Archive for July, 2011

Green Smoothie Demo – Video Blog

Today, I’m posting my first ever video blog on how to make a delicious and nutritious green smoothie. The quality of the video is enhanced if you click on the YouTube link and watch it directly on YouTube. Cheers to green smoothies. 

Perfect Coincidence

 A few months ago, I went to a writer’s conference in San Diego called Movers and Shakers about how to build a stronger platform to help get my book published. One of the entertaining speakers, Cheryl Richardson, told us a story about how she often leaves affirmation cards (also called inspiration cards and gratitude cards) in various places to spread love and joy when she travels. As an example of where she might leave these loving cards, she said she sometimes places one in the billfold with her payment at restaurants. 

   A few days after I returned home from the workshop, I was having tea with a friend at one of the local coffee shops in Napa. We brainstormed ways I would begin to speak publicly about my story. As I continued to plan out my next moves, anxiety started to bubble in my stomach. The more I talked, the more worried I became. “What if I never find an agent? What if my writing sucks? What if I can’t figure out a way to speak clearly about my message? What if this has all been a waste of time? What if I fail?”

I said goodbye to my friend and walked with a heavy-mind, back to my car that I’d parked on the opposite side of the street. As I approached the windshield, I saw a purple, square card. I looked around to see if other cars had this peculiar looking card on their windshields. My car was the only one. I lifted it from out and under the windshield wiper and realized I was staring at an affirmation card. Goosebumps shivered up and down my arms. I shook my head as my eyes darted from one person to the next. Who put this here? Was it the couple sitting across the street at the Bounty Hunter restaurant? Was it the man with the blue hat walking his dog? “This is totally crazy,” I said under my breath. No one knew about Cheryl’s story of handing out affirmation cards. I hadn’t told anyone. (Later, the synchronicity deepened when I googled the card and realized it was created by the same lady and company—Louise Hay and Hay House Publishing—who had put on the workshop.)

I quickly unlocked my door and jumped into the front seat. I continued to shake my head and rolled down the windows. I stared at the gratitude card and read the message out loud, “I release all fears and doubts.” I read it again, “I release all fears and doubts.” This is pretty amazing, I thought as my eyes filled with tears of wonder. I read the other side of the card, “I accept myself and create peace in my mind and heart. I now choose to free myself from all destructive fears and doubts. I am loved and I am safe.”

I placed the inspirational card upright on the dashboard and stared at it for a few minutes. I breathed in a deep breath and relaxed into the message of the card. “I release all fears and doubts.” I have no idea who left the card on my car, but I thank them, Cheryl Richardson, and Louise Hay, for reminding me of just how powerful and perfect, my life and the universe can be.

Healthy Home

On the second-to-last Oprah show, Nate Berkus, Oprah’s featured design expert said, “Your home should tell the story of who you are and more importantly who you want to become. It should rise up to greet you each and every day.” Nate’s quote hit home and I thought, This idea must pertain to my emotional health. Maybe I’d somehow be healthier if my space was always perfectly tidy.  

Recently, I bought another bookshelf from one of my friends. I was drowning in my mess of books and papers. Research books, library books, books I was reading, books I intended to read, magazines and drafts of writing materials lay strewn across the floors. They covered all table surfaces in every room. The chaos grew and began to clutter its way into my mind and productiveness. It was becoming impossible to dust. I wrote down Nate’s comment and thought of my bookshelf and how much happier I feel now; the many books gazing back at me in orderly fashion.

My house is clean, but often messy. There are always a few unfinished dishes littering the kitchen counter—okay maybe more than a few. Plus, I have some kind of chronic ailment that prohibits me from consistently hanging my clothes back in the smaller closets. That’s right—I have two small closets, and still can’t seem to always put things away. I wonder what Nate would think that says about me.

I suppose I was overlooked when the tidy gene was being passed out. Nevertheless, I love it—really love it—when the house is not only clean, but neat. It makes me feel … proud of myself, like I have it all together. It makes me wish everyone would drop in and see me and my wonderfully, well-organized life.

After writing down Nate’s comment, I started to fret. Perhaps my space is not a good representation of who I am. How can I be clever and not find the time to finish the dishes and hang up my clothes? I became a little obsessed with the idea that I was giving the wrong impression by not having an immaculate house. Then I realized my space may not be perfectly tidy, but it does represent who I am. Large pieces of art hang on the walls and photos of loved ones smile back at me. My juicer and blender sit in their spaces on the counter and my dog has more than one space to hang out in.  There are always vegetables in the fridge and a healthy meal in the works. The beds are made and the laundry gets done … eventually. And most importantly, my husband’s love fills the house. My space does “rise up and greet {me}” in a healthy, very me, kind of way. Not perfect, but every day working its way closer to who I envision myself becoming—more me.

Recipe Ideas for the Long Weekend

I have two birthdays to celebrate this weekend, Canada Day (July 1st) and Independence Day (July 4th). Now we all know that most birthdays are synonymous with cake, but these birthdays are normally served with a hearty helping of white buns, chips and loads of meat. Hopefully, we can look forward to barbecues and picnics over this long weekend. I’m the first to RSVP to any party, but how do we keep it together when the hamburgers and hot dogs are shouting, “Eat me, eat me,” over and over again from the barbecue grill?

It’s not going to be easy, but the past has taught me to prepare a healthy dish to bring with me. Then I can count on including nutrient dense vegetables over weekends like these. Focusing on my dish helps me to make better choices all round. So, I’ve put together a few ideas and recipes that are easy to prepare. Take these veggies, quinoa salad or egg salad sandwiches with you barbecues or picnics this weekend. They will help take the edge off of the less healthy celebratory alternatives.

Grilled Asparagus:

  • Set oven to 400°F or fire up the BBQ grill
  • Rub asparagus in olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt
  • Place on a baking sheet and cook in over for about 20 minutes or grill on BBQ (to desired softness)
  • Add cracked pepper if desired

Roasted Vegetable, Goat Cheese and Quinoa Salad: Serves 6-8  — (You can substitute quinoa for any other grain of your choice)

    • You can roast the following vegetables in the oven at 400°F or grill on the BBQ until desired tenderness.
    • (If using the BBQ – cut the vegetables a little larger so they don’t fall through the grill).
    • (If using oven, roast sweet potato for about 20-25 minutes and other veggies for about 15-20 minutes).
    • Sweet potato (at least 2 large) – chopped into smaller pieces if using oven
    • Broccoli florets (½ head or more)
    • Red Peppers (2 peppers) – red chopped into medium pieces
    • Asparagus (1 bunch) – chopped into medium pieces
    • Toss all veggies in olive oil and place directly on grill or on baking sheet in the oven
    • Prepare quinoa – (2 cups). Rinse well before cooking, 2 cups quinoa to 4 cups water, bring to a boil and then simmer 15-20 minutes.
    • Mix all ingredients together.
    • Add ¼ cup of sesame oil or olive oil.
    • Add juice from one lemon.
    • Add sea salt and cracked pepper to taste.
    • Add pieces (clumps) of soft goat cheese (one “log”) and mix salad together again.

Boiled Beets:

  • Peel beets and cut into medium-sized pieces
  • Boil, covered in water, on stove top until tender
  • Drain and place beets to cool in bowl
  • Drizzle with olive oil and apple cider vinegar mixed in a ratio of ½ and ½.
  • Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper

 Egg Salad Sandwiches: Makes 4-5 sandwiches

  • 8 hardboiled eggs (peeled and mashed)
  • 2 stalks celery or 1 small zucchini (finely chopped)
  • 2 sprigs of chives (finely chopped)
  • 3 tbsp Vegenaise (or alternate mayo)
  • ¼ – ½  tsp curry powder (to taste)
  • Pinch cayenne, sea salt and pepper
  • Mix all ingredients together and sandwich in whole grain bread with tomato slices and lettuce

 Happy long weekend, Healthy Junkies!!!