Recipe: Chai Tea ,homemade

Instead of buying one cup of Chai Tea at  coffee shops like Star Bucks ,  You can make your own Chai Tea concentrate and enjoy in the comfort of your own home.

The ingredients you’ll need:

cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, star anise, cloves, black pepper, nutmeg, orange zest, tea bags, brown sugar, honey, and vanilla.

Ingredients

  • 4-½ cups Water
  • 1 stick Cinnamon
  • 1 piece Fresh Ginger Chopped
  • 7 whole Cardamom Pods
  • 2 whole Star Anise Pods
  • 10 whole Cloves
  • ¼ teaspoons Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • ½ teaspoons Freshly-ground Nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon Orange Zest
  • 10 teaspoons Green Or Black Tea Or 10 Tea Bags
  • ⅔ cups Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla

Preparation Instructions

Bring the water to a boil. Add the spices and tea, remove from heat and let steep 15-20 minutes, depending on how strong you want it. Strain and add the brown sugar, honey, and vanilla. Stir to combine.

Mix 1 part concentrate with 1 part milk, heat and enjoy or pour over ice.

For a stronger flavor, mix 2 parts concentrate with 1 part milk or half-and-half (if you’re like me).

Bread for the Journey

Yesterday was a Holy day of Obligation in the Catholic church, Ash Wednesday!

 Lent is a time for Homecoming!

While listening to the sermon ( Homily), our priest reminded us of the beginnings of the church. 

The traditional Feast of Saint Peter , it grew from Rome.

December 25 was a Pagan Feast day to a Sun God, and the catholics used the day , date of the 25th for the Feast of the Son of God.

In Rome, the Pope stands over the Tomb of St Peter. The throne of St. Peter, “Cattedra Pitri ”  .   Our priest described it to our congregation as a  big Bronze chair that is held up by 4  important saints called the Doctors of the church.

Once at home, I wanted to share the words of our priest and  gain some more insight to the Big Bronze chair.

The 4 statues of the important saints who were great writers and teachers are made of Bronze.   They are Saints Ambrose and Augustine for the church of Rome, and  Saints Athanasius and John Chrysostum for the Orthodox Church.

Above the chair is a window which is made not from glass but thin translucent stone called alabaster. The Dove of the Holy Spirit is in the middle of the window with rays of light spreading out into the basilica through a sculpture of golden clouds and angels. Bernini designed this to look like a window into Heaven. There was a great celebration when the chair was put in place on January 16, 1666.

Bibiliography:  http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Peter%27s_Basilica

Inside the big bronze chair is a “single chair”. There is a celebration of the empty chair and a connection with PETER.

To grow in the gift of the Catholic faith , there are three marks of Lent: 1). Prayer, 2). Almsgiving, 3). Fasting.   What a Joy it is to be renewed!!

God says, “Are you listening?”  This is an opportunity to pray…… and to Listen…….

On Monday evening , there is Eucharistic Holy hours.  On Tuesday, one of the Sister will hold “Readings”.  On Wednesdays, you can pray “The Stations of the Cross”.   Our priest shared with us that  as a child, He knew that every Lenten season on Fridays  as a family , they had fish sticks for dinner and that they went to the church to Pray the Stations of the Cross.   He said,  It takes  45 minutes.   He said our church also participates in Operation Rice Bowl each year. There is a visiting priest from another church and he is going compare our church to his as to how much is donated for Operation Rice Bowl.  Father says that our church has a much larger congregation.

He ended with this note.  After Mid day Ash Wednesday mass, Father ran into a lady who said this is the day that she came back to the church.  People leave the church for many reasons.  She needed to come here and start again.  And what a good day to renew, on ” Ash Wednesday”.

Lent is a time for Homecoming! To come back to the church.

One of my favorite songs to sing is “Hosea”  You can find it here on You-tube.  It is a beautiful song.

 

Quote :  Something to ponder and think about.

What if . . . God blessed you today with only the things you thanked him for yesterday?

From a Southern Plate.com reader,  Kathy Brooks

February 13, 2012 – 11:50 am

Quinoa, get your grains!

Quinoa

Quinoa is similar to the grain amaranth ( native to Mexico).  Quinoa is traditionally grown in South America, but has recently begun to be cultivated in the Rocky mountains of Colorado. It thrives in thin air, low rainfall, and high altitudes.

Having 16 percent protein , it surpasses other grains in quantity and quality of protein with substantial amounts of all the amino acids.  It is rich in the minerals,particularly calcium, phosphorus , and iron.  It also provides a wide-range of B-Complex vitamins as well as Vitamin E.  Quinoa is mild and distinctively nutty; it’s texture is very light and fluffy. It has a quick cooking time.

Quinoa and Summer Squash Saute

Yield: 4  to 6 servings

1 Tablespoon safflower oil

1 cup Quinoa

2 cups water or vegetable stock

2 TBSP olive oil

1 medium onion ,chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 medium zucchini (about 1 and 1/2 pounds) or 

1 zucchini and 1 medium pattypan squash, sliced into bite sized pieces

6 large or 10 medium mushrooms sliced

1 or 2 green chilies , seeded and minced

2 to 3 Tablespoons chopped cilantro or fresh parsley

1 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp ground cumin

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Heat the safflower oil in a large heavy skillet.

Toast the Quinoa until it is lightly browned and aromatic about 5 minutes.

In the meantime, bring the water or stock to boil in a heavy saucepan.  Stir in the quinoa and cook as directed on  the package. 

Heat the olive oil in the same heavy skillet. 

Add the onion and garlic and saute over moderate heat until it is translucent.

Add the squashes , mushrooms, and chilies, and stir-fry until the squashes are touched with golden spots ( hmm, ,I use the green zucchini’s and have yet to see golden spots?) 

Stir in the cooked quinoa , along with the seasonings.   Cook over very low heat , stirring frequently, for 8-10 minutes.  Serve at once. 

Source:

The Whole Food Catalog , A complete guide to Natural Foods

By: Nava Atlas

P.S. This is a great resource book that someone donated , and my mom thought I would like it and I do.

The face on the Penny!

There are about 150 billion US pennies in circulation today.

A  penny was a  specific part or a fraction of (  1 / 1000) of a pound.   It is also 1/100th of a dollar in the countries of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States.

The US penny

In 1793, the United States of America was trying to establish itself among the nations of the world. President Washington was made aware what an urgent matter it was for the US to have a stable system of coinage. A case can be made that the 1792 half dimes resulting from this need were the very first coins pressed by the United States Government. However the chain cents of 1793 were probably the first. The US penny, named after the British penny or pence was first minted as the US penny around 1787. Pennies in the US were first pressed in copper. The first design was by the famous Benjamin Franklin.

The first lincoln cent like what we have today appeared in 1909, on  the 100th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth.   If you have a 1909 penny hold on to it! More pennies have been pressed than any other coin in the US.

Throughout WW2 pennies were steel covered in zinc to allow the use of copper in wartime for military purposes.

There have been adoptions of a new penny at the 100th and 150th birthday’s of Abraham Lincoln in honor of him. In 1959 this produced the penny with the Lincoln memorial on the back. Of course if the indian cent and first Lincoln penny of 1909 could be had these would be a prize.  There are about 150 billion US pennies in circulation today

Presidents day is always celebrated on the third Monday of February in the United States.

Yes we can… change the world, find cures for diseases, or feed the hungry. This craft is inspired by Barack Obama’s famous 2008 presidential campaign phrase, “Yes we can.” Kids can add coins to this can to save money for their favorite cause or charity to make Earth a better place.

yes_we_can_01_rdax_65.jpg (350×255)

What you’ll need:

  • Empty vegetable can
  • 1 sheet of white construction paper
  • ½ sheet of felt (we used red)
  • 1 chenille stem (we used white)
  • Red and blue paint, markers, or crayons
  • Assortment of colored glitter pens
  • White craft glue
  • Scissors
  • 2” wide strip of yellow or gold felt, enough to go around your can (optional)
  • White acrylic paint (optional)
  • Red glitter glue (optional)

How to make it:

  1. Measure the width of the can and cut out a strip of construction paper that will cover the entire width of the can.
  2. Write the phrase “Yes We Can” across the  piece of construction paper. Decorate the rest of the paper using paint, markers, and glitter.
  3. Trace round bottom of can on to a piece of scrap paper.
  4. Cut out the circle you just traced on the scrap paper. Place it on to the felt. Either hold it in place with your fingers or use a safety pin to attach it. Use scissors to cut around the circle, leaving a 1” border. You should now have a large felt circle.
  5. Fold the felt circle in half. Using the scissors, cut a slit in the middle. Open up the half circle.
  6. Place the felt circle on top of the can and secure with the chenille stem, wrapping a couple of times to tighten. Do not glue!
  7. When glitter glue on the paper is dry, glue the “Yes We Can” band around the can. (See image.)

Tips:

  • You can create this craft a little differently using white paint and a piece of felt. First paint the outside of the can with the white paint. Let dry. Then take the optional piece of felt and decorate it with the phrase “Yes We Can” using the optional red glitter glue. When glitter is completely dry, attach the felt to the can using glue. (See image.)
  • Discuss with kids what “Yes We Can” means to them and to you.
  • Change out the colors if you don’t have the ones that we suggest. We chose a patriotic theme but you can pick whatever colors you like. If you are saving for breast cancer research, use a pink theme, and so on.
  • Keep this can in a heavily trafficked area of your house to remind everyone in the family of the cause you are supporting.
  • http://crafts.kaboose.com/yes-we-can-can.html

Skywatch Friday, Season 5 Episode 32

Tour De Somerville, Blue Skies, and the crowd awaits the start of the race!

Skywatch Friday is a photo meme of  the sky through your eyes.  The sky is the limit to the possibilities. It is all up to you  to dream up an image and Create it!!

Weights and Measure, Life is in the hands of Balance.

Start each day by affirming peaceful, contented, and happy attitudes and your days will tend to be pleasant and successful. Such attitudes are active and definite factors in creating satisfactory conditions. – Norman Vincent Peale.

http://skyley.blogspot.com/

My Valentine’s Surprise dinner: Georgia Peach BBQ sauce Pork chops

Quick Georgia Peach BBQ sauce: Oweee, this is finger  licking good!!!

Into saucepot stir together :  bottled BBQ sauce, ( ie.  Sweet Honey Ray’s , Kraft ),  and add one jar peach preserves,( reserve  the last couple tablespoons for topping later) ,   Gulden’s  spicy mustard 2 tsp , brown sugar 2 -3 tsp,  molasses,in amounts your liking tor  taste, ( 1/2 tsp –  one teaspoon). Heat this BBQ sauce mixture up on stove on low heat, taste to check flavor and adjust as needed. 

The Pork Chops:

Sear, pan Fry pork chops,   on both sides to brown , drain and take out of pan, and finish the chops in the oven.  ( I bought the boneless pork sirloin chops in the “Big Buy ” package on sale for $2.49/ lb.- woo…whoo!!

Place pork chops in a 9 x 13 inch roasting pan , spoon or ladle on  the Peach BBQ sauce on top of pork chops , and  place in a slow Oven on low heat- 250 degrees  F.  and let bake slowly to retain moisture , for 40 – 50 minutes.  Cover loosely with aluminum foil. 

For the Side dishes :  Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Boil potatoes in a a medium  pot filled e/4 of the way with water and tsp of  chopped  garlic.   Let slow boil for 50 minutes , then  drain and mash with milk,  You can add a Tablespoon or two of  cream cheese, and 2 Tablespoons of butter. … UUmmm, Yum Yum!!!!.

Sauteed Spinach :

Purchase a bag of fresh spinach,  wash by rinsing and  spin in salad spinner.  Get out your  trusty Iron skillet , add a bottom cover of  Extra Virgin olive oil and finely chopped garlic and slowly sautee with the lid  placed on top. Lift lid every couple of minutes to peek and stir around with Teflon spatula.

Serve  on Valentine themed tablescape :    red -themed placemats, vase of flowers Pink roses from my sweet husband.

On the search for tasty soft diet options! Carrot Soup with Orange and Tarragon

Since discovering that a family member needs soft foods for her diet, I am on a quest for nutritious and tasty options.

I always like to have a bag of carrots on hand to make my own soups and stew. Carrot soup blenderized is what was prepared this Saturday morning by my husband.

The following recipe is courtesy of “In my Kitchen”.

Carrot Soup with Orange and Tarragon
Yield: 4 servings

1 TBSP butter
1 lb. carrots, peeled and chopped into small chunks
3/4 cup chopped onion
3 cups organic chicken broth
1/2 cup juice from freshly squeezed oranges
1 TBSP brandy (optional)
2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
salt and pepper
fresh tarragon sprigs for garnish

1. Melt butter in heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onion and the carrots and saute until onion is soft, 6-8 minutes. Add broth; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, uncover and simmer until carrots are tender, about 10 minutes.
2. Puree soup smooth with an immersion blender or, working in batches, in your blender or food processor.

3. In pot, stir in orange juice, brandy and chopped tarragon. Simmer for 5 minutes more to blend flavors. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with tarragon sprigs.

Orzo pasta

I’m looking at nutrition content as well as ease of eating. Orzo can be stirred into soups or added to grilled vegetables.

Orzo is made of Semolina wheat. Because this pasta shape is so small, orzo dishes can be quite dense, as the pasta will compact into a solid mass, rather than having lots of air, as is the case with bigger pasta shapes. “This is why the pasta is primarily used in soups or with soupy sauces, since plated orzo and orzo casseroles are very intense. Some people like to use orzo like rice in pilafs, deliberately aiming for a very rich, dense dish.”

Nutrition Facts :

Serving size : 2 ounces dry

Calories 210

Protein 7 grams

Total carbs 42

Cholesterol 0 Sodium 0

Fat 1 gram

Iron 10 %

Thiamine 30 %

Niacin 15 %

Ribiflavin 15 %

Folic Acid 25 %

Eat a serving of orzo, and you consume 7 g of protein. This accounts for 12.5 to 15.2 percent of the recommended daily amount.

Increase your protein consumption by eating whole-grain orzo or pairing it with seafood, such as salmon, shrimp or clams, or some other meat. The protein in orzo also helps boost your energy levels.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/398174-about-orzo-pasta-nutrition/#ixzz1lQk07Zvr

Couscous

Both couscous and white rice contain small quantities of certain essential minerals. Couscous contains significantly more selenium, potassium and calcium than white rice.

Couscous is commonly prepared with herbs, oils and spices mixed in, which changes its nutritional profile significantly. Couscous is often prepared with tomatoes, oil, lemon juice and parsley to make the traditional chilled salad known as tabouleh. White rice is extremely bland without additional spices or seasoning. When soy sauce, for example, is added to white rice, the sodium content increases dramatically
Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/532689-nutritional-difference-between-couscous-white-rice/#ixzz1lQmsrsZN

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