1-219-765-8600

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

My Hot Dog Confession and Easy Grilled Vegetables

It was Friday afternoon and someone (my dear husband, “Mr. Non-Compliant”) got hungry and wanted a hot dog. We were about to get on a highway with bumper-to-bumper traffic and Madvek’s Dog House was nearby, so we caved. Yes, I caved. I ate a Chicago style hot dog. Check it out. It was covered with lots of vegetables and CELERY salt. I truly enjoyed it–AMAZING. Once in a while… However, for the record, I DID NOT EAT THE FRIES. Now, moving on to a more redemptive topic: Grilled Vegetables.

One of the best things about summer is the grill. Less cleanup for me, since my dear husband is also a Grill Master. It’s easier to feed a crowd and enjoy entertaining when the cooking is done outdoors.

Here’s an idea for grilling vegetables:

Cut an assortment of fresh vegetables such as yellow zucchini, red bell peppers, Vidalia onions, green beans–whatever you like best or have on hand—into fairly equal pieces. Don’t be concerned about making too many because leftovers are perfect for a snack or with your morning eggs.

Take a large piece of foil and pour a couple tablespoonfuls of olive oil on it to coat. Add the chopped vegetables. Season with Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, garlic powder, onion powder or simply salt and pepper. Drizzle with another couple tablespoonfuls of olive oil and seal the foil. Double wrap with another piece of foil. This ensures that you don’t loose your contents. Keep in mind that the more vegetables you have in a packet, the longer the cooking time. I often make two packets and make the packet more flat than round, so the vegetables cook evenly.

Place on the grill and turn halfway through cooking. As far as timing, if your heat is at 300 degrees, 30 to 35 minutes is a good range. Of course, this is only a suggestion to gauge from, since it depends on how you like them cooked and how direct your heat is.

Potatoes are great like this too. Slice them thin or cube them and follow the same instructions. These take about an hour to cook and they are really tasty when some of them get crispy. I like to mix sweet potatoes with the Yukon Gold variety. This works well when there are people who aren’t as fond of the sweet potatoes. Yep, you guessed it–Mr. Non-Compliant.

With such an abundance of summer vegetables to choose from, you can mix, match and try new combinations, which adds great variety to your meals. Happy grilling!

“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” –Ann Wigmore

It’s Berry Time

Indiana plus June equals strawberries. ‘Tis the season to enjoy the best of the best.

When my boys were little, we would make the trip to Johnson’s Farm in Hobart on Ridge Road and ride the school bus out to the fields to pick the tastiest strawberries. I still remember the dust that would float through the open bus windows and settle over the old green seats. One of our favorite things, besides eating as many as we could while we were busy finding the most perfect ones, was to put our faces down into the buckets as we filled them, and simply inhale. The aroma was so intoxicating that it made us giggle aloud!

Another equation for strawberry picking goes like this: Two little boys + plants low to the ground + intense sun as it approaches noon + heat = COMPLAINING. Fun memories, and I recommend giving it a try. Hint: Go early in the day.

Whether you are into picking your own or paying a bit more for someone else to do the labor, local strawberries are typically available through June. Berries of all kind are a great fruit to enjoy–low glycemic index (so it will not cause a spike in your blood sugar) and lots of antioxidants. How about it—they are delicious AND healthy!

Ideas for AMAZING ways to eat them, besides straight up: (it’s all about the balance!)

  • Homemade shortcake, muffins, pancakes or bread
  • Sprinkled with regular, chocolate, or other flavored balsamic vinegar
  • Topped with CoCoWhip (a whipped coconut oil instead of Cool Whip)
  • Pie (plain strawberry or with rhubarb)
  • Jelly or jam, which is what I used to make back in our picking days
  • Mixed with Greek yogurt
  • Protein smoothies
  • In oatmeal
  • With chocolate coconut mousse

I’m sure there are many more, but at least this will get you started. Of course, if you are trying to cut back on gluten, carbs, sugar, etc., then plain is perfect. When they are this fresh, “just the strawberries, please” is perfect.

I have six plants in my garden; however, they are not quite producing a bumper crop. Here’s the good news:  Johnson’s Farm in Hobart still lets you pick your own if you wish. It is a good idea to call before you go to make sure they have plenty of berries available. Picking the berries could be your exercise for the day. Oh, and remember to wear your sunscreen and drink plenty of water.

Enjoy~

“Strawberry Fields is anywhere you want to go.” –John Lennon

Got Joy? Share Joy

Are you feeling joyful today? If you are, why? Is there a way you can share it?

These are loaded questions, so let’s explore some thoughts on the topic.

I know people who are grandparents. When I ask them anything about their grandchildren, their faces light up like a sky of fireworks on the fourth of July. They beam with joy.

When I listen to the symphony, as the conductor and musicians are playing the composition, they exude a joy I can see, hear and feel.

If you’ve ever watched a chef prepare a dish, whether in person or on television, he or she exudes joy while creating the beautiful, delicious meal. Then, when that first bite is taken that we have no way of sharing…WOW! I want that!

Now I’m going to push the envelope: is there some part of living in a healthy way that brings you joy?

  • Maybe you love going to the gym, and your friends there are fun. Joy.
  • You thought you hated eggplant, until you stumbled upon a recipe that was simple and intriguing, so you tried it AND liked it. Joy.
  • When you go out to eat and you remember your rule about taking home a box with some of your AMAZING meal so you have leftovers for lunch the next day…Joy.
  • Gardening is a nice hobby that keeps you moving and agile. The flowers and vegetables are a great benefit. Joy.

Now, how can you take a slice of your fitness joy and share it with a friend, spouse or colleague that may be stuck? Perhaps they are having some life challenges and feeling bad—bad about their life, their lack of motivation, and their absence of JOY.

Ideas:

  • Try a new recipe and have them over to dine with you.
  • Share your most motivating workout song with them.
  • Call them and make a plan to do some activity together—golf, walk, tennis, coffee. (Sometimes you have to start really small.)
  • Go to a “new” restaurant and find the two healthiest items on the menu and split them. Remember your rule about the box going home.
  • Check out one of the farmer’s markets and buy a vegetable that scares you—just a little. Find a recipe and make it together.
  • Start a dinner club that eats together once a month and try “healthy” recipes from various countries. We used to do this years ago and took turns hosting. We ate well and it was really FUN!

So today, zero in on your joy and then think of a way to share it. Even if it seemingly has nothing to do with fitness, you will help somebody feel better.

Whatever you come up with, the world will shine a bit brighter because of it!

“To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.” –Mark Twain

Fruits and Vegetables Made Easy

‘Tis the season of Farmer’s Markets and an abundance of fruits and vegetables grown locally. Well, almost. In winter, it can be such a challenge to find a tasty tomato or strawberry.

June is the month in Indiana for homegrown strawberries. July is for blueberries and corn on the cob, and August is the month of peaches. I realize corn on the cob does not really count as a vegetable, however it is a wonderful vehicle for butter and salt. When it’s amazing, and we live in the heartland, we enjoy it.

Here is a real eye-opener: Eating at least 10 servings of vegetables and fruits each day may help lower your blood cholesterol. There are numerous substances in food that have cholesterol-lowering properties. Many are found in vegetables and fruits. Mother knows best, again. Now I know why she made me eat those stinkin’ green beans! (I like them now.)

Of course, there are many other reasons to increase your intake of vegetables and fruits. Among them:

  • They are alkaline producing, which can help to preserve bone mass and muscle tissue.
  • They are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients.
  • They contain lots of water to help you stay hydrated.
  • Because fruits and vegetables have a high water and fiber content, they’re low in calories relative to their volume. Consuming them on a regular basis can result in a higher volume of food intake. A high consumption of low calorie density foods can help to control overall food intake and manage body weight. In other words, when you fill up on fruits and vegetables instead of other foods, it can help you lose weight. Sweet!

If your goal is to reduce body fat, the ratio of vegetables to fruits should be 5:1. To maintain your current numbers, the ratio is 3:1.

I will admit, 10 servings of these wonderful foods do not quite make it on a daily basis with our family. We can do better, so we practice. I enjoy growing a few vegetables among all the weeds, especially tomatoes. Give it a try, even if you only have room for a couple pots on a patio. (Less to weed then!)

Another thing I like to do is bring home a “new” vegetable and then figure out a tasty way to prepare it. I challenge you to do the same. If you get stuck, shoot me an email and we’ll figure it out together.

The more colors and variety, the better. Have fun with this. Buying local produce helps support those who live in or near your community, is fresher than produce coming from another country, and has a higher nutrient content. What’s not to like?

For those of us who live in Indiana, the arrival of Farmer’s Markets is simply another reason to be glad it’s spring!

“Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.” – Doug Larson