Happy Memorial Day! Who else is excited for a 3 day weekend? Holiday’s are a perfect time to try a new recipe!

RED WHITE AND BLUE SMOOTHIE POPS

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped strawberries
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 banana, chopped
  • 3 cups plain greek yogurt, divided into three equal parts
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Sugar In The Raw Organic White, divided into three equal parts
  • water
  • red and blue food coloring (optional)
  • 10 popsicle sticks

Instructions

  1. Blend the strawberries with 1/2 tablespoon Sugar In the Raw Organic White and 1/4 cup water. Pulse until well combined. Add 1 cup greek yogurt and blend until fully smooth. Add 3 drops red food coloring if you would like the color to be a bit more vibrant; totally optional. Set aside. Keep refrigerated until use.
  2. Repeat steps with each type of fruit, using blue food coloring with the blueberries if you want the color to be a bit more blue, again, optional.
  3. Start by adding a layer of blueberry mixture to the bottom of each popsicle mold. Add your popsicle sticks and allow layer to freeze for about 2 hours. Follow with layer of either banana or strawberry, alternating if you wish. Allow this layer to freeze as well before adding your final layer.
  4. Allow pops to freeze fully before serving.
  5. Enjoy!

Recipe and Image Source: The Cookie Rookie

May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month

For today’s blog post we are going to cover the basics about skin cancer and what YOU can do to protect you and your family. If you have any specific questions or concerns regarding skin cancer, please contact your health care provider.

Take Steps to Prevent Skin Cancer

The best way to prevent skin cancer is to protect your skin from the sun and other sources of ultraviolet (UV) rays.

To protect your skin from the sun:

  • Stay in the shade as much as possible between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.
  • Cover up with long sleeves, long pants or a skirt, a hat, and sunglasses.

You can also protect your skin by avoiding indoor tanning.

Why do I need to protect my skin?
Protecting your skin today may help prevent skin cancer later in life. Most skin cancer appears after age 50, but skin damage from the sun can start during childhood.

Taking steps to prevent skin cancer may also help prevent:

  • Wrinkles
  • Blotches or spots on your skin
  • Other damage to your skin and eyes

The Basics: Definition

What is skin cancer?
Skin cancer is the most common kind of cancer in the United States. There are 3 major types of skin cancer:

  • Basal cell carcinoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Melanoma

Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are also called non-melanoma skin cancer, and they are more common than melanoma. Melanoma is the most dangerous kind of skin cancer.

Skin cancer can almost always be cured when it’s found and treated early. That’s why it’s a good idea to check your skin regularly for new growths (like moles or lumps) or changes in old growths. Tell your doctor or nurse right away if you find a change.

Layout 1The Basics: Am I at Risk?

What causes skin cancer?
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer. UV radiation can also come from tanning beds, tanning booths, or sunlamps.

Anyone can get skin cancer. The risk is highest for people with:

  • White or light-colored skin with freckles
  • Blond or red hair
  • Blue or green eyes

Layout 1You are at higher risk for the most dangerous type of skin cancer (melanoma) if you have:

  • Unusual moles
  • A large number of moles (more than 50)
  • A family history of melanoma

Here is Melanoma Risk Tool

Take Action: Cover Up

Take these simple steps to help prevent skin cancer.

Cover up with long sleeves, a hat, and sunglasses.
Wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants or a long skirt. Wear a hat with a wide brim to help protect your face and neck. Avoid straw hats with holes that let sunlight through.

The skin around your eyes is very sensitive. Wear wrap-around sunglasses to help protect your eyes and your skin from sun damage.

Stay in the shade between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
The sun’s rays are the strongest from mid-morning to late afternoon. Try to stay out of the sun during these hours. If you are outside, stay in the shade – like under a tree or umbrella.

Layout 1Take Action: Use Sunscreen

Use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.
Use sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection. Check the expiration date on the bottle to make sure it’s not out of date.

To get the most protection:

  • Wear sunscreen even on cloudy days. UV rays can still harm your skin through the clouds.
  • Plan ahead – put sunscreen on 30 minutes before you go outside.
  • Be sure to use enough sunscreen (a handful). Don’t forget to apply it to your lips, ears, hands, feet, and the back of your neck.
  • If you wear very lightweight clothing (like a beach cover-up or thin T-shirt), put sunscreen on under your clothes.

Put on more sunscreen every 2 hours and after you swim or sweat.

Layout 1Take Action: Avoid Tanning

Avoid indoor tanning.
Tanning beds, tanning booths, and sunlamps are not any safer than tanning in the sun. There’s no safe way to get a tan.

Just like tanning in the sun, indoor tanning can cause skin cancer, wrinkles, age spots, and other damage to your skin and eyes.

Layout 1Take Action: Check Your Skin

Check your skin regularly.
See a doctor or nurse right away if you find any changes that worry you.

Use mirrors.
The best place to do a skin self-exam is in a well-lit room in front of a mirror. The best time is right after a shower or bath.

Examine your skin from head to toe. Use a hand mirror to check hard-to-see areas like your back. You may want to ask a friend or relative to check your scalp (under your hair). Learn how to do a skin self-exam.

Look for changes.

Additional Resources

Source: healthfinder.gov

The weather is perfect to bring out the grill and it’s time to try some new recipes. Our first recipe is from The Pioneer Woman.

blackbeanburger1

Black Bean Burgers

  • 2 cans (14.5 Each) Seasoned Black Beans
  • 1 cup Seasoned Breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup Grated White Onion
  • 1 whole Egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • Salt And Pepper
  • Hot Sauce (I Used Choloula)
  • 8 slices Swiss Cheese
  • Olive Oil, For Frying
  • Butter, For Frying And Grilling
  • 4 whole Kaiser Rolls Or Good Hamburger Buns
  • Mayonnaise
  • Lettuce Or Other Greens
  • Sliced Tomato
Drain, but do not rinse, the black beans. Place them in a bowl and use a fork to mash them. Keep mashing until they’re mostly broken up, but still have some whole beans visible. Add the breadcrumbs, onion, egg, chili powder, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Stir until everything is combined, then let the mixture sit for 5 minutes.

Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil with an equal amount of butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Form the bean mixture into patties slightly larger than the buns you’re using (the patties will not shrink when they cook.) Place the patties in the skillet and cook them about 5 minutes on the first side. Flip them to the other side, place 2 slices of cheese onto each patty, and continue cooking them for another 5 minutes, or until the burgers are heated through. (Place a lid on the skillet to help the cheese melt if needed.)

Grill the buns on a griddle with a little butter until golden. Spread the buns with mayonnaise and hot sauce, then place the patties on the buns. Top with lettuce and tomato, then pop on the lids!

Source for recipe and image: The Pioneer Woman
Our next recipe comes from Everyday Dishes
southwest-chicken-foil-packet-everydaydishes_com-H
Southwest Chicken Foil Packet
  • 1 cup corn kernels,fresh or frozen or canned
  • 1 cup salsa, fresh, hot or medium or mild, drained of excess moisture
  • 1 14.5 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 heavy-duty aluminum foil, 18″ x 12″ long sheets
  • 4 sprigs cilantro
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 tsp taco seasoning
  • 1 cup Mexican cheese blend, shredded
  • 4 lime wedges

Preheat outdoor grill to medium-high heat or preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together corn, salsa and beans until evenly combined.

Place four 18″ x 12″ pieces of heavy foil on counter and spray each with cooking spray. Divide the veggie mixture evenly among the packets and place one cilantro sprig on top.

Season both sides of chicken breasts with salt and pepper and approximately 1 tsp taco seasoning per breast. Place seasoned chicken on top of veggies.

Fold long sides of foil up and over chicken and bring edges together. Roll the foil together, moving downward until 1″–2″ from top of chicken. Fold both short ends together to seal the packet, but make sure to leave enough space inside the packet for steam expansion.

Place packets directly on grill or on a baking sheet in the oven. Grill 15–20 minutes or bake 30–35 minutes in the oven, until the center is no longer pink. Cooking times may vary depending upon thickness of chicken breasts.

Remove from grill or oven and carefully open packets to allow steam to escape. Sprinkle an equal amount of cheese on top of each piece of chicken, close foil and allow it to sit 2 minutes or until cheese has melted. Serve with a lime wedge for squeezing and enjoy!

Recipe and Image Source: Everyday Dishes

May is National Bike Safety Month

Did you know? 

  • Bicycle commuting burns an average of 540 calories per hour.
  • The average person loses 13 lbs in the first year of commuting by bike.
  • A daily 4-mile bike commute will save about 66 gallons of fuel per year
  • From 2000 to 2013, there was a 62% growth in the number of Americans commuting by bike.
  • Bicycling just 20 miles per week reduces women’s risk of heart disease by 50%.

When biking it’s important to remember the “Rules of the Road”.

Follow the Law
Your safety and image of bicyclists depend on you. You have the same rights and duties as drivers.

  • Obey traffic signals and stop signs.
  • Ride with traffic; use the rightmost lane headed in the direction you are going.

Be Predictable
Make your intentions clear to everyone on the road.

  • Ride in a straight line and don’t swerve between parked cars.
  • Signal turns, and check behind you well before turning or changing lanes.

Be Conspicuous

  • Ride where people can see you and wear bright clothing.
  • Use a front white light, red rear light and reflectors when visibility is poor.
  • Make eye contact with others and don’t ride on sidewalks.

Think Ahead
Anticipate what drivers, pedestrians, and other people on bikes will do next.

  • Watch for turning vehicles and ride outside the door zone of parked cars.
  • Look out for debris, potholes, and other road hazards.
  • Cross railroad tracks at right angles.

Ride Ready

  • Check that your tires have sufficient air, brakes are working, chain runs smoothly, and quick release levers are closed.
  • Carry tools and supplies that are appropriate for your ride.
  • Wear a helmet.

Technician fixing bicycle in repair shopBike maintenance is important to your safety.

Basic Bike Check
(just remember: ABC quick check)

A is for Air

  • Inflate tires to the pressure listed on the side of the tire.
  • Use a pressure gauge to insure proper pressure.
  • Check for damage on tire and replace if damaged.

 B is for Brakes

  • Inspect pads for wear; replace if there is less than ¼” of pad left.
  • Check pad adjustment; make sure they do not rub the tire.
  • Look to see that you can fit your thumb between the brake lever and handlebar when the brakes are squeezed all the way.

 C is for cranks and chain

  • Pull your cranks away from the bike – if they are loose, tighten the bolt.
  • Check that your chain is free of rust and gunk.

 Quick is for quick releases

  • Make sure your quick releases are all closed.
  • They should all be pointing to the back of the bike, so that they don’t get caught on anything.

 Check is for check it over

  • Take a quick ride to check that it is working properly.

Riding bike is great for physical activity, commuting and just plain fun. 

Here is an excellent video on Bicycling Safety from the City of Sioux Falls.

 

All too often as adults we forget to take the time to play. For today’s Try-It Thursday, we thought we would share a list of fun things to do (just for you!) After all; it is Mental Health Month–and part of good mental health is taking care of you.

Walking
Exercise
Travel
Journaling
Camping
Meditation
Bubble Bath
Nap
Yoga
Dreaming/Goal Setting
Fishing
Movies/Television
Playing Sports
Bird Watching
Taking Time Alone
Having a Pet
Visiting a Museum
Going to the Library
Going to the Beach
Body Care: Facials, Pedicures, etc
Massage
Spirituality/Prayer
Cooking/Cleaning
Sitting on Your Patio
Star Gazing
Reading For Pleasure
Day Dreams
Gardening
Bike Riding
Casual Drive
Hanging Out With Friends
Making Music/Singing
Creative Projects
Coloring/Painting
Being in the Outdoors

Was your favorite fun to-do on your list? If not, please share what it is you do for fun in the comments below.

Take time for you–YOU ARE WORTH IT!!