Monthly Archives: December 2011

Expect Great Things!

Hi Everyone!  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  I’ve been missing for awhile enjoying this very special time of year with family and friends.  Here in the midwest we’ve been spoiled as Mother Nature has treated us to warmer temperatures and lots of sunshine (though it looks a bit like Seattle this morning)!!  Our family has been indulging in plenty of outside walks, runs and fun time!  I hope you too have been enjoying magical moments!   

I was talking with my girlfriend Aleyce yesterday morning.  She had just gotten home from a 3-day trip to Wisconsin with her family.  I said,”where you headed today?”  She replied, “to the grocery store and I’m buying lots and lots of fruits and vegetables because we’re all feeling blahhhhhh . . . . . !”  I laughed!  Like many of us, they’ve been eating a lot of sweets and treats and are ready to wander back to the rhythm of a healthy eating routine.  I mean you can only have so many butter cookies and glasses of wine before blahhhhh sets in right!?

So that got me thinking.  With the New Year just around the corner many of us are pondering what exactly we’d like to accomplish with the 365 days ahead of us!  Weight loss is a big one!  In fact our health and wellness routines are frequently top of list!     

I’m not crazy about resolutions (unless they’re coupled with a strategy complete with realistic and measurable goals).  Too many people step into the New Year with a long list of intentions and very little structure.  Come February 1st when change isn’t happening quickly enough the resolutions get pushed aside and they’re left with a feeling of not having accomplished what they set out to do.  And that doesn’t feel good. 

What really gets me jazzed is when people make the “feel good” connection between healthy choices and the impact making them has on our lives!  It’s much more exciting and fun!  It’s what Aleyce touched on in her words.  The connection she and her husband (and their 2 sons) have made between eating fresh whole food and the way they feel!  I mentioned this in my Mindful Holiday Eating Post.  It’s about staying consciously connected to that which inspires us to live healthfully in the first place.  We simply feel better when we’re eating fresh food, moving our bodies and taking time to let go of stress.  That’s what keeps us coming back!  It’s a positive feeling (and carries with it the potential for greater success)! 

So that made me think about my brother-in-law Mark.  We try to get a mid-week run in once in awhile.  Frequently, when we’re done and I’m heading back for my car he’ll turn and shout, “expect great things today Heidi!”  So cool!  I love that!  Every time he says it I’m instantly reminded of all of the possibility that lies in the day ahead!  It actually makes me think about the choices I can make that will ultimately generate great things!  And that’s what I want for my clients.

I want for them to linger longer in the “feel good successes” that lie in each day!  I want for them to understand that every healthy choice they make adds up. 

I want them to EXPECT GREAT THINGS!! 

Yep – we need the structure and the well-crafted goals.  We need the tools for helping us stay on track.  The success lies though in staying consciously connected to the positive feelings and in the wandering back!  Because every time we do – we take one step closer to creating a lifestyle!   

Soup, that’s what Aleyce was going to make for supper.  One with lots of vegetables!  Sounded great to me so thought I’d share my Beef Barley Soup Recipe.  I don’t have a picture today but my family loves this.  It’s loaded with vegetables and barley (a grain we don’t use that often).  If you like your soup thick use a full cup of barley.  If not, use 3/4 cup.  It’s a hearty soup and great coupled with a green salad!  Don’t forget the wine (in the soup)!  It really elevates the richness of the broth! 

I’m looking forward to 2012 and creating a rhythm to my posts!  Thank you all so much for following along!  I wish you a very Healthy, Happy and Joy-filled New Year!  Peace Out!!  

Beef Barley Soup
2 TBSP Olive Oil
1 Pound Beef Stew Meat (cut into small cubes)
1 Cup chopped onion
2 Garlic Cloves, chopped fine
½ Cup Red Wine
1 141/2 Ounce can Diced Tomatoes
4-5 Medium Red Potatoes cut into 1 inch cubes
1 Cup Celery, chopped
1 Cup Carrots, chopped
3/4 – 1 Cup Peary Barley (regular cook) 
2 Bay Leaves
1 tsp Dried Basil
51/2 Cups Canned Beef Broth (if you prefer use low sodium)
1 Cup water
Chopped Fresh Parsley

  1.  Heat oil in a large soup pot and add the beef.  Cook until brown, stirring occasionally. 
  2. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is tender – about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the red wine.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes with the juices and all the remaining ingredients except the parsley. 
  5. Cover and simmer until the meat is tender – about 1-11/4 hours.
  6. Add the parsley just before serving.

 Serves 8-10

            

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The Hawk

Hi Everyone

I hope you’re having a great week!  The energy everywhere seems to be building as we’ve headed into the Twelve Days of Christmas!

Have you ever had one of those days when something on your calendar gets shifted around and you end up with a little extra time?  Well, PK surprised me this morning when he told me he was free to bring Mick to school today.  I was delighted as I was having two of my dearest friends for breakfast and this would allow me an extra 30+ minutes to get ready.  I was serving Baked Oatmeal around the Christmas Tree – but more on that later. 

So while I was making Mick’s lunch excited about the new opening in my schedule, I had the idea that perhaps I might be able to squeeze in a quick run.  I had set the table last night and the ingredients for my oatmeal were ready to go.  But, as has happened with me before I thought about how cold it was outside (and the extra pair of tights I’d need to put on) and pondered whether I had enough time.  I played it back and forth in my mind.  Run?  Nope not enough time.  Run?  Ahhhh, maybe not, I’ve got some computer work to do.  But truth be told it had been a few days and I really wanted and needed to get out!  Thirty-minutes most days of the week, right!       

So, as soon as the boys left I ran downstairs, changed my cloths and headed out the door . . . and I’m so grateful I did.  It was a gorgeous morning here in Cary!  The sun was out, the air crisp and the road somehow seemed to welcome me!  I didn’t have time for a long one today but as I settled into my breathing and my mind started to clear it didn’t matter.  I was just enjoying the moments! 

There’s a hill I’ve discovered at the bottom of our street.  It winds around the parameter of a small children’s park.  It’s not big, but wow – it really works my legs!  So as I approached the end of my run I thought I’d take the hill and finish my run on top!  Oh my gosh it was so beautiful.  The sun made the wild grasses look like golden wheat and there was a light frost covering the trail that I could hear every so faintly crunch beneath my feet.   

So I started up the hill, taking in every minute.  At the top of the hill the trail opens up to a viewing area (overlooking the small park and conservation district).  So I ran over to take in the view and as I did I noticed the most beautiful hawk perched up in the tree right in front of me!  I LOVE hawks!!        

He was amazing!  Perfect against the morning sky!  And all I could think was, if I didn’t squeeze in this run I would have missed it all.  I would have missed the sunshine and the frost and the beautiful morning sky . . . . and I would have missed the hawk!! 

I hope if you find yourself in a situation where you have a few extra minutes this holiday season (any season), that you’ll put on your gear and go for it!  Because you never know what’s waiting out there . . . .  just for you!!  

Our oatmeal was awesome and I really don’t think my friends minded that I was a bit smelly!  Here’s the recipe.  I discovered it on the website, www.organicvalley.coop.  It’s loaded with fiber-rich whole grain oats and fresh fruit and is really quite easy to prepare.  You can make it with sugar or maple syrup.  I used the maple syrup.  Enjoy!!

 

Baked Oatmeal
2 Cups Rolled Oats (not quick oats)
1/2 Cup Chopped Walnut Pieces (toasted is nice too)
1/3 Cup Natural Cane Sugar or Maple Syrup (plus more for serving)
1 tsp Aluminum Free Baking Powder
11/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp fine-grain sea salt
2 Cups Milk
1 Large Egg
2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter (slightly melted)
2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
2 Ripe Bananas, Sliced
11/2 Cups Blueberries (or thinly sliced apples, mixed berries or raspberries) 

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees with a rack in the top third of the oven.  Generously butter the inside of an 8-inch square baking dish.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the oats, half the walnuts, the sugar if using, the baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the maple syrup if using, the milk, egg, butter and vanilla.
  4. Arrange the bananas in a single layer in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle two-thirds of the berries over the top.  Cover the fruit with the oat mixture.  Slowly drizzle the milk mixture over the oats.  Gently give the baking dish a couple of thwacks on the countertop to make sure the milk moves through the oats.  Scatter the remaining berries (or other fruit) and remaining walnuts across the top. 
  5. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the top is nicely golden and the oat mixture has set.  Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.  Sprinkle with additional sugar or drizzle with maple syrup if you want it a bit sweeter. 

Recipe Taken (and adapted) from www.OrganicValley.coop

Organic Valley recipe adapted from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson.  Copyright 2011 Ten Speed Press

Ruby Reds!

Hi Everyone!  I hope it was a great weekend!

Well I have to tell you that after my post last week I made a quick trip to the market and found myself in the middle of the produce department mesmerized by these beautiful ruby reds!

Ok, don’t rush!  Take a closer look.  These aren’t grapefruits, they’re pomegranates!  I was instantly uneasy as I couldn’t decide which one to pick, or how many to bring home!  Fortunately, Mick helped me out!  

The kid is crazy for pomegranates!  In fact I love when pomegranates are in season, as Mick is always more than willing to get right on his homework if I bribe him with a dish of juicy red pomegranate seeds!  

A good source of fibers and potassium, pomegranates also contribute lots of powerful antioxidants called polyphenols!  Some research even suggests that pomegranate juice may decrease risk of heart disease, lower LDL (bad)cholesterol levels and inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells.  Additional clinical studies are needed (and underway).

Health benefits aside what I really love about pomegranates is the way the seeds pop in my mouth, bursting with a bright sweet & tangy flavor!  They’re great mixed into yogurt.  One of my favorite snacks is to spoon pomegranate seeds into greek-style yogurt.  Is it possible to get creamy, juicy and crunchy all at the same time!?  

This weekend my beautiful Godmother, Aunt Lill, was in town from Colorado with her daughter Vicki.  As always, we filled our time with plenty of joy and laughter!  Saturday night was especially wonderful as we celebrated Aunt Lill’s 94th birthday!     

Lucky for me Vicki is an amazing artist and cook.  So yep, you guessed it – I asked her to help me create something delicious and beautiful using my
big-as-grapefruit pomegranates!  Since we were having Italian and I was looking for a salad I might serve again during the holidays, salad seemed the perfect choice. 

 Here’s what we got . . . .

A wonderful blend of baby greens, creamy avocado, goat cheese and pomegranate seeds!  Served with a Raspberry Maple Viniagrette this salad is delightful and perfect for the holidays! 

Though this salad has a variety of flavors already dancing together you can always double the vinaigrette recipe if you prefer additional dressing. 

Oh . . . . and a final thought.  Pomegranates can be a bit messy to clean.  But don’t let that stop you from enjoying one of the tastiest treats of the season!  A client of mine suggested scoring the fruit first (gently pushing through the skin of the fruit with a knife stopping at the pulp) and then removing the seeds of the fruit in a bowl of water.  The fruit will pull apart easier this way and the seeds will drop to the bottom of the bowl!    
Pomegranates are in season through January! 

Christmas Salad With Raspberry Maple Vinaigrette 
6 Cups Mixed Baby Greens
6 Goat Cheese Medallions 
11/2 Avocado’s (sliced thin lengthwise)
11/4 Cup Pomegranate Seeds
Pecan Halves
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
11/2 Tbsp Raspberry Vinegar
11/2 Tbsp Pure Maple Syrup  

First – Create the vinaigrette by combining the olive oil, raspberry vinegar and maple syrup in a jar.  Shake until blended and set aside.
 
1.   Rinse lettuce greens under cool water and spin dry.  Assemble equally onto 6 plates.
2.   Top greens with a 1-inch round goat cheese medallion sliced and gently parted to create an open triangle (we used goat cheese medallions from Trader Joes).
3.   Spoon 2 heaping tablespoons of pomegranate seeds right next to the goat cheese – tucking a few seeds inside the triangular opening – like they’re spilling out onto the greens. 
4.   Fan the avocado slices around the edge of the greens and top each salad with a few pecan halves.
5.   Drizzle each salad with 1 tablespoon vinaigrette.  

How do you enjoy pomegranates?  I’d love to hear from you!