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Stir up a no-cook meal for your family on a hot summer day. Just spin the globe until your finger lands on Spain, and think gazpacho! The season's freshest tomatoes, cukes, peppers and onions come together in this satisfying and zesty cold Spanish soup. Let your kids harvest some of the ingredients from your family garden, or choose them in peak condition at a farmers market. Teach your school-age children basic cutting and chopping techniques. They'll have lots of practice with this recipe!

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Black-eyed peas have had a tremendous influence on both my writing and culinary career. My first book for children was entitled "Picking Peas for a Penny." It was a rhyming story about my mother and my Uncle John picking black-eyed peas for a penny a bushel basket on my grandparents' farm in Oklahoma during the 1940s.

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Bees, birds and butterflies play integral roles in pollinating many of the crops humans rely on for sustenance. The National Pollinator Garden Network, through the National Wildlife Federation, recently launched the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, an effort to increase the amount of nec…

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Like many of you, when the weather turns warmer, I start thinking about shedding a few pounds. As I grow older, getting rid of my extra winter weight becomes more of a challenge. I've found that adding more of the right foods in smaller portions to my daily diet all year long is the best method for me to weigh less.

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Jet-lagged, a friend and I recently bumped into each other at the gym — she just back from France, and me from two weeks in Morocco. I asked her what her trip highlight was and without skipping a beat, she said, "The best was going to Normandy beaches where my dad landed with Allied forces almost 75 years ago on D-Day, June 6, 1944. It was so meaningful for me to be where he was and to photograph the landscape."

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Sunny days and warm weather beckon us to the great outdoors. A day spent in the pool or lounging around the patio is a great way to embrace the relaxing spirit of summer. But those who want to go the extra relaxing miles should consider adding a hammock or swinging chair to their backyard oasis.