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winter

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Lightly creamy chicken and rice soup

I like to keep a pot of homemade soup on hand at all times. It kills the question “what’s for lunch?” almost immediately. Plus, it never hurts to have something delicious on hand to help you avoid the drive-thru line during the busy holiday season. Feel free to adjust the amount of broth. I like a lot, but you might like less. It’s definitely a personal choice with soup, so see what works for you! Here is a quick and easy chicken and rice soup. It’s not too creamy, yet it has just enough to add some flavor. lightly Creamy chicken and rice soup Ingredients 2 tbsp olive oil 1 large carrot, chopped 1 large celery rib, chopped 1 small onion, chopped 1 tsp minced garlic 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, rinsed 2/3 cup uncooked long grain rice 1 tsp dried basil 1/2 tsp pepper 32-36 ounces chicken broth (or…

How to avoid gaining weight during a cold winter

Winter started early this year, with many areas of the country seeing snowfall even before Thanksgiving. The East Coast was blasted with a freeze that sent frost and snow as far south as the Carolinas. Temperatures across the country dipped into the  low 20s —  And that was just the first few weeks of winter. It’s shaping up to be a particularly long, cold winter. But cold weather is no excuse to binge on booze and fatty comfort foods. It’s easy to reach for that mac and cheese, chili or homemade chocolate chip cookies when the weather stays dreary and cold outside, but you’ll most certainly regret it later. Here are a few tips to help you prevent winter weight gain: Watch your alcohol intake It might be tempting to pour yourself another glass of wine, or spike a little something in your hot chocolate, but on average, an alcoholic drink will add an extra 150…

The most likely places you’ll catch a cold this winter

The cold and flu are a harsh reality of winter for many. Between October and March, about 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population comes down with the flu, according to the CDC. Adults average about 2-3 colds per year and children have even more. While we all know to wash our hands frequently and eat a healthy diet, to stay healthy it also helps to know the places where we’re most likely to pick up cold and flu causing bacteria and viruses in the first place. Both cold and flu are contagious infections of the respiratory tract. Coughs and headaches are common to both. Congestion, sore throat and sneezing are associated with colds, while the flu brings tiredness, a high fever and an overall feeling of weakness in the body.  A cold is milder than the flu, and one can’t turn into the other because they are completely different virus. What they…

Here’s how long you’re contagious with the flu virus

If you’ve spent the last couple days cooped up inside your house fighting the flu and dozing off to Netflix, you may be wondering when you can return to civilization. You’re eager to do something constructive, yet you wouldn’t want to put your family or co-workers at risk for infection. So just how long are you contagious? Most people go back to work when their worst symptoms start to retreat, but that’s probably a little too early.  The CDC says you can be contagious the day before you start feeling sick and up to seven days after. Children, elderly and those with weak immune systems can be contagious even longer. Those unpleasant symptoms are actually the result of your immune system fighting the flu virus. For starters, your body increasing in temperature, resulting in a fever because the flu virus doesn’t spread as well at higher temperatures. And that mucus has…

Slow-cooker mexican turkey chili makes for a lean, hearty meal

If you’re trying to eat healthy, the Super Bowl comes at a super inconvenient time. Just a few weeks past the holidays, we’re hardly detoxed from those dozens of cookies and excess alcohol before BAM!: A whole day full of fattening foods. From buffalo chicken dip to countless foods smothered in cheese, there’s really no where to hide… But then again, who wants to settle for salad? I’ll be whipping up this easy turkey chili first thing in the morning so it’s ready by game time. Just 15 minutes of prep work and 4-5 hours on high in the slow cooker will have this tasty dish piping-hot in time for kick-off. Serve with tortilla chips, shredded Mexican cheese blend, and/or fresh avocado slices (I splurged and made some jalapeño corn bread, too), and you’ll have a hearty, healthy dish, that will satisfy your football-inspired cravings, but won’t leave you regretting your whole day.…

Cream of mushroom soup is perfect dinner on a cold day

The best recipe inspirations come from others. Not that I’ve never had a cream of mushroom soup, but it took a trip to Costa Rica for me to have a cream of mushroom soup that I couldn’t live without. I should explain. It’s not that cream of mushroom is a staple in the Costa Rican diet, but I spent a week SCUBA diving off of the western coast of one of their national parks called Cocos Island, on a live aboard (dive) boat with a staff that served us some pretty tasty food. Among them, were a handful of delicious, filling puréed soups — one of my favorites! This mushroom version was one I knew I had to make when I got home. It was so much lighter than any I had before and it actually tasted like mushrooms — not cream. I think I came pretty close to replicating the original,…

Some states are switching to beet juice and beer to ‘salt’ icy roads, sidewalks

Most snowy places around the country throw salt on the roads to eliminate ice and improve road conditions. According to New Herald, experts fear all this road salt tossed onto sidewalks and scattered on highways, is having an alarming impact on the environment. Conscious of this fact, some cities are turning to less conventional materials to get the job done: beet juice, molasses, cheese brine, and beer. Researchers on the subject cite mounting evidence that the 20 million tons of sodium chloride crystals used each year is increasing the salinity of hundreds of lakes — particularly in the Midwest and Northeast. In the past 50 years, chloride concentrates in some of the sampled lakes have quadrupled, and in a few cases, even increased a hundredfold. If the problem is not corrected, they warn, the runoff could threaten freshwater ecosystems and put everything from frogs to microscopic zooplankton at risk. As the negative effects are…

This is why your nose runs when it’s cold outside

Ever notice that your nose gets a bit runny when temperatures drop outside? There’s a reason for that. For many, a runny nose is an unfortunate part of winter. About 50 to 90 percent of people get a runny nose when it’s cold outside. But it’s not a sign that you’re getting sick, it’s just a side effect of your body warming up cold, outside air before passing it on into your lungs. It’s called “cold-induced rhinitis”, or “skier nose”, and it’s a completely healthy — albeit annoying — part of your body’s ability to regulate the humidity of the you breath. It’s the job of your nose to make sure that the air you breath is warm and humid so that it doesn’t irritate your lungs. When breathing in freezing temperatures, the air in the back of the nose always hovers around 79ºF (and as high as 86ºF), while the humidity is usually 100 percent,…

Kale, Butternut Squash salad with sliced almonds

This filling, savory salad is just what you need to stick to your healthy diet. It’s loaded with flavor, but also packs a punch with tons of heart-healthy kale. One cup of kale contains contains a mere 33 calories, but 206 percent of your daily recommend vitamin A (healthy hair and skin), 134 percent of your vitamin C (immune system), and a whopping 680 percent of your vitamin K. Yes, that much! It’s one of the best foods around for fighting inflammation and maintaining healthy bone density. And kale is packed with fiber which will keep you fuller longer, while also aiding in lowering cholesterol. Enjoy kale in this salad and all your salads and feel your best. Kale, Butternut Squash salad with almonds Serves 2-3 Ingredients 1 1/2 cups cubed butternut squash 1 tbsp cinnamon 1 tsp light brown sugar 1 bunch kale, stems removed 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 3…

Can you still eat freezer burned foods?

The freezer can be a lifesaver when it comes to food prep. Whether it’s that container of frozen mashed potatoes, a homemade pie or that slow cooker starter, frozen foods can be a lifesaver, but there’s always the risk of dreaded freezer burn. So what exactly is this icy crust composed of, and is the food still safe to eat? Freezer burn occurs when foods dry out in cold temperatures. Those icy crystals are a result of moisture escaping your pint of ice cream or bag of chicken breasts and turning to ice on the outside of the food. This means either the food wasn’t stored properly, or it has been frozen for too long — everything dries out eventually. But fear not, a little freezer burn never hurt anyone. It’s entirely safe to eat foods that have a little burn, though they might not be as tasty. Texture of freezer burnt foods…