NATIONAL MEDITERRANEAN DIET MONTH

TL MAY IS NATIONAL MEDITERRANEAN DIET MONTH

Isn’t it interesting that the words MEDICINE and MEDITERRANEAN both begin with the letters MED?  What exactly is a Mediterranean Diet?  Most of us have been exposed to some aspects of it, but few of us have embraced it completely.  One of our favorite restaurants serves an appetizer called hummus.  It’s made with chick peas, of all things!  Even five years ago we had not heard of it – but today, hummus is a popular snack here in America.

There are many Mediterranean dishes that are becoming more popular in America as time passes.  Most recipes feature olives, olive oil and bright, vibrant vegetables.  They not only look healthy – they are healthy!

This month you are invited to join the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #MedDietMonth.  Follow @OldwaysPT on Twitter to join the party on May 19th at 1 pm ET.

Here’s one of my favorite facebook pages, it’s filled with great snack ideas that won’t wreck your diet plan.

https://www.facebook.com/mediterranean.snacks/?fref=ts

I love food posts because that means I get to share a wonderful recipe with you!  If you have never cooked anything Mediterranean before, this is a perfect starting point.  It’s not only pretty, but tastes great too!

CONFETTI COUSCOUS (makes 4 servings – 3 1/2 WW points per serving)

Ingredients:

2 c. low-sodium vegetable broth

1 c. whole wheat couscous

2 Tbs. golden raisins

2 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 c. slivered almonds

1/4 c. fine chopped red bell pepper

2 Tbs. dried cranberries

1/4 c. sliced scallions

1/4 c. chopped dried apricots

3 Tbs. chopped fresh mint

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh ginger

1 clove garlic, minced

Directions:

Bring broth to a boil in saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in couscous, raisins, cumin and salt.  Cover and remove from heat.  Let stand 5 minutes or until couscous is soft.  Uncover and fluff with fork and let cool 10 minutes.

Cook almonds in skillet over medium heat, 3-5 minutes or until lightly toasted.

Stir almonds, bell pepper, cranberries, scallions, apricots, mint, oil, lemon juice, ginger and garlic into couscous.

This is a wonderful side dish with baked chicken or fish.  It really does look like confetti in a bowl – almost too pretty to eat.  I did say…  almost.  😉

 

 

 

HAIKU DAY

TL 4-17 HAIKU DAYWhat’s the difference between a Haiku and other poetry?  Here’s the recipe for a Haiku:

The Haiku is a Japanese verse in three lines.  It does not have to rhyme, and in fact should not rhyme, but it is considered a mood poem, so the words you choose should be chosen very carefully, and invoke emotion in the reader – laughter, tears, a sense of compassion, a sense of fear, a sense of accomplishment or a sense of hope and encouragement.  It doesn’t use any metaphors or similes.  Usually when Haiku is taught, the students are told to restrict the number of lines and syllables.  Punctuation and capitalization rules are up to the poet, and need not follow rigid rules used in structuring sentences.

Basic guidelines for beginners (like me – holding my hand up really high!):

  1. Line one has 5 syllables
  2. Line two has 7 syllables
  3. Line three has 5 syllables

A Haiku makes me think of the Chinese philosophical system of harmonizing everyone with the surrounding environment called feng shui.  It’s a popular tool used in all sorts of design and staging of new homes for public view.  It’s all about balance and literally translates as “wind-water” in English.

But back to Haiku…  Lucinda has written some thought-provoking poetry for this blog.  I love Haiku just like I love to hear a short sermon at church that is really good.  A good Haiku will speak to you with these few words, just as a nice short sermon can get to the point and leave a lasting impression on the listener.

SUNFLOWERS HAIKUSUMMERTIME SWING HAIKUDOG HAIKUBLUE HAIKUBABY HAIKUCLOUDS HAIKUDESSERT HAIKUA woman’s reward…  OH I like that!  😉

Lucinda reminded me that there is a SAD side to Haiku…

13022332_1748745145369948_747312919_nOh…  some of us know about chronic illness.  Jus’ sayin’.  :-/

NATIONAL SALSA MONTH

MAY IS NATIONAL SALSA MONTH

Homemade Salsa

  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes (or a combination of tomatoes and fresh peaches, nectarines, mangoes or grapes)
  • 1/3 cup chopped yellow or white onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 jalapeño or serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Put all ingredients into a bowl, toss well and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Per Serving:Serving size: about 1/2 cup, 25 calories (0 from fat), 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 150mg sodium, 6g carbohydrate (1g dietary fiber, 3g sugar), 1g protein

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Most condiments are either high in sugar (also known as high fructose corn syrup) or sodium.  Most of us attempt to strike a balance between those two extremes so we don’t make our blood sugar or blood pressure unhappy.

Thankfully, there is one condiment that has not affected either my blood sugar or blood pressure – salsa! 

Everyone in my realm of influence seems to like hot salsa, but I quickly admit that I can’t handle heat.  For me, it’s got to be mild salsa.  One of our favorite Mexican restaurants serves a mild salsa that is too hot for me!  They know me and know they will have to cool the salsa down – yes, they laugh at me – but I don’t care.

Because salsa is such a healthy alternative, I use it in some rather unconventional ways:

  • Baked potatoes taste so good with salsa on top instead of fattening butter
  • Mix salsa with mayo to save some serious calories before dressing up your burger
  • Try mixing salsa into your scrambled eggs
  • Salsa is a great veggie dip.  Have you read the label on your favorite dip?  It’s crazy!

We can’t have a garden where we live now, but as a kid my folks grew their own tomatoes, peppers and onions to make homemade salsa.  Of course, the most traditional pairing is tortilla chips and salsa.  There are typically quite a few carbohydrates in tortilla chips, so keep that in mind.  Beyond that, have a good time with your favorite salsa dish!  Ole’!  🙂

WELSH RAREBIT DAY

TL 9-3 WELSH RAREBIT DAY

9-3 SUMMER SONSHINE FROM THE STEEPLE

It’s so tempting to miss church and enjoy a Sunday at the lake, isn’t it? After all, we rationalize, God made this wonderful creation and it would be a shame not to be outside enjoying it! Believe me, I do understand the rationale all too well.

How strange that Nature does not knock, and yet does not intrude! – Emily Dickinson, letter to Mrs. J.S. Cooper, 1880

Nature is kind and considerate. It does not say or do anything that may upset us and does not care what we do. There are moments when being in a beautiful place on God’s earth is the perfect balm for what ails us.  Being outdoors should certainly be part of our everyday activities. When I taught the Kindergarten Sunday School class a few years ago, I made it a regular part of our lesson plan to go on “nature walks” where the children would find the most unusual things! When a child brings you a gift, you have to act like it is the greatest thing ever. That was easier at some times than others.

If we can remember to invite nature’s sun into our lives to provide relaxation and rest, and God’s Son into our lives to provide instruction, discipline, as well as peace and rest, we have a good formula for life!

Don’t deny yourself of fellowship with other believers.  Some of the most interesting moments of my life happened in the church.  I got to try Welsh Rarebit at a women’s church breakfast one time.  Today just happens to be WELSH RAREBIT DAY!!!  It’s akin to cheese on toast, but is made with cheese and sauce with Worcestershire and different spices.   It was served as a sort of fondue with a poached egg on top.  The name is believed to be a jest at the expense of the 18th Century poor of Wales.

As we enjoy the last few weeks of Summer, let’s take a good look at our SUN / SON ratio. ❤

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (26)

MEMO TO THE SHEEP

A MEMO, that’s all it is. It’s just a reminder to all that we are on one side of the proverbial fence or the other. There are no such things as shoats or geep. You’re either on the Right side (a sheep) or on the Left side (a goat). There is no in-between in the eternal realm. If you are trying to ride the fence, doesn’t it get tiring trying to keep your balance? Trying to convey one sent of standards around your “Christian” peeps while you convey a completely different set of standards (or lack thereof) with your earthly peeps?

You know God knows everything, right? He sees what you do, when you do it and with whom you do it. I’m not here to preach, just to remind.

I wasn’t even going to use this poem, but today we tried out a new pizza place here in Wichita and the most interesting “music” was playing. The lyrics were “Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell.” Did I need a more clear sign from God that this poem needed to be used??? Um… NO!

The dining experience began with the really awful music and ended with me asking for a to-go cup for my soda. I asked and the girl behind the counter (whose nose stud I could not stop looking at) informed me that she would have to charge me 53 cents for a regular sized Styrofoam cup. I gave her my best “You have GOT to be kidding me” look. She gave me her “Look lady, I don’t make the rules around here, I just enforce them” look. In a matter of seconds she said, “I can give you a SMALL cup.” I said, “Thank you.”

We won’t be going back.

A memo… a reminder… pick a side and believe with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. It’s my prayer that you are on the RIGHT. God wins!   ❤

NATIONAL STRESS AWARENESS DAY

TL 4-16 NATIONAL STRESS AWARENESS DAY

Today is NATIONAL STRESS AWARENESS DAY!!!

I’d like to ask you a question: 

Do you sometimes feel like the victim of your own Greek tragedy?  Has the drama in life got you wanting to add the phone number for a-joke-a-day to the most frequently called numbers in your cell phone? 

Let me introduce you to the best stress buster to date.  Zentangle is like Etch-a-Sketch on steroids!  This gives Spirograph a run for its money!  It takes the magna out of magna doodle!

Zentangle is used in hospitals for stress and pain relief.  Zentangle can also influence piano playing!  Since I’ve been a pianist for over 45 years, I thought it would be a good idea to look into this ZENTANGLE thing! Well, the best way to learn something is to first read about it and then experience it first hand if you possibly can.  The more I read about this fascinating art form, the more intrigued I was and the more I wanted to try it for myself.

Upon first glance, this does not look like it’s going to be simple.  It looks a bit daunting, to be honest.  Everyone assured me that it is really easier to do than it seems to be.  You know what?  That’s what everyone says about cross-stitch, but my eyesight will not let me do cross-stitch no matter how large my Aida cloth is!  I was really afraid that this medium of expression would be a similar kind of experience for me.

Evidence suggests that our hormonal reaction to stress may speed up the aging process.  – Vivian Diller, Ph.D.

I do not find such things as puzzles or games to be relaxing.  There is a certain outcome that is expected in all of this.  Freedom of expression is the reason I enjoy music so much.  Even though when you play a piece of music you are told by the composer how it is to sound, you still have the freedom to use your own style and tweak it if you want to.

This is the sort of freeing and uplifting experience you feel as you create with Zentangle.  You can create never-ending, never-changing “solutions” in these amazing creations.  As I understand it, no two Zentangle pieces are alike, because of the individual decisions you make – it is literally one stroke at a time and it’s anybody’s guess what the result will look like.  No pre-planning whatsoever.

It’s calming and relaxing because there is no absolute – no right or wrong way to do it (unlike the Rubik’s Cube) It’s a wonderful way to just rest your brain for a little while and create.  Create what?  Well – we won’t know until it’s finished, but it’s going to be beautiful!  I’ve looked at over a dozen completed Zentangle works and they are all unique and gorgeous.

If you are feeling stressed and a bit boxed in, Zentangle can provide a release of that tension and give you a sense of timelessness, freedom and well-being as you completely focus on your project with no thought or worry about anything else.  It provides a mini-vacation for your spirit.

We all know that stress happens – and there is not a single medical condition or disease that stress benefits!  Stress is bad – but we know it’s there – every day of our lives.  Any bit of relief we can find to escape the horror of stress is welcome indeed!

Walk away from what has you so stressed out and get creative with Zentangle.  It’s a great way to de-stress and forget about life for a while.  I think you will really be surprised at how your mind will go to a much happier place and you will create a unique piece of art in the process!

NATIONAL DEEP DISH PIZZA DAY

TL 4-5 NATIONAL DEEP DISH PIZZA DAY

 

Have you ever wondered about the history of pizza?

Chicago style or New York???  We’ll start with Chicago style.

Chicago-style pizza is typically a deep-dish variety baked in a specialized, round pan that looks much like one used for baking a cake, about 1 1/2 inches deep.  The pan gives the pizza its high edge and a deep surface for large amounts of cheese and chunky tomato sauce.

It just so happens that today is NATIONAL DEEP DISH PIZZA DAY!  That’s not something I can indulge in much anymore because there are just a ton of carbohydrates in the crust, but if I was able to eat it I definitely would.  I’d choose the Chicago-style too, for sure!

Now for the New York style.

New York-style pizza is a larger, hand-tossed, thin-crust pie.  It’s usually sold in wide slices to go.  There is not as much tomato sauce and has a more crisp crust along the edge, yet it is soft and pliable.

Since I have to be careful to count carbs, I go for the thin crust pizzas.  The first slice of pizza I ever ate was from Godfather’s Pizza back in the early 1970’s with some friends from a church group.  It was a Chicago-style deep dish pizza and it was amazing!

The longer I deal with Diabetes, the more balance I seek between food and exercise.  I have to work off what I eat or those carbs will play havoc with my health.  Once in a blue moon I have something that is usually off-limits…  say – a slice of deep dish pizza.  Instead of spending time beating myself up over it, I use that time to exercise and burn some of it off.

As long as I live there will be food temptations all around me.  I have to choose my “cheats” wisely.  I can’t just fall off the wagon every day, but I’m not going to live as though deep dish pizza does not exist either.

I’m so much more particular about the food I eat than I used to be – because I have to be picky.  When I get one slice of deep dish pizza, it had better be perfect.  I don’t like the crust too brown.  I don’t like pepperoni but I will eat Canadian Bacon.  The sauce needs to be a bit tangy – not too sweet, and the cheese needs to be evenly distributed with some on my piece.  I only get one slice – so it had better be just the way I like it.  😉