Monday, September 27, 2010

Sauteed Apple Recipe

Dear Friend,

It’s officially fall! You know that I love this season and all that it brings with it! I love the colors and the smells. The festivals and pumpkin patches. I love the decorations and the crispness to the air and the food! Oh, how I love the food. One of the things that really reminds me of fall is sautéed apples. I love making them and I especially love eating them! I wanted to share the recipe with you so that you and your family could enjoy some together.

• ¼ cup butter
• 4 large tart apples - peeled, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick
• 1 teaspoon cornstarch
• ½ cup cold water
• ½ cup brown sugar
• ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon nutmeg
• 1 teaspoon vanilla

In a large skillet, melt your butter over medium heat and then add your apples. Cook, stirring constantly, until the apples are almost tender, which takes about 6 to 7 minutes. Then, dissolve the cornstarch in water and add it to your skillet. Stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla and boil for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. The, remove from the heat and serve warm.

These are great over pancakes or ice cream but also delicious as a side dish at dinner – especially when you’re having pork. I hope that you and your family enjoy them as much as we do!

Happy Eating!

-The Working Wife

Friday, September 24, 2010

It's been a Long Time!

Dear Friend,

It's been such a long time since I've written. I apologize for that - I haven't been a very good friend in the last year. Things have been more than a little hectic and as a mother of a toddler, I know that you understand that. Please know that I have missed you and our letters and I hope that we can pick this back up again soon!

More soon (I promise)!

-A Working Wife

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Be Aware, Be Very Aware

Dear Friend,

I'm sorry for the long absence. My only excuse is every day life. But, I come to you today to discuss a topic that is not every day life for most people, but does affect the every day life of approximately 30,000 Americans. I'm talking about Cystic Fibrosis or CF.

Why am I discussing this now? May is Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month.

Why does this matter to me? My younger sister, Ashley, is 22 years old and fights Cystic Fibrosis EVERY DAY! I will discuss more of her story at a later time.

What is Cystic Fibrosis? Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening genetic disease that causes mucus to build up and clog some of the organs in the body, particularly the lungs and pancreas. The build-up in the lungs can cause lung damage, which in turn can lead to a need for a lung transplant. So, that's the professional explanation of it. Plain and simple? CF is a genetic (meaning passed down from parents) disease that affects most of a person's body. A person with CF usually has some kind of breathing problems, including but not limited to Asthma and frequent lung infections, like bronchitis. CF also affects the digestive system due to the extra build-up of mucus preventing digestive enzymes from getting to the intestines. The body needs these enzymes to break down food, which in turn prevent the body from getting the nutrients that a body needs to stay healthy. (This is actually a VERY basic explanation. I will provide links at the end of this post where you will be able to find more information.)

How does a person get CF?
Plain and simple? Again, it is a genetic disorder, which means that a person can only get it from their parents. In saying that, the parent does not have to actually have CF themselves to pass it on. A person with ONE CF gene is a carrier and can pass it on. A person with TWO CF genes actually has CF. In order to have CF, a person has to get ONE gene from EACH parent. A parent can only pass on one gene, even if the parent has CF and two genes. So, look at the diagram below: Two parents who each have a CF gene have a 1 in 4 chance of having a child WITH CF, 2 in 4 who will be carriers, and a 1 in 4 who will not have CF or be carriers. Obviously, the chances of being a carrier lessen when only one parent is a carrier and there is no chance of a child having CF.
What are symptoms of CF?
The most common symptoms are:

  • Very salty-tasting skin

  • Persistent coughing, at times with phlegm

  • Frequent lung infections, like pneumonia or bronchitis

  • Wheezing or shortness of breath

  • Poor growth/weight gain in spite of a good appetite

  • Frequent greasy, bulky stools or difficulty in bowel movements

  • Small, fleshy growths in the nose called nasal polyps
Now, in saying that, there are over 1,400 separate mutations of the CF gene, so the severity of the symptoms or actual appearance of certain symptoms vary.

What is the average life expectancy of a person with CF? As of 2008, the average life expectancy rose to 37 years. In 2000, the average age was 32 years. This is due to all of the new research that is being done to find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis!

One little statistic for you: More than 70% of patients are diagnosed by age two.

So, please, help us find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis! You can support a Cure for Cystic Fibrosis by going to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Website.

*I found most (if not all) of my information on the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation website. All generalizations were taken from my experience growing up with a sister with Cystic Fibrosis.