Wednesday, April 30, 2008

THINK THIN THURSDAY - I'm moving to Arkansas!

300-pound inmate complains Ark. jail doesn't feed him well

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- An inmate awaiting trial on a murder charge is suing the county, complaining he has lost more than 100 pounds because of the jailhouse menu.
Broderick Lloyd Laswell says he isn't happy that he's down to 308 pounds after eight months in the Benton County jail. He has filed a federal lawsuit complaining the jail doesn't provide inmates with enough food.
According to the suit, Laswell weighed 413 pounds when he was jailed in September. Police say he and a co-defendant fatally beat and stabbed a man, then set his home on fire.
"On several occasions I have started to do some exercising and my vision went blurry and I felt like I was going to pass out," Laswell wrote in his complaint. "About an hour after each meal my stomach starts to hurt and growl. I feel hungry again."
But Laswell then goes on to complain that he undertakes little vigorous activity.
"If we are in a small pod all day (and) do next to nothing for physical exercise, we should not lose weight," the suit says. "The only reason we lost weight in here is because we are literally being starved to death."
The suit also asks that the county be ordered to serve hot meals. The jail has served only cold food for years.
The meals, provided through Aramark Correctional Institution Services, average 3,000 calories a day, jail Capt. Hunter Petray told The Morning News of northwest Arkansas for a story Saturday.

You say you'd rather not be incarcerated in Arkansas? Oh all right, but be sure to check out this CNN link for inspiring success stories and some sensible advice.
Have a great Thursday!

Monday, April 28, 2008


Author Dianne Castell has been a good friend for several years now and I'm sad to report that her husband Dave lost his long and courageous battle with cancer early this morning. I met Dave once at Lori Foster's house and he was a very nice man - a true gentleman with a fun sense of humor, just as you would expect of Dianne's husband.
Dave and Dianne have four children and they're all incredibly close - I hope you'll keep them and their family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.
Donations in lieu of flowers are requested in Dave's memory (Dave Kruetzkamp) for Hospice or the Animal Adoption Foundation (in the Cincinnati area).

Saturday, April 26, 2008


This is the only recipe I use for banana bread - it's a real winner. I usually add a few mini chocolate chips and sometimes bake in three mini loaf pans instead of one bigger one. I haven't made any since the holidays and can't tell you how long it takes the bake the three smaller ones - obviously it doesn't take as long, so you need to keep an eye on them.

2/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup margarine, softened
2 eggs
1 cup mashed bananas
1/4 cup water
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray one 9x5x3 inch loaf pan with a non-stick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, beat the white sugar and margarine or butter until smooth and creamy. Beat in the eggs, water and bananas with the sugar mixture until it is well blended.
Mix in the flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder just until the mixture is moistened. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to blend all ingredients.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degree C) for about 60 minutes. Bread is done when the top is firm to the touch and a golden brown color. Time will vary according to loaf size and oven type. When bread is removed from oven, allow it to cool on its side for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool on a rack. This bread is also excellent if you add mini chocolate chips or small fruit pieces to the mix just before baking.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

THINK THIN THURSDAY - A website that's chock full of good information

It might not be the first place you'd look for helpful nutrition information, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture has an incredible website with a wealth of information on topics that you may never have given thought to.

The law office I work in is located in a building that houses our county's health department. The only health department office on our floor is the one for the nurses. They are the sweetest bunch of women ever. When I was diagnosed with diabetes three years ago, my first stop the next morning was at the nurses' office. My doctor had given me a folder with information, but I was completely overwhelmed with what I should be doing. The nurses gave me information for the Center of Disease Control, who sent me an huge packet of information that was very easy to understand, and they directed me to the website I've linked to above. I have been a frequent visitor since. I hope you might find some helpful information there as well.
Thanks for stopping!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Two pics from RT

I only have two photos from RT - one that Megan Hart took and emailed to me and one that Shiloh Walker took of Sasha and I. I hate myself in photos, even these, but figure if I waited until I looked the way I wish I looked to have my picture snapped, I'd NEVER have my picture taken. There'd be nothing to show that I ever even existed!
I hope everyone is having a great week so far! I left work early this afternoon and took Kelsey to Columbus for some preliminary prom dress shopping. Fortunately, we found a dress *and* shoes - woohoo! All that's left is getting the dress hemmed about a foot. Unfortunately, Kelsey is vertically challenged just like her mother.
I never did hear from Virginia, the winner of the Lora Leigh book, so I've drawn another name - Fedora! Email me at, Fedora, before Thursday evening with your mailing info and I'll get the book out to you!

Monday, April 21, 2008


Rachel Gibson has a new book releasing May 27. You won't want to miss this one. I've read every book written by Rachel Gibson and loved every single one. And while I adored NOT ANOTHER BAD DATE, my favorite remains SEE JANE SCORE. Maybe because I love hockey, I'm not sure. My copy has been read and reread several times - looking rather dogeared and beat up by now.
I was fortunate enough to snag NOT ANOTHER BAD DATE for Romance Junkies review - here's that (5 blue ribbon) review:

When Adele Harris returns to her hometown to help her pregnant sister, the last thing she expects to find is romance. Especially with her boyfriend from college, the only man she ever loved. The one man who thoroughly broke her heart.

Adele Harris can’t refuse her abandoned, pregnant sister’s request to come back to their hometown of Cedar Creek, Texas, to help her and her teen daughter settle into their new place. Adele has been striking out when it comes to dating. It’s been one disaster after another – as soon as she goes out with a guy, he morphs into a total loser. She immediately runs into former pro football star Zach Zemaitis, the guy who broke her tender heart in college when he dumped her and married his pregnant girlfriend. But now Zach is a widower with a young daughter the same age as Adele’s niece, who goes to school with Adele’s niece, and who is on the same dance squad as Adele’s niece. It looks like they’ll be seeing a lot of each other while Adele fills in for her sister who’s on doctor-ordered bed rest. Adele can’t miss seeing the women who still swarm around Zach, without a doubt the best looking guy in the state of Texas, and she can’t quite get past the hurt he caused her all those years ago. When he shows an intense interest in getting to know the woman Adele is today, she can’t help but question his sincerity.
Zach can’t believe it when he finds Adele Harris standing on his porch to collect her niece. She still possesses the most beautiful, big blue eyes, the same tumbling riot of blond curls, and the sensuous curves that she had as a young woman in college. Adele is also the same smart woman with a sassy mouth that she was before, but she is very wary and hesitant about getting involved with him. Content to coach high school football and raise his daughter alone, Zach has no interest in a long-term relationship or another loveless marriage, but he can’t help the near-desperation he feels for another chance with Adele.
Rachel Gibson has done a brilliant job of writing Adele and Zach. Their every emotion - pain, joy, and passion seem to be written from the heart, and Ms. Gibson’s wonderful sense of humor is evident in this book. I feel certain that any mother of a teen daughter will tell you that Adele’s niece and Zach’s daughter are written spot on. Adele and Zach are both strong, intelligent characters, but they’re not written to be so perfect that their vulnerabilities aren’t evident, which is very refreshing. I can confidently recommend this book to all readers who love well-written contemporary romance. I honestly don’t think that Rachel Gibson could write a bad book if she tried.

I hope you'll check this one out - you won't be sorry!
Thanks for popping in!

The RT Booksigning

My oldest daughter(who is a history major at Ohio University) and I left at 8am Saturday morning for Pittsburgh. I wanted to go to the Romantic Times booksigning and she wanted to haunt a couple of museums. Lindsay dropped me off at the hotel and then proceeded to the Carnegie Museum. The air quality in the hotel was atrocious. I started coughing within 30 minutes of being inside the ballroom where the signing was held, and coughed the rest of the day. Most authors were drinking water like crazy and several were very hoarse. The problem w/drinking a lot of water at the signing? No open restrooms on the ballroom floor.
This was the largest booksigning I've ever been to and I have to admit that the sheer size of it was something to behold. There were more authors that I had never heard of than those I had. I did see several familiar faces though, and visited with the "local" authors that I see regularly and consider friends - Lori Foster, Janice Maynard (who had been sick all week), LuAnn McLane, Rosemary Laurey, JC Wilder, Shiloh Walker. There were a handful of authors that I wanted to meet because I'm pretty certain that I'll never have the opportunity again - Sasha White (who I adore and couldn't wait to meet), HelenKay Dimon (another who I was very anxious to meet), Karen Kelley (who is an absolute riot), and Megan Hart. I've followed Megan since very early in her ebook career(she even gave one of her characters my last name)and have enjoyed seeing her popularity explode. It was great to finally meet her in person.
A small number of you might be thinking that the cover models would be reason enough to go to RT. My only thought on that would be not to bother. While I think some of the Mr. Romance competitors might have been a little more humble, the EC cover models bordered on ridiculous. Yes, they had beautifully sculpted bodies, but prancing around like they were God's gift? - it was laughable. One I heard speaking behind me in the ballroom and then again in the hallway twice - it seemed as if every five words he said "mother fucker". So not impressed. Several authors (who shall at their request remain nameless) told me of occurrences from events over the course of the convention, and it sounds like EC should be ashamed of themselves. At an EC salute to the troops, cover models stripped, imitated sex acts with women on stage, whose clothing was also miraculously falling off. How the hell does this pay homage to our troops? I am a huge supporter of our troops and I think it sounded insulting. Another veteran author (who is in no way a prude) told me that she had seen things over the course of the convention that she had never seen before and never dreamed she would see in public, adding that it made her ashamed to be a woman. Women manhandling cover models however and wherever they pleased. While my participation was very limited, the overall feel of the event was a little cheap and tawdry.
The authors were gracious and kind though, and most were incredibly dignified and above this sort of behavior. I know there are other panels and workshops that are of legitimate benefit to authors and wanna-be authors, but you know what? Few people remember the good things they see someone doing, they mostly remember the bad. Ok, now I sound like my mother. I have a feeling that most of the authors probably avoid many of the events in favor of others that are more respectable, and many seem to socialize amongst themselves and while they may drink too much and talk and laugh too loudly, they're not being offensive.
I know I probably sound like a real goody two shoes and truly, I'm not. I also don't mean to pick on EC, I've loved EC authors and their work for several years.
Have you ever been to one of the large romance conventions? I feel certain that the RWA event is much more dignified and respectable.
All in all, I had a great time and was thrilled to see some old friends and meet some new ones. I'm so pleased that I was able to go and the best part of all was spending time with Lindsay. After she picked me up after the signing, we drove around Pittsburgh and she showed me some of the sights (she's been there several times) and pointed out some interesting architecture. A stop for dinner on the way home rounded out a fun day together.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Winner

The winner of my copy of Lora Leigh's Killer Secrets is VIRGINIA! Congratulations! Virginia, please email me at w/your mailing information and I'll get the book in the mail to you in the next couple of days. If I don't hear from Virginia by Tuesday evening, I'll draw another winner.

Thanks as always to everyone for stopping by! I'll post (hopefuly tomorrow) about my attendance at the RT booksigning on Saturday.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Coming soon from Karin Tabke - five exciting new releases!

Karin Tabke has plenty to be excited about in 2008. Five new releases - two in June, one in July, one in November and December. I can only imagine how exciting that must be for an author. As a reader who loves Karin's books, I'm pretty damn excited myself! Check out the covers, blurbs and excerpts below and then tell me you're not anxious to get your hands on these books too!

COMING IN JUNE, 2008 (Karin's first historical):

The year is 1066. William, bastard Duke of Normandy, has claimed the English throne by right of conquest. To quell the Saxon unrest, William sends out his most trusted knights to secure the land. One of those knights is his cousin, Sir Rohan de Luc, known far and wide for his bloody deeds as The Black Sword. . .
Bold and courageous, Saxon maiden Isabel of Alethorpe is the only one left to protect the people of the manor and its lands. When Rohan de Luc seizes Alethorpe, he offers to spare the life of Isabel's young squire in exchange for her willing gift of the charms of her body. Betrothed to another, she vows to that while he may take her maidenhead, her heart will remain her own. But even as her lips say no, Isabel's traitorous body is awakened to desire by the seductive attentions of this potent invader. Can she remain true to her own people, or will Sir Rohan's skilled touch capture her un
willing heart as surely as his prowess with his sword captured her father's lands?

Check out an excerpt for MASTER OF SURRENDER here.


It takes more than a red-hot body and stunning sex appeal to manage a club like Callahan's successfully. Jade Devereaux hides whip-sharp smarts and cold calculation behind her sleek façade, and she's come a long way from the frightened teenage girl who was once prey to a brutal man. Now, in the cat-and-mouse game of sexual escapades, Jade makes sure that the men are her prey.
When a wealthy businessman is viciously murdered mere yards from Callahan's, cynical cop Jase Vaughn turns to the exclusive private club for answers. Luscious Jade Devereaux sends his masculine desires into overdrive the moment he sees her, but he has plenty of experience with both women and crime suspects, and he can tell Jade has secrets to hide—secrets that are somehow connected to this twisted killing.
Jase is determined to strip away the pretense and expose the real Jade Devereaux, even if that means getting closer to her than the love-them-and-leave-them playboy has ever been to a woman. If she's guilty, Jase has sworn to see her behind bars. If she's innocent, then she could be the killer's next victim. But whether Jade is guilty or innocent, Jase realizes to his dismay that they are both falling victim to something neither has ever known—the power of love.

Check out an excerpt for JADED here.


The swagger. The sensuality. Ya gotta love ‘em. The hottest heroes are Italian-American, and every woman knows it…

Good stuff, huh? I'll have details on the other two books as soon as it's available. I hope that if you haven't read any of Karin's previous books, you'll pick at up at least one - THE HARD STUFF (anthology), GOOD GIRL GONE BAD, SKIN, and WHAT YOU CAN'T SEE (anthology). Plenty to choose from; all wonderful! Be sure to check out Karin's blog - she keeps things hopping!

I hope everyone has a terrific weekend!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Below is an excellent article on the benefits of walking. It's short, informative and easy to understand. Check it out, and then lace up your sneakers and hit the sidewalk! I'm considering a pedometer - do any of you have one or have you used one? I'm curious as to what to look for - I want one that's basic and simple to use.

It's a beautiful sunny day. You wish you were in better shape. And you still can't think of a good reason to start a walking program? Marilyn Bach, Ph.D., author of ShapeWalking, gives you six reasons to get off the couch and let your feet do the walking.
1. It's an easy way to a healthier you. Brisk walking lowers the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes in women, according to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. So in addition to strengthening your calves, hamstrings, arms (your entire body, really) walking can help prevent disease and illness. The bottom line: It does a body good.
2. You'll stick to it. Experts call it adherence. Others call it dedication. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, people tend to stick to a walking program better on a long-term basis than to other exercise activities. After all, you can do it anywhere -- with no equipment required.
3. It's a no pain, all gain proposition. Your body will thank you for choosing such a stress-free exercise method with low risk of injury. The impact of running on your joints is about three times your body weight, while walking is only about 1.3 times your body weight. "Lower impact means there's less risk that you'll have sore muscles, aching joints and repetitive stress injuries," explains Dr. Bach.
4. Both social butterflies and soul searchers enjoy it. There's no better way to catch up on gossip, brainstorm business plans or mull over an idea with a friend. Instead of meeting for a sit-down lunch, take a stroll. Or if you're in desperate need of some alone time, walking is also a great way to relax, reflect and re-energize after a long day or before the start of a busy one.
5. It's an excuse-proof workout. Walking is cheap and easy. No gym membership or expensive equipment required. Bad weather? Head to a mall -- some cities are extending hours so walkers can stride (and window shop) before stores open.
6. You can walk your way to the Fountain of Youth. A new study from the American Academy of Neurology reports that walking can keep your mind sharp as you age. Researchers tested the cognitive abilities of 5,925 women ages 65 and older, and then tested them again six to eight years later. Their finding: women who walked an average of 18 miles a week had the least cognitive decline. Women who said they walked the least -- just half a mile a week -- showed the greatest decline.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I seem to have been doing a lot of reading lately - and loving every minute of it! What have you been reading? Anything incredible? So-so?
Here are some of the books I've read recently (in no particular order) - forgive me if I've already chatted any of these up! I think it's obvious that I love romantic suspense. Read to the end, there's a contest!
Arianna Hart's Leap of Faith - I enjoyed this one very much - nothing sugary about this one, it's suspenseful and steamy.
Shelli Stevens - Dangerous Grounds and Tempting Adam - Both very good, I recommend reading them in this order.
Cathryn Fox - Pleasure Exchange - This one is steamy, even if the premise is a bit silly. I've read Cathryn before in the Alluring Tales anthology - I'll read her again, for certain.
Lorelei James - Long Hard Ride and Cowgirl Up and Ride - Erotic cowboy tales. These were a little more gritty than I typically care for - anal sex, spanking and M/M sex. I'm not passing judgement on anyone else's preferences, but I don't care for male on male sex in my romance.
Shannon Stacy - 72 Hours. I enjoyed this one very much and give it a strong recommendation. I've read one other book by Shannon Stacey, Twice Upon A Roadtrip, and enjoyed it as well. I'm intrigued by Forever Again and hope to buy it before too long.
Roxanne St. Claire's Take Me Tonight. This is the latest in her Bulletcatcher series, and it is a wonderful continuation. I've especially enjoyed this series, like so many others have, and give it high marks.
Pamela Clare's Unlawful Contact - Yes, I know I chatted about this one and reviewed it on behalf of Romance Junkies (see the archives for February posts) - but it's simply too good not to mention again. I can't wait for the next one in the series! Romantic Suspense just doesn't get any better than this. Amazon has suggested that because I enjoyed this book, I might enjoy Jordan Dane - has anyone here read her? I haven't, but I'm very curious now.
Lora Leigh's Killer Secrets - From her SEALs series - gritty and passionate, this one was a little on edge (for me) sexually. I enjoy these stories of hers so much though that I always get the next one with each release!
Toni Blake's Letters to a Secret Lover. My review for this one is below - it's very good.
Rachel Gibson's Not Another Bad Date - my Romance Junkies review will be coming up soon, hopefully in the next week. You should go ahead and pre-order this one, it's a beautifully written story with humor, pain, joy and passion. I've read everything Rachel Gibson has written and while See Jane Score is my absolute fave, there's not a bad one in the bunch!
A couple of others I'm hoping to get to soon are Susan Lyons' Champagne Rules and Touch Me. She has one coming soon, the fourth in the series, She's On Top (not positive of that title, but I don't have time to go doublecheck) - I loved the one book of hers that I read, Hot In Here. And I'll add that she has been blessed with great covers on all of these!
Upcoming reviews will include Erin McCarthy's Fallen, which I'm just starting, Janice Maynard's By Appointment Only, The Power of Love anthology by Lori Foster and 11 other excellent authors. Also, HelenKay Dimon's Hard As Nails, Nicole Jordan's To Bed a Beauty, and Shiloh Walker's Through the Veil.

So, please give a shout and let us know what you're reading, what you've loved or hated.
I'm hoping to go to the booksigning at RT in Pittsburgh this Saturday. It will be my first "big" booksigning and I'm excited. My plans aren't set in stone, but I'm hoping it will work out. If it does wotk out to go, my oldest daughter will go too, but she'll drop me at the hotel and then head off to some museums and art galleries while I go to the signing and hang out for a bit after. She's applying for jobs at a couple of them as she'll be graduating college in June, so she'd like to check them out.
The contest? I'll draw a name from everyone who posts here for the Lora Leigh (Killer Secrets) - the book does have a slight spine crease but is in excellent condition otherwise. If you want to comment about your recent or current reads but don't want in on the book draw, just say so, ok? That's fine.
Thanks as always for stopping - I hope you'll give us some book suggestions - or just say "hey" - I love having everyone here!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Coming soon from Toni Blake - LETTERS TO A SECRET LOVER

Toni Blake has a new book, LETTERS TO A SECRET LOVER, releasing May 27th and I was fortunate enough to review it on behalf of Romance Junkies. I loved this book very much and as I say in my review, I truly think this just might be Toni's best work to date.
Here's a blurb about Lindsey and Rob and their sizzling story:
The last thing she needs right now is a man
Lindsey Brooks had it all—an awesome job doling out advice to the lovelorn, a fabulous high-rise apartment, and a to-die-for fiance. But then she got dumped—wearing nothing but a Kiss the Cook apron—and desperate to escape, she retreats to a tiny Montana town to reclaim a family treasure. She never dreamed anyone would try to stop her – or that he’d be sexy as sin.
Too bad she finds such a hot one …
Rob Colter isn’t into relationships—but Lindsey sees Rob as the perfect guy to help her “get back on the horse.” The sex horse, that is. Unfortunately, he comes complete with a mysterious past, which gets even more mysterious when she finds his passionate letters to another woman – whose name happens to be tattooed on his chest.
And too bad he has so many secrets …
Now Rob’s dangerous past is about to catch up with them both. And if that’s not horrible enough, Lindsey is falling for him – hard. For a girl who usually has all the answers, Lindsey is up to her neck in trouble.

My Romance Junkies review (I gave LETTERS TO A SECRET LOVER 4.5 Blue Ribbons!):
In Toni Blake’s LETTERS TO A SECRET LOVER, Lindsey Brooks leaves the hectic pace of Chicago for the peaceful beauty of Montana to escape the scandal that she’s unintentionally gotten herself into. And while she found the escape she so desperately wanted and needed, she also found something she wasn’t even looking for –LOVE!

Lindsey Brooks, one-half of one of Chicago’s most successful, high-profile couples, decides to seduce her stuffed shirt of a fiancé by serving him dinner in just an apron, only to have her picture snapped by a window washer hanging outside her high rise apartment. It is inevitable, with said fiancé mortified by the mostly nude photos of Lindsey floating around on the web and in the gossip rags, that their engagement would be broken. Lindsey flees for the quiet of Moose Falls, the small Montana town she visited as a child, where her late aunt owned a boat rental. Despite a rocky first meeting with Rob Colter, the gorgeous new owner of the boat rental, they’re soon spending more and more time together. Lindsey is deeply curious about a hidden stash of heartfelt love letters she stumbles across, obviously written by Rob to an unknown woman; the same woman whose name is tattooed over his heart. She and Rob are both taken off guard by the attraction between them and when their relationship becomes intimate, it becomes clear that Lindsey isn’t the only one with a secret.
Rob Colter sees Lindsey as a spoiled, shallow city girl who’s more concerned with appearances and labels than appreciating her surroundings. When she asks to work with him at the boat rental to see the area as her aunt saw it, he is struck by her willingness to do whatever is needed without complaint, and soon finds her totally irresistible. When dark, dangerous secrets from Rob’s past begin to surface, he believes the only solution is to leave Moose Falls, dismissing Lindsey and any future that they might have together, and thoroughly breaking her heart.
Toni Blake never fails to provide readers with a captivating story, intriguing lead characters, and secondary characters who are a charming bonus. Lindsey and Rob are written so realistically that you can’t help but feel their every emotion and share their pain from past misunderstandings. I have read all of Ms. Blake’s previous books and truly feel that this just might be her best work to date. I highly recommend LETTERS TO A SECRET LOVER to all romance lovers!
I hope you'll check this book out - click here to go to Amazon to pre-order a copy!
Thanks for checking it out!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

IN YOUR 40s? This one's for you!

Anyone here who's in their 40s? I have less than two years remaining in my 40s, but I truly don't feel my age. Most days, that is - every now and then I feel like I'm 140! Here are some great little tips, sensible suggestions to make all of us a little healthier!

**Add some weight. If you’ve never hefted a hand weight, start today. Most of the loss of strength that we label aging is actually the result of disuse, notes Lawrence Golding, Ph.D., director of the exercise physiology laboratory at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. To stay strong (and maintain bones), schedule training daily, alternating muscle groups.
**Eat more, gain less. Start supper by eating a big, Mediterranean-inspired salad. You’ll take in fewer calories overall than if you skipped the starter, says David L. Katz, M.D., of Yale University School of Medicine. Mix a variety of greens with a rainbow of vegetables (red grape tomatoes, carrots, yellow bell peppers), top it with a little olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar, and you’ll be well on your way to meeting the USDA’s recommended daily intake of fruits and veggies, now up to nine servings.
**Build your bones. You may like milk, but it takes five glasses to hit the 1,500 mg daily calcium target for post-menopausal women (1,200 mg for premenopausal women). Most of us miss the mark. In fact, a report says that in the near future, half of all Americans over 50 will be at risk for fractures. Eating foods rich in calcium is a good start, but you may want to take a 1,000 mg calcium supplement, says Elizabeth Dupuis, M.D., of Boston University School of Medicine. Other options: Chew on Tums or Viactiv calcium squares, or make that latte a double (low-fat milk, not espresso). Don’t forget nondairy sources such as spinach and arugula.
**Check your posture. Program an hourly reminder on your computer or personal digital assistant to pull your abs in and your shoulders back. Slumping can cause muscle tension, fatigue, and even pain.
**Train your brain. In 2002, Paula Hartman-Stein, Ph.D., president of the Center for Healthy Aging in Kent, Ohio, spent three months studying for a spelling bee. In the process, the 53-year-old clinical psychologist noticed a distinct sharpening of her cognitive skills. You can get a similar mental edge from a regular challenge such as solving a word puzzle, playing a chess game, or attempting a new language. Learning can create pathways in the brain and stave off age-related memory loss.
**Be active. Schedule moderate-intensity aerobic workouts, such as walking or a step class, that last at least one minute for each birthday you’ve celebrated. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends at least 30 minutes a day for general health, but for weight loss or even maintenance, more time is necessary. Make a half-hour your starting line, not limit. Working up to 60 or 90 minutes lets you incorporate flexibility and strength training into your routine.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

THINK THIN THURSDAY - Yummy sauteed bananas recipe!

Aren't they lovely? I think they look great and I plan to try them this weekend - the recipe is below. While I like bananas, I don't love them - I probably don't eat more than one or two a month. Now if you're talking banana bread, I'm all over it. But banana flavored anything? No thanks. This recipe looks good and, even better, it looks easy! I'll leave out the walnut oil and will make the sauce w/apple juice, not because I'm adverse to alcohol, but I always have apple juice on hand.
Sometimes when I'm deep in the diet groove I'll broil pears for dessert - so simple (I actually came up with this one myself). Light canned pear halves, drained and placed into a small baking dish, cut side up. Drizzle lightly with honey and/or sprinkle w/brown sugar. Broil until the honey/sugar begins to bubble and remove to serve. Sometimes I'll reserve the canned pear liquid and mix with a little cornstarch in a small pan to thicken and then serve as a glaze rather than using the honey and brown sugar. Either way it's a tasty sweet treat that's not terrible for you. My girls especially like them.

For the sauce
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon walnut oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons 1 percent low-fat milk
1 tablespoon dark raisins or golden raisins (sultanas)
4 firm bananas, about 1 pound total weight
1/2 teaspoon canola oil
2 tablespoons dark rum or apple juice
To make the sauce, in a small saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the walnut oil, honey and brown sugar. Cook, stirring continuously until the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Stir in the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, and then cook, stirring continuously until the sauce thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the raisins. Set aside and keep warm.
Peel the bananas, and then cut each crosswise into 3 sections. Cut each section in half lengthwise. Lightly coat a large nonstick frying pan with the canola oil and place over medium-high heat. Add the bananas and saute until they begin to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
Add the rum to the pan, bring to a boil and deglaze the pan, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until reduced by half, about 30 to 45 seconds. Return the bananas to the pan to rewarm.
To serve, divide the bananas among individual bowls or plates. Drizzle with the warm sauce and serve immediately.

Nutritional Analysis(per serving)
Calories 146
Monounsaturated fat 1g
Protein 1g
Cholesterol 5mg
Carbohydrate 27g
Sodium 25 mg
Total fat 5g
Fiber 3g
Saturated fat 1g