Three Hot Meals to Warm That Winter Cold

When you’re down in the dumps, the thought of cooking anything at all can be a daunting prospect. Believe it or not, however, a warm meal will do wonders when compared to dry cereal from the box or leftovers from last night’s takeout. Whether it’s man-flu, a head cold, or a bunged-up nose that plagues your daylight hours, these quick and easy recipes can help you get back on your feet before you know it. So, put away that box of tissues and get out the spatula – we’re cooking away our colds this winter.

Chicken Soup – The Humble Classic

It’s hearty. It’s delicious. It’s the sick man’s go-to meal. Chicken soup can heat you right through to the bone and, whether you’re making it from scratch or warming up a tin, it’s packed with great benefits to bolster the immune system and clear out that cold. The broth steams your nose for clearance, provides much-needed hydration to the body, and soothes even the scratchiest of throats on its way down to a hungry tum. High levels of protein mean chicken soup is great fuel for your system to grow and repair, and a base of noodles provides a yummy foundation for the meal to work on. Any added veg – common ingredients include carrots, onions, and celery – means an additional punch of vitamin and mineral goodness, which is always welcome. Remember to serve with a side of buttered bread, if only to mop up the delicious end result with gusto.

Bolognese – Homemade, Simple and Filling

Spag Bol – pasta, mince, carrots, and onion. Everything you need to make it through the winter in one piece – if eaten in moderation. This hardy recipe is a childhood nostalgia trip for many and can be a great comfort food option when energy is low and hunger is high. It’s simple, really. Follow a recipe if unsure, such as this one from BBC Good Food – otherwise, work from memory. On the one hand, you have your starchy, fork-wrapping pasta noodles and, on the other, a meaty, homemade sauce primed and ready to fill you up. This meal ticks all the food group boxes you could wish for and provides your body with everything it needs to get right as rain again. Serve spaghetti bolognese as artistically (or messily) as you like on a big plate, grate over parmesan cheese, and then get yourself stuck in. Keep any leftovers in the fridge for later and enjoy the fruits of a short thirty-minute labour at the stove. Dig out Grandma’s old cookbook for some old-time tips or, for a more modern take, Deliveroo has tips from restaurant chefs if you feel your end result is lacking.

Oatmeal – Crunchy, Fruity, Delicious

It doesn’t get any simpler than this. A stovetop breakfast; oats, milk, water and fruit. Optional toppings of sugar and cinnamon can add a dash of flavour and variable bowl sizes are available. Homemade oatmeal will take all of 5 minutes to prepare and you’ll be thanking yourself for it all day thereafter. Slow-burn carbs to keep you going and a selection of your favourite chopped fruit to keep Vitamin C levels high – which is vital! Soothe your throat, please your appetite, and push through that cold.

So there we have it. Three cold-busting recipes to get you back in shape. Mix and match, alternate, and be sure to vary your diet as much as your appetite will allow for the best results.

* Creamy Chicken Soup picture courtesy of Myra from Delicious On a Dime

Elderly and Pets

Some studies have shown the benefits of owning a pet as a senior. The findings indicate that the relationship is a match made in heaven. Love is the ideal prescription for solitude, and there’s no better way to get that love than by having a happy bundle of fur also called a pet. Many live-in carers can testify to seeing benefits associated with owning a pet as an older adult, they really can benefit our lives.

“Anyone who thinks money can’t buy happiness has never owned a cat [or any pet].”
Arya Riverdale

So what are the main positive benefits that come from a relationship between the elderly and pets?

  1. Health

From a purely medical perspective, having a pet will decrease blood pressure, anxiety, and depression. After a heart attack, there is normally reduced rehabilitation time for seniors who own pets. They visit the doctors less often and have better muscle strength and endurance.  A number of these physical advantages are traced back to an increase in activity such as walking with the pets. Walking provides a restoration effect, thanks to the nature surrounding the neighbourhood.

  1. Stress

As an elderly person, sometimes you might be going through a tough time and need someone to talk to. Your children could be grown up and too busy living their own lives to be there for you when you need them. Owning a pet can distract you and get your mind off overthinking.  Stroking animals alleviates stress. Because pets are non-judgmental, they are a good companion when it comes to getting rid of loneliness. Pets reduce depression, which can be caused by isolation or loss of a loved one.

  1. Having a Routine

Older people also get a feeling of self-worth and self-confidence when they’re responsible for the feeding and care of another life. When you know that you have to give care to another living being, it automatically makes you want to take good care of yourself. A visit to the supermarket to stock up on essentials or planning a meal might appear problematic to some elderly folks. However, once they get into the habit of preparing a meal for their cat or dog, it becomes routine, and they do it without complaining. That constant activity is good for their bodies as a way of exercising, as opposed to sitting back and doing nothing.

  1. Mental Alertness

Pets excite the mind because they are so playful, relieve boredom, and improve mental alertness. When a senior owns a pet, they somehow feel like they are not alone and feel more secure in their homes.  Human beings like it when their egos are boosted.  And owning a pet is one way of doing this. Imagine receiving all the love and adoration from a pet; it sure feels great and makes you feel loved and appreciated!

  1. Making New Friends

Meeting new people is hard especially as an older person if you spend most of your time indoors. Many pet events and organizations deal with catering to animals. These are a good place to meet people who have the same shared interests as yours. Plus, pets are a good way to break the ice.

 

As a pet owner, I can’t imagine not having fur babies in the house. Yes, I do moan sometimes… yes, I get cross with them from time to time but at the end of the day, they give more than they take and this is why we love them so much.

The 3-Step Solution to the Dog Jumping Up Issue

There is nothing worse than a dog that jumps up on people when they walk into a room or enter your home. You want to prevent a dog from jumping up as early as possible to keep it from becoming a serious problem as the dog grows.

It is in a dog’s nature to greet people enthusiastically, particularly when they are puppies. They want to smell the new person’s ears and head and get to know them. That’s just what dogs do. They want to do the same to you and let you know they are happy to see you and would love your attention.

This may be cute when they are a puppy, but once they are full grown it is not so cute. That is why it is important to nip this behavior in the bud and learn to prevent a dog jumping up as soon as possible. Training your dog when he is a puppy is much easier for everyone and faster.

It’s easy to inadvertently give positive feedback to a puppy that jumps up on you. He’s happy to see you and you greet him by petting his head. We don’t realize until it’s too late that what’s cute in puppyhood can be annoying when the dog is older.

A full grown dog that is a large dog has the ability to knock a person to the ground, especially the elderly and children, and this can be dangerous.

Preventing Dog Jumping Up in Three Easy Steps:

  1. Start from the very moment you decide to break your dog of this habit and to make it clear to the dog that this is not appropriate behavior. The best way to do this is to turn your back on the dog and ignore him. Do not make eye contact with the dog. A dog who jumps up on someone is trying to get their attention. Do not give him what he wants and it will begin to deter the behavior. Do this consistently to prevent dog jumping up on you and your guests.
  2. The second step to prevent dog jumping up and make it a consistent behavior is to reward the dog for good behavior. When the dog calms down, tell him to sit and kneel down to his level and give him lots of praise. He will learn that good behavior is rewarded with attention.
  3. If you can gain the support of a visitor or two that comes to your home on a regular basis while you’re working to prevent dog jumping up behavior, ask them to follow the same routine when they come to the house. Reinforcing the lesson in this way will speed the process along and reinforce the lessons he is learning with you.

Final thoughts. As always, when teaching your dog new behavior, be gentle but consistent. Don’t forget to consult your vet about what your dog’s dietary and exercise needs as well and stick to any prescribed pet meds you receive from your vet, remember a dog not in full health will also not want to learn new behaviours willingly.

Making sure your buddy doesn’t jump on everyone he meets is part of responsible dog ownership and is as important as making sure your dog is free from parasites and always on some flea killer product like Frontline plus for dogs . Basic dog care that is sensible and appreciated by others you meet.

* This is a collaborative post.

How to Prepare Your House for Winter

Winter is undoubtedly one of the best seasons of the year. During wintertime, we get to enjoy the wonders of snow, the never-ending festivities of Christmas and the New Year and the joyful reunion with family and friends. We change our wardrobe, we light up strangely-flavoured and scented candles, we slave away in the kitchen and we decorate our houses with Christmas tree, lights, ornaments and nativity scenes. The list can go on and it is easy to get carried away by all the excitement. But before any of these could happen, it is very important that you have completed all the preparation that you need for your house.

Here are five things that you must do to prepare your house for winter.

  1. Test your Heating System

Your heating system should be the first thing that you check towards the end of fall. You don’t want to freeze in the middle of the winter waiting for your heating system to work. It is highly recommended that you conduct a test run by turning on the thermostat to heat mode and setting it to the desired temperature. If it’s working, you should be able to hear the furnace turn on immediately as the warm air begins to flow. Turn the thermostat back to its original setting do this exercise at least three times in the morning, afternoon and especially at night.

A great addition to your heating system is a solid humidifier for your home. Not only does it help provide warmth, but it also generates much-needed moisture that is necessary to prevent dryness, itchiness and skin irritation.

  1. Inspect the Air Conditioning

Just because you won’t be needing air condition doesn’t mean that you have to ignore it. Before completely turning off and unplugging the air condition, clean the condensing unit of debris and dust first and then make sure that it is well-covered. The air condition can develop rust and collect dirt over the winter time and so it might not be functional come spring.

  1. Prepare the Wood-Burning Fireplace and Chimney

The fireplace is a great source of warm air in the middle of the winter season. Before winter, prepare the fireplace and inspect the chimney if they are clear of any leaves, bird nests, dust and other debris that might have collected over time. Test how the fire burns using a few logs so you can diagnose any problems that might arise.

  1. Check the Insulation of your House

Every corner of your house should be properly insulated. Cold and warm air should be able to come in and out of your house evenly without leaving any leaks. You can insulate your house by applying an insulating blanket to your hot water tank, sealing exterior outlets with a foam gasket and installing a removable cover for your fireplace and chimney.

  1. Examine the Roof, Doors, and Windows

Do not forget about the parts of your house that are exposed to external elements. Examine the roof and its shingles to make sure that ice dams will not ensue and the melted ice will not leak into the interior of the house. Make sure the doors and windows can be opened and closed properly and will not accumulate ice or water.

 

At this moment, we still have rather lovely weather here with temperatures in the low 20s and days full of sun but only a few weeks back a cold snap brought the first snow of the season to the mountains just down the road… so get ready and stay warm as the saying goes, winter is coming!

Benefits of Beets

* By Susan Conley, creator of cookthestone.com 

Beets are one of the super foods. They are an excellent source of fiber and vitamins as well as full of essential nutrients like iron, manganese, B vitamins, copper, and potassium. This article will share the benefits of incorporating beets into your diet.

Beets are one of the super foods. They are an excellent source of fiber and vitamins as well as full of essential nutrients like iron, manganese, B vitamins, copper, and potassium. This article will share the benefits of incorporating beets into your diet.

Beets won’t exactly be the first thing that comes to your mind when asked about favorite vegetables. This root vegetable may not be as well-known as carrot or squash, but only a few veggies can match up with its nutritional value.

Health benefits of beets

  1. Control blood pressure

High blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for heart disease like stroke, heart failure, and heart attacks. Heart disease also happens to be one of the top causes of death today.

Eating beets can improve your blood pressure. Experts say this is due to the high concentration of nitrates in beets, which our bodies convert to the compound nitric oxide that relaxes and dilates the blood vessels. When this happens, the blood vessels promote improved blood circulation and consequently lower blood pressure.

There have been numerous studies backing up this claim. Some studies have also indicated that beets can lower blood pressure by as much as 10 mmHg a few hours after consumption. The positive effect on blood pressure is stronger when raw beets are eaten.

  1. Improve digestion

Like most vegetables, beets are rich in dietary fiber which has been linked to numerous health benefits such as improved digestion.

Did you know that a cup of beetroot already has 3.4 grams of fiber? That’s about 20 percent of the recommended daily value for dietary fiber!

Fiber can promote digestive health by bypassing digestion and heading straight to the colon, where it can add bulk to stool or feed gut-friendly bacteria. By getting more fiber out of your foods, you can regularly eliminate waste and lower your risks of digestive problems like constipation and inflammatory bowel disease.

Plus, fiber can also lower your risks of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

  1. Enhance your stamina

While eating beets won’t really make you into a world-class athlete, regular consumption of this root vegetable can improve your stamina and enhance your athletic performance.

This wonderful benefit of beets is believed to come from the high nitrate contents of beets. Nitrates have been associated with enhanced efficiency of mitochondria which produces energy in the cells. Numerous studies have also backed up these claims, and many elite athletes are known to incorporate beets into their diets.

One study conducted and published in 2009 showed that cyclists who drank beet juice were able to pedal up to 15 percent longer. The author of the said study says eating 3-5 beets at least two hours before an event can give an individual a boost in performance.

  1. Enhance your brain’s performance

Eating beets can make your brain work better. I suggest you eat beets before taking an exam as it could enhance cognitive function.

Again, the nitrates found in beets are responsible for this wonderful benefit. By relaxing and dilating the blood vessels, nitrates can promote increased blood flow to the brain which could lead to improved brain function.

This effect is particularly critical for senior adults because studies have shown that the body’s capacity to generate nitric oxide decreases with age.

In one study conducted in 2010, 14 participants with an average age of 74 were asked to eat a high-nitrate diet that included beet juice. They were then observed to have increased focus and attention to detail for two days afterward.

  1. Lose weight

Beets are low in calories and high in water which makes them a good food to incorporate into your weight loss diet.

But what’s intriguing is that beets also have protein and fiber despite their low-calorie content. Protein and fiber are two essential nutrients for maintaining a healthy weight.

You will also be able to lose weight when you eat more beets because the vegetable can increase the feeling of satiety and reduce your appetite.

  1. Lower your risks of cancer and other diseases

Beets contain the potent antioxidants called betalains which can lower your risks of chronic disease like cancer and heart disease. It also has betacyanin which can protect the body against carcinogens. Betacyanin is the pigment responsible for the purple hue of beets.

Conclusion

With the many health benefits of beets, we should be eating more beets as a good way to incorporate a vegetable into your diet.

There are many ways to enjoy beets. You can juice or steam it. You can also roast or pickle it. But I would suggest avoiding the boiling beets to preserve the nitrates which are water soluble. Or simply let your home blender do all the work, then you will have a perfect drink for good health after few minutes.

Besides those ideas above, there are many excellent ways to prepare beets that you can use in your daily life.

Let me know what you usually do with beets in the comment section below.

Happy cooking!

Beets are one of the super foods. They are an excellent source of fiber and vitamins as well as full of essential nutrients like iron, manganese, B vitamins, copper, and potassium. This article will share the benefits of incorporating beets into your diet./>