Archive | October, 2012

The Last Rose of Summer

28 Oct Last Roses of Summer

I have a pretty rose bush called Peach Drift that is low maintenance and low in height but high in color and blossoms. It is considered a compact groundcover rose. I am very happy with this rosebush because the colors are gorgeous and the blooms are generous! Also, recently it was showcased on P. Allen Smith‘s television show.

The colors are pink, coral, and pale orange. I’ve had no problems with bugs or any problems and I’ve had it for four years. My only regret is that I planted it where I can’t see it from my patio doors! I just may decide to try and propagate it.

When the weather is gloomy and gray as it is today, you need a touch of mother nature’s beauty to feed your soul for your good health.

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Enjoy my last blooms of this summer’s passing.

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New Food Friday – Low Calorie Hummus with Tahini Dip

26 Oct sxc hu www.eastbourneguide.com/hotels-in-eastbourne-html-hamburger

It’s New Food Friday again and I have a new product that I tried and really enjoyed! Have you ever tried a can of hummus and tahini dip? I purchased the Ziyad brand of hot and spicy hummus and tahini dip in the can. I wondered if it could be any good coming from a can. I’ve purchased hummus in a plastic container in the refrigerated section of my supermarket before but I never tried a canned version. Surprise! It was equally as good if not better!

If you’re familiar with hummus, you know that it is made with garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas).

Here is the garbanzo bean as a growing plant.

Flowering garbanzo bean plant – Wikipedia

This hummus is made with tahini, or crushed sesame seeds, to form a paste.

The first canned hummus dip I bought was  creamy and spicy! (I bought the spicy version first – not shown in the photo).  I added some garlic salt, lemon juice, and a small amount of olive oil but it was equally good without the additions. You could see the bits of red pepper in the dip so it was definitely spicy. In fact, I decided to add more chickpeas to the dip because I can tolerate only so much spice! I had a can of chickpeas and minced half the can and added it to the dip. It was still spicy!

I served the dip with celery and carrot sticks. This is good for snacking or to bring to a party or potluck.

 

I found the canned dip on sale for $2.29 in the ethnic aisle of my Meijer supermarket. Ziyad is the name of two brothers from Jordan and their company produces 1,600 products.

Click me to enlarge

Here is the nutritional data:

As you can see, it is low in calories. It is a great dip if you are watching your weight.

I not only used this hummus as a dip, I used it as a spread on a sandwich for my turkey burger. It was also good!

Don’t be afraid to try this canned version of hummus with tahini dip. It’s a shortcut if you’re in a hurry and you can also keep it on the shelf for an emergency with the rest of your canned goods.

I bought the unspiced version a week later. It was also good. I’ll talk about that some more next Friday and also about the NEW vegetable that you can dip into the hummus which is also very low in calories.

Wine is Good for the Health of Most People Unless You are Allergic

21 Oct sxc.hu/ NatsPhotos Nat Arnett

Have you ever had a glass of wine only to get a headache or stuffy head afterwards? Drinking wine is not always barrels of fun!

The Reds Contain Less Sulfites

It’s typically the sulfites in wines that produce allergic reactions in people but red wines  tend to cause less problems than white wines.

Winemakers are Working on this Problem

Due to a recent discovery, scientists have found another culprit in wines besides sulfites that cause allergic reactions called glycoproteins.

If you suffer from allergic symptoms when you drink wine, you will be happy to know that there are wines out there that are less likely to cause allergic reactions.

 

 

 

 

Did you know that many foods also contain sulfites? Here is more information on wines without sulfites and a list of foods to avoid that contain sulfites.

Many foods on this list may surprise you!

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New Food Friday – Plantains

19 Oct Plantains, red bananas, apple bananas, cavendish banana

I like to experiment trying new foods every now and then and sometimes trying new combinations of foods. So, I decided I would share my experiences with you and write a post about it every Friday. Each New Food Friday will be about a food or foods that are good for your health. I will also provide nutritional data.

This Friday’s new food are plantains.  Have you ever tried them?

Plantain plant

You know what they look like – they look just like a banana.

But they don’t taste anything like a banana. In fact, their flavor is difficult to describe.

Some people say they taste like squash. I don’t know if I would agree with that. Their flavor is very mild though. I prepared my plantain by slicing and frying the pieces in canola oil.

Plantain Frying

I like canola oil because it has no flavor. In this type of preparation, the plantains have the look and the consistency of French fries. There isn’t much difference.

This was my first plantain experience. The plantain I bought was slightly green on the ends and I waited until it turned yellow before I fried it. Some people like to mash plantains like mashed potatoes. You boil them like potatoes and mash them like potatoes. I haven’t tried them that way yet.

Plantains slowly turn from green, to yellow, to black, just like a banana. They also go from very firm and starchy, to soft like a banana and they get sweeter as they ripen just like a banana but that is where their similarity ends.  Their skin is thicker than a banana which makes them a bit difficult to peel when they are green. Plantains are inexpensive. I paid all of $.43 for my first big plantain.  As you can see from the photos, I fried mine then drained the slices on paper towels and salted them. They ripen very slowly and they fry very quickly!

In fact, I slightly burned one side of my plantain slices with the first batch I made. I only fried up half the plantain because I wanted to wait until the other half ripened more to see what it tasted like.

Plantain Half

Even though I slightly burned some of the slices which gave them a slightly bitter note, I still enjoyed them.

About a week later, I fried up the other half of the plantain and watched it more carefully when I fried them up. No bitter note. They stay nice and hot so be careful you don’t burn your mouth when you eat them. I didn’t notice any change in taste when I fried the second half even though it had a streak of brown on the skin which means it was getting sweeter.

I bought a second plantain and fried it up the same way and enjoyed it. I haven’t had the patience to wait until it turned brown to see the difference in taste. Once they turn brown or black, they can be used in dessert recipes.

Americans think of plantains as being used for Mexican or Latin dishes. According to Wikipedia, plantains are a staple food in the tropical regions of the world. They fruit all year round. Africa is the largest plantain-producing continent. Northern California is a minor producer of plantains. India, Indonesia, Venezuela, Cuba, Australia, and many other countries produce plantains.  

Plantains, red bananas, apple bananas, and the cavendish banana (the one you put on your corn flakes)

The uses for this fruit are mind-boggling. Every part of the fruit can be used for something it seems. The skin can be made into a drink, the fruit can be made into a flour, the plantain flower is used in soups and gravies, the leaves are used to make tamales or they’re used as plates since they are stronger than banana leaves. The plantain shoots can be used as a salad. Juice from the stem and the peel have been used as first aid for burns and minor abrasions. I’ve barely scratched the surface.

Plantains are a good source of Vitamin A, C, B6, and potassium.  Plantains have 890 mg of potassium while bananas have 422 mg ! Potassium stimulates your muscles, nerves and brain cells, and can also help reduce blood pressure and risk of stroke. Plantains are low in sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol and high in fiber. Recipes for plantains are endless! I will leave the recipes (other than the simple one I mention in this post) for the food/recipe blogging gals and guys out there.

I give plantains a thumb’s up! You should give them a try if you are new to them.

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My Health Club is History

17 Oct sxc.huskizof Josep Lluís Caldentey - Donkey

I joined a new health club. You already know about some of the problems I was having at my former club. Let me tell you why I left.

I had been in the private shower/changing room, next to the

PRIVATE SHOWER ROOM

ladies’ locker rooms.

There are two of these rooms; two on the side of the ladies shower/locker area

and two on the side of the men’s shower/locker area. As I was IN the shower, a man started pounding on the door, telling me to hurry up! He was pounding hard enough to break the door down. I told him I’d be out in a minute. About 10 minutes later, he was back, pounding on the door again! He said I had been in there 1/2 hour. (I hadn’t.) I was furious!

I finished showering, got dressed and opened the door, expecting him to be standing there. He wasn’t but he was walking down the hall towards me. I figured it was him but I asked if he was waiting for the room. When he said yes, that’s when I gave him a piece of my mind. I can count on one hand the times in my life that I went into a tirade over something and this was one of those times. He was not going to get away with this kind of obnoxious behavior.

I was yelling at him in a very loud voice and I did that deliberately to make sure other people heard me. In the end, believe it or not, this guy was literally shaking. I don’t know if that means that I scared him to death or if he was holding back wanting to punch my lights out! I just didn’t care, I was fed up and this was the last straw!

He told me that the men’s changing rooms were being cleaned. I said, “We’ll see about that!”

He kept complaining that I was in the shower for a 1/2 hour. At which point I looked at him in contempt and called him a jackass. At which point he said the “F” word to me.

I stormed off and hailed the first health club employee I could find. I said I needed to speak to the manager. The employee said he was a manager. He was all of about 30? I told him what happened, that this guy kept pounding on the door telling me to hurry up while I was in the shower, and that he used the “F” word to me. The manager kept saying over and over, “We’ll take care of it.” He kept apologizing.

I finally calmed down because I realized that he wasn’t going to do anything about it. So I asked, “Aren’t you going to ask me his name?” “Don’t you have any questions?” He kept saying, “We’ll take care of it.” So, out of desperation, I described what clothes the guy was wearing and what he looked like. In disgust, I left.

I tell you this story for your own safety and for the safety of your sisters, your mothers, and your daughters who go to a health club/gym. All during the time that I was yelling at this jerk, NOBODY came to find out what the ruckus was. If this guy had become violent, he could have easily pushed me back into the shower room, done some damage, and nobody would have witnessed it. There are plenty of cameras around this club but NONE in the hallway leading to the side door of the ladies locker rooms

and the two private changing rooms where we were.

The manager said that they had been giving the mens’ rooms a “deep cleaning.” How stupid do these “managers” of this health club have to be to not put up a sign on the doors letting women know that the men will be using these facilities on this day?

The manager said these rooms are “family” rooms. So, in other words, he was defending this jerk’s right to be on the women’s locker room side using these rooms.

Can you imagine if I went over to the men’s locker side and started pounding on the “family” rooms telling a guy to hurry up and get out? They would probably handcuff and cart me away!

When I was new at this club, one year ago, I went on a guided tour and the guy who gave me the tour told me that these rooms were used for changing baby’s diapers, and also if someone preferred privacy rather than being in the larger open locker room. He never said that men were allowed to use them. In fact, he never took me on the men’s side of the locker room to show me the “family” rooms on their side. He never said I could use the rooms on the men’s side either. I never even considered that men had these rooms on their side of the locker area until this incident. In the year that I had been there, I had never seen any men use the rooms on the women’s side and I had gone 4-5 times a week, on various days, at various times.

The bottom line was that there was no respect for women at this club. I certainly didn’t need to feel stressed out after I worked out!

So, when you are looking for a health club, take into consideration these things:

1. Check to see where the ceiling cameras are located.

CEILING SECURITY CAMERA

Make sure there is one near the entrance to the ladies side of the locker rooms AND that they can “see” all areas of the club.

2. Don’t join a club that is so large that your voice gets “lost” due to the distance between you and other people.

3. Ask questions. Ask if men are allowed to use women’s showers and/or changing rooms. If there is an emergency “cleaning” or other type of emergency can men use women’s facilities. If so, will a notice be posted to let women know?

4. I am in the Silver Sneakers program which allows me to change health clubs easily. Even though they had me sign a contract, it’s fairly worthless and probably nothing more than a sales ploy to make you feel obligated to stay with them. I don’t.

When I was new, employees at this club photographed me and put my name in large letters on an ID card as big as a charge card. This is another thing I didn’t like about this club. Although they provided towels for free, you had to turn in your ID card at the desk in exchange for a towel. Sometimes the desk was unmanned and anyone could go behind the desk to pick up their ID card which allowed them to see YOUR ID card and your name/photo. This poses a security issue for you. I only used their towels once. When I saw the lack of care regarding my ID card, I brought my own towels from then on.

I have been at my new club for two weeks now. In the Silver Sneakers program, the club gets paid every time you swipe your “ID” at the entrance or whatever type of “ID” the club has you use. My current club uses a small numbered tag-like ID that I attached to my keychain. There are no privacy or safety issues with it.

My new club is a small club with only two private shower rooms on each side of the club. One side says, WOMEN’S RESTROOM and I assume the other side says, MEN’S RESTROOM. Ceiling cameras can view all areas of the club.

Final Thoughts

Women have as much right to be at a health club as men. We have the right to take care of our bodies. We have the right to be treated with respect, especially when we’re paying customers. I am left with this question: Why aren’t there more women owned, women run health clubs? Why?

7 x 7 Link Award

7 Oct 7x7link-award

Wow! If I had realized how special this award was, maybe I wouldn’t have put other important things to do before it! My sincere thanks go to Peri’s Spice Ladle for nominating me for this award (and for her patience in waiting for me to catch up!)

I realize I could take the easy road and nominate people I have nominated in the past. However, I prefer to search for new nominees not just for my benefit in learning what is out there, but for your benefit too. This way, we both get introduced to more blogs.

Say What?
I had to re-read the rules to this award and I did a double-take at the “previous links” rule. Why, I have to examine my own blog! Now there’s a switch! I get to do some self promotion. Yeaaaaaa!!!

The rules are pretty loose and open to interpretation. They are the most unruly rules I’ve ever come across. This is a good thing and to my liking!

The Rules:

  • Give thanks and acknowledgements to the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • List 7 of your previous links in the following categories. Most Helpful, Most Popular, Most Beautiful Piece, Most Controversial, Most Surprisingly Successful, Most Underrated, Most Pride Worthy.
  • List 7 things about yourself.
  • Nominate 7 other bloggers for this award.

7 Things about myself:

1. I like 7-Up.

2.My favorite drink used to be 7 & 7.

3.Betty White jokes that she has the hots for Robert Redford. When she kicks the bucket, I want to be next in line for Bob. (Sorry Betty.) Then I’ll be in 7th heaven.

4. I’ve never seen the movies: 7 Brides for 7 Brothers, or The 7 Deadly Sins.

5. I’m not the 7th son (or 7th daughter for that matter).

6. I’ve never been to a 7-Eleven. (Or have I?)

7. I’ve yet to see any of the 7 Wonders of the World in person.

And the Awards go to:

1.alicia-prague-blog.com

2.thethirdeyeworld.com

3.ironleg.wordpress.com

4.adudeindublin.wordpress.com

5.themindweave.wordpress.com

6.willingwheeling.wordpress.com

7.remixedamerica.com

Congratulations to the winners! Enjoy your award.

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Top 7 Posts From My Blog

7 Oct 7x7link-award

 

This post is prompted by my nomination for the 7 x 7 Link Award. The rules state that I must list my 7 Most Helpful, Most Popular, Most Beautiful Piece, Most Controversial, Most Surprisingly Successful, Most Underrated, and Most Pride Worthy posts from my blog. Here goes:

1. Most Helpful -What Motivates People to Exercise?

2. Most Popular – As far as I can figure, the most popular post is my About post.

3. Most Beautiful Piece – Belated Father’s DayWishes to All Fathers

4. Most Controversial – apparently I haven’t written a post in that category yet!

5. Most Surprisingly Successful -Good Health and Good Gardening Go Together

6. Most Underrated – The Rebuilding of Ground Zero

and Making Blender Compost for the Garden

7. Most Pride Worthy – Exercise: The Doorway to Injuries?

My nominees will be posted shortly. So what do you think? Did I nail them or do you disagree with my pickings?

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Horseback Riding: Good for Your Health?

1 Oct Mike riding a pony at a friend's house

 

I think It’s safe to say that most of us realize that riding a horse can be a risky sport. They are large animals and can pack a powerful blow. Plus, we are all familiar with what happened to Christopher Reeves (Superman).

I’ve been horseback riding several times in my life and I have my own terrifying experience to tell. Fortunately, I kept my head about me. Looking back, it all seemed like reflex reaction because I didn’t have time to think.

I was on a date with some of my date’s friends. We decided to go horseback riding at a public park. I don’t recall what park but this was when I was living in New York.

My horse kept lagging behind. The guide kept telling me to kick my horse. I was doing the best I could with those instructions but my horse didn’t seem to care. He was unresponsive. He seemed tired or sick. He wanted to go back to the stalls.  The group had to wait periodically for my horse and me to catch up.

Apparently, one of the  “friends” in our little group was getting tired of my horse lagging behind.This friend positioned his horse behind mine and I just assumed he thought that would help my horse move along. I had no idea he was going to crack my horse on the rear, scaring it half to death not to mention me, leading to the following events.

My horse reared,

Rearing horse

you know, like in the movie Zorro where the horse stands up on its hind legs clawing the air with its front hooves? I was still sitting upright but now my horse’s neck was up against my chest! Call it reflex or call it instinct but it caused me to grab on to his mane. Then, off we were like a shot!

We galloped like the wind as the saying goes and now I was facing down on the horse’s neck, just like a jockey in the Kentucky Derby! I worried that the horse would think I was egging him on in this position but I didn’t know what else to do. I was holding on to this horse for dear life! It could have been an exhilarating experience if the horse stayed on the trail. However, he decided to go down a slope  heading for the trees. In my mind, I can still feel the tree leaves and branches whistling past the top of my head, sometimes hitting their mark. Eventually, he slowly came to a stop. I had been saying, “whoa, whoa,” the whole time. I never pulled on the reins to stop him. Maybe in my subconscious I was remembering what my mother told me about my grandfather’s horse.

They say if you fall off a horse, you should get back on right away. (Probably because if you don’t, you never will again out of fear.) Well, I wasn’t thrown and I didn’t fall off. The trail guide didn’t ask me if I was ok. Clearly, I wasn’t. I was shaking. So, I was still on this horse and we continued lagging behind everyone else until the guide took us back to the stalls when the ride was completed! Truthfully, I don’t remember any more than that. I was probably angry but I was too exhausted for an argument. I didn’t get on another horse until 25 years later, and that experience was much better, with a mare that I really liked.

I have always had a love of horses. When my parents would ask me what I wanted for Christmas when I was a kid, I’d always say, “A pony!” My mother would say, “Where would we put it?” I had a ready answer, “In a stable.” I had no idea about stable costs, or the upkeep of a horse, or even the illnesses that afflicted horses. I didn’t learn those things until I was in my 40’s when I subscribed to a horse magazine. That subscription really opened my eyes.

So, thereafter I was happy to admire them from afar. I watched horse races on TV. I visited The Kentucky Horse Park. It’s a lovely place with a beautiful statue of Secretariat, my favorite race horse. I’m also a fan of dressage and horse jumping.

Kentucky Derby with friends

I went to the Kentucky Derby twice.

I went to the Belmont Race Track many years ago when I lived in New York.                     

And I’ve been to other smaller horse tracks to watch the races.

I went to a rodeo in Indiana. I think the event was held at Market Square Arena which has been imploded since then. 

Rodeo in Indiana

Rodeo in Indiana

 

I had planned to go to a dude ranch where you could work and vacation but my job interfered with those plans and I missed that opportunity.

So, it was a natural step for me to introduce my son to horses. In this photo, you can see that he had no fear. He looks like a natural if you ask me but unfortunately my love for horses didn’t transfer over to him, at least not that I know of. However, he is into many other sports and at one time had been a personal trainer at the local YMCA. Those of you who follow my blog shouldn’t be too surprised at that! My adventure with horses isn’t over yet. I can feel it in my bones! (Which are still intact and I intend for them to stay that way.)

Me and my son at a friend’s home

 

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