Thursday, May 30, 2013

Eaisest Cobbler Ever....

...and it's good with every berry or cobbler fruit I have tried.

And since we have an abundance of mulberries, right now...

Could not be easier or more delicious! (okay...maybe with a scoop of ice cream)

Recipe for Mulberry Cobbler

What you will need -
2 cups mulberries, de-stemmed
1/4 cup melted butter (or 1/8th cup, if you are trying to lay off the butter)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup milk

a wee bit of sugar to sprinkle on top

Instructions for preparation -
1. Preheat oven to 350F (~180C)
2. Mix sugar, flour, baking powder and milk
3. Pour melted butter into a baking pan
( even better, melt the butter in the pan while preheating the oven)
4. Pour batter into the pan. Do not mix with the butter.
5. Pour the berries over the batter. If the berries are very tart, sprinkle more sugar over the top.
6. Bake for half an hour, or until the batter has risen and has formed a nice crust.

Again, this batter works well for any fruit. One of our favorite cobblers is peach and blueberry mix. The only difference is that you adjust the amount of sugar based on the sweetness of your fruit.

Give it a will be amazed how simple and delicious it turns out!!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Mulberries are making...

I know that winter is a time of rest and rebirth. I know it is a necessary part of Mother Nature's grand plan. But I sure do love the spring! Warmer weather, rain, flowers, and green everywhere. I am always especially happy to see the return of the many fruits and vegetables that grow in our neck of the woods, which includes our mulberry tree.

Mulberries are large, deciduous trees native to warm, temperate, and subtropical regions of Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Mulberries are native to the Morus genus of trees and while they can be found in many parts of the world nowadays, they originated in the Far East, traveling along the Silk Road from China to Turkey and points beyond.

Technically, the mulberry fruit is an aggregation of small fruits arranged longitudinally around the central axis as in a blackberry. Each fruit measures 2-5 cm long. In most species, these berries are purple-red when ripen; however, they can be white, red, or purple. Dried white mulberries are treasured for their unique flavor and texture, and for their antioxidant content. Beyond their sweet and delicate flavor, mulberries are an excellent source of nutrients including iron, calcium, vitamin C, protein and fiber. They also contain resveratrol, the anti-aging nutrient found in red wine.

It looks like we are in for a plentiful harvest this year. We get the ones we can reach and shake off the tree and our feathered friends in the neighborhood get the rest. Mulberries are a sweet little treat we enjoy fresh (especially in ice cream), in cobblers, pies, muffins and in smoothies. My grandma used to make mulberry jelly, maybe I will try making some jelly or jam this year. 

You're most likely to find mulberries in residential neighborhoods, parks, in fields, especially along the edges, open woods, and near fresh water. They grow throughout the country, ripening in late spring and early summer. You can spot ripe mulberries in season from a distance because the fruits make such a mess on the ground.

There are many ways to cook mulberries once you've eaten your fill of fresh fruit. Here are some recipes from around the web.

Mulberry Crumble Cake From THE WILD VEGAN COOKBOOK

Mulberry Pie

Mulberry Muffins

Use mulberries immediately. They won't last more than a couple of days in the refrigerator. They soon ferment or get moldy, probably because of their high water content and thin skins. This is why you rarely seem them in stores. Eat them, cook them, dry them, freeze them, just don't let them spoil.

And be careful of....


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Doctor's Orders


“Doctor’s Orders: 20 Minutes Of Meditation Twice a Day”

by Mario Orsatti on May 3, 2013

man-meditatingThis past week the front page of the Health section of the Wall Street Journal, America’s most read newspaper, featured a story affirming meditation’s move into mainstream American healthcare. The article featured statements by doctors at some of America’s leading hospitals talking about how meditation and other mind-body therapies are being worked into our country’s primary-care settings. 

The article, titled, Doctor’s Orders: 20 Minutes of Meditation Twice a Day, noted that doctors are increasingly recommending daily meditation for stress-related conditions, including, insomnia, high blood pressure, chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, panic or anxiety disorders, brain injuries, and for general health maintenance.

Excerpts from this April 16th Wall Street Journal article:

"Murali Doraiswamy, a professor of psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., says it isn't clearly understood how meditation works on the body. Some forms of meditation have been found to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which stimulates the body's relaxation response, improves blood supply, slows down heart rate and breathing and increases digestive activity, he said. It also slows down the release of stress hormones, such as cortisol.

"Dr. Doraiswamy says he recommends meditation for people with depression, panic or anxiety disorders, ongoing stress, or for general health maintenance of brain alertness and cardiovascular health.

"Thousands of studies have been published that look at meditation, Dr. Doraiswamy said. Of these, about 500 have been clinical trials testing meditation for various ailments, but only about 40 trials have been long-term studies. It isn't known whether there is an optimal amount of time for meditating that is most effective. And, it hasn't been conclusively shown that the practice causes people to live longer or prevents them from getting certain chronic diseases.

"Some short-term studies have found meditation can improve cognitive abilities such as attention and memory, said Dr. Doraiswamy. Using imaging, scientists have shown that meditation can improve the functional performance of specific circuits in the brain and may reduce age-related shrinkage of several brain centers, particularly those that may be vulnerable in disorders such as Alzheimer's disease.

“Integrative medicine programs including meditation are increasingly showing up at hospitals and clinics across the country. Recent research has found that meditation can lower blood pressure and help patients with chronic illness cope with pain and depression. In a study published last year, meditation sharply reduced the risk of heart attack or stroke among a group of African-Americans with heart disease….

“In a study published last year in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, African-Americans with heart disease who practiced Transcendental Meditation regularly were 48% less likely to have a heart attack or stroke, or to die, than those who attended a health-education class. Among the meditation group, there were 20 such occurrences, compared with 32 in the control group. The study, which ran for more than five years, involved about 200 people.

"Recent research found that meditation can result in molecular changes affecting the length of telomeres, a protective covering at the end of chromosomes that gets shorter as people age. The study involved 40 family caregivers of dementia patients. Half of the participants meditated briefly on a daily basis and the other half listened to relaxing music for 12 minutes a day. The eight-week study found that people who meditated showed a 43% improvement in telomerase activity, an enzyme that regulates telomere length, compared with a 3.7% gain in the group listening to music. The participants meditating also showed improved mental and cognitive functioning and lower levels of depression compared with the control group. The pilot study was published in January in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

Meditation in the mainstream American healthcare...I was so excited and happy to see this article I just had to share. Read the full article here.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Baby Boomers, World Books and the World Wide Web

     According to the United States Censor Bureau, a baby boomer is someone who was born between the years 1946 and 1964, when there was a noticeable increase in the birth rate. This was attributed to the end of World War II, and many countries in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia were affected and have a generation referred to as the "baby boomers". Okay, there it is, I guess I am a baby boomer since I was born in 1960.

     This baby boomer just wants to share some history to demonstrate what I think is just this incredible thing called the world wide web. I remember when I was a kid if you needed to do research for a state report or some other school assignment, you went to the world books...

If you needed more information or more than one source you went to the library and checked out books. That was it. Those were your options (period).

Kenneth Olsen (2/20/1926– 2/6/2011) was an American engineer who co-founded Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) in 1957 said in 1977, "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in there home." Little did Mr. Olsen know that with the advent of the World Wide Web and increasing technological innovations, by 2013 there would be more than 10 million personal computers in use around the world. I found the map below from The Computer Industry Almanac showing the top ten usage countries and their statistics.

According to  - The first trials of the World Wide Web were at the CERN laboratories (one of Europe's largest research laboratories) in Switzerland in December 1990. By 1991 browser and web server software was available, and by 1992 a few preliminary sites existed in places like University of Illinois. By the end of 1992, there were about 26 sites on the world wide web.

The first browser which became popularly available to take advantage of this was Mosaic, in 1993. Mosaic was as slow as a wet week, and really didn't handle downloading pictures well at all - so the early world wide web experience with Mosaic, and with domestic modems that operated at one sixths of current modem speeds at best, were pretty lousy and really didn't give much indication of the potential of this medium.

On April 30, 1993 CERN's directors made a statement that was a true milestone in Internet history. On this day, they declared that WWW technology would be freely usable by anyone, with no fees being payable to CERN. This decision - much in line with the decisions of the earlier Internet pioneers to make their products freely available - was a visionary and important one.
The browser really did begin to change everything. By the end of 1994 there were a million browser copies in use - rapid growth indeed!!  

Then we really started to see growth. Every year from 1994 to 2000, the Internet saw massive growth, the like of which had not been seen with any preceding technology. The Internet era had begun. The first search engines began to appear in the mid 1990s, and it didn't take long for Google to come on the scene, and establish a dominant market position.
In the early days, the web was mainly used for displaying information. On line shopping, and on-line purchase of goods, came a little bit later. The first large commercial site was Amazon, a company which in its initial days concentrated solely on book markets. The Amazon concept was developed in 1994, a year in which some people claim the world wide web grew by an astonishing 2300 percent! Amazon saw that on-line shopping was the way of the future, and chose the book market as a field where much could be achieved.


By 1998 there were 750,000 commercial sites on the world wide web, and we were beginning to see how the Internet would bring about significant changes to existing industries. In travel for instance, we were able to compare different airlines and hotels and get the cheapest fares and accommodation - something pretty difficult for individuals to do before the world wide web. Hotels began offering last minute rates through specially constructed websites, thus furthering the power of the web as a sales medium. And things went even further - in some fields of travel, individuals would outline where they wanted to travel to and from, and travel companies would then bid for the business. All these developments rapidly changed the way traditional markets worked. In some industries, the world would never be the same again (you can say that again).

The world will never be the same again. I often remind my children that life is better now on this earth than it's ever been, and it just keeps getting better and better. Now, with so much information available to us and the ability to communicate with amazing speed, over great distances, we truly are becoming a global community. This gives me hope, for us and our planet. I like to think that as we become more and more of a global community we will foster more collaboration and find new and innovative ways to solve the worlds problems and live in peace. I Believe!!