Thursday, October 20, 2011

"Super" Ingredients

In a recent GOOP post, I thought the below information was helpful to store away somewhere...

The “Super” Ingredients:

Wild Salmon is probably the world’s most heart healthy source of protein. It is rich in long-chain Omega-3 essential fatty acids—the most beneficial kind—which protect heart health, inhibit inflammation, act as natural anti-depressants, increase feelings of well-being, and help keep skin young, supple and radiant.
Asparagus is one of the richest sources of rutin, a bioflavanoid which strengthens small capillaries in the skin and may help prevent broken capillaries and it contains glutathione--an abundant and essential tripeptide antioxidant found within the cells that plays a huge role in the cell’s ability to fight free-radical damage. Glutathione is our primary antioxidant defense and an effective suppressor of free radical damage.
Dark Leafy Greens are rich in the antioxidant plant pigments known as carotenoids, which enhance immune response, protect skin cells against UV radiation, and "spare" liver enzymes that neutralize carcinogens and other toxins. Their important anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory effects reduce the risk of heart disease and block sunlight-induced inflammation in the skin—which leads to wrinkles and skin cancer.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is rich in oleic acid, which is a super emollient. The essential fatty acids present in olive oil nourish the skin and provide anti-inflammatory activity. The polyphenols that are found abundantly in olive oil are extremely efficient and multi-faceted antioxidants. Polyphenols are exceptionally stable and protective. The most powerful member of the Olive Oil Polyphenol group is Hydroxytyrosol. Extremely rare, and effective in even small concentrations, this super antioxidant, anti-inflammatory has been proven to be effective in improving general health and appearance.
Pinot Noir is a delightful wine to accompany foods like salmon because pinot noirs have enough acidity in them to mitigate the fatty content. Red wine contains a powerful heart-healthy, anti-cancer, anti-aging antioxidant called resveratrol. It also appears that resveratrol helps protect the skin against the sun’s UV radiation. It appears that drinking wine—particularly red wines such as Pinot Noir—interferes with the production of a body chemical vital to the process that leads to clogged arteries and an increased risk of heart attack. White and rose wine do not offer the same protection.
Green Jasmine Tea—Enjoy a cup of green tea after your meal and don’t worry about the caffeine, since a compound in green tea called theonine blocks the negative effects of caffeine, while acting as a natural mood elevator and promoting feelings of well-being. Because green tea is rich in polyphenol anti-oxidants, it can help fight inflammation and age-accelerating free radicals, protect against heart disease and cancer, boost the body’s natural defenses, and exert anti-viral and anti-bacterial effects.
Nuts and Seeds such as hazelnuts, walnuts, and almonds are rich in short-chain Omega-3 essential fatty acids, which inhibit the accumulation of fats in artery walls that promotes angina, strokes, and heart attacks. Nuts are also high in the amino acid arginine, which prompts the body to release vital hormones, stimulate sexuality, increase lean muscle mass, burn fat, lower cholesterol and boost the immune system.
Apples are unusually high in fiber, with an average of five grams. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, we need approximately 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day, so one apple provides about 15 to 25 percent of your daily fiber requirement. Apples contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. The soluble fiber is known as “pectin,” and is the substance that is added to jams and jellies to make them gel. Pectin has the power to decrease the appetite for up to four hours, making it a more effective appetite suppressant than the insoluble fiber found in grains such as wheat and rye. (Oats, like apples, are also rich in soluble fiber.)
Pears offer protection from free radicals; Pears are high in both Vitamin C and copper, anti-oxidant nutrients that help prevent free radical damage to the cells. Both copper and Vitamin C also stimulates white blood cells to fight infections, and directly kills many bacteria and viruses. One medium size pear can provide about 11 percent of the daily value your body needs for Vitamin C, and almost 10 percent of the copper it needs. They also promote cardiovascular and colon health: The fiber in pears has been shown to lower high cholesterol levels. It also binds to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon, preventing them from damaging colon cells. Pears also protect against macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss in older adults and provide Vitamin B: Pears have a high concentration of folates, which make up the Vitamin B complex group. These vitamins are essential for metabolic activity and red blood cell production.
Old Fashioned Oatmeal is high in fibers that enhance weight control and discourages cardiovascular disease; the beta-glucan fiber in oats and also barley exerts beneficial anti-glycemic effects as well, helping to stabilize blood sugar.
Cinnamon helps stabilize blood sugar because it stimulates insulin receptors and inhibits an enzyme that inactivates them, thereby increasing cells’ ability to use glucose. Just one gram per day (approximately ¼ to ½ teaspoon) yields a 20 percent drop in blood sugar, and reduces cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well. Cinnamon also reduces cellular inflammation—a key age accelerator.
Fun fact: The mere scent of cinnamon enhances the brain’s cognitive processing, including attention, memory, and visual-motor speed.
Omega-3 Eggs are a terrific source of protein and Omega-3 essential fatty acids. The key is to make sure you purchase eggs from cage-free chickens that are fed flax meal. Not only are they much more nutritious, they taste wonderful.
Lemons and Lemon Juice contain important phytonutrients which protect lungs, alleviate chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, help prevent cancer by boosting the activity of detoxification enzymes in the liver, lower blood cholesterol levels, and inhibit cancer in human breast cells, skin, lungs, stomach, mouth, and colon cancer in laboratory animals. They also play an important role in the maintenance of elastin and the stabilization of collagen.
Berries are antioxidant and vitamin powerhouses. They contain important phytochemicals including phenolics, anthocyanins, carotenoids, and more. Blueberries also contains phytochemicals that can cross the blood-brain barrier and enter the areas of brain responsible for learning and memory. Raspberries are a rich source of Vitamin C—key for collagen production and also very high in ellegic acid superior in reducing the damage caused to cells from free radicals—like blueberries they are super anti-aging foods in just about every category. All berries are superb for all organ systems including skin.
Yogurt is a very good source of calcium, phosphorus, riboflavin-Vitamin B2 and iodine, Vitamin B12, pantothenic acid-Vitamin B5, zinc, potassium, protein and molybdenum. Yogurt that contains live bacterial cultures may help you to live longer, and may fortify your immune system. Research studies have shown that increased yogurt consumption, particularly in immuno-compromised populations such as the elderly, may enhance the immune response, which would in turn increase resistance to immune-related diseases.
Chickpeas are low in fat and sodium but high in complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber. In addition to lowering cholesterol, garbanzos' high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia. They are also an excellent source of protein, needing only to be combined with grains such as barley or oats to provide all the amino acids necessary to make a complete protein for vegetarians who do not have other sources of protein for their meals.
Turmeric. The golden root of turmeric has been used since ancient times for both health and beauty. A superb anti-inflammatory, the active curcuminoids help even out skin tone and color and have superior cell-protective properties, helping to keep skin soft and supple while protecting against the oxidative stress that accelerates skin ageing.” 
Be sure to check out GOOP, or subscribe to their updates via email or RSS feed.  I particularly like their MAKE series, because they often feature fancy, professional chefs and they usually share some great recipes, which I love.  One of my favorites is Gwyneth Paltrow's Turkey Meatball Recipe.  It takes a little prep work, of course, but it is well worth the trouble.  The meatballs are lean, and they have wonderful flavors of lemon, fennel, garlic and onion yumminess!  Try them soon, you won't be sorry!!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A good deed

I did something yesterday for the first time, and it made me feel so good that I thought I would share with the hope that you might be inspired to do the same type of good deed.  Sort of a "pay it forward" type thing.  Speaking of, have you ever heard of going to Starbucks and paying for the car behind you along with your own?  Then, when the car pulls up to the window to pick up their latte, they discover that their drink has already been paid for by an anonymous person.  The idea is that the driver then should pay for the person behind them, and so on...  I know if that ever happens to me, I would certainly pay for the person behind me - how fun! 

My good deed has a similar concept, and I'm anxious to hear if anyone else does what I did yesterday.  Or, maybe it will inspire others to do the same! 

I had the afternoon to myself yesterday, and I had several errands to run.  Groceries, purchase a gift, supplies for an upcoming vacation, a baby shower to attend, etc.  So, while I had limited time for my shopping, I still tried my best to make a list beforehand and apply as many coupons to current store specials as possible.  While I am still couponing and making significant progress in my grocery bills, the biggest thing I've learned is that it takes a considerable amount of time to organize a shopping trip.  For me, this is often difficult unless I do it very early in the morning, or when everyone is asleep at night - the only two times my house is quiet and I can really concentrate, uninterupted.  I stopped by CVS to stock up on some toiletries that were on sale, and decided to buy some diapers as well because the large boxes were on sale and an ECB was awarded when you purchased them.  As I flipped through my diaper coupons, I found my $1.50 off coupon for the diapers and added it to my Transaction #1 envelope.  I also noticed that I had 3 additional coupons with an expiration date of 7/31/11 that I wasn't going to use.  I decided then that if I wasn't able to use them, why not leave them anonymously by the diapers on the shelf for someone to find later in the day.  I spread the three coupons around on different parts of the diaper shelf as if I was hiding Easter eggs and smiled to myself thinking about someone finding them today or tomorrow by surprise!  Then, I remembered that I had a $5 off Enfamil formula coupon in my Baby envelope.  My son is no longer on formula, so if I didn't leave it for someone, it would go unused.  So, I placed it on top of a large can of Enfamil formula!    After all, $5 is $5!  Finally, I bought some paper towels while at CVS.  I found the coupon that applied to the towels I was purchasing, but noticed that another $1 off coupon in my paper goods envelope would go unused.  And so, you guessed it, I placed in on top of the towels for someone else to find and use.

These might sound like silly good deeds, but I know how expensive diapers and formula can be.  When you are watching your pennies, $1 here, or $5 there, really can make a difference.  Hopefully, someone was able to use the coupons, and I just hope that it helped someone that could really use them!

Another cool coincidence...  After CVS, I ran to Homeland for a few things.  One thing on my list was, of course, coffee!  Although it wasn't an ideal price at Homeland, it is on sale this week and I was nearly out.  I also had a coupon for $1/any 2 Folgers products that expired yesterday that I wanted to use.  When I got to the coffee aisle, I glanced down to see that someone had left the same coupon on top of the coffee.  Clearly it was there for someone to find, and I just thought it was so great to know that people do these things!  I already had the coupon, and wasn't planning to buy 4 cans, so I didn't use it.  Hopefully, someone else was able to get the savings on their cups of joe!

Let me know - do you print coupons that you know you won't use, just to leave them by those products in the store for someone to find?  Or, what other good deeds, or "pay it forward" lessons have you experienced or done to help others?  I'm anxious to hear!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

DIY Club and Pinterest

So if you're like me, you have become completely obsessed with Pinterest.  My Internet browsing has taken on a whole new direction - I'm now asking myself if an image, idea, or project is "pin" worthy!  The website allows you to create design boards of all your favorite things.  You can find your own images, or repin someone else's design idea, project, or style.  The boards allow you to organize your favorites so that you can categorize all similar ideas in one place.  Rather than saving a picture you find online to your computer, you're able to store and sort the ideas you stumble upon in one convenient place.  It's stored online, so you don't take up space on your computer, and you can share your fun discoveries with others.

I've mentioned it before (specifically HERE and HERE), but we would love to build a house on our land someday.  Although it won't be anytime in the near future, I'm constantly thinking about the different design elements and styles in our someday house.  So, I've started a few boards on my Pinterest, categorized by rooms, to save ideas and designs that I find between now and when we begin construction.  As new styles and trends develop, I'm sure my dream house ideas will change.  The wonderful thing about Pinterest is that I can edit those ever-changing "must haves" along the way!  To be honest, I'm not sure how long this website has been available.  It may be a new thing, or I may have just now discovered it.  Either way, it's definitely worth checking out!

Maybe it's the fact that I've started this blog, or even that I've been reading several creative blogs lately, but it seems as though DIY (do-it-yourself) crafts and projects are making a comeback.  Or, maybe it's my thriftier, less-is-more attitude, but DIY projects are actually kind of cool now - and I'm seeing some great ways to create decorative and useful things in a much cheaper way.  And, with blogs, we (bloggers) are able to share those ideas by providing tutorials and photos, that allow those who lack creative genes to flourish in the DIY world.  It gives us hope to see so many ideas out there!

Some of the most beautiful, and most treasured, things in my home are drawings, paintings, and personal items that can't be purchased.  I love pretty and creative things, but I've never claimed to be a creative person.  I have my moments, but all in all, I need some direction.  I have several projects on my 'to do' list, and through Pinterest, that DIY list has grown.

Here are some fun DIY project ideas on my list:

Embroidery hoop made into a Christmas card holder

Pringles can turned holiday cookie tin

Drop cloth rosette pillow, or wreath, or headband...
No sew grommet curtains
Balloon birthday wreath
Yarn dipped in watered down glue, cover a balloon and once yarn is dry, pop the balloon.  Darling party decoration!
Mossy letters - for the mantel or front door
Flower pillow
I'm inspired - are you?  I would love to make some, or even all, of these DIY projects in the near future.  I better hurry, too, because I'm sure I'll keep adding to my list.

But, here is what I'm thinking...  I know I have some creative friends, crafty neighbors and fellow DIY wanna be's out there.  I think we should all join forces and help each other!  Once a month, we could get together with one DIY project in mind.  Rotating each month, one person would serve as our instructor.  They would be in charge of the craft/project and would be responsible for sending out the required supply list.  The group will gather their supplies prior to the scheduled time, so that once we meet we are ready to go!  As our group gains confidence in their own DIY skills, we can come up with new ideas to share.  Even if we get together and make gingerbread houses during the holidays, it would be a fun, no-pressure girls night.  I know I always welcome a night with the girls!

Please think about it, and I'm open to additional thoughts and ideas!  If you see this post, and are interested, please let me know.  Leave a comment, or email me!


Monday, June 13, 2011

P-dub's Iced Coffee Post

I've literally cut and pasted Ree's latest post, because, well, it's about coffee, and I thought it was an appropriate post to start out your week.  In no way am I trying to take credit, this is all hers.  Just thought it was great info for all the coffee lovers out there!  And, if there are two things I love in this world, it's coffee and new recipes!  Also, if you don't already, please, please, please subscribe to her blog @  It's so funny, and down to earth.  You'll fall in love with her writing style and her overall personality.  Her recipes are amazing, too!

Perfect Iced Coffee

Iced coffee is my life. When I wake up, often around the time party animals on the west coast are just heading home, I start each day not with a cup of freshly brewed hot java, but with a tall, blessed glass of creamy iced coffee in a glass. I’ve been an iced coffee freakazoid for years and years. To say I couldn’t live without it is an understatement. It gives me the tools I need to cope.

Iced coffee is a complicated thing, and there are many different approaches. One would think that one could merely pour brewed coffee into a glass full of ice and call it a day…but I find that method extremely flawed. First, no matter how packed with ice the glass is, once the hot coffee hits, some of the ice is bound to melt. This has two disastrous results:
1. The overall strength of the coffee flavor is diluted.
2. The iced coffee isn’t as cold as it could (or should) be. The finished glass of iced coffee should be frigid, not sorta cold with half-melted ice cubes floating around.
Given the previous set of facts, one would assume that the logical solution would be to brew hot coffee, then transfer the brew to the fridge, allow it to cool, and use it to make iced coffee from there. It’s an okay solution, one I subscribed to for quite awhile…until I picked up an issue of Imbibe Magazine three summers ago. It contained a huge spread on the subject of iced coffee, and suggested the following cold-brew method for creating a sort of iced coffee concentrate. I tried it immediately, have made it this way ever since, and can tell you that there is no better (or simpler) method for having the most delicious iced coffee at your fingertips.
There are reasons this method results in a smoother, richer, more delicious concentrate than simply brewing strong coffee and refrigerating it. I would take the time to explain them to you if I knew what they were. But since I don’t, I’m just going to show you instead.
(Note: I’ve totally adapted/tweaked coffee/water amounts to suit my own tastes. Experiment to find your own perfect ratio.)
I start with a big ol’ container. I love these food storage containers, by the way. I got these at restaurant supply, but Sam’s Club had them last time I was there.

You can use a big bowl, a large pitcher…even a really clean bucket will work if you’re going for a huge quantity. (Or you can halve the original quantity and use a pitcher.)

Rip open a pound of ground coffee. Any kind will do; the stronger and richer the better. 

Pour in the coffee. 

Mount Bliss. Who invented coffee, anyway? They should be awarded the keys to the city.

Or, at the very least, my heart.

Pour in 8 quarts (2 gallons) cold water.

Give it a stir to make sure all the grounds make contact with the water…

Then cover the container and go live your life as the coffee steeps for at least eight hours. (And you can go much longer if you’d like.)
When the time has passed, grab a separate container and place a fine mesh strainer over the top.
Place a couple of layers of cheesecloth inside the strainer…

And slowly pour the steeped coffee through the strainer.

It’ll take awhile for all the liquid to pass through. (Doesn’t this look like one of the acid pools at Yellowstone?)

My friend Julie is there right now.
Hi, Julie!
Oh. Guess she didn’t hear me.

Use a spoon to gently press/force the last of the liquid through. And note: I’ve tried the straining method without the cheesecloth, and stray grounds did make it through the mesh strainer. Definitely try to use cheesecloth (or even paper towels) to filter out the finer pieces.

And there we have it. The dregs (left)…and the gold (right.)

You can store the liquid in the same container, or you can transfer it to a pitcher or other dispenser. Though it’s difficult to wait, I refrigerate this gorgeous concoction before consuming it. It’s meant to be cold!
Note: this amount of coffee concentrate lasts me a good three weeks to a month if kept tightly covered in the fridge.

Now, when you’re ready to make yourself an iced coffee, you can do two things. Start by filling a glass with ice.

Reach into the fridge and dispense enough of the coffee liquid to fill the glass half full (or maybe a little more). 

Splash in skim, 2%, or whole milk…or, if you’re a naughty, naughty bad girl like me: half-and-half.

Make that naughty, naughty, naughty, bad, bad girl.

Add enough sugar to achieve the level of sweetness you like, or you can drizzle in vanilla or hazelnut syrup if you have those kinds of things lying around.

Stir it all up…

Stick in a straw…

And go fer it. Look at that miracle. The ice is all there. The flavor’s all there.
I’m all there.
And now for something entirely different. Same…but different.
This is a variation on classic Vietnamese Iced Coffee (also recommended by Imbibe), which actually does begin with a hot brew…but I’m using the cold stuff.

Fill the glass with ice and coffee concentrate as we did before, then crack open a can of sweetened condensed milk.

A glorious substance. One you should get to know better if you don’t already.

Drizzle in at least 2 tablespoons for a big glass (I wound up adding three.)


On top of this, add a small splash of milk or half-and-half.
(I recommend the latter, of course.)


Stir, take a small sip, and add a little more sweetened condensed milk if needed.
I’ve tried all combinations of milk, half-and-half, sugar, artificial sweeteners, flavored syrups, and sweetened condensed milk, and I will tell you that there is no more winning combo than the half-and-half/sweetened condensed milk mixture. It is out-of-this-world creamy and wonderful, and is worth at least a spot in your weekend rotation if you’re not willing to go there daily.
Either way, try this cold-brewed method of iced coffee sometime soon. The flavor, convenience (and cost savings) can not be underestimated.
Pioneer Woman
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