Fun Ways to Foster a LOVE OF MUSIC at an
(StatePoint) It’s never too early to encourage children to love to make and appreciate music. Here’s how:
• Attend a Concert:
Whether you’re attending a symphony or a rock concert, there is no substitute for the excitement of a live musical performance. Not only will kids enjoy watching the show, the experience may inspire them to learn to dance or play an instrument themselves. To get started, look for events geared towards kids and families, or those with relaxed vibes, to ensure little ones will get the most out of the experience.
• Play With Musical Toys:
Toys are a fun and interactive way to encourage musical creativity and help kids fnd the beat. One of the coolest musical toys out there, a 2022 Toy of the Year fnalist, is DJ Beat Boxer from VTech. Each interaction with this music-mixing pup -- from scratching DJ’s head and booping her nose to pushing the buttons on her headphones -- adds layers to the music. Kids can start a rhythm and add in backbeats, harmonies, recordscratching sounds, an air horn efect and more to complete any remix. Tey can even press DJ’s ear to record a quick phrase to drop into their song. Her head will nod along to the music while her jowls fap to the beat.
• Get Immersed:
Hit up the library and check out picture books that build music vocabulary or feature musical characters. Look for movies and television shows with musical themes. Tere are many entertaining ways to immerse kids into the world of music.
• Create a Playlist:
Give kids the tools they need to develop their own music tastes and interests. Many streaming services now ofer special apps for kids that allow them to explore genres, musicians and songs all on their own. Tis is a safe and easy way to ensure little ones have access to kid-friendly content, along with the freedom to create their own library and playlists. Of course, a good pair of headphones that are safe for young, sensitive ears is also essential!
From playlists to playtime, you can help foster a child’s lifelong love and appreciation for music.
Celebrating New Beginnings
“In order to celebrate new beginnings, I think it only appropriate to celebrate the endings— I like to call them necessary endings, for they precede new beginnings.” I love the practice of spending time refecting on the year that passed, giving attention to what we have already accomplished, however small, we might think it is. It doesn’t have to be some grand accomplishment. I believe it is the many small milestones that add up to something wonderful, and meaningful. It could be something simple, like setting a boundary with a friend or loved one, or having the courage to get up in front of a large audience and giving a heartfelt speech. Or, for some, it’s honoring your commitments.
Bringing in a new year means diferent things for us all. Te new year, for me, is about setting authentic intentions: be it a gratitude practice, practicing active listening with empathy, or learning a new skill. Tis exercise encourages mindful refection.
Never underestimate the power you have to take your life in a new direction. Every moment is a fresh beginning. Life’s not about expecting, hoping and wishing; it’s about mindful doing, being and becoming. I like to focus on the dreams of the future rather than the history of the past. Tis encourages new ideas to come in.
Keep a notepad close. I like to write a list of 10 things I will leave behind and 10 things I will bring with me into the new year. Remember, it can be small simple acts that are relevant, and meaningful to you.
I also encourage walks in the winter. Get outside. Fresh air is a must, so whether it be a long walk or run to bring in the new year, I suggest get outside and get moving as you start the new year of. It will leave you feeling refreshed and alive. Tis is a foundation for those inspirations to come into the mind’s eye; the part of your mind that allows you to visualize things. All it takes is quieting the mind, letting your imagination run free, and a cup full of courage to create a new beginning.
Wishing you all your heart desires. - Laurie
If you are a curious cook or person join me on my Podcast ~ a taste for all seasons.
Listen to the latest episode ~ Te Power Of Active Listening ~ Get inspired by a new seasonal recipe.
All episodes are on LaurieRichardone.com ~ or wherever you listen to your podcasts.
Now Available ~ Online Cooking Courses ~ Cozy Autumn Treats ~ Gluten - Free Italian Cooking Tese courses will open delicious new opportunities in your kitchen. To join visit LaurieRichardone.com/Programs
Laurie Richardone is an inspirational seasonal chef and certifed health coach. To work with Laurie, visit LaurieRichardone.com
Shiitake Mushroom Frittata
Easy weekend morning, or weeknight dinner frittata. Made with benefcial shiitake mushrooms. Shiitake are rich in polysaccharides. Tese compounds protect against cell damage, help boost your immune system; and best of all, they are delicious.
¼ cup whipping cream, or nut milk
2 cups shiitake mushrooms, chopped
2 carrots, fne dice
1 tbsp. shallots, fne chop
1 tbsp. thyme , minced
2 tbsp. parsley, chopped
½ lemon, juiced
1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
½ tsp. sea salt
⅛ tsp. fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp. unsalted butter or olive oil
Whisk the eggs, salt, lemon juice, cream, or nut milk until frothy. Set aside.
In a cast iron pan (or oven safe nonstick pan) melt the butter on medium heat. Add the shallots, mushrooms, and carrots, and saute until tender. About 5 minutes. Add fresh pepper, thyme, and half the parsley, saute for 1 minute more. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables. Lower the heat to low. Cook until eggs start to set and get golden around the edges. About 8 minutes. Pour the Parmigiano Reggiano over the eggs.
Preheat the broiler with the rack set high. Do this 5 minutes before fnishing the frittata in the oven.
Place the pan under the broiler for about 3 minutes, or until the eggs get golden brown in spots. Do not walk away from the oven, keep an eye on the frittata.
Remove the pan. Sprinkle the rest of the parsley over the frittata. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Frittatas are delicious at room temperature as well.
is a seasonal gluten free chef and certifed health coach. To work with Laurie, visit LaurieRichardone.com
Ways HEARING LOSS Can Afect Your Daily Life
Are you having trouble hearing what people say, especially when you’re in a noisy room? It’s probably nothing serious, right? Well, it could be that you’re losing your hearing. According to the National Institute of Health, 15% of adults have some degree of hearing loss. Te truth is hearing loss can afect your life in many ways. Here are some examples of how it could afect your life and why it’s important to treat it.
Hearing loss can lead to isolation and depression.
When you lose your hearing, it can be hard to connect with those around you. Because you can’t hear what
people say, you may be excluded from conversations and challenged to participate in social activities. Tis can make it hard for you to interact with others or enjoy life and even damage relationships with those closest to you.
Plus, the social isolation that results from hearing loss can lead to depression, which is a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and dementia.
It could affect your work performance.
If you have hearing loss, it could afect your ability to do your job. For example, if you’re a construction worker and need to hear instructions from your supervisor, or
if you work in retail and have to understand customers’ questions. If you can’t hear what’s going on around you at work, it’s distracting and makes it more difcult for you to get things done.
In fact, if your hearing loss is severe enough that it interferes with your ability to do the job well enough that employers notice (or people complain), they might fre or demote you. If you work a job where you need situational awareness, hearing loss could lead to injury.
If your job requires regular phone calls with clients or colleagues, you may miss important information because people are talking too quickly, or background noise mufes their voices.
It hurts your relationships with friends and loved ones.
When you have hearing loss, it’s hard to communicate with your loved ones. You might have trouble understanding what they say to you and they may not understand what you are saying back. Tis can lead to arguments and stress between you and the people around you. Without enough communication, feelings of isolation can set in and worsen matters.
You may be more likely to get in a car accident.
If you have hearing loss, you may be more likely to have car accidents. Tis is because you’re less aware of what’s going on around you, including not hearing honking horns. Hearing loss also puts you at risk for not understanding directions from your GPS and other drivers. You might also fnd it harder to hear sirens and move out of the way of an ambulance or fre truck in time to avoid a collision.
Hearing loss can affect brain health.
A healthy brain is important for a healthy body. While your ears may not be the frst place you think about when it comes to brain health, there are ways hearing loss can afect your health and well-being as a whole.
People with hearing loss are more likely to develop dementia than those with no hearing impairment, according to research. And while this doesn’t mean all seniors with hearing loss will get dementia, or that all people with dementia have some degree of hearing loss, it’s still an important piece of the brain health puzzle.
How might hearing loss increase the risk of dementia? Research shows hearing loss causes atrophy, or shrinkage, of portions of the brain that process sound information. Brain shrinkage is harmful to cognitive function.
People with hearing loss may have trouble communicating with others and understanding instructions about how to stay healthy -- for example, what medications they should take or when they should schedule another visit for treatment.
It Can Lead to Emotional Frustration
One problem with hearing is the emotional frustration of being unable to hear well. Hearing loss can also make it difcult to enjoy music, TV shows, or movies. Tis may lead to a drop in your quality of life and even cause relationship problems with friends and family members who may have trouble understanding or conversing with a hearing impaired person.
Hearing loss can impact every aspect of your life, from your job to your relationships with family and friends. Te earlier you learn about the risks associated with hearing loss, the better equipped you’ll be to protect your ears and preserve your quality of life.
Te good news is that there are many things that can be done to help with this problem. If you sufer from hearing loss, you want to learn more about what options are available to help improve hearing loss.
“Depression and Hearing Loss - Te American Academy of Audiology.” audiology.org/ consumers-and-patients/hearing-and-balance/depression-and-hearing-loss/. “NIDCD researchers fnd strong link between hearing loss and depression ....” 07 Mar. 2014, nidcd.nih.gov/news/2014/nidcd-researchers-fnd-strong-link-between-hearing-loss-anddepression-adults.
“Hearing loss - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic.” 16 Apr. 2021, mayoclinic.org/diseasesconditions/hearing-loss/symptoms-causes/syc-20373072.
“Hearing Loss: A Common Problem for Older Adults.” 20 Nov. 2018, nia.nih.gov/health/ hearing-loss-common-problem-older-adults.
“33 Eye Opening Hearing Loss Facts and Statistics - 2022.” 17 Apr. 2021, hearsoundly.com/ guides/hearing-loss-statistics.
Local Music Makers
Deep Medicine Music
from Jenny Renee BradleyBy Peggy Ratusz
I was introduced to Jenny Bradley in December 2022 at a holiday charitable concert event benefting Beloved of Asheville. With her young daughter Blu Belle by her side, they perform under the duo name, Moon Water. Te audience was delighted to receive two Christmas serenades from this harmonious twosome that afernoon. Since then, Jenny and I have been slowly getting to know one another. As a way for all of us to get more acquainted with this songstress with a penchant for songwriting, whose tastes run the gamut from Cher to Linda Ronstadt, from Old Time and Gospel to Americana; I recently sent her a series of questions.
You moved to Asheville when, from where, and why?
Afer I married in the 90s, we moved to Chicago where I taught piano at Old Town School of Folk Music. We then moved to Manhattan and I stayed there afer we divorced, and for 18 years I ran a traveling music school. We ofered in-home music and family band lessons and birthday party entertainment. When Covid hit New York City so hard, we decided to ride out the pandemic at our family cabin in Franklin NC. It’s where my grandmother was born. When months turned into a year, I decided to move us to Asheville.
How did you assimilate into the music community once you got here?
I met local songwriter, David Earl, and we spent hours singing and harmonizing together. I hadn’t written a song in 25 years, but afer learning his tunes and watching his process, I was excited to begin again. I had been watching local live music concert streams from the cabin and leaving virtual tips with notes to the performers. Once the world opened up, I made a point to support these musicians in person. I also met pedal steel player Matt Smith and fell in love with his playing and energy. Ten I met and made friends with singer songwriter Taylor Martin by attending his weekly open mic. I met a bunch of talented songwriters there; including Ashley Heath, who is also now, my good friend.
Do you have a songwriting process?
I wake up in the morning with “dream songs” afer I’ve literally dreamed lyrics, melody and chords. I record them on voice memos as soon as I wake. I have dozens of these short recordings. Some of them turn into full songs. “Velvet Roses” from our latest album is an example of a dream song.
Your children play music too, and you perform as a duo with your daughter, Blu Belle. Tell us about that project, about Blu Belle, and about your son, Bud.
Viewing live stream concerts during the shut-down, we were inspired to start our own monthly series from the cabin in Franklin. For hours every day we’d sit on the porch and jam. Te pandemic aforded us much needed family time. We constructed a makeshif drum kit for my son Bud, 8 years old at the time. A Djembe served as the bass and a banjo head as the snare with a tambourine propped up. He took virtual lessons using that makeshif kit. Blu Belle who is now 13, had been studying piano and ukulele. She’s a natural harmonizer so our live streams went extremely well. We received thousands of views and made enough money from tips to nearly pay for our frst album. Our band name, Moon Water, comes from the practice of creating sacred moon water. Blu made moon water during the pandemic and we keep the jars nearby while we practice.
How do you and Blu approach learning a new song?
I usually write the frst draf and present it to her. She then ofers suggestions on lyrics or chords. Once we get the melody as we want it, she works her magic and adds harmonies. Once the song is complete, we bring Bud in on percussion to jam.
What does it feel like to you when an audience really gets what you are sharing?
When we performed our album “Deep Medicine” at Isis Music Hall this past September, I told my story from the stage. Te story of raising children without help, the story of beating cancer, the story of moving from NYC to WNC; it was my truth through song and I felt for the frst time in my life, heard.
Tell us about that record.
What a dream! Crème de la crème of Asheville! Te producer is Gar Ragland, who also moved to Asheville from NYC, so we had that connection. Blu Belle and I recorded it at Citizen Studios with the help of Matt Smith and internationally acclaimed band, Te Honeycutters, was our backing band.
Any new releases coming down the pipeline?
We will release two covers this month; one is our own arrangement of Cher’s song, “Believe” and the second one is a song that was written by Paul Anka and previously recorded by Buddy Holly and Linda Ronstadt called “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore”. Tese singles will be available to purchase on all streaming platforms.
Jenny Renee Bradley has booked a handful of shows with more being added to her calendar every day. Be sure to check her Facebook music page to stay up to date: https://www.facebook.com/moonwaterduo. She also teaches guitar and piano and soon will bring her music lesson house calls business to the Carolinas. Feel free to contact here via Facebook or Instagram https://www.instagram.com/moonwaterduo/?hl=en
What is it about performing that keeps you pursuing opportunities to play?
I feel like I’m making up for lost time. I had breast cancer 6 years ago, and when I think of how I could’ve died and never truly expressed myself through my music because I was too busy making excuses about being busy, it makes me want to cry. With this second chance in midlife to do what I really want to do, I won’t allow age to stop me. I have something to say and something to share. Te fact that I can live this dream with my own children making music by my side is the greatest blessing I can imagine!
Peggy Ratusz is a vocal coach, song interpreter, and songwriter. For vocal coaching email her at email@example.com
Signs and Symptoms of an UNDERACTIVE THYROID
If you have an underactive thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism, it can cause a range of symptoms or none at all. Some people don’t realize they have it because they attribute the subtle symptoms to aging or stress.
Te symptoms most people associate with an underactive thyroid are weight gain and tiredness. But there are lesserknown signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism that you should know about, so you can get the correct diagnosis and treatment sooner rather than later.
Feeling cold all the time
If you always feel cold, it could be a sign of an underactive thyroid. A lack of heat generation in the body is among the classic signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism.
You may notice it’s hard to warm up when you’re cold or that your hands and feet are always freezing. People with hypothyroidism ofen feel cold even in a warm environment, and fatigue may accompany those chilly sensations, along with depression and weight gain.
Brain fog and forgetfulness
Although many things can cause brain fog and forgetfulness, an underactive thyroid is a relatively common cause that’s easily overlooked. Individuals with hypothyroidism ofen feel overwhelmed and unable to concentrate on tasks due to mental fog and fatigue.
If you have an underactive thyroid gland, you may fnd it hard to concentrate or have difculty completing tasks due to a lack of motivation. Other health conditions,
such as nutritional defciencies, can cause brain fog and forgetfulness. But if you’re forgetting things or have problems concentrating, it’s a sign that you should see your healthcare provider for a check-up.
One of the most common signs of an underactive thyroid is constipation. Tis can happen for reasons other than hypothyroidism, including:
• Lack of adequate fber in your diet
• Not drinking enough water
• Lack of exercise (if you don’t move around, your body can’t work properly!)
• Medications (including antidepressants) that alter bowel movements. Although these drugs are meant to help with anxiety or depression, they can have side efects such as constipation.
• A blockage in the colon.
However, hypothyroidism can also cause constipation. It’s something to consider if you’ve ruled out other causes.
Dry, itchy skin
Dry, itchy skin is a common sign of an underactive thyroid. However, many other conditions can cause dry skin, including stress, low humidity, taking too many hot baths, and poor nutrition. If you suddenly notice your skin is dry and itchy and you have other symptoms suggestive of an underactive thyroid, see your doctor for testing. You might also notice that your nails become brittle and dull as your thyroid function declines since they depend on adequate oil production in the skin.
Hair loss from hypothyroidism is typically difuse and afects the entire scalp rather than a specifc area. You might also notice that you see more scalp than usual due to hair loss. Tere are other reasons for hair loss but having this symptom is a sign you should get your thyroid tested.
One of the most common signs of hypothyroidism is mood changes. Tese could include feeling “down” or depressed, having difculty concentrating or making decisions, and feeling extremely exhausted or sluggish.
As thyroid function decreases, you may fnd it difcult to cope with everyday tasks, even those once easy to manage. You might feel down or sad for no apparent reason.
It is important to note that these symptoms do not always indicate hypothyroidism and could also be caused by other factors. If you have any of these symptoms, you must speak to a healthcare professional to determine the cause.
You could have no symptoms as all
It’s possible to have an underactive thyroid and not experience any symptoms. Many people with hypothyroidism don’t even realize they have it until their doctor diagnoses them via a blood test. Tat’s why it’s smart to get thyroid blood testing every year and sooner if you have symptoms of hypothyroidism. Most doctors will want to rule out other causes of symptoms before diagnosing you with a thyroid condition such as hypothyroidism.
Doctors diagnose hypothyroidism with physical examinations, medical histories, and laboratory tests. Laboratory tests, such as a TSH test, can measure the level of thyroid hormones in the body. Te TSH level is typically elevated in patients with hypothyroidism.
Your doctor may also test free thyroxine (FT4) and triiodothyronine (T3) levels, which are typically reduced in patients with hypothyroidism. Depending on the symptoms and medical history, your doctor may also recommend imaging tests, such as a thyroid ultrasound or an iodine uptake scan.
Some of these symptoms may not seem life-threatening. But if you have them, talk to your doctor about the possibility of an underactive thyroid. If they diagnose you with this condition, treatments are available that can help.
“Hypothyroidism (Underactive Tyroid) | NIDDK.” niddk.nih.gov/health-information/ endocrine-diseases/hypothyroidism.
“Hypothyroidism symptoms and signs in an older person.” 22 May. 2021, health.harvard.edu/ diseases-and-conditions/hypothyroidism-symptoms-and-signs-in-an-older-person.
“Hypothyroidism Symptoms and Treatment | NIDDK.” 31 Jan. 2022, niddk.nih.gov/healthinformation/healthy-moments/episodes/hypothyroidism-symptoms-and-treatment.
“Hypothyroidism - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic.” 19 Nov. 2020, mayoclinic.org/ diseases-conditions/hypothyroidism/symptoms-causes/syc-20350284.
COLD-WEATHER COMFORT FOODS
What pairs well with cold weather? Soul warming comfort foods and sausage, of course.
Nothing is more comforting than hot stews, soups, and chowders this time of year. Adding sausage to these already hearty dishes makes for a favorful twist.
Tese recipes are warming, delicious, and easy to make. Tey are also budget-friendly, and many of the ingredients are already in your pantry.
Tese recipes also utilize in-season winter veggies.
BLACK-EYED PEAS, SAUSAGE, AND KALE STEW
Stew, soup’s chunkier cousin, doesn’t get enough spotlight. Tat’s about to change. Te sausage in this stew is loaded with star potential. Tis is the kind of recipe you will want to make for potlucks, family get-togethers, and Sunday dinners because it has something for everyone. Plus, this dish tastes like it took all day to make.
• 4 Sweet Italian Sausages or 12 Italian Sausage Meatballs
• 4 Slices of Bacon, Diced
• 1 Medium Onion, Diced
• 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
• 2 Cans Diced Roasted Tomatoes
• 4 Cups Chicken Broth
• 2 Cups Black-eyed Peas, Rinsed
• ½ Tsp. Dried Tyme
• ¼ Tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
• Salt and Pepper to Taste
• 1 Bunch of Kale, Roughly Chopped
• 1 tsp. Vegetable Oil
Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large soup pot over mediumhigh heat. Add the sausage and bacon. Cook until the sausage has browned and the bacon is crispy. Once cooked, remove and set aside.
Keep the lefover grease and drippings in the pot. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes or until sof. Add garlic and cook for another minute.
Next, add the canned tomatoes, black-eyed peas, chicken broth, thyme, red pepper fakes, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer. Cover loosely and cook for an hour or until the black-eyed peas are sof.
Add the sausage and bacon back to the soup and add in the kale. Once the kale has wilted, you are ready to serve.
SAUSAGE MAC AND CHEESE
Nothing says comfort food quite like a large bowl of homemade macaroni and cheese. You know the kind with the crunchy top and creamy center. Tis traditional recipe gets even more indulgent with added sausage. You can use hot or mild Italian sausage for this recipe depending on your mood. We recommend going spicy to compliment the creaminess of the dish. Make sure you make this recipe in large batches if you have guests over because this one won’t last long.
• 5 Mild or Hot Italian Sausage Links, Casings Removed
• 4 tbsp. Butter
• 3 tbsp. Flour
• 3 cups Milk
• 8 oz. Cream Cheese
• 1 cup Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
• 1 cup Parmesan Cheese, Grated
• 1 lb. Elbow Macaroni
• ½ cup Breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees while you prepare the dish.
In a skillet brown the sausage until cooked through, drain and set it aside.
Next, combine the elbow macaroni with the milk in a large pot. Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil. Let cook,
stirring frequently for 12-15 minutes or until noodles are cooked to desired tenderness.
In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and then whisk in the four. Next, add all three kinds of cheese and stir until melted together. Once the cheese has melted, add in the milk and cooked elbow macaroni.
Stir all the macaroni ingredients together. Add the sausage to the macaroni and cheese and mix.
Pour your sausage macaroni into an oven-safe casserole dish. Evenly spread the breadcrumbs over the macaroni and bake for about 20 minutes.
POTATO AND SAUSAGE CHOWDER
Yes, we said chowder. We wanted to grab your attention early. Did it work? Here is a creamy, carby, sausagey, yummy dish just for you. On even the coldest winter day, this hearty potato and sausage chowder will warm you to the core.
• 4 Mild Italian Sausage Links, Casings Removed
• 1 Medium Yellow Onion
• 4 Cups of Chicken Broth
• 10 Red Potatoes, Quartered
• ½ Cup Heavy Cream
• ½ Tbsp. Rosemary
• 1 Tbsp. Tyme
• ¼ Tsp. Black Pepper, Ground
• 1 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
Heat a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the oil, sausage, and onion and sauté for 10-15 minutes or until the sausage has browned.
Remove the sausage and place on a paper towel to remove the excess oil.
To the pot add the chicken broth, potatoes, rosemary, and thyme and bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes are sof, about 20 minutes.
Once the potatoes are sof, add the sausage and onions back to the pot. Next, add the heavy cream and mix the chowder well to combine. Bring the chowder back up to a boil, before removing from the heat.
RUSTIC SAUSAGE MINESTRONE SOUP
If you want a hearty soup loaded with vegetables, this one’s got your name all over it. Rustic sausage minestrone is full of favor. Every spoonful delivers healthy protein and fber. Te best part is the rich favor. Te tomato-base pairs well with the savory favor from the sausage. You can save lefovers in the fridge or freezer to reheat later. Tis is, of course, assuming you have any lefovers to store.
• 4 Hot Italian Sausages, Remove casings
• Dried Pasta, Small Shells Works Great
• 1 Medium Yellow Onion, Diced
• 1 Garlic Clove, Minced
• 2 Carrots, Peeled, Diced
• 10 Red Potatoes, Quartered
• 1 Bunch of Kale, De-stemmed, and Chopped
• 1 Can White Beans, Drained, Rinsed
• 1 Can Stewed and Chopped Tomatoes, Including Liquid
• 3 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth
• ½ tsp. Salt
• 3 Bay Leaves
• 1 ½ tsp. Italian Seasoning
• 1-2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
Cook the dried pasta until desired tenderness and set aside.
Heat oil in a large stew pot on medium heat. Sauté the sausage and onion for 5 minutes. Make sure to break the sausage up into smaller pieces. Add carrots, garlic, salt, Italian seasoning, and cook 5 more minutes.
Next, add canned tomatoes, chicken broth, potatoes, kale and bay leaves. Stir everything until it comes to a slow boil. Let the soup simmer for 30 minutes or until carrots are fork tender.
Add the cooked pasta and beans to the soup during the last 2-5 minutes.
CROWD-PLEASING SAUSAGE CHILI
If you are looking for a little spice, try this sausage chili. You can add more heat with hot Italian sausages and jalapenos if you would like. Tis chili is great by itself or paired with cornbread. Another fun idea is to set up a toppings bar. Prepare bowls of chopped scallions, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and crackers, so everyone can make their own perfect bowl of chili. Tis chili recipe takes very little time, making it great for surprise guests and fast weekday dinners.
• 5 Mild or Hot Italian Sausage Links, Casings Removed
• 1 Medium Yellow Onion, Finely Diced
• 2 Cans of Kidney Beans, Rinsed, drained
• 1 Can Whole Kernel Sweet Corn, Drained
• 1 Can Tomato Sauce
• 1 1/3 cups Salsa, Choose Your Favorite
• 1 1/3 cups Water
• 2 tsp. Chili Powder
• 1/2 Black Pepper, Ground
• 1/2 Cumin. Ground
• 1/4 Salt
Heat a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and onions next. Cook until the sausage is crumbled into medium and small pieces. Drain the excess oil, leaving the sausage in the pot.
Next, you will stir in kidney beans, corn, tomato sauce, salsa, water, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Bring this chili mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes uncovered.
Top your bowl of chili any which way you like, and enjoy!
Here is a delicious breakfast perfect for a house full of guests. Starting your morning with this warm dish will keep you full until lunch. Another great thing about this recipe is that it can be prepared ahead of time. Simply layer all your ingredients in the casserole. Te next morning mix your eggs, pour over the layers and bake. Tis fast and easy comfort food will start your day right.
• 5 Breakfast Sausage Links, Casings Removed
• 1-2 tsp. Butter
• 4 cups Hash Browns or shredded potatoes, Fresh or Frozen
• 1 Bell Pepper, Diced
• 1 Red Bell Pepper, Diced
• 1/2 Large Onion, Diced
• 10 Eggs, Whisked
• 1/2 cup Milk
• ½ tsp. Salt
• ¼ tsp. Black Pepper
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a large casserole dish at least 9x13 size bakeware.
In a skillet, on medium-high heat, brown the sausage until cooked through. Next, drain the sausage and set aside.
Add the butter to the skillet on medium-high heat. Next, add hash browns and cook until lightly brown. When the hash browns are fnished cooking, spread them out on the bottom of your greased casserole dish.
In the same skillet, add butter if needed. Now add the bell peppers and onions. Sauté until cooked through and sof.
Layer the bell peppers and onions on top of the potatoes. Next, layer the sausage on top.
Whisk the eggs together with the milk and salt and pepper. Next, pour this mixture over your casserole.
Bake for 25-30 minutes. Make sure the center is cooked through before serving.
Te cold weather doesn’t have to have you wishing for summer. Using sausage in some unexpected ways is a great way to enjoy the season. Bring more warmth into your dinner routine with these heartwarming winter dishes the whole family is sure to love.
How to Stay HEALTHY When You Sit at A Desk All Day
Are you stuck in the ofce most of the day? Sitting for hours at a time can have a major impact on your overall health and well-being. Inactivity can increase your risk of a variety of health issues, including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to stay healthy even if you’re stuck in a chair all day. Let’s look at ways to stay healthy when you spend most of your time at a desk.
Invest in Ergonomic Furniture
Ergonomics is the science of designing furniture, equipment, and tools to ft the user’s size, posture, and work style. Te goal is to reduce stress and improve productivity, comfort, and safety by reducing physical strain on the body. Ergonomically friendly furniture can help reduce your risk of musculoskeletal disorders, improve work posture, and reduce stress in the workplace. It may be more expensive, but if it helps preserve the health of your neck and back, it’s worth it!
Perform Stretches That Target Your Neck and Shoulders
Even if you practice good posture, daily activities, such as sitting at a desk for hours or engaging in physical labor, can cause strain on the neck and shoulders. Fortunately,
there are a variety of stretches you can do to help alleviate this tension. Help is as close as your computer screen. Look for YouTube videos showing neck and shoulder stretches. Watch them and become familiar with the movements. Ten take breaks every 30 minutes to stretch to lower your risk of neck, shoulder, and upper back pain.
Move Around During Breaks
Taking a short walk or stretching during your break can help increase blood fow, reduce muscle stifness, and promote overall wellness. Additionally, trying to stand up and move periodically throughout the day will help reduce the time you spend sitting.
Remember that even small changes can have a benefcial efect on your health and well-being. Another fact you might not know: Stretching and walking around lowers the risk of developing blood clots in your legs. Te take-home message? Break up sitting with periods of movement, however short.
Get a Standing Desk
From the moment you get to work to the moment you leave, you’re probably sitting at a desk. While this is par for the course for many people, a sedentary lifestyle can lead to serious health issues.
Sitting for long periods can lead to poor posture, strain on the neck and shoulders, and even more serious health issues such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. One option is to transition to a standing desk, which can help reduce the risks associated with long-term sitting and increase energy and productivity.
Te downside is that standing desks can be expensive, but there are ways to create an inexpensive set-up using a platform to elevate your computer in a way that allows you to stand and work. Tere are videos showing you how to do this online.
Wear a Fitness Watch
It’s easy to forget to stay healthy and active. It helps to have ways to remind yourself. One way is to wear a ftness watch. With a ftness watch, you can set reminders to stand up and move around throughout the day, ensuring you don’t stay sitting in one position for too long.
Additionally, many ftness watches can track your steps, sleep, and other activities, allowing you to stay on top of your health and ftness goals. With the right ftness watch, you can easily check your progress throughout the day and ensure that you’re staying healthy, even when sitting at a desk all day.
Walk as You Talk on Your Phone
One way to stay healthy is to take advantage of multitasking opportunities like walking as you talk on the phone. Walking at a comfortable pace during phone calls can help you stay active, improve your mental clarity, and even help you feel more energized and productive.
You can also get creative and pair your walking with other activities like stretching or take regular breaks throughout your day to get up and move. Making this part of your daily routine can help you stay healthy and energized while working at your desk.
Pack a Lunch
A key component of staying healthy when you sit at a desk all day is to pack a lunch. A balanced meal, with plenty of fruits and vegetables, is essential. Additionally, you should plan to include lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats in your lunch. Eating a healthy lunch will provide sustained energy and focus throughout
the day and will help reduce cravings and unhealthy snacking.
Additionally, planning and packing your lunch will save you both time and money. Taking a few moments to plan your meals and pack your lunch will set you up for success and help you stay healthy throughout the day.
Eat a Morning Meal that Includes Protein
Eating a protein-flled breakfast helps keep your energy level steady, preventing the mid-morning energy slump that can occur when you skip breakfast or opt for something with only carbohydrates. Furthermore, including protein in your breakfast helps keep you feeling full longer and reduces unhealthy snacking throughout the day. Healthy protein sources for breakfast include eggs, yogurt, nuts and nut butter, lean meats, and seeds. Eating a protein-rich breakfast can help ensure you remain productive, energized, and healthy throughout the day.
Take a Nature Break
One efective strategy is to take regular nature breaks, ideally at least once a day. Tis can include taking a walk outside, sitting in a park, or doing a short yoga or stretching routine. Nature provides respite, and taking a break outdoors helps refresh and rejuvenate both the body and the mind.
Nature breaks also reduce stress and anxiety, improve creativity, and increase physical activity. When you take a nature break, take time to appreciate your environment and be mindful of your surroundings.
In conclusion, sitting at a desk all day can lead to many negative health efects. However, with a few simple lifestyle changes and adjustments to your desk, you can ensure you stay healthy and active while working remotely or in an ofce. Incorporating the tips above, such as frequent breaks, stretching, eating healthy snacks, and investing in ergonomic furniture, can help you stay healthy, ft, and productive all day.
“Te dangers of sitting - Harvard Health.” 23 May. 2019, health.harvard.edu/pain/the-dangersof-sitting.
“Risks of sitting too much - Mayo Clinic Orthopedics & Sports Medicine.” 06 May. 2021, sportsmedicine.mayoclinic.org/news/risks-of-sitting-too-much/.
“Is Sitting Too Much Bad for Your Health?.” 19 June. 2019, healthline.com/nutrition/whysitting-is-bad-for-you.
How a Vibration Plate Will Improve Your Health
Avibration plate is simply a platform, slightly larger than a stair step. It closely resembles the steps used in step exercises. Te only diference is that it is electric and vibrates. Most vibration plates ofer a variety of vibration speeds and intensities. Vibration plates are commonly available everywhere ftness equipment is sold.
All the experts agree that exercise is important for your overall health. However, exercise isn’t an option for some groups of people, such as those who are elderly or disabled. Tey can’t exercise because of their overall health condition, yet they can’t improve their health because they cannot exercise. If this sounds like you, here are some ways a vibration plate will help you improve your health with little efort on your part.
Improve Your Blood Circulation
A vibration plate vibrates 50 to 75 times per second. When your body is on the vibration plate for fve to 10 minutes, blood fow at the skin level increases signifcantly. When your blood circulation improves, you beneft externally and internally. Externally, you will soon start to notice that your cellulite is less noticeable, and your skin looks healthier. Internally, improved blood circulation has been proven to help improve peripheral neuropathy in the arms, hands, legs, and feet.
Reduce Your Pain
Whether you have chronic pain from arthritis or an injury, a few minutes on a vibration plate can reduce your pain. If you can sit or stand, or rest your back, legs, arms, feet, or even your abdomen on the vibration plate, the vibration acts as an intense massage that quickly loosens up those tight, painful muscles and can even help muscle injuries to heal faster. Chiropractors use vibration plates in their ofces to administer “whole body vibration,” also known as WBV, to help their patients with chronic lower back pain. WBV causes tiny muscle refexes in all of your muscles. Tese refexes are like the fexing in the arms if you lif weights. Te refexes cause the muscles to increase in size and strength. As the muscles become stronger, the pain in those muscles lessens.
Increase Your Bone Density
Bone density is of great importance as you age. When the density of your bones decreases, you are at a high risk of breaking your bones. A vibration plate’s vibration temporarily causes a heavier load on your bones. Just as lifing weights helps your muscles to grow, the extra load on your bones the vibration plate causes helps your bones to become denser.
Build Your Muscles
It’s hard to imagine that just standing on a vibration plate helps your muscles to grow and become stronger. Noefort exercise sounds too good to be true, but it is true with vibration plates. Simply standing on a vibration plate for 10 minutes a day causes your muscles to fex and relax quickly, which helps them grow. You don’t even have to break a sweat.
As your muscles grow, your bones become stronger, and your pain disappears, your waistline will shrink. Time spent on a vibration plate burns calories. If you actually work out while standing on the vibration plate, you can expect to burn twice as many calories as you would without the beneft of the vibration plate. If working out isn’t something you can do right away, you will still burn more calories sitting on the vibration plate than you would if you were sitting on your couch.
While a vibration plate does not require much efort, you should attempt to use the vibration machine each day. Some people may beneft even more by using the machine for 10 minutes twice daily. As your health condition improves, be sure to add additional exercises when using your vibration plate.
While a vibration plate ofers exceptional benefts, it’s important to understand that it isn’t a magic carpet. While you will see a vast improvement in your overall health, those changes will occur slowly if you are only standing or sitting on the vibration plate, as opposed to the results you will see if you can work out while using the vibration plate.