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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

Schererville, IN

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September 24, 2020

Pumpkins, Apples, and Pears, Oh My

Welcome to fall and an abundance of pumpkins, apples, and pears. These are just a few favorites that enjoy a big debut this time of year. The Great Pu

September 17, 2020

Creating Space…in Your Refrigerator, Freezer, Life

Lately I’ve noticed that I have the need for more space—physically, mentally, digitally, and when it comes to my schedule. And no, I do not want a

September 10, 2020

Standing in the Doorway of September

We’re standing in the doorway of September. Summer days still linger, yet autumn is inching its way into our lives—and wardrobes. It’s one more

September 3, 2020

Sometimes I Eat My Feelings

Yes, you read that correctly. Sometimes I eat my feelings. How about you? We feel sad, so we eat food that soothes us. We feel like celebrating, so we

September 2, 2020

Carob Brownies

(This recipe first appeared in the August 2020 issue of Get Healthy, a publication of The Northwest Indiana Times.) Ingredients:  1/2 cup all-purpos

September 1, 2020

High-fiber, low-fat legume adds the flavor without the drawbacks of chocolate

(The following article first appeared in the August 2020 issue of Get Healthy, a publication of The Northwest Indiana Times.) Online version Most pe

August 27, 2020

Are You Ready?

Are You Ready? Or are you waiting for the perfect time to…                             …learn a new skill? …write the book? …ea

August 25, 2020

Gluten Free Pie Crust

This recipe yields two 9-inch pie crusts. 2 cups Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Blend (Namaste and King Arthur are brands I’ve used)  1/2 teaspo

August 20, 2020

It’s Tomato Time

As I was caring for my tomato plants, I had the memory of my father teaching me about cutting off the suckers–those shoots that show up between

August 13, 2020

Enjoy a Bit of Sabbath Today

Today, take some time to lighten things up a bit and do something you really enjoy—for about an hour. Warning: this may take some discipline. Monks

Summertime Grilled Potatoes

Scrub your favorite variety of potatoes, or combine Sweet, Idaho, Yukon Gold, whatever you have on hand. Cut in thin slices and place about two layers on a piece of foil you have coated with olive oil. This will make it easier to spoon them out once they’re cooked. (If you have a crowd, it’s better to make a couple smaller packets so they cook evenly.)  

Drizzle the potatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. For variety, try Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, garlic powder, paprika (adds a nice color), and/or rosemary. You can’t mess this up, so have fun experimenting. You could also add sliced onions, zucchini, or peppers. Secure the foil and wrap again for good measure. Grill for about 45 minutes, depending on how hot your grill is, turning halfway through cooking time.

These potatoes are my summer go-to side dish with any grilled meats, poultry or fish.

Celebrating the Summer Solstice

It’s right about now that I always wish I could slow the hands of time. We are one week out from the Summer Solstice, the day of the year that gifts us with the most daylight—about 17 hours. Well, here in the northern hemisphere anyway.

June 21, 2018 at 5:07am central time, it happens. Many consider it to be the first day of summer. Families with young children usually consider the last day of school as such, however I’m going with next Thursday. (Isn’t it okay to wear white as well? Crazy fashion rules.)

I decided to let you know about this now so you can plan a celebration that includes some fun summery foods! YUM!     

As I think about summer and June and long lit evenings, I also think about the various types of fresh produce that show up in delicious abundance. Now is the time when it is easiest to enjoy fresh food at its best and know that you are caring for your body in a very good way.

Summer Solstice Celebration Ideas

  • Go strawberry picking, or at least find some local berries at a farm stand. No offense to California and Florida–nothing beats an Indiana berry in June. Make some strawberry shortcake (yes, from scratch) and top with some CoCoWhip, a frozen coconut milk topping that is dairy-free and delicious.
  • Have dinner outside on the patio or go on a picnic. Instead of fried chicken, pick up a rotisserie chicken from your favorite grocery store. If you like to grill, the options are numerous depending on how adventurous you feel: burgers made from ground beef, turkey or pork; fresh fish (Ask the fish expert at the store for grilling tips. I saw that Whole Foods even has whole fish available, bones removed, ready to cook.); pork tenderloin with a bit of orange marmalade slathered on toward the end of cooking time.
  • Get a whole watermelon, chill it for a day so it’s icy cold, and have fun eating it—outdoors of course. Share it with your neighbors.
  • Enjoy a fruit, cheese and nut tray, adapted to your way of eating. Since my sons are allergic to dairy, my tray would have a variety of goat or sheep cheese, which is much easier to find these days. Grapes, dates, berries, and pear slices with some raw or lightly salted almonds are a nice accompaniment.
  • If an entire meal is too much, a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon with a bit of dark chocolate while enjoying your backyard space may be just right. For those of you who live alone, make a plan to have a friend or two over to celebrate with you.

However you choose to celebrate the beginning of summer, do so with gusto. I still need to make my plans. I may include a dollop or two of ice cream, along with those fresh strawberries.

 “The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers, but for the wide world’s joy.”—Henry Ward Beecher

What I Learned In Knife Class 101

Since I have finally become a responsible adult, I decided I ought to know how to properly use kitchen knives. This being the case, I took a Basic Knife Skills class this week.

I visited Mrs. Dornberg’s Culinary Experience in Highland for this specialty class. After two hours of slicing, dicing, and chopping, I realized I have been doing some things the hard way for my entire cooking life.

THE LESSON: we aren’t born knowing how to do most things, so at some point we need to learn. My knife skills were the ones I learned from my mom, who probably learned from her mom.

The same principles go for cooking, baking, homemaking, parenting, and so on. YouTube, and television don’t allow for hands-on experience and correction.

A few knife tips, just in case you’re curious:

  • The chef’s knife, typically with an 8-inch blade, is used for 90% of our cutting needs. (I rarely used this knife. Oops.)
  • A paring knife is used 10% of the time.
  • The serrated knife is used to slice bread.

These are really the only three knives you need. (Better not tell the Cutco people.)

Sharp knives are a must. Oh, and if you cut yourself, the wound heals quicker than if you had used a dull knife.

As we practiced the proper way to use sharp knives, bad habits emerged. Do you typically scrape your chopped food off the cutting board with the knife? Time to retrain and use a plastic scraper instead.

I have several habits that I need to break in order to be more efficient and make prep time easier. Practice, practice, practice.

Oh, and did you know there are goggles you can get so the onions won’t make you cry? True! 

If you find cooking a challenge, I suggest you check out Mrs. Dornberg’s Culinary Experience. The skills you learn from her make the process much easier—and fun.

If you have some food and fitness habits that could use some work, I’m your girl. Together, we’ll practice better habits so this will be much easier—and fun.

“A sharp knife cuts the quickest and hurts the least.”—Katharine Hepburn

Spring Cleaning for Fitness

It’s the time of year when I feel the need to let go of things in my environment that no longer bring me joy. Relax; I’m keeping Mr. Non-Compliant and the dog.

Over the years, I’ve collected books the way Imelda Marcos collected shoes. (However, I do not have one thousand and sixty books, which is the number of pairs of shoes she claims to have owned.) Many of these books have served me well and are now making their way to the church book sale.

Our environment influences our well-being, habits, and life. Truth: if I have ice cream in my freezer, I’m going to eat it. The same can be said for salad greens, strawberries and avocados.

A Few Environmental Thoughts and Ideas

As a healthy and fit person, what do you choose to have in your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry? Do the other members of your household understand your expectations and support you? How about your friends and co-workers?

Almost everything around you should help you reach your goals. Keep your space positive and productive. (Too many books, shoes or potato chips?)

Could you plant a small garden with herbs and a few favorite vegetables?

Would a comfortable pair of sneakers (they’re not Imelda shoes) get you to spend more time walking the dog—and you?

If snacking is your downfall, are you prepared with snack foods that offer health benefits such as nut butters, hard boiled eggs, hummus, fresh fruits and vegetables?

How well are your daily sleep and relaxation rituals working for you?

Get rid of what hinders you and acquire whatever it is you need to help you.

This week, I challenge you to do a quick scan to determine if there is one thing you could add or eliminate to spring clean. The goal: do a little more, and a little better today.

And please, keep your family–and the dog.

“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” ―John C. Maxwell