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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

Crown Point, IN

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May 6, 2021

The Gluten Thing: Fad or Fact, Final Week

Today I’m going to wrap up this topic. Not because I’ve covered everything that there is to know about gluten, but because there are other topics

April 29, 2021

The Gluten Thing: Fad or Fact, Part 2

How do you know if you have a gluten issue? It’s possible that you may eat foods containing gluten and not experience any significant digestive issu

April 23, 2021

Veggie Stuffed Turkey Burgers

(The following recipe first appeared in the September 2020 issue of Get Healthy, a publication of The Northwest Indiana Times.) Ingredients: 1 tablesp

April 22, 2021

The Gluten Thing: Fad or Fact, Part 1

What are your thoughts on gluten? Do you eat it, or not? Why are so many people talking about it these days? Just this week I received a call from a f

April 15, 2021

Anchor Habits, Being Still, and My Resident Rabbit

It almost feels as though our world is sort of opening up again. For now. How very indefinite. At any rate, prior to everything shutting down, perhaps

April 8, 2021

3 Reasons Why Losing Weight is Hard

It seems like such a simple concept. Expend more calories than you eat, and BOOM. Off go the pounds. Not so fast. There are lots of reasons why it’s

April 1, 2021

He’s Here, and He’s Adorable

This is week #39 of baby, and guess what? He arrived! Little Angelos is perfect and looks like a little angel—well-dressed in monogrammed attire wit

March 26, 2021

Leek, Potato and Zucchini Hot Cakes

Ingredients: 1 medium potato 2 cups sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only)                                             

March 24, 2021

For the Love of Leeks, and Hot Cakes

It’s the week of the leek. From the looks of the leek I have in my fridge, it’s a good thing that at week #38, baby is about to make his grand wor

March 18, 2021

Swiss Chard, Your Refrigerator, and Advice from Julia

As we close in on this journey at week #37, baby is the size of a bunch of Swiss chard.  Swiss chard falls under the extremely nutrient dense umbrell

For the Love of Leeks, and Hot Cakes

It’s the week of the leek. From the looks of the leek I have in my fridge, it’s a good thing that at week #38, baby is about to make his grand worldly entrance.

Pictured, is me holding a typical leek. Yes, it resembles a giant green onion. 

Leeks belong to the same family as onions, chives, scallions, garlic, and shallots.

They have a mild, somewhat sweet flavor, and acquire a creamy texture when cooked.

The first time I took notice of the leek, I was in San Francisco trying to dine at Postrio, a Wolfgang Puck restaurant. There was no way to get in for dinner, so we sat at the bar and ordered a leek and shrimp pizza.

It was AMAZING!

I immediately worked to recreate it when I returned to my kitchen. I came up with a Chèvre (goat cheese), Leek and Shrimp Pizza that was pretty tasty. That was about 30+ years ago. Postrio closed in 2009.

As luck would have it, I found a fairly simple “comfort food” leek recipe to share. I’m planning to make it Friday to accompany my fish.

Of course, leeks are very nutritious, extremely low in calories, and very versatile, like onions.

The greatest adventure in working with leeks is cleaning the mud out between the layers. This step is critical so that you don’t find dirt or grit in your dish.

To clean them, cut off the hair-like end and most of the tough green parts from the other end. Then slice them in half, from top to bottom. Fan out the layers and rinse under running water to remove any dirt or grit.

Another way I’ve done it is to cut off both ends as above, then chop so that I have rings of the leek, the same way I’d cut a green onion. I then separate those leek ringlets in a colander and rinse well.Choose whichever way is best for your recipe. 

There are many ways to use leeks: in tarts; potato and leek soup (a classic from Julia Child); sauté and top your pizza or burger; roast with other veggies; add to pasta; any way you’d use an onion.

Leek, Potato and Zucchini Hot Cakes

1 medium potato
2 cups sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only)
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/4 cup flour or gluten-free flour
1 egg, slightly beaten
1-2 tsp dried red chili flakes (according to your “heat” preference)
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the potato until it’s tender enough to pierce through with a fork, about 40-45 minutes.

Boil a saucepan of salted water and add the sliced leeks and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and wrap in a tea towel; wring out any extra moisture. Set aside.

Drain the shredded zucchini of its moisture. Wrap in a tea towel and wring it as well. Set aside.

Once the potato is cooked, peel it and roughly mash it.

Mix all the ingredients together and season to taste.

Make patties from the mixture. Heat about 2 Tbsp. oil in a skillet. When hot, gently drop the patties into the oil (medium heat), flatten with a spatula and let cook until nicely browned on both sides. Remove and drain on paper towels. (Recipe derived from nodesserts blog)

Plain Greek yogurt or sour cream with dill makes a nice dipping sauce to accompany these.

Bon appétit!

Much love,
Carol

 “Labor is the only blind date where you know you will meet the love of your life.”–babycenter

Swiss Chard, Your Refrigerator, and Advice from Julia

As we close in on this journey at week #37, baby is the size of a bunch of Swiss chard. 

Swiss chard falls under the extremely nutrient dense umbrella of dark, leafy greens. Kale is often thought of as king of the kingdom; however, this vegetable is so impressive, I think it knocks kale off the throne.

For starters, it tastes better. Swiss chard is not as bitter as kale. The stems are slightly sweet and have a similar taste and texture to bok choy stems. Chard leaves are mild, like spinach.

It’s high in antioxidants, vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, sodium, phosphorus and vitamin E.

Definitely impressive. But wait; there’s more.     

Chard’s high fiber content aids in weight loss and helps improve blood sugar control. It benefits heart health, and the vitamin K aids in blood clotting and increased bone density.

Next trip to the grocery, Swiss chard is coming home with me. I’ve not been tuned in to this great green prior to our journey through the baby development garden.

Speaking of gardens, it can grow in poor soil and has a low requirement for water and light. There are something like 45 varieties (who knew?) with assorted stem colors that would brighten up any meal.

Ways to Add Swiss Chard to Your Life

  • Add to tossed green salad
  • Put a handful in your smoothie (you won’t taste it and you’ll supercharge your drink)
  • Top a pizza with Swiss chard, mozzarella and tomatoes
  • Toss wilted leaves into pasta dishes
  • Add to your frittata
  • Sauté it in coconut oil and add to your scrambled eggs
  • Use it instead of basil when making pesto
  • Stuff a chicken breast with Swiss chard and goat cheese
  • Add to hearty soups and stews
  • Use it instead of spinach in any of your favorite dishes
  • Sauté with garlic as a side dish

 Time to Spring Clean Your Refrigerator

Unless you do this on a weekly basis the day before garbage day, now is a good time to clean out your fridge. It can be quite a rude awakening to discover a scary experiment or two growing in a hidden corner.

Toss any outdated items and mystery sauces hiding out in those take-out containers and packets. Wipe the drawers, shelves, and sides of the internal compartment with a mild solution of your dish soap and water or mix a solution of one-part baking soda and seven parts water. Stay away from commercial cleaners that could transfer scent or chemicals to your food.   

If the thought of cleaning out your entire fridge feels like too much at once, break it into smaller projects. It may be easier to clean out a couple shelves or compartments a day. You may even feel inspired to move on to the freezer.

When you restock, stick with as many fresh whole foods as possible. Beware of foods with mile-long ingredient labels that you need cheaters to read. Use this opportunity to expand your vegetable wardrobe, starting with a bunch of Swiss chard.

Could you use some help getting back on your fitness track? Working your plan and still feeling stuck? Have you had success with a restrictive eating plan or diet and need help transitioning to a more varied menu?

Email me today. Those sizzling summer fashions are waiting for you.

Much love,
Carol

“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces—just good food from fresh ingredients.”—Julia Child

Remarkable Romaine and Feeling Zen

It is week #36 for baby and he is the size of a head of remarkable romaine lettuce. Yes, if I haven’t mentioned it before, my friend will soon be the mom of a BOY!

Some may think that romaine is as low in nutrients as basic iceberg lettuce– which is not that exciting to the health-conscious world.

Not so.

Romaine is a good source of vitamins A and C. When it comes to greens, the darker green, the more nutrients, so it does lag behind some other leafy counterparts.

Famous for its crunch, some of the best salads are those that combine the dark green goodness of spinach or kale with romaine. They all get along famously in the bowl.   

Top benefits of romaine include:

*Immunity booster

*Helps heart health

*Helps prevent bone loss

*Promotes healthy eyesight

*Helps heal skin and prevent premature aging

*Helps maintain a healthy pregnancy (due to folate)

*May aid with weight loss

*Helps with digestion and intestinal health (high fiber, mineral and water content)

Obviously, this is another great vegetable to add to your vegetable crisper and to your diet. The most nutrient dense parts are the green leaves. The stalks add the crunch.   

Besides eating romaine in a salad, the enormous leaves make a great sandwich wrap for those who prefer to eat less bread. They add a nutritious crunch to a regular sandwich too.

Add to your smoothie (you won’t taste it) or try grilling or roasting it for a unique flavor.

When choosing your romaine, look for leaves that are sturdy and not brown or yellow. Organic is preferable when available, since it’s easy for the leaves to absorb chemicals and pesticides.

Romaine will keep 5-7 days in your fridge.

How are you today? Really.

Yes, REALLY. How well (or not) are you doing life these days?

There’s a Deep Health Questionnaire that goes surprisingly—deep. When we’re looking to lose weight, have more energy, and enjoy life, there’s much more that determines the outcome than just the food.

Please don’t misunderstand. Food is foundational. And then there’s more… 

A few questions from the questionnaire:

  1. How has your general mood and outlook been lately? Answers can be anywhere on a scale from 1 (utterly miserable) to 10 (hooray for EVERYTHING!)
  2. How supported do you feel right now by the people around you? Scale from 1 (utterly alone) to 10 (Go Team!)
  3. How calm and focused are you today? Scale from 1 (Freaking out and frazzled) to 10 (Zen Master) 

Perhaps, depending on how you answered the sample questions, you may do well to carve out 10 or 15 minutes of quiet solitude each day. Many people are bombarded with noise and never allow time to consider what is happening in their lives.

All of this affects your weight, health, and ability to fight off illness.

If you’d like to take the complete Deep Health Questionnaire and see where you might like to make some improvements, let me know.

Now is a great time to begin.

Much love,
Carol

“I went to the woods because I wanted to live life deliberately.”–Henry David Thoreau

Honeydew Happiness and More Tips on Sleep

This week baby is the size of a honeydew melon. I think of honeydew as cantaloupe’s cousin. It has a similar shape, only a bit bigger, which explains why it’s the fruit for week #35 and not #34.

Honeydew’s sweet flesh is typically light green, while its skin has a white-yellow tone.

To find a sweet one, shake it. If you hear and feel the seeds inside jiggling around, you’ve got a winner. The rind should be smooth and waxy and bright, creamy yellow in color. It should also smell like fragrant flowers. Find the blossom end, which is opposite the end where it was attached to the vine. Give it a press with your thumb and it should feel slightly springy, with a little give.

Your melon will not ripen once it’s cut from the vine, so what you bring home is as good as it gets. 

Before cutting it, wash the rind well. Refrigerate.

Honeydew is full of nutrients and is a healthy addition to your diet.

Benefits of Eating Honeydew

*May help reduce blood pressure because it is low in sodium and high in potassium.

*It helps bone health due to folate, vitamin K, and magnesium.

*Fiber in the fruit may help control blood sugar levels over time and aid in digestive health.

*Electrolytes in the melon help hydrate better than water alone.

*Vitamin C content helps support immune function.

*Honeydew melon contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that are known to support healthy eyes and vision.

This fruit is easy to add to your diet. It’s great alone or added to many different dishes, including salad, salsa, smoothies, soup or dessert.

It may be tricky to find a ripe one out of season. Hang in there, summer’s coming.

It’s National Sleep Awareness Month

This month, most of the country moves the clocks forward for Daylight Saving Time. March 14th is the date for us to spring ahead and lose that sacred hour of sleep.

That single hour really does make a difference, and many people feel out of whack for a couple weeks.

Not only can that lost hour make you feel groggy and irritable, studies have found that both heart attacks and fatal car accidents increase after the spring shift to Daylight Saving Time.

Here are 4 tips to help make the time change a bit easier on you. 

  1. Start preparing a few days early. About a week before “springing forward,” start going to bed 15 to 30 minutes earlier than your usual bedtime. Your body needs that bit of extra time to make up for the lost hour.
  2. Stick to your schedule. Be consistent with eating, social, bed and exercise times during the transition to Daylight Saving Time. Exposing yourself to the bright light in the morning will also help you adjust.
  3. Don’t take long naps. Shutting your eyes mid-day is tempting, especially if you’re feeling sluggish. A long daytime nap could make it harder to get a full night’s sleep. If you must take a nap in order to get through your day, take it early and for no longer than 20 minutes.
  4. Avoid coffee and alcohol. Avoid coffee and caffeinated beverages four to six hours before bedtime. Alcohol also prohibits you from getting quality sleep, so avoid it late at night.

Remember last week’s tip to put that phone away 30 minutes before bedtime. Practice slowing down so that your body can relax.

Much love,
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