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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

Getting Back on Track

Baby size at 29 weeks is a butternut squash.

And, like last week’s eggplant, butternut squash is technically a fruit. Since I wouldn’t care to eat it raw—although you can–I’m still going to think of it as a vegetable.

It’s a powerhouse of Vitamins A and C. The high antioxidant content may help decrease risk of health conditions, such as heart disease, lung cancer, and mental decline.

Butternut squash is low in calories and high in fiber, making it yet another good choice for anyone looking to eat foods that fill you up, taste great (recipe included), and help you look and feel amazing!

Substitute butternut squash in recipes calling for potatoes, pumpkin, or sweet potatoes.  

It adds a mildly sweet flavor when added to soups, stews, and vegetarian chili.

My favorite way to enjoy this winter squash is roasted as a side dish. I can often find peeled and cubed butternut squash in the produce section, which saves time and labor. It is a bit more costly and must be used within a few days.

Roasted Butternut Squash

Before you can roast the squash, you must first peel and dice it. You may soften it in the microwave (or oven, for a bit longer) for a few minutes to make it easier. Fork the squash all over. Microwave for about 3 ½ minutes. Let it cool, then remove the skin with the greatest of ease. I hope. It is also easier to remove the seeds and interior gunk, then cube.

Once cubed, toss the squash with a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive or avocado oil, two cloves of minced garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Arrange coated squash in a single layer on a baking sheet or stoneware pan–my favorite for roasting all my veggies. Roast in a 400 degree F oven for about 25-30 minutes, until tender and lightly browned.

Roasted squash is an excellent topping for salad or alongside those morning eggs.

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Word on the “health beat street” is that some folks are out of their healthy eating/fitness routines and can’t seem to find their way back.

You know what to do.

It just feels too hard.

The circumstances are diverse:

  • Recently retired couples who find it easier to pick up food and not cook
  • Sabotaging husbands or wives
  • Working parents with kids in after-school activities
  • Moms who don’t have a career and simply can’t find the motivation for self-care
  • Depression from social isolation

There’s more, but you get the idea. Life gets real and our intentions get lost in the day-to-day.

Begin with something simple. Find one step you can take that feels good and easy to do.

Like:

  • Eat some protein for breakfast most days of the week
  • Make sure you’re staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water    
  • Go to bed 15 minutes earlier and get more sleep
  • Take a 10-minute walk
  • Add a new vegetable to your life, like today’s delicious recipe

You’ll be amazed at how taking ONE step begins to set you back on your path. Master that one, then add one more. Activity in a positive direction will get your mind thinking of the next thing. Momentum builds, and voila! You are soon a force to be reckoned with.

If it’s still more than you can manage due to your specific circumstances, or you’ve finally had enough, it’s time to call me. We’ll work through the tough stuff together.

Much love,
Carol

“The mind, when housed within a healthful body, possesses a glorious sense of power.”
— Joseph Pilates

The Surprising Truth about Eggplant, and a Recipe

A large eggplant. That is the vegetable size of a baby at week #28.

Oh, but wait just a minute. An eggplant is actually a FRUIT because it grows from a flowering plant and contains seeds. I just learned this.

There are many eggplant varieties that range in size and color. The deep purple skinned variety is the most common.

Eggplants contain a good amount of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber, while being low in calories. It’s another good fruit to add to your repertoire. (I still keep thinking of it as a VEGETABLE.)

That being the case, they may help with weight loss. I’ve never had a client tell me that they gained a few pounds over the holidays because they ate too much eggplant.   

Watch, I’ll get a call later today on that one.

At any rate, if you’ve never tried eggplant, or think you don’t care for it, you may want to experiment with a recipe or two. Fine Italian restaurants typically make fantastic Eggplant Parmesan.

Here’s a recipe from Dr. Perlmutter’s The Grain Brain Cookbook. I’ll be making it tomorrow in a kitchen coaching session with one of my clients. We were looking for a vegetable lasagna recipe, and this fit the bill. We’ll see what happens!

Baked Eggplant, Zucchini, and Tomato

Serves 4

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan

1 large eggplant, halved lengthwise and then cut crosswise into ¼-inch-thick slices

4 zucchini, cut lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick slices

Salt and pepper

½ cup tomato sauce

5 ripe tomatoes, peeled, cored, and cut crosswise into thin slices

¼ cup torn basil leaves

12 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

 

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Lightly coat the interior of an 8-inch square baking pan with olive oil and set aside.

Using a pastry brush, lightly coat both sides of the eggplant and zucchini with olive oil. Place the vegetables on the prepared baking sheets and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place in the preheated oven and bake until just barely cooked and lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.   

Ladle the tomato sauce into the prepared baking dish. Using half of the eggplant slices, place a layer of eggplant over the sauce. Top the eggplant with half of the zucchini slices, laying them in the opposite direction from the eggplant. Cover the zucchini with half of the tomato slices. Sprinkle half of the basil over the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Then sprinkle half of the mozzarella over the seasoned tomatoes, making an even layer. Repeat the layers, beginning with the remaining eggplant and ending with the remaining mozzarella. Sprinkle the top with the Parmesan and transfer to the preheated oven.

Bake until hot throughout and the cheese has melted and browned slightly, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before cutting into squares and serving. This is also tasty at room temperature, making a perfect lunch the next day.

To your health,
Carol

“The simple act of moving your body will do more for your brain than any riddle, math equation, mystery book, or even thinking itself.”― David Perlmutter, “Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar—Your Brain’s Silent Killers”

My Least Favorite Vegetable and a Challenge

At week #27 baby is the size of…

…a head of cauliflower.

Most of you know that I do not care for this vegetable. I’ve tried.

Truth is that cauliflower is very beneficial for good health.     

It contains some of almost every vitamin and mineral you need. It’s high in fiber, water, choline, and contains antioxidants, which means it helps with weight loss, reduces inflammation, and protects against several diseases. Cauliflower is also rich in sulforaphane, a plant compound that helps reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.   

 Cauliflower appears to be the perfect child of the vegetable world. Lucky for me, it’s not the only perfect child. Broccoli is a bit healthier, in terms of fiber, vitamin, and mineral content.

AND it’s green.

I’ll stick with enjoying broccoli, thank you very much.

You can substitute cauliflower to reduce your carbs, if you feel so inclined.

  • Cauliflower rice–grate, then sauté. (I have eaten it this way and it’s acceptable, however I don’t make a habit of it.)
  • Cauliflower mash–in place of mashed potatoes.
  • Cauliflower pizza crust–tried a commercial pizza with this and never knew it was cauliflower. It even fooled Mr. Non-Compliant.
  • Cauliflower hummus–use cauliflower in place of chickpeas when making hummus.
  • Cauliflower tortillas
  • Batter-fried cauliflower–this is not a good idea at all and actually increases your carb intake. Just say, “NO.”  

If you like cauliflower, eat it often. You can roast it, steam it, sauté it, add it to soups, stews, stir-fries, or casseroles. Raw cauliflower is on many a crudités platter.

If you’re like me, it’s okay to skip it. There are lots of other nutritious vegetables in the produce section.

Remember, we’re not striving for perfection. We’re always trying to do just a little bit better.

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To say that 2021 has been quite a year after only a week, seems to me, an understatement.

I’ve been challenged in maintaining focus, even with meditation, exercise, prayer, and eating my daily salad.

My health/continuing education studies of late have taken me to the land of mindful, conscientious eating and living.

I’ll keep it simple. Whatever your eating behaviors, they are related in some way to what is or is not, happening in your life.

Everything affects everything.

What I’m challenging us (yes, I’m in on this) to do in the coming week, is to pay a bit more attention to our food and the way we are living.

If you have set the intention to live healthier, what does that look like on a daily basis? Get specific and keep it simple.

If you eat food from a package, have you looked at the ingredients on the label? Are the contents REALLY what you’d like to ingest for optimal health? Or perhaps for comfort?     

When I eat a bowl of ice cream, or a salad, why am I eating it? What purpose is it serving?  

Begin this week to get conscious of your food and your life. Maybe you already are, and I applaud you.

Noticing what you eat and why you eat it, and why you do anything you do, is interesting. It gives you the opportunity to make any corrections that seem appropriate.

I’m here if you need me.

Much love,
Carol

“When you speak to yourself, let your interior dialogue be confident, optimistic, and visionary. Dare to live the life most people only fantasize about.”—Matthew Kelly, The Rhythm of Life

Cheers to Scallions and a New Year

At week #26, baby is the size of a scallion.

The first question that popped into my head is: What’s the difference between a scallion and a green onion?

Scallions are the younger version of green onions. The bulb of a scallion is about the same width as the green stem. The bulb of a green onion is slightly wider than the stem and is ovular in shape.  

This makes sense, since the green onion has spent more time in the ground.

They are 89% water and provide some fiber, a few micronutrients, antioxidants, and beneficial plant compounds.

You can probably use scallions and green onions interchangeably in any recipe, since young onions taste about the same.

Scallions are great in salads, stir-fries, soups and stews. They also make a nice garnish.

They are one of the first crops to plant and harvest come spring. Living on the farm, I remember my dad loving his raw green onions and eating them as a serving of vegetables with any meal.

He stayed pretty healthy too.

 

As we move into another year, I’m grateful for you. Thank you for following my blog week after week and taking steps to implement health and well-being into your daily routines.

With so much information available, it’s often challenging to sort fact from fiction. I relay to you that which makes the most sense, based on my years of ongoing study.

Together we practice the art of living well. And although it is an art that will never be perfected, we always strive to do a little bit better.

In 2021, I plan to have more fun Zoom Kitchen Coaching escapades, continue 1:1 and group coaching, and keep on writing.

What are some of your plans? Share them with me, if you feel so inclined.

You may hear a friend say that he/she is going to soon begin an exercise program, lose weight, and live healthier. Perhaps you’ve heard that person say this to you for as long as you can remember.

Here’s the next question: What is different this time?

Unless something is radically different, you can assure them that come December 31, 2021, you’ll be hearing the same statement.

 Making radical changes can be rather uncomfortable.

 Take a stand for your friend. Give them my name. A year from now they’ll be thanking you, as they too, practice the art of living well.

May 2021 bring you much health, happiness, and love.

In gratitude,
Carol

“Whether you are sixteen or sixty, the rest of your life is ahead of you. You cannot change one moment of your past, but you can change your whole future. Now is your time.”—Matthew Kelly, The Rhythm of Life