Cool as a Cucumber

July 26, 2011

Needless to say, this summer’s heat has been oppressive. But Mother Nature’s wrath has yielded one benefit: very tasty fruit. Apparently, this summer’s early rains promoted growth. Then the intense heat, sun, and drought concentrated the flavors and sweetness in fruits such as berries, peaches, melons, grapes and tomatoes to produce a most extraordinary crop.

I have frozen several quarts of blueberries to save for the winter, and even frozen chopped-up cantaloupe and cherries for future smoothies and treats for my kitten, Abby (yes, she does eat cantaloupe every morning. She’ll even eat grapes, berries, and certain veggies, as long as I hand feed her).

These fruits can add wonderful flavor to any dish. Add berries to your cereal, peaches alongside your meat dish or salad, cucumbers on your sandwich. You can also make a cool soup with any of these fruits. It is so easy to get your “five cups per day” (which does indeed help prevent cancer, heart disease, as well as keeping you slim), as they can be a part of every meal and snack.

I have contacted a few local chefs for their ideas for keeping things cool, healthy, tasty and interesting:

Todd Gray of Equinox Restaurant’s Chilled Sweet Melon Soup with Minted Yogurt
Serves 6

• 1 sweet cantaloupe melon (such as a sweet dream), peeled, seeded, and cubed
• 1 cup prosecco
• 1 cup whole milk
• Pinch salt & pepper
• 2 cups small diced melons
For the crème fraiche
• 1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
• 3 mint leaves
• 2 tarragon leaves
• 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
• Pinch salt & pepper

For the soup: Combine melon and prosecco in a bar blender, puree till smooth. Add milk and seasoning, blend quickly to incorporate, remove and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

For the Garnish: Brunoise or finely dice the herbs and combine herbs with yogurt. Pour chilled soup into bowls. Drizzle herbed yogurt on top and garnish with diced or Parisian scooped melons.

Laura Bonino’s Griffin Market Watermelon Salad
Serves 6-8

1 (5-pound) watermelon
1/2 cup blood orange
Extra virgin olive oil
20 medium fresh basil leaves

Cut the flesh from the melon and cut into 1 inch cubes, removing and discarding the seeds, and set aside. Tear the basil leaves into small pieces. In a large bowl, combine the melon, olive oil and basil. Lest rest in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving.

Chilled Cucumber Soup with Yogurt and Cilantro
From “Cooking with Nora” by Nora Pouillon
Serves 4

3 cups lowfat yogurt
3 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks
1 medium green pepper, washed, seeded, and cut into chunks
4-6 cloves of garlic, peeled
Juice of 1 lemon
Peel of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup cilantro leaves
1 jalapeno pepper with seeds, stemmed
1 teaspoon sea salt
Cilantro sprigs for garnish

Put the yogurt, cucumbers, green pepper, garlic, lemon juice and lemon peel, olive oil, cilantro and jalapeno in a blender. Puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and refrigerate.

Pour the chilled soup into 4 bowls, garnish with cilantro.

Note from Nora: “Since the fruit I use is organic, I always use the skins. I zest or peel my lemons or limes with a vegetables peeler. Then I peel off the white pith from the fruit (you need a sharp paring knife) and put the whole lemon or lime and its peeled skin into the blender.”

Katherine Tallmadge’s Fresh Mexican Salsa
(From “Diet Simple: 192 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits & Inspirations”)
Serves 22

Try this as a dip or accompaniment at your next party. It goes fast, so make plenty of it! You can also use it in scrambled eggs, tortillas or as a marinade or dressing. Throw it in plain yogurt or mashed avocado to make a dip. My measurements are the proportions I prefer, but you can vary any of the ingredients depending on your preferences.

1 large sweet “candy” onion (about 1/2 pound)
2 pounds fresh heirloom tomatoes, peeled, seeded and shopped (start with about 3 1/2 pounds. Use canned tomatoes, if good tomatoes aren’t available)
3-4 jalapeno peppers (1-2 ounces)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
3-4 tablespoons fresh lime juice (1-2 limes)

Add the onion to the tomatoes. Finely chop 2 of the jalapeno peppers to start with. Taste. If you desire more heat, add more jalapenos. Mix in the cilantro. Add the salt depending on your taste. Mix in the lime juice.

Susan Belsinger’s Simple Fruit Smoothie
Serves 2

About 1 to 1 1/2 cups fruit, such as peaches and berries, cut into chunks
1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
1 cup cold soy milk
3 to 5 ice cubes
2 drops pure vanilla extract

Put the fruit in the blender. Drizzle the syrup or honey over it. Add the ice cubes. Pour the soymilk over all and add the vanilla. Blend until pureed and frothy. Serve immediately in a tall glass with a straw.

Carol Cutler’s Berry Granita
(From “Diet Simple”)
Serves 8

Grated zest and juice of one orange
2 teaspoons orange liqueur
20 ounces frozen berries (or other fruit)
Sugar or sweetener to taste (optional)
8 mint sprigs (optional)

Place berries in freezer until frozen. Put 8 small sherbet dishes in the refrigerator to chill. Put frozen berries into a food processor. Add the orange zest, juice, and liqueur. Pulse for about 30 seconds to break up the chunks, then process on high until the mixture is smooth. Taste and adjust for sweetness, if necessary. When the mixture is pureed, spoon immediately into the chilled dishes and place in the freezer. If the granite has been frozen for more than 6 hours, remove it from the freezer 10 minutes before serving time. If desired, decorate with the mint sprigs.

Katherine Tallmadge, M.A., R.D. will customize an easy, enjoyable wellness, nutrition, weight loss, athletic or medical nutrition therapy program for you, your family or your company. She is the author of “Diet Simple: 192 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits & Inspirations,” and national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Contact her at or 202-833-0353. Mention this Georgetowner article and get 20 percent off your first consultation.

It’s All in Your Head

Roaring Red

A savvy commercial photographer once shared the secret of his success. “It’s simple,” he confided. “I always try include something red in every photograph.”
Red. It’s the color of sunsets, the color of passion and, in China, the color of good luck. Red is the badge of courage, the color of royalty, of power and of sex. Apparently red is more “primary” than the other two colors in its category, yellow and blue.
Here’s something new about red: According to the results of a study published in the latest issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology, women find men in red to be more attractive, more powerful and more sexually desirable.
In the study, women were asked to rate the status and sexual desirability of men pictured wearing different colored clothing. They rated the men wearing red as being higher status and more likely to earn a better living, as well as more appealing.
Even when the comparison was made between pictures of men merely surrounded by a red matte with those of men surrounded by a white matte, the women rated the men surrounded by red to be more pleasant and more attractive. The difference was small —just one point on a nine-point scale — but it was statistically significant. Remarkably, the appeal of red held true for women in the U.S. and England, as well as in Germany and China.
The authors speculate about why women might prefer red. It seems other female primates do, too. The authors say that the red preference goes even further down the evolutionary scale, with some red-roaring crustaceans, fish and birds!
Are women just hardwired to be attracted to red by the blind call of biology? Or is it culture that draws their attention, having taught us to associate red with power and status and fame? Who hasn’t watched the glamorous stars walk the red carpet to get to the coveted prize, the Oscar?
Men write songs about women in every color. Their Devil can have a Blue Dress On. But if these researchers are to be believed, women have eyes for red.
So, men, if you’re planning to buy something new for the new season, keep science in mind when considering your wardrobe choices. That shade of brown may bring out your eyes, and black may make you look slimmer, but a little touch of red is where you want to be; it will get her attention and make you look your best.
Although we can’t be sure of the reasons, we now know this to be true: women go for the guy in the red tie.

Love Potion #9: The Dark Side of Love

Oxytocin is the original love potion.

Oxy (it’s the “love hormone,” so I’ll give it a friendly nickname) has its way with us by working down deep, below consciousness, beneath intuition. When oxy speaks to us, we “just know” it’s true. Released in the brain, this love hormone generates trust and empathy and promotes bonding throughout our lives. It encourages intimacy. It increases altruism. Oxy makes us act generously to strangers, and romantically toward lovers.
Oxytocin is released during childbirth. It was first identified by its association with lactation, and the deep, adoring bond of mutuality between a mother and her breastfeeding infant. The discovery of the love hormone made the magic of mother-infant bonding just a little less mysterious, but no less marvelous. Not just for moms and little babies, oxy also plays a role in sex, friendship and social ties of many kinds. Oxytocin is the organic love potion we make ourselves.
The more we learn about the love hormone, the better it looks. It promotes monogamy. It makes us feel secure. It brings us contentment in our relationships. As they once used to say in L.A., it’s all good.
Or is it? Centuries of poetry warned us of something that biological research recently confirmed: love has a dark side, too.
When subjects inhaled oxytocin before playing a competitive game they became more envious when their opponent won, and more gloating when they were ahead. Although it may not seem like a match made in heaven, love and jealousy are the conjoint oxytocin twins.
The hormone plays a role in international affairs as well, a recent Dutch study suggests. Even as it influences people toward self-sacrifice on behalf of their own group, it also encourages them to be aggressive against a threatening outgroup. Oxytocin is why conflicts between groups escalate when the other group is perceived as threatening. Happily, when physical barriers or other means of separation makes them feel less threatened, conflict escalation is less likely.
Here in D.C., where politics rule, we ignore biology at our peril. Biology is not essentially political, and it does not take sides. But it does help point a way. What are our bodies telling us, and what does science say, when it comes to playing it right in love, in friendship, even in international relations?
Since I have no wish to be a guru, I will warn you that the answer is deceptively simple: it’s more of a direction than a destination.
The answer is balance. Philosophers and poets would agree, yes, being close is good — oh yes, very good — but closer is not always better. We each need to keep our balance with the light and dark sides of love. We need to season oxytocin’s closeness with the right amount of distance. The very same hormone that inspired Shakespeare’s sonnets of love is the one that reminds us to heed Robert Frost’s wise advice, as well: Good fences make good neighbors.

Renee Garfinkel, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist practicing short-term, solution-oriented psychotherapy in downtown D.C. She is affiliated with the Institute for Crisis, Disaster and Risk Management at The George Washington University. For more information, check out or

Between the Sheets

I’ve been married for 32 years and have four grown children. I’ve had sex countless times in my life but I’ve never had an orgasm. What’s wrong with me? — Jane, 57

Some people just never have orgasms and they come to accept that. If you are one of those people, there may be nothing at all wrong with you. On the other hand, there may be something you can do if you want to have an orgasm. If you can climax while masturbating, but not during intercourse, then the issue is learning how to repeat that with your partner. Have you been too shy to talk about it or show him what you enjoy? Satisfying sex with another person, especially with someone you share a long-term commitment with, take communication (verbal and nonverbal), negotiation (sex changes as we change), and most of all, courage! None of us are getting any younger. If this is an experience you want to have, now could be a great time to begin actively pursuing it.

If you have never experienced an orgasm, even by yourself, and want that to change, the key is to masturbate. Choose times when your privacy won’t be interrupted and perhaps experiment with a vibrator or using water pressure in the tub or shower. Be patient and persistent. For added stimulation, maybe try reading some erotic literature or watching pornography geared for women. If unwanted feelings arise, keep a journal nearby to record them. And consider seeking help from a counselor if memories of adult or childhood trauma or abuse are getting in your way. Once you clear what’s blocking you and learn how to wake up your body, that elusive orgasm you seek might well become a regular part of your love life.

If you are on of those who have never been orgasmic, no matter what you do, it may never happen. Sometimes hormones are the reason, or psychological blocks, or a host of other possibilities. So what? You are fine just as you are. Remember sex is more than penetration and certainly more than a few quick muscle contracts at the end. In fact, many who espouse India’s version of tantric sex believe focusing on orgasm as the end goal diminishes the opportunity for total body enjoyment. So whether or not you are orgasmic, enjoy every bodily sensation.

Back-to-School Lunch Box Ideas from Washington’s Top Chefs

It’s back to school, and Washington’s top chefs are pitching in. Ever since Michelle Obama started her “Let’s Move” campaign, chefs and dietitians everywhere have been encouraged to help get school children into shape by improving their diets, upgrading school offerings and developing wellness and physical activity programs.

In this spirit, last week 5,000 insulated school lunch boxes were given away at Woodrow Wilson Plaza’s Capital Harvest on the Plaza (C.H.O.P.) Farmer’s Market, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. Each lunch box contained creative, yet simple and kid-friendly recipes from top chefs like Equinox’s Todd Gray, Restaurant Eve’s Cathal Armstrong, Marcel’s Robert Weidmaier and Citronelle’s Michel Richard. The Georgetowner is providing you those very special recipes! Each Friday, at Woodrow Wilson Plaza through the Fall, the C.H.O.P. Farmer’s Market will feature live music and a top chef, who will be demonstrating healthy cooking using ingredients fresh from the field that day.

One of the most active chefs improving D.C. children’s nutrition, our very own Todd Gray, appeared with Mrs. Obama at a White House gathering of 700 chefs nationwide. Gray’s Equinox Restaurant is a regular haunt of the Obama family. He and co-owner/wife, Ellen Gray, have helped organize other D.C. chefs to provide guidance to D.C. area schools for improving the freshness, flavor and acceptance of their offerings.

For example, Todd Gray adopted D.C.’s Murch Elementary School in 2009, helping them start a garden while teaching principles of growing and cooking food. When he first visited Murch, he noticed that while the children were offered fruits and vegetables they were mostly being thrown away. Over time, as he involved the children, teachers and parents in growing, harvesting and cooking fresh food, their natural curiosity and excitement about food took over. Their enjoyment of more healthy and nourishing food was a natural consequence.

“This project has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my 25-year career as a chef,” said Gray. “Make a commitment to the school and these kids – it will change your life professionally and personally. Our own son is so proud of what we are doing and asks us all the time, ‘When are you coming to my school?’.”

Art & Soul Restaurant Chef Art’s BBQ Meatloaf Burgers

As a parent, I am always challenged with getting kids to eat vegetables. I find one of the best ways to get kids to eat is used in this preparation. You can also make great meatballs too and serve with multigrain pasta.

1 1/2 pound lean ground beef, my favorite Allen Brothers
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup of bell peppers
1/2 cup of grated carrot
1/2 cup of broccoli flowerets, chopped
1 tablespoon of canola oil
1/2 cup of whole wheat bread crumbs
1/3 cup of BBQ Sauce 1 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
2 large egg whites

In a pan add canola oil, and sauté onions, peppers, carrots, and broccoli till tender. Remove and allow to cool.

Combine ground beef, veggies, bread crumbs, 1/2 the BBQ sauce, spices and egg whites. Mix well and chill for 1 hour. Remove from refrigerator and shape into 6-4 ounce burgers.

Chill slightly, heat skillet or grill to medium heat. Cook 8 minutes per side, till internal temp is 165 degree’s. Spoon additional BBQ over burgers and serve on Whole Grain Buns

Chef Cathal Armstrong
Restaurant Eve, Eamonn’s A Dublin Chipper; PX, The Majestic

Eamonn’s R.L.T. (Rasher, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich)

Makes 1 sandwich
1½ back rashers (leaner than bacon)
2 slices wheat bread, toasted
½ tomato (or 1 small tomato), sliced
2 or 3 leaves romaine lettuce
One large spoonful homemade mayonnaise (see below for recipe)
Cheddar cheese, sliced, as needed (optional)

In a pan set over medium-low heat, sauté the back rashers, then pat them dry. Wrap the bread and a few rasher strips in tin foil. In a separate container, pack the sliced tomatoes and romaine lettuce. Put the mayonnaise in a small container and pack a blunt-edged spreading knife.

Armstrong’s tip: Separating everything in individual containers stops the bread from getting soggy. Eamonn puts the R.L.T. sandwich together at school, and he likes it because he can show his pals that he can “cook.”
Rashers is a slang term for Irish Bacon. It is similar to Canadian bacon and leaner than regular bacon. Rashers can be found at Whole Foods. Cooks in seconds!

Homemade Mayonnaise
Makes about 1 cup, enough for five sandwiches

1 large organic egg yolk
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup canola oil

Combine the yolk, salt, water, and lemon juice in a mixing bowl. Fold a hand towel into a ring on the counter and set the bowl into it to hold it steady while you whisk the ingredients together. While whisking vigorously and constantly, slowly drip in the oil (it helps to measure out the oil into a cup that pours well in a thin stream, or you can start your emulsion by drizzling the oil off a spoon). After the emulsion turns creamy, add the oil more quickly than a thin stream. From the beginning, the mixture should look creamy and be thick enough to hold its shape. Store in the coldest part of the fridge.

Marcel’s Chef Robert Wiedmaier
Shredded Chicken, bacon and Avocado Whole Wheat Wrap

1 whole wheat tortilla wrap shredded chicken (from last night’s dinner)
Bacon strip (left over from breakfast)
Lettuce, shredded
Avocado slices
Cheese, pre-grated or fresh
Optional: lite ranch dressing (would not add if you’re making sandwiches the night before)

Roll the tortilla by folding in two sides, than roll away from you.

Wrap in foil or wax paper so it can easily be torn away to eat.

Chef Todd Gray of Equinox Restaurant
Yummy Stuffed Pita Pocket

2 Tbs cashew or almond butter
1Tbs low fat cream cheese
1 Tbs all natural jam or marmalade
2 Tbs low sugar granola
1 sliced banana

Half the pita so that the interior pocket is accessible

Spread pocket with cream cheese and jam

Sprinkle granola into pocket

Lay sliced banana into pita pocket

Cut into ¼’s and secure with bamboo picks

BTW… Toast if available for a real treat…

Tabouli with Chick Peas, Basil, Seasonal Vegetables and a Lemon Garlic Vinaigrette
By Nutritionist Katherine Tallmadge, M.A., R.D. Author, “Diet Simple: 192 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits & Inspirations”

Makes about 6 – 300 calorie servings
Time: 20 – 30 minutes

1 Cup Bulgur (Cracked Wheat)
1 15-ounce Can Chick Peas, drained
1 Large cucumber, skinned and seeded, chopped
1 Large Yellow Pepper, seeded, chopped
1 Sweet Onion, finely chopped
1 pint Cherry Tomatoes, sliced (omit if good cherry tomatoes are not available)
1 Large Handful Fresh Basil, chopped

¼ cup golden raisins ¼ cup roasted pine nuts

Juice of One Lemon (2 Tbsp) and its lemon zest
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 crushed Garlic Clove
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

In a large glass bowl, pour 3 cups boiling water over the bulgur and let sit for 15 minutes or longer.

While the bulgur is fluffing up, make the salad: In a large glass or plastic bowl, dump in the chick peas, the chopped cucumber, pepper, onion, cherry tomatoes, basil, raisins and pine nuts.

Make the vinaigrette in a separate small bowl: roll the lemon on the counter and place in microwave for 30 seconds (this procedure extracts the maximum juice). Let cool.

With a microplane, zest the lemon, being careful not to use the bitter white pith.

Squeeze the lemon juice and place with zest in the small bowl.

Add the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Whisk together.

Drain the bulgur and add to salad.

Toss in the vinaigrette.

RJ Cooper, III – Chef/Owner of Rogue 24
The Kid Can Cook Llc.
Sesame Chicken Wraps

2 cups rotisserie chicken, pulled
1 cup diced pineapple
1/2 cup chopped cashews
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1 tbsp white sesame seeds
1 tsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tbl mayonnaise
2 cups boston bibb lettuce, chiffinode
4 ea spinach tortillas

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, soy sauce, pineapple juice to make an emulsion. Add the cashews, sesame seeds, pineapple and chicken. Fold all together. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Lay out four tortillas, place a half a cup of lettuce on each tortilla, add the chicken mixture and roll the tortillas. Serves 4.

Michel Richard, Citronelle & Central
Pink, Yellow & Green Couscous (Don’t tell them it’s got vegetables)

2 cups V8 juice
1 cup couscous
¼ cups frozen peas, thawed
¼ cup frozen corn, thawed
½ cup milk
4 Laughing Cow segments
Salt & white pepper


Kids: Defrost the peas and corn an hour before you want to begin cooking.

Kids : Remove the aluminum foil from the Laughing Cow cheese

Parents: Bring the V8 to a boil in a small pot with a lid. Add a pinch of salt and the couscous, stir well, cover and remove from the heat. Wait 10 minutes.

Parents: In another pot, bring the milk to a boil. Remove from the heat.

Kids: Add the laughing cow to the milk, and mix with a small whisk to make a light cream sauce.

Kids: Add the peas and the corn.

Parents: Salt & pepper to taste.

Kids: Add the cream pea sauce to the couscous.

Kids: Mix with a wooden spoon.

Kids: Portion the couscous into 4 small bowls.

Kids & Parents: Enjoy! Serves Four

Chef Victor Albisu, BLT Steak
Banana, Strawberry & Nutella Sandwich on 7 Grain Bread

½ Banana, each
2 Strawberries, each
2 tbsp. Nutella
2 slices of 7 grain bread


Toast the seven grain bread and spread with Nutella hazelnut spread (for added texture and ?avor you can add chopped toasted hazelnuts to the spread).

Place sliced strawberries and sliced bananas on the spread and press the sandwich lightly on a table top griddle or a non stick pan. Serves One

Michelle Poteaux, Bastille
Sweet Griddled Corn Cake with Sautéed Peaches

Corn Griddle Cakes:

1½ c. All Purpose ?our
1½ c. corn ?our
5 tsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. salt
¼ c. sugar
1½ c. water
2 cups milk
1 egg
2 tbsp. melted fat

Combine water, milk and eggs, then, separately combine all sifted dry ingredients.

Next add dry to wet ingredients and stir. Finally, stir in the melted fat. Bake on a hot griddle.

Sautéed Peaches:

5 Yellow, cling-free peaches, sliced in wedges
Granulated Sugar
Vanilla Bean, split and scraped
Tarragon, fresh and chopped last.

Lightly toss with cooked peaches

Serve with fresh whipped cream or Corn ice cream Serves Six

Katherine Tallmadge, M.A, R.D., columnist and author of “Diet Simple,” regularly appears in the national media, customizes nutrition programs for people and designs corporate wellness programs. (202) 833-0353

Between the Sheets

“It’s Not the Man in My Life, It’s the Life in My Man!”

Mae West was so right! It works for me, why can’t it work for him? In my going-on-seventy-years of life I’ve said a million times that I don’t feel my age, or rather, this is what add years can be like. I feel so fortunate to have found a man to spend my life with who feels and lives the same way.

My husband and I have been married for over seven years. And although we spend our weeks working in different cities, we spend almost every weekend together and once a month we’ll go away together for four or five days.

But the romance doesn’t stop there. It doesn’t matter if he’s flying to see me or if I’m flying to see him, he has surprised me with flowers all but one time when he had a work emergency and sent a limo to pick me up at the airport instead.

It goes without saying that the first night we spend together is “Date-Night” and I have never had to make a reservation. Sometimes I’ll make a special request if there’s something I’m really wanting to see or do, but most of the time I let him surprise me with a date idea, something he’s always been great at.

With any well planned date-night, things happen and situations change, but it’s important to go with the flow and focus on the objective: to spend time with your partner, to get to know them better, and to stay away from conflict-causing topics like the mortgage and the kids and what color to paint the bathroom.

Last week, for example, my husband flew in, made dinner reservations and ordered two movie tickets for our evening adventure. But having just got in from his flight, he was hungry, so we strolled down to Café Milano to have a mid-day light snack. We ordered up a light lunch and a bottle of wine, and proceeded to catch up on each other’s week.

Our one-hour trip to the café turned into a five-course six-hour date! It amazes me sometimes how, during the week when we’re just chatting on the phone about movers and renovation crews and travel plans, we communicate with each other like business people. But when we sit down next to one another and he puts his hand on my leg and looks into my eyes I’m reminded of how much I love that man.

…Think about what you can do put some life back into your life! Maybe you and your partner will start a weekly date-night; maybe you’ll indulge a fantasy together. Perhaps an impromptu couple’s vacation is in order. Talk to your partner and start kicking your love life back into high gear. Because your love life, just like the life of your body, needs to be kept healthy in order to survive.

Dr. Dorree Lynn, PhD, is a psychologist and life coach in Georgetown and author of Sex for Grownups: Dr. Dorree Reveals the Truths, Lies, and Must-Tries for Great Sex After 50. She is AARP’s Media “Sexpert” and has been featured on ABC, MSNBC, CNN, Fox News and VH1. Visit her website:

Murphy’s Love: Advice on Intimacy and Relationships

Dear Stacy:
My best friend’s fiancé cheated on her. There’s definitely more to the story – it was on a bachelor weekend in Vegas, it was with a showgirl, he is contrite – but I don’t think it matters. He cheated. He is a cheater. He will cheat again. I’ve tried to talk with her about this (and yes, she has asked for my opinion!) but she still seems inclined to believe that he has changed. She has wanted to be married for a long time, and I think she is afraid of being alone, so she’s willing to be with a slimeball like this guy. I know I can’t convince her otherwise, but I’d love some advice on how to deal with it in my own mind. I’m not going to lose my best friend just because she married a sleazy guy.
-Biting My Tongue

Dear Biting:
I’d say you’re already well on your way to dealing with it in your “own mind,” just by saying you’re not going to lose Best Friend just because she married someone you don’t like. That’s your bottom line and you’re sticking to it. The rest is just ancillary detail – and don’t get me started on the holier-than-thou “once a cheater, always a cheater” spiel you’ve adopted. It’s tired and based in the “idea” of relationships, not in their actuality, so let’s just pretend you didn’t take that hackneyed tone at all.

But since we’re talking about bottom lines anyway, this is a good opportunity to remind us all that yours is not mine, and hers is not yours, and mine is not theirs, and…it goes on and on. My point is that every person has their own threshold of what they will and will not abide. When that threshold is crossed, things change. No, the person may not leave the relationship, but the relationship has changed. You cannot tell another person what her bottomline should be. Granted, actually you can tell her, but you cannot demand that she adopt it for herself. It doesn’t work that way, and the sooner you take yourself out of the role of “life-runner,” the sooner you will be able to be there for her when she decides how she needs you.

One more thing: you have my permission to demand that she (and he) get tested for venereal diseases in the aftermath of the event. Many women block out that part of this equation and wind up regretting it later. Just let her know that you, her Best Friend and biggest supporter, will be there to go with her to the appointment. After all, you’re not going to lose your best friend just because she was too scared to see her doctor.

Dear Stacy:
Please settle an argument between me and a girlfriend – is it legit to date a man who is separated from his wife, or are you participating in adultery?
-Confused About the Label

Dear Label,
Hmm, I’m not sure what you mean by “legit,” so we’ll start with the legal side and then get into the interpersonal.

I went to local divorce lawyer Regina DeMeo and learned that if you date one person while you’re married to another in Maryland and D.C. you are technically committing a crime. “Lots of people don’t realize that adultery is still on the books as a crime, not that anyone will ever get fined for it, but it is important for people to realize that just because people claim to be separated they should not assume everything is nicely wrapped up – far from it,” she explains. “The real question to ask if you are going to be brave enough to date someone going through a divorce is where they are in the legal process: Do they have an agreement? Is there a court case pending?”

DeMeo’s legal counsel overlaps with my own relationship advice: as always, you need to talk with him about the situation (Oh how we all would avoid so many complications if we would just start with this strategy).

Be as honest and clear about your intentions in the relationship – and start by just talking to yourself about this one. Are you really just fine with keeping it casual, or is marriage actually your underlying motive? There’s no shame in wanting what you want, but being dishonest with yourself about this part will come back to haunt you later.

If you are expecting exclusivity with a man who is separated from his spouse, I’m with DeMeo: you must be clear about those divorce proceedings. If the object of your affection is in the placeholding space and just waiting for the paperwork to be processed, and you trust him, then you might breathe easier. If that separation is less formal, then you ought to get a few more details about the situation, assuming you really want to hear them.

I’ll add that you should be very careful about how Boyfriend references his soon-to-be-ex. If he spouts hate-speech at the mention of her name, take that as a warning about his ability to play nice once the romance has died. Likewise, does he fall too far on the other side, idolizing her, romanticizing their relationship? Make sure he’s done before you find yourself deeply invested. No one wants to be the reason a married couple doesn’t have the chance to make things work out. Trust me, that label will be very hard to remove, no matter how inaccurate it may be.

Stacy Notaras Murphy is a licensed professional counselor and certified Imago Relationship therapist practicing in Georgetown. Her website is This column is meant for entertainment only, and should not be considered a substitute for professional counseling. Please send your relationship questions to

Health Blogs 101: Where to go for the Best Recipes and Advice

July 13, 2011

101 Cookbooks

101 Cookbooks was created by Heidi Swanson in 2003, a San Francisco based photographer, cookbook author and designer, who shares recipes that intertwine with her life, travels and interests. Heidi was inspired to begin the blog when realized that although she owned over 100 cookbooks, she was always using the same recipes. So she decided it was time to stop buying and start cooking. Since then, 101 Cookbooks has won numerous awards, such as the 2006 and 2007 Food Blog of the Year and has been featured in newspapers such as the Boston Globe and New York Times. With a focus on natural, whole foods and ingredients, 101 Cookbooks has recipes for those with vegan or gluten-free diets as well as recipes for those who love desserts and chocolate. It even has recipes perfected for every season. Here is a great summer dish that puts a spin on classic Macaroni.

Macaroni Salad (serves enough for a crowd or potluck)
1 pound elbow macaroni
1/4 cup / 60 ml extra virgin olive oil
4 cups thinly sliced green onions {~3-4 bunches}
3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
fine grain sea salt
lots of freshly ground black pepper
zest and juice of one lemon
1/3 cup / 2 oz grated Parmesan
4 big handfuls arugula
1 large apple, diced

Cook the macaroni in a large pot of well-salted water per package instructions. Set aside at least 1/2 cup / 120ml pasta water. Then drain pasta and set aside.

In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a large skillet until hot. Add most of the green onions, all of the garlic, and a pinch of salt. Cook until the onions soften, and the garlic begins to take on some color, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for a couple minutes.

Use a hand blender or food processor to puree the green onion mixture along with 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, zest of the lemon, half the lemon juice, and the reserved pasta water. Puree and taste. The green onion flavor should be assertive. Stir in the Parmesan.

Combine the macaroni with the green onion sauce in a large bowl. Toss well. Add the arugula and most of the apple and toss again. Taste, and add more pepper, salt, or lemon juice if needed. Serve topped with the remaining apple and green onion.

Prep time: 10 min – Cook time: 10 min

A Weight Lifted

A Weight Lifted is the blog of Green Mountain at Fox Run, the country’s first and only residential weight loss program exclusively for women. Contributing bloggers include two registered dietitians (RDs), a psychologist, executive chef, sous chef and managing director of the program. The blog reflects their combined vision on what it takes to reach a healthy weight by a balance between nutrition and fitness. Putting an emphasis on letting go of unhealthy obsession and pressure attached to dieting, this blog offers not only healthy recipes, but advice for how to conquer negative feelings about weight. Here’s a recipe by Chef Lisa for the Green Mountain Brownie that is served at the healthy weight loss spa. Just goes to show, a little indulgence here and there can actually be healthy.

Green Mountain Brownie (serves 16)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 pint sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prep a 9 inch square pan (or similar size) with non-stick spray. Metal pans allow for faster baking than glass does.

In a small pan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove from heat and carefully stir in canola oil and cocoa powder. Set aside and allow to cool.

In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, using the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, eggs, and vanilla until creamy. Stop the machine, add a third of the flour mixture, then mix. Stop again, add half of the butter mixture, then mix. Stop again, add half the remaining flour mixture, then mix. Stop, add remaining butter, mix, then stop, add final flour addition, and mix until just barely combined. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20-40 minutes, or until done enough for you.

Rebecca Thinks

Rebecca Scritchfield is a registered dietitian, credentialed nutrition therapy professional and American College of Sports Medicine certified Health and Fitness Specialist. She also teaches sport nutrition at George Washington University and has a D.C. based private practice for professional, aspiring and everyday athletes. Rebecca Thinks is where she shares her opinion on behavioral issues related to staying healthy and happy. The blog also shares her favorite recipes; my favorite was this one for a delicious, healthy fish taco.

Healthy and Light Fish Tacos Recipe (serves 8)
Mango Salsa
1 mango, chopped
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1/4 onion (red preffered, any onion OK)
Juice of 1 lime, zest of 1/2 lime

Mix ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate.

Zesty, Creamy Topping
1/2 cup plain lowfat yogurt, strained (Place a paper towel in a strainer and add the yogurt. This helps give the yogurt a thicker consistency like soft cheese. It needs about 2-3 hours in the refrigerator and you can skip this step if you don’t have the time)
1/2 tsp chili powder, taco seasoning, or fajita seasoning

Stir and refrigerate.

About 2-3 pounds white fish (we used tilapia)

Season with salt and pepper. Squeeze juice from 1/2 lime over fish. Broil or grill on low to medium heat for 6-8 minutes (don’t over do it or your fish will be tough).

Spicy Black Beans
One 14 oz. can of black beans, rinsed and drained, and placed in a saucepan
1/2 onion, diced and 2-4 cloves garlic, diced (sautee both in 1 tsp olive oil and add to bean)
1 tsp cumin and 1 tsp chili powder

Mix together and heat on low for about 8 minutes.

You will also need…
Store bought tortillas (we used a low carb, high fiber tortilla with about 100 calories and 10g fiber per serving)
1 cup cabbage, shredded (green or purple – whatever looks good)

Making the Taco
Heat the tortilla in a toaster oven, microwave or dry pan for a few seconds until warm. (You’ve come this far, why not?) Place about 2-3 ounces of fish in the middle of the taco. Top with 2 tablespoons mango salsa, 2 tablespoons black beans, small handful of cabbage (cabbage is healthy and low calorie so use as much or as little to your liking), and 1 tablespoon of the creamy topping. [gallery ids="100230,106511,106504,106508" nav="thumbs"]

Sex Over Fifty

July 7, 2011

Sex Shop Shy?

I completely understand that some people just can’t bring themselves to visit sex shops. They can at times seem dirty, intimidating and confusing, even though they house some of the greatest resources and tools available for increasing sexual pleasure. Fortunately for all of us there are alternatives to the neighborhood sex-tool-shed.

Art Galleries and Museums
Typically we tend to think we’ve only recently become a mainstream sex-minded society, but take one stroll through some select classic Asian and Indian art exhibits and you’ll find that the real “free sex” revolution happened thousands of years ago. Thanks to talented painters and sculptors we have the opportunity of experiencing their sexual proclivities through the eyes of intelligent art connoisseurs. My all-time favorite is of course the Kama Sutra, the ancient Indian Hindu text that is an artistically illustrated handbook for great, pleasurable sex.

Pet Shops
Do you fancy the idea of a collar and leash for you or your partner? Why spend oodles of money on studded collars and other goodies at the sex shop when you can peruse the aisles of the local pet store? A secret-mission trip through the neighborhood pet store, either alone or with a partner, can be exhilarating and fun! There are tons of toys, restraints, and other goodies and the best part is that nobody will know who you’re really shopping for!

The Internet
Don’t be afraid to use the Internet to search for online sex tips and toys. Naturally, be weary of clicking on ads or pop-ups that might give you a virus (even safe-online sex is important!). If you’re concerned about privacy, most browsers have a “private” or “safe” browsing option that doesn’t save information on your computer. And when it comes to paying by credit card you’ll find convenient pre-paid credit cards on those in-store gift card walls at your local pharmacies and grocery stores.

Do It Yourself
If you want to get creative and do a few things at home, here are some great ideas for those that like to DIY or need a quick idea:
• Cut open an old pillow for some flirty feathers (turn off the ceiling fan first!)
• Skip fruit-flavored lotions and opt for some pureed fresh fruit instead (non-acidic only!)
• Whipped cream never fails (unless your partner is lactose intolerant)
• Ice cubes can make it hot (while keeping it cool)
• Old belts and scarves make great restraints (and whips)
• Even if you can’t wear 4 inch heels anymore, keep a pair for a bed fantasy…they can’t hurt you when you’re lying down!

Dr. Dorree Lynn, PhD, is a psychologist and life coach in Georgetown and author of Sex for Grownups: Dr. Dorree Reveals the Truths, Lies, and Must-Tries for Great Sex After 50. She is AARP’s Media “Sexpert” and has been featured on ABC, MSNBC, CNN, Fox News and VH1. Visit her website:

Murphy’s Love: Advice on Intimacy and Relationships

June 28, 2011

Dear Stacy:

I am a mother of two kids – 6 months and 2.5 years old. I stay home with the kids, always have wanted to be a SAHM, and for the most part, it’s very good all around. But I keep feeling jealous of my husband’s “freedom” when he goes to work, particularly when he’s sent off on a work-related trip. He says he misses us all, but I can’t believe he’s not at least a little bit happy to have a full-night’s sleep, getting to wake up when he wants to, seeing a new place, and planning his day around whatever he wants to do. I am happy to be home with my kids, but I miss the freedom of getting to take a trip or see a movie when I want to. He offers to take the kids some weekend afternoons, but when I return home I find complete chaos and it takes a good day or two for things to get back to normal. I’m snapping at him, doubting his sincerity when he tells me how much he misses us – I’m just reluctant to believe he’s not secretly happy with his end of the bargain.
–Feeling unequal in Northwest

Dear Unequal:

So what if he is “secretly happy with his end of the bargain?” Would that information actually change anything? From the tone of your letter, I can surmise that Husband might feel guilty about that particular perk of being the sole breadwinner. Can you ask yourself why he wouldn’t want to admit that part to you? Maybe because you might use it against him while ignoring what’s really going on here: the fact that your arrangement might not be 100 percent working for you right now.

We’ve all heard the adage that marriage isn’t fair all the time – neither is parenting, making a living or life in general. If this period of dissatisfaction is just a blip on the radar screen of an otherwise happy life, I urge you to let this go. If, on the other hand, you are struggling with some long-term challenges of balancing his work with yours, let’s take a closer look at that part.

It sounds like you might be feeling like a prisoner to your daily routine. That’s the unfortunate part of being a Good Mother – you know that a regularly-scheduled day makes for happier, healthier, and, blessedly, sleepier kiddos. Just because this cycle is good for them, doesn’t mean you won’t feel chafed from time to time – particularly when Husband is texting you from the latest Tony Award-winning corporate-sponsored Broadway musical. Or Austin’s Restaurant Week. Or (Lord help him if he does this) the beach.

I sympathize that there may be chaos when you return from an afternoon out, but am wondering what yardstick you’re using? Is Husband really letting them set up the sprinkler inside and shred the drapes, or is he just choosing to do things differently than you would? If it’s the latter, let’s take a deep breath and remember what you’re getting in return. The opportunity to be child-free for a few hours just might come at this cost. But if Husband truly lets the kids go wild, perhaps you need to talk about how this makes you feel when you get home. This is a person who keeps telling you how much he misses being part of the family when he’s away – maybe he’d been open to hearing what being a part of the family actually looks like to you.

Dear Stacy:

I am the mother of a 4-year-old. My husband and I are in negotiations about having a second child, but we’re both torn. We had the typical life-explosion that happens when DINKs [double income/no kids] decide to become parents, and have just recently hit our stride in terms of taking care of ourselves, our relationship, and being good parents to our adorable little one. I always thought I’d have more kids, but on some level it seems totally impractical. I’m just now feeling better about my career decisions, and another maternity leave feels like it might be devastating. Then again, when I see friends with new babies, I feel this aching inside. Do you make a life-changing decision based on aching inside? My husband seems to be just as on the fence as I am, so I guess we’re lucky that no one is feeling pressured either way. We just need some advice.
-Going for Two? in Glover Park

Dear Going for Two:

Ah, you’ve emerged from the Terrible (Terrifying? Troublesome? Treacherous?) Toddler Years and are now enjoying predictable sleep, fewer temper tantrums, and the typically wide-eyed wonder of the 4-year-old. Why on earth would you want to go back to measuring your life in 2 hour feeding increments? Why would you want to deal with more diapers?

Well, because you always thought you would have more children. And because you love babies. And because you know so much more now and think you might be able to actually enjoy the infant period this time around. I’ve heard these arguments numerous times in my office…and in my own home…so I completely understand. Many of us wrestled for years with the initial question, “when is it time to have a baby?” only to be caught off guard by the logical follow-up: “Should I have another?”

It’s great that you and Husband are both on the same, albeit confused, page. I’d recommend that you look back to your decision to have Baby #1. What was that experience like? Were there lightning bolts and sirens urging you onward (unusual)? Were you feeling unsure, even as you were trying to get pregnant (normal)? Did you have “yes” days and “no” days? I’ve encouraged clients to take some of the pressure off by taking their daily temperature: “Do I want to have another baby today? Yes or No.” Mark your calendar with the results and then set the discussion aside. Give yourself a few months and then take a look at the data. If you have more Ns or Ys and you still feel disappointed, your gut in that moment might reveal what you really want. There are many other ways to come to a conclusion about this, but as in all big choices, overthinking rarely gets us where we want to be.

Stacy Notaras Murphy is a licensed professional counselor and certified Imago Relationship therapist practicing in Georgetown. Her website is This column is meant for entertainment only, and should not be considered a substitute for professional counseling. Please send your relationship questions to

Granny Gets Her Groove On

June 2, 2011

Last weekend my husband and I were sitting on the beach on the east coast of Florida, when I noticed him staring at a group of gorgeous, bikini-clad women walking along the shore. I’m talking about drop-dead gorgeous bodies. You can imagine his shock, and then my hysteric laughter, when they got close enough for me to realize that they were all in their 70s and were wearing knee-length white t-shirts with hot bodies airbrushed on the front and back.

My point is that growing up should be fun. It should be exciting to get old, if for no other reason than it gives us an opportunity to cut loose with nothing to lose. There’s no reason why we can’t look sexy, even if we’re faking it. We still feel sexy. We still think about sex. We still enjoy having sex! There is no rule that says you have to be old just because you’ve gotten older!

Sex After 50? Does it Really Exist?
The quick answer is “Yes!” Look at it this way: You spent your teen years thinking about sex and then spent the rest of your life having it (or trying to find someone to have it with). Either way, what reason would one ever have to stop having it, or even stop wanting to have it? If most of us are going to live to be 70, 80 or even older, I’d like to think that we wouldn’t have to spend the last twenty or thirty years of our lives not doing the one thing that we’ve spent our entire lives loving.

Slow & Steady Wins the Race!
Let’s face it: we’re not the acrobats we might have once been. And while we’ve all seen the videos of college kids going wild on spring break, don’t forget that we were the generation that started the free sex movement and created some of the more unique sexual positions and techniques. But if, at our age, we tried half of the antics we did 30 years ago, we would have to hope that there was an ambulance nearby and an ER team on alert. Sex at our age is about the intimacy, the connection, the touching and the kissing. Sex should be just as much about the journey as it is about the “destination.”

It really doesn’t matter how you look. It’s all about how you feel, and you’ve still got a younger, sexy spirit somewhere inside you. So c’mon, Granny—and you too, Grampa. It’s time you reconnected with that younger, inner person and get to grooving!

Dr. Dorree Lynn, PhD, is a psychologist and life coach committed to helping people have better relationships & fulfilling sex lives. Dr. Lynn is AARP’s media “sexpert” has appeared on “Good Morning America,” MSNBC, CNN, PBS and is the author of “Sex for Grownups.”
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