January 2008 Newsletter Happy New Year!!!! Stress Management Works: New Ideas For the Age-Old Problem of Stress! Your Doctor just informed you that your loved one has ALS. You've just had a call from your son who's going to divorce his wife. You've just found out that you can’t afford to take off work to take care of your loved one. Tom Ridge has just raised the alert level from yellow to orange. Are you stressed yet? What do you do? How do you react? Do you know that how you respond to these circumstances could either shorten or lengthen your life? Do you know that you have a choice about how you react? Do you know what to do for stress management? Serenity Prayer Give me the strength to change what I can. The serenity to accept what I can't change. And the wisdom to know the difference. Stress Management: Where Do You Start? While you may not be able to control all of the complications in your life, you can change your responses. The most important step is to decide to stop acting like the White Rabbit and take control. 'Stress hardy' individuals and families have that ability. The best way is to learn to replace the stress response with what Dr. Herbert Benson, author of The Relaxation Response, president of the Mind/Body Medical Institute and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, calls the 'relaxation response'. The 'relaxation response' can be elicited by regular meditation and considerable research suggests that regular meditation practice for 10 to 20 minutes a day can reverse the ill effects of stress. Meditation basically consists of calming the mind through focusing on something simple, like breathing, contemplation, prayer or visualization. Yesterday is history Tomorrow is a mystery. And today is a gift. That's why it's called "the present". New Years I S V Z O S R Q M J R R T S C V B H T S D S J B A L L O O N S K K D O Y P C M A M I D N I G H T O A S T S N I G G L D R D K P L O C Q I V J I T T E F N O C N P D A A S O D S Y M X N R S I E J C T P G W C L F W E X N A O C N R R D V A I F R H D A H M U H T I D O S I F Q K L M W P Q T S A U D B T H I T N F U O D E E W F L N K F U I U I T N O S Y S A H N S W C O E R E Y L H I I U C V R Q Y E D S U T R M O E O B D G U S O O A I H T A Q N H C I W S N A H L T J V G U T F D R U M X K R E F R T Q R A A A V N N C P V A S S C R R T E M E U F N H I A I T H V R P Y O E I B U A M Y R S G Y J C R D B E R D L M F K M R T D W N H S T U O W O L B R C E L E B R A T I O N B Y R A G E W A C Z R R Y A D S R A E Y W E N A V B Q N U F S A P R V X F G M S X H L E P V H F S N K G K J K S Z D N S O K R L G K S Y U auld lang syne balloons blowouts calendar celebration clock confetti countdown fireworks first day first night friends january january first kiss merriment midnight new year new years day noisemaker party party favors party hat resolution revelry ring in the new ring out the old streamers times square toast traditions twelve Champagne Punch Recipe 1 1/3 cups fresh lemon juice 1 cup superfine sugar 1/2 cup orange liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier) 1/2 cup Triple Sec 1/2 cup cognac 1/2 cup fresh orange juice 2 bottles chilled dry Champagne or sparkling wine Orange or lemon slices Fresh strawberries, optional Combine the lemon juice, sugar, orange liqueur, Triple Sec, cognac, and orange juice in a non-reactive bowl and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the Champagne and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. Pour into a decorative bowl or pitcher. Garnish with orange or lemon slices and fresh strawberries, if desired. Serve in Champagne flutes, wine glasses, or punch cups. Grown Up Ham and Cheese Finger Sandwiches 1/2 cup water 3 tablespoons cider vinegar 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar 1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced 8 slices thin white bread, recommended: Pepperidge Farm Extra-virgin olive oil 1 large or 2 small green apples 4 to 6 ounces aged Gouda 1 tablespoon Dijon or whole grain mustard, apple butter or chutney 1/2 bunch watercress 8 thin slices prosciutto Freshly cracked black pepper Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bring water, vinegar and brown sugar to a boil. Add the onions and remove from the heat. Cover, and set aside until the onions come to room temperature. Trim the crusts off the bread and cut the bread into thirds, for 3 rectangles per piece. Lightly brush both sides of the bread pieces with olive oil and lay out on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven until just crisp and lightly brown, about 5 minutes. Cool. To assemble: Quarter, core, and very thinly slice the apple, (a mandolin is terrific for this). Very thinly slice the cheese into triangles or shards that will fit nicely on the bread. Place a dab or smear of mustard on the bread. Place a piece of apple, cheese and 1 or 2 sprigs of watercress on each piece of toasted bread. Wrap a small piece of prosciutto around each stack to make a neat package. Top with a little bit of the pickled onions, a drizzle of olive oil and freshly cracked black pepper. Serve at room temperature. Do ahead tips: Toast the bread ahead, and thinly slice the apple, placing them in lemon water to prevent them from turning brown. If you need to assemble the sandwiches ahead, don't add the watercress, and cover them with a very light moistened paper towel. BLACK-EYED PEAS AND SAUSAGE 1lb white onions, chopped 1 bunch green onions, chopped 1 green pepper, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 cups parsley, chopped 1 1/2 lbs salt pork, boiled once, cut into small pieces 1 1/2 lbs. hot smoked sausage, cut into ½ inch pieces 1/2 lb dried blackeyed peas, boiled until half done 6c water 1 1/2 lbs rice Sauté onions, pepper, garlic, and parsley in Dutch oven with 2 tbs olive oil. Add salt meat, sausage, black-eyed peas, and rice. Add water and bring to boil. Mix well, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook 45 minutes. Remove cover 5-10 minutes before serving. Confetti Cake RECIPE INGREDIENTS: 1 1-pound box angel food cake mix 1/4 cup colored candy sprinkles Frosting ingredients and decorations: 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin 8 teaspoons cold water 2 cups whipping cream (unwhipped) 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Colored sprinkles 2 decorative cake sprays (available at party stores) Wire star garland (available at party stores) 1 sheet of shiny or metallic colored paper (for year star) Marker Tape 1. Follow the directions on the cake mix box, but just before pouring the batter into the tube pan, add the sprinkles. 2. Mix them quickly and gently with as few strokes as possible and pour the batter into the pan immediately. If you mix and pour too slowly, the colors may bleed and color the surrounding batter. 3. Make the frosting right before you plan to apply it so that it doesn't set. For best results, apply the frosting, sprinkles, and decoration no more than an hour before serving. 4. Combine the gelatin and water in a small saucepan. 5. Let it stand until thick. 6. Set the pan over low heat, stirring constantly until the gelatin dissolves. 7. Don't let it boil, as that would reduce the gelling power of the gelatin. 8. Remove the gelatin from the heat. While it cools a bit, combine the cream, sugar, and vanilla extract in a bowl. 9. Whip them with an electric mixer until the mixture thickens slightly. 10. Gradually pour the liquid gelatin (don't let it set) into the whipped cream mixture and continue to beat at slow speed until blended. Then whip it at high speed until it's stiff and peaks form when you lift the beaters. 11. Frost the completely cooled cake with a generous, fluffy layer, making swirls and peaks as you go. 12. Add confetti (colored sprinkles) and the sparkly year decoration. (Tip: We applied the sprinkles to the sides of the cake by lightly tossing them against the frosting. After we stuck our store-bought metallic sprays entwined with a star garland into the cake, we cut a 2-inch star out of paper, wrote the year numerals on it, and taped it to the sprays.) Store the cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Terra Cotta Wind Chimes by Twila Lenoir Here's a cheerful wind chime for Mom to hang from the porch or maybe near a window that is left open to catch the spring breeze. Easy to make from terra cotta pots that you hang in a spiral from the brim of a straw hat, this homemade wind chime has a lot of charm and whimsy. Terra Cotta Wind chimes Materials: 7 small terra cotta pots Small wicker or straw hat Thin Ribbon in one color, or a different color for each pot One spool of white ribbon &fra12 ribbon for hat strong fishing line or transparent plastic beading thread acrylic paints in your choice of colors - we used seven different colors assorted silk flowers pony beads, or other beads large enough that they won't fit through the hole in the terra cotta pots sealer Terra Cotta Wind chimes Instructions: 1. Start by painting your pots inside and out with white paint. Let dry. Note: If you plan to hang the wind chimes outside, spray outdoor sealer on the hat, inside and out. 2. While your pots are drying, take the hat and glue ½ inch ribbon around the ball of the hat, overlapping the ends. Make a large bow to match the ribbon and glue it over the ribbon ends. Decorate the hat brim with assorted silk flowers that match the colors you have chosen to paint the pots. 3. Paint the pot rims in seven different colors to copy our design, or try for a monochromatic look with a single color. Let the paint dry, then apply a spray sealer inside and out. (Remember, if the wind chime is going outdoors, you will need outdoor sealer.) 4. When the pots are dry, glue the white thin ribbon around each of the pots on the white area only. Glue a matching bow where the ends of the ribbon meet on each pot. 5. Fold a length of fishing line or plastic beading thread in half to make the wind chime hanger. Feed the two ends through the center top of the hat to the inside, then make a knot large enough to prevent the loop from slipping back up through the straw. 6. Thread a length of fishing line or beading thread through a pony bead and knot off. Feed the other end of the fishing line inside the first pot, going up through the hole in the bottom and out through the top. The pony bead should rest against the inside hole and prevent the line from pulling through completely. Attach the end of the line to a large metal needle and thread it up through the bottom of the hat and out onto the brim, such that the pot hangs down from the hat by about an inch. This will be the shortest hanging line. Knot off a couple of times, making sure the pot is securely fastened. 7. Repeat the process outlined in Step 6 for each of the pots, spacing them about 1-½ inches apart. Allow each pot to hang lower than its neighbour, positioning the pots so that, in a slight breeze, the first pot's rim will tap the second pot just a little below the top edge to make the wind chime's noise. When all the pots are in place, they should form an evenly spaced spiral. Hang your creation in a sunny spot, where the spring and summer breezes can make the pots chime gently together. Enjoy! Editors Note: When does someone give up? I was asked that question. My response was NEVER! There is always hope. I know first hand it is not easy to just sit while you feel your hands are tied. I found out the hard way that I have no control over what life hands me. But I do have control over how I handle it. With the grace of God I will handle life with Love. Why worry over what has been dealt you. I know you have heard the old saying, “when handed lemons make lemon aid”. Well, not only am I making lemon aid but I am making lemon pie as well. I hate lemon pie. I guess what I am trying to get across is… Stop worrying and take the bull by the horns. Yes, ALS is in your life. But don’t let it run your life. Remember you are never alone. Spread some joy… give someone a Smile.