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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

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October 17, 2019

A Story with Heart

When considering our health, so many times we think about starting better habits on Monday, or after a big celebration, or at the beginning of a new y

October 10, 2019

Ever Get Mad at…You?

I recently saw a post from a wonderful lady we’ll call Ann. (This is not her real name, so you can insert any name you prefer to use here. Maybe you

October 2, 2019

Managing Inherited Behaviors

Ice cream is still my favorite food. It has been my favorite food my entire life, as far back as I can recall. I firmly believe that my fondness for i

September 29, 2019

Fresh fruits and veggies, fish, good fats make healthy eating delicious

(The following article first appeared in the February 14, 2018 issue of Get Healthy, a publication of The Northwest Indiana Times. Online version) T

September 26, 2019

Applause for Your Consistency

Today, I acknowledge and applaud you for your commitment to consistency. Whether you consistently make a conscious effort to consume more vegetables f

September 19, 2019

No Time? Quick Meal Ideas

No time. Can you relate? I’ve been feeling the crunch of more scheduled evening events—and I no longer have kids going back to school! As I sat lo

September 12, 2019

The Biggest Nutritional Challenge

When it comes to losing weight and improving nutrition, what is the #1 challenge? Go ahead, take a guess. If your answer is, “I don’t know what I

September 5, 2019

Mr. Non-Compliant Ate Gross Greens

Miracles do happen and life is full of surprises. If your loved one is not keen on eating as healthy as you’d like, keep the faith. I offer you a st

August 28, 2019

The Other 84% of Health

In last week’s blog, I mentioned water intake, slower eating, and increased movement. Did you pick up on the fact that I never suggested WHAT to eat

August 21, 2019

Back to School, Back to Basics

When we break it down, practicing healthy habits is rather elementary. It can also seem rather complicated. Since school is back in session, I figured

Cheers to You

Santa came and he ate the brownies, the cookies, and drank the milk. If you recall, I was planning to use the barely expired Ghirardelli brownie mix to make his treats. They were a hit, with Santa and the family.

We enjoyed our favorite Christmas foods per family tradition: Sauerkraut mushroom soup with dumplings, Shrimp de Jonghe and spinach salad on Christmas Eve. Homemade nutroll Christmas morning, and fresh beef brisket, mashed potatoes, green beans and asparagus later that day. What a treat!

Now, we get back in our usual routine. Time to decrease the sugar intake, downsize the carbohydrate servings and increase the vegetables. Holiday food tends to be a bit rich, even when it is homemade. As holiday festivities come to a close, we are more attentive. Are you with me here?

Moving into the New Year, are you excited? Do you feel as though you would like to make a fresh start? As you reflect on 2017, what went really well for you? Is there anything you’d like to do differently in the coming year?

As I think about those questions, “yes,” is the answer for all of the above. What went really well? That is a loaded question that takes me to a place of much gratitude. I recently heard a thought-provoking question that went something like this: As you consider all that you are grateful for, what if only the things you list are what you will see the next day? Wow! Talk about the need to be quite thorough!

One of the practices I have more recently incorporated into my day is meditation. This practice of grounding yourself into the present moment by focusing on your breath has a multitude of benefits. It does not need to take lots of time and you will feel calmer and more peaceful as it becomes a habit. You can’t mess it up and it’s free!

Thank you for reading my weekly blog posts and incorporating new habits and practices into your life. If you feel stuck in this area, let’s talk. I’d love to help you sort it out. I’m only an email or phone call away. Remember, by changing one thing at a time over time, you create a lifestyle that best suits you!

Wishing you a happy and healthy 2018,
Carol

The Miracle of Christmas

This year, I got most of my baking finished earlier than usual. I’m not sure how that happened, however as of this writing, there is no Christmas tree. Maybe tomorrow. Oh, and I do need to make those Ghirardelli brownies for Santa. You remember, the box I discovered in my pantry a couple weeks ago. It’s calling my name.

I completely enjoy all the Christmas festivities and fun foods that come along for the ride. May you enjoy your favorites, your family and friends, and your way of celebrating this special season.

The Miracle of Christmas

Can you imagine all the miracles
That came from One so small?
A baby born of Mary
In a cold and lowly stall.

Three Wise Men came to worship
The star so brightly shined
Oh holy night so peaceful
Oh Holy One Divine.

What gifts have we to offer
That are worthy of The King?
Our talents and our treasures
In humbleness we bring.

We pray to Him with wonder
Amazed and full of awe
You still believe in miracles
From God, who’s not so small?

His Being has no limits
Our minds can’t understand
The fullness of His glory
Stilled waters with his hand.

So ask God for your miracle
Pray with all your heart
Believe in Love who hears you
Ne’er too late to start.

Now imagine all the miracles
That come from One so small
The baby born of Mary
Not so little after all.

 

Blessings, miracles, and love to you,
Carol

What I Made With The Beans

Less than two weeks out from Christmas, and I have yet to buy any presents. My priority was figuring out how to use those beans.

If you recall from last week’s blog, I had a few unruly items running amuck in my pantry that were barely out of date for best flavor and taste. Two cans of beans–Garbanzos and Great Northern–were on the list.

Should you happen to discover cans of beans hiding somewhere in your kitchen, here are some ideas for you, along with a recipe for Tuscan White Bean Salad. This is a copycat recipe from Houlihan’s that I found on Pub Chain Restaurant Copycat Recipes. If you are looking for a favorite recipe to recreate, this is a good site to check out.

That being said, I changed the copycat recipe to suit my tastes. I encourage you to do the same. Nothing really bad will happen when you stray from the original recipe a little. For example, if you don’t have a red onion, use whatever onion you have, or a few sprinkles of onion powder. The red onion looks pretty and has a little different flavor than other varieties, which is why it works well. Oh, and Mr. Non-Compliant missed out on this dish, which I’m sure will make him very sad.

Other ideas for the beans:

*Add to any soup you make. Extra protein and fiber are a good thing. (It’s a good idea to drain and rinse canned beans to get rid of the excess starch, sodium and any metallic taste that may come from the can.)

*Make hummus by mixing a can of garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed) in a food processor or blender with ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, 1 clove crushed garlic, 1 tsp. ground cumin, ½ tsp. salt. Add a tablespoonful or two of water if needed to make it the right consistency. Blend until smooth. Adjust seasonings to your taste.

*Make white bean and chicken chili for a change from traditional.

*There are LOTS of recipes for beans. I’m stopping with the salad recipe so I can go buy some presents!

Tuscan White Bean Salad

1 can Great Northern or Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 tomatoes, diced
2 cups salad greens
½ red onion, diced
¼ cup feta or goat cheese, crumbled

Place ingredients in a bowl and toss with the dressing.

Balsamic and Olive Oil Dressing

Whisk together:
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/8 tsp. salt
pinch of sugar

Once dressing is blended, add to the salad and lightly toss. Serve with your favorite crackers or toasted, crusty bread. Perfect as a light lunch or dinner.

This simple salad would be a nice addition to a holiday buffet, since it offers some nutritional value, which is often missing from those amazing Christmas cookies!

Pantry Surprises and Crab Cakes

As I was rearranging my pantry the other day, my discoveries made me laugh. It also gave me fun content for another blog.

Earlier this year I cleaned out the pantry. At that time I tossed out an interesting variety of foods that were SO OLD, there wasn’t even a “Best if used by_______” disclaimer stamped on them. YIKES! How could I be so negligent? What in the world am I thinking when I shop?

Always more questions than answers in life.

Back to present day: I decided to take my latest discoveries that were on the verge of the “Best” date and see what I could make. Here’s what I pulled out of my what-I-thought-was-organized pantry:

*A partial box of Prince Jumbo Shells–the kind you stuff with ricotta cheese, and since my boys who are now well into their twenties are allergic to dairy, I quit stuffing them long, long ago. Only God knows how many years those shells were in my house. In the garbage they went with no regrets.

*Several boxes of Organic Chicken Stock—still in date, barely. I buy a case at a time and since it was just summer, I didn’t make much soup. No big embarrassment here.    

*One can of Bush’s Best Garbanzo beans and one can of Great Northern beans. Mr. Non-Compliant is not a bean fan. Once in a while I sneak a can into a recipe that calls for two or three cans. I better practice my sneaky skills, since these are dated October 2017.

*Three cans of Bumble Bee Crabmeat. I recall I was going to make crab cakes and somebody didn’t feel like having those for dinner. Ever. Date: November 2017. Now I have to figure out something with crab and beans.

*Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix. This was about the only mix I’d buy, since it is not full of a thousand ingredients and this particular one was dairy free. Note the word was. The new recipe contains dairy, along with many of their other brownie formulas and chocolate chips, so this box is a collector’s item. Guess what Santa will find on his special Santa treat plate this Christmas Eve?

*A jar of maraschino cherries and a jar of strawberry preserves. I don’t think they ever go bad.

In order to regain my reputation for using food on hand, I got right down to business and made crab cakes. They are easy and tasty. “Somebody” simply didn’t get a choice about what was for dinner that evening. The beans are going to be a surprise another time.

Crab Cakes

3 cans of crabmeat, drained (6 oz. each)
2 Tbsp. bread crumbs or rice cracker crumbs (I made rice cracker
crumbs by finely crushing some crackers I had on hand.)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley or about 2 tsp. dried
1 egg
1 ½ Tbsp. mayonnaise
½ tsp. ground dry mustard
¼ tsp. paprika
Dash of hot pepper sauce or St. Elmo Cocktail Sauce (found this in the fridge and it was perfect!)

Mix together the crabmeat, bread or cracker crumbs, salt, pepper, and parsley. Whisk together the egg, mayonnaise, dry mustard, paprika and hot sauce. Add to the crab mixture and mix well. Make into patties of uniform size. Place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. This keeps them from falling apart so easily since they have a chance to set. Broil for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned, turning halfway through.

Serve on a bed of lettuce or bun. This recipe made 6 patties and two of us ate them all as a dinner with sides. These would make a nice appetizer or light lunch.