Friday, March 25, 2011

Peanut Butter

I don't know about you but one of my favorite snacks is a PB&J sandwich. Peanut butter is such a yummy, versatile and healthy treat.
To learn more about peanut butter, we first need to start with the peanut itself.

Peanuts are native to the tropical regions of the Americas. The Aztecs used to pound the peanuts into a paste that was not nearly as sweet tasting as the ones we find today. It wasn't until George Washington Carver came on the scene that ingredients like molasses and cane sugar were added to give the peanut paste a sweeter and more palatable flavor. By the way, did you know that George Washington Carver came up with 300 different uses for peanuts? Pretty remarkable! Peanut butter as we know it today comes from a US patent issued to Marcellus Gilmore Edson of Montreal, Canada. Edson's process included milling the roasted peanuts between two heated surfaces until they reached
"a fluid or semi-fluid state." As the concoction cooled, it entered what Edson described as a consistency similar to "butter, lard or ointment". That doesn't sound too appetizing now does it?! Good thing it tastes pretty delish! There are also some health benefits to eating peanut butter. It may actually protect against cardiovascular disease because of the high levels of monounsaturated fats contained in the peanuty creamy goodness. Peanut butter also contains heaps of protein, vitamins B3 and E plus it has magnesium, folate and dietary fiber. Some brands of peanut butter contain hydrogenated vegetable oils added to make them creamier but this also makes them less healthy. Hydrogenated vegetable oil has been linked to coronary heart disease and strokes. If you are going to eat peanut butter, it's best to stick with the NATURAL kind of peanut butter because those are naturally free of that bad hydrogenated stuff.

Peanut butter has been used in many types of foods such as candies, cookies, ice cream, cakes, brownies, pretzels, stir fry and noodle dishes, sandwiches (peanut butter and banana sandwiches are a personal favorite of mine) and sooooo much more!
If you are ready for some peanut butter treats, give this cookie recipe a try!!

Classic Peanut Butter Cookies


  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda


  1. Cream together butter, peanut butter and sugars. Beat in eggs.
  2. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir into batter. Put batter in refrigerator for 1 hour.
  3. Roll into 1 inch balls and put on baking sheets. Flatten each ball with a fork, making a criss-cross pattern. Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F oven for about 10 minutes or until cookies begin to brown. Do not over-bake.
Enjoy!! And until next time, keep it clean!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Play Time

Remember the good old days when you didn't have a care in the world and played on the swing set in the backyard every afternoon? Homework consisted of coloring and creating fun art projects instead of reading financial reports and analyzing budgets. As adults, we get very wrapped up in our social calendars, work schedules, bill paying and the like. We lose our childlike instincts and forget how to enjoy ourselves. Are you in touch with your inner child?

Think about the things you enjoyed as a child. Did you enjoy coloring in a coloring book? Finger painting? Roller skating? Bike riding? It's important to make time for the things you love because that is what keeps us happy and healthy. "Play time" can help you relieve stress, sharpen your skills, become more creative and brings a smile to your face (and who doesn't want to smile more??).

Here are some ideas to help you get started on revisiting your childhood (even if you do it for just an hour a week!):
  • Read a book that you loved as a child (Dr. Seuss books do it for me!)
  • Color in a coloring book
  • Blow bubbles
  • Play with a hula hoop
  • Fly a kite
  • Jump in puddles
  • Swing on a swing set
  • Watch a few episodes of Sesame Street
  • Wear mismatched socks on PURPOSE
  • Pack yourself a "kids" lunch to take to work (PB&J, juice box, pudding cup, etc.)
  • Have a Saturday morning cartoon party complete with bowls of cereal and pj's
Those are just a few ideas to get ya started. Remember, do something you enjoy this week and make it FUN!
Until next time, keep it clean (or NOT if you decide to make mud pies for fun!).

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bucket List

I had a wonderful dinner with some friends this past weekend and during the conversation, the subject turned to talking about things we would LIKE to do but haven't done - our bucket lists. Most included travel to faraway, exotic locations, daring feats that would obviously be the result of a momentary loss of reason (one of mine fell into this category - see the picture to the right) and other things that are a little less dangerous (like trying flamenco dancing).
It brought me to the question - what would I do if I could do anything in the world and not have to worry about work, money, bills, etc? Here are a few things that are on my list:
  • Swimming with sharks
  • Learn to speak Japanese
  • Ride a gondola in Venice (no - not the Venetian in Las Vegas - I want the real deal!!)
  • Volunteer more with different charity organizations
  • Build a house for someone through Habitat for Humanity
  • Help set up water wells in a country that has no safe drinking water
  • Hike Mount Kilimanjaro
  • Write a novel
Those are just a few of the the things I would do if I could. Some are easier to achieve than others but, hey, it gives me something to work towards!

Give it some thought. What would YOU put on your bucket list? Here are some links to help you get started on a list of your very own:

Have a wonderful weekend! Maybe you can find some time to get started on your bucket list :-)
As always, until next time, keep it clean!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Under Pressure!!

Aside from being an AWESOME Queen and David Bowie song, being "under pressure" is a drag and, unfortunately, it's part of everyone's life at some time. Pressures at home, work and school can have a detrimental effect on your health. Luckily, there are ways to manage the stress in your life (because, let's face it, there is ALWAYS going to be SOME stress no matter how hard we try to eliminate it). The best place to start is at the beginning - what is causing your stress?
Once you figure that out, you will be able to learn healthy ways to reduce and alleviate stress.
Sometimes it's pretty clear where stress is coming from. Major life changes (the death of a loved one, marriage, the arrival of a new baby) can bring on stress and tension. Prolonged stress can wreak havoc on your body causing rapid heartbeats, headaches, stiff neck/shoulders, back pain, stomach upset and may lead to a weakened immune system, high blood pressure and a list of other detrimental health problems. We all know the signs of being stressed out but do you know how to manage or relieve your stress? Here are a few ways that I personally have found to be effective:
  • Keep a journal. Write down those negative thoughts to get them out of your head! Imagine the stress traveling from your mind, down your arm and through your pen onto the paper. Once it's on the paper, let the stressful thoughts go and do your best to not revisit them.
  • Exercise regularly. Even taking a quick 20 minute walk around your neighborhood can do WONDERS for improving your overall sense of well-being. Give this one a try - it's quick, easy and really helps.
  • Do something you enjoy. Doing volunteer work, gardening, painting, coloring in a coloring book or partaking in any hobby that makes you smile is a great way to reduce stress.
  • Let the feelings out! Talk, laugh or cry with someone you trust.
  • Ask for help. Sometimes we take on too many things and don't like to say no to people and this causes us to feel overwhelmed and stressed. If you have too much on your plate, ask for help.
  • Speak up. Not talking about your concerns and/or needs creates stress. Learn to express yourself in a thoughtful manner so that those concerns are released instead of keeping them bottled up.
  • Learn to relax. Activities like yoga, tai chi and meditation are known to lower blood pressure and reduce stress. Can't hurt to try, right?
  • And lastly, when all else fails......LAUGH!!! In the end, sweating over the small things just bogs us down. Why not laugh them away? Put on a silly movie, get a friend to tell you a funny joke or remember a time when you did something sooooo silly that you can't help but laugh. Laughter IS the best medicine!
Hope you will give these pointers a try next time you are feeling some tension in your world. Until next time, keep it clean and don't forget to LAUGH!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The blog is BACK!!

Did you miss reading the AZUMA Leasing blog? Of course you did - how could you not miss it! But we are back in the game and will do our best to make every Friday more fun, silly and entertaining than before. After all, that's what Fridays are for!

Hard to believe that spring is just around the corner. The first day of spring this year is March 20th. It will be really nice to get some warm, sunny weather and pack away the sweaters and jackets. And of course, all of that packing brings to mind spring cleaning! Not something that everyone enjoys but it is a necessity. When you clean out your drawers and closets and storage units, see what you can donate to organizations like Goodwill and the Salvation Army. If you have large items and are unable to take them to the donation location yourself, you can arrange for pickup of your items - free of charge! You can't beat that deal with a stick! Remember - if you haven't used it, worn it or displayed it in a year - DONATE IT!

I even donated some items that belonged to my dogs to the Humane Society. They will accept gently used collars, leashes, beds, blankets and of course, food donations. We can't forget to help out our four-legged friends, too!

We will have another blog posting for your reading pleasure on Friday so please be sure to check back! Until next time, keep it clean!!