Posts Tagged ‘steel cut oatmeal’

The Bee and the Blue Hydrangea Bees busily buzz from cluster to cluster of brilliant blue hydrangeas. How’s that for a bit of alliteration? I unexpectedly spent my morning chasing bees. My goal of taking photos of hydrangeas morphed into something else after I saw bees flying around the blossoms. “Wouldn’t it be great if I could capture an image of a bee?” I thought to myself. After a moment of wishing I’d read my camera manual, I took aim at the buzzing noise around me. About a half-hour of truly living in the moment and a hundred photos later, I accomplished my goal. But, wait! What about getting even closer . . .

#1 – Earth Album
Earth Album Get a closer look at the world by going to Earth Album. This site lets you explore the world without packing any bags or leaving home. All you have to do is click on a spot anywhere on the site’s world map and, thanks to Google and Flicker, photos of the area appear. Because the photos come from Flickr, the images will change from time to time – a great reason to revisit the site!

#2 – Eat Your Oatmeal
Steel Cut Oatmeal "Cupcakes" I received an email from a reader the other day, thanking me for sharing my story about having genetically high cholesterol. Six months ago she received a bad lab report. Her total cholesterol was 251 with her HDL at 70 and her LDL at 163. Remember LDL is the “lousy” one. She read my post My Most Requested Recipe and faithfully followed my steel cut oatmeal “cupcake” regime, exercised more frequently, and watched what she ate. It all paid off. Her most recent lab work reflected a 34 point drop in her overall cholesterol and a 29 point drop in her LDL. Her testimony confirms the role soluble fiber plays in the battle against high cholesterol. Eating soluble fiber and making other lifestyle changes can make a difference in your health. Another reader wrote to tell me a similar story after she advised her husband to follow my recipe and months later he “waved his lab report around like it was a medal!”

#3 – Removing Rust Stains
The first sign of lovely spring-like weather leads to one thing: it’s time to spruce up the yard. Last weekend after moving some large potted plants off my concrete patio, I noticed that the metal pots had left ugly rust stains on the pavement. After quickly researching ways to remove rust stains from concrete, I selected a method using natural ingredients that I already had at home. I squeezed some lemons and asked my husband to pour the juice over the spots. About 10 to 20 minutes later, he scrubbed the areas with a stiff brush, and then hosed them off. Most of the rust stains were gone, but a few stubborn areas remained. Since I had run out of lemons, I told my husband to try using distilled white vinegar. He repeated the process using vinegar and it worked like a charm. Two words of caution: Scrubbing can abrade and remove some of the concrete and be aware of the fact that acid can be detrimental to nearby vegetation, so be careful of any undiluted acid running into bedding or lawn areas.

#4 – Happiness Is . . .
What can one learn about himself while living isolated in Siberia for six months? French travel writer Sylvain Tesson lived as a hermit in a hut on the edge of a lake in Siberia for that amount of time. During that time he “discovered space, silence and solitude.” Watch “Happiness is . . . escaping to a cabin in Siberia” and listen to him describe how his life changed.

#5 – You Already Have It
“We all possess exactly what we need to be our greatest selves and it is (about) listening to our instincts.”

Enjoy your weekend!

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Despite the soggy weather, my daffodils are beginning to bloom. These beacons of cheer brighten the dreary landscape. Read about how your gift of daffodils can help brighten other people’s lives.

#1 – Daffodil Days
Proceeds from the American Cancer Society’s Daffodil Days program not only raise funds, but give hope to people facing cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, Daffodil Days “is about more than just giving beautiful flowers: it is everyone’s opportunity to create a world with less cancer and more birthdays where cancer never steals another year from anyone’s life.” Please give a gift of hope by donating to this worthwhile event.

#2 – My Most Requested Recipe Update
This information just in from one of my co-workers! A few months before I posted My Most Requested Recipe in September, a co-worker asked me for it so she could prepare it for her husband. He’s been eating steel cut oatmeal for breakfast every morning since then. Says my co-worker of her husband, “He was waving his lab report around like it was a medal.” The eighteen point drop in his cholesterol was quite significant. His current cholesterol levels have gone back down to his 2006 levels!

#3 – A Produce Tip from Bob
When buying bananas, look for medium-sized ones without any bruises. Avoid those that have a greenish-purple tinge as those will never ripen to a golden yellow. The greenish-purple tinge indicates that they have been refrigerated at some point in time. They are okay to eat, but will not taste as good.

#4 – Recycling: By the Numbers
I read an article on the Planet Green site called Recycling: By the Numbers and was impressed with the information. Here are the numbers as stated in the article:

* 544,000: Trees saved if every household in the United States replaced just one roll of virgin fiber paper towels (70 sheets) with 100 percent recycled ones.

* 20 million: Tons of electronic waste thrown away each year. One ton of scrap from discarded computers contains more gold than can be produced from 17 tons of gold ore.

* 9 cubic yards: Amount of landfill space saved by recycling one ton of cardboard.

* $160 billion: Value of the global recycling industry that employs over 1.5 million people.

* 79 million tons: Amount of waste material diverted away from disposal in 2005 through recycling and composting.

* 5 percent: Fraction of the energy it takes to recycle aluminum versus mining and refining new aluminum.

* 315 kg: Amount of carbon dioxide not released into the atmosphere each time a metric ton of glass is used to create new glass products.

* 98 percent: Percentage of glass bottles in Denmark that are refillable. 98 percent of those are returned by consumers for reuse.

* 51.5 percent: Percentage of the paper consumed in the U.S. that was recovered for recycling in 2005.

#5 – A Quote on Hope
Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence.
Lin Yutang

Bring cheer to someone’s life this weekend!

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P1080452It’s kind of ego-deflating, but my most requested recipe is not for cookies or Chinese dishes, but it’s for my breakfast oatmeal. I always loved it when my mom served me a bowl of hot oatmeal for breakfast. As a child I would look into my bowl and watch little specks of liquid gold (melted butter) float in pools of rich milk that surrounded islands of oats. Decades now, I can still taste the wonderful goodness of hot oatmeal. Of course I can, because I have eaten it everyday for breakfast for the last two years! The catch is my mom gave me something else besides oatmeal. She gave me a genetic propensity for developing high cholesterol. My mom’s a tiny little thing, but her cholesterol numbers are big time. She once had her blood drawn and it looked like milk. The genetic link is strong. My siblings carefully watch their cholesterol and my daughter was diagnosed with high cholesterol at the tender age of five.

“If you were my mother, I would put you on medication.” Those words from my doctor brought me to attention. Vainly, my first thought was, what does he mean if I were his mother? Do I look that old? Then reality set in, my valiant effort to stave off high cholesterol was failing. It was inevitable. My total cholesterol was 255 and my LDL (“L” stands for lousy) was 171. I begged him to give me six months to see if I could turn it around. He consented. Well, I stretched that out to eight months, but it was worth it! After eating steel cut oatmeal every morning for eight months, I managed to bring my total cholesterol down to 225 and my LDL down to 136. That 35 point drop in LDL was amazing and my doctor said some patients don’t even see those kind of results with cholesterol medications.

Two years later I’m still eating steel cut oatmeal every morning. The latest lab results are looking good. My total cholesterol is 212, but my LDL went down to 119! Of course it helped, too, that I got a job that requires a lot of walking.

Once a month I cook a big pot of steel cut oatmeal. Why steel cut versus the other kinds? Steel cut oats are whole grain groats (the inner portion of the oat kernel) which have been cut into two or three pieces. Rolled oats are oats that have been steamed, rolled, re-steamed and toasted. Unfortunately they lose some of their texture and taste in the process. Instant or quick oats have been further processed to break down fiber. The more soluble fiber, the better. Read this article from the Mayo Clinic on the top five foods to lower your cholesterol numbers.

Here’s my most requested recipe:
Rinse 5 cups of steel cut oats, toast them in large pot, add 15 cups of hot water, stir in cinnamon and dried cranberries (optional), and bring to a boil. Turn down heat to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes. No stirring allowed. Let oatmeal cool. Scoop about a 1/2 cup or so into a waxed paper square (hamburger patty squares from Smart and Final) and push into cupcake tins. Cover with plastic wrap and let cool. After they cool down, pop out each cupcake of oatmeal and put into a plastic freezer bag and freeze.

Each morning I reach into the freezer, grab an oatmeal cupcake and place it in a bowl. I microwave it for one minute and then peel off the paper. I place it back in the bowl and add ground flax seed, frozen blueberries, a handful of toasted walnuts, and a sliced banana. This concoction gets microwaved for a little over a minute and it’s ready to eat!

Let me know if this helps you with your cholesterol levels!

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