a cup of health.

This is Part XII of the “31 Days of Healthy Living” series.

“The coffee tastes kind of week this morning,” I uttered, walking around the house in my pajamas with hair that screamed “it’s still way too early.”

I wasn’t always a coffee snob.  But then I drank Starbucks.  Which eventually tasted too week for my tastebuds too.

(And then I discovered the espresso shot.   😉 )

Don’t get me started on the watered down Dunkin Donuts coffee (I’m sorry, but I did warn you…I’m one of those stuffy coffee snobs!)

So, naturally, I figured that tea was out of the question.

Because if week coffee in the morning had me grumbling, then what would tea do?

(I really do realize how silly this sounds.)

Anyways.  You’ll be happy to know that I finally got over my initial, inexcusable dislike for tea.

Now I drink all kinds.  Having a cup of tea with a splash of soy milk (and a piece of dark chocolate on the side!) has quickly become my post-lunch ritual.

Sure, coffee has health benefits to brag about.

But so does tea.

According to an article by Registered Dietitian Barbara Quinn, some studies show that tea can lower your cholesterol levels.  Green and black teas can fight infections with similar compounds that are shared by antibiotics.

Peppermint tea may fight against cancer growth.

Black and green teas are full of antioxidants.

Ginger tea has been routinely used to calm upset stomachs.

Of course, we can’t expect tea to act like a magic pill, curing all of our ailments while giving us great longevity and health.

But.

As with coffee and its high antioxidant content (along with its possible protection against memory loss too!)…if you like tea, then enjoy a cup or two!  It offers many health benefits and it’s a great way to warm up during the chillier winter months.

(And it tastes great served with a hot batch of muffin from the oven!)

QUESTION: Are you a tea drinker?  What kind(s)?  I am in love with chocolate peppermint tea, but I also like regular mint, licorice, green, chamomile and chai.

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the effects of warm weather.

The heat and humidity have packed up and left, being replaced with a cool, dry breeze that makes you feel as if you’ve just jumped out of a very hot steam room, right into a cool shower.  Refreshing.  Absolutely.

And this is a very good thing.  Yes.  The temperature switch came just in time.  Why, you ask?  Well.  The heat does funny things to me.

For example—and I think you will agree—it’s not entirely normal to laugh hysterically while making silly poses for no apparent reason in the middle of a frisbee game.

(although it WAS kind of fun)

And, it is very unlike me to wake up grumpy in the morning.

It’s not normal for me to laugh so hard that I cry, ending up in a fit of hiccups.

Well.  Okay, okay.  This actually, honestly, really is kind of normal.

It’s not normal for me to not have an appetite.  To want nothing to eat but salads and yogurt and ice cream.

That’s not to say that I couldn’t eat ice cream every day of my life and not be happy, of course.

And it’s completely unacceptable to always wake up with frizzy hair every. single. morning.  Not even the blow dryer and flat iron with a gazillion products could have protected me this week.

Thank goodness for hair ties and hats.

Yes.

The cooler weather came just in time.

As did breakfast.

I love oats after they’ve sopped up all the liquids and delicious flavors!

I have been eating breakfast out on the deck every single morning this past week.  There’s something special about dining al fresco with nothing but chickadees, robins, and the little black cat next door for company.

A deliciously refreshing start to my day.

This weekend has been a pretty active one.  I went canoeing and swimming on Friday.  Biking (for my first time this YEAR) on Saturday.  And hiking yesterday.

I think today I need a nice long walk and some yoga to stretch out those hamstrings and arms. 😀

Spicy Breakfast Cookie (serves 1)

  • 1/2 cup uncooked, old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 banana, mashed (save the other 1/4 for a topping)
  • 1 Tbsp. peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp. crushed flax
  • plenty of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves (adjust to preferences)
  • pinch of salt (optional)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. milk (as needed)
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together oats, banana, peanut butter, flax, spices, and salt if using.  Add small amounts of milk, if batter seems too dry.  Smash well with a fork.
  2. Transfer batter to a plate and spread out to the edges, creating a “cookie pattern.”  Cover plate and refrigerate overnight.
  3. The next morning, uncover, slice the rest of the banana on top and serve.  Top with coconut or sliced almonds if desired.  ENJOY!

QUESTION: Are you a cold weather person or a warm weather person?  I’d much rather be pleasantly cool than too hot.  But I also hate being cold.  I’m horribly picky! 😀

June’s Leftovers.

Do you know what I love about fresh new months?

Fresh new ideas and resolutions.  New vegetables and farmers markets.  New places to see, new plans to be made.  New, new, NEW!

However, yesterday was still June.  There were still some loose ends that needed tying before I could kiss the month goodbye, so long.  Leftovers to be finished before any brand new things could arrive.

Yes.  And vegetables to be stir fried.  Leftover quinoa to be eaten.

Quinoa, just like rice, can be frozen quite nicely.  Which is why I most always double the batch and pop one in the freezer.  It takes about 3 minutes to reheat it in the microwave, which is perfect for late nights, crazy days, or for that last dinner in June.

This was the easiest meal of the week (not counting, of course, that bowl of cereal which impostered itself as dinner a couple of nights ago.)

I simply heated a pan with a drizzle of olive oil, added the last of the veggie drawer—carrots, asparagus, zucchini, peppers and onions, and topped it all off with one of my most favorite sauce recipes.

The sunflower seeds added just a touch of fun.  Just a touch of crunch.

There.  The veggie drawer is empty.  The remaining quinoa has been eaten.

Goodbye, June and Hello, July!

(p.s. The kitties are doing well!  Today is the last day I’ll be spending with them, as their ‘parents’ are coming home tonight.  I think Stitch knows something about this, because he’s been nothing short of Mr. LoveBug lately, with his head butting and meowing and acting all silly with excitement.)

(Highstreet, on the other hand, continues to act all regal and sophisticated.  Until a rope passes in front of him, which is when he unleashes his inner jaguar.)

Off for a run.  And then off to fit some studying time in!  It’s always nice a feeling, to start a new month off on the right foot.

Hot And Sour Sauce

Combine: 6 Tbsp. vinegar, 1/4 c. low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth, 1/4 cup water, 2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce, 1 Tbsp. Asian chili sauce, 2 tsp sugar, 2 tsp cornstarch, 1 tsp sesame oil.

QUESTION: What are you most looking forward to in July?