THE CONSUMER VISION
 
May 2020
 
Publisher: Bob Branco
Address: 359 Coggeshall St., New Bedford MA 02746
Phone: 508-994-4972
Email: bobbranco93@gmail.com
Website: www.consumervisionmagazine.com
Editing and Proofreading: David and Leonore Dvorkin
Formatting: David Dvorkin
 
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
In this Table of Contents, three asterisks *** are used to separate the title of each article from its author. In the same way, three asterisks *** will be used to separate articles to make using your browser’s search feature easier. If any of you have screen readers that make searching difficult or undoable with asterisks, please let us know not only that, but also if three number signs ### would be easier. If you are a screen reader user for whom neither symbol works, please let us know what works best, and we’ll do our best to accommodate.
 
In columns like Special Notices, Readers’ Forum, and Recipes from Karen Crowder, letters of the alphabet—A, B, C, etc.—are used to separate items.
 
1. HEALTH MATTERS: Walking and the Brain, Tips for Better Sleep, Oat Milk, and More ***
by Leonore H. Dvorkin
 
2. THE FACTS ABOUT FAKE NEWS *** by Stephen Théberge
 
3. COMMENTARY AFTERMATH: Earth Day *** by James R. Campbell
 
4. A WORD ABOUT SPORTS: Pandemic Accelerates Plan to Cut 42 Minor League Baseball Teams *** by Don Wardlow
 
5. WEATHER OR NOT: Can a Global Fever Cause a Global Fever? *** by Steve Roberts
6. SPECIAL NOTICES
 
7. AUTHORS’ CORNER
 
8. THE HANDLER’S CORNER: Living and Working with Guide Dogs *** by Ann Chiappetta, M.S.
 
9. RECIPE COLUMN *** by Karen Crowder
 
10. CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST
 
***
 
1. HEALTH MATTERS: Walking and the Brain, Tips for Better Sleep, Oat Milk, and More
by Leonore H. Dvorkin
Leonore welcomes comments on any of her articles.
Email: leonore@leonoredvorkin.com
 
Hello, everyone. Once again this month, I will concentrate on something other than the Coronavirus, as I imagine that we’re all feeling beaten over the head with information about it. While I certainly believe that it’s important to keep up with the news, I have found it refreshing, these last few days, to receive some exercise tips from two of my sisters and to peruse the May 2020 issue of the Consumer Reports On Health 12-page newsletter. That publication never fails to offer sound, practical advice in a clear writing style and an attractive format. Plus, its colorful illustrations are helpful but do not consume an inordinate amount of space. It costs $24 for 12 monthly issues. Go here for more information: www.CR.org/cronhealth/
 
Now to some topics in the May issue of that newsletter that I found interesting.
 
A. Walking for Brain Gains
Among 23 older adults at risk for Alzheimer’s, those who walked three times a week for six months had greater gains in cognitive function (problem-solving and planning) than a group who did their usual physical activity. While the study was small, it adds to research suggesting a link between regular aerobic exercise and cognitive resilience.
 
B. The Sleep-Weight Connection
Among 67 obese men and women with obstructive sleep apnea, marked by pausing in breathing during sleep, those who lost 10% of their body weight also saw a significant decrease in symptoms of this condition. Researchers suggest that a slimmer tongue, a result of the weight loss, may have allowed easier breathing, in part by freeing up space at the back of the throat.
 
A personal note: My husband and I know from experience and our reading on the subject that weight loss can also help reduce snoring.
 
C. Human Drugs Can Harm Pets
Medications that contain opioids, such as Percocet and Oxycontin, can cause heart and nervous-system problems in dogs and may even be fatal. So keep such medications well out of reach of both pets and children. If you suspect that your pet has eaten your medications, call the Animal Poison Control Center hotline at 888-426-4435.
 
D. Beware Probiotic Promotion
Belgian and British researchers have found that only about 25% of online information about probiotics included information about side effects. Commercial sites were the least reliable. Many of the sites were tied to sellers of probiotics, and most of the claims were not backed by research.
 
E. The Better-Sleep Bedroom
 
1. Pick the right mattress. In the showroom, try lying on both sides and your back for about 10 minutes in each position. If you sleep with a partner, lie down together and move around some, making sure that your partner’s shifting will not bother you. Get a pillow that matches your sleep style: on your back, side, or stomach. (A personal note: We love our Dormia brand memory-foam mattress and neck-supporting pillows.)
 
2. Keep things dark and quiet.
 
3. Most people sleep well at a temperature between 60 and 67 degrees.
 
4. Ban blue light from cell phones, tablets, and computers for at least an hour before bedtime.
 
5. Get out during the day. It’s best to combine getting out with exercise.
 
 
F. What to Drink for Better Health
Sugary drinks and alcohol can add hundreds of calories to your daily total. Sugary drinks include sodas, lemonade, sweetened coffee drinks, sweetened iced tea, and many smoothies. Drinking just one such beverage a day is linked to Type 2 diabetes, weight gain, and cardiovascular disease. Sports drinks are also mainly just sugars, salt, and artificial coloring in a bottle.
 
So what to drink instead? Well, plain water is always fine. Drink it throughout the day instead of guzzling a big glass all at once, as small amounts of water are absorbed better. Also good are unsweetened sparkling and carbonated waters, plain tea and coffee (with milk if desired, but no sugar), herbal teas, and milk. Drink low-fat milk to reduce calories.
 
Beverages to drink only occasionally include all types of alcohol, 100% fruit juices and vegetable juices, and drinks made with sugar substitutes.
 
Personal notes:
 
Stevia:
From all that I’ve read, stevia is the one sugar substitute that’s safe. It’s natural, from a plant, not artificial. Some people don’t like it, but fortunately, we do. We use Stevita brand liquid stevia; just a few drops sweeten any beverage quite well. You can also buy it in granular form. Stevia is also the sweetener in the chocolate and vanilla whey protein powders that we use. There are online charts showing how much stevia to use as a substitute for sugar when baking.
 
Oat milk:
For a couple of months, now, I’ve been enjoying oat milk as well as regular cow’s milk. (The cow’s milk we drink is organic and low-fat, from Costco.) I like two of the three brands of oat milk that I’ve tried thus far: Chobani and Silk “Oat Yeah.” Both brands offer plain or vanilla-flavored varieties; the latter is delicious in black tea. I could easily write an article on just oat milk and its many benefits, but the details below will suffice. I should also mention that both of these varieties of oat milk come in paper cartons, vs. the wasteful plastic bottles that some other brands come in.
 
Chobani plain oat milk per cup: 100 calories, 110 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, no cholesterol, 313 mg calcium, and 0 g saturated or trans fat.
 
Vanilla Silk “Oat Yeah” oat milk per cup: 80 calories, 105 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, no cholesterol, 460 mg calcium, and 0 g saturated or trans fat.
 
In short, I am very much enjoying this nutritious new addition to my diet. My husband doesn’t care for it, but he likes oats only in raisin oatmeal cookies, and he’s very fond of regular milk. Having grown up in England and South Africa, he has always drunk his strong black tea British-style, with milk. I do, too, but now also add some vanilla oat milk.
 
About the Author
 
Leonore Dvorkin tutors German and Spanish (formerly at home, now via Skype) and taught twice-weekly exercise classes until the Coronavirus put a stop to those. She still exercises at least six to seven hours a week in her home gym, as well as masking up and taking walks outside in the neighborhood. She is also the author of four published books and many articles; the articles are mainly on various fitness and nutrition topics.
 
Since 2009, Leonore and her husband, the prolific author David Dvorkin, who has 29 published books to his credit, have been running DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services. The large majority of their more than 50 clients are blind or visually impaired. Their comprehensive, very reasonably priced services include thorough editing, formatting, cover design, and more. The books are published in e-book and print formats and are marketed worldwide on Amazon, Smashwords, and other bookselling sites.
 
If you’re interested in their services, they request that you kindly read the information on their site before contacting them. There you will find answers to all the most common questions that they receive regarding their services and self-publishing in general.
 
Leonore and David invite you to visit any of their websites for more details of their books and services:
Leonore Dvorkin: http://www.leonoredvorkin.com/
David Dvorkin: http://www.dvorkin.com/
DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services: http://www.dldbooks.com/
 
***
2. THE FACTS ABOUT FAKE NEWS
by Stephen Théberge
 
Even before the current pandemic, social media has been saturated with opinions and rhetoric designed to elicit emotions and debate—or rather, useless banter. Regardless of the motives, the perpetrators of these schemes seem to be getting the attention they want.
 
A recent post on Facebook attributed to Bill O’Reilly, among other things, went on about how the virus was a weapon designed by the Chinese government. It was also clarified that the people of China were not the issue, but the government ruling body was. Please decide for yourself and check the link below.
 
https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/bill-oreilly-coronavirus-essay/
 
I won’t debate here which political side of the aisle I’m on. I’m an independent thinker. If either party has a reasonable idea, I’ll embrace it. Lately, I find the bickering on both sides ridiculous. It’s like a political game of chicken. Nobody wants to give and take. It’s distressing at this time, when we should be able to find some common ground.
 
It’s surprising that in the article cited above, the words “in my opinion” were used. Nonetheless, people seemed to take it as truth. Even without this caveat, and even though I’m not that smart and don’t have a degree in English, the rhetoric was blatantly obvious. Also, there was no attempt to hide the true agenda that the piece was a strong endorsement of President Trump. Again, I’m not here to offer up my opinions or take an opposing view. I let the words of the piece speak for themselves. I think a supporter of any president does a disservice to the office and that president by engaging in such rhetoric and deliberately lying to the people. According to my source linked to above, Bill O’Reilly did not pen this piece; there was no online source on his website or any news agency to support this outright falsehood. I’ll be happy to be corrected if someone shows me a source that attributes this piece to O’Reilly, and I’ll then gladly retract this piece.
 
Unfortunately, like so many things going on in the media and online, I would be attacked for being a liberal and not supporting the president, even though there was no hint or mention of this in my piece. I understand the emotional issues of the political arena. Both sides use rhetoric and even lies. I won’t be suckered into a debate on which side of the aisle I think is worse. Those who know me know my views. I don’t wish to write political articles.
 
It’s sad that a pandemic was the reason for a 70,000-person singalong happening with Ringo Starr of the Beatles. Why does adversity bring this out in people? We should always have been doing things like that. It looks like we see more polarization now than ever before. Later, we can have a real debate about who should have done what when. I have a lot of hope in human nature and the good side of people, but I also see the negative.
 
Maybe social media is a breeding ground for these extremes in posting behavior. I hope I’m wrong. The only hope is to call people out and speak the truth. I may have mentioned this before, but it’s a fact that there is gravity. You may choose to not believe it and call it an alternative idea or fake. Try walking off a bridge and let me know how that works out for you. I have already said in earlier pieces that opinions are not replacements for objective reality.
 
Stay safe, everyone. I’m afraid we can’t even agree on how to do that. I get it. Being cooped up at home is not pleasant. So, there we have it.
 
Follow me on Twitter at @speechfb
Read and post on my writer’s blog, http://blinderwriterweb.wordpress.com
Check out the page for my coming–of–age science fiction novel, The MetSche Message, and its sequel, The MetSche Maelstrom:
https://www.dldbooks.com/stephentheberge/
Watch my YouTube channel. Many blindness related issues, and the latest Branco Broadcasts.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQbs0c1vLDuYmb08okZSk8g/videos
 
***
 
3. COMMENTARY AFTERMATH: Earth Day
by James R. Campbell
 
On April 22, 1970, a new movement began. It grew as a result of the concerns of young people who wanted to draw attention to the plight of the Earth. From these humble beginnings, a wide variety of initiatives is under way to protect the environment. Even today, with all the progress we’ve made, much remains to be done.
 
The first Earth Day drew groups of young people from high schools and colleges into their communities to clean up litter, hold meetings, and launch campaigns to bring their cause into the public eye. “Act, or die,” became their motto.
 
Over the past five decades, the movement has taken many causes under its umbrella. The list is endless: offshore drilling, nuclear waste, radiation from power plant disasters, global warming—take your pick. Those who take up these issues have a right to be concerned. The 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the 2011 power plant catastrophe that resulted from the tsunami in Japan bear witness to the risks that modern industry poses to the welfare of the planet.
 
There’s a great deal of debate and controversy between environmentalists and those who support business and industry. Those on the side of industry insist that global warming is a hoax. It’s a frequent topic of discussion on the chatline for the blind.
 
“Global warming is a joke. It’s a gambit that’s being used by all these socialists and New Age tree huggers to destroy capitalism,” one of my best friends chides.
 
“Wait a minute,” I reply with conviction.
 
“Climate change is cyclical. The extinction of the dinosaurs is enough proof for me, even though I agree that the carbon dioxide we’re pumping into the atmosphere is a contributing factor to our current crisis.”
 
For my part, I recycle cans to sell. There was a time when I used to pick up trash and pull weeds in the alleys. At one point in 1997, I tried to compost yard clippings and dead leaves, but the effort was unsuccessful. I’ve made an effort to teach my small cousins to do their part to care for the Earth. I encourage them to pick up trash, and we used to go out in search of cans. I have told them that every dollar they make from recycling is money that they can use.
 
My main concern is the trash in my alley. I’ve notified the city when Aunt Sue and I see broken furniture in the neighborhood. City code enforcement fines residents for illegal dumping, but people do it anyway.
 
Each of us has a part to play in preserving what we have left. We have a long way to go, even with the strides we’ve made. On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, let’s renew our pledge to protect our wildlife, natural resources, and communities.
 
As always, thanks for your time.
With loving kindness,
James R. Campbell
Campbelljamesr1968@gmail.com
 
***
 
4. A WORD ABOUT SPORTS: Pandemic Accelerates Plan to Cut 42 Minor League Baseball Teams
by Don Wardlow
 
Before the most recent World Series, I wrote in this forum about a plan I thought even then was a terrible mistake. Six months later, the plan has been agreed upon by both parties concerned, and I still think it’s a terrible mistake. Major league baseball (MLB) and minor league baseball (MiLB), both now in recess due to the present pandemic, have agreed to terminate some 42 minor league teams before the start of the 2021 season. That will leave about 120 teams still in existence.
 
Some of these teams are either in our readers’ backyards or close enough to be missed when they’re gone. An entire league, the New York Penn League, is scheduled for the guillotine. In spite of its name, the league has teams in Vermont and in Lowell, Massachusetts, along with Mahoning Valley, Ohio. Once called the “Pony League” (for Pennsylvania, Ontario, New York), the league was founded in 1939. Now it appears to be doomed after 80 years of play and one pandemic.
 
While the new disease isn’t to blame for the death of the 42 teams, its ravages have made the owners of the doomed teams more willing to surrender to the major leagues. Before anybody in America had heard of the Coronavirus, cities and team ownership groups were planning to sue major league baseball to keep this plan from going forward. Those plans appear to be scrapped now, because, like all of us, owners fear for their very lives and will consider themselves lucky to get away with those.
 
Baseball opportunities of all sorts will be gone come 2021. Forty-two teams of 25 men means 1,050 fewer minor league baseball players. While that’s the largest number of persons affected, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. With no players, there won’t be a manager or coaches in 42 cities, no workers in the front office, no ground crew, nobody selling concessions at some stadiums that are nearly brand new, and nobody upstairs in the booth broadcasting the team’s nightly doings. The New York Penn League stadiums are all relatively new. One in particular, Leo Pinckney Field in Auburn, New York, has been a host city for an NCAA Division 3 baseball tournament every May for over a decade. If the Auburn Doubledays team ceases to exist, the NCAA wouldn’t think twice about moving the tournament to another city. The NCAA moves its regional tournaments around on an arbitrary basis, especially when you mention the small colleges of Division 3.
 
On a personal level, I don’t want to see New Britain, Connecticut, lose baseball. That was where I met and courted the lady who became my wife. After every home game, we would kiss goodnight—the only kiss we allowed ourselves at the ball park in the name of professionalism. I told her that nightly kiss was “a kiss to build a dream on,” quoting a Louis Armstrong song. That good lady followed my elusive dream to distant cities, and she stuck by me when the dream ended as most baseball dreams end.
 
In more distant places, the Appalachian League and the Pioneer League have apparently played their last game. Both of these established leagues are in states that are hundreds of miles from any major league team. The Appalachian League has brought youngsters to towns in North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee since 1911. The Pioneer League put teams in the Far West starting in 1939. Now those cities will lose the chance to showcase guys who could be future baseball stars, and do it at fair prices. That has been the appeal of the minors since the amazing inflation of MLB ticket prices starting in the 1990s.
 
There is no hint that major league baseball has scrapped its plans for future expansion. If that happens, the expansion teams will have to have players. The annual amateur draft will no longer go 40 rounds, as it has for a couple of decades, now. Just how many rounds will be included hasn’t been settled yet. MLB still plans to hold it later than its traditional spot on the first Monday in June. Teams can get away with fewer draftees if they no longer have the number of minor league teams to fill. While a couple of cities, Binghamton and Hagerstown, are losing their team because of the deplorable state of their stadiums, they are the exception rather than the rule.
 
I feel that major league baseball is taking advantage of the larger crisis in our country and using it to push forward their own agenda. I guess the men in charge feel that if the two major political parties can do it, so can MLB.
 
***
 
5. WEATHER OR NOT: Can a Global Fever Cause a Global Fever?
by Steve Roberts
When we burn fossil fuels, we release carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Another byproduct of fossil fuel burning is sulfur dioxide.
 
Sulfur dioxide reflects incoming solar radiation back into outer space. The result of this backscattering process is a cooling of the Earth’s atmosphere. Sulfur dioxide offsets the insulating properties of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. It’s for this reason that the planet is cooler than it ought to be, given the levels of carbon dioxide within the atmosphere. Sulfur dioxide also alters the physical properties of clouds by making them brighter as seen from above and darker as seen from below.
 
Sulfur dioxide aerosols are masking an awful lot of greenhouse warming. If we removed all the sulfur dioxide from the atmosphere, the planetary temperature would rise by ½ degree Celsius. Our world is much warmer than we realize; we’re living in a fool’s paradise.
 
The Coronavirus has devastated the economies of North America, Europe, and Asia. There is far less air pollution than there was before the virus. With fewer aerosols in the air, more of the sun’s radiant energy can reach the ground and warm the atmosphere. By clearing the air, you expose some of the latent greenhouse warming that has been lurking in the aerosol parasol.
 
The United States has had a very warm spring up to this point. If the Coronavirus causes our economy to close down for a longer period of time, we could see our atmosphere warm up due to a reduction of aerosol loads. It’s possible that a global fever resulting from the Coronavirus could cause a global fever resulting from the exposure of latent greenhouse warming. It may seem a bit premature, but we could release enough latent greenhouse warming to establish a brand new global temperature record for the year 2020.
 
***
 
6. SPECIAL NOTICES
 
If you are blind or visually impaired, 18 or above, single, and a practicing Christian, and if you are looking to make friends or find a relationship with someone like you, feel free to look up the Facebook group “Blind and Visually Impaired Christian Singles.” Or click this link and open the join group button: https://m.facebook.com/groups/156911815743718
 
***
 
7. AUTHORS’ CORNER
 
A.  Murder at Work: A Practical Guide for Prevention
by Robert D. Sollars / C 2020 / 303 pages in print
In e-book and print from Amazon, Smashwords, and multiple other online sellers
For full details, cover image, free text preview, and buying links, see: https://www.dldbooks.com/robertdsollars/
 
Note: The book will be available for sale by May 8. Check the website linked to above for the availability of the book on your preferred buying site.
 
About the Book
 
The statistics are startling. The #1 killer of employees on the job is traffic accidents. The #2 killer is falls. But the #3 killer is murder—and it’s #1 for women. In addition, millions of Americans are threatened or harassed at work every year.
 
This book does not have all the answers to the issue of workplace violence. No single book, expert, or organization does. Sometimes such violence is unavoidable, as you will read.
 
Whether you have five employees or 5,000, you need to learn how to physically secure your property, how to reduce the risk of a violent incident, and how to recover in the event of one.
 
In this book’s 21 well-organized chapters, you’ll learn what workplace violence is, how to spot warning signs, how best to communicate with your employees concerning workplace violence, and much more—all from an expert with nearly 40 years of experience in the security field.
 
About the Author
 
Robert D. Sollars lives near Phoenix, Arizona. He is the author of Murder in the Classroom, Unconventional Customer Service, and other books. For details, see his website, linked to above.
 
 
B.  Meander: The Princess Who Had Ants in Her Pants
by Susan Bourrie / C 2020
For pre-K through 4th grade
In e-book and print from Amazon and Smashwords / 48 pages in print
For details, cover image, free text preview, and buying links, see:  https://www.dldbooks.com/susanbourrie/
 
When Meander, Cinderella’s second cousin thrice removed, is chosen by charming Prince Fred to be his lucky bride, no one at Wildwood Castle is expecting the newest princess in the realm to be dissatisfied with courtly life.  But Meander is indeed an unhappy princess.  Wouldn’t you be if you were stuck inside a castle most of the time?
 
Princess Meander was accustomed to doing many things and doing them her way.  After turning the castle upside down and roaming the entire countryside, she finally finds something that makes her happy as she sits quietly for hours and hours on her royal throne. Read this delightful story to learn what it is.
 
Susan Bourrie lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
She is the author of the children’s book The Misadventures of Mistletoe Mouse (C 2016).
For details, see her website, linked to above.
 
***
 
8. THE HANDLER’S CORNER: Living and Working with Guide Dogs
by Ann Chiappetta, M.S.
 
Hello, readers. We hope you and your loved ones, both human and canine, are safe and healthy as we all experience this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Stay at home orders are slowly revealing how inherently difficult physical distancing is for the entire world to follow and endure; let’s all try to stay grounded and connected.
 
Guide dog training programs across the United States have postponed classes, home training, and other events. I personally know individuals who will not be receiving training, and there isn’t any mention of students entering class in the near future. The world is on hold, and it’s unsettling.
 
To deal with the lack of routines and work for my guide dog, we play and go through obedience routines. We go for walks and work on targets like bus stop benches and trash cans to give him ways to keep active and stimulated.
 
I’ve been writing more now that I have more time. Here’s a poem written during National Poetry Month that I’d like to share.
 
The Sip of Dog
by Ann Chiappetta
 
How do you take your dog?
Black lab, brown mutt
Or light and sweet yellow?
 
Docile and dear, floppy eared
Sable and sassy or
A Bold Blond?
 
Small, medium, large, OMG
Heart enough for three how can that be?
Unconditional love and loyalty
A bright welcome no matter how long you’ve been gone
 
The recipe of dog is timeless
Taken with one pup or two—
Chocolate, vanilla, and espresso
So, sip to our loving companions
Whether female or fellow
And share life together
With wags and laughs.
 
2020
 
Ann Chiappetta
Making meaningful connections with others through writing.
www.annchiappetta.com
www.thought-wheel.com
Pick up my latest short story collection, A String of Stories: From the Heart to the Future,
C 2020. The book is available in e-book and print formats.
Full details and buying links:  https://www.dldbooks.com/annchiappetta/
 
***
 
9. RECIPE COLUMN
by Karen Crowder
 
When May arrives, we are at the height of the spring season. Across the Northeast, there are hints of summer, with temperatures in the 80s to 90s. Birds merrily chirp at the height of their mating season. Lily of the valley, magnolias, and irises are in bloom. Before Memorial Day,  lilacs bloom with their incredibly sweet fragrance. In southern climes, there is the delicate scent of gardenia and jasmine. In New England, farm stands begin to open. In supermarkets, strawberries and asparagus are often available. Ice cream stands begin to open for another summer season. Because of COVID-19, there will be no large gatherings across most of the U.S. However, everyone will appreciate the beauty of another spring. If the weather permits, enjoy a small cookout around Memorial Day.
 
There are three special events: Ramadan, a Muslim observance, is already in progress; Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 10; Memorial Day is Monday, May 25.
 
I have four recipes for Consumer Vision readers and listeners.
 
Contents:
Homemade Mushroom Carrot Soup
Simply Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
Ginger Ale Refresher
 
A. Homemade Mushroom Carrot Soup
 
Ingredients:
For the sauce:
Four tablespoons or one-half stick butter
Four tablespoons flour
One and one-half cups milk
Liquid from can of mushrooms
One-fourth cup heavy cream
For the vegetables and spices:
One tablespoon butter
A little olive oil
A small handful of dried chives
Dashes of garlic powder and curry powder
One four-ounce can mushrooms, any brand
One or two baby carrots
Liquid from mushrooms.
 
Directions:
 
1. In a double boiler or three-quart saucepan, melt butter on low heat. Add flour and stir mixture with a wire whisk until it is smooth. Add milk and stir again until smooth. This should take approximately two minutes. Stir sauce infrequently for 25-30 minutes. It should be nice and thick.
2. While cooking the sauce, melt the butter and with the olive oil in a very small saucepan. Add all spices and canned mushrooms and minced carrot. You can also add two broken-up fresh mushrooms if you have them. Let cook for approximately 10 minutes on low heat. Add the liquid from the mushrooms and simmer.
3. Add the heavy cream to the double boiler or saucepan. Stir and let mixture cook for five minutes. Add the other ingredients and simmer soup for 10 minutes or until serving time.
 
Serve soup while it is hot with Ritz crackers. It is delicious and better than any canned mushroom soup. This may make one or two servings. It’s filling and goes well with a tossed salad or hot rolls, bread, corn muffins, or even leftover popovers.
 
Note: You can easily double the recipe for this delicious soup.
 
B. Simply Chocolate Cake
 
I got the one–volume cookbook 50 Scrumptious Recipes from the National Braille Press in 2017. I decided to try this recipe on Easter Eve. It’s easy to prepare.
 
Ingredients:
Three-fourths cup granulated sugar
Three-fourths cup all-purpose flour
One-half teaspoon baking powder
One teaspoon baking soda
A pinch of salt
One-fourth cup light brown sugar
Three tablespoons vegetable oil
Three-fourths cup buttermilk
One-half cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Two large eggs
One-half teaspoon vanilla
Note: I used canola oil, whole milk, and real vanilla extract.
 
Directions:
 
1. Measure flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Whisk these ingredients together with a wire whisk.
2. Add light brown sugar, vegetable oil, salt, unsweetened cocoa, eggs, milk, and vanilla.
Combine all ingredients using a hand or stand electric mixer. I recommend starting on low speed for two minutes and progressing to medium speed for two more minutes.
3. Mix cake batter with a plastic or wooden spoon to be sure the mixture is smooth.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
5. Put parchment paper in a 9”x9” metal or Pyrex pan. Grease paper with a small amount of butter. It should cover the bottom and sides of the pan.
6. With a one-cup measure, measure out batter into the cake pan. Smooth entire top of cake batter with a sandwich spreader or spatula.
7. Bake cake for 30 minutes. Touch it to be sure the top is springy.
 
Remove cake from oven and allow it to cool. Invert cake onto a parchment paper-lined plate. After half an hour, frost the cake. You can leave the cake unfrosted and sprinkle a little confectioner’s sugar over the top. Serve the cake with vanilla, coffee, or chocolate ice cream. This cake makes a delicious dessert for a Memorial Day cookout.
 
C. Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
 
If you love chocolate, this frosting is perfect with any type of chocolate cake. It complements the Simply Chocolate Cake, and one piece is not enough. You can also pair it with yellow cake.
 
Ingredients:
 
One square Hershey’s unsweetened chocolate
One and one-half squares of Ghirardelli 70% Cacao Extra Bittersweet Chocolate
Two tablespoons or one-fourth stick butter
Four tablespoons granulated sugar
One-half teaspoon vanilla
One heaping half-cup sour cream.
 
Directions
 
1 in a glass crock or large cereal bowl, put broken-up bittersweet chocolate and the square of unsweetened chocolate, granulated sugar, butter, and vanilla.
2. Microwave mixture for approximately two minutes. If the chocolate is not fully melted, microwave for another 30 seconds.
3. Remove bowl or crock from microwave oven and stir mixture with a spoon. Let it cool for 10-15 minutes. Add cold sour cream and stir mixture with a large soup spoon for approximately two minutes. When it feels smooth, put spoonfuls of frosting over the entire top of the cake. Smooth frosting over entire top of cake with a sandwich spreader or spatula.
4. Put cake in a large, airtight, oblong plastic container lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate it until serving time. Alternatively, you can place the cake on a plate lined with parchment paper and cover it with waxed paper or plastic wrap.
 
This cake is delicious and lower in fat and sugar than many other chocolate cakes.
 
D. Ginger Ale Refresher
 
I invented this recipe in 1981 soon after I moved into my first apartment in Quincy. It was a hot day, and I wanted to drink something that was good but healthy.
 
Ingredients:
Ginger ale
Orange or grapefruit juice
Optional ice cubes
 
Directions:
 
Fill a large glass half full of ginger ale, then pour in the juice of your choice until it’s close to the top. Put a few ice cubes in. Stir ingredients together briefly and enjoy.
 
It makes a nice treat on a hot spring or summer day.
 
I hope all Consumer Vision readers and listeners can still find a ray of hope in these confusing, anxious times. Although many of us are alone, we must remember that everything has a beginning and an end. This pandemic will end, and hopefully by June we can begin to enjoy another summer. However, we must be patient, finding creative ways to spend our days. The technology of computers, phone lines, cable TV, and cartridge players engages our attention.
 
Let us hope and pray for a swift end to this virus and a peaceful, caring world.
 
***
 
10. CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST
 
Here is the answer to the trivia question submitted in the April Consumer Vision. The flu that shortened a hockey playoff season in the early 20th century was the Spanish Flu. Congratulations to the following winners:
 
Karen Crowder of Leominster, Massachusetts
Trish Hubschman of Easton, Pennsylvania
Karen Palau of Buffalo, New York
Brian Sackrider of Port Huron, Michigan
Steve Théberge of Attleboro, Massachusetts
 
And now, here is your question for the May Consumer Vision. Who sang the 1972 hit song “Crazy Horses”? If you know the answer, please email bobbranco93@gmail.com or call 508-994-4972.
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