Month: November 2012

A festive centerpiece for under $10.00

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I put together this festive centerpiece to add a little holiday spirit to our home.  The little red lantern was found in the garbage room of my friends condo building during a late night trash hunt.  The paper tree was made from recycled cardboard and newspaper on a wooden skewer, secured at the bottom with a dab of glue.  The plastic reindeer was purchased at the Dollarama for $1.00, it jumped out at me because the transparency gives it a elegant look like it was carved from ice or glass.  The antique serving platter was purchased at Value Village for $3.99 a few months ago.  This proves that you don’t need to spend a lot of money on decorations in order to bring the holiday spirit into your home.

GLOGG – SCANDINAVIAN MULLED WINE

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Glogg
Makes about 1/2 gallon

1 bottle (750 mL) red wine
1 bottle (750 mL) port
1-2 cups brandy
2 cinnamon sticks
6-8 cardamom pods
10 whole cloves
Peel of 2 medium oranges
1/2 cup of raisins
1/2 cup blanched almonds
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, quartered
1/2 cup turbinado (raw) sugar

1. Pour wine and port in a pot. Add cinnamon, the seeds from the cardamom pods, cloves, orange peel (reserving some for garnish), raisins, almonds and ginger. Warm gently over low heat, being sure not to boil.

2. Mix the sugar and the brandy in a separate pan. Warm over low heat, melting the sugar and allowing it to caramelize and become slightly syrupy.

3. Once the sugar has melted and caramelized, add the sugar/brandy mixture to pot with the wine and spices.

4. Cover the pot and let the mixture mull over very low heat for 1 to 2 hours.

5. Once the glogg has mulled, strain out the spice and fruit ingredients.

6. Pour the glogg into mugs, garnish with an orange peel and enjoy!

7. Glogg can also be re-bottled and aged for a couple months. To do this, simply pour mixture into wine bottles and seal very tightly.

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credit- Sarah from Offbeat & Inspired

Grapefruit and medication: A cautionary note

Grapefruit and medication: A cautionary note

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice are healthful, providing enough vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber, and other nutrients to earn the American Heart Association’s “heart-check” mark. That’s the good news. The bad news is that grapefruit juice can interact with dozens of medications, sometimes dangerously.

Doctors are not sure which of the hundreds of chemicals in grapefruit are responsible. The leading candidate is furanocoumarin. It is also found in Seville (sour) oranges and tangelos; although these fruits have not been studied in detail, the guidelines for grapefruit should apply to them as well.

Grapefruit’s culprit chemical does not interact directly with your pills. Instead, it binds to an enzyme in your intestinal tract known as CYP3A4, which reduces the absorption of certain medications. When grapefruit juice blocks the enzyme, it’s easier for the medication to pass from your gut to your bloodstream. Blood levels will rise faster and higher than normal, and in some cases the abnormally high levels can be dangerous.

A variety of medications can be boosted by grapefruit juice; the table below lists some of the most important along with related drugs that are less likely to be influenced.

Grapefruit juice and medications

Drug category (major uses) Medications substantially boosted by grapefruit juice

Generic name (Brand name)

Medications that have little or no interaction with grapefruit juice

Generic name (Brand name)

Calcium channel blockers (high blood pressure, angina) Felodipine (Plendil)

Nifedipine (Procardia, Adalat)

Verapamil (Calan, Isoptin)

Diltiazem (Cardizem)

Amlodipine (Norvasc)

Statins (high cholesterol) Atorvastatin (Lipitor)

Simvastatin (Zocor)

Lovastatin (Mevacor)

Fluvastatin (Lescol)

Pravastatin (Pravachol)

Rosuvastatin (Crestor)

Immunosuppressants (to prevent rejection of transplanted organs) Cyclosporine (Sandimmune)
Benzodiazepines (anxiety, insomnia) Diazepam (Valium)

Triazolam (Halcion)

Midazolam (Versed)

Flurazepam (Dalmane)

Clonazepam (Klonopin)

Other neurological and psychiatric medications Buspirone (BuSpar)

Sertraline (Zoloft)

Carbamazepine (Tegretol)

Haloperidol (Haldol)

Trazodone (Desyrel)

Zolpidem (Ambien)

It doesn’t take much grapefruit juice to boost the levels of drugs that are susceptible. A single glass can produce a 47% reduction of the intestinal enzyme that regulates absorption. And because this effect of the juice wears off slowly, a third of its impact is still evident after 24 hours.

What are the practical implications of this interaction? If you take one of the affected medications, the simplest solution is to switch to orange juice. If you are really hooked on grapefruit juice, though, you can ask your doctor whether you can switch to a related drug that’s less vulnerable to the boosting effect. And if that’s not possible, you should certainly avoid taking your pills and your juice simultaneously; the more time between the two, the better, and the smaller your glass of juice, the better. If you are on a low or moderate dose of the medication, you can probably get away with an occasional glass of grapefruit juice, but if you are on a high dose, it could be dangerous. That’s especially true in the case of calcium channel blockers, which can lower your blood pressure or slow your heart rate excessively

Sildenafil (Viagra) is of special interest to men. The clinical information is incomplete, but men who take Viagra should be aware that grapefruit juice might boost blood levels of the drug. That could be a good thing for some men with erectile dysfunction, but it could trigger headaches, flushing, or low blood pressure.

source: Harvard Medical school

Our home is ready for the Holiday season

I got a little bit of a head start this year with our festive decor and gift wrapping.  We put up our little tree last night and added the finishing touches to our space to start off the holiday spirit.  I love decorating for Christmas, shopping for Christmas and wrapping each individual gift for everyone on my list.  This year we went with a red and gold theme with natural wood and paper accents.  My recycled Christmas tree made from cardboard and newspaper paper cutouts is my favorite piece this year.ImageImageImageImageImageImage