Thursday, May 24, 2012

BBQ Tri-tip on the Grill

Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Leigh Ann Ross
With Memorial around the corner I wanted everyone to know about tri-tip, as promised in an early post.

Tri-tip is the best cut of meat to BBQ on the grill. It's the most popular cut in the Central Coast of California and Central Valley regions of California to BBQ.

Tri-tip is a cut of meat from the bottom sirloin. It's a small triangle muscle and there are only one per side of beef. Weight can be 1.5 lbs to 2.5 lbs each.

It's best not to over season a tri-tip. Salt, pepper, garlic salt and granulated garlic is all you need to season this flavorful cut of meat. BBQ correctly, indirectly over medium heat, on the grill and the flavor is amazing. I prefer to BBQ as a roast (also known as a triangle roast), but you can also cut into one inch thick steaks and BBQ on the grill. Always allow the meat to rest for at least 10 minutes before carving or serving.


Tri-tip roast (triangle roast) is a lean cut of meat and should not be overcooked. A tri-tip roast should be cooked to medium. A thermometer can be used to check for doneness. To some people this roast at medium may seem underdone. My advice would be to grill to medium, let rest and slice then grill slices to preferred doneness.

This cut of meat has become very popular for its full flavor, lower fat content, and comparatively lower cost. Some Costco's and Sam Club's around the country have started to carry it.

If you are unable to find it in any of your local stores ask a butcher for the cut. Make sure they are a member of the "North American Meat Processors Association" (NAMP).

Ask them for cut IMPS/NAMP 185C (with fat) or IMPS/NAMP 185D (without fat - This is the preferred cut).

All in all this is the best cut of meat for the grill. Find it, enjoy it and let me know what you thought.

Friday, May 18, 2012

May 18 - Daily Motivation – Quotes About Life - Inspirational Quotes

Live Your Own Life

You are special, so act like it. You are unique, so make the most of that uniqueness.

There’s something you can contribute to this moment that no one else has to offer. There is a perspective from which you can experience this day that is unlike any other.

Don’t settle for merely doing the same thing as anyone else, or mimicking the opinions, desires and dreams of others. Live your own life, and explore the unique beauty of your very own dreams, thoughts, opinions and interests.

Your greatest value comes from being who you truly are. Let your beautiful, unique, fascinating and authentic self come fully to life.

Instead of spinning your wheels and striving to be someone you’re not, enjoy the sweet fulfillment of being who you really want to be. Instead of trying in vain to please others with who you think they think you should be, impress them with who you really are.

Know the true joy of being your true self. Honor and appreciate all of life by fully and authentically living the one very special life that is yours.

— Ralph Marston

Live Your Own Life (

May 18 - National Cheese Souffle Day


Today is National Cheese Souffle Day.

Display your culinary skills today and create a fluffy delicious gourmet dish. You should not be afraid to celebrate this day, souffles are not hard to make.
Souffles and meringues are related. Not only do both use a lot of eggs, they both rely on the cook to whip the right amount of air into the eggs. Souffles can be sweet dishes for dessert or more savory, like the cheese souffle. The cheese souffle is usually flavored with a distinct cheese like Swiss or Parmesan. It's common to use earthy spices like nutmeg and paprika in cheese souffle.

The Souffle Cookbook

May 18 - Visit Your Relatives Day

Today is Visit Your Relatives Day!

Today it's easy to lose touch with our relatives. A lot of us only get to see our relatives around the holidays or maybe not at all if you live far away.

Either way, we need our families and they need us. They are our support system through hard times. They are there for celebrations and to create family memories during the important milestones.

Celebrate this day by sending a relative a free ecard, calling a relative who lives far away or stop by and visit a relative you haven't seen for a while.

May 18 - NASCAR Day - Get your pin and Pin It Forward℠!

Logo Courtesy of NASCAR

NASCAR Day is an annual celebration in honor of the spirit, charities and fans of NASCAR.

Since 2004, this day has been celebrated annually on the third Friday in May to coincide with the annual NASCAR All-Star weekend.

NASCAR fans are encouraged to purchase a collectible Limited Edition Lapel Pin for yourself and a friend. Head over to the NASCAR Foundation's facebook page to Get your pin and Pin It Forward℠! Follow the Pin It Forward℠ challenge instructions and upload your photo.

The proceeds from NASCAR Day, which has raised over $1 million each year since 2005, benefits dozens of charities, some of which are:
  • Victory Junction Gang Camp
  • Speedway Children's Charities
  • The Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation
  • Hendrick Marrow Program

Enjoy NASCAR Day everyone!

National Salsa Month - Recipe #12 - Simple Salsa


Please enjoy the twelfth recipe of the month for National Salsa Month: Simple Salsa

Salsa Recipe Book

Thursday, May 17, 2012

May 17th - National Cherry Cobbler Day

Cherry Cobbler is my idea of a summertime dessert.

The first cobblers weren’t desserts at all. The early American settlers were forced to improvise their recipes from home and “cobbled” together other dishes with whatever ingredients they could find.

Cherries were plentiful in the summer months. Cherries soon became an ingredient which found their way into cobblers. Later, cherry cobbler became the perfect name for a bungled cherry pie. Try the cobbler recipe below.

Cobbler Recipe:
Cheery Cherry-Peach Cobbler

Try this additional cobbler recipe.
Vegan Cherry Cobbler

Ascension Day

Ascension Day is celebrated in the U.S. on the 40th day of Easter. The New Testament states during the 40 days after his resurrection Jesus Christ met with his disciples instructing them how to carry on his teachings.

It is believed that on the 40th day he took them to the Mount of Olives, where they watched as he ascended to heaven. [1]

Ascension Day marks the end of the Easter season and occurs ten days before Pentecost. Penecost is a prominent feast in the calendar of Ancient Israel celebrating the giving of the Law on Sinai, and also later in the Christian liturgical year commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the remaining eleven Apostles of Christ (Judas had hanged himself), included in the 12 Disciples in the Upper Room, after the Resurrection of Jesus. [2]

Depending upon the phases of the moon in a particular year, Ascension Day is celebrated on a Thursday. However, some churches, particularly in the United States, celebrate it on the following Sunday. [3]

[1] [3]Ascension Day in United States

[2] Pentecost

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Top five coupons on

Coupon Newtwork has amazing coupons.

There are two ways to save with Coupon Network:

Printable Grocery Coupons, featured in blue, are manufacturers grocery coupons that you can print right away and use at any of your neighborhood stores.

YourBucks® Offers, featured in green, are dollars-off rewards on future purchase. Register to view and print all the YourBucks® Reminders. Click on Add to print button to print YourBucks memos so you remember what to buy when you go to a store. Claim YourBucks® Vouchers after you purchase promoted products at the store. They will print automatically at checkout. Spend them like cash on your next visit!

Remember to bring all your offers with you on your next shopping trip. Present your Print-at-Home grocery coupons at checkout. If you bought the products presented on YourBucks® Offers, you will receive more exclusive coupons just for you at the checkout.

YourBucks® Vouchers are then available for you to use like in-store cash on any item, unless in your favorite store.

****If you start saving now you can have a nice Christmas fund****

Printable Grocery Coupons:

Like Rewards: $1.10 off when you buy THREE LEAN CUISINE® varieties

50¢ off when you buy ONE BOX Original Cheerios® cereal

Use this link for the General Mills Coupon

$1.00 off any ONE Tyson® Any'tizers® Snacks

Like Rewards: $1.75 off when you buy any ONE Barbara's® Cereal

May 16 - National Coquilles Saint Jacques Day

Coquilles Saint-Jacques is translated as Saint James’s scallops, a rich mixture of butter, cream, mushrooms and Parmesan cheese, baked in a scallop shell.

The scallop shell is the emblem of Saint James the Greater. The saint’s association with the scallop shell is based on a legend that he once rescued a knight covered in scallops; a variation on the tale is that, while his remains were being transported to Spain from Jerusalem, the horse of a knight fell into the water and emerged covered in scallop shells. As a result, Medieval Christians making the pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint James in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, often wore a scallop shell symbol on their clothing.

And so, this delicious dish in a wine-flavored cream sauce is served in a scallop shell and named after Saint Jacques. Consider serving it on March 12, National Baked Scallops Day; and on May 16th, National Coquilles Saint Jacques Day.

You can buy the scallop shells in any cookware store (including chain stores), and they’re useful for serving other foods, from hors d’oeuvres (olives, for example) to desserts. And of course, you can serve the recipe on any plate—scallop shells are not required!

Also try Crabe En Coquille, crab in a cream sauce with Cognac, also served in coquille shells.
Coquilles Saint Jacques History

May 16 - Wear Purple for Peace Day

Every year Wear Purple for Peace Day falls on May 16th.

My research found no evidence of this holiday being originated as a protest to war or any kind of conflict.

Rather, I found this day to be a stellar event. It seems some of you out there fear that aliens from outer space consider earthlings to be too hostile. As a result, they have yet to visit or make contact with us. So, some of you decided to promote world peace by establishing Wear Purple for Peace Day, wearing purple apparently encourages aliens to contact us.

I'm not sure if it’s because purple is a peaceful color or a favorite color among extraterrestrials. Whichever way you interpret the holiday, there’s no harm in promoting peace with the color purple.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

May 13 - National Apple Pie Day & Mother's Day

Today is National Apple Pie Day and Mother's Day.
National Apple Pie Day is celebrated by making homemade apple pie.
This apple pie recipe is easy to make.
Make it an extra special family event and make the pie together and present to mom for Mother's Day.
If you don't have the time to bake a pie they are generally easy to find in the grocery store.
There should be plenty of restaurants featuring apple pie on their menu today.
Apple pie is also a great pie for diabetics, apple pie recipes are easily formulated with diabetics in mind.
Enjoy both holidays today. Happy Mother's Day to all mom's out there.

Friday, May 11, 2012

May 11 - Last Minute Mother's Day Gifts

I'm sure there are those who have run out of time to get a Mother's Day gift. With Mother's Day only a couple days away, May 13. I'm here to rescue you. The following are some suggestions for last-minute ideas that will take very little time.

Last Minute Mother’s Day gift ideas:

1. Gift Coupon Book
Nothing melts a mom's heart like a handmade/homemade gift. This Gift Coupon Book is an easy and imaginative way to appreciate mom. No less then 10 coupons is recommended, 20 is better. Double or triple on the really GOOD coupons (ie: cleaning the whole house, breakfast in bed, a mani-pedi done by you, etc.)

2. Gift Basket
Again, nothing melts a mom's heart like a homemade gift basket. What does mom like to do? Watch movies? Take long baths? Do her own manicures? Drink wine? Start by looking at drugstores, supermarket or big box retailers. Buy thing she wouldn't normally buy for herself but wants to. Place everything in a basket, cello wrap it and add a bow and you have a personalized gift ready to go. You can also use a gift box or gift bag.

3. Virtual Family Reunion
Set up a Google+ hangout with all the far away family members, but shhhh keep it a secret. She'll love it.

4. Bouquet of Flowers (25% OFF Site-Wide Code: Deliver4mom)
Hurry expires 05/13/12
Ahhh, the good old stand by. Every mom loves flowers. Make sure you choose a bouquet that can be delivered the same day as ordered.

5. Fill Up Mom's Gas Tank
You can't argue that gas prices are through the roof these days. Just think how much mom would love it if you took the time to make sure her gas tank was full.

6. Your Time!
The one thing your mom always appreciates is you: being with you, having you think about her, and communicating with her. Make Mom a promise that you'll be there for a Saturday afternoon for lunch or on a Friday night dinner.

Happy Mother’s Day to all mom's!!

Calling all Couponers

Print Free Grocery Coupons
This is a great site to print coupons.

I have decided to make this a regular post with a video and links to the top 5 coupons printed from Coupon Network.

Coupon Newtwork has amazing coupons.

There are two ways to save with Coupon Network:

Printable Coupons, featured in blue, are grocery manufacturer coupons that you can print right away and use at any of your neighborhood stores.

YourBucks® Offers, featured in green, are dollars-off rewards on future purchase. Register to view and print all the YourBucks® Reminders. Click on Add to print button to print YourBucks memos so you remember what to buy when you go to a store. Claim YourBucks® Vouchers after you purchase promoted products at the store. They will print automatically at checkout. Spend them like cash on your next visit!

Remember to bring all your offers with you on your next shopping trip. Present your Print-at-Home coupons at checkout. If you bought the products presented on YourBucks® Offers, you will receive more exclusive coupons just for you at the checkout.

YourBucks® Vouchers are then available for you to use like in-store cash on any item, unless in your favorite store.

****If you start saving now you can have a nice Christmas fund****

Like Rewards: $1.10 off when you buy THREE LEAN CUISINE® varieties

$1.00 off any ONE Tyson® Any'tizers® Snacks

$1.50 off when you buy any ONE AVENT Pacifier Pack

Like Rewards: $1.75 off when you buy any ONE Barbara's® Cereal

50¢ off when you buy ONE BOX Original Cheerios® cereal

May 11 - Eat What You Want Day

Today is Eat What You Want Day.
My research doesn't show who created this day or who came up with it. I can only assume that there are so many people dieting that they need just one day of guilt free eating.

It's not detrimental to cheat once in a while, you shouldn't deprive yourself. Deprivation is the death of a diet. Making healthy choices while you're on your diet. There is an abundance of information online that can help anyone who is willing to look.

Eating whatever you want one day out of the year isn't going to make a big difference in your diet. Actually, if your plateauing it might be good to trick your body into thinking you're not on your diet.

My new favorite indulgence snack is baked rutabaga chips. I'm not going to lie, they kind of taste like potato chips, but I season them to make up for the real potato chip flavor. The trick is to make sure they are sliced thin enough and they are baked on a sheet with airflow. I use a cooling rack over the top of a baking sheet, works great.

Enjoy today. Go overboard if you feel the need, but remember to get back on track tomorrow.

Working for fun

What if hard work was actually fun? Just imagine how much more of it you would choose to do, and how much additional value you would create.

Just think of how many more great things you could accomplish.

Imagine that some person or some group wanted to hold you back, to keep you from being your very best. What would be a good way of doing that?

One extremely effective way to hold millions of people back would be to spread the assumption that difficult, challenging work is to be avoided. That being the case, is it really an assumption you want to willingly hold on to?

What’s fun, and satisfying, and fulfilling for you, is whatever you decide is fun, satisfying and fulfilling. If you so choose, that can include intense, difficult, challenging and even tedious work that creates great value.

Are you being held back by your assumptions about what is enjoyable and fulfilling, and what is not? You’re free to change those assumptions any time you choose.

— Ralph Marston
Have fun at work!!!!
Working for fun (

Thursday, May 10, 2012

National Salsa Month - Recipe #11 - Creamy Salsa Dip


Please enjoy the eleventh recipe of the month for National Salsa Month: Creamy Salsa Dip

Salsas of the World

May 11, 2012 - Military Spouse Appreciation Day


 Today is Military Spouse Appreciation Day!

Military Spouse Appreciation Day is celebrated yearly on the Friday before Mother's Day. The first celebration of the day was in 1984 by proclamation from President Reagan proclaiming the day as an observance to honor the contributions of military spouses.

In appreciation to all our service men and women send a heart felt thanks for all they have done and continue to do.

Presidential Proclamation--Military Spouse Appreciation Day

National Salsa Month - Recipe #10 - Minty Green Olive-Celery Salsa


Please enjoy the tenth recipe of the month for National Salsa Month: Minty Green Olive-Celery Salsa

300 Best Taco Recipes: From Tantalizing Tacos to Authentic Tortillas, Sauces, Cocktails and Salsas

National Salsa Month - Recipe #9 - Charred Tomato Salsa


Please enjoy the ninth recipe of the month for National Salsa Month: Charred Tomato Salsa

Salsa's and Dips

National Salsa Month - Recipe #8- Four-Citrus Salsa


Please enjoy the eighth recipe of the month for National Salsa Month: Four-Citrus Salsa

Truly Mexican: Essential Recipes and Techniques for Authentic Mexican Cooking

National Salsa Month - Recipe #7 - Mango Salsa

Please enjoy the seventh recipe of the month for National Salsa Month: Mango Salsa

The World's Best Salsa Recipe Book

Monday, May 7, 2012

Taking the Day Off

I will be taking today (05/07) off everyone.

Look for today's (05/07) daily motivational quote and salsa recipe on Tuesday (05/08).

Today is the beginning of Nurses Week. Support your nurses!!!

Have a great Monday everyone. Talk to you Tuesday.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

May 6 – Daily Motivation – Quotes About Life – Inspirational Quotes

Always a way

Changing conditions may change the path to fulfillment of your dreams, or even the nature of that fulfillment. Yet the essence of your underlying purpose remains the same.

What could have been, can still be. At its deepest level, no dream is ever rendered impossible.

There is always a way to live the life you choose. There is always a way to express your own beautiful, most authentic vision.

Dare to dream, and dare to live with the confidence that your dream will come true. When it means enough to you, there is a way for it to come about.

Plan and execute your approach. And if the plan happens to fall short, know that there is most certainly another way.

Don’t hold yourself back with limiting thoughts about how it might or might not happen. Push yourself forward with enthusiastic, positive expectations and actions, and bring the dream to life.

— Ralph Marston

National Salsa Month - Recipe #6 - Salsa De Tomatillo


Please enjoy the sixth recipe of the month for National Salsa Month: Salsa De Tomatillo

May 6 - National Nurses Day

On May 6th every year National Nurses Day is celebrated. It's important to raise awareness of the role nurses play in society. This day also marks the beginning of Nurses week, ending May 12, Florence Nightingale's birthday.
How do people celebrate?
On National Nurses Day celebrations and receptions are held across the United States to honor the work of nurses. Among the most popular activities are banquets, state and city proclamations, and seminars. Many nurses receive gifts or flowers from friends, family members, or patients.
May 12, the final day of National Nurses Week, is the birthday of Florence Nightingale (1820-1910). The English nurse became known as the founder of professional nursing, especially due to her pioneering work during the Crimean War (1853-1856). Due to her habit of making rounds at night, Nightingale became known as "The Lady with the Lamp".
National Nurses Week was first observed in October 1954, the 100th anniversary of Nightingale's mission to Crimea. May 6 was introduced as the date for the observance in 1982.
Recognize your nursing staff during National Nurses Week:
Custom T-Shirts and Unique Gifts
Fruit Baskets
Thank You Cookies

Saturday, May 5, 2012

May 5 - Free Comic Book Day

What is Free Comic Book Day?

Free Comic Book Day is a single day - the first Saturday in May each year - when participating comic book shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely FREE* to anyone who comes into their stores. *Check with your local shop for their participation and rules. [1]

[1] FCBD Store locator

Full Free Comic Book Day 2012 Comic List Released

Cinco de Mayo

Not to be confused with Mexican Independence Day, which occurs on September 16.

Cinco de Mayo ("5th of May" in Spanish) is a celebration held nationwide in the United States and regionally in the state of Puebla in Mexico, where the holiday is called El Día de la Batalla de Puebla (English: The Day of the Battle of Puebla).
Cinco de Mayo is observed in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride, and to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War. In the state of Puebla, the date is observed to commemorate the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5th, 1862. Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico's Independence Day―the most important national patriotic holiday in Mexico―which is actually celebrated on 16th of September.
You'd be hard pressed not to find a Cinco de Mayo party in the United States today. Celebrations of dancing and food are plentiful and festive.
Partake in all the Cinco de Mayo food and festivities. Let your hair down, have some fun.
Happy Cinco de Mayo!!!
Cinco de Mayo (

National Salsa Month - Recipe #5- 3 Ingredient Fabulous Salsa... Delicious, Fresh and so Easy!

Photo by laurelelise94
Please enjoy the fifth recipe of the month for National Salsa Month: 3 Ingredient Fabulous Salsa...

Homemade Salsa: Salsa Recipes, Salsa Mix, Fresh Salsa and Recipes for Salsa (Reader's Choice Edition)

May 5 – Daily Motivation – Quotes About Life – Inspirational Quotes

The phone was ringing.

I quickly sat up in bed. The telephone was on my husband, Peter's, side of the bed. He was still sound asleep. Peter is a policeman, called the lock-up keeper. He is on call for nighttime jobs, often with no backup. We had only just moved to Nelson Bay, Australia, right in the middle of the busy tourist season.

I quickly prodded Peter and he grabbed the phone.

No, it wasn't an official police call -- it was my brother, Butch, who lived in Sydney, about a 3 hour drive south. It was also 3 o'clock in the morning. Something was obviously wrong.

My sister, Susan, had died only 3 months earlier and I couldn't help but think the worst. Most of the conversation was on my brother's side. Finally, Peter said he'd go and check it out.

What happened next will stay with me, always.

Butch had called because he was worried about a distressed man who had just telephoned him. Butch didn't know him because the man called randomly. Apparently, he needed to talk to somebody because his wife had died recently and he felt that he couldn't go on living. He was planning to kill himself and decided to let somebody know.

He poured his heart out to Butch and was distraught. Butch tried to keep him talking, to learn anything about him. Butch is a very keen fisherman so he decided to talk about fishing. The man confided that he loved fishing and said that he had his own boat, named after his wife, the Laura, and that he lived at Fingal Bay. It just so happens that Fingal Bay is only a 10 minute drive from where we were in Nelson Bay and is quite a small town.

Butch wanted Peter to see if he could go find him before anything drastic happened. Peter left almost immediately and, amazingly, was able to find the man because his boat, the Laura, was parked in front of his home. The man was extremely surprised to see Peter and admitted that he had made the call. They spoke for awhile and the man agreed that he would seek counseling and would not do anything foolish. He was amazed that his telephone call was to someone who not only knew the area, but who knew the local policeman as well!

When I think back on this incident, I look at the parts of the story where it could have quite easily gone wrong -- where everything might have fallen apart. If we had not moved to Nelson Bay mere weeks before, Butch's call most likely would have fallen on deaf ears. If Butch had not talked about fishing, his passion, we would never have learned the name of the boat. If the man himself was not a keen fisherman, there would have been no boat. If the boat was in the water and not outside the house, Peter never would have found the man. And of course, this man dialed Butch's number at random!

Was there some force that moved his fingers over the buttons and
somehow forced him to push all the right ones? Being the skeptic that I am, I'm not sure if there was a higher being watching over him, or if it was simply fate, or coincidence, but I am sure that what happened that night was not simply "one of those things".
Lifeline (

Friday, May 4, 2012

May 4 – Daily Motivation – Quotes About Life – Inspirational Quotes

The Comfort Zone

I used to have a comfort zone where I knew I wouldn't fail.
The same four walls and busywork were really more like jail.
I longed so much to do the things I'd never done before, but stayed inside my comfort zone and paced the same old floor.
I said it didn't matter that I wasn't doing much.
I said I didn't care for things like commission cheques and such.
I claimed to be so busy with things inside my zone,
But deep inside I longed for something special of my own.
I couldn't let my life go by just watching others win.
I held my breath; I stepped outside and let the change begin.
I took a step and with new strength I'd never felt before,
I kissed my comfort zone goodbye and closed and locked the door.
If you're in a comfort zone, afraid to venture out,
Remember that all winners were at one time filled with doubt.
A step or two and words of praise can make your dreams come true.
Reach for your future with a smile;
Success is there for you!
Comfort zone (

National Salsa Month - Recipe #4 - Salsa Rojo



Please enjoy the fourth recipe of the month for National Salsa Month: Salsa Rojo


Salsa Lovers Cook Book: More Than 180 Sensational Salsa Recipes for Appetizers, Salads, Main Dishes and Desserts

High School Graduation Party Ideas or Any Event Planning

Party Ideas to Help You Plan
It's that time of year again. Young men and women graduating from high school, going on with their future endeavors. Some may join the military, some may go right to work, and some will go to college. No matter what they do they deserve a nice party.

Different people will have different ideas and memories of their 12 years of education. It marks the ending of youth and the start of adulthood. Whatever you do don't let it be the last time you see your friends. These friendships, if nurtured through the years, can be so valuable as you grow older.

Planning the party can be overwhelming to some, but it's not hard. If you do your homework, you can have a nice party for a good price if you research. Start planning party ideas and getting your party favors at least two months in advance. Some people start planning a year in advance, now that's organized.

The date and time are very important, you don't want your invited guests to have to choose between friends who are having a party on the same date. Typically a graduation party is celebrated within the first month of graduation and up three months after. Weekends are typically the best day for a party so out of town guests can be there. Also a dinner time party is good if you plan to serve a meal.

The party location will be a personal preference. The majority of parties are thrown at the parent's home or the home of a relative. They can be indoors, outdoors, or a combination of both. If money is an issue keep the decorations basic. Something as simple as a congratulations banner with the person's name on it and graduation year will really suffice. A theme party is the most cost affective if you start buying items you see on sale early, although most teenagers seem to be aganist theme parties.

Graduation invitations can be expensive, use this link to take an additional 10% to 15% off your order, ends May 8, 2012. To save money on postage try and hand deliver as many as you can. As an extra added touch have the graduate deliver the invitations to friends and family, not you Mom or Dad.

Now the music. You'll bee popular music for the graduate and his or her generation, but yoou also need music that your guest will like as well. Hiring a DJ is really a waste of money. With all the technology now a days a computer, speakers and a playlist are really all you need.

Now the food. Cake is a given. The location will determine the food. If you rent a hall they usually have a caterer you have to use, probably expensive. If you have it in your home there's flexibility. You could make food or have a potluck, or could have barbeque with burgers and hot dogs. Pizza is also something that everyone likes. Variety is import, make sure that yoou have at least three varities of the same thing (ie: meat, pizza, cheese, drinks, etc.), you want people to eat and have a good time. Having alcohol at a party is a personal decision and should be considered carefully. It would be inappropriate to have alcohol at a first birthday party, there are too many kids to watch over not to mention how much money you'll SAVE. If you choose to include alcohol start buying early when it's on sale and save it for the party. You can save money by buying at wholesale clubs like Costco or Wal-Mart.

One last thing to remember. Please make sure your neighbors on each side of you and the back of you know, well in advance, you will be having a party and it could possibly get loud. Better yet invite them. A neighbor is less likely to call the authorities if they have been part of the party.
Helpful links:

Graduation announcements & invitations

Party Decorations & Favors at Shindigz

Graduation gifts and decorations

Get 10% off Pre-Packed Party Candies. Use code: 24165

Save 15% - Send a congratulatory bouquet to that special grad.

May 4 - National Orange Juice Day

One of the most popular juices in the United States, orange juice benefits are a great source of Vitamin C, Folic Acid, and potassium. Consuming orange juice with high iron food helps the body absorb iron better.
When buying orange juice make sure the label states 100% juice, not from concentrate. Be careful not to over indulge (1 cup daily, 1/2 cup for children) as it can have an adverse effect on your body. Eat the whole orange, it's much better for you.
Mix orange juice with spice and it makes a great meat marinade. It can also be reduced and used as a glaze for sweets or meat.
There are not many holidays in May that you can celebrate a drink that can be used as a marinade and use as an ingredient.
To celebrate this day check special promotions or sales at supermarkets in honor of National Orange Juice Day. Individuals who want to celebrate the occasion can try their hand at making some freshly squeezed orange juice (or simply buy some from the store) and then share it with coworkers or family members.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

May 3rd – National Day of Prayer

Today is the 61st annual National Prayer Day. Designated by the United States Congress, the National Day of Prayer is annually observed asking people "to turn to God in prayer and meditation", on the first Thursday of May.
The National Day of Prayer is Significant

The National Day of Prayer has great significance for us as a nation. It enables us to recall and to teach the way in which our founding fathers sought the wisdom of God when faced with critical decisions. It stands as a call to us to humbly come before God, seeking His guidance for our leaders and His grace upon us as a people. The unanimous passage of the bill establishing the National Day of Prayer as an annual event, signifies that prayer is as important to our nation today as it was in the beginning. [1]

Like Thanksgiving or Christmas, this day has become a national observance placed on all Hallmark calendars and observed annually across the nation and in Washington, D.C. Last year, local, state and federal observances were held from sunrise in Maine to sunset in Hawaii, uniting Americans from all socio-economic, political and ethnic backgrounds in prayer for our nation. It is estimated that over two million people attended more than 30,000 observances organized by approximately 40,000 volunteers. At state capitols, county court houses, on the steps of city halls, and in schools, businesses, churches and homes, people stopped their activities and gathered for prayer. [2]
The National Day of Prayer is Ours
Remember to Pray Everyday

The National Day of Prayer belongs to all Americans. It is a day that transcends differences, bringing together citizens from all backgrounds. Mrs. Shirley Dobson, NDP chairman, reminds us: “We have lost many of our freedoms in America because we have been asleep. I feel if we do not become involved and support the annual National Day of Prayer, we could end up forfeiting this freedom, too.” [3]
View the historical time line for the National Day of Prayer.
Presidential Proclamation--National Day of Prayer
[1], [2], [3] Historical Time Line for the National Day of Prayer and the Task Force (

May 3 – Daily Motivation – Quotes About Life – Inspirational Quotes

Praying Hands
Back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, lived a family with eighteen children. Eighteen!

In order merely to keep food on the table for this mob, the father and head of the household, a goldsmith by profession, worked almost eighteen hours a day at his trade and any other paying chore he could find in the neighborhood.

Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of the eldest children had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew full well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them to Nuremberg to study at the Academy.

After many long discussions at night in their crowded bed, the two boys finally worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down into the nearby mines and, with his earnings, support his brother while he attended the academy. Then, when that brother who won the toss completed his studies, in four years, he would support the other brother at the academy, either with sales of his artwork or, if necessary, also by laboring in the mines.

They tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Durer won the toss and went off to Nuremberg. Albert went down into the dangerous mines and, for the next four years, financed his brother, whose work at the academy was almost an immediate sensation. Albrecht's etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils were far better than those of most of his professors, and by the time he graduated, he was beginning to earn considerable fees for his commissioned works.

When the young artist returned to his village, the Durer family held a festive dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht's triumphant homecoming. After a long and memorable meal, punctuated with music and laughter, Albrecht rose from his honored position at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht to fulfill his ambition. His closing words were, "And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn. Now you can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream, and I will take care of you."

All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat, tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head from side to side while he sobbed and repeated, over and over, "No"

Finally, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long table at the faces he loved, and then, holding his hands close to his right cheek, he said softly, "No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me. Look ... look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed at least once, and lately I have been suffering from arthritis so badly in my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your toast, much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush. No, brother ... for me it is too late."

More than 450 years have passed. By now, Albrecht Durer's hundreds of masterful portraits, pen and silver-point sketches, watercolors, charcoals, woodcuts, and copper engravings hang in every great museum in the world, but the odds are great that you, like most people, are familiar with only one of Albrecht Durer's works. More than merely being familiar with it, you very well may have a reproduction hanging in your home or office.

One day, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Durer painstakingly drew his brother's abused hands with palms together and thin fingers stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply "Hands," but the entire world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed his tribute of love "The Praying Hands."

The next time you see a copy of that touching creation, take a second look. Let it be your reminder, if you still need one, that no one - no one - ever makes it alone!

Praying Hands (

National Salsa Month - Recipe #3- Pear-Chutney Salsa


Please enjoy the third recipe of the month for National Salsa Month: Pear-Chutney Salsa



Salsas That Cook : Using Classic Salsas To Enliven Our Favorite Dishes

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May 2 – National Truffles Day

Today is the day for all of you that crave a silky-smooth chocolate ball, otherwise known as a truffle. Try making your own. Easy truffle recipes are plentiful online.

If you are looking for a great truffle recipe this one is hard to beat.

The chocolate truffle was first created by Antoine Dufour in Chambéry, France in 1895. They reached a wider public with the establishment of the Prestat chocolate shop in London by Antoine Dufour in 1902, which still sells "Napoleon III" truffles to the original recipe. There are now three main types of chocolate truffles: American, European, and Swiss:

The "American truffle" is a half-egg shaped chocolate-coated truffle, a mixture of dark or milk chocolates with butterfat and, in some cases, hardened coconut oil. Joseph Schmidt, a San Francisco chocolatier, and founder of Joseph Schmidt Confections, is credited with its creation in the mid-1980s.[1]
  • A Canadian variation of the American truffle, known as the Harvey truffle, includes the addition of graham cracker crumbs and peanut butter. Other American companies may shape their truffles similar to that of peanut butter cups.
The "European truffle" is made with syrup and a base made up of cocoa powder, milk powder, fats, and other such ingredients to create an oil-in-water type emulsion.

The "Swiss truffle" is made by combining melted chocolate into a boiling mixture of dairy cream and butter, which is poured into molds to set before sprinkling with cocoa powder. Unlike the previous two kinds of truffles, these have a very short shelf-life and must be consumed within a few days of making.[2]

The "raw" truffle is made by combining coconut oil, raw cacao and raw yacon syrup or raw agave, then rolling them in either raw, shredded coconut, raw cacao and/or chopped almonds.[3]
[1] "Sweet surrender", Los Angeles Times, February 8, 2006

[2] Chocolate, Cocoa, and Confectionery: Science and Technology by Bernard W. Minifie (1999), page 545.

[3] Mäni Niall, Sweet!: From Agave to Turbinado, Home Baking with Every Kind of Natural, p. 202, 2008 Oct 1.


National Salsa Month - Recipe #2- Strawberry Kiwi Salsa


Please enjoy the second recipe of the month for National Salsa Month: Strawberry Kiwi Salsa

Chips, Dips, & Salsas