Celebrating the Weekend with Carrot Cake and Soup!

Feb 3rd

Good Afternoon!  How are you on this fine February weekend?  I feel pretty darned great! I slept in a little, made brunch, am relaxing with hubby with Miss Pepsi Cat in my lap – yes, she’s doing pretty well, all things considered – and I’m getting ready to get a few things accomplished around here.  I have a list, but who knows? I may just wing it this weekend, it all depends on how I feel.

 

Verse of the Day

February 3, 2018

I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.

Psalm 59:16

 

Thoughts on the Verse of the Day

So many things in our lives can be stolen away by natural disasters, aging, and death. Satan could be appropriately called “The Thief of Always.” But God is immovable and unstealable! We can invest ourselves in him and know our spirits are secure in his care. He is a fortress and a refuge.

February 4, 2018

I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psalm 18:1-2

Thoughts on the Verse of the Day

We sing it and we say it in our public prayers: “Father, God, we love you.” But notice very carefully the beginning phrase of our verse. “I love you, O Lord…” Even in public, community worship, we are taught the importance of a personal expression of love to God. When is the last time you told the Creator of the universe, “I love you!”

www.verseoftheday.com

 

Food for Thought

If you know that something hurts someone physically, makes them sick, would you avoid that something when you are around them out of courtesy? I don’t care if I don’t want to be around someone, or to be their friend, I don’t wish them physical or health harm simply because of how I feel.  I have an allergy/sensitivity to scents that are in perfumes, hair and body products, laundry or air freshening products. If they are chemical based, they make me physically ill.  Some are worse than others. With some it causes a low grade headache, others close off my throat.  Some make me cough until I’m in tears, and some make my eyes and nose run.  Still others do all of the above and end up causing me to throw up from the pain.  KNOWING that, why would a co-worker, even one who doesn’t like me, wear a product that smells, even though they never have before in the 13 years we have worked together?  My conclusion is that they must be a horrible person at heart and any semblance of humanity they ever had is a bald faced lie.  Truly, that’s the only logical thing I can come up with.  I spent a good portion of my Friday with my office window open just so I could breathe.

February 3 –

Feed the Birds Day – Here we are, mid winter, and I’m sure you’ve noticed all the little birds flitting around looking for food. We used to have three feeders for the hungry little guys, and some days all of them were completely busy with a variety of birds coming and going.  It was fascinating. It’s too bad the bears started coming into the neighborhood targeting bird feeders. We stopped filling them for now. I feel badly for the birds, but really do not want the bears hanging out on the porch.  February is one of the most difficult months in the United States and Canada for wild birds.  It is difficult for the birds to find food, water and shelter, so any of us who feed the birds are helping them to survive.  Did you know that about one third of the U.S. population feeds wild birds in their back yards?  Are you part of that one third?  Celebrating this month by feeding the birds isn’t just good for them, it’s good for us too.  Taking time to watch the birds eat has been proven to be very relaxing and peaceful, relieving stress by just absorbing the beauty of nature.  This can also be an excellent educational tool for young children.  They can identify different species of birds with a field guide and learn about their feeding and living habits.  If you don’t have a bird feeder, maybe look up some DIY feeders, or head down to the store to find one that fits into your budget, buy a bag of seed and you’re set.  Just a note – I’ve found that our birds prefer just the black sunflower seeds, rather than the mixed wild bird food.  We had the wild bird seed and the silly birds were kicking those seeds onto the ground and just eating the black sunflower seeds. Go figure!  Oh well, the squirrels seem to like the scattered seed, so it’s not a loss.  So, if you don’t have a bear problem, put out some food for the birds.  Make it fun by tracking how many different species show up!

 

 

Four Chaplains Memorial Day – On February 3, 1943 four heroes sacrificed their lives to save others.  Their sacrifice will never be forgotten.  Four chaplains, George Fox, Alexander Goode, Clark Poling and John Washington, gave up their life belts and lives when the SS Dorchester was torpedoed off Greenland during WWII.  The Four Chaplains, also referred to as “the Immortal Chaplains” were US Army Chaplains who gave their lives for other civilian and military personnel while their ship sank.  They helped other soldiers board the lifeboats, gave up their own life jackets when the supply ran out, joined arms, said prayers and sang hymns as they went down with the ship. These men epitomize the word heroic, and the legacy of their sacrifice and the way they lived their lives carrying out the work of God right to their last breath should inspire us all, every single day.  God bless them, and men like them.

 

 

Ice Cream for Breakfast Day – (First Saturday) – I’m sure that eating ice cream for breakfast would be a dream come true for so many children. If you were to add eating hot dogs or pizza every night for dinner, they’d probably think they had a perfect life – at least as far as food is concerned.  Even as an adult though, you have to admit that there is something pretty tempting and fun about the thought of having a bowl of ice cream first thing in the morning – and honestly, wouldn’t it balance well with your coffee?  This special day was started in the 1960s by a housewife, Florence Rappaport, from New York. They believe the actual year was 1966 since a huge blizzard had hit that year, but the idea was that Florence’s 6 children were pretty bored one snowy, cold morning in February and she had to come up with something that excited and entertained them so they wouldn’t be so cranky.  On the spur of the moment she said “Let’s have ice cream for breakfast!” They loved it so much that the next February and snowy weather came around and they reminded her so they could celebrate it again.  They did, and a special holiday was born.  Doesn’t that sound like fun?  I just wish I’d looked at these ahead of time. I would have made a low-carb ice cream and enjoyed it for breakfast!

 

Take Your Child to the Library Day –I actually had someone ask me not that long ago if there really were libraries still open! Seriously?  Apparently they hadn’t been to one for years, and downloaded all of their “books” online.  I was shocked and a bit sad by this.  I love libraries.  I especially love the big, old ones. There’s something about the hush in the air, the sense of all of that knowledge, entertainment and lands of the imagination between all of those covers, in all of those books.  It was always my favorite place in school, and honestly, I still feel that sense of awe when I walk into a library now as an adult.  Take your child to the library, let them sit and listen to kids story hour, introduce them to the world through books.  As books disappear from our society to be replaced by online information, it is more important than ever to preserve this medium for future generations. I do have to admit that as an Amazon Prime member I get one e-book a month for free, and there are quite a few free books on Amazon that I can enjoy, so though I prefer an actual hand held paper book, I do indulge when the e-book doesn’t cost me anything.  I figure I’m going to spend money on a book, I want to have it to read it again later if it were any good, and have it on a shelf to share with someone else who may wish to read it. Bottom line is that there’s NOTHING quite like a good book, held in your hands, opening the door to new worlds, and the library has many more than most of us can ever hold in our living rooms.

 

The Day the Music Died – On a cold winter night on February 3, 1959, a small private plane bound for Fargo, ND took off from Clear Lake, Iowa.  It never reached its destination.  That plane crash ended the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J.P. “Big Bopper” Richardson and the pilot, Roger Peterson.  Three of the most promising artists in Rock and Roll were gone.   It never ceases to amaze me how simple decisions we make in daily life can change things so suddenly, and so permanently. The story of the deaths of these singers shows this so clearly, and in such a sad way. Performing in concert was very profitable and Buddy Holly needed the money that performing would give him.  Buddy Holly would be the headliner in a winter tour that was planned to cover 24 cities in 3 weeks – from January 23 – February 15.  Waylon Jennings, a friend of Holly’s from Texas, and Tommy Allsup would be his backup musicians.  Ritchie Valens, one of the hottest artists at that time, The Big Bopper and Dion and the Belmonts would round out the list of performers on the tour. Along the way their tour bus started having problems with the heating.  It was so cold that reports say that one of the drummers got frostbite riding in it.  When they arrived at their destination in Clear Lake, Iowa, they were cold, tired and fed up with the bus problems.  Buddy Holly had had enough of it and decided to charter a plane for himself and his guys.  Waylon Jennings gave up his seat in the plane to The Big Bopper (JP Richardson), who was running a fever and had a hard time fitting his stocky body comfortably into the bus seats.  When Buddy Holly found out that Jennings wasn’t going to fly, he jokingly said, “Well, I hope your old bus freezes up.”  Jennings responded, “Well, I hope your plane crashes.”  This friendly teasing between friends haunted Jennings for years.  Allsup told Valens that he would flip him for the last seat on the plane.  On the toss of a coin, Valens won the seat . . . and Allsup won the rest of his life.  The plane took off a little after 1:00 in the morning from Clear Lake, and never got far from the airport before it crashed, killing everyone on board.  A cold NE wind had given way to snow, which had reduced visibility drastically.  The ground was already covered in snow.  There were reports that suggested that the pilot may not have been very experienced with the instruments.   As Don McLean wrote in his classic music parable, American Pie, it was “the day the music died.”

 

 

February 4 –

Create a Vacuum Day – This is a day that we must just wonder why it came about and what the motivation was of the person who set it up.  There are a few theories though . . . 1) A frustrated, hardworking housewife, tired of the chore of vacuuming, decided to declare a day to commemorate the task.  The problem with this theory would be that if that were the case it would very likely just have been called “Vacuum Day” or “No Vacuuming Day”.  Why would they put the word “create” in the title?  Which brings us to #2) A crazy, mad scientist created this day to celebrate the creation of a vacuum during work in the laboratory.  Would that just be run of the mill scientific work though? Well, yes, it would!  And that brings us to #3: Somewhere there was someone who was desperately in need of simplifying their life and they came up with this day.  They just wanted to create a vacuum that would take all of their daily work, chores and the clutter out of their life – even if it were only for one day to allow them to be free to enjoy a simple leisurely life.  Now THAT is an idea that makes some sense in the hurry scurry world we life in today.  No matter how you choose to celebrate this day, make it be a good one for you.

 

Liberace Day – Wladziu Valentino Liberace, best known by just his last name Liberace, was an American pianist and vocalist.  He was born on May 16, 1919 and died February 4, 1987.  His career spanned four decades of concerts, recordings, motion pictures, television and endorsements – and during those years Liberace became world-renowned. In the 1950s through the 1970s he was the highest paid entertainer in the world, and lived a life of flamboyant excess – both on and off the stage.   I remember watching him on various shows throughout my childhood and will always appreciate his incredible musical talent.

 

Medjool Date Day – I love dates. I remember tasting them as a kid, and being really surprised that I liked them so much! They don’t look all that great – they are brown and a little wrinkly, but they are chewy and so filled with sweet flavor. They’ve been a favorite treat since the Garden of Eden.   Dates have a single pit or stone in the middle, so if you start eating some, do be careful about the pit. Dates grow on Date Palm Trees, and were brought to the coast of America by Spanish missionaries in the late 1700s. Medjool Dates started out in Morocco, and were brought to the U.S. in 1927 11 shoots were put in quarantine in Nevada for 7 years. Nine plants survived and were taken to Southern California in 1935, with 24 offshoots planted in 1944. Of all the different varieties of dates, Medjools are very labor intensive to grow and I thought this was interesting! They are the only ones that can be picked and eaten fresh. Good to know, though I can’t imagine I’m ever going to be around a real date tree. It takes Date palms 3-5 years to begin to bear fruit, and are fully mature when they are 12 years old. Though they are cultivated around the world, you can find them in the wild around Jordan and the border area between Iraq and Iran. Again, not likely I’m ever going to be around anything like that.

So, besides eating them by themselves, (like I do) you can use dates to make vinegar, chutney, date paste for baking, flavorings and roasting whole date seeds.  The tree’s buds are hearts of palm, and you may have had them in stir-fry or salad!  Dates are packed full of minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients.  Because they are easily digested, our bodies can make full use of all of their benefits.  Get this, the dietary fiber in the dates helps waste move quickly through our systems, helping to prevent LDL (or the bad stuff) cholesterol absorb into our systems. They are high in iron, potassium, B-Vitamins, vitamins A & K, copper, magnesium, manganese, etc.  The list goes on and on!  They even help our bodies metabolize carbohydrates, protein and fats.  I could go on and on, but seriously these are amazing little bits of goodness.  They were even mentioned several times in the Bible!

 

Super Bowl 52 – We will not be watching.  Actually, we hasn’t been a game on in our house all season.  Maybe if the NFL gets their collective heads out of their butts and start respecting our flag, our anthem and our military, we’ll give it a shot . . . but I doubt it.  American patriotism runs deep and our memories are long. We have better things to do with our time.

 

Thank a Mailman – Today we have the chance to say thanks to the person who delivers your mail. They are there six days a week no matter what the weather, always doing their jobs.  There are carriers who walk their routes and some who drive them.  Did you know that Pony Express riders were the most famous early American mailmen?  Their motto was “neither rain, no snow, nor death of the night, can keep us from our duty.”    This motto is believed date back to ancient times. The most popular variation is “Through rain or snow, or sleet or hail, we’ll carry the mail. We will not fail”.  If you have a chance to see your mail carrier, or visit the post office, give the postal worker a thank you for all of their hard work.

 

USO Day –The USO is an incredible organization that was started on February 4th, 1941.  Its primary mission is to lift the spirits of American troops and their families, and is best known for its entertainment of deployed troops.  Every major airport has a special terminal JUST for the USO, to welcome home troops from overseas, where there is always someone to let them know how much they are appreciated and respected.  When my husband and I went to New Jersey to watch my son graduate from USCG basic training we passed by the USO terminal on our way out of the Philadelphia airport.  There was a crowd of appreciative USO representatives, all with their flags, food and wide open hearts waiting for the soldiers as they arrived home, some of them for the first time in a very long time.  These wonderful, loving people will be there waiting, which is especially important for the returning men and women who don’t have anyone there just for them. Sometimes coming home can be bittersweet without anyone there to wrap their arms around you to say they’re glad you are back.

If you are of a mind, check out the official USO website and find out ways you can contribute or help out.  Our military members work hard for us, risking their lives day in and day out.  The least they deserve is some entertainment, and someone to enthusiastically welcome them home.  Let’s all show them we are proud to be Americans and proud of them for all that they do.  Thank you USO for being there.

 

World Cancer Day – Cancer.  It’s a dirty word to so many of us.  We hear the word every day, we have all known and loved someone who has suffered from it.  It is not just one disease, it is many.  Cancers of various forms are a scourge on all societies all over the world.  What all forms of cancer have in common is the ability of the cancer cells to invade other parts of the body and divide uncontrollably.   What if the entire world were to join forces to fight cancer?  World Cancer day is a day when organizations and individuals around the world send the message that ending cancer should be a global priority. Every year 7.6 million lives are lost to cancer worldwide, more than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined – according to statistics given by the UICC. One way to bring the focus to finding a cure is to dispel myths and misconceptions about the disease. Here are 4 of them that we can tackle today:

 

  • Myth 1: Cancer is just a health issue. Truth: Cancer is not just a health issue. It has wide-reaching social, economic, development, and human rights implications.
  • Myth 2: Cancer is a disease of the wealthy, elderly and developed countries. Truth: Cancer is a global epidemic. It affects all ages and socio-economic groups, with developing countries bearing a disproportionate burden.
  • Myth 3: Cancer is a death sentence. Truth: Many cancers that were once considered a death sentence can now be cured and for many more people, their cancer can be treated effectively.
  • Myth 4: Cancer is my fate. Truth: With the right strategies, a third of the most common cancers can be prevented.

The truth is that we are all at risk for the insidious evil that is cancer – focus on eating right, getting healthy, quit smoking if you smoke, stop other behaviors that can give cancer a foothold in your life.  Become familiar with behaviors that increase your risk, and work hard to change them. You deserve it, your children deserve it, and so on.

 

This Day in History

1959 – Rock singers Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper died in a plane crash.

 

 

Food Celebration of the Day

February 3

National Carrot Cake Day – The first wild carrots were red, white, yellow and purple. It took 16th-century Dutch farmers crossing a red with a yellow to create the carrots we enjoy today. I thought it was interesting to read that the Queen Anne’s Lace flower/weed is actually a wild carrot. I had no idea! ALSO, and this one sounds pretty icky to me – in the 1930’s Jell-O had a carrot pie flavored gelatin.

I will be making a Low Carb Mini Carrot Cake for our dessert tonight, thanks to this recipe from Carolyn Ketchum from All Day I Dream About Food. Yum!  I’ll post a picture later when it’s all done.

For the non-low carbers, here are some sugar and grain based options.

 

February 4

Homemade Soup Day – There is nothing quite as soul satisfying as a hot bowl of homemade soup.  In addition to being comforting, some soups are known for being medicinal as well!  They can detoxify the body of impurities, and boost our immune systems.  The old home remedy of a bowl of chicken soup for a cold, it really works!!!  Some soups have been used for centuries as a way to promote good health and to cure what makes us sick.  For today, celebrate this tummy warming treat by stirring up a pot of your favorite soup.  It’ll make you feel good from head to your toes.   What soup makes you feel the best?  If I don’t have the time to make a batch of my own soup – or if I happen to be in town when I’m feeling sniffly, my very favorite restaurant soup is Vietnamese Chicken Pho . . . Oh my goodness, it always makes me feel better, no matter what it is that is ailing me.  Women are more than twice as likely to eat soup as men, 9.67% vs. 4.0%.

  1. The Middle English word soupen meant “to drink in sips”, which is how most soups were consumed. The words “soup,” “supper,” “sip,” and “sop” are derived from this term.
  2. Andy Warhol (whose real name was Andrew Warhola) is famous for his Campbell’s soup can art of the 1960’s. Did you know his first works sold for around 100 dollars? Today they sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

I will be making a Beef Vegetable Stew for our dinner.  A rainy day is a great time for a hot bowl of thick stew, don’t you think?

 

National Stuffed Mushroom Day – I love stuffed mushrooms.  Actually I love mushrooms in lots of different dishes, but they extra delicious stuffed.  We can give credit for the creation of the stuffed mushroom to the Italians back in the 19th century. They came up with the best food, didn’t they? Even though the Italians created them, the French made them popular in that same time period. I thought it was interesting that mushrooms are composed 90% water – which explains why they get so wet when being sautéed, and one portabella mushroom has more potassium than a banana – and they are MUCH lower in carbs!  I made a batch the other day and we really enjoyed them.   They are really quite simple to make.  You need portabella mushrooms – usually 2 medium to large per person, a pound of Italian Sausage, onions, garlic, your choice of herbs and spices and parmesan cheese.  Take the stems off of the mushrooms and chop them up finely, then scrape the gills out of the mushrooms.  Brown the sausage with the onions, mushrooms stems, garlic, herbs, a little salt and pepper. While you are doing this, drizzle the mushroom caps with a little olive oil and pop them into the oven at 350 to pre-cook a iittle.  Take them out of the oven, fill the caps with the meat mixture, top with grated parmesan cheese and bake again until everything is all browned and the cheese is melted. Quick, delicious and healthy.

 

National Pork Rind Appreciation Day – Pork rinds are a very popular snack on not only Super Bowl Sunday, but all the time. They are the only true low carb crunchy snack available to the keto and low-carb dieters out there, and are used in recipes in place of breading too. I’m not a HUGE fan.  I can eat them, but I don’t really eat more than a couple before I’m over it.  If you enjoy them though, this day is for you!

 

The day is getting really dark, which means the sky is getting ready to open up again. Oh well, there is plenty to do in the house.  May your weekend be wonderful! God bless you and I’ll see you Monday.

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