9.28.2008

Happy Birthday to ME!! :)

This past Saturday, September 27th, was my 24th birthday. It was such a fabulous day, from beginning to end! My day started with the smell of pancakes and coffee, my sweet husband was making me breakfast! I got a very sweet card and a new Irving Fire Dept T-shirt (I have been requesting a new one for some time now!) It is an aqua blue, and I love it! So, Jordan and I ate pancakes and watched Season 4 of Grey's Anatomy (We rent the series from Blockbuster so that we can watch episode after episode! It is addicting..trust.) After breakfast I decided to do my normal Saturday morning grocery trip while Jordan got a little bit of studying in. I wore my new T-shirt! ;)
After I got home, Jordan informed me that we were leaving to go have lunch at Northpark and do some shopping at all my favorite stores!! The best birthday present..because, if you know me, you know L-O-V-E shopping! So we went to Northpark and had a nice lunch and shopped around. It was nice just being with him :) After I was about worn out on shopping, J and I finally decided to head home. Once we got home, I came in to find some sweet gifts and a big chocolate cake from Jordan's mom, Bree. That was a wonderful surprise! We were home for just a short time because we had made reservations with friends at a place called Ferarri's Villa Italian Cafe and Pete's Dueling Piano Bar in Addison. The food at Ferrari's was yummy! I was treated with a Tiramisu and a very loud Italian Birthday song. After that we all headed to Pete's where we met more friends and we had a B-L-A-S-T!!!!
At Ferrari's Villa This was the cutest resaurant!! I will for sure be going back!



Shelley, Me, and Elise





Pete's Piano Bar :)
Me on stage for the first time of the night. I was called up there several times!! But, it was so fun!!



Me, Shelley and Elise (again) @ Pete's

Me and Jordan & Mel and Brian

Jenny and I (Her hubby's B-day was this weekend, too!)



Erin and Chris


Victor and Joanna


Hailey and I


On stage (again!) I'm in the very middle..I believe they were singing "Baby Got Back".. Everyone got a good laugh out of this one!


Such a fabulous way to turn 24. I loved every moment of my birthday, and I am so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family that love me so much!




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9.25.2008

Top 10 Nutrition and Food Trends of 2008

It is very interesting to me to look back at this year and think about how quickly it has flown, for me anyway! Here it is, September 25th and we are on the downhill for 2008. It is so neat to look back at the 'trends' that were predicted for this year, particlualy in nutrition. I personally have an intense desire for learning anything and everything regarding food, nutrition, culinary, ect, ect. I was on a blog of a fellow RD, Robin Plotkin, and she took this from a newspaper, and I just had to share. Let's take a look at the Top 10 Nutrition and Food Trends of 2008 and see how we are doing :

Top 10 Nutrition and Food Trends of 2008

In the New Year, expect to see a flood of new food products boasting their ailment-specific benefits -- everything from fighting colds to cancer, from easing arthritis to wrinkles. But the predicted growth of "value-added" foods is just part of the picture. Besides touting what they have, foods will be bragging about what they don't have."Artificial" is out and "authentic" is in. Here's a look at the top 10 nutrition trends that we predict will shape how we eat in the coming year.
JUNK-FREE FOODS
The Mintel Global New Products Database predicts companies will be more aggressive in removing additives, preservatives, artificial colors or flavors and "otherwise unknown ingredients" from products to have "clean labels" and to make junk-free claims. Expect to see more products with ingredient labels that read like a "home recipe rather than a chemist's shopping list".

NATURALLY NUTRIENT-RICH
Even though sales of pumped-up foods and beverages have been soaring, a backlash against heavy fortification may be brewing. Lynn Dornblaser, a new products analyst for Mintel, predicts that people will be seeking more natural sources of nutrients. This desire for authentic nutrition is what drove the popularity of pomegranates and made the acai berry the king of all "superfruits" this year.
ETHICAL EATING
Growing concerns about the environment, animal welfare and fair trade are fueling companies to declare their commitment to these issues on food labels. Foods and beverages with an ethical positioning doubled this year, according to Mintel. With "eating green" predicted to be even bigger in the coming year, stay tuned for a wide range of eco-labels, ranging from carbon footprint and food miles to wild-caught and dolphin-safe. Consumer Reports is keeping track of and evaluating these earth-friendly food labels, which now total 147 (http://www.greenerchoices.org/).

PHYTONUTRIENTS
Move over antioxidants, the next frontier in nutrition is phytonutrients, according to Elizabeth Sloan, a food trends analyst and owner of Sloan Trends, Inc. These natural plant compounds with names that don't exactly roll off your tongue -- polyphenols, flavonoids, quercetin, lycopene, lutein and anthocyanins -- are about to go mainstream, Sloan predicts. Studies suggest phytonutrients have disease-fighting properties that are even mightier than vitamins and minerals.
BETTER-FOR-YOU KIDS' FOOD
Worries over childhood obesity and the influence of marketing to kids have forced a new generation of children's foods. A positive nutritional profile will be the "cost of entry" for getting into the kids' market, said Dornblaser. She predicts more fruit snacks that actually contain fruit, juice drinks with less sugar and more organic foods for kids.

INNER BEAUTY
A big trend in Europe, beauty foods may soon be alluring U.S. consumers. Beauty-from-within products (dubbed nutricosmetics or cosmeceuticals) are claiming to erase wrinkles, give you shinier hair and even make your lips look fuller. A collagen-injected marshmallow in Japan promises the plump with the pain. Borba Skin Balance waters at Sephora stores started it all in the U.S. Look for a new beauty drink next year from Coca-Cola and L'Oreal called Lumae'.BRAIN FOOD
Certain food compounds -- from omega-3's in fish oils to flavonoids in cocoa -- may have the ability to improve memory, sharpen concentration and even reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease. This year, brain claims nearly tripled, according to Datamonitor's Productscan Online. many of these new products are fortified with DHA omega-3, including Breyers Smart! Yogurt ("boost your brain," it heralds) and Minute Maid Enhanced Pomegranate Blueberry juice that claims to "help nourish your brain".
BEING GOOD TO YOUR GUT
It seems we've never been more interested in our intestines. Nearly 200 new products touting digestive health benefits were introduced this year, according to Datamonitor, an online research firm. Some are fortified with fiber and others contain probiotics, those gut-friendly bacteria that are popping up everywhere. Once limited to yogurt, thse beneficial bugs are now in cheese, milk, smoothies, juice, snack bars, cereals and soon chocolate. Prebiotics also are predicted to grow -- these foods contain a type of fiber that benefits our good intestinal bacteria.

FOODS WITH FULLNESS
With our collective girth getting worse, Americans will remain hungry for foods that can help them lose weight. Some companies are banking on satiety as the new diet buzzword. Some products are already touting the ability to keep you full --Quaker Weight Control Oatmeal, Kellogg's Protein Water and LightFull Satiety Smoothie. Look for more foods to promote hunger control and showcase their rankings on the satiety index to help dieters stay on track.

EATING TO EASE INFLAMMATION
Aging Baby Boomers are driving the demand for "joint health" foods and beverages. Stores will likely be stocked with more products promising pain relief, either from arthritis or exercise. The popular arthritis supplement glucosomine is already showing up in beverages, including Minute Maid Active orange juice.

BUZZWORDS FOR 2008:
Fresh..Natural..Local..Organic..No preservatives..Sugar-free..DHA.. Omega-3..Live and active cultures..Vitamin D..Gluten-free, ect, ect!

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune, December 26, 2007
Author - Janet Helm a Chicago registered dietitian and nutrition consultant.


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9.18.2008

Who Knew?


For the past couple of weeks I have been contemplating the idea of cutting back my intake of caffeine. If you know me, even somewhat well, you would know that I have a weird obsession with beverages. NOT alcoholic containing beverages, but any kind, really. Whether I'm thirsty or not, I almost always have a glass of something..whether it be Kool*Aid (Grape, please!), water, Diet Coke, Fresca..Diet Coke..Diet Coke..Diet Coke. I drink a lot of Diet Coke. I mean..A LOT. Here, let me paint you a picture. I go to the grocery ever week..and every week I purchase Diet Coke. A 12-pack (sometimes 24-pack, if they are on sale), and two 2-Liter bottles of Diet Coke. If I'm lucky I'll make it to my next trip without running out. Most of the time, I don't. This is just for when I'm at home. I get free fountain drinks at work. Hence more access to the DC. Sonic is a regular stop for happy hour half price drinks.
So..you get the picture? Oh, and I drink coffee every morning. SOO, I decided, for numerous reasons, that I was going to cut back on the Diet Coke (and coffee) :)

Great idea, right? Save the kidneys!! LOL. WRONG> I have been in the worst mood and sufferring from headaches that are almost as bad as a migraine! My goodness, you never know what you have until after it is gone!! I cannot even sit at the computer long enough to finish this blog. This single blog has taken me 2 days to finish. I am determined to finish it today. Crazy..I know. But, my eyes and head start pounding and it is just unbearable and not worth it AT ALL.
Anyway, so after I practically cried and then demolished my food processor (because it would not blend the marinara sauce I was attempting to make) due to shear intense frustration, I decided to read into this sort of 'withdrawl' I was going through. Withdrawl of Diet Coke? Yep. There is such a thing. But it isn't Diet Coke, it is caffeine.
This is a very real issue and has even been recognized by the World Health Organization. I found a website discussing this caffeine withdrawl syndrome.
Here is a bit about what I read:
The caffeine withdrawal syndrome has been well-characterized in numerous rigorous double-blind studies. The potential for caffeine withdrawal to cause clinically significant distress or impairment in functioning is reflected by the inclusion of caffeine withdrawal as an official diagnosis in ICD-10 (World Health Organization) and as a proposed diagnosis in DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association).
Signs and symptoms. The most commonly reported withdrawal symptoms are listed below:
Headache – (often described as being gradual in development and diffuse, and sometimes throbbing and severe) Yes, I have this.
Fatigue -- (e.g., fatigue, tiredness, lethargy, sluggishness)
Check
Sleepiness/drowsiness -- (e.g., sleepy, drowsy, yawning) Check
Difficulty concentrating -- (e.g., muzzy) Check
Work difficulty -- (e.g., decreased motivation for tasks/work) Check
Irritability -- (e.g., irritable, cross, miserable, decreased well-being/contentedness) Double Check
Depression -- (e.g., depressed mood) Not so much
Anxiety -- (e.g., anxious, nervous) Hmmm..
Flu-like symptoms -- (e.g., nausea/vomiting, muscle aches/stiffness, hot and cold spells, heavy feelings in arms or legs) Oh GOSH..not yet, knock on wood!
Impairment in psychomotor, vigilance and cognitive performances

The caffeine withdrawal syndrome follows an orderly time course. Onset usually occurs 12 to 24 hours after terminating caffeine intake, although onset as late as 36 hours has been documented. Peak withdrawal intensity has generally been described as occurring 20 to 48 hours after abstinence. The duration of withdrawal has most often been described as ranging between 2 days and 1 week, although longer durations have been occasionally noted.

So, 2 days to one week I have to deal with this mess. Whew. I have cut my DC habit to 2 cans/day. Maybe that was too much of a cutback to start with, Oh well, too late now. Still drinking my normal coffee in the morning, though, for now.


Wish me luck :)


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9.17.2008

Finally..The Wait is Over!!

Our long time friends, Shay and Andrew, have finally welcomed the long awaited arrival of their sweet baby GIRL! The lucky parents waited for 9 long months to find out if they were having a boy or a girl, kudos to them, because I will not be able to do it! Not only did they not find out the sex of the baby, they would not even hint at any names they had picked out, so...it was a surprise from the beginning for everyone! Kensington Kate Shull is the most beautiful baby EVER! Jordan and I went to visit the new little family last night and from the second I saw her I was so impressed and taken back by her complete sense of perfection. But, her parents are gorgeous, so it was no shocker that Shay and Andrew had one heck of a pretty baby!!

I guess I keep going on and on about how beautiful she is because, well, I have a confession to make. I don't think newborn babies are very, well, cute. EEk...okay, so don't throw anything at me just yet, (lol) let me explain!! I LOVE babies, but newborns are just not that cute to me. Now, give them a few weeks (some, a few months!) and they will be the most precious gift from God anyone will ever witness.
SO...there has been an exception to my personal opinion on newborn babies: Kensington! She has this personality and face, already, that is just so..hmmm, what are the words I'm looking for without sounding repetitive. Oh, what the heck, she is just perfect, plain and simple. Period.

Congrats to Shay and Andrew and the rest of the Lowe and Shull Families!

Kensington Kate and her Mommy-Look at her! You know you are in a agreement when I say she is just a doll!!
Me and the precious one
Jordan and Kensington Me and Shay..Doesn't she look good?!

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9.15.2008

John Mayer


So, I have a deep love for John Mayer and his fabulously soulful music! He has a new album, with many of his popular songs recorded live. From what I have heard of it, it is a great collaboration of his music. There is just something about live music that is so much better than a regular recorded track. Anyway, he has done a remake of the song Free Fallin'. I personally LOVE his version of the famous song! Check out the video when you get the chance! It is my new favorite song!!


I have yet to attend a concert..but I will..Oh, yes..I will. ;)

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9.01.2008

All Recipes

Okay, so, my good friend Katie Kim recently posted her Allrecipes.com success..and now I must post mine!! My recipe photo for Alice Chicken was chosen to be on the web site :) I have an entire binder of printed recipes from this site and LOVE IT! I cook at least one or two recipes a week from here. It is definitely my go to place when I'm stuck in a rut! Check it out..and, by the way..the Alice Chicken recipe is soooo yummy!

Cornerstone Kitchen


This past week I was given the oppotunity to serve for a purpose that was deemed far more rewarding than when I originally signed up for it! I am employed by both Baylor and a food distributing company called ARAMARK. Aramark has teamed up with Cornerstone Baptist Church in South Dallas and will be providing lunch to the homeless, at Cornerstone Kitchen once a month. The volunteer effort was open to all employees, and when I heard about it, I couldn't help but sign up! Cornerstone is located in the middle of inner city South Dallas, TX. It is a dynamic hub of ministry and it helps provide much needed services to the community, as well as spreading the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, all in love. Cornerstone provides lunch for many of the homeless in the downtown area every Tuesday and Thursday. This ministry currently averages about 80 in attendance and continues to grow. This past Tuesday, the Kitchen was packed with hungry men and women, looking for a hot meal. We served them Jambalya with rice and a mix of vegetables, and Ceaser Salad. Before they all could eat, a short sermon was held, providing them with God's Word. Once the sermon was over, it was grub time! I passed plates and filled cups with 'yellow drink' (Lemonade) for a good hour and then it was over. So many came and ate, and then were gone. I couldn't believe how many there were and to think that those people probably would not eat again until Thursday, when the next free meal was served. I had a great day at Cornerstone Kitchen, and plan on doing it again very soon! I am so grateful for how blessed I truely am. Being able to just run to the store because I'm out of milk or eggs developed a whole new meaning after last Tuesday! Here are some pictures that I took while there.
Plating the food..

Lots of dessert! They were allowed to have 2 each and coffee while listening to the sermon.

Loaves of bread donated by the local grocers.


More desserts
Just one half of the room. The other half was just as full.


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Labor Day Weekend!

I love long weekends!! This past weekend, Jordan and I decided it would be a fantastic time to go and visit my family in Austin. My dad works for Radisson Hotel and Suites on Ladybird Lake in downtown Austin, so we stay there for FREE everytime we visit. It is such a nice hotel, and we feel like VIPs when we visit, because they always say "I see your room is Comp, let us know if there is anything we can do for you, Mrs. Massey." So, we drove down after school/work on Friday night and got in kind of late, so we both hit the bed early..we were so tired after a long week! Saturday we ate breakfast at the hotel and then went to visit with my dad. It was nice to see him..it had been since May at my graduation. Saturday night, my dad took Jordan and I to this super cute little Italian Restaurant called Taverna. It was delicious! We had the authentic Caprese Salad, and I tried their signature dish Fiocchi al Gorgonzola e Pera, which is a Gorgonzola & Pear filled Pasta with Walnuts, Arugula & Dolce Latte Cream Sauce. Sounds very different, but it was delicious!! It turns out there is one here is Dallas and in Fort Worth!! Anyway, after dinner we had Gelato, at a place that is also located here in Dallas! Paciugo Gelato was the perfect ending to a yummy italian dinner. I had the Three Vanilla and Sea Salt Caramel mixed. YUMM-O! Sunday was ate at the fabulous Whole Foods Market there in downtown, and shopped around a bit, and then headed to Round Rock to the Outlet mall there. We picked up my younger brother Patrick and went for an afternoon of shopping. Overall, it was a great weekend with my family, and I am so glad we got to go for a mini vaca. It is always nice to get away sometimes, even if it is just for a few days.
The Whole Foods in Austin is AMAZING!!! It is about 5 times the size of any around here (Austin is the headquarters) If ever an opportunity, go there!!
A few pictures of the store..doesn't do justice at all, but just wanted to share!! :) Me and my not-so-little-brother, Patrick. He just turned 17..and he is HUGE! I am on my tip toes! I didn't want to be wedged in his arm pit! haha!
Patrick is starting for Stony Point High School in Round Rock..He is kind of a stud if you ask me! He's on bottom..tackling his opponent.
Here he is again..Number 80 getting ready to run..
Me and the Hubbs.. My gelato was melting!! Great shot Jordan, Thanks.


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