Posts Tagged With: Health

True Life: I Love Hamburger Helper

Really. There are a ton of flavors that I would never be able to create in a “limited” kitchen- I have very few spices. Because I’ve had nothing but overwhelming success with regular Hamburger Helper, I decided to try Mexican Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Chicken Helper this week.

A major issue with Hamburger Helper and all of its spinoffs is that it’s not very healthy.  Luckily, I healthify everything so I was up for the challenge. It came pretty good but was a little bland, so next time I’ll add more salt, fresh cilantro, and, if I can muster up the courage, a little bit of hot sauce.


  • 1 box Chicken Helper: Mexican Cheesy Chicken Enchilada (contains rice and seasoning packet)
  • 1.5 pounds uncooked boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2″ chunks  (listed on box)
  • 1 cup skim milk (listed on box)
  • 2 cups hot water (listed on box)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 red peppers, chopped (they were out of green so I doubled up on red)
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • Salt and Pepper to taste (needs more salt than I would have thought)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil


  1. Saute onion and peppers in oil until soft
  2. Add chicken and cook for about 3 minutes.  It should not be cooked through yet.
  3. Stir in hot water, milk, seasoning packet, rice, and tomatoes.  Heat to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Stir occasionally or rice will stick.
  4. Add black beans and cook 5 more minutes
  5. Remove from heat and uncover so the sauce can thicken
  6. Make sure you salt it or its boring!

I would have switched the box rice for my brown rice but I was out of brown rice… oh well! I served this with a large helping of vegetables and it made about 8 servings.  I also swished the hot water in the tomato can before I put it in the mix to pick up any of the flavor and pieces that might have been left behind. Enjoy, and go forward knowing that you too can enjoy Hamburger Helper.


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Wired on Caffeine?

If you’re anything like me I am completely dependent on coffee the point where I remake my coffee for the next day the first thing I do in the morning is walk over to the coffee machine and press the on button so my caffeine fix begins to brew I am one of millions of Americans who are fixed on coffee this article below is a fantastic job of listing out The benefits and harms of caffeine.  Clearly not being dependent on anything is a good thing.  However since so many of us work so hard it’s it’s good to know there are some health benefits to that cup of Joe in the morning.

Coffee Pros

  • 1. Antioxidants. Coffee is rich in antioxidants like chlorogenic acid and melanoidins. Antioxidants help prevent oxidation, a process that causes damage to cells and contributes to aging.
  • 2. Parkinson’s disease. Regular coffee drinking reduces the risk of Parkinson’s disease. A number of studies [1],[2] have demonstrated that people who drink coffee on a regular basis are significantly less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.
  • 3. Diabetes. Coffee drinking has the potential to protect against the development of type 2 diabetes. A prospective study[3] as part of the US Nurses Health Study found that moderate consumption of both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes in younger and middle aged women.
  • 4. Liver cirrhosis. Coffee drinking may protect against liver cirrhosis, especially alcoholic cirrhosis.
  • 5. Gallstones. There is some evidence [4] that coffee drinking may be protective against gallstone formation in both men and women.
  • 6. Kidney stones. Coffee consumption lowers the risk of kidney stones formation. Coffee increases the urine volume, preventing the crystallization of calcium oxalate, the most common component of kidney stones.
  • 7. Improved mental performance. Caffeine in coffee is a well-known stimulant. Coffee promotes alertness, attention and wakefulness. The cup of coffee can also increase information processing.
  • 8. Alzheimer’s disease. Regular coffee drinking may help to protect against Alzheimer’s disease. Recent study [5] in mice showed that caffeine equivalent to 5 cups of coffee per day reduced the build up of destructive plaques in the brain.
  • 9. Asthma. Caffeine in coffee is related to theophylline, an old asthma medication. Caffeine can open airways and improve asthma symptoms.
  • 10. Caffeine safety. In 1958, caffeine was placed on the Food and Drug Administration’s listas generally recognized as safe. Coffee Cons

1. Heart disease.This is somewhat controversial. Most prospective cohort studies haven’t found that coffee consumption is associated with significantly increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

  • On one hand, diterpenes cafestol and kahweol present in unfiltered coffee and caffeine each appear to increase risk of coronary heart disease. High quality studies [6] have confirmed the cholesterol-raising effect of diterpenes. Also, coffee consumption is associated with an increase of plasma homocysteine, a risk factor for coronary heart disease.On the other hand, a lower risk of heart disease among moderate coffee drinkers might be due to antioxidants found in coffee.
  • 2. Cholesterol. Heavy consumption of boiled coffee elevates blood total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels [7]. Unfiltered coffee contains two cholesterol-raising compounds cafestol and kahweol.
  • 3. Blood vessels. Coffee negatively affects the blood vessel tone and function.
  • 4. Heart rhythm disturbances. Coffee can cause rapid or irregular heartbeats (cardiac arrhythmias).
  • 5. Blood pressure. Although coffee drinking is not a significant risk factor for hypertension, it produces unfavorable effects on blood pressure [8] and people prone to hypertension may be more susceptible. Recent Italian study found that coffee drinking can slightly increase the risk for development of sustained hypertension in people with elevated blood pressure.
  • 6. Osteoporosis. Coffee intake may induce an extra urinary excretion of calcium. Heavy coffee consumption (600 ml or more) can modestly increase the risk of osteoporosis, especially in women with a low calcium intake [9].
  • 7. Heartburn. A cup of coffee can trigger the heartburn.
  • 8. Sleep. Most are aware of the stimulatory effects of caffeine. High amounts of caffeine taken before going to sleep can cause difficulty falling asleep, tendency to be awakened more readily by sudden noises, and a decreased quality of sleep. However, some people can drink coffee and fall right asleep.
  • 9. Dehydration. The caffeine in coffee is a mild diuretic and can increase urine excretion. This effect may be easily neutralized by drinking an extra glass of water.
  • 10. Dependence. Although “generally recognized as safe” by the FDA, caffeine is still a drug, a mild central nervous system stimulant, and it produces dependence. Caffeine withdrawal is a real syndrome. You may get a few days of headache and irritability if you choose to quit drinking coffee, however, it is relatively easy to break this habit, and most people are not addicted to caffeine.

Check out the article here:


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