hi there everyone, I guess Journey is taking a little more time off- have been busy - a good kind of busy- lots of exciting news when I get back on track. Bears doing fun things~ awake and roaming, a new BernerMobile~one that is big enough for two B's, and solid plans for Aspen Willow have begun~CO here I come.
In the meantime...here is a beautiful picture I happened upon that I really like.
Next week on April 22 more than a billion people from 192 countries around the globe will participate in Earth Day. For 43 years now, individuals and groups have used this day to draw attention to planetary problems and the actions needed to protect our home.
Last year, the theme was about going green and doing environmentally-friendly activities. People from around the planet posted a billion acts of green which were presented at the United Nations Rio +20 Earth Summit last summer.
This year, Earth Day Network has chosen a theme about the many faces of climate change. They’ve invited everyone to become a climate reporter by uploading a picture that shows a person, animal or place that’s being affected by climate change.
Individuals from around the globe have posted thousands of pictures. As Earth Day gets closer, the faces of climate change have grown in number. Just click on an image to enlarge it and click again to flip it over and read the caption on the back. The events marking our changing climate have many faces.
You too can make a difference. Go to www.earthday.org/2013 and add your images to the mosaic. A composite of the more poignant images will be turned into a DVD. This interactive digital display will showcase solutions at events around the world on Earth Day. If you’re not able to attend one of these events, it’ll be available for viewing online.
Unite with others around the world to call for action at this critical juncture. Find an Earth Day event near you and join the faces of climate change working to preserve this precious planet
Wraps, I love wraps, especially for my meals at work. Besides the healthy aspect of these wonderful meals, they are easy to prepare, travel nicely, and leave virtually no mess when you are done eating. You have no dishes to clean and have to remember to haul back home. Steve and I have been making wraps for our workplace meals for years now. Honest- Steve has a wrap every day. Now the kicker is making them interesting, different from the same-o-same-o wraps you see every day. Actually, you can use anything you have in your refrigerator; any leftover can be wrapped up and nibbled down. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll share some of my favorites. Don’t care for warps? any of these can be put on bread, a fold over, or in a pita pocket.
Egg-Vegetable Salad Wraps
Fresh vegetables add crunch and flavor to plain egg salad in this recipe. These low calorie wraps are great to take to work. MAKES: 6 - SERVING: 1 wrap CARBS: 21
6 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1/2 c chopped cucumber
1/2 c chopped yellow summer squash or zucchini
1/4 c shredded carrot
2 T chopped red onion
1/4 c low-fat mayonnaise dressing
2 T Dijon-style mustard
1 T fat-free milk or Almond Milk
1 tsp. snipped fresh tarragon or basil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp paprika
6 leaf lettuce leaves - shredded
6 whole wheat flour tortillas
2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
1. In a large bowl combine eggs, cucumber, yellow summer squash or zucchini, carrot, and red onion. For dressing, in a small bowl stir together mayonnaise dressing, Dijon mustard, milk, tarragon or basil, salt, and paprika. Pour the dressing over egg mixture; toss gently to coat.
2. For each wrap, place a lettuce leaf on a tortilla. Place 3 or 4 tomato slices on top of the lettuce, slightly off center. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the egg mixture on top of the tomato slices. Roll up tortilla.
Salmon and Asparagus Wraps
This low fat sandwich recipe is made with heart healthy salmon and high fiber whole wheat tortillas. Plus, it's quick to make. MAKES: 2 servings CARBS: 20
6 thin fresh asparagus spears
1/4 c tub-style fat-free cream cheese
1 tsp finely shredded lemon peel
1 T lemon juice
Dash cayenne pepper
3 oz smoked salmon, coarsely flaked and skin and bones removed
2 T snipped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
2 whole wheat flour tortillas
1/4 of a red sweet pepper, cut into thin bite-size strips
1. Snap off and discard woody bases from asparagus. In a covered large saucepan, cook asparagus spears in a small amount of boiling for 3 to 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Or you can poop them in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. Drain and plunge into ice water to cool quickly. Drain again; pat dry with paper towels.
2. In a small bowl, stir together cream cheese, lemon peel, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper. Fold in flaked salmon and basil. Spread on tortillas. For wraps, arrange 3 of the asparagus spears and half of the sweet pepper strips atop salmon mixture on each tortilla. Roll up tortillas.
Grilled Jamaican Jerk Fish Wraps
The colorful combo of fresh spinach, tomato, and mango complements the jerk-seasoned fish. MAKES: 4 servings CARBS: 23
1 lbd fresh or frozen skinless flounder, cod, or sole fillets
1 1/2 tsp Jamaican jerk seasoning
4 whole grain flour tortillas
2 c fresh baby spinach
3/4 c chopped seeded tomato
3/4 c chopped fresh mango or pineapple
2 T snipped fresh cilantro
1 T finely chopped seeded fresh jalapeno chile pepper* 1 T lime juice
1. Thaw fish, if frozen. Rinse fish; pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle Jamaican jerk seasoning over both sides of each fish fillet; rub in with your fingers. Measure thickness of fish.
2. For a charcoal grill, place tortillas on the greased rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals; grill for 1 minute or until bottoms of tortillas have grill marks. Remove from grill and set aside. Place fish on the grill rack directly over the coals. Grill fish for 4 to 6 minutes per 1/2-inch thickness or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, turning once halfway through grilling. Coarsely flake the fish.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, toss together spinach, tomato, mango, cilantro, chili pepper, and lime juice.
4. To assemble, place tortillas, grill mark sides down, on a flat work surface. Top each tortilla with some of the spinach mixture and flaked fish. Roll up tortilla to enclose filling.
our favorite wrap tortilla ---- it rolls and wraps nicely without breaking,
With spring here we are out in our gardens, at the park, outside more often enjoying in the sunshine, and so are the ... bugs. You could buy harsh chemicals to ward off bugs or you could re-purpose a few items around the house into effective repellents.
The time has come when you can get outdoors for some rest and relaxation. Aside from preventing over exposure to the sun, pesky bugs can also make your outdoor activities a bit uncomfortable. You could use store-bought bug repellent, but it comes with a cost greater than just a few bucks. Most conventional bug repellents are not good for your health or the environment.
In recent years, many companies have manufactured all-natural bug repellents that are safe and effective, but in my opinion are overpriced. Why spend $10 on something you could make at home on the cheap? Keeping bugs away from your skin (and your kids’, friends’ and family’s skin) isn’t very complicated. In essence, there some scents bugs can’t stand. Utilizing these particular smells can keep bugs at a distance. Here are a few quick and easy ways to make your bug repellent:
Hot peppers are more useful than just adding some flavor to your food — they can keep ants and other small insects away from your skin. To make a homemade bug repellent using hot peppers, boil three cups of water on the stove and add one chopped hot pepper. Allow the mixture to marinate and then strain the pepper chunks from the water. Let the liquid cool and put it in a spray bottle and squirt on the skin before going outdoors.
Vanilla extract is probably the simplest and best-smelling way to prevent bug bites. Vanilla smells wonderful to humans, but most insects can’t stand the smell of it. All you have to do is dab a drop or two on each wrist, the neck and behind the ears before going outside. One word of caution: You have to use pure vanilla extract for effectiveness. Do not try to use imitation vanilla because it won’t have the same effect.
Essential oils.You can purchase witch hazel from a health food store in a pure form and use it in combination with other essential oils as a bug repellent. Take a few drops of lavender oil, tea tree oil, peppermint oil and witch hazel in a half-liter of water. Put it in a spray bottle and mist your skin and clothing before going outside. You can also add these oils to an unscented lotion for application.
Lavender is a pleasant and effective solution to keeping bugs at bay. Grow some lavender inside your home or in your flower garden and use it to stop mosquitoes in their tracks. Take a lavender flower and rub it behind the ears, the wrist and the back of the neck. Lavender has an incredible fragrance that is very pleasant (it’s used in many perfumes) but mosquitoes are repulsed by the scent.
There is no need to spend a lot of money on all natural bug repellents when you can make them yourself for pennies. Stay away from buying conventional bug repellents, as they are not earth friendly nor do they promote a healthy lifestyle for your family.
There are a few friends that I would like not only to congratulate them on an event happening in their lives at the moment, but give them all a huge hug of love!
Congratulations to my friend Angie W. --- to her daughter’s graduation from high school this June, being a wonderful Mom, a friend to Peanut, overcoming Breast Cancer—most of all, for being a part of my life. Hugs!
Congratulation to Robin, for getting out of a hellish situation and taking that unknown step into another world- sending you lots of hugs and praises for a job well done- I know you made my time in the ER a far better place, Thank You.
Hugs to Lois, a dear friend that has finally found the love and life that she so deserves. Jesse sends his spiritual love to you as well- give the therapy gang a hug too.
Hugs to my dear soul sister, Carol, thank you for being a part of my life, someone who has taught me more about pure friendship than any other soul I have crossed paths with, thank you.
And last but not least-
Hugs to my friends in the UK, Liz, Fizz, and let’s not forget the goblin, Deshka. I send hugs of love and happiness; if I were there….you would be smothered in them. Love, kisses, and wags.
why all the hugs?
I decided today was a wonderful day to talk about Hugs. For me, giving and receiving hugs is the best thing that could happen to me at any given time. Hugging therapy is definitely a powerful way of healing. Research shows that hugging (and also laughter) is extremely effective at healing sickness, disease, loneliness, depression, anxiety and stress.
Research shows a proper deep hug, where the hearts are pressing together, can benefit you in these ways:
1. The nurturing touch of a hug builds trust and a sense of safety. This helps with open and honest communication.
2. Hugs can instantly boost oxytocin levels, which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger.
3. Holding a hug for an extended time lifts one's serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness.
4. Hugs strengthen the immune system. The gentle pressure on the sternum and the emotional charge this creates activates the Solar Plexus Chakra. This stimulates the thymus gland, which regulates and balances the body's production of white blood cells, which keep you healthy and disease free.
5. Hugging boosts self-esteem. From the time we're born our family's touch shows us that we're loved and special. The associations of self-worth and tactile sensations from our early years are still imbedded in our nervous system as adults. The cuddles we received from our Mom and Dad while growing up remain imprinted at a cellular level, and hugs remind us at a somatic level of that. Hugs, therefore, connect us to our ability to self love.
6. Hugging relaxes muscles. Hugs release tension in the body. Hugs can take away pain; they soothe aches by increasing circulation into the soft tissues.
7. Hugs balance out the nervous system. The galvanic skin response of someone receiving and giving a hug shows a change in skin conductance. The effect in moisture and electricity in the skin suggests a more balanced state in the nervous system - parasympathetic.
8. Hugs teach us how to give and receive. There is equal value in receiving and being receptive to warmth, as to giving and sharing. Hugs educate us how love flows both ways.
9. Hugs are so much like meditation and laughter. They teach us to let go and be present in the moment. They encourage us to flow with the energy of life. Hugs get you out of your circular thinking patterns and connect you with your heart and your feelings and your breath.
10. The energy exchange between the people hugging is an investment in the relationship. It encourages empathy and understanding. And, it's synergistic. This synergy is more likely to result in win-win outcomes.
make today all about hugging...heck.... make every day all about hugging! hugs to everyone !
Journey will be offline for about a week. I wanted to leave you with something enchanting and memorable to hold on to until I return. There is a young digital artist out there that I think is one of the future's upcoming Masters in the art of photo manipulation and digital art. Take a peek at her work... it will leave you in awe.
Every year on April 22, more than one billion people take part in Earth Day. Across the globe, individuals, communities, organizations, and governments acknowledge the amazing planet we call home and take action to protect it.
A man in the Maldives worried about relocating his family as sea levels rise, a farmer in Kansas struggling to make ends meet as prolonged drought ravages the crops, a fisherman on the Niger River whose nets often come up empty, a child in New Jersey who lost her home to a super-storm, a woman in Bangladesh who can’t get fresh water due to more frequent flooding and cyclones…
And they’re not only human faces.
They’re the polar bear in the melting arctic, the tiger in India’s threatened mangrove forests, the right whale in plankton-poor parts of the warming North Atlantic, the orangutan in Indonesian forests segmented by more frequent bushfires and droughts…
These faces of climate change are multiplying every day.
On April 22, 2013, more than one billion people around the world will take part in the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day. From Beijing to Cairo, Melbourne to London, Rio to Johannesburg, New Delhi to New York, communities everywhere will voice their concerns for the planet, and take action to protect it. We’ll harness that power to show the world The Face of Climate Change. And we’ll call on our leaders to act boldly together, as we have, in this pivotal year.
Here are some spring treats that you have got to try--- spring always makes me want sweet, tangy, and fruity treats.
Lemon Lavender Fro Yo
I would never have thought to use lavender in a recipe, but before you judge the idea… you have got to try this treat. The subtle hint of lavender adds a refreshing taste to this lemon dessert. You can make this frozen yogurt recipe with six easy ingredients, plus it has just 93 calories and 15 grams of carb per 1/2 cup serving.
1/2 cup fat-free half-and-half
2 teaspoons dried lavender
4 cups vanilla fat-free Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons finely shredded lemon peel
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup honey
Finely shredded lemon peel (optional)
Fresh lemon slices (optional)
Fresh lavender sprigs (optional)
1. In a small saucepan bring fat-free half-and-half just to boiling. Remove from heat; add dried lavender. Let stand 30 minutes.
2. In a large bowl combine yogurt, the 2 tablespoons lemon peel, the lemon juice, honey, and the lavender mixture. Cover and chill 1 hour.
3. Freeze chilled mixture in a 2-quart ice cream freezer according to the manufacturer's directions. Serve at once for a softer frozen yogurt. For a firmer mixture, place in an airtight container; freeze 30 to 60 minutes. If desired, garnish servings with additional lemon peel, lemon slices and/or fresh lavender sprigs.
Lemon Meringue Tarts
This is a beautiful spring dessert. Topped with sweet cream cheese, tangy lemon curd, and fresh blackberries, this impressive diabetes-friendly dessert has fewer than 180 calories per serving.
3/4 cup frozen fat-free whipped dessert topping, thawed
1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
1. Allow egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Line a very large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Draw twelve 3- to 3 1/2-inch circles 2 inches apart on the paper or foil; set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. For meringue, in a medium bowl combine egg whites, cream of tartar, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Add 3/4 cup of the powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon at at time, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight).
3. Spoon or pipe meringue over circles on paper. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Turn off oven; let meringues dry in oven with door closed for 2 hours. Lift meringues off paper. Transfer to a wire rack.
4. Meanwhile, for lemon curd, in a small saucepan whisk together eggs, the granulated sugar, lemon peel, and lemon juice. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a gentle boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Add butter pieces, stirring until melted. If desired, press lemon curd through a fine-mesh sieve. Transfer strained mixture to a small bowl. Cover surface with plastic wrap. Chill for at least 1 hour.
5. In a small bowl combine cream cheese, dessert topping, and the remaining 1/4 cup powdered sugar, stirring until smooth and creamy. Cover and chill until needed.
6. To assemble, place each meringue on a serving plate; spread each with a slightly rounded tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture. Add a slightly rounded tablespoon of the lemon curd. Top with blackberries. Serve immediately.
beware of the salt, the sugar, and the fat….Enhancing your food's flavors through condiments and spices are vital to enjoying a healthy diet. But before you reach for the ketchup and mayo, know that some choices are a lot better for you than others. You'll also benefit from learning how to read nutrition labels and measuring servings carefully. "Most important is portion control. Condiments should be used to enhance the flavor of food and not serve as the main course."
Here are my favorite condiments:
With an aroma that might bring back memories of home-cooked pies, mulled cider, and holiday treats, cinnamon also is making waves as a spice that may help manage insulin response more effectively, just a sprinkle adds great sweet and spicy flavor to foods and beverages.
Classic yellow mustard or spice-rich stone-ground versions of this condiment are excellent additions to sandwiches and burgers. Mustard can also add zest to certain meats. It's low in carbs and fat and usually falls into the "free" category for the person with diabetes — that is, foods that have fewer than 5 grams of carbohydrates per serving (as long as you stick to one serving, or about one tablespoon).
A traditional condiment served with roast beef, horseradish packs a powerful flavor punch. A serving of horseradish is about 1 tablespoon and contains only 2 grams of carbs. Add it to low-fat sauces or marinades for fish, beef, and chicken. When planning your diet, do keep in mind that some packaged horseradish-based condiments are high in salt and others are high in fat, so read labels carefully.
Sweet Pickle Relish
At 5 grams of carbohydrates per one tablespoon serving, sweet pickle relish just barely slides into the free foods category. Still, this unique taste sensation is a classic condiment addition to foods like hot dogs, tuna fish sandwiches, and a host of other treats. The flavor is so good that you should be able to stick to the serving size limit.
Vinegar is a condiment that's low in calories and carbohydrates, with no salt or fat content. With the wide variety of vinegars available to you on grocery store shelves, you can experiment to find the right vinegars for the meals you enjoy most. A sprinkle of balsamic vinegar on salad can make the veggies pop. Vinegar with a touch of low-sodium soy sauce is a flavorful marinade. You can also make your own flavored vinegars by infusing them with herbs and spices.
It's hard to imagine anyone eating unlimited amounts of hot sauce at any given meal. But if you have a special passion for its tongue-tingling spices, just remember that even this condiment must be limited in its use — up to one tablespoon. Some research suggests that using hot sauce can help you control how much you eat by controlling your appetite, a key part of managing your weight.