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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

Schererville, IN

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July 9, 2020

Cheers for Rainiers

What is this Saturday, July 11, you ask? Why, it’s National Rainier Cherry Day! In 1952, Harry Fogle of Washington State University developed the Ra

July 2, 2020

It’s Summer, so Bring on the Ribs

In our family, summer means grilling. One of our favorites: baby back ribs cooked to perfection. There’s a rib joint in Porter by the name of Wagner

June 25, 2020

Sniff. What’s That Smell?

How does summer smell to you? What aromas make you happy? Maybe you haven’t thought about it much, unless you have seasonal allergies or a cold. Tod

June 18, 2020

A Time to Celebrate

Big weekend ahead. I wish all you fathers and like-fathers a very special Father’s Day this Sunday. May you enjoy a day filled with love, happiness,

June 17, 2020

Salmon Dill Nicoise Salad

Although a classic Nicoise salad is made with tuna, it’s nice with perfectly cooked salmon. Nicoise salad has all the light and vibrant flavors of a

June 11, 2020

Relax into Summer

The amazing season known as summer is nearly upon us. When I think of it, my mind sees beaches, hammocks, pitchers of iced tea, grills in action, all

June 4, 2020

I’m a Honey Fan

I am often asked about honey—if it’s healthier than sugar. Honey does contain sugar. Per tablespoon, honey has 64 calories and 17g of sugar. That

June 2, 2020

Strawberry Crumble

4 cups strawberries, halved 2 Tablespoons arrowroot (or cornstarch or tapioca starch)      2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 1 Tablespoon fresh lemo

June 2, 2020

Almond Butter Oatmeal Cookies

This recipe makes a delicious substitute for peanut butter cookies that avoids many of the common food allergens. And they’re vegan and gluten f

June 2, 2020

Nothing to Sneeze At: New theories explored to stem the growth of food allergies, intolerance in children

(The following article first appeared in the March 2018 issue of Get Healthy, a publication of The Northwest Indiana Times. Online version) Every mo

Carol’s Healthier Hasselback Potatoes

Ingredients
4 large Russet, Idaho, or Yukon Gold potatoes
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or melted butter or equal parts of each)  
Coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper
Paprika

Directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Leave potato skins on, or peel, your choice. Place the potato in a large wooden or metal spoon, and using a sharp knife, make slices across the potato the short way, about an 1/8th inch apart. Gently cut down to the lip of the spoon, not all the way through the potato. The slices should stay connected at the bottom, and the spoon helps keep the depth even.

Slice all the potatoes in this manner and place them cut side up in a lightly oiled shallow baking dish or stone. Brush potatoes with half the oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika, or your favorite seasonings.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and brush the remaining oil on the potatoes and season with a little more salt, pepper, and paprika. Return to the oven and bake another 20 minutes, or until they are nicely browned.

Note: Hasselback potatoes may be topped with grated cheese and dried bread crumbs, as well as other variations.

For the Love of Potatoes

As of late, I’ve had quite a thing for potatoes. I’ve baked them, roasted them, Hasselbacked them, mashed them. And, I’ve eaten them. Lots of them.

There may be some of you who are of the opinion that potatoes are “bad.” They are not bad. (Technically speaking, there are no “bad” foods, which is an entire topic for another blog post on another Thursday.) Potatoes and sweet potatoes are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and starch.  

The starch and fiber in potatoes does not digest, but instead ferments in the gut to become short-chain fatty acids. Enough technical stuff for one day. Why is this important?

Here’s why. Short-chain fatty acids may:

  • Keep you fuller longer
  • Act as fuel for healthy gut bacteria (this is good for your immune system)
  • Inhibit growth of harmful bacteria
  • Stimulate blood flow to the colon
  • Increase mineral absorption and nutrient circulation
  • Prevent absorption of toxins
  • Decrease inflammation
  • Decrease risk of colon cancer

That’s a lot of good stuff. Potatoes do not deserve to be looked down upon. What we need to look at is what we are putting ON the potato—and how much we are actually eating.

Seasoning them with olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper, are great choices. Loading them with butter, sour cream, bacon, and cheese, on a regular basis, is not the best option when you have health and fitness goals to keep.

The amount? Eat one to two cupped handfuls of carbohydrate-rich foods at each meal. This can be potatoes, sweet potatoes, whole grains, lentils, or fruit. Scale this amount up or down depending on body size, activity level, fitness goals (fat loss, mass gain, or athletic performance).

Potatoes and sweet potatoes, when incorporated into a balanced diet, are satisfying and provide energy. I’ve recently been enjoying them made this way. Here’s the recipe. Hope you like it!

 

Carol’s Healthier Hasselback Potatoes

Ingredients
4 large Russet, Idaho, or Yukon Gold potatoes
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or melted butter or equal parts of each)
Coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper
Paprika

Directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Leave potato skins on, or peel, your choice. Place the potato in a large wooden or metal spoon, and using a sharp knife, make slices across the potato the short way, about an 1/8th inch apart. Gently cut down to the lip of the spoon, not all the way through the potato. The slices should stay connected at the bottom, and the spoon helps keep the depth even.

Slice all the potatoes in this manner and place them cut side up in a lightly oiled shallow baking dish or stone. Brush potatoes with half the oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika, or your favorite seasonings.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and brush the remaining oil on the potatoes and season with a little more salt, pepper, and paprika. Return to the oven and bake another 20 minutes, or until they are nicely browned.

Be well,
Carol

“What I say is that, if a man really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow.”
― A.A. Milne

Cookies, the Quarantine 15, and Easter

Curious minds want to know: Did Mr. Non-Compliant ever get his cookies?

Answer: Yes.

Thank you to several readers who offered to share their stash of flour, and a special thank you to my dear friend who dropped off an entire bag at my front door within 8 hours of reading my blog.  

Many gifts and blessings are presenting themselves in the midst of this crisis.

This past week I received an anxiety ridden email about the prediction of the “quarantine 15.”

What? Who says? I don’t plan on using a global pandemic to gain 15 pounds. Now, my freshman year in college was another story…for another day.

My email response went something like this: those of you who are currently working with me, have worked with me, or follow my blogs and/or Get Healthy articles, do not fall into that category. In fact, several of you are losing weight and finding creative ways to exercise.

YES!

YOU understand what you need to do to stay on course with your food, fitness, and your entire wellbeing—body, mind, and soul.

You’ve got this. We’ve got this.

Should you be tempted to stray, consider that the healthier you are in body, mind, and soul, the more likely you are to overcome any type of illness, at any time.

If you’re struggling, remember to join me this Saturday for Zoom group coaching. This is currently a GIFT to my community to help maneuver challenging times. Our discussions cover a variety of topics, and we’d love to have you join in.

This Sunday is Easter for some. I was reminded by another dear friend, that the first Easter was not a big celebration of singing, praising, enjoying ham, or chocolate bunnies. The disciples were locked in their house, fearing for their lives.

Their best friend had been crucified, and they thought they could be next.

They had heard the good news from some women, yet it seemed too good to be true. How could it be that life and love had overcome death?

Hope and faith won out, and those first disciples eventually had the courage to go into the world and share God’s love.  

Today, there is danger, and we must stay in our homes. It is like the first Easter. Yet, we maintain hope that we will soon be able to go out and see smiling faces instead of masks, hug our loved ones, and enjoy a deeper appreciation of what we mean to one another.

I wish you a peaceful, blessed, and happy Easter.

Much love,
Carol

“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”—Pope John Paul II

Mr. Non-Compliant: Where Have All the Flours Gone?

Each trip to the grocery store these days is a new adventure. It has become such a conscious, thought-out process.

What time is best? Where am I most likely to find what I need? How quickly can I get back to my home?

As usual, more questions than answers.

While I was victorious in my hunt for toilet paper, there is another item that eludes me. My latest challenge is finding a bag of organic, unbleached (or any white) flour—full of gluten, mind you—so that I can make Mr. Non-Compliant his favorite cookies. Now, under “normal” circumstances, this is not a problem.

Interesting that every store I’ve been in has GOBS of sugar, and no flour. Perhaps the masses have taken up bread making, which is great. However, this leaves me with a very sad Mr. NC.  

In the meantime, I keep him happy with those Easter colored plain M&M’s—in small bags, so he doesn’t get carried away. I’ve heard that some folks are struggling to keep their weight in check with all this staying home business, since they find themselves going to the kitchen a few too many times throughout the day. (If this is YOU, I’ll see you at my Zoom Group Coaching on Saturday.)

The bottom line: if you are one of those people who bought flour to bake cookies, let Mr. NC know and he’ll drive by your house so you can toss a few in his direction. He told me he’s happy to help humanity with their struggle to fit in their jeans.

In case you need a new snack to make while you’re hanging around the house, here you go.

Crock Pot Trail Mix

This slightly sweet recipe will give you energy on and off the trail. The nuts offer protein, fiber, and fat, along with some vitamins and minerals. A handful, about ¼ cup, makes a great snack any time of day.

  • 2 cups raw walnuts (halves or coarsely chopped)
  • 1 cup raw whole almonds (or cashew halves)
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons coconut oil (or 1 to 1 ½ Tablespoons butter, cut in slices)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

Place nuts, sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla in a crock pot and mix. Place on High for 45 to 60 minutes and stir occasionally to prevent burning. Turn to Low and continue cooking for an additional 20 to 30 minutes, stirring a time or two. Place the nut mixture on paper towel to absorb excess oil, and let cool at least 15 minutes before mixing in the chocolate chips. Store in an airtight container or Ziploc bag.

Stay well, my friends.

Much love,
Carol

“All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don’t. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.”― Robert Kennedy