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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                                           

Lemon Lovelies

These delightful lemon lovelies are dairy free and a childhood favorite of my boys.

  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • ½ cup (1 stick) softened Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Sticks
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together the flour, Earth Balance, and powdered sugar in a bowl. Press the dough into an ungreased 8-inch square pan. Press the dough onto the sides of the pan as well. (Flour your hands if the dough is sticky.) Bake for about 20 minutes. Mix the remaining ingredients together until frothy. Pour over the hot crust. Bake an additional 25 minutes, or until light golden brown. Allow to cool before cutting. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut…and it’s Okay

I think nuts sometimes get a bad rap, and it’s not fair. Nuts of all varieties (almonds, pecans, walnuts, etc.) and seeds (pumpkin, sesame, flax, sunflower) contain protein and therefore provide us with energy. Peanuts are technically not a nut, but a legume.

Nuts and seeds contain mono- and polyunsaturated fats, fiber, folate (a B vitamin), vitamin E, magnesium and potassium. They also contain phytosterols—plant-derived compounds that are similar in structure and function to cholesterol.

Phytosterols actually compete for absorption with cholesterol in the digestive tract, thereby inhibiting the intestinal absorption of cholesterol.

How does all this translate to health? If we are snacking on nuts, we are not snacking on foods that may cause more harm than good, such as candy and fried chips.

A daily intake of nuts/seeds of 1.5 ounces, which is equal to about 3 Tablespoons or a handful, may reduce the risk of heart disease, improve cholesterol levels, and lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Since different nuts provide different benefits, it is good to vary the kind of nuts we consume. Raw, unsalted nuts are the preferred choice. Store in the refrigerator to maintain freshness and keep them from becoming rancid.

And remember, too much of a good thing is not so good. A handful of nuts each day is plenty, especially when trying to lose weight.

Snack idea: mix several varieties of nuts and seeds with a bit of dried fruit and/or dark chocolate chips (the idea here is to keep the sugar content low) as your customized trail mix. Portion it out into small bags or containers that you can take on the go.

 “One secret of life is that the reason life works at all is that not everyone in your tribe is nuts on the same day. Another secret is that laughter is carbonated holiness.” –Anne Lamott

Penne Pasta with Fr. Leo

I recently attended the inaugural Northwest Indiana Catholic Women’s Conference. It was an energizing day spent with over 600 women from the Diocese of Gary, sharing friendship, faith, fun and FOOD!

We enjoyed listening to several speakers, including Bishop Donald J. Hying and Father Leo Patalinghug. What was a bit different, at least from my past retreat experiences, was that part of Father Leo’s presentation occurred while he was cooking.

One of the perks of the retreat was that 10 of us would be chosen at random to enjoy lunch with Bishop Hying, Father Leo, and Father Kevin Huber. How fun! My hope for the past several weeks was to be chosen to enjoy that lunch.

Since I love everything about food–I write about it, eat it, cook it, coach on it, buy it, study it, etc., I really wanted to meet a priest who had competed in a Throwdown with Bobby Flay and WON!

As Father Leo shared words of inspiration and faith, he chopped, sautéed, simmered and stirred. He made penne pasta with vodka sauce.

When it came time to draw the names, I expressed to my friends how much I REALLY wanted to be chosen. As Father Leo called the names and I heard mine, it was as if I’d won the lottery. As far as I was concerned, I had.

The penne pasta was fabulous! It was accompanied with a green salad, boneless chicken breast, bread, butter, sparkling water and red wine. Lunch with my new friends was so much fun, I had to share the story with you.

Father Leo is the driving force behind a movement known as Plating Grace, founded on the belief that shared meals strengthen family relationships and marriages. He travels widely as an inspirational speaker, is an award-winning cook, and has a TV show, all while being a priest.

I left the retreat with nourished body and soul, and two cookbooks written by Father Leo: Grace Before Meals and Spicing Up Married Life. He personalized them for me, and took a selfie of us.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, he beat Bobby with his “Fusion Fajitas” back in June 2009. The recipe is in Grace Before Meals, along with many others that sound delicious and are quick to put together.

This week, I challenge you to throwdown a simple meal and share it with family and/or friends. And remember, it’s about much more than the food.

Bon Appetit!

“In my experience, nothing creates a better environment for a great
conversation than time shared in the kitchen.” –
Fr. Leo

Enjoy National Prime Rib Day

April 27 is the day that has been designated National Prime Rib Day. This is important for all of you meat lovers out there. I’m not a big steak/prime rib eater, so this one is not usually on my radar.

I draw attention to this because last week I promised to give you some tips on the diet vs. exercise dilemma. If you missed it, the bottom line is that we cannot out train a bad diet. 

Here are some tips, based on this knowledge:

  • If you are planning to celebrate National Prime Rib Day by enjoying said cut of beef, make sure it is amazing and be fully present to the experience.
  • Enjoy the salad and baked potato, or whatever accompanies it because that’s how it’s done.
  • Since this day is associated with the anticipation of happiness and joy, do not feel any guilt about celebrating.
  • Share the good news about this special day with all your friends, unless they are vegetarians.
  • If you overindulge on this meal, remember that sometimes healthy indulgences are necessary in order for us to truly feel alive, when they are done as part of an intentional way of living—code for eating real food, exercising on a regular basis, practicing good sleep habits, being fully present to the experience, etc.
  • Plan right now to celebrate Hug a Vegetarian Day, (and hug your vegetarian friends who aren’t celebrating National Prime Rib Day) which is devoted to celebrating cheerfulness and fun. It happens annually on the fourth Friday in September, which this year is September 28.
  • AND plan to participate in Eat Brussels Sprouts Day, celebrated annually on January 31, which also happens to be Hell is Freezing Over Day. (I thought this would be good to know, just in case you have ever said that you would do something when hell freezes over, like eat Brussels sprouts.)

Now perhaps you are wondering who decides on these special days. Any individual or any company can declare any day something special. There is nothing official about them.

These are not the same caliber as the federally observed holidays—the ones you see on your calendars, get the day off work and still get paid.

As for me, I’m going to plan my healthy indulgence for July, which President Ronald Reagan declared as National Ice Cream month. Oh, and no need to mark your calendar—I’ll be sure to remind you!

“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.”
―Julia Child