Crown Point, IN

September 28, 2023

Why You Can’t Stop Eating Junk Food

“Who ate all these chips?!” You look around and, alas, not even a dog to blame. Oops. It’s not your fault.  If you’ve had this experience—r

September 21, 2023

Harvesting the Balance of Autumn

September 23rd ushers in the autumn equinox, a time when day and night are in perfect balance. It also opens the official season of cozy sweaters, pum

September 14, 2023

More Brain-Boosting Foods

Last week I shared a list of brain-boosting foods with the promise of more to come. Here are some additional foods that you may choose to include in y

September 7, 2023

Ten Brain-Boosting Foods

Thank you for the many recommendations of farm stands with tasty corn on the cob. Mr. Non-Compliant happened to be in the vicinity of VanDerGriends Fa

August 31, 2023

Mr. Non-Compliant’s Unwavering Passion for…Corn

Mr. Non-Compliant LOVES corn on the cob. Since the corn season is rather brief, I do my best to oblige him with this indulgence. And as my dear cousin

August 24, 2023

Tips for a Sluggish Thyroid

Lately, I’ve been getting lots of questions about the little gland known as the thyroid. It seems to be underperforming for many of you. Hypothyroid

August 17, 2023

Healthy Anytime Toast

Since my encounter with bar food last week, I’ve been focused on eating more plants. I came across this idea to enjoy “toast” and get more veggi

August 10, 2023

Confessions from The Antler

What does one eat when in a bar? Bar food, of course. The bar options: The Brown Bear vs. The Antler: Horniest Bar Around (There were deer heads with

August 3, 2023

6 Ways to Enjoy a Staycation at Home

August. Already. Is summer slipping by too quickly? Feel as though you’ve not experienced enough lazy days? Can’t manage to get away for one reaso

July 26, 2023

The Wonder of Apricots

When I think about the abundant fruits of summer, apricots make the list. Although some of you may not be fans, I ask that you consider giving this da

5 Tips to Help Calm Holiday Overwhelm

In conversation, I’m hearing the sentiment of overwhelm from just about everyone.

Too much. Too many. Not enough time.

Decorations, parties, gift wrapping, cards, playing chauffeur, appointments, work. Time for you—WHAT?

Let’s be realistic. Stuff has to get done and somebody’s got to do it. Odds are good that someone is YOU. 

I’ll be brief, since I know you’re in a rush to get to the next email or pack a lunch or something.

Here are 5 tips to help you through the craziness, and a link to my yummy, easy, “great for leftovers” Italian Sausage and Gnocchi Soup recipe.

  1. Laugh and commiserate with friends. My calendar book (no, I still don’t use my phone because I like paper and ink) looks like it belongs to a 5-year-old with all the cross outs and rewrites. Whatever. Having some silly time over a meal with good friends is great therapy to relieve stress. Guess what? They’re all stressed too. Get the commentary (aka whining) about it out of your system and move on. You’ll feel better.
  1. Eat a salad. You’re hungry, short on time, not in the mood for anything in particular and need to eat. When this describes my life (most days), I eat a salad. You get a good load of vegetables into your day. Toss in any leftover chicken or meat for extra protein. If you have a hard-boiled egg, that works too. Keep salad supplies on hand so that it’s easy to throw together. FYI, I buy mixed greens in the box or bag for convenience. That’s cheating, you say? No, it’s a shortcut. I typically follow the salad with a bit of dark chocolate.
  1. Sleep. I covered this topic in last week’s blog, but in case you forgot, sleep is important to not feel as stressed. Everything is better when we’re well rested. Resist the temptation to stay up way too late. You’ll feel grumpy the next day and your family and friend won’t like you so much.
  1. Stay grounded. Remember to use the practices that work for you, whether it’s prayer, meditation, exercise, vacuuming, scrubbing toilets, all of the aforementioned. My attitude about cleaning changed when I realized I could pretend I’m in silent retreat as I pray and clean my home at the same time. No plane ticket required. 
  1. Be okay with good enough. Usually everything gets done just in the nick of time. While you may have some expectations that fall flat, it’s probably not a crisis. Enjoy the season and let go of perfectionism. When a day feels too burdensome, revisit tips 1 through 4.

Here’s a link to the recipe I promised. It’s quick and easy when you’re in a hurry and need a hearty meal.

Italian Sausage and Gnocchi Soup

Cheers to you,
Health Coach Carol

“All is calm all is bright.”

Italian Sausage and Gnocchi Soup

Makes about 6 servings   


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage (or other ground meat)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 generous handfuls of fresh green beans, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 4 cups beef bone broth (or beef stock)
  • 1 can (14 ½ oz.) diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • Small package of your favorite gnocchi (I used potato gnocchi)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Heat oil in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat. Cook sausage, onion and pepper until sausage is no longer pink and vegetables are tender, breaking sausage into crumbles; drain if there’s excess grease. Add green beans, broth, tomatoes, basil and parsley; bring to a boil. Cook, covered, until beans are tender, about 10-12 minutes. Stir in gnocchi and return to a boil. When gnocchi are cooked, soup’s on.

Got Stress? Try Sleep

Whew! Another Thanksgiving celebration in the books. Hope you enjoyed some great family time along with your traditional as well as some non-traditional dishes.

If you’ve done any shopping online or in a store during the year, you’re probably getting way too many dings on your phone to “hurry and take advantage of the biggest savings of the year” on just about everything.

We hadn’t even finished doing the dishes on Thanksgiving Day when the Black Friday sales started happening. In fact, many of the deals were advertised well in advance of turkey day.

And now, Cyber Monday is giving us “one more chance” to get our shopping done—all week.

 Seems as though everything is getting pushed up quicker in the calendar.   

Between the retail craziness, holiday social events, work, family responsibilities and getting to the grocery, the stress level may be a bit on the rise. For everyone.

The solution?

Get your sleep.

I read about a study that raised this question: Is stress worse because of a lack of sleep, or do we not sleep due to stress?

One feeds the other, creating a vicious cycle.

Participants in the study recorded results to some specific questions daily for at least 30 days in a row.

The conclusion of this particular study: lack of rest contributed to a higher stress level the following day.

Now, a different study with a different group may come up with the opposite result.

However, here’s the takeaway.

During this especially stressful time of year, getting your sleep is a priority. Most adults need 7-9 hours each night.

When so many things are vying for our attention, sometimes we simply have to stop and go to bed.

Complicated things often seem simpler after a good night’s rest.

I think about the days when my boys were very young and missed their naps. Or when they got a bit older and spent the night at someone’s house. They were severely sleep deprived.     

Tired kids are usually cranky kids. Babies cry and get fussy when they’re tired. We’d cry too sometimes if we could get away with it. 

Stress is easier to manage when we’re rested. We can’t control how others drive or the extra demands that show up in a day. We can control how we handle it.

Plus, getting proper rest helps build your immune system so that you stay healthy.

The next time you consider burning the candle at both ends, remember that it’s painful to get burned.

Sweet dreams,
Health Coach Carol

“It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.” — John Steinbeck

Pumpkin Pie or Pumpkin Caramel Flan

Last week I’d mentioned that Mr. Non-Compliant seemed to have designs on a pumpkin caramel flan.

Turns out that he left the flan recipe out because he thought I would enjoy it. I used to think that flan was a plain and rather unexciting dessert.

As I’ve matured, I enjoy a taste of it now and then. He’s always loved it. 

Guess he’s got more mature taste buds than me.

When I asked him what he’d prefer for today’s dessert he replied, “Pumpkin pie, of course!” He’s a purist and adding pumpkin and caramel to flan is, well, very wrong.

That’s what I thought. Lucky for both of us, I made pumpkin pie.

He’s grilling the turkey over charcoal. I’m making the sides—mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, cranberry jelly (out of the can, for Mr. NC), green beans with mushrooms, gluten free stuffing and of course, pumpkin pie.

It’s our traditional Thanksgiving meal.

Saturday I will make the traditional turkey pot pie.

It’s all amazing.

Thank you for faithfully following my blog this year. I appreciate you!

Wishing you and yours a day of amazing food, happy times, and many blessings.

With much gratitude and love,

“My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to… And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too.”—Rascal Flatts