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10
Jul

The Servus Northerner Series Boot

Whether you wear boots to walk in the rain, work in a garden or to simply protect your feet from the cold and muddy elements, there’s one boot that does it all: the Servus Northerner Series Boot. Never heard of it? Neither did I until a few years ago when I bought a pair in a vet’s office in a small town in central Iowa.

Back then, I needed a pair of durable boots to navigate the fields and muddy roads of a farm and didn’t want a pair of boots that looked like they came from the children’s shoe department at Target. What I found was a boot that turned out to be great looking, comfortable, and durable….. and yet outside of the midwest farming community, many people haven’t heard of them. Read more »

8
Jul

“The Lovers Set down Their Spoons”

They weave through the tables – their rain coats billowing out behind them like the kites you and I flew on that terrible day that began our love. Your kite kept wrapping around mine, and at first I thought it was sweet, but eventually mine nosedived into the sand.

In 2014, the Iowa Short Fiction Award was given to Heather A Slomski for The Lovers Who Set Down Their Spoons, a collection of 15 short stories that are thought-provoking, captivating, and haunting. Themes of love, loss and regret are heavily emphasized with symbolism and metaphors used to convey the message in the narratives that vary in length from 2-29 pages. Read more »

6
Jul

Pinto Bean Tostadas

A little lemon juice makes everything taste better.                                              ~Virginia Sanborn Burleigh

Whole grain corn tostadas piled high with mashed and spiced pinto beans, chopped sweet tomatoes, chunky avocado pieces seasoned with tangy fresh lemon juice and salt, red onion, and a sprinkling of diced fresh aromatic green cilantro make for an easy and delicious meal. From start to finish, the tostadas take about 15-20 minutes to make. Serve as a lunch or dinner entrée or with extra toppings on the side, with a cup of soup, or with rice.

The recipe below makes 6 tostadas which is enough for 2-3 people but can easily be doubled to feed a larger crowd. Read more »

4
Jul

Why Every Individual Counts

On this very special day celebrating our nation’s birthday, I want to write about why every individual counts.  There are nearly 320 million of us in this country – that’s a lot of people – enough to have made me think from time to time that what I do or don’t do really doesn’t matter. After all, I’m just one person – does it really matter if I eat a piece of grilled chicken, a slice of bacon, an ice cream cone or not think about the food chain in this country? Yes, it does and here’s why. Read more »

2
Jul

The French Mint: Les Anis de Flavigny

Sharing a candy with an aniseed in its heart is a demonstration of love.

More than 400 years ago (1591) in an Abbey in the Burgundy region of eastern France, a group of Benedictine Monks started making a hard candy from the anise seed, which comes from the plant called Pimpinella Asisum – a sprawling green herb plant with an aromatic scent, strong feathery stems, green leaves and tiny white flowers that produce anise fruits or what others called anise seeds. Known for their distinctive flavor, anise seeds proved to be the foundation for one of the world’s oldest hard candies: Anis. Read more »