National Peach Month

  
The month of August is National Peach month…a month to honor and enjoy the great flavor of juicy peaches. So…

1.  What exactly is a peach?

The peach (Prunus persica) is a deciduous tree native to China that bears an edible juicy fruit also called a peach.

The scientific name Persia, as well as any variations of the word “peach,”  came from the word “Persia” because peaches were thought to have originated in Persia, or modern Iran. The Romans called the peaches “Persian Apples,”naming them after the country that introduced peaches to the West.

The tree belongs to the family Rosaceae (the rose family), subfamily Prunoideae, genus Prunus, and subgenus Amygdalus (having a corrugated seed shell like an almond).

The fruit is a drupe, with a single reddish-brown, oval-shape, 1.5-2 cm long seed encased in hard wood. this seed may also be called the “stone” or the “pit.”

2.  What Is the True History Of The Peach?

Actually peaches originated in China, where they have been cultivated since 1000 BC. Today China remainsthe largest world producer of peaches.

Even today in modern China peaches have special significance and “mystical attributes,” such as the ability to bring luck, abundance and protection. Peaches also symbolize immortality and unity. Peach blossoms are carried by Chinese brides.

Peaches traveled west via the silk roads to Persia, earning them the botanical name Prunus persica. In Persia, peaches were discovered by Alexander the Great, who introduced peaches to the Greeks around 320 BC.

By 50 BC., Romans grew and sold peaches for the modern equivalent of $4.50. Once the Romans cultivated the fruit, they were able to transport it north and west to other countries of their European empire.


3.  Where are peaches grown, other than China?

Italy, particularly the regions of Campania and Emilia Romagna, is the second largest producer of peaches and the main exporter of peaches in the European Union; 

Spaniards brought peaches to South America and the French introduced them to Louisiana. The English took them to their Jamestown and Massachusetts colonies. Columbus brought peach trees to America on his second and third voyages.

In the United States, California produces more than half of the peaches grown…even though so many peaches are grown in Georgia that it became known as the Peach State.

4.  What are a few of the over 700 varieties of peaches?

  • Clingstone…the flesh sticks to the stone…generally used for canning
  • Donut…flat with rounded sides that draw in toward an indented center, like a doughnut without a hole…a descendant of the flat Chinese peach
  • Freestone…the flesh does not stick to the stone…the kind generally found in supermarkets. 
  • pêches de vigne...considered to be the finest peaches of all…small, red-fleshed…covered with grayish down…grown in vineyards in France and generally found only there
  • Saturn…a flat variety that resembles the rings of Saturn
  • White…typically sweeter and less acidic…most popular in China, Japan, and neighbouring Asian countries, 
  • Yellow…have an acidic tang coupled with sweetness… most popular kinds in Europe and North America

5.  How nutritious are peaches?

Peaches are a good source of vitamin A (11% RDA), vitamin B(10%), vitamin C (19% RDA), potassium (10% RDA), and fiber (3 grams, 10% RDA).

A medium peach contains only 37 calories. One large peach has only 68 calories.
  

Now for a few recipes…

     
Bellini

    

Peach Blueberry Parfait

      

      Peach Cheesecake

         
      Peach Cobbler

        
      Peach Melba

        
      Peach Pie

         
      Peach Slushie

      August Dessert of the Month—The Poke Cake

        
      Poke Cake is more of a process than an actual recipe…and there are as many different variations of Poke Cake as there are…

      (Different flavors of cake mix) x (Different flavors of Jello or instant pudding…

      Betty Crocker makes 27 different flavors of SuperMoist cake mix…Jello makes about thirty different flavors of pudding…that alone makes for 810 possibilities…
      So how do you make a Poke Cake…

      • 1.  Bake a normal cake, either from a mix or from scratch.
      • 2.  Poke holes in the top with some object, such as the base of a wooden spoon.
      • 3.  Pour sweetened condensed milk, pudding, or jello over the holes…(this allows the liquid to seep into the cake and makes it moist and flavorful).
      • 4.  Refrigerate the cake for a few hours so that the liquid has absorbs into the cake.
      • 5.  Top with Cool Whip and other optional toppings such as caramel syrup, nuts, candy bits,  and fruit.

      Making this cake actually doesn’t involve a recipe…it’s more like creating a ice cream sundae…but better…

      National Eye Exam Month

         

      August is National Eye Exam Month, the perfect time to schedule annual eye exams for both yourself and everyone else in your family.:

        National Eye Exam Month, a month dedicated to the importance of eye health and safety, was founded by Sears Optical Eye Exam Month in 1989. Today most ophthalmologists use this as a time to sponsor Eye Care America, a campaign for seniors ages 65 and up that can qualify for a free eye exam. . 

        Why even have an eye exam in the first place?


        1.  To detect eye conditions… An optometrist can spot early onset signs of diabetes, high blood pressure, glaucoma, cataracts, hypertension, and high cholesterol just by conducting an eye exam.

        During your exam, your eye doctor will look for eye muscle imbalance, vision disorders, and eye disease that could potentially cause future problems.

        Having your eyes examined on a regular basis can help detect these problems before they escalate and affect not only your vision, but also your overall health.

        The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that you have a baseline eye exam at age 40, the time when the early signs of disease or changes in your vision may occur. 

        This baseline screening can help identify signs of eye disease at an early stage, when treatment can have the greatest impact on preserving your vision.


          2. To determine if you need a stronger prescription, or if you need eyeglasses or contact lenses….Your eyes obviously change over time, especially after the age of 40. Having a current prescription reduces eyestrain and helps you see better. 


          3.   To improve your children’s school performance…Eye exams are an important part of healthcare for everyone, but especially for children. 
          According to the Vision Council of America, one out of every four children in the U.S. has an undiagnosed vision problem.

           It is also estimated that 48% of parents with children under the age of 12 have never taken their children to see an eye care professional. 

          Vision problems and poor vision are two of the most common reasons why children fall behind in school each year.

          Eye exams ensure normal vision development and can detect any vision problems that could contribute to possible learning and reading difficulties. 

          Early identification of such problems is crucial because children are more likely to respond to treatment when problems are diagnosed early.


          4.  To keep from having headaches... If you have been having unexplained, constant headaches, the problem could lie with your vision. An eye care professional may be able to pinpoint the cause behind your headaches and help give you the relief you deserve.

          5.   To prevent eye diseases, such as macular degeneration or cataractsMany serious conditions like these often have no symptoms, but an optometrist can detect early signs of such diseases, helping to prevent serious damage.

              

            Makeup Tips for Women Who Wear Glasses

            Eyewear makes your eyes the immediate focal point of your face, so it’s imperative to apply your makeup in a way that’s flattering to both your frames and your face.

            Less is definitely more. Applying makeup to wear with glasses is not a matter of piling on more and more makeup. Instead it’s about using the right makeup and techniques…things like keeping your eye makeup simple, using a light hand, blending everything carefully, and keeping your makeup tidy, well-defined and as close to “perfect” as possible.

            Yet putting on eye makeup can not be thought of as merely a waste of time because any makeup that you apply will simply be hidden behind your glasses.

            1.  Primer…Use a primer, such as NARS’ Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base. This will create a canvas to prevent eyeshadow from flaking off throughout the day. 

            2. Concealor… If you wear glasses, your under-eye area is one of the first things people see on your face. Be sure to apply an under-eye concealer like MAC’s Pro Longwear Concealer.

            3.  Eyeshadow…A full-out smoky eye would look slightly overwhelming. Stick to neutral shades. Get your color from liner, not eyeshadow.

            4.  Eyeliner…Eyeliner is also essential. The thickness of the liner should correspond with the thickness of your glasses. If your frames are thick, apply a thick line of liner to the upper lash line…If your frames are thin, apply a softer line.

            Wear colorful liners-greens, blues, or purples-such as these Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils in a shade that is darker than your natural eye color.

            5.  Mascara
            …Finish with two coats of waterproof mascara.

            6.  Highlighter…
            Apply a highlighter like Benefit High Beam to the inner corners of your eyes.

            7.  Brows….Eyeglass frames draw attention to the brows, so keep your arches well groomed. Pluck or trim and scraggly hairs. Fill in any sparse spots with a brow pencil or powder shadow.

            8.  Lips…Go bold with your lips. 

            9.  Face…Keep blush and bronzer minimal.  

                

              August 3-National Underwear Day… Clearing Out Closet Clutter 

                
              Cleaning out and organizing your clothes closet is a very SMART long-term goal…(much like losing fifty pounds before Christmas, right?!)… that can seem overwhelming and must be broken into several short-term goals…

              Closets often become a stashing ground-not only for clothes, but also for all kinds of other stuff that you don’t exactly know what to do with. So it eventually becomes overwhelming to even begin finding the floor of your closet. 

              Your initial thought might be to pull everything out of the closet and attack the clutter all at once, but this can get way too overwhelming way too quickly..simply leaving an even bigger mess and wasting precious time.

              Instead, attack only one small zone at a time, starting with the most obvious items—anything that you haven’t worn in at least a year…simply don’t like…do not feel comfortable in…”wouldn’t be caught dead in”…can no longer fit into…

                

              Why Get Rid of “Clothing Clutter”

              1.  When you get rid of clothing clutter, you can help someone else in need who will be able to use the clothing you cannot.

              2.  When you get rid of clothing clutter, you can perhaps sell some of the discarded clothing to help you get back some of the money you spent. This can be more work, but it can be quite motivating as well. 

              3.  When you get rid of clothing clutter,  you no longer waste precious storage space in your home storing stuff that no one ever uses anymore.

              4.  When you get rid of clothing clutter, you’ll only be left with only things that make you feel good and actually still fit.

              5.  When you get rid of clothing clutter, you no longer find yourself doing “excess” laundry…and it will be much easier to put away the “clean” laundry..

                

              Once you’ve finished analyzing and curbing down your wardrobe, completely empty your closet. As you take items out of your closet, group like items together. This will allow you to see how many of each type of item you have and help you choose the right types and sizes of closet storage solutions.

              Now choose what storage solutions best accomodate the items you have kept and work for the shape and size of your space.

              Options to consider include additional closet rods…drawers…extra adjustable shelving…hooks and pegs…over-the-door storage solutions…storage baskets…vertical hanging dividers.

              You probably already have many items you can use to help organize your stuff around your home…so use whatever organizers you already have before buying any expensive closet organizer kits and systems. After all, there is no magical one-size-fits-all closet organizing system that everyone should use.

              After you have your closet organizing systems in place, finally place everything back into your closet, grouping like items together and placing frequently used items where you can find them quickly and easily.

                

                Appliances

                Fine Edge Beater is metal with a flexible silicon edged blade that scrapes down the side of your mixing bowl to save time and effort. You can also use it like a spatula to wipe out bowls while pouring your mixture into a cake pan or baking dish. Keep in mind that no single beater style is the best at everything. You’ll have to experiment a little and many people prefer this for thinner batters rather than heavy ones. The video below shows it in action.It’s top-rack dishwasher safe and comes with a 1 year hassle-free warranty. This is a very well reviewed mixer attachment by users and critics alike. At this price it’s hard to find a reason not to buy.Food Grinder…The KitchenAid Food Grinder is a highly versatile tool that truly expands your stand mixer’s use. Shred hard cheeses with ease. Make spreads, dips, pates and salsas. Two different grinding plates – fine and course – give you options for grinding everything from meats to making bread crumbs. Clean up is kept to a minimum as most of the parts are dishwasher safe. Click below to see it in action.Inside the box you’ll also find tips and recipes. The food grinder is compatible with any KitchenAid stand mixer. Add on the Sausage Stuffing Kit that I report on below to add even more uses to this KitchenAid mixer attachment – number 7 in this list.

                Food Processor attachment instantly makes one workhorse appliance into two. Hook it up to any KitchenAid stand mixer and you can slice, shred and julienne with ease. It also has a dicing kit that makes perfectly uniform 8mm cubes. A nice touch is KitchenAid’s exclusive Exact Slice System. A sliding lever on theside allows you to choose the precise thick or thinness you want. Here’s a high quality video demo.

                Grain Mill lets you home-grind flour out of any low-moisture, non-oily grain. That means wheat, corn, rye, oats, rice, buckwheat, barley, and millet are all suitable grains. Coffee, peanuts and the like don’t work. See how it operates in the video below.It has all metal construction and allows you to set your grind from barely cracked to extra finely ground. Naturally, it works with any KitchenAid mixer. It comes with a small brush for cleaning, but if you must wash it do it by hand rather than dishwasher. Fresh, natural flour, homemade up to 10 cups at a time. That’s a healthy start to any recipe.

                Ice Cream Maker…scream. You scream. We all scream for the KitchenAid Ice Cream maker! All you have to do is put the bowl in the freezer for 24 hours before filling it with you mixture and running the machine. 30 minutes later you’ve got your favorite frozen treat ready to eat. From gelato to frozen yoghurt, this thing does it all. Hook it up to any KitchenAid stand mixer and watch the dasher rotate to mix, spread, and mix your dessert. Take a look at the video below.

                Pasta Roller And Cutter…Italian made in an all metal housing, the KitchenAid Pasta Roller and Cutter opens up a whole new culinary world. Fresh, homemade pasta that you can use right away, freeze or dry. It can make sheets for lasagna as well as cut 2 different strand widths to make perfectly uniform spaghetti or fettuccini. Multiple thickness settings give you the control to decide what texture you want in the final product. You can even use the sheets to cut out wide pappardelle noodles or ravioli by hand. Check out this nice video.

                Sausage Stuffer Kit attaches to the KitchenAid Food Grinder, so you have to have the grinder to use the sausage stuffer. The good news is the sausage stuffer is quite inexpensive so it’s not a big deal. KitchenAid also has combo sets that are really well priced on Amazon.

                Slicer Shredder would suggest, it slices and shreds. Amazing! But seriously, it’s a handy mixer attachment to be sure. It comes with 4 cones that do all the work – fine and course shredders, and thick and thin slicers. Make piles of cheese for pizza in seconds. Grate up a mountain of veggies for slaw or stir frying in a jiffy. This video demo displays it best.

                Spiralizer…I love this KitchenAid mixer attachment! It’s just so cool. After all, we eat with our eyes first – and the KitchenAid Spiralizer certainly creates an amazing feast for the eyes. It includes 2 slicing blades, 2 spiralizing blades and a peeling blade. Just look at the incredible things it does from zucchini pasta noodles to applepie slices. See for yourself in the video below.As usual, this mixer attachment will fit any KitchenAid mixer. It also comes with a storage case for the attachment and accessories – which are dishwasher safe. Turn the ordinary into the extraordinary with this unique tool.

                The KitchenAid 5-Quart Artisan Series Stand Mixer may be THE classic iconic mixer, but is not the only option…

                Breville The Scraper Mixer Pro, $300: Designed with bakers in mind, the flexible edges of the scraper beater get to the sides and bottom of the five-quart bowl, so you don’t haveto pause the machine and scrape down the sides yourself.

                Cuisinart 5.5 Quart Stand Mixer, $349: Just like the classic KitchenAid, this mixer has an attachment port that’ll let you process food, squeeze juices, make homemade pasta, or grind your own meats. Just note that the attachments are sold separately.

                Dash Everyday Stand Mixer, $45: This little guy is basic, but it gets the job done when your arm muscles just can’t step up to the task at hand.

                Hamilton Beach Orbital Stand Mixer, $120 at : According to the company, this soon-to-be-released model features the same mixing action as KitchenAid mixers.

                Kenwood Cooking Chef Machine, $1,000: Yes, this is very expensive. But it’s not just a stand mixer with planetary mixing (the mixer head orbits one way while the attachment orbits another) for 360-degree coverage — it also features an induction heating element, so you can steam and cook right in the bowl.

                Oster Planetary Stand Mixer, $160 at Oster: With 12 speeds, a 4.5-quart stainless steel bowl, and three beater attachments, this mixer does everything a casual baker needs it to do.

                Smeg Stand Mixer, $460: To go with your retro fridge, this ’50s-style mixer comes in mint green, pastel blue, white, silver, black, and red.

                Sunbeam 2371 MixMaster Stand Mixer, $80: If your grandmother had a stand mixer, chances are it was a Sunbeam. Use her vintage hand-me-down or get this updated version, which has 12 speeds and works like a hand mixer on overdrive.