Avocado Burgers

McDonalds Japan Restaurants are offering for a limited time three choices of avocado burgers with beef, chicken and shrimp patties.

All three burgers feature Italian ciabatta bread. The beef burger is served with wasabi sauce while the chicken and shrimp burgers are flavoured with Cobb salad sauce blended with seven spices chili pepper and coriander leaves.

Each burger is sold for 399 Yen (about US$3.90). The burgers will be available until the end of May.

Lamb Burger in Pita Pockets


10 oz ground lamb
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp dried oregano
sea salt and cracked black pepper
2 tsp olive oil
2 pita pockets, halved
1 cup baby spinach leaves
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

Minted Yogurt

1/4 cup thick plain yogurt
1/2 cucumber, finely chopped
1 tbsp finely shredded mint


  1. Combine minted yogurt ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Mix together lamb, pine nuts, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Shape mixture into 4 round patties.
  3. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat, add oil and patties. Cook for 4 minutes each side or until cooked through.
  4. To assemble, fill each pita pocket with some spinach, onion, minted yogurt and a lamb patty.

Makes 2 servings.

Source: Donna Hay

Character Bento

Mamegoma Charaben

The Character – Mamegoma (まめゴマ)

Time Spent With Grandkids Might Boost Women’s Brain Power

But don’t overdo it: Study found that too much babysitting was tied to mental decline.

Spending a little time each week caring for grandkids may help older women stay mentally sharp, a new study finds.

But there’s a potential downside: Taking care of the grandkids five days a week or more may have a negative impact on brain power, the researchers reported.

The study included 186 Australian women, aged 57 to 68, who took three different tests of mental acuity. Those who spent one day a week looking after grandchildren did best on two of the three tests.

However, those who looked after grandchildren for five or more days a week did worse on one of the tests, which evaluated memory and mental processing speed.

The researchers were surprised by this result, but also discovered that the more time grandmothers spent taking care of grandkids, the more they felt that their children placed greater demands on them. So mood may be a factor in the unexpected finding, the study authors suggested.

While the study found an association between the amount of time caring for grandchildren and mental sharpness in older women, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

The study was published online in the journal Menopause.

Previous research has examined the link between older people’s mental sharpness and their levels of social contact, but this is believed to be the first study to look at the effects of looking after grandchildren.

“Because grandmothering is such an important and common social role for postmenopausal women, we need to know more about its effects on their future health. This study is a good start,” Dr. Margery Gass, executive director of the North American Menopause Society, said in a society news release.

Source: healthfinder.gov

Today’s Comic

My Recipe

Japanese Hearty Soup


8 oz boneless skinless chicken breast or thigh
One 300 g pack soft tofu
14 to 16 pieces konnyaku
4 oz carrot (1/4″ slices)
13 oz potato
3 Tbsp wakame seaweed

Chicken Marinade:

1/2 tsp salt
1½ Tbsp sake
3/4 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp oil

Broth and Seasoning:

6 cups hot water
2 tsp dashi granules (Bonito fish soup stock mix)
2½ Tbsp Japanese soy sauce
2 Tbsp mirin seasoning (Honteri)
3 Tbsp sake
1/8 tsp or to taste salt


  1. Cut chicken into thick slices or chunks. Add marinade. Set aside for about 30 minutes.
  2. Rinse and cut tofu into 3/4-inch dices.
  3. Rinse and drain konnyaku.
  4. Peel potato and cut into 3/4-inch chunks. Soak in a mixture of 3 cups water and 1/2 tsp vinegar for 30 minutes to prevent from discolouration. Drain before cooking.
  5. Add water and dashi granules to a pot or wok. Stir to dissolve. Add potato and carrot. Bring to a boil. Cook for about 4 minutes on medium heat or until potato is just fork tender. Add chicken, cook for 2 minutes. Add remaining seasoning and wakame seaweed. Bring to a boil. Add tofu and konnyaku. Bring to a boil again. Serve hot.

Nutrition value for 1/6 portion of recipe:

Calorie 150, Fat 2.9 g, Carbohydrate 16 g, Fibre 2 g, Sugar 2 g, Cholesterol 24 mg, Sodium 985 mg, Protein 14 g.

In Pictures: Korean Street Foods

Getting in Front of Back Pain

Strong core muscles, good posture can help, expert says.

Even though back pain affects nearly 10 million Americans a year, there’s a lot you can do to avoid the problem, an expert says.

It begins with healthy habits, including not smoking along with maintaining proper weight through good nutrition and exercise. Good posture, balance, strength and flexibility help increase core strength to support the back.

“All these elements can preserve a good back, keep our bones and bodies strong and help the body heal should injury occur,” Kathy Dieringer, a National Athletic Trainers’ Association board member, said in a news release from the organization.

To maintain good posture, keep your shoulders back when sitting, avoid slouching and don’t sit for more than 30 minutes without moving around.

It’s also important to support your back when sitting or sleeping. Sit with your knees slightly bent and higher than your hips. When in bed, try to maintain your lumbar curves and use pillows if necessary, Dieringer said.

Core muscles make up the “powerhouse” in the center of your body, according to the Federal Occupational Health website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Core muscles include abdominal muscles, back muscles and muscles in the pelvic region.

Dieringer advised strengthening your core using exercises such as crunches, modified crunches with weights or medicine balls, planks, bridges and back extensions. When exercising, be sure to work on both lower and upper back muscles. It’s also important to do exercises that help maintain back flexibility.

If you’re inactive, get moving. Walking is a great way to maintain good back health, according to Dieringer.

Remember to lift with your legs, bend at the knees and keep your back straight. Don’t twist when carrying objects. Turn your entire body and keep your hips and shoulders facing the same direction. If you’re doing work — such as gardening — that requires lots of bending or stooping, take frequent breaks and stretch your back when you stand up.

If you do experience back pain, stop your activity, rest and consult your doctor. Ignoring back pain can lead to complications, Dieringer warned.

“By following a healthy regimen to maintain good posture, proper back and body mechanics, your movements should be easy, pain-free and with great range of motion,” she said.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services