Sunday, July 22, 2012

Peanut "Butter is Good for the Soul" Cookies

I crave peanut butter. I don't know if it is from the salt or the protein or the oil (probably all three), but nothing really hits the spot like a spoonful of peanut butter. We have been out of peanut butter for the last three days, but since we finally have some in the house and it's a stormy day in Panama, David and I decided to make some cookies. 

David wanted to make cookies from a recipe out of The Joy of Cooking, which included 1 cup of sugar and 1 stick of butter. I wanted to make a super healthy version that included chickpeas, but luckily for David we don't have a food processor to mash up the chickpeas.

Time to compromise. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Not Enough Time? Create a Working Task List

Do you struggle with time management? Do you feel so overwhelmed by all the things that you need to do, but don't know where to start? Do you procrastinate and then essentially don't get anything done at all? 

Time management is something that we all struggle with regardless of age or profession. Maybe you have found a rhythm and schedule that works professionally, but feel confused on how to organize your personal time. Or you might not have any trouble organizing your personal time, but not know how to make the most of your work day at the office.

A lot of people advocate scheduling every single task into a calendar or project management software. This is a good system, but sometimes the structure doesn't account for all the little unexpected things that happen during the day. I recommend using a working task list and block schedule instead.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Spicy Red Lentil Dal

During a month of pretty strict vegetarianism back in January, I searched high and low for meatless recipes that my diabetic, meat-eating father would also like. Luckily, we both love spicy Indian food. 

Also lucky for us, India is known for some pretty wonderful spicy lentil dishes. This makes sense considering that the country produces half the world's lentils.

Lentils are high in fiber, both soluble and insoluble, and packed with minerals and vitamins like potassium, magnesium, and folate. These little legumes have also been shown to lower cholesterol, reduce heart disease, and decrease the risk of becoming overweight or diabetic.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Enjoying the Sunshine (Safely)

Summertime. The days are longer and there is much more time for frolicking in the sun. Vitamin D, a necessary nutrient for bone and muscle strength, is best absorbed through the sun. Recent studies on Vitamin D also suggest that there are even more benefits to Vitamin D than we previously thought.

This past weekend I went to Toboga, a little island off the coast of Panama City. I slathered on the sunscreen as we waited for the ferry to take us and allowed sufficient time for it to dry while we rode out to the island. When we arrived, we set up camp under three large umbrellas and applied more sunscreen before going out to enjoy the ocean. In the midst of soaking up some much needed Vitamin D, I still managed to get a little too pink. As children, we were taught the dangers of too much sunshine and lessons of protecting ourselves. But sometimes, as adults, we forget these lessons and need a little reminder.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Soul Food Sunday: Creative Manifestos

Sundays are luscious days, days where you have a whole day ahead of you before the week starts again.

One of my favorite Sunday activities is to read the weekly newsletter from Brain Pickings.

Brain Pickings is a curated website, full of all sorts of wonderful articles about art, literature, design, architecture, history, science...the descriptions, imagery, and reviews always help kick-start my creativity.

I especially like the Five Manifestos for the Creative Life, including the now famous Holstee Manifesto.

Enjoy getting lost on this site and the ideas it might spark!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Navigating a Type II Diabetes Diagnosis

When my dad was first diagnosed with type II diabetes I was completely oblivious as to how serious it was.

Diabetes just means that you can't eat sugar, right?

Wrong. Diabetes refers to a group of diseases that influence how your body produces and utilizes blood glucose (blood sugar). Think of glucose as the body’s main source of fuel. Problem is that, just like a car, the human body cannot run properly without oil, or insulin. Insulin regulates the glucose in the blood to help ensure that there is not an excess or shortage. Extreme fluctuations in glucose in the blood is very dangerous and can lead to a slew of health problems.

For anyone without diabetes who is reading this and thinking “none of this applies to me, I don’t have diabetes..." chances are you have a relative, neighbor, friend, or co-worker who is either already diabetic or at risk of diabetes.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

What to Do With Leftover Veggie Scraps

Making vegetable broth at home is possibly the easiest recipe you will ever make at home.

Inspired by Grist's article about "Five Packaged Foods You Never Need to Buy Again", my do-it-yourselfer boyfriend and I decided to start making our own vegetable broth.
All you have to do is: reserve the odds and ends of vegetables, store in a container in the freezer, and when the container is full, cover with water and simmer for at least an hour. Really, it's that simple.
  1. Find a large container that you can keep in the freezer (freezer bags work well too).
  2. When you are chopping up vegetables, keep the freezer container handy. Throw all loose vegetable ends in the container: onion ends and skins, tomato and bell pepper tops. We also throw in vegetables that are close to expiring that we know we aren't going to have time to use.
  3. After the container is full (this may take a few weeks depending on the size of your container and how often you cook), pour all the frozen veggies into a large kettle and cover with water. Be careful not add too much water, you want the broth to have a lot of vegetable flavor.
  4. Bring the veggies to a boil and then let simmer for an hour.
  5. After an hour, turn the heat off and let the vegetables sit and stew for a bit longer.