Monday, June 8, 2015

Donuts are delightful

Donuts are delicious, donuts are delectable... heck, donuts are delightful! 

You may think that to get the best donuts you need to visit your local bakery or donut shop, but I can guarantee you that you can make them at home all. by. yourself.  They take a little time, but most of that is waiting for the dough to rise - the rest of the process is actually quite simple. 

Those beauties in the picture... well, I made them myself in just a few hours and you can too!

Here's the recipe:

Alton Brown's Yeast Donut Recipe

and the glaze:

Donut Glaze
Chocolate Donut Glaze

Give it a try - fresh donuts are sooo tasty that you'll never go back to pre-made again!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

10 Low or No Cost Activities for You to do with Your Kids this Summer

It's coming.... heading your way.... for some of you, it's only days over the horizon.... for others (like me) you have a couple more weeks before it hits.... No, it's not a storm, or a natural disaster... (although it certainly can feel that way sometimes) it's the end of school - the beginning of summer vacation! Have you even given any though to what your kids are going to do? You could sign them up for a whole list of camps, lessons and playdates, shuttling them about here and there. At some point, you'll become exhausted - but you'll justify this to yourself... "this is better than having them sit around playing video games all day and crying 'I'm bored' every chance they get"... But is that really what's best? Are they getting the downtime that Summer vacation was intended for? I don't know about the rest of the country, but Summer vacations are getting shorter and shorter here, we get out of school in the middle of June, only to return in the middle of August - not much time to spend with the kiddos - and as my Little Miss Lauren puts it "I'm going to have all the fun I can get - I need more fun!"
This Summer, instead of over scheduling the kids, relax with them, play with them... you just might have a really fun summer yourself! Here are some ideas...
  1. Is your home full of clutter? Are you trying to get the kids to control their own clutter? Check out Camp Gonna Wanna Fly Now, courtesy of Flylady. Flylady will lead you through the whole process of setting up a "camp" for your kids - only this camp won't teach them to make macrame plant hangers - this camp will teach them to help out around the house while they have a blast, and who couldn't use a little more of that?
  2. Befriend a Firefighter - Bake them cookies (or pick up some Popsicles), and deliver them to your local fire station. The firefighters will truly appreciate the surprise... your child will meet some heroes, and learn about giving to others.
  3. Make a rocket with a soda bottle and baking soda - find out how at Wiki How.
  4. Go on a picnic with your kids at a local park or beach,or even the backyard!
  5. Check out Free Tours (such as factory tours) in your area (my kids love going to the jelly belly factory!)
  6. Be entertained. Many libraries offer free story times, puppet shows and events during the summer - they're usually free - so check them out.
  7. Make a scrapbook of everything you do this summer - include your kids drawings along with snapshots and things collected. It will be a great conversation starter when they return to school.
  8. Check out your local visitors center. There are probably lots of things to do for little or no money that your kids will love (and maybe they'll learn something new too!)
  9. Teach them to sit down and write a letter - this is becoming a lost art with email and text messaging, but wouldn't a Grandparent or faraway Aunt love to receive a handwritten letter from your child?
  10. Start a postcard collection from everywhere you visit. If you can't find a postcard at a particular destination, snap a picture that best represents the place and when you get home, your child can design their own postcard with the photograph.
These are just a few ideas - I'm sure you can come up with many, many more. Just remember the most important thing.... Let the kids be kids, they don't need every second of the day scheduled - they need time to be a little bored sometimes... time to have a chance to think up something to do - that's when kids think up the games that end up being the most fun. Being just a little bored sometimes fosters creativity, imagination and memories that we can treasure for a lifetime.


- Liz

Posted by Liz of Pink Lemonade


Shake Up National Martini Day with the Surfer’s Martini on June 19th

Some prefer their martini shaken, not stirred. Some prefer it straight up or on the rocks. Some even prefer it dirty, but those with a real taste for adventure prefer it on the beach and with Tequila. The Surfer’s Martini, made famous on the sands of Southern California by the thrill-seeking, wave-chasing duo that created Peligroso Tequila, is a simple-yet-stirring twist on the classic cocktail. 

When National Martini Day rolls around on Friday June 19th, consider trading in the vermouth and olives for something with a little more thrill and a lot more agave.

SURFER’S MARTINI
Surfer’s Martini
·         1.5 oz. Peligroso® Silver Tequila
·         Lime Slice

Pour Peligroso® Silver Tequila into a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with lime.




All of us at Pink Lemonade ask you to please drink responsibly...

Friday, May 1, 2015

How to Host the Ultimate Derby Celebration

Kentucky Derby Party Tips

By Limor Suss, Lifestyle Expert

The Kentucky Derby is on May 1st, and if you’re planning on throwing a party for the greatest two minutes in sports, we have some stellar ideas.


Attire
Ask your friends to dress up in their finest clothes. This is the one day of the year when more is better. Invite male guests to wear light linen suits, seersucker, or really “go for it” with lively colors like coral, light blue, lime and yellow. The ladies should wear colorful

Set Up a Hat Decorating Station
Pick up flowers, lace, butterflies, tulle and feathers at your local craft store. Put out some glue guns and set up a hat decorating station. Purchase a few extra inexpensive hats, just in case someone forgets to bring one.

Roses as Decor
The Kentucky Derby is also known as “The Run for the Roses” where the winner is draped with a blanket of roses. You’ll want to get some rose petals and put them on the tables


Serve G.H.MUMM Champagne
It's the official champagne of the Kentucky Derby. It's what they spray the winning horse with at the end of the Derby and it's what you should be serving your guests.  If you're looking for a signature cocktail, try this tasty take on the mint julep using G.H.MUMM:

2 part G.H.MUMM Cordon Rouge
1 1⁄2 part Absolut Citron Vodka
1 part Fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 finger pinch fresh mint

Pour all ingredients, except G.H.MUMM Cordon Rouge, into a mixing glass.  Add ice, cover and shake vigorously for 7–8 seconds.  Pour G.H.MUMM Cordon Rouge into a chilled cocktail-martini glass and pour the

Make a Derby “Cheese Hat”

Use two different sized rounds of brie (or any other round cheese) layer on top of one another (like a wedding cake); add a colorful ribbon, decorate with herbs and edible flowers. Serve with toasted bread and fig jam.


Triple Crown Desserts
The Kentucky Derby race is the first leg of the coveted Triple Crown. (Fun Fact: There hasn’t been a Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.) Serve a trio of desserts: Mini pecan pies, Bourbon bites and mint julep cupcakes.

1st, 2nd and 3rd Place
The Derby is all about who wins. Why not have your own competition at home and assign a random horse to each guest? The guest matched with the winning horse receives a bouquet of roses and a bottle of G.H.MUMM Cordon Rouge.


Disclosure:  G.H.MUMM provided me with a 350ml bottle of their champagne to replicate the above recipe on my own.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Salt: Friend or Foe?

by Leanne Ely

Today's Focus is on SALT

Salt is an essential nutrient. Our bodies NEED salt. Note that I am not saying we need a LOT of salt, we just need some (about 500 milligrams a day). This is one of the reasons I much prefer sea salt to other salts-it's fresher, lighter and won't bog you don't like regular old table salt. Table salt has chemicals in it to keep it from clumping; such as sodium silicoaluminate, calcium phosphate or magnesium carbonate for example. No one needs chemical additives in their food!

Here's Today's TRICK:


I like to keep my salt in a dish so I can grab it by the pinch instead of risk oversalting it with a saltshaker. Obviously, you have to have a saltshaker on the table, but for cooking, I use a little salt cellar-it's a little dish with a lid and keep it right by the stovetop. Works like a charm and helps me to gradually salt to taste without risking too much salt.

Here's a TIP:


To prevent salt from clumping up in your saltshaker, add a couple of grains of rice to absorb moisture. I bet you've seen restaurants do this on occasion. It really does do the trick and keeps your salt free flowing with no chemicals, yay!

And Your RECIPE:


Herbed Skillet Chicken
Serves 4

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon water -- divided
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil

In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken and cook 10 minutes or until slightly browned, turning once. Combine thyme, garlic powder, onion powder and salt and pepper; sprinkle over chicken. Remove chicken, keeping warm and add 1/2 cup water to the skillet, using a wire whisk to scrape the pan and get up all the browned bits. Bring water to a boil, add chicken back in; cover, and reduce heat and cook 10-20 minutes, depending on thickness of chicken, until chicken is done. Remove chicken from skillet. Combine cornstarch and remaining 1 tablespoon water. Add to pan juices; cook until thickened and translucent, stirring or whisking constantly. Taste the sauce, add more salt and pepper if needed, reheating for just a minute. Pour sauce over chicken and sprinkle with parsley.

Per Serving: 202 Calories; 13g Fat; 19g Protein; 3g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 40mg Cholesterol; 332mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain (Starch); 2 1/2 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 1 Fat.

Copyright (C) 2012 www.savingdinner.com Leanne Ely, CNC All rights reserved.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

C is for Concussion and S is for Stop

Meet Britney and Mia....

Britney is 15 years old, just finishing up her freshman year in high school.  She's an honor student and an athlete; she loves hanging out with her friends and her dog...

Mia is nine years old, a fifth grader at a local elementary school.  She's fun-loving and fearless and always the life of the party; she does well in school and loves spending time at the barn with her horse...

These girls don't know each other, and you would not think they would have much in common because of their age difference - but they do...

They're both battling the after-effects of a serious head injury.

I know, when you think of head injuries you think of football players, soccer players or maybe even baseball players but actually a head injury can occur at any time to any one.


Britney's concussion happened in the heat of summer, right before her level five competitive season of gymnastics was about to start - one second she was practicing the high-bar portion of her uneven parallel bar routine and the next thing she knew, she was on the floor, she had lost her concentration for a split-second, flew off the bar, hit her head on the lower bar on the way down and landed on her head.  Britney did not remember most of the details of what happened so her Mom had to piece it together by chatting with the other girls that were there when it happened. 

In the days following the injury, her cognitive ability was impaired and she could not read or it would produce a headache.   She had trouble remembering her homework assignments, physically did not feel well and although she was exhausted, had trouble sleeping.  She became depressed because she missed being with her friends and was missing out on her gymnastics season. 

Seven months later, she's still struggling in school and she still has trouble reading and memorizing - keeping up with the honors classes that she was thoroughly enjoying the first week of school is now challenging and she's had to get an exemption for extra time to finish assignments.  She's healing, but it's slow, one day things will be looking great and the next she can feel like they are at square one again.



Mia is not a stranger to head injuries - she jumps horses and competes in horse shows and had fallen twice before, being thrown from her horse - once so hard that it cracked her helmet in two - but each time she healed.

The third concussion came on a roller-coaster at a Florida theme park - she told her Mom that she had hit her head, but no one thought it was a big deal, it was just a roller-coaster after all - how bad could it have been?  For the next couple of days, she had headaches on and off, but again, nothing that raised a red flag.  On the flight home she began crying hysterically telling Mom that her head hurt so badly she thought she was going to die - the white of her eye on the injured side of the head turned red and she had a nosebleed that lasted more than an hour, everyone thought it was just the pressure from the airplane, but they decided to go to the doctor the next morning.  When she arrived home, of course she went to the doctor, but she had a high fever so it was written off as a type of flu.  Mia slept for 21-23 hours per day every day for almost three weeks and had severe headaches and impaired cognitive function - she was displaying many of the same symptoms as her previous concussions had offered.  After many visits to the doctor she was sent to a Children's Hospital and diagnosed with post-concussive syndrome - the small injury caused by the roller coaster was compounded because of her air travel and previous concussions and proved to be quite serious.

Twelve weeks later, Mia is now on a modified school day, only attending a few hours a day, if at all; she is only able to concentrate on anything for a few minutes at a time and has to stop as soon as she feels a headache coming on.  She must wear sunglasses anytime she is outside to minimize headaches and must eat on a regular schedule to keep her glucose levels regular (an important part of brain healing).  She is on medications to help minimize the concussion migraines, but they have lots of side-effects and she will need to be carefully weaned from them.  Her doctors prognosis is that she will eventually heal completely, but it could take up to a year.  She is still not her usual bubbly self and afraid that her life will never return to normal again.

____________________

Head injuries are serious - for everyone, but especially for children.  They need to be taken extremely seriously and more Teachers, Coaches and Parents need to be made aware of the symptoms and the quick and easy test called The King-Devick Test and Remove From Play Testing that can be administered quickly and easily on the spot if a head injury is suspected.


I am working with Maria Bailey, Of MomTalk TV and MomTalk Radio to help raise awareness of head injuries and how we can get our kids removed from play quickly and easily with simple tests.  We both strongly believe in implementing concussion screenings in youth sports and spreading the word about Remove From Play’s test.



Maria has also created the RFP Team Mom's Playbook. The Remove From Play Team Mom Playbook is the ultimate tool for any team mom to use in assisting her to bring this affordable concussion-screening tool to her child’s school or team.  Please show it to your coaches, trainers and sports teachers and ask them to implement this test for your child's team.



Britney and Mia are real kids - I know each of them personally and they are both the sweetest girls you'll ever meet - they should not have to be dealing with the results of a head injury, disrupting life at a time when it should be enjoyed to the fullest.

Please protect your children and ask their sports instructors and coaches to implement Remove from Play testing.

Here are some important links:

-          Remove From Play Website – www.rfp2test.com
-          Remove From Play “Team Mom” Digital Playbook - http://bit.ly/RFPplaybook
-          Remove From Play social media channels:



Thursday, April 23, 2015

Healthy Foods: Salad Spin

by Leanne Ely

I get a lot of email from readers (feel free to email your questions-I may include it in an upcoming article, Dinner Diva at Saving Dinner dot com) and this one warrants an article. 
 
 I hate to trouble you with a silly salad question, but I've never eaten salad on a regular basis before joining Flylady, and I don't know who else I can ask!  I have been buying three heads of lettuce a week, tearing them up and storing them in plastic baggies to eat a little bit at a time (instead of buying those prepackaged salad bags, which are expensive).  But should I wash the greens before they go in the bag?  They stay really wet when I do this, and I'm not sure if this helps preserve them, or it might help turn them wilted and slimy. Thanks for your advice. We've been eating SO much better since we found you! -Susan
 
Well Susan, let me help you out. I don't have much of an opinion on kitschy kitchen gadgets, but here's one gadget that you should make a point of getting: a salad spinner!  I am a big believer in eating salads, but it's no fun eating mushy salads. The spinner makes the diff!

I have noticed that when I'm eating salads on a regular basis, my skin is nicer, my weight is better kept under control and I just plain feel better. As a matter of fact, if you eat one salad a day with a meal, you can lose up to 15 pounds a year. It's a matter of volume and nutrition-the more you fill up on better, more voluminous healthier foods, the weight comes off (as long as you're not overdoing it).

I serve salad almost every time we eat dinner at my house. I also throw a bowl of those baby carrots on the table to pass around. As a rule, we don't eat enough raw stuff and salads are one delicious way to make that happen. Here are some hints for making a healthy, nutritious salad:

A good rule of thumb for building a good salad should be COLOR. Color is a great indicator of what's ahead: good nutrition or near-empty calories. The more vibrant the color, the healthier it is.

Take a look at Iceberg lettuce.  It's pale green and white. The iceberg lettuce's value is mostly the water it carries. Fiber is minimal and nutrition almost non-existent. This is not the basis for a good, healthy and nutritious salad.

The first place to start is with GREEN. Green like spinach, salad bowl or romaine lettuces--all wonderful examples of what green should look like. The color is there and so is the nutrition.

Next, look for RED. Tomatoes come to mind. Vine ripened and full of vitamin C, tomatoes also contain the important phytochemical lypocene that helps fight cancer.

ORANGE or YELLOW? How about some colorful bell pepper or (when in season) summer squash? Carrots are fantastic sources for beta-carotene, a pre-vitamin for vitamin A. Beta carotene has so many important functions, but the best part about beta-carotene is that it will convert into only as much vitamin A as the body needs so there's no worry about taking in too much. You know what happens if you have too much beta-carotene? You turn orange! My son was orange for the first and second year of his life--he LOVED sweet potatoes.

This is all common sense nutrition here, but the point is to get you thinking next time you're meandering your way through the produce section at the grocery store. Think in vivid, living color--you NEED the nutrition and so does your salad!

Love,
Leanne

Copyright (C) 2012 www.savingdinner.com Leanne Ely, CNC All rights reserved. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Healthy Foods: How to Do Healthy and Low Carb

by Leanne Ely

Say "low carb" and immediately visions of steak and eggs dance in your heads. Folks somehow have this notion that your mouth will never again chomp into a sandwich or that your diet will devoid on anything fiber-filled.
Phooey, I say! It doesn't have to be that way. You can have your low carb and get fiber too! Here's how.

There is a simple math equation that you need to do to understand how this works. Fiber is a non-nutritive substance that aids in digestion. It isn't processed in your body like say, a donut would be (which is completely fiberless and filled to overflowing with sugar). Donuts, when eaten in any kind of quantity, will tend to grow you a rather large posterior. While fiber, eaten in any kind of quantity, will improve your digestion without getting you fat.

Take vegetables for example. Potatoes, corn and a few others aren't going to be too low carb friendly, but check out my friend broccoli. With a carb count of 1.9 grams per 1/2 serving, the fiber content is 1.1 grams. That means the net carb value is only 0.8. Not too shabby!

Artichoke hearts have 7.8 grams of carbs per 1/2 cup and yet the fiber count is 6 grams. It's easy to see why donuts do what they do now, isn't it?

Fiber is also easily obtained through certain seeds like flax and flaxmeal, which makes a great hot cereal. As a matter of fact, 1/4 cup of flaxmeal hot cereal has 13 grams of carbs, but 6 grams of fiber for a net carb count of 7 grams. Compared to the same amount of oatmeal with 18 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber for a net carb count of 15 grams. See the difference?

So I ask you? CAN you do a low carb diet and still get in the fiber you need! You bet-you just might have to do it a little differently! Here's a low carb recipe from our Low Carb Menu-Mailer:

Chicken with a Ginger Cream Sauce
Serves 4
(*this recipe got absolute RAVE reviews!)

4    (6-oz.) boneless skinless chicken breast halves, pound to 1/4 inch,       if necessary
2    teaspoons butter
      Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2    tablespoons white wine (or use white grape juice with a splash of       vinegar - higher carb count this way)
2    tablespoons fresh lime juice
1    teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/8    teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2    cup low sodium chicken broth
1/2    cup half and half


In a skillet, over medium-high heat, melt butter. Season chicken with salt and pepper and saute quickly, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove chicken from the pan and keep warm.

Add wine (or juice/vinegar) and lime juice to pan; deglaze the pan using a wire whisk and working quickly. Bring it to a boil; now add the chicken broth, half and half, ginger and cayenne. LOWER heat immediately (or sauce will break) and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. When sauce has reduced and thickened, taste it and correct the seasoning, if necessary.

Serve chicken with sauce over the top.

Per Serving: 257 Calories; 8g Fat; 42g Protein; 2g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 115mg Cholesterol; 252mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 5 1/2 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 1 Fat. Points: 6
 

Hip Tips


Healthy tip my son came up with: My son and his wife are divorced. She is a meat and potatoes eater, and doesn't comprehend the need for healthy eating. Consequently, their children do not like eating vegetables. Their mom serves them a lot of chicken nuggets and bread or fries, so convincing them to eat fresh fruits and vegetables is very challenging on weekends when dad has the kids. He was desperate to get them to eat better when he hit on the idea of making pancakes with sweet potatoes and carrots inside. Then he created low fat turkey meatloaf "cupcakes" frosted in whipped potatoes and decorated with ketchup. The kids love them and daddy feels like he has made a major step in helping his kids consume healthier foods.  
Michelle
California

Copyright (C) 2012 www.savingdinner.com Leanne Ely, CNC All rights reserved.