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Showing posts from January, 2016

Quote of The Day

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Quote of The Day

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Anytime I See A Butterfly I Stop To Admire Its Beauty!

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This picture has been circling around on social media and it speaks volumes about situations happening now in my life. On my 39th birthday, I decided to take a spiritual journey to see where it’d lead me, and to say the past two years have been a wild ride would be a gross understatement. I’ve struggled with changing habits, breaking generational cycles, being kind and loving to myself, and practicing tapping into my worthiness. Some people have noticed the changes, encourage me and lovingly provided me with new resources to keep me on track with my journey, while others show resistance and have accused me of changing in a negative way. It reminded me of a story Elizabeth Gilbert told about being on stage with Rob Bellwhen a woman asked a question about making significant changes in her life, and wondered why people were resisting it. Rob Bell said, Well, of course they're threatened by your evolution as a person. You're disrupting their entire world view. Remember that a fam…

Easy Chicken Curry with Vegetables

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Recipe courtesy of Melissa d'Arabian

Total Time: 45 min
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 35 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons red Thai curry paste
1 yellow onion, sliced with the grain
2 chicken breasts cut into cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups broccoli florets
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
1 teaspoon dried basil
3 cloves garlic, minced
Zest of 1/2 lime
1 1/4 cups coconut milk
1/4 cup chicken stock
One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
Lime wedges, for squeezing

Directions
Cook 1 tablespoon of the oil, the curry paste and onions in a large saute pan over medium heat, stirring often and letting sizzle, 5 to 6 minutes. Pat the chicken dry, sprinkle with salt and pepper and add the remaining oil to the pan. Cook the chicken in the onion-curry mixture until golden on all sides. Add the broccoli, carrots, basil, garlic and lime zest and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are coated, about 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk, chicken stock and tomatoes and br…

Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce

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From Food Network Kitchens
Total Time: 2 hr 33 min
Prep: 25 min
Inactive: 2 hr
Cook: 8 min
Yield: 6 servings, about 24 skewers
Level: Easy

Ingredients
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 stalks fresh lemongrass, thinly sliced (optional)
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for grilling
1/4 small Napa cabbage, shredded (about 3 cups)
6 ounces snap peas, shredded
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
Wooden skewers

Spicy Peanut Sauce:3 tablespoons reduced-fat smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup light coconut milk
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 to 2 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon agave nectar

Directions
1. Whisk together fish sauce, lime juice, lemongrass, agave, soy sauce, ginger, chili flakes and garlic (makes 3/4 cup). Pour 1/2 cup marinade into a shallow baking dish; reserve the remainin…

Antipasto Platter

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There is little more impressive than a perfect antipasto platter to start a party, especially when you've made many of the components from scratch.

Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds assorted sliced meats, such as mortadella, Spanish chorizo, salami
8 ounces of each assorted cheese, such as Manchego, blue cheese, aged gouda, fresh mozzarella, or Taleggio
6 ounces quince paste, sliced
Honey-Ricotta Pear, recipe follows
Wine-Poached Figs, recipe follows
Warm Mediterranean Olives, recipe follows

Suggested servings:Assorted sliced bread, such as French, Italian or sourdough
Assorted crackers
Assorted dried fruit, such as apricots or cranberries
Assorted toasted nuts, such as almonds or pistachios
Assorted fresh fruits, such as grapes or sliced green apples

Honey-Ricotta Pear:1 ripe Anjou or Bosc pear
1/2 a lemon
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Honey, for drizzling
1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts

Wine-Poached Figs:8 ounces dried mission figs
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup sugar
Kosher…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Quote of The Day

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Quote of The Day

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Heart of the Batter

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

Total Time: 1 hr
Prep: 30 min
Cook: 30 min
Yield: 6 jumbo cupcakes
Level: Easy

Ingredients
For the cupcakes:1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup strawberry-flavored milk, at room temperature
6 strawberries, hulled

For the frosting and topping:2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 strawberries, hulled and halved lengthwise

Directions
Make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 6-cup jumbo muffin pan with paper liners. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

Beat the butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low; be…

Farewell, Don

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My friend Mike’s dad, Don, sadly passed away last week and was laid to rest this past Tuesday. Don served in the Second World War and had a military funeral, which was a first for me. About five soldiers showed up to conduct the Military funeral honors with the 3-volley salute, folding and presenting the United States burial flag, and the playing of Taps. It was such a great ceremony that touched even those in nearby funerals in the cemetery. The air was still and somber, every single person paused and held their heads a little higher and stood a little taller; a sign of respect, which made Don’s flag-draped casket look a lot more reverent.

The ceremony was full of reflection, the Deacon who performed the religious ceremony asked people to share memories about Don. People remembered him as a funny guy with a kind and loving heart, and always having a great attitude no matter what was going on. And today, I remember him as a man who left a great legacy behind via my friend Mike, his two…

Creamy Lemon-Pepper Orzo with Chicken and Fig Salad

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This delicious and comforting dish is packed with protein and fiber!

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total Time: 1 hr 15 min
Prep: 15 min
Inactive: 15 min
Cook: 45 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
1/4 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt, at room temperature
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 cup whole wheat or other whole grain orzo
1 cup frozen petite peas, thawed and patted dry
4 ounces finely crumbled goat cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as basil and tarragon
6 cups prepared salad mix
1 cup dried figs, halved
2 tablespoons prepared balsamic vinaigrette

Directions
Whisk together the yogurt, 2 teaspoons of the oil, the garlic, lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a medium bowl until well combined.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and preheat an outdoor or indoor grill to medium heat.

Rub the chicken thighs w…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Quote of The Day

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Quote of The Day

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Quote of The Day

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Windfalls Come In Many Different Sizes...

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So many of us dreamt about becoming instant billionaires this past Wednesday, but only three lucky groups of people split the billion dollar plus jackpot and became instant multi-millionaires, matching all six numbers in the Powerball drawing! Even though I knew my chances of winning were almost impossible, I gave it a try and bought two tickets. Once the drawing happened and most of us knew that we hadn’t won, social media was bursting with comments about how disappointed people were about not winning the jackpot. I wasn’t one of those people! I won $1, I spent $4 and my ticket was worth $5, but that didn’t matter, I was thrilled I got my money back and was shockingly relieved that I didn’t win so much money. I thought about how my life would transform and become completely different and complicated with such a huge windfall, and I really like my life now so I wouldn’t want to completely change it. That’s not to say that I don’t dream and hope for financial freedom, but while I’m bei…

Broccoli Soup

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchens
Total Time: 50 min
Prep: 25 min
Cook: 25 min
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 russet potato, peeled and diced
Pinch dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
4 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
1 (16-ounce) package frozen broccoli, thawed
2 to 4 tablespoons cream or half-and-half, optional
Freshly ground black pepper

Optional toppings: shaved Parmesan, shredded cheddar or crumbled bacon

Directions
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the potato, thyme, salt, and broth and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook uncovered until the potato is fork tender, about 10 minutes. Add the broccoli and simmer for 3 minutes.

Puree the soup in batches in a blender or with an immersion blender. Return soup to the …

Egg-White Smoothie

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Recipe courtesy of doctoroz.com
Start your day with this fruit and protein-packed drink!

Yield: 1 Serving
Calories: 211

Ingredients
2 cups blackberries
1 cup almond milk
4 ice cubes
1 tbsp egg-white protein powder

Directions
Blend ingredients and enjoy!

For more wellness tips visit doctoroz.com

Chocolate-Strawberry Waffle Ball on a Stick

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

Total Time: 1 hr 25 min
Prep: 20 min
Inactive: 55 min
Cook: 10 min
Yield: 12 servings
Level: Intermediate

Ingredients
12 large strawberries, hulled
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
2 cups dry pancake and waffle mix (plus additional ingredients as directed on package)
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Directions
Thread each strawberry onto a wooden skewer; place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for about 30 minutes.

Put the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high at 15-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until the chocolate is almost melted; remove and stir until smooth. Dip the strawberries in the melted chocolate; return to the parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until the chocolate hardens, about 15 minutes.

Heat 4 to 6 inches of vegetable oil in a deep pot until a deep-fry thermometer registers 330 degrees. While the oil heats, prepare the pancake and waffle m…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Quote of The Day

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Quote of The Day

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My Big Fat Greek Burgers

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Recipe courtesy of Ellie Krieger Total Time: 35 min Prep: 20 min Cook: 15 min Yield: 4 servings Level: Easy
Ingredients: For the yogurt sauce: 1/2 cup nonfat Greek style yogurt 2 teaspoons olive oil 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice 1 clove garlic, minced 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill leaves 1/8 teaspoon salt Pinch freshly ground black pepper
For the burgers: 2 teaspoons olive oil 1/2 small onion, chopped 2 cups lightly packed baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, or 1 teaspoon dried 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 1/4 pounds lean ground turkey breast 1/4 teaspoon salt 4 whole-wheat burger buns 1/4 English cucumber, thinly sliced 4 small leaves romaine lettuce, hard ribs removed
Directions In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, oil, lemon juice, garlic, dill, and salt and pepper.
Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. …

Nature Steals The Spotlight...Steve in New Zealand

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With our holiday break fresh on our minds, a relaxing vacation sounds like a great way to start the New Year! Sadly, most of us are ankle or knee deep in rain or snow, but that doesn’t keep us from dreaming about exotic vacations. So go ahead, dream away, or take a page from my book and live vicariously through an adventurous soul, or as some people also call him Steve, dad, friend, relative, and ex-husband. Steve is a dad to two beautiful girls, is divorced from my wonderful friend Lisa (he thinks she’s still pretty awesome, too!), and is lucky to have an amazing family and group of friends who enrich his life everyday. However, Steve has a wonderful sense of exploration that makes him want to marvel in the beauty of our planet, so he travels around the world whenever he gets a chance to get away.

My husband, who is also friends with Steve, was happy to live vicariously through his breathtaking pictures of New Zealand, and I know you will be too. And so, it begins:

On a cold December …