Tag Archives: health

Guilty Pleasures: Turkey Curry Wraps, a No Fuss Recipe

Are you forever on the hunt for quick, easy, and healthy recipes?  I know I am.  As a girl who works 50+ hours a week, easy, yet tasty, meals are everything!

I’m a big fan of the magazine Simple and Delicious – that’s basically my lifestyle!  Here’s one I recently tried and enjoyed.  Could be a new guilty pleasure lunch!  Mmmm.

Turkey Curry Wraps

(sent in from Lisa Renshaw, Kansas City, MO – Thanks Lisa!)

Turkey Curry Wrap1/2 cup fat-free mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. orange juice

1 tsp. grated orange peel

3/4 tsp. curry powder

4 whole wheat tortillas (8 in.), room temperature

2 cups finely shredded cabbage

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1 can (11 oz.) mandarin oranges, drained

2/3 cup dried cranberries

1/2 lb. thinly sliced deli turkey

Combine the mayonnaise, orange juice, peel and curry; spread over tortillas.  Top with cabbage, onion, oranges, cranberries and turkey.  Roll up.

Here’s the unrolled version before the turkey is on:

Turkey Curry Wrap

Add some chips and peach salsa as a side, presto!

You’ve got an easy, homemade, delectable lunch!

Turkey Curry Wrap

What are your go-to easy recipes?  Are you starting to look for those lighter, spring meals yet?  Even with snow on the ground here I’m craving citrus foods!

 

Want More Sleep? Snooze is Not the Answer!

Welcome to the Guinea Pig Diaries!  Every month I’ll be covering a different topic, trying new things, experimenting!  And this month, you can call me Rip Van Witkins as I tackle the study of SLEEP!

Rip Van Winkle – The Man Who Slept for 20 Years – Jealous?
(Photo courtesy Creative Commons – LI Refugee)

When I started perusing through the National Sleep Foundation‘s website I was amazed at how much they had on Women and Sleep.  The average number of hours we’re supposed to sleep is between 7 and 9, however most women average just a little over 6.

And guess what ladies?  Women are more likely to have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, and experiencing daytime sleepiness than men.

Oh goody gumdrops!  Now I know why I’m so plucky in the morning!

(Photo courtesy Creative Commons – Mrs Inman)

The causes for poor sleep can be any number of things:  Insomnia, sleep apnea, pain from migraines and tension headaches, restless leg syndrome, shift work hours, and even nocturnal eating disorders.

It also doesn’t help that all women have one of these inside their heads…

(Photo courtesy Creative Commons – mere.mortal)

Often times we think we can “cheat” sleep and function just fine, or catch up on all of our lost sleep over the weekend while getting precious little during the work week.  Regular sleep is important because that’s where our bodies achieve homeostasis.  During sleep, our breathing slows and our muscles relax.  Increased blood flow to the muscles during this relaxation is what allows tissue growth and repair.  We also release the cortisol hormone, whose job among other things, is to alleviate allergies, boost the metabolism, and help relieve pain so we can wake up energized.

Where is this cortisol you speak of?  Give it to me!

(Photo courtesy of Creative Commons – Mrs Inman)

Most of us know what an ideal sleep environment is supposed to be.  Dark room, no cell phone or alarm clock lights facing the bed, noise should be at a minimum, the temperature on the cooler side.  Blah, Blah, zzzzzzzz…

Whoops, dozed off for a minute there!  What I was saying is that we know what we’re supposed to do to help us sleep, but not many of us take the time to actually assist ourselves in that process.  Starting TODAY I invite you to join me and do a sleep study!

The sleep study month can be whatever you want it to be. 

Make small changes or large ones, but get some SLEEP! 

Here are some sleep tips to start with!

  • Going to Bed 2 Hours Earlier on Weeknights - I’m typically up until midnight or later every night.  Going to bed by 10pm is going to be tricky, but by giving myself a bedtime, I plan my night differently.  I get dinner, work on what I need to and then save my “wind down” activities like watching TV or reading for the end of the night.
  • Create a Bedtime Routine - Along with having a set bedtime, the actions you do right before bed are just as important.  Watching TV or playing games on your phone can be a fun way to unwind, but they decrease your melatonin making ability, a natural antioxidant in your body.  I’ve always been a germaphobe clean freak so my routine before bed involves my Clarisonic, flossing, mouthwash, moisturizer, vitamins, and chapstick!  Might sound basic, but doing these repetitive behaviors sends my body the message that bedtime is soon.
  • Get Plenty of Light During the Day - Just like plants, we need sunlight during the day and darkness at night.  The daylight hours help keep you energized, and then you’re more likely to fall asleep while its dark.  I’m going to try to take a short walk outside each day, sit by the window, and keep using the heat lamp in the bathroom!
  • Don’t Be the Princess and the Pea - I suffer from spinal subluxation in my upper neck so the search for a pillow that’s comfortable is unending.  I’ve tried memory foam and skipping the pillow altogether.  What’s worked best for me is an orthopedic pillow that is scooped in the middle to cradle my head while keeping my neck aligned.  If you suffer from neck or back pain, make sure you invest in the right pillow or mattress to get the best sleep possible.  Studies show people who tested a mattress for 15 minutes before purchasing one were happiest with their decision.
  • Make Bedtime Relaxing - Easier said than done, right?  If you’re like me, the minute you lie still, everything you could have and should have done that day is going to flood your brain!  Practice relaxation tips like deep breathing, tensing your muscles and relaxing them, and visualizing a peaceful place.

Are you in or are you out? Wanna get some more Zzz’s?  

  What keeps you awake at night?  What helps you fall asleep?  If it’s reading my posts, please keep the drool to a minimum. 

Snoozes and Pillow Fluffs,

Jess

A Mini-Road Trip and Mash Up

Hey Peeps!  How are you all today?  I’ve been thinking of you!  I’m currently on a two day hiatus trip home to give my mom and pop their Mother’s Day and Father’s Day presents early.  I’ve got a crazy summer schedule starting up, so I’m glad I got to hang out with the family for a day.  Spent the three hour drive home jammin to old school Tori Amos cds, which was fun and don’t worry, I know you’re jealous.

Today, I slept in until 8 am!  Then I stayed in bed and read until 10!  When I went downstairs I was loudly greeted by my 3 year old niece dressed all in pink princess wardrobe.  I managed to squeeze in a mini work out by chasing her around and doing what I consider to be weighted leg curls because we played “Super Sonja” for quite some time until my legs gave out.  We totally earned that snack break of juice and chex mix.

Many of you are up to more studious things, or things that made me laugh, so I’m happy to share them all with you!  Please feel free to chat, and know I’ll be with you momentarily after I drive the 3 hours back home.

On Writing and Reading:

Kristen Lamb has been blogging some REALLY INTERESTING stuff on the nature and future of the publishing industry.  Find out what’s in store for Barnes and Noble in Big Six Publishing is Dead – Welcome the Massive Three and also The WANA Plan to Save Bookstores and Revive Publishing.

Leanne Shirtliffe, of Wordbitches, recently wrote about a topic I could relate to:  My Love Hate Relationship With Triberr.  What’s your take on this new social media aid?

And Rachelle Gardner had guest blogger Dineen Miller talking about how to put some marketing in your book!  Rooted Marketing:  Building Marketing Tools Into Your Story.

Movie Reviews (Mostly on The Avengers):

Amanda Rudd got advanced screening tickets to The Avengers!  OMG!

Jillian Dodd has you covered this MANday, blogging about the men of The Avengers.  And don’t forget, it’s not to late to enter the MANday Contest!  Find out how to win a $500 Amazon Gift Card here.

Tiffany A White gives her Fabooolous opinion on the flick in Time to Avenge.

Ellie Ann Soderstrom and the gang at Slacker Heroes gives us their Most Anticipated Summer Movies reviews and expectations.

Because Exercise and Nutrition are Growing More Important to Me:

Sherry Isaac guest blogged at the Life List Club about her plan of attack or lack thereof with her exercise routine.  I totally empathized, you might too.  Now she’s got me making changes.  Check out Weigh the Method, Relish the Outcome.

I love this article posted by August McLaughlin, who should be your go to blogger for nutrition and well being.  August explores the myths and gives tips on Body Image.

That’s what I’ve been reading!  Got a link for me?  Include it with your comments!  And I’ll be there to join you soon!

Around the World: Archives and Advice Columns

Hello Everyone!  I’m currently bumming around Seoul, South Korea right now!  Annyeonghasimnikka!  That means Hello/Good Morning in Korea.  If all goes well, I hope to share some photos from the trip later in the week, but for today, we’re doing a little blast from the past with my blogging archives.  Believe it or not (cause I’m leaning towards not), I’m almost to my 200th post!  Here are a few I like that many of you may not have seen.  You can click the blue links for the full post.  So glad I have the Life List Club to hold me more accountable than I had been with my goals.  Yikes!

From the post I Write Like I Eat Potatoes, With Cheese originally posted January 24, 2011

Writers beware.  If you’re going to start changing your diet to see how it impacts your life, don’t begin that process the weekend of your niece’s 2nd birthday.

The Weekend Begins

I was supposed to start out early on my three hour drive home, but instead, I slept in, and was lured to stay when my boyfriend offered to cook breakfast.  Inventory:  egg and cheese sandwhich on toast, hashbrowns, milk, and blueberry flavored coffee.  Ok, pack up the car in -11 degree temperature, clear snow off of windshield, check.  I was doing really well so far.  I only stopped once on the drive to use the restroom, and I wasn’t planning to buy a thing.  But the lonely man behind the counter stared me down in his bowling shirt and disheveled facial hair.  Inventory:  gatorade and cheez its – -damn!  Saturday night I successfully finished writing a 10 stanza long rhyming birthday poem of all things Sonja to be read for her party.

The Party Day

The family oohed and aahed before we began to eat.  Inventory:  Brown sugar french toast, apple cinnamon squash, eggs, bacon, cheesy potatoes, mixed fruit, and broccoli and cauliflower salad.  Oh, Lord, so many tasties!  I made sure to take extra broccoli, and ok, I also took extra potatoes, but I wasn’t planning to write directly afterwards.  I was planning to watch my two year old niece unwrap presents in a quick half hour and then cheer on the Packers during the game.  Oh the game!!!  Inventory:  tortilla chips with chili cheese dip and black bean and corn salsa.  No judgement, I needed to replenish myself, the Packers needed all of our cheering help, and salsa as you know helps the vocal chords immensely.  On a side note, since some of you have gotten to hear about my father, I’ll have you know he did a rather spastic touchdown victory dance that was something of a combination between churning butter and the hokey pokey.

From the post Dear God, Writing is Hard.  Love, Writer originally posted February 4, 2011

Don’t you wish writing was as easy as talking to God?  No matter where you are, it will find you.  Blessed is she who writes, for she shall inherit a publisher.  Do not covet thy neighbor’s writing.  Do unto other’s writing as you would have them do unto yours.

When I was little, I believed I had a direct line to God, or at least to my priest.  When I was around 7 or 8, I used to write letters to the parish priest, Father Duane, and “mail them” by dropping them off in the collection basket.  They never failed to get to him, and I always received a most prized piece of mail in return answering all my weird questions like “Don’t you get sick of singing These 40 Days of Lent, Oh Lord?  I do.  Did you happen to watch the Barbara Walters special last night?  It was captivating.  I hate squash and my family loves it, do you think God put me in the wrong family?”

It would be great if good writing was as simple as talking to God, or writing your priest a letter, but it takes a lot more hard work, and often it won’t receive as kind and accommodating a letter in reply.  But good writing, like religion, can speak to your soul.

From the post Silent Protests Against My Mother originally posted March 14, 2011

Ever wonder why your parents made some of the decisions they did?  No, you cannot take the turtle into bed with you!  No, you may not watch Pink Floyd’s The Wall with your brother!  No, you may not eat double stuff oreos, and I don’t care if Liz’s mom lets her!

My mom is a great mom.  She writes in perfect cursive penmanship, has impeccable spelling, pays attention to detail, writes long letters and mails them with real stamps and envelopes and everything.  She likes to sing, read mystery books, bake a variety of coffee cakes, and spy out the windows.

But I have one bone to pick with my mother.  Throughout my childhood, on countless trips to the grocery store, she would never let me get double stuff oreos!  This woman who rarely enforced rules about vegetables, or clean plate clubs, who married a baker, son of a woman who enforced dessert before dinner, wouldn’t let me eat double stuff oreos!  Hell, I had coca cola in my sippy cups!!!  (That may be why I stopped growing in eighth grade.)

This anti-oreo rule never made sense to me.  I was a child who liked milk.  I had contests with my father over who could drink their milk the fastest at dinner.  I don’t know if you’re aware, but milk and oreos are like made for each other, best friends forever, kindred spirits from the galactic orbs of destined to be together soulmates!  I bet if you eat an oreo without milk, your heart shrinks a little.

From the post Do You Have a Favorite Book? originally posted May 18, 2011

Another magical book club meeting.  Two months Another magical book club meeting.  Two months ago, I joined up with a coworker of mine and attended her book club.  At the end of that meeting, hoping to insight me to return, they asked me what my favorite book was, and I said The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

Now why on earth would a book about cells and science and medical advancements appeal to a girl who only walked through the science building on campus during winter when it was the shortest route to the English building?  It’s because the author, Rebecca Skloot, spent a decade researching the subject and uncovering the family that belonged to Henrietta Lacks.

Do you ever look back on your old posts and laugh that you’re still struggling with eating too many potato chips?  No…just me…

Ok then, do you ever look back on your old posts and think “Damn, I may stubborn, but I’m also good!”

Feel free to share an old link from your past blogs in the comments!  I’d love time travel with you!

Must Read Monday

Hello friends!  I’m catching up on my NaNo goals today, so no post from me, but I won’t leave you empty handed.  Check out my favorite posts from the past week.  There’s a bit of something for everyone, practical writing advice, book reviews, creepy legends, and hilarious love advice!

Word Stuff:

MuseInks gives us the Top 5 Reasons You Should Do NaNoWriMo.  Reason number 6:  It’s fun!

Kristen Lamb talks Successful Writers and the real truth about the word “lucky.”  A must read for all writer wannabees.  Take control of your career!

Kristen Lamb also did a post about how to focus on relationships with other writers.  She warns you of the bad advice and assists with how to make a real connection happen in How to Win the Hearts of Bloggers – Scoring the Book Review, Guest Post, or Interview.

Freshly Pressed blogger, Jolie O’Dell, gave her Secrets to Productivity recently and really revealed how this gets her a jump start ahead of her peers and what tricks she uses to help wake up in the morning.

Writer Unboxed shared a guest post on how to Be a More Confident Writer and offer 5 tips to help you on your way.

Jillian at A Room of One’s Own wrote a beautiful review on the biography and history of author Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Get swept away into The Big Woods of Little House on the Prairie creator.

Health and Wellness:

Mark Landen gives you the health advice and brain foods you’ll need this fall to crack your “WIP” into place.  *LOL, I’m hilarious!  Ok, seriously*  Must read:  11 Ways to a Healthy Brain and Healthy Writing.

Piper Bayard gives us the health care resolution for her presidential candidacy:  Granny Care, Putting the Care Back in Health Care.  To which I may add, a vote for Granny is a vote for free chicken noodle soup for all!

Social Trends of the Season:

Margaret Reyes Dempsey guest blogs at Celluloid Zombie about the Willing Suspension of Disbelief for movie watchers everywhere.  Join the heated debate:  300 zombies out of nowhere, now spotted yards in front of you with binoculars…believe it or not?!

If you haven’t yet checked out Gene Lempp’s Zoo Arcane series, you’re missing out.  He’s got great mythology research, enticing book ideas for your use, and never fails to find something most of us have never heard of before.  His latest spooky series was on Evil Little People, a title I’ll try not to take personally at my whopping 5’2″.  :P

Amber West’s edition of Worth a Watch Wednesday was on ABC’s new show Once Upon a Time.  Fairytales and present day crime drama combine.  Just caught my first episode Sunday night, and I’m intrigued!

Looking for love in all the wrong places?  Tawna Fenske just may have the answers after cat-sitting for a friend.  For a good time, read Please Pee So I’ll Know if You’re Sexy.

Any other NaNo’s out there?  How’s it going?  And everyone else, what fun have you been up to since we’re all shut inside? 

Hello Chip, we need to talk.

If you’re familiar with my blog, you know I am making this year a year of writing.  And each week, I take on a new assignment or resolution to see how it will impact my writing.  Many posts I’ve recently read have talked about living a healthy lifestyle to be able to have more focus and energy while we writers combat day jobs and novel writing, household upkeep, and family.  You can read two very interesting blogs about that process by Kristen Lamb and Joy E. Held.

This week, I accept that challenge.  I am boldly going where I’ve not gone before, and leaving the bag of potato chips untouched, for at least one more hour, meal, day.  I vow for one week to make healthy living choices, and   substitute chips for fruits and veggies at least once a day.  And meals in general.  I have been running on “fly by the seat of my pants” meals to be packed for work: String cheese, lean cuisine, a bag of chips, applesauce – I may or may not eat.  Time to make time for cooking again.  I know I’ll have fun making the grocery list!  So many tasty words like garlic, chicken, pesto, and provolone.  Mmmmm.  Ok, definitely cooking again!  Better not get too crazy with the list, add more green things.

But it’s not enough to change my diet and wallow over savory smells in the household again. I must also write.  And what better way to keep me on track with my dietary discipline than to blog about my meals.  So, sit back and relax, grab a bag of chips and transition with me for one week while I change the way I eat and see what it does to my writing for the next 3 posts.

*Writer’s Note*  If any of you notice me pulling a Jane Eyre and describing something totally delicious on a plate right in front of me, using like 500 words to tell you about that delectable dish, and I don’t eat it, feel free to break said dish over my head.  I cannot abide by oppressive dietary rules, nor make my readers deal with it either.

Happy writing!  See you in the produce aisle!

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