Baked Eggs in Roasted Tomatoes by Jesse Bluma



Baked Eggs in Roasted Tomatoes 




Looking for a new breakfast, brunch, or dinner dish?  Look no further.  This is my recipe for baked eggs in roasted tomatoes.  Roasting tomatoes brings forth an extra pop of flavor, the eggs are warm, and the dill adds a cross hint of lemon and fennel.  

Ingredients

6 large organic tomatoes (or one per person)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon baby dill (for roasting)
1 tablespoon baby dill (for garnishing after roasting)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 large organic eggs


Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 204 degrees Celsius.
2.  Gently wash tomatoes and dry.
3.  Use a serrated knife to cut the top third off of each tomato on a cutting board.  
4.  Remove the core and seeds inside each tomato using a small spoon and paring knife.
5.  Measure and cut parchment paper to cover a baking sheet.  
6.  Place the tomatoes on the parchment inside the baking sheet.  
7.  Drizzle the tomatoes with the extra virgin olive oil.  
8.  Sprinkle the sea salt on the tomatoes.  
9.  Sprinkle the baby dill on the tomatoes.  
10.  Evenly sprinkle chopped garlic on tomatoes.  
11.  Place the baking sheet with tomatoes in the oven and roast for approximately 30 minutes, until tomatoes are caramelized.  
12.  Crack each egg one at a time into a small bowl, check that each is good--the albumen should not be runny or watery.
13.  Open the oven door and use oven mitts to pull out the rack and gently transfer one egg into each tomato, remember to be cautious with the heat of the baking sheet and baking rack.  
14.  Sprinkle salt and pepper on to each egg.  
15.  Use oven mitts to push back the rack and close the oven door.
16.  Bake eggs in tomatoes for approximately 7 to 10 minutes, baking time will depend upon oven, egg, and tomato size. 
17.  Garnish the top of each tomato with a snippet of baby dill leaves.   





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What American Accent Do You Have?



What American Accent Do You Have?



Language is as varied as food region by region.  What's the difference between "accent" and "dialect"?  Each person that speaks has an accent to someone else.  An accent is something heard in contrast to another.  It is how you pronounce words such as tomato or potato.  Dialect refers to the terms and vocabulary people use.  Do you say soda, pop, or soda pop?  Do you say y'all or dude?   

"To most Americans, an accent is something that only other people have, those other people usually being in New York, Boston, and the South. And of those other people, half of the ones you meet will swear they "don't have an accent."

Well, strictly speaking, the only way to not have an accent is to not speak. If you're from anywhere in the USA you have an accent (which may or may not be the accent of the place you're from). Go through this short quiz and you'll find out just which accent that is."--Xavier Kun

I took the accent quiz and my result is below.  





You can take the quiz too at:  

www.gotoquiz.com/what_american_accent_do_you_have






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What's the ABCDE Rule?: AIM at Melanoma Walk


ABCDE Rule:  AIM at Melanoma Walk




Do you know the ABCDE rule?  

In May I flew to Texas to participate in a fundraiser to raise money for cancer research.  The event was held at Bachman Lake Park Dallas, Texas.  AIM is a non-profit organization committed to melanoma research, education, awareness, and legislation.  Jean Schlipmann, President at James A. Schlipmann Melanoma Cancer Foundation and Co-Founder Aim at Melanoma, pictured in the bottom photo in the middle.  Scott Murray, Emmy Award winning broadcaster and cancer survivor, was the emcee.  Participants raised over $17, 000 for the foundation and its work.  Carol Kendall's team, the team I joined with, raised $4,409.  




Who should care about skin cancer?  Everyone.  Lighter skin tones do not have as much protection from damaging ultraviolet rays than darker skin tones. An important note to remember:  People with darkly pigmented skin get melanoma cancer too.  Famous examples include Maureen Reagan, Bob Marley, and John McCain.


Glossary of Important Terms

ABCDE rule - Acronym for the general guidelines used to identify an atypical mole or melanoma based on the following features:  Asymmetry, irregular Border, multiple or unusual Color, large Diameter, and evidence that the mole is Evolving.

Basal-Cell Carcinoma - One of the 2 most-common kinds of nonmelanoma cancer.  It almost never metastasizes and is made up of the cells at the bottom layer of the epidermis that give rise to keratinocytes.

Cancer - A general term for more than 100 different diseases that involve the uncontrolled growth and division of abnormal cells.  These cells form collections called tumors that can destroy surrounding normal tissue and spread throughout the body.

Down and Back Skin Check - A systematic way to perform skin self-examination, starting at the top of the head and moving down the front of the body and up the back.

Excisional Biopsy - A biopsy in which the goal is to remove all of a tumor that is in evidence.

Fraction - A daily dose of radiation; 1 part of a total prescribed dose of radiation.

Gene-Based Immunotherapy - Type of gene therapy in which antigen genes are introduced into tumor cells in order to stimulate an immune response.

High-Risk Melanoma - Melanoma that has a greater than 50% probability of recurring in regional lymph nodes or at distant sites.

Invasive Cancer - Cancer that has traveled beyond its site of origin; also known as infiltrating cancer.

Junctional Melanocytic Nevi - Acquired moles that arise from groups of melanocytes in the skin's dermoepidermal junction.  They tend to first appear in childhood as flat, frecklelike lesions of brown, dark brown, or black, and are uniform in color. They are most commonly found on the face, arms, legs, trunk, genitals, or soles of the feet.

Keloid - A thick, irregular scar that grows beyond the boundaries of the original wound.  It is caused by excessive connective tissue growth at the site of an incision or wound.

Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH) - An enzyme found in the blood and many body tissues such as the liver, kidney, brain, and lungs. LDH levels are determined by a simple blood test. Elevated levels of LDH may indicate the presence of metastatic disease.

Macrometastases - Lymph node metastases that can be felt during medical examination or seen by the naked eye when inspected by a surgeon or pathologist.

Natural Killer (NK) Cells - White blood cells that contain granules with enzymes lethal to other cells.

Oncogene - A gene that normally encourages cell division.  Thus, when an oncogene is activated or deregulated through mutations, it initiates cancerous growth in a cell.

Paclitaxel - A chemotherapeutic agent that is approved for treatment of some cancers and currently under investigation for treatment of metastatic melanoma. It belongs to a class of drugs called taxanes; also known as Taxol.

Quit burning in the sun - Use sunscreen everyday. 

Radiation Oncologist - A physician who specializes in treating cancer with radiation therapy.

S-100 B - A protein secreted by malignant melanoma cells and being investigated as a tumor marker.

T-Cells - A major class of lymphocytes.  There are 2 types of T-cells: cytotoxic T-cells and helper T-cells. They play a vital role in the immune response.

Ulceration - A condition in which the epidermis that covers a portion of the primary melanoma is not intact.  Ulceration is determined by microscopic evaluation of the tissue by a pathologist.

Vaccine - A treatment that introduces small amounts of inactivated "foreign" substances into the immune system so that it can recognize and fight that substance during an active infection.

White Blood Cells (Leukocytes) - Blood cells that are critical tools in the body's immune system, which fights infection.

Xeroderma Pigmentosum - A rare, inherited condition associated with an inability to repair DNA damage caused by ultraviolet radiation.

Yervoy - Yervoy is approved by the FDA for the treatment of unresectable or metastatic Stage III or IV melanoma.  Yervoy is designed to restore and strengthen the immune system by successfully activating T-cells, a critical component of the immune system, thereby sustaining an active immune response to fight the cancer cells. Studies indicate it improves overall median survival by four months.

Z-100 - An immunomodulatory arabinomannan extracted from Mycobacterium tuberculosis strain Aoyama B, augments anti-tumor activities of X-ray irradiation against B16 melanoma in association with the improvement of type 1T cell responses.




Contact AIM for more information at:
www.aimatmelanoma.org





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Real Estate Resources by Jesse Bluma



Real Estate Resources






One of my jobs during high school was as an assistant to real estate agents.  I ran my own business delivering real estate flyers, expanding to a crew including my sister and neighbor friends.  I also helped agents prepare for open houses, gather information, prospect, and advertise.  


The websites below may be useful tools in your home search, selling, or pure curiosity.  Remember to use good judgement with information on the Internet.  When evaluating websites look for the author or source of the information, the date, authenticity, and reliability.  Some real estate websites, such as Zillow, will give a mix of precise and estimated figures.  Also, make sure the information and legalities apply to your area.  Your home is your castle, so the better information you have the better your real estate experience.  


1.  Chad Atwood:  appraiser, FHA, Residential, Commercial certified.  He is also a broker, covering the rural and city areas of Texas.  Chad aslo have experience as an instructor at Dallas Community College for Real Estate and Appraising.

 469-337-0301

2.  Real estate database of homes for sale, for rent, and those no longer on the market.

http://www.zillow.com/

3.  Official site of the National Association of Realtors for finding homes and realtors (agents that are committed to a strict code of ethics and more knowledge).  

http://www.realtor.com/

4.  Baked Goods:  Staging a home for sale with the sight and aroma of cookies, cupcakes, and brownies is a way to let home buyers feel comfortable and see themselves living in the space.

5.  When searching for homes or commercial properties it is important to learn about the local businesses in the area, view maps, and get directions.   

http://maps.google.com/

6.  Tips for selecting a real estate professional. 

http://www.ftc.gov/bc/edu/pubs/consumer/homes/zrea01.pdf

7.  Track the real estate market.

http://www.marketwatch.com/

 8.  Become an agent or just learn more about real estate. 

http://business.fullerton.edu/finance/relui/default.aspx




9.  State departments of real estate (consumer alerts, guidance, financial literacy). 

http://www.ired.com/law/dre.htm

 10.  Financial advice, saving, and investment. 

http://www.schoolsfirstfcu.org/

 11.  Right to private property.  

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/locke-political/

12.  Redfin:  Online brokerage for buying and selling homes.

http://www.redfin.com/home

13.  Trulia:  Real estate listings and data.

http://www.trulia.com/

14.  DQNews:  real estate news and data.

http://www.dqnews.com/







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Photo Credit:  homedit.com

Barcelona Cookie Sandwiches by Jesse Bluma at Pointe Viven



Barcelona Cookie Sandwiches

These cookie sandwiches are married together with dollops of high quality chocolate and brushed with golden pearl dust.  Enjoy the cookies that are classically European, shaped like diamonds and fans. 

Dip in coffee and enjoy. 






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Martha Says “No” To Factory Farming Cruelty




Martha Says “No” To Factory Farming Cruelty



“Most people don’t realize how amazing farm animals are,” she says. “They are intelligent, social, emotional beings, like all animals. Chickens have thirty different calls in their language that we can recognize. Cows kick their legs in the air with joy when they’re happy. Pigs form powerful life-long bonds with each other and humans. Sheep bellow in distress when they’re separated from their young and their brood mates.”

If you share a family heritage as I do with farming, animals, and agriculture then this issue may be a bit more relatable.  During the 1800s over 50% of Americans were farmers.  This changed with industrialization and by the 1950s farmers accounted for 12% of the labor force.  Today it is far less.  Both sides of my family owned and ran farms and timber companies from Washington State, Kansas, to the East Coast.  The opportunity to visit the family farm, stack hay, fish in the pond, harvest vegetables, and ride horses is one that reminds us eggs don't come from a box, vegetables and fruit do not naturally have a waxy texture, and bacon does not grow on trees.

These experiences ground us in reality when we complain about the price of food.  It reminds us that food is a vital nutrient and quality matters.  It reminds us of Genesis 2:15--"Jehovah God taketh the man, and causeth him to rest in the garden of Eden, to serve it, and to keep it."  No, we do not need to hug trees.  No we do not need to go into debt buying strictly organic and sustainable.  Short of operating your own farm it is best to think before and while shopping.  Checking labels, asking the butcher questions, growing your own vegetables, and seeking local farms are a few steps to find better quality food.  Liberating ourselves from bad habits, thoughtless shopping, and disconnected eating is a good way to live.









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Credit:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-fqTEtgG_A

Voting Resources by Jesse Bluma



Voting Resources







Who said "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"?  
These are the mindful words of Evelyn Beatrice Hall in a book she wrote describing the life and times of French philosopher Voltaire (pen name of Fran├žois-Marie Arouet).  

The sites below provide useful information before voting.  There are trillions of political resources to look up party platforms, voting records, and endorsements.  Below are a few to help us in our endeavor for "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness".  This is not a complete list of every political persuasion.  These are good to know because they have been influential and will be influential for a long time to come.  If we are to liberate our minds and understand others, me must learn about people, places, things, and ideas that we may support or cause us discomfort.  


Don't know much about local candidates?  The beauty of the Internet and social sites.  Amazing what you can find out.


Magna Carta
Magna Carta was written by a group of 13th-century barons to protect their rights and property against a tyrannical king. It is concerned with many practical matters and specific grievances relevant to the feudal system under which they lived. 

The Mayflower Compact
The first law document of Plymouth Colony.

The English Bill of Rights
An important step in outlawing unusual punishment and guaranteeing political speech

The Declaration of Independence
The main purpose of the Declaration of Independence was to announce the colonies separation from England.

U.S. Constitution
The supreme law of the United States of America.

Ballotpedia
Information about state propositions and county measures.

Official Democrat Party

History of the Democrat Party

No Party Preference
In many states you may register without preference to a political party.

Official Republican Party

Republican Party of Orange County

Rush Limbaugh
Marconi Radio Award Winner

Young Americans for Freedom
Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is now a project of Young America's Foundation.

The Conservative Party USA

The Sacred Survey
Why conservatives and liberals talk past each other.

Bowling Alone
Robert Putnam wrote Bowling Alone to explain "The Collapse and Revival of American Community".  You can purchase the book through a book seller such as Amazon.

The Irony of Democracy
The Irony of Democracy gives a dynamic explanation of our country's birthday.  It goes beyond dry definitions and basics, giving insight into what it means to be an American, "the underlying value is individual dignity" (Thomas R. Dye - Emeritus, Florida State University, Harmon Zeigler, Louis Schubert - City College of San Francisco).
You can purchase the book through a book seller such as Amazon.





Constituting America
An education resource for students, founded by actress Janine Turner.

This is America Charlie Brown
A video cartoon for the young and young at heart.

The Electoral College
How the president is chosen.

Constitution Town Hall
Hillsdale College Kirby Center has hosted interactive town halls on matters related to the Constitution.

The California Channel
The California Channel is a public service funded entirely by California’s cable television operators as a means to provide Californians direct access to “gavel-to-gavel” proceedings of the California Legislature, and other forums where public policy is discussed, debated, and decided – all without editing, commentary, or analysis and with a balanced presentation of viewpoints.

National Conference of State Legislatures
State Legislative Websites Directory

How to Create a Bank of Social Media Posts
A how-to guide for being an involved citizen online.






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Credit:  FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How do I purchase an item from you on Etsy?



How do I purchase an item from you on Etsy?




How do you liberate food and taste in your everyday?  Location…follow… Jesse Bluma at Pointe Viven offers gourmet pastries made with high standards.  Quality, respect for local, fresh, and organic ingredients is the recipe for success.  Items are lightly sweetened, not overly sugared, using natural ingredients.  These baked goods are thoughtfully created.  I share a passion with clients for fresh, small-batches, and excellent taste.

Living among Southern California’s diversity and my own travels lend to treats for everyone.  These tastes of goodness represent seaside living, with a pinch of classic Americana, Central and South American flavors. The locale and clients inspire me to create simple, wholesome and dependably delicious baked goods.  Pointe Viven reflects my spirit and its clients.  It is a dynamic community of liberating food and taste. 

If you're new to Etsy, please take a moment to create an account.  It's free and easy to register.  Once you have an Etsy account, you can purchase items, add items to your Favorites, send messages to other members and participate in our online community features.


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The Joys of Grades, Parent Teacher Conferences, and Instruction




The Joys of Grades, Parent Teacher Conferences, and Instruction
Jesse Bluma at Pointe Viven. All rights reserved.




If you are a teacher or have been in a classroom recently these videos will spark a smile.  We might as well get it out of the way.  Yes, there are some bad teachers.  No, many students and parents do not act the same as in these videos.  There is a heart of truth in each of these though for them to resinate with teachers, parents, and children.  Ask a teacher and you will hear that the instances depicted in these videos is all too common.  Why?  Part of that is the human condition.  There is more personality variation in a classroom than stars in the sky.

Students and their families come to each teacher from various educational, social, economic, religious, psychological, and philosophical backgrounds.  Some families are supportive of each other and teachers, ensure assignments are completed with good effort, are good models, and volunteer at school.  The next time you hear a politician, TV host, or radio personality blame the state of education on too many bad teachers, ask them for his or her statistics, their proof, the numbers.  Yes, there are a few teachers that do not belong in teaching.  The story does not end there.  What are the real factors?

The Xtranormal video stories below demonstrate there is more to learning than teaching.  Great teachers make their career challenges look easy, that is probably one reason many people leave the profession early on in their career.  They soon realize today's classroom is not the same as in some halcyon, golden age of yesteryear.   It is all too human to see the world through a microscope.

Looking through the lens of a microscope we don't see the large class sizes in some states such as California.  Double that of other states.  We fail to see the impact of TV, music, movies, and fashion.  We fail to see the ever increasing demands upon teachers placed upon them by school boards and principals.  We fail to see what we are doing that contributes to the challenges.





We could spend our time here regurgitating all the factors that have been discussed ad nauseam in other places.  Yes, teachers need to have mastery over their subjects, classroom management, and be terrific at making an impact.  Beyond those cliches what do we need to know?  What is it we need to act upon?  Here is the story that often does not get told or that is hidden by politicians in exchange for votes.  

1.  When compared to their private sector, white-collar counterparts who also have advanced degrees and additional training, such as attorneys, physicians, architects and those in management and finance, the mean salary for teachers is substantially lower.  
bls.gov

2.  Teachers are not overpaid once you consider cost of living, the average salaries for all career fields in a locale, and the age of the teachers in a district. According to a poll conducted on EdVoices, 46% of teachers work more than 20 hours per week outside of the classroom. Nearly 31% work from 11-20 hours. That's nine months of pay for 12 months of work.
neatoday.org/2011/01/07/long-days-growing-challenges

3.  Myth: Teachers need to take more cuts.  The truth.  #1. Many administrators and superintendents are paid too much.  #2. Districts buy textbooks and materials that are not needed, not wanted, and that are overindulgent.  #3. Teacher salaries don’t take up most of the budget.  In almost every year, Administrator/Supervisor salaries per student grew faster than Teacher Salaries per student. Thus, had Administrator/Supervisor salaries been restricted to the growth in Teacher Salaries, substantial savings would have been realized. 
publicpolicy.pepperdine.edu/davenport-institute/reports/updated-analysis-k-12-education/content/updated-analysis-k-12-education-short.pdf

4.  The film Two Million Minutes contrasts Brittany's and Neil's easy suburban lives with those of two Indian teenagers and two Chinese teenagers, making the case that the foreign students are just plain hungrier for success.  "You just want to shake America and say, 'Wake up. We are falling behind daily,' " Compton says.  And Two Million Minutes finds plenty to be worried about: not enough study or homework time, not enough parental pressure, not enough focus on math or engineering. American teens, it argues, are preoccupied with sports, after-school jobs and leisure.  The film repeatedly contrasts foreign students' drive with what seems like American cluelessness: In one scene, Chinese 17-year-old Hu Xiaoyuan diligently practices the violin — then we cut to bone-crunching rock 'n' roll and the Friday night lights of Carmel's top-ranked football team.
usatoday.com/news/education/2008-02-17-2-million-minutes_N.htm

5.  The State of California has some of the most rigorous requirements in the nation to earn a California Teaching Credential.
careers.ucsc.edu/handouts/teaching_credential/becoming_a_teacher.html

6. Many states, such as California have a high percentage of English learners and near the top in the proportion of children living in low-income families.
ed-data.k12.ca.us/articles/article.asp?title=california%20comparison#demographics

7.  About 25% of California's students are English learners (ELs), compared with almost 9% nationally. Most of California's English learners (85%) speak Spanish. The next most common language is Vietnamese, spoken by about 2% of ELs. English learners in California speak more than 50 different languages. Texas has the second-highest percentage of English learners among the four most populous states, but New Mexico has the second-highest percentage of English learners among all states (18.6%).  Nearly half of California students (49%) are eligible for free or reduced-priced meals, compared with about 40% nationally. Students receiving Special Education services consistently make up almost 11% of the school population in California, less than the national average of 12% and the second-lowest among the four most populous states.
ed-data.k12.ca.us/articles/article.asp?title=california%20comparison#demographics

8.  Divorce affects student achievement.  The divorce rate in America for first marriage is 41%  The divorce rate in America for second marriage is 60%  The divorce rate in America for third marriage is 73%.
divorcerate.org

9.  Screen time affects achievement.  Children ages 8–18 spend the following amount of time in front of the screen, daily:  Approximately 7.5 hours using entertainment media.  Approximately 4.5 hours watching TV  Approximately 1.5 hours on the computer  Over an hour playing video games  These data lie in stark contrast to the 25 minutes per day that children spend reading books.  Today's youth also have the following media in their bedrooms:  More than one–third have a computer, and Internet access  Half have video game players  More than two–thirds have TVs  Those with bedroom TVs spend an hour more in front of the screen than those without TVs.
nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/wecan/reduce-screen-time/index.htm

10.  Drugs affect children.
oas.samhsa.gov

11.  Some state tests, like in California, are not designed to test a non-English speaking population, that is highly transient, and from families with parents that have little education themselves.  The current California State Test would be suitable to measure the student population of California in 1985, it is not suitable for the population in schools  since 1985.  Finland’s education system has consistently ranked among the best in the world for more than a decade, making it the envy of every education reformer. In Finland there are no standardized tests. In fact, there is really very little testing at all. Finnish teachers are not monitored or rated based on test scores, and teachers (as well as their students) have a great deal of autonomy. It is a system built on trust, and the film really drives home the notion that trust – rather than faux accountability – leads to real results, leads to teachers and students and members of government all wanting to live up to the trust given to them rather than simply scraping by.
andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/05/trust-for-teachers.html

12.  Parental aspirations for their children has a larger impact on student learning than feedback from teachers, study skills, homework, testing, and teacher education.


Self-reported grades: students predict their performance  1.44
Reinforcement 1.13
Instructional quality 1.00
Summarizing .82
Remediation/feedback .65
Study Skills .59
.59 (spelling)
Student created specific goals .56
Phonics and Phonemic Awareness 0.53 (reading comprehension)
Challenge of Goals .52
Homework .43
Computers 0.37
Testing .30
Teacher Education 0.11
Reading:  whole language .06

Student

Students prior cognitive ability 1.04
Students disposition to learn .61

Home influences

Parental aspirations for children’s educational achievement .80
Home factors .67
Home environment (socio-psychological) .57
Parent involvement .46
Transiency/mobility -0.34 (that is a negative)

Social influences

Peer .38
Television -.12 (that is a negative)

Credit:  Professor John Hattie






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Credit:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sr5kWOdkHYA

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