Spring is here and before you know it, we will soon be consumed with the heat of summer. As we know the sun and heat is treacherous to our skin. So now’s a good time to start a good skin care regimen, if you haven’t already done so. Click the post title for a great article about protecting your skin. I must admit, I’m not dedicated to my skin care regimen. I’d always been under the assumption that since I’m dark skinned I don’t need to worry about the sun affecting my skin. But after reading up more about skincare, I now know that regardless of our race or skin tone, we all need to protect our skin from the sun’s harsh effects. I’m vowing to take the few extra minutes each morning and night to protect my skin. I mean, I’m not getting any younger and wrinkles don’t discriminate!
Spring is here and before you know it, we will soon be consumed with the heat of summer. As we know the sun and heat is treacherous to our skin. So now’s a good time to start a good skin care regimen, if you haven’t already done so. Click the link to this post for a great article about protecting your skin. I must admit, I’m not dedicated to my skin care regimen. I’d always been under the assumption that since I’m dark skinned I don’t need to worry about the sun affecting my skin. But after reading up more about skincare, I now know that regardless of our race or skin tone, we all need to protect our skin from the sun’s harsh effects. I’m vowing to take the few extra minutes each morning and night to protect my skin. I mean, I’m not getting any younger and wrinkles don’t discriminate!
Did You Know – Today is Earth Day April 22, 2008
Today is Earth Day, that is here in the northern hemisphere. (Earth Day is celebrated during Autumn in the southern hemisphere.)
A little history about Earth Day
* Earth Day was started by John McConnell in 1969. Global observance was started by Gaylord Nelson in 1970.
* Earth Day was started in an effort to inspire awareness of and appreciate the Earth’s envrionment.
* April 22 is the official Earth Day observance across the United States.
* Day on April 22 in 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide.
* Many cities extend the Earth Day celebration to be an entire week, usually starting on April 16, and ending on Earth Day, April 22nd.
(The Ecology Flag. According to Flags of the World, the Ecology Flag was created by cartoonist Ron Cobb, and was published for the first time in October 25, 1969. The flag was patterned after the flag of the United States, and had thirteen stripes alternating green and white. Its canton was green with a yellow Theta. It originally had a symbol that was a combination of the letters “E” and “O” taken from the words “Environment” and “Organism”, respectively. Later flags used either a Theta because of its historic use as a warning symbol, or the Peace Symbol. Theta would later become associated with Earth Day.
In my quest to be more domesticated, I’ve decided to try my hand at baking homemade bread. I found a recipe that’s seems to be pretty simple, so I decided to share and post two Recipes of the Week for this week, in case any of you (as if anyone is actually reading this blog, but anyway) get the baking bug as well. Get the kids involved for a some fun, family quality time. Good luck and happy baking!
The World’s Simplest Bread Dough
Prep Time: approximately 30-40 minutes (does not include allowing bread to rise. This takes about 1-2 hours and then another 45 minutes before baking.)
Bake Time: 45 minutes
Yields: 2 loaves
2 cups warm water (for a tender, brown crust use 1/2 cup warm water and 1 1/2 cups warm milk)
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
5 1/2 – 6 cups all purpose or whole wheat flour, or a combination
2 tsp salt
1. The key to activating yeast is to find the right water temperature. (Think warm bathwater. If it feels warm on the wrist, but not hot, it’s ready to pour in the bowl.)
2. Add the yeast. (I heard that this stuff smells!)
3. Measure the sugar into the bowl. (Sugar helps make the yeast grow/rise.)
4. Whisk until the sugar and yeast are dissolved.
5. Measure 2 cups of flour into the bowl. To get an exact measurement, spoon the floor into the measuring cup and level with a knife.
6. Whisk the mixture well, then let it “proof”, or sit for 10 minutes. If tiny bubbles appear and the batter looks slightly expanded, you’re on the right track.
7. Stir in the salf, then add the remaining flour, 1 cup at a time. (This can get messy, so if kids are helping you and aren’t up to the challenge, you might want to take over here.)
8. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured countertop.
9. To knead, fold the dough in half and push it down and away with the heel of your hand. Rotate the dough and repeat until it is smooth and elastic. (Kneading can take up to 10 minutes.)
10. Place the ball dough in a bowl that’s been greased with vegetable oil and turn to coat.
11. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap (might want to secure with a rubber band or something) and let the dough rise in a draft-free area for 1-2 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
12. Punch the dough (kids will think this is fun!)
13. Knead it again to remove air bubbles, then shape and follow the baking directions below.
The No-Frills Loaf
1/2 recipe of The World’s Simplest Bread Dough – above (1/2 of the recipie makes one loaf. For 2 loaves, use all of the dough.)
Butter or margarine
1. Roll the dough into a rectangle and fold it into thirds like a letter. Turn the ends under adn place the dough, seam side down, in a greased loaf pan.
2. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and let it rise again for about 45 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees adn bake the bread for 30 minutes.
4. Remove the bread from the oven; if the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped, it’s done.
5. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
6. Rub with butter or margarine for a shiny finish and enjoy a warm slice. When cool, wrap the remaining loaf tightly in plastic.
Add an egg wash to your loaves of bread by brushing them with an egg wash just before putting them in the over. To make an egg wash, whisk one egg with 1 tablespoon of water. Use a pastry brush to carefully cover the surface of the bread (be gentle so the risen loaf won’t fall.)
This is our menu for the upcoming week.
Sunday: Meatloaf, Baked Sweet Potatoes, Cabbage, Hot Water Cornbread, Cheesecake
Tuesday: Grilled Burgers with trimmings, Baked Fries, Fruit
Wednesday: Grilled Pork Chops, Rice, Green Beans, Homemade Biscuits
Thursday: Hamburger Helper or Baked Ziti, Garlic Bread, Salad
Friday: Frito Pie with cheese
Grocery List for the week:
graham cracker crust
active dry yeast
I thought I’d try this one for hubby. He likes this kind of thing. So if you like sweet and spicy, here you go! Enjoy!
Hot Popcorn and Sweet Peanuts
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
1 sack microwave low fat popcorn, cooked to directions
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 cup honey roasted peanuts
Pour popcorn into a bowl. Place butter in a small ramekin with garlic cloves, chili powder, and hot sauce and melt in microwave on high, 15 to 20 seconds. Drizzle hot and spicy butter over the popcorn and season with salt, to taste. Add honey peanuts to popcorn and eat!
One goal that my husband and I have is to become debt-free. One of the biggest things we want to accomplish is building our savings to cover our income for 3 months. I stumbled upon Dave Ramsey’s website by accident and found some interesting information about investing. If you are interested in starting a nestegg for your family, here are a few good tips from Dave to get you start! Click the title of this post if you’d like more tips about saving and investing.
Baby Steps: Don’t start investing prior to completing Baby Step 3.
$1,000 to start an emergency fund.
Pay off all debt using the debt snowball.
3-6 months of expenses in savings.
Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement.
College funding for children.
Pay off home early.
Build wealth and give! Continue to invest in mutual funds and real estate.
Investing For Those Just Getting Started:
Be sure you have completed the first 3 Baby Steps.
Begin by doing pre-tax savings in (401k, 403b, TSP, Traditional IRA) and tax-free savings (Roth IRA, Roth 401k)
NOTE: If you receive a match in your (401k, 403b, TSP), invest here first up to the match. Then, fully fund a Roth IRA for you (and your spouse, if married). Then, come back to the (401k, 403b, TSP).
If you are still on Baby Steps 1-3, be patient; put off investing for now. Avoiding a crisis with a fully funded emergency fund and paying off high-interest debts is a fantastic investment!
Courtesy of Dave Ramsey