1-219-765-8600

carol@inkwellcoaching.com

Crown Point, IN

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October 21, 2021

The “No Diet” Approach to Health

As promised last week, I’ll present the last 5 principles of Intuitive Eating. In review, the first five are: Reject the Diet Mentality Honor Your H

October 14, 2021

Diets vs. Intuitive Eating

Diet: a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one’s weight; to eat sparingly or according to prescribed rules. (Merriam-Webs

October 7, 2021

This Weather is Making Me Tired

Some of us haven’t seen the sun in…well, days. There’s been so much rain that I’ve been looking around town to see if anyone is building an ar

September 30, 2021

Knocking Excuses Down for the Loss

If you’ve been reading my blog for the past year, you probably recall the weekly countdown to the birth of baby Angelos. We followed his size in the

September 23, 2021

Have Fun While Staying the Course

Yes, it truly is possible to do both. Many believe it’s an EITHER, OR situation. This past week I received the following text: “Down 1 pound 🙂

September 16, 2021

Celebrate September with Food

Now that we’ve gotten past the almost official end of summer, Labor Day weekend, thoughts of pumpkins and turkeys begin to dance in our heads. Not.

September 9, 2021

Pinky, the Ice Cream Truck

Last Sunday I was outside and heard the familiar sound of an ice cream truck in the neighborhood. I hadn’t seen one of these in…well, quite a long

September 2, 2021

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 go

August 26, 2021

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 f

August 23, 2021

Chocolate Nut Clusters

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

Best Brownies and Bad Berries

First topic: Bad Berries

We have some trees in our yard that currently produce small, purple, inedible berries. They’re a nuisance.

The birds eat them. Consequently, our brick patio has lots of evidence that this occurs.

During these delightful summer days, I often use our backyard patio as my office. It’s secluded and is a great spot for working and writing.

As I was typing out the Best Brownie recipe, after having cleaned off my outdoor “desk” of all the purple droppings, I got splattered with more purple bird poop as it hit the table.

REALLY?

Go ahead and laugh. It wasn’t even 5 minutes after having completed my cleaning that this incident occurred.

At least it didn’t land in my hair, which is the WORST. I know this from personal experience.

Isn’t it lucky or something when a bird poops on your head?

Or something. It’s a nasty mess. A similar event happened to my friend Dave as we were on our way to take a pharmacy final back in our college days. His textbook got nailed. 

Keep in mind that lots of other “good” berries: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, are in their peak season and offer lots of nutritional and health benefits. They’re low in natural sugars and wonderful any way you choose to enjoy them.

Second Topic: Best Brownies

I’ve uploaded this recipe and thought it’d be fun to give you some background info on why these brownies may not be as “bad” as you think.   

To be clear, just because a food is gluten or dairy-free does not mean it offers any real nutritional value. GF, DF junk food is still junk food.

These brownies fall under the category of “if you’re going to eat something that does not serve your heath, it had better be AMAZING!”   

These are.

And here’s a look at why they’re a bit “better” (health wise) than other alternatives, such as store or bakery bought versions.

  • When you make a treat at home, you’re omitting the chemicals and preservatives.
  • I use organic ingredients whenever possible in order to minimize additional chemicals.
  • I’ve altered the original recipe, reducing the sugar by 10%, and also cutting the amount of chocolate chips. You could omit the chips to cut down on even more sugar.
  • Extra virgin olive oil is full of health benefits, and no one will know that you’ve used olive oil—at least I’ve never had anyone tell me that the brownies reminded them of eating olives.
  • For those who are on a gluten and dairy-free regimen, these are miraculously delicious. Of course, you could use regular flour and your favorite brand of chocolate chips if you are not one of those people.
  • Cacao vs. Cocoa. Cacao is minimally processed, containing an abundance of minerals. Dutch-process cocoa has been treated with an alkaline solution to reduce its acidity. This takes away the bitter edge off the cacao bean and also decreases health benefits. They can be used interchangeably in recipes.
  • I cut these into fairly small pieces, so that I can have more than one and still eat less. It’s a psychological thing. The original recipe yields 16 brownies. I may get 24 or so. Also, they live in my freezer so that it’s a more conscious decision for me to have a treat.     

Click here for The Best Dark Fudgy Brownies.         

Wishing you a delightful summer weekend.

Much love,
Carol

“I’ve learned that you know your husband still loves you when there are two brownies left and he takes the smaller one.”—H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

The Best Dark Fudgy Brownies

The Best Dark Fudgy Brownies
(That happen to be gluten and dairy-free)                 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2/3 cup cacao powder or Dutch-process cocoa
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1 cup gluten-free flour (I like Namaste or King Arthur brands)
  • ½ cup dairy-free dark chocolate chips (optional)
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons water

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil/grease an 8” or 9” square pan. Whisk together cocoa, sugar, salt, baking powder, flour, and chips. Stir in eggs, oil, and water. Mix until well blended. Using a rubber scraper, scoop the mixture into pan, smoothing the top. Bake brownies for 45 minutes (for 8” pan) or 35 minutes (for 9” pan), until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Cool on a rack for about 1 hour before slicing.

If using a glass pan, reduce baking temperature to 325°F and bake 5-10 minutes less.

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 which focuses on providing reliably great-tasting fruit—as opposed to a high yield and long shelf-life.

Choosing a delicious melon can be a gamble, even when following the tasty melon guidelines. 

Have you ever brought home what you thought to be a great-tasting melon or peach, only to sink your teeth into a piece of mush? UGH!

Since this company prides itself on controlling the growing, shipping and marketing of their produce, I feel a bit more confident tossing their fruit in my buggy. There were even tips on the label to help me find a ripe melon.

ripe cantaloupe will have beige, tan, creamy yellow or golden rind. Green rind indicates that the fruit is unripe.

I found these cantaloupes at Costco, two per net bag. It’s the “one for now, one for later” principle. Since they both smelled ripe, I put my second one in the fridge (intact) to keep it from getting overly so.

Dulcinea Farms produces a variety of melons (including mini-seedless watermelons), grapes, cherries, peaches, nectarines, plums, and oranges. If you spot fruit with their sticker, you may want to give some a try.

While their produce may be a bit pricier than other brands, your tastebuds may tell you it’s worth it.

Remember to always wash the outside of your melons before cutting them in order to avoid spreading any bacteria to the inner fruit.

Here’s a summer salad that fits the criteria of healthy, light, tasty, simple. (I found a salad using cantaloupe, but it was much more complex. Never mind.)

Dulcinea® Pureheart® Watermelon Mediterranean Salad (Yields 6 servings)

  • 5-oz bag Baby Romaine lettuce
  • 3/4 cups crumbled goat cheese
  • 2 cups cubed Dulcinea® PureHeart® Mini Seedless Watermelon
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cups walnut pieces (optional)

Toss lettuce, cheese and watermelon in serving bowl. Whisk oil and vinegar in small bowl until well blended, season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss salad with dressing. Top salad with walnuts, if desired. 

Note: White balsamic vinegar has a sweet, subtle flavor and a clean color. This vinegar is mainly used in marinades, salad dressings and light-colored sauces. It is aged up to 12 years. Oxidation may occur over time, causing a darkening of the lighter product from gold to deep amber. The quality is not affected. Dark balsamic vinegar is considered to be the real balsamic and is the most commonly used vinegar. It’s aged for a minimum of 12 years. Both types are made from white grapes, usually Trebbiano, grown in Modeno, Italy.

If you’re trying to lose weight, I know that it can be complicated. I’ll help you simplify the process and even eat your favorite foods. Give me a call. 219-765-8600.

Much love,
Carol

 “The longer it takes you to select a cantaloupe, the worse it is!” — Kin Hubbard

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. Corn (aka Roger) from Florida. He and his wife had tickets to a Sox game, however I know he really came back home for some Midwestern corn. Oh, and to visit his darling cousin.

Sweet corn is a favorite food of his. My dad used to say that if the corn wasn’t picked while the water was already boiling, it wasn’t fit to eat.

Mr. Corn would agree. He is a corn expert and I refer to him as “keeper of the corn.” Whenever we eat corn, the cooked ears are kept in a cooler to stay hot, and all ears are distributed by him.   

Since many folks embrace corn as their favorite vegetable, I thought you might enjoy learning a bit more about those irresistible little kernels.

Corn is one of the most popular cereal grains and is primarily composed of carbohydrates. It also has a fair amount of fiber, mostly insoluble—meaning it does not dissolve in water and is left intact and undigested.

Organic corn is a high-antioxidant food (a good thing), and is a source of protein, vitamin C, certain B vitamins, potassium, and magnesium.

Because it is a complex carbohydrate food that is also high in fiber, it supports steady energy levels, and ranks low or medium on the glycemic index scale.

It is naturally gluten free and can be a good substitute for wheat or other gluten-containing foods.

I can hear Mr. Corn now. “See, I always knew it was good for me.” Yes, he and my Mr. Non-Compliant husband stick together.

When corn is genetically modified (GMO), and about 88% of all corn grown in the U.S. is, there are health concerns. Some of these include:

  • Changes in gut environment
  • Increased risk for antibiotic resistance
  • Problems with endocrine and reproductive systems
  • Increased aging symptoms

Here’s the good news. Sweet corn, the kind we usually eat whole, off the cob, is mostly Non-GMO corn.

Field corn, the kind used to make corn oil, high fructose corn syrup, livestock feed, and many chemical ingredients that are added to packaged, processed foods, is usually GMO.

There are a variety of ways to cook corn on the cob. I usually cook the shucked, silk-free ears in a large pot of boiling water for about 10 minutes.

Organic, non-GMO corn can be a part of an otherwise balanced and healthy diet, but the same can’t be said for GMO and processed derivative ingredients.   

As for Mr. Corn, I hope he gets his fill while he’s back home in Indiana. Florida is not famous for its corn crop. And we only eat it when it’s amazing.

Much love to Roger and to you,
Carol

“Corn on the cob is a carrier for salt and butter.”—Roger Ash