Thursday, January 24, 2019

Corned Beef Harsh: The Popular Breakfast in Louisiana

Corned beef harsh, credit to Danilo Alfaro

One of favorite breakfast menus in Louisiana is a corned beef harsh. The menu, originally came from France where certain section of beef such as brisket (sometimes, navel and muscles parts) was chopped, usually small rectangular forms. The diced meats are soaked in a flavor (usually salt) for several days.

The corned beef then mixed with chopped of potatoes, cooked carrot, onions, bell peppers, garlic scallions and other spices. Then, ready to be cooked, not take long to cook. It is simple breakfast or lunch or dinner in many states across America, but one of popular breakfast especially in New Orleans, Louisiana.

There are many restaurants provide corned beef harsh for breakfast. In my town, Baton Rouge, I can find more than 5 restaurants sell this meal. Corned beef harsh or alternative menu such as smoked slab cost for US$ 9.00. Additional cost if you add eggs or desserts.

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Monday, January 21, 2019

King Cake is Traditional Product of Louisiana

King cake of Louisiana

One of specific products of New Orleans, Louisiana is King Cake. The colorful and very sweet style pastries. Cake is made, eaten and associates with Mardi Gras celebration. It was tradition from French since 300 years ago.

The cake is commonly sugar (colorful sugar) on the top, but there are many variations of filling of inside the cake. What inside the King Cake is depend on the countries tradition outside French. In Louisiana, it is commonly bean inside. Many cakes are filling with chocolate, pear, apple, cheese, banana and almond. 

Inside King Cake

Vietnamese communities in New Orleans, Louisiana have their own varieties. The cake is quite lighter and flakier. I like this variation, since less sugar, easy to eat and tasteful. We could find in the store called Dong Phuong Bakery, locates at eastern city of New Orleans. The bakery made 30 thousand cake during Mardi Gras festival in 2017.

The bakery sells many kinds of King cake, some of them are cream cheese, pecan and classic cinnamon. The price higher during festival, but the range is between US$ 14 to US$ 16.

Colorful of King Cake

I never made the cake by myself. Just to give you an idea of King cake ingredient is following: Dry yeast; sugar; butter; milk; milk; egg yolk; salt; grated lemon zest; nutmeg; flour; cinnamon and colorful sugar.

Be careful, caloric content is high. One slice of cake could contain 321 calories.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Knock Out to Understand Diseases in Human Body

Procedure to produce gene knockout animal (Source: Hansson, 2007)
Knockout is a technique to in-activate specific genes in human body. The technique is part of biotechnology which has been used to modify living organisms in order to improve human welfare since long time ago, may be dated back to 5000 B.C.E.
Inactivated specific genes is the biochemical and pathological basis that might be used to understand human diseases. For these purposes the scientists produced a knockout mouse. 
NIH (2015) informed that human share many genes with mice. Thus, observing knockout mice gives information that can be used to better understand how a similar gene may cause or contribute to disease in humans. 
So far, knockout mice have been used to understand many diseases, including cancer, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, substance abuse, anxiety, aging and Parkinson disease. 
The knockout will result in disrupt of targeted gene. Since mouse is closely related to humans, thus, it is favorite animal for knockout experiments, especially with regard to genetic questions that relate to human physiology.
At Figure above (top of this article), we can see how to target gene. The introduce specific gene modification in mice by the use of embryonic stem (ES) cell, then produced knockout animal (mice). 
As described by Hansson (2007) that knockout have become absolutely important in medical research. Through targeting (removing) a specific gene, we can find out what happens once it is gone. It is lead to new understanding of normal development and disease processes, then identified new avenues for medical therapy.

Hansson, GK. 2007. ADVANCED INFORMATION. Gene modification in mice. "The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2007". Retrieved from ttp://
NIH (National Human Genome Research Institute). 2015. Knockout Mice. Retrieved from

Monday, January 14, 2019

New Parents often Faced Depression

Illustration of depressed parents and kids, credit to Matthew D. Johnson
Both mom and dad experienced some degree of depression immediately after childbirth. Around 12% of mother get depression called as a postpartum depression. This kind of depression is due to combination of factors such as tired and exhausted, psychological adaptation and hormonal changes.
Depressions faced by parents not only influence their own behavior, but also trickle-down effect to their newborn child, and even beyond. It is fact that depression parents affect on cognitive ability, emotional function, anxiety development, and even depression of children. 
Many researchers found that depressed parents associates with children difficulties in respect to insecurity, agressiveness, emotionality, happiness, cognitive vulnerabilities and bad interpersonal functioning. 
Kids respond to their depressed parents by non interactive face. This kind of action also happen when kids meet with unrelated caregivers.
Later, youngsters could develop emotional problems which lead to less social interactions. Children from depressed parent has no vocabularies advantages, then cause difficulty in communications and reading ability.
Low level of parental care and separation from parents are believed to influence on children development. Kids tend to exhibit anxiety behaviors and disruption in cognitive capabilities. However, these abnormalities could be repaired through environmental enrichment and experience process during adulthood.
For children with abnormalities due to depressed parents during their childhood, it is important to pay attention for formal and informal education as one of ways to cure abnormalities. 

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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Walmart Shopping Center: Scan and Go

Self Scanning Machine
First time when I came to Walmart, the biggest super center in the USA about 13 years ago, where each counter has own cashier, no automatic scanning at all. Then, there are a few self scanning, but there is someone to take care payment either by credit card or cash or even by cheques.
Since last year, 2018, almost all counters of Walmart groceries are automatic. We take care ourselves, from scanning the goods, put and arrange in the plastic bags and do payment. The payment by credit or debit card only. No cash payments or cheques.
Actually, the self scanning system is not new, first invented by Howard Schneider and applied by the supermarket, called the Price Chopper in New York in 1992. Then automatic machines were copied by many supermarket across America since 1997.

No cashiers anymore
Now, to save time, several supermarket provide portable scanners. We scan the barcode on items, then arranging the items in the cart. The scanner add up the bill, thus we could through available cashiers or through self-checkout counters.  
In addition to automatic check out, the Walmart offers shopping through online. We can order everything from computer devices to electronics to prescription drugs to groceries to avoid crowd in the checkout line. Then, we could pick up after the store completed our orders.
This is new thing for me. Quite difficult to adjust for me at first. However, technology changes can’t be avoided, we must face of its. What do you think?

Friday, December 7, 2018

Sweet Citrus in Our Small Garden

Ripe citrus

When we buy a house in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, there are several plants, include fruits at backyard. The fruits are pear, lemon, blackberry and citrus. The lovely fruit for me and my family is citrus with varieties named Tangerine.

The size is quite smaller compared to other orange groups, but the taste is sweeter, and the sweetest as I know so far. The thin skin made Tangerine is easy to peel up and split into several segments. 

Orange is ready to be harvested 

Tangerine grow well in the states such as California, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Temperature is quite mild during winter, and hot like in the tropical areas during summer season. 

In the November, and sometimes reach to the end of December, we usually harvest our citrus every day. I may eat 10 citrus a day. However, we could store Tangerines in the refrigerator for about two weeks, and still fresh. 

It is good for health, since Tangerine contains highly vitamin C, and free of fat, cholesterol, sodium, fat and saturated fat. Good for diet, and diabetes patients.

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Friday, November 30, 2018

The Small Monument of Lord of the Ducks

A kind of monument for Lord of the Ducks

We just aware recently that there is written and mural of small monument of Lord of the Ducks in one of our city parks. The park called as City Park Lake locates in the Dalrymple Dr, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. There are plenty of ducks and geese in the lake of park. 

Ducks and geese

Visitors or tourists, especially children love to feed ducks and geese, since they are come around to the visitors while walking around the lake, especially in the corner of lord of the duck’s monument. Some of these fowls are resting under trees, other are swimming in the lake.


The ducks and geese and their surround area’s views are good objects to take pictures. We saw couples of white fowls, look like swan from far distance. We don’t know whether they are swan or not. But, we sure the lake has a lot of kinds of fowls either managed by state park or just wild intruder fowls.    

Some artists are drawing the ducks swimming in the lake with back ground of autumn colors of tree's leaves. They look serious to play with their brushes to catch wonderful scenery while “lord of the ducks” watching from short distance.

Corned Beef Harsh: The Popular Breakfast in Louisiana

Corned beef harsh, credit to Danilo Alfaro One of favorite breakfast menus in Louisiana is a corned beef harsh. The menu, originall...