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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

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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

It’s the Same Story

“Now that I’m over _______________ (I usually hear the number 50), the weight just won’t come off and my body isn’t cooperating with me.”

I hear this story from clients, friends, workout buddies, acquaintances, men, women–even ME!  

It’s a common topic, right up there with the weather and how fast summer is flying.

Can you relate?

Which brings up the question, “So, how do I feel about myself and my body today?”

It’s tough. You exercise (at least some of the time), eat the best you can, skip the bread basket, and NOTHING MATTERS. I understand. The reality of aging and having less control over life than we care to think about is hard.

The process of acceptance and actually figuring out what steps to take in order to move through this challenge is a journey I’ve been on for a number of years now. We typically try to hang on to that vision of younger self, yet we have to let go. Ouch.

I’ve done my share of kicking and screaming, to no avail. It’s a practice. It’s MY practice. It’s a “practice” because there are no hard and fast rules, no time frames, no perfect way.

Fitness begins with food. Fitness begins with joy. In my recent interview with breakthrough coach Emily Rose, we touched on the importance of finding joy along the way to our fitness and health.

Where do you find your joy?
What’s keeping you from your “practice?”
What needs to shift for you to find your unique path?

Perhaps you need a new hobby or a different job. Perhaps you need to let go of the perfectionism. Perhaps you need to give yourself compassion.

Whatever it is, I’m here to help you figure out what one small (but mighty!) step you need to take to move through this. I know it may seem scary, but…

…you’ve got one amazing life, so let’s practice living it from the most joyful place possible!

 “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”J.R.R. Tolkien

Summertime Ease

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. Here are the tricks: buy your eggs and keep in the fridge at least a week beforehand. Fresh eggs don’t peel as easily. To cook, put them in your pan and cover with cold water, about an inch above the eggs. Bring to a rapid boil, remove from heat and cover. Let sit about 15 minutes then cover them with lots of ice and water. This is the other critical part that helps them peel easily, so keep them iced for about 45 minutes. Peel all of the eggs immediately and refrigerate in an airtight container.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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

Little Things Do Matter

How many times do we think that something doesn’t matter because it’s not spectacular or grand enough? We aren’t able to save the world, so why bother recycling the water bottles?

Whatever it is, it DOES matter. In any arena of life, the little things add up to a grand total.

Think about small acts of kindness, such as smiling at the person you pass on the street, saying “good morning” to the cashier where you buy your cup of coffee—and meaning it, allowing a car into your lane of traffic during rush hour.

Now think about not doing those things. That choice adds up to the way we seize the day, and our attitude.

Little things matter, like if you walk around the block, eat an extra vegetable, skip the diet soda for lunch.

And if you don’t.

We are notorious for taking an “all or none” approach. If we don’t do something perfectly, we may as well not do it at all. Eating and moving in ways that nurture our bodies fall into this category.

“I had two pieces of cake, so I may as well keep eating whatever I want.”

“I haven’t been to the gym for two weeks. I’ll start back next month.”

“It’s the weekend and I’m meeting my friends for pizza. Oh, and there’s the birthday party and barbecue. I’ll eat right on Monday.”

WHAT IF you switch up your thinking so that you can enjoy special times with special foods and friends and not feel as though you’ve blown it?

WHAT IF you could get back on track with your workouts and not look back with regret? 

WHAT IF you don’t have to be perfect—just do a little bit better today?

Just as small acts of kindness add up to a more loving community, eating and moving just a little bit better over time, leads to a stronger, healthier, more fit you.

Never underestimate the power of little things.

“Little things are indeed little, but to be faithful in little things is a great thing.”—Mother Teresa

Mr. Non-Compliant Goes to Costco and a Summer Recipe

My husband (aka Mr. Non-Compliant) and I typically do not grocery shop together. I know that many couples do and I can only imagine what that must be like. For us, it is a near nightmare experience.

Recently, we were in Costco and needed less than ten items. We had fifteen minutes for shopping in order to make it to an event without being tardy.

We agreed; only pick up the items on the list and no reading labels. Deal.

We were off, him driving the buggy and me guiding the way and grabbing the items. I resisted temptation and read not even one label. Ten minutes into it, things were going great, in spite of the sample snack booths, crowds and detours.

Suddenly, as I turned to toss the last item into the cart, he had vanished. UH OH! The “look,” folded arms, and toe tapping got me nowhere. I began the search.

You guessed it. He had found the sample booth with beef jerky (we had missed lunch—bad idea) that was located across the aisle from the pantry size jar of plain M&M’s. As he tossed the nearly four-pound container of candy-coated chocolates into the buggy, I simply found the shortest checkout line.

This is what happens when I turn my back for 15 seconds. At this stage in the game, I choose my battles. The one-pound container of mixed spring greens will hopefully offset all that sugar.

Had it been me a few years ago, I would have chosen the peanut variety. I’ve managed to break that habit and when I need chocolate, it’s a square or two of the 85% cocoa variety. He asks why I do that to myself. We blissfully agree to disagree.

In celebration of today’s Summer Solstice, here is my favorite summer potato recipe in case you missed my Facebook Live on Tuesday. Enjoy today to it’s fullest and have some of your favorite summer foods!

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.