Category: Food & Home

Link Round-up: Free Printable, Candy Corn Wreath, Coffee Break Upgrade, and More

Posted on Oct 6, 2015 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has a free printable, a candy corn lima bean wreath, tips for making your at-home coffee breaks feel more luxurious, and more.

Muslin and Merlot shared a Bottle of Boos free printable.

Cupcakes and Cashmere taught us how to make the at-home coffee break more of an experience.

One Good Thing by Jillee shared the how-to behind easy microwave honey lip balm.

link ru outdoor lighting

A Beautiful Mess showed us how to use outdoor light fixtures inside.

I Should Be Mopping the Floor showed us how to prime a chalkboard.

Made with Happy showed us how to make a candy corn lima bean wreath.

My Thoughts, Ideas, and Ramblings showed us how to make Frozen Sven granola bars.

Photo credit: Muslin and Merlot and A Beautiful Mess

Link Round-up: Pumpkin Muffins, Floor Plans, Fall Lipsticks, and More

Posted on Oct 1, 2015 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has flourless vegan pumpkin muffins, tips for drawing a floor plan, five new fall lipstick colors, and more.

Chocolate Covered Katie shared a recipe for flourless vegan pumpkin muffins.

Cupcakes and Cashmere showed us five new fall lipstick colors to try.

I Love to Create shared a DIY project for a black cat t-shirt.

One Little Project showed us how to make black cat cupcakes.

link ru floor plan

A Beautiful Mess shared some tips for drawing a floor plan, which helps a lot when you want to rearrange the furniture in a room.

Create Craft Love shared a recipe for chocolate overload bark.

Intoxicated on Life showed us how to make sweet potato pancakes.

Photo credit: Chocolate Covered Katie and A Beautiful Mess

Good for You Carbs when Losing Weight

Posted on Oct 1, 2015 by No Comments

In the dieting world we tend to go extreme. We’re either strictly adhering to a restrictive diet like paleo or juicing or we’re off the wagon and gaining back the pounds and inches we lost.

I’m trying to find that happy ground in the middle. I want to be able to enjoy food for food, and not be thinking about every carb or calorie. I don’t really want to weigh or measure everything that goes into my mouth either.

However, that doesn’t mean I can throw out everything I know and just eat what and how much I want without gaining weight.

So here’s my happy place. I’m back to common sense. Eat three meals. Don’t snack unless I’m really hungry – not just stressed or bored. Choose foods that help me stay satisfied.

Among those are good-for-you carbs because they provide energy and endurance, and if there is one thing I need, that’s it. Plus, they provide the fiber my digestive tract needs to keep things moving along. And while I eat leafy greens just about every day, there are times I want healthy carbs that give me that comfort food satisfaction.

Among these, and new to my diet, is farro, which offers up to 4 grams of protein and 3.5 grams of fiber in a ½ cup. If you’re among those who label carbs either good or bad, I’d put this one in the good column because it takes longer to break down and supplies the body with a steady stream of energy, unlike white rice which digests faster. Tabbouleh is another tasty option.

Along with grains, winter squash will soon be hitting the produce department, and among them, acorn squash is a good one. Skip the brown sugar, and bake them with a little butter and jerk seasoning for a delicious side.

I cook them face down with some water for about 30 minutes or until tender, then flip, add butter and seasoning and cook for another 10 or so minutes.

And while many low carb diets shy away from fruit, it is still a better option that going for the ice cream, plus they offer fiber, vitamins and minerals we don’t get in other foods.

The key is to be reasonable. Just because foods are good for us doesn’t mean we need to eat them in mass quantities.

Carbs are one of the macronutrients our bodies need. It’s time to bring the healthy ones back to the table.

Photo credits: wikimedia

Apples Are Kids’ Favorite Fruit

Posted on Sep 30, 2015 by No Comments

Do your kids have a favorite fruit?

According to a new study conducted by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, apples and apple juice account for 30 percent of all fruit consumed by children and young adults in America. Those statics make apples a clear choice for the favorite fruit among American children.

Results of this study were published in the journal Pediatrics and shined a light on food habits of more than 3,000 children and young adults ranging in age from 2 – 19 (between 2011 and 2012).

Findings showed that apples accounted for 20 percent of all fruit consumed and interestingly enough, apples were favored equally by both boys and girls.

Another interesting fact that came to light is that rich and poor kids ate the same amount of fruits, however, African-Americans tended to drink more juice while Asians ate more whole fruits.

The 3,000 children who took part in this study listed bananas as their second favorite fruit followed by melons. While it is good news that kids enjoy apples, bananas, and melons, nutritionists recommend eating a variety of fruits in a multiple array of colors, so be sure to introduce new fruits to your family on a regular basis.

Plus, it’s important to note that whole fruits are better for all of us than drinking juice. In fact, a study conducted by Harvard School of Public Health found the consumption of fruit juices was associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.

Of the apples available here in the U.S. Red and Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Fuji, and Gala are the most common, but this research didn’t consider apple variety in its criteria.

Juice, rather than whole fruits, represented 30 percent of the fruit intake, but only 40 percent of kids actually ate enough fruit, including juice, to meet the Department of Agriculture’s recommendations of 1-2 cups of fruit a day.

While it’s great that kids like apples, it’s important that parents make sure kids are eating enough fruit and a variety of types. To encourage trying new fruits, challenge your kids to eat a rainbow of colors.

Photo credits: pixabay

Have Your Favorite Comfort Foods Turned You Into a Food Addict?

Posted on Sep 30, 2015 by No Comments

When you think of comfort foods, what do you picture in your mind? Truthfully, when I’m stressed it will probably be something chocolate, or something salty, or a little of both. Or it could be something creamy and loaded with carbs, but I digress.

The reason I bring it up is that we eat these foods often because on some level we want to feel good…or better. But according to some recent animal studies, it looks like we might be doing the exact opposite.

Animal studies have found that a diet high in fat, sugar and processed foods leads to higher rates of anxiety and depression, and a recent University of Michigan study shows that highly processed foods or foods with refined carbohydrates (white flour and/or sugar) may even trigger addictive-like eating behavior. They labeled french fries, chocolate and pizza among the most addictive.

On one level, those findings bring a sense of relief, because that means it is the food’s fault when I get in a cycle of eating such foods. On another level, it explains the very behavior that sometimes makes me feel like such a failure in my quest for eating healthier.

For this study, individuals with “symptoms” of food addiction or higher body mass indexes, related that they had bigger problems with highly processed foods.

Researchers suggest this is because some people may be particularly sensitive to the possible “rewarding” properties of these foods. This reminds me of how some of us can have a glass of wine or two without a problem while alcoholics have to stay away from alcohol all together.

Erica Schulte, a U-M psychology doctoral student and the study’s lead author said, “This is a first step towards identifying specific foods, and properties of foods, which can trigger this addictive response. This could help change the way we approach obesity treatment. It may not be a simple matter of ‘cutting back’ on certain foods, but rather, adopting methods used to curtail smoking, drinking and drug use.”

Trigger foods aren’t the same for every person, but I think most of us know what they are in our own lives. If this study is right, that would mean giving those foods up for good!

Photo credits: Extremely Me

Link Round-up: Customized Closet Doors, NYFW Beauty Looks, Fruity Snacks, and More

Posted on Sep 29, 2015 by 1 Comment

Today’s link round-up has customized closet doors, a fruity snack, makeup looks from New York Fashion Week, and more.

A Beautiful Mess showed us how to customize closet doors with trim.

Cupcakes and Cashmere shared her favorite beauty looks from New York Fashion Week.

Makeup and Beauty Blog shared a quick blush tip.

link ru fox fruit snack

Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons showed us how to put together a cute, fruity snack that looks like a fox.

Creatively Homemade shared a cute idea for Halloween hot cocoa party favors.

Seven Thirty Three showed us how to put together a cheesecloth ghost for the front yard.

I Love to Create showed us how to do ceramic painting at home.

Photo credit: A Beautiful Mess and Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons

Hormonal Help from the World of Herbs

Posted on Sep 28, 2015 by No Comments

Each month our bodies go through a hormonal cycle that leaves many of us coping with menstrual cramps, headaches, fatigue, moodiness and more.

But how do we cope? Most of us pop some ibuprofen, antidepressants, some sleep aid, or other drugs just to make it through.

Did you ever think about how women coped before all that? Before the days when the American Medical Society came into existence and convinced society that herbal medicine amounted to quackery?

Before all that, people turned to nature for relief because they understood the medicinal nature of herbs. But little by little, drugs became the standard alternative, and knowledge of medicinal herbs was lost, but not totally.

For those looking for natural relief from their raging hormones, we can still turn to herb-savvy women like Peg Moline who authored The Doctor’s Book of Natural Health Remedies which talks about treating PMS and menopause with chaste berries! These berries have also been used to treat ovarian cysts.

She also mentions cramp bark which grows in North America and was historically used by Native Americans for treating a number of things including menstrual cramps, inflammation, and as a sleep aid.

Before you run off to get some, though, read up because cramp bark is also used as a diuretic, to induce vomiting, and to empty the bowels.

The roots of the North American black cohosh plant are another popular remedy for menopause symptoms. Today it is considered a natural form of hormone therapy and thought to help relieve headaches, hot flashes, mood swings, problems sleeping, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and heart palpitations.

Studies recommend between 20-40 milligram tablets of a standardized extract twice a day, but some experts say it shouldn’t be taken for more than six months at a time.

The thing is that we do have medicinal options in the plant world, but we need to learn and understand how to use those resources. If you are already taking medications, it is important to know about possible interactions and risks.

The information is available, and it is worth the research for those of us who want to feel better naturally.

Photo credits: Aaron Carlson

Tap Into Brain Power with the Right Foods

Posted on Sep 25, 2015 by No Comments

Today we have games sites that claim to exercise our brains and diets that claim to help us build a better brain. I tried the brain games but found them boring.

As for the foods that can help keep us sharper, there is actually research published in the medical journal JAMA, that makes a couple of important points in this regard. The objective of this study was to test the effects of oral supplementation with nutrients on cognitive function. The findings are interesting.

I’ve long held the belief that meeting my nutritional needs with healthy food is far better than taking a synthetic supplement created to mimic the benefits of natural nutrients.

For this study, they looked at older adults who took nutritional supplements including: omega-3 fatty acids (found in fatty fish and walnuts) and a combo of lutein and zeaxanthin (which are found in leafy greens). A second group took a placebo.

The results showed that both groups of participants experienced the same level of cognitive decline over a five-year period. And this isn’t the first study to confirm such disappointing findings regarding supplements.

However, a number of studies suggest certain diets do make a difference in slowing memory loss and other signs of brain aging. It turns out that the same diets that are good for our hearts also help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

While evidence that specific foods are the “best” when it comes to brain health is incomplete, many suggest foods like blueberries, fish, walnuts, and kale are healthy brain foods.

Truthfully, what we need to embrace is a healthy balanced diet that includes such foods instead of focusing on one or two foods like they are a supplement to be taken.

Recommended diets include the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, along with the MIND Diet which combines the two with additional emphasis placed on foods that are thought to offer brain-boosting promise.

For instance leafy greens are eaten daily, along with one other serving of vegetables. It also includes whole grains, nuts, beans, poultry, berries, olive oil, one glass of wine, and limits red meat, cheese, butter, sweets and fried foods.

I don’t see any surprises in this diet. It healthy for body and mind.

Photo credits: Amazon

Link Round-up: Crafts, Fall Decorating, Red Lips, and More

Posted on Sep 24, 2015 by 2 Comments

Today’s link round-up has craft ideas, fall decorating, the perfect red lips, and more.

A Beautiful Mess showed us how to make a key rack out of cabinet knobs.

Crafts n Coffee inspired us to decorate for fall with mantels adorned with burlap and jute rope.

Parenting Chaos shared money saving tips for new parents.

Cupcakes and Cashmere inspired us to mix up our wardrobes by mixing and matching dressy and casual pieces.

link ru captain underpants

Crafts by Amanda showed us how to make a Captain Underpants bookmark from a craft stick.

Makeup and Beauty Blog showed us how to do the perfect red lips.

I Should Be Mopping the Floor shared a recipe for ham and cheese bombs.

Photo credit: A Beautiful Mess and Crafts by Amanda