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Packing the Perfect Picnic Basket

The weather is great and picnic season is upon us. What’s not to love about eating a plate of delicious food while basking in nature’s beauty?

Whether you’re planning to stage your next outdoor meal on the beach or in the park, you have to make sure that everything is packed. That lovely bottle of wine won’t get opened if you don’t have a corkscrew. And once you arrive at your picnic spot, what you have in your picnic basket is what you’ve got.

Tote your picnic lunch with ease by following these simple tips.

Ground cloth

Bring an old blanket or a washable cloth that you don’t mind ruining. Even if you have a picnic table or clean rocks to sit in, bringing a blanket will up the coziness factor of eating outside.

Main dishes

Choose dishes that can be transported easily, easy to eat with your hands and do not spoil quickly.

Since you need everything to be portable and light, sandwiches and finger foods are a great option. They are easy to prepare, filling and can be packed individually for your convenience.

Side dishes

A picnic will never be complete without scrumptious sides. You can prepare your favorite pasta salad the night before the picnic and add in some roasted chicken and chopped vegetables. Since these dishes usually contain mayo, it would be best to keep it chilled.

Desserts

While a picnic is not the perfect place to get into a cake or pie, that doesn’t mean that you should skip the dessert. Choose a selection of pastries like cupcakes, fruit tarts or éclairs. They’re good on the go and are so irresistible.

Plates and utensils

Use lightweight reusable like acrylic instead of glassware. Cloth napkins can also make the picnic feel a little more special.

Drinks

As for drinks, you can bring bottles of your favorite soda or water – be sure to bring plenty of water.

 

Flavoring Up Your WaterIt is a well-known fact that water is super important as it keeps us hydrated and helps eliminate toxins, but sometimes plain old water just doesn’t cut it.

If you want to drink more water but aren’t crazy about its taste, you can add fruits, spices or herbs to turn your once plain water into a refreshing flavored drink. Jazzing up your water doesn’t take much time or effort.

Here are some tips to make drinking water more enjoyable.

Add citrus

Citrus fruits like limes and lemons are considered as classic water enhancers. They add a hint of flavor and make water look more sophisticated. But let’s not forget about other citrus fruits like tangerine, grapefruit, oranges and mandarin. These fruits taste great as well.

Keep a bowl of fruit slices in your refrigerator and feel free to add a variety of fruits in a pitcher of water. Orange and basil is a great combination. It may seem like an odd combination but it helps cut back my cravings for salty foods.

Mint cubes

Throw a small sprig of lemon mint, peppermint or spearmint into the ice cube tray and freeze it. For a refreshing drink, add the mint cubes to a glass of water.

This technique is recommended for people who dislike sweetened beverages but still prefer some flavor. You can also use this technique with your favorite herbs like basil or rosemary.

Cucumber

If you prefer a flavor that is less sweet, then this is for you. Just add a few slices of cucumber to a glass of water or fill a pitcher with a handful of cucumber slices, add water and let it sit in the refrigerator for a few hours. Its subtle flavor will give your water a fresh, spa-like taste. With its cool flavor, you might think twice about reaching for a can of soda.

Cinnamon stick

Infused with delicate sweetness and spice, cinnamon water is a great alternative to plain water. Drop a cinnamon stick in a pitcher of water, let it sit in the refrigerator and enjoy a drink that is both earthy and sophisticated. It does not only make your water taste great, it also comes with a long list of health benefits.

 

Losing Weight: How to Cut Your Calorie Intake in Half

Consuming more calories than what you need may lead to weight gain and eventually put you at risk of developing a wide range of serious health problems. If this continues, you may become overweight or obese.

Eating and drinking lesser calories is the key to losing weight. This, combined with an increased physical activity, is the best way of achieving a healthier weight.

Slashing those calories can be as easy as piling them on. Listed below are a few suggestions on how to cut back on your calorie consumption. Incorporate them into your daily diet and lose your love handles in no time.

Keep a food diary

Keep a record of everything you consume for the entire week. Every time you eat, make sure to list down the food you ate, how much you consumed and how you felt afterwards. Were you satisfied? Do you still feel hungry? This is important as most people don’t realize how much they have eaten until they write it down.

One step at a time

Losing Weight: How to Cut Your Calorie Intake in Half

You don’t have to change your diet overnight in order to see results. This will only make the process more painful. Studies show that people who make significant changes on their diet are less likely to succeed. So, try to make a change or two in your diet this month. The idea is to make little changes, building them up each week.

Chew your food

It takes 20 to 30 minutes for our body to register that we are full. Eating slowly allows you to feel satiated even on fewer calories. Studies show that people who chew at least 20 times before swallowing are consuming 70 calories less each meal.

Downsize your plate

Instead of going for a 12-inch plate, why not go for a 9-inch plate. This simple trick will allow you to cut at least 500 calories without feeling deprived.

Stand

Losing Weight: How to Cut Your Calorie Intake in Half

Did you know that standing up can help you burn at least 500 calories a day? So, try to stand up while receiving a phone call, reading reports. If you can, try to squeeze in 5 minutes of jumping jacks or push-ups. This will help you burn another 50 calories.

 

 

Indulging on classic dishes like pumpkin pie, hot chocolate, mashed potato and prime ribs is a part of the holiday fun. However, taking in too much of these could make you feel heavy and bloated. Luckily, there are a few healthy tweaks that you could do in order to help lighten up your favorite holiday treats without sacrificing the taste and your figure as well.

Cheese tray

When serving cheese, try to incorporate reduced-fat cheeses to your usual cheese selection. This way, health-conscious individuals shall have better options. Also, don’t forget to round up your cheese tray with whole grain crackers and fresh fruits like pears, apples, figs and grapes.

Mashed potato makeover

Though potatoes by themselves offer a long list of nutrients like Vitamin C and potassium, you’ll be sacrificing its nutritional integrity by adding in loads of fattening ingredients like heavy cream, butter and whole milk.

To lighten up this tasty treat, use low fat buttermilk instead of full-fat dairy. Plus, ramp up the flavor by adding in spices and fresh herbs like roasted garlic or chipotle pepper.

Slim with skim

During the Christmas season, it’s fine to indulge on peppermint lattes and hot chocolate. However, considering the amount of food you’ll be taking in, it is best to trim down on the calories where you can. So, instead of whole milk, request for skimmed milk. By doing so, you could save up to 100 calories per 16 ounce serving.

Cut the crust

If you’re the type of person who eats pumpkin pie just for the filling, you might want to skip on the crust completely. By doing so, you could shave off at least 100 calories per slice.

Stick to your usual filling recipe and pour it into individual ramekins. Then, bake it until it sets. Top it off with whipped cream and you’ll get a delicious pumpkin custard with a cute presentation to match.

Rethink your roast

For meat lovers, a holiday celebration would never be complete without a perfectly cooked slab of prime rib. However, at 720 calories per 6 ounce slice, the stats alone could make your heart skip a beat.

For an equally tasty meal without all the damage, you might want to consider lean beef tenderloin since it has about half of the calories. If this does not work you, you could also try other lean holiday entrees like pork tenderloin or roast turkey.

 

The next time you look in a mirror, think about this: In many ways you’re more microbe than human. There are 10 times more cells from microorganisms like bacteria and fungi in and on our bodies than there are human cells.

Scientists increasingly think that these microorganisms have a huge influence on our health. Without them, our bodies don’t seem to do as well. We don’t seem to be as healthy and might actually get sick more often.

But these tiny compatriots are invisible to the naked eye. So we asked artist Ben Arthur to give us a guided tour. Join me as we dive into the rich universe of the human microbiome.

(Source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/11/01/242361826/exploring-the-invisible-universe-that-lives-on-us-and-in-us)

Grapeseed oil, a by-product of the wine-making process, comes from extracting the oil from within the small, hard-shelled seed. A stable cooking oil, grapeseed oil does not smoke or splatter. This oil features a high smoke point, or temperature at which oil smokes and discolors, ranging from approximately 320 to 428 degrees, depending on the brand. The light, buttery or nutty flavor leaves no aftertaste and enhances a food’s natural flavor. Grapeseed oil is an economical cooking oil because only one-third to one-half cup of grapeseed oil equals one cup of other oils.

Instructions

Frying, Roasting and Barbecuing

1 Use a paper towel to remove moisture from surface of raw meats. This dry surface will aid in browning the meat.

2 Marinate or brush meat with grapeseed oil or flavored varieties such as garlic or walnut. Grapeseed oil works well with meat, poultry or fish. This thin layer of oil will help retain flavor and prevent sticking to the frying pan, roasting pan or grill.

3 Place meat in pre-heated frying pan, oven or grill. If meat starts to look dry, brush on another thin layer of grapeseed oil.

Grapeseed Oil as a Butter Substitute

4 Substitute grapeseed oil for butter by brushing on a sliced piece of bread. Add optional grated cheese, sliced tomatoes, chopped olives or other toppings.

5 Place topped bread on a shallow metal baking pan under a pre-heated broiler until cheese is melted or toppings are browned.

6 Remove bread carefully from oven. Add freshly ground pepper if desired.

Grapeseed Oil as a Condiment

7 Mix grapeseed oil or varieties infused with herbs and spices as part of a mayonnaise or salad dressing recipe. Test with small amounts of grapeseed oil and increase the amounts to balance with other ingredients in the adapted recipe.

8 Add grapeseed oil to raw or cooked vegetables, salads and pasta. This light-tasting oil will not overpower food.

9 Use grapeseed oil as part of a dip for fresh vegetables on a platter.

Read more: http://www.ehow.com/how_7463732_cook-grapeseed-oil.html#ixzz2iSllh2Wr

Here is a great and easy way to make sweet potato pancakes this is a healthy breakfast, lunch, or snack. Enjoy! See all of my videos at http://livingwell-nutrition.com/certified-nutrition/nutrition-videos/

We found this perfect fall smoothie recipe and wanted to share:

Post-Run Pumpkin Spice Protein Smoothie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post-run pumpkin spice protein smoothie

  • ½ cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 2 dates
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (optional)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • sprinkle nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and ginger

Post-Run Pumpkin Spice Protein Smoothie

Here is a quick, easy and healthy 7 minute stir fry that you and your family can enjoy!

Kale is so full of nutrients and great for you. These chips are easy, quick and affordable as a healthy snack solution.