How Much Should I Weigh? 3 Keys

How much should I weigh? This is common question with an answer that seems more a riddle than a response. It really is simple, but first we must pick apart this riddle and dissect its many elements. My riddle begins as a child. As a twelve year old, I watched my dad run a marathon … Continue reading “How Much Should I Weigh? 3 Keys”

How much should I weigh? This is common question with an answer that seems more a riddle than a response. It really is simple, but first we must pick apart this riddle and dissect its many elements.

Much Should I Weigh

My riddle begins as a child. As a twelve year old, I watched my dad run a marathon and decided at that moment that one day I’d run one myself. Three kids and more than a quarter of a century later, I ran my first one earlier this year. I was in decent shape before I started training, having run for years prior to this. I wasn’t a fast runner, more slow and steady like the tortoise rather than the hare. But along with this time commitment of a training schedule, I thought ahh now, I’ll be a waif and excitedly envisioned my 17 year-old body from years gone by. But I lost no weight. Nope, not one pound. Okay so I drank more cokes than normal and ate one too many greasy breakfast sandwiches, but I was always hungry, and hey I was burning tons of calories. So don’t stop reading and give up on an exercise regime, let me explain…

First off, too many of us rely on the scale to tell us if we’re in good shape. So key #1, muscle weighs more than fat. When we’re building muscle, it can be disheartening when we step on that scale — we may even gain weight. So the scale is not the end-all in weight-loss. It can be a guide but not the only one. Instead you’ll be toning up and feeling fit and trim.

Key #2, people come in all different shapes and sizes. So we open a magazine or turn on a TV show, and all we see is thin. Maybe we’re the big-boned girls so tactfully described by many. So is thin in? In or not, it may not be the best. If we’re eating less than our body needs, we can simply run out of energy. Oh yes, I can lose a good five pounds with a bout of stomach flu or a dose of acute stress, but how much oomph do I have? It’s important to accept that healthy isn’t one particular look. Our genetic makeup plays a large part in determining our weight and size. It is possible for two healthy people who are the same height to vary in their weight by tens of pounds. A word of caution though; struggling with weight can run in families and the reason may not be genes, but rather bad eating habits and no exercise.

Key #3, focus on overall body fat percentage. There really isn’t an ideal weight relative to your height. The minimum amount of body fat for a woman that’s healthy is 12%, but the average is 22-25% for women. Men it’s a minimum of 5% and an average of 15-18%. Health clubs can generally check this for you.

Now we can be aware of our varying differences and what’s really important, but in a nutshell — if we eat more calories than our body needs, we’ll gain too much. Weight is a balancing act between the intake of calories and the burning of calories. And what helps tip the scales in either direction, is diet and exercise. Catch next week’s article where I’ll include tips on finding your ideal body weight.

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A Deep Fryer is the Best Choice For Fried Foods

If you love greasy fried food then purchasing a deep fryer might be just the thing to quench your passion for food. Many people who love fast food want to duplicate that taste at home and buying a deep fryer can do just that. You can cook anything you want in a deep fryer however they are popular for cooking amazing French fries. There are several options available on deep fryers that might have you left pondering over which one to get.

 Deep Fryer

When you buy a deep fryer you need to figure out how much space you have and where you are going to put it. Some deep fryers take up a lot of space and you need to decide whether it’s going to sit on your counter top or in a cupboard somewhere. They also come in many colors such as black, white and stainless steel, so that you can match up your other appliances with the deep fryer.

Some features available to deep fryers can be; variable thermostats, programmable timers to start and finish foods at the exact time that you want, removable lids and glass viewing areas so that you don’t even need to remove the lid to see what is happening inside while the food is cooking.

You might want to know if it is easy to clean and if it dishwasher safe. If the product is made using stainless steel it might be less able to have food stick to it and might be better to scrap food off, it is also more sanitary to use with food. Some deep fryers come with handles built into the lid, external basket lifts that allow you to view the food without having to remove the lid. Automatic cleaning options and is able to filter oil into removable storage drawer.

It is also a great idea to figure out how large you want the capacity for cooking to be. Some people need it big while others are fine with a smaller scale. The wattage is different as well and so a higher wattage will provide faster and more cooking power.

When you find a fryer that you like you can always take it home and test it out. If you don’t like how it works or operates you can always return it for another if the store permits it. Most fryers come with some kind of a warranty so it is important to know just what that warranty entails and how it will affect you and your new purchase. When you have your deep fryer you will be able to cook many great foods and entertain yourself or guests with restaurant quality food. You will be confident when you are serving your food as you know that you prepared it just the way you like it. Using the machine can be fairly simply. Remember to read all of the instructions especially around cleaning and keeping it safe from fire issues. Keeping the machine clean is key to preventing accidents and keeps you safe as you eat food from it.

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I'm a Work at Home Mom, But I Still Use My Crock Pot

Most of my friends work outside of their homes. That’s not unusual. There are a few of us, however, who have chosen to stay at home with our young children. We’re the minority, but still not unusual.

Crock Pot

What should be considered unusual is the discovery recently uncovered among my group of busy female friends. ‘We-who-work-at-home’ utilize our crock pots approximately 75% more frequently than those who have traditional j.o.b.s.! This statistic is of course in no way official, just a quick sampling of local gals; but a shocker nonetheless. We also thought the new ‘cupcake carrier’ was awesome. Go figure.

Why then, do the ‘moms-who-work’ choose to neglect the one piece of equipment capable of solving a multitude of meal-planning/creation problems with just the flip of a button? After a brief survey, I have concluded that their error in meal prep judgment stems from merely a lack of information. Even in the twenty-first century, a large number of intelligent mothers still think that the lowly crock pot stashed away in their attics is useful only on occasions calling for ‘meatball appetizers’ or baked beans to take to ‘Aunt Shirley’s’ house on Labor Day. What? How can this be? Naturally this information gave way to many shouts of ‘oh, no’ and ‘my goodness’ from the ‘moms-who-stay-home’ but yet use their slow cookers religiously.

I too used to be one of the ‘fast cookers’ who worked away from home. During those years I probably used my crock pot two or three times a year. We also ate way more fast-food in those days than we do now. Running around like I did from job to home to kid activity, it’s a wonder we weren’t malnourished. Dominoes did a very brisk business on our street as well.

Strangely enough, many folks believe that since I’m home all day, just playing with kids and checking my email (yeah right,) meals should be a total breeze. Heck, to hear them tell it I should be preparing gourmet meals everyday with a smile on my face while sporting a pearl necklace and high heels. Again I say, ‘what?’ Hello, twenty-first century here people. If we’re working at home these days, most likely you’re finding us not only minding our young children, but simultaneously running successful home businesses. Without some effective meal planning, we’d still be keeping the pizza delivery guy running in style.

So how does the crock pot make life easier? Not rocket science folks. I don’t even spend time planning out a month’s worth of meals. As long as I have a good supply and variety of meats and other staples in my kitchen, along with some simple crock pot recipes that my family will actually eat, I’m set. Getting it all started in the morning takes anywhere from five to ten minutes. While I’m making coffee and listening to my little ones enjoy yet again another episode of ‘Dora’, I plop the ingredients into the pot, and after putting the lid on and setting the button on low, I’m done. There’s nothing more to think about, and my house smells fantastic all day long.

Get that crock pot down from the attic, dust it off, or better yet clean it first, find yourself some delicious recipes and you’ll be on your way to joining the ranks of the moms of the ‘Slow Cooking Renaissance.’ Enlighten yourselves to the benefits of crock pot cooking and watch your lives improve and your families beam with joy as they devour your results.

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How to Can Homemade Blueberry and Peach Pie Fillings

During the summer and fall months, I enjoy going to our local orchard and farmers markets here in Pennsylvania and purchasing our fresh fruits. I will bring them home and freeze or can them for use during the winter months.

Pie Fillings

One of my favorite things to can is homemade pie fillings. Canning is not hard to do and there are many books out in the marketplace that will explain how to do home canning. You can find free information on the internet that will also explain how to do home canning, along with the supplies that you will need to do the processing.

The following 2 recipes are the ones I use to make homemade blueberry and peach pie filling.
Blueberry Pie Filling

4 1/2 quarts of fresh blueberries
1/2 cup lemon juice
rind of one lemon, finely grated
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon mace
5 1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 1/2 cups water

Wash and remove stems from blueberries and then drain. Combine lemon juice, grated lemon rind, ground nutmeg, mace, granulated sugar and water in a large pan. Cook until the mixture begins to boil. Fold in the blueberries and cook for an additional minute. Ladle mixture into clean hot jars. Clean the jar rims and seal. Process quart jars in a water bath canner for 30 minutes.

Peach Pie Filling
6 lbs. fresh peaches
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 3/4 cups water
5 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Wash, peel, pit, and slice peaches. Loosen skins in boiling water for 35 seconds, then submerge in cold water. Gently peel off the skins. Place slices in a container of water until all peaches are sliced. Combine lemon juice, water, granulated sugar, ground cinnamon, ground cloves and nutmeg in a large saucepan. Stir and cook over medium heat until mixture boils. Drain peaches and add to syrup mixture. Cook for 3 minutes. Ladle the mixture into hot jars. Clean the jar rims and seal using water bath canner for 30 minutes.

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Creating the Perfect Vegetable Tray

If you are hosting a party, you will need to create a presentably appealing vegetable tray. Creating a veggie tray is really easy if you plan ahead and gather everything that you will need before you begin to assemble your tray.


You will need a round serving tray or a specially designed veggie tray that has divided cavities for placing your vegetables in. If your tray doesn’t come with a vegetable dip container, you will need to supply one.
It is recommended that you choose 5-7 vegetables to present on your party tray.

Wash and pat dry all of your vegetables. Cut off any roots, stems or unwanted leafy portions.

Vegetable Selection:
Leafy Lettuce: Separate the lettuce leaves and use them to line your vegetable tray.
Broccoli: Cut florets off the stalk into individual serving-sized pieces.
Cauliflower: Cut pieces from head of cauliflower into individual serving-sized pieces.
Cherry Tomatoes: Remove stems. Wash and pat dry.

Cucumbers: You can remove the skin or leave it, that is entirely up to you. Slice cucumber into 1/4″ thick round slices.

Carrots: If using baby carrots, you will will not need to slice them down. If using full-sized carrots, you will need to slice them down into sticks measuring approximately 1/4″ by 4″ in size.

Celery: Cut off leafy portions. Cut celery stalks into 4″ long pieces.
Radishes: Cut off top portion of radishes and any roots that might remain. It is best to use radishes that are less than 1 1/2″ in diameter.

Mushrooms: If you are using baby mushrooms, leave just a 1/4″ of the stem remaining. If using larger sized mushrooms, slice them down into individual pieces.

Green Pepper: Remove the stem and seeds. Cut down into sticks measuring 1/4″ by 4″ in length.

Arrange the lettuce leaves on your tray, covering the entire bottom of the tray. Take your prepared vegetables and arrange them around the tray in sections. Try to keep your colors separated and spread out the green colored vegetables. I like to use a green vegetable, then a colored vegetable and then another green vegetable and so forth as I go around my tray. Leave an opening in the center of your tray for your vegetable dip.
Once you have all your vegetables onto the tray, its time to garnish the tray.

Garnish Ideas:
If you are using a flat serving tray, you can separate your vegetable sections by laying a celery stick or carrot stick between each section. I like to add some additional color by garnishing with green and black olives, purple cabbage curls, radish shaped flowers or even a few green and red grapes.
Here is a great dip recipe.

Dill Weed Vegetable Dip
1 c. sour cream
1 c. mayonnaise
1 tbsp. dill weed
1 tbsp. parsley
1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. minced onion
Mix all ingredients together until well blended. Chill for several hours before serving. Serve with raw vegetables. Makes 2 cups.

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