Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Household Helpers: Ping Pong Balls

Chore chart not cutting it? Sick of the kid's never helping around the house?

Try this: Get a pack of ping pong balls. Write different chores on each ball. Each family member chooses a ball, completes the task, then chooses another one. After 30 minutes, whoever has the most balls gets a prize - like a no-chores day, or gets to pick a movie.

Such a fun, interactive way to get the whole family involved without all the nagging and whining. Genius in my book.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What's for dinner? Spaghetti with a twist

I was in a conversation last week where the gal had never heard of substituting spaghetti squash for noodles. I was shocked. So I asked another. They too, were a deer in headlights admitting they've never even bought one. "What do they even look like?" she asked.

Sound familiar? You're not alone. Those big yellow things are intimidating. Heavy. Hard to peel. Hard to cut. Not an everyday item on the grocery list.

But as intimidating as they look, spaghetti squash is strangely simple to cook.  Just plop it on a baking sheet and pierce a few times all around with a sharp paring knife or bamboo skewer. No cutting, no peeling, no marinating, no massaging. Just plop. And carry it to your oven. Just don't drop on your foot. Ouch. Alternatively,  microwave for 2-4 minutes, slice in half, roast bake cut side down for 30 min or just microwave the entire thing. I've had the best success with the oven.

This is a staple in our house. An amazingly low carb dish with many nutrients, including folic acid, potassium, vitamin A, and beta carotene. I also love that it's low in calories, averaging 42 calories per 1 cup (155 grams) serving. There are so many different dishes you can prepare using spaghetti squash. Tomato and basil is yummy. Loaded with sauteed or steamed vegetables. Or with 'ol fashioned marinara sauce. Here is one that's easy to start...

~Baked Spaghetti Squash with Garlic & Butter~

Ingredients:
1 small spaghetti squash (about 3-4 pounds)
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup finely minced parsley (or basil)
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Optional: vegetables of your choice and/or marinara or meat sauce

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 375F.

2) Pierce squash a few times with sharp paring knife (to let steam escape).

3) Bake spaghetti squash for 60 minutes, or until a paring knife pierces easily through skin with little resistance. Let squash cool for 10 minutes.  Baking time really depends on how big your squash is - try to get the smallest one, especially if you’re only feeding 4 people. It’s ready if you can pierce the squash with a paring knife with little resistance.

4) Cut squash in half, lengthwise. Use a fork to remove and discard the seeds.


5) Continue using fork to scrape the squash to get long, lovely strands. If the squash seem difficult to scrape, return the squash to bake for an additional 10 minutes.
6) Heat a large saute pan with the butter and the garlic over medium-low heat.

7) When garlic becomes fragrant, add parsley, salt and spaghetti squash strands. Toss well.

8) Sprinkle in the Parmesan cheese and taste to see if you need additional salt. The spaghetti squash should have a slight crunch (i.e. not mushy) - but if you like it softer, cover the pan and cook 2 more minutes.

WARNING: If you want to top with spaghetti sauce, DO NOT add it immediately to the squash; this makes the squash runny and mushy. Instead garnish the dish with a little bit of sauce atop the squash, and then offer more sauce on the side, in a separate dish.

Monday, February 27, 2012

If you do one thing this week...

Throw out your cutting boards and buy new ones - assuming you've had them for some time.

Three of them to be exact. One for chicken, One for beef, pork, fish and other meat. And one more for fruits and vegetables. And the old saying 'when in doubt, throw it out' certainly holds true for cutting boards. If you suspect that your board has too many deep cracks and cuts and sanitizing is not assured, it's definitely time to replace it.

According to a segment on The Early Show, 1 in 7 home kitchens would fail a restaurant health inspection. A big factor for your kitchen to fail is cross-contamination; aka using the same cutting board and knife for vegetables and raw meat.
The big questions is always - which is best; wood or plastic? There has been much discussion and confusion over the years as to which type of board is 'safer' or less likely to provide a breeding ground for bacteria. Although some are easier to clean, I feel that any board, if not used and cleaned properly, can become a vehicle for food contamination.

The following board basics will provide an overview of pros and cons of board types. What type you choose will depend of course, on personal preference.

Corian Boards: Made by the Dupont Company, these boards are very easy to clean, and are available in various sizes and in a myriad of colors. They are non-porous, which makes them more resistant to bacterial growth, and they will not easily stain.

Over time, these boards will suffer marks or cuts, but these can be repaired. Some colors can fade in direct sunlight, and they cannot be used as a trivet, as heat can damage the surface.

Plastic Cutting Boards: Generally, plastic boards are the most affordable and can be found in various colors, hard or flexible, thick or thin. The flexible ones are terrific for food transfer and are easy to store. They will not last as long as thicker boards, as sharp knives will eventually cut through the thin material. Hard plastic boards are extremely durable and can also double as trivets.

Plastic boards are generally considered the 'safest' as they are the easiest to clean and sanitize, and the smaller ones can be placed in the dishwasher.

Tempered Glass Boards: Glass boards are very durable, resistant to heat, and are the most sanitary and easy to clean.

However, glass boards are the hardest on knife edges, and the sound produced by slicing on these boards, can be very aggravating. They are mostly heavier than other boards, but are great for protecting your counter from hot pots.

Wooden Boards: Wooden boards were usually made of maple hardwoods. Today, other woods and patterns are used, and bamboo, which is actually a grass, has become very popular due to its hardness and resistance to bacteria. The best feature of wooden boards, is that they are the easiest on knife edges, and many people prefer the sound of chopping on wood as opposed to other types.

Wooden boards are generally harder to clean, and are not dishwasher friendly. They can suffer cuts and cracks which can harbor bacteria and must be cleaned thoroughly. Wooden boards are very affordable. Bamboo cutting boards are more expensive, but have a longer lifespan.

General Care & Use Guidelines:  
  • Regardless of the type of material, cutting boards should be washed in hot soapy water immediately after use.
  • Sanitize with a mixture of 1 tablespoon bleach to 1 quart of water. Let sit several minutes, and then wipe. Let air dry.
  • An alternate way to sanitize is by applying straight white vinegar, or a mixture of 1 part vinegar to 5 parts water. Let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse and pat dry.
  • No matter what type of cutting board you have, wipe it off frequently (or use a bench scraper) to remove excess moisture. Bacteria love moisture, so keep it to a minimum to retard bacterial growth.
  • Avoid slicing foods with the same board and knife that was used earlier for raw food preparation. Change boards and knives to prevent contaminating other foods.
  • After a good cleaning, ensure your boards are dried completely before storing.
  • Use of dishwasher is recommended for plastic boards only, as wooden boards will tend to dry out and crack, reducing their lifespan.
If you're setting up a kitchen for the first time, a good place to start, is to purchase a couple of inexpensive plastic boards and two sizes of wooden boards. You'll soon acquire a preference for which type you like for what foods, and you can expand your stock from there.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sweet Sunday

All you have to do is search "cookies" in Pinterest and this recipe was pinned ALLLLL over the place. Must be a hit. So here's a season-less cookie wihin a cookie with easy ingredients and minimal effort. 

~Cookies & Cream Cookies~
Recipe adopted from Lovin in the Oven

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
6 Tbsp sugar
6 Tbsp brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
12 Oreo's, broken up into small pieces

Directions:
1) Preheat the over to 350 degrees.
2) In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes).
3) Add egg and vanilla and beat until well mixed.
4) In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
5) With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet until just combined.
6) Gently fold in Oreo pieces.
7) With a medium cookie scoop, scoop dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet about 1-2" apart.
8) Bake for 8-10 minutes*, until the edges JUST start to brown. Let cool on baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Recipe yields about 30 cookies.
 
Hope this ends your weekend on a sweet note!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fancy Friday

This last week a very dear friend of ours was diagnosed with cancer. On Tuesday, I walked out of the hospital with a heavy heart anxiously awaiting test results and next steps. Somewhat numb. Definitely helpless. Alittle bitter. One of those - why him, this isn't fair type of moments. 

When I got in my car, the song "Blink" by Revive streamed through my speakers. I immediately downloaded it on iTunes and continue to listen to it on repeat with tears running down my face as I sat in traffic on my way home.

As the night went on and the chaos of dinner, bath, books and bed occupied my motions, a particular line from the song kept playing back in my mind --

"No one remembers how far we have run,
all that really matters is how we have loved."

Although there is nothing we can do to take away the cancer or his pain, we can love him and his family through this time. We can comfort him. Cover him in prayer. Lend a hand whenever possible.

Thank you Revive for tickling my fancy this week. For reminding me to love simply, take time to reflect on what's most important and to keep life in perspective.

To hear the song, click HERE.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Can't decide? Nude it is.

Wondering what color to put on your nails the next time you're getting a mani/pedi? The big news with nails this spring season: nude is in.

After an excess of neon and oddball colors, the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction with an emphasis on pretty, wearable shades of cream and beige. That’s not to say there aren’t bold patterns and bright moments to be enjoyed - it is spring, after all - but it's all about soft pastels, mellow yellows and all natur-all.

Although I tend to go for the POC (pop of color), nude nails are very wearable. They go with everything. They don't compete for attention against your fucshia lipstick or patterned sundress.

And honestly this trend works on everyone. The idea is to go with a shade close to your skin tone that has a beige undertone to it. I personally like a subtle hue of pink, as the too nudey nail is alittle blah for me.


Here's some to look out for -

If you're medium to olive skinned:

Try OPI for Sephora Nail Polish in Nonfat Soy Half Caff, Dior Vernis in Nude Chic, Essie Nail Polish in Mambo, Essie Nail Polish in A Lot of Shekels, Essie Nail Polish in Cool Lots, Essie Nail Polish in Cafe Forgot, Chanel Nail Color in Django, OPI Nail Polish inTickle My Francey.

If you are light skinned:

Try Essie Nail Polish in Mink Muffs, Rescue Beauty Lounge Nail Polish in Opaque Nude, Essie Nail Polish in Eternal Optimist, Essie Nail Polish in Cool Lots, Essie Nail Polish in Cafe Forgot, Essie Nail Polish in Sand of a Beach, OPI Nail Polish in Java Mauve-A, Chanel Nail Color in Inattendu, OPI Nail Polish in Country Khaki.

If you are dark skinned:

Try Essie Nail Polish in Mink Muffs, Essie Nail Polish in Over the Knee, OPI Nail Polish in Over the Taupe, Chanel Nail Color in Particuliere, Avon Nail Polish in Nocturnal, OPI Nail Polish in Chocolate Mousse, OPI Nail Polish in Chocolate Shake-speare, Sephora by OPI Nail Polish in Metro Chic.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Works for me Wednesday

Did you know we're only 18 days until we SPRING our clocks forward? You know what that means - time to start peeling off the layers and actually reveal some skin. Eek. How you feeling about those arms? Thighs? STOMACH??? Holy anxiety attack. Deep breath. (PS that's my little brother and his fiance in St. John (US Virgin Islands). Cool photo huh?)

Ok back to shrieking about the thought of being caught dead in a swim suit...

Last week I revealed my best kept secret - the Ultimate Body Applicator. This week I'm going to take it a step further. A system that will refine your figure on the outside and nourish your body for better health on the inside. The perfect solution to getting you beach body ready in 8 weeks. An all-natural regimen that will have you confident once again in your own skin. Wouldn't that be nice?

Need more energy? Looking to lose 5, 10, 20 or even 40 pounds? Fallen off the New Year's Resolution track? Want to lean up? Plateaued in seeing results and need a boost?  Been looking for a daily health & fitness regimen but didn't know where to start?

Do I hear a round of yes's? Sweet -  now let's do something about it!!!!! Let's get beach body ready together.  At the beginning of March - only 8 days away - I'm going to partake in an Get Fit Ultimate Challenge. What does this mean? For 8 weeks, I'm going to step out of my everyday routine (that's a health boost in itself) and combine the body contouring magic of the Ultimate Body Applicator with an effective “superfood” and premium supplement regimen to alkalize, energize and build lean muscle.

And I'd LOVE for you to join me!!! Wondering what you have to do?

Simple. Depending on what your health & fitness goals are, you can choose from four different naturally-based Ultimate Makeover packages. I will be getting my sexy back with the help of the Fit Pack. Two of my favorite products in the Fit Pack;

1) Chocolate ProFit Mix - Whether your goal is weight loss, athletic performance, or a simple way to eat healthy, Ultimate ProFIT Superfood Nutrition Mix offers a superior blend of proteins, mood-elevating “superfoods,” and fiber that is proven to produce ultimate results. Use it in shakes or smoothies, bake with it, or even mix it with your food! Try it in rich chocolate or creamy vanilla and start seeing results like these:
  • Experience quicker post-workout recovery
  • Build lean muscle mass with fewer calories
  • Maintain healthy cholesterol levels
  • Get feel-good, mood-elevating energy with maca and cacao powder
  • Promote healthy digestion with seven different soluble and insoluble fibers
Ultimate ProFIT is powered by:
  • Sustain-It™, a smarter protein blend for maximum bioavailability in every gram
  • FITzyme™, a cutting-edge blend of enzymes, helps maximize your body’s ability to absorb Sustain-It™.
  • FITboost™, an antioxidant blend of mood-elevating “superfoods” for immune system health.
  • Non-hormonal and non-GMO whey and soy proteins
  • Natural, whole-food ingredients with only 100 calories per serving!
2) Daily Greens - Not eating your fruits and vegetables like you should? Get what you are missing with Greens, a delicious orange-flavored, detoxifying, alkalizing drink powder with the nutritional value of 8+ servings of fruits and vegetables in each serving. Greens blends 38 herbs and nutrient-rich "superfoods" to provide vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and enzymes in their naturally-occurring, bio-active, bio-available form. Simply add to water or juice.

If you want what you do not have,
you must do what you have not done.

Along with the other products in the Fit Pack (Ultimate Body Applicator, Defining Gel and Fat Fighters), I promise you this will help you achieve your total body makeover goals by summer. What are you waiting for? Please join me on this journey. Maybe this is not your type of thing. On the flip side, maybe you're fed up with the way your body looks. What do you have to lose?

Order your pack today and make a commitment to yourself. If you have any further questions, email me at haileyitworksdawson@gmail.com or visit my website - http://www.haileyshelpfulwraps.itworks.net/ for product info and ordering.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

20 healthiest foods for under $1

Although that bag of 99¢ Cheetos may look like a bargain, knowing that you’re not getting much in the way of nutrition or sustenance makes it seem less like a deal and more like a dupe. Low cost however doesn’t have to mean low quality. In fact, some of the most inexpensive things you can buy are the best things for you. At the grocery store, getting the most nutrition for the least amount of money means hanging out on the peripheries—near the fruits and veggies, the meat and dairy, and the bulk grains—while avoiding the expensive packaged interior. By doing so, not only will your kitchen be stocked with excellent foods, your wallet won’t be empty.

Choosing one of these twenty items, or the countless number of similarly nutritious ones, might just stretch that dollar from a snack into a meal.

1. Oats
High in fiber and complex carbohydrates, oats have also been shown to lower cholesterol. And they sure are cheap—a dollar will buy you more than a week’s worth of hearty breakfasts.  
Serving suggestions: Sprinkle with nuts and fruit in the morning, make oatmeal cookies for dessert.

2. Eggs
You can get about a half dozen of eggs for a dollar, making them one of the cheapest and most versatile sources of protein. They are also a good source of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which may ward off age-related eye problems.
Serving suggestions:Huevos Rancheros for breakfast, egg salad sandwiches for lunch, and frittatas for
dinner.

3. Kale
This dark, leafy green is loaded with vitamin C, carotenoids, and calcium. Like most greens, it is usually a dollar a bunch.
Serving suggestions: Chop up some kale and add to your favorite stir-fry.

4. Potatoes
Because we often see potatoes at their unhealthiest—as fries or chips—we don’t think of them as nutritious, but they definitely are. Eaten with the skin on, potatoes contain almost half a day’s worth of Vitamin C, and are a good source of potassium. If you opt for sweet potatoes or yams, you’ll also get a good wallop of beta carotene. Plus, they’re dirt cheap and have almost endless culinary possibilities.
Serving suggestions: In the a.m., try breakfast potatoes, for lunch, make potato salad; for dinner, have them with sour cream and chives.

5. Apples
I’m fond of apples because they’re inexpensive, easy to find, come in portion-controlled packaging, and taste good. They are a good source of pectin—a fiber that may help reduce cholesterol—and they have the antioxidant Vitamin C, which keeps your blood vessels healthy.
Serving suggestions: Plain; as applesauce; or in baked goods like Pumpkin Apple Bread.

6. Nuts
Though nuts have a high fat content, they’re packed with the good-for-you fats—unsaturated and monounsaturated. They’re also good sources of essential fatty acids, Vitamin E, and protein. And because they’re so nutrient-dense, you only need to eat a little to get the nutritional benefits. Although some nuts, like pecans and macadamias, can be costly, peanuts, walnuts, and almonds, especially when bought in the shell, are low in cost.
Serving suggestions: Raw; roasted and salted; sprinkled in salads.

7. Bananas
At my local Trader Joe’s, I found bananas for about 19¢ apiece; a dollar gets you a banana a day for the workweek. High in potassium and fiber (9 grams for one), bananas are a no-brainer when it comes to eating your five a day quotient of fruits and veggies.
Serving suggestions: In smoothies, by themselves, in cereal and yogurt.

8. Garbanzo Beans
With beans, you’re getting your money’s worth and then some. Not only are they a great source of protein and fiber, but ’bonzos are also high in fiber, iron, folate, and manganese, and may help reduce cholesterol levels. And if you don’t like one type, try another—black, lima, lentils … the varieties are endless. Though they require soaking and cooking, the most inexpensive way to purchase these beans is in dried form; a precooked can will still only run you around a buck.
Serving suggestions: In salads, curries, and couscous.

9. Broccoli
Broccoli contains tons of nice nutrients—calcium, vitamins A and C, potassium, folate, and fiber. As if that isn’t enough, broccoli is also packed with phytonutrients, compounds that may help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Plus, it’s low in calories and cost.
Serving suggestions: Throw it in salads, stir fries, or served as an accompaniment to meat in this Steamed Ginger Chicken with Asian Greens recipe.

10. Watermelon
Though you may not be able to buy an entire watermelon for a dollar, your per serving cost isn’t more than a few dimes. This summertime fruit is over 90 percent water, making it an easy way to hydrate, and gives a healthy does of Vitamin C, potassium, and lycopene, an antioxidant that may ward off cancer.
Serving suggestions: Freeze chunks for popsicles; eat straight from the rind; squeeze to make watermelon margaritas (may negate the hydrating effect!).

11. Wild Rice
It won’t cost you much more than white rice, but wild rice is much better for you. Low in fat and high in protein and fiber, this gluten-free rice is a great source of complex carbohydrates. It packs a powerful potassium punch and is loaded with B vitamins. Plus, it has a nutty, robust flavor.
Serving suggestions: Mix with nuts and veggies for a cold rice salad; blend with brown rice for a side dish.

12. Beets
Although not my favorite, their natural sugars make them sweet to the palate while their rich flavor and color make them nutritious for the body. They’re powerhouses of folate, iron, and antioxidants.
Serving suggestions: Shred into salads, slice with goat cheese. If you buy your beets with the greens on, you can braise them in olive oil like you would other greens.

13. Butternut Squash
This beautiful gourd swings both ways: sometimes savory, sometimes sweet. However you prepare the butternut, it will not only add color and texture, but also five grams of fiber per half cup and chunks and chunks of Vitamin A and C. When in season, butternut squash and related gourds are usually less than a dollar a pound.
Serving suggestions: For a low fat meal, eat alongside chicken, whip up a Butternut Squash soup or mix into a casserole.

14. Whole Grain Pasta
In the days of Atkins, pasta was wrongly convicted, for there is nothing harmful about a complex carbohydrate source that is high in protein and B vitamins. Plus, it’s one of the cheapest staples you can buy.
Serving suggestions: Mix clams and white wine with linguine; top orzo with tomatoes and garlic; eat cold Farfalle Salad on a picnic.

15. SardinesDefinitely not on my top list but you can get a can of sardines for relatively cheap. And the little fish come with big benefits: calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and B vitamins. And, because they’re low on the food chain, they don’t accumulate mercury.
Serving suggestions: Mash them with parsley, lemon juice, and olive oil for a spread; eat them plain on crackers; enjoy as a pizza topping (adults only).

16. Spinach
Spinach is perhaps one of the best green leafies out there—it has lots of Vitamin C, iron, and trace minerals. Plus, you can usually find it year round for less than a dollar.
Serving suggestions: Sauteed with eggs, as a salad, or a Spinach Frittata.

17. Tofu
Not just for vegetarians anymore, tofu is an inexpensive protein source that can be used in both savory and sweet recipes. It’s high in B vitamins and iron, but low in fat and sodium, making it a healthful addition to many dishes.  
Serving suggestions:  Add to smoothies for a protein boost; cube and marinate for barbecue kabobs.

18. Lowfat Milk
Yes, the price of a gallon of milk has risen, but per serving, it’s still under a dollar; single serving milk products, like yogurt, are usually less than a dollar, too. Plus, you’ll get a lot of benefit for a small investment. Milk is rich in protein, vitamins A and D, potassium, and niacin, and is one of the easiest ways to get bone-strengthening calcium.
Serving suggestions: In smoothies, hot chocolate, or coffee; milk products like low fat cottage cheese and yogurt.

19. Pumpkin Seeds
When it’s time to carve your pumpkin this October, don’t shovel those seeds into the trash—they’re a goldmine of magnesium, protein, and trace minerals. Plus, they come free with the purchase of a pumpkin.
Serving suggestions: Salt, roast, and eat plain; toss in salads.

20. Coffee
The old cup-o-joe has been thrown on the stands for many a corporeal crime—heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis—but exonerated on all counts. In fact, coffee, which is derived from a bean, contains beneficial antioxidants that protect against free radicals and may actually help thwart heart disease and cancer. While it’s not going to fill you up like the other items on this list, it might make you a lot perkier. When made at home, coffee runs less than 50¢ cents a cup.
Serving suggestions: Just drink it.

Monday, February 20, 2012

If you do one thing this week...

Get your email inbox under control.

Some people rave about only having a few emails in their in-box at any given time. They are always organized and under control.

Others can’t seem to get ahead of the never ending string of emails. They might need to reference those informational emails from their coworkers. Those online coupon codes might be useful in a few days. They have several clients to respond to but need to look up some information first. There are several dates that they need to put on their calendar but haven’t found the time to actually do it yet. Each day the influx of emails crowds their in-box and they feel more and more unorganized.

If the latter better describes you and you feel like your email is holding you hostage, just do one thing this week and start getting your in-box under control.

Depending on the size of your email in-box, it may not be feasible to get your email under control in one day. Life is still happening, right? New emails are coming in and you can’t ignore your usual responsibilities. So, just do one thing every time you check your email.


-If you have an email or two that requires no action on your part, delete it, file it or archive it.

-If you’re on an email list but you never actually read the emails, take 30 seconds and unsubscribe.

-If you’ve been postponing a response, take a few minutes and just do it. Don’t let it hang over your head.

-If you need to put something on your calendar, do it and delete or archive the email.

-If you have an email with an action item that can be delegated, forward it on right now.

You are probably thinking, these examples are way too simple. Of course I should respond, delete, delegate and file my emails. But, for so many, the problem isn’t knowing what to do…it’s actually doing it!

So, this week I'm challenging you do get rid of one unnecessary email at a time (each time you check your email). Depending on the number of times you open your in-box, your email could be under control by the end of the day! Even if it takes a week, month, or year, don’t give up. Be consistent, and before you know it, you’ll be one of those people who brag about only having 3 emails in your in-box!


Friday, February 17, 2012

Weekend Challenge

Here's a weekend warrior challenge for you: This weekend before the kids get up, before you have to get ready for church, before the President's Day weekend festivities start, before you step on the treadmill called "life," do this quick, fat blasting, heart pumping 10 minute workout a try. Do it right out of the gate and you'll set the pace for your day and get your workout out of the way.

Research suggests that morning exercisers tend to stick to their exercise habits in the long run and and that morning exercise improves sleep, a benefit that could also promote weight loss.  Cedric Bryant, PhD, chief exercise physiologist of the American Council on Exercise, explained the connection of sleep and weight loss like this:

"We know that if you have poor quality sleep, it influences certain hormones that control appetite. It is possible that by exercising in the morning - instead of evening - the exercise affects the body's circadian rhythm (your internal body clock) so you get better-quality sleep. Good sleep helps control the hormonal balance that helps control appetite."

So here it is. Easy Peasy. Repeat 2x's.

50 jumping jacks
5 pushups
20 sit ups
20 mountain climbers -
30 second plank
7 burpees - if you aren't familiar with how to do a burpee, watch this 20 second YouTube tutorial.

And remember, just because you just "worked out" doesn't mean you can now go put those calories back in with a stack of pancakes and sausage. Think of it like this, you just washed the car. You're not going to go drive through the mud puddles now are you? Think oatmeal. Fruit. A Funky Monkey ProFit smoothie. Yummmers!!!

Funky Monkey Ultimate ProFit Smoothie:
 
Ingredients:
-1/2 cup chocolate almond milk-1/2 tbsp natural peanut butter
-1/2 banana
-1/2 cup ice cubes
-1 scoop Rich Chocolate Ultimate ProFIT
  
Directions:
1. Add all ingredients into blender (liquid ingredients first).
2. Add ice and water as desired to get your preferred consistency.
3. Blend until smooth.

Notes
You can substitute the peanut butter with almond butter, macadamia nut butter, etc. to change it up.

Why men are happier than women

This came into my inbox this morning and I got such a laugh that I wanted to pass it along in case you needed something to cheer you up on this Friday morning...

Why men are happier than women

NICKNAMES:  If Laura, Kate and Sarah go out for lunch, they will call each other Laura, Kate and Sarah. If Mike, Dave and John go out, they will affectionately refer to each other as Fat Boy, Bubba and Wildman.

EATING OUT:
 When the bill arrives, Mike, Dave and John will each throw in $20, even though it's only for $32.50. None of them will have anything smaller and none will actually admit they want change back. When the girls get their bill, out come the pocket calculators.

MONEY:
 A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he needs. A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item that she doesn't need but it's on sale.

BATHROOMS:
 A man has six items in his bathroom: toothbrush and toothpaste, shaving cream, razor, a bar of soap, and a towel. The average number of items in the typical woman's bathroom is 337. A man would not be able to identify more than 20 of these items.

ARGUMENTS:
 A woman has the last word in any argument. Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.

DRESSING UP:
  A woman will dress up to go shopping, water the plants, empty the trash, answer the phone, read a book, and get the mail. A man will dress up for weddings and funerals.

NATURAL:
Men wake up as good-looking as they went to bed. Women somehow deteriorate during the night.

OFFSPRING:
 Ah, children. A woman knows all about her children. She knows about dentist appointments and romances, best friends, favorite foods, secret fears and hopes and dreams. A man is vaguely aware of some short people living in the house.

Have a wonderful weekend friends!!

Fancy Friday

I was rummaging through my neglected sewing kit on Monday and I thought, "man for never getting in this thing, it sure is disorganized." It had a gazillion random extra buttons that I have no clue what article of clothing they came with or fell off of. Sound familiar?

There's got to be a more efficient way to organize this - right?? There sure is thanks to Martha Stewart. She suggests in addition to your sewing kit that holds the tape measure, pins, needles and scissors to have a "clothing fix-it kit."

A clothing fix-it kit is an easy, budget-friendly project to keep all your fixings for your clothes in one place. All you need to do is get a package of plastic business card organizers (available at your local office supply store) and fill each compartment with a button and thread. Label each slot with what article of clothing it goes to in case you are in need of the spare. Organize into a three-ring binder and store near the sewing kit.

And for its organizational brilliance, it tickled my fancy!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Time Management Tips

Most of us want to get organized but feel we don't have enough time. It's just a matter of taking advantage of the occasional spare moments. Follow the guidelines below to make the most of any such opportunities;

If you have 10 minutes:
-Clean out your handbag and/or wallet
-Organize credit card receipts
-Sort through catalogs and magazines
-Clean your email inbox
-Bag up recyclables
-Take inventory of cleaning supplies and batteries

If you have 30 minutes:
-Refold sweaters
-Straighten a linen closet shelf
-Organize one drawer and move onto another if you have time. You'll be on a roll
-Update a bulletin board or family calendar
-Sort through toys and redistribute them
-Restock spice containers and update labels
-Clean out refrigerator and/or freezer
-Sync your phone to your computer to update and save newly taken pictures

If you have 60 minutes:
-Take an inventory of your pantry and toss anything past it's expiration date
-Sort through clothes closets, looking for items to repair, clean, or donate
-Rearrange book shelves
-Sort through financial records and/or miscellaneous filing to-do's
-Back up computer files
-Straighten out boxes or bins in garage, attic or basement

I know these aren't the activities you want to fill any extra spare time with but someone's gotta do it right?!?!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

It Works for Me Wednesday

I get asked all the time if I have any tricks on ways to eat less and resist food temptations. And the answer is, of course I do. There is rarely a time where I am lost for words especially when it comes this topic. Although these aren't super scientific and boarderline neurotic, these work for me:

1) I've got a major sweet tooth. As do majority of women. Studies actually show that females have a significantly higher preference for high-carb, sweet foods - which may encourage or promote over consumption of those foods - than men. According to The Journal of Physiology, it is believed that the female hormone estradiol may play a role. I personally could devour 900 calories of gummy bears in .2 seconds so in order to eliminate the temptation I always, always, always have fruity flavored gum on me. In the car. My purse. Diaper bag. Whenever I get the craving, I pop a piece of 5 calorie sugar free gum in my mouth. It saves me from the highs and lows of unbalanced blood sugar and the chewing factor satisfies my desire to want to eat. Some of my favorites; Good ol' fashion bubble gum, Watermelon, and Orange Creamsicle.

2) I tend to want to fill my plate. And eat it all. In turn, I find myself shoving unneeded calorie after calorie mindlessly into my body. My problem, like most, is that when I fill a little portion into a big bowl, I automatically think, "there's no way that's filling me up." So instead I trick myself into believing I'm eating more by using infant feeding bowls. A 1/2 cup of cottage cheese fills an infant bowl which tricks me into being satisfied. 70 calories later, I'm done and haven't killed my diet.

Ok that's a more neurotic one but it works. The brain is a powerful thing when it comes to food.

3) When I get the urge to want to eat just to eat, which statistically boredom and emotional stress are  two of the reasons we over-eat, I reach for Green Tea. Green Tea has so many health benefits and the water fills you up without adding calories into your body. I'm also a sucker for the large UNsweetended Ice Tea at McDonalds. For a $1.00, it's a great filler-uper.

Ok so no thinking I'm a complete freak for spilling mycrazy secrets.These have helped me tremendously maintain a healthy weight and resist the temptations. I hope you find them helpful too!