Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Zeus’s Personal Recipe for Healthy Spaghetti with Roasted Garlic Sauce

This is based on a classic dish- pasta with olive oil and garlic- but with a few twists for extra flavor and color. With the fresh tomatoes coming in from the garden this is a favorite dish for this time of year. This dish is filling without being heavy. I probably make this once a week- it's that good!! This a fantastic dish that’s yummy, easy to prepare, and good for everyone- Kids, diabetics and even fitness buffs!

We’ll need:

Pasta- I use Barilla Multi-grain spiral rotini, but sometimes I use the thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta as well.

1 head of garlic

Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Get a good brand like Bertolli or the Whole Foods house brand- Avoid brands like Crisco

Fresh tomatoes

Black olives

Can of tuna (optional) albacore is nicer than the regular tuna

Sea salt and fresh black pepper

Start with the garlic because that takes the longest

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees- toaster ovens work fine for this.

Turn the head of garlic on its side and slice all the way through it, taking off the 'top' and exposing the cloves inside.

Then tear a piece of foil that is big enough to wrap a couple layers around the entire head of garlic. If you use heavy duty foil, one layer is fine.

Put the garlic in the middle of the square of foil and gently fold it in around the garlic, but leave the top open. This is to catch any excess olive oil. Now pour the olive oil onto the head of garlic. It may take 2 or 3 drizzles to get the head covered in olive oil. Let is settle/soak in for a few seconds between rounds of oil. Then after the garlic is sufficiently covered in oil oil, finish wrapping the foil around the garlic and loosely twist or fold the top of the foil closed- sort of like a Hersey’s kiss.

Put it in the oven and set the timer for 30-40 minutes.

Roasted garlic is very different from fresh garlic. Roasted garlic is smooth and creamy and is so good you can spread it on bread and eat it just like that!

MMM Food of the Gods.

I'm pretty sure Roasted garlic was either invented by Zeus, or as a tribute to him.  It really adds great flavor to any dish that calls for garlic. You get all the good garlic flavor without any bitterness and the overwhelming taste of fresh or sautéed garlic.

While the garlic is cooking start the water boiling. If you add a splash of olive oil to the water it will keep it from boiling over. The water will come to a boil quicker if you have a lid on the pan- even a loose piece of foil will work.

The Barilla pasta takes about 10 minutes to cook.

While the water is heating, go ahead and dice your tomatoes. I'm lucky to have fresh tomatoes from the garden for this, but if you have to use store bought tomatoes, make sure you get some good ones. Roma tomatoes have good flavor and are usually among the less expensive choices if you're on a budget. Another good choice are the tomatoes that come still on the vine.

Open your can or jar of black olives, and slice them if they aren't already sliced.

When the garlic is done, pull it out of the oven and let it cool off for 10 minutes.

While the garlic cools off, take a sauce pan and start heating up the olive oil for the sauce. The olive oil doesn't need to be really hot and shouldn't be anywhere near smoking temp. Medium heat should be fine, you're just going to sauté the tomatoes a little bit and then heat up the roasted garlic. I use about 2- 4 ounces of olive oil for about 10 oz. of dry pasta.

So when the oil is warm, add the tomatoes and let them sauté for just a minute or two. Then add the garlic. If you're careful, you can fold back the foil and use it to hold the garlic while you squeeze it out. BE CAREFUL- THE GARLIC IS FULL OF HOT OIL AND CAN BE EXTREMLY HOT! DON"T GET THE HOT OIL ON YOUR SKIN. I also use a disposable latex glove so I don't get the garlic infused oil on my hands. Once you get good at this, you can pull the glove off while you hold the foil and empty garlic husks and as you pull off the glove, it will turn inside out and envelope the oil/garlic husk / foil package and allow for super easy clean up and disposal!
The individual cloves of garlic are very softy after being roasted and will easily pop right out when you squeeze the head of garlic. If your pan was too hot and the garlic starts to turn brown, take it off the heat and swirl it around a bit to dissipate the heat. I add a little bit of sea salt at this point. I pour it in my hand and then add about 3 or 4 pinches to the pan.

After you add the garlic, turn it down to a very low simmer- about where you set it to simmer rice, put the lid on the pan and let it simmer for about then minutes while you cook the pasta.

One of the neat things about the Barilla Multi Grain pasta is that it's a very healthy substitute for regular pasta. It has a low gylcemic index which means it better for everyone- including diabetics.
It’s basically just chock full of good healthy stuff, but doesn’t taste like sawdust like a lot of whole wheat pastas do. In a pinch you can substitute the spaghetti or angel hair pasta for the rotini in this recipe if you wanted to.

Now, hopefully everything finishes cooking at the same time.

Drain the pasta and put the servings on the plates. Add tuna to each plate and then pour the warm olive oil over the tuna. Add the black olives and your all set!. You can also add a little bit of parmesan cheese- but that add some fat to the recipe- you can also add some red pepper flakes- either add them to the sauce as it cooks, or add it after it's plated. You may want to add a little more sea salt, and then give the plates a couple twists from your pepper mill.

You now have a healthy, wholesome meal that everyone can eat and enjoy. You have the awesome antioxidants from the olive oil and garlic, combined with the healthy protein and carbohydrates from the multi grain pasta, plus the fresh tomatoes! The whole grains and dietary fiber contribute to heart health and reduce your cholesterol. With the fiber and protein content in the pasta, the carbohydrates will absorb slowly, causing a gradual blood sugar impact. Like I said- packed full of awesomeness.

This dish is pretty versatile... you can leave out the tuna if you don't care for it. You can also leave out the tomatoes and black olives if you need a dish that's less expensive.

It goes perfectly with a good, cold, crisp green salad or Greek salad as a first course. Skip the iceberg lettuce ( it’s all water with no nutrition) and get a good salad mix like baby spring greens or baby spinach and spring greens. Top it with a good Italian dressing ( I like Marie’s brand dressings- you can find them in the produce section) or top it with just olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar.  By the way- extra virgin olive oil is almost a super food by itself! It’s packed with antioxidants, it helps lower cholesterol (It’s on the Mayo Clinic’s list of Top 5 Food to Lower Your Cholesterol!!!) AND you can even rub it on your skin as a moisturizer! The extra virgin grade of oil is less processed and isn’t chemically treated the way a lot of the cheaper/lower grades are. They’ve also documented the wonderful long term effects in huge clinical study done in Europe, so this is all well proven information . Olive oil is good for your heart and your skin- and everything in between.

My Foot Powder Monkey, and Elves to the Rescue

This time of year, as it gets hotter and more humid an ugly issue raises its head- to powder the boys or not powder...

As I'm typing this... it feels as though 100 little gnomes with icy little hands are massaging my nether region... and it feels glorious!! 

It's like having an air conditioner in your boxer briefs. 

This is probably one of the main thing that separates us from the animals and lower life forms... maybe I can't like myself the way the dog can... but he'll never know the bliss of 1000 elves with roller skates made from glacial ice skating across his sack either. 

I started out my addiction innocently enough. I had read a recommendation about using footpowder when you were on long hikes or runs. Since I live where it's approximately eleventy billion degrees during the summer, the idea seemed to have merit. So I bought a bottle of medicated foot powder and gave it a couple of trials. I didn't notice a huge difference... mostly I think, due to my summer hiking boots being made from a well ventilated, breathable mesh. There wasn't any negative or down side, but it didn't strike me as a great improvement either. Your results may vary if you're wearing heavier boots- especially work boots that may not be as breathable..... but back to my nuts.

It can get a little swampy in the groinital area when you walk around outside in the southern heat and humidity. Even something simple like walking your dog in the morning can leave you stickier that a kid turned loose in a cotton candy factory. 

So being the adventurous type that I am, I was eyeing the bottle of foot powder and the thought was always in the back of my mind... "What would happen if I rubbed some of that on my nut sack"?? I sure that a common thought amongst males of our species... but this time it was a purely defensive move.

I needed to protect the boys. 

So I did it. I when into the bathroom and strategically hovered above the bowl so I could give 'em a good dusting. I turned the top of the powder bottle to it's 'dusting' position and gave it a few squeezes to ensure an even, uniform coating. Than a few pats to ensure we had adequate covering way up in the rafters. Mission completed, I walked back toward my office when the sensations started. At first it's a mild, barely noticeable rustling in the general jimmy area. 

Then it progresses to feeling like a slight cooling breeze. As you bask in the growing feeling of contentment from the residents of the former swamp front property, it segues into a cold front blowing through. 

It's like snow on a 100 degree July day, but without the ironic chorus.
Like a coming storm blowing through... first there's a slight rustling, and then you feel the breeze begin to pick up momentum and velocity. Then there's the crack of lightning and the downpour starts!

It becomes a glorious torrent of coolness... emanating from your own personal man-cave.
With this type of technology on our side, no wonder we beat the Soviet Union!!
Now as wonderful as this all sounds - and it is in fact wonderful to have an icy cool mansack in the middle of a Mexican desert- I fear that the sensation is addicting. 

At first, I was happy with just one powdering a day. 

Then I started sneaking in a quick powder session after lunch. I'd sneak my little stash into the restroom and do it up while I hid in a stall... hoping no one ever walked in and discovered my little secret. Then I started to have a 'little relaxer' when I got done with dinner. I told myself “it’s just a little bit, and besides, you've earned it".... so I'd dust after dinner. Now I'm up to 3 times a day. But it's OK- I've got this under control. ...
At some point I noticed I wasn’t getting the amazing icy massage feeling as much as I used to... I'd created scar tissue in my veins.... I soon realized they made an even stronger version that came in the blue can. One hit of the blue stuff and all the faded memories came rushing back. I was a virgin again...touched for the very first time.

I started to alternate the stronger stuff so I didn't raise my tolerance too quickly. I'd dose with the regular stuff during the day, and save the blue stuff for "special occasions"...This seems to keep my addiction manageable. A couple of doses of the regular stuff, but the 'good stuff' is only for occasional use, so I still get that fantastic sensation like I've hired my own squad of cute Filipino girls whose sole mission in life is to massage my nuggets with ice cubes wrapped in silk and then gently blow on them. 

My boys have never been happier, and always seem to perk up when they know they're about to get powered.

So be good to your boys and let the ice skating gnomes take a trip or two around your wrinkly rink. 

2 Grooming Secret Weapons Every Guy Should Have. AKA: The 90 Second Clean Up.

In the 21st century men are being held to a higher standard of grooming. Here are two quick ways to help you stay on top of your game:

Number 1: Toothbrush or mouthwash. You can have a small bottle in your desk at work or in your backpack or even keep it the car

Nothing turns people off like bad breath, AKA "Death Breath" so to make sure that you avoid this grooming disaster by being prepared. It doesn't matter if you’re meeting a client for sales presentation or approaching the cute girl at the deli counter, minty fresh breath will win you bonus points. If you can’ keep a brush and small trial size tube of toothpaste in your desk or backpack or your car, you can also score one of the little trial size bottles of the mouthwash and those are easy to hide and bring out when you need your secret weapon.

Number 2: Witch hazel or of facial toner wipes.

Let's say that it’s summertime and you went out  for lunch and now you're back at the office and now you’ve got that tuna sandwich doing horribly unnatural things to your breath plus that five minute walk over to the deli was enough to give you a nice little sheen of oil and sweat.  You are practically a walking french fry.... So what's a man to do?
 We already addressed the breath issue, (PROTIP: a good quality mint will help if you don't have time for a brush or rinse- but get something decent like Altoids and avoid the cheap sugary stuff) so now we need something real quick to clean up your face.

Places like Target and Walmart and beauty supply stores –(BTW beauty supply stores are full of nubile young girls that are friendly and will always answer whatever questions you can think of to ask them, plus they often need someone to practice their grooming or ‘cosmetology’ skills on, so those stores can also sometimes be prime hunting grounds)- sell small empty plastic bottles made for just this purpose. Buy a small (get the travel size) spray or squeeze bottle and some of the little cotton facial wipes that cost about a dollar for a package. Fill the bottle with either plain witch hazel -which by the way is an outstanding old-school ingredient that doesn't get enough press these days, mostly because it's inexpensive and works well on its own- or you can use facial toner that you purchased, and put it inside a small Ziploc bag with 10 of the facial wipes.

 All you have to do is spray a little bit of the witch hazel or facial toner on the wipe, and then clean your face of all that nasty sweat and grime.
 Simple as that - takes less than 30 seconds, feels good and makes you look more like James Bond instead of the guy that just had to chase his bus.
Plus they can be used as emergency gun cleaning patches , so don’t worry about any damage to your man card.

 PROTIP: Paying attention to your personal grooming pays off.
 You can make a really nice homemade facial toner/cleaner with good witch hazel and a few drops each of peppermint extract essential-oil and rosemary extract essential-oil. Despite how it may sound, it actually has a clean masculine scent to it that's very subtle and diminishes quickly- plus it has a really nice cooling / refreshing effect and is good for your skin. Witch hazel is a natural cleaner and toner-you'll see all the dirt that it removes if you look at the wipe after you use it-so it not only cleans your face but also how to tighten up your pores and given a nice natural looking appearance.
It’s a competitive world- use every advantage that you can.  A quick 90 second touch up leaves you looking and smelling good, ready to take on the world- like a boss.

Men's Skincare

Personal Grooming for manly men:
The truth is- the skin on your face needs a little more attention then the rest of your body. The natural oils help seal in the skin's moisture, so if you strip the natural oils off with a cheap soap/harsh detergent, yourskin dries out, flakes off and generally looks nasty, and repels possible sex partners.
Also leading to  infection or premature aging.
Keep your skin clean and problem free with a good quality facial wash.
Use it once or twice a day to remove your skin's excess oils and nasty skin debris,bacteria and random sweat/grime/pollution/funk for a better looking, clearer complexion.
It only takes maybe 45 seconds in the shower, and also preps your face for a better shave.

:  The cheap soap in the stores are technically "detergents"- that's why they're so harsh and strip all your skin's oils off.

FACT:You need to use a facial wash.

FACT: One of the most gentle facial washes available anywhere is also one of the least expensive.

Cetaphil- The best facial wash you've probably never heard of!!
No million dollar ad campaigns- no celebrity infomercials- no hype.
But it's the face wash most recommended by dermatologists!!
Dermatologists tested and dermatologist approved
It's also less then 10 bucks for a big bottle.
This wash is so gentle, you can use it on an infant.
It's Hospital Grade - can your fancy $30 designer face wash say any of that???
 Of course not.
It's fragrance free/ non-allergenic/ non-comendognic - won't clog your pores/ rinses clean.
It's made in Canada by quality minded people, and they DO NOT make drugstore brand products or 'generic brands' -
You can only get it under the Cetaphil label.

                   Facial Scrubs
Keep your skin smoother and free from buildup with a twice weekly facial scrub. This is a deeper cleaner that's a little more intense and it removes dead skin build up, ingrown hairs and built up gunk that clogs your pores and cause outbreaks. It's just like the face wash, but it is a little more 'aggressive', so only a couple times a week is needed. Kinda like Scrubbin Bubbles for your face. If you work out, sweat a lot or work in a dirty environment, this really lets you give your face a good scrubbing. You know how you have to use the scrub-brush at the car wash some times because your
ride was so filthy??? Same thing.

(FREE car wash tip: always use the sprayer to clean the brush before you put it on your car- the last 'veguy coulda been scrubbing sand out of the back of his truck or something.)
You shouldn't cheap out on your choice of daily facial wash- but you can use a homemade/DIY version of the twice weekly scrub if you want. Either Oatmeal ground to a powder in the blender, or baking soda can be made into a light paste with water and used as a facial scrub in the shower. We also have good quality scrubs starting at about $3.50
Oatmeal actually makes a really good facial treatment, it's full of good stuff for skin. Make a paste from oatmeal and  apply it to your face for 10- 20 minutes.
Mix with water for normal skin to oily skin or with yogurt for dry skin. You'll probably be better off laying down while you have it on. Rinse it off with warm water. Then rinse with cold.

After you've washed your face, rinse with warm water and then rinse in cold water for about 30 seconds and  don't scrub it with a towel! Just pat it dry and move on.

Finding the Best Facial Products for Men
You also need to protect and hydrate your skin to keep it looking fresh and healthy with a quality, daily moisturizer. Just think of it as  feeding your skin. Or think of it as the finishing touch on a great car wash - this is the wax and buff that makes it all look so... well finished.
I mean, come on-you wouldn't have a nice oak dining table that was unsealed or unfinished would you??? of course not - all kinds of stuff would get into the grain funk it all up.

A moisturizer for your face should be lighter then the one you use on the rest of your body.

You should also use a good quality moisturizer or 'lotion' on the rest of your skin- mostly just your arms and legs.
A lot -if not most- of the cheaper store brand soaps will dry your skin, and leave it all flaky and nasty looking.  That's because the soap companies remove the glycerin, the soaps natural lubricant and moisturizer! A simple  moisturizer will stop the flaky skin. It's also good to use it on dry, cracked skin on your feet or hands. It's easy to find one that doesn't have a girly smell to it- you can go with either an unscented one, or pick a scent that you enjoy.
We've assembled a good variety of moisturizer for your to choose from, all of them are quality products that really
deliver for the dollar. Not a lot of fancy packaging and celebrity infomercials, just solid, proven, dependable products.
<-- tip: right after a shower- while your skin is still moist is a great time to moisturize.-->

PROTIP: One of the BEST Skincare Products for Men

Behold!! The zit dissappearer!
this magical little roll on kills its before the can hatch. It's easy to hide in a pocket, desk or eben in the cup holder in your car. If you get pimples- this is a must have!

We're not trying to to make you a metrosexual pretty boy here- you're just doing basic maintenance on your body and trying to keep your crusty ass presentable in public.
We also want you to take good care of yourself- so remember: Good skin starts with a good diet- that means less fast food and frozen dinners, more fresh fruits and veggies, staying hydrated- drinking 6-8 glasses of good water every day, and getting enough rest every night-  sleep is important for building muscle, repairing our skin and recharging your brain! No BS.
Almost everyone needs 7-8 hours of deep sleep daily)
and a little exercise -15 to 30minutes a day- will keep you looking like a winner.
Look like a million bucks - on a $10 an hour paycheck.

There's an old saying: Success breed success.

People want to do business with people that perceive as winners. No one wants to buy a house from a realtor that looks like he lives in his car!

Women always want to be with a man that is successful, businesses want to do business with other successful people and business. no woman is laying awake at night fantasizing about a guy in a crusty T-Shirt and cut-off jean shorts!

That means that you won't do as well if you show up in flip-flops and a T-Shirts instead of taking 5 minutes to put just the slightest bit of effort into looking sharp!

Remember - you don't have to be a GQ model- you just have to look a little bit better than your competition.
Investing in your appearance is part of building a foundation for success!

Here are 3 quick rules to look better:

1) No goofy/unusual/trendy haircuts. No mullets, no designs shaved in, no rat tails (ewww) or ponytails and no slicked back hair.

2) Clean out your closet. It's time to retire you "favorite" T-Shirts and worn out shorts.
Simple, casual polo style shirts are always look better than T-Shirts, and classically styled khaki or basic colored shorts will project class and good taste.

3) No more ratty looking shoes. At work- make sure your shoes are clean and have a nice polish- people DO notice!-  and if you're going to wear casual shoes on the weekend when you go out - make sure they're clean. Nothing says slob loser quicker than grungy shoes...so take a minute to get squared away and step your game up to the next level.