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Don’t Buy That! 10 Foods You Should Make at Home

Don’t Buy That! 10 Foods You Should Make at Home

Some very delicious packaged foods have some seriously disgusting ingredients (who knew ice cream’s dirty little secret?). Others are ridiculously over-priced for how easy they are to make. And some just taste so much better when you make them yourself.

Here are 10 super simple things you should never buy pre-made again.

Whipped Cream

Cakes_Really_Vanilly_lg

    Once you make whipped cream at home you’ll realize that, whatever it is in those pressurized cans, it’s not the same as what you just put on your pie. You hardly need a recipe to make whipped cream at home. It’s just cream, powdered sugar, and a touch of vanilla extract all whipped together. But here’s a recipe from the Food Network just in case.

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    Vanilla Extract

    Vanilla-Bean-Bundle-1-of-11

      True, making vanilla extract takes a tremendous amount of patience, but you’ll save a bundle making it yourself. All you need is vanilla beans, clean glass containers, vodka, and a couple months. You can get everything you need (aside from the vodka) as well as the recipe at Beanilla.com.

      Chicken stock

      If you have ever wondered why your homemade soup just doesn’t measure up to your favorite restaurant’s, you probably only need to make one small adjustment: start with homemade stock. As the base that all the other ingredients build on, the stock is pretty important flavor-wise. Most canned and boxed stocks have very little flavor, just a lot of sodium. Martha Stewart has a very reliable recipe, which is a great place to start.

      Salad dressing

      If you don’t care for a little titanium dioxide with your salad, steer clear of store bought salad dressings. Found in paint and sunscreen, titanium dioxide is a great ingredient for turning dingy, overly-processed substances bright white; but not so good for your health. Instead whip up a batch in your blender in just a couple minutes. The Pioneer Woman offers a great recipe on the Food Network web site (ignore the preparation time since most of it is just chilling the dressing in the fridge).

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      Hummus

      Hummus

        Once you discover all the delicious things that pair nicely with hummus (vegetables and pita for example), you’ll want to have it around all the time. A cheaper alternative to buying it pre-made is to make it yourself, and it’s really easy. Try this recipe from About.com or if you’re more of a perfectionist, this one from Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen.

        Lemonade

        Lemonade

          Whether you find bottled lemonade too sweet or just want to try a little DIY experiment, you’ll be pleased by the results of homemade lemonade. The Pioneer Woman comes through again (as she so often does) with a refreshing lemonade recipe that will please your own little punks every time.

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          Ricotta

          rich homemade ricotta

            Not only does homemade ricotta taste so much better than store bought, it’s also a lot cheaper. If you can boil water, you can make ricotta. Just follow these excellent directions over at Smitten Kitchen.

            Peanut Butter

            MAKE YOUR OWN PEANUT BUTTER

              A staple in practically every American mother’s pantry, peanut butter is a pretty healthy food, as long as it’s just peanut butter. Skip the whole hydrogenated oil business and make your own using a really, really easy recipe from A Beautiful Mess. There are only two ingredients, so it really couldn’t get easier.

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              Pancake Mix

              Whole Wheat Pancakes

                If you don’t recognize the ingredients on the box, it’s time to make your own mix. Try this one from the health monks at Tassajara Meditation Center where flipping sublime pancakes is just one way to reach Nirvana.

                Granola Bars

                Chocolate Granola Bars

                  Making your own snacks is a great way to cut out unwanted sugar and to customize food to your tastes. Tweak this recipe from the Daily Green to make it exactly how you want it.

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                  Last Updated on January 17, 2019

                  8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                  8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                  In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

                  Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

                  Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

                  Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

                  Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

                  The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

                  There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

                  How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

                  According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

                  Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

                  Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

                  The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

                  Listen carefully:

                  We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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                  The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

                  Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

                  8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

                  There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

                  Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

                  1. Pray Daily

                  You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

                  When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

                  Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

                  Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

                  2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

                  A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

                  By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

                  Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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                  If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

                  This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

                  How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

                  3. Smile Often

                  Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

                  Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

                  Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

                  The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

                  4. Organize Your Working Desk

                  A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

                  When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

                  Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

                  Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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                  5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

                  I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

                  Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

                  What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

                  6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

                  God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

                  I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

                  I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

                  7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

                  You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

                  How do you do that? This is my formula:

                  First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

                  If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

                  If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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                  If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

                  Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

                  8. Go Exercise

                  Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

                  The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

                  You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

                  12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

                  The Bottom Line

                  It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

                  It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

                  Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

                  More Resources About Mindfulness

                  Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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