Posts tagged ‘Valentine’s Day’

February 10, 2014

Treats for Your Sweets–Homemade Love

dog with heartsAre some of your favorite valentines of the furred or feathered persuasion? Mine too! Because I’m a cat mama, I’ve often wondered what tasty treats I could fix that are also gentle on our cats’ sensitive stomachs. I know our fur children are spoiled rotten, but I can’t help myself! In rooting around for pet-friendly recipes, I found all kinds of cute ideas. Here are a few recipes to get you started treating the treasured beasties in your life. Note: Before you strap on your apron, it’s always a good idea to first check with your vet about foods your pet cannot or should not consume.

Furry Felines

black and white vcat heart

Baked Tuna Hearts: Take canned tuna, shape into little hearts, and then bake in the oven until warm. For a little extra craziness, you can add a bit of catnip to the hearts. Remember, all cat treats should be shared in small doses—too much unaccustomed food, fat, sugar, or anything can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and indigestion for your kitty.

Heart-Shaped Melons: You can use fresh watermelon or cantaloupe and cut the melon into heart shapes, if you like. But if you don’t have a heart-shaped cookie cutter, a sharp knife will do—and as we all know, cats couldn’t give a flip what shape their fruit is in. They want the sweet treats, pronto!

Mashed Frozen Banana: Sounds good enough for us people to eat, right?  Just slice a banana, freeze it, then when you are ready, blend the frozen banana into a creamy, icy treat. Or you can thaw the banana a bit and mash with a spoon.

More Ideas: The Pet Café (part of the Cockatiel Cottage site I mention later in this post) has lots of ideas not only for your feline friends but also for dogs and, of course, birds. Love it! http://www.cockatielcottage.net/biscuitsnbones/main.html

 

Doggie Love

dog with treats

Warning: There are a few foods that you do NOT want to use. Dogs can become very ill if they consume chocolate or cocoa (use carob as a substitute), grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, alcohol, onions, coffee grounds, and potato leaves/stems/sprouts.

Sweet Dog Treats

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. whole-wheat flour
  • ½ Tbsp. baking powder
  • ½ c. natural peanut butter
  • ½ c. low-fat milk
  • Heart-shaped or bone-shaped cookie cutter

Directions:

Start by preheating your oven to 475 degrees. next, combine flour and baking powder in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix the peanut butter with the milk. Add the wet mixture into the large bowl and mix thoroughly until it creates a dough.

Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface until it is about ¼-in. thick. Use your cookie cutter to cut out treats. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cook for 12-14 minutes. Make sure to let them cool before giving them to your pup friend! Recipe courtesy of Aromatic Delights and the Austin Humane Society.

 

More Ideas: Scampering Paws is packed with great information on all kinds of dog-related issues, and they have a fabulous amount of dog-friendly recipes. Check them out at http://www.scamperingpaws.com/dogtreats.shtml.

Another great site is the pet-centric division of PopSugar, aptly named PetSugar. Here’s the link to 8 pet-friendly recipes, including 1 for cats and another for birds. Super cute! http://www.petsugar.com/Pet-Friendly-Recipes-31915040#photo-31915113

 

Feathered Friends

blue love birds

We don’t want to forget the bird owners out there, do we? Alyson Burgess, from About.Com, came up with this wonderful recipe:

Honey Banana Birdie Bites
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

* 2 Whole Bananas
* 1 Egg
* 1/4 cup Honey
* 3 tbsp. Banana (or other fruit) Baby Food
* 1/4 cup Millet, Oats, or Chopped Almonds
* 1 tsp. Vegetable Oil

Preparation:
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Grease a large cookie sheet with 1 tsp. of vegetable oil and set aside. Peel both bananas and slice them into discs with a sharp knife. In a medium sized bowl, combine the egg (shells optional), honey, and baby food. Dip banana discs into the mixture and place on the cookie sheet. Once you have all the discs in place, top them with millet, oats, or chopped almonds. Bake in oven for 10 minutes, and then let cool to room temperature.

 

More Ideas: The Cockatiel Cottage is another charming site I discovered. It is simply bursting with anything you could possibly imagine about caring for your cockatiel. What I really loved was the massive recipe index for cockatiels or other birds in your life. This whole site was a delight! http://www.cockatielcottage.net/biscuitsnbones/maincc.html

As you can see, there are so many great ideas out there for delighting your animal companions this Valentine’s Day. I’ll bet you find something really scrumptious!

Purrs & kisses, Brooke

My Tiki

My Tiki–he looks thrilled, doesn’t he? Ha!

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February 9, 2014

Share the Love!

Share the Love!

Compassion for others and self-compassion are always welcomed and appreciated. The world needs more of both. BIG HUGS!

February 13, 2013

A Healthier Spin on Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine's day!

Happy Valentine’s day

Happy Love Week, everyone! Depending on where you are in life, your relationship status, and your admiration or abhorrent opinions of “Hallmark holidays,” you either just rolled your eyes at me or smiled. As this month’s Healthy Housewives cover model, I want to chat a bit about how to use this week to your advantage, by sharing love with others and yourself in a healthy way.

I’m not sure why Valentine’s Day gives everyone permission to push health by the way side and go out for too much wine and too much dine. When I asked a few men what their plans were for the big day, I heard dinner reservations, mounds of chocolate, and pastry breakfasts among the surprises for the ladies in their lives. I sat quietly as most boastfully shared their delicious displays of affection with me, followed quickly by sarcastic comments about the cost and stupidity of such a day. Interestingly enough, I had a difficult time finding ladies who already planned out what they were doing for the men in their lives. Ladies, let’s not drop the ball here! Nowhere does it say that man is in charge of celebrating Valentine’s Day, and women are to always be the recipient of delicious fare as a sign of affection. What a great way to surprise the man in your life and take the pressure off that’s historically been placed on him. I have a feeling you’ll win in the long run.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, below are some healthier suggestions and ideas to show your special Valentine that you appreciate them, with the added bonus of celebrating their health goals, too.  Feel free to add one or two (or all) of these to your game plan for February 14. Oh, and I am speaking to both men and women with these suggestions!

Couples that run together stay together!

Couples that run together stay together!

  1. Plan a morning run or morning workout together. Nothing says, “I think you’re swell” by meeting for a sweat together. Let’s face it, nothing is sexier than sweat, and since we all look like Greek Gods/Goddesses when we are sweating, this could lead to more fun.
  2. Prepare or purchase a healthy breakfast to show that you appreciate the person’s commitment to their own health and wellness. Plus, you’ll get to benefit from a nourishing meal to start your day of love.

    Food shaped in a heart makes your loved one smile!

    Food shaped in a heart makes your loved one smile!

  3. Create something by hand—a card, poem, drawing. If you have to send it electronically, scan your creation to the person, so they can see the personal touches and time spent on the work of art. Giving your time and energy to such a gift will leave the other person feeling loved and appreciated.
  4. Do both of you love music? Log into your iTunes account and make your Valentine a playlist with songs that fit your relationship. This no calorie option could lead to an invitation to work out together, and you know what that could lead to… endorphins!
  5. Who doesn’t love a scavenger hunt? Get your Valentine moving by placing small clues and/or surprises at various places you’ll know they’ll be throughout the day… Make them find a flight of stairs to walk up before opening a clue; the next clue has to be opened while walking; the next clue is at their gym’s check-in counter (make sure you know schedules first); the final clue has dinner plans attached or is stuck to a movie for movie night. Be creative and personalize this activity.

    Create a Valentine's scavenger hunt!

    Create a Valentine’s scavenger hunt!

  6. Infuse a few bottles of water for their day with strawberries, cucumbers, blueberries, or any other favorite fruit. As they hydrate throughout the day, you will be thought of… and so will your thoughtfulness.
  7. Send your Valentine out the door with a Salad in a Jar. This clever, homemade lunch is healthy and personalized with the person’s favorite salad ingredients. Start with a basic mason jar, pour the dressing on the bottom (a little goes a long way) then put other (heavier) veggies, nuts/seeds, then place spinach on top of them, and for some sweetness, maybe a few strawberry slices or blueberries. A nice note attached to the lid is a sweet addition.

    Salad in a jar is a fun concept!

    Salad in a jar is a fun concept!

  8. Is your Valentine a child? Start them out right with nourishing habits and make heart-shaped banana pancakes or strawberry (pink) French toast. Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to send them away with a sandwich that’ll remind them they are loved. Better yet, hide a few heart-shaped dark chocolates in a baggie of granola for a snack. Of course, decorate the bag.
  9. If your valentine is far away, and the use of technology is inevitable, make it good. Set up a dinner date via Skype, and see who crafted the healthiest Valentine’s dinner. Whoever wins can receive a prize… hopefully in person at a later date.
  10. Finally one of my favorites… forgo dinner altogether for some time together at the spa. Part of health and wellness is rest and relaxation, so don’t under-estimate how much your Valentine will appreciate the opportunity to do absolutely nothing, compliments of you.

Finally, remember that Valentine’s Day isn’t just a day to show someone else love. Perhaps this is your year to share some healthy love with YOU. Plus, treating yourself on Valentine’s Day ensures a great story when someone asks what your Valentine gave you this year. Here’s wishing all of you great health this Valentine’s Day!

Enjoy the precious time you have with a loved one!

Enjoy the precious time you have with a loved one!

Thanks for reading my blog,

Lacey Pruett

https://www.facebook.com/FitandFunLifestyle?fref=ts

https://www.advocare.com/11065258/default.aspx

February 12, 2013

Love on the Run

hearts

Hi, there! It’s Brooke here. Valentine’s Day is growing closer—will you be ready? By that I mean have you been treating yourself with loving kindness? Or have you been running yourself ragged moving at Mach 10, desperately hoping you don’t fall apart before you finish all the things that MUST BE DONE? I have absolutely no idea what that feels like—ha! With this craziness in mind, I’d like to share several of my favorite tricks on how to relax when your time is tight. As with any healthy relationship, not every caring gesture has to be grand. Little things can be profoundly powerful, as you will see.

breathe rock

Deep Breathing: You’d think we’d know how to breathe correctly, seeing as how we’ve been doing it all our lives. But we would be wrong. Most of us breathe shallowly from our chest, our shoulders naturally rising on every intake of breath. Yes, this gets the job done, but at a cost. We form the habit of shallow breathing and the muscles we use to do this (chest, shoulders, neck, and back) compensate by becoming stiff and tight. When we are stressed or worried, especially over a period of time, our body’s stress response causes us to take short, small breaths, which then causes our shoulders to creep upward toward our ears, when then causes those shoulder, upper back, and neck muscles to tighten up. Before we know it, we feel breathless and trapped, with burning, aching muscles and a raging tension headache. No, no. This won’t do!

Try It!

Start by putting your left hand on your chest and your right hand on your belly. Now, breathe in like you normally do (using your mouth or your nose), with your chest rising below your left hand. That should feel natural to you. Now, breathe in through your nose while expanding your belly below your right hand. Do you feel the difference? Try it again, noticing the way your breath slows down as you inhale through your nose and the larger capacity your “belly,” or diaphragm, has for expanding. This is called deep breathing, or belly breathing. This action floods your cells with oxygen, clearing up your muddled mind, and slows your heartbeat, lowering your blood pressure. Take another deep, slow breath in through your nose, expanding your belly, and then breathe out from your mouth. Do this 3-5 times.

love hand

Healing Touch: It’s nice to have a great massage therapist on your speed dial, but escaping to her quiet studio for an hour is not always possible. Luckily, you can enjoy the healing power of touch given by your own two hands.

Try It!

First, find a calm place. Then as you look at your hands, set your intention to spread healing through your touch. This doesn’t have to be weird or woo-woo. Just notice the warmth and strength of your hands as you work. Starting at your left hand, use your right hand to firmly squeeze the muscles of your left palm and fingers. Then let go and move up your wrist an inch, then squeeze again. Let go and inch your way up your arm the same way, firmly squeezing then moving up, all the way to where your shoulder meets your neck. Then switch hands, and work your way from your right wrist up to the top of your right shoulder. Gently place the palms of both hands on either side of your neck, resting your fingers around the back of your neck (but don’t squeeze!). Just rest your hands gently around your neck for 10 seconds.

occipital massage

If you have a tension headache, this is your go-to move: Take your palms and place them gently over your ears, then spread your fingers out. Your thumbs should be almost touching along the bony ridge on the back of your head. Now take your thumbs and move them outward along that ridge to the bony edge half an inch behind your ears. If you feel softness and not bone, keep moving away from your ear until you feel the bony ridge of the base of your skull. Hook your thumbs underneath that bony ridge and press upward firmly (according to your comfort level) and hold for 10-15 seconds. Then move each thumb half an inch toward the middle of the back of your head and press upward again and hold. Do this until your thumbs meet in the middle.

Now, press the heels of your hands into your scalp, moving around your head after each squeeze. Take your fingertips, and carefully press your temples (or rub in circles). You may want to wash your hands for this next part if your skin is prone to breakouts. Your face is delicate, so you will use just your fingertips now. Start at the middle of your chin and gently squeeze your skin along your jawbone between your thumb and first two fingers, working out toward your ears. Then, come back to the center and while keeping your mouth relaxed, squeeze your lips between your fingertips—it’s probably best that you do this move looking away from other people (or toward a mirror if you need a laugh!). Now, starting at the crease where your cheeks meet your nose, gently press two or three fingertips in place along your cheekbone, working in little increments toward your ear. Then come back to the center, and with one or two fingertips, do the same gentle press along the lower orbital bone (below your eye), working outward and around the entire bone (above your eyes). For an instant stress reliever: Starting at the inner edge of each eyebrow, squeeze and hold the eyebrow between your thumb and forefinger for 8-10 seconds. Then work your way outward, squeezing the eyebrow as you go.

lavendar bushes

Soothing Scents: Depending on your mood, you may lean toward calming scents or revitalizing ones. There are so many lovely possibilities when aromatherapy is involved, but we’ll explore just a few. If you are in need of peace and relaxation, try lavender or eucalyptus essential oils. These scents are classic choices for all manner of calming rest. If you need a little boost, peppermint, spearmint, or wintergreen are excellent choices. Another category of invigorating scents are the evergreens—cedar, spruce, and pine. You can find these essential oils in grocery stores, online, or my favorite massage supply store—Body Logic (www.ebodylogic.com) for $4-$15. These oils are very powerful, so if you want to use them on your skin, be sure to dilute them by adding them to a safe carrier oil or unscented lotion. You can also use these oils by making “smelling salts”—put ½ teaspoon of kosher salt into a little glass vial and then add 5 drops of your favorite scent and cover tightly. Anytime you need a whiff, just open the vial for a portable pick-me-up. You can also add a few drops of oil to a tissue or paper towel tucked nearby and enjoy. And if you don’t have oil, a nice fragrant (unused) tea bag unwrapped on your desk can transport you in no time flat (my favorite for tea-bag aromatherapy is Tazo tea in Earl Grey).

For Valentine’s Day and every day, may you find a few stolen moments to treat yourself to some TLC. Goodness knows we all need it!

XO, Brooke