Category: Food & Home

Link Round-up: Chocolate Pie, Decorating, Doodles, and More

Posted on Jul 28, 2015 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has a fun tie-dye project, a clipboard organizer, doodled journal covers, recipes, and more.

Chocolate Covered Katie shared a recipe for homemade chocolate pudding pie (with no tofu).

Mrs. Happy Homemaker shared a recipe for caramel apple crumble cheesecake bars.

I Love to Create inspired us with doodled journal covers.

Crafts Unleashed showed us how to make a clipboard organizer.

link ru decorating with other half
A Beautiful Mess shared tips for decorating with your other half.

Strength and Sunshine shared a cherry chocolate oat bake recipe.

Create Craft Love showed us how to tie dye t-shirts with squirt guns.

Photo credit: Chocolate Covered Katie and A Beautiful Mess

Collagen Beer: Is It the Elixir of Youth?

Posted on Jul 27, 2015 by No Comments

Collagen is a protein found in the inner layer of our skin. It makes up the connective tissue in the dermis and it is the thing that keeps our skin looking young. As we age, it breaks down. As a result, wrinkles and sagging starts to develop.

None of us wants wrinkles and the beauty industry has capitalized on that with all kinds of lotions and cosmetics that use collagen as an ingredient.

The problem is that collagen can’t be absorbed through the skin, which has led to finding ways to increase collagen production rather just apply collagen to the skin.

In Asia, the practice of consuming collagen has been going on for years, and currently drinking collagen has become big. Companies like Shiseido and Kinbi sell collagen supplements in little bottles, much like the 5-Hour energy doses sold here in the U.S.

Last month, a company by the name of Suntory launched a collagen beer marketed with women in mind. It’s called Precious. Even for women that seems a strange name for beer in my opinion, but that aside, it’s five percent alcohol and contains 2 grams of collagen per can.

Their marketing tag line? “Guys can tell if a girl is taking collagen or not.” That tag line would never work here, but I won’t get into that. Instead, let’s look at whether consuming collagen provides any benefits to how we look.

The trend for collagen consumption has spread to Europe and “wrinkle-free meals” can be found at some restaurants in the U.S, but Japan is the leader in serving up collagen laden dishes.

It’s a naturally occurring ingredient in some dishes like chicken and pigs feet, but since it is a tasteless additive, it can easily be added to all kinds of dishes. The Japanese company, Eiwa, even makes marshmallows packed with 3,000 milligrams of collagen in each one.

So does ingesting collagen work to fight aging any better than smearing it on our skin? According to the British Skin Foundation, eating collagen doesn’t benefit the skin in any way.

Looks like drinking Precious beer won’t do much more than give someone a buzz, but I’m guessing that won’t stop the collagen consuming trend. Sometimes if we believe a myth, we think we can see results.

Photo credits: Gasp

Grass-Fed Fat Is Good for You

Posted on Jul 27, 2015 by No Comments

Expert advice on what is good for us and what’s not continues to evolve. I think we are still recovering from all the low-fat misinformation we were fed for a couple of decades.

With low carb diets, the Paleo diet and others, we are re-learning that fat is good for us. However, not all fats are the best for us.

I’ve recently learned that grass-fed animal fat is better for us that grain fed. This makes logical sense to be because the grass would be low carb while the grain would not.

Anyway, grass-fed animal fat includes bone barrow, tallow, and lard, but doesn’t include the fat of chickens or other poultry. According to a recent study, what makes them better is that they are high in nutrients, essential fatty acids, protein, minerals, antioxidants, and fat-soluble nutrients.

As we’ve heard over and over, we are what we eat. And the same goes for cows. Cows that feed on carotenoid-rich grass and forage assimilate substantial amounts of these compounds into their tissues.

Carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, are forerunners to vitamin A and are found as pigments in plants, so the carotenoids give the fat from grass-fed beef a more yellow hue than that found in the fat from grain-fed beef. Consider that a good indicator.

Grass-fed beef has also been shown to contain significantly higher levels of vitamin E and other nutrients used in the protection of our cells from oxidation. Antioxidants like vitamin E and beta-carotene also work synergistically to protect the meat against damage as it makes the journey to our plates.

Butter from grass-fed animals is also high in fat-soluble vitamins, antioxidants, vitamins A, E, D, and K, and healthy fats, while butter made from grain-fed cows offers lower levels of these beneficial compounds.

In a way, I look at grass fed meat as taking low-carb to one more level and the benefits are clear.

Photo credits: Neeta Lind

How Toxic Is Nutmeg?

Posted on Jul 24, 2015 by No Comments

Nutmeg is a potent spice that comes from the nutmeg tree which is native to many of the Indonesian islands.

Nutmeg is actually a nut, has a spicy aroma and a versatile flavor which can be used in sweet and savory dishes. For instance, I use it in my bread pudding recipe, when I make white sauce, and one of our family favorites, chicken tetrazzini.

With that said, I must also admit that it is not my favorite flavor if it is overused. It can easily overpower the overall piquancy of a dish. In fact, I sometimes leave it out of cookie recipes and just go with cinnamon instead.

Recently I read an article that said nutmeg was ‘toxic.’ Of course that claim piqued my curiosity, and led me to one study that mentions “numerous citations in medical literature” that report the common household spice’s abuse “as a psychoactive agent, primarily for its purported hallucinogenic effects.”

The research suggests that these effects are the result of the compound myristicin.

For this study, researchers reviewed the California Poison Control System database from 1997-2008 and tracked all the cases of single-substance human exposure to nutmeg. The results clearly show people have been known to abuse nutmeg.

For that time period a total of 119 people had experienced nutmeg exposure, with 86 of those people going after the experience on purpose. The rest had unintentionally consumbed too much.

When comparing the two groups, a higher number of the people from the group that had abused the spice on purpose experienced “tachycardia and agitation.”

The study concluded that “nutmeg exposure” is uncommon, but those who do experience it may suffer clinical effects that could require medical intervention. However, “life-threatening toxicity and death did not occur in this series.”

Don’t let this information stop you from using nutmeg though, because according to the study, most of the people responsible for abusing nutmeg were between the ages of 13 and 20. Need I say anymore?

Photo credits: wikimedia

Link Round-up: DIY Placemats, Cutting Board Clock, Smoky Eyes, and More

Posted on Jul 23, 2015 by 2 Comments

Today’s link round-up has tips for making your own art materials, sewing burlap placemats, making your own cutting board clock, and more.

A Beautiful Mess taught us how to create a clock out of a cutting board.

Artful Parent showed us 10 reasons to make your own art materials.

I Love to Create showed us a no-sew 2-in-1 halter or skirt cover-up project.

link ru diy burlap placemat

Kenarry showed us how to sew burlap placemats.

Create Craft Love showed us how to make no-bake bumblebee Oreos.

Kalyn’s Kitchen shared a recipe for whole wheat orzo and grilled vegetable salad with feta, olives, and herbs.

Cupcakes and Cashmere showed us three ways to achieve a gorgeous smoky eye.

Photo credit: A Beautiful Mess and Kenarry

Coconut Water Keeps You Hydrated and More

Posted on Jul 22, 2015 by No Comments

Before I moved to Florida, I’d never seen a palm tree and the only coconut I’d eaten were the big, brown, hairy-looking fruits in the produce section of the grocery store.

When I saw green coconuts on the trees and wondered out loud about how different they looked, someone told me the nuts were inside.

Because I liked coconut, I looked forward to trying a fresh one. When the time came, I marveled at the amount of work it took to get that nut out of its green shell. The person doing all the work used a large hammer and a chisel-like tool.

When it opened somewhat, they used brute strength to pull the fibrous outer shell open a piece at a time. And there it was, a green coconut, which I later learned is how young coconuts look.

“Ready to try some coconut water?” they asked.

At that time, I’d never heard of coconut water, but I liked coconut and I was game. My friend hacked at the green outer part of the coconut revealing a soft white interior. He lopped a hole at the top and handed it to me to drink from the opening.

To my surprise it was clear. The taste was slightly sweet and had a hint of a nutty flavor. It really was more like water than I expected.

At the time, I had no idea that the rare drink in my hands was rich in electrolytes, low in calories or that it offered more potassium than a sports drink.

It wasn’t until I moved to Georgia that I learned about coconut water’s health benefits. It can aid in weight loss, it’s good for our skin, helps us stay hydrated, and can even aid in lowering blood pressure.

Of course now, I have to buy it at the store or travel 50 miles to the farmer’s market that offers young coconuts, which are expensive. Since I don’t like the immature fruit part of the young coconut, for me the convenience of buying coconut water at the store is the best option.

Either way, it’s a treat worth having on hand in the summer months because it really helps keep me hydrated and tastes way better than any sports drink.

Photo credits: wikipedia

Link Round-up: Knotted Scarf Chignon Style, Grilled Chicken with Persimmon Salsa, and More

Posted on Jul 21, 2015 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has a knotted scarf chignon hairstyle, garlic grilled chicken with persimmon salsa, homemade green tea travel toner, monster party invitations, and more.

Strength and Sunshine shared a recipe for garlic grilled chicken with persimmon salsa.

Kalyn’s Kitchen showed us how to make rosemary mustard grilled chicken.

CopyKat taught us how to make delicious sweet and sour chicken.

Carolyn’s Homework showed us how to create green tea travel toner to keep oily skin under control.

link ru knotted scarf chignon

A Beautiful Mess showed us how to create a knotted scarf chignon hairstyle.

Simplistically Living shared how to make your own monster party invitations.

Two Healthy Kitchens shared a recipe for cool and creamy five-minute no-cook blueberry almond oatmeal.

Photo credit: Strength and Sunshine and A Beautiful Mess

Make Laundry a Matter of Family Team Work

Posted on Jul 20, 2015 by No Comments

Laundry is the ever-present chore, and keeping up with it can be a real challenge. It’s not just because it needs to be done, but that it involves everyone in the family.

This leads me to the question of whose job is it to do the laundry at your house? Then there is the second part of this that asks “how.” By that I mean, do you expect laundry to be sorted into loads or do you just stuff it all into one load to get it done and over with?

The reason I ask this is that as I sat talking with a couple of moms the other day, I saw both had their laundry frustrations.

One mom of two teenagers, requires that her kids do their own laundry, and I personally think this is a good idea as it teaches them what they need to know before they are off on their own.

Her approach is to assign laundry days. Each child as two days to get their laundry done which takes up four days and then the other three days are left for mom and dad. Her struggle is a daughter than tends to forget her laundry midway through the process, which throws the schedule off.

The second mom in the conversation has five kids that range from 19 to almost 3. She thinks she has laundry done and then the kids clean their rooms and the laundry hampers fill up faster than she can sit down to take a break.

I suggested the mom of 5 stop doing the entire family’s laundry when she has four teenage daughters and told her about my own laundry sorting process that helped me keep up with things.

I use standard kitchen trash cans to sort whites from towels, from mediums and darks. When the can is full it’s a load. If you place the item in there and it doesn’t let the flip top closed…it’s time to do laundry, and that person can start the load, move it to the dryer, etc.

If you have a child that knows how to scam their part by tossing their clothes into the bin only when they know it is empty, I leave it to the parents to adjust things to make sure everyone takes part. Like perhaps they can take on folding detail.

When we make laundry a family chore, it is a task that requires team work for sure. But figuring out the logistics for your family will be a matter of trial and error.

One thing I did when my kids were teens doing their own laundry is if they forgot their clothes in the washer or dryer, I’d place them in a laundry basket to be finished when they remembered them. It helped them forget less often.

One last suggestion for those with team-resistant families is to do laundry at the Laundromat for a few weeks. It helps bring into focus the benefits and advantages of doing laundry at home. I’d love to hear ideas from you, too!

Photo credits: Sean McGrath

Link Round-up: New Spin on Banana Bread, Baby Showers, Polka Dot Cake, and More

Posted on Jul 16, 2015 by 1 Comment

Today’s link round-up has a new spin on banana bread, polka dot cake, baby shower ideas, and more.

Chocolate Covered Katie showed us how to make chocolate peanut butter banana bread.

Spaceships and Laser Beams shared ideas for a “You Are My Sunshine” gender-neutral baby shower.

I Love to Create taught us how to make a bright, colorful tulle skirt.

Uncommon Designs showed us how to make a floral DIY photo backdrop.

link ru polka dot cake

A Beautiful Mess taught us how to make a polka dot cake.

Cupcakes and Cashmere showed us how to create a copper clothing rack.

DIY Crush showed us how to use decorative elastic on a romper.

Photo credit: Chocolate Covered Katie and A Beautiful Mess