Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Brother and Sister Battle Over Margarine vs. Butter

These kinds of stories are just too bizarre to make up.

A brother and sister in Central Washington were cooking up some macaroni & cheese the other day when the sister inquired as to whether the brother was using butter or margarine in the mac & cheese.

This question somehow turned into a heated exchange, which quickly became physical. The girl ended up attacking her brother with a knife-edged barbecue spatula. What?!!! This is no joke folks.

According to police reports the girl was charged with fourth-degree assault.

If they had simply invited me to their cooking session I would have ensured this incident never happened. Why fight over butter vs. margarine? The choice is clear - margarine wins that battle every time.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Banana Ambrosia Dahhhling

Banana Ambrosia makes me feel just like a Southern belle, with my large hat and hoop skirt! If you don't like the coconut, just omit it.

Banana Ambrosia

Yield: 6 servings
3 tablespoon margarine
6 lg Ripe bananas, peeled and
1 Orange, Juice of
1 Orange peeled,pitted & diced
3 tablespoon Brown sugar, firmly packed
½ cups Shredded coconut

1. Melt margarine in a shallow, heat-resistant, non- metallic baking dish in Microwave Oven 30 seconds.
2. Place bananas in baking dish and coat well with butter or margarine. 3. In a small bowl, combine the orange juice and pieces and brown sugar until well blended. Spoon over bananas.
4. Heat, uncovered, in Microwave Oven 4 minutes or until bananas are soft and glazed.
5. Just before serving, sprinkle with coconut. Serve either hot or cold.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Margarine and Children's IQ Scores

Okay, so last week I told you all about some silly study alleging that margarine increases the risk of children having asthma. Wrong! Margarine actually reduces the risk of asthma in children.

Today, Ill give you the straight facts in an even more ridiculous study – this study alleges margarine causes children to have lower IQ scores.

The study referenced, which looks at the association between intelligence and diet among a small group of children in New Zealand, should be interpreted with caution – an admission that the researchers note several times in the paper themselves. There are glaring omissions in this study, including the lack of correcting for socioeconomic status among study subjects, no acknowledgment of what foods margarine products were consumed with, and no further specification regarding whether the margarine consumed was in stick form or a spread. The authors’ conclusion that “margarines often contain trans fatty acids” is not consistent with the majority of margarine products sold today. In fact, soft spread margarines, which make up the vast majority of margarine products consumed, are routinely identified as the best nutritional choice. The American Heart Association, the National Institutes of Health National Cholesterol Education Program, and the FDA all recommend soft/tub margarine with zero grams of trans fat over butter. Consumer watch groups like the Centers for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and the Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Source echo the recommendation to choose soft spread margarines as a healthier alternative to butter. Not only do today’s soft spread margarines list “zero grams” of trans fat on the Nutrition Facts Panel, they are lower than ever before in calories, total fat and saturated fact. In fact, butter contains up to 40 more calories per serving than most soft spreads; switching to a margarine spread can result in significant calorie savings for daily butter users. Margarine is cholesterol free and provides a dietary source of vitamin E, polyunsaturated fats and essential fatty acids. Margarine spreads are made from natural vegetable oils, unlike butter, which is made from animal fat.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Margarine Reduces the Risk of Asthma

A few days ago I got an email from reader asking about a study from 2001 that alleged margarine increases children's risk for asthma.

Related to this, a study came out a few days ago indicating children who eat more burgers than vegetables have a higher risk of asthma.

The premise of both of these studies is that trans fat is associated with asthma.

I don't have a scientific background and can't even begin to explain this study relating burgers to asthma. However, because of my background knowledge and professional knowledge of margarine I can explain why the study alleging margarine is related to asthma is completely false.

Other studies have found evidence that consuming margarine actually reduces the risk of developing asthma.

Fats are composed of fatty acids. Several of them are essential in that our bodies cannot manufacture them. Two essential types, which are found in margarine and many other foods, are called omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The recommended balanced ration of consumption of omega-6 to omega-3 is 3:1 to 5:1. Unfortunately, the typical Western diet provides the ratio between 10:1 to 30:1. The excess consumption of omega-6 can boost inflammation of body tissues by releasing prostaglandins.

The major sources of omega-6 fatty acids are cereals, whole grains, vegetable oils, baked goods, and eggs. Margarine is not a significant contributor of omega-6 in our diet, and thus is not the “smoking gun” of asthma development.

However, mothers who do not consume enough vitamin E during early pregnancy may run the risk of her fetus not fully developing lung growth and airway inflammation. Margarine products are an excellent source of vitamin E, as are sunflower seeds, nuts, and vegetable oils. So, that’s a direct correlation between margarine consumption and the reduced risk of asthma development

Friday, June 11, 2010

10 Must-Do Arm Exercises

With it being bikini season combined with the fact that I'm getting married in less than a year, strength training has become a huge part of my workout routine. While I try to train all of muscles, doing exercises to build arm muscle is by far my favorite. How can you not notice when a woman's arms and shoulders are ripped?!

I do the exercises below twice a week, on non-consecutive days. I've been doing this routine for about three weeks and am already seeing great results. Be sure to add in some cardio 3-4 days as well to torch those calories.

10 arm exercises for sexier shape and strength
It might sound overwhelming at first, but beginning your arm exercise routine is easy – just grab a sturdy chair, a towel and a yoga mat for floor exercises. Then, start with 10 repetitions of each arm exercise, working your way up to 20 repetitions over time. Keep in mind that in order to maximize the benefits of arm exercises and prevent injury, they should be practiced with straight spine and bone movements as well as slow, fluid motions. Eventually you’ll want to do more arm exercises that target the triceps versus the biceps to achieve a sexier overall look to your arms.

1. Double Arm Lift
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and slightly bend your knees. If you don’t have free weights, utilize something around the house like a bag of frozen vegetables, canned food or water bottle as a weight for each hand. Holding the weights in your palms, let your arms drop in front of you and hold your fists about 6 inches away from the tops of your thighs.
Making sure to keep your shoulders down and not scrunched toward your ears, raise your fists to shoulder height, maintaining a straight line throughout your arms. You can do this by imagining there is a board connecting your shoulders to your wrists. Hold this position for 5 seconds, and then lower your fists back to your thighs in one fluid, steady motion.

2. Water Drop
Seated on the edge of a sturdy chair, keep your back in a straight line and constrict your abdominals. Using your water bottle or canned food as weight, lift your arms over your head while holding the weight with both hands. Lower the weight behind your head by bending your elbows until you feel a strong resistance or the weight touches your back. Slowly lift the weight back above your head, keeping your abs tight and your back straight. Repeat.

3. Easy Arm Extensions
Grasp a weight in each hand while keeping your abs tight and your knees slightly bent. With back straight, lower your upper body by hinging your hips forward to about a 45 degree angle from your lower body. Extend your arms back as though you are handing your weights to someone behind you, all without moving your upper arms. Slowly curl your arms back into the starting position and pause before repeating.

4. Easy Curls
Sitting in a chair with a straight back and torso, relax your arms along the side of your body. With your palms facing the ceiling, grip your weights and slowly curl them up and toward your shoulders.
Pause for a few seconds before slowly lowering your arms back down again.

5. Twisted Raise
Stand again with your feet hip-width apart, while slightly bending your knees and holding your weights in the palms of each hand. Let your arms hang naturally by your sides with your palms facing the side of your thigh. Keeping your shoulders down, lift your arms straight out from your sides, keeping them in one vertical plane with the rest of your body. Rotate your arms, turning your palms toward the ceiling. Hold for 5 seconds before rolling your palms back toward the floor.

6. Triceps Push-Up
After placing a towel or yoga mat on the floor to prevent slipping, start on your hands and knees. Walk your hands forward and lift your hips toward the ceiling. Extend your spine in a straight line like it is a board connecting your neck to your tailbone. Tuck your elbows back so they stay at your sides and slowly lower your chest toward the floor, keeping your back straight. Keep your body 2 to 4 inches above the floor. Hold this position for 5 seconds, then raise slowly back into the starting position.

7. Triceps Dips
Seated on the edge of a chair, place your hands behind your hips, using your palms to support your body weight. Angle your elbows outward before lowering your hips slowly toward the floor. Keeping your body angled slightly forward, straighten your elbows, but stop the motion before they are completely straightened (do not lock your elbows).
Pressing your weight onto your hands, slowly push yourself back up into the starting position.

8. Slow Row
Sitting on your towel or yoga mat with your legs straight, wrap a T-shirt or towel behind the soles of your feet. Grasping one end of the shirt or towel in each of your hands, push your shoulders and elbows back so that your elbows are behind you. This motion should provide enough resistance to give the shirt or towel a firm stretch. Slowly return to your starting position and pause for a few seconds between repetitions.

9. Plank
Lie face down on your towel or mat with your palms shoulder-width apart and your toes digging slightly into the floor. Breathing in deeply, push your entire body (except for your toes) off the floor. Constricting your abs, keep your back straight and balance all of your body weight on your arms and feet. Breathing normally, keep your back horizontal and maintain the position steadily for 20 seconds. Slowly lower your body to the floor and rest before repeating.

10. Sun Lift
Lie on your back. With your arms outstretched to your sides, lie on your towel or mat and grasp your weights with the palms of your hands facing up. Keeping your arms straight, constrict your abs and then lift your arms to meet one another above your chest. Breathe normally and hold this position for 10 seconds. Slowly lower your arms to starting position.

The Total Arm Workout
Because biceps are seen as the heavy-lifters of the arm muscle group, they often get all the attention when it comes to arm exercise. However, when the triceps are neglected, they become a haven for fat, creating that stubborn flab that plagues many women as they grow older. Even more importantly, if shoulders are neglected while performing arm exercises, the arms build muscle that cannot be supported by the rest of the frame, which can cause serious neck and back problems. The tips and benefits of arm exercises are only fully taken advantage of when used in a rotation that develops biceps, triceps and shoulders altogether. To fully maximize the benefits of these arm exercises, combine them with strength training of your other muscle groups like your core and lower body, along with aerobic activity and a nutritious diet. Achieving a long, lean look for your arms does not happen overnight. There is no quick exercise that will make you look fabulous in a few days. Attaining your perfection of body beautiful may take months, so make the commitment and be consistent and you will discover sexy arms in sleeveless tops once again.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Just like the Song! Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns


• 1 1/2 cups milk

• 1/3 cup margarine

• 5 cups flour

• 1/3 cup sugar

• 2 Tablespoons yeast

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 1 teaspoon cinnamon

• 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

• 1/4 teaspoon cloves

• 2 eggs

• 1/2 cup currants or candied fruit mix

• 1 egg white, lightly beaten

• 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

• 1 to 2 Tablespoons water

• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a small saucepan, heat milk and butter or margarine over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is just warm and butter or margarine is melted. In a large mixer bowl, stir together 2 cups of the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Gradually add liquid; beat with electric mixer for 2 minutes. Beat in eggs. With a spoon, stir in currants or candied fruit and enough of the remaining flour to make dough easy to handle. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise until double (about 1 to 1 1/2 hours).

Punch dough down. Divide into 4 equal parts. Cut each part into 6 equal parts. Shape each piece into a ball. place about 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheets. Cut a cross on top of each ball with a sharp knife. Cover; let rise until double. Brush lightly beaten egg white over the tops of buns. Bake at 350∞F for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly.

Mix powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon water, and vanilla until smooth. Stir in additional water if needed. Drizzle over cooked rolls.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Update to My Fish Tacos Post

Let me just tell you that those grilled tacos were really good and even easier than they look...which is crazy but it looks insanely easy.

The taste is light and not too overwhelming but nicely flavors the tilapia, which to me doesn't really have a taste at all.

The one change I made was to lightly spread some soft margarine on the corn tortillas before toasting on the grill and it gave the tortilla that extra flavor that takes the tacos from good to great!

Hope you all had an amazing Memorial Day weekend!