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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

It’s Not Just About the Food

When it comes to being a picture of health, it’s not just about the food. Granted, that’s mostly what I write about and I often say, “You can’t out-train a bad diet.” And yes, you still need to eat your vegetables! 

Today, however, I’d like you to think about some other factors that will lead you to better health–body, mind and soul.   

Ten Things to Consider Besides the Food:

  1. Are you getting plenty of sleep? Seven to nine hours seems to be the ideal amount for most people. Sleep plays an important role in metabolism, immunity, mood, focus and of course, energy.
  2. When you go for the food, are you truly hungry? If you eat for other reasons besides hunger, note what those reasons are and see if you can make an adjustment.
  3. Do you get proper exercise? Or, are you getting any exercise? We are made to move.
  4. Breathing is extremely important. Do you take a bit of time each day to focus on your breath, slowing it down and deepening it so you even move your belly? (Also known as belly breathing, as opposed to shallow breathing.)
  5. Expressing gratitude to your Creator, God, the Universe—a higher power that’s bigger than you. Prayer, meditation, and living in the present moment are good practices.
  6. Proper hydration can be a challenge for most people. Drinking plenty of water alleviates a multitude of crummy symptoms and keeps your body in proper working order.
  7. When you eat, are you distracted? Focus on the fresh flavors of your food and eat slowly. Stop before you are 100% full. Practice eating to only 80% full and see how that works for you.
  8. Being around positive people is awesome! If you find yourself in the midst of negativity, see if you can help raise the energy a notch or two with your loving kindness.
  9. Spend time relaxing with family and friends. If you have a pet, hang out with said pet and enjoy the companionship.
  10. Seek work, service, or a hobby you are passionate about and do it. We all need to feel purposeful in our days.

This is a pretty full list. See if there is one thing you can do just a little bit better today. You don’t need to do everything perfectly. Practice whatever “tugs” at you and feel a sense of accomplishment. 

During Carol’s Kitchen Coaching 101 on September 14 from 6-9pm, some of the above topics are sure to come up while I’m teaching about vegetables. I’ll address questions like: How do you have time to make, let alone eat the vegetables, when you are on the go from 7am until 9pm? How can I be positive when I can’t stand my work? I’ve never met a vegetable I like so what do I do with THAT?

My coaching practice focuses on food AND the stuff that goes with it. If you’d like to experience small group coaching in my kitchen, click HERE here to sign up today! (I’m offering a discounted rate for early sign-ups through September 7.)

3-Ingredient Brownies

3-INGREDIENT BROWNIES (Paleo, vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free)

3 medium, overripe bananas (approximately 1 cup or so)
1/2 cup smooth almond butter (or any smooth nut butter)
2 T – 1/4 cup cocoa or cacao powder (more = richer taste)
You may like to add a small amount of coconut oil to make these a bit moister.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a small cake pan or loaf pan and set aside.

In a small glass bowl (for microwave) or in a pan (for stovetop) melt your nut butter. In a large mixing bowl, add the banana, nut butter and cocoa powder and mix very well. If you prefer a smoother texture to your brownies, use a mixer or blender.

Pour the mixture into the greased pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before slicing into pieces.

These are best refrigerated–or frozen, my favorite–and they keep longer too. They may spoil rather quickly if kept at room temperature.

Two Steps Forward

The title of today’s blog is also the title of a book I finished reading last month. Two Steps Forward, is the second book in 3-book series by Sharon Garlough Brown. The stories revolve around the very different lives of four women as they are drawn into a spiritual formation journey at a retreat center. They all hit various roadblocks along the way and form the Sensible Shoes Club. To find out more, you’ll have to read the books.

So, of course, I am relating this to another aspect of life: food. Since our spiritual souls live in physical bodies, food is A REALLY BIG DEAL. As much as we may try (in vain, I might add) to not think about it, life is much about food.

Friends get together for breakfast, lunch, and meet up for dinner. I wonder how many business lunches happen across the country on any given day. If you’ve ever seen an episode of Seinfeld, Jerry and his pals were always meeting at Tom’s Restaurant. Friends cast found themselves at Central Perk. Jesus frequently ate with tax collectors and other colorful characters.

Life and food are inseparable; which is why I often say, “It’s all about the food.” Translation: “This is life.”

When we are practicing making better choices, the task of eating healthy may seem a bit daunting. We have every good intention of consuming LOTS of vegetables, minimizing sugar and red meat, getting to the gym. Then, life happens and we are involved in a food frenzy that seems to take us off course. When your friends suggest meeting for pizza on Friday night, your family celebrates the September birthdays on Saturday, and you have an anniversary brunch on Sunday at 11:00AM, well, two steps forward, one step back. Life, food, life.

What to do? Take it in stride by practicing the 80 (healthy foods)/20 (not ideal foods) rule. Remember portion control, adequate water intake, scheduled workout routines, and my favorite: only eat it if it’s AMAZING.

I love discovering food combinations that satisfy the need for comfort, sugar, chocolate, carbs, etc., yet do not make me feel as though I took one step back. You may call it cheating. I call it REAL.

This week, I am celebrating life with this simple recipe for brownies. Thank you, Shaina, for bringing these to my attention. The secret is to only eat one or two small brownies and savor every bite. Folks who are non-compliant (yes, like my husband) will not be fighting you for the last crumb, so relax and enjoy. Two steps forward, two steps forward. Victory!

3-INGREDIENT BROWNIES (Paleo, vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free)

3 medium, overripe bananas (approximately 1 cup or so)
1/2 cup smooth almond butter (or any smooth nut butter)
2 T – 1/4 cup cocoa or cacao powder (more = richer taste)
You may like to add a small amount of coconut oil to make these a bit moister.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a small cake pan or loaf pan and set aside.

In a small glass bowl (for microwave) or in a pan (for stovetop) melt your nut butter. In a large mixing bowl, add the banana, nut butter and cocoa powder and mix very well. If you prefer a smoother texture to your brownies, use a mixer or blender.

Pour the mixture into the greased pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before slicing into pieces.

These are best refrigerated and they keep longer too.

 “Growth is an erratic forward movement: two steps forward, one step back. Remember that and be very gentle with yourself.”—Julia Cameron

Michigan Peaches and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Delightful summer days and lots of kids are back in school. When I heard from one of my favorite moms that she sent her daughters to school the first day and forgot to send their lunches along–oops– the memories of car pooling, parent-teacher conferences and peanut butter sandwiches reminded me of how life used to be– and how quickly time passes.

To you moms out there with some newfound freedom, do something special at least once a week that is a treat for YOU! It may even be a much-needed, well-deserved afternoon nap.

Today, I am feeling immense gratitude for Michigan peaches. This is their time to steal the show and they have won the Grand Champion ribbon. They are so juicy and sweet, you need 3 napkins to wipe your face after eating one. If you haven’t yet enjoyed your seasonal peach, find a market today and indulge. Peach season, like life, is short.

In honor of back to school and nostalgia, I baked our favorite chocolate chip cookies. My husband, fondly referred to as Mr. Non-Compliant, is pleased. He has been asking for his Newman-O’s (like Oreos only “healthier”—they’re organic) daily and I have neglected to buy more. One package lasts him about 4 days and I’ve been busy eating peaches.

It’s not only back to school for the kids. I have something special for you adults who are interested in learning something new. Introducing “Carol’s Kitchen Coaching 101.” September’s topic is “Fun with Vegetables.” This is small group coaching that takes place in my kitchen. The coaching session will last approximately 3 hours and is limited to 8 people.

My plan is to coach on a variety of topics in the coming months. For details and to sign up, click here Carol’s Kitchen Coaching Event

Best wishes for a fantastic school year. And remember, when you eat the cookie, make sure it’s amazing!

“Sometimes me think, ‘What is friend?’ and then me say, ‘Friend is someone to share the last cookie with.’” —Cookie Monster