Walking through Transitions

Filed under: Healthy Living — mainewarmers @ 3:21 am

(Taken from the Maine Warmers September 2013 e-Newsletter)

Whenever I drive over the Androscoggin River in Lisbon Falls, Maine, I cross an old rusted, green, metal bridge that makes me feel uncomfortable and gives me a slight adrenalin rush. It takes about 30 seconds to travel across the bumpy, broken surface, and while I want to slow down so I can look upstream and see the spectacular view of the water tumbling over huge boulders, my foot instinctively presses down harder on the gas pedal. At the end of the bridge is a dark, rock cliff that rises straight up about 60 feet, and the road takes a hard left turn.

Our lives are filled with change. Like bridges, rough surfaces, and sometimes looming walls, they involve risk and may cause us to take a different direction. The personal transitions in our lives are sometimes as simple as changing the color of our hair or can be life-altering, like having a child go off to college. Others are collective, affecting us all, like passing from one season to the next, or they can be dramatic, like the changes brought about by world conflicts.

Going from the expectations of the past to the realities of the future isn’t always a smooth ride, and I find that walking helps me cope. Choosing healthy ways to deal with the change can be daunting. Sometimes the comfort of a cup of tea and a brownie is more appealing than physical exercise.

neck heat pad blue copy

Maine Warmers traditional microwave moist Neck Warmer

Walking is supposed to be one of the simplest and healthiest activities and can help improve ones’s mood, according to this article from the Mayo Clinic. The article lists weight management, bone strengthening, better coordination, and balance as value-added benefits from regular walking. It also has tips on technique and routine.

Walking helps me burn some calories from that brownie and makes me feel more comfortable. But no matter how healthy walking is, I will never walk over the Androscoggin River on that green bridge!

Maine Warmers moist heating pads also provide a healthy way to deal with the stresses of change. Check out their Back Warmers and Neck Warmers in traditional and animal designs.


Harvest Stir-fry with Chicken (Gluten-free)

Filed under: Maine Warmers Recipes — Tags: , — mainewarmers @ 9:04 am

I think of this recipe in the spring and fall – the transition months. In the spring I have been souped and stewed out; by September I have had it with summer salads but still want to enjoy the beautiful array of veggies found among the weeds in my garden or more often at the local Farmers’ Market. This recipe offers both fresh colorful veggies with limited cooking time. Most of the prep includes chopping. All of the ingredients can be chopped ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until cooking time. Or just cook the chicken and use one of those frozen bags of pre-chopped, stir-fry veggies found in the grocery store. If anybody asks, don’t tell.

2 – 3 tablespoons olive oil

veggie and chicken stirfry

3 – 4 pieces of skinless, boneless chicken breasts (1 ½ – 2 full chicken breasts), cut into bite sized pieces

1 cup hearty chicken broth (low salt) – more or less according to how thick you want the liquid (A bouillon cube in some boiling water will do, although it may be very high in sodium, and you should check to make sure it does not contain gluten).

2 tablespoons cornstarch

Pinch of salt

Pepper to taste

1 -2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 small tender summer squash, sliced thin

1 small tender zucchini, sliced thin

1 sweet red pepper, chopped

Sauté the summer squash, zucchini, and red pepper. Continue sautéing for 1 – 2 minutes so the veggies are still a bit crisp. Pour into heat resistant bowl, cover with foil, and set aside.

Wipe out the fry pan. Add 2 – 3 tablespoons of olive oil and heat on high until hot, then add the chicken and cook stirring until browned. You may have to sauté the chicken in a couple of batches. Sometimes I don’t have the patience or time to do this so the chicken does not brown, but it cooks and still tastes fine. Cook, stirring for about 3 – 4 minutes until the chicken is no longer pink on the outside. Add the scallions, celery, mushrooms and carrots, stirring and cooking a few more minutes until scallions are limp.

Add the broth, cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Lower the heat to medium low and stir constantly until the liquid has thickened to the consistency of thick soup. Add more broth if necessary to achieve the desired thickness.

Simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes or just until the chicken has cooked thoroughly, then add the veggies, stir, and heat just until hot. Serve hot in bowls or over rice.

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