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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

One of the Healthiest Fruits on the Planet

We are on week #33, counting down with my expectant friend. As some of you know from experience, she is getting pretty uncomfortable.

My prayer for her, and her dear hubby, is a restful night’s sleep BEFORE the little one arrives.

We’ll keep this quiet—but once baby is here, getting sleep is a bit challenging. Shhhh….

I’m pretty excited about this week’s baby size fruit: the pineapple. 

The pineapple is indeed a fruit. A tropical one. No goofy reclassification like we had with the eggplant, which I thought to be a vegetable and is really a fruit.

Pineapple makes the list of “20 healthiest fruits on the planet.” And it is very delicious, in my opinion.

Pineapple is rich in vitamin C and manganese. It also contains a mixture of enzymes that help reduce inflammation and digest proteins. Its antioxidant properties help reduce the risk of chronic disease.

All of these benefits promote a healthy immune system which equates to a healthier you. And it’s WAY tastier that cauliflower—again, my opinion.

Ways to incorporate pineapple into your diet

  • Keep frozen on hand to add to smoothies
  • Add to a mixed fruit salad
  • Top your homemade pizza
  • Make a salad with roasted chicken, pineapple, blueberries (another top 20 fruit), and almonds. Serve on a bed of greens.
  • Top your burger with a pineapple ring for a Hawaiian flair
  • Goes great with cottage cheese (this makes a nice breakfast when you’re tired of the usual foods)
  • Eat it all by itself

How to choose a tasty pineapple

  1. Look for a bit of yellow, which should be present at the eyes at the base of the fruit, but a green tint elsewhere is fine. The leaves should be a vibrant shade of green.
  2. Squeeze it. The body of the pineapple should not be soft. It should be firm and give slightly with pressure.
  3. Sniff near the stem. It should smell sweet. No scent means it’s not ripe. If it smells like vinegar or alcohol, put it down. It’s past its prime and you don’t want anything to do with it.
  4. The heavier, the better. As with melons, there’s more water so it’s juicy.
  5. I also read that if you store it upside down before you cut it, the sweet juice from the bottom which was connected to the plant, circulates throughout the pineapple. 

I sometimes let it sit on my counter for a few too many days and it goes bad. Putting it in the fridge if I’m not quite ready to cut it helps keep it from spoiling.

If you have trouble cutting a pineapple, check out one of the videos on YouTube. It’s much easier than trying to explain it. Cutting a fresh pineapple is not hard once you know how to go about it.

It is definitely worth the effort.

Welcome to the 40 days of Lent

We are now marking the time until Easter. Lent is a great time to reflect and perhaps make some changes. It’s an opportunity for personal spiritual growth.

In the midst of winter, with snow piled so high that I have to shovel a path for my little Sophie dog, the Lenten season brings hope.

About the time we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, we also see the beauty of spring in bloom.

My friend will be a new mom.

How will you spend these 40 days?

Much love,
Carol

“Do not be afraid to dream. Perhaps your fear is of failure. There is no shame in trying to attempt mighty things and failing. The shame is in failing to attempt those things.”—Matthew Kelly

Fun with Jicama

At week #32, baby is a jicama in size. That’s right, a jicama. Starts with a J and sounds like an H.

Jicama is a globe-shaped root vegetable with papery, golden-brown skin and a starchy white interior.

Raw, it tastes similar to an apple. It crunches like one too and is a tasty addition to salads.

Cooked jicama takes on the flavor of whatever you season it with.

You can substitute jicamas for potatoes. The good news is that they are low in carbs, fat, calories, and sugar. They are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, calcium, fiber, and prebiotics (they help increase the good bacteria in your gut).

Unlike a potato, you must peel jicama before eating. This is best accomplished with a sharp knife.

The way I buy jicama is already peeled, cut, and packaged. Yes, that’s correct. I cheat. 

Ways to include jicama in your life:

  • Add it to a vegetable salad for extra crunch
  • Combine with mango, pineapple or papaya for a tropical fruit salad
  • Cut it into thick slices and serve with a dip like guacamole or hummus
  • Add it to a vegetable platter
  • Stir-fry it with sesame oil and rice vinegar
  • Sprinkle it with lime juice and chili powder for a spicy snack

 Jicama can be baked just like a potato. Simply pierce the whole, washed jicama with a fork and bake it at about 375 degrees until softened, approximately 45 minutes. Serve it, sliced open, with butter, sour cream or Greek yogurt and chives.

Or make jicama fries:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Either microwave the jicama in a bowl of water for approximately 6 minutes or pour boiling hot water over the jicama fries and allow to set for 10 minutes. This gives them the crispy French fry quality when roasted. Drain jicama fries and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Toss with salt or seasonings of your choice. Bake until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes, tossing halfway through.

Have fun experimenting with jicama.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Much love,
Carol

“Cooking is like love: It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” — Harriet van Horne

Sumo, Coconut, and the Birth Month

If you’re an orange lover, I have some REALLY GOOD NEWS! The Sumo are here.

Sumo oranges, that is.

I wrote about them last year. If you missed that post and would like to know more, here’s the link.

https://inkwellcoaching.com/2020/03/12/the-scoop-on-the-sumo/

I found some at Whole Foods. Good luck getting them now though. I told my pregnant friend that they’re in season and I think she may have cleaned them out. Just kidding! 🙂

Speaking of pregnant friends, she is now at week #31. Baby is the size of a coconut.

One of the oils I use on a regular basis is coconut oil. I coat my pan with it when I cook eggs and make grilled cheese. Sometimes I use it in baked goods when the recipe calls for some type of oil/butter.

The kind I use is virgin, unrefined, cold-pressed, organic. The unrefined coconut oil has a smoke point of 350 degrees F.

 Refined coconut oil has a higher smoke point of up to 400 degrees F. It also has less of a coconut taste and fewer nutrients due to the refinement process. Choose chemical-free methods if you go with this one.

Coconut oil is a healthy fat and may help reduce hunger. We need to include a variety of healthy fats in our diets to provide energy, support cell growth, protect organs, keep our bodies warm, and add flavor to food.

Oh, and another tidbit of REALLY GOOD NEWS!

February is my Birth Month! 

Let the celebrating begin…and continue. I highly recommend celebrating the “Birth Month” as a bonus to the traditional birthday.

By doing so, there’s no more “belated” for those who may miss the day.

And there are many more opportunities for fun with family and friends.

Cheers to celebrating life at every age.

Much love,
Carol

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”—Maya Angelou

5 Reasons Why Your Snack Bar May Not Be Your Friend

In a recent conversation, the topic of cereal/granola/protein bars came up. They appear to be a healthy snack, especially for a very busy person who is always on the go.

Spoiler alert. A high number of them are no better than your favorite candy bar.  

 5 Reasons Why Your Snack Bar May Not Be Your Friend

1. High sugar content. Check out ADDED sugars. Fruit has sugar because God made it sweet, so that’s not the number to be concerned with here. Added sugars are in your bar because of sugar, corn syrup, honey, etc. This number needs to be on the low side—no more than 10 grams. Keep this in mind: The AHA suggests an added-sugar limit of no more than 100 calories per day (about 6 teaspoons or 24 grams of sugar) for most women and no more than 150 calories per day (about 9 teaspoons or 36 grams of sugar) for most men.

2. Low protein. In order for that bar to help sustain you, look for protein content of 5 grams or more. A bar high in sugar and low in protein may set you up for a dip in energy later.

3. Low fiber. The greater the fiber content, the longer you’ll stay full so that you can be productive until your next meal. Look for 3 grams or more. Adults 50 and younger need 25 grams/day for women and 38 grams for men. Over age 50 need 21 grams and 30 grams respectively. (It’s about the same number as maximum added-sugar intake, so easy to remember.)

4. Unhealthy fats. Avoid bars with trans fat. It’s important to read the ingredients for this, because even if the number reads zero grams, it’s not always the case. If you read partially hydrogenated oil, margarine, or shortening, do not buy it or eat it.

5. Too many weird ingredients. Look for more whole foods and fewer ingredients that leave you wondering what they are. Nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and oats are good.

I’ve found that RX Bars are pretty clean. Although the sugar content is high, it’s from dates, not added sugars.

Oh, and by the way, the 5 reasons are a good standard for any food that comes with a label.

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Baby at week #30 is the size of a large head of cabbage, which is about the size and shape of a person’s head. Very clever.

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.

Cabbage is available in different varieties and colors: Savoy, Napa or Chinese; green, red, purple, and white.

It can be fermented (as in kimchi or sauerkraut) or cooked in a variety of ways, including steamed, sautéed, braised, or stuffed. Toss it into soups.

I remember my mom and grandma making delicious stuffed cabbage when I was young. (If you have an amazing recipe for this, please share it with me.)

To get the greatest nutritional benefits, eat raw or steamed (not microwaved).

Steaming cabbage is simple. Slice in whatever way you’d like, place in a steamer basket over boiling water, and allow to cook, covered, until tender. Add a bit of salt, pepper, and oil or butter, along with any herbs or flavorings you might like, and serve.

To enjoy it raw, here’s a recipe I found to share with you. Alter it as you wish.

Red Cabbage Slaw

1 head red cabbage, shaved
½ head broccoli, shaved
1 green onion, sliced
1 handful cherry tomatoes, cut in half
3 baby dill pickles, chopped
1 cup mixed herb leaves (parsley, cilantro, basil)
1 Tablespoon grainy mustard
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ lemon, juiced
½ teaspoon salt
Cracked pepper

Begin by shaving the cabbage and broccoli and cutting up the onion, tomatoes, and dill pickles.

Next, in a large bowl, combine the olive oil, mustard, lemon juice, and salt. Add the cabbage and toss until mixed. Finally, add the broccoli, onion, pickles, tomatoes, and herbs. Toss gently until combined. Sprinkle with cracked pepper. Makes 8 servings.

Sending love and snow angels,
Carol

“When it snows, you have two choices: shovel or make snow angels.”–Unknown