Friday, 28 May 2010

Tips to Boost Brain Power

Browsing the net (to keep my self busy) I caught this interesting blog posted on www.dumblittleman.com on how to keep your brain in shape and boost its power. I did a little digging on the topic and most of them shared the same common tips and now I am sharing them with you. To a more powerful and optimized brain without the dope and surgery, read on:

1) Relax and distress : Indulge yourself in simple pleasures to loosen up both the mind and body. Do things that you love in order to avoid stress. One highly recommended way to dissolve stress, which I will be trying tonight, is to listen to music like classical, jazz, and other soft music especially right before sleeping. Others recommend to do meditation – yoga perhaps. For me, I jog to sweat out. That relieves my mind fatigue and it really is very physically relaxing and refreshing.

2) Rest it : get enough sleep of at least 7-9 hours a day (it’s highly recommended in most of the studies I read) Sleeping less than 6 hours a day accelerates brain cell decay.

3) Feed it : the brain is like a supercomputer that needs a lot of fuel. Here’s what to and what not to eat and drink

What to:

- Drink lots of apple juices - eat as much fat you can everyday. Who said fatty foods are bad? Of course we just have to feed our brain with good fats, unsaturated fatty acids (omega 3) like those found in salmon, nuts and seeds. Walnuts and almonds are highly recommended. Granola is good

- eat food high in lecithin, like whole wheat, as it helps prevent hardening of the arteries that impairs the brain.

- Take vitamin B complex to strengthen memory power as well as Vitamins E & C.

- eat high in fiber food to get rid of that toxins on your body

What not to:

- no to high sugar intake to avoid “brain fog”, memory loss and other neurotic disorders

- overeating at night. always eat light before you go to bed in order to get a good night sleep.

- No to toxic substances like alcohol, narcotic drugs, nicotine, too much caffeine, and many medications as they decrease blood flow to the brain. Low blood flow to the brain means insufficient supply of oxygen to the brain and thus it decreases the brain activity and even result to faster brain cell decay. Caffeine when taken in small amount though is a good brain stimulant.

4) Let it work : Use it more. Use it often. Exercise your brain, play with it, and use it everyday. Learn new and difficult stuff or engage in activities to keep the neurons going. Best recommended and which I see more often in the articles I read is to learn a new language. Play word puzzles and Sudoku (my new craze)

5) Develop Imagination : Day dreaming in this case is not bad at all :-) It says and I quote Shilpan Patel, If we develop a vivid and colorful imagination that can be linked to a known object, that which involve all the senses - touching, feeling, smelling, hearing and seeing in the imagination process, you can remember greater details of the event.

6) Avoid Negative thoughts : negative thoughts leads to depression and anxiety thus making you do bad and lousy things. Happy and positive thoughts have calming and relaxing effect not only on the mind but also on the whole body thereby optimizing the functioning of the brain.

7) Have sex : in an article I read, it claimed that sexual contact with a partner at least once a week led to more fertile, regular menstrual cycles, shorter menses, delayed menopause, increased estrogen levels, and delayed aging among women. Enhancing estrogen levels for women through regular sexual activity enhances overall brain activity and improves memory. So the more often you make love the smarter you get.

So my Dear Frederick, I want you here. I need you hear (*wink *wink)

- Sharosem (28May2010)

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

My Spinach Pesto Sauce for Pasta

As I have mentioned in my earlier post Creamy Spinach Pesto for Pasta, here is my Spinach pesto recipe. Before I go straight to the ingredients and cooking instruction, I'd like to share my research about pesto sauces.

Pesto is an oil-based sauce which originated from Italy.  Pesto might have come from the word pestâ  which means "to pound, to crush" since the old way of making the pesto is by pounding the herbs, nuts, and garlic using a mortar and pestle.

Traditionally, pesto is made from basil which  most commonly known as pesto alla genovese or pesto genovese.  In which it is made with Genovese basil, garlic, toasted pine nuts, extra virgin olive oil, salt  and grated cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano etc.

In modern day world, alternatives to basil and the rest of the ingredients are used depending on the preference of the cook and the eater.  I love basil as much as I love pesto but most of the times I couldn't find any fresh basil leaves in the grocery or supermarket here in Singapore so I have to find a good substitute.

The first time I made a spinach pesto was 3 to 4 years ago in our home in Tabuk, during Christmas dinner.  Cloyed with all the oily, fatty, and creamy dishes that we often serve during christmas and new year's dinner (Lechon kawali and spasta are always present) I thought of making pasta with pesto for myself (we had bought a lot of local spinach leaves at that time) then mama (mama Tessie) asked me to make one for her, then the rest of my siblings wanted it too.

And here it is- my Spinach Pesto Sauce for Pasta

Ingredients:

Fresh Spinach Leaves  - 3 to 4 bundles

Basil leaves, dried - 1tsp

Olive oil - 1/4 cup

Garlic, chopped - 3 cloves

Salt & Pepper to taste

1/4 cup of Pine nuts maybe added, walnut or cashew nuts, can also be used instead of pine nuts, whichever are available.  The nuts must be lightly roasted to give a creamier texture to the sauce.  We only use small amount of garlic in this recipe since the acid in the spinach will pick up the flavor of the garlic.

Cooking Procedure:

1) Clean and take out the leaves of the spinach.

2) In a food processor or blender, blend the spinach and the rest of the ingredients until the mixture is smooth.

- Serve this with pasta noodles topped with your favorite cheese.

- the pesto can also be stored to be used for some other time.  Just make sure to place it in a clean bottle and refrigerate it.

-Sharosem (10May2010)

Monday, 10 May 2010

Creamy Spinach Pesto for Pasta

Here's my creamy pesto I cooked when one of my highschool friends (Imee Balageo) came to our humble flat and paid us a visit .  My sister Kristine had been bugging me to cook pesto pasta.  I've decided, however, to make pesto with cream.  I'd be posting later the recipe for the Pesto sauce.

Ingredients:

Fresh Spinach Leaves  - 2 to 3 bundles

Sharon's Mixed herbs - 2 tsp

Olive oil - 3 tbsp

Garlic, chopped - 5 cloves

Salt & Pepper to taste

Sharon's white sauce- thick - 1 serving

     see recipe under Sharon’s White Sauce Recipe’s for Pasta and Soups

Cooking Procedure:

1) Clean and take out the leaves of the spinach.

2) In a food processor, blend the spinach, garlic, and olive oil

3) Transfer the processed spinach mixture in a pan and mix with the rest of the ingredients.

4) Cook over low heat until the sauce is thickened.

- Serve this with 400 to 500 g. of pasta noodles.

- or you may use as sauce toppings for steamed fish or poultry.

-Sharosem (10May2010)