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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

1020 Woodhollow Drive, Schererville, IN

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April 19, 2019

Frittata in a Mug

Serves 1 ½ cup packed fresh baby spinach leaves 2 Tablespoons water 2 large eggs 2 Tablespoons cottage cheese ¼ cup grated cheese 4 grape or cherry

April 18, 2019

Celebrate New Life

About two decades or so ago, a construction worker appeared at my pharmacy consultation window looking for advice. He needed help falling asleep, and

April 11, 2019

Good Snacks

As I mentioned last week, I had to put together some serious snacks to get me through a busy weekend. I was highly successful! Here’s what I packed

April 4, 2019

Cauliflower, Commitment, and Courage

As many of you know, I am not a cauliflower fan, even though I’m fond of most other vegetables. I’ve been challenged by lots of you on various wa

March 28, 2019

What Lights You Up?

In the course of your day, what makes you happy, brings up your energy, and makes you feel truly alive? What lights you up? Did a number of things com

March 21, 2019

To Instant Pot…or Not

I recently took the plunge and bought The Instant Pot. I’m not what I would consider a gadget junkie, however when I learned the ease with which I c

March 7, 2019

The Power of Food

Is there a particular food(s) that has power over you? For some people, if there is a bag of chips, cookies, chocolate—you get the idea—in the hou

February 28, 2019

What Are You Grateful For?

I walked past a couple people recently and overheard a comment that went something like this: “There’s got to be more to life than getting old and

February 21, 2019

What Are You Committed To?

Commitment: the trait of sincere and steadfast fixity of purpose. Today, I’d like you to consider what you are committed to that is all about you.

Michigan Peaches and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Delightful summer days and lots of kids are back in school. When I heard from one of my favorite moms that she sent her daughters to school the first day and forgot to send their lunches along–oops– the memories of car pooling, parent-teacher conferences and peanut butter sandwiches reminded me of how life used to be– and how quickly time passes.

To you moms out there with some newfound freedom, do something special at least once a week that is a treat for YOU! It may even be a much-needed, well-deserved afternoon nap.

Today, I am feeling immense gratitude for Michigan peaches. This is their time to steal the show and they have won the Grand Champion ribbon. They are so juicy and sweet, you need 3 napkins to wipe your face after eating one. If you haven’t yet enjoyed your seasonal peach, find a market today and indulge. Peach season, like life, is short.

In honor of back to school and nostalgia, I baked our favorite chocolate chip cookies. My husband, fondly referred to as Mr. Non-Compliant, is pleased. He has been asking for his Newman-O’s (like Oreos only “healthier”—they’re organic) daily and I have neglected to buy more. One package lasts him about 4 days and I’ve been busy eating peaches.

It’s not only back to school for the kids. I have something special for you adults who are interested in learning something new. Introducing “Carol’s Kitchen Coaching 101.” September’s topic is “Fun with Vegetables.” This is small group coaching that takes place in my kitchen. The coaching session will last approximately 3 hours and is limited to 8 people.

My plan is to coach on a variety of topics in the coming months. For details and to sign up, click here Carol’s Kitchen Coaching Event

Best wishes for a fantastic school year. And remember, when you eat the cookie, make sure it’s amazing!

“Sometimes me think, ‘What is friend?’ and then me say, ‘Friend is someone to share the last cookie with.’” —Cookie Monster

Tomato Pie

Now is the time to make tomato pie. I am of the opinion that homegrown tomatoes are a slice of heaven, here and now. If you’ve never experienced tomato pie with homegrown tomatoes, you have not yet fully lived.

I first learned about tomato pie from Laurie Colwin. Laurie was a novelist and short story writer who wrote some great books about food. I love to read books about food, so she became my buddy and mentor, even though I never had the pleasure of meeting her.

For those of you who have dietary restrictions, you may alter this recipe in any way that suits you, with one exception—you must include tomatoes. I made it with a gluten-free crust and it was delicious. I have even made it with…canned tomatoes, when one very cold winter, I was in desperate need of a summer fix. Making (and eating) this brings me great joy, along with an abundance of happy memories.

I am sharing Laurie’s recipe so that you may experience a bit more of summer abundance– and a slice of heaven.

TOMATO PIE

The pie has a double biscuit-dough crust, made by blending:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • Approximately 3/4 cup milk

Blend by hand or food processor. I like to use a pastry blender, since I once over- processed my pie dough and had to start over. Roll out half the dough on a floured surface and line a 9-inch pie plate with it.  

Pie ingredients:

  • 2 pounds peeled fresh tomatoes or 2×28-ounce cans plum tomatoes, drained
  • Basil, chives, or scallions, depending on availability and your mood
  • 1 and ½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Slice the tomatoes thin and lay the slices over the crust. Scatter them with your chosen seasoning and sprinkle one cup of the cheese on top of the tomatoes. Over this, drizzle the mayonnaise that has been thinned with the lemon juice. Top this with the rest of the grated cheese. Roll out the remaining dough, fit it over the filling, and pinch the edges of the dough together to seal them. Cut several steam vents in the top crust and bake the pie at 400 degrees F. for about 25 minutes, or until bubbly and the crust is golden. The secret of this pie is to reheat it before serving, which among other things ensures that the cheese is soft and gooey. It can be made early in the morning, then reheated in the evening at 350 degrees F. until hot.

Taken from  More Home Cooking: A Writer Returns to the Kitchen.  

“It is hard to describe how delicious this is, especially on a hot day with a glass of magnificent iced tea in a beautiful setting, but it would doubtless be just as scrumptious on a cold day in your warm kitchen with a cup of coffee.” – Laurie Colwin

Basil Turkey Burgers

Here’s a quick and easy meal that’s big on flavor. Pan fried in the kitchen or grilled outdoors, they’re delicious! The addition of olive oil keeps them from being dry. For those of you who don’t eat dairy and like a little “kick,” add a bit of cayenne pepper.

1 pound ground turkey (93% lean)
3 or 4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1-2 Tablespoonfuls extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoonful (or to taste) Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
Strong cheese, such as Romano, Swiss or BellaVitano Merlot (optional)

In a small bowl, combine ground turkey, chopped basil leaves (cutting with kitchen shears works well, too), extra virgin olive oil, and Lawry’s Seasoned Salt. Make into 3 patties. Grill or pan fry until brown and cooked through. Testing with a meat thermometer is a sure way of knowing when they are done. Add a bit of cheese at the end of cooking time.

Serve with sliced Vidalia onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and your favorite condiments.

A note about cheese: for those of you who tolerate dairy products, a small bit of very flavorful cheese compliments the mild flavor of the turkey beautifully. I like BellaVitano Merlot, a Cheddar-Parmesan inspired cheese immersed in Merlot wine for extra tang. It is sold by weight and I have found it in Costco and other local grocery stores that sell fine cheeses. By using a cheese with a more robust flavor, you need less. Of course, goat cheese is another option.

“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces — just good food from fresh ingredients.” – Julia Child

Before You Eat That…

Today, August 3rd, is National Watermelon Day. I wish you a very happy Watermelon Day and suggest you have yourself a slice and celebrate! How to choose a ripe one? The watermelon should feel heavy for its size, which means it contains lots of water and is nice and ripe. Choose one of average size that is more round than long. (The round ones are “girl” melons and are sweeter, of course!) The color should be deep green, dull instead of shiny, and its tail should be dry. It should also have a creamy yellow patch where it sat on the ground.  The more creamy yellow the patch, the better. Enjoy this AMAZING fruit!

Now down to some other business. Food vs. You. It feels like a war within sometimes, right? I mean, you think about the cookie and how you love the texture, sweetness, and crunch. That cookie or ______  (fill in the blank here with whatever food you like) would really hit the spot right now. Go for it!

But Wait! Before you eat that…

Are you hungry? Did you finish a delicious meal and now have a taste for a sweet treat to finish it off? Is it that time of day when you need some energy and the cookie seems like a good idea? Or, are you lonely, sad, bored, stressed, upset, happy– or any one (or more) of a seemingly endless list of emotions? 

Good grief! It’s one cookie! Is it that big of a deal?

NO.

The big deal happens when we notice a habit that is not in the best interest of us being our healthy, happy selves. 

For example, I’ll pick on me and a few of my former “not-so-good” habits. For years I thought I had to have a big bowl of ice cream every night. I thought I always had to have chips and a sandwich for lunch. Breakfast was usually cold cereal, milk and sometimes toast.

I have since realized that the ice cream every night was a comfort food for me that goes back to when I was a little girl. My parents and I would enjoy lots of it in the evenings, often enough that it became a comfort habit—one that got me through the tumultuous high school years and beyond. Oh yes, LOTS of emotional stuff then. Going to the carton of ice cream was my “go to.” AGH! Well, Linus always had his security blanket. Now, I am happy to say, I have cut my ice cream consumption back to once or twice per week, and eating it is not emotionally driven. Perfection would mean totally eliminating it from my life. I am not there. However, I know that sugar loading before bed is not good for maintaining steady blood sugar levels through the night. I am making good progress.

The chips and sandwich routine stemmed from my grade school days when I took my lunch in my turquoise Mary Poppins lunchbox. My favorite fare at the time: hard salami on white Wonder bread, yellow mustard, a sweet banana pepper, and Fritos on the side. Not much nutritional redemption there. I now practice eating more veggies in the form of salad greens for lunch and have pretty much ditched the Fritos and chips. No, I don’t have the lunchbox anymore.

My carbohydrate heavy, low protein breakfast–simply another acquired habit from growing up with parents who switched from bacon and eggs to cereal and toast for better health. Interesting how things come full circle. Back to eggs with sautéed veggies–bacon on occasion.

It is important to eat protein with each meal, along with plenty of vegetables and fruits. It is also important to minimize sugars and refined carbohydrates. There are so many other “food rules” that it is certainly hard to keep track! Progression, not perfection.

I digress.

The point of all this is to look at WHY you are choosing to eat something that may not be in your best interest of health, and ask, “Am I hungry?” If not, consider having a glass of water or herbal tea or finding some other distraction so you stop focusing on the cookie (or chips, ice cream, M&M’s). Getting some type of exercise is a great alternative to going to the kitchen. Our bodies need to move!

I encourage you to think about why you eat some of the things you do. And you know I’m not talking about the occasional treat or crazy meal. It is the day-in and day-out stuff that gets us. Perhaps it is time to make a change in one of your lifelong habits and see what a big difference in can make!

Conscious awareness is an important first step in taking charge of your life. Go for it!

“Watch your habits, not your weight.”