Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Morning

Every Christmas proves to be a showcase for the year's best in crafting, and this December 25th was no different. My sister, Josey, finally finished my 2-year-in-waiting quilt, Mom crocheted a cozy, beautiful hat and scarf for Miranda, and Mom also made baby Scotlynn's first doll. Runner-up crafts were Josey's home-made candles and my usual jewelry-making. Miranda began knitting this year, and although she didn't make anything for family members, I can testify to a gorgeous scarf she made for a friend.

The number of presents under our tree grows so much every year because we keep adding in number to our family. There is no greater blessing to me than a big family. Baby Scotlynn is the newest addition, as she was born in October, and my fiance joined us for the first time, too.

"Holly", Scotlynn's new doll.

Miranda's hat and scarf.

My finally finished quilt - it ties for favorite gift along with my tea set.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Assassins EP

I hope you'll take the time to give The Revelators' new EP a listen. Even more, I hope you'll download it! The Assassins EP is the fantastic new release from Ron Freeman and the Revelators. I had the privilege of singing backup vocals for this project.

Each song on the album is a love song from the perspective of each of our four successful presidential assassins. You will not be let down by Ron's storytelling. The warm, melodic arrangements beg for multiple listens as you delve into each beautiful layer of instrumentation.

Click the link below to be directed to their bandcamp page:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sugar & Nutella

I've been interested in sweeteners for a few years now. Today we have such a variety to choose from, and I'm curious about making informed decisions on the "best" ones. By "best" I mean, if you're going to eat something sweet, what's the healthiest, most whole way to do it? Sweeteners like maple syrup have more nutrients than table sugar, but they also have a ton more calories (aroun 100 calories/Tbsp). Agave is better if you need to watch your glycemic index, but you're looking at 60 calories per tablespoon, all of them empty. For comparison, one tablespoon of sugar is 48 calories.

What got me thinking about sugar today is the jar of Nutella sitting in my cupboard. Oh, man, do I love Nutella! It's full of sugar, but I like to indulge now and again. What's interesting is that on the back label it's adverised as part of a "... tasty yet balanced breakfast." Wow! I thought to myself. That sounds like a load of crock. So I went to their website, where I found a registered dietician endorsing it as part of a great breakfast for kids! ". . . a breakfast that consists of a small whole grain bagel with Nutella®, 1/2 cup of sliced strawberries and 1 cup of 1% milk is suitable for school-aged children." I might argue about the bagel, and of course the fruit and milk sounds fine, but I have some serious beef with the Nutella part. Although hazelnuts are not unhealthy, the recommended 2 tablespoon serving of Nutella contains 21 grams of sugar, and almost all of them are added! Sugar is the number one ingredient in Nutella. Hazelnuts come in third, right behind palm oil.

Let's get some perspective on this. According to the American Heart Association, the recommended added sugar limit per day for children is three teaspoons - that's 45 calories or 12 grams! A child has just exceded his or her days worth in one serving of Nutella. Even if you cut the serving size in half, they've met their daily goal.

For reference, the AHA recommendations for men and women are as follows:

Women: 5 teaspoons of sugar / 75 calories / 20 grams

Men: 9 teaspoons of sugar/ 135 calories / 36 grams

Unfortunately, our food labels don't distinguish between natural and added sugars, but if you look at the ingredients list, you'll get an idea because the ingrients are listed in order from highest to lowest percentage. Nutella does contain skim milk, which has natural sugars; however, it's fifth on the list of ingredients, and sugar is the first. You get the idea.

I hope this information helps you in taking charge of maintaining a healthier diet for you and your family. Please post if you have questions, comments, or added information!


American Heart Assocaition recommendations/Rodale:http://www.rodale.com/recommended-sugar-intake?page=0%2C0

Nutella: http://www.nutellausa.com/tips-for-moms.htm

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Purple Passion Shake

I hate the thought of posting another recipe without a photo, but as soon as I get a camera cord I will. Recently, this smoothie has been a staple for me since it is quick to prepare and doesn't involve chewing (less effort on my digestive system). I got the original recipe online years ago but can't find it anywhere now, otherwise I'd reference it; my version is modified anyway.

* You may want to add a few ice cubes if not using any frozen fruit.
* If you have allergies, be sure to find a protein powder that suites your needs.
*I find a great way to use up the banana without freezing it is eating half before a workout (energy boost), then using the remaining half for my post-exercise breakfast.

Purple Passion Shake:
1/2 cup soy milk
1/4 cup mixed berry juice
1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 banana fresh or frozen
1 scoop whey powder
1 tsp flax oil

Blend all ingredients and enjoy!

12 oz. Serves 1. Approximately 280 calories.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

I Celebrated With Bubble Tea

When I brought Emily my idea for a new project, she didn't tell me I was crazy. A couple weeks in I wished she had: what was I thinking attempting to recreate such a masterful rendition? Three months later, I'm driving home proud with a huge accomplishment under my belt. The funny thing is no one else knows about it. Week after week it was just the two of us in a tiny, sweaty room, half of them I with my head against the wall (literally and figuratively). I've studied under other instructors, and that was as far I've ever gotten - frustration - but today is different. Today I can sing anything I want because I can sing just one song. Today I'm not bound to flip at A or A#. Today I can restrain my vibrato long enough to tell you a story. I only wish I had a stage and backup.

So that's my next musical endeavor: learning Eva Cassidy's "Wayfaring Stranger" on piano.