Monday, August 14, 2017

First Drive-On Beach Experience

Have I mentioned that we’re never leaving the South Shore? 🙂 The longer I live here, the more I love it.

Sunday was an awesome day – easily one of the best of the summer. We spent all day (10 hours) at the beach with friends and, my gosh, we had a great time. It was our first experience driving onto Duxbury Beach and now we know why everyone raves about the experience so much. The actual drive to the beach was breathtaking (I felt like we were on the California coast) and the ease of driving all of your stuff right onto the sand was the best thing ever. I’m not sure I’ll ever look at a trip to the beach the same way again!

Once we parked and unpacked, sun protection was our first matter of business. Putting sunscreen on Quinn used to be the biggest fight, but now he loves applying his “kid’s sunblock” and insists on doing it himself.

Then, breakfast was our next matter of business.

Our friends brought ingredients to make breakfast sandwiches and home fries, which, of course, was the greatest thing ever. They’re Duxbury Beach regulars, so they had things planned out to a science.

Oh, yea, the spicy Bloody Mary’s were pretty epic, too! FYI: My insulated tumbler is from Corksicle – it’s my favorite!

Once we had food in our bellies, it was play time for both the kids and adults! 🙂

The morning flew by and, before we knew it, it was lunchtime and there was all sorts of delicious food to share.

We had originally planned to leave after lunch with our friends for nap time (their little guy is 2 years old), but then we thought maybe the boys would nap in the car if we took them for a drive down the beach. Sure enough, they zonked out and our beach day continued!

Qman slept for nearly 2 hours and woke up ready to play at the beach some more! (He’s holding a tiny hermit crab in his hand.)

Eventually, the tide came in and we ran out of space, so it was time to leave. On the way home, we stopped at The Oysterman for dinner, which ended up being the perfect way to end a day at the beach.

We shared pulled pork sliders and fried oysters as appetizers.

And then I ordered a big salad with spiced chicken for my entree. We had heard The Oysterman was a great spot, and it definitely lived up to its positive review. We’re big fans and will definitely visit again!

Question of the Day

What’s your favorite part about a day at the beach? 

I honestly love it all, but I especially love quiet mornings on the beach. They’re so relaxing.

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How to Use Up All Your Height-of-Summer Produce

The garden is exploding, your CSA is at its peak, and you can’t seem to help yourself from stopping at the local farmers market. It’s the best time of year to be a local food junkie! Here are some tips and recipes to help use up your seasonal bounty.

Cucumber

Low-calorie cukes are easy to munch and have an irresistibly fresh aroma. They also have a high water content, which means they will help keep you hydrated.

 

Recipes to try:

Cubed Watermelon, Cucumber and Feta Salad (pictured above)

Cucumber Mint Iced Tea

Cucumber Salad

Make Your Own Pickles

Herbs

Use herbs as an ingredient, not a garnish. Fresh herbs play a starring role in recipes for chimichurri, salad dressing and pesto (which can be frozen and enjoyed for months). Instead of lettuce, use combo of various fresh herbs and arugula in salad.

 

Recipes to try:

Chimichurri Sauce

Pesto 

Herb Salad

Tomatoes

Nothing says summer like a colorful, sweet and juicy tomato. Use copious amounts in recipes like salads and grilled kebabs. Also try cooked recipes like fresh tomato sauce and slow simmered jam. Whole, clean tomatoes can also be frozen. To defrost, blanche in boiling water then peel and use in any cooked tomato recipe.

 

Recipes to try:

Grilled Tomato Kebabs

Cherry Tomato Salad with Buttermilk Basil Dressing

Tomato Jam

Corn

Corn gets a bad reputation for being unhealthy, but it actually has plenty of nutrients to offer, including fiber, magnesium, potassium and the antioxidant lutein. Toss whole cobs on the grill for a charred flavor, or add the kernels to salsa.

 

Recipes to try:

Summer Corn Salad

Corn Salsa

Oven Roasted Corn on the Cob

Melon

It’s the best time of year for watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew. Explore the farmers’ market for unique varieties like sun jewel or casaba melons. Use the flesh and juice in salads, drinks and frozen treats. Don’t forget the rind – it’s wondrous when pickled.

 

Recipes to Try:

Watermelon Chili and Basil Ice Pops

Honeydew and Arugula Salad

Pickled Watermelon Rinds

Stone Fruit

If you’ve ever gone peach picking you know what a challenge it can be to use a peck of ripe peaches before they begin to rot! Get more mileage out of stone fruit by making jam (try an easy freezer recipe) or a batch of fruit leather. Grill and top with frozen yogurt for dessert or chop and add to rice for a spectacular side dish.

 

Recipes to Try

Freezer Jam

Pear and Plum Fruit Leather

Grilled Peaches with Cinnamon Sugar Butter

Spiced Rice with Nectarines

 

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.



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Mini Ghostbusters

Saturday morning started with a fun partner workout. I teamed up with Marisa and whizzed right through it. It wasn’t a hard workout with regard to the weight, but, holy cow, it was a grip-smoker. I actually had to put the bar down on the hold during the Hang Cleans. Ouch!

After CrossFit, Qman and I arrived home. I had half of an iced coffee (French Toast + SFH vanilla) in the fridge from the day before, so I grabbed that while we played outside.

A little while later, we headed inside for lunch.

I made Banza pasta (high-protein) and then mixed it with a jar of bruschetta and grated Parmesan cheese. Lunch came together in a matter of minutes and, my goodness, it was delicious!

After lunch, Qman went down for his afternoon nap. I cleaned up around the house and started some laundry. Quinn usually rips off a 3 or 4 hour nap when he’s at home, but he was awake after 1.5 hours. (He’s definitely going through some sort of developmental thing – his sleep has been so usual lately.)

Once we were all ready to go, we headed to our friend’s house for a birthday party, which was a lot of fun!

Greta, the Frenchie.

I ate approximately 1 million Doritos.

Hauperts + Greta butt! 🙂

Quinn had the best time playing with Uncle Jon’s Ghostbuster toys and went on a ghost-busting spree around the house!

The party concluded with the most delicious strawberry shortcake. I forgot how much I love this dessert – must make ASAP.

Question of the Day

What’s your all-time favorite dessert – like if you could only pick one dessert to eat for the rest of your life? 

Do you believe in ghost?

Me: Funfetti cake with thick frosting and yes, definitely.

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Dear Mark: Why are Male Fertility and Testosterone Levels so Low?

3d rendering group of white spermsFor today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering just one question. But it’s a good (well, maybe not good, but certainly important) one: Why is male fertility on the rise and testosterone on the wane? The popular notion is that women flushing birth control pills and peeing estrogen-rich urine into the public water supply are the primary reasons for the sex hormone issues facing men, but I’m not so sure. Let’s explore what else might be causing the problem.

In the comments from last week, tribal wrote:

I also heard about a report that indicated that our water supply is also contains more and more estrogen, primarily due to the increased use of birth control tablets, which find their way into the water supply – I need to research the truth to this report. testosterone levels have halved for men in the last 20 years, and at this rate will will end up self-destructing.

The main thrust of your assertion is true.

The water supply is full of estrogenic compounds.

Male sex hormones have plummeted in the last half century and show little sign of rebounding.

However, birth control pill use isn’t the biggest culprit. In a 2011 review of the evidence, researchers found that the contribution of synthetic birth control estrogens to the total estrogen content of public water was negligible. Women flushing pills or excreting urinary estrogen do not appear to be the main cause of estrogen in the water supply.

Estrogen in the water may not even be the main cause of the growing male fertility problem. And if it were, what exactly could you do beside drink more bottled mineral water (and even that’s not a guarantee)? Spend thousands on expensive filters, stress out every time you had to satisfy a basic biological requirement (drink water)? It makes more sense to worry about the things you can control, like what you eat or how you live. As it turns out, the biggest culprits for impaired male fertility are probably dietary and lifestyle-related.

Omega-6/3 intake: The polyunsaturated fats we eat are incorporated into the structure of our cells—all the cells. Omega-6-rich cellular membranes are less stable than membranes with more MUFA, SFA, and omega-3 fats, and that goes for cellular membranes of sperm cells. Studies show that men with higher omega-6:omega-3 ratios have lower sperm counts, less sperm motility, and more infertility.

Oxidized fat intake: Most of the polyunsaturated fat most people eat has been refined, oxidized, and exposed to tons of heat, light, and oxygen. Omega-6 fatty acids are already liable to oxidize and turn rancid. They way we treat them before eating—as frying mediums for days on end, in high-heat stir fries, in packaged junk food subjected to high heat and left on the shelf for months—guarantees they’re almost completely damaged. The higher the MDA (a metabolite of oxidized PUFA) in the sperm, the greater the chance of male infertility.

Low sun intake: Most people fear the sun, focusing only on the skin cancer risk and ignoring the myriad benefits of sun exposure, one of which is the fact that it helps us synthesize vitamin D. Vitamin D is a pro-hormone, meaning we use it to produce a variety of hormones. One of the most important products of vitamin D is testosterone, the male sex hormone. Without adequate testosterone, reproduction becomes difficult. We produce less sperm, lose our libido, and become less attractive to potential mates.

Low red meat intake: The campaign against red meat has worked. Most people still think red meat is inherently dangerous. Red meat consumption is at an all-time low, and chicken consumption is at an all-time high. This development has probably caused major problems for male fertility. Red meat is the best and most reliable source of zinc, an important nutrient for male fertility. Red meat is the best source of carnitine, an amino acid with pro-fertility effects. Red meat is higher in fertility-protective saturated fat and monounsaturated fat and lower in unstable omega-6; chicken is lower in SFA and far higher in omega-6.

Those are the big whoppers, as I see it, the factors regular people suffering from low testosterone/fertility can actually target with the most ROI. Sure, it’s not going to happen overnight. Those seed oils are everywhere. Everyone loves French fries, and no one wants to know how long those fryers have been heating the same oil. Red meat remains scary, as does the sun. But it’s physically possible for a regular person to make four simple changes—eat less omega-6, have some canned sardines twice a week, choose steak over chicken, and go outside every day—that could have huge positive ramifications.

There are other major causes, too, including perhaps the estrogen in the water issue as well as other estrogen-like (xenoestrogen) pollutants. If you guys are interested, I can explore this topic more down the line.

Thanks for reading, everyone. I’d love to know your take on the issue. Let’s hear it!

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Bar Hoppin’

Good morning!

To date, I have written and published 5,291 posts on Carrots ‘N’ Cake. Isn’t that nuts? Along with these blog posts, I’ve come up with 5,291 titles – some good and some, well, not so good. Usually, I have a title in mind when I’m writing a post, but, sometimes, I need to write the whole post before something comes to mind.

I came up with “Bar Hoppin” for today’s blog post title and kind of laughed to myself. I went to two bars on Friday night, which, I guess, technically, is bar hopping, but not like I used to do back in the day. I used to play this game call “Pub Golf” with my friends, where you drank a beer at NINE different bars – and your goal was to drink the beer in as few sips as possible, like strokes in golf. Oy. Apparently, my idea of “bar hopping” has changed quite a bit over the years. Haha! Anyway, let’s recap Friday!

Our morning started with the usual CrossFit + Coffee Shack combo. The workout was a spicy one – I used #75 pounds for the OHS and it really wasn’t that bad!

Photo Aug 11, 8 23 27 AM

At Coffee Shack, I ordered a French Toast iced coffee, which I later added vanilla protein powder to. Delish!

Photo Aug 11, 9 39 22 AM

Back at home, I took a quick shower and boogied over to the Capital One Cafe for a couple of meetings and a bunch of work.

Photo Aug 11, 10 35 26 AM

Later the night, Mal and I headed out for dinner at The Pour Yard, a cute place in Quincy (next to Cagney’s) that serves small plates and delicious drinks.

Photo Aug 11, 6 31 59 PM

We sat outside on the patio and had such a wonderful time. I feel like the two of us haven’t hung out in ages! Ha! Well, we’ve seen plenty of each other this summer, but we’re usually with friends or Qman, so it was nice that it was just the two of us.


We started with the charcuterie board.

Photo Aug 11, 6 58 19 PM

And then shared the spicy chicken lettuce wraps and duck tacos for dinner.

Photo Aug 11, 6 58 21 PM

The chicken tacos were reallllly spicy, but the duck tacos were perfect – I actually wished we had gotten two orders of them!

Photo Aug 11, 6 58 39 PM

Date night!

Photo Aug 11, 6 51 05 PM

Before we left The Pour Yard, we met our friends, Marisa and Jeff, there for a drink. Then, the four of us headed to our friend’s birthday party at Alba for more drinks and fun. It was quite the night of bar hoppin! 🙂

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Back at home, I broke into a brand new box of Pumpkin Spice Cheerios from my friends at General Mills. For a second, I debated if it was too soon to open them, but their deliciousness won me over. They’re seriously one of my favorite cereals ever! 🙂

Photo Aug 11, 11 09 46 PM

Question of the Day

When was the last time you went bar hopping?

Is it too soon for pumpkin?

I would normally say yes, but Pumpkin Spice Cheerios are SO GOOD!

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