For the Love of Mutts!

I don’t know if the above dogs are pedigreed, but I doubt it really matters.  Dogs are lovable no matter what their papers say.  But today, December 2, is National MUTT Day, so we celebrate the mutt…with pictures of dogs…all kinds!!

Here’s to the silly ones!

Here’s to the stylish ones!

And most importantly…Here’s to all the lovable ones!!!

Why Christmas Trees are Better Than Men

A Christmas tree is ALWAYS erect.

Even small Christmas trees give satisfaction.

A Christmas tree stays up for 12 days and nights.

A Christmas tree always looks good-even when it’s lit.

A Christmas tree is always happy with its size.

A Christmas tree has cute balls.

A Christmas tree doesn’t get mad if you break one of its balls.

You can throw out a Christmas tree when it wears out.

You don’t have to put up with a Christmas tree all year.

You only have to feed/water a Christmas tree once a week.

Christmas trees will always be there to light up your life.

Christmas trees only get turned on when you want it to.

Christmas trees always smell nice and never pass gas.

If a Christmas tree needles you, you can toss it out.

Christmas trees don’t ask you to have little Christmas trees.

You Are What You Eat

There’s no question that maintaining a nutritious diet can help keep your body healthy. But when it comes to which foods can specifically benefit which body parts, science remains surprisingly sketchy. But nature gives us a big clue as to what foods help what part of our body!

From the website Healthy Habits, here are foods that mirror the body parts they provide nutrients for—for example, brain-boosting walnuts actually look like a brain. Coincidence? Maybe. Though these healthy foods are beneficial to the whole body, the list below is a fun reminder of what to eat to target specific areas. Remember, most of these foods are more beneficial when eaten raw. (As with most items found on the internet, please take this one with a grain of salt…these guys misspelled scrotum…lol)

A sliced Carrot looks like the human eye. According to science, eating carrots greatly enhances blood flow to the eyes. Carrot gets their orange color from a plant chemical called beta-carotene, which reduces the risk of developing cataracts. The chemical also protects against macular degeneration an age-related sight problem that affects one in four individuals over the age of 65. If one tries to pop a pill of beta-carotene it doesn’t have the same effect, says scientists at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, USA.

A Tomato has four chambers and is red in color– the heart is also red and has four chambers. Research has confirmed that tomatoes are loaded with lycopine and it is indeed pure heart and blood food.

Grapes resembles the alveoli of the lungs. The lungs are made of branches of ever-smaller airways that finish up with tiny branches of tissue called alveoli. These structures allow oxygen to pass from the lungs to the blood stream. A diet high in fresh grapes has shown to reduce the risk of lung cancer and emphysema. Grape seeds also contain a chemical called proanthocyanidin, which is thought to reduce the severity of asthma triggered by allergy. One reason that premature babies struggle to survive is that, these alveoli do not begin to form until the 23rd to 24th week of pregnancy.

A Walnut looks like a little brain, a left and right hemisphere, upper cerebrums and lower cerebellums. Even the wrinkles or folds on the nut are similar to those of the neo-cortex. Scientists claim that walnuts help in developing over three dozen neuron-transmitters within the brain enhancing the signaling and encouraging new messaging link between the brain cells. Walnuts help ward off dementia. They also extract and break down the protein based plaques associated with Alzheimer’s diseases, according to a study by Dr. James Joseph of Tuft University in Boston.

Kidney Beans actually heal and help maintain kidney function and are shaped exactly like the human kidneys (hence their name). Kidney beans provide a variety of minerals and vitamins, and are generally beneficial for your health. If your kidneys are healthy, kidney beans can — when consumed as part of a balanced diet — contribute to your kidney health. If your kidneys are diseased, you might need to moderate your intake of kidney beans.

Celery, Rhubarb, Bok-choy and more look just like bones’ structure. These foods specifically target bone strength. Bones are made up of 23% sodium and these foods have sodium in them. If you don’t have enough sodium in your diet the body pulls it from the bones, making them weak. These foods replenish the skeletal needs of the body.

Avocados and Pears are good for the health and functioning of the womb and cervix of the female and look just like these organs. Modern research shows that when a woman eats one avocado a week, it balances the birth hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight and can even prevent cervical cancer. It even takes exactly nine months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit, just like a human baby! There are said to be over 14,000 photolytic chemical constituents of nutrition in each one of these foods.

Figs are full of seeds and hang in twos when they grow. Studies have shown that Figs increase the mobility of male sperm and increase the sperm count as well as overcoming male sterility.

Sweet Potatoes resemble the pancreas and can actually balance the glycemic index of diabetics. The oblong sweet potato bears a strong resemblance to the pancreas, and also promotes healthy function in the organ. Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, which is a potent antioxidant that protects all tissues of the body, including the pancreas, from damage associated with cancer or aging.

Olives assist the health and function of the ovaries. An Italian study found that women whose diets included a lot of olive oil had a 30% lower risk of ovarian cancer. The reasons are unclear, but the healthy fats in the oil may help suppress genes predisposed to causing cancer.

Grapefruits, Oranges, and other citrus fruits look just like the mammary glands of the female and actually assist the health of the breasts and the movement of lymph in and out of the breasts. The similarity between round citrus fruits––like lemons and grapefruit––and breasts may be more than coincidental. “Grapefruit contains substances called limonoids, which have been shown to inhibit the development of cancer in lab animals and in human breast cells,” says Dr. Moulavi.

Eating a Banana will cheer you up and put a smile on your face. This popular fruit contains a protein called tryptophan, when digested it gets converted into a neurotransmitter called serotonin, which is a mood regulating chemical in the brain. Bananas can be termed as an antidepressant drug, since it adjusts the level of serotonin production in the brain.

Onions look like the body’s cells. Research shows onions clear waste materials from all of the body cells. They even produce tears which wash the epithelial layers of the eyes. 

Ginger looks like the stomach and it also aids in digestion. Indians and Chinese have been using it for over 5000 years to calm the stomach, cure nausea, and motion sickness. It also slows down the growth rate of bowel tumors.

A Mushroom when sliced in half resembles the shape of the human ear. Mushrooms improve hearing abilities, since they contain Vitamin D, which is healthy for bones, especially the 3 tiny bones in the ear that transmit sound to the brain.

*Content courtesy of Healthy Habits

What Shall We Make Today?

So, you did the elaborate turkey dinner thing and you deserve a break from cooking, but leftovers are all gone?  Today’s offering is here to the rescue (and no, I don’t mean Ron to the rescue…LOL) It’s crock pot beef stew.  It’s great for a Sunday watching football kind of day.  Add a loaf of Rhodes fresh baked bread and this meal is awesome!!

Crock Pot Beef Stew

Ingredients

1-1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed

6 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch lengths

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

3 celery ribs, coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1-1/2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes

3 tablespoons canola oil

1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained

1 can (14-1/2 ounces) beef broth

1 teaspoon ground mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon browning sauce, optional

Minced fresh thyme

Directions

Layer the potatoes, carrots, onion and celery in a 5-qt. slow cooker. Place flour in a large shallow dish. Add stew meat; turn to coat evenly. In a large skillet, brown meat in oil in batches. Place over vegetables.

In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, broth, mustard, salt, pepper, thyme and, if desired, browning sauce. Pour over beef. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or until the meat and vegetables are tender. If desired, sprinkle with fresh thyme before serving.

ENJOY!

The Great Peeve War

There’s a war that has been raging for over 30 years that you’ve probably never heard of.  It’s been happening right here in this country—right here in Pennsylvania as a matter of fact. Although I’m equally sure skirmishes have broken out all over the country—perhaps all over the world!  It’s called The Great Peeve War.

The participants are well trained operatives.  I myself began training when I was just a child.  I observed my fellow combatants in their natural habitats, took note of their strengths—and more importantly—their weaknesses, waiting, watching for a chance to exploit them.

Typical warfare consisting of repeating everything your opponent said, and the patented “I’m rubber, you’re glue” tactic.  And the more advanced “I’m not touching you” maneuver which required close proximity to your opponents. You also learned to identify your own weaknesses and develop hardened immunity to them.  Constant practice ensured greater success on the battlefield and naturally, as we grew, so did our skills.

During my dating years, I perfected the “do you think she’s pretty?” and the “do I look fat in this outfit?” interrogation techniques.  And my “What do YOU think?” look was deadly.  And in those dating years, I also honed my defensive talents.  Phrases like “my buddies want me to…” and “would you be mad if…” triggered my bullshit radar.   I learned to counter, bob and weave and land a few well timed tears followed by a devastating look of betrayal.  I was at the top of my game then.

But nothing could prepare me for The Great Peeve War!  It’s a whole other animal.  It’s subtle, it’s never ending, and it goes something like this.  My husband and I disagree on something—could be major—or it could be minor—or it could be almost nothing at all. We walk away from each other (translation: we retreat to regroup).  We avoid making any overt contact to allow each other to calm down, forget.

At this point I will notice my silverware drawer is messed up—spoons in the fork slot, knife handles in all directions! (SHOTS FIRED) Shrugging off the initial volley, I will go into the bathroom and drip water all over the sink and shower faucets leaving water spots. (RETURN FIRE) For good measure, I turn the toilet paper roll so it feeds from (gasp) THE BOTTOM.  (LANDMINE ACTIVATED) Then I quietly leave the bathroom and prepare to hunker down.

Remaining ever vigilant, head on a swivel, I survey the Great Room—I sense it before I see it.  Something is off and…there it is! The wine glass is on the coffee table sitting NEXT to the coaster–not on it! (DIRECT HIT) My eyes narrow, my breath hitches in my throat, but I compose myself.  I pick up the glass, take it to my husband standing next to the sink and quietly ask, “Are you finished with this?”  I smile sweetly and before he can answer, pour the remaining wine quickly down the drain. (BOOM) “Not the wine,” I hear him groan, “it was just an innocent bystander.”

He takes me by the hand and leads me to the sofa.  “I’m sorry for everything,” he says. 
“Let’s just forget it all and snuggle on the sofa and watch some tv.”  I spy the romantic comedy dvd box on the coffee table now and smiling, settle in against his shoulder.  (CEASEFIRE)

He picks up the remote and on comes…FOOTBALL…(HOSTILITIES RESUME)

Koala Bears?

Did you know that Koalas, or Koala Bears, are not actually bears as many people believe?!  They’re actually more closely related to kangaroos and wombats!  Check out these 18 fun and interesting facts about koalas & learn something new!

Koalas are only 25 to 35 inches long, and weigh just 30 pounds or less!

A baby koala which has been just born is usually less than 1 inch long.

A new-born koala usually stays inside the mother’s pouch for about six months.

The word koala means “An animal which does not drink”.

A koala mostly eats eucalyptus leaves and hardly drinks any water.

Like the kangaroo, they also have the ability to carry their babies in their pouch.

They actually do not belong to the bear family in any way.

A koala sleeps for around 20 hours a day.

They are not very social animals and usually stay alone.

Every male koala has a scent gland on the chest which they rub on the trees to mark their territories.

Only one baby koala is born per year to a female.

They communicate with each other by making a snore like sound which is followed by a belch.

A fully grown koala can eat approximately 2.2 pounds of leaves in a night.

A new-born cub has no fur on its body and the eyes and ears are also closed. Koalas are mostly found in Australia.

They have different fur type in different areas.

Gumtrees act as both food and place for living for koalas.

A koala gets fully grown in the fourth year of their life.

Leftovers?

I always make turkey breasts for Thanksgiving—one on Thanksgiving and one the day after Thanksgiving, because I rarely have leftovers.  Let me just say it up front—I do NOT like leftovers—hubby’s okay with them and always eats any leftovers, but Thanksgiving is a whole other animal!  The day after Thanksgiving, my family is up for another round of the same meal.  Rather than make double on Thanksgiving, I am more open to making the entire meal again…today.

Happy We-Don’t-Have-Leftovers Day!

JUST FOR FUN: If you’re not into Black Friday shopping and want something to do while eating your leftovers, here’s a takeoff from an Insta-Quiz from AARP:

Second to Last

“A” is the last letter of the most state names, 21 of them. (Without looking them up) name the 21 states.

AND, for good measure…

The letter in second place ends the names of 5 states.  What’s that letter??

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m not sure how much time I will actually be on here today, due to cooking responsibilities, family conversations and clean-up duties…so I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you who visit here—those who comment and those who just lurk.  And I especially want to extend my gratitude and love to Filly—you make this place fun, informative and worthwhile!  I am so grateful for you!

AND REMEMBER…

TA DA!!!!!! Oooooops!!!

Let’s face it, the turkey is the STAR of the Thanksgiving holiday! That being said, it’s not important to include the turkey in EVERY facet of the day, right?  I’m not even sure that IS a turkey in the photo above—looks like the Loch Ness Monster to me. 

In my house, we never did much with appetizers on Thanksgiving—the meal was THE focus—and eating before that seemed sacrilege.  However, if you want to present your guests with something to do – why are they not pitching in and helping is my question— here are some lovely centerpieces to showcase your talents and occupy their time–seriously, there’s always a need for someone to wash dishes.  Your guests will nosh, laugh at times, and be full by dinner. Que sera sera.

The Fruit Kabob Turkeys

The Turkey Cheesed Ball (doesn’t he look mad?)

The Child’s Table Turkeys

Turdey CAKES? (not a typo–look at them!)

My suggestions?

Keep it simple…

Keep it fun…

Keep it real…

What Shall We Bake Today?

Pumpkin Pie is usually the chosen dessert for Thanksgiving dinner, but pumpkin roll is a wonderful alternate!

Cake

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

¾ cup flour

2 tsp cinnamon

2/3 cup pumpkin

1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350*.  Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper.  Beat the 3 eggs with the cup of sugar.  Add the flour, cinnamon, pumpkin and the baking soda.  Mix well.

Spread onto wax paper lined cookie sheet.  Bake 10-15 minutes.   Cool slightly.  Turn onto terry towel sprinkled with powdered sugar.  Roll up like a jellyroll and let cool completely.

When cool, unroll and spread filling onto cake and roll back up.

Filling

12 ounces cream cheese, softened

4 Tbsp butter, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

Cream the cream cheese and the butter.  Add the powdered sugar.

Viola! Pumpkin Roll! 

Now if you’re interested in making a pumpkin roll with a little extra pizazz, check this out! (This is from the Sugar Hero website: http://www.sugarhero.com)

It’s created by using a template and a batter made of butter, egg whites, sugar and flour to pipe the gorgeous leaves in the jelly roll pan ahead of time.  (Full instructions can be found at their website.)  Then the pumpkin roll recipe proceeds as above.  The design bakes onto the pumpkin cake part and creates a beautiful presentation.