Thursday, September 30, 2010

Recipes From You: Black Bean Salad

My sister in laws and mom in law have been swapping recipes, and I thought I would throw this one in that my sister in law gave me. Which by the way, is raising one of the healthiest families I know. She is always giving her kids incredible dishes that are fresh and healthy-and if that doesn't convince you how healthy she is-her kids LOVE and crave vegetables...I've honestly never heard of it, but she's done it:)

Black Bean Salad Recipe
1 (15 ounce) can of black beans, thoroughly rinsed, and drained (or 1 1/2 cup of freshly cooked black beans)
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, defrosted (or fresh corn, parboiled, drained and cooled)
1/2 cup chopped green onions or shallots
2 fresh jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced, or 1 whole pickled jalapeño pepper, minced (not seeded)
3 fresh plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
2 Tbsp lime juice (about the amount of juice from one lime)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of sugar (to taste)-(i used splenda and it tasted just as great)
Salt and pepper to taste

Make sure to rinse and drain the beans, if you are using canned beans.
In a large bowl, combine the beans, corn, onions, jalapeno chile peppers, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, basil, lime juice and olive oil. Add sugar and salt and pepper to taste. (The sugar will help balance the acidity from the tomatoes and lime juice.) Chill before serving.
Serves 6 to 8.

(Thanks so much Liz! I LOVED this salad!)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Recipes From You: Roasted Asparagus and Roasted Mushrooms

I got a few recipes from you via email, but not a whole bunch, so I'll post all the ones that I recieved through time. Thank you by the way for sending me these, it's so exciting and refreshing to try new things that are simple and delish!
Starting with 2 sides that are extremely easy, healthy and really good! I've posted similar side recipes, but of course new and improved are always better:)
Roasted Asparagus
preheat oven to 350
place washed and trimed asparagus on a baking sheet
drizzle olive oil and black pepper on top
cook for 10 minutes
Roasted Mushrooms
Heat olive oil in frying pan
put in washed and quartered (if big, halved if small) mushrooms
drizzle with balsamic vinegar and italian dressing
let cook for a five minutes or so, until soft
can top with feta or parmesan cheese, but still delish without.
Thanks so much Leslie!

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Benefits of Sex

Now, when I think of health, I think of every aspect of anything we do in our daily lives and how it affects it. Whether it be what we eat, how we spend our energy, what kind of vitamins we take...all of which amount to our overall health.
Well, these things aren't the only options we should be considering to be healthy or to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Sex is HUGE when it comes to keeping healthy and benefiting us in more ways than the obvious:).
Here are 10 ways that sex are beneficial to your health:
1. Sex Relieves Stress
A big health benefit of sex is lower blood pressure and overall stress reduction, according to researchers from Scotland who reported their findings in the journal Biological Psychology. They studied 24 women and 22 men who kept records of their sexual activity. Then the researchers subjected them to stressful situations -- such as speaking in public and doing verbal arithmetic -- and noted their blood pressure response to stress.
Those who had intercourse had better responses to stress than those who engaged in other sexual behaviors or abstained.
Another study published in the same journal found that frequent intercourse was associated with lower diastolic blood pressure in cohabiting participants. Yet other research found a link between partner hugs and lower blood pressure in women.

2. Sex Boosts Immunity
Good sexual health may mean better physical health. Having sex once or twice a week has been linked with higher levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A or IgA, which can protect you from getting colds and other infections. Scientists at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., took samples of saliva, which contain IgA, from 112 college students who reported the frequency of sex they had.
Those in the "frequent" group -- once or twice a week -- had higher levels of IgA than those in the other three groups -- who reported being abstinent, having sex less than once a week, or having it very often, three or more times weekly.

3. Sex Burns Calories
Thirty minutes of sex burns 85 calories or more. It may not sound like much, but it adds up: 42 half-hour sessions will burn 3,570 calories, more than enough to lose a pound. Doubling up, you could drop that pound in 21 hour-long sessions.
"Sex is a great mode of exercise," says Patti Britton, PhD, a Los Angeles sexologist and president of the American Association of Sexuality Educators and Therapists. It takes work, from both a physical and psychological perspective, to do it well, she says.
4. Sex Improves Cardiovascular Health
While some older folks may worry that the efforts expended during sex could cause a stroke, that's not so, according to researchers from England. In a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, scientists found frequency of sex was not associated with stroke in the 914 men they followed for 20 years.
And the heart health benefits of sex don't end there. The researchers also found that having sex twice or more a week reduced the risk of fatal heart attack by half for the men, compared with those who had sex less than once a month.

5. Sex Boosts Self-Esteem
Boosting self-esteem was one of 237 reasons people have sex, collected by University of Texas researchers and published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.
That finding makes sense to Gina Ogden, PhD, a sex therapist and marriage and family therapist in Cambridge, Mass., although she finds that those who already have self-esteem say they sometimes have sex to feel even better. "One of the reasons people say they have sex is to feel good about themselves," she tells WebMD. "Great sex begins with self-esteem, and it raises it. If the sex is loving, connected, and what you want, it raises it."

6. Sex Improves Intimacy
Having sex and orgasms increases levels of the hormone oxytocin, the so-called love hormone, which helps us bond and build trust. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of North Carolina evaluated 59 premenopausal women before and after warm contact with their husbands and partners ending with hugs. They found that the more contact, the higher the oxytocin levels.
"Oxytocin allows us to feel the urge to nurture and to bond," Britton says.
Higher oxytocin has also been linked with a feeling of generosity. So if you're feeling suddenly more generous toward your partner than usual, credit the love hormone.

7. Sex Reduces Pain
As the hormone oxytocin surges, endorphins increase, and pain declines. So if your headache, arthritis pain, or PMS symptoms seem to improve after sex, you can thank those higher oxytocin levels.
In a study published in the Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine, 48 volunteers who inhaled oxytocin vapor and then had their fingers pricked lowered their pain threshold by more than half.

8. Sex Reduces Prostate Cancer Risk
Frequent ejaculations, especially in 20-something men, may reduce the risk of prostate cancer later in life, Australian researchers reported in the British Journal of Urology International. When they followed men diagnosed with prostate cancer and those without, they found no association of prostate cancer with the number of sexual partners as the men reached their 30s, 40s, and 50s.
But they found men who had five or more ejaculations weekly while in their 20s reduced their risk of getting prostate cancer later by a third.
Another study, reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that frequent ejaculations, 21 or more a month, were linked to lower prostate cancer risk in older men, as well, compared with less frequent ejaculations of four to seven monthly.
9. Sex Strengthens Pelvic Floor Muscles
For women, doing a few pelvic floor muscle exercises known as Kegels during sex offers a couple of benefits. You will enjoy more pleasure, and you'll also strengthen the area and help to minimize the risk of incontinence later in life.
To do a basic Kegel exercise, tighten the muscles of your pelvic floor, as if you're trying to stop the flow of urine. Count to three, then release.

10. Sex Helps You Sleep Better
The oxytocin released during orgasm also promotes sleep, according to research.
And getting enough sleep has been linked with a host of other good things, such as maintaining a healthy weight and blood pressure. Something to think about, especially if you've been wondering why your guy can be active one minute and snoring the next.
(Source: article by Kathleen Doheney, WebMd)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Recipes From You!

I've done this before, but I absolutely loved it so much that I want to do it again!
For those of you who have wonderful and delish recipes that they use daily,
but don't get a chance to share it with others, now is your chance!
Send me one...or 10 of your favorite recipes and
I'll be happy to post them so we all can indulge:)
Either leave a comment, or email me at

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Power of Stretching

picture by my sister, Stacie Murdock

Stretching has always been a big part of my routines from the second I start my aerobic classes to the second we are ready to cool down. Who doesn't love a good stretch? I absolutely loved this article I came across to help me understand more fully just how important it is to stretch our bodies.....everyday!

Click here to read the great article.

P.s. Another thing I love? Real Simple magazine, I highly recommend subscribing!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Did You Know??

Did you know.......... that
suppressing your anger might harm your heart?

A study of 644 heart disease patients found that
those who felt angry but were unable to express it tripled their risk for heart attack and cardiovascular death over an average of 6 years.
But, the researchers say, angry outbursts aren't the solution either.Instead, people should talk with afriend, seek therapy, or try to change whatever upsets them.

Something to think about next time you feel like you want to explode...
I guess communication helps every aspect of your overall health.

On that note, hope you have a wonderful day:)

Source: American Journal of Cardiology

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Pepper Jack, Chicken and Peach Quesadillas

Hands down, one of the best meals I've had!
Thanks to my sister Stace who always finds these fresh, delish recipes-I'm always happy at meal time.
I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did!
And for those of you who have kids,
I can only imagine how fast they would devour them!
Because we did....

1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
4 (8-inch) whole wheat tortillas
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeño peppers
1 cup chopped skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
1 cup thinly sliced peeled firm ripe peaches
4 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro
Cooking spray

1. Combine honey and lime juice in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Stir sour cream into honey mixture; cover and chill until ready to serve.
2. Place tortillas flat on a work surface. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons cheese over half of each tortilla; top each tortilla with 1/4 cup chicken, 1/4 cup peaches, and 1 teaspoon cilantro. Fold tortillas in half.
3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Place 2 quesadillas in the pan, and top quesadillas with a cast-iron or other heavy skillet. Cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until tortillas are crisp and lightly browned (leave cast-iron skillet on quesadillas as they cook). Remove quesadillas from pan; set aside, and keep warm. Repeat procedure with the remaining quesadillas. Cut each quesadilla into wedges. Serve with sauce.
Thank you Stace for the recommendation,
and thanks to Cooking Light Magazine.