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Archive for October, 2010

Quote of the Day

Never let life’s hardships disturb you … no one can avoid problems, not even saints or sages.
– Nichiren Daishonen

Have a good weekend!

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I really like this short article on 6 foods that we can easily cut back on, and tips for how to do it. The list includes diet soda, sugary cereal, energy bars, fake sugar, coffee, and white foods. The great thing about this article is that it offers alternatives for when you can still consume these items if you really want to, but explains succinctly why you might want to go ahead and cut them out completely.

For example, if you love your Lucky Charms, then eat a small bowl (i.e. 1 cup of cereal) for dessert, not for breakfast. Or, if you love your diet soda, replace it with flavored seltzer; you still get the bubbles without the artificial sweetener, which has been proven to cause food cravings. And, if you don’t want to cut out the coffee (like me, I want to keep that one), then limit your intake to two cups (that’s 12 oz) without cream and sugar.

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Courtesy of Photos 8

 

Now that the leaves have changed color and football is on ALL DAY on Sunday (I love football!), it is time for chili. I’ve tried many recipes, and now have one that is a combination of several different recipes that I like. I hope you like it too. It only takes about 30 minutes start to finish, and the only thing that requires cutting up is the onion. But if you are really pressed for time, or just don’t like chopping onions (which I really don’t like doing), then you can use dried onion – not as fresh, but still tastes yummy.

Another great thing about this recipe is that you can keep the ingredients in your pantry and freezer at all times so that this can be your go-to quick meal without much planning ahead.

Ingredients:

  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 t chili powder
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 t Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 lb ground turkey (if you want vegetarian, then leave this out & add another can of beans)
  • 1 12 oz Corona
  • 1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15.5 oz kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15.5 oz black beans

Heat olive oil in large, heavy skillet (or wok) over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, salt, spices, and worcestershire sauce, and cook, stirring, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook 1 minute more. Add the turkey, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and cook until the meat loses its raw color, about 3-5 minutes. Add the beer and simmer until reduced by about half, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the beans; bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Serve with sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, and corn chips. Or don’t use any of these garnishes for a lower calorie meal.

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Check out Two Angry Moms. They were appalled that their kids’ school lunch programs were undermining their efforts to help their kids eat a healthy lunch because the school was providing junk food with no nutritional value. So they made a movie, that you can see to learn more about it, and what you can do to help make school lunches more healthy.

Their website describes their journey:

Part exposé, part “how-to”, Amy chronicles the efforts of Susan and other leaders in the fledgling better school food movement as they take on the system nationwide. From Chefs Alice Waters and Ann Cooper reinventing school food in Berkley California to Chef Tony Geraci’s student designed meals in New Hampshire, Amy discovers programs that connect the cafeteria with the classroom and connect our kids with the earth. Over the course of a school year, we see Susan’s coalition drive dramatic changes in one Westchester, NY school district.

Two Angry Moms shows not only on what is wrong with school food; it offers strategies for overcoming roadblocks and getting healthy, good tasting, real food into school cafeterias. The movie explores the roles the federal government, corporate interests, school administration and parents play in feeding our country’s school kids.

See what happens when fed-up moms start a grass-roots revolution!

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At Snack Girl, Lisa Cain, Ph.D., offers the following great snacking tips. I agree completely.

  • Make each snack a mini-meal.
    Do you eat carbs, protein, and a vegetable for dinner? Well, do the same for your snacks. Snacks are AS important as meals in getting you some quality calories to run on.
  • Ignore the snack aisle.
    The snack aisle is full of empty carbohydrates and junk food. Food marketers have defined the word “snack” for us – don’t let them! A snack is anything you want it to be – leftovers, a banana with peanut butter, carrots and hummus, etc.
  • Plan your snacks.
    This is a difficult one for most people. Usually, we feel hungry and grab a snack from a vending machine, convenience store, fast food outlet, etc. Think ahead and you will save yourself from eating unhealthily.

I find it easier to plan my snacks if I have a few tools at my disposal. For example, I have a Swiss Army Knife for cutting up an apple at work (and a jar of peanut butter in the work fridge).

On Sunday, I pack little baggies with 100 calories of my favorite nuts and shove them in my purse for an emergency. These tricks will save you both calories and money!

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Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project and who blogs at The Happiness Project blog, has a list of “secrets” of adulthood that she shares in a post. Here are some of them:

Secrets of Adulthood

  • Outer order contributes to inner calm.
  • You manage what you measure.
  • By doing a little bit each day, you can get a lot accomplished.
  • People don’t notice your mistakes and flaws as much as you think.
  • It’s nice to have plenty of money.
  • Most decisions don’t require extensive research.
  • Try not to let yourself get too hungry.
  • If you can’t find something, clean up.
  • Turning the computer on and off a few times often fixes a glitch.
  • It’s okay to ask for help.
  • You can choose what you do; you can’t choose what you LIKE to do.
  • Happiness doesn’t always make you feel happy.
  • What you do EVERY DAY matters more than what you do ONCE IN A WHILE.
  • You don’t have to be good at everything..
  • It’s important to be nice to EVERYONE.
  • You know as much as most people.
  • Eat better, eat less, exercise more.
  • What’s fun for other people may not be fun for you–and vice versa.
  • If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough.

Check out the rest here.

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My friend Amber is a baby products guru and genius (she’s also a really smart lady and a great person). She has a great post at her blog NaterTot about healthy baby food products. As you may know, next to breast feeding, the foods that your kids get in the first five years of their lives set them up for life regarding their health.

Baby girl due 10/21/10

I have taken her advice in this post and have a Beaba Babycook (thanks Mom) for my little one (who is due to arrive next Thursday, 10/21/10!). If, like Amber, you don’t really have an interest in making your own baby food – most likely because of the time it will take – then she has some great suggestions on where to get healthy foods for baby.

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How long does it take to develop a new good habit? Two weeks? Thirty days? How about 66 days!

Keith Lee, at An Associate’s Mind, shares a recent study that determined that, for most people, developing a new habit takes approximately 66 days. That’s more than two months, people! Keith’s conclusion is right on:

It can be very difficult to develop new habits or to break old ones. Whether it be diet, exercise, some adverse personal behavior (smoking, biting one’s nails), or adapting a new schedule or workflow procedure – they all take a concerted amount of discipline and commitment to actually achieve the desired outcome. When reading about developing habits in the past, I’ve usually seen one month bandied about as the time required to develop a new habit or break an old one. However it would appear that two months is the amount of time one needs to commit to develop a new habit. Something to keep in mind when trying to improve or develop new procedures at work or home.

So give yourself a break if you are trying to develop some new, healthy habits. Just get going. You’ll get there eventually!

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So often people say “I’d eat more healthily if I could afford it. Healthy food is just so much more expensive!” Maybe, but maybe not. Maybe you are looking at the wrong foods. There are a lot of great ideas at the Eating Well blogs on how to eat healthy and save money at the same time, like this post.

Blogger Jessie Price offers six helpful tips and even shares recipes to help you save.

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This blog post by Lori Bongiorno from the Conscious Consumer blog and posted at  Yahoo! Green contains great information on how long you can freeze various foods and have it still taste good and not like freezer burn.

She starts by explaining why your freezer is so important:

When it comes to preparing healthy meals at home, don’t underestimate the value of your freezer. A well-stocked freezer can save you a trip to the store when you’re pressed for time, which could mean the difference between making dinner and ordering in. It also lets you save meals that you prepare in big batches ahead of time, take advantage of discounts at the grocery store, and keep food that might otherwise go to waste.

Then she continues with a basic guide for how long you can freeze foods before you sacrifice quality:

  • Bacon: 1 to 2 months
  • Breads: 2 to 3 months
  • Casseroles: 2 to 3 months
  • Cooked beef and pork: 2 to 3 months
  • Cooked poultry: 4 months
  • Cookie dough: 3 months
  • Fruit: 8 to 12 months
  • Frozen dinners: 3 to 4 months
  • Hot dogs: 1 to 2 months
  • Lunch meats: 1 to 2 months
  • Sausage: 1 to 2 months
  • Soups and stews: 2 to 3 months
  • Uncooked chicken (parts): 9 months
  • Uncooked chicken (whole): 1 year
  • Uncooked steaks, chops, or roasts: 4 to 12 months
  • Uncooked ground meat: 3 to 4 months
  • Vegetables: 8 to 12 months

And she finishes with some helpful freezing tips. Freeze away!

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