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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

Schererville, IN

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October 29, 2020

It’s Turnip Week

Lots of things change in 30 years. These days, when a woman is pregnant and tracking the weeks, the size of the baby is likened to a piece of produce.

October 15, 2020

Cool Crisp Days and My Craving for Waffles

As we turn the corner into cooler days and nights, my body thinks it needs more carbs. My mind agrees. This is typical for me. Every year when the sea

October 8, 2020

Do You Suffer from Food Trauma?

(The following article first appeared in the October 2018 issue of Get Healthy, a publication of The Northwest Indiana Times.) Online version If you

October 1, 2020

A Little Secret

This may come as quite a shocker. People in the health and fitness industry sometimes fall off the health and fitness wagon. Yep, it happens. Some “

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

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 teaspoon salt
  • 8 Tablespoons butter, well chilled
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 8 to 10 Tablespoons ice cold water

In a large bowl combine the gluten free flour blend and salt. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until crumbly and the particles are the size of small peas. (You could use a box grater to shred the butter into the flour or cut into small pieces, then mix using a pastry blender, fork, or your fingers.) Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the beaten egg. Gently work it in with your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. Be gentle and work quickly to keep the dough as flaky as possible. Overworking your pie dough results in a tough crust.

Add the iced water to the center, one tablespoon at a time, working it in by hand until you have a moist, crumbly dough. The crumbles should stick when squeezed together. Gluten free crust should be made with more liquid than a traditional pie crust, or else it will become very dry.

Shape the dough into a large ball and cut in half. Place each half onto a sheet of parchment paper that has been sprinkled with a bit of gluten free flour blend. Form each half into a smooth disk. Sprinkle with more flour blend and cover with another piece of parchment.

Roll each disc between the parchment paper until it is 2 inches larger than the pie plate. Carefully peel off the top layer of parchment. Pick up the rolled pie crust by the under layer of parchment, center it over the pie plate, and quickly flip it over onto the plate. Carefully pull the bottom layer of parchment off the pie crust. If the crust breaks in a few spots, and it probably will (so don’t panic), pinch the dough back together in those spots.

Note: If you plan to have the dough sitting out in a ball while you are preparing the filling, keep it covered with a lightly dampened paper towel, as it tends to dry out quickly. Gluten free pie dough is fragile, so a little cracking when transferring it to the pie plate is normal.

 

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 the main stalk and a branch. The purpose of removing them is so that they do not suck nutrients from the main plant, thereby giving you larger tomatoes.

One of the sucker branches was loaded with cherry tomatoes. I had to decide whether it should stay or go. Do I forfeit a nice yield for fewer, larger tomatoes?          

I ask the same questions now when it comes to my daily priorities. What shall I spend my limited time and energy on? What “suckers” would I be wise to eliminate? Great life questions…

Back to tomatoes! 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 authored 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. If by some remote chance tomato pie is not your thing, go for the traditional tomato sandwich-tomatoes, mayo, white bread. It too, is a winner.  

 

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.

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

Sending you tomato love,
Carol

 P.S. Join me on Zoom and we’ll make tomato pie together! Thursday, August 27 from 11:00am to 12:30pm. Send me an email to reserve your spot! It’s my summer gift to you.

“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

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 refer to this as practicing Sabbath. (Yes, honoring Sabbath one day a week is on the list as well.)

Practicing Sabbath is one of the secrets to thriving in the monk environment—which we have all sort of been living since the pandemic began. Between working from home, staying away from others except those we live with, and having minimal contact with the outside world, all we need are the brown robes.  

The idea is to do something in your day, everyday, that you really look forward to. It’s the break from the grind that keeps you from breaking.

Taking some time to truly enjoy yourself helps ease tension and stress, which in turn makes you easier to live with.

And by the way, when you’re under stress, hormones get out of kilter and it’s tough to shed excess pounds.

Most people brush off stress like it’s no big deal. It IS a big deal and plays a critical role in your health and well-being. Practice letting it go.

Practice Sabbath daily.

Ideas: watch your dog watch the world go by, take a nap, enjoy a glass of wine, read a magazine, watch a favorite TV show, bake a cake, garden.  

I’m currently reading The Mists of Avalon. It’s the saga of the women behind King Arthur’s throne. I think I’ll spend some time outdoors today and hang out in that magical world for a little while.

What will you do? Hit reply and let me know!

Sending you love,
Carol

“If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work.”― Thich Nhat Hanh

3 Simple Strategies to Maintain Your Happy Weight

Weight loss vs. weight maintenance are very different animals. It’s almost easier to be in the camp of losing pounds rather than maintaining equilibrium.

Almost.

There are 3 simple strategies to help end yo-yo dieting and give you the confidence you need to stay in your happy place.

In order to drop those excess pounds, you had to develop a certain set of habits and skills. You still have them, only they can now be adjusted to suit your lifestyle.  

For instance, you’ve already mastered:

  • An understanding of the foods that work best for your body, avoiding those that don’t align with your goals
  • Ways to incorporate activities you enjoy into your week
  • Consistency in this healthier way of living

You know how rewarding it is to feel this good in your body.

I CONGRATULATE you and ACKNOWLEDGE your work!

With everything from a pandemic to extreme levels of stress to an overabundance of highly addictive foods, hitting your health and fitness goals is a CHALLENGE.

Now that you’ve hit your goal, here are the strategies to help you stay the course.

#1. It’s okay to say ‘YES” to that special treat sometimes. Let’s say you have been avoiding going out for pizza with friends, eating cake at birthday or graduation parties, or enjoying a glass or two of wine with dinner.

Remember my rule of “only eat (or drink) it if it’s AMAZING” and enjoy that special something. When you say “YES” to the treat, be fully present to the occasion and be happy. Do not feel any guilt when you decide to add a bit of festivity to your life!

You may want to journal about how it felt to be a bit “frivolous” and if it was worth it! Completely denying yourself of fun food experiences with friends will send you back into a full-blown eating frenzy that will not end well.

Practice this attitude of moderation and track the results until you are comfortable. If you go overboard, reign in your “YESSES” before you are out of your happy range.

#2. Adjust your Life Dials. During your weight loss program, perhaps you hit the gym for an hour 3x/week and walked 20 minutes most days. Of late, your job got crazy, and you’ve missed a few of those workouts and/or walks. You may notice that your appetite has diminished a bit, so honor that and eat less.

Or if your stress level has increased, you may dial up those workouts in order to enjoy more restful sleep and minimize stress eating.

You may be feeling a bit isolated from family or friends for any number of reasons. Finding a way to restore those connections will help you maintain your desired weight and health goals.

 Health is your body plus the way you live, think, feel, and connect with others. Once you’re in maintenance mode, you are able to be more attentive to EVERYTHING that may influence the number on the scale.  

#3. Connect with your deep reason to stay motivated. It can be rather novel and exciting to begin a health and fitness program. When the appeal wears off, the habits kick in. Once you’ve reached your goal, well…

Time to dig deep. WHY did it initially matter for you to lose weight, improve your lab numbers, feel like a million bucks, and love who you are in your body? WHAT difference does it make in your life and in your relationships? HOW are you affected if you revert back to your old ways?

Ask yourself WHY any of this matters to you. Then ask yourself WHY that reason matters. Ask WHY, 5 layers deep. Get to the HEART of the matter and use that as your driving force to stay motivated.

Your meaning and purpose can replace weight loss and become your exciting goal—for life.

Trust yourself to be flexible and make the necessary corrections when necessary. You’ve got this!

Much love,
Carol

“What’s wrong with extreme dieting and hard-core fitness plans is that they don’t take into account the rest of your life.”— Alison Sweeney