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Healthy Living: Water


WaterI know I write about this frequently; it’s something I really struggle with.

I read today that the current recommendation for water intake is 80 ounces for an adult. I’ve also read studies which say to drink half your body weight in ounces. Either way, I bet that’s a lot more water than most Americans consume during the day, especially since nothing with caffeine or sugar counts as a “water” drink, no matter how hard I try to convince myself that unsweet tea equals water.

Basically, I have to trick myself into drinking more water.

I love the sparkling waters. They are calorie-free, sugar-free and fizzy, which I love. It reminds me of the years I lived in Europe, and any time you ordered water at a restaurant, they brought you the fizzy variety. It was probably also during that time period that I began to eschew ice. La Croix makes a variety of flavors, including lime, lemon, grapefruit and berry. Lime is my favorite.

Another trick is that every time I use the restroom, I have to chug 10 ounces after washing my hands. Sorry if that was too much information, but it works on getting the water down. I’m not likely to keep a bottle nearby to sip from, so chugging it works for me.

When I do keep a bottle of water handy, I try to flavor it with something. Chunks of watermelon, slices of cucumber or slices of strawberry are my favorite, but you could use any fruit or veggie you want.

I keep a 32-ounce bottle of water with cucumber in the refrigerator overnight, and my goal is to drink the whole thing before I leave for work in the morning. It’s so refreshing first thing in the morning, and it really helps to wake me up.

Another trick is to drink an equal amount of water for every caffeinated beverage you drink. This helps keep you hydrated.

So in theory, if I drink 32 ounces before work and another 16 ounces with my coffee (because I drink two cups of coffee), I’m more than halfway to my goal before lunch!



There is Always a Way


There is Always a WayThere is a phrase I often use when life throws a curveball: “There is always a way to make it work.”  Things may not happen as practically as you want, nor does it happen quite in the time frame in which you’d want it.

You know what? That’s okay.

Embrace your challenges, accept that curveball, and swing your bat with all of your might. What comes out of it – that dedication, passion and persistence – may be even better than what you’d imagined.

A challenge faced daily is exercise. Those of you working in a cubicle environment know it can be difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle when you’re at a desk all day. In my observations, I’ve found many ways people have used to stay active during work hours.

One of my coworkers sits on a large exercise ball half the day to help with core and legs. Another few have “stand up” desks. No chairs means always upright and always moving! There are several people that, when traveling to and fro, will take a different path back to keep things fresh or put in a few more steps than they would have otherwise. On your break, walk around. Go to your coworker’s office to speak face-to-face rather than by e-mail or phone.

Also, try going to the gym before work. You’ll not only have fit in your main exercise for the day, but it keeps your metabolism going at a higher speed throughout the day and you’ll be more awake and in a better mood! I’ve highly considered a desk cycle (pedals you cycle under the desk) or a kneeling posture chair which helps to keep your spine aligned and helps strengthen back and abdominal muscles.

If these aren’t for you, there are simple chair exercises you can do that will help. Examples include:

  • Leg extensions – hold legs up one at a time underneath desk, alternating pointed and flexed toes. This also works abs! Do 15 reps.
  • Leg toning – legs straight, cross one over the other and raise off floor. Press top leg down on the other, creating resistance. Do 5 reps and repeat with opposite legs crossed.
  • Abdominal contractions – contract abs for five second intervals, leaning slightly into a crunch. Contract all then go by sections in a circle then all again. This gets easier the more times you do it.

There is always a way to make it work. There is always time to make time to do it. As a personal challenge, I will begin these myself right…now. You should, too! Rep 1 complete already for me. Have you started yet?

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Posted in: Healthy Living


Product Talk: Richmond Farms Mozzarella Sticks


Richmond Farms Mozzarella SticksMy kids are mozzarella sticks monsters. Seriously, if we go out to eat, they BEG, CRY, PLEAD and CAJOLE for mozzarella sticks.

Then, once that plate hits the table, they divide the sticks with lightning speed, setting the dipping ramekin of marinara sauce down in between them, and they inhale them. The mozzarella sticks are gone before they even cool down enough to eat.

Richmond Farms makes mozzarella sticks that the boys can inhale at home. Made with 100 percent real mozzarella cheese, these appetizers, snacks or even a small meal are breaded and then frozen. They are good sources of calcium and protein, and they come in two sizes: 10 ounces for normal kids and 52 ounces for my kids.

You can heat them in the oven, toaster oven, microwave or a home deep-fryer. We usually use the toaster oven. My boyfriend deep-fries them.

Any way you heat them, mozzarella sticks are a fun snack that kids – and adults – can enjoy.

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Posted in: Kids, Product Talk


Dine In: Buffalo Chicken Meatballs


Buffalo Chicken MeatballsToday, I made a mistake.

A huge mistake.

I sat down to eat leftover Buffalo Chicken Meatballs in front of my 14-year-old son, a.k.a., the Human Garbage Disposal.

“What’s that?” he asked because I had prepared them for the first time as a “test” on a night my kids were not home.

“Buffalo Chicken Meatballs,” I told him.

“Can I have them?” he asked.

“Well, these are mine, but you can have the other two that are left,” I said, feeling a little territorial over my lunch as he had just practically inhaled a Philly cheesesteak I’d come home from work to make him.

He inhaled the meatballs, too.

“Let’s make these again,” he said.

I agreed.

“How about Friday night?”

Done.

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Ingredients:
1 lb ground chicken
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup cheddar cheese
1/4 cup thick bleu cheese salad dressing, like Marie’s
1/4 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce, plus more for serving
1 egg

Directions:
Preheat oven to 500° F, and line a baking pan with parchment paper for easy cleanup.

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until well-combined. Your mixture will feel a little loose, but they will bake into tender meatballs. Shape into 9 meatballs, and place them on the parchment paper. They will spread a little during baking.

Bake for 15 minutes or until cooked through.

Serve with a drizzle of hot sauce and extra blue cheese dressing or ranch, if you prefer.

Makes 9 meatballs

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 176, Calories from Fat: 80, Fat: 9 g (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 68 mg, Sodium: 313 mg, Carbohydrates: 6 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 0 g, Protein: 17 g.

View this recipe to print or add items to My Shopping List.



Family Matters: Traveling with Your Pup


Traveling with Your PupSure, your pet pooch wants to jump in the front seat, back seat or truck bed when you take a road trip. You can certainly enjoy your canine companion when you travel, but there are ways to be safe and smart when taking him out on the road.

First of all, don’t let your best friend hang out the window or ride in the bed of your truck. Both are very dangerous. Your pet can get hit by flying highway debris or somehow end up on the road himself.

Secondly, if your dog is small, put him in a secure carrier for the ride. If you have a big dog, consider a harness or restraint that can loop into your seat belt mechanism.

Take practice runs before your date of travel to see how your dog is going to tolerate riding in the car. Make sure he has a collar, ID and a leash, so you can take him to the restroom on pit stops. Make sure he has water, food and treats. If your dog gets carsick easily, a vet might be able to prescribe Benadryl to help him relax and sleep during the trip.

If you need to fly with your dog, check airline regulations on where your pup will ride, climate and pressurization measures; how he’ll be transported between gates; and to make sure his travel crate fits the airline’s restrictions.



Family Matters: A Safe Place for Your Small Pet


A Safe Place for Your Small PetYour small pet, whether it be a guinea pig, hamster or bunny, needs a comfy place to call home.

Most small pets need to live inside. Rabbits can live outside, but your bunny is much safer if he’s in a hutch inside the home.

Small pets generally need their cages placed somewhere where they can get away from people. While they like attention and love, they also like their “me” time. Place their cage out of the path of traffic in the busiest parts of the house and in a place where the temperature remains a constant 65 to 75° F.

A lot of your small pets like to have something to chew on in their habitat, and providing something for this purpose will keep them from gnawing on the cage itself.

They also tend to like a place to hide. Whether you provide a box, a PVC pipe, or some other kind of tube or compartment, don’t panic if you can’t find your pint-sized pet. He might just be enjoying that “me” time.

Of course, make sure your pet always has fresh, clean water.

Toys, exercise wheels and nesting material are also great for small pets. Find out what your specific type of small animal will like and provide it for them.

Keep that nesting material clean and free of debris and refuse.



Family Matters: Traveling with Your Cat


Traveling With Your CatWhen you go on a trip, your kitty probably wants to stay home. If that’s not a practical approach to your vacation or long-term travel plans, there are ways to make your cat happy and healthy as they travel with you.

If you’re traveling by car, keep your cat in a carrier. Cats shouldn’t be allowed to roam through the car during your trip. It’s not safe for the driver, and it can unnerve your cat. The same goes for letting your cat hang out windows or sit on top of the dashboard. Just don’t do it. It’s not safe.

When you make a rest stop, don’t leave your pet in the car alone. A car can get overheated in the time it takes you to run into a store, use the restroom and buy a soda. If you have two adults in the car, take turns taking a rest break while one of you stays with your cat. If you’re alone (even more reason to keep your cat contained on a trip), keep him in the carrier and bring him with you. Make sure he is wearing a collar and ID.

If you decide to fly somewhere with your cat, keep him in a carrier in the cabin with you. A pet store should have the appropriate size of carrier allowed to fit into the cabin of your flight. If your cat gets anxious in a carrier or traveling, have your vet recommend and prescribe an anti-anxiety medication for the trip. Do not take your cat out of the carrier during the trip. Your seatmate might not appreciate it, and you might lose hold of your cat.

Make sure your cat has plenty of food and water, and bring a leash or a portable litter tray so that he can relieve himself in designated areas when you are able.



Family Matters: Home Sweet Home


Home Sweet HomeIt’s easy to make a home sweet home for your feathered friends.

First, you have to choose the right cage for your bird. The right space can affect your bird’s happiness and health. You want it to be the right fit for him in a variety of ways.

If your pet bird is small, he needs room to fly back and forth. If he’s larger, he still needs space to flap his wings, play with toys and move about. If your bird has an exceptionally long tail, he needs a tall cage able to accommodate those feathers.

For all birds, the cage should be made of sturdy, nontoxic materials. A painted cage might look cute, but you don’t want your bird chipping away at the paint. It goes without reason that the cage should be escape-proof for the bird, but you also might want to make sure your bird is safe inside from small hands, like a child reaching through. The spacing of the bars should keep your bird inside and safe.

When furnishing the cage, the same rules apply to an apparatus as it does to the cage: make sure it’s sturdy, safe and clean. Provide a shallow water bowl and make sure the substrate is far enough below the floor of the cage that the bird can’t reach it with his beak.

Place your cage near natural light, but make sure it doesn’t get too hot or drafty. Keep it away from fans, A/C or heating units, and small children.

If you line your cage with newspaper, try to find one that uses a soy-based ink, as it’s nontoxic.



Mi Blog Hispano: No Podemos Vivir Sin Agua


No Podemos Vivir Sin AguaEl otro día mi niña de seis años me pregunto qué como el agua es buena para tomar si es casi invisible. Me dio un poco de risa y le explique de esta manera, le dije, “el Día de las Madres me diste una flor que tú misma plantaste en la escuela para mí. Me dijiste que le tenía que dar agua para que creciera y se abriera muy grande. Estuviste preocupada todos los días y me recordabas que tenía que darle agua porque si no la flor se iba a marchitar. Esta es la misma idea con nosotros. Tenemos que beber agua para que crezcamos grandes y saludables como las flores y los árboles, y también para que nuestros cuerpos funcionen como deben. Así como las plantas y los animalitos, no podemos vivir sin agua.” Ella sonrió y después de algunas preguntas más, bebió agua y salió a jugar afuera.

La verdad es que muchos pensamos más o menos de esa manera. No queremos tomar agua porque pensamos que no tiene sabor, o como es clara pensamos que no nos beneficia. Ignoramos lo bueno que es para nuestra salud, y no tomamos suficiente agua al día. Estamos tan acostumbrados a tomar bebidas con alto contenido de azucares que el agua ya no nos llama la atención. Hay que hacer un cambio y empezar a beber más agua cada día para llevar una vida más saludable.

Ahora, ¿cuánta agua debemos de tomar al día? Hemos escuchado que debemos tomar ocho vasos de agua al día, pero realmente debe de ser más y también debe de ser de acuerdo a la edad y al peso de la persona. El Instituto de Medicina determino que lo que es adecuado para un varón adulto de peso normal son 13 vasos de agua, y para una mujer adulta de peso normal son 9 vasos de agua por día.

El agua tiene tremendos beneficios incluyendo los siguientes:

  • Alivia la fatiga
  • Ayuda a perder peso
  • Ayuda a tener una piel más clara
  • Ayuda a que nuestros riñones funcionen mejor
  • Ayuda con la digestión y a prevenir estreñimiento
  • Mantiene el cuerpo hidratado, etc.

Esto no es todo. El agua es un gran beneficio para nosotros. Vamos a proponernos a tomar más agua para estar más saludables. Aquí les va un plan para empezar a tomar mas agua. Empiece cada día tomando un vaso de agua en cuanto despierte. También, beba un vaso de agua 30 minutos antes de cada comida grande. Cargue con su botella de agua todos los días. Cada que tenga sed, escoja beber agua en lugar de soda o bebidas con azúcar. No olvide que si anda comiendo fuera de casa, el agua usualmente es gratis en los restaurantes así que también ahorrara un poco de dinero. Si no le gusta el sabor de agua simple, agréguele limón, o unas rebanadas de pepino.

Estoy segura que sentirá una gran diferencia bebiendo agua más seguido. Como le deje a mi pequeña hija, ahora le digo a usted – así como las plantas y los animalitos, no podemos vivir sin agua.



Shop the Sale: Strawberry Crumble Muffins


Strawberry Crumble MuffinsStrawberries are on sale at Brookshire’s this week, but I may have overdone it just a bit.

I’m not sure how we’re humanly going to eat all of these strawberries, so I polled my kids, asking “What’s your favorite way to eat strawberries?” and thinking I’d get creative in the kitchen.

Plain.

Plain.

That was their answers.

My younger son’s BFF, who happened to be sitting at my kitchen table when I asked, chimed in with “Chocolate-covered!”

Well, that wasn’t helpful.

My favorite way to eat strawberries is with sour cream and brown sugar. Yes, I said SOUR cream, not whipped cream. Just try it, I promise you.

Back to what I was going to do with pounds and pounds of strawberries…

My mom makes a blueberry crumble that I adore, so I went in search of a similar recipe using strawberries. I found a strawberry crumble muffin recipe instead, and it’s sufficient to say that a good portion of our strawberry haul was happily devoured in this form!

Strawberry Crumble Muffins

Ingredients:
MUFFINS:
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp pure vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, diced

CRUMBLE TOPPING:
1/4 cup butter, cold
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375° F. Line muffin tins with paper liners, or coat thoroughly with nonstick cooking spray. (The liners are more effective.)

Cream butter and sugar together in the mixing bowl of an electric mixer until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and the egg.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the buttermilk, until thoroughly combined. Gently fold in half the strawberries.

Fill muffin liners with about 2 heaping tablespoons batter. Top with remaining strawberries.

To make the crumble, combine all topping ingredients until mixed. Spoon over each muffin. Reduce oven temperature to 350° F and immediately put muffins in the oven. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Makes 12

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 215, Calories from Fat: 75, Fat: 8 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 34 mg, Sodium: 169 mg, Carbohydrates: 34 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 21 g, Protein: 3 g.

View this recipe to print or add items to My Shopping List.



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The products mentioned in “Share, the Brookshire’s Blog” are sold by Brookshire Grocery Company, DBA Brookshire’s . Some products may be mentioned as part of a relationship between its manufacturer and Brookshire’s.

Product Talk

Each Monday we feature a new or interesting product.

Healthy Living

Tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, every Tuesday.

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On Wednesdays, get a tip or idea on using an item in the circular.

Family Matters

Ideas for the whole family come to you every Thursday.

Dine In

Stop fighting the crowds, save money and dine in, every Friday.

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