Basmati Rice Pilaf



  1. Place raisins into warm chicken broth to soak them in it.
  2. Place butter, chopped onions and carrot into a deep cooking pan (wok). Sauté vegies for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add walnuts and spices and sauté the mixture for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add rice to the skillet and stir for a couple of minutes.
  5. Toss sugar and raisins into Add chicken broth, bay leaves and place the lid on the skillet.
  6. Wait until it reaches the boil and lower the heat to cook it slowly for 20 minutes.
  7. Serve hot with fresh cilantro.

What is the “child’s drawing” talking about?

Children’s drawings are their earliest attempts at writing and an important phase in their overall development. It is a phase when they represent what they have experienced with their senses when drawing in dry or wet sand, with water on a dry wall or on paper. It is not easy to use stubby and clumsy little fingers (2-4 years) to say what they mean, and that is why a scribble can be a fire engine, a bat or scramble eggs.

Converting thoughts onto paper is a skill that takes years to develop and goes hand in hand with ‘reading’ their own pictures by looking at their works of art and reconstructing their own thoughts and feelings before saying it out aloud. Children only draw what they are aware of If a child is not aware of a windmill, he does not draw a windmill.

This is why children’s drawings are not only an important step towards writing and reading a few years later, their drawings are also a way of telling a caring and observant parent and teacher what is going on in there (heart and head).

Drawings can ‘talk’? Yes they do. In the early years drawings, paintings, a collage or any other form of free creative activity, talks louder than words.

Children do not just draw things from their environment; they also draw the most important person in their whole wide world – themselves. It is their self-portraits that tell you something about their development – if children are not aware of their hands, they don’t draw  hands. If they aren’t aware that they are standing on solid ground, they do not draw a grounding line underneath a figure. If they are not aware of their ears, they neither draw them nor use them to listen the first time. If they do not spontaneously draw a neck, it is a sure way of telling that the child is not ready to read or write yet.

A drawing is not a diagnostic instrument, but for most observant teachers and parents a child’s drawing can tell you which part of the brain still needs wiring and which parts are already wired well.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Swimwear Trends

What could possibly make us happier than booking warm weather vacations and putting together the perfect wardrobes for the coming year’s holidays down South? But in order to shop, we need to know the summer 2017 swimsuit trends and that is where this report comes in.

Swimsuit mayo

One of the most popular styles fusedswimwear steel mayo – a classic indoor version with Sew straps and usually a V-neck. They look good on any type of shape, but especially suited to girls with wide hips. V-neck maximally opens the chest, thereby balancing the bottom and top of the body. There are a more discreet options, andvery frank swimsuit with a plunging neckline, a predatory print and trim in the form of ruffles, zavyazochek and brushes. Such models can be found in the collections of Blue Life, Filthy Haanz, San Lorenzo and For Love & Lemons.

Monokini and plandzh

Plandzh – a more open version of the solidswimsuit, which can further expose the body due to a plunging neckline in front and behind. Cleavage in a swimsuit may look no worse than the most outspoken bikini and bare back will cause lose vigilance all the male part of the beach.

There are options like a closed and very frank model with low-cut leg. Such models can be found in the collections of Aguaclara, Hot As Hell, Blue Life, Gottex.

Racing swimsuits

Sport models this year lost theirposition compared with last summer. Only a few well-known brands included in their collection of swimwear for active pastime: Mint Swim, Indah, Just Bones Boardwear, Lycra Moves Swim.

Bathing suit with long sleeves

While some beauties preferSun bikini that maximize open body, designers offer the opposite trend – swimsuit with long sleeves. This method is used as in the fully closed swimsuits, and in models Swimsuits with sleeves can be made in amonotonous tones without excessive decoration and decorated with floral and marine motifs, predatory print, chaotic abstraction and geometric patterns. All this abundance is represented in the collections of Issa de ‘mar, Myra Swim, Luli Fama.and separate tankini monokini – a set of shorts and T-shirts of different planting.

Swimsuit one shoulder

The asymmetrical cut has become a key technique in the spring-summer 2017 season, many designers. The beach fashion asymmetry presented swimwear one shoulder. They look very similar to the model gangs, but unlike them more comfortable to wear – you can not be afraid that the bodice slip at the wrong time.


Seared Beef with Pomegranate and Balsamic Dressing



  1. Take a big skillet to prepare the dish on a high heat.
  2. Cut off extra amount of fat from meat. Rub in oil and seasoning.
  3. Place the meat on hot pan and cook it for 4 minutes on each side (if you like medium rare) for medium cook steak at least 6 minutes on each side.
  4. Prepare balsamic dressing by combining vinegar, pomegranate molasses, Dijon mustard and the remaining olive oil.
  5. Slice the steak against the grain, place on the plate and add arugula, pomegranate seeds and dressing.

Top 5 Most Elegant Ladies of all times

Some inspiration for this Monday. Let the pictures speak for themselves.

Grace Kelly

ca. 1950 --- Original caption: Grace Kelly poses for a fashion shot during her early film career. (Later in her career, on January 5th, 1956, she received the title of "Best Dressed Woman in the World". --- Image by © Underwood & Underwood/Corbisgrace-kelly-caccia-al-ladro-to-catch-a-thief-1955-alfred-hitchcock








scan0026-e1304609458977 (1)










Queen Rania























Cate Blanchett






















Sophia Loren





















Audrey Hepburn













Avocado is the king of Superfoods

Here is some very good news for guacamole lovers everywhere: A new review of scientific literature suggests that eating avocado may help prevent metabolic syndrome. Dubbed “the new silent killer,” metabolic syndrome is the term used to describe a combination of three or more risk factors for heart disease and diabetes (like high blood pressure, high triglycerides and large waist circumference).

The review, conducted by Iranian researchers and published in the journal Phytotherapy Research, looked at 129 previously published studies examining the effects of avocado consumption on different components of metabolic syndrome. Most of the studies involved the fleshy part you’re used to eating, but some also included avocado leaves, peels, oil, and pits.

The researchers concluded that avocados have the most beneficial effects on cholesterol levels and that consumption of the creamy fruit can influence several different measurements: LDL (bad) cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol, triglycerides, total cholesterol and phospholipids.

That’s not all, though. “The lipid-lowering, antihypertensive, antidiabetic, anti-obesity, antithrombotic, antiatherosclerotic, and cardioprotective effects of avocado have been demonstrated in several studies,” wrote the authors, and most of those studies recommend eating the fruit on a daily basis. In other words, avocados can help fight pretty much every aspect of metabolic syndrome.

“This is just yet another study to show that avocados truly deserve superfood status,” says Health’s contributing nutrition editor, Cynthia Sass, RD, MPH. Sass was not involved in the review, but says it includes an “impressive range of studies.”

Sass points out that avocados can help stave off belly fat, the most dangerous type of fat to carry. And even though they’re high in healthy fat compared to other fruits, it’s hard to go overboard and eat too much. “Fortunately avocado is very satiating,” she says. “It’s almost like they have a built-in stop-gap.”

Research also shows that people who eat more avocados weigh less and have smaller waists than those who don’t, even when they don’t consume fewer calories overall. “This is yet another example of how not all calories are created equal,” Sass says. 18 Superfoods for Your Heart

Avocados are also good sources of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, in addition to their heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. And, as the review notes, they’re generally safe and better tolerated than synthetic medications.

Want to add more avocado to your regular diet? Besides using the fruit to make guacamole and trendy avocado toast, you can also whip it into smoothies, add it to omelets and salads, and—with a little seasoning—use it as a topping for sandwiches, soups, fish, chicken or pizza. Avocado can even be used as a replacement for butter in baking recipes, and its creaminess makes it a good base for desserts like ice cream and pudding.

“Avocado blends well with both sweet and savory ingredients, and provides the satisfaction factor that makes dishes decadent,” Sass says.

While the study looked at several parts of the plant, Sass recommends sticking with the flesh for now. “We don’t yet know enough about the safety of eating pits and peels,” she says.

Kiwi and Spinach Smoothie

The slightly sweet and tangy flavor of kiwi is the most prominent taste in this delicious creamy smoothie. The nutrient-dense drink layers greens on greens, and your body will greatly benefit from it!



  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Pulse until smoothie becomes smooth and homogeneous in texture.


Meatballs in Sauerkraut “Crazy in Love”



  1. Use the pot with a tight-fitting lid. Sauté chopped onion on vegetable oil for 5 minutes until onion becomes soft and transparent. Add sauerkraut, wine, paprika and cumin. Cook on low heat for 15 min.
  2. In a bowl, mix together ground beef, rice, garlic, breadcrumbs, pepper and salt. Make medium size
  3. In a separate skillet, cook meatballs for 20 min. Once they are almost ready, place them into sauerkraut pot and cook for another 5 minutes.

Fight anxiety with breathing

This Is the Fastest Way to Calm Down

When people are anxious before getting surgery, doctors and nurses often tell them to take slow, deep breaths with long exhalations. It may seem like an inadequate way to quell anxiety, but in many cases, it actually works.

Now scientists describe why deep breathing, including the breath-focus of meditation, can induce such calm and tranquility. In a paper published in Science, researchers led by Mark Krasnow, a professor of biochemistry at Stanford University, found that in mice, a group of nerves in the brain that regulates breathing has a direct connection to the arousal center of the brain. In other words, breathing can have a direct effect on the overall activity level of the brain.

Krasnow’s team has been studying a group of 3,000 neurons in the brain stems of rodents that control all of a mouse’s different breathing patterns, from the quick, rapid breathing associated with exertion and excitement, to the slower breathing typical of rest, to sighing and crying. Krasnow found that about 60 types of nerve cells make up this so-called “breathing pacemaker”, and each of these nerve cell groups are responsible for different breathing patterns.

In the study, the group was trying to isolate the different types of neurons and their various effects on breathing. Using a genetic technique, they silenced specific neurons to see what breathing function was disturbed. Their first experiment seemed like a failure when the researchers manipulated one set of neurons, yet the mice didn’t show any changes in their breathing. “We were very disappointed initially,” says Krasnow.

They put aside that experiment and moved the manipulated animals to a new cage environment. But that’s when they noticed something novel. Normally, moving mice makes them nervous and obsessive about exploring their new surroundings. But instead of sniffing and running around, the mice with the changes in their breathing center seemed to “chill,” says Krasnow. They continued their at-rest behavior: grooming themselves and hanging out without a need to urgently investigate their new surroundings.

It turns out that Krasnow had disrupted a set of nerves with a direct line to the brain’s arousal center; these nerves can either tell the brain there’s an emergency and set off the body’s alarms, or keep the brain on an even keel, maintaining a sense of calm. This is the change that happens when breathing slows down, says Krasnow. “This liaison to the rest of the brain means that if we can slow breathing down, as we can do by deep breathing or slow controlled breaths, the idea would be that these neurons then don’t signal the arousal center, and don’t hyperactivate the brain. So you can calm your breathing and also calm your mind,” says Krasnow.

Breathing, in other words, can change the mind, or the state of the mind.

So why do some people still feel anxious after a few deep inhales and exhales? It’s possible that their genetic variations mean they have a dulled response to this cluster of nerves responsible for regulating breathing, so that it takes more than conscious deep breaths to switch the brain from an aroused to a calm state. In those cases, having something like a drug or other intervention to specifically target the right group of breathing nerve cells and control its activity might be needed. That’s where Krasnow hopes the work will lead: to a way to better control the calming effect that deep breathing can have on the brain. In the meantime, he says, don’t dismiss deep breathing as a way to combat stress and anxiety. There’s now a scientific explanation for why it works.

Don’t underestimate the flu

I came across this article on CNN and it made me cry… This brave mum shares her story, how she lost her daughter to flu. She is raising awareness of the flu and how dangerous and deadly it could be.

How my daughter died from a simple case of flu

I’ve cried more times today than I can count. You’d think by now, I could go days without crying, but I can’t get over the guilt.
Shannon’s only complaint was a sore throat. Her fever wasn’t even scary.
I spent (wasted is a better word) most of my morning Googling flu information again today. The complex science of mutating viruses leaves me boggled. If I can’t make sense of it, how can I explain the importance of stopping the flu to others?
After more than two years, my husband Terry and I haven’t said the “D” word yet.
We say “she went to heaven.”
We say “she left.”
Although I have said, “she died” several times, we somehow can’t say the words “Shannon is d…”
No dreams of Shannon last night. I want to see you again so bad.
If I could just talk to her one last time. Tell her how sorry I am. Does she know? Can she see from heaven? I have mixed feelings about how things work up there, I just know they do.
Going through some books, I came across one of her homemade bookmarks she made, when she was little.
I got a card from the donation center. They’re doing a curb pick up next week for “gently used clothing.” I can’t do it yet.
There are pieces she hardly wore — her new clothes for senior year — that she only just began to wear.
So yeah, they’re gently used. Just barely used.
Flu Moms
Day 837 is turning out to be an especially bad one. This is the kind of day I should go on Facebook and talk to the other mothers on our private page called “Flu Moms.”
Last time I got on, I noticed a couple of new names. Clearly children are still dying.
I thank God for this group of moms.
We can vent and encourage depending on our own mood — a safe place to share how we feel and how we cope.
Some of the mothers have developed nonprofits to honor their little ones.
They plant municipal flowerbeds and organize 5k runs to raise money for awareness. God bless their efforts.

‘Let it run its course’

The seasonal flu kills healthy, active, precious kids every year.
Shannon went to school on a Wednesday, came home like always, but said a friend “gave” her the flu.
I sent her up to her room and began the same things any parent would do.
I brought her liquids, applesauce, and soup. She complained of a sore throat, so her dad brought home throat spray, Tylenol, throat lozenges, and a little gift. She developed a fever, but not so high to take her to the ER.
Later that week, I thought she ought to be feeling better, so I wondered if she was taking advantage of days off of school and being waited on.
I’d go into her room and her eyes would be closed. I couldn’t tell if she was faking or not. I took her cell phone and tucked it under the clean laundry I’d put on her dresser for her to put away. Next time I went in, she had the phone back, so I knew she was OK.
By Sunday, she just seemed weak.
She was texting and watching TV, but she wasn’t eating good and she seemed lethargic. So I sent her to the clinic with her dad, with a little journal of her temperature readings, liquid intake and even her O2 sats.
I didn’t go with them because I wanted to clean her room and change her sheets. All nice and fresh for her, you know?
Terry sent me a picture of Shannon sitting in a wheelchair with a mask on, leaning her head on his shoulder.
That’s the last picture we have of her.
When they returned home, she walked in through the back door and said the visit to the doctor was a waste of time.
The doctor just said it was the flu and to “let it run its course.”
The doctor didn’t have a lot of time to spend with her, because the waiting room was packed with people who seemed to have the flu also. Her high school had something like 150 kids who were out of school with it.
Thirty-four hours later, Shannon came downstairs. When she went into the bathroom, she tapped on the shower curtain, so I helped her into the tub. By this time I was sweating with fear. I hadn’t helped her with a bath since she was little.
Something was horribly wrong.
When she leaned back in the tub and I saw her eyes, I knew she was dying.
I got behind her and lifted her out. I sat on the toilet with her sitting on my lap and she died.
There was nothing that could be done to save her.
Health care professionals — from ambulance EMTs to the mighty Mayo Clinic — couldn’t bring her back to me.
The flu destroyed her organs. She didn’t even know it.