Pomegranate jam and sweet escapes

Pomegranate Tree

Pomegranates are an Intriguing and Powerful Fruit that stirs up the imagination.

As I make my Pomegranate Jam, I think of the Shakespearean phrase, ‘Nightly she sings on yon pomegranate tree…’ and the memory of playing the part of ‘Juliet’ when I was eighteen years old without ever seeing a pomegranate tree or the fruit itself. This is odd because I was raised as a vegetarian. Yet decades later, there is a pomegranate tree growing in my backyard.

Pomegranates are a Powerful Antioxidant!

The pomegranate looks similar to an apple on the outside but inside the skin you’ll find a multitude of tiny berries that are beneficial to your health and beauty.

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Pomegranates are good for you!

Can you eat the seeds in each juicy morsel? Yes, chew it good, the seeds contain oil, an isoflavones (also contained in soy) so it becomes creamy in your mouth. The juice squirting in your mouth from each berry is quenching and soothing to your throat. Also, feel good knowing that you are getting nutrients including 5 polyunsaturated fatty acid that helps with cell regeneration.

Picking a Sweet Pomegranate… Beware of Creepy Bugs!

I always pick fruit at the market that have markings on the skin because I know the bugs like sweet things too. Because of our hot summer, my pomegranates were already bursting on the tree. This made the seeds easy to get out. However, it invites creepy large bugs. Yuck!

The bugs looked slow-moving so I carefully ventured into the tree to pick a pomegranate. What just flew above my head? Was it one of these bugs? Yikes, they fly! The Leaffooted Plant Bug was well camouflaged within the tree!

I ran to my house to get my cell phone so I could take a picture of these little critters. Can you see the creepy crawlers? It won’t be easy to see the bugs but that’s what makes it fun! Are you game?

Play with a friend. Where’s ‘Waldo,’ the bug? (Reminiscent of the children books, ‘Where’s Waldo’ or in some countries, ‘Where’s Wally.’) Hint: In this collage of two pictures, there is a bug in each picture. If you have trouble finding the bugs, you can click on the picture to enlarge it. 😉

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Leaffooted Plant Bugs in the Pomegranate Trees!

Natural Pomegranate Jam Recipe

(made with Lemonade and Pectin)

This simple pomegranate jam recipe contains no added sugar! It is sweetened with a little honey and lemon aid that I made from fresh lemon juice (lemons from my tree). Of course, you’ll also need fresh pomegranate seeds and pectin (pictured).

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Natural Pomegranate Jam with Pectin

Prepare:

I suggest that you put on an apron so you don’t stain your clothing and wear tight fitted latex gloves (if not allergic to latex) to protect your nails.

Soak and Separate Pomegranate:

I soak each cracked pomegranate in water to cleanse it and then put it in water again to get the seeds out while the pomegranates are immersed in water. This is an easy way to loosen the seeds because the seeds sink and the pulp floats. Then, I put the pomegranate berries/seeds through a strainer, discard any unwanted remnants and keep only the best. One large pomegranate yields about one cup or less of berries/seeds.

~ This recipe makes three cups of my Natural Pomegranate Jam.

~ First open the package of Pomona’s Universal Pectin (pictured) containing no sugar or preservatives. The information /instructions that are found in the inside of the package is plentiful and can be confusing, so I have made it easier here:

Ingredients:

3 cups of lightly mashed pomegranate berries/seeds

1 cup of fresh lemonade (lemon juice and water sweetened with stevia and honey or agave)

2 teaspoons of calcium water (powder is in package – 1/2 teaspoon of powder to 1/2 cup water)

1/2 cup of honey * Ikaria honey has many health benefits; it is rich so use less.

2 teaspoons of pectin (powder in package)

Glass jars with tight lids (let jars and lids sit in hot water until needed)

Instructions:

In a bowl, add 1/4 cup of  lemon aide with the mashed pomegranates and keep the mixture on the side for later. Meanwhile, put 3/4 cup of juice and honey in a pan with the calcium water and boil separately. Then, put this mixture in a blender and add pectin until powder dissolves in juice. Put pomegranate mixture in a pan and bring to a boil. Pour the pectin mixture from the blender into the pan and return to a boil. Remove mixture from heat and fill the warm, empty jars with the jam mixture, leave some room at the top and screw the lids on tightly. When the mixture cools, it will harden into a jam. Put jam in to the refrigerator when the jars are cool. Enjoy!

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Powerful Connections & Sweet Escapes

No matter how far or near, the power of love connects us to those who have touched our hearts. That wonderful energy triggers our memory and senses just by listening to a song or eating food.

Making Pomegranate Jam renews my connection to a special friend, Robyn Whatley – Kahn who is living on the island of Ikaria in Greece. She specializes in the quality of Archaeologous guided tours to the area where pomegranates first grew, namely Turkey, where some scholars claim is the location of the Garden of Eden.

Below, I put together a few pictures that Robyn sent me for a glimpse of the places, people and things that can fill your senses while on an Archaeologous Turkey tour!

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Views of culture sites in Turkey – Quality tours and healing works with Robyn Whatley-Kahn

Turkey is loaded with biblical history. Noah’s Ark landed on Mount Ararat (Agri Dagi) in Eastern Turkey. Ephesus in Turkey is the burial ground of St. John which is now a huge Basilica of St. John (in ruins and excavations) When walking in Ephesus, you are walking the footsteps of Apostle Paul, Mother Mary as well as Cleopatra, Alexander the Great…

Robyn and I have a past of traveling and entertaining together in the 70’s girl group, The Golddiggers. Now, we are both  involved in healing, I am an exercise coach/therapist and Robyn is a Body Talk practitioner. The bonds of the past powerfully unite us.

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Book: Beyond Our Wildest Dreams and The Golddiggers during the mid- 1970’s

Pictured are Maria Lauren, Dean Martin, Linda Eichberg – (top row) Maria Lauren, Linda Eichberg: Alberici Sisters, Joyce Garro, Peggy Gohl, (bottom row) Patti Gribow and Robyn Whatley-Kahn.
In the book, Beyond Our Wildest Dream, my sister, Linda Eichberg and I fondly remember times as members of The Golddiggers during the groovy 70’s. As insiders, we tell backstage stories of entertaining with icons including the Rat Pack. Those who were there, our “Golddigger” sisters and other notables share their viewpoint giving a broad perspective to this special era in showbiz history.
It’s a fun time of sisterhood and friendship when the TV Variety Show was prime and celebrity legends ruled the Las Vegas strip.
Our readers have found it to be a sweet escape!
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‘Within one pomegranate there are many berries/seeds that burst of a sweet tartness, just like the experiences and people that full my life.’ – Maria Elena Alberici – Riccio

Wishing you the sweetness of life,
Maria Lauren, aka Maria Elena Alberici – Riccio
Your Powerful LIFE blog
 cropped-maria_lauren_fitness_expert.jpgYour Powerful LIFE blog is about Living, Inspiration, Fitness, Entertainment…
Statements on this site do not represent the views or policies of my employer, past or present, or any other organization with which I may be affiliated. I have not been paid to promote any product or service on this post. All content is copyrighted.

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Reach up, Hang on, Let go!

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Maria Lauren – Your Powerful LIFE blog

This is the time to reach up into the future so I reach up to the Lord for renewal. Life can zap my energy so I hang on. A winter cold invades my body so I let go and let God. Time to remember my New Year resolution to live in love and that starts with me. It is also a time to remember my A, B, C’s: Act, Believe, Commit.  

This is my cue to go to my room, draw the blinds, put on the humidifier and that face mask I’ve been meaning to try, turn on my favorite mood music, lie down with a heating pad on my back, shut my eyes, breathe deeply and rest. Ahhhh…!

“Then Jesus said, Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” ~ Matthew 11: 28

During this time of letting go, I listen to Relax-n-Renew. The soothing music, beautiful visualizations and positive affirmations help my body, mind and spirit begin to heal.  Each visualization starts with a little bible verse to begin my  meditation journey as I contemplate on my A B C’s: Accepting Blissful Connection.

“Heal me, Oh Lord, and I will be healed; save me, and I will be saved: for you are the one I praise.” ~ Jeremiah 17: 14

“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” ~ Henry Ellis

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Resolutions for a Healthy Lifestyle

Resolutions for the New Year, usually consist of letting go of bad habits and holding on to good habits. Of course, I also join everyone in their resolution to lose a few pounds but that’s another subject that my daughter Marianna Riccio addresses here:

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Marianna Riccio

“So suffice to say, everyone’s New Year resolution, or at least one of them predominantly always includes changes for a “healthier lifestyle” and “slimmer, more toned physique” or simply (you guessed it) “Losing Weight!!” Come on, you know you’ve said it.  However, March comes along and usually people have forgotten this inevitable New Year’s resolution. Therefore, make a simple choice in your life. “Be strong to live long.”

Start with a new type of class. Don’t do the same sort of exercise or strength training for your body everyday. This is a big no, no!!! It is important to shock the body! Try something new. For example, I have a new-found love for Pole Fitness taught by actress, Arloa Reston. Even my mom tried a class! Pole dancing sometimes can have a negative connotation, but it is actually quite beautiful, graceful, and you have to be strong! Lots of core work is involved in this training and muscles that you never thought you had are given a good workout.

Pole Fitness is being considered to be a respectable Olympic Sport!

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Marianna Riccio – Pole Fitness Dance

More Health and Fitness tips: Remember, don’t forget to hydrate. Water flushes out toxins. I start every morning with hot water and lemon or a detox tea. Think about it, you’ve been sleeping for about eight hours and you have deprived yourself of water! So drink up and flush out! It makes your complexion radiant too.

Eat Breakfast! Please! I can’t stress this enough. Breakfast will make you lose weight. Period! No, don’t have a sausage and egg breakfast with a side of pancakes every day. That is a nice treat once in a while, (maybe) but rather, you should have other healthier options. They will make you less likely to crave “junkie munchies”  later in the day and keep you satisfied. Some of these options are, but are not limited to: whole grains, such as cereal or oatmeal that are high in fiber and low in sugar;  a protein shake with a frozen banana blended for instant energy, an egg (or two) over easy or poached with avocado and salsa. Don’t be afraid of the yolk. It has iron. 🙂 Another option is Greek Yogurt with low-fat granola, raw almonds, and blueberries. For healthy fats, spread extra virgin coconut oil on your toast, Ghee grass-fed butter or almond butter with an apple. I usually eat three break breakfasts, especially if I take a workout class. Before a workout, I will have either a protein shake, fresh juice, Greek yogurt, or my favorite: bulletproof coffee! It’s amazing! Then I will have Ezekiel bread with extra virgin coconut oil and this amazing fig and prune spread (Mother’s recipe) that is fiber heavy.

Get creative for a happy healthy new year!” ~ Marianna Riccio

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Thank you Marianna for these healthy living tips, some new and some passed on by me to you! We learn from each other. Nice. If you would like more ideas about healthy living from Marianna check out: How to get a Thin Waist but Keep Your Curves.

Below are the recipes for my Figgy Prune Spread and Cold Remedy Recipe:

Raw Figgy Prune Spread

  • Cup of dried prunes, pitless and unsulphured
  • Cup of dried figs, unsulphured 
  • 1/2 of  organic lemon skin, organic orange skin is optional
  • Teaspoon of honey or agave syrup
  • Spices: cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne pepper, clove, pumpkin pie spices as desired
  • Flavor extracts: 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla

Prepare at least 24 to 48 hours before serving. Clip the tips off the figs. Soak the prunes and figs in pure water to barely cover the fruit. At this time, chop the lemon skin in tiny pieces and soak in the honey and/or agave syrup in an other bowl. Refrigerate.

After a day or two, the fruit should be tender. Put the fruit with its juice, honey/syrup, vanilla, spices in to a mini-cuisinart. The juice should only fill half of the mixture. Pulse until it is a creamy spread with tiny chunks. It’s delicious on your morning toast!

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Cold Remedy Recipe

(Hope you can handle garlic and your not a Vampire!) 🙂

  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic * Garlic is proven to be helpful to the immune system and it is a powerful antibiotic.
  • 1 tablespoon of honey * Honey is an anti-bacterial that relieves irritations of the throat and it soothes coughs.
  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil * Olive Oil contains anti-inflammatory benefits and is soothing to the throat and mouth.
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper and ginger as desired * Cayenne Pepper is a circulatory stimulant, it breaks-up mucus congestion and has anti-irritant properties. * Studies show that Ginger relieves nausea, muscle pain, migraines and asthma symptoms.

Using a garlic press, squeeze garlic into a cup for dipping. Add other ingredients and stir with a spoon. Spread this tasty and medicinal mixture on some healthy toast and eat it through out the day. I like it with a hot steamy soup made with an onion base.

In between meals, make yourself some hot herbal tea with honey and lemon. Stay warm. Stay home. Feel better.

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It was sweet of my daughter to give me the gift of fitness with an introduction to the athleticism of Pole Exercise. She tries to keep me hip! It was interesting to learn that the skin helps to grip the body to the pole. I must admit that it is a quite a workout! After about two months of training, Marianna beautifully demonstrates a few moves on the Pole. After two classes, I add a comic effect to the finale! Enjoy our YouTube.


Wishing you a healthy and happy 2015! May the ever-present strength of God be with you this new year.

“He shall set me up upon a rock.” ~ Psalms 27: 5

“Feet supported by the foundation of the past, bending into life and reaching into the future.” ~ Maria Lauren

Blessings,

Maria Lauren, a.k.a. Maria Elena Alberici – Riccio

Your Powerful LIFE blog

maria-elena-lauren-alberici-riccio-fitness-you-got-the-power-motivationThis blog is about LIFE: Living, Inspiration, Fitness, Entertainment.

Statements on this site do not represent the views or policies of my employer, past or present, or any other organization with which I may be affiliated. This information is not meant to take the place of a physician. All content is copyrighted.

Maria’s Website        Marianna’s Website