Author Archives: Benjamin

Fruit Smoothies are an Easy and Healthy After-School Snack

The key to making these smoothies creamy is frozen fruit so the ideal would be to fill up the freezer with some fresh fruit or buy frozen fruit straight from the supermarket.

Bananas can go brown and ripen soon after purchasing but instead of throwing them away, peel them and cut into chunks and place in a bag in the freezer. Bananas are the base of most great fruit smoothies.

Just note that you will need a blender to make these drinks and it doesn’t have to be an expensive addition to the kitchen. Hand-held stick blenders can be found in the supermarket for under $10. It’s a purchase that will pay for itself over and over in smoothies.

Milk or No-Milk Based Smoothies

Smoothies can be made with or without milk. If you or your child has any kind of intolerance to milk then try a soy-based smoothie or no-milk smoothie. I tend to use orange, mango or mixed breakfast fruit juice, but cold water is also a great option.

If making a milk smoothie, ice-cream or yoghurt can also be added if the idea is that you are trying to pump more calcium into your kids.

The smoothie recipes below normally make 2-3 large serves.

Simple Very Berry Smoothie Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 2 frozen bananas, chopped
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • Extra ice, optional

Simple Very Berry Smoothie Directions

  1. Pour the orange juice into the blender.
  2. Add all frozen ingredients.
  3. Blend on SMOOTHIE setting until smooth.
  4. If using a hand-held stick blender, place all the ingredients in a deep jug and move the blender up and down to crush the frozen fruit.
  5. Serve immediately over ice.

Tropical Mango Smoothie Ingredients

  • 2 cups frozen mango (if you cannot get fresh or frozen mango, try canned mango as it works just as well.)
  • 2 frozen bananas, chopped
  • 2 cups orange or mango juice
  • Extra ice, optional

Tropical Mango Smoothie Directions

  1. Pour the orange or mango juice into the blender.
  2. Add all frozen ingredients.
  3. Blend on SMOOTHIE setting until smooth.
  4. If using a hand-held stick blender, place all the ingredients in a deep jug and move the blender up and down to crush the frozen fruit.
  5. Serve immediately over ice.

Basic Banana Smoothie Ingredients

  • 2 cups cold milk
  • 2 frozen bananas, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon plain yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon honey, optional
  • Extra ice, optional

Basic Banana Smoothie Directions

  1. Pour the milk into the blender.
  2. Add the frozen bananas and yoghurt.
  3. Blend on SMOOTHIE setting until smooth.
  4. If using a hand-held stick blender, place all the ingredients in a deep jug and move the blender up and down to crush the frozen fruit.
  5. Taste to see if sweet enough. Add honey if required.
  6. Serve immediately over ice.

How to Treat Right Sided Abdominal Pain Symptoms

Right sided Abdominal pain is usually pain that mainly occurs at the right portion of the abdomen or belly. The abdomen is located at the midsection of the body—which includes the abs and the torso area in between the chest and the pelvis. It is actually normal for a person to experience some occasional abdominal pain. The severity of abdominal pain can vary from mild to severe—depending on the cause, and the health of the individual. Since there are numerous causes of right sided abdominal pain, there are various symptoms.

In most cases, right sided abdominal pain does not pose a any serious threat to the health of a person. If someone is experiencing excruciating pain in the belly area, and if the symptoms last for weeks and months, it is essential to contact a doctor. Prolonged and severe abdominal pain may be signs of something more serious. The following information shows how to recognize the symptoms, and how to treat right sided abdominal pain.

Right Sided Abdominal Pain Symptoms

In order to effectively treat abdominal pain, it is essential to know the main symptoms. Mild right sided abdominal pain is very common, and everyone experiences from time to time. The main differences between mild and severe abdominal pain symptoms are the duration, and the severity of the symptoms. People who are experiencing common abdominal pain will likely feel a brief stomach ache that usually lasts up to day.

Individuals who have severe right sided abdominal pain are likely to experience the following the symptoms: fever, inability to digest food properly, breathing problems, diarrhea, blood mixed stools, excruciating pain in the abdomen that lasts for last for an extended period of time, and frequent vomiting. If someone is experiencing these symptoms, the abdominal pain is likely caused by something more serious. It is best to contact the doctor if these symptoms are felt.

Right Sided Abdominal Pain Treatment

Fortunately, it is possible to treat mild right sided abdominal pain symptoms with basic home treatments. Here are some home treatment tips for abdominal pain.

Drink clear water and other type of liquids that are clear. Allergic substances found fluids can at times induce abdominal pain. Do not consume solid foods after first few hours of the abdominal pain. If someone has been vomiting due to digestion problems or food poisoning, it is recommended to wait at least six hours before eating solid foods. During that time, substitute the solid for crackers, yogurt, and other light foods.

If the abdominal pain is due to heartburn or acid reflux disease, it is best to eat major meals about three hours or more before going to sleep. Antacid can be used to provide some relief, if the person is susceptible to heartburn.

Quick, Easy, Healthy Chicken Breast Recipes: Simple Recipe for Special Low Fat Crockpot and Casserole Meals

Families in America eat a lot of chicken and that’s a good thing. It’s healthy, easy to cook and tastes great in a lot of different dishes. Every cook should have these three quick chicken recipes in her file.

Crockpot Mexican Chicken Taco Stew Recipe

Everyone loves this simple chicken dinner, which cooks all day while people are at work and school, and can be served in a jiffy when it’s time to eat.

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 small package of frozen corn
  • 1 can of black beans, drained
  • 1 package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 medium-sized jar salsa
  • 1 package low fat cream cheese
  • cilantro
  • avocado
  • lime

Directions:

  1. Lay the chicken breasts in the bottom of a crockpot.
  2. Cover with corn, beans and salsa and sprinkle the taco seasoning on top of everything.
  3. Cook covered on low all day.
  4. 30 minutes before serving, add cream cheese.
  5. Before eating, shred the chicken and mix everything together.
  6. Serve with tortillas or as a stew and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro, avocado and lime.

Easy Curry Chicken Recipe

Use a favorite combination of curry spices with these simple ingredients to make a healthy, comforting and filling stew. Feel free to add other fresh vegetables like carrots, green beans or strips of pepper to the pot.

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 2 large cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons curry powder
  • salt and pepper
  • plain vanilla yogurt
  • mango chutney

Directions:

  1. In a large stockpot over medium heat, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil for about 5 minutes.
  2. Cut the chicken into large bite-sized pieces, add to the pot and sauté for 10 minutes.
  3. Turn the heat up and add tomatoes.
  4. Chop cauliflower into large bite-sized pieces and add to the pot along with the chickpeas.
  5. Add curry powder and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for at least four hours.
  7. Serve over rice accompanied by yogurt and chutney.

Bird of Paradise Chicken Recipe

This easy to make chicken isn’t low fat, but it is incredibly delicious and worth every calorie. Sure to impress guests, cooks can have it made and on the table in 45 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 and ½ cups of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup of sherry

Directions:

  1. Mix the eggs and milk together in a bowl and pour the parmesan cheese onto some wax paper.
  2. Dip chicken breasts into egg mixtures and then coat completely with cheese.
  3. Melt butter in a frying pan, preferably a cast iron skillet.
  4. Add the coated chicken to the pan and brown each breast on both sides.
  5. Pour the sherry over the browned chicken and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
  6. Serve with wild rice and steamed sugar snap peas.

Herbal Healing: How to Make a Calendula Tincture

Calendula, or pot marigold, has many beneficial medicinal qualities that have been utilized by humans since the 12th century (University of Maryland Medical Center). Being anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral, it is a very useful herb for cuts and scrapes. When steeped in alcohol to create a tincture, this herb’s properties can be easily utilized to treat cuts, scrapes, bruises, burns, acne, heartburn, eczema, and cold sores, as well as many other conditions (Country Wisdom & Know-How). Making your own calendula tincture is a very easy process that yields a product that is cost-effective and highly useful.

About Calendula

Calendula should not be confused with ornamental marigolds (Tagets genus), used commonly in gardens. While often called “pot marigold,” calendula has no relation to those small flowers lining your mother’s driveway. It looks similar to a golden daisy (and belongs to the same family).

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, calendula contains a high amount of flavonoids (antioxidants that fight free radicals). Currently no one is sure what exact ingredient in the flower produces such healing qualities, though it has proven to be fairly effective when used topically. It is possible that it increases the blood flow to the wound and promotes the body’s production of collagen proteins, therefore helping to speed healing of the the wound.

In addition to healing burns, cuts, and bruises, calendula can be taken orally when extremely diluted. Calendula’s ability to lower stomach acid levels can be used to treat ulcers and heartburn, and is effective in tincture form. Add between five and ten drops (1-2 mL) of calendula tincture to two tablespoons (30 mL) of the tea of your choice. Due to the bitter taste of this tincture, there are benefits to ingesting a smaller amount rather than an entire cup (Country Wisdom & Know-How).

There has also been a study that shows calendula may have an effect against an unfortunate side effect of radiation for breast cancer patients. “Preliminary evidence suggests that calendula may help prevent dermatitis in breast cancer patients during radiation. In one study of 254 patients, women who used calendula lotion were less likely to suffer from grade II or higher dermatitis compared to those who used trolamine lotion” (UMMC).

How to Make a Tincture

A tincture is best used topically for minor burns, scrapes, cuts, and bruises, as well as a diluted tea for internal use. If something only for minor skin irritations and other topical uses is needed, it may be more convenient or beneficial to make an infused oil or skin salve. But due to the versatility of tinctures, some find it helpful to have a jar on hand.

To make a tincture only a few ingredients are needed. Calendula flowers are a necessity. You can buy seeds (online or at your local garden shop) and grow calendula flowers yourself. Growing plants is a very rewarding process, and calendula is a very easy flower to grow that is not too picky about its soil. Once fully grown, cut the flowers (promoting growth of new flowers) and hang them upside-down to dry. Alternatively, if time is of the essence, you can purchase flowers or petals in bulk online. Often there are vendors on Etsy.com that sell the flower.

Alcohol is also needed, ideally between 80 and 100 proof (40-50% alcohol). Vodka is ideal, though an expensive brand is not at all necessary. The amount needed depends on the size of your jar. Do not use rubbing alcohol.

You will also need a glass jar (such as Ball jars), cheesecloth, and a dark glass bottle:

  • Gently chop or grind the flowers to release the volatile oils. The amount of calendula used should be a quarter of the volume of the glass jar (1/4 cup calendula for a one cup jar).
  • Cover the herb with three times as much alcohol as herb. Run a knife around the inside edge of the jar to release any air bubbles.
  • Close the jar tightly and place in a cool, dark place. For 2-4 weeks, shake the jar daily to ensure that the calendula remains covered in the alcohol.
  • After 2-4 weeks, strain the alcohol through the cheesecloth into another container. Gather the calendula into the cheesecloth and squeeze out any excess alcohol.
  • Pour the tincture into the dark glass bottle. Label the bottle and store at room temperature.

Cautions

Though calendula is safe for most people when taken properly, there are some precautions to take. Those that are pregnant or breast-feeding should not take calendula orally. Those with an allergy to ragweed and related plants should not take calendula. Also, calendula should only be used on minor wounds, as it sometimes may be too efficient at sealing a wound for deep cuts.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.