Weekly-- Daily Aspiration #20

Monday, December 31, 2012
In Honor of the New Year

Today I will take a walk in a new direction

Ways to Break the Cycle of Comfort Eating- #8 Acceptance

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

New Mood-Management Strategy: Make an Acceptance Plan

We sometimes use food because we want to eliminate negative moods quickly, but sometimes it’s better to accept the situation. Whether you’re feeling sadness, anger or anxiety, try to identify the source of your low mood. If it is something you can change, sketch out new solutions. For example, if a co-worker is annoying you, role-play with a friend about how you can be more assertive with the person. If, on the other hand, the situation is something you cannot change at this time, try to accept it. Breathe deeply and often. Take time to relax your muscles, especially your head, shoulder and neck muscles. Visualize a pleasant scene. It’s also a good idea to try to remember the big picture -- your values and goals -- and work on a plan of acceptance, rather than avoidance. You may, for example, have a difficult job, but you and your family need the income. 

I found this on iVillage: Ways to Break the Cycle


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

As we break bread with those we love today, may it be with a loaf of bread you have baked to share for the holidays! Here is a link to one of my favorites I shared last year on this blog- Banana-Date Flaxseed. A bread that can be given knowing it is healthy, hearty and a rare treat for those who receive it because it has been homemade! This recipe is also great to send by mail to those far and wide you wish to remember.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


Weekly-- Daily Aspiration #19

Monday, December 24, 2012

Today I allow divine love to permeate my thoughts

Holiday Meal Menu-delicious and 3 times less calories!

Friday, December 21, 2012
Holiday Meal Menu with 3 times less calories!

This is a holiday meal fit for many and kind to all. Here is the menu I devised to suit those wanting to eat healthy. Many were vegetarians and some required gluten-free choices. I wanted to focus on fresh super-foods that might actually make us feel better by the end of the meal. Each recipe had to be tasty and ultimately add to a colorful plate.

The Menu-
Appetizer- Roasted Pumpkins Seeds with Sea Salt (store bought)

Main Meal- Roasted Turkey (simply stuffed with herbs, garlic, orange, onion & apple), Mashed Sweet Potatoes (prepared with parsnips & spices), Sauteed Green Beans topped with Lemon Zest (cooked in vegetable broth with 1 Tbls of butter), Quinoa-Kale-Pecan Stuffing topped with Pomegranate Seeds, Spotted Puppies (drop biscuits with golden raisins), Naturally Sweetened Cranberry Sauce, gravy as a turkey juices reduction with no flour.

Dessert- gluten-free pumpkin pie and pecan pie topped with homemade whipped cream (served in small slices). This was also store-bought and brought by friends.

Wine- Red- Pinot Noir

The prep time for the meal was amazingly reasonable. I baked the Spotted Puppies the day before so no baking was actually done on Thanksgiving. Friends brought the pies and whipped the cream. The Quinoa had the most steps to prepare. Nothing was complicated, however. Other than the Turkey, everything was vegetarian. And other than the Spotted Puppies, everything was gluten-free. Pretty impressive if you ask me.

The flavors were in keeping with what you would expect at a Thanksgiving, Christmas or other Holiday meal. The colors of the different dishes created a beautiful palette for a plate filled with delicious food. There was almost no butter used or cream in the dishes. And it was all fresh, packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals...but not with pesticides or hormones! All was bought at the local grocery store!

The meal was well enjoyed with many compliments. And there was not the usual groaning and glazed eyes after the meal!

Here is the overall calorie count-
Pumpkin Seeds-  83 calories for a handful/.5 oz
Roasted Turkey-  118 calories for white meat/  4 oz
Mashed Sweet Potato-  136 calories for 1/2 cup
Green Beans with zest-  44 calories for 1 cup
Quinoa stuffing-  220 calories for 1/12th the recipe- about 1/2 cup
Turkey Juices Reduction Gravy-  50 calories for 1/4 cup
Naturally Sweetened Cranberry Sauce- 82 calories for 1/4 cup
Spotted Puppies- 186 calories for one biscuit
Pumpkin Pie- 323 calories for a 1/6th slice of the pie
Whipped Cream- 52 calories for 1 tablespoon
Red Wine- 121 calories for 5 oz
If you eat everything- total calories of 1,415

According to the Caloric Control Council the average American will consume more than 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat on Thanksgiving Day alone. That is more then 3 times the meal I prepared. And clearly, according to the list of foods and the recipes provided, our menu was nonetheless a bountiful, delicious and satisfying meal! It can be done.

The trick is to eat lightly around the big meal. For breakfast I had a muffin and latte. For lunch I fixed a greens-based salad. Light and non-destructive.

All in all it was a great day filled with family, friends and healthy, delectable food...just as it should be! I prepared this for Thanksgiving but it can be a great Christmas meal as well.

Happy, Healthy Eating!

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Farfalle with Lamb Ragu- delicious and hearty!

Thursday, December 20, 2012
Farfalle with Lamb Ragu

Honestly, this recipe could be viewed as a different take on a spaghetti meal. This time you use ground lamb which is leaner and has much more inherent flavor than the classic ground beef. I was in the mood for a comfort food dinner with flare. I found it in this Farfalle with Lamb Ragu recipe. This is an easy two pot meal- one for the pasta cooking and one for the lamb ragu. All you have to chop is 1/2 cup onion (which you can buy already chopped in the freezer of the grocery store) and 1/4 cup chopped carrot along with 2 garlic cloves minced (which can also be bought minced in a jar). The rest is just assembling. The yield is 4 servings, the calories are 464. We completed the meal with a simple tossed green salad, which can be store bought already pre-washed in a  bag, with 2 tablespoons lite balsamic dressing (I like Newman's Own) for 45 calories. The total calorie count for the meal is 509. It was a tasty and satisfying meal, fit for family and friends. It was a definite repeat that my husband and daughter really liked!


Ways to Break the Cycle of Comfort Eating- #7 Change Your Music

Wednesday, December 19, 2012
New Mood-Management Strategy : Change Your Music
Music is one of the most powerful mood changers. In fact, researchers conducting psychological experiments often use mournful music to create sad moods in volunteers. Conversely, you can use your favorite dance music or popular music from your teenage years to boost your mood. Have fun while you create some upbeat playlists. There may well be times when you want to listen to the blues or a violin symphony to fully experience your sadness. But when you want to escape, turn on the cheerful music. 

I found this on iVillage: Ways to Break the Cycle


Vegetarian- Eggplant Parmesan

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Eggplant is a hearty vegetable, almost meat-like in its density. Looking for a hearty meal when there is a chill in the air, Eggplant Parmesan seemed like the right choice. One of the challenges with a traditional Eggplant Parmesan is that it is very caloric. How to keep the flavor and ditch the calories? I found a great recipe from Cooking Light. Although there are a couple of steps to prepare the sauce and the eggplant, they are easy to follow and not too time consuming. In fact, this recipe is probably less complicated than most for this dish. The recipe serves 8 (so it is good for company or leftovers) and each serving is 303 calories.

We completed the meal  with a simple tossed green salad with 2 tablespoons of lite balsamic vinaigrette for 60 calories and a slice of grilled garlic bread for 112 calories. The total calories for the meal are 465. It was a delicious and satisfying meal, a definite repeat for another winter weekend.

Learn More About the Psychology That Makes Livliga Plates so Effective


Weekly-- Daily Aspiration #18

Monday, December 17, 2012
Today I will focus on living in the moment, being present both physically and mentally 

Childhood Obesity rates--declining!?!

Friday, December 14, 2012
I found this article online and thought it was worthy of sharing. With 73% of Americans overweight and obese and children's rate of obesity rising each year nationally over the past ten years...this is good news! But we need to make it a trend across the nation!

PHILADELPHIA — After decades of rising childhood obesity rates, several American cities are reporting their first declines.
The trend has emerged in big cities like New York and Los Angeles, as well as smaller places like Anchorage, Alaska, and Kearney, Neb. The state of Mississippi has also registered a drop, but only among white students. 

“It’s been nothing but bad news for 30 years, so the fact that we have any good news is a big story,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, the health commissioner in New York City, which reported a 5.5 percent decline in the number of obese schoolchildren from 2007 to 2011. 

The drops are small, just 5 percent here in Philadelphia and 3 percent in Los Angeles. But experts say they are significant because they offer the first indication that the obesity epidemic, one of the nation’s most intractable health problems, may actually be reversing course. 

The first dips — noted in a September report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation — were so surprising that some researchers did not believe them.
Deanna M. Hoelscher, a researcher at the University of Texas, who in 2010 recorded one of the earliest declines — among mostly poor Hispanic fourth graders in the El Paso area — did a double-take. “We reran the numbers a couple of times,” she said. “I kept saying, ‘Will you please check that again for me?’ ” 

Researchers say they are not sure what is behind the declines. They may be an early sign of a national shift that is visible only in cities that routinely measure the height and weight of schoolchildren. The decline in Los Angeles, for instance, was for fifth, seventh and ninth graders — the grades that are measured each year — between 2005 and 2010. Nor is it clear whether the drops have more to do with fewer obese children entering school or currently enrolled children losing weight. But researchers note that declines occurred in cities that have had obesity reduction policies in place for a number of years. 

Though obesity is now part of the national conversation, with aggressive advertising campaigns in major cities and a push by Michelle Obama, many scientists doubt that anti-obesity programs actually work. Individual efforts like one-time exercise programs have rarely produced results. Researchers say that it will take a broad set of policies applied systematically to effectively reverse the trend, a conclusion underscored by an Institute of Medicine report released in May. 

Philadelphia has undertaken a broad assault on childhood obesity for years. Sugary drinks like sweetened iced tea, fruit punch and sports drinks started to disappear from school vending machines in 2004. A year later, new snack guidelines set calorie and fat limits, which reduced the size of snack foods like potato chips to single servings. By 2009, deep fryers were gone from cafeterias and whole milk had been replaced by one percent and skim. 

Change has been slow. Schools made money on sugary drinks, and some set up rogue drink machines that had to be hunted down. Deep fat fryers, favored by school administrators who did not want to lose popular items like French fries, were unplugged only after Wayne T. Grasela, the head of food services for the school district, stopped buying oil to fill them.
But the message seems to be getting through, even if acting on it is daunting. Josh Monserrat, an eighth grader at John Welsh Elementary, uses words like “carbs,” and “portion size.” He is part of a student group that promotes healthy eating. He has even dressed as an orange to try to get other children to eat better. Still, he struggles with his own weight. He is 5-foot-3 but weighed nearly 200 pounds at his last doctor’s visit. 

“I was thinking, ‘Wow, I’m obese for my age,’ ” said Josh, who is 13. “I set a goal for myself to lose 50 pounds.” 

Nationally, about 17 percent of children under 20 are obese, or about 12.5 million people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which defines childhood obesity as a body mass index at or above the 95th percentile for children of the same age and sex. That rate, which has tripled since 1980, has leveled off in recent years but has remained at historical highs, and public health experts warn that it could bring long-term health risks.
Obese children are more likely to be obese as adults, creating a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. The American Cancer Society says that being overweight or obese is the culprit in one of seven cancer deaths. Diabetes in children is up by a fifth since 2000, according to federal data. 

“I’m deeply worried about it,” said Francis S. Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, who added that obesity is “almost certain to result in a serious downturn in longevity based on the risks people are taking on.” 

Obesity affects poor children disproportionately. Twenty percent of low-income children are obese, compared with about 12 percent of children from more affluent families, according to the C.D.C. Among girls, race is also an important factor. About 25 percent of black girls are obese, compared with 15 percent of white girls. 

Some experts note that the current declines, concentrated among higher income, mostly white populations, are still not benefiting many minority children. For example, when New York City measured children in kindergarten through eighth grade from 2007 to 2011, the number of white children who were obese dropped by 12.5 percent, while the number of obese black children dropped by 1.9 percent. 

But Philadelphia, which has the biggest share of residents living in poverty of the nation’s 10 largest cities, stands out because its decline was most pronounced among minorities. Obesity among 120,000 public school students measured between 2006 and 2010 declined by 8 percent among black boys and by 7 percent among Hispanic girls, compared with a 0.8 percent decline for white girls and a 6.8 percent decline for white boys. 

“The needle is actually moving,” said Gary D. Foster, director of the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple University. He first noticed the change while conducting a study of middle school students. Even children who made up the control group that did not take part in anti-obesity measures had a weight drop of nearly 4 percent, compared with 5.5 percent for those who did. 

Here at William H. Ziegler Elementary in Northeast Philadelphia, where most students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, the day begins with a nutrition tip over the loudspeaker. Teachers give out colorful erasers and stickers instead of Tootsie Rolls. Fund-raising events feature fruit smoothies instead of chocolate. Some students had never seen broccoli or cauliflower, so Jill Dogmanits, a sixth-grade teacher, started taste tests to acquaint students with those vegetables and healthy snacks like hummus, fresh pineapple and whole-wheat bagels. 

But school is only part of the day. Children buy an average of 350 calories worth of snacks in corner stores every day, according to a study by Dr. Foster’s center at Temple University. About 640 corner stores are now part of a program of stocking healthier food, according to the Food Trust, a nonprofit group that runs it. “Parents tell their kids, ‘Take this money and go buy a snack,’ ” said Josh, as children streamed into a store across from his school where crayon-colored sugar drinks called Hugs sell for 25 cents and generic soda is 40 cents.
Dr. Donald F. Schwarz, a pediatrician who is the city’s health commissioner, said: “I think we are beginning to turn the tide with the many things that have gone on now for a decade.” 

It is too early to tell whether the trend will hold. “I’d like to see another year of measurement before I go out and party over this,” said Mary Currier, Mississippi’s state health officer. And some public health experts say that without broader policy actions like a soda tax, which Philadelphia tried but failed to pass in 2010 and 2011, deeper change will be difficult. Still, new data from Philadelphia — from more than 20,000 children in first through sixth grades — show a further 2.5 percent obesity decline from 2011 to 2012, Dr. Foster said.
Josh lost weight this summer, exercising outside with his stepfather, an Army reservist. But now that it’s cold he has gained some back. Still, he believes he can influence others. His 2-year-old cousin now asks for bananas instead of chips at the corner store. Josh takes full credit.

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. To foster awareness and help make a difference, Livliga, a healthy lifestyle company, will be donating 10% of all its Kidliga sales during the month to the Center for Children’s Healthy Lifestyles & Nutrition, a nonprofit dedicated to research and programs to help kids live healthier lives. In addition, all orders of Kidliga will receive a FREE Sammie and Sax ebooklet! For fun and healthy cooking classes for kids in Kansas City, MO check out the Kid Chefs Cooking Classes at Function Junction. Help us Help Kids Be Healthy and Join the Fun!


Pork Medallions with Cranberry Sauce

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I have been talking a lot about about the good benefits of both cranberries and sage in my previous blogs. Here is a recipe that uses both. It is a festive recipe that fits with this time of year...yet not difficult or time consuming to make...which is also very helpful when you have lots of other things you want and need to be doing! This recipe came from Cooking Light Fresh Food Fast 24/7 cookbook on page 285:

Pork Medallions with Cranberry Sauce


  • 1 (1 pound) pork tenderloin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • Cooking Spray


  1. Cut pork crosswise into 8 pieces. Place pork between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Sprinkle both sides of pork evenly with salt and pepper.
  2. Combine cranberries, broth, and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; boil 6 minutes or until berries burst and sauce is reduced to 2/3 cup. Stir in sage.
  3. While sauce cooks, heat large nonstick skillet (I use cast iron) over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add pork to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until done. Serve pork with sauce.
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 2 pork medallions and about 3 tablespoons sauce); calories 202.

To complete the meal I served the Pork Medallions with Cranberry Sauce with 1/2 cup brown rice with roasted pecans (108 cal) and Sauteed Swiss Chard (see previous blog/75 cal) for a total calorie count of 385. It was delicious, festive and a definite repeat!

Learn More About the Psychology That Makes Livliga Plates so Effective


Ways to Break the Cycle of Comfort Eating- #6 Get Active

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


New Mood-Management Strategy: Get Active

Now that you are eliminating food as your mood manager, identify other techniques that work for you. Regular exercise improves mood overall. If you’re feeling sad or anxious, try a short burst of any physical activity, like taking a short walk. Many women climb some stairs to burn calories and release tension. Keep a pair of sneakers at the office so that there are fewer barriers to getting moving at work.

I found this on iVillage: Ways to Break the Cycle.

Sauteed Swiss Chard

Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Sauteed Swiss Chard
Swiss chard is a new find for me. It is hardy so it is filling; it is a handsome green so it is an attractive addition to a plate; and it is easily found in grocery stores so it is no longer relegated to a spring time vegetable. It is also easy to prepare. In two previous blogs I write about the many health benefits of this green as well as how to prepare it for cooking. It is worth the effort to find out about this Italian, not Swiss, vegetable.

I recently prepared Swiss chard to compliment Pork Medallions with Cranberry Sauce (see blog on December 13/ 202 cal)) for a festive holiday menu. The complete meal I served was Pork Medallions with Cranberry Sauce with 1/2 cup brown rice with roasted pecans (108 cal) and Sauteed Swiss Chard (75 cal) for a total calorie count of 385. It was delicious, festive and a definite repeat!

Here is the recipe I used which comes from Cooking Light Fresh Food Fast 24/7 on page 285:

1 1/2 pounds Swiss chard, trimmed
1 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1. Cut chard into 1/2-inch-wide strips to measure 8 cups.
2. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chard. Cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in vinegar, brown sugar, and crushed red pepper. Cook 1 minute or until liquid evaporates. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 2/3 cup); calories 75.



Weekly-- Daily Aspiration #17

Monday, December 10, 2012
Today I will strive to feel completely satisfied at the end of each meal

Daughter's Crockpot Recipe- Autumn Chicken Stew

Friday, December 7, 2012

This week we picked a recipe I had done before in the crockpot for my daughter to prepare. I wrote about this recipe last fall- Autumn Chicken Stew on this same blog. It is a delicious hearty meal. It truly suits being a colder weather meal.

I did learn a few things this time around about the preparation of the meal. My daughter would have had a hard time preparing it all by herself. The recipe uses a whole medium butternut squash. Cutting up a butternut squash is not for sissies. It requires peeling and a cleaver to chop it up...not something easily done by someone in a wheelchair or for younger children! If I had thought ahead, our grocery store usually carries already cut up butternut squash in the fresh vegetable area. That could have eliminated one of the hassles. The sweet potatoes are also tough to slice into but she did manage to do those herself...smaller potatoes are better to choose since they are that much easier to cut up.

Overall she did a terrific job of preparing this crockpot recipe. She had the pot filled to the brim! When finished it was tasty and satisfying. A great Thursday night supper. The serving size is 1 1/2 cups stew with a 1/2 cup of couscous for a total calorie count of 380. We added a cup of raspberries to complete the meal with a menu calorie count of 432. A definite repeat.


How to Prepare Swiss Chard

Thursday, December 6, 2012
Swiss chard
I have talked about the health benefits of eating Swiss Chard in a previous blog. As a big, leafy green with thick stems I thought it might also be helpful to write about how to prepare this vegetable. It is honestly pretty easy. It does need to be cleaned well so I usually start by submerging the leaves in water to get out the dirt grit that can be in the folds of the leaves. The stems are also big and rigid. They need to be trimmed before cooking. Once washed I slit the leaves away from the stem on either side, going up the body of the leaf until the stem is diminished, cutting and removing the stem from that point down. Once this is done, it is easy to coarsely chop the leaves for steaming or sauteeing. I found a helpful guide providing by Cooking Light that I thought was worth sharing. It gives a ste-by-step visual instruction for prepping Swiss Chard. Here it is below:

How to Prepare Swiss Chard


Ways to Break the Cycle of Comfort Eating- #5 Plan Ahead

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Plan Ahead

If you want to change your relationship with food, you’ll need to change your environment. Use your food diary to determine whether you need to clean house. Literally. Packages of cookies, bags of chips and quarts of full-fat ice cream must go if you’ve identified them as unhealthy mood managers. Smaller packaging will help, as will more attractive displays of fruits and vegetables you enjoy. Make it easy on yourself: Cut up celery, carrots and peppers, and keep them toward the front of the fridge, not in the vegetable drawer (which Jerry Seinfeld appropriately refers to as “the Rotter”).

I Found this on iVillage: Ways to Break the Cycle

Weekly-- Daily Aspiration #16

Monday, December 3, 2012
Today I will commit to both listen and hear what each person is saying to me

How to de-seed a Pomegranate

Friday, November 30, 2012
De-seeding Pomegranate
Pomegranates are a staple this time of year. I just love the look of them. You can find a bowl of them sitting on my dining room table as a sign of the season. They are also great to eat. They are packed full of antioxidants and have more potassium by far than bananas. Their taste is both tangy and sweet. When you bite into them they have a juicy crunch. They are great added in to salads (check out my avocado and grapefruit salad) and sides (think rice, barley or quinoa pilafs).

The question is, how to de-seed a pomegranate. They tend to be a little knarly to extracate the seeds from the tough casing without breaking a lot of the seeds. I found a great YouTube video by Martha Stewart that makes it an easy and fun process. Check it out:

De-seeding Pomegranates

Good Luck...and Enjoy!


Mustard Sage Grilled Chicken

Thursday, November 29, 2012
Healthy Mustard Grilled Chicken on  Livliga Vivente Dinner Plate
Sage is such a mighty herb with its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial as well as anxiolytic (reduces anxiety) properties, according to Holistic Herbalist.com. At this time of year with our potential to over eat and be over stressed, it seems like an important herb to incorporate in our diets.

I made a mustard and sage grilled chicken (286 cal) that fit the need the other night. The cornerstone of the recipe is the sage pesto (see my blog two days ago) you marinate the chicken in for 4 hours prior to grilling. This makes the chicken flavorful and moist. Pesto can be highly caloric, however, this recipe has about one-third the fat and calories of this standard Italian sauce.

To complete the meal I made a Mediterranean Lentil Salad (serving size: 1 cup/206 cal) for a total calorie count of 492 for the meal. It was a delicious and flavorful meal. A definite repeat.

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Ways to Break the Cycle of Comfort Eating- #4 Taking Note

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Analyze This
If you are like many women, you have a good idea of what your food issues are in general. But if you take a few days to track what you eat and why in a food diary, you will probably understand yourself better. For example, if you are on a severely restrictive diet and skipping breakfast, you’ll realize that your 11:00 a.m. donut binge in the staff lounge is actually a normal response to extreme hunger. Or you might notice that you turn to your good friends Ben and Jerry at night, especially after a loss or disappointment.

I found this on iVillage: Ways to Break the Cycle

Sage Pesto

Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Chopped Sage

I used to think that pesto required the use of basil. Now I have discovered pesto has branched out and any number of fresh herbs can be substituted for the traditional basil, adding a fresh take on an ancient recipe. You still want to count on the toasted pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan and olive oil which gives pesto its rich and creamy taste. This pesto has both Sage and Spinach in it. It makes for a flavorful and memorable marinade for grilled chicken. You can also use any leftovers as a dip for vegetables or as a sauce for pasta. I found this recipe in my Cooking Light Five Star Recipes cookbook on page 106.

Sage Pesto
2 tbls pine nuts, toasted
2 large cloves garlic
2 cups torn spinach
2 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley
3/4 cup fresh Sage
2 tbls freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbls plus 1 tsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp salt
3 tbls extra-virgin olive oil

Position knife blade in food processor bowl. Drop pine nuts and garlic through food chute with food processor running; process until minced. Add spinach and next 5 ingredients; process until finely minced. With processor running, slowly pour oil through food chute; process until well blended. Spoon into a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag; store in refrigerator. Yield: 1 cup; serving size: 1 tbls. Calories 39.


Weekly-- Daily Aspiration #15

Monday, November 26, 2012

Today I will take time for each meal and each bite I consume, reveling in the nourishment I am receiving

Shop Small Saturday~ Livliga!

Friday, November 23, 2012

We are excited to take part in our first "Shop Small" Saturday tomorrow. As you think about helping small businesses and all that Holiday Shopping you need to do, please think of Livliga. With a gift from Livliga you are helping promote small business AND healthier lifestyles for your family and friends!


Ways to Break the Cycle of Comfort Eating- #3 No Deprivation

Don’t Deprive Yourself
Overly restrictive dieting can lead to an all-or-nothing attitude with food, and over time, severe hunger can lead to binge eating. Portion control solves a lot of this. It’s perfectly healthy to eat the food you crave -- if you keep the portion small. Many products now come in portion-controlled sizes. You might also spend some time prepping smaller portions of your favorite calorie-laden foods in baggies for you and your family.

I found this on iVillage: Ways to Break the Cycle

So Much To Be Thankful For

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Part of living a healthier life is about being mindful of each day. This includes being aware of and acknowledging the good around you. Thanksgiving is a particularly good day for such reflection. We live in a busy world with such busy lives so this day of Thanksgiving provides us an official moment to stop and reflect.

Much of what I have to be thankful for are present in my life each year- my family, my friends, my health, my sweet dogs, my home. They may be an ongoing blessing but they must never be taken for granted! This day gives me that chance to put them front and center and pause to give thanks out loud and sincerely. THANK YOU! I AM BLESSED!!

Then there are the new things to be thankful for which have been added to the list of blessings. Last week I launched the website of my new company- Livliga. Who would have ever thought that at the age of 56 I would be conceiving and starting up a new company! I have received so much encouragement from so many people, including many I have not known before but who were willing to give me time, insight, advice and, yes, encouragement. Such generosity! THANK YOU! I AM BLESSED!!

Finally, this year, I want to give a "shout out" to the wonderfulness of embracing change and challenge. I have noticed in life that as people we often shy away from things that "rock the boat". We like things to stay the same so we can stay in our comfort zone.  Sometimes though our lives demand that we change and meet the challenge that change brings. I am so grateful to have been given the chance at this stage in my life to have embraced change and met the challenge of that change in my life. Who knew I would ever need to learn about retail? That my life was going to revolve around fine china? Or that I would have a lease on a warehouse!?! Who knew I would design dinnerware or write a series of children's books? THANK YOU! I AM BLESSED!!

All this change is all about helping make the world a healthier and happier place. I hope that my personal insight which drove me to create this new company will help add to the momentum for better health and healthier lives for all of us...and especially our children.


Happy Thanksgiving!


8 Benefits of Swiss Chard

Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Swiss Chard

It is always important to present a colorful plate for a meal. I am always looking for new, quick to prepare, greens to add to my stable of options to choose from when constructing an attractive meal. Recently I did some research on Swiss chard. I was impressed with all of its health benefits. It is a vegetable I plan on using more frequently in my menus. Here is what I found out:

Swiss chard is a leafy green vegetable that is in the same family as the common beet. However, while the root of the beet is usually eaten, it is the leaves of Swiss chard that are eaten. Even though it is called "Swiss" chard, it originated in Sicily and today remains an important part of Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. It also happens to be one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Here are 8 health benefits of Swiss chard.

1. Antioxidants
The reason Swiss chard is so colorful is because it is one of the most antioxidant-rich foods on the planet (antioxidants are responsible for the vivid colors in fruits and vegetables). It contains beta-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin C, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, quercetin, kaempferol, and many other disease fighting antioxidants.

2. Blood Sugar Regulation
Swiss chard contains syringic acid and fiber and syringic acid, both of which help to regulate blood sugar levels. If you are at risk for diabetes or you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you should eat more leafy green vegetables such as Swiss chard.

3. Bone Health
Swiss chard, like other leafy green vegetables, is an excellent source of calcium which helps to strengthen the bones and teeth. One cup of Swiss chard provides about 101 mg of calcium. It also contains vitamin K and magnesium, both of which are important for strong bones.

4. Cancer Prevention
Swiss chard is one of the super foods that is known for its cancer preventative properties thanks to the fiber, chlorophyll, phytochemicals, and other plant pigments it contains. Studies have found that leafy green vegetables are particularly beneficial against colon cancer. 

5. Brain Health In addition to strengthening the bones, the vitamin K in Swiss chard is crucial for the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system because it is essential in the formation of the myelin sheath, the protective layer around nerves.

6. Healthy Blood
Swiss chard is high in iron, which is essential for maintaining the health of the circulatory system and the prevention of anemia. The vitamin K it contains promotes healthy blood clotting and prevents excessive bruising and bleeding.

7. Hair Health
Swiss chard is rich in biotin, an important hair vitamin that promotes hair growth and strength. Research has found that 30 mcg per day of biotin is beneficial for the hair and one cup of Swiss chard contains about 10.5 mcg. Swiss chard also has high amounts of vitamins C and A, both of which assist the hair follicles in the production of sebum.

8. Eye Health
One cup of Swiss chard contains a whopping 9,276 mcg of lutein, an antioxidant that is essential for eye health. Researchers suggest that consuming between 6,000 and 10,000 mcg of lutein per day can maintain the health of the eyes and possible prevent or delay the onset of age-related eye diseases.

Tandoori Salmon--seriously good!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012
It is great fun to venture into the taste buds of another culture. The spices used, the aromas and the flavors can be so different from what we are used to that they can awaken our senses to new and enjoyable meals. This simple Tandoori Salmon (246 cal) did just that for us recently. The spices were a mix of ginger, turmeric and cumin (all really good spices for our health!). The mix definitely woke up the palate without setting it on fire. The addition of the Cilantro-Yogurt Sauce helped balance of the heat. So did the cauliflower mashed potatoes (101 cal). The meal was rounded out with roasted brussel sprouts (37 cal/the link I provided adds 2 tablespoons of olive oil but I save calories by only using olive oil cooking spray).

Here are the recipes I couldn't find a link for:

Tandoori Salmon-
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillet
Cooking Spray
Cilantro-Yogurt sauce

Heat up the broiler. Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl; rub over fillets. Place fillets on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray; broil 9 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Serve with Cilantro-Yogurt Sauce. Yield: 4 servings (serving size 1 fillet and 1/4 cup sauce).

1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon grated lime rind
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
2 garlic cloves, minced

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1/4 cup). From Cooking Light Fresh Food Fast 24/7.

All in all it was an easy meal to make which offered interesting flavors for a satisfying meal. It got a thumbs up from the family. A definite repeat. Total calories for the meal: 384. From Cooking Light Fresh Food Fast 24/7.


Weekly-- Daily Aspiration #14

Monday, November 19, 2012
In Honor of the Week of Thanksgiving

Today I will take a few moments and think about the many reasons I am thankful

Juice It Up With Cranberries

Friday, November 16, 2012

This time of year I start thinking more about cranberries. This is the time when they are harvested. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I drink a Long Life Cocktail every morning with diluted pure, unadulterated cranberry juice. Diluted it is not nearly as tart as it is full strength (thank heavens!). We got started drinking cranberry juice thanks to Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D., C.N.S. and her Fat Flush Diet. Since cranberries are now plentiful, I thought I would remind all of us why they are so good for us. In the Fat Flush Plan, Dr. Gittleman says this about the benefits of cranberry juice:

The cranberry juice-water mixture eliminates water retention, cleanses accumulated wastes from the lymphatic system, and also helps to clean up cellulite.

Then in her Fat Flush Foods book she goes on to state:

Native to North America, the cranberry can still be found growing wild in the cool, sandy bogs of Massachusetts and New Jersey. It was Dutch and German settlers who named this bright red berry, calling it "crane" berry after the birdlike shape of its blossoms.

Cranberries--and pure, unsweetened cranberry juice-- enjoy the superstar status as a prime component of the Fat Flush Plan. Cranberries contain significant amounts of both flavonoids and polyphenolic compounds, shown to prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is the "bad" type of cholesterol, which becomes dangerous to the body only after it has been oxidized. Ongoing research continues to suggest that cranberries offer a natural defense against atherosclerosis and heart disease. At the Technical University of Denmark, researchers compared the health benefits of cranberry and blueberry juice. The results? Cranberries won, hands down.

Just the Facts-
  • In colonial times, cranberries did triple duty as medicine, a colorful natural dye, and a symbol of peace.
  • Cranberries are one of only three original American fruits still being produced today, with nearly 600 million pounds harvested every October. If you strung together all the cranberries produced in North America last year, they would stretch from Boston to Los Angeles more than 565 times!
  • Cranberries are considered a "functional" food, meaning they provide natural health benefits far beyond basic nutrition.
  • Based on serving size, pure, unsweetened cranberry juice has the highest antioxidant level of cranberry any product.
  • Cranberry juice helps prevent a vitamin B¹² deficiency by increasing the body's absorption of this important nutrient.
All this information actually makes you look forward to eating them, doesn't it? And now that you can also find them in the freezer section where all the other frozen fruits are, there is no reason you don't incorporate them into your cooking year round...starting with your smoothies! And don't forget your morning Long Life Cocktail!

Delish-- Tangy Marinated Coleslaw

Thursday, November 15, 2012
I am not one who generally likes coleslaw. It is usually too gooey and watery for me. I have now found the exception! The other night we had a tuna burger dinner. To round out the meal I came across a coleslaw recipe I thought would go well with the burger. It is from Cooking Light 5 Star Recipes on page 124. It was delicious and visually attractive! I couldn't find it on the internet so I am providing it below. Here is the recipe:

Tangy Marinated Coleslaw

4 cups coarsely shredded green cabbage (can buy pre-shredded)
1 1/2 cups seeded, thinly sliced cucumber (about 1 medium)
1 cup coarsely shredded carrot (can buy pre-shredded)
1/2 cup diced purple onion
1/2 cup diced green pepper (I used yellow)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; toss well. Combine vinegar and remaining 6 ingredients in a jar. Cover tightly, and shake vigorously. Pour over vegetable mixture; toss gently. Cover and chill 8 hours (can be less time). Serve chilled or at room temperature. Yield: 6 servings. Serving size: 1 cup. Calories per serving: 64.



Ways to Break the Cycle of Comfort Eating- #2 The Food-Mood Cycle

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Managing the Food-Mood Dilemma
Many women turn to food to manage their moods. Unfortunately, what we call “comfort food” is usually loaded with saturated fats and sugary carbohydrates. Eating too much of these feel-good foods can cause weight gain, which in turn makes us feel ashamed of our bodies. These feelings, of course, can have an effect on our moods. It’s a good idea then to talk to other women who are trying to manage their moods and to work toward creating healthier strategies. Read on for my tips for breaking the food-mood cycle.

I Found this on iVillage: Ways to Break the Cycle

Kitchen Cupboard- Tuna Burgers

Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Tuna Burgers
I am always on the look out for fish recipes. Our commitment is to have at least 2 fish dinners a week along with 2 vegetarian dinners, 2 chicken/turkey meals and then one red meat dinner. For us variety is the spice of life. We do not like the same thing over and over again. Burgers are a case in point. It is fun to find different ways to make a burger. This tuna burger (335 cal) looked like a good way to add fish and variety to our list of options. It also qualifies as a "kitchen cupboard" recipe...one that can be stocked in the pantry to be available as you need it.

It was easy to make. It was also moist and tasty. We rounded out the meal with a tangy marinated coleslaw(recipe posted in following blog/64 cal) and a slice of melon (86 cal) for total calories of 485. It was a hit and a definite repeat.

Weekly-- Daily Aspiration #13

Monday, November 12, 2012
Today I will smile from the inside out and let it resonate throughout my being

For the Love of Lime!

Friday, November 9, 2012

I am always looking for fun new things at the grocery store. The other day I was looking in the exotic fruit area and saw a bag of key limes. They were vibrant green, appealingly round and just the right price. I couldn't resist and bought a bag. Once I got home I realized the only thing I really knew was made from key lime were key lime pies! That was not the path I wanted to head down. So I decided to roam around the internet and see what I could find regarding limes.

The first thing I found was that they are incredibly beneficial. They are a strong antioxidant and anticarcinogenic. They are used in cosmetics and for many  homeopathic remedies from colds to constipation (who knew!?!). And as you probably already suspected, it is also considered helpful for weight loss. Here is what I read on one site about it:

Weight Loss: A glass of warm water with a full-lime juice in it is an excellent weight reducer as well as a brilliant refresher and anti oxidant drink. The citric acid present in lime is an excellent fat burner. Just have two glasses a day and see the remarkable result within a week.

There are so many ways to use lime in recipes from using it in salad dressings to adding it to guacamole to just squeezing it on top of foods like freshly grilled fish. Then there are the drinks that can be made with lime juice like weekend mojitos to fresh limeade to iced tea with a slice of lime.

As it turned out, we did use lime juice in our salad dressings, squeezed on top of fish and to brighten up our evening cocktails of sparkling water. My favorite though, was just squeezing and plopping a key lime into my water bottle to drink fresh and unadulterated. It seemed like a treat (always looking for more of those that are "healthy") and really was tasty. And I knew I was doing something good for my body!


Ways to Break the Cycle of Comfort Eating- #1 Eating Mindfully

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Eat Mindfully

The first step toward breaking the food-mood cycle is to take a few days and begin to eat mindfully. In our fast-paced, multitasking culture, we are usually in a rush, with multiple family and job responsibilities. We may eat quickly to manage stress, but we rarely eat mindfully, unless it is a “special” occasion. It only takes a few additional minutes to eat in a more relaxed way. Turn off the TV, put down the laptops and phones, and pay attention to the texture, taste and aroma of your food.

Found this on iVillage: Ways to Break the Cycle

Easy Pilaf Fixings to Brighten Up Your Rice or Other Grains

Wednesday, November 7, 2012
So Many Easy Ways to Make Flavorful Pilafs for Rice and Other Grains like Quinoa

I get bored with just plain rice when I am serving up a meal. Unless there is lots of sauce with the entree the rice really needs to have its own flavors to be palatable. As a discrete part of the meal I believe it should be visually attractive and that attractiveness should also have the goal of adding taste and dimension to the rice, regardless of what type of rice or other grain you are preparing. What you add to your rice does not need to add a lot of calories. It is easy to use grated fruit rinds and spices without adding any big calories. Here is an example:

Orange Rice:
Cook Rice for 4 (preferably brown rice)
Add to the rice: 1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger.
Calories: 108 per 1/2 cup serving

Crunchy and Bright Rice:
Cook Rice for 4 (preferably brown rice)
Add to the rice: 2 tablespoons minced celery, 1/2 teaspoon lemon rind, and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon lavender
Calories: 108 per 1/2 cup serving

Confetti Rice:
Cook Rice for 4 (preferably brown rice)
Add to the rice: 1 tablespoon chopped red pepper, 1 tablespoon chopped yellow pepper, 1 tablespoon chopped orange pepper
Calories: 110 per 1/2 cup serving

Fresh Herb Rice:
Cook Rice for 4 (preferably brown rice)
Add to the rice: 1 garlic glove minced (this can be cooked with the rice), 2 tablespoons green onions thinly sliced, 2 tablespoons fresh basil minced, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme minced,
Calories: 110 per 1/2 cup serving

Fresh Herb & Cheese Rice:
Cook Rice for 4 (preferably brown rice)
Add to the rice: 1 garlic glove minced (this can be cooked with the rice), 2 tablespoons green onions thinly sliced, 2 tablespoons fresh basil minced, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme minced, 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Calories: 115 per 1/2 cup serving

Tomato flavored Rice:
Cook Rice for 4 (preferably brown rice)
Add to the rice: 1 1/2 tablespoon julienned dried totmatoes, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley and 1/2 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
Calories:  115 per 1/2 cup serving

Curried Rice:
Cook Rice for 4 (preferably brown rice)
Add to the rice: 1/2 teaspoon curry powder, 2 tablespoons raisins, 2 chopped green onions
Calories:124 calories per 1/2 cup serving

Saffron Rice:
Cook Rice for 4 (preferably brown rice)
Add to the rice: 1/2 teaspoon saffron, 2 tablespoons raisins, 2 chopped green onions
Calories:124 calories per 1/2 cup serving

Nutty Rice:
Cook Rice for 4 (preferably brown rice)
Add to the rice: 2 tablespoons roasted pecans chopped, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Calories: 142 per 1/2 cup serving

Fruit & Nutty Rice:
Cook Rice for 4 (preferably brown rice)
Add to the rice: 1 tablespoons roasted pecans chopped, 1 tablespoon raisins, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Calories: 142 per 1/2 cup serving

As you can see, it is easy and fun to create pilafs. For no additional calories but a lot of visual and flavor "pop" you can add fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, mint or basil or any number of dried herbs. Fruit rind is also an easy and colorful addition with no calorie consequence. For a few additional calories you can add dried fruits and nuts to enhance any number of meals.

Have fun and discover some of your own fun pilafs that are healthy and enhance the meals you prepare.


Orange-Glazed Salmon

Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Orange-glazed Salmon

This is such a simple dinner. I love those. Yet the flavor is present and satisfying. The salmon, in particular, is as easy as can be. It is all about the glaze. After pan searing and cooking the fish, you remove it from the skillet and put the ingredients for the glaze in. It takes all of 1 minute to "cook" the glaze and voilà! You have a great entrée.

The glaze: 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, 3 tablespoons orange juice (I just use a fresh orange to squeeze the juice), 1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil (put this in at the end and just stir it in).

The rice is very similar in ease. With your prepared rice (I made brown rice), you simply add 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/2 teaspoon orange rind. That is it!

The snow peas are even easier. All you do is steam them for a maximum of 3 minutes. You can then add a seasoning like herbes de Provence or a little butter spray to taste.

Calories for the meal are: 4 ounces of orange-glazed Salmon (148), 1/2 cup brown rice pilaf (108) and 1 cup snow peas (36) for a total of 292 for the complete meal.


Weekly-- Daily Aspiration #12

Monday, November 5, 2012

Today I will pause and be grateful for each kindness I experience

The Art of the Ugly Plate

Friday, November 2, 2012

There is nothing worse than having a plate look half empty. A lonely plate does not send the right message to our brain. Instead of sending a message to our brain that we are getting a plentiful meal that will satisfy us, we instead feel like we have been cheated and deserve more. Do you ever feel that way? I felt that way the other night when I served up the meal photographed above. It was all the right amount of food from a menu I had planned. When I served it up, I didn't put the salad on the dinner plate. Without it the plate looked lonely and half empty. BIG MISTAKE. It didn't look satisfying or plentiful. I began to feel cheated. I drank another glass of wine as solace. Not the plan.

So the next night when I was serving up our dinner I put all the food on the dinner plate. Can you see the difference? It looks much more plentiful and consequently much more satisfying. It was visually much more appealing this way. And by the end of the meal I felt satisfied...always the goal with each meal. Lesson learned.

Quick-and-Easy Salisbury Steaks

Thursday, November 1, 2012

There are so many ways to prepare ground meats. I work with a budget on a weekly basis to feed my family healthy meals. Salisbury Steak is a tasty, easy and affordable way to feed your family ground beef. It does not always have to be a burger or a meatloaf! This recipe came from my Cooking Light Low-Fat, Low-Calorie Quick & Easy Cookbook. Since our family loves mushrooms this recipe has been a long standing favorite. It is easy to prepare because the ingredients can be bought prepared. The mushrooms can be bought pre-sliced. The gravy you buy in a jar (look for the low sodium & fat free variety). Even the onion can be bought pre-chopped in the freezer section.

I completed the meal with a garlic mashed potato recipe from Rocco Dispirito's Now Eat This! Diet cookbook which uses cauliflower in the recipe and steamed broccoli florets for a total of 338 calories. Other than the fact my broccoli was a little old, as you can see by the photo!, it was a delicious, nutritious and affordable meal. A favorite meal, almost like comfort food, to be repeated regularly.

Build Your Own Tacos (Vegetarian)— Fun Food With Friends & Family

Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Colorful Diabetes-Friendly and Family-Friendly Meal

We had so much fun the other night "building our own" tacos. They were even vegetarian! We used the MyRecipes (see link above) for the taco filling and then organized the healthy toppings to include when building your own taco. You can choose hard taco shells or soft tortillas depending on your family's preference. Everyone loved them and thought it was a lot of fun putting together the tacos as they wanted. Each taco could be different and they got to choose! There were lots of smiles and laughter. We even imagined this could be a fun dinner to have when friends are over. The key is picking healthy and filling toppings.

The Healthy Taco Bar Toppings (for 4)-

Vegetarian Kid-Friendly Tacos

1 small onion, chopped
1 green or yellow pepper, chopped
1/2 head lettuce, shredded
1/2 (10 ounce) package shredded carrots
1/2 (6 ounce package radishes, sliced
1 (15 ounce) can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 (16 ounce) jar salsa
1/2 (8 ounce) package shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
1/2 (8 ounce) package shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

As you can see, there are a lot of shredded and sliced vegetables. There is no guacamole or sour cream. It makes a big difference. But the fun and satisfaction are no less without them...in fact, they many even be better because you feel healthier and you don't have to worry about over doing it! The best way to be when enjoying a meal with family and friends.

Build Your Own Tacos Night Is A Hit With Everyone!

Nutritional Information: Calories (two tacos per serving): 334. Calories from fat 34%; Fat 12.5g; Satfat 3.8g; Monofat 0.0g; Polyfat 0.0g; Protein 20.3g; Carbohydrate 34.4g; Fiber 6.1g; Cholesterol 17mg; Iron 0.0mg; Sodium 494mg; Calcium 0.0mg.

I paired this with a fruit salad (1/2 cup = 54 cal). Fat 0.81g; SatFat 0.614g; PolyFat 0.042g; MonoFat 0.051g; Protein 0.63g; Carbohydrate 12.5g; Fiber 1.7g; Sugars 10.23g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 5mg.

The total calories for the meal were 415.

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