Category Archives: Health Issues

Fabulous Salmon Salads Fit for a Caesar

In honor of summer just beginning, this Saturday I want to inspire you with ideas for how to create incredible salmon dishes for hot (or cool) summer days. This first photo was taken at the Boat House in Disney Springs, Florida. It had field greens, butternut squash, Honeycrisp apples, feta cheese, chopped bacon, toasted pumpkin seeds and a maple vinaigrette dressing…and was possibly the best salmon salad I’ve ever eaten! Epcot’s Rose & Crown Restaurant also serves an excellent salmon dish, although perhaps geared more for a cool evening. Their pan-roasted Scottish salmon dinner was outstanding! It included Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, new potatoes, baked apples, and a lime-saffron infused Aioli sauce. I’ve already written up a recipe for Aioli sauce (https://kathrynwarmstrong.wordpress.com/2017/03/18/lenten-special-ahi-tuna-with-super-simple-aioli-sauce/) but I want to point out that you can add many different touches to make it even more memorable. I’ve also since learned that the English have a trick:  Adding a little garlic to mayonnaise makes a simple dressing that can actually compete in my affection with ketchup for dipping french fries. (But, never call them “french fries” in England! They’re “chips!”) Another fantastic salmon salad I had was in Hawaii. This one was honey-glazed, grilled, and put to rest on a bed of spinach with red onions, bacon bits, slivered almonds, and mandarin oranges with a tangy orange-basil vinaigrette. Obviously, nobody wants to give away their signature recipes, but I’ve learned from experimenting that you can use equal parts of your favorite vinegar and oil (or even your favorite Italian), add whatever you like to give it an extra spark (be it maple syrup, basil and bits of grated orange peel, or anything else that suits your fancy and seems like it might complement your dish), plus some salt and pepper…maybe a little onion or garlic powder…and voilà! You’ve created your own unique take on salad dressing!Here is one of my own creations, just a garden salad with peppers, cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, black olives, and Parmesan cheese.  Really, salmon (or any meaty fish) is very versatile. When our kids were little, we couldn’t afford to eat fish very often, but Alan says that having fish once a week is a healthy practice, so I’ve been trying to serve it more.This time I loaded it heavily with fresh garlic and Italian dressing before grilling it, then served a mango/onion/avocado salsa and asparagus as sides. I’ve also tried grilling the asparagus (basted with a little oil and salt) along with the salmon, then added potato salad and cold slaw. This special occasion included “salmon mignon.” (Mignon may be defined as “small and delicate” but I really think it means “round, fat, and especially juicy!”) If you’re looking for a perfect summer lunch party idea, this salmon served on a bun with veggies and a side salad might meet your needs. After walking around Mackinac Island a few weeks ago, this flavorful meal from the Village Bell totally refilled my tank! (Ranch dressing added to the sandwich was a good touch.) Even a chunk of grilled salmon atop a simple Caesar salad made of Romaine leaves, croutons, and grated Parmesan cheese tossed with creamy Caesar dressing can totally satisfy most people on a warm day. Hot or cold, summer or winter, salmon is always considered a royal treat… fit for a Caesar, or for your favorite people. Happy Summering! Hopefully, I’ve given you a few ideas that will add fuel to the fire of your creative culinary imagination!And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:9-13).

Refreshing Virgin Pina Colada Smoothies

Those of you who know me well know that I don’t drink anything alcoholic. In fact, I’ve never had an alcoholic drink in my life and don’t intend ever to have one unless Jesus  himself offers me one when I get to heaven (which I’m doubting will happen). However, I love fruit flavors, variety, and pretty stemware, so I love experimenting with various non-alcoholic drinks, and here’s one that’s perfect for a warm day when you feel like celebrating!

Refreshing Pina Colada Smoothies
(makes four 8-0z. servings, although only three are pictured here)

In a juicer or blender that can handle ice, add:
2 cups ice
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup crushed pineapple
1/2 cup cooled coconut syrup (recipe here if you need it:  https://kathrynwarmstrong.wordpress.com/2018/04/21/pineapple-pancakes-and-coconut-syrup/ )

I was serving it for dinner so didn’t add yogurt, but if you want a healthy breakfast drink with some protein, add 1 cup of plain Greek (or regular) yogurt. With yogurt added, it will serve 5. If you add another cup of ice, you can serve six, and it still tastes plenty strong and sweet.

For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you” (Philemon 1:7, ESV. May we be a source of refreshment and joy to those who visit our homes this summer!)

How Are You Feeling About Growing Older?

Here is something that’s been going around on Facebook. I have no clue who originally wrote it, but it seems to resonate so well with the Baby Boomer set that I thought it might encourage my blogging buddies too! You don’t have to be really “old” like me to participate. Apparently anybody over 25 might feel “old,” so anybody’s welcome to add a photo or thought, and it doesn’t have to be limited to women. I’m thinking even men might feel a little insecure as you age, since growing older isn’t just a problem women have to grapple with!   If you can’t leave a photo in the comment box, send it to me via FB (Kathryn W. Armstrong) or email (kathrynwarmstrong@gmail.com) and I’ll make a post for us all! I also very much welcome any thoughts or encouragements you might have heard or learned on your own journey through life so far.

Here’s how it goes:

To all my female friends of “age”… Most of us are going through the next stage of our lives. We are at that age where we see the wrinkles… gray hair… extra pounds. Menopause has already shown up or just waiting around the corner. We see the pretty 25 year olds and sigh. But we were 25 too, just like they will one day be our age. What they bring to the table with their youth and zest for life, we bring with our wisdom, experience and good hearts. For all we’ve been through earning each gray hair… raising kids, bills and ills and whatever else life brought you/us over the 30s, 40’s, 50’s, & 60’s we are survivors… we are warriors… we are women. Like a classic car or fine wine. While our exterior may not be what it once was, it is traded for our spirit, our courage and our strength to enter this chapter of our lives with grace and pride for all we’ve been through and accomplished. Never feel bad about aging. It is a privilege denied to many. 🙏🏻
Ladies [and I’ll add: “Men”], I’ve just posted my photo above, and I challenge you to add your photo, age, and any bits of wisdom you’d like to contribute in the comment box below!                          My age is 67.

“Also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come” (Psalm 71:18).

Don’t Forget (to) Breathe

If you want to be inspired by an incredible story of love overcoming all, be sure to watch the 2017 account of Robin and Diana Cavendish, an amazing love story recounted by their son as a tribute to their unfailing love for one another through devastating illness.  The acting is excellent.  (The heroine, Claire Foy, totally charmed us in her role as Elizabeth in The Crown, a fascinating look into the reign of England’s longest [and still] reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth.) I don’t want to tell you too much of the story lest I ruin it,  but it is a beautiful example of love and faithfulness  despite overwhelming challenges. As a result of their unbounded devotion to one another —and to making life worth living—their work has resulted in helping thousands of severely disabled persons! Ready to be inspired? Then it might be time to watch Breathe!For in him [the Lord] we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

Advice for Baby Boomers

In keeping with my cogitations on Baby Boomers and senior health, I received this “helpful” advice. It definitely made me laugh, so I’ll share it in case you need something to brighten your day:

Most seniors never get enough exercise. In His wisdom, God decreed that seniors become forgetful so they would have to search for their glasses, keys and other things, thus doing more walking. And God looked down and saw that it was good.

Then, God saw there was another need.  In His wisdom He made seniors lose coordination so they would drop things, requiring them to bend, reach, and stretch. And God looked down and saw that it was good.

Then God considered the function of bladders and decided seniors would  have additional calls of nature, requiring more trips to the  bathroom, thus providing more exercise.  God looked down and saw that it was good.

So, if you find as you age, you are getting up and down more, remember it’s God’s will. It is all in your best interest even though you may feel like muttering under your breath. 🙂

Six  Useful Thoughts to Consider as We Grow Older

#6  Death is the number 1 killer in the world.

#5  Life is sexually transmitted .

#4  Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

#3  All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.

#2   In the 60’s, people took LSD to make the world weird. Now the world is weird, and people take Prozac to make it normal.

#1  Life is like a jar of jalapeno peppers. What you do today may be a burning issue tomorrow.

For thou art my hope, O Lord God: thou art my trust from my youth.
(Psalm 71:5)

Even If You Can’t Dance, You Can Zumba!

By the time I was five, I was trying to imitate my swingin’ teenaged brothers as they danced to hot new songs like “The Terror of Highway 101.” By six, I was learning to “Rock Around the Clock,” and by seven, I was practicing Elvis the Pelvis’s swinging hips from songs like “I ain’t nothing but a hound dog.” By twelve, I was practicing the Peppermint Twist with my girlfriends at slumber parties. And then, I surrendered my life to Jesus, and the dancing stopped. It wasn’t just that I started attending a very conservative church where they considered dancing the “vertical expression of horizontal thoughts,” I was beginning to think there might be something even more exciting in the world of guys than being nicknamed “Buckwheat” and allowed to play first base on their ball team!

Long story short, I decided that dancing was way too provocative and romantic to be a part of my life if I wanted to make it to adulthood keeping my name in tact. (Kathryn means “pure.”) Marriage didn’t exactly stop all attractions to the opposite sex either, and so it seemed wise to continue a hands-off, no-dance policy indefinitely.  However, 45 years into marriage and finding myself pretty stable emotionally, Alan and I both noticed that we were becoming the least bit unstable physically. One bit of advice we’ve heard repeatedly about aging well is to participate in new physical activities that stress grace and balance, such as dancing. So, we decided that it’s time to start dancing again…together…in our basement…with our video Zumba instructor, Beto Perez, the Colombian dancer and choreographer who developed a fitness program called Zumba in the 1990’s. Zumba combines dance steps with various martial arts moves and is the perfect combination of fun and aerobic exercise. It really took off in 2006, and today there are more than 14 million people who participate in some 160,000 classes in 185 countries…and counting! At 14, Beto was working 3 jobs to support his single mother and their family in Columbia. Today?! Talk about the American Dream come true!! The wife of one of our psychiatrists sponsors a Zumba class on Tuesday afternoons where Alan works, but we are a little too old (or self-conscious) to join that group. However, for $7.99 we got Zumba 101: Can’t Dance? from Amazon, and we’ve been working out ever since! At first, we could hardly make it through the first two songs without needing a rest, but now we can dance through the entire hour session and are ready for something more. The funny thing is, it’s just as appealing to our grandchildren, and when they come to visit, the kids beg to work out with us! It’s just SO. MUCH. FUN!

So, if you’re looking for a way of exercising that doesn’t bore you to tears and makes you feel happy, consider giving Zumba a try…maybe even in the privacy of your own basement! Alan is still struggling to swing his hips, but…I’m back to my roots! 🙂

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die. . .a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4; this is our time to dance~).

Are You Optimizing Your Brain Fitness?

A week ago, I wrote about Alan’s attending the American Association of Geriatric Psychiatrists’ annual meeting and the tidal wave of Baby Boomers hitting retirement age, and I suggested that we start learning to surf so we don’t get crushed. This week, I want to offer a few ideas from what I’ve been learning in my own quest for health.

Are you familiar with The Great Courses? I am a fan. Through audio or video, this organization can bring a world of research and learning via professors from some of America’s best universities right into your car or home. I can drive and learn, sit quietly on a couch with notebook in hand, or work out on my elliptical while absorbing information.

Granted, these college-level courses won’t keep you awake like Hollywood’s glitzy entertainment, but they are excellent resources for brightening your brain! I ordered a couple of series last fall and have been completely satisfied with the quality of their programs and what I’ve been learning. My personal favorite way to optimize both brain and body fitness is to work out while keeping a notebook right beside me for scribbling down ideas. Stopping to write notes does effect my workout stats, but I figure the mental stimulation is worth the hit to any personal pride that may be lurking behind my attempts at physical conditioning.

Simple tips from the series on Optimizing Brain Fitness that impressed me:

*In an experiment with rats, those who were fed 35% less food lived 35% longer!
*Best diet tip? Stop eating deep-fried foods.
*Walking 1 mile daily decreases your chance of developing Alzheimer’s by 50%.
*Get enough sleep. The current generation is getting 45 minutes less sleep per day than the older generation, but it’s had a negative effect on learning.
*Power naps are good; they reset your energy and help process learning.
*Most important aspect of memory is learning to focus and pay attention!
*”If you can see, look. If you can look, observe…attend…study!”
*Your brain needs exercise, so take up some new hobby.
*Scientists have discerned that you improve long term retention more by repeated testing than by more study.

This last bit of research made me understand why we have tests in school and in life! The Lord is training us to learn and grow, not just have brains full of data that doesn’t stick!

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).

Just in case you’re interested in more information about The Great Courses, I’ll include their contact information: https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses. 1-800-832-2412. For classes on Christianity, though, I’d rather refer you my son Jonathan’s Aqueduct Project [https://aqueductproject.org/ ], or the new Center for Global Theological Education, which he’s developing at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.