Dec 21, 2009

Are You Hosting Christmas Dinner This Week?

This year, and for the past few years, my sister has hosted our Christmas dinner. My turn to host comes in the Spring for Mother's Day. Thanksgiving day we ate out and had desserts at my Mom's after. I remember what a wonderful host my Mom was each and every holiday, it is good to be able to give back to her for all she has done.

If you are hosting this year, you might enjoy the following, which honestly faces the fact that hosting can be stressful, and gives you some solutions you may find helpful.

Buffet Recipes And Tips For The Imperfect Hostess
By: Daniel Millions
Hosting a dinner party for friends? Or have you been selected (or singled out, ahh!) to host Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner this year? How exciting. And what a pain in the rear. While having the people you love in your home and feeding them a ton of food is rewarding and can be a lot of fun, chances are you re a little stressed about it. Unless, of course, you are Martha Stewart.

When you re overwhelmed planning a dinner party, sometimes choosing a few good buffet recipes and setting up a simple buffet seems like the easiest thing. And though it s true that, in many ways, a buffet is simpler to do than a sit down dinner (where you have to prepare each guest his or her own plate), hosting a buffet style dinner is no walk in the park. After all (and especially if your family is as piggy as mine), you ll still have to cook a whole big pile of food, won't you?

Choosing Buffet Recipes: When choosing recipes for a buffet dinner, the first thing you ll want to think about is ease of preparation. When having a lot of people over for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner (or any other holiday celebration), there is always a lot of food involved. Can you easily prepare a particular dish for a large number of people? Do you have room in your oven or on your stove to cook all of your dishes at once?

Another thing to think about when choosing buffet recipes is how much time each dish will take to prepare. When you host a dinner party, there are about 100 things on your to do list the day of the party or holiday... and about 100 other things that you never even thought of. The best way to cut down on your work load a bit?

Pick recipes that you can make ahead of time. If 80% of the cooking is done in the morning before your dinner party, you can be sure that things will be a lot easier when the guests arrive. Some great dinner party recipes that you can make up ahead of time are:

  1. Cold vegetable salads and pasta salads

  2. Soups and stews (add any rice or pasta at the last minute)

  3. Veggies and dips

  4. Cold appetizers

  5. Reheatable sauces

  6. Breads, biscuits, etc.

  7. Sliced cheese and fruit trays

  8. More stuff I can t think of now
Last, you ll want to think about how easy a particular dish is to eat. 

Especially if you re going to have some guests on their feet or perched on chairs, you ll want foods that they can eat without too much cutting or hacking. Unless you want them to eat a whole steak in their hands like some kind of carnivorous squirrel (which would be entertaining but unhygienic), skip preparing a large piece of meat.

Buffet Table Setting Tips: Got your buffet recipes figured out? Now it s time to get the table ready. While it seems like setting up a buffet table should be as simple as tossing things together, there are a few things you can do to make you buffet table both look nicer and be easier to use. One is to vary the height of different dishes.

This makes the table look more appealing visually and makes it easier for guests to access a particular dish. Another important buffet table setting tip is to... avoid being boring! Most people have been to about 1000 buffets in their lifetime, and most of them are ordinary and all the same.

But with some creative decorating ideas and a little flair for the unusual, you can create a beautiful and unforgettable buffet table. Good luck!

Updated 3/22/16

Article formerly on Selling with Articles, a site that is closed, used with permission, author's site:

Dec 17, 2009

Diet Tips for Those with Fibromyalgia

I have a family member that deals with this painful condition and have spent some time on the subject at my website, and often suggest something called "Fibralgia" for this, if you would like a fact sheet, please contact me using the moderated comment form below, I will not approve requests for public reading.

In this post, I'd like to share with you part of an article about diet and Fibromyalgia. 

I hope you find this to be helpful.

Best Tips on Fibromyalgia Diet Guide

By: Dr. Ken

Fibromyalgia seems to be a common condition to people with EDS and other connective tissue disorders, but many people with fibromyalgia do not have EDS .There is no single accurate or erroneous answer when it comes to a Fibromyalgia diet plan, but there are many dissimilar steps that can be taken by anyone distress from the disorder in order to improve the feature of their life and to make the symptoms related with the confusion much more manageable.

Logically, it seemed like there had to be a common denominator to all of my health problems. The following is a brief primer on Fibromyalgia diet tips which may be able to help poise your body and to offer your body relief with just a few small nutritional modifications.

Many people with fibromyalgia have overlapping conditions that require special diets. If you have been diagnosed with any of the following, take note of the dietary restrictions and suggestions .Before you make any drastic changes to your Fibromyalgia diet arrangement, you should first discuss with your doctor to make sure that you are assembly the right choices and that your Fibromyalgia diet plan will be a fit and safe one. The nerves and muscles in the bowel are extra sensitive and even eating a large meal can initiate symptoms and cause pain.

So at the first stage sugar intake should be monitored at all times by people who are pain from Fibromyalgia. A Fibromyalgia diet plan with considerably reduced sugar levels will help many Fibromyalgia losses feel better in the long run. Your Fibromyalgia diet plan supposed to avoid even the less obvious sources of sugar, such as during high fructose corn syrup which is established in many soda and juice drinks.

Caffeine intake should also be restricted as much as probable because it can worsen sleep issues significantly. Individuals with lactose intolerance need to limit their intake of milk and dairy products or take lactase enzymes that are available without a prescription. If you are going to swallow caffeine in any form, try to do it in the morning so that you have the complete day to metabolize the caffeine before going to bed. Caffeine can greatly exaggerate sleeping difficulties and consequently should be avoided as much as is potential.

You must always concern with the allergic food if you are allergic to any types of food.You should totally eliminate these foods from your Fibromyalgia diet. For example, if you are lactose narrow minded, which is a common problem for sufferers of Fibromyalgia, you are going to remove all milk related products from your diet. People with fibromyalgia should pay attention to general nutritional needs, because they often have absorption problems caused by digestive tract illnesses, such as bacterial overgrowth, celiac disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Other than that, You should make sure that you are balancing all of your food groups properly, not sticking to too many crabs or too much protein. You should also aim to eat meals which are smaller, so that you may eat on a more frequent schedule to help you feel better over all.

Doctors recommend that you try to minimize the amounts of preservatives or chemicals that you consume in your diet because your body will require more antioxidants to clear them from your system, and many patients are chemically sensitive. So adding preservatives should be avoided as much as probable, as tough as it may seem. Foods that have preservatives can look like toxins in the body, so you should choose fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats for the major parts of your diet. If you are not lactose intolerant, you should also get abundance of dairy in your Fibromyalgia diet.

In addition to a healthy diet, several vitamins and nutritional supplements have been determined to be beneficial for a variety of chemical imbalances to help you improve the quality of your life. Artificial sweeteners should also be totally avoided, because they can have a very toxic effect on your body. If you can abolish them altogether from your Fibromyalgia diet, do so.

Article written by the author of the site and formerly found on, used with permission.

Updated 3/22/16

Dec 15, 2009

Recipe: Quick Clam and Crab Meat Chowder

Do you ever have those days when it's time to go food shopping, but you have to pull together a recipe at the last minute from whatever you happen to have around the house? These are creative moments, and it was just such a moment when this recipe came to be, it's easy, quick, and tastes delicious, feeds 3-4, depending upon the portions...I make it for myself, hubby and an adult son, so you can imagine it goes quickly with two big guys taking their share.

You'll need:

  • 2-3 cans prepared Clam Chowder (we use low fat, low salt or w/ sea salt) 
  • 1-2 cans Corn 
  • 1 lb. Imitation Crab Meat 
  • Sea Salt to taste (sea salt better for those w/ blood pressure problems..and all of us!) 
  • Pepper to taste.

Combine all and heat, that's it! Serve with a side salad, and a hearty whole-grain bread...eliminate the bread if you're watching calories.

Tip: Certain cuts of the Imitation Crab Meat can get very stringy if stirred, I tend to put the Crab Meat in last, stir in gently after the soup, etc. is heated up, then just heat the crab meat through.

Updated 3/22/16

Dec 13, 2009

The Sugar Season

In our home we have to watch how much sugar we consume, because my husband is a diabetic...we join him in avoiding sugar. It is hard at this time of year because there are so many tempting treats wherever you go to eat, at parties, in the store, and it is hard to resist.

I don't keep sugar around the house, except during the summer to feed the humming birds, we use honey in moderation, stevia (an herbal sweetener) and occasional artificial sweeteners. 

However, I am thinking of browsing through some Sugar articles to see whether they have some helpful tips on the subject of avoiding sugar, I'm sure there will be plenty about enjoying it. Actually, when I visited, there were many topics discussed on the page, it took doing a search for the word "sugar" to find the information that was helpful to me.

Updated 3/22/16

5 Ways to Reduce Fat in Meat Dishes

If you enjoy eating meat, but want to cut down on the cholesterol building fat while you are preparing or cooking your meat, here are some tips for you. Most of them are not original or new, but good reminders:
  1. Ground meat - If I don't buy a lean ground beef or use ground sausage, I use it only for browning to make chili or sauces, not in meat loaf. When I brown, I either drain the fat in a small colander into a container, or our trash can if it is full and has paper in it to absorb the fat. If I am not using the same frying pan that I browned the meat in to prepare the dish in, I "tip" the pan by taking it part way off the burner or putting something under one side, then move the meat to the high end of the pan. The fat pools to one side, when I'm ready, I remove the meat and put into the rest of the recipe in another pan.
  2. Chicken - remove the skin, and all those yellow "globs" of can do this AFTER cooking if you like, as it will help retain moisture in the meat. I tend to do it before, then marinate the meat or baste with a little olive oil (a healthier fat) before seasoning.
  3. Beef - Buy it lean, and cut off all that extra white fat that is sometimes on a roast. I don't mind if the meat is a little marbled, but usually cook meat like this slowly in the crock pot as much of the fat goes out of the meat during cooking. My favorite cut is a very lean London Broil.
  4. Fish - generally the oils in fish are healthy, contain omega 3's 
  5. Turkey and Gravy - This is a hard to digest meat, but we love it during the holidays, pull as much of that fat that you find on either side of the opening of the cavity where some put stuffing away as you can. I cook in a cooking bag, and then save the juice. Put the juice in a large container in the refrigerator. The fat will harden on top when cold, and can be removed, thrown away, leaving you with a lean juice to make your gravy. 
Updated 3/22/16

Dec 8, 2009

Remembering Old Christmas Posts

Today as I was decorating our house for Christmas, and thinking about what to share on my blogs, I realized that this blog has been on the web for a few years, and a few Christmas seasons. This means that many of my older posts have become lost, in a way, so I thought I'd go see if I could find them and share links to them here. 
 Avoid Eating Healthy During the Holidays  
The Basis for a Healthy Cookie Recipe

It's the Season for Baking Cookies and Shortbread

If you visit the "Recipes" tag below this post, you may find some other recipes suitable for your Christmas dinner table.

I hope you are enjoying this Christmas I took out the ornaments today, it seemed like just a short time had passed since I'd put them away last year. Wishing you all the best, and I am sure we'll have more Christmas posts before the big day arrives in only a bit over two weeks!

Updated 3/22/16

It's the Season for Baking Cookies and Shortbread

Each year around Christmas we have a neighbor who comes to the door with a dish of delicious cookies that she bakes, a wonderful variety. 

Personally, I am not much of a baker, maybe because I don't eat a lot of sugar or pastries, but do make up for it during the holidays. 

Our family's traditional cookie is Scotch Shortbread, a simple recipe, something my grandmother did each year, and then my mother, and now me. I have my butter, flour and sugar ready and waiting to to bake some delicious, rich, shortbread cookies. What is your favorite cookie for the holiday season? Please feel free to share. 

I did a page on "Wizzley" about our Shortbread Cookies called Grandma's Scotch Shortbread Recipe. Can't wait to see how this years batch will taste.

Updated 3/22/16

Nov 18, 2009

Dark Chocolate - Benefits During Pregnancy

Much has been said about the health benefits of dark chocolate...I have shared before how my grandfather was a chocolate lover, and even though back in his day, he was told he shouldn't eat it after having an ulcer, he did, and managed to live a long and wonderful life, until he was 97, in fact his birthday was or would have been last week. I don't recommend going against your doctors wishes if you're told not to eat chocolate, but more and more information is coming out about it's health benefits.

Now there is research that
dark chocolate for pregnancy may not be such a bad fact a GOOD thing. At Yale University a Dr. Elizabeth Triche did a study with the help of her colleagues and 2,291 pregnant women who gave birth between 1996 and 2000. One of the components of chocolate that can be tested in the umbilical cords of these women is the was found that the women who ate the most chocolate in their 1st and 2nd trimesters were less likely to develop pre-eclampsia. This study can be found in this months publication of the "Epidemiology" journal.

So, pregnant women, with your doctor's permission of course, you can indulge yourself in your favorite treat and be doing some good for your pregnancy...and Intentional Chocolate would like you to consider their high-quality brand. If you are eating it for health benefits, you want the quality to be exceptional! 

Updated 3/22/16

Thanksgiving Coming So Quickly!

Can Thanksgiving really be only a week and a day away? This year, for the first time, we are doing something different, we will be gathering as a family at a restaurant for dinner. Then to one of our homes for dessert after. It's going to be some ways it will make things easier for everyone, which is nice, in others, it will take away from some of the traditional dishes, but we'll make up for that on Christmas.

I have a huge turkey in my freezer, that will be cooked and enjoyed at home for the rest of the weekend, with leftovers to make soup. What I like to do with our soup, and some of our turkey, is freeze it to share with my mother. I take the soup and freeze it in a couple of medium sized Tupperware bowls. Then when I'm ready to take the soup to Mom, I remove the frozen-solid soup from the bowl and put it in a large zip-lock bag and take it to her home and her freezer.

Here are a few Thanksgiving posts from the past, I haven't done many, but the following includes a simple "leftovers" recipe and a link to another post on another blog:
What Do You Do With Your Thanksgiving Leftovers? (w/ recipe)

Updated 3/21/16

Nov 17, 2009

Rant about CHANGE in Breast Mammogram Guidelines

We were told CHANGE would come when the present administration was elected into office, and we've seen a lot of it. Today the big news is the CHANGE that the Federal government is looking to make in Mammogram guidelines, and if those changes come, you can be sure it's going to affect what is and isn't covered by your insurance company....and not for the better. I believe this is all part of what we have to look forward to with the present administration's "health care reform", it's just the beginning.

According to new guidelines woman from the age of 40-50 no longer need mammograms. How many of you know woman who are in their 40's, even in their late 30's that have had breast cancer? I can rattle off names in my head, and I'm sure you can too, some have survived thanks to early intervention, only one dear friend has not.

As for how often you should be examined after age 50, they say every other year. My doctor has encouraged me to go every year, but must admit I only go every other, if that. So that one I am not overly concerned about...but what about those who are at high-risk of getting breast cancer, will there be exceptions for them?

And wow, now we don't even have to do breast self-examinations! They are now considered to be useless!! Phew, what a relief not to have to worry about that one every month! Forgive the sarcasm, that is something I do quite regularly, as recently as this morning, who better than you woman reading this can know how your breasts are supposed to feel, and will be first to notice any change?

All of this, in my opinion, boils down to cutting back funding, in this case money needed to protect our health, in order to help make up for a small fraction of the trillions in bail-out money, etc. that has been thrown around for the past several months...and I'm afraid we're going to see more of it.

The American Cancer Society DOES NOT approve of the new guidelines, by the way, and I haven't included everything in this post.

I wonder how many blog posts today have referred to the Feds who made these decisions as "boobs"? I hope some of them, or those who were part of the "task force" reviewing this matter, have them, or have been touched personally by a family member or close friend who has had breast cancer, if not, they shouldn't be making our decisions for us.

Related Posts:

Breasts, Bras and Health Care Reform
Breast Feeding and it's Health Benefits

Food and Cancer Connection (Breasts, Ovarian)
Healthy Breasts and Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Oct 16, 2009

15 Facts About Copper and Food Sources

Copper isn't one of the necessary minerals that you hear about the most, but it's a trace mineral that plays important roles in the body, which include:
  1. iding the body in the production of hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying molecule in the blood
  2. Works with Vitamin C to aid in formation of collagen...the part of th cell membrane that supports muscles and tissues.
  3. It conducts electricity so aids the nervous system
  4. Oysters and nuts contain copper
  5. It's in drinking water that comes through copper pipes
  6. The fact that zinc and copper compete with one another for absorption in the digestive system should be considered
  7. Our body stores about 100 mg of copper, mostly in our liver and brain, the muscles contain the rest
  8. There are some who are concerned that we are getting too much copper because of certain factors, for example copper piping, and others who are concerned that we don't get enough.
  9. You do not need to supplement a lot of copper, but it is found in mineral supplements like Trace Mineral Maintenance.
  10. Other natural sources that include copper are whole grains, esp. buckwheat, whole wheat, shellfish ie shrimp, liver and other organ meats, dried peas, beans, dried fruit ie prunes, yeast, and dark green leafy veggies to name a few.
  11. Blood tests can determine whether copper is low and supplementation is needed.
  12. Copper toxicity can contribute to fatigue, irritability, nervousness, depression, learning problems, and in more severe cases, anxiety states, joint and muscle pain, poor memory, psychological depression, schizophrenia, epilepsy (more than 2 seizure episodes considered epilepsy), autism, hypertension, stuttering, hyperactive children, pre-eclampsia in pregnancy, and a few other conditions. Remember, this list can be caused by many other things too, a health care provide can help you determine whether Copper is the cause.
  13. Wilson's Disease affects how the body metabolizes copper, and can lead to high, even fatal levels of copper in the liver and brain, often treated by chelation with agents that bind with copper and carry it out of the body.
  14. Iron deficiency is often accompanied by copper deficiency
  15. Low copper levels can reduce thyroid function, weaken immunity, contribute to irregular heart rhythms, cause bones to loose minerals, and more...again, you should have blood tests to determine whether your copper level is low, not guess based on symptoms that can be cause by other things as well.

Related posts about Minerals:
Chromium and Glucose Tolerance
Magnesium, 12 Facts and 8 Sources

Oct 13, 2009

10 Vitamin D Facts

I thought we'd get back to the series on Vitamins and their benefits with Vitamin D. This wonderful vitamin benefits us in the following ways:

  1. Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb and use calcium and phosphorus properly.
  2. Vitamin D aids in the synthesis of protein which, like calcium, helps in building strong bones, teeth and skin.
  3. Vitamin D is needed for a healthy nervous system
  4. Vitamin D brings health to the kidneys.
  5. Vitamin D deficiency is generally not a big concern for most, it seems to be more of a problem with older individuals, blood tests help determine this, for example, my Mom who is in her 80's has been told she is low in V. D and should spend time in the sun and supplement with Vit. D3 in particular.
  6. A natural source of vitamin D is the sun, which acts on the oils on our skin and is absorbed by the body. If you spend 15 minutes in the sun each day, you will get a nice dose of Vitamin D.
  7. Vitamin A and D work together synergistically to benefit the body and are often combined in supplement form, but care should be taken not to take excessive amounts, and may not even be necessary except in older individuals who are prone to Vit. D deficiency, this can be measured through blood tests.
  8. Pregnancy Caution: Vitamin D should not exceed 5,000 IU's, excesses of 10,000+ IU's can result in birth defects and other reproductive concerns. In fact, pregnant or not, these are high amounts, and generally, you are getting what you need through sunshine and a good multi-vitamin.
  9. Vitamin D toxicity causes excess thirst, diarrhea, nausea, weakness, and the excess calcium that it can bring into the body can cause calcification of tissues, possibly may contribute to atherosclerosis.
  10. The food source that contains the most Vitamin D is fish, fish oils.
So generally, unless you are sun-deprived, you probably do not need to supplement Vitamin D, you'll get enough from the sun. In the Northeast we do need supplementation during the colder months when large areas are not exposed to the sun, or we are indoors during cold months. D3 is suggested during these times, you can discuss this with your doctor.

Related Vitamin Fact Posts:

16 Facts About Vitamin A
10 Facts About Vitamin B12, Sources
10 Vitamin C Facts and Colds

Updated 3/21/16

Oct 11, 2009

Halloween and Pumpkin Recipes - Bread

The trees are beautiful around us right now, quickly changing their colors due to the cold weather we're having early in the fall season, and the pumpkins are excellent in New Jersey in spite of the rainy summer we've had. I guess they, like the melons we've purchased this summer, have been happy with all the rain.

When my children were growing up, we would go pumpkin picking, and used most of the pumpkin. We prepared it a day before Halloween; removing,cleaning and roasting the pumpkin seeds for eating. Then we carved a face into the pumpkin, and set it out with a candle to enjoy on Halloween night. Before it could decay, or the animals could get to it, I cut it up into pieces that could be used in recipes. I had (and still have) a ceramic pumpkin that replaced the "real" pumpkin before and after Halloween night.

There are many things you can use pumpkin for, pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie and more...we'll take a look at some over the holiday season.

I enjoyed looking at the following video on how to make no-knead pumpkin bread, and maybe you will too!

Sep 24, 2009

Avoiding the Need for HIV or AIDS Vaccine

Research is a wonderful thing, and to wake up to news that some progress has been made toward a vaccine for a disease as terrible as AIDS is encouraging, but the results of a study done in Thailand are quite modest. There were about 16,000 participants in the study within an age range of about 18-30, all HIV negative when they started. About 1/2 were given a placebo, and the other half a mixture of vaccines. About 50 in the vaccinated group eventually got HIV while in the placebo group, about 74 got the disease. Is this a dramatic? I'm inclined to say no, but I'm not a scientist and don't know every detail that goes into a study (a lot of money for sure), so cannot judge. My focus is always more toward prevention.

STD's (sexually transmitted diseases) are not something I spend a lot of time thinking about, I have been fortunate to have been married to the same man for 30+ years, he has been faithful to me and I to him, and though married a bit later in life (I 27, he 25) we were careful about our prior relationships. My faith (yes, I'm a Christian) played into this a lot, made things quite simple as the choices I made were laid out for me in the Bible. While I am not naive enough to think that every Christian is protected from getting HIV because of their lifestyle (Christians fail too), positive moral choices make a big difference.

I learned a new term today, MSM, yes, naive I am, I never knew before that this is the term used for men who engage in sex with other men. When I went to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) website as one of many places to look for HIV preventative tips, that term and theme was a big one, leading me to think this is a major issue in the fight against aids. I am not going to go into what men should do to protect themselves if they chose this lifestyle, because Romans 1 in the Bible speaks to this issue and doesn't beat around the bush like I'm inclined to. For me, these things are quite simple in this complex world.

I am much more upset about the innocent ones that get caught up in the consequences of the choices that adults make, adults are old enough to chose what they do...the babies born with HIV or AIDS are not. I am not going to go into a list of what to do to prevent AIDS, there's loads of that to be found on the internet...this post is more of just a little sharing of thoughts.

Think about how you are affecting others...and yourself, before you act, especially when it comes to how you live out your sexuality.

OH, and just in case you are thinking of labeling me as "Homophobic" which is defined as "having irrational hatred of homosexuality: showing an irrational hatred, disapproval, or fear of homosexuality, gay and lesbian people, or their culture", I'm not. I disapprove of the lifestyle, but love people and want God's best for them in their body, mind and spirit. 

Updated 3/21/16

Sep 5, 2009

Breasts, Bras, & Health Care Reform

Now that I have you're attention, I wanted to share something important.

We are hearing a lot about health care reform, and many are concerned that changes in the way things are done will mean less care, well let me tell you that this is already happening - insurance companies themselves are changing what they will cover, Medicaid discourages covering certain things for people over a certain age (remind me to tell you the story about my father-in-law sometime), and here's just another example...this is part of an email I received from a friend:
From a nurse: I'll never forget the look in my patients' eyes when I had to tell them they had to go home with the drains, new exercises and no breast.

I remember begging the Doctors to keep these women in the hospital longer, only to hear that they would, but their hands were tied by the insurance companies.

So there I sat with my patients, giving them the instructions they needed to take care of themselves, knowing full well they didn't grasp half of what I was saying, because the glazed, hopeless, frightened look spoke louder than the quiet 'Thank You' they muttered.

A mastectomy is when a woman's breast is removed in order to remove cancerous breast cells/tissue. If you know anyone who has had a Mastectomy, you may know that there is a lot of discomfort and pain afterwards. Insurance companies are trying to make mastectomies an outpatient procedure.

Let's give women the chance to recover properly in the hospital for 2 days after surgery. It takes 2 seconds to do this and is very important.

There's a bill called the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act which will require insurance companies to cover a minimum 48-hour hospital stay for patients undergoing a mastectomy.

It's about eliminating the 'drive-through' Mastectomy where women are forced to go home just a few hours after surgery, against the wishes of their doctor, still groggy from anesthesia and sometimes with drainage tubes still attached.

In 2009 when this post was first published, Lifetime Television put this bill on their Web page with a petition drive to show support. Over half the House signed on. 
Thank you for reading.

Updated 3/21/16

Sep 2, 2009

Mineral Facts - Chromium & Glucose Tolerance

I start by saying I hope you are all having a wonderful summer, trying to keep up with my blogs and business adventures when the sun is shining so brightly is a challenge, but here I sit in our little log cabin on the lake with the large screen window behind me open to the fall-like cool air we're enjoying right now in the northeast. See? I'm so into the outdoors I'm not getting to the topic!

Chromium, this is a wonderful trace mineral that has a reputation for helping to maintain blood sugar levels that are already at a normal range. It is believed to work by helping the glucose find it's way from the blood into the cells. It is needed so that the liver can manufacture fatty acids, lecithin, cholesterol, and lipo-proteins.

Foods that contain this trace mineral include:

  • Brewer's Yeast
  • Black-strap Molasses
  • Black Pepper
  • Liver especially, but also in other meats.
  • Whole Wheat Bread and Whole Grain Cereals
  • Broccoli
  • Cheese
  • Nuts
  • Legumes
  • Beets
  • Mushrooms
If you are unable to eat these foods for any reason, or if you are not getting enough of them in your daily diet, you can use a Chromium supplement. 

Related Post(s):
Facts about Magnesium (and some about Calcium)

Updated 3/21/16

Aug 24, 2009

I Love Rice Vinegar and It's Uses

I always have a bottle of rice vinegar in the refrigerator, ready to use for a variety of things, and not just in my favorite oriental recipes. Let me give you some suggestions:

* You can use it as an ingredient in marinate that you make for your barbecued chicken, and barbecued vegetables.  Here is an article I wrote about my favorite barbecued chicken recipes.

* Sprinkle some on your salad alone, it has a nice light flavor, or use it in place of "regular" vinegar in your favorite salad dressing recipe.

* Are you trying to lose a little weight? Rather than put a lot of butter or margarine on your vegetables, potatoes or pasta, try adding some seasoned rice vinegar
to give it a pleasant flavor.

For health reasons, it may be good to seek out brands that contain 50% less sodium. Good rice vinegar is made from whole grain rice using a natural process that began over 200 years ago in Japan.

Updated 3/21/16

Aug 13, 2009

Sugar Shortage May Not Be So Bad

According to the media, sugar may be in short supply soon due to supply and demand, and the bad weather that areas where the world supply comes from. This leads to prices going up, and more.

While this may be a challenge for those in the food industry who make their money by baking sweet treats, adding sugar to drinks, and more, it may not be such a bad thing for the health of America.

While a little sugar now and then is not going to do much harm in my opinion, eating it in the large quantities that many do has numerous harmful affects including:
  • High's and lows in blood sugar levels cause havoc to the pancreas and organs that do the very hard work of balancing the glucose levels in the blood leading to disease like diabetes, hypoglycemia, and more.
  • Children who are given lots of sugary treats develop the problems mentioned above at early ages, and become hyperactive from the huge "hit" of energy that the body receives from the sugar in the blood....if there isn't a ready place for that energy to be used, your child may not be a pleasant person to be around.
Do I ever use sugar? Sure, a lot in the keep our hummingbird feeder full:-) The rest of the time we use Stevia or raw honey

On special occasions only we have cake, and we do occasionally have ice cream with no added sugar.
It's always best to seek out foods that are LOW in sugar...take it from a woman who's living with a husband who has struggled with Diabetes for years.

Related Posts You Might Like:

Is All Candy Bad for Children?

Sugar, Blood, Oxygen and the Brain

Sweet, and May Lower Blood Sugar

Preventing Diabetes in Children

Soda and Your Children

Updated 3/21/16

Aug 3, 2009

10 Vitamin C Facts, and Colds

There was a time, and for some this may still be true, that Vitamin C was thought of as a cure for the common cold. Perhaps it may decrease the intensity of a cold, or duration somewhat if started when a cold is in progress, but it is best use as a preventative, a fact that is true of most if not all vitamin supplements. Vitamin C benefits the body in the following ways:

  1. It is an antioxidant
  2. Aids many functions of the immune system
  3. Helps in the absorption of iron
  4. Aids the synthesis of enzymes, proteins and hormones by the body
  5. Our adrenal glands need quite a bit of Vitamin C for optimum performance.
  6. Vitamin C is water soluble so passes through the body easily and needs to be replenished through diet or supplements regularly.
  7. Excess Vitamin C can cause diarrhea, you can gradually increase the amount that you take to this point, then back down to the point that this symptom stops. Some use this as a way of the body telling them how much Vitamin C to take.
  8. Don't stop taking a maximum dose of vitamin C suddenly, it isn't terribly dangerous, but is a shock to the body.
  9. It is necessary for the formation of collagen...collagen holds the cells of the body together.
  10. Bioflavanoids work in synergy/harmony with Vitamin C
This is not an exhaustive list of the many benefits of Vitamin C, but a good start! Please click the "Vitamin Facts" category for more posts on Vitamins.

Updated 3/21/16

Jul 14, 2009

10 Facts - Vitamin B12 + Sources

Vitamin B's are vital to our nutrition and health, and beneficial for so many things. There are different B's in the vitamin B this post we'll take a look at Vitamin B-12.

Here are some Vitamin B + B12 facts:

  1. Help promote energy
  2. Support the nervous system
  3. Help in times of stress
  4. Support and improve immune function
  5. Have an influence on the health of most of the organs of the body
  6. Though primarily available in meats, B12 is easily lost in cooking or processing of foods, so unless you eat raw (and not many eat raw meat) and have time to monitor your intake, supplementation is beneficial if not necessary.
  7. Most B-12 sources are animal based.
  8. Aids production of blood cells, red, white and platelets.
  9. B12 and B6 work together to control homocysteine levels, which when elevated may contribute to risk of heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, and osteoporosis.
  10. Found in:

  • Organ Meats
  • Liver
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Eggs
  • Whole Milk
  • Cheese
  • Whole Wheat Bread
  • Fish
Related Posts:

16 Facts About Vitamin A
Magnesium - 12 Facts and 8 Sources

Updated 3/21/16

Jul 3, 2009

Are You Having a 4th of July Barbacue?

We have had a few busy weekends, so have a "quiet" one planned for this weekend, except for the usual fireworks that will be set off around our lake every night for the next few nights. They already got started tonight.

I shopped today and have the place pretty well stocked with favorite barbecue foods and salad fixings, so we'll see what the weekend brings. Here are a few recipes that I've posted over the past months...years? that you may enjoy, most of them "sides" to your barbecued meat:

Quick Chicken Meal in Foil Recipe - do on the grill instead of oven

Greek Salad

Fruit Soup

Chili - goes great with a Barbecue!

A friend's "Orange Roughy Soup" Recipe

Salads we had Mother's Day that are Great Any Time!

Simple, Healthy Barley Salad

I don't think I'll be back to blog this weekend, so here's wishing you a wonderful 4th of July weekend, celebrate the things that make America great!

Updated 3/21/16

Jun 29, 2009

Mineral Facts: Magnesium, 12 Facts, 8+ Sources

This is a start of several posts on minerals. As more posts are added on the topic, you'll be able to look at just those posts by visiting the "Mineral Facts" link in the Categories list or just below this post.

Here are some Magnesium facts:

  1. About 60% of this mineral is found in our bones
  2. Magnesium is needed so our bodies can metabolize (use) Vitamin C, phosphorus, potassium and sodium.
  3. Take with calcium, it helps the calcium utilize calcium properly, some suggest taking magnesium:calcium in a 1:2 ratio. So if you're taking 250 mg. Calcium, take with 125 mg. Magnesium
  4. Magnesium benefits the bones and teeth.
  5. Consider this mineral if you are having trouble with restless leg syndrome.
  6. Enzymes are important to our bodies, that's a topic for another post. For now, just know that over 300 enzymes are made more useful to the body by magnesium.
  7. Helps with insulin production.
  8. Magnesium comes in different forms, two of the best are Citrate and Malate. 
  9. Magnesium has a relaxing affect on the smooth muscle tissues in the body, which may account for the following benefits:
  10. May reduce the frequency of migraines
  11. May reduce severity of asthma attacks
  12. May help with PMS symptoms
Food Sources for Magnesium:
  1. Green Leafy vegetables (central atom in the chlorophyll molecule)
  2. Figs
  3. Grapefruit (remember, Grapefruit is contraindicated with many meds...visit this link for more information on this)
  4. Apples
  5. Lemons
  6. Peanuts
  7. Whole-Grain Bread
  8. Natural un-refined Cereal
350 mg. is the generally agreed to be the maximum to take in supplement form, this can vary depending upon the individual. Excess amounts may cause diarrhea.

Updated 3/21/16 

Jun 24, 2009

16 Facts About Vitamin A

I thought that it was high time we focused in on some of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that we find in our foods. There will be posts on other topics between, so be sure as the list grows, use the "Vitamin Facts" here or below to find all posts on Vitamins.

Vitamin A Facts:

  1. As the letter implies, it was the first vitamin to be discovered.
  2. It is essential to good vision
  3. It helps promote normal growth
  4. In animal tissue, it is occurs as retinol
  5. Fish Oils are a common source of Vitamin A
  6. In plants, carotene (beta carotene) is the precursor to Vitamin other words, beta carotene, the orange color in carrots and other vegetables, has what is necessary to be converted into Vitamin A by the body.
  7. Needed for health of epithelial cells
  8. Benefits the Immune System
  9. Needed for reproduction 
  10. Nursing Moms need it for lactation
  11. Helps in the formation of steroidal hormones
  12. So important to healthy skin and the tissue linings within and outside the body
  13. An antioxidant 
  14. Absorbed best when taken with fat or oil
  15. When pregnant don't exceed approximately 5,000 IU
  16. Otherwise, generally best not to exceed 10,000 IU
Updated 3/21/16

Jun 22, 2009

Recipe: a Twist on Tuna Casserole

Basic tuna casserole, with a few embellishments, is still a favorite around this house.

In the past couple of years, there have been a few changes. For example, now I love multi-grain pasta, and have you noticed the shrinking tuna cans? Now we move away from 6.5 oz cans to 5 oz. cans. Oh, and pasta isn't a lb. a box anymore, but 12 oz., but you know that already, don't you, so why don't we move on to my simple, quick recipe, this one is the main course for the 3 of us that live in our home, adjust accordingly for more:

  • 2/3 of an 11 oz. Box Multi-Grain Pasta of Your Choice
  • Can of Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1 Cup of Lowfat Milk or Soy Milk
  • 2 5 oz or 6+ oz cans of Solid White Tuna
  • 1 T Onion Powder OR Dried Chopped Onion
  • 1 T Dried Basil
  • 1/4 t. of salt or to taste
  • Black Pepper to taste
  • Bread Crumbs (so-so) or Wheat Germ (healthier choice)
How to make, it's simple:
  • Boil your pasta until it is just tender, not overdone
  • While it is boiling, combine all of the other ingredients in a Casserole bowl except the bread crumbs/wheat germ.
  • When Pasta is just right, drain and stir in well with the ingredients in Casserole bowl.
  • Sprinkle top with bread crumbs or wheat germ.
Microwave for 20 min to 1/2 hour depending upon your microwave oven, or cook in a regular oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until heated through.

Updated 3/21/16

Serve with a vegetable low in carbs because you're getting plenty in this dish. Low carbohydrate veggies include most except peas, corn, and legumes/beans other than green beans.

Jun 16, 2009

Eating Vitamin K Foods Safely when on Coumadin or Warfarin

In earlier posts I had shared about the tests and things we've been going through to address my husband's heart conditions. We are happy that the nuclear stress test did not show any blockages, however he has quite a prominent atrial flutter, irregular beats, so is on Warfarin which is the generic for Coumadin, I believe, to prevent clots from forming in the heart chambers since they aren't "emptying" properly due to inefficient heartbeats...this until the doctor does whatever he is going to do to get the rhythm back to what it should be.

The last visit to the doctor office they checked his blood levels since he is taking Warfarin and we were told to avoid Vitamin K foods.

Wee had been eating a very regular diet, which includes salad every single day consistently..and green leafy vegetables are supposed to be things that are avoided because they are among the foods that contain higher levels of Vitamin K. 

When we went for the blood level check, it was at a very good level. So in my thinking, it seemed that we should not suddenly stop what we were doing...the greens in the salad, didn't seem to be all that bad for him. We could, however, avoid things like spinach, kale, and the darker greens for a time, since we don't eat them as consistently.

We talked to the doctor about this and were told that as long as we eat these things regularly, it should be okay, as the blood levels should remain stable. Always feel free to ask you doctor whether it is safe to eat the foods you are accustomed to, especially if the food is as healthy as salad.

Updated 3/21/16

Jun 3, 2009

Recipe: Simple Healthy Barley Salad

This morning I made a barley salad that we will have as our carbohydrate side dish at dinner tonight. It's so easy to make. I used dried barley that has been in our freezer for..oh could be a few years. I store all my dried grains and beans in the freezer where they last indefinitely.

The instructions on the package suggested cooking the barley for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, I checked the barley about 45 minutes into the simmering process, and was happy with the size and consistency, so stopped the boil and flushed the barley with cold water right away removing excess starch and stopping the cooking process. Barley will swell to quite a large size if you cook long enough, I like mine chewy and not over-cooked.

Here's what you need:

  • 1/2 1b. dried barley (1/2 a 1 lb. bag)
  • Water
  • Few Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • Vinegar to taste
  • Dried Dill (you can use fresh if you like, but dried mixes better)
  • 1/4 cup chopped Onion - any kind you like
  • 1 cup cubed Tomato
  • 1/2 cup chopped Pepper - green, any mild type that you like
  • Sea Salt (better for blood pressure concerns)
  • Ground Pepper
  • Optional: A little Italian Dressing if it's not "tasty" enough for you
And here's what you do (easier than it looks at first glance):
  • Clean the barley well in a colander running water through it and removing any bits that don't belong
  • Put barley in pan, cover with water so there is a couple of inches of water over barley
  • Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, set your timer for 30 to 45 minutes
  • Check the barley when timer goes off, taste a little to see if you like the consistency
  • Rinse the barley again with cold water to cool
  • Sit for a bit to drain
  • Put in the bowl you will be using to serve it in.
  • Stir in the Olive Oil right away to coat the barley
  • Add vinegar to taste - don't overdo
  • Add Dill quite liberally, stir in, there should be flecks of green on all your barley grains
  • Add Chopped Onion, tomato and green peppers (stir in each item as you add)
  • Season with the remaining ingredients to taste (if you want to add a touch of sweetness, add a little Stevia.)
Cover, and refrigerate until you are ready to eat. On hot days, I make this in the cool of the morning as it requires boiling. I like to make it early and refrigerate for a while so the flavors blend. You may also want to boil the grains the night before.


May 29, 2009

Natural vs Organic Meats, the Difference

When it is affordable, we like to eat as naturally as possible and make an effort to do so...not perfectly, but we do quite well. We hear the terms "organic" and "natural" all the time, and it's "natural" to assume that both mean the same thing, but they don't.

I visited a Natural Beef website today, and found their explanation of the difference between the two to be very helpful information. Here is just a short quote, you will find much more detail if you visit the site:

Unfortunately, in the minds of many grocery store managers, consumers and federal agencies like the USDA, the words natural and organic meat often seem synonymous and interchangeable. For example, as long as the crops or meat have been minimally processed and produced free of growth hormones, antibiotics, food additives and artificial fertilizers, that product often falls into the natural or organic meat category. This definition says nothing about the conditions in which livestock are raised though.

If you are someone who is careful about the foods you eat, it is definitely a challenge to discern the truth behind the claims on the can be very deceptive for the busy mother who is looking quickly and putting things into the cart with a child carrying on and wanting to get out of the store, or the busy executive who shops on the run. I like the idea of shopping for Natural Beef and other natural or organic foods online when possible, because you can do so when things are quiet and you have time to read the details.

In years since this blog was first published, the term "grass fed beef" has become popular to distinguish natural beef. 

Updated 3/21/16

May 22, 2009

How to Chose a Ripe Delicious Watermelon

Today I cut into my first watermelon of the season. If you were to speak to the produce department in the food store where I shop, you'd know that I'm extremely fussy about my produce, especially my watermelon! The moment of cutting into the first one is filled with a bit of excitement and anticipation...I know, it's just a watermelon, but not to me, I LOVE watermelon!

Getting just the right watermelon can be a challenge. Here are a few things I do to make sure my watermelon is just right...on rare occasions, even after following all of my own rules, once in a while I get one that isn't all that good, but for the most part, these guidelines will help:

  • Pick a firm watermelon, should not give at all if you press your fingers on it.
  • Be suspicious of a watermelon with a dull surface
  • Be suspicious of a watermelon that seems light in weight for its size, it might be "spongy" and not juicy inside.
  • Knock on the watermelon, it should sound "hollow". Best to do this after you remove it from the pile of melons. In fact, it may even have a slight "jiggle" when you knock it, if there is such a word for something other than jello :-) telling you that it contains a lot of liquid.
  • The surface of the watermelon that sits on the ground will be slightly yellow.
  • Look over the surface for any small holes and bruises, they will quickly become rotten spots if you don't cut the watermelon right away.
Well, after typing that, I think I'm ready to go and get another piece of my first watermelon of the season, it's perfect!

Updated 3/21/16