Cookie Monster!

Let’s look ahead to tomorrow, which is National Cookie Day, launched in 1987 by Ohio’s Blue Chip Cookie Company. Everyone has a favorite cookie, and more cookies are baked in the month of December than any other! But why not prep some Crackin’ Toffee Crunch to join the party? But wait! Is it a cookie? Is it a cracker? Is it a candy? Doesn’t matter! It’s scrump-diddly-umptious!

Whip up a batch today, so they’ll be perfect chilled to melt in your mouth tomorrow!

Crackin’ Toffee Crunch
36 Ritz crackers
¾ c salted butter
¾ c lt brown sugar, packed
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 c mini semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
1 c coarsely chopped pecans or praline nut mixture of choice
Sea salt
Lay crackers tightly together in single layer in parchment paper- or foil-lined baking pan with sides. In medium saucepan, melt butter with brown sugar over medium-low heat, using a wooden spoon to combine. Increase heat to med and bring to a rolling boil. Do NOT stir, but every 20-30 seconds, draw your spoon across the bottom in a criss-cross pattern. Continue this for 3 minutes. Remove from heat & stir in vanilla. Immediately drizzle or spoon all over the crackers; spread to cover entirely with a soft spatula. Place in 350°F oven for 5 min. Remove and sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the top. Use spatula to spread chocolate as it melts into an even layer. Sprinkle with salt & the praline crumbles. Use the back of a spoon to slightly press down on the pecan praline crumbles. Return to oven for 5 min. Then refrigerate for up to 2 hours. Use sharp knife to trim off uneven edges, if desired. Then cur or break in squares, triangles, or odd shapes. Store air tight in refrigerator or freezer.

KISS Tips: Stirring constantly can cause ingredients to separate and burn. You can also use any candy chips you prefer, inc white chocolate, milk chocolate, peanut butter, or butterscotch. Instead of a praline topping, you can also opt for coarsely chopped nuts of your choice.

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Don’t Fritter Away National Fritters Day!



Whip up some yummy fritters to tantalize your taste buds! “They” say that fritters have been around since the days of ancient Rome, and their popularity is even greater today.



For breakfast or dessert, it’s tough to beat fresh apple fritters… no canned apple filling will do. Serve them up dusted with powdered sugar and warmed 100% maple syrup on the side. Okay, whipped cream, made with some vanilla extract is also awesome!


Enjoy fritters… or croquettes… any way you like. Some are sweet. Others are savory. They all get fried and then served hot with dips or dustings. Make them as happy little fried dough balls or flattened, highly-textured, almost pancake thin flats.

I’ve shared Mom’s Zucchini Rounds recipe in an earlier post. (Still out here in my 2022 articles.) But a great variation on it is to double the sweet onion and cheese and also add shredded carrots.


Another favorite harkens back to Native American origins… the corn fritter… served hot and toasty with a generous scoop of honey butter. Well, yeah! Okay, I need those NOW! Here’s a great twist on the original is Fluffy Corn Fritters.



Fluffy Corn Fritters
3 c fresh white corn kernels (or frozen baby kernels, thawed)
1 green onion, very thinly sliced (green portion only)
¼ c sweet onion, finely chopped
1 c flour
1 c corn starch
2 T monkfruit or granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 lg or x-lg eggs, lightly beaten
¾ c heavy cream
Vegetable oil for frying
Garnish options: sliced green onion, chopped parsley, and/or a dusting of powdered sugar

Combine corn, onions, flour, corn starch, monkfruit and baking powder. Stir in eggs and cream thoroughly. Coat bottom of large skillet with vegetable oil over med-high heat. Scoop mixture by 2-3 T mounds into hot oil, spreading each lightly into flat, circular shapes. Cook 2-3 min, and turn over, letting it cook another 2-3 min till golden brown. Add more oil as needed. Drain on wire rack over paper towels and season with salt. Garnish as desired and serve hot. Makes 12-15.

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November Is National Pepper Month


We are blessed to have luscious peppers available to us throughout the year. We often may think of sautéing peppers and onions to add to a sandwich… or stuffing whole peppers as an entrée.



But I made a fun twist on the stuffed pepper thinking as part of our Brunch Bites menu on Thanksgiving. Some fresh berries and chunks of fresh pineapple and a sweet roll twist on the side, made this quite a nice treat. Plus, land one or two of these beauties inside a toasty bagel or a favorite baguette or roll with your choice of spread, and you’ve got one gem of a breakfast sandwich. (Well, I’d be adding cheese and a couple slices of bacon, most assuredly.) Anyway, here’s my full recipe, which started by stuffing tomatoes, but I did the sweet bell pepper version for Turkey Day.
Skillet Stuffed Egg Rings
These are Super Simple and “eggseptionally” yummy!

1 large tomato, cut crosswise into ½“-thick slices
2 lg or x-lg eggs
1 T chopped parsley
¼ tsp salt & pepper
½ c diced ham, bacon bits, or cooked sausage crumbles
1 T flour
2 T olive oil

Use a glass, biscuit cutter or knife to cut out the insides of the tomatoes, leaving a ½ “ outer rim. Then dice the tomato insides. In small bowl, whisk eggs; stir in chopped tomatoes, herbs, seasonings, meat and flour. Heat oil in large skillet over med heat. Place tomato rings in pan and fill with egg mixture. Cook 1 min; turn over with spatula & cook another 30-60 seconds. Serve hot, sprinkled with additional herbs, if desired. Makes 4 slices.
KISS Variations: Enjoy Italian Skillet Stuffed Egg Rings by replacing parsley with oregano or mixed Italian herbs; replace meat options with diced pancetta, and sprinkle with ½ c shredded Mozzarella cheese (divided among all 4) after turning rings over to cook final side. Garnish with extra chopped Italian herbs or parsley. Try South of the Border Stuffed Egg Rings by replacing parsley with cilantro or a favorite taco seasoning; add ¼ c diced avocado; replace meat with diced chorizo sausage; add ½ c shredded Monterey Jack or Pepperjack cheese either to the eggs or sprinkled on top after turning in the skillet. For Super Simple Omelet Stuffed Pepper Rings, cut 2 large sweet peppers (any color) into ½“thick rings, removing any attached seeds. Season 1 lb ground meat (beef, sausage, lamb, poultry, or combo) as above to suit any “theme” or desired flavor; mix in 1 lightly beaten egg and 1 c shredded Jack, Mozzarella, or other melty cheese or your choice. Press the stuffing into each ring, pressing down firmly and filling the pepper rings completely, remembering that meat will shrink when cooking). These rings also make great tapas servings, with some chunky salsa, warmed marinara, a sweet Thai chili, or other sauce on the side.

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Why Grow Up?

“Youth is not entirely a time of life; it is a state of mind.  Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years.  People grow old by deserting their ideals.  You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubts; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.”

— Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964)
United States General of the Army

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Celebrate National French Toast Day


Breakfast, lunch, or dinner? National French Toast Day is today. Celebrate it sweet or savory.



Savory, you say? Sure. Sauté up some sweet onions and sliced mushrooms. (A combo of oyster, shiitake, & cremini makes mushroom mahhhvelousness.) Season with thyme, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Serve over your French Toast (no nutmeg or cinnamon, please, in a savory version).



Typically, I am a traditionalist, preferring my French toast served with 100% pure maple syrup. (For those who do not enjoy maple flavor, go for a homemade blueberry sauce!)





French toast is also good with strawberries and whipped cream, too. (Then again, what isn’t!?!)  Plus, here’s a fun variation I concocted 20 years ago. It’s a great dish to serve for brunch as you prepare it the night before.

Apple Sausage Baked French Toast

1 lb. bulk pork sausage (mild or sage)
3 large Cortland apples, peeled, cored & cut into ½” slices
6 x-large eggs
1½ c half-and-half or milk
1 c whipping cream
½ c 100% pure maple syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
12 slices wide French bread (sliced ¼ – ½” thick) or favorite rye or other bread
Additional 100% pure maple syrup, for serving

Cook sausage over med heat in a large skillet, breaking up into small pieces; remove and set aside. Add apples to skillet; cover and cook quickly 2 min just to quickly brown in the remaining pork drippings, stirring occasionally. In a bowl, beat eggs, dairy, maple syrup and spices together. Arrange half the bread slices in a single layer in a well-buttered 13x9x2” baking dish. Distribute the sausage, then apples over the top. Arrange remaining 6 bread slices on top and pour the egg mixture over it all. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (at least 8 hours). Remove from refrigerator 30-60 minutes before placing in oven. Uncover and bake 45-50 minutes at 350°F till eggs are set. Serve with warmed maple syrup on the side. Makes 6 double-slice servings.

KISS Tip: For the holidays, go ahead and include some cranberries in with your apples!

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“The worst loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself.”

— Mark Twain (1835-1910)
(Pen name for Samuel Langhorne Clemens)
19th Century American author and humorist

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Celebrate National Cake Day


“A party without cake is just a meeting.”

— Julia Child (1912 – 2004)
American cooking expert, author & TV personality


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’nuff Said

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Many Thanks!

Some shop today… okay, millions shop today. Millions also say, “Thank you” again.

Thanksgiving was a most delightful day, filled with fine food and fabulous friends. Thanks to all for making Café Martin sparkle with blessings and Life’s love!!!

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Thank You!

“Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty.”

— Doris Day (1922 – 2019)
American actress & singer

Today reminds me of the importance of living with an attitude of gratitude. Today and everyday I thank God for the richness with which I have been blessed. I am grateful for a healthy, loving family… especially for my vibrant 93-year-old Mother and my devoted husband who has been rebounding gallantly from a stroke on October 2. I am grateful for the countless opportunities and experiences that have come my way and helped shape my life. I am grateful for the abundance of the good Earth and the Lord who provides and guides. I am grateful for you for being among my enormous blessing of friends.

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“Seeing is not believing; believing is seeing!  You see things, not as they are, but as you are.”

— Eric Butterworth (1916 – 2003)
Canadian-American metaphysical author and Unity minister

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National Stuffing Day

This is a great time to do early preps for your turkey’s stuffing. I get all my onions and celery finely diced, sauteed, and seasoned ahead of time. (I even freeze them earlier in the month.) Then it’s Super Simple to toss them with the diced bread and chicken bone broth. I prep bread from the heels of fabulous loaves of bread all the time so it’s always ready for items like stuffing or meatloaf. The crumbs freeze fabulously and thaw quickly. But since today is also National Cranberry Day, why not plan to prep some fruity stuffing, too! Simply toss in some fresh (or frozen) cranberries and a chopped (peeled & cored) apple. Yummy!

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World Children’s Day

“The theme for World Children’s Day 2023 is ‘For Every Child, Every Right!’ The day serves as a powerful reminder of the unwavering commitment to ensuring that all children, regardless of their background or circumstances, are afforded the opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential.”

From our lips to God’s ears.

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National Soup Day

Today is National Soup Day in Germany. Well, I’m going to celebrate it New England style with some Lobster Newburg. In my photo, you see a great way to go extra fancy for a full lobster bisque entrée. I garnished each bowl with a couple of lobster claws and lobster cakes. Hello! Can you say delightful decadence?

This is one of the dozens of recipes from my “Lobacious Lobster” cookbook. Enjoy!





Super Simple Lobster Newburg

This is one of the most wonderful ways to present a splashy-looking and tasting entrée without all the “fuss.”

¼ c butter
2 T flour
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp paprika (& a dash of cayenne pepper, optional)
2 T dry sherry (you can substitute dry white wine)
2 lg egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 and ½ c light cream
2 c (about 1 lb) cooked lobster meat, cut in ½ – 1” pieces

In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, melt the butter; stir in flour. Then stir in salt, paprika & sherry, followed by lobster.  In a small bowl, combine yolks and cream.  Stir a couple of spoonfuls of the hot butter mixture into the cream mixture; then gradually stir the entire cream mixture into the butter mixture in the top of the double boiler.  Continue to cook over the lowest heat over the hot simmering water just until thickened, stirring often.  Stir in the lobster and let cook 1-2 more minutes, just to heat the lobster through.  Serve on its own, over crispy toast points, in puff pastry patty shells, or in a crusty bread bowl. Makes 4 appetizer or 2 entrée servings.

KISS Tip:  Do NOT overcook this or any other lobster dish or you will get tough lobster.
KISS Variation:  For One-Bite Newburgs spoon the hot filling into pre-made miniature phyllo pastry  cups and serve with a touch of freshly chopped parsley on top.  Mini pastry cups can typically be found in boxes of 15 in a supermarket frozen food section.

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Happy Birthday Mickey Mouse!


Walt Disney’s iconic cartoon character Mickey Mouse made his debut on November 18, 1928, in the animated short “Steamboat Willie.”





(Minnie also made her public debut the same day, so… Happy Birthday to Minnie, too!)




Walt Disney used his own voice to create Mickey’s squeaky sounds in the cartoon. Often called Walt Disney’s alter ego, by the numerous artists who have drawn him over the years. “Steamboat Willie” is recognized as the world’s first cartoon with synchronized sound and launched a dynasty. More than 100 Mickey Mouse cartoons were produced during the 1930s.



By the way, the most successful Mickey Mouse merchandise ever created was the Mickey Mouse watch. Following its debut in 1933, more than 2.5 million were sold within two years. A Mickey Mouse watch was also included in the time capsule at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York.

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Loving Home


“Love is easy, but if you want a daily happy home, be sure your beloved knows that you like them.”

— Cathy Burnham Martin, author
“The Bimbo Has Brain… and Other Freaky Facts”  Quiet Thunder Publishing, 2017

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Great American Smokeout

The 3rd Thursday of November is the day that communities come together in the fight against tobacco addiction. Go tobacco-free today during the Great American Smokeout.

Reportedly, some 34 million people in America alone still smoke, despite the fact that smoking remains the single largest most preventable cause of death and illness. Despite stricter laws in public places, some 58 million Americans are exposed to second-hand smoke. Never mind the stats. This is important because this is a fight for someone’s life… be they an innocent bystander or someone who often lacks the strength or discipline to fight for what’s best for themselves.

For help today and everyday:

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You CAN Do It!


“The trick is in what one emphasizes.  We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong.  The amount of work is the same.”

— Carlos Castaneda (1925 – 1998)
Peruvian-American writer

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Fly, Baby, Fly!

“Never interrupt someone doing something you said couldn’t be done.”

— Amelia Earhart (1897 – disappeared 1937)
American aviation pioneer & writer

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World Kindness Day

In celebrating World Kindness Day, we are all fully aware of the ugliness in the “big picture.” But this day is an opportunity to apply a little tenderness in our homes, schools, or workplaces. The 2023 theme is “Be Kind Wherever Possible.” Let’s all try to breathe a little life back into the art of consideration. Encourage someone. Make someone smile or laugh. When we think a pleasant thought about someone, share it out loud. Or driving? Yeah, let’s give someone else a break, even if they are being a road hog. Today is just one day in which we can all make a kindness difference in our world.

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Glorious Gratitude

Today I feel grateful for a great many things. I think I will choose to mention the 6 wonderful weeks of fall foliage that we have enjoyed. Now, as I look across our meadow, I still see glimpsed of the glory. The radiant reds are mellowing to burgundy, while the oranges soften into russet, and the yellows mellow into gold. Leaves have started falling here in the North Carolina foothills, but it’s been a glorious autumn, indeed.

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Celebrate Veterans Day

Photo by Ignacio Amenabar

“Life without liberty is like a body without spirit.”

— Kahlil Gibran (1883 – 1931)
Lebanese-American writer & poet

This is Veterans Day. Thank you to all veterans on this and every day.

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The Few! The Proud! The Marines!

Happy 248th Birthday to the Marines! On November 10, 1775, the US Marine Corps was officially established by the 2nd Continental Congress to strengthen naval forces during the Revolutionary War. Recruitment headquarters immediately opened in a popular spot… the Tun Tavern on Water Street in Philadelphia.



Official funding did not follow until 1798, when President John Adams approved a bill placing the organization under the Secretary of the Navy. The premier elite fighting force in the world continues to this day. To all who serve and who have served, we thank you for your service and sacrifices over so many years.

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This Is World Freedom Day!


November 9, 1989, is the day that the Berlin Wall, which separated East and West Berlin, was breached, ultimately leading to its demolition. An ABC news affiliate anchor at the time, I was honored to cover the events along with videographer Jim Linsky.









Dubbed World Freedom Day, that date marked the end of the Cold War and the beginning of a new era of freedom and unity.



And yet, even then, we observed pockets of hatred amidst the celebrations.




With the heinous Hamas murders and kidnapping of civilians in Israel and ongoing wars elsewhere, such as Ukraine, we are reminded daily of exactly how fragile freedom can be. Pray for a new World Freedom Day… every day.

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Happy Harvey Wallbanger Day!

Looking for a wild and crazy boat drink? Or perhaps an Italian spin on a classic cocktail.

Consider a Harvey Wallbanger… but be prepared. Sure, it’s just a kicked-up screwdriver, but the Galliano “kick” delivers 42.3% alcohol. Created in the 1950’s by California bartender Donato “Duke” Antone, the Harvey Wallbanger didn’t get popular until the 1970’s. Galliano is made with vanilla and various herbs and spices, including star anise, juniper, lavender, and cinnamon.

Keep It Super Simple if you make one:
1¼ oz vodka
3 oz orange juice (fresh is awesome)
½ oz Galliano
Pour the vodka and oj over ice in your glass and stir. Then float the Galliano on top. Garnish with a slice of orange and a cherry for traditional perfection.

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You Are Tough Enough

(Photo by Natalie Runnerstrom)

“Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles.”

— Alex Karras (1935 – 2012)
American football player;
NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame 2020

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“You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.”

— Henry Ford (1863 – 1947)
American industrialist; founder of Ford Motor Company

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Choose Success

“It’s the person who has done nothing who is sure nothing can be done.”

— Sam Ewing (1921 – 2001)
American journalist, author, and humorist

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Powerful, Heart Wrenching & Raw

Destiny of Daring: Never Forget has been blessed with another wonderful 5-star review! This comes from Mr. N at N.N. Light’s Book Heaven.

“This is the book that was needed to complete the story of this Armenian family’s past, present and future. Another important book that puts light on one of the most forgotten genocides of the 20th century. The world needs to stand up and demand Turkey once and for all admits their crimes against Armenia in World War One.

“This story fills in the last part that was missing. The story of Cassie’s other relatives who survived and managed to get through their own horrific stories. If this was a fictional book, it might seem unbelievable. That this is a true story simply makes Emine and Toros story amazing.

“While this book isn’t as long as the first two, it carries a large weight with it. Many in this decade of this century will not believe that just over 100 years ago there were actual alleged humans who had harems. The despicable nature of the behavior of Turks in 1915 is offensive to the core.

“The book is a well written piece that brings the story together. It is important that a person reads all three books. This book is important enough to read on its own first. Powerful, heart wrenching and raw…this book brings a dark page of history to light. A very well-done book as part of a very well-done series.

My Rating: 5 stars



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Dialogue, Please!

Photo by Daniel Lonn


“Two monologues do not make a dialogue.”

— Jeff Daly
American podcast host of the Daly Dose of Veterans Intel

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Myths, Lies, and Other Lunacy

Photo by Craig Manners

Following the 50-day military conflict in 2014 between Israel and Hamas, Professor Alan Johnson delivered a powerful speech entitled, “Six Myths About Hamas” to give the audience some historical context. He is a senior research fellow at the Britain Israel Communications and Research Center and Editor of its publication, “Fathom.”

Following the October 7, 2023 deadly Hamas attacks on civilians in Israel, the unedited transcript of that speech was printed in “Fathom.” It has since been picked up and reprinted (with some edits for historical clarity) by The Free Press in the US.

With so much information and misinformation fanning flames, I like to research and learn for factual understanding and perspective. I invite you to read either or both for both enlightenment and clarity.


Free Press:



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My New Book Launches Today!

When we open unknown doors, are we ready for what we may find on the other side? How do we bring harmony out of absolute chaos? Can we forgive after heinous atrocities?

Questions we may find ourselves asking today, interestingly ride in the underlying themes in Book 3, “Destiny of Daring: Never Forget.” As it launches today in both paperback and digital formats, I shake my head as I recognize that very little in our human progress has changed in 100 years.

A 5-star Goodreads review by Anthony Avina clearly notes the “shocking connection to the modern-day horrors of the Middle East.”

In the trilogy’s finale, I finish the telling of the Armenian saga through my own family’s story at the hands of the waning Ottoman Empire. After families were ripped apart and usually massacred, glimmers of hope and resilience flickered into full light. Stories of hope and survival can overpower hatred and evil.

In the end, prejudice, bigotry, distrust, and hatred must be overcome… so much like today. If you do choose to read a copy of “Destiny of Daring: Never Forget” please do try to leave a review on any site, from Amazon to Goodreads. The chance for hope and love to prevail always needs a boost.

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Happy Halloween!


We do love Halloween! And silly costumes. So, Sir Ronald and I went directly from the circus to the Halloween party.

The lion tamer and his lion. So silly. So fun! Happy Halloween!

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Image by John Hain


“The aim of an argument or discussion should not be victory, but progress.”

— Joseph Joubert (1754 – 1824)
French moralist & essayist

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Escalate Not

Image by John Hain

I cannot help but note that one reprisal begets another… forevermore. The US warns Iran and its proxies to not assault us or else suffer the consequences. But Syria does anyway. Then they are angered that the US responds, as promised. So, they fire more rockets at us in reprisal for our reprisal.

This is the sort of escalation that keeps feuds and hatred going for hundreds of years. Even when one terrorist regime is stopped, the next generation grows up to start it all over again.

Hatred and violence never make a positive combination and never will!

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National Chocolate Day

Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don’t. But if chocolate is a passion, try these super simple beauties! Your tastebuds will thank you.

Super Simple Dark Chocolate Pecans
1 ½ bars Lily’s intensely dark chocolate
5 oz pecan halves
5 T coconut oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
Pink Himalayan salt

Melt chocolate & coconut oil together for 1 min in microwave, stirring at 20-second intervals till smooth. Stir in vanilla, cinnamon & salt. Add pecans, stirring till coated. Spoon into 24 silicone mold squares, 3-4 pecans per section. Or spread on parchment paper. Salt heavily. Freeze 30 min.

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“When governments fear the people there is liberty. When the people fear the government there is tyranny.”

–Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826)
2nd US Vice President; 3rd US President; architect & author

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“If you give me six lines written by the most honest man, I will find something in them to hang him.”

— Cardinal Richelieu (1585-1642)
(given name: Armand Jean du Plessis)
French statesman and clergy

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Photo by David Mullins

“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.”

— Crowfoot (1821 – 1890)
Native American warrior and orator

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Feast of Good & Plenty!

Go ahead. Satisfy your sweet tooth today, because we’re celebrating the pink- and white-coated candy from by-gone days. You either love it or hate it, but Good & Plenty is the oldest brand of candy in the U.S.A., originating in Philadelphia in 1893. The Choo Choo Charlie TV commercials boosted its popularity in the 1950s. Come on… sing it! “Charlie says, ‘Love my Good & Plenty.’ Charlie says, ‘Really rings the bell.’ Charlie says, ‘Love my Good & Plenty. Don’t know any other candy that I like so well.’”

CHOO choo choo choo! CHOO choo choo choo!

While the choo-choo-chewy centers may not be true licorice, licorice extract gives a satisfying finish.

Okay. My teeth hurt thinking about this. Time for some potato chips. (Sorry, Charlie.)

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