Spice Up Your Life (and Food) with Fresh Herbs! Salad Dressing Recipes!

26 03 2015

Spice Up Your Life!

Easily shift your thinking to make healthier choices………..trade butter and sauces for fresh/dry herbs without sacrificing flavor.

I am so excited Spring is almost here in Chicago because that means I can start throwing seeds into the garden and watching the beautiful herbs appears everywhere. Growing a herb garden couldn’t be easier. Fresh flavor always at hand right out the backdoor. When it’s this convenient you can easily shift away from butter and fatty sauces.

We use herbs in EVERYTHING from eggs to meat, from soups to salads but my favorite is to make herb flavored olive oil and vinegar.

FOR OLIVE OIL: 

  • 1/2 cup of herbs (choose one or use a mixture: parsley, basil, thyme, oregano)
  • 1 tsp lemon or orange zest OR a clove of garlic
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 3 cups extra virgin olive oil

Place clean, dry herbs and other ingredients in a sterilized 1-quart jar. Heat oil until warm (do not boil!) pour over herbs and allow to cool. Once cooled, pour oil through wire-mesh strainer and discard solids. Cover and store oil in refrigerator for 1-week. Discard after 1 week. Please note: Olive Oil does get cloudy when stored in the refrigerator – it is still edible.

USES:

  • Drizzle over tomatoes
  • Drizzle over cooked vegetables
  • Toss with pasta
  • Brush on meats or vegetables before grilling
  • Use on salads
  • Use to dip bread

FOR VINEGAR:

Cover herbs with vinegar. Leave on counter or pantry (somewhere it does not get hit by direct sunlight) about a week (plus or minus a day or two). Sampling for flavor. When it achieves the flavor you desire, strain. Store in a cool dark place.

We have found that different vinegar taste better combined with certain herbs, so that is what I am listing here…but please feel free to play. We also like to make what we call “The Italian” which is a combination of basil, thyme, oregano & parsley which works well with red wine vinegar and white vinegar.

White Vinegar: Purple Basil, Sage, or Nasturtium

Red Wine Vinegar: Basil, Thyme, or Oregano

Apple Cider Vinegar: Mint

Rice Vinegar: Garlic Chives or Cilantro

USES:

  • Use as salad dressing
  • Use in stews
  • Fabulous on chicken and fish

Still need a little more flavor? TRY THESE ALTERNATIVE HEALTHY DRESSINGS:

Spicy Garlic

  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup grated romano/parmesan cheese
  • 1 pinch red chili pepper flakes

Combine in food processor or blender and blend.

Cucumber Yogurt

  • 1 cup chopped seeded peeled cucumber
  • 3 tb plain low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tb olive oil
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp dried dill

Combine in food processor or blender and blend.

Shallot & Grapefruit

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 cups fresh grapefruit juice (about 3 grapefruits)
  • 2 tb chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/2 tsp honey or 3/4 tsp agave
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tb olive oil

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add shallots; cook 5 minutes or until golden brown. Stir in juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and cook until reduced to 1 cup (about 6 minutes). Remove from heat; cool.

Place the grapefruit juice mixture, cilantro, honey, and pepper in a blender; process until smooth. With blender on, slowly add 2 tablespoons oil; process until smooth.

Still on the lookout for a good healthy Ranch dressing, so if you know of one please comment below and let me know where I can find the recipe. That’s the only dressing I really miss and have found and tried several recipes that were absolutely terrible. :(

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Salad in a Jar Makes the Perfect, Easy, Healthy Lunch On-the-Run!

19 03 2015

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The Basics:

The dressing goes in first. This is the most important step to the layering process! This ensures that your salad ingredients don’t get soggy.

Then go with fruit or anything else big and chunky. This will keep the delicate ingredients from getting wet.

Then the fixings. Little things like shaved nuts, raisins, cheeses. The ingredients that you definitely don’t want soggy.

And, if the salad you are making has leafy greens, they go in last!

Jicama Salad

These are my two absolute favorite salad-in-a-jar recipes!

Orange & Jicama Salad – Serving 4 jars

  • 2 Valencia oranges, chopped
  • 6 radishes, diced
  • 1 jicama, cubed
  • a handful of cilantro, chopped
  • red sail lettuce, chopped
  • a dash of Himalayan sea salt & crushed black pepper

Mix all the ingredients, except the lettuce in a large bowl, toss to coat evenly. I do not use dressing because the juice for the oranges is enough. If you would like more I would suggest adding a tablespoon (or two) of orange juice. Seperate out into the 4 mason jars. Top with the lettuce. Refrigerate.

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Not Your Average Boring Kale Salad – Serving 2 – 3 jars

  • 2 pieces of bread (sourdough, rye)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Himalayan sea salt
  • 1 cup chick peas, cooked
  • 1 cup pecans, walnuts or a combo, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, cranberries or apple chunks
  • 1 head of kale

Dressing:

  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup grated romano/parmesan cheese
  • 1 pinch red chili pepper flakes

In a large skillet, heat a tbsp of olive oil, tear chunks of bread off and sautee in pan with a dash of salt until golden brown. Set aside. Combine all the dressing ingredients and blend in a blender or food processor. Pour dressing into Mason Jars, followed by fruit, chick peas, nuts, bread chunks, lettuce. Refrigerate.

These recipes are so easy and once you have made them a few times you will quickly see how easy it is to improvise with anything you have on hand. Have fun and enjoy the many flavor combinations various fruits, nuts and beans have to offer!

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Clove Essential Oil

12 03 2015

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The benefits of clove uses can be traced back to ancient China and India. Clove has been found to contain a significant amount of eugenol, an active chemical component that gives this essential oil its energizing fragrance and a variety of therapeutic benefits.

Properties:

  • antioxidant
  • analgesic
  • antibacterial
  • anti-fungal
  • anti-inflammatory
  • anti-parasitic
  • antiseptic
  • antiviral
  • disinfectant
  • immune stimulant

Primary Uses:

  • Addictions (especially tobacco)
  • Blood Clots
  • Candida
  • Corns
  • Fever
  • Fungal Infections
  • Herpes
  • Hormonal Balance
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Liver Cleansing
  • Lupus
  • Mold
  • Thyroid Dysfunction
  • Toothache
  • Viral Infections
  • Warts

How to Use:

Aromatic

  • Diffuse three to four drops alone or mixed with other essential oils (blends well with basil, bergamot, cinnamon, clary sage, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, orange, peppermint, and rosemary).
  • Mix with water in a spray bottle and use to wipe down surfaces.
  • Inhale directly from the bottle or the palms of hands.

Internal

  • Add one drop to your favorite recipe.
  • Dilute one drop in 4 ounces of water.
  • Place a drop or two in a veggie capsule to fight candida, balance hormones, detox liver or boost immunity.

Topical

  • Put a few drops on a cotton ball or Q-tip and apply directly to gums or teeth to soothe discomfort.
  • Combine with coconut oil and massage on the bottoms of feet or directly on to sore muscles.
  • Put two to four drops into a quarter glass of water and use as a mouthwash.
  • Add a drop or two directly to toothpaste before brushing.

Resources:

  • Living Magazine, Winter 2014
  • Modern Essentials. A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils.

 

Want to Learn More?   Related Articles:

50+ Benefits and Uses of Clove Essential Oil

The Healing Properties of Clove Essential Oil

Essential Oils

101 Uses for the Intro Kit – Lavender, Lemon & Peppermint – Part 1

101 Uses for the Intro Kit – Lavender, Lemon & Peppermint – Part 2

101 Uses for the Intro Kit – Lavender, Lemon & Peppermint – Part 3

 





The Top 10 Workout Songs for March 2015

5 03 2015

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This month’s top 10 workout songs cover a wide array of tempos and styles that will compliment an equally diverse range of workouts. For low rep exercises that strengthen your body—crunches, weights and so on—you might start with one of the slower tracks from David Guetta or Flo Rida. For a cardio routine—running, ropes, and the like—consider one of the faster numbers from alt-rock favorites Bleachers or club stars Yellow Claw.

If the feel is more important to you than the tempo, there are tracks spanning 100-128 beats per minute (BPM) and a variety of genres. The mix includes the latest confection from Maroon 5, a remix of Big Data’s crossover hit, and a collaboration between X Factor alumni Fifth Harmony & L.A. rapper Kid Ink.

There should be something here for every taste and routine. If you’re looking for a few new songs to spruce up your existing mix, you’re in luck. Alternatively, if you need a clean break, you can swap in this entire list—since it blends a variety of speeds and sounds that will get you moving and keep you guessing.

Here’s the full list, according to votes placed at Run Hundred–the web’s most popular workout music blog.

David Guetta, Afrojack & Nicki Minaj – Hey Mama – 86 BPM

Flo Rida, Sage the Gemini & Lookas – GDFR (K. Theory Remix) – 73 BPM

Big Data & Joywave – Dangerous (Spacebrother’s Electro Stomp Remix) – 126 BPM

Fifth Harmony & Kid Ink – Worth It – 101 BPM

Madonna – Living for Love – 123 BPM

Imagine Dragons – I Bet My Life (Alex Adair Remix) – 117 BPM

Bleachers – Rollercoaster – 163 BPM

Maroon 5 – Sugar – 121 BPM

Yellow Claw & Ayden – Till It Hurts – 146 BPM

Penguin Prison – Calling Out (Elephante Remix) – 128 BPM

To find more workout songs, head on over to check out the awesome free database at RunHundred.com. There you can browse the song selections by genre, tempo, and era—to find the music that best fits with your particular workout routine.





Thinking Off Chopping Your Hair? Donate Those Lovely Locks!

24 02 2015
Donate the pony. Why Not?

Donate the pony. Why Not? It’s super easy!

There are LOTS of charities that will take those lovely locks although most prefer it to not be bleached. You can find charities that will accept donation anywhere from 6 to 12 inches. Common guidelines include braiding or placing in a ponytail before cutting off, hair must be clean and dry, curly hair may be pulled straight to reach length requirements and colored and/or gray is acceptable as long as bleach was not used.

Not everyone listed donates to cancer patients, actually most charities do not provide free-of-charge wigs (but some provide reduced prices) and quite a few admit that they do not use all the hair sent to them (many sell to cover manufacturing costs but some simply discard). If these details are important to you please do a little research before donating – use this post simply as a place to get started depending on the length you have available.

Shave your head bald:

12 inch Donations:

10 inch Donations:

8 inch Donations:

7 inch Donations:

6 inch Donations

One person really can make a difference – teach your children this…..Help them understand that even a simple act like cutting their hair can be put to good use. Or dream big and organize a neighborhood/school event.





Change Your Mind and Your Life. Buddhist Affirmations.

19 02 2015
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.” ~Buddha
Listen to your internal talk………how do you treat yourself? For most of us the answer is “not well”. If I really pay attention I refer to myself as clumsy, a pollack, an idiot, ditsy, stupid, fat and who knows what else in the course of one day. All while feeling unsafe, alone, unloved and basically unstable in life. But when I don’t take the time to pay attention to how I am treating myself it is simply another day and all seems normal. I push all these negative thoughts of myself to the side, maybe even laugh them off and assume they have no affect on my self-esteem or my life.
Is this healthy? Of course not. As the Buddha teaches is “what we think we become”. Why not become strong, graceful, beautiful and full of love?
I am about to share with you a few Buddha affirmations that one of my favorite Zen Shiatsu teachers, Polly Liontis shared with us. Say them daily for a month (or even a week or two) and watch and feel how your world changes!
 Breathe. Smile.Feel Fresh. Stable. Solid.Smile at My Reflection. Free.And Expansive.
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The Top 10 Workout Songs for February 2015

10 02 2015

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Remixes rule in this month’s workout music round-up. Exactly half of the songs voted into the top 10 appear in re-worked versions. As always, this is a blessing for folks in search of musical inspiration, since these uptempo updates take existing gym favorites and accentuate their beats and momentum.

Songs getting a makeover include the latest from from Gwen Stefani, a club anthem from David Guetta, and the three way collaboration between Jennifer Lopez, Iggy Azalea, and Pitbull. Meanwhile, the other half of this month’s list includes a Taylor Swift song you might recognize from a Target commercial, a Fall Out Boy track that pays tribute to a scene from Pulp Fiction, and the follow-up to Clean Bandit and Jess Glynne’s breakthrough hit “Rather Be.”

By combining new music from Top 40 regulars and updated versions of recent hits, this month’s list strikes a fine balance between fresh and familiar sounds–both of which will come in handy when you’re ready to get moving.

Here’s the full list, according to votes placed at Run Hundred–the web’s most popular workout music blog.

Gwen Stefani – Baby Don’t Lie (Kaskade & KillaGraham Remix) – 100 BPM

Taylor Swift – Style – 95 BPM

Jennifer Lopez, Iggy Azalea & Pitbull – Booty (Bali Bandits Remix) – 129 BPM

Robin Schulz, Lilly Wood & The Prick – Prayer in C (Robin Schulz Radio Edit) – 123 BPM

Fall Out Boy – Uma Thurman – 149 BPM

Jessie J & 2 Chainz – Burnin’ Up (Aero Chord Remix) – 100 BPM

Kelly Clarkson – Heartbeat Song – 74 BPM

Clean Bandit & Jess Glynne – Real Love – 125 BPM

David Guetta & Sam Martin – Dangerous (David Guetta’s Banging Remix) – 128 BPM

Pitbull & Ne-Yo – Time of our Lives – 124 BPM

To find more workout songs, folks can check out the free database at RunHundred.com. Visitors can browse the song selections there by genre, tempo, and era—to find the music that best fits with their particular workout routine.








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