Ruby Tuesday

Ruby Tuesday is a photo meme to share your photos with red , a little or all red images at with host Mary the Teach.


Boot camp- Debbie’s tips-Healthy eating plan


 Good Morning!  Below is Debbie Doos blog post on New Year, New You , 2010. 
I thought that all of these healthy tips were too good and  a reminder for the whole year.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


NeW YeAR, NeW YoU! me start off by saying I am by no means a skinny Minnie! I have however, been able to maintain a healthy body weight, and BMI (Body Mass Index) for many years now. I can see the older I am getting the harder it is. Hormones, I am sure play a big role in this. For the Past two Years I have been doing Boot Camp sessions with a personal trainer. I am part of a group with 5 women, and it has been a wonderful experience. Since it is Winter and cold I am back at the YMCA and doing some classes, custom cuts, kettle ball, and Yoga. I do miss boot camp and have learned a lot from my trainer that I would love to shAre  this with You. I haVe diet menus, Recipes,  and some key facts that you really should know if you want to lose weight. Whether you are slightly overweight, or normal weight…..YoU are what you eat. FIRST, let me tell you everything you should NOT eat……     

All Flour Products basically anything white!

Fast Food and Junk Food
Trans fat/hydrogenated Foods
Anything with GLUTEN basically is not good for you.  If you can try for two weeks to stay away from it to see how you feel that would be key.  Listed below are some examples of why.

Carrots and Parsnips baked you are asking what the hell am I suppose to eat? I will get to that, but let me first tell you why you should not be eating the above. Chronic health and weight problems have been associated with GLUTEN. Do you feel bloated, gassy, fatigue, brain fog, mood problems, headaches, sinus and nasal congestion, joint pain, acne, eczema,? Any of this sound familiar? Gluten causes inflammation. You may be sensitive to one of the above and never have realized it is from what you are eating. First key to success when going to the grocery store is… the exterior ONLY! All fresh. No reason to pick up a can or a box. If it has something in it and you can’t say it, it is bad for you! Most EVERYTHING has high fructose in it, which is sugar! When possible buy organic, at least in the meats as well. Ground turkey should be ground turkey BREAST, the rest has all added crap in it. I will tell you I did this diet for two weeks, and I lost weight and felt AWESOME! Now is it realistic?….it can be once you get use to it. I can honestly tell you a lot of these tips and tricks did stick and I have followed with them.  If you want to lose weight and start todaY….you are now on a 1,500 calorie a day diet.  Sounds like nothing right?  Well it’s not that bad really.  Now what I did was substitute my milk with Vanilla soy (unsweetened), which was great.  I also used the soy cheeses available, cheddar, and different flavors.   The bottom line here is you must burn more calories then you take in. So start back on that treadmill I know you have one. You should be doing that at least 40 minutes a day. While doing your treadmill work outs add short duration, high intensity drills….which means go fast, and then regular pace intervals, you want to get your heart rate up. We also need some light weight training in there.  We tend to develop osteoarthritis and our bones get weak and frail as we age.  I have  kicked in the weights these days. And no you will not bulk up like Arnold Schwartzenager! By no means am I a Dr. or certified trainer, what I am passing along to you is what my trainer did for us, and we paid her big bucks for this information! So yours is FReE!!!

EXTRA Virgin Olive oil
Coconut Milk
Coconut Oil
Organic chicken broth
Avocado Oil
Walnut Oil
NO Canola, peanut, safflower sunflower, corn & cottonseed….WHY? because they are refined, and anything refined is no good for you.

Free Calories seasonings, salsa’s or and a light amount of GoOD oils!
Drink a glass of water every time you eat.
Keep each meal no more than 300 calories. Diet sodas are bad for you, as we know but hey we have to live too, so I say on occasion we can still drink them.
RED potatoes and sweet potatoes are now the only potatoes you should eat, that is all I buy now. The Red potatoes are awesome boiled, sprayed with a little Pam, and seasoned slightly with Mrs. Dash. The sweet potatoes are awesome sliced, sprayed with Pam and sprinkle Cumin on them, bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, those are good!
NO eating after 6:00pm…tell your husband he can eat alone! You are on a serious mission to lose weight. In case you are really hungry after 6:00 you can have 150 calorie snack. I found having dark chocolate in the house really helps. It has to be over 70% coco.

OK now here are a list of foods for you to enjoy! Get creative and you will be surprised how great everything tastes.

Lean White Meat (Chicken, Turkey (skinless)
Fish, Tilapia, salmon, cod, sole
Sirloin or Lamb loin again as I mentioned above Organic if you can.
Frozen or Fresh Fruit
Avocados…oh how they are my buddy, I love them. Yes high in fat, but it is a GooD fat!
All veggies
refried beans, lentils, navy and all other beans, excellent!  I sometimes take an avocado with the beans, olive oil and some chicken breast, dash some red vinegar on and you have an awesome filling lunch!
Brown Rice/wild rice gluten-free excellent
NUTS and Seeds, almonds, walnuts, pecans, macadamia, flaxseed, cashews. Try some of the NUT butters too they are not bad and they have no sugar! all except peanut butter. I buy the Almond butter and put it on my toast, which I talk about below what bread to buy.
As mentioned try Soy Milk for the first couple of weeks…make sure it has no sugar as well.
BREAD I use EZEKIEL it is in the frozen section.  I like their english muffins and their sesame bread is great too.  Toasted is the best!  

BREAKFAST:  1 cup of organic frozen strawberries, 1 cup of unsweetened vanilla soy milk.  Flax  seed grounded and sprinkle on top.  Flax seed is a great source of Omega 3’s.

SNACK: 150 calorie, protein based…you can take rolled turkey breast and eat a few pieces of that

LUNCH:  Ground turkey breast ( make some and have it on hand)soft CORN tortillas all the time now CORN, they are great flipped in a sprayed skillet….sprinkle a little organic cheese, salsa, tomato and that is great!

SNACK:  You can always grab a handful of almonds

DINNER:  Grilled chicken breast with your choice of seasoning, ie. garlic, pepper, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, rosemary, any of these will do. Potato and salad on the side.  Do not use any more bottle dressing, olive oil and balsamic is the best choice, or red wine vinegar.  Salad dressings are loaded with sugars.  I also want to mention a great sugar substitute is Stevia.

Make sure you are taking your calcium supplement.  I buy the Chocolate Chews and they taste like candy! your measuring tape and take your measurements, now watch them shrink in the next couple of WEEKS!!! 

Monday- Blue Monday Meme


Blue flowers, a remembrance of springtime


Good Morning, today I’m linking up with Smiling Salley for Blue Monday.  

Listen,closely with me.   I can hear the wind rush through the leafless trees, and the whistling sound that comes through the roof-top dryer vents.  In the midst of the winter, it’s raining here with a forecast for some flooding.  I don’t live near any rivers or streams.   Some roads may become flooded in low-lying areas.  

This photo of spring or beginning summer.  It is in my parents backyard.  That’s an old picnic bench, what do you suppose these bricks are for.  Sometimes the neighbors outdoor cat sits under there.   There are several like these lining the small side  garden.  Does anyone know the name of these blue hued flowers?  

Happy Blue Monday!

Post on School lunches


    Below is a reposting of an article on school lunches by Ed Bruske that I read on Donna McLoughlin’s news feed on Facebook.

Tales from a D.C. School Kitchen: Conclusion

January 24th, 2010 · 2 Comments · kids

Chronicling a week behind the food line Chronicling a week behind the food line 

I recently spent a week in the kitchen at H.D. Cooke Elementary School here in the District of Columbia observing how food is prepared. This is the last of a six-part series of posts about what I saw. You can find previous posts here, herehere, here and here.

When I asked to spend time observing the kitchen operation at my daughter’s elementary school, I thought I was going to see people cook. The food service provider for D.C. Public Schools, Chartwell-Thompson, had recently ditched the old method of feeding kids with pre-packaged meals from a food factory and replaced it with something they called “fresh cooked.” Being one of those folks who’s trying to return to cooking from scratch with fresh, local ingredients, I was anxious to see how Chartwell’s plan would play out.

Was I ever in for a surprise. As I soon discovered, there wasn’t anything “fresh” about the food being served at H.D. Cooke Elementary School. When I passed through the doors of the “Kid’s Stop Cafe,” I walked straight into the maws of the industrial food system, where  meals are composed of ingredients out of a food chemist’s lab, where highly processed food is doused with all sorts of additives and preservatives in distant factories, then cooked and shipped frozen so that it can be quickly reheated with minimal skill and placed on a steam table.

Like many of the parents who’ve been reading this series for the last five days, and communicating with me via our school listserv, I was perplexed by the sheer banality of so much processed, canned and sugar-injected food being fed to our children on a daily basis; disappointed that no one seemed to take issue with this sort of food service; chagrined that pizza and Pop Tarts and candied cereals were being served so routinely alongside Mountain Dew masquerading as milk–and all of it here in the nation’s capitol, right outside Michelle Obama’s door.

Are these really the lessons we want our kids to learn about food?

While I and other parents were feeling a little let down by what this witness account revealed, it would have come as little surprise to any of the thousands of school food service directors around the country. What I saw in the kitchen at H.D. Cooke reflects a culmination of trends that have been converging for decades in school cafeterias, a perfect storm, if you will, of industrialized food methods, meager school food budgets and federal government policy.

The National School Lunch Program traces its roots to the Great Depression when cash-strapped farmers were happy to have Uncle Sam buy their crop surpluses and donate them to schools. In the 1940s, this turned into a formal policy of ongoing federal support for school lunch. But Southern senators  insisted on states rights when it came to deciding how federal dollars were spent, and for years resisted efforts to make school lunch a poverty program or increase funding to extend it into poor, black, urban schools.

School lunch has always been subject to regional–and even racial–politics.

In the 1960s, however, the nation was rocked when it learned there were actually poor and hungry children about the land.  When Lyndon Johnson declared his War on Poverty, the school lunch program officially became a primary means of fighting hunger. Subsidized breakfasts soon followed. Then Ronald Reagan arrived on the scene. He may not have succeded in his famous effort to have ketchup declared a vegetable, but he was able to gut the budget for school lunches. Schools are still dealing with Reagan’s “smaller government” legacy.

In the budget squeeze, schools turned to brand-name fast-food giants such as Taco Bell to supply lunches. They enlisted commercial food service companies to bring economies of scale to the school routine and to schools that did not have their own kitchens. They attacked the biggest cost of food service–labor–by letting skilled cooks go, cutting back hours so employees no longer qualified for benefits, hiring people at lower rates who knew only how to heat and serve–the so-called “thawer-outers.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Agriculture continued to supply schools that qualified with free commodity products–truckloads of beef, poultry, cheese, potatoes. But schools found they could make better use of these commodities if they were shipped directly to large food processors. Now the schools trade those raw commodities for finished products that come with benefits: not only do the schools not have to pay for skilled labor to process raw foods, they face much less risk of diseases that sometimes accompany raw products. Liability issues transfer to the big processors, and what the schools receive is a finished, precooked, frozen meal item that only needs to be heated in an oven before it can be served to students. Furthermore, large processors can design on a grand scale foods that fulfill the nutritional requirements set forth by the federal government.

So who needs to cook?

That’s a simplified explanation for why the scrambled eggs you see on the steam table at H.D. Cooke for breakfast are actually a manufactured product with 11 different ingredients cooked in a factory in Minnesota and delivered 1,100 miles frozen in plastic bags to the District of Columbia. There are many other reasons why prefabricated, industrial convenience foods have so completely insinuated themselves into school menus.

In her book Free for All: Fixing School Food in America, Janet Poppendieck, a sociology professor at Hunter College, City University of New York, says most school food service directors are convinced that kids come to school wanting the same foods they eat at home or in fast food restaurants. That’s why so many kids crave pizza, french fries, hamburgers. This puts schools in a bind because of the way federal subsidies are structured for the lunch program: schools only receive reimbursements for meals they actually serve.

Schools now treat students as “customers,” designing menus around things they think students will buy. That’s not so much an issue in an elementary school such as H.D. Cooke, where everybody eats from the same steam table. But as kids get older–middle school, high school–they start looking for more options. They might refuse the reimbursable meal. They might eat off-campus. That’s why schools introduced “competetive foods,” either at “a la carte” stations separate from the reimbursable lunch line, or in vending machines. And that’s how it’s possible for kids to eat pizza and fries every day at school–or maybe just chips and soda. Healthy or not, schools need the revenue from those sales to fund the overall food program if the reimbursable meals aren’t being eaten.

As if there were not already enough complications, school food service providers also have a gun to their head where the contents of the meals are concerned. For instance, they are supposed to provide a minimum number of calories at meals, but also restrict the level of fat in meals to no more than 30 percent. As I described in part four of the series, meal planners end up replacing fat calories with carbohydrates, often in the form of sugar.

I’ve tried not to interject my personal views into these posts, but here I will make a prediction: One day we will regret what Poppendieck calls the “war on fat” and what it has meant in terms of removing flavor and succulence from school food and adding too many starchy and refined foods to kids’ diets. The focus should be less on the amount of fat we eat, and more on what kind of fat.

The human body is a remarkable mechanism that can metabolize all kinds of foods. It requires only two macro-nutrients for survival: fat and protein. Kids these days are being bombarded with polyunsaturated, omega-6 fats from corn and soybeans. Both of these crops are subsidized by U.S. tax dollars, which makes them abundant. But while they may be great for feeding livestock, making high-fructose corn syrup or providing the fat content for nearly every prepared food on grocery store shelves, their oils are something humans never evolved eating. What’s sorely lacking in school meals–as well as meals in general–are healthy fats such as the mono-unsaturated fats in olive oil, canola oil and nuts, the omega-3 fats from oily fish, pastured meats and eggs, flax seed. 

(In defiance of popular diet pronouncements, some Americans have embraced coconut oil, a saturated vegetable fat with a bad rap. Coconut oil is not your typical saturated fat: it consists of medium-chain fatty acids that are quickly metabolized for energy. Half the fatty acids in coconut oil are lauric acid, a potent antimicrobial also prominent in mother’s milk. It may not be politically correct, but coconut oil has been sustaining tropical natives for thousands of years and probably deserves a closer look.)

Meals without enough fat are bland. And we know that too much sugar can’t be good for an epidemic of childhood obesity. Industrial food has amply demonstrated that kids can be overfed and malnourished at the same time. As one food service director quoted by Poppendieck says, “you cannot base the school lunch program on what is the cheapest and what’s the easiest to get them to eat. That is a recipe for obesity.”

But can we really serve “fresh cooked” food in schools with all of these issues at play? Ann Cooper, the “renegade chef” who famously teamed with Alice Waters to introduce meals cooked from scratch with fresh ingredients in Berkeley, California, schools, and now presides as nutritionist for schools in Boulder, Colorado, says it really boils down to working harder, being more creative, having the will to do it.

In my own classes teaching “food appreciation” to kids in the after-school program at a private elementary school here in D.C., I’ve seen children try and enjoy all sorts of foods–including vegetables–when they have a chance to handle them and prepare them themselves. Kids will happily peel potatoes, grate carrots, chop onions all day if you give them the tools. We’ve been on a world food tour for the last year, currently sampling the cuisine of Africa. Last week we made a signature stew from Angola–muamba de galinha–with chicken and lots of vegetables–onions. tomatoes, garlic, okra, acorn squash–and palm oil. This was something none of us had seen before. But the kids wolfed it down and begged for seconds.

I know it sounds like just the sort of program that has earned Alice Waters an “elitist” tag. But I’m hear to say, it really works. “Healthy Schools” legislation pending before the D.C. Council calls for a strong education component to go with a farm-to-school program, as well as demanding that schools serve local farm products “whenever possible.” Now there’s talk of building a facility with capacity to process and freeze enough local produce to serve the entire school system.

But don’t creative meals using fresh ingredients cost more? And wouldn’t that mean hiring skilled chefs, another cost item?

Perhaps what it comes down to is a couple of simple questions: What kind of food do we want to feed our children? How much are we willing to spend? The French, who really care about food, spend triple what we do on school meals. The Italians spend double.

Not all food service authorities are convinced that cooking from scratch is the answer. “If the kids are not eating home-cooked meals at home, then they are not going to want those in school,” Poppendieck quotes one as saying. “The issue is we have to give kids what they are used to eating. We have to give them what they are familiar with. And we can’t be the trendsetters and go back to home-coked food if that’s not what they are getting at home.”

I wasn’t one of those millions of fans who cheered Michelle Obama on when she started her vegetable garden. I thought she should have located the garden at a needy school instead of on the White House grounds. But I’m happy to admit I was wrong. The First Lady has proved that she wields enormous influence. She has captured the world’s imagination with the simple act of planting seeds. She has embraced foods grown locally and sustainably as the foundation for a healthful diet, and declared child wellness her personal mission. She may deliver the National School Lunch Program to yet another pivotal transformation–more than a commodity program, more than a battle against hunger, school lunch as a teachable moment. She deserves our full attention.

Can she really undo what it has taken decades of persistent industry effort and government policy to put in place? Can she really get kids to think differently about food? She certainly has her work cut out for her. School food, says Poppendieck, “is simultaneously tasked with alleviating poverty, ending hunger, reducing waste, controlling spending, and overcoming childhood obesity, along with its original goals of safeguarding the health and well-being of the nation’s children and encouraging the domestic consumption of nutritious agricultural commodities. It’s a tall order, to say the least.”

After spending a week watching how school food is prepared, I certainly don’t claim to have a magic solution for all the issues bedeviling the school lunch program. But I do have a suggestion: Michelle Obama can’t do it alone. Adults–all of us–need to take responsiblity for the food kids eat.

Tales from a D.C. School Kitchen: Part Five

Tales from a D.C. School Kitchen: Part Five

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I thought it was a relevant school issue to post here on my blog for future reading.

The future of tomorrow relies on today’s children raised in a healthy environment.

Watery Wednesday

Migratory birds in the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge


Although we are in the midst of winter in the Northeast, I thought I’d share photos of our trip to Florida on our honeymoon in October 2005.

This is Sanibel Island.  The J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge.  President Harry S. Truman signed an Executive Order in 1945 to preserve this place.
If you double click with the left side of mouse, you can enlarge the photo.  You will see all the migratory birds.  Can anyone name these birds for me?
An important note:
All of these photos are my personal images, you must request permission to upload them for your use.

Ruby Tuesday


dance, dance on.

pure balance.
Lady dancer from India


toward the end of the dance, a pose.

RUBY TUESDAY, a weekly photo meme, with a little or a lot of red color in the photo of your choice.

This week, I’m showing photos of an female professional Indian dancer.  She did a performance at the Princeton Public library in 2006.

Recipe-Baked Red Beets

The beet, whose roots and leaves are both edible is that rarity among plant foods- a root vegetable with a second super healing leafy green vegetable attached as quoted in the book Super Healing Foods. This book has a wealth of information. The healing power is in your kitchen.

BAKED RED BEETS– The baked apple/baked potato Alternative


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

  Scrub two large fresh beets.  Cut off leaves and stems about one inch above beet top.  Pat dry.  Rub each beet with a little olive or canola oil and sprinkle with a few drops of water.  Place in a baking dish and cover with baking parchment paper or foil. 

Roast 45 minutres or until tender.

Serve as you would a baked apple or baked potato (spud) with a dab of yogurt (instead of sour cream) and a sprinkle of Super Healing salt. (see recipe).  Makes 2 servings.

Benefits of eating beets:

Beetroots have a rich supply of beta-carotene (22,700 IU) and organic mineral salts that speed tissue repair, detoxify the blood stream, and nourish the circulation that feed every living cell in the body.  Beets are also good brain and antifatigue food.  They are high in two amino acids (glutamine and asparagine), betaine ( a vitamin-like substance that aids brain function), and B-complex vitamins, especially folate, the antidepression vitamin.

Benefits of Beet greens:

Beet green rank in the five top rated sources of three anti-aging pigment anti -oxidants:

1.  The flavenoids, which produce “vitamin P” activity for strengthening the immune system, and the joint structures and vascular system.

2.  the alpha and beta ani-cancer carotenes.

3..chlorrophhl, the fat soluble substance that stimulates hemoblobin and red blood cell production ( and is useful in relieving heavy menstrual flow) , and provides protection from free radical threats to the immune system.

Beet greens also contain calcium, potassium, iron, and vitamins A and C, they are essential to any healthy heart program.

 Buying and storing:

The way to tell if the beets are good quality is if they have fresh-looking greens attached (slightly fabby greens can be restored to freshness if refrigerated in water).  The roots should be firm, smooth, and the color a vibrant purple. The younger the root, the richer the nutritional rewards.

Smaller beets are best for juicing, larger ones for steaming, baking, pickling, etc. 

Beets can be stored for three to five days in the refrigerator or with greens removed, two to four weeks.

Note: My maternal family heritage was in the coal-mining regions of Pennsylvania in Schulkul county.  When I spoke of this recipe, my mother relayed to me that growing up that had cooked red beets , as well as pickled beets that her mother and grandmother prepared themselves to be canned and placed in their root cellar.  She recall that on Fridays they  frequently had  potatoes, baked in a large pan ( recipe Koshie).

Skywatch Friday-season 4-episode 27

Please join fellow skywatchers in today’s Skywatch Friday at

Skywatch Friday

Philadephia- a plaza with gigantic game piece sculptures

Winter-Scenic Sunday #78

Frozen reflections in Colonial Park



Colonial Park's semi-frozen pond at dusk


Canadian geese here in the states in winter.

  Yesterday, just before sunset, I drove to Colonial park.   I was hoping  to capture images of the frozen the pond during the winter season.  The pond was only  partially frozen since the temperature had warmed slightly above freezing to 37-39 degrees during the afternoon.  Temp.   28 degrees F.  Feels like 15 degrees.    Wind NW @ 15 mph. By 10:00pm, the temperature will be 24 degrees F., feels like 11 degrees.

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