College Football 2014, Week Four!

September 21, 2014

127The Michigan State Spartans (#11) rebounded from their loss to Oregon a couple of weeks ago with an easy win against the Eagles of Eastern Michigan University this week.    The Big Ten Conference currently has four teams ranked in the AP top-25 poll: Michigan State (#11), Wisconsin (#19), Ohio State (#23) and Nebraska (#24).  Next up for the Spartans, the Cowboys of Wyoming for their last pre-Big Ten Conference matchup.  Go Green!

The upsets this week included:
LSU (#8) losing to unranked Mississippi State by only five (5) points.
Missouri (#18) losing to unranked Indiana by only four (4) points.

The close calls this week (games that were won by a touchdown or less) included:
Florida State (#1) defeating Clemson (#22) by only six (6) points in overtime.
Oregon (#2) defeating unranked Washington State by only seven (7) points.
Auburn (#5) defeating Kansas State (#20) by only six (6) points.

Top-25 match-ups won by the higher-ranked team included:
Auburn (#5) defeating Kansas State (#20).

Trivia in the Kitchen, Number Seven!

September 20, 2014

Many, many years ago I having had the opportunity to sample chocolate-covered grasshoppers.  The pleasant surprise: it was not too different from eating a Nestle’s Crunch Bar.  It just goes to show you that anything will taste good when combined with chocolate.  Did you know that . . .

  • In Ghana, termites are roasted and eaten by handfuls as a crunchy snack?
  • In Bali, dragonflies are considered a tasty treat?
  • In Thailand, street vendors sell fried grasshoppers?

Entomophagy is the consumption of insects as food.   And while eating insects has not typically been adopted in the West, it is common to cultures in most parts of the world, including North, Central and South America; and Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Over 1,000 species of insects are known to be eaten in 80% of the world’s nations The total number of ethnic groups recorded to practice entomophagy is around 3,000.

entomophagous

\ en-tuh-mof-uh-guh s \, adjective;
1.  feeding on insects; insectivorous.

Emergency Care!

September 19, 2014

When illness or injury strikes, you certainly want to be able to access efficient and effective emergency care.  Do you know how accessible emergency care is in your State?  In the September issue of the AARP Bulletin, the American College of Emergency Physicians ranked the 50 states (and the District of Columbia) on their access to emergency care.  Oklahoma was ranked at #40.

Most Accessible
1.  District of Columbia
2.  Pennsylvania
3.  Maine
4.  Massachusetts
5.  Ohio
6.  Missouri
7.  Delaware
8.  North Dakota
9.  Nebraska
10.  Rhode Island

Least Accessible
41.  Alabama
42.  California
43.  Idaho
44.  Hawaii
45.  South Carolina
46.  Georgia
47.  Texas
48.  Arizona
49.  Florida
50.  New Mexico
51.  Nevada

Are You Prepared?

September 18, 2014

NPM_logo_CMYKDid you know that September is National Preparedness Month?  There are several things that you can do to prepare:

  • Be informed . . . learn what protective measures to take before, during, and after an emergency.
  • Make a plan . . . prepare, plan, and stay informed for emergencies.
  • Build a kit . . . build a kit to be prepared.
  • Get involved . . . find opportunities to support community preparedness.

“Be disaster aware, take action to prepare.”

Here is a link to the website containing extensive resources to assist you in this endeavor.

It’s Constitution Week!

September 17, 2014

An observance to commemorate the adoption of the United States Constitution (on September 17, 1787). The observance runs annually from September 17 to September 23.  This week we have tables set up in each of our buildings that ask the question:  “What is democracy?”  So naturally, the cynic in me went running tomy copy of The Cynic’s Dictionary for a definition (or two) and here’s what I discovered . . .

“A system in which you say what you like and do what you’re told.”  (Gerard Barry)

“A system of choosing your dictators, after they’ve told you what you think it is you want to hear.”  (Alan Coren)

“Government by discussion — but it’s only effective if you can stop people talking.”  (Clement Attlee)

“An institution in which the whole is equal to the scum of the parts.”  (Keith Preston)

“A political system that substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.”  (George Bernard Shaw)

“The aristocracy of blackguards.”  (Lord Byron)

“The worst form of government — except for all the others.”  (Winston Churchill)

“The art of running the circus from the monkey cage.”  (H.L. Mencken)

“The right to make the wrong choice.”  (Glenn Ford)

“The theory that holds that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”  (H.L. Mencken)

An Annoyance!

September 16, 2014

Yes, I was repeatedly reminded by my father that if I could not say anything nice about a person, to not say anything at all.  And, while I do earnestly attempt to follow this principle, I sometimes find myself falling short and I end up verbally jousting with certainly people . . . hurling rebarbative remarks at every opportunity until I realize the pointless (and hurtful) nature of the exchange and finally opt to follow my father’s advice and say nothing more.

rebarbative

\ree-bahr-buh-tiv\, adjective;

1.  causing annoyance, irritation, or aversion; repellent.

Cheesecake of the Month – September 2014!

September 15, 2014

Here is a recipe that I found for a crustless cheesecake that sounds simple, delicious, AND is gluten-free.  I can’t wait to try this one!

Almond Cheesecake with Champagne-Honey Sauce

2 bricks (8-ounce) of cream cheese, plus 2 extra ounces
1 cup of sugar
3 ounces (6 Tablespoons) of crème fraîche
3 ounces (6 Tablespoons) of heavy cream
1 large egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup of honey, plus 2 extra Tablespoons
1 cup of Champagne
1 sprig of fresh mint, slice the leaves into thin strips
Fresh strawberries or raspberries for the garnish

1.  Preheat your oven to 210 degrees.  Line an 8-inch cake pan with plastic wrap.

2.  Beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth.  Scrape the bowl and add the sugar; mix again until smooth.  Scrape the bowl again and continue to mix until the batter is smooth and creamy.

3.  On low speed, add the crème fraîche and heavy cream.  Scrape the bowl and mix for 30 seconds.  Add the egg and vanilla and mix just long enough to incorporate the ingredients.

4.  Pour the batter into the cake pan.  Sprinkle the sliced almonds over the top.  Place the cake pan on a baking tray, place the tray in the oven, and fill with as much boiling water as possible.

5.  Bake for 90-100 minutes or until the center of the cheesecake is firm  Remove from the oven and cool.  Refrigerate for several hours before attempting to de-pan the cheesecake.

To de-pan, carefully invert the cake pan and remove the pan.  Remove the plastic wrap and gently invert the cheesecake again onto your serving plate.  Top with the Champagne-Honey Sauce and garnish with the fresh berries of your choice.

Champagne-Honey Sauce

Heat 1/3 cup of honey in a small saucepan over medium heat.  When the honey begins to bubble, add the champagne and reduce the liquid to 1/2 cup.  Cool slightly and add the remaining 2 Tablespoons of cold honey and the mint (if desired).  Pour into a jar and refrigerate until you are ready to serve (up to one week).

Source: Cooking from the Heart, Chef Christopher Gross.

College Football 2014, Week Three!

September 14, 2014

127The Michigan State Spartans dropped to #13 following their loss to Oregon (who rose to #2) and had a bye this week (hmm, rather early in the season if you ask me, but alas, c’est la vie).    It was another ugly weekend for the Big Ten Conference who only has three teams ranked in the AP top-25 poll (two of the three did not play this weekend — MSU and Wisconsin): Michigan State (#13), Wisconsin (#18) and Ohio State (#22).  Next up for the Spartans, the Eagles of Eastern Michigan.  Go Green!

The upsets this week included:
Georgia (#6) losing to South Carolina (#24) by only three (3) points.
USC (#9) losing to unranked Boston College by six (6) points.
Virginia Tech (#17) losing to unranked East Carolina by seven (7) points.
Louisville (#21) losing to unranked Virginia by only two (2) points.

The close calls this week (games that were won by a touchdown or less) included:
UCLA (#12) defeating unranked Texas by only three (3) points.

Top-25 match-ups won by the higher-ranked team included:
None.

Trivia in the Kitchen, Number Six!

September 13, 2014

WeddingCakeAccording to the Guinness Book of World Records, the world’s largest wedding cake . . .

  • It weighed 6.818 tonnes (15,032 lb), was 17-feet tall, and had 7 tiers.
  • It was made by chefs at the Mohegan Sun Hotel and Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA.
  • It was displayed at their New England bridal showcase on 8 February 2004.
  • It was vanilla flavored and decorated with bows and hearts. The ingredients included: 10,000 pounds of pound cake batter and 4,810 pounds of creamy frosting with a taste of vanilla and almond. Comparatively speaking, the cake weighs more than five Volkswagen Beetles and can feed up to 59,000 people.

This record eclipsed the previous mark by nearly 300% (Universal Studios created a 5,334-pound cake to celebrate the nuptials of the animated characters Shrek and Fiona).

Is there a world record for food that you would be tempted to challenge?

Meditation Labyrinth!

September 12, 2014

What exactly is a meditation labyrinth?

It is an interactive labyrinth is a mindfulness tool designed to counteract stress and promote wellness by teaching you to focus your attention.  So, as we head into the weekend, let’s take a deep breath and meditate!

There are several types of meditative techniques, but they all share these four elements:

  • A quiet location
  • A specific, comfortable posture
  • A focus of attention
  • An open attitude

Research has shown that meditation may increase your levels of empathy and it has been used to treat and offer relief to a host of health problems.

  • Anxiety
  • Pain
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Insomnia
  • Physical or emotional symptoms associated with chronic illnesses

For more information visit:
http://www.sparqlabyrinth.com/

Our labyrinth display/projection has several patterns to choose from . . . catch a glimpse of the designs here.

  • The Pima Labyrinth
  • The Vedic Labyrinth
  • The Celtic Labyrinth
  • The Chartres Labyrinth
  • A Literary Labyrinth
  • The Serbian Labyrinth

For more information on labyrinths, check out these links:


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