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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

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.

Today, let’s appreciate our sense of smell.

Taking time to enjoy the aroma of a delicious meal enhances the flavors and brings you into a more conscious mode of eating. Slowing down, focusing on each bite, and relaxing long enough to enjoy it, all contribute to maintaining your weight and even shedding some extra pounds.

All sorts of smells may jog our memories to bring back happy feelings. Can you think of any?  

When my boys were young, we’d go strawberry picking. After picking a large bucket of them, we’d stick our heads in, inhale deeply, and giggle with great joy. Now, when I choose my strawberries, I smell them. If they don’t smell like ripe strawberries, they don’t go in my cart.

Peaches are another happy memory producer. My mom and grandma used to buy a bushel basket of them each summer to freeze. One summer I snuck a few too many while they were peeling them, and that memory isn’t pleasant. Fortunately, I’ve gotten past it.

 I took a vacation last year and the peaches were the most amazing I’ve ever eaten–and smelled. The juice ran down my face with each bite. 🙂

There are even some happy smells that only deal with food indirectly.

I had an aunt that lived on a small lake. The wooden pier had a distinct odor that I get a whiff of now only on rare occasions. It reminds me of my hours spent fishing, floating in a big inner tube, and eating her southern fried chicken with all the fixings. (The fishing didn’t go well enough to feed us.)

Food, smells, and memories are an integral part of who we are. Honor those that are happy.

Perhaps this week you can think of some fun smells and foods to help you relive some fun times.

Practice the art of relaxation and inhale summer deeply.

Summer love,
Carol

P.S. I’d love to hear from you! Shoot me a brief email and let me know what summer smells like to you. And by the way, if the pandemic happenings have left you with a few excess pounds, and loss of focus and self-loving habits, I’ll gift you with some coaching to help get you back on track. Don’t stay stuck in the mire! Email me today.

“Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains.”—Diane Ackerman

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, and all your favorite foods.   

Saturday, June 20th, 4:43pm central time, marks the 2020 Summer Solstice. It is the official beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, occurring when Earth arrives at the point in its orbit where the North Pole is at its maximum tilt toward the Sun, resulting in the longest day and shortest night of the calendar year.

 The summer solstice celebrates the return of the light of the sun and that same light that shines within all of humanity. Traditionally, people also celebrated renewal, life, the potential for a good harvest, inner and outer abundance, and ascension.

 It is the perfect time to release any old, dark energy and focus on BEING the light.

Summer nights spark my memories of catching lightening bugs as a kid and putting then in a jar. We’d punch holes in the lid so they could breathe, and they’d twinkle in my room as I fell asleep.

I’m still fascinated by those little creatures. Rest easy, I no longer capture them.  

Here are some ways you could celebrate the beginning of summer:

  • Plant a small herb or flower garden
  • Go to the beach
  • Build a bonfire and make S’mores
  • Do yoga and include some sun salutations
  • Enjoy being outdoors and do nothing at all
  • Review and renew goals then set intentions to build upon
  • Begin something new
  • Reread a favorite book
  • Include the Salmon Dill Niçoise Salad in your special feast
  • Be happy and grateful
  • Hang out with your favorite people and enjoy much laughter

In many ways, June 20th can take on the feel of a New Year.

Let us dare to live this uncertain life with gusto.

May you be abundantly blessed,
Carol

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.” —John Lubbock

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 salad, with a satisfying heartiness too. What does Nicoise mean? A French phrase meaning “in the style of Nice (France)”, which refers to the cuisine of that area.  

Ingredients

2 filets wild salmon, fresh or thawed
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling over salmon
½  lemon, juiced
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
1 tsp honey
¼ tsp sea salt
3 cups Boston lettuce leaves, torn
1 cup baby potatoes, boiled and quartered
1 cup green beans, steamed or sautéed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
½ cup black olives
½ cup dill leaves, chopped

Directions   (Yield: 2 servings)

First, cook your salmon filets: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a pan with parchment paper. Drizzle the salmon filets with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place filets skin-side-down on to the parchment and place the pan in the oven. Salmon takes about 4-6 minutes per half inch of thickness to cook. Most filets are about an inch thick at the thickest part, so begin checking the salmon at about 8 minutes in. Salmon is cooked when the flesh has turned opaque and flakes easily with a fork.

While the salmon is cooking, make the dressing: Combine olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, honey, and salt, and whisk together until combined. Set aside.

Divide lettuce, cooked potatoes, cooked green beans, tomatoes, and olives between two shallow bowls. Remove skin from salmon and place over salads, sprinkle with dill and drizzle with dressing. Serve immediately.

Notes
*When I make fish, I allow about one-half pound per person.
*This is a quick dinner to make when the potatoes and beans are already cooked. Consider making excess for another meal earlier in the week so that they’re left over. Cooking the fish and assembling the salad then takes under 30 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Precision Nutrition’s Encyclopedia of Food

 

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 wrapped around a laid-back attitude.

I urge you to prepare to fully participate in SUMMER.

You’ve got lots going on and there may even be added stress—stuff you have absolutely no control over. You may be feeling anxious, sad, mad, a bunch of emotions all mixed up together, depending on the day.

So for now, think happy summer thoughts. What makes this season special for you?

What could you do that would make this summer shimmer fondly in your memory?

I have been enjoying my garden. Some years I don’t do much with vegetables and herbs. This year, I have made the effort to plant enough so that I will have a bumper crop of tomatoes, green beans, and zucchini.

We’ll see. My dad was a farm boy. His vegetables did amazingly well. Let’s just say, “I try.”  

I am an imperfect gardener. The weeds often get the best of me.

Flowers make me happy, and I picked bouquets of peonies until the storms ended my fun. Seems as though there is always a bare spot in the yard that could use some color, leading me back to the garden center.

Farmers markets are open, offering lots of opportunities to try some great local produce–and the honey that I wrote of last week.

 As you enjoy summer foods, my hope is that you are not stressed about eating/not eating.

 Relax. I’m here for you.

As part of my summer fun, I’m offering Carol’s Group Kitchen Coaching on Zoom. This has been a hit with former participants, and I’ve decided to keep it rolling.

We talk food, challenges, successes, and have group interaction. We learn together with folks from various cities. And we have a very good time in each other’s virtual kitchens.

I’ve come up with a variety of coaching topics that stand alone, so you don’t have to commit to a series. I’ll let you know the topic, date, time, and any details as I plan them. If it sounds interesting to you and you’re available, great!

I’ll also vary the days and times, to try and accommodate ever changing relaxed summer schedules.   

My Next Class: Tuesday, June 16 from 4:00pm-5:30pm (central)

The topic: How Much do I Really Need to Eat? Portion control made easy. No counting calories, no food scale, no stress. Sometimes simply adjusting the quantities of what you’re eating can cause a shift in body composition and weight. We’ll also make an interesting salad you can serve for dinner.

Where: Your Kitchen. I’ll send you the Zoom link to join the class when you sign up, along with the list of ingredients so we can cook together.

Cost: $14.99 (may pay with PayPal, Venmo, or Zelle)

If you’re interested in joining me for How Much do I Really Need to Eat? Portion control made easy, send me an email.

Make this the summer you stopped stressing about food.

Much love,
Carol

“Smell the sea, and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly.”—Van Morrison