tilapia

Image: blueapron.com

If you want a healthy meal, this is the one for you. Lately, I have been on an orange binge and can’t get enough of Florida’s favorite fruit. I’ve been eating them like they are going out of style.  When I recently came across this recipe in a magazine at a doctor’s office, I knew I had to have a copy of it. With no paper in my purse, I quickly resorted to tearing the recipe out of the magazine (shhh!). I can’t recall the name of the magazine, though. If any of you have seen this recipe, please let me know so I can give the magazine credit!

Ingredients:

  • 1 navel orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 4 small Tilapia fillets (about 1 ½ lb total), quartered
  • 2 Tbsp no-salt Cajun, Creole or blackening seasoning
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  1. Heat broiler.  Line a broiler-proof rimmed baking sheet with foil. Using a vegetable peeler, remove 2 strips of zest each from the orange and lemon; very thinly slice the zest and place in a medium bowl. Add the couscous and 1 cup warm tap water, cover and let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the orange in half.  Cut half the orange into 4 wedges; set aside. Squeeze the juice of the remaining half and the juice of the lemon into a small bowl.
  3. Brush each side of the fish with the juice mixture, sprinkle with the seasoning and ¼ tsp salt and place on the prepared pan.  Broil until opaque throughout, 1 to 2 minutes per side.
  4. Fluff the couscous with a fork and fold in the scallions, oil and ¼ tsp each salt and pepper.  Serve with the fish and orange wedges.

Enjoy, enjoy!

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karen knorr

Image: karenknorr.com

Recently, I came across the inspiring work of photographer Karen Knorr and just HAD to share her with you. Born in Frankfurt, Germany and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Knorr finished her education in Paris and London. The artist is currently Professor of Photography at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham, Surrey.

According to her website, Karen Knorr’s past work from the 1980’s onwards took as its theme the ideas of power that underlie cultural heritage, playfully challenging the underlying assumptions of fine art collections in academies and museums in Europe through photography and video. Since 2008 her work has taken a new turn and focused its gaze on the upper caste culture of the Rajput in India and its relationship to the “other” through the use of photography, video and performance. A photographic series, called India Song considers men’s space (mardana) and women’s space (zanana) in Mughal and Rajput palace architecture, havelis and mausoleums through large format digital photography.

Karen Knorr celebrates the rich visual culture, the foundation myths and stories of northern India, focusing on Rajasthan and using sacred and secular sites to consider caste, femininity and its relationship to the animal world.

Animals photographed in sanctuaries, zoos and cities inhabit palaces, mausoleums , temples and holy sites, interrogating Indian cultural heritage and rigid hierarchies.

Cranes, zebras, tigers and elephants mutate from princely pets to avatars of past feminine historic characters, blurring boundaries between reality and illusion and reinventing the Panchatantra for the 21st century.

How cool is that?!?  Hope that you enjoy these images on her site as much as I have!

Check out her site at karenknorr.com.

 

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The Power Nap

power nap

Image: schifmanmatresses

When I was a little girl, I vividly remember my father coming home at noon every Saturday from his job, eating lunch and then taking a 20 minute nap, every-single-Saturday. His routine left a real impression on me and ever since, I’ve tried to take naps whenever and wherever I can.

Naps are a humongous Shining Moment in my life. I find that they are most important when I am the busiest. I find that they are a hyper-efficient way to find add a little zip-a-dee-doo-dah to the day and are far better than any jolt of caffeine.

The Value of a Power Nap includes:

  1. Clear thinking
  2. Increase alertness
  3. Decrease stress
  4. Improve memory
  5. Enhance creativity

The benefits of napping have been well documented. Research has shown that a nap can promote physical well-being, improve mood and memory, sharpen senses and revitalize a person. The neurons in brain functioning get to rest and recuperate from the day’s stress. Intellectual performance improves from the boost a midday nap provides and accuracy in performance increases too. MRI’s of nappers show that brain activity stays high throughout the day with a nap. Without one, it declines as the day wears on.

My best napping happens in the early afternoon, preferably after lunch.  My eating habits also contribute to my ability (or inability to nap). For example, consuming large quantities of caffeine as well as foods that are heavy in fat and sugar, meddle with my ability to fall asleep. So, for lunch (in the hour or two before nap time), I try to eat foods high in calcium and protein because they promote sleep.

I find that napping beyond 40 minutes makes me feel groggy and undermines the reviving effects that a 20-30 minute nap provides.

I also try to darken my nap zone (because darkness stimulates melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone) either by closing the curtains or wearing an adorable eye mask that a girlfriend gave me (I think as a joke!) for my birthday last year.

Additionally, because our body temperatures decrease when sleeping, I always cover myself with a snuggly blanket.

Oh, and if you feel like napping is ummmm, lazy, check out these self-proclaimed nappers who include Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci , Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, Johannes Brahms, John D. Rockefeller, Eleanor Roosevelt, Gene Autry, Nikola Tesla, Bill Clinton, John F. Kennedy, Napoleon Bonaparte, Salvador Dali and Sylvester Stallone. Not exactly underachievers, right?  Just sayin’…

So, I hope that you embrace the siesta!  I know firsthand that it will add some Shining Moments to your day!

 

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vegetible lentil soup

Image:  allyou.com

Baby, it’s more than cold outside! It’s FREEZING! Frigid days make me want to stay in my pajamas under the covers. Since that’s not an option, making soup instead will do. This slow-cooker soup is de-lish and very healthy. You must make it during the winter months. It’s very filling and oh, so hearty.

  • 2 cups dried lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • 1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 3 carrots, cut into ¼-inch rounds
  • 3 ribs celery, cut into ¼ inch pieces
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • 5 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Grated Parmesan, optional

In a slow cooker, stir together lentils, tomatoes, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, oregano, vegetable broth and 2 cups water.  Cover and cook on low until lentils and vegetables are tender, about 6 hours.  Remove 2 cups of soup; place in a blender.  Let cool for about 5 minutes.  Puree mixture, then return to slow cooker.

Season soup with salt and pepper.  Stir in vinegar and serve, sprinkling each bowl with parsley and passing grated Parmesan at the table, if desired.

Stay warm and enjoy this tasty soup.

 

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Happy March

happy march

Image:  loveeducasong.blogspot.com

Happy March, Everyone!

Here are some interesting tidbits about our new Month:

  • “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” This means that the first day of March is often stormy, and the last day is mild and warm (Shining Moment).
  • March is named after the Roman God of War, Mars. Most people know this one; I just had to start from the obvious. But did you know March was originally the first month of the Roman calendar until Julius Caesar changed it to number 3?
  • The first St. Patrick’s Day Parade was held in New York City on March 17th, 1762.
  • The flower for March is a violet.
  • The US Presidential Inauguration took place in March until 1937, when it was changed to January.
  • In the month of March we experience an equinox. This is when day and night are the same length of time and in the northern hemisphere the vernal equinox occurs in March; in the southern hemisphere it is the autumnal equinox. It happens on March 19, 20, or 21.
  • A very common superstition held by many farmers about March is if there is rain for the first 3 days of the month this predicts a bad harvest later in the year.
  • Purim is a Jewish festival usually celebrated in March in remembrance of the time the Jews escaped destruction during the reign of the Persian king Xerxes.
  • In March of 1925 the first Transatlantic Radio Broadcast took place.
  • March 1st is National Pig Day! This was started in Texas in 1972. Gotta love the Texans!
  • The third week in March is National Brain Awareness Week in the USA.
  • March is also considered National Umbrella Month. Really.
  • March is National Peanut Month and celebrations are held the entire month across America (it all began in 1941).
  • Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone in March 7th, 1876.
  • March 1st, 1803 was the day Ohio was admitted to the Union as the 17th state and on March 1st, 1867 Nebraska became the 37th state to enter the union.
  • Yellowstone became the world’s first National Park on March 1st 1872.
  • In March of 1949 Newfoundland became the 10th province of Canada.

 

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puzzle

Image:  Horchow.com

When Christian Lacroix designs a jigsaw puzzle, you acquire it. It doesn’t matter if you have barefoot tots running around the house or not. You buy it. End. Of. Story.

I plan to put it to good use for many years to come. This two-sized tabletop activity is adorned with gold and silver foil accents and the most enchanting designs you’ve ever seen. It is absolutely gorgeous and loaded with the intricate design details you’ve come to expect from the great high-fashion house. Here’s the Shining Moment: When you’re done using it as a puzzle, have it framed and enjoy its magical beauty for years to come.

Christian Lacroix Glam’azonia Jigsaw Puzzle $38

 

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There are no wrong truths only unexpected paths. - Mark Nepo

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depression brain

Image: anxietybehaviour.com

The After period of breast cancer presents its own unique set of challenges. The anxiety and depression that sneaked in AFTER my breast cancer treatment was a real shocker. Once I was done with treatment, I thought I was done. However, yet again, breast cancer laughed right in my face!

The fantastic organization, Living Beyond Breast Cancer addressed anxiety and depression issues in a webinar (have you ever done a webinar? They are so great!) with psychiatrist Ruth H. Steinman in 2013. Boy, oh boy, was it great! I recently went back to LBBC’s website to listen to the podcast.

Dr. Steinman assured us that although conflicting emotions can be confusing to you and those around you, anxiety and depression after breast cancer is absolutely normal and these difficult-to-hold emotions usually lessen over time.

Here’s an interesting (and sometimes confusing) thing about anxiety and/or depression after breast cancer treatment: they tend to occur at various frequencies and levels of intensity.  These emotions can be suddenly re-experienced with “trigger events” such as anniversary dates, birthdays, holidays, etc.

I had a trigger event not too long ago when a woman I knew died after a very sudden breast cancer recurrence. The last time I saw her in Philly she was planning a birthday party for her son. Unfortunately, she died a few months ago. This sent chills down my spine and turned on my anxiety button. What I know is that these emotions can pop up at any time!

In the webinar, Dr. Steinman described certain things that can provoke anxiety and depression:

  • Pain, fatigue, nausea
  • Body image
  • Inability to care for family
  • Financial instability
  • Tests/scans – waiting for results
  • Appointments with oncology team
  • Hearing of others recurrence or death
  • Feelings of pain or fatigue, or develop a cough

She described the prevalent symptoms of anxiety and depression:

  • Fear
  • On edge
  • Restless
  • Muscle tension
  • Easily fatigued
  • Irritability
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Problem with focus during day

Ummmm, I have had most all of these. Geesh! How about you? It just reiterates the fact that breast cancer is still never far from my mind.  In fact, it lingers just below the surface.

Below are some practical tips (you know I love practical tips!) to help manage these feelings:

  • Pace life to avoid being overwhelmed. While this is rather challenging, actively focusing on this does help. Just yesterday, I literally stopped myself in my tracks, sat down in a chair and rebooted at a slower pace.
  • Set short term goals. I frequently break my to-do lists down to the hour. In other words, I’ll say to myself, “In the next hour, I’m going to do so-and-so.”  This helps me immensely!
  • Work on developing non-cancer identity. From the time I started writing the blog, I have been adamant about cancer being one – just one! – part of my life. It is so important to identify with many more things in your life – other than cancer.
  • Spirituality I find a great deal of my spirituality comes from nature. Nature is a great sources of soulfulness and joy. When I am hiking or at the beach, I am joyfully reminded that I am part of something much, much bigger in the world.
  • Reinforce past adaptive strategies for coping under stress. In other words, ask yourself: What else has been difficult in your life and how did you handle?)
  • Support from family, community, health care providers. After my diagnosis and during treatment, I had the most amazing support system. It was truly incredible and I am still so grateful for the support. What I have found is that it’s ok – better than ok, actually – to lean on this support system even after treatment.
  • Writing. You know how I feel about writing. I write all the time. Much never even makes it to the blog. I especially like to write about gratitude and Shining Moments – shocker.
  • Diet, Nutrition & Exercise are so so so important!  Not only do they reduce the risk of recurrence, but they also help balance feelings of anxiety and depression.
  • Complementary Therapies, such as meditation, energy work (Qi Gong, Reiki, etc. and relaxation techniques (breathing, muscle relaxation, guided imagery) continue to be hugely helpful when I’m feeling off-kilter.

If you have prolonged feelings of anxiety or depression, please-please-please call your doctor. The Shining Moment is that there are ways to help balance and contend with these trying feelings.

Additionally, you may also call the American Psychological Oncology Society Helpline: 1-866-APOS 4 Help (1-866-276-7443) http://www.apos-society.org/survivors/helpline/helpline.aspx

 

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Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow." - Mary Anne Radmacher

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sweet potatoes

Image: Womansday.com

Did you know microwaving potatoes saves at least 25 minutes over baking them? Yuppers. A friend introduced me to this easy-peasy recipe because I was complaining that I couldn’t find simple healthy recipes that were quick to make, especially after a long day at work. If you are like me, making something nutritious that is simple and fast works great for me after a 10+ hour day. If you agree, this is definitely the recipe for you. And if you prep the black bean topping (without the spinach) up to 2 days ahead, all you need to do is reheat it, then fold in the spinach.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large sweet potatoes (about 3 lbs. total), scrubbed and patted dry
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 bunch spinach, thick stems discarded, leaves chopped
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 large lime, cut into 4 wedges, plus more for serving
  • 6 oz. nonfat Greek yogurt (about ½ cup)
  • Sliced scallions, for serving
  1. Pierce the potatoes all over with a fork, place on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high, turning over halfway through, until just tender, 16-18 minutes.
  2. Ten minutes before the potatoes are finished, heat the oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the beans, cumin, cayenne and 2 Tbsp water, increase the heat to medium-high and cook, tossing, until the beans are heated through, about 2 minutes.  Add the spinach, season with ¼ tsp salt and cook, tossing until beginning to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes; remove from heat.
  3. Split the potatoes and season with ¼ tsp each salt and pepper.  Squeeze a lime wedge over each potato, then top with the bean mixture.  Serve with a dollop of yogurt, sliced scallions and extra lime wedges, if desired.

Enjoy!

 

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