'Tis the Season
Give your loved ones --
and yourself -- the gift of joy
No matter what your religion or circumstances, whether you celebrate
Christmas, Kwanza, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or celebrate the holiday
without religion, make this holiday season one of joy and meaningful
The holiday season is
the one time of the year when many people are able to take
time off work and spend real time with family -- and forget about the stressful and busy
year that’s gone by.
The holidays present most of us with an opportunity to rejuvenate and
regain new inner strength to approach the New Year re-energized
with perspective and a positive attitude. It’s also a great
way to teach our children to cherish and honor family time and pass on
our traditions to the next generation.
Like life itself, the holiday season should not about the quantity of
doing. It should be about the quality of being. Being loving to
yourself, being in love with your partner, being there for your
children, being accepting of others, being kind to strangers, being
generous when you can, being patient with those who frustrate you and being tolerant and understanding with everyone around
you. It’s the time of year to deviate from the ordinary and reflect on
the big picture.
It’s a time to re-discover the simple things in our lives: Leisurely meals
with loved ones, walking in nature, gathering around a fire, watching a
sunset or reading a book.
The holiday season falls at the end of the western calendar year. It's a natural time to slow down
and reflect. We can
take this opportunity to consider our way of life; what we are thankful
for, what we need to change, how we behave towards others, how we take
care of our bodies, what new goals we need to set for ourselves, what we
really want in life.
Many of us face more stress than joy during the holiday season. We have
strayed from the
meaning of the holiday celebrations because we have neglected to focus
our personal purpose and intent of why we do it -- and what we want out of
it. Instead, we stress and fret over relatively insignificant things. We
create conflict affecting our relationships unnecessarily and disrupting
our peace and harmony.
For instance, one common conflict among many who celebrate Christmas
is over gift giving. We all have different views and
opinions about gift giving and receiving. Let’s keep in mind, however,
that gifts are meant to be presents that are freely given by someone.
While Christmas has in many ways been commercialized, gift giving should
not be about rules and regulations. It adds complexity and defeats the
purpose of the act of giving. It should be about freedom of doing what
we each can do and want to do -- freely doing within our means what our
hearts desire. Someone who wants to give should not be deprived of the
gratification and joy of giving a little something to the people they
love or like. It’s a demonstration of affection and appreciation.
At the same time, it’s important to respect the fact that some cannot
give or simply may not want to. Giving must be a completely selfless
act -- we must not expect anything in return. The bottom-line is that we
should freely give what we want, and not have any expectations about
what others do. We can practice gift giving for the simple act of giving
without placing any emphasis on the gifts.
It's important to remember
that happiness and misery is always the difference between our
expectations and our circumstances. While we strive to improve our
circumstances, let's also let go of our expectations.
Whatever the origins of the holidays we celebrate, the holiday season is
a special time of the year to put more emphasis on setting aside our
differences and love and cherish one another regardless of our
ideologies. Whether we’re Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists,
atheists, agnostics or simply shoppers, our holiday can be filled with
joy and happiness by accepting everything and everyone for exactly who
and what they are, and thinking deeply about exactly how blessed we all
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Good Things In Store
Cooking with whole grains is an important aspect of eating healthfully.
And it's important that you don't make an exception to that rule with pasta. Whole grain pasta made of stone ground, whole
wheat or spelt are easy to find these days.
After trying many different brands, I currently tend to favor
whole wheat organic pastas because they have the best flavor and texture
These pastas are made in Tuscany, Italy, and cook the same way regular
refined pastas do -- but taste much better and are better for your
Words of Wisdom
"Happy and successful cooking doesn’t rely only on know-how; it comes
from the heart, makes great demands on the palate and needs enthusiasm
and deep love of food to bring it to life".
- Georges Blanc
recent Cornell Study study
found that “super sizing” portions has a direct correlation to how much
food we choose to eat -- regardless of how much we
actually like the
The study served movie goers stale popcorn in medium and large size
buckets. Those eating out of the large buckets ate 34% more than those
who ate out of the medium size buckets. Furthermore, those who were
served fresh tasting popcorn in the large bucket actually ate 45% more than those served
fresh popcorn in a medium size container.
The bad news is that this confirms once again that fast food restaurants
make their contributions to our obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular
disease epidemics by selling low-quality, high-fat food, but also by
irresponsibly continuing to increase portion sizes.
The good news is that now we can use this knowledge to improve the
health of our loved ones and for ourselves. Boost consumption of healthy
foods like fresh, organic fruits and vegetables by serving them to
yourself and your family in larger portions, and by serving less healthy
fare in smaller portions.
Food For Thought
Cranberries, also known as bounceberries, are a staple food during the
They’re harvested between Labor Day and Halloween and widely enjoyed
These little nutritional powerhouses provide many health benefits
rich in antioxidants and vitamin C. They're also famous
that help protect against urinary tract infections.
Now scientists have found
another reason for us to be thankful for cranberries—a new study conducted
by the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York has found that
cranberries help prevent tooth decay and plaque.
Fresh cranberries can be refrigerated (tightly sealed) for up to two
months or frozen for up to a year. Pick the brightly colored and
dark-red ones. Discard the ones that feel soft and look shriveled.
They’re great for sauces, chutneys, pies and smoothies.
Vegetarian Organic Recipe of the
Click on the picture for a closer look!
Peppery Seitan (vegan)
Serves 4 to 6
Seitan is the perfect high protein alternative to meat. It has no
cholesterol so it’s also great for your heart. One small serving
provides 31 grams of protein. It’s easy to prepare -- just add herbs
and spices. It’s really delicious and very satisfying. Everyone will
love it. Leftovers can be used to make a sandwich or add to a salad.
Preparation time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 15 minutes
Get ingredients ready (use organic ingredients if possible)
2 tablespoons oil (safflower or canola oil)
3 fresh garlic cloves, crushed or minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 (8oz packages) traditional seitan, chopped into bite size chunks
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon fresh dill, very finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
1. In large pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil on low heat. Add garlic and onion
stirring and sautéing until lightly browned. Add seitan, basil, thyme
and oregano and sauté for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add dill, pepper
and salt cooking for 5 more minutes, stirring frequently.
2. Add lemon juice mixing thoroughly and serve.
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