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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

Crown Point, IN

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August 18, 2022

Mr. Non-Compliant vs. Mr. Corn

It’s that time of year when my dear cousin, Roger, aka Mr. Corn, and his wife Barb, come to Indiana for a visit. They now live in Florida, where swe

August 11, 2022

An Herb that Helps Reduce Anxiety, Induce Sleep, and More

I find it fascinating when one single food, or in this case, an herb, can contribute so much to our health. Cilantro is one such herb. While it’s no

August 4, 2022

Happy National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day may inspire some baking… While preparations have begun for those going back to school, there’s still lots of su

July 28, 2022

A Summer Meal with a Kick

While many of us would like to add more vegetables to our diet, it can be challenging to come up with new ideas. Discovering main dishes that are vege

July 27, 2022

Spicy Mushroom Tacos

These vegan tacos have a kick, so if you’re not a fan of spicy foods, cut back on the cayenne or omit.  Serves 4 Ingredients 1 lb. mixed mushrooms

July 21, 2022

Are They Eggs or Just Eggs?

In an effort to help those who are allergic or choose not to eat chicken eggs, this blog’s for you. And if you love chicken eggs, biscuits and gravy

July 13, 2022

Lipstick on a Pig

For any of my new blog followers, cauliflower is one of the few vegetables that I’m not fond of.  I’ve tried it all sorts of ways. Readers have s

July 13, 2022

Super Simple Roasted Garlic Cauliflower

After rinsing the head of cauliflower, cut it into florets, remove the thick stem portions, and slice it very thin. Arrange in a single layer on a sto

July 7, 2022

Vidalia Onions, Salsa, and Qigong

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s still possible to find Vidalia onions in local stores. I’m not sure how long they will last, so now is the tim

June 30, 2022

Navigating the Holiday Weekend Deliciously

Happy almost 4th of July weekend! The celebrations are about to begin. Parades, barbecues, picnics, watermelon, fireworks, adult beverages, and probab

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 cauliflower is very beneficial for good health.     

It contains some of almost every vitamin and mineral you need. It’s high in fiber, water, choline, and contains antioxidants, which means it helps with weight loss, reduces inflammation, and protects against several diseases. Cauliflower is also rich in sulforaphane, a plant compound that helps reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.   

 Cauliflower appears to be the perfect child of the vegetable world. Lucky for me, it’s not the only perfect child. Broccoli is a bit healthier, in terms of fiber, vitamin, and mineral content.

AND it’s green.

I’ll stick with enjoying broccoli, thank you very much.

You can substitute cauliflower to reduce your carbs, if you feel so inclined.

  • Cauliflower rice–grate, then sauté. (I have eaten it this way and it’s acceptable, however I don’t make a habit of it.)
  • Cauliflower mash–in place of mashed potatoes.
  • Cauliflower pizza crust–tried a commercial pizza with this and never knew it was cauliflower. It even fooled Mr. Non-Compliant.
  • Cauliflower hummus–use cauliflower in place of chickpeas when making hummus.
  • Cauliflower tortillas
  • Batter-fried cauliflower–this is not a good idea at all and actually increases your carb intake. Just say, “NO.”  

If you like cauliflower, eat it often. You can roast it, steam it, sauté it, add it to soups, stews, stir-fries, or casseroles. Raw cauliflower is on many a crudités platter.

If you’re like me, it’s okay to skip it. There are lots of other nutritious vegetables in the produce section.

Remember, we’re not striving for perfection. We’re always trying to do just a little bit better.

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To say that 2021 has been quite a year after only a week, seems to me, an understatement.

I’ve been challenged in maintaining focus, even with meditation, exercise, prayer, and eating my daily salad.

My health/continuing education studies of late have taken me to the land of mindful, conscientious eating and living.

I’ll keep it simple. Whatever your eating behaviors, they are related in some way to what is or is not, happening in your life.

Everything affects everything.

What I’m challenging us (yes, I’m in on this) to do in the coming week, is to pay a bit more attention to our food and the way we are living.

If you have set the intention to live healthier, what does that look like on a daily basis? Get specific and keep it simple.

If you eat food from a package, have you looked at the ingredients on the label? Are the contents REALLY what you’d like to ingest for optimal health? Or perhaps for comfort?     

When I eat a bowl of ice cream, or a salad, why am I eating it? What purpose is it serving?  

Begin this week to get conscious of your food and your life. Maybe you already are, and I applaud you.

Noticing what you eat and why you eat it, and why you do anything you do, is interesting. It gives you the opportunity to make any corrections that seem appropriate.

I’m here if you need me.

Much love,
Carol

“When you speak to yourself, let your interior dialogue be confident, optimistic, and visionary. Dare to live the life most people only fantasize about.”—Matthew Kelly, The Rhythm of Life

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 onion?

Scallions are the younger version of green onions. The bulb of a scallion is about the same width as the green stem. The bulb of a green onion is slightly wider than the stem and is ovular in shape.  

This makes sense, since the green onion has spent more time in the ground.

They are 89% water and provide some fiber, a few micronutrients, antioxidants, and beneficial plant compounds.

You can probably use scallions and green onions interchangeably in any recipe, since young onions taste about the same.

Scallions are great in salads, stir-fries, soups and stews. They also make a nice garnish.

They are one of the first crops to plant and harvest come spring. Living on the farm, I remember my dad loving his raw green onions and eating them as a serving of vegetables with any meal.

He stayed pretty healthy too.

 

As we move into another year, I’m grateful for you. Thank you for following my blog week after week and taking steps to implement health and well-being into your daily routines.

With so much information available, it’s often challenging to sort fact from fiction. I relay to you that which makes the most sense, based on my years of ongoing study.

Together we practice the art of living well. And although it is an art that will never be perfected, we always strive to do a little bit better.

In 2021, I plan to have more fun Zoom Kitchen Coaching escapades, continue 1:1 and group coaching, and keep on writing.

What are some of your plans? Share them with me, if you feel so inclined.

You may hear a friend say that he/she is going to soon begin an exercise program, lose weight, and live healthier. Perhaps you’ve heard that person say this to you for as long as you can remember.

Here’s the next question: What is different this time?

Unless something is radically different, you can assure them that come December 31, 2021, you’ll be hearing the same statement.

 Making radical changes can be rather uncomfortable.

 Take a stand for your friend. Give them my name. A year from now they’ll be thanking you, as they too, practice the art of living well.

May 2021 bring you much health, happiness, and love.

In gratitude,
Carol

“Whether you are sixteen or sixty, the rest of your life is ahead of you. You cannot change one moment of your past, but you can change your whole future. Now is your time.”—Matthew Kelly, The Rhythm of Life

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