It’s Wednesday again, which is a good thing. We are at the halfway point through the work week, it’s my day “off” and I’ve once again managed to do all of my errands after work so I don’t have to go anywhere today. And I have plans. Many plans. Probably too many to fit into the day, but that’s pretty much how I always do it. Over the weekend I experimented with a banana bread recipe, substituting gluten free flours and low glycemic sweeteners for the usual ones. My daughter is diabetic, and none of us seems to do well with our weight with gluten, so I’ve been trying to figure out how it works to makeover recipes to ones that work for all of us . . . I used half of a gluten free flour blend and half coconut flour. The coconut flour just seems to absorb ALL of the liquid in a recipe, so these muffins and the loaf of bread are incredibly . . . um . . . what’s a polite way to put this . . . dry, heavy . . . OK, fine, they are like banana and coconut flavored rocks. Today I am going to try ANOTHER experiment and try to turn these dense blocks into a banana/coconut bread pudding. They are already going into the garbage if it doesn’t work, so what’s a few more ingredients, hm? The usual other plans are still happening . . . you know, fun stuff. Laundry, vacuuming, dusting . . . fun, right? 🙂
Holy Humor Month – Joke of the Day
Time and Eternity – A man was taking it easy, lying on the grass and looking up at the clouds. He was identifying shapes when he decided to talk to God. “God”, he said, “how long is a million years?” God answered, “In my frame of reference, it’s about a minute.” The man asked, “God, how much is a million dollars?” God answered, “To Me, it’s a penny.” The man then asked, “God, can I have a penny?” God said, “In a minute.”
Name Yourself Day – We all know someone who really isn’t fond of their name. I personally really like mine – though if you had asked me that in the 1st grade I may have had a different answer. (The kids used to call me Purina Cat Chow – Karina/Purina – it’s a stretch, but they were kids!) People who don’t care for their names may have a name in mind that they would prefer if they were given a choice. If so, today is the day to change your name. Now, you can change it just for the day to see how you like it. . .IF you can get other people to call you by the new name of course. If you do that, make sure its catchy and matches your personality. At the end of the day, if it worked out well and it made you happy, you may wish to make it a permanent change. It may be a good idea to discuss this plan with your parents – if you have a relationship with them – because they chose your name for a reason and it could hurt their feelings a LOT if you change it. I would be crushed if either of my children changed their names because I really like them!
Winston Churchill Day – Today we honor a great man, and we do it today because on this day in 1963, Winston Churchill became an honorary U.S. citizen . . . the first person ever to become an honorary citizen. Sadly, he was given this honor posthumously. I have to wonder how he would have felt about it if he had been alive. And honestly, if he were alive today, considering how horribly our current administration has insulted Churchill and his country, he’d probably give it BACK! I can’t say I’d blame him. It’s humiliating the faux pas that have gone on in the last few years. Anyway, there have only been 6 people – two are a married couple who received it together) to be given this honor. So, what does it take to become an honorary citizen? Well, you have to have made extraordinary accomplishments or contributions in your life, a law must be drafted and voted on by the U.S. Senate. The best way I can say to celebrate this one would be by reading and learning about Winston Churchill, Britain’s Prime Minister during WWII.
National Cherish An Antique Day – If you look around your house, can you see something that was passed down from your Parents, Grandparents, or Great Grandparents that is special to you? Today is a really good day to learn the story and history behind this treasure. Antiques are often loved and appreciated because of our personal emotional connection, and the family history that comes with them. My treasures are two miniature tea sets from my Grandmother. They sat on a corner shelf in her kitchen and every time I would go to my Grandma’s house I would climb up on a chair and look at them. I don’t know if you can see it in this picture or not but to the left of the picture are two little corner shelves. On each shelf, behind other miscellaneous treasures, sat the two tea sets. Sometimes Grandma would take a set down, wash it up and we would have a little tea party at the kitchen table. Every time she would tell me that someday these little rose covered tea sets would be mine. I remember worrying when other Granddaughters came along that Grandma would forget and give the sets to one of them, but Grandma was always very verbal about it to everyone, who got what was a common topic in their house. I would give the sets back if it meant having my Grandma with us again, but I know she’s happier in heaven, so these little teapots and cups hold memories of happy times with her.
National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day – Warning: I am pretty angry right now, so if you like our current administration, lean to the left politically, or just don’t like to hear things that may make you think, you may want to skip this one.
Below is today’s proclamation copied and pasted from the official press release, as supposedly written and said by the current occupant of the White House:
Now here is where my anger comes in. We HAVE a prisoner of war, a young man by the name of Bowe Bergdahl, who has been a prisoner of war in Afganistan since 2009. All of these big, high and mighty words aren’t doing SQUAT to bring Bowe home to his family. Practice what you preach!!!! BRING BOWE HOME! This picture? THIS IS THE FACE OF A POW! Bowe’s family grieves each day, each day this soldier doesn’t know if he will survive, when he will come home, and God only knows what his captors are putting him through! Write to whoever you can, make calls, fill email in-boxes – BRING BOWE HOME should be on everyone’s lips. Make Bowe Bergdahl a FORMER Prisoner of War!!! I am so sick of the talking heads and empty suits – the emptiest our supposed leader – going on and on and on and producing NOTHING but grief. Bring Bowe home to his family, bring him home to his country, bring him home to heal mentally and physically from the torment he’s been put through. Please . . .
Appomattox Day – Today is a HUGE day in history! Today is the anniversary of the day the Civil War ended in 1865. It happened in the village of Appomattox Court House, Virginia when Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant of the Union Army accepted the surrender of General Robert E. Lee of the Confederate Army. By all the accounts I’ve read it was pretty civilized and polite. The Confederate soldiers were allowed to keep their horses and return to their homes. The officers were allowed to keep their side arms and swords also. To me it feels like the two officers met, one said, OK, we’re done. The other accepted it, everyone picked up their stuff and went home. This conflict had lasted for four bloody, awful, terrifying and heart breaking years, costing more than a half million lives, and just like that, with a polite few words, it was over. The biggest celebration of this day so far was in 1965 during the Civil Warm centennial year. Thousands of people attended the ceremonies at the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park. It was a pretty big deal that two of the participants in the celebration were Ulysses S. Grant III, the grandson of the Union Leader, and Robert E. Lee, IV, the great-grandson of the Confederate leader. There were costumed pageants, books and articles about the war, concerts of martial music and reenactments. This anniversary isn’t observed on a yearly basis, but there are still reenactments of the historical surrender from time to time.
Jenkins Ear Day – I love history, I loved it in school, and I love it now. We learn so much about where we, as a human beings, were before now, and we recognize the places we continue to repeat. They say history repeats itself, and quite honestly, wars are one of the things that humanity seems doomed to repeat. This one is pretty interesting and I’ll try to keep it brief, but it’s a bit of a story. Hope you have a cup of coffee or tea handy! As a part of the Treaty of Utrecht which ended the War of the Spanish Succession, Britain received a 30-year trade agreement from Spain which allowed the British merchants to trade up to 500 tons of goods with the Spanish colonies each year, and it also allowed them to sell an unlimited number of slaves. (I hear the gasp of horror at the word slavery from here – no, the settlers in the Americas did not have a corner on the slave market – as awful as slavery is, it’s been a part of human history since nearly the beginning of time, so unwad your panties at this point, OK? Nobody is saying slavery is fine – this is history. Can’t change what happened by not talking about it.) Throughout this time, even though there was a treaty in effect, the operation of day to day business of trading was not running smoothly because of military conflicts that were going on between the two nations. After the Anglo-Spanish War (1727-1729), Britain granted Spain the right to stop British ships to make sure that the terms of the agreement were being followed. Since the Spanish authorities believed that the British were taking advantage of the treaty and smuggling, they began to board and seize British ships, as well as holding and torturing their crews. This, of course, led to an increase in tensions between the two countries, and there began an anti-Spanish sentiment in Britain. First Minister Sir Robert Walpole anted to avoid war, of course, and was pressured into sending more troops to Gibraltar and sent a fleet to the West Indies. To counter this move, King Philip V suspended the treaty and confiscated British ships in Spanish ports. Both sides said the wanted to avoid a military conflict – though it’s hard to see that through their actions to this point – so they met at Pardo to see if they could reach a diplomatic resolution. The result was the Convention of Pardo, which was signed in early 1739, but it proved to be pretty unpopular in Britain and the public was clamoring for war. Both sides violated the conventions terms repeatedly, and though he was reluctant to do so, Walpole officially declared war on October 23, 1739. The term “War of Jenkins’ Ear” comes from Captain Robert Jenkins who had his ear cut off by the Spanish Coast Guard in 1731. When he was asked to appear in Parliament to tell his story, Captain Jenkins displayed his ear during his testimony. In one of the first actions of the war, Vice Admiral Edward Vernon descended on Porto Bello, Panama with six ships, attacking the Spanish town, which was poorly defended. He captured it quickly and stayed there for three weeks. At the early part of 1740, both sides thought that France would enter the war on the side of Spain, which resulted in invasion scares in Britain and resulted in most of their military strength staying in Europe. Meanwhile, here in the Americas, Governor James Oglethorpe of Georgia set off on an expedition into Spanish Florida with the goal of capturing St. Augustine. Starting in June he began to bombard the city, while Royal Navy forces blocked the port. The Spanish were successfully able to penetrate the blockade and the English were forced to abandon the siege and go back to Georgia. At this point, even though the Royal Navy was focused on defense at home, they did form a squadron in late 1740, under Commodore George Anson, to raid Spanish possessions in the Pacific. Anson’s squadron departed British shores on September 18, 1740, encountering severe weather and horrible disease. They were reduced to one ship, but he still succeeded in capturing the treasure galleon Nuestra Señora de Covadonga off the Philippines coast
on June 20, 1743. Bolstered by this success, several other attacks were launched, some successfully, some not, over the following months and years. Back in George, Oglethorpe was still in command of the colony’s military forces even though he had failed in St. Augustine. In the summer of 1742, Governor Manuel de Montiano of Florida advanced north and landed on St. Simon’s Island. Oglethorpe’s forces moved to meet this threat, and won the Battles of Bloody Marsh and Gully Hole Creek, making Montiano to retreat back to Florida. While ALL this was going on in the War of Jenkin’s Ear (which seems odd to me to name it that since there’s very little actually said historically about Jenkin’s ear at all), the War of the Austrian Succession had broken out in Europe. To bring this to a quick end, when all was said and done, after all the blood shed, the grief, the loss . . . Spain brought BACK the treaty for 100,000 pounds (I don’t know how to make the symbol for that) while agreeing to let Britain trade freely in its colonies. Seriously? All of that grief could have been avoided way back in the beginning because they were BACK where they started! And so the world goes around and around doomed to repeat its mistakes and not learning from them.
This Day In History –
1865 – Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrenders to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, ending the Civil War.
1691 – French explorer LaSalle reaches the Mississippi river (1691)
1963 – The U.S. Senate passes a law making Winston Churchill the first honorary U.S. citizen.
Food Celebration of the Day –
National Chinese Almond Cookie Day – Cookbook author Yuan-Shan Chi declared these cookies “as Chinese as blueberry pie” in 1960. Authentic or not, they’re still a treat at the end of a meal.
Chinese Almond Cookies
Almond-Peanut Butter Cookies
Chinese Almond-Sesame Cookies
Chinese Sesame Seed Cookies
New York Bakery Chinese Cookies
Chinese 5-Spice Cookies
I got a bit long winded in parts of today, but I do tend to get caught up in some topics. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, the fresh, green new leaves on the trees are stunning and I have some things to create in the kitchen! Can’t get much happier than that around here. God Bless You and I’ll see you tomorrow!