Homemade Hershey’s Syrup

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Baby Savers website shares a recipe for making a homemade Hershey’s chocolate syrup that will last for several weeks in a mason jar in your refrigerator.

This is another recipe to add to ” making from scratch section of your cookbook.

Click here to read the recipe:

http://www.babysavers.com/how-to-make-homemade-hersheys-chocolate-syrup-from-scratch/

Cheesy Chicken Tater Tot Casserole- Slow cooker/Crock pot

Cheesy Chicken Tater Tot Casserole (with graphics, thecountrycook.net)

 

Nothing better than a meal that cooks itself! For the recipe follow this link:

http://www.thecountrycook.net/2012/07/cheesy-chicken-tater-tot-casserole-slow.html

 

Pepperoni and Mozzarella Pull Apart Bread

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Ingredients
1/3 cup favorite flavored dipping oil
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 (16 ounce) pkgs pre-made pizza dough or homemade pizza dough
1 (7 oz) pkg sliced pepperoni
1 (8 oz) pkg shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
2. Separate pizza dough into small bite sized pieces.
3. In a bowl add your favorite flavored dipping oil. Toss dough pieces in dipping oil to lightly coat.
4. Layer dough pieces in bottom of bundt or fluted tube pan, next layer sliced pepperoni, shredded cheese and sprinkle with garlic powder. Repeat layers again, and end with final layer of dough pieces.
5. Bake in the preheated oven until the bread is browned and cooked through in the center, 30-40 min
6. Remove from oven, and invert the pan on a cutting board; the bread will fall out of the pan in one piece.
7. Serve by pulling the bread apart into individual servings with optional marinara dipping sauce on the side.

I usually layer until about 2/3 of the pan is full. Definitely plan for it to feed a hungry crowd. You can scale down the ingredients if you choose to feed a smaller crowd. You can serve it hot or room temperature.

(as seen on Facebook)

Drink Yourself Skinny: The best Green Juices

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You know the drill: “New Year, new you.” It sounds so easy, doesn’t it? Like you’re one juice cleanse away from the body you’ve always wanted. But for most of us, just as quickly as you choked down that beet juice, you’re back to your old routines.

It’s no secret that come January 1st, everyone will be on a quest for a better body. But this year, try something with a little staying power.

Cue the green juice.

Yes, it may seem the least appealing bottle of juice in a cleanse program—but it’s by far the most effective. And it’s a much easier change than embarking on a full-blown fast. Adding a green juice to your daily routine is a great way to eat cleaner and adopt a long-term healthy habit you’ll actually stick to.

We’ve done the hard part: taste-tested the major players out there and rounded up our favorites.

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http://www.lifestylemirror.com/beauty/wellness/best-green-juices/

10 Incredible Uses For Fresh Ginger

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Ginger is a great spice that can add wonderful flavor to a recipe – but if you are using ginger only in your cooking then you are missing out on a whole host of incredible uses and benefits.

Ginger can be used to fight cold and flu, ease stomach discomfort, reduce pain and inflammation, strengthen the immune system, stimulate blood circulation, relieve stress, treat bad breath and even aid in the fight against cancer.

While making some recipes that included minced ginger this past week, I started thinking about this strange-looking rhizome (kind of looks like a foot…no?) and what other things it’s good for, besides making food taste so good!

I knew a LITTLE bit about the health benefits of ginger from listening to people I know and respect tout its’ ability to help with stomach discomfort and in treating cold and flu symptoms. But I personally have only used it infood…which is a wonderful way to use it!  It just gives dishes a fresh kick of flavor that Ilove!

But if you’re only using it in cooking…you’re missing out on a whole lot of great natural remedies that people in Asia have been using for thousands of years!

Since we are in the cold and flu season, I thought I’d start with that.

  • Fighting Off Colds and Flu 

Wheezing, coughing, and a runny and clogged nose are common respiratory symptoms during the winter months. Ginger can help ease these symptoms by acting as a decongestant to release phlegm. Ginger is also effective in helping to relieve asthma symptoms. The volatile oils and vitamins in ginger provide antiviral properties that help in the prevention and fast recovery from colds, sore throat, sinusitis and flu.

The University of Maryland Medical Center states that to treat cold and flu symptoms in adults, steep 2 tbsp. of freshly shredded or chopped ginger root in hot water, and drink two to three times a day.

  • Combating Stomach Discomfort

Gingers healing properties come from it’s volatile oils (gingerols and shogaols), which are also responsible for it’s pungent taste. The oils cause more digestive enzymes to be produced which helps with the whole digestion process and neutralizes the acids that can cause nausea, cramps and even diarrhea. It also improves food absorption which helps prevent/relieve stomach aches and eliminates bloating due to excessive gas.

 

  • Relieving Cramps, Morning Sickness and Motion Sickness

 

Ginger has demonstrated a success rate of 75 percent in curing morning sickness and stomach flu. It also relieves migraines and dizziness, and drinking ginger tea can relieve menstrual cramps. If you are a woman suffering from menstrual cramps, try placing a hot towel drenched in ginger tea over the pelvic area to relieve pain and relax the muscles. Drinking a cup of ginger tea can also provide a soothing effect.

To keep from being nauseous during a trip, drink a cup of ginger tea before setting off on your travels.

  • Reducing Pain and Inflammation

Ginger is an extremely potent analgesic, acting as an all-natural painkiller without the harmful side effects. It also contains potent anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger tea can ease inflammation of the joints, which is commonly referred to as rheumatoid arthritis. It is also effective in alleviating tired, sore muscles and joints.

A warm ginger tea soak can lessen swelling and puffiness, or rubbing ginger oil on an affected area can help reduce pain. Intake of ginger twice daily has been shown to improve the pain and swelling of the joints in arthritic patients and improves their range of motion.

  • Maintaining Normal Blood Circulation

Ginger contains chromium, magnesium and zinc which help to improve blood flow. Consuming a cup of ginger tea can help improve blood flow, as well as help prevent chills, fever and excessive sweating. The active components of ginger, such as minerals and amino acids, help make the blood flow smoothly, and may help prevent the onset of cardiovascular disease.

  • Strengthening The Immune System

Packed with antioxidants, ginger can help improve the immune system. Consuming a little bit ginger a day can help foil potential risk of a stroke by inhibiting fatty deposits from the arteries. It also decreases bacterial infections in the stomach, and helps battle a bad cough and throat irritation.

 

  • Relieving Stress and Coping with Depression

Ginger contains a potent antioxidant called gingerol, which helps cleanse the harmful chemicals our bodies produce when we’re worried, helping relieve psychological stress. Ginger also stimulates the production of stomach acid, crucial to digestion, which can break down when we’re stressed. That’s explains how stress can lead to an upset stomach! Hot water with a slice of lemon and chopped ginger is an excellent way to stimulate digestion.

Ginger tea is a remarkable stress reliever because of it’s comforting and relaxing scent. Simply taking a whiff of ginger tea may be all you need to help improve your mood. Also, some compounds present in ginger have the capacity to bind to human serotonin receptors, helping in the treatment and reduction of depression and anxiety.

  • Treating Bad Breath

Gargling with ginger and lemon juice is a very good natural remedy for halitosis or bad breath. Add a teaspoon lemon juice and a teaspoon ginger juice to a glass of warm water and gargle with it once or twice a day.

  • Healing Hypopigmentation Scars (White Scars)

Hypopigmented scars, or skin that has lost its’ pigmentation, can often be remedied with ginger. Just cut a fresh slice of ginger root and rub the juice over the skin two or three times a day. Cut a fresh slice each time you do it, and don’t rub the skin too hard. Ginger triggers the melanocytes that are not working under the skin, to react and mimic their neighboring cells. Hypogimented scars will appear to shrink and then blend between 4 to 12 weeks use.

  • Fighting Cancer

A study at the University of Minnesota found that ginger may slow the growth of colorectal cancer cells. Ginger powder has also been proven to induce cell death in ovarian cancer cells.

Now that you know all that ginger can do…here’s how to make ginger tea:

  • Clean the root under cold running water, slice into roughly 1/8 to 1/4 inch ovals.
  • Add to boiling water, and simmer for about 30 minutes to 1 1/2 hours (depending on desired strength). Use about 2 to 3 ounces of ginger to half gallon of water.
  • You can add a quartered lemon about ten to fifteen minutes before end of cooking if desired. Serve hot.
  • Other options: Add honey or cinnamon. Both add to the taste and flavor of the ginger tea…and both have their own very beneficial health benefits. Honey is an excellent medium for transmitting the benefits of herbs such as ginger to the body, and cinnamon has a lot of the same properties as ginger, including relieving common digestive annoyances.

http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2012/11/using-fresh-ginger-in-a-recipe-for-health-and-happiness.html

Do you have the Flu?

Seriously folks. The flu has started early and has become more of a problem than last year. Here in Canada its H3N2 giving us grief. There is still time to get a flu shot. It might not protect you entirely but its better than nothing. We had our shots here and we are not sick.

Remember these simple steps to help stop the flu from spreading:

Get Vaccinated

The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each season. The 2012-2013 flu vaccine will protect against 2009 H1N1, and two other influenza viruses (an H3N2 virus and an influenza B virus).

Avoid close contact.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

Stay home when you are sick.
If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.

Cover your mouth and nose.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

Clean your hands.

 

Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or nose.

Stop the Spread of Germs. Healthy habits can protect everyone from getting germs or spreading germs at home, work, or school.

Clean and disinfect surfaces or objects.
Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu can help slow the spread of influenza.

In case you didn’t get the shot and have the flu, here is something that will help:

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http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/stopgerms.htm

Lavender and its Uses

Overview:

Many people appreciate lavender (Lavandula angustifolia, or Lavandula officinalis) for its fragrance, used in soaps, shampoos, and sachets for scenting clothes. The name lavender comes from the Latin root lavare, which means “to wash.” Lavender may have earned this name because it was frequently used in baths to help purify the body and spirit. However, this herb has also been used as a remedy for a range of ailments from insomnia and anxiety to depression and fatigue. Research has confirmed that lavender produces slight calming, soothing, and sedative effects when its scent is inhaled.

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Plant Description:

Lavender is native to the mountainous zones of the Mediterranean where it grows in sunny, stony habitats. Today, it flourishes throughout southern Europe, Australia, and the United States. Lavender is a heavily branched short shrub that grows to a height of roughly 60 centimeters (about 24 inches). Its broad rootstock bears woody branches with upright, rod like, leafy, green shoots. A silvery down covers the gray green narrow leaves, which are oblong and tapered, attached directly at the base, and curled spirally.

The oil in lavender’s small, blue violet flowers gives the herb its fragrant scent. The flowers are arranged in spirals of 6 – 10 blossoms, forming interrupted spikes above the foliage.

Parts Used:

Essential oil is extracted from the fresh flowers of the lavender plant and used for medicinal purposes.

Medicinal Uses and Indications:

A number of studies have reported that lavender essential oil may be beneficial in a variety of conditions, including insomnia, alopecia (hair loss), anxiety, stress, and post operative pain. However, most of these studies have been small. Lavender is also being studied for antibacterial and antiviral properties. Lavender oil is often used in other forms of integrative medicine, such as massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic manipulation.

Insomnia or Agitation

In folklore, pillows were filled with lavender flowers to help restless people fall sleep. Scientific evidence suggests that aromatherapy with lavender may slow the activity of the nervous system, improve sleep quality, promote relaxation, and lift mood in people suffering from sleep disorders. Studies also suggest that massage with essential oils, particularly lavender, may result in improved sleep quality, more stable mood, better concentration, and reduced anxiety. In one recent study, people who received massage with lavender felt less anxious and more positive than those who received massage alone. Several small studies suggest that lavender aromatherapy may help reduce agitation in patients with dementia. Lavender flowers have also been approved in Germany as a tea for insomnia, restlessness, and nervous stomach irritations.

Alopecia areata

In one study of 86 people with alopecia areata (an autoimmune disease that causes hair to fall out, often in patches), those who massaged their scalps with lavender and other essential oils daily for 7 months experienced significant hair regrowth compared to those who massaged their scalps without the essential oils. However, there is no way to tell whether it was one or the combination of oils that was effective.

Other uses

Aromatherapists also use lavender in inhalation therapy to treat headaches, nervous disorders, and exhaustion. Herbalists treat skin ailments, such as fungal infections (like candidiasis), wounds, eczema, and acne, with lavender oil. It is also used in a healing bath for joint and muscle pain. One study evaluating treatments for children with eczema founded it was therapeutic touch from the mother that improved symptoms; in other words, massage with and without essential oils (including lavender) both reduced the dry, scaly skin lesions. Another study found that lavender oil may improve pain control after surgery. Fifty patients undergoing breast biopsy surgery received either oxygen supplemented with lavender oil or oxygen alone. Patients in the lavender group reported better pain control than patients in the control group.

Available Forms:

Commercial preparations are made from dried flowers and essential oils of the lavender plant. These preparations are available in the following forms:

  • Aromatherapy oil
  • Bath gels
  • Extracts
  • Infusions
  • Lotions
  • Soaps
  • Teas
  • Tinctures
  • Whole, dried flowers

How to Take It:

Pediatric

  • Oral use in children is not recommended.
  • May be used topically in diluted concentrations to treat skin infections and injuries, such as minor cuts and scrapes. For proper dilutions speak with a knowledgeable health care provider. There are some aromatherapy formulas for children as well; again speak with a knowledgeable provider for dosing. Never use lavender on an open wound; seek immediate medical attention.
  • A small study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2007 concluded that lavender and tea oils in some shampoos, soaps, and lotions may cause gynecomastia, breast development in a male, in boys. If you have any concerns, ask your doctor about using lavender for a child.

Adult

The following are recommended adult doses for lavender:

  • Internal use: Speak with a knowledgeable health care provider to find the right dose for you.
  • Inhalation: 2 – 4 drops in 2 – 3 cups of boiling water. Inhale vapors for headache, depression, or insomnia. If you have asthma, talk to your doctor before using essential oil inhalations to see if they are right for you. There are some people who find essential oil used in inhalation form irritating to lungs and/or eyes.
  • Topical external application: For ease of application, add 1 – 4 drops per tablespoon of base oil (such as almond or olive oil). Lavender oil is toxic if taken orally. Only use the oil externally or by inhalation. Also, avoid contact with eyes or mucous membranes, such as the lips and nostril.

Precautions:

The use of herbs is a time honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, contain active components that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a health care provider qualified in the field of botanical medicine.

Some people may develop an allergic reaction to lavender. Nausea, vomiting, headache, and chills have also been reported in some people after inhaling or absorbing lavender through the skin. Lavender applied to skin may cause irritation in some people. Oral use of Lavender may cause constipation, headache, and increased appetite. Lavender oil is toxic if taken orally.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using lavender.

Possible Interactions:

  • CNS Depressants — There are no known scientific reports of interactions between lavender and conventional medications. However, because lavender promotes relaxation, it may make the effects of central nervous depressants stronger. These drugs include narcotics such as morphine or oxycodone (OxyContin) for pain, and sedative and anti-anxiety agents such as lorazepam (Ativan), diazepam (Valium), and alprazolam (Xanax). Ask your doctor before using lavender with these and other sedatives.

Alternative Names:

Common lavender; English lavender; French lavender; Garden lavender; Lavandula angustifolia; Lavandula latifolia; Lavandula officinalis

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http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/lavender-000260.htm