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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

Schererville, IN

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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

7 Tips to Simplify Mealtime

One of the biggest issues families face today is mealtime—together. Lots of schedules, directions, agendas, and taste preferences. The idea of gathering for a home-cooked meal may even seem hopeless, which then leads to more eating out.

Eating in is typically healthier, more economical and often tastier than the alternative. Here are some ideas to make meals at home a bit simpler. Even if you aren’t all together at the same time, most of these are fine as a late plate.

  • When you have the opportunity to make meatloaf, casserole, soup, stew, anything, make extra for another meal. The leftovers can be frozen for another crazy day or eaten the next day or so for lunches and snacks. By doing this, you save time, energy, and aggravation—AND, you won’t dirty as many dishes to reheat the leftovers.
  • Check out the specials in the meat department. I recently picked up some pork chops that were seasoned with panko breadcrumbs, sundried tomatoes and other seasonings. They were reduced to unload them that day. I cooked rice and tossed a salad together with greens, tomatoes and other veggies, whiled the chops were on the grill. We had a tasty meal for very little money and effort in about half an hour. Sweet!
  • Remember those tasty rotisserie chickens that just about every grocery store carries these days. I found myself in a quandary about dinner this past week and needed to stop at the store to pick up chocolate milk for hubby. (It’s his special treat.) We hadn’t eaten dinner, it was getting late, I didn’t care to eat out and we were hungry—on the verge of hangry. (Combo of hungry and angry which can also be referred to as fussy.) I snatched up one of those chickens and it was perfect. You could add it to a salad, make a wrap, or add some vegetables for a complete meal.
  • Any type of burger—veggie burger, hamburger, pork burger, chicken burger, turkey burger—cooks very fast and makes a great lunch the next day.
  • Eggs cooked to your liking, along with sautéed vegetables are good anytime of day. When you are shopping, pick up the vegetables that are on special that week and be sure to get a variety of colors. Chop them up in similar size pieces and sauté in olive oil. This is quicker than roasting and more flavorful than steamed. I like a combo of potatoes (sweet and golden Yukon), mulit- colored sweet peppers, onions, Brussels sprouts, carrots.
  • If your family eats fish, this cooks quicker than just about anything. It is one of those foods that I don’t make extra of, since it’s not that great leftover. The exception is salmon, which is good cold or a bit warmed on greens.
  • Pasta is quick, easy, and most people like it. For those of you who avoid gluten, you might try quinoa pasta or brown rice pasta. (There are bean pastas, and those are not my favorite.) Add a sauce you enjoy and browned ground meat or poultry. Or, add the sautéed vegetables and skip the sauce. Pictured is last night’s meal. I used chicken sausage that I added along with the veggies. Again, this took less than 30 minutes and was delicious!

Keep in mind that the meal doesn’t have to be perfect to provide good nutrition and bring your family together. Celebrate any success you have in getting your family around the table, even if it’s for hot dogsorganic, of course!

“Research shows that the most important thing a child can do to assure long-term well being is eat meals with his or her family. The more meals together, the better!” –Dr. Bill Doherty, Director of the Marriage and Family Therapy program, University of Minnesota

To Donut…or Not

This morning’s newspaper contained a FOOD section. No surprise, it is my favorite section of the paper. Today, Mr. Non-Compliant husband of mine took great delight in handing it over, saying, “Oh, you’ll want to be sure to read this!”

The main article was all about Northwest Indiana’s best-selling donuts. Now, my rule of “only eat it if it’s amazing” applies to donuts as it does any “non-compliant” food. I enjoy an amazing donut as much as anyone. At this point in my life, however, eating donuts in excess are not in my best interest. I could have gotten away with it back in high school when I was on the swim team. Long gone are those days. Bye-bye now.  

Here is a “treat” that will add a bit of spice to your fall mornings. These Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes help fill the craving for comfort food, without added sugar and gluten. The almond butter and eggs in them provide protein to start off your day. Pumpkin may be classified as a fruit or a vegetable, depending on whether you ask a botanist or culinary expert. Whatever you choose to call it, pumpkin offers vitamin A, fiber and a number of other vitamins and minerals.

I sometimes give a spoonful of canned pumpkin to my Sophie dog. She loves it and it aids with proper digestion.

These pancakes are not limited to breakfast. They make a tasty snack, even cold. I make a batch and they keep for several days in the fridge.

Oh, and for the record, my favorite donut when I choose to indulge is the cake variety with chocolate frosting. YUM! Happy pancaking.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes

2 eggs
2 Tablespoons almond butter                                  
2 Tablespoons canned pumpkin
1⁄2-1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla
1⁄2 -1 teaspoon stevia
Sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)

Whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Drop by tablespoonful into a preheated skillet with a bit of coconut oil melted in it to prevent sticking. Cook on each side until nicely brown.

Serve with fresh fruit and/or eggs. You could also use the pancakes in place of bread or English muffins to make an egg sandwich.

(Any type of berry may be added for variety. If you are in the mood for a special treat, add a few chocolate chips!)

Freeze leftover pumpkin in pre-measured amounts in baggies and you are all set for for the next batch– or you could toss into your protein smoothie.

“Waffles are just pancakes with abs.”

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes

2 eggs
2 Tablespoons almond butter
2 Tablespoons canned pumpkin
1⁄2-1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla
1⁄2 -1 teaspoon stevia
Sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)                                                                    

Whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Drop by tablespoonful into a preheated skillet with a bit of coconut oil melted in it to prevent sticking. Cook on each side until nicely brown.

Serve with fresh fruit and/or eggs. You could also use the pancakes in place of bread or English muffins to make an egg sandwich.

(Any type of berry may be added for variety. If you are in the mood for a special treat, add a few chocolate chips!)

Freeze leftover pumpkin in pre-measured amounts in baggies and you are all set for for the next batch– or you could toss into your protein smoothie.

How a Dancer Found Her “Happy Place”

Today, I have a story that will hopefully change your mindset if you are one of those people who thinks it is SO HARD to live in a healthy manner and still enjoy your life. You CAN do this, without eating a diet consisting of rice cakes and berries and living at your local gym.

Meet Carol. No, this is not about me. Carol has been slowly incorporating small changes in her life for about a year. She has found her “happy place” with food and fitness and loves to share her tips with co-workers and friends. Even her non-compliant husband has made some changes! There are apparently more couples that are split on this issue than I thought.

Carol’s BIG WHY: She wanted to keep dancing. She has taken ballet for years and it was getting tough. Her weight and energy were not ideal. She knew that if she didn’t do something different, she’d have to hang up her ballet shoes permanently. Sad, and motivating. Lesson: You need a BIG WHY to take a stand for your health. What is yours?

She began by implementing protein shakes for breakfast, Monday through Friday. Lesson: Start your day with some form of protein.

The snack monster shows up at her desk around 10AM and 3PM. The Skittles were eventually dumped for apples or other fruit. When she needs a chocolate fix, she has a homemade protein bar or a glass of chocolate almond milk with peanut butter powder added. Lesson: Be prepared for those times when you need energy.

She had a fierce Mountain Dew addiction that kept her sipping throughout the day to the tune of three 2-liter bottles per week. YIKES! She is now down to one bottle per week and drinks water. Lesson: Switching out your sugary drinks for water is significant, and a great first step.

Her lunches are chicken (she cooks in the crock pot for the week), and a salad. Dinners are some protein done on the grill, a vegetable and maybe potato or some other starch. Lesson: You don’t have to be a great chef or spend tons of time in the kitchen to eat well.  

Her fitness routine: Ballet fit, which is similar to Pilates, belly dancing, walking her dog and Zumba. Her fitbit typically reads between 10,000 and 20,000 steps per day. She suggests you get one because it is addictive! (Better than the Mountain Dew.) Lesson: You do not need to join a gym or do activities you hate to be fit. DO WHAT YOU LOVE!

The best part: Twice a month she eats fast food because she really enjoys it. Taco Bell and McDonald’s are her “fast food go-to spots.” Sometimes she eats pizza with her family and has a cookie. She doesn’t eat the whole pizza or a handful of cookies, and she does not feel deprived. Lesson: It’s about the balance.  

Measurable statistics: She has gone from 155 pounds to 136 pounds, lost 2 inches around her mid-section and lost weight in her thighs. She has maintained this for months. If she “cheats” a bit too much, it is easy for her to get back on track and return to her “happy place.”

Thank you, Carol, for allowing me to share your journey. I loved it when you told me you could wear a smaller belly dancing costume. Smile. May your story be an inspiration to others.

“Practice ONE new habit at a time until it becomes your way of life, a life that is filled with abundance… and your favorite dancing shoes.” — Carol Slager