My family loves chicken and I’m always on the look out for a new chicken recipe. Here’s one our list to try:

HONEY GARLIC BAKED CHICKEN

Yields 6
Recipe inspired and adapted from food.com
Prep Time 10 min
Cook Time 45 min
Total Time 55 min

Ingredients

  • 6 boneless skinless, chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup honey (or agave nectar)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour and paprika.
  3. Coat each chicken thigh in the flour mixture and place in a greased or foil lined dish.
  4. Sprinkle each thigh with salt and pepper.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix the honey, soy sauce, and garlic.
  6. Pour evenly over the chicken. You may need to flip them over once or twice to make sure they’re coated completely in the sauce. Sprinkle with the red pepper flakes to taste.
  7. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  8. Uncover and continue baking for another 15 minutes.
  9. Serve with rice or vegetables, with extra sauce on the side if desired.
  10. Enjoy!

Image and Recipe Source: The Cookie Rookie

This past Sunday, my husband and I went on a little hiking adventure.  Well, we had walked about a ½ mile on the path when we found the perfect location for our breakfast picnic. I was just getting ready to sit down and hubby said, “STOP!” He then proceeded to pull a tick off my leg. One tick + another tick + another tick + another tick + another tick = very short picnic. We quickly packed up our items and hustled back to our car. By the time we reached our car, I had removed over a dozen of those little buggers.  (And believe it or not, I was relatively calm until I got home and found one crawling on my back.—you should have seen me jump in the shower. YUCK!)

On Monday, I was visiting with a friend and she shared that they discovered several ticks after her grandson’s played outside on Sunday.

For our wellness Wednesday blog post, I thought I would share some of the information I’ve been learning while researching Ticks.

Life cycle of Hard Ticks that Spread Disease

How ticks survive

Most ticks go through four life stages: egg, six-legged larva, eight-legged nymph, and adult. After hatching from the eggs, ticks must eat blood at every stage to survive. Ticks that require this many hosts can take up to 3 years to complete their full life cycle, and most will die because they don’t find a host for their next feeding.

ticksRelative sizes of several ticks at different life stages.

Ticks can feed on mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Most ticks prefer to have a different host animal at each stage of their life, as shown below:

tickslifecycleThis diagram shows the life cycle of blacklegged ticks that can transmit anaplasmosis, babesiosis, and Lyme disease.

How ticks find their hosts

Ticks find their hosts by detecting animals´ breath and body odors, or by sensing body heat, moisture, and vibrations. Some species can even recognize a shadow. In addition, ticks pick a place to wait by identifying well-used paths. Then they wait for a host, resting on the tips of grasses and shrubs. Ticks can’t fly or jump, but many tick species wait in a position known as “questing”.

While questing, ticks hold onto leaves and grass by their third and fourth pair of legs. They hold the first pair of legs outstretched, waiting to climb on to the host. When a host brushes the spot where a tick is waiting, it quickly climbs aboard. Some ticks will attach quickly and others will wander, looking for places like the ear, or other areas where the skin is thinner.

How ticks spread disease

Ticks transmit pathogens that cause disease through the process of feeding.

  • Depending on the tick species and its stage of life, preparing to feed can take from 10 minutes to 2 hours. When the tick finds a feeding spot, it grasps the skin and cuts into the surface.
  • The tick then inserts its feeding tube. Many species also secrete a cement-like substance that keeps them firmly attached during the meal. The feeding tube can have barbs which help keep the tick in place.
  • Ticks also can secrete small amounts of saliva with anesthetic properties so that the animal or person can’t feel that the tick has attached itself. If the tick is in a sheltered spot, it can go unnoticed.
  • A tick will suck the blood slowly for several days. If the host animal has a bloodborne infection, the tick will ingest the pathogens with the blood.
  • Small amounts of saliva from the tick may also enter the skin of the host animal during the feeding process. If the tick contains a pathogen, the organism may be transmitted to the host animal in this way.
  • After feeding, most ticks will drop off and prepare for the next life stage. At its next feeding, it can then transmit an acquired disease to the new host.

Preventing tick bites

Ticks on People
While it is a good idea to take preventive measures against ticks year-round, be extra vigilant in warmer months (April-September) when ticks are most active.

Avoid Direct Contact with Ticks

  • Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
  • Walk in the center of trails.

Repel Ticks with DEET or Permethrin

  • Use repellents that contain 20 to 30% DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) on exposed skin and clothing for protection that lasts up to several hours. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth.
  • Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents with products containing 0.5% permethrin. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and may be protective longer.

Preventing ticks on your pets

Dogs are very susceptible to tick bites and tickborne diseases. Vaccines are not available for all the tickborne diseases that dogs can get, and they don’t keep the dogs from bringing ticks into your home. For these reasons, it’s important to use a tick preventive product on your dog.

Tick bites on dogs may be hard to detect. Signs of tickborne disease may not appear for 7-21 days or longer after a tick bite, so watch your dog closely for changes in behavior or appetite if you suspect that your pet has been bitten by a tick.

To reduce the chances that a tick will transmit disease to you or your pets:

  • Check your pets for ticks daily, especially after they spend time outdoors.
  • If you find a tick on your dog, remove it right away.
  • Ask your veterinarian to conduct a tick check at each exam.
  • Talk to your veterinarian about tickborne diseases in your area.
  • Reduce tick habitat in your yard.
  • Talk with your veterinarian about using tick preventives on your pet.

Note: Cats are extremely sensitive to a variety of chemicals. Do not apply any insect acaricides or repellents to your cats without first consulting your veterinarian!

Kill Ticks on Dogs

A pesticide product that kills ticks is known as an acaricide. Acaricides that can be used on dogs include dusts, impregnated collars, sprays, or topical treatments. Some acaricides kill the tick on contact. Others may be absorbed into the bloodstream of a dog and kill ticks that attach and feed.

Pros:

  • Helps to reduce the number of ticks in the environment
  • Prevents tickborne disease

Cons:

  • Tick bites can cause a painful wound and may become infected.
  • When bitten, a dog may become infected with a number of diseases. This depends on the type of tick, which diseases it is carrying (if any), and how quickly a product kills the feeding tick.

Examples of topically applied products (active ingredients):

  • Fipronil
  • Pyrethroids (permethrin, etc.)
  • Amitraz

Repel Ticks on Dogs

A repellent product may prevent the tick from coming into contact with an animal at all or have anti-feeding effects once the tick comes into contact with the chemical, thus preventing a bite.

Pros:

  • Prevents bite wounds and possible resulting infections
  • Prevents tickborne disease

Cons:

  • Will not reduce the number of ticks in the environment (doesn’t kill ticks)

Examples of topically applied products (active ingredients):

  • Pyrethroids (permethrin, etc.)

(Reference to any commercial entity or product or service on this page should not be construed as an endorsement by the Government of the company, its products, or its services.)

Preventing ticks in the yard

Apply Pesticides Outdoors to Control Ticks

Use of acaricides (tick pesticides) can reduce the number of ticks in treated areas of your yard.  However, you should not rely on spraying to reduce your risk of infection.

If you have health concerns about applying acaricides:

  • Check with local health or agricultural officials about the best time to apply acaricide in your area.
  • Identify rules and regulations related to pesticide application on residential properties (Environmental Protection Agency and your state determine the availability of pesticides).
  • Consider using a professional pesticide company to apply pesticides at your home.

Create a Tick-safe Zone to Reduce Ticks in the Yard

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station has developed a comprehensive Tick Management Handbook[PDF – 8.53 MB] for preventing tick bites. Here are some simple landscaping techniques that can help reduce tick populations:

  • Remove leaf litter.
  • Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edge of lawns.
  • Place a 3-ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas to restrict tick migration into recreational areas.
  • Mow the lawn frequently.
  • Stack wood neatly and in a dry area (discourages rodents).
  • Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees.
  • Discourage unwelcome animals (such as deer, raccoons, and stray dogs) from entering your yard by constructing fences.
  • Remove old furniture, mattresses, or trash from the yard that may give ticks a place to hide.

Find and Remove Ticks from Your Body

  • Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you.
  • Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body upon return from tick-infested areas. Parents should check their children for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in their hair.
  • Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and day packs.
  • Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill remaining ticks. (Some research suggests that shorter drying times may also be effective, particularly if the clothing is not wet.)

If you find a tick attached to your skin, there’s no need to panic. There are several tick removal devices on the market, but a plain set of fine-tipped tweezers will remove a tick quite effectively.

removal-abHow to remove a tick

  1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
  2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
  3. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
  4. Dispose of a live tick by submersing it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers.

Follow-up

If you develop a rash or fever within several weeks of removing a tick, see your doctor. Be sure to tell the doctor about your recent tick bite, when the bite occurred, and where you most likely acquired the tick.

For more information on ticks and tick-borne illnesses, please go to: http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/index.html

Image and Article Source: www.cdc.gov

Are you looking for a refreshing and healthy dessert? Check out these yummy FroYo Berry Bites.
FroYo Berry Bites
Yields: 6 servings | Serving Size: 1 cup | Calories: 129 | Total Fat: 9 g | Saturated Fat: 4 g | Trans Fat: 0 g | Cholesterol: 5 mg | Sodium: 17 mg | Carbohydrates: 10 g | Dietary Fiber: 1 g | Sugars: 8 g | Protein: 4 g | SmartPoints: 6

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup almond meal or crushed almonds
  • 2 tablespoons raw coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt, low-fat
  • 2 tablespoons honey, (optional stevia liquid to taste)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh chopped strawberries and/or raspberries
  • 6-cup muffin tin and liners

 

Directions

Line a 6-cup muffin tin with silicone or parchment cupcake liners. In a small bowl, stir together almond flour, coconut sugar, and coconut oil. Spoon a small amount into the bottom of each lined cup.

In a medium bowl, mix together yogurt and honey, or stevia to sweeten. Spoon 2 tablespoons into each muffin cup, covering the crust.

Top with fresh chopped berries. Freeze until firm, about 6 hours. To serve, remove from silicone wrapper and enjoy!

Image and Recipe Source

1 in 3 adults in the United States has high blood pressure. Are you the ONE?

Blood Pressure Basics

Did you know that blood does not travel in a steady flow through the body?  Instead, it is propelled through the blood vessels with the force of every heartbeat.  Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of the blood vessels that run through your body.

It is two forces.  One is the force caused by your heart as it pumps blood through your body.  The other force comes from your blood vessels as they resist the blood pumped by your heart.  Your blood pressure is written as two numbers, such as 120/80.  The first number is the systolic measure.  This is the pressure when your heart contracts.  The second number is the diastolic measure.  This is the pressure when your heart relaxes between beats.  High blood pressure can lead to serious health problems. It’s sometimes called “the silent killer” because high blood pressure has no symptoms, so you may not be aware that it’s damaging your arteries, heart and other organs.

Know Your Numbers

High Blood Pressure:  Major Cause of Stroke

Stroke is the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States.  If your blood pressure is high, you could be at risk for a stroke.  A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain is blocked or bursts.  Then, part of the brain can’t get the blood it needs and starts to die.

If you or someone has any of these warning signs below, call 911:

  • Your face, arm, or leg suddenly feels weak or numb (mainly on one side of your body)
  • You are confused, can’t talk, or have trouble thinking
  • You can’t see in one or both eyes suddenly
  • You can’t walk, feel dizzy, lose your balance, or have a bad headache for no reason

Tips to Lower High Blood Pressure

  • Keep yourself at a healthy weight and follow a healthy eating plan
  • Be physically active
  • Eat foods low in sodium
  • Limit how much alcohol you drink: one drink a day for women, two drinks a day for men
  • Take the medications your doctor prescribes
  • Stop smoking

Do you know what your blood pressure is? During the month of April, The Big Squeeze is happening in the Sioux Falls Area–and it’s FREE. This is your chance to know your numbers to prevent strokes, heart attacks, heart failure and many other complications that come with having uncontrolled high blood pressure. Check here for Big Squeeze Times and Locations.

Get Screened. Stay Well. You’re Worth It!

Source: www.heart.org

Here’s a yummy salad perfect for Spring.

Black Bean Quinoa Salad with Steak

Ingredients

  • 5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (6-ounce) top sirloin steaks
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce from canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon honey
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa (certified gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1 cup unsalted black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1 ounce crumbled feta cheese (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup ripe peeled avocado, sliced

Directions

Combine 1 teaspoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, chipotle chile powder, and black pepper; rub evenly over steaks.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Add steaks to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Let stand 10 minutes. Cut steaks diagonally across the grain into thin slices.

To make dressing, combine remaining 4 teaspoons oil, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, juice, red wine vinegar, adobo sauce, cumin and honey in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Combine quinoa, beans, bell pepper, cilantro, green onions, and spinach in another bowl. Then, drizzle dressing and toss to coat. Sprinkle with feta.

Divide quinoa mixture evenly among 4 shallow bowls; top evenly with steak and avocado.

Nutrition Information

Serves: 4 |  Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups 

Per serving: Calories: 357; Total Fat: 15g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 6g; Cholesterol: 53mg; Sodium: 329mg; Carbohydrate: 29g; Dietary Fiber: 8g; Sugar: 2g; Protein: 28g

Nutrition Bonus: Potassium: 534mg; Iron: 23%; Vitamin A: 32%; Vitamin C: 684%; Calcium: 6%

 

Recipe and photo credit