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Showing posts from October, 2016

Happy Halloween!

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Hard To Say Goodbye To My Dear Hammy

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“Yeah, it’s true, when you use your heart as a weapon. And it hurts like heaven” Hurts Like Heaven by Coldplay

I listen to Hurts Like Heaven by Coldplay all the time because it’s one of my favorite songs -- the lyrics have now become an ode to my lovely Hammy because this past Wednesday afternoon, with my kids in tow, walked into the Animal Hospital where our dwarf bunny, Hammy, was being examined. I had dropped her off at the Vet’s office hours prior for a physical exam because she hadn’t eaten any food for almost 24-hours, and was pushing away her favorite yogurt chips – totally out of character for her. That morning, she seemed uncomfortable so I let her run out in the backyard while I pruned back some bushes. She didn’t move around much and winced when I picked her up to take her back inside the house to her cage.

When the doctor finally examined her on Wednesday afternoon, she called me immediately to let me know that Hammy was extremely dehydrated and was not doing well. Hammy alw…

Quote of The Day

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Quote of The Day

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Spicy Pumpkin Soup

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Recipe courtesy of doctoroz.com
Ingredients
4 shallots
2 tsp butter
2 garlic
1 tsp ginger
2 tbsp curry spice
2 tsp salt
1 tsp chili sauce
15 oz pumpkin
3 1/2 cups water
2 cups chicken broth
1 unsweetened coconut milk

Directions
Sauté shallots in butter until they are softened. Add garlic cloves, ginger and curry spice. Stir in the kosher salt, water, pumpkin, broth and coconut milk. Simmer uncovered over low heat for 30 minutes.

For more recipes and wellness tips visit doctoroz.com


Slow-Cooker Buffalo Chicken Chili

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Recipe courtesy of Katie Lee
Total Time: 4 hr 10 min
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 4 hr
Yield: 8 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
One 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Two 4-ounce cans chopped green chiles
1/2 cup Buffalo wing sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 bay leaf
1 rotisserie chicken, skin discarded, meat shredded
1 jalapeno, seeds and membranes removed, minced
1 medium yellow onion, diced

Directions
For serving: steamed rice, celery leaves, crumbled blue cheese, shredded Cheddar, hot sauce, chopped fresh cilantro and cornbread.

In a slow cooker insert, combine the chicken broth, beans, chiles, wing sauce, salt, pepper, garlic, celery, bay leaf, shredded chicken, jalapeno and onion and mix. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours.

Serve over white rice with desired toppings: celery leaves, blue cheese, Cheddar, hot sauce, cilantro and cornbread.

For more recipes visit f…

Pumpkin Cheese Ball

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Recipe courtesy of By Clifford Endo for Food Network Kitchen

Combine cream cheese, shredded cheddar, chopped fresh chives, salt and pepper, and mold the mixture into a ball shape. Press the top of the ball with your hand to flatten it. With the tip of a butter knife, carve lines down the sides to resemble a pumpkin. Refrigerate to keep cool while you run cheese puffs in a food processor until finely ground. Roll the cheese ball in the ground cheese puffs. Use the stem of a bell pepper as a pumpkin stem, and serve on a plate with crackers.

For more recipes visit foodnetwork.com

Homecoming...

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Yearly traditions at schools can be nerve-racking  but also exciting! The hype of an upcoming night of freedom, and excitement about getting dolled up was infectious and overwhelming this past weekend. It was my daughter’s first high school Homecoming dance. She had been looking forward to the dance since she heard about it at her freshman orientation, but decided to forgo a date with a boy, opting for a group of girlfriends. My daughter asked is she can get her nails and hair done, but I was quick to disagree with all of it, letting her know that she didn’t need to go all out. I figured that since she didn’t have a date with a boy, she didn’t need to go overboard with getting all dolled up. I was looking straight into her eyes when I said this to her and the look in her eyes was one of complete disappointment. The minute she walked away with a wounded look in her face, I realized that I had just screwed up. I was essentially saying to her that since she didn’t have a boy to dress up …

Life Is Full 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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Black Cat Pops

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Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis
Total Time: 2 hr 11 min
Prep: 25 min
Inactive: 1 hr 40 min
Cook: 6 min
Yield: 12 pops
Level: Easy

Ingredients
8 ounces (about 24) dried Mission figs, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon creamy unsalted almond butter
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup dark (53% cacao) chocolate chips
1 teaspoon coconut or grapeseed oil, plus 1/2 teaspoon
2 ounces white chocolate, chopped
Orange food coloring
One 4-inch piece of strawberry or raspberry fruit leather

Directions
Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Set aside.
In a food processor, combine the figs, almond butter and water. Blend until smooth, scraping down the side of the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula. Using a small ice-cream scoop, scoop 1 tablespoon of the fig mixture at a time and roll into 1 1/2-inch balls. Insert a lollipop stick into each fig ball.

Place the chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon of the oil in a medium bowl. Place the bowl over a small saucepan of barely simmering water a…

Caramel Apple Pie

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Recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond
Total Time: 1 hr 55 min
Prep: 30 min
Inactive: 20 min
Cook: 1 hr 5 min
Yield:8 servings
Level: Intermediate

Ingredients
Perfect Spiced Pie Crust:
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) salted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup vegetable shortening or lard
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 egg, lightly beaten

Pie Filling:
6 to 7 cups peeled and sliced Granny Smith apples
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Crumb Topping:
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup quick oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 jar (or more) caramel topping

Directions
Special equipment: a pastry cutter

For the perfect spiced pie crust: Mix the flour, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in a bowl. Add the butter and vegetable shortening. Work the butter into the flour using…

Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice Casserole

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Recipe courtesy of doctoroz.com
Yield: 4 Servings
Calories: 630

Here's a recipe that's sure to become a family favorite. Fortunately, it's incredibly easy to follow. Made with rotisserie chicken, this cheesy chicken, broccoli, and rice casserole will have you amazed at how delicious weeknight dinners can be.

Ingredients
2 cups diced rotisserie chicken (or any other cooked chicken)
2 cups broccoli florets, broken down into bite-sized pieces
1 can cream of chicken soup (can use low-sodium or Healthy Request)
2 cups cooked rice
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 to 3/4 cup crushed corn flakes
2 tbsp butter, melted

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Combine all ingredients, except the corn flakes and butter, into a greased 9-x-13-inch baking dish. (This recipe fits into an 8-x-8-inch or 9-x-9-inch dish, but I use a 9-x-13-inch dish because I like to have extra room for corn flakes; they add crunch!)

3. Mix the ingredients in the dish.

4. Sprinkle the crushed corn flakes ove…

Find The Light In The Darkness

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The dark cloud over our current election can sure get a girl down! There’s almost nowhere to hide from the news updates and the negativity that this election has spread throughout our country. I’ll admit that I spend more time reading than I usually do on an election year, I read updates and developing stories on the candidates, including some people’s opinions. However, I finally reached a news overload this past Monday. The weather was gloomy in my town, and it was the Monday after a relaxing weekend that I didn’t want to end. I started reading the news and watched reactions to a vile video that surfaced about a candidate, and I finally had enough. I reached a breaking point and needed to find something to cheer up, and needed a boost of hope to remind me that our great country will overcome this unprecedented challenge that we’re facing.

I turned on my iTunes and started to play some music, watched a few of my favorite videos of some hilarious comedians, and went out to dinner to on…

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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Broccoli and Cheddar-Stuffed Potato Skins with Avocado Cream

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Recipe courtesy of Ellie Krieger
Total Time: 1 hr 10 min
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 50 min
Yield: 8 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
8 small Idaho potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds total), scrubbed and dried
4 teaspoons canola oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces broccoli florets, coarsely chopped (about 4 cups)
Cooking spray
3 pieces Canadian bacon, finely diced (about 3 ounces)
3/4 cup grated extra-sharp Cheddar (about 3 ounces)
Avocado Creme:
2 scallions, thinly sliced, greens reserved
1 medium avocado
2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Pierce potatoes several times with a fork and wrap in paper towels. Microwave on high for 13 to 15 minutes, until potatoes are cooked through. Remove from microwave and cool until potatoes are easy to handle. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop all but 1/8 inch of the inside of the potato, leaving skin intact. Reserve scooped potato flesh for anoth…

Meringue Skulls

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Recipe courtesy of foodnetwork.com

Beat 3 egg whites with 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar with a mixer on medium speed until foamy. Gradually beat in 3/4 cup sugar; beat until thick and glossy. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Remove 1/4 cup meringue; tint with black gel food coloring. Transfer the white meringue to a piping bag with a large round tip. Pipe 3-inch skulls (8 to 10) onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Pipe on the black meringue with a small round tip for faces. Bake at 250 degrees F until crisp, 1 1/2 to 2 hours; cool.




Shifting Into Kinder Mode

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Election years bring out insecurities, fear, and anger in most people. This election year has been tougher on most of us as we find ourselves with pent-up anger, and emotions running high. I witness heated arguments every single day and they stress me out. Yesterday something different happened, a woman was upset about something political that my friend posted on social media, but was very levelheaded while expressing her disappointment, something very rare these days. I joined the conversation with my opinion and made it clear that I was not interested in being combative with her, but I was curious on why she was offended. She stated her facts and I replied with kindness and not looking to prove her wrong. I let her know that I heard what she was saying and that I wanted to get a better idea of where she was coming from. As wrong as this woman was about her facts, I still respected her and wasn’t looking to make her change her mind, but to share my point of view, in hopes that she to…

3-Day Cleanse: Breakfast

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Recipe courtesy of doctoroz.com
Yield: 2 Servings
Calories: 259

Containing only good fats and protein, this breakfast smoothie is sure to help you start your day right. Blend yourself up a glass of this sweet smoothie and sip your way to work. Not only will the flavors satisfy your tastebuds, the protein will fill your stomach and fuel your body all morning long.

Ingredients
1 tbsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp almond butter
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 scoop plant-based protein powder

Directions
Blend all ingredients until smooth.

For more recipes and wellness tips visit doctoroz.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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Purple Potato Salad

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Recipe courtesy of Duff Goldman
Total Time: 30 min
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 10 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
2 pounds purple-skinned fingerling potatoes, quartered lengthwise
1 head garlic, halved crosswise
Pinch of red pepper flakes
5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Kosher salt
1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 tablespoons sour cream
1/3 cup horseradish, drained
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
4 half-sour dill or sweet pickles, diced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Freshly ground pepper

Directions
Combine the potatoes, garlic, red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon vinegar and 1 tablespoon salt in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender but not mushy, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the onion and cook until almost tender, about 1 more minute. Drain, discarding the garlic. Let the potatoes cool.

Whisk the remaining 4 tablespoons vinegar, the sugar …

Bat Wings Cheese Balls

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Recipe courtesy of foodnetwork.com
Ingredients
8 oz softened cream cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar
1/4 cup salsa
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and pepper
Black-bean or blue-corn chips
Sour cream 
Diced pimientos

Directions
Mix 8 ounces softened cream cheese. 1 cup shredded cheddar, ¼ cup salsa and ¼ teaspoon chili powder; season with salt and pepper. Chill until firm, 1 hour. Roll into 1-inch balls (about 18), then roll in crushed black-bean or blue-corn chips. Insert whole chips for wings; decorate with sour cream and diced pimientos for eyes.

For more recipes visit foodnetwork.com
Photograph by Ralph Smith

Awe-inspiring Meditation Experience

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My friend just started a meditation group and held the first meeting last week. Not knowing what to expect, I walked into a small room filled with a group of ten women. A flower altar surrounded by candles in the middle of the room created a very calm mood, which made me, feel comfortable right away. I sat in the circle and introduced myself and stated my intention for being there. After the entire group introduced themselves and stated their intention – we started with a beautiful recorded meditation, and then stretched. We were asked to partner up with our neighbor and sit across from each other. We were to sit in silence for a few minutes and just notice the features in each other’s face – not going to lie, that exercise kind of freaked me out because it made me feel very self-conscious. But I held on because I didn’t want to be the fool that ran out of a class because of fear of someone noticing the pimple on my forehead, or my unwashed hair. The low lighting was a saving grace!

As…

Custard Cornbread with Garlic and Thyme

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
This custard-based cornbread is a scoopable side dish you'll want to make throughout the year. The addition of garlic and thyme adds bright, herbaceous flavor. Serve warm with a drizzle of honey for the perfect sweet and savory bite.

Total Time: 1 hr
Prep: 10 min
Inactive: 5 min
Cook: 45 min
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the dish
1 clove garlic, finely grated
2 cups half-and-half
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup stone-ground cornmeal
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves (from about 8 sprigs)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and generously butter a 2-quart baking dish.
Add the butter to a medium saucepan and melt over medium-high heat. Once melted, add the garlic and stir until the garlic becomes fragrant and the butter begins to bubble, about 1 minute. …

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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