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Friday, January 31, 2014

HAPPY LUNAR NEW YEAR!

Happy Lunar New Year Everyone! 
Did you know that people born in the year of the horse (1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, and 2014) are characterized as independent, free spirited, tolerant, and humble? Some famous people born in the year of the horse are Clint Eastwood, James Dean, Janet Jackson, and Ella Fitzgerald!

The year of the horse is traditionally a lucky one for everyone. It is said that during this year everyone is optimistic and people generally work together. It is also a fantastic year for traveling! Also, people born in the year of the tiger, dog, or sheep are compatible with the horse and when working together will bring great success and prosperity!

We wish everyone a year filled with good health, happiness, and prosperity! Cheers!

Source: http://www.chiff.com/a/chinese-horoscopes.htm

The Kitten Bowl

Not really a Super Bowl person? how about watching the Kitten Bowl instead?  The Hallmark Channel is showing an alternative to those not really interested in watching the Super Bowl this Sunday.  The kitten featured are not only cute to watch but also had a happy ending because they were all adopted (the show was taped last October).  So turn on your TV to the Hallmark Channel this Sunday and have a purrr-ing good time watching the kittens in action.


                                                     Courtesy of the Hallmark Channel

Happy Lunar New Year! Let Us Welcome the Year of the Horse.


This Friday marks the beginning of a new year for those who follow the lunar calendar; 2014 is the year of the horse.

Good year for Sheep, Tigers and Dogs. After a poor year in 2013 for those born in the Year of the Dog (1958, 1970, 1982, 2006), things should be looking up in 2014 for them as well as those born in the Years of the Sheep (1967, 1979, 1991, 2003) and Tiger (1962, 1974, 1986, 1998). Dogs who suffered in 2013 in the "Year of the Widow" were advised against marriage last year but should find good dating prospects this year. Sheep will have an especially good promotion year and Tigers considering buying real estate should go through with them as 2014 will be a good year for property hungry tigers.

Bad year for Rat, Ox and Horse. Not so fortunate this year are those born in the year of the Rat (1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008), Ox (1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009) and Horse (1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002). It is a bad year for Rats to do any investing. This year will also be extra tough for the Ox because unlike horses they are "farm animals" who have to work extra hard and serve people. However, all the hard work the Ox puts in this year should translate into financial prosperity. It is believed that those whose astrological year it is will suffer poor luck so it will be an especially hard year health wise for those born in the year of the horse/

Good year for Travel. All things aside, the year of the horse is believed to be a good year for travel, so start booking those vacations!


Good year for Sheeps, Tigers and Dogs. After a poor year in 2013 for those born in the Year of the Dog (1958, 1970, 1982, 2006), things should be looking up in 2014 for them as well as those born in the Years of the Sheep (19
67, 1979, 1991, 2003) and Tiger (1962, 1974, 1986, 1998). Dogs who suffered in 2013 in the "Year of the Widow" were advised against marriage last year but should find good dating prospects this year. Sheep will have an especially good promotion year and Tigers considering buying real estate should go through with them as 2014 will be a good year for property hungry tigers.
Bad year for Rat, Ox and Horse. Not so fortunate this year are those born in the year of the Rat (1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008), Ox (1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009) and Horse (1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002). It is a bad year for Rats to do any investing. This year will also be extra tough for the Ox because unlike horses they are "farm animals" who have to work extra hard and serve people. However, all the hard work the Ox puts in this year should translate into financial prosperity. It is believed that those whose astrological year it is will suffer poor luck so it will be an especially hard year health wise for those born in the year of the horse/

Good year for Travel. All things aside, the year of the horse is believed to be a good year for travel, so start booking those vacations!


Bad year for Rat, Ox and Horse. Not so fortunate this year are those born in the year of the Rat (1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008), Ox (1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009) and Horse (1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002). It is a bad year for Rats to do any investing. This year will also be extra tough for the Ox because unlike horses they are "farm animals" who have to work extra hard and serve people. However, all the hard work the Ox puts in this year should translate into financial prosperity. It is believed that those whose astrological year it is will suffer poor luck so it will be an especially hard year health wise for those born in the year of the horse/
Good year for Travel. All things aside, the year of the horse is believed to be a good year for travel, so start booking those vacations!


Good year for Travel. All things aside, the year of the horse is believed to be a good year for travel, so start booking those vacations!



For many in Vietnam and China as well as other parts of Asia, astrological readings and predictions are all for good fun. For those of a superstitious nature, here is some advice for the upcoming year from horoscope experts:

Sunday, January 26, 2014

YUM YUM YUM!

Hi everyone! We've got more delicious, healthy, and braces-friendly recipes for you! We hope these recipes are fun to make and delicious to eat! If you have recipes you would like to share be sure to send them to us and we will add it to our blog so that everyone can try them out! Bon appetit! 

Grapefruit, Salmon, and Avocado Salad

What you'll need: 
2 skinless wild-salmon fillets (each about 8 ounces, 1 inch thick)
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 Ruby Red grapefruit, peel and pith removed, segmented
1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced
2 cups sunflower shoots, watercress leaves, or a combination of both
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Steps: 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Season salmon with salt and pepper. Place in a 9-inch baking dish. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with half of scallions. Bake for about 10-12 minutes until salmon is opaque in center. Break salmon into large pieces onto dish. Add grapefruit, avocado, greens and scallions. Season with salt and pepper. As a dressing, mix together the remaining 2 tablespoons oil with lime juice and salt. Easy as 1-2-3!

Roasted Broccoli with Pumpkin Seeds and Grated Pecorino 

What you'll need:
2 pounds broccoli, stems peeled and sliced, florets cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1/3 cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2 cups cooked short-grain brown rice
Lemon wedges

Steps:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place broccoli and pumpkin seeds on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle on salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast for 20 minutes  until golden and tender. Sprinkle with cheese. Top this broccoli mixture on top of rice. Serve with lemon wedges. YUM!

Lentil Patties with Lettuce and Yogurt

What you'll need:
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons dried French green lentils
Coarse salt
1 small red onion, half finely diced, half thinly sliced
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1 head lettuce, such as oak leaf, Bibb, or escarole, leaves separated
1/2 cup plain yogurt
Cayenne pepper
8 to 12 caper berries

Steps:
1: Boil lentils in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat, season with salt, and simmer until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and let cool. 

2: Combine lentils, 1/2 teaspoon salt, diced red onion, eggs, breadcrumbs, and parsley in a medium bowl. Transfer half of mixture to a food processor; pulse until smooth. Fold into remaining lentil mixture until well combined. Using a 1/4-cup measure as a scoop, shape mixture into eight 2 1/2-inch patties.

3: Heat a heavy, large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil. Add patties in a single layer. Cook, turning once, until crisp and brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer patties to serving plates and let cool slightly.

4: Divide lettuce leaves among serving plates; top with lentil patties. Divide yogurt among plates. Season with salt, sprinkle with cayenne, and drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with caper berries, sliced onion, and parsley.

Source: All recipes are courtesy of MarthaStewart magazine

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Frozen Food--It's Not What You'd Think!

Frozen fruits and vegetables offer many practical virtues: They are available year-round, are easy to cook, and are usually inexpensive. However, there is often a negative connotation that goes along with the word, "frozen"--it's not fresh so it must not be as healthy or tasty as raw produce. The Frozen Food Foundation has funded three studies comparing the nutritional content of fresh and frozen produce that may change your mind. They found that frozen produce was as nutritious overall is fresh produce, and in some cases, more nutritious then produce the head didn't refrigerated at home for 5 days. Frozen broccoli, strawberries and green peas all had more vitamin C than the refrigerated samples. Amazing! However, frozen spinach had less vitamin C then the fresh or refrigerated samples. So the next time that a recipe calls for these ingredients, you might be able to save a little time and money by buying them frozen. 

What are your thoughts on this study about frozen food versus raw produce? Are they indeed healthier? How about tastier? Let us know what you think! 



Source
Article: Sarah Naussaur for The Wall Street Journal
Photo: F. Martin Ramin for The Wall Street Journal

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Men and Women's Brain Are Wired Differently
There is truth behind the thinking that "men are from Mars and women are from Venus."  Apparently, there are gender differences in brain connections, and these variations may influence the way men and women perceive reality, process information, form judgments and behave socially. Here is the scientific explanation of man's one-track mind...
In 2011, Dr. Jahanshad and her UCLA collaborators conducted a brain-imaging study of healthy twins (147 women and 87 men), to trace connections in the brain. She discovered "significant" sex differences in areas of the brain's frontal lobe, which is associated with self-control, speech and decision-making. Another study of brain imaging (949 healthy young people, 521 females and 428 males) by Dr. Verma's team at the University of Pennsylvania, found the myriad connections between important parts of the brain developed differently in girls and boys as they grow. Their results showed different patterns of brain connections among young women and young men; women are mostly better connected left-to-right and right-to-left across the two brain hemispheres. This finding suggests that women might be better wired for multitasking and analytical thought, which require coordination of activity in both hemispheres. On the other hand (or hemisphere), men may be better wired for more-focused tasks that require attention to one thing a time. (http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304744304579248151866594232)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Delicious Braces-Friendly Recipes

Breakfast
Gingerbread French Toast

What you'll need: 
6 eggs
1 2/3 cups of milk
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground ginger
12-14 whole-grain bread slices

Steps:
In a large bowl combine milk and spices. Break eggs in a separate bowl. Add the mixture to the eggs and mix well. Prepare a skillet with cooking spray. Dip bread into egg mixture coating both sides. Cook slices in the skillet over medium heat until lightly browned. Let cool. It's easy, it's fun, and delicious!!

Source: Working Mothers Magazine

Ham & Deviled Egg Sandwiches

What you'll need:
8 large eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon hot sauce
3/4 teaspoon hot paprika
1/4 cup finely chopped dill pickles plus 1 1/2 tablespoons brine from the jar
1 tablespoon thinly sliced scallion Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup torn frisee, light green parts only
1 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
4 1-ounce slices of baked country ham
4 english muffins split and lightly toasted

Steps:
Cover eggs with water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately high heat for 8 minutes. Drain and cool eggs. Peel and chop. In a large bowl whisk the mayonnaise with the mustard, hot sauce, paprika, and 1 tablespoon of pickle brine. Add the chopped eggs, pickles and scallion and season with salt and pepper. In a medium bowl, toss the frisee with the olive oil and the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of pickle brine. Season with salt and pepper. Preheat a large cast-iron skillet. Fry the ham slices until lightly browned. Lay the slices on muffin bottoms and top with egg salad and frisee. 

Source: Working Mothers Magazine

Main Dish
Barley Risotto with Shrimp

What you'll need: 
4 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, finely diced
1 cup whole grain barley
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth
3/4 lb medium shrimp peeled and deveined 
1 pinch crushed red pepper
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
1 lemon half zested

Steps:
In a large saucepan, melt 2 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in the barley and wine and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Add the broth and 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook until the barley is tender and the liquid is absorbed about 45 minutes. Stir the shrimp into the barley, Cover and cook until the shrimp are firm and pink. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoon butter and crushed red pepper; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the rosemary and lemon zest. TA-DAH! 

Source: Rachel Ray Magazine

Mushroom-Polenta Lasagna

What you'll need for the sauce:
1/2 ounce package dried porcini mushrooms rinsed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound button mushrooms trimmed and quartered
1 pound shiitake mushrooms stems removed caps quartered
kosher salt
1 small onion chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
15 ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes crushed by hand
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

What you'll need for the lasagna:
2 1/2 cups instant polenta 
Koscher salt
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 large eggs lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
extra virgin olive oil for baking dish
3 cups grated part-skim mozzarella cheese

Steps:
1. For the sauce, soak the dried porcini in 3 cups hot water for 30 minutes. Drain and reserve 2 cups of the soaking liquid. Roughly chop the porcini.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add half of the button and shiitake mushrooms and cook until slightly browned on the bottom. Continue to cook stirring until soft then transfer to bowl. Repeat with another 1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil and the remaining button and shiitake mushrooms. Transfer to the bowl and add 1/2 teaspoon salt. 
3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil to the skillet. Add the onion and porcini and cook, stirring, until the onion is soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring until darkened, 1-2 minutes. Add the reserved 2 cups porcini liquid, the crushed tomatoes, button and shiitake mushrooms and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley; season with salt. 
4. Prepare the lasagna: Bring 7 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan; transfer to a large heatproof bowl. Meanwhile, bring 3 cups water to a boil in a separate large saucepan. Gradually whisk the polenta and 1 1/2 teaspoon s salt into the bowl of hot water. Cover the bowl tightly with foil and set over the saucepan of boiling water. Reduce the heat so the water is simmering; cook the polenta until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, uncover and vigorously whisk in the parmesan eggs and nutmeg. 
5. Preheat the over to 350. Lightly brush a 3 quart baking dish with olive oil. Spread one third of the polenta in the dish and top with half of the mushroom sauce. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella. Repeat the layers, then top with the remaining polenta. Loosely cover the dish with foil and bake until bubbly for about an hour. Turn on the broiler. Uncover the lasagna and top with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella; broil until melted for about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley. YUMMY!

Source: FoodNetwork

Dessert
Rothschild Soufflé 

What you'll need:
1/2 cup candied and dried fruits, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
3 tablespoons kirsch
3 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoon sugar
3 1/2 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 cup cold whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 large eggs separated
Confectioners' sugar for dusting

Steps:
In a bowl, soak the fruits in the kirsch for 30 minutes or overnight. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 1 quart soufflé dish with butter and dust with 2 tablespoons of butter over moderate heat. Whisk in the flour to form a paste and cook, whisking constantly until thickened for 1 minute. Remove the béchamel from the heat then whisk in the vanilla and remaining 1/3 cup of sugar. Whisk in 4 egg yolks; reserve the remaining yolk for another use. In a clean bowl beat the whites until firm peaks form; whisk one third of the béchamel then fold in the remaining whites. fold in the fruit and kirsch; scrape into the dish. Bake for 25 minutes until puffed and lightly golden. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Simply delicious! 

Source: Food and Wine 


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Keeping New Year's resolution can be made easier.
         "Goal factoring" can help you keep your resolution. It is a method of designing better plans. According to the experts, being more logical and rationalizing your emotions is the key to keeping yourself on track. For example, if one of your goal is to getting in shape this year and you are considering getting a gym membership, factoring out reasons to motivate you (such as health, stress relief, weight loss) will help you decide if you are ready for the commitment. (Wall Street Journal 12/31/13)

Here are some smartphone apps that can help you stay on track with your daily tasks and to achieving your goals:
1. Any.do - Also known as The Life Coach, lets you set up and prioritize tasks to do each day and ensures you nothing gets forgotten.
2. Carrot To-Do - A productivity tool that is much like a game. For every task you complete every time, you score points that unlocks new features in the app.
3. Asana - This app is about collaboration, allowing your friends or family, to share information and updates when it comes to big projects such as planning a birthday party or a holiday get-together.
4. Wunderlist - This app lets you add notes, sub-tasks and reminders.

Good luck with your resolutions for 2014!