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The Best of Times

 

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Charles Dickens opens his magnificent love story, A Tale of Two Cities, set during the tumultuous  French Revolution with these immortal words:

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

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In today’s world, even in the United States of America, we loudly complain about how bad the world is  – ‘the worst of times’ we think.

But is this belief really true? Do our beliefs match reality?

1 happy 2Have you ever wondered if maybe, just maybe the ‘good ole days’ were not quite as good as we think? Have you ever wondered if the present time is the ‘best of times’?

According to some new research it seems we may actually be living in the ‘best of times.’

For instance:

1. Life span – If you were born in 1800, your life span was 39 years. “In 1950, the average lifespan had doubled to 68. Today, the average American lives until 79………”

2. In 1850, the average work week was 66 hours. Today it is about 35 hours.

3. “In 1900 only 2% of Americans had electricity in their homes. By 1950, nearly 30% of American still had no electricity. Today, of course, electricity deprivation is almost unknown. As an added bonus, the cost of electricity, adjusted for inflation, is one-tenth what it was in 1900.”

4. In 1900, no one had refrigerators. Today even some of our cars have them.

1 car 35. “……a long distance call from New York to San Francisco cost $341 in 1915. In 1960, it cost just under $13. Today, unlimited talk, text, and data costs us as little as $5 a month.

6. In the 1990s the average murder rate was about 21,000 a year. Today it is just over 16,000 a year.

7. “The mortality rate in the U.S. for newborns has dropped from 58 per 1000 in 1933 to just 6 per 1000 in 2010. ………. In 1960, worldwide, a child had a 20% chance of dying before age 5. Today it is under 5%.”

8. “Worldwide, according to a U.N. report, people living in extreme poverty (defined as less than $1.25 per day) has halved since 1990, down from 43.1% to 20.6%. Poverty has decreased more in the past 50 years than the previous 500 years.”

9. “Cars today get twice as much mileage and are far less polluting than their counterparts in 1970.”

10. “Since 1990, global hunger has dropped 39% according to the Global Hunger Index.”

11. “…… today, 7 out of the top 10 fastest growing economies are in Africa, the percentage for African children in school has doubled, and lifespan for women has increased by 16 years.”

1 a bbThese are only 11 of 31 factoids that Larry Schwartz shares with readers at alternet in a post titled, Don’t Look to the ‘Good Old Days’: 31 Ways Life Is Better than Ever Before.

It is worth going over there [Link in sentence above.] to read how much better life is now than in the past.

So with that good news I wish you all a happy and blessed new year.

Now on to another delicious and easy recipe, the first in 2015.

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Featured Recipe          Honey Carmelized Chicken

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In the cold winter months I love to make baked dishes and desserts just to keep the oven on and make the kitchen, dining, and living rooms cozy warm.

I clean the oven more often in winter too for the same reason. It helps to keep my toes toasty warm.

So with the temps taking a turn downward here the last few days it was a no brainer I would make a baked chicken recipe my first recipe in 2015.

This recipe is also an easy, sweet and savory recipe that is also finger lickin’ super delicious.

You can also make this recipe using just chicken wings or legs. Wings and legs are, of course,  are perfect for all the game times this winter season.

Use an oven safe pan to bake the chicken.

This recipe can easily be doubled for six people.

Caramelization is simply the browning of food using sugar.

This is what you need for 3 people:

3 chicken breasts

2 tablespoon olive oil

¼ cup soy sauce

1 tablespoons ketchup

½ cup honey

2 teaspoon brown sugar

A splash of balsamic vinegar

2 cloves garlic pressed

3-4 green onions

Spray oil

Salt and pepper to taste

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Here is what you do:

Preheat oven to 375 F

Slightly flatten the chicken breast. Not a whole lot; just a wee bit.

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Mix together the oil, soy sauce, ketchup, honey, brown sugar, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper very well.

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Spray an oven safe grill or roast pan with the spray oil and place the chicken on top.

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Pour the sauce over the chicken making sure every piece of chicken is well coated on both sides.

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Cover the pan the chicken is in with some aluminum foil.

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Bake in the oven for 30 – 40 minutes, or until sauce is caramelized, checking once or twice and turning the chicken at least once during the baking. [Cook to an internal temperature of 165F.]

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NOTE: If the glaze does not caramelize remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of cooking; or place the pan on the stove and fry a minute or two on both sides to get the sauce to caramelize.

Look at that gorgeous golden caramelization and color on those chicken breasts. YUM!

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Wash the green onions and slice on the diagonal.

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When chicken is cooked through remove to a platter, tent with foil and let sit for 5 – 10 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute.

Sprinkle the finished chicken with the sliced green onions and serve with a salad and a potato dish or fries.

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Bon appétit!!!
Cost

3 chicken breasts                             $7.19

2 tablespoons olive oil                      $0.90

¼ cup soy sauce                              $0.52

1 tablespoons ketchup                      $0.10

½ cup honey                                   $1.48

2 teaspoon brown sugar                   $0.10

A splash balsamic vinegar                 $0.10

2 cloves garlic pressed                     $0.08

3-4 green onions                              $0.25

Spray oil                                          $0.10

Salt and pepper to taste

Total cost = $10.82
Cost per person = $3.61

Quote of the Day

Unless you have bad times, you can’t appreciate the good times.

Joe Torre
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6 comments to The Best of Times

  • A vacation to Mexico? Pics?? 🙂 Sorry to hear you’ve been sick but lovely to see you.

    I love oven dinners in the wintertime too. In the summer, I put the same dishes in the grill and shut the cover. I really like this chicken!

  • Roberta

    I’ll try to post a few pics for you, Maureen on Twitter or FB.

    Putting this chicken on the grill sounds mighty good on this -6 F degrees day. 🙂

  • Great stats! Great recipe. So much is wrong with our world and yet so much is right. Maybe it’s just our heads that are screwed on crooked. Love you! Glad you’re back and let’s hope for a better 2015. (Not off to the best start, unfortunately.)

  • Virginia Urbach

    Hi, my old friend. I haven’t been on twitter much, mostly on FB. It’s good to see your recipe again. I will be on twitter more often as I have temporarily deactivated my FB acct. See you on twitter.

    • Roberta

      Hey, Virginia. Great to see you. 🙂 Have been wondering where you were. I have just become more active on Facebook. But I am still on Twitter too.