Monday, 31 March 2014

Croque-Monsieur Sandwich

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

4 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

6 slices white bread

6 slices Swiss cheese

12 slices thinly sliced deli ham

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Makes for 4 servings.
Use half the butter to spread over each slice of bread. On 3 of the slices spread Dijon mustard over the butter and 4 slices of ham. On the other 3, spread mayonnaise, and 2 slices of Swiss cheese. Press the ham and cheese sides of sandwiches together.

In a flat bottomed dish, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, eggs, and water until blended. Set aside.

Heat the remaining butter and vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Dip both sides of each sandwich in the egg mixture, and fry in the oil and butter until browned, flipping when brown on each side.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Red Pepper Soup

2 tablespoons butter

Spinach and Orzo Salad

1 (16 ounce) package uncooked orzo pasta                                                

Friday, 28 March 2014

Huaraches De Pollo

Huarache is a popular Mexican dish consisting of an oblong, fried masa base, with a variety of toppings.  This dish is most popular in its hometown of Mexico City.  The name "Huarache" is derived from the shape of the masa, similar to the popular sandals which have the same name!
The huarache can be bought pre-bought or can be made ahead of time, ready for frying.
If you wish to make the huarache the recipe is at the bottom.   
4 boneless chicken breasts
2 cans of El Pato sauce (a hot-style tomato sauce)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped in small dice
Whole spinach and radicchio leaves
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
1 avocado sliced
Sour cream
Queso fresco cheese (if hard to find, use cheddar) 
Pinto beans, mashed
Boil the chicken in a medium-sized pot of water, salt to taste.
While chicken is boiling chop the onion to add to the chicken later.
Take the Pinto beans and mash them up - if store-bought, warm them up as well.
When the chicken is cooked, shred it.
Heat a saucepan and add some oil.  When hot add the onions and sauté.  Add the chicken and the El Pato sauce, just enough to coat, not too thick.  Add a few dashes of cumin and season with salt to taste.  Cook in saucepan for about 10-15 minutes until it is hot.
With the chicken ready and beans mashed, fry the huarache in a bit of oil in a pan.
Assemble the huaraches by taking one just fried, spread a layer of beans on top.  Then top with chicken, avocado, onions and then sprinkle some Queso fresco or cheddar on top.
Top the huaraches with spinach and radicchio leaves. 
Drizzle with sour cream .
Serve with salsa!
Huarache Recipe:
2 cups dehydrated masa flour (corn tortilla flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups fat-skimmed chicken broth
In a bowl, stir the masa flour, baking powder, salt and broth until the dough holds together well, add a little water if needed.
Divide the dough into 4 equal portions.  Shape each portion into a 6-inch long log onto a sheet of waxed paper.  Pat each log into a 1/8-inch thick oval, about 4-inches by 6-inches.
If prepared ahead, stack with waxed paper, wrap airtight and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.



Killer Strawberry Kiwi Green Smoothie


  • 1-2 tablespoons flaxseeds
  • 2 cups fresh organic spinach
  • 1 cup wheatgrass 
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 2 cups frozen strawberries
  • 2 whole fresh kiwis 
  • sweetener (optional - I don't use any, but you may want to if you are still getting used to green smoothies.  If you do need it, go for stevia, agave syrup, or honey)
Preparation Instructions:

1.  Put all ingredients in the blender (VitaMix!) in the order listed.

2.  Blend until smooth and there is a vortex in the middle.

3.  Serve and enjoy!!!


Tropical Smoothie

How to Make a Smoothie

The Pink Breakfast Smoothie

Slammin' Sunrise "Green" Smoothie


  • 2-3 cups organic spinach
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1-2 cups frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseeds 

Preparation Instructions:
  • Blend until smooth and vortex is created in center of blender (VitaMix!).
  • Pour and garnish with a fresh strawberry.
  • Serve and enjoy!!!

Parmesan Garlic Roasted Potatoes

  • Potatoes Cut in to smaller size pieces (I use Russet Potatoes)
  • A few tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • Fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 450 °F. 

Cut potatoes into cubes or wedges.  Bring a pot of water to a boil. 
Add the potatoes and cook for 3 to 6 minutes depending on size.

While potatoes are cooking put oil in cast iron skillet or other heavy
pan and heat in oven.  

Drain the potatoes  and place them back in the pot.  Put the pot back
on the burner and shake to dry the potatoes and to rough up their
surface. This is what gives roasted potatoes that perfect crust.

Add the potatoes to the hot oil , toss to coat and roast turning once or twice.

When potatoes are almost tender sprinkle with fresh
garlic and Parmesan, salt and pepper and continue roasting until
potatoes are tender.  Turn at least one more time for even browning.  

Just before serving, toss with fresh chopped parsley.

Original recipe:

Pressed Mozzarella and Tomato Sandwich

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained, reserving 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 loaf ciabatta bread (about 5 ounces), split horizontally and hollowed out
  • Romaine lettuce leaves
  • 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together mustard and oil until thick; spread on bread. Layer bottom half of bread with some of the lettuce, then cheese, tomatoes, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Top with remaining lettuce and bread.

Wrap sandwich tightly in plastic; place on a baking sheet. Top with another sheet, and weight down with canned goods or a heavy skillet. Refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to overnight to meld flavors. Cut in half, and serve.

Original recipe:

Roast Turkey Cuban Sandwich

  • 1 bun (sliced in half)
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon cranberry sauce
  • 2 slices roast turkey breast
  • 2 slices swiss cheese
  • 2 slices smoked ham
  • 2 slices dill pickle


1. Assemble the sandwich and brush the outside with a bit of oil.
2. Grill the sandwich until golden brown on both sides, about 1-2 minutes per side.

Simply Strawberry Green Smoothie

Simply Strawberry Green Smoothie – Ingredients: 2 cups frozen strawberries 1/2 frozen banana 2 tablespoons flaxseeds 3 cups fresh organic baby spinach 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk – I changed the proportions of this a bit and used regular milk instead of almond milk, but I really liked it! Spinach in a smoothie is really good and makes it looks like guacamole!


Hummus Vegetable Sandwich

  • 2 slices whole-wheat bread
  • 1/4 cup store-bought hummus
  • 1 tablespoon store-bought tapenade (olive spread)
  • 1/4 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 coarsely grated carrot


Spread 1 slice bread with hummus; spread remaining slice of bread with tapenade. Top hummus with cucumber slices and carrot. Place bread with tapenade on top to form a sandwich.

Greek Salad Sandwich

  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3 ounces crumbled feta
  • 8 slices rustic bread or olive bread
  • 1/2 medium cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 tomato, thinly sliced


In a food processor, pulse chickpeas, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and parsley until finely chopped. In a small bowl, stir together onion, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 2 teaspoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. In another small bowl, mash feta with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Spread chickpea mixture on
4 slices bread. Top with cucumber, tomato, and onion mixture; season with salt and pepper. Spread feta mixture on 4 more bread slices and place on top of sandwiches.

 original recipe:

Chocolate, Caramel Peanut-Butter Rice Krispies Treats

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 10-ounce bag marshmallows or mini-marshmallows
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 7 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 14-ounce bag unwrapped caramels
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1½ cups peanut butter, divided use
  • 12-ounce bag semisweet or dark chocolate


Butter a 9- by 13-inch pan. Also butter the pot and utensils you will be using to melt the marshmallows.

Place 3 tablespoons of butter and the marshmallows in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until melted. When completely melted and smooth, stir in vanilla. Turn off heat and stir in cereal until completely coated; the mixture will be very sticky. Pour into buttered pan. Coat hands with butter and press in mixture firmly. Place in the refrigerator to chill. In another saucepan, place caramels and water over low heat, stirring frequently as caramels melt until smooth. Add 1 cup of the peanut butter to the caramel and stir until completely blended. Pour onto the chilled Rice Krispies mixture and spread to the edges. Place pan back in the refrigerator.

Over low heat, melt the chocolate in a saucepan, stirring frequently and being careful not to scorch the chocolate. When melted, add in the remaining 1/2 cup of peanut butter, stirring until smooth. Pour chocolate mixture over caramel layer, spreading to the edges in an even layer. Place dessert in the refrigerator and allow to set up for about 1 hour or until chocolate is firm to the touch. Cut into squares or rectangles when firm.

Bars are easiest to cut when cold but are best eaten at room temperature or only slightly chilled.


No-Bake Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Cookies

Get kids helping out in the kitchen with this great starter recipe. Serve these tasty treats cool and sliced into squares.From the book "Mad Hungry," by Lucinda Scala Quinn (Artisan Books).

No-Bake Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Cookies

yield: Makes 16 squares

  • 4 cups Rice Krispies
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups salted peanut butter
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with wax paper or baking parchment. Place the corn syrup and sugars in a large saucepan over medium heat and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat.

Stir in the peanut butter and mix well to combine. Quickly stir in the vanilla and Rice Krispies. Spread into the lined baking pan. Cool and slice into squares.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Summer Peach and Balsamic Pizza

  • 1 batch organic pizza dough / (use your favorite recipe)
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced or grated
  • 2 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
  • 4 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped basil


To prepare the balsamic reduction, pour balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan, bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the vinegar has reduced to 1/4 cup, about 20 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F or as high as your oven will go. If you have a pizza stone, preheat the stone in the oven for at least 30 minutes to allow it to get thoroughly hot.

Divide dough into tennis-ball sized pieces. Take one piece of dough and punch it down on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out into a circle approximately 1/4-inch thin. Place the pizza on a pizza peel or pan that has been generously coated with corn meal. Lightly brush with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Top with mozzarella, goat cheese, and peach slices. Drizzle the pizza with balsamic reduction. Repeat for remaining pizzas.

Place the pizza in the oven-directly on the pizza stone, if using one, or on the oven rack. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until pizza crust is golden and cheese is melted. Remove from oven and top with basil and drizzle with balsamic reduction. Cut into slices and serve.

Taco Pizza

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning mix
  • 2 (8 oz.) cans Pillsbury crescent rolls
  • 1 (16 oz.) can refried beans (I used the jalapeño kind)
  • 2-3 cups shredded cheddar cheese or Mexican blend
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • 4 green onions, chopped


  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Brown ground beef and drain. Add taco seasoning to the ground beef according to the package directions.
  3. Unroll crescent rolls into rectangles. Place in ungreased 11 1/2 inch x 16 1/2 inch jelly roll pan or cookie sheet. Press dough over the bottom and 1/2 inch up sides to form crust.  Bake at 375 oven for 11 to 13 minutes or just until golden brown.
  4. Microwave beans in a microwave safe bowl for 1 minute.  Carefully spread beans over warm crust creating a thin layer.
  5. Top with cooked beef mixture, sprinkle with cheese followed by tomatoes, black olives and green onion.  Return to oven for 3-6 more minutes until cheese is melted.  Serve immediately.  Makes 12 main dish servings or 48 appetizers.
   original recipe:

Baked Cheese & Broccoli Patties

  • 2  teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2     cloves garlic - minced
  • ½     onion - chopped
  • 1     (12 ounce) bag frozen broccoli - defrosted (or you can use fresh steamed broccoli or broccoli rabe)
  • ¾     cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ½     cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • ⅓     cup parmesan cheese
  • 2     eggs - beaten
  •     salt/pepper


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Heat the oil in a small pan over medium heat, add in the garlic and onions. Season with salt/pepper to taste. Sauté until onions are garlic are tender, set aside to cool.

Add the broccoli to a kitchen towel. Wrap the towel around the broccoli and squeeze out the extra moisture. (that step is not as important when you use fresh broccoli, its just a way of getting all the extra moisture out of frozen broccoli, you don't want it to be real wet) Place the drained broccoli into a large bowl, add the onion and garlic and mix gently.

To the same bowl, add the panko, the cheeses, eggs, and salt/pepper to taste. Mix together and form into patties, place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Flip and bake for another 15 minutes or until browned and crispy.


Broccoli Cheddar Twice-Baked Potatoes

  • 4 medium-sized baking potatoes
  • 1 cup finely chopped broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup (loosely packed) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2-4 tbsp milk (or more, as needed)
  • salt and pepper to taste


Do-It-Yourself Citrus Vinegar Cleaner

Lower Your Blood Sugar Juice

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Chocolate Smoothie

Strawberry Pineapple Smoothie

Avocado Chicken Parmigiana

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 (6 ounce) container plain low-fat yogurt
1 lemon, juiced...
1 cup dried bread crumbs, seasoned
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 Cup Tomato Pasta Sauce
2 Avocado, Sliced
1/2 Cup Grated Mozzarella Cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Place yogurt in a small bowl and stir until creamy smooth. Add lemon and stir together. (Note: If you do not stir the yogurt first, the lemon juice will make the yogurt curdle.) In a separate shallow dish or bowl combine the bread crumbs, garlic powder and salt to taste; mix together.
In a 9x13 inch baking dish place 1 scant pat of butter or margarine for each chicken breast. Rinse chicken breasts and pat dry. Dip each breast in the lemon/yogurt mixture, then in the bread crumb mixture (coating completely but not heavily).
Place coated chicken in the baking dish and top each breast sprinkle with chopped parsley and bake in the preheated oven for 30 mins. Remove from oven and spread each chicken breast with 1 heaped tablespoon of pasta sauce. Arrange avocado slices over sauce and sprinkle with decent amount of mozzarella cheese.
Return to oven and bake for another 5 - 7 minutes or until golden and chicken is cooked through. Enjoy!

Baked Ravioli


  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1-½ Tablespoon Minced Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Thyme
  • ½ teaspoons Oregano
  • 1 can Stewed Tomatoes (14.5 Oz)
  • 1 can Diced Italian Flavored Tomatoes (14.5oz)
  • Salt To Taste
  • Pepper To Taste
  • 2 pounds Frozen Ravioli
  • ¼ cups Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 cup light Shredded Mozzarella+ Cheddar Cheese


1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat.
3. Add minced garlic and saute with salt and pepper for about 1 minute.
4. Add thyme, oregano and tomatoes.
5. Bring sauce to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.
6. Break up tomato chunks with a spoon as much as possible.
7. Scoop most of the bigger tomato chunks out and blend (I used a magic bullet, but a regular blender would work too) till chunks are gone. (There will still be some chunks, but small ones, you don’t want any full sized tomatoes in your sauce).
8. Return blended mixture to the sauce.
9. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
10. Meanwhile, cook ravioli in a large pot of boiling water, until they float to the top (pasta does not need to be completely cooked because it will continue to cook in the oven). You can use the package instructions for al dente.
11. When it’s done, drain water from pasta.
12. Toss pasta and sauce in a large bowl.
13. Pour pasta into a 9×13 pan.
14. Top pasta with Parmesan cheese, then mozzarella cheese.
15. Bake for 20 minutes, until pasta is golden. Enjoy!

Do Fish Oil Pills Really Work?

Two recent studies have indicated that fish oil capsules may not confer any benefits to the health-conscious.  Both studies looked at whether supplementing one’s diet with long-chain ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids resulted in a reduced rate of cardiovascular disease (CVD).  The studies found no significant protection against such diseases when compared to other types of dietary fat.

Dr. Rajiv Chowdhury, a cardiovascular epidemiologist at the University of Cambridge, stated that of the range of fats studied, only trans fats showed a clear negative effect on heart health.  Chowdhury co-authored the review published in the March 18th Annals of Internal Medicine.

“Looking at the 17 randomized clinical trials that we combined, the majority of the trials, especially the more recent and large scale ones, showed consistently little or no significant effect on reducing coronary disease events,” Chowdhury said.

Additionally, saturated fats, considered unhealthy, posed no additional risks for heart disease according to Chowdhury.  They carried about the same cardiac risk as unsaturated fats, omega - 3 fatty acids and omega - 6 fatty acids.

The second study, published March 17th in JAMA Internal Medicine came to the same conclusion although the study had originally been reviewing the use of omega – 3s for eye health.  Researchers, however, used the data to examine whether the supplements could also help prevent heart disease.

The Council for Responsible Nutrition, a trade association representing the diary supplement industry, released a statement calling the new reports “potentially irresponsible” and reproaching them for causing “nutritional guidance whiplash.”


Health Benefits of Cloves

Cloves are native to the Moluccas, formerly known as the Spice Islands of Indonesia. They have been consumed in Asia for more than 2,000 years. Arab traders brought cloves to Europe around the 4th century, although they did not come into widespread use until the Middle Ages when they became prized for their pungent flavor that served to mask the taste of poorly preserved foods. 

While for a long time, they were cultivated almost exclusively in Indonesia, today the leading clove-producing region is Zanzibar in Eastern Africa. In addition to these two regions, cloves are also grown commercially in the West Indies, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, India, Pemba and Brazil.

Health Benefits of cloves
This powerful plant can be used in myriad ways to heal the body. Along with other vitamins and minerals like vitamins C, K, and calcium, cloves can treat multiple diseases which are caused by a deficiency in nutrient dense foods – from cardiovascular problems, depression, and even cancer.

1) The active principles in the clove are known to have antioxidant, anti-septic, local anesthetic, anti-inflammatory, rubefacient (warming and soothing), carminative and anti-flatulent properties. The super spice also contains health benefiting essential oils such as eugenol. It is a phenyl-propanoids class of chemical compound, which gives pleasant, sweet aromatic fragrances to the clove-bud. 

2) Clove oil contains a chemical that may decrease pain. People use the oils, dried flower buds, leaves, and stems to make medicine.

3) Eugenol has local anesthetic and antiseptic properties, hence; useful in dental care essentials as well as in treatment procedures. Clove is applied directly to the gums (used topically) for toothache, for pain control during dental work, and for a complication of tooth extraction called “dry socket.”

4) The active principles in the clove may increase gut motility as well as improve the digestion power by increasing gastro-intestinal enzyme secretions. Thus, helps relieve indigestion and constipation problems.

5) Clove oil is also applied to the skin as a counterirritant for pain and for mouth and throat inflammation. 

6) Clove is used for upset stomach and as an expectorant. Expectorants make it easier to cough up phlegm. Clove oil is used for diarrhea, hernia, and bad breath. Clove and clove oil are used for intestinal gas, nausea, and vomiting.

7) The spice also contains a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, selenium and magnesium. Potassium is an important electrolyte of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme,superoxide dismutase.

8) In combination with other ingredients, clove is also applied to the skin as part of a multi-ingredient product used to keep men from reaching orgasm too early (premature ejaculation).

9) In manufacturing, clove is used in toothpaste, soaps, cosmetics, perfumes, and cigarettes. Clove cigarettes, also called kreteks, generally contain 60% to 80% tobacco and 20% to 40% ground clove. Eugenol, one of the chemicals in clove, acts like menthol to reduce the harshness of tobacco smoke.

10) Further, the spice buds contain very good amounts of vitamin A and beta-carotene levels. These compounds are known to have antioxidant properties. Vitamin A is also required by the body for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin in addition to essential for vision. Consumption of natural foods rich in flavonoids helps to protect the body from lung and oral cavity cancers.

11) Additionally, this spice is a good source of vitamin-K, vitamin-B6 (pyridoxine), thiamin (vitamin B-1),vitamin-C and riboflavin. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals.

12) Eugenol also has been found to reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics, but further detailed studies required to establish its benefits.

13) It is a good remedy for treating morning sickness. Take around ten grains of cloves, mix them with tamarind and palm sugar and make it into a nice mixture using water. Drink this solution twice a day as an effective treatment.

14) Common cold can be treated effectively by drinking a lukewarm mixture made with ten drops of clove oil and honey. Drink it twice or thrice a day.

15) The essential volatile oils functions as a rubefacient, meaning that it irritates the skin and expands the blood vessels, increasing the flow of blood to make the skin feel warmer, making it a popular home remedy for arthritis and sore muscles, used either as a poultice or in hot baths.

16) Cloves and clove oil when taken together can provide relief from Nausea.

17) Clove is mixed with water and used in the preparation of tea to overcome flatulence.

18) Clove is also an aphrodisiac and its fragrance eliminates exhaustion and fatigue related thoughts. It thus soothes the senses and relieves stress in the body. Mix cloves with basil, mint and cardamom in water to make a flavoured tea. Take this along with honey to provide you relief from stress.

19) It is also thought to have natural anti-parasite (kills intestinal worms) function.

 20) In foods and beverages, clove is used as a flavoring. Its seasoning capabilities make it very easy to blend in many dishes, beverages and desserts. It helps to provide strong flavour and aroma to the food.

Health Benefits of Mint

Health Benefits Of Mint:

1) Relieves Indigestion 
Mint is said to be a very good remedy for upset stomach and other associated signs like vomiting, nausea, excess gas, acid indigestion and bloating. Mint is packed with antioxidants and phytonurients that do wonders for your stomach. The menthol present in Mint helps the enzymes necessary for digestion and helps the process along, by acting on the smooth muscles of the stomach. These muscles when activated work more efficiently relieving indigestion. It is also known to calm stomach cramps, help beat acidity and gets rid of flatulence.

2) Potential anti cancer agent
Mint has a potent phytochemical that can prevent various types of cancers. Called perillyl alcohol, In animal research studies this phytonutrient has been shown to stop the growth of pancreatic, mammary, and liver tumors. It has also been shown to protect against cancer formation in the colon, skin, and lungs. Its benefits in this particular area are still under the scanner when it comes to humans.

3) Gives you smooth glowing skin
The strong antioxidants present in mint leaves, gives your skin a natural glow and re-hydrate dull and dry skin. Mint has a high content of salicylic acid which helps prevent pimples, blemishes and even helps get rid of blackheads. Juice from Mint leaves act as anti-pruritic agent and has the ability to soothe and calm an itchy or infected skin. 

Also the high content of salicylic acid, which is found naturally in mint, is an active ingredient used in many skin care products, it plays a helpful role in treating acne inflammations. The acid loosens up dead skin cells, allowing them to shed easier, thus preventing your pores from clogging up and resulting in fewer pimples and clearer skin.

Mint oil, however, has served as a natural astringent, and people have used it to treat pimples, wounds and rashes for a long time. You can even use it to help heal bites from mosquitoes, wasps and bees. Because mint contains vitamin A, it may strengthen skin tissue and help reduce oily skin.

4) Helps fight oral infection.
Mint leaves are packed with anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. That is why they are so great to for your oral health. It kills bacteria in the mouth preventing tooth decay, beats bad breath and keeps your tongue and teeth clean naturally. Just chew on a few leaves on mint regularly to keep dental diseases at bay.

5) Helps relieve the pain associated with menstrual cramps
Since mint leaves purify the blood and have an anti-spasmodic effect on the soothe muscles of our body, it is a great remedy to relieve the pain of menstrual cramps. It also relieves nausea associated with the condition. Just brew a hot cup of mint tea and sip it several times through the day. It will make you feel calmer and soother your uterus too. 

6) Helps in Irritable Bowel Syndrome
According to Ayurveda practitioners, it is also very beneficial for patients suffering from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). It helps the muscles in the stomach relax and promotes overall digestion. Drink a cup of pudina tea after every meal by either boiling the leaves along with a few green tea leaves or on their own for maximum benefits. 

7) Boost Immmunity
Mint leaves are packed with nutrients such as calcium, phosphorous, vitamin C, D, E and small amounts of vitamin B complex. All these compounds put together improves the body’s immune system, keeping it safe from infections and inflammation.

8) Beats stress and depression
In aromatherapy mint extract is used to beat stress and rejuvenate the mind. Breathing in the fumes of mint helps relax the body and calm the mind, freeing it of stress. It releases a small amount of serotonin in the brain that also helps beat depression. If you are feeling low, add a little mint leaves or mint extract to your bath water, or use mint extract on a vaporizer to get some relief.

9) Helps relieve cough and respiratory disorders
The strong aroma of mint is very effective in clearing up congestion of the nose, throat, bronchi and lungs, which gives relief for respiratory disorders that often result from asthma and the common cold. As mint cools and soothes the throat, nose and other respiratory channels, it relieves the irritation which causes chronic coughing. Mint has a very strong aroma which helps open up the airways and allows relaxed breathing. It is also an expectorant and helps the expulsion of phlegm, allowing the patient recover faster. Its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties help relieve inflammation along the respiratory tract. 

10) Helps in Asthama
In case of asthmatic patients, put one drop of mint extract in warm water and inhale the fumes through the mouth and push out the steam through your nose. This way mint extract passes through your throat and nose relieving both the areas. According to Ayurvedic doctors, simply planting a mint plant outside the window of an asthma patient will help keep the diseases at bay.

Besides these major health benefits mint is widely used for industrial purposes like ice-cream and chocolates and chewing gums, beverages, cosmetics, medicines, inhalers and breath fresheners, it is also used as a condiment and a decorative item in culinary preparation around the world. Drinks and foods containing mint cool you off in the summer, and it is often included in summer cocktails for a refreshing burst of flavor. 

Home Remedies for Acne Scars

What causes Acne?

Usually it affects you before your big days and ruin your plans. Acne usually appears on the face and shoulders, but can also occur on the arms, body and legs and buttocks. Although acne is common in teenagers, anyone can get acne even children also. There are many factors or reasons of getting acne, some of the most common causes are:
  • Hormonal imbalance or changes in hormone levels due pregnancy, puberty and stress. 
  • Using bad cosmetics which are greasy and oily. 
  • Improper eating habits or intake of certain drugs like estrogen and steroids. 
  • If you are a night owl and don't get proper sleep. 
  • Higher humidity and sweating can also cause pimples or acne 
These reasons may inculpate acne on you beautiful skin which results in painful pimples. The pimples, zits or blemishes whatever you name it, includes whiteheads, blackheads, and inflamed patches of skin. These pimples usually occur when the tiny pores present on the skin gets clogged due to dirt or bacteria. You need to do some simple things that can help in treating your acne,

Clean your skin with a mild soap or face wash twice a day (avoid too much of scrubbing) In case you hair is too oily, then comb it back and keep it away from your face and shampoo your hair regularly.

Acne creates a considerable distress and you want to get rid of it by any means. Though there is not definitive cure for acne, you can eminently treat it using many natural remedies. Let me help you with some pretty simple and natural remedies to get rid of acne

The toothpaste is one of the easiest remedies that can help you get rid of your acne problem. Apply a small amount of toothpaste on the acne before going to bed it helps you reduce the swelling of the zit and dries it out. This remedy will help you get rid of acne very soon. Cover the tooth pasted pimples with a bandage for better results.

2) Clay mask

Take clay and mix it with enough water and make a thick paste and apply it directly on the blemishes or affected areas and leave it on for about 20 minutes or overnight and wash it with cold water. This is one simple and quick way to get rid of acne.

3) Cucumber

It is one of the simple natural treatments used for the treating acne. It also refreshes the skin making it feel young. Blend the cucumber into a smooth paste and apply it on the acne affected area and wash it off after 30 to 40 minutes for better results.

4) Honey 

Honey can be used as natural skin moisturizer. You can apply honey on the affected area for about half an hour and wash your face with lukewarm water first and then use cold water to close the open skin pores. It also has antiseptic properties, it can also be used as a facial mask by mixing it with powdered nutmeg in same quantity. Use this mask regularly by applying it for half an hour to stop the acne formation completely.

You can make cinnamon powder, take about half tablespoon of this power and mix it with honey to make a smooth paste. Apply this paste on the blemish and leave it for an hour or overnight. This will help you reduce the acne.

5) Fenugreek
Make a smooth paste from fresh fenugreek leaves and apply this paste on the affected areas and leave it for 10 to 15 minutes then wash your face with lukewarm water. Continue the same process for 3 to 4 days to heal acne completely.

6) Neem
Neem Or Indian Lilac is one of the excellent herbs that help preventing acne formation on your skin . Take some Neem leaves and make a smooth paste out of them. Apply the paste regularly to get a smooth and acne free skin.

7) Grapes

Grapes are one of the rich sources of Vitamin C which helps in skin care. Consuming grapes regularly or rubbing them over the affected area and washing it off after 15 to 20 minutes will help in acne prevention. Doing this will relieve you from the pain and inflammation and helps closing the pores.
8) Yogurt

Yogurt contains lactic acid and many natural alpha hydroxy acids that have exfoliating effects, which helps in rejuvenating skin and acne scarring. Organic yogurt is very gentle and is very useful for reducing acne. Use yogurt by applying it on the acne and leaving it for 10 minutes for better results.

9) Orange

Orange peel contains high Vitamin C making it a perfect element for treating blemishes. Its juice and peel both can be used to treat acne. Dry the orange peel under the sun and grind it into a fine powder. Make it into a fine paste by adding water and then apply it on the affected area, allow it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes and wash your face with warm water.

10) Lemon Juice

A dab of little lemon juice is very useful in acne treatment. It helps you clean up the dirt, which got accumulated on the skin pores and will shrink the pimple. Apply lemon juice with little amount of rose water or rub with a slice of lemon on the affected area and leave it for few hours or overnight and then rinse the affected area properly.

Also consuming more dairy products, leafy vegetables, carrot, fish and cereals, which are rich sources of vitamin A, helps in reducing the formation of acne and scars. Regular intake of iron supplements and vitamin A will help you keep away from acne.

These home remedies won't guarantee the fastest results, but will give you permanent results. Natural remedies prolong the youthfulness of your skin. Try these simple and natural remedies that help you get rid of acne completely. Hopefully these home remedies will work for you as it has for many.

Get Rid of Blackheads and Whiteheads Naturally

Maintaining a clear and beautiful skin, takes time, consistency and effort. Dermatologist may recommend lots of products, but some of them can be expensive and may actually take a long time to work. You can, however, incorporate some home remedies for blackheads and whiteheads into your daily beauty regimen and in a few weeks, you will experience a drastic reduction or even total elimination of the problem.

Remember – Be gentle to your skin. Never pinch, scrape, poke, press, or squeeze too hard!

Expose your black heads and whiteheads to steam. The heat from the steam produced by boiling water will help open up your pores and release the dirt and oil backed up inside. Once you remove that bacteria, your black heads and white heads will heal much faster. 

Boil water and pour into a shallow bowl. Place your face over the bowl, putting a towel over your head to trap the steam. Stay there for about ten minutes, then immeditaly wash your face with a mild soap to remove the dirt and oil you just released. You can also expose your black heads and white heads to a steam room or the steam created by a hot shower

Get the right medication. Your dermatologist can prescribe a medication that will be stronger than exposing your skin to steam. The Cleveland Clinic says medications containing retinoids will help kill the oil and bacteria trapped inside your white heads and black heads.

Use aloe vera to get rid of your white heads and black heads. Aloe vera contains an ingredient that can calm down the swelling of your acne and speed up the healing process. Either use the juice from an aloe vera plant or buy aloe vera gel at the store. Rub the gel or juice into your black heads and white heads with your hand or a cotton ball and let it evaporate into your skin.

You can try an extractor on your white heads and black heads. An extractor is a tool that looks like a scissors but has loops on both ends. Place those loops around your black heads or white heads and gently squeeze until the dirt and oil oozes out of your skin. Make sure you correctly clean the extractor first with a sanitizer or boiling water. You may visit an esthetician for the treatment as improper use of the extractor can cause scarring.

Maintaining a clear and beautiful skin, takes time, consistency and effort. Dermatologist may recommend lots of products, but some of them can be expensive and may actually take a long time to work. 

You can, however, incorporate some home remedies for blackheads and whiteheads into your daily beauty regimen and in a few weeks, you will experience a drastic reduction or even total elimination of the problem.

Toothpaste – Toothpaste is an effective blackhead and whitehead remover. Apply a thin paste to your infected areas and let it sit on your face for at least 25 minutes. You will probably feel a burning sensation when you apply the toothpaste, but this is normal and will pass. Once you remove the toothpaste, the top of your blackheads and whiteheads will disappear, but you still need to thoroughly wash your face to remove the buildup underneath. Repeat this home remedy every other day for two weeks.

Almond or oatmeal – Mix either oatmeal or almond powder with just enough rose water to make a spreadable paste. Apply it to your problem areas with your fingertips first and then apply it to the rest of your face. Let it set for about 15 minutes and then rinse your face with cold water.

Rice – Soak rice in milk for 5 hours and then grind this in a blender until it is paste-like in consistency. Use the paste as a scrub on affected areas of the body.

Potatoes – Grate raw potatoes and then rub the area with the mixture. Wash it off after 15 minutes.

Fenugreek leaves – Crush some fenugreek leaves and mix with water to form a paste. Put this on the face for 15 minutes and then remove it. Do this every night to keep your face free of blackheads.

Coriander leaves – Mix some coriander leaves and a little turmeric powder with water and form a paste. Use this as a mask to eliminate blackheads.

Oatmeal -Grind oatmeal into a powder in a blender and then add some rose water. Use this on affected areas for 15 minutes and then wash it off with cold water.

Baking soda – Prepare a mixture of equal parts of baking soda and water and rub it onto your face or other body areas prone to blackheads. Leave it on for 15 minutes and then rinse it off with warm water.

Honey - is also good for removing blackheads. Spread honey on the affected area and remove it after 15 minutes

Tomato – Tomatoes have natural antiseptic properties that dry up whiteheads and blackheads. Peel and mash a small tomato. Apply the tomato pulp to your blackheads and whiteheads before going to bed. Leave the tomato pulp on your face while you sleep and then wash your face in warm water in the morning.

Lemon -Wash your face in warm water. Then, squeeze the juice of one lemon into a bowl. Add in a pinch of salt and stir the mixture. Apply the mixture to your blackheads and whiteheads. Leave the mixture on for approximately 20 minutes and then wash your face with warm water again.

Lime – You can also use equal parts of lime juice and cinnamon powder and apply this mixture to blackheads. Leave it on overnight and rinse it off in the morning

Cornstarch – Mix about a three-to-one cornstarch to vinegar ratio into a paste. Apply it to your problem areas and let sit for 15 to 30 minutes. Remove the paste with warm water and a washcloth.

● Yogurt
- Mix three tablespoons of plain yogurt with two tablespoons of oatmeal. Add one teaspoon of olive oil and one tablespoon of lemon juice to the mixture. Stir the mixture thoroughly and apply it to the effective area of the face. Let the mixture sit for five to seven minutes then rinse off with cold water.