“If you like “Coconut” – – and want something quick and easy – – well…  try this  recipe  – – and let me know…  it you, too  – – like these?”





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“Quit Smoking”

Ways to Quit Smoking: Cold Turkey, Nicotine Replacement Therapy, and More

Ways to Quit Smoking: Cold Turkey, Nicotine Replacement Therapy, and More


You’re ready to kick the habit. That’s great!

There are different ways to quit smoking. Some work better than others. The best plan is the one you can stick with. Consider which of these would work for you:

1. Cold turkey (no outside help). About 90% of people who try to quit smoking do it without outside support — no aids, therapy, or medicine. Although most people try to quit this way, it’s not the most effective and successful method. Only between 4% to 7% are able to quit by going cold turkey alone.

2. Behavioral therapy. You’ll work with a counselor to find ways not to smoke. Together, you’ll find your triggers (such as emotions or situations that make you want to smoke) and make a plan to get through cravings.

3. Nicotine replacement therapy. Nicotine gum, patches, inhalers, sprays, and lozenges are nicotine replacement therapies. They work by giving you nicotine without using tobacco. You may be more likely to quit smoking if you use nicotine replacement therapy. If you’re younger than 18, you need to get your doctor’s permission to use it. This plan works best when you also get behavioral therapy and lots of support from friends and family.

4. Medicine. Some drugs, including Zyban and Chantix, are intended to help people quit smoking. Your doctor must prescribe these medications.

5. Combo treatments. saUsing a combination of treatment methods may raise your chances of quitting. For example, using both a nicotine patch and gum may be better than a patch alone. Other proven combos include behavioral therapy and nicotine replacement therapy, prescription medication with a nicotine patch, and nicotine patch and nicotine spray. The FDA has not yet approved using two types of nicotine replacement therapy at the me time, so be sure to talk with your doctor first to see if this is the right approach for you.

4 Rules for Quitting Smoking

1. Know your triggers and avoid them early on. Try to stay away from situations that normally make you feel like smoking, especially during the first 3 months. This is when you’re most likely to start smoking again.

2. Know that the first few days are the toughest. Especially if you’re quitting “cold turkey,” the first few days are the hardest. You’ll probably feel irritable, depressed, slow, and tired. Once you get past those first days, you’ll begin to feel normal (but still have cigarette cravings).

3. Don’t give in to your craving to smoke. Every time you don’t smoke when you have a craving, your chances of quitting successfully go up.

4. Try a new hobby with friends who don’t smoke. This makes success more likely.

When smoking is no longer something you do, it can change how you see yourself. As much as you want to quit smoking, you may be surprised to feel sad or miss it. That’s normal. Take care, though, if feeling sad usually makes you want to smoke.

How Hard Will It Be to Quit?

Everyone is different, and how tough it is depends on things such as:

  • The number of cigarettes you smoke daily
  • The number of people you spend time with who smoke (parents, friends, and co-workers)
  • The reasons why you smoke (such as to control your weight, to fit in, or during certain social situations)

Focus on the benefits. Within hours of stopping cigarettes, your body starts to recover from the effects of nicotine and additives. Your blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature — all of which are higher than they should be because of the nicotine in cigarettes — return to healthier levels. You can breathe easier. Poisonous carbon monoxide in your blood drops, so your blood can carry more oxygen.

No doubt about it: Quitting helps your whole body. It even helps your looks, as you’ll be less likely to get wrinkles when you’re still young. And you’ll save money, too.

Why Is Smoking So Addictive?

Blame nicotine, the main drug in tobacco, for your smoking addiction. Your brain quickly adapts to it and craves more and more to feel the way you used to feel with just one cigarette.

Over time, the brain learns to predict when you’re going to smoke a cigarette. You feel down and tired, so you think, “I need a cigarette,” and the cycle starts again.

It’s not just about brain chemistry. Certain situations make you want to smoke.

Everyone’s triggers are different. Yours might include the smell of cigarette smoke, having an ashtray next to you, seeing a carton of cigarettes at the store, having certain food or drinks, ending a good meal, or talking with someone with whom you normally smoke cigarettes. Sometimes just the way you feel (sad or happy) is a trigger. One of the biggest keys to quitting smoking is spotting the triggers that make you crave smoking and trying to avoid them.

What if I Start Smoking Again?

It’s called “relapse,” and it happens to a lot of people before they kick the habit for good.

Relapse is normal in strong addictions like smoking. If you relapse, try to smoke as little as possible until you’re ready to quit again. Stopping permanently is a process that might take some time. It’s worth it!

Reviewed by: Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on September 16, 2014.

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“Sweet potato chili with peanuts”



Sweet potato chili with peanuts

2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
1 1/2 cups unsalted roasted peanuts
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes in juice
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
2 cans (4 ounces each) diced mild green chiles with liquid
4 to 6 Tbsp. chili powder, to taste
1 Tbsp. ground cumin, to taste
1 Tbsp. sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

In a large, heavy pot, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and bell peppers and sauté, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes, until vegetables are golden. Add the garlic and sauté, stirring constantly for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Stir in the sweet potatoes, peanuts, tomatoes and juice, tomato paste, chiles and their liquid, chili powder, cumin and sugar.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low immediately and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 25 minutes until the sweet potatoes are just tender. Halfway through the cooking process, adjust the seasonings, adding more chili powder and cumin, if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Makes 10 servings.

Nutritional values per serving: 385 calories, 15 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 55 g carbohydrate, 11 g protein, 8 g dietary fiber, 409 mg sodium.

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“Wondering… WHAT???”

“For the last day of   “FEBRUARY – 2017″ – this message just may have some good information – – for those who need as extra … sense of  WONDER!”


On this day of your life
Mary Ellen, I believe God wants you to know…


..that fear in the face of the fearsome
is what makes the fearsome fearsome.

Yet faith in the face of the fearsome removes the fear,
and turns the fearsome handsome. I mean, that which is fearsome
can actually be good looking, if we are good
at looking at it in a new way.
This takes a change of mind. It takes a new perspective.
It takes a sense of wonder in life and an awareness
that life itself is working with us, not against us at any level.
Or to put it in somewhat more spiritual terms,
God is always on our side.
The process of Mastery, then, is one of acceptance.
It is a quiet embracing of what is. It is a non-resistance.
It is a gentle walking into the moment, knowing that it holds for us,
always, what is best for us all ways. Do you believe this?
Then it is true.
Love, your Friend …

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“Recipe: Warming Beans and Greens Soup”

This soup is seasonal, satisfying and the definition of comfort food.

by Holly Lebowitz Rossi | Feb 24, 2017

Recipe: Warming Beans and Greens Soup


Several years ago, I visited a homeopath who had me inhale a number of scents and tell her which felt the most comforting and relaxing. To my surprise, it wasn’t some obscure herb, but garden thyme that spoke most profoundly to my soul. I love the earthy aroma of thyme, which is featured in one of my favorite winter soup-for-supper recipes.

More Great Recipes from Better Living

This soup is nutritious, filling, versatile (substitute any greens or other veggies you like), easy to make, inexpensive, and—a requirement for any winter recipe in my house—makes the house smell warm and wonderful. Enjoy on its own, or accompanied by some warm, crusty bread for dipping.


Beans and Greens Soup

Serves 4


  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme leaves, separated
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped (optional)
  • 32 oz. reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (with juice)
  • 1 bunch winter greens (kale, chard, or collards), washed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 lemon
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)




In a heavy-bottomed stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sprinkle with 1 tsp of the thyme and a generous pinch of kosher salt. Sauté, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until the onions begin to brown (the more color on the onions, the more flavor your soup will have!). Add the garlic and stir for an additional 30 seconds.

Add the carrots, if using, and sauté for 1-2 minutes to coat with oil. Add the chicken broth, cannellini beans, tomatoes, and second tsp. of thyme. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil.

Add the chopped greens, cover the pot, and lower the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the greens are tender. Squeeze the lemon into the pot, then taste and adjust seasoning with additional salt and black pepper.

Serve in deep bowls, topped with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

My note – – “If only I knew  – – that beans were so good for the “body” – – I would have been eating more delicious recipes like the above – – this is truly getting your daily  “Vitamins” – so fresh and so good!”

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“Inspiration … from Guideposts Newsletters”

10 Weight Loss Tips That Work


Roberta Messner shares how she lost almost 100 pounds–and kept the weight off!

How did it ever come to this? I wondered aloud.  I’m 55 years old and shopping for a scooter to help me get around! I was distraught by how I’d let my joints get so bad, carrying all of this extra weight, but I knew I needed that scooter, so I swallowed my despair and ordered a red one. Might as well have one that matches my nails and purse, I decided.

That’s when my doctor remarked that if I lost some weight I might be able to avoid that scooter.  But I needed to lose nearly a hundred pounds.  I’d tried every crash diet and none of them seemed to work—not for long, anyway.  And I really never lost that much weight on any of them.

I mentioned this to my sister-in-law Ellen and she insisted that if I was really serious about this weight loss thing, she would be my cheerleader.  Ellen has incredible energy and passion so, embarrassed as I was, I decided to take her up on it.  My progress was slow-I only lost 45 pounds in the first year-but I lost an amazing 94 pounds by the end of the second year.    Here are some of Ellen’s favorite tips that helped me keep the weight off for go for good:

(1) When starting out, change only one habit at a time.  After reviewing my habits, Ellen remarked that it was when I was eating that was more of a problem than the amount of food I consumed.  So the first habit I changed was not eating anything after 6 p.m. Three weeks later, I had lost three whole pounds!  I couldn’t believe it. 

2) Be patient and appreciate small changes.   Starting small was the answer for me. I’ve seen people who go on radical diets and might lose 5 pounds in one week, not three pounds in 3 weeks. Don’t let slow weight loss discourage you. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, changing your habits for the long haul makes a difference. So be patient and stick to your plan.  (It’s amazing to contemplate, but eliminating only one can of pop a day can result in a 25 pound weight loss in a year.) 

3) When weight loss stops, change another habit.  When I hit a standstill, Ellen had me replace my two daily soda pops (260 calories each or 520 calories) with bottles of water and cut down on bread. (I’d eat my evening grilled cheese sandwich with only one slice.)  In a week, I’d lost another pound. Then another and another. My blood pressure dropped 20 points and I was down a dress size by the end of a month, my joints weren’t so sore, and I was moving more. This was incredible for me.  I followed these habit changes again until I stopped losing. Then I added a new habit change. I didn’t give up on the old change, I just added another one. This time I swapped yogurt for a candy bar until once more I didn’t see the numbers change on the scales. Ellen promised that sooner or later, the weight would come off because I was consuming fewer calories, eating the right things, and walking more.  It was simple science.

4) Toss out your fat clothes for good.  As I saw those numbers change, I got rid of elastic-waist slacks and too-loose skirts and replaced them with chic clothes from the consignment store in town. As I lost, I kept trading up, or should I say down.  I discovered another fabulous life strategy:  Shop the bargains at consignment stores to put your wallet on a diet too. Many of their offerings are new or nearly new.

5) Eat what you want–in small amounts.  I didn’t deprive myself of anything while on Ellen’s plan. If I was at a birthday party, I allowed myself a few bites of cake. That kept me from feeling different from the people around me, which had plagued me on other crash diet plans.

6) Journal your intake.  This made me more accountable and helped me to understand food and drink issues that were interfering with my success at weight loss.

7) Find an exercise you love.  I couldn’t exercise in the beginning because of mobility issues, but after I’d lost 20 pounds, I discovered my back pain was less of an issue. So I phased in walking, an activity I enjoy that also sparks my creativity, as a writer.

8) Engage a weight loss buddy.  At work, Rita was trying to shed a few pounds too. Whenever I’d hit a plateau, the two of us kept each other encouraged in the heat of the workday. We also shared healthy food choices when eating out.

9) Substitute fruit for fruit juice and stock up on low-calorie favorites   Apples and oranges have more fiber than their juice counterparts and increase your feeling of fullness too. If you’ve got low-calorie snacks you like at home, this will keep you from going out to eat for snacks which contained more sugar and fat. By doing this, I also decreased my bread consumption by 75%.

10) Use a smaller plate.  I love antique red transferware so I used a red transferware dessert plate for meals instead of a standard plate. I found I ate much less and enjoyed the experience of eating much more.

Eight years later, I’m down more than 90 pounds. And that scooter? Mysteriously, it never arrived. The medical equipment store says my order somehow got canceled. I say God intervened so I would experience Ellen’s painless, life-changing plan.


 by…         Roberta Messner

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