Sunday, October 9, 2016

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie Recipe
Chicken Pot Pie with Phyllo Topping
Total Time: 1 hr. 17 min.
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cooking Time: 57 min.
Yield: 6 servings, about 1 cup each
6 tsp. olive oil, divided use
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
4 oz. sliced mushrooms
2 Tbsp. whole wheat flour
1½ cups reduced fat (2%) milk
1 cup low-sodium organic chicken broth
½ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
½ tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
¾ cup frozen green peas
¾ cup cubed cooked sweet potatoes
2¼ cups cubed cooked chicken breast (approx. 12 oz.)
6 sheets phyllo dough (each approx. 12 x 17-inches), thawed, covered in a
slightly damp towel
1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
2. Heat 2 tsp. oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
3. Add onion and carrots; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
4. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 6 minutes, or until mushrooms are soft and most of the liquid has evaporated.
5. Add 1 tsp. oil; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
6. Add flour; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until flour and oil form a paste.
7. Slowly add milk, broth, salt, pepper, and thyme. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low.
8. Add peas, sweet potatoes, and chicken; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.
9. Place chicken mixture in a 2½-quart baking dish. Set aside.
10. Place phyllo on work surface. Keeping the original stack covered, remove one sheet at a time and quickly brush with remaining 3 tsp. oil. Cut oiled stack of phyllo into quarters. Place phyllo loosely on top of chicken mixture; covering evenly.
11. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until chicken mixture is bubbling and phyllo dough is golden brown.
12. Serve immediately.

Photographs by Anguel Dimov

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

6 Reasons Why You Need a Nap

6 Reasons Why You Need to Take a Nap

Take a moment to ponder the following question (after you stop ROFL, of course): When was the last time you got seven to nine hours of good, deep sleep?
Now, ask yourself this: When was the last time you took a nap? You know, that amazing thing we used to do as children every single day?
Guilt. Shame. Peer pressure. These are just some of the reasons adults ignore their bodies’ plea for nap time and push through the day with caffeine and sheer force of will.
The thing is, a slew of scientific evidence suggests that if we could get past our societal hang-ups about napping and make it a part of our daily routine, a cornucopia of benefits may await us. And of course, we realize that depending on where you work, office naps are generally frowned upon, but hey — this may help you make the case for turning the break room into a nap room.
Read on for six of the most game-changing consequences of snooze your body can use.
1. Napping Is Better Than CoffeeWhen you hit the afternoon slump, you make a beeline for the coffeemaker, thinking that a jolt of caffeine will give you a much-needed boost.
But according to a 2008 study, you’d be better off finding a quiet spot and putting your head down. The study compared the effectiveness of a nap with caffeine in three areas: the improvement of declarative verbal memory, procedural motor skills, and perceptual learning. Researchers found that naps enhanced the recall of words compared to the placebo and caffeine groups, while caffeine actually impaired motor learning when compared to getting a short snooze in.
2. Napping May Help You Lose Weight
Here’s another reason why some choice shut eye may be a better option than a strategic cup of joe and it has to with something called cortisol.
Cortisol is also known as the “stress hormone” and we produce it naturally when life is throwing you curveballs. Repeatedly. Drinking coffee can create an excess of cortisol to speed around your body. That’s less than ideal for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that extra cortisol may lead to increased glucose intolerance, which plays a role in packing on pounds.
In addition to a nice nap being better at boosting cognitive performance than coffee, a 2007 study suggests that napping does the opposite of coffee and actually decreases the amount of fat-storing cortisol in the body.
3. Napping Can Help Reduce Mindless Food CravingsThe next time you get less than your normal amount of shuteye, keep tabs on how much you eat the following day. If it’s more than usual, the culprit could be an imbalance of the “hunger hormones” ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin triggers appetite while leptin signals that your body has a sufficient amount of food energy to work with.
A Stanford study suggets that lack of sleep can lead ghrelin to increase and leptin to decrease — ideal conditions for overeating and over time, weight gain. A solid 20 to 30-minute nap can help to restore a balance of ghrelin and leptin, resulting in fewer zombie-like trudges to the fridge.
4. Napping Is Part of a Healthy LifestyleFor “optimal health,” the American Academy of Sleep Science and the Sleep Research Society recommend that adults get at least seven hours or more of sleep a night. Every night. Not just the weekends. A 2016 CDC study showed that 1 in 3 American adults aren’t getting their seven or more hours of sleep in. And the consequences aren’t limited to an afternoon slump and habitual yawning: A 2006 study by the Institute of Medicine called sleep deprivation among Americans an “unmet public health problem,” linking the chronic lack of sleep to a “deleterious health consequences.”
5. Napping Can Reduce StressResearchers at Pennsylvania’s Allegheny College investigated whether or not a 45 to 60-minute nap in the middle of the day can help the cardiovascular system recover in the wake of stressful events. They subjected nappers and non-nappers to psychological stress and found that while both groups’ pulse rates and blood pressure rose during the stimulus, the nappers’ blood pressure was significantly lower in the recovery phase. So, if you know you have a stressful week ahead, pencil in some nap time to give your brain a rest.
6. Cat Naps Count, TooBy now, you may be persuaded that there’s a lot to be gained from a nap. But the fact remains that most people don’t have the time or opportunity to fit in a 20 to 30-minute snooze in the middle of the day. Well, it turns out all you need to do is follow the example set by our feline friends: A 2008 study showed that even a mere six minutes of shut-eye is enough to enhance your memory.
So, grab a pillow, find a quiet corner/chair/couch/bed and dream about all the ways you’ll benefit from a few more zzzzs.

Author Grant Stoddard

Monday, October 3, 2016

16 Empowering Beliefs to Live By Today


Your experiences are shaped by your thinking. Even obstacles have a value when you can see it. You can develop convictions that will help you to feel happier and achieve more, regardless of the situation.

Consider these empowering beliefs that you can start using today to transform your life through the power of positive thinking.

Empowering Beliefs to Make You Smile

1.      I understand my potential. You can achieve amazing results when you put your mind to it. Feel excited about reaching your true potential.

2.      I count my blessings. List each thing that you have to be grateful for. Remember to include the smaller items, like warm socks or tart cranberries. Expressing your appreciation reminds you of how rich you are.

3.      I learn from mistakes. You can make setbacks work for you by focusing on the lessons that they contain. Flubbing one job interview can teach you how to ace the next one.

4.      I find meaning in adversity. Tough times can be the most rewarding phase of your life. Know that you can emerge from any challenge with greater wisdom and courage. Look back at the obstacles you’ve already overcome, and reassure yourself that you can handle what’s ahead.

5.      I embrace change. Accept that life is a series of changes. Focus on the present moment, and prepare yourself to adapt to whatever circumstances come your way.

6.      I dream big. Expand your wish list. Setting demanding but attainable goals gives you adventures to look forward to each day.

7.      I practice forgiveness. Lighten your load by clearing away any resentment you’re holding onto from the past. Set reasonable boundaries while you respond with compassion when others disappoint you. Pardon yourself too.

8.      I give generously. Sharing your blessings makes you more powerful and joyful. Volunteer in your community and speak kindly to each person you meet today. Buy coffee for your co-workers or give your receptionist a flower.


Empowering Beliefs to Make You Strive

1.      I take responsibility. You are in charge of your life. Hold yourself accountable for the outcomes you create. Celebrate the fact that you have the power to determine your own future.

2.      I apply effort. Figure out your definition of success so you know what is worth working for. Give yourself credit when you’re making progress rather than comparing yourself to others.

3.      I leverage my strengths. You have your own individual strengths that you can draw on. Figure out what you’re good at and what you want to do. Let that knowledge guide your choices.

4.      I listen to feedback. Ask for feedback so you can enhance your performance and show others that you respect their point of view. You grow faster when you gather solid input that you can translate into action.

5.      I ask for help. Expand your capabilities by building a sturdy support network. Carpool with other parents. Divide up household chores with your spouse and children.

6.      I connect with others. Moral support counts too. Surround yourself with loving and encouraging family and friends. Participate actively in your faith community. Join a club with members who share your interest in solar power or badminton.

7.      I recognize opportunities. Stay alert for promising openings. You may meet a new friend while you’re standing in line to buy your morning coffee.

8.      I try new things. Be open to experimentation. Go kayaking one weekend instead of playing tennis. Bake your own bread or knit a scarf. You may discover hidden talents.

An upbeat attitude increases your happiness and productivity. Question your old assumptions so you can replace them with a new sense of certainty about yourself and your future. Adopt empowering beliefs that build up your confidence and prepare you for greater success. Start today. You’ll be glad you did!