Forgive the departure from our usual chatter. After coming across so many coaches and practitioners concerned that their less than perfect diet, lifestyle, relationships, kids…etc somehow made them less worthy to work in their purpose I decided to share a little about my walk this year. I NEVER share my personal life. E.VER. – so make a note of this date.
This past week I received a note of congratulations from a fellow classmate for being a “featured graduate” this year.
I had no idea.
Between finishing requirements for graduation and laying the groundwork for new ventures – and dodging raindrops, I had not looked up. Head down – doing “the work”.
There has been no time for looking up this year. I made every deadline, completed every project, jumped every hoop. I got the “work” of building a practice done. Busy with clients, busy with life, growing faster than imagined – and life going on.
This year my only daughter left home, got engaged and now we’re planning a spring wedding. I cannot imagine no being here for her – and I wondered how my own mother had managed it.
This year I became a grandmother as my son and his beautiful wife had their first child. I cannot imagine missing a single moment of welcoming this wonder into the world.
This year my mother died.
I held her hand and stretched my arm across her chest so I could feel the last beats of her heart as I watched her leave her shell and glisten away.
I dreamt of her several nights before – blasting down a dusty road together in an old pickup. Sun glaring, both of us acting up and laughing out loud – and when I saw her blink, I said to her, “Mom – its ok, You can pull over now – I’ve got it the rest of the way”.
The sun still rose the next morning and I have not slept a full night since. The truth is I had not slept since she had come out of remission. Every day I vacillated between being ready for whatever happened next and Just praying she would last another day.
While there is something to be said for always remaining steadfast – for “Keeping Calm” and carrying on; there is also the fallacy of stoicism that intimates that between that and allowing one’s self to stop…stoicism is by far the nobler of the two.
This year I heard a lot of choruses of “Its up to you now” – a tired old refrain that places to sole responsibility of maintaining an familial semblance of her (my mother’s) presence at my feet.
This year I sang back – “Hell no I won’t go!”. I will not trod off to the sidelines to play surrogate all the while harboring a deadly resentment for being thrust into the role. The kind of resentment that turns once vibrant, compassionate women into hard, sullen shadows of themselves. The kind of resentment that raises blood pressure and breaks hearts over and over again because nothing you can do will ever be enough to get you out that “responsibility”.
This year – with all of it’s peaks and valleys – could not change the path I’m on. Only I can do that. At the toughest times I buried my head in the “work” and shut out the world until –
This year someone shared with me the virtue of self-love – the prism through which loving and serving anyone else must be viewed.
This year I will walk my way back to whole.
This year I will sleep again.
As summer begins to come to a close, it’s time to break out the mason jars and pickle all of the produce in sight! Pickling doesn’t have to be a long process, and it certainly doesn’t need to be reserved just for cucumbers. If you’re a pickle fanatic, then you’ll love this guide for quick pickling that will leave you with summer’s finest flavors well into autumn.
What You Need:
- 2 quart size Mason Jars with canning lids and rings
- 2 ½ cups distilled white vinegar
- 1 ½ cups water
- About 2 or 3 pounds of your favorite vegetables or fruit
- Your choice of seasonings
- ¼ cup kosher salt
- ½ cup sugar
- Dash of fresh pepper
Choosing Your Flavor Combinations
This is the hardest part of quick pickling – choosing what to pickle! You can pickle most types of vegetables and many fruits, too. Just cut them into small enough pieces to fit into a jar, and then add a few spices and seasonings in with it. Here are a few flavor combinations that you could try out:
Classic dill pickles – Sliced cucumbers, fresh dill and whole peppercorns
Lemon cucumbers –Sliced lemon cucumbers, fresh lemon slices, fresh coriander
Watermelon – Watermelon chunks and fresh basil leaves
Giardiniera – Chopped onions, carrots, cauliflower, olives and red pepper flakes
Spicy tomatoes – Whole cherry tomatoes, jalapeno slices, and fresh cilantro
Carrots – Small peeled carrots, bay leaf, and fresh dill
How to Quick Pickle
Quick pickling takes very little time and equipment, and the finished product can be stored in the refrigerator and enjoyed for about a month.
Step One – Pack Your Jars
Fill your jars with your choice of vegetables and seasonings. The jar should be about three-quarters full of vegetables, with just a few of your spices and seasonings mixed in or placed around the vegetables against the inside walls of the jar.
Step Two – Prepare your Brine
In a large pot over medium heat, combine water, vinegar, salt, sugar and pepper, and then bring to a boil. Once the sugar has dissolved and the brine has come to a boil, remove from the heat and let it cool slightly. Pour the brine into your prepared jars, making sure to cover the vegetables completely. Leave the jars open and let them cool before sealing the jars with lids.
Step Three – Let the Flavors Blend
Once the jars are cool, place the lids tightly on top, then store in the refrigerator to let the brine pickle the vegetables for at least 4 days before you eat them. Once they are brined, they are safe to keep in the refrigerator for up to one month.
Step Four – Eat Up!
These homemade pickles make great gifts and are an excellent addition to any sandwich or cheese platter. Enjoy your homemade pickles!
For more information and flavoring ideas, check out this article from Food 52. What are you going to pickle this month?
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Eating a nutritious whole foods diet is much easier when you have a strong and healthy foundation to stand on in the kitchen! If you keep most of the basic dry goods and frozen items in your kitchen at all times, you will just need to buy fresh produce and meat to go with it when you go to the grocery store. Stock your pantry and freezer like a natural food chef so you always have what you need on hand to whip up a healthy meal for you and your family on a moment’s notice!
Pro Tip – If you are buying dry goods, invest in a few glass jars to keep in your pantry. Then you can shop in the bulk section of your local grocery or health food store, which saves you money and eliminates packaging waste!
- Gluten-free oats
- Brown rice
- Whole wheat or quinoa pasta
- Variety of dried beans like black, pinto or garbanzo
- Chia and flax seeds
- Nuts like walnuts or almonds
- Nut butter
- Olive oil
- Grape seed oil – high smoking point, so it’s great for stir-frying!
- Distilled white vinegar
- Apple cider vinegar
- Balsamic vinegar
- Coconut Oil
- Kosher salt
- Fresh cracked pepper
- Variety of dried herbs
- Curry powder
- Whole wheat flour
- Almond meal
- Agave or organic honey
- Coconut palm sugar
- Curry paste
- BPA free canned organic tomatoes
- Miso – will need to be refrigerated
- Toasted sesame oil
- Roasted red peppers
- Organic agave ketchup
- Sweet potatoes
- Fresh ginger
- Fresh garlic
Pro Tips – Now is the perfect time to freeze fruit, berries and vegetables to use all winter long. Lay sliced fruit or whole berries out on a baking sheet and put it in the freezer to flash freeze them. Once all of the pieces are individually frozen you can consolidate them into a freezer safe container or bag.
Next time you make tomato sauce, make a double batch so you can freeze half of it to always have on hand!
- Variety of berries
- Sprouted grain bread
- Variety of organic vegetables like green beans or broccoli
- Homemade tomato sauce
- Organic, free-range meat like chicken or beef
- Homemade chicken broth – Just boil the bones from your roasted chicken in water for 30 to 40 minutes after dinner, then freeze the liquid.
What is your go-to healthy pantry item?
A special thanks to Susan Newsome our resident “Tea Queen” for today’s post. Expect to hear more from her in the future as she shares with us the curative benefits of tea and educates us in the fine art of “brewing”!
As we share stories of yesteryear and old family recipes as we prepare a feast to give thanks and blessings. We relish in spending time with our families and friends and pass well wishes to strangers and loved ones for the New Year. We also inevitable share some of the other “pleasantries” that follow this wonderful time of year. A cold, a sniffle, or the feeling of fatigue can truly dim a, what should be, festive spirit.
This year, instead of heading to the medicine cabinet for relief, skip the pills and head straight for the leaves.
Notorious for packing a punch with antioxidants, white teas hydrate and detoxify the body, enriching skin and overall completion. Because white teas tender leaves are subtly sweet, they can be enjoyed by themselves or blended with a variety of teas to enhance the overall flavor and health benefits of this tea.
Check out a relaxing white tea infused with subtle fruits and berries like currant, orange and cherries. Serve it hot, or chill it for a holiday flare.
Boost your immune system with more antioxidant called EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate),while enjoying one of the most popular types of tea known. Green teas have been enjoyed for centuries in Asia, boasting the ability to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels and containing less than 10% of the caffeine found in coffees and other beverages. White Japanese green teas offer a more grassy and complex flavor, Chinese green teas offer a are more subtle and toasty in flavor. Both provide a relaxing aroma while reducing stress and aiding in a healthy digestive system.
Try blending a scented jasmine pearl tea with a variety of spices such as cinnamon or cardomon, and add to the festivities by blending with blueberries or cranberries.
Naturally caffeine free, rooibos teas hail from the south African red bush and are a favorite for children and “non-tea” drinkers alike. Offered in an endless variety of flavors, this tea can be enjoyed hot or cold, and may help provide relief from upset stomachs while aiding in digestion. A healthy alternative to juices, this versatile tea can be blended with white teas to create soothing flavors, or more fruity blends to create bold tasty blends.
This holiday season, try a chilled blueberry rooibos tea blended with peaches as a substitute to the usual holiday punch. Wow your guest and improve their health while adding vitamins and minerals, instead of sugar and calories.
While these teas are great all by themselves, if you are in need of additional sweetener, avoid white processed sugars or artificial sweeteners at all cost. Not only do they add unnecessary calories, they can also strip your favorite brew your favorite brew of many of the health benefits you seek. Turn instead to local honeys or brown rock sugar to add sweetness to your holiday blend.