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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

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January 21, 2021

Getting Back on Track

Baby size at 29 weeks is a butternut squash. And, like last week’s eggplant, butternut squash is technically a fruit. Since I wouldn’t care to eat

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

Basic French Vinaigrette

Basic French Vinaigrette
Makes about 2/3 Cup

  • ½ Tablespoon finely minced shallot or scallion
  • ½ Tablespoon Dijon-type mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ Tablespoon wine vinegar
  • 1/3 to ½ Cup excellent olive oil or other fine, fresh oil
  • Freshly ground pepper

Either shake all the ingredients together in a screw-topped jar or mix them individually as follows. Stir the shallots or scallions together with the mustard and salt. Whisk in the lemon juice and vinegar, and when well blended start whisking in the oil by droplets to form a smooth emulsion. Beat in freshly ground pepper. Taste by dipping a piece of the salad greens into the sauce and correct seasoning with salt, pepper and/or drops of lemon juice.

Vinaigrette is always at its freshest and best when served promptly, but you can store it in an airtight container and refrigerate for several days. The shallots and fresh lemon juice will eventually go off, spoiling the taste of the dressing.

*Add minced fresh herbs to dressing as desired after all the oil has been added.

A true French salad is simply mixed greens with vinaigrette such as this. It helps to cleanse the palate between courses.

Recipe from Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom, by Julia Child

Go Ahead, Be Fearless

We hear it often enough, those four little words that pack a huge punch: “Do not be afraid.”

Easier said than done.

Thankfully, I’m doing a little better with this concept, which gives me courage–and faith–to be fearless as I face new challenges.

I’m not going to suggest something crazy, like jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. (One of my sons did this, and fortunately survived the stunt.)

Today, I’m giving you a few tips I’ve gleaned (and paraphrased) from Julia Child, to practice in your kitchen. Cooking your meals is healthier than eating out, and it can even be FUN! 

Whether you like to cook or you have some fear around it, you may find solace in taking her advice, especially if those recipes don’t always turn out quite the way you intend. They didn’t always work out for her either.

Julia’s Tips

  1. Simple dishes, well prepared, are important to know how to cook. Save the challenging recipes for those days when you need an adrenalin rush.
  2. Understanding basic techniques will help you with efficiency so you will not be so focused on speed. “Hurry-up” cooking will ruin the dish.
  3. Work ahead of time so that when your guests (or family) arrive, you may calmly complete the meal. You can always store and reheat a dish.
  4. “There is no reason to serve those bloody casseroles all the time. I even hate the name!”
  5. French cooking is simply a matter of theme variations. Once you understand how to brown the beef and slice the onions for Beef Bourguignon, you’ll know how to do so for other recipes as well.
  6. It’s important to watch, smell and taste the food as you prepare it. The senses belong in every well-run kitchen, like good knives.
  7. Use the best, freshest ingredients. When Julia was writing, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” she experimented with canned and frozen products and found them “okay” if that’s what was available.
  8. You may want to learn how to cut professionally with a knife, in case you end up on television.
  9. Since Americans have the annoying habit of not drinking white wine, what are they to cook and make sauces with? Dry vermouth is acceptable, according to Julia.
  10. Supermarket ingredients can be transformed into authentic French dishes, except you must include two essentials: time and love. 

“I think one should get one’s vitamins in salads and raw fruits, and what is cooked should be absolutely delicious and to hell with the vitamins!”—Julia Child

My Friend Julia

In honor of my late friend Julia Child’s Birth Month, I’ve decided to share some interesting facts with you about her life.

I did not know Julia Child personally, although I wish I did. I’ve been reading about her, own several of her books, and still enjoy watching her cook, thanks to reruns.   

Julia was born on August 15, 1912. She was the eldest of three and lived in Pasadena, California. She graduated Smith College in 1934, with a degree in History.

During WWII, Julia joined the Office of Strategic Services (the OSS), and became a research assistant in the Secret Intelligence division. In other words, she was a spy. She was responsible for handling high volumes of top-secret documents.

Here’s the part I think some of you will REALLY find interesting. Julia was not always a great cook! She grew up in a home with a cook, so she didn’t have a clue about cooking until she met her would-be husband Paul, who grew up in a family that was very interested in food.

We learn to cook (or not) because there was someone in the kitchen to teach us. For Julia, that someone was a recipe book.

She was often frustrated because sometimes she would follow a recipe to the letter, and it would turn out great. Another time, it would be a disaster. Can you relate?

I hear from many people that planning, cooking, time, are a few of the challenges that contribute to less than stellar health. They simply don’t know how to begin the process, so nothing changes.

Julia learned proper cooking techniques when she attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. Even with that, she still suffered from occasional disasters in the kitchen.

Fortunately, her husband Paul was a patient man who loved her beyond her messed up recipes.

As she worked on her first cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” which took 7 years to complete, she tried to write the recipes so that any new American bride could cook a French meal successfully—each and every time.

Seven years of what Julia referred to as “practice and passion.”

Practice and passion. Pratique et passion.

Life is a practice.

We’d best be passionate about living it.

Cooking a French dish may not be something you’re passionate about, however I encourage you to consider what you ARE passionate about, and then keep practicing.

If you’re not sure how to begin planning, cooking, finding time to take care of YOU, I’m here to help. We will come up with a plan so that you know what to do first!

Practice and passion. Pratique et passion.

And if you are not a particularly good cook and would like to be, consider yourself in good company with Julia. It’s never too late to learn—and practice.

 “This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!”—Julia Child, My Life in France”

As the Fog Clears

I’ve been in some pretty thick fog in the past. Sometimes over land, sometimes over water, and sometimes, in my brain.

If you’ve ever found yourself in any of the above, it can be somewhat frightful.

In each situation, all I needed was for someone to take my hand and help me find a clearing.

When brain fog hits, I find it tough to focus on one task for very long. I lose sight of my priorities.

My Spotify station is often on the genre of music known as “Focus.” Sometimes I need more. 

Sometimes I need an expert to help me find a clearing.

My coach helps me get through the fog and find clarity.

Clarity. Is. Awesome.

The more I learn, the more I realize that we are all so unique, that there is no cookie cutter way to find clarity, our ideal weight, or our best life.

What works for your best friend may make you crazy—or foggier.

To my point, there are numerous ways to get from Chicago to New York City. The route you choose depends on your specific goals, vehicle and time frame.

Oh, and weather. You may hit patches of fog. Scary.

If you are experiencing fog around getting clarity with your food, health, fitness, and making it happen in YOUR life, I can help.

I take your hand, listen, and lead you to a clearing, in the way that serves you best.

The week of August 6, I’ve set aside some appointment times to listen to your struggles around the fog that is keeping you from reaching your destination.

Click Here for my calendar to book a call with me. I look forward to hearing from you!

As for this week, I’m kicking off my shoes, reading some books (most likely about food), and keeping a close eye on Mr. Non-Compliant. If you don’t hear anything from me in your Inbox next week, you’ll know I got caught up enjoying summer.

“When the fog clears, clarity will follow.”–Trav Bulb