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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

1020 Woodhollow Drive, Schererville, IN

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December 6, 2018

Slow Down to Speed Up

This mantra seems counterintuitive, especially since there are only 19 days until Christmas. Yet, it hit me during a recent time of stillness. It also

November 29, 2018

Always Do Something

It’s time to embrace imperfection. Yes, you read that correctly. Today, we are going to consider doing some things imperfectly, rather than not

November 14, 2018

We Fry a Turkey

Yes, you read that correctly. The Slager family fries a turkey (or two) each year to celebrate Thanksgiving. I know. Fried food is not a healthy optio

November 1, 2018

A Fun Day of Celebrations

I find it quite curious that the day after many folks around the world celebrate Halloween, we find ourselves with more than we bargained for on Novem

October 25, 2018

Healthy Diet = Brighter Brain

The age-old question I hear is this, “What is the best diet for me?” Although some people have food sensitivities or allergies, there is a way of

October 18, 2018

Warm Up with a Frittata

It’s that time of year when it actually feels good to turn on the oven. The warmth in the kitchen helps take the bite out of the chilly morning air.

October 18, 2018

Fall Frittata

8 ounces organic uncured turkey bacon, diced (I like Applegate brand)      2 green onions, including much of the green, diced 1 bunch asparagus, ch

October 11, 2018

Embracing the Uncomfortable

Today’s topic hit me like a brick when I was doing just that–embracing the uncomfortable. Why would anyone do such a crazy thing? It hardly ma

October 4, 2018

Farewell, Flag Pants

“You’re getting a little wide in the beam, aren’t you kid?” Those words literally kicked me into the basement of reality and sadness, all

September 27, 2018

Share the Love

Today, give some positive encouragement to another human being. This person may be a workout buddy, neighbor, co-worker, friend, family member, strang

Celebrating the Summer Solstice

It’s right about now that I always wish I could slow the hands of time. We are one week out from the Summer Solstice, the day of the year that gifts us with the most daylight—about 17 hours. Well, here in the northern hemisphere anyway.

June 21, 2018 at 5:07am central time, it happens. Many consider it to be the first day of summer. Families with young children usually consider the last day of school as such, however I’m going with next Thursday. (Isn’t it okay to wear white as well? Crazy fashion rules.)

I decided to let you know about this now so you can plan a celebration that includes some fun summery foods! YUM!     

As I think about summer and June and long lit evenings, I also think about the various types of fresh produce that show up in delicious abundance. Now is the time when it is easiest to enjoy fresh food at its best and know that you are caring for your body in a very good way.

Summer Solstice Celebration Ideas

  • Go strawberry picking, or at least find some local berries at a farm stand. No offense to California and Florida–nothing beats an Indiana berry in June. Make some strawberry shortcake (yes, from scratch) and top with some CoCoWhip, a frozen coconut milk topping that is dairy-free and delicious.
  • Have dinner outside on the patio or go on a picnic. Instead of fried chicken, pick up a rotisserie chicken from your favorite grocery store. If you like to grill, the options are numerous depending on how adventurous you feel: burgers made from ground beef, turkey or pork; fresh fish (Ask the fish expert at the store for grilling tips. I saw that Whole Foods even has whole fish available, bones removed, ready to cook.); pork tenderloin with a bit of orange marmalade slathered on toward the end of cooking time.
  • Get a whole watermelon, chill it for a day so it’s icy cold, and have fun eating it—outdoors of course. Share it with your neighbors.
  • Enjoy a fruit, cheese and nut tray, adapted to your way of eating. Since my sons are allergic to dairy, my tray would have a variety of goat or sheep cheese, which is much easier to find these days. Grapes, dates, berries, and pear slices with some raw or lightly salted almonds are a nice accompaniment.
  • If an entire meal is too much, a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon with a bit of dark chocolate while enjoying your backyard space may be just right. For those of you who live alone, make a plan to have a friend or two over to celebrate with you.

However you choose to celebrate the beginning of summer, do so with gusto. I still need to make my plans. I may include a dollop or two of ice cream, along with those fresh strawberries.

 “The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers, but for the wide world’s joy.”—Henry Ward Beecher

What I Learned In Knife Class 101

Since I have finally become a responsible adult, I decided I ought to know how to properly use kitchen knives. This being the case, I took a Basic Knife Skills class this week.

I visited Mrs. Dornberg’s Culinary Experience in Highland for this specialty class. After two hours of slicing, dicing, and chopping, I realized I have been doing some things the hard way for my entire cooking life.

THE LESSON: we aren’t born knowing how to do most things, so at some point we need to learn. My knife skills were the ones I learned from my mom, who probably learned from her mom.

The same principles go for cooking, baking, homemaking, parenting, and so on. YouTube, and television don’t allow for hands-on experience and correction.

A few knife tips, just in case you’re curious:

  • The chef’s knife, typically with an 8-inch blade, is used for 90% of our cutting needs. (I rarely used this knife. Oops.)
  • A paring knife is used 10% of the time.
  • The serrated knife is used to slice bread.

These are really the only three knives you need. (Better not tell the Cutco people.)

Sharp knives are a must. Oh, and if you cut yourself, the wound heals quicker than if you had used a dull knife.

As we practiced the proper way to use sharp knives, bad habits emerged. Do you typically scrape your chopped food off the cutting board with the knife? Time to retrain and use a plastic scraper instead.

I have several habits that I need to break in order to be more efficient and make prep time easier. Practice, practice, practice.

Oh, and did you know there are goggles you can get so the onions won’t make you cry? True! 

If you find cooking a challenge, I suggest you check out Mrs. Dornberg’s Culinary Experience. The skills you learn from her make the process much easier—and fun.

If you have some food and fitness habits that could use some work, I’m your girl. Together, we’ll practice better habits so this will be much easier—and fun.

“A sharp knife cuts the quickest and hurts the least.”—Katharine Hepburn

Spring Cleaning for Fitness

It’s the time of year when I feel the need to let go of things in my environment that no longer bring me joy. Relax; I’m keeping Mr. Non-Compliant and the dog.

Over the years, I’ve collected books the way Imelda Marcos collected shoes. (However, I do not have one thousand and sixty books, which is the number of pairs of shoes she claims to have owned.) Many of these books have served me well and are now making their way to the church book sale.

Our environment influences our well-being, habits, and life. Truth: if I have ice cream in my freezer, I’m going to eat it. The same can be said for salad greens, strawberries and avocados.

A Few Environmental Thoughts and Ideas

As a healthy and fit person, what do you choose to have in your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry? Do the other members of your household understand your expectations and support you? How about your friends and co-workers?

Almost everything around you should help you reach your goals. Keep your space positive and productive. (Too many books, shoes or potato chips?)

Could you plant a small garden with herbs and a few favorite vegetables?

Would a comfortable pair of sneakers (they’re not Imelda shoes) get you to spend more time walking the dog—and you?

If snacking is your downfall, are you prepared with snack foods that offer health benefits such as nut butters, hard boiled eggs, hummus, fresh fruits and vegetables?

How well are your daily sleep and relaxation rituals working for you?

Get rid of what hinders you and acquire whatever it is you need to help you.

This week, I challenge you to do a quick scan to determine if there is one thing you could add or eliminate to spring clean. The goal: do a little more, and a little better today.

And please, keep your family–and the dog.

“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” ―John C. Maxwell

It’s Party Time!

Graduations, Confirmations, Communions…the parties are in full force, and Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner. All these celebrations are filled with delectable foods and cupcakes with gobs of colorful frosting, not to mention bowls of assorted chips.

What is a fit person to do? Do not let your stomach (or your heart) be troubled. There are times when it is fine to break our normal ways of eating, with the very clear understanding that we are making a choice to enjoy the party.

It is a healthy indulgence.

Decide ahead of picnic time how you are going to eat. Start by thinking about how really good you feel when you are doing your workouts and eating clean:

  • energy is good
  • sleep is more restful
  • digestion is better
  • your mood is lighter (and perhaps, so are you!)

This is the lifestyle you are practicing and it suits you well. There is no reason to feel like you are blowing it all to bits with one little barbecue.

Start with some protein. For those of you who love fried chicken, it is preferable to remove the fried and simply eat the chicken. Enjoying the burger or sausage without the bun is a good trade-off for a helping of pasta salad, or maybe a few chips.

Salads, green and otherwise, are typically prevalent. Enjoy those that do not have a creamy dressing, which may not be so good in the heat anyway. A handful of nuts is a good option if they are around. Vegetables are like a “get of jail free” card.

I love baked beans and am the only one in my family who does, so this is my big opportunity to enjoy. Choose water or unsweetened ice tea instead of soda– diet or otherwise.

Remember the 80/20 rule. The weekend party is probably part of the 20; I’m going out on a limb here.

As for dessert, those cute cupcakes with little checkered flags flying in the frosting often look better than they taste. If I’m wrong about that and they are amazing, enjoy every bite. If not, go for the fresh fruit salad or have extra greens.

If you’re going to splurge, it had better be worth it!     

You are eating to live your best. Feel great and don’t carry the burden of starting over after the long weekend. Remember, it’s not about being perfect; it’s about doing just a little bit better. Cheers!

“A party without cake is just a meeting.”—Julia Child