Summer is the perfect time of year for potato salad. Lucky for us, the Costco magazine came out and featured this unique recipe. Very different from your typical potato and mayo mixture.
As always, feel free to change the amounts and kinds of ingredients based on your taste, dietary restrictions and what you have in the fridge. Enjoy!
1 cup rice wine vinegar (*we used 1/3 cup)
1 cup honey (*we used 1/3 cup)
2 pounds baby bell peppers, sliced
2 pounds multicolor potatoes, cooked until soft
1/2 cup olive oil, divided (*we used 1/4 cup)
12 ounces grape/cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup radishes, sliced
2 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (we used 2 tbsp)
1/2 cup feta cheese
4 basil leaves, torn
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
salt to taste
- Bring rice wine and honey to boil over medium heat; pour over sliced peppers.
- Smash the new potatoes. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add potatoes and cook 1 to 2 minutes each side. Place potatoes, tomatoes, radishes and peppers in a bowl with remaining oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt.
- Sprinkle with chunks of feta cheese, basil and parsley. Ready to serve!
* We reduced the amounts of vinegar and oil, and I’m glad we did. There was plenty of dressing coating all of the ingredients. If we had used the full amounts, they would have been swimming in the bowl.
Clean air is important when you exercise indoors. That’s why I use a carbon furnace filter with a high MERV rating that get’s replaced every three months, if not sooner. I am also meticulous when it comes to cleaning my fitness studio and workout area. This involves routine dusting, vacuuming and mopping as well as disinfecting all mats, handles, benches and exercise equipment in between every client. In addition, I recently installed a UV light purifier for my HVAC system. Why? Because UV light helps to eliminate germs, mold, bacteria and viruses that float in the air. It was relatively easy to install. I drilled two holes on the metal duct next to the furnace then inserted the lamps through the openings. The black plastic frame of the purifier sat on the outside of the duct. It could have been attached with screws, but I decided to use high temperature aluminum tape instead. I found the nearest outlet, plugged it in. . . and Voila! It worked! When the furnace is running (heat or cold), the UV rays kill microorganisms in the air as they pass by the bulbs. The cool thing is that there is an LED indicator on the unit so I know when the lights need replacing.
This is the unit I ordered on Amazon.com. For $99 I feel it’s a good deal.
We all get stressed out once in a while, and that’s okay. We’re human, right? It’s important to understand the cause, how your body reacts to stress and and how to deal with it. Here are healthy 10 tips for managing stress.
1. Exercise. You knew I was going to put this first. I have a saying. “When in doubt . . .Exercise.” Other than an acute injury during exercise, how many times can you say that you felt bad or worse after exercise? Stress hormones reduce, endorphins increase, and exercise helps your body to get rid of toxins. Walking, lifting weights, swimming, playing basketball, etc. It’s all good. The important thing is to choose an exercise or activity that you enjoy doing and will do consistently. 🏋️
2. Read. Of course, what you choose to read may add to your stress. But I am talking about turning off the screen, setting the phone aside and picking up a good book. An interesting biography, a mystery, an epic or a graphic novel. Reading requires you to be more engaged and active than watching. I may not be the fastest reader, but I do have about ten books on my nightstand. When I get particularly stressed I like reading Gary Larson’s comic strips. Hilarious!
3. Listen to music. It doesn’t have to be spa/massage music. Although I do like hearing gentle flutes, bagpipes and cellos. I can feel myself taking deeper, fuller breaths when I listen to relaxing music. As much as I like hard rock and heavy metal for working out, I may choose some classical, jazz or Hawaiian music for relaxing.
4. Watch a fun video. If you can, watch a video that will make you laugh. Any movie directed by Mel Brooks: Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles or Spaceballs. Or if you’re more of a Zucker Brothers fan, there’s Airplane! and The Naked Gun. Don’t forget Three Stooges, The Little Rascals, Laurel and Harry, Abbott and Costello. How about some of the classic silent films with Charlie Chaplan and Buster Keaton? You can tell that I’m partial to black and white movies.
5. Chase your spouse around the house. I think this is pretty self-explanatory. The pursuit of happiness and the happiness of pursuit.
6. Eat healthy. One of the worst things you can do is to drink your stress away or dive into a bowl of comfort food. They might temporarily make you feel better, but excess alcohol, sugar and fat cause inflammation and are stressful on your digestive system. Instead, pick up your favorite cookbook and try a new recipe. Something that has lots of vegetation.
7. Get a bunny rabbit. A few months ago I bought a Mini Rex bunny from a woman in Monroe whose daughter raised rabbits for 4H. Why did I buy a rabbit? Simple answer. I wanted to have something cute and soft to pet to help me relax. Okay, get your mind out of the gutter. We named the bunny Amos, and my boys joke that he is my emotional support rabbit. True. I put his cage in our dining room next to my chair. We built a wooden den for him, feed him grass hay (that I collect and dry after mowing the lawn) and fresh water. Early in the morning and late at night (when he is active and alert), we let him out and into our SunPorch. He zooms around, runs through our little red kid’s tunnel, leaps onto the furniture and chews on approved cardboard and bark. He is so much fun to watch! When I offer him dandelions or plantain weeds, he jumps up on my lap and lets me feed him. Then the pies de resistance, I get to pet him.
8. Create a project. Do something new. Build a birdhouse. Start a garden. Take up photography. If you’ve never done these before, you may need to develop new skills and invest in some tools. For the last several years I have been working diligently (supervised by my wife, Heather) to establish a prairie in our front yard. I was tired of mowing the lawn and wanted to create habitat for plants and animals, increase diversity and beauty. And did I say that I didn’t want to mow the grass? So I read a prairie restoration book and was ready to move forward. The only thing was that I wasn’t going to use broad-spectrum herbicides and then buy a prairie seed mix. Like most things I do, I was going to do it the hard way. Little by little, Heather and I planted prairie flowers and grasses. We watched them grow, die, get eaten. We like to call this space our Someday Prairie.
9. Spend time with friends and family. Messaging is fine. Over the phone is good. In-person is best. Being connected with other people is key to how I live my life. A few weeks ago Heather and I hosted a social-distancing happy hour with some neighbors outside on our driveway. It was great! Four couples sitting in camp chairs six feet apart. Everyone brought there own food and drink. Rose brought the music. And if anyone had to go to the bathroom, they just walked across the street or across our yard to their house. It was great reconnecting, catching up, enjoying the great weather and having a cool beverage. I am also spending more time with my boys shooting hoops at the park, going for walks, working in the yard, practicing archery and playing badminton. They definitely keep me on my toes.
10. Get back to nature. Fresh air, sunrises, birds, rolling hills, lakes, forests, wildlife, streams, fields, sunsets. Makes you want to go on vacation, right? You can. You should. Maybe it’s in your own backyard or at a nearby nature preserve. No matter where you live, there are green spaces for you to enjoy.
With my three boys all being home and doing online school, they have a lot of free time. What better way to fill that free time than with chores :-) Last weekend, Kyle and Bruce made Pasta Salad, Bison Burgers and Homemade Buns. Everything turned out delicious. If you’re wondering what Roy was doing . . . he was supervising.
Here are the 3 recipes. Enjoy!
Bruce’s Pasta Salad
16 ounces whole wheat Penne pasta, uncooked
1 cup broccoli, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup black olives, sliced
3 ounces sliced pepperoni
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pot, add 4-5 quarts of water and bring to boil. Add pasta and cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until al dente. Strain pasta and rinse under cold water to stop cooking process.
- In a large bowl, add the cooked pasta, broccoli, tomatoes, olives, pepperoni, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss gently. Sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.
Kyle’s Hamburger Buns (from AllRecipes.com)
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast. (If you have a jar of yeast, use 2 1/4 tsp)
1 pound all-purpose flour, divided
1 cup warm water (105 degrees F)
1 large egg
3 tbsp butter, melted
3 tbsp white sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp sesame seeds
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place yeast into bowl of a large stand mixer; whisk in 1/2 cup flour and warm water until smooth. Let stand until mixture is foamy, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Whisk 1 egg, melted butter, sugar, and salt thoroughly into yeast mixture. Add remaining flour (about 3 cups).
- Fit a dough hook onto stand mixer and knead the dough on low speed until soft and sticky, 5 to 6 minutes. Scrape sides if needed. Poke and prod the dough with a silicone spatula; if large amounts of dough stick to the spatula, add a little more flour.
- Transfer dough onto a floured work surface; dough will be sticky and elastic but not stick to your fingers. Form the dough lightly into a smooth, round shape, gently tucking loose ends underneath.
- Wipe out stand mixer bowl, drizzle olive oil into the bowl, and turn dough over in the bowl several times to coat surface thinly with oil. Cover bowl with aluminum foil. Let dough rise in a warm place until doubled, about 2 hours.
- Transfer dough to a floured work surface and pat to flatten bubbles and form into a slightly rounded rectangle of dough about 5×10 inches and about 1/2 inch thick. Dust dough lightly with flour if needed. Cut dough into 8 equal pieces. Form each piece into a round shape, gently tucking ends underneath as before.
- Use your hands to gently pat and stretch the dough rounds into flat disc shapes about 1/2 inch thick. Arrange buns about 1/2 inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Dust buns very lightly with flour. Drape a piece of plastic wrap over the baking sheet (do not seal tightly). Let buns rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Beat 1 egg with milk in a small bowl, using a fork, until mixture is thoroughly combined. Very gently and lightly brush tops of buns with egg wash without deflating the risen dough. (You might have extra egg wash.) Sprinkle each bun with sesame seeds.
- Bake in the preheated oven until lightly browned on top, 15 to 17 minutes. Buns will stick together slightly where they touch. Let cool completely, tear the buns apart, and slice in half crosswise to serve.
Bruce’s Bison Burgers
1 pound ground bison burger
4 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, sliced
- Heat oven, griddle, pan or grill. We used a George Foreman Grill.
- Form ground meat into five 3-ounce bison patties. (Someone must have gotten a 4-ounce burger. I think it was me.)
- Cook on Foreman Grill for 4 minutes. (Remember a Foreman Grill cooks food on both sides at the same time.)
- Remove patties from grill and immediately top with sliced cheese. Heat of burgers will melt the cheese.
Chefs Bruce and Kyle
Getting in shape doesn’t require a membership at an exclusive health club or the use of expensive fitness equipment. You’ll be amazed at what you can do with just a pair of dumbbells. Watch my video and learn 10 of my favorite dumbbell exercises that you can do today. Enjoy!
Do you ever feel like you’re cooking for an army? In my house, with five very active individuals, it sure feels that way. That’s where soups and stews come in handy. They are often easy to prepare and make plenty of servings. If you’re more of a crock pot person, this recipe will work great too. And remember, you can always adjust amounts of ingredients for personal taste. Since we used a smoked ham hock, for example, we didn’t add any herbs or spices other than two bay leaves. Enjoy this delicious recipe! (This recipe was adapted from Better Homes & Gardens Magazine.)
1 cup dried black-eyed peas
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups onion, diced (1 yellow, 1 red)
1 cup carrots, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
6-8 cups chicken stock
1 meaty ham hock (approximately 1 pound)
2 bay leaves
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 cups cubed pumpkin
1/4 – 1/2 cup rice, uncooked
2 cups hearty greens (kale or collards, fresh or frozen)
1 cup cubed rutabaga
salt and pepper to taste
ham instead of ham hock
If you don’t have pumpkin, you can use squash, sweet potato or other root vegetable.
1. Soak and cook dried beans according to directions. Rinse well. If using canned beans, open and rinse well. Set aside.
2. In a large stock pot, set heat to medium and add olive oil. Saute garlic, onion, celery and carrots until soft.
3. To pot, add stock, ham hock, bay leaves, diced tomatoes, cubed pumpkin and rice. Bring to boil briefly. Then cover and simmer for one hour.
4. Add cooked beans and hearty greens. Cook until beans are warm and greens are wilted. Approximately 10 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!
Trying to loosen up your muscles? Stretch. Trying to improve flexibility? Stretch. Trying to cool down at the end of a workout? Stretch. Trying to reduce injuries? Stretch. Watch my 6-minute video and learn 10 stretches that you can do every day.
Looking for an exercise that you can do at home? Laugh and have fun learning speedbag boxing basics with Eric Foxman. Enjoy!
Looking for an alternative to rice, pasta or quinoa? Then check out our Pearl Couscous Salad that we made yesterday. Makes for a great appetizer, side dish or a snack on its own. Super tasty and filling. Every bite is flavorful and the couscous has a pleasant chewy texture. The prep time is only 20 minutes, and the cook time is just 30 minutes. You can do that. (Adapted from Allrecipes.com)
3 tbs olive oil, divided
2 cups pearl couscous
2 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup French lentils
2 tomatoes, diced
1 small cucumber, diced
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried goji berries, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes to hydrate [original recipe called for 1/2 cup dried cranberries]
1 tsp dried chives
1 tbsp fresh flat parsley, chopped
1 tsp ground sumac
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
salt and pepper to taste
- Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir couscous in the hot oil until toasted and fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 2 1/2 cups water to couscous and bring to boil; cover skillet and cook until couscous is tender, about 10 minutes. Rinse couscous in a colander with cold water and transfer to a bowl. Mix 2 tbs olive oil into couscous and stir to coat.
- Place lentils in a small pan and cover with water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until lentils are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and rinse lentils under cold water in a colander; add to couscous
- Mix tomatoes, cucumbers, raisins, goji berries, chives, parsley, and sumac into couscous-lentil mixture.
- For dressing, beat 1/4 olive oil, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper together in a bowl; pour over couscous-lentil mixture and stir until coated. Refrigerate salad for flavors to blend, 8 hours to overnight.