September 30th, 2008 cate
It’s apple season and they’re everywhere now. What can you do with them besides making apple pie and apple sauce?? Quite a lot of things, you’ll be surprised to know. Apples are one of the most healthful fruit available so dig in and remember that the old saying of “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” is true. But you don’t need to be bored with the same thing, there are so many different ways to eat apples!
Find out what you can do with all those apples
September 22nd, 2008 cate
With the U.S. banks and other financial institutions going to pot, it’s pretty depressing and hell, I just don’t want to think about it anymore. Take a break with me to stop thinking about the American decline of power, by watching a funny movie. There’s nothing better than escapism and lots of laughs to get away from the stresses of life. Check out these movies. You just can’t go wrong with this kooky guy.
September 9th, 2008 cate
Think about why you are breaking up with this person. If you are simply upset with your partner, you should consider talking about what upset you and focus on resolving it, rather than ending the relationship. But if this same issue has already been discussed, yet nothing changes and you keep feeling unsatisfied, hurt, or betrayed, then breaking up might be the only way to end the pattern. Your partner will ask you why you want out, and you should be prepared with answers. Before having “the talk” that ends the relationship, do your best to articulate the reasons you are breaking up. If you have trouble remembering examples during emotional discussions or arguments, write your reasons down in advance. It may help to talk this over with someone you trust, or with a counselor.
Plan out how long you are willing to spend breaking up. The actual conversation in which you break up with this person can last a lot longer than it should, especially if your partner is devastated or completely surprised by your decision. It’ll be much easier for you to stick to your guns if the conversation doesn’t drag out. Expect to spend at least one hour breaking up, and longer if the relationship lasted a year or more. You may even want to arrange an appointment with a friend in a neutral location so that you can say “I’m supposed to meet John/Jane at the restaurant in fifteen minutes, so I have to go now.”
Break up in person. It is easier to break up with someone if you don’t have to look the person in the eye, but it can also be interpreted as cruel and cowardly. Unless you are a long distance away and choose not to wait until you see the person again, don’t break up by phone, e-mail, or through an instant messenger system. And don’t even think about breaking up with someone by pulling a disappearing act, even if it’s just by suddenly eliminating contact with the person. The lack of closure can be psychologically damaging.
If you don’t live together, break the news at his/her home and in private. They’ll want to feel safe enough to respond emotionally–no one wants to be broken up with in public or near family and friends, and risk bursting into tears, or be forced to bottle up all those emotions. While you can break up with them at your place, making someone go home after getting news like that will be difficult, and could make them more bitter. If you are at your partner’s home, you can leave after you feel you’ve made your decision clear.
If you live together, breaking-up will be particularly problematic and stressful; you should have a place where you can stay until the person you’ve broken up with digests the big change. You can either move all of your stuff while they’re not home and then break up when they come home and notice, or break up and leave with some of your things with the intention to come back when things have calmed down to get the rest of your belongings. Either way will be very difficult for the other person, but only you know what’s best for your situation.
Break up calmly. If you say the dreaded words “We need to talk”, your partner will immediately know what’s going on, and that’s not a bad thing. You don’t want to blurt out “We need to break up” out of the blue, or worse, when you’re in an argument. You need to approach the whole thing calmly and peacefully, with a sense of resolution. Sit down with your partner and let him or her know that you’ve decided to end the relationship.
Expect any or all of the following reactions.
Questioning — He or she will want to know why, and whether there was anything he or she could have done to prevent the breakup. Answer the questions as honestly as possible.
Crying — The other person will likely be upset, and it will show. You can comfort him or her, but don’t allow yourself to be manipulated into changing your decision.
Arguing — He or she may dispute anything you’ve said during the breakup, including examples you used in your reasons for breaking up. Don’t get dragged into a fight, and don’t split hairs. Let your partner know that arguing isn’t going to change your decision.
Bargaining or Begging — He or she may offer to change, or to do things differently in order to preserve the relationship. If the person didn’t change when you’ve discussed your problems in the past, it is too late to expect him or her to truly change now.
Lashing Out — Whether it’s as simple as saying “You’ll never find anyone as good as me” or as scary as saying “I’ll make you regret this”, he or she is usually just trying to make himself or herself feel better. Threats of physical harm, however, are serious and should not be ignored. If you feel that your safety is at risk, stay calm and leave quickly.
Distance yourself. It’ll be difficult, but don’t call them, don’t go places where you know they frequent, and make yourself scarce. Take the time to reflect on your situation and learn more about yourself. Do all the things you’ve ever wanted to do, that you wouldn’t have done if you were still with this person. Now is the perfect time to focus on those missed opportunities. Your ex may try to get in touch, but wait a while (some people suggest six months) before resuming contact, if at all. You felt close to this person at one point in your life, and you will probably always have a soft spot for him or her, but it’s time for both of you to move on.
September 7th, 2008 cate
“… bees are still dying from symptoms that have been identified as Colony Collapse Disorder. Not many, yet. But this is when it starts. So let’s look at what’s going on.
Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus was implicated early on, but so far it hasn’t moved past the ‘found in some samples’ role. Continuing greenhouse research, where individual honey bees are infected with the virus definitely shows that the pathogen kills bees. But so do a host of other viruses that were found in the initial samples. The jury is still out on IAPV, at least until newer studies are published.
Other researchers are studying viruses, some known, some not, but so far nothing concrete has turned up … or at least nothing that anybody is talking about. That’s the trouble with science … too often the information gets sat on until the results are published … not reviewed and given the green light but actually put on paper (or turned into electrons to grace your computer screen) and released. Some publishing outlets are quicker, some slower but all have the same criteria. So if there’s something out there we’ll just have to wait.
Some of the early work — simply collecting samples of bees, wax, larvae, and pollen — are finally coming to the top of the pile and the results, some of which have been explored here, have been eye-opening, and mostly downright scary. Beekeeper-applied chemicals to control varroa certainly are hugely evident in the samples collected … not unlike the termite chemicals, lawn chemicals, garden chemicals, pet chemicals, and all the rest that we walk in, swim in, eat, touch and absorb everyday in our homes, work and play. Pesticides, to no one’s surprise, are abundant in our lives and equally abundant in the lives of our honey bees.
One of the unknowns, or maybe-unknowns, are the effects that those well-publicized new pesticides are having. They have made international headlines and definitely can’t be overlooked. And advocacy group, Beyond Pesticides, commented recently on these, and said that two of the primary active ingredients of concern are clothianidin and imidacloprid, both in the neonicotinoid family of chemicals. They are systemic pesticides, meaning the chemical is incorporated into plant tissue and can therefore be present in pollen and nectar, which is of particular importance to bees. They also have long persistence in the soil and can be absorbed by multiple generations of crops, increasing the likelihood of exposure for bees. Meanwhile, the manufacturers claim the chemicals safe and have data to prove it. But others in France and Germany claim just the opposite and are doing everything in their power to rid the world of these new poisons, and in the U.S. the EPA stands in the middle … and may soon be standing in court defending their role in approving these chemicals for use.
But there’s more going on than just pesticides, though those are definitely destructive. Other discoveries came from those samples taken earlier. One surprise was the nutrition deficiencies that were discovered … some of the bees that were sampled definitely were not in the best health because they had not had enough good food to eat. That, too, is a management concept that beekeepers are already turning around. This summer smart beekeepers are making protein supplements available … some of the new diets are being explored, new diets have been concocted, and more diets are on the drawing board, so to speak, and for the most part all seem to have given our bees a boost. Almost anything is better than nothing, and good food can solve a lot of problems, whether it’s your diet, your child’s daily bread, or a honey bee’s ration. That there were so many bees in diet-deficiency seems at first odd, perhaps, but bees have slowly declined for several years, and monoculture agriculture has continued to increase during the same time.
But not only protein-deficiencies were evident … carbohydrates, too were found wanting. Not so much volume, but quality. Is high fructose corn syrup as bad, or good, for bees as it is, or isn’t for us? Some seem to think HFCS is evil incarnate, no matter who or what eats it. Others have shown that if the HFCS is made well, and then that quality preserved and protected it’s just fine. Meanwhile, some beekeepers are switching to plain old sugar … sucrose solution … and seem to see better results. But sugar costs more.
The new disease … that Nosema cerane thing … isn’t anywhere near being solved either. What is it, how do you diagnose it, how do you treat it, when do you treat for it … all questions needing answers and nobody is looking it seems. Well, not quite. Researchers in Europe are studying this I understand … but again, nothing has been published … so bees die of a disease that we can’t treat. Is this CCD? Hmmmmm. Don’t know.
Which brings up the tired old song of research funding. I talked about the $4.1 million grant delivered recently, and I looked at the scientists receiving the money. One industry spokesperson (me) recently said, mostly in jest, that once that money was spread out over all the scientists, over all the years, each would receive about a buck and a half … That’s not quite true, but the concept shouldn’t be ignored. So far, USDA has been monumentally slow in getting things moving. They have a couple of large scale, actually profoundly practical studies going … funded by existing money, not the new money that was supposed to come down from the farm bill … at least so far. But this begs the question … if the money is being used for these studies, what isn’t getting done? Well, we don’t know, do we?
Colony Collapse Disorder hasn’t gone away. Beekeepers are harvesting honey, if they have some to harvest. They are beginning plans for moving south or west for wintering or pollination, and wondering if they again will have to scratch to get bees to meet pollination contract promises. Or is this the year it would be better to stay home? Honey prices are strong, moving is even more expensive this year, and all that stress … maybe home is where the honey bee is should get more attention.
But one more thing has come to light. Organization.
With all the noise made about lack of funding, one question keeps coming up … why aren’t beekeepers doing some of this funding? Why is it only the government that should do this? Good question.
And here’s the answer. There are four major funding sources within the beekeeping industry that have already made significant contributions to finding the answers to Colony Collapse Disorder. More — way more, actually — than government sources, and more is on the way. And if you are looking to help solve this critical problem and want to know how … stay tuned. We’ll open a whole set of doors and introduce you to the best of the beekeeping world.”
September 6th, 2008 cate
Rice flour. This very fine-textured flour is made from polished white rice. Rice flour, brown: Because it contains the bran, brown rice flour contains more fibre than white rice flour.
Amaranth flour. Its milled from the seeds of the amaranth plant, this flour boasts a higher percentage of protein than most other grains, and has more fibre than wheat and rice. It is also higher in the amino acid lysine, which some food scientists believe makes it a more complete protein than flour made from other grains. Amaranth flour can be used in cookies, crackers, baking mixes, and cereals.
Arrowroot flour: The rootstalks of a tropical plant are the source of this flour, often used as a thickener for sauces and desserts; the finely powdered arrowroot turns completely clear when dissolved (giving gloss to sauces), and adds no starchy flavor. Because of its easy digestibility, it is also an used as an ingredient in cookies intended for infants and young children.
Barley flour: This mild-flavored flour made from barley grain contains some gluten.
Buckwheat flour: A common ingredient in pancake mixes, buckwheat flour is also used to make Japanese soba noodles. It is available in light, medium, and dark varieties (the dark flour boasts the strongest flavor), depending on the kind of buckwheat it is milled from. You can make your own buckwheat flour by processing whole white buckwheat groats in a blender or food processor.
Chestnut flour: This tan flour is made from chestnuts, the meaty, lowfat nuts that are often served as a vegetable. The flour is a little sweet and is traditionally used in Italian holiday desserts.
Chick-pea flour (also called chana, gram flour or besan): This protein-rich flour is made from dried chick-peas or chana dal. This flour is used commonly throughout India, and in parts of the Mediterranean as well, in pancakes, pizzas, dumplings, soups and stews.
Corn flour: This is made from whole cornmeal, ground to a floury consistency.
Cornstarch: This silky ingredient is made from only the endosperm (starchy part) of the corn kernel. Avoid wheaten cornflour. It is used to thicken sauces and to create baked goods with a particularly fine texture.
Gluten-free flour mix: Some health-food stores carry this three-grain mixture of rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca flour. It can be substituted for 100% of the wheat flour in many recipes.
Millet flour: This yellow flour is high in protein and easy to digest. It may make baked goods somewhat coarse-textured and dry. Substitute it for no more than one-fifth of the wheat flour in a recipe.
Oat flour: Milled from either the entire oat kernel or the endosperm only, oat flour is frequently used in ready-to-eat breakfast cereals. You can make your own to use in baking by grinding rolled oats in a food processor or blender (1-1/4 cups rolled oats will yield 1 cup oat flour).
Potato flour (potato starch): Steamed potatoes are dried and then ground to a powder to make this gluten-free flour, which is commonly used in baked goods for Jewish Passover (when wheat flour may not be used).
Quinoa flour: Higher in fat than wheat flour, quinoa flour makes baked goods more moist. You can make your own quinoa flour by processing whole quinoa in a blender; stop before the flour is too fine – it should be slightly coarse, like cornmeal.
Rye flour: In combination with wheat flour, rye flour, which contains some gluten, is most commonly used in breads. Rye can be used alone for a substantial-textured bread. Light, medium, and dark varieties (with dark having the strongest flavour) are available.
Sorghum flour: A staple grain in many parts of the world. Sorghum flour works well in breads when combined with bean flours.
Soy flour: Another useful alternative.
Tapioca flour: Milled from the dried starch of the cassava root, this flour thickens when heated with water and is often used to give body to puddings, fruit pie fillings, and soups. It can also be used in baking.
Water-chestnut flour (water-chestnut powder): This Asian ingredient is a fine, powdery starch that is used to thicken sauces (it can be substituted for cornstarch) and to coat foods before frying to give them a delicate, crisp coating.