Author: donna

Grilling Seafood a Delicious Summer Option

Posted on Jul 3, 2015 by No Comments

I grew up in the Midwest, in a family who enjoyed getting up with the sun to go fishing. My grandfather would grill our catch of the day rolled in cornmeal, giving it a nice golden crust and a light flaky texture.

The problem is that he didn’t pass the secret on and no one knows how he did it.

I finally learned to cook fish from a fishing captain when I lived in Florida, but I don’t really like the smell of fish that lingers in the house. So I’ve turned to the grill once again, and have found a few ways to create delicious seafood without it sticking to the grill or falling through the grate.

First, like my grandfather, I’ve learned to grill the fish whole. Oil the grill so it doesn’t stick. Score the fish to help it cook evenly and place it on a medium hot grill.

The key is not to turn it too soon. Usual time is about 6 to 15 minutes depending on the size of the fish. I drizzle mine with lime and sprinkle with some kosher salt and pepper when it is done.

When grilling fillets wrapping them in a buttered foil packet or a banana leaf help it hold together as it cooks. I use the foil packet and add melted butter, lemon or lime juice, parsley, a little dill weed, and salt and pepper. Be sure to leave room for the fish to expand, and grill for 5 to 7 minutes on each side.

The last trick I use with seafood is skewers. I’ve don’t this for years with shrimp, but I’ve found I can use this idea with chunks of fish like swordfish or monkfish as well. (Choose a firmer fish).

You can make entire skewers of fish only, but I prefer to add peppers, onion, and mushrooms. Spray with oil before grilling and add seasonings of your choice. I serve with steamed rice.

Summer is a great time to grill and offers an opportunity to add healthy fish to your diet without smelling up the house! I’d love to hear your ideas for grilling fish, too!

Photo credits: Alpha

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner Call It Quits

Posted on Jul 3, 2015 by No Comments

Actor-director Ben Affleck and wife Jennifer Garner announced plans to divorce the day after their tenth wedding anniversary. The couple has three children together: Violet, 9, Seraphina, 6, and Samuel, 3.

In a joint statement, the couple said, “After much thought and careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to divorce. We go forward with love and friendship for one another and a commitment to co-parenting our children whose privacy we ask to be respected during this difficult time. This will be our only comment on this private, family matter. Thank you for understanding.”

This was Garner’s second marriage. The first was to “Scandal’s” Scott Foley whom she was married to at the time she met Affleck when the two co-stared in “Pearl Harbor.”

They reunited for “Daredevil” in the summer of 2002, and at that time Affleck had started dating Jennifer Lopez. Garner and Affleck actually came together romantically when Affleck did a cameo in the “Daredevil” spinoff, “Elektra.”

Turns out that cameo was cut, but the reunion was life changing for the two stars. By the time “Elektra” premiered in January of 2005, they were already a hot item. By April they were engaged.

Things had changed, though, and the marriage became the subject of tabloid fodder for years. In 2013 when Affleck made a remark that his marriage was “work” when he accepted his Oscar for “Argo,” it only magnified the scrutiny.

Then last year, Garner commented on her “mindful” marriage, and said, “you can’t expect to be courted all the time” and that “We’re definitely in a very mindful place where we’re making an effort to be together, do things at the same time, and me loving.”

Early in June rumors of a possible split circulated when a moving truck was spotted outside their home. At that time they dispelled rumors by saying they were doing renovations to their home and that the trucks were taking their furniture to storage.

Both Affleck and Garner have successful careers. Most recently Affleck was in Detroit to film his role as Batman in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” and then went on to Toronto to film another role in the DC Comics franchise titled “Suicide Squad.” Garner is also in the midst of filming “Nine Lives” which stars Kevin Spacey and Robbie Amell.

Unfortunately, this is a reminder that not every Hollywood romance has a happy ending.

Photo credits: Clevver News

Nutrition for a Healthy Mouth

Posted on Jul 2, 2015 by No Comments

Over the last couple of years, I’ve learned a lot about how to have a healthy mouth as my husband has fought to eradicate gum disease.

Regular dental checkups are important and oral hygiene plays an important role, but that means more than just brushing your teeth. It also includes flossing, using a water pick, and learning about which toothpastes and mouthwashes are best for your teeth.

Along with all these proactive steps, there is an aspect that is often overlooked and that’s nutrition.

The old adage, “You are what you eat,” holds true for our mouths, too.

So instead of focusing on what we shouldn’t eat, I’ve started to concentrate on what we should eat for a healthy mouth and that starts with vitamin C. It helps protect our gums from cell damage and bacterial infections and can be found in strawberries, citrus fruits, kiwi, tomatoes, and other fruits and vegetables.

Eating crisp raw fruits and vegetables like apples and celery can also help keep plaque from building up on our teeth.

And speaking of vegetables; be sure to include dark leafy greens as well as other dark green veggies like broccoli, spinach, asparagus, and others which provide good sources of folic acid which also promotes a healthy mouth by fostering cell growth and repair.

Be sure to include calcium in your diet, too, because it has been shown to help protect against periodontal disease.

The key to getting calcium is that it needs to be combined with vitamin D to help your body absorb it. So choices like yogurt, milk, cheese, and other dairy products make good options. I have been using the Activia brand for the added probiotic benefit because gut health can also influence our mouth health.

Lastly, it is important to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water or unsweetened green or black tea. This helps your mouth produce saliva which contains proteins and minerals which fight enamel-eating acids. The polyphenol found in tea also slows the growth of bacteria

If you look at the big picture, it is easy to see that if we eat healthy our mouths will be healthier.

Photo credits: pixabay

When Science Says You Should Drink that First Cup of Coffee

Posted on Jul 1, 2015 by No Comments

Most of us coffee drinkers tend to stumble into the new day with a visit to the kitchen for that first cup of joe. It turns out that according to a video recently posted by Asap Science, drinking that cup of coffee first thing in the morning is really not the best time to give our body that jolt of caffeine.

Instead, we are supposed to wait for about an hour after waking up to enjoy that first cup of coffee. The reason behind the timing has to do with our built-in biological clock – our circadian rhythm – which regulates the release of a hormone called cortisol.

This hormone influences, regulates or modulates many of the changes that occur in the body in response to stress and even how sleepy we feel throughout the day.

Cortisol levels normally fluctuate throughout the day and night with our circadian rhythm peaking around 8 or 9 a.m. and reaching its lowest levels around 4 in the morning.

According to Asap Science, “This means that your body has a natural mechanism to wake up. And while you may think that caffeine can complement this mechanism, scientists have actually found that consuming coffee or energy drinks during peak cortisol production greatly diminishes the caffeine’s effect and builds up a greater tolerance to the drug in the long run.”

What that means to us coffee drinkers is that over time coffee is less effective and we’ll need more to wake up or stay awake.

The final advice from Asap Science is that we “Wait at least an hour” after waking up before drinking our first cup of coffee because cortisol levels increase by about 50 percent right after we wake up, no matter what time it is.

This cortisol surge we experience is regulated by sunlight and science shows we experience two other spikes during the day. One between noon and 1 p.m. and the other between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m.

That means we should avoid having a cup of coffee at all these times if we want to experience the maximum effectiveness of caffeine.

I think I’m going to go get a cup of coffee and think this over.

Photo credits: Eneas De Troya

Carol Middleton: Grandma to the Royals

Posted on Jul 1, 2015 by No Comments

When my daughter was born I suddenly found myself in a situation with grandmothers each jockeying for their place. In my case, my daughter had two grandmothers, three great-grandmothers, and one great-great grandmother.

Where would we spend Christmas? How about Thanksgiving? And who could give the best gifts?

In this regard, I was thinking about Kate Middleton and Prince William’s situation. On William’s side, great-grandma is the Queen of England; his mother died in 1997 and his father married Camilla in 2005.

Then on Kate’s side, her mother Carole Middleton is grandma to the future king and his sister.

Can you imagine being a grandmother and the “other” grandma is the Queen? It doesn’t seem to intimidate Kate’s mom. It turns out Carole Middleton enjoys a close relationship with her grandson and is one of the few trusted relatives allowed into Kate and William’s personal day-to-day lives.

Recently she was spotted walking around a local petting zoo carrying Prince George on her shoulders. She looked like any other loving grandma spending the day with her grandson. And he looked like he was having a blast.

I think she adds a bit of normalcy to royal life, but when you step back and think about it, Carole Middleton is 60 years old. That’s six years younger than Prince Charles. That means there’s a chance that in the future she will be the mother of the Queen if she outlives Charles.

In most families, there is one set of grandparents who are favored or more influential. In my case I tried my best to not show favorites, but as my children grew older I could see it happened anyway.

Grandparents who spend time with grandchildren have a closer relationship. In the royal family, right now Carole Middleton has moved in to Kate and William’s lavish country home, Anmer Hall, in a semi-permanent arrangement.

While some say she is a “social climber” there’s one thing for sure. She is active in the grandchildren’s lives and helping to shape their world with her middle-class values.

Photo credits: All About Fashion

Bristol Palin Says This Pregnancy Is Planned

Posted on Jun 30, 2015 by No Comments

Last week news that Bristol Palin is pregnant hit the Internet. The news gave birth to all kinds of stories. Some articles shined a light on the growth in the number of single 20-somethings getting pregnant, and some even suggested this baby is an argument for abortion.

However, Palin made it clear on her blog this past weekend that this baby was actually planned.

It’s so easy for those of us on the outside to jump to wrong conclusions because we fail to realize that she is no longer the 17-year-old who was pregnant back when her mom was running for vice-president. She is now 24, the mom of a 6-year-old son, she owns her own house and has held a job at the same doctor’s office for the past six years.

Palin has moved on in life. She was engaged to be married this past Memorial Day weekend, and if anything was “unplanned” it was that she and fiancé Dakota Meyer would call of the wedding a week before the big day. On her blog she said:

“I made a mistake, but it’s not the mistake all these giddy a$$holes have loved to assume. This pregnancy was actually planned. Everyone knows I wanted more kids, to have a bigger family. Believing I was heading that way, I got ahead of myself. Things didn’t go as planned, but life keeps going. Life moves on.”

She went on to say she doesn’t regret this baby and that she is looking forward to being a mom to a second child and that “Tripp is going to make the best big brother!”

At the same time, she knows it won’t be easy. In an earlier post she admitted she has been trying to keep her chin up, because she knew she would be a “huge disappointment” to her family.

Plus, when she realized she was pregnant she knew she would “be completely crucified” in the media because unlike most 24-year-old single moms who broke up with their fiancé a week before the wedding, she is the daughter of a controversial politician.

Photo credits: wikipedia

Average Woman’s Weight About 20 Pounds Higher Since the 60s

Posted on Jun 29, 2015 by No Comments

Often when I’m watching old movies, I marvel at how slim everyone looks. I’m not just talking about women, but men, too.

In fact, even if you watch the Three Stooges, you’ll notice that Curly isn’t really fat. They just made him look heavier than he was by dressing him in clothes that were too small for him.

Out of curiosity, I looked up average sizes of women from the 1950s and it turns out they were about two inches shorter than the average woman of today and they weighed around 101.

Their bust and hips were a little more than an inch smaller than today’s woman on average, but their waistlines were 6 inches smaller. Wow! Can you say belly fat!

By the 1960s the average woman had gained some weight with the average around 140. Men weighed around 166 pounds. How does that compare to today? The average weight of women today is 166 pounds and men are around 195.

I know obesity and overweight are problems in this country as well as elsewhere and it does make me wonder where we’ll be by the time our kids reach adulthood.

But an even more important question is, how did we get here? If we can find the answer to that question, it might offer the answer to how to slim down and stay that way.

If we take a look at how people at in the 1960s lived, we’ll see they ate more carbs than we do with about 55 percent of their diet coming from carbs found in vegetables, cereal and bread.

For those carb counters out there I know that may seem high, but today carbs usually make up about 45 percent of our diet and most of them don’t come from vegetables. Today’s dietary intake is 40 percent from fat and back then it was like 32 percent fat.

But here’s the real eye opener. We eat twice as much sugar today. I think therein is our main problem.

Other differences? We were more active then, we didn’t watch much TV (in the early 60s it amounted to about an hour a day), didn’t snack very often, and we made more meals at home.

Plus we didn’t have computers, tablets and other tech gadgets which encourage us to be sedentary. Imagine if we rolled that online activity into our one hour of TV time!

Gradually we’ve changed and the result isn’t really good for our waistlines.

Photo credits: Glamourdaze

Advantage of Greek Yogurt Over Traditional Yogurt

Posted on Jun 29, 2015 by No Comments

Our grocery stores have steadily grown in size over the years. Many now carry much more than food products, but even the food sections are bigger than entire stores used to be. That’s because the number of products on the shelves continues to grow.

Today we have entire aisles dedicated to cereal or soaps, and in the dairy section we have whole milk, 2% milk, skim milk, almond and soy milks.

One of the newest expansions is in the yogurt case. So what’s the difference between traditional yogurt and some of the newcomers that are gaining in popularity like Greek yogurt?

I first learned about yogurt decades ago when my aunt from Germany was eating a plain, unsweetened variety like it was a treat. Once I tasted it, I determined yogurt wasn’t for me.

A few years later, I tried sweetened yogurt with fruit and changed my mind. I ate it because the fermented product was good for me but also because it tasted good.

Now Greek yogurt has become really popular, and other countries are being represented as well with Icelandic and Australian varieties of yogurt starting to enter the market, too.

The popularity of Greek yogurt, however, has really taken the market by storm. In 2011 it made up a little more than 20 percent of the market and by 2013 it made up more than 40 percent of the total market.

The difference? It offers twice as much protein as regular yogurt, and it is creamier than regular unstrained yogurt.

So the benefit is the protein. It works to keep you feeling satisfied for longer, plus protein is important for a number of reasons, especially as you get older.

You need more protein to keep your skin healthy, plus it is vital for building muscle, repairing tissue, and for cell growth. It makes sense that it’s gaining in popularity so quickly!

I’ve joined the ranks and made the switch.

Photo credits: Janine

Pitfalls of Smoothies and Juices

Posted on Jun 26, 2015 by No Comments

Smoothies and fresh juices are a tasty way to get valuable organic nutrition, but they are also a way to pack in the calories if you’re not careful.

I first started drinking fresh juice on an all-raw diet. It was more or less a meal replacement. But now with juice bars in vogue it’s easy to get a juice instead of a soda, and it is no longer looked at as a meal replacement but a healthy beverage.

My sister was talking with me about how expensive it is to buy juice but in the same breath admitted how much better she feels when she does. I agreed.

Juice gives me a measure of energy I don’t get even with caffeinated beverages. However, my sister moved on to tell me how her knees are hurting because of the extra weight she’s carrying around, and we revisited our personal struggles with weight and what we can do.

As we talked, I realized she was drinking her fresh-made juice as a beverage and not really considering how many calories she was consuming.

Because juices and smoothies are “healthy” we don’t think about them being full of calories, but when you buy a juice or smoothie made commercially, there is a good chance they are more calorie dense than you think.

For instance a small cup of Kale Orange Power Juice from Jamba has 190 calories and 33 grams of sugar – and that is for a small cup.

If you want the convenience of a commercially made juice, just pay attention to the nutritional facts. For example, Lakewood’s organic Super Veggie juice is cold-pressed and only 60 calories. When you juice at home you can take advantage of an easy to use juicing calculator to make sure you’re aware of what you’re really consuming.

If you’re not trying to maintain or lose weight, this won’t be an issue for you, but for those of us who are trying to find a balance between healthy, flavor, and calories, it’s worth noting what you’re consuming so you’re not sabotaging your efforts.

Straight vegetable juice is usually not too bad; it’s when we start adding fruits, powders and other additives that the calorie counts start to climb. So if you don’t like to count calories or even worry about them, if you stick with straight vegetable juice that you make yourself, you’re pretty safe.

Photo credits: pixabay