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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

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 special charm of its own.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, they are smaller than peaches and share the tartness of purple plums.

They have been showing up frequently in my local grocery, so I decided to do a bit of research on these golden beauties.

More than 90% of the apricots grown in the United States come from California. The season runs from late April to the end of July.

Now is their time.

Of course, apricots have many nutritional benefits.       

They contain fiber, potassium, loads of antioxidants, are very hydrating, and may contribute to improved eye, skin, and gut health.

When selecting your apricots, be gentle. DO NOT SQUEEZE THEM! A light touch will tell you if they are firm or soft.

Ripe apricots yield slightly to the touch. Those that are very soft are overripe. Look for small fruit for the sweetest and best flavor.

A ripe apricot will be fuzzy and soft on the outside. It will have a deep orange or yellow hue, but you might also notice a red or rosy tinge to the skin. Those that have a green tint or are light yellow are underripe.

If they smell delicious, they probably are. They are perfect when you can break one open easily with a slight twist.

Store ripe apricots in the produce drawer of your refrigerator. If you find that they are a bit underripe, keep them at room temperature until they are just right.

Purists will enjoy these “au naturel.”

For something a bit more exciting, split them open, remove the pits and fill the soft hollow with rich strained yogurt drizzled with honey and topped with toasted, slivered almonds.

You can substitute them for peaches or plums in most recipes.

Apricot marmalade is quite a treat and makes a tasty glaze on pork near the end of grilling time.   

If you haven’t tried an apricot lately, take the apricot challenge and buy a few. The more variety we have in our diets, the better.

Cheers to trying something new,
Carol

“Five tender apricots in a blue bowl, a brief and exact promise of things to come.” –Frances Mayes

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 likes her version even better than the original.

Since it was simple to make and extremely yummy, I got permission to share her Spicy Chicken Rigatoni with Gorgonzola Sauce with you. Thanks, Chef Lynn!

Here’s the direct link to the recipe: Chef Lynn’s Spicy Chicken Rigatoni with Gorgonzola Sauce

Oh, and I made notes on how to make it without dairy and gluten too.

 It’s the month of summer, strawberries and peonies.

Be on the lookout for farmer’s markets to get your freshest local berries and other produce. I have 3 strawberry plants in my garden; however, I have to be quick in order to beat the bunny family to them.

I think it’s time I put up a small garden fence.       

My peonies are in full bloom for the next couple weeks. We transplanted them from the farm when my parents moved here over 20 years ago.

Mom used to fill as many vases as she had with peonies for the house. I take after my mom.

It’s a great month to spend some time sitting on a porch or patio and watching the world (or bunnies) go by. The bugs and humidity haven’t shown up to the party yet.

June 14th is flag day, so if you need to update your flag, you have plenty of time.

June 20th is Father’s Day and Summer Solstice—the first official day of summer. The Spicy Chicken Rigatoni can be made ahead of time for your celebrations.

Enjoy your June.

Much love,
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

Chef Lynn’s Spicy Chicken Rigatoni with Gorgonzola Sauce

This is Chef Lynn’s version of her favorite dish at Popolano’s, one that she likes even better than the original. While it looks like lots of steps at first glance, the most time consuming task is combining all the seasonings to coat the chicken. Another bonus: other than the pot to cook the pasta, you only need one skillet to make this dish. Makes 4-6 servings. (I have permission to share her recipe.)

I’ve made some notes about substitutions below. While we discussed making this healthier, she makes it so rarely that we are going with the “only eat it if it’s amazing” principle. Portion control is also a great way to enjoy this pasta dish and stick with a healthy eating plan.

Ingredients:
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 lbs. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground Black Pepper
1 Tbsp Basil
1 Tbsp Oregano
1 Tbsp Thyme
1/4 tsp Ground Rosemary
1 tsp crushed Red Pepper
1 tsp Chili Powder
1/8 tsp Cumin
2 Tbsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 lb. Mushrooms, sliced
1 Shallot, minced
3/4 cup low sodium Chicken Broth/Stock
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
4 oz Gorgonzola Cheese
1 oz fresh Parmesan Cheese
1 oz Romano Cheese
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
2 Tbsp fresh Parsley, chopped
3/4 pound rigatoni

Instructions:
Mix the salt, black pepper, basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, red pepper, chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic and onion powders in a large bowl. Add the cubed chicken and toss until coated. In a large frying pan, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil over moderate heat. Once hot, add the chicken, brown on all sides and cook until done. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the remaining olive oil to the hot pan, along with the mushrooms and 1/8 tsp salt. Cook for about 3 minutes, just until they start to get a little soft. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set aside with the chicken.

Add the shallot, broth and Worcestershire sauce to the hot pan. Cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan to dislodge any browned bits that cling to the bottom. Simmer until the liquid is reduced to about 1/3 cup, approximately 5 minutes.

Add all of the cheese and cream to the pan along with the chicken, mushrooms and any accumulated juices. Add the parsley and simmer to heat through.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the rigatoni until just done, about 14 minutes. Drain pasta and toss it with the sauce.

Carol’s substitutions (because I didn’t have the right ingredient or require gluten and dairy free)

*Shallot—Finely chopped red or yellow onion, ¼ to ½ cup
*Chicken broth–vegetable broth
*Gorgonzola, Parmesan, Romano cheeses—6 ounces goat cheese
*Heavy Cream—Reconstituted goat milk
*Rigatoni—Gluten-free pasta of your choice cooked according to package directions

Mr. Non-Compliant vs. the Corn Cob Holders

Corn on the cob is one of Mr. Non-Compliant’s (aka my husband’s) favorite foods. Indiana offers the best, come late July and August.

The rest of the year, I sometimes find pretty tasty corn in the grocery store. This past week I discovered some at Whole Foods for 50 cents an ear and decided to splurge on this starchy treat.

Mr. NC was happy, until he experienced a corn on the cob holder incident. As he was eating his nicely buttered and salted ear, the holder slipped off the end of the corn and bit him on the cheek. 

Fortunately, he didn’t require stitches and lost only a small amount of blood. He has recovered quite nicely.

I’ve threatened to take those dangerous corn aids away from him. Maybe I can find some with rubber tips in time for corn eating high season. 🙂

Eat at your own risk.

The Wonder Drug That Isn’t

I have a friend who had to forfeit her exercise regimen this past year due to a variety of circumstances.

She felt horrible—unhealthy, unhappy, and downright gross.

To make matters worse, her love of sugar and other not-so-nutritious foods had scored a starring role in her diet.

And then, she found her way back. She’s now working out 4x a week on her best weeks, and twice a week when things don’t quite go as planned.

She has less pain, more energy, and feels healthier. Because she’s moving again, her diet is improving too.

Getting back into her exercise routine has improved her quality of life, and she hasn’t even been focused on changing her food.

Exercise is life changing. If it could be put into a capsule, it would be the most widely prescribed drug on the planet. 

If your routine isn’t where you’d like it to be, today is the perfect time to begin. You’ll feel better tomorrow.

Have a blessed Memorial Day weekend.

Much love,
Carol

“I believe our flag is more than just cloth and ink. It is a universally recognized symbol that stands for liberty, and freedom. It is the history of our nation, and it’s marked by the blood of those who died defending it.”- John Thune