my journey through the pursuit of love & happiness

Archive for the ‘health’ Category

On my way to the last Harry Potter movie ever I grabbed a meatball sandwich from Subway. They’re pretty good and only five dollars for a footlong. However, the meatballs tasted kinda funny. I kept eating most of the sandwich b/c well I was hungry and paid for it and that’s just the type of person I am. BUT. I thought to myself, I can make this. I can make this better.

So I made meatballs. Healthy meatballs. The recipe takes about two hours total, but you make a lot. I froze what I didn’t use this week. I’ve had two meatball sandwiches for lunch this week and I’m pretty sure I can have two meatball sandwiches at work for the next two months.

It's worth the effort to make this recipe!! Freeze up to three months.

Here is the recipe w/my modifications included in pink:

  • 1/2 cup bulgur, (see Ingredient Note)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 8 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper After reading one review I decided to put a little more kick in the meatballs. I at least doubled the amount and they came out with a nice little kick of flavor. If you really want spicy I would say add 1 to  1 1/4 teaspoons
  • 2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes I stopped by the clearance racks at my grocery store– which consists of dented cans and found 1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes half off. I also found two 7.5 oz cans half off, one that was fire roasted tomatoes and garlic, the other tomatoes with onions and green peppers. They added just a lil more flavor. I also used less garlic b/c I can had garlic in it.
  • 4 cups diced plum tomatoes, (about 1 1/2 pounds) After reading one review that said it was too saucy and knowing that I wanted these for sandwiches and not pasta I completely cut out this part of the recipe.
  • 2 cups cubed whole-wheat country bread I used regular sized bread crumbs and the consistency turned out great.
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 pound 93%-lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

 

Preparation

  1. Place bulgur in a medium bowl and cover generously with hot water. Let soak for 30 minutes. Drain in a fine sieve, pressing to remove excess liquid.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat. (I used a large sauce pan.) Add garlic, oregano and crushed red pepper; cook, stirring, until softened but not browned, about 1 minute. Stir in canned tomatoes and plum tomatoes; increase heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low. Partially cover and let simmer while you prepare meatballs.
  3. Place bread in a medium bowl and cover with cold water. Let soak for a few minutes. Drain and squeeze out moisture.
  4. Whisk egg and egg white in a large bowl. Add the bulgur, the bread, beef, Parmesan, cinnamon, pepper and salt. Gently combine with a potato masher and/or your hands. Form into 20 oval meatballs about 2 inches long.
  5. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; blot with paper towels. Brown the remaining meatballs.
  6. Mash the simmering tomato sauce with a potato masher to break down any large chunks of tomato. Add the meatballs to the sauce. Simmer over low heat, partially covered, for 50 minutes.
  7. Taste the sauce and add sugar, if it seems tart, and additional pepper to taste. Serve the meatballs with the sauce.

Tips & Notes:

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Ingredient note: Bulgur is made by parboiling, drying and coarsely grinding or cracking wheat berries. It simply needs a quick soak in hot water for most uses. Look for it in the natural-foods section of large supermarkets, near other grains, or online at kalustyans.com, lebaneseproducts.com.

I bought some nice sandwich rolls to complement my meatballs. I keep them separated at work until I’m ready to eat. Then I microwave the meatballs and put the roll into the toaster oven. Viola!!

Nutrients

Per serving: 283 calories; 11 g fat ( 4 g sat , 4 g mono ); 73 mg cholesterol; 20 g carbohydrates; 23 g protein; 5 g fiber; 687 mg sodium; 271 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (60% daily value), Vitamin A (30% dv).

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So I went into Nordstrom’s this Friday afternoon for a free Philosophy Oxygen Facial Mask as a promotion for their Anniversary Sale. I love the Philosophy line — especially their new make-up line.  As I sat there, hair pulled back white goop all over my face, the woman giving me the mask starting asking me what products I use, especially to help with problem areas on my skin (stupid adult acne).

Sigh. My skin. My first East Coast Winter I was sure my skin was rejecting my new living environment and telling me to move back to a place where the sun comes out 365/year. Never had my skin been so awful. I realized that I needed to jump back on the American bandwagon of beauty products (two years in Africa consisted practically only of sun screen).  On and off my skin still gets bad since being on the East Coast. Recently, it is partly my fault. With my extractor handy (how-to to follow) I poke my face after the shower. #daily fail. The thing is I’ve made this decision before. So I have been trying a few different things instead (which also include going back on Oral contraceptives to help with my skin):

1. Washing my face in cold water. Cold water closes the pores. Warm/hot water opens them up. This has been pretty easy b/c the summers in DC are soooo hot. However, if you love your hot showers, try instead splashing cold water on your face from the sink once you step out.

2. Complementing/substituting my night creme with Vitamin E Oil. I’ve been using ‘Almond Glow: Coconut Skin Lotion.’ It has peanut, olive and Vitamin E. Topical Vitamin E will help with scarring. Although I naturally have oily skin but using this oil is actually a pretty good alternative to night creme– it’s cheap and in the morning my skin always feels softer. Though I would be hesitant to try it out in the morning as a moisturizer unless you have dry skin.

How I use this product: I put a less than a dime amount in my hand, I start first putting the oil under my eyes and in areas where I have a little scarring, then I blend on the rest of my face. If I have any left over I will massage my neck.

Makes for a great night moisturizer.

3. For the past six or so months I’ve also been using Sephora’s Precision Pore Cleansing Pad. I thought enough of this product to get it for a friend for her birthday. (Actually I made her this great humidity/beauty basket which included my homemade body scrub.) This product is cheap, lasts a while and also leaves my skin feeling a little smoother. Recently I’ve starting using it twice a day though I could probably go back to just once a day to make it last longer.

Pretty in pink precision pore will help your skin feel softer.

What it does: This tool uses tiny bristles to invigorate the skin and effectively clean pores, helping to exfoliate and soften the skin.

Price: $5

Online reviews: This product has over 600 reviews on sephora.com and averages 4/5 star rating.

Other thoughts: Soft enough for sensitive skin.

It is partly this last product that lead me to believe the Mia will be effective on my skin. It’s like the small pad but it’s a vibrating brush. So finally, onto Mia…

What the product claims:

  • 6x more makeup removal than manual cleansing
  • 61% greater absorption of Vitamin C after use

There are three different brush heads for normal, sensitive and delicate skin. For people who have backne or acne on other places of their body you might want to check out the Clarisonic Classic.

How to use: The product is water-proof so you can use it in the shower. It is timed to go off after one minute. Recommend use is: 20 seconds forehead, 10 each cheek, nose/chin 20 seconds. Wet your face and put your liquid facial cleanser on the brush and go!

What the Nordstrom Anniversary package includes: Two brushes (and I was able to score an additional brush for free), cleanser, travel bag, and charger.

Online reviews: On Sephora and Amazon this product has A LOT of reviews and averages 4/5 stars. One online review boosts: “I have noticed a huge change in my skin after using the Mia! My skin is smoother and feels so clean. My pores are much less noticeable and I actually wear make up less often because of it. I break out less, too. The Mia is worth every penny.”

My review:I couldn’t wait to get home and try this out. I have used it only once but I have to say after one use my skin felt slightly smoother/softer (could particularly notice on my checks). I will post further reviews at 2 and 4 weeks.

eye ❤ pink

Price: A little pricey. But it’s your skin and my life long goal to go back to being make-up less (or at least looking fabulous w/o it). I have not had a facial in over a year and a half (b/c I’m cheep and am determined to give myself mini-facials at home, and also all about preventative treatment) so I justified this as 1/1.5 facials. At Nordstrom I paid $149 for over a $200 value (which includes the extra extra free brush I received at the counter). I also told myself that if I hate it it’s Nordstrom’s and they will take it back no matter what.

Notes/tips: Each brush lasts 4-5 months and has anti-bacterial bristles. After 2-4 weeks you will start to break out because your skin is being purged (like what happens after a facial). It is careful to note that this may go on longer for you and after a month you may feel like using the product less, but keep with it! The woman at Nordstrom’s said she was breaking out after a month but powered through and her skin is so much better. Also, it is recommended to use only once a day for a month, after that you can up the use to twice a day.

Extra notes to myself: Since I am (holds breath) a resident on the East Coast (sigh) and see myself here for at least another 2-3 years (baring love’s and the universe’s plan for myself) I need to be like mama and make friends with the women at Nordstrom’s back home b/c they always hook my mom up!

Lastly, if you’re thinking of purchasing one I would compare sale/promotion prices at Sephora, Macy’s and Nordstrom. At Nordstrom’s you can usually get an extra free brush (as I did w/o even trying, but try!) or facial cleanser. They also have a light pink one for breast cancer.

My gay boyfriend introduced me to this website and although it is lacking in dessert and appetizers it has great recipes. It has a menu and meal planner, cooking tips, 20-minute recipes, recipes for two and so much more!

My favorite thus far is seared chicken with apricot sauce. I shared it with my mom and she made if for company and everyone loved it. Enjoy!!

Sooo much flavor!

4 servings

Active Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (about 1 1/4 pounds), trimmed and tenders removed
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 4 fresh apricots, pitted and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons apricot preserves
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon , or 1/2 teaspoon dried

Preparation

  1. Place chicken breasts between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Pound with a rolling pin, meat mallet or heavy skillet until flattened to an even thickness, about 1/2 inch. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish. Dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off excess. (Discard any leftover flour.)
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned and no longer pink in the center, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, cover and keep warm. (If necessary, cook the chicken in two batches with an additional 1 tablespoon oil.)
  3. Off the heat, add wine and shallot to the pan. Return to medium heat and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Add apricots and cook until the fruit begins to break down, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in preserves, tarragon and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Return the chicken to the pan and cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve the chicken with the sauce.

Nutrition

Per serving: 252 calories; 5 g fat ( 1 g sat , 3 g mono ); 66 mg cholesterol; 15 g carbohydrates; 4 g added sugars; 27 g protein; 1 g fiber; 517 mg sodium; 444 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (15% daily value).

 

Update:

1. You are going to have to cook the sauce longer than the recipe says. Probably at least twice as long.

2. For leftovers I heated up the chicken and sauce, let it cool and put it over arugula!! Mmmm!!!! So good. The sauce alone could be used as a nice dressing. Sooo tasty!

I will never buy store-brand tampons again.

How was I suppose to know that the 50% Clearance tag wasn’t talking about the damaged box but rather, the fact that it took nearly short of three hands to get those suckers in.

I felt like I was a teenager again, stumbling around down there not sure what was going up or down. NO, tampons are not created equal. Guys— make sure when your lady sends you to pick up tampons you get the ones she actually wants.

For me, happy tampons are Pearl by Tampax.

I know this is hot yoga and it is DC, but the rest of us normal people have our shirts on.

Maybe if I had your abs I’d be looking to show them off every chance I get, too. Or, maybe not. See, I’m in my late 20s now and value a little more modesty than I used to. So as much as I don’t normally go flashing my cleavage around town, I’d probably also be more conservative about showing off my six-pack.

That being said….. I did secretly smile when your teeny lil’ self and six-pack abs could not do any of the binding, or advance positions. And unlike myself, you certainly couldn’t do the splits.

So let’s just decide to call it even.

xoxo,
the girl behind you

Am I thinking sex or broccoli?

Am I thinking sex or broccoli?

First, let me preface this by saying I LOVE animals. If I saw one being mistreated I would walk up and punch someone in the face for doing so. That being said, I also don’t like dumb people.

I am really getting tired of PETA’s low-brow sex tactics at convincing people to go vegetarian. What’s next? Miller lite ads with butt-ass naked women with big hair saying ‘I’d rather go lite’? (I should’ve gone into advertising).

First of all I know a lot of vegetarians and they are not stick thin. They are normal people, like the rest of us meat-eating population. Second, I also know people who went vegetarian and didn’t do it the healthy way and suffered because they weren’t getting all the nutrients and vitamins their body needs.

What bothers me about Peta’s ads:

1. Peta’s sex tactics really only appeal to straight men. Do you think looking at a picture of a woman with a cucumber in her mouth suggestively is really going to get me to eat veggies? Really you are just giving the teenage neighborhood boy masturbation material.

2. Guess who does the shopping in most families? Did you say women?  You only have to  look  to your household to see who makes the grocery shopping/health decisions. So why aren’t you targeting women?

3. It’s a stupid argument. Do they think they are really convincing people that if they eat more veggies (and no meat) they are going to have more (and better) sex and be better looking? Seriously?!

Is there nothing to their benefit that they have to go soooo shallow?! Do they really think their message isn’t getting lost in sex?

In the end, I can complain all I want but the econometrician in me decided to do a little bit more research and try to put some weight to my and Peta’s claims. Here’s what I found online.

Why vegetarians aren’t having better sex, but thank you PETA for manipulating data to your benefit. I am really starting to respect you as an organization.

After having their Superbowl ad banned Peta released a statement in response to NBC. In this statement Peta said that meat makes people “fat, sick and boring in bed.” That sounds scientific to me! Their sample of people was limited to people who ate low-fat, low-cholesterol diets. Further, vegetarians who are slimmer tend to be slimmer because they are more health-conscious overall. In other words, not eating meat isn’t a causal factor to being slim.

Being over weight has it’s consequences, yes. It is related to diabetes, heart disease and decreased sex libido, sure. But not everyone who eats meat is overweight. And certainly, eating meat is not a casual factor for being fat. In fact, eat fat is a casual relationship with being fat. Who knew?

But wait… this just in. A recent study shows that weight loss does not positively affect a woman’s sex life. In fact, researches “showed that overweight women were more likely to report having sexual intercourse with a man, even when she controlled for age, race and type of residence.” (I’m not sure what they mean by type of residence, but I like this demographic control. Note: This study talked about weight, not vegetarian diet). Wha? Admittingly, the researches said these results were unexpected. The researches went on to say that “the important part to take away from the study is that physicians and others who work in women’s medical health should never make assumptions about sexual behavior based on outward appearances.”

Vitamin deficiencies can plague vegetarians. In fact, “vegetarian women are also more likely to develop amenorrhea (loss of periods), a condition that’s usually accompanied by low testosterone, vaginal dryness, and poor libido.”

Further, “data suggest that the health of Western vegetarians is good and similar to that of comparable non-vegetarians.”

So what’s with all the sex?

My only conclusion is that there is actually little benefits from being a vegetarian — or else they would be using these great arguments instead of distracting people with sex. I mean they put more sex in their ads than Budweiser!

I guess presenting meat-eating as a moral delimna is no longer in fashion. Or maybe Peta is underestimating the population. Why not have ads of vegetarians describing their vegetarian experiences? Like when they switched, how it’s been hard and benefits they personally feel they can attribute to the switch?

Peta, I cannot take you seriously when you are only creating masturbation material for the neighborhood teen (and prolly married men) and not once ever attempting to create an ad that encourages me to question my meat-eating choices.

Found this after I wrote my post. Sums it up pretty nicely.

Found this after I wrote my post. Sums it up pretty nicely.

 


"IF YOU CAN'T HANDLE ME AT MY WORST, THAN YOU DON'T DESERVE ME AT MY BEST" -marilyn monroe

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