Friday, December 15, 2017

National Stress-Free Family Holiday Month - Tips for Coping with Holiday Stress and Depression:

18 tips for coping with holiday stress and depression:

1.       Make realistic expectations for the holiday season.
2.       Set realistic goals for yourself.
3.       Do not take on more responsibilities than you can handle. Pace yourself.
4.       Make a list and prioritize the important activities. This can help make holiday               tasks more manageable.
5.       Be realistic about what you can and cannot do.
6.       Do not put all your energy into just one day. The holiday cheer can be spread from
     one holiday event to the next.
7.       Live and enjoy the present. Look to the future with optimism.
8.       Don't set yourself up for disappointment and sadness by comparing today with the
    good old days of the past.
9.      If you are lonely, try volunteering some time to help others.
10.   Find holiday activities that are free, such as looking at holiday decorations, going
   window shopping without buying, and watching the winter weather, whether it's a
   snowflake or a raindrop.
11.   Limit your drinking, since excessive drinking will only increase your feelings of
12.   Try something new. Celebrate the holidays in a new way.
13.   Spend time with supportive and caring people.
14.   Reach out and make new friends.
15.   Make time to contact a long-lost friend or relative and spread some holiday cheer.
16.   Make time for yourself!
17.   Let others share the responsibilities of holiday tasks.
18.   Keep track of your holiday spending. Overspending can lead to depression when the bills arrive after the holidays are over. Extra bills with little budget to pay them can lead to further stress and depression.

1. Holiday Stress and Depression, WebMD

December 15, National Cupcake Day
A Special Blueberry Cupcake

Blueberry Cupcakes

1 large white potato, peeled and cut into small chunks
3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk
1 cup blueberries, fresh, plus fresh blueberries for garnish

3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
4 teaspoons dried egg whites (equivalent to 2 egg whites)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons blueberry preserves or jam
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 (1/2-cup) muffin cups with paper liners.
Place potato in a saucepan, add water to cover and bring to a boil. Cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and mash until very smooth. Measure out 3/4 cup and let cool slightly. 
3. Whisk whole-wheat flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.
4. Beat granulated sugar and oil in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Beat in egg, 1/2 teaspoon extract and the 3/4 cup mashed potatoes until combined. 
5. With the mixer on low, alternately mix in the dry ingredients and buttermilk, starting and ending with dry ingredients and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, until just combined. 
6. Fold in 1 cup blueberries. Divide the batter among the prepared cups. 
7. Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 22 to 24 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
1. Once the cupcakes are cool, bring 2 inches of water to a simmer in the bottom of a double boiler. 
2. Combine 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 3 tablespoons water in the top of the double boiler. Place over the simmering water and heat, stirring, until the sugar is melted, 2 to 3 minutes. Start beating the mixture with an electric mixer on high speed.
3. Add reconstituted egg whites, cream of tartar and a pinch of salt. Continue beating until the mixture looks like a shiny, thick frosting, 5 to 7 minutes.
4. Off the heat, beat for 1 minute more to cool.
5. Add 2 tablespoons blueberry preserves (or jam) and 1/4 teaspoon extract and beat on low just to combine.
5. Spread or pipe the frosting on the cooled cupcakes and decorate with fresh blueberries on top

                         Nutrition Information

Food Groups: 1 fruit, 2.25 Starch/Bread

Ensure accurate nutritional analysis for your recipes utilizing an extensive research database and over 25 years experience. A great service for the Recipe Blogger, Media, Cookbook Publishers, Writers, Chefs, and Recipe Websites. Your readers will benefit from the Nutrition information and a Registered Dietitian. Contact:; Sandra Frank, Ed.D, RDN, LN at

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Alabama's Fried Green Tomatoes

Alabama was admitted as the 22nd state on December 14, 1819. Alabama's agricultural outputs include poultry and eggs, cattle, fish, plant nursery items, peanuts, cotton, grains such as corn and sorghum, vegetables, milk, soybeans, and peaches. Although known as "The Cotton State", Alabama ranks between eighth and tenth in national in cotton production.

The fried green tomatoes in Alabama are legendary in their own right, and hundreds of slices are dished out daily throughout the state. Other popular foods include fried catfish, country fried steak, fried dill pickles, fried okra, fried chicken, and fried apple pies.

The fried green tomatoes in Alabama are legendary.

Fried Green Tomatoesyields::6 servings

½ cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper 4 medium green tomatoes, cut into ¼-inch slices 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. Combine cornmeal, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Dredge tomato slices in cornmeal.
3. Brush 1½ teaspoons oil over the bottom of a 12-inch cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet.
4. Heat skillet over medium-high heat until very hot.
5. Add half the tomato slices to the skillet in a single layer and cook until browned on one side, about 3 minutes.
6. Turn slices over and transfer skillet to oven.
7. Bake tomatoes for 9 minutes or until golden and tender. Transfer to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm. Wipe out skillet and repeat with remaining 1½ teaspoons oil and remaining tomato slices.
8. Serve hot.

December 14, National Bouillabaisse Day, A Traditional Fish Stew

Bouillabaisse is a traditional fish stew originating in Provence. Commonly used vegetables include leeks, onions, tomatoes, celery and potatoes. The vegetables are simmered together with the broth and served with the fish. What makes a bouillabaisse different from other fish soups is the selection of herbs and spices in the broth and the way the fish are added one at a time, in a certain order, and brought to a boil.

Serves 6 (about 3 cups each)

8 cups water
3 (1 1/4-pound) whole lobsters
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups coarsely chopped celery
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped carrot
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups coarsely chopped tomato (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 pound skinned halibut fillets, cut into 2-inch pieces
22 small clams, scrubbed
30 small mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined


1. Using an 8 quart stockpot bring water to a boil.
2. Plunge lobsters headfirst into water. Return to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 12 minutes.
3. Remove lobsters from water (do not drain); cool. Remove meat from cooked lobster tails and claws; cut into 1-inch pieces, reserving shells.
4. Cover and refrigerate lobster meat.
5. Return reserved shells to water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Drain through a colander over a large bowl, reserving broth; discard shells. Wipe pan dry with a paper towel.
6. Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, carrot, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes.
7. Add reserved broth, tomato, saffron, thyme, pepper, and bay leaves; bring to a boil. 
8. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Discard bay leaves.
9. Bring to a boil; add halibut, reduce heat, and simmer 4 minutes. 
10. Add clams; cook 1 minute. 
11. Add mussels; cook 2 minutes. 
12. Add shrimp; cook 3 minutes. Bring to a boil. 
13. Add reserved lobster meat; cook until thoroughly heated. 
14. Discard unopened shells.

Nutritional Information

Ensure accurate nutritional analysis for your recipes utilizing an extensive research database and over 25 years experience. A great service for the Recipe Blogger, Media, Cookbook Publishers, Writers, Chefs, and Recipe Websites. Your readers will benefit from the Nutrition information and a Registered Dietitian. Contact:; Sandra Frank, Ed.D, RDN, LN at

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

December 13, National Cocoa Day

Save Calories and Fat by using Skim (Nonfat) Milk, 
instead of Whole Milk. You still receive the
benefits of the calcium and vitamin D.
Skim /NonFat Milk
90 Calories
0 g Fat;
250 mg Calcium
124 IU / 3.2 mcg Vitamin D
Whole Milk
149 Calories
8 g Fat;
276 mg Calcium
124 IU / 3.2 mcg Vitamin D

The Polar Express, "Hot Chocolate Song" 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Go Fund Me - Help Build a Home for People with Special Physical Needs wanting to be Independent

Jake is my son. He was born 29 years ago. By the time he was 6 months we learned he had Cerebral Palsy. The doctor didn't give us much hope, but that night Jake looked up at me and smiled. Like most special need parents we were looking for a miracle.  As Jake grew older we learned he was a quadriplegic, but blessed with the ability to talk. All his other needs required assistance. But I promised Jake and myself we would stay together and make it. 

Before Jake was born, I completed my Doctorate Degree and worked as a College Program Director. I raised grant monies for Meals on Wheels for the elderly, disabled, and people with AIDs.

I wanted to be a great mother, but I needed to support Jake's medical needs. (Jakes' father left when he was 4 years old). I found work I could do mostly at home. For over 40 years as a single mother, I worked a full-time job and 4 part-time jobs. I paid my taxes, Medicare, and Jake's medical bills for 29 years plus.

As the years passed, I worried what would become of Jake. There was no family left and he did not want to go to a group home.

I turned our home into a Boarding House hoping to create a home for other people with special needs.

There was no money to make repairs and upgrades to the home. The medical bills came first. If I don't make the upgrades, we will be forced to move out.

I don't have much money to hire an aide,  So I had to give up my work and became Jake's caregiver. I'm in my 60's and I am trying to do my best, but it is becoming more difficult.

Please help us. We want to stay together and I would like to leave the house to Jake and other people needing assistance - giving people a sense of Independence and self-esteem would mean the world to me. 

Thank you for taking the time to read our story.

with warmest regard,
Sandy and Jake 

Our Hanukkah Celebration
Music, Symbolic Foods and Art

Our Favorite Hanukkah Songs

The Hanukkah Plate.

The food art is made to look like a dreidel, a four-sided spinning top used to play games during Hanukkah. The letter  ג (gimel) when facing up means the player gets everything in the pot.

The ג is made with strawberry jam and the driedel is made from traditional foods, such as Latkes, Sufganiyah, Jam, Sour Cream, Applesauce and Gelt (chocolate coins).

Telly from Sesame Street shows 
us how to play the Dreidel Game.

Traditional Hanukkah foods are fried and/or contain dairy, in particular cheese. Oil played a significant role in the Hanukkah story as a small jug of oil miraculously provided fuel for the Temple Menorah for eight days. Dairy symbolizes the victory of Judith, a young widow who over took the enemy camp by feeding the general with salty cheese that required lots of wine to quench his thirst.

The “Latkes” (potato pancakes) or “Sufganiyah” (fried doughnut filled with jelly or custard and topped with powdered sugar) are traditional foods seen at Hanukkah. Latkes remind us of the food hurriedly prepared for the soldiers as they went into battle. Latkes are usually served with sour cream and applesauce on the side.

In 17 century Europe it became customary for parents to give small sums of money to their children to donate to their teachers. The students learned how to give charity in light of commemorating the events of Hanukkah. In the 20th century, an American confectionary manufacturer came up with the idea of making Hanukkah “Gelt” from chocolate. They made the first chocolate wrapped coins specifically for Hanukkah. The Hanukkah gelt symbolizes the tradition of giving charity to commemorate the Miracle of Light. News

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