Saturday, January 28, 2012

Vegetable Moussaka from Epicurious

Vegetable Moussaka
3 1/2 pounds eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
1/2 cup (about) olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 cup finely chopped peeled carrots
1 cup finely chopped celery
4 garlic cloves, minced
12 ounces portobello mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added puree
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
7 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks

Cover 2 baking sheets with paper towels. Sprinkle both sides of eggplant rounds with salt. Arrange eggplant in single layer atop towels. Let stand 30 minutes.
Position first rack in bottom third of oven and second rack in top third of oven and preheat to 425°F. Remove eggplant and paper towels from baking sheets. Pat eggplant dry. Oil same baking sheets. Brush both sides of eggplant rounds with 1/4 cup oil. Arrange in single layer on baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes. Turn eggplant and rotate pans in oven. Continue baking until tender, about 15 minutes longer. Cool. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
Meanwhile, heat 1/4 cup oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots and celery. Sauté until onion is very tender, about 12 minutes. Mix in garlic, then mushrooms. Sauté until juices evaporate, about 10 minutes. Mix in oregano and cinnamon. Add tomatoes and parsley. Cook until mixture is thick, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Lightly oil 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Arrange half of eggplant rounds in single layer in dish. Spoon half of tomato mixture evenly over eggplant. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cheese. Repeat layering with remaining eggplant, tomato mixture and 2 tablespoons cheese.
Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Stir 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk. Simmer until sauce thickens, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Whisk in 1/2 cup cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk yolks in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in hot sauce. Pour sauce over vegetables in dish. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese over sauce. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.)
Bake moussaka until heated through and sauce is golden brown on top, about 45 minutes (or about 55 minutes for refrigerated moussaka). Cool 15 minutes.

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Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci.

By Annelise Woodward

One major aspect of the Renaissance was artworks. The Flemish artists provided a formula which was transported and perfected in Italy. during the latter half of the 15th century and the 16th century. Among the great Italian artists to model his works after The Flemish was Leonardo da Vinci.

Da Vinci was truly a Renaissance man. He drew the plans for the first armored car in 1485, designed the canon, created gliders, and invented the parachute. He researched the human body by dissecting it. He got bodies by stealing them from graveyards. He was an inventor, but was most famous for his artworks. He is best known for his masterpieces mona lisa, madonna of the rocks, and the last supper. His best known work is the Mona Lisa.

He started painting the Mona Lisa in 1503. He took about four years to paint it. The Mona Lisa follows the Flemish formula, which shows unprecedented fluidity. Although it is uncertain who his model was for the MonaLisa, many people believe it was was of Lisa Gherardini, wife of obscure Florentine merchant Francesco del Giocond. Da Vinci is said to have loved the Mona Lisa and carried it with him when he went to France. In 1517 he sold it to King Francois I for 4000 ecus. It is now estimated to be worth $500 million, so expensive that no company will insure it. The French call the painting La Jaconde, which means light-hearted woman. It was in the palaces at Fontainebleau and Versailles, the Chateau Amboise, the abbey of Loc-Dieu before finding a permanent home in a Paris palace called the Louvre in 1804.

Several times the Mona Lisa has been on loan to other museums, including some in the United States. Otherwise it has not left the Louvre, except once in 1911 when it was stolen by a museum employee and found two years later in a hotel room in Florence, Italy. Since 2005 the Mona Lisa has been in a separate area of the Louvre by itself. It's new location cost $6.1 million to build, keeps the painting behind a bullet proof glass and 100 feet away from the public. Almost everyone who visits the Louvre comes to see the Mona Lisa so it is always surrounded by a crowd of people. Because of the fragility of the painting the room is kept at 68 degrees with 55 percent humidity.

Da Vinci was said to be left handed, dyslexic, and a procrastinator . He left most of his work undone. What he did create has thrilled viewers for centuries and will likely thrill them for many centuries to come. Among his greatest works that people admire most is the Mona Lisa.

Healing of America

What would the Founding Fathers say if they were here today?

According to asset protection speaker G. Kent Mangelson, the Founders would make four suggestions for healing America.
  • Acknowledge that our freedoms come from God.
  • Restore and preserve the spiritual foundation of America.
  • Commit to learn the principles of the original constitution and abide by its precepts.
  • Become personally involved in civic affairs.
Mangelson says "our constitution and unique government were a gift from heaven." The Declaration of Independence recognizes that our freedoms are from God. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

During its birth The United States was preserved only because of the intervention of God, says Mangelson. During the founding of America 67 times the cause would have suffered disaster had not the hand of God preserved it by miracles.

The Founders were religious men who had faith in God, says Mangelson. George Washington, for example, was preserved by the hand of God to fill his role in the founding of America. At Monongahela near Pittsburg, PA on July 9, 1755 the British soldiers were ambushed by the French and Indians. Nearly half of the troops were hewn down and all of the senior officers except Washington were killed. Washington escaped unharmed although his clothing was filled with gunshot and several horses were killed from under him. Fifteen years later Washington was invited to a council of Indians. A great chief of the Indian nations, Menawa, who had attacked the British at Monongahela told the council that he had specifically told his warriors to kill Washington. “Let your aim be sure, and he dies.” But, “a power mightier far than we, shielded him from harm.” He continued, “The Great Spirit protects that man and guides his destinies – he will become the Chief of Nations, and a people yet unborn, will hail him as the Founder of a mighty Empire!”

According to Mangelson, we need to ask for and be thankful “for powers of freedom we get from God.” First, to heal America we must “acknowledge that our freedoms come from God.”

Then, he says “we must restore and preserve the spiritual foundation of America.”

George Washington claimed that the structure of the American nation will fall if we don't preserve a spiritual foundation. John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Samuel Adams declared, “Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.”
According to Mangelson, the Founders knew that what you teach a child will eventually become the standards of society. They knew the importance of teaching virtue, morality and decency to children in schools. William Holmes McGuffey developed the McGuffey readers that, not only taught children to read and write but to be better human beings. The McGuffey readers were the basis of 19th century education. 120 million copies of McGuffey readers were sold.

These values made the United States great, said Mangelson. By the early 1900s the United States had 4 - 5 percent of the world population and was producing 50% of the manufacturer goods. But, starting in 1900s Godless philosophies have become standard of society and the political and educational elite stripped out virtue and morality from schools.

The result has been the destruction and elimination of American family, so that today 40% of children are born into homes without a mother or father.

Thomas Jefferson said, "No government can continue good but under the control of the people; and . . . their minds are to be informed by education what is right and what wrong; to be encouraged in habits of virtue and to be deterred from those of vice . . . . These are the inculcations necessary to render the people a sure basis for the structure and order of government."

Third, to heal America, Mangelson said “we must commit to learn the principles of original constitution and abide by its precepts.”

Never was a group more prepared than the 55 men in 1787 spent four months in developing the U.S. Constitution. They were remarkable experts on government, having studied the Greek, Roman, Anglo-Saxon and English history. The vast majority of forms of government have created disaster for their citizens. Typically, the governing elite have always been the masters and the citizens have been the slaves – subjected to bloodshed and death because of the tyranny of their leaders.

Only two civilizations have put people first. In each case, individual rights are part of a divine plan and not granted by government. Benjamin Franklin said, “Freedom is not bestowed but a right from God.” The only purpose of government to protect the God-given rights of man. Less than 1% of human family have enjoyed these freedoms.

However, starting in the early 1900s we began losing our freedoms, said Mangelson. Thomas Jefferson feared that it was people’s nature to slowly start to want to depend on government for everything and give away their freedoms to obtain it. Thus, government become masters and we become servants.

Thomas Jefferson stated, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”

One good educational source about the Constitution, according to Mangelson, is Arthur Stansbury’s “Elementary Catechism on the Constitution.”
Congressional leaders and the courts are chipping away at every major clause of the Constitution until a crisis exists, says Mangelson. School districts spend less and less time on studying the Constitution. Americans need to read, ponder, and understand it. “You are the only ones left to defend it,” he says.

So, he says we must become personally involved in civic affairs. “You are going to have to learn to do politics or politics will do you,” he adds.

“I want to go on record we will save this country. We don’t have to save this country by ourselves.”

In 1746 a miracle occurred that saved Boston and the colonies. Duc d'Anville and thousands of French soldiers left France to recapture Acadia. They were ordered to "consign Boston to flames, ravage New England and waste the British West Indies." News of the expedition spread fear throughout New York and New England.

On a day of fasting called by Governor Shirley of Massachusetts, Rev. Thomas Prince stood before the gathering of Bostonians in the South Church and prayed, "Deliver us from the enemy! Send thy tempest, Lord, upon the waters to the eastward! Raise Thy right hand. Scatter the ships of our tormentors and drive them hence. Sink their proud frigates beneath the power of Thy winds.' He had scarcely pronounced the words when the sun was gone and morning darkened. All the church was in shadow. A wind shrieked round the walls, sudden, violent, hammering at the windows with a giant hand.

A hurricane destroyed much of the French expedition. In addition, many of the soldiers, including d’Anville, died of disease. The mission was a complete failure and the remaining French returned to France.

America’s history would be far different had the French been successful. A 10-year-old boy named John Adams stood in that congregation and listened to Prince’s prayer. On that day he became a patriot.

“The same God will unleash powers of heaven and assist and magnify our efforts” to heal America, says Mangelson. “Your heart will tell you that these are the four steps that will save this country.”


Stigma of Depression

By Carol Kivler

What state of mind would allow a Mother to put her children in the car with her and drive off a pier?  A state of mind consumed by a debilitating illness that does not see economic status, educational background, culture, or race—the illness is depression.

The shocking story of LaShanda Armstrong drowning her children in the Hudson River is yet another grim reminder of what can happen when depression is left untreated.
The overwhelming perception of Mrs. Armstrong’s actions is construed as selfishness, attention getting, or punishing.  I know differently.  Why?  Because I, too, had the exact plan to put my family in the car and drive off a bridge. Two Mothers who came from a place of loving concerns.  Our concerns were, who would take care of our children, and who could ever love them as much as we do?   We had no choice other than to take our children with us.  But in the end there were two extremely different outcomes--one ending in the death of three innocent children with their mother; one ending in hospitalization, treatment, and survival for the other Mother and her three children.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in four women will experience severe depression at some point in life.  Only about one-fifth of all women who suffer from depression seek treatment.  Yet, 80 percent of those seeking treatment recover.

If 80 percent recover, why then are women still struggling in silence and not seeking treatment?  Stigma.  Stigma is still the major obstacle to awareness and understanding of depression.  What causes stigma?  Ignorance and lack of acceptance, preconceived notions, fear, and folklore as well as other people’s skewed opinions and use of labels. Often these elements can shut one down and leave one less likely to seek treatment.

The general population still views depression as a character flaw, laziness, a call for attention.  Depression is an illness that affects the body, mood, and thoughts.  An illness of desperation and hopelessness, an illness that impacts every waking moment, an illness that robs your ability to engage in life, and an illness that cannot be ignored.

With this tragic event still fresh in our minds, there is no better time to educate, support, and advocate for an open dialogue around depression than now.  Today, we each have the responsibility to lift the clouds of shame and guilt while crushing the stigma surrounding depression.  We have the opportunity to encourage our loved ones, friends, and colleagues to seek treatment while replacing judgment with understanding.  Together we can save future families from the devastating outcome the Armstrong family is now experiencing.

Carol Kivler, MS, CSP, speaker, author of Will I Ever Be the Same Again? and the founder of Courageous Recovery, works to raise awareness, instill hope, and combat stigma surrounding mental health diagnoses and treatments. 

Doctor Guilt?

Brent admired the chimpanzee he sketched at the zoo. He regarded the animal as contemplative. He was unaware that similar animals in the wilds of Africa were the source of a virus that would lead to his death from AIDS. Brent became infected with HIV from the medicine he infused to treat his hemophilia. At six months of age, his parents were alarmed when they discovered bruises on his chest which led to the discovery of hemophilia. From that moment forward, he received frequent intravenous infusions of concentrate to treat recurrent bleeding episodes. Infusions of the medicine relieved pain and suffering from bleeding. His life seemed normal. Unexpectedly, Brent's life changed after the discovery of HIV contamination of the medicine. The medicine was manufactured from the plasma of paid blood donors. Unbeknownst to Brent, the plasma was polluted with HIV. The SIV in chimpanzees changed to become HIV in humans. But the chimpanzees were not the cause of the transfer of SIV in animals to HIV in humans. The change from SIV in animals to HIV in humans was the result of human activity. The change came about with the production of the hepatitis B vaccine. Who was responsible for the pollution of the hemophilia medicine with HIV and hepatitis viruses? Was Brent's death preventable?

More than 10,000 persons who received concentrate to treat hemophilia became infected with HIV in the United States. Nearly half died. Author and medical doctor Everett Lovrien tells the story of Brent as well as other victims of tainted medicine. "Why didn't the drug companies who produced the medicine eliminate hepatitis viruses?" he asks. "Were the doctors too complacent, the sharpness of their judgment blunted by financial support by the drug companies...?"

After finishing medical school, Everett Winslow Lovrien, MD completed specialty training in pediatrics and the new field of medicine, medical genetics. For twenty-eight years, he was on staff at a clinic that supervised the medical care of a genetic disorder, hemophilia. This book is based upon his experiences. Now retired, he lives in Oregon.