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Archive for March, 2010

I’m posting the mystery photo again – The contest is still on to see who can guess the subject matter in the photo and win a one-of-a-kind necklace. Read about the contest in my last post. On to other topics! St. Patrick’s Day is next week, so here are a few green facts and some thoughts about rainbows and what’s at the end of a rainbow. Although, it’s not what’s at the end of the rainbow that matters; it’s really everything gathered along the way that’s important. Right?

#1 – Colors of the Rainbow
How quickly can you name all seven colors found in a rainbow? Here’s a mnemonic that I learned decades ago when I was a school girl that will help you remember the sequence of rainbow hues: Think of Roy G. Biv also known as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.

#2 – Leprechaun Lore
A bit of leprechaun lore from Irelandseye.com, “If caught by a mortal, he will promise great wealth if allowed to go free. He carries two leather pouches. In one there is a silver shilling, a magical coin that returns to the purse each time it is paid out. In the other he carries a gold coin which he uses to try and bribe his way out of difficult situations. This coin usually turns to leaves or ashes once the leprechaun has parted with it. However, you must never take your eye off him, for he can vanish in an instant.”

#3 – What Color Gold Is At the End of the Rainbow?
Pure gold (24K) is yellow in color, but, because it is generally too soft to be used for jewelry, other metals are added to it to form stronger alloys. As a result, many different colors of gold are made. Here’s a quick review of the different “golds” used in making jewelry.

White gold is a combination of yellow gold and white metals such as zinc, nickel, or silver, or palladium.

Pink or rose gold is an alloy made of yellow gold and copper.

Green gold is created by adding silver to gold.

Purple gold is created with gold and aluminum.

Gold can also be colored by creating surface oxide layers. Because gold does not oxidize in its pure form, base metals have to be added to create blue, brown, and black gold.

#4 – Eating of the Greens
Here’s a list of must-eat greens from Wholeliving.com’s article called Healthy Eating: Greatest Greens:

Arugula
(Beta-carotene, iron, vitamin C)
The potent peppery flavor makes arugula a great salad green that needs little company; also good on sandwiches.

Beet Greens
(Beta-carotene, calcium, iron, vitamin C)
They can be found in bunches or still attached to the beets. Saute in olive oil with garlic, then serve as is or mix with pasta.

Collard Greens
(Beta-carotene, calcium, folic acid, iron, vitamin C)
Long a Southern staple. Boil the chopped, stemmed leaves until tender, and serve with olive oil, lemon juice, or vinegar.

Dandelion Greens
(Beta-carotene, calcium, iron)
A member of the sunflower family. The tangy, slightly bitter flavor can come across as too potent when raw, but the greens are delicious when steamed, sauteed, or stir-fried.

Kale
(Beta-carotene, calcium, folic acid, iron, vitamin C)
Stalks and tough center ribs should be removed from the piquant leaves, which come in many shades and textures. Wonderful in soups, mashed potatoes, or sauteed in olive oil.

Mustard Greens
(Beta-carotene, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin C)
These greens pack a bite that’s sharp and peppery. Prepare them as you would collard greens, kale, or broccoli rabe.

Spinach
(Beta-carotene, iron, vitamin C)
The slightly bitter leaves may be curled or smooth. Serve raw in salads; use steamed or boiled leaves in lasagna, stuffed chicken, or baked or mashed potatoes.

Swiss Chard
(Beta-carotene, iron, vitamin C)
This member of the beet family has celery-like stalks that are usually white or red. Like many greens, chard can be sauteed in olive oil and served with lemon; it’s also nice in soups and savory pies.

Watercress
(Beta-carotene, potassium, vitamin C)
Small, crisp member of the mustard family that’s slightly bitter with a hint of pepper. Delicious in salads; also good in sandwiches and soups.

#5 – Golden Quotes
“Remember, people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold — but so does a hard-boiled egg.”
Anonymous

“Sometimes it’s important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it’s essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow.”
Douglas Pagels

Make sure you enter the contest by submitting your best guess and have a great weekend!!

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To celebrate the six-month anniversary of What About This? I’m holding a contest! Who doesn’t like a contest when you can win a cool prize? Be the first person to identify the subject matter in the above photo. Not the header photo, but the one below it.

Send your best guess via email to me. To keep it fair, only ONE guess per email address, please. The first person to correctly guess the subject matter of the photo will be the winner and will win a one-of-a-kind, sterling silver, hand-stamped affirmation charm – which you help to design – on a sterling silver chain. It will be somewhat similar to the What Would You Say design and the Walls Have Doors design that were previously posted on this blog. I’ll work with the winner to come up with a short affirmation consisting of up to four words, but I do reserve the right to select the final artistic design. So that I can mail the winner this fabulous prize, he/she will have to provide me with a name and address.

Good Luck! Be on the look out for notification of your win in a future post! The winning affirmation design will be featured in an upcoming post on my blog, too!

Sorry, this contest is restricted to people residing in the continental United States only.

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Strudel Sticks are delicate bits of puff pastry wrapped around a refreshing lemon cream cheese filling. Great as a breakfast finger food, unless you have manners and insist on using a knife and fork! They are delicious and so easy to make you’ll want to find excuses to make them! Brunch anyone?

Linnell’s Strudel Sticks
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 heaping cup of granulated sugar
2 tsp. lemon zest
1 pkg. (17.3 oz) frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
Coarse sugar
Sliced almonds, optional

Filling:
In a small bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, and lemon zest. Set aside.

Assembly:
1. On a lightly floured surface unfold pastry sheets. Cut each sheet into 5×3-inch rectangles – this is approximately cutting each sheet into six rectangles.

2. Brush edges of rectangles with a little water. Instead of getting out a pastry brush, I just dip my finger into a bowl of water and trace around the perimeter of each rectangle.

3. Place about 1 tablespoon of filling onto each rectangle and spread to within 1/2-inch from edges. This is done easily if you first dip a finger into water to prevent the filling from sticking to your finger and then gently spreading the filling with your finger.

4. Roll jelly roll style, starting from the long side.

5. Pinch edges to seal the seam.

6. Place pastry sticks, seams side down, on a baking sheet that is lightly greased or covered with parchment paper.

7. Make 3-4 diagonal cuts on top of each pastry.

8. Lightly brush with water and sprinkle with coarse sugar and almonds.

9. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or cool.

Makes 12 Strudel Sticks.

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As we breeze into March here are some ideas to get the cobwebs out of your closet and out of your brain as well. When you’re done doing those things, do a little something to feed your soul.

#1 – Brain Power
Exercise your brain with fun crossword puzzles, word bubbles, speed match games, memory matrix challenges, word searches, and sodoku puzzles at realage.com. I could have played them all day, but more appropriately, I need to play them all day! For more creative play, go to this site and try designing your own snowflakes!

#2 – Closet Couture
If you go to closetcouture.com, you can have fun organizing your closet! Create an online closet by either photographing your clothes and uploading the photos to the site and/or by dragging images from provided retailer sites which have clothing and accessories. You can even share your closet with friends.

A nice aspect of this site is you can drag photos of your clothes to the calendar feature to help you keep track of what you’ve worn on which dates, as well as creating visual packing lists.

You can even hire an online stylist to help you develop your style, hone your shopping strategies, or figure out your packing list.

#3 -Tips For Cleaning Out Your Closets
Cnn.com has an article called, “10 tips for Organizing Your Closets” that offers practical tips for organizing different types of closets in your home. I particularly like this practical advice:

Distinguish clothing and shoes that you wear and items that you need to get rid of. You can do this by the golden rule of closet organizing: If you haven’t worn it in a year, toss it.

Also, if it doesn’t fit you well, it is time to get rid of it. Instead of hanging on to your “skinny jeans” until you lose a few pounds, donate them. Then, when you get down to your goal weight, treat yourself to a new, stylish pair of jeans.

If you are on the fence about an item, “flag” the hanger. As you wear each item, remove the flag. At the end of each season, items that are still marked with a flag should be donated. If the item is in good condition and/or if you paid a lot for it, think about selling it at a local consignment store or online at a site such as eBay.

#4 – Feed Your Soul
If you want free art that you just download, print, and frame, then go to Feed Your Soul. Every month a different artist is featured.

#5 – A Soulful Quote
“You have the need and the right to spend part of your life caring for your soul. It is not easy. You have to resist the demands of the work-oriented, often defensive, element in your psyche that measures life only in terms of output — how much you produce — not in terms of the quality of your life experiences. To be a soulful person means to go against all the pervasive, prove-yourself values of our culture and instead treasure what is unique and internal and valuable in yourself and your own personal evolution.” Jean Shinoda Bolen

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Having a child with diabetes, I’m always looking for recipes which use Splenda or in which Splenda can easily be substituted for sugar. Here’s my adaptation of a recipe by Marlene Koch, a registered dietitian.

1/2 cup hot water
1/4 cup Splenda
1/4 cup natural rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sliced green onion
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 small jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
1-1/2 pounds cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and sliced (about 2-1/2 cups)
1 medium carrot, peeled and shredded

1. In a large bowl make dressing by whisking the first eight ingredients together.

2. Toss cucumbers and carrots in dressing.

3. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Makes four 1/2 cup servings.

Note: Marlene adds a tip which states, “To keep cucumbers crisp, sprinkle slices with 2 teaspoons of salt and let sit for one hour. Rinse well before adding to recipe and eliminate 1/2 teaspoon salt added to dressing.” I’ve done this procedure before, but in a blind taste test, my family preferred the version in which the cucumbers had not been previously salted to remove water. They thought the cucumbers were crispy enough without the additional step. If you are serving this salad soon after preparation you can probably forgo the salting step. It’s your choice whether to or not!

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