Sweet, Sweet Sunday

How to Be a Smooth Operator

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Green Smoothie

So now that we know the health benefits of green smoothies, how do I make the perfect one…and what should I expect in the perfect one.

The perfect green smoothie is the perfect blended of your favorite fresh fruits and dark leafy greens…blended with the perfect textures and with no bitter flavors….giving you not only great flavor, but also optimal nutrients every time.

And making the perfect green smoothie is more of a method instead of an actual recipe….but let’s first talk about the ingredients….or perhaps a ratio—60% fruits to 40% leafy greens.

*******************

THE GREENS

There are hundreds of types of greens out there–try any of them and mix things up to find flavor combinations you like. , any kind of green will work…All greens have nutrients and anti-nutrients…rotate your greens regularly….be cognizant of flavor when choosing your greens. Spinach will have a milder flavor, so you can get away with using quite a lot without running into taste issues; arugula, on the other hand, is quite spicy, so you might want to add in some other stronger flavors to balance that out…

  • arugula
  • collard greens
  • fresh herbs—such as cilantro, basil, parsley and mint
  • green cabbage
  • kale
  • mâche
  • microgreens
  • pea shoots
  • romaine
  • spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • mixture of any of the above

**********

THE FRUIT

Fruit gives your green smoothies extra nutrition, texture and flavor…not to mention the fact that adding fruit keeps your green smoothie from tasting like a smooshed-up blended salad.

Adding fruit to your your smoothie also means that you won’t need to add any artificial sweeteners, honey, agave nectar, or processed sugars…because fruit is naturally sweet.

Bananas or avocados are the secret to making perfectly sweet and creamy weapon smoothies….they also help bind together the rest of the ingredients…bananas are also sweeter than  most other fruit. Bananas are especially good if you have peeled and frozen them first.

Ice can be hard on your blender and will dilute your smoothie’s flavor.

You can either chop and freeze your own ripe fruit or berries, or buy the the packaged stuff…and by the way I just discovered that you can freeze your wilting package of greens by simply sticking it in your freezer…learn something new every day, right?

Use about 1C fruit per servingabout twice as much fruit as you have in liquid or greenspreferably frozen fruit because you never want to add ice to your smoothie.

Fruits that you might consider include…

  • apples
  • berries
  • lemons
  • limes
  • mango
  • oranges
  • peaches
  • pears
  • pineapple
  • pitted dates

********************

THE LIQUID

Obviously if you’re gonna make a green smoothie, or any smoothie, you will need some sort of liquid. You can try whatever liquid you like, but you might want to avoid sweetened liquids because the fruit will add enough sweetness on its own.

Use anywhere from 1/2C to 1C per serving.

A few options include…

buttermilk—not so sure about this, but great for making pancakes or biscuits…might have to try it

  • coconut water
  • cold brew coffee
  • cold brewed tea—especially mint tea or green tea
  • milk

  • nondairy milks—such as unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk
  • “plain old water”

 

 

 

**************

THE EXTRAS

Now that we’ve talked about the three basic ingredients of a perfect smoothie—the greens, the fruit, and the liquid—let’s explore other optional ingredients and a few recipes for the different health benefits that green smoothies are helpful for.

Many of these ingredients will be for helping the smoothies taste better…others will be for getting additional health benefits…while some will do both.

Let’s brainstorm…

  • Bee pollen
  • Coconut oil
  • Cucumbers…cucumber have a high nutrition content, as well as a high water content…and the green peel is excellent for you
  • Fresh herbs—such as basil, cilantro, and thyme
  • Gelatin powder
  • Himalayan salt
  • Honey
  • Maca powder
  • Nuts—such as raw almonds or raw walnuts
  • Oats that have been soaked in water overnight, or at least for ten minutes
  • Oils—such as flax oil
  • Seeds—such as flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds
  • Superfood powders—such as cacao, maca, and acai powder
  • Spices—such as ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, cayenne, chili powder, or some combination of these
  • Unsweetened protein powder
  • Vitamin C powder

**********

Conclusion

So by now, you have probably realized the countless ways to make green smoothies, not to mention smoothies in general…I sure have, especially after studying probabilities in order to take my GMAT in three weeks…

But don’t worry…in the next post we will be talking about how to make your green smoothie…and then looking at various smoothies that you might want to try, based on the specific health benefit you are considering at the given moment.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Attain and Maintain

We all know that eating vegetables is so very important…in fact, how many billions of times did we hear out mothers tell us to “eat your vegetables” as we were growing up.

Yet 84% of Americans do not eat the recommended four daily servings of vegetables each day…including yours truly.

But instead of taking days and days to blog about the details of all the remaining leafy greens, let’s simply take a look at why you should consider adding leafy greens, and other vegetables to your breakfast planning…assuming that you do eat breakfast in the first place.

But how many of us are actually eating breakfast, and how many of us think of veggies as the shining star of the breakfast buffet? Who want veggies when there are tastier things such as donuts and bagels within arm’s reach also?

Eating leafy greens and veggies first things in the morning allows you to run out the front door…or garage door…and down your driveway with a grin on your face….

Well, actually not that…

But eating leafy greens and other veggies for breakfast can play an important role in helping you attain and maintain a healthier lifestyle.

Eating a healthy breakfast that includes leafy greens, and other vegetables, will…

  • add vitamins and minerals to your diet
  • curb morning carb cravings
  • encourage you to use veggies in your other meals also
  • help you meet your daily fiber, protein and protein needs
  • help you stay alert and full of energy all day long.
  • keep you from feeling less hungry later and running to the nearest vending machine or fast food place

Half the battle of being able to grab and go as far as breakfast is concerned is to plan ahead.

Look here at my previous post for a list of breakfast ideas and recipes.

But what are some more ideas for breakfast…and what are some ways to add veggies to your breakfast repertoire?

Keep reading!!!

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Leaf Season All Year Round

I find the idea of eating three cups of mustard greens or collard greens still repulsive, but my Mom would be so glad that I actually do eat them now instead of feeding them to the dog while she wasn’t looking.

Why did I even consider adding these leafy greens that I once found repulsive to my diet?

Mainly because leafy greens are packed with important and powerful nutrients,

Also because most leafy greens are available fresh all year round…making adding them to your weekly menus quite an easy task.

 

 

**************

Nutritional Value

All leafy greens are typically low in calories and fat…high in protein per calorie…and contain such important nutrients are dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, manganese,  vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, iron, and antioxidants.

Health benefits of adding leafy greens to your diet include…

  • Alzheimer’s disease…leafy greens can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease
  • Antioxidants...leafy greens contain the antioxidants need to fight the effects of free radicals in the body…which reduces your chances of getting such major illmesses as cancer, heart diseasem  high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and stroke.
  • Blood.,,,leafy greens have been shown to helping your blood clot normally….leafy greens also stimulates production of antibodies and white blood cells
  • Bones…leafy greens have been shown to imporove the health of your, bones by helping prevent osteoporosis and boosting bone strength
  • Diabetes…leafy greens have been shown to lower your risk of getting type 2 diabetes by 14% 
  • Eyes…leafy greens have been shown to improve your eyesight…leafy greens also help prevents eye disorders such as muscular degeneration and cataracts….they can also lower your risk of developing night blindness.
  • Immune System…leafy greens Help strengthen the immune system
  • Skin…leafy greens have been shown to maintain skin elasticity

In fact, the Department of Agriculture recommends that adults consume at least three cups of dark green vegetables each week.

 

 

********************

Varieties of Greens

 

Thankfully, there are several varieties of leafy greens out there…so that you don’t have to feel obligated to simply eat the “required”  bowl of bagged salad every single night, night after night…

These options include…

1.Beet Greens

  • Leaves…green…veins of the leaves correspond to the color of the beet root
  • Scales…Beets with round, scaly areas around the top surface will be tough, fibrous, and strongly flavored.

2.  Boy Choy

  • Leaves…smooth, dark green leaf blades that form a cluster similar to mustard greens or celery—resembling Romaine lettuce on top and a large celery on the bottom.
  • Flavor…light and sweet
  • Texture..crispy, crunchy

3. Butterhead Lettuce

  • Also called…butter lettuce, Boston, bibb (limestone)
  • Leaves…soft and smooth like buttee

4. Cos Lettuce

  • Leaves…dark green, long, narrow
  • Taste…..sweet and tangy
  • Texture…crispy and crunchy texture

5. Cress

  • Leaves…tough, fibrous stem and small green leaves
  • Taste…peppery taste
  • Varieties…watercress, upland cress, curly cress, and land cress

5. Dandelion Greens

  • Leaves…the green leaves from the so-thought-of “weeds” in your yard…stiff leaves with pointy, fine “teeth.”
  • Taste…sharp bitter flavor
  • Uses…a classic French bistro salad, salads with roasted beets

6. Endive

  • Color…off-white center with loose, lacy, dark green outer leaves which curl at the tips
  • Leaves..loose, lacy, dark green oval-shaped outer leaves which curl at the tips
  • Taste…slightly bitter
  • Texture…soft and satiny
  • Uses…salads and soups
  • Uses…scoop-like shape makes for serving small appetizers

7. Escarole

  • Color…various shades of green
  • Head…loose, elongated heads
  • Leaves…broad, wavy leaves with smooth edges
  • Other Names…Batavian endive, scarole, broad-leaved endive
  • Taste…darker green leaves are lightly bitter and spicy; but the paler interior leaves are milder
  • Uses…soups and beans…popular in Italian cuisine.

8. Frisee

  • Color…pale green
  • Leaves…feathery leaves tinged with yellow and green
  • Other Names…curly endive, chicory, chicory endive, curly chicory
  • Taste…bitter

9. Iceberg

  • Leaves…tightly packed leaves on dense, heavy heads
  • Water Content…contains more water than most other leafy greens

19, Kale

  • Nutritional Value…high in fiber
  • Taste…earthy, slightly grassy taste
  • Uses…salads, soups, pasta, and smoothies
  • Varieties…include curly, baby, and lacinato

11. Lacinato Kale (a.k.a. Dino Kale)

  • Other Names…Tuscan kale or black kale
  • Leaves…very dark blue-green or black-green leaves
  • Taste…earthy and  nutty flavor

12. Leaf Lettuce 

  • Color…can be either green or red
  • Leaves…large, frilly-edged
  • Taste…mildly sweet and delicate taste
  • Uses…sandwiches, burgers, popular lining for hors d’oeuvres platters

13. Mâche

  • Other Names…Field salad, lamb’s lettuce, corn salad, field lettuce, fetticus
  • Taste…mild and slightly sweet flavor
  • Leaves…very small
  • Notes…expensive, very delicate, will bruise easily

14. Mizuna

  • Leaves…petite elongated leaves with spiky edges similar to miniature oak leaves
  • Origin…Japan
  • Other Names…Japanese greens, spider mustard, xue cai, kyona, potherb mustard, and California Peppergrass
  • Taste…peppery

15, Oak Leaf Lettuce

  • Color…reddish-purple
  • Leaves…very similar to leaf lettuce, but with more of an oak leaf shape
  • Taste…super-mellow, sweet

16. Radicchio

  • Color…burgundy-red leaves with white ribs
  • Other Names…Chioggia, red chicory, red leaf chicory, red Italian chicory
  • Taste…mildly bitter with a subtle spicy undertone
  • Texture…quite firm but still tender
  • Uses…in salads, as a cooked vegetable, and grilled or roasted and mixed with other grilled vegetables

17. Romaine

  • Nutritional Value…particularly rich in folic acid and vitamin K
  • Taste..light, almost grassy taste
  • Texture…a satisfying crunch
  • Uses..Caesar salads, wraps

18. Spinach

  • Color…dark green leaves
  • Leaves…smooth, sturdy, deep green
  • Taste…mild, lightly herbal
  • Uses…salads, wraps, and smoothies

19, Sweet Potato Greens

  • Taste…lovely, almost sweet flavor with no discernible bitterness
  • Uses…soups or stews

20 Tatsoi

  • Leaves…small and rounded much like little spoons, hence its other name, spoon cabbage
  • Other Names…Tat soi, spoon cabbage, rosette bok choy
  • Taste…mildly peppery and sweet, with only the faintest hint of cabbage flavor.

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Ask the Waiter for Some Water

So how did I embrace the habit of drinking two liters of water per day?
Why  has it become just another step in my daily routine?

 

 

**********************

Tools and Techniques

First of all there are different tools and techniques can I use to help me start drinking the suggested amount of  water each day?

 

1. Carry a small refillable water bottle with you everywhere you go.,,,Using a  reusable water bottle does not create the litter that typical water bottles do, is environmental-friendly, makes you a smarter consumer, saves water, and saves you money.

What factors should you consider when choosing a water bottle?

The first factor to consider is what material the bottle is made from. Water bottles can be found in many different materials—including aluminum, stainless steel, plastic, polyethylene, and copolyester.

  • Glass…bottlesUP, Life Factory, Love Bottle, Takeya

  • Metal…Earth Lust, Hydro Flask, Klean Kanteen
  • Plastic…Fit & Fresh, GOBIEH20, Nalgene

In addition to the material that the bottle is made from, you also need to recognize how easy the bottle will be to both carry and to clean, how easy the bottle will be able to fill with ice cubes and water, what type of drinking valve the bottle has, how big the bottle is, and whether or not the bottle has a filter.

Another option would be a specially designed fruit infused water pitcher with an infusion chamber.

They work great, the large pitchers look fantastic on a dinner table and encourage your family to drink more water, and the travel bottles help keep you hydrated all day long.

You can refill the pitcher or travel bottle several times before it starts to lose flavor.
You can even eat the cucumber slices if you like, but discard your batch after 24 hours.

 

 

2. Decide when you want to drink your water. A few suggestions are…

  • Before Meals...makes you feel full and helps you eat fewer calories.
  • Certain parts of your daily routine—such as when you first get up, just before leaving the house, when you sit down to work, whenever you get up from your desk at work to take a bathroom break, after your brush your teeth in the morning, and right before you eat lunch.
  • Hourly...ensures that your water quote is met by the end of the day.
  • Morning…gives you more energy to face the day ahead.

 

3. Enlist other people to help you reach this goal.

 

4. Fill a larger pitcher or bottle with the amount of water you want to drink each day.

 

5. Invest in a filter.

 

6. Make your own carbonated water with the help of a home “seltzer” machine.

 

7. Use a straw so that you drink faster, and drink more at one time.

 

 

 

*******

“Recipes”

Cucumber Water…One way to make water a little less boring is to add fruit and veggies. The first one that we are going to consider is cucumber.

 

To make the perfect cucumber water, add 1/2″ slices of cucumber to your ice water. Top the cucumbers with more ice so they won’t float up to the top.

In addition to the cucumber, you could also add…

  • lemon
  • lime
  • mint
  • pineapple
  • herbs—such as tosemary or rhyme

 

Water-rich foods….One sneaky way to increase the amount of water you consume on a daily basis: eat your H2O. Addfruits and vegetables with a high water content to your grocery shopping list. Some top picks include cucumber (96% water), zucchini (95% water), watermelon (92% water), and grapefruit (91% water).

Spicy foods…Garnish your meal with chili flakes or fresh peppers and you’ll be reaching for more water in no time. Another benefit of adding heat? Some studies show that spicy food may help boost your metabolism.

Sparkling Water…Choose sparkllng or mineral water instead of Cokes…( yes, I am from the Deep South, so every single carbonated beverage know to man is referred to as Coke)…Sparkling or mineral water is just as good for your body as regular water…and much more interesting..

Other water-based beverages….Gee, both hot tea or unsweetened iced tea contain water. You could also reach your water goal for the day by drinking juice, lemonade, or iced coffee.
acne all purpose cleaners aromatherapy baking soda bath beauty cellulite cocoa colds dangerous ingredients detoxification dry skin brushing energy essential oils Exfoliation facial masks Featured flu gifts ginger green cleaning healthy beverages herbs immunity laundry lemons massage meditation natural beauty recipes natural skincare nutrition pumpkin salt scrubs skincare recipes smoothie spa treatments spa water spring stress reduction sunburns tea Vinegar water weight loss
Facebook Feed

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Saving Money in the Bathroom

  • yyyn 

1.  Anti-Mold Spray and Bathroom Cleaner…Fill empty spray bottle at least half full with vinegar. Fill the rest of the spray bottle with water, leaving about a 1″ gap at the top of the bottle. Add 1tsp tea tree essential oil for every 1C vinegar/water solution.

To use, shake vigorously to combine the essential oils throughout the mixture. Generously spray on surfaces-showers, shower doors, walls, and tubs, etc-and do not wipe down.

2.  Carpet Freshener…Fill a shaker about halfway with baking soda. Add ten drops essential oil. Do another layer of baking soda and essential oil. Mix well. Sprinkle over carpet and rugs, and then vacuum.

3.   Daily Shower Cleaner
…Mix together 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide, 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol, 1 tsp dish soap, and 1 Tbsp dishwasher rinse aid into a 24oz spray bottle. Fill the spray bottle the rest of the way with water.

The hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol work together to help keep mildew at bay, and the soap and rinse aid fight soap scum.

Hydrogen peroxide will break down in sunlight (which is why it’s sold in brown bottles). You can keep this spray in a dark bottle, or just store it in a dark cupboard between uses.

4.  Floor Cleaner… Simply mix equal parts of white vinegar and hot water. Mop.  There’s no need to rinse, and the vinegar smell dissipates once the floors have dried.

This floor cleaner works well on all floor types-sealed wood, tile, laminate and linoleum.

5.  Glass Cleaner...Funnel 1 1/4 cups distilled water, 1/2 cup 80-proof vodka, and 1/4 cup white vinegar into a glass spray bottle. Add 8-10 drops of your favorite essential oil. Replace the nozzle. Shake well.

To use, spray on windows and mirrors, and then wipe with a soft microfiber cloth until dry.

6.  Lavender Linen Spray...Combine 2Tbsp witch hazel or vodka and 10 drops lavender essential oil in a small jar with tight-fitting lid. Place the lid on tightly. Shake well for 15-20 seconds to combine the two.

Open the lid to the jar. Add 6Tbsp water. Replace the lid. Shake again for 15-20 seconds to combine.

Place the funnel in the opening of the spray bottle. Pour the mixture from the jar into the spray bottle. Replace the spray bottle lid.

Spray on your pillows, sheets, and blankets.

 

7.  Room Freshener Spray…Stir together 1Tbsp baking soda and 10 drops essential oil. Put mixture into 16oz spray bottle. Top off with 2C distilled water. Label. Shake before each use.

Scent Combination Ideas…

1. 5 drops Peppermint, 5 drops Wild Orange
2. 5 drops Wild Orange, 3 drops Ginger, 3 drops Ylang Ylang
3.  4 drops Bergamot, 4 drops Lemon, 2 drops Peppermint
4.  4 drops Lemongrass, 3 drops Wild Orange, 2 drops Peppermint

8.  Toilet Bombs…Stir together 1 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup citric acid. Add 25 drops peppermint essential oil and 10 drops tea tree/melaluca essential oil.

Place vinegar in spray bottle.Spritz baking soda mixture lightly with vinegar. Spritz and stir, then repeat until mixture sticks together when squeezed.

Press mixture firmly into a muffin tin or silicone molds. Allow to dry a few hours. Pop from mold. Store in a quart mason jar.

To use,  toss one toilet bomb into the toilet bowl. Wait 15min. Swish with toilet brush. Flush.

9.  Wood Floor Cleaner and Polish…Combine 1 gallon of hot water, 3/4 cup of olive oil! and 1/2 cup lemon juice. Apply it to your floors with a mop that you’ve wrung out fairly well. Let it dry on its own, without rinsing.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Pumpkins…The Why

Not only does pumpkin make such awesome treats to eat and enjoy, pumpkin can also be enjoyed as a treat to help you feel pampered and relaxed.

Why should you consider using pumpkin in your “beauty routine” in the first place?

Pumpkin is packed with vitamins—such as vatima B, vitamin C, and vitamin E… as well as beta-carotene. This means that it helps promotes healthy skin and hair.

Other ingredients commonly found in these products…or used when you’re making your own…include…

 

1.Coconut or Olive Oil…These both moisturize the skin, act as an antioxidant, and keep your skin looking younger.

2. Spices…Not only is the “aromatherapy” of the spices rejuvenating, awakening, warm, and comforting…cinnamon also stimulates better blood circulation all over the body and brings blood to the surface of the skin…resultting in plumper skin with a healthier glow, as well as healthier hair.

3. Sugar…Sugar helps the skin retain moisture and gently exfoliates dead skin away.

4. Vitamin E…Vitamin E not only benefits your skin, but also extends the shelf life of your ingredients.

 

 

Not only that…these cosmetics and concoctions will enable you to enjoy the sweet, nostalgic aroma of pumpkin all year long.

 

 

So first let’s look at what I call OTBC products…those Over the Beauty Counter products…and then we’ll talk about a few ideas that you yourself can make at home.

 


Acure-Energizing Body Wash,,,availabile at Target or Kroger…ungredients iunclude organic Argan oil, sea buckthorn oil, Moroccan Argan stem cells, coq10, and pumpkin seed oil

*

Desert Essence Organics Hand & Body Lotion–Pumpkin Spice—…available at Sprouts…other fragrance options—Island Mango, Italian Lemon, Tropical Coconut, Coconut Lime, Bulgarian Lavender, and Spicy Vanilla Chai

 One Love Organics,,,available at Nieman Marcus…ingredients include pumpkin seed oil, sunflower seed oil, green tea seed oil, kelp extract, sea buckthorn oil, chia seed extract, rosemary leaf extract, and rooibos tea extract

 

 

 

Other OTBC products containing pumpkin in some form of fashion include…

 

—Bath & Body Works Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte Super Smooth Body Lotion…available at Bath and Body Works…(go figure)

 

—Burt’s Bees® Burt’s Bees Lip Balm, Pumpkin Spice with Beeswax, $2.97, available at W-almart

—EcoLove Shampoo Orange Collection

Ecosevi Pumpkin Seed Shampoo-

—Good Earth Beauty Shampoo Pumpkin Chai Natural…available at Amazon

—Hempz Pumpkin Spice & Vanilla Chai Body Moisturizer…available at Ulta

—Native Deodorant Kit…available at Native

—Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask Enzymatic Dermal Resurfacer…available at Sephora

—Sara Happ Pumpkin Spice Lip Scrub Kit…available at QVC

 

 

*****************************

Now as far as DIY ideas…

Pumpkin Body Scrub…Combine…

    • 1C brown sugar
    • 1/2C coconut oil, room temp
      1Tbsp cinnamon
      1 vitamin E capsule
    • ½C pumpkin puree

Scoop body scrub into an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to four days. Before using, let the mixture come back it warm up to room temp and stir if needed.

This scrub is best when used immediately because the longer it sits, the more the sugar will dissolve and the less exfoliating the body scrub will become.

The scrub will last for about two months as long as the airtight container hasn’t been opened.

 

 

Pumpkin Hair Conditioner…Combine the following ingredients…

  • 1/2C pumpkin puree
  • 1/4C yogurt
  • 2Tbsp honey
  • 1Tbsp coconut oil

Pumpkin Hair Serum…This hair serum helps repair dead ends and control “fly-away” hair.  Using apricot seed oil instead of pumpkin oil keeps the pumpkin oil from making your hair feel so weighted because the oil is so much lighter.

To use the serum, lightly spritz water in your hair…and then comb the pumpkin serum through your hair.

Pumpkin Hot Oil Treatment…Combine equal amounts of coconut oil and pumpkin puree. Heat on top of your oven over low heat. Let cool slightly. Apply to soaking wet hair, working from the ends to the roots. Wrap hair in a hot towel, Wait twenty minutes. Rinse well.

Pumpkin Oil Hair Vitamin Mist…Fill a spray bottle with two ounces of pumpkin seed oil and 1Tbsp coconut oil. Fill the bottle with distilled water. Shake before each use.

Pumpkin Puree Hair Mask…Mix together…

  • 1tsp argan oil
  • ½C pumpkin puree
    2tsp coconut or olive oil (unrefined)
    1tsp cinnamon
    1 Vitamin E capsule

Apply the concoction on your hair, making sure to cover your strands from tip to roots. Put on a shower cap to keep the goop from dripping all over while you wait. Wait at least 25 minutes before shampooing your hair. Use this mask once or twice a week to help make your hair soft, shiny and silky.

Pumpkin Seed Oil Hair Mask,,,Another option as far as a hair mask would be to use…

1 Tbsp. pumpkin seed oil
1/2 apple puree
1 tbsp. shea butter
1 egg

Process half of the apple in your blender. Add shea butter and pumpkin seed oil. Whisk egg by itself. Stir the egg into the mixture. Apply to freshly washed hair. Leave in for twenty minutes. Rinse out.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Perfect Pumpkin Treats To Please Peter Piper Pumpkin Eater

Now for a collection of pumpkin recipes that I have posted previously on my blog…just in time for pumpkin season…

———————————

Pumpkin Energy Bites

  • 1C old fashioned oatmeal (uncooked)
  • 1/4C pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/2C wheat germ
  • 1/3C honey
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/3C white chocolate morsels

Combine all ingredients. Chill 30min. Roll into 1″ balls, Store in airtight container in fridge.

 

****************

Pumpkin Muesli

Making your own muesli is more of a math formula…4C grains…to 1-1/2C nuts/seeds…to 1/2C  dried fruit.

 

The Grains…4CGrains make up the base of your muesli. Typically rolled oats are used to make muesli because they have a nice texture and thickness, but you could also use any other grain—including wheat bran, whole rye, whole barley, sorghum flakes, quinoa flakes, millet puffs, and millet flakes. The grains will become soft when combined with milk or yogurt.

The first thing that you will need to do when making your muesli is to toast the grains in your at 350 for a few minutes. This will make your oats more aromatic and crispier.

 

 

The Nuts/Seeds…1C,,,Nuts not only give your muesli a delicious crunch,. but also make your muesli healthier because of their omega-3 fatty acids and protein content..

Choose any nut, seed, or combination that you like…or omit them altogether if you’re allergic to them or simply don’t like them.

 

The more nuts you throw in, the crunchier (and more expensive) it will be.

Not only do you want to toast your grains before stirring all of your ingredients together, you also want to toast the nuts to give them extra crunch and flavor.

As you are toasting them, never add oil, butter, or any other liquid to the pan. Toasting the nuts will release the natural oils in the grains…so adding anything extra will make your muesli greasy.

 

Nuts and seeds that you might consider using include…

  • Brazil nuts
  • cashews
  • chia seeds
  • coconut flakes
  • hazelnuts
  • macadamias
  • peanuts
  • pecans
  • pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • pistachios
  • poppy seeds
  • sesame seeds
  • sliced almonds
  • sunflower seeds
  • unsweetened coconut flakes.
  • walnuts

The Dried Fruit…1C…Dried fruit will add both sweetness and chewiness to your muesli….

The more fruit you add, the sweeter and chewier it will be. Add only enough fruit to make your granola taste sweeter…but not so much that your granola is too sweet.

Do not add fresh fruit to your muesli because this will make your muesli too soft and make it “turn bad” faster. Use only dried fruit at this point. Save fresh fruit for when you actually get ready to eat your muesli.

Avoid dried fruit that contains added sugar.

Chop up your dried fruit into bite-sized pieces before adding to your muesli.

There are no set-in-stone rules as far as what fruits to add…simply choose whatever fruits that you and your family like. A few ideas as far as what fruits you could add…as long as they are dried or dehydrated…are…

  • apple chips
  • apricots
  • bananas
  • blueberries
  • cherries
  • cranberries
  • currants
  • dates.
  • figs
  • mango
  • papaya
  • raisins
  • strawberries

The Spices…If you would like your muesli to have even more of a taste that your family will enjoy, feel free to add spices—such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, and ginger.

Once you finish making your meusli, add some spices—such as a cinnamon stick, a few whole cloves, or a vanilla bean—in the container with your muesli to infuse your meusli with even more flavor.

 

Do not add any additional sugar to your muesli. You shouldn’t need it…and as we already know…it’s not good for you.

 

Stirring Your MuesliNow that you have chosen your ingredients, put all of them into a container. Close the container. Shake until everything is combined.

 

Storing Your Muesli…Store the muesli in an airtight glass jar or plastic container. Your muesli will stay good for  up to two months as long as it stays dry.

 

Serving Your Muesli…Soaking or cooking your muesli will break down the oats, making them easier to chew and digest…and making the muesli more nutritious becsuse the nutrients—such as the fiber, healthy fats, antioxidants. vitamins, protein, omega 3 and minerals found in muesli—are more easily absorbed by your body.

The easiest way to enjoy your muesli is to add milk or stir it into some yogurt.  Waiting for about ten minutes to half an hour before eating it will soften up the grains a little.

You could also soak your muesli in milk overnight….at a 1:1 ratio. To make overnight oats, combine 2/3C muesli with 2/3C milk in a small lidded container. Refrigerate overnight. Enjoy cold in the morning.

A third option is to heating your muesli in the microwave before serving.

 

***********

Pumpkin Bread

  • Flour…2C…
  • Baking Powder……2tsp
  • Salt…1tsp
  • Sugar…1C granulated or brown sugar (or combination of both)
  • Eggs…2…
  • Fat….1/4C  butter, olive oil, or vegetable oil
  • Milk…1C milk or buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350. Line one 9″x5″ loaf pan or three 6″x3″ mini pans with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides so that you can easily remove the bread from the pan once it finishes cooking. Coat well with cooking spray.

Mix dry ingredients together. Make a well in the center.

Combine liquid ingredients. Add them into the well that you made in the dry ingredients.

Mix the ingredients together. Mixing the ingredients by hand gives your bread batter better texture and appearance than using a mixer…but be careful not to over mix your batter so that you bread won’t turn out tough. Your goal in whisking is to to break up any clumps in the flour and aerate the mix for a lighter loaf….so leave the batter lumpy and even with a few streaks of flour still showing.

*********************

Pumpkin Seed Brittle

  • 1C sugar
  • 1/2C water
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 3/4C green pumpkin seeds
  • 3/4C bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4C chopped pumpkin seeds
  • large-flake sea salt

Bring first three ingredients to a boil. Cook until candy thermometer reads 238ºF. Remove from heat. Stir in green pumpkin seeds with a wooden spoon. Stir 5min.  Return pan to medium heat. Cook stirring constantly, 5 minutes.

Pour hot mixture onto parchment paper covered surface. Cover with a second sheet of parchment paper. Roll mixture between these two sheets of parchment paper as thinly as possible with rolling pin.

Let cool until firm. Break into pieces. Cool brittle completely.

Melt chocolate chips in microwave. Dip cooled brittle in chocolate.  Sprinkle with 1/4C chopped pumpkin seeds and large-flake sea salt. Let cool until chocolate is firm.

**********************

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Collecting the Seeds…As you are carving or cutting the pumpkin to use for whatever else, collect the seeds of your pumpkin in a colander as you get them out. Once you have collected the seeds, rinse them under cold running water to remove any pulp and fiber. Pat them dry with paper towels as you spread them out on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Seasoning the SeedsToss the seeds with salt and either melted butter or olive oil.

A few more ideas for adding even more flavor to your pumpkin seeds are….

  • Italian…2Tbsp melted butter, ¼C grated Parmesan, ½tsp Italian seasoning
  • Savory…2Tbsp melted butter, 1tsp seasoned salt, 1tsp white vinegar (add vinegar after roasting)
  • Spicy…2Tbsp olive oil, ½tsp Cajun seasoning, ½tsp fresh lime zest (add zest after roasting)​
  • Sweet…2Tbsp melted butter, 1Tbsp brown sugar, ½tsp cinnamon

Prepping the Oven…Preheat oven to 350°F.

Pre-boiling…Many people boil their pumpkin seeds before roasting them in order to make them extra crispy, but this can be skipped if you need to.

Baking…Roast the pumpkin seeds at 200 degrees for 20min…until light golden brown and crisp, stirring once.

Cooling...Cool at least 10min before serving.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

The Great Pumpkin…and What’s So Great About It?

So are pumpkins merely for setting by your door every Halloween…and perhaps using a can of pumpkin to make pumpkin pie every Thanksgiving?

Actually no…they have far too much nutritional value to keep on the back burner…or out of your oven…

Pumpkins are actually packed with vitamins and minerals such as…

 

 

 

1.Antioxidants.…Pumpkins contain antioxidants—specially the carotenoids alpha-carotene and beta-carotene—as evident by their bright orange color.

Beta-carotene is especially important because it is easily converted into vitamin A…which in turn triggers the creation of white blood cells that fight infection.

As far as health, antioxidants may reduce your risk of developing certain illnesses, such as…

  • age-related macular degeneration
  • asthma.
  • certain types of cancer, including prostate and colon cancer
  • degenerative damage to the eyes
  • diabetes
  • heart disease

As far as beauty, antioxidants help reverse UV damage and improve skin texture.

 

 

2. Calories...One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains 49 calories.

 

3. Carbohydrates...One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains 12.01 grams of carbohydrates.

 

4.Cholesterol…One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains no cholesterol.

 

5.Fat…One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains 0.17 g of fat..

 

6. Fiber…One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains 2.7 g of fiber, while canned pumpkin provides over 7 grams of fiber….helping you reach the recommended daily allowant for fiber intake of between 25 and 30 grams.

Fiber is important for slowing the rate of sugar absorption into the blood…promoting regular bowel movements…and supporting the digestive system in general.

 

7. Protein…One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains 1.76 grams of protein.

 

 

 

8. Vitamins

Vitamin AOne cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains more than 200% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin A….whicv is very important if you don’t want to grow bald before you’re fifty.

Vitamin B…Pumpkin is a good source of most of the B vitamins—such as niacin, riboflavin, B6 and folate. This makes pumpkin great for treating acne, improving circulation, and increasing cell turn over and renewal.

Vitamin C…Vitamin C helps prevent wrinkles and skin cancer, promotes collagen production, and improves skin tone and elasticity….also strengthens hair follicles….

Vitamin C...One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains 19% of the RDA of vitamin C. Vitamin C is important for the immune system, especially important on days like today when the temperature is lunging from 85 degrees today to about 50 degrees tomorrow….

Vitamin E…Vitamin E stimulates blood circulation in the scalp, which then promotes hair growth also.

 

 

 

9. Minerals…Pumpkin contains extensive amounts of two vital minerals—potassium.. and zinc.

Potassium helps promote healthy hair and regrowth….while zinc prevents and treats flaking, irritation, and itching scalp.

Other Nutrients…One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains 10% or more riboflavin…and 5% of thiamine, folate, and pantothenic acid,

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Pumpkins…The Which

Ghosts and goblins, squash and pumpkins

Found on every aisle

As the shippers rush home with their treasures

Hear the whispers, see the costumes

Sitting there on display…

And above all this bustle you hear

 

 

Halloween, Halloween…

It’s creepy time in the city.

Hslloween, Halloween…

Soon it will be Halloween.

 

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks

See the kids walking by

At each door they will ask for some candy.

Hear them all say “Please” and “Thank You”

As they say “Trick or Treat”

Soon it will be Halloween.

 

Halloween, Halloween…

It’s creepy time in the city.

Halloween, Halloween…

Soon it will be Halloween.

(Original poem written by yours truly…think of it as corny or creative…your choice)

 

 

This is the only time all year that you will see the color orange plastered everywhere you look. Suddenly you look up, and there’s almost as much orange to be as you look around as there is green.

I personally love this time of year because pumpkins are about the only food out there with such a sweet, cinnamon-y taste…a taste that reminds of us Halloween and Thanksgivings as we were growing up.

Read the next few posts for some ideas for great homemade gifts to give your  neighbors, teachers, and whoever gives me an unexpected gift during the upcoming holiday season.

These posts will highlight ways to cook with pumpkin…make awesome coffee…decorate…and stir up your own DIY beauty concoctions, such as hair masks and facials.

But first let’s take a brief look at which pumpkins to buy so that you don’t end up leaving the produce section with a lemon.

Going to the closest pumpkin patch to pick out your pumpkin(s_ can actually end up being more stressful than you would think.

Suddenly you find yourself surrounded by all of these small round spheres in all  sorts of colors and sizes…

Which one should you actually buy?

Let’s take a quick look at your options, and your best bets.

 

 

 

***************

The Gray Ones

Kakai...These are the gray ones with orange stripes or ribbing…even though these pumkins are edible, they are better known for their blue seeds, which can be roasted.

***************

The Green Ones

Fairytale…These are the flat, dark green ones with deep vertical ribbing that are about 15″ around and 6″ high and weight anywhere from twenty to thirty pounds. Use these for cooking, especially for baking pumpkin pies.

******************

The Orange Ones

Baby Bear…These are the flat orange ones out of this grouping…and are best for…pies, roasted pumpkin seeds, and using as a bown to serve soupf, stews, and chili.

Baby Pam…These are the deep orange, ir yellow if immature. .very smooth ones. These supposedly have a sugary, starchy, string-less, and dry flesh…choose these if you are willing to spend the extra time prepping the pumpking.

Long Island Cheese…These are the pale yellow or orange ones that .have light vertical ribbing on their exterior.

Musee de Provence:…These are the yellow-orange ones with deep and distinct vertical ribbing. These are great for snacking on because they have a rich, sweet, creamy, taste. In fact slices of this pumpkin are often sold in French markets.

Tiger…These are the flat yellow ones that have orange mottling that are about 5″ around and 3″ high in size. They have a recessed stem and deep vertical ribbing the top that fades at the bottom

Winter Luxury…These are pale orange round ones with a unique netted-looking

*************

The Red Ones

Lakota…These are the red ones with green and black markings and light ribbing…and supposedly they taste like butternut squash.

 

 

 

**************

The White Ones

Baby Boo…These are the bright white palm-sized ones out of the group. Supposedly their flesh is inedible…so use these only for…decorating.

Casper…These are the bright white ones that are .more round than squat…and have slight ribbing on their exterior.

Lumina…These are the bright white., smooth ones.

Marina Di Chioggia…These are the squat green ones that have a thick and warty​ skin. They are actually a favorite for cooking because they have such a sweet flavor.

White Ghost…These are the pure white, squat ones.