What If Wednesday: The Real Christmas Spirit?

Holy Night, Christmas, Savior is Born, Wise Men

What if people truly observed and celebrated what they exclaim the spirit of Christmas is all about? Would wars cease and there be peace? Would there be more love instead of hate? Would we really feel better to give more than we receive? What if?

#WhatIfWednesday

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Poetry for Today: A Birthday Haiku Party

Happy Birthday

I love celebrating my birthday whether by myself or with others. I am grateful each year I live to see one. Recently I saw a survey asking pollers whether celebrating their birthday is important to them. While I understand that certain religions or cultures do not necessarily embrace such celebrations, I am blessed that I do.

Interestingly the results of that poll showed 31% said that they really didn’t care about their birthday and that it was just another day for them. I couldn’t even imagine that, but that’s just me. Do you celebrate your birthday? For those of you who do, here’s a birthday haiku for you!

A Birthday Haiku Party

My celebration
birthday cake with frosting too
each year I’m grateful

remembering life
blowing candles in the wind
for this gift from Thee

so, on this born day
balloons adrift in the sky
I raise a toast high.

Celebrating National Rice Month with Mexican Rice

Mexican Rice, Rice, National Rice Month, Grains, Food Porn Friday

Image credit: Food.com

As a native Charlestonian, rice has always been our main sustainable staple for most of our dishes. As we come to the close of celebrating National Rice Month, we honor our U.S. rice farmers by featuring this tiny grain in a recipe for Easy Mexican Rice courtesy of Food.com. What’s your favorite rice dish? Bon Appetit!

Easy Mexican Rice
Ready in 25 minutes

Ingredients
SERVINGS 5

1⁄4-1⁄3 cup finely chopped onion
2 -3 tablespoons olive oil (or bacon drippings)
1 1⁄4 cups parboiled long-grain rice
1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1⁄4 teaspoon cumin
1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt

Directions
– Over medium-high heat, sauté onion in olive oil until tender; add rice and continue sautéing for 3-5 minutes until rice becomes opaque.
– Add chicken broth, tomato sauce, and seasonings; bring to boil then reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20-25 minutes until rice is cooked.
– Remove pan from heat; let stand covered for 5 minutes until liquid is absorbed; fluff with fork and serve.
Note: My best ever success with this recipe was achieved using bacon drippings for sautéing, rounded measuring scoops of rice, and only a half can (4 ounces) of tomato sauce with water added to almost fill the can.

Be sure to check out the National Rice Month Scholarship Contest sponsored by Think Rice. Entries must be received by October 31, 2017.  For more information about this contest, click here for further details.

Happy #NationalRiceMonth on #FoodPornFriday

Fiestas Patrias, Chile’s Independence Day Celebration

Ah, the jubilation, liberation, and celebration of declaring independence. Such declaration for change is of great historical significance for generations to commemorate in years to come.

Fiestas Patrias is a Spanish phrase meaning “Patriotic Holidays” or “National Holidays”. Although in Mexico it refers to a set of Mexican holidays, in Chile it means the Independence Day celebration of Chile. This celebration lasts for two days, September 18-19.

Fiestas Patrias is often referred to as the Dieciocho, or “18th” within Chile. This holiday in Chile commemorates the proclamation of the First Governing Body of 1810 beginning on September 18. On September 19 the day is known as the “Day of the Glories of the Army”.

Independence Day in many cultures is observed with great festivities to honor this momentous occasion. In Chilean culture, traditional activities associated with the Dieciocho include Chilean rodeo, dancing the cueca (a family of musical styles and associated dances from Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia), going to fondas (places that sell food and beverages during the Fiestas Patrias), and barbecue.

#HappyFiestasPatrias

Seduce Your Keys During National Piano Month

National Piano Month, Music, Piano, Keyboards

Image credit: Kai Stachowiak

Ludwig van Beethoven stroked them, Frédéric Chopin seduced them, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart tantalized them, Arthur Rubinstein caressed them, Ray Charles soulized them, Elton John rocked them, Alicia Keys set them on fire, Liberace dazzled them, and Yuja Wang fashioned them. The piano, an acoustic, stringed musical instrument invented in Italy by Bartolomeo Cristofori around the year 1700, in which the strings are struck by hammers, is played using a keyboard. Accomplished pianists and musicians use the piano or electronic keyboards to electrify their audience’s musical appetite.

Seduce those piano keys with the strokes of sweet seductive harmony as we celebrate National Piano Month throughout the month of September. Whether you’re a concert pianist or electronic keyboardist light up your keyboards by celebrating all things piano. So tune up those Midnight Onyx and Pearly Ivory keys and make sweet melodies with each stroke of entertaining musical delight.

Love is like playing the piano. First you must learn to play by the rules, then you must forget the rules and play from your heart. -Unknown

Celebrating Buwan Ng Wika with Chicken Adobo

In the Philippines, throughout the month of August, Buwan Ng Wika is celebrated to promote their national language. One of the most recognized and authentic Filipino foods is Chicken Adobo. Braised in vinegar and soy sauce with lots of garlic this stewed chicken dish is marinated overnight and slow cooked.

Check out this easy Chicken Adobo Recipe from the kitchen of Panlasang Pinoy.
 
Prep time
60 mins
Cook time
45 mins
Total time
1 hour 45 mins
 
This is a basic Filipino Chicken Adobo Recipe. It makes use of simple adobo ingredients such as soy sauce, vinegar, dried bay leaves and whole peppercorn.
Author: Vanjo Merano
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Filipino
Serves: 4
Ingredients:
  • 2 lbs. chicken, cut into serving pieces
  • 3 pieces dried bay leaves
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 to 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup cooking oil
  • ½ tablespoon white sugar
  • Salt and whole peppercorn
Instructions:
  1. In a large container, combine the soy sauce and garlic then marinade the chicken for at least 1 to 3 hours
  2. Place the cooking oil in a pan and apply heat
  3. When the oil is hot enough, put-in the marinated chicken. Cook all the sides for about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour-in the remaining marinade and add water. Bring to a boil
  5. Add the dried bay leaves and whole peppercorn. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the chicken is tender
  6. Add vinegar. Stir and cook for 10 minutes.
  7. Put-in the sugar, and salt. Stir and turn the heat off.
  8. Serve hot. Share and Enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 4 Calories: 450
#HappyFoodPornFriday #HappyBuwanNgWika #BonAppetit

The Art of Arts

American Artist Appreciation Month, Art, Painting, Sculpting

Image credit: Lynn Greyling

Uncontained imagination, impressionism, and creativity through visualization, emotion and human behavior is the world of art we live in. Did you know that August is American Artist Appreciation Month?

American Artist Appreciation Month, Art

Image Credit: Fran Hogan

Who is your favorite famous American artist? Ansel Adams? Norman Rockwell? Romare Bearden? John Trumbull? Alma Thomas? Nam June Paik? Robert Rauschenberg? Frederic Remington? Lee Krasner? Andy Warhol? Jacob Lawrence? Helen Frankenthaler?

Caricaturist, American Artist Appreciation Month, Art

Image Credit: Richard Revel

The aesthetics of artistry and design include Postmodernism, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Pop Art, Abstract Expressionism, and Cubism through painting, pottery or performance art.

Pottery, art, American Artist Appreciation Month

Image Credit: Lubos Houska

Although we immediately think about a painter or sculptor when we mention the word artist, the scope of this genre is divided into many performance categories, such as music, dancing, acting.

Art, Performance art, American Artist Appreciation Month

Image Credit: Michael Drummond

So our hats, brushes, and paints off to everyone fitting under the umbrella of artist, as we celebrate American Artist Appreciation Month.

American Artist Appreciation Month, Art

Image Credit: Peter Griffin