Monthly Archives: April 2012

Monday Funday!

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Everyone dreads these two words :”It’s Monday”. It seems like the older I get, the quicker the weekend ends. For the past few months my friend Blair and I have made it a point to make Monday one of our best days of the weeks. I’m not exactly sure what brought it on, but since about January we have made a routine of hanging out and doing things we enjoy. After work we meet at my house and do something active. We either take my sweet puppy Phoenix on a walk, get a group together and hit the tennis courts, or play Just Dance for about 30 minutes on the Wii! This is a great way to get past the fact that it is Monday! After we get a good half hour or so of cardio we indulge in a healthy (most of the time)  dinner and an adult beverage or two while watching our weekly show, Basketball Wives. Not only is this a great way to jumpstart the rest of the work week, it is also a chance to bond with a wonderful friend.

                 Above is a photo of myself and  my Monday Funday partner &  best friend, Blair

OTHER AFFORDABLE MONDAY FUNDAY IDEAS 

  1. Makeover Monday- Enjoy a spa day after work! Pour yourself a glass of wine, light some candles, fill up the bath tub with and indulge! After your bath, put a face mask on and experiment with different nail polishes and hair styles. This is not only a great way to relax, it is also a great way to find new styles during the week!
  2. Monopoly Monday- Play a board game! Invite some of your neighbors over and play a game. This is a great way to  feel like a kid again and socialize about things non-work related.
  3. Man Up Monday- Take a boot camp class or other strength building exercise course. Working out is the ultimate stress reliever and also will help you prepare for bathing suit season. 
  4. Margarita Monday- Grab a few coworkers and go to a local bar for happy hour. It’d be a great way to get to know people you work with outside of the office (reminder: don’t overdue it you do have work in the morning)
  5. Meditation Monday- Set aside about 30 minutes to meditate. Whether you pray or do yoga, use this time to focus primarily on relaxation through deep breathing exercises.

 

Here Comes The Chicken….

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Have you been dating your boyfriend for years? Do you bring up the word marriage and constantly get  ignored? Well ladies you may be in luck. At work yesterday my coworker who is  former wedding planner told me about an engagment chicken. I looked at her like she had lost her mind. She brought a book in to work called 100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know. In the first few pages of the book they were speaking about this chicken. There were quite a few testimonials from women who swear by it. One woman claimed she made the chicken for dinner and that night her boyfriend asked her to marry him. I find it extremely difficult to believe making a chicken with specific ingredients can persuade a man to ask for your hand in marriage.  Don’t get me wrong, it does look like a good meal but isn’t marriage suppose to be about love not a silly recipe?!

Engagement Chicken

Ingredients:
  • 1 whole chicken (approximately 4 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, plus 3 whole lemons—including 1 sliced for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon kosher or coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Fresh herbs for garnish (4 rosemary sprigs, 4 sage sprigs, 8 thyme sprigs, and 1 bunch fl at-leaf parsley)

1. Position an oven rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the giblets from the chicken, wash the chicken inside and out with cold water, then let the chicken drain, cavity down, in a colander for 2 minutes.

2. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Place the chicken breast-side down in a medium roasting pan fi tted with a rack and pour the lemon juice all over the chicken, both inside and out. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper inside and out.

3. Prick 2 whole lemons three times each in three different places with a fork and place them deep inside the cavity. Chicken cavity size may vary, so if one lemon is partly sticking out, that’s fine. (Tip: If the lemons are stiff, roll them on the countertop with your palm before pricking to get the juices flowing.)

4. Put the chicken in the oven, lower the oven temperature to 350°F, and roast, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

5. Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Using tongs or two wooden spoons, turn the chicken breast- side up. Insert a meat thermometer in the thigh, and return the chicken to the oven and roast for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the meat thermometer reads 180°F and the juices run clear when the thigh is pricked with a fork. Continue roasting if necessary. Keep in mind that cooking times in different ovens vary; roasting a chicken at 350°F takes approximately 18-20 minutes per pound, plus an additional 15 minutes.

6. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving. And here’s the secret: Pour the juices from the roasting pan on top of the sliced chicken— this is the “marry me juice.” Garnish with fresh herbs and lemon slices.

Read More http://www.glamour.com/magazine/2006/07/engagement-chicken#ixzz1tH5I5fzw

Celebrities Give Back

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Lindsey Lohan, the party girl. Chris Brown, the abusive boyfriend. Bill Cosby, the bad tipper.- Society and the media have a weird obsession with focusing on the negative things going on in a famous person’s life.  Next time you are in line at the grocery store glance at the magazine to your right.  It seems like the headlines focus on infidelity, weight gain, and legal troubles. Celebrities  are human so they are going to make human mistakes. Believe it or not they do have a good side.  Without  scholarships of politicians, a child may never get to read a book or have a meal. Without the aid of professional athletes, a family may never have a house to call a home. And without celebrity charities,  people could go a lifetime with no medical attention.  People need to understand that these high profile individuals are not always going to be dressed for the red carpet or may  have a regrettable night out, but  they do give back. We need to support famous people in their efforts to help an individual, family, or community. They are not obligated to help people in need. Many do it to support a cause or because they can relate to a situation. These are the types of headlines we should read about on the cover of People magazine. The sad thing is that those aren’t the headlines media outlets want us to read.

Brad Pitt New Orleans Charity Work

April Showers Bring May Flowers

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As April washes away and May begins to bloom, gardeners anticipate the beauty of their landscape. Lawns fill with beautiful flowers. sweet fruits, and nutritious vegetables. This transition is what many planters look forward to each May. Unfortunately I live in an apartment with a limited space for plants, however I try to keep a vase full of flowers in my kitchen.There is something about a bright set of spring flowers that makes any bad day better.

Spring Gardening Tips

1. Examine: Before you plant anything, take a look at your yard. Check for damages that need to be repaired as well as clean up tree branches and limbs cluttering the area.

2. Tools: Make sure you have all garden tools in advance so you are ready to use them when maintaining your lawn.

3. Prepare: Spread a 4-inch layer of compost or well-rotted manure and any amendments over soil, and cultivate it to a depth of 10 to 12 inches with a spading fork.

4. Plant: Choose a cool cloudy day to plant bare-root trees, shrubs, and perennials

5. Fertilize:  Spread high-acid fertilizer and pine-needle mulch around acid-loving shrubs. Begin fertilizing perennials when active growth resumes.

Garden Veggie Pizza Squares

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 ounce) package refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (1 ounce) package Ranch-style dressing mix
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh broccoli, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Roll out crescent rolls onto a large non-stick baking sheet. Stretch and flatten to form a single rectangular shape on the baking sheet. Bake 11 to 13 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown. Allow to cool.
  3. Place cream cheese in a medium bowl. Mix cream cheese with 1/2 of the ranch dressing mix. Adjust the amount of dressing mix to taste. Spread the mixture over the cooled crust. Arrange carrots, red bell pepper, broccoli and green onions on top. Chill in the refrigerator approximately 1 hour. Cut into bite-size squares to serve.

Save the Earth!

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US Senator, Gaylord Nelson, selected April 22 as a day to show our appreciation to the earth. He named it Earth Day and over 175 countries observe this holiday. From recycling to planting trees, people across the world make it a point to protect our planet. Let’s reduce pollution and create a healthy environment to raise our children in.

EASY WAYS TO HELP CONSERVE THE EARTH TODAY AND EVERYDAY

  1. Recycle: Put a recycling bin beside your trash can and encourage your friends to do the same. Also take cloth or recyclable bags when going to the grocery store.
  2. Plant: Plant a tree. This will clean pollution and  lock soil into place which reduces erosion.
  3. Walk or Bike: Drive as little as possible in an effort to cut back on pollution given off by motor vehicles. This is also a great way to get a little exercise.
  4. Use Environmentally Friendly Products: Make your own cleaning concoctions or search for “green” products when shopping.
  5. Reduce Litter: NEVER litter!  Because not everyone cares about the Earth, if you see trash or recyclables on the ground, pick them up and dispose of them properly.

“There is a great need for the introduction of new values in our society, where bigger is not necessarily better, where slower can be faster, and where less can be more.”

— Gaylord Nelson

Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipes

homemade liquid detergent

Ingredients:

  • Boiling water
  • 2 cups grated bar soap
  • 2 cups Borax
  • 2 cups washing soda
Directions:
  1. Add the grated bar soap to the boiling water, lower the heat, and stir until melted.
  2. Pour the liquid soap into a large pail or bucket, and add the Borax and washing soda.
  3. Add 2 gallons of water, and stir well.
  4. Cover and store detergent. Use 1/4 cup per load. The mixture gels while sitting, so you have to stir it before each use.

Tip: This detergent does not have much of a smell. You can always add a few drops of essential oil, such as lavender, lemon, mint, or eucalyptus, if you’d like a scent. You can buy essential oils in health stores and online.

Wine?! Yes Please!

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There is nothing more relaxing after a long day than filling up a bubble bath and sipping on a glass of wine.  I don’t drink wine often but lately I’ve been eager to visit a a vineyard. I feel like seeing the whole process of fermentation would make me more appreciative and open to trying new wines. There are quite a few within driving distance of my North Carolina home including Shelton Vineyards, Lumina Winery and Brewery, and  Rocky River Vineyards.

Wine was first introduced by the Egyptians who cultivated grapes. It was discovered that these grapes fermented and turned into alcohol. Quickly the people of the Middle East, and Europe discovered they too could make wine.

white-wine

One thing I think is interesting is the fact there are so many variations and tastes created by these grapes.I am one of those people who doesn’t like a wine that is too sweet nor too dry therefore I always get Chardonnay. It is good but I would love to find other wines that I would enjoy also.

Eat wine? Below is a recipe I found on www.mygourmetconnection.com.

Angel Hair With Scallops In White Wine Butter


Ingredients:
12 oz angel hair pasta
1 lb dry sea scallops
3 tablespoons flour, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine
1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered lengthwise
1 lb fresh spinach

Preparation:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the angel hair.

Mix 2 tablespoons of the flour, salt and white pepper together in a shallow dish. Lightly press each end of every scallop into the flour mixture to coat and set aside on a plate.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and sauté until soft and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour and stir to combine. Continue cooking for about 2 minutes, until the flour turns a light golden color. Add the wine and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until the sauce is smooth and slightly thickened. Add the grape tomatoes, toss gently to combine, season to taste with salt and pepper and transfer the mixture to a small bowl and cover to keep warm.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon each of olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the scallops in a single layer, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Cook for 1-1/2 minutes per side, transferring them, one by one, to a plate as soon as they are cooked through. Cover the scallops loosely with foil to keep warm.

Quickly add the angel hair to the boiling water and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it reaches the desired doneness. While the pasta cooks, sauté the spinach over medium-high heat in the pan you used for the scallops, seasoning with salt and pepper and adding a bit more olive oil if needed.

Drain the angel hair, reserving a tablespoon of the cooking water to add to the butter-wine-tomato sauce. Toss the pasta together with all but 2 tablespoons of the sauce. Divide the spinach among 4 serving plates, top with the pasta, then with the scallops. Drizzle the reserved sauce over the scallops and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings

Energize and Feel Alive

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Ever feel like you are running on nothing? Whether you are the college student cramming for an exam, the busy working adult, or first time parent, sometimes it seems like nothing will give us the boost of energy we are dying for. Well ditch the daily Red Bull and coffee caffeine fixes. These 8 healthy energy boosts make it easy for anyone to add a little pep in their step.

1.  Magnesium- The daily recommendation for a woman is 300mg and a man is 350mg. Some studies suggest the reason we feel like we lack energy is due to the amount of magnesium in our diet. Nutritionist, Samantha Heller’s suggestions for increasing the amount of magnesium in your daily diet include adding a handful of almonds, hazelnuts or cashews each day as well as increasing the amount of fish and whole grain consumed.

2. Walk- Walking increases energy. I can vouch for that. I walk my dog a mile each morning before work. I have honestly noticed that when I skip a day walking I feel much more sleepy through out the day as opposed to the days I walk.

3 .Nap- Taking a power nap between 30-90 minutes can work wonders when you feel drained. Sometimes our brains can get overloaded with information and studies have proven that power naps can help retain information we have learned throughout the day.

4. Eat- Never skip meals especially not breakfast. When you skip meals, it actually results in a higher feeling of fatigue. Studies prove that people who eat breakfast have more energy and  in a better mood throughout the day.

5. Don’t Stress- I know it’s easier said than done, but stress can actually rob us of the energy we need during the day. “Stress is the result of anxiety and anxiety uses up a whole lot of our energy,” says sports psychologist Paul Baard. Use the negative energy you are using about things you can’t control in doing activities that make you happy. When I get stressed I like to play my Wii or walk to get my mind off of stressful things.

6. Water- Water seems to be the answer for everything which comes as no surprise that it could also boost your energy. When we are dehydrated, even just a tiny bit, we feel tired. Drinking water can be a simple solution for an energy boost especially after a good work out.

7.  Whole Grains- Eating whole grains keeping your energy level balanced and well maintained.
8. Snack- Power up with a snack. This does not mean stuff your face with chips and candy when you are bored at work.  Eating a small snack in between meals such as fruit or nuts, will both reboost your energy as well as your metabolism.

Blue Berry Smoothie Recipe

2 cups fresh or slightly thawed frozen blueberries
1 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
6 ounces milk
12 ounces pineapple juice
3 tablespoons honey
12 to 16 ice cubes

Place all ingredients, except the ice cubes, into container of electric blender and blend on high until smooth. With blender running, add 2 to 3 ice cubes at a time through the center opening in the lid until all ice cubes have been added. Blend until smooth.

Serve immediately. This smoothie recipe makes 4 servings.

289 Calories, 37g Carbs, 1.9g Fat, 2.5g Protein