The Flu Season is Not Over!

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Last weekend I went to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to watch my daughter and her mock trial team try to earn a bid for Nationals. I am very happy to say that they were successful! Unfortunately, the lady seated next to me was sick. Not only was she sick, she had the flu! Being a dental hygienist, I do the responsible thing and get a flu shot every year. So when I went to work on Tuesday, I felt great; but my the end of the day, I felt lousy. I thought it was my allergies, but my muscles and joints ache too much, plus I have a slight fever. The next time I fly, I am going to take Airborne, carry disinfecting wipes and use a face mask, if the person next to me is sick.

Hopefully, by next week, I will be able to cook and blog again! For those who celebrate Easter, wishing you a wonderful and healthy one!

 

December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

My Christmas present arrived on Wednesday. It was my daughter, Laura, home from college. So for the next thirteen days, my husband and I will get to enjoy her company! The days will go by so quickly as they always do, since Laura started college. Our family tradition is to attend Christmas services and to go to the movies. This year we have tickets to see “Joy” and to have dinner at home, featuring roasted turkey breast and healthy scalloped potatoes.  I hope the holidays that you celebrate with family and friends are happy and full of delicious dishes!

The Privilege of Jury Duty

The Privilege of Jury Duty

For the past three days, I had the privilege of serving on a jury. I debated with myself as to whether or not I should blog about this issue, but I think it is important for me to comment about this topic in light of today’s political climate. It is so easy to be cynical of the government with the gridlock we are experiencing in Congress and of the justice system with the abuses we are seeing from citizens’ video cameras. Well, for the last three days I saw the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution in action and felt so fortunate to be able to participate in the process. It doesn’t mean that I believe that the system is always perfect and that individuals always get the justice they deserved. But when you know that there are countries in this world where is no justice system and individuals get killed for committing misdemeanors, you really feel lucky to live in a country where there is due process.

Most people aren’t excited to get the jury summons in the mail and I was no different. I had to ask a colleague to fill-in for me and I was going to miss at least a day of pay. My feelings began to change once I got into the jury room and the official started to arrange the jury pool into groups to be interviewed for selection. Since I was “Number 6” in my group, I had the sneaking suspicion that I would be one of the individuals that would be questioned first in the jury box. After the presiding judge discussed how important it is to be a juror and what a privilege it is to serve, I wanted to be chosen. The prosecutor and the attorneys for the defendant did a very good job with their selection. The jurors varied in age, occupations, economic status, ethnicities and sexual orientation. Some were parents of young children or children with special needs. One was a caretaker of an elderly parent. Another had lost a sibling at a very young age in a tragic accident. Everyone in varying degrees was going to be inconvenienced in some fashion, but everyone seemed very willing to participate in this very important process.

I was just a bit surprised when the judge explained the gross misdemeanor case to us. The defendant, a middle-aged, man who spoke with a slight accent, had allegedly damaged a black SUV vehicle with a foreign object, making deep scratches along the passenger side of the vehicle and causing $1,200 in repairs. My first thought was why wasn’t a plea deal done? I can’t even imagine the cost of having two defense attorneys and the cost to the court/tax payers! It soon became apparent that the defendant wanted his day in court, which is the right of every American citizen. Since he was on disability and couldn’t afford the cost of an attorney, he was appointed two public defenders, which is also his right.

The defendant, who had open heart surgery two months prior, parked his car next to the black SUV at a Trader Joe’s parking lot. Some of the parking stalls were blocked off as they were recently repaved. He was upset that the owner of the SUV did a bad job of parking and he had to squeeze out of his car. The defendant was so upset that he motioned to a 73-year-old woman to come over and look at the poor parking job. She goes over and basically shrugs her shoulders, because there wasn’t anything she could do and left. A few moments later, the woman hears the distinct sound of the scratching of metal. She turns around and can see the man making large hand movements by the SUV. The lady can see that he has an object in his hand and asks, “What are you doing?” The defendant tells her “to f… off,” so she leaves , but manages to get the license plate number of defendant with the help of another stranger. The witness and the stranger proceed to the store and to speak to the manager about the incident. That’s the case in a nutshell.

The first thing we did in the deliberation room was to take a vote—the result was 10 “guilty”, 2 “not guilty.” One of the jurors, who voted “not guilty,” was a naturalized citizen and had a friend who was incarcerated for twenty years for a crime he did not commit and was later released. The juror was justifiably sensitive, because of his friend who was wrongfully imprisoned. In a calm manner, we discussed the testimony and the credibility of both the defendant and the witness. Surprisingly, we probably would have had a unanimous verdict of “not guilty,” had the defendant not testified. It was his numerous inconsistencies in his testimony, false accusations of racism by the witness and police officer and repeated references to his heart condition that chipped away at his credibility. The witness, on the other hand, was consistent in the critical details of her testimony and admitted when she was unsure of a detail. She did not know the defendant or the car owner, but got involved, because it was the right thing to do. In the end, the jury gave the unanimous verdict of “guilty.” None of us were happy about giving that verdict, but the prosecutor had proven her case beyond a reasonable doubt.

I was fortunate to have a very positive experience of being a juror and to see Sixth Amendment in action. This case should have been pleaded out and never have gone to trial, but it does show that every defendant has the right to have a trial by your peers no matter how small or big and no matter how little or much society is impacted by it. I was impressed by the judge who was fair and impartial, the two public defenders who fought hard for their client, the prosecutor who systemically made her case and the bailiff who cheerfully did his job and kept us upbeat. Most of all, I was so impressed with my fellow jurors, who took their responsibility seriously and was so respectful of others opinions.

Final comment: While the bailiff was escorting the defendant to booking, we had the opportunity to speak with the attorneys. At the conclusion of our talk, paramedics entered the courtroom with a gurney. All of our jaws dropped! We were all thinking, “Did our verdict cause the defendant to have a heart attack?” We had no knowledge of his condition, when we were escorted out of the courtroom to get our $120.00 for jury service. As I was leaving the courthouse lobby with another juror, we saw the defendant walking by himself out of the building. Our jaws dropped again!!!

Christmas Ornaments for the Foodie

Every year, I buy my daughter a Christmas ornament, so that she will have a decent collection of Christmas tree decorations by the time she finishes college. At a recent trip to my local Sur La Table store, I saw all these fabulous food glass ornaments. They would make a perfect hostess gift or stocking stuffer! I am sharing just some of the lovely little glass pieces of art, which are on sale right now for 30% off!

Sur La Table Christmas OrnamentsChristmas Ornaments for the Foodie

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Ornaments are available at SurLaTable.com. Sale prices listed.

Christmas Ornaments for the Foodie

Since Laura is such a lover of sushi, I thought this sushi roll decoration is perfect for her! The burger basket is a great choice for her boyfriend, because he is a lover of In-N-Out Burger!

Christmas Ornaments for the Foodie

A Farewell to Summer ⎮ Newport Beach, CA

As we approach the Labor Day weekend in the U.S., it signifies the end of the summer and the beginning of school for many families. I thought I would share some pictures I took during my vacation in Newport Beach, California. Any chance I get to take pictures of beautiful scenery and improve my photography skills, I will schlep my camera around! So farewell to summer and sunny beaches! Welcome to fall and college football!

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Colonoscopy Prep Diet for the Next Sevens Days

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Next Friday, I will be having a colonoscopy. This is not my first one and fortunately, the doctors have never found a polyp! I was used to the day before diet of clear liquids, Jello, Popsicles and the “preparation” drink; but I was not prepared for the diet 7 days before!!!

7 days before the procedure:

  • No high fiber diet
  • No raw fruits or vegetables
  • No whole wheat or multigrain food
  • No nuts or popcorn
  • Avoid poppy seeds and sesame seeds
  • No oatmeal

I can’t believe that for the next seven days that I can’t eat any of the healthy foods that I love! Well, enough of my complaining! I am so lucky to have this be a “routine procedure” and that I don’t have a restrictive diet all the time. Count my blessings!

The challenge for me will be breakfast and lunch. On work days, I leave the house very early, so I usually eat fresh fruit, nuts, and/or a Kind bar. For lunch, I usually eat healthy salads from Trader Joe’s. The following is what I am planning to eat, because it is quick and easy:

Breakfast

  • English muffin with organic creamy peanut butter and organic apricot preserves
  • Nonfat yogurt with fruit (individual serving with seedless fruit)
  • Coffee or green tea (need the caffeine)

Lunch

  • Sliced turkey breast with hummus
  • Egg salad with white bread
  • Canned soup
  • Organic applesauce (side dish)

Dinner will be much easier, turkey burgers, fish or chicken breast tenderloins for protein. Side dish will be sautéed or steamed vegetables. I hope that the week goes quickly, because I will truly miss the fresh raw fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds! However, I will be able to indulge in some potatoes chips (no popcorn😞) and a few Hershey kisses without feeling too guilty!

The Liebster Award

Liebster Award

I am so thrilled to be nominated twice in one week for another blogging award! This time it is the Liebster Award and the talented blogger responsible for this terrific honor is Roxanne Tan of The Lemon & Jar. I can’t tell how good it feels to be recognized by other bloggers for my labor of love, SimpleandHealthyFoods.com.

Roxanne is a newbie to the blogging world. She has lived in Australia since the age of twelve, but was born in Malaysia. A graduate of accounting and finance, Roxanne decided to follow her passion for food and became a nutrition student. She believes in the power of food as a way “to bring people together, to make people smile, to heal, to nourish.” Please check out her beautiful blog, The Lemon & Jar, if you haven’t done so already. I am so grateful to Roxanne for this special honor.

Here are the Rules of the Liebster Award:

  • Thank whoever nominated you, by including a link to their blog.
  • Include the Liebster Award sticker in your post.
  • Answer the questions asked to you, by the person who nominated you. Then make a few questions of your own for your nominee(s).
  • Nominate a blogger(s) of your choice, who you think deserve to receive this award. Inform them that they have been nominated. (You can nominate the person nominating you).
  • Copy these rules into your post.

Questions Asked by My Nominator:

  1. What got you into blogging in the first place? My daughter leaving for college.
  2. Sweet or savory? That is very difficult to answer, but I will say sweet.
  3. What inspires you to write new posts? Pictures of beautiful food.
  4. What’s your favourite place in the world? My home!
  5. Your favourite vegetable of all time and why. My favorite vegetable is the potato, because I love French fries!
  6. Do you have a pet-hate, i.e. something that annoys you? People who don’t live up to their word.
  7. What’s your secret guilty pleasure? Chocolate!

My Nominee for the Liebster Award:

It is my pleasure to nominate How to $tuff Your Pig. The blog is primary dedicated to  “helping others navigate the world of personal finance.” For the past month, I have been following her blog and found it to be very insightful and helpful.

Questions for My Nominee:

  1. What do enjoy most about blogging?
  2. When you are not working or blogging, how do you like to spend your “free” time?
  3. What is your favorite thing you like to splurge on?
  4. What is your favorite movie and why?
  5. What is your favorite inspirational quote?
  6. If you had one piece of advice to give young adults, what would it be?
  7. What is your favorite thing to eat?