Good guide to finding the right flavors in your veggies – from End of the Line.. the Waist Line:
I love energy or snack or healthy granola bars, but if you look at the ingredients in many/most of them – yuck! I have posted about making your own granola bars (Snack On Hearty, Homemade Granola Bars | Dan Likes This!). Here is another cool and super easy way from America’s Test Kitchen on
How to Make Your Own Energy Bars
You can also include some of these yummy healthy ingredients: Easy Ways to Give Any Meal a Powerful Nutritional Boost | Dan Likes This!
To go the extra mile, make your own fuel.
By Lindsey Slack | April 25, 2013
My boyfriend is a run-o-holic. Whether he’s running a half marathon or 20 miles, the man can’t seem to get enough. I’ve always believed that exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, which is why I’m all about supporting him in his racing endeavors. And when it comes to athletic abilities, the quality of what you put into your body affects what you’re able to put out. But it’s difficult to find store-bought energy or performance bars that aren’t filled with ingredients you can’t pronounce and that don’t taste artificial, so I got to thinking: Could I make a healthier (and better tasting) version? The answer is yes, and they couldn’t be easier.
STEP #1 GATHER IT
The great thing about this recipe is that there aren’t too many ingredients, and there’s minimal prep work involved—you don’t even have to toast the nuts or chop anything beforehand. And it’s no-bake!
STEP #2 LINE IT
Lining the baking dish with a parchment-paper sling makes lifting the completed bars out of the pan much easier. You simply pull up on the overhanging bits of paper and the bars come right out.
STEP #3 COMBINE IT
Pour all of the ingredients into the food processor.
STEP #4 PULSE IT
Pulse the pitted dates, sunflower seeds, raw almonds, chia seeds, dried cranberries, and coconut oil until they’re well mixed, about 2 minutes.
STEP #5 TRANSFER IT
Scoop the processed ingredients into the lined baking dish.
STEP #6 PRESS IT
Press the mixture down with your hand or an offset spatula from edge to edge of the pan. Make sure the thickness is even all the way across.
STEP #7 CHILL AND LIFT IT
Once you’ve chilled the bars in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, lift them up and out of the pan.
STEP #8 CUT IT
Cut the mixture into nine equally sized pieces.
STEP #9 EAT IT
Your bar is ready to grab and go; bring it with you on a run for a mid-workout refuel, or enjoy it in the comfort of your kitchen.
The whole recipe is here:
Makes 9 bars
6 ounces pitted dates (1 cup)
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¾ cup whole raw almonds
2 tablespoons chia seeds
¾ cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1. Line 9-inch square baking dish with parchment paper, leaving excess hanging over the sides to make a sling.
2. Process all ingredients in food processor until finely ground, about 2 minutes. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish spread into even layer, pressing down using offset spatula or hand to firmly compress. Transfer to refrigerator and chill until mixture is firm, about 20 minutes.
3. Lift parchment sling out of baking dish and place on cutting board. Using sharp knife, cut into 9 bars. Bars can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen up to 1 month.
Get 100+ more recipes like this in the DIY Cookbook.
This is something very near and dear to me and is an important message for everyone to see and hear!
Take a look at this amazing story in the new short film about Jay & Katherine Wolf and their incredible journey:
In the years following the stroke, we received so much comfort and hope in the midst of our pain that we couldn’t help but share that hope with others–thus came “Hope Heals”. What’s most amazing is that in the process of giving hope and sharing our lives with others, we have gotten back even more hope in return.
We created the “Give Hope/Get Hope Campaign” as a tangible expression of that beautiful cycle. Like any beloved gift, hope cannot just be kept hidden away to one’s self, it must be shared.
In the coming weeks and months, we will debut several different creative projects and collaborations under this larger umbrella. Stay tuned!
Here are some good guidelines to think about before you keep using plastic to reheat any food in – from the WSJ:
When to Throw Out Microwaveable Plastic Containers
Lunch at your desk can be a downer, especially when it involves leftovers reheated in the office microwave. But are you putting more into your body than just lukewarm pad thai? Rolf Halden, the director for the Center for Environmental Security at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, stirs the pot.
“We don’t know if and how many people die from plastic exposure,” says Dr. Halden, “but we do know that in the developed world we suffer from a lot of diseases—breast cancer, obesity and early onset puberty—that are less prevalent in developing countries. These are a result of our lifestyle.” He adds: “From a public health perspective, we should consider heated plastic an unnecessary source of exposure to harmful elements and eliminate it.”
Two to Watch
Since plastic was first synthesized in the early 1900s, it has evolved into everything from lifesaving medical devices to a softening agent in hair conditioner. Plastic is ubiquitous but there are two chemicals in it to watch out for when it comes to what your body ingests.
Phthalates, the chemicals that make a PVC container flexible, “can migrate out of the plastic when it’s heated,” says Dr. Halden, who has done comprehensive studies on emerging contaminants and plastics for more than a decade. Phthalates can leach into food, resulting in hormone imbalances and birth defects—although no one knows at what level those effects are triggered, he says. Phthalates are present in measurable levels in the blood of nearly every person in the developed world, he adds.
Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a potentially worse offender. Once tested for possible use as an estrogen replacement, BPA was found to be of better use in the mass production of polycarbonate plastic. It’s used in everything from the lining of metal soup cans to receipt paper. The FDA banned the use of BPA in baby bottles in July 2012, because of its link to developmental delays.
While the recycling numbers at the bottom of plastic items “are not meant to provide health information or risks,” Dr. Halden says, they can sometimes provide clues to the chemicals in them. For example, No. 7, says Dr. Halden, means “there is a high likelihood” that Bisphenol A is in it. That reusable water bottle sitting on your desk? “Think of it as one big BPA vessel,” he says.
When to Toss It
The amount of chemicals leaching into food depends on the type of plastic that is put in the microwave, the time it is heated and the physical condition of the container, says Dr. Halden. Old, cracked containers and those that have been washed hundreds of times often give off more toxins when heated. Any deformities or discoloration are a sign it’s time for the recycling bin.
And reheating foods heavy in cream and butter in plastic is always a bad idea. “Fatty foods absorb more of these harmful chemicals when heated,” he says.
Another Way to Reheat
Rather than torturing yourself over what plastic is safe, use an inert container such as glass, ceramic or stainless steel, he suggests. Along with cold spots in food that could harbor bacteria, Dr. Halden points to another reason to avoid reheating in the microwave: taste. “Food tastes much better if it is prepared in a hot oven or on the stove, and not cold on the inside and too hot on the outside,” he says.
Oh man – some of these items I love, but now I am reconsidering ever buying them at all! GREAT find Em!! From ReadersDigest:
27 Foods You Should Never Buy Again
Cross these items off your grocery store list—whether they’re rip-offs, fakes, drastically unhealthy, or just plan gross, here are the 27 foods you should never buy again.
A few shavings of nice cheese on top of pasta or vegetables can take a simple dish from good to great—but you don’t have to fork out $22 a pound for the famous stuff. Instead, look for varieties like Pecorino Romano and SarVecchio, which offer the same flavor at half the price.
Smoked and Cured Meats
From fancy charcuterie to “dime a dog” night, pass on cured meats in any form—they’ve been linked to cancer, disease, high blood pressure, and migraines. Plus they’re packed with artery-clogging grease: regulations allow up to 50% (by weight) of fresh pork sausage to be fat.
Ahh, blueberries…now in everything from your breakfast cereal to muffins, granola bars, and sauces—or are they? Turns out that most of the blueberry-flavored items on grocery store shelves don’t feature a single actually berry, just artificial blueberry flavor. Buy your own berries and add them to plain cereal for a real health boost.
This is junk food masquerading in a healthy disguise. Check the ingredient list to make sure whole wheat is the first, and main, ingredient—otherwise, you’re just getting a few grains mixed into regular white bread. Better yet, forgo the bread and enjoy straight-up barley, brown rice, quinoa, or steel-cut oats.
Reduced fat peanut butter
When companies take out the fat, they have to add something back in to make the food taste delicious. In this case, it’s lots of extra sugar—and who wants that? Instead, spread regular peanut butter on your sandwich for more of the good fats and protein without fake sweetness.
Tomato-based pasta sauces
A jar of spaghetti sauce typically runs $2 to $6. The equivalent amount of canned tomatoes is often under $1. Our suggestion: Make your own sauces from canned crushed tomatoes or fresh tomatoes — particularly in the summer, when they are plentiful, tasty, and cheap. The easiest method is to put crushed tomatoes (canned or fresh) into a skillet, stir in some wine or wine vinegar, a little sugar, your favorite herbs, and whatever chopped vegetables you like in your sauce — peppers, onions, mushrooms, even carrots — and let simmer for an hour. Adjust the flavorings and serve. Even easier: Coat fresh tomatoes and the top of a cooking sheet with olive oil and roast the tomatoes for 20 to 30 minutes at 425˚F before making your stovetop sauce.
Large bottom-feeder fish such as tuna, shark, king mackerel, tilefish, and especially swordfish are high in mercury. Choose smaller fish, like flounder, catfish, sardines, and salmon instead.
Stick to a cup of coffee for your afternoon boost. Seemingly harmless caffeinated beverages are often sugar bombs—and the FDA has received numerous reports linking brands like 5 Hour Energy and Monster Energy to heart attacks, convulsion, and even death.
Gluten-free baked goods
If you aren’t diagnosed with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, keep in mind that gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean healthy—and gluten-free baked goods like bread, cookies, and crackers often are packed with more refined flours, artificial ingredients, and sugar than traditional baked goods. Plus, they can cost up to twice as much as you’d normally spend.
Flavored non-dairy milks
Vanilla-eggnog-caramel soy milk doesn’t win you any points in the health department—and it definitely won’t help your grocery receipt bottom line. If you prefer non-dairy milks for personal dietary reasons, buy unsweetened versions. And if you’re just trying to eat healthfully, skim milk should be just fine.
Foods made of WOOD
Take a look at the ingredient list for your high-fiber cereal or snack bar, and you’ll probably see an ingredient called “cellulose.” Turns out that cellulose is a code word for “wood pulp.” Food manufacturers use it to extend their products and add fiber, so it looks like you’re getting more food. But really you’re just left with a mouthful of wood shavings.
Skip the refined grains and go for whole: a 17% higher risk of diabetes is associated with eating five or more servings of white rice per week, compared to eating white rice less than once a month.
‘Gourmet’ frozen vegetables
Sure, you can buy an 8-ounce packet of peas in an herbed butter sauce, but why do so when you can make your own? Just cook the peas, add a pat of butter and sprinkle on some herbs that you already have on hand. The same thing goes for carrots with dill sauce and other gourmet veggies.
When you buy a pre-made sandwich, you’re really just paying for its elaborate packaging — plus a whole lot of salt, fat, and unnecessary additives. For the average cost of one of these babies ($2.50 to $3.00 per sandwich), you could make a bigger, better, and more nutritious version yourself.
Premium frozen fruit bars
At nearly $2 per bar, frozen ‘all fruit’ or ‘fruit and juice’ bars may not be rich in calories, but they are certainly rich in price. Make your own at home — and get the flavors you want. To make four pops, just throw 2 cups cut-up fruit, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice into a blender. Cover and blend until smooth. You might wish to add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water so the final mix is a thick slush. Pour into 4-ounce pop molds or paper cups, insert sticks, and freeze until solid.
Boxed rice ‘entree’ or side-dish mixes
These consist basically of rice, salt, and spices — yet they’re priced way beyond the ingredients sold individually. Yes, there are a few flavorings included, but they’re probably ones you have in your pantry already. Buy a bag of rice, measure out what you need, add your own herbs and other seasonings, and cook the rice according to package directions.
Energy or protein bars
These calorie-laden bars are usually stacked at the checkout counter because they depend on impulse buyers who grab them, thinking they are more wholesome than a candy bar. Unfortunately, they can have very high fat and sugar contents and are often as caloric as a regular candy bar. They’re also two to three times more expensive than a candy bar. If you need a boost, a vitamin-rich piece of fruit, a yogurt, or a small handful of nuts is more satiating and less expensive.
Spice mixes like grill seasoning and rib rubs might seem like a good buy because they contain a lot of spices that you would have to buy individually. Check the label first: We predict the first ingredient you will see on the package is salt, followed by the vague ‘herbs and spices.’ Look in your own pantry, and you’ll probably be surprised to discover just how many herbs you already have on hand, and you can improvise as much as you want.
Powdered iced tea mixes or prepared flavored iced tea
Powdered and gourmet iced teas are really a rip-off! It’s much cheaper to make your own iced tea from actual (inexpensive) tea bags and keep a jug in the fridge. Plus, many mixes and preparations are loaded with high fructose corn syrup and other sugars, along with artificial flavors. To make 32 ounces of iced tea, it usually takes 8 bags of black tea or 10 bags of herbal, green, or white tea. If you like your tea sweet but want to keep calories down, skip the sugar and add fruit juice instead.
Bottled water is a bad investment for so many reasons. It’s expensive compared to what’s coming out of the tap, its cost to the environment is high (it takes a lot of fossil fuel to produce and ship all those bottles), and it’s not even better for your health than the stuff running down your drain.
Even taking into account the cost of filters, water from home is still much cheaper than bottled water, which can run up to $1 to $3 a pop.
If you have well water and it really does not taste good (even with help from a filter), or if you have a baby at home who is bottle-fed and needs to drink safe water, buy jugs of distilled or ‘nursery’ water at big discount stores. They usually cost between 79 cents and 99 cents for 1 gallon (as opposed to $1.50 for 8 ounces of ‘designer’ water). And you can reuse the jugs to store homemade iced tea, flavored waters, or, when their tops are cut off, all sorts of household odds and ends.
Washed and bagged greens can be a time-saver, but they can cost three times as much as buying the same amount of a head of lettuce. Even more expensive are ‘salad kits,’ where you get some greens, a small bag of dressing, and a small bag of croutons. Skip these altogether. Make your own croutons by toasting cut-up stale bread you would otherwise toss, and try mixing your own salad dressing.
Individual servings of anything
The recent trend to package small quantities into 100-calorie snack packs is a way for food-makers to get more money from unsuspecting consumers. The price ‘per unit’ cost of these items is significantly more than if you had just bought one big box of cheese crackers or bag of chips. This is exactly what you should do. Buy the big box and then parcel out single servings and store them in small, reusable storage bags.
We checked unit prices of those small bags of trail mix hanging in the candy aisle not that long ago and were shocked to find that they cost about $10 a pound! Make your own for much, much less with a 1-pound can of dry roasted peanuts, 1 cup of raisins, and a handful of almonds, dried fruit, and candy coated chocolate. The best part about making your own? You only include the things you like. Keep the mixture in a plastic or glass container with a tight lid for up to 3 weeks.
‘Snack’ or ‘lunch’ packs
These ‘all-inclusive’ food trays might seem reasonably priced (from $2.50 to $4.00), but you’re actually paying for the highly designed label, wrapper, and specially molded tray. They only contain a few crackers and small pieces of cheese and lunchmeat. The actual edible ingredients are worth just pennies and are filled with salt.
Gourmet ice cream
It’s painful to watch someone actually pay $6 for a gallon of designer brand ice cream. Don’t bother. There’s usually at least one brand or other on sale, and you can easily dress up store brands with your own additives like chunky bits of chocolate or crushed cookie. If you do like the premium brands, wait for that 3-week sales cycle to kick in and stock up when your favorite flavor is discounted.
Pre-formed meat patties
Frozen burgers, beef or otherwise, are more expensive than buying the ground meat in bulk and making patties yourself. We timed it — it takes less than 10 seconds to form a flat circle and throw it on the grill. Also, there’s some evidence that pre-formed meat patties might contain more e. coli than regular ground meat. In fact, most of the recent beef recalls have involved pre-made frozen beef patties.
This is interesting – how does your family compare? I was definitely surprised by the very first 10% on the upper left graphic!!
What Does Today’s Wireless Family Look Like?
The wireless family is on the rise. With the plethora of gadgets released each year, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a family member without a mobile device. Children receive their first cellphones at earlier ages, and parents who grew up sans Internet are learning to navigate the web.
What exactly does today’s wireless family look like? According to CTIA, The Wireless Association, 70% of children under 12 have used a mobile device, and more than half of kids age 8 to 12 have a cellphone. As the modern family introduces tech earlier on, parents are trying to close the gap between the perception of what they think their kids do online and what really goes on. Check out the infographic, below, for more.
A majority of parents (86%) feel their children are safe online, and an overwhelming 91% think they know what their teens are up to on the Internet. CTIA put together a list of tips for parents to ensure their kids are using cellphones responsibly, as well as some statistics on how technology affects education at home and in school.
Infographic courtesy of CTIA-The Wireless Association.
Some ideas on why our backs hurt and some great and easy tips on how to help. Details from Lifehacker:
Not only are we killing ourselves by sitting all day, we’re probably sitting all wrong. Esther Gokhale, who has studied the posture of people in less industrialized places (where back pain is virtually unknown), shows us in this video what natural (“primal”) posture looks like for standing and sitting.
Essentially, you want to have a “ducky butt, not tucky butt,” she says in a profile of her work on SF Gate. Instead of tucking your tailbone in, stick your butt out, because good posture relies much on the pelvis.
If you don’t have time for the entire video, go to the 4:25 mark to see a sitting exercise that will help you get back into your primal posture.
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