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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

Cupboard Clearing Confessions

Try saying that three times, really really fast. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

This week I have been clearing my cupboards. Funny, I didn’t think I had that much clearing to do. Then, it happened…I got into the Jell-O stash.

I have not purchased a box of Jell-O in years. In fact, I can’t even begin to guess how many years it’s been. Lots of them. So, imagine my surprise when I was clearing, and discovered eight boxes or so of the colored gelatin. There must have been a REAL deal on it at the time, since I stocked up. That was obviously before my conversion to healthier eating. I can only figure that’s the case because here is what else I uncovered in my food finds (please don’t judge):

  • Liquid food coloring
  • Edible silver glitter for decorating cupcakes
  • Dried pizza seasoning that didn’t smell like anything anymore
  • Very old peanut M&M’s (how did those ever get by me?)
  • Instant coffee–about 2 tablespoons left in a big clump
  • Red bean penne pasta (not that old but NO WAY is anyone in my home eating it—not even me!)
  • Pickled artichoke hearts that were “Best if Used By June 2008”
  • Powdered meringue (I couldn’t even begin to know why….)
  • Never opened cinnamon candy flavoring, to make those Cinnabon clones that never happened (probably saving me from a life of high cholesterol)
  • Lots of salt packets with BIG salt to sprinkle on those frozen pretzels you bake at home
  • A packet of dairy free pudding mix, most likely older than those artichokes

You get the idea. It has been entertaining, to say the least. As I wheeled my garbage bin to the curb, it was pretty heavy, so I guess I’m on the right track. What’s interesting is that I actually cleaned the cupboards out in the past couple years. Maybe I wasn’t paying close attention, or I really thought I needed eight boxes of Jell-O. Whatever the reason, I share this with you in case you need to do this little task and are afraid of what you might find. You might get a good chuckle from the experience. I’d love to hear what you unearth during your cupboard dig.

And, because many of us are preparing to celebrate Easter, family, spring, and life, here is my tip for the day: Enjoy every food you choose to eat slowly, and stop at 80% full—in other words, before you feel like you are going to explode. The eggs, ham, tenderloin and whatever else, tend to suddenly expand in your stomach to the point of sending you to the nearest couch for the afternoon. I know this from personal experience. Be extremely wise and save more for leftovers. You’ll thank me next week, when you have a few meals waiting for you.

“I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.” – Julia Child

Banana Oat Muffins (Gluten and Sugar Free)

Banana Oat Muffins (Gluten and sugar free)

  • ½ cup pitted dates
  • 2 Tablespoons virgin coconut oil (or butter)                                               
  • 2 ripe, medium-size bananas, broken into pieces
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups rolled oats (I like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Old Fashioned Rolled Oats, if you are making   without gluten)
  • ¾ cup almond flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the dates in a small bowl and pour ½ cup boiling water on them. Let dates soak for 5 to 10 minutes to soften.

While the dates are soaking, prepare the dry ingredients. Place the oats in a blender or food processor and pulse until you have a coarse powder. Pour into a bowl and add the almond flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine and set aside.

Once the dates are soft, drain the water, and leave them very wet. You need to smash them, and the easiest way I found is to put them in your blender or food processor with the 2 eggs and pulse until you no longer have large date pieces. Pour this mixture into a bowl and add the coconut oil, bananas and vanilla. Mix on medium high speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.

Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture, a little at a time, mixing after each addition.

Drop by tablespoonful or small scoop into muffin tins lined with baking cups. Bake until a toothpick or tester comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes.

*Variations: Add ½-1 teaspoon cinnamon, and/or some chopped nuts. I may even add chocolate chips at some point. I’m sure those would be tasty, although then you would have “added sugar” and they are not as healthy.

New Beginnings

Spring. It may not feel like spring today, depending on where you live. In fact, there’s a chance I could wake up to snow. Yet, somehow, my crocuses and daffodils seem to know when it’s safe to show up. They’re okay. It’s their time for a new beginning.

And, depending on how life has happened, it may be a good time for you to enjoy a new beginning as well.

Many times we get stuck and take pause. We think about making better choices with food, getting more exercise, practicing more awareness, and then…we pause. Life takes over and we get lost in the shuffle of work, family, illness, meetings, and more. “I’ll start my new fitness routine on Monday”…or “I’ll eat better next week”…or “My diet starts after the big birthday celebration.” It never seems to end. It is one vicious cycle of bumps in the road of life. Pause.

We had every good intention back in January. And now, welcome to April and your new beginning!

Here’s a great way to get started, if you need some help. Think about what being fit means to you. What does a fit person choose to do? Spend a few minutes today and make a list of about five things you think a fit person does.

If I were making a list, one thing I think about is starting the day with a breakfast that includes protein. Another would be to have regular times scheduled during the week to get some exercise. Okay, now you’re on your own.

It’s tough to take the journey to your best healthy and fit life, if you don’t know where you’re going. It’s like taking a vacation and not really knowing where you’d like to be for a week. (Right about now, I would really love a beach, the ocean, and some sunshine!)

So, if you are on track with your plan for 2017, I applaud you! Stay the course. If you had a bumpy first quarter, cheers to new beginnings. Make your list of five, then pick ONE of them to work on. Step into the role of “fit person” today. This is a mind game and you will believe whatever you tell yourself.

I’m here if you need help sorting it all out. Sometimes the game is tough to get through alone. It’s the reason I tell my friends at the gym, “See you tomorrow.” We count on each other to show. It’s what a fit person does.

See you around, Fit Person!

“Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect.” -Alan Cohen

Take a Step…Back

Do you often feel as though you can’t move fast enough? Too much to do and not enough hours in the day, right?

We can get so caught up in our “To Do” lists that we barely breathe, and that’s never good. Sometimes we propel ourselves forward by first, stepping back. So, how does this work?

Stop for a moment and consider all the things you’d like to accomplish, today. From the moment your alarm goes off and your feet hit the floor, it’s a race to get it all in. At some point, take a step back by thinking about the action you are stepping into. Is it a good idea? Could you make a wiser choice? Is what you are doing worth your time?

Examples:

*You know you feel better and are more efficient when you have breakfast. However, you tell yourself you simply don’t have 10 minutes to make a protein smoothie or cook a couple eggs.

*You see that the evening is packed with kids going in several directions, you have a meeting, and your personal chef called off for the year. You saw this craziness coming at you like a freight train early in the week and it is the perfect day to toss a chicken or pot roast in the crock pot. You never made it to the grocery and now you don’t have anything to make for dinner.

*You’ve been burning both ends of the candle and have not gotten proper rest for weeks. Everyone at work and in your social circle is sick. No time for sleep, or so you think. You are invincible, so not to worry.

*You’re going through the drive-thru because you’re starving and you don’t have many options. Would you like a drink with that hamburger and fries?

*There has not been meaningful conversation with your spouse for…a very long time because you are always on the go.

In every case, if we stop, breathe, step back and think for a moment, we can make what appears to be a crummy situation a bit better. Grab a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts or even a nut butter sandwich as you run out the door; pick up some food from one of the hot food bars or a rotisserie chicken at a local grocery; go to bed thirty minutes earlier; if you must have the burger and fries, drink water, add tomato and lots of lettuce to the burger, and don’t supersize anything. Maybe even skip those fries; Go on a date!

Practice stepping back from habits that don’t serve you—the ones that keep you stuck. When you do this one small step at a time, it adds up. Eventually you will find yourself in a different place that, in the past, seemed impossible to reach.

“Step with care and great tact, and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act.” –Dr. Seuss