December 5 is the Day of the Ninja, a day to honor and celebrate the sneaky and stealthy masked warriors in black garb from ancient Japan.
Legend has it that this unofficial holiday was created in 2003 to commemorate the release of Tom Cruise’s movie, The Last Samurai. We loved this movie!
Ninjas were professional spies in Japan. Active between the 13th and the 19th century, a ninja’s job included infiltration, sabotage, espionage, and even assassination.
While popular culture is full of stories about ninjas, usually featured as cunning, secretive, brave, and skillful fighters, there are very few historical accounts of them. Historians believe that in the Japanese society ninjas were not considered to be part of an elite class of fighters – that place was reserved for the samurais. Because of this, ninjas were often recruited to do unsavory tasks like arson and terrorism.
Did Not Dress in Black
In those days, a ninja, also known as a shinobi, did not wear the all black outfit ninjas are depicted wearing today in films, TV shows, and comic books. After all, one of the main tasks of a ninja as a spy was to infiltrate by blending into his surroundings. They would often dress as the locals to do their job.
The secrecy surrounding ninjas led to the rise of legends about their skills and powers – something that has now become a part of popular culture. Modern day depictions of ninjas show them having superhuman powers such as invisibility, ability to walk on water and shape shift.
How to Celebrate?
- Watch ninja movies or have a Teenage Mutant Ninja marathon.
- Have a ninja themed party. Everyone dresses like a ninja.
- Go to work dressed as a ninja and sneak up on your coworkers and friends.
Did You Know…
…that contrary to popular belief, ninjas were not all men? Women ninjas were known as Kunoichi.
We like the blender set so much this is on our Christmas list.Mary B.
I have a short cut I’ve used for years. I worked in retail for almost 20 years. Due to health issues I can ignore Black Friday.
While having to get up for work at 1am…no that’s not a typo. Get up at 1am be at my store by 3am. While I do not miss those schedules I learned some tricks that I still use when cooking Thanksgiving dinner. The biggest one hear is how much work it takes and spending all day in the kitchen. So with that in mind here are my turkey tricks
If doing a whole turkey, even for just a few do the bigger on. The work to cook a bird big or small is about the same. 10lbs or 22lbs, you still have to defrost, clean, baste, roast, etc. So do the bigger bird and make it worth your time. Turkey’s go on great sales and leftovers and 3 or more meals is a great investment of your time and money.
Just you 2? If your staying in and still want that traditional turkey? Try a turkey breast. Bone in or a Butterball Turkey breast roast are great alternatives. We like the roasts with both white and dark meat. You can cook traditionally in the oven, but a great time saver is your crockpot. You can add broth and water to keep it moist. Put it in the night before and you’re done. You can even toss potatoes and veggies in too. We do this other times of the year too.
Set it and forget the basting, constant lifting, turning it over… On low with plenty of broth makes it almost fool proof.
With the fall season change, we get cooler temperatures and football. We also get cold and flu season. At some point in your life, I’ll bet you’ve heard chicken soup is the popular choice when a cold or flu comes home with you. Turns out there are health benefits to this comfort food that can help you recover. I recommend making your own and stocking it in the freezer. As my husband is both diabetic and on a low salt diet, it’s easier to control the ingredients. It’s great on a just a winter evening or battling a bug. So here is my favorite recipe.AmazonBasics Enameled Cast Iron Covered Dutch Oven, 6-Quart, Blue
Homemade Chicken Soup
2-3 lbs chicken breasts or thighs
2 tsp olive oil
3 Tbsp fresh minced garlic
3 tsp grated ginger
1 medium onion diced
1 cup diced fresh carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp black pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes if desired.
2 cups uncooked egg noodles (use low carb options here if prefer)
Optional ingredients are 1 cup mushrooms, 16 oz fresh spinach, 2 cleaned and chopped leeks, 2 tsp turmeric, and 16 oz white beans. I only add some or all if making a more hearty main dish. Stick with less if using for cold and flu.
- Cut chicken into 1/2 inch cubes. In a Dutch oven add 2 tsp olive oil and chopped chicken.
- Cook over medium-high heat until chicken is seared. (I like mine golden color for flavor).
- Add onions, garlic, and ginger. Reduce heat to medium.
- Add carrots, Italian seasoning, celery, and both black pepper and red pepper flakes if desired.
- Cook about 10 minutes stirring frequently.
- Add chicken broth. Reduce heat to low and cover.
- Simmer on low heat for about 30 – 45 minutes until carrots are tender.
- Add cooked pasta. Cover. Let simmer 10 minutes.
October 12 is Old Farmers Day, a day devoted to old farmers and their farming techniques.
Agriculture and farming today is largely mechanized and very scientific, but these developments would not have been possible without the wisdom and hard work of old farmers. This day gives them thanks. Listen to them and to their stories, and to learn from them and their techniques.
While the origins of the holiday are unknown, Old Farmers Day is celebrated by many as a throwback to sustainable and farm-to-table farming practices of the old days.
Varied Culture and History
Farming and agriculture have a long and varied history in every culture. Despite the differences on what is grown, how farming is done and what materials are used, one thing remains common to all agricultural societies – the farmer. Farmers are the lifeline of agriculture – they tend to the agricultural product from the time of sowing to the time it reaches the market. It is because of hardworking farmers around the world, that most of us have food on our tables every day.
How to Celebrate?
- Learn about old farming techniques.
- If you own a farm, farm today using old farmers tools.
- If you have an old farmer in your life, take them out for lunch and listen to their stories and ask for their wisdom.
- Not a farmer? That shouldn’t stop you from celebrating this fun holiday. Visit your local farmer’s market and patronize your local farms. Buy only locally grown food and locally raised meat. Get involved in your local farm-to-table movement.
- Start your own garden, like an indoor herb garden. Or plan a vegetable garden outside.
Did You Know…
…that according to scientists, almost 40% of the Earth’s land is used for agricultural purposes?
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 pkg taco seasoning
- 1/4 c water
- 1/4 medium onion diced
- 1/4 medium green bell pepper diced
- 1 – 2 tomatoes chopped
- 1/2 head iceberg lettuce chopped
- 1 pkg flour tortillas
- 1 pint sour cream 1 8oz jar of your favorite salsa.
- Cheddar or Mexican blend shredded chesse
- Brown fround beef over medium heat. Add pkg taco season and 1/4 c water. Cook another 5-7 minutes allowing water to evaporate.
- Cut all vegetable toppings and place in separate bowls.
- Open pkg of tortillas and warm for 1 minutes microwave.
- Leave spoons in each ingredient to add to tortillas.In our home each person layers the ingredients on the tortilla as they like it. (I like mine full of equal parts veggies and meat. Topped generously with salsa and sour cream. If available I enjoy a bit of guacamole as well.)
- If you fill tortilla to full, you will need a fork and plenty of napkins.
- Roll tortilla tucking ends as you go. They are less likely to break or tear if warmed.
- Enjoy. We eat holding bottom firmly in place. Be cautious when setting down or they can unroll.
- Juices may leak from seams so keep a napkin close by.
by Mission Foods
These are an easy substitute to go low carb or keto.
There are so many options you can use with this basic idea. Substitute chicken, fish or steak, for ground beef. Avocado, refried beans, black beans, corn salsa, rice, cabbage. Any kind of cheese you like. Or use tortilla chips, top and warn for ultimate loaded nachos. Skip the tortillas entirely and add more lettuce for a great salad option. These make a great party food as well. Try some until you find your favorite. Try a new variation for Cinco de Mayo, or make it a game day treat. It’s really fun to try them all.
3 chicken breasts
1 pint mushrooms (sliced if available)
1/2 medium onion
4 Tbsp Butter
Cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup milk or heavy cream
3 – 5 Tbsp flour to thicken sauce
1 cup white wine (we like a good pinot gregio. Usually have a glass with this dinner.)Circulon Radiance Hard-Anodized Nonstick Covered Deep Skillet, 12-Inch, Gray
- Pound chicken into 1/4 in thick.
- Add butter to medium skillet and heat on medium-high.
- Sear chicken to golden color. Set aside.
- Add 2 tbsp more butter to the pan.
- Add chopped mushrooms and onions. Cook until onions are translucent. About 7 minutes.
- Add Tbsps flour to butter until thick paste forms.
- Add white wine and cream soup. Stir until well combined and thickens.
- Layer chicken with swiss cheese then mushrooms and onion sauce mixture.
- Serve warm.
This mixture is really good as skillet dinner. I like a good wild rice blend or egg noodles with it. For an extra easy treat, you can make it as a casserole with noodles or rice. For low-carb and keto, switch the rice to riced cauliflower. Just cook chicken thoroughly before adding other ingredients. Save cheese till the last 5 minutes of baking. Add a green vegetable like spinach, asparagus, green beans, brussel sprout halves, or broccoli. We like broccoli, to have a great all in one dish dinner. If recognizing, or feeding a crowd use chicken thighs and cut into bite-size pieces.
Pyrex Easy Grab Glass Bakeware and Food Storage Set (8-Piece, BPA-free)
Ingredients2 lbs sirloin steak sliced ultra thin
2 medium bell peppers
1/2 onion cut into strips
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 cup beef broth
4 cups cooked rice
2 tsp olive oil
2 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in waterCalphalon Contemporary Hard-Anodized Aluminum Nonstick Cookware, Deep Skillet, 13-inch, Black
- Once steak and veggies are sliced heat medium skillet on medium-high heat.
- Add steak. Cook 3 – 5 minutes.
- Add peppers and onions. Cook 2 minutes.
- Add soy sauce and beef broth.
- Add cornstarch and reduce heat to low.
- When sauce thickens serve warm or cool and freeze for an easy weeknight meal. We serve over rice. Or cauliflower rice for a low carb, keto, option.