Monday, April 26, 2010
This Chinese proverb crossed my path, and I want to share it with you. Words for thought...
With money, you can buy a house, but not a home.
With money, you can buy a clock, but not time.
With money, you can buy a bed, but not sleep.
With money, you can buy a book, but not knowledge.
With money, you can see a doctor, but not good health.
With money, you can buy a position, but not respect.
With money, you can buy blood, but not life.
With money, you can buy sex, but not love.
Money can help and hurt. It is up to us to decide how we will use it in our own lives.
The skin we live in is what holds our bodies together. It is our exterior, and can have an enormous impact on our position and place on this earth. Sometimes, when I am really sad, I have strong desires to crawl right out of it... I would fill my body with robotic parts and hide away for a bit...giving my heart the needed rest from the storms it has weather.
Other times, I look into the mirror, right through my icy blue eyes...and somehow, my skin looks misplaced. I joke with my friends, and regularly tell them that I should have been born half black and jewish. I guess that's my way of saying my interior being can feel unrepresented by my lily white,sensitive, freckled, skin.
And then, there are those times...those times where I look down on the tops of my bare shoulders, and feel an overwhelming amount of joy for what I have been blessed with...and for what I inadvertently take for granted. My skin has been with me...has held me together. I look at my hands, small, thin, a bit weathered, and beautiful in their own right. No matter what skin you have been blessed to be within, I can promise you that it too is beautiful in it's own right. My mom has always liked to show off and ask others about their battle scars..for her, it is a sign of a life well lived. I on the other hand, enjoy wrinkles. I have always loved the deep creases that line my grandfathers mouth. Just one look at him makes you want to stop and listen to his life's story. Some call wrinkles around the eyes and mouth laugh lines, but I like to think of them as life lines.
If wrinkles and scars are in my beauty category, when what is possibly in my ugly category...dry, irritated skin. Skin that is ashy, cracked, and peeling makes me sad, for it is a true sign of (intentional or unintentional) neglect. When I find my skin in a flaky delemma, I like to soak in herbal oatmeal washes. They tend to wash and nourish the skin without drying out ones natural oils. If you can find the time, which I hope you can, try one out...just a simple thank you to your skin can go a long way.
Herbal Oatmeal Wash Bags
- cut off the foot of an old pair of tights. One will need a pouch about 6 inches in length.
- fill the pouch up with oatmeal and an herb of your choice. Chamomile and lavender are great because of their healing characteristics.
- Close up the top of your pouch with a knot. The pouch can be used in both a bath and shower.
-One pouch can last only a day (and if you shower morning and night, place in a plastic bag and put in fridge during the time interim).
Thursday, April 22, 2010
(Click on this picture and it will pull up the recipe!)
I love sweet, but have always tilted towards the side of savory. My fabulous friend, Maggie May, found this awesome website for both sweet and savory cupcakes; I fell in love with the idea of cheddar scallion cupcakes with whipped cream cheese! Here is the recipe. Hope it tastes as delicious in real life as it does in my head! To those who do not like mixing salty with sweet..you should just give this a try. You never know what will wow your palate.
Morning is here! You rise out of bed with a smile on you face, eat your breakfast, take a shower, and get ready for the fabulous day ahead. All seems well... until afternoon hits you like a pile of rocks. Yes, the afternoon slumps have come to you, replacing your energy and focus with pure exhaustion. If only we all could have my neice's napping schedule included into our daily regimen! Instead, we fight through it, hoping to get a second wind that will help us function in a happy, productive manner. My dilemma? Searching for that second wind can be difficult, when pictures of my comfortable bed, are dancing through the head. Believe it or not, the lack of energy in the afternoons are usually signs of poor adrenal function, and poor metabolism of carbs and sugars in the body. I have some great tips that will help stave off exhaustion, and may even give you more energy than you had in your first wind!
Tips For Fighting The Afternoon Slumps
- reduce your intake of dairy, caffeine and sugar in the afternoon! Caffeine depletes moisture, dairy is challenging to digest, while sugars cause blood sugar imbalances and mood swings.
- Incorporate brown rice, legumes, yams and sunflower seed in your lunch. These are all energy packed foods that will give you a pick-me-up.
- Help your adrenals out with the inclusion of B vitamins. Even taking a 50 mg of B complex in the middle of the day will do wonders.
-Wheat-grass in juiced form (or in capsules) is an awesome source of iron, potassium. magnesium, calcium, zinc and phosphorus. Though it may taste horrible, just a little bit has been shown to enhance one immunity, assist in digestion, restore the endocrine system and help with weight loss (due to it's high enzyme count).
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
"You should try it! I'm telling you, wearing beautiful undergarments, and matching your bra and underwear, will give you confidence and make you feel sexy! I have gone my whole life not even thinking about it, but now I am a new woman.".. This was one of many revolutionary discoveries my fabulous Aunt Kathy has shared with me over the years. I do not really know how much my confidence has escalated from heeding her advice, but I like to think it helps a little. This way, if I ever make a mistake, or have a situation where my ego becomes a bit bruised, I can always say "at least my underwear is matching". Sounds a bit pathetic when said outside the confines of my own stream of thought...but I have thought stranger, and if this can help another, I'm all about sharing a "motivational idea". The real heart of the matter is taking pride in the little things. Those attributes that may not be seen or shared with anyone else but you, are really what makes individuals so different and unique. If we take time for those small details, maybe the bigger ones will be less intimidating...less daunting. Now, who would have thought wearing nice undergarments could have such an impact?
When I was going through chemotherapy, my doctor instructed me to wash all of my produce with kitchen soap before consumption. He explained that my body would not be able to handle the bacteria that manifests on produce, or the chemicals used in their upbringing. I was not a fan of this idea. Washing my veggies with Dial soap just did not seem right to me. To counter his idea, I explained my own process of cleaning with vinegar and water. He smiled at me, in a bewildered sort of way (as he always does) and once again repeated his prior statement.
Typically, I follow my doctors instructions to point, but with this, I think I may have listened to him once. Instead, I decided to take my chances with the new produce washes found in most local grocery stores. I used them through my year of chemo and heavy medication, but stopped them shortly after. My sister and I often questioned these products, and wondered if they actually worked. Elisa Huang's article in Bon Appetit magazine finally gave me some clarity on the whole debacle. To sum up her findings, she explained that most sprays were made of plant product and essetial oils, but any product that contain chemical-based ingredients (such as detergent) should not be used. In others words, the products are OK to use, but one is better off with peeling the outside layers of fruits and vegetables where applicable, along with maintaining a clean work environment, as to not cross contaminate what is clean and what is dirty.
I never did get sick while using these sprays...but I never really got sick with out the use of them either. Now I know the sprays are safe, but I am still not sold that they work better than my natural (and cheaper) methods. It may be a bit more time consuming, but I am back to using vinegar, along with peeling, as my wash of choice.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Jakob Dylan has been around the music block a time or two, and that time seems to be doing nothing but good for him. I have always loved his strong, yet calming voice and enjoyed past compilations, but his new CD runs far from the sounds of the Wallflowers. In his second solo album, Women and Country, a classic, clean rhythms plays out, and one can identify the undertones of folk roots. What really won my over? Neko Case and Kelly Hogan harmonizing beautifully throughout the entirety of the album, making his music that much sweeter. This is Dylan's second solo album, and his polished acoustic talents shines through all 11 tracks. The more I listen, the more I want to hear! Women and Country is definitely a worthy purchase for anyones music library.
Friday, April 16, 2010
My culinary disposition is vegetarian, but I do not think incorporating some meat in the diet is a bad idea. I know that eating moderate amounts of non-processed, organic and free range meat can actually add to a balanced diet. Fortunately, one of the most beautiful rights, granted to us in this country, is the freedom of choice. For me, the con's outweigh the pro's with meat in my personal diet. I am fortunate to have the availability to opt in using other sources of food in the acquirement of my nutrition. So much meat in this country (if you can even call it that) is chalked full of hormones and preservatives. Animals are still being treated inhumanly, and the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, from our over population of cows, is astronomical. Further, our body has a difficult time processing meat (due to our extraordinarily long intestines) and has to work overtime to break it down. Believe me when I say, I could go on forever ( have not even touched deforestation for cattle due to western societies zealous meat demands).
Sorry about the tangent. All I really want to do is introduce a great veggie burger recipe....yes, I am getting to it!
One of my favorite meals to enjoy, is "backyard food". Burgers are great, but veggie burgers can be surprisingly satisfying. Meat people, this is not a replacement, just another fun option... as I know other products that pretend to be meat will never taste quite as good, but this is not pretending..it is a totally different taste! Fellow veggies, I think you will really enjoy this.
Thank you to Martha & Co. for the recipe, and to my sister for finding it ( and making me look it up for her when she forgot the ingredients and called me to look it up for her while she ran around the grocery store.)
2 portobello mushrooms (8 ounces), stems removed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small zucchini
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1/4 cup minced shallot (1 large shallot)
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup quinoa, cooked according to package directions (2 cups cooked)
2 teaspoons coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs
6 whole-wheat buns, split
1 cup radish sprouts, or other fresh sprouts
1/2 English cucumber, peeled and cut diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices
Pulse mushrooms in a food processor until finely chopped, and transfer to a bowl. Shred zucchini, place on paper towels, and squeeze to remove excess moisture. Add to mushrooms.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add shallot and red-pepper flakes, and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and zucchini, and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and add Parmesan, quinoa, and salt. Season with pepper. Let cool completely, then stir in egg and breadcrumbs. Cover, and refrigerate until cold and firm, about 1 hour.
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Shape mixture into six 1/2-inch-thick patties, pressing firmly. Cook in batches until golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.
Wipe pan clean, and return to medium heat. Brush cut sides of buns with oil, and heat buns, cut sides down, until toasted, about 1 minute. Spread yogurt-garlic sauce on cut sides of bun halves. Divide burgers, sprouts, and cucumber among bottom halves. Sandwich with top halves.
From Martha Stewart Living, July 2008 | Send a Free Preview Issue!
These patties are softer than a traditional veggie burger. The pan-searing helps the patty hold together and forms a crisp crust.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
What does it take to slow down in this world? For me, it took more than half of my vacation to get my body, mind and spirit in chill mode. The city beat in my heart seemed to be pounding a bit louder than the country rhythm in my soul. I had not realized how tightly wound up I was, until the moment I felt relaxed. When that moment came, I almost cried with joy. It was in the simplest of moments really. While sitting next to the ocean with my sister and godchild, my heart seemed to align with the beat of the crashing waves. Ellen pulled her dress up to show us her wonderful belly button, and Bri and I laughed at her innocent beauty...this is what happiness feels like. It does not matter where you are, or what you have. Happiness will come when you let it inside. When you choose to acknowledge it's presence in your life...
Even though I am back, the lessons I have learned on vacation still vibrate inside of me. The city is warm, and people are all around. Spring has graced Earth with green. Tulips are in bloom, and friends are opening up their schedules for walks, events, and outings. The economies epidemic fever seems to be breaking, and a glimmer of relief fills hearts with some hope. Placing one's self in a state of great tension is never any fun. I am not going to wait for my next vacation to bring my worrying walls down. If I take a little vacation time everyday (even five minutes), I bet my body, mind and soul won't feel as tightly wound. Relax...a great, new motto of mine.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Friday, April 2, 2010
Judgement. As I listen to my friends talk, I often hear the phrase, 'don't judge me' as a prefix of their statement. How many times have I said it myself? Why do we worry so much? Why do we care? If we took all the energy spent on worrying about what others think, and spent it on loving ourselves, we would all be in a better place. I look at my friends of all ages, and everyone (no matter what the age) has a bone of contention with some part of their body...Something is always wrong. An example: I fret about the dark circles that are continually framing my eyes. No matter what I eat, drink, put on, or how much I sleep, I will forever be doomed with looking a wee bit tired. Honestly, I do not think I would worry about it at all if it weren't for those souls who tell me daily that I look so desperately tired. Yes, most of the time I am wide awake, and then pretend I am tired, as to not offend their lack in tack and wording. The next time this happens, I think I am going to say " no no, you sir/maam are incorrect. I am as wide awake as Richard Simmons spandex." . Hopefully they will get the point.
My point... we need to stop. Stop the judgement of others, because they have enough pressure from themselves alone to deal with. Constructive criticism is fabulous, but negativity only hurt. I am asking you to say one nice thing to someone that you normally would not say out loud. Take the time to notice something positive, acknowledge your recognition aloud, and feel good that you made another persons harsh judgments of themselves simmer for a moment. In this world, those fleeting moments add up.
Take a breath. You are beautiful. I promise.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
De-stressing seems to be my life's mission. Before the storm of stress pours down, I do everything in my power to clam myself. In the past year, I have started to eat celery a lot more, and I just found out what my subconsouce must have known all along. Celery is a food that actually helps our bodies de-stress! When I choose to listen completely to what my body was telling me, I started to eating celery daily. Now I understand why these seemingly strange cravings came. Here is some interesting knowledge on celery that may come in handy the next time you get the stress-bug.
-The compounds within celery actually lower the concentrations of stress hormones that cause blood vessel constriction.
-Niacinimide is one of several nutrients in celery that help to bring on the calm
- Celery used to be an old folk remedy for lowering blood pressure...now we see where that idea came from!
- Eating celery at night, before bed, may help you sleep better.
Information found in You Are What You Eat, Dr. Gillian McKeith
The greatest things about celery is that it is cheap, and very versatile. Eat some raw, with dips, in salads, sautes, rice dishes, soups, and even filled with peanut butter. If you are not a fan of those pesky strands that seem to wedge in-between every tooth in your mouth, try peeling the outside before you eat it, which will eliminate the strands and even more of the environmental damage left on the skins of vegetables.
P.S. Try and buy organic whenever possible, because you can absolutely taste the difference with this veggie.