Monday, December 27, 2010

Healthy Kitchen, Healthy Home

Anytime is a good time to give your kitchen a healthy inspection. Nasty foods and hidden pitfalls are just waiting to sabotage your efforts at keeping your family healthy. They may even be disguising themselves in a "healthy" cloak. For a healthy lifestyle, you first must live in a healthy environment.

Start with the fridge and pantry. Focus on replacing sugary and highly processed foods with complex carbs and healthy alternatives.

  • Throw out: Thick dressings, white rice, creamers, white pasta, chips, dip, soda, mayonnaise, pudding and just say no to Twinkies! (Note: Donate any unopened food instead of throwing it away.)
  • Keep: Vinaigrettes, vegetables, nuts, sweet potatoes, whole wheat pasta, brown or wild rice, tomato sauce, oatmeal, salsa, yogurt, mustard, natural applesauce
  • Put on probation: Cheese, milk, butter, ice cream, eggs, cooking oil, beef
Then move on to the rest of the kitchen:
  • Learn to read food labels
  • Collect healthy, quick recipes
  • Toss out all those pizza coupons
  • Get a few water bottles to keep cold water handy in the fridge
  • Put a bowl of fruit and granola/breakfast bars by the back door
Invest in:
  • Fresh produce
  • A pitcher with a filter for water
  • Spices so healthy food doesn't get boring
  • Healthy cookbooks
  • A sturdy cutting board
  • Plenty of containers to portion out prepared foods, store leftovers, and pack lunches
by SparkPeople

Exercise on an empty stomach?

In the morning, your body has gone 8+ hours since eating or drinking anything. Your blood sugar levels are lower at this point, and your body doesn't have adequate fuel to workout optimally. Usually, experts recommend eating something--even if it's just a small snack--within 2 hours before working out. When your body doesn't have proper fuel in it, many problems can result, the lesser being that your workout performance suffers, and the greater being something like passing out during exercise.

However, every body is different. Some people can workout on an empty stomach with no problems, while others would end up very sick and feel the negative effects of it.

Also, I think there might have been a bit of confusion here about metabolic rates in the morning. Eating breakfast in the morning has a positive effect on your metabolism, but exercising on an empty stomach does not. Some people say that it will burn fat stores, but overall, the number of calories your burn during a workout (regardless of where they come from) is much more important. Plus, fat burns in the carbohydrate flame. This means that exercising without eating (such as after "fasting" during sleep) your body does not burn fat efficiently, or sometimes at all. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Simple Sugar Cookies

December 20, 2010

So the holidays may bring out the little kid in you.  I know that it does that to me.  And with two little ones of my own we always try to do something creative and edible around this time.  Its usually a gingerbread house but that falls apart every year.  This year we decided to do sugar cookies.  I found a recipe on the courtesy of Alton Brown.  I don't remember my when I was younger and always making my mom's kitchen a mess if my cookies ever tasted good.  Its true what they say that the simplest recipes are the best ones.  Follow this link for the recipe we used.

We didn't tweak or change the recipe.  I followed as is and had the kids very hands on this recipe.  Oh, and they love licking the bowl and whipping blades.  I say yuck but thats just me.  And I didn't do it as a little kid either.  They seemed to enjoy it very much ever since their dad showed them after licking a brownie mix bowl.

This a picture of Caleb decorating the cookies.

Here is a picture of our finished products.

Making these cookies gives me an idea for next year, oh and this one too.  A few tips I will leave you with to make cookie making easier:  make sure to wrap the cookie dough with wax paper before you refrigerate, it really does make it easy to take out to roll;  when Alton Brown says to sprinkle the rolling pin with powdered sugar, do that it really does help roll out the dough.  

Anyone that wants me to try a recipe or you have one to share, just contact me at  Happy Holidays and Happy Sugar Coma!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The start of an idea...

Sunday, December 12, 2010
So I've always wanted to start a blog about food and recipes.  Since I'm always trying them and concocting my own, and I know several ppL that do the same...this blog is exactly for that purpose.  Samantha and I started talking about trying recipes every week or every other week.  Not to only satiate our hunger but its a simple, inexpensive way to have good conversation and spend time with friends.  We munched on guacamole that I made w/some fresh ingredients and some ready made.  Samantha had made lemon meringue pie and meringues from scratch while I was at work.  I don't have pictures or recipes of these munchies since we were just on the verge of starting this "recipe kick."  I've also wanted to always do a potluck dinner which Samantha and Ashley were talking about too, well at least for a Christmas party.  I want to take it even further and and do this once a week or every other week, I'd be happy.  I get to see my friends and family, converse and most importantly divulge in food and recipes!

Thursday, December 16, 2010
So its almost 3pm this afternoon and I'm feeling very under the weather.  One of the things I like to do if I'm not feeling well is sleep!  But if I can't for some reason, like the dogs barking at every little thing, I cook or bake.  Today I attempted a Pork Shoulder recipe that I adjusted for the crock pot and my Banana Nut Bread.

The Pork Shoulder recipe can be found on

To adjust this recipe for the crock pot, I started at Step 2, scoring the Pork Shoulder for the marinade and then placing into your crock pot.  

Glenn's recipe at Step 1 was my second step.  Just pour the ingredients directly on top of and over the pork shoulder.  I suggest starting with all the liquid ingredients first, then your dry. 

Instead of a dash of Soy Sauce, I added 1/2 cup or  8 individual packets you get extra with your Chinese food.  

Instead of 2 tablespoons of Apple Juice, I added 1 cup.  

The best wine I've cooked with so far as been Martini & Rossi Asti Sparking Wine, but you can use any white Wine you like to drink with and add about 1/4 cup like the recipe says.  

Instead of White Distilled Vinegar, I used 1/2 of Apple Cider Vinegar.  

I skipped the corn syrup, worcesterhire sauce, italian-style salad dressing, onion powder, cajun seasoning and salt.  All these ingredients except for salt, I didn't have on hand.  Don't be afraid of adjusting flavor profiles because of what's available in your pantry.  I want to help you out not take away from your wallet.  Salt I'm not adding since my husband is going through a rough time with his blood pressure.  A key to healthy eating is choosing foods lower in salt and sodium.  

I did add one small, chopped Onion and minced Garlic in the scored parts of the Pork Shoulder.  

1 tsp of Molasses.  

1/2 tsp Garlic Powder.  

1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes.

1/2 cup of Brown Sugar.

Our Step 3:  keep the Pork Shoulder in the crock pot for 4 hours on Low.  Turn the Pork Shoulder every hour to get a good coating on all sides.

Our Step 4:  after the 4th hour, turn the crock pot on High for about 4 to 5 hours.  (adjust high heat according to how many lbs)

Best served with Root Vegetables and Brown Rice.  Other ways can be Whole Wheat Pasta with Fresh Spinach and a dash of Pamigiano-Reggiano or in a Pulled Pork sandwich with BBQ sauce.

The Banana Nut Bread recipe can not be divulged here unfortunately since its a family secret recipe.  I can give you something I found off of  Its a simple recipe that anyone can pull off, just add your favorite nuts to the recipe.

A way through anyone's heart is through their stomach.  Share the recipes and share the love.