Happy New year 2015, How’s the weather on January 8 where you live?

Hello and Happy New Year!!

We spent New Year’s Eve doing English Contra Dancing in a nearby town just 10 minutes away. There was an intro dance lesson from 07:30 to 8:00 pm for beginners. It had been quite awhile since both my husband or I had danced the Contra dancing, mainly because I worked evening shift. The request for attendees was to bring a dessert to share for 11:30 pm. I decided on pumpkin cake which I baked in a Bundt pan, and glazed with white drizzle frosting.

When we arrived, there was a table to pay the entrance fee, and across the room were a set of long tables on which we saw 2 big punch bowls, one with ice water, the other a fruit punch concoction, and some bowls w/ snacks and packaged cookies. We thought this was where “the dessert to share” goes, so my husband put the pumpkin Bundt cake there.
About 1 1/2 hrs later,I noticed that our Pumpkin cake was moved to the outside of the main hall to another table.
To do Contra dancing, there is an experienced “caller” who announces each of the dance steps, she explained the moves beforehand and called out the changes in dance steps.
Some of the terms, are, ” ballast and swing”, ” hands four”, ”
Alamand ” , ( taking your , current partners hand and turn around). At the beginning, the ladies and gentleman ( or gals and guys) line up in 2 long rows and then the dances are broken up into sets of 4 or 6 all down the line. Your partner for the particular dance stays the same, but during the dance, you change positions moving along down to the right, until you get to the end of the line and then reverse.
I found that 1. this is good exercise, better than any aerobics class or “Body Burn” DVD exercise, and 2. I preferred to rest and catch my breath and dance about every other dance. I did one set of the English Country dance in which there was many ” ballast and swing”, that I became dizzy just as the dance ended and Was walking to the chair area.

Another few things, I have done for the New year is sign up for some programs with our local library, culinary classes and a new book club. I plan to sign up for computer classes,as well.
There is a new book club with a cookbook theme called, ” the Bite club”. They started last month. The cookbook for January is Mark Bittman’s Food Matters. Once you pick up the book from the Reference library desk, there is about 3 weeks to read it and be prepared to discuss the book. It is optional to cook a recipe from the month’s cookbook. I plan to read and find something for the members to taste. I’ll post and let you know in a future writing here.

The week, the USA is experiencing Polar Vortex:

How is the weather where you live?
Last weekend, the temperatures were a comfortable 40’s to 60’s. While visiting a relative, a cousin mentioned that colder weather was on it’s way.
Here in the Northeast, both Monday and Tuesday was the warm- up of 20’s. My own rules for dealing with colder temps are wearing the ” Cobbie Cuddlers” brand of long johns and long sleeve top. Then a regular patterned long- sleeve top, a lightweight sweater is the final layer, along with the thermal winter coat with hood.
Wednesday dawned with slightly colder temperatures, and I would have gladly stayed indoors in the evening. Last week, I signed up for a Culinary class at the library to learn how to use Royal Icing to make decorations for cakes and cupcakes.

Today, was the coldest day. Early morning temperatures for 6:00 or 7:00 am was in single digits, 9 degrees with a windchill of 2 degrees or lower. Knowing that my week had been busy thus far, I decided to stay home indoors. Parts of our townhouse are drafty near the windows where the living room sofa is and also in the kitchen with the glass patio doors. One of these years, we’ll arrange to have new replacement windows and Patio door. When my husband got home from errands and appointments, I asked to try putting the boxed plastic that originally designed for a patio door, just use this and see if it makes a difference. It helped a little; I still rely on the space heater placed next to the sofa in easy reach. To decrease on the electric heating bills, the Electronic thermostat is only set at 70, and 68 at night.

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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

Blizzard 2010, Welcome snow!

Snow- a view from the door, it's 24 degrees F and Blizzard conditions.

Winter is finally upon us.  This year,we have a snowstorm with Blizzard warnings beginning on the day after Christmas.

We went out to church for the 10:30 am mass, and came outside to see the start of small snow flurries.    I asked , perhaps we can do  a little shopping for after Christmas sales, before lunch.

The snow is piling onto everything! See the snow in the light of the lamp!

We returned home by 1:00 p.m.  Lunch was delicious, Lasagna andbroccoli and honey glazed carrots, with iced green tea. Afterwards , we relaxed on the couch to watch some movies on the On-Demand channel.

Lasagna-my sister says I make the best!

Every once in a while, I would get up to look outside the windows at the blowing and swirling snow.  Judging by the increasing little pile of snow on the summer patio furniture stacked outside.

Earlier this week, we had the Moon’s Eclipse on the same night as the event of Winter Solstice.

Blizzard Dec. 26, 2010-the snowplow is out, we'll have to dig our cars out tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good Morning,

During the night, I dreamed that all of the snow blew away, and that everything was all clear.  I opened my eyes, jumped out of bed to look out the window.  SNOW is still here, and none of the cars have left for work at 7:15 AM.     A Snowplow passed by.


 

 

 

 

 

A snowy sunrise sky! After the blizzard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I must say, this morning, the sky just after sunrise is looking very beautiful.  So silky white, almost as if there is snow capped mountains in the distance.

Snowy sunrise! Morning after the blizzard!

Winter Snow- Why Don’t Neighbors help?

neighbors sidewalks are cleared, my mother's driveway is not.

neighbors sidewalks are cleared, my mother's driveway is not.

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Sow and ice covered
Snow and ice covered

Why don’t the neighbors help the oldest one on the block during snow and freezing rain  weather?  Yesterday, she could not go to church, nor Saturday evening.  She tried, but saw all that ice and snow on her car, decided she couldn’t do it  and went back inside.    I ask myself this question, why don’t the neighbors help?    Although snow shovels and even a snowblower is in the cabana,  at my mothers age she’s done her share of snow removal.  For some reason, twice this season, she would not call up for the snow removal/lawn caretaker guy. ” He doesn’t come until the next day, last year when I called him” she says.  She waits for it to melt, hoping that the temperature will raise, but since the house faces north and always in the shade, it doesn’t melt.  Thank God, that it rained heavily on Christmas eve, because she didn’t want me to visit on Christmas week and the days before because she had fallen on the sheet of ice her driveway and steps had become.

There are somewhat family members that have snow removal vehicles, but they don’t think of her.  Is is really that far? 6-7 or so miles, maybe 10.

Though I grew up here, in this neighborhood,  dare I say 40 years ago,  I don’t know any of the names in the homes where all of my playmates used to live.   During winter, hence snow, she is snowbound.

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