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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Asparagus is one vegetable that can be grown in all but the coldest and warmest parts of the United States. The roots will need a season long enough to store energy to produce lots of fat spears. The cold weather could make the asparagus go dormant for a bit.

If you plant to grow asparagus from seed it may take up to three years before the first harvest. For better results start in spring with year old crowns. Crowns are bare root plants without leaves. You will want to ask for the male hybrid plants that outproduce older types. These plants will mature and produce 1/2 pound crowns. Deciding how much to grow will depend on your appetite for asparagus but roughly 5 crowns per person should be enough.

You are preparing a bed that will produce asparagus for years to come. A site that is sunny, well drained and out of the way of traffic is important when choosing the best spot. Compost a space 2 feet wide and dig a 6 to 8 inch trench as the length. Salt the trench with compost and then set crowns 1 1/2 feet apart. Cover crowns, mulch and water

Friday, April 20, 2018

What are all those blood test

Visit the doctor and more than likely you will have a blood test done. Blood test are common and offer information that other wise may not be known. There are many blood test types and many different reasons blood may be taken. Some of the most common and important type of blood test include:

  • A Full Blood Count test may be completed if blood levels are needed to be known. 
  • blood test for kidneys is done to check the health of the kidney or sign of kidney failure
  • liver function test are used for the detection of possible injury or inflammation to the liver. 
  • Blood sample is taken in the morning and checked for glucose levels to check for diabetes
  • Pricking a finger is an easy way to check for cholesterol in the body. 
  • urinalysis have been used for decades and offers doctor an idea how body is functioning during metabolically
  • cancer test are used to detect the presence of particular types of cancer and to monitor progress of the body
  • heart test shows presence of calcium in the arteries 

Beets come in more colors than red

 Beets have often been given a rough way to go but they may just surprise you. The garden beets root and leaves can both be eaten. Other beets are used to feed livestock. Beets became rather desired during the 19th century when it was discovered beets were a concentrated sense of sugar. It was Napoleon who decreed that the beet be used as the primary source of sugar. Around that same time beets were brought to the United States. Sugar beets now grow freely in the United States. Around 30% of the worlds sugar comes from beets.

One of the most common beet is the red beet. Red beets are also known as the garden beet, the table been and the beet. Red beets are often boiled and cooked to be eaten, they can also be eaten cold in a salad as well Some will enjoy beet soup as well. No matter how you enjoy red beets they are good for the body.

\Red Beets are a good source of vitamin C. Through time beets have been used to battle against vitamin C deficiencies such as scurvy. Beets are also a good source of betaine, a nutrient that is vital to good cardiovascular health. Betaine helps guard against strokes and heart disease. The nutrient is also beneficial in protecting the liver and raises the level of stomach acid

Beetroot juice is also beneficial and yes comes from the red beet. The juice helps to reduce high blood pressure The nitrate present in beetroot helps to make this true. 

Some times You Just Have To Turnip

Turnips are a lot like potatoes in both texture and appearance. Turnips, however, have a bitter flavor that pairs well with sweet meat like pork. Turnips are root vegetables that can be found year round in the produce aisle. Turnips are normally in season October - March. Turnips can add a number of vitamins and minerals that will benefit your overall health.

Turnips are white skinned root vegetable. They are used both in recipes for humans and to feed livestock. Turnip greens are consumed in some parts of the world. The leaves are often bitter and must be boiled down to be palatable much like mustard greens. Turnips are made in a number of recipes a few of the way turnips are used culinary are:

  • young or baby turnips are harvested at an early stage and are delicate and sweet in taste. Perfect for vegetable salad. Often served along with cabbage, carrot, and beetroot. Older turnips have a woody taste that is too strong for salads
  • Turnips can be diced into cubes and added to a piping hot vegetable stew. Ingredients such as potatoes, carrots, and shallots go well with recipes with turnips. Turnip greens as well as flesh can be cooked in soups and curries. 
  • In places such as India, Pakistan, and Iran enjoy turnip cubes that are pickled just like carrots
  • Raw turnips can be used in dips or coleslaw. Turnip strips or shreds can be used in dips, salad or coleslaw.

Turnips have many nutritional reasons to eat as well

Volunteer ...... Help Others..... Help Yourself

Have you ever considered volunteering with your family?? The benefits are enormous and are for the entire family from toddler and preschoolers to grand-parents. Lessons learned include empathy, tolerance, gratitude and community responsibility. Children who volunteer are the ones that most likely will volunteer as adults. The small things that we can all do make large differences in our family, community, town, state and world.

There are lots of volunteer jobs perfect for families. What will you do?? Do you want to volunteer just one time or would you rather volunteer on a long term commitment. There are many volunteer opportunities that you can find by contacting your church. When you decide what volunteer opportunity your family will participate in talk about it with your family and if your children have questions be sure to answer them. The most important thing is that you make sure you have fun There are many great ways that you can create family memories while helping other. Here is a short list

  • Do a bit of shopping whether in your own pantry or at the store. Get a bagful of items to donate to a food pantry
  • Take a walk to fight disease, this week in our area there are 2 great walks one for MS and the other from arthritis
  • Decorate shoe boxes and fill them with a deck of cards, small games and puzzle books to donate to local shelters and hospitals. 
  • Visit a nursing home, your family can find one special person to adopt as a "grandparent" or you can make a weekly visit to see many
  • pick up litter at a local park or while you take a walk in your own neighborhood. While doing this activity you may want to make sure your child wears work gloves
  • volunteer for a local charity that delivers meals. Not only will you bring them some thing filling but you can also provide companship
  • provide rides to elderly people or patients with AIDS or cancer to dr appointments. 
  • have your child practice their reading skills by reading to children in the hospital. 
  • Volunteer at an animal shelpter and help care for abandoned dogs or cats. 

Breakfast Casserole

8 eggs
2 cups milk
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
12 slices of Texas toast, toasted, buttered and diced into large cubes
1 tube of Jimmy Dean's original sausage
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 tomatoes, diced
2 handfuls spinach, lightly chopped
¼ cup butter (4 tablespoons), melted

Butter a 9x13 baking dish; set aside. When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Cook sausage in a skillet until browned, set aside
Toast and butter the bread then dice into large chunks. You can do this in the oven, toaster oven, or toaster.
In a medium bowl, mix eggs, milk, salt and pepper; set aside
To assemble, place half of the cubed bread in the buttered baking dish. Top with half of the sausage, spinach, tomatoes, and cheese. Place the other half of cubed bread on top of the first layer and top with the other half of sausage, spinach, tomatoes and cheese.
Evenly pour the egg mixture on top of the casserole, lightly pressing the bread down.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or over night even. This will allow the bread to soak up all of the egg mixture, otherwise the bread would be dry.
Before baking drizzle ¼ cup melted butter on top, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 1 hour. Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes then serve.

recipe source here

Stress Awareness Month

Stress is a real part of most lives. Working hard at their job may also come with a price. The price of success may result in poor health, stress and burnout. April brings this issue and other issues of stress into the spot light with National Stress Awareness Month. Leaving stress behind at work may be a bit difficult for many. There are some things that you can do to have a happier life.

Take the time to unwind. Stress happens, sometimes it can not be avoided. That is why it is important to relax, renew and rejuvenate. Holding stress in is not good for the body. Long time stress can lead to headaches, stomach disorders and depression. Stress can also lead to strokes and heart disease. 

It does not matter who in your house is stressed, it is a good to get everyone together over dinner for some time to unwind and get together. More than 1/2 Americans turn to their family or friends when they feel stressed, another 1/3 try to withstand the stress alone. The fight or flight sympathetic stress response is a survival mechanism that is hardwired into our nervous system. This mechanism is good when quick reflexes are needed but chronic stress can lead to illness

Chronic stress can be combated. Be willing to be flexible you may have to choose your response techniques:

  • Recognize times when you dont have control and let it go
  • Dont get anxious about situations that you can not change
  • Control your own reactions and focus your mind on something that makes you feel calm and in control. 
  • Develop your own vision of a healthy living, wellness and personal growth and set realistic goals to help you realize your vision.

There are some was that you can help cheer yourself up. Start with keeping photos by your desk or an inspiring quote by your nightstand. Visual cues trigger your brain to think of good memories and creates  positive emotion. Visual cues can also help you to recall that goal you accomplished in the past and that you can do it again. 

In addition to visual cues be sure to take time to relax and recharge. Taking time to take care of yourself each day can help you be able to handle stress that life offers you. A few things you can take a little time and combat stress include:
  • taking a walk
  • reading a  book
  • going for a run
  • have a cup of tea or coffee
  • play a sport
  • spend time with a friend or loved one
  • practice yoga or meditation.

Stress will never go away but you can improve how you deal with it. A healthy balanced life, time for work and time for play, good relationships, a bit of time to relax and have fun
One last way to help yourself deal with stress is to get enough sleep. The brain processes things differently when it is low on sleep. It seems that while we work many hours we do not give our bodies the rest and rejuvenation that they need. While you may consider 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night a waste of time it is truly an investment in the making. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Braised Chinese Mustard Greens

1 head of Chinese mustard greens
10 fresh shiitake mushrooms
1 medium carrot
1 T oil
3 slices fresh ginger root
salt, to taste – you may not need any

1 T light soy sauce
1 tsp brown or raw cane sugar
1/2 c water or broth (or, if you’re using rehydrated mushrooms, the liquid from soaking them is a great one to use for this)
1 T cornstarch

Bring a pot of water to a boil.
Separate the stalks of the greens from the core and soak 10 m in cool water. Rinse and repeat until no grit remains in the bowl or sink.
Cut the leafy part of the greens away from the stem, shake or pat them dry, and reserve them for another dish, even another day. Cut the stems into large bite-sized pieces, roughly 1.5″ on a side.
Remove the mushroom stems and reserve them for making broth. Cut the caps into halves or quarters if large.
Peel the carrot and cut into 1/8″ thick slices: you can do this on the diagonal, lengthwise, or even make carrot flowers by cutting long grooves lengthwise, then slicing crosswise for an extra pretty presentation.
Blanch and shock the mustard green stems and carrots – they should be crisp-tender and brightly colored.
Combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Heat the oil in the wok over high heat, explode the ginger root just until fragrant.
Add the mushrooms, stirfry quickly for 1 m.
Add the sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook out the starchy flavor, stirring for approximately 1-2 m.
Add the greens and carrots just until they are heated through.
Adjust the seasoning and serve.

Benefits of Mustard Greens and a Delicious Salad Recipe with green beans and potatoes

This recipe offers a good source of mustard greens. As you can see from the above mustard greens offers health benefits ranging from the ability to fight cancer to helping to detoxify the body The recipe source is realfood, you can find many other great recipes there as well.

This particular potato salad recipe can be made ahead of time. The more it sits the better it taste. If there are leftovers simply freshen the salad up by adding a can of drained tuna and a can of drained chickpeas, a chopped hard boiled egg. One great thing about this recipe is that it is gluten free, dairy free, mayo free and vegetarian.

1 ½ pounds small baby potatoes
1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small shallot, very thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup red wine vinegar
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley

1. Drop the potatoes into a large pot of boiling salted water and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until they are just cooked through. Strain the potatoes and set aside, leaving the water boiling in the pot.

2. Drop the green beans into the boiling water. Boil until just cooked and bright green, 3-5 minutes, being careful not to overcook. Drain and rinse with very cold water to stop the cooking process.

3. Make the dressing by combining the garlic, honey, mustard, salt, and red wine vinegar in a small bowl, whisking to combine. Stream in the olive oil, whisking until well incorporated.

4. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle slice in half. Add the sliced potatoes, green beans and shallots to a large bowl. Pour over the dressing and stir to combine. Let sit at least 10 minutes for the dressing to absorb. Sprinkle with parsley, then serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Best served at room temperature.

Serves 8 as a side.