Veggie Meals

With summer (hopefully quickly) approaching us, many people are looking for new healthy eating styles to be able to get their weight down for their summer swimsuit ready bodies. There are endless amounts of fad diets that you can find out there and many different ways that you can healthily get your summer body back. One way that I would recommend to do that is to eat more fruits and veggies. Yes, I know, I really should alert the media at my profound new development-who knew eating fruits and veggies could help you get healthier? Well, to some people it may only sound so easy in theory and they may need a little push to the healthy eating side.

In America we tend to eat our meals backwards from everybody else in the world, much like we do everything else. In Europe it is more common to eat a big lunch and a very small dinner because it is more likely that you will retain more fat from your meal if you eat more later in the day. So, how do we begin to make the transition to the European style meals? Well one easy way to do that is to trick our minds. If we eat veggies, we can eat more of them which will make our minds feel fuller, but they have less calories so that we can stay on track to healthy eating habits and feel better, so you’re not so stuffed at night that you can’t breathe.

There are so many good veggie options out there that can be very delicious as well as nutritious for your dinner meal. I have a few suggestions from the meals that I tend to eat and really enjoy.

 

Zucchini and Squash

This is a really good and light meal that you can have. All I do to make mine is cut up some slices of both Zucchini and Squash and put it in one of those Steamfresh bags, that you can find at any local market or store. After you warm them up or cook them for a while and make them steamy you can add other ingredients. Often when I am feeling lazy, I simply add some 0 calorie French Dressing to them and that is fabulous. Although you could also add other seasonings and spices to your taste, it may be a trial and error sort of thing.

 

Eggplant

This is by far one of the best meals that I have ever eaten and one of my favourites by far. Breaded eggplant is very very good and I would highly recommend it to anybody. Even if you’re a little skiddish before trying it, it would be well worth the effort to go for it. it is really good and really easy to make. A simple recipe that I found online is as follows:

Ingredients
2 medium eggplants
Salt and pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk or half and half
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups dry panko crumbs
Lemon ricotta mixture:
2 pounds ricotta cheese
3 eggs, beaten
Zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Directions
Cut off the top of the eggplant and slice crosswise. Sprinkle with salt and arrange the slices on a plate at an angle. Put a weight on top of it to sweat the eggplant, allowing the juices to drain for 1 to 2 hours. Dry the eggplant slices with a paper towel.

Mix the eggs, milk and pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl. Stir the crushed garlic into the olive oil in a cup. Lightly coat a baking sheet with the garlic-olive oil mixture.

Dip each slice of eggplant on both sides in the egg batter and then into the bread crumbs. Tap in the bread crumbs with your palm to get a good adherence to the surface. Shake off the excess crumbs and place breaded slices of eggplant on the baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes on each side at 375 degrees until the eggplant is tender

Lemon ricotta mixture:
Put the ricotta in a bowl and stir in the eggs; add the remaining ingredients and mix together.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/breaded-eggplant-recipe.html

 

Assassination Vacation

In the past few weeks we have been very busy children in our AP Lang class, and have started our next author study project. At first I was disappointed at my author that I received, Sarah Vowel, but my initial reaction was soon proven wrong. I learned the lesson to never judge an author by the two sentence summary you hear about her. While I was expecting another few weeks of forcing myself to read books by an author that I didn’t chose, I was delightfully proven wrong. When I found that her first book was called Assassination Vacation, I was excited to read it. Anything with the word assassination in it will immediately catch my interest.

This book is about her adventures around the United States to places where presidents have been assassinated or places related to the act of killing them, such as the place that John Wilkes Booth ran to escape the police after him after shooting Lincoln in Ford Theater. This book is actually really interesting and fun to read. She explores the world of presidential assassinations and how they happened and why. She also brings in a lot of trivia facts about the deaths, such as the correlation between Robert Lincoln between everyone of the presidential assassinations. For example Robert was supposed to be set up with Booth’s fiance not a week before his father was killed by the man. He also saved Booth’s brother from getting hit by an underground one day many years later. He has been associated with every one of the assassinations, not only the one of his father.

The history of death in the United States is always fascinating and interesting especially when you add in the element of historical background.  Vowel throughout the book explains how she is obsessed with death, but not pleased by the result or the act of it. I share this belief with her. The art of death and peoples means behind it are fascinating but the fact that people have to die to have the fascination is sad. There are many places and facts about these things that many people aren’t aware of and Sarah Vowel brings these to life through her adventures. There is also a fun element of humour throughout the book as she describes how her friends are aware of how odd her passion is and how she often has to drag them along to the places that she describes in the book.

If you’re fascinated by history or the minds of people I would totally recommend this book. Happy Booking!

Tea Gets Even Better

Tea is one of the best tasting, healthiest, and popular drinks around the world, aside from water. It’s most commonly drunk in England and China, although worldwide it is still a very common occurrence. In the United States it is more common to drink iced tea, while that is almost unheard of and considered very strange in the UK. Tea has uncountable amounts of health benefits depending on the type you get and even the mixture of tea types if you choose to use multiple kinds. All tea kinds are wonderful in their own way, and can help you greatly with some health aspects.

Green Tea

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This is one of my personal favourite tea kinds. Green tea is very good and often comes in many different flavours for every preference. I have ones that are orange spice, pomegranate, blueberry, and more like those. Besides taste there are health benefits also to drinking green tea. The most common and well known use for green tea is for weight loss. It is said to boost the metabolism and help to prevent storage of fat and plaque growth in veins. There is some debate about this, but one claim in the medical field is that there is a compound in the leaves that promotes brain cell growth and can increase quality thinking, theoretically making you smarter. Tea has many different antioxidants that have been shown in test studies to prevent the growth and start of some types of cancer. It also contains compounds along with promoting intelligence it can also prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. It can also help with diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular problems.

Black Tea

Made from the same plant that green tea leaves are made from, this tea is made form the aged leaves of the Camellia plant. This is a very good tea that also comes in many different flavours that are very popular around the world. This is a more common form of tea than the green tea. This tea is claimed to help with caffeine and alertness to keep you awake during the day and also helps prevent parkinsons disease and heart or cardiovascular issues. It raises blood pressure and can help in cases of vertigo. Many of these effects are more common in women that men and can also help with ovarian cancer.

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Herbs Video

Herbal medicine has been used in many historical cultures since the beginning of time and since civilization knew what medicine and illnesses were. I, coming from a line of Native Americans, decided to focus in a little on the historical aspects of this culture specifically. Many tribes still continue their herbal practices to this day and obviously they have been successful, or else they would not be used still. While yes Native American culture greatly differed from the western world, but it was still thriving and growing successfully until the western world came and tore it apart. They have been using North American resources for many many years to heal illnesses or solve bodily problems.

Alternative Medicine

One area of study that is growing in popularity is the idea of alternative medicine and the idea of using herbs in placement of traditional medicine and as a more natural and healthier way to get better from illnesses, cancer, or even things such as anxiety and insomnia. In a historical context, herbal and natural medicine was highly used and practiced by highly evolved and intelligent societies. Yes medicine has changed and evolved over time, for example  we don’t put leeches all over people with the flu hoping that they will suck out and get rid of all the “bad blood” anymore. Although, the possibilities of using natural methods in modern medicine could really be groundbreaking. The Native Americans used many herbs and remedies to cure ailments and other illnesses that they encountered, and contrary to somewhat popular belief, they were one of the most advances civilizations of their time. There are many different theories to the effectiveness and uses of herbs for some of today’s medical issues.

In today’s culture the most popularized use for alternative medicine, is actually with cancer patients. Many patients, who want to try anything at all to stop the growth of their cancer, will often turn to other more natural ways to possibly help them. Even in the hit (and amazing) T.V. show “Breaking Bad“, Walter and Skylar While inquire and mention many times about alternative medicinal remedies and different ways, besides the harsh chemical treatment that Walter could use to help slow the cancer growth. This of course isn’t the only use or purpose for alternative medicine.

There are both good and bad forms of natural medicine. Homeopathy is one version that really is not all that effective at all. It contains highly diluted forms of verbs, that may leave you with a wonderful feeling of the placebo effect, but nothing substantial or actually effective. http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-facts-of-the-alternative-medicine-industry/

Herbal medicine

With the growing popularity and assumed success rate of using herbs as medicine, many people are curious and they just don’t know how to start or which ones to use to effectively help whatever illness or issue they want to fix. When you’re beginning to take and use herbal medicine on a regular basis there are a few basic things that you need to be aware of for safety reasons and just simply basic knowledge. You need to know what helps with what, where you can even get these herbs, and how to take the in a safe way.

In the United States herbs are not considered as medicine or regulated as such, so it gets tricky finding someone knowledgeable on the subject and making sure that you actually get the herb you want, since it isn’t heavily regulated and checked for content. There are actually many certified people out there, Herbologists and so forth, that are college educated on using herbs for medicinal purposes. They can be fairly easy to find if you really want to dive into the whole issue and are really serious about it. To find one close to where you live you can look on either of the following websites; http://www.americanherbalistguild.com/ and http://www.americanherbalistguild.com/. These people can give you more sound advice than I could on the subject and probably recommend more herbs to you that would specifically help your issues.

There are many different forms that the herbs you’re searching for van come is such as; teas, syrups, oils, liquid extracts, tinctures, and dry extracts (pills or capsules). There are some things that you should look out for though. Many herbs that are on the market, and may not have any warnings on them, can and have been shown to exhibit some bad side effects. A Herbologist or some simple research before you take the herb will usually tell you what the possible side effects are and if it’s recommended to actually take. Some herbs only are effective in some forms for certain illnesses. For example the tea form may induce constipation while the pill or capsule form of the herb will act as a laxative. It all depends on the herb, and as I said earlier, before you take any herb at all, do a quick 30 second google search. It could prevent many future health problems that may result from taking something harmful.

Source: Herbal medicine | University of Maryland Medical Center http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/treatment/herbal-medicine#ixzz2xprJ3QTi

Secret Meaning of Character Names

Whenever we go on vacations or to stores there always seem to be those pieces of paper with every common name on them telling their meaning and Hebrew of Latin origins. If you’re anything like me, those absolutely fascinate you. Trying to figure out if your name description matches your personality and who’s is the best. There are many different meanings behind each name. Mine, Jordan, is Hebrew if I recall correctly and often means down flowing or flow. This really has no significance whatsoever to me as I am a person and can’t exactly flow in the conventional sense. This name as you can probably guess is often derived in meaning and significance from the Jordan River which plays a big part in the bible and Christianity.

The great thing about writing your own books is that you can choose the significance and meaning of your characters names. This is a trick that a lot of really popular authors do that, and you may not have even realized it. One of the most famous examples is from Star Wars. Darth Vader, who is later revealed to be Luke’s father in one of the biggest plot twists in cinema history, his name in German literally means “Dark Father”. Writers are good at entering this subtle character hints and developments behind the scenes.

One of my favourite series Harry Potter, has a lot of these character naming tricks implemented into it. Albus Dumbledore is a really interesting one. The name itself means white and wisdom, which paired with his luscious long white beard is a perfect fit. Although the story behind the name is even more interesting. There was a go owner of Britain that when he claimed the throne became an ally of an unlikely foe, Septimus Severous. Sound familiar? Argus, which if Filch’s first name means watchful. That fits perfectly doesn’t it? Bellatrix means great female warrior, war, and a woman in power. What better for the Dark Lords first hand lady? Harry means power, a great name for the chosen one. My favourite story is of Madam Trelawney. There was an actual prophet that shares her last name in myths and stories who was cursed so that no one would believe any of her prophecies, although they were true. This was very true of Madam, who was believed to be insane by all but was very insightful and correct in her divination. Good ol’ J.K. Rowling does a very good job at things like this, these are only a very select few examples, so feel free to explore and find more Harry Potter ones on your own, you will for sure be mind blown.

In the ever popular hunger games series there are also many really cool name stories that fit the characters to a t. Go and look some up from your favourite books or tv series and put your favourite in the comments, stories like this fascinate me! So next time you begin writing a story out some subtle hints in your character name to make it a little more interesting, and satisfy the history buff in you. Happy Booking all!