Aphrodisiacs that Set the Mood

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While doing more research on spices, I came across this article.  I liked it enough to share…

An aphrodisiac is defined as a food, drug, potion, or other agent that arouses sexual desire. The term aphrodisiac originates from the Greek goddess, Aphrodite, who was born of sea foam and ruled over love and desire. Many factors contribute to a food item’s claim in increasing desire, whether it be the taste, shape, size, or relationship to nature. For thousands of years, people from many cultures the world over have continued the search for the ultimate aphrodisiac. Although no one food or potion has been declared the ultimate aphrodisiac, here are a few which continue to be worth mentioning:Aniseed – Long believed to have special stimulating powers, aniseed has been used for countless culinary and medicinal purposes in many cultures. The ancient Greeks and Romans believed that sucking on anise seeds would increase desire and the plant is known to have female hormone compounds, which have a direct increase on potency and libido.

Almond – A long-standing symbol of fertility throughout history, it is said that the aroma of almonds will induce passion in females and is frequently seen in soaps, creams, and lotions. Sampson courted Delilah with fresh almond branches and ancient Persians perfumed almonds with flower petals before using them in desserts.

Chocolate – Ancient Mayan civilization worshipped the Cacao tree and called it “food of the gods”. Folklore indicated that the Aztec ruler Montezuma would reportedly drink 50 goblets of chocolate each day to enhance his libido. In actuality, it is the chemical composition of chocolate that gives its love potion qualities; phenyl ethylamine and serotonin are potent “feel good” chemicals naturally produced in our bodies that produce a sense of euphoria or happiness when consumed through chocolate.

Chili Peppers – Because they produce sweating, increased heart rate and circulation when consumed, eating chili peppers are said to have the same effect as intercourse. Another reported effect of consuming large amounts of chili peppers is an irritation of the genitals and urinary tract that is similar to sexual desire.

Coffee – Long thought to be a sexual stimulant because it increases dopamine levels in the brain after ingestion, coffee has recently come under the spotlight as being particularly effective for women who infrequently consume the beverage.

Coriander – Used by the ancient Chinese, Medieval Europe and in Ayurvedic medicine, coriander was mentioned in the classic “Arabian Nights” books as curing a merchant who had been childless for 40 years. In the Middle Ages, a popular drink known as “Hipocras” combined many purported aphrodesiacs, including coriander, and was traditionally drunk during weddings. It was exported from Europe to South America, and was eventually banned because it was considered “too effective” in stimulating the libido. Coriander is also known as cilantro.

Ginger – Originally brought to Rome by Egyptian traders, it is said the pure white blossoms of the ginger plant are believed to be a love potion because a woman wearing the scent becomes irresistable. Wheter served raw, cooked or crystallized, ginger stimulates the circulatory system.

Honey – Mead, a fermented drink made primarily of honey, dates back to medieval times and was used not only to increase libido, but to bless new marriages. The ancient Egyptians used honey to cure sterility and impotence, while in ancient Persia, new couples would drink mead together every day for a month after they married, in order to ensure a successful marriage. This period was known as the Honey Moon.

Mint – According to ancient Roman mythology, the nymph Mente was turned into greenery by her jealous rival, Persephone. Even after her transformation, her scent continued to be irresistable to Persephone’s husband, Pluto.

Oysters – Marked an aphrodisiac by the Romans as far back as the second century A.D., oysters are known to be high in zinc, which improves sexual potency in males. It has recently been discovered that oysters also contain D-aspartic acid and NMDA – two compounds effective in releasing sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen.

Pine Nuts – People have been using pine nuts as an aphrodisiac since Medieval times. Like the oyster, pine nuts are a rich source of Zinc, a key mineral necessary to maintain male potency.

Truffles – The musky scent of rare truffles is said to stimulate and sensitize the skin to touch.

Vanilla – Both the scent and taste of vanilla is said to increase libido. In the 1700’s, vanilla was prescribed by physicians and alchemists to be drunk as an infusion to ensure male potency.

Wine – By relaxing the body and stimulating the senses, a glass of wine with dinner can greatly enhance a romantic evening. Too much alcohol will become a depressant and make you drowsy, so be sure to keep it in moderation.

 

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Come On Friday !

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Come on!  I have a million things to do for the weekend party crowd.  Yeah baby, I can hardly wait!  Bon fire on a chilly night, hot cider spiced with rum, homemade dinner, appetizers, desserts and snacks; and friends!  What could be better than that?  Well actually it would really kick if my son and my brother could be there, but they’re busy so we adapt without them.

Weatherman is calling for snow flurries Saturday night. Won’t that be great?  One of my friends is bringing a carved pumpkin.  We’ll stick a candle in it and hope we don’t burn the place down.  HA!  I never made it to the lake last weekend, but had a pretty good weekend nonetheless at home.  Got some winterizing done and spent Sunday afternoon cooking up a storm.  Most of the results are in the freezer waiting to be transported to the lake.  Getting my storm door installed this weekend too.  Sweet!

Is it really only Wednesday?  UGH!!!

Look For The Good In People

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You just never know when you’ll randomly meet a genuinely good person…

Last week I answered an ad for something I’ve been looking all over for and haven’t been able to find.  Just when I thought I’d never find it, I sort of “tripped” on it during a casual CraigsList search.  With just a phone number, I called and spoke to a woman who, after just a few short minutes, felt like I knew forever.  She offered to mail the item to me since she lives far across the state.  I sent her a check and that was that.  Today I called her to see if she got the check (it hadn’t been cashed) and in fact she had the item all boxed up and ready to be mailed.  We chatted for about 15 minutes, about family, her grandchildren, both our children and husbands and ex’s.  She is Italian and like me, a food pusher.  It must be an Italian thing.  As she spoke about trust and honesty, she said if you look for the good in people, you’ll find it.  She also said if you look for the bad in people, you’ll find that too.  She is so right.  I instantly thought of a girl whom I chosen not to socialize with anymore because I just don’t like her ways.  Am I looking for the bad in her because she irritates me?  I know there’s good in her, but for many reasons, I often think they’re just not good enough to be around. 

I couldn’t help but think this stranger and her husband must be a riot at parties.  I’d love to have them attend a dinner party at the lake house, I think we’d all be in stitches laughing.  She cracked me up in the two short conversations we had telling me about her and her husband.  I bet she’s an excellent cook too!

Was this stranger put in my path for a reason?  Perhaps.

Random acts of kindness… What a concept.

A Right of Passage

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There is no greater affection than that of an investment that pays off over and over again.  It’s the gift that keeps on giving. 

For most of my son’s 23 years, I have been a single parent.  I watched over and protected him like a mother bear protecting her cub.  At any given time, I would have taken a bullet for him.   Some have accused me of spoiling him, while others have accused me of being ridiculously strict.  We parent as we see fit, no matter what anyone says.  It’s a learning process for everyone.  The fondest and most heartfelt memories of my life (even before he was born) all involve him.

Last night, during dinner, my son gave me details of an opportunity he’s being recruited for at work.  As he recapped the days’ conversations with his Manager and Director, I couldn’t help but notice the confidence in his voice and the pride on his face.  His first “real” job after college graduation, only being there for a tad over 9 months, he feels good that he’s being recognized for his skills.    This position is sought out by thousands in the company, with only about 10 – 15 positions offered out.  Whether he gets it or not, the fact that he is singled out and recruited is a huge confidence builder.  He went on to give me the specifics he had about the opportunity.  I almost felt like he was looking for a reaction when he told me he’d have to relocate for three years.  All he knows is he wouldn’t be leaving the country, but the company training program for this job requires the candidate to work at different facilities, training under different top-level management, for a period of three years.  It was a pivotal moment and I knew it.  One wrong word, or wrong body language sign would leave him torn and weigh heavy on his decision, should he be offered the job.  I got up to bring my dish to the sink, just to break the awkwardness, and to give myself a minute away from his stare.  It was at that moment I realized my boy was a full-grown, able-bodied, intelligent and independent man.   Other than his 4 years at college, he’s never lived away from home.  I remember how depressed I was when he left for college.  It was a right-of-passage for both of us.

I turned to him and told him this was a fantastic opportunity that only a chosen few get.  Clearly he had the attention of upper management, and since he was debt free and unmarried, I told him I thought he should absolutely take advantage of it.  He may be surprised and end up somewhere close by in a neighboring state where he could drive home on weekends, or something.  I know he’d want to come home as often as he could because he has the most wonderful girlfriend (we all love her!) that he’d miss terribly.  I then told him this would be a good test of the heart.  Being divorced twice, I try not to give relationship advice.  I mean really… I wouldn’t even listen to me.  But I did say I thought his girl would be supportive and understanding.  After all, this is a perfect time in his life to take on something like this, and it would only enhance his future.  I knew his head was reeling in a thousand different directions.  His hard work is starting to pay off with options in front of him.  As he morphs from boy to man, I couldn’t help feeling proud of him and for him.

When everything else in my life fails, I selfishly take pride in all of my hard work, sacrifice, love and attention I’ve spent nurturing my boy.  He is, by far, my greatest accomplishment…

Year Three

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With every passing year, in any given category, I measure my progress by the year gone by.  The patterns remain the same, but the intensity of the patterns change.  I tend to charge at things that are unattainable or forbidden.  I redefine policies and procedures while challenging rules.  I resist going with the flow because it’s “easy.”  It’s not a quest to be right, it’s a quest to do right.  I have always known the very thing that attracts people to me, is the very thing that scares people away.  The ones that come back, are the truest of friends.

It seems, with year three before us, I have not scared him away.  Through all of my changes, not necessarily for the better, he remains connected, intrigued and passive.

I’m smart enough to know, I’m a lucky girl.

Here’s to Year Three, and to You.  You know who you are…

   

My Happy Place…

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The weekend could have gone either way for me.  I was totally under the weather with the flu and toyed with not going to the lake.  Knowing I had a lot to do, I mustered up the energy to drive up there on Saturday afternoon.  As always, the closer I got, the better I felt.  Although the nose goo wouldn’t stop running, and the cough attacks were still every 5 minutes ro so apart, I was heading to my “happy place” and it’s effects were penetrating my sick body with every mile.  I did pass a good portion of the trip on the phone with my brother, who is always good for a laugh and a joke, but mostly,  he’s always there to share whatever crisis is currently taking over my life.  And of course, it’s refreshing to get his opinion and thoughts on matters.  This day was no different.  We laughed, joked.. and talked.  After I hung up, I felt like my mind was clear for the weekend… or at least temporarily void of unpleasant things.  Way to go EEBAGE!!

On to the menu!  What would I make for dinner?  I didn’t shop for the last minute trip and was trying to remember what I had stored in the fridge and freezer.  I thought about stopping for a minute, but quickly passed the option because I was dying to get to the lake.  I’d figure something out.

After a few hours of working in the yard, I was invited out to dinner.  There it is, problem solved.  I had a wonderful time at dinner with two of the most pleasant people I know.  We laughed, ate, drank and laughed some more…  maybe we drank some more too… yeah, we probably did <wink>.

I’ll get working on next week’s dinner menu.

Attached is a photo taken yesterday after I gave my new lawn it’s first cut.  Still patchy in places, I have high hopes this will turn out to be a lawn that withstands crowds the fire pit is sure to attract.

Got A Flu Shot… and Got The Flu!

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Yep, Woke up a week after getting a flu shot with an earache, stuffed nose, watery eyes and a head the size of my kitchen. I previously scheduled Thursday and Friday off of work as vacation days to get some winterizing done around the house. HA! I can hardly hold my head up and I might just buy stock in Kleenex.

What was I thinking?

I’m trying to talk myself into feeling good enough to go to the lake today or tomorrow. So far, I’m losing the argument.

I can’t cook, bake or clean. I managed to muster up enough energy to throw a load of laundry in. However, it may never leave the dryer.

Oiy….

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