Memorial Day (Thank You For Your Service)

 

memorial day - thank you for your service
Memorial Day – Thank You For Your Service

Memorial Day is a time to reflect on the many different branches of the service that have enlisted young men and women with many, ultimately, giving their lives for our country.

Take time to thank those that have sacrificed and provided a blanket of security so that we may enjoy the freedoms many can’t. The many wars our service men and women have fought both foreign and domestic remind us of how lucky we are to have the freedoms we do and how important it is to protect our constitution.

What is left of the constitution we have to protect. Little do we know what evil lurks in the hearts of men to manipulate the masses for their own personal gain. For your own personal edification and to learn just a taste of what’s really happening read a book by David Talbot (New York Times Bestseller) – “The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government.”

Then, follow that up with a video by Barbara Honegger, “Behind the Smoke Curtain: What Happened at the Pentagon on 9/11 and What Didn’t, and Why it Matters.” Barbara Honegger served under President Reagan as a high level domestic policy analyst, then moved to the DOJ. After leaving Washington, she became Senior Military Affairs Journalist for the Naval Postgraduate School.

Despite all of this the front line men and women that protect the sovereignty of our nation deserve the accolades bestowed upon them for the very freedoms we enjoy today. Families separated by thousands of miles provide another layer of sacrifice not often talked about. These families often have to move to different states and even countries to be close to the service men and women shielding us from harms way.

Barbecues, Beer, and Family Fun are to be enjoyed on this very special holiday. Let’s make a toast to our protectors and wish them safe passage through the many obstacles that are before them.

Today we enjoy a level of freedom seldom recognized around the world. Let’s pray for a safe return for our service men and women from those dangerous regions they are sworn to protect.

This blog is sponsored by PAZAZ “The Magic of Cooking” kitchen tools for the discerning chef. Please go to pazazshop.com to purchase the Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat, Heavy Duty Baking Sheet Pan, and the Steel Mesh Cooling Rack.

Graduation (Another Tier of Life)

Graduation – Another Tier of Life

As we move through our journey of life one of the most satisfying events is graduation. I was blessed to have witnessed my daughters graduation on Friday, May 17th, at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs. Chelsea graduated with a pre-law (criminal justice) degree from University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS) with her next step, law school.

I believe that most of us are proud to see our children graduate and move to the next chapter of their lives. In the case of law school or medical school the journey continues beyond the halls of the university and into the realm of even more intense work and even greater reward.

The pride you feel as a parent as you watch your child grow and aspire to new challenges can sometimes awaken that part of you that reflects on the past. It seems like such a short time ago that Chelsea was a baby, small child, bigger child, teenager, and now a young women.

Each step along the way is fraught with new expectations and hurdles that continues to make the journey the reward. There is a chance when they are young to help shape the context of their experiences and mold them into better people.

However, as they graduate through the different stages of life a personality takes shape, a direction takes hold, and a life begins to unfold.

Graduation is defined as “the action of dividing into degrees or other proportionate divisions on a graduated scale.” This definition clearly assumes that we move in an upward sociological and evolutionary projection with the possibility of eclipsing our parents educational, spiritual, and economic circumstances.

However, if you take boiling water and place a potato in the water and an egg… the potato becomes soft and the egg becomes hard. It’s not the circumstances, its what your made of.

As we battle through the great times and the sad/disappointing times our graduation to the next evolutionary phase reveals our strength of character and our will to succeed. It is only through adversity that we can stretch our expectations and soar to new levels of prosperity both spiritual and economic. Quite simply… its not what happens to you, its how you react to it.

Each of us can live life to its fullest revealing the truth about our destiny and the satisfaction associated with graduating to become an educated and compassionate person that absorbs life and ultimately makes the world a better place.

This blog is sponsored by PAZAZ™ “The Magic of Cooking” kitchen tools for the discerning chef. Please go to pazazshop.com to purchase my Non-Stick Baking Mat, Heavy Duty Aluminum Baking Pan, and the Steel Mesh Cooling Rack.

Mother’s Day PAZAZ™ Style

Mother’s Day is a very special holiday. This holiday is an opportunity to thank our moms for all they do for us. Whether they are alive today or not they are the ones (primarily) that have given us the tools to become whom we are today.

My mom came from Kansas and exemplified the heart beat of this country with her mid-western belief and value system. Honor, integrity, compassion for others, and her full (unwavering) commitment to her family made her a hero to me. I have never met anyone that combined her intelligence and strength to form a perfect harmonic conversion aligning a wonderful soul with an amazing brain.

As we grow older we rely on the lessons we’ve learned from those that care the most about us to help us through the vicissitudes of life. Our core values become the center of our character as we transition through the different phases of our existence. For most of us our moms have helped us navigate using our teachings to decide important matters while being true to ourselves and those that care the most about us.

My mom taught me how to read, how to practice my violin, how to be a steward to those less fortunate, and her greatest teaching was how to make me understand the responsibility of being a parent.

It seems to me that one day to celebrate our mom is not sufficient. We buy our mothers flowers and cards and maybe even write them a poem but is that enough?

Perhaps the whole year we should honor our moms. Their sacrifice and time spent investing in our future while paving the way for our happiness and success is the true definition of selfless commitment.

My mom loved to celebrate the holiday’s. Every holiday became a foray into the best expression of that event turning a moment into a memory that became a tradition. Whether it was a traditional meal created by my mom, the sequence in which that holiday unfolded, or the unbridled excitement and joy that ultimately resulted… I will never forget each and every holiday with my mom and dad.

To this day I take a moment each day to thank god for blessing me with my mom and dad and how their harmony resulted in my strength and resilience through the best of times and the worst of times.

To that end the mother child relationship is a sacred bond, let us honor our mothers on this special day and everyday for as long as forever is.

This blog was sponsored by PAZAZ™ “The Magic of Cooking” kitchen tools for the discerning chef. Please visit my web site @ pazazshop.com to purchase the Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat, the Heavy Duty Baking Sheet Pan, and the Steel Mesh Cooling Rack.

These Suggestions Can Make a Meal Great… PAZAZ™ Style

Making a meal great doesn’t mean you have to cut onions into flowers or prepare a souffle (although that would be fine with me).

It means that the ingredients you use are superior and the kitchen tools you prepare the food with from cutting the product to placement in the oven for an exact temperature dispersement are exceptional.

These tools and the simplicity of preparation speaks to the flavor profile that lifts the dish from good to sublime.

First course:

Fruits or vegetables should be organic period. The nuanced flavor permeates your taste buds and elevates the experience.

Quality oils and vinegars are a must as they intensify the aforementioned fruit or vegetable profile and add another dimension of flavor that you can mold to perfectly pair a specific wine.

Rieslings because of their many different styles, or sauvignon blancs are impeccable pairing selections – because of their composition and because of the acid and balance they provide to enhance the organic produce.

My favorite oils and vinegars are from a company called the Olive Solvang Press:

    • Tuscan Herb infused Olive Oil
    • Wild Anithos Dill infused Olive Oil
    • Black Mission Fig Balsamic Vinegar
    • Blueberry Balsamic Vinegar
    • Cranberry/Pear White Balsamic Vinegar

Second Course:

Any protein be it fish, poultry, pork, or steak must be of exceptional quality. Your local butcher is the perfect choice for specific cuts of meats or Costco and Whole Foods for proven excellence across the board.

Prime steaks at Costco are wonderful examples of quality without breaking the bank. Make sure that when you choose fish it is wild caught and preferably the Atlantic Ocean (more on that in my next blog). All meat products should be chosen by marbling and color.

Jidori chicken is the only chicken to mention. Jidori chicken is raised free range on small farms using natural grains no meat by-products, hormones, or steroids.

Smithfild Duroc pork or Comparte Duroc are very good products. Specifically the best breeds for a certain use, Berkshire for loins, Tamworth for belly, Red Wattle for ham, and Mangalitsa for the jowl.

The best ranches to procure beef from are as follows:

Snake River Farms – Idaho

Craig Angus Ranch – Colorado

Nebraska Star Beef – Nebraska

On Line:

    • Chicago Steak Company
    • American West Beef Company

A wonderful way to end the meal is with an impressive dessert that doesn’t take forever to prepare.

Bananas/Strawberries Foster is simple and memorable. Get the recipe and blow the guests away!

Regarding the wine pairings you should keep it simple:

Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, or Gruner Vetliner for Fish

Oregon Pinots, Russian River Pinots, Santa Rita Hills Pinots, or Burgundian Chardonnays for Chicken or Pork

Malbec, Cabernet, or Syrah with Beef

Ice Wine, Sauternes, or Tawny Port with Dessert

So for any meal to be successful you need quality produce, exceptional protein, and a WOW dessert.

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