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Music Monday ~ Monster Mash October 31, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Music & Dance.
34 comments

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Here’s Bobby “Boris” and the Cryptkicker Five with . . . Monster Mash:

They’re Creepy and they’re Kooky . . . The Addams Family:

Meet Herman, Lily, Eddie, Grandpa, and Marilyn . . . The Munsters:

And here’s Warren Zevon with . . . Werewolves in London:

H~A~P~P~Y

H~A~L~L~O~W~E~E~N!

Related posts: It’s Halloween * Monster Mash (NOLA Girl)

A Classic Carbonara Caper October 30, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Poetry.
27 comments

IMGP4171A Classic Carbonara Caper

My friends and I misbehaved
One year on Mischief Night
We hid in bushes along the road
With baggies wrapped up tight

Our aim was good, we seldom missed
Hitting windshields and causing fright
We laughed as drivers recoiled when
“Blood red guts” splattered into sight

We thought our prank was funny
Until a siren pierced the night
We raced away, quick as a wink
From the officer’s flashing light

Related posts: It’s Halloween * Who Hung The Moon?

Who Hung The Moon? October 30, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Poetry.
24 comments

H~A~P~P~Y H~A~L~L~O~W~E~E~N!

Who hung the moon
All Hallow’s Eve
Bright orange orb
Bare leafless trees
Silent silhouettes
Sway in the breeze
Ghosts and goblins
You must appease
Hand them fair treats
For if you displease
Tricks they’ll bestow
On unbent knees
And pale ribbons caught
In bare, spidery trees
Shall drift and sway
Stirred by the breeze
As the moon glows red
All Hallow’s Eve

Related posts: It’s Halloween

 

Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act October 29, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Sustainable Living.
29 comments

I received this e-mail from the Union of Concerned Scientists yesterday:

Currently, billions of taxpayer dollars subsidize unhealthy, processed foods, while farmers who grow healthy foods work without support—but we can change that!

Leaders in Congress have introduced the Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act to support local farmers and food markets.  A recent UCS report found that expanding local food systems will boost local economies, create jobs, and encourage consumption of fruits and vegetables.

As a bonus, these farmers are also more likely to embrace practices that protect our air, water, and soil.

With enough support, this bill could become part of the larger Food and Farm Bill, currently moving through Congress at a lightning pace.

Write to your members of Congress and ask them to cosponsor the Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act today!

To learn more at UCS:  Local and Regional Food Systems 101 * Creating Jobs through Public Investment in Local and Regional Food Systems

Other Resources:  Choose My Plate  (healthy foods to place on your plate, plus help in planning nutritious and delicious menus); Eat Well Guide (a directory of farms, grocery stores, and restaurants that offer local, fresh, and sustainable food); SlowFood USA  (advocating for food and farming policies that are good for the public, good for farmers and workers, and good for the planet); Food Routes (the seeds it grows from, the farmers who produce it, and the routes that carry it from the fields to our tables); Local Harvest (a directory of small farms, farmers’ markets and other local food sources).

Wikipedia ~ Asparagus (in Public Domain)

And, on a lighter note . . .

The Only Cin sent me A NEW AGE VEGETARIAN SONG to share, which I’ve expanded a bit:

When the moon is o’er the 7th field
And zucchini aligns with squash
Then peas will rule the planets
And lettuce will steer the stars

This is the dawning of the Age of Asparagus
The Age of Asparagus . . . A~SPA~RA~GUS

A~SPA~RA~GUS!

Eat Healthy!  Be Happy!

Related posts:  Small Farms Create More Jobs (Bit of Earth Farm) * Great Nutrition Starts On Your Plate * A Month of Meatless Meals * Spinach Rice * 7 Reasons We Prefer To Dine In

Hidden Nutrients in Good For Us Food October 29, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Humor.
51 comments
220px-Pig_roastbeef

Wikipedia ~ This little piggy (in Public Domain)

When we look at food, we cannot see Vitamins, Minerals, Protein, Fiber, Carbohydrates, or Anti-Oxidants hiding within.

But those Hidden Nutrients in good for us food are the building blocks that nourish our bodies.

If we choose carefully, we get filled up without spreading out.

* It’s bizarre that the produce manager is more important to my children’s health than the pediatrician. ~ Meryl Streep

When putting together your grocery list and planning meals for the coming week, consider adding a few of these Healing Foods:

Veggies:

Asparagus ~ eat freely (not if you suffer from Gout)
Celery ~ calming, good for gout, controls blood pressure
Cruciferous Veggies ~ kale, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kohlrabi, mustard & turnip greens, swiss chard
Fennel & Fennel Seeds ~ several medicinal uses
Parsley ~ good source of Calcium, add to soups, sauces, and salads
Peas ~ richest food source of vitamin B1 (improves sleep, appetite, and mood)
Pumpkins, Squash, and Sweet Potatoes ~ beta-carotene and vitamin A
Red Pepper ~ eat freely, either raw or lightly cooked
Seawood ~ reliable source of iodine to avoid an underactive thyroid
Spinach ~ eat up to twice a week, preferably raw
Tomato ~ eat freely, including canned products (without salt)
Watercress ~ eat freely, especially raw

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* It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato. ~ Lewis Grizzard

* A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins. ~ Laurie Colwin

Fenouil

Wikipedia ~ Fennel (in Public Domain)

* Fennel is beyond every other vegetable, delicious. It resembles in appearance the largest size celery, perfectly white. There is no vegetable equals its flavour. Indeed I prefer it to every other vegetable, or to any fruit. ~ Thomas Jefferson

* I’m afraid of losing my obscurity. Genuineness only thrives in the dark, like celery. ~ Aldous Huxley

* The turnip is a capricious vegetable, which seems reluctant to show itself at its best. ~ Waverley Root

* Vegetables are a must on a diet.  I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.  ~ Garfield (by Jim Davis)

* Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon. ~ Doug Larson

Fruit:

Apples ~ improves joint problems, eat freely (as many as 2-3 day)
Apricots ~ great for potassium, including dried apricots
Bananas ~ improves mood and sleep, consume one a day
Black Currants ~ in spreads made with fruit juice, not sugar
Cherries ~ helps gout sufferers
Citrus Fruits ~ lemons, limes, kumquats, tangerines, tangelos, oranges

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* A fruit is a vegetable with looks and money.  Plus, if you let fruit rot, it turns into wine, something Brussels sprouts never do. ~ P.J. O’Rourke

* Life is like eating artichokes; you have got to go through so much to get so little.  ~ Thomas Aloysius (Tad) Dorgan

* You get about as much actual “food” out of eating an artichoke as you would from licking 30 or 40 postage stamps. ~ Miss Piggy

Grains, Beans, Nuts, Seeds & Shellfish:

Brown Rice ~ boosts thiamine levels
Wheat Germ ~ Vitamin E and fiber, sprinkle on salads and cooked dishes
Whole Grains ~ Wheat, Rye, Millet, Kasha, Barley, Quinoi, Corn
Beans & Lentils ~ Kidney, Pinto, Garbanzo, Red, Black, Lentils, Split Peas, Black Eyed Peas
Nuts ~ Walnuts, Pecans, Almonds (calcium, iron, potassium), Peanuts, Pistachios
Seeds ~ Linseed (omega 3 fatty acids), Pumpkin Seeds (best plant source of Zinc)
Shellfish ~ good source of iodine, zinc, omega 3 fatty acids, iron

* I don’t think America will have really made it until we have our own salad dressing.  Until then we’re stuck behind the French, Italians, Russians and Caesarians. ~ Pat McNelis

* You are what you eat.  For example, if you eat garlic you’re apt to be a hermit. ~ Franklin P. Jones

* “Newman, you wouldn’t eat broccoli if it was deep-fried in chocolate sauce.” ~  Jerry Seinfeld

* Money is the root of all evil, and yet it is such a useful root that we cannot get on without it any more than we can without potatoes. ~ Louisa May Alcott

Related posts:  Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Hidden * Mindful Eating ~ The French Paradox (Psychology Today) * Focus On What You’re Gaining

Once Upon A Time Muffins October 28, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Vegetarian Recipes.
40 comments

Once Upon A Time . . .

Junk-Food Jacques tasted a heart-healthy muffin packed with anti-oxidants  (apples, cranberries, and nuts) and fiber (apples, cranberries, nuts, and oats).

The fiber and anti-oxidants boosted his immune and  cardiovascular systems and put a smile on his face.

No, really, they did!   

And he lived happily ever after . . . on a moment by moment basis, of course.

2 wicker baskets full of muffins sit on a blue...

Wikipedia ~ Muffins (in Public Domain)

Once Upon A Time Muffins

1 large egg
3/4 cup milk or half & half
3 Tbsp. vegetable or olive oil
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1-2 tsp. cinnamon
1 medium apple, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup dried cranberries or raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In small bowl, beat together egg, milk, oil and sugar.  In larger bowl, combine remaining ingredients.  Fold liquid ingredients into dry mixture and mix to moisten. Fill non-stick muffin tins 3/4 full.

Bake 15-20 minutes until the tops are golden brown and the muffins spring back when touched lightly and/or when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool for 5 minutes, remove from pan and serve.

Makes 12 muffins ~ 173 calories, 4 g. protein, 3 g. fiber, 8 g. fat.

Variations ~ omit last 5 ingredients (nutmeg, cinnamon, apple, cranberries, and walnuts) and replace with:

Blueberry ~ 1 cup of fresh blueberries, dredged in 1 Tbsp. flour
Carrot ~ 1 1/2 c. shredded carrot, 1/3 c. raisins, 1/4 c. chopped walnuts
Zucchini ~ 1 1/2 c. shredded zucchini, 1/3 c. raisins, 1/4 c. chopped walnuts
Peach ~ 1 1/2 c. finely chopped fresh peaches and a dash of ginger
Pumpkin ~ decrease milk to 1/2 c. and add 3/4 c. canned pumpkin, 1/8 tsp. nutmeg, and 1/4 c. chopped walnuts

For Brain Rants:  Bacon Muffins ~ 3 strips of bacon, fried crisp and crumbled

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  Sidey’s Weekend Theme ~ Once Upon A Time * Start With The Pebbles

Start With The Pebbles October 28, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Food & Drink, Health & Wellness.
40 comments

Our thoughts play tricks on us . . . in order to maintain the status quo.

For example, if we start thinking of clearing out the clutter, our thoughts gravitate to the MOST DIFFICULT issue first :

What are we going to do with the grandma’s silver tea set? 

Stymied and unable to come up with a satisfactory answer, we abandon the task entirely.

If we want to make changes in our lives, we can start small, moving step by step in the right direction.  Instead of worrying about the antique tea service first, we can clear out the “real clutter” ~ STUFF that is not giving us ANY VALUE and is just taking up SPACE in our homes and our thoughts.

After we’ve tossed the old magazines, the toys and games that have been outgrown, and clothes that no longer fit, we can tackle the tea service.

Every move in the right direction counts . . . a bucket is filled drop by drop.

Instead of tackling the BIGGEST boulders straight out of the starting block (before we’ve got momentum going), we can start with a few SMALLER pebbles.

Kicking several small pebbles aside, and side-stepping a few small potholes along the way, will give us the confidence we need to “climb every mountain and ford every stream.”

When it comes to nutrition, we need not change ALL of our “bad habits” to improve our health and wellness.  Instead, we can make a series of smaller changes and build momentum before attempting to tackle any BOULDERS that are standing in our way.

We should enjoy eating.  If we want to choose foods that help prevent and treat illness, and enhance our well-being, we don’t have to be fanatic about it.

Instead of marching into the kitchen to throw away ALL the junk food that is lurking there . . . we can start on the road to better health by adding some “better for us” choices to the grocery cart and to our meals.

These 20 Healing Foods offer exceptional nutritional value:

1.  Artichokes ~ aids digestion and assists liver, gallbladder & kidney function.

2.  Broccoli ~ antioxidants (beta-carotene, vitamins C & E), iron, folic acid, calcium and zinc.  Ideal:  2-3 servings a week.

3.  Cabbage ~ raw cabbage contains more anti-oxidants than cooked.  Ideal:  2-3 servings per week in tossed salads or cole slaw.

220px-Carrots_of_many_colors

Wikipedia ~ Carrots (in Public Domain)

4.  Carrots ~ high fiber, low calorie with plenty of anti-oxidants.  A carrot a day keeps the doctor away.

5.  Lettuce & Salad Greens ~ excellent source of raw fiber.  Eat freely.

6.  Onion ~ eating 1/2 an onion a day helps combat infections.

7.  Sweet Potato ~ great source of anti-oxidants, vitamin E, potassium, iron.  Ideal: one per week.

8.  Blueberries and Bilberries (wild blueberries) ~ improves circulation and counters infections in the digestive track.

9.  Cranberries ~ assists bodily defenses and fights UTI’s.

10.  Oranges ~ eating the fruit is more beneficial than drinking the juice. Use orange zest, rich in orange oil, to garnish salads & desserts.

11. Pineapple ~ beneficial enzymes are killed with cooking.  Eat fresh.

12.  Chili Pepper ~ stimulates circulation, clears airways, aids digestion, and raises the rate at which we burn calories.  Got chili peppers?

13.  Garlic ~ defends against colds and flu (and vampires).  Improves blood flow.  Best eaten raw.  Ideal:  1-2 cloves a day.

14.  Ginger ~ fights colds and coughs and aids circulation.  Delicious in stir fries, curries, desserts, and tea.

15.  Tea ~ Green tea has the most anti-oxidants.

16.  Oats ~ Soothes nerves and lowers cholesterol.  1-2 ounces a day ~  more may limit absorption of calcium, zinc, and iron.  Oatmeal pancakes, bread, granola, and muffins.  Hmm . . . Oatmeal Raisin Muffins!

17.  Sunflower Seeds ~ richer in Vitamin E than any other commonly available food.  Ideal:  2 Tbsp. a day.  Delicious sprinkled on salads.

18.  Walnuts ~ reduces severity of rheumatoid arthritis.  Omega-3 fatty acids.  Ideal:  5 a day.

19.  Yogurt ~ live cultures don’t survive long in digestive track.   Ideal: 1/2 c. of low fat yogurt with live cultures a day.  Delicious topped with fruit, nuts, and honey.

20.  Oily Fish ~ eating 4-13 oz. of fatty fish a week supplies beneficial Omega 3 fatty acids.

Wikipedia ~ Catfish (in Public Domain)

How many of these have you eaten in the past week?  How many are in your pantry and fridge right now?

How many will you incorporate into your meals today?

Related posts:  Food Matters ~ You Are What You Eat * Focus On What You’re Gaining * Friday’s Fabulous Facts ~ Chocolate & Smiles (Reflections From A Cloudy Mirror) * Great Nutrition Starts On Your Plate

Focus On What You’re Gaining October 27, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Food & Drink, Health & Wellness.
46 comments

JoggingAt the outset, let’s talk a bit about motivation and goals.

If we focus on what we are giving up, we feel deprived, dissatisfied, and down-hearted . . . unless and until we start to see real results.

We feel like we are making huge sacrifices with little immediate gratification.

So we fall off the wagon . . .

We reach for a donut or some other non-nutritious “goodie” that gives us momentary satisfaction but, in the end, makes us feel worse.

If we want to forge new habits, like making better choices about what we eat, we need to focus on what we are GIVING ourselves ~ health and wellness!

And, as we start to make better choices, we need to follow the path of Ps ~ Patience, Persistence, Passion, and Purpose!

If our Purpose is to be healthier, and we become Passionate about that endeavor, we develop the Patience we need to Persist in our efforts until we start to see tangible results ~ on the scales, in our energy levels, in our moods, or in positive feelings of well-being.

Better choices make us feel better!

Purpose, Passion, and Patience give us the Power we need to Persist and keep moving forward . . . one step at a time in the direction of our goals.

If we focus on what we are giving up, that self-created feeling of sacrifice causes us to be discouraged.

In contrast, if we focus on what we are gaining  from our efforts (better health, more energy, etc.), there is no feeling of sacrifice.

Our positive thoughts encourage us to keep on, keeping on.

In time, we start the reap the fruits of our labor ~ we feel better, we look better, we have more energy, we feel calmer and more in control.

Our new habits allow us to stop surviving . . . and start thriving.

Aah . . . that’s better!

What about you?  What tips and techniques do you use to stay motivated when the going gets rough?

Quotes to Ponder:

* Life is not a dress rehearsal.  Quit practicing what you’re going to do, and just do it.  In one bold stroke, you can transform today. ~ Phillip Markins

* The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are. ~ J. Pierpoint Morgan

* The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own.  No apologies or excuses.  The gift of life is yours.  It is an amazing journey and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. ~ Dan Zadra

* We cannot put off living until we are ready.  The most salient characteristic of life is its urgency, “here and now” without any possible postponement.  Life is fired at us point-blank. ~ Jose Ortega y Gasset

Related posts:  Frugal Habits Are Healthy * Coffee ~ Friend or Foe? * Get Out!!! * Mindful Eating ~ The French Paradox (Psychology Today)

Food Matters ~ You Are What You Eat October 26, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Sustainable Living.
55 comments

We watched a fascinating documentary last night ~ Food Matters.

With a staggering number of Americans suffering from obesity and other food-related maladies, this film takes a timely and hard-hitting look at how the food we eat is helping or hurting our health, and what we can do to live (and eat) better.

Nutritionists, naturopaths, scientists, doctors, medical journalists and more weigh in on everything from using food as medicine to the value of organic food and the safety of the food we consume.

While I’m not persuaded by everything they said in the movie, the underlying premise makes sense  . . . when we eat better, we feel better.

Instead of popping pills to cure our ills . . . we need to EAT BETTER FOOD. 

The human body is capable of curing a vast variety of ills . . . IF we provide it with the basic building blocks of nutrition: vitamins, minerals, fiber, and anti-oxidants to remove free radicals.

Food Matters opines that we can reverse conditions such as heart disease (high fiber, low fat diet), depression (3,000 mg niacin), cancer (IV’s of Vitamin C), and stress-induced illnesses (instead of Prozac, eat cashews) through improved diet, increased exercise, and better nutrition.  

If they’re correct, why don’t we hear more about natural cures?  Well . . .

* Medical schools don’t highlight nutrition as a vehicle for better health.
* Pharmaceutical companies get rich by pumping us full of drugs.
* Better health makes sense for us . . . but it doesn’t make anybody rich.

These days, TV commercials push prescription drugs as “cures” ~ the drugs  address symptoms rather than eliminating the cause of disease.  Instead of making changes to address the underlying imbalance, we are encouraged to take drugs for high blood pressure, depression, high cholesterol, and auto-immune diseases (such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus).

And we pay a price for all that pill popping ~ both at the drugstore and from increased mortality rates.  Each year, more than 100,000 Americans die from taking prescription medications as prescribed. 

In contrast, the side effects of nutritional therapy are negligible since there are very few documented deaths from eating fruits, vegetables, and grains.

What if changing our diets and sedentary lifestyles could CURE our chronic health  problems and IMPROVE our overall fitness, health and well-being?

Would that be worth exploring?

I think so. 

As I delve more into diet and nutrition in coming posts, please join the discussion with questions, comments, suggestions, links, ideas, tips and techniques.

Let’s eat better so we can feel better.

Quote to Ponder: Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food. ~ Hippocrates

Related posts:  Let’s Move It * Exercise, Exercise, Exercise * Get out!Great Nutrition Starts On Your Plate * 10 Ways to Fiber Up Your Diet * Only A Fool Would Say That * Food, Inc. * Things You Should Know ~ Food Matters (Small Town Revelations) * Top Ten Reasons To Become A Vegetarian (AgriGirl)

Treasures of Wildlife October 25, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Art & Photography, Nature, Poetry.
48 comments

The landscape belongs to the person who looks at it. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature.  It will never fail you. 
~ Frank Lloyd Wright

The lazy lizard
lounges in Shamrock Park, watched
by all, seen by none

All good things are wild and free. ~ Henry David Thoreau

White under-belly
exposed, the turtle heads to
its watery grave

The richness I achieve comes from Nature, the source of my inspiration.
~ Claude Monet

Coyotes roam through
fisherman’s village, searching
for tasty morsels

The goal of life is living in agreement with nature. ~ Zeno

Great Blue Heron stands
in meditative pose, wings
outstretched in prayer

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. ~ Rachel Carson

Heads bobbing in time,
dancing deck lizards groove to  
that 70’s sound

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. 
~ Albert Einstein

Green dreams shatter as
drought-stricken dying palms wave
at the passing clouds

Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a songbird will come. 
~ Chinese Proverb

Two swans on Swan Lake
swim with beauty, style, and grace ~
we stand on the shore

In the wilderness is the preservation of the world. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Displaced by torrents
of water, homeless hornets
regroup and rebuild

Let nature be your teacher. ~ William Wordsworth

Otters chittering
in Spoonbill Landings’ lagoon
join the birds’ chorus

An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language. ~ Martin Buber

Perico Island
offers a sanctuary
for our feathered friends

Keep your sense of proportion by regularly, preferably daily, visiting the  natural world. ~ Catlin Matthews

Masked bandits at night
Fearlessly approach our door
Raccoons amuse me

We do not see nature with our eyes, but with our understanding and our hearts. ~ William Hazlitt

Sailing through the air
Graceful in their awkwardness
Pelicans abound

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. ~ John Muir

Children toss reptile
into on-coming traffic. 
Snake shall breathe no more.

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin. ~ William Shakespeare

Frozen in my tracks
I meet the predator’s gaze
Bored, the hawk flies off

We do not inherit the Land from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. ~ Native American Proverb

Forlorn foghorn cries
Fish splash, breaking the surface
Crickets harmonize

Each moment of the year has its own beauty . . . a picture which was never before and shall never be seen again. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson