Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Forgiving Enemies


Oscar Wilde once said,

"Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much."

When my best friend Caeli and I would start to fight, she would frequently end by saying, "Jules, you are absolutely right. I am wrong and you are right, and I am very sorry." This would leave me with no conclusion and absolutely no victory, because I always knew that she really did not think I was right. There is nothing in the World that would annoy me more than this sentence! For, I have always been one to think 'now, if I could just figure out the correct words to explain what I mean in a way that (insert name) would understand, they would surely agree with me.' Sometimes I am right, but sometimes I am really wrong. And sometimes, it truly is better to stop while your ahead and forgive before too many unforgettable words are said. Caeli is far from an enemy, but she did teach me this valuable lesson.
Go on, be the first to forgive... as Cae Cae proved and Wilde said, "nothing annoys them so much"!



Mixing Quinoa With Lemons


Quinoa is one of my absolute favorite grains! Easy to make, versatile to use, and a powerhouse of iron, magnesium, dietary fiber, and phosphorus. Even more, it has a balanced amount of our essential amino acids (aka: protein). This is one of those fabulous foods that can also turn from sweet to savory, and be equally delicious. I typically eat quinoa in the fashion of savory, adding in random spices and as many veggies as I can find. The recipe I am sharing with you, is the one I will be enjoying tonight for dinner... as I am always in search of new ways to enjoy favorite foods, my research and experimentation tends to be vast. With that said, usually the simpler the recipe, the better the outcome and taste (at least in my experience). Recipes with anything lemon tends to win me over, so hopes are high for dinner tonight. I wanted something a bit different, but still simple and light. I hope you make it with me, so that we can enjoy this tasty dish together! (p.s. I love quinoa as a side with fish. Grilled white fish would go great with lemon quinoa if you are creating a complete meal...ooo with some asparagus and maybe a glass of wine too!).

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped

Directions

  1. Toast the pine nuts briefly in a dry skillet over medium heat. This will take about 5 minutes, and stir constantly as they will burn easily. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the quinoa, water and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook until quinoa is tender and water has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Cool slightly, then fluff with a fork.
  3. Transfer the quinoa to a serving bowl and stir in the pine nuts, lemon juice, celery, onion, cayenne pepper, cumin and parsley. Adjust salt and pepper if needed before serving.
Prep Time 10 min Cook Time 15 min Courtesy of allrecipe.com, borrowed on 5/24/2010


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Candles and Cacti




The June/July, Ready Made Magazine, happened to find it's way into my hands! As I was turning through the creative pages, I found this decorating idea that is cheap, beautiful and unique. All that is needed to create these great centerpieces are bricks, candles, and cacti.

If you are unable to find any bricks, look for pieces of driftwood that you can drill a hole into. Candles in driftwood happens to be one of my favorite looks..adding plants would make the look even better! Thanks Ready Made. Your creative ideas help to trigger many more!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cookin Out





If we have the ability to choose our heaven, I know exactly what my heaven will be like. Heaven is a big backyard cook out! All of my family and friends would be around, and we would be playing games, listening to music, barbecuing, and socializing. Under the warm rays of sun in middle America, sangria's, mimosa's, beer and cucumber water would be flowing. There would be fresh squeezed juice for the children and plenty of bones for the doggies. Red checkered table clothes would cover the picnic tables, holding corn on the cob, watermelon, potato salad, green-beans, burgers (including veggie burgers) and brauts. Fun and love would thicken the air. Volleyball, football, corn-hole, and card-games would be all around. And, of course, there would be plenty of dancing and even more laughing.

This weekend, I met up with some college friends for an impromptu cook out. We played bags, basketball, and tossed around a football. Grass, blues, and hip hop music filled my soul, conversations about the past and present filled my heart, and veggie burgers, the guys worked so hard on making just right, filled my belly. Chicago's night sky surrounded us, and in those hours of that day, I was living a little bit of my heaven. Now, that's what I call the true American dream.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Frozen Yogurt And A Friend




When college ended, my friends started to disperse into separate directions, and life as I loved it crashed. It was as though a typhoon came cycloning in and savagely destroyed my carefully paved path. Friends moved away, loves fell apart, and my uncertain future consumed every minute of everyday.
As the year went on, fights with friends pursued, love saga's played out, my health wabbled around the edge of disaster, and insecurities about my future escalated. Let's just say, I (along with many of my friends) did not transition in the easiest way.
Finally, the typhoon has passed. I have swam back to shore, letting the cool breeze dry me off, and the hot sun warm my soul again.

As I look back on the past year, I now see beauty that came from the upheaval. My friendships went through the wringer, and the ones that came out on the other side have won my complete heart. They are true and they are strong. They have lasted through heaven and hell. We have made it through a huge curve, and I would trust them with my strong, but sensitive, heart. I mean, you know you have a true friend when you are in the fight of your life with that person, but they still take the time to support you from a distance, and secretly keep up with your blog (thanks Jani...you rock girl).

One thing that did make me happy over the last year was my consistent consumption of frozen yogurt. Maggie (a friends that went through the wringer and came out even more beautiful) and I, did eat a lot of it. If we were happy, sad, mad, indifferent, we would meet at our favorite fro-yo joint, and enjoy the cool, probioticy treat. This was our safe haven... our sanctuary, where we could just be, no matter what was cycloning around us. Looking back, I never would have thought our meeting and eating (still in moderation) would be my silver lining. But, it was, and will forever be what I remember the most from that year. Look back into your last year. No matter how horrible it was, I bet you will find a silver lining somewhere..it's taking the time to look...to remember there is always some good. I promise.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Honey Lip Scrub



Warm weather feels fabulous on my skin, but my lips on the other hand, are not to happy with the extra rays. As I run through the windy city, I feel my lips screaming at me for protection. Even with SPF chap-stick, my lips still seem to peel. That was until I found this wonderful lip scrub! With only three simple ingredients, this scrub really does the trick, turning my lips from cracked, to kissable. Try it out and your pout will thank you!

Honey Lip Scrub

- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- a few drops of olive oil

Mix the baking soda and honey together until a smooth paste is formed. Apply to lips, leaving on for a couple minutes. Next, gently rub the scrub on your lips to remove your dead skin. Remove the scrub with water, and apply a bit of olive oil to add extra moisture.

Found on www..becomegorgeous.com

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Margarita Popsicles



The smell of summer is in the air. As the sun hangs around a bit longer in the sky, the urge to linger in it's rays, and mingle with loved ones, fills my soul. This is the time of year for picnics and barbecues! For backyard parties and margarita's! As I was perusing through summer drink recipes for an up and coming friend visit, I came across Margarita Popsicles from Emeril Lagasse. They look fabulous, fun and refreshing!

Margarita Popsicles

- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 2 tablespoons tequila
- 2 tablespoons orange liquer (Emeril recommends Grand Marnier)
- kosher salt (garnish)
- 4 small cup (such as dixie cups), and 4 popsicle sticks

Combine sugar, lime juice, water, lemon juice and orange juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cool, transfer to a blender with tequila, orange liqueur, lime wedge and process until smooth. Pour into the cups and cover the top of each cup with foil. Place the popsicle stick in the center of cup (down through foil, which will hold it in place). Freeze until hard, preferably overnight. Remove from freezer and run cup under warm water to loosen popsicle. Garnish with kosher salt and serve.

Recipe from FoodNetwork.com, courtesy of Emeril Lagasse

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Support and Love


About three years ago, I was in a wheel chair. My lupus was rearing it's ugly head, and the simple task of walking, let alone moving, was an excruciating task. At one point, I remember looking down at my legs, and thinking,' when I get the ability to walk without pain, I promise never to take my legs for granted'. After a lot of medication, meditation, and healthy food, I was able to walk with very little pain, and have never forgotten the promise made to myself. This weekend, I ran my first 1/2 marathon in Cleveland, Ohio. I ran with one of my best friends in the Universe (Cameron Bell) and we held hands across the finish line. The love from my family and friends surged through me in a way I have never felt at that moment. Honestly, I do not think I have ever felt more loved in my life.
A life lesson was learned. Support is vital to human life. As I looked into my Aunt Patty's tearing eyes, heard my sister screaming voice on the phone, saw my Uncles smile, felt the hug of my mother, and the love of my father, grandmothers, uncles and aunts shining down on me from heaven. As I read the messages sent from my family and friends, I realized exactly why I ran. For, it is the same reason that I worked so hard to find my health once again. It is for those people who fill my heart with love, and who support me through my highest high, and my lowest low. It is for my friend Annie, who forced me out of the house during chemo, covering my eyes at the parts of a movie that would make me nauseous. It is for my sister Bri's excitement of shaving her head with me, so that I would not be alone if I lost my hair, or Aunt Kathy's little goodie packages and cards written with pure love. It is my friend Brittany, living clear across the globe, and still taking the time to call me regularly, just to say I love you, or Caeli's love letters (e mails really) that go on and on and on. Support is my girlfriends Marjani and Maggie sitting with me through heart break, or laughing with me (and joining in) as I dance in their living room. It is for my brothers goofy phone call's and my cousins prayers.
I do not think I could have ran any distance without the support of my family and friends. For you I run. For you l live. Thank you for filling my heart with reasons to love. Reasons to be a better person. Like my legs, I promise to never take you for granted. Always to support you, and never to forget.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What's In A Smile?






When I am sad, I start faking a smile. My theory is that, if you fake a smile long enough, eventually it will become real. My experience has proven this theory true, and now there is research to back me up. The question: Is life really better when we smile more? Research done at the University of Cardiff in Wales has found that, people who have had extensive botox, and loose the ability to frown, are actually happier. When recipients were given a questionnaire, the consistent findings with those who had botox, were less anxiety and an overall happier outlook. When the questionnaire asked about their overall view in appearance, they did not feel any more attractive. This helps prove that it is not the botox, but the psychological connection with our physical expressions!

Smile more, and you will be a happier person because of it.

Article:http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=smile-it-could-make-you-happier

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Vitamin C Strength



The weather gets nicer and nicer outside, making everyone feel better inside, right? Wrong! As the seasons change, people deal with cruddie sickness. Even I battled a two day flu last week. When temperatures are influx, so too are our body reactions, making transitions less than smooth. In an attempt to curb "seasonal-changing" sickness, I like to load up on extra Vitamin C, to protect my body. Here are some of my main reasons why I love this vitamin, and also, what foods contain large amounts of it!

Vitamin C

- Helps our body absorb water
- As an antioxidant ( along with Vitamins A and E), it works as a protector for our body.
- Necessary for healthy gums and bones, along with scar tissue and tissue growth repair.

Foods Loaded With Vitamin C

Broccoli
Kiwi
Brussels Sprouts
Peas
Lemons
Sweet potatoes
Tomatoes
Raspberries
Red Peppers


*Reminder, just because you are consuming higher amounts of Vitamin C, does not mean you should stop eating other nutrient rich foods. Remember: Moderation, Variety, Balance!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Fleeting Flowers


When I have fresh flowers in my apartment,I seem to smile more. It's not just their vibrant colors, beautiful shapes & aromatic smells that make me happy. But, the reminder of how fleeting life really is. A reminder that we should spend our time in our fullest vibrancy. For life would not be as beautiful if it never ended...

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Journal Of Thanks





Thanks... what do you have to be thankful for? In this life, I am thankful for the invention of wheels on luggage, soft blankets to wrap up in, animals of all shapes and colors, and for love-stories. I am thankful for my families ability to withstand tragedy and still remain filled with love. I am thankful for the differences in people, and the similarities that bind us together...for the feeling in the air after it rains, for maps,flowers,friendship, and the smell of freshly baked bread.
I am thankful for old tricks and new lessons, for scarves and coffee, sweatshirts and stilettos. I am thankful for my brain and it's abilities, for elderly women who meet every week to gossip, for books that make me think, for my godchild's fabulous laugh, soy candles and for vegetable peelers.
I am thankful to live in America, and to have traveled to castles in the Czech Republic. I am thankful for leggings and bikes. For cheese and chocolate. I am thankful that I have experienced love and heartbreak. I am thankful for my blue eye's and my puppies brown one's. I am thankful for my grandfathers love, for warm socks, sunglasses, and thank you cards. I am thankful for dancing...yes... I am very thankful for dancing. Oh, one more thing...I am thankful for hugs... and for kisses.

I am thankful for so much, but rarely take the time to give kudos. One of my favorite things to do is journal, and I have now decided to write down one thing I am thankful for every night. No matter what mood I am in, or how tired I am, I will write a reason of thanks for the day. I would love for you to join me! If you are reading this, you are my reason for thanks today.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Freedom Of Friends



Today, after work, I am meeting up with two of my fabulous girlfriends for happy hour. Lately, life has been unpleasantly busy, and paths have been distant. For the sake of our friendships and sanity, we have started to put activities in place, such as dinner nights, t.v. show 'dates', and happy hour rendezvous.
When did friendship turn into so much work? Wasn't it yesterday that I was playing in a sandbox at my family friends? I swear I can still feel the way my long hair hit my back as I ran around with the neighborhood children... where my only conception of time was the shifting sun...I desire that freedom again... the ability to be completely free...to really let my imagination take hold and evolve.
Then again, life has other perks that can only come with age...such as happy hour. I guess the freedom is still with us all, it just comes in a bit of a different package...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Running Down A Dream


Cleveland 1/2 Marathon is coming up in two weeks, and I have been training to run it. While at home over Christmas, my sisters friend asked her to run it, and she asked me. We asked our Aunts, and I asked my beautiful friend Cameron...the list went on and on. What a wonderful thing! We have all decided to come together in our home town to reunite, and run, run, run. As time passed, my sister became pregnant (count her out) and my Aunts never ended up signing on. Now, I am the only one from my family actually running; sole representation landing on my petite shoulders. Lately, I have still been feeling a bit sluggish. After doing some research, I found some tips and will pass them along...just in case you get the running fever!

Tips From Health Magazine, Jenny Hadfield

While running you feel:


-Sluggish- Drink a cup of green tea about a half of an hour before running. The caffeine will perk you up a bit, while to antioxidants help your endurance.

-Side Pains- Potassium will help this problem out. Eating some banana 20 minutes before a run, or drinking coconut water will ease your pain.

-Soreness- Calcium, Carbs, Proteins. Try drinking chocolate milk within 30 minutes after a run, when muscles are supper receptive. Doing so will surely help your post recovery!

-Sweating A Lot- Though sweating is a good thing, you will have to replenish your electrolytes! This is the time when you can drink those sports drinks. They are packed with sugars. If you can, try finding one without food coloring. Drink 4 to 6 ounces every 20 minutes.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Flossing For Your Memory



My brother, Eli, used to bring floss with him wherever he went. After meals, he would whip out the magical cleaning string, and work it in between his teethies. This would absolutely gross me out to the extreme. Public flossing was always a social taboo that I felt should stay in place (that and clipping one's nails). This was until I read about new research that suggests flossing, and brushing are linked directly to ones memory and cognitive functions. The study gave 2,300 men and women, over the age of 60, simple arithmetic and memory tasks. A consistent finding in those who scored lowest on the tests? Exposure to "gum-disease-causing bacteria"...Wow. Those who had this bacteria had scored in the same realm as those with early signs of Alzheimer's.

So how is gum disease connected to human cognition? The research explains, our body responds to this "pathogen as inflammation, which stiffens blood vessels and raises the risk of heart attack, stroke, and memory problems."
The key point to take from these findings? Take care of your teeth!! Your mouth is the window to you heart ... to your body...to your mind. Going to the dentist, brushing your teeth, and flossing, are just as important as taking one's needed medication and vitamins. Preventative measures do what they say... prevent.

I guess my brother had it right after all with his flossing craze. We should all floss more consistently...but I would still prefer keeping this hygienic ritual in the privacy of our own bathrooms. Hopefully, you agree.

Information found in GoodHouskeeping, May 2010 issue

Monday, May 3, 2010

Vegetables For Picky Eaters


My brother and I were never allowed to be picky eaters. If ever we complained about my mothers horrendous cooking, the inevitable glare, followed by the phrase “you’ll eat it, and you’ll like it” would surely follow. As commanded, we always ate it, but rarely liked it. When we were still rather young, my mother was called on from work to take a trip. She left us with her fabulous single girlfriend, Meg. Now, we loved Meg, but knew she was not Mom, and when she asked us if we wanted peas and pearl onions for dinner, we syncronizingly shouted “PEAS AND PEARL ONIONS…EWWW”. Meg laughed and ordered us a pizza…she was a fabulous friend.

Wow, has my taste buds changed from that day. Now, the veggier, the better. Fennel, onions, garlic, tomatoes, chard, greens, beets, carrots, celery, cucumbers, cauliflower, squash, radishes…You name it, I eat it, and love it!

For those people who would agree with the earlier version of me, I have a recipe that will knock your taste buds out! In an earlier blog, I wrote about following, Martha Stewarts Cooking School, book. A lot of the recipes and lessons are on meat (which I skimmed than skipped over). Now I am safely on the vegetables and very excited to learn new tricks, tips, and recipes. Stewarts vegetable tian serves six people as a side and includes around five different vegetables. Simple creation…easy directions…dynamite outcome. I will be bringing this dish next week and my wonderful friends dinner party. Hope you find an excuse to make it too!

Vegetable Tian

-1/3 to ½ cup olive oil
- 1 small eggplant (about 6 ounces) thinly sliced crosswise on a slight diagonal
- 1 yellow squash or zucchini (about 6 ounces) thinly sliced crosswise on a diagonal
- 4 plum tomatoes (about a pound) sliced lengthwise ¼ inch thick
- 2 small red, white, or yellow onions (8 ounces) thinly sliced crosswise
- 1 head garlic separated into cloves but not peeled
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Sprigs of choice herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano, marjoram are Martha’s suggestion)

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Coat the bottom of an oval baking dish or 9 by 13 inch baking dish with 2 tablespoons of your oil.
Arrange vegetables in dish, alternating them and overlapping them. Season with salt and pepper; drizzle with enough oil to coat generously. Lastly, scatter herbs and garlic evenly on top.
Bake for 25 minutes, then baste vegetables with oil from pan and continue baking until tender and browned, about 20 minutes more.

Tips!
-Yes this recipe calls for a lot of olive oil, but you can always drain off the top after you take out the dish from the oven.
- Feel free to shave a little fresh parmesan atop the vegetable tian after it comes out of the oven!

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