Sugar Free, Fat Free Valentine Heart Candy

January 28, 2010

Guiltless Valentine candy hearts? What’s the catch? They’re only pictures of candy hearts, in a customizable design:

Personalized Heart Candy Travel MugTemplate mug
Personalized Heart Candy Travel MugTemplate by alinaspencil
Create ceramic coffee mugs on zazzle

This candy heart mug template has six Valentine’s day heart candy spaces for you to add your own message. Three hearts are on one side, three hearts are on the other side.

Create your own custom travel mug to keep or give away. Replace the words in the fields provided.

I love my travel mug. It keeps drinks hot or cold for a long time. Despite it looking like it is made of plastic, it is actually stainless steel; the white color is an enamel paint layer.

Don’t want a mug? How about a shirt?

Personalized Heart Candy Shirt shirt
Personalized Heart Candy Shirt by alinaspencil
T shirts from zazzle

You may want to make the font larger or smaller in order to fit your message. To do so, click on “customize.” This will take you to the Zazzle design tool.

Click on the appropriate bar. You’ll see a white box with a number in it. Click on the plus sign to the right of that number to make the font larger. Click on the minus sign to make it smaller. Use the arrow buttons to reposition the words if necessary.

If you have questions or need help, please email me at:
4alina@alinaspencil.com


Enter for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to Zazzle

January 27, 2010

Here’s an easy way to sample what Zazzle has to offer…

Visit this blog created by another Zazzler. Enter your name and email address for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to any Zazzle store.

Zazzle has an enormous selection of artists; everything from scary cartoons to nature photography to fractal art. I love to browse other shops just to be inspired and amazed at the creativity out there.

If you win, you’ll get the chance to sample something yourself. So go submit your name!


A Quick Knife Cutting Tip

January 26, 2010

Knife danger
One of the biggest dangers when using a kitchen knife is having the blade slip and cut you. This often occurs when a piece of food gets under the knife tip, so when you rock the knife forward as you slice or chop, it slips.

To prevent this, here is a quick tip that can help:

Angle the top of the knife away from you. If you’re right handed, angle the knife to the right. If you’re left handed, angle the knife to the left.

Why does this help?
As you cut, the pieces of food tend to stick to the knife and get pushed upwards, eventually falling over the top of the knife. By angling the top away from you, they fall away rather than onto what you are still trying to cut.

This makes for faster chopping or slicing, plus reduced danger of knife slippage on a piece of food at the tip.

Try it and see! Just a slight angle will do.


From Service Dog Failure to Surfer Dog Success!

January 23, 2010

You’ve heard the expression, “Be yourself”?

You’ve heard that we should each develop those gifts and talents inherent within us in order to be the best we can be?

Richochet was born to be a service dog. His owner began training him from the day he was born. He was naturally gifted, and his future looked promising.

But as he grew, his instincts took over. He started chasing birds. He would be a danger to a disabled person. His life as a service dog would never be fulfilled.

Then his owner decided to nurture another one of his natural instincts…surfing!

Watch this heart-warming video to see how he was trained and how he is helping people in a different way.

Ricochet the surfing dog


Want to get off your medication?

January 20, 2010

Do you want to get off your medication?

89% of people in this country take prescription drugs for chronic health conditions. That’s almost everyone. Does that alarm you?

We start medicating children in this country, putting them on drugs to control conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism. They become prescription drug users as early as age 5.

You are the exception to the rule if you do not take prescription drugs. You might feel abnormal. You might even wonder what’s wrong with you.

On the other hand, if you are taking prescription drugs, you might be sick of the high costs, the side effects, or the fact that you are destined to be taking them the rest of your life.

Want to do something about it?

The healthcare system is spiraling out of control. Costs are increasing, health is diminishing, and we seem to be getting nowhere, even with renewed efforts by the Obama Administration to reform the system.

Clearly you need to take matters into your own hands and make choices that make sense to you.

Ask yourself just one question: Am I getting better or worse?

If you’re getting worse, or not getting better, why continue to do what you’ve been doing?

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Albert Einstein, (attributed)
US (German-born) physicist (1879 – 1955)

So what can you do about it?

Plenty!

The following video by Dr. Terry Shintani will show you how to get off your medication, with the help of your doctor. His proven program has helped people stop diabetes medication in as little as two days!

100% of the people who follow his program lose weight.

Find out:
–Why eating more can help you weigh less

–Why low-carb diets don’t work

–The major myth the entire health-care system is based on

–Why genetics plays a much smaller role than you think

–The #4 cause of death that isn’t a disease

The video is an hour long and will show you exactly how to turn your health around, with basic changes in diet and lifestyle.

Take an hour and consider the evidence he presents. Then consider your future and what it might be like if you continue on the path you are currently on.

Watch the video now.


Za’atar Roasted Potatoes

January 1, 2010

One of the gifts I received this holiday season was a snack-sized zip-top bag containing za’atar spice mix.

Za’atar is both the name of an herb related to marjoram and oregano, as well as a spice mix made up of herbs, sesame seeds, and sumac.

Sumac’s berry-like fruits are ground to produce a tangy, purplish spice. In this case, it was almost a fuchsia color. My friend said in Iran, where he used to live, there were bowls of the ground sumac powder on the table. People sprinkled it on their food as desired.

This particular blend was sumac, salt, sesame seeds, and thyme. I wasn’t sure how to eat it, and my friend suggested I think of it as a Middle Eastern version of furikake.

(Furikake is a Japanese mixture made from seaweed, sesame seeds, salt, and usually a fish product, although there are vegetarian versions without them. It is usually sprinkled on rice, sort of like a seasoned salt mixture.)

So I tried a bit on rice, but it had very little flavor. I could detect a subtle tang from the pretty purply sumac, and the sesame seeds, but it needed more kick to it.

Since I had to make something to take to a New Year’s Eve potluck party, I decided to use the za’atar with potatoes, sauteeing it in oil, to try to coax out more flavor.

After a bit of doctoring, I had a decent dish, and it was well enough received at the party that I thought I’d post about it here, trying to recreate the recipe. (Besides, a bunch of us received the spice, and I doubt anyone knew what to do with it. Here’s one possibility!)

Vegan Za’atar-Roasted Potatoes
2 TBS toasted sesame oil
4 TBS canola oil
1/4 cup za’atar spice mix (I used the whole baggie full, which was about that much)
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp garlic powder
Juice from 3/4 lemon (about 1-1/2 TBS lemon juice )
3 pounds russet potatoes, washed and cubed
extra virgin olive oil (optional), salt and lemon juice to taste

In a small frying pan on medium-high heat, saute za’atar spices, garlic powder and salt in sesame and canola oils until sizzling and fragrant. Stir constantly and watch carefully, because sesame seeds burn quickly. This took about 1-2 minutes once the mixture got hot enough, but might take a lot less time if you have a gas stove.

Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice.

Mix together with the potato cubes; stir well to distribute evenly and turn everything a rosy pink.

Place into two 9×13 cake pans in a single layer.

Bake at 350 degrees F until the potatoes are fork tender, stirring every 20 minutes or so. This took about 50 minutes, but it will vary, depending on how large you cut your potato pieces.

After they are finished, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil (optional) and add salt and/or lemon juice as needed, to taste.

Tips:
Try to cut your potatoes in even-sized pieces. Mine weren’t, so the smaller ones got tough by the time the bigger ones were tender.

This is a bit oily by the time you are done, but I like the flavor the extra virgin olive oil added. You can omit it if you like. Much of the oil and spice mixture ended up stuck to the sides of the pan.

If you didn’t receive a bag of this particular za’atar spice blend, use what you have, but start with 1 TBS za’atar. I would taste some of the spice mix first to get an idea of how much you want to use.

This was an exceptionally bland spice mixture, so I threw it all in. My guess is, if you have a mixture with the oregano-related herb, you would only need a small amount.

Also, this did not taste like it had any salt in it, so if your spice mixture tastes salty, omit the salt until the end, and only add enough to taste, so you don’t end up with a too-salty finished dish.

The flavor and color was unusual enough that it piqued my interest and taste buds. I’ll be looking into trying different variations of za’atar spice blends.


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