February 1st, 2016

I have conflicted feelings about February. On the one hand, it is the month of Valentine’s Day and all the love that it implies. And since my first date with my second husband took place two days before Valentine’s Day and he called me on that day to talk, I have a soft spot in my heart for this month. Also, it is Heart Healthy Month, which provides a wide berth for articles on the heart. On the other hand, by February I am usually tired of old man winter’s cold and wind. So I am purposely posting some short quotes about the heart from Renee Locks’ book, Let the Butterflies Come to You, to keep me positive.

This is the cover of a Hallmark greeting card given to my husband and me by a daughter & daughter-in-law for our last anniversary.

Since this is Healthy Heart Month, I will be posting Food Facts for February that are linked to good health, especially for the heart, since it rules our bodies, both physically and emotionally. ♥♥♥
And since I will be away for almost 3 weeks, most of this month’s postings may be Food Facts or Healthy Hints gleaned from publications I have been reading in the last couple of months.





However, I do plan to review this book by calligrapher Renee Locks, whose calendars, notebooks and other works can be found by Googling her name. I hope to meet her when I am in California, and if so, I will post a profile of her when I return. To the left is the book I plan to quote from as part of the review



I Googled events for February and found many special dates on www.theteacherscorner.net/calendar/february. I will not do a posting for all of these events, but have listed more than half on the calendar in case you would like to investigate some of the happenings on your own during the month. I also listed own or two that are not on the teachers’ calendar website.

Feb. 1st. Birth of poet Langston Hughes, 1902; died 1967. Website: http://www.poemhunter.com/langston-hughes. Here is the beginning of one of his well-known poems, A Dream Deferred:

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?……

Many years ago, when I was in college, I saw the play, A Raisin in the Sun, not realizing the title probably came from this famous poem.

Feb. 2nd: Ground Hog Day takes place in Punxatawny, PA and someday I would like to go there on Ground Hog Day to see if the groundhog does see his shadow.

Feb. 3rd: Birth of Elizabeth Blackwell, first female doctor in the U.S. From: http://www.biography.com/people/elizabeth-blackwell-9214198

Here is an excerpt:

Elizabeth Blackwell was born February 3, 1821, near Bristol, England. She moved with her family to the United States when she was 11. Despite opposition from both fellow students and the public, she became the first woman to graduate from medical school in the United States. She created a medical school for women in the late 1860s. She later returned to England and set up a private practice there.

The photo shows that there was an 18 cent stamp with her picture on it, another fact I did not know.

Here is a quote by the first female doctor from that same web site:

It is not easy to be a pioneer — but oh, it is fascinating! I would not trade one moment, even the worst moment, for all the riches in the world.

February 5th is this year’s Go Red for Women, which is a campaign from the American Heart Association, I believe, p bring awareness of women and heart disease. I hope to have a short posting or Food Fact on this topic.  Don’t forget to wear RED!

February 8th: Anniversary of the launching of Facebook in 2004.

February 9th: Anniversary of Hershey’s Chocolate, like Punxatawny, also in Pennsylvania, the state in which I live.

February 14th: Valentine’s Day: Celebrate with loved ones. Tell someone you love him/her. Enjoy some chocolates. Listen to your heart! 

February 17th: According to the Teachers’ Calendar website, Sun. Feb. 17th is Random Act of Kindness Day, so find someone who could use some kindness (Don’t we all!), like paying a toll for the car behind you,
helping someone with her/ his packages, or take a friend to church, etc.

February 20th: The toothpick was patented in 1872.  I think I have a recipe using toothpicks or wooden skewers.

February 24th: Steve Jobs of Apple Computer was born. Sadly, he died in 2011. We saw the movie Jobs and found it very informative, almost like a documentary. I use a MAC, so I am thankful for his genius.

February 27th: International Polar Bear Day. With the melting of the ice in North Pole, Polar Bears are endangered. Here’s some info from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Polar_Bear_Day.

Many zoos use the day to educate about polar bear conservation and to encourage visitation to polar bear exhibits.[4][5] It has also had some political impact. Jack Shapiro, the deputy climate campaign manager under American president Barack Obama, used the day to argue for the need for Congressional action on the issue of climate change.[6] The University of Saskatchewan announced in 2014 that it would be turning its thermostats up two degrees in the summer and down two degrees Celsius in the winter to honor International Polar Bear Day. The decision is expected to reduce the university’s carbon emissions by two-thousand tons and save the university over two-hundred thousand dollars per year.[7]

This photo of a polar bear and cub is a reminder to stay warm in this cold weather by wearing heavier clothes indoors and lowering the temp. to conserve heat as part of celebrating this special day for polar bears. (See Wikipedia paragraph about this, above.)

P.S. Since I will be away from home for much of February, I will be pre-posting before I leave, so if you send a comment and I do not reply for a few days, you will know that I am on a “computer diet” while I am visiting family and friends on the west coast.

♥Happy Heart Healthy February


January 5th, 2016

Winter in Alaska: This is a photo I took on our trip to Alaska 5 years ago. Despite the cloudy day, the scene was quite beautiful.

January is a kind of lame duck month, stuck between the aftermath of the holidays from Halloween and New Year’s and before Valentine’s Day, Passover, and Easter. (exception: Orthodox Christmas is Jan. 7th.) So maybe it is a good time to sit quietly and contemplate your plans for the coming year, including how to pay your bills for all the gifts you may have purchased.  Never mind about making resolutions, since that word sounds foreboding, but rather goals or projects. And as I noted before I preempted this Home Page with my message of “Seize the Moment”  (http://www.menupause.info/archives/17802 ), resolutions are often broken before the month is up.

So, if you are planning to make a list instead of resolutions, that’s a fine idea in my estimation. In the meantime, here are some January happenings and coming attractions on my website that might interest you.

Wed., January 6th is Bean Day, which is tomorrow, so I am re-posting one of my bean recipes today (below) and hope to post more new recipes this month.

Monday, January 18th is the National Holiday for Martin Luther King, Jr. Since his “I Have a Dream” is part of his legacy, perhaps January is a good month to crystallize your dream(s) more clearly.

Monday, January 25th is the Jewish Holiday of the Trees, which we celebrate with fruits and nuts of the trees. I plan to have some recipes for nuts and winter fruits this month, along with beans.

This month is also:
National Book Month
National Thank You Month
National National Glaucoma Awareness
National Volunteer Blood Donor Month
National Soup Month

Since I have a book on eyes to review, I can celebrate both eye care and book month. (I also saw January listed as National Eye Care Month, not just glaucoma, and my interview in Profiles will be on a genetic disease that causes blindness .)

As for Volunteer Blood Donor Month, maybe I can do some research on blood in our veins and chlorophyll in our food sources, since  there may be a link.  It is also National Soup Month, which means I can combine Bean Day with soup month and provide some bean soup ideas and recipes during January. Nothing like multi-tasking in the kitchen! I will also re-post my recipe for soup stock,  so you can make a more nutritious bean soup.

Black Bean & Barley Bowl

Note: This is excerpted from my earlier post in 2013, which has more info on beans and barley, as well as a variation with squash, so here is that link: http://www.menupause.info/archives/11280.


1/2 cup hulled or pearl barley, rinsed (hulled barley is more nutritious but takes longer to cook)
4-5 cups water or stock
1 garlic clove
1/2-1/2 c. chopped onion
1 org, carrot, scrubbed and sliced into circles
1/2 c. peas (fresh or frozen)
1/2-1 cup black beans (I used organic canned with no BPA)
Salt 7 Pepper to taste
Herbs of choice: oregano, parsley, etc.


1. Place barley in water or stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat and add garlic, onion, carrot & herbs and cook about 25 minutes or until barley is soft. (If using hulled barley, you will need about 15 minutes more. A crock pot would work.)
2. Add peas and drained black beans and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. (Or try a dash of tamari.) Serve warm.

Note: To make this dish more soupy and less like a stew, use more soup stock, unless you love very thick soup.

P.S. Just January means you can make plans or goals for the next few months and know you have an entire year to reach them!
And since this is National Thank You Month, please accept my heartfelt thanks for reading my website articles.
This March will be 10 years and I know some of you have been here for most of the. Thank you, thank you and a …….

Happy, Healthy New Year!