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Of The Blue Mountain Region February 25, 2014
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Q: What's the difference between an operatic soprano and a terrorist? A: You can negotiate with the terrorist.
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by Janet Spencer Noted Italian operatic singer Enrico Caruso was born on February 25, 1873. In honor of that event, come along with Tidbits as we attend the opera! ENRICO CARUSO • Caruso was one of the first opera singers to have his voice professionally recorded. He made nearly 300 recordings between 1902 and 1920, which was just before he died. As a result, his recordings are available today on CD or digital download. His 1904 recording of “Vesti la giubba” (“put on the costumes”) from the opera Pagliacci was the first sound recording to sell a million copies. Because of the popularity of his recordings, he was one of the most famous celebrities of his day. • He also made history when he was broadcast live from the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House in 1910 in the first radio broadcast to be publicly transmitted in the United States. • In 1906, Caruso performed in San Francisco the night before the big earthquake shook the town to its roots. He was so unnerved by the experience that he feared the shock would damage his voice. Standing in the shattered ruins of his hotel, he stood by a broken window, singing at the top of his lungs in order to be sure his voice was unharmed. He swore he’d never return to San Francisco, and he kept his word. Turn the page for more!
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• A performance of Carmen was being staged in Mexico City. The singer playing the part of Don José had a long wait back stage while Acts 3 and 4 progressed, so he decided to dash out to get a beer in a local tavern. No sooner had he entered one than he was arrested by a couple of cops who saw his scruffy clothing and dragged him off to jail. When he informed them he was a tenor singing opera, they informed him he was drunk. He could only convince them by singing his part in the opera.
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• During one performance of Carmen a dog wandered on stage and became fascinated by the conductor’s waving baton. The dog enjoyed fetching sticks and couldn’t understand why the conductor wouldn’t throw the baton for him to retrieve. The dog began to bark and the barking became louder when the conductor used the baton to try to shoo the dog away. The curtain came down and the dog was removed.
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• Enrico Caruso and Maria Jeritza starred in a production of Carmen in which real horses were used. One horse relieved himself, leaving a huge puddle. When the climactic death scene arrived, Caruso stabbed Maria, but she refused to fall down dead. “Die! Fall will you!” Caruso shouted, and she sang, “I’ll die if you can find me a clean place!”
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• Carmen by George Bizet is one of the most frequently performed operas, and the “Toreador Song” is one of the most widely recognized operatic tunes.
• Many cats reside in the outdoor arena in Verona and in one performance of Carmen, a kitty came out from behind the wings and started rubbing up against Don Jose’s legs, purring and meowing just as he was preparing to murder Carmen.
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• The most tacky version of Carmen was probably the silent movie version that was made in 1915.
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The word opera means "work" in Italian and is the plural of the word "opus" meaning "labor." An opera is work because it incorporates both solo and choral singing, as well as acting, dancing, speaking lines, costumes and scenery. The famous proverb "it ain't over 'til the fat lady sings" references the ten minute aria sung by the buxom Brunhilde at the end of Wagner's Ring cycle operas.
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February 25, 2014 OPERATIC FACTS • When Princess Victoria, eldest daughter of Queen Victoria, wed Prince Frederick William of Prussia, she picked out music of her two favorite composers. One was the “Bridal Chorus” from Richard Wagner’s opera Lohengrin, and the other was the “Wedding March” from Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Copy cat brides in England chose the same music, starting a tradition that continues today: “Here comes the bride, all dressed in white...” • An opera called “The Prophet” written in 1849 by Giacomo Meyerbeer packed houses all over Europe because of the popularity of the rollerskating scene. Arm in arm, the diva and the baritone sang a duet while doing figure eights around the stage.
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• The original Engelbert Humperdinck was a German musician in the late 1800s. He wrote the opera Hansel and Gretel. • A age 2, William Gilbert was kidnapped from his home in Italy, and the ransom his parents paid was one pound of sterling silver for each pound of baby— 25 pounds in all. When Gilbert grew up and started working with Arthur Sullivan, he incorporated this incident into two of his operettas. • In the opera Othello, Othello is the only black actor. But in New Orleans in 1955, the actor playing the part became ill, and the understudy did too. Nowhere in town was there another black man who knew the part. However, there was a white man who could sing and knew all the words. So the play was revised a bit, becoming the only all-black performance of Othello with a white star.
“Quench ye the fires of war, lift high the banners of peace, “Thatwork whichfor the the Lordoneness hath ordained as the sovereign ofand humankind, remedy, mightiest instrument for the healing of and remember that religion all the world is the union of channel of love unto all is its the peoples in one universal cause, oneall common Faith.” peoples.”
• When the orchestra met for the dress rehearsal of The Magic Flute in London on April 1, 1948, conductor Karl Rankl began directing the music, only to be astonished when, instead of The Magic Flute, the players launched into the overture from Carmen. It was an April Fool’s Day joke.
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1. LANGUAGE: What does the word “glabrous” mean? 2. MUSIC: Which folk music group recorded the original theme song to “Gilligan’s Island”? 3. LITERATURE: In which of Shakespeare’s plays does the character of Titania appear?
4. GOVERNMENT: What are the five rights guaranteed in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? 5. GEOGRAPHY: Mexico is divided into how many states?
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6. ENTERTAINMENT: What was the title of Elvis Presley’s first movie? 7. MEDICAL: How is dengue fever transmitted? 8. HISTORY: Which World War II general earned the nickname “The Desert Fox”? 9. GENERAL KNOWLEDGE: Where does the phrase “eat, drink and be merry” come from? 10. INVENTIONS: Who invented the bathyscaphe, used for underwater exploration? (c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.
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• Helen Porter Mitchell was born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1861. She showed remarkable musical ability, with a voice spanning three octaves. As a young woman, she married and tried to settle down, but she knew she was not destined for the life of a housewife; she was destined for the stage. • After receiving instruction as an opera singer, she knew this was the life for her. However, Australia did not have many opportunities for opera singers in the 1800s, so she left her family and traveled to Europe and England, where she was received enthusiastically, becoming the first Australian to achieve international recognition as an opera singer. • She had always gone by the nickname of Nellie, and she was persuaded to adopt a new stage name as her last name. She chose a contraction of her hometown of Melbourne. • During a newspaper interview, a reporter asked her how she stayed so slim. She said she enjoyed eating toast that was sliced very thin and toasted very crispy, a habit she had picked up when she’d been ill and could digest little else. The hotel chef at the Ritz served it to her whenever she visited, and other customers enjoyed it as well. Her fans, striving to emulate her, also started eating thin crispy toast, which was generally served with soups and salads or topped with spreads. Today we still eat the toast named after the Australian opera singer’s stage name. What is it? (Answer at the bottom of this article.) A BIG MEAL Opera singer Ernestine Schumann-Heink loved a big meal. One day as she sat down to a huge steak dinner in a restaurant, Enrico Caruso walked in. He took one look at the size of the steak she was starting on and said, “Surely you are not going to eat that alone!” She replied, “Oh, no— with potatoes!” Answer: Melba toast.
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• It was Democratic governor and presidential hopeful Adlai Stevenson who made the following sage observation: “A free society is a place where it’s safe to be unpopular.” • Those who study such things claim that 75 percent of people who deliberately choose to buy a kosher product are not, in fact, Jewish. • Smart idea: Some fitness centers are now using the energy that clients expend on its exercise bikes to power the building’s lighting.
• You might not have heard of American inventor Walter Hunt, but he came up with the ideas for an ice plough, a streetcar bell, an early version of the repeating rifle, artificial stone, the lockstitch sewing machine and a nail-making machine, among other things. One of his smallest and most useful inventions was the safety pin. In the mid-1800s, Hunt owed a friend $15. In order to come up with the cash to settle the debt, he decided to invent something. He picked up an 8-inch piece of brass wire he had on hand and made a coil in the middle of it, creating the spring action to open it. He then devised a clasp at one end to shield the user from the sharp point. After the device was patented in 1849, Hunt sold the patent to W.R. Grace and Company for $400, leaving himself with $385 after he paid the initial $15 debt. Incidentally, W.R. Grace and Company made millions of dollars from sales of the safety pin. • Are you afraid of rattlesnakes? Keep in mind that the venom of a black widow spider is 15 times more deadly than that of the rattler.
Business of the Month • February 2014
Umatilla County Tourism
The Chamber congratulates Umatilla County Tourism and is proud to recognize them for all they do to promote our county. Umatilla County Tourism was originally formed in 2003-2004 from the former Lewis and Clark Bi-Centennial Commemoration Committee and is housed out of the local Blue Mountain Resource Conservation and Development office located in Pendleton. The 19 person committee consists of Chamber Directors, county and city administrators, event & attraction directors, representatives from the national forest service, Oregon parks, and CTUIR. They meet on a bi-monthly basis at various communities and attractions. Keep up to date with the happenings in Umatilla County Tourism by following us on Facebook (Umatilla County Tourism) and on twitter @ VisitUmatillaCo.
• Domestic diva Martha Stewart has been struck by lightning three times.
1127 S. 2nd Ave. Walla Walla, WA 1. Name the last Big Ten baseball team before Indiana in 2013 to reach the College World Series. 2. Who was the last starting pitcher before Detroit’s Max Scherzer in 2013 to start a season 11-0? 3. Name the two running backs who rushed for back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons for the Miami Dolphins. 4. In 2013, Liberty became the second men’s basketball team to get a spot in the NCAA Tournament despite losing 20 games. Who was the first? 5. Three NHL goaltenders scored a goal during the 1990s. Name two of them. 6. Eight drivers have made NASCAR’s “Chase for the Cup” at least seven times during its first 10 years (2004-13). Name five of them. 7. Entering 2013, how many female tennis players had won at least 10 Grand Slam singles titles? (c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.
*** Thought for the Day: “The luck of having talent is not enough; one must also have a talent for luck.” -- Hector Berlioz (c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc. Recommended Reading: “At Home: A Short History of Private Life” by Bill Bryson (Doubleday, $40) and “One Summer: America, 1927” by Bill Bryson (Doubleday, $28.95) Reviewed by Larry Cox Bill Bryson was born in Iowa in 1951. He moved to Britain, where he has lived for most of his adult life. In 1995, “Notes from a Small Island” became a bestseller on both sides of the pond and even triggered a celebrated television series. “At Home,” originally published in 2010, is being reissued in a special illustrated edition, while his latest book, “One Summer: America, 1927,” makes its debut. This is a cause for celebration. Shortly after Bryson moved into a former Church of England rectory in rural Norfolk, he went into a rooftop space in search of a leak. Since Victorian structures often are a collection of architectural bewilderments, he was not surprised to find a secret space in the attic. This experience inspired “At Home,” a fascinating excursion into the history behind the place we call home. “At Home” features the room-by-room journey of discovery of his Victorian parsonage. Bryson takes the reader into the kitchen for a discussion of nutrition and the spice trade, and the bedroom for an account of sex, sleep and death. It is an intriguing, lively narrative that will cause you to see your dwelling in an entirely new light. In his new book, “One Summer: America, 1927,” Bryson writes that there are certain seminal years when historical events seem to almost overwhelm, and 1927 was one of them. He focuses on such happenings and personalities as Charles Lindbergh and his trans-Atlantic flight, Queens housewife Ruth Snyder and the murder of her corset-salesman husband, the antics of cigar-chomping Al Capone, baseball legends Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, the flooding of the mighty Mississippi, and much more. “At Home” and “One Summer” represent exceptional historical writing and are highly recommended. (c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.
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Denture Design Studio and Dental Center
2/26,27,28 Jewelry Workshops Three Divas Beads, 610 1/2 North Main Street, Milton-Freewater. 26th: Spiral Necklace, 11am-2pm, $55 27th: Fused Glass, 1-4:30pm, $70 28th: Earrings, Earrings, Earrings, 2-5pm, $40 For more info: Call 541-938-3727 or on Facebook
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2/28 Celebrate Recovery 6:30 pm (Dinner at 5:30 pm); Eastgate SDA Church, 380 Tausick Way, Walla Walla. This is a 12-step Christ centered program. Child care is available. For more info: Ladies call Ruth at 509-301-5685 or Men call Tracey at 509-301-8400. Intro to Rain Gardens/Landscaping with Native Species 6:30-8:00 pm; Sustainable Living Center, WWCC, Water & Environmental Center, 500 Tausick Way, Walla Walla. Heather Noel from Tri-State Steelheaders presents an introduction to creating rain gardens and why they are important features of our landscape. Tips will be presented on landscaping with native species. For more info: Call 509-524-5218 or online at www.sustainablelivingcenter.com
MOPS (Mother of Preschoolers) 9:30-11:30 am; Eastgate SDA Church, 380 Tausick Way, Walla Walla. Come & connect with other moms. Brunch and child care are provided for this potluck and play date. Come and have some much needed "mom" time. For more info: Call 509-301-4866 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
First Thursday Concert at St. Paul's 12:15 pm; St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 323 Catherine Street, Walla Walla. The concert will feature Doug Scarborough, trombone; Michael LeFevre, guitar; and Jason Morrison, piano. The program will last about 40 minutes. The concert is free, but donations are gratefully accepted to be sent to Friends of Children of Walla Walla. For more info: Call Tanya at 509-529-1083 All You Can Eat Pancake Breakfast 8-10 am; Walla Walla Senior Center, 720 Sprague Street, Walla Walla. A fundraising event for the Walla Walla Senior Center sponsored by Park Manor. Enjoy pancakes, scrambled eggs and link sausage. Cost is $5. All ages are welcomed. For more info: Call 509-527-3775 AARP Driver Safety Program 9 am; Park Plaza, 1400 Dalles Military Road, Walla Walla. Fee is $20 ($5 discount for AARP members). Free lunch is included. Participants are encouraged to check with their automobile insurance agent for details about the type of discounts they can receive for taking the course. Instructor: Bob Frye. For more info: Call 509-525-6513 or online at www.aarp.org/ADS2014
Music Jamboree 1-4 pm; M-F Senior Center, 311 North Main Street, Milton-Freewater. Music, food and dancing.
Mama and Baby Supply Sale and Blue Mountain Midwifery Home Birth Forum 1-5 pm; Walla Walla YWCA, 1st & Birch (enter on 1st Avenue), Walla Walla. Expecting a baby? Come learn about home birthing with midwife Kathryn Austin of Blue Mountain Midwifery. Shop for maternity, nursing and cloth diapering items from local mom's store Mama and Baby Supply. All sizes and all budgets. Free fitting. Free childcare provided. Everyone is welcome. For more info: email@example.com
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In other TV news, top-rated “NCIS” is getting a spin-off set in New Orleans. Scott Bakula will be at the helm, like Mark Harmon (who will be one of the producers) is on “NCIS.” The pilot will air as a two-part “NCIS” in the spring. ... The USA show “Psych” is retiring after eight seasons and 115 episodes, with the last show airing May 26. ... And Brad Pitt has signed on for a cameo in the Channing Tatum/Jonah Hill sequel “22 Jump Street,” along with Ice Cube.
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I was born on February 24, 1950, in Wilmington, DE. I recorded the hit single, “Bad to the Bone.” Who am I? I was born on February 25, 1997, in Washington, D.C. I played Clove in The Hunger Games. Who am I?
I was born on February 26, 1986, in Adelaide, South Australia, Australia. I played Number 6 in I Am Number Four. Who am I? I was born on February 27, 1985, in Grand Forks, ND. I won the fifth cycle of America’s Top Model. Who am I?
I was born on February 28, 1991, in Dublin, Ireland. I played Lady Mary Tudor on The Tudors. Who am I?
Answer: Sarah Bolger
Celebrate Recovery 7 pm (Dinner at 6 pm on the 1st Wednesday every month); CenterPointe, 2139 Fern St,Walla Walla. A 12-step, Christ centered program for people with hurts, habits and hang-ups. Child care is available. For more info: Ladies call Michelle at 509-200-3703. Men call Ryan at 509-301-7828 or Gary at 509-301-5673 or email email@example.com
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HOLLYWOOD -- NBC has canceled “The Michael J. Fox Show” after it received a disappointing 0.7 share, which translates into 2.2 million viewers. It pulled the plug after airing only 15 of the 22 episodes shot. NBC also has canceled the Sean Hayes show, “Sean Saves the World.” Eighteen episodes were ordered, 14 were shot and 12 have aired. The remaining two could air after the Olympics. On the plus side, Tyler Perry’s first series for OWN and Oprah Winfrey, “The Haves and the Have Nots,” has climbed dramatically in the ratings, pulling in more than 3.5 million viewers.
Answer: Teresa Palmer
High Noon Toastmasters 12:15 pm; Blue Mountain Baptist Church, 3009 Heritage Road, Walla Walla. Lunch is optional for $5. For more info: Call 509-529-4345
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*** Ron Howard’s next film, “In the Heart of the Sea,” stars his “Rush” leading man Chris Hemsworth, along with Cillian Murphy and Tom Holland. The shipwreck tale will be out March 15. Howard currently is prepping “Inferno,” his third film from Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci Code” series, with Tom Hanks again playing Robert Langdon. Look for it in December 2015. *** Who could forget the immortal words, “The plane boss, the plane,” uttered by Herve Villechaize? Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones”) and Emmy Award-winning director Sasha Gervasi interviewed Herve, who took his own life in 1993 at the age of 50 after a long illness. Reviewing their notes, they considered their interview a kind of Herve Villechaize suicide note. Now they are planning a film called “My Dinner with Herve,” based on the last days of his life, with Dinklage playing Villechaize. The one time I visited the set of “Fantasy Island,” Herve went into the tower and yelled, “No plane boss, no plane ... let’s all go home!” Everyone laughed and the director said, “OK, where’s the damn plane?” (c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.
Tidbits® of the Blue Mountain Region
February 25, 2014
GREAT THEATRICAL GOOFS • In the opera Gotterdammerung, two extras walk on stage, pick up the bier with Siefried lying on it, and carry it solemnly into the wings. One evening, one of the extras fell ill, so a stage manager called in a replacement. He felt a rehearsal was uncalled for with such a simple scene, so he just explained to the new bier-carrier what to do. When the scene came up, the two men entered the stage and each man picked up an end of the bier— only to find that they were facing each other. So they both put the bier down, turned around, and found themselves facing opposite ends of the stage. Only on the third try did they get it right. The audience applauded uproariously. • In Rigoletto, the star is humpback. At one performance in Paris, Rigoletto’s hump slowly slid down his back as he sang, until the audience was presented with a perfectly normal man with a really enormous butt. • In Siegfried, the hero slowly forges a sword, then lifts it and brings it down upon the anvil, which splits apart. Too bad for singer Lauritz Melchior that the stage hand cued the anvil split three seconds before he struck it with his sword.
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Sports Quiz Answers 1. Michigan, in 1984. 2. Toronto’s Roger Clemens, in 1997. 3. Larry Csonka (1971-73) and Ricky Williams (2002-03). 4. Coppin State, in 2008. 5. Chris Osgood (Detroit), Martin Brodeur (New Jersey) and Damian Rhodes (Ottawa). 6. Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick. 7. Seven -- Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Steffi Graf, Billie Jean King, Helen Wills Moody, Martina Navratilova and Serena Williams.
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• In Lohengrin, the star tenor is to step into a swan boat and be carried off. But at the Met in 1936, the swan boat disembarked before tenor Lauritz Melchior was able to get in. Melchior looked at the audience and sang in German, “When does the next swan leave?” (Continued next page)
Trivia Test Answers 1. Hairless or smooth 2. The Wellingtons 3. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” 4. Speech, religion, press, peaceful assembly and the right to petition government for redress of grievances. 5. 31 states and one federal district 6. “Love Me Tender” 7. Mosquitoes 8. German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel 9. Ecclesiastes 8:15 10. Auguste Piccard
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• Hans Hotter was singing in Die Walkure when he was to grab an enormous cloak, throw it around his shoulders, and stride boldly onto stage. He didn’t understand why the audience was laughing until he discovered he had failed to remove the fluffy pink coat hanger from the cloak before draping it over his shoulders.
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GREAT THEATRICAL GOOFS (continued) • In the opera Tosca, the soprano playing the lead role of Tosca dramatically throws herself to her death off the battlements of the castle. Normally the singer lands unharmed on a mattress backstage, but in this production a trampoline was used instead. The result was that the rather heavy singer bounced into view of the audience several times before finally “dying.”
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• It was the premiere of the new opera Charles VI in Paris in 1849. At the beginning of the aria called “Oh God, Kill Him!”, a member of the opera company fell dead. The next night at the same point in the production, a member of the audience died. When, at the third performance, the leader of the orchestra died, Napoleon III banned the opera.
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• In one production of The Magic Flute, the scenery consisted of several triangular pillars. On each side of the pillars a different part of the scenery was painted. In order to change the scene from the forest to the temple, the stage hands standing inside the pillars only had to turn 120 degrees. During the second half of the opera, characters Papageno and Tamino were conversing in song when two of the stage hands lost their balance and crashed to the ground. Calls for help were heard issuing from inside the pillars. Papageno looked at Tamino, and Tamino looked at Papageno, and together they proceeded to the back of the stage where, with much ad-libbing, they heaved the pillars upright. They then returned to the front of the stage to continue the opera, but not before receiving a tremendous round of applause. • The Cairo Opera House was destroyed by fire in 1970. It was rather ironic considering that the Cairo fire station was located inside the same building.
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8 ounces extra-lean ground sirloin or turkey breast 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning 1/2 teaspoon ground sage 2 cups diced unpeeled raw potatoes 1/4 cup chopped onion 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 (14.5-ounce) can reduced-fat chicken broth 1 (14.5-ounce) can stewed tomatoes, undrained 2/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder 1 cup water 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1. In a large saucepan sprayed with olive-oil-flavored cooking spray, brown meat. Stir in Italian seasoning and sage. Add potatoes and onion. Mix well to combine. Continue cooking for 6 to 8 minutes or until onions are tender. 2. In a covered jar, combine flour and chicken broth. Shake well to blend. Pour broth mixture into meat mixture. Add undrained stewed tomatoes. Mix well to combine. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes. 3. In a small bowl, combine dry milk powder, water and Worcestershire sauce. Stir milk mixture into meat mixture. Continue simmering for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Makes 4 (1 1/2 cups each) servings. • Each serving equals: 245 calories, 5g fat, 18g protein, 32g carb., 589mg sodium, 3g fiber; Diabetic Exchanges: 1 1/2 Meat, 1 Starch, 1 Vegetable, 1 Fat-Free Milk. (c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.