In Praise of Spinach

Today is National Spinach Day, a day set aside to honor and consider all the delicious ways we can incorporate this nutritional powerhouse into our diets.

Here are 10 interesting facts about spinach:

1. During Catherine de Medici’s reign as queen of France, spinach was served at every meal. Many modern dishes made with spinach are known as “Florentine” in honor of Catherine’s birth in Florence.

2. The earliest written record of the spinach plant was found in Chinese, suggesting the spinach plant was introduced in China via Nepal.

3. Medieval artists extracted green pigment from spinach to use as an ink or paint.

4. China is the world’s largest spinach producer with 85% of global production.

5. California accounts for almost three quarters of national production. Other spinach-growing states include Arizona, New Jersey, Texas, Colorado, Maryland, and Arkansas.

6. In the 1930’s, U.S. spinach growers credited Popeye with a 33% increase in domestic spinach consumption.

7. Alma, Arkansas—the home of “Allen Canning Company” which cans and ships spinach—holds an annual spinach festival each April. Alma proclaims itself to be the “Spinach Capital of the World”…a title also claimed by Crystal City, Texas.

8. An excellent source of protein, calcium, folic acid, fiber, and vitamins A, C, and K, spinach is also loaded with cancer-fighting antioxidants.

9. A half cup of raw spinach counts as one vegetable serving.

10. Studies have found that eating cooked spinach and carrots – versus raw – results in much higher blood levels of beta-carotene, an antioxidant thought to guard against heart disease and lung cancer.

On a personal note…

I look forward to my breakfast smoothie. Here’s one of my favorite recipes:

I start with one scoop of Sun Warrior Vegan Protein Powder (vanilla flavor). Recommended by my nutritionist, this brand contains brown rice protein and works well for anyone who is sensitive to eggs, dairy, and soy. I add one-half cup of blueberries, one cup of baby spinach leaves, and one teaspoon of cinnamon. I then add six to eight ounces of water and blend.

Do you have a quick-and-easy spinach recipe to share?


Giveaway–TRR 6th Anniversary Party

Today, I’m participating in an anniversary party for The Romance Reviews. Along with nine other authors, I’m offering a prize to one lucky winner. Scroll down here and look for my question:

How many ex-boyfriends are possible suspects?

Answer correctly and you could win an e-book of A Season for Killing Blondes.


10 Things I’m Looking Forward to in Nova Scotia

I’m happy to welcome author Luanna Stewart. Today, Luanna shares her favorite memories of Nova Scotia and her new release, If Wishes Were Earls.

Here’s Luanna!

In no particular order…

1. Except for this one. The number one thing I’m looking forward to with our move to Nova Scotia is returning home. I was born and raised in Halifax, the capital city, and have lived elsewhere more than half my life. It’s time to go home.

2. The Atlantic Ocean. Even though I’m currently living on the coast of Maine, and the same ocean is just a fifteen-minute drive away, it’s not quite the same.

3. The air. Laugh if you will, but the air is different in NS. Probably from a combination of the ocean and the large expanses of evergreen forests. That balsam fir smell, especially after a rain, smells like NS to me.

4. The air. Not a typo. My mum has a summer house on an island off the coast and the briny fresh smell of the air is so luscious you just want to take a bite. On many occasions I’ve stood in her back garden, closed my eyes, and just breathed.

5. Small towns. I like the intimacy. From our new hometown of Lunenburg, to Wolfville where Son1 attended college, to Malagash where my dad was born and where we vacationed when I was a kid, they all have a distinct character. I love exploring the local history, and there is always at least one good restaurant serving a local brew and fish & chips.

6. Camping. There are pictures in the old family album of me camping whilst still in diapers. (They were cloth diapers back in those days – my mum was a saint!) So it’s no wonder camping is in my blood. Hubby and I went camping on our honeymoon, backcountry, the site accessible only by canoe. Our favourite park is Kejimkujik National Park, known as Keji (pronounced KEH-gee). It’s in the middle of the province, full of lakes, rivers and streams, and once you paddle for a few hours to your campsite all you can hear are the loons announcing sunrise and the beavers chewing on lily pads. The night sky is overwhelming in its brilliance.

7. Hiking. Nova Scotia is riddled with hiking trails over all sorts of terrain. Along the coast, deep into old-growth forest, around bogs and marshes, the trails allow for all levels of difficulty.

8. Kayaking. Our new home is right on the ocean so we can push our kayaks into the water from our beach and paddle away, exploring the bays and inlets nearby. If we’re particularly adventurous we can paddle into town!

9. Music. Ah, the fiddle and the bagpipe. On street corners, in pubs, at music festivals, toe-tapping folk music is alive and well. The three biggest influences on the local folk music are Scottish, Irish, and Acadian. Any and all will make you dance in your chair.

10. Cycling. Along with the hiking trails there is a vast network of former railway lines that have been converted into hiking/cycling trails. A wonderful and safe way to explore the area. You can peddle for miles, and because the trails used to be rail lines into the various towns, you can travel into town and pop into a pub for lunch! The best part? No hills.

What are some things you particularly like about where you live? If you had to move away, what would you miss the most?

One commenter will receive a hand-knitted (by me) washcloth and a bar of handcrafted soap. (USA and Canada only.)

Tagline

A mysterious letter and an enchanted keepsake promise to lead Miranda to her heart’s desire. Or does her heart secretly yearn for more than a sexy earl?

Blurb

When a mysterious note directs Miss Miranda Large to a tiny village in Cornwall to find her heart’s desire, she has no choice but to go. An enchanted keepsake heightens her curiosity. A snowstorm forces her to accept the hospitality of a sullen, albeit sexy and handsome, earl and Miranda’s wish doesn’t seem so out of reach.

Edward Penhallion, the 12th Earl of Claverlock, is not in the mood to start his search for a new wife. He wants to be left alone with his books and his dreams of revenge. But the arrival of a headstrong, sharp-tongued spinster forces him to play the charming host. Not a difficult task, given her intelligence and beauty. Suddenly, he’s not terribly eager for her to leave.

But as the snow falls and the winds blow, Edward discovers there’s more to Miranda than a lively wit and a lovely face. And Miranda wonders if the trappings of wealth are enough for true happiness.

Buy Links

Amazon | Nook | Kobo | iBooks | All Other Retailers

Bio

Luanna Stewart has been creating adventures for her imaginary friends since childhood. As soon as she discovered her grandmother’s stash of romance novels, all plots had to lead to a happily-ever-after.

Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Luanna now lives in Maine with her dear husband, two college boys, and two cats. When she’s not torturing her heroes and heroines, she’s in her kitchen baking something delicious.

Writing under the pen name Grace Hood, she has two novellas published with The Wild Rose Press.

Where to find Luanna…

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page


Happy Spring!

Last week, Mother Nature sent us a cold blast of winter. Confusion? Trickery? Passive aggressiveness? Or perhaps, a last hurrah to winter. But all is forgiven. Today marks a new beginning, a season of rebirth, reinvention, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection, and regrowth.

Here are ten of my favorite “spring” quotes:

Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again.
Sarah Ban Breathnach

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn. Hal Borland

Spring shows what God can do with a drab and dirty world. Virgil A. Kraft

You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming.
Pablo Neruda

Every spring is the only spring — a perpetual astonishment. Ellis Peters

Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.
Rainer Maria Rilke

Spring is the time of plans and projects. Leo Tolstoy

It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want — oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! Mark Twain

Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’ Robin Williams

The spring wakes us, nurtures us and revitalizes us. How often does your spring come? If you are a prisoner of the calendar, it comes once a year. If you are creating authentic power, it comes frequently, or very frequently. Gary Zukav

Do you have a favorite “spring” quote?


Irish Blessings

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May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

___________________________________________________________

May you have:
A world of wishes at your command.
God and his angels close to hand.
Friends and family their love impart,
and Irish blessings in your heart!

___________________________________________________________

May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been
the foresight to know where you’re going
and the insight to know when you’re going too far.

___________________________________________________________

May God grant you always…
A sunbeam to warm you,
A moonbeam to charm you,
A sheltering angel, so nothing can harm you.

___________________________________________________________

May your troubles be less,
And your blessing be more.
And nothing but happiness,
Come through your door.

___________________________________________________________

May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun.
And find your shoulder to light on.
To bring you luck, happiness and riches.
Today, tomorrow and beyond.

___________________________________________________________

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

Spotlight on Between Venus and Mars

I’m happy to feature S.C. Mitchell’s new release.

betweenvenusandmars

Tag Line

An intergalactic adventure filled with laughs, love, and adventure.

Blurb

An ancient legend spanning eras, continents, and worlds. To some, it’s nothing more than a dream. To others, a pretty fairy tale handed down through the generations.

For those in critical need of their own happy ending, a gift.

Once Upon a Galaxy . . .

Zana Starchild is on a mission to restore her tribe’s livestock and save herself from one more meal of kelp. Sure, it’s technically illegal to visit Old Earth, but to a rim rat like Zana, galactic laws are really just guidelines. Her wrecked starship just means she’ll need to use her backup plan to get off the abandoned world, an old Earth legend her uncle passed down to her.

Pulled from a relaxing shower, across the galaxy to Old Earth, Galactic Marshall Kyle Kepler finds himself naked and marooned with a quirky rim rat. Zana’s broken more laws than Kyle can count, and he plans to arrest her, just as soon as he can find transport off the planet and a pair of pants.

A junk heap of a starship, a magical tree, and a roving gang of mutant kangaroos are just the beginning of rollicking intergalactic journey filled with laughs, love, and adventure.

buynow

Bio

scmitchellS.C.Mitchell grew up an avid reader of comic books, science fiction and fantasy literature. He’s been writing stories for over thirty years. In 2010 he left his job as a computer desktop support specialist to pursue his passion for writing full time. He is a member of the Romance Writers of America as well as the Wisconsin chapter.

As a writer of paranormal and sci-fi romance, fantasy, and science fiction, Steve crafts unique and wondrous worlds where his characters explore, romp, and fall in love. Whether traveling through dark, demon filled dimensions, the edge of wild space, or ancient mythological heavens, his heroes and heroines, guided by their adventurous hearts, discover hidden strengths on their pathway to enduring love.

Where to find S.C. Mitchell…

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon Author Page