Tuesday, July 15, 2008


March—Aquamarine or bloodstone
June—Moonstone, pearl, or alexandrite
August—Peridot or sardonyx
October—Opal or tourmaline
November—Topaz or citrine
December—Turquoise or zircon


Electrolyte is a "medical/scientific" term for salts, specifically ions. The term electrolyte means that this ion is electrically-charged and moves to either a negative (cathode) or positive (anode) electrode:
ions that move to the cathode (cations) are positively charged
ions that move to the anode (anions) are negatively charged

For example, your body fluids -- blood, plasma, interstitial fluid (fluid between cells) -- are like seawater and have a high concentration of sodium chloride (table salt, or NaCl).

The electrolytes in sodium chloride are:

sodium ion (Na+) - cation
chloride ion (Cl-) - anion

As for your body, the major electrolytes are as follows:
sodium (Na+)
potassium (K+)
chloride (Cl-)
calcium (Ca2+)
magnesium (Mg2+)
bicarbonate (HCO3-)
phosphate (PO42-)
sulfate (SO42-)

Electrolytes are important because they are what your cells (especially nerve, heart, muscle) use to maintain voltages across their cell membranes and to carry electrical impulses (nerve impulses, muscle contractions) across themselves and to other cells. Your kidneys work to keep the electrolyte concentrations in your blood constant despite changes in your body. For example, when you exercise heavily, you lose electrolytes in your sweat, particularly sodium and potassium. These electrolytes must be replaced to keep the electrolyte concentrations of your body fluids constant. So, many sports drinks have sodium chloride or potassium chloride added to them. They also have sugar and flavorings to provide your body with extra energy and to make the drink taste better.

Another example where electrolyte drinks are important is when infants/children have chronic vomiting or diarrhea, perhaps due to intestinal flu viruses. When children vomit or have diarrhea, they lose electrolytes. Again, these electrolytes and the fluids must be replaced to prevent dehydration and seizures. Therefore, drinks such as Pedialyte have sodium and potassium in them like the sports drinks do. However, pediatricians do not recommend giving sports drinks to a sick child! Sports drinks have much higher sugar concentrations than Pedialyte and the high sugar is not a proper treatment.

Celery and Parsley

Celery (Apium graveolens) is believed to be the same plant as selinon, mentioned in Homer's Odyssey about 850 B.C. Our word "celery" comes from the French celeri, which is derived from the ancient Greek word. The old Roman names, as well as those in many modern languages, are derived from the same root word and sound remarkably similar. This indicates a rather recent wide distribution and use of celery.

Smallage, a plant now cultivated in gardens for flavoring purposes, is apparently "wild" celery, the plant that has been known as celery in the Mediterranean countries for thousands of years. Wild celery grows in wet places over Europe, the Mediterranean lands, Asia Minor, the Caucasus, and southeastward toward the Himalayas. It is believed to have originated in the Mediterranean area. Chinese writings of the 5th century after Christ mention it.

The oldest record of the word celeri is in a 9th-century poem written in France or Italy, giving the medicinal uses and merits of the plant. When its culture in gardens was begun in the 16th century in Italy and northern Europe, it was still a primitive plant, like smallage, and was used for medicinal purposes only.

In France in 1623 use of celery as food was first recorded. For about a hundred years thereafter its food use was confined to flavorings. In France and Italy, by the middle of the 17th century, the little stalks and leaves were sometimes eaten with an oil dressing.

In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, in Italy, France, and England, were seen the first evidences of improvement of the wild type. Gardeners also found that much of the too-strong flavor could be eliminated, making the stalks better for salad use, by growing the plants in late summer and fall, then keeping them into the winter.

By the mid-18th century in Sweden, the wealthier families were enjoying the wintertime luxury of celery that had been stored in cellars. From that time on, its use as we know it today spread rapidly. We do not know what group of European colonists brought it to America, or when, but four cultivated varieties were listed here in 1806.

All through the 19th century in America, England, and much of Europe, it was believed necessary to blanch the green edible portion of celery to rid it of unpleasantly strong flavor and green color. This was done by banking the plants with soil. Some kinds, like Pascal and Utah, that remain green when ready for eating, are now considered to be of the finest quality.

Many so-called "easy-blanching" or "self-blanching" varieties have appeared in the past 50 years. Generally, these self-blanching sorts are inferior in quality to the best green varieties, but can be grown successfully under less favorable conditions of soil and climate.

Celeriac, or turnip-rooted celery, is a kind that forms a greatly enlarged, solid, more or less globular body just below the soil surface. It is not used raw, but is especially suited for use in soups and stews.

Celeriac was developed from the same wild species as were our present improved varieties of celery, and at about the same time. About 1600, Italian and Swiss botanists gave the first descriptions of it. A hundred years later it was becoming common in Europe, but was hardly known in England. It has never become highly popular in England or the United States, but is a common vegetable all over Europe.

Parsley (Petroselinum sativum) belongs to the same family as celery, and its Latin name reveals a relationship to the very old Greek selinon mentioned above. In the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C. the Greek word definitely meant "parsley." The Latin Petroselinum means "rock parsley," referring to its habit of growing in rocky places. The plant is native to the same area as celery.

In contrast to celery, parsley has a long and definite ancient history as a food plant. It was well known as a flavoring and garnish by the ancient Greeks and Romans, who even used it in festive garlands. Eating it was supposed to ward off intoxication!

Both the crowded, dense-leaved type and the broad open-growing type were described by Theophrastus in the 4th century 13 B.C. The curled and plain types were common to the Romans in the 1st century or before and in northern Europe in the 13th century.

Parsley supposedly was introduced into England from Sardinia in 1548. European colonists brought it to America in the 17th century.

Parsley, like celery, produces a "turnip-rooted" form, commonly called Hamburg parsley, which is used in the same way as celeriac.

Random Bits and Pieces of History

Celtic warriors sometimes fought their battles naked, their bodies dyed blue from head to toe. The Canadian province of New Brunswick had a bloodless war with the US state of Maine in 1839. About two hundred years before the Common Era, the Druids used mistletoe to celebrate that winter was approaching. Abdul Kassam Ismael, Grand Vizier of Persia in the tenth century, carried his library with him wherever he went. Four hundred camels carried the 117,000 volumes. Before 1883, the three-cent U.S. stamp was also used for advertising. The advertisment was located on the back of the stamp for various products. China is the world's oldest known continuous civilization. Arabic numerals were not invented by Arabs, but were invented in India by the Hindus. During the 16th century, newly married couples in France had to stand naked outdoors while the groom kissed the bride's left foot and big toe as part of traditional customs. Ever since 1944 the town of Bunol, which is near Valencia, Spain has a festival called "Tomatina." The festival occurs once a year on the last Wednesday of the month of August. People have a huge food fight and throw tomatoes at each other, and this festival is considered the world's largest food fight. From 1526 to 1707, the first six Mogul emperors of India ruled in unbroken succession from father to son. In 1943, Navy officer Grace Hopper found a glitch in her computer. After investigating, she discovered the system had a bug - a real one. Turns out a moth made its way into Hopper's computer. Though the word bug has meant fault or defect since as far back as the 1870's, Hopper's story is credited with making it the synonym of choice in the computer industry.

Random Facts

Franklin Pierce was the first U.S. President to have a Christmas tree in the White House. 7 out of 10 people believe in life after death. The largest diamond that was ever found was 3106 carats. A Chinese Scientist discovered that the Earth is round during the Han Dynasty by measuring the sun and moon's path in the sky. He recorded this fact down in the imperial records but went unnoticed until it was unearthed recently but Chinese archaeologists. A cesium atom in an atomic clock that beats over nine billion times a second. African Baobab tree's circumference can reach 180 feet. If the trunk is hollow, 20 people would be able to fit inside of it. Australia has had stamps that actually look like gems. In 1995 and 1996 they used a special technology to make the stamps look like diamonds and opals. Bamboo plants can grow up to 36 inches in a day. Cubic Zirconia is 55% heavier than real diamonds. Research indicates that plants grow healthier when they are stroked. Roses generally need around 6 hours of sunlight to grow properly. The United States Mint once considered producing donut-shaped coins. Thomas Watson, who was the chairman of IBM in 1943 predicted that their would probably only be a world market for five computers.

California Vegetable Wraps

1/4 cup cream cheese
1 ripe avocado, smashed into a lumpy paste
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup spinach leaves
4 8-inch whole-wheat tortillas

1. Spread 1 tablespoon of cream cheese on each tortilla. Divide the avocado among the 4 tortillas and spread on top of the cream cheese. Add 1/4 cup grated carrots on each and end with 1/4 cup spinach leaves. Roll the tortilla up like a jelly-roll and cut in half crosswise.

Fresh Raspberries & Peanut Butter Sandwich

1/4 cup Smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons Raspberry jam, 100% pure fruit
1/2 teaspoon Maple syrup, 100% pure
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1 cup Raspberries, fresh

Mix together peanut butter, syrup, vanilla and raspberry jam until well blended.
Spread nut butter mixture on both top and bottom pieces of bread.
Press fresh raspberries into spread.
Press sandwich gently together (this will keep berries from falling out).

Bowtie Salad with Tuna & Veggies

Pinch pepper
Pinch salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
8 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 1- or 2-inch lengths
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (about 12 tomatoes)
2 cans (3.5 ounces each) tuna packed in water, drained
12 ounces stubby shaped pasta, such as rotelle, elbows, small egg bows, or penne
2 tablespoons mayonnaise

This recipe calls for green beans and cherry tomatoes, but you can add any vegetables your family likes to eat. Some other suggestions: cut-up broccoli, snow peas, asparagus, sweet red pepper.

Large saucepan
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Large bowl
Colander or strainer
Can opener
Large spoon

1. In a large saucepan of lightly salted boiling water, cook the pasta according to package directions until tender, about 8 to 12 minutes, depending on the type and shape of pasta you use. Add the green beans for the last 4 minutes of cooking time.

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice. Whisk in the mayonnaise and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Set aside.

3. Drain the pasta and green beans and add to the bowl with the lemon dressing. Toss until just coated. Add the tomatoes and the tuna. Toss gently, just to combine. Serve at room temperature.