MagicKitchen.com Blog http://blog.magickitchen.com Health, food and health tips Sun, 18 Jun 2017 18:24:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 Awesome 4th of July Yard Decorating Ideas http://blog.magickitchen.com/2017/06/18/awesome-4th-of-july-yard-decorating-ideas/ http://blog.magickitchen.com/2017/06/18/awesome-4th-of-july-yard-decorating-ideas/#respond Sun, 18 Jun 2017 18:24:11 +0000 http://blog.magickitchen.com/?p=4119 Continue reading Awesome 4th of July Yard Decorating Ideas ]]> Before we discuss these “awesome” decorating ideas, please allow me to pontificate for a moment.  It seems from my vantage point that our “patriotic” holidays (the Fourth, Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day) have melded into a giant mélange of red, white and blue.  We seem to have forgotten their origins and why they were created.  So please indulge this former history teacher for just a moment.

Also known as Independence Day, this holiday commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the representatives of the thirteen American colonies.  This Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and on June 7, 1776 Richard Henry Lee, a delegate from Virginia, proposed that the colonies secede or declare their independence from Great Britain.  However, the vote was postponed until a formal document could be drafted which would explain to the world why the colonies felt it was necessary to take such drastic action.

The Congress then created the celebrated Committee of Five, comprised of Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman and Roger Livingston to draft what would come to be known as the Declaration of Independence.  Written by Jefferson and primarily edited by Franklin, the document decreed, in no uncertain terms, that the colonies would be, henceforth, a free and independent nation.  It also went on to list the reasons why, or justifications for breaking from Britain, to include trade and expansion restrictions, the lack of self-governance and military occupation.

On July 2, Congress passed Richard Henry Lee’s resolution of independence 12-0 (New York abstained, but later changed their vote to the affirmative).  Then, on July 4, they officially adopted the Committee’s Declaration of Independence.  John Adams mistakenly thought the nation would celebrate its independence on July 2.  The next year, 1777, Philadelphia celebrated the Declaration’s anniversary on July 4 and as the years passed, more locations did the same until it became a paid federal holiday in 1938.

Just a little background for you to consider as you implement the following yard decorating ideas to celebrate the 241th anniversary of America’s independence.

Lawn stars – Take a large hunk of cardboard and cut out a five-pointed star for your template and if you’re feeling ambitious, cut out various sizes.  Place your newly fashioned template on your grass and paint as many red, white and blue stars as you require or desire.  And not to worry, the paint will NOT kill your grass and since grass grows relatively fast, you’ll chop the painted tips off the next time you mow. (photo courtesy of http://www.hometalk.com)

Red, white and blue centerpieces – Use mason jars rather than vases and fill them with bouquets of red, white and blue flowers and place them in a row down the center of your holiday picnic table.  Here are a few flower suggestions…red: chrysanthemums, tulips, gerbera daises, dahlias, or geraniums.  White: same as red, add daffodils.  Blue: forget-me-nots, bellflowers, cornflowers, or perennial geraniums.(photo courtesy of https://www.fiftyflowers.com)

American pallet flag – Simply find one of those ubiquitous wooden pallets lying around and paint an American flag on it.  Paint a blue background in the upper left corner and then add five-pointed stars.  And no, you don’t need to squeeze 50 of them on there unless that’s your thing, four offset rows of five is plenty.  Then paint alternate planks of the pallet red and white for the stripes.  And no, you don’t need thirteen stripes, that would be one big-ass pallet.(photo courtesy of: http://fourthofjulyblog.blogspot.mx)

Bouquets of red and blue Tootsie Pops – Find white jars, or paint a few, and place red and blue Tootsie Pops, stem down, into the jars to make a colorful and patriotic display…popular with kids and adults alike.

Patriotic cupcakes – Not necessarily a “yard decoration” unless you place them at strategic locations around your yard, these edible cakes of patriotic goodness are, none-the-less, quite popular.  For the cake part, simply use red batter.  As for the frosting…white, of course. And then top with blueberries…voila!

Now, as everyone admires your unique Fourth decorations, you can regal them with your knowledge of this country’s unique history.  Happy Fourth of July!

facebooktwitterpinterest]]>
http://blog.magickitchen.com/2017/06/18/awesome-4th-of-july-yard-decorating-ideas/feed/ 0
Senior Rules for a Safe and Happy Summer http://blog.magickitchen.com/2017/06/16/senior-rules-for-a-safe-and-happy-summer/ http://blog.magickitchen.com/2017/06/16/senior-rules-for-a-safe-and-happy-summer/#respond Fri, 16 Jun 2017 17:41:14 +0000 http://blog.magickitchen.com/?p=4144 Continue reading Senior Rules for a Safe and Happy Summer ]]>

Of course, the seniors to which I refer in the title are those of the “well-aged” variety rather than those who are about to enter their last year of high school or college.  As discussed in too much detail in my last post, summer in the northern hemisphere begins in the wee hours of the morning on June 21 and it is, by all accounts, the most joyous of seasons for most.  However, summer can pose a few heat-related dangers, especially for seniors.

As we age, our bodies become less efficient at regulating body temperature.  That’s why many older people tend to enjoy being in a warmer climate than younger folks.  As anecdotal evidence, I refer you, once again, to Seinfeld.  In episode three of season three (“The Pen”), Elaine is forced to beg Jerry’s elderly parents to turn on the air conditioning in their Florida condo as the previous night she complained to Jerry, “I’m sweating here.  I’m in bed…sweating.”

The next day, Jerry’s mom relents, but isn’t even sure she knows how to work the air conditioning.  As a result of this lessened ability to regulate temperature, many seniors fail to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat stroke and/or heat exhaustion.  So here are a few tips to keep in mind as the mercury (I figure most people reading this post can remember mercury thermometers) begins to rise this summer.

  • Use the frickin’ air conditioning if you have it. Electric bill be damned.  If you don’t have A/C, then on extremely hot and humid days go someplace that has it and isn’t afraid to crank it.  It matters not where you go…a friend’s place, the mall, a museum, the movies, a library are all good choices.  You’ll be amazed what a few hours out of the heat can do for your overworked body.
  • Avoid too much time in the sun especially if you’re engaged in strenuous activity like yard work or exercise. And if you’re just lounging in the glorious sun, don’t forget to slather on plenty of sunscreen with an SPF of at least 759, or those cool, box-like sunglasses that offer UV protection.
  • Get the heat out of a hot kitchen, or if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen…choose whatever cliché you like, just avoid cooking on hot days and simply pop a delicious meal from MagicKitchen.com into the microwave machine which generates no heat at all. In fact, it’s probably a good idea to keep a few MagicKitchen.com meals in your freezer for those scorchers that you know are coming if they haven’t arrived already.
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate BEFORE you get thirsty, because if you wait until the thirst arrives, you’re already dehydrated. And try to avoid “hydrating’ with alcohol or caffeinated drinks as they work as diuretics and serve to hasten dehydration.
  • Don’t just drink cool water, get in some, whether it’s a cool bath, shower, lake, pool, ocean, river…whatever. The cool water will help cool your blood which circulates throughout your body.  Another quick cooling off method is to run cold water over the inside of your wrists.  This area has a large number of blood vessels that run close to the surface and that cold water will cool all that blood as it circulates through your body.
  • Communicate often with friends and family to let them know you’re doing fine and staying cool on hot days. Use whatever method you, and they, are comfortable with, telephone, cell phone, Twitter, Snapchat…you get that idea.
  • Watch the humidity level. I’ve heard Arizona is hot, but it’s a dry heat.  That, however, is not the case in many places within our country.  High humidity levels are dangerous to us due to the fact that it causes our body’s cooling mechanism, sweating, not to work effectively.  The reason we perspire is to send liquid to the surface so that it can evaporate, thus, cooling our bodies.  When it’s excessively humid, that sweat on our skin’s surface doesn’t evaporate due to the high-water content in the atmosphere.  As a result, our bodies work harder to try and stay cool, placing more stress on our bodies, primarily on the heart.  So when the humidity’s up, keep your activity level down.

I’m not implying that you should cloister yourself in an air conditioned room for the entire summer.  I’m just giving you the same warning that Sergeant Esterhaus gave his officers after briefings on Hill Street Blues, “Hey, let’s be careful out there.”

facebooktwitterpinterest]]>
http://blog.magickitchen.com/2017/06/16/senior-rules-for-a-safe-and-happy-summer/feed/ 0
A MagicKitchen.com Fourth of July Story http://blog.magickitchen.com/2017/06/16/a-magickitchen-com-fourth-of-july-story/ http://blog.magickitchen.com/2017/06/16/a-magickitchen-com-fourth-of-july-story/#respond Fri, 16 Jun 2017 16:25:13 +0000 http://blog.magickitchen.com/?p=4150 Continue reading A MagicKitchen.com Fourth of July Story ]]> George and Martha were in no mood to host yet another Fourth of July barbecue at their suburban Virginia home they liked to call Mount Vermin (when they first moved in they had a slight mouse problem and the humorous name stuck).  The patriotic couple usually had a dozen friends and family members over for some steaks, sides, dessert and, of course, copious amounts of ale.  However, as the Fourth approached this year, George and Martha dreaded all the prep work required to host the gathering and they despaired.

George, a former military officer, and Martha, who had inherited a tidy sum of land and money from her first husband, discussed the issue after their dear friends, Alexander and John, inquired about their annual picnic.  Martha complained first.  It seems she was not looking forward to compiling a shopping list of all the necessary items, food and otherwise, required for the party and then making an hours-long visit to the market to purchase said items.  The thought of wandering up and down the endless aisles in search of steak, chicken, potatoes, vegetables, and various ingredients for her homemade desserts simply made her fantasize about living on a luxurious Southern plantation.

And she was just getting warmed-up.  She then had to haul it all home and then prepare all her signature dishes, like scalloped potatoes, rice pilaf, green bean casserole, cherry pie (George would provide the cherries from a local tree) and Dutch apple pie, among others.  After all the prep work, she then had to spend several more hours in a sweltering kitchen cooking it all.  George, in an effort to assuage her stress in times such as these, always referred to her as “the first lady of the kitchen,” but this year, she was having none of it.

George, not to be out done, then began whining about having to make his secret barbecue sauce for the meats as well as his ultra-super secret chili recipe that their guests, Abigail and Benjamin, so enjoyed.  He also bemoaned the fact that during most of the party he’d be tied to a hot grill, stirring the chili and flipping chicken breasts as Thomas and John’s cousin Sam, harangued him not to overcook their steaks.

Then, just as George was about to call Playicello (where Thomas lived and worked teaching kids how to play the cello) and cancel the whole thing, Martha, while surfing the net for frilly bonnets, came across a food delivery service called MagicKitchen.com and all was saved.  As she perused the site, she was amazed at all the delicious dishes they had to offer and it was all prepared and pre-cooked by certified chefs and then delivered right to Mount Vermin.  All they had to do was heat it up and serve, buffet-style.

She then quickly and easily ordered the hickory-smoked beef brisket, beef chili (which looked far better than that made by George), buffalo chicken artisan flatbread, crab cakes, and apple-smoked boneless pork and those were just the entrées.  For the sides she chose barley vegetable pilaf, French green beans with mushrooms and cream sauce, rosemary potatoes, and scalloped potatoes (which couldn’t possibly taste better than hers, could they?).

As for desserts, she selected Dutch apple pie, raspberry rhubarb pie, cinnamon-raisin bread pudding, and some gourmet cookies.  Voilà, done and done.  The food arrived just as promised and Martha simply placed it in the freezer until needed.  As for the party, Martha and George, for the first time, were true hosts rather than cook and wait staff and they were able to mingle with their guests and celebrate the Fourth of July as if they had something to do with the founding of the country.

Post-party, all their guests raved about the food and thoroughly enjoyed George’s tales of his military exploits, except for a few British guests who seemed oddly put-off.

facebooktwitterpinterest]]>
http://blog.magickitchen.com/2017/06/16/a-magickitchen-com-fourth-of-july-story/feed/ 0
Start a New Tradition with a Summer Solstice BBQ http://blog.magickitchen.com/2017/06/09/start-a-new-tradition-with-a-summer-solstice-bbq/ http://blog.magickitchen.com/2017/06/09/start-a-new-tradition-with-a-summer-solstice-bbq/#respond Fri, 09 Jun 2017 15:46:26 +0000 http://blog.magickitchen.com/?p=4134 Continue reading Start a New Tradition with a Summer Solstice BBQ ]]> As always, let’s start this post with some topical background information regarding the upcoming summer solstice…I figure it’s not needed for a barbeque.

Many people consider the summer solstice to be the start of summer while some in the northern hemisphere refer to it as midsummer (such as Will Shakespeare and his “Midsummer Night’s Dream”).  So what is a “solstice,” (it’s derived from the Latin words sol = sun and sistere = to stand still) exactly, and why does it always occur between June 20th and 22nd?

The existence of the solstices and equinoxes (there’s two of each, every year) is tied to the fact that the Earth does not float vertically in the vast expanse of space.  If you draw a line through the Earth, from pole to pole, that line is not straight up and down.  It’s tilted 23.4 degrees.  In other words, the earth is tilted 23.4 degrees on its axis.  And that tilt is why we have four seasons and their related solstices and equinoxes.

In the northern hemisphere, where I assume the vast majority of my readers live, we experience the warm summer months when the Earth is tilted towards the sun and the cooler winter months when it’s tilted away.  And while the Earth’s orbit around the sun is not a perfect circle, but rather elliptical (or egg-shaped), which causes our distance from the sun to vary, this distance, or lack-there-of, has nothing to do with our seasons.

Now, back to the summer solstice and what it is.  Due to that 23.4-degree tilt, the summer solstice is the exact time (this year it’s 12:24 AM on June 21st) when the sun reaches its most northern position, in this case, the Tropic of Cancer.  The winter solstice is when the sun is at its most southern position, or above the Tropic of Capricorn.  Thus, the Tropic lines are exactly 23.4 degrees away from the equator.  Isn’t math fun?

That is why, in the northern hemisphere, we get the greatest amount of daylight during the summer solstice.  In fact, the Arctic Circle will get 24 hours of daylight, Anchorage, Alaska will receive over 19 hours; Seattle, Washington almost 16 hours; Washington D.C. almost 15 hours; Miami, Florida 13 hours and 44 minutes; and Ushuaia, Argentina only gets 7 hours and 12 minutes of daylight.

Many cultures also turn the summer solstice, or midsummer, into a celebration (think Stonehenge) to include music, dance, drink and, of course, food.  And the food part is where MagicKitchen.com can offer some assistance.  We offer a succulent, hickory-smoked beef brisket that is glazed with a light, Kansas City-style barbeque sauce that only requires a few minutes on the grill to heat up.

If beef isn’t your thing, then how about some apple smoked, boneless pork loin?  We also got you covered when it comes to sides.  Simply chose from our popular BBQ sides, to include: nine-grain rolls, French green beans with mushrooms and cream sauce, haluski kapusta (say what?  A lovely combination of egg noodles, onions, cabbage and kielbasa sausage), magic mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, scalloped potatoes, or stuffed baked potatoes.  So this summer solstice, host a BBQ, stay up late and celebrate the “longest day of the year” with the help of MagicKitchen.com.

facebooktwitterpinterest]]>
http://blog.magickitchen.com/2017/06/09/start-a-new-tradition-with-a-summer-solstice-bbq/feed/ 0
Foods that are Low in Carbs http://blog.magickitchen.com/2017/05/26/foods-that-are-low-in-carbs/ Fri, 26 May 2017 21:03:23 +0000 http://blog.magickitchen.com/?p=4035 Continue reading Foods that are Low in Carbs ]]> A low carb diet is a good lifestyle choice. Studies show it is a healthy way to lose weight, and for many it is a great way to keep weight off. Diet and exercise together are the best way to keep yourself fit and ward off disease. Here are many low carb food choices you can make.

 

Most low-carb diets suggest limiting carbohydrate intake to between 50 to 150 grams per day, depending on the diet. Most low carb diets for weight loss start with extremely low carbohydrate intake,  in the range of 20-25 grams per day. That lasts for a couple of weeks, then rises to 60 to 90 grams per day for continued weight loss.

Things to be aware of with low carb diets

Especially if you are used to eating a lot of high-carb items and sugary foods. Your body will crave them like crazy for the first three weeks or so. Your body is going into a state called ketosis, which starts to use your fat for energy. This can cause bad breath, so stock up on sugar-and-carb-free mints.

You may experience… how can we put it delicately… trouble with your digestive tract. Drink lots of water. Lots and lots of water.

If your body is used to a lot of carbs, you may experience something called the “Keto flu”. You might feel fatigued, and have muscle weakness. It will go away within a week or so.

If you do eat a lot of carbs and sweets, it will be easier on your body and will power to do a pre-diet slowdown. Start eating fewer carbs every day for a week or so, to get your body used to fewer carbs. Then the first two weeks won’t be potentially painful.

We wish you luck on your low carb lifestyle. For many people, it’s the key to taking weight off and keeping it off!

facebooktwitterpinterest]]>
Home Safety Tips for Seniors http://blog.magickitchen.com/2017/05/19/home-safety-tips-for-seniors/ Fri, 19 May 2017 14:20:02 +0000 http://blog.magickitchen.com/?p=4110 Continue reading Home Safety Tips for Seniors ]]> It’s just a fact of life: as we age we become less, shall we say…agile, nimble, sprightly, dexterous…choose any synonym for quick and spry you like, we simply don’t move the way we used to.  We also develop certain ailments that require certain medications and if we continue to live independently as we reach our “senior” years, certain accommodations must be made to these simple facts of life.  As I continually tell my kids, “Getting old generally sucks, but you can make some minor adjustments to make it suck less.”

Let’s just accept the fact that accommodations must be made for our continued seniorly independence and those accommodations must be made for the sake of safety.  Given that the number one cause of injuries among seniors is from falls (falls are also the number one cause of fatal injuries), the following tips will focus on how to avoid them.  Simply stated, do whatever you need to do to avoid falls within and without your home. The other area of concern for seniors is that of medicine and ensuring that they take the proper amount…think Goldilocks here, neither too much nor too little, but the proper amount.

Tips to “fall-proof” your home

  • Add rails and grab bars where needed. The two main problem areas here are stairs and the bathroom.  Yes, this will probably require the assistance of either a contractor or someone with carpentry skills, but isn’t your safety worth it?  Along stairways, both interior and exterior, handrails should line both sides and both should be used, especially when descending.  In the bathroom, rails should be added in and around the tub/shower and around the toilet to prevent slipping and to assist with sitting and standing.
  • Remove excess clutter throughout the home. “Clutter,” in this instance, refers to anything that could be a tripping hazard and can include shoes (while not on your feet), magazines, pet toys, books, clothes, and trash in any form.  “Everything has a place and there’s a place for everything,” as my dad is still fond of telling me when I leave one of his tools in a place other than where it’s supposed to be.  It’s simple.  Keep your floors free from junk and you’ll greatly improve your odds of staying upright.
  • Watch those throw rugs and floor surfaces. Ensure that all rugs are properly secured to the floor to prevent them slipping from underfoot and avoid the use of slippery cleaning solutions on hardwood and tile floors.
  • Install non-slip surfaces in the tub and/or shower. Actually, this rule applies to people of all ages, not just seniors.  Water, soap/shampoo and a slick, smooth surface is a recipe for disaster, seriously.  It matters not whether you use simple non-slip strips or cute little fishies and duckies, just put them in place.
  • Light dark/dim places, inside and out. It really, really, really, really, helps if you can see where you’re walking…really.  Replace burned out or dim bulbs throughout your home and add additional lighting if there’s any question regarding proper illumination.  Oh yeah, leave some lights on during the night, especially in the bathroom.
  • Consider wearing a medical alert system with fall detection. Some come GPS equipped to ensure fallen seniors are quickly located and they are relatively inexpensive, usually under $50.

A few more safety tips

  • Create and use a system for your meds. There’s an app(lication) for that.  If you’re comfortable using a smart phone, download a medication reminder app.  It’s the next best thing to a nagging spouse.  Or use a pill box, or a pocket calendar, or link taking your meds to a daily activity (wake up, teeth brushing, eating), or use your friends and family members.  Also, keep an up-to-date list of your current meds, to include name, dosage, number of refills, and strength.
  • If you haven’t already, install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of your home. And change the batteries every time you alter the clocks for daylight savings time.
  • Eat well and stay hydrated. MagicKitchen.com can sure help you here.  As we’ve discussed in previous posts, as we age our nutritional needs change.  Ensure you’re getting the RDA of all essential vitamins and minerals through eating a variety of fruits, vegetables and proteins.  As for hydration, there’s a simple test to determine if you’re properly hydrated.  If you’re urine is clear, you’re good, if it’s eye-blinding neon yellow, you’re dehydrated and need some liquid.

Getting old doesn’t necessarily mean you must give up your independence.  However, there’s no doubt that our bodies change as we age and some accommodations must be made due to this fact…so don’t be a “stubborn old codger,” as my mom likes to call my dad, and make them!

facebooktwitterpinterest]]>
Common Foods with Surprising Health Benefits http://blog.magickitchen.com/2017/05/12/common-foods-with-surprising-health-benefits/ Fri, 12 May 2017 16:02:36 +0000 http://blog.magickitchen.com/?p=4085 Continue reading Common Foods with Surprising Health Benefits ]]> It seems that many people believe that some sort of special diet with exotic foods is required to “eat healthy.”  We go out of our way to locate and drive to so called specialty stores to find strange foods that we discovered in some online article that extolls the nutritional virtues of these foods we can’t pronounce (like spirulina, harissa and cupuaca).

And, often times, we pay exorbitant amounts of money to purchase these foods when we could gain the same health benefits from far more common and less expensive alternatives.  Since you seem skeptical, here are five examples of foods found in every local grocery store that offer numerous health benefits.

Heirloom Tomatoes
Heirloom Tomatoes

Tomatoes – There isn’t a more common food than tomatoes, is there?  These semi-round spheres of fruity goodness (yes, they are considered a fruit) are chock full of nutritional nutritioness that provide numerous health benefits.  They contain all four major antioxidants (alpha and beta carotene, lutein and lycopene) which are concentrated in their peels and provide them with their rich red color.  Studies have found that the regular consumption of tomatoes can reduce the risk of stroke and prostrate and pancreatic cancers due to the presence of these antioxidants.

Raisins – Also known as concentrated grapes, raisins possess plenty of B vitamins, iron, potassium, carbs and fiber.  Dietary iron is primarily used by our bodies to transport oxygen, via red blood cells, to our various muscles and brain.  It also supports our immune system, aids with metabolism and assists in the building of amino acids.  The potassium in raisins has been shown to lower blood pressure by limiting the effects of sodium.  Its fiber, half of which is soluble fiber, helps to lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar levels.  And while the reputation of carbohydrates has recently been drug through the mud, they are very necessary for energy and many endurance athletes (yours truly included) substitute raisins for sport gels in order to avoid processed sugars.

Grapefruit – This low-cal, high nutrient fruit contains plenty of vitamins C and A, fiber, and the antioxidants beta-carotene, lycopene and flavanones.  Studies suggest that these nutrients reduce blood pressure, LDL (or bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels.  They also provide a boost to our immune systems, stabilize our blood sugar levels and prevent insulin resistance whereby our cells stop responding to insulin which can lead to type 2 diabetes.  The fiber contained within grapefruit can also provide appetite control as it slows the rate at which our stomachs empty which causes us to feel full for longer periods of time.

Yogurt – One of the key elements contained within yogurt are probiotics or “friendly” bacteria that improves our digestive health and can help with constipation, diarrhea (side note: I could never spell “diarrhea” without spell check) and inflammatory bowel disease.  Yogurt also naturally contains plenty of calcium and many manufacturers add vitamin D, both of which are necessary for bone health and the prevention of osteoporosis.  Finally, yogurt also contains plenty of protein that assists with muscle recovery and creation.  One last piece of advice: use plain yogurt and add natural flavoring, such as berries and other fruit as many manufacturers add tons of unnecessary sugar, even the one with the “fruit on the bottom.”

Ginger – The Asian spice, not the British Spice…Girl (you knew I couldn’t go a whole post without a lame joke).  And yes, I realize that ginger is somewhat exotic as it originates from Asia, but its been here for centuries and its been used for medicinal purposes in Asia and India for longer than that.  The active ingredient in ginger is a volatile oil known, appropriately, as gingerol.  It is why, when we were children and had an upset stomach, our moms gave us ginger ale, which, for me, was a very rare treat and almost made vomiting worth it (side note II: ginger ale came from the practice of British pubs placing out bowls of ground ginger for the patorns to sprinkle in their beers).  Gingerol, it seems, eliminates excess gas within our digestive tracts and eases symptoms associated with motion sickness, such as dizziness and nausea.  Gingerol is also an anti-inflammatory which can lessen the pain associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis as well as improve mobility in the affected areas.

So, next time you’re contemplating a trip to a specialty grocery store for some durian or chayote, check yourself before you wreck yourself and stop by the local shop for a few tomatoes, grapefruit, boxes of raisins, some plain yogurt and ground ginger.  Your body will thank you for it.

facebooktwitterpinterest]]>
Making your Dad Smile this Father’s Day http://blog.magickitchen.com/2017/05/05/making-your-dad-smile-this-fathers-day/ Fri, 05 May 2017 20:35:27 +0000 http://blog.magickitchen.com/?p=4077 Continue reading Making your Dad Smile this Father’s Day ]]> Your dad is unique.  You must recognize this fact before we start discussing gift ideas for Father’s Day.  Some like to fish, some like to build things, some like sports (perhaps all), some like to cook, some like the ballet, some like music (listen to or play), some like a few beers with their beer buddies.  However, almost every dad, to include yours, loves to spend time with their kids, especially if those kids are fully grown, have their own lives and/or families and live many miles away.  That being the case, perhaps the greatest gift you can give your dad this Father’s Day is some of your valuable time.

Ever since I moved away from home and started my own family, I think of Harry Chapin’s melancholy song from 1974, Cat’s in the Cradle, as Father’s Day approaches.  Of all the “likes” I listed above, none applied to my dad.  For you see, my dad liked to work…and not at home.

He was what he called a “tin knocker” aka sheet metal worker/welder and he was very good at his chosen profession (I think I related some version of this story here last year).  He would say that he didn’t “like” to work, but that he “had” to work to provide for our family.  I suspect it was a mixture of both “liked” and “had.”  Whatever it was, all I knew was that when I looked in the bleachers during my little league games or, later on, my high school and college track meets, or among the spectators lining the numerous cross country courses I ran on, I never saw my dad, not once.  And I would sadly sing that Chapin song in my mind.

However, since my dad has retired he is making up for lost time, with me as well as his grandchildren and for my part, I have gone out of my way not to “grow up just like him,” at least with regard to not spending time with my children and then growing up to not spend time with my father.  That being the case, my father, myself, and my two boys spend every Father’s Day together doing things of his choosing…so long as it’s not work.  The moral of the story: its far better to spend time than money on your dad this Father’s Day.

But there’s nothing wrong with doing both, as I usually do.  I just ensure that I don’t spend much on his gift and that I spend some time (get it) choosing a gift I know will make him smile.  Here are a few ideas that just might make your dad smile as well:

  1. What I Love About Dad by me Book – This little treasure offers 50 fill-in-the-blank prompts or sentence starters that allow you to express in your own words (sorta) what your dad means to you. You’ll be amazed how completing the prompts elicits warm fuzzy memories of your dad as you travel back through the years to recall all the things, large and small, he did for you as you grew up.  Here are a few examples of the included prompts: “I love that you taught me to appreciate ____________________.”  and “I’m glad I got your _______________________.”  Learn more here:  https://www.uncommongoods.com/product/what-i-love-about-dad-by-me-book
  2. Photo Tie – Yeah, I know, who gets their dad a tie for Father’s Day? But there are so many ways to go with this and it’s one of those gifts your dad MUST wear after receiving.  All that’s required is to upload your favorite pic of yourself (I highly recommend one that will embarrass the wearer to the utmost degree) and this company places it on that ultimate piece of fatherly apparel.  Check it out: http://www.personalcreations.com/product/Photo-Ties-30033588?prid=pcseogu&ref=PCRorganicgglunkwn&sk=&tile=hmpg_hero1&productgroup=PPHOHIM&viewpos=2&ratings=4.75540000&reviews=139&trackingpgroup=PPHOHIM
  3. (Toothpaste) Tube Wringer – My dad is an ardent skinflint, tightwad, penny-pincher…He’s cheap, OK? And when I purchased this for his last birthday his eyes had that special glint that my mom hasn’t seen in decades when he opened it and realized what it was.  One of the memories of my dad from my childhood years is of him haranguing every member of our family to roll the toothpaste tube from the bottom up in order to extract as much as possible as he, “wasn’t made of money.”  Well, this little gizmo achieved his ultimate goal.  Here you go:  http://incrediblethings.com/uncategorized/tube-wringer-for-the-last-bit-of-toothpaste/

The above are just a small sampling of the unique gifts you can find for your unique dad.  All you need to do is match the gift to the recipient and then remember, time is more valuable than any gift, especially on Father’s Day.

facebooktwitterpinterest]]>
Top 9 Dangerous Diets http://blog.magickitchen.com/2017/04/28/top-9-dangerous-diets/ Fri, 28 Apr 2017 16:29:02 +0000 http://blog.magickitchen.com/?p=4002 Continue reading Top 9 Dangerous Diets ]]> There are a lot of dangerous, unhealthy diets going the rounds. Here are a few of them.

 

 

 

If you want to lose weight safely, the best, time tested way is to eat healthy and get lots of exercise. We can help with our portion controlled meals. Full meals for breakfast, lunch and supper, all with portion control, all chef-prepared and delicious. Check them out!

facebooktwitterpinterest]]>
Essential, Yet Old School Home Exercise Equipment http://blog.magickitchen.com/2017/04/21/essential-yet-old-school-home-exercise-equipment/ Fri, 21 Apr 2017 16:36:42 +0000 http://blog.magickitchen.com/?p=4067 Continue reading Essential, Yet Old School Home Exercise Equipment ]]> Our lives continually seem to be dominated by technology that changes on an almost daily basis, and home exercise equipment is not immune to this phenomenon.  The current trend is to connect the equipment to that internet machine in order to run, or bike, or row, or swim (well, maybe not swim) in various locales across the globe with other people from various locales across the globe with a remote trainer providing the motivation.  However, many believe, myself included, that when it comes to exercising, there’s no school like the old school.

I tend to view this debate in a similar manner to that classic pugilistic and cinematic masterpiece, Rocky IV.  As I’m sure you recall, Rocky decides to travel to Russia to train and then fight Ivan Drago, who had just killed the object of Rocky’s bromance, Apollo Creed.  The training regimes of the two rivals were diametrically opposed.

Rocky trained in Siberia with horse collars, rocks, a horse-drawn wagon, ropes, snow, and mountains, in other words, like a 19th century hermit.  Drago, on the other hand, had the most technologically advanced equipment known to man, all connected to computer diagnostics to measure his every step and punch (Oh yeah, and steroids too).  The moral of the story?  (SPOILER ALERT) Old school exercise equipment is superior to new school as Rocky prevailed, obviously, due to his Neanderthal-like training methods.

So, with the example of Rocky Balboa and Ivan Drago fresh in our minds, here are three perfect examples of antiquated pieces of equipment that should be in every home gym.

  1. A heavy bag – Yes, I realize in Rocky I, that Rocky eschewed the heavy bag in favor of a side of beef. However, few of us have a future brother-in-law (Paulie) to provide us access to a meat packing company.  That being the case, a heavy bag will have to suffice.  This simple piece of equipment, if used properly, provides both cardiovascular and weight-training benefits, especially if you bring mixed martial arts into your workout.  And while most equate a heavy bag with just an upper-body workout, it can also provide a great core workout, which is all the rage in the training world.  For beginning heavy bag workouts, check this out: http://livehealthy.chron.com/heavy-bag-workout-routines-beginners-6313.html 
  2. Medicine balls – To my knowledge, there is no video evidence that Rocky ever trained with medicine balls, but perhaps that footage was simply omitted from his various training montages. Please notice that it’s balls, rather than “ball.”  Medicine balls come in a variety of weights in order to provide a range of workouts, from intense cardiovascular to weight training.  Here’s a list of 25 medicine ball workouts that will get your heart pumping and your core…well, doing what a core should do: http://greatist.com/fitness/25-must-try-medicine-ball-exercises
  1. An air bike – No, they haven’t invented a bike that can fly…yet. Air bikes have been around for decades, long before spinning classes became more popular than actually riding a real bike.  The concept is quite simple, the harder you pedal, the more resistance created by that huge fan that serves as the air bike’s front wheel.Combine the cycling motion with handle bars that oscillate in conjunction with the pedals and you’ve just incorporated your upper-body into your workout.  And they are generally much less expensive than a technologically advanced stationary bike.  If you must train with a screen, simply place the air bike in front of your console television set.  Again, there is no known footage of Rocky training on an air bike.  However, Rocky does pull his trainer, Mick, while Mick sits upon an adult tricycle in Rocky II.  Here’s some more info on air bikes: http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/air-bike-hiit-workout/

So if you’re looking for some cost effective (cheap) exercise equipment that has seen a recent resurgence in popularity, due to their muscular and cardiovascular benefits, then look at any or all of the three above examples.  Yo, Adrian!

facebooktwitterpinterest]]>