Things I Recommend This Week

Grin and Share itJen and I were talking tonight about the things that we recommend – not diet things necessarily, but just stuff we like, sort of the way Oprah recommends things every month. Here are a few of my current favorites in no particular order:

Kashi Vive Cereal: I heard about this from the Hungry Girl email newsletter back in September and eat it at least three days a week. It’s crammed with all sorts of wonderful nutritional things – 12 grams of fiber per serving, friendly bacteria that promote digestive balance, with ginger and broccoli extract (which sounds gross but apparently works) to help with digestion. Unlike some of the other Kashi cereal, it’s not like a bowl of twigs and it has little white yogurt puffs that look like mini marshmallows. It tastes yummy with cinnamon, graham and vanilla flavors and doesn’t go soggy before the end of the bowl.

Craisins: Dried cranberries with a tart but sweet taste that explodes in the mouth. I keep a big canister in the kitchen and add 1 Tb. of craisins to a salad or a container of yogurt or a serving of couscous. It only costs me one point and the flavor satisfies a craving for sweetness that is cut by the tart flavor.

Laughing Cow CheeseLaughing Cow Light Wedges: These are awesome! There are three different flavors – Creamy Swiss Original (my favorite), Garlic and Herb, and French Onion. Each “wheel” contains 8 tinfoil-wrapped wedges at 35 calories/1 point per wedge. They are extraordinarily spreadable and perfect on Kashi crackers, light bagels, apples, bread, celery, or anything else you’d like to spread it on. Works like cream cheese. You can even use the wedges in a couple of different very light Alfredo Sauce recipes. Laughing Cow also makes small lite semi-hard round cheeses that look like baby goudas, but I think the wedges are better.

Whisper Hill Soap Creme Fresh: I discovered this wonderful whipped marvel at a farmers market in Vermont last year and have continued to buy it for myself and as gifts from their website. Whisper Hill makes lovely soaps and body washes, but this luxurious whipped lotion is light but penetrating and perfect for my ultra-dry skin. I smooth it on right after a shower and it absorbs right in, without any greasy mess. The Soul Quencher scent is like being at a spa.

Air-O-Swiss Ultrasonic Anti-Microbial Humidifier: A humidifier is a necessity when the heat is on, especially for months at a time. I’ve used one for almost 20 years and it makes a huge difference. As the air dries out, so does my skin and my sinuses get all wonky. Adding humidified air lets me breathe more easily and not feel as though my skin will crack if I touch it, not to mention reduces static electricity. This particular humidifier uses a high-frequency vibration to generate a micro-fine mist. It’s pricey but I got it on sale and it’s worth every penny.

Wake Hour (Vienna Teng)Waking Hour (Vienna Teng) : One of my favorite CD’s, this music is quiet and thoughtful with lovely melodies and intelligent lyrics. Teng did the right thing when she left a career as a software engineer at Cisco to go into music full time. Whenever I travel, this CD comes with me and is perfect music for relaxing.

Firefox: My favorite web browser. I used to use Internet Explorer all the time, as did almost everyone who works in a Microsoft shop. The security holes annoyed me beyond belief but Netscape was too unstable and not standards-compliant. So when I heard about Firefox, I jumped at the chance to try it out. It’s smooth, safe, and full of nifty little tools and plug ins that make my life easier.

Television Without Pity: Ever miss an episode of your favorite show and want to know what happened? In excruciating detail? And have it critiqued and reviewed and argued about in a mostly witty snarky manner by others who are addicted as you are? Then TWOP is the place for you. There are episode recaps and then detailed summaries with message boards and fast, lively (and I mean lively) discussion. I love it – check it out!

WordPress: The home for my blog. They are creative, offer lots of options on a very stable platform, and are constantly coming up with new ideas. If you’re looking to start a blog, this is a great place to do it.