“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” —Oprah Winfrey

‘Tis the season to be thankful! Besides the turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, one of my most favorite things about Thanksgiving, is the traditions of thanks we started when our children were young. Each year the tradition might look different, but the basic principle is the same…being intentional with our thanks.

The Thanksgiving Tree

Invite friends and family to share what they are most thankful for by creating a thankful tree.

Gather several tree branches in a large vase/container. Cut leaves out of construction paper in fall hues of orange, red, yellow and brown. Using a hole punch, make a hole at the base of each leaf. When guests come to Thanksgiving, ask them to write down what they are thankful for and place their leaf on the tree.

After Thanksgiving, you can add a date to each of the leaves. These make a great keepsake to reread at future Thanksgivings.

 

Gratitude Jar
Every day, write down what you are grateful for and add these “Gratitude Notes” to your gratitude jar. Throughout the holiday season, pour yourself a cup of coffee and take a few moments to read and reflect on your blessings.
How about you? Do you and your family have any traditions of sharing gratitude?

You can quit smoking. Let the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout be your starting point.

Quitting smoking can be hard. But you have so much to win by quitting—lower risk for lung cancer and other diseases, easier breathing, more energy, and cleaner air. Start thinking of all the ways you can win when you begin a healthier, smoke-free life.

Today, there are now more former smokers than current smokers. You have the power to start your quit journey just like many others have already. Each year, The American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout encourages all smokers to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking on a specific day.

Set Your Quit Date for November 16th

This year, the 42nd Great American Smokeout will be held on November 16 and will encourage the tens of millions of adults in the U.S. who currently smoke cigarettes to quit. If you smoke now, consider using this date to begin your quit journey. If you have tried to quit in the past but were unsuccessful, don’t give up. Quitting can be hard, and it might take you more than one or two times to succeed.

Five Ways You Can Prepare to Quit Smoking

You’re taking an important step toward creating a healthier life when you set out to quit smoking. A good plan can help you get past symptoms of withdrawal. Take these five steps to help improve your success:

  • Set a quit date. Choose the Great American Smokeout or another quit day within the next 2 weeks.
  • Tell your family and friends about your quit plan. Share your quit date with the important people in your life and ask them for support. A daily phone call, e-mail, or text message can help you stay on course and provide moral support.
  • Be prepared for challenges. The urge to smoke is short—usually only 3 to 5 minutes, but those moments can feel intense. Even one puff can feed a craving and make it stronger. Before your quit day, write down healthy ways to help cope:
    • Drink water.
    • Exercise.
    • Listen to a favorite song or play a game.
    • Call or text a friend.
    • Get social support by joining @CDCTobaccoFree on Facebook and Twitter.
    • Sign up for SmokefreeTEXT for 24/7 help on your mobile phone.
  • Remove cigarettes and other tobacco from your home, car, and workplace. Throw away your cigarettes, matches, lighters, and ashtrays. Clean and freshen your car, home, and workplace. Old cigarette odors can cause cravings.
  • Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider about quit options. Nicotine patches, gum, or other approved quit medication can help.

Why Do You Want to Quit?

Perhaps you want to live a healthier life, live longer for your family members, or save the money that you’d typically spend on cigarettes. Write down your reasons for quitting, no matter what motivates you to make this decision. Refer to the list whenever you have the urge to smoke. It will help remind you of all the reasons you want to quit. Becky wanted to quit so that she would be around to see her two daughters enjoy life. She says, “Whenever I had a craving, I said to myself, ‘I choose not to smoke today.”

Source: cdc.gov

It’s hard to believe but Thanksgiving is just around the corner…and to celebrate this day of Thankfulness, we will be sharing some healthy twists to our traditional favorites.

Roasted turkey with balsamic sauce

For the turkey:

1 whole turkey (about 15 pounds), thawed
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
3 to 4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup water
For the sauce:
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup defatted pan drippings
3 tablespoons brown sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 F.

Rinse the turkey inside and out. Pat dry with paper towels. Place the turkey breast-side up on a rack in a roasting pan. Rub the turkey with the oil, a sprig of rosemary and garlic cloves. Place all of the rosemary and garlic inside the bird. Loosely tie the legs together. Place into the middle of the oven.

When the skin is light (after about 1 1/2 hours) cover the breast with a tent of foil to prevent overcooking the breast. Check the doneness after the bird has roasted about 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Turkey is done when the thigh is pierced deeply and juices run clear (180 to 185 F) or when the breast muscle reaches 170 to 175 F.

Remove the turkey from the oven. Let it stand about 20 minutes to allow juices to settle in the meat. Deglaze the pan by adding 1/2 cup water. Stir to scrape up browned bits. Pour pan drippings into a gravy separator. Reserve 1 cup of defatted pan drippings for sauce.

To make the sauce, in a pan or microwave dish, stir together the vinegar, defatted pan drippings and brown sugar. Warm the sauce until the flavor is just released, about 15 seconds in the microwave, or over low heat on the stove until steam “escapes.” Don’t boil.

Carve the turkey and drizzle turkey slices with the warmed brown sugar sauce. Serve immediately.

Wild rice or quinoa stuffing

Ingredients

3/4 cup uncooked wild rice (or equal amount of uncooked quinoa)
2 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup chopped apple (including peel)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 cups diced celery
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted

Directions

Rinse wild rice two to three times — until water runs clear.

In a 1 1/2-quart saucepan, bring wild rice and water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until all water is absorbed, stirring frequently. Do not burn. Cook wild rice for about 30 minutes. (If you’re using quinoa, cook it for about 15 minutes.)

In a skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add onion, mushrooms, apple, cranberries and celery. Stir and heat through until tender. Add the salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Continue to stir and cook slowly until fragrant, about 10 minutes total.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked rice (or quinoa), fruit-vegetable mixture and chicken broth. Use to stuff turkey. Or bake in a covered dish coated with cooking spray until warmed through (about 20 minutes). Serve garnished with a sprinkle of toasted almonds.

 

Recipe Source: Mayo Clinic

Here’s to managing your diabetes for a longer, healthier life.

There isn’t a cure yet for diabetes, but a healthy lifestyle can really reduce its impact on your life. What you do every day makes the difference: eating a healthy diet, being physically active, taking medicines if prescribed, and keeping health care appointments to stay on track.

The Basics

More than 30 million people in the United States have diabetes, but 1 out of 4 of them don’t know they have it.

There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant, which can put the pregnancy and baby at risk and lead to type 2 diabetes later).

With type 1 diabetes, your body can’t make insulin (a hormone that acts like a key to let blood sugar into cells for use as energy), so you need to take it every day. Type 1 diabetes is less common than type 2 diabetes; about 5% of the people who have diabetes have type 1. Currently, no one knows how to prevent type 1 diabetes.

Most people with diabetes—9 out of 10—have type 2 diabetes. With type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t use insulin well and is unable to keep blood sugar at normal levels. If you have any of the risk factors below, ask your doctor if you should be tested for diabetes. The sooner you find out, the sooner you can start making healthy changes that will benefit you now and in the future.

Diabetes by the Numbers

More than 30 million US adults have diabetes—and 1 out of 4 of them don’t know they have it.

At least 1 out of 3 people will develop diabetes in their lifetime.

Medical costs for people with diabetes are twice as high as for people without diabetes.

Risk of death for adults with diabetes is 50% higher than for adults without diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes risk factors include:

  • Having prediabetes (blood sugar levels that are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes).
  • Being overweight.
  • Being 45 years or older.
  • Having a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes.
  • Being physically active less than 3 times a week.
  • Ever having gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds.

Race and ethnicity also matter: African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Pacific Islanders, and some Asian Americans are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes.

You can lower your risk for developing type 2 diabetes by losing a small amount of weight if you’re overweight and getting regular physical activity. A small amount of weight loss means around 5% to 7% of your body weight, just 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person. Regular physical activity means getting at least 150 minutes a week of brisk walking or a similar activity. That’s just 30 minutes a day, five days a week.

Keep it fresh by shopping the outside aisles of the grocery store for fruits, veggies, lean meat, and dairy.

You’ve Been Diagnosed with Diabetes. Now What?

It’s a balancing act—food, activity, medicine, and blood sugar levels—but you can do it. Meeting with a diabetes educator is a great way to get support and guidance, including how to:

  • Follow a healthy eating plan.
  • Get physically active.
  • Test your blood sugar.
  • Give yourself insulin by syringe, pen, or pump, if needed.
  • Monitor your feet, skin, and eyes to catch problems early.
  • Get diabetes supplies and store them according to package directions.
  • Manage stress and deal with daily diabetes care.

Ask your doctor about diabetes self-management education and support, and to recommend a diabetes educator. You can also search the American Association of Diabetes Educators’ nationwide directory for a list of educators in your community.

Know Your ABCs

Work with your doctor to manage your diabetes ABCs, and keep a record of your numbers. Results will help determine if your treatment plan is working and you’re able to stay in your target range—for example, an A1C of 7% or less—or if adjustments need to be made. Staying on track will help lower your risk of additional health problems.

  • —the A1C test, which measures average blood sugar over 2 to 3 months.
  • blood pressure, the force of blood flow inside blood vessels.  
  • cholesterol, a group of blood fats that affect the risk of heart attack or stroke.
  • —stop smoking or don’t start.

Prevent Complications

People with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at higher risk for serious health complications, including:

  • Heart disease and stroke: People with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke as people without diabetes, and at an earlier age.
  • Blindness and eye problems: Diabetic retinopathy (damage to blood vessels in the retina), cataracts (clouding of the lens), and glaucoma (increase in fluid pressure in the eye) can all result in vision loss.
  • Kidney disease: High blood sugar levels can damage the kidneys over time, long before you start to feel bad.
  • Amputations: This means you could lose a foot or leg. Diabetes causes damage to blood vessels and nerves, particularly in the feet, and can lead to serious, hard-to-treat infections. Amputation may be necessary to keep the infection from spreading.

But controlling your blood sugar levels can help you avoid or delay these serious health complications, and treating complications as soon as possible can help prevent them from getting worse.

Put Care on Your Calendar

Every day: stay active, eat a healthy diet, and take medication if prescribed; check feet for redness, swelling, pain, or sores.
Each health care visit (several times a year): get a blood pressure check and foot check.
Twice a year: get an A1C test and dental checkup.
Once a year: get a cholesterol test and kidney function test, visit your podiatrist (foot doctor) and eye doctor, and get a flu shot (and other vaccines as recommended by your doctor).

Living with diabetes has its ups and downs, but healthy lifestyle choices can give you more control over them. And more control means fewer health problems down the road and a better quality of life now.

Source: www.cdc.gov

One of the best things about fall time is bringing out the slow cooker. Here’s a few of our favorite recipes:

Slow Cooker Chicken Marrakesh

Place the onion, garlic, carrots, sweet potatoes, garbanzo beans, and chicken breast pieces into a slow cooker. In a bowl, mix the cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper, parsley, and salt, and sprinkle over the chicken and vegetables. Pour in the tomatoes, and stir to combine.

Cover the cooker, set to High, and cook until the sweet potatoes are tender and the sauce has thickened, 4 to 5 hours.

Recipe Source: All Recipe

Fabulous Fajitas Recipe

  • 1-1/2 pounds beef top sirloin steak, cut into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 large sweet red pepper, julienned
  • 1 large onion, julienned
  • 8 mini flour tortillas (5 inches)
  • Optional toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, pico de gallo, avocado slices, seeded jalapeno slices and minced fresh cilantro

In a large skillet, brown steak in oil over medium heat. Place steak and drippings in a 3-qt. slow cooker. Stir in the lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt, chili powder and red pepper flakes.Cover and cook on high until meat is almost tender, 2 hours. Add red pepper and onion; cover and cook until meat and vegetables are tender, 1 hour.Warm tortillas according to package directions; spoon beef and vegetables down the center. Top, if desired, with shredded cheese, pico de gallo, avocado slices, jalapeno slices and cilantro. Yield: 8 servings.

Recipe Source: Taste of Home