Sunday, November 23, 2008

Weight Loss

I am really getting hooked on this natural/herbal remedies and with so much hype going into the newest, biggest, best diet pills, I thought this was worth throwing out there.
There are a few really good natural weight loss stimulants.

The first of which is Kelp and Seaweed. They are both high in iodine which can help to boost your metabolism by naturally helping your thyroid.

Ginseng is a natural energy booster and can help to boost your metabolism.

We hear all the time how good Green Tea is for weight loss. This is because of the caffeine content that could have an affect on boosting your metabolism and the antioxidants can't hurt either.

And last but not least is Cayenne or Chili Powders. Capsaicin is the active ingredient in Chili Powder, which is said to boost metabolism, help your body burn fat and boost your digestion.

So before you try a weight loss drug, try the natural way and see what happens.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Make Your Home Awe Inspiring! Make it Yours!

It was a dark and gloomy night. As I sat in my sitting room listening to the rain on the shutters, I looked around. The curtains, tattered and torn, hung over the shabby couch. Lackluster furniture filled the room, illuminated by a single, dim bulb from the fixture in the center of the room.....

Although it sounds like the beginning to a great mystery, it is actually a page from my book of life. My furniture is decades old and has survived not only the family that had it prior to it being handed down to my family, but also my family of five active children. The couch is worn and shabby, the curtains tattered and torn. The lighting less than adequate and the carpets stained and worn. It was the room I least enjoyed spending time in.

But at that moment, looking around my house, I decided it was time for a change. Then I found it! The best redecorating website I have ever had the opportunity to experience! Just from their home page you know it's going to be good.

On the left hand side of the page there are articles you can choose to help you make the best decisions for your home. There are articles on everything from Green Design, designing your home in an earth friendly manner to ceiling domes to molding and everything in between. They have articles on things you would have never thought of before! It's not only a one stop shop for decorating your home, but a wealth of information at your fingertips!

Then moving into their vast array of product offerings, they have everything from wood carved crown molding, door handles and columns to furniture of all sorts. They are the one great source for architectural products, carved wood, hand crafted and hand painted home furnishings and beautiful home lighting. They have an oriental table that is beautifully hand crafted and painted to give your home that "one of a kind" look. Or columns, artfully sculpted to add dignity and class to your living area. The stair brackets they offer are something you never knew you needed, until you see them. It is just amazing to me how something so simple can make such an amazing difference in the look and feel of your home! They offer things that are usually far out of most people's budgets, but amazingly affordable through their site. It gives ordinary people the opportunity to have the mansion they have always dreamed of, complete with ceiling domes intricately carved and hand created wooden columns to add awe and inspire all who enter. Imagine your home with the decorative hardware and ornate woodwork normally found only in the homes of the rich and famous. Imagine being able to walk someone through your home and have them gasp at the articulate design and singular beauty of your home.

That is my dream. Ornate, intricate and handcrafted woodwork throughout my home. Singularly beautiful accent furniture and bright, inviting lighting fixtures to shed their beauty and warm my home. Pieces of furniture, table and lamps and decorative accents, moldings, corbels and columns to inspire awe in all that enter and create a feeling of warmth and turn of the century beauty in the one place that I spend more time than anywhere else, My Home.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Reaping the Rewards of the Hunt

As hunting season dies down, some come away with a prize, other are left empty handed. This years hunt has seemed to be a productive one. I saw a couple of good kills one the opening day and many since. But now the guns, Nikon binoculars and orange vests are put away and you have more game meat than you know what to do with, what are you going to do?

Venison makes a great substitue for beef in almost any recipe. I have used it ground as meatballs (one of my favorite uses. The Marinara sauce really compliments the flavor of the venison). Stews are the norm and I have even used it in Hamburger Helper and Spaghetti. I have tried tacos but have not had any luck in that department. The taco seasoning seems to disagree with the flavor of the meat. Venison Enchiladas however are my husbands favorite. Here are some tips that I have used over the years to use reap the rewards of being a "Deer Widow" for a couple weekends each year.

Tip #1:

Remember that in the wild, Deer love eating fresh Bay leaves so cooking venison with bay leaves compliments the meat very well.

Tip #2:

German venison recipes often use fruits like cherries or are served with a cherry sauce. The gamy flavor goes well with certain acidic fruits.

Tip #3:

Aging will help dissipate the game taste and permit natural occurring enzymes to tenderize the tissues. Proper aging also firms the meat, giving it better cutting quality. Aging should be conducted between 32 - 35° F for 7 - 10 days. Never age at room temperature. Venison may be cut within 24 hours after the kill and still be acceptable for aging. Improper storage facilities increases risk for spoilage.

*From National Center for Home Food Preservation.

Tip #4:

When you cook Venison, make sure you cook it slowly with very moist heat as there is very little fat in the meat to keep it moist and tender. Overcooking or cooking to quickly with dry out the meat and make it very, very tough. I really enjoy wrapping in bacon as a constant baster and periodically manually basting it with bacon grease or beef broth while it is cooking. It gives it a great flavor and keeps it moist and tender.

Tip #5:

When drying I have found that Citric Acid helps to keep the smell down and take away some of the gamy flavor in the jerky.

Can You Keep a Secret?

How good are you at keeping a secret? Me, not so much. But when it comes to gift giving, I am a pro! I love giving but even more, I love surprising. I think the best one yet was when I was in the midst of my holiday shopping, my SIL told me about a stuffed puppy she had when she was just a child. It was her "Henry Dog". She has pictures of herself with Henry and her mother even painted a picture of her Henry dog for her. She loved him so much, but she believes that when her friend moved away, she took it with her. She never saw her beloved "Henry" again.

That was until the plot began.....

With the help of her sisters and mother, I was able to locate someone selling a Henry dog, just like hers. We made the purchase and within a couple of weeks the precious package arrived. With no knowledge of our escapades, she showed up to her parents house as requested by her mother. She started to think that something was up when three of us were standing at the top of the stairs taking her picture like the paparazzi when she walked in the door. She obliged us and sat down on the couch where she was presented with her new "Henry". She cried and laughed all at the same time. It was a great experience and one I hope to repeat many times in my lifetime.

But with that said, I want to know can you beat me? Do you have one even better? Is it worth $15,000??? Well, it just might be! is currently holding a contest for the best shop and confess video. They are giving away TONS of money with the Grand Prize at $15,000! That's a whole lot of money to continue your holiday shopping spree with!

Check out the YouTube video for more information...

Now if you are wondering why this is so important to me, I can win too. The blog that gets the most people to enter and refer their blog can win cash too. Not quite as much as you can win, but every little bit helps! So please, if you do enter, give me a referral and help me out. Good Luck and I can't wait to see your confession!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Paella; A Spanish Treat

In high school I had a forigen exchange student in my class whom I became very good friends with. She was from Spain and she taught me so many wonderful things that she brought from her culture. But one of my favorites was the Paella that she made. I remember how the rice would be carmelize and the flavor was just wonderful! It was the first time I had heard of saffaron, let alone tried it.

Every now and then I will find myself craving the wonderful flavor and texture of Paella. I have tried making it myself a few times but with out the proper paella pan, and most likely the Spanish up bringing, it just never seems to come out the same. I can remember the aromatic, comforting flavor of hers and mine just never hits it quite on. And without the proper pan, I just can't get enough of the rice touching the pan so it just isn't the same. But for those of you who are better cooks than I, and those that have the proper cookware, or those of you that are just feeling like making something different, here is the recipe she gave me.

"Fill the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Heat until it pops. Add chunks of rabbit meat and cook until browned. Slice a red and green pepper and and chop a tomato and an onion. Remove the meat and add the veggies to the oil. Stir and don't let them burn. Add mashed garlic and salt and replace the meat. Pour two bowls of rice in to the pan and cover with 5 bowls of meat broth. Add saffaron strings and cover. Cook until all the broth has been absorbed. Serve it warm."

Just some notes on the above, I use chicken as rabbit is rather hard to come by around here and Saffaron strings are rather expensive but well worth it if you want to make this dish. It is what gives it that authentic flavor. Enjoy!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Healthy Grilling

If it is cooked on the grill, I love it. I don't really care what it is, I love it! Veggies, steak, hamburger, Salmon, heck! even hot dogs! But I have been noticing that grilling is not always the healthiest option. However, I have found some simple methods to make healthy grilling a reality in my home year round.

To start with, in the summer time when I am outside, using my big grill, I used to use Bacon grease to grease the grates. It added a wonderful smell and a great flavor to the food. However, I have found that coconut oil is a much healthier alternative and gives the BBQ a Luau flair. On the other hand, olive oil works great as well, with out a strong smell or flavor. So the true flavor of my meat is the star of the show!

For indoor grilling, pans and griddles are so way out! All that grease that collects around and absorbs back into my food is just out of the question! I use counter top grills that allow the grease and drippings to drip off into a catch tray, leaving my food healthier and as flavorful as ever. Again, I will use coconut oil or olive oil to prep the grill to prevent sticking.


Weight Loss Drugs

Well, I don't agree with it, but if you have got to do it, at least do your research. Do not depend on what I or any other unqualified, non-professional has to say! Take the time to seek out and ask the experts. I found that the Mayo Clinic did not find too much wrong with the wildly popular weight loss drug alli, in fact, they found it to be rather effective, from what I gathered. But again, do not take my word for it, look it up yourself and do your research! But I will add my disclaimer right now, I feel very strongly that the only true way to weight loss and true beauty is by regular exercise and a healthy diet. I don't believe there to be a drug that can make you lose weight and still maintain your god given beauty.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

How to Clear Up Acne

I have noticed lately that I am getting older. It's something that rather snuck up on me. I have always felt very young and very alive. Suddenly I am feeling older, slower and slightly achier. The joints hurt when I get up and by the end of the day I am beat. It definitely true, I am not as young as I used to be. If only my skin would catch up too! Who has ever heard of a grown woman having acne outbreaks??? Well, that is one thing that I have not yet grown out of. Nope, those nasty little zits just pop up whenever and wherever they feel like! Fortunately for me I found this post with great ideas on how to get rid of acne. It really has some great information!

"I am getting greener and greener and the funny part is I used to laugh at all the "tree huggers" and think they were ridiculous. Now I am finding myself agreeing with them alot more now than ever. I find myself leaning towards things that are more natural and natural cures is at the top of my list.

As a 30 year old woman, I am finding that I am still struggling with a slight case of acne. Nothing heavy and nothing that would cause me to wear tons of make-up, but a pimple here and there and once in awhile, one that gets really ugly and is a bit embarrassing. So I started looking for natural acne cures. Things that don't break my budget and help me be more natural. Here is what I found on I can't verify any of it, but I will let you know if any of it works, because I will definitely be trying some of it.

"Some Natural Anti-Acne Products you will find in the market Tea Tree Oil, Aloe Vera, Zinc, and Vitamin A are some natural products that have been used with some success to cure Acne. A word of caution about 'natural' skin care items. They often contain certain chemicals for preservation purposes. Some of these may not be advisable for you if you're pregnant or have certain special health considerations. As mentioned, it is best to consult with your doctor before embarking on any therapy.

Tea Tree Oil - Tea Tree Oil is obtained from the Melaleuca alternifoliais tree from Australia. It is very effective against Acne as it contains bacteria-fighting substances called Terpenes. Acne is often caused by bacteria and the Terpenes either outright kill them or weaken them enough to be destroyed by protective antibodies. There are very little side effects from using Tea Tree Oil.

Aloe Vera - The watery gel from Aloe Vera plant is also a highly effective natural cure against Acne. The enzyme-rich gel has very soothing anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. It can also be taken internally and helps clean up and detox the digestive tract. This in turn can help clear up the skin.

Zinc - Zinc is taken in the form of capsules. It helps to strengthen the human immune system and to repair the skin.

Vitamin A - Vitamin A tablets are also a natural and effective Acne cure. Vitamin A promotes healthy skin.

Vitamin E - Vitamin E also helps in countering Acne. It is a natural antioxidant and beneficial for the skin. Vitamin E comes in soft gelatin capsules that contain Vitamin E, Soybean Oil, Glycerin, and Water.

Some Natural Homemade Cures to counter Acne - The most important thing to do if you suffer from Acne is to drink at least four pints of water every day. Drinking a lot of water is very beneficial to your skin. Including fresh fruit and leafy green vegetables in your daily diet will also bring about a marked improvement in the quality of your complexion.

Before bathing, apply a mixture of tomato pulp – real tomota pulp, not packaged one – honey and rose-water to your face and keep for twenty minutes before washing off.

At night, before going to bed, apply a mix of cream, glycerine, and lemon juice to your face and again keep it on for a short while before washing.

Regular Yoga exercises will also improve skin and overall health."

My New Pride and Joy

For my birthday, I received the best gift I have ever been given. This beats out my 35mm Nikon 360 by just a titch. This year my mother got together with my father, in-laws, grandparents and step-father to get me a brand new Nikon D80 Digital Camera. It was top of the line when I got it (of course, the very next weekend they came out with a bigger, better version! But that's okay, I am totally lovin' my D80). It has a huge screen and shoots in tons of different modes. I can finally take a photography class and be able to "play" with all the ideas they throw out! It has the tiniest 1gbmicro sd card too. It is so incrediably small that I could lose it in a heartbeat! Isn't it amazing how small things can be and stll hold 1gb of memory!?! I can't wait to start playing!