Monday, May 30, 2005

Summer Floral Tea Blend Recipe

It is summer, and the flowers are blooming- or about to bloom. Here is a recipe for my favorite floral-inspired tea blend.

I use the simpler's method, where I define everything in "parts". If you are unfamiliar with this method, a "part" can be anything you want. A cup, a teaspoon, a handful, a half-teaspoon, etc...

2 parts dried chamomile flowers
1 part dried rose petals
1 part dried lavender flowers

Gently mix in a glass bowl. Store in a brown paper bag or an amber glass jar in a cool place. You can use a clear jar as well, as long as it is stored in a dark place.

Walking Workout- Week One, Day One

Hi Everyone. I am doing a six week walking plan in addition to the marathon training. Sounds nuts, but I have a reason.

Up until last Septemnber, we lived in Germany. I used to walk everywhere- the post office, the market, the train station. I must have walked at least three miles a day- more in the summer.

I miss it. So I am doing this walking plan.

Week One- Walk one mile per day, with one day of rest.

I walked my mile today. Who wants to join me on this six week program? Email me or leave a comment. :)

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Cross Training

Today is a cross training day.

I just did an ab routine. Three sets each of an exercise for lower abs, regular crunches, an exercise for the obliques, and an exercise for the lower back. For reps- for the ab work I did 15-20 and for the lower back I did 12-15.

Next, I will go for a walk. It is a gorgeous day and with all the rain we've had it is nice to get outside.

After the walk- total body toning.

My routine:
  • Push-ups- 3 sets of 30 (against wall)
  • Tricep Dips- 3 sets of 15
  • Bicep Curls- 3 sets 20 reps (light weights)
  • Shoulder Press- 3 sets 15 reps (light weights)
  • Rowing move- sitting, with bands
  • Plies- 2 sets of 15
  • Wall sits- 3 "sets", 30 seconds each
  • Calf raises- 3 sets 15
  • squats- 2 sets 10

I will finish it off with A LOT of stretching.

Dinner tonight is fish chowder (low fat). I have no idea how I'm going to make it yet. All I need is a pot and some imagination! lol. I'll let you know how it turns out. I raided the freezer and found some shrimp, white fish, and smoked salmon.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Much Needed Rest

Well I did it. I completed my first three days of training for the Marathon.

I am NOT used to jogging three days in a row, with no rest in between. My legs are sore and I was getting tired of running in the rain and wind.

Today is a much needed day of rest. But still, I want to exercise. When we lived in Europe, we walked everywhere and I never even considered that part of my workout.

Perhaps I will go for a walk today, and then spend some time stretching. I think it will be good for my muscle soreness to get a little movement.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Ezine Launch- First Issue

Hi Everyone!

This is just a quick announcement. The first issue of my healthy living ezine will be sent out on June 2, 2005.

That is one week from today.

So, sign up soon so you don't miss anything!

Click on the link on the left to sign up.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Training Journal

Today I am working on creating a training journal.

I am going to keep:

  1. a food journal
  2. track my new shoes' mileage
  3. track weight/body fat
  4. overall information (distance/course/conditions) of each of my runs
  5. Cross training workout tracker- So I can keep track of all my other workouts.

The ultimate goal is to finish the Chicago Marathon. Yesterday I ran one mile- hey, it's a start!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Acne Treatment Products

Here is my current acne treatment skin care regimen:

  • Cetaphil cleanser- This is a very gentle product. When I have a flare-up my skin gets really sensitive.
  • witch hazel toner- This calms my skin. Sometimes I mix it with some lavender essential oil which is also good for treating acne.
  • SPF 15 Moisturizer- For day.
  • Moisturizer with salicylic acid- For night.

Adult Acne

I have a form of adult acne. It is pretty much under control, but I occasionally get flare-ups. Right now, I have a little flare up which I attribute to the changing seasons. The air has been more humid.

To fight my acne condition I am going to:

1. Drink plenty of water. I believe that water helps keep my skin clear.

2. Drink Chamomile tea. This is one of my favorite teas. It is relaxing and I use some of the leftover tea as a toner.

3. Use a product with salicylic acid. I like Neutrogena products for this. Alpha hydroxy acids dry out my skin and make the problem worse.

4. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. A healthy diet helps keep my acne problem under control. The healthier my diet, the better my skin looks.

Now that I have a strict workout schedule that will cause me to sweat a lot, I need to pay extra special attention to my skin. Exercise helps skin circulation, but I have to make sure to wash my skin well after.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

It's official

Today, I registered for the Chicago Marathon. My official training begins in a few weeks. I came across an 18 week training program for absolute beginners. (That's me!) My goal is to finish the marathon in four hours.

I keep imagaining what it will be like crossing the finish line... I bet it is an incredible experience. I can't wait!

There is a lot of research to do. What should I eat? How many calories a day? Can I still weight train and do other sports?

I'm looking forward to finding these answers. It's all part of the fun of the journey!

Friday, May 20, 2005

Healthy Banana Bread Recipe

I had two ripe bananas that needed to be used. I have a copy of that old, orange Betty Crocker cookbook. It has a recipe for banana nut bread, but it was loaded with sugar. I modified it, using a small amount of whole wheat flour, less sugar, and no nuts for a lower calorie bread. I was so pleased with the results, I can honestly say this is the best tasting and best textured banana bread I've ever eaten. The fact that there is less sugar really accentuates the taste of the banana.

2 ripe bananas, mashed with a fork
1/2 c. whole wheat flour1 1/2 c. flour (I used unbleached)
1/2 c. sugar
3 T oil (I used half the amount in safflower and half the amount in coldf pressed olive oil)
3 1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 egg
1 c. milk

Preheat oven to 350. Combine ingredients all at once. Mix with a giant wooden spoon until well blended (about ten turns). Pour into a greased and floured 9 X 5X 13 bread pan. If you have the smaller size, divide the batter between the two pans. Bake 55-60 minutes, or until top is golden and toothpick comes out clean from the center.

Chicago Marathon

My husband and I decided last night to run the Chicago Marathon on Columbus day weekend! My husband got me into running last year and it changed me. I got in shape rather quickly and the physical and mental benefits are vast.

Last summer, we did a challenging hike in Norway and I didn't feel like an asthmatic. This was huge because I had been having trouble with hills. I thought I had exercise induced asthma- turns out, I was just out of shape.

Training should start as soon as possible. I just need to settle on a schedule. Does anyone have any advice?

Monday, May 16, 2005

Exercise Goals May 15

I am going to be a little more relaxed with my exercise goals this week. My one requirement is to get one hour total of exercise per day, six days this week.

I went to the gym for a half hour today. Then, I am going to do an ab routine that I found in the June 05 issue of Fitness Magazine. That should take 20 minutes. I will probably also go for a walk.

Breakfast this morning was a granola bar before the gym (low fat) and then after the gym I had an omelette with peppers, onions, feta, and two eggs. I'm stuffed!

Lunch will be a tuna sandwich with chopped pepper and onions and fresh herbs with one cup tomato soup. I will use a small amount of mayo in the tuna.

What are your goals?

Saturday, May 14, 2005

The Laundry- Part 2

I am slowly chipping away at my disorganized system and making it organized. Right now, I have a load in the washer. I folded some of the clothes, but now there are still more. They are on my bed.

The main problem is the laundry room. It became a dumping ground for empty boxes and other items. I have to walk through a maze to wash the clothes. Not a very inspiring place.

So, once the laundry itself is under control, I really need to get that room under control!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Going out for Clams

Two days ago, I didn't eat enough vegetables through the day. I told myself I would have a huge salad at dinner. It was a gorgeous day and we decided to go out.

We wound up at an old New England clamshack, established in 1916 or something like that. I ended up with steamers and fries. The only thing that resembled a vegetable on the menu was coleslaw, and I do not like coleslaw. All that mayonnaise... ick.

I was lucky to find the steamers. At these traditional places, everything is usually fried.

The day after, I woke up feeling stuffed. The french fries sat in my stomach in a lump. I had a very good vegetable/fruit day yesterday and I woke up today feeling normal.

I can't imagine eating fried food all the time. How do people do it?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Keeping Track of the Laundry

Do any of you have a problem keeping up with your laundry?

Right now, I have laundry everywhere. On the floor. In the basket. By the washing machine. On the kitchen table. In the dryer.

They are in various stages of completion. Some need to be folded. Some need to be washed. I thought I had the situation under control, but we've since created more dirty items and I STILL haven't folded the laundry from the last few loads.

My goal is to finally get myself in a situation where I keep up with the laundry!

I want to make it wonderful and beautiful. I made that laundry powder I described in another post. The castile soap I grated smelled like almond. Yum. Now to find a pretty glass jar and decorate it. That's a start.

What do you guys do to help you keep up with the laundry? Tell me and I will put it in my ezine.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Allergy Season

It is allergy season so it's time to start taking precautions. In general, I like to consume more vitamin c and quercetin. But, since I don't really like taking a lot of vitamins (I do take a multi), I like to get it from food and herbs. Both C and Quercetin work together as an antihistimene. Basically I use my knowledge of herbal medicine and healing herbs to get me through!

Rosehips- this is my favorite herb for vitamin C. Look for a tea blend with rosehips or make a tea out of it plain.

Green Tea- One of my favorite herbs. Rich in quercetins which work well with vitamin C to help my allergies.

Stinging Nettle- I honestly forget why this herb works so well for allergies. I notice a difference in my allergies when I drink the strong infusion. (I described how to make an infusion here

Monday, May 09, 2005

Exercise Goals May 9

I miss walking. When we lived in Germany, I used to walk a lot. The village was set up to encourage walking. I walked to the market, train station, post office... Sometimes my husband and I would go for long walks to the nearest monastary. ( Or to the lake. Or to a nearby town.

So in honor of that, I am adding one mile of walking every day. Even in the rain. I already went for my walk today.

In addition I will do:

A minimum of three cardio sessions.
A minimum of two strength sessions.

I didn't finish my workouts last week- I fell short by one cardio and one gym session. Not good. So, I am going to meet my goals this week!

Rose Hand Lotion

I made this recipe on Saturday night to give for Mother's Day. I don't know the exact proportions.

Cold pressed olive oil
Dried rose petals

Infuse rose petals in oil over a double burner for one hour. Strain into another dish and place over double burner. Add:

Coconut oil
Beeswax, grated
Cocoa butter, grated

When melted, pour into containers and label.

The amount of beeswax you use will depend on how solid you like the cream to be. Add more if you want a balm instead of a lotion.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Orange Rose Soap

Well, I went to check the soap and all the herbs settled to the bottom. I had to melt it down and try again!

I melted it in the microwave this time. I then added orange essential oil.

I strained out the herbs as I poured it into the mold and added some rose petals (very slightly crushed).

I am much happier with the soap.

When I was at the craft store, I saw melt n' pour soap that was supposed to keep the herbs in suspension. I chose to purchase another brand because it was cheaper. That is okay- I can adapt!

Rose Calendula Soap Recipe

I found a great deal on melt and pour soap. So, I am making soap for mother's day! Here is the recipe. It is rough because I had to guess on the amount of soap to use.


Melt soap over double burner. (enough to pour into four rectangular soap molds)
Add crushed rose petals and calendula flowers. (I only added about 1.5 t. )
Add desired essential oils (Optional. I added ten drops each vanilla and orange).
Pour into molds and let cool.

That's it!


The soap is beautiful as is so I will just tie a pink ribbon around it. I think I may bake something somewhat healthy to go with it.

Stinging Nettle- Brief Introduction

My Favorite herb is stinging nettle.

I make a strong infusion and let it steep overnight in a quart-size jar. Just add one ounce of the dried herb and pour boiling water to the top. Cover and let stand.

This is very good over ice, warmed with a dash of honey, or as a vegetable soup broth.

I notice a difference in my energy and skin especially. It is filled with minerals and I love drinking it after a run. I feel that it really aids recovery.

News Tidbit- Keep taking calcium

A recent study in the Journal of Women's Health (March 2005) urges osteoperosis patients to continue taking calcium even while on medication.

Many patients discontinue taking calcium and vitamin D supplements when they begin treatment.

Full recap of the study can be found at,5778,s1-1-93-166-5093-1,00.html "Mammoth Menus"- Food challenges

I just read this article from

I've always been disguisted with the notion of "all you can eat" contests. I mean, it is pretty clear that Americans (and a lot of people throughout the world) have a hard time managing their weight. These contests glorify overeating!


Natural Laundry Powder Recipe

I am going to make this recipe today. I am using the simplers method. Just pick a measurement (one cup, one tablespoon, etc) and use that measurement to equal "1 part". In this case, the recipe calls for equal parts of all the ingredients. So, if one cup is your measurememnt you would use one cup of each of the ingredients.

Equal Parts:

Powdered castile soap (I use a block grader to powder one bar),
Baking Soda,

10-20 drops your favorite essential oil. Lavender works really well. So does grapefruit. I've been doing a combination of 10 drops rosemary and 10 drops sweet orange. The two fragrances work well together.

Use two heaping tablespoons for a medium wash and three for a large wash. I usually add extra borax if they load is really soiled. I am very pleased with the recipe. It is good for the environment, too.

Breakfast Smoothie Recipe

I am going to make the following smoothie for breakfast:

3/4 cup frozen berries,
one medium banana,
one cup rice milk (you can use any kind of milk you want),
one scoop protien powder,

Mix together in a blender until smooth.

I am going to put the leftover bits that don't fit in my glass in popsicle molds. It is getting warmer out!

Friday, May 06, 2005

10 minute calisthenics routine

I am one 10 minute routine away from meeting my exercise goal. I still need to do one long strength session and two cardio sessions with only two days left. I can definately do it, no excuses!

I am about to go do this 10 minute strength routine. I intended to do more today but ended up taking a nap and getting immersed in my work. I can still meet my goals for the week.

1 minute- squats
30 seconds- crunches
1 minute- plies
30 seconds- oblique crunch, one side
1 minute- push-ups
30 seconds- oblique crunch, other side
1 minute- calf raises
30 seconds- exercise for lower back
1 minute- tricep dips
1 minute- plyometric squat/jump
1 minute- bicep curl with exercise bands
1 minute- plyometric plie/jump

Thursday, May 05, 2005

My New Ezine

Hi everyone!

I finally decided to start an ezine.

I am so excited to share with you healthy lifestyle tips, herbal medicine, fitness information, recipes, etc.

I will also ask for reader tips. This week I am looking for a success story of no more than 200 words. Did you just recently lose weight or make some healthy lifestyle changes? What was the secret to your success?

Send a blank email to:

My Exercise Goals, set on May 2

I plan my workouts at the beginning of the week.

This week my goals are to complete:

2 Ten minute strength sessions
1 Ten minute ab session
1 Long gym strength session
3 Cardio Sessions

So far I've completed:

Tuesday- 1 Ten minute Strength
Wednesday- 1 Cardio, 1 Ten minute Ab
Thursday- 1 Cardio (Went for a jog)

Care to share your goals?

Email me!

* * * * *

Join me for recipes, gardening tidbits, and healthy living!Send a blank email to subscribe:

Cinnamon Spice

I was just thinking about cinnamon. I read a fact once about how 1/4 tsp cinnamon can help regulate blood sugar in diabetics.

I don't have diabetes, but I sure love the taste!

Here are some of my favorite things to do with cinnamon:

Stirred into hot milk
Sprinkled on oatmeal
A great compliment to fresh, in season apples
Wonderful compliment to hot chocolate
Cinnamon truffles!
Folded into chocolate cake frosting
As a seasoning to tomato rice pilaf
Seasoning for poultry- great in Morrocan style chicken
Cinnamon Toast (thanks to a friend from Susun Weed's forum! I forgot this one)
Couscous seasoned with tomato paste and cinnamon and topped with parmesan
In muffins, tea breads, pancakes

I would love some feedback. What are your favorite things to do with cinnamon? Email me and I will put the tips in my ezine.

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Join me for recipes, gardening tidbits, and healthy living!
Send a blank email to subscribe:

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Dandelion Flower Fritter Recipe

The dandelions are starting to bloom. I love frittering them! Here is the recipe:

12 dandelion blossoms
1 egg, slightly beaten
¼ c. whole wheat flour
¼ c. milk
pinch baking powder
2 pinches seasoned salt (I used trocomare)
¼ t. each onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, celery salt
pepper to taste

Coat blooms with batter. Coat nonstick skillet with olive oil. Fry on both sides until fritters are browned and crispy. Note: This is not a deep-fry recipe. I rarely deep fry anything because of all the oil. But, if you try deep frying this, let me know how it is!

My First Garden

Spring is FINALLY here! It seemed like such a long winter. We lived in Germany for two years, and the season changes a lot sooner then.

But, this is our first house, and, I've been planting!

As soon as they appeared in the gardening stores, I picked up some pansies. There are now 24 plants around my mailbox.

I've also planted eight everbearing strawberry plants in a planter that is on the deck. They get full sun there. I can't wait to taste fresh strawberries. I had fresh-picked strawberries once. There are "pick your own" places in Germany. They had an unmatched candy-sweetness. I hope these can compare.

Also planted:

Feldsalat (corn salad or mache)
Geranium (reminds me of our balcony in Germany!)
New Guinea Nasturtium

If you can find the New Guinea Nasturtium, it is worth it. The foliage is a dark green and they come in a few different colors. I picked up a deep, jewel red. But, there were a few more colors at the store, including a deep, brilliant orange.