Archive for November 30, 2014

My Tribute to Miss Alice

“Miss Alice” is what everyone in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama called her.  Her full name is ALICE FINCH LEE.  Many might think her “claim to fame” is the fact that she is the sister of Harper Lee, author of “To Kill A Mockingbird”, which was voted the best book of the 20th century and winner of the 1960 Pulitzer Prize.  As I was reading “The Huntsville Times” newspaper this morning, I learned Miss Alice died on November 17, 2014.  I am deeply saddened to learn about the passing of this legendary lawyer and great Southern lady.

Miss Alice was her own person.  She did not have to bask in her sister’s success to feed her ego.  She graduated from the Birmingham School of law in 1943 and was one of Alabama’s first female attorneys.  Upon completion of her law degree, she returned to Monroeville, Alabama to practice in her father’s law firm.  When she questioned her father about “How are folks around here going to react to a female attorney?”  His quick reply was “Well, we are soon going to find out.”

During the heated battles to bring about integration in the South, Miss Alice was a quiet champion for civil rights…in contrast to Governor George Wallace proclaiming, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!”  Recently, I read the book, “The Mockingbird Next Door” by Marja Mills.  Mills describes in this book the role Miss Alice played in the integration of the Methodist church.  Sadly, at the time, there were people in the chuch who believed in being “separate, but equal.”  Miss Alice was a leader in Methodist church.  When the subject of banning Blacks from membership was going to be voted on at a church conference, Miss Alice in a clever Parliamentarian move, kept the issue from being voted on.  This was consistent with her personal value of “befriending the poor and helpless”, according to Wayne Flynt, Huntsville Times reporter.

Just like me, Miss Alice had a great love of history.  Just like me, both Alice and Harper Lee, loved to read and had piles of books all over their house.  When she was commissioned by Wayne Flynt to write the history of Monroe county, her great memory of events that happened there did not fit into his alloted word count.  I am so sad this woman, who was an encyclopedia of Alabama history, is no longer with us to share her knowledge.

She was devoted to promoting women.  There is an award given by her Methodist church in her honor to women committed to God and eliminating barriers to women’s leadership.  Her brand of feminism was not fiery.  She interacted with people with kindness, gentleness, and humility, according to Reporter Wayne Flynt.  Her sister, Harper Lee, gave her this great compliment, “Alice is Atticus Finch in a skirt.”

She was still practicing law at age 100.  At the time, she was the oldest practicing attorney in the State of Alabama.  During her law career, she won awards from the Alabama Bar Association and was elected to the Alabama Academy of Honor.  The Alabama Bar Association had an event to honor her for her 100th birthday.  Of course she got the question, “What did you do to live so long?”  Her simple answer was “I live day by day and I do not do anything to bring on dying.”

RIP Miss Alice.  Thank you for being an inspiration to me.  THANK YOU FOR A LIFE WELL LIVED!



Adam, my husband, LOVES to eat swiss chard.  Hands down, it is his favorite vegetable.  This pretty vegetable is not only packed with vitamin A, but contains phytochemicals called zeaxanthin and lutein.  For simplicity’s sake, my definition of “phytochemicals” are “healthy chemicals found in plants.”  Zeaxanthin (pronounced zee-ah-zan-thin) and lutein (pronounced loo-teen) are thought to play a role in preventing cataracts and macular dengeneration.  So enjoy eating Adam’s simple recipe, and your eyes will thank you.



One “bundle” Swiss Chard that he picked up at the store.

Balsamic vinegar – To Taste


1.  Wash swiss chard

2.  Cut the chard into one to two inch strips. Include the stems.

3.  Steam the vegetables in vegetable steamer for about seven to eight minutes.

4.  Once the swiss chard is “crisp tender”, place on a plate or platter and drizzle with balsamic vinegar to your taste.








BRRRR!  The first cold spell of the year hit the Huntsville area.  There is nothing better a piping hot bowl of soup to comfort you on a cold day.  So to celebrate National Pea Soup week and to warm myself up after participating in the “STEP OUT – WALK TO STOP DIABETES” walkathon, I made Mexican Split Pea Soup.

I always thought “pulses” were the palpation of ones heartbeat by your fingertips on your wrist or neck.  Turns out, “PULSES” are another name for split peas, lentils, and garbanzo beans.  They also pack a powerful nutrition punch!

Did you know these amazing nutrition facts about split peas?

Just a 1/2 cup of cooked split peas contains 8 grams of protein.

They are high in potassium, magnesium, folate and fiber, which are nutrients  the majority of Americans do not meet, per the Dietary Reference Intakes.

Split peas have a low glycemic index which helps manage blood sugar in diabetics.

Are you on a Gluten-free or Vegetarian or Vegan diet?  Split peas fit in with these dietary restrictions.

By incorporating dry peas into ones diet, it may help reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and various cancers.

Here is the easy-to-make, delicious recipe I made in honor of NATIONAL SPLIT PEA SOUP WEEK, which was celebrated this year on November 10 – 16, 2014.



2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 cup dry USA green or yellow split peas, rinsed

1 quart water

1 4-ounce can chopped green chiles

1 14-1/2 ounce can whole or dried tomoatoes

1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

Salt to taste

1 cup shredded Chedar or Monterey Jack cheese (optional)

Crushed Red pepper (optional)


In a large saucepan or Dutch ovenover medium-high heat, cook onion in oil until it is tender, stirring frequently, about six minutes.  Add garlic and cook 2 minutes longer.  Add cumin and cook, stirring for 1 minute.

Add oregano and split peas, stir to coat peas with oil, then add water and chilies.  Heat to boiling, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer 35 to 45 minutes, or until peas are just tender.

Add tomatoes, corn, and bell pepper and simmer another 15 to 20 minutes.  Add salt to taste.

Sprinkle each serving with shredded cheese and crushed red pepper, if desired.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories 212

Protein 10 g

Carboydrates 35 g

Fiber 10 g

Total Fat 5 g

Saturated Fat 0 g

Iron 3 mg

Sodium 517 mg

Folate 78 mcg

Calcium 59 mg

Magnesium 55 mg

This recipe and soup photo is courtesy of the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council, 2780 West Pullman Road, Moscow, ID  83843.

“Peas” check out their website: for more healthy, yummy recipes.  Thank you.





Today my Maid of Honor and childhood friend, Eileen Flavin, is visiting me in Huntsville, along with her sister, Juliana.  My older sisters were babysitters for Juliana and Eileen and their brother, Tom.  Our fathers worked at the American Can graphic arts facility in Neenah, Wisconsin together.  Our mothers worked side-by-side at Wanserski’s – a local family grocery store.  I am grateful for the more than fifty years of friendship between my Polish family and the Irish Flavin clan.

Eileen prepared an Irish Halloween meal for us this evening of mouth-watering Seared Salmon, Roasted Root Vegetables, and Colcannon. DELICIOUS!  The Irish will say it’s like “craiche” (pronounced crack) when you are having a good time, which we did during our Halloween celebration.

Juliana was a teacher in Wisconsin.  Even though she retired from the teaching professional last August, she resumed her teaching role this Halloween evening.

She taught us Halloween was “invented” in Ireland.

COLCANNON is a dish consumed by the Irish on Halloween per Teacher Juliana.  The Irish hide “prizes” in the dish.  If you get a ring in your serving, it means you will find true love within the year.  Unfortunately, if you find a bit of a rag in your portion, hard times are coming.  Most people hope a coin is found in a bite of colcannon because that means riches are in your future.  I am sure you will love eating Eileen’s Colcannon.  Hope you will find a gold coin in your colcannon!



Potatoes – Eight potatoes (About 4 lbs), peeled

Kale – 4 cups – washed and cut into bit-sized pieces

Butter – 1/2 cup melted

Garlic – 4 cloves, minced

Green Onions – 1/4 cup, chopped

French Onion Dip  – 1 cup

Half-and Half or milk – To thin to taste

Parmesan Cheese – 1 cup

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

1.  Boil  peeled potatoes for 20 minutes.  Mash potatoes or put through a ricer.

2. Wilt the kale in melted butter.

3.  Saute the green onions and garlic along with the kale.

4.  In a large bowl, mix the potatoes and kale mixture.

5.  Stir in the French Onion dip.  (You may wish to thin with half-and-half or milk.)

6.  Place in a two quart casserole dish

7.  Sprinke Parmesan cheese over the top.

8.  Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is crusty.