an inspirational newsletter by JC Gardner
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DISCUSSION TOPICS Holiday Blues Cooking Tips Millennial Hot News Open House II Don't miss the special feature celebrating women who have overcome the odds!
This month's honoree is Marsha Turner
Holidays Just Aren't the Same! How is it already late October? I don't know about you, but these days are flying by like nobody's business. Before we know it, it will be Thanksgiving. For the past several years, I have hosted my New York family for Thanksgiving. I LOVE to cook and having them here is always a highlight of the year. But COVID-19 has put a stop to all of that. Oh, I'm still going to throw down in the kitchen, but it will be different. We'll be thankful, but my sister-in-law won't be curled up on the sofa, asleep in a blanket;
spot to be conked out from the 'itis -- okay, well, that will probably still happen. LOL Darn COVID!! I can't wait for it to be a distant memory, but I know we have a long way to go. I pray that no matter where you are reading this right now that you are staying safe, healthy, and most of all positive. It's really easy to get down and out, especially around the holidays. Mix in a pandemic and a high stakes election, and it can be a recipe for disaster.
the boys won't be playing pool in the
I found this reflection from an interfaith site
basement; my nephew won't be putting us to
most appropriate. I hope it speaks to you.
shame singing karaoke; spades and monopoly will be on hold; whose car is faster[?] debate will have to wait; and everybody finding a
Scripted - Page 2 October 2020
My Rice is Never Good
Fear is an Invitation to Trust in the Lord. Fear is a powerful human emotion that can cause us to respond inappropriately or motivate us to take
I hear many people say that can't make white rice. I don't
positive action. Or fear has the ability to paralyze
know if you've ever really
us from taking any action. Fear can even stop us
noticed in the rice section
from turning to God, our Rescuer, who knows every
there are a lot of different
personal and world disruption we will face. His timeless Word, the Bible, has all the answers and antidotes to keep us calm, cool, and collected. He assures us, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) We want to trust God but there are times when peace eludes us. We’re worried and anxious. We don’t want to be brave this time. Then God reminds us, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
Everything I Cook is Trash!
brands, types and grains of rice. Each of them serves a different purpose, but for some good, pretty much fail-proof, all purpose rice, I suggest using parboiled, long grain rice. Uncle Ben's is parboiled, but my other favorite is Canilla (by Goya!
My frown is for another story.) I have
made this type of rice hundreds of times, and it has never failed me. It's all in the measurements AND not messing with the lid once it is covered. Also, not stirring it to death. Let me also offer this disclaimer. You may have a different time-tested, perfect way to cook rice. I'm only offering one of many. And my daughter, who is now 24, has been making this rice since she was a teenager. One more thing: some of ya'll are not using your measuring cups correctly. Some measuring cups have a rim but the actual one cup is not up to the rim vs. inside the rim ! In order to check where your one cup is, which is 8 oz, pour 8 oz of liquid into the measuring cup and see where it stops. You might be in for a surprise. For 1 cup of rice you need 2 cups of waters. For 2 cups of rice, you need 4 cups of water...and so on. You are always doubling the water to the amount of rice. Let's start small. You will need 1 cup of rice, 2 cups of water, 1 tsp. of salt and 1 tablespoon of salted butter (optional but it's a staple for me).
Awwww....I hope this is not you. But no worries! A lil help is on the way. I'm always intrigued when I hear people say they can't cook or their food doesn't come out right. Wish I could magically transport myself to your kitchen to see EXACTLY where things are going wrong. With the holidays approaching, let me offer two easy, no fail recipes, along with some tips.
Bring the water, salt and butter to a rolling boil. Add the one cup of rice. Stir briskly and briefly, around 3-5 seconds . Let the rice come back to a rolling boil. Once it is rapidly boiling, turn all the way down to simmer and cover tightly. DO NOT STIR AGAIN. DO NOT lift the lid once it's covered. Rice should be perfect in 25-30
minutes. Make sure you set the timer.
Scripted - Page 3 October 2020
Let's begin! Again, we'll start small. You'll need an
My Macaroni and Cheese is Always Dry!
8X8 dish. Round, deep pie plate is acceptable. Here are your ingredients: 8 oz of elbow noodles, oil for the water, salt, pepper, paprika, dry mustard, 2 tblspoons of salted butter plus a little
Before we begin this section, I already know there are a gazillion macaroni and cheese recipes. Everyone has that family member that is known for their mac 'n cheese, and I'm sure it is ALL THAT and a bag of chips. I myself have 3 mac 'n cheese recipes in my stash, but this one I'm sharing today is affectionately called, "Mac 'n cheese in a pot." Yes, you will need the oven, but most of it is done in a pot.
heavy cream. (I prefer half n half but have used both.) THAT'S IT! (Oh, I've used milk and even almond milk; results are still great.) Put the oven on 350 degrees. Have your baking dish greased with butter on standby. Boil the noodles according to the package. Add a little salt and a little oil (1 tblspoon) to the water to
If you've always struggled with dry or non-creamy mac 'n cheese, it is probably because your egg to cheese/milk ratio is off. Eggs actually dry up the dish because eggs act as a binding agent. There is nothing wrong with the egg version but guess what? None of my recipes use eggs, including this pot version. I know.
for greasing the dish, 1/2 - 3/4 cup of half n half OR
Please note these numbers change daily.
The other thing about this pot version is simple ingredients but the results are amazing, which can be made anytime. The type of cheese DOES make a difference, along with the quality of the cheese. Trust me on this one, but I defer to what your wallets can afford. I MUST HAVE seriously sharp Vermont white cheddar cheese. It's often sold in a block and I shred it myself.
assist with the noodles not sticking to each other. Make sure you stir the noodles to aid in them not sticking either to the bottom or to each other. While that is boiling, shred your cheese or have it nearby ready to go. After the noodles have finished cooking, drain them well and return to the same pot. DO NOT RINSE. Turn the fire down to simmer. Stir in the
butter; once blended, stir in one cup of the cheese, sprinkle in 1/4 tspoon of dry mustard. Salt and pepper to taste BUT be careful not to oversalt, as the cheese has salt too. Now stir in your 1/2 cup of half n half. It should have a nice creamy appearance and be slightly loose. If not add a little more. Let the layering begin. Put half the noodles in the dish, and top with half of the remaining cheese. Sprinkle lightly with paprika. Add remaining noodles, top with last amount of cheese and sprinkle with paprika.
The other is sharp or extra sharp yellow cheddar. (After you get this down to a science, feel free to experiment with other types of cheese.) For every one cup of elbow noodles, I have 3 cups of shredded cheese. I use a 1 - 3 ratio. So 2 cups of elbows is 6 cups of shredded cheese and so on. I normally make a roux, which can intimidate novice cooks but this requires no roux.
Place in the middle of the oven -- not the top rack. Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Keep in mind when you put it in the oven it has never stopped cooking on the stovetop, so it does not need a long time in the oven. Leaving it longer will dry it out. Once you remove it, let it sit for 10 15 minutes before serving. Can't wait to hear your results! Extra notes: We love cheese; you can opt to reduce the amount with still great results. Layering is optional. Everything can be made in the pot and then baked or even put in a crockpot on high until bubbly!
Scripted - Page 4 October 2020
The next newsletter will be out in December.
News by Alexis Gardner
There's evening news, fake news and now we have hot news from the millennial perspective. Check it out! Dancing with the Stars Controversy: No
conflicting information, it’s hard to say if it’s true, but rumor has it supermodel and now DWTS host, Tyra Banks, doesn’t want any housewives appearing on the show. All of the housewives franchises have a very big following with very dedicated fans. If this rumor is true, fans have said that they will boycott the show. Just remember, it's a rumor.
Beyoncé's New Ivy Park Collection: Instagram
is back again. Knowles-Carter took to to
performance wear. Her promo video gives 70s-esque vibes with also a modern day aesthetic. Her line features clothes in pastel colors coming in sizes all the way up 4x. Talk about inclusivity! The collection drops on October 30.
Out of Touch Celebrities: Rapper, TV producer, and actor 50 Cent took to Twitter to declare he will be voting for Donald Trump in the upcoming election because of Joe Biden’s tax plan that will raise taxes on those who make more than $400,000. 50 Cent also said “I don’t care Trump doesn’t like black people....” Is it possible to take away a black persons invitation to the cookout because it looks like 50 may have to be uninvited.
l Women's Survivor Series a i c e Sp t s e Marsha Turner u G e r u t Cancer Survivor Fea
Marsha is a sweet soul. Her spirit and faith is infectious and she has such a positive outlook on life. I’m so glad she allowed me to share her story: Cancer Survivor.
After being alive for 66 years with a history of having cysts removed from my breast starting at the age of 14 and another one at age of 32, when I was in the shower doing my normal breast check, I felt something abnormal in the area where there was scar tissue from removal of the cyst when I was younger. It didn’t feel right. I’ve always been very intentional about getting yearly mammograms, but I was delayed due to having rotator cuff surgery, so I was off schedule. The next day I called for an appointment and had to wait two more agonizing days. When you finish your mammogram, they tell you have a seat while the doctor goes to look at the films and then within a few short minutes, they send you home. But it was different this time. The doctor wanted to talk with me instead. Right then and there, I started to feel nervous. When I experience extremely stressful situations, there is a feeling of numbness that surrounds me that I have developed over the years. This peace of the Lord that comes over me is sort of like a bubble of mental insulation which allows me to do what I need to do with a sound mind. Needless to say, this numbness was with me often during this time.
I decided that whatever he said, whatever it turned out to be, we were going to get this taken care of as soon as possible. I had lived this long, and I was not going down without a fight. The report from him that day was I had to come back and have some other test done and then the biopsy. Thank God my daughter came with me for the biopsy, which was hard for both of us. All I knew was no weapon formed against me was going to prosper and destroy my life. I was ready for my battle, as the news was not good. It was a cancer diagnosis. Because I was a nurse and had familiarity with doctors’ reputations, I opted to wait 6 weeks for a particular surgeon because of my trust in him, my faith and his experience. After reviewing all of the options, I ended up having a mastectomy of one breast. The doctor tried to convince me to have reconstruction. I knew at my age I did not need manmade nipples with tattooed color, even if it did match my skin tone. [smile] I just wanted to have my prosthesis so I could go about my daily activities and keep it moving and that is what I settled on.
Scripted - Page 6 October 2020
Throughout my journey, I learned that my way of thinking was going to affect how I felt, how I responded and how I recuperated. I did my best to keep a positive outlook and a sense of humor. I learned to have a lot of patience and I also learned who my friends were vs. who were just my acquaintances. I want to offer some advice for those newly diagnosed or going through treatment. It’s important to have support and people around who truly care for you. Don't be afraid to cry, be scared or to join a support group. I went to a few meetings and that’s where I learned to journal, which really helped to capture my feelings. Make sure you obtain all the information about your diagnosis from your doctor and don’t be afraid to get a second opinion. The internet can be a wonderful tool to learn about your condition. Ask a lot of questions and try to be prepared for any side effects. For us women, one of the major side effects can be hair loss. I had started to recondition my hair two years earlier, and it had really grown out, nice and long. After my first round of chemo, I brushed my hair and half the side of my hair was in the brush. I just went to the barber and asked him to shave my head bald. The barber was sad after I told him why, but I was not upset or scared. The hair loss meant the medicine was working. I learned to love my bald head, and the only thing that I had to worry about was getting sunburn or frostbite. [smile] Throughout all of this, my faith has carried me through. It has helped me to look at things in a calm manner without being fearful. Sometimes, as I've learned over the years, you have to sit back and quiet yourself. Allow God to show you the way and tell you things. He will give you comfort. My faith has allowed me to keep my joy, along with spending time listening to music, dancing, exercising, reading scriptures, some television watching, walking outside when the weather is beautiful and just sitting outside and looking at the sky. The fact that I'm still alive makes me a survivor. I can look back over these 10 years of being free of treatment and having a great prognosis. But along the way, I’ve met new friends but also lost fellow cancer friends, too. I believe the Lord will keep a hedge of protection around me, along with knowing that anything could change within the blink of an eye. And if it does, I know my faith will sustain me. Marsha was raised in New York and Baltimore and currently calls Baltimore home. She’s a nurse and an author of “Fifteen Pounds, There is Only One You,” chronicling her cancer survival journey. Visit authormarshaturner.com.
Know of a phenomenal woman who has survived the odds and would like to be featured in an upcoming newsletter? Email email@example.com Let's show her some love!
YOU'RE INVITED TO
JC's Writing Emporium Open House II DECEMBER 5, 2020 | 7 PM | VIRTUAL ZOOM EVENT
s e g a p e een s e Th ve b too ha k for n bla long! Come to my virtual 90-minute Open House, and let’s talk about why your writing project is still sitting on the shelf! I’ll be sharing tips and tools to get you started in a fun, interactive environment. What have you got to lose? Admission is FREE!! YOU MUST CLICK HERE TO RSVP and then you will receive your “ticket” for the event. Feel free to share with a friend.
Oh…there are a few requirements: 1. Plan to do some writing and win some prizes! You will need something to write with, i.e. journal, laptop, tablet, phone. 2. Bring your questions – I have answers! 3. ….and plan to have a good time!
Can’t wait to see you!
Scripted - Page 8 October 2020
Ruth Bader Ginsburg March 15, 1933 - September 18, 2020 Man, 2020 just won't let up with the tragic departure of so many people who were here with us just a year ago. From celebrities to everyday people, it has been overwhelming and shocking. Many people have succumbed to COVID-19; others fought the good fight and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a warrior both in the courtroom and with her battle against pancreatic cancer. Ginsburg was nominated by President Bill Clinton, and she was the first Jewish woman and the second woman to serve on the Court. She spent much of her legal career as an advocate for gender equality and women's rights, winning many arguments before the Supreme Court. Like many other women, we wanted her to hold on at least until the Nov. 3rd election, but it was not meant to be. As of this writing, hearings are underway for her replacement and if appointed, it could be detrimental to women's rights and gender equality. Please do your research because no doubt, this is going to affect all women in one way or another.
Photo credit: Ron Edmonds/AP
Dubbed "The Notorious RBG," Ginsburg was a force to be reckoned with and her legacy will always be remembered. Rest in Power, Justice Ginsburg Job Well Done! Sources: https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2020/09/supreme -court-justice-ruth-bader-ginsburg-has-died/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruth_Bader_Ginsburg
Scripted - Page 9 October 2020
Schedule your free coaching session today and use the power of the pen to tell your story! Use this link for a personal coaching session. https://booking.appointy.com/authorjcgÂ Select: Introductory Coaching Session for Aspiring Authors
There is someone waiting to hear your story!
Let's do it together!