cutter (optional) • paper clips and/or stapler • string _ Directions: _ Cut the orange pieces of construction paper into 1″ wide strips (each strip will be 1″ x 11″). Then, shorten some of the strips so that you have (1) 6″, (2) 7″, (2) 9″, and (2) 11″ long pieces. _ Gather the strips of paper together (with the ends flush) and place the smallest one in the middle. Order them by size so that the largest strip is on the outside. Secure with a paper clip or staple (I prefer the paper clip so that I can keep adding more elements). Line up the opposite ends so that they are together like the top. _ Cut a brown strip of paper 1/4″ by 3″ long for the stem. To make it curl, wrap the paper around a pencil and hold it in place while you count to 20 (or sing the ABC song).Cut out two leaf shapes from the green paper (ours were sort of like pairs of bunny ears). _ Add the stem, leaves, and a piece of string to the paper clip at the top. _ Hang up and enjoy! _
#2 __ #3_ _ #4_ _ #5_ _ #6_ _ John Singer Sargent _ Born in Florence, Italy, in 1856 to American parents. John Singer Sargent spent his youth in the cosmopolitan societies of Rome, Vienna, Geneva, London, and Madrid. He received little formal education, but his artistic talent was recognized and encouraged from an early age. When he was eighteen his family moved to Paris so that Sargent could enroll in the studio of the fashionable portrait painter Carolus-Duran. Determined to be more than a portrait painter and eager to show his versatility, Sargent also worked on ambitious compositions based on his travels, during which he sought not only subject matter but also different light and atmosphere. _ El Jaleo (#1) one of my absolute favorite paintings by John Singer Sargent. I would love to visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Mass. -- not far from where I was born -- and see it in person someday. Then stop at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and view The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit (#2), and Oyster Gatherers of Cancale (#3). I would also go to see Fumée d'ambre gris (another favorite #4) at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts. Before heading back west perhaps I would stop at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. so as not to miss the beautiful painting Nonchaloir (#5). For now though I will visit the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco ( just an hour away) and enjoy the wonderful painting A Dinner Table at Night (#6). _ Happy Friday!! _
My sister brought this wine to our house a few Halloweens back, and now it's a must have. You're the coolest Sta -- with amazing taste!! _ _ ___
As she stands in the clearing, the cold wind dances through the trees, swirling her golden mane over her diaphanous, silken black gown. The full moon melts into the paleness of her skin. As she stirs the cauldron of Zinfandel she chants an other worldly incantation. From vials as old as the echoes of time she adds minute pinches of her ancestry. Her slender fingers rub together as the grains fall, releasing their magic as they touch the fermenting must. On her face is the look of both good and evil, of love and hate, of life and sex and all that stirs you. What is this unearthly potion? It is Poizin, the wine to die for. _ _ Poizin - a Sonoma-born blend of Petite Sirah and Zinfandel that leads with dark cherry, raspberry, and brown spice notes into a ripe, fruity mouth and a lingering finish. _ Courtesy of Armida Winery. _
_ Poverty: Deprivation of common necessities that determine the quality of life, including food, clothing, shelter and safe drinking water, and may also include the deprivation of opportunities to learn, to obtain better employment to escape poverty, and/or to enjoy the respect of fellow citizens. _ Poverty Rising: There are over 37 million poor Americans. Most Americans living in poverty work, but still cannot afford to make ends meet. _ Minimum Wage is Not Enough: Even when a parent works full-time earning minimum wage and EITC and food stamps are factored into their income, families are still $1,550 below the federal poverty line because of the flat-lined minimum wage. (Thanks Wikipedia) _ __ _
I thought it might be a good idea, at this time in our history, to talk about poverty right here in the United States, and the faces of hunger. Although most people think of hungry people, and homeless people as the same, the problem of hunger goes far beyond the homelessness. The face of hunger is the older couple who worked hard their entire lives only to find their savings lost by unavoidable medical bills; or a single mom who has to choose if the salary from her minimum wage job should go to buy food or pay rent; or a child who struggles to concentrate at school because his family couldn't afford dinner the night before.
We should think about those people the next time we're are at the grocery store, and pick up a few more canned goods, and donate them to our local Food Bank. If you don't know where it is or how to make a donation use the information below.
_ To find your local food bank click on this link -- Feeding America. _ Feeding America is the largest charitable hunger-relief organization in the country addressing the problem of domestic hunger by distributing more than 2 billion pounds of donated food and grocery product annually to more than 25 million hungry people in the United States, including 9 million children and nearly 3 million seniors. _ _ Shocking Facts _ My husband and I often talk about all that beautiful food we see in the grocery store, and restaurants, and wonder how much of it is dumped in a trash bin every day. A study by the Department of Agriculture estimated that 96.4 billion pounds of the 356 billion pounds of edible food in the United States was never eaten. It ended up in a landfill. The scary part? This statistic is almost 13 years old!! _ (Photo found at the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas website) _ One More Thing A great website worth checking out is The National Center for Children in Poverty. _ Poverty 101 - Why should Americans care about family economic hardship? In addition to the harmful consequences for children, high rates of economic hardship exact a serious toll on the U.S. economy. Economists estimate that child poverty costs the U.S. $500 billion a year in lost productivity in the labor force and spending on health care and the criminal justice system. Each year, child poverty reduces productivity and economic output by about 1.3 percent of GDP. _
I am head over heels in love with the work of Janet Woodward-Hill. She is an an artist from Stratford, Ontario. Her blog - Janet Hill Studio, and Etsy shop Janet Hill Studio - showcase her lovely oil paintings -- which she describes as "quick impressions of people, interiors, table settings and other household objects." Her delicate use of colors, and compositon are pure heaven to me. I want them all!!
She apparently also has a shop - The Great Dame - on 96 Downie Street, in Stratford, Ontario (below) that looks wonderful!!
When I was a young girl and a Girl Scout I learned a valuable lesson. Always be prepared. So each year at this time I take a look at our emergency supplies, and update them as needed. Of course you can never truly be prepared for all of life's emergencies, but taking certain precautions just makes common sense.
It functions as an AM, FM, and shortwave radio with NOAA weatherband. It also has a flashlight, an emergency beacon, and an emergency siren. Plus, you can use it to charge your cell phone or MP3 player. This little wonder can be powered with the hand crank, or solely by the sun—solar panels make this a very “green” device. Of course, battery power and AC power are also options. Can be powered from four different sources:
(each one of my kids has one of these under their bed)
_ LED Wind Up Table Lantern is ideal for everyday and emergency use, indoors and out. With wind-up technology for maximum reliability and dependability. In addition to rechargeable batteries, the LED light in the Indigo LED Lantern has up to 100,000 hours of useful life and should never have to be replaced. When needed, a 60-second wind will provide two hours of shine time at the night light setting and five minutes at the max-bright setting. The integrated directional light will shine for up to 35 hours continuously when fully charged. A 60-second wind provides one hour of light from the directional light.
_ Three-day supply of non-perishable food.
_ Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water. Pack a manual can opener and eating utensils. Avoid salty foods, as they will make you thirsty. Choose foods your family will eat.
_ Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables Protein or fruit bars Dry cereal or granola Peanut butter Dried fruit Nuts Crackers Canned juices Non-perishable pasteurized milk High energy foods _
One gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation. Store water tightly in clean plastic containers. Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person. _
First Aide Kit _
Things you should have:
_ Two pairs of Latex, or other sterile gloves (if you are allergic to Latex). Sterile dressings to stop bleeding. Cleansing agent/soap and antibiotic towelettes to disinfect. Antibiotic ointment to prevent infection. Burn ointment to prevent infection. Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes. Eye wash solution to flush the eyes or as general decontaminate. Thermometer
Scissors Tweezers Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant Aspirin or non aspirin pain reliever
Additional Items to Consider Adding to an Emergency Supply Kit: _
Prescription medications and glasses Infant formula and diapers
Cash and some change First aid book Matches in a waterproof container
One of my favorite memories was walking barefoot in our apricot orchard. That was some 37 years ago, and it's still one of the first things that comes to mind when searching my life's memories.
It is unbearable for me to think about my beautiful orchard and the many others that surrounded it now only exist in my memory -- long ago replaced by houses. I prefer to keep those images in my mind as if it were only yesterday...
It's a beautiful summer morning, I'm 12 years old, outside my cat Peewee (a big yellow tabby with a bobbed tail) greets me. I head straight out into the orchard. The branches overhead hang low and heavy -- and the sweet smell of apricots fill the air. Running faster and farther with each step -- the seemingly never-ending rows of trees stretch out before me. I can feel the warm sun on my face and the cool feel of the dirt under my feet. ~
"Difficult times have helped me to understand better than before how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever."