I've been asked to begin a blog that shows a "how-to" for the things that bring pleasure to my life. So, the intent of this blog is to share recipes, gardening, composting, sewing, crafts, art, everyday projects and even psychology tips to aid in healing wounds and living the life you're meant to live, a life with purpose!
Art PrintsArt Prints

Thursday, January 6, 2011

6 Myths, Mistakes & Lies to Losing Weight: Diet, How to really lose weight, Healthy eating can be for you.

6 Myths, Mistakes & Lies to Losing Weight and How To really Drop the Pounds & Keep It Off!
#1: Crash Diet
A fast weight loss promised sounds good. Who wouldn’t want to drop a large number in a short amount of time? Take a pill to keep your appetite at bay, sounds like a good temporary fix. One might think okay, I will lose the unwanted pounds and then eat regular after I am done. This may seem to work when you’re in your twenties and you are of a thin build in general,  because in youth, one has a quicker metabolism and recovery rate than those in their thirties and older.
The problem with this myth is trifold: Our bodies are made amazingly well; it is equipped for survival. The problem with crash diets is the body and mind cannot tell the difference between famine and an attempt to lose weight. So, the automatic response is to hold on to the fat cells at all cost, slowing the metabolism down to survive and then even burning lean tissue before it will allow the fat to go. The metabolism adjusts to the caloric intake you provide it. I call this the starvation mode, a mechanism that we would benefit from if we were in a disaster of some kind, but not something you desire to kick in while you are trying to lose weight.
Fact and how to Fix:
Instead of slowing the metabolism, speed it up by eating more food. More food means healthier food, the right kind of food. I’m not talking about Twinkies here. Eat a variety of foods from every food group. And, don’t deprive yourself from a small portion size of something that you really want. A tiny slice is better than feeling deprived, which leads to the willpower crumbling and then devouring the whole pie.  Instead of taking away all your calories, take down your calories 100 a day. A gradual change like this will not kick in the “Starvation Mode” because the body does not recognize the slow decrease. And a 100 calorie decrease is a small step, not an overwhelming large task; it is something you can easily do. I find a food diary is the best and easiest way to keep track. It is just like writing down every dime of money spent; allowing us to recognize where we spend our money; the same goes for tracking what we eat. Count every calorie, get know yourself and then how to feed your body with what it really needs.
#2: After Crash or an Adkins Diet, return to Normal Diet:
After a fast weight loss that is mostly water weight, the body is in a deprived state. It has hung onto its fat cells, although in their shrunken state you may have an illusion that they are not there. The body is dehydrated and still in starvation mode. Depending on how long the starvation continued, lean tissue may also be gone. Have you ever noticed a thin person with no muscle tone? This is the result. An additional problem is now that the weight seems to be off, who wouldn’t think they can simply return to a normal diet? Sounds reasonable, right?
The problem with this myth is that the body is hungry for food. As soon as it receives food, the fat cells plump back up and the lean tissue that was burned to stay alive is gone. This is why I am not a fan of the Atkins diet, once the person returns to carbohydrates, the body acts like a sponge, and hungry for the fuel, it sucks it right up like a starving animal would. Carbohydrates in moderation are a fuel for a person. Cutting back on them is fine, cutting them out altogether can cause problems.
Fact and Fix:
Stay on a healthy normal diet, do not deprive the body. Keep it hydrated, feed it with a balanced meal plan that has smaller portion sizes. Plan ahead so that one food group does not monopolize your eating pattern. Some people can find themselves only eating carbohydrates because the body will crave them whenever it is deprived. The need for instant fuel can be fixed by not allowing yourself to get hungry.
#3: Don’t Snack! Just eat Meals:
Thinking of snacks as vending machine type of junk food, snacks have been given a bad rap. Nutritious snacks on the other hand can be a key to keeping you not hungry. Not hungry means no bingeing or no bad food choices. Not to mention the effects on blood sugar and insulin levels in your body.  Whenever the hunger dude taps your shoulder, throw it a handful of something healthy, (which has been preplanned, and prepared) into your mouth. Make it easy on yourself to not get hungry.
Fact and Fix:
Each week, when you buy groceries, plan out what you want to have for snacks. Each day, before setting out, pack several healthy snacks in snack size baggies or Tupperware to keep in your purse or car. An insulated tote, lunch pail or cooler work well too. Try cut up veggies and fruits, like carrots, radishes, and apples. Nuts are a great quick fix too. I even have carried boiled egg whites with me. If snacks are at your fingertips and easy to eat, you will not find yourself looking into the eyes of a Snickers bar; and the portion size problem of eating the entire bag of Doritos is taken care of because you have prepared each bag with the amount needed to simply satisfy the bodies need.
#4: Skip Breakfast
A quick and easy way to shave off extra calories in your day can be had by just skipping this meal, right? It sounds good, especially if you are not a fan of eating in the morning. Studies have proved that 78 percent of people who had dropped at least 30 pounds, kept it off by eating breakfast verses those that did not have a morning meal. Additionally, other studies showed that having a healthy breakfast (like eggs) verses the equilant calories in bagels, ate 100-400 less calories in their lunch. Again, skipping breakfast tricks the body into storing fat, rather than metabolize it. The reverse occurs when an early meal is consumed, the body thinks, “I’m getting feed, I can release these cells and burn them, because I can depend on food coming in.” "The metabolizing" kicks in earlier than if you waited to wake your body up until lunch. Studies also show that you’re more likely to consume more calories in a day, if breakfast is skipped.
Fact and Fix:
Eating within an hour of waking up boosts your metabolism like an alarm clock, “time to start burning calories!” Whole grain food gives you an added plus, because the way it is digested. A complex carbohydrate takes longer to digest than a simple one will. The difference is keeping you full longer, verses white flour, simple carbohydrate that is digested quickly into simple sugars. This increases your insulin levels to handle them, which once these calories are used up, the process then gives you that drop in blood sugar, making you weak, hungry and ready to devour. To satisfy and keep your body full, go for things like oatmeal (grain) with nuts (protein), and raisins (natural sugar). The mix of protein and fiber is ideal to hold off hunger; try peanut butter on a wholegrain cracker, poached eggs or a veggie omelet with whole-grain toast, or a low-fat dairy like string cheese, yogurt, or cottage cheese with a fruit, like berries. If you are in too much of a hurry to do any of these, make a protein shake for the road with real fruit (frozen is good), protein powder, flaxseed oil, and I like to throw into the mix a fresh herb, like mint; this literally takes maybe 3 minutes to make. I also have found myself driving down the road eating handfuls out of a wholegrain Kasha cereal box and drinking a Dan Active. Just make sure you eat something healthy in the AM hours.
(Disclaimer: Photo found on fotosearch.com)
#5: Don’t need to Drink Water:
It is a funny thing that the body’s response to thirst is the same as to hunger. We cannot tell the difference between when we are simply thirsty or hungry because the hormones in the intestines that tell us we are hungry are very similar. Most of us reach for food, when we are only thirsty. The next time you are hungry, reach for a long drink of water and you may find that you don’t need to eat. Because water is essential in burning calories, those who drink eight glasses of eight ounces of water a day, burn more calories than those who consume less.
Fact and Fix:
To keep us hydrated, and to keep the metabolism hydrated and ready for action, try drinking water before every meal and snack. This works on several layers, obviously it will keep you hydrated, and aid in the deciphering of hunger verses the water need, but it will also aid you in eating 75 percent less calories in your meal, making a 44 percent increase in your weight loss. A tip to make the task of drinking so much water easier is to increase your water jug size. This concept works on a plate of food as well. Let me explain, if you go from drinking 8 glasses of water a day to 3 or 4 large jugs, it seems like the task at hand is not so large. On the reverse for eating, a smaller plate will look full with a smaller portion size, verses a large, mostly empty plate.
#6: Drinking Extra Calories is the same as Eating them:
Occasionally we find ourselves eating too much at a meal, and the body’s response is to eat less at the next one because we are basically full. It makes since to think the extra calories found in a drink would add up too, right? Our bodies don’t seem to register liquid calories the way it does with the food ones. Cocktails with calories in syrup, or large jumbo cokes consumed will not bring about you eating less at the next meal to “make up” for the extra calories consumed. It will actually do the opposite, because the sugar increase will increase your insulin level, making you need more food when your blood sugar bottoms out. There is also the effect of a willpower decreasing with the effect of alcohol that comes to mind, as well. You know, "that chocolate would sure be good with this port," comes into the picture; Suddenly that piece of cake sounds like a great idea, tonight, "I’m having fun, right?"
Fact and Fix:
Instead of the regular coke with syrup, go for a diet drink. Or leave off the whipped cream and syrups out of your coffee, switching to sweetener, skim milk or black coffee. I even add cocoa powder to my coffee sometimes. Dark chocolate in moderation is good for us; it is the fat in milk chocolate or syrups that we want to avoid. Herbal teas with lemon are wonderful cold or hot. Ask for club soda with 100 percent fruit juice for a cocktail, giving you fizz without the calories. A glass of red wine is good for you, if you only have the one glass; however, on many diet plans, the calories are considered to count as one fat. White wine does not have the same heart healthy benefits that are found in red. And mixed drinks are a usually a drink to stay away from.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Quinoa Casserole, Blk-eyed Peas w Grns, Eggplant, & Fettuccine Alfredo: Veggie Recipes, Low-fat, Healthy eating that tastes great!

I like to serve homemade wholegrain bread and herb butter (smash in mortar fav herb like rosemary add to some butter) w most veggie-style meals. ;-) If fresh herbs are not available, substitute dry herbs by cutting the desired amount by one-third (like turn 1 Tbl of fresh into 1 tsp of dried).-- I primarily use fresh because I grow them in my garden (this is the best way to get their flavor). If the dried herbs are old, they loose their flavor, so you would want to increase their amount. If they are freshly ground (like roasted coriander, or freshly ground nutmeg); they pack a stronger flavor, so use a lighter hand with them.

Quinoa Recipe:
Easy, Tasty Main Dish with Veggies, Herbs & Spices
Quinoa, fried tofu, olives and cashews combine with carrots, celery, zucchini, herbs & spices - making this easy quinoa recipe a tasty main dish casserole.
Although classed as a grain, quinoa (keen-wah) is technically an herb, originating with the Incas, in Peru. Quinoa is light, delicious, high in protein, and easy to cook. It can be used in place of rice, bulgar, or couscous in any recipe.
Serves four: Prep time, approximately 40 minutes. If you don't have all the ingredients - just follow my motto: Omit and Substitue.

 • 1 c quinoa
• 1/2 lb extra firm tofu
• 1/4 cup cashew pieces (or almonds)
• 1 Tbsp peeled minced fresh ginger
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 1/4 cup chopped black olives
(roasted various colored cherry tomatoes, char on grill, or in oven); I like the color & flavor they add.

• 1 six inch zucchini
• 1 medium carrot
• 2 stalks celery
• 1 bay leaf
• 1/4 tsp dried rosemary leaf, or 3/4 tsp of fresh diced rosemary
• 1 tsp dried basil leaf, or 3 tsps of fresh sliced basil 
• 1 tsp gr coriander, or 3 tsps of fresh sliced cilantro 
• 1/2 tsp powdered fennel, or 1 1/2 tsps of fresh chopped fennel bulb 
• 2 - 3 Tbsp olive oil
• 1/2 tsp garlic salt
• 1 Tbsp soy sauce
• 1 3/4 cup water
• 1/2 tsp sea salt
• 1/4 c. minced fresh parsley (if you used fresh cilantro above instead of dried coriander) or cilantro
Quinoa Casserole Directions:
1. Soak quinoa 15 - 20 minutes, rinse, drain and set aside
2. Cut tofu in bite sized cubes, place in a small bowl, sprinkle with garlic salt and soy sauce and shake or stir to coat with marinade. Set aside
3. Heat 1 -2 Tbsp olive oil on low in a large sauté pan or shallow 4 qt sauce pan
4. Mince ginger and garlic
5. Chop celery in small pieces
6. Peel and chop carrots in 1/2" dice
7. Wash, trim, and chop zucchini in 1 " dice
8. Coarsely chop olives and set aside
9. Turn the heat up to medium, and stir fry ginger, garlic, celery, carrots for 5 minutes
10. Add zucchini and stir fry another five minutes
11. Stir in dry spices, herbs
12. Add the drained quinoa and stir until coated with spices
13. Add 1 3/4 cup water, and salt, then bring to a boil, cover and cook 15 minutes on low
14. Meanwhile, fry the tofu cubes on medium, stirring and turning, until browned
15. Stir tofu, chopped olives and parsley into the quinoa and veg
16. Heat on low for another few minutes and serve

Low Fat Fettuccine Alfredo with Veggies (Easy) • 12 ounces pasta

Ingedients:• 2 cups evaporated skim milk
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 6 tablespoons parmesan cheese
• 1/4 cup fresh parsley
• 2 cups vegetables, steamed (your choice, add: broccoli, cauliflower, carrots. etc) Cauliflower if pureed tastes like the real thing / nonvegetarian fettuccine Alfredo.
• sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Directions: 1. Cook pasta according to directions on package.
2. Drain.
3. Place pasta in a large nonstick sauté pan along with milk and garlic.
4. Bring to a simmer.
5. Stir frequently.
6. Add cheese.
7. Continue cooking until cheese melts and sauce thickens.
8. Stir in parsley, salt and pepper.
9. Add steamed veggies. 

 Healthy Eggplant Stacks 
1 large eggplant, sliced thick
1 or 2 large tomatoes, sliced thick
olive oil
lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, crushed
handful of fresh basil, sliced
2 sprigs of fresh oregano, chopped
2 stems of rosemary
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
Directions:1. Sprinkle with salt and lay eggplant slices between layers of paper towels. Allow to sit for 15 minutes (this helps draw out the bitterness). While waiting add crushed garlic to 1/4 cup olive oil and let sit. Rinse and pat the slices dry. Brush with a bit of olive oil. Bake for about 5 minutes at 350 degrees.

2. Remove the eggplant from oven and begin layering with the tomato slices, parmesan cheese and sprinkle some basil & oregano between each layer. One eggplant should make 2 stacks.

3. When you get through layering, drizzle the stack with garlic oil mixture, a squeeze of lemon juice, and top with mozzarella cheese. To hold it all together, strip the bottom 3/4ths on each rosemary stem and stick it through the top of each stack like a skewer. Bake in the 350 degree oven until the cheese is melted.

Pressure Cooker Black-Eyed Peas and Greens

2 cups dried black-eyed peas
6-s crushed cloves garlic
frozen spinach (approx. 1 cup)
6 cups water
1 tsp dry thyme, or 3 tsps of fresh thyme
4 leaves fresh finely chopped sage 
3-4 stalks fresh finely chopped fresh marjoram

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
sea salt to taste

1. Very quick, simple and surprisingly yummy.
2. Rinse black-eyed peas, pick out the ugly ones. Put garlic, black-eyed peas, water, dry thyme, sage, marjoram and red pepper flakes into pressure cooker. Close lid and bring to high pressure.
3. Cook for 9 minutes at high pressure. While peas are cooking, thaw spinach in microwave. Cool peas by using quick release method on your pressure (pressure/steam release valve on your machine). Once pressure has been released, carefully open pressure cooker (watch out for steam!).
4. Stir in spinach, salt to taste. I recommend eating with cornbread.
Serves: 12


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

How to Paint on canvas or board: Arts and Crafts

I have had several friends who desire to learn how to paint, or to further their craft skills with a paintbrush. I saw this beautiful lady on a scuba dive trip and could not get her out of my head until I painted her. So, here are the stages of "Sea Turtle Takes a Breath."

Cover canvas with either a light color like off white, or with your background color, like I did here. Lighter first coat makes the colors pop brighter. A darker background will give the opposite effect, it depends on the feel you desire.
 This gradual blue undercoat is going to be under the surface of the ocean. You can see the paints, pallet, and brushes. The undercoat is done in acrylic because it drys quicker than oil.
 The second stage is simply painting a rough outline of your painting; it is like sketching with paint instead of a pencil. I used an off-white because I want the colors to pop out on this one.
 Now I am outlining the main shape with green to create the lowest level, or the painting that is going to be the furthest back, leaving the foreground to do last. I do the body first (The shell will be on top of the body).
 Now the beginning of the shell, face and bottom legs. I am switching to oil paints at this time. The lower lights are being applied first. (Just like in hair color).
 More detail to turtle and the surface of the ocean has begun. A dry paintbrush stroke made the sunlight come into the water with simple linear strokes.
 Highlights of lighter colors and white to accent the shell and face. This painting can be done as is. Each painter will find their own expression. My style is  a 3D texture. My paintings come out (if you feel them with your hand). I achieve this by using a lot of paint or mediums. So, I have one more step.
Thicker paint to create a shell that literally comes out if you touch it, or look at the side of the painting. Sea Turtle Takes a Breath is finished! Wala! I hope you have fun in your painting endeavors!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Composting, My Dirty little Secret to Great Gardens! Compost Gardening Outdoor fun, save the green planet & grow nutrient rich black dirt & tasty vegetables.

Composting, My Dirty little Secret to Great Gardens!
How and what to compost, is a question I am asked whenever someone finds out that I do it, or they see this picture in my kitchen. It is one picture that I do not share with great joy. Currently, we have been using grocery bags or whatever bags that come into our home. I want my stock-pot sink back. It would be nice to use it properly and not to only hold compost clippings.
Compost materials include: vegetable or fruit material, coffee grounds, yard clippings from pruning and egg shells (crushed they add air to soil and make it lighter). Do not use meat, dairy, breads, pastas, or fats; you want biodegradable materials, and those items would stink up your compost, and not to mention, draw animals. Although, we have racoons that have frequented our compost bin; they like my bird feeders too.

This is a Picture out of the Crate & Barrel catalog that came weeks ago. It is a purchase that I requested for Christmas; I was given grander things. So, I guess I will be getting this little beauty for myself. It will sit on the counter, ready for any scraps during cooking. Then, I will reclaim my sink by the stovetop.

 Once you have enough gathered, carry it out to the larger compost bin that is located outside. Occasional turning aids the process and I have learned to add earth worms because they help to breakdown the the compost's contents.
 A look inside our current compost shows the raw material at the top. You can view our pumpkins from our fall decorations that are now degrading.
 Purchasing a bin w access to the formed dirt at the bottom is a must to keep the cycle going.  Black rich dirt with nitogen, and the minerals that plants love, is in this dirt. This is why my tomatoes and vegetables taste so good. Now you know of my dirty little secret; it is in the dirt!
So, keeping in the green theme, we can recyle plastic, glass, cans and paper. Luckly, we have curbside pick-up. We pay a small fee to add it to our sanitation pick-up. It makes the kids and I feel good, as if we are contributing in some way to the earth cause. Opps, the beer cans are not mine! I'm showing you all everything!

(Grief, Widows) Dear friends who have experienced loss: Psychology for the grieving widow and those who have had to deal with death.

Dear friends who have experienced loss:
by Lisa on August 4, 2010 as a sympathic letter to those who were not only widows and widowers, but they were also hard on themselves because society was telling them that they should be better. Several heard the statements, "Move on."
Evaluating what we lost in losing a mate, you see when the loss of a spouse occurs one doesn’t just lose a husband or wife. We must give ourselves a break with however long it takes us to heal. It is the loss of the roles that person played in your life, as well as your life the way you knew it.
In my case, I lost many people, my husband, very best friend, companion, life partner, lover, father to my children, parent to me, teacher, manager, navigator, planner, bill payer, house cleaner, car tag renewer, financial planner, admirer, the giver of unconditional love, my biggest supporter, and validator.
The identity takes a hit too, no longer are you a: couple, co- parent, married, taken care of, befriended, loved, unlonely, encouraged, comforted, or cultivated. Replacing those self-identities is abandonment, desolation, an outcast, detached, forlorn, forsaken, hermit, isolated, lonesome, single, unaccompanied, unaided, unattached, unattended, unescorted, unsocial, withdrawn, cast off, companionless, dejected, gloomy, miserable, depressive, sorrowful, wearisome, despondent, alienated, cut off, without ties, black, cheerless, comfortless, dark, discouraging, disheartening, dismal, drear, dreary, funereal, grim, hard, harsh, hopeless, joyless, lonely, melancholy, mournful, oppressive, sad, and somber. You are no longer a social butterfly, you are now in your ugly cocoon.
I am writing this because some of you have expressed disappointment with your healing progress or ability to “get on with it”. Relax, you have a lot to get past; a lot of your "known world" just ended. Did I leave anything out? If you’re feeling something else, feel free to add more. Our experiences are similar, but we heal as individuals. I hope peace, love, and some joy will enter the life of those who can relate to this reading.

Do you ever hear yourself say, "I'm not good enough?" Psychology/ Christian Scripture to help those with a low self esteem to realize they are valuable and have a purpose.

Do you ever hear yourself say, "I'm not good enough?"

Have you ever felt not good enough, not equipped, unworthy or undeserving of a special undertaking? Is there a job promotion your afraid to go for? Is there a vocation in your vision, a great purpose, or life change you feel pressed to do? Is there a passion inside of yourself that you talk yourself out of because it is too late? I have found myself in the shoes of one who does not feel “good enough”. In the story of Isaiah, we read of his feelings of wrongdoing, of being unclean, and undone, while feeling full of iniquities, Isaiah becomes useful and rises to the project at hand. The following is the story of how Isaiah became a prophet. Isaiah writes in 6:1-8 (New K.James Version):

1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim (angels); each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”
4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
5 So I said:

“Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The LORD of hosts.”

6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said:

“Behold, this has touched your lips;
Your iniquity is taken away,
And your sin purged.”

8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:

“Whom shall I send,
And who will go for Us?”

Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”

Learning from Isaiah, can we as a people, stop the negative self talk and become useful by realizing we are uniquely equipped to use our abilities to serve the task at hand, knowing the mission that is set before us for us to do?

Thoughts on cliches/Ask for help: Psychology for widows (grief), those who have experienced loss, and for family and friends to educate on how to help a loved one suffering from grief.

This is a piece I wrote last September in response to some dear friends and their pain. It seemed to aid in their healing, so I am posting it here, again.
I hear you. I know you have been going through a tough time, hurt by well-intended but misinformed friends’ words… I saw your statement regarding the question “Is there anything I can do?”… I also wanted to scream: “bring my husband back”, “get me my life back”, “provide me a time machine”, “give my kids their security back.. w their dad who will love, be there, & adore them!”
My preacher told me, people in your life need to do something… it will make them feel good to simply do anything. So, give them something they can do to make your life a bit easier. I had zero energy to extend, as I am sure you do. So, I came up w a lame, “food” response whenever I was asked that question. I would instead ask for specific food, like no tomato sauced casseroles (anything acidic will not be edible for me)… I got down to 108 lbs. A dear friend (Susan, thk you) brought over the only dish I could eat …Lol, a beef brisket! Never a huge fan of them bf, but it hit the spot, & I devoured that thing!
So, ask for basic, no casserole meals w/o sauce, ask for yard work, and ask for housework (I know what ur house looks like right now), and ask for childcare… if you can get yourself to accept: a massage, a nature walk; a simple pleasure. My father in law, whom I trust, filed  into labeled folders, my massive amount of death paperwork for me. It was a huge help to tackle the mountain on my dining room table! It was the one task I hated! Ask family w expertise to help you.
In a situation that is out of anyone’s control, people want & need to do something… make them feel good by letting them help you. I wish I would have let more people help me, instead of using my precious energy on all the tasks I independently jumped on all by myself. With less to do, I could have been there for my kids more, for example.
I heard and thought in response the following:
“I know how you feel”… Unless you’re a widow, you really don’t.
“He would want you to get on with your life”… Maybe so, but he would also understand why I’m so sad.
“Be glad you had him as long as you did”… Of course I’m glad! I’m mourning all the months & yrs my kids & I won’t have him!
“It’s probably a blessing for the best”… Even when the death brings some feelings of release, it doesn’t feel like a blessing.
“Time heals all wounds”… Actually, time by itself doesn’t heal; mourning does.
“It’s all part of God’s plan”… Then God has pretty crappy planning skills. Although, I can actually see this one now. ;-)
Don’t take this advice to heart. Such clichés are often offered bc people do not know what else to say: The problem is, phrases like these diminish your unique & significant loss.
I considered clichés I spoke to mourners in the past in an attempt to comfort them. Forgive yourself as you forgive your friends.
I hope this helps you & the friends who read this to know better what to say to you. Huggs…

Food facts with Best Grains to include in Your Diet: Diet, Chart ranking protein & fiber in food, How to eat healthy.

Eating healthy is a great way to feel better.
The Daily food chart:
Fats: 2 servings (like one tsp of olive oil per serving) or sparingly
Dairy: 2-3 servings
Fruits: 2-4 servings
Vegetables: 3-5 servings
Fish, Poultry, Meat, Dry Beans, Eggs, Nuts, Legumes: 2-3 servings
Grains, bread, cereal, rice, pasta 6 servings

For vegetarians, the food chart to consider whenever planning your day is:
Fats:2 servings
Dairy (if you allow): 2-3 servings
Fruits 2-4 servings
Vegetables: 4-6 servings
Legumes, nuts, & other protein rich foods: 5 servings
Grains (that can also have a high protein count, like Quinoa): 6-11 servings

Best Grains and how they Rank:

It's misleading, if not impossible, to rank grains. Their relative value depends on what nutrients you are looking for. Is one nutrient more important than another? Is fiber more important than protein? Maybe, if you're a senior citizen, but not if you're a child. Do you judge nutritional value by nutrients per ounce, or nutrients per calorie? When you see any rating system for food, take it with a grain of salt and remember that variety is an important key to healthy eating.
In spite of these difficulties, I decided to give it a try and rate the twelve most common grains according to the following nutrients: protein, fiber, iron, zinc, folic acid, vitamin E, riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, and calcium. If you assign one point for each of these nutrients, the ratings come out as follows:

Total Nutrient Points
(highest to lowest)
Fiber Content
(grams per serving)
(grams per serving)
1. Amaranth
2. Rye
3. Oats
4. Wild rice
5. Millet
6. Barley
7. Quinoa
8. Buckwheat
9. Whole wheat
10. Brown rice
11. White rice
12. Corn
1. Barley
2. Amaranth
3. Whole wheat
4. Rye
5. Buckwheat
6. Millet
7. Oats
8. Wild Rice
9. Quinoa
10. Corn
11. Brown Rice
12. White Rice
1. Amaranth
2. Oats
3. Rye
4. Wild rice
5. Millet
6. Quinoa
7. Barley
8. Whole wheat
9. Buckwheat
10. Corn
11. Brown Rice
12. White Rice
The grains highest in calcium, ranked in order are: amaranth, quinoa, oats, barley, rye, and whole wheat. Gluten-free grains are: corn, rice, soy. (Buckwheat may contain a small amount of gluten.) The top five grains for iron are: quinoa, amaranth, oats, enriched rice, millet and barley. The top grains for zinc (an important immune-booster) are: wild rice, rye, amaranth, oats, and quinoa. The top grains for folic acid are: millet, wild rice, rye, amaranth, and oats.

Veggie Burgers or Croquettes: Recipes for Everyone,Vegetarians, or Diabetics. Vegetables, healthy eating, meat subsitute meals.

 Make ahead Veggie Burger or Croquette (can keep in the refrigerator for a week or freeze patties):

Note: Read label on back of dried beans; rinse, add water, bring to boil, add lid and let sit overnight is usually the easiest way to deal w the dried beans.  You can substitute any bean in recipes, black beans have a mushroom taste, Adzuki has a sweet nutty flavor, Cranberry beans have a mild flavor, and etc; experiment to find your favorite, because all beans have a high protein and fiber content.
1. The Black- Eyed Pea Burgers:
¾ C dry black-eyed peas, (Rinse black eyed peas, cover with water, and cook stirring occasionally, until soft, 30-45 min’s.)
½ C quinoa
1 T olive oil
1 T soy sauce
½ t dry thyme
½ dry basil
1 t paprika
½ C toasted whole-grain bread crumbs
Dash salt
Fresh ground black pepper
2 t olive oil
Add 1 C water to quinoa, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender and water has been absorbed, about 20 min’s.
When the black-eyed peas are cooked, drain, then mash in food processor. Stir in oil and soy sauce, and then add quinoa, thyme, basil, black pepper to taste, and paprika. The mixture should be thick and slightly sticky. Make into patties about 1 ½ inch thick.
2. The Hummus Burger:
2 ½ C’s sprouted, dried, or canned garbanzo beans
4 Lg eggs
½ t salt
1/3 C chopped fresh cilantro
1 chopped onion
Grated zest of one Lg lemon
1 C chopped micro sprouts (try broccoli, onion, or alfalfa)
1 C toasted whole grain bread crumbs
1 Tbl olive oil
Combine:  Either soaked and cooked dried beans, or steamed sprouted garbanzos, or canned, as is (depending on which form of bean you choose) to eggs and salt in food processor. Puree until chunky and hummus looking.  Add cilantro, onion, zest and sprouts (although, hold off on sprouts if you’re going to freeze patties). Add breadcrumbs. (If too dry, add more egg or water). Form into 1 ½ inch thick patties.
3. The Aduki or Black Bean Burger:
15 oz. Aduki beans or (Black bean, whatever bean you like)
1 t of yeast extract
1 chopped onion
2 chopped cloves of garlic
½ C Toasted whole grain bread crumbs
1 T Olive oil
1 C Flour (just enough to coat burgers, you will have extra to throw away)
½ t Salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Prepare beans by soaking, bringing to a boil dried beans, or use canned as is. Mash half of beans in food processor. Sauté, or fry chopped onion, and chopped garlic in 1 T oil. Add yeast extract, Sauté on low heat; take out of pan into a bowl. Add the remainder of the beans, black pepper to taste, and bread crumbs, form into patties, coat w flour.
To Bake:
Oven is preheated at 350. Bake burgers on a lightly sprayed, with Vegetable, or Olive Oil (Pam) cookie sheet for 20 min’s. Turn each croquette or burger, and bake for another 20 min’s, should be golden.
To Cook on Stove Top in Skillet:
Heat 1 T olive oil (or Pam Oil Spray) in a heavy skillet over medium heat, add about four patties at a time, cover and cook for 7 to 10 min’s, until the bottoms begin to brown. Turn up heat if there is no browning after 10 min’s. Flip the patties and cook for another 7 min’s, until golden.
How to serve:
Place patty on a whole-grain bun. Serve with your favorite toppings: avocado slices, sweet onion slices, vine-ripened tomato slices, various grilled vegetables, thin cucumber slices, various lettuce leaves (the darker green the better, ice burg has the lowest nutritional value), various sprouts, and various sauces that you find in my future posts on this site). You can even carefully cut each patty in half; insert your favorite fillings to enjoy.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

An Easy Handmade Item, an animal print Blanket: Sewing, arts & crafts gift or for your home.

 Every year I get out the sewing needles to make handmade gifts. In my family they are appreciated more than the store bought ones. Those that see the end results usually think I spent more time on the project than the reality of it all. A blanket is the easiest sewing project that will make those around you marvel at your skill. Depending on the age of the person you are sewing for, the size of the blanket will be smaller for a young child, than for an adult with a queen sized bed. 

Purchase 1 to 2 yards of two types of fabric that suit the one receiving this gift, sew or surger around three sides, right sides together. Turn from inside out to right side out, now you have one unfinished edge. Iron about 1 inch under to form a hem, so that the outside does not have the raw edges, they are turned into the sleeping bag shape. Pin in place, now sew together w a zigzag, decorative stitch, or a simple number 4 on the setting for a large plain stitch.  In the picture the top is folded over; I usually make the top fold over for a decorate edge, but it is unnecessary. 

You can also sew holiday themed blankets to spice up your holiday Decor! 

Happy sewing…

Winter Garden: What you can plant in a winter weather Garden. Chart for cold seasonal gardening.

The beautiful flourishing summer garden is now a winter garden. Onions, Garlic, Collard Greens, Mustard Greens, Kale, Swiss chard, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage and Herbs are the winter vegetables that are still continuing. The Herbs that are hardy and remain are: Mint, Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Sage, Chives and Garlic. If you would like to see some color throughout the winter; I also have decorative Kales and Cabbages in my front lawn. If you decide to plant them, however, do so where deer cannot eat them. This year mine are now nubs…
There are certain vegetables that are best suited to a winter vegetable garden.
  • 90 Days to Maturity
    • Beet
    • Carrot
    • Parsnip
    • Rutabaga
    • Globe onion
    • Brussels sprouts
    • Cabbage
    • Cauliflower
  • 60 Days to Maturity
    • Early carrot
    • Leek
    • Turnip
    • Kohlrabi
    • Early cabbage
    • Collard greens
    • Swiss chard
  • 30 Days to Maturity
    • Chive
    • Radish
    • Leaf lettuce
    • Spinach
Simply look on the back of your seed packet if you are going to grow a second crop for the year, note how much time the plants need to get to maturity before the first frost and plan accordingly. There is nothing like getting the fresh produce from your garden all year long!

Bring Spring in January Centerpiece: Homemaker

(Disclamer: Pictures found through fotosearch).

Down comes the Holiday decorations, leaving an empty feeling and house. I like to look at the bulbs outside; they are poking their green heads out, as if to say,"Is it Spring yet?"

I have learned from their lead to take some of the green into my home. Try planting a bit of grass, chives, or bulbs into a glass vase (tall, narrow or wide), canning jar, baby food jar, or you get the picture! I tend to use a narrow vase for this project. The choices of what to use to bring spring into your home are endless. While your debating, take into account that seeds need potting soil, while bulbs do not. Bulbs can be put into just water, or decorative rocks and water. After they bloom and are no longer pretty, I plant them into the ground outside. As long as the bulb is alive, it will regrow every spring.
Note: If you use wide, you will need more bulbs (I love tulips for beautiful simplicity or hyacinths for amazing smell) or seed (grasses or chives). The picture below is a great example of using grasses. I like to cut a blunt cut on the top, just one inch above the rim of the vase. I found the following image on: http://www.twincities.com/life/ci_14519118; great little article too.

I will use short and wide for tightly fitted roses, cutting them at 7-8 inches tall by 18-24 roses (depending on how wide and tall my vase is). Hydrangeas will also make a super easy decoration; I love the green variety because they shout SPRING to me!

Spring is just around the corner!

One week at a Time: Diet wrote out for you for one week, Eat Low Fat, the right fats, and healthy, Lose Weight without Starving.

(Disclamer: Picture found through fotosearch).
One week at a Time to get healthy and lose weight. Here is a week's menu that you can follow to begin a healthier lifestyle and lose any unwanted extra pounds.
Note: Any lettuce is fine except iceberg; when purchasing wholegrain items, look for highest fiber content & use fresh whole produce whenever possible. The key is you can eat smaller portion sizes, but do not skip a meal or snack… frequent eating speeds up the metabolism & keeps hunger/cheating at bay. Grn Tea, water, & favorite diet soda (soda in moderation) to drink during the day. Free food is eat as much grn leafy veggies (IE: like spinach or mustard grns) as you want… just do not add butter or calorie laden salad dressing. Can sub fruits for a different fruit. Just know that a banana is a filling fruit that has more calories than most fruit, but in moderation a good idea. And much less calories than “bad choices” would bring. Crustless Quiche: Chopped: 2 Cs eggplant, 1 C zucchini, 1 C red bell pepper, 1 C yellow onion, & 2 cloves garlic minced sautéed in 2 tsp EVOO (Olive Oil). Fold in Artichoke hearts from water packed jar. Add 1 egg, 1 C egg whts, 1 C skim milk, ½ tsp blk pepper, dried thyme, dried oregano, ½ C fresh basil, & ¾ C part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese. Spray pam in pan, cook 25 min’s. Sit/rest for 10 min’s. Po Boy: Vegetable Salad: combine halved 1 C cucumbers, grape tomatoes, ¼ C shredded carrots, ¼ C minced fresh parsley, diced ¼ C red onion & ¼ tsp blk pepper, garlic powder, ½ tsp EVOO, 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar. Bake or grill 2 3oz fav fish (grouper, cod, halibut, catfish, tilapia) 6-8 mins on ea side for grill, 12 mins total for baking (fish no longer translucent; don’t over cook). Goat Cheese Spread: 1 0z goat cheese, 3 Tbsp nonfat Greek-style yogurt, 1 tsp fresh lemon juice, 2 Tbsp fresh minced parsley, 3 Tbsp shredded carrots, 2 Tbsp diced cucumbers, ½ tsp blk pepper. Smear Goat Cheese Spread on one whole-grain baguette slice (long deli hotdog/ sub style bun), Place fish on other slice, Top fillet w 2 red onion slices, 2 tomato slices, lettuce leafs. Serve w Veg Salad.
Breakfast: 1 serving Crustless Quiche; (save leftovers for later this wk). 1 whole grapefruit. Snack 1: 1 orange cranberry Bar (look for highest fiber/protein content & low fat). Lunch: 3oz tuna (water packed) mixed w 1 oz light swiss cheese, 2 Tbsp ea diced carrots, celery & red onion n 1 whole-wheat pita w Boston lettuce, 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar & 1 Tbsp nonfat Greek-style yogurt; 1 apple. Snack 2: 3 stalks celery w 2 Tbsp unsalted almond butter (like peanut butter, but better fat). Dinner : 1 ½ C’s cooked whole-wheat spaghetti w ½ C low-sodium tomato sauce, ¼ C fresh basil leaves, 10 halved grape tomatoes & ¼ C shredded part-skim mozzarella. 1 C chopped Boston lettuce w 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar & 1 tsp Olive Oil (EVOO).
B: ½ C oatmeal w 1 (skin on) chopped apple, cinnamon to taste & 1 C low-fat milk. S 1: 2 sliced carrots w 3 Tbsp hummus. Lunch: Sandwich: (I only ate half of my sandwich bc to full) 3 oz sliced lean roast beef, ½ oz goat cheese, 3 strips roasted red bell pepper (or raw), 1 slice tomato, 1 slice red onion, & Boston lettuce on a whole-grain roll; 10 whole-wheat woven wheat crackers; 1 orange. S 2: 1/4C 1% cottage cheese w ½ C fresh chopped pineapple (save the remainder for later in wk). D: 1 serving Crustless Quiche; 2 Cs romaine lettuce w 1 Tbl unsalted sunflower seeds, ½ C ea chopped red bell peppers, whole grape tomatoes & chopped mushrooms w 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar & 1 tsp EVOO; 1 oz slice whole-wheat baguette.
B: 1 ¼ C Post shredded Wheat Spoon Size cereal w ¼ C low-fat milk. 1 orange. S 1: 6 oz nonfat Greek style yogurt w 1 oz unsalted raw peanuts or almonds & ½ tsp crystal lite flavor powder (used to make drinks) or an over the counter powder like Stevia Powder. Veggie Burger Salad: 2 Cs Boston lettuce, 1 veggie patty, ½ C cooked blk beans, 4 thin slices chopped avocado, ¼ C corn, ½ C ea chopped grape tomatoes & mushrooms w 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar & 1 tsp EVOO; 1 C strawberries. S 2: 1 serving crustless Quiche. D: 4 oz baked port chop (prepare 8oz & save 4 oz for tomorrow). 1 C sauteed chopped zucchini (prepare whole zucchini & save extra for tomorrow). ¾ C steamed wild &/or brown rice.
B: ½ C oatmeal, ¼ C chopped pineapple, ½ sliced small banana & 5 broken walnuts w 1 C low-fat milk. Mini Yogurt Parfait: (8oz nonfat Greek-style yogurt w ½ sliced banana & ¼ C Shredded Wheat Spoon Size cereal). L: Spinach Salad: 2 Cs spinach leaves, 4 oz sliced baked pork chop leftovers, ½ C sauteed zucchini leftovers, ½ C chopped tomato w 1 ½ Tbl balsamic vinegar & 1 tsp EVOO; 1 C strawberries. S 2: 10 whole wheat woven crackers. D: 1 serving fish Po Boy & Vegetable Salad.
B: 1 ½ oz toasted whole wheat baguette (sliced) w 2 Tbsp unsalted almond butter & 10 unsweetened raisins. S 1: 1 apple & 1 oz unsalted sunflower seeds. L: 1 serving Cajun PoBoy & Veggie salad (leftovers). 1 C chopped pineapple. S 2: 3 stalks celery & 1 oz goat cheese. D: 4 oz baked chicken; ¼ C wild rice; Vegetable Medley: 1 C steamed spinach w ¼ tsp minced garlic, ¾ C steamed artichokes & ½ C sautéed mushrooms.
B: Open Faced Breakfast Sandwich: 1 toasted whole wheat English muffin topped w 4 scrambled egg whts, 4 steamed asparagus spears, 1 oz melted light Swiss cheese & 1 tsp mustard. S 1: 1 oz whole wheat baguette w 3 tsp hummus. L: Salad: 2 C romaine lettuce, 3 oz lean roast beef, 1 oz goat cheese, ½ C ea chopped red bell pepper, tomato, & cucumber w 2 Tbl balsamic vinegar & 1 tsp EVOO; 1 banana. S 2: 1 ½ C chopped pineapple & 8 unsalted walnuts or almonds. D: 5 oz baked fish w ½ squeezed lemon. 1 C eggplant sautéed in ½ tsp of EVOO. ¾ C quinoa.
B: Strawberry Mint Smoothie: Blend 1 C unsweetened light soy milk, ¼ C chocolate protein powder, 1 C frozen strawberries, 10 fresh mint leaves & 4 ice cubes. S !: 1 sliced roasted red bell pepper w 1 oz goat cheese. L: Veggie Burger patty w 1 oz goat cheese, slice of tomato, red onion & Boston lettuce leaf on a whole grain roll. 1 C cooked edamame. 1 apple. S 2: ½ C raspberries, 1 low-fat string cheese & 10 whole wheat woven crackers. D: Mexican Salad: 2C romaine lettuce, 4 oz baked chicken (season w ½ tsp cumin), ¼ C shredded reduced fat jalapeno cheese, ½ C ea low sodium salsa, cooked blk beans, chopped tomatoes & chopped cucumbers, 2 thin slices avocado w 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar & 1 tsp EVOO.