Monday, October 28, 2019

Is Beignet the Louisiana State Style Doughnut?

Beignets without sugar

Beignet is a French word for “fried fritter,” brought to Louisiana by the France nuns to New Orleans, Louisiana in 1727.

I search through internet, yes, there are beignets in Paris, France equivalent to beignets found in Louisiana now days.

Pronounce for beignet are:
- BEN-yay
- bayn-YAY
- ben-YAY
- beɪnˈjeɪ
- bɛnˈjeɪ

I don’t know whether other states in the USA have their own beignet. Since, the pastry is typical in Louisiana, its designated as official state of doughnut in 1986, around 35 years ago. 



Finger beignets

Generally, beignets are covered with sugar (powdered sugar) on top or without sugar, I saw two forms of beignets:
- a square pieces
- finger pieces


Beignets covered with sugar are ready to consume

Both forms could be found in most cities in Louisiana. In my city, Baton Rouge, I almost come to coffee shop near by my house almost every weeks.

The oldest shop to sell beignets is “Cafe du Monde,” located in French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana.


Frying beignets in the hot cooking oil.

The shop has sold beignets since 1862, more than 150 years ago. Very long time ago, and to be iconic cafe for “café au laits.”

The most popular coffee shop to sell beignets in Baton Rouge is Coffee Call (You may read my previous post: What is the Best Coffeehouse in My City, Baton Rouge?

Based on internet searching, in addition to Louisiana, USA and France, other countries consume beignets (kinds of beignets) are Canada, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia.


Have you tried beignets? What it called in your countries?

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Do You Have Words of Mantra to Spell? - Alzheimer's 13

Morning prayers

We had a short conversation after finished a route walk in Walk to End Alzheimer's.

The most interesting in the conversation is the favorite words. The words or a phrase that we and the loved one with Alzheimer's disease always say.

In the stage of Alzheimer's with the sign lose words, some favorite words will remains.

I have my favorite words, or a phrase. It does not a bad words, or curse :)

Some of us in the that group of conversation said that they have some words to spell too when they just get up in the morning to give them the strength, to make the day brighter and happier.

Some of us, get up and reach rosary to say some words. Some of us just stare at the words “LOVE, HOPE, FAITH” in beautiful frame sit on the nightstand.

Another one in the group said that she love to reach cellphones to get daily quote from apps.



Tree for illustration

We have favorite friends with Alzheimer's who have favorite words. They always say these words to answer our questions or just a sentence that they want to say.

Let's call them Mrs Anderson and Mrs Brown, both of them with wheelchairs, eighties year old, both could not recognize any single person but they still know their name.

Mrs Anderson still able to talk, the words clear, but has no meaning. Every time she said something to us or ask something to us, whatever the answers she will spontaneous move her wheelchair and said, “Let's go!”

Mrs Brown lose almost all her words. When one walk closer to Mrs Brown, she will say, “Let's play!”. She said the same words every times. Some time she said two sentences. “Le's play! Catch me up!”

Those words could be a chant or mantra, and some research found out that mantra can reduce the worse risk of Alzheimer's disease.

I hope Mrs Anderson and Mrs Brown feel much easier with their chant or mantra from the severity of this disease.

I also hope our chant or mantra in the morning will work :)


How about you, do you have any mantra or chant or good words to spell every morning

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Late October in My Neighborhood.

Grasses and trees are still green and fresh.

It's autumn!

What is the most cherished in autumn? The spectacular colors! The trees are changing their “green uniforms” into their new colorful “dress”.

It's October. The average temperature here is still a kind of warm and nice, the day is F 81 degree (C 27 degree) and night is F 56 (C 13 degree).

This morning, when I just opened the door, I can feel the autumn breeze. The temperature was a little bit cooler than the morning before. It was F 48 degree (C 9 degree) at 6.00 A.M. and still dark outside.

I took a short walk around my neighborhood at day time. The grasses and trees have not changed yet. They are still fresh and green.

The chlorophylls are still dominance in the leaves of deciduous trees They are in good conditions and able doing their job for photosynthesis. They are covering up the other pigments of leaves.


Bright sky in the evening Autumn

In couples more weeks, when the weather get cooler and the days get shorter, the chlorophylls in the deciduous trees will break down and reveal their new colors:
- red from antochyanin,
- orange from carotene
- yellow from xanthophyll
- brown from tannis.

They are so magnificent. Then, they will fall off.

I took a photo picturing the clear sky in my way to Paneera Bread bakery/cafe at Jefferson Hwy for a bowl of Autumn Squash Soup.

How about with autumn season in your place? Is there any special food to eat? 

Monday, October 21, 2019

Traditional Books versus Electronic Books for Children

A children book

Last weekend, I stopped by for a cup of hot latte in Barnes and Nobel Cafe. The book cart in front of the bookstore building was still standing between two pillars in entrance door.

The books in the cart were getting lower price and there were only few novels and children books left. One of the books in the cart took my attention, The Noah Ark! That is my favorite story. 

I bought the book and would give it to Cassie, a three year old granddaughter of Ms Lynnell, a member of group in our community.

This traditional book brought some thoughts about between traditional book and e-book for better reading media for children's cognitive development.

Lately many suggest to use e-book and interactive e-book for children, especially children in 0 to 5 year-old.

This age is critical for book reading, because reading book able to support their healthy brain development. 


Books for children sold out.

It is important for development vocabulary, literacy, language skill, then lead to better academic.

Many “busy” parents give tablet or any screen for their children with some books in it, some of interactive e-books can help parents to read the books when busy parents do not have time to read them for their children.

Some other parents give time limit for their kids to access electronic devices, and facilitate them with traditional books.

Ms Lynnell is one of them, she always has time for reading the traditional books for Cassie. Cassie' parents also have some times for her bed time reading.

Cassie loves to show all of hers. She like to show her baby dolls, puzzles, and books.

She prefers traditional books because she can show, carry, and pretend to read her books for every body.

She has favorite pages in every single book. Oh-oh she drawn happy faces and little dolls on those pages too.

Finally, what do you think about traditional and e-books?

Friday, October 18, 2019

Why Freshwater Pearls are Less Expensive?

A freshwater pearl sold by Amazon

A friend of mine from China offered me whether I would like to buy freshwater pearls when she traveled to China for family vacation.

What? Pearl?

I never imagine to have expensive jewelry let’s say thousands dollar worth, and a pearl is not my favorite.

She said the price less than a dollar only in China, very cheap for a real pearl. Both freshwater and oceanic pearls are real, natural pearls produced by a kind of clams or oysters.

I check to Amazon, yes, the lowest freshwater pearl cost US$ 8 only, very cheap. The prices are range from US$ 50 to US$ 2,000. 

Saltwater or Sea water pearls could range from US$ 500 to US$ 100,000, depend very much on many factors.


Pearl colors (credit to Alibaba)

What factors decide pearl price? Some of them are:
- colors
- shape and size
- origin (from what oceans)
- whether come from cultured or wild oysters or clams or mussels

Several well know colors for both freshwater and saltwater pearls are:
- golden yellow
- purple
- black
- white
- chocolate
- pink
- silver gray
- cream

Three famous origin of pearls are from:
- South sea pearls, price from US$ 1,000 to US$ 100,000
- Tahitian pearls, price from US$ 500 to US$ 25,000.
- Japanese pearls, cost from US$ 300 to US$ 10,000.

Then, Why Freshwater Pearls are Less Expensive? It is because freshwater mussels could produce 30 pearls, while sea water oysters produce 1 pearl only at once.

Do you interest to have pearls? Freshwater or saltwater pearls?

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Joker, PBA, and Alzheimer's Disease - Alzheimer's 12

Joker 2019 and the others.

Are you a moviegoer?
You might enjoy to watch this movie, Joker.

Proud about the enthusiastic of folks in this world about this movie. A week after opening, Joker had made $548.2 million globally.

We knew, there is no joke in this Joker. The reviewers give many opinion about this rated R movie. Many pros and cons about the characters and violence of this villain.

One of my friend, Connie, is a movie-goer. She went to Movie Tavern Citiplace to enjoy this drama/thriller with two hours duration.

The next day I asked her what was the most interesting about the movie. Her answer is his laugh.

Absolutely, Joker is associated to laugh.

It was a nice talk with Connie about the character in the movie. The laugh of Joker, uncontrollable laugh, is a sign of his mental disorder. 


Uncontrollable and inappropriate laughing

Wondering about his uncontrollable laugh, we just googled it. We found that suddenly and involuntary outburst of laughing and/or crying in an exaggerated manner or inappropriately is one of signs of Pseudobulbar Affect (PBA).

The episodes of PBA can last for several minutes and often occur many times in a day. Uncontrollable laughing and/or crying often occur with unrelated to mood state or social context, so this episodes can be troublesome in everyday life.

PBA is caused by a result of injury or trauma or disease that disrupts pathways in expression of emotion, which are the corticobulbar tracts and basal ganglia.

Symptoms of PBA commonly occur in people diagnosed with Parkinson disease, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer disease, traumatic brain injury, and stroke.

PBA is often unrecognized. A study from PRISM obtained data about PBA: approximately 2 million Americans are diagnosed with PBA, and over 7 million people are thought to have symptoms of PBA.

From their trial result, it was about 30% of patient with Alzheimer's Disease also have symptoms of PBA.

One thing I have learned from the buzzing of Joker movie today.

Alzheimer's Disease is not only about forgetfulness but also about displacement in the expression of their emotions.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Should We Install Solar Panels in Our Roof?

A small house with solar panels, illustration only

Renewable resources such as wind and sun are getting popular in many states in the USA right now. There are plenty reasons why people eager to use these resources.

In case of solar energy, the benefits to install solar panels on the roofs are:
- federal incentive of tax credit
- additional the tax credit incentive is provided by some states.
- increase housing value
- saving electricity cost for years

Louisiana state does not give additional tax credit, but provide property tax exemption. Let’s say, we as Louisiana residents will get:
- 30% tax credit from federal government of solar panels cost.
- excluded added value of property tax.

Many researches showed that housing value could increase by up to 20 times if we have a 5 kW solar system on our roof. 


A small house with solar panels in Louisiana 
(credit to Sunpro Solar)

In term of dollar, solar panels could make housing value up to US$ 24,000 in the market. Quite good for investment.

It is estimated that 20 solar panels need roof space of 5 hundreds square feet, then, it would produce 5,000 watts.

However, in Louisiana, let’s say we pay US$ 150 per month for electric bill, we might need solar panels system to produce 9500 watts.

Interestingly, the solar system may last for 25 years. We avoid rising cost of electricity for so long, hence, save thousands of dollars.


Should we install solar panels in our roof?

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Mediterranean Diet and Alzheimer's Prevention Cookbook - Alzheimer's 11

Menu for Alzheimer's diseases

From the acronym SHIELD, a new hope to prevent dementia in last week's entry, the letter D in the last word is stand for diet.

The doctors mention that gut health tied to brain health, and suggest Mediterranean diet. It will help the risk of Alzheimer's in half.

What is the Mediterranean diet? Is it a kind of awesome food from Mediterranean restaurants such as a plate of lamb shank or a piece of Italian pizza?

Mediterranean diet that Doctors recommend is based on the traditional fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and good fats.

The diet from the countries which border with the Mediterranean Sea. The food are rich with legumes and seeds. 

Because the countries close to the sea, so fishes are their source of protein. Those people in the areas also drink red wine in daily basis but always in moderation.

It is also the back way how the people around that area eat and life. They like to eat together, share their meal, and engage in many activities. 

About the Mediterranean diet is also explained by Dr. Marwan Sabbagh in his book, The Alzheimer's Prevention Cookbook, Recipes to Boost Brain health.


Part of the book

This cookbook is based on evidence of the nutrition. The “science to table” plan that can reduce the risk or delay the onset of Alzheimer's Disease or any other forms dementia: “Eat Smart, Stay Sharp”

Dr. Marwan Sabbagh is medical doctor who practicing in geriatric dementia. He worked with the talented chef Beau MacMilan, a Food Network star.

Chef MacMillan created and developed the do-able recipes by using the brain-boosting ingredients.

Besides Mediterranean diet recipes, the book also include Vitamin B-rich recipes and Folate-rich recipes for cognitive health.

High-spice recipes, brain-boosting juices, green-tea treats to to get antioxidants into diet. Turmeric, cinnamon, and berry recipes to prevent inflammation. Many fishes recipes to get good fats. 


Brain health of book part.

So, about 100 recipes in this book that created from many kind of brain-boosting ingredients and super food for brain.

The recipes for brain health include drinks, breakfasts, main dishes, salads and soups, also snacks and starters. 

Friday, October 4, 2019

Can Positive Thinking Lead to Live Longer?

Positive thinking (credit to livebeyondone).

Based on researches done by several Universities recently that there is relationship between positive thinking and live longer.

I think this finding have changed our long belief that the physical outfit only could increase our chances to live healthy and life expectancy.

Feeling of positive thinking or optimism make our health condition better, thus naturally, our immune system or body in better condition to fight many diseases.

In other word that positive thinking people have lower risk to get diseases such as:
- respiratory relate diseases
- cancer
- stroke
- heart diseases

It is interesting that we may have positive thinking by doing good or healthy or certain habits. What kind of habits?


Positive thinking, just for illustration (credit to RTE)

The positive or healthy habits include:
- exercise regularly
- consume healthy foods (not smoking, no alcohol)
- sleep enough, at least six hours daily
- strong work ethics
- regulate emotional

Moreover, one of researches has observed more than 70 thousands men and women for periods of 10 to 30 years. It is concluded that:
- positive thinking people may live about 13% longer than pessimism people.
- optimism persons have greater chance to reach 85 years old age.

Do you believe that a positive thinking or optimism can make us live longer?

Xanthostemon chrysanthus with atractive yellow flowers.

Xanthostemon chrysanthus with yellow flowers. The petals are always attractive. It does not matter about their colors, petals alwa...