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15 May

I am taking a vacation from my blog so do not expect the usual post from me on the 3rd Friday of the month. My responsibilities have piled up and something had to give! I hope to resume posting when I have more free time. Keep up with your good health meals and good exercise habits! This is no time to slack off ; – )

Happy reading and blogging.



25 Apr Crab Strata with Apricot Preserves

Is it me or does the word “strata” make you think you’re going to see a Fellini movie? Or, is that only if you’re a movie buff?  If you’re a science buff, maybe it makes you think of outer space as in stratosphere? Or, if you’re in the military, maybe it makes you think of strategy as in strategic maneuvers? I have wanted to try strata for a long time but it’s made with leftover or stale bread. When do I ever have leftover or stale bread? Never! So, in order to make this strata, I had to bake extra bread just so I could have “leftovers.”  Since I like to kill two birds with one stone (gee that sounds violent), I decided to make brioche, a French bread that I’ve always wanted to make but didn’t because I thought it was too inconvenient. I didn’t have the right “tools” for the job. But then I found a recipe for brioche that called for a 9 x 5 loaf pan. Now that I had! I made the brioche, I had leftover bread, and then I made strata in time for this month’s New Food Friday Flash.


Strata is made with bread, eggs, milk, and cheese. You can add just about anything to it. It’s similar to a bread pudding. I found this recipe for crab strata and I halved it because I wasn’t sure I would like it.


I also have a very old recipe I cut out from a magazine for spinach cheese strata but I’ve yet to make it. If you want the recipe, just leave a comment and I will give it to you. Here is the recipe for the crabmeat strata. It can be prepared up to 24 hours in advance.Crab Strata




6 thick slices white bread cut into cubes

2 (6-oz.) cans crabmeat or 1 lb fresh

1 cup shredded gruyere cheese

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

4 scallions rough chop

6 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 ½ cups milk

2 tablespoons dry sherry or apply juice

1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce


Butter a 2 qt. casserole dish. In a large bowl, mix the bread, crabmeat, cheeses, and scallions. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well. Pour into the casserole, cover, and chill for 2 to 24 hours.


Heat the oven to 350. remove the cover from the casserole and bake for 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.Slice of Crab Strata



Replace crabmeat with canned red salmon, drained.

Replace crabmeat with ½ cup cooked small shrimp, 2 chopped hard-boiled eggs and 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley.

Replace 1 can crabmeat with 1 can tuna, drained.

Omit crabmeat altogether. Substitute 1 cup cooled and sliced mushrooms and ½ cup cooked, chopped leeks.

Replace crabmeat with smoked, chopped mackerel, bones removed. Add 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped.

This recipe is taken from the book, “500 breakfast & brunch dishes” by Carol Beckerman




15 Jan apricot-halved-1329341-1598x1067

I was tossing out old magazines and I stopped short when I saw this recipe in a magazine called Journey. I don’t often see a recipe that comes from South Africa but when I saw this one for Bobotie, I knew I had to post it in my blog. I’m not sure of the pronunciation because I’ve seen it pronounced several ways on the Internet, but I’m going with “Bobootie.”  South Africans enjoy spicy Eastern flavors, including Indian curries and Malayan spices, Dutch and English foods, and traditional African dishes. This Bobotie is one of South Africa’s most-loved dishes. It’s a combination of sweet and savory served casserole style. Note that there are no vegetables in this recipe, only fruits! Maybe your children will like it! In any case, it’s my choice for this month’s New Food Friday Flash.



2 large onions

2 Tablespoons butter

1 thick slice white bread

1 cup milk

2 lbs ground lamb or beef

2 ½ Tablespoons strong curry powder

1 teaspoon turmeric

2 tablespoons apricot jam

¼ cup sliced almonds

¼ cup lemon juice (or vinegar)

2 teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon white pepper

¼ cup seedless raisins

1 green apple, grated (or substitute carrots)

10 dried apricots, soaked & diced (or ¼ cup raisins)

4 dried bay or lemon leaves

2 eggs



Pre-heat the oven to 350F. lightly fry the onions in the butter. Soak the bread in half the milk and mash with a fork.


Mix the meat with all of the ingredients except for the eggs, the rest of the milk and the bay or lemon leaves.


Put the mixture in an oven proof dish. Push the bay leaves into the top of the mixture. Cover and bak for about 45-60 minutes, depending on size of dish.


Beat the eggs and remaining milk together and pour over the meat. Slightly lift it to allow the egg to run into the bobotie.


Bake until brown on top (about 15 – 20 minutes.


Garnish with additional bay leaves.  Serves 8 – 10.


This recipe is a great way to get more fruit into your diet. Traditionally this is served with yellow rice made with rice, turmeric, raisins, almonds, and cloves. A tasty, different meal that is very good for your health!



21 Dec mango-1327290


We all know that salmon is good for us. We want to get that Omega-3! But sometimes the flavor of salmon is too strong. It may turn you off or prevent you from enjoying your meal as much as you could. Bears don’t seem to have this problem but last time I checked, I wasn’t a bear. I have, however, come up with a solution for us homo sapiens. Mango chutney. It’s a topping you dollop on your cooked salmon. It’s delicious and nutritious. It’s pretty, especially in combination with the salmon-colored salmon. That is why it is my choice for this month’s New Food Friday Flash.


Yes, I know I’m a few days late publishing this but once in over three years is not a bad record! I knew I had written it. I just forgot to post it! I’ve been dealing with a house emergency. My smoke alarm kept going off every time I did my forth load of laundry. So, I replaced the plastic duct hose with flexible metal ductwork and vacuumed out the lint. How did I do that? Long story made short: I opened up the wall. Well, somebody had to do it. It might as well have been me! According to a Sears repairman, I saved myself between $700-$800! Then I did four loads of laundry to see if my smoke alarm would go off. It didn’t. Problem solved! You can find flexible, metal dryer ductwork at the Home Depot. It’s metal. Not plastic, not aluminum. Peace of mind is good for your health!


But back to the Mango Chutney. One of the things I like about this recipe is that you can vary the ingredients without much difference in the taste. The main flavor is the citrus taste of the mango. The more ripe the mango, the sweeter the chutney will be and it keeps well, covered in the fridge.


This chutney recipe is so delicious that you will want to add another dollop as soon as you finish the first dollop! I’ve also eaten this chutney with chicken. It would work well with pork too.



4 ripe mangoes

1 medium red onion minced

1 teaspoon cumin

juice of 2 limes

¼ cup cilantro


Wash then peel the mangoes. Dice each mango being careful not to waste the juices. A ripe mango will have a lot of juice and make it slippery so be careful! Mince the onion and add to the mangoes. Add the cumin and the juice of two limes. Chop the cilantro and add to the dish.


I usually buy one very large mango for this recipe. I don’t always have a red onion so I substitute a white or yellow onion. You don’t taste the onion in this dish but it has a very pleasant crunch so don’t leave it out! A red onion adds to the pretty colors of the dish. I use cumin seed instead of powder. Either will work but the powder might darken the bright color of the mango. I add as much or as little as I like. Then I use the juice of ½ lime. Taste as you go along because too much lime will make you pucker! Chop the cilantro and add to the dish. I like cilantro as it has a mild lemony flavor and the green herb adds another dimension of color. You eat with your eyes! It’s a festive dish and a healthful choice for the holidays: slimming rather than fattening!


Prepare your salmon the way you like it. I baste mine with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake until it flakes with a fork, about 20 minutes depending on how thick the piece of salmon. When cooked, either place a dollop of the mango chutney on top of the fish and serve it or bring the chutney to the table and let guests serve themselves. I know I always want more. This is my favorite way to eat salmon. Now there is no excuse not to eat salmon! Buon appetito!




25 Sep A new sink and faucet

If you follow my blog, you know I like to work with my hands and that I also like a challenge. Installing a bathroom sink and faucet was the most challenging home project I have ever attempted. It was difficult and I’m not going to say you should try it. But I can give you some tips on what to look out for if you want to do it yourself.

Things You Need

You need the right tools for the job. Here is a photo of the tools I used. They are in the top portion of my pink toolbox (ignore the bottom part). The donut shaped object below the safety glasses is Teflon tape. It’s cheap. Buy it.

Tools for Installing a Bathroom Sink

Tools for Installing a Bathroom Sink

You need safety glasses because you will be laying down on your back in your cabinet under your sink and when you loosen or tighten parts, you will get gunk, dirt, dust, and water on your face so you want to protect your eyes. You might even drop a locknut or worse, your pliers on your face when your hands get tired from loosening and tightening parts. I kept repeating to myself, “Use both hands to hold onto the pliers!”  This worked for me and I didn’t drop anything on my face. In fact, I didn’t have any injuries other than accidentally squeezing my thumb in my pliers! No damage was done fortunately.

You need the patience of Job (In the Bible). You need determination, perseverance, and commitment. You need to laugh at the face of the unknown. I knew nothing about installing a sink or faucet. I knew nothing about water pipes. You need to be fearless when you go to your local Menards or Lowes for help because even if you find a female sales associate, they will inevitably get a male associate to help you. Some male associates feel threatened by a woman who wants to install a sink herself or who has “technical” questions. Ignore their attitude and focus on their answers. If they stump you with a question that you don’t know the answer to or they become stumbly, bumbly themselves, don’t give up! Stall. Ask more questions. Read the label yourself of the item they say you need. If all else fails, ask to speak to another associate. Don’t let them intimidate you. As a last resort, ask to speak to the manager and tell him the problem. Fortunately, I never had to go that far.

You need silicone to keep water out of certain parts and to keep certain parts in place. The instructions that come with your new faucet will show/tell you where to use it. There were no instructions with my sink, but the sales associate at Lowes told me to use it under the sink to anchor it to the top of the cabinet. He said it would hold. He better be right! I bought Silicone Extra. That “extra” better stand for extra strong adhesion! But more about that later.

You need a roll of paper towels. Leaks will happen. I started with a nice thick bath towel but once that got wet, then what? So, I found paper towels to be better. And a small bucket for the bigger leaks.

You need a small fan to help dry out the cabinet from the leaks. It is also helpful to help dry the silicone and WD-40 or anything else you use. It is also important for adequate ventilation when using these chemicals. I opened a window and my patio doors too and turned on the fan vent on the ceiling.

Run a Fan to Dry Space!

Run a Fan to Dry Out the Space!

You need light! It’s dark in that cabinet. I used a small desk lamp and also a large flashlight. It has a 6V super heavy duty battery and is used for the outdoors. I use it indoors when there is a power outage.

You need a digital camera. If/when you get to a part/area that either doesn’t fit or doesn’t work and you’ve tried everything you can think of, take a picture of it and go to your local Menards, Lowes, or wherever and tell the sales associate the problem. If you are having problems explaining it or he or she is not getting it, show them the photo of it on your camera. I had my digital photo ready but I remembered the magic word “flexible” while I was at Lowes, and didn’t need to show my photo. I reasoned that I needed a flexible trap pipe because my sink drain was mysteriously at an angle instead of straight down and I couldn’t figure out why! It is also shorter than my previous drain. If you don’t have a digital camera, draw a diagram.

You need something soft and cushiony to lay on, kneel on, and sit on. You will be doing all three. I used my rubber exercise mat and doubled it. It was a knee saver!

Exercise Mat to Protect Knees and Butt!

Exercise Mat to Protect Knees and Butt!

Reserve books about plumbing from your local library. Search the internet to see photos and instructions on installing and removing bathroom sinks and faucets. My old sink had anchors and screws to hold it in place. My new sink came with zilch, nada, nothing. You get what you pay for: $29 at Menards. Cheap, but looks good!

My cabinet is 30” wide so for my cabinet, I needed to be able to squeeze my body into the 16 ½” x 12 ½” door space. At 5’8” and 164 lbs, that was a challenge. Sometimes I had to angle my shoulder in on the diagonal. You need to have the stamina to go in and out of your cabinet many, many times to make adjustments! If this is your first time installing a sink and faucet, make that many, many, many times! Bonus: I lost weight doing this project!

Can you fit into a small space?

You Need to Fit into a Small Space!


I began this project on September 3rd, 2015. Then I got sick with bronchitis and had to leave everything “as is,” code words for the mess from hell. It stayed like that for several weeks until I recovered! It helps to have a second bathroom with a functioning sink. I do have a half bath but the sink doesn’t function so I had to substitute my kitchen sink for brushing my teeth, etc., etc. Actually, all of my sinks need work.

Read over the instructions that come with your faucet and sink. Carefully study the diagrams. I labeled parts in the diagrams myself which helped. But be prepared for instructions that don’t tell you everything! Just when I thought I was all finished and began cleaning things up and putting stuff away, I found a small, black washer in the box that the faucet came in. “What is this? Where does this go?” I re-read the directions for the 5th time. Nothing about a small black washer. I scrutinized the diagrams again. And there it was. It wasn’t even labeled! I could strangle the author! So, I had to undo a pivot nut, pull out the horizontal rod, and slip on the washer. (It had been a place where I was getting a LEAK. No wonder!) It was an easy fix, but it could have been much more difficult. Hey, I couldn’t have ALL bad luck!

Differences of Opinion

My instruction sheet said to use silicone on the underside of the flange. The flange is the shiny round part that you see when you are standing up, looking down at your sink drain. It’s where the water goes down the drain. One of the library books I borrowed said to use Plumber’s Putty on the underside of the flange. I decided to go with Plumber’s Putty but only in that area. Why? Well, I’ve watched many episodes of Ask This Old House on PBS in the past and they always use Plumber’s Putty. Also, the putty is easier to work with and to clean up. Most of all, I believed that if I had to remove the flange for whatever reason, it would be easier to remove after using putty and nearly impossible to remove with the use of silicone. Fortunately, I didn’t have to put that to the test!

Advice vs. Reality

Some of my plumber’s books rated each project from easy to difficult. Most were labeled easy. If you are a plumber, it’s easy. If you are like me, it’s difficult. Don’t believe everything you read. I screwed and unscrewed every locknut, pivot nut, and part at least twice. The instruction sheet showed four areas where you need to look for leaks when you are all done and start to run the water. Don’t believe them. Nearly every connecting part leaked when I ran the water at the end of the project. I’m not exaggerating. This was after I, with all my might and pliers, tightened each part. LEAKS!

Places that leaked

So Many Places to Leak!

So I loosened water tube parts, cleaned them off as roughly as I could to remove any debris and retightened them until I was exhausted! That worked. I already told you about the black washer above. In fact, now that I think of it, the only two parts that DIDN’T leak were two of the four parts the instructions said would leak! Idiots! By the way, if they say not to over tighten, ignore them. Unless you know for sure that you are as strong as a plumber, tighten with all your might. A tornado might be able to move me but it won’t be able to move my sink and faucet. Not now, anyway!


Don’t give up hope! Towards the end of this project I was getting discouraged at all the leaks and wondered if I would need to get a plumber. Yet, after all I went through, I wasn’t fully ready to surrender. I’m beginning to realize where my son gets his stubborn streak.

With all the information you have at your fingertips, sometimes it just isn’t enough. So, you have to use your noodle! Although I hate the expression, “Think Outside the Box,” you may have to think outside the box. For example, I kept having a leak at one of the pipe joints. This was a connection between my old pipes and the new pipe part. The old pipe part had a screw nut to attach to the old pipe trap part. The new pipe trap part came with a similar screw nut. At first I used the new screw nut but it kept leaking at the joint. I counted how many times I could turn the new screw nut. Eight times. I removed it and put on the old screw nut and counted how many times I could turn it. Thirteen times. The old screw nut made more sense to me so I used it instead. No more leaks! Do you understand the logic there? I hope so.

After watching repairmen do their jobs in my house, I am confident that anything they can do, I can do too. Maybe even better. Certainly without breaking something as I’ve seen them do to my property! Some of them are careless and klutzy. I am not, neither will you be because it is YOUR property! One of them broke my newly installed thermostat and didn’t replace it! Another broke off the spigot of my water heater while he was fixing my furnace. I had a flood in my kitchen! Another threw away my faucet filter into the trash without telling me that it could be cleaned out and put back! Aaaargh!


I am not so secure in my work in that when I use my new sink and faucet I won’t be checking for drips and leaks. I will definitely be checking underneath every time I use the sink, at least for the first few weeks. I even put a mini-bucket under the pipe trap where it had leaked during testing. If I find water in it, I will know I have a leak and either need to tighten some more or find some other solution. But folks, really, with all the tightening I did, I’m expecting my sink and faucet to BOING out of my bathroom!

Mini-Bucket to Catch Potential Drips!

Mini-Bucket to Catch Potential Drips!

Was it all Worth it?

You bet it was! My new sink and faucet are gleaming! I need sunglasses when I walk into the bathroom! I feel the need to dress up! I find myself wiping up every bit of moisture in the sink and on the faucet after I use it! It’s like having a new car! Better! I have pride of ownership and tremendous pride in the success of my project. I am so happy! If you tackle this project, contact me if you need help. GOOD LUCK!

Job satisfaction is good for your health!


My Writing Process Tour

3 Feb Process depicted with gears

The person who nominated me for the Writing Process Tour is Gerard Villanueva. His blog is called Bread and Tortillas. He writes much more than the topics of bread and Tortillas. He also includes dishes that go well with bread and tortillas like soups or salsa. His bread recipes are very different and may include such ingredients as pumpkin seeds, amaranth, figs, or mushrooms! Recently he became a vegan. His photographs are some of the best you’ll see on WordPress and they make his dishes very enticing! I’ve insisted that he is a professional chef on TV but he keeps denying it and I don’t know if I believe him. Gerard has the knack of getting to the heart of my posts which demonstrates itself by the comments he leaves on my posts. His comments are always thought-provoking and positive. Thank you Gerard!

The rules for the Writing Process Tour are the following:

  1. Acknowledge the person who nominated you.
  2. Answer the tour’s 4 questions.
  3. Select three others to participate.


What am I working on?

Besides this? I continue to work on my body. I still don’t have a 6-pack yet but I’m getting there. I have exercise DVDs that I own and combine them with similar ones from the library which I renew over and over. I recently found one called Lord of the Abs Hard Core. It’s very good despite the corny name. I still do kickboxing and boxing & conditioning exercises. I found a good Pilates for Men DVD recently too. I have found that exercise DVDs for men, instructed by men, are more challenging than woman instructed DVDs. I put all of them in an order so as not to do two weight lifting or kickboxing DVDs back to back and then I workout four times a week. I do other strenuous things like shovel snow or replace my washer hoses which entailed pulling out my washer and dryer. That took five hours and was quite a workout! If you follow my blog, you know why I don’t go to gyms anymore.

I enjoy cooking and baking and am always ready to try a new recipe that I’ve never tried before or a new food. When I’ve come across something good or different, I post the experience on my blog. These posts are relegated to a monthly post called New Food Friday Flash. It used to be called New Food Friday when I had time to include more photos. The “Flash” variety signifies less photos which translates to spending less time on one post. Otherwise, those posts are the same. These are not the only food posts I write about though. By the way, if you are interested in something specific, you can always type in the Search field at the top of my blog!

Recently, I made a loaf of white bread. I know! I never made a loaf of plain white bread before! It turned out great! I also made a pineapple date nut bread. Wow! That came out surprisingly great! I didn’t expect that. I also made onion rye rolls for a second time. These were also very good. So good that I ate them for breakfast with raspberry jam! I know! Sounds gross but it worked! My goal is to find a recipe for a delicious, nutritious, bread or roll that I can make at a moment’s notice. I have not yet found it. Nothing compares to the Italian bread I had growing up in New York. When my sister and I went grocery shopping with our mom, half the loaf was gone by the time we got home!

How does my work differ from others in the genre?

My work differs from others in general in that I am a fanatic about not having mistakes on my blog. I double-check everything. I want my posts to read easily and I want it to be easy on the eyes with good white space. I like to back up my writing with some authority on the subject like the NY Times or WebMD, etc. and I will create a link to them so don’t skip over those links! They contain more valuable and/or interesting information. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to writing. I’m never completely happy with the results; it can always be better. But….there are only so many hours in the day and at some point I have to say enough already! My blog is different from others’ because I post about things that are good for your health. Everything I post must be advantageous to your health. This includes my audiobook section where I write reviews about great audiobooks. I believe that you need to include entertainment in your life for good health. All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy! Workaholics can burn out and that is not good for your health!

What constitutes a good health recipe? I wrote a post on how to make your own lemon curd. Another blogger asked how that could be good for your health when it is high in cholesterol? (It includes multiple egg yolks.) She didn’t read my post carefully enough because in it I compared my homemade recipe ingredients to the ingredients you would find on labels of store-bought lemon curd. So, yes they all are made with egg yolks, but my recipe didn’t have any artificial ingredients or unnecessary ingredients that you would find in a jar of lemon curd on a store shelf. Anyway, you could always use Eggbeaters in the recipe if you’re worried about cholesterol. One jar of lemon curd is not going to clog your arteries as long as you exercise and eat right! Also, I think I read recently that they don’t think eggs are the cause of high cholesterol as they used to believe. That’s the thing about the experts’ opinions – this week fill in the blank ________ will kill you, next week it will increase your lifespan. I say just eat a variety of foods and do so in moderation. Not to beat a dead horse over the lemon curd issue, (although I think it’s already too late for that), but the one jar I made was the only jar I ever made! That is very typical of my cooking and baking behavior. I crave the challenge of something new or different all the time!

Why do I write what I do?

I grew up in a multi-ethnic neighborhood and worked in multi-ethnic companies in NYC. I like diversity and it shows in my food choice. I will eat just about anything except bugs. You have to draw the line somewhere. I’ll cook Italian, Mexican, Greek, French, German, Moroccan, you name it, if it piques my interest, I’ll make it. Both my Italian grandmothers were good cooks. My mother cooked plainly: most meats were broiled. Nothing was fried. We ate lots of vegetables. So, these women influenced me. My dad had some special recipes too. His fritattas were legendary. I wrote about it and it was published in Organic Gardening and Farming. English grammar was very important to my mother, probably because her mother couldn’t write English. Apparently that importance was passed on to me.

I want to do what I can to awaken people to better health by making good food selections (I don’t like to use the word diet because it connotes restrictions) and choosing a good exercise program. It is alarming to me that so many are obese in America. Obesity in children is now epidemic in America. We adults have to set a good example for them. But it isn’t just about eating the right foods. Exercise is important too. I’ve been on the exercise band wagon for several decades now so it is firmly ingrained in my psyche. I don’t know if I can fully explain to you what I feel like when I skip a few days. It’s like I avoided a friend. That’s what exercise should be to you – your friend. Do we always love our friend? Hell no! Some days I say, “Not you again!” But once I get started, I’m all warm and fuzzy with my friend again.

How does your writing process work?

Words are my thing. For me it’s like falling off a log. Numbers and finances are another story. My brain turns to molasses when I’m dealing with numbers and finances. I can do it, but I’ll be groaning. Now that I’ve said that, there are some, very few in fact, words that I don’t like. One of them is the word “process.” I don’t know why but it makes me cringe. It must be a throwback from when I worked fulltime for a living. I remember this woman I worked with who was very difficult and would always use the word process. I would prefer to use the word “method” since it’s a word often used in psychology and psych was one of my majors in college….the “scientific method!” So, how does my writing method work?

Well, it’s hardly scientific. Or is it? If the method (steps) can be reproduced with the same results, that would be good scientific method. At least that’s what I vaguely remember from my classes. First, I have to get an idea. I get ideas from everywhere: cooking shows on television, cookbooks from the library, cookbooks at home, recipes online, recipes in magazines, newspapers, cooking segments on talk shows, books about food, foods at the grocery store, recipes in grocery store flyers, the list is endless. Then, I write down the idea.

I have a steno pad near my bed to jot down ideas.

Steno Pad for Night Table Notes

Steno Pad for Night Table Notes

I have post-it notes at the computer to jot down ideas.

Post-it Note Reminder on my Computer

Post-it Note Reminder on my Computer Screen

I have a TO DO list on my memory stick (USB) to jot down ideas.

USB Stick for Notes

USB Memory Stick for Notes

I have a college spiral notebook that I take with me to the library to jot down ideas.

Spiral Bound Notebook for Notes and Reminders

Spiral Bound Notebook for Notes

And then of course there is my brain which sometimes remembers things and sometimes…..

So far I haven’t run out of ideas but the thought does worry me a bit! Finally, I sit down at the computer and write. The stuff just flows out of me. I don’t believe in writer’s block. Sometimes I have word block and that drives me nuts. Sometimes I’ll want a specific word and it just won’t come to me. I can almost taste it! Thank God for Microsoft Word Dictionary Lookup! Those steps cover the food angle of my good health theme (not to be confused with a WordPress Theme).

As far as other topics related to good health, I feel that I can massage just about any topic to focus on the good health angle! Car trouble? Get your car repaired so you don’t get into an accident and therefore can maintain good health. I recently wrote about roundabouts! Wild animals loose in your backyard? Call animal control so you don’t get bitten thereby avoiding rabies or possibly death which is certainly not good for your health! Honestly, I watched a news report recently that showed people in Indiana who keep exotic animals on their property. We have a lot of folks doing this and it seems that some new laws are going to be passed making it safer for the public. Looking at the topic of good health in this way allows me to write on a multitude of topics so I don’t get bored and can continue to follow that challenge of something new or different that I tend to gravitate to.

That’s all there is to my method. I don’t think I left anything out. Questions? Comments? You know what to do!

My nomination for the Writing Process Tour is:


Keli writes warmly and about family-oriented topics, poetry, and topics of interest to her. She is also a photographer. Keli is a beautiful woman and a cancer survivor. She has a great sense of humor and puts up with my questions like, “Did you name your blog Kelihasablog after Steven Tyler’s song ‘Janie’s Got a Gun’”? She didn’t, but I can’t get the tune out of my head every time I see her blog.

Thank you for your thoughtful posts and comments. They keep me inspired.


That’s not a snowstorm; THIS is a snowstorm!

28 Jan Snowplows

Wow, after all that hype about the biggest blizzard ever to hit New York and then what did they get? Eleven inches? Give me a break.


You often enough hear them talk about the snowstorm of ’78 too. But do you ever hear them talk about the blizzard of ’69? Nooooo. Everybody seems to have forgotten about that one. Well, I haven’t. I’ve got a long memory when I need to.


It was the Winter of 1969 and New York was hit with a brut of a snowstorm. What was new about this one? Mayor Lindsay forgot about Queens where I was born and raised. Queens was where the snow had buried cars and where snowplows were nowhere to be seen.


Mayor Lindsay forgot to disperse snowplows to Queens, NY in the blizzard of ’69

All Queens folks could talk about was how Mayor Lindsay forgot about Queens. I remember being at the bus stop on my way home from work after taking two trains to get to the bus station. There was a woman standing in line with me, waiting for the bus, cursing Mayor Lindsay because we didn’t receive snowplow assistance to help us dig out. If you want to read more about it, check out all these gory details.


When Lindsay finally visited, his limousine got stuck in the snow and the mayor was berated by angry residents. Served him right.


Snow was up to car door handles; with drifts, even higher. The photos speak for themselves.

The forgotten snowstorm of '69.

That’s me standing behind our buried car.

These photos are date stamped June of ’69 although I cropped these photos for this post.

Snowstorm of '69 pales in comparison to the snowstorm of 2015

View from our apartment window of the snowstorm of ’69

If the month date was accurate, that would really be the snowstorm that was! I think that’s when we had the photos developed. We were in no rush to reminisce on the event. We New Yorkers have to live up to our name of being blasé!


The snowstorm of 2015 in New York wasn’t a blizzard. The snowstorm of 1969, now THAT was a blizzard!


Although the snow is beautiful when it’s fresh, just remember that when you shovel it to use caution and take breaks – don’t overdo it. Eat a good breakfast and drink plenty of fluids before you go out there and have fun! It’s usually very sunny after a storm like this so enjoy the sunshine and the exercise!






Knee Pain – One Simple Exercise to Get Rid of It!

25 Oct X-ray of knee

I’ve had knee pain on and off in my life. Many years ago when I began limping because the pain wouldn’t go away, I went to see my doctor who was a Family Practice doctor specializing in Sports Medicine. He told me I was built like a basketball player (I guess he would know) and explained why I was having pain and what was going on in my knee. The patella (kneecap) was out of alignment because muscles on one side of my leg were stronger than on the other side and therefore were pulling the kneecap off its track causing a grinding motion. The exercise he gave me to do was so simple, I doubted it would work.


One key to make sure this is the correct exercise for your knee is this: if you have knee pain when you get up from a chair, this is the exercise for you. All other knee pain may not improve with this exercise. In fact, you could make the problem worse so be sure it’s that you have knee pain when you get up from a sitting position. Here is the exercise he gave me. It starts off very mildly with little weight:


Get a can of something, soup, kidney beans, corn, whatever you have in the house. Before you lie down or sit on the floor propped up on your elbows, fasten the can to the ankle of your leg with the problem knee. I wish I could remember how he told me to accomplish this but I can’t. Try a dish towel. Then, lift your leg up about 10 inches off the floor. Hold it there to the count of 10. Do three repetitions. You might as well do it on the other foot too since you’ve got the can and you’re already on the floor. Plus, you don’t want to end up with one leg being stronger than the other.


Do this exercise every day for one week. You should start to feel some improvement in your knee. You might even feel some improvement by the next day.


With me, I don’t think I felt any improvement so I called my doctor and asked him if I could use a heavier weight. He said yes. This is when I bought my first pair of ankle weights. They were 2 lb weights. I worked with them and that’s when my knee improved.


Eventually, I joined a health club and used their leg extension machines until I was using 65 lb weights. But I s-l-o-w-l-y built up to this over the years. It didn’t happen overnight!


In fact, I can’t stress enough how you need to do things slowly. Whenever I went to a new gym and got the free personal trainer for a day or week or whatever their deal was, if they told me to do such and such an exercise with 10 repetitions, I would only do 3 or 4. I did not want to be sore. If you are just starting a health club membership, you don’t want to be sore starting from your first day. It’s ridiculous that they always push you to do too much. It isn’t a race! You want to get in better shape with a minimum of soreness and/or pain if ANY! So, you go Monday and do 3 reps with the personal trainer. Then you go Wednesday and do 4 or 5 reps of the same exercise or machine and gradually build up on all the machines you like. Or, you may want to stay at 3 reps for a few more visits before you increase your weights. Listen to your body. Just because someone calls themselves a personal trainer doesn’t mean they know what is best for you! I’ve had some terrible, terrible personal trainers! And I can’t think of one who told me something worth remembering! That’s a pretty sad statement, so beware!


When I stopped using a health club, my knee pain slowly came back. So, I remembered the exercise that my doctor gave me to do and attached my ankle weight to my ankle. I did some exercises lying down and also the same exercise standing up and the pain left again.


My doctor told me not to be surprised if someday someone told me that I would need a new kneecap. It’s been 40 years since that doctor visit and as yet, nobody has told me that I need a new kneecap!


If you follow my blog, you know that I do a lot of different exercises: squats, kickboxing, knee-raises, weight lifting, Pilates, pliés (ballet movement), and let’s not forget mowing the lawn not to mention climbing the ladder. These all help to strengthen the legs overall but the weight on the ankle zeroes in on the problem area of your knee.


If you have increased pain when you do this exercise, stop. It may be the wrong exercise for you or perhaps you have too much swelling in the area and need to apply ice. The application of ice reduces the swelling and therefore the pain. My doctor told me to get a Dixie cup and fill it with water then put it in the freezer. When it was frozen, I was to gently rub the ice on my knee. This was a fun way to apply ice. You might want to make an extra ice cup just to lick while you are treating your knee!


Sometimes a simple exercise can work miracles. I hope this one works for you!







Exercise, the Mood Altering Drug

14 Oct Sports Car

Of all the mood-altering drugs available on and off the market, the one I use is free: exercise. The original reason I began exercising was to lift my mood.  Divorce, living in a new town with no family or friends, raising a son on my own, it’s something I faced years ago as many women still do today. I read an article that exercise was good for depression. The author was right. I’ve exercised to keep depression at bay and I’ve never regretted it. Of course, there are other benefits to exercise.

Exercise Promotes Weight Loss and Stamina

When you’re overweight it’s difficult to feel energetic. Carrying around all that excess weight baggage is tiring. Exercise helps people lose weight and keep it off. I lost over 20 pounds exercising and my original goal as I mentioned above wasn’t weight loss! I don’t want to put that weight back on and that motivates me to continue exercising. Not only that, but I have tremendous energy, even after I work out. I find that the more I do, the more I CAN do!

And speaking of can do, as a homeowner, I can find plenty of things to do. I mow my lawn, wash and wax my car, do housework, shovel snow off my driveway, paint, putty, plant trees, and so on. I like being independent and doing these things myself. Exercising keeps me limber and helps me get these jobs done. When I’ve completed a painting job that includes puttying and or Spackling, my body doesn’t ache all over because my muscles are accustomed to being used – and I’m no spring chicken!

When you compare the benefits of exercising, even on days when you don’t feel up to it, to sitting on the couch with a bag of chips watching TV, can you really ignore all the benefits you’d derive from exercising? It doesn’t mean that I never buy a bag of chips to eat when I watch TV. But when I do, I buy tortilla chips that aren’t fried or are made in a healthful way and I don’t buy the biggest bag out there! On the other hand, I enjoy a nice cold, crunchy, juicy, apple with peanut butter just as much and it’s much better for me without the guilt!

Exercise Reduces the Need for Medications and Doctor Visits

They’re saying that the older generation is hell-bent on exercising and following a healthful diet because they want to live “forever.” I don’t want to live forever but I want to live healthfully until I die, even if I die tomorrow. I am motivated to exercise so I can stay off medications, set up only wellness visits to my doctors, and enjoy an active lifestyle until the day I die.

Exercise and Mediterranean Diet Dodge Cancer

Several years ago when my sister went for a checkup, she happened to mention me to her doctor. The doctor said, “If she’s 65 and hasn’t had any cancer, she’s doing very well!” I exercise and follow the Mediterranean diet to avoid getting cancer  and it’s been working for me so far.

Treat Your Body Like a New Car

Think of it this way if it helps, treat yourself like a new car. Would you put inferior gas in your new car? You wouldn’t abuse your car that way. Yet you would abuse your body with junk food! Why would you treat your car, a hunk of metal, plastic, paint, glass, and textiles, better than your body? Would you allow the tires to go flat, skip oil changes, and ignore other maintenance necessary to keep your car running smoothly? Your car can’t take you where you want to go if you ignore the necessary upkeep. The same is true of your body.

Death Becomes Her

When we were kids growing up in the neighborhood, we thought it was cool to say, “Live fast, die young, and have a good-looking corpse.” Well, my living fast days are over; it’s too late for me to die young, but I think I still have a shot at having a good-looking corpse. Not that I’m in any hurry.

If this and all pep talks don’t motivate you to exercise and watch your diet, see your doctor to find out why.




Top Exercise Excuses and Their Solutions

10 Oct

There are many excuses (or obstacles if you prefer) that can influence whether or not a person exercises. These obstacles are dependent on location, what injuries someone might have at the moment, motivation level, having children, age, and availability of time to exercise.

Where You Live

I am fortunate in that where I live now, I have the option to use any one of several health clubs. I also live near a few parks with trails. This wasn’t always the case. If you don’t have access to a health club or trails where you live, consider walking or working out where you work.

When I was working full time, I started an exercise group during lunchtime at a company where I worked. When I worked at another company, I walked at a trail nearby. I walked during my lunch hour. Keep your eyes and ears open for similar possibilities to exercise during work hours.


Mild injuries don’t have to stop you from exercising. Exercise helps circulation and can keep you from becoming depressed while you’re on the sidelines. Continuing to exercise prevents you from gaining weight. I have an old injury in my right foot that flares up now and then. When it flares up, I don’t do any kickboxing or walking exercises. Instead, I workout with DVDs that use stretch bands. Or I do upper body conditioning. But if you have serious or long-lasting pain, see a doctor.

Motivation Level

I am well-motivated to exercise. It has become a habit. Exercise makes me feel good and is therefore reinforcing. Exercise allows me to eat whatever I want – and I love to eat! Don’t get me wrong. I don’t eat junk food, but I do allow myself to cheat. Otherwise, I am very health conscious and follow the Mediterranean diet.

Even so, there are days when I’ve got all my gear (towels, water bottle, change of clothes, shampoo, etc.) packed and ready to go and I’ll be standing in front of my doorway with no motivation to walk through it. Sometimes I can force myself to go; sometimes I can’t. If you can force yourself to go you will feel good about it later. I always do. If you can’t, just promise yourself to exercise a little bit harder the next time. Then make sure you follow through. I make sure I do, otherwise the guilt will get to me!

Having Children

After giving birth, my weight crept up to 180 lbs and I had a difficult time bringing it down. Raising children definitely interferes with exercising. Once your child is in school or daycare, you can work out again if you want to wait that long.

I had a very physically fit neighbor who beat me at tennis when she was six months pregnant! She would take her toddler in a stroller and go walking for hours. When her toddler became old enough to walk, he would hold on to the stroller while his baby sister would sit in the stroller as mom pushed. This little boy had calf muscles like you wouldn’t believe! You’re never too young to start exercising, and it’s never too late to be a good role model for your children.


When I was a kid, I climbed trees and ran up and down eight flights of stairs all day with my friends. (We lived on the fourth floor of an apartment building with no elevator.) In my twenties and thirties I played tennis. After I injured my hand playing tennis (not with my neighbor), I decided to join the health club world, and say goodbye to tennis. Experts tell us that aging doesn’t have to interfere with exercising for good health. I don’t let my age prevent me from exercising. You shouldn’t either.

Availability of Time

Availability of time ebbs and flows. When I worked during the day full-time, if I couldn’t exercise during working hours like lunchtime, I exercised after work. You may feel tired after work, but once you get started exercising, your body will reinvigorate itself. When you’re done, you’ll feel relaxed.

There are many exercise DVDs available now for home use when time issues are an obstacle to exercise. Some of these exercise DVDs are broken down into 10-minute routines. Everybody has 10 minutes to spare. If you do 10 minutes before breakfast, 10 before lunch, and 10 before dinner, you will have done 30 minutes in one day.

Nothing in your life is as important as your health. Take the time to exercise, if you don’t, you may find you’re running out of time sooner than you thought.


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