Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Elwha Dam,WA. Lower New River,WV. Indiana Dunes. High Tides,FL. 10 Best Swim Holes. Snake River. Rafting,AR. Nut Butters. Polenta. Sweeteners.

Travel Tuesday is all about water:

Elwha River restoration under way in Washington

WASHINGTON, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- "Biologists say they expect wildlife restoration once two giant dams are removed from the Elwha River in Washington state, the U.S. Interior Department said.
The Interior Department said it's expected to take around three years for engineers to remove the 108-foot Elwha Dam and the 210-foot Glines Canyon Dam. Both dam removals are included in the second largest ecosystem restoration projects after the Florida Everglades.

The Interior Department said it expects the local salmon population to increase from 3,000 to more than 300,000 with the anticipated return of five species of the fish. This, in turn, will lead to the recovery of bears, eagles and other predator species that depend on the Elway River for food.

"America's rivers are the lifeblood of America's economy -- from the water for farms that produce our food to the fish and wildlife that sustain our heritage," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a statement.
Salazar added the river restoration would support the culture of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, which had sites it considered sacred buried when the dams were constructed. The Elwha Dam was built in 1913 and the Glines Canyon Dam was erected 14 years later.

The restoration project aims to restore the Elwha River to its natural free-flowing state."
Read more: http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Energy-Resources/2011/09/19/Elwha-River-restoration-under-way-in-Washington/UPI-72801316441571/#ixzz1YUXLirdr
Learn more about why removing the Elwha and Glines Canyon Dams will benefit the Olympic National Park region.
Read about the history of the dam with facts and figures on the Elwha ecosystem.
View animations of the Elwha Dam Removal and the Glines Canyon Dam Removal."

Lower New River State of the Watershed, WV.

"New River ReportNPCA, the West Virginia Professional River Outfitters, the National Park Service, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, and other local and regional conservation groups recently forged a partnership to assess the health of the Lower New River watershed of southern West Virginia.

Home to a diverse array of plants, endangered animals, rare birds, and amphibians, the river is also a major tourist destination for bird-watchers and other nature lovers and an economic engine for the region.

The report documents many of the reasons the river is so important to the area, an analysis of its current state of health (considered impaired by the state and regularly below minimum water quality standards), and a basic roadmap to help citizens of the watershed get involved in clean-water efforts that help sustain the river's environmental, cultural, recreational, and economic benefits for all. "
Read More > >


NPCA Engages Students in Wetlands Restoration at Indiana Dunes, IL, IN, WI.
"Indiana DunesThis summer, NPCA engaged more than 20 college students from the Great Lakes states of Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin in a hands-on workshop to restore wetlands at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Students heard from a range of professionals working in conservation policy and advocacy and worked alongside Park Service staff to plant native species at the national lakeshore's Cowles Bog. This activity is part of the park's larger effort to improve Lake Michigan's water quality by restoring degraded wetlands.

"We are pleased to work with NPCA in providing this opportunity for students," said Costa Dillon, superintendent of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. "National parks belong to everyone, and helping to restore park lands is one way people can assure that these parks will be here for their children."

Cumberland Island National Seashore Field Trip,
High Tides Women's Weekend. FL.
Cumberland Island National Seashore"NPCA is proud to be a part of the 2nd Annual High Tides Women's Weekend, September 23-25. This series of events and activities for and about women will focus on Amelia Island, Florida, and surrounding national parks.

On Friday, September 23, NPCA will offer a unique trip to Cumberland Island National Seashore. Traveling on board the Cumberland Princess, the group will depart from Fernandina Beach, explore the Dungeness Mansion ruins, have lunch, tour the Greyfield Inn, and visit the historic Plum Orchard mansion. A limited number of tickets are available at a cost of $150 per person.

On Saturday morning, September 24, NPCA will offer a free tour of the nearby Kingsley Plantation, owned in the 19th century by Anna Kingsley, a former slave turned slave-holder. Following the tour on Saturday afternoon, NPCA Executive Vice President Theresa Pierno will be featured as a guest speaker at a ladies' luncheon. Reservations may be made for all three of these events by calling Southeast Regional Program Manager Emily Jones at 865.329.2424, ext. 26."

The 10 Best of Everything" book series:

Ten Best Parks—Swimming Holes:  The 10 Best of Everything National Parks
"book coverNational parks are more than America's best idea--they're our country's best playgrounds for millions of vacationers who want to enjoy recreational activities, nature and wildlife, and restorative time alone or with friends and family.

This timely, idea-filled guide covers "classic" parks, national historical parks, national monuments, national battlefields, national scenic trails, and beyond. As the temperature reaches into the upper digits, consider a dip at the best swimming holes our national parks have to offer--courtesy of National Geographic's latest "The 10 Best of Everything" book series:
Ten Best Parks—Swimming Holes
  1. Big Bend National Park – Hot Springs Historic District
  2. Chickasaw National Recreation Area – Freshwater Springs, Pools, Creeks, and Lakes
  3. Haleakala National Park – Seven Sacred Pools
  4. Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument – Lightfeather and Jordan Hot Springs
  5. Olympic National Park – Sol Duc Hot Springs
  6. Sequoia National Park – Kern Hot Springs
  7. Death Valley National Park – Saline Valley Warm Springs
  8. Point Reyes National Seashore – Bass Lake
  9. Shenandoah National Park – Big Rock Falls
  10. Yellowstone National Park – Boiling River"


A Voyage along the Columbia & Snake Rivers September 23-29, 2011
National Geographic Sea Bird

"Meriwether Lewis and William Clark's 1804 to 1806 Corps of Discovery expedition was a dramatic and pivotal episode in American history.

You can experience the same sense of wonder and discovery in far greater comfort than those intrepid explorers ever imagined.

Sailing aboard the spacious private yacht National Geographic Sea Bird, you'll cruise nearly 500 miles up the Columbia and Snake Rivers through some of the most scenic, historic, and outright spectacular locations in North America.
Only a few spaces left! To reserve your space, call us at 800.628.7275, email us at mailto:travel@npca.org?subject=A Voyage along the Columbia and Snake Rivers, or go online."
In the Wake of Lewis and Clark
"Or explore the route of Lewis in Clark at your own pace. Daily Kayaking excursions allow you to explore the river up close and personal."

White Water River Rafting in Arkansas State Parks

Arkansas white water river rafting

Cossatot River State Park - Natural Area


"Arkansas's rivers and streams offer something for everyone, from peaceful river floats to adrenaline-pumping white water rafting in Arkansas. For a real river rafting adventure, try the Class IV rapids of the Cossatot Falls in the wild and scenic Cossatot River of Arkansas."
More at: http://www.adventurestateparks.com/river-running/default.aspx

Have you dried out yet?


This drought makes one think of being somewhere wet!
We had another little drizzle overnight, and we are thankful, but again it wasn't enough to do much good.

Now that I have my computer back after the fiasco the day before, I could try to look up some things.

First, I had some almonds which have become very hard, I couldn't even bite into them, but I can't bite a lot of things as I have had a busted jaw.  So I wanted to make them into almond butter.
Also, I had some flax seeds, but:
"We know that flax seeds are very nutritious -- lots of fiber and healthy fat, and very low in carbohydrates. And they are tasty, with a delicate nutty flavor.  
Remember: Whole flax seed will sail right through you - to get the benefits, grind flax seed into meal."

So I thought I would combine the two into a nut butter.
Coffe-grinder-and-Tiny-processor-powered-by-stick-blender This was very ambitious as I got rid of my big food processor and blender, as I never used them.
All I have now are these:  A coffee grinder and a little processor which is an accessory to my stick blender. The blender goes in the top, and makes the blades in the processor turn.

The coffee grinder ground up the almonds and the flax seeds to a fine meal.  I tried processing some, but it would have to run a lot longer to make butter.  Now I will have to consider whether to risk burning up my stick blender to make the almond/flax butter

Then I found:  "Low Carb Almond Pie Crust".
1 and 1/2 cups almond meal or almond flour
3 tablespoons melted butter
Artificial sweetener equal to 3 tablespoons sugar

Heat oven to 350 F. Melt the butter (if the pie pan is microwave safe, melt the butter in it) and mix the ingredients up in the pan and pat into place with your fingertips.
Bake for about 10 minutes until the crust is beginning to brown. After 8 minutes, check every minute or so, because once it starts to brown it goes quickly. "
Wouldn't that be just delicious as the crust for a Cheesecake?Well, I don't have the fixin's to make cheesecake.

Then I found:  Almond "Polenta" or "Grits"

almond polenta
Almond Polenta garnished with chive

"If you can boil water, you can make this low-carb substitute for soft polenta or grits. Even better, it can be made in many different ways.
The recipe here is based on the classic Italian dish which includes Parmesan cheese (serving suggestion below). But since it basically mimics a corn meal mush, it can be flavored similar to grits or other soft corn meal recipe.

It can even be made sweet into a kind of pudding with berries or other flavorings. Additionally, with a little more or less water, it can be made thinner or thicker. Thinned a bit, it makes a serviceable cheese sauce for vegetables.

1 cup almond meal or almond flour (they are essentially the same thing)
1 cup water
salt (about ¼ teaspoon if you're using the cheese, which is salty. closer to ½ a teaspoon otherwise)
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (if you are using a microplane grater, which makes it fluffier, use about 2/3 cup) (Note: Do NOT use the dried grated cheese from the shelf!)

Put almond meal, water, and salt in a medium-sized pot. Whisk until almond meal is free of lumps. Bring to boil over medium heat, whisking occasionally. Once mixture is boiling, whisk continuously for 1-2 minutes, until it visibly thickens. Remove from heat, and whisk in cheese, whisking until it is fully melted. Add pepper to taste.
Notes: Mixture will thicken as it cools. The thickness also varies somewhat depending upon the almond meal. If you want it thinner, simply add a little more water. It reheats fine, but it's drier, so add a little more water if you do this. Also, note that it is more filling than regular polenta or grits, so you'll probably want a smaller serving size."

So that's what I made, as there is another recipe with these "grits" and shrimp, and I had some shrimp.  It had a nutty flavor, quite yummy.  I made it like they said as didn't want to upset the recipe by using any of the flax meal, yet.

Next, I tried to find the brand of sweetener that I like.  My coffee needs to be creamy and sweet, I just don't like it any other way. 
As of now, the only sweeteners deemed safe are Stevia, Xylitol, and Saccharin.
More at: http://pennys-tuppence.blogspot.com/2011/05/do-you-want-splenda-with-that-or.html

But avoiding sugar, Equal, aspartame, Splenda, Nutrasweet, and sucrose, just left saccharin which is reasonable and readily available.  It is the best of the many 'worsts'.
Having called Kroger's and Walmart and finding out that they quit carrying the only liquid saccharin sweetener that tastes right to me, I needed to find something else. 
The liquid Sweet-N-Low at HEB is yucky, so it is made differently from my other liquid sweetener.  
A natural sweetener, Stevia leaves me with an aftertaste, so I am going to have to bite the expense bullet and go back to Xylitol.  http://www.xylitol.org/nutritional-benefits-of-xylitol.  It helps with plaque, so it does leave a cleaner taste in the mouth.  I am tired of my coffee not tasting right.

You have probably had Xylitol, and didn't realize it, as it is in chewing gum, mints, toothpaste, mouthwash etc., but they clearly mark each product's Xylitol content on its packaging. Xylitol is relatively expensive in comparison to other sweeteners so inferior manufacturers will skimp on it in favor of cheaper alternatives (especially sorbitol and manitol).

Now, I am getting myself ready for drinking black coffee, no fixin's, as the cholesterol vampire is going to bite me tomorrow, Wednesday.

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