Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body,
but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming “Wow, What a Ride!”

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

meal ideas ~ beverages for New Years

This being New Year’s Eve, I thought it would be fun to post a couple of Champagne cocktails, since champagne is the beverage of this celebration. I have included a couple of non-alcoholic drinks for those, like me, that do not indulge. And one coffee-with alcohol- night cap. Enjoy your New Year’s celebrations and please be safe. See you next year..... 

Pomegranate Cranberry Champagne Cocktail
2 (750 ml) bottles champagne, chilled
1 cup pomegranate cranberry juice, chilled
1/4 cup triple sec
1 1/2 cups pomegranate seeds

Pour all ingredients except seeds into a pitcher.
Serve in Champagne flutes.
Top with pomegranate seeds.

Grand Champagne
vanilla sugar
Grand Marnier
orange, sliced into thin wedges (Dipped into Grand Marnier)
chilled champagne

 Dip rim of Champange glasses into Grand Marnier then sugar
 Let set.
 Pour in glasses champagne.
 Garnish with Orange Slices.
 Drink And be Merry!

Lemon Champagne Punch

4 (12 ounce) cans frozen lemonade concentrate
1 1/2 quarts water
2 liters ginger ale, chilled
1 liter sparkling water, chilled
1 (7/8 quart) bottle dry champagne, chilled

 Mix lemonade and water and chill.
 Before serving, add ginger ale and sparkling water and pour over ice cubes in a large punch bowl.
 Pour chilled champagne over punch and stir gently.

Champagne Punch (Non-Alcoholic)
servings: 5

2 liters white grape juice (for a more intense flavour use 2 cans white grape juice frozen concentrate)
1 liter apple juice
2 liters ginger ale
ice, ring
1 liter apple juice (or less) or 1 liter white grape juice (or less)

 The night before, or sooner, place the apple juice in the ice ring mold and fill with water.
 If you want your ice ring to last longer 1/2 the apple juice and the rest water as juice tends to take less time to thaw.
 To serve, mix rest of ingredients in punch bowl and add ice ring.

Fruit Loops (Non-Alcoholic) Cocktail
servings: 1

3 ounces pineapple juice
1 1/2 ounces orange juice
1 ounce cranberry juice
1 dash grenadine

 Mix all ingredients and stir to combine.
 Serve over ice and garnish with a cherry or orange slice if you wish.

Jamaican Coffee
1 ounce dark jamaican rum
1 ounce Kahlua
6 ounces hot coffee
whipped cream
ground allspice

Pour rum and Kahlua into a coffee mug.
Top with hot coffee.

Place a dallop of whipped cream on top and sprinkle with ground allspice.

recipes found on

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

healthy living ~ surviving New Year's celebrations

Wondering how to make it through this New Year’s celebrations without feeling the next day as though you want to just lie down and end it all? One thing I totally recommend~ used in my very young days when alcohol was a party staple~ is to take a vitamin B complex, for a couple of days beforehand. Alcohol drains your body of its vitamins, especially the B’s, and that is why you feel so horrid after drinking a large amount- and this is why that glass of tomato-juice in the am works wonders to make you feel better, it is loaded with B vitamins.

Here are some other tips that will help you get through this holiday with a healthy and happy ending.

 Party without the booze.
When we drink too much, we often lose control of our inhibitions which can lead to poor decision. If you feel out of place without a drink in your hand, try ordering something like a cranberry and seltzer with lime in a fancy glass. If you choose to imbibe, make sure you've had something to eat before you start drinking and match every drink with one glass of water.

 Have a green day.
Go green at least one or more days before the party. Everything you put in your mouth should be green: kale, greens, spinach, broccoli, avocados, green apples, green juices, etc. Eating green offers a hefty source of potassium, antioxidants and phytonutrients, boosts your immune system and is low in calories. Give your body a break from rich holiday foods and make sure to drink plenty of water.

 Don't arrive ravenous.
Plan ahead and make sure you've had a nutritious meal or snack before you arrive. If you can't manage to sneak in a healthy snack before hitting the party, drink a glass of water and fill your plate with the healthiest options available. Put your fork down between each bite. If your hankering for seconds, give yourself 15 minutes and another glass of water before returning to the chow.

Try a vegetarian feast.
Planning an office party or get together with friends and family? Get pro-active and choose a vegetarian restaurant or caterer instead of settling for the pigs-in-a-blanket route. It's not complicated to have a healthy and tasty party.

 Take a silence break.
Try this before an evening out or even sneak out during the party to clear your head, re-group and reflect on how grateful you are for your co-workers, friends and family.

 Dance the night away.
Don't sit on the sidelines; get out on the dance floor and bust a move. You'll burn calories (up to 250 in 30 minutes), flush the booze and food through your system and release some serious feel-good endorphins.

 Walk it off.
After a heavy meal, get the whole gang up and out for some fresh air and exercise. You'll feel better, get the digestive juices flowing and help burn off those mashed potatoes.

Monday, December 29, 2014

as the New Year approaches, seriously think about this~

The Earth Is Precious

More precious than material gain. More precious than power. More precious than anything man can purchase or own.

If you have forgotten your place in the world, bend down and give thanks to the earth beneath your feet.

Earth Mother is precious and without her we would not have ground to stand on nor a path to follow.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

merry christmas

said the Mother Bear to her Baby Bear: "today we celebrate the birth of a soul who taught us how to be peaceful, to love and protect the earth and all  living creatures upon it. Let us follow in his path." 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

meal ideas ~ last minute no bake desserts

Need a last minute desert? Maybe something a little different than one already made or planned, something more for an unexpected guest- your oven is full? Well, I have a solution, actually three. Here are three great holiday desserts that are quick (or can be made ahead) and do not need baking, that’s the best to their yummieness~

Bing Cherry Fool 
When I was a child my grandmother made a dessert that I absolutely loved, she would call it a “Fool” and I always thought she was teasing me until I grew and saw my first recipe for a real “Fool.” this is a low-calorie, low-fat twist on the traditional fool, cut whipped topping with Greek yogurt and marbled it with a sweet cherry mixture.

1/4 cup sugar
 1 tablespoon cornstarch
 12 ounces fresh dark sweet cherries, stemmed, halved, and pitted
 1/2 cup dry red wine or pomegranate juice
 1 tablespoon finely shredded orange peel
 1 8 - ounce container frozen light whipped dessert topping, thawed
 1 6 - ounce carton plain fat-free or low-fat Greek yogurt
 1 teaspoon vanilla
 8 fresh dark sweet cherries with stems (optional)

 In a medium saucepan stir together sugar and cornstarch. Add the halved cherries and the wine, stirring until combined. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Transfer cherry mixture to a medium bowl. Stir in orange peel. Cover and chill 2 hours.

 In a large bowl whisk together whipped topping, yogurt, and vanilla. Add 1 1/2 cups of the chilled cherry mixture to the whipped topping mixture and fold gently to marble. Spoon into eight 6-ounce dessert dishes. Spoon the remaining cherry mixture evenly over desserts. Cover and chill up to 4 hours. If desired, top each dessert with a cherry with a stem before serving.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 143 cal., 3 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 10 mg sodium, 25 g carb. (1 g fiber, 15 g sugars), 3 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Fruit (d.e): 0.5; Other Carb (d.e): 1; Fat (d.e): 0.5; Mark as Free Exchange (d.e): 0

No-Bake Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake 
If you’re craving chocolate but don’t want to heat up the house, this no-bake low-carb cheesecake is for you. We created a marbled effect by spooning the white mixture onto the chocolate mixture and swirling with a knife.

1/2 cup finely crushed graham crackers
 2 tablespoons butter, melted
 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
 3/4 cup fat-free milk
 2 8 - ounce package Neufchatel cream cheese softened
 1 8 - ounce package fat-free cream cheese, softened
 1 8 - ounce carton fat-free dairy sour cream
 1/3 cup sugar or sugar substitute equivalent
 2 teaspoons vanilla
 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
 Chocolate curls (optional)

 In a medium bowl, stir together finely crushed graham crackers and melted butter until crumbs are moistened. Press mixture evenly onto bottom of an 8-inch springform pan (may not completely cover bottom). Cover and chill while preparing filling.

In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over milk; let stand for 5 minutes. Heat and stir over low heat just until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat. Cool for 15 minutes.

 In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in sour cream, sugar, and vanilla until well mixed; gradually beat in gelatin mixture. Divide mixture in half. Gradually stir melted chocolate into half of the mixture.

Spoon half of the chocolate mixture over chilled crust in pan; spread evenly. Carefully spoon half of the white mixture over chocolate mixture in small mounds. Using a narrow, thin-bladed metal spatula or a table knife, swirl chocolate and white mixtures. Top with remaining chocolate mixture, spreading evenly; spoon remaining white mixture over chocolate mixture in small mounds and swirl again. Cover and chill about 6 hours or until set.

To serve, using a small sharp knife, loosen cheesecake from side of springform pan; remove side of pan. Cut cheesecake into wedges. If desired, garnish with chocolate curls. Makes 16 slices.

Make-ahead Directions: Prepare as directed through step 4, except cover and chill for up to 24 hours. Serve as directed in step 5.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 184 cal., 11 g total fat (7 g sat. fat), 29 mg chol., 232 mg sodium, 15 g carb. (1 g fiber), 7 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Starch (d.e): 1; Fat (d.e): 2;

No-Bake Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake 
A combination of classic fall flavors and a super short prep time makes this pumpkin pie-cheesecake hybrid a perfect choice for the busy holiday season. Enjoy a slice of the decadent comfort food for only 19 grams of carb.

3/4 cup finely crushed graham crackers
 2 tablespoons butter, melted
 1 8 - oz pkg Neufchatel cream cheese
 1/2 cup sugar or sugar substitute equivalent
 1/2 cup fat-free milk
 2 teaspoons vanilla
 1/2 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
 2 8 - ounce packages fat-free cream cheese
 1 15 - ounce can pumpkin
 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
 1/4 cup orange juice

 For crust: In a medium bowl, stir together crushed graham crackers and melted butter until crackers are moistened. Press mixture onto bottom of an 8-inch springform pan. Cover and chill while preparing filling.

 For filling: In a food processor or blender, combine the reduced-fat cream cheese, 1/4 cup of the sugar, 1/4 cup of the milk, the vanilla, and orange peel. Cover and process or blend until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl; set aside.

 In a food processor or blender, combine fat-free cream cheese, pumpkin, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, remaining 1/4 cup milk, and the pumpkin pie spice. Cover and process or blend until smooth.

 In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over orange juice; let stand for 5 minutes. Cook and stir over low heat until gelatin is dissolved. Stir 1 tablespoon of the gelatin mixture into the white cream cheese mixture and the remaining gelatin mixture into the pumpkin mixture.

 Pour pumpkin mixture over chilled crust in pan. Carefully pour white cream cheese mixture over pumpkin mixture. Using a narrow, thin-bladed metal spatula or a table knife, swirl pumpkin and white mixtures.

 Cover and chill overnight before serving. To serve, using a small sharp knife, loosen cheesecake from side of springform pan; remove side of pan. Cut into wedges. Makes 12 servings.
Make-Ahead Directions: Prepare as directed through step 5. Cover and chill for up to 24 hours. Serve as directed in step 6.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 179 cal., 7 g total fat (4 g sat. fat), 23 mg chol., 331 mg sodium, 19 g carb. (1 g fiber), 9 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Fat (d.e): 1.5; Other Carb (d.e): 1.5

Monday, December 22, 2014

a special gift from across the pond

 I use Healthy Living day to post the recipes and ideas for homemade beauty products, especially for the bath time, a favorite time for me. And I have stated how wonderful those ideas would be for gifts for that special friend in your life.

Well, I received a gift for the holidays from my special friend, Liz, all the way from England and what did it contain...homemade bath salts, bombs, and scrubs. I was so overjoyed to get this that I actually cried with love and joy.  She also included some Advent Christmas candles that she made with Miss Dixie Belle’s logo on it. (Dixie Belle is the gremlin sister, Deshka, to Jesse’s welsh princess- Fizz, aka Season’s Sunset of BernerTails fame)

Thank you my friend, you have given me many wonderful handmade gifts that I cherish with all my heart.  One day my wish is to visit you in England and give you a sisterly hug of heartfelt love.

Thank You! Liz, Dale, Fizz and Deshka- 

I placed everything in my bath basket at the side of the tub- little did Liz
know that I was out of goodies and hadn't had time to make more.
the Dixie Bell Advent candles are beautifully made- .
look how fabulous they look with my Yule-Christmas Wreath-No I haven't used them yet, they are too beautiful, maybe next year- BTW: my Jesse ornament was lovingly made by Liz a couple of years ago, it will always adorn my wreaths. 

 If you really like these I believe Liz may still have some she is selling- here is a link to her blog, Berntoak, and look under the “shop” tab.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

thursday holiday craft ideas ~ table center pieces

I was trolling around in Pinterest and of course Christmas being right over the horizon, there were a lot of decoration ideas. Here are a couple of table center pieces that I thought were rather beautiful and wanted to share. Hope you enjoy them as well, and maybe one will find its way into your holiday decorations.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

meal ideas ~ try these cranberries

I love cranberry for it phenomenal health properties and for it one of the best fruits you can add to your meal plans. I posted my fabulous relish and tonic recipes many times during the holiday seasons, here are three new ones that are sure to be a hit with your taste buds and health plan.

Hot Cranberry Toddy 
As the weather gets colder, warm up with this low-carb spiced cranberry drink. A little bourbon or rum adds extra zip, or make the drink nonalcoholic by substituting orange juice. Garnish with a stick of cinnamon or lemon slices.

 1 48oz unsweetened cranberry juice (6 cups)
 2 cups water
 3 1 - inch long strips lemon peel (set aside)
 1/4 cup lemon juice
 3 inches stick cinnamon
 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
 1/3 cup bourbon, rum, or orange juice
 Fresh lemon slices (optional)
 Stick cinnamon (optional)

 In a 4-quart saucepan or Dutch oven combine cranberry juice, the water, and lemon juice.

 For spice bag, place lemon peel, the 3 inches stick cinnamon, and the cloves in the center of a double-thick 6-inch square of 100 percent-cotton cheesecloth. Bring the corners together; tie with clean kitchen string. Add to juice mixture.

 Bring just to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Discard spice bag. Stir bourbon into juice mixture. If desired, garnish individual servings with lemon slices and additional stick cinnamon. Makes 12 (scant 6-ounce) servings

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 38 cal., 5 mg sodium, 6 g carb Diabetic Exchanges Fruit (d.e): 0.5

Cranberry Phyllo Cheesecake 
Cranberries add a bold contrast to rich cheesecake, and their deep burgundy color pops out on the plate—perfect for a holiday gathering. The phyllo crust keeps this cheesecake low in carbs.

1 cup fresh cranberries
 1/3 cup dried pitted plums
 1/4 cup sugar
 2 tablespoons orange juice
 1 8 - ounce package cream cheese (Neufchatel)
 1/4 cup sugar
 1 egg
 1 egg white
 1 teaspoon vanilla
 Butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray
 8 sheets frozen phyllo dough (14x9-inch rectangles), thawed
 2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. For topping, in a small saucepan, combine cranberries, dried plums, 1/4 cup sugar, and the orange juice. Cook over medium heat until the cranberries pop and the mixture thickens slightly, stirring frequently. Set aside.

 For filling, in a food processor, combine cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, the egg, egg white, and vanilla. Cover and process until smooth, scraping the side of the bowl as necessary. Set aside.

 For crust, coat a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom or a pie plate with nonstick cooking spray. Unfold phyllo dough; remove 1 sheet of the phyllo dough. (As you work, cover the remaining phyllo dough with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.) Coat the phyllo sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Top with a second sheet of phyllo dough; trim to form a 13 x 9 inch rectangle. Gently press trimmed phyllo rectangle into the tart pan or pie plate, allowing ends to extend over edge of pan. Coat with nonstick cooking spray; sprinkle with some of the wheat germ. Coat and layer 2 more sheets of phyllo; place across phyllo in pan in a crisscross fashion. Coat with nonstick cooking spray; sprinkle with more of the wheat germ. Repeat twice with remaining phyllo and wheat germ. (If desired, turn under edges of phyllo to form an edge.) Bake for 5 minutes.

 Spoon filling into phyllo crust, spreading evenly. Spoon cranberry mixture onto filling. Using a knife, carefully cut through cranberry mixture and filling to marble slightly

 Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until phyllo is light brown and filling is set. If necessary to prevent overbrowning, cover edge of tart with foil for the last 10 minutes of baking. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 1 hour. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours. Makes 10 slices.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 156 cal., 6 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 37 mg chol., 153 mg sodium, 21 g carb. (1 g fiber), 5 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Other Carb (d.e): 1.5; Fat (d.e): 1

Peach-Cranberry Coffee Cake 
Peaches and cranberries team up in this crumbly cake that features an easy sugar-free cake mix for a convenient way to make a stunning breakfast dessert.

 Nonstick cooking spray
 1 16 - ounce sugar free yellow cake mix
 3/4 cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed
 1 -2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel
 1 cup orange juice
 1/3 cup canola oil
 2 cups diced fresh peaches (unpeeled) or frozen, thawed and diced peaches
 1/2 cup dried cranberries
 1/2 cup wheat bran or wheat germ
 1/4 cup sugar or sugar substitute
 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Coat two 9-inch nonstick round or square cake pans with cooking spray.

 Combine the cake mix, egg product, orange peel, orange juice, and oil in a large bowl. Mix according to cake mix package directions. Spoon equal amounts of the batter in each the cake pans.

 Sprinkle the peaches and cranberries evenly over the cake batter. Sprinkle with the wheat bran. In small bowl, combine the sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon and then sprinkle evenly over cakes.

 Bake for 38 to 40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:  161 cal., 8 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 185 mg sodium, 27 g carb. (1 g fiber, 7 g sugars), 2 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Fat (d.e): 1.5; Fruit (d.e): 0.5; Starch (d.e): 1

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

healthy living ~ homemade beauty gifts

Want to give a little something with that Christmas Hug? What better than something homemade that makes everyone feel good. Here are a couple of last minute homemade beauty ideas for a totally exquisite gift basket. Use your imagination in packaging. Also, I would love to see a photo of yours that you happen to make. The photos of these are from various sources and pinterest, I am sorry did not have time this year to make these myself. All supplies can found at your local health food store and hobby shop.  looking forward to seeing some emails.

Candy Cane Bath Crystals
These peppermint-vanilla bath crystals are wonderful to use when soaking in a tub, but they also make a luxurious foot soak when dissolved in a basin of warm water. (makes one pint jar of bath crystals)
pint jar with a lid 
2 mixing bowls
bath crystal mixture
2 tablespoons Epsom salt
2 cups of sea salt
red food coloring
vanilla and peppermint essential
liquid vegetable glycerin

Place one cup of crystals in each of your bowls. Glass is best since it does not absorb scents. In one bowl, add a few drops of red food coloring, about 15 drops of peppermint essential oil, and five drops of glycerin. Mix this together very well until the color is evenly distributed. Set this bowl aside.

In your second bowl, mix about 15 drops of vanilla essential oil and five drops of glycerin.

When both are mixed, take your jar and prop it up in front of you at an angle. (This will allow the crystal mixtures to be added at an angle so that when the jar is placed upright, it will look like a striped candy cane.) I use an old towel and a box to make a cradle for it. Spoon about ¼ cup of one color in the bottom, making sure to keep the jar tipped. Then spoon ¼ cup of the other color into the jar. Keep alternating until you get to the top.

Fill jar all the way to the top and place the lid on. Feel free to add a little more if it looks like it has settled a bit. Add a nice ribbon and instructions on a tag. The instructions are simple, “Add a handful to warm water for a relaxing soak.”

Frankincense and Myrrh Body Oil
 A body oil works great keeping the skin from drying out. Frankincense and myrrh are two oils used since ancient times that will be perfect for the holiday body oil.

a dark bottle, 8 ounces works wellcarrier oil such as grapeseed, jojoba, or sweet almond
frankincense and myrrh essential oils

Add 40 drops of each essential oil to your 8 ounce bottle. Fill the rest of the way with your carrier oil, leaving enough room at the top to shake ingredients. Cap bottle and shake gently to combine ingredients. (If using 4 ounce bottles, only use 20 drops of each essential oil.) Label with instructions on how to use. Something like, “Rub small amounts at a time into the skin, avoiding sensitive areas.”

Bayberry Bath Bombs
Bath bombs are fun and often help to get kids into the bath. These are fun for adults too! The fresh, clean scent of bayberry gives a warm, comforting feeling, though ANY scent could be used.
1 cup cornstarch
1 cup baking soda
1 cup citric acid
a few drops green food coloring
natural mica glitter, optional
a spray bottle of water
10-15 drops bayberry essential oil
A meatball former or a bath bomb mold

Mix all of the dry ingredients in a glass bowl. Add a few drops of green food coloring. It will tend to clump, so mix it, let it sit a few minutes and the mix again. If you don’t see much color yet, don’t worry, it will come out in time.

Add the bayberry essential oil. Get it mixed in and then add more if you like.

Then spray a small amount of water on your mixture and work it in. Don’t spray too much at a time or you’ll have a mess! Just spray once or twice and work it like pie crust. When it looks like pie crust before you add the water, you can form it into balls. Put it into small aluminum cupcake forms, soap forms, about anything you can think to use,  I’ve also read that the tool that makes meatballs is about perfect.

Place the balls on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and allow to dry for a few hours. When completely dry, place in a jar and label. Toss one into the bath to soothe and soften the skin.

Cinnamon Orange Hand Soap
Love to make soap, but crunched for time during the holidays?  It’s okay to cheat. A favorite quick thing to do is use a pre-made glycerin soap base. There are bases out there that are all-natural, although they are harder to find.

For each bar you’ll need:

5 ounces of glycerin soap base, clear or white
orange and cinnamon leaf essential oils
a square or round mold that will hold about 4 ounces

Cut the soap base into one inch cubes and place in a pint jar.

To melt the base, place pint jar in a pan of hot water over the stove, like a makeshift double boiler. You can also use a microwave, but it often boils over and scorches. If using a microwave, be sure to heat using short bursts at a time (about 30 seconds).

When the soap base is all melted, add your essential oils. For one bar, five drops of each essential oil should be enough, but let your nose be your guide. Add a bit more or less as you choose.

You can add a few drops of color, such as orange or brown, if you like, but I leave mine natural. Pour into the mold and allow it to rest on a level surface for an hour or so.

Be sure it has cooled completely before you try to remove it from the mold. (don’t be fooled by soap that was cool on the outside but still liquid on the inside.  it’s a mess when not ready!) When completely cooled, pull the sides of the mold away from the soap and pop it out from the bottom. You can trim it if you wish, but it’s usually not necessary.

Wrap it in wax paper or other impervious material to keep the air from getting to it. I have found compostable cling wrap online that is made from plant starches and it works very well. Label and give to someone you love!

Monday, December 15, 2014

the perfect gift

This time of the year is a time of giving and receiving; however, for many it is a time of stress, frustrations and even embarrassment. I have a friend who hates this time of year just because of these matters. She feels frustrated she can’t find the perfect gift or embarrassed if someone else’s gift is better than the one she gave. Or, her worst fear, receiving a gift and hadn’t planned to give one in return.

Giving and receiving are part of the same cycle, and we each give and receive in our own ways. But we can lose our balance when we try to be too controlling on either side of the cycle. On the receiving end, we may feel that we don’t deserve the effort made if what we gave was easy for us to give. But perhaps there is a different lesson there for us. We may be receiving not only gratitude, but a chance to see the world through the eyes of another. We may be learning that just because we gave easily, it doesn’t diminish its value. Or perhaps the universe is giving us an example to hold close to our hearts, to encourage us on some future day when our own generous act of giving is not met with a visible act of receiving. When we can allow ourselves to receive as well as give, we do our part to keep the channels of abundance open for ourselves and others.

Sometimes we may find ourselves struggling to respond to others’ gifts in the same ways—like responding to an expensive present with something equally expensive, or feeling like we have to throw a dinner party for someone who has thrown one for us. But when these are done out of a sense of obligation, their energy changes from something that shares to something that drains. If this sounds familiar, we can decide next time to allow ourselves to receive with arms, minds and hearts open and simply say thank you.

Accepting a person’s gift is a gift in itself. Sincere appreciation for their acknowledgement and their effort joins our energy with theirs in the cycle of giving and receiving, and nurtures all involved. If ever we find we are still having difficulty, we can decide to allow ourselves to be conduits for gratitude and accept on behalf of a loving, giving universe.

My idea of the perfect gift to give and receive: it costs nothing, it is always at hand, it never runs out, and one size fits all.

a simple Hug and
 “Thank you for being in my life.” 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

meal ideas ~ holiday cookies make great gifts

Share something sweet with folks on your "nice" list. These yummy Christmas cookies and creative holiday goodies also fit great into a diabetic diet. 

Orange-Dark Chocolate Blossoms
With this calorie-conscious recipe, cookies don't have to be off limits.

 1/2 cup canola oil spread
 1/4 cup butter, softened
 2/3 cup sugar or sugar substitute*
 1 teaspoon baking powder
 1/8 teaspoon salt
 1 egg white
 2 cups all-purpose flour
 1 1/2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel
 40 dark chocolate kisses and/or dark chocolate stars

 In a large bowl, combine canola oil spread and butter; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Add sugar, baking powder, and salt; beat until very light and fluffy. Beat in egg white. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour and the orange peel. If necessary, cover and chill dough about 30 minutes or until easy to handle.

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place balls 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or just until edges are set and bottoms are very lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate kiss into the center of each cookie. Transfer cookies to wire racks; cool completely.

To store: Layer cookies between waxed paper in an airtight container. Cover; seal. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 82 cal., 4 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 3 mg chol., 43 mg sodium, 11 g carb. (1 g fiber, 6 g sugars), 1 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Fat (d.e): 0.5; Other Carb (d.e): 1;

Lemon-Pistachio Slice-and-Bake Cookies
These nutty lemon crisps will be a hit with everyone on your gift list. Be sure to save a few for Santa.
 1/2 cup tub-style canola oil spread
 1/3 cup butter, softened
 3/4 cup sugar or sugar substitute*
 1/8 teaspoon salt
 1/4 cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed, or  1 egg
 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
 1/2 cup finely chopped lightly salted dry roasted pistachio nuts
  Lemon Icing (optional)

 In a large bowl, combine canola oil spread and butter; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until mixed. Beat in sugar and salt until well mixed. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour and the lemon peel.

 Divide dough in half. Shape each dough portion into an 8-inch-long log. Sprinkle half of the pistachio nuts on a sheet of waxed paper. Roll one log in the nuts to coat. Repeat with remaining nuts and log. Wrap logs in plastic wrap. Chill about 2 hours or until firm enough to slice.

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. If necessary, reshape logs to make them round. Cut logs crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place slices 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
 Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or just until edges are firm and tops are set. Cool on cookie sheets for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool completely.

 If desired, drizzle cookies with Lemon Icing. Let stand until icing is set.

To Gift It! Attach a strip of patterned paper around the middle of a box. Add a card stock circle to the front of the box. Fill box with cookies and close. Tie a ribbon around the box. Layer cardboard circles and a chipboard letter for the initial tag to the front of the box over the ribbon.

Lemon Icing
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (do not use substitute)
1/4 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
2 - 3 tablespoons fat-free milk or almond milk

 In a medium bowl, stir together powdered sugar, lemon peel, and enough milk (2 to 3 tablespoons) to make drizzling consistency.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 59 cal., 3 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 3 mg chol., 34 mg sodium, 7 g carb. (3 g sugars), 1 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Other Carb (d.e): 0.5; Mark as Free Exchange (d.e): 0; Fat (d.e): 0.5;

Brandy-Glazed Kolaches
These festive pastries are flaky, sweet, and oh, so yummy. Make a loved one's holidaymerry and bright with these diabetes-friendly treats.

 1/2 cup pitted dried plums (prunes)
 1/2 cup water
 1 tablespoon sugar or sugar substitute*
 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
 1/2 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
 1 1/4-1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
 1 package active dry yeast
 1/2 teaspoon salt
 1 cup water
 1 tablespoon sugar or sugar substitute*
 1 tablespoon butter
 1/4 cup egg product, thawed, or 1 egg
 1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
 2 tablespoons honey
 1 tablespoon peach brandy, other desired flavor brandy, or orange juice

 For filling: In a small saucepan, combine plums, the 1/2 cup water, 1 tablespoon sugar, and the cinnamon. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 8 minutes or until all but 2 tablespoons of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Transfer to a food processor. Cover and process until nearly smooth. Stir in lemon peel. Set aside.

 In a large bowl, combine 1-1/4 cups of the all-purpose flour, the yeast, and salt. In a small saucepan, heat and stir the 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon sugar, and the butter just until warm (120 degrees to 130 degrees F) and butter almost melts. Add water mixture and egg to flour mixture. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping side of bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in whole wheat flour.

 Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining all-purpose flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes). Shape into a ball. Place dough in a lightly greased large bowl, turning once to grease top of the dough. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double in size (45 to 60 minutes).

 Punch down dough. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Lightly grease two large baking sheets; set aside. Shape each half of the dough into 10 balls, pulling the edges under to make smooth tops. Place dough balls 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Flatten each ball to a circle 2-1/2 inches in diameter. Cover; let rise until nearly double in size (about 30 minutes).

 Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Using your thumb or two fingers, make an indentation in the center of each dough circle. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the filling into each indentation. In a small bowl, combine honey and brandy. Lightly brush honey mixture around the edges of the rolls.

 Bake about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer rolls to wire racks; cool completely.

Storage  Arrange kolaches in a single layer in a storage container. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Let rolls return to room temperature before serving.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 95 cal., 1 g total fat 2 mg chol., 69 mg sodium, 20 g carb. (2 g fiber, 5 g sugars), 3 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Starch (d.e): 1;

***Sugar Substitutes: Choose from Splenda®Granular or Sweet 'N Low® equivalent for needed amount