1-219-765-8600

carol@inkwellcoaching.com

Crown Point, IN

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July 29, 2021

Choose the Tastiest Cantaloupe, Every Time

I stumbled across some Tuscan-Style Extra Sweet Cantaloupes this week, and they certainly live up to their name. They are produced by Dulcinea Farms w

July 22, 2021

Mr. Corn Comes Home to Indiana

Here in Indiana, it’s corn season. The best and sweetest makes its appearance now through August. Along with the corn season came my cousin, Mr. Cor

July 15, 2021

Getting Creative with Blueberries

Welcome to blueberry season and all the deliciousness that comes with it. This fruit is very versatile, as it can be eaten fresh, frozen, added to a v

July 9, 2021

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

1 cup organic quinoa                                                                                2 cups...

July 7, 2021

What’s the Best Diet for You?

There are many options when it comes to eating: keto, paleo, vegan, low carb, intermittent fasting, and more. Which one is the best? I don’t endorse

July 1, 2021

A Simple Celebration Salad

Happy Independence Day and the kick-off to summer! Since there will probably be a few picnics and family gatherings happening at some point, I thought

June 24, 2021

Ever try butter on saltines?

I’d forgotten about this childhood treat until a friend of mine mentioned it. We’d gathered for an informal dinner, and the next thing I knew we w

June 17, 2021

Beware of the Buggy Bandit

This week, my client and I were enjoying a peaceful grocery shopping field trip at Whole Foods. We were in the produce department reviewing the list o

June 10, 2021

A Delicate Summer Surprise

Apricots are a hidden gem of a fruit. While the delicate little apricot is not even in the running of most popular fruits in the world, it has a speci

June 3, 2021

A Special Pasta Dish Just for You

I was fortunate to work with my friend, Chef Lynn and make this special recipe with her. She recreated it from her favorite dish at Popolano’s and l

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 learn about the vegetable or fruit of the week as it relates to the size of the baby.

It’s fun to think about how different their family will look next Christmas, and the excitement of a new life.

Week #25 and baby is about the size of a rutabaga.   

If you’re thinking that the rutabaga is similar to the turnip, you are correct. It is commonly referred to as a cross between a turnip and a cabbage.

Which means I’m probably not very fond of them. The turnips (baby size at week #17) were rather bitter, and although I could prepare rutabagas as I would potatoes, carrots, or other root vegetables, I’m sticking with REAL mashed potatoes for our Christmas dinner.

Rutabagas can be:

  • boiled and mashed
  • cut into fries and fried
  • roasted in the oven
  • added to a soup
  • thinly sliced and added to a casserole
  • grated raw into a salad

They are an excellent source of potassium, calcium, magnesium, vitamins E and C and other antioxidants. This vegetable is very high in fiber and takes longer to digest, keeping you feeling full longer. This may prevent overeating and, ultimately, weight gain.

They also contain powerful compounds that help fight inflammation, prevent premature aging, and are associated with a reduced risk of various cancers.

I purchased a rutabaga to try, since I think that eating a variety of foods is a good idea. It will probably get roasted along with some Brussels sprouts, another cruciferous vegetable. They’re related, so it may be okay.

As many of us celebrate Christmas, life still feels weird.

I was reminded at a recent prayer service that we think of Jesus’s birth as being all sweet and cozy. We picture him lying quietly in a little manger, surrounded by stable animals and Mary and Joseph. Maybe some shepherds showed up, along with a kid playing his drum.

It has the makings of a perfect Hallmark movie or Christmas card.    

Truth is that the barn and animals most likely smelled—along with Jesus’s diaper. Shepherds hang out with stinky sheep, and they weren’t wearing their Sunday best. And where did they all wash their hands?

It probably felt weird.

And yet, it marked the greatest birth in the history of the world.

May the hope of our Savior bring you peace this Christmas.

Much love,
Carol

“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.”—St. Augustine

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 critical part—so I ended up with Spritz Christmas ornament cookies instead of trees. Whoops.    

Stuff happens.

Thank you to all the participants for sharing your kitchens and morning with me. We learned about a really cool idea from our fellow baker, Laura. During this pandemic, she used her time to create a cookbook filled with traditional recipes. It will make a great gift for her family members. (Hope they don’t read my blog.)

Many of us are going to make family cookbooks too, as it’s a super idea, it’s super cute, and she said it was super EASY! The website is www.createmycookbook.com. I am IN! Have fun checking this out.

 Week #24 and baby is the size of an ear of corn.

Corn is considered a vegetable and a cereal grain. Sweet corn is a vegetable in the culinary world, and the dried seeds used for popcorn are whole grains. It is rich in fiber and plant compounds that may aid in digestive and eye health.

Because corn is high in starch, it may spike blood sugar, depending on how much is consumed and what else is eaten with it. Diabetics are wise to limit corn intake. It may also prevent weight loss. Consume sparingly.

Corn is one of the most genetically modified crops in the world. 92% of the crop grown in the US in 2016 was genetically modified (GMO). Current research on the safety of genetically modified corn for humans is limited and conflicting.

Avoid high fructose corn syrup and products that contain HFCS for the aforementioned reasons.

When I buy corn for popping or corn chips, I buy organic, non-GMO products. When I buy corn on the cob—which is very infrequently—I buy what is available. It falls into that “only eat if it’s amazing” category.

There are those occasions when I really enjoy home-popped popcorn. I pop it in coconut oil and no butter is needed. It goes great with any Hallmark Christmas movie. (Mr. NC is OUT on the Hallmark movie. Star Trek is preferred. Oh, and he insists that Die Hard is a Christmas movie.)    

There are a variety of ways to cook corn on the cob. I typically drop the shucked ears into boiling water for 5-7 minutes, and they’re perfect. Much to my surprise and the sheer delight of Mr. Non-Compliant, I have been able to buy some pretty yummy ears of corn this month. They come shucked and wrapped in packs of 4. It’s a treat that makes Mr. NC giddy.

I have a cousin who says that corn is merely a vehicle for salt and butter. Yep. How’s the salt and butter in Florida these days?

Whoa, it’s only a week until Christmas Eve! Enjoy the preparations.

Until next Thursday,
Carol

“The measure of achievement is not winning awards. It’s doing something that you appreciate, something you believe is worthwhile.” — Julia Child

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 socialize and have a darn good time.

Really. The only time we’ll mute is when the mixers are mixing. It can get loud. We learned this when we did “The Amazing Cake Bake” together.

Now, I know lots of you are sick of zooming. So am I. However, this is a very interactive experience and when we’re done, you’ll have a batch of cookies baked and you won’t have to keep wondering when in the world you’re going to find time to do THAT!

AND, if you don’t have cookies for Santa, he may not show. Do you want to risk it?   

The Particulars

WHAT: The Amazing Cookie Bake with Health Coach Carol

WHERE: ZOOM, so you’re in your own kitchen, and yet we’re together

WHEN: Saturday, December 12, 2020 from 10:00am to 11:30am CST

HOW: You gather the ingredients you need to make whatever cookie you desire, and we all make cookies

WHY: Creating cookies from scratch is an act of love, and the world could use more love

COST: FREE

This will be similar to those cookie exchanges, except we make our very favorite—or try something new—and enjoy a special treat together. And you know my rule, only eat it if it’s AMAZING! As a result, what may on first glance appear counterintuitive to our health, is not. 

While the cookies are baking, I’ll be coaching you on various aspects of health. We learn from one another and share lots of laughs.

To join in the fun, be sure to email me prior to Saturday, December 12 to save your spot. I’ll then email you the event Zoom link, along with any special instructions.

 Are you in December overwhelm?

As you prepare for the holidays, deal with the continuation of the pandemic, miss your friends, and seek the happy news of each day, you may find it a challenge to prepare meals.     

Or get some exercise.

Or meditate.

Or all of the above.

May I suggest a simple solution?

Do ONE of them. Plan one meal that is easy for you to prepare during the week. Just one. And see what happens.

Some quick and easy ideas:

  • Pan fry some hamburgers and add a tossed salad.
  • Slice up a store-bought rotisserie chicken and sauté some spinach. Cook up a big batch of wild rice (or whatever kind of rice you like) to have on hand to go with this and other meals.
  • Broil some salmon to go with that leftover rice and a salad.
  • Get creative with some omelets or roast a massive pan of vegetables.
  • Brown some ground turkey or pork, mix with a jar of spaghetti sauce and cook up your favorite pasta for easy Bolognese. And of course, add a tossed salad.

If you don’t like any of these ideas, I’m sure you have at least one easy recipe that you like to make.

Or schedule a walk or a virtual exercise class into your life. Sit quietly and practice breathing for 5-10 minutes one morning.

You choose.

If you are looking for perfection these days, please let it go. Plan to do something that makes you feel less stressed and happier.

When you accomplish one small thing that you’ve been missing, whatever that is, you create momentum that propels you forward and leads you out of paralyzing overwhelm.

Week #23 and baby is the size of a large mango.

This is not my favorite fruit to cut because there is a HUGE seed in the middle.  

As it turns out, the mango is a drupe, or stone fruit, which means that it has a large seed in the middle.

Clever.

The easiest way to peel and cut a mango is to buy a bag of frozen chunks. By doing this, you don’t have to deal with cutting around the seed.

I like to add a handful to my protein smoothie or Greek yogurt. Mangoes are also good when diced and added to fruit salad, salsa, and quinoa salad.

Because of their impressive nutritional profile, this fruit has been associated with many health benefits, including potential anticancer effects as well as improved immunity, heart, digestive, eye, skin and hair health.

They are high in sugar, so it’s best to limit intake to less than 2 cups per day.

Peace,
Carol

“Sometimes you aren’t listening to your body because you’re listening to everybody else’s expectations.” ― Ann Voskamp

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 marshmallows caught fire. For the record, our dinner would not make Martha Stewart proud.        

And that’s fine with us.

Our routine goes something like this: I bake two pumpkin pies on Wednesday evening, and we immediately dive into one. I eat a small piece of pie Thanksgiving morning with my breakfast.

Pie is REALLY delicious when you’re not stuffed.  

We had a charcoal grilled turkey seasoned with a dry rub, gluten-free and gluten-filled stuffing, mashed potatoes, sautéed green beans, sweet potato casserole topped with lightly toasted marshmallows, fresh cranberries and cranberry sauce out of the can.

Mr. Non-Compliant will not eat fresh cranberries, so I have to buy the sauce for him. The trick is cutting it so that the ridges from the can are hidden.

I threw together some gravy made from chicken bone broth at the very last minute.

And about those burnt marshmallows. My helper (who shall remain anonymous and was not Mr. NC) was given instructions to watch them carefully while they were under the broiler.

You can see what happened. (Does this mean we’re leaving a bigger carbon footprint?)

Anyway, I scraped the burnt mess off and we put fresh marshmallows on and tried again. The results were much more acceptable.

At least I didn’t set off the smoke alarm. That usually happens when I make the Christmas brisket.  

Week #22, and baby is the size of a spaghetti squash.

This winter squash is high in fiber and rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Low carb fans like to use this in place of pasta, because the strands resemble spaghetti. Hence, the name.

The easiest way I’ve found to cook one of these: Bake entire squash in 400 degree oven for an hour or more, depending on size. Turn after 30 minutes. Fork to check tenderness. The longer you roast it, the softer the “spaghetti” will be. Allow to cool and cut in half. Remove seeds and scrape out strands with a fork. Top with your choice of seasonings or sauces — such as garlic, parmesan, marinara sauce, meatballs, or veggies. You could also sauté the cooked strands with a bit of oil and your favorite seasonings to serve as a side dish.

This is not one of my favorites, and I’ve tried it various ways. It’s pretty neat though, the way it behaves like spaghetti. If you’ve not tried it, ‘tis the season. You might like it!

Your Special Invitation and My Gift to You

WHAT: The Amazing Cookie Bake with Health Coach Carol

WHERE: ZOOM, so you’re in your own kitchen, and yet we’re together

WHEN: Saturday, December 12, 2020 from 10:00am to 11:30am

HOW: You gather the ingredients you need to make whatever cookie you desire, and we all make cookies

WHY: Creating cookies from scratch is an act of love, and the world could use more love

COST: FREE

This will be similar to those cookie exchanges, except we make our very favorite—or try something new—and enjoy a special treat together. And you know my rule, only eat it if it’s AMAZING! As a result, what may on first glance appear counterintuitive to our health, is not. 

While the cookies are baking, I’ll be coaching you on various aspects of health. We learn from one another and share lots of laughs.

To join in the fun, be sure to email me prior to Saturday, December 12 to save your spot. I’ll then email you the event Zoom link, along with any special instructions.

Sending love and joy,
Carol

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