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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

Crown Point, IN

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April 11, 2024

Angelos Update and Green Thumb Time

If you’ve been following my blog for a few years, you may recall my weekly posts that were written comparing the size of my friend’s baby in utero

April 4, 2024

Tips to Get Past the Springtime Slump

Lately, I have this great desire to take a nap every afternoon around…well, anytime between 2 and 5. What is the deal with THAT? Can you relate? One

March 28, 2024

The Miracle of Breath and Easter

Today while I was busy breathing, doing my best to focus on my breath and not what I would blog about this week, I was flooded with a thought that sho

March 21, 2024

Celebrating the Spring Equinox

This year the spring equinox occurred on March 19 at 11:06 P.M. EDT. That was the astronomical beginning of the spring season in the Northern Hemisph

March 14, 2024

10 Muscle Building Tips for Women

Most women I talk with would like to build more muscle and lose more fat. While strength or resistance training is a key component to building muscle,

March 7, 2024

A Taste of Spring

In case you’ve been missing out on some of the most delectable oranges, this is your friendly reminder that we are in the midst of SUMO season. This

February 29, 2024

10 Healthy Snacks for Busy People

My family loves snacks. I love snacks. Who doesn’t love a good snack? I believe snacking can be an important part of a healthy lifestyle. When you c

February 21, 2024

Saving Dough and a Surprise Cake from Mr. Non-Compliant

Some say it’s expensive to eat healthy. I believe it’s even more expensive, especially in the long run, to eat unhealthy. Today I present some tip

February 14, 2024

My Best Workout Tip for Top Results

Ever wonder how to get the most out of your run or walk or strength training workouts? It’s the same way you can feel the most productive about your

February 8, 2024

Celebrating the Birth Month Without FOGO

This year’s birth month is a rare one because I get to celebrate for 29 days. Those of you who get 30, or if you’re REALLY lucky, 31 days, may not

Delicious Memories and a Recipe

I recently received a head of green cabbage as a gift. Now, I’m not one to buy cabbage, although I like it on occasion.

Roasting it seemed like a good idea, so I sliced it in rather thin wedges, placed the wedges in a single layer on my pan, and sprinkled with extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes.

After about 30 minutes, in a 400 degree oven, I had some pretty tasty roasted cabbage.

A day or so later I was faced with the leftovers. Recalling that my Slovakian grandma used to make a noodle and cabbage dish that was wonderful, I decided to make something similar. 

I sautéed the leftover roasted cabbage in a skillet with some cooked rice noodles. Pretty good stuff. This was a quick and easy dish that brought back a delicious memory.

Last week, I decided to make the more traditional dish. It took a bit more time and was definitely worth it. I had plenty for a couple meals as a side dish.

This is a rediscovered comfort food for me. It’s not quite like grandma’s, as she used to even make her noodles! It’s good enough, and I find it to be very delicious and satisfying.

Here’s my version of a recipe that I found. Hope you enjoy it!

Haluski—Cabbage and Noodles

  • 1/3 cup butter or so, divided (or Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)
  • 1 small head of cabbage, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A couple handfuls of your favorite noodles, cooked according to package directions and drained
  • Sweet paprika (optional)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Melt about half of the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat; cook and stir onions until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Cook and stir remaining butter and cabbage into onions until cabbage is softened but not browned, 5 to 8 more minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Add the cooked noodles and stir gently to combine. Place the mixture into a buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle with paprika, if desired. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown on top, 30 to 40 minutes.

Notes: I used Thai Kitchen stir-fry rice noodles and they worked great. The suggested noodle is medium-wide egg noodles. Of course, you could use homemade noodles if you have them. Adjust the amount of noodles according to your personal preference. 

In case you’re wondering, cabbage belongs to the same group as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale, known as the Brassica family. 

It is inexpensive, easy to store, and is an excellent source of vitamins C and K, folate, and a great source of protective phytochemicals.

I highly recommend that you give Haluski (some version) a try. You may have a new comfort food to help get you through the chilly months ahead.

Sending love,
Carol

“I grew up in Austria, and for me real comfort food is Wiener Schnitzel. Wiener Schnitzel and mashed potatoes because it reminds me of my youth… It reminds me when I grow up and it feels very comforting.”—Wolfgang Puck

Love Chocolate

The good news is that chocolate is actually healthy for us.

The bad news is that we must be selective in the quality of chocolate we choose in order for it to work to our benefit. Lots of chocolate on the market is not nutritious and can work against us.

So, before you go out and start chomping on handfuls of M&M’s, keep reading. (Yes, Mr. Non-Compliant, this means YOU!)

High quality dark chocolate of at least 70% cocoa (or cacao) contains an assortment of minerals, including manganese, copper, and magnesium. (I’m using cocoa and cacao interchangeably here, although there are slight differences.)

In the same way that whole foods offer the best form of nutrients, so does pure cacao.

A serving of 100% cacao powder (2½ tablespoons) contains 4 grams of protein, 49mg of caffeine, and 195mg of flavanols.

The flavanols in cocoa can protect against sun damage, improve blood flow to the skin, and increase skin density and hydration. (This is in addition to your current skin care routine.)

In spite of this, may I suggest that you not take your chocolate treats to the beach on a hot summer day.

Cocoa antioxidants boost heart health when eaten in moderate amounts, about one ounce, several times a week. These same powerful antioxidants are found in blueberries and acai berries.

A regular treat of a square or two can reduce stress hormones, help lower blood pressure, and improve circulation.

Chocolate may even improve brain function by increasing blood flow to the brain.

Minimally processed with few added ingredients and low sugar, dark chocolate is a treat that makes lots of people happy. It also contains unique natural substances that create a sense of euphoria similar to the feeling of being in love.

People all across the globe would benefit from eating some chocolate. My friend Barb stated, “A day without chocolate is like a day without sunshine.” There you have it.

At your next gathering, consider offering a snack or dessert tray with assorted berries, nuts, and squares of dark chocolate. There are a variety of chocolate bar brands that comply. You could even make your own Chocolate Nut Clusters using a dark chocolate that best suits your taste buds, increasing the cacao amount as you get used to the richer chocolate flavor.

I like to make a hot cocoa drink with oat milk (use your milk of choice), about a tablespoonful of 100% cacao powder, a scoop of collagen, and a dash of pure maple syrup. It’s a treat that satisfies as well as offers lots of nutrients.

In summary, the higher the cacao amount in your chocolate, the lower the sugar content and the greater the health benefits. Keep serving size to about an ounce.

Remember, you can train your taste buds over time. You cannot train the taste buds of your loved ones (unwillingly), unless you’re very, very sneaky.

Grateful for chocolate,
Carol

 “Chocolate comes from cocoa, which is a tree that makes it a plant. Chocolate is salad.”–Anonymous

 

Chocolate Nut Clusters

1 cup bittersweet (at least 70% cacao) chocolate, chopped or wafers
1 cup raw almonds                                                                                                                         

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the almonds out in a single layer on the sheet. Toast in the oven until golden brown and aromatic, about 15 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Bring a few inches of water to boil in the bottom half of a double boiler. Place the chocolate in the top half of the double boiler and set it on the bottom half. Heat, stirring frequently, until the chocolate is almost melted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk until completely melted. Add the almonds and stir to combine.

Drop the nut clusters by spoonful onto a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Allow to cool and harden. May refrigerate to speed up the process. Store in an airtight container in layers separated by wax paper for up to 2 weeks.

Any raw nut or combination may be substituted for the almonds. Toasted unsweetened coconut flakes may also be added. Higher quality chocolate results in tastier clusters.

This recipe first appeared in the February 2021 issue of Get Healthy, a publication of The Northwest Indiana Times. 

Rice Substitutes and Recipes

While rice is a staple food item around the world, there may be those occasions when a substitute is in order.

Whether you’re looking to have more variety, increase your protein, or decrease carbohydrate intake, there are a number of other options.

  1. Riced cauliflower. Not my favorite, however most everyone I know loves this stuff. You can buy it already riced in the frozen foods section of most grocery stores. You can also make your own by chopping a head of cauliflower into several pieces then grating them with a box grater. Sauté in a bit of extra virgin olive or avocado oil over medium heat until tender and lightly browned, then season to your liking. A ½ cup serving has only 13 calories compared with 100 calories for white rice. You also get the benefits of counting this as a vegetable serving. 
  2. Riced broccoli. Like it’s buddy cauliflower, broccoli can also be riced. Prepare the same way. I think I may like this alternative, since broccoli is one of my favorites. It adds eye appeal to your dinner plate, especially if you’re serving chicken or a white fish. ½ cup has about 15 calories and 2 grams of fiber.
  3. Quinoa. ½ cup of this offers 4 grams of complete protein and tastes like a grain. I recommend adding some fresh chopped vegetables and a simple dressing to make a side dish or even a main dish by adding chicken or beans. Serve it warm or chilled. I’ve tried eating it plain, like rice, and it’s a bit too dull for my liking. Quinoa is also gluten free. Click here for a quinoa salad recipe.
  4. Chopped cabbage. Another healthy vegetable alternative that’s low in carbs and calories. Choose purple or green, finely chop, sauté, and season. I’ve also cut it in ½” thin wedges, placed in a single layer on a pan, and roasted in the oven. Before roasting, season the cabbage with extra virgin olive oil, Kosher salt, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. Bake for 30 minutes in a 400°F oven, or until it’s golden brown and forks tender.

Other possibilities include whole-wheat couscous (pasta), barley (grain), whole-wheat orzo (pasta), farro (whole grain wheat), and bulgur wheat (grain, commonly used in tabbouleh). The grains add a nutty, earthy taste and chewy texture to your dishes. The whole-wheat pastas contain fiber and protein.

If these, as well as unusual rice varieties, are not available in your local grocery, try online. 

As you can see by the photo, Mr. Non-Compliant and I enjoy a rice substitute (purple cabbage) as well as white rice. Lemon chicken took the stage with these sides.

Eating well must never be boring. I challenge you to experience a new (simple) food adventure in the coming week.

Much love,
Carol

“Good food is very often, even most often, simple food.”—Anthony Bourdain