Everyone thinks about losing weight after Christmas. Or not.
It is winter in North Dakota and so we need a few extra carbs to get through these cold winter nights. After a good night's sleep, it's important to Break Your Fast by eating. Many people do not appreciate food - but some of us wake up and think, "I'm starving. What can I eat."
Time is precious in the morning, even with out children to get ready for school, I sometimes run out of time to eat a good breakfast. So, here are a few quick items to cook, and/or grab on your way out the door. Be sure and scroll all the way to the end to get some tips about easy morning smoothies.
1. Overnight Oats: Mix 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats with 1/2 cup almond milk and 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp. raw honey, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, and 1 tbs. each chia and ground flax seeds. Mix well and place in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, top with 1/2 cup organic berries and 2 tbs chopped raw almonds or walnuts. You can take this one to work and microwave for a hot cereal. If you make your own granola, you can use that instead of oats. YUMMMY goodness times two.
Omelets are the quickest hot breakfast around. It's even simpler if you prepare your toppings and grate your cheese the evening before.
2. Breakfast Tacos: Cook 2 eggs with chopped sausage, 1 tsp. Parmesan cheese and place in a sprouted grain tortilla and top with salsa (red or green) and 1/4 of an avocado or 2 tbs guacamole.
3. South of the Border Omelet: In a little coconut or olive oil, sauté chopped onion, Ortega chiles, tomato, and mushrooms until soft; add 3 whisked eggs and cook until bottom is set. Flip and cook 1 minute longer. Serve with 1 slice sprouted grain toast.
4. Berrylicious Smoothie: Combine 6 oz. tart cherry juice, 3/4 cup frozen organic mixed berries raspberries, 1 tbs chia seed, and 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder, ice if necessary. Blend until smooth.
Here are a few tips and tricks to get that smoothie on in the morning.
1. Buy a Nutra Bullet. You will love it.
2. Take a quart of greek yogurt -- plain or vanilla. Mix in cinnamon to taste. Then spoon into silicone cookie molds. Freeze until solid.
3. Toast some oats. Yes, toasted oats have a richer flavor and you can easily do that in an oven set to about 300° in a high-sided cookie sheet.
4. Peel some bananas, or get those frozen bananas out of the freezer, peel and chunk.
5. Find those blueberries you purchased at the peak of summer and froze. Open a bag or two of those blue-tiful berries.
CLICK HERE for the article about Great Uncle Jake and his 105th birthday. He actually got to read it and sent me a note. I'm looking for that note.
By 9 a.m. Saturday morning, I was up to my elbows in homemade vegetable soup, a hand-knit sweater, and framing a photo for a wedding gift. Somewhere in the middle of it all, I turned on my cell phone. I think I was going to call my mother, instead, I found a message. My children maintain if I turn that phone on, it would be more useful. However, in spite of having a cell phone for nearly 10 years, it's mostly always off. In case of an emergency, it's on. On the other hand, my Uncle Ed uses his phone, and he has a computer with e-mail. The message was from him. He had called on Friday. I called him back right away.
"Do you want to go to a birthday party for a 105-year-old in South Dakota," he asked. It surprised me, because I didn't know what he was talking about.
"Uncle Jake," he said. "We are meeting your mom and dad in Wishek, and then driving to Bowdle." Darn. Looking at the mess in my house, and not being able to figure out how to leave it, I turned him down.
"Take pictures," I said, before hanging up. "Thanks for reminding me. I will go get the camera right now," he said. Sure enough, by Sunday evening I had e-mail with photos of Uncle Jake, my parents, some aunts and uncles, and the cake. Now, I'm not sure but I think Uncle Jake is my grandmother's brother because they have the same last name.
That would make him Uncle Ed's uncle and my, well.... You get the picture. We've never been able to decipher the second cousin, once removed, thing, so why try? The photos were great. Not knowing what to expect, I was surprised. I remember seeing Uncle Jake at the family reunion in Bismarck about three years ago. Wow, he looks fantastic or as close to that as possible when you are over 100 years old. I'm sorry I didn't get the message any sooner, it would have been a great experience, and there may never be another chance. Hopefully, someone sent the photo to the Today Show and the Smucker's Jelly birthday segment because I do not know too many people who even think about living that long.
Uncle Ed said Uncle Jake's getting a little tired of celebrating birthdays and was commenting on how he'd rather everybody came to his funeral instead. Perhaps that's true. Think about the changes you have seen in your lifetime.
Then, think about the changes that have occurred in the past 105 years. In 1901, the Wright Brothers built a 17-foot glider. But, another man, Gustave Whitehead a Germany immigrant reported to authorities that he gained flight in his flying in a field in Fairfield, Connecticut. He stated that he was able to sustain flight where he gained an altitude of 200 feet and flew 1.5 miles just before dawn. "I was soaring above my fellow beings in a thing my own brain had evolved". The craft had two propellers driven by a 12 HP engine that weighed 54 lbs. There were no photos, so nothing could be proved. Between 1901 and 1904, Pablo Picasso was going through his Blue Period. He was painting with mostly blue colors in a style that was not recognized at the time - abstract art. In 1901, Marconi sent his first radio communication across the Atlantic Ocean, and King Gillette invented a safety razor with a disposable blade. Corn Flakes were not made until 1906. Zippers were invented in 1914, and the television came along in 1926. In was 1938 until the ballpoint pen was invented, so Uncle Jake must have written in pencil until he was 37 years old, unless he used a quill and I doubt that. In 1952, the transistor radio made music and news portable.
Now, we are able to have television on our phones, televisions, and laptops. Can you imagine how life has changed for Uncle Jake in 105 years? Heck, life has changed so much in my lifetime and I'm not even half his age...
Some days, I wonder what I did before a computer. There was no e-mail or Internet, no online banking, no e-books, music videos, or digital images. It was great. If I remember correctly, I gardened, canned, baked, and cooked to my heart's content. It was a great life. So, yes, I can see why Uncle Jake feels a bit like it's time to go home.
Uncle Ed said, "I've never met anyone who wants to home to heaven as much as Uncle Jake."
HERE is the link to the personal column I refer to in the following text.
I'm looking for something. A piece of paper with scrawling lines of pen. Uneven rows of words that provide a piece of the puzzle of my life.
It's nowhere to be found where I thought it should be found. I'll keep looking. For today, I would like to share another piece or two of that puzzle. A distant relative (please don't ask me to connect the dots) posted a photo of my father's Uncle Jake Schilling on Facebook. It's a great photo with a farmhouse and hollyhocks and loads of feelings tied to days of our youth.
She shared it with me. And, when I find that piece of paper with the note he wrote to me I will share it with her. My great Uncle Jake wrote that note to me after he read a personal column I wrote about what it must be like to celebrate 105 years of life. My biggest regret is not going to the party when Uncle Ed invited me.
I found the article. At one time printed on paper, now just x's and o's saved to my hard drive. With that article is the photo of Uncle Jake on his birthday.
It's been a year of loss so far. According to my father seven or eight of our relatives have passed away and two just this past week. A generational turnover of sorts.
In the early part of the year, I feel the need to do some spring cleaning. I've been sorting and stowing and throwing and then putting things back where they have not seen the light of day for many years. In particular the old letters I have saved. I can't seem to part with them.
We will talk about that later. Today, I would like to share my column and a couple of photos of my Great Uncle Jake Schilling. Just because that photo stirred up a memory in this recipe I call my life.
Valentines Day means roses and chocolate.
History of Chocolate in a nutshell from History of Chocolate -
Chocolate is made from the fruit of cacao trees, which are native to Central and South America. The fruits are called pods, and each pod contains around 40 cacao beans. The beans are dried and roasted to create cocoa beans.
Mayan Chocolate: The Olmecs undoubtedly passed their cacao knowledge on to the Central American Mayans who not only consumed chocolate, they revered it. The Mayan written history mentions chocolate drinks being used in celebrations and to finalize important transactions.
Cacao Beans as Currency: The Aztecs took chocolate admiration to another level. They believed cacao was given to them by their gods. Like the Mayans, they enjoyed the caffeinated kick of hot or cold, spiced chocolate beverages in ornate containers, but they also used cacao beans as currency to buy food and other goods. In Aztec culture, cacao beans were considered more valuable than gold.
Spanish Hot Chocolate: There are conflicting reports about when chocolate arrived in Europe, although it’s agreed it first arrived in Spain. One story says Christopher Columbus discovered cacao beans after intercepting a trade ship on a journey to America and brought the beans back to Spain with him in 1502.
Chocolate in the American Colonies: Chocolate arrived in Florida on a Spanish ship in 1641. It’s thought the first American chocolate house opened in Boston in 1682. By 1773, cocoa beans were a major American colony import and people of all classes enjoyed chocolate.
Cacao Powder: When chocolate first came on the scene in Europe, it was a luxury only the rich could enjoy. But in 1828, Dutch chemist Coenraad Johannes van Houten discovered a way to treat cacao beans with alkaline salts to make powdered chocolate that was easier to mix with water.
The process became known as “Dutch processing,” and the chocolate produced called cacao powder or “Dutch cocoa.”
Nestle Chocolate Bars: For much of the 19th century, chocolate was enjoyed as a beverage; milk was often added instead of water. In 1847, British chocolatier J.S. Fry and Sons created the first chocolate bar molded from a paste made of sugar, chocolate liquor, and cocoa butter.
Chocolate Today: Most modern chocolate is highly-refined and mass-produced, although some chocolatiers still make their chocolate creations by hand and keep the ingredients as pure as possible. Chocolate is available to drink but is more often enjoyed as an edible confection or in desserts and baked goods.
While your average chocolate bar isn’t considered healthy, dark chocolate has earned its place as a heart-healthy, antioxidant-rich treat.
Sue B. Balcom
Writing, or maybe talking, comes naturally to me and under the guidance of a great newspaper editor I have acquired skills that led me to author four books.