Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day! Plant some red poppies or take a garden stroll; remember those who have served...

Memorial Day

The General Meade Society of Philadelphia, in conjunction with the Friends of Laurel Hill Cemetery, and volunteers were just in the news for honoring the nation’s Memorial Day commemoration. My dad (Theodore A. Mehl) is buried at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia, PA, a non-sectarian burial place for the dead that happens to be a National Historic Landmark, a title received in 1998. General Meade and thirty-nine other Civil War-era generals reside there, in addition to six Titanic passengers.

Soon after the beginning of the Civil War on August 31th, 1861, Meade, who was a Captain, was made a brigadier general and given command of one of three Pennsylvania brigades. Later he commanded a division in the First Corps, and then went on to command the Fifth Corps. On June 28, 1963, Meade was given command of the Army of the Potomac, which he held until the end of the war. After the disbanding of this army, he was assigned to the Dept. of the Atlantic, headquartered in Philadelphia.

In 1868, Commander in Chief John A. Logan of the grand Army of the Republic issued what was called General Order Number 11, designating May 30 as a memorial day - a day of remembrance for those who have died serving our country. 

General Meade died on November 6th, 1872, and is buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia.
Of course I like the idea of symbolic red poppies on Memorial day, as well as for Nov. 11th for Remembrance Day, as a symbol to honor those who died serving our nation during war. Red poppies as a symbolic memorial emblem was reinforced by Moina Belle Michael who was inspired by Canadian Military Doctor and Artillery Commander, John McCrae's, 1915 poem "In Flanders Fields." She replied with her own poem in 1918 "We Shall Keep the Faith."

... We cherish too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies, ...
Related Links: The General Meade Society 
Moina Belle Michael
Memorial Day History
Flanders Field Poppy Papaver rhoeas 
Poppy photo courtesy of Chaosdruid, Wikipedia.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Fun Summer Appetizer for Parties: Ladybug Tomatoes #GardenCuizine #recipe

Ladybug Tomatoes 
Summer Appetizer
Non-hybrid heirloom tomatoes are quite hardy and easy-to-grow from seeds. Saving seeds from tomatoes takes a little more effort than some seeds, but it's always worth it. I think every single seed I planted this year germinated, which means more for us and more plants to share with friends. We are still planting out our cherry tomatoes. I usually plant them in both pots and directly in the garden.

On our recent adventure to Sicily, we were often served cherry tomatoes at meals. I had never really seen a bowl of sliced cherry tomatoes served in a restaurant before that. Bite-sized cherry or grape tomatoes are an easy way to increase your vegetable intake too. 

Just 1 cup of cherry tomatoes provides an excellent source of Vitamins A and C, plus they're a good source of Potassium, making them a nutritious snack or an ideal choice for use in recipes.

This ladybug tomato appetizer recipe is fun to put together and makes a tasty conversation piece at summer BBQ picnics and parties. Try some this Memorial Day weekend!

This is another one of my freestyle recipes, meaning that you can use as little or as much of the ingredients to create the number of servings desired. No exact measurements are necessary.


  • Cherry or grape tomatoes (for the ladybug body)
  • Neufchâtel cream cheese (has 1/3 less fat than regular cream cheese) 
  • Garden herbs (I snipped some chives, parsley and oregano for our Memorial Day batch) 
  • Onion powder
  • Ground black pepper 
  • Black olives (for heads and spots)
  • Black artificial color to dye a little portion of cream cheese - optional (can pipe on dots or use as a glue for attaching the olive spots)
  • Rosemary (for antennae; or use your imagination, chives...)  
  • Crackers or sliced garlic bread toasts
  • Any garden greens (lettuce, mizuna, arugula etc)
Putting it all together
  1. Set aside crackers or make garlic and olive oil toasted bread slices
  2. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and slice again but not all the way through and set aside.
  3. Cut the olives in half and set aside. Also, cut tiny olive bits for spots. Dye a little of the cream cheese mixture black or dark gray to use as a paste to attach the olive spots on.
  4.  In a mixing bowl, whip the cream cheese. Stir in the garlic powder, black pepper and chopped herbs.
  5. Now you are ready to put them together and have some fun! Spread a little round of cream cheese on the tops of your crackers or toasts.
  6. Spread the partially split tomato half over top to make the wings. Add the head (a small amount of cream cheese helps hold it in place). Add antennae. Decorate with spots dipped in dyed cream cheese to hold them on.
  7. Serve your ladybug appetizers atop a mixed bed of garden greens on a red, white or black serving dish. Enjoy!
GardenCuizine Nutrition Data for Cherry Tomatoes: 1 cup (149g): 27 calories; total fat 0g; cholesterol 0g; dietary fiber 2g (7%DV); total carbohydrate 6g (2% DV); Vitamin A 1241 IU (25% DV); Vitamin C 18.9 mg (32% DV); Potassium 353 mg (10% DV); Folate 22 mcg (6% DV); Phytosterols 10.4 mg

Happy Memorial Day! 
Check out my Dave's Garden 'Ladybug Love' article, featuring photos of ladybug cupcakes - another summer party favorite!

Related Links: Ladybug Appetizers Recipe Vegetable Group
Memorial Day History
Blog post and photos copyright
©2012 Wind. All rights reserved.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Obese? Have a BMI greater than 30? Study shows risk for heart disease. 5 things you can do

Do you know your Body Mass Index?

It will be to your health benefit to find out. If your BMI is high (greater than 30), a recent study of more than 75,000 people has shown an increased risk for developing heart disease.[1]

  1. Avoid using added salt to your foods
  2. Read labels and select foods low in sodium (140mg or less) and low in fat (3g or less)
  3. Avoid Sugary beverages
  4. Eat more vegetables, fruits and high fiber (5g or more per serving) foods
  5. Consult with a Registered Dietitian for weight management
Related Links: [1] Health Day News about Study 
Calculate Your BMI

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Contemplating Weight Loss Surgery? Have You REALLY TRIED to Lose Weight? An RD can help

Weight Loss

Really Try to Lose Weight before Opting for Weight Loss Surgery

My South Jersey Healthcare out-patient offices are bustling with patients contemplating weight loss (bariatric) surgery or who have already decided on the specific type of surgery they will soon be having - either a restrictive (laparoscopic gastric banding) or malabsorptive/restrictive (gastric bypass or laparoscopic vertical sleeve gastrectomy) surgery, depending upon what their surgeon recommends. 

Weight loss surgery is intended for morbidly obese individuals averaging 80-100 pounds overweight, especially those with serious health conditions. Weight loss is imperative to reduce excess body weight for disease prevention and/or relief of obesity-related metabolic conditions such as diabetes, joint and knee pain, acid reflux (GERD), high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, heart disease and lung disease. 

Surgery should be an absolute last resort for weight loss and be considered only after many attempts at conventional methods for losing weight have been exhausted or are not possible. With bariatric surgeries on the rise throughout the country, my concern is for those who may not have seriously tried hard to lose weight before landing in the operating room. 

Be honest with yourself and give your weight loss efforts the attention it deserves. A Registered Dietitian (RD) can help you achieve your desired body weight.

You Can Do It!
This inspirational message for weight loss was recently posted by Virtua Hospital from Tumblr, which said, "Even if you can't physically see the results in front of you, every single effort is changing your body from the inside. Never get discouraged!"

Related Links: Reader's Digest 50+ Ideas to Lose Weight
Weight Control Information Network
Weight Loss for Life