Posted on Jul 29, 2015
Think going green will cost too much or take too much time? You might be surprised at how much time, energy and money you can save by making a few changes in your home to make it more energy efficient. And don’t worry that it will be too much work because some new high tech tools are making it easier than ever.
There are also other intuitive devices to help you reduce your energy consumption at home. A power strip for sale by Belkin will shut down power going to a series of electronics by simply turning off one of the components. This is a great solution for home offices and entertainment centers. And here’s another smart tip: For those items at home which run off batteries, invest in reusable ones. They will cost a little more than regular batteries but more than make up for that cost in the long run. A gadget that will easily help you make the switch is the Energizer Universal Charger. This device will charge AA, AAA, C, D, and 9V batteries, so you also reduce clutter by only having one charger for all of your battery charging needs.
Posted on Jul 28, 2015
The real estate market has many homeowners staying in place and looking for ways to make their current abode the most comfortable it can be. Because they’re not selling, homeowners are looking at remodeling rooms, changing out decorating schemes and in some cases, even adding on to the home.
Posted on Jul 22, 2015
For starters, they have most of their ingredients measured and ready ahead of time, “magically” shaving time off their meal-prep demonstrations. What trips up many home cooks is timing. They get started on a recipe and one of the ingredients gets overly browned or over-cooked while waiting for the next ingredient to be ready to go into the dish.
Relying more on canned foods, which come pre-cleaned, chopped and cooked, and easily portioned, can help you quickly assemble delicious and nutritious meals like the pros. Think of them as your personal prep kitchen. But, as evidenced by a recent consumer survey, Americans are unsure of the benefits canned foods bring to the table.
The fact is many professional chefs, accomplished home cooks and registered dietitians regularly incorporate canned ingredients into their recipes, so you can feel confident doing so as well. Consider these five key facts about canned foods.
1. Canned food is filled with important nutrients, including fiber, protein, and vitamins and minerals essential for a healthy diet. Yet, less than half (42 percent) of Americans surveyed realize the nutrients in canned food count toward meeting the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s dietary recommendations.
2. Research shows canned foods offer comparable nutrients often at a lower cost than their fresh or frozen counterparts, particularly when waste and prep-time are considered. Additional research demonstrates that recipes prepared with canned ingredients rated the same or better in terms of taste and nutrition compared to those using fresh or frozen ingredients.
3. Canned food contributes less than 1 percent of the sodium in consumers’ diets and there are more no-salt added, low- and reduced-sodium options on grocery shelves than ever before. A quick drain and rinse can further reduce sodium content by 41 percent.
4. Canned foods are considered minimally processed foods. After being cleaned, peeled, chopped and trimmed, as necessary, foods are cooked in the can to lock in nutrients and flavor.
5. Steel cans are strong, tamper resistant and feature an airtight seal to help guard against foodborne illness and contamination. In addition, steel cans are the most recycled food package.
So, the next time you are inspired to experiment like a pro, using recipes such as these tuna and black bean lettuce wraps, plan to work in a few canned ingredients to ensure you have plenty of time to enjoy the company of the family and friends gathered around your table.
To learn more about the facts about canned foods and discover more great recipes featuring canned ingredients, visit www.Mealtime.org/Myths.
Tuna and Black Bean Salad Wraps
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (11 ounces) tuna in olive oil, drained
3/4 cup fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped, or canned diced tomatoes
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon minced Serrano peppers
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 large butter lettuce leaves
In a large bowl, combine beans, tuna, tomatoes, onion, peppers, oil and lime juice. Toss gently, being careful to keep tuna in bite-size pieces. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Add parsley and cilantro; season with salt and pepper. Spoon tuna salad into lettuce leaves. Fold up leaves and eat taco style. Serves 6.
Nutritional Information Per Serving:
Calories 270; Total fat 17g; Saturated fat 2.5g; Cholesterol 15mg; Sodium 200mg; Carbohydrate 14g; Fiber 5g; Protein 18g; ; Vitamin A 25%DV*; Vitamin C 20%DV; Calcium 4%DV; Iron 10%DV * Daily Value
Posted on Jul 15, 2015
(BPT) – Indoors or outdoors, your home decor needs some TLC to look its best. Replacing worn or dated furniture or flooring inside your home is considered fairly easy. But when outdoor spaces start to appear shabby, do you decide to live with the tired look because you think freshening the space will be too time-consuming or costly?
A few budget-friendly improvements and decorating touches can revitalize worn outdoor spaces and help them look new and inviting again. Here are some common challenges, and tips for overcoming them:
Worn decks, patios or porches
Decks, patios and porches are popular spots for home improvements – ones that create a staging place for outdoor entertaining or just relaxing and enjoying nature. When a wood deck becomes old and worn, or concrete patios crack, you may think the only solution is to replace them. But before you take that costly step, consider alternatives that can revitalize the existing surface without the need to replace it.
According to Scott Richards, senior vice president of marketing at Behr Paints, BEHR DECKOVER Solid Color Coating is a smooth finish resurfacing product that brings old, weathered wood or concrete surfaces back to life with a unique solution that hasn’t existed before, and it’s a budget-friendly alternative to replacing deck boards, railings, porches, boat docks, pool decking or patios.
“BEHR DECKOVER protects against the elements, while refreshing the appearance of wood and concrete,” says Richards. “With just two coats and no primer needed, the thick coating covers splinters and fills cracks up to a quarter of an inch, spreading as easily as paint. We’ve created a way to achieve a low maintenance deck that resists the elements, repels water and creates a smooth, slip-resistant finish that is comfortable for bare feet.” It’s available at The Home Depot stores nationwide and comes in 54 colors. Visit www.behr.com to learn more.
Adding accents like decorative railings or lighted post caps can also revive the look of older decks. Deck manufacturers offer a variety of options for railings, from carved wood to metal and even glass. In most cases, you can add these railings to your existing deck boards, allowing you to replace just part of the deck and achieve a brand-new, designer look.
Replacing sun-faded, weather-damaged cushions on outdoor furniture is a good start, and easy enough to do. But what do you do when the furniture frame has seen better days? Depending on the type of construction, you have several options including painting and reupholstering.
Landscaping and lighting
Modern outdoor settings allow nature and technology to meet. Give your exterior living space a new modern look by upgrading both landscaping and lighting. Improving your landscaping can be as easy as planting a few container gardens around your deck or patio and filling them with flowers that will bloom throughout the season. Nothing looks fresher and livelier than flowers.
Next, look at how your outdoor space is lit. Adding lighting allows you to enjoy the space safely after the sun goes down, but dated lighting can make your deck or patio look dull. Plus, older lights are often not as energy-efficient as newer options. Upgrade lighting by replacing old fixtures with newer options, such as solar-powered lights or ones that use energy-sipping CFLs or LEDs.
Making your old outdoor space look like it belongs beside a new showcase home doesn’t have to be difficult or costly. With a few budget-minded tips and tools, it’s possible for any do-it-yourselfer to make everything old new again.
Posted on Jul 14, 2015
Summer vacation gives children a break from schoolwork, but for many, their participation in sports will continue in warm weather months. Parents, coaches and players need to keep injury prevention in mind to ensure sports stay safe and fun throughout the summer.
Posted on Jul 8, 2015
(BPT) – Parents often use the adage “You are what you eat!” to encourage children to make healthy food choices, but the saying is equally true for mature adults. Providing your body with a variety of nutrients lets you feel your best, and may even prevent disease and help you live longer.
Allison Tannis is a nutritionist, author and professional consultant. She believes that aging well means eating well. She recommends these five super nutrients to help baby boomers and older adults age well and stay healthy.
“It can be hard to see fat as healthy, but omega-3 fatty acids are potentially one of the most important nutrients for our health,” says Tannis. “Omega-3 fatty acids are vital to the maintenance and function of our eyes, brain and nervous system – parts of us that start to weaken with increasing age. In addition, these healthy fats have great ability to fight inflammation that is the cause of painful joints, cardiovascular disease and even wrinkles.”
How can you get your daily dose of 1 to 2 grams of omega-3s, as recommended by the American Heart Association? Wild-caught fish like salmon, sardines and Arctic char are good sources of omega-3s. Plant sources of omega-3s include flax, chia and hemp. It can be difficult to get enough omega-3s from food sources, so supplements are a good alternative.
“Every morning I wake with the best intentions of eating healthy, but then life can get in the way,” Tannis says. “Using daily supplements ensures my body gets all of the essential nutrients it needs to be at its best. I take Nordic Naturals fish oils, available in liquids, soft gels and even an effervescent drink.”
2. Vitamin D
“Vitamin D is really only available to us from the sun,” explains Tannis. “Sure, there are foods such as milk and orange juice that have added vitamin D. For some, these foods are a great choice, but for others, it can be hard to ensure you’re getting enough of this essential vitamin through fortified foods.”
Older people are prone to vitamin D deficiency, and therefore, may experience muscle weakness or impaired intestinal absorption. Tannis suggests that everyone, no matter their age, consider a vitamin D supplement if diet and sun exposure aren’t adequate. From tasteless liquid drops to pills that combine multiple nutrients, there are a variety of options for vitamin D supplementation.
“Probiotics fight inflammation, promote digestive health and much more,” says Tannis. “With age, there is a decrease in the most prominent probiotic in the colon, Bifidobacteria, leaving the colon prone to inflammation, which increases the risk of disease and discomfort.”
Foods like kefir and yogurt are common sources of probiotics, but often it’s not enough to get the full benefits. Probiotic supplements are a great way to maintain and rebuild probiotic levels in your digestive tract. “Seek out one with lots of different probiotic species,” recommends Tannis. “You’ve got hundreds of kinds of probiotics in you. Each probiotic offers its own unique health benefits to your body, so having lots of different kinds in your system can help your body be at its best.”
4. Green foods
“Greens are packed with more nutrients per bite than almost anything else on your plate. They are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and more,” says Tannis.
What green foods are the best?
“The best greens to eat are the ones you like – you don’t have to hate your food. Love your food! Choose some greens that you enjoy and then, once a week, try something outside your comfort zone,” Tannis suggests. “If you simply can’t stomach enough greens, there are plenty of powders available, from simple single ingredient products to complex formulas.”
No matter what your age, eating a balanced diet provides your body with plenty of nutrients. “Try to ensure that at some point each day you enjoy foods from each color of the rainbow, and artificial coloring doesn’t count,” says Tannis.
Taking a multivitamin is one way to ensure your body has the minimum amounts of the essential nutrients it needs each day to function properly. If you are considering a multivitamin, look for one that is designed for your age, activity level and gender. –
“Food hasn’t changed, even though it feels that everyone is telling you something new about it,” says Tannis. “Enjoy a well-balanced diet, rich in colorful fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains and fish. Nutrition really can be easy to swallow.”