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Stories written by pkmyrq

Wine and Cheese Pairings

   Wine and cheese have gone hand in hand for centuries. With today’s ever increasing options for both wines and cheeses, however, the pairing decisions can be staggering. So, to take a lot of the guess work out of pairing, here is a handy guide to give you a starting point for pairing your favorite wines with soon-to-be favored cheese. Keep in mind that these are just recommendations, not law. Experiment with your own pairings and see if there’s a combination, listed or not, that just knocks your socks off.

Morrocan Cuisine

 For us young at hearts, remember the movie “Casablanca” featuring
Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman? The classic 1942 American film set
during World War II took place in the Moroccan city of Casablanca,
where the hero must choose between love and principle.
   Come along, as we visit this place of mystery and intrigue. Morocco,
a country in North Africa, has a population of approximately 32 million
and is less than 173,000 square miles. It rests against the Atlantic
Ocean and reaches past the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean
Sea, bordering Spain to the north, Algeria to the east and Mauritania
to the south. This kingdom is the 57th largest country in the world and
the fourth most populous Arab country. They experience a Mediterranean
climate in the north, turning very arid toward the lowlands and valleys
facing toward the Sahara Desert.

Spanish Cuisine

 Romance, and Spain on Valentine’s Day, ah! Although Spain is smaller
than France and larger than California, it remains the 51st largest
country in the world.     On the west, Spain borders Portugal; on the
south, it borders Gibraltar (a British overseas territory) and Morocco,
through its cities in North Africa (Ceuta and Melilla). On the
northeast, along the Pyrenees mountain range, it borders France and the
tiny principality of Andorra. Spain also includes the Balearic Islands
in the Mediterranean Sea, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean, and
a number of uninhabited islands on the Mediterranean side of the strait
of Gibraltar.

Greek Cuisine: An Applauded Mediterranean Diet

   Happy New Year! Ready for our kitchen sojourn around Europe? Our
first stop is Greece, which was the first area in Europe where advanced
early civilizations emerged. It is documented that the Minoan
Civilization in Crete and then the Mycenaean Civilization on the
mainland evolved. Later, city-states emerged across the Greek peninsula
and spread to the shores of the Black Sea, South Italy and Asia Minor,
reaching great levels of prosperity that resulted in an unprecedented
cultural boom expressed in architecture, drama, science and philosophy.
   Greek cuisine is cited often as an example of the healthy
Mediterranean diet, which incorporates fresh ingredients into a variety
of local dishes such as moussaka, stifado, Greek salad, spanakopita and
the world famous souvlaki. Some dishes can be traced back to ancient
Greece like skordalia (a thick puree of potatoes, walnuts, almonds,
crushed garlic and olive oil), lentil soup, restsina (white or rose
wine sealed with pine resin) and pasteli (candy bar with sesame seeds
baked with honey).

Seasons Greetings & Happy New Year

“Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The cook’s in the kitchen scrambling about,
Wondering and pondering if Santa will pout;
Dinner is ready and so is the sleigh,
He must get going without delay!”

   A slight modification of the original “A Visit from St.
Nicholas,” written by Major Henry Livingston Jr. many, many, years ago,
and a story we read to our children and grandchildren. As a wee one, we
left cookies for Santa, which my grandmother and I baked together.
Those memories are near and dear, and, as I bake with my grandchildren,
their smiles fill my heart. Graciously, I am sharing with you, the
recipes for these simple treasures.

Special recipes for holiday sharing

   Each changing season begins its own blessings, purpose, and beauty.
My husband Larry and I have learned much this year since his mother has
been diagnosed with the precursor to Alzheimer’s disease. We had to
prepare her for the next phase of her life in assisted living. We are
the generation of children who are sandwiched between octogenarians.
This is a hard time for many of us as we watch our parents age.
   We were sorting through memorabilia and came across a cookbook,
written by the wives of men serving in the military many years prior.
Sixty-plus years later, we are still at war, both men and women are
fighting for freedom, the economy is in question and the holidays are
around the corner.

Ice cream and summer, a perfect marriage

   Having something cool and refreshing comes to mind in the hot
weather. Lemonade, glasses filled with ice and topped with  water, tea,
coffee or soda—each quenches the thirst and hydrates the body. What
really sets my satisfaction in motion and relaxation is ice cream or
sherbet. Researching this great cooling dessert brought some very
interesting facts to share…

Ramonans GetFit with Sandy and Mario Balcom

Running in step many years ago while competing on the Ramona High
School cross country team, Sandy and Mario Balcom continue their union
with fitness, an integral part of their daily lives.
“We have been married for 22 years and have stayed very active for the entire length of our marriage,” said Sandy.
Sandy has been in the fitness industry for 16 years. She is a certified
group fitness instructor and personal certified personal trainer.

Marching Toward Spring

It seems like yesterday we were shopping for holiday seasons, preparing
for a new president and changes in the way we handle our economic
conditions. We are all faced with how we can economize in today’s
challenges. One of the ways in which we feel it most is in our ability
to feed our family, especially with the increase in food prices. Here
are a few ideas to keep warmth in the tummy, smiles on faces, and
stretch that food budget.

‘A Jug of Wine, A loaf of Bread—and Thou’

“A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread—and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness—
O, Wilderness were Paradise enow!”

These words were  written by a famous Persian mathematician and
astronomer and the author of the world’s best-known works of poetry,
Omar Khayyam., who was born in 1048 and died in 1122. He was the
astronomer to the royal court, engaged with several other scientists to
reform the calendar.

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