Monthly Archives: July 2016

Garlic Shrimp

So, I’m participating in the 21 Day Meditation Series offered by Deepak Chopra, Oprah and chopracentermeditation.com.   The series is called, Getting Unstuck: Creating A Limitless Life.  Anyone else ever feel stuck!?  I can’t say enough wonderful things about the experience…..the opportunity arrived at the perfect time and I am so so grateful I signed up!  I’m learning (and re-learning) much about gently moving myself forward, and change.  I thought I might share a bit of this and that, a few seeds that have been planted for me, and my greatest take-away so far.  So here it is:

  • When I intentionally begin my day in silence, a period of time to Be Still And Know….Psalm 46:10, or in meditation, my day seems to flow much more effortlessly.  When I do get frazzled or hurried, I seem to return to a centered place more quickly.
  • I can not change what I am not aware of.
  • Meditating raises my awareness.
  • Meditating is hard.  It’s difficult to quiet my thoughts…..but those few absolute quiet and still moments I’m able to capture while meditating, are making a HUGE difference in my rhythm, peace and creativity!
  • When I am aware, I am more responsive and less reactive and I make healthier choices…..for myself and my family.  This might include anything from thinking before I speak, cleaning up the piles of laundry on the basement floor so we can all maneuver more easily, taking time to really listen to someone or trying a new healthy recipe for supper.
  • I’m a better version of myself when I meditate.  I’ve experienced this same thing when I’m practicing yoga. 
  • Sometimes you gotta change your script if you want to get unstuck.  Those “go-to” lines I kept telling myself that weren’t working, needed some tweaking!  And as I changed them …..movement happened….and things started to get done.  It’s a work in progress.
  • Meditation seems to soften things, like conversations and my listening, and even my ability to hold both heartache and joy in the same day.  It works with simpler things too like it helped me realize that one load of laundry at a time, the basement floor that I mentioned above, would get cleaned up and it didn’t have to happen all at once.  I let the job become a “monster” and I got overwhelmed (think Christmas and Easter linens in piles on the floor).  Meditation softened that.
  • Meditation, like so many wonderful tools, is a practice.  There are days I can barely quiet my mind, and others where the silence is much easier.  The more I’m at it, the more I’m learning and I experience the benefit of truly living in the present moment…..One mediation at a time.

And my greatest take-away so far: 

  • Like a tug-of-war competition, every time I get stuck in life it’s because I dig my heels in and resist change. I’m tired of stuck. Change is good!  Life. Is. Change.

I’m so grateful for the gift of this free meditation experience! 

You can find the 21 Day Meditation Series at, chopracentermeditation.com.    Do you meditate?  If so, I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts!

Here’s an awesome shrimp and vegetable dish we’ve been enjoying this Summer.  It’s super easy to assemble, which has been great for the Midwest heat wave we’ve been having!   Namaste….

imageGarlic Shrimp
14-16 medium size shrimp, peeled, cleaned and deveined, tails removed
1/2 yellow squash, cut julienne style
1/2 zucchini, cut julienne style
1/2 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
2 garlic cloves, crushed or finely minced
1/4 tsp dry oregano
1/4 tsp dry basil
1 cup cooked pasta (spaghetti style – whole wheat per preference)
olive oil
Fresh basil leaves
Pinch kosher salt
Fresh lemon juice, optional

  1.  In a bowl combine, cleaned raw shrimp, oregano, dried basil, garlic and pinch kosher salt.  Drizzle gently with olive oil (approximately 1 1/2 Tbsp) and toss until all shrimp are well coated with herbs and olive oil.  Place in refrigerator to “marinate” for 15-20 minutes.
  2. In a non-stick pan, using 1 tsp olive oil, saute the yellow squash and zucchini until crisp tender (approximately 1 minute).  Next, add the tomatoes and continue to saute for 1 more minute.
  3. Add the shrimp and toss together with the vegetables until shrimp turn pink and are fully cooked (approximately 3-4 minutes though time varies).
  4. Finally, add the cooked pasta and gently toss until pasta is also heated.  Top with fresh basil and a squeeze of lemon juice as per preference.
    Serves 2

Recipe Inspired By:
My Friend Mike (a fellow fresh food lover)

Black Bean Brownies

Last weekend we celebrated our 24th Mother Daughter Weekend in South Haven, MI!  It’s incredible to me that I’m approaching the age my mom was when we began our annual retreats.  Things have changed over the years.  We now spend a lot less time shopping and attending performances.  We sit more.  In gardens, coffee houses, restaurants and around tables filled with delicious nibbles and wine…..and conversation.  This is sacred time.

Lately, we seem to be migrating to whatever local Farmer’s Market is close by, and South Haven seemed to have a little something for everyone!  So I found myself spending time at the Shady Side Farm farm stand talking about beans –  and I walked away with a bag of Black Turtle Beans and this great Black Bean Brownie Recipe!

Mick was super excited to try them as he, using his 14 yr old persuasive powers, was trying to convince me they’re probably a great source of protein “with all those beans”!  Those of you who follow along know he’s a pescatatian (someone who eats a plant based diet inclusive of seafood).  Well, the brownies are delightful (and yes, a bit healthier with beans instead of white flour) but I’m not certain they qualify as a legit source of protein!!

We closed our day Saturday with a trip to the beach for a South Haven sunset.  We’ve taken in a few sunsets over the years, Door County and Elkhart Lake, were stunning.  As we sat, toes in sand and side by side and soaked in the golden glow of the sunset, my heart was filled all the way UP with gratitude…..for the joy and laughter, seagulls, beach grasses, and slowly setting sun, but mostly for the blessing of 24 amazing and very treasured weekends together!

An added benefit for some – the brownies are gluten free!  Enjoy!!

IMG_8307IMG_0070IMG_4510Black Bean Brownies
1 3/4 cup black beans (cooked and drained or canned)
3 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Place all ingredients except chocolate chips in a food processor or blender.  Process until well-mixed.  Pour thick batter into greased 8×8 in pan (I used non-stick spray).  Sprinkle top with chocolate chips and use a knife to gently stir a few chips into the batter.  Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes.  Watch carefully so as not to over or under bake.  Brownies spring back a bit when gently testing to see if they’re done.  Cool before cutting.

Recipe Inspired By:
Shady Side Farm, Gluten-free Black Bean Brownies

 

 

Massaged Kale Salad

OK, so you overindulged a bit over the holiday weekend.  That’s called life!  If you didn’t enjoy that cherry rhubarb pie you’d probably still be thinking about it today!  And then, feeling deprived, you may make choices you might otherwise not want to make.

It sounds counter intuitive, but allowing for a small indulgence or a little wandering, sometimes, is exactly what we need to keep us in balance.  The clients I’ve worked with who are successful at maintaining a healthy rhythm with their wellness routines understand this.  They wander back.  They’ve learned there is no “blowing it”.  How can there be?  Life is learning, growing, tweaking and finding what works for us.  It’s all about the wandering!!

If we never wander or step out of bounds every now and then, we never grow wings (and we miss out on things like birthday cake and blueberry crumble).  Wandering makes us stronger and helps us learn what we’re really capable of, it helps us develop new tools (for healthy eating and living well) and confidence in our resiliency.

Instead of thinking about the pie you didn’t have and wished you did or about the bratwurst you did have and wished you didn’t, focus today instead on one healthy choice.  You know this.  You’ve done this….it’s part of your rhythm.  Try this massaged kale salad.  That’s where I’m starting today (works for me every time)!

Yes!  You actually massage the kale with olive oil!
IMG_6462I’ve used pears and apples in this salad, but wow, this is so so good with fresh sliced plums! IMG_6469

Massaged Kale Salad
4 cups washed and dried kale – torn into smaller pieces
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil
1/3 cup feta cheese crumbles
1/4 cup slivered almonds
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 Plum, sliced
Sea Salt to taste

  1.   Wash and remove kale from tough center ribs.  Tear into bite size pieces and either spin to dry or rest on paper towels until dry.
  2. Place the kale in a large bowl and drizzle with the olive oil.  Massage the olive oil into the kale leaves taking time to touch all of the greens.
  3. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the kale and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt.  Toss together.
  4. Add the feta cheese crumbles, slivered almonds and plum slices and toss all together.  Season with additional lemon juice and/or sea salt as desired.

Serves 2-3 people

Prep Notes:  Sometimes I find I need an extra drizzle of olive oil to hit all the greens, squeeze of lemon juice or sprinkle of sea salt.  This salad holds up well overnight!
Enjoy!  XXO

 

 

 

 

 

Follow Your Heart

Sometimes it’s just best to get back at it, what you love that is.  Having just passed the Summer Solstice, the weather is warm now.  Like me, my cucumber plants are happy, they thrive in all the sunshine!  And I’m soaking up LOT’S of sun these days….all kinds…..Sandbags at my sister’s, Beach Time with beautiful friends, Sunflowers with mom and Sunsets with my oldest besties.  My neighbor walked a homemade fresh spinach pie over recently.   In my book that’s sunshine!  Delicious!

It’s good to be in a new season.  One where my house is open inviting the breeze to flow through and the birds are singing and everything is green and full of life.  The clouds may show up and the rains may fall (and sometimes we wonder when they’ll move on) but these people and their love and presence in my life ARE my sunshine!  These are the people who’ve known me forever (or at least since 5th grade).   They’re the people who know all the nooks and crannies of my life and they inspire me, always, to follow my heart……and I am so so grateful!

Around here…..

These Red Beauties are ripe for the picking (YES, I know…but I couldn’t resist)!

IMG_6374

And something else I couldn’t resist is an idea I’ve been pondering to work brie cheese into something with eggs….and so, last night for supper I made myself a Kale, Golden Beet and Brie Cheese Frittata……sweet, savory, creamy…YUM!

IMG_6380

IMG_6390

It’s going to be a busy Fourth of July weekend I’m sure for many of us.  I hope there’s plenty of time for gathering around tables of fresh, oh-so-good food with family and friends!  Thought I’d include links to a few sides & salads from previous posts…..XXO, ENJOY!

https://freshandsimple.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/best-baked-beans/
https://freshandsimple.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/green-bean-tomato-salad/
https://freshandsimple.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/lemon-herbed-white-bean-salad/
https://freshandsimple.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/the-power-of-one/

Kale, Golden Beet and Brie Cheese Frittata
6 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil
sweet onion slices, approx. 3 very thin swipes across the onion
2 small- medium golden beets, sliced into small rounds, roasted
1 cup kale, gently torn and densely packed down
5-6 slices brie cheese, rind removed
freshly ground pepper, to taste

Roast Beets – by washing peeling and slicing into thin rounds.  Toss with a drizzle of olive oil and roast in a 400 degree oven for 8 minutes until soft.

1. In a medium bowl beat the eggs, milk, salt and freshly ground pepper (according to taste). Set aside. Turn oven on to broil.
2. In a 10 inch cast iron (or oven-safe) skillet heat the olive oil over medium-low heat and sauté the onions for 1 minute.
3. Add the already roasted beets and continue to sauté for about 1 more minute, until the beets are warm.  Next, add the kale and gently toss with the beets and onions for about 1-2 minutes, until kale softens and becomes wilted.
4. Next, add the beaten egg mixture and gently stir a time or two to combine.  Top with the brie cheese slices and then leave it to allow the eggs to set-up, approximately 3 minutes.
5. Transfer the frittata to the oven and place under the broiler to finish setting, approximately 2-4 minutes. Remove once the eggs have fully set and the frittata turns golden brown.

Recipe Originally Inspired By, Veggie Frittata
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle – A Year Of Food Life, Barbara Kingsolver