Wednesday, March 24, 2010
“With a positive mental attitude failure is a learning experience, a rung on the ladder, a plateau at which to get your thoughts in order and prepare to try again.” W. Clement Stone
We need to call failure as lessons learned. We need to turn it into a positive. Don’t wallow in it! Learn from it! Life is full of tasks that are by trial and error. We have got to continually fine tune our paths here on Spark People. We can not continue on the road to success if we are constantly doing the same thing over and over again. We have to try new things and sometimes we will fail. It we don’t switch things up, stagnation settles in.
We are not perfect, we are human. We all make mistakes. The question you need to ask yourself is , “How do I handle mistakes?”
1.Do you learn from your mistakes? Do you grow and improve as a person because of them or do you just plain give up? Do you just throw in the towel?
2.Do you play the blame game? Do you try to focus the problem away from yourself and shift it to someone else? Do you try to pin it on someone else? Do you learn from it and take responsibility? Do you think about it, seriously think about it and ask yourself, “What could I have done differently? What will I do differently to correct it and move forward?” You can only learn from a mistake after you admit you’ve made it. Then you need to figure out different options to correct it. Now we are back to trial and error and guess what; we may fail again and then it is back to the drawing board but eventually you hit pay dirt- success.
The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing. ~John Powell
Making mistakes simply means you are learning faster. ~Weston H. Agor
The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one. ~Elbert Hubbard, The Note Book, 1927
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Spring just screams asparagus to me. I especially like pairing asparagus and fresh mushrooms in a pasta dish based on an olive oil and garlic sauté as the sauce. So simple so good!
Asparagus are very low in calories but they are a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. They are a good source of folic acid, vitamin A, B vitamins and vitamin C. They contain calcium, potassium, and are loaded with fiber. Asparagus is an excellent detoxifier and diuretic.
8 major health benefits:
1 - can detoxify our system
2 - has anti-aging functions
3 - is considered an aphrodisiac
4 - can protect against cancer
5 - reduces pain and inflammation
6 - can prevent osteoporosis and osteoarthritis
7 - reduces the risk of heart disease
8 - can help prevent birth defects
Asparagus with Lemon Vinaigrette
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
salt / pepper to taste
2 pounds asparagus stalks, washed and trimmed
In a jar or bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper.
Blanch the asparagus in lightly,salted boiling water for about 3 minutes or until crisp-tender; do not overcook. Remove from heat and run under cold water to stop the cooking; drain well.
Toss asparagus with enough lemon vinaigrette to lightly coat.
Arrange asparagus on serving platter or individual serving plates.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Raw Asparagus Oriental Style
I will eat asparagus raw if it is nice and young. Asparagus like that tends to be tender and sweet. I will make a similar recipe to the one I make above but I do not blanch it. I use sesame oil in place of olive. When it is finished I will sprinkle with some fresh sesame seeds and also top with some thinly sliced red pepper. Makes a nice meal.
Raw Food Carrot Asparagus Curry
1 pound of asparagus
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic crushed
salt/pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Trim the woody ends from the asparagus, generally about an inch from the bottom of the stalk. Spread the spears in a single layer on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with the minced garlic, salt and pepper, and roll to coat thoroughly.
Roast the asparagus until lightly browned and tender, about 8 to 10 minutes, giving the pan a good shake about halfway through to turn the asparagus
1 bunch asparagus
6 - 8 eggs
2 Tbs water, some use milk
6 cloves garlic – I like garlic you can use less
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt/pepper to taste
Peel and blanch the asparagus spears. Cut asparagus into 1/2" pieces.
In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, salt, and pepper. I add a splash of water some people us e milk.
In a large oven proof skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. C cook eggs for about 2 minutes, scraping the sides and bottom with spatula. When eggs are mostly cooked but still very wet, stop stirring. You want to see cooked egg scattered throughout, but loose egg in between.
Continue cooking on stove for another minute so underside sets.
Place the skillet under broiler. Watch carefully while top browns. This will take 2-4 minutes
Remove skillet from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes to finish cooking in center.
Cut in wedges and serve.
Note: some people will add slices of cooked potato and/or top with cheese – your option – I don’t
Asparagus Cashew Pilaf
1/4 cup butter
2 ounces uncooked spaghetti, broken
1/4 cup minced onion
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/4 cups uncooked jasmine rice
2 1/4 cups vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 cup cashew halves
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Increase heat to medium, and stir in spaghetti, cooking until coated with the melted butter and lightly browned.
Stir onion and garlic into the saucepan, and cook about 2 minutes, until tender. Stir in jasmine rice, and cook about 5 minutes. Pour in vegetable broth. Season mixture with salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, and cook 20 minutes, until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed.
Place asparagus in a separate medium saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook until tender but firm.
Mix asparagus and cashew halves into the rice mixture, and serve warm.
1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
Cooking liquid combined with beef, poultry or vegetable broth to make 7 cups
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced onion
2 cups arborio rice
Fresh cracked black pepper
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
Braise asparagus in large pan filled with about 2 inches of water (asparagus should fit in one layer across bottom of pan), covered, about 5 minutes. Remove asparagus (reserve water) and rinse with cool water to prevent further cooking. Cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces and set spear tips aside to add to dish once it is cooked. Pour cooking water into large pot and add enough beef broth to make 7 cups of liquid. Keep water simmering over low heat, as you'll be adding this to the rice throughout its cooking.
In large heavy pot, add 1 tablespoon butter, olive oil and minced onion. Cook onion until nearly translucent over medium-high heat. Add asparagus stalks (not the spear tips) and stir well. Add rice, stirring quickly. Add 1/2 cups simmering broth and cook, stirring constantly, until water is absorbed. Repeat process till rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
Final consistency should be creamy and the rice tender but slightly firm at the center. Turn off heat and stir in asparagus spear tips, pepper, 2 tablespoons butter and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve immediately.
Vegan Asparagus Tart
500 grams white asparagus
4-6 sheets puff pastry
1 tomato, cut in eighths
8 tbs. chickpea flour (gram flour)
5 tbs. soy milk
3 tbs. vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
Peel the asparagus and cut off the woody, lower part of the stem.
Cut the asparagus into bite sized pieces, and cook until al dente.
Remove from the hot water and set aside.
Depending upon the size (9 inch or so) of your tort pan, pie plate or quiche dish, you will need 4-6 sheets of puff pastry.
Oil your pastry dish using, and place the puff pastry to cover the bottom and sides evenly.
(You can over lap a bit, it won’t be a problem).
Using a fork prick the bottom and side of the dough.
In a blender, place the soy milk, chickpea flour, the tomato and vinegar.
Pulse to make a smooth batter.
Season with salt pepper, cayenne and nutmeg.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 (F).
Place the asparagus pieces evenly in the pastry dish and pour the batter over the asparagus.
Smooth the batter to make sure it is spread evenly.
Place in the oven to bake for 25- 30 minutes.
It is done when the center is firm.
Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Thai Asparagus with Shrimp
1/2lb bunch of asparagus
8 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 30 count)
3 Tbls of vegetable oil
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
¼ cup of stock or water
1 ½ Tbls of oyster sauce
1 Tbls of soya sauce
2 tsps of fish sauce
1 tsp of sugar
Cut the woody ends off of the asparagus and discard the. Cut the remaining stalk into 1 or 1 ½ inch slices.
Heat the oil in a wok or heavy skillet over medium high. When the oil is hot, toss in the garlic and stir fry it for about 15 seconds, or until the garlic is good and fragrant.
Immediately toss in the shrimp and asparagus and turn the heat up to high. Add in the stock or water (chicken stock works well here, as does vegetable stock. Miso stock would probably also work well.)
Stir fry the vegetables until the asparagus is tender crisp and the shrimp is cooked. Medium asparagus spears will cook through in about 3 nutes, which should leave you with perfectly cooked shrimp as well.
Add in the sauces and sugar, and taste for seasoning
Chicken and Asparagus Stirfry
3 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp cornstarch
3/4 pound chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 tbsp canola oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 scallions, cut into 1-inch diagonal pieces
1/2 pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch diagonal pieces
1 carrot, julienned
In a glass dish, stir together soy sauce, lemon juice and zest, and cornstarch. Add chicken pieces and coat well with marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add garlic and fry until softened. Reserving the marinade, add chicken followed by the scallions, asparagus and carrots. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink.
Monday, March 22, 2010
NJ seems to be in the news lately as there are a number of Reality shows shooting here in our State. First we had the Housewives of NJ, then we had MTV’s Jersey Shore, and now there is an offer being made to an Old Bridge woman whose fantasy is to reach 1000 pounds and be known as the world’s heaviest woman. WHY? Why would anyone do that to themselves?
Her name is Donna Simpson. She is 42 years old, 5-foot-4 and currently weighs 604 pounds. Donna currently makes a living posing in scantily clad outfits striking provocative poses on the internet. She also says that her admirers particularly like to watch her body, or fat to be exact, in motion. She states they are fascinated by the way it jiggles.
Donna intends on using the internet to support the cost it will take her to pay for a daily 12,000 calorie diet. She feels people will pay to watch her eat all of this food each day. She claims that people are already sending her "gifts" of food and on man even gave her his charge card number to use to stock up her refrigerator. What does this say about our society? Are these gifts or ammunition to help her pull the trigger on her life?
There is definitely something wrong with her "upstairs" if you know what I mean. Donna already holds the record for the largest woman to give birth. She tipped the scales at 532 when she gave birth to her daughter. It took a team of over 30 doctors to deliver that baby. The daughter is now 3 years old. If Donna continues on this path the question is, how much longer will her daughter have a Mother? In my opinion Donna is digging her grave trying to obtain notoriety.
Her gameplan is to eat 12,000 calories a day. Most of us do not eat that in a week. She has already been offered a reality TV show and a book deal. Rumor has it that Dr. Phil and Oprah has contacted her, that ought to be a good show, the Oprah one that is.
The other one (a reality show) is just plain morbid. Why would any network put themselves on a limb like that? She has to be out of her mind and what happens if she dies trying to reach her goal weight of 1,000 pounds? Wouldn’t that make the network an enabler? What does that say about us as a society? Why would anyone support that type of show by watching it?
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Attitude Is everything in regards to your journey here on Spark People. I read a lot of your blogs and/or posts and you say you are powerless. That is so far from the truth. Yes, you may have failed in the past and I can count myself in that club too. Things have changed for me and they can change for you. The more you Spark the better you will do. The more you Spark the more you will learn. The more you Spark the more people you will meet on here that will impact your journey.
Everything starts with you. As you spring forward (Spring arrived yesterday) and recommit to your goals, you have to start with what is going on upstairs. Stop beating yourself up. Stop replaying the same record in your head “I can’t do this.” “I have always failed in the past so what makes me think I won’t fail again.” “It is useless.” “Why bother?” Stop the chatter in your head! Yes you can!
You need to change your mindset. Your mind is a powerful thing. It can make or break you. Success is a state of mind. Kick the negative thoughts to the curb. Whomever it is filling your head, it can be you, loved ones, friends, co-workers, that you are telling you that you are weak, lazy, stupid, useless, worthless, make you feel as though you have low self worth and then you start believing them – STOP LISTENING! Many of you in your blogs tell of being bullied like being called thunder thighs, lard bucket, tons of fun, fat cow, whale, etc.
You are strong! You do have self-control! You are worth it! You can do this!
“Your attitude is either the lock on or key to your door of success. “ Dennis Waitely
Saturday, March 20, 2010
In the US and Canada:
Saturday, March 20, at approximately midnight is the official first day of spring for 2010 in the Northern Hemisphere (Vernal Equinox).
Spring arrives today! Happy Days! As I walked outside yesterday to get my mail I noticed all of my crocuses were up. My irises were starting to break thru the ground, so many new green little shoots. I can hardly wait for the beautiful purple flowers. I love this time of year.
Spring is a time of:
As the sun shines brighter and longer on our days
The earth begins to awaken.
Like a sleepy, stretching child
She slowly sends her shoots, tiny but strong
Reaching upward out of the darkness
Into the light.
Let’s all brush off the cobwebs, open up the windows, let the sun and warmth in, push out those winter blues, and embrace the season. Let’s do the same with our journey here on Spark People. Jump for joy and start anew. Rededicate yourselves to the journey you started here on Spark People.
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