Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Easy Cheesy Shrimp Pasta Recipe: Dukan Diet Approved


When I tell people I am doing the Dukan Diet and that it is a low carbohydrate diet, many questions start coming to me. However, one of the first ones is always: How can you live without pasta? To which I always reply – I eat pasta! as often as I like – just a different pasta – it is called Shirataki noodles!

Then I go to explain how they are made out of Yam and they are almost calorie and carbohydrate free, but the most important thing of all is that they look, feel and they taste just like pasta! So no I have not been missing my pasta at all!

Soon the questions turn to about how do I organize myself to have all the right meals on hand and ultimately – What do you do at the office? This last one I answer like this: I have  microwave at the office and with that I can cook anything! Really, I make a killer salmon, burgers, soups and this recipe for Cheese Pasta with Shrimps! In less than 6 minutes in the microwave!
So here it goes:
Ingredients:
·         1 package of Shirataki noodles (buy them at your local Asian Supermarket)
·         2 tbsp of reduced fat cream cheese
·         2 slices of reduce fat American Cheese
·         2 slices of deli ham
·         8 raw shrimp
·         1 microwave container (deep so you can boil the pasta in it)
·         1 paper cup with lid (the ones for coffee)
·         1 strainer (I use an empty package from Healthy Choice Fresh Mixers – it is a bowl and a strainer in one!)
·         Salt and Pepper to taste
Preparation:


Put the raw shrimp in the paper cup, add water to half way, put the lid on and microwave for 2 minutes.
 While shrimp is in microwave, put the Shirataki noodles in your bowl, strain the liquid and rinse thoroughly until their distinct smell goes away. Place the noodles in your bowl, add water to cover them. Remove shrimp from microwave, strain liquid and set apart. Put noodles in microwave for 3 minutes.
Remove noodles from microwave and drain all the water (noodles will still be a little watery). Put the cream cheese, American cheese, ham and shrimp over the noodles, sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover loosely and put back in the microwave for 30 seconds or until cheese melts. Remove from microwave and mix well – that is it!!!
Delicioso!!!



Monday, May 21, 2012

Win 1 of 3 Weight Loss Hot Pants by Zaggora!!


I just wanted to let you know that I am about half way through my Hot Pants challenge! and now you can join me - no more excuses!!! I have spoken to the nice people at Zaggora and they are letting me raffle not one, or two but three (yes 3!!!) Zaggora Hot Pants to my readers! How cool is that?

I cannot emphasize how much I love this pants. They are awesome! You put them on and you immediately feel them working - you will sweat like never before. I have also noticed that my skin is getting softer (do not ask me why but it is softer). I have not measured myself again, but will do in a week at the end of my challenge and will let you know results.

So how do they work you may ask. Here is the answer according to their site:

HotPants increase energy expenditure during excercise by 6% versus the control garment. HotPants increase energy expenditure in the hour after exercise by 26%*.


In 30 minutes of exercise, weight loss is around 4x greater in HotPants than in a standard garment. On average, subjects lost 1.13% of body mass in HotPants compared to 0.27% in the control garment.


HotPants increase the core body temperature by an average of 18% more than the control 
garment, which leads to an increase in metabolism.
.

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Now are you ready to give them a go? if so, please join the giveaway below - remember to let me know your e-mail on your comment so I have a way of contacting you:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note: You may have to pay a low amount for shipping (I paid $7 for mine) as they ship from the UK - it is worth it though - The pants are $72 plus shipping if you get them on the website.

Good Luck!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Easy Garlic Shrimp Recipe: Dukan Friendly



I love shrimp and since I started my Dukan Diet I have been eating a lot of them. They are so easy to make and versatile. I have been making them in many ways, but this is one of my favorites. You can make this recipe in less than 10 minutes.

Ingredients:


  • 10 to 12 frozen or fresh shrimps- clean
  • 4 Roasted Garlic cloves (see my recipe here)
  • Parsley or Cilantro 
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Preparation:

Spray a pan with PAM Olive oil, add the mashed garlic and cook a little. Add the shrimp and cook for about 3 - 4 minutes on each side. Add the Parsley/Cilantro and cook for about 1 or 2 more minutes until shrimps are done.  



Squeeze the juice of one lemon over the shrimp and turn the flames off.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve while hot.


See? I told you it was easy and quick. And most important of all - carb free!

Bilingualism: Facts or Myths?

Last week was Parents Week at Language Stars - this is my favorite week at the school as I am allowed to go and participate in the class and see first hand the progress the kids are making. My girl felt so special as the whole family was able to attend to her class.

While I was at the school I noticed a small post card that had a lost of myth and facts about learning a second language. I like it so much that decided to share it with you just in case anyone has any doubts about teaching languages to small children. So here you are:

My child will be delayed in his first language if he learns a send language too young.
MYTH: Children are not delayed in overall language development when learning a second language young. Research shows that a child who is exposed early in life to two languages achieves each and every milestone on the same timetable as the other language - and also on the same timetable as a monolingual child.

Children who learn another language young demonstrate better focus and multitasking skills.
FACT: Research shows that when learning multiple languages young, the brain is trained to pay attention to salient information and disregard non essential information, a skill that later supports memory, planning and multitasking skills.

Being Bilingual from an early age significantly alters the brain structure.
FACT: In recent brain research, scientist have discovered that bilingual adults have developed denser gray matter in the brain's left hemisphere, where most language and communication skills are controlled.

Starting a language young will enhance literacy development in the first language.
FACT: Learning a second language young actually improves reading abilities and general literacy in the first language

Mandarin is no harder to learn than Spanish.
FACT: New brains are equipped with the ability to pick up any language equally well. Infants and children learn the language that is used with them in everyday life.

My child has videos and CD's. He does not need a language class.
MYTH: Research shows that personal interaction improves sound acquisition and vocabulary much more than TV or CDs alone.

So here is more evidence that teaching Spanish to your kids is a good idea!


Disclosure: I will receive discounted tuition from Language Stars as compensation for this post. However all facts and opinions expressed in this post are true and my own. Language Stars have not asked me to write about anything in particular, only my true and honest opinion about my experience with their program.  This post have not been edited by a third person.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

On Mother's Day I have a present for my kids: A 50lbs lighter mom!


I am writing this post on Mother's Day after having a fantastic dinner with my family. I was waiting until today to let you all know that I have reached and surpassed the 50 lbs weight loss this week. I wanted to wait until today as I wanted to honor the day and because I am so proud to be able to do this for my kids, to give them a healthier, more energetic mami. A mom they can be proud of and not ashamed of.

I got a nice dress this week and I was shocked to see it is a size 6!! Today when I came downstairs with it, my boy's eyes lit up and he was so proud, he told me I looked beautiful, and that made my day!!! and it showed me that all these months of dieting and exercising were so well worth it.

If you are also trying to lose weight, I want to encourage you to continue, to try harder. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, you can go back to a healthier, leaner and stronger you! I lifted and walked with both my kids on tow (remember they are 6 and 8) and it was a great feeling and they laughed a lot with their strong mama!

The last few pounds have been quite difficult, last month was hard. I travelled a lot, got the flu, had people visiting and the kids were ill too. So all that contributed to less exercise and a little bit of cheating. So the weight lost did stall for a little. The good news is that the weight did not go up, and it showed me that you can control it, because life happens and you are not always working under ideal conditions. It showed me that discipline also helps, and knowing that if you stray a little it is OK as long as you work harder the next day.

I also changed a bit of my workouts last month, as I could not do as much Zumba as I was out of town. I took to running - I never thought I could do this, as I do not like running much. But I did, I run two 5K in the last 2 weeks in less than 35 minutes. I also walked a 10K and run/walked a 7K. The good news about running is that you can do it anywhere, you do not need equipment or a coach, just you and your shoes!

I am glad to be back to my Zumba classes though, next week I am stepping up the exercise as I want to solidify the 50+ lbs and hopefully in a few days go down to the next set of "10's" on the scale.

For the next 2 weeks I am also doing the Zaggora Hot Pants challenge - as I am now concentrating in losing weight on the stubborn areas  (read bum and thighs).

I am now so much closer to my final goal - I dusted a pair of Pepe jeans I got when I finished High School. I wore them day in and day out during college. I LOVE them - I have many good memories of them. Of course they do not fit yet, but they are out now as I can now see that it could be possible for me to wear them again. In about 10 more pounds I should be able to give them another go!!!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Looking HOT in my hot pants : The Zaggora Hot Pants challenge

Day 1 Picture

I am so excited about this post!! About 4 weeks ago I won a blogger sweepstakes and received a pair of Zaggora Hot Pants for a review, I have been waiting patiently for them to arrive in the post and they arrived today.

So what are Hot Pants? These are the answer to get rid of those stubborn pounds that are holding up to my bum, tummy and legs!!! As you know I have lost a lot of weight recently, but the last few pounds are being very stubborn and I need something to kick my weight loss up a notch! For the last 4 months or so I have been wearing one of those neoprene tummy bands to make you sweat. It works, but it kept going up when I moved and most importantly it did not cover the most important parts south of my tummy.



All along I kept thinking that there must have been something better than that. I did not know Hot Pants existed and I was ready to buy a Scuba Diving outfit to wear to the gym - no kidding! So while searching for Scuba Diving shorts, I found Hot Pants and my wishes came true!



Now let me explain what this whole challenge is all about:

The Promise: Loose up to 2 pants sizes in 2 weeks!

How: By wearing your Zaggora Hot Pants to do exercise for 30 minutes 5 days a week for 2 weeks.

What to do:

  • Measure yourself and write it down
  • Wear your Hot Pants and exercise
  • Measure yourself again and see results

So let's give a go - For the next 2 weeks I am going to give this a go. I am starting the challenge tomorrow. If you want to follow my progress, please go to my Facebook page, I will be commenting exactly what I do everyday! Do you want to do it yourself? then go for it! and let me know how you do.

Here are my stats (this is probably a bit more "disclosing" than I am accustomed too, but hey! it is all about transparency right?) Promise you won't tell anyone...

Measurements:

  • Waist: 31"
  • Hips: 40" 12'
  • Upper arms: 10" 10'
  • Bust: 37" (Happy if they stay like that - no more shrinking required please!)
  • Thighs: 23" 6'
  • Calf: 15"
  • Pant size: 8 to 10 (although I did nicely fitted a size 6 pair of jeans last week! )

Are you ready? I am ready to look HOT in my hot pants!

You can win 1 of 3 pairs of these Hot Pants in my latest giveaway - click here and good luck!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

My Mother's Day Present: Lavender!

Lavender - Photo courtesy of everything lavender.com
Este post esta en Español  abajo!

Lavender is by far my favorite fragrance just like my favorite color is purple. The scent of lavender transports me to a magical place, it relaxes my senses and it makes me happy! It is to my nose, like chocolate is to my mouth. So it will be of no surprise that I own countless creams, foot rubs and pillow scents made with Lavender.
What may be surprising is to know that even as green-thumbed as I am I have not been able to grow my own lavender at home. I have been living with that frustration for years. I think my early memories of lavender go back to my teenage years. My mother and I were lucky enough to spend a wonderful year in the South of England. Ahhhh!!! English Lavender smells heavenly and it brings me immense happiness: the memories of our Spring walks through the English Countryside; the sudden swifts of lavender scent that tended to follow us every time the wind was kind enough to disturb the lavender plants that are almost omnipresent in English gardens.
English Lavender - photo courtesy of Yorkshirelavender.com
My mother and I admired the beauty of the many spikes with clusters of tiny purple flowers, and succumbed to their aroma. We would pick a spike and press it between our fingers to release it fragrant oil while we walked. And walk we did! We did not have a car while we were there on our adventure so we walked everywhere: to English school, to the supermarket, to the sea front. And everywhere we went the smell of lavender went with us.
We eventually went back home and when I grew up, I moved back to the UK. When I finally had my own house, I started to learn about gardening inspired by my lavender love. Leaving in a separate country from my mother was then and continues to be very difficult. One of the things that unites us is funny enough my garden. Every time my mother comes visit she helps me in the garden, we weed together and plant bulbs, vegetables and flowers. While she I away, she tells me about her own garden, what is growing, what is not, and we often engage in flower conversations, which I enjoy very much.
My first attempt to plant lavender was in London, we had a small house with a beautiful bay window overlooking a square patch of grass at the front of the mews. I planted a row of several lavender plants at the foot of the window, envisioning their purple flowers growing strong and tall so I could see them through the glass while seating on my lounge. Well they never took, and never grew strong and dense, despite my neighbours’ advise and the site of her huge, beautiful lavender bushes!
When we moved to the US I tried again, but somehow the soil in my Connecticut house did not like my lavender plants either. I planted them every Spring and Fall in different corner of the garden and they would die the following season. We are now in Chicago, and here we have no hope, the intense winters will not allow my lavender to thrive. I have not tried here, maybe I should. Plant it in a pot and overwinter it indoors.
In the meantime, I keep getting my lavender fixes with hand creams and soaps and candles. It is as close as I can get to the real thing.
Mother’s day is this Sunday and it makes me a little sad that my mum is so far away, but as usual we will celebrate together, I send her flowers (purple and whites) and we talk on the phone, exchange recipes and talk about the kids. This Sunday I want to do something different and something many mother neglect to do, I am treating myself to a relaxing day. My mom keeps telling me to better look after myself, to take time for me for once, to slow down, so I will listen – just this once!

My local Walgreens
So I headed this afternoon to my local Walgreens to get myself a present while my baby girl was at gymnastic class. I wanted a lavender present for my relaxing Mother’s day, I told my husband I wanted an afternoon in the garden followed by a long lavender scented bath!! 
I went to shop with my auntie, who is visiting from Venezuela and we chose all the perfect items for my bath.  We wondered the isles and stopped at every purple container that we saw that could contain lavender and that could be good for a nice bath!

New Glade Lavender and Peach Blossom
I got the new Glade plugins scented oil in Lavender and Peach Blossom to put in my wall just before the bath. A nice dry brush that apparently you are to use before the bath to help circulation going and reduce the dreaded cellulite (not that I have any!), a loofah sponge to exfoliate during the bath, 3 bars of chocolate (dark with sea salt!! the best combination) and for after the bath a firming cream with Q10 (that is also supposed to be good) and an eos lip balm.

My bath tools for Mother's Day!
To complete the package I got a nice bouquet of pink, purple and white flowers!

Love flowers!
I now feel armed to spend a great Mother’s day, I will make a point of running a hot bathe with lavender flower salts, I will call my mum and we will together remember our good times!
Ready to be wrapped... or shall I bother?
As this is a post about Mother's day - I thought it would be nice to also do it in Spanish so my mum can actually read it too, so here you are - ahora en Español:
Lavanda es sin duda alguna mi aroma favorito, al igual que mi color favorito es el morado. La fragancia de lavanda me transporta a un lugar mágico, relaja mis sentidos y me hace feliz! Es para mi nariz, como el chocolate es para mi boca. Así que no es extraño el que posea infinidad de cremas, jabones y esencias de lavanda.
Lo que puede resultar sorprendente es saber que aunque soy muy apta para la jardinería yo no he sido capaz de mantener mis propias plantas de lavanda en casa. Llevo viviendo con esa frustración durante años. Mis primeros recuerdos de lavanda me llevan a mi adolescencia. Mi madre y yo tuvimos la suerte de pasar un año maravilloso en el sur de Inglaterra. AHHHH! La lavanda Inglesa es un aroma celestial y me trae una felicidad inmensa: los recuerdos de nuestras caminatas de primavera a través de la campiña inglesa con sus aires repentinos de esencia de lavanda que tendían a seguirnos cada vez que el viento era lo suficientemente amable para perturbar a las plantas de lavanda, que son casi omnipresentes en los jardines ingleses.
Mi madre y yo admirábamos la belleza de los muchos picos con racimos de las pequeñas flores púrpuras y sucumbíamos a su aroma. Solíamos escoger una espiga y presionarla entre nuestros dedos para liberar ese aceite fragante mientras caminamos. Y como caminamos! No teníamos carro mientras estuvimos en nuestra aventura por Europa, por lo que caminamos a todas partes: a la escuela de inglés, al supermercado, al mar. Y a todas partes que íbamos el olor de lavanda caminaba con nosotras.
Finalmente nos devolvimos a casa, nuestro país y cuando crecí, regresé al Reino Unido. Cuando por fin tuve mi propia casa, empecé a aprender sobre jardinería inspirada por mi amor a la lavanda. Vivir en un país separado de mi madre fue y sigue siendo muy difícil. Una de las cosas que nos aun une a pesar de la distancia es mi jardín. Cada vez que mi madre viene de visita ella me ayuda en el jardín, cortamos malezas y plantamos bulbos, hortalizas y flores juntas. Cuando ella no está aquí, hablamos con frecuencia acerca de su jardín, lo que ha plantado, y lo que no se le da.
Mi primer intento de plantar lavanda fue cuando estaba en Londres, teníamos una pequeña casa con una hermosa ventana bahía con vistas a un parche cuadrado de césped al frente de la casa. Plante una fila de varias plantas de lavanda al pie de la ventana. Soñaba que sus flores púrpuras crecieran fuertes y altas, para poderlas ver a través del vidrio cuando me sentara en la sala. Pero nunca pasó. Las plantas no crecieron ni fuertes ni altas, a pesar de la buena asesoría por parte de mis vecinos que tenían unos arbustos de lavanda enormes y hermosos!
Cuando nos mudamos a Estados Unidos intenté de nuevo, pero de alguna manera el suelo en mi casa de Connecticut no le gustó a mis plantas de lavanda tampoco. Las plantaba cada primavera y otoño en una esquina diferente del jardín y se morían en la siguiente temporada. Ahora estamos en Chicago y aquí no tenemos esperanza, los intensos inviernos no permiten que la delicada lavanda prospere. De verdad aquí no he probado, tal vez debería. Plantaré una en un bote y la meteré a casa a pasar el invierno.
Mientras tanto, sigo disfrutando de mis fragancias de lavanda con cremas y jabones y velas. Es lo más cercano que puedo conseguir a una verdadera planta.
El Día de la madre es este domingo y me pone un poco triste que mi mamá esté tan lejos, pero como de costumbre celebraremos juntas, le enviaré sus flores (moradas y blancas) y hablaremos por teléfono para intercambiar recetas y hablar de los niños. Este domingo quiero hacer algo diferente y algo que muchas madres no hacen por si mismas tampoco, quiero tener un dia para mi! Y me compre mi proprio regalo. Mi mamá me vive diciendo que me debo cuidar mejor a mí misma, que consiga tiempo para mí, que frene mi tren de vida. Así que la escuché – sólo esta vez!
Esta tarde me dirigí a mi Walgreens local para comprarme mi regalo mientras mi niña estaba en clase de gimnasia. Quería un regalo de lavanda relajante! Hoy le dije a mi esposo que yo quería que me ayudara en el jardin por medio día y que cuidara a los bebes para poderme dar un baño relajante!
Fuí de compras con mi tía que esta de vacaciones, y compramos los perfectos accesorios para un baño perfecto. Para antes del baño compre el  nuevo Glade plugins scented oil en Lavender and Peach Blossom y un cepillo seco para cepillarse el cuerpo antes de entrar al agua. Aparentemente esto aumenta la circulación y te ayuda a disminuir la apariencia de la celulitis (no es que yo tenga nada de eso!). Para durante el baño compre una esponja loofah, que son muy buenas exfoliadoras, y 3 barras de chocolate (oscuro con sal marina - Lo mejor!). Para despues del baño me compre una crema con Q10 (que tambien es bueno para reafirmar la piel) y un brillo labial de eos. Unas florecitas moradas, rosadas y blancas completaron el paquete!


 Ahora me siento armada para pasar un gran día de la madre, voy a trabajar en mi jardín y lo terminare con un baño caliente con sales de flor de lavanda, llamaré a mi mamá y juntas recordamos nuestros buenos tiempos!


Si te gusta el olor a lavanda, unete a la conversación de twitter - sigue a #MamasGlade!


Para ver que más compré haz click aqui!


My new Lavender Plant!

Disclosure: I am a member of Collective Bias Social Fabric and this post is part of a shopping study sponsored by SC Johnson. I have been compensated to participate, however my opinions are real. This post has not been edited by any third party. #CBias #SocialFabric
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