Deb's Monthly Review
March 1999

Special Quotes
Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless.
--Jamie Paolinetti

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To parents, teachers, and other guardians of children:
I do try to make this a place where kids can stop by without being hurt or compromised.
However, I can control neither sites I link to, nor the sites they link to.
Please surf the Web with your kids!

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The Detroit Institute of Arts
Detroit is sometimes portrayed as a run-down city.
After visiting this site, I can't imagine why.

The Graphics Depot/MIDI Footlocker
Nicely done page featuring a collection of (mostly) Marine-themed graphics
and some rock n' roll MIDI's.

Search Engine Watch
All about search engines, what they do, how they rank your site, and more.

Links of Heaven--Golf Journeys in Ireland
The wearing of the green, on the green--in honor of St. Patick's Day.

The Word Detective
Contemplating the contemporary clarifications of common
and uncommon communication.

NPL Fact Sheets by Region and State
Do you live near a toxic waste site?

Southern History
The South is on my mind, since my husband and his sister are
busy with genealogy in that area right now.

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March Events
festivals For March Travelers

March 6-9, 1999
17th Annual North Texas Irish Festival
Fair Park, Dallas, Texas.
Stories, dancing, street performers, Irish food and beverages, Urchin Street Faire, dog
parade, workshops.
There is an admission charge for this one.
Further details: Call 214-821-4174.

March 13-14, 1999
Various locations, Old Town Spring, Texas.
This festival focuses on foods and wines, with cultural and historical exhibits, music,
and clowns and children's entertainment.
Information: Call 1-8000-OLD-TOWN.

March 13-14, 1999 Warkworth Maple Syrup Festival
Town Hall and other locations, Warkworth, Ontario.
Cross cut sawing, clogging, snowshoe race, maple syrup samples, art and handicrafts,
antiques, quilting displays and demonstrations, petting zoo, community dinner
(tickets sold in advance only for dinner!) Shuttle buses run between some events.
To find out more: 705-924-2057.

March 20-21, 1999
15th Annual Mountain Dew Spring Fling
Loon Mountain, Lincoln, New Hampshire.
Games, races, cardboard box derby.
Details: Call 603-745-8111.

March 26-28, 1999
Azalea Festival Downtown, Hammond, Louisiana.
Farmer's market, flea market, azaleas to view and to buy.
Further information: Call 225-542-3471.

March 27-28, 1999
Oregon Un-Conventional Rubber Stamp Convention
Expo Center, Portland, Oregon.
Over 50 vendors show their wares, give demonstrations, classes, sell items and give
advice on the art of rubber stamping.
I was unable to obtain a contact phone number. You can receive an information packet
with discounts and coupons, vendor information and more, by sending a business size
SASE to AAS!-Portland, 6500 Streeter Avenue, Riverside, CA 92504.

March 27-28, 1999
3rd Annual Alamo Mountain Bike Festival
MaAllister Park, San Antonio, Texas
Trials/demos, kids' race, safety clinic, cross-country race, food and beverages, live music.
This is a charity event, benefiting the San Antonio area parks and natural areas.
More details: Please contact STORM, PO Box 12371, San Antonio, Texas 78212.

March 27-28, 1999
Conyers Cherry Blossom Festival
Georgia International Horse Park, Conyers, Georgia.
Origami, bowling tournament, children's arts, golf tournament, hot air balloons, photo
contest, 5k race, croquet, music, food and drink, sales of cherry trees, equestrian events.
Information: Call 770-860-4198.

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Sometimes I Feel Like A Pecan

Is there any other plant food on the planet as interesting as the nut?
Walnuts, pecans, cashews, pistachios--tiny and tough to get at compared to lettuce or tomatoes, but oh, the rewards when you do get to taste them! They're full of protein, so they're a really concentrated food that packs a punch, and they are high in fat, but they don't contain one bit of cholesterol.
These little foods have gotten a bad reputation in the fat department, and dieters tend to avoid them for that reason, but there is also a lot of fat in meats, the kind of fat that contributes directly to artery clogging. It has different properties and somewhat different effects on our bodies from the fat in nuts. Yet dieters usually don't stop all meat-eating.

That being said, nature did put them in tiny packages, so maybe we shouldn't eat quarts of them at one sitting. But why drag out these goodies only at holidays or when baking cookies and cakes?

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That little favor of sugar-coated almonds you've received at wedding receptions is a custom that probably goes back to old Roman times, when they gave the almonds as a symbol of fertility and life.
Almonds are an excellent source of fiber, phosphorus, folic acid and Vitamin E. And here's more good news: if you are lactose intolerant and you want to include more calcium in your diet, 20 almonds have as much calcium as about a quarter cup of milk!
You can even make a type of milk from almonds, and no, it will not taste like cow's milk. But if you want to make a white sauce, or a creamy soup base, it's works very nicely. Use four parts water to 1 part raw almonds (or make it a bit richer by doing only three parts water). Put the water and almonds in a blender and blend thoroughly. You can strain the liquid if you like, but if you leave the fiber in there, you'll get a thicker base, especially for sauces.
(You can also do this using cashews in place of almonds.)

Macadamia nuts seem to have been named for some fellow in Australia, and even though they probably orignated in that area, today Hawaii is the prime growing region. Unlike almonds, which have one main harvest season, macadamias are harvested several times each year.
Again, you can get quite a bit of calcium from these nuts, as well as Vitamin A, niacin and thiamin. The oils are now being processed as a separate product to be used in salad dressings and cooking. Continuted research seems to indicate that the oils in most nuts include properties that lower risk of the "bad" type of cholesterol. (But stay tuned--one study often debunks another!)

English Walnuts are great sources of thiamin, B6, folacin, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium, manganese and copper. Black walnuts are similar in nutrients, with some variations.

Hazelnuts (also called filberts) pack most of the above nutrients, plus pantothenic acid.

Pistachio trees take more than a dozen years to begin producing, but then they produce for longer than one of our lifetimes. They've been grown in Turkey, Iran, Greece, and now California.
Pistachios contain somewhat smaller amounts of some of the nutrients listed above, but don't forget that good nutrition doesn't come from just one food. All the talk about "complete protein" has been somewhat debunked in recent years, and pistachios contain significant amounts of valine, tryptophan, leucine and other aminio acids that make up proteins. The over-emphasis (at least in the United States) on a diet rich in proteins has gotten us to the point where about 1/3 of Americans are considered overweight (fats contibute too, but many high-fat foods are also high-protein). When's the last time you saw a case of kwashiorkor in North America?

Cashew nuts are much like other nuts in nutrients, being extra high in copper and iron.

Brazil nuts have a pretty good supply of calcium and manganese, but are even better for thiamin, phosphorus, and copper.

For best nutritional results, vary the kind of nuts you consume. Walnuts and almonds have more zinc than most others. (by the way, although not nuts, sesame seeds and pumpkins seeds are also great sources of zinc, as well as iron). Almonds, Brazil nuts, and cashews would be the stars for lecithin. Brazil nuts or pecans would be the best choices for B1.

Peanuts, although technically a legume, are probably one of the most popular of all nuts. An ounce of dry-roasted peanuts will give you more niacin than liver, chicken, turkey or beef.

Coconut is not generally classified as a nut either, but is used similarly in cooking. A 2-inch square piece of fresh coconut meat contains several amino acids, fiber, and even a little Vitamin C, along with small amounts of other nutrients.

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Some people are extremely allergic to nuts!
If you fit into that group, you'll want to skip this page and go right to one of the following links for more information.

West Virginia Health Page--Food Allergies
Food Allergy Resources
Food Allergy Myths and Realities

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If nuts have so much nutrition, and we want to use them more often, where do we start?

Many cultures incorporate nuts into main dishes and other non-dessert foods. You can always begin by tossing walnuts or pecans into a green salad.

Years ago someone taught me a trick for doing Peanut Butter French Toast. Instead of dipping the bread in the old egg-milk mixture, she diluted a bit of peanut butter with water (you can use part apple juice) and then grilled it and served it topped with applesauce. It's very tasty!
One time Ron and I wanted pizza and we were a bit short on traditional toppings. I grabbed some slivered almonds we had stored in the freezer (nuts do keep best for more than a couple of weeks if you freeze them!) and sprinkled them on top of all the other toppings on the pizza, then baked it as usual. The oven toasted the almonds nicely and gave it a great flavor. So now we often put them on pizza because we like the taste. One area pizza place offered a pizza with a sort of white sauce, roasted garlic and almonds. The garlic and almonds are a great combination.

Here are some links to other recipes that use nuts for savory dishes. Many thanks to the kind webmasters who gave permission to link directly to the recipe instead of linking to their Home Pages!

BBQ Pecans Couscous Salad With Dried Cranberries And Pecans
Basic Peanut Sauce
Carrot Soup
Peanut Masala
Stuffed Potatoes
Almond Red Sauce
Barley And Almond Stuffed Squash
Lentil Rice Roast With Cashew Gravy
Mushroom Cashew Bisque
Cashew Bechamel Sauce
Mideastern Cashew Pitas

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I cannot find the (no-meat) meatball recipe I'd hoped to share with you, but what follows is a similar version. This is what I would call a special occasion dish, because it is really high in fat, and because of the eggs, high in cholesterol. Still, if you wanted something really special to take to a vegetarian potluck, you could certainly wow them with these meatballs. You can vary the cheese to suit your own tastes. I like it with Cheddar, but a mix of Cheddar and mozzarella would also be good.


2 cups finely chopped or ground pecans
2 cups grated cheese
2 cups cracker crumbs
4-5 eggs, beaten
1 onion, finely chopped or grated
1 clove garlic, finely minced
your favorite meatball-style or Italian seasonings
Combine all ingredients (you can probably do this in a food processor, though I haven't tried that personally). Form mixture into walnut-size balls and brown in vegetable oil (if you use a nonstick pan you can get by with less oil). Serve with an Italian sauce, mushroom sauce, cheese sauce, or other favorite. If you're going to take them to a dinner you can put them in single layer in a casserole and pour hot sauce over them. If possible, keep warm until serving time.

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There used to be a casserole dish recipe being passed around that included tuna. I learned from some vegetarian cooks that you can make the casserole without the tuna, by increasing the amounts of other ingredients. I tried it once, and we really liked it. Here's an in-between version of two or three recipes combined.


2 cups roasted cashew pieces
2 cups chopped celery, sauteed
1-2 onions, chopped, sauteed
1 or 2 four-ounce cans mushroom stems and pieces, drained
1 small can (about 6 ounce-size) of crunchy chow mein noodles
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained (optional)
about 3/4 cup liquid (water, broth, etc)
(if you want the original version include a can of tuna, and cut veggie amounts roughly in half)
Mix all the ingredients and put in a lightly oiled casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until all bubbly and toasty-looking.
Serve with rice.

This should get you started on the road to enjoying nuts as more than fudge add-ins. Don't be afraid to experiment and have fun!

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Archive of past Monthly Reviews.

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January 1999
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