Disclaimer: this is not what I would consider "healthy" but it sure is yummy and EASY! I got it from a co-worker years ago and it has been a favorite ever since.
1 - 2 pounds stew beef
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 packed Lipton onion soup mix (or mushroom/onion)
1 can sliced mushrooms with the juice
Mix everything together, throw in a crockpot, cook on low all day. Serve over noodles, with a colorful veggie on the side.
If you want to use fresh mushrooms, add 1/4 cup water to the mixture in the morning, and then throw the fresh mushrooms in right at the end for about 20-30 minutes. (I think this would be good with onions too, but my husband dislikes them).
It's a boring time of the year.....no holidays or big events in sight, and I'm starting to get restless! Time to plan a vacation!!
My husband and I are fortunate in that we usually take at least two vacations each year. The first is always to the same place where we honeymooned 20 years ago.
The second trip is always in the Fall, for a Cleveland Browns road game. But I can't start planning that trip until the NFL schedule comes out in April.
Which leaves me with nothing.to.plan.right.now. That just won't do.
So I need to figure out a quick little get-away for March or April, just to give me something to work on and get us out of the house.
A 2010 study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, showed that many people experience a large boost in happiness (for 8 weeks!) just from planning the vacation. It makes perfect sense to me....I know I always enjoy figuring out where to go, where to stay, and what to see. The anticipation is almost as fun as the actual vacation!
My favorite trip-planning website is tripadvisor.com. It has tons of reviews and suggestions and advice, and I find it easy to use. I usually pick a destination and check out the hotel rankings. I read the forums to find out the best area to stay, then narrow my hotel choices down to 2 or 3.
Then I hop on to expedia.com to get prices. Next, I go to each hotel's website (often they are the cheapest!). I always check for Entertainment card or AAA discounts, plus I plug in my hotel rewards card number to see if that gets me extra savings. I have even used priceline.com when we weren't picky about where to stay---it worked out great in Nashville!!
After I have booked the hotel, I start to plan what we want to do while we're there. TripAdvisor is great for that, or you can get travel guides from the library (or AAA if you're a member). I usually have Dave look through what I've gathered and tell me some of the things he's interested in seeing, and then go from there. A lot of cities have passes for several tourist attractions at a discounted price, as well as passes for public transportation. I also check viator.com for discounts on tours. It's fun to figure out what we can squeeze into each day, how we'll get to each attraction, and which restaurants are nearby for us to try.
If we're flying, I start checking prices several times per day. There is a lot of talk that prices often are best about 2 months out, and go down on Tuesdays; I have found that to be true (although after I purchase the tickets, I stop checking). There have been times when I have had the hotel booked but the flights never worked out, so I just cancelled the hotel. I rarely pay in advance for a hotel...the savings don't justify the risk of having to cancel and lose the deposit.
So anyway, it's time for me to plan a mini vacay. You know, for that boost of happiness!! Any ideas where we should go??
February is a month dedicated to hearts, both the symbolic one from Valentine’s Day, but more importantly the less advertised recognition of heart disease in women. There is a “Go Red for Women” campaign that is well known among health care providers, but less known to the general public. This campaign is most known for wear red day and red dress campaign hosted in February, but more importantly, Go Red stands for:
· Get Your Numbers: Ask your doctor to check your blood pressure and cholesterol.
· Own Your Lifestyle: Stop smoking, lose weight, exercise, and eat healthy.
· Realize Your Risk: We think it won’t happen to us, but heart disease kills 1 in 3 women.
· Educate Your Family: Make healthy food choices for yourself and your family. Teach your kids the importance of staying active.
· Don’t Be Silent: Tell every woman you know that heart disease is the number one killer.
Ladies, your heart health is of utmost importance. We get so busy with work, life, and everyday responsibilities that we often put this very important information aside and tend not to lead the healthiest lifestyle. These are not minor fixes or quick results, but a healthy lifestyle will reduce your risk of being a 1 in 3 statistic. February is our reminder, but it’s very important to think about your heart health on a daily basis!
Liza and I went shopping yesterday. In itself that wasn't a strange occurrence. LOL. However, we stopped at a Bath and Body Works and stocked up on scents. We both have allergies but still needed a "good smell fix." It got me thinking about aromatherapy and so I did a bit of research.
Aromatherapy uses scents to alter our moods and enhance our well-being. Scientists have found it can reduce pain, decrease anxiety, and increase energy levels in patients. They believe it stimulates the limbic system in our brain which deals with emotions.
When you think about it, that makes sense. Certain smells have a tendency to trigger memories in people, which in turn can trigger emotions. My mom has been gone for almost 20 years, but when I smell her perfume I immediately picture her laughing. This in turn either makes me smile or gets me a bit teary-eyed, depending on the situation.
Our sense of smell is more important than people realize. It contributes to the taste of food, can protect us from dangerous situations, and is the last sense (no pun intended) to fade away as someone is dying. I urge you to think about what scents make you happy. For me they include brewing coffee, fresh baked cookies, the air immediately after a good rain, a burning fire, and crisp fall air. I also love the smell of chlorinated water, which is a reminder of many happy summers spent swimming as a child.
There is quite a science to aromatherapy and people can put a lot of time and money into developing the perfect scents. If you're lazy, like I am, then you can whip up a quick batch of cookies or light a candle to get the job done. I urge you to have fun with aromatherpy and find what works for you. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to light my new lavender and vanilla scented candle and eat a cookie!
Organic food is anything grown on a farm that follows strict regulations and does not use chemicals, hormones, pesticides, etc. The belief is that buying organic foods not only promotes your own health, but also that of the planet.
While this sounds great the reality is that organic food usually is not as big as chemically grown food. It can also be quite expensive. If you think you might like to try eating organically, start with the "dirty dozen." These are the top 12 food items that nutritionists recommend you purchase organically because they are the most heavily doused with chemicals. They include:
Shop around for good deals. Some stores offer organic produce at a much lower price than others. You may also find a good food co-op in your area. I am fortunate to live in Amish country and therefore have access to several good, organically-grown farm stands in the summer.
For those who simply cannot afford to purchase organic foods, take heart. You can still thoroughly wash your produce to eliminate most of the chemicals.
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