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Showing posts from June, 2016

Summertime With Kids — Seen In A Slightly New Way!

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When asked by my children why I wouldn’t buy them a ridiculously expensive toy, I replied, because we don’t have money for something like that. I paused before going into a rant about being grateful for what they already have, or how many abandoned toys they have under their beds, or how kids are starving in our own town, or how ungrateful they come across when they ask for something so unreasonable, or how lucky they are to have such a good life. I looked at their faces full of disappointment and said that I was sorry we couldn’t afford the toy. They looked up and were saddened by my genuine apology. My son said that there was no need to apologize and they both said it was ok if I didn't buy the toy! No matter how many toys or activities they desire, or how ungrateful they come across with so many demands, and as hard as it is, I acknowledged their disappointment by apologizing for causing it, and it worked!

I’ve read books and articles written by psychologist that suggest for par…

Red, White and Blue Gelatin Flag

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total Time: 2 hr 45 min
Prep: 45 min
Inactive: 2 hr
Yield: 20 to 24 servings
Level: Intermediate

Ingredients
Cooking spray
Strawberry Layer:
8 cups boiling water
5 plain gelatin packets
4 strawberry gelatin packets
Sliced strawberries, if desired

White Layer:3 cups heated sweetened coconut milk
3 cups heated unsweetened coconut milk
2 cups cold whole milk
8 plain gelatin packets

Blue Layer:4 1/2 cups boiling water
4 blue gelatin packets
2 plain gelatin packets
Whipped cream, in a pastry bag fitted with star tip, for topping
Blueberries, for garnish
Special equipment: star-shaped cookie cutter

Directions
Spray two half baking sheets and a quarter baking sheet with cooking spray. Set aside in the refrigerator.

For the strawberry layer: Combine the hot water, plain and strawberry gelatin. Once thoroughly combined, pour the strawberry layer into one of the half baking sheets in the refrigerator. After 15 minutes of cooling, add some strawberry slices, if desired. Allow the …

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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Moments We’re Not Ready For…

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I never thought I’d be ready for marriage, or babies, or tweens, or teens. Yet, here I am! Every decision that I feared, and every thing that scared me to death, I’ve taken on and embraced it. I always tell my children that courage is that feeling in your gut that makes you want to cry -- when the palms of your hands are sweating profusely, and everything within you feels like it’s falling apart, and yet to push beyond that, take one step forward and walk past the crazy fear. Those moments of never feeling ready have taught me to step forward, one step beyond fear, discomfort, and vulnerability.

I’m slowly learning that there’s no shame in being courageous, and no matter how embarrassing it looks like to you, or how much you might think you looked foolish, there’s always a bright side to living a courageous life. Living life authentically beats fearful living any day of the week.

I’m happy with the humbling glimpses of courage, love, and empathy that I experience every day, but really d…

New York-Style Chopped Salad

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Recipe courtesy ofRee Drummond
Total Time: 2 hr 20 min
Prep: 20 min
Inactive: 2 hr
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
3 cups mixed salad greens
8 whole romaine leaves
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
One 14-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
One 4-ounce can pitted mixed olives
2 red bell peppers, sliced
2 yellow bell peppers, sliced
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
2 avocados, sliced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cubed
1 English cucumber, halved then sliced
1 bunch asparagus, blanched and sliced into pieces
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
8 radishes, halved
Salt and ground pepper
Herby Ranch Dressing, recipe follows, or use your favorite

Herby Ranch Dressing: 1 cup (real) mayonnaise
1/2 cup buttermilk (more as needed to reach desired consistency)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
3 teaspoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Salt and g…

Jicama and Watermelon Salad

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Recipe courtesy of Bobby Flay
Total Time: 15 min
Prep: 15 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
1/2 cup fresh orange juice, plus 1 teaspoon zest
1/4 cup fresh lime juice, plus 1 teaspoon zest
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Kosher salt
1 jicama, cut into matchstick pieces
4 cups watermelon in 2-inch chunks
1/3 cup roughly torn fresh mint leaves

Directions
Whisk together juices, honey, pepper and salt in a large bowl. Add the jicama, watermelon and mint and toss to coat.

For more recipes visit foodnetwork.com

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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Whiskey Glazed Flat Iron Steaks and Grilled Potatoes

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total Time: 45 min
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 35 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
1/2 cup whiskey, such as Jack Daniels
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, smashed
Four 8-ounce *flat iron steaks or filet mignon steaks
1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

Directions
Preheat a grill on medium-high heat. Whisk together the whiskey, brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the oil and the garlic. Add the steaks, turn a few times to coat with the marinade and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, quarter each potato lengthwise to form wedges and put in a medium pot. Cover with cold water to cover by 1-inch and add salt until the water tastes like sea water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to medium and …

Strawberry Trifle

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Recipe courtesy of Patricia Heaton
Total Time: 4 hr 22 min
Prep: 10 min
Inactive: 4 hr
Cook: 12 min
Yield: 6 servings
Level: Intermediate

Ingredients
Strawberries:
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1 pound frozen strawberries, thawed
1/4 cup sugar

Custard:
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
Pinch kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Assembly:
About three-quarters of a 14-ounce angel food cake, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon orange extract or 2 tablespoons cream sherry
Mint sprigs, for garnish

Directions
Special equipment: Six 6- to 8-ounce clear glass or plastic wide-mouthed tumblers
For the strawberries: Put the gelatin in a medium mixing bowl. Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil in a small pot, then pour it over the gelatin, whisking until smooth. Add the strawberries and sugar, mixing and coarsely mashing until the most of the strawberries are broken up. Refrigerate until the mixtu…

Finding Hope, Love, And Solace

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During one of the most difficult weeks of 2016, I’ve tried to find ways to cope with the heinous crime that happened in Orlando Florida this past Sunday, where 49 lives were taken and dozens more people were injured in a mass shooting at Pulse nightclub. Since Sunday morning, the newsfeed in social media have been blanketed with information about the shooting, and everyone you speak with is talking about it, it’s difficult to get away from it. I’ve been devastated since the initial news broke and my sleep has been affected by the disruptive energy of the hate toward humankind, but also of the collective heartache as the world watches this nightmare unfold.

There’s been very little that could break my somber mood, until yesterday, I watched a video in the news about comfort dogs being flown from different states to Orlando to offer comfort, love, and peace to the victims and those affected by this horrible crime. I watched the video as faces lit up with smiles, small sighs of relief eru…

Watermelon Super Smoothie

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Recipe courtesy of doctoroz.com
Sip your way into summer and curb your sugar cravings with this refreshing, light, and naturally-sweet watermelon smoothie. Bonus: The watermelon will keep you hydrated!

Watermelon packs a delicious punch of both vitamins A and C. Chia seeds are a good source of necessary dietary fiber and manganese, a mineral important for the proper functioning of the body. Sip your way back to summer with this smoothie and reap the benefits of the vitamins and minerals it contains.

Ingredients
3 cups watermelon, diced
1/4 cup organic dried nonfat milk
2 tbsp chia seeds

Directions
Blend ingredients until smooth.
Makes 2 1/2 cups


For more wellness tips visit doctoroz.com

Life If 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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Grilled Shrimp Scampi

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Recipe courtesy of Bobby Flay
Total Time: 55 min
Prep: 20 min
Inactive: 30 min
Cook: 5 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
12 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup canola oil
10 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground fennel seed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 stick unsalted butter
1 large lemon, zested and juiced
1 tablespoon chopped tarragon leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves, plus extra for garnish

Directions
Put the shrimp in a large baking dish.
Combine the canola oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and fennel seed in a small food processor and process until the garlic is somewhat paste-like. Pour this mixture over the shrimp and let them marinate for 30 minutes.

Light a grill to high heat.

Strain the shrimp from the marinade and season them with salt and black pepper, to taste. Grill the shrimp on both sides until they are slightly charred and just cooked t…

Preconditioned Patterns Clash With Unevolved Ways

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When I was in college I drove a Mustang GT. My car was always a thrill to drive around town because it was fast and it made me feel very sexy driving it. On the first day of driving my car, I got harassed by idiotic men who thought they were being cool by saying things like, can you handle that much car? Is that your dad’s car? Want to race? I wondered if those men would have the balls to say that to another man? Or better yet, would they like other men to say that to their daughter’s or wives? Nope! In fact, men would probably give other men the thumbs up or compliment them, but never harass them like they did me. It all made me sad but also very angry. Most of these men were driving beat-up cars with a quarter of the horsepower that my car had, and maybe that was the problem. My car could kick their ass and that was intimidating to them. 

The harassment became so annoying that I was preconditioned to snap back at any comment about my car, even if it was a compliment. I became combati…

Watermelon Lemonade Slushie

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

This slushie is as beautiful as it is refreshing. Fresh basil is the secret ingredient: We steep it in a simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water), then remove it before blending the slushie, so it adds a subtle herbaceous note.

Total Time: 3 hr 10 min
Prep: 5 min
Inactive: 3 hr
Cook: 5 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients2 pounds cubed watermelon (about 4 cups)
1/2 cup sugar
1 large bunch basil, stems and leaves roughly chopped (about 2 cups), plus 4 whole leaves for garnish
Juice of 3 lemons (about 1/2 cup)

Directions
Place the watermelon in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, and freeze until completely frozen, like ice cubes, about 2 hours.

Meanwhile, cook the sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely melted, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the chopped basil and stir until completely wilted. Cool completely at room temperature, at least 1 hour.
When the watermel…

Herbed Toasted Pita Salad

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Recipe courtesy of Ellie Krueger
Total Time: 25 min
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 15 min
Yield: 8 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
3 (6-inch) whole-wheat pita breads with pockets
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces (about 6 cups)
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup sliced scallions
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1 English cucumber, cored, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Split each pita into 2 rounds and toast on a baking sheet in the middle of the oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Allow pitas to cool and break into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, zest, salt and pepper. Add the oil and whisk to incorporate.

Toss the lettuce, parsley, scallions, mint, cucumber, and tomatoes together in a large bowl.

Right before serving, add the pita and …

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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Finding A Way To Turn Toward The Light

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Between middle school promotion and end-of-school-year activities, I was left with a social hangover! Then, summer break started! This year, my kids have a few scheduled activities and the rest of the summer activities are left for me to plan. So, I was left feeling emotionally displaced, if you will. The whirlwind dropped me off at a place where I felt vulnerable and inadequate to start planning and executing summer plans. The thought of having a kid entering high school wasn’t something I’ve had enough time to process, let alone move on to a busy summer season.

It’s only been a week since summer break started! Maybe I’m being a little tough on myself by not allowing a little time to sit with the emotions that come with such a long awaited, but nevertheless, shocking transition. I wondered, how long I’m allowed to sit in the blues-puddle? I asked and I received my answer when I ran into this post from Elizabeth Gilbert about becoming a heliotropic human being. She writes:

And here is…

Watermelon-Raspberry Granita

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Magazine
Total Time: 4 hr 25 min
Prep: 15 min
Inactive: 4 hr
Cook: 10 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
1 pint raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups cubed seedless watermelon
Juice of 1 lime

Directions
Combine the raspberries, sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the raspberries have completely broken down, about 6 minutes.

Press the raspberry mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a blender; let cool completely. Add the watermelon and lime juice and puree until smooth. Pour the mixture into an 8-inch-square stainless-steel or glass baking dish.

Freeze until ice crystals begin forming around the edges, about 45 minutes. Use a fork to scrape the crystals toward the center of the pan, then continue freezing, scraping every 30 minutes, until frozen, about 4 hours.

Photograph by Levi Brown

For more recipes visit foodnetwork.com





Broiled Tilapia with Mustard-Chive Sauce

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Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis
Total Time: 12 min
Prep: 6 min
Cook: 6 min
Yield:4 servings

Ingredients
Fish:

Vegetable oil cooking spray
4 (5 to 6-ounce) tilapia fillets
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sauce:
1/4 cup plain, full-fat Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons agave nectar or honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions
For the fish: Preheat a broiler. Spray a small baking sheet or glass baking dish with vegetable oil cooking spray. Set aside.

Drizzle the tilapia fillets on both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the fillets in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and broil until cooked through and the flesh flakes easily with a fork, about 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

For the sauce: In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, agave nectar, and mustard until smooth. Whisk in the lemon juice…