Editor: Ted Harper
Note: Use heading navigation or search for ** to move between articles.
- Letter from the President
- Annual Picnic
- ACBT 2018 Conference
- ACB 2018 Conference
- Update: Dallas Lighthouse of the Blind
- Interest Story One: Could This New Tactile Font Help People Who Lose Their Sight Late In Life?
- Interest Story Two: Sites Should Meet Accessibility Standards
- Technology Corner: Into Orbit: First Impressions
- Reader’s Corner
- What’s Cooking: Broccoli Fritters with Cheddar Cheese
- Chapter Meeting Location
**Letter from the President
Greetings to all,
I only have a couple things of note with one request. First, there will be a May 19th chapter meeting at JJ’s Café. Our Programs Committee is working out the details for the new picnic date. Second, conference season is almost here. Pre- registration for the ACB National conference opens May 15th and continues through June 7th. Visit https://acbconvention.org for more details. Finally, I am making a personal request to all of you for the contact information of any decision maker in any organization that serves the blind and visually impaired community. I am gathering this information to partner with these same agencies and see if together we can organize a community event that would highlight each agency; there mission/services and how to would interested individuals connect with them. This idea is purely conceptual at present. So hunker down and send me contact information – even if you think I might already have the info.
President, Dallas Area Council of the Blind
By now you should have been contacted about the cancelation of our chapter’s May picnic. There were too many schedule conflicts amongst chapter membership. We will have a picnic this year in June. The program Committee is working hard to gather all the new details ironed out. Stay tuned for all the details.
**ACBT 2018 Conference
The American Council of the Blind of Texas (ACBT) will hold its 40th annual Conference/Convention Thursday, September 20 through Sunday, September 23 at the Houston Marriott Westchase 2900 Briarpark Drive Houston TX 77042. Phone: (713) 978-7400 or (800) 228-9290.
The American Council of the Blind of Texas, Inc. (ACBT) and the Houston Council of the Blind, Inc. (HCB) will unite in celebration of their joint 40th anniversaries during the ACBT Conference/Convention. The theme is “Celebrating the Past and Preparing for the Future.” Make hotel reservations by dialing (800) 452-5110 and provide the code “ACB” to ensure that you receive the accurate rate.
Registration for the event will begin in early July with a registration fee of $55 for each attendee wishing to benefit from most of the Conference/Convention activities, including all sessions; 3 group meals while participating in General Sessions, the Hospitality Room, and the Exhibit Hall. There are activities to meet the needs of all ages, such as tours, educational and empowering workshops and seminars with professional guest speakers and facilitators.
To learn more please visit www.acbtexas.org/main_index.html
**ACB 2018 Conference
Pre-Registration opens at 12:00 AM Eastern Time on May 15 and closes at 11:59 PM Pacific Time on June 17. You can pre-register online, by phone. Or paper. Request paper forms or register by phone at 800-866-3242. Pre-register online at www.acb.org from May 15 through June 17. Final session information is being prepared now. The first tours will begin on June 29th at 7:30 AM and the last tour will be the evening of July 6th.
Approximately 1,000 blind and visually impaired people are expected to attend this conference from across the United States and from many foreign countries. Countless others will listen to selected broadcasts from the conference on ACB’s internet radio service. Still others will read the conference program and newspaper from the ACB website and on ACB email lists. Included among these participants will be blind entrepreneurs, students, teachers, rehabilitation professionals, attorneys, musicians, parents and grandparents. There will be people looking for work and people who use all kinds of adaptive technology. Subscribe to the convention announce list by sending a blank email to
**Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind to merge with Envision, Inc. to Strengthen the Mission for the Visually Impaired
From the Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind. Press release, April 10, 2018.
“The Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind is a remarkable organization that has been empowering people who are blind or visually impaired to live independently since 1931. We’ve been doing the same thing at Envision since 1933,” said Envision President and CEO Michael Monteferrante. “This merger fits perfectly into both our organization’s strategic goals to expand reach, serve more people who are blind or visually impaired and extend geographic footprints.”
**Interest Story One
Could This New Tactile Font Help People Who Lose Their Sight Late In Life?
By Maya Wei-Haas Smithsonian.com May 1, 2018
ELIA Frames may serve some blind readers better than braille, but the new system has its skeptics
Elia Vallone once filled her days with mystery novels, newspapers and New York Times crossword puzzles. But at age 74, her vision began to fail.
Vallone had macular degeneration—a breakdown of the rod- and cone-shaped cells in the eye that convert light into electrical signals for the brain. In the worst of cases, as Vallone had, this means near total vision loss. “I couldn’t stand the idea of her being shut down because she could no longer read,” her daughter Elia Chepaitis told People magazine in 1988.
Vallone attempted to learn braille, to no avail. And she isn’t alone. Though reliable statistics are not available for the number of braille readers (an oft-cited, but outdated figure is less than 10 percent of legally blind Americans), people who lose sight and are already out of school are thought to be less likely to learn braille than those who start young.
Because of this, Andrew Chepaitis, Vallone’s grandson, wants to flip the braille script. The former equity research analyst founded the company ELIA Life Technology, which aims to create a tactile alphabet that echoes the Roman characters, tailored to people who lose their sight later in life.
The company makes the bold claim that their new system is “the world’s most intuitive tactile reading system.” But the upstart is stirring controversy in the braille community, with many questioning if an alternative is necessary at all.
“Reading tactilely is a bit like reading through frosted glass, so it kind of blurs together,” says Chepaitis. To tackle this issue, the ELIA system—or “font” as the company calls it—houses each character in a frame to guide readers from letter to letter.
There are the circular frames that bracket the symbols for A-D and O-S, then there’s the square frame of letters E-N and T-Z. Numbers all have house-shaped frames. The frame shapes not only loosely mimic the Roman alphabet (for example: O, P, and S are all pretty curvy, whereas X, Y, Z are all boxy), but they also help distinguish different segments of the alphabet.
The final product is a series of raised pictographs that, with the exception of a few select letters, look (and feel) like blocky, stylized versions of the Roman alphabet. Unlike braille, these tactile letters can be scaled to any size the user requires. The team just launched a Kickstarter campaign and plans to release a specialized HP Inkjet printer this fall that can create all manner of raised imagery
Andrew’s mother Elia Chepaitis originally designed the font in 1987 while working on a degree in human factors engineering and design. But Elia abandoned the project after earning her degree and becoming a professor of information systems at Fairfield University.
“So it just kind of sat there,” says Andrew Chepaitis, who helped his mother in the early stages of development. But, he adds, “I always thought it was worthwhile”
Since founding his company in 2000, Chepaitis and his team have put the font through a battery of tests. In total, they’ve analyzed 175,000 responses from 350 participants, including blindfolded sighted participants and visually impaired or legally blind participants of a wide range of ages. The latest ELIA font bears the fingerprints of these years of testing. Though the design remains similar to the one his mother created, there have been slight tweaks. For example, tiny ears sit atop the upper corners of each square frame. Though the participants can’t actually feel these little ticks, it makes the square’s corners feel extra sharp, preventing confusion of square and circular letters at small font sizes. Chepaitis envisions the system can be used for everything from home labels to books. When asked about the feasibility of printing the font, he acknowledges paper documents would be quite large thanks to ELIA’s oversized letters and, at the moment, expensive. But he isn’t deterred.
“Braille started with one book,” he says. “So we’ll start with one.”
Overall, responses to ELIA are mixed. Many experts draw comparisons between ELIA and other Roman character-based systems, like Moon type, which was invented by William Moon in 1845. Moon is slow to read and challenging to reproduce. And because of this, it never really took off.
“It is a very interesting concept, and it’s neat that they’re trying to come up with something that could be usable,” says Ike Presley, National Project Manager for the American Foundation for the Blind. But he has concerns about how ELIA cites some inaccurate statistics about braille literacy.
According to ELIA, it takes 10 months to learn braille and 5 to 11 years to achieve a 23 WPM reading speed. But ten months is merely the length of a braille course at the Hadley School for the Blind, according to Chepaitis. (“We don’t know what it takes,” he says in conversation.) And the 5- to 11-year figure comes from the book Reading By Touch, which was written more than 20 years ago, notes Rebecca Sheffield, senior policy researcher at the American Foundation for the Blind.
ELIA also includes the striking statistic that less than 1 percent of the 8.4 million people in the U.S. with visual impairments can read braille. But this figure is calculated using results from two different surveys conducted more than a decade apart “We do not believe there is a comprehensive study that exists that would give a good handle on the number of people who are blind who read braille,” says Sheffield. That’s not to say learning braille is a breeze.
Thomas Reid lost his sight in 2002 at age 35 due to cancer. After spotting ELIA on Twitter, Reid, the host of the podcast “Reid My Mind Radio” and “2 Blind Mics,” reached out to Chepaitis to learn more about the font and potentially highlight it on his show.
Though Reid has learned braille, he emphasizes he’s still a slow reader. And it took “months and months,” he says. When asked about the most difficult part of learning braille, he responds with a rhetorical question: “You ever see how small those bumps are?”
“If you’ve been reading print all your life and now you have to take in information tactilely, it’s different,” he says. “It takes a lot of brain power.” Studying braille, he says, required intense concentration to think through each letter—and the effort often left him mentally exhausted.
“I didn’t find that with ELIA,” he says. Within an hour he learned the alphabet and was relatively comfortable identifying individual letters. ELIA’s tests suggest that others have a similar experience. After 60 hours of focused training, with no additional at-home practice, focus group participants achieved an average reading speed of 2.8 words per minute at 07 cm font size and up to nearly seven WPM with a 1.1 cm font size. The range was wide, with some participants able to process up to 25 WPM after training.
The company also tested braille readers’ learning speed in a similar situation. After the 60 hours of training, participants read standard braille (roughly 0.7 cm) at just under one WPM. With a 1.1 cm braille, participants read at 3.1 WPM, an average comparable to the small ELIA font
To put that into context, sighted English readers process an average of 200 to 250 words per minute. Braille reading speeds widely vary from the mid-20s words per minute up to 200 words per minute for exceptionally fast readers.
But Presley worries that ELIA’s max reading speeds won’t line up. Since its invention by Louis Braille in 1824, braille has been optimized over the years, he says. Dot depth, size and distance are now all standardized for the fastest and accurate reading. “You want to be able to perceive all six dots at one time under your finger without having to move [it],” says Presley. (“Jumbo braille” is slightly larger, but less common than the standard size.) But that’s not the case with ELIA frames, which require a little tactile exploration. Responding to the critique, Chepaitis argues that all readers—sighted and tactile—start one letter at a time. “No reader on the planet ever just jumped to reading words,” he says.
Perhaps, in the end, speed reading isn’t really the goal for ELIA. “Where I see it can make a big difference is labeling,” says Reid, who largely relies on screen readers for work. He qualifies this statement, however, by expressing strong support for braille—a system that has provided hundreds of thousands of dedicated users’ independence at both home and work.
Many concerns about ELIA seem to stem from the idea that it would compete with or replace braille, drawing away some of the already limited resources and funding. And Chepaitis is sympathetic to the concern.
When asked about the worry, he’s clear that it is not his intent. People with visual disabilities at birth “learn braille as their first font, their only font,” he says. “And changing it would be disruptive.” But he hopes that ELIA will be an alternative for those who did not learn braille at such an opportune age. “At the core, [our hope is that] down the road, people will be able to choose whatever font they want,” he says, likening the decision to selecting Helvetica versus Times New Roman.
As Reid notes, for now, ELIA remains fairly inaccessible without a printer, and it’s unclear how affordable such devices will be. Nancy D. Miller, CEO of VISIONS services for the blind and visually impaired, agrees that the biggest challenge for the font will be attracting a large enough market to bring the cost of printing down.
“I wouldn’t prevent anybody from coming up with alternative ways of being as independent as possible,” says Miller. “And even if a small group finds it helpful, what’s wrong with that? I just don’t think it’s ever going to be marketed to scale. For Reid, the lengthy process of learning to read braille was a constant reminder of his situation. “You’re adjusting to blindness. Everything is new and you’re dealing with all of that at the same time,” he says.
There’s a lot of emotional stuff that’s going on. It’s a lot of mental strength you have to put yourself through,” he adds. But for people like Reid, perhaps ELIA—whose curves and corners hold a certain comfort in their familiarity—can help lift just a sliver of that burden.
**Interest Story Two
Sites Should Meet Accessibility Standards
By Douglas J. Guth, Craine’s News, Business Section, February 17, 2018
Last June, a federal judge in Florida ruled in favor of a visually impaired man who claimed the website for Winn-Dixie? A supermarket chain? denied him the “full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations” it offers to its sighted customers.
In the ruling, the judge said the supermarket chain website was closely integrated with its physical store locations, making it subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act. The decision, which didn’t award the plaintiff damages, required Winn-Dixie to update its site, representing what is believed to be the first regarding a website’s accessibility under the ADA.
The case reflects an increased push among organizations to meet accessibility standards when pushing out their digital content. According to area experts interviewed by Crain’s, the idea is to provide consumers with a better brand experience while also mitigating any reason for people with disabilities to call their attorney.
Since the start of 2018, Cleveland digital marketing agency? Thunder tech has fielded a dozen calls from clients asking how to make their websites easier to navigate, said senior director of development Bruce Williams.
“In this bucket of digital transformation, there’s an aging population, those with disabilities, and transactions that people normally do in person they are now doing online,” Williams said. “As a company, you want your customers to meet you where you’re at.”
Thunder::tech works with middle market businesses in the B2B, B2C, government and nonprofit sectors. As early as last year, the goal for most marketers was to create mobile-first online content a mission that shifted steadily into creation of accessible websites, Williams said. The challenge for many organizations now understands what exactly should be provided in terms of digital accessibility features.
There are some guidelines for companies to follow. In the late-1990s, for example, Congress amended the Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to require federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities.
In January, tweaks to Section 508 of the law ensured all government websites would be accessible to people with hearing and sight disabilities using screen readers and other assistive technology. Organizations also can review worldwide standards like the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines??(WCAG). Some of those standards include the visual presentation of text and how audio and video is portrayed on a website.
When considering accessibility, companies must understand how wide these challenges spread. Experts say digital content should be reachable for not only the visually impaired, but those with cognitive, language and learning disabilities as well.
“You won’t know every customer to the nth degree, but you can talk to experts in the field and look at your audience,” Williams said. “Make decisions without cherry picking one user over the other.”
Auditing online touch points is a positive first step toward organizational accessibility.
While computer-generated scanning services can uncover digital gaps, companies should also have users test their website with a screen reader or magnifier. Nor should websites be the only priority when it comes to building a successful digital business.
“Most clients are thinking of the web, but there’s also shared PDFs and downloadable, or an app or adjacent transactional platform they put out for the brand,” Williams said.
Accommodating impairments is something more companies are taking to heart as the baby boomer population ages, said Randy Knapp, senior assistive technology trainer with the Cleveland Sight Center.
“Vendors are realizing that all users have the ability to interact and do business whether they have a disability or not,” Knapp said. “Meeting people who have a wide variety of needs is just good business.”
Website compliance often requires more than just edits to image tags or hyperlinks via a content management system. Graphics, text, templates and web pages may need recalibrations to address issues in Section 508 or WCAG.
Cleveland Sight Center’s web page gives users options to change the color or font size. The WCAG-compliant site, launched in 2015, also offers special instructions for image and video descriptions, and utilizes updated site navigation, content and search capabilities designed for users browsing the site with assistive technology.
Knapp, who has been blind since birth, said websites are “living documents” that speak to audiences based on their needs.
“There’s a misnomer that accessible sites can’t have graphic content,” Knapp said. “You can write code so your site looks modern and speaks to accessibility, too. When designed properly from the get-go, you’ll have a site that’s efficient and cost productive.”
Working from a proactive position instead of a reactive one integrates accessibility into the company culture. Williams of thunder::tech suggests assigning a team to review digital touch points on a regular basis, which will help accessibility become a day-to-day element of an organization.
Through the auditing process, content publishers will understand how to modify site images and tags alongside easy-to-read PDFs and video captions.
“B2C brands need to think about accessibility a bit quicker, or at least consider how critical their services are to customers,” Williams said. “If someone has trouble accessing something that can impact their life, you should be paying attention to it.”
Ultimately, online inclusivity represents a business opportunity that’s all too often ignored, said Knapp.
“My money is just as green as anyone else’s,” he said. “If a company makes it so I can shop there, their bottom line is going to increase.”
Into Orbit: First Impressions of the New Low-Cost Refreshable Braille Device from APH
By Larry Thacker. The Lion’s Roar, Posted on February 11, 2018
I purchased my first ever refreshable brail reader/terminal last week. Until now, my limited use case for a device like this made the expenditure unreasonable to me. I read braille and use it where it makes sense to do so, but braille is not my primary means of accessing content. Mostly I wanted the display to help with light braille editing that I do while preparing handouts for our church.
When I heard about the Orbit Reader 20 from The American Printing House for the Blind (APH,) I was interested. At $449, it is less than half the cost of the other lower-end braille displays that are available and a small fraction of the cost of others.
If you visit the link above near the time of this writing, you’ll probably see that it is not currently available. They have had some trouble ramping up production of the units. I was able to get in on the last batch that came out. They go quickly when announced.
To fill in those readers who may not know what I’m writing about, a refreshable braille display is a device that allows a blind person to read digital files in braille or interact with their electronic device through a braille interface. It does this by manipulating a series of tiny pins that serve as the braille dots. As the user moves through the material, the pins go up and down to make the braille patterns. Capabilities range from simple terminal interfaces that work with computers, phones or tablets to full-fledged computers that allow the user to interact with both braille and text-to-speech. The Orbit Reader is a 20 cell display with Bluetooth and USB connectivity that also provides for reading files stored on an SD card, which ships with the unit, and very basic note taking ability.
I received mine on Thursday evening. It came in an ordinary box with bubble wrap packing, much like you would expect if you bought a second hand unit from a reseller. I imagine they’ll fancy that up a little once they’re at full capacity, but maybe not. The packaging is adequate and there’s no compelling reason to spend extra money on the aesthetics. In the box with the unit were braille and large print quick start guide, a micro USB cable, and a wall charger.
There was one other bump in the road with the order process. Hopefully this has been corrected by now, but when I ordered mine, the site offered free matter for the blind as a shipping option. This is not a valid option for items of this kind, but I did not encounter any information during the order to apprize me of this fact. If it was there, my screen reader did not ever land on it. The order went through without the shipping charge. A few days later, I was charged $18.92 with no explanation as to why. I had to contact APH to find out. I suppose I could have raised a stink. After all, they accepted my order and gave me no indication that shipping would be charged. I let it go.
When I plugged in the display and powered it up, it came up displaying the quick start guide, and I took a moment to experiment with the controls, moving down through the text and reading. Since this is my first display and I have only examined others briefly, I can’t do an in depth comparison to others that some may be familiar with. I can say the thing is rather loud, and it won’t win any awards for speed, though it is adequate for reading in most situations. I thought it might be useful to read a digital copy of the handouts I make for the church, but with only 20 cells and the slow refresh rate, it will be hard to keep up with a fast paced song. Depending on the acoustics and ambient noise level of a room, it may prove distracting in quiet environments such as a classroom. I took it to a meeting that was held in a private room at a restaurant, and it did not seem overly loud there, so I would not rule it out in every case.
I read through the manual from APH’s web site and then hooked it up to my Mac. The instructions in the manual were incorrect as of this writing. It said to set the USB mode to Serial, but you actually need to leave it on HID to connect to the Mac via USB. It connected easily to my iPhone over bluetooth, but I had some difficulty trying to use it as an input device. Whether set to contracted or uncontracted braille, what came out was full of errors and character combinations that I cannot explain despite some knowledge of computer braille and strong familiarity with contracted grade 2.
Nevertheless I will concede that some of my difficulty may come from being a novice braille display user. When I gave up, I discovered that the command for getting into the menu system or the one for switching the unit into standalone mode would not work with the unit paired to my phone. I had to go and make the iPhone forget the display before I could regain control. I suppose that turning off the display and turning it back on might have worked, but since I was pretty sure that was my last attempt to use the display that way, I chose the former method. Temporarily turning off the Bluetooth on the phone would also have worked. These issues may be addressed in future firmware updates, but as of this writing I can’t get them. See below.
Now for the real test. Can I use the Orbit Reader on the Mac for my intended purpose? Well, kind of. Once Voiceover on the Mac was able to see the unit, it began working immediately and I had a look through Voiceover’s interface settings. He unit itself does no braille translation, i.e. computer braille to grade 2 contracted braille. However, Voiceover can do that for you. Most of the time, that would be nice, but not when I’m trying to review an actual translated braille document, so I looked for a way to easily turn translation on and off. I found it, but it didn’t work. I don’t know if that is the fault of Voiceover or the display itself. So I left it off.
On the possibility that the display might need a firmware upgrade, I went back to the manual to find out how to do that. To my dismay, Mac users or anyone without a Windows PC at hand is out of luck. One has to download and unzip a file from the site and run a Windows executable while performing specific key presses on the unit to make the date happen. Fortunately my wife does have a Windows PC, but that didn’t work out either. I copied the unzipped folder contents to our network attached drive and from there to my wife’s PC. I then hooked up the display and ran the software. I was greeted with a message saying the program couldn’t run on this PC. The PC is running Windows 10. I have not investigated further except to determine that running as administrator was no more useful.
I hope that a Mack updater is planned for the future, but I would suggest to APH that there needs to be an alternative way to do this. I was expecting something along the lines of how the NLS players and the original Victor Reader are updated. One loads the upgrade file to the SD card or USB stick and then inserts it into the unit before turning it on. That doesn’t help someone with a computer at all, but it is a step in the right direction that might not require adding significantly to the capabilities or cost of the machine.
My next step was to fire up Duxbury for Mac, the program I have been using to translate material into Braille. It was a total loss. This is not the fault of the device. Duxbury has done a poor job of Voiceover support. I participated in the beta program and up until the final release it worked pretty well, but it was completely broken in the production version. I have to use the last beta to do any editing.
But maybe all is not lost. APH has its own braille translator, Braille Blaster, and it’s free! I gave that a try and the results were much better. I was able to ctrl-tab to the translated braille and tell through the display exactly what it was going to look like. The translator is aimed at professionals doing large scale work for students, so some niceties that would be part of a typical consumer product are missing, but it did work. My only disappointment there was that when I copied the braille file to the display for offline reading, I found extraneous characters in the file where I had applied styles such as headings. I saw these in the printed side of the file while I was working on it, but they did not appear in the braille on screen. Hopefully this is something that will be resolved in the future. I applaud APH for making this program available, since the alternatives cost hundreds of dollars and many cannot afford them.
The verdict: almost not quite. I am delighted that APH and others are working on a way to bring refreshable braille technology down to a level where people can afford to use it if they need it. In some situations, this will be a perfectly viable solution to give more people access to braille than would otherwise have it. My own experience would no doubt have been better if I were a Windows user. I think I’ll hang onto it and see how things develop, but I don’t see myself getting a lot of use from it right away. I should also mention that there are others entering the space. I recently stumbled upon another low cost display that is in development by a company in India. The Braille Me has a similar price point, and according to the maker uses a technology that is more like the pricier displays in terms of speed and noise production. I look forward to watching this market develop. We are blessed to have so much technology available today to make our lives easier.
Submitted by chapter members. All selections are courtesy of National Library Service for the Blind’s BARD online service.
The Home Problem Solver: The essential homeowner’s repair and maintenance manual DB52518
Vandervort, Donald W. Reading time: 8 hours, 59 minutes.
Read by Richard Hauenstein.
Home Management Provides solutions to more than four hundred home problems including how to handle emergencies; appliance repair advice; house maintenance tips regarding plumbing, electrical, and cooling/heating systems; interior and exterior surface problems; doors and windows; and when to call for an expert. 2000.
America’s Dumbest Criminals: Based on True Stories from Law Enforcement Officials Across the Country
By Richard Butler Daniel R; Gregory, Leland; Ray, Alan. Reading time: 3 hours,
Category: True Crime, Bestsellers
Humorous true stories of criminals who were their own worst enemies but a big help to the police. After coming home in a cab, a drunken man robs the driver at gunpoint. Another stickup man carefully disguises his face and vehicle but forgets to remove his maintenance uniform, which has his name and place of employment printed on it. Bestseller 1995.
Duty: A Father, His Son and the Man Who Won the War
By Bob Greene Reading Time 8 hours 59 minutes
Based on interviews with his father’s hero–the B-29 pilot who dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, in August 1945–a syndicated columnist delivers a tribute to a passing generation. Explores the values of World War II veterans and their commitment to patriotism, courage, and a sense of duty. Bestseller. 2000.
Victoria the Queen: An intimate biography of the woman who ruled an empire
By Baird, Julia, (Julia Woodlands). Reading time: 21 hours, 10 minutes.
Read by Lucy Rayner. Historical biography.
A journalist draws on sources that include revelations about the queen’s relationship with Scottish servant John Brown and examines the story of a woman who struggled with many of the same things as modern individuals: work-life balance, raising children, marital troubles, family death, anxiety, and more. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2016.
The Templars’ Last Secret
Walker, Martin. Reading time: 9 hours, 58 minutes.
Read by Robert Ian McKenzie. Suspense Fiction Mystery and Detective Stories
Series: Bruno, Chief of Police, Book 10.
When a woman’s body is found at the foot of a cliff near St. Denis, Bruno suspects a connection to the great ruin that stands on the cliff above. The Château de Commarque was once a Knights Templar stronghold with a labyrinth of prehistoric caves beneath it. Unrated Commercial audiobook. 2017
Editor note: Have a cool book you’d like to submit? Send it on over.
Easy Broccoli Fritters with Cheddar Cheese
*Editor’s note: I’m trying to limit my daily carb intake. I like these fritters so much I thought I’d share. The unadapted recipe can be found at the link below.
These easy broccoli fritters are made with cheddar cheese and have a hearty toothsome bite! A minimum of ingredients keeps this recipe healthy and low carb too.
Servings: 4- 6, difficulty level 3 out of 5. This recipe might sound complicated but it’s really not. Just prep everything before you start the cooking process. It’s very forgiving.
Per serving: Calories: 204, Net Carbs 2.8 g, Protein 12 g. most of the calories are from the cheese.
Supplies: Medium bowl, a blender or sharp knife, cutting board if using a knife, spatula, measuring spoons and cup, paper towels and maybe a colander.
- 8 ounces broccoli, cut into small pieces or chopped (I eliminate the knife altogether by buying the broccoli flowerets in a bag from the salad section of my local grocer.) Place a few flowerets into a blender and pulse, dump into the bowl and then repeat. This way the prep time is less and there is no loss of fingers
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese or what’s on hand
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 2 Tbsp. almond flour, or powdered pork rinds (Regular flour is not low carb.)
- 1 Tsp. Cajun seasoning, chili powder or red pepper flakes
- 1Tbsp. olive oil or your favorite (Canola oil is not low carb)
- Cut fresh broccoli crowns and stems into 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch pieces. Try using your blender to make this process easier. Broccoli crumbles work just fine. Steam lightly in a small bowl in the microwave or in a steamer. Through flowerets into a colander to drain or place crumbles between a few paper towels to remove moister. If using leftover broccoli, drain well and blend or chop into small bite-sized pieces.
- Toss or stir the broccoli with your flour and the seasoning to coat. I like to do this step in a large plastic bag and dump this back into the bowl. Add the egg and stir. Add the cheddar cheese and stir until thoroughly combined. Go ahead and use your hands to make one big ball and then divide into 4 or 6 equal sized balls.
- Place a large non-stick pan over medium heat until hot; 4 – 5 minutes should do. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan; I use a wooden spoon to drag the oil around the pan. Divide the mixture into four or six balls and place into pan and press flat. Scrape any tumbled pieces back into the patty if you’re able. Use a smaller pan if you need to cook them one at a time. If you smell something burning, turn down the heat.
- Cook on one side until the cheese on the top of the patty begins to melt and the bottom is crusty brown; about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side 3-4 minutes more. Serve topped with a poached egg or with a dipping sauce. Try 2 Tbsp. of salsa.
The patties will store in your fridge in an air-tight container for a few days.
Editor’s note: Have you been cooking? Share your favorite recipe with us.
**Chapter Meeting Location
May 19th: Our chapter meets the third Saturday of every month from noon until 2:00 p.m. Currently we meet at JJ’s Café located at 10233 E Northwest Hwy, Dallas, TX 75238. Phone 🙁 214) 221-4659, located in a strip mall called North Lake Center. Please be aware that the restaurant encourages you to eat in the main dining room and then move into the meeting room. Make sure you ask for your order ticket to be given directly to you when the wait staff delivers your meal. When you’re done, you pay at the front. Some members have voiced concerns that this arrangement is unnecessarily complicate. Leadership is working with the restaurant to smooth everything out. Patience is required during this transition.
We are always looking for new restaurants that have meeting space. Forward your suggestions to any officer.
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