Sunday, January 28, 2007

Are you making the right food choices? Take the test.

When it comes to making good food choices, conventional wisdom seems to be a moving target. Think you're up on the latest nutrition facts? Test yourself to see which of the following food pairs is the healthier choice. By Liz Neporent

Ketchup or Tomatoes?

Organic ketchups -- typically darker in color compared to non-organic brands -- are the best source of lycopene, a chemical that reduces the risk of heart disease and fends off many types of cancer. Ketchup contains about five times as much lycopene per weight as a tomato.

Cloudy or Clear Apple Juice?

The murkier the juice, the higher the antioxidant count -- up to four times higher than the sparkling version, according to a brand new Polish study. Though clear is more attractive, it's been processed to remove apple solids, diminishing many of the health benefits.

Butter or Margarine?

Believe it: Butter is the better choice. Both butter and margarine are high in calories and saturated fat but traditional margarines also delivers two to three grams of artery busting trans fats per tablespoon. A recent slew of new heart-smart margarines are trans fat free and can actually help lower cholesterol.

Red or Green Pepper?

All bell peppers are deliciously healthy because they're low in calories and high in vitamins, antioxidants and fiber. But when green peppers are ripened to red they become true nutritional champs by supplying a generous dose of lycopene and 50 percent more vitamin C as well.

Black Tea or Tea with Milk?

Hold that splash of moo juice to your spot of tea. A German study found that all of tea's cardio-protective effects are canceled out by adding milk. Milk proteins called caseins decrease the amount of catechins, the compound found in tea shown to guard against heart disease.

Farmed or Wild Salmon?

Farm-raised salmon contain 13 times more cancer-causing pollutants than salmon caught in the wild. Since the bulk of the contaminants are stored in fish fat, you can eliminate them by removing the skin and grilling thoroughly -- but this also reduces heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Bottled or Tap Water?

The thirst for bottled water has nearly doubled in the past decade despite the fact that it offers no real health benefits. A four-year study judged it no safer or cleaner than regular tap water. Bottles gobble up natural resources and cost up to 10,000 times more than turning on a faucet.

Low Fat or Full Fat Dairy?

More than 19,000 women who ate at least one serving of full fat dairy each day put on less weight over the long term, according to a Swedish study . Low-fat dairy didn't seem to prevent a bulked up waist line but researchers are unclear why.

Just found this recipe and couldn't help but add it:

Hootenanny Pancakes
½ cup margarine or butter
9 eggs
1 ½ cups milk
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups flour

Cut butter or margarine into pieces and place in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Place dish and butter in hot oven (375 degrees). While butter or margarine is melting, combine in a separate bowl the eggs, milk, salt, and flour. Beat until smooth. Pour mixture immediately into hot baking pan with the melted butter. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve with fresh fruit, hot syrup, or jam. Makes 6 to 8 servings

Thursday, January 25, 2007

How many of these did you know?

Some interesting stuff here. I can't totally vouch for these but they sound good and they're interesting, regardless. Thanks Richard Sutton for this list.

Q: Why are many coin banks shaped like pigs?
A: Long ago, dishes and cookware in Europe were made of a dense orange clay called "pygg". When people saved coins in jars made of this clay, the jars became known as "pygg banks." When an English potter misunderstood the word, he made a bank that resembled a pig. And it caught on.

Q: Did you ever wonder why dimes, quarters and half dollars have notches, while pennies and nickels do not?
A: The US Mint began putting notches on the edges of coins containing gold and silver to discourage holders from shaving off small quantities of the precious metals. Dimes, quarters and half dollars are notched because they used to contain silver. Pennies and nickels aren't notched because the metals they contain are not valuable enough to shave.

Q: Why do men's clothes have buttons on the right while women's clothes have buttons on the left?
A: When buttons were invented, they were very expensive and worn primarily by the rich. Because wealthy women were dressed by maids, dressmakers put the buttons on the maid's right. Since most people are right-handed, it is easier to push buttons on the right through holes on the left. And that's where women's buttons have remained since.

Q: Why do X's at the end of a letter signify kisses?
A: In the Middle Ages, when many people were unable to read or write, documents were often signed using an X. Kissing the X represented an oath to fulfill obligations specified in the document. The X and the kiss eventually became synonymous.

Q: Why is shifting responsibility to someone else called "passing the buck"?
A: In card games, it was once customary to pass an item, called a buck, from player to player to indicate whose turn it was to deal. If a player did not wish to assume the responsibility, he would "pass the buck" to the next player.

Q: Why do people clink their glasses before drinking a toast?
A: It used to be common for someone to try to kill an enemy by offering him a poisoned drink. To prove to a guest that a drink was safe, it became customary for a guest to pour a small amount of his drink into the glass of the host. Both men would drink it simultaneously. When a guest trusted his host, he would then just touch or clink the host's glass with his own.

Q: Why are people in the public eye said to be "in the limelight"?
A: Invented in 1825, limelight was used in lighthouses and stage lighting by burning a cylinder of lime which produced a brilliant light. In the theatre, performers on stage "in the limelight" were seen by the audience to be the center of attention.

Q: Why do ships and aircraft in trouble use "mayday" as their call for help?
A: This comes from the French word m'aidez -meaning "help me" -- and is pronounced "mayday,"Q: Why is someone who is feeling great "on cloud nine"?

A: Types of clouds are numbered according to the altitudes they attain, with nine being the highest cloud If someone is said to be on cloud nine, that person is floating well above worldly cares..

Q: Why are zero scores in tennis called "love"?
A: In France , where tennis first became popular, a big, round zero on scoreboard looked like an egg and was called "l'oeuf," which is French for "egg." When tennis was introduced in the US , Americans pronounced it "love."

Q: In golf, where did the term "Caddie" come from?
A. When Mary, later Queen of Scots, went to France as a young girl (for education & survival), Louis, King of France, learned that she loved the Scot game "golf." So he had the first golf course outside of Scotland built for her enjoyment. To make sure she was properly chaperoned (and guarded) while she played, Louis hired cadets from a military school to accompany her. Mary liked this a lot and when she returned to Scotland (not a very good idea in the long run), she took the practice with her. In French, the word cadet is pronounced 'ca-day' and the Scots changed it into "caddie."
So now you know!

I found this recipe on the Real Food for Real People newsletter this morning and it sounded great for all this wintery wet weather. Read it all the way thru before making it as it tells you at the bottom how to layer the food. This sounds like a good side dish for a sturdy winter time dinner. I'll bet you could add some cooked chicken to this for a complete meal.....

(Serves 6)You can substitute one layer of cooked elbow macaroni for a layer of rice.
2 cups uncooked brown or white rice
1 pound lentils
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 Tablespoon crushed garlic
2 - 16-ounce cans of tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar
1 medium onion

Cook rice according to directions. Rinse lentils and put them in a pot, covering them with water, and bring to a boil. Then simmer on low heat until almost all water is absorbed and lentils are well cooked. Add extra water if longer time is needed. To make the sauce, first sauté the garlic in 1 Tablespoon oil until golden. Add both cans of tomato sauce and simmer 10-15 minutes. Add water and vinegar and bring to a boil. Remove from heat immediately and add salt to taste. Finally, slice onion in thin, small pieces and sauté in remaining 1 Tablespoon oil.

On a Side note:
It is absolutely beautiful outside, blue sky and warmer temperatures. We have had twelve straight days of rain, some of it mixed with sleet. It is so nice to see a blue sky....Ahhhh, I love it. It's been a most unusual winter, I'm glad I don't live in Denver...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Cures from you spice cabinet!

I am taking this article from the Jan. 16, 2007 issue of Women’s World magazine, pages 24 and 25. Disclaimer: As always, check with your doctor before treating yourself at home.

It’s cold and flu season again, and the way to avoid getting sick – or shorten the lenth of your symptoms if you do get sick – can be as easy as raiding your spice cabinet.

Sore throat? Try Oregano!
It can wipe out sore throat pain in minutes, says Gina Nick, N.D., author of Yogic Nutrition. How? “It has many of the same bacteria-killing ingredients found in over the counter sore throat sprays,” she says. RX: “steep 1 tsp. of the leaf in boiling water, cool, then use as a gargle. It’ll kill the germs on contact,” says Nick.

Stuffed Up? Try Peppermint!
Peppermint reduces nasal inflammation and relaxes inflammation and relaxes the airways. In one study, folks who inhaled menthol – a component in peppermint – felt dramatically less nasal congestion than those who didn’t. RX: Sip peppermint tea and inhale the steam, or put a few drops of peppermint oil on you pillow.

Chest congestion? Try Licorice!
The compounds in licorice soothe irritated membranes in the lungs and act as an expectorant, making it great for throat irritations, lung congestion and even bronchitis.
RX: Sip licorice tea, or take a 500-mg. capsule of licorice root (found in health food stores.)

Nagging cough? Try Thyme!
It has a therapeutic effect on the lungs and relaxes the muscles of the respiratory tract, says Debi Smolinski, N.D. In fact, thyme’s most active ingredient, thymol, is used in Vicks VaporRub. RX: Steep 1 tsp. of the dried spice in hot water, and drink as a tea.

Runny nose? Try Cinnamon!
This spice is an astringent that helps dry up excess mucus in the lungs and nasal passages. And it also boosts circulation, which brings a warming sensation to your hands and feet. RX: Sprinkle some cinnamon on toast, or put a cinnamon stick in your cider or tea.

Cold coming on? Try Garlic!
In a recent study, those who ate a clove of garlic a day were 60% less likely to catch a cold during peak sniffle season than their non-garlic counterparts! “Garlic is loaded with compounds that kill viruses,” explains Brian Clement, N.M.D., director of the Hippocrates Health Institute. RX: Eat a clove of chopped raw garlic a day, sprinkled over salads or on toast – or take a 500 mg. capsule daily.

Feelings chills? Try Ginger!
Ginger is loaded with more than a dozen antiviral compounds that specifically fight the rhinovirus, the most common kind of cold! It also helps stimulate circulation, which helps you feel less chilled. RX: Try ginger tea, available at grocery stores, or you can make your own by steeping sliced ginger root in hot water. Did you know? Ginger can also help you lose weight! A recent Australian study found that eating ginger can speed up metabolism by 20%.

Note from Lucy: I am the kind of person who likes to try natural cures before going to the doctor. I do my best to fight a cold and not let it get me down. I gargle with warm salt water (learned recently that sea salt it the best kind of salt to use.) I eat oranges or gratefruit and take Vit. C, Zinc and Olive Leaf to help fight the cold. I drink as much water as I can stomach and drink hot herbal tea with lemon and honey in it. I will make up some home make chicken soup and eat it till I am blue in the face. I am not going to let a cold get me down. My son will take Nyquil or Benedryl and go to bed, it seems to take him a lot longer to get rid of his colds. If you are inclined to go the “natural” route, you might want to try some of these home remedies. I know, I am supposed to tell you to ask your doctor first.

Have a great week everyone and stay away from colds.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year everyone……

Short recap here: December was a busy month for me and my family…..We had a wonderful Christmas with all the kids home and a great time with family on Christmas day. We usually go to my sister’s house on Christmas, but this year she went to Hawaii for Christmas, so TF and I hosted the “family” Christmas here. It was a lot of work but well worth it. The dinner was great and everyone had a good time socializing.

Several days ago TF and I found an Oriental Rug for our living room. It is exactly what we were looking for and we bought it. Now, it is not a fancy wool rug but it is nice. We purchased a real oriental rug about 30 years ago and paid good money for it. After only several years, one of the kids spilled some red nail polish on it and it was never the same after that. We decided to buy a “fake” this time around and if anything happens to it, we will just buy a new one.

Our oldest daughter, Bonnie, invited about 10 friends over for New Years Eve. I made up several dips and supplied Crackers and chips for the occasion. TF and I went into the den and watched several shows including the Garrison Keillor New Years Eve program on public television. Around Midnight we brought out the stem ware and poured some non alcoholic drinks for a New Years Eve toast. All of Bonnie’s friends whooped and hollered and had a great time. I couldn’t stay awake past 12:30am. and went to bed….

This morning (Monday morning) I rested for a while before starting work on our yearly New Years dessert. It is so heavenly that it takes 3 hours to make and contains 2 pints of whipping cream. Yummmm….. I cooked a roast and all the “good luck” food that will help us get thru this new year. The kids were here and we heartily ate our way into the New Year…. Tomorrow the diet starts!

One sad note: A friend of mine called me on Saturday and said that her husband had died. Evidentially he had been stung by a bunch of bees a couple of months ago and he had gone down hill since. His heart gave out and he died in her arms. I could hardly believe it. This was her second husband and she really loved him. He took such good care of her and treated her like a queen. I had not seen her this happy in years and now she has lost him. It just reminds me to tell your loved ones how much you care, for they may be gone before you know it…

I stole this from Merle’s blog: I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Enough Happiness to keep you happy.
During the year may you have Enough happiness to keep you sweet. Enough trials to keep you strong. Enough sorrow to keep you human. Enough hope to keep you happy. Enough failure to keep you humble. Enough success to keep you eager. Enough friends to give you comfort. Enough wealth to meet your needs. Enough enthusiasm to make you look forward to tomorrow. Enough determination to make each day better than the day before.
May God make your year a happy one !!
Not by shielding you from all sorrows and pain, But by strengthening you to bear it, as it comes;
Not by making your path easy, But by making you sturdy to travel any path;
Not by taking hardships from you, But by taking fear from your heart;
Not by granting you unbroken sunshine, But by keeping your face bright, even in the shadows;
Not by always making your life pleasant, But by showing you when people and their causes need you most, and by making you anxious to be there to help.
God’s love, peace, hope and joy to you for the year ahead.