RECIPE: World’s Best Cinnamon Schnapps

I enjoy making schnapps. When I make it myself, I can control the quality of the ingredients and the strength of the liquor. What’s not to like? Okay, maybe the waiting is the hardest part, but that’s the only downside. Saves me money, too.

Limoncello is still my favorite, but I know cinnamon has been pretty hot lately, so I wanted to give that a try.

I tell you, I think I nailed it on my first attempt.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 liter Everclear
  • 12 to 15 small cinnamon sticks, or 5-6 giant ones snapped in half or thirds
  • 2/3 cup organic light brown sugar
  • 1.5 liters purified water

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the cinnamon sticks into a widemouth 1.5 liter wide-mouth resealable jar.
  2. Pour the Everclear into the jar.
  3. Store the jar in a cool, dark place for a month (it might not need that long, but I didn’t get around to the next step until a month had passed).
  4. Once the cinnamon infused Everclear is ready, start to heat 1.5 liters of water in a pot.
  5. Add the light brown sugar to the pot, and continue to stir as the pot heats.
  6. Once the sugar is completely dissolved, turn off the heat and let the sugar water cool.
  7. Once the sugar water is cool, remove the cinnamon sticks from the Everclear.
  8. Filter the Everclear to remove any excess solids. You can do this using cheesecloth or a clean coffee filter.
  9. Divide the Everclear equally into 3 quart-size Ball jars.
  10. Divide the sugar-water equally into the same 3 jars, to mix it with the Everclear.
  11. Enjoy the World’s Best Cinnamon Schnapps however you prefer do drink it.

I like it straight at room temperature. The alcohol content of this recipe means this schnapps will get slushy in the freezer — or, at least, mine did — but keep it in there, if you like, and you’ll have ice already built in.

There’s one other thing: Enjoy!

RECIPE: World’s Best Gluten-Free Pasta Dish

Every once in a while I come up with a really good recipe. When I do, I like to pass it along.

Gluten-Free PastaI say “I like to pass it along”, because, well, there are a couple reasons I don’t do it:

  1. Some recipes I’ve been meaning to pass along — like my no-sugar-no-fat-added banana-apple waffles — but I just haven’t found the time.
  2. Most recipes I make are one off. That is to say, I don’t measure anything, and I often add things along the way, and forget what’s in them, so there is no way for me to accurately tell you about it.

But this one for the World’s Best Gluten-Free Pasta Dish is one that — while I didn’t measure — I can figure out about the right numbers to give you a chance to make it.

And so, without further ado, here it is.

NOTE: When I say “gluten-free” I am referring to the pasta. If you need things to be completely gluten-free, you should probably use a tamari-style soy sauce, and check on any other ingredients.

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 oz (dry) Tinkyada brown rice spaghetti, broken in half (unless you really like whole spaghetti)
  • 30 young, thin (size of a smallish drinking straw) asparagus spears, less if you have thicker ones
  • 2 Tbsp (or to taste) of your favorite soy sauce, I prefer to use a non-GMO soy sauce like Polar
  • 1.5 Tbsp (or to taste) Huy Fong sriracha
  • 2 or 3 medium tomatos, diced
  • 1 handful baby kale, chopped OR similar volume of kale tips
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1.25 cups slightly sprouted mung beans (less than 1-inch sprouts, about 1.5 to 2 days into sprouting)
  • Splash of lemon juice

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Put the pasta water on to boil and heat up a grill pan or your grill.
  2. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta. Set your timer for 13 minutes. (NOTE: The package directions say 16 minutes, but we’ll work that out in step 8 below. If you don’t use Tinkyada brand, check the cooking instructions on your package, and shave 2 or 3 minutes from it.)
  3. Once the grill is hot, add the asparagus. Leave the spears on just long enough to add dark marks, but don’t cook them through. This should take no more than 2 minutes.
  4. Remove the asparagus to a cutting board, and cut off and discard the woody bottoms, then cut the rest into slightly larger than bite-size pieces, i.e. don’t destroy them. 3 or 4 cuts is all you need.
  5. After 13 minutes, drain the pasta, and return it to the pot.
  6. Add the soy sauce and sriracha to the pasta. Stir to coat.
  7. Add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the lemon juice. Stir to mix.
  8. Cover the pot and let it sit for 5 minutes. This will warm up the uncooked ingredients and cook the pasta the rest of the way. (NOTE: I use cast iron, so the pot holds its heat. If you use a type of cookware that cools faster, you may need to leave your pot on the stove on “warm”.)
  9. Serve in shallow pasta dishes. Add the splash of lemon at the table for just the right touch of acid.

TIME NEEDED
30 minutes, including prep

NUMBER OF SERVINGS
2 large, 3 medium, 4 small

P90X3 is coming December 10th!

REPRINTED FROM TEAMBEACHBODY

Dec_Hero_P90X3All good things come in threes, but be warned: P90X3 is far from a trilogy. No, P90X3 is NOT the kid sister workout. It’s the workout that took notes from it’s siblings, then condensed, and accelerated to become the most dynamic and fastest workout yet.

The ultimate excuse buster
Time is the biggest excuse. P90X3 solves that. Every workout is 30 minutes and the clock starts the minute you push play. Before you can say “drop and give me 10,” it’s over and you are one workout closer to the six-pack of your dreams.

Muscle acceleration explained
Many P90X fans were hooked on the science of muscle confusion – which introduced variety to the workouts and prevented plateauing. P90X3 takes a hint from that success and from studies showing the most dramatic body transformations happen within the first 30 minutes of exercise. Enter muscle acceleration, a Tony Horton-approved highly-structured schedule with an incredibly high level of intensity and an unprecedented variety of moves. The gurus behind P90X3 combined exercises and added some twists to maximize your time and keep every muscle challenged for a full 30 minutes.

Say goodbye to boredom
Which brings us to the fun-factor. Host, world-renown fitness ledgend, Tony Horton does not disappoint. With his witty one-liners and can-do mantras, he’ll simultaneously have you laughing and fired-up to bust out that final rep. Along with the constant entertainment, P90X3 has the most workouts of any Beachbody program. With 16 workouts in the base kit, they switch it up before you have a chance to consider boredom. From cardio to strength to pilates to MMX, there is something for everyone.

The ideal P90X3-er
It may seem lofty to proclaim, but P90X3 is indeed a workout for everyone. Everyone searching for tighter abs and leaner muscles, that is. But fitness novices and experts need not be afraid by P90X3’s come-one-come-all invitation. You don’t have to have any previous P90X experience in order to get killer results. For the beginner, the variety of workouts in P90X3 is the perfect place to discover their fitness style. If the move can be modified there is a cast member showing you how. But don’t expect to be an expert on day one. (Yes, fitness veterans will still be challenged.) As Tony says, ”You don’t get off easy, you just get to finish faster!”

It doesn’t stop there
And of course there are some bells and whistles too good to ignore. First off, the Coach exclusive: If P90X3 is purchased through a Coach any time from December 10th – 31st (including Challenge Packs), the customer receives an exclusive P90X3 baseball cap. What better way to spread the word about this revolutionary program?

And last but not least, we have the app: Yes, now for the first time the P90X app is available on Android and iOS
The app includes P90X guided workouts, tools to track your reps, weights and progress. Launching soon, is the P90X3 addition – which brings you workout specific tracking modules, scheduling options and the motivation you need to power through the 90 days. P90X3 scheduling and tracking will be available on the app for Android on 12/10 and is coming soon for iPhone. Check out the app and get ready to bring it!

Sign up for a FREE Beachbody account to be the first to know when X3 is available.

Dandelion root tea instead of coffee?

Traditional Medicinal Roasted Dandelion Root TeaTraditional Medicinals.

It’s a brand name, but it’s also a cool phrase to describe drinking health-inducing tea, because, yes, our diet should be the first place we look when we suffer from a chronic illness.

Let’s face it. Our medical professionals do a great job when dealing with acute trauma, like a broken arm or an accidental knife through the hand (don’t ask…).

However, when it comes to treating us for things like high cholesterol or hypertension or type 2 diabetes, well, doctors tend to reach for a drug from one of their pharmaceutical partners and be done with it. Sure, they may pay some lip service to “you should really eat better and get some exercise”, but then they write the scrip, and the patient’s human nature takes over.

That thesis is pretty much the overarching theme of this website. We must take control of our own health and fitness, and we should start with our diet.

So, I’m not going to harp much more on that here.

What I really want to say is that I have recently rediscovered roasted dandelion root tea. I say “rediscovered” because I’d bought it last year and tried it a couple times in the evening. I didn’t really care for it.

Recently, though, I did this cleanse thing, and it prescribed a cup of this tea in the morning. In that context, I found roasted dandelion root tea very enjoyable.

I suppose I could focus on the health benefits of the tea. Livestrong tells us how dandelion root tea can help keep the kidneys and bladder flushed and healthy, and also how it may help increase healthy digestive tract bacteria. The box says something about healthy liver function, but I don’t know anything about that.

Here’s what I do know about Roasted Dandelion Root tea: It is a suitable substitute for coffee.

BLASPHEMY!

Well, that’s what I would have said to anyone who dared offer up something as a suitable substitute for coffee. After all, coffee is one of my food groups. It’s a necessary nutrient in my diet.

And I’m not talking about that adulterated junk some drink and call “coffee”. Coffee with anything added to it is no longer coffee. It’s a completely different beverage.

Black, unsweet coffee, which is what I drink, is the nectar of the gods, so for me to proffer something as a substitute for coffee, well, that’s a pretty big step. But I’m taking it.

I still love coffee. What I don’t love is caffeine headaches when I don’t get it, and that is what prompted me to try alternatives.

You may ask, “Why don’t you drink decaf, Steve?” While I have found a decaf or two that taste pretty good, nothing really matches the flavor of real coffee for me. Plus, drinking decaf does nothing to deter the desire for real coffee, right? Kinda like fake sweeteners do nothing to deter the desire for real sugar. But that’s another discussion for another time….

Also, let me make this perfectly clear: roasted dandelion root tea does not taste like coffee. I am not saying it does, because it doesn’t.

However, once I realized that drinking it took away my desire for coffee, I explored its flavors. There’s is obviously a roasted element there, and dandelion root tea also has the slightly bitter hint that is always present in a great cup of coffee. I don’t know if the flavor profile is the reason dandelion root tea satisfies me, but that seems like a logical conclusion.

Anyway, if you are looking for a way to break the coffee habit, maybe try roasted dandelion root tea. Works for me.

And, please, let me clarify: I am not giving up coffee. I love the stuff. But a single-shot americano once a day — maximum — is an amount that works for me. Supplement that with some tea, and I’m good to go!

 

Stop obsessing about your weight!

We need to stop obsessing about the numbers on the scale, and those on the tape measure, too, if truth be told.

If we are a bit over that elusive “goal” weight, but are in good health — not on meds, bloodwork and vital signs are great — maybe it’s time we accept our current weight.

health at every sizeI mean, let’s face it: Everyone is not built to be as thin as many of us strive to be. We see the beautiful people the media throw at us, and we think we need to try to look like them.

Okay, first of all, if I made a living being beautiful, you can damn sure bet that I’d have the time and energy to get and stay that way. Second of all, I don’t make a living being beautiful. End of story.

Trying to make a round body fit into a square hole does not seem like a very productive use of time. In the final analysis, if we eat right and exercise a bit, say a half-hour a day, we should live a long, active life, even if it may be with some “excess” baggage.

How did I reach this conclusion? I looked at my experience with trying to get and stay thin, along with just-about-everyone-else-I-know’s experience with trying to get and stay thin. Have you looked around? It just ain’t happening.

Now, yes, I am a lot thinner than I used to be. People might even perceive me to be thin. Some do, I know, because they make unsolicited comments about it. However, when I look in the mirror, when I grab the extra fat around my belly, I know that I am not as thin as I want to be. I want to see those abs!

(My abs, btw, are in great shape, beneath that fat, because of Shaun T’s Focus T25. That guy knows how to work abs.)

I’d already reached the obvious conclusion that my body is just going to do what it wants to do. I eat very well, and I exercise quite a bit. My bloodwork is beautiful, I am not on any drugs, and I am very fit.

If all that is true, why would I possibly be concerned about a little extra pudge around the middle?

Why, indeed!

Not only that, but as I reached that conclusion, I stumbled upon a book by Linda Bacon, Ph.D., called Health At Every Size. In this book, Dr. Bacon demonstrates, using convincing scientific data, that overweight people are often, in fact, not unhealthy, and they also often, in fact, live longer lives than “normal weight” people.

Hmmmmm….

Definitely something to think about. Read the book and decide for yourself.

Regardless of whether you buy into Dr. Bacon’s arguments, please realize that spending time fretting about how many pounds we weigh is not a healthy way to live.

Put away your scale! Eat right and exercise, and your body will take care of itself. Trust it.