Sunday Thoughts On Hot Weather

The hot weather is the most frequent topic of conversation lately. The meteorologists have all pronounced this will be a summer that will break all high temperature records.

I know I've decided air conditioning is my summer bestie. I even hate to go to Costco because of the walk from the parking lot to the store! 

Naturally, my blog today is what people have to say about hot weather.  I'll start with something I saw online this past week that's the best description of the summer we're having in Texas.

"Satan called. He wants his weather back." —Unknown

"Forget about frying an egg on a sidewalk. This kind of heat would fry an egg inside a chicken." —Rachel Caine

“The heat index is somewhere in between OMG and WTF.” —Unknown

"What dreadful hot weather we have. It keeps one in a continual state of inelegance." —Jane Austen

“Summer nearly does me in every year, It’s too hot and the light is unforgiving and the days go on way too long.” —Anne Lamott, author of Bird by Bird

"When the weather is hot, keep a cool mind." —Ajahn Brahm

“It’s so hot, even my fake plants are wilting.” —Linda Solegato

"It was always the view of my parents that hot weather encouraged loose morals among young people." —Ian McEwan

“I’m glad it’s finally hot enough to complain about how hot it is.” —Anonymous

"Iced coffee on a hot day can perform miracles." —Victoria Aveyard

"If I don't make it to heaven, at least I know what hell feels like with this heat." —April Mae Monterrosa

Takeaway Truth

How hot is it? Well, it's hot enough to make one long for winter—and I usually hate cold weather. Stay cool, dudes and dudettes.

Friday Facts About Flip-Flops

Nothing says summer like flip-flops!

Here are 5 Friday Facts About Flip Flops to think about as you slip on those easy to wear sandals.

Here in Texas, flip flops are mostly a year-around footwear.

Grammatically, it's supposed to be flip-flop, but I've always written flip flop so I'll use that and be grammatically incorrect.

In case you think flip flops are a modern day invention, think again. There's a lot of history behind this casual shoe. You can find a version of flip flops in Egypt around 4,000 B.C.

Still in the ancient world, you can find another version in the Roman world where the strap went around the second toe instead of the big toe. Move over to Mesopotamia and find their version where the strap went around the third toe.

5 Friday Facts About Flip Flops

(1) The modern flip flop as we know it was popularized in the U.S.A. by World War II soldiers who brought this sandal back from Japan where it was called zori. When I lived in Japan, it was common to see zori, made of rice straw, on everyone. In fact, there was a cotton "sock" sold that was like a glove with a space for big toe and the larger space for the other toes. Perfectly designed for wearing with zori.

The more casual zori is the geta, made of wood but built up about an inch with 2 wooden pieces running across the bottom of the shoe.

These were made for wearing in rainy or muddy conditions. They're heavy and not easy to walk in. At least they weren't easy for me.

(2) The 1960s was the era when flip flops became a unisex summer standard sandal.
They were associated with the beach lifestyle of California and were recommended to be worn with swimsuits, shorts, and sun dresses.

(3) The name flip flops, used in the U.S. and U.K., comes from the 1960s when someone who remains nameless called them that because of the sound they make as one walks in them.

In Hawaii though, they're called slippers or slippahs. In Australia, they're thongs or pluggers. In New Zealand, they're jandals, a combination of Japanese + sandals. Other countries have other names for them.

(4) In 2006, sales of flip flops exceeded those of sneakers for the first time. Considering the low cost of flip flops and the high cost of sneakers, this is amazing.

In 2009, Flip Flop Shops, an Atlanta-based company said that the sandals were responsible for a $20 billion industry.

(5) The most expensive flip flop ever made cost $18,000.00 a pair. 

Created by Chipkos, an eco-friendly company, they were square shaped with a hand-painted 18-karat gold design.

They're part of the company's environmental program, Stand for Square Feet, with money from the sale of these flip flops going toward the protection of 100,000 square feet of endangered rainforest habitat in Costa Rica.

Takeaway Truth

National Flip Flop Day is the 3rd Friday in June. Mark your calendar for next year.

You probably can't celebrate by purchasing the square feet flip flop, but maybe you can donate to a local environmental program.

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Photograph Credits
(1) Japanese Wooden Geta, Image by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pixabay.
(2) Flip Flop Shoes, Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay.
(3) Sign Life is Better in Flip Flops, Image by Michael Schwarzenberger from Pixabay

5 Ways To Handle Email Scams

If you've never received a threatening email, you're probably in the minority. Like me, you probably just threw it into spam, deleted it, and moved on.

What you should do is report it. That advice came in a mailer from one of our Congressmen, and I thought I'd pass it on.

How to Report Email Scams and Threats

(1) If you think you have been a victim of a scam and want to report it, to to the FTC Fraud Report Page.

(2) If you are the attempted victim of a scam related to Social Security, visit the Social Security Administration Inspector General Website.

(3) If you are the victim of a COVID related scam, visit

(4) If you are the attempted victim of a scam related to taxes, visit the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration Website.

(5) Find out more about phone scams, unwanted phone calls, and other things of that nature along with remedies at the FTC Consumer Information Page.

Takeaway Truth

Most importantly, use common sense. Don't panic. Report it. 

Review: Sunset--Wyatt Earp Goes Hollywood

Sunset, directed by Blake Edwards and starring Bruce Willis and James Garner, was an interesting movie. I suspect the marketing department had no idea how to promote it.

Was it a comedy? A dramedy? A western? An action film? An insider's view of Hollywood during its formative years?

Or was it all of the above? That's the correct answer. All of the above which makes it a hard movie to pigeon-hole and that makes it a hard movie to market and promote.

The movie poster at left illustrates what I mean. A vintage art treatment, two smiling men, a man carrying a woman away like in An Officer and A Gentleman. Makes you think it's a romantic comedy, doesn't it.

Well, with a story line of domestic abuse, prostitutes, murder, crooked cops, and women in danger, it's far from a rom com.

Darling Hubby and I watched it a couple of weeks ago when it was on Tubi. It may now be on Fubo.You can still find Sunset on Amazon for rent or sale.

I found the movie entertaining because I loved  in the way it presented Wyatt Earp (James Garner) as a movie consultant for westerns made during the silent movie era in Hollywood. That's actually true. Wyatt Earp did serve as a technical consultant on early western movies. I don't know if he worked on any of the Tom Mix films, but it was a good story—give or take a lie or two, as Earp remarks at several places in the movie.

Bruce Willis in one of his early film roles after the TV series Moonlighting plays Tom Mix with a lesser degree of smart ass than he exhibits in most of his films. In my humble opinion, Willis didn't find the role comfortable, and it showed.

Garner stepped into his role like a man pulling on a pair of old, comfortable shoes. Maybe that was because he'd acted in many westerns on television and in movies, but he seemed like the real deal. He had even played Earp in a movie.

With Mariel Hemingway as the daughter of a murdered prostitute and Malcolm McDowell as a Charlie Chaplin-type character with some of Chaplin's perversions shown, the film has a lot of action, snappy dialogue, and some cool lines. McDowell is suitably creepy and Mariel has a great line she bestows on Garner after she's asked him to sleep with her.

Takeaway Truth

All in all, the film is worth watching for the Earp-Hollywood connection and for Garner's performance. Catch it if you can and let me know what you think of it.

Best Amazon Prime Bargains

Today is the last day for Prime Day Bargains.

I didn't shop yesterday, but my daughter told me this morning about all the bargains she'd grabbed so I'm shopping now as I write this.

Reduced from $149.99 to 99.99, this sleek stainless steel bread machine is perfect for those who want to make specialty breads like gluten-free loaves.

There are several bargains when it comes to Kindle E-Readers. You can pick one up with a built-in light for night reading as low as $44.99.

If you're concerned about all the additives in commercially produced ice cream, there's an easy answer to that problem. Get an ice cream maker like this Cuisinart appliance that makes frozen yogurt, ice cream, and sorbet. Takes less than 20 minutes to make. There are a variety of them on sale from $29..59 on up.

Makeup Brushes

If you need a new set of makeup brushes, these are quite a bargain at $6.79, reduced from $18.99.

Takeaway Truth

Whatever your wants and needs, be sure and check Amazon Prime Day Deals before the day is over.

5 Ways to Beat the Heat Outdoors

I grew up in the South. When I was a child, it was uncommon to see anyone outdoors without a hat if they were working outside, walking to visit a neighbor, or any activity that took time.

Anyone who worked outside wore hats.

Elderly ladies wore hats and often carried umbrellas (which they called parasols) for added protection against the scorching heat.

In today's world, it's unusual to see people wearing hats, but, guess what? I wear hats summer and winter. When I see roofers working in triple digit heat without caps or sunglasses, I want to ask if they've ever heard of skin cancer and cataracts both of which are caused by sun's blinding light.

5 Ways to Beat the Heat Outdoors

1. Wear a hat! It can keep you cooler, protect you from skin cancer, and cataracts at al earlier age.

2. Avoid wearing polyester and other synthetic fabrics. 100% cotton is your best friend.

3. Do your yard work, exercise walk, and other outdoor activities in the early morning before 10AM if possible.

4. If at the pool or beach, hat, sunscreen, sun glasses, plenty of chilled bottled water, and white cotton washcloths you can soak in cold water and apply to the back of your neck, face, and pulse points.

Something else missing from today's world are hand fans. I have one from when I lived in Japan.

The Japanese folding fans are exquisite. Amazon has several Japanese style folding fans like the one shown at left.

Back when I was a child, everyone seemed to have a hand fan. For outdoor parties in the evenings, ladies used beautiful folding fans.

For everyday use, it was common to see ladies sitting on a porch and fanning themselves with a rectangular or square-shaped fan (light cardboard attached to a wooden handle).

Those everyday fans were often called funeral home fans because they were often passed out before a funeral and had funeral home promotion on them. I have one from the last funeral I attended in West Texas. 

Other names for these fans were church fans or parlor fans, and they're still being sold. Here's a church fan with the Serenity Prayer from Amazon. 

5. Hand fans need to make a comeback. They'd be so very useful if you're sitting on the patio or by the pool to watch your kids or tending a BBQ grill.

Takeaway Truth

Beating the heat while outdoors requires pre-planning. Always remember: shade (a hat if you don't have a shady tree), fluids, sunscreen, moving air (a fan if you don't have a breeze), and a smile (being outside should be fun). 


Monday Magic Summer Fun App

To be honest, I was researching wilderness trails for a book I'm thinking about writing. That led me to All Trails.

I've blogged before about walking which I do every day possible, but I've never actually confessed I love hiking. 

I don't get to do it unless I'm in the country, and the weather isn't scorching. I think tis app might enable me to indulge in that more often.

AllTrails offers users access to more than 200,000 trail maps in an app for your iPhone or Android phone.

You can find the perfect trail to hike, run, or bike with length and difficulty rating. You can also filter the results by dog, kid-friendly, or great view.

Use your phone as a GPS tracker to follow trails without getting lost. You can record your pace, distance, elevation, and speed. Best of all you can share your trail adventure with family and friends.

All Trails offers a free 7-day trial. An annual membership is only $29.99 a year which is paid annually. 

The annual fee breaks down to only $2.50 a month, less than the cost of a Starbucks. (If concerned about the expenditure, be sure and read the Help Page / Subscriptions and Billing before making the commtment.)

Takeaway Truth

Imagine walking through forests, inhaling the fresh air, and seeing spectacular views. That's what trail walking offers you. Try it this summer as the perfect way to beat the heat at the beach.

Sunday Thoughts About Affirmations

Good morning! It's a beautiful sunny day here in Texas, but we're praying for rain.

Unfortunately, writing, "It's raining today," and speaking that sentence and thinking it over and over, won't make it rain, will it?

Sunday Thoughts About Affirmations

Did you ever wonder if affirmations really work?

YouTube is glutted with videos "teaching" one how to overcome and improve everything in life by saying what you want over and over, writing it, thinking it, etc.

Truth or Fiction

Actually, there's a lot of truth in the power of affirmations. No, I don't think chanting, writing, or saying, "I win the Lottery on Satruday," will help you win the Lottery. However, affirmations can help you make significant changes in you by changing the way you think about YOU.

Here's how affirmations work, and how they can help you. Like golf, it's a mental game. In fact, most things in life that contribute to success are always mental.

Truth About Affirmations

There's a wonderful book by Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart, that contains Inspirational Thoughts for Living Your Best Life.

In the book, Mr. Bennett writes: "Accept yourself, love yourself, and keep moving forward. If you want to fly, you have to give up what weighs you down."

Using affirmations is a way to get rid of the stuff that weighs you down. That "stuff" is what most of us "learned" in childhood from negative statements or situations—often from adults who were themselves weighed down with bad thoughts and fears.

1.Affirmations can help one overcome bad attitudes and low self-esteem, the problems many people struggle with. 

2. How can affirmations do that? Because you are consciously reflecting on the change you wish to make. Conscious thoughts when entertained regularly sift down to the subconscious which. to a great extent, makes you do the things you do.

3. Those ideas embedded in your subconscious make you act and react, often in ways detrimental to what you consciously say to yourself. It can be as simple as seeing a red dress and thinking, "Oh, I love that. I wish I could wear that." Then you pass on by the opportunity of buying the red dress. Your subconscious has told you, "You won't look good in that dress." Before you've even tried it on. That happens to women who have low self-opinions about their attractiveness.

4. Affirmations can help you eliminate or at least decrease the power of negative thoughts.

5. Affirmations can help you improve your image and opinions about yourself.

6. Affirmations can help you improve your self=confidence which leads to improvement in your ability to achieve goals. 

7. Affirmations can help fight anxiety—those feelings of panic or self-doubt that flood you when you attempt something out of your comfort zone.

8. You probably already use affirmations if, when faced with something a bit overwhelming,  you've told yourself, "I can do this."

9. Create your own affirmations directed at what you think is in dire need of improvement. Write it in a simple sentence in the present tense like, "I am strong and healthy."

10. Spend a few minutes a couple of times day, saying and/or writing the affirmation 10 times. Reflect on it.

11. Resist the temptation to try to change everything about your behavior and attitudes. Pick 1 thing and work on it.

If changing an attitude of negativity is your target, you'll know you're succeeding when a situation crops up that, in the past, you would have immediately thought, "I've failed again." But now you find yourself thinking, "That didn't work so I'll try something else." 

Takeaway Truth

Make affirmations a regular part of your self-help strategy, and they will improve your belief in yourself and your abilities.

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Saturday Share: 7 Health Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar

Every morning Darling Hubby and I each drink 8 ounces of water with 1 teaspoon of organic apple cider vinegar.

We think this is one reason our immune systems are strong. Actually, I can't remember the last time we had a cold.

Apple Cider Vinegar, or ACV as it is sometimes called, has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-septic, and anti-fungal properties.

This means that it can be a natural treatment for ailments that come from bacterial, viral, or fungal origins, but never let that statement keep you from seeing a doctor.

(We use Bragg's which we buy at our local store. If you can't find it, check Apple Cider Vinegar on Amazon.)

Here are 7 ways you can use apple cider vinegar for good health.

1. Sterilize your toothbrush. 

Most people brush their teeth, rinse the toothbrush, and put it back in a rack without ever thinking about disinfecting it. If you have any kind of illness, you should sterilize your toothbrush every time you use it. You can pour boiling water over it, but it's easy to make a solution to use as a toothbrush cleaner.

In a tall container, mix 1/2 cup of water, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, and 2 teaspoons baking soda. Place your toothbrushes into the mixture, brush end submerged. Let them soak for 30 minutes. Rinse well before using because undiluted vinegar can damage your teeth.

2. Treat dandruff.

This old remedy is cheap to try and works by killing a fungus that contributes to dandruff. Mix equal parts water and ACV. Dip a cotton ball into the mixture and apply to the scalp.  Massage the solution into the scalp.

3. Use as a produce wash. 

Rather than purchasing a commercial wash to clean produce, make your own. Simply mix 1 cup of ACV and 4 cups of water in a clean spray bottle. Shake to mix well. Place fruit and vegetables in a colander, spray thoroughly, and let drain. 

4. Use as a facial toner.

Mix 1 teaspoon ACV with 2 or 3 teaspoons water. Dip a cotton ball into the mixture and wipe onto cleansed skin. (If you have very sensitive skin or acne, use the 1:3 ratio.)

5. A sore throat Gargle.

This old home remedy worked well when I was a child. Mix 1 teaspoon ACV, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 8 ounces of warm water. Mix well and gargle.

6. Lower blood sugar.

There's anecdotal evidence that ACB helps diabetics manage their blood sugar levels. That was the result from a study in which people consumed vinegar after a high carb meal. 

7. Promote weight loss.

Dr. Oz said that taking 1 teaspoon of ACV before a meal can help with weight loss. Try mixing 1 teaspoon in 8 ounces of water and drinking before a meal.

Takeaway Truth

Sometimes old home remedies really do work.

3 Reasons to Love BookBrush

Hey! It's Thursday3Some, and I'm pleased to bring you 3 Reasons to Love BookBrush.

In case you don't know, BookBrush is the online web app that helps you create graphics like a professional graphic designer!

For authors, this is HUGE! Before I give you the 3 Reasons, let me tell you...

A Little About BookBrush

You can sign up for free on BookBrush and try them for free. After your free trial, you can upgrade. Before 30 days is up, if you decide their service is not for you, contact them and they will hellp you get a pro-rated refund.

4 Levels of Service

Annual payment is made, but the monthly breakdown of the fee is shown next to each level.
  • Free
  • Plus – $8.25/month (12 X 8.25 = $99.00 per year)
  • Gold – $12.25/month ($146.00 per year)
  • Platinum – $20.50/month ($246.00 per year)
BookBrush is totally, completely worth it. No question. I learned about BookBrush when Josh Wiley, the CEO, contacted me when they first started business as CoversSellBooks. He asked me to try the app and review it. I did and fell in love with it.

Since then, they've added countless new tools including making print book covers, video trailers, hundreds of ready-made templates, and so much more.

Kathleen Sweeney, Customer Service Manager & Marketing Lead, is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. She conducts online workshops to help users make the most of BookBrush.

3 Reasons to Love BookBrush 

This YouTube video explains how to use video background effects that enable one to make the coolest graphics for use on social media. 

When coupled with animation, filters and/or  overlay, and text, you can actually end up with a short video that can be used as a book trailer which is sheer genius. Kathleen Sweeney explains it so clearly and concisely that anyone can do this.

Forget trying to guess the sizes of each image as well as how to clip them and paste them into each image section so they look natural. BookBrush has templates that shortcut the whole process. In this video Kathleen takes you through how to do it step by step in less than 5 minutes!

This tool alone is worth the subscription plan fee. A graphic artist charges about $100.00 for an ebook cover. A print cover? More than double. This video teaches you how to make an ebook cover, a Kindle Vella cover, or a print wraparound cover. Kathleen teaches this in about 33 minutes. Unbelievable, I know, but it's true.

Takeaway Truth

I could probably give you 300 reasons to love BookBrush, but I'll let you discover that for yourself. Visit BookBrush YouTube Channel and discover all the ways they can help you. You'll become a true believer.

Alexa Privacy Reminder

If you have an Alexa-enabled device, do you periodically check the voice recordings the device makes? You should. 

We have an Echo, and we've noticed that Alexa will sometimes speak up when someone—either in person or on TV—says something that prompts Alexa to listen in for a command.

You may be surprised at what you find in your device's recordings for your digital account.

I don't know if it's possible, but you wouldn't want a privileged conversation or information to be recorded through some fluke.

I do know there have been court cases where the voice recordings from an device were subpoenaed for evidence. 

It's easy to check the privacy settings for your Alexa-enabled devices, simply go to Manage Your Alexa Data.

On that page, you can check the settings and delete en masse if you wish: 

  • Voice Recordings
  • Smart Home Device History
  • Detected Sounds History
  • Help Improve Alexa (the items here can be turned off if you don't wish your communications with your device used to improve performance)
If you want to hear what has been recorded, that's easy too.
  • Open the Alexa app
  • Tap More > Settings > Alexa Privacy > Review Voice History. This will open a menu of everything you've asked Alexa.
  • Simply tap the down arrow next to an item, and you'll hear the recording.
Takeaway Truth

It's always a good thing to check the Detected Sounds History and Voice Recordings.  Be safe, not sorry.

Review: Better Call Saul

Darling Hubby and I were late to make the acquaintance of Better Call Saul, an AMC original series.

It's free on Netflix and can also be found for sale on Amazon Prime.

There are 5 seasons on Netflix, and Season 6 can currently be seen on AMC.

About Better Call Saul

The series is set in 2002 and is a  prequel to the groundbreaking series, Breaking Bad

It introduces Jimmy McGill, a lawyer trying to win his brother's respect, admiration, and love. Jimmy, an oddball who can't seem to make the right choices, endears himself to the viewer despite his propensity for making a bad situation worse.

What Jimmy doesn't know is that his brother loathes him and camouflages that scorn with a  righteous stance that screams hypocrisy.

If Jimmy had a moral compass, he might well have surpassed his famous lawyer brother because he has wit and personality. Instead, all roads lead to his eventual downfall. By the time Jimmy embraces his criminal tendencies, the viewer—well, this viewer—begins to dislike him and his scamming ways.

Eventually, Jimmy remakes himself into attorney Saul Goodman who represents Walter White (Bryan Cranston), the notorious chemist-turned-meth dealer of Breaking Bad.

Why Watch Better Call Saul

It's like watching a train wreck. You can't look away. Bob Odenkirk who is Jimmy McGill makes you like him, sympathize with him, and despair of his calamities. For 4 seasons, your heart goes out to Jimmy.

By the time you dislike the man Jimmy has become, you're already invested in the characters and their various storylines like retired cop Mike Ehrmantraut who has a specialized skill set. Ehrmantraut is brilliantly played by veteran actor Jonathan Banks

Then there's the drug dealer Nacho Varga portrayed by Michael Mando who makes you sincerely believe he wishes he'd never got involved with the cartel. 

Takeaway Truth

Excellent scripts that give the actors believable characterizations, compelling stories, superb acting, twists and turns, intelligent plots—all of that and more are the reasons you should watch Better Call Saul.

Let Freedom Ring

"America has never been united by blood or birth or soil. We are bound by ideals that move us beyond our backgrounds, lift us above our interests and teach us what it means to be citizens." —George W. Bush

"For everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labour in freedom." —Albert Einstein

"You can't separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom." —Malcolm X

"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." —John F. Kennedy

"We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it." —Willaim Faulkner

"Can't we all just get along?" —Rodney King

People make jokes about Rodney King's famous words, but those were wise words. The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—I truly believe that's what this country is all about. Let's make that a reality. 

Takeaway Truth

I think we should do that—respect each other, recognize that we all have the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happines, and get along with each other. Happy Independence Day.

Sunday Thoughts On Salads

Have you noticed that summer is the season in which we joyfully embrace salads?

I guess it's the hot weather that makes salads sound cool and refreshing.

Here are some entertaining  quotations about salads.

"If you have a complete set of salad bowls and they all say Cool Whip on the side, you might be a redneck. —Jeff Foxworthy

(JOAN: I'm happy to say I have NO Cool Whip containers. I don't like the stuff. To me, it tastes like plastic.)

"Salad can get a bad rap. People think of bland and watery iceberg lettuce, but in fact, salads are an art form, from the simplest rendition to a colorful kitchen-sink approach." —Marcus Samuelsson

(JOAN: My salads sport the kitchen sink method. I throw in vegetables, different kinds of greens, fruit, seeds, nuts, and a homemade dressing.)

"There are many things to admire about Japan but this is the one thing I love the most and probably the only time I eat breakfast. Fish, eggs, soup, salad, veggies; all in the tiniest bites. It's a full meal, but it's so refreshing." —David Chang 

(JOAN: When I lived in Japan is when I first saw salads made of finely shredded cabbage instead of lettuce. So I've always put some in my salads ever since then.)

I have some weird habits. For instance, I love beets. Show me a salad bar and I will clean them out of their beets. —Chris Pratt

(JOAN: My dad planted beets every year, and my mom canned them as pickled beets. They were absolutely delicious. Thankfully, Darling Hubby grew up eating beets too. I pickle them now and put them in salads.)

"As I see it, a green salad is an open invitation to carrots, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and the sprouts that grow in jars on my kitchen counter." —Victoria Moran

(JOAN: I too grow sprouts in jars on the wide window sill above my kitchen sink.)

"As a student of Alice Waters, the patron saint of salad, I'm no stranger to the art of lettuce washing." —Samin Nosrat

(JOAN: Even if a container of greens or vegetables says, 'Pre-washed,' wash them. Put the greens in a colander, dunk it in a large bowl of water, swish the greens around. Pull the colander up and observe the dirt or other residue remaining in the water.)

Takeaway Truth

Take that last quotation to heart. Wash the greens, vegetables, and fruit.

Saturday Share: Parmesan Potato Casserole

A couple of years ago, I gave a recipe for Cheesy Zucchini Caserole

The recipe was for those who love potatoes au gratin but never eat that delightful dish because they don't wish to consume potatoes.

A lot of people avoid "white" potatoes because they're high in starchy carbs. 

Others avoid them because they're trying to eliminate nightshade plants from their diet.

If you don't have a problem with white potatoes, this recipe is for you! It's easy to make and serves 6-8 portions.

Parmesan Potatoes


  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 pounds Idaho potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prepare a 9X13 casserole dish by spraying with Pam or a small amount of ghee or melted butter.

2. Melt 1/3 cup of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the minced onions and garlic. Cook until onions are soft and translucent. Stir frequently so as not to brown the garlic and onions.

3. Whisk in the cream, milk, salt, pepper and parsley. Mix thoroughly and add the potatoes.

4. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium or low so it will simmer gently, about 10 to 15 minutes until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.

5. Spoon the potato mixture into the baking dish and sprinkle the top with the Parmesan.

6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.

7. Remove to a cooling rack. Let it stand for 10 minutes so the cheese will "settle" or thicken up.

Takeaway Truth

Let me know if you try this casserole. I think it'll be one of your new favorites.

Friday Facts About Women's Swimsuits

Is it hot enough for you? I think that must be a popular conversation starter in the summer.

Most of us take to the ocean or pools to cool off.

Did you ever wonder about the history of women's swimsuits? I did.

For Friday Facts, here are some things I learned about Women's Swimsuits or bathing suits as they were once called.

1. Women's swimsuits have come a long way since the 1600's when women in England wore bulky canvas garments at Bath. The garments were made to fill up with water to obscure the shape of their bodies.

2. Since women wore those costumes at Bath, they became known as bathing suits.

3. Those billowing bathing suits, not suitable for much except wading in the water, remained popular with women wearing high-necked, long-sleeved, ankle-length gowns into the 1800s.

4. Late in the 1800s, the bathing suits became a little more amenable to actually swimming, but they were still loose-fitting, ankle-length, with full sleeves, and were made of wool or flannel so as not to be transparent when wet.

Weights were sewn into the hems so that they would not rise up in the water. (By this time, men who previouslly swam nude, were required to wear drawers.)

5. Finally, in 1907, Australian swimmer Annette Kellerman arrived in the U.S. to perform as an underwater ballerina, a type of synchronised swimming. She wore a form-fitting one-piece tank bathing suit, a design she'd adopted from an English bathing suit for men. She was immediately arrested on Boston beach for indecent exposure because her tank suit showed her arms, legs and neck. 

6. Kellerman's suit inspired women's swimwear for the 1912 Olympics.

7. That was a turning point. After that, a practical one-piece maillot, a woman's one-piece tank-style swimsuit named after a fashion designer, became popular for women. 

From that "breakthrough," the swimsuit became sleeker and more feminine, showing a woman's curves.

8. Even though two-piece bathing suits existed in the 1930s, the bikini emerged after WWII. 

Designed by French engineer Louis Réard, the skimpier two-piece debuted July 5, 1946.

According to the designer, material rationing after the war prompted the smaller two-piece who named it bikini for the island where the first post-war tests of the atomic bomb were taking place.

9. Bikini's got skimpier and skimpier until Rudi Gernreich invented the thong bikini in the 1970s, a time when everyone wanted to be seen as sexy and sensual.

Takeaway Truth

Women, rejoice that you can now wear a suit actually made for swimming—or for showing off your body you worked hard to tone.