Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Honey-Lime Mask for Dry Flaky Skin

by:  Tara Fuller

Tired of dry flaky skin?  Tired of spending money on face products that don't live up to their hype? Me too! A few years ago while I was interning at a television news station in Eastern Washington during a brutally cold winter, I had quite an issue with dry, flaky skin. I tried anything and everything and anything including expensive weekly facials. Some worked better than others; but those that worked were only temporary at best.  You know how it goes. You leave for work feeling pretty good about yourself until a few hours later when you catch your reflection in the mirror.  YIKES...for me, this was a huge deal!  At the time, I was trying to put together an on-camera demo tape, which is required for a television job; and looking good for the camera was a requirement.  I stumbled on this honey-lime mask/scrub purely by accident. It's simple, inexpensive, all natural and you probably have everything you need for it in your kitchen. It is hands-down, the only scrub/mask I use that not only exfoliates, but also hydrates.  

1 Lime or Lime Juice*
Brown or White Sugar

Poor honey in a bowl, add just enough sugar to make a nice thick paste. Slowly squeeze lime juice over mixture until pliable but still thick.  Now here's the fun part!  Cleanse the face washing away any trace of makeup.  With fingertips or pastry brush, smooth mixture over face, neck and anywhere else you think may benefit.  Be mindful to keep it away from the eyes.  Every 2-3 minutes, gently rub in a circular motion for 30 seconds.  Continue this process for 10 minutes. Wash it away with warm water, pat the skin dry and apply face lotion.  I guarantee you will be amazed at the results!  It works especially well on cracked lips and tastes just like a lime-drop minus the vodka; so not too shabby!

*I have substituted lemon juice for lime but it's more stringent and can be irritating to the skin if you're sensitive.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fajita Frittata with Avocado Salsa

What is it about the Greek's diet that may contribute to them being some of the healthiest people on Earth?  The one standout component, their use of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats (MUFAs).  MUFAs are found in foods such as nuts, seeds and avocados. Besides tasting great, these foods won't raise your blood cholesterol the way saturated fats do. In fact, studies show MUFAs can actually improve blood cholesterol levels and therefore, decrease your risk of heart disease.  The recipe below is borrowed from another great blog you can find at  His use of avocados and eggs makes it a great dish for any meal of the day.  And for the vegetarians among us, it can be easily modified to delight. ~Bon Appétit

Fajita Frittata with Avocado Salsa
by: MarksDailyApple

frittata2There are a million ways to prepare and flavor eggs   and yet, how often do you end up making the same old scramble or omelet? Early mornings usually aren’t an ideal time to try out new recipes, which is one reason it’s so easy to dig oneself deep into a breakfast rut. If the thought of eating breakfast is starting to make you groan rather than grin, then it’s high time to change things up.
A Fajita Frittata with Avocado Salsa brings bold new flavor to breakfast without being overly complicated. Seasoned steak and peppers are sautéed and then quickly baked with eggs and topped with an eye-opening avocado salsa. The result is a flavorful and healthy breakfast that can be sliced into portions for the whole family and eaten at home or on the go. If you’re often pressed for time in the morning, then this recipe lets you get a jump-start on breakfast the night before. Unlike scrambled eggs or omelets, a frittata tastes just as good if it’s cooked ahead of time and then warmed up the next day or eaten straight out of the fridge.
While you can throw just about anything into a frittata for flavor, there’s something about the combination of steak and eggs that’s extra satisfying. Steak also keeps this frittata from tasting strictly like breakfast food so you can easily make it for a quick lunch or dinner, too. Throwing in the peppers adds a serving of veggies, and the chunky avocado salsa – with its addictive kick from tangy lime, green onions and jalapeno pepper – is a tasty change from guacamole.
With a fajita frittata to look forward to, you’ll find yourself bounding out of bed in the morning, ready to eat heartily and face the day.
ingredients 32
  • 1 pound skirt or flank steak, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1-2 poblano or green bell peppers, cut into thin rounds or strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin rounds or strips
  • 10 eggs, whisked
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 avocados, cut into small chunks
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (optional)
  • juice of one lime juice
  • sea salt to taste
Season steak with cumin, chili powder and salt.
seasoned steak
Preheat oven broiler to high.
Heat olive oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat on the stove. Add steak.
Saute 3 minutes (meat should be just slightly pink) then add garlic and peppers.
saute steakandpeppers
Saute 3 minutes more then add eggs and a handful of cilantro. Stir quickly then turn heat down to medium. Let cook 3-4 minutes, until the egg is set around the edges but still runny in the middle.
add egg
Transfer the pan to the oven under the broiler and cook until the frittata is golden and firm in the middle, about 3-5 minutes.
Remove from oven.
Gently mix together avocado, green onion, jalapeno and lime juice. Add sea salt to taste.
salsa ingredients
avocado salsa
Serve with slices of frittata.
frittata slice

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Say yes to popcorn!

by:  Tara Fuller

Corn has developed quite a bad rap in recent years; but is all corn bad? Absolutely not! Not all corn is made equal. Popcorn for instance, a whole-grain food can be ideal for quick and healthy snacks. And why shouldn’t it be? At just 30 calories and 2 grams of dietary fiber per one-cup serving, it’s a lot of bang for your calorie.

For dieters, eating fiber rich whole-grains is essential for successful weight-loss. Fiber helps slow digestion, meaning you feel fuller longer, unlike high-glycemic carbohydrates which quickly turn to sugar after consumption, leaving a person feeling tired and craving sugar.  Instead, low-glycemic carbohydrates provide the body with lots of slow-releasing energy so you won’t find yourself running to the kitchen for a quick sugar fix.  Furthermore, studies show diets plentiful in whole grains such as popcorn may reduce risks of heart disease, high cholesterol and obesity. 

According to The American Dietetic Association, Americans are only getting about half of the daily recommended 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day.  So go ahead, have popcorn, have lots of popcorn!  Just be mindful of what you put on it.  A tablespoon of butter or oil will add 120 calories; and a teaspoon of salt adds 2,400 mg of sodium.  However, if like me you won't be satisfied with dry popcorn, there are healthier alternatives.

1)  Coconut and olive oils are heart-healthy; and coconut oil may be sweet enough to curb a sugar craving.

2)  Try spicing it up:  Cinnamon, cumin, oregano, pepper, garlic and onion powders all have nutritional health components and contain zero calories.

3)  For a sweet treat:  Drizzle popcorn with a tad of 100-percent pure Maple Syrup or Honey.  Honey is twice as sweet as sugar so you will use less of it and therefore, consume fewer calories had you used sugar.  Plus, incorporating honey into your diet provides a multitude of health benefits:  Boost immunity, fight bacteria and allergy relief.   

4)  For an extra kick:  Add a couple teaspoons of Craisins, a teaspoon of sunflower seeds and six to eight heart healthy nuts such as walnuts, pistachio or almonds for a super charged, fiber rich, protein filled snack that will keep you going between meals.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Delicious but Healthy Butternut Squash Soup

Health Benefits of Butternut Squash are substantial, especially given its low calories: 45 calories per 100g.  In addition to its rich source of dietary fiber and phytonutirents, it contains vital polyphenol anti oxidants and vitamins.  Those are a lot of fancy words; but it means it's good for the body and will fill you up with fewer calories while making you feel like you indulged.  

In fact, it has more vitamin A than pumpkin at 10630 per 100g, providing 354 percent of RDA. That’s a lot!  This is important because vitamin A is necessary for skin, vision and mucus membranes as well as helping to protect the body against some cancers such as lung and oral cavity.  And if this wasn't enough bang for your buck, Butternut squash is also a great source of B-complex vitamins.  

The recipe below has been adapted from several online recipes to create what I believe is the best tasting squash soup I've ever eaten!  This says a lot since I don't like squash soup and have tried many.  The recipe below has no dairy, no butter and is only around 125 calories per serving!  That's amazing!  Not to mention, the nutmeg provides an added bonus for brain health because it's been shown to boost brain power, and who doesn't need that?!  ~  Bon Appetit  

A Delicious but Healthy Butternut Squash Soup
1 Butternut Squash peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces*
2 Tablespoon coconut oil (butter is fine but less healthy)
Enough chicken or vegetable broth to cover squash
Half of large Onion
3-6 Garlic Cloves, peeled

Melt coconut oil in heavy pan large enough for 2-3 cups of broth.  Once melted, add chopped onions and sauté.  Add chopped squash, garlic cloves and broth until vegetables are just covering.  Bring broth to a boil; reduce heat and continue cooking until squash is soft, about 45 minutes.  Once soft, place in a blender or food processor until creamy; pour into bowls and sprinkle with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.  Crab meat can be added to make this a protein rich indulgently tasting meal that’s certain to please as well as keep you within your daily caloric goals.  

*This video will show you how to easily cut and peel a Butternut Squash 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Three ingredient healthy black bean dip

by:  Tara Fuller

You are starving and you need something now!  You don't want to blow your New Year's healthy eating resolution so what do you do?  With just three simple ingredients, you can blend together a scrumptious fiber and protein filled snack all in less than three minutes.*

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until desired consistency.  Serve with carrots, bell peppers, celery or another veggie or your choice.

                     1 can Black Beans
                     Garlic Cloves to taste
                     Olive Oil

 *Recipe first seen on the Dr. Oz Show 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Microencapsulation is the Future of Controlled Release Technology

What do frozen pizzas, scratch and sniff cards, and Aspirin have in common? They are just a few of the many products that rely on microencapsulation technology. Simply put, microencapsulation is the process in which a core substance is coated by a shell. The core contains tiny particles of a liquid, gas, or solid active ingredient which is surrounded by a shell. This shell is typically composed of organic polymers and acts as a shield for the active ingredient against the environment and other external forces. These capsules are truly tiny, ranging in size from one micron (1/1000 of a millimeter) to a few millimeters.

There isn’t just one method of microencapsulation. Each application of this technology depends on the physical and chemical properties of the active ingredient as well as the purpose for microencapsulation. Depending on the technique used, the active ingredient can be released in one of six ways: mechanical rupture, dissolution, melting, biodegradation, ablation (slow erosion), or diffusion. For example, the capsules of a scratch and sniff card are released by mechanical rupture of the shells. Scratching breaks the coating of the capsules and releases the perfumed core. Aspirin utilizes diffusion for a controlled release that prevents the negative side effects of a direct dose with high initial concentrations.

Microencapsulation is a developing field and is currently undergoing a period of rapid growth. It is important to understand the science behind this process as more and more everyday household items use controlled release technology.