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Friday's Fresh Five! (10/17/14) “I know I can do this,” I say to myself as I try to swaddle my newborn granddaughter. Remembering what my son told me, I carefully lift one corner of the swaddling cloth and bring it over Charlotte and tuck it under her body. Then I secure her other arm by bringing the other corner up and wrapping it around her like I am making a burrito. While doing this, I think to myself, “Seriously, it’s not like I didn’t swaddle my own three children!” I finish tying up the loose ends and shout “Success!” Then, while watching Charlotte sleep, I see a slight movement under the cloth. Slowly, one tiny arm creeps up and before I know it my little Houdini-like granddaughter has escaped her swaddling confines. I’m afraid this grandmother’s swaddling skills are a little rusty!

#1 – Halloween Party Ideas
31 Halloween Party Ideas From Tip Junkie comes this frightfully fun collection of 31 Boo-worth Halloween Party Ideas and it’s just in time to help you plan a “spook-tacular” school party or a “spirited” evening with your favorite ghosts.

#2 – Interesting Person, Boring Life
Interesting Person, Boring Life Does fear control the choices you make in life? If you feel you are being held back from being the person you want to be or living the life you want to live, you might want to read Dr. Linda Sapadin’s article Interesting Person, Boring Life. Aristotle once said, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”

#3 – Playing With Clouds
Fun Cloud Photography Be what you want to be; see what you want to see. Have you ever looked at cloud formations and seen familiar shapes? In 18 Superbly Playful Photos of Clouds, imaginative photographers captured images of clouds in the most unique compositions.

#4 – Mariam Paré, Mouth-Painter
Mariam Pare, Mouth-Painter Fear turned to gratitude and joy, when artist Mariam Paré relearned how to paint. A victim of a random shooting, Ms. Paré became a quadriplegic at the age of twenty. Read her inspirational story of how she learned to paint with her mouth and see some of her works of art on her website.

#5 – A Chink In Your Armour, A Crack In Your Soul?
“There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.”
― Leonard Cohen

Now go and spread joy!

DIY Wheelchair/Walker Bag Instructions The weather reflects fall and the calendar reads October, but my sewing room screams December. Donning my Santa hat, I’m already knee-deep in holiday projects. In addition to making scarves again from gently used t-shirts to give to the homeless, I’m making wheelchair or walker bags for residents who live in a nearby care center. All are sewn with heart.

I designed these bags and started making them years ago, when I volunteered at a senior care center. I noticed that residents using walkers and wheelchairs could not hold on to their possessions while holding the handles of their walkers or maneuvering the wheels of their wheelchairs. They needed something in which to carry their things when they were out of their rooms. I designed these bags with a divided front pocket, so that objects could be separated and found more readily. Velcro tabs sewn at the end of the straps make for easy installation and removal.

If you would like to make these simple bags for friends or relatives who use wheelchairs or walkers, or if you would like to make the lives of residents living in a care facility easier, click on the link for a PDF containing my step-by-step instructions on how to make a wheelchair or walker bag. Choose heavy weight fabric, such as canvas, for durability. If you are making them for a senior facility, try to select fabric with unisex patterns and colors.

We each hold the power to make a positive difference in the world, no matter how small or how large our contribution.

Clouds and Wires What foolery is this? Wires strung above clouds? Reality? Trickery? Did I lay on my back while taking this photo or did I rotate the photo on my computer? Just a point in case on how perspective can slant your outlook on life. What is your perspective on life and do you ever question your viewpoint?

#1 – Five Questions
When my children were growing up, I insisted that we eat dinner together as a family, no matter the hour or the activities missed. It was the one time of the day we could all be together. These 5 questions from Anil Gupta of Mind Valley Academy would have provided food for thought for my kids. But, it is not too late. Regularly answering these types of questions can alter one’s perspective on life no matter your age. 5 questions to ask at the dinner table

#2 – Pumpkin Fun
Cute Pumpkin Decorating Ideas When does a pumpkin look like a caterpillar or Harry Potter? When you get your creative juices going and think outside the box! Here are some Unique Halloween Pumpkin Ideas to jump start your creativity.

#3 – Popular Countries
Take a guess as to which countries travelers frequent the most and then check out the chart below to see if you guessed correctly. You can see the top 50 on Movehub’s  Map of The Most Popular Countries In The World.

Map of Most Popular Countries

#4 – Body Art
Incredible Examples of Body Painting Art Artists sometimes play tricks with our minds. Not everything we see can be believed. These 30 Incredible Examples of Body Painting Art prove that point.

#5 – Perspective
“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”
Marcus Aurelius

Now go and spread joy!

Dried Cherry Shortbread

Dried Cherry Shortbread Bigger is better, especially when it comes to cookies. Not because you get more yummy-in-your-tummy, but because big cookies are meant to be shared. For casual entertaining, have fun and save time by making big or “slab” cookies. This delectable shortbread recipe starts out in a large tart pan, but ends up being cut into shareable squares. Or like Salted Butter Breakups, a recipe which I wrote about over a year ago, you can break it up with your hands and share pieces with your friends.

Dried Cherry Shortbread
The Art of the Cookie by Shelly Kaldunski

INGREDIENTS
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups sugar
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Have ready a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.

2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat together the butter and 1¼ cups of the sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Beating on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture, beating until almost incorporated.

4. Add the vanilla and dried cherries and beat on low speed just until the dough forms large clumps and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

5. Using your hands, evenly press the dough into the tart pan. With a fork, prick the entire surface, making holes 1/4 inch deep at 1-inch intervals.

6. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake until the center is very lightly golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Immediately sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar evenly over the shortbread and use a sharp chef’s knife to cut it into squares. Let cool in pan, about 30 minutes.

7. Remove the cookies from the pan and store in an airtight container, layered between sheets of parchment paper at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Makes about 30 cookies

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. For the best flavor, use a quality brand of butter.

2. Check the shortbread after 25 minutes and keep an eye on it, so it does not get too dark.

Enjoy!

October 3, 2014 Edition Drunk on milk, Charlotte sleeps contentedly in my mother’s arms. My dad looks on and says to me, “Right now, under this roof, there are four generations.” Remarkable indeed. Charlotte is blessed with four great-grandparents who love her and who will share their infinite wisdom with her. And because life is a two-way street, these great-grandparents receive blessings in return. A new baby in the family invigorates spirits, brings new meaning to life, and expands the capacity to love.

#1 – For Children’s Sake
16 Simple Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste A recurring discussion in my household pops up every time my husband tosses out something that can be recycled, upcycled, re-purposed, or re-used. I used to say to him, “Imagine what the world is going to be like for your grandchildren, if the majority of the people in this world are not more conscientious.” Now that we have a granddaughter, I say to him, “Think about the world you want Charlotte to live in.” Start today. Do your share. The children are counting on us. To that point, here are 16 Simple Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste.

#2 – Iris’s World
Iris Grace: 5 Year-Old Autistic Girl With a Gift Iris Grace is not your average 5-year-old. With an eye for color and movement, Iris paints “masterpieces” that are sold around the world. She is also autistic. Despite the fact that she barely speaks, she expresses herself beautifully through her artwork.

#3 – It’s Autumn
12 Before-And-After Photos of Autumn's Beautiful Transformations In the northern hemisphere, the autumnal equinox or the first day of autumn occurred last week. With 90-degree temperatures predicted for this weekend, it’s hard to make the transition from summer to autumn here. To help ease the transition, here are 12 Before-And-After Photos of Autumn’s Beautiful Transformations.

#4 – Best Friends
With the help of his cat-friend Pudditat, an old, blind and partially deaf dog named Tervel, can get around and enjoy the rest of his life.

#5 – Your World
“Children reinvent your world for you.”
Susan Sarandon

Now go and spread joy!

Apple Coleslaw

Apple Coleslaw While searching for the perfect coleslaw recipe to go with some pulled pork that I made, I thought about a classic pairing: together apples and pork are a gastronomical match made in heaven. I wanted a coleslaw that combined the clean fruity flavors of crisp apples with the crunch of fresh cabbage. Colorful and perfectly balanced between sweet and tangy and crunchy and crispy, this coleslaw complemented the pulled pork wonderfully. Whether you eat it on the side or put it directly inside your pulled pork sandwich, you will want more!

Apple Coleslaw
Wolfgang Puck

INGREDIENTS
Poppy Seed Honey Dressing:
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup poppy seeds
1/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Salad Components:
1 medium cabbage, cored, finely shredded
2 large carrots, peeled, julienne
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup finely minced parsley leaves, optional
4 Fuji apples, peeled, cored, julienne

DIRECTIONS
1. Prepare the Poppy Seed Dressing. In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients together until well blended. Set aside.

2. Prepare the salad. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, carrots, scallions, parsley, and apples.

3. Pour in the reserved dressing and toss until well blended. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving, mixing the salad at least once to evenly distribute the dressing.

Yields 6 to 8 servings

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. To make this coleslaw more visually appealing, I substituted red cabbage for some of the green. I used 1 head of green cabbage and 1/2 head of red cabbage.

2. I doubled the entire recipe, but did not add in all the salad dressing when tossing. The coleslaw would have been too wet if I had. I also did not double the amount of salt in the dressing. Four teaspoons of salt just seemed like too much!

3. I grated the carrots with a coarse grater instead of cutting them into julienne strips. Even easier would be to buy a bag of shredded carrots at the grocery store.

4. While preparing the apple slices, make sure to toss any that have been cut into some of the salad dressing to prevent browning.

5. Try putting the slaw directly in a pulled pork sandwich. Delicious!

Enjoy!

Jap Chae: Korean Glass Noodles “You will become addicted,” one of my Korean friends said while warning me about watching Korean soap operas. Addiction is an understatement. As a result of these soap operas, I find myself immersing in Korean culture to the point where I listen to Korean music (the lyrics of which I don’t completely understand), recognize aspects of Korean culture, and experiment with flavors and textures of Korean cuisine. One of my family’s favorite Korean noodle dishes is Jap Chae; it’s made from gluten-free sweet potato noodles and fresh vegetables. It’s delicious or, as they say in Korea, Mah Sit Sso Yo!

Jap Chae: Korean Glass Noodles
Steamy Kitchen

INGREDIENTS
1/2 pound dried Korean sweet potato noodles
2½ teaspoons sesame oil, divided
1 tablespoon cooking oil
3/4 cup thinly sliced onions
2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 stalks green onions, cut into 1″ lengths
1/2 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced (shitake or wood ear)
1/2 lb spinach, washed well and drained
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

DIRECTIONS
1. Fill a large pot with water and boil. When water is boiling, add the noodles and cook for 5 minutes. Immediately drain and rinse with cold water. Drain again and toss with only 1 tsp of the sesame oil. Use kitchen shears to cut noodles into shorter pieces, about 8 inches in length. Set aside.

2. In bowl, mix soy sauce and sugar together. Set aside.

3. Add the cooking oil in a wok or large saute pan on high heat and swirl to coat. When the cooking oil is hot, but not smoking, fry onions and carrots, until just softened, about 1 minute.

4. Add the garlic, green onions and mushrooms, fry 30 seconds. Then add the spinach, soy sauce, sugar and the noodles. Fry 2-3 minutes until the noodles are cooked through. Turn off heat, toss with sesame seeds and the remaining 1½ tsp of sesame oil.

Serves 4

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. Sweet potato vermicelli (dang myun), dried shitake mushrooms, and dried wood ears can be found in most Asian markets or can be ordered online.

2. If you are using dried shitake mushrooms or dried wood ears instead of fresh, they will need to be soaked in warm water for about 15 minutes to rehydrate them prior to using.

3. Sometimes when I feel lazy, I buy a bag of shredded carrots and a bag of prewashed baby spinach leaves at my local grocery store.

4. If you would like to add some beef to this dish, thin strips of beef can be partially stir fried in step 3 before adding the onions and carrots.

5. Thin slices of red bell peppers can also be added in step 4.

6. This noodle dish can be served at room temperature.

7. Because my family likes this dish, I always double the recipe.

Enjoy!

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