When the masking tape in my kitchen junk drawer starts to get low, I get anxious. I use it everyday, along with a Sharpie, to label foods before I store them in my fridge or freezer. It’s important, because I can never remember how old anything is in there unless it has a label on it. It’s also useful to note when I have opened foods like cream cheese or hummus, because they have a limited shelf life once opened. I may have been given the nickname “Charlene the food safety queen” by some of my friends that know me well. Better to have a goofy nickname than to have an upset stomach, or worse.
What do you do to keep track of the food that you prepare/open and store? Let us know by clicking on the title of this post and then scroll down to the bottom to leave a comment.
I recently read an article in Good Housekeeping magazine about how to feel like you are 25 again. There were 25 suggestions and the second one out of the gate involved swapping my glass of wine for a mojito (although the author does point out that the alcohol is optional). The next idea involves going to Forever 21 (a girly clothing store) with a friend and buying $4 sparkly earrings. Number eight is another idea involving drinking, this time suggesting I reserve a spot in my already over-crowded refrigerator for a bottle of Prosecco, so I’m always read to “celebrate” on a moment’s notice. Is this really what my life has become? That in order to feel younger I need to drink more alcohol and wear cheap earrings?
I’d like to say that my teenage kids keep me young, but, whenever I go into Forever 21 I just feel older as I give my daughter a time limit based on how long I can tolerate the music (if you want to call it that) permeating every corner of the store and my head. Having to rely on my son to help me with each electronic device in our house, from the computer to the TV, doesn’t help me feel “twenty-something” either. Other than hopping in a time machine, I don’t think I will be returning to that 25 year-old feeling, but I understand what the article was getting at. Try to incorporate some fun in your daily “grind”. I find a good sense of humor helps too and iced tea….lots and lots of iced tea.
I drink iced tea every day and honestly, it would be easier if I could just hook-up a tube and let it flow directly to my veins intravenously, but it’s not just caffeine that my body needs. It’s the crisp, delicious flavor of the tea that helps to clear my mind and awaken my senses; so I’m ready for the next adventure of shuttling my kids around in my mini-van. And, let’s face it, the caffeine helps too. However, cup for cup, tea is about half the caffeine of a cup of coffee, so I can drink it throughout the day without feeling “jittery”.
I have a new, favorite iced tea recipe to share with you, but feel free to click here to read a previous post with another favorite recipe for Blackberry Sage iced tea. The recipe below is a new way of brewing iced tea that I prefer because it gets the tea into the fridge quicker to start cooling – now that’s what I’m talking about!
This iced tea recipe uses Twining’s tea bags, click here to learn more.
What’s your favorite iced tea? To leave a comment, click on the title of this post at the top of the page and then scroll down to leave a comment – thanks!
Pomegranate Iced Tea
3 tea bags Twinings English Breakfast (English Afternoon is also good)
2 tea bags Twinings Pomegranate Delight
Pour 6 cups of cool water in a 2-quart container and place in the fridge to get cold.
Pour 2 cups of cool water in a small sauce pan and boil.
Once boiling, remove from heat and add the 5 tea bags and allow to steep for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, remove the tea bags and add the tea water to your pitcher of cold water and place back in the fridge.
Pour over a glass of ice to enjoy!
***Recipe courtesy of http://www.nourishednation.wordpress.com***
Once in a while, for a special treat, I buy muffins from our local Stop and Shop bakery. They are a generous size and you don’t have to be a dietitian to know that these muffins are high in calories, but I really had no idea how high. I usually buy the muffins separately, choosing everyone’s favorites and boxing them up myself. Recently, I purchased the muffins already “boxed-up” and the nutritional information was provided on the bottom of the box. My teenage daughter, who has a keen interest in reading food labels, pointed out the shocking news: these muffins are over 600 calories and 30 grams of fat on average. The label is deceptive though, because it lists the calories as 210 and the fat as 11 grams (apple spice muffin), but that is only if you eat one-third of the muffin. Who does that??!
Once we learned that we were eating the equivalent of a Big Mac for breakfast (Big Mac’s are 550 calories and 29 grams of fat), the appeal of the muffins was briefly spoiled for us. I still buy them from time to time, but I have also started baking my own and freezing them. Since I usually have over-ripe bananas available, I often make banana muffins. The over-ripe bananas help to make the muffins sweet and moist. The mini-chocolate chips are optional, but we always “opt-in”. Click on this Recipe Rescue link, or the one at the top of the page, for this recipe. You will see from the nutrition information provided that you can eat three of these muffins and still not hit the calories and fat of one bakery muffin from Stop and Shop. These muffins freeze well and make tasty snacks too.
Happy Baking! Please let us know what your favorite muffin recipe is – just click on the title of this post at the top of the page and then scroll down to leave a comment – thanks!
Note: This recipe calls for King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour – to learn more, click here.
We are fortunate to have Mike Manning of “Manning’s Musings” blog, to provide his insight on the importance of exercise and travel. This is certainly a topic I can relate to as I used to travel three weeks out of every month when I worked in pharmaceutical research. Far from glamorous, business travel is exhausting and stressful, which makes exercise an important part of maintaining your health when you are away from home. As Mike points out in his article below, you may not have time to fit in a long workout on the road, but even short bouts of exercise and stretching will prove beneficial.
Here is his article and be sure to check-out his blog at http://www.mikemanningmusings.blogspot.com.
How to Exercise While Traveling
Many aspects of travel can have a detrimental effect on your health. In fact, individuals who travel more than 20 days a month experience significantly greater health problems than those who stay away from home less than one week a month. Although travel schedules, irregular mealtimes, unfamiliar sleeping arrangements and other stressors can take their toll on travelers, you can do a number of things to make travel less draining. Start by focusing on ways to get healthy exercise on any trip you take.
A great journey begins before you leave home. Plan for success by researching your destination. Learn about the area as well as your intended accommodations. Find out if there are local running trails or a gym you can use during your stay. Learn about the fitness amenities at your hotel, and if possible, book one that offers a well-equipped gym, in-room yoga or fitness video and fitness sessions for guests. On a recent trip to San Francisco I was able to book a great hotel with the right amenities by searching through a travel reviews site. This site gave me the capability to scroll through all of the San Francisco hotels and I could see which ones offered the right things at the right price.
When packing, include fitness essentials such as workout clothes and good athletic shoes. Also, bring along portable workout equipment such as an exercise band, and never leave home without a refillable water bottle to help you remain hydrated.
If you fly, pay attention to exercise opportunities that arise. You can walk and stretch at any airport, and some airports offer walking tracks or Zen rooms for travelers. On your flight, be sure to do some stretches and in-flight exercise. This will help you avoid cramping, stiffness and other discomforts frequently associated with travel.
At your destination, take time to orient yourself to your surroundings before dashing off to meetings or other activities. Locate the amenities at your hotel, including the fitness center. In your room, familiarize yourself with the space and do a few yoga poses to center yourself.
Throughout your stay, be sure to keep your expectations realistic. Few trips will accommodate your regular exercise routine that you enjoy at home, and chances are that you won’t have time to work out for an hour or so each day. You will, however, have several opportunities to get some exercise. Take the stairs instead of an elevator whenever possible. Get a little exercise by walking to meetings or meals instead of riding or driving.
Never minimize any exercise opportunities you get while traveling. Small windows of time can turn into powerful opportunities for health and fitness. When you take advantage of them, your travel will be considerably less stressful. You’ll return home feeling more energized and also find it easier to return to your usual routine after the trip.
This time of year, I make homemade soup on a weekly basis. There is something so warm and comforting about a bowl of homemade soup, especially if it is loaded with noodles. I’ve recently discovered how yummy and satisfying egg noodles are when added to my chicken noodle soup. Just serve a hearty wedge of bread alongside it and you have a light and healthy lunch or supper to warm you when it’s chilly outside . The leftover noodles not used in the soup are deliciously silky with some butter and parmesan cheese – another comfort food! This version of my chicken noodle soup really cooks up quickly if the noodles are already cooked and placed in a container in the fridge with a little olive oil to keep them separated. It also helps if the carrot and celery sticks are already prepared. See my earlier post on: Storing Celery and Carrot sticks.
Give this recipe a try by clicking here or on the Dinner 911 tab at the top of this page.
What is your favorite soup? Click on the blog title at the top of the page and scroll down to leave a comment. Thanks and enjoy!
Strawberries are in abundance this time of year and, as a dietitian, I should really tell you how they are high in vitamin C, antioxidants and an excellent source of fiber too. I should also tell you some healthy ideas for enjoying strawberries, such as adding them to your morning yogurt or oatmeal. Problem is, all I can think about is dessert and how I might incorporate strawberries into something sweet and decadent. Did I mention I have a sweet tooth? Well, I’ve managed to combine fresh strawberries with creamy, vanilla ice cream and bits of homemade, chocolate truffles. I could tell you about the antioxidants in the chocolate or the calcium in the ice cream to try to justify it all, but let’s just call it what it is – a special treat that tastes as sweet as summer!
Prepare the truffles ahead of time as follows:
1/3 cup heavy cream
6 Tbsp. salted butter, cut into small pieces
1 3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Bring the cream to a gentle simmer in a small saucepan and add the butter until melted. Add the chocolate chips and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat and pour into a shallow bowl. Allow to cool for at least two hours in the refrigerator. Use a melon ball scoop to form truffles into balls and refrigerate again until ready to use.
Prepare the strawberries ahead of time as follows:
1 pint container strawberries
1 Tbsp. Vermont maple syrup
Rinse the berries under cold water and pat dry. Slice off the tops and slice the berries into a small bowl. Add the maple syrup and stir gently to coat. Lightly cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Ice cream preparation (milk and cream should be well chilled):
Puree enough of the strawberries in a blender until you have 1/2 cup, set aside. Finely chop the truffles until you have 1/2 cup, set aside.
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream
2 tspn. pure vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar and whole milk until all of the sugar is dissolved (3-5 minutes). Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. Add the mix to the freezer bowl of your ice cream maker. Add the strawberry puree and truffle bits during the last 5-8 minutes of mixing, following the directions for your specific machine. Allow ice cream to freeze several hours or overnight – waiting is the hardest part!
Let us know what you think – what’s your favorite ice cream flavor? Click on the title of this post and scroll down to leave a comment.