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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

Crown Point, IN

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June 22, 2022

Bananas, Ice Cream, and Goody…Remembering Sophie

July 28, 2006, was the day our family adopted Sophie Slager, or put another way, the day she became the little princess of our household. Part Cocker

June 16, 2022

Easy Ideas for Dad’s Day Dinner

Happy Father’s Day weekend to all the dads in my blog audience! In your honor, I’m sharing a few ideas to accompany those steaks on the grill, or

June 9, 2022

The Clean Fifteen and a 5-Minute Habit

Last week I covered the Dirty Dozen— the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) 12 recommended fruits and vegetables that should be organic whenever

June 2, 2022

In Celebration of June and the Dirty Dozen

With the arrival of June comes Indiana strawberries. It’s also the month to continue planting your vegetables, flowers, and enjoying life. Some fun,

May 26, 2022

Guess What I Caught Mr. Non-Compliant Eating

About a week ago, I walked into the kitchen and saw Mr. Non-Compliant (my dear hubby) eating breakfast. Up-close inspection revealed that he had a bow

May 19, 2022

Treat Your Taste Buds to This Simple Green Salad

As warmer days make their appearance, we tend to trade our hearty soup recipes in for light, bursting-with-flavor salads. By increasing fruit and vege

May 12, 2022

Six Tips to Make Gardening Easy and Fun

Depending on where you live, it may be time to plant a garden. We are now frost free in Northwest Indiana. Allegedly. We’ll see… The rule of green

May 4, 2022

What the Heck Do I Eat?

With all the conflicting information on what to eat, what not to eat, and how to eat it, this is what I know for sure. Foods that are healthy for you

April 28, 2022

What to Do When Your Healthy Habits Go by the Wayside

It happens. To everyone. You do well week after week. You have a regular exercise program, a meal and snack plan that provides good energy and sleep,

April 21, 2022

Dirt is Good

Last week I wrote about Forest Bathing—immersing yourself in nature and using all your senses to benefit your health in every way. This week, I’m

‘Tis the Season for the Crock-Pot (falalalala,lalalala)

So much to do, so little time. As daylight hours diminish and our “To Do” lists expand, the idea of cooking dinner may seem a bit daunting. With a bit of planning, the good old crock-pot can save the day. Some of you may now refer to this appliance as a slow cooker. It works in the same manner, but term usage could possibly indicate your age bracket. Speak carefully…

I recall getting my very first Rival crock-pot as a wedding gift. Since that was back in the early 80’s, the common crock did not come out of the base. Clean up was tough, since it is not a good idea to get the electrical cord in the dishwater. Thank goodness for technology, since I now have a larger model that: 1) holds more food and 2) has a removable crock for easy cleaning. Yes, I am truly spoiled.

This is the time of year when I tend to use this appliance more frequently. What could be more welcoming than coming home on a cold day to some hot soup that smells and tastes great? Ok, maybe a happy greeting from the family dog.

Here are a couple of ideas to try. If possible, make extra so you have dinner for another day and/or some lunches. If you are cooking for one, freeze in individual serving sizes and you will save yourself some work in the days and weeks ahead.     chicken-1001751_640Chicken:
*Take a 3-4 pound roasting chicken, remove any inside parts; rinse and pat dry.
*Sprinkle with salt, pepper and your favorite flavors such as garlic powder, paprika (adds color), poultry seasoning; or rosemary and thyme.
*Place in the crock-pot or slow cooker. Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours (or High for 4 hours).

I have done this without adding any liquid and it comes out fine; or you could add ½ cup of water or chicken broth, especially if you are planning to cook the chicken on High. (so it doesn’t stick to the pot)

For a more complete meal, put the following vegetables on the bottom of the pot and then add the chicken with seasonings:
*3 carrots, sliced
*2 onions, sliced
*2-3 potatoes or sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
Add ½ cup of water or chicken broth. Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours (or High for 4 hours).
The vegetables should be tender and the chicken should easily fall off the bone.

Check out my Recipe page for another crock-pot meal!

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” -J.R.R. Tolkien

P.S. Don’t make another New Year’s resolution that will go by the wayside after a month or two.  If you are looking for a system to help you stay healthier, lose weight and have more energy as we move into the new year, contact me today!

Beef Vegetable Soup (Crock-Pot)

You will need:             frog-929341_640
32 oz. organic beef broth/stock
2 small onions, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
3 carrots, sliced
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
1-14½ oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
½ tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt (optional)
2 cups frozen green beans
12 oz. package frozen soup mix vegetables
1/4 cup quinoa
1 pound ground beef, browned and drained

At the end of cooking time:
¼ cup butter, melted
¼ cup flour (use brown rice flour or gluten-free flour blend if you avoid gluten)  

Directions:
Put all ingredients in the crock-pot, except the butter and flour. Cover and cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours (High for 4 to 5 hours).

One hour before serving, make a roux by melting the ¼ cup butter in a small saucepan, then stirring in the ¼ cup flour, until smooth. Add this mixture to the soup and stir. Cook the soup on High until it thickens a bit.

For variety you could:
*Substitute ground turkey or ground chicken for the beef (and use chicken broth in place of beef. I have never done this, but why not?) Or, finely diced chuck roast, browned.
*Add different vegetables

Hints:
*I usually double this recipe so I have plenty of leftovers
*Brown your ground beef (or ground turkey or chicken) ahead of time and freeze so you can put this together quickly on another day.
*No time to chop vegetables? No problem. Use a couple bags of frozen soup mix or other vegetables you like. It will be tastier than any soup that comes out of a can or box.

Choose Now

An announcement was made at my gym the other day that as of January 1, 2016 thru the end of March, no one would be allowed to come late to class. The reason for this is that the classes are quite crowded for those three months and it is not safe to have people walking around lots of moving bodies. That makes sense to me. Then I wondered about the other nine months of the year. Where do those people go?

AHA moment! The New Year’s resolutions wear off and people go back to their all-too-familiar habit of being too busy to go to the gym. I will give some folks the benefit of the doubt that the weather gets nicer come April so they are more apt to walk, run or bike outdoors. What are your thoughts? Has this ever been you?

In my pharmacy practice, I was often asked to recommend a diet aid. Naturally, I began asking questions about that person’s lifestyle and usually came to the conclusion that the best diet aid was none at all. Long-lasting results come from changing habits and lifestyle. Practice, practice, practice leads to a healthier you.

I challenge you to begin now to make subtle changes that you can sustain through December into 2016. Now is the time to think differently about your health and wellness. Why spend another month being upset about the way you are taking care (or not) of yourself?

What ONE thing can you do differently to feel better today? Drink more water? Let go of the sweets? Honor your workout schedule?

I will be giving some tips on my “Inkwell Healthy Lifestyles” Facebook page. Please “Like” it so you don’t miss out on an idea that could change the way you feel and look, come January 1. Oh, and don’t be late for class.

“If you truly want to change your life, you must first be willing to change your mind.” Donald Altman

running-shoes-323457_640

P.S. If you’re tired of the holiday weight gain and dread November thru December year after year, let’s hop on the phone and I’ll share some ideas with you so you can thoroughly enjoy the abundance without it showing up on the scale.  Contact me today!  Now is your time!

I can’t wait to speak with you and take you from dreading this festive time of year to truly cherishing and appreciating it again.

Oatmeal Bake

Here is a breakfast dish that can be prepared the night before and baked in the morning, making it a simple weekday treat.  I cut back on the sweetener, so if it’s not quite to your liking, drizzle a bit of maple syrup over the top once it’s baked.  Serving it with berries or another fruit will add sweetness without overpowering the oats.  Alternatives are given to make this dairy and gluten-free.

Oatmeal Bake
1/3 cup melted butter or Soy Free Earth Balance
2 large eggs
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 ½ teaspoons baking powderfile711336976676
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup + 2 Tablespoons milk or reconstituted goat milk
3 cups gluten-free oatmeal            

Grease 1 ½ quart baking dish. Drop eggs in and whisk until well beaten.

Add maple syrup, baking powder, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and whisk until there are no lumps. (This may take a minute or two, but keep whisking.)

Whisk in melted butter and milk. Stir in oatmeal and mix well.

Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes, or until set in the middle.  (If you need to bake it immediately, that will work fine too.)

Serve warm with sliced strawberries or fruit of choice.