Wednesday, July 13, 2016

French Fry Day July 13, 2016

DIANE'S CORNER ... Celebrate French Fry Day

Whether you call them ‘French Fries’, ‘Chips’, Finger Chips, or French-Fried Potatoes, this delicious treat is loved around the world, and French Fries Day celebrates them. Not to be confused with the American ‘Chips’, which are thinly sliced pieces of potato fried until crisp, French Fries are the delicious result of ‘batons’ of potato cut to various thicknesses and then fried in oil. The outside of this staple companion food to hamburgers and other grease-ball favorites generally have a golden texture, varying from soft to crispy, and most often served with little more than a dusting of salt.
French Fries are one of many foods whose name is most misleading, as the origins of this fat fried food seem to be Belgium. The story of their creation can be found in a family manuscript dated 1781, which reveals that potatoes were originally cut into the shape of fish and served in lieu of the first normally caught in a series of small villages in Belgium. It seems the river had frozen over and the fish they normally cought and fried were unable to be caught.
Why they’re called French is often attributed to troops coming over during World War I who got their hands on Belgian Fries. The official language of the Belgian army at that time was French, and as a result the men thought they were in France rather than Belgium. Interestingly, in that region of the world, they are still called “Flemish Fries” to further complicate matters. Now these treats are loved the world round, even becoming the ‘national snack’ of the Netherlands.

thanks, helen

Word of the Day


Definition:(noun) A shawl with a ritually knotted fringe at each corner; worn by Jews at morning prayer.
Synonyms:prayer shawl
Usage:He donned his tallith as he entered the synagogue.


Idiom of the Day

a rough patch

 — A period of trouble, difficulty, or hardship

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Julius Caesar (100 BCE)

Caesar, a Roman general and statesman, formed the First Triumvirate with Pompey and Marcus Licinius Crassus. He later precipitated the Roman Civil War, defeating Pompey and becoming dictator for life. His dictatorial powers, however, inspired great resentment. He was in the midst of launching a series of political and social reforms when he was assassinated on the Ides of March by conspirators led by Cassius and Brutus. 

Apollonian Games

Apollo was an ancient Greek god, but his fame had spread to Rome where he was adopted as a healing god during a plague in the fifth century BCE. The Romans first held the Ludi Apollinares, or Apollonian Games, in 212 BCE. Originally the Games took place on July 13; they turned into an eight-day event due to the event's success. An ox with gilded horns was sacrificed to Apollo, and everyone feasted. Of the eight days, two were devoted to games and races in theCircus Maximus, a huge outdoor arena, and the other six were devoted to plays in the theaters and market fairs.

Volcano Mining: The Toughest Job in the World?

It has been more than 64 years since Mount Ijen last erupted, but the volcano is still very much alive, and it is being mined by some of the toughest men in the world. They begin work shortly after midnight with a long hike up the volcano.

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1585 - A group of 108 English colonists, led by Sir Richard Grenville, reached Roanoke Island, NC. 

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1812 - The first pawnbroking ordinance was passed in New York City. 

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1832 - Henry Schoolcraft discovered the source of the Mississippi River in Minnesota.

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1836 - John Ruggles received patent #1 from the U.S. Patent Office for a traction wheel used in locomotive steam engines. All 9,957 previous patents were not numbered. 

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1939Frank Sinatra made his recording debut with the Harry James band with the songs "Melancholy Mood" and "From the Bottom of My Heart." 

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1982 - The All-Star Game was played outside the United States for the first time. They played in Montreal, Canada



If You Were Born Today, July 13
You are attractive, steady, and a little intimidating. Many of you are likable from a distance and difficult to get to know, but very friendly once others know you. Your sense of humor is quirky - you have a strong sense of the ridiculous or absurd. You always have a good argument and often a great comeback. You are ambitious and motivated, and have a feel for the right path towards success. You might often be attracted to people you can't have in love, but you do seek out long-term partnership. Famous people born today: Patrick Stewart, Harrison Ford, Cameron Crowe, Ashley Scott, Cheech Marin, Fran Kranz.
Picture of the day
Epirus water frog
The Epirus water frog (Pelophylax epeiroticus) is a species of frog in the family Ranidae. It is found in western Greece, including Corfu, and the southern areas of Albania. The species is collected from the wild for human consumption.

Picture of gorillas in Virunga National Park

Jewels of the Jungle 

Photograph by Brent Stirton
A silverback from the 22-member Mapuwa family in Virunga National Park emerges from the jungle to keep an eye on a ranger patrol. The park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has largely succeeded in protecting mountain gorillas, its top tourist draw, from violence. Their population is now growing.

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thanks, mj







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thanks, shelley

Basic Chili CrockPot Recipe

There are nine hundred trillion chili recipes. I know, because once I watched a good six hours of some sort of chili championship on the Food Network.

Some people use beans, some don't. Some are purists, some aren't.

I live in California, and have only had chili that has a lot of beans in it, so that's what we made. Adam and I had an absolute ball pulling stuff from the fridge and the spice cabinet. This is a very basic chili---it has some heat, but not enough to scare (my) kids.

The Ingredients.

EDITED TO ADD: I just learned this freaky thing about kidney beans... THIS IS A REAL THING. All red beans need to be brought to a rapid boil on the stovetop for 10 minutes to cook a naturally occurring potential toxin. Please do this step. It's better to be safe than sorry. *

1 pound ground meat (I used 4% beef; turkey is totally fine, pork, etc)

1 bag small red beans or kidney beans (soaked overnight and then boiled on the stove like described up above. OR: for a quick soak method, put the beans in a pot with lots of water, bring to a boil uncovered. Boil for 10 minutes, then cover and remove from heat. Let it sit for 1 hour, then drain and use in your recipe.)

2 whole jalapeno peppers
1 diced onion
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 (29-ounce) can tomatoes (whatever you have in the cabinet or is on sale. this happened to have basil in it)
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon tobasco sauce (optional)

The Directions.

The night before you are going to make chili, sort your beans and soak with a healthy amount of water. Pick out any cracked beans, or any that float to the top or look funky.

In the morning, bring your beans to a boil on the stove top (FULL DIRECTIONS UP ABOVE) and then drain the water.

Brown the ground meat on the stove top with the onion. 

Drain fat. Have a rather heated discussion about whether or not to drain the fat with the man of the house who seems to think that the teensy bit of fat left from the 4% meat is full of flavor and should be added to the pot.

PS, you will win.

Drain the fat from the meat, and add on top of the beans. Add the rest of your ingredients to the mix and stir gingerly. If you are using the jalapenos, don't open them, but instead rest them on top of the beans and meat for a nice mellow smoky heat.

cook on low for as long as you can stand it and the beans are tender.

These were some rather hard beans and didn't tenderize until about 9 hours in.

If you are antsy, cook on high for at least 6 hours.

The Verdict.

We've been munching on chili for the past 3 days, and I truly believe each day it improves. I was impressed with this spice combination and liked the hint of smokiness. The kids enjoy their chili topped with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream.

This makes a very thick chili--you can do the fork trick!

Frozen Bananas

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Perfection is the child of time. - Joseph Hall

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In the late 1990s, Coca-Cola tested vending machines that adjusted prices based on the temperature! -------------------- There is no official Norwegian language, either written or spoken—there are too many variations. -------------------- Michelangelo’s servant was illiterate, so he would draw her a shopping list.



Creative Tricks To Stay Hydrated

Summer is on! Which means: longer days, warmer nights and ... dehydrated bodies. Feeling thirsty? You might think that a few sips of water will do the trick, or assume that your body is on the verge of becoming dehydrated. Actually, being thirsty means your body’s asking to be rehydrated ASAP because it's already very dehydrated.
And while the quickest solution might be to chug a lot of water, that’s not always the best or most convenient solution (unless you enjoy hanging out by a bathroom all day long). So how about eating your way to hydration instead?
Try these 10 fun tips to eat your water to save yourself from chugging it:
1. Keep them raw.
Raw fruits and veggies, in general, are loaded with water. This is good news because in the summer, our bodies naturally crave raw foods. Enjoy produce as raw as possible throughout the summer and you’ll be hydrating like crazy.
Need another incentive? The water in fruits and veggies is where most of its nutrients lie, so eating them raw means you’re getting the best nutritional bang for your buck.
Trick: grab, wash and snack on raw fruits and veggies all day, every day.Your best bets? Berries (87% to 92% water), baby carrots (87% water), peppers (92% water), and celery (95% water).
2. Eat plenty of cucumbers (and juice them too).
Having a 95% water content makes a glass of cucumber juice just about as hydrating as a glass of, well, water. Cucumbers are affordable, easy to find and versatile, making them a perfect summer hydration plant-food.
Trick: You can slice them onto sandwiches, chop them into salads, or infuse them into water. A special way to enjoy them, though? Juiced! Simply juice one cucumber (peeled, if it’s not organic). For a special sweet treat, add a few slices of watermelon to your juicer and celebrate a perfect plant-based hydration marriage in your glass.
3. Blend watermelon.
Named after its amazing abundance of water, watermelon is plant-based hydration perfection hidden in a big green ball. How do you know if you’ve grabbed a winning watermelon? Find one that feels heavy for its size and makes a hollow sound when you tap it.
Trick: toss some in your blender (with seeds but without rind) to enjoy a decadent glass of pink, sweet plant-based hydration.
4. Soak chia seeds.
Did you know that soaking those adorable little seeds causes them to expand to 10 times their original size? How? Because when chia seeds get soaked, they drink 10 times their weight in water, making them hydration superstars. The key here is to soak chia seeds BEFORE consuming them, to prevent them from absorbing YOUR water, which would do the opposite of hydrate you.
Trick: make chia gel! Mix three tablespoons of chia seeds in one cup of water and let it chill in your fridge. When making a smoothie, add one-to-two tablespoons of this gel to really up the hydration factor. OR, make a chia pudding. Mix three tablespoons of chia seeds in one cup of almond milk and add a splash of sweetener. Let that chill in your fridge for 20 minutes. Enjoy topped with fruit for a healthy, hydrating snack or dessert.
5. Freeze bananas.
Aside from being delicious, bananas are full of potassium, which replenishes lost electrolytes from sweating in the heat of the summer. Bananas also contain magnesium, which helps balance and regulate the fluids in your body. Their sugars provide instant energy, making them an awesome treat when the heat’s draining you.
Trick: make banana ice cream! Peel a ripe banana and cut it into two-inch slices. Freeze them for at least five hours. Pulse those frozen slices in a high-speed blender or food processor 15 times, scraping down the sides as necessary. Then, blend until the banana has reached a soft-serve ice cream texture, adding a few teaspoons of water if desired.
6. Squeeze lemons.
You’ve surely heard of the numerous health benefits of warm lemon water, but in the summer heat, drinking warm water doesn’t sound all that appealing. So drink cool lemon water in the summer. It’s OK. The super hydrating benefits of vitamin C from the lemon still exist in cool lemon water.
Trick: try squeezing a ratio of 1/2 a lemon, juiced into one cup of cool water and enjoy throughout the day. (Cool is better than iced, since iced will hinder digestion.)
7. Make coconut water ice cubes.
Coconut water (or nature’s sports drink) boasts four times the amount of potassium as a banana plus B-vitamins, electrolytes and magnesium to boot. It’s very low in calories and sugar, which is deceptive because it tastes so sweet and luxurious! Enjoying coconut water is a phenomenal way to stay hydrated (or to get rehydrated).
Trick: make coconut water ice cubes! Simply pour coconut water into your ice trays and freeze them so you can pop them into a smoothie, cocktail or glass of regular water to add hydration without losing flavor.
8. Munch on melon.
Cantaloupe has a water content of over 90%, which explains why a perfect bite practically floods your mouth with watery, creamy, sweet goodness. Cut up cantaloupe makes a wonderfully hydrating snack, breakfast or midnight treat.
Trick: try sprinkling some lime juice and freshly chopped mint leaves on top of cantaloupe to mix things up.
9. Chop up cauliflower.
An unsung hydrating hero, cauliflower is actually made up of 92% water. It’s great eaten completely raw.
Trick: Make raw cauliflower couscous! Pulse raw cauliflower in a food processor until it reaches the consistency of dry rice. Mix with nuts, herbs and spices to make a delicious couscous, or sprinkle on a salad for a crunchy, crouton effect.
10. Sneak in spinach.
While iceberg lettuce might be a more watery green, spinach is close enough and packs a more nutritious punch. Made up of 92% water, spinach is very helpful in keeping you hydrated.
Trick: sneak spinach in wherever you can. Throw a handful in a smoothie or a juice, layer it into a wrap or sandwich, chop it into a homemade pesto or hummus, add it to your pizza, or even puree a cup into your wet ingredients when baking muffins, banana bread or pancakes.
Happy hydrating!

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