Healthy Bodies, Inside and Out

This winter, as Spring is (hopefully) around the corner, you might be having a hard time holding onto those New Years Resolutions or even trying to stay healthy or active as a part of your regular lifestyle. I know for me, February is my “ugh” month, I often find myself with a case of the winter blues and really just “done” with the gray and the cold. I find it hardest to be motivated in February, and not just grab a bag of chips and pop on the Netflix. What to do? Try something new, a little change can often be just the thing you need, a little bump to get you moving.

DIY kits

Have you ever heard of Purple Carrot? You have probably  heard of similar ideas, pre-ordered meal kits delivered to your home that you cook yourself. This is the ONLY 100% plant-based meal kit company of the kind, where you can get pre-portioned ingredients and step-by-step instructions for cooking healthy, vegan meals at home. As we are learning, eating plant-based meals even if only one day or a few times a week, has a positive impact on people’s health, the environment, and animal welfare. The food is very good, but it definitely takes time to make, so prepare to spend some time in the kitchen. While not difficult, some of the items made were challenging and to me very unnecessarily time consuming, like making my own veggie burgers. But we learned new things, so that was something. I can honestly say, even as vegetarians, we had never made any of these recipes before, so they were interesting and new.  Find out more here-

Trying to get yourself moving? It can be challenging in this weather. One of the fitness groups I belong to recently posted a meme which said “I was sad, then I bought some new workout clothes and now I’m running!” I was clearly amused, but it’s also true. Sometimes a new pair of leggings or shirt or sneakers makes you feel good, and then when you feel good, you move. Also, you of course need to show them off, right? Your couch will not be impressed. You however will be impressed with the Brooks Running Ghost Tight. I can’t say enough good things about it. I thought they were going to feel like shrink wrap when I saw them, but they are wildly comfortable. It’s ultralight fabric keeps  you cool and wicks sweat and the color options (3 total) are fun. Price $120 at  https://www.brooksrunning.com/en_us/brooks-ghost-tight-womens/221347.html

Winter can be rough on the skin, rough all over. The new Limited-Edition NIVEA Creme City Tins from NIVEA® Creme are easy to carry around. They are tiny- easy to toss in your purse, backpack, or pocket, and give you a “protective layer of care that prevents the loss of moisture throughout the day” as per the brand. Smooth and soft, it has provitamin B5, which helps it last longer. You can use it on your face, hands, lips, and body- it’s good all over. These limited-edition tins are now available for $.99, get yours at www.NIVEAusa.com.

give back

For your love, no matter if they are one or a hundred and one, take a look at these. Not only are they amazingly adorable, but each toy funds 10 meals for a hungry person. These ethically produced, hand-knit dolls and stuffed animals give 10 meals to hungry children around the world for every item sold. Hand made by artisan knitters in Peru, these handcrafted, heirloom-quality dolls are great for anyone who loves stuffed cuddles. There are 27 toys to choose from currently, and two sizes are available in most cases.

“cuddle+kind has partnerships with several respected humanitarian agencies including World Food Program USA, Children’s Hunger Fund, Breakfast Club of Canada and WE Charity to guarantee that every purchase directly benefits children in need.” (Information given by the brand)

Choose your favorites here- https://cuddleandkind.com/collections/hand-knit-dolls.

RUMI’S JHAL GOSHT (BEEF OR LAMB CURRY)

home made indian food
Ingredients
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
Curry spices (see below)
1 1/2 pounds lamb or beef stew meat
1 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (stems and leaves)
CURRY INGREDIENTS
1 to 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes (depending on heat tolerance)
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped (seed and devein pepper to moderate heat)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon each kosher salt and sugar
2 bay leaves
2 to 3 green or black cardamom pods, cracked open
1 cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated is best)
METHOD
1. Heat oil in a wok or deep skillet over medium heat; add onion and sauté until translucent to light brown. Add curry spices and stir well. Let spices cook, then add water sparingly to avoid sticking or burning—no more than 1 tablespoon at a time–throughout the cooking process, 6 to 8 minutes to develop flavor.
2. Add meat, stirring well to distribute; cook over medium to high heat until well seared.
3. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add yogurt, tomato paste, and cilantro.
4. Cover and continue to braise for 40 to 50 minutes, until meat is tender.
5. Remove cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, and cardamom pods.
TRY THIS: Substitute 1 whole chicken cut into generous pieces; braise until golden brown, then cook for 30 minutes.
Recipe and photo with permission from The Urban Forager: Culinary Exploring & Cooking on L.A.’s Eastside
By Elisa Callow Photographs by Ann Elliott Cutting
Prospect Park Books/March 2019

Think You’re Not a Chef? You Can Prepare Gourmet Meals at Home – We Promise!

You don’t have to be a good cook to make great meals. The thought of coming up with your own recipe might boggle your mind, and you might be confused about what some of the fancy kitchen gadgets you see on cooking shows are even for, but even you can create delicious, gourmet meals that your family will love and that will impress your guests. 

Here are the easy things you can do to prepare your own gourmet meals at home:

Start with the Best Ingredients

You’ll elevate your cakes with gourmet vanilla syrup. You’ll create mouth-watering roasts with high-quality, grass-fed beef. You’ll actually love vegetables again with organic asparagus grown in season and artisanal cheese. Just choosing the highest-quality ingredients that you can get will make your food taste amazing.

Don’t limit yourself to what’s at your local grocery store. Shop at the farmer’s market, find small specialty shops in your area or order online. If you aren’t sure what makes ingredients good, do a little research online or get to know your grocers and ask them a lot of questions. Knowledge is power, and the more knowledge you have about the ingredients you use, the more powerful you will be in selecting the best ones and in creating delicious dishes.

Get a Few Basic Tools

Besides the ingredients you use, the tools you use will have a big impact on the quality of your meals. You need the best basics to get started: A high-quality knife set, cookware set, and baking materials. A few notable choices include a stand mixer, a culinary torch, and a thermometer. If you really want to get fancy and throw down some big cheddar, you can upgrade your oven, as well. 

Know that you can work miracles with utensils you find at the dollar store, but having high-quality tools at your disposal will make your work easier. You aren’t Gordon Ramsay, so you can’t expect to get top results with little more than your skill and innovation. You need the help, so get it in the form of great kitchen tools.

Find Great Recipes

Most recipes that you will find on popular websites are designed for mass audiences. They are typically for meals that are easy to cook and that will be ready quickly. These are not the kind of recipes you want to use if you want to make gourmet meals that will elevate your everyday menu. Instead, you should search for gourmet recipes provided by reputable chefs.

Know that you will most likely need to pay for access to these recipes. You may be able to get a subscription for online access, or you may have to buy a hard copy of a cookbook. Just do your research first to make sure you are getting recipes that are truly gourmet and that have been created and vetted by experienced and celebrated chefs.

Follow Directions to the Letter

You aren’t Julia Child yet, so don’t try to be. You should not be trying to experiment while you are in the kitchen — at least not until you master the basics. If you want to cook a gourmet meal successfully and you don’t have the formal training to do it, you need to let the recipes created by the professionals guide you. That means that you need to follow the directions to the letter. If the recipe says to sift the flour first, do it and don’t just dump the flour in straight from the bag. If the recipe says to marinate the meat for two hours, leave it for exactly two hours. Don’t try to rush the process, and don’t let it sit for too long.

You may not have disastrous results if you cut a few corners or make a few changes to the recipe, but any success you have will be luck. You’ll be able to improvise once you’ve gained some experience and have a lot of successes under your belt.

Follow these simple tips, and you’ll soon be creating meals that your guests will think you had prepared by a gourmet chef. You don’t need culinary training — you just need to have the right tools and the right recipes, and you need to follow directions.

Great Cup From Perfect Shaker

Disclosure- We received the below in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are our own and honest.

About Perfect Shaker:

Perfect Shaker crafts the world’s best 100% leak-free shaker bottles and mixing bottles. Mix protein, greens, waffle batter, sauces, gravy, or anything really! BPA-Free and Dishwasher Safe!

This great company has amazing service.

  • Free Shipping
  • Free Design Support
  • No Set-Up Costs
  • No Extra Fees for Paying by Credit Card
  • If you are not happy with your shakers, they will do whatever it takes to make it right.

Product Description:

The Perfect Shaker Shaker Cup has many wonderful features.

  • A Stay-open flip cap
  • An extra wide mouth
  • A screw on lid, without a rubber seal and leak free!
  • Easy to use, easy to clean, dishwasher safe
  • This awesome cup is light weight and portable
  • The cup fits in most all drink holders
  • You can mix, pour, and store  – All in the same container.

My Thoughts:

These cups are pretty awesome!  They are one of the only shaker cups that I have used that truthfully doesn’t leak. I use this cup for a lot of different things. I have used it for protein, just to drink water, make tea, etc. It is extremely easy to clean and smells don’t linger in the cup after you wash it. I have even had to fight my children to get my cups back because they like to use them just as much as I do. I like that the shaker is attached, so that it doesn’t get misplaced and won’t be lost.

All in All, I would say that this is definitely my favorite Shaker that I have ever used in the past.

Purchase:

If you would like to purchase from PerfectShaker, head on over to their website and see what product is the perfect fit for you.

Instantly Fresh Herbs from Litehouse

Disclosure- We received the items below in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are our own and honest.  Because we prepare meals as a family, we hoped that the Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs would be an flavorful addition to recipes.  We discovered that the herbs are easy to add and delicious.

Since watching cooking shows is wildly popular in our home, we were eager to try the Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs.  We learn about ingredients and combinations of flavors while cheering on our favorite home cooks as they challenge chefs with years of training.  We watch as the chefs mince and chop herbs wondering if we could learn to chop with such finesse. As a result, we research recipes to prepare as a family.  Recipes often call for a pinch of fresh herbs but keeping fresh parsley, ginger, mint, or cilantro on hand to add to our favorite dishes is a challenge.  Because fresh herbs can be expensive, spoil quickly, and require a bit of knife skills, we often leave out these ingredients.  Also, dried herbs lack flavor and aroma.  Therefore, having Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs on hand makes it easy to prepare delicious family meals at home.

About Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs

Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs are freeze-dried without preservatives. The herbs are gluten-free and made from non-GMO crops.  Since moisture in the fridge can rehydrate the herbs, it is best to keep opened jars in the cabinet with other spices.  Herbs are available as single ingredients

Dill

Garlic

Ginger

Oregano

Parsley

Red Onion

Spring Onion

Thyme

Sage

Mint

Basil

Chives

Cilanto

In addition, Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs are available in flavorful blends:

Italian Herb Blend

Poultry Herb Blend

Salad Herb Blend

Guacamole Herb Blend

When a recipe calls for fresh parsley, reach for a jar and rehydrate the herbs on a one to one ratio – one tablespoon freeze-dried equals one tablespoon fresh.  Because the herbs are pre chopped, my junior chef can easily measure out the herbs and water and I don’t have to worry about sharp knives in tiny hands.  Because the herbs are freeze-dried, the rehydrated herbs have a robust aroma, intense flavor, and taste great!  It is easy to customize dishes for each family member based on their personal taste preferences.  If one family member likes the flavor of cilantro, onions, or sage, it’s easy to add a bit to their dish.  Adding fresh herbs to familiar recipes boosts up the flavor and elevates the everyday to extraordinary.

Eating better is a common resolution and “better” typically includes fresh, minimally processed ingredients.  Thanks to Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs, it is easy to add fresh flavor to each bite.

Where to find Litehouse Products

Litehouse products are available at a variety of grocery stores throughout the country.  Visit the Litehouse website to find a retailer in your community.  You can also sign up to receive monthly mailings which include special offers, recipes, and promotions.

October is National Pizza Month! Be Prepared

Calling all pizza lovers – well, that may be everyone, no? If you’re a fan (like me) then you need no reminder that October is National Pizza Month. Check out these at-home essentials that will allow ensure your DIY creations are as tasty as anything you could order.

Whether you prefer plain, meat lovers, or margherita – the below pizza pan will ensure your crust crisps to perfection and that no cheese is lost by getting stuck to the pizza cutter.

The T-fal Ingenio Pizza Cutter is extremely durable and is made of heat-resistant Tritan that seamlessly slices through pizza without damaging the pan. The Tritan also prevents the cheese from sticking to the cutter and the detachable wheel makes for a worry-free clean-up. $8.99 / Amazon, Kohls.com

good pizza cutter

Want to whip up the perfect pizza without burning the crust? The T-fal AirBake Pizza Pan allows users to create perfectly baked pizza 15% faster. AirBake uses a clever double-layer technology to provide an overall enhanced baking performance … meaning better browning, no burning, and decreased bake times! $19.99

cook pizza

Who doesn’t love a good pizza? Easy breazy- and faster then delivery. Enjoy October and your next pizza.

Fasta Pasta Maker

fast pasta dish

Developed by popular demand and due to the overwhelming success of the original Fasta Pasta Microwave Cooker, here comes the Fasta Pasta Family Size , which cooks approximately 8 servings of pasta at once!  You can expect the same great features as the Original Fasta Pasta – only bigger.  Deemed the Number 1 Microwave Pasta Cooker by America’s Test Kitchen Gadget Guru Lisa McManus, the Fasta Pasta has been featured on numerous national television programs, magazines, newspapers and digital media. From busy moms to college students to senior citizens, our customers love that Fasta Pasta cooks and drains your pasta in one container in minutes, but asked for a larger version to use for the whole family.  It was time to increase the Fasta experience!

Don’t be fooled by its no-fuss appearance, this microwave pasta cooker will not disappoint.  It is the perfect hassle-free way to cook pasta for large dinner parties or families on-the-go. With its patented reservoir design, the water circulates throughout, ensuring perfect pasta every time.

This made in the USA product is BPA-free and FDA-approved, and even includes a free cooking guide and recipes! Fasta Pasta Family Size cooks all types of pasta, vegetables, soups, casseroles and rice, without stickiness or starchiness from start-to-finish in minutes. Treat your guests to second and third helpings, with this upgraded pasta maker. The new dimensions (8.5W x 13L x 6H) can be used in standard size microwaves that measure 21 inches wide or larger. Accommodating as much pasta as you need, it’s guaranteed that no one will leave your house hungry this summer. Works great with all kinds of summer pasta salad, such as macaroni, rotini and more! This is sure to make your meal prep easier than ever.

Available for Purchase on Amazon, www.fastapasta.com , www.scsdirectinc.com  and at specialty retailers nationwide. Retail Price: $19.99

The best-selling Original Fasta Pasta can be purchased for $14.99 by visiting Amazon, www.fastapasta.com, www.scsdirectinc.com  and at specialty retailers nationwide.

JCPenney for all your small appliance needs

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Recently if you are one of the lucky millions who watched the Super Bowl, you probably also had a ton of delicious snacks.  Making these treats takes time energy, as well as the proper tools and appliances. With the right tools any dish is possible from Green Dragon Shrimp to Chicken Lollipops with Asian dipping sauce.  Some tools needed to make these delicious dishes are a deep fryer, mini food chopper and a cast iron grill.  With these tools not only will you be able to grill in the kitchen any time of year but also make some incredible sauces and dips as well as perfectly cook all manner of snacks and meals not normally in your recipe vocabulary.  The place to find all these wonderful tools and more?  JCPenney is your one stop small appliance shop, where blenders and slow cookers help make the creamiest soup and chunkiest chili while griddles and bring the flavors of Summer to the dead of Winter.  JCPenney has popular brands like KitchenAid, Oster, Cooks, Nuwave and TFal.

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We recently had the pleasure of checking out some appliances and tasting some amazing recipes that are perfect for your next party.   What to make, how to make it, and what to use to make it- nothing easier.  I think sometimes I believe new foods/new recipes will be more complicated then they really will be, especially if I’ve never tried to make them before.  However, being able to watch JCPenny’s Chef Josh Capon create fun and delicious dishes right in front of us made it easier to want to try making them at home.  It was also fun to see what items he used to cook them with, and what made cooking easier and take less time.  Honestly, I’m all about the “quick and easy”, especially when it comes to parties.

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Not only is JCPenny a great place to go for all your party and kitchen needs, but you can also win a very cool cutting board.  Something fun for your kitchen, no matter if you are a football fan or not- this is signed by actor Jerry O’Connell and Josh Capon, so it’s both a collector item and a conversation piece.

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If you’d like to win, all you need to do is enter the RC form below.  Good luck!  Ends on March 17, 2016.    (This is the updated RC form from the last post- thanks for your patience!)

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a Rafflecopter giveaway