Disclaimer: I am being compensated for this blog post as part of the Philip Stein #liveintune campaign. Opinions expressed are my own.
When you think of romance, what comes to mind? For me, a hopeless romantic, romance is epitomized in the movie Titanic when Jack Dawson (played by Leonardo Dicaprio) sacrificed his life to let Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet’s character) live. Romance oozes from the movie The Notebook, especially when Allie Hamilton (played by Gena Rowlands) and Noah Calhoun (played by James Garner) die in their sleep with their arms and bodies so beautifully intertwined.
In my own life, the idea of romance makes me think of a particular day during my childhood. Almost 30 years ago, in the late afternoon on a crisp winter day, my first true love rode miles on his horse to meet me in the woods. Forbidden to see one another, we knew we risked being caught by our parents—but that only made the desperate, sweet teenage kisses we shared and the way we professed our undying love to one another even more special. When I think of romance, I also think of another boyfriend—my last before I met the man who would become my husband. He called me gorgeous (even though I didn’t think I was) and always made me feel like I was the only woman in the room.
I also witnessed romance recently when our 44-year-old friend Harvey married Elise, one of my best camp friends. Although they first fell in love 22 years ago, when they were both 22, and parted ways, they were unexpectedly reunited after Elise’s previous marriage ended. They’ve been inseparable ever since. To mark the magic, Harvey counted down on Facebook the 22 days until their wedding day with poems, anecdotes, and gorgeous photos. A greater romance I’ve never known!
While romance—a “love affair” or “an emotional attraction or aura belonging to an especially heroic era, adventure, or activity”*—can be inspired by, or be expressed with, grand dramatic overtures, sometimes even little things can be romantic. Having been happily married to the same man, a hard working and devoted father to our two sons, aged 15 and 11, for more than 20 years, I think we’d both agree that it’s the little things—the inside jokes, the small gestures and favors, squeezing in a little one-on-one time (in between two full-time jobs, our sons’ homework help and basketball games), and enjoying solo time together when our sons go to overnight summer camp—that help us keep the spark alive.
Whether you’re looking for love, on the cusp of it, or are in a committed relationship, there are things you can do besides reading the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy (trust me) to ignite romance (or at least give it a jump-start). Here are three of my top tips to help you do just that in your own life:
1. Reclaim and redefine date night. At the beginning of their relationship, most couples seemingly make all the time in the world to go on dates and spend time together. But when the initial excitement of the relationship starts to dim, and real life sets in, many couples often find it too easy to allow work, children, or other responsibilities to get in the way of their private time together. Of course parenting or caring for older parents, logging too many hours at the office, and having a long to-do list can move date night to the back burner, it’s important for your own health—and that of your relationship—to reclaim date night. Even if that means grabbing a quick bite to eat, seeing a movie, or simply walking to and from favorite frozen yogurt shop (my husband and I started doing this just last summer), penciling in one-on-one time together each week, as you would an appointment, shows each of you—and the rest of your family—that your relationship matters and is worth making time for.
2. Put the ‘action’ in your activities. Instead of meeting for the usual drinks or heading to dinner and a movie with your significant other—or friends—plan something more active. Taking a brisk walk, jog, or bike ride in the park, heading to a spin or dance class, or training for some sort of competition together (like a 5 k race, triathlon, or even a charity walk) not only gives you quality time together, but can help you get in shape or stay fit. When we were first married, my husband and I would do 5K, 6 mile and 10K running races together (once we even did a 10 miler). We also play golf together, and love to hike together in places like Colorado, California and Hawaii. Being active in new and different ways not only creates a sense of adventure and accomplishment, but it can help you feel better physically and mentally—and help you be more open to experiencing romance. And as I wrote about in my upcoming book, Younger Next Week, being active and exercising can boost libido (it helps blood flow to al the right places, if you know what I mean). Let’s not forget that regular exercise also helps you look and feel better, and can therefore indirectly boost your confidence in-between the sheets!
3. Connect by disconnecting. Because for so many of us, the smart phone or laptop has become like a third appendage, it’s become far to easy to lose touch with all of our senses that allow us to recognize and enjoy romance—even when it’s staring right at us. So when you’re with your sweetie, put that cell phone away and really pay attention to him or her. Use all your senses to look at, listen to, touch and completely engage with your significant other. You may find that not having all the distractions reminds you why you were drawn to him or her in the first place. Just like you let nothing come between you and your Calvins, it’s wise to not let a cell phone or laptop come between you and your partner.
What are some of the ways you introduce or bring back the romance in your relationship? Share your to-dos, tips and ideas with the hashtag #liveintune below to help others bring romance back into their lives too.
Image of Harvey and Elise from their amazing wedding via Marc Millman Photography.
*Source: Merriam-Webster dictionary
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Just in time for Thanksgivukah come two delicious recipes for turkey and cranberry sauce. They'd make great additions to any dinner during the holidays--or whenever! Yum!
Rosemary-Citrus Turkey Breast
1 bunch rosemary, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
¼ cup olive oil
4 cups chicken broth (read ingredients and avoid added sugars and other unnecessary fillers)
~4 pound bone-in turkey breast
1. Zest oranges & lemons and then juice.
2. In large storage container, stir together:
- citrus zest & juice
- chopped rosemary & garlic
- 4 cups chicken broth
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 cup water
- 2 Tablespoons salt
Add turkey breast to marinate.
3. Marinate turkey for 24 hours (or a minimum of 1 hour up to 48 hours)
4. Pre-heat oven to 450 F.
5. Remove turkey from marinade and place in baking pan. Put in oven at 450 F for 5 minutes.
6. Lower temperature to 400 F and continue to roast for ~1-1.5 hours or until internal temperature of 165 F.
Carbohydrates: 1 g
Fat: 3.5 g
Protein: 28 g
Fiber: 0 g
Cholesterol: 45 mg
Sodium: 480 mg
Sugar: 1 g
Orange Cranberry Sauce
10 ounces cranberries (fresh or frozen, thawed)
1 Tablespoon orange zest (from ~2 oranges)
1 cup orange juice
¼ cup honey
1. In a small pot, place the following ingredients:
- 10 ounces cranberries
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 Tablespoon orange zest
- ¼ cup honey
2. Stir the above together and place on high heat, bringing to a boil, lower to low heat, cooking for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Transfer to bowl and place in refrigerator to cool.
Carbohydrates: 16 g
Fat: 0 g
Protein: 0 g
Fiber: 2 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 0 mg
Sugar: 12 g
Source: Allison Stevens, MS, RD, LD, from Prep Dish’s gluten-free, dairy-free Thanksgiving Plan.
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Here’s a delicious, hearty side dish from registered dietitian Victoria Shanta-Retelny.
Creamy like a typical risotto, but less fatty and caloric, this nutty-tasting rendition of the Italian classic will keep your heart healthy and fill you up on fewer calories!
Yield/Servings: 4 (½ cup) servings
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 cup wild rice
1 ½ cups vegetable broth, low-sodium
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
2 rosemary sprigs, remove needles, minced
2 Tablespoons part-skim ricotta cheese
Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Steam the squash in a steamer pot over boiling water for 10 minutes or until tender enough to mash with a fork. Puree squash in a food processor and set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and sauté onion and garlic over a low heat until soft and lightly browned.
3. Add rice and stir until well-coated add broth and water. Bring to a boil and then turn heat down to simmer, cover. Stir frequently, once rice has fully absorbed the liquid and is softening add squash and rosemary. Stir to combine.
4. Stir in ricotta cheese; season with salt and pepper to taste. It should be thick and creamy with the rice soft on the outside, but firm in the middle.
Carbohydrates: 15 g
Total Fat: 2 g
Protein: 2 g
Fiber: 2 g
Cholesterol: 8 mg
Sodium: 73 mg
Sugar: 4 g
Source: Victoria Shanta-Retelny, RDN, LDNclick to comment
Whether you just ran a marathon (or are preparing for one), or simply want some nutrient-packed fuel to get your day going, this tasty twist on the typical pancake is sure to please. Add an extra half cup of fresh fruit or 100% fruit juice, and you're good to go. Enjoy!
Yield/Servings: 12 pancakes
1 cup spelt flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 over-ripe banana
1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
¾ cup vanilla almond milk
¼ cup walnuts
½ cup fresh blueberries
½ teaspoon unsalted butter
1. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon together. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl, mash the banana and stir in the Greek yogurt. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the banana and Greek yogurt mixture to the eggs, and stir until combined. Add the almond milk and stir until incorporated.
4. Pour the liquids into the bowl with the flour, and gently fold until just incorporated, taking care not to over-mix.
5. Stir in the walnuts and blueberries.
6. Heat a nonstick skillet or electric skillet over medium-low heat, and coat the skillet with butter. Note: only coat the skillet with butter for the first batch.
7. Pour ¼ cup of the pancake batter into the skillet and heat until bubbly and golden brown, about 2-1/2 minutes.
8. Flip the pancake with a flat-sided spatula and cook an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Notes: You’ll know pancakes are ready to flip when you see little bubbles on the surface. Make extra pancakes on the weekend and freeze the leftovers. They reheat quickly in the microwave and you’ll have a homemade no-fuss breakfast in a flash.
Source: Flat Belly Cookbook for Dummies by Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, Tara Gidus, RD, and Kristina LaRue, RD
Full disclosure: No good or services were exchanged for posting this recipe.
What's your favorite way to make/eat pancakes?click to comment
With the fall in full swing and the holidays fast approaching, eating well often goes on the back burner for many. But you can put together some healthful, delicious, and energizing meals to serve over the holidays or at family get togethers without sabotaging an otherwise healthful diet.
To help you get started, here are two delicious recipes from the new book, The Smart Shopper Diabetes Cookbook by Robyn Webb, M.S.. And don’t let the name of the book fool you: these recipes are sure to please everyone’s palates—even if they don’t have diabetes. Enjoy!
Turkey and Cranberry Salad
Yields 4 1-1/4 cup servings
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 0
This pretty jewel-colored salad is perfect for the holidays. Why not serve it for a festive brunch along with some fresh whole-grain rolls and a side of steamed French green beans.
2 cups diced cooked low-sodium deli turkey breast
1/2 cup dried unsweetened cranberries
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced yellow bell pepper
1/4 cup diced red onion
2 tablespoons minced scallions
2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil
pinch sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. In a large bowl, combine the turkey, cranberries, red and yellow peppers, red onion, and scallions.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, and sugar. Slowly, in a thin stream, whisk in the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently mix.
Exchanges/Choices: 1 Carbohydrate, 2 Lean Meat, 1 1/2 Fat
Total Fat: 11 g
Saturated Fat: 1.7 g
Trans Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 30 mg
Sodium: 445 mg
Potassium: 320 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 12 g
Dietary Fiber: 3 g
Sugars: 6 g
Protein: 16 g
Phosphorus: 175 mg
Classic Spinach Pie
Yields 24 2 x 2 inch square pieces
Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 36 minutes
One of my fondest memories is my Mom, sister, and I preparing spinach pie every Sunday. Back then, we didn’t hesitate to add loads of butter, but now know that’s not necessary, as cooking spray does the trick. The freezer section provides the most important ingredients; all you need to do is add some love.
olive oil flavored cooking spray
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 (16-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (1-pound) box frozen filo dough, thawed according to package directions
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 9 ×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 5–6 minutes.
2. Add the onions and garlic to a large mixing bowl. Add in the spinach, feta cheese, eggs, salt and pepper.
3. Unroll the filo dough. Using one sheet at a time while keeping the remaining filo dough stack under a clean towel, carefully lift 1 filo dough sheet into the prepared pan and spray with the cooking spray, taking care to coat the edges of the filo, but don’t overspray. Repeat this 12 times with 12 sheets of filo stacked on top of each other fitted into the pan. Spread the spinach mixture on top of the 12 sheets. Repeat with another 12 sheets stacked on top of each other, spraying each time with butter flavored cooking spray.
4. Using a sharp knife, cut through the filo into 2 × 2 inch squares going about 1/3 down into the filo (do not cut all the way through to the bottom of the pan). Cover the pan with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
5. Remove the cover and continue to bake the spinach pie until the top is well browned and the filo dough looks crisp and flaky.
Exchanges/Choices: 1 Starch, 1/2 Fat
Total Fat: 3 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Trans Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol : 20 mg
Sodium: 200 mg
Potassium: 170 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 16 g
Dietary Fiber: 2 g
Sugars: 1 g
Protein: 4 g
Phosphorus: 65 mg
What are your favorite fall foods?
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I recently wrote a post for Parents.com that included experts’ nutritious and delicious back-to-school recipes. The response to recipe requests from my colleagues was so overwhelming, I decided to share a few more gems on my Stressipes® blog. Enjoy!
1. Egg Pita Pocket. Scramble 1 to 2 eggs. Place in 1/2 of a 7-inch pita pocket. Top with 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese and salsa. Pair with fresh seasonal fruit.
2. Chocolate Peanut Butter and Banana Muffin Top. 1 double chocolate Vitamuffin top topped with 1-2 tablespoons natural peanut butter and 1/2 sliced banana.
3. Protein-Rich Smoothie with Wheat Germ and Chia Seeds. (Recipe courtesy of Kretschmer.) Place 1/2 cup fat-free milk, 1/2 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt, 1 frozen medium banana, 2 tablespoons unsweetened smooth peanut butter, 1 tablespoon Kretschmer Honey Crunch Wheat Germ, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1-1/2 cups baby spinach and 4 large ice cubes into a blender and process until smooth and creamy. Serve cold. Serves 2.
4. Yogurt and Granola Parfait. 6 to 8 ounces nonfat Greek or regular low-fat or nonfat yogurt layered with fresh berries or fruit of choice and topped with 1 crumbled granola bar (like a Fiber One bar).
5. Peanut Butter Banana Dog. Spread peanut butter (or any nut butter or sunflower seed butter) in a whole wheat hot dog bun. Place peeled banana in bun. Enjoy with glass of nonfat milk.
6. Cherry Vanilla Freeze. Combine 3/4 cup frozen pitted sweet cherries, 1 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt, 2 ice cubes and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract in blender or food processor and blend. Drink immediately. Serve with a slice of whole wheat toast.
7. Cantaloupe-Raspberry Smoothie. Add 1/2 cup cantaloupe chunks, 1 cup Oikos nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt, 1 cup raspberries and a handful of ice cubes to blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and enjoy! Makes 2 servings.
What's your favorite morning meal?
Image of the Protein-Rich Smoothie with Wheat Germ and Chia Seeds via Kretschmer.
Full disclosure: I have no financial or other ties to any of the specific brands or products mentioned.
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Stressipes (rhymes with recipes) are solutions for the negative ways stress affects what (and how much) you eat, how you move, how well and how much you sleep, and how you handle all the things in life that make you feel stressed.
Even if we think otherwise, we have the power to not let stress get the best of us, and adversely affect our habits. In the Stressipes web series, I will show you simple solutions using real food, exercises, and lifestyle strategies to help you survive and thrive despite whatever tries to bring you down or debilitate you, physically or mentally.
Here's the link to Episode 1 of Stressipes on You Tube! I hope watching it gives you a laugh to help you destress!
Have a great day!
Source of image of Paul Heyman and Elisa Zied: Jeff Fusco.
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I was recently asked to be part of a FREE online event designed to empower parents to raise healthy, successful kids. The event is called “Relationship Based Parenting: The Simple Truths about Raising Healthy, Successful Kids,” and it takes place between August 12th and 23rd,.
As a registered dietitian nutritionist, freelance writer, and author, I’m humbled be one of 21 speakers from around the world who was asked to participate. Created and organized by Abby Bordner, the event brings together top speakers in the fields of child psychology, child development, writing/publishing, and authors of bestselling parenting books to answer two key questions:
- What does it take to raise healthy, successful kids?
- How can I become a better person while doing it?
While you can listen to my interview on August 14, 2013 at 8 PM EST/5 PM PST, all of the interviews done with the speakers between the 12th and 23rd of August will be available to you.
I truly hope you’ll join this community of parents and professionals in what is sure to be a valuable exploration of the most important things we can do to raise healthy, successful children.
Click here if you’d like to join this FREE event.
Full disclosure: I received no compensation for granting or promoting an interview, nor will I receive any compensation when or after you join the event. It just seemed like a terrific event that I could contribute to!click to comment
It's been almost two months since The Scoop on Food--my new Parents.com/Parents Magazine blog--debuted. I've really enjoyed writing it, getting feedback, and hearing ideas for future topics from parents and those who work with children. Please keep the comments coming!
In case you missed any of my posts, I've provided links below. I invite you to subscribe to the feed and to continue to send me your thoughts and ideas for future posts. Because when it comes to feeding kids and helping them live a more healthful lifestyle, we're all in this together!click to comment
The Scoop on Food--my new blog for parents and their children on Parents.com--has arrived! I'm thrilled to share my thoughts (and plenty of resources) about the food, nutrition and health topics that are at top-of-mind for many parents. My hope is that the blog will spark conversation about these topics and help us all raise our kids to be more mindful and nutritious eaters.
Thanks for checking out and subscribing to the blog, and sharing your questions and ideas. Don't forget to also take a look at the many terrific blogs featured on Parents.com.
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