Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Charmoula with Salmon

This roasted garlic charmoula—a classic North African marinade and sauce packed with fresh herbs and spices—is excellent with a rich fish, such as arctic char or salmon.

3 unpeeled garlic cloves
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons chopped green olives
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Kosher salt
Four 5-ounce, skin-on arctic char or salmon fillets

1 .  In a small skillet, toast the garlic over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the skins blacken, 7 to 8 minutes. Let cool slightly; discard the skins.

2 .  In a food processor, puree 1/3 cup of the oil, the garlic, parsley, cilantro, olives, lemon juice, cumin and paprika until smooth. Transfer the charmoula to a bowl and season with salt.

3 .  In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Season the fish with salt and pepper and place it skin side down in the skillet. Cook the fish over moderately high heat until the skin is golden, about 3 minutes. Flip the fish and cook just until it flakes easily, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain briefly on paper towels. Serve the fish with the charmoula.

The charmoula can be refrigerated for 2 days.
Citrusy New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc .
Heart healthy

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Good old classic beef stroganoff

Classic beef stroganoff is cooked with an amazing creamy mushroom sauce and served over egg noodles. And it all comes together in under 30 minutes! I forgot how much we liked this dish. We totally enjoyed it.


  • 1 lb. wide egg noodles
  • 4 Tbsp. (1/4 cup) butter, divided
  • 1.5 lbs. thinly-sliced steak (I used top sirloin, but just about any will work)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. sliced mushrooms (I used a mix of button and baby bella mushrooms)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (or you can substitute in more beef broth)
  • 1.5 cups beef broth
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or light sour cream
  • (optional garnish) chopped fresh parsley

  • Directions:

    *Cook egg noodles al dente in boiling, salted water according to package instructions. (For optimal timing, I recommend actually adding the egg noodles to the boiling water at the same time that the beef broth is added to the stroganoff.)
    *Meanwhile, as your pasta water is coming to a boil, melt 2
    tablespoons butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.
    *Add the steak in a single layer, seasoned with a few generous pinches of salt and pepper, and let it cook undisturbed for about 3 minutes to get a good sear.
    *Flip the steak, and cook on the other side until browned, about another 3 minutes. Then remove steak from pan with a slotted spoon, and transfer to a separate plate. Set aside.
    (If your pan is not big enough to fit all of the steak in a single layer, then add just 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan and cook half of the steak. Then repeat with a second batch.)
    *Return pan to heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Once it has melted, add the onions and saute for about 3 minutes.
    *Add garlic and mushrooms, and stir to combine. Continue sauteing for an additional 5-7 minutes, or until the mushrooms are cooked and the onions are soft.
    *Add the white wine, and deglaze the pan by using your cooking spoon to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Let the mixture cook down for an additional 3 minutes.
    *Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk together the beef broth, worcestershire sauce and flour until smooth.
    *Pour the beef broth mixture into the pan, and stir to combine. Let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    *Then stir in the Greek yogurt (or sour cream) until combined, and then stir the cooked steak back in.
    *Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
    *Serve over the egg noodles, garnished with parsley if desired.
    Dig in!

    Friday, May 5, 2017

    First spring vegetables ------Vegetable Spring Soup

    Total time   1 hour  minutes
    Serves 4 (serving size: about 2 cups soup and about 1-1/2 teaspoons cheese)

    2 tablespoons olive oil
    2 medium carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
    1 large leek, trimmed and diced (about 2 cups)
    1 celery stalk, diced (about 2/3 cup)
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    5 cups unsalted chicken stock
    1 pound very small red potatoes, quartered
    1 cup frozen green peas
    1 cup (1-1/2-inch) slices asparagus
    1 (15-ounce) can unsalted cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
    2 cups fresh baby spinach
    1 teaspoon fresh thyme
    1/4 cup torn fresh basil
    1/2 ounce Parmesan cheese, shaved

    Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add carrots, leek, and celery; cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt, pepper, and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add stock; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add potatoes; reduce heat to medium, and simmer 15  minutes or until potatoes start to soften.

    Add peas, asparagus, and beans; simmer 4 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Add spinach, thyme, and basil; cook 10 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls; top evenly with cheese.
    Heart healthy

    Tuesday, May 2, 2017

    Creamy Tuna Noodle Cazuela

    Jarred piquillo peppers and imported canned tuna from Spain add an Iberian twist to the classic American tuna casserole, making it more elegant but keeping it as simple and quick as the original.

    12 ounces farfalle pasta
    4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    3 cups whole milk or half-and-half
    1-1/2 cups frozen baby peas
    3/4 cup piquillo peppers, sliced (6 ounces)
    1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
    1           6-ounce can or jar solid white tuna in oil, drained and flaked
    Freshly ground pepper
    1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

    1 .  Preheat the oven to 450*. Cook the farfalle pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain.

    2 .  Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter. Add the onion and cook over high heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the milk and bring to a boil. Cook the sauce over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 3 minutes.

    3 .  Add the farfalle pasta, frozen baby peas, sliced piquillo peppers, Parmigiano cheese and tuna and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a large baking dish, a <em>cazuela</em> (casserole dish) or 4 individual gratin dishes.

    4 .  In a small skillet, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the panko and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden, about 1 minute. Sprinkle the panko over the casserole and bake for 10 minutes (5 minutes for individual gratins), or until bubbling. Serve right away.
    Crisp, medium-bodied Languedoc white.

    Heart Healthy

    Thursday, April 27, 2017

    Coffee Cake Pound Cake

    TOTAL TIME       3 hours, 35 minutes               Makes 12 serving
    This year, resolve to think beyond a ho-hum box of chocolates for a hostess gift. Instead, pass on this sweet treat, which marries two Southern specialties, coffee cake and pound cake, to create one buttery, best-of-both-worlds dessert.

    1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
    1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 cup butter
    3/4 cup chopped pecans

    1 cup finely chopped pecans
    1 cup butter, softened
    2-1/2 cups granulated sugar
    6 large eggs
    3 cups all-baking soda
    1 (8-oz.) conpurpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon tainer sour cream
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
    1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

    Prepare Pecan Streusel: Combine first 3 ingredients in a bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles small peas. Stir in 3/4 cup pecans.

    Prepare Pound Cake Batter: Preheat oven to 350°. Bake 1 cup pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Cool 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°.

    Beat butter at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

    Stir together flour and baking soda; add to butter mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla.

    Pour half of batter into a greased and floured 10-inch (12-cup) tube pan. Stir together toasted pecans, brown sugar, and cinnamon; sprinkle over batter. Spoon remaining batter over pecan mixture; sprinkle with Pecan Streusel.

    Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 20 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 1 hour).
    Heart healthy

    Sunday, April 23, 2017

    Maxy sez :When is the Best Time to Test Your Blood Glucose

    By Amy TenderichAmy Tenderich was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in May of 2003. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Diabetes Mine and co-authored the book Know Your Numbers, Outlive Your Diabetes. You will frequently find her speaking at diabetes, health, and social media events across the country.
    The best times to check your blood glucose (BG) actually depend on your reasons for checking. If you are checking in order to choose your insulin doses, then the best times are:

    1. At wake time in the morning
    2. Before and after each meal
    3. At bedtime

    If you do not need the information immediately to set insulin doses but are checking for more “general purposes”—like to evaluate changes or improvement in your overall BG control—then checking at the same times each day is most helpful. This helps you identify trends, like if you are consistently high every day in the late afternoon. Of course, you’ll only see these trends if you keep track of your test results.

    It’s important to use the little log book that comes with your meter to keep track of your numbers and look over them periodically. The data is not just for your doctor. It's for you. 

    As a rule of thumb, just before a meal and then three or four hours afterward provides a useful timeframe for seeing the effects of that meal. Similarly, testing before and just after exercise will tell you the effects of that particular activity.

    If you routinely test before and after meals, before and after exercise, and before and after sleeping, you'll have great results to review yourself or with your doctor. These numbers will give you a good sense of what might be pushing your blood glucose up or down.  
    Some people believe that if they get their A1c blood test done regularly, there’s no need for daily glucose testing.
    It is true that the hemoglobin A1c (or simply A1c for short) is considered the “gold standard” of blood glucose measurement. It’s conducted in a laboratory and measures your average blood glucose levels for the past three months. This test is used as the main measure of your glucose management. (The recommended goal is a level of less than seven percent.)

    The big picture

    The A1c looks at the big picture, i.e. “What effect are my blood glucose levels having on my chance of future diabetes complications?” BUT, if your A1c turns out to be high, this test doesn’t provide a clue as to what you can do about it. A high A1c result tells you that you need to change something, but only your individual daily glucose results can provide the real clues about specific actions or strategies you might need to take. That’s why frequent home glucose testing matters!

    Meeting your target A1c

    What if you meet the A1c target (7.0 or below), while your before- and after-meal blood glucose numbers have been “off”? What does this mean?

    Remember that the A1c is an average number. In other words, it's a point that reflects the “middle” of all your glucose values over the past three months. So you could have a “perfect” A1c result of 6.5 that might actually reflect the mid-point between several weeks of severe highs and lows. Not good.

    If, however, your A1c met your target and you did not have frequent low blood glucose values, then all of your levels during the previous three months were okay. They were okay even if they were occasionally off-target. There will always be fluctuations, which is why the A1c is the perfect complement to daily testing.

    In a nutshell: All of the existing clinical research tells us that your A1c is the vital indicator of your future health. Your glucose meter is a vital indicator of how you’re doing on a daily basis, leading up to your A1c.

    Stay tune Amy Tenderich will share more tips with us .

    Wednesday, April 19, 2017

    Southern Fried Chicken

    This fried chicken  is a no-fail, no-fuss version of classic fried chicken with a perfectly crunchy seasoned crust (the trick is the cornstarch) and juicy meat.


    6                   large eggs
    Kosher salt
    3                  cups all-purpose flour
    1/2              cup cornstarch
    1-1/2          tablespoons garlic powder
    1                   teaspoon paprika
    1                   teaspoon crushed red pepper
    Freshly ground black pepper
    1                  3-1/2-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
    Vegetable oil, for frying

    1 .  In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a pinch of salt. In another bowl, whisk the flour with the cornstarch, garlic powder, paprika, crushed red pepper, 2 1/2 tablespoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper.

    2 .  Pat the chicken pieces dry. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dredge in the seasoned flour. Dip the coated chicken in the egg, then dredge again in the seasoned flour and transfer to the baking sheet.

    3 .  In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 3/4 inch of oil to 360 /176*;. Set a rack over another baking sheet. Fry half of the chicken over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted nearest the  bone registers 165 /176*;, about 15 minutes. Transfer to the rack. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Serve right away.

    There are myriad opinions for fried chicken: Champagne, Pinot Noir, even Lambrusco. Try the minerally NV Christian Etienne Champagne Brut.

    Heart healthy

    Tuesday, April 18, 2017

    Aunt Jeannie Happy Birthday

    Hope your special day brings you 
    all that your Heart Desires 
    Here's Wishing 
    A day full of
    Pleasant Suprises .
    Happpy Birthday Aunt Jeannie 

    Jonny , Sha , Jenny , Man Carano 
    Chris . Sheryl  , Bubba Landrieau

    Friday, April 14, 2017

    Aunt Jeannie ----------we are wishing you a very Happy Easter

    Happy Easter  to Aunt Jeannie and her family .
    Man says to tell uncle Brian  not to eat too many eggs  , they will make him have musical fruit .

    To you from the Cubs with love .
    Jonny , Sha , Jenny , Man Carano
    Chris , Sheryl , Bubba Landieau 

    Wednesday, April 12, 2017

    Apple Fritters

    Makes 3 dozen
    Eat these apple fritters hot with all the powdered sugar you can stand.

    3     cups all-purpose flour
    1/2     teaspoon salt
    2     teaspoons baking powder
    1/2     cup sugar
    1     large egg
    1     cup milk
    1/4     cup butter or margarine, melted
    2     teaspoons grated orange rind
    1/4     cup fresh orange juice
    2     cups diced cooking apple
    1     teaspoon vanilla extract
    Vegetable oil
    Sifted powdered sugar

    1 .  Combine first 4 ingredients; make a well in center of mixture.
    2 .  Combine egg, milk, and butter, stirring well; stir in orange rind and next 3 ingredients. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.
    3 .  Pour oil to a depth of 2 inches into a large Dutch oven; heat to 350°. Drop batter by rounded tablespoonfuls into hot oil; fry fritters in batches 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain fritters well on paper towels, and cool slightly. Sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar.
    Heart healthy

    Tuesday, April 11, 2017

    Salmon Croquettes

    By pairing this superfast recipe with a light salad, you can impress the family and still have time to enjoy the meal.

    TOTAL TIME      45  minutes
    4 servings (serving size: 2 croquettes and 1 tablespoon sauce)

    1/4    cup organic canola mayonnaise (such as Spectrum), divided
    4    teaspoons fresh lemon juice, divided
    2-1/2    teaspoons Dijon mustard, divided
    1/4    cup finely chopped green onions
    2    tablespoons minced red bell pepper
    1/2    teaspoon garlic powder
    1/4    teaspoon salt
    1/8    teaspoon ground red pepper
    2    (6-ounce) packages skinless, boneless pink salmon
    1    large egg, lightly beaten
    1    cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
    1    tablespoon canola oil
    1    tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
    1    teaspoon finely chopped capers
    1/2    teaspoon minced garlic
    1/8   teaspoon salt

    1 .  Combine 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon juice, 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard, and next 7 ingredients (through egg), stirring well. Add panko; toss. Shape mixture into 8 (3-inch) patties.
    2 .  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add patties; cook 5 minutes on each side or until browned.
    3 .  Combine remaining mayonnaise, juice, and mustard with parsley, capers, garlic, and salt, stirring well.
    Heart healthy

    Monday, April 10, 2017

    Russia threatens 'real war' with US in Syria as Boris Johnson calls for increased sanctions

    Business Insider         ADAM BIENKOV       April 10th 2017 
    LONDON — Russia has warned of a "real war" with the US if they attempt to issue them with an ultimatum over their support for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

    British foreign secretary Boris Johnson will on Monday call for Western powers to impose sanctions on Russia if it fails to cut ties with Assad following his chemical weapons attack on his own civilians.

    However, the Russian embassy in London warned of a "real war" if the US and its allies impose any such ultimatum.

    Any such threat by the G7 nations "brings us to real war" they warned, before questioning the leadership of US secretary of state Rex Tillerson and Johnson.

    In a joint statement, Russian, Iranian and Assad-supporting forces said that the US attack on Syrian airbase last week had crossed a "red line" and warned that any further attacks would be responded to with force.
    "What America waged in an aggression on Syria is a crossing of red lines," the statement said.

    "From now on we will respond with force to any aggressor or any breach of red lines from whoever it is and America knows our ability to respond well."
    Johnson was due to begin a visit to Moscow today. However, the foreign secretary cancelled the trip following a telephone conversation with Tillerson.

    The decision led to condemnation and mockery both at home and abroad.

    Johnson had shown a "fundamental misunderstanding or lack of knowledge of the events in Syria, Russia's efforts to settle that crisis and the general objectives of diplomacy", the Russian foreign ministry said.

    "The decision to call off Johnson's visit to Moscow confirms once again doubts in the presence of added value in speaking to the UK, which does not have its own position on the majority of present-day issues, nor does it have real influence on the course of international affairs, as it remains 'in the shadow' of its strategic partners. We do not feel that we need dialogue with London any more than it does."

    Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell insisted on Sunday that Johnson should have gone ahead with the visit, while Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said he had been left looking like a "poodle" of the US.

    Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond said the decision had left Johnson looking "daft."

    "The idea the Foreign Secretary can't be trusted because he might pursue his own line or have an independent thought or crossover what the Americans are going to say just makes him look like some sort of mini-me to the United States of America," he told the Andrew Marr show.

    "That's not a position any Foreign Secretary would want to be in."

    Witchy sez:
    This is the point where we need someone in the White House that knows what the hell they are doing. We are going to end up in a war with Russia and N. Korea because of this A-hole's idea that everyone has to agree with us is not going to work.  We need someone that can actually speak to people in a calm way, not throw around warnings like he is doing. He is so programed to getting his own way.

    Trumps only interest is his ego. Literally NOTHING ELSE matters.
    His entire campaign and administration proves this beyond any doubt.

    Nuff sez

    One dish meal ---Pork Chops with Squash and Potatoes

    Total time   1 hour   50 minutes
    Serves 4 (serving size: 1 pork chop and about 1 cup vegetables)
    One sheet and dinner is done, thanks to  Pork Chops, squash and potatoes.

    4    (1-inch-thick) frenched pork loin chops
    1/2    cup fresh lemon juice
    4    tablespoons olive oil
    3    garlic cloves, minced
    3    tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
    1    teaspoon black pepper
    3    teaspoons kosher salt, divided
    2    medium yellow squash, sliced 1/2 inch thick
    1    large zucchini, sliced 1/2 inch thick
    1/2    pound small red potatoes, quartered

    1 .  Place pork chops in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Whisk lemon juice, oil, garlic, oregano, pepper, and 2 1/2 teaspoons salt; reserve 2 tablespoons marinade. Pour remaining marinade over pork, turning to coat. Chill 1 to 8 hours.
    2 .  Preheat oven to 425°F. Combine squash, zucchini, potatoes, and reserved marinade. Spread squash mixture in an even layer on a heavy-duty aluminum foil-lined rimmed sheet pan.
    3 .  Remove pork from marinade, discarding marinade. Pat dry with paper towels, and place on top of squash mixture.

    4 .   Bake 25 minutes. Increase temperature to broil, and broil until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 140°F, about 5 minutes. Transfer pork to a serving platter, and cover with foil. Return pan to oven, and broil squash mixture until slightly charred, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer squash mixture to a serving bowl; toss with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and serve with pork.
    Heart healthy

    Saturday, April 8, 2017

    Happy Birthday Jenny

    Dare to think , dare to try, dare to achieve.
    Follow your heart and you'll always succeed.
    Dare to dream big and make it come true.
    Face the world bravely in all that you do.
    You're unique and you're special,
    Always be you.
    Life isn't measured by how old you are,
    But by the footprints you leave in people's hearts.
    You're on a wonderful journey, I know you'll go far.

    Written for Jenny with much love

    Aunt Jeannie

    Thursday, April 6, 2017

    Chicken with Mushroom Sauce

     TOTAL TIME       50 minutes               4 servings 
    (serving size: 1 breast half and 1/3 cup sauce)
    Make an easy chicken dish topped with a savory mushroom sauce for a tasty meal that's ready in minutes.

    4    (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
    2     teaspoons canola oil
    1/2    teaspoon salt, divided
    1/4    teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1/4    cup chopped shallots
    1    (8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms
    2     minced garlic cloves
    1/2    cup dry white wine
    1-1/2    teaspoons all-purpose flour
    3/4    cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
    2    tablespoons b 
    1    teaspoon minced fresh thyme

    1 .  Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap, and pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet.
    2 .  Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add canola oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Transfer chicken to a serving platter; keep warm.
    3 .  Add shallots and mushrooms to pan; sauté for 4 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; bring to a boil. Cook until liquid almost evaporates. Sprinkle mushroom mixture with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and flour; cook 30 seconds, stirring frequently. Add broth to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until slightly thick. Remove pan from heat; add butter and thyme, stirring until butter melts. Serve with chicken.
     Heart healthy

    Monday, April 3, 2017

    Carrot Cake

    2           cups all-purpose flour
    2           teaspoons baking soda
    1/2       teaspoon salt
    2          teaspoons ground cinnamon
    3          large eggs
    2          cups sugar
    3/4      cup vegetable oil
    3/4      cup buttermilk
    2         teaspoons vanilla extract
    2         cups grated carrot
    1         (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
    1         (3-1/2-ounce) can flaked coconut
    1         cup chopped pecans or walnuts
    Buttermilk Glaze   (recipe below)
    Cream Cheese Frosting     (recipe below)

    Line 3 (9-inch) round cakepans with wax paper; lightly grease and flour wax paper. Set pans aside.
    Stir together first 4 ingredients.
    Beat eggs and next 4 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Fold in carrot and next 3 ingredients. Pour batter into prepared cakepans.
    Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Drizzle Buttermilk Glaze evenly over layers; cool in pans on wire racks 15 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks. Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.

                                               Buttermilk Glaze
    1                 cup sugar
    1-1/2         teaspoons baking soda
    1/2             cup buttermilk
    1/2             cup butter or margarine
    1                 tablespoon light corn syrup
    1                 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Bring first 5 ingredients to a boil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Boil, stirring often, 4 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla.

                                               Cream Cheese Frosting 
    3/4            cup butter or margarine, softened
    1                (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
    1                (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
    3                 cups sifted powdered sugar
    1-1/2         teaspoons vanilla extract

    Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth.
    Heart healthy

    Sunday, April 2, 2017

    Maxy sez : Diabetes and Walking: Small Steps, Big Difference

    By Mikel Theobald Reviewed by Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD
    Exercise is an important part of managing diabetes, and walking is one of the best options. It's easy to get started, and it can fit into any schedule.
    For people with type 2 diabetes, regular physical activity is especially important because of the huge impact it has on maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. “A 20- to 30-minute walk can help lower blood sugar for 24 hours,” says Tami Ross, RD, LD, a spokesperson for the American Association of Diabetes Educators. Not only can exercise make you feel better, but it can also help prevent many complications of diabetes. And you don't have to run five miles a day or lift heavy weights at the gym to benefit from it. Brisk walking — fast enough to break a light sweat and get your heart beating faster — on a regular basis can make a big difference in your overall health and how well you manage your diabetes.

    The Benefits of Walking

    Walking is easy, costs practically nothing (aside from a good pair of walking shoes), and can be done almost anywhere. When you have diabetes, the advantages of walking include:

    Improved blood sugar control
    Lower blood pressure
    Improved cholesterol — lower bad cholesterol and higher good cholesterol
    Fewer diabetes-related complications, such as heart disease and stroke
    Weight loss and weight maintenance
    Improved circulation and movement
    Stress relief, better sleep, and an overall feeling of well-being
    Walking Recommendations for Diabetes

    The current recommendation for exercise for people with diabetes is to aim for 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise at least five days a week. Ross suggests thinking of exercise as a kind of “extended-release medicine.” That’s because 30 minutes of exercise can provide benefits for 24 hours — a good reason to not skip a day.

    If you're not used to exercise, even walking, you’ll need to start slowly and build up to the suggested 30 minutes. Aim for 10 minutes a day the first week and gradually add more time as your energy allows. Try to walk three to five minutes longer each week, until you reach the goal of at least 30 minutes five days a week. Keep in mind that your total walking time can be broken up to include a 10-minute walk to the grocery store, a 10-minute walk around the block, and 10 minutes of mowing the lawn. The key is to move consistently during each 10-minute time span.

    Gearing Up for Walking

    Taking steps to ensure foot health is essential to a walking routine because diabetes makes you more prone to foot infections. Be sure to buy walking shoes that fit properly. Choose shoes that are sturdy yet comfortable and that provide plenty of support. Consult a specialist at a walking or running shoe store and let him or her know that you have diabetes so that you can get recommendations on the best design and fit for you. A doctor who specializes in foot care (podiatrist) can also suggest good walking shoes.

    Next, consider these extras that can make walking more comfortable and more fun:

    Good socks. Choose proper-fitting socks that won't bunch up or move around in your shoe. Choose fabrics that wick away moisture from your feet to keep them from getting damp.
    A pedometer. This small, wearable device can help you track how many steps you take. Experts suggest that you build up to 10,000 steps a day — the equivalent of five miles. Don’t worry about reaching “five figures” right off the bat — even 4,000 to 5,000 steps a day can yield great health benefits, so pick a goal that’s right for you and build on it as your endurance increases.
    A walking buddy. Walking can be more fun if you do it with someone else. Plus, a walking buddy can help keep you motivated.
    Exercise log. Track your progress by keeping an exercise log book. Be sure to record your blood sugar levels before and after you walk so you can see how it affects your levels.
    Other Important Walking Tips

    Before you start any exercise routine, including walking, it’s important to talk to your doctor. Here are some other important tips to keep you healthy and safe:

    Schedule your walk 30 to 60 minutes after a meal.
    Check your blood sugar before you exercise. If it's under 100 milligrams/deciliter (mg/dL), have a snack before getting started and then wait until it’s above 100 mg/dL to start your walk. If it’s 250 mg/dL or higher, wait until it comes down to a normal range before you begin to exercise.
    Check your feet for blisters, bumps, cuts, sores, or redness before and after every walk. If you notice any problems with your feet, don't walk that day and call your doctor. You may want to try swimming or another form of exercise until your feet heal.
    Follow your doctor’s recommendations for keeping your toenails appropriately trimmed, so as not to injure yourself while walking.
    Stretch before you walk.
    Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your walk to stay hydrated.
    Bring glucose tablets or a snack or drink, such as hard candy, fruit juice, or regular soda, in case your blood sugar drops while you're walking.
    Wear a medical identification bracelet or necklace and carry personal identification with you.
    Walk in a safe place, away from traffic and with other people around. If the weather isn’t cooperating, take a walk at the mall.
    Walking is an easy way to help control your diabetes and get in shape. Make a plan, find a friend, and get moving!

    Friday, March 31, 2017

    Lemon Chicken

    TOTAL TIME             50  minutes
    Serves 4 (serving size: 1 chicken breast half and about 3 tablespoons sauce)
    Lightly charring the lemon slices intensifies their flavor and creates a gorgeous look for this delicious chicken dinner. Be sure to include any of the sweet, tangy liquid the lemons give off in the bowl; it adds incredible depth to the sauce.

    2               small lemons, cut into thin rounds
    1-1/2        teaspoons sugar
    4              garlic cloves, halved
    4              (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded to 3/4-inch thickness
    1/2           teaspoon kosher salt, divided
    1/2           teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1               tablespoon olive oil, divided
    2               tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
    1               teaspoon grated shallot
    1/2            teaspoon grated garlic
    1               oregano sprig
    1               thyme sprig
    1/2            cup dry white wine
    1               cup unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
    1               teaspoon all-purpose flour
    1               tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
    2               tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

    1  .  Combine lemon slices, sugar, and garlic in a medium bowl.

    2 .  Sprinkle chicken with 3/8 teaspoon salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons oil; swirl to coat. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until done. Place chicken on a plate. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add lemon mixture to pan; cook 1 minute or until lemon slices are lightly browned, turning occasionally. Return lemon mixture to bowl.

    3 .  Wipe pan with paper towels. Heat pan over medium heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons butter to pan; swirl until butter melts. Add shallot, 1/2 teaspoon grated garlic, oregano sprig, and thyme sprig; cook 1 minute. Add wine to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil; cook 3 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Add remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, stock, and flour to pan, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until liquid is reduced to about 2/3 cup. Remove pan from heat; discard oregano and thyme sprigs. Stir in remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter and capers, stirring until butter melts. Return chicken and any juices to pan; turn to coat with sauce. Top chicken with lemon mixture. Sprinkle with parsley.
    Heart healthy

    Thursday, March 30, 2017

    Salmon, Green Beans, and Potatoes ------One Pan

    PREP TIME        20 minutes        TOTAL TIME     40 minutes      Makes 4 servings
    A complete sheet pan dinner that feeds 4 people in just 40 minutes? It doesn't get much better than this fuss-free dinner prep method. You'll only need a few pantry-staple ingredients in addition to the fish, veggies, and potatoes. The Tzaziki sauce is optional, but we highly suggest serving it with the final dish for over-the-top flavor (Plus--you'll have time to prepare it while the potatoes are cooking).

    4                   (5- to 6-oz.) skinned salmon fillets
    1                    pound red potatoes, halved
    2                   tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
    3/4                teaspoon kosher salt, divided
    3/4                teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
    Tzatziki Sauce
    1                  pound fresh green beans, trimmed
    1                  lemon, halved

    1 .  Preheat oven to 425°. . 

    2 .  Add potatoes to a large, 12x17-inch rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with ¼ tsp. each salt and pepper; toss to coat. 

     3 .  Arrange potatoes cut-side down and roast until potatoes are fork-tender, 20-25 minutes.

    4 .  While potatoes are cooking, prepare Tzatziki Sauce and place in the refrigerator to chill.

    5 .  A few minutes before the potatoes are done cooking, trim green beans and place in a large bowl. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with ¼ tsp. each salt and pepper; toss to coat.

    6 .  Remove potatoes from the oven and preheat broiler. 

    7 .  Season salmon with remaining ¼ tsp. each salt and pepper. Carefully place salmon in center of baking sheet and arrange potatoes and green beans in a single layer around salmon. (Move potatoes to edges of pan with a spatula so that salmon can be placed in center of the pan.)

    8 .  Squeeze lemon halves over entire sheet. Slice lemon halves and add to baking sheet, if desired.

    9 .  Broil salmon, green beans, potatoes, and lemons 10 minutes, or until salmon is no longer translucent but still moist in center and green beans, potatoes, and lemons are lightly browned. Serve with Tzatziki Sauce.

     Heart healthy

    Tuesday, March 28, 2017

    Pork Chops with Bourbon-Peach Sauce

    This one-pan dish pairs well with quick-cooking asparagus. Cook the pork chops first, then use the same skillet to make the savory pan sauce. The recipe calls for frozen peaches, so enjoy this Southern-style favorite year around.4 (4-ounce) boneless center-cut loin pork chops (about 1/4 inch thick)
    3/4            teaspoon salt
    1/4            teaspoon black pepper
    1/4            teaspoon ground red pepper
    Cooking spray
    1               tablespoon minced shallots
    1               teaspoon minced bottled garlic
    1-1/2        cups frozen sliced peaches
    1/2           cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
    2              teaspoons brown sugar
    2              thyme sprigs
    2             tablespoons bourbon
    2             teaspoons butter

    1 .  Sprinkle pork with salt and peppers. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add pork to pan; cook 2 1/2 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove pork from pan; keep warm.

    2 .  Add shallots and garlic to pan; sauté 30 seconds. Add peaches and broth to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Add sugar and thyme to pan; cook 1 minute. Add bourbon and butter to pan; cook 4 1/2 minutes or until butter melts and sauce is slightly thickened. Discard thyme sprigs. Serve with pork.
    Heart healthy

    Thursday, March 23, 2017

    Pork Chops with Squash and Potatoes

    TOTAL TIME          1 hour, 40 minutes
    Serves 4 (serving size: 1 pork chop and about 1 cup vegetables)
    One sheet and dinner is done, thanks to Greek Pork Chops, squash and potatoes.

    4      (1-inch-thick) frenched pork loin chops
    1/2   cup fresh lemon juice
    4      tablespoons olive oil
    3      garlic cloves, minced
    3      tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
    1      teaspoon black pepper
    3      teaspoons kosher salt, divided
    2      medium yellow squash, sliced 1/2 inch thick
    1      large zucchini, sliced 1/2 inch thick
    1/2   pound small red potatoes, quartered

    1 .  Place pork chops in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Whisk lemon juice, oil, garlic, oregano, pepper, and 2 1/2 teaspoons salt; reserve 2 tablespoons marinade. Pour remaining marinade over pork, turning to coat. Chill 1 to 8 hours.

    2 .  Preheat oven to 425°F. Combine squash, zucchini, potatoes, and reserved marinade. Spread squash mixture in an even layer on a heavy-duty aluminum foil-lined rimmed sheet pan.

    3 .  Remove pork from marinade, discarding marinade. Pat dry with paper towels, and place on top of squash mixture.

    4 .  Bake 25 minutes. Increase temperature to broil, and broil until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 140°F, about 5 minutes. Transfer pork to a serving platter, and cover with foil. Return pan to oven, and broil squash mixture until slightly charred, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer squash mixture to a serving bowl; toss with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and serve with pork.
    Heart healthy 

    Tuesday, March 21, 2017

    The MBA's obsession with PB&J's

    The legend has been passed down by NBA generations. Bryan Doo, Celtics strength and conditioning coach recalls how, before a game in December of the 2007/08 season, an unnamed Celtic -- his identity lost to history, like the other horsemen on Paul Revere's midnight ride -- complained to Doo of incipient hunger pangs.
    "Man, I could go for a PB&J," the player said. And then Celtic, Kevin Garnett, uttered the now-fabled words: "Yeah, let's get on that."
    Garnett ate a PB&J, then played ... and played very well. Afterward, from his perch as the Celtics' fiery leader, Garnett issued the following commandment: "We're going to need PB&J's in here every game now."
    And so a sandwich revolution was born.
    At the time, Doo notes, the Celtics not only didn't provide lavish pregame spreads, they didn't offer much food at all. But he soon found himself slapping together 20 PB&J's about three hours before every tip-off, the finished products placed in bags and labeled with Sharpie in a secret code: "S" for strawberry, "G" for grape, "C" for crunchy. Of vital import: Garnett was an "S" man, and woe unto he who did not deliver him two S's before every game. But as the Celtics steamrolled to a 66-win season and an NBA title, the secret to their success, so cleverly disguised between two pieces of white bread, was eventually leaked.
    Boston started  doing it at a mass-produced level and other teams caught the fever. As visiting teams passed through Boston they caught wind of the PB&J revolution and realized a new day had dawned. They all got their strength and conditioning coaches working overtime making the gooey sandwiches.
    There was no putting the jelly back in the jar. And nothing would ever be the same.

    The Trail Blazers offer 20 crustless, halved PB&J's pregame -- 10 of them toasted.They're composed of organic fixings, save for white bread, which Portland's assistant performance coach Ben Kenyon notes is a high-glycemic carb that easily digests to provide a quick energy jolt. Typically, all 20 vanish well before tip-off; sometimes the Blazers double their order.

    The Rockets make sure the PB&J is available in their kitchen at all times, in all varieties -- white and wheat bread, toasted, untoasted, Smucker's strawberry and grape, Jif creamy and chunky -- and offer 12 to 15 sandwiches pregame, with PB&J reinforcements provided at halftime and on postgame flights.

    The secretive Spurs, it has been confirmed, indulge in their own pregame PB&J's. The Clippers, at home and on the road, go through two loaves of bread, almond and peanut butters, and assorted jellies from Whole Foods. The Pelicans offer PB&J everywhere: hotel rooms, flights, locker rooms. The Wizards had some "minor uprisings" from players, one source says, when management tried to upgrade team PB&J's with organic peanut butter on whole grain bread -- but peace was restored when each side compromised to include all options.

    The Bucks might boast the NBA's most elaborate PB&J operation: a pregame buffet featuring smooth, crunchy and almond butters, an assortment of jellies (raspberry, strawberry, grape, blueberry, apricot), three breads from a local bakery (white, wheat and gluten-free) and Nutella. The team scarfs 20 to 30 PB&J's per game and travels with the ingredients, which rookies prepare on the plane and in visiting locker rooms. They've even offered their players PB&J-flavored oatmeal, PB&J recovery shakes, PB&J waffles and PB&J pancakes. Bucks team chef/dietitian Shawn Zell won't rule out one day making a PB&J burger.

    The Cavs eat 20 artisanal PB&J's prior to tip-off, with homemade grape and raspberry jelly, as well as almond butter-and-banana and peanut butter-and-banana sandwiches.
    No matter how you slice it, it's hard to swallow: The NBA is covered in experts, obsessed with peak performance -- and still this pillar of grade-school cafeteria lunches is the staple snack of the league.  A sandwich whose standard ingredients boast a street value of roughly 69 cents.

    WHAT IS IT ABOUT PB&J's In dozens of interviews with players, coaches, executives, nutritionists, trainers and others in and around the NBA, the most common explanation offered was the most obvious: PB&J is comfort food, and countless players, like countless other humans, grew up on it. "It's a soothing memory from childhood," Shanahan says. It's "peace of mind," says Brett Singer, a dietitian at the Memorial Hermann Ironman Sports Medicine Institute, who adds: "You feel good, you play well." Brian St. Pierre, director of performance nutrition at Precision Nutrition, who's consulted with the Spurs, says it's not so much a placebo effect but "almost more than that. They just simply believe." Lakers coach Luke Walton has a theory: NBA players are superstitious nuts, especially when it comes to routines. "Athletes are strange people," he says. "We've got weird habits." Walton, now 36 and in his first season leading the Lakers, still downs a PB&J before every game.

    The smell of these  bread and goo sandwiches-- even the mere awareness of their proximity -- triggers a release in humans of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which once provided our ancestors with an energy boost for the hunt, along with serotonin, the "happiness hormone." At first bite of a PB&J, receptors detect the food's chemical composition and report back to the brain -- fats! sugars! starches! proteins! salts! -- where reward centers release opioids and, after a few minutes, endorphins, which briefly reduce stress. It's an effect, St. Pierre notes, that's similar to sex. They also lower the body's heart rate, a bonus for an anxious hunter or a player just before tip-off. "These are the exact same pathways that make heroin addicts chase their next fix," says Dr. Trevor Cottrell, director of human performance for the Memorial Hermann Ironman Sports Medicine Institute.
    Heroin, sex ... peanut butter and jelly. You can see why players might revolt if someone tried to take away their PB&J.
    So are they actually good for you -- or good enough for the physical demands of the most physically taxed athletes on the planet? The typical PB&J contains roughly 400 to 500 calories, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 20 grams of fat and 10 grams of protein. Not good if you are not an athlete, and are trying to lose weight. Athletes work off most of the calories and fats during the game.

    Basketball players ,actually, are not very demanding when they arrive in town for a game. But if you don't have tons of PB&J's on hand, heads will roll.

    Sunday, March 19, 2017

    Maxy sez : Understanding Diabetic Eye Conditions

    Cataracts are a common part of aging, with the eye's clear lens growing cloudy and blocking light. However, people with diabetes are 60 percent more likely to develop cataracts. They tend to develop this eye disorder at a younger age, and their cataracts worsen at a much quicker pace.

    People with type 2 diabetes develop cataracts due to their high levels of blood sugar. "As the blood sugar levels increase, the concentration of [glucose] around the lens goes up," Gonzalez says. "The sugar enters the lens through osmosis, bringing water with it." That changes the chemical composition inside the lens, prompting the lens to grow cloudy.

    People with type 2 diabetes also are 40 percent more likely to develop another common eye disease, glaucoma. Glaucoma occurs due to an increase in fluid pressure inside the eyeball. The pressure pinches off blood flow to the retina and optic nerve, causing slow damage. This damage leads to gradual but permanent vision loss.

    Diabetes: Protect Your Vision :
    The problems with blood sugar are the principal cause of the damage to the eye," Gonzalez says. "Most people with diabetes will vary in terms of how high their high is and how low their low is. The larger the difference between the high and the low, the more susceptible you are to damage from diabetes." Tightly managing your type 2 diabetes is the best way to prevent eye health complications.
    By Dennis Thompson, Jr. Reviewed by Farrokh Sohrabi, MD
    Type 2 diabetes can have a terrible impact on your eye health. Learn about the major diabetic eye diseases and get tips for avoiding them.
    Typr 2 diabetes is a systemic disease, and if left untreated it can cause many serious complications in areas throughout the body — including the eyes. In fact, complications that threaten eye health are among the leading problems that can occur with diabetes and put people with type 2 diabetes at a greater risk of blindness. Preventing eye problems such as diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma hinges, in large part, on successfully managing blood sugar levels.

    Diabetic Retinopathy:
    Unchecked blood sugar levels that spike and plummet can cause damage to the blood vessels of the eyes, resulting in a condition known as diabetic retinopathy. This is the most common vision problem due to diabetes. Retinopathy targets the retina, the tissue lining the back of the eye wall that perceives the images captured by the eye.
    There are two main types of diabetic retinopathy:
    Non-proliferative retinopathy. This is the disease's first stage. "The fluctuations in the blood sugar begin to damage the walls of blood vessels," says Victor H. Gonzalez, MD, founder of Valley Retina Institute in McAllen, Texas, and a volunteer for the American Diabetes Association. "The blood vessels begin to leak." The leakage causes the retina to swell, blurring your vision and causing straight lines to appear wavy as the retina takes on an uneven shape.

    Proliferative retinopathy. This is the disease's second stage, in which the eye tries to compensate for the loss of blood vessels by forming new ones. These new blood vessels are weak, though, and crowd into the retina. "Unfortunately, the blood vessels begin to grow around the central vision," Dr. Gonzalez says. As these vessels mature, they often bleed and cause scarring that can lead to a tractional retinal detachment, which occurs when the scar tissue causes the retina to pull away from the eye tissue. This can cause blindness if not corrected.

    Cataracts and Glaucoma :
    Early detection is also key to preventing vision loss, especially for diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. People with diabetes should undergo a thorough eye examination once a year. These eye examinations must involve dilation of the pupil. That's the only way an eye doctor can observe the back of the eye.

    "They need to have a dilated eye examination performed by an ophthalmologist," Gonzalez says. "Sometimes patients will go to health fairs and have an eye screening there. That's not a diabetic eye exam. Unfortunately, I've had some people get into trouble because they use that as their annual eye examination."

    "We have very effective treatments," Gonzalez adds. "If we begin treatment early on in these patients, we can have a very significant impact on their retinopathy and reduce their risk of severe vision loss.