Thursday, February 28, 2013

Diet in a Ditch

It all started with a few birthday dinner celebrations. A pan of paella, a homemade, beautiful birthday cake; all too good to resist...then there was prime rib night, with a basket of warm rolls and butter to start. Then, the occasional 3 P.M. need for a dark chocolate iced coffee and (gulp) the sometimes accompanying ever-so-lightly-glazed, soft and delicious donut. Let's not forget the Fat Tuesday slice of pizza. And so, my diet ends up in a ditch. How did this happen and how do I get out of it? The mornings always start great, usually with the gym and a juice and then I swear, it's like a red-eyed monster lives in my belly and convinces me it's time for something, anything carbolicious, in any form and if it has sugar and fat to accompany it, even better...And it never ends at just one bite. The other evening, as I was driving down for a creamy iced coffee, I asked God for a miracle, as I realized I need one. I need an act of God to intervene and make me "normal" once again. Normal being, food doesn't dictate my every bite. Once that little bite takes place, it's all over but it only happens with certain foods. The red-eyed monster and I both rub our bellies in unison, as we enjoy our temptations and then the deception begins as I tell myself, with good intention, "I will start over tomorrow," as the monster laughs to himself, knowing better. Does he know something that I don't know? And this month, tomorrow never quite came but what did were five pounds that crept back onto the scale. But another thing did come about; that miracle I asked for. I found this article and it has changed my view of my assuming lack of willpower. The puzzle pieces started to fit together. And it prompted me to read Wheat Belly by William Davis (great book; very interesting, informative and at times humorous) and a doctor confirmed my suspicions of a gluten allergy. For unsuccessful dieters everywhere, a food allergy test could help you quiet that red-eyed monster making your belly bigger. You have good intentions and don't let the monster have you believe that it's you, when that's not entirely the truth. So, this month wasn't the most successful in terms of weight loss and I still plan to do more juicing. But the the information I gained is one that has found me at peace knowing that the red-eyed monster has a name and just one chance meeting will lead to more. In some cases, like this one, it's better to not meet at all.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Accessorize It!

Necklaces are not just for completing outfits. They can be used around the home to accessorize everything from the backs of empty chairs to potted house plants. When accessorizing with jewelry, you want to find an extra special piece. Vintage necklaces embellished with brooches make a statement for everything from that ho-hum side console table to your favorite framed picture of your pooch. Even paintings and lampshades look better when a dainty jeweled chain necklace hangs from them, giving them a whole new look. Simple straight pins help with attaching to the inside of fabric lampshades and small nails can be useful when working with wood, such as the mirror below. Keep an eye out for ornate necklaces when shopping around antique shops, you never know what you'll find and what a special touch it will bring to not only your outfit but to your home also. Happy accessorizing!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cranberry - Marjoram Juice

Although I really enjoy cranberry juice straight, sometimes I like to blend it with other fruit juices and teas. And as you can see by the picture, I couldn't wait to take a few sips! It's so tasty and refreshingly tart. My latest blend is with marjoram tea. Use the marjoram right out of the jar that's in your spice cabinet. Just place a heaping half a teaspoon into a tea baller and let it steep in a cup of boiled water. Allow it to cool. If you love that distinct taste of marjoram, don't limit it to just dinner. It's a fun and unexpected flavor to add it to your juices. Enjoy!

  • 1 cup of cranberry juice
  • 1 cup of marjoram tea, cooled

Combine the juice and tea well. Serves 1.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Meditate On It

There are days and there are days...where nothing goes quite right, no matter how hard you try. And it leaves you dazed, confused and mentally drained. And when moments like that occur, I find meditation to be quite helpful. When the mind is on overdrive, the quiet space made among the jumbled thoughts-makes room for open wide spaces, where clarity of mind enters in. As your thoughts swirl in your mind, take your first deep breath through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Your thoughts are still there, it's okay, repeat the breathing process. They will soon evaporate and fall into the background, along with the ticking clock. Make sure you are sitting comfortably and are relaxed, that you are not too hot and not too cold. I usually set a timer for twenty minutes, I find that time works great to get me to a place where my mind is at peace. Take another deep breath in, have your eyes closed and allow it to flow and release it on the exhale through the mouth. You want your belly to be moving, deep inhales and exhales. Let the breathing be your focus. Your thoughts will slowly resemble clouds rolling through the night sky, part of the scene but not the big picture as the more you inhale and exhale, the clouds go away and you begin to see some bright stars being the flickers of insight, to your dilema. As your jumbled mind begins to relax with your breaths, allow those random thoughts to come in, some of them are keys to your happiness.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Orange & Cranberry Juice

Orange and cranberry has been a genius flavor combination found in muffins, breads and let's not forget that perfect cranberry sauce...Cranberry's tartness gives that perfect balance to the sweetness of oranges. And why not enjoy it in a tall glass? I wanted something quick this morning and made orange juice, which I usually love but today it was so overly sweet and it just needed the extra tartness that cranberries give. Enjoy this sweet and tart treat! Happy Weekend!

  • 4-5 Navel oranges, juiced
  • 1 cup of pure cranberry juice

Combine the juices and stir until well combined. Serves 1.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Shopping for Seeds

Even though Punxsutawney Phil, the famous groundhog predicted an early spring, I hate to say, I'm a little doubtful and think it's going to be a long winter. But I'm hopeful at the same time that the little guy is right. We have a little guy ourselves, that usually makes a home for himself under the shed. I love seeing his chubby behind jiggle as he runs from under the deck to the safety of the shed, as we pull into the driveway. If the timing is right, he sits up on his plump back legs and gives us a deep, hard (if I'm not mistaken, dirty) look before ducking into his home. I think he thinks we are the intruders. But no sign of him and his shadow and I'm not surprised, as it's frigid out. The walkway is iced over and my head feels like it could use another hat. My scarf can't be long enough. It's a cold one today. And when it's this cold, the kind that feels like it will last forever, it's nice to think warm thoughts of spring and planting a little garden. I picked up some vegetable seeds today and I'm so excited! I don't have the greenest thumb but I'm going to give it a good, hard effort this year, if our furry little chubster friend lets me...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Earring Storage & Display

I love all kinds of wire baskets, the older looking, the better, especially with extra crooked wires. This basket was holding papers, that needed to be filed. Boring! We want fun today! So, I thought how cool would it be hung on the wall displaying earrings*? This would look great in a group of three, one for the earrings, one for bracelets and one for necklaces, especially on a fun colored wall. You want to use a shallow wire basket. (I got this one at ABC Carpet & Home, months ago, on sale.) Begin by holding up your wire basket and press in push pins into the corners or for a little more permanence, nails with large heads to securely hold your basket. Give yourself some room from the wall, so you can comfortably remove and put back your jewelry. Have fun making your jewelry masterpiece!

                                            *Not useful for post back earrings.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

White Tea with Orange-Pineapple Juice

We've been hearing of the wonderful health benefits of black, green and white tea for years now. Despite all of the health claims, I just feel really good after a cup of the tea. I would look forward going out for sushi, knowing that a beautifully rounded tea pot of green tea would accompany our meal and would be so satisfied having my fortune cookie dessert with another round of tea. And have replaced tea instead of the usual java, even though at first, it did seem daunting to unclench my tightly wound fingers around that mug of coffee but the clean and calm feeling I get after a cupful of all those antioxidants, must be doing the magic. If you are having a hard time adding tea into your daily routine, mixing it with your juices is a nice way to incorporate the goodness. And I've also found that making a big pot of tea in the morning encourages the sipping throughout the day and evening. Enjoy!

  • 1/4 large pineapple, skin removed and juiced
  • 2 oranges, juiced
  • 1 cup cooled white tea

Combine all of the ingredients and stir well. Serves 1.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Chamomile - Strawberry Juice

I hope you didn't dip all of the strawberries in chocolate and you have some leftover from Valentine's Day. They would be perfect combined with chamomile tea for a soothing, calming and relaxing drink. It's a nice way to kick off the extended weekend. Put your feet up and enjoy!

  • 2 heaping cups roughly chopped strawberries, pureed
  • 1 cup chamomile tea, cooled

Combine the strawberry juice and tea. Stir well, if you would like it sweeter, add stevia. Serves 1.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love One Another

The only thing that I don't particularly like about Valentine's Day is that it only happens once a year. In the cold and snowiness of winter, hearts adorn everything and we're encouraged to celebrate our love with our partner, not that we have to be encouraged but it does plant the seed for celebrating love. This is the night for just the two of you, to really connect. I was thinking about this throughout the day. The specialness of really honoring love, with the extra attention to detail,  the flowers, candles, the special dinner and the tokens that show our appreciation. And I thought to myself, Valentine's Day needs to be once a month! Crazy? Maybe or maybe not. Although we definitely have our special moments, I want to make an occasion of really honoring my husband ala Valentine's Day fashion, with all the bells and whistles. Join me as Valentine's Day becomes a monthly celebration of love. Every fourteenth, let's be crazy in love! Let's enjoy and connect with the love in our lives and let them know how much we truly honor, cherish and are grateful for them. Happy Love Day!

Single ladies, don't feel excluded, everyone's been there and it's a wonderful time to connect with the most important person in your life right now, you. It's the time to honor yourself. Take the time to enjoy your own company. You are great and make the night all about you! Cook yourself a wonderful dinner, light the candles, buy yourself some flowers and don't forget the chocolate...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Raspberry & Blueberry Juice

It's a nice time to feel the love, especially PPS. (Check out yesterday's post for more of an explanation.) Making juice out of berries always taste like a dessert. And when drinking berry juices, it's always a pleasure, never a punishment. When it comes to juice detoxing, enjoying what you are sipping on is important, especially when you need to get the momentum going again. Take some time to make this extra special juice, with enough to share. Enjoy!

  • 1 heaping cup of fresh or frozen blueberries. pureed
  • 1 cup raspberry juice
  • 1/2 cup rose hip tea, cooled

Combine all of the ingredients and stir well. Sweeten with stevia if needed. Serves 1. Double the recipe, as needed.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Cucumber, Apple & Cilantro Juice with Turmeric & Curry

A refreshing cucumber and apple juice, flavored with turmeric and curry for breakfast before a Fat Tuesday indulgence of a slice of pizza for lunch or dinner? I've been dreaming of a gooey slice of pizza for days. Do I indulge or do I restrain? Will I hang my head down low in shame, as I hug my belly to soothe the pain, as the lactose slowly affects it? Or will I just love that slice so much, that I will have another? With a cola? (Gasp.) Will I have regrets? How badly will it affect my twenty pound weight loss so far? Will I be able to face myself in the mirror tomorrow morning? And how bad will juicing again be PPS? (post pizza slice.) Decisions, decisions...To be continued...

  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and juiced
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, juiced
  • 1 large bunch of cilantro with stems, juiced
  • pinch of curry powder
  • pinch of turmeric

Combine all of the juices and the spices, stir well. Sprinkle with additional turmeric and give it a little swirl with a butter knife, just to make it pretty. Serves 1. Enjoy!

PPS Report:
February 13, 2013
4:43 P.M.
It was a Fat Tuesday in the fattest sense. I'm not proud. Juicing today has been harder after the momentum of it, gets a break with such a super rich indulgence, like a slice of pizza, etc. It's so much better to just go with the juicing-all the way and not to falter. It's not quite worth the disappointment, the strong carbohydrate and sugar cravings afterwards and waking up at four in the morning with the worst nausea and a sense of confusion along with feeling weak, physically and in character.  But it's not a time to lament on my flaws, just a time to re-focus. Stay strong juicers!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Persimmon Juice with 5-Spice Powder

Happy Year of the Snake! The Chinese new year is here and I love new year celebrations because of the promise that only a new year brings. A shiny, fresh slate. What the year of the snake promises, I'm not too sure but when I was waiting for our Chinese food takeout to be completed, a few weeks ago, I asked the lady at the counter what the year of the snake entails, she kind of shook her head and said, "Not too good..." and laughed a little. I laughed too and she was nice enough to bring out one of the cooks to elaborate on the not so positive snake year. I said, "So...the snake year isn't too good, huh?" He also shook his head and said something along the lines of, many changes can happen suddenly. I imagine the sudden changes being similar to a snake minding its' own business, slithering along, maybe a hiss here and there and then he spots an intruder...and the snake strikes. That can be a sudden change. So, I take the year of snake, as a year to not make sudden moves, if you don't have to and maybe stay away from jungles, just to be on the safe side. In years past, I loved celebrating with some great Chinese food and maybe brushing up the feng shui around the house. One year, I was lucky enough to be in Chinatown in NYC on the New Year. The energy is electric and it's just a great time. But this year, being my juice-detoxing self lately, (although, it's become harder and I need to re-focus), I think I will recommit with the Chinese new year, sipping on a juice spiked with a little 5-spice powder. It's delicious with any kind of fruit juice including cucumber, warming the juice with the flavors of anise, ginger, cinnamon, fennel and black pepper. Enjoy and may the year of the snake be good to you, with positive sudden changes, like winning the lottery!

  • 3 ripe persimmons, juiced
  • 2 oranges, juiced
  • 1 cup green tea, cooled
  • pinch of 5-spice powder

Combine all of the juices and the 5-spice powder and stir well. Serves 1.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Tropical Getaway in a Glass

There is a snow storm a brewing outside, with estimates of over a foot of snow. I love opening up my curtains as wide as they can go, so I can see the winter wonderland. The roads are white and I could not be happier, as being stuck inside with the snow coming down hard, gives me a slight thrill. I love getting lost in the kitchen on days like this, creating a warm and comforting meal. But as I am juice-detoxing away, a fruity drink in a tall glass with an umbrella in it, will take the place of that warm and comforting meal, along with warm thoughts of sunny beaches, blue water and tropical drinks...Enjoy! Happy snow day and weekend!

  • 1/4 large pineapple, skin removed and juiced
  • 1 banana, pureed
  • 1 cup coconut water

Combine all of the ingredients and stir well. Serves 1.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Gnome Just Looking for Love...

As every year goes, when it comes the gnomes, they just appear, sometimes they all come back at once, other times, they make a slow appearance, one by one. When, is hard to say though, they are unpredictable. I've seen them arrive as early as April and the latest in June. That year was the worst, they really slacked off and my garden really suffered, everything bloomed late, if at all. I loudly told them they weren't welcome next year. But being gnomes, they just know, that I was venting and didn't mean it. So, the following spring, they were here in early April and it was the prettiest garden I've ever had. And as they appear, they just poof, disappear. It happens like clockwork, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I've always found it weird being the Saturday after. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Black Friday shoppers? It's just too much of a coincidence. But the date of their departure, I can bet on. I think they have some kind of Gnome Convention they have to get to. I imagine it's in a warm and sunny location, like Hawaii or Tahiti. (I know if I were a gnome, that's where I would go, beaches, blue water and pina coladas...) So, you can imagine my surprise as I came home today to find a gnome house. In the snow, with a snow storm on its' way? I rubbed my eyes. Was I just seeing things? Wishful thinking? No, it was indeed there, like it never disappeared in the first place...

I had to get the gnome detective herself, Daisy, my dog. She will find them, no matter where they are hiding. One day, last summer, she was pacing back and forth, she wanted to go out. We just got back from our morning walk and I thought it was so strange that she needed to go out again but took her anyway. Sure enough, she was leading me with determination, to a mossy covered rock, about a block away. She sniffed it, looked up at me and did her little dance. I bent down to get a closer look and guess who jumped out? You guessed it, a little red capped cutie. I didn't ask but I suspect he just wanted some attention. We all have those moments, aware of them or not. So, Daisy lead him back home and we made him feel extra special, planting a little mossy grass next to his little house. We all need a little pick me up now and then, gnomes included. So, after I got over my initial shock of seeing this fresh arrival, I went inside and put Daisys' leash on. She rushed outside and her little nose was busy at work, close to the ground, getting snow on it and all, making snorting sounds with her deep focus. It wasn't long before she found him and there he was, up in the tree. He looked as sad as a Basset hound, sitting on his mushroom, in deep thought.

I wondered to myself, "What was he was doing back so early?" And why did he look so very sad? At first, I wasn't exactly sure but it became apparent as I looked around. The door to his house had a heart shaped handle and there were red flowers in the window boxes. With Valentine's Day a week away, it became clear that this little guy is just looking for love...He wants to find his Valentine. And I hope cupid helps him out, everyone deserves a little love on Valentine's Day, gnomes included. ;)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Pineapple - Mint Juice

Minty, fresh and pineapplicious...Enjoy!

  • 1/4 large pineapple, peeled
  • 1 Gala apple
  • 1 cup cooled mint tea

Juice your pineapple and apple. Stir well with the mint tea. Serves 1.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Orange - Bay Leaf Juice

There is something special about that first sip of freshly squeezed orange juice, sweet, tart and refreshing. Combine it with bay leaf tea and it adds an aromatic twist on the classic orange juice. To make your bay leaf "tea" break up a large bay leaf and cover with 1/2-3/4 cup boiling water, let it steep and naturally cool until you are ready to use it. (I made mine the night before and let it sit out until the morning.) I garnished the juice with a little Pink Himalayan salt and it tasted unexpectedly great, adding a little saltiness to the sweet-tartness. Enjoy!

  • 4-5 Navel oranges, juiced
  • 1/2 cup bay leaf tea
  • Pink Himalayan salt*optional

Combine the orange juice and tea and stir well. Sprinkle a little salt on top. Serves 1.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Heart Shaped Bamboo Cutting Board

It's a heart shaped world, come February. Let the foodies in your life know how much you love them with a heart shaped cutting board. And while you are at it, give mother earth some love by giving a board made out of eco-friendly bamboo. I was lucky enough to come across this one at a local juice bar called Conscious Fork, that also serves vegan food. (Can't wait to try the coconut macaroons...) And for this month, Conscious Fork will give you 10% off the cutting board when you mention Bliss House Happiness. If you happen to be in the area, they are located in the town of Warwick, New York and you can find them at 20 McEwen Street or contact them at (845) 988-KALE (5253).

The board measures about 9 1/2 inches from the center to the bottom, with the maximum length being about 11 inches. At its widest, it also measures about 11 inches. It's the perfect size for cutting up some veggies and fruit! Enjoy!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Strawberry - Rose Water Potion

The month of love (say it in a deep voice and stretch out the o, it makes it more fun) has arrived! Every girl pretty much loves roses and chocolate covered strawberries on Valentine's Day, (actually any day, lol.) But this year, I have to pass on the chocolate covered part because of my juice detox. That doesn't mean I'm going to miss out, especially when I can make a little love juice! Strawberries, raspberries, sour cherry juice and a little rose water make a love potion that's mesmerizing. You won't even miss the chocolate. ;) It's a nice change from the juices I've been making and it's a nice way to welcome our month celebrating love. Happy weekend all!

  • 1&1/2 cup roughly chopped strawberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 3/4 cup sour cherry juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon food-grade rose water

If shopping for berries and the prices seem a bit up there, look in the freezer section, lots of times you will find nice deals on frozen berries, organic included. Just let them thaw out before throwing them in the blender or before using your hand immersion blender. Combine with the sour cherry juice and the rose water. Sweeten with stevia if needed. Serves 1. (Not very romantic, double the recipe. ;))