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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

Schererville, IN

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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

How to Bok Choy

Summer is adventure time. With the abundance of various fruits and vegetables available at grocery stores and farmers markets, there is no reason to be bored with your food.
Today, I’m giving you the scoop, and a simple recipe, for bok choy. Bok choy, also called Chinese cabbage or pak choi, is a member of the Brassica cabbage family. It is high in folate, calcium, vitamin B6, and fiber. For those of you who are keeping carbohydrate intake low, this vegetable is a winner.
The flavor is very mild, and it may be added to soups, stews, or stir-frys. I sautéed it for a side dish. 
When shopping for bok choy, look for vibrant green at the ends (similar to spinach), and firm stems. Wash it just before cooking. Trim away the bottom, similar to the way you would clean a bunch of celery. Separate the individual stalks, and wash away any mud that is hiding.
Cut the bok choy (or baby bok choy), into similar size pieces. If you have the baby version, you may simply want to cut it in halves or quarters.
Sautéed Bok Choy
Heat oil (I like avocado oil for higher heat sautéing) and add a couple cloves of fresh garlic, minced or pressed. Cook briefly, until fragrant, being careful not to burn it. (I often burn it…)
Mix in the bok choy and stir. Cook until the leaves are bright green and the stalks are     
slightly translucent, about 4-5 minutes, or to your desired tenderness. (This vegetable cooks down, like spinach.) Sprinkle with salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, or your favorite seasonings. I love Tajin  Clasico Seasoning. It has a slight kick to it, thanks to the chili peppers and lime. I’ve been using this on all my vegetables lately, and they are a big hit—even with Mr. Non-Compliant.
Have fun trying something new this week! If you end up with a vegetable you aren’t sure how to prepare, let me know and I’ll help.
Bon appetit!
Health Coach Carol
P.S. If you’d like to simply look and feel AMAZING, I’ve got a simple system that works. A complimentary coaching session is yours for the asking! Email me today and we’ll set up a call.
“Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.”–Ruth Reichl 

Relax and Enjoy

Welcome to the dog days of summer and simple eating. Unlike winter, when those crock pot soups and stews hit the spot, we are now in the season of light…

…Light from more hours of sunshine; light in the weight of our clothing; light in which to sit and be still; light eating to nourish and not overburden.  

Here a few ideas to help you enjoy meals that get you out of the kitchen fast AND keep you feeling your best!

  • Hard boil a carton of eggs to keep on hand. These are great as a grab-&-go breakfast or snack, egg salad, or added to greens. If you have an Instant Pot, use it to cook your eggs. 5 minutes to hard cook them, 5 minutes of natural release, and 5 minutes immersed in ice water. Peel all of the eggs immediately and refrigerate in an airtight container. EASY! No Instant Pot? Well, use older eggs and once hard cooked, immerse in an ice water bath for about 30 minutes and peel. I wish you luck with the peeling part…
  • When you grill, make extra. Leftover steak is wonderful sliced thin and gently reheated to make fajitas, tacos or added to greens. Same goes for chicken. This is a great idea for any picnic leftovers as well, as long as they weren’t out in the heat.
  • Sauté instead of roast so you don’t heat up the kitchen. This method of cooking is also much faster. Green beans, peppers, summer squash, broccoli, asparagus, etc. sautéed in extra virgin olive oil (lower heat) or avocado oil if you like to crank up the temperature.
  • Grill vegetables. Grab a piece of foil large enough to wrap your vegetable(s) of choice. Oil the foil and add your cut vegetables, onions, whatever. Season with salt and pepper or Tajin (seasoning with a hint of lime and a kick). Drizzle with more olive oil and add a pat of butter, if desired. Wrap in another layer of foil and toss on the grill. Vegetables are fantastic this way, so make lots!
  • Any type of “burger” is fast, easy and tastes great with those veggies: ground beef, chicken, turkey or pork. Season with your favorites–Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, onion and garlic powder work for me. The Beyond Meat plant-based burger is another tasty and quick alternative. (I’m practicing the art of consuming less animal protein on some days.)
  • Cold salads: mix canned tuna packed in olive oil with a bit of chopped celery, salt, pepper and lemon juice over avocado and greens; pasta (or quinoa) of your choosing tossed with chopped sweet peppers and raw broccoli or even (ick) cauliflower, any of those leftover meats you grilled, and toss with olive oil, lemon juice and seasonings of your choosing. These can be made ahead in the morning, chilled, and no dinnertime cooking is necessary.

Now is the time to find fresh anything at the local farmer’s market and make up a concoction with what you have on hand. Keep in mind that if you don’t know what to do with some food, serve it on a bed of fresh greens, splash with some olive oil and lemon juice, and you’ll probably be just fine.

Relax, enjoy, and remember to drink your water.  

Happy 4th to you,
Carol

P.S. If you’re feeling heavy and burdened and are struggling with creating a happy and healthy you, I’m here to help. A complimentary coaching session is yours for the asking! Email me today and we’ll set up a call.

“Summertime is always the best of what might be.”—Charles Bowden

Atomic Habits

My current summer (now that it’s official!) read is “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. I’m working on improving a few of mine—slowly—one at a time.

A simple one: Do It Now. If a task takes less than 5 minutes, I’ll do it. I find that I spend less energy getting it done. If I think about it, decide to do it later, then I have to think about it AGAIN and still do it. AGH!

Some examples:

  • Loading the dishwasher and washing those few miscellaneous pieces by hand
  • Folding the laundry when the dryer stops (rather than allowing it to sit for hours and get REALLY wrinkled)
  • Making my bed when I first wake up
  • Tossing the junk mail before setting it down

I’m not perfect at my “Do It Now” habit, by any means. However, I’m showing signs of improvement. In the long run, I gain time to do other things.  

The author, James Clear, explains several ways we can go about creating or changing a habit. For example, if you spend too much time on social media, he suggests allowing only a finite amount of time to do so, and only AFTER you accomplish whatever it is you NEED to do.

He says, “In the long run, the quality of our lives often depends on the quality of our habits.”

If we choose to live a life of excellence, we’d better develop excellent habits.

He also talks about creating a new habit by stacking it onto a habit you already have in place. Let’s say you always eat breakfast and you’d like to begin a meditation practice. Immediately after breakfast, meditate for 2 minutes, and build from there.

Motivation, willpower, inspiration, and discipline—these are great, and not always easy to call into the moment. When we don’t know what to do, or life gets challenging, we go into default habit mode. 

If sitting on the couch watching television in the evening is associated with having cookies and milk, then that’s what will happen, unless a new habit is created.

If you’ve had enough of whatever habits you have that are keeping you from the health and life you dream about, let’s get started. Send me an email (it will take less than 5 minutes) and we’ll get to work. 

It’s amazing how shifting one tiny habit can lead you into a completely new and exciting way of life.

Much love,
Carol

“If you show up at the gym five days in a row—even if it’s just for two minutes—you are casting votes for your new identity.  You’re not worried about getting in shape.  You’re focused on becoming the type of person who doesn’t miss workouts.  You’re taking the smallest action that confirms the type of person you want to be.” ~ James Clear, “Atomic Habits”

Ten of My Best Tips

Q. What to blog about when I have too many ideas flying around my brain and I simply am not able to choose?

A. Tips that cover a variety of topics, with the hope that at least one thing will help improve your quality of life.

Tips for Today

  • When you’re not feeling quite right, you think you’re hungry, or you’re bored, review your water intake for the day. It’s a critical check-in point, and it’s easy to work on immediately. Your weight divided by two in ounces is about the right amount. Consider your activity level as you evaluate.
  • Road construction a problem? Too much idle time in your car? Try downloading audio books from the library and listen as you sit, and sit, and sit. You could also use Audible. The library is free. Audible is not.
  • Weight not coming off? Perhaps you are not eating enough. Oh, and when you are eating, are you getting the necessary nutrients to make your body happy from real, whole foods? Be honest.
  • If you enjoy flowers, pick a bouquet from your flower garden or pick one up when you do your grocery shopping. (Guys, would a surprise like this light up someone special?) Any old vases you have collecting dust, drop them by a floral shop. They’ll usually give you a bouquet as a “thank you.” If they don’t offer, ask them and see what happens.
  • When you have a craving, wait 10 minutes and figure out who’s in charge—you or the craving? Are you really hungry, or bored? Is it a time of day that snacking has become a habit? If you must eat, is there a more nutritious option? Go back to Tip #1 and drink water.
  • Muscles aching? Relax in an Epsom salt bath (2 cups in a standard tub for about 20 minutes) or head over to Float Sixty. The magnesium in the salts soothes the soreness, and you’ll probably sleep better. If you’d like to add an essential oil to your bath, add a few drops to the salts, then add the salts under running water.
  • A beautiful new yoga studio opened in St. John, Now Yoga Club, on Wicker in the Lake Central Plaza. I’ve tried it, I like it. Friendly people, classes for every level—even kids! If you enjoy yoga or are new to the idea, this is a great place to explore.
  • Do something today to re-energize. Take a walk, get a massage, spend time in a garden, head to the nearest body of water and sit, phone a friend, read a book, meditate, bake something delicious, mow the lawn—whatever works for you.
  • Be sure you’re getting enough sleep. The ideal for most adults is between 7-8 hours. If you’re cranky, people won’t want to be around you.   
  • When the bunnies eat your tender spinach plants from the garden, buy it from the store or farmer’s market, and keep smiling. Buying local produce as we head into summer is the best—more nutritious, tastier, supports your neighbors.

Stuck with your weight/health/life goals? Wondering why you’ve “hit the wall?” Confused about what to even eat anymore? Call or email me to set up your complimentary coaching session. (There is no obligation for more coaching. One powerful session may give you incredible clarity!)

Wishing all you dads a happy Father’s Day this Sunday!

Much love,
Carol

“By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.”—Charles Wadsworth