Learning how to crochet can do more than you think for your mental health and happiness

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Arts and crafts are more than just a fun pastime, they’re truly healing and restorative and are actually very therapeutic. In fact, the healing benefits of crocheting (and knitting) are numerous and range from simply calming you down and easing your stress to potentially relieving depression and reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Crocheting doesn’t just help you if you’re the one who’s sick – it helps the caregivers around you, your friends and family that help you, love you and support you. It’s also a very good craft to pick up as a hobby for group therapy sessions, as you’re healing together in a group without having the focus completely on you. There are so many benefits of crocheting, so whether you’re stressed out and can’t sleep or are doing your part to help slow down Alzheimer’s, you’ll be doing yourself and your health a favor.

1. Crocheting reduces stress and anxiety

When you’re feeling stressed or anxious in your daily life, take some time for yourself, pick up some yarn and your hook (or your needles), and spend some time being creative. By crocheting and allowing yourself to be creative, you’re taking your mind off of whatever’s been nagging you. By focusing on the repetitive motions of individual stitches and counting rows, your mind is able to be more relaxed and free from anxious ideas and thoughts.

2. Crocheting helps with insomnia

By focusing on something that’s easy, repetitive and soothing, like crochet projects, you can calm down your mind and body enough to let you fall asleep. So the next time you’re tossing and turning in the middle of the night, don’t get frustrated, just pick up a work in progress!

3. Crocheting helps ease or relieve depression

When you do something we like, our brains release dopamine, a chemical that affects our emotions and functions like a natural anti-depressant. Scientists now believe that crafts, such as crocheting, can help stimulate that dopamine release to allow us to feel happier and better about ourselves.

4. Crocheting reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s by 30-50%.

Crocheting can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by 30-50%. By engaging in cognitive exercises and stimulating your mind, you can slow down or even prevent memory loss. Whether you plan on challenging your memory by learning a new stitch or technique or simply by reading and working up a pattern, by getting a little crafty, you’ll be helping preserve your memories.

5. Crochet builds your self-esteem.

We all want to feel productive and useful, and by working up a project to give as a gift or sell at a craft fair, we can do just that. Though we don’t craft just for the compliments, a little bit of external validation by someone buying your finished item or your gift recipient wearing that crochet hat you made all winter long can truly give us the self-esteem boosts we need.

6. Crocheting acts as a form of group therapy.

For those who seek therapy benefits in group settings, crocheting can be supremely beneficial. By placing the focus off of the patient and only the crochet project itself, it provides all of the previously mentioned health benefits of crocheting plus a sense of community and togetherness. By working in a craft, those in a group can immediately have some way of relating to the other group members, and it may help function as an ice breaker for more seriously conversations. Even if you aren’t actively seeking therapy, you can benefit from the sense of community that crocheting can bring.

7. Crocheting puts you in control.

Whether you feel helpless as a caregiver watching someone struggle or you’re the one struggling with your own illness or problems, crocheting is a way to put the control back into your own hands – literally. By choosing to craft, you are in full control of everything, from the type of project you’ll be making, the color and type or yarn and even the type of crochet hooks to work with, and that makes a difference in feeling like you have a say again.

 

Source: http://bit.ly/2qfUZZu

 

Recipe: Frozen Fruit Dessert Whip

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Ingredients

  • 2‐4 cups frozen pineapple or your choice of frozen fruit
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 lime, juiced

Directions

  1. Place frozen pineapple and coconut milk in a strong blender or food processor and pulse until combined, scraping down as needed.
  2. Pour in pineapple and lime juices and blend to combine.
  3. If mixture is too creamy, add more frozen pineapple; if too thick, add more coconut milk.
  4. Eat immediately as soft serve. You can freeze for later but it does freeze solid, I warm mine in the microwave to re soften. You can also make great Popsicles if you have a mold.

 

Dirty Dove Soap – True Beauty Should Not Come at Such a High Cost

Nobody enjoys beauty ads. The models selling the cosmetics, face creams, or hair products always look condescendingly perfect. It doesn’t help that we know they are produced by makeup artists and animation wizards. Their flawless skin causes us to frown upon our own blemishes and wrinkles.

 Their slim bodies make us self-conscious about our own weight. Their luscious hair uglifies our locks whether we think our hair is too thin, too puffy, too curly, too frizzy, or too much anything. Then we go out to buy whatever the model is selling because we are desperate to be perfect just like her. Of course, we would never admit that aloud, but that’s how we feel.

The Dove campaign is different. The models they use are real women and girls just like us. Dove ads feature real people talking about their insecurities about their looks and bring them to realize they are beautiful the way they are. It warms our hearts and makes us feel good about ourselves.

We buy Dove because we’d rather listen to the company that tells us “you are already beautiful” than the ones who scream “you are ugly and that’s why you need this product right now!”

For the company that advertises “real beauty,” we’d expect them to use natural ingredients. However, many of the Dove products feature toxic components!

This is one example:

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Dove White Beauty Bar

Here is the original product that initiated this company. It hasn’t changed and the declaration is still the same:

  • #1 Dermatologist recommended
  • Classic moisturizing formula
  • Dove doesn’t dry skin like ordinary soap
  • With ¼ moisturizing cream and mild cleansers, helps retain skin’s moisture
  • Makes skin softer, smoother and more radiant than ordinary soap
  • Suitable for daily use on hands, face, and body

The formula is the same as well, but the ingredients sound less charming:

Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate, Stearic Acid, Sodium Tallowate Or Sodium Palmitate, Lauric Acid, Sodium Isethionate, Water, Sodium Stearate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoate Or Sodium Palm Kernelate, Fragrance, Sodium Chloride, Tetrasodium Edta, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891).

What do these words even mean?!

The Reality Behind the Ingredients

Here are ingredients rampant in Dove products and what they truly can do to your body.

  1. Methylisothiazolinone – Studies have found this chemical to contribute to neurodegenerative disorders and seizures. They are looking to conduct further research on this toxin. 
  2. Fragrance/Parfum is a common skin irritant and the leading cause of dermatitis from cosmetic use. Studies suggest that this is rising skin sensitivities. 
  3. Tetrasodium Edta is made from formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. Also, it is a penetration enhancer, meaning it dissolves the protective skin barrier, pathing the way for other toxins to sink into your tissue and perhaps even your bloodstream. Although the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel deemed this chemical “safe,” since it is not well-absorbed into the skin, they did suggest caution when mixing this preservative with other hazardous ingredients. 
  4. Sodium Tallowate – Vegans, cover your eyes! Sodium Tallowate, featured in the classic Dove Beauty bar, is derived from the fatty tissue of cattle. The FDA declared this additive to be safe, but according to them, GMOs are fine too. 
  5. Sodium Laureth Sulfate – About 12,200 studies testing the cumulative effect and long-term exposure of SLS linked it to :
    • Irritation of the skin and eyes
    • Organ toxicity
    • Developmental/reproductive toxicity
    • Neurotoxicity, ecotoxicology, endocrine disruption, and biochemical or cellular changes
    • Possible mutations and cancer

As Dove believes, women should define their own beauty, yet health hazardous have never and never will be beautiful.

 

Source: http://bit.ly/2pi5lrI

Tis’ the season: Ticks- How to Avoid and Remove Them

Most ticks do not carry diseases, and most tick bites do not cause serious health problems. But it is important to avoid and check for ticks, and to remove a tick as soon as you find it. Removing the tick completely may help you avoid diseases such as Lyme disease that the tick may pass on during feeding, or a skin infection where the tick bit you.

How to avoid tick bites

  • Learn where ticks and deer that carry ticks are most commonly found in your community. Avoid those areas if possible.
  • Cover as much of your body as possible when working or playing in grassy or wooded areas. Wear a hat, a long-sleeved shirt, and long pants with the legs tucked into your socks. Keep in mind that it is easier to spot ticks on light-coloured clothes.
  • Use insect repellents, such as products with DEET.
  • Clear leaves, brush, tall grasses, woodpiles, and stone fences from around your house and the edges of your yard or garden. This may help reduce ticks and the rodents that the ticks depend on.
  • Remove plants that attract deer, and use barriers to keep deer—and the deer ticks they may carry—out of your yard.
  • Call your local landscaping nursery or county extension office to see if your yard can be treated for ticks with nonchemical or environmentally safe methods.

Checking for ticks

  • When you come in from outdoors, check all over your body for ticks, including your groin, head, and underarms. Comb your hair with a fine-toothed comb, or have someone check your scalp.
  • Ticks can come into your house on clothing, outdoor gear, and pets. These ticks can fall off and attach to you.
    • Check your clothing and outdoor gear. Remove any ticks you find. Then put your clothing in a clothes dryer on high heat for 1 hour to kill any ticks that might remain.
    • Check your pets for ticks after they have been outdoors.
  • Check your children daily for ticks, especially during the summer months.

How to remove a tick

Removing a tick with tweezers

Use fine-tipped tweezers to remove a tick. If you don’t have tweezers, put on gloves or cover your hands with tissue paper, then use your fingers. Do not handle the tick with bare hands.

  • Grab the tick as close to its mouth (the part that is stuck in your skin) as you can. The body of the tick will be above your skin.
  • Do not grab the tick around its swollen belly. You could push infected fluid from the tick into your body if you squeeze it.
  • Gently pull the tick straight out until its mouth lets go of your skin. Do not twist the tick. This may break off the tick’s body and leave the head in your skin.
  • Put the tick in a dry jar or ziplock bag and save it in the freezer for later identification if needed.

After the tick has been removed, wash the area of the tick bite with a lot of warm, clean water. Be sure to wash your hands well with soap and water also.

NOTE: If you can’t remove a tick, call your doctor.

You may cover the wound with a thin layer of petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, and a non-stick bandage. Apply more petroleum jelly and replace the bandage as needed.

Some ticks are so small it is hard to see them. This makes it hard to tell if you have removed the tick’s head. If you do not see any obvious parts of the tick’s head where it bit you, assume you have removed the entire tick, but watch for symptoms of a skin infection.

If you have a rash, headache, joint pain, fever, or flu-like symptoms, this could mean you have an illness related to a tick bite. If you have any of these symptoms, or symptoms of a skin infection, call your doctor.

What to avoid

Do not try to:

  • Smother a tick that is stuck to your skin with petroleum jelly, nail polish, gasoline, or rubbing alcohol.
  • Burn the tick while it is stuck to your skin.

Smothering or burning a tick could make it release fluid—which could be infected—into your body and increase your chance of infection.

There are some tick-removal devices that you can buy. If you are active outdoors in areas where there are a lot of ticks, you may want to consider buying such a device.

Source: http://bit.ly/2oLA2Sd

A Little update on Shop info

Hello all! I have been keeping myself busy this week puttering around and crafting it up, when came across boxes of old art and projects that I have completed a few years ago when I operated under ” The Crafty Ocelot”. I have decided to combine Green Grass Grove products and Soap into a category in my reopened shop for my Handmade Art Studio. Have a look I’ll be updating as the week goes on to add back all of my completed projects for sale. Have a great night!

www.craftyocelot.etsy.com

 

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What’t the difference between Essential oils and Fragrance oils

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Many people confuse the terms “essential oil” and “fragrance oil” because of the frequent incorrect practice of using these terms interchangeably. However, essential oils and fragrance oils are different in a number of ways. Although both types of oil can sometimes be used for the same purposes, they are chemically different, priced differently and possess different properties.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are natural products extracted in a number of ways from plants; however, all plants do not contain essential oils. Essential oils extracted from plants contain aromatic properties used as remedies for a number of problems. Essential oils are used in aromatherapy practice to help ease muscle pain, emotional problems, menstrual issues, skin problems, arthritis and more, according to author Julia Lawless in her book “Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils.”

Fragrance, Perfume and Nature Identical Oils

Fragrance oils are synthetic products and therefore do not possess the natural healing properties of essential oils. Fragrance oils are essentially a “pleasant” aroma, and many modern perfumes are created using fragrance oils. It is possible to create almost any aroma in a fragrance oil, unlike an essential oil, which is extracted from a plant.

Botanical oils

Botanical oils are oils obtained from plants that are fatty, dense and non-volatile. These oils are extracted from the root, stem/bark, leaves, flowers, seeds or fruits of a particular plant, tree or shrub, usually cold pressed or extracted by heat. Most contain nutritious proteins, minerals and vitamins.

Chemical Components of Essential Oils

The chemical components of many essential oils are complex and difficult to reproduce synthetically; not all chemical components in essential oils have been precisely identified by scientists. Essential oils are volatile and, depending on the essential oil, can be identified as a top, middle or base note oil. The chemical components of essential oils vary in the same species of plant because of season, climate and growing conditions, which means the essential oil aroma varies slightly between different batches, according to author and aromatherapist Shirley Price in her book “Aromatherapy Workbook.”

Chemical Components of Fragrance Oils

Fragrance oils are not volatile because they are synthetically made; therefore, fragrance oils usually last longer than essential oils. The range of fragrance oils is a lot wider than essential oils because almost any fragrance can be made in a laboratory. Fragrance oils may contain a certain percentage of essential oils, but they are not completely natural, like essential oils.

Price of Essential Oils

Essential oils vary considerably in price, depending on the type, season and availability. Some essential oils, such as rose and sandalwood, are always expensive because of the complex and timely extraction processes involved. If rose essential oil is cheaply priced, it is most likely adulterated, a common practice used by some suppliers to create a higher profit margin while supplying a “fake” product. Citrus essential oils are usually inexpensive because of the ease of extraction.

Price of Fragrance Oils

Fragrance oils are much cheaper than essential oils because of the ease at which they are synthetically made; almost any aroma is available as a fragrance oil. Examples of fragrance oils that cannot be extracted in essential oil format include banana, strawberry, melon, apple, blueberry pie and hot fudge cake.

Uses of Essential Oils and Fragrance Oils

Essential oils are often used in aromatherapy practice for their therapeutic properties. In addition, essential oils are used in perfumes, body products, soaps, detergents and as flavorings in food and alcohol. Fragrance oils are commonly used in soaps, perfumes and body lotions, and are favorites of craft makers thanks to the variety of fragrances available. They are cheaper than essential oils and they last longer.

Here is a great link on what to look for when purchasing Essential oils

http://www.aromaweb.com/articles/howtobuyessentialoils.asp

Recipe: Butternut Squash and Beef Stew

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Ingredients

1lb. beef cubes for stewing
1 butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and diced
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 carrots, diced
6 oz. mushrooms, sliced
6 oz. spinach, chopped
1 cup chicken stock
14 oz. diced tomatoes
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. dried oregano
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Warm up a skillet over a medium-high heat.
  2. Brown the beef cubes in the skillet for about 1 minute per side.
  3. Transfer the meat to a slow cooker.
  4. Add all the remaining ingredients, except for the spinach and the mushrooms, to the slow cooker.
  5. Give everything a good stir, set the slow cooker to low and cook for 6 hours.
    Add in the mushrooms 30 minutes before the stew is done.
  6. Add the spinach just before serving.

 

Source: http://bit.ly/2o3frfE

Using pressure points to relieve migraine pain

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Vascular imbalance and excess muscle tension can cause irritations and pains above the neck. Strain in these areas may also lead to headaches and migraines. Many people rely on OTC pain relievers but these medicines offer temporary relief. However, you can alleviate pain and tension through reflexology and acupressure. It is easy to use these techniques because you can easily access the acupressure points in this area. Keep reading to learn more about the most common pressure points for migraines and ways to stimulate them.

Why Do You Have Migraines?

While there is no clear evidence about what causes migraines, experts believe environmental factors and genetics play a big role in the development of migraines. Some studies show that any change in the brainstem and the way it interacts with the trigeminal nerve may lead to migraines. Similarly, any imbalance in brain chemicals such as serotonin may also be the underlying cause of migraines – serotonin levels usually drop when you have a migraine attack and that makes your trigeminal system to release neuropeptides that may trigger headaches.

Even though there is no clear information about the real cause of migraines, there are certain known triggers to avoid. You may experience migraines when there are any hormonal changes during menopause or pregnancy. Other common triggers include food additives, alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, certain foods, change in sleep-wake cycle, and changes in the environment. Stress and certain medications, such as vasodilators and oral contraceptives may also trigger a migraine attack.

Pressure Points for Migraines

The great thing about reflexology is that you can use these techniques to treat the problems externally as well as internally. In fact, you can get rid of your ailments completely if you stimulate those pressure points regularly. The idea behind stimulating pressure points is to clear the blocked meridians, which in turn helps energy to flow freely through the body. This will also lead to the production of endorphins that act as natural painkillers in your body.

Here are the most common pressure points for migraines:

1. Forehead Region

There are several points on your forehead and face, and all of them are yang points and are full of energy as well. Stimulating these points will make energy to flow downwards and help you find relief from aches and pains.

Third Eye Point

One of many points along your forehead is a point where the bridge of your nose joins the ridge of your eyebrows. Stimulating this point will offer relief from headaches, eye pain, eye fatigue, and hay fever.

Drilling Bamboo

In the inner corner of your eyes is another pressure point that helps find relief from allergy symptoms and sinus headaches. It is precisely located below the eyebrows, and stimulating it will also help improve vision. Be sure to apply pressure for at least a minute on both sides.

2. Temple Region

You can find several pressure points for migraines in the temple region. There is basically a chain of five points:hairline curve, valley lead, celestial hub, floating white, head portal yin. Hairline curve is close to the tip of your ear whereas the rest of the points curl around your ear. These points are located about a finger width from your ear. You will find relief from temporal headaches and migraines by applying pressure on these points. Be sure to stimulate all these points simultaneously for better results.

3. Face Region — Facial Beauty

These points locateon both sides of your nostril, at the bottom of your cheekbone, right below the pupil. It is easy to stimulate these points and proper stimulation will help open sinuses, relieve eye fatigue, toothaches, and reduce migraines and tension headaches.

4. Neck Region

There are a number of pressure points in the neck region. For instance:

Wind Mansion

One of these points is located at the back of your head – the exact location is halfway between your spine and ear. The point is called windmansionand applying pressure here will relieve pain in eyes, unblock nasal congestion, and reduce migraines and headaches.

Shoulder Well

Another pressure point in this region is at the edge of your shoulder – it is precisely halfway between the base of your neck and the point of your shoulder. Stimulating this point will help reduce neck stiffness and relieve neck pain as well. It also proves beneficial in treating ailments like spasms and asthma.

Heavenly Pillar

Heavenly pillar is yet another pressure point in the neck region and is precisely located two fingers below the base of your skull – it is basically on the rope like muscles that are on the both sides of your spine. Stimulating this point will relieve aches at the back of the head, eyestrain, neck pains, insomnia, stress, and stiff nick.

Gate of Consciousness

Gate of consciousness is located below the base of your skull – you will find it in the hollow between the vertical neck muscles. Stimulate this point to relieve headaches, arthritis, stiff neck, dizziness, eyestrain, neuro-motor coordination, and irritability.

5. Hands — Union Valley

On your hands, there is a point located in the webbing between your index finger and your thumb. You need to stimulate this point to relieve frontal headaches, back pain, and toothache. It is important to avoid triggering this point if you are pregnant because any stimulation of this point may cause contractions in the uterus.

6. Foot

There’re also some pressure points for migraines on your foot that can provide relief with stimulation.

Bigger Rushing

On your foot, you can find a pressure point that helps manage your migraines better. It is located on the top of your foot between the big and the second toe. When you apply pressure on this point, you find relief from eye fatigue, headaches, foot cramps, and arthritis.

Above Tears

There is another point on the top of your foot – you will find it an inch above the webbing of your fourth and fifth toes. Stimulate this point to relive headaches, sciatica, water retention,arthritic pains, hip pain, and shoulder tension.

 

 

Source: http://bit.ly/2oNBHqZ

How to Prepare and Eat an Artichoke

If you’ve never eaten an artichoke before, this strange vegetable may present some unique challenges when you finally try to prepare or eat one. The process for eating an artichoke is somewhat non-intuitive – the fruit can’t be eaten in its raw form because its tough fibers and sharp leaf tips can wreak havoc on your digestive system. However, if approached correctly, an artichoke can be a delicious, healthy and unusual addition to nearly any meal.

 

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 or more large globe artichokes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 slice of lemon

HOW TO COOK AN ARTICHOKE

  1.  Cut of the tips of the petals: If the artichokes have little thorns on the end of the petals, take a kitchen scissors and cut of the thorned tips of all of the petals. This step is mostly for aesthetics as the thorns soften with cooking and pose no threat to the person eating the artichoke.
  2.  Slice off the top of the artichoke: Slice about 3/4 inch to an inch off the tip of the artichoke. A serrated bread knife works great for this.
  3.  Remove small petals at the base: Pull off any smaller petals towards the base and on the stem.
  4.  Cut off excess stem: Cut off excess stem, leaving up to an inch on the artichoke. The stems tend to be more bitter than the rest of the artichoke, but some people like to eat them.
  5. Alternatively you can leave the whole long stem on the artichoke, just cut off the very end of the stem, and peel the tough outside layer of the stem with a vegetable peeler.
  6.  Rinse the artichokes: Rinse the artichokes in running cold water. While you rinse them, open up the petals a little so that the water does get inside more easily. (This is where it helps to have cut off the thorny tips, it makes the artichoke easier to open without getting poked!)
  7.  Set up a pot with some water, aromatics, and a steaming basket: In a large pot, put a couple inches of water, a clove of garlic, a slice of lemon, and a bay leaf (this adds wonderful flavor to the artichokes). Insert a steaming basket.
  8. Steam the artichokes: Place artichokes on top of the steaming basket. Cover the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer.
  9. Cook for 25 to 45 minutes or until the outer leaves can easily be pulled off.

 

HOW TO EAT AN ARTICHOKE

Pull off outer petals, one at a time. Dip white fleshy end in melted butter or sauce.

Tightly grip the other end of the petal. Place in mouth, dip side down, and pull through teeth to remove soft, pulpy, delicious portion of the petal. Discard remaining petal.

Continue until all of the petals are removed.

With a knife or spoon, scrape out and discard the inedible fuzzy part (called the “choke”) covering the artichoke heart. The remaining bottom of the artichoke is the heart. Cut into pieces and dip into sauce to eat.

***NEVER EAT THE WHOLE LEAVES OR CHOKE

 

Recipe: Braised Apple Cider Cabbage

Apple Cider Braised Cabbage Beauty + A140910 Food & Wine Most Requested Recipes + Jams 2014

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • One 1 1/2-pound head of green cabbage, cut through the core into 6 wedges
  • 1/2 cup chopped bacon (2 ounces)
  • 1 medium onion, halved through the core and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the cabbage wedges cut side down and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until browned, 6 to 8 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Add the bacon to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until rendered but not crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and just starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and simmer over moderately high heat until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the cider and bring to a boil. Nestle the cabbage wedges in the skillet, cover and braise over moderately low heat, turning once, until tender, about 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or spatula, transfer the cabbage to a platter and tent with foil.
  3. Boil the sauce over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and swirl in the butter. Season the sauce with salt and pepper; spoon over the braised cabbage and serve.

 

 

Source: http://bit.ly/2piirVw