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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Delish and Healthy! – Carrot and Zucchini Cookies & Zucchini Muffins

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When I first mentioned this healthy snack to my children I did not receive the reaction I had hoped for, a wrinkling of noses and the assertion that they would “never, ever, not-never “ eat anything containing the “scustulous zucchini”.
As a mother I try to incorporate healthy ways to give my children their daily dose of vegetables and make it pleasing to the palate but when we are out and about  it can be particularly challenging.
When I came up with this recipe I already knew my kids would not take to it right away but I also knew that once I started baking these delicious yet healthy cookies their curiosity would soon take over, I was right!  The overwhelming and delicious aroma of cinnamon and raisins enticed the smallest of my children first, then her older brother agreed to try “just a bite”.
Later that day I caught him sneaking more and the first dozen didn’t make through one day!
Happily  we all enjoy these cookies now and it’s a great way to fit a full half day of vegetables which is amazing & makes a welcome change from sandwiches for a day of hiking or at the beach.
With only three cookies they receive an abundant amount of vegetables while enjoying the sweet tastes of cinnamon, raisins and sugar.  If you’re looking for something to help you get your little ones to eat more vegetables try this recipe, they are irresistible!
Here Is What You Need:
  • 3/4 cup margarine
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
*NOTE I also add a couple of handful of walnuts for extra protein and Omega 3 & replace a couple of ounces of flour with ground flax
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cream margarine and sugar in a large bowl.
  3. Add egg and vanilla, mixing thoroughly.
  4. Mix shredded zucchini and carrots.
  5. Combine remaining ingredients in a separate bowl.
  6. Add these dry ingredients to the large bowl, stirring until well combined.
  7. Drop teaspoons of dough approximately 2 inches apart onto greased cookie sheet.
  8. Bake 10-12 minutes.
The best part about this recipe is you can over time start to dwindle down the amount of sugar making this an even healthier snack, by simply sprinkling some sugar on top of the cookies before you bake them the first initial taste your children will notice is sugar.  Cutting the sugar back in the recipe shouldn’t be noticeable to your kids so try it out, you may find that they like it just as much as the last batch.
***Sorry the cookies didn’t last long enough to photograph!
I did a batch of muffins though that went down equally well and travel even better
Zucchini-Raisin Muffins
Makes one dozen
This is one of our favorite instead-of-a-sandwich muffins. If you won’t be using the whole batch within a couple of days, pop some in the freezer for later use.
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup natural granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup organic vanilla low-fat yogurt or soy yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons light vegetable oil
  • 1 cup firmly packed grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. zuccini muffin p
Combine the first 6 (dry) ingredients in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the yogurt and oil. Stir together until smoothly combined. Stir in the zucchini, raisins, and optional walnuts.
Divide the batter between 12 muffin tins and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a small knife inserted in the center of a muffin tests clean. Cool on a rack. Wrap well in plastic wrap to send in a lunch box.
Do you have any healthy sweet snacks full of vegetables you like to make your kids? Tell us about it!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Running – Couch 2 5K Week 3 (and an apology)

For reasons best known to my MP3 player, when I updated my podcasts this morning, it decided to delete week 2. I had no alternative but to move on to week 3.  Even though I wanted to keep on Week 2 a bit longer without the week 2 playlist I was scuppered, so onwards I went.
One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to start getting up earlier earlier than the “short n shouties”. Fortunately, today was one of the days that I managed it, which meant I could  have a small breakfast  before dragging the beast out of their pits. I had plenty of time to digest  whilst completing my warm up routine ( running after uncooperative children), and having some food in my system when jogging made a huge improvement on my energy level.
For week 3 the runs have gone from 90 seconds to 3 minutes and surprisingly his increase actually wasn’t nearly as hard as the leap from week 1 to week 2
Whether it was from my fitness improving or the addition of breakfast, it felt pretty easy.
Week 3 came as a delightful surprise, when I thought that I had one or two runs left I heard the announcement that I was taking the last run, I was astonished and allowed myself an extra long cool down walk as a bonus.
The other surprise was the unexpected increase in stamina when it comes to keeping up with the kids who are natural interval runners, it surprised them too because I actually caught them!
I’m listening to Robert Ulreys playlist http://www.c25k.com/podcasts.htm
So how are you guys doing? How many of you are still sticking with me? What week are you on?
What’s surprising you? Have you seen any of the effects of your running in your life?  Do you have a playlist to recommend?ss NEW LOGO  BW 2011.ai
***Apologies – I’m so sorry if you got bombarded with old posts over the weekend (“thanksgiving sale2012/Oscars 2011) masquerading as new ones, we are in the midst of migrating to a different platform and some blogs accidentally got their dates edited so published as new posts. We will be having both a sale and a giveaway in the near future though so “Keep ‘em peeled”

Thursday, March 14, 2013

New Years Resolution – This Is The Year I will Run – Couch 2 5K

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A couple of years ago I started running with the Couch to 5K program which helps people start running 3-5k regularly.  I found it to be quite transforming. I have never been much of a runner, despite the fact that I’m physically active and enjoy swimming, hiking, dance and weights. Running just never spoke to me.
The Couch to 5K program was a revelation, starting with interval runs to help build endurance.  The first week you do eight 60 second runs, and in between you have 90 seconds of walking, it’s quit regulated.  I downloaded some podcasts which made sure my music was the right BPM. The announcements would tell me when to run and when to walk. There are also a number of apps you can download ( free – $2.99) that will track everything from distance to speed to calories burned.
To be perfectly honest, the first day of my first ever run since middle school, I was 50 seconds into my first run and I couldn’t quite decide if I was going to throw up or pass out but as I only had 10 more seconds, I thought “if I can survive 2 simultaneously whining kids I can get through  10 more seconds of running!” and by the time I had finished the thought it was time to walk again!
Over the course of Week 2, it became a lot easier. I didn’t always move up from week to week and sometimes I stayed a little longer on a week when I felt I wasn’t ready to move up. At Week 5 I became stuck, life took over and I got a little lazy.
My New Year’s resolution for 2013 is to complete all  9 weeks of the Couch to 5K. One of the changes I made to run in the morning rather than at night as I did previously. I find I don’t put it off because the weather is much cooler at 8:15 am in California. I’m on Week 2 and will probably stay for a second week before moving on to week three.ss NEW LOGO  BW 2011.ai
What new years resolutions did you make have you stuck with them so far?
If you want to join me you can find out more about C2 5K here 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Aspirin Shown To Help Protect Older Women Against Melanoma

When you think of taking aspirin on a daily basis you’re probably thinking about the patients who have been directed by their doctors to start a daily dose of aspirin in order to reduce the risk of heart attack.  In addition to the obvious benefits aspirin has on your heart it’s suggested and has been tested in the Women’s Health Initiative study which tracked data from 59,806 postmenopausal white women conducted by Stanford University that older women who take an aspirin daily for five years and longer had a 30% less chance of Melanoma.

Medical student Christina A. Gamba discovered that women who had been taking aspirin regularly less than a year had an approximately 11 percent reduced risk of melanoma compared with nonusers. Those taking it 1-4 years had 20 percent lower risk, and those taking it five years or longer had 30 percent lower risk.
Melanoma is a very serious skin cancer that can take the shape of a new mole or a mole that’s changed in color, size or shape.  It’s important to cover your skin or use sunscreen each time you plan on being outside.  Because Melanoma can be hard to notice some people don’t realize they have it until it has spread and metastasis.  Anti-inflammatory agents in aspirin have shown that older women have a lower risk of Melanoma as long as it’s taken daily.  In addition to heart health, anti-inflammatory benefits and reduced risk of Melanoma, aspirin is believed to be a safe yet effective way to work preventatively towards harmful health concerns.
Do you think Aspirin’s anti-inflammatory properties may have played a role in lowering melanoma rates in this study?
Should it be recommended as a treatment for sun burn?


Thursday, March 7, 2013

How To Buy Ski Boots – Do’s And Don’ts

ski boots sale
Ah, winter the best time of the year for those that love to hit the slopes!  If you have a serious passion for skiing then you know the importance of having the right gear and what better way to stock up for next year that during the winter sales.  Most stores throw huge sales mid winter in order to let go of inventory before summer hits, sitting on product that won’t sell during the summer months doesn’t do them any good so now’s the time to look for the best bargains on all your ski gear.  If you’re contemplating a new pair of Ski boots before next winter consider buying now, sales offer you good prices and get you one step closer to next season!
A few things to consider before your next ski boot purchase –
  1. Make sure you have the right size, since ski boot sizes are a bit larger than actual boot sizes you’ll actually have to try them on and walk around.  Have your foot fitted by a professional boot fitter and you’ll be showing off your skills in no time!
  2. Ask around friends who have similar ski style what type of ski boots they have, they might know of a great brand you’ve never heard of before, trying different brands allows you to find what works for. There are four main factors that determine your skier profile. These factors include physical build, athletic ability, skiing history and future goals. You may want to purchase a boot that matches your skier profile.
    Your skier ability and style will be able to help you decide which flex, fit, and features you desire.
  3. Make sure they aren’t priced too low, quality ski boots are made from durable materials which come at a cost.  If it’s too good to be true it probably is, there is nothing worse than being in pain or having frost bitten toes on the slopes.
Ski boots are measured on a universal scale called Mondopoint. Remember the Metric system, you may have learned it in science class, maybe someday we will switch to it… Mondo (meaning world) sizing is the length of your foot measured in centimeters. You can determine your Mondopoint size by tracing your foot on a piece of cardboard with a pen, making sure to keep the pen vertical against your foot so there is just a slight border. Measure the traced outline from the heel to the longest part of the toes. Round off to the nearest half centimeter. (If you do not have a metric measuring tape, you can multiply the length in inches by 2.54 to find your Mondopoint size). If the tracing of your foot measures 26 cm (10.23 in), then your Mondo size is 26.0.
Ski boot manufacturers don’t make boot shells in every half size, so you should look for boots in either a 26.0 or 26.5. The difference between these two sizes is the liner and/or insole size.
Mondo (cm)Men (US)Women (US)EuropeU.K.
158 (youth)—–257
15.58 (y)—–257
169 (y)—–268
16.59 (y)—–268
1710 (y)—–279
17.511 (y)—–2810
18.512 (y)—–2911
19.513 (y)—–30.512
2013.5 (y)—–3113

Pretty simple stuff right!  Next time you hit the slopes do it in style but make sure your boots have your back, do a little research and make your next trip to the mountain profound!
Do you have any other tips for getting the perfect boot?