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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Angelina Jolie, BRCA and Saving Lives

Angelina Jolie did an amazing thing...she took control of her life. She made the decision to live. Like thousands and thousands of women, she has joined the ranks of the Survivors and Previvors to empower themselves by using the knowledge of their BRCA mutation status and today's surgical technology. 
Unlike my father who passed away from breast cancer, I took those life saving steps as well. He passed the genetic mutation to me. I tested in 1996 and was found positive for carrying it. That means I have approximately 85-90% lifetime risk of breast cancer and 50% lifetime risk of ovarian cancer. 
Whether you applaud Jolie's actions or berate her for them, it is essential for the BRCA population to know their options and to reach the millions out there who still need to know. I had the same surgeries in 2002 and 2007. The latter's pathology showed DCIS stage 0, the beginnings of breast cancer. 
I paraphrase my friend Olga Guzman Flores's aunt who put it succinctly, "If you knew the plane you were taking had a 50% risk of crashing would you still board?". 
The following YouTube videos feature Olga singing at a JoiningFORCEs Annual Conference, my friend Anne Parker, the inspiration for the film "Decoding Annie Parker", who speaks about hereditary breast and ovarian cancer and the third, another friend, film maker Joanna Rudnick and a clip of her documentary, "In the Family". 
Please watch, educate yourself and others and #ShareandSaveaLife.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Let's Cook! Key Lime Cake

I've always loved the atmosphere about the Keys, that string of islands cutting between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. A different atmosphere, a world unto itself and a place to kick back. No wonder Hemingway took to Key West specifically. 

Key West has the Cuban flair mixed with America. Being the Southernmost point, 90 miles from Cuba, it enjoys a singularly fabulous reputation. It feels like the Caribbean but you are still in the U.S. 

 The Hemingway House, brimming over with the polydactyl cats the island is known for. I understand there is a 6 year wait to adopt one of the 6 toed kitties. The tours are led by docents who know everything about Papa Hemingway. 

The Aquarium houses local sea creatures and a sanctuary for the wounded. I remember the blind pelican who just wanders everywhere, mostly in circles!

And how about the buried treasures from shipwrecks over the years. The air conditioned exhibit is so welcoming. 

Take a stroll down to Mallory Square at sundown and join everyone toasting the sun's settling down for the day. Or go down to Duval Street for the art and fun. Most of all, enjoy the unique culinary delights like a lobster rueben or conch chowder or fritters while sitting on the deck at the juncture of the two bodies of water. Yes, there's Sloppy Joe's with its touristy kitsch but there are other great places on this tiny island.

One of the favorite sweets here is Key Lime Pie. My best friend's son loves ANYTHING with that zesty flavor! In Paul's honor, I am posting this recipe for Key Lime Cake with Key Lime Cream Cheese frosting that I found online. Yummy!

Look for lines about golf ball sized. They are the best. They are not always the pale green color but sometimes all shades up to a beautiful yellow color. 

Key Lime Pound Cake with Key Lime Cream Cheese Icing

  •  4 sticks butter, that’s 1 pound, room temperature
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup fresh key lime juice
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk, (I always keep a good number of those small, 5 ounce cans in my pantry.)
  • 4 teaspoons key lime zest, minced
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 300°.  Cover inside of 10 inch tube pan with non-stick spray.  My pan is 10  1/2″ and it’s just fine.  Set aside.
  2. Using a stand-up mixer or electric hand-held, beat the butter well until light in color and fluffy.  Add the sugar and again beat well for at least 5 minutes.  I use a stand up mixer and beat the mixture 10-15 minutes.  I don’t like a “grainy” cake.
  3. One at a time add the eggs and beat only until the yellow disappears.
  4. Now mixing by hand, gradually flour to the butter-egg mixture alternating with the key lime juice and milk.  Begin and end with flour.  Beat well but just enough to incorporate all ingredients.  You don’t want a tough pound cake!
  5. Pour evenly into the tube pan and tap pan on the counter to loosen any air bubbles.
  6. Bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.
  7. Cool on a cooling rack for 15-20 minutes in the pan then transfer from pan to cooling rack and allow to cool another hour or until completely cool.

The cake is far better the following day or 2 days later.

Key Lime Cream Cheese Icing

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3-4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed key lime juice
  • 2-3 teaspoons key lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Using a hand mixer beat cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until well mixed.
  2. Add confectioner’s sugar and beat well until completely smooth and fluffy.
  3. Add key lime juice, zest and vanilla and mix until all ingredients are incorporated.
  4. Ice cake.

This makes quite a bit of icing.  After icing the entire  pound cake I fill the middle hole with the excess icing.  When the cake is served icing can be taken from the middle and dolloped along the side the slice of cake.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Going Green, #1

�� Momma said, Momma said... ��

There are times we just don't eat the way we should. Meals get skipped. We imbibe in the "wrong" foods. Vacation foods got the better of us. There was a party and the cake looked so good. You hate eating anything green. You dislike foods that are good for you. 

All excuses. All can be valid. None help your digestion or well-being. So what do you do? There's always doing that "juicing thing". But you need to get an expensive machine and that's not always in the cards. Macrobiotic diet can help and that takes real discipline. Or try Going Green with Arbonne! 

Mom always said to eat your veggies. Greens Balance makes this easy with its spectrum of proprietary color blends of whole fruit and vegetable powders — delivering antioxidants, phytonutrients and fiber you need to have a more balanced, healthier diet every day. Mom would be so happy. | Key Ingredients: Arbonne proprietary fruit and vegetable blends of greens, reds, blues and yellows | 30 servings/30-day supply. 


Let's Cook! Bawdy Boston Baked Beans

  • Ever wonder why Boston baked beans are called “Boston” baked beans? It’s the molasses. Boston has been tied to molasses since colonial days, when the city was a trade center for rum from the Caribbean. Molasses is used for rum production and is a by-product of sugar refining and was easily available to the colonists. And then there’s the Boston Molasses Disaster of 1919, when a huge tank of molasses exploded and sent a sea of the gooey stuff flooding the streets of the North End. I lived in the North End of Boston in the early 80s and at the time you could still pick up a faint scent of molasses on a hot summer day.

    Now to the baked beans. Boston baked beans are by definition, slowly cooked. According to Shirley Corriher in CookWise (great book, btw), either sugar or calcium will make beans hard, even after long hours of cooking. Molasses contains both sugar and calcium, which is why adding molasses to a pot of beans will enable you to cook the beans for what seems like forever, without the beans getting mushy. But it also means that if you cook the beans in molasses to get that wonderful flavor, you have to cook them a good long time.

    Although traditionally cooked in an oven, Boston baked beans lend themselves perfectly to slow cookers, which is the method we prefer here.

    Cook time:
     8 hours
  • Yield: Serves 5-6 as a main dish 
  • 1 pound (2 to 2 1/4 cups) dry white beans such as Navy beans or Great Northern beans (can also use kidney beans)
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3-4 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 1/2 pound salt pork (can sub bacon), cut into 1/2-inch to 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, (1 1/2 cups) chopped


1 Place beans in a large pot and cover with 2 inches of water. Soak overnight and drain. Alternatively, bring a pot with the beans covered with 2 inches of water to a boil, remove from heat and let soak for a hour, then drain.

2 Mix the molasses, brown sugar, mustard, and ground cloves with 3 cups of hot water.

boston-baked-beans-1.jpg boston-baked-beans-2.jpg
boston-baked-beans-3.jpg boston-baked-beans-4.jpg

3 Line the bottom of a slow-cooker (or a Dutch oven if you are cooking in the oven) with half of the salt pork (pick the fattiest pieces). Layer over with half of the drained beans. Add all of the onions in a layer, then top with another layer of beans and the remaining salt pork. Pour the molasses water mixture over the beans to just cover the beans.

4 Cover and cook in a slow-cooker on the low setting for 8 hours (or in a 250°F oven), until the beans are tender. Check the water level a few hours in, and if the beans need more water, add some. Add additional salt to taste if needed. Note that fresher beans will cook faster than older beans. Your beans may be ready in less than 8 hours, or they may take longer. Best the next day.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Let's Cook!

I have always been interested in cooking! My great-grandfather emigrated from Russia at the turn of the century. He was a baker in the city of Kiev. He brought his craft across Europe along with his wife and five children, landing in Philadelphia, PA. They settled and after several years he helped to form the Baker's Union. 

Most of my great Aunts were good cooks. My grandmother, the second oldest daughter, was not only a wonderful cook but also a fabulous baker. My mom learned from her and so did I. My fondest memories were sitting at the table, reading the recipe out loud and helping with each step! 

A lot of recipes were never written down, just passed along from mother to daughter. In our family households, there was an empty yarhtzeit (commemoration of a death) glass used as a measuring cup. Yes ma'am! It was usually 8 ounces and you eyed the amount. Close enough! This leads to the way my mom and most notably, my grandmother, cooked. To this day use a bissel (little bit) of this and that. Whether Chili or chicken Soup I still  shetteryne .  (To cook without a recipe.  Add a little of this, 
a little of that, a little of something else, without measuring.)

The only times I had a recipe become a flop, is when ingredients were left off of the list. 

Well, I will try out some new recipes, take photos and hope for a good review!

Next blog: Bawdy Baked Beans (crockpot)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

0ver 50? Dieting is Different!

If you’re someone who’s beyond the age of 50 who is looking to lose some body fat, you might start to wonder if there should be a difference in the approach you use versus the approach of someone who is younger. 
After all, your body is different now than when you were in your twenties, so it only stands to reason that you may need to use a different type of diet. 
So what differences should someone over 50 take note of? What alternations will best help you see success?
Let’s go over the main things that you should know so that you can get right on track to progress. 
Alterations To Your Calorie Intake 
The very first thing that you will likely want to do is use a slightly lower calorie intake at this point in your life. Now, there is the common saying that the metabolism naturally slows with age. While this is true, it’s not for the reason many people believe. 
The primary reason why your metabolism will decrease as you get older is because you’re losing lean muscle tissue. If you’re someone who has been active for the last 20 years, then you likely don’t need to use a reduced calorie intake as you will have more lean muscle tissue. 
If you haven’t been exercising though, then a slightly lower calorie diet is in order. Try starting at around 10 or 11 calories per pound of body weight. 
At this point in your life you may not be quite as physically active overall either as you were when you were younger, so that will also factor into your total daily calorie burn. 
Accounting For Nutritional Deficiencies 
Another adjustment that you should make is accounting for nutritional deficiencies. Those who are older will want to really make sure that they are taking in enough calcium, iron, and B vitamins. 
This will help ensure that they maintain strong bones and high energy levels. In addition to that, make sure that you’re taking in a very high quantity of fresh fruits and vegetables daily on whatever diet you choose as these will help to protect against some of the common diseases that can develop as the years go on. 
Adding Extra Protein 
Finally, the last thing that you should adjust on your diet protocol is your protein intake. Many older individuals are not getting enough protein total, so it’s important that you bump up your intake. 
Additionally, since you aren’t quite as active as you were when you were younger, having more protein in the diet will help to further safeguard against lean muscle tissue loss, so will help to keep your metabolism higher long term. 
Remember to add plenty of low fat dairy sources of protein in particular such as Greek yogurt, skim milk, and low-fat cottage cheese as these are both high in protein and high in calcium, so will really help you along your way. 
So there you have everything that you need to know about dieting past 50. While the general approach should still be quite similar, making these few additional changes would be well worth your while. 

I can help! Arbonne has fabulous products to get you started and I will help with support and info! Contact me for more information and we will track our progress together. The three sets above are already discounted and I can show you how to get even more discounts.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Arbonne and Learning About Me

I ask this question at least once a day..."Have you ever heard of Arbonne?"  We'll, in case you have not, let me fill you in!

The idea to provide skin care products unparalleled in quality andeffectiveness developed in Switzerland in 1975, when one man, Petter Mørck, together with a group of leading bio-chemists, biologists and herbalists, fulfilled his vision and founded Arbonne.

Arbonne's skin care products, based on botanical principles, became a reality in the United States in 1980 and are now shared throughout the world through Arbonne's network of Independent Consultants. Building on these same founding principles, Arbonne's product line has since grown to include both inner and outer health and beauty products that are unparalleled in quality, safety, value, benefits and results!

The wonderful thing about Arbonne is that it's not just about great products, it's also about great people. The Arbonne family is made up of thousands of individuals working to make their dreams come true. Through sales incentives and rewards, travel opportunities, a generous SuccessPlan and great products, Arbonne offers a unique opportunity that can help make anyone's vision for the future a reality.

That's about it! The products benefit your body both inside and out.  Each one has a benefit. They are all safe for all bodies, no matter what age.  And everything is pure.  

This week I am finding out about our newest product, GENIUS! It is a retinoids product used to wipe away those fine lines and smoothing your skin.  I won't share any spoilers so when next we meet I can can fully explain all the advantages of GENIUS!

A wonderful thought for the beautiful people in our lives!