Craniosacral Therapy--in search for the cure

Friday, September 28, 2012
I just got back from seeing a doctor who specializes in craniosacral therapy. My leg has never healed from the knee surgery I had clear back in February. My primary care doctor had basically written me off. I got the..."if it hasn't healed in 6 months this is probably something you are going to have to live with" statement. Hardly hopeful.

Then I went to a fitness fair, honestly attending to scope these sort of events out for possible venues to help launch my new health lifestyle business. It was an interesting adventure. As I went around the room engaging in conversations with the vendors in attendance, I happened to meet this doctor who specializes in craniosacral work. As is the case with us all, I got down to personal business with her and asked if craniosacral treatment would be worth while for me and my leg. She said it would. I asked if it could actually cure the problem and not just treat the symptom. She said absolutely. It got me intrigued.

I put my card in her bowl at her booth. Then low and behold there was a drawing for free services from each of the vendors at the event. Hard to believe, but thanks to Fate, my business card was picked to win the doctor's services for craniosacral therapy! A free one hour session. Really!?! Really!

Well I actually followed up on the free session. She spent more than one hour on me! It was a very relaxing and positive experience. It was amazing to realize that my leg didn't hurt by the end of it! That has not been the case for over 6 months. In fact, the swelling had even gone down. To feel that kind of relief truly gave me hope and a path forward.

Truthfully, my leg is beginning to hurt again since having it down and using it...but to know it can be pain free for even a short period of time makes me believe I can help it learn to be healthy again for longer periods of time and over time. Yes!


One Pan Pasta- easy meal to have on hand

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Our two sons gave our daughter her first cookbook. It was Betty Crocker's 4-ingredient Dinners cookbook. This was many year's ago when it was hard to find cookbooks that had simpler recipes that also included calories. The boys got it for their sister primarily because each recipe only requires 4 ingredients and when you are learning to cook, simpler is better. Honestly the book wasn't used much at that point. It is only in the past year she has started to cook more. The book stayed on the shelf until recently. It is always nice to revisit old friends. This One Pan Pasta recipe caught my eye, again (see September 25 blog)  because I wanted to use up some frozen turkey meatballs I had in the freezer. The great thing about most of the Betty Crocker recipes is that they tend to use ingredients you can store in your pantry to have on hand when needed. The One Pan Pasta and Meatballs is a good example. You use spaghetti sauce from a jar, a can of ripe olives and elbow macaroni from a box. The meatballs, as mentioned, come from a bag in your freezer. Each serving has 520 calories. Not the least caloric meal but not the worst either and for a quick and easy meal, you can't beat it! We rounded out the meal with a tossed green salad with low calorie dressing. The total calories for the meal was 580. Perhaps not my most favorite spaghetti recipe but a good stand by. It will be repeated!

How to Roast and Peel Beets

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

This time of year we are hooked on fresh beets from the farmer's market. They are so good for you! My husband is the one who actually roasts and peels the beets. Years ago when we first started going to the farmer's market we both lamented how we loved fresh beets but thought it was way too messy to do in our own kitchen. My fingers would be stained for days afterward, not to mention the cutting board, sponges and anything else that came in contact with the beets!

Well my husband decided to take on the challenge of figuring out the best way to roast beets and after years of trial and error he has done it! Some tricks he has discovered- buy more yellow beets than red (they don't stain), and make sure to wear gloves! Below is his method for roasting beets:

4 bunches medium fresh beets, (12 – 20, 2” diameter each)
aluminum foil
parchment paper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1-2 tablespoons olive oil, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat Oven to 425°F, on convection.
Soak the beets in a sink filled with cold water, for about 10 minutes. Cut off the beet greens,
leaving about 1” of stem; do not trim the tail end until the beets have been cooked. Scrub
the beets to get rid of any dirt or mud. (Keep the greens, chop coarsely and saute in olive oil
for another side dish. Season with a little sea salt and cracked pepper.)

Place the beets (about 3-4 per packet, or one bunch of beets) on a piece of aluminum foil
large enough to form an envelope. Cover and seal the beets with the foil.
Place the packets of beets on a cookie sheet, and put in the preheated oven. Cook about 1
½ hours, or until done (until they are partially tender but still solid--NOT mushy).
Remove the beets from the oven and open the packets to allow the beets to cool so you can
handle them without burning your fingers. Wear plastic gloves to keep from staining your
hands. Cut the stem and tail ends—the skin will slide right off. Slice the beets to desired
size and thickness (3/8” thick) and place in a bowl. Drizzle with vinegar, oil, salt and pepper.

Stir to coat. Serve warm or refrigerate for later use.

Fillet of Sole Meunière--making good use of what is in the freezer

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Every once in a while I like the challenge of cleaning out my freezer and refrigerator with food that I somehow haven't yet used. This meal was one of those meals. I had sole in the freezer and leftover peppers and some russet potatoes. The combination of foods in my kitchen made for a great dinner. Most often I start from scratch with my menus, picking what interests me and trying to make sure I have a good variety of vegetables, proteins and starches throughout the week. Then there are those times, like with this meal, when I take what I have on hand and figure out how to make a delicious meal. I started with the sole. I had remembered a good looking recipe in Rocco Dispirito's Now Eat This! cookbook. It is actually a very simple recipe for Fillet of Sole Meunière (259 calories). It is a healthy version using wholewheat flour and a lot less butter. The spinach was actually supposed to go under the fish, making a "bed" for it....but we forgot to do it, hence it is on the side of the plate next to it. The peppers were simply sliced, the seeds removed and then sprayed with olive oil cooking spray and sprinkled with garlic powder and herb de Provence then grilled. The potatoes were scrubbed, cut into chunks then also sprayed with olive oil cooking spray, sprinkled with herb de Provence (I clearly had a hankering for this herb!) and some salt,  then roasted in the oven at 375 for 30 minutes. The calories for the meal were 539. It was a tasty meal and I was not only satisfied by it but also because I made a dent in clearing out my freezer and refrigerator! The Fillet of Sole Meunière was simple, a healthy version of a classic, and a definite repeat.


Weekly-- Daily Aspiration #6

Monday, September 24, 2012

Today I will be kind to myself

Pan-Roasted Salmon and Tomatoes

Friday, September 21, 2012
Pan-roasted Salmon and Tomatoes
Pan-roasted Salmon and Tomatoes Served Up on Livliga's Vivente pattern!

This family loves capers. Whenever I see a recipe using them, I always put it on the list to try. In perusing my new cookbook- Cooking Light fresh food fast 24/7, I found what looked to be a tasty salmon recipe that uses capers- Pan-Roasted Salmon and Tomatoes with Capers (266 calories). It was simple enough to make and the flavors really were tasty! As you can see from the photo, it is also visually appealing, a key aspect to a successful dinner. I wrote a blog earlier in the week on the asparagus that accompanied the salmon- Asparagus with Lemon-Basil Yogurt (46 calories). I recommend you check out that recipe too. To complete the meal I added a 1/2 cup of mixed rice (108 calories) for a total calorie count of 420 for the meal.

The recipe for the Pan-Roasted Salmon is:


  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking Spray
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil



Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add fillets, skin side up, to pan. Cook 3 minutes or until browned. Carefully turn fillets over. Add tomatoes, wine, and capers. Cover and cook 7 minutes or until salmon flakes when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Sprinkle with basil. 

Yield: 4 servings. Serving size: 1 fillet and 1/4 cup tomato mixture.


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The Trickiness of Serving Sizes and Calories

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I had an interesting discussion today with my daughter as she was drinking a tasty Green Tea Iced Tea we had bought from the store. It was one I had bought with my tall strapping son in mind who usually doesn't drink zero calorie beverages. He is more into organic and non-adulterated! When it comes to my beverages, I am a little more lenient. Anyway, my daughter was drinking the iced tea and commenting on how delicious it was. Remembering I had gotten it for her brother, I asked her how many calories were in the drink.

The first thing she saw was the number of servings in the bottle- 2.5. This is typical. No drink you ever buy is ever just one serving. Then I asked her again about the calories. She said there were 50. I then asked her 'was that per serving or for the total bottle?' I saw a light bulb go off. She was thinking the 50 calories was for the whole bottle but then remembered how there were 2.5 servings in the bottle. She realized that the 50 calories was for only one of the servings. She had to figure out the math in order to figure out the total calories for the whole bottle. Very tricky marketing, I'd say. What sounds like not too many calories on the face of it turns out to be a lot more. The total bottle of iced tea turned out to be 125 calories. Not the worst drink to have but certainly ended up a lot more calories than what my daughter, and most people, would think. And who ever just drinks one serving or half a serving of a bottled beverage? Really?!? Why don't they just tell us what the total amount of calories are for the bottle? It would certainly be an eye opener! Or better yet, maybe we should just be buying single serving sized bottles so we would start to realize the difference between our super sized world of portions and our healthier world of serving sizes. Now that is an idea!

Asparagus with Lemon-Basil Yogurt Sauce

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

We continue to enjoy the recipes from our new cookbook- Cooking Light fresh food fast 24/7. I am not usually a sauce person, especially on my vegetables, however this recipe for Asparagus with Lemon-Basil Yogurt Sauce was really delicious! It went perfectly with the Pan-Roasted Salmon and Tomatoes that was paired with the asparagus to make a meal (page 268). The combination was truly delicious. What I liked about the asparagus was that it was so easy to prepare...and quite frankly, plain vegetables can get old so it was nice to have a different "take" on a long-time usual for this family's meals. It was a big hit and a definite repeat according to the empty plates I put in the dishwasher!

Here is the recipe for the Lemon-Basil Yogurt Sauce:
1/2 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Combine yogurt and remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Serve over blanched asparagus. Yield 4 servings (serving size: 1/4 pound asparagus and 2 tablespoons sauce). Calories 46.

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How to "Peel" Hard Boiled Eggs without Peeling

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hard Boiled eggs are such a great, portable source of protein. When I was in the Peace Corps I saved up my eggs and would hard boiled them right before a trip. They were easy to carry, easy to eat while straddling burlap bags of manioc or dried fish on top of a merchants truck and kept my hunger at bay.

They are also great in our everyday lives. They are delicious in salads, make for a great egg salad sandwich, and in the summer time my family loves deviled eggs for a picnic. The problem lies in peeling the buggers. Often the egg white sticks to the shell. I have tried all the advice there is to try and get eggs that peel no great success. However the other day I came across this fun video on Tim Ferriss's blog- Experiments in Lifestyle Design- that brought a smile to my face and a wonder to my mind...could this really work. It looks like the key is the baking soda. For all you moms out there with kids still little enough to enjoy kitchen experiments, I can see this being a fun way to get your kids involved in cooking. Regardless, it is worth a try for us all to find a better way to "peel" our hard boiled eggs. Enjoy!

How to "Peel" Hard Boiled Eggs Without Peeling Video

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Weekly-- Daily Aspiration #5

Monday, September 17, 2012

Today I will start slowly, be persistent and successful on my journey to a healthier life

Grilled Shrimp Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing

Friday, September 14, 2012

grilled shrimp salad with honey-lime dressingLast night we had a very tasty salad. It may be the beginning of Fall around here, but we still love our salads for dinner! Truth be told, my husband is the one who prepared the meal. He did a great job and reported that the food prep was not hard at all. The only thikg we really changed in the recipe was the seasoning. Instead of the 5-pepper seasoning, we did a jerk seasoning which doesn't have quite as much pepper, since our daughter can't eat much of it. My husband used the George Forman grill in the kitchen. He grilled the pineapple first, then the shrimp. This recipe came out of my new cookbook- Cooking Light Fresh Food Fast 24/7. Since it is such a new book, I have uploaded a photo of the recipe. Here it is-

Cooking Light Fresh Food Fast
I also took a photo of the Honey-Lime Dressing which I think would be good on a tossed green salad that included some fresh fruit, like strawberries. blackberries or melon. I have posted it below:

Honey Lime Dressing
The total calories for this salad with dressing is 499. We added a whole wheat roll for an additional 90 calories. Total for the meal: 589. It was a hit and a definite repeat.

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It Is True--Your Couch Could Kill You!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Here is what I found out in a recent article in The Week:

Parking yourself on the sofa for hours on end may be just as bad for you as smoking cigarettes. After analyzing the activity levels of people in 122 countries, Harvard University researchers found that physical inactivity is causing 5.3 million deaths per year-- enough to qualify as a global pandemic. "Inactivity plays a role in almost every chronic disease there is,"  including heart disease, diabetes and cancer, physiologist John P. Thyfault of the University of Missouri's School of Medicine tells One in three adults isn't getting the minimum levels of exercise that doctors recommend-- about 30 minutes of moderate activity, like a brisk walk, five times a week. People in wealthy countries tend to get less exercise than those in poorer nations, because they drive more, do less physical work, and spend more time in front of TVs and computers. Experts say increasing activity levels by just 10 percent worldwide could prevent half a million deaths per year.

No Cook Meal- Apricot Turkey Salad Sandwich

Wednesday, September 12, 2012
No Cook Meal- Apricot Turkey Sandwich (photo by LivligaHome).
This was a beautiful meal. Visually, as you can see, it was so summery and colorful. This time I went for a No Cook Meal sandwich. The Apricot-Nut Turkey-Salad Sandwich (286 cal) appealed to me because of the unusual combination of ingredients. Not often you have apricots and cashews combined with celery & raisins in a poached turkey-meat based sandwich on Pumpernickel bread. Yum! I completed the meal with cold asparagus in a vinaigrette and leftover Fresh Tomato & Pepper Salad (yes, leftovers do come in handy, especially for a No Cook dinner!). This sandwich was so good it is now on the top of our favorite sandwiches list. A definite, frequent, repeat!

Reminder- Easy Tips on How to Meditate

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Daily aspirations are a great way to help us focus and allow us to make the most of each day. I have started to share my daily aspirations, that I focus on for a week at a time, in hopes they can be useful to others reading my blog. Aspirations are truly a form of meditation. Taking a few minutes out of each day to hone in on what is important to us is a key step in taking care of ourselves and ensuring our success. Sometimes it is good to refresh our memory on how best to meditate. Here is a good reminder I found in The Week-

Get comfortable. Set aside time-- 20 minutes is ideal, but 5 minutes will do. Turn off phones, etc., and set an alarm that will bring you out of meditation gently. Sit in a comfortable spot with your back straight, not stiff. Close your eyes or leave them slightly open with your gaze low.

Breathe. Focus attention on your breathing, whether in your chest, throat, or nostrils. Don't get frustrated if your attention drifts, just refocus. Once you're locked in, you can choose to shift your thoughts to a soothing image, like a beach. Consider chanting a mantra, such as "om" or "joy". You could also repeat your daily aspiration.

Go deeper. If intense feelings arise, "open yourself to that experience." Seeing how these emotions manifest may help you overcome them.

Carry on. Once the alarm sounds, strive to keep your new serenity, firm in your aspiration.

Weekly-- Daily Aspiration #4

Monday, September 10, 2012

Today I will try something new

Cookbook Review- Fresh Food Fast 24/7

Friday, September 7, 2012

Here is another winner. Cooking Light just seems to get it. There is not one cookbook they have produced I haven't liked. And they evolve with the times. What worked in 1998 is not what works for the moms and families of today. Don't get me wrong, I love my old favorites from those previous cookbooks and resource them often, however, there is nothing like a fresh idea that is easy to prepare, with ingredients you can find in your local grocery store and, once prepared, is delicious, nutritious and visually appealing. Face it, inspiring ourselves and others to eat healthy requires that it taste good, smell good and look good.

Every recipe I have fixed from my new Cooking Light cookbook- fresh, food fast 24/7, has fit the bill. The Horseradish-Garlic Flank Steak with the Lemony Arugula Salad I wrote about in a recent blog was one such recipe. It was a huge hit with the family and not at all hard to shop for or prepare. What I also like about this new cook book is that is gives you ideas on how to use up the left over ingredients you might have after preparing the current recipe. It allows you to incorpoate those recipes into the weeks worth of menus. You save money and brain power in getting your weekly grocery list created. I love all the fresh ingredients as well. Very seasonally driven which again allows you to take advantage of what is locally grown and currently available. It makes for a more interesting, ever changing menu that can also be more affordable. Pretty perfect combination, if you ask me.

I highly recommend this cookbook and hope others will share in their discoveries and favorites found in its pages. Happy, healthy eating!

Discovered: The healthiest meal ever?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Have you ever wondered what the perfect healthy meal would look like? Below is a researchers take on it:

The Healthiest Meal Ever

Smoked salmon, chicken casserole, and yogurt are part of what one group is calling the most nutritious multicourse meal ever assembled

The supposed healthiest meal starts off with a salmon terrine, which contains heart- and artery-friendly Omega 3s.

These days, the food industry seems determined to provide healthier options, and even fast food companies are overhauling their menus with healthier offerings. Perhaps that's why food experts from England set out to determine what the healthiest, most nutrient-packed meal in the world would actually look like. The team studied more than 4,000 health claims and narrowed the list down to 222 before piecing together what they consider to be the most nutritious multicourse meal on the planet. Here, a concise guide to the undertaking:

What's in it?
The meal starts with a salmon terrine, which is smoked fish served with olive oil and a dusting of fresh herbs, alongside a mixed leaf salad with an extra-virgin olive oil dressing. Up next is a chicken and lentil casserole, accompanied by mixed veggies and a high-fiber multigrain roll on the side. Dessert is a vanilla-pudding-like blancmange, which consists of yogurt topped with walnuts and sugar-free caramel sauce.

What makes the meal so healthy?The meal contains a variety of so-called "superfoods," serving up an ideal mix of vitamins, proteins, and chemicals conducive to a healthy lifestyle. The smoked fish, for example, contains heart- and artery-friendly omega-3s, while the high fiber content in the multigrain bread helps give the brain a boost. The chicken's high protein count helps build lean muscle mass, while pantothenic acid in lentils makes the brain more alert. To wash it all down, the active cultures in yogurt help promote digestion, and are also good for one's teeth, blood, and glucose control.

Where did the researchers get this idea?Dr. Paul Berryman, CEO of Leatherhead Food Research, came up with the idea while flying home from a food conference. Originally, the project was envisioned as an airline meal, but Berryman decided instead to make a meal product that supported 222 vetted health claims. "It wasn't that simple, but we did it within one week," says Berryman.

Is it really the world's healthiest meal?
That's a point of contention. In 2009, chef Gurpareet Bains also whipped up a meal composed of "superfoods" that he considered to be the world's healthiest: A curry made with blueberries, goji berries, chicken, ginger, and garlic. Bains claims that the hearty, saucy dish may even help fight cancer cells. The point that both studies are aiming to make is that when it comes to eating healthy, flavor is as critical as are antioxidants. "Healthy foods do not have to be dull," says Berryman. "No matter how healthy, if foods do not taste good they will not sell."

Sources: Christian Post, Daily Mail, Huffington Post, Yahoo


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Easy & Portion Ready Grilled Bread

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I am always looking for an easy way to provide a carbohydrate (carb) side. It is best if it is also easy to portion into an individual serving. The other trick I have found is to prepare a carb side that doesn't add an absurd amount of calories but does add texture, taste and visual appeal to a meal.

The new favorite easy carb side we have discovered is a grilled piece of bread, preferably sliced from a loaf of French or Italian whole grain bread. We use a cast iron skillet to brown/grill the bread. All I do is spray both sides of the bread with a olive oil spray (like Pam or Crisco), then put the heat to medium and let the browning begin! If you want a little extra flavor you can add an herb salt to the bread--our favorite is Herbes de Provence mixed with a pinch of salt...yum! An easy, pre-portioned and tasty carb side ready in minutes without any prep time. It even works well with leftover bread. A hit with the family and a definite repeat.

No Cook Meal- Chunky Gazpacho

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

It was a day for another No Cook Meal. This time my daughter took on the challenge. It is always great to find recipes she can do first thing in the morning so she can get it done and get on with her day. The cold Chunky Gazpacho (95 cal) recipe looked like it would be a good way to accomplish the "get it done and get on with it" approach to the day. We added grilled bread (159 cal) and cherries (10 cherries = 40 cal) to complete the meal for a total of 294 calories for the meal. It required some chopping but I think she would say was otherwise easy to assemble. The base is a low sodium tomato juice. It was delicious! A big hit with everyone. A definite repeat...and great for a leftover lunch...if there are any leftovers!

Weekly-- Daily Aspiration #3

Monday, September 3, 2012

Today I will nourish myself with healthy foods