Tuesday

Theme of the Month--July is National Blueberry Month

“Have blueberries whenever you are low – destiny will change and you will be high.” Adam Voichester

Happy National Blueberry Month! July is it, baby! It's all about that little blue fruit that finishes sweet and stains the tongue.

PattsBlueberries.jpg
The blue ones are ripe.

The two main types of blueberries are--wild (small) and commercial (larger). I prefer to buy the frozen wild ones. They make a great pie (see below).

Wild berries are called "low-bush berries," because the wild bush lays closer to the ground than commercial berries ("high-bush berries").  There is also a hybrid "high-low" bush, but no one talks about it. It's hush hush. ;)

It is appropriate that blueberries are celebrated in July. That is their harvest time--late July through mid-August.

Oregon is known for having the best blueberries--both wild and commercial. I knew a couple who bought Oregon property and spent much time and effort to clear the land of solid, wild blueberry bushes.

Oh man! All. Those. Blueberries. Wasted! So sad. :(

As a suburban girl, I've never seen a blueberry bush. According to Wikipedia, the bushes flower.


You have to be careful with blueberries when they are turned into blueberry candy in a magical candy factory. A disaster happened to a friend of mine, Violet Beauregard, when she was a child. She ate some blueberry candy from said factory and POW--she grew into a fat, human blueberry! I'll never forget the callous statement of Willy Wonka, the factory owner, when he said,

"It happens every time. They all become blueberries." (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, 1971).

Before I introduce you to my blueberry pie recipe, I must tell you about Adam Voichester. If you Google him, he is only known for one thing, the quote at the top of this article! That's it. It's his claim to fame. He may not even exist! Go ahead, Google Image him. He comes up various blueberry dishes, like this:

Adam Voichester
You see what I mean?

Okay...time for blueberry pie!

Denise's Easy Blueberry Pie
I use refrigerated pie crusts. The frozen ones are horrid. Stay away from them. But the refrigerated ones (like Pillsbury) are very good.

Blueberry Pie Filling:
4 c. fresh blueberries or other berries (this is 4 of the 6-8oz. containers they come in) OR 1 10-12 oz pkg. of frozen berries (the frozen wild blueberries are nice).

1 c. sugar                                      
1/4 cup cornstarch (this is 4 T)
¼ t. ground cinnamon (optional)
¼ t. ground nutmeg (optional)

1 T. lime juice (water if in a pinch)
2 T. butter (optional, I often don’t include it)

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F  
  2. Mix sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg, then mix with blueberries.
  3. Line pie dish (I use a 10-inch deep dish, but a 9-inch will do) with one pie crust. Pour berry mixture into the crust and dot with butter. 
  4. Add the other pie crust on top. Crimp and flute edges, then cut four slits in the dough with a knife.
  5. Place on cookie sheet and place in oven.
Bake pie on lower shelf of oven for about 50 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.


The best thing to do with a July harvest of blueberries!

MORE recipes for blueberries! Sally's Baking Addiction: Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake; Joy of Baking: Blueberry Trifle; Lemon Ice Cream Sandwiches with Blueberry Swirl; Fine Cooking: Blueberry Vanilla Cream Cheese Pies; Crazy for Crust: Blueberry Slab Pie; Pretty Fit Life: Blissful Blueberry-Baked Oatmeal; Hungry Rabbit: Everlasting Blueberry Almond Coffee Cake; She Wears Many Hats: Blueberry Pie Ice CreamEat at Home: Blueberry Butter; Wide Lawns and Narrow Minds: Your New Summer Cocktail: Blueberry Vodka Lemonade.

Blueberry has a Wiki Page. You may also enjoy reading these articles: Blueberries, Blueberries, Blueberries!; The History of Blueberries (Commercial, with more recipes!); The History of Blueberries (Wild).

Source Articles: Wikipedia; The Farmer's Almanac: Blueberries; IMDb Willy Wonka Quotes; iFood.tv Quotes.

Thursday

Fascinating Character--Al Capone

“Don't mistake my kindness for weakness. I am kind to everyone, but when someone is unkind to me, weak is not what you are going to remember about me.” ~ Al Capone

Alphonse Capone was an organized-crime gangster from the early 1920s to 1931. He is and was famous for smuggling alcoholic beverages into Chicago during the Prohibition era, bribing government officials, and running both prostitution and gambling rings.

Naughty boy!

He is, oddly, also famous for what is now known as "Al Capone's vaults," which were underneath the Lexington Hotel in Chicago (a.k.a. "Capone's Castle"). It was rumored that Al stored great riches there, and, some said, bodies.

Oh my cow!


I have a personal connection to Al's vaults because I saw the their unveiling LIVE on the television broadcast The Mystery of Al Capone's Vaults--a greatly-hyped special. It was 1986, and Geraldo Rivera stood with cameras rolling outside the main vault, dragging out the suspense until I thought it would kill me.

I felt that anticipation mostly because I expected them to find my lost socks in there, but I digress.

They opened the vaults and they contained ... nothing! Ha ha ha. Poor Geraldo was humiliated! The only things found were some debris, a stop sign, two gin bottles, and a few socks that looked familiar to me. :/

Here are some other things Al is famous for:

  • Planning the Valentine's Day Massacre
  • Sporting the nickname "Scarface"
  • Going to prison for tax evasion, not his violent crimes
  • Being investigated and prosecuted by the famous Eliot Ness and the Untouchables team
  • And suffering from a flaming and incurable case of syphilis. (He got around. :D )

Ness and his Untouchables could not prove that Capone was behind so much of the Chicago crime of that era, so they schemed to get him on tax evasion. It worked! Al spent the years 1931-1939 in prison. He was released in 1939 to go home to die. His syphilis caused both mental and physical deterioration, and they didn't expect him to live long.

He fooled them and lived all the way to January 25, 1947, when he died of a heart attack and stroke. Apparently, he took the contents of his vaults with him. *sigh*

Geraldo Rivera smashes into 
Al Capone's vaults on live television!

Go look at Al's Wiki Page. It's a keeper. You may also be interested in the movie The Untouchables with Kevin Costner playing Eliot Ness and Robert De Niro playing Al Capone!

Source Articles and Sites: Wikipedia; Alphonse Capone (1899-1947); Good Reads, Al Capone Quotes; YouTube, Al Capone's Vaults; and The Mystery of Al Capone's Vaults, Wikipedia.

Friday

Fascinating YouTube--Learning New Languages is Fun!

❝If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.❞ ~Nelson Mandela

I am in the mood this week to learn at least two foreign languages, and I found the two most-perfect videos to fill my head with language and laughter. Because last week's post about weight loss was heavy, I figured you guys would appreciate the lightheartedness of these two Fun 'n Crazy YouTubes!

The first is a girl who helped me experience several foreign languages.


And here's the dog who did the same thing:



Oh my cow, I learned so much! Point me to the nearest foreign country, or even Chinatown, and I. Am. Set!

As English author and journalist Geoffrey Willans said, ❝You can never understand one language until you understand at least two.❞

Goodbye everybody, and thanks for watching!

"Foreign Language" has it's own Wiki Page; and here are foreign language dictionaries on Amazon. You may also be interested in the Wiki Page of Pimsleur (a method to learn foreign languages), and the Wiki Page of Rosetta Stone (another method to learn foreign languages).



Tuesday

My Fascinating Life--My Weight-Loss Journey: Plateauing, a New Paradigm

“Judging yourself is just as bad as judging someone else. Our thoughts are a powerful force, and what you pay attention, to you empower. Judging yourself only serves to strengthen your shortcomings.” ~ Jon Gabriel, author of The Gabriel Method: The Revolutionary DIET-FREE Way to Totally Transform Your Body


photo credit: Ravensmagiclantern via photopin cc

For those of you who are my Facebook friends, you've heard me mention from time-to-time that I've lost a pound here or a pound-and-a-half there taking Green Coffee Bean Extract regularly. In fact, from April 2013 to September 2013, I lost fifty pounds.

I went off the Green Coffee Bean because I wanted to see what would happen. What happened was--I maintained beautifully. In fact, in December, I lost another 2 lbs., even though I was eating a lot of rich food in large amounts.

Huh, I thought, the supplement must have permanently changed my metabolism.

But then, in January 2014, I started taking the supplement again and ate exactly like I did before when I was losing more that a pound a week and I did not lose one pound!

So, I was confused. I prayed for an answer that would start me losing again and I found the book The Gabriel Method by Jon Gabriel.

Gabriel's premise? He says there is one most important determinant as to why a person is overweight or not, and that is whether or not the person feels safe.

And here's the kicker--when we feel emotionally threatened, unhappy, worried, lacking, grieving, or stressed, our bodies interpret these feelings as a physical threat. Our bodies interpret our negative emotions as danger, then they cause us to retain excess fat because they believe the fat will protect us.


photo credit: Arya Ziai via photopin cc

This dynamic also applies to the inability to lose more weight when dieting, which is commonly called a "plateau."

Well bust my britches (and I have), this sounds like bad news. First, how can I know what is eating me and second, how can I relieve myself of these powerful emotions once I ferret out what they are?

First, Gabriel does a great job of categorizing all the many mental issues that would make a person feel unsafe. These categories really helped my husband and me locate real issues that have been there for years and we're just now realizing them because of Gabriel's book!

Very powerful.

And second, he gives you ways to release these emotions. Hubby and I have also discovered a way to release deep-seated emotions through EFT (Tapping) and we use our method for release. (I'll share this method in a later post.)

But the big epiphany for me was when I asked myself when the big stall in weight loss started and what could have made me feel unsafe at that particular time. The answer was that I had to initiate contact with someone in August who I feel unsafe around. Only a week later, in September, my weight loss had stopped.

In other words, it may not have been the cessation of the supplement that caused me to suddenly stop losing. The cause of my sudden plateau may have been the new stressor!

So, this is a huge understanding for me, and my task now is to release these emotions and allow my body to feel safe enough to lose. I'll let you know when the pounds start coming off again!

I'll blog more on this later. Until then, you might want to buy Jon's book.


See Jon Gabriel's website; and buy the book on Amazon.

Source Article: Above quote from Goodreads.

Friday

Fascinating Character--Bob Costas

"You had the gold, gold, gold all but in your hand. By your folly you have disappointed everyone at home and, worse yet, NBC and its advertisers. You were showboating, weren't you?" ~Bob Costas

Bob Costas, May 2012, Gotham Hall in New York
photo credit: wfuv via photopin cc

Right now, you know him as the pink-eyed Olympic news anchor. But, Bob Costas has a legacy that goes far beyond his double-infection of Pinkeye. Thank goodness!

He is a sportscaster, yes, and became one in 1974 calling games for radio station KMOX on a show called The Spirits of St. Louis.

But the show that made me fall in love with him--professional love, nothing else ;)--is the show Later, which ran on NBC from 1988 to 1994. What I found was a brilliant interviewer who had great wit and insight.

According to Ray Hamel of IMDB, Costas is a "TV sportscaster known as a smart interviewer with encyclopedic knowledge and a devilish sense of humor." 

Bob Costas is something of a journalist crossed with a therapist. In the video below, at counter number 1:35, he says to Roger Eibert, "Now, you see, that shows a man who's defensive because. . . ."

And, as you can see from the opening quote of this post, he nails the inner motivations of some poor Olympian who didn't cut the muster.

For anyone who watches American sports, you know him from his current show Studio 42 on the MLB Network. Even people who don't normally watch sports know him as the primetime host and interviewer for NBC Winter Olympic coverage  (and he's done that repeatedly starting in 2002).

But, I think of him as beyond the label "sportscaster." To me he is a brilliant journalist, period, and deserves a spot in the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

Siskel & Ebert - Later with Bob Costas - Thanksgiving 1992 (1/4)


See Bob Costas Wiki Page; Books by him on Amazon.

Source Articles: Wikipedia; IMDB; ThinkExist