$1

History is one of my favorite subjects to teach and research.

I ran across the meaning and symbolism of the back of the $1 bill, and I thought all of you might enjoy learning a few new things, too. Grab a $1 bill and follow along.

On the back, you will see two circles. Together they comprise the Great Seal of the United States. The First Continental Congress requested that Benjamin Franklin and a group of men come up with a seal. It took them four years to accomplish this task and another two years to have it approved. If you look at the circle on the left, you will see a pyramid. The front is light, and the western side is dark. Our country was just beginning. We had not begun to explore the West or decided what we could do for the western civilization. The pyramid is uncapped, again signifying that we were not even close to being finished. Inside the capstone you have the all-seeing eye, an ancient symbol for divinity. It was Franklin’s belief that one man couldn’t do it alone, but a group of men, with the help of God, could do anything.

“In God We Trust” is on this currency. The Latin above the pyramid, “Annuit Coeptis,” means “God has favored our undertaking.” The Latin below the pyramid, “Novus Ordo Seclorum,” means “a new order has begun.” At the base of the pyramid is the Roman numeral for 1776 (MDCCLXXVI).

The circle on the right is the centerpiece of most heroic monuments. Slightly modified, it is the seal of the president of the United States and is always visible whenever he speaks. Very few people, however, actually know what the symbols mean. The bald eagle was selected as a symbol for victory for two reasons. First, the eagle is not afraid of a storm; it is strong, and it is smart enough to soar above it. It wears no material crown. We had just broken from the king of England. Also, notice the shield is unsupported. This country can now stand on its own. At the top of the shield you have a white bar signifying Congress, a unifying factor. We were coming together as one nation. In the eagle’s beak, you will read, “E Pluribus Unum,” meaning “one from many.”

Above the eagle, there are 13 stars representing the 13 original colonies, and any clouds of misunderstanding rolling away. Again, we were coming together as one. The eagle is holding two different things in his talons. He holds an olive branch and arrows. This country wants peace, but we will never be afraid to fight to preserve peace. The eagle always wants to face the olive branch, but in time of war, his gaze turns toward the arrows.

There is a worldwide belief that 13 is an unlucky number. You will almost never see a room numbered 13 or any hotels or motels with a 13th floor. But think about this:

• 13 original colonies

• 13 signers of the Declaration of Independence

• 13 stripes on our flag

• 13 steps on the pyramid

• 13 letters in ‘Annuit Coeptis’

• 13 letters in ‘E Plurbis Unum’

• 13 stars above the eagle

• 13 bars on that shield

• 13 leaves on the olive branch

• 13 fruits

• 13 arrows

There are also 13 stars in the circle on the right circle that are arranged as the Star of David. This was ordered by George Washington in honor of Hayim Solomon, a wealthy man of the Jewish faith who was personally rewarded for his services to the Continental Army. Solomon said he wanted nothing for himself as a reward, but would like something for the Jewish people. He saved the Continental Army by his financial contributions but died a pauper.

Hope you enjoy today’s recipes. Thanks for reading.

PINK LEMONADE POUND CAKE

1 (18.25-ounce) package white cake mix

1 cup sour cream

1 (6-ounce) container frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed

¼ cup pink lemonade drink mix (Country Time)

1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-inch loaf pan with baking spray with flour. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper, and set aside. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, sour cream, lemonade concentrate, drink mix, cream cheese, eggs and vanilla. Beat at a low speed with an electric mixer for one minute and then at a higher speed for two more minutes. Pour batter into prepared baking pan, smoothing the top. Bake for one hour or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for about 20 minutes. Remove from the pan, and completely cool on wire rack before slicing and serving.

WHITE CHOCOLATE COCONUT AND MACADAMIA NUT BLONDIES

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 large egg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon coconut extract

½ cup butter, melted

1½ cups flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup flaked coconut

1 cup chopped macadamia nuts

1 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with Pam, and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine sugar and egg. Beat with electric mixer for three minutes. Add extracts and butter, beating until combined. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add this mixture to butter mixture, beating until combined. Don’t over mix. Fold in coconut, nuts and chocolate chips. Spoon batter into prepared pan, and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until wooden toothpick comes out clean in the center of the pan. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into 2-inch brownies and serve.

EASY MEXICAN CHICKEN CASSEROLE

3 (9.75-ounce) cans white chunk chicken breast in water, drained

1 (16-ounce) jar picante sauce

1 (10-ounce) can fiesta nacho cheese soup

1 (4-ounce) can diced mild green chilies

1 (16-ounce) bag white corn tortilla chips, crushed and divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In a large saucepan, combine chicken, picante sauce, soup and green chilies, stirring well to combine. Cook over medium heat until the mixture simmers. Add one-third of the tortilla chips, stirring well to combine. Spread one-third of the tortilla chips in the bottom of the baking dish. Spoon hot chicken mixture over the chips. Top with the remaining one-third of the crushed tortilla chips. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until heated thoroughly.

• Contact Lee Ann Flemming at lafkitchen@hughes.net.

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