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A Comforting Winter Soup Recipe

Posted by Suzie Canale on Sun, Jan 22, 2017

It’s a well-known fact that most Bostonians pack on a few pounds once the temperature starts to drop.  Reasoning says that we are just putting on a few layers to help protect from the cold, which is a natural biological response to our habitats.  Humans are not alone either since millions of New England wildlife participate in the same ritual including cats, dogs, birds and bears.  So if everyone is doing it, why feel guilty?  For one reason, many of the foods that we are ingesting contain a higher amount of fat and processed sugars.  These unhealthy additives are what make it a bit tricky when we finally decide to shed those pounds in the spring.  If you think about it, you seldom see squirrels stressing about their winter waddle once the warm weather arrives because their calories needed to be burned are mainly nuts not ice cream and cream puffs.  Does that mean forgo the comfort foods altogether in order to spare ourselves the trouble?  Absolutely not!  We can still indulge in this New England tradition of finding solace and warmth in our food; we just have to do it in a slightly different way.  Try this recipe on for size!

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photo credit via countryliving.com

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken noodle soup is made by a variety of companies and there a few like Progresso and Campbell’s that are in all honesty, pretty good.  The soup is for the most part, healthy so why should you make your own?  In many canned brands, the salt and processed ingredients rank high and may even contain “iffy” ingredients that you can’t even pronounce when reading the labels.  Using real poultry and veggies is always a better way to go where you can control the amounts of seasonings and be sure that your meats are fresh for cooking.  You may not be able to can and shelf your finished product but freezing is a definitely possibility allowing you to re-cook and save for a later date!  Wait to make this recipe after you’ve made a chicken roast so that you can use your own stalk, too.


How To:

Add 4 cups of your own chicken stalk to a crock-pot and set to low heat.  If you couldn’t save this much stalk after cooking your roast, just add water slowly as the soup continues to cook-it will make it’s own broth over the course of the preparation.  Add chicken that has been pulled from the leftovers being careful not to add in any bones or cartilage (it won’t taste good to those you serve and be disruptive to their palette.  Chop roughly 2 celery stalks and 1 small onion and add that to the brew.  Wash 4 large carrots and then peel and cut into circular shapes and then throw them in as well.  Add 2 bay leaves, 2 tablespoons of dried rosemary and salt and pepper to taste.  Cook the soup for 4 hours until the chicken naturally pulls apart and vegetables soften.  In a separate pot, boil water to cook 4 cups of “No-Yolk” noodles.  When done, rinse in a colander over cold water, afterwards adding the pasta to the soup.  If you put the noodles in when they are still hot, they’ll dissolve in the soup creating a funky consistency, so make sure you rinse them first in cold water.  Serve in crock bowls with a fresh piece of Italian bread and bon appétit!  

Tags: Chef, cooking, winter, Health

Ways to Stay Sane During a New England Winter

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Jan 16, 2017


If you’re shaking your head at all that white stuff that’s started to fall from the sky, you may be susceptible to what I refer to as “Winter Depressive Disorder”.  What is this you ask?  The term applies to those who struggle, suffer and strive bitterly through the colder months of the calendar making them irritable and sometimes downright nasty.  The ailment is considered quite common for many of those who live on the east coast and can fluctuate in intensity from mild to extreme measures based on the individual. Depression is nothing to mess with, especially when it comes to finding the right antidote to defuse the situation so if this sounds familiar, you need to get help fast.  “Winter Depressive Disorder” can be treated with a variety of different means and usually can be alleviated by enjoying a special activity, added exposure to light or simply making a few tweaks to your everyday diet.  


In the past, I’ve experienced similar effects of the malady and have since come up with a plan that helps to assuage some of the symptoms.  Irritation, exhaustion and plain old crabbiness can really put a damper on your personal health as well as your personal relationships.  Believing you can wait it out until the spring thaw arrives is just silly and even a little dangerous so if you’re open to learning a few tips they may just save you from another tough year in the cold.  Here’s my go-to list of special soothers that help sustain my sanity until the warmer months roll around once again-maybe they can assist you.

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Light

Light deprivation is the number one factor, which makes people petulant, depressed and moody.  Scientifically known as “Seasonal Affective Disorder, doctors believe that the inner circadian rhythm is disrupted during winter and the body is actually yearning for a longer connection to direct sunlight.  I fit perfectly within this category and try to make extra time for long walks in the morning- the time of day recommended by many experts.  Phototherapy is another option which means skin exposure to ultraviolet light on a regular bases.  You can either do this at home or receive treatment in a medical office.  


Diet

I know it’s the time of year where comfort foods are the main source of fuel but dishes saturated in butter, fat and oil can literally pull your immune system down to lower functioning levels.  Cookies and pies give an immediate satisfaction but hours later, you’re paying for it with a plummeting sugar levels that turns a “high” into a “low”.  Opt for fresh foods such as fish, veggies and ripe fruits that will make you feel healthier as well as trick your system into thinking that the season is warmer than it really is.  


Color

I know it sounds funny but many of us don’t realize that we wear darker colors in the winter than in the spring or summer.  If we can pair more pops of bright reds, blues, greens, yellows and purples into our attire, we’ll begin to feel happier just from the reinforcement of happier hues around us.  

Tags: January, winter, Health

Tips For Snow Shoveling

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Jan 11, 2017

It’s only the beginning of the year but New Englanders are starting to feel the bitterness of the blizzards arriving one after another.  Sure, it’s pretty at first but who are we kidding?  Snow removal is a tough and strenuous business when you’re talking about 24 inches + surrounding the inner and outer areas of Boston.  Plows and snow blowers are a bonus but the reality of it is, we are all out there in the chilly outdoors shoveling our walkways and driveways in order to make sure that our lives go on as usual.  Although there might be an occasional delay or school cancellation, in general New Englanders are preprogrammed to understand that life must go on.  Even the brutality of Juno didn’t slow us down for long and that’s a great thing because undoubtedly, there is more coming!   

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If you’re like me, you might still be achy from hoisting mounds of snow from the last one but recently I’ve learned a few tips on how to shovel after even the wettest and heaviest storms.  By following a few recommendations, we can get the job done without breaking our backs, necks and arms and actually receive a safe and healthy workout in the process.  We don’t have to feel as if we need to be hospitalized after an hour’s work of winter clean up when statistically speaking, 87% of us are doing it incorrectly and more importantly, dangerously.  There is a better way to engage in these movements of lifting if we take a minute to review these ideas to assist in our safety.  


When we first see the piles growing outside of our windows, we get a little anxious and overwhelmed, causing a rushed reaction of bounding outside to attack the situation.  Seldom do we calmly pre-think a plan, which would allow us to strategically move the unwanted precipitation without using unnecessary energy.  Take a couple of minutes to thoroughly analyze the layout and then decide how to go about it.  This will save you time and the frustration of re-shoveling sections over and over again.  You’ll get the job done quicker and have more time to relax in front of the roaring fire.


Another tip is to always bend at the knees when kneeling or lowering to the ground to plunge the snow.  Sudden jerks can cause fractions within the legs and hips and cause permanent damage.  Slow and steady wins this race and you’ll also be pleasantly surprised in the amazing toning your quads will receive!


If your shoulders are the problem, try to cross the shovel across your body instead of throwing the snow over your head.  Many times you’re just putting the snow back into the path behind you so this way, your arms will firm up the right way and you will be able to accomplish the blizzard’s aftermath in a cleaner and more efficient manner.   Be sure to dress warmly with layers and hang in there-spring is on its way!

Tags: Snow, winter, Snowmageddon, Health

Art used as a De-Stressor

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Jan 09, 2017

I’ve always loved the arts.  Painting, singing, dancing, music, crafting, you name it-I’ve tried it.  I used to think that it was because I’ve been deemed a “creative” type but truthfully, I think it’s my attraction to the emotional health benefits associated with these activities.  Have you ever had trouble with anxiety, stress or simply feel overwhelmed 90% of the day?  According to new research, activities such as these can actively reduce symptoms making someone a happier, healthier you!  Even if you mildly experience waves of anxiousness or depression, according to a majority of doctors, a half hour of art can help work towards fixing the problem.  Do you have to be Picasso or Liberace to participate?  Heck no!  All you have to be is willing and able to try something new and let these creative exercises mold and sculpt you into a better frame of mind.  Here are the most popular areas of interest for those seeking artistic healing… Does one of them appeal to you?

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Dance

Many times, the body craves movement to readjust itself against strain and stress.  Turning, sliding and swaying your hips can alleviate tension and create endorphins that heighten a person’s mood.  Twenty minutes of sashaying across your kitchen floor while doing dishes or laundry will help produce more of the happy hormone and also provide a fun and easy workout.  

 

Music

The noises that we hear affect our dispositions more than we realize.  Loud sounds impede on our ability to cope while softer sounds soothe the brain’s membrane to increase our willingness to relax.  By selecting a preferred genre of music such as classic, new age or alternative, we can provide ourselves with audio therapy just by sitting back and listening.  

 

Painting

Although many famous artists have a reputation for being a bit crazy, there is supporting science behind the fact that painting can be incredibly therapeutic to those with high blood pressure.  The reason lies behind the visual stimulation of combining color as well as the calming motion of making swirls and strokes with a paintbrush.  Don’t worry about your artistic talents, just let your imagination take over and allow yourself to escape tension from everyday life if only for twenty minutes a day.

 

Sculpting

Sculpting is another wonderful way to free yourself from suppressing emotional weight and works the most successfully for those who express themselves with their hands.  Do you crack your knuckles or bite your nails often?  If this sounds like you, than sculpting is your ticket!  The massaging pressure applied to the clay from your hands is actually acting as a release for stress and it won’t hurt tender tendons or joints in the process.  

 

Tags: The Arts, Artist, Music, Health

How to De-Stress During the holidays

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Dec 23, 2016

The holiday season is filled with joy, cheer and goodwill to all men and although it is certainly a wonderful time of year, it can all become a stressful one as well.  For some people, the scrambling for presents, decorating the house and visiting with relatives resonates agreeably but for others it can prove quite difficult.  There’s never enough time to do EVERYTHING on your list and the socialization between those you may not see often can become complicated or downright unpleasant.  If you’re the guy or gal who opens their arms to all the chaos that Christmas sends, well then good for you but if you‘re among the masses who need a tiny bit of help dealing with the seasonal “Fa La La” then this blog’s was written for you.   Some us need a break, a way to recharge or even just a means of coping with the next few weeks.  The first step is to look in the mirror and realize that IT’S OKAY.  You’re not a failure if you’re not dying to hang tinsel from your ears or hang mistletoe toe from every bough.  Not everyone can be Clark Griswold who manages to turn a rosy cheek when dinners are burned, family gatherings go a blunder or Christmas tree’s go up in flame. The holidays are hard!  So if you feel like you may relate to these feelings and are holding out for a few ways to burn through some of your seasonal steam, here’s a couple of ideas to try before the one who melts down is you.  

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  1. EXERCISE

This is probably the number #1 answer to your problems if you suddenly wake up with backaches and headaches once December rolls around.  Stress commonly pockets itself throughout the joints of the body leaving it sore, stiff and uncomfortable.  By doing even five minutes of stretching in the morning and evening, you’ll release tension and relax your muscles to get a better night’s sleep.  It’s a busy time of year but if you can insert a half hour of walking, jogging, biking, swimming, yoga, Pilates or aerobics, you’ll feel the difference almost immediately.  


  1.   Don’t Forget to Treat Yourself!

I’m not talking about booking a cruise the day after Christmas but it’s not against the rules to treat yourself to a little holiday treat.  Maybe you like aromatic candles, a box of rich chocolates or a quick pedicure at the salon?  These services and items are not expensive and can very well lift you up to elevated moods just by taking care of yourself for a bit.  For me, I love a great fashion or cooking magazine to soothe over bumps and ripples in my yuletide season!


  1.  Sleep.  For the Love of God…SLEEP!

Sleep deprivation has got to be one of the most typical problems during this time of year and many don’t even realize how terrible it is for behavior, mood and overall demeanor.  I realize there’s a ton to do but neglecting rest isn’t the answer.  Skip that last aggravating errand that no one is going to care about anyway and lie down on a couch with a good book.  Make sure you go to bed a couple of minutes earlier than you usually do and turn off the TV.  A continuous healthy cycle of this will make you feel better and not as cranky as you were before.   

Tags: Holidays, exercise, Stress, Health

Fall Chores Equal Great Workout

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Nov 21, 2016

I was working in the yard over the weekend where I was preparing for the end of fall and the beginning of winter to arrive.  I took notice of all the multi colored leaves scattered on the ground as well as the shrubbery bulging with angular branches and although it looked festive it also left a huge mess.  You probably know what I’m talking about if you’re from New England and have started similar tasks to get ahead of the frost, which will surely freeze the earth to ice.

 

I’ve always been well aware of the importance of these chores but what I didn’t realize is the great workout that can be utilized during autumn primping and preening!   You’d be surprised by the amount of calories one can burn in only a half hour’s work of outdoor raking, weeding and other relatable undertakings.  The bending, stretching and pulling all works crucial muscles and is just as effective as bench pressing in a gym or taking a cardio class.  These activities can be ideal for supporting a stronger body and assisting with weight loss efforts in a fun and flexible manner.

 

If you’re interested in trying this new approach to promoting a healthier and fitter you, try these simple home and garden projects that will get you started!  You’re yard won’t be the only one who’ll be looking good this season!

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  • Raking Leaves     

       Burning calories is a snap when you pick up a rake because it’s estimated        that a person can fire off over 300 in only an hours worth of work.  You might want to keep in mind that the process of bagging them will charge up to another 100-200 calories.

 

  1.   If That Snowflake Should Fall Before Christmas

       Look-it’s just part of the package when you live in the northeast that a          few flakes can fall before the official start of winter.  In this case, don’t be  too upset about it because you can eliminate around 600-700 calories in  just less than one hour.  If it’s the heavy, wet, stuff, tack on another 100- 150 calories.  

 

  1.  Pruning Shrubs

       You might not think this involves a lot of movement but in reality,  holding a pair of shears and snapping away scraggily limbs can do a lot for your physique.  Muscles are easily flexed and           strengthened during a single half hour of this activity and can leave your arms in a firmer toned state than before.

 

  1.  Weeding

       I’ve mentioned this in other summer blogs but this is so effective, it  warrants re-mentioning.  Weeding is a wonderful way to give your legs  and arms more flexibility as well as exercising fine motor skills.  Calories  burned in one hour of this chore can equal over 250 and can also         stimulate relaxing hormones that will leave you in a happier frame of mind.  

Tags: Gardening, Fall, exercise, outdoors, Health

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