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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

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January 14, 2021

The Surprising Truth about Eggplant, and a Recipe

A large eggplant. That is the vegetable size of a baby at week #28. Oh, but wait just a minute. An eggplant is actually a FRUIT because it grows from

January 7, 2021

My Least Favorite Vegetable and a Challenge

At week #27 baby is the size of… …a head of cauliflower. Most of you know that I do not care for this vegetable. I’ve tried. Truth is that cauli

December 31, 2020

Cheers to Scallions and a New Year

At week #26, baby is the size of a scallion. The first question that popped into my head is: What’s the difference between a scallion and a green on

December 24, 2020

The Hope and Excitement of a Baby

A bit of background for my new readers: I’m taking the produce journey along with my good friend who is expecting. As we track the progression, we l

December 17, 2020

Create Your Own Cookbook and Mr. Non-Compliant’s Favorite Vegetable

Those of us who attended the Zoom “Amazing Cookie Bake” had a delicious time baking our cookies. My cookie press was missing its piston—a critic

December 10, 2020

We’re Baking Cookies Together… Sort of

I’m baking cookies this coming Saturday morning, and I’d love for you to join me! Through the magic of ZOOM, we are all gathering to bake and soci

December 2, 2020

So, the Marshmallows Caught Fire…

Thanksgiving Day is but a faint memory, as we fast forward into Advent and the season of Christmas. It was quiet around the Slager home, until the mar

November 25, 2020

Cookies, Carrots, and Giving Thanks

Here it is November, and everything is still pretty weird. I find it hard to believe that we’ve almost blown through another year, even though it se

November 19, 2020

Are Bananas Good for You?

Bananas sometimes get a bad rap. The truth is, they have lots of redemptive qualities. They are among the most important food crops on the planet. Alt

November 12, 2020

What to Make for Dinner When the Power Goes Out

As I was writing this, my power went out. It wasn’t just a flicker. It was a full OUTAGE in our local area. Concerned that this could linger into th

Getting (Back) into Your Routine

We’ve gotten past the Christmas cookies, candies, and cocktails. It’s now time to get back into your “normal” routine, or figure out what that looks like.

Where and how to begin?

Simply. If it feels monumental, you’re not alone. It’s typical to feel a bit of a let down after all the holiday hoopla.

Of course, some of you may be waiting until January 2, 2020 to drop out of hoopla. You’ll be well prepared.  

Get back to basics. If you have a gym membership, make a manageable commitment to get there. Choose one or two days a week to go and do SOMETHING. Keep that commitment. It’s a date with you to feel happier, healthier, relieve post-holiday blues, and have some fun.   

Having an accountability buddy helps. When you tell another person you’re going to do something, it’s more apt to happen.

If you don’t do the gym routine, figure out what you’ll enjoy, that gets, and keeps, you moving—dance, practice yoga, walk, do Zumba, run, bike.

Pull out your calendar now and figure out what you’ll do. If you get stuck, email me and I’ll help you. Tell me your plan. You’ll have to keep your word.  

Remember, make your plan a realistic one. Start slowly and build up to doing a little more, a little at a time. Be patient with yourself. When things don’t go the way you plan, visualize a clean slate and do the next right thing.

Wishing you a really good week. Celebrate the season of merriment, friendships, and the close of another year, by getting into a routine that serves you well.

You’re worth investing in. And you do have the time.

Cheers to making the last days of 2019 memorable.

Much love,
Carol 

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.”– Neil Gaiman

Unstuffed Pepper Soup

It’s soup weather. It’s almost Christmas. It’s crunch time.

You need to eat nutritious food and you’ve get presents to buy, decorating to do, and cookies to bake. What’s for dinner?

Here’s a recipe that’s simple, quick, and delicious. Makes about 6 servings in under an hour.  

Unstuffed Pepper Soup

  • 1 pound lean ground beef (organic, grass-fed, preferred)
  • 2 Tablespoons avocado oil, divided
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped (or any color combination of bell peppers)
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans petite diced tomatoes (may use fire roasted)
  • 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups beef bone broth (or beef broth)
  • ½ tsp. dried basil
  • ¼ tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup (or so) Cabernet Sauvignon or other red wine (optional)
  • 1 cup uncooked organic white or brown rice

In a large pot, heat 1 Tbsp. avocado oil over medium heat, then add beef, salt and pepper. Brown the beef, stirring occasionally and breaking it up. Drain beef by using a slotted spoon to put it onto a plate lined with paper towel to absorb excess fat. Set aside. Remove any fat from pan.

Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in pot and add onions and peppers. Sauté about 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and sauté about 30 seconds longer.

Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef bone broth, basil, oregano, wine, and cooked beef. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a light boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

While soup simmers, cook rice according to package directions. I like to cook the rice in beef bone broth for added protein and nutrition.

When soup is done, serve in individual bowls, adding desired amount of rice to each bowl. By storing the soup and rice in separate containers, and adding rice upon serving, it doesn’t get mushy when you have leftovers.

Note: If you have leftover wine from the holidays, freeze in ice cube trays and add to soups, stews, or other recipes, for added flavor.

Merry Christmas!

Much love,
Carol

“No man is a failure who has friends.” — It’s a Wonderful Life

The Buzz on Bone Broth

Lately I’ve been using more bone broth, whether it’s Carol-made or a store-bought variety.

When comparing bone broth to basic broth or bouillon, bone broth comes out far ahead in the nutritional column, and is interchangeable in most recipes.

For example, here are a few highlights when comparing one 8oz. serving of Swanson chicken bone broth vs. Swanson basic chicken broth:

  • Bone broth has 8 grams of protein 1 gram of protein in basic broth
  • Bone broth has 350mg of sodium 860mg of sodium in basic broth
  • Bone broth has 35 calories 10 calories in basic broth
  • Bone broth has <1 gram of sugar 1 gram of sugar in basic broth

Bone broth is technically stock, since it requires the addition of bones. It is made by simmering bones, herbs, and vegetables for about 16-24 hours. This long simmering process produces a higher content of vitamins and minerals.  

Basic broth is lighter, and more flavorful, as it is cooked for a much shorter amount of time. The flavor comes from the meat, vegetables, and herbs.

They can be used interchangeably, although broth is better suited when the dish depends on the flavor of the liquid. Stock, or bone broth, is a bit thicker, and makes a good base for soups, stews, gravy, and cooking grains and legumes.

To Make Chicken or Turkey Bone Broth

  • Take the leftover chicken/turkey carcass, bones, neck, etc., and put it all in your crock pot.
  • Add a couple roughly chopped carrots, celery stalks, onions, and whole garlic cloves.
  • Thyme, rosemary and/or parsley may be added if desired.
  • Cover with water to within an inch or two from the top.
  • Add 2 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar. (This helps more nutrients to seep out of the bones and you won’t taste it.)
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 18-24 hours.
  • Remove the solids with a slotted spoon, allowing any stock to drain in another bowl. (There may be quite a bit of stock that collects in the vegetables.)
  • Discard the overcooked vegetables and bones. Run the remaining broth through a small strainer or cheesecloth to remove any leftover solids.

You now have delicious healthy bone broth to sip anytime, use as a soup base, or freeze for future use. This process works for all types of bones. If you get soup bones from your butcher, I read that if you roast the bones before making bone broth, the final product has a richer flavor.  

Note: When making broth from bones, you want to try and use bones that come from well sourced, organically raised, pastured or grass-fed animals, to avoid added hormones and antibiotics, and other nasty additives.

I like to cook my rice in bone broth for added protein and nutrition. A cup of bone broth tastes great as a snack on a cold afternoon, or with lunch.

Thanksgiving day, I tossed my turkey carcass and neck into my crock pot and made the stock. I used the stock the next day in my turkey pot pie. Yes, it was truly amazing!

Consider how making small changes like this, over time, lead to increased vitality and improved overall health.

If you’d like to learn more, contact me today!

Much love,
Carol

“Bone broth delivers a slew of healthy compounds like collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, plus a whopping 19 amino acids — all of which have been associated with several health benefits, such as improved gut health, joint function, skin elasticity, and a stronger immune system.”—Dr. Josh Axe

The Peaceful Way to Christmas

The countdown to Christmas has begun. In fact, it started well before we ate the turkey.

There are no Christmas decorations adorning our house, although the boxes made it into the family room. We polished off the turkey leftovers yesterday, so I can officially move forward into the Christmas festivities.  

In my mind, there is plenty of time to prepare. Stressing out about the long list of “Must Get Done” is not a good idea.

Here are some tips to help get us through the next few weeks in a calm and peaceful manner:

  • Focus on the reason for this beautiful season. For Christians, the birth of Jesus Christ. For those of you who celebrate Hanukkah, the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.
  • Have a discussion about what is most important for you and your family. Sometimes what we THINK is important to others, is not a big deal. “We’ve always done it this way” is not a valid reason to continue.
  • In order to prepare for those busy shopping days when you don’t seem to get a break, make the intention NOW to pack your water and some healthy snacks. Planning ahead will help you maintain your energy—and your weight.
  • Remember the breathing technique of exhaling twice as long as you inhale. For example, inhale for four counts, hold for four counts, and exhale for eight counts. Doing this for several cycles is a way to find peace in the moment.  
  • Schedule some exercise into your week. Begin your resolution today to live your healthy life. By doing this, you will feel really good January 1, when most people will be just thinking about it.
  • Write down your list of the really important stuff that needs to happen, and prioritize. On any given day, when everything is a priority, do the thing you most feel like doing. Getting away from the “should” mentality is awesome. You’ll have more fun.
  • Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and protein, saving the sugary treats for when they are truly AMAZING. Most of the time those store-bought goodies look much better than they taste. Don’t cave and eat them because everyone else is. They probably don’t read my blogs. (Hint: Share my blog with them. Thanks!)
  • Set aside some time each day to pray/meditate on your reasons for celebrating.

I hope your Thanksgiving was fabulous. Our family enjoyed the feast and being together, and the time went by much too quickly. I’m looking forward to repeating the fun in just a few weeks.

Peace,
Carol

“For Christmas this year, try giving less. Start with less attitude. There’s more than enough of that in the world as it is — and people will usually just give it back anyway!”— Anne Bristow