Tag Archives: blueberries

Superbugs – The New Super Villians

Tag. You’re it!

Let’s talk about disease transmission!

Yawning yet?

Better not. Your life could depend on it!

Oh, sure. Hopefully, you have mastered not sneezing into someone’s face…but there’s more!

While this flu season has not been declared and epidemic – yet – the numbers are staggering, and not only are the seniors succumbing to the flu, but healthy young children – and even young athletic adults are DYING! I can’t wipe the faces of the recent healthy victims from my mind.

It’s so sad when I think about it.

At this point, it’s important to share this challenging flu season is expected to last another 13 weeks! It is NOT too late to get your flu shot. While this year’s vaccine is reported to be approximately 30% effective, it can still be helpful in reducing your symptoms if you fall victim to a flu strain not specifically targeted by the shot. It does take two weeks to achieve full protection from the shot, so time is of the essence.

Additionally, many of my friends are actually experiencing more than one infection – simultaneously! Running to the bathroom with a Norovirus and thinking it’s the flu, then going to the ER only to find out they also have double pneumonia – with no symptoms!

Contrary to what you might think, a virus or a bacteria’s sole mission in life is NOT to kill you. Think about it. You are the host – their home – and they don’t want to burn down their home. What they want to do is MULTIPLY – pure and simple. Keep their species viable; alive and well. As long as you are alive, they are pretty happy feeding off of you.

If you can assist them in spreading their whereabouts, all the better! Go ahead. Sneeze. Cough. Touch a doorknob a sick person touched. Put your contaminated hand to your nose, eyes, or mouth and… Tag! You’re it!

These micro-organisms do all kinds of crazy things to stay alive. When conditions become unfavorable for their survival, for instance, some form spores. Spores are like time capsules full of DNA instructions and materials that – some day or century – when conditions once again become favorable to grow, multiply, and flourish, they will spring back to life. Presto!

What to do?

Citizens in Asia understand the importance of wearing paper face masks. While both my husband and I are healthy, I am going to buy a box of face masks on my next trip out to the store, just in case. I’ll wear one to prevent spreading disease to my husband – sure. Out in public? Well… Maybe we can start a trend in America. It’s only a matter of time before we wise up in the face of an epidemic.

What we need to do is wear dog cone collars to stop us from touching our eyes, nose, or mouth! As ridiculous as that seems, hold that vision in your mind for a minute.

Just count the number of times you touch your face. Better yet, count the number of times someone else touches his/her face. I don’t know what it is; but just why do we do it? Making sure we haven’t lost our face?

It’s a terrible habit. Our faces contain the three most important portals into our bodies: our eyes, nose, and mouth.

Door knobs, elevator buttons, table tops, electronic devices, gym equipment…the list goes on. Anything we touch can be the temporary residing place for the micro-organisms someone else put there through their touch, cough, or sneeze. We touch that contaminated surface and what is it we do all the time with our hands? Touch our faces. Eyes. Nose. Mouth.

Tag. You’re it.

The norovirus that attacks digestive systems, is particularly determined to find a fresh host. Even though you have stopped throwing up or having diarrhea (or both) and you think you are out of the woods – think again.

You are like a walking Typhoid Annie.

You are CONTAGIOUS for at least TWO WEEKS. These little noroviruses are still living inside your intestines and colon even when you feel “better.”

You may have been extra careful washing your hands after hanging over the commode, puking your guts out, but now? How about after a round of diarrhea? Of course  you scrubbed your hands! But now that you are well?

There is no other way to say this: our poop is STILL contaminated after we get well! If the “stomach flu” is racing through your family or through your child’s classroom, it’s because of germ-filled poopy hands touching things. Those things get touched by those who, not wearing a human version of a doggy cone collar, are touching their faces. It’s what people tend to do.

Stop it!

SCRUB your hands after visiting the restroom EVEN when you are well, and stop touching your face!

Well, how are we supposed to wash our hands you ask? I was waiting for that question. Let me cut and paste a segment from my up-coming book about tips for home caregivers of loved ones:

We all think we know how to wash our hands. In a caregiving environment, extra attention needs to be given to hand washing techniques.

Here are the steps:

  • Turn the water on to a comfortably warm temperature and wet your hands
  • Apply a squirt of hand soap onto your wet hands
  • Start humming the “Happy Birthday“ song at a normal tempo two times through during the washing phase; that should translate to 20 seconds which is how long you are supposed to be rubbing those soapy hands
  • Rubbing the palms together, create a good lather
  • Continue rubbing, moving to the back side of the hands, around the wrist, and between your fingers
  • Scrape your fingertips along the palm of the opposite hand, driving the suds under your nails. Repeat for the other hand.
  • You have finished humming “Happy Birthday” twice by now
  • Rinse hands under the running water while continuing to rub all areas of the hands, wrist, fingers
  • Dry with a clean paper towel.
  • Turn off the faucet with a dry paper towel to prevent contamination of your clean hands”

So there you have it. Preventing the spread of disease is up to each of us. Scouring the house with Clorox wipes is helpful, but proper hand washing and not touching our faces will go a long ways in avoiding not becoming the next victim and in not spreading the bad news around to others.

I just made another vat of Chicken-Ginger-Garlic-Lemon soup and some more Ginger-Honey-Lemon Tea today. Yum!

Deidre and Virgil Edwards

 A great discovery from using the leftovers from the last vat was the addition of a can of minced clams! Oh, my goodness! That was so good! The lemon and dill perfectly complemented the clam addition! Make sure to check out last week’s post to grab the original recipes!

In health-

Deidre

PS:  For some reason, I’m going to wash my hands again!

 

 

A Little Bit of T.L.C. To Calm The Winter Storm

Have you noticed?

Can you hear that?

People whimpering… Aches, pains, and just feeling bad are all around.

After maintaining stable health and immune systems through the fall and early winter, folks are dropping like flies to bronchitis, strep, sinus infections, colds that travel through the entire family and even to the pets, (a Chihuahua sneezing is a sad state of affairs), flu, and pneumonia. I have friends on Facebook with tender bodies who even complain their hair hurts.

That’s bad.

Forget the New Year’s party hats. Where’s the chicken soup?

If you or your loved one fall into the category of the “whimpering needy,” then some serious TLC is headed your way! With minimal energy, you can fix these soothing, nutrient-enriched recipes in a jiff! With a few basic ingredients, you can go a long way to body-friendly comfort measures.

One is a healing and strengthening tea, and the other is soup. While others are dashing to the store for peanut butter, bread, milk, and eggs in the face of winter storm advisories, make sure you grab: lemons, fresh ginger, fresh garlic, honey, chicken, quality broth, and green tea.

Background information:

Fresh ginger, lemon, and honey tea is a tried-and-true standard for throat therapy and protection.

Ginger is often referred to as a universal medicine and dates back to ancient Chinese and Ayurveda traditions. Ginger tea contains high levels of vitamin C, amino acids, and trace minerals. As an anti-inflammatory, ginger calms down unhappy tummies and helps to open airways.

Lemon is also a good source of vitamin C and has long been touted as a benefit to daily detox, get-your-body-started-for-the-day, and a help for regularity. My spry grandmother was a firm believer in daily lemon water; she lived a healthy 100 years. So, there you go!

Honey is not only a good source of energy, but packs a powerful load of antioxidant, has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, and is a natural cough suppressant.

Hot or cold, ginger-lemon-honey tea can be just what the doctor ordered. Given the current freezing temperatures, hot is preferable.

Here’s what you’ll need to do for a quick healing brew:

GINGER LEMON HONEY TEA

In a saucepan, assemble:

About 1 to 1 1/2 inch of peeled, sliced fresh ginger

Juice of 1 lemon – And a few extra slices of lemon to float around, if desired

Honey to taste

5-6 bags of green tea

6 cups of water

Heat all ingredients on medium heat and let steep awhile.

Strain and serve. Refrigerate leftovers to reheat.

This can be a bit tangy thanks to the ginger and lemon; vary the amount of honey to balance the sweet-to-tangy ratio.
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That wasn’t too hard to do! Now you have something helpful to sip on while you prepare this gentle, healing, and easy-to-prepare meal.

Background information:

Garlic is rich in allicin, which has powerful antioxidant properties and is beneficial to blood pressure and blood sugar regulation (See my book, Toolkit for Wellness for more information about garlic and other allicin-containing foods.)

Chicken soup – aromatic and therapeutic – just ask Grandma. It works!
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GARLIC LEMON HERB CHICKEN

Any cut of chicken will do. Today I used a chicken breast, semi-frozen and chopped into small pieces. Other times, I have used thighs with bones in to stew a long time. Whatever cut of chicken you have around will do.

About 5-6 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped (do this at least 10 minutes prior to cooking to release the good things – allicin – that make garlic good for you)

About 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches of peeled, sliced fresh ginger

One lemon, rind ends removed, sliced and seeded

Some onion, chopped (Do this 10 minutes before cooking, as well)

Salt

Pepper

Dill weed – The dill weed pairs very well with the lemon

Chicken Broth – free range, if possible

Optional, rice-based, gluten-free noodles

Sauté the onions, garlic, ginger, and lemon slices in butter and olive oil until onions are translucent.

Add chicken. If cubed, stir until all sides lose their pinkness. If whole pieces, brown on each side.

Add broth and seasonings to taste. Simmer until meat is done and flavors have incorporated.

Optional: Before serving, add some Thai, thin rice noodles if your tummy will allow. These cook in a couple minutes.
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The good thing about this soup is you can eat it in stages as your constitution allows:

Savory broth first.

Broth and a few noodles next.

There is nothing like Mama’s TLC and chicken soup, to be sure, but this comes in at a close second- especially if you are the source of your own TLC!

Cuddles to my friends in need. Sorry you have whatever version of the “crud” you have. Nurse yourself back to health with this healing tea and soup. Don’t try to get back onto your feet too fast or your body will let you know who is boss for sure. Relapses are usually worse that the first round!

Be safe!

In health-

Deidre …  Healing from a sty that has made me feel like I had a cold.

Now, where’s my tea?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peace on Earth 2017 or Coconut Ganache 101

Peace on Earth may well come from a heart that’s attached to a stomach that just ingested a bit of the divine … that is … a spoonful of Coconut Ganache.

There is no way to remember a past wrong, a past injustice, or slight while Coconut Ganache still lingers on the taste buds. You will radiate that “Ahhhhhh” moment you’ll  want to shout to the world. Worst enemy? Share the peace that comes from Coconut Ganache. No need for a cake to spread it on  … just a spoon …

For my one post this Holiday Season, let me share this little bit of Heaven. It will challenge you to dish out this goodness with all you meet.   Spread the love and possibly heal a past hurt by sharing the healing “salve” of Coconut Ganache!

While this Coconut Ganache adds to the final touches on a layer cake or a simple scoop of vanilla ice cream, it can best be enjoyed by the spoonful! Forget Christmas cookies … just give them a tub of Coconut Ganache! Spread the JOY!

Here’s the simplest of recipes:

COCONUT GANACHE

16 ounces of good quality dark chocolate, chopped. (I use Ghirardelli mini morsels. If using dark chocolate bars, make sure to chop into equal, small pieces.)

1-15 ounce full fat coconut milk

½ tsp. vanilla

____________________________________________________________________

  1. Put chopped chocolate into medium bowl
  2. Put coconut milk into small saucepan on medium heat. Warm, stirring, until bubbles form at edge and steam rises.
  3. Pour hot milk over chocolate. DO NOT STIR for five minutes.
  4. After five minutes, stir with a whisk until smooth and glossy; about 2 minutes.
  5. Add vanilla; stir to combine.

Use warm or cooled.

To make truffles, double the amount chocolate, and form into even-sized truffles, rolling in the palm of your hand and setting onto parchment.

For excellent gifts, pour into small containers, top with a bow and a spoon!

In this Season of Peace, be a part of sharing the love where ever you go.  Share some Coconut Ganache along with a hug and a listening ear to the one you choose to bless.

In Love-

Deidre

COCONUT GANACHE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can You Hear Me Now?

Your body knows best.  Are you listening?

Many of us have bodies that are screaming at us; but we aren’t listening. Instead, we grab another Tylenol and hope for different results. Right?

How’s that working for you? Doing the same things and hoping for different result.

Come on, folks!

Case in point is my Great Oatmeal Experiment.

For many years, I have followed the anti-inflammatory style of eating as described in my book, Toolkit for Wellness. The part I was particularly careful about was no gluten-containing grains; no wheat, barley, or rye grains. But other grains such as corn, rice, oats, and others could be problematic because of their lectin and phytate components.

Lectins can mess with the hormone that tells us we are full and satisfied. Phytates can make the minerals we eat bio-unavailable for proper absorption and use by our body.

Each of us has different levels of tolerance.  We won’t know what our tolerance levels are unless we LISTEN.

Listen to what?

Our body talking to us! Do we feel energized? How are those muscles and joints feeling? Headaches again? Unhappy belly? More bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea?

Once your body is “cleansed” for a while by removing inflammatory foods, reintroducing potential offenders has to be handled very carefully.

Just like introducing one new food at a time, not unlike that of a baby learning to eat foods, we have to be careful to reintroduce only one new previously eliminated food at a time, to identify something that is going to cause a bad reaction.

I have corn-based food every once in a while. When corn-on-the-cob “comes in” during the summer, I do indulge. Corn tortillas for tacos? Sure.

Still steering away from gluten.

Enter “Gluten Free Oatmeal.”

I needed to shake up my husband’s breakfast menu a bit; provide more fiber – you know – good for you oatmeal?

I even posted on Foodtalk4you’s Facebook feed about how I had ramped up oatmeal’s “goodness” factor by adding chia seeds and coconut oil. I created another oatmeal recipe by adding collagen hydrolysate and coconut oil. Ramped-up protein and brain healthy fat! What could be better?

I was pleased as punch in making double recipe “vats” of this so I could easily nuke a bowl of goodness for EACH of us in the morning.

Or so I thought.

There are so many factors affecting how we feel. Sometimes it’s hard to tease out the one offending element.

I was still sitting way too much at home while I spent time in my husband’s room (he is confined to a hospital bed at home). On top of that, I am currently writing another book, “Caregiver’s Handbook for Caring for the Bedridden,” which requires more sitting at the computer. Efforts to go to the gym once or twice a week are being met, along with home stretches to break up sitting sessions, and almost daily planks.

But something was WRONG.

Everything from my waist down hurt. Heels first. Then hips. Then legs. Is it possible to get that old so fast? Is this my life forever?

Didn’t seem natural. Certainly, I am living under unusual and stressful circumstances – but, I was falling apart. Grabbing two Ibuprofen, for heaven’s sakes.

We are “Designed for Health”. That’s my mantra. Geez! That’s the name of the classes I teach!

“Can you hear me, now?”

Could it be my “super-healthy-ramped-up-gluten-free-oatmeal?

Only one way to find out.

Stop the oatmeal.

Well, I did.

After just seven days with no more oatmeal, I can get up and start walking with feet and hips that are not screaming.

I listened, and I did something about it.

Yes, I miss my hot, steaming bowl of healthy comfort food, but I LOVE not hurting.

Goodbye oatmeal. Hello happy body!

It’s a choice.

Are you listening? Your body will love you for it.

In health-

Deidre

 

 

Watermelon-Mint Summer Salad!

Espousing coping skills, and actually using them, are two different things. As my beloved continues to slumber more than 15 hours a day now, it would be easy for me to just ‘spin in place’ as I watch his winding down. The three rounds of planks that energized me on Tuesday, are just not motivating me today. My yoga mat is not calling to me.

Today’s coping skill is in shifting focus away from me and onto sharing something good with YOU my dear readers!

I have clipped out and saved so many nifty-sounding recipes for salad dressings; and yet have used virtually none of them. If you are like me, then I even hesitate to share a recipe. Rather, I am sharing a concept instead.

Necessity being the mother of invention, an idea came to mind this week that answered several needs:

  • Something to moisturize some dry leftover baked chicken that was destined to be chopped up into a salad.
  • Something that would use at least a part of my over-abundant supply of mint. Note to self: plant less mint and more basil.
  • Something that would ‘smile’ at me from the salad bowl and lift my spirits.
  • Something that would use up this watermelon that I am the only one eating now.

Voila!

Watermelon Mint Salad Dressing

Remember, this is a concept, not a ¼-teaspoon-at-a-time recipe!

The first step is to smash-up some watermelon.

For my solo serving, I used half of an inch-slice of watermelon taken from one of those mini bowling ball-sized melons. An old fashioned potato masher does the job and leaves some small chunks.

Add some chopped up fresh mint leaves. I generally use the leaves from a 12-inch stem.

Salt

Pepper

Splash of EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

Splash of white wine vinegar

That’s it! Stir and pour over your salad!

Having made this three times this week, my salad contents have varied with the addition of leftover sautéed okra, avocado, mango, blueberries, steamed broccoli, and of course that chicken.

Salads are a wonderful way to keep soaking up all of that fresh summertime vegetable goodness. Cooking pretty much for one now, I tend to cook more than I need for one meal.

Just convert most leftovers to salads in the summers!

This Watermelon-Mint Summer Salad Recipe concept has revitalized my flagging spirits and has given me fun nutritional meals.

We’ll be needing this added aspect of cooling, as yet another heat wave is in progress!

Thanks for reading-

Deidre

 

 

 

 

 

 

Staying Balanced

Are you feeling like you need to come up for air? Gasping and gulping in fresh air before taking another dive? That’s me, too! Taking vacations can definitely help, but we need to “breathe” more often than that.

I am already seeing some leaves changing color. Yesterday, a couple yellow leaves skittered across the still verdant and rapidly growing lawn. A quick look around at some sassafras saplings showed speckles of orange leaves.

Where’s the ‘pause’ button? Summer’s half over and there are already signs of fall in mid-July! Yikes!

One thing I’ve gleaned from our daughter’s successful completion of residency in family medicine – is how to survive and thrive. She had, very carefully, selected a residency program that ensured plenty of coping skills with all of its residents including:

  • Weekly group, how-are-you-doing, sessions of sharing the good/bad/ugly happenings, which became spring boards for processing their intense experiences.
  • Every-other-week meditative sessions with the entire group of residents took mental processing into the physical and spiritual realm.
  • Naturally, there was regular exercise emphasizing outdoor experiences … often in groups.
  • Frequent and spontaneous group meals, featuring nutritious whole food.
  • Their group was ever-vigilant to ‘pick up a brother’ when they fell into difficult times.
  • Lots of hugs. The real ones that last for at least three breaths. The healing kind.

What’s the ‘take away’ from all of this?

We cope and heal on so many levels, that a multifaceted approach is best.

In my case as a 24/7 caregiver, just getting away several times a week has helped – but only so much. Solo trips to the gym or walks around the waterfront answered only a part of my needs.

A quiet lunch with a friend or two is helpful; but sharing a meal with several friends meets needs you might not know were there.

What is the dynamic of a larger group?

Perhaps it’s because the conversation is not just about us.

We pour our hearts out to a friend — and that has its place.  Usually in group conversation, however, the talk bounces around; others throw thoughts into the mix, and more diverse news is shared.

There is so much more inner balance to be experienced when we participate in groups of 5-6 or more. Our perspective broadens and, quite frankly, it is so refreshing to have the focus on someone else for a bit. Additionally, we may be just who someone else needs to provide a different thought or a helping hand.

I am seeing that the scope of my ‘balancing needs’ is much broader than I had thought.

  • Improved nutrition- check
  • Time away from responsibilities- check
  • Gym 2-3 times a week-check
  • Meals with a friend or two- check
  • Personal meditation and prayer- check
  • Small group activities — need to do this more

Life is like a multifaceted gem. We need to move it around to let the light shine into all of its angles in order to appreciate its full brilliance.

Coping and balancing are the same. Are you shining light into all of your facets to achieve that inner balance?

I’m still learning … and that’s the best part!

Always learning.

Deidre

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons From a Gardener’s Promise

If by recent post we have inspired you to take in the “pulse of life” at a local nursery, maybe you are wondering how so many people are gushing with optimism and hopefulness? How can holding a little six-pack of plants instill such anticipation and confidence? Are there bigger lessons for us to absorb and to apply in other aspects of our lives?

How does the gardener approach … well, gardening?

Soil prep. This step is essential for a plant to thrive. Can’t grow in rocks. Think about it. Are we expecting our bodies to thrive while we ‘plant’ them in rocky soil filled with added sugars, unpronounceable chemicals, or ingredients that are incompatible with digestion?

Plant selection. What’s the goal for the plant? Beauty, crop yield, or an attractiveness to butterflies, bees, or hummingbirds? What are our goals? What is the effect of our actions today? Are we being true to ourselves? Are we adding beauty, yield, and attractiveness to the world around us?

Care. This is where the “Gardener’s Promise” comes in. The gardener knows, by doing the right things consistently, the results will come … in time. Water. Pull a few weeds. Prune as needed. Fertilize regularly. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Will the desired results come in a day… a week … or even a month? Often not! Why do we expect instant results for ourselves?

One kind word to an unfriendly acquaintance will not yield a bosom buddy. Relationships are built over time. Generally, a consistent effort to reach out in friendship will break down barriers.

Launching any self-improvement program will need careful and patient tending as well.

Case in point. I wanted to build upon my at-home exercise efforts which always include 2 minutes of daily planks and Super Brain Yoga with Power Poses. I started going to a gym in January that features a 30-minute circuit, along with its other activities. Twice a week. Like clockwork. Hadn’t gotten a swimsuit look; but if I skipped, I could tell a difference.

I wanted more. More results. Is it possible to really have a tighter tummy? I’ve seen videos about grannies who have turned things around. Why not me?

Time to apply the “Gardener’s Promise.” More sunshine (more effort and a wider variety of exercises), fewer weeds (sugar and carbs), better fertilizer (fortified protein shake for lunch), and patience. If you are doing the right things, keep at it day-by-day, and the results will come.

My morning plank routine is now twice a day. I have added 15 minutes of cardio before hitting the machines and doing other exercises. Still not ready for that swimsuit quite yet.

But I am standing taller. I am stronger. When my abs hurt a bit the next day, I know that I am making a difference. Some recently acquired winter bulges are disappearing.

I am remembering the “Gardener’s Promise.”

Happy “gardening”-

Deidre

PS- Cardio exercise today will be 5 minutes longer. Smoothie already enjoyed for lunch. (Primal Protein, frozen cantaloupe, frozen banana, ground flax seed, collagen hydrolysate).

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Sings In Color!

Picture this: vitality and positive energy coupled with a calm satisfaction and sense of well-being. That’s something we can use – right now.

Well, I found it!

It may have something to do with the waterfall effect of negative ions that prevail in the air around waterfalls and other moving bodies of water. It may also be associated with the positive vibrations being emitted from masses of growing plants.

Let me explain.

If you want a snapshot of human kind at its best, spend some time at your local nursery this spring.

Take in who you see. Young couples full of anticipation as they decide how to put their own landscaping and beautifying mark on their home. A business man in white shirt and tie after work, selecting flowers and herbs to plant when he gets home. Seasoned gardeners checking off items on a list. Lots of couples of every age. Neighbors. Children. Single people. Many with pensive looks as they imagine plant combinations. Some who are undecided and who are trying not to buy everything in sight.  Every one of them with a little bit of ‘nature’ in their hands, or lots of ‘nature’ in their crowded carts and dollies.

Take a deep breath. The smell of plants and rich growing medium fill the air. Brush against an herb to release the scents of basil, mint, rosemary, lavender, and more. Smell the damp soil keeping young roots alive.

Listen to the sounds around you. Discussions about the right shade of rosebush. Questions being answered, not only by nursery staff, but by other shoppers willing to share their knowledge. Offers for assistance from everyone around as someone tries to wrestle a bag of mulch or potting soil onto their cart. The sounds of plants being watered.

Feel the neighborly atmosphere all around you. This is like the opposite of the evening news. Calm and order prevail. Then focus on the young growing plants; they are absolutely exuding a positive aura…you can feel it!

Moving water allows us to relax and feel better because of a change in the charge of ions in the atmosphere. Finding peace at the beach? It’s the negative ions. Feeling edgy on a dry, windy day? It’s the positive ions. In the case of atmospheric ions, negative is better.

You can catch that feeling around a waterfall. That’s why even a garden fountain helps us to relax.

I credit the man watering all of the plants at our local Lowe’s nursery – Joe. Not only is he lovingly giving water to all of the seedlings and plants from the sprinkler head nozzle he holds, he is changing the atmosphere! Calming water sounds seem to caress the shoppers as they select the “just right” shade of Impatiens.

Thank you, Joe!

After multiple trips to several local nurseries, I have created my own little “Eden” on the back porch, spruced up the front entrance to our house, and added to our back decorative garden.

“Satisfaction” hardly describes the feeling after planting all of my beauties!

And sitting from the porch swing, I can survey color, life, nature, attractiveness, and a benefit to local humming birds and bees! What could be better?

Feeling renewed-

Deidre

 

 

 

 

Hmmm! Scones That Love You Back

Chef vs. Baker

Which are you? Pinch of “this,” and a dash of “that”?  Or, “one level cup of sifted flour”? Chef or baker?

It’s just that I’m more of the chef type; but sharing recipes requires more refined explanations of measurements for predictable outcomes. Thus, MANY batches of scones have been prepared, photographed, recorded … and eaten. *burp*

Pardon me!

I know, I know. Tough job but somebody has to do it.

Foodtalk4you has been ever so quiet lately due to my caregiving ministrations, which are always a priority. Thank you for your patience and understanding concerning my unpredictability. My dear husband continues to be under hospice care and my care at home. Still confined to bed, his uncomplaining and appreciative attitude is sprinkled with humor, insight, and love.

The kitchen “laboratory” however, has seen a lot of activity as I tried to optimize my favorite scone recipe to give you consistently wonderful results.

With a Valentine’s Day post in mind, I kept making these little darlings in heart shapes. Needless to say, I missed that deadline; but a heart-shaped scone is so precious any time of year! A good way to say, “I love you!” don’t you think?

You can make the typical scone shape which is achieved by rolling the dough into a circle, slicing into wedges, separating the wedges, and baking.

The heart-shaped scones require a bit more effort using a cookie cutter; and can be problematic if the walnuts are not finely chopped. A secret method? I ended up actually filling the heart shape, pressing the dough down to reach the edges and height of the cookie cutter exactly. Consistent results and portion control.

Long time readers of Foodtalk4you and Toolkit for Wellness know that, just because a recipe is gluten-free, does not make it healthy. I am always trying to pack in extra good-for-you ingredients and to dial back added sugars. This recipe for scones that love you back does that with:

Quinoa Flakes- a rare source of plant-based essential amino acids. Those are the amino acids our body does not make by itself, thus we must get them from our diet. Amino acids are the “building blocks” of proteins. Just 1/3 cup of quinoa flakes contains 4 grams of protein.

Collagen Hydrolysate – unlike gelatin, this powder does not congeal. It is a power house of satisfying, satiating, healing protein that is packed with 20 amino acids! Two rounded tablespoons of collagen hydrolysate yields 11 grams of protein.

Walnuts- a great source of plant-based Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and an amino acid l-arginine which is heart healthy. Walnuts have been shown to help with brain function, suppression of tumor growth, weight control through increased satiety, as well as improved blood sugar levels. Experts say that even a quarter of a cup of walnuts a day can positively impact our health.

Regarding all nuts: Please buy raw, organic nuts for maximum benefit. But wait! You’re not done! Remember to soak your raw walnuts overnight in salted water; rinse and drain; then dehydrate at a low temperature (110-118 degrees) until light and crispy. The results are crunchy and much more digestible. As always, refer to your copy of Toolkit for Wellness for the full scoop on the whys and wherefores of sprouting all of your nuts to ease their digestion.

Another plus to this recipe is it requires a minimal number preparation tools and little clean up. Check out my new cool stirring device.

Instead of using a floured surface to roll out the dough, I just use the same parchment paper sheet used for the baking. Easy-peasy clean up!

So, that’s the back ground material on “Scones that love you back.” Let’s get to the recipe.

SCONES THAT LOVE YOU BACK

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 cup Quinoa Flakes (I use Ancient Harvest brand)
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup collagen hydrolysate (I use Great Lakes brand)
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Rind of one orange, zested
  • ¼ dried cranberries, chopped
  • ¾ cup walnuts, chopped
  • Have on stand-by: 1 or more Tablespoons of ground flax seed if dough is too wet

Wet Ingredients

  • ¼ cup butter, melted (I use Kerrygold brand – from “happy” grass fed Irish cows)
  • 1/3 cup orange juice with pulp
  • 1 egg, beaten

Glaze

  • 1 egg, beaten

Optional

  • Turbinado Raw Cane Sugar Crystals to sprinkle on top before baking

Method

Put all dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir well to combine.

Add wet ingredients, stirring well to combine and create dough. If the dough seems too wet or sticky to a light touch of finger tips, add one tablespoon of ground flax, stirring well. Flax absorbs moisture. Wait a minute to test dough again before adding another tablespoon of it, if needed.

Turn dough out onto a parchment paper covered baking sheet. Form into a smooth ball and press down to a circle with ½ inch thickness.

For traditional scones: cut into 8 wedges using a knife or pizza cutter; separate slices on baking sheet; follow baking instructions.

For heart-shaped scones: use a cookie cutter to press out shapes, reforming scrap dough into another ½ thick layer until all dough is used. OR use my secret method of filling each heart-shaped scone, hand pressing the dough into the shape, and level with the top of the cutter. Separate scones on baking sheet.

Apply egg wash using a brush.

Sprinkle just a dab of Turbinado crystals on top of each scone, if desired. It looks nice but is not intended to become a sugar-bomb coating.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. My heart-shaped 2 ½ inch across scones take 18 minutes. Scones should be golden brown when done.

Cool on wire rack.

Enjoy these healthy scones for a delightful start to your day.

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For a printable recipe, CLICK HERE: SCONES-THAT-LOVE-YOU-BACK-PRINTABLE

In health-

Deidre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Power Up and Prepare For Liftoff!!

Each day, it seems, we are in the cockpit of life preparing for a takeoff. What switches are we supposed to flip in order to “power up” our engines? There are so many on our dashboard. Can we realistically try to flip them all every day; or are there a critical few that will give us the lift and acceleration we need for a good takeoff and flight?

After spending hours every week researching, reading, and experimenting with activities that will, “do our bodies good,” one meal, one breath, one movement at a time, I’m left thinking “Ack!” How can I share idea after idea with my readers without over-whelming them, too?

There must be 50 “good” things I should be doing all of the time just to start my day off right.

Wait a minute.

The goal is not to feel like a failed, spineless weakling if we are not doing these things. The idea is to lead a natural, comfortable life that uses nature’s laws to optimize health – and – to accept the responsibility of intention.

Do we intend to “do our body good”?

We want – no, demand – that our bodies keep us going every day; but are we helping our bodies to do that?

Are we a friend or a foe to our body?

I sure want my body at its best 100% of the time so I strive to “power up” each day as best I can to give my mind-body-spirit the “food” it needs to do that.

Granted, smooth uninterrupted daily routines probably exist only in fairy tales.

Nearing the 10th month of being a full-time caregiver for my sweet husband who is confined to bed, I know full well how easily “me time” can disappear. Keeping myself on an even keel, though, is vital to being at my best for him – and me. Those who juggle kids, family, and jobs find free morning time at a premium as well. I hear you.

So, what are the essential few things I do to power up? You’ve seen many of these before. I will explain any new ideas in more detail.

POWERING UP

  1. ALWAYS: Super Brain Yoga and Power Poses as explained in the last post HERE. If there is time for only one thing, this is it. In addition to reinforcing inner balance and focus, I am filled with thoughts of gratitude – thanks for being equipped for strength and victory. I am open to receive that strength; and feel confident to move forward, no matter what may come my way.

Gratitude increases levels of that “feel good” hormone serotonin; who couldn’t use more of that each day? Be ‘intentional’  by boosting yours.

  1. ALMOST DAILY: Drinking lemon juice in warm water while coffee is brewing. Did your grandmother do this? Mine did. She swore by it and lived to be over 100. Today, we know that a simple drink of lemon juice in warm water is a marvelous detoxifier, helps regulate bowels, and actually helps de-acidify the digestive system! Start by using the juice of ½ of a lemon in one cup of warm water. Swish your mouth out to eliminate remaining juice from reacting with tooth enamel.

Once lemon juice is inside your stomach, the digestive process will cause an alkaline environment that will improve reflux. I refuse to resort to OTC or prescription meds for reflux. Lemon juice in warm water absolutely nails this problem for me. If I skip a couple of days, the reflux returns.

  1. ALWAYS when I am home: Power Coffee often with 2 Breakfast Cookies- plain coffee just doesn’t do it for me anymore. Learn about this amazing drink HERE and these guiltless cookies HERE. After this dynamic duo, I am good for hours!
  1. ALMOST DAILY: Oil pulling for at least 5 minutes, preferably up to 20. Now, this is a new topic for Foodtalk4you, but oil pulling is thousands of years old and is considered medicinal for the whole body.

One of the best articles I have read about the benefits and history of oil pulling is found HERE.  In case you do not have the time, let me summarize this article and why I do this almost every day.

  1. Oil pulling is simply swishing coconut, olive, or sesame oil in the mouth for the purpose of cleansing the oral cavity, refreshing breath, and removing toxins.
  1. It’s easy to work into my daily schedule. Oil pulling can be done first thing during the morning shower; or I often do it after breakfast (Power Coffee and Breakfast Cookies!) while I tidy up the kitchen. This is habit stacking at its best! No extra time needed!
  1. Oil pulling is a safe and effective way to detoxify not just the mouth but the entire body because toxins are absorbed into the oil which is spit out. Coconut oil is highly absorbent so its benefits of moisturizing skin, raising healthy blood cholesterol, increasing energy, and killing toxins are easily accessed by oil pulling.
  1. I see and feel a difference right away. Imagine: fresh mouth with NO CHEMICALS!

How to do oil pulling:

  1. Use 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Just scoop it up with a spoon and put into your mouth and chew on it until it is a swish-able liquid. Hint: You may want to start with a smaller amount just to help yourself warm up to the experience.
  1. Swish the oil around your mouth, flushing the fluid around and between teeth. Take your time and do not be so vigorous that you tire your muscles!
  1. Swish for 5-20 minutes; the longer, the better. Remember, the oil is picking up toxins and needs adequate time to really ‘clean house.’
  1. Spit out the oil which has become white (full of yuck) into the trash. Do NOT spit the toxin-laden coconut oil down the drain as it will clog plumbing. Coconut oil is solid at cooler temperatures, remember.
  1. That’s it! Enjoy natural cleanness and fresh breath. A gentle tooth brushing, and you’re good to go!
  1. TWICE A WEEK: Weight training exercises. I am still a proponent of home-based exercises, (See the exercise chapter in my book Toolkit for Wellness), but I just was longing for the targeted benefits of weight training machines. Give me a good thirty-minute circuit workout, and my body just smiles a great big, “Thank you!”

Since joining the local $10-a-month Planet Fitness Gym, I have maintained my twice weekly visits (or more) since January 1st! By not doing the sweat-inducing cardio machines, I can easily dip in to the gym between errands, change back into my street clothes and carry on.

Twice recently, I did do some cardio, and may keep that as my last stop, one extra day a week, but my main focus right now is the no-sweat 30 minute weight training circuit. Now you can work up a sweat, but my weights are high enough that 10 reps will do just fine, thank you!

So if you are not getting up an hour early each day for the ‘perfect start,’ then just know there are a few things that you can do in your normal, real-life routine that will definitely perk up your body and your day.

A routine that is not forced.

A natural routine.

Something intentional to “do your mind-spirit-body good!”

In health-

Deidre