NoTakeOut – Great Meals Made Easy

nto_logoHas it been pretty hectic around your house? Do you feel like you have no time to get dinner on the table when you get home? Well NoTakeOut has made it easy on you, they have great meals made easy for anyone on the go.

THE SKINNY: No more mediocre meals cobbled together last minute.  No more trolling recipe websites to figure out what side dish might work with steamed halibut.  No more shopping fiascos — like when you arrived home without eggplant for the ratatouille. helps you plan, prep and cook an entire meal, not just one dish.  We provide a complete menu, a shopping list and a game plan – basically, we help you organize to go from kitchen to table with ease.

‘Making mealtime manageable’ is kind of a mantra for us.  When you say you’re busy, we get it: you’re taking care of kids, working, shopping, maybe grabbing a workout –  oh yeah, and the laundry… You don’t need another hassle!  Our goal is to make food, meals and dining-at-home an easy family ritual and a daily pleasure.

Each day they give you a menu, with a side dish and even suggestions on what wine goes best with the recipe of the day. Tools you may need, shopping list and pantry items. And they give you serving size, prep time and total time. Check out NoTakeOut for yourself and start cooking tonight!

Heating up Your Workout in the Cold

In an article I read on Divine Caroline by Allison Ford, she talks about heating up your workout in the cold outdoors. We all seem to slow down a bit during winter, due to the weather outside or the activities that keep us occupied. Allison has some helpful tips to help you when you are out there in the cold working out.

  • Exercising is an especially good idea during wintertime because people so often feel heavy and sluggish during that season. Our bodies have evolved to respond to cold weather by becoming hungry; burning fuel creates heat, which warms us up. Studies have shown that people who get regular exercise in the winter experience 20 to 30 percent fewer colds than nonexercisers.
  • One of the biggest exercise myths is that those dedicated folks who work out in the cold are burning more calories than those of us who prefer to keep our workouts indoors. About 75 percent of the energy we produce during exercise is lost to heat, and in the winter, our bodies use that heat to keep us warm. Those who do winter sports that require heavy equipment might burn some extra calories lugging their skis, helmets, showshoes, skates, or boots, but the caloric difference between cold and warm weather is negligible for people who are simply jogging, walking, or hiking.
  • Cold weather dampens our thirst, so be sure to keep drinking plenty of water. Even if we’re not sweating as much as in the summer, we still lose moisture through exhalation.
  • Also, winter is no excuse not to wear sunscreen.
  • Of course, a good warm-up and cooldown are even more important during the winter, to be sure your muscles stay warm and pliant.
  • Begin your exercise by heading into the wind. On your return, you’ll be bolstered by the wind at your back and less likely to experience wind chill if you’re sweaty.

For the complete article click here.

Holiday Meat Reheating Instructions

Another set of helpful tips from Whole Foods. Left overs are a way of life during the holidays, but a lot of people have no idea how to correctly reheat their meat.

Pre-roasted and Smoked Whole Turkeys – If the turkey has been slow roasted until it is fully cooked, all you need to do is heat and serve as follows: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Remove turkey from bag and place in a roasting pan. Roast for 1 1/2 – 2 hours until hot and nicely browned.

Pre-roasted Turkey Breast – If the turkey breast has been slow roasted until it is fully cooked, all you need to do is heat and serve as follows: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove turkey breast from bag, place in a roasting pan with a small amount of chicken stock and cover with aluminum foil. Heat until warmed.

Spiral Ham -Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove from bag and place on a roasting rack in a roasting pan. Cover with aluminum foil and heat until ham reaches an internal temperature 155 degrees F. Remove from oven and let rest 20 minutes before serving.

Boneless Prime Rib – Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Pour Au Jus into bottom of roasting pan. Place the Seared Prime Rib into roasting pan and then place in oven. Cook the roast for approximately 55 minutes for “Rare” and an additional 15 minutes longer for each increment of doneness. Use a probe thermometer to check the desired temperature.

  • 120-130 degrees F. = Rare
  • 130-140 degrees F. = Medium
  • 150-160 degrees F. = Medium well
  • 160 degrees F + = Well done

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving. Remove and strain Au Jus from pan to serve with prime rib.

10 Tips For Staying Thin During The Holidays

ThanksgivingFeastTomorrow is one of my favorite days in the whole year. A day of Thanksgiving with family and friends, enjoying everything that we’ve been given, including wonderful foods like turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and so much more. What a great day to sit back and eat more than one could hardly bear!

Someone told me yesterday that the average person gains 5-8 lbs. over the holiday season. As I am continuing working on losing weight over the next year, I do not want to gain back the weight that I have worked hard to lose over the last few months. I’m hoping to simply ‘break even’ and consider that a success for the holidays.

So what are some ways that I (and you if you’re in my boat) can keep the holiday weight off? Here’s ten things I’m going to try:

1. Control My Portions:
Probably my biggest issue. I can enjoy more of the variety of holiday foods if I eat less of them in their portions. I have to get over my goal-oriented sense of eating and simply enjoy the food, but in smaller portions.

2. Lighten the Load:
Many of the holiday foods can be made with less sugar and fat. Here are some suggestions:
# Use fat-free chicken broth to baste the turkey and make gravy.
# Use sugar substitutes in place of sugar and/or fruit purees instead of oil in baked goods.
# Reduce oil and butter wherever you can.
# Try plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream in creamy dips, mashed potatoes, and casseroles.

3. Eat Breakfast:
I know this seems counter-productive, but having a little food in your stomach when the big meal comes helps one control their cravings better and keeps you from overeating. It also prevents your body from storing your Thanksgiving feast into more fat because you’re not eating on a consistent basis.

4. Save Your Seconds:
Try to eat everything you need and want in one helping and resist going back for seconds. Save them for leftovers the next day, when you can enjoy them more and feel like you’ve overeaten less.

5. Get Active:
Create a calorie deficit by exercising to burn off extra calories before you ever indulge in your favorite foods, suggests Connie Diekman, MEd, RD, former president of the American Dietetic Association (ADA). “‘Eat less and exercise more’ is the winning formula to prevent weight gain during the holidays,” Diekman says. “Increase your steps or lengthen your fitness routine the weeks ahead and especially the day of the feast.

6. Slowly Savor:
Eating slowly, putting your fork down between bites, and tasting each mouthful is one of the easiest ways to enjoy your meal and feel satisfied with one plate full of food, experts say. Choosing whole grains, fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, salads, and other foods with lots of water and fiber add to the feeling of fullness.

7. Spread out the food and fun all day long:
Rather than eating all of the food in one hour, enjoy your meal throughout the day. Take a walk in between the meal and dessert, put out appetizers before the main meal, you will be able to enjoy the food over a longer period of time and keep curb your appetite more effectively.

8. Be Realistic:
Switch from a mindset of ‘weight loss’ to ‘weight maintenance’ over the holiday season.

9. Focus on the Holiday Foods:
Save room (and calories) for the foods that only come around once a year! Don’t waste tons of calories and space on foods that you can eat any time of the year.

10. Focus on Family and Friends:
While the food of the holidays is tough to beat, the real focus during this holiday season should be on people. Spend time with family and friends, give to the poor and the hungry, and remind yourself that its about so much more than great food.

Good luck in your battle! Happy Thanksgiving!

Can Curry Spice Kill Cancer Cells?

374839_2703Found this article on the BBC News site online; Curry spice ‘kills cancer cells’. An extract found in the bright yellow curry spice turmeric can kill off cancer cells, scientists have shown.

I was surprised when I read this about Turmeric. My family tends to eat a lot of curry dishes but I had never heard of it having the ability to help kill cancer cells. The chemical – curcumin – they have found has properties that have started to kill cancer cells within 24 hours.

Dr McKenna said: “Scientists have known for a long time that natural compounds have the potential to treat faulty cells that have become cancerous and we suspected that curcumin might have therapeutic value.”

Dr Lesley Walker, director of cancer information at Cancer Research UK, said: “This is interesting research which opens up the possibility that natural chemicals found in turmeric could be developed into new treatments for oesophageal cancer.

To read the complete article click here.

Gaming Glasses Keep Your Eyes Fresh?

550As technology grows and more and more people are looking at various types of screens, whether they are computer screens, phone screens, tv screens or gaming screens, one has to start to wonder what that staring at screens will do to our eyesight. Enter Gunnar Optiks, a company that is promoting and advertising ‘technology glasses’ that reduce glare and relax and create healthier eyes for technology users.

But how are these glasses any different that regular eye glasses? Is there anything to these strange, overpriced glasses?

Arstechnica interviewed optometrist Krista Anderson. Her take? “Really, it looks like a great marketing strategy for stuff I tell patients everyday.

“The tints are pretty standard in the optical community. The advantages stated are all true… they haven’t reinvented the wheel, so to speak,” she explains. The amber tint is going to increase contrast when looking at computer or television screens, and the anti-reflective coating will also help. Anderson says that should help you “get back 8-10 percent of the 12 percent of usable light that we lose to glare, when worn in front of a light-emitting source such as a computer or oncoming headlights.”

She goes on to explain that the other features are also solid. “The AR coating and hard coat are nothing that I don’t recommend to everyone ordering glasses in my practice,” Anderson tells Ars. “The ‘hydrophobic and oleophobic’ components are no different from the premium coatings I use in my practice.”

In other words, the glasses do in fact have benefits for your eyes, but it’s more a case of a handful of well-known optical techniques all aimed at helping your eyes when you look at a computer or television screen for hours at a time.”

So how should gamers and IT workers alike take care of their eyes?

1. Make sure you get annual eye examinations and have proper glasses or contacts for your eyesight.

2. If you’re interested in the Gunnar Optiks, find out how much they might cost with the size and style you’re interested in, then ask your local optometrist if they can beat the price.

3. If you can, take five minute breaks away from comptuer screens. While these breaks seem small, they relax your eyes and renew their ability to focus. Also, eye drops can help keep eyes moist and less strained.

Fun and Unexpected Calorie Burners

274000_1093Exercise is important for a healthy body and brain but the cost of a gym membership is a bit too much for most these days. Ever since we had to sadly cut our gym membership from our budget, I have been looking for ways to burn calories and keep in shape. Over at divine caroline I found this article on fresh ideas for fun calorie burners.

Here are some of divine carolines ideas:


  • Hula hooping – up to 600 calories burned an hour.
  • Hacky sack – 263 calories burned an hour.
  • Sledding – 461 calories burned an hour.
  • Tai Chi – 263 calories burned an hour.

With a partner

  • Playing catch – 164 calories burned an hour.
  • Ping pong – 263 calories burned an hour.
  • Fast dancing – 316 calories burned an hour.
  • Slow dancing – 197 calories burned an hour.
  • Sex – 104 calories burned an hour.

With a group

  • Ultimate Frisbee – 527 calories burned an hour.
  • Water volleyball – 197 calories burned an hour.
  • Kickball – 460 calories burned an hour.

Around the house activities

  • Gardening – 263 calories burned an hour.
  • Raking the lawn – 283 calories burned an hour.
  • Painting – 296 calories burned an hour.
  • Mowing the Lawn – 362 calories burned an hour.
  • Grocery shopping – 151 calories burned an hour.

For more on Fun and Expected Calorie Melter’s click here.

Insomniacs Inquire Here

cant-sleep-transferLast night my wife and I had a wonderful evening back in our college town, enjoying one of our favorite restaurants and walking around campus. And, as a treat on our way out of town, around 7pm, we stopped and got some great $2 Tuesday Milky Way Blended Coffees at Dutch Brothers. Since it was $2 no matter what the size, I ordered the LARGE…and enjoyed every sip.

However, the enjoyment ceased when it was 3:30AM in the morning and I was as wide awake as a deer in the headlights. But, here are some advantages to my late night episode of insomnia:

1. I got A LOT of work down on various tasks that I had fallen behind on, and, not only could I not sleep, but the large blended coffee which was coarsing through my veins, create a hyper-speedy me.

2. I got caught up on all, and I mean ALL, of the late night shows, the late late night shows and the late late late night shows. I can now write a master’s thesis on the comparitive comedic techniques of Lettermen, Ferguson and Leno…(and yes, I intentionally left Jimmy Fallon out…he’s just not that funny…trust me, I have my masters in comedic techniques). Finally, at 5:10AM I decided to give sleep another try. I laid down for 37 minutes and 12 seconds and was just about to doze off when my wife’s phone rang for a substitute teaching job today. So, having what I deemed ‘sufficient’ amount of sleep for the night, I am sitting here telling you about my insomniatic, hyper-speedy, strangely productive, late-night-analyzing all-nighter.

3. The final advantage to this insomniac episode is that in three months time, my wife will be giving birth to twins, at which point I will not sleep for the rest of my life, making this night a moment of training for the future.

So here’s my question? What is it that keeps you up at night, aimlessly changing channels or wearing carpet into your floor by pacing up and down waiting for the tardy sandman to show up? Is it caffeine? Midnight snacks? Stress or anxiety? A desire to live like a racoon?

I know that this pattern is not healthy or one that I will continue (God-willing) but I’ve never got a post done this early in the day, so that’s got to count for something.

Join in the fun and let us know what keeps you up at night.

(The author of this post apologizes in advance for all random thoughts, comments and structure. Bolds and Italics were intentionally used to create a sporadic environment which is the current state of the author’s brain, inevitably resulting in a dramatic crash around 2pm this afternoon)

6 New Things To Try This Fall

1154833112559_autumn_sinvitationii2476flad001Today begins my favorite season of the entire year! There is nothing like the season of fall. The turn of leaves, the cool, crisp air, football games, costumes, Thanksgiving, and the list could go on and on. Autumn brings a renewed sense of focus and excitement, with school starting and the hot days of Summer disappearing. So here are some new things that you can try this fall to make it memorable and fun for you and your family.

1. Go for walks together-Get outside for winter hibernation and enjoy the changing colors of the trees.
2. Go see a football game-An essential American experience. Nothing beats the smell of hotdogs and BBQ, and the visual potpourri of a football game and all its excitement. A great family outing.
3. Paint pumpkins together-Go to a local store or pumpkin patch and pick out that perfect pumpkin. Take it home and enjoy carving or painting fun or scary faces for Halloween.
4. Play in the leaves-As the leaves fall and pile up in your yard, look at it not as a chore but a chance to have fun and play in the crisp, crunchy leaves.
5. Have Thanksgiving Dinner with family-Fall Holidays are a chance to reconnect with family. Don’t miss the opportunity to create memories and bonds around the Thanksgiving table.
6. Serve those who are homeless and cold-As you enjoy all of the wonderful parts to the fall season, don’t forget about those who are without a home or family. Bring the homeless hot chocolate or warm blankets to keep them warm through the winter.

Even if you’ve done this things before, all of these activities are great things to do in the season of fall. Enjoy the outdoors, the sights, sounds and smells, and connect with your family and help those in need.

Stay tuned on hackalife for some great fall projects and tips on how to save money and enjoy life to its fullest!

Tip From HackALife: Give Your Own Kids Flouride!

superstock_1555r-33033I was talking with a teacher yesterday who said that her school district is initiating a new program in their school district for elementary kids. Each day the teacher is to administer flouride pills to each student who’s parents consent to this program. That’s right, teachers are now brushing kids teeth for them. So now, not only are teachers asked to teach classrooms that are too full, be the behavioral, social, and educational guide for kids, discipline them when there parents don’t at home, but they also have to help them with dental care? At least students won’t be missing school home with ‘dental problems’.

In our fast-paced society, it is becoming increasingly clear to me that many parents send their kids to school and hope that in twelve years they turn out to be good people, hoping that they are ‘raised right’ at school, with no intention of raising the kids themselves. While hopefully most of you are actively involved in your kids’ lives, here are three ways you can find out more about what they’re doing at school.

1. Ask them questions: When your child comes home from school or you come home from work, sit down with them, share a healthy snack, and ask them about their day. Don’t just ask in passing and accept ‘fine’ as an adequate answer, give your child time to share what they learned that day and hear about what they went through and what they learned.
2. Help them with their homework: One of the most dreaded fears of a parent is being stumped on their children’s homework, but its the thought that counts. Taking time to work with your child gives them insights into what they are learning, let’s the know that you care about their education, and gives you a chance to motivate and encourage them when they ‘get it’.
3. Go to conferences and school events: If you never enter into your child’s world at ‘school’ there can be a disconnect for your child when it comes to home and school. Walking your kid to school, seeing their classroom at conference time or open house, and being a part of special school events, gives your child a chance to show you their world at school. Sharing those things with you makes the comfortable to open up more and more about what they are learning and experiencing.

Oh, and one more thing, give your kids flouride pills so that teachers can be teachers and not dental hygienists!