Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Let's Talk About Mental Health – Day Four

When it comes to actually being mentally well, there's no shortage of self-care strategies out there, but not everyone has the time and money to spend on a wellness retreat or horse therapy or crystals that may or may not chill you out.
Continuing the series of ideas that can help keep your mind, body and soul feeling good. (or at least less stressed)
Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas.
(This is from a self.com article)
Day Four: Take Five (Minutes to Meditate)
Meditation seems like a thing that only yoga teachers do, but it doesn't need to be a whole thing to be effective. Don't worry about accomplishing anything or reaching some sort of enlightenment when you do it; just the fact that you're taking a few minutes to calm down and focus on your breathing is huge. If you don't know where to start, just sit quietly and focus on breathing in and out, slowly, for two minutes. Then work up to five minutes the next time you do it.
You’ll be doing yourself a favor by just doing nothing but breathe for a little while and
it feels good to be mindful and present in the moment.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Let's Talk About Mental Health – Day Three



When it comes to actually being mentally well, there's no shortage of self-care strategies out there, but not everyone has the time and money to spend on a wellness retreat or horse therapy or crystals that may or may not chill you out.
Today I'll continue a series of ideas that you can do to help keep your mind, body and soul feeling good. (or at least less stressed)
Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas.
(This is from a self.com article)
Day Three: Borrow Things from Vacation
Think about things you only enjoy on vacation. Then inject a little of that into your daily life.
We tend to have a more chill outlook on everything when we're on vacation. You replace the gym with swimming and walking, dinner consists of potlucks with new friends or dining at a quaint little bistro, and your email (hopefully) has an out-of-office reply. What if we took just a little bit of that mentality and made it the rule - rather than the exception? Maybe that means skipping the gym to go for a simple run in the park, turning your phone on Do Not Disturb between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. or simply reading outside for a little while.  Obviously it won't make you feel like you're on vacation, but it might help you reclaim your time.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Let's Talk About Mental Health – Day Two

When it comes to actually being mentally well, there's no shortage of self-care strategies out there, but not everyone has the time and money to spend on a wellness retreat or horse therapy or crystals that may or may not chill you out.
Today I'll continue a series of ideas that you can do to help keep your mind, body and soul feeling good. (or at least less stressed)
Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas.
(This is from a self.com article)
Day Two: Turn the TV Off
Do something else besides watching TV before bed.
If you've lost track of more nights than you can count while binge-watching a series, only to feel tired and groggy and kind of behind on life the next day, try a little experiment where you don't watch TV before bed for a week. Use that time to read, color, call your mom, journal, take a bath, whatever. For a lot of people, zoning out with a good series can be a therapeutic coping mechanism, which is great, but it's helpful to find other tools for calming down at the end of the day. And maybe you'll find one that won't occasionally keep you up until 2 a.m.


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Let's Talk About Mental Health

When it comes to actually being mentally well, there's no shortage of self-care strategies out there, but not everyone has the time and money to spend on a wellness retreat or horse therapy or crystals that may or may not chill you out.
Today I'll start a series of ideas that you can do to help keep your mind, body and soul feeling good. (or at least less stressed)
Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas.
(This is from a self.com article)
Day One:
Give yourself permission to take a mental health day when you need it.
Try to think of it as preventive medicine - by taking a day to relax and recharge now, you're giving your body (and immune system) some time to catch up, which could help prevent an actual sick day in your future.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Sausage and Shrimp Jambalaya

Celebrate Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) with some homemade Jambalaya. It's easy to make and oh so delicious. Make it as hot or mild as you want, raise a Hurricane glass of rum punch, crank up the Dixieland Jazz and make sure to save room for a slice of King Cake! (Lent starts tomorrow!)

Sausage and Shrimp Jambalaya

2 T vegetable oil, divided


1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed
1 red sweet bell pepper, diced
1 green sweet bell pepper, diced

1 yellow sweet bell pepper, diced
3 stalks of celery, sliced or diced


1 pound of Andouille sausage or Chorizo sausage, sliced into 1/4” slices (remove the skin if necessary) OR boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes. (OR use a combo the two)
1 can diced tomatoes, drained well - reserving juice for seasoning


4 C hot, cooked rice of your choice (I use Uncle Ben’s Boil in the Bag – 2 bags)

Combine in a small bowl:

1/2 tsp (or more!) of hot sauce (Tabasco, Franks Red Hot, Tapatio, etc.)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning

1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/8 tsp (or more!) of cayenne pepper

1/4 to 1/2 pound peeled and cleaned raw shrimp (about 20 medium or large sized)


2 green onions chopped
lemon slices for garnish

(optional)

Mise en place: (set up ahead of time)
Chop and dice all vegetables and set aside: onions and garlic in a one bowl; peppers and celery in another.
Slice meat and clean shrimp. (sprinkle shrimp with sea salt) Set aside.
Combine the spices in a small bowl.
Drain the tomatoes, save the juice.
Whisk spices into reserved tomato juice.
Cook rice and set aside.

Heat 1 T of oil in a very large, family-sized skillet (or wok if you don’t have a very large skillet) 
Add onion and garlic, cook on medium, for about 3 minutes.  Add peppers and celery, cook about 5 minutes more.  Transfer mixture to a bowl, and set aside.  
Heat remaining oil, and cook the sausage or chicken on medium high heat, browning on all sides.  Stir, stir, stir. 
Reduce heat to medium.
Return the veggies to the pan, stir in tomatoes, rice and tomato juice/seasoning mixture. Cook for 3 minutes. 
Push mixture to the side of the pan, add a drizzle of oil and add shrimp to the pan.  Cook and stir for a few minutes until shrimp turns pink.  Stir shrimp into the rest of the mixture.  Reduce heat to low, cover and cook a few minutes longer.  I like to garnish with chopped green onions, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and more hot sauce, ‘cause I like it spicy!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The White Envelope



The "WHITE ENVELOPE" is brilliant!  I'd love to adopt this as my family Christmas tradition.

Christmas Story:  For the Man Who Hated Christmas
By Nancy W. Gavin
It's just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past ten years.
It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas. Oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it – overspending and the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma – the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else.
Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.
Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was on the wrestling team at the school he attended. Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.
As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford.
Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could have won," he said. "They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them." Mike loved kids – all kids. He so enjoyed coaching little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That's when the idea for his present came.
That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes, and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed a small, white envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done, and that this was his gift from me.
Mike's smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year. And that same bright smile lit up succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition – one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.
The white envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning, and our children – ignoring their new toys – would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents. As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the small, white envelope never lost its allure.
The story doesn't end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree. And the next morning, I found it was magically joined by three more. Unbeknownst to the others, each of our three children had for the first time placed a white envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing to take down that special envelope.
Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us.
I would love to hear about your experience after you've done your envelope! 
Thank you for reading my post. 
Follow me:  https://megadoseofd.blogspot.com

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Chicken Thigh Teriyaki Stir-Fry

On a cold Autumn evening, why not heat up the wok and create a quick, cozy meal for two?
This recipe will make two dinner servings plus one lunch or leftover serving ~ but it can easily be doubled if you so desire.
And...there's an easy teriyaki sauce recipe.
Or two.
Perhaps three.



Chicken Thigh Teriyaki Stir Fry
Small Batch (2 Dinner and 1 Lunch Servings)

2 boneless skinless chicken thighs, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 white onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, pressed
2 green onions, sliced diagonally
Seasoned salt
Black pepper
1 T Canola oil
1/2 tsp Toasted sesame oil
3/4 C Teriyaki sauce (homemade - my recipe(s) follow - or store bought)
Toasted Cashews
Sriracha Sauce
Red Pepper Flakes

Slice the peppers and white onion and put in bowl.  Set the green onions aside for garnishing later.
Season the sliced chicken with a dash of seasoned salt and generous amount of black pepper.
Heat a large heavy skillet or wok over high heat for 1 minute.  Add the oils and chicken.  Stir fry for several minutes until chicken is no longer pink.  Add the pressed garlic to the pan during the last minute of cooking. Remove to a clean bowl with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add the peppers and white onions to the pan.  Cook and stir fry for about five minutes on high heat until the veggies are crisp-tender.  Add a drizzle of canola oil if needed.
Return the chicken to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes until everything is hot and incorporated.  Push the mixture to the side of the pan, leaving an open space in the middle.  Add the teriyaki sauce and mix everything together.  Stir well and constantly  so sauce doesn’t stick to the middle of the pan and so everything gets coated.  Remove from heat and serve with hot steamed rice.  Top with green onions and cashews if desired.  For added heat, top with Sriracha sauce and / or red pepper flakes.

My Teriyaki Sauce:
1/2 C Coconut Aminos Teriyaki Sauce (this is gluten free and soy free) (I get mine at vitacost.com)
1/4 C Coconut Aminos Soy Substitute Sauce (this is gluten free and soy free)
2 T corn starch
Dash of toasted sesame oil
Dash of rice wine vinegar
Dash of garlic powder or granules (optional)
1 T water
1 T brown sugar

This is just to stretch the expensive Coconut Aminos Teriyaki Sauce and make it more flavorful.
Mix all ingredients in a bowl to combine well.  Set aside until the end of cooking time.

If I don’t have the bottled teriyaki sauce, I will make my version using only the soy substitute sauce like this:
1/2 C Coconut Aminos Soy Substitute Sauce (this is gluten free and soy free)
1/4 C water
2 T corn starch
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp rice wine vinegar
3 T brown sugar
Dash of garlic powder or granules

To make a lot of Teriyaki Sauce:
1 1/2 C cold water
3/4 C packed brown sugar
1/2 C soy sauce (Tamari for GF; Coconut Aminos for GF and Soy Free)
1 tsp garlic powder (or granulated garlic)
3 T corn starch
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp rice wine vinegar

Mix all the ingredients together in a saucepan and then put over medium heat on the stove.
Whisk it continually and don’t turn your back on it and walk away like I did.  The color will change and darken as the sauce begins to thicken. Once it has thickened, take it off the heat.

Serve over grilled chicken, fish, tofu, rice, or sautéed vegetables.

Tip: Make a big batch and keep in a mason jar or a recycled teriyaki sauce bottle in your refrigerator. It’s great to have on hand for last minute meals and it keeps well.