Monday, March 26, 2012


Welcome to the third day of the
In this delightful forty-six page book Shelby Squirrel learns to rethink, reuse, and recycle our Earth’s precious resources. She meets a distressed, homeless bluebird in need of a friend. See how Shelby uses her newfound knowledge to bring singing back to the forest.

Celebrate Earth Day and join me in exploring what squirrels eat. After all, Shelby must stay strong to make an impact and do her part in saving the earth.
Squirrels eat almost anything but they certainly have preferences. They prefer fruit, nuts, insects and fungi.

In the fall squirrels eat more than usual to get fat, which provides both warmth and energy.

Squirrels have a strong sense of smell and can dig out their stored foods from beneath snow drifts. They don’t find all the nuts they bury, so in the spring new trees sprout up. Therefore, in addition to being cute and fun to watch and an introduction to interest children in wildlife, squirrels help spread new trees, which is an important ecological benefit. Thank you squirrels.

Squirrels are primarily vegetarians but when times get tough they will eat bird eggs and snails. They never eat anything bigger than themselves so coyotes and wolves are safe.

Here’s a dish you and Shelby Squirrel would love to eat. It has nuts and mushrooms in a flavorful vegetarian meatloaf. It is so tasty that you will not miss the meat. Shelby wouldn’t.

Recipe from Vegetarian Kitchen by Sarah Brown

Cashew Mushroom Loaf Recipe                               serves 6-8


1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed

8 ounces cashew nuts
4 ounces fresh bread crumbs

3 medium parsnips, cooked and mashed
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast (optional)
1/2 cup hot water
Salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons butter
8 ounces mushrooms, chopped


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

  • Heat the oil and fry the onion and garlic until soft. Grind the cashew nuts, then mix with the breadcrumbs.

  • Mix in the mashed parsnips, rosemary, and thyme. Add the onion, being sure to scrape all the juices into the mixture.

  • Dissolve the yeast in the water and mix into the vegetable nut mixture. Season well.

  • Melt the butter in a skillet and fry the chopped mushrooms until soft. Grease a 2-pound loaf pan, then press in half the nut mixture. Cover with a layer of mushrooms and top with the rest of the nut mixture.

  • Press down well. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. When cooked, remove the pan and let stand for 10 minutes before turning onto a plate.
  •  Serve hot or cold. Slice loaf to serve. Serve with vegetables or a crisp green salad.

    Yield: 6 to 8 servings depending on how you slice it. But no matter how you slice it you have some good groceries here, Shelby would love it too.

    Trouble on Earth Day Book Tour

Celebrate Earth Day with Pictures First day of book tour for Trouble on Earth Day
Visit third day of Trouble on Earth Day Book Tour:
Trouble on Earth Day is available at a discounted price on my blog: and through Amazon, B & N, and other online stores.
Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep is available through the publisher, and through Amazon, B & N, and other online stores.

As a freelance writer and ghostwriter, Kathy Stemke has published over one hundred of articles in directories, magazines and on websites. She is a reviewer for Sylvan Dell Publishing and a former editor for The National Writing for Children Center. As a retired teacher, Kathy has several activities published with Gryphon House Publishing. Stemke is also part of the team at DKV Writing 4 U, a writing services company that includes ghostwriting, copywriting, editing, proofreading, critiquing, and resumes.
Award winning author, Kathy Stemke’s first children’s picture book, Moving Through All Seven Days, was published on Lulu. Her next two picture books, Sh, Sh, Sh Let the Baby Sleep, and Trouble on Earth Day were released in 2011. Both of these books have been awarded the Children’s Literary Classics Seal of Approval.  Visit her book blog at
Mrs.Stemke offers great teaching tips and children’s book reviews as well as a monthly newsletter titled, MOVEMENT AND RHYTHM, on her blog.
Throughout the book tour visitors will be asked to send their best EARTH photo to to be displayed on the last day of the tour. A winner will be selected and awarded a $10 gift card.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Normally, beer doesn’t immediately come to mind when we think of French cuisine, but France borders two big beer producing countries – Germany and the biggest beer consuming nation, Belgium, both northeast of France.

Beef and onions braised in beer, known as Beef Carbonnade, originated in Belgium (Flanders) but is also traditional in northern France, particularly near the border.  Beef carbonnade is a simple rustic classic. Classic because, like many of the worlds great dishes, cooking a few good- quality ingredients with a proper technique equals crafting something greater than the sum of its parts.

Beef and onions braised in beer is a bit distinct from other French food and even if you don’t care for beer per se, you are sure to enjoy this delicious bucolic masterpiece.

Carbonades de Boeuf a la Flamande                               serves 6


¼ pound salt pork, diced
2 cups water
1 tablespoon butter plus 4 tablespoons butter
2 pounds onions, sliced thinly
3 pounds beef chuck, cut into 2 inch chunks.
Bouquet garni made of 4 parsley sprigs and 1 bay leaf, tied together

3 tablespoons flour
2 cups beer*
1 ½ cups beef stock

1 ½ teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced


  • Put 1 tablespoon of butter in a heavy 12 inch skillet and brown the salt pork
  • Remove to a paper towel
  • Pour off the fat to a bowl leaving a thin coating  in the skillet
  • Now set the bowl and the skillet aside

  • In a separate similar skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of butter on medium flame

  • Put in the sliced onions and cook for 20 minutes or so. Importantly.- turn them frequently with a wide spatula, not stirring them, until they take on colour

  • While the onions are cooking, heat that first skillet with its fat over medium heat
  • Dry the beef with paper towels and brown about 5 at a time in the hot oil. When you put them in, shake the skillet and then let them sit a minute or two to brown, turning to brown each side. Don’t stir them.
  • If you need more fat add the pork fat that you saved in the beginning
  • When all the beef is thoroughly browned remove to a Dutch oven or flameproof casserole.
  • Shove that bouquet garni into the meat

  • Preheat the oven to 350F
  • Take the skillet that the beef was browned in and stir the flour into the fat
  • If the mixture appears dry, add more fat (or oil)
  • Cook this flour mixture (roux) until light brown, being careful not to burn it

  • Remove from heat, pour in the beer and beef stock and whisk briskly with a wire whisk until well blended
  • Bring to boiling, whisking as sauce thickens
  • Boil for 1 minute and mix in the sugar, vinegar, garlic and thyme
  • Simmer for a couple minutes and season with salt and pepper

  • Add the cooked onions to the casserole
  • Pour the sauce atop the onions and beef and stir gently
  • If the sauce does not cover the meat, add more beer
  • Bring to boiling, cover tightly and put into oven, in the lower third position

  • Cook, simmering slowly for  2 hours regulating the temperature if necessary

  • After removing from oven, let cool for a few minutes
  • Discard the bouquet garni and taste for seasoning
  • Sprinkle the beef with the crisped pork bits and garnish with the parsley

* I suggest a robust beer, such as Chimay, Guinness Stout, or any dark malty brew

This beef and onions braised in beer goes great with buttered noodles and a green salad.

If you read these instructions once or twice beforehand, this dish is not difficult to prepare and the taste is absolutely sensational.

You can make this 1 or 2 days in advance and the flavour will actually improve. Keep the meat in the sauce chilled. When ready to serve, heat in a 325F oven for about 40 minutes.

Beef and onions and beer make a wonderful dinner. Enjoy.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


For the millions of people affected with type 2 diabetes, life can be a daily round of medicating, testing and watching what you eat. But when the conventional prescribed medication isn’t helping, further steps are required, such as insulin injections. In my spouse’s case, hoping to avoid even more piercing of skin, we started a homeopathic treatment course of therapy to bring down the diabetes blood sugar levels.

In addition to the H&N Diabetin #1 and #2  supplements previously mentioned, I am also giving my spouse 2 capsules of 200 micrograms of H&N Chromium Picolinate. This homeopathic nutritional supplement:

1.      Increases the efficiency of the body’s insulin
2.       Helps convey protein to where it is needed
3.      Helps lower high blood pressure
4.      Helps prevent sudden drops in energy
5.      Helps to reduce appetite
6.      Increases the metabolism of sugar

Additionally, I give her 40 drops of H&N Health Paradise’s Pancreatic Complex. These drops, taken twice daily between meals stimulates the production of pancreatic cells, restoring its functions, particularly insulin production.

Additionally, she takes 40 drops of H&N Oligoelement Germanium. These drops, given twice daily, perform a myriad of functions. Among them:

  1. Helping to improve the immune system
  2. Oxygenating body cells to provide energy
  3. Helping destroy damaging free- radicals
  4. Aiding in controlling elevated blood pressure

I’m happy to report that in the short period we’ve been following this protocol we are seeing concrete success.

In the first seven days, my spouse’s twice a day blood sugar test readings have averaged between 171 and 160. On the eighth day her morning reading was 166 and the evening reading was 121, for an average of 143. That is still too high but very promising because the 121 reading is almost ideal. Her diabetes care doctor has told her that any reading 120 or less is perfect. Since using the H&N homeopathic diabetic treatment remedies, the readings are steadily trending downward.

In this short period Kathy is seeing some blessed relief and we are looking forward to readings closer to 120 on a routine basis.

I was told it would take one to two weeks to start seeing some relief, and after one week I am seeing positive results. If the readings continue to improve we will re-evaluate the dosage of the prescribed diabetes medicine, which has gastrointestinal side effects.

It would behoove anyone with type 2 diabetes to check out this natural homeopathic treatment method for controlling or reducing blood sugar levels.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


If tacos, burritos and nachos are what come to mind when you think of Mexican food, then you have a wonderful gastronomic surprise to look forward to.

Mexican culinary customs are somewhat varied, as is that country’s geography, ethnic populations and climate. Because Mexico, a ruggedly beautiful nation, is a milieu of deserts, tropical jungles, volcanoes, cloud forests and fertile tracts, it follows that her cookery would also be wide-ranging. Mexican food’s cultural legacy includes important native foods like squash, legumes, cacao and chilies but almost every known fruit and vegetable is farmed in Mexico.

One of the most venerated of Mexican dishes comes out of Central Mexico from the state of Puebla. Arguably the most famous Mexican dish, it is called mole (moe lay) poblano, the mole from Puebla. Constructed with Mexican foodstuffs, mole shows off the rich colourful aspect of Mexican cuisine, distinctly opposite the standard fare usually seen in United States Mexican restaurants.

Mole, from an old Aztec word meaning concoction, stew or sauce is an international mixture of ingredients, probably the first international dish created in the new world and is what makes Mexican cuisine so special. There are many varieties of mole and this is the most famous.

Adapted from Jose L. Romero’s recipe, featured in Betty Crocker’s Mexican Cookbook

Chicken Mole Poblano                                    serves 8


½ cup lard or shortening
¼ cup powdered chile (guajillo or ancho or a combination of both is good)
2 cups chicken broth
12 flour tortillas, cut up into small pieces
½ cup tomato sauce
1 onion, chopped (about ½ cup)
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
2 chipotle peppers, chopped finely
2 tablespoons raisins
2 tablespoons chopped almonds or walnuts
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon each of salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 teaspoon anise seed
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups chicken broth
8 chicken breast halves, boneless and skinless


  1. Heat lard in 12 inch skillet over medium flame
  2. Cook and stir powdered chile in lard until brown, add a little water if necessary
  3. Remove from heat and let cool
  4. Stir in 2 cups of chicken broth
  5. Add remainder of ingredients except 2 cups of broth and chicken
  6. Heat to boiling, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour
  7. Remove from heat and cool

  1. Pour a small amount of sauce into electric blender, cover and blend
  2. Remove and repeat until all the sauce is liquefied and smooth
  3. Heat 2 cups of the sauce and the last 2 cups of broth to boiling in the skillet
  4. Reduce heat to a simmer
  5. Place chicken in a single layer in the skillet
  6. Cover and simmer until done 45-60 minutes
  7. Add remaining sauce and heat until hot
  8. The chicken mole is now ready to serve

The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

I know the ingredient list is a little lengthy, but the results are worth the effort. However, prepared mole can also be purchased in jars and if you have never cooked mole you might want to try that. After you have enjoyed mole poblano, please try this recipe, it is utterly, unbelievably, undeniably, unerringly, unequivocally, unparalleled and ultra urbane. Its taste is unforgettable. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


We always had potatoes with our meals at home but on those rare occasions when my mom would make Chop Suey, she would boil up rice from a little red and white box in the pantry that seemed to last for years. The Chop Suey was so –so but I sure loved that rice. My newspaper-route boss took us to a Cantonese restaurant in New York City when I was twelve and I subsequently discovered a brand new world of food that included fried rice. In Louisiana they eat rice a lot and that was OK with me. After awhile I learned to fry the raw, dry rice in butter before adding water or stock and that was even better. Rice prepared this way is called pilaf or pulao.

There are endless variations of pilaf and this one with fish is one of my favourites. It has a magnificent flavour that you will enjoy. When I make this, I like to make plenty and it’s good for company.

Fish and Coconut Pilaf                                   serves 4-6


1 ½ pounds of firm, white fish filet, such as cod, cut into serving size pieces

2 tablespoons of plain white flour
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 tablespoon of curry powder
¼ teaspoon of red pepper, such as cayenne
1 teaspoon turmeric
Salt and black pepper

4 tablespoons of oil, divided
2 onions, chopped finely
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

2 cups of rice
3 or more cups of thin fish stock brought to the boil
½ Cup of shredded coconut, fresh or desiccated
1 tablespoon of lemon juice, taste, maybe a trifle more

A few coriander leaves and some lemon wedges for garnishment


  • Put the fish pieces in a bowl.
  • Mix the flour and spices and salt and pepper
  • Put into fish bowl and carefully coat the fish
  • Put 2 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven and heat
  • When the oil is hot, add the fish and brown, stirring frequently
  • Remove the fish and set aside, covered

  • Add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the Dutch oven
  • Add the onion and fry for two minutes
  • Add the ginger to onion and stir thoroughly
  • Add the rice and fry for one minute, stirring
  • Add the boiling stock just to cover the rice
  • Stir in the lemon juice and add the coconut
  • Put a lid on it and simmer for fifteen minutes

  • Check that rice is tender, add a little boiling liquid if not quite tender
  • Stir in the fish, recover and let fish re-heat in Dutch oven.

Serve this fragrant fish and coconut pilaf beauty garnished with the coriander leaves and lemon wedges.


Monday, March 5, 2012


I just finished reading the most fascinating book on Cleopatra. It was so captivating that I read the entire book in one Saturday afternoon; you know, those rare books that are so captivating that you cannot stop reading, wanting to read more and more.

 The book is called Cleopatra Rules! Written by Vicky Alvear Shecter, it is a witty (sometimes downright funny), thoroughly researched account of the life of Cleopatra that discounts the contemptuous Roman view of whom and what she was.

Did you know that Cleopatra wasn’t Egyptian but descended from Greeks? The ruling class only spoke Greek but Cleopatra did learn the Egyptian language, among others.

I loved the rich use of similes and plays on words throughout Cleopatra Rules!. Schecter has the heart of a teacher because she compels you to read this entertaining and informative history of an amazing woman who survived and thrived for twenty years against all odds, including her own brother and sisters.

Based on the latest archeological research, with a tremendous bibliography, Cleopatra Rules! sets the record a little straighter about history’s most dazzling and remarkable queen, Cleopatra VII, Egypt's last pharaoh.

If you think you already know Cleopatra, this book will change your mind. In the narrative, Schector tells us that when the last Roman road was built they had a ribbon cutting ceremony. How did they cut the ribbon? They used Caesers.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


Diabetes is a serious chronic condition and right now there is no cure, it can only be managed. When blood sugar becomes very difficult to control, insulin is recommended. However, insulin increases weight gain by contributing to elevated levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol and also poses extra problems, such as hypertension, sleep disorders and atherosclerotic plaque.

My spouse is taking prescribed medicines for diabetes treatment but lately, her blood sugar readings have been more elevated than usual. I want to avoid insulin injections if at all possible, so I am adding a homeopathic diabetes treatment regimen using products from H&N Health Paradise, a well respected homeopathic products company.

Homeopathic diabetes treatment remedies extend back hundreds of years, feature natural herbal substances and side-effects problems are unheard of.

Since this is a program that may be as new to you as it is to me, I am going to discuss the diabetes treatment with each update. We are using a total of five homeopathic diabetes treatment products from H&N Health Paradise. I am not abandoning the medically prescribed treatment at all but adding homeopathic remedies to it.

In the morning my spouse takes a blood sugar reading. Then, (30 minutes prior to eating), she is taking two 400mg tablets of H&N’s Diabetin #1, which contains an herb called Gymnema Sylvestre, well respected in Indian ayurverdic medicine. In the Hindi language, Gymnema Sylvestre means “sugar destroyer”.

During the first meal of the day, she takes two capsules of H&N’s Diabetin #2, which is a complex source of energy, helpful in lessening possible crashes after meals, supporting the immune system, providing antioxidants, working as a fungicide against the fungus inside the veins via excessive blood sugar levels and controlling and reducing cholesterol.

It takes more than medicine alone to control diabetes. Here are some additional steps I am taking in my spouse’s diabetes treatment care plan.
  • A meal plan carefully controlling carbohydrates
  • A physical exercise plan
  • Regular routine of blood sugar readings
  • Regular taking of medicine and homeopathic diabetes treatment remedies
  • Weight management
  • Regular schedule for diabetes treatment testing and checkups

A diabetic should keep track of their ABC’s:
  • A1C
  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol

The A1C test result reflects an average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. Specifically, the A1C test measures what percentage of the patients’ hemoglobin  (a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen ) is coated with sugar. The higher your A1C level, the poorer your blood sugar control and the greater potential for health complications  later on..

After about one week into this regimen I will report on how the homeopathic diabetes treatment is working in regard to my spouse’s blood sugar levels.

H&N Health Paradise has provided me with these homeopathic diabetes treatment products gratis for me to review.  I am very optimistic about the diabetes control effect. Faithful adherence to the steps outlined above along with the homeopathic diabetes treatment regimen shows great promise.
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