Diva Musing: Thoughts on Anti- Inflammatory Foods…

Inflammation is at the root of many chronic diseases, but you can fight it with food. Arm yourself with knowledge, and then use these delicious, disease-fighting recipes from my cookbook, Meals that Heal.
By Carolyn Williams, PhD, RD
Top 8 Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Eat Leafy greens (romaine, arugula, spinach, kale)
  1. Extra-virgin olive oil
  2. Berries
  3. Cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts)
  4. Fatty fish (salmon)
  5. Green tea
  6. Fermented and probiotic-rich foods (yogurt, kefir, kombucha, kimchi)
  7. Nuts and seeds
Top 8 Pro-Inflammatory Foods to Avoid
  1. Foods high in saturated and trans fats
  2. Foods with added sugars and/or artificial sweeteners
  3. Fried foods
  4. Processed foods
  5. Cured and processed meats
  6. Alcohol in excess
  7. Caffeine in excess
  8. High omega-6 to omega-3 ratios
From Subtle to Serious
Think of initial chronic inflammation as a small fire in the body. It’s localized and not yet severe. Poor food choices trigger inflammation that can result in slightly higher than normal blood sugar or blood pressure.
But just like how sparks from a small fire can create a second or third fire, this initial inflammation can increase the body’s sensitivity, making it easier for irritants to result in inflammation in another area of the body. Poor food choices, combined with stress and inactivity, can trigger inflammation in the form of weight gain, hypertension, and/or insulin resistance.
If these small fires aren’t put out, more fires start, and they become one large systemic blaze. In the body, symptoms become more noticeable. If nothing changes, inflammation pushes the body to serious conditions, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
https://www.allrecipes.com/article/eat-to-beat-inflammation/?utm_medium=browser&utm_source=allrecipes.com&utm_content=20200309&utm_campaign=489999

Diva Tasting: Air-Fry Egg Rolls…

Air-fry Egg Rolls 
Ingredients
1 Lb Lean Ground Beef Browned to Crumbly and Drained
4 Green Onions, Thinly Sliced
1 Small Package Slaw Mix
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 (16 Ounce) Package Egg Roll Wrappers
Cooking Spray
Directions
  1. Mix salt, cumin, and garlic powder together in a ramekin for the filling.
  2. Brown beef with spices and drain. Cook cabbage and onions in beef drippings and drain.
  3. In a large bowl combine all and mix well.
  4. Lay an egg roll wrapper at an angle. Use your finger to lightly moisten all 4 edges with water. Place about 1/4 cup of the filling in the center of the wrapper. Fold 1 corner over filling and tuck in the sides to form a roll. Repeat with remaining wrappers and mist each egg roll with cooking spray front and back.
  5. Preheat an air fryer to 390 degrees F (199 degrees C). Place egg rolls in the basket, making sure they are not touching; cook in batches if necessary. Fry for 8 minutes; flip and cook until skins are crispy, about 4 minutes more.
Variation: If you do not have an air fryer you may place on a parchment lined baking sheet and spray both sides with cooking oil and bake until golden brown. About 15 Minutes. You may also substitute pop corn shrimp for the beef and prepare the same way.

Diva Musing: Home Schooling…

Home Schooling
Some of you may have been unprepared to tackle the current social distancing phase. We wanted to offer some sound advice from others to help along the way.
People new to the idea and concept of homeschooling often have a thousand of questions to raise. Here is some helpful information to guide you in weighing things out:
Some homeschooling advantages:
1. Allow quality time, providing individualized attention and instruction. Homeschooling parents can better understand their children; observe how kids progress, what areas they find difficult and help them out.
2. Children learn in their own pace. At home school, children can advance at any time, not waiting on others or if the kid is a slow learner or having difficulties in a certain subject area, she/he can remain to focus on that area without pressure that others are already moving on.
3. Parents pattern their teaching style and curriculum in accordance with the child’s learning style, allowing him/her to successfully understand the subject matter, thus better results are achieved.
4. No peer pressure. At a home-school, age classification is not a factor, therefore children not only associate with children their same age level, but with children of different ages and adults as well, so they can decide on their own without the influence of peers.
5. “Hands on learning”. Activities which are outside the context of books are very much essential to the child’s learning process. Trips to the park, the museum, the zoo, going fishing with mom and dad can be a great time to spend an afternoon educating your child.
Some homeschooling disadvantages:
1. For the homeschool parent, much time and effort is required for preparation of teaching materials, lessons and managing the child’s opportunities in order to cultivate friendships and expand on the child’s interests.
2. Parents who homeschool do not have enough time to spend for themselves when kids are constantly at home. This frequent time of being together can be at times suffocating and, therefore, can not work in certain families.
3. Homeschooled children do not have a lot of opportunities to bond and develop friendships with peers. For many families, this really is not a problem and is supplemented by taking the kids out to play in the park, attend lessons in ballet, jazz, etc. However it takes a lot of effort on the part of parents to insure that their kids have these opportunities.
Whether to homeschool or not, it all depends on you, as a parent, on how much are you willing to give your child. On top of all the learning materials, the field trips, home schooling entails a lot of love, patience and encouragement.
Home Schooling Requirements in California:
Home schooling programs vary from state to state in the U.S. As a personal option of parents for their children, the need to comply does not end in enrolling. Parents play a big role in its success.
In California, it is a compulsory for all children to acquire public or private schooling and be given the right education. Under the educational codes of California, methods of exemptions to the mandatory school attendance have alternative learning options as follows:
1. The child has private tutors who have valid credentials for specific subject matter. The number of hours of instruction must be three hours a day, 175 hours a year. All parents who opt for this choice at their discretion do not need to send the child to formal schooling.
2. Home Study Program (HSP) and Charter Schools of California – Parents have the option to enroll their child to the nearest public school for a home-based study program, where the school will assign a teacher who will facilitate and check the student’s home-schooling on a monthly basis. The tutorial program sessions are under the parent’s responsibility at home.
3. Private Independent Study Program – almost similar to public chartered school enrollment with differences in curriculum and rigidity in training. Private schools in California are not required with heavy restrictions on credentials.
4. Complying R4 Form (Private School Affidavit) – Home education system can be established by individuals in their respective homes by just complying the requirements set by educational codes of California Department of Education. With least restriction from among the alternative methods of home-schooling schemes, this is purely a program for very few students of not more than five attending schooling at home in a very private environment.
Certainly, change in a child’s schooling scheme affects parental goals and orientation.
The advantage of institutionalized schooling is the amount of time parents get liberated to spend on their career while their children get the substantial education they pay for. Home schooling on the other hand, requires the entire time of parent participation, which is a great career sacrifice in exchange of personally educating a child. The price is spending quality time and close bonding with the child.
Assuming how the child will have substantial positive socialization is the main consideration of home schooling. To families of reputation or those who have “special child,” the need for home schooling is not questionable. The correct formula to child education cannot be determined because the whole process will not be projected by imagination. It happens in a span of decades.
As always use your discernment to meet the need of you and your students. 
Namaste, The Queen Cronista…

Diva Musing: 2020 Retrograde…

2020 MERCURY RETROGRADE 
People laugh at me when I talk about the “crape’diem” or Mercury Retrograde or as military personnel call it Retrograde Mercury. Ask a WWI Pilot what they think of it …You’ll be surprised. I’ve talked about it before. Here was a good article I found as a reminder. Namaste, The Queen Cronista….
Fog alert! The first Mercury retrograde of 2020 is here. This signal-jamming transit adds an extra dollop of disarray to our daily routines and affairs. Find out how to stay afloat while Mercury is in reverse!
by The AstroTwins
Mercury is retrograde from February 16 to March 9 is the first Mercury retrograde of 2020 (there are three!). The backstroke begins in watery Pisces, then, on March 4, Mercury retrogrades back through intellectual Aquarius for five days.
What is Mercury retrograde?
Three or four times a year, Mercury passes the earth in its orbit. As it rounds the bend, Mercury slows down and appears to stop (station) and spin backward (retrograde). Of course, it really ISN’T moving backward, but much like two trains or cars passing each other, this creates the optical illusion that one (Mercury, in this case) is going backward.
Mercury rules technology, travel and communication, so during Mercury retrograde, all of these things can go haywire. Any time the messenger planet shifts into reverse, our thinking can get muddled, communication can go sideways, and scheduling will require extreme flexibility—and patience! (See also Mercury Retrograde: How to Survive A Three-Week Communication Crisis)
This is the first Mercury retrograde of 2020, the others will be June 18 to July 12 in Cancer and October 13 to November 3 in Scorpio.
What you can expect during the first Mercury retrograde of 2020
While Mercury backs up through Pisces from February 16 to March 4, the sign of hidden agendas, illusions and the imagination, it’s going to be hard to pinpoint what’s true or real. During this time, take nothing at face value. You also can’t rely on people to be upfront with their intentions. Accept the fact that it’s going to take until mid-March to get a straight answer out of anyone.
If you considered turning up the heat or delivering an ultimatum, we recommend a different strategy. Pressuring people might get you a very loud, “Leave me alone!” or a yes that turns into an “Oops didn’t mean to say that” three weeks from now. Also, you might think you’re saying it with poetry, but other people just feel pressured. Don’t try to manipulate people with sweet talk or a sweeter deal than you can actually deliver on.
When Mercury retrograde rounds out its reign of extraterrestrial terror in Aquarius from March 4 to 9, protect your tech! Okay, maybe it won’t be THAT bad, but given that Aquarius is the natural ruler of the Internet and all of our electrical and wired-up devices, you can’t be too careful. Switch to the strongest possible passwords and maybe turn off your Bluetooth when you’re in a busy public place. Put a lid on any drinks if you’re sipping near your laptop.
This final portion of the first retrograde of 2020 can cause team dynamics to go off the rails. If you have to make a group decision, coming to consensus could be as easy as herding cats. If possible, postpone any hiveminds and masterminds until after March 9. And if that’s not possible, bring a good old-fashioned talking stick to the meeting and set firm ground rules. All feedback must be constructive—and no one’s allowed to use the talking stick as a weapon!
Here’s how your zodiac sign can cope in the potential crosshairs of the first Mercury retrograde of 2020:
Aries
Truth is stranger than fiction…or is it? With Mercury retrograde in your twelfth house of illusions, you may need to battle some rumors. Don’t believe everything you hear, Aries. It’s an excellent time to dust off an abandoned a creative project, especially one that summons the nostalgia of an earlier era or bygone time of your life. Reunite with old collaborators from March 4 to 9.
Taurus
Protect your tech while Mercury backs through the digital domain of your chart until March 4, Taurus. With the messenger planet rogue in your friendship zone eleventh house, you could reunite with old crew members or navigate team tension. Career curveballs may come from March 4 to 9, so prepare for interruptions by having a smart backup plan and all your materials organized.
Gemini
Career and long-term goals could get delayed or derailed with Mercury in your ambitious tenth house until March 4. Step away from frustrating work and clear your head, Gemini. Break big jobs down into manageable tasks or ask for a deadline extension. Your father or an important guy could be the source of some friction now. From March 4 to 9, choose every word wisely because your well-meaning advice could wound a tender soul. Travel plans may be delayed or need adjustment.
Cancer
It’s not often that we have to discourage Cancers from taking risks, but with Mercury rogue in your expansive ninth house until March 4, your timing could be off. Emerge from that shell a claw at a time. Save your outspoken remarks and shocking debuts for next month, along with any overly complicated travel plans. In the early part of the retrograde, you’ll want freedom, but watch your jealous streak from March 4 to 9! Try not to push a good one away in February just because you want your space.
Leo
Mercury is retrograde in your intimate eighth house of merging and money until March 4, Leo, making it hard to join forces for both business and pleasure. Tread carefully with your trust and use this time to process any intense emotions you’ve swept aside. Take special care with legal and financial documents, giving them an extra look—or hiring a pro to assess. An ex or old flame could return from March 4 to 9, begging for a do-over or to “work on building a friendship.” It’s worth exploring if there’s still some magic there but proceed with extreme caution. If you know they’ll disrupt your ability to move on, keep the door closed.
Virgo
Assess your partnerships—are they balanced and harmonious, Virgo? Mercury retrograde in your seventh house relationship zone could bring back an ex or reignite an old resentment between February 16 and March 4. Talk it out diplomatically and directly, avoiding the Piscean obscurity at all costs. Review contracts with an extra-keen eye, since vital details could be missed. Still hanging out with that energy vampire? Quit asking yourself why; just invest in other, more rewarding relationships instead. From March 4 to 9, focus on self-care and wellness but avoiddiagnosing with Dr. Google! Book check-ups and procedures for after March 10.
Libra
Order in the Libra court! Mindful Mercury’s mayhem happens in your sixth house of health and wellness through March 4, ramping up stress and making it hard to stay on top of the details. Your self-care schedules could get thrown off and you may find it hard to juggle everything. Slow down, prioritize and ask for help—from the right people, since even your normally rock-solid supporters might not be available. If you can avoid any medical procedures before March 10, do, otherwise,walk in fully informed. Romance could hit a rocky point from March 4 to 9 but keep calm and don’t say things you’ll regret!
Scorpio
Drama alert! Mercury retrograde in your expressive fifth house could bring back a dramatic ex or just make you a little “extra”—without the comedic timing that would make that amusing. Deep breaths, Scorpio, and ignore those button-pushing texts when you’re tempted to take the bait. Pour your passion into a creative project that got sidelined. Just say no to that style overhaul…but “yes” to clothing swaps, vintage remixes and giving your closet a good edit. You could revive a flatlining relationship, but that may require some negotiations around privacy and personal space from March 4 to 9.
Sagittarius
Home and family can be a source of chaos is Mercury disrupts your domestic sector/fourth house. Mothers, children and female relatives work your nerves especially, Sagittarius, and your emotions are pretty prickly with normally-sensible Mercury making you moody and thin-skinned. Ramp up the self-care and use this period for some nostalgic trips down Memory Lane…or a home decor overhaul. Finish any household projects up or do a deep declutter that would make Marie Kondo proud. Reunite with pals from your past and work on half-finished writing projects from March 4 to 9.
Capricorn
Choose your words with care, Capricorn. You’ve got a double dose of retro since Mercury is askew in your third house of communication and information until March 4. Honest conversations, especially with siblings, friends and neighbors, can help clear the air. But you’ll need to be majorly diplomatic to pull that off, stepping into the other person’s shoes and mirroring back whatever they say with “active listening.” Even still…facts get obscured, messages get mixed and signals jammed. Triple-check reservations, as you’re likely to double-book or get the time wrong. It’s a not-so-funny comedy of errors trying to keep your plans straight. Stick to a strict budget from March 4 to 9.
Aquarius
Money could slip through your fingers with Mercury off-kilter in your finance and work second house. Colleagues and clients could get under your skin, Aquarius, and office electronics could break down without notice. Take stock of your spending and other habits and look where you can make impactful improvements. Ditto for your budget. Use this retrograde to self-audit and self-edit—then make a plan for strengthening the weak spots. When Mercury retrogrades back into your sign from March 4 to 9, you could revive an old passion. Keep it to yourself initially because we guarantee: People will NOT understand.

Pisces
Cancel the PR tour: With Mercury retrograde in YOUR sign until March 4, the less you say, the better, Pisces. Curb the over-sharing and think before you hit “post” or “publish” or “send” on anything. Better to use this period to refine your ideas before you unleash them on your public. Avoid any dramatic changes to your appearance. Just say no to the pixie cut or body sculpting treatment while Mercury’s awry in your first house of image. Need to make amends or drop a grudge? March 4 to 9 could bring a round of deep healing. But keep some boundaries in place, especially when it comes to your personal time and space.
Were you born during Mercury retrograde? Find out!
Use our handy calculator to discover if Mercury is retrograde or direct in your birth chart.
To learn more about how to handle the first Mercury retrograde of 2020, see Mercury Retrograde’s Shadow Phase: Decode the ‘Retroshade’
https://astrostyle.com/first-mercury-retrograde-of-2020/

Diva Tasting: Herbed Pork Chops…

Herbed Pork Chops
Ingredients
4 Thick-Cut Pork Chops
1 Teaspoon Montreal Steak Seasoning, Or To Taste
½ Cup Butter, Divided
3 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour, Or As Needed
1 Tablespoon Dried Basil
1 Teaspoon Instant Beef Bouillon Granules
1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 Cups Milk
Directions
Step 1 Season pork chops on all sides with Montreal steak seasoning.
Step 2 Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook chops in melted butter until browned and slightly pink in the center, about 7 to 10 minutes per side. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 145 degrees F (63 degrees C). Add remaining butter to the pan as needed so that about 3 tablespoons pan drippings remain in the pan when the chops are finished cooking. Transfer pork chops to a plate and return skillet to medium-high heat.
Step 3 Mix flour, basil, and beef bouillon together in a bowl. Stir black pepper into skillet with the pan drippings and cook for 1 minute. Add flour mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until browned, about 2 minutes. Pour milk into flour mixture; cook and stir constantly until mixture is thick and bubbly, 4 to 6 minutes. Pour sauce over pork chops and serve with garlic mashed potatoes or cauliflower, cream spinach, rolls and beverage.

Diva Tasting: Greek Lemon Chicken and Vegetable Bake…

Greek Lemon Chicken and Vegetable Bake
Ingredients
  • 6 Chicken Leg Quarters
  • 1 (24 Ounce) Bag Small Red Fingerling Potatoes
  • ½ Cup Olive Oil
  • 2 Lemons, Juiced, Divided
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Basil
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon Sea Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Greek Seasoning
  • 1 Bunch Fresh Asparagus Cut On Bias
Directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Grease a large baking sheet with sides.
Place chicken quarters on prepared baking sheet. Stir potatoes, olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and lemon herb seasoning together in a large bowl to coat potatoes. Arrange potatoes around chicken on baking sheet. Pour about 3/4 of oil mixture over chicken, reserving remaining oil; drizzle remaining lemon juice over chicken and potatoes.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes; shake baking sheet to loosen potatoes, then continue baking for 15 minutes. Place asparagus in reserved oil mixture; toss to coat. Remove chicken mixture from oven; pour seasoned asparagus over chicken and potatoes.
Return pan to the oven; bake until asparagus is tender with a bite, chicken is no longer pink at the bone and juices run clear, about 20 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted near the bone should read 165 degrees F (74 degrees C). Serve with Pita and tzatziki.

 

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Diva Ranting: Corona….

Corona or Not to Corona…
In a winter fraught with diseased humans, I felt it necessary to post info on the global trend in diseases. I personally think when the Universe wants you your time is up, no matter what. I have had 4 near death experiences and there is no reason I should be here… except that it is not my time yet. However, I will err on the side of caution and give an update from The World Health Organization.
World Health on Coronavirus
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.  Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans. 
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus