Health is Happiness – Week Three

Day 15 – Go Without Dessert
Change up your evening routine and try an after-dinner walk in lieu of dessert.  A single slice of apple pie, averaging 280 calories, could eat up 10 to 15 percent of your total recommended daily caloric intake.

Day 16 – Take 10,000 Steps
An inexpensive pedometer is a great wat to gauge your physical activity levels.  Participaction suggests setting a daily goal of 10,000 steps and a study published by Stats Canada earlier in the year showed that we’re not far off the mark: Canadian men accumulate and average of 9,500 steps per day and women walk an average of 8,400.

Day 17 – Fill the Fridge With Veggies
Keep two kinds of raw vegetables cut and washed in the fridge for quick snacks on the go.  The Dietitians of Canada say that having foods such as carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and celery handy will prevent you from reaching for high calorie snacks when you get hungry.

Day 18 – Laugh Out Loud!
A great way to nourish your mind and body is to give your sense of humour a workout.  Share a silly story, listen to a joke and learn to find the funny in situations that usually get you down.  Laughing can provide a powerful physical release that’s proven to relieve pain, lower blood pressure and improve your outlook.

Day 19 – Don’t Eat Before Bed
If you need to unwind at night with a bowl of ice cream, eat at least three hours before you hit the hay, or you run a greater risk of storing those calories as fat.  It’s important to eat the bulk of your calories while you’re most active.

Day 20 – Set a Smoking Quit Date
Within 48 hours of becoming smoke-free, your chances of having a heart attack start to decrease.  Within one year, your risk is cut in half.  Within 15 years, your risk is the same as someone who has never smoked.  Mark your planned quit date on the calendar and be sure to tell your friends and family.  Once you’ve set a goal and told people about it, you’ll be more likely to follow through.

Day 21 – Try the Y
Get active and try something new by checking out your local YMCA, YWCA, Boys and Girls Club or community centre to see what fitness programs it has to offer.

Source: Canadian Living

Break Time!

Dear Two-People-Who-Read-My-Blog (not counting my Mother),

Just wanted to let you all know that my posts will be less frequent, perhaps absent altogether in the next while. I’m a little busy trying to be Super Mom/Model Housewife/Career Woman/ Part-time student.  I can’t do everything…and it’s more important to have a child that has been bathed than a post about my latest kitchen masterpiece. I think.

Stay tuned. I hope to be back in full swing when the Bud turns 25.

E.

P.S. Also, I have to lose 10 pounds before I can start trying any new recipes.  All this cooking and baking has gone straight to my behind.

Health is Happiness – Week Two

Day 8 – Pack Lunch as a Family
Making your own lunch helps you avoid high-calorie convenience food.  The folks at Breakfast for Learning suggest reaching for whole grain bread instead of white when making sandwiches, and avoiding processed deli meats, which are high in sodium and contain chemical preservatives such as nitrates.

Day 9 – Make a Clean Sweep
Taking the time to organize one room in the house can help your heart and your mind! Not only is decluttering a great stress reliever, but doing 60 minutes of housework can burn up to 200 calories.  (UH, HELLO!  WHY DON’T I WEIGH 100 POUNDS?)

Day 10 – Walk and Talk
The next time you answer your mobile, stand up and get mobile!  According to the Heart and Stoke Foundation, even those who exercise regularly but still sit for long periods have a greater risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.  Simply standing and stretching your legs throughout the day can help you improve circulation and burn calories.

Day 11 – Ditch the Remote Control
Enjoying TV doesn’t have to mean becoming a couch potato.  The Canadian Obesity Network suggests adding some movement to your channel surfing by getting rid of the remote.  Even low-to-moderate activity like getting up to change the channel can help boost your metabolism.

Day 12 – Shop On A Full Stomach
You’re much more likely to cave to your cravings if you go to the grocery store hungry.  Before shopping, eat a satisfying protein-rich snack or meal that’s high in fibre to help you feel full longer.

Day 13 – Trade Your Entrée For An Appetizer
Portion sizes in restaurants are much larger now than they were 20 years ago, to the point where the average entrée packs a walloping 1,000 calories – nearly half of most people’s recommended daily allowance.  If you eat out this week, try swapping this calorie bomb for a simple appetizer, which is often hefty enough to satisfy hunger.

Day 14 – Add Weight To Your Walk
Fill a backpack with a few items (two or three cans of food, or a small bag of flour), put the pack on and take a 20 minute walk.  Lugging a heavier load helps you burn more calories, improves muscle strength and endurance, and provides a more rigorous cardiovascular workout.

Source: Canadian Living Magazine

Potato and Arugula Soup

All three of the soups I have posted are some form of potato.  I have a thing for carbs.  Is it obvious?  I’ll try to get a little more variety in the near future, but I make no promises.

Mmmm, carbs.

This was a nice change from the usual – the arugula gives it a little kick.

I don’t normally eat off my good china, but the bowls that came with our everyday dishes are the size of kiddy pools.

Source: The Toronto Star

Potato and Arugula Soup

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of oil or butter
3 leeks trimmed, cleaned and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 large potatoes, peeled, diced
4 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
pinch dried thyme
1 bunch of arugula, trimmed, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)

Preparation Instructions

Heat oil or butter in a large saucepan.  Add leeks and garlic, cook gently until tender and wilted, about 5 minutes.  Add potatoes and stir to combine.  Add stock, salt, pepper and thyme.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are very tender.  Soup can be served chunky or use a potato masher to crush some of the potatoes so that the soup is thick with chunks of potatoes and leeks.  It could also be blended.  If it’s too thick, add more stock or water.  If too thin, mash more potatoes.  Add chopped arugula to soup.  Heat until just wilted.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.  Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Toffee Crunch Cookies

When I first looked at this recipe, I was confused about the toffee part of the title.  Then I made them and it all became clear: these cookies have hunks of toffee in them.  They are fantastic.  They have oatmeal.  Oatmeal translates to HEALTHY.  Duh!

p.s. please watch your teeth while eating these little bundles.

Source: Tasty Kitchen

Toffee Crunch Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups quick oats
1 cup crispy rice cereal
1-¼ cup chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows

Preparation Instructions

Beat butter with sugars.  Add eggs one at a time, and then add vanilla. Beat in flour, baking soda and baking powder. Fold in oats, cereal, morsels and marshmallows.

Drop by the spoonful onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake in a 350ºF oven for 10-12 minutes.

Cool Curry Chicken

I used to really like this.  Then I made it once a week for like, a year and now I’m sick of it.  But, I still make it for C because he loves it and because I’m a good wife.

He plated this, hence the mess.  I took the picture, hence the sucking.
It looks kind of gross, I know.  I assure you – it is NOT.

This can be served hot or cold.

Source: Fare for Friends

Cool Curry Chicken

Ingredients

3-4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into large strips
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup honey
1/4 dijon mustard
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 tablespoon of curry powder
1/2 lime, juice and rind finely grated
1 teaspoon of salt
1 garlic clove, minced

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F.  Arrange chicken in a single layer in a baking dish.  In a metal saucepan, combine remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and pour over chicken.  Bake for 45 minutes, basting from time to time if necessary.  It can be served hot over rice or cold for a summer buffet with a rice salad.  Serves: 4-6

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

I made and ate this a few weeks ago, but looking at this picture, I’d like to make it and eat it again.  NOW.  This cake + a cup of tea or a cup of coffe or a glass of milk or a glass of wine = breakfast heaven.

This recipe comes from Edna Staebler – if you don’t know who she is, I’ll tell you…another time.  First, make this cake.  Then, we’ll talk.

Dear friends attending the girls weekend in Collingwood this weekend:  I am bringing this cake.  Well, not this one.  A fresh one.  I may ot may not share it with you.

Source: Food That Really Schmecks

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cup flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
For topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup finely chopped nuts

Preparation Instructions

Blend butter and sugar, add eggs and vanilla; beat well.  Combine sour cream and soda, add alternating with flour and baking powder to the creamed mixture.  Spread half the batter into a greased 9×9 cake pan.  Sprinkle with half of the topping.  Cover with the remaining batter and sprinkle the rest of the topping on top.  Bake at 350F for 45 minutes.

Health Is Happiness – Week One

I have been receiving Canadian Living magazine to my house for a year now – I bought the subscription through one of those school fundraisers and thought it might be good for recipe ideas.  It’s alright – I’ve gotten a couple from it.  My subscription is up next month and I wasn’t considering renewing it – but of course the October issue arrives and it’s got some good content!

The One Month Makeover : thirty-one small life changes that add up to a big difference.

Almost every magazine you open has an article or a challenge similar to this one – but I often find the suggestions to be WAY too difficult and take far more effort than I am willing to give.  But this one –  I feel like most of these are totally doable!  Simple and easy.

I’ll post one week’s worth of ideas for the next 4 weeks – some I already follow, some I am going to try.  I’ve fallen into a bit of a funk with my eating and exercise habits – I need all the help I can get.

Day 1 – Try an Exotic Fruit
Shake up your grocery list and introduce your family to new fruit snacks, meal and desserts that are fun and exciting to eat.  Instead of oranges, try lichees, which are also a good source of vitamin C.   Peel a pomegranate instead of a banana, or pick  mangosteens instead of strawberries – they’re packed with antioxidants that can prevent you from getting sick.

Day 2 – Take Sugar Out of Coffee and Tea
According to the Dietitians of Canada, lowering the amount of sugar in your drinks is a great way to help balance your daily calorie count and help reduce your risk for diabetes.  Start by using just one teaspoon less in your daily coffee or tea.  Continue using less until you’ve ditched the sweet stuff altogether.  Once you get used to the taste, you’ll likely find you don’t miss the sugar at all. (Note: true fact.  I made this move a couple of years ago – it’s not as bad as you think.   Now the thought if sugar in my coffee totally grosses me out.)

Day 3 – Drink Less Alcohol
Excessive drinking has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.  The Dietitians of Canada suggest limiting yourself to one or two drinks per day with a weekly maximum of nine drinks for women and fourteen drinks for men.

Day 4 – Eat Slowly
Whether you eat at a snail’s pace or shovel it in, it takes about 20 minutes for our brains to register that we’re full, which explains why slow eaters tend to be satisfied with smaller portions.  Avoid eating when you’re on the go, when you’re sitting at your desk or when you’re in a high pressure environment, as these conditions can encourage you to eat too quickly.  Instead, sit back, relax and take time to enjoy your meal. (This – I need to work on.  I eat every meal and snack like I’m in a hotdog eating competition.)

Day 5 – Get Eight Hours of Sleep
A good night’s rest allows your body to produce reparative protein molecules, lowers blood pressure and decreases stress.  According to the Canadian Obesity Network, it also helps you maintain a healthy weight by regulating the hormones that control appetite.

Day 6 – Avoid Eating A Processed Breakfast
The most important meal of th day isn’t quite the healthy start it’s intended to be if it’s loaded with sugary processed cereals and refined flour.  Instead, opt for foods such as fibre-rich fruit, whole grain bread and rolled oats.

Day 7 – Take the Stairs
Many of us spend our day in sedentary positions, sitting at desks for long periods of time. Climbing a few stairs each day is a simple way to incorporate activity into your daily routine and contribute to your cardiovascular health.

UH, easy!

Source: Canadian Living Magazine

Broccoli and Cauliflower Casserole

My contribution to Thanksgiving dinner:  taking something healthy and wholesome to an unhealthy and unwholesome level.  Except, I kind of messed it up and it was slightly watery and needed salt.  BUT ANYWAYS…I’ll get it right next year.

It’s Rose’s recipe.  It’s a perfect addition to a turkey dinner or to any buffet table.

Source: Rose

Broccoli and Cauliflower Casserole

Ingredients
1 head cauliflower
1 head broccoli
1 onion, cut into large chunks
4 tablespoons butter, separated
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1 cup milk
3 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup breadcrumbs

Preparation Instructions

Boil a large pot of salted water.  Add cauliflower and onion and cook, just barely (as in, once it comes back up to a boil after adding the vegetables, allow to boil for 2 minutes).  Remove cauliflower, do the same with the broccoli (using the same water).  Set aside.

In a saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter, stir in flour, pour in milk and work out the lumps with a whisk.  Remove from heat, add cream cheese and stir until smooth.  Grease a 9 x 13 casserole dish, add vegetables and pour the sauce over them.  Combine cheddar cheese, breadcrumbs and 2 tablespoons of butter.  Top the vegetables with this mixture.  Cover with foil and bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes.

Note: you could bake this in advance (best just before you leave for dinner) and then reheat while the turkey is being carved.

FUN and GREEN Halloween Idea!

Once I have more children, more stuff kicking around and some of my friends start having kids (AHEM – let’s go people), I think I would do this.  What a fabulous idea!

The Great Halloween Costume Swap

Recycle used costumes and your kids will get to create new outfits from previously worn pieces – all at no cost and in the comfort of your own home.

  • Host your party two weeks before Halloween, so parents still have time to gather last-minute costume accessories before the big night.
  • Invite at least 10 families, with children of varying ages, so that there are many costumes to choose from.
  • Have guests drop off costumes before the swap or bring them on the swap day.  If you don’t end up with a lot of costumes, consider limiting the number of pieces each family can take.  Donate any leftovers to your local secondhand store.
  • Choose a large room in your home and use low tables or the floor to organize the costumes in piles, so kids can easily look through them.  Consider separating multipiece costumes to encourage the kids to assemble their own creations.
  • Make the swap memorable by serving Halloween-themed snacks and drinks.

Taken from Canadian Living, created by Rebecca Brown creative director for bunchfamily.ca