Seven Days - By: Sharon Lee Riguzzi - Jan. 24, 2013

Don’t you feel good when you go out of your way to do something nice for someone else? These things could be little things, nothing extraordinary, but big enough to improve the quality of someone else’s life. You want some examples? How about these:

*giving up your seat on a bus for someone older or a person loaded down with packages

*telling a harassed sales clerk that you feel for her since she has so many people to service and she’s doing a great job

*sending a quick note of thanks to a colleague who helped you out when you were overwhelmed

For generations, these old-fashioned acts were what we were taught to automatically do. Nowadays if you do any of the above, people might look surprised, if not shocked.

But think about the impact. That night at dinner while recounting her day to her family, there would definitely be a comment: “And then, out of the clear blue…”

None of us start out our day consciously saying “Today I will have no time to do anything nice for anyone else.” But in the midst of the craziness of life, it’s not that difficult to do things for others sometimes without their even being aware. What’s the benefit? Besides what others might get from it, you feel good, and that in itself increases your ability to do the good things you have to do for yourself.

Seven niceties, one a day for a week – that’s not too much to ask, is it? And there’s a guarantee: If you fulfill this challenge, you will be able to tackle more of your own to-do’s because you will start feeling a rush.

Are you up to the challenge?


Asparagus, Bacon and Cheese Strata

5 PointsPlus Value- Prep time: 15 min  Cook time: 20 min

Serves: 6  Stratas ~ make an excellent breakfast or brunch, and they give you the perfect opportunity to use up leftover vegetables, lean meats and day-old bread.

2 tsp. olive oil or vegetable oil
4 slice(s) uncooked turkey bacon, diced
1/2 cup(s) uncooked onion(s), diced
2 cup(s) uncooked asparagus, fresh, or frozen and thawed, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 spray(s) cooking spray
6 slice(s) reduced-calorie whole wheat bread
4 large egg(s)
5 large egg white(s)
3/4 cup(s) fat-free skim milk
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 cup(s) low-fat, shredded Cheddar cheese, about 4 oz.

Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add onion and asparagus; sauté until vegetables are soft, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove vegetables from pan and set aside.

Preheat broiler.

Off heat, coat same skillet with cooking spray. Arrange bread slices tightly in bottom of skillet.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites, milk, mustard, salt and pepper; pour over bread and allow milk mixture to soak in entirely (like when you make French toast). Sprinkle bread with 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese.

Place skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Cook, shaking pan frequently to promote even cooking, until almost cooked through to the top, about 4 or 5 minutes.

Place skillet under broiler to set eggs, about 2 minutes. Remove skillet from broiler; top with bacon-vegetable mixture, cheddar cheese and remaining tablespoon of Parmesan cheese. Place skillet under broiler again until cheese melts, about 1 to 2 minutes. Slice into 6 pieces and serve. Yields 1 piece per serving.

If you don’t have an oven-proof skillet, cover the handle with aluminum foil before broiling.