IS A SOLDIER JUST A SOLDIER?

On this Memorial Day, I woke early wondering how I could honor the fallen soldiers who paid the highest sacrifice. I read over the past messages, some repeated and they were admirable remembrances. I almost posted them again but I stopped short because this thought came to mind and I wanted to share it.

Every holiday is meant to recognize and honor certain groups of those who serve but Memorial Day is Reserved for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

A soldier is called to go wherever he or she is ordered. They are not sent because they believe in a certain war or encounter…they are sent because they have been trained to answer the call for action. I haven’t served so I speak from an outsider’s point of view, but my father, uncles, brothers, cousins, classmates, and my husband and one of his sons have donned the uniform proudly. I haven’t lost an immediate family member but I know several of my friends who have and I write this more for them as they understand fully the meaning of my focus…..Is A Soldier Just A Soldier?

Robert Longley wrote a beautiful poem about A Soldier’s Homecoming.

Not to take away from others memorial poems but I felt led to write a poem last year thinking about A Soldier’s Last Night. I felt an attachment to this somber moment and a deep felt gratitude. A Soldier is Never Just A Soldier! They are human beings with all of the same feelings we experience, Love, Hurt, Joy, and Pain but in addition they truly understand the emotions behind Commitment and Dedication as well as Loyalty. They are Fathers, Brothers, Sisters, Mothers, Uncles, Aunts, Cousins, Sons and Daughters. They are family! Let us remember when we honor the fallen and understand the reality when we see an active soldier, he or she are facing the possibility of the ultimate sacrifice in their future. A Soldier is Never Just A Soldier but the reason we live in freedom. Respect them as they pay the price that others aren’t willing to pay.

A Soldier’s Last Night

As I woke from a restful sleep, I began to wonder

How a lonely soldier felt about his chosen plight.

In the trenches, so far away from home, so somber.

Did he know the ultimate price he would pay tonight?

As he lay in the muddy hole which would be his last

His heart, did it pound or was he unusually calm?

Did he stay alert, did he pray, and that tear fall fast?

His silent cry, his grip tightened, only thoughts of harm.

Did he think about the protests and why he was here?

Or did he only try to overcome any temptation to run?

Did he find the urge to do his best and to hide any fear?

He may not have known his job on earth was done.

Did those hours before his end seem like a million years?

Was it true that one’s life does indeed flash before the eyes?

We may never know, only a brave soldier’s mind would veer.

We come to pay homage at the cold grave where he lies.

A small flag stands as a symbol of his ultimate sacrifice.

A cross may stand to remind us of his absence of life.

To you, the soldier who stood tall and paid the price

For Our Freedom, let us honor and recognize your strife.

Written by Arline Miller with homage and respect for all of

The Fallen and Gone but Never Forgotten.

Happy Memorial Day, May 31, 2021

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party Material is sourced to original location/author, if known, for credit references.

Reinvention Queen Sails into Fried Shrimp Salad

As I promised, here is one of the dishes I make from my bounty of those yummy fried shrimp from yesterday’s post. My Power Air Fryer Oven comes into play warming up the shrimp and keep that crunch without taking away their freshness. This made a scrumptious lunch with a totally different presentation and look. Let’s see how simple having the shrimp ready helped in preparing lunch.

Finished Shrimp Po Boy Arline Style
Here is my Remoulade Shrimp Sauce and how I made it early to allow the flavors to marry.

Shrimp Po Boy Sauce

Horseradish 1 tablespoon

Mayo 1/4 cup

Dijon mustard 1 tablespoon

Jalapeño mustard 1 teaspoon

Tartar sauce 2 tablespoons

Remoulade sauce 1/4 cup

1 tsp. lemon juice

Grated onion 1/4

Garlic herb seasoning Sprinkle

Salt and pepper to taste

Worcestershire sauce Sprinkle

Fish sauce 2 drops

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Amounts shown in this recipe are guesses as I don’t measure so you can adjust them to your taste buds. This sauce is used to spread on toasted buns or can be used as a condiment on shrimp, oysters, and scallops. 

Some of the ingredients for topping the sandwich.

Toast the bread (You can use many kinds of buns so that selection is up to you. The bakery/deli buns were split prior to toasting or you can choose not to toast. We love ours toasted but I have eaten Po Boys not toasted and they were good too.

Buns split and ready for toasting. Soft butter spread on these for that buttery taste. You can get creative and add some garlic/herbs to the buns but I chose buttery taste.
I use my large oversize non stick frying pan to place all of them in for toasting and on high heat while standing there and watching them carefully as this goes fast.

At this time, I have removed the sauce from the refrigerator and assembled the condiments and veggies. A tip that might come in handy is how I place the onions in my mini food processor for a grated ingredient which is not in your face oniony. You can chop the onions as well but I do this for the onions I add into the Remoulade sauce and for toppers.

My husband doesn’t want tomatoes on his so the assembly is by taste choices.
Fresh herbs are the secret ingredient to lift this wonderful sandwich to the next level and I cut fresh dill weed and chives. These were spread on top of the Remoulade Shrimp Sauce and shrimp were placed on top of the herbs. Great taste combo.
By using the Power Air Fryer Oven, the shrimp tasted freshly fried and remained so crispy. Awesome way to reinvent leftover fried shrimp.

Reinventing food is very simple and the secret is to think about cooking enough, varying the presentation and taste, and enjoying the idea you do not have to live in the kitchen to eat Restaurant Worthy foods any day of the week.

Greg grilled some tender and delicious flank steak and you know us, he made enough for another meal so tonight will be surf and turf with a copy cat sauce from a restaurant on St. Simons Island Ga mixed in a salad with the remainder of the shrimp to go with our steak. If you are counting, this will be three (3) meals.

One side note: Don’t forget the Pickle Juice Slaw as it will be reinvented with some beefy hot dogs for a fast lunch. Until We Cook Again….Happy Meals…..Reinvention Queen, Arline Miller

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced if known to original location and author for credit reference.

WHEN IS GOOD…GOOD ENOUGH?

Today, instead of reinventing food, I thought of how many times in life do we try to reinvent ourselves. I wondered when is good…good enough? As a young lady, I dared to go into industries that were heavily populated with men. I excelled, not due to a lot of support from my male counterparts, but sheer determination. I watched them, I learned from them, I had to go toe to toe with them, I held my own, I succeeded. I said all of that to summarize, did that make me equal or superior? Not really, as I have learned a valuable lesson. We are not in competition with males or females; we are in competition with ourselves.

What do I mean, you ask? Allow me to dig deeper and I think it will become clearer. If I am a runner and I am timing myself. I am competing with the last timed run. If I am a swimmer, I am competing against my best time. It doesn’t matter how fast another swimmer or runner is at this moment, I can only measure if I am swimming or running faster than my last or best time. I am only as good as I can improve my individual efforts. Does that make sense now?

I admired Maya Angelou for her frankness and eloquence.

I love to cook but I also admire several fine chefs but I don’t measure my dishes by their shows. I measure it by my results, my successes, and yes, my failures. I may feel I surpassed their dishes or I may feel like they outdid me by a mile or a squash’s length. This brings me to a thought process to get us to a point When Good Is Good Enough:

  • My Good is Good Enough!
  • I have competed with my own personal achievements and sometimes I win and sometimes I have to rethink my strategy.
  • I am a realist with an optimistic outlook. If I don’t succeed the first time, second or even third time but I try harder each time, I move closer to the finish line and I know eventually I will succeed.
  • I look at life as I see it without so many expectations. Example: I am not a good singer but I love to sing but I realize that I am a limited talent (LOL) and sing when I am not in a public forum but the car is my stadium and I have put on many great performances (my rating, not anyone else’s).
  • I love humor about my limitations and/or lack of talent in areas I have never been a super techie. This however, has not kept me from working with computer techs/programmers. I get what I want programmed and can solve problems and have good visuals. I have a great time telling those tech savvy folks to put it in my language and I will give them my perspective. See My Good is Good Enough. Their Good is Good Enough. Together Our Good is Good Enough.
  • Knowing each person has excellent talents in certain fields is a big chunk of wisdom. Knowing each person has limitations and weak areas is universal wisdom and knowledge. Example: A Rocket Scientist has abilities and knowledge as well as strategic training but probably only a few has been successful in simple feats of life as cooking or changing a light bulb. Give me two remotes to work between them and I show you how irritating that is to me. However, knowing that I have to sometimes do this task, I have learned how to do it. So, by focusing on things I am not comfortable with, My Good is Good Enough.
  • Accepting all of me, good and bad, weak and strong, intensive and scattered thought patterns, organized and out of order thoughts, and kind and even blunt speech are facets of me. My Good is Good Enough.
  • Deciding when and where I can develop even better ideas, practices, habits, and actions is healthy when it comes from within and not because I am measuring myself against someone else. Being All I Can Be But Choosing to Be More is Good and Good is Good Enough.
I am pretty colorful in personality. As a writer, I am happy. In the kitchen, I am happy. On my blog, I am happy. But the happiest I am, is when I am surrounded by my family. I love life, but above all, I love Our God who created me as He decided His Good is Good Enough…Arline Miller

I hope you see that God creates us the way we are for a reason. It may be that we are given handicaps, education opportunities or not, wealth or poverty, calm and soothing personality or a high spirited one, spiritual excellence or a work in progress, and on and on. Each one of us should realize if we do not feel we have to compete or challenge another one’s worth, we are rich within ourselves. Our Good is Good Enough. Thanks for allowing me to share my thoughts with you. Your own comments of personal growth are welcomed.

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third Party Material if known is sourced to original location and author for credit reference.

Reinvention Queen- Mushroom Lemon Herb Angel Hair Pasta to Spaghetti with Meatballs

REINVENTION QUEEN TRANSFORMS THE MUSHROOM LEMON HERB ANGEL HAIR PASTA INTO MEATBALL MUSHROOM SPAGHETTI:

This is how you will see me reinvent a leftover into a fresh new dish. See below for instructions.
Here is the ready to simmer Meatball Mushroom Fresh Herb Spaghetti.
Touch of Parmesan Cheese and Wallah!
I did bake fresh garlic bread but after a spin in a colander the angel hair pasta looked as fresh as when it was freshly made.

REINVENTING THE SAUCE INTO FRESH SPAGHETTI SAUCE:

  • Removing the lemon herb mushroom sauce that was leftover and placing it into a bowl with 2 jars of good quality Spaghetti sauce, 1 small can of tomato paste, 2 small cans of v-8 juice, with 1 jar of filtered water and mix well.
  • In a large pot, add 1 pkg of frozen or thawed meatballs.
  • Add the combined sauces to the meatballs and stir.
  • Add some seasonings like oregano, basil, dry Italian seasoning, garlic herb seasoning, minced onions, and whatever you like in homemade spaghetti sauce.
  • Top with fresh herbs for enhanced freshness (this is the difference by adding that fresh pop—also you can cube fresh garden tomatoes toward the end of the cooking with enough time for them to cook but maintain a fresh taste.
  • Take a look at the photos above and you will see the amount of herbs which can be adjusted to individual tastes.
  • I will top the angel hair pasta with a wet paper towel in the microwave for 60 seconds and it freshens up nicely.

This is the way I do it. I don’t want to spend my Saturday cooking from scratch for dinner. Add a salad and bread if you desire for a meal that usually takes a long prep time. Enjoy and please comment if you like the reinvention idea.

This is the original post for the Mushroom Lemon Herb Angel Hair Pasta.

My husband is a carnivore and loves his meats at a meal. Some time ago, I began doing some lighter pasta dishes and he hasn’t missed his meat for the meat. I don’t add any bread and serve the pasta with fresh grown herbs and we have enjoyed this lunch as a very tasty dish.

Thai Basil and Rosemary growing on our deck.

You see the title Reinvention Queen and may wonder what this dish has to do with that subject but already, my mind is working on what I can do with the leftovers to provide a fresh meal with new flavors. Keep this in mind as you will see how i got that title soon.

This meal was easy but it tastes as if I stayed in the kitchen for hours and in reality, I was only in the kitchen about 15 minutes. Now, for full transparency, I had onions cut up, I had the herbs minced, lemons out for zesting and juicing. Once I started composing the dish, it was easy to complete in the amount of time the angel hair pasta required cooking.

Pineapple Mint, Dill Weed, and Sweet Basil

Here is the recipe I came up with today. I wish I could tell you I go by certain amounts and/or ingredients but I am a cook/chef that makes it up as I go. A lot is determined by what I find in my pantry. It is as follows:

Reinvention Queen Mushroom Lemon Herb Angel Hair Pasta Recipe

Angel Hair Pasta (1/2 pkg) cooked and drained

Fresh Herbs (variety of your preference chopped) 1/8 – ¼ cup

2 Lemons (zested with lemon zest saved) squeezed into bowl

½ onion chopped or thinly sliced

1 pkg fresh mushrooms (can use preferred type)

1 stick butter (softened)

1 8 oz cream cheese (softened)

¼ cup sour cream

3 to 4 garlic cloves (or use equivalent amount of minced garlic)

1T minced ginger

Seasonings:

Charlie’s Choice Seasoning 1tsp.

Lane’s BBQ Garlic Herb Seasoning ½ tsp.

Onion Salt Sprinkle of ½ tsp.

Red wine vinegar 1 T.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2 T.

Splash Low Sodium Soy Sauce (optional)

Sea Salt & Fresh Ground Black Peppercorns (Use preferred amount)

Watch Video for step by step instructions using the ingredients listed.

  • My tips shared on the video:
  • I use my grater to zest lemons and/or oranges
  • I clip my fresh herbs and allow them to semi dry on a paper plate. Once they are not moist, I mince them and place in a zip loc bag. I use one bag and make a combo of several herbs. I will separate others that I allow them to completely dry.
  • If I am in a hurry and if I need softened cream cheese or butter, I place in a paper bowl and place in microwave for thirty (30) seconds. Instant softening.
  • I keep fresh garlic and it is the best way to cook but if I am in a hurry, I keep a jar of minced garlic and I keep minced ginger in a jar too.
  • This is not my idea or tip but one I saw that works when cooking pasta on high temperature is to lay a wooden spoon on top of the pot to prevent boil overs.

I am sure I have more tips and will introduce you to them. Use what you want, discard those you would never do. It’s your kitchen, do what you will when you are in your own kitchen. Limit yourself to your particular taste buds and eating style.

Happy Meals to You Until We Cook Again…..Reinvention Queen, Arline Miller

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material if origination is known, is sourced for credit reference.

WHILE YOU ARE STANDING THERE DREAMING…..

Update: I wrote this blog message right after I had my book signing for my second book and now I am in the home stretch for the third and final book in the Reflections of Love series. It is titled Riddle Me This, Love or Bliss and it gives the reader all of the pieces of the puzzle and I am very happy with this soon to be published books. The reason for me reposting this blog message is to remind people who have a book in their mind, a song in their heart, a photo no one forgets, or a cake to bake…..Go for it. If tomorrow you woke up and found out you have run out of time to make your dreams a reality, you would have regrets……So no waiting! I am off to write more on the final book and I will give my loyal readers, you may want to go back and read the first two books and when all of the action goes down you will know why.

This is a preview of the 3rd book cover but it is a WIP and will fit the series motif when finished.

WHILE YOU STAND THERE DREAMING, someone else may be living your dream. I recently had my book signing/launch and a thought came to me while I was signing my second book. When I was a very young adult, I made the statement “One day I will write a book.” I thought about it as I became busy with a family and work but kept doing nothing but dreaming about writing a book. Time seemed to not be my friend and my dream was put on the back burner. Remember I was young and full of energy but still I let life run faster than me and my book did not get started until my daughter was in college and I was divorced. Somehow, my dream tried to make me pay attention and I started writing. Now, you may ask, “That was a lot of years ago” and especially, if you know my first book was published in 2015 and I have been remarried for almost 15 years. Again, life ran faster than me.

Finally, one day I was looking through my files on my computer and there it was A Mistress, A Wife staring me in the face. My dream was attempting to WAKE ME UP. I looked at it and decided I had wasted a lot of good years by not completing my dream book. I also decided to FINISH this book and I put into action that I would write on the weekends. At that time, in a period of 6 years, I had only written about 15K words. I wrote with determination and within 1 year of writing only on the weekends, I completed my first novel over 80K words and self published it. Publishing it was never in my dream but once written, I found a new dream and researched and found out what it takes to publish as an Indie writer. It encouraged me and I was not standing just dreaming; I was now living my dream.

positive1

Once I had the taste of good reviews and comments to write another book, I wrote on the weekends but with a lot more serious dedication and book 2 Tell Me Lies; Love Me Still has not only been written but published with the book launch which I referred at the beginning already completed and book sales happening.

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I say all of this not to boast as I apparently haven’t dreamed of being a best seller yet and still have a lot to learn but I am willing to MOVE and not just stand there dreaming. Have you dreamed of a certain goal in life? Have you put off doing something you are talented but scared of rejection? I have read of the most successful authors submitting query letters of almost 200 to get about 185 rejections. So it is not enough to dream; you have to start the living process. It might not be  easy and you may get rejected over and over again, but the significance of the number of rejections this author received is she is now a well known and successful writer. In some past posts, I have added articles on going after your goal but today I will summarize it in a nutshell.

  • Do you have a dream?
  • Do you intend on making your dream come true?
  • Have you made any plans or goals concerning how to accomplish your dream?
  • Do you want to continue dreaming or living your dream?

If you have answered a positive reply to any of these questions, it means you have a dream and you don’t want to be satisfied with standing there only dreaming. It is time to MOVE as I had to do. My thoughts are going in laying out the third book so I am living my dream. I wish you the very best in living your dream and looking forward to hearing from you at the top.

(C) Copyright 2012-2019 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. Any third party material is sourced to original location for reference credit.

YOU WANT MY ADVICE UNTIL I GIVE IT

As a blogger I receive a lot of atta girls on certain blog messages in which I tell it like it is, or at least how it is to me. I have received comments however, that I may have been too blunt or critical. I see it as neither. Why? I found out that most people what your advice until you give it to them. If it is not what they want to hear, they feel it was too critical. Okay, so do you want advice or not? Straightforwardness is my way of life. It serves me well to be direct in my thoughts as well as my words and most importantly, my actions. Let’s dive in on why it is important, even if it is not well received, to tell it like it is.

Why You Want to Give (and Receive) Brutally Honest Advice

By Ali Luke on April 27, 2011 

Here is an excerpt from a great article on Brutally Honest Advice (click on underlined text for link for full article.

How to Give Brutally Honest Advice

The flip side, offering brutally honest advice, is obviously much trickier than asking for it.

And as we will see in the next section, no matter how valuable brutal honesty can be, it’s not always the best approach. But it usually is, and here’s how to maximize your chances of getting a positive reaction when you offer it.

#1: Tell them you’ll be honest

Let’s say a friend, colleague or client comes to you, outlines their latest idea or shows you part of your work in progress, and eagerly asks, “So, what do you think?”

You want to be honest with them. So tell them that. Say “I’m going to be completely honest with you,” or ask them “Is it okay if I’m totally honest?” Make the terms of engagement clear, right from the start.

#2: Start and end with the good

Even if you think your friend’s idea is pretty unworkable, there’ll be something good to say. Whenever you’re offering feedback, it’s good to start and end on a positive note. (The Toastmasters do this with their speaker evaluations.)

If something is basically good but has a few flaws, make this clear right at the start. Say “I think this is a really solid business plan” or “I loved reading this blog post.” Don’t ever assume that people will knowthat their work is fundamentally sound: you need to tell them this, explicitly.

#3: Be constructive in your criticism

Don’t offer advice like “No-one will ever want to buy from that sales page” or “Your ebook will make people fall asleep.” Point out specific problems and, if you can, suggest solutions:

“The design makes the page look a bit scammy. Perhaps you could cut out the yellow highlighter?”

“The writing style seems very academic. Perhaps you could talk to the reader directly, using “you”, and bring in some personal anecdotes?”

#4: Tread very cautiously when offering unsolicited advice

Let’s say you spot that your friend has created a website where she’s selling handmade furniture. You might have all sorts of ideas about how she could improve everything from the site design to the shopping cart software.

If she’s not asked for your help, though, proceed with extreme caution. Few of us like to get brutally honest advice when we’ve not requested any feedback at all. If you’re in a situation where you feel like you absolutely, positively must speak up, you might want to check with a mutual friend first…

#5: Accept that they have the right to make their own decisions and mistakes

I was recently reading a thread on reddit with a man who was planning to speak up at the “speak up now or forever hold your peace” part of his brother’s wedding.

The reason? He thought his brother’s fiancee was not the right woman for him.

Now, the first obvious problem is that you should bring up something like this before the wedding, not during the ceremony.

But the man did that. No less than 5 times. And his brother heard the brutally honest advice, and still insisted on marrying his fiancee.

That would be a good point to stop and forever hold his peace. Because no matter how convinced you are that you are right and your friend is making a mistake, they have the right to make their own decisions.

So when you offer brutally honest advice, understand that your friend might not follow it. That’s okay. You can only make sure that they have all the relevant information when making their decision. The actual decision is up to them.

Once you’ve dispensed your brutally honest advice and your friend has acknowledged it, move on. This will help you remain a valuable advisor instead of turning into a pestering nag.

When Brutal Honesty Is Not The Best Approach

With all of that in mind, brutal honesty isn’t always the best approach.

When I (Vlad) did my first ever prepared speech at Toastmasters, I was, frankly, atrocious. My structure wasn’t very clear. I spoke too fast and mumbled. I fidgeted around. And the list goes on and on.

But that’s okay. Most people suck when they try giving their first speech in front of an audience. And the whole point of a place like Toastmasters is to get together and practice in a safe, friendly environment.

And so the feedback I received consisted mostly of pointing out the things I did right, with one or two points for improvement.

This helped reinforce the things I did right, and gave me something to focus on improving next. And it kept me motivated, instead of bringing me down by listing the dozens of things I did wrong.

So, sometimes, helping and encouraging your friends really is more important than pointing out every flaw in what they’re doing.

But next time someone asks you for feedback, or next time you need advice on something big and important, ask yourself whether it’s a good opportunity to practice brutal honesty. If money, health or relationships are on the line, it’s generally a good idea to speak up rather than to keep your doubts to yourself.

*********************************************************

I thought about giving advice and I am not sure we should freely give advice and my reasoning is how many people actually take the advice you give them. I feel people hope you are going to agree with the decision they have already made in their minds. To prove this point, how many times have you offered sound advice only to find out the person did the exact opposite. How many times have we actually taken another’s advice, very few times, right?

LIVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE, AND LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST by considering if it is worth the effort to give advice, solicited or unsolicited to someone who is probably not going to heed the advice given. Just sayin’

(C) Copyright 2012-2019 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced to original location if known, for credit reference.

CAN I DIET WITHOUT A DIET?

TODAY THE WORDS are I WANT A DIET WHICH IS NO DIET. In this, my second post about eating, I will gladly put it out there. I want moderation but not elimination. There has been diet after diet which preach elimination. Let’s look at some of them and see what they want me to live without and then I want to share what is working better for me. I am not a health expert and do not profess to be anything but an average person who loves different kinds of food. The food groups contain something in each one I like to eat. You might feel the same.  

One thing to keep in mind: As quoted in Bitesized Challenge, Programs claiming weight loss of more than 2 lbs per week are simply unhealthy crash diets. Weight is gained back 99% of the time.   But yet, we go from one miracle diet to another. I am a witness and I can preach on this subject as I claim experience in most of them at one time or another.    This Medical News Today information article Written by Christian Nordqvist, Knowledge centerLast updated: Thursday 1 October 2015 details on the most popular diets according to three criteria: how many articles there are around about these diets/lifestyles, how popular they seem to be generally, and how often we receive feedback on them.Contents of this article:Atkins DietThe Zone DietVegetarian DietVegan DietWeight Watchers DietSouth Beach DietRaw Food DietMediterranean DietFor Details on each diet, you can click on each one and you will see the specifics of each diet.This complete article, which is a great read, can be found on http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/5847.php   How many of these popular diets have you tried? I personally can say 5 and I am still overweight. If you do some diligent studying, you will find a common thread between most of them and it is deprivation of some foods. I asked yesterday, “Are you really NEVER going to eat a donut for the rest of your life?”    Here is my tip for today and it may not work for everybody (especially for people with diseases or health conditions which mandate restriction) and here is the absolute truth….NO PLAN works for everybody. We have to begin to take charge of our individual bodies and not fall for the miracle plans but pay attention to what foods cause us to bloat or to gain weight. Some people can eat more carbs, some can eat more healthy fats, and yes, I have a sister who can eat sweets all of the time and she has never had as much problem maintaining a good weight but she has health issues.    Here goes what I have found works better for me: I do not deprive myself of any food group but I limit the quantity of any of the carbs, sugars, and yes, fats. I make the larger portion of protein, but keep my meats palm size (we have heard this before, right). What I can’t do; but if I do it, I pay for it is allowing my portions to become large. Supersize means we get supersize! This makes sense doesn’t it? If you are going to eat a burger, make it fresh and small size with moderate portions of condiments. Just cutting portions and eating healthier, fresh cooked with more organic and non processed foods will start you on the track to eating for health.   I made this true comment yesterday, “When I started to eat for my health and not to lose a pants size; I accomplished both.”  With the holidays behind us, I am happy to report I didn’t gain a pound and kept my glucose in normal ranges for me. I used my 1 heaping Tablespoon of the NO-NOs theory. I used to feel I couldn’t even taste any dressing, any sweet potato crunch, any mac-n-cheese, etc. Now, I choose three of the NO-NOs and take 1 full Tablespoon, yes heaping, of each. The rest of my meal is devoted to palm sized protein, and a bigger portion of good carbs of veggies. Since I had dressing, I found it easy to leave off the bread. I had dessert but used the heaping T. of my delicious banana pudding (a good tip on this is to find a very small bowl and place the dessert in it (it will look like more LOL). I took very small bites to cherish each morsel and when I got up from the table, I had not eaten nearly as much as prior years and felt wonderful. I didn’t feel DEPRIVED and this is the key to maintaining eating correctly for longer periods. Maybe I am wrong, but feeling deprived is the biggest sabotage tool in the world.   

Until we eat again and read again…….Arline MillerHEALTHY BITES was created with healthy recipes I have found and some I created to help in eating for our health. Good things will come to those who keep the mindset; I am worth it! Please click on the name of HEALTHY BITES above and see the good way to eat.

(C) Copyright Arline Miller 2012-2019 All rights and permissions for content. Referenced material properly sourced.

BRING ON THE GREENS FOR ST. PATRICK’S DAY

For the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to pull up a favorite blog post since I love greens. This is a repeat of a message from a few years ago but I think you will enjoy it.
TODAY THE WORDS are COOKING GREENS. You are reading the words of a person who loves to eat greens. I cooked greens yesterday and any time I eat them, I am brought back to a special memory.Mustard greens, turnip greens, collards, cabbage, kale are all good to me and this brings me back to my Step Mom, Martha. My Dad had a massive stroke which paralyzed him on his right side. He was able to sit in his lift chair by a lift which he was lifted from his bed and pushed to the chair and lowered into a sitting position or more like a reclining position for the day. I lived a distance away and would travel to spend some time on the weekend with Daddy and Martha during the day and at night at my Mother’s house in the same town. I tell you this to get to the cooking greens theme of the message. How many of you have prepared greens to cook?

It is quite a job to “look over” the greens and then go through several washes to remove any sand, dirt, or any debris in them. There are several methods, but I can assure you, each method is still time consuming. There is usually meat to season them; although more and more people are using other seasonings for health reasons. Martha, barring all others, could cook greens better than any other person I have ever known. Her greens were so delicious I could eat them cold; that’s right, cold. She always fried pork chops and other great side dishes with the greens. This had to be a full day of preparation and do remember she was taking care of my Dad at the same time.

Now for the deeper thought…...She waited for me to smile at the first bite and it seemed to give her as much joy as it did me eating it or even more if that was possible. It was tiring for her but she made me feel so special when she cooked me greens. When my visit was through and they were telling me to be careful on my trip home and gave me my container of greens to go with me; I love them, cherished my time with them and I was so thankful for Martha’s sacrifice and love. She loved Daddy and she loved her family and that always included us. Great restaurants are so enjoyable; Martha’s greens were true love! God wants us to “cook greens” for others. I am using a metaphor as God wants us to do whatever we can to help others; make others feel special; be charitable; be loving and kind. Today and every day, may we borrow a little spirit from Martha who is in heaven with Daddy, and “cook up some greens” for someone we love or a stranger we don’t know but needs our help. (DEDICATED TO MARTHA THOMAS LOTT, our STEPMOTHER)
I have attempted to add health benefits when applicable and here is an excerpt from an article I found on the health benefits of greens (turnip greens, mustard greens and collards) If you go to the link, there are instructions on how to prepare. Enjoy some good eating:http://www.livestrong.com/article/85263-stay-eating-collard-mustard-/

How to Stay Healthy Eating Collard, Mustard & Turnip GreensLast Updated: Jul 10, 2015 | By Daryn EllerHow to Stay Healthy Eating Collard, Mustard & Turnip GreensTurnip greens growing in a field. Photo Credit Tom Brakefield/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Collard, mustard and turnip greens are vegetable royalty in the South—and for good reason. All three are in the cruciferous family of vegetables that the American Institute for Cancer Research reports might help defend against cancer. The three greens are also rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C, folate and iron. Collards, which taste like a cross between cabbage and kale, are especially high in calcium. Mustard and turnip greens have a sharper bite than collards and provide a nice dose of vitamin K, a nutrient important for bone health and blood clotting.
Paula Deen, the guru of Southern Cooking to many of us, knows how to put the hurt on a good pot of greens so I thought I would include a recipe from her on Food Network:

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Collard Greens Recipe by Paula Deen
You can go to the link and get the House Seasoning ingredients and enjoy some GREEN today.

(C) COPYRIGHT 2012-2019 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third Party Material is sourced to original location, if known, for credit reference.


CUPID WENT INTO WITNESS PROTECTION

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY to all! I thought I would get your attention with the heading. Let’s have some fun in the midst of all of the hoopla of hearts flying, gifts given, love showed and shared with lovers all over the world, but why did Cupid have to go into hiding? I had forgotten the story behind Cupid, have you? Here is the caption on google to jog our memories of how Cupid developed

Psyche is a princess so beautiful that the goddess Venus becomes jealous. In revenge, she instructs her son Cupid to make her fall in love with a hideous monster; but instead he falls in love with her himself.

10 JULY, 2015 – 03:59 RILEY WINTERS

The ancient fairy tale of Cupid and Psyche, where love endures against all odds

The mythological tale of Cupid and Psyche is one of the few Greek and Roman myths that has not fully become assimilated into modern consciousness. Though adapted somewhat into the better known “Beauty and the Beast”—first written by French author Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont as “La Belle et la Bête”—the correlation to the earlier ancient text is relatively unrecognized.  Cupid is often still portrayed as a chubby baby cherub with a fondness for arrows, and Psyche is still predominately unknown outside the psychological community –”psyche” means “soul” in ancient Greek and was subsequently utilized in the literature of psychologists.  However, in the ancient world, Cupid and Psyche’s love was well documented and appreciated among the literary scholars.  Despite that its original Greek form is now lost, the length of the text remains within Lucius Apuleius’ The Golden Ass , a side anecdote that—in many ways—overshadows the remainder of the novel.

Once upon a time…

Cupid and Psyche’s narrative begins as most modern fairy tales do: with a kingdom, a daughter with an insurmountable burden over her head, a trial, and a subsequent moral.  It is as follows: a king and queen give birth to three daughters, but only the third possesses unearthly beauty.  Apuleius’ text claimed that her beauty was so astounding the “poverty of language is unable to express its due praise.”  Rumors spread of this girl, Psyche’s, astounding loveliness, eventually reaching the ears of the Roman goddess Venus.  Angry that so many mortals were comparing Psyche’s beauty to her own—and in many ways claiming that the mortal surpassed her—Venus calls upon her son Cupid to demand that he use one of his arrows of desire to ensure Psyche fall in love with a human monster.

Obedient as always to his mother, Cupid then descends to the earthly plane to do as she wishes.  Yet he was so astonished himself by the mortal princess’ beauty that he mistakenly shot himself.  From that moment, Cupid was irrevocably in love with the princess.  Around this time, it became evident to her parents that Psyche’s attractiveness had angered the gods, as no mortal man would take her hand in marriage.  Imploring the temple of Apollo, they learn that Psyche is destined for a much worse fate than celibacy: “The virgin is destined for the bride of no mortal lover.  Her future husband awaits her on the top of the mountain.  He is a monster whom neither gods nor men can resist.”  Psyche, conscious of the mistakes of her mortal kingdom for praising her so highly, is content to follow the oracle’s advice

From the top of the highest cliff, dressed in funerary garbs, Psyche is swept away by the west wind, Zephyr.  She is brought to a striking valley, in the center of which stands a palace so magnificent it could not have been built by any hands other than the gods’.  Surrounded by luscious trees with a crystalline fountain at its heart, Psyche soon comes to the conclusion that this golden hall is her new home, further reiterated by the voice of her new husband echoing through the halls.  This faceless stranger begins to visit her in the night, every night, to make love to her in the darkness.  But despite his nighttime tenderness, Psyche is haunted by the oracle’s claim that he was a monster.h

Psyche's Wedding (Pre-Raphaelite, 1895) photo by Edward Burne-Jones

Psyche’s Wedding (Pre-Raphaelite, 1895) photo by Edward Burne-Jones Wikimedia Commons )

Psyche’s Betrayal

When allowing her two sisters to visit, they are jealous of her beautiful home and insist that Psyche’s husband really is a monster and she owes it to herself to find out.  So Psyche is convinced to break her husband’s only request of allowing his face to remain a secret and look upon him in the night.  In doing so, she damns their relationship.

A single drop of oil falls from the candle Psyche lights to gaze at his face, waking him, and Cupid, in all his majestic beauty, flees their home, distressed by her betrayal.   Distraught, Psyche goes in search of her husband, traveling for many days, until she comes to the temple of Ceres, the motherly goddess of grain. 

The Trials

Ceres instructs Psyche to surrender herself to Venus and take whatever ill will the goddess throws at her.  Obeying Ceres’ advice, Psyche is thus given three seemingly impossible tasks to complete. First, the princess has to separate the grains of Venus’ temple’s storehouse into piles of barley, millet, beans, etc. Second, Psyche has to steal golden wool from a herd of sheep; third and finally, Psyche is ordered to travel into the underworld and request from Queen Proserpina a little of her beauty to pass along to the goddess of love. This task, however, demands a further challenge: that Psyche keeps the box in which the beauty is placed tightly closed, for fear of terrible repercussions.

Unknown to Psyche, throughout these trails, Cupid is constantly at her aid.  He instructs ants to help her sort the grains; and then the river god offers her instructions of how to steal the prize fleece from the shepherd. Finally, Psyche is given divine advice on how to surpass the dangers of Hades.

Her failure—foretold by Venus herself—comes when Psyche, greatly upset by the trials she had to overcome, opens the box and is overcome by the Stygian sleep, a sleep so strong she is considered the living dead.  By that point, Cupid has had enough of his separation from his wife, and he flies to her rescue, lifting her sleeping form to the heavens, and pleading with the great god Jupiter to talk sense into his mother.  Venus lifts her terrible curse from the girl, and once Psyche is awake, she is transformed into an immortal, and is properly wed to the young god of desire.  (for the full article and photos you can go to: https://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends-europe/ancient-fairy-tale-cupid-and-psyche-where-love-endures-against-all-odds-003393

Note from blogger: As always, I have a deeper thought about love and life. When we read a myth, may we retrieve some thoughts to use in our lives. Out of the confusion, the betrayals, the trials, we can notice one consistency of Cupid. As the story unfolded, Cupid was constantly at her aid and made the effort to make her life and chores easier. Isn’t that what true love is all about? Also, this story confirms that we do not choose who we fall in love but when Cupid’s arrow is shot in the heart, life as we know it is changed forever. I made a remark about Cupid going into hiding but hopefully he is out and about today shooting love arrows into the hearts of many.

(C) Copyright 2012-2019 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material, including photos, if known is sourced to original location for credit reference.

Chocoholics, It Is That Time!

Calling all Chocoholics (Chocolate Lovers who might need intervention)! Valentines Day is coming soon so excuses are not needed as it is the reason for the season but WHY? Let us consider the pros and cons of downing the chocolate, milk, white, dark, or mixed with nuts, fillings, or whatever form we can get it. Is there a link to Love? Is it a feel good reason we have to have it. Today, we enter the river of flowing chocolate and get our mouths drooling. Here is an enlightening article I found giving us the psychological reasons and we already know the real reason is “we can’t live without it.”

Why Do We Crave Chocolate So Much?

Why Do We Crave Chocolate So Much?

The psychology behind why we love chocolate

Posted Feb 11, 2014

Source:Why do we crave chocolate so much? I consulted a professor of psychology and neuroscience, Dr. Amy Jo Stavnezer, to help us understand why we desire chocolate so much (just in time for Valentine’s Day!).

Dr. Albers: On a biological level, why do we crave chocolate?

Professor Stavnezer: We crave chocolate because it is good! It tastes good. It smells good. It feels good when it melts on our tongue. And all of those ‘feelings’ are the result of our brain releasing chemicals in response to each chocolate experience. The experience of eating chocolate results in feel good neurotransmitters (mainly dopamine) being released in particular brain regions (frontal lobe, hippocampus and hypothalamus—definitions a bit later).

Dopamine is released when you experience anything that you enjoy—sexlaughing, or watching your favorite Olympian claim the gold. This reward circuit is partially hard-wired by genetics, but it learns, changes and responds to your specific preferences based on your life experiences. This malleability of the brain is what makes each of us unique. In fact, there are supposedly people in the world who do not like chocolate.

By simply using one neurotransmitter system to associate rewards with actions, an efficient and powerful brain network evolved so that a positive outcome would be repeated. The dopamine signal sent through the reward circuit brings about positive feelings and assessments of the situation in the frontal lobe (just behind your eyes), creates a memory of the experience including where, who, what and why and links that to the positive experiences via the hippocampus (about an inch inside of each ear), and when food is involved, the hypothalamus (a few inches above the roof of your mouth) gathers information about the caloric and nutrient content for future hunger and satiety signals.

It was originally thought that chocolate contained compounds that could activate this dopamine system directly (like cigarettes and cocaine do). Chocolate does contain theobromine that can increase heart rate and bring about feelings of arousal, caffeine which can make us feel awake and increase our ability to work and focus, and fat and sugar which are preferred food sources for humans because they are calorie dense. However, elegant experiments in which the components of chocolate were separated out indicated that just ingesting the chemicals in chocolate without the mouth-feel and taste does not decrease craving.

Photo courtesy of goodhousekeeping.com

Maybe this is why we eat chocolate?


I found an excerpt from an article on the history of how chocolate became the ruler of Valentines Day. It is from National Geographic and is titled Why We Want Chocolate for Valentines Day

THE PLATE

Why We Want Chocolate for Valentine’s Day

3 MINUTE READBY APRIL FULTON

So how did chocolate become the ultimate Valentine’s Day treat?

The origins of the historic combination are far from clear. Chocolate has been considered an aphrodisiac since the time of the Aztecs, and was once only available to the wealthy. Spanish conquistadors brought it back to Europe, and according to The Oxford Companion to Food, Italian chefs were shaving blocks over their risottos in the late 17th century. The French made pastilles in the 18th century, a favorite of the marquis de Sade. But it wasn’t until the cocoa butter extracted from the beans was processed into the rough form of a candy bar in England in 1847, according to Cadbury, and later rounded out with milk, that its appeal began to grow. Once candy became cheaper to produce, more people got to taste it. And once they tasted it, well, you know the rest.

Meanwhile, the origins of Valentine’s Day are even more complex. They can be traced to Roman times and Lupercalia, a Pagan festival that involved fertility and feasting in mid-February. The Romans “were drunk. They were naked,” Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder, told NPR in 2011. Young women lined up for the men to hit them, Lenski says. They thought would make them fertile.

Not too romantic, was it? It gets crazier. The early Catholic Church martyred a rebel priest named Valentine and tried to take the nakedness out of the Lupercalia festival by declaring Feb. 14 as St. Valentine’s Day. Chaucer combined the essence of the pagan rituals with courtly ideas of love in one famous Valentine’s poem about bird sex: “And, Lord, the blisse and joye that they make! For ech of hem gan other in wynges take.” And then Shakespeare took the notion of romantic love even further in the sonnets.

Hopefully, this will get your Valentine craving for chocolate flowing and from this Sipping Cup of Inspiration blogger, Happy Valentines Day and now it is official, you have a natural reason for loving chocolate. My deeper thought is to LIVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE, AND LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST by digesting all that life has to offer as long as you add to other’s lives and not make their lives unhappy. Eat chocolate or don’t, but love always.

(C) Copyright 2012-2019 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material, if known, is sourced to original location for credit reference.