Mother's day ideas

7 Ideas to Make this Mother’s Day Special

This Sunday is Mother’s Day. One day devoted to appreciating the beloved women in our lives. For someone who did so much (and probably still does) one day is hardly enough, so the least we can do is make sure their day is extra special – beyond just the typical flowers and pedicures. Here are some ideas to show our leading ladies how important they are to us:

  • Grab brunch. It’s her special day, and she’s probably going to want to catch some extra zzz’s by sleeping in – she’s earned it. Bruch is a great way to grab a late breakfast and there are so many places in the Denver Metro area with delicious brunch menus. For something a little different try afternoon tea at the Brown Palace, which features scones, tea pastries and tea sandwiches along with a variety of delicious tea flavors.
  • Check out some art. The Denver Art Museum is the largest art museum between the West Coast and Chicago and is known for its American Indian art. General admission is free for kids. Also check out the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, which features an extensive collection of interior decorative art from 1875 to 1990.
  • Get some gardening inspiration. Mother’s day in Colorado is synonymous with the start of growing season. The Denver Botanical Gardens is North America’s largest collection of plants from cold temperate climates around the world, and features numerous xeriscaped exhibits with drought-tolerant plants from around the world.
  • Take her to a Rockies Game. This Sunday, the Rockies face off against the Los Angeles Dodgers, in what should be an exciting divisional matchup. Rockies games are great fun for the whole family, and Coors Field is one of the most enjoyable places to spend a day outside. After the game, there are plenty of places to grab a nice dinner in LoDo.
  • Bike ride on Cherry Creek Trail. If we’re lucky enough to get a reprieve from the rain, take a bike ride down the Cherry Creek Trail. You can rent bikes from Denver B-Cycle, picking them up at DU or Cherry Creek, and taking them to Downtown Denver.
  • Colorado Chocolate Festival. This festival runs Friday and Saturday of Mother’s Day Weekend. What better way to treat your mom or wife than to “30,000 sq. feet of Chocolate Heaven”?
  • Take a tour at Celestial Seasonings. You’ll see the whole process from raw ingredients all the way to your cup. Along the way you’ll get to sample many of their tea flavors. The trip really gets interesting when you get to the mint room — the smell is intense!

One day a year doesn’t seem like enough time to appreciated the awesome women in our lives, but we can at least make their day at little more special. What are you planning for Mother’s Day?

Eat healthy this St. Patrick’s day

Next Tuesday, March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day. People across the nation will celebrate by wearing green, dying rivers green, and drinking green beer. St. Patrick’s day pays homage to our country’s Irish and Catholic Heritages—celebrating Ireland’s Patron Saint.

We have prepared a list of several delicious and healthy traditional Irish meals to make your St. Patrick’s Day complete. Easy to prepare and serve, these meals will be ready to eat as soon as you get home from Denver’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade this Saturday.

Corned Beef and Cabbage: The most well known Irish dinner, no St. Patrick’s Day would be complete without it. Corned beef derives its name from the seasonings meant to preserve the meat.

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs. of corned beef brisket
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • A head of cabbage
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • Butter
  • Salt, pepper, and thyme to taste

Instructions:

  • Place corned beef along with garlic, pepper, and some water (enough to cover meat) in crock-pot for 8 hours.
  • 30 minutes before it’s done, sauté carrots, onion, and garlic in a separate skillet until soft.
  • Add cabbage to skillet, if needed add corned beef water from crock-pot if skillet becomes dry.
  • Serve with corned beef over cabbage.

Irish Lamb Stew: Unlike Colorado, sunshine can be a rare sight in the Emerald Isle. March happens to be one of the snowiest months of the year for our state; for those days when the sun isn’t shining, here is a great recipe to warm you up.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. boneless leg of lamb
  • 2 lbs. of white potatoes
  • 3 leeks, thinly sliced
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced
  • 14 oz. can of chicken broth
  • Salt, pepper, thyme to taste
  • Fresh parsley leaves, chopped

Instructions:

  • Thinly slice leeks and celery; cut potatoes, carrots, leeks, and lamb into one-inch chunks.
  • Place in slow cooker, with chicken broth and season to taste (thyme, salt, pepper, etc.).
  • Cook for 8 hours, on low heat, or until meat is tender.
  • Add fresh parsley before serving with bread.

Shepherd’s Pie: Both filling and nutritious, this recipe originated during the 1790’s when it was a staple for the working class, hence the name “Shepard’s” Pie.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. of ground meat: lamb or beef
  • 1 lb. of potatoes
  • ½ cup of milk
  • Butter
  • Salt, pepper, thyme to taste
  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • ½ cup carrots, diced
  • ¾ cup frozen corn kernels
  • 14 ounce can vegetable broth
  • 1 ½ cups of lentils

Instructions:

  • Boil potatoes; mash until smooth with butter, milk, salt and pepper
  • Place mashed potatoes in a baking dish, and place in oven set to broil, so as to cook the potatoes even further.
  • Cook veggies, and meat of your choosing (traditionally served with lamb) in a saucepan, add seasoning as desired (salt, pepper, thyme). Heat veggies and meats in sauce pan until cooked.
  • Place veggies and meat at bottom of an oil coated baking dish, add potatoes on top. Place in oven set to broil, until potatoes are lightly browned. Serve.

Between lucky shamrocks and dancing leprechauns, St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most fun holidays of the year. We hope you will enjoy preparing and serving one of our favorite Irish dishes for your family and friends.

3 Ways to Keep off those Holiday Pounds

It might seem early for Christmas music and Hanukkah lights, but every year the holiday season seems to start a little sooner. As soon as the Halloween decorations are put away it’s time for Christmas lights, Hanukkah celebrations, pilgrims and turkey. Last week we talked about national diabetes awareness month, and how staying at a healthy weight greatly reduces your risk of developing Type II diabetes. The holidays make it hard to prevent putting on a few extra pounds, but we want to give you some ways to be proactive against those pounds.

Here are three areas that are most effective to help stave off the holiday weight gain:

Stay Active. People spend far more time indoors during this time of year, but that doesn’t mean you should allow the cold to keep you from exercising and staying active.

Colorado is arguably one of the best states for winter recreation look into picking up a winter hobby like skiing or snowshoeing. Or, if you really don’t like cold weather, get yourself a gym membership to avoid the shivers entirely.

Another idea is to take up a fitness class or join an indoor sports team (hockey or soccer, anyone?). Group activities are fun and make it easier to fulfill your fitness commitment. You can always find fitness videos online too, and there’s enough variety to do just about anything you want. BeFit’s YouTube Channel is an amazing resource for numerous types of workouts (abs, yoga, aerobic and anaerobic cardio) that you can perform without ever having to leave your living room. Remember, lack of exercise is the number one reason why people gain weight during the Holidays, so get moving.

Smart Tip: Aim for 3-30 minute sweat sessions a week minimum to elevate heart rate and kick start your metabolism and keep off the holiday weight gain.

Drink Water. It’s perhaps the unofficial motto of our state, and staying hydrated is just as important during the cooler months. Doctors recommend you drink at least eight-8oz glasses of water a day. Staying hydrated promotes a healthy body overall, and helps fight infections and illness as well as stimulating your metabolism to burn extra calories.

Drinking water also helps curb appetite. People often mistake thirst with hunger pains, and will grab something to snack failing to satisfy the initial craving. Try this—next time you start to feel hungry, grab a glass of water instead. Having 2 glasses of water during meals will help you feel full faster and has the side benefit of helping your metabolism process your meal.

Smart Tip: Carry a full bottle with you to drink in between meals-must finish before next meal.

Find healthy substitutes. Who doesn’t love the holiday feasts? But many holiday favorites are high in sodium, cholesterol, and saturated fats—substitute them for healthier alternatives. Everyday Health has some great suggestions for substitutes of popular holiday food and drinks.

A personal favorite are roasted sweet potatoes. Simply cut and brush the sweet potatoes with a little olive oil, maybe some honey and cinnamon for additional flavor, and stick them in the oven for 30 minutes at 375 degrees. They are naturally sweet, full off vitamins and nutrients, and at only 100 calories a serving they make for a great substitute for candied yams.

Smart Tip: Indulgences help us not feel deprived. Look at your calendar and decide when to indulge each week, maybe at your company holiday party, or best friends cookie exchange. You deserve that treat!

There’s a reason Santa is a fat and jolly ol’ man. It’s because he eats cookies and drinks milk all day. Exercise, stay hydrated, and make smart and informed decisions with your diet and you’ll be on your way to a healthy holidays and an even healthier New Year.

Our Favorite Fall Superfoods

Last week, we focused on different ways you can enjoy this beautiful fall season. At the top of the list was pumpkin’s power as an ingredient for seasonal favorites, like pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin pie. This superfood is more than just a delicious addition to recipes; pumpkin is rich in potassium and Vitamin B, plus one serving has about 20% of your daily-recommended intake of fiber. This is just one of the season’s superfoods, however, there are many other in-season fruits and vegetables that are both nutritious and delicious.

Check out our favorite fall superfoods and recipes below:

Apples: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” More important now during cold and flu season, this crisp fruit is full of antioxidants and four grams of dietary fiber per serving. Be sure to eat the skin to maximize the health benefits. Try this stuffed apple recipe from The Food Network for a sweet twist on traditional apple pie.

Brussels Sprouts: This vegetable has a mild, slightly bitter taste that makes it great combined with tangy and savory sauces like balsamic vinegar. Half a cup contains more than your daily dose of Vitamin K, plus these are a great source of folate and iron. Although I think they taste best by simply roasting with a little olive oil, garlic salt and pepper, this Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad is sure to please.

Cauliflower: The slightly nutty flavor of this veggie makes it perfect for fall side dishes, like a cauliflower mash. It has cancer fighting compounds and phytonutrients that may help lower cholesterol, plus it’s an excellent source of Vitamin C.

Parsnips: For a vegetable that’s not as well-known, parsnips resemble a white carrot and have a sweet, almost nutty flavor. They are great pureed in soups and sauces and are a good source of fiber and potassium. Try this Gingered Pear and Parsnip recipe for a delicious mix of tangy and sweet.

Squash: From butternut to acorn, winter squash has a finer texture and slightly sweeter flavor compared to its summer counterparts. Its think skin allows it to be stored for months and contains omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin A. There is no shortage of recipes for these versatile gourds, but they pair fantastically with other fall flavors like cinnamon and ginger. This hearty Beef and Butternut Squash stew is perfect for chilly nights, and this Squash Gratin or Roasted Squash with Brown Butter and Cinnamon both make delectable sides.

Sweet Potatoes: More nutritionally dense than white potatoes, sweet potatoes have lots of Vitamin A, iron and anti-inflammatory properties. This Thanksgiving favorite is also delicious roasted, or try them as a Sweet Potato Mash or in this Curried Sweet Potato Apple Soup.

Dates: This middle eastern fruit is sweet and can be braised for stews, chopped for desserts or stuffed with almonds and cream cheese. Low in fat, they have high amounts of fiber and potassium. Impress guests at your next get-together with this bacon and date appetizer.

To find out more about these superfoods and many more, visit http://bit.ly/1tykOjO.

Cooler temperatures and falling leaves make this time of year perfect to cozy up to a fire with family and friends. Impress loved ones with scrumptious seasonal offerings, and the health benefits are just a bonus. We won’t tell if you don’t.