All The Single Ladies

•February 14, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Single Ladies: What are you doing? Literally, what are you doing at this moment, today, with your lives? Did you dread today… V-Day?  Are you like me thinking it’s like Friday the 13th in your life? Or are you too busy living your life to have even noticed it?

Here’s a suggestion, in no uncertain terms: Instead of thinking about a day that will come and go, LIVE YOUR LIFE. Live it to the fullest, now. Do the things you dream of doing “someday” TODAY. Travel. Write. Climb that mountain. Start that business. Conquer yourself. Get informed and make the world a better place by treating yourself better. Change your attitude toward Mother Nature. None of this can happen unless you make it happen.

In case you haven’t noticed (’cause you’ve been too busy wallowing over not having a valentine) what you, single lady, have right now is that very precious commodity that everyone is after: TIME. You have all your time to yourself to do what you will. So, again, I ask you, what are you doing today? What are you doing with your time on Earth?

If you’re not loving your life and are biting your fingers over a holiday, you’re not living your life today. Wake up, ladies. There is a life to be lived, a world to improve, a message to spread, an enterprise to nurture into fruition, an adventure to explore. It is called YOU. This is what love is all about: Love YOU first. Everyone says it and I’ll say it again: Fall in love with you, your thoughts, your decisions, your actions, your life.

Here is what you really want, when you say you want love:

You want to think, say and do all the things that are in alignment with who you truly are as a human being.

You want to BE YOURSELF 100% AND EXPRESS THAT 100%.

You want to, if you don’t already know, discover who you are. Question, research, try and err, create, erase, modify, tweak, add color, sing, dance, play – do what you need to do to find out what makes you tick. (By the way, if you don’t know who you are, how is anyone else supposed to know and love you?)

You want to stop making excuses and pointing fingers and take responsibility for your life. At any given moment, even in captivity and under duress, you have the choice of acting or reacting to a situation. If you don’t like how you act or how you react, then work to change that. But get on the horse and ride it – no more standing by and watching.

You want to start trusting yourself and your feelings. I think a lot of women dismiss their intuition as second-rate to a more masculine ideal, like logic. WRONG. Intuition is truth without the need for a logical explanation. It leads you directly to the truth, all at once. Logic, a left brain activity touted by a patriarchal society as the ultimate superior indicator of truth, is a process. And like every process, it can go wrong at any given step. You can start with a bad premise and take it, logically, to an end result. But , because you started off wrong, you will not get to the truth, even if the whole process is correct. Or, you can start with the right premise, and make a mistake somewhere in the logical steps, and you will end up, again, with a result that is not the truth (but it has logic). Trust your intuition. TRUST YOURSELVES. Trust that you are made the way you are for a reason, and that YOU KNOW THE ANSWERS ALREADY.

You want to start being honest with yourself and others. Oftentimes you know from the start that someone is not right for you, that the relationship you are about to enter is not going to work out. You see the red flags. Something doesn’t feel quite right. But, regardless, there you are, cozy and chummy. And then, a few months later, the inevitable breakup comes. And you act surprised. The only bad thing about this is that you could be insane for acting surprised at something you already knew was coming. Get real with yourself – and with that poor fellow who invests his feelings as much as you do and depends on your wise intuition to tell him the truth he cannot see – and act in accordance with what you truly think. If you don’t like something, don’t do it. If you don’t like someone, don’t date him just ’cause you’re lonely. If you see something, say what you see and what you think. Everyone will not like what you say, or maybe even who you are. But you’re not alive on this planet to please people. You’re here to be exactly what you were created to be: YOURSELF. I guarantee you someone will take note of that – and like it.

You want to see this time with yourself as a precious present, for the gift that it truly is, to get to know yourself, and to get to share that freely with the world.

I would venture to say that all the single ladies have a lot to do. Do what you want and will, and enjoy it. It’s not love until you’re enjoying it. Find that enjoyment, and you will find true love.

Happy Valentine’s Day! xoxo, ~vie

No Valentine? No Problem!

•February 11, 2011 • Leave a Comment

It’s here this weekend, ladies. Valentine’s Day. Two words that can strike fear into the heart of any single woman. Well, pink and red hearts might be dressing every store window at the moment, but that’s no reason to hide your head under the covers and screen your mother’s phone calls! In honor of all you single women, I’m offering up my top ten tips for making the best of it — valentine or no valentine!

1. Celebrate your independence. I know it’s hard to imagine, but someday you will look back with fondness on the days when you were accountable to no one but yourself. Enjoy this time — that you can sleep until whenever you want, with whom you want (well, pretty much), and eat breakfast at 2 p.m. on the couch in your pajamas!

2. Pamper yourself. Give a little loving attention to your body and mind, instead of waiting for someone else to do it. Take a sensual bath with lavender oil, lots of candles, and your favorite music in the background. Order your favorite take-out, get a great movie and treat yourself luxuriously.

3. Take charge. If you’ve had your eye on someone, or you’ve been engaging in some heavy yet indirect flirtation, make the move. Think about when you are old and gray one day, regretting all the things you didn’t do when you were young and attractive! If you are too scared to do it in person, send an email or a text message. That way the ball is in his court if he wants to respond.

4. Send flowers to yourself. I’m telling you, it works! Flowers are beautiful and can make you feel happy every time you look at them. Spend the money you would spend on a valentine on a beautiful arrangement for yourself.

5. Go to the bookstore. Yes, the bookstore is the new singles bar. With all that great literature, you have endless subject for conversation. Or, hit the magazine section if that’s more your style.

6. Get fluent in body language. Learning how to use your eyes, body and posture helps you with that all-important nonverbal communication with lovelies who catch your eye. Be a master at flirting without saying a word.

7. Babysit a friend’s kids. It’s good karma to allow two others a shot at Valentine’s Day bliss. Plus, a night with the kids just might restore a sense of appreciation for the single life!

8. Make a cake from scratch — frosting and all. It’s fun to create something from start to finish and then you get to eat it. If you choose chocolate, you just may feel the same endorphins that those in love do.

9. Broaden your sense of love. From your family to your friends to your lovers of times past, focus on how lucky you are for all of the love in your life.

10. And if all else fails, go out! Brave the couples walking arm-in-arm down the street and the guys peddling roses. Tomorrow will be just another day in that couple’s relationship and the roses will be half-off. Find a bar or restaurant to enjoy yourself at with the girls, or just by yourself. You never know who might have the same idea up his sleeve.

Happy Valentine’s Day!
xoxo, ~vie

6 More Super-Healthy Exotic Fruits

•January 14, 2011 • Leave a Comment
by DENIS FAYE on JANUARY 13, 2011

Just when you thought it was safe to sit back, peel a banana, and put the whole exotic fruit rigmarole behind you, we’re back with a new list of six more little bundles of sweet, exotic fruity goodness. Maybe you’ve heard of them, maybe you haven’t. Either way, they’re delicious and nutritious, and your friends will think you’re, like, totally fancy if you bust them out at your next shindig.

Pomegranates. Although the name is Latin for “seeded apple,” pomegranates have about as much in common with apples as they do with liverwurst—except maybe that they both grow on trees and they’re both fruit.Pomegranates have a hard, inedible red and yellow skin. Inside, you’ll find clusters of seeds protected by sweet, pulpy little deep-red pouches called arils. (Does this sound anything like an apple to you? I have no idea what the Romans were thinking.)

Arils are the part you eat, seed and all. Despite their alien appearance, the chance that they’ll sprout in your stomach and take over your consciousness is slim.

Half an average-sized pomegranate (about 4 inches in diameter) has 117 calories, 1-1/2 grams of fat, 2-1/2 grams of protein, 26 grams of carbs, and a respectable 5 grams of fiber. It has 24 percent of the recommended daily value (RDA)* for vitamin C and 13 percent of the RDA for folate. You’ll also find vitamin E, K, B6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. For minerals, you get 9 percent of the RDA for potassium and 11 percent of the RDA for copper, as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, and selenium.

There are a host of studies showing that pomegranate consumption can potentially help with everything from heart disease to dental plaque to cancer to the common cold. I’d take these studies with a grain of salt, but at the same time, there sure are a lot of them, and until someone figures out their accuracy, it’s not going to hurt you to eat pomegranates.

Kumquats. Despite the questionable name, kumquats are fun for the whole family. These citrus fruits come from south Asia and resemble tiny oranges. Unlike other citrus, you eat them skin and all.If you choose to eat a kumquat, prepare yourself for an experience. The outer skin is tasteless, but once you bite into it, the bitter juice explodes in your mouth and your face distorts into a pucker the likes of which no lemon could ever match. At this point, if you spit it out, you’ll have that taste in your mouth for a while, so commit to your kumquat. After a couple of seconds, the pulp gives way to the taste of the sweet pulp and skin and you’re fine.

Ready for another?

Most people settle for getting their kumquats in the form of jams and jellies, but in my opinion, that’s the gutless option. Real men and women eat their kumquats whole.

Surviving an eight-kumquat odyssey will earn you 104 calories, 1 gram of fat, 2 grams of protein, 24 grams of carbs, and 9 grams of fiber. You’ll get 112 percent of the RDA for vitamin C, as well as a little riboflavin, vitamin A, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese.

Asian pears. You may know this fruit by many other names, including sand pear, nashi pear, or—if you’re feeling all scientific—pyrus pyrifolia. They come from (obviously) Asia, and they basically look like big, firm apples with pear-like skin. Their flesh is crispy, grainy, and juicy. They’re pear-like in taste, but not texture. They’re very nonconfrontational, a great new fruit to introduce to fussy eaters.One medium-sized fruit (about 2-1/2 inches in diameter) has 51 calories, 1 gram of protein, 13 grams of carbohydrates, and 4 grams of fiber. Asian pears aren’t exactly micronutrient powerhouses, but they’re better than a stick in the eye. That one piece of fruit contains 8 percent of the RDA for vitamin C and 7 percent of vitamin K. You also get some vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, and pantothenic acid. For minerals, there’s 4 percent of the RDA for potassium and manganese, as well as some magnesium, phosphorus, and copper.

Kiwifruit. Kiwifruit only became kiwifruit in 1962. Before that, these brown, fuzzy little fruits went by a variety of monikers, two of my favorites being the Chinese gooseberry and the hairy bush fruit. (I have no further comment on those names.)


A ripe kiwi will be firm with just the slightest give. While the skin doesn’t seem all that welcoming, it’s actually completely edible and loaded with fiber. That said, it’s hairy and chewy, and it’s understandable if you decide to skip it. Just cut your fruit across its equator and spoon out the yummy green flesh within, seeds and all.

One medium skinless kiwifruit (about 76 grams in weight) has 46 calories, 1 gram of protein, 11 grams of carbohydrates, and 2 grams of fiber. It packs a real vitamin C wallop, with 117 percent of the RDA. It also has 38 percent of the RDA for vitamin K, as well as lesser amounts of vitamin A, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, and pantothenic acid. For minerals, you’ll get 7 percent of the RDA for potassium, and lesser amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and manganese.

I don’t have the nutrition facts for a kiwifruit consumed with the skin on, but suffice it to say you’ll get everything listed above plus a bunch more fiber.

Figs. While just about everyone has had Fig Newtons® at some point in their life, few people have tried the fresh version of the fruit they come from. Surprising, considering that every year, more than a million tons of this fruit are produced internationally. While dried figs (and Fig Newtons) are available year-round, fresh figs are in season in summer, sometimes into autumn. There are more than 150 varieties of these weird, dangly-looking things, and they’re highly perishable, so eat them within a day or two of buying them. Keep them refrigerated. A good fig is plump with a little give, but not mushy. If they smell sweet, that’s also a good indication that they’re ready to eat.One large raw fig has 47 calories,12 grams of carbohydrates, and 2 grams of fiber. You’ll also get small amounts of pretty much every vitamin and mineral around, except vitamins E and B12, selenium, and sodium.

Figs also have a laxative effect, so if you decide they’re the fruit for you and you go on a little binge, try to do so close to a restroom.

Persimmons. Another colorful contribution to the fruit rainbow from Asia, persimmons are commercially available in two varieties. The most readily available is the hachiya, which is shaped a little like an acorn. You need to wait until they’re super-ripe and soft before they become edible.Conversely, fuyu persimmons resemble tomatoes in shape and are slightly orange in color. They’re edible (and delicious, I might add) while still firm.

Both varieties are typically autumn fruit.

And here’s a little fun fact for you: Persimmons, like tomatoes, are technically considered berries. Who knew? They also contain small amounts of lycopene, an essential phytochemical thought to decrease the risk of cancer.

One hachiya persimmon has about 118 calories, 1 gram of protein, 31 grams of carbohydrates, and 6 grams of fiber. It’ll give you a hearty 55 percent of the RDA for vitamin A and 21 percent of the RDA for vitamin C. There’s also 8 percent of the RDA for vitamin B6, 6 percent for vitamin E, and smaller amounts of vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate. On the mineral front, there’s 30 percent of the RDA for manganese, 9 percent for copper, 8 percent for potassium, and lesser amounts of everything else but sodium.

It may take a little searching, but most of these six exotic fruits are available at your local grocery store. If you’re lucky, you might even find a few of them at your local farmers’ market. So put down that apple, get your exotic on, and enjoy!


Feed a Cold—Avoid Getting Sick During the Holidays

•December 21, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Can a breakfast cereal boost your immunity? Are you wasting your money on vitamin drinks? People have always looked to food as medicine. This cold and flu season, I decided to look into the beliefs long held by my mom and many others to see which are nutritionally valid and which are merely folklore and found these 3 immunity boosters.

3 immune-boosting foods to get you through winter

Sip Chicken Soup

It turns out there is something to chicken soup after all. In one study, researchers measured nasal mucus velocity (science-speak for “runny nose”) and nasal airflow resistance (stuffy nose) after volunteers drank cold water, hot water or chicken soup. Of the three, hot chicken soup was the most effective at making noses run—a good thing since nasal secretions help rid the body of pathogenic viruses and bacteria. Like any hot liquid, soup also helps hydration and raises the temperature of the airways, both important for loosening secretions. Adding a few hot chiles might help loosen things up even more.

Try Vitamin C

Ever since biochemist Linus Pauling proposed megadoses of vitamin C to stave off cold symptoms, research has been piling up to assess its effectiveness. For perspective, I turned to a well-regarded review of 29 studies that involved more than 11,000 participants. The reviewers found that vitamin C failed to reduce the incidence of colds. But overall, with doses of 200 mg or greater (more than twice the 60-75 mg current recommended dietary intake for adults), the duration of colds was shortened by about 8 percent—not a huge difference, but something. There was also a significant reduction in the number of days subjects took off from work or school, which suggests vitamin C might help reduce a cold’s severity. The likelihood of success seems to vary with the person—some people improve after taking vitamin C supplements, others don’t. Try it and see for yourself but don’t exceed 2,000 milligrams per day. More than this can cause an upset stomach.

Think Before You Zinc

Zinc’s effectiveness against cold symptoms is more controversial. One study found that zinc lozenges shortened the duration of colds by one-half, while others found no advantage over a placebo. If you want to try zinc lozenges, follow the protocol used in scientific studies: take the lozenges every two hours and stop when your symptoms die down. Don’t assume more is better; excessive doses of zinc can interfere with the absorption of other minerals, and high doses can be toxic.

Get a Dose of Vitamin D

Since colds and flu tend to strike during the darker winter months, some researchers believe a lack of vitamin D, the “sunshine” vitamin, might have something to do with making us more susceptible. At least one study found that a group of kids who took vitamin D supplements had fewer colds than another group that didn’t. There’s still much to learn, but unless you get steady exposure to the sun in the winter it seems prudent to take a multivitamin that contains 100 percent of the daily value for vitamin D.

Today, I wonder if my mother would have given me something else to wash down with my ginger ale (maybe vitamin C?). I do know that she made me feel loved and cared for, and that did wonders for my prognosis.

And without a doubt the chicken soup helped.

Chicken Noodle Soup with Dill

10 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 medium carrots, diced
1 large stalk celery, diced
3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces whole-wheat egg noodles, (3 cups)
4 cups shredded cooked skinless chicken breast, (about 1 pound; see Tip)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon lemon juice, or to taste


Bring broth to a boil in a Dutch oven. Add carrots, celery, ginger and garlic; cook, uncovered, over medium heat until vegetables are just tender, about 20 minutes.

Add noodles and chicken; simmer until the noodles are just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in dill and lemon juice.

Tips & Notes

Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Tip: Place boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a medium skillet or saucepan and add lightly salted water to cover; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 10 to 12 minutes.


Per serving: 267 calories; 4 g fat (2 g sat, 1 g mono); 90 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrates; 38 g protein; 2 g fiber; 329 mg sodium; 330 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (104% daily value).

Vitamin C Rich Foods

Most fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamin C. Fruits that are good sources include cantaloupe, grapefruit, oranges, papaya and strawberries. Rich vegetable sources include dark green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes and red peppers.
For Healthy Vitamin C Rich Recipes… … ch_recipes

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“Get well, get well soon, we want you to get well… Get well, get well soon…” ~ Elaine, from Seinfeld


•November 25, 2010 • 2 Comments
For those of you who will be indulging a huge turkey feast, here are some ideas for the leftovers… 

Post-Turkey Naps
Daydreaming about getting more shut-eye? Let’s talk turkey.

L-Tryptophan and Carbohydrates
L-tryptophan may be found in turkey and other dietary proteins, but it’s actually a carbohydrate-rich (as opposed to protein-rich) meal that increases the level of this amino acid in the brain and leads to serotonin synthesis. Serotonin is synthesized and you feel that familiar sleepy feeling.

Making the most of  afternoon zzz’s.
7 a.m. to 8 a.m.:
Wake up, and vow to take a nap later. Doing so might make it easier for you to get out of bed in the morning. Pack your purse with any necessary sleep aids, like an eye mask, earplugs or a travel alarm clock.
9:30 a.m.:
Stop drinking all caffeinated beverages—for the morning, at least. It takes about seven hours for caffeine to leave your system, so cut yourself off now if you plan to sneak in a snooze during the most rewarding time of the day.
Scout a dark, quiet napping location that comes as close as possible to simulating nighttime. Make sure to pick a spot that gives you enough room to recline—it takes 25 percent longer to fall asleep when your body is upright.
1 p.m. to 3 p.m.:
It’s the best time to nap! Your body temperature naturally dips midway through the day. That’s its way of saying, “Nap, please!” Prep for one by drinking a cup of coffee or tea. It may sound strange, but the caffeine won’t kick in until after your sleep session (it takes about 30 minutes).
3:30 p.m.:
Wake up now to feel refreshed and ready to go, not groggy. If your nap passes over the 30-minute mark, you’re better off extending it to 80 minutes, the time it takes to get through a full sleep cycle.

Thanksgiving Leftovers Party
Turn Thanksgiving leftovers into a Friday-night party.

Green Bean Crudités with Creamy Sage Dip
1 cup soy sour cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
Salt and pepper
3 cups leftover steamed green beans
Directions: In a small bowl, combine the soy sour cream, sage, lemon juice and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Arrange the green beans on a platter and serve with the dip. Prep 10 minutes plus chilling.

Stuffing-Stuffed Mushrooms 20 large white mushrooms (about 2 pounds total), stems removed 1 cup leftover stuffing
1/2 cup soy or veggie parmesan
Directions: Preheat the oven to 400°. On a lightly greased baking sheet, bake the mushroom caps, stem sides down, for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the stuffing and soy parm. Flip the mushroom caps over and mound the stuffing into each one. Bake until the mushrooms are tender and the stuffing is golden, about 20 minutes.

Turkey and Barley Salad
Cook ¾ cup barley according to the package directions; drain and rinse under cold water.
Transfer to a large bowl and toss with 2 cups baby arugula, 2 cups shredded roasted turkey, ½ cup dried cranberries, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice; season with salt and pepper.

Turkey, Dill, and Orzo Soup Simmer 2 cut-up carrots and ½ cup orzo in 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth until tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
Stir in 1½ cups shredded roasted turkey and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill.
Cook until heated through.

Turkey and Poblano Chili
Sauté 1 chopped onion and 1 chopped poblano pepper in olive oil until tender.
Add one 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, two 15.5-ounce cans kidney beans (rinsed), 2 cups shredded roasted turkey, 2 cups water, and 2 teaspoons ground cumin; season with salt and pepper. Simmer until thickened, 20 to 25 minutes.

Turkey and Corn Enchiladas Combine 2 cups shredded roasted turkey, 1 cup corn, and 1 cup shredded soy pepper Jack cheese; season with salt and pepper.
Roll up in 8 small flour tortillas and place in a baking dish. Top with 1 cup enchilada sauce and ½ cup shredded Soy Jack cheese.
Bake at 400° F until heated through, 15 to 20 minutes

An Easier Way to Label Leftovers

The freezer is no place for sticky notes. When it’s time to divvy up holiday leftovers, label your plastic food containers with a dry-erase marker. The writing rubs off with a cloth. If it’s stubborn, use a little dish soap and warm water to remove.

How to Make Potpourri
Thinly slice leftover fruit and place with cinnamon sticks on a cooling rack over a baking sheet.
Place the pan in a 200° oven and bake until dry, 2 to 3 hours, flipping the pieces halfway through.
Fill sachets (available at craft stores) with the fruit, then tie shut; give to guests as they leave.

Have a great day!!!
~ vie

Thanksgiving Keep-It-Together Checklist

•November 24, 2010 • Leave a Comment

If you do just one thing… Enjoy a stress-free Thanksgiving. Don’t let a day filled with cooking the big feast, hosting relatives and friends, and keeping the kids entertained get the better of you, so you can calmly deal with anything that comes your way.

Clean your stovetop in just five minutes. Keep the area spotless pre- and post-turkey with this quick routine.

Speed Cleaning Your Stovetop:
1. Make sure the stovetop is cool. Remove the grates and the knobs (with an electric range, also take off the drip pans). Drop them into a few inches of hot, soapy water in the sink. Time: 30 seconds. With a damp paper towel, wipe crumbs off the stovetop.
…Time: 20 seconds.
2. Grab the knobs from the sink. You don’t want to oversoak them or the markings might come off. Rinse. Shake excess water out of the inner workings, wipe dry, and set aside on a dish towel.
…Time: 1 minute.
3. Spray the stovetop generously with Clean Team Red Juice (or another all-purpose cleaner). Let sit to soften stuck-on gunk. Meanwhile, spritz a paper towel with Red Juice and spot-clean the back and the knob area.
…Time: 1 minute.
4. Scour the stovetop with a gentle scrubber, such as the Scotch-Brite Greener Clean nonscratching scouring pad.
…Time: 20 seconds.
5. Wipe the stovetop clean with a paper towel. To shine, spritz with a glass cleaner. (I like Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day window spray for its combination of shine and aromatherapy.)
…Time: 20 seconds.
6. Scrub any dirty spots on the grates (or the drip pans, for an electric stove) with the scouring pad. Rinse and dry.
…Time: 1 minute.
7. Replace the grates and the knobs, making sure the off-position indicators are aligned.
…Time: 30 seconds.
8. Put on the teakettle and relax. (The clock is off.)

I love this! It reminds me of football. Timeout!!!

Skip getting sick. By now you know that frequently washing your hands with good old soap for 20 to 25 seconds is the first line of defense against germs that lead to illness. Here’s what you can do to get safely through the cold and flu season in 3 Steps:

Step 1: Regularly disinfect the kitchen sink, the trash can, the bathroom faucet, and the tub. They’re some of the germiest places in a home, according to studies. The champion of contamination? The kitchen sponge. Clean it in the dishwasher weekly.
Step 2: Take a brisk walk five times a week. Studies show that regular exercise can help reduce your likelihood of catching a cold.
Step 3: Work probiotics (a.k.a. good bacteria) into your daily diet to help your immune system ward off bad bacteria. Try yogurt, fortified drinks, or a tasty treat like the 90-calorie Attune **Dark Chocolate Probiotic Bar ($1.20, for stores). ** Now made with vegan and gluten-free ingredients!

Spice up everyday mixed nuts. Upgrade this Thanksgiving Day snack with this easy recipe…

Buttered Nuts With Rosemary and Orange
Melt 1 tablespoon unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 cups lightly salted roasted mixed nuts (an 11.5-ounce can), 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, and 1 tablespoon thinly sliced orange zest (from 1⁄4 of an orange) and cook, tossing, until the sugar is melted and the mixture is fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Let cool on a baking sheet.

Add Brussels sprouts to tonight’s dinner. Add an earthy taste and a hearty texture with these mini Super Veggies! They are low in calories and fat-free. Bonus: You’ll get a good helping of vitamins C and A, Vitamin K, dietary fiber, potassium, and folate. They are also a cruciferous (crew-sif-er-ous) vegetable, which have been linked to lowered cancer risk, oxidative stress and heart-disease rates.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts: I just cut them in half, brush with a small amount of olive oil and broil until they are slightly browned, turn them over and when that side is browned a bit, they are done. I love to cook them the same way on my grill, too. When they are done, I sprinkle on a little pepper. I LOVE these!

Brussels Sprouts With Brown Earth Balance and Sage
Serves 4-15 Hands-On Time: 15m Total Time: 35m
1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts (20 to 25 sprouts), trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup coarsely chopped sage leaves (6 to 8 leaves)
sprinkle of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a large saucepan, add the sprouts to boiling salted water and cook until bright green and just tender, 6 to 8 minutes; drain and set aside. THEN in a large skillet, over medium heat, melt the Earth Balance and cook until nutty brown in color, being careful not to burn it. Add the sage, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the sprouts, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat in the butter and cook until heated through, 5 to 7 minutes.
Quick Tip: Blanching vegetables locks in flavor, texture, and color, and you don’t have to worry about undercooking or overcooking.
Daily Do-Over: Don’t eat Brussels’ sprouts 2 days in a row.

And try Marilu Henner’s Brussels Sprouts with Vinegar-Glazed Onions recipe from Healthy Life Kitchen.
serves 4
1 basket Brussels sprouts (about 10 ounces)
1 Tablespoon soy margarine
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Trim the outer leaves and stems from Brussels sprouts and discard. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil; add salt. Add Brussels sprouts and cook until tender but still bright green, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and plunge into a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain well and cut in half.
Heat ½ Tablespoon soy margarine and ½ Tablespoon olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add Brussels sprouts and cook, tossing occasionally, until they are brown and crisp on the edges; about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and transfer to a large bowl. Cover with foil to keep warm.
Add remaining soy margarine and oil to the same pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook, tossing occasionally, until wilted and transparent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the vinegar (stand back to avoid the fumes), and stir to loosen any brown bits on bottom of pan. Cook until vinegar is reduced and onions are glazed, about 30 seconds. Add the onions to the Brussels sprouts and toss well. Serve immediately.

Take time to relax. Sneak a few minutes after the guests have departed and the kids have gone to bed to pamper yourself. Whether it’s with a book, a bath, or an extra bite of pumpkin pie. It’ll be one more thing to be thankful for.

Go shopping online on Thanksgiving weekend. Many “Black Friday” online sales begin on Thanksgiving Day, so while everyone else is falling asleep in front of the football game, steal away for a few minutes and score some great deals. Too busy to hit the Web on Turkey Day? Then check sites like and early on Black Friday morning ― they often make changes to their websites before dawn!

How to Shop Black Friday Online: To preview the day’s bargains, view leaked deals at and For “Cyber Monday” sales (many Web retailers cut prices on the Monday after Thanksgiving), try and
Start early. As in, on Thanksgiving Day. Many Black Friday online sales begin on the holiday, giving you the advantage of scoring deals while everyone else is feasting.
Really early. Major online retailers (Target, Best Buy, Macy’s) tend to make changes to their websites overnight, from about 1 a.m. to 4 a.m. ― the online equivalent of restocking the shelves and doing markdowns. Be sure to log on right when you wake up to take advantage.
Get advance copies of store circulars. and aggregate a ton of sales content, featuring everything from clothing to technology, and post ads and circulars weeks before the shopping holiday.
Print out receipts. Don’t consider it game over just because you made the buy… keep an eye on the price for 10 days to two weeks after making the purchase. For example, Banana Republic, Best Buy, Gap, Nordstrom, and Victoria’s Secret will make an adjustment within 14 days of purchase.
Check social networks. Tweeting will emerge this year as one of the best ways to learn of can’t-miss deals in real time. On social-networking sites, post a question like “Looking for a good iPod dock under $150―any leads?” and hope for quick responses, even links, from your shopping-savvy “tweeps.” (Yes, that’s Twitter slang for peeps.)

Organize one room. Take advantage of the long holiday weekend to create smart storage solutions and use foolproof strategies no matter which room you decide to tackle. Use ideas from Real Simple Magazine’s 22 Clever Ways to Organize Your Home.

Save on shoes and boots. Before buying a new pair for the winter, examine where the sole meets the upper; you shouldn’t see glue or loose stitching. You also don’t want to see bumps, loose threads, or awkward construction where two pieces of leather or fabric meet. Next, look for discoloration or unevenness in the material, whether leather or man-made, as it will only get worse with time. Finally, make sure the heels don’t wobble.

Skip the takeout and make yourself lunch! Your lunch doesn’t need to be as boring as the brown bag it came in. Get inspired by some new recipes for sandwiches, soups, and salads that put takeout lunches to shame.

Salade Niçoise Sandwich: All the makings of the classic Niçoise salad heaped onto a baguette. Combine canned tuna, grape or cherry tomatoes (halved), kalamata olives, red onion thinly sliced into half-moons, a pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper to taste, with 1 part red wine vinegar to 1 part olive oil in a bowl. Halve a French baguette lengthwise, then cut it crosswise into 4 portions. Toast the baguette, if desired. Spoon some of the tuna mixture onto the bottom of each baguette portion. Sandwich with the top half and press gently but firmly. Serve with steamed green beans.

Make this next fast meal even faster by using store-bought hummus.

Smashed White Bean and Avocado Club: In a medium bowl, combine 15 oz. canned white beans, 2 tbsp olive oil, dash salt and pepper. Roughly mash the mixture with the back of a fork. Place 8 multigrain bread slices on work surface. Divide mashed beans among the slices. Top with thinly sliced red onion, thinly sliced cucumber, sprouts (alfalfa, radish, broccoli, or a combination), and sliced avocado. Stack open-faced sandwiches on top of one another, avocado-side up, to make 4 double-decker sandwiches. Top with the remaining 4 slices of bread. Goes well with Spiced Pita Chips, or Olive Oil Dip and Vegetables.

Crispy Chickpea Pita: Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add a 15.5-ounce can chickpeas and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add a few tblsp fresh lemon juice, 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, 1/2 tsp of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Toss. In a small bowl, combine some whole parsley leaves, diced tomatoes, and a bit more olive oil, salt, and pepper. Divide the warm pitas or flat bread among individual plates and spread with store-bought hummus. Top with the chickpeas, thinly sliced red onion, and 1 tsp hot sauce (Tabasco).

Serve with the parsley salad with vegan yogurt and lemon wedges. Goes well with a Basic Vinaigrette, Rosemary Roasted Potatoes, or Roasted Cherry Tomatoes.

Table for One?

•November 23, 2010 • 1 Comment

Some people are alone by circumstance―they’ve lost a loved one, or are enduring a breakup, and others, like me, are alone by choice. I don’t mind being alone. Being a single girl in a loner city leaves a lot of time to be alone.  So I’m alone and that’s okay.

I think it’s good for a person to spend time alone. It gives them an opportunity to discover who they are and to figure out why they are always alone.

I do truly look on an evening alone with excitement. Usually I’ll cook one of my simple yet tasty 15-Minute Meals in 20 Minutes such as rack of tofu with a side salad. If I want to treat myself, I’ll put an hour and 15 minutes into it and make a rack of tofu with a side salad and toss a baked potato in the oven. But I really love to make single serving dishes in little ramekins, so cute and simple, baked especially for me!

Butternut Squash Lasagna
Individual Servings: 6

6 single serving size oven-safe ramekins
1 food processor (or blender)
1 sheet tray
2 pans
1 ½ pieces of whole wheat lasagna pasta per serving
Butternut puree:
1 butternut squash: peeled, seeded, and cut cubed
2 cups water
¾ tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
½ tsp ground clove
1 tsp raw honey (optional)
1 tsp of butter alternative
Basil Sauce:
1 bunch of fresh basil, minced
1 clove fresh peeled garlic, minced
1 ½ cups almond milk (or other fave)
1 tbsp unbleached flour (optional)
½ tsp extra virgin olive oil
salt + pepper to taste
Ricotta Mix:
1 cup tofu ricotta (at Whole Foods)
1 egg (or replacer)
1 cup shredded Soy Station Mozzarella

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a medium size pan add the butternut squash and water, bringing to medium high / high temp. (While water is beginning to heat… begin basil sauce) Sustain heat until squash obtains a “mash-able” texture (you can check this by removing a piece of squash from pan and smashing with spoon). Add remaining water and squash to food processor. Add spices and honey to food processor.

Process squash until a smooth puree is achieved. Stir in butter. Adjust flavor with spices to liking. (I like extra nutmeg) Set aside.

In another medium size pan add extra virgin olive oil and garlic and bring to medium heat until garlic becomes aromatic. When garlic is ready, add almond milk then basil to the pan, blending constantly with whisk. Simmer sauce until it has reduced to a texture that can coat a spoon… medium thickness. If this is not happening, whisk in flour and slightly turn up heat until desired texture is achieved. When texture is achieved, set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, combine ‘tofu ricotta’ and egg (or replacer). Set aside. Take cooked pasta noodles and lay flat on clean service. Using the top edge of ramekin as “cookie cutter”, begin to cut circular shapes out of pasta. Each serving needs approximately 3 circular pieces each.

Each ramekin starts with a circular piece of lasagna noodle as base.
Add a scoop of squash puree.
Add spoon full of basil sauce.
Add tbsp of ‘ricotta.’
Top with another piece of pasta.
Repeat until ramekin is full.
Top with mozzarella.

Put ramekins on sheet tray and pop in oven. Cook at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

After eating and doing the dishes, I might whip up some cupcakes for delivery. I’ll flip on the fake fireplace, and listen to the phone ring. I might put on some slow jams and take in a short story. I’ll spend time massaging my one and only heartbeat in the loft, Coltrane (until I get some Quentin Tarantino plants to spread around). Perhaps get involved with a project I won’t finish but will keep me up all night.

Live Alone?

  • Change the décor of your apartment with every season so it seems like you have more homes.
  • For single servings of veggie lasagna use a mini loaf pans (5¾” x3”). Normal size lasagna noodles fit snugly in the pan when cut in half. You can cover the pans with foil and freeze. Bake one when you want. (see my single serving lasagna recipe) This is also a good gift idea for the single-dweller.
  • If you can’t live without meatballs on hand, freeze them as you make them. I make turkey meatballs, salmon and tuna meatballs, and vegan meatballs with Boca crumbles. Place them on a cookie sheet and put them in your freezer until frozen. Then toss them in a plastic bag, they will stay separated. Heat and serve when desired. This also works well with manicotti.
  • Make half a cake. Bake an eight inch one-layer cake. Cut in half, frost one side, top with the other and frost. Now you’ve got yourself a 2-layer half cake. Knock yourself out.

Sometimes it sucks being alone for holidays like Thanksgiving, but you know what? If you have a little imagination to create some excitement you can overcome it and make it memorable. You can create a family of your own! The friends that you have, the people that you give your love to, are so lucky because you are special. That’s all you need to know.

I am so grateful and thankful that I have all of you, the love and the support that I’ve found in each one of you. I have never been in an environment where there are so many people who are supportive and care so much, so I just want to thank you.

I can celebrate Thanksgiving knowing that there are people I have wonderful loving friends who care and who are inspire me, and it’s definitely a good feeling.

Let the Sunshine in😉 xoxo, ~vie