Weekend Eats

The air around us here in New England is finally feeling a bit warmer. On this overcast and slightly humid Friday, I decided to prepare a few healthy foods to make weekend meals quick and easy.


I made my White Bean & Avocado Hummus, and put it in my beautiful new Polish Pottery bowl find the recipe here.

I made changes to it as I do many recipes depending on my preference that day and whatever is in season. The changes I made included switching out dill for cilantro and I added about 1/2 tsp. turmeric.

I also pulled together a Tangy Coleslaw with Greek Yogurt, Lime & Cilantro dressing; definitely something that will wake up your taste buds and cleanse your palette. The recipe is as follows…

Tangy Coleslaw with Greek Yogurt, Lime & Cilantro dressing

1.2 head of cabbage, shredded with a food processor or cut into thin slices 20160513_160835

2 medium carrots, peeled and grated

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoons lime juice

4 Tablespoons chopped cilantro

1/4-1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

salt & pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients well, cover and chill overnight. The longer it chills the better it tastes.

And finally, I made the quickest dessert ever; Clementine Chia Pudding. I found the recipe online; you can find it here.



Why Material Things Don’t Matter

We all want something and it pretty much is an ongoing desire which we too often mistake as a need. I would guess that every one of us has at one time or another said, or thought to ourselves, “if I only had ____, I wouldn’t want anything else, or things would be so much better…etc”, only to find ourselves wanting more after we got that last thing. You know how it goes, on and on and on. I myself am guilty of the very same behavior (especially with Polish Pottery!).

If you step back and look at your big picture you might see things from a new angle. You might realize what is true and what is simply filling the empty spaces in your spirit. When was the last time you were truly in the moment, feeling what is now, seeing what is happening right now without thinking about yesterday or your next activity ahead? Being in the moment is health, deciding to change your eating habits right now, not tomorrow, not after this next outing and not for just a short period of time is health, health is what matters most. If you don’t have your health, material things don’t matter. Material things are temporary joys, material things hold no happiness if you cannot enjoy them in good health. Your health is worth every moment, dollar and joy that you spend wanting material items.

I know that I continually want for things and I have stepped back a few times to get a good look at how these material things are filling my life with pleasure, hope, inspiration and need; and the thing I always realize is, they’re not. Have you taken a step back to weighed the balance between your collection of things with the joy they bring? What have you learned about yourself when you do that? Have you ever cleaned out the items you no longer use? How did that make you feel? Have you taken the time, money or effort from something you wanted and used it toward helping someone else instead? Try it out.

Choose to be healthy before you choose items to satisfy your empty spot. Choose you instead of that great pair of shoes or that latest greatest electronic gadget. If you don’t choose you, who will? If you don’t have your health, nothing else quite matters.

Food & Physicals

I had my annual physical today which isn’t something that is at the top of many people’s list of things to do, but it is necessary.

My appointment went well as it usually does – routine Q’s & A’s and done!

I’m a health coach, I teach people how to eat healthy, I help them overcome cravings, poor habits, lose weight as well as helping reduce blood sugar, blood pressure, bloated feelings, and more.

Of all those things, weight is the #1 concern individually – everyone wants to lose a few pounds. Many of us could benefit to drop 5-25 pounds or more, but from my experience in coaching, your vital signs and blood work results need to be healthy first and foremost. You can be overweight with healthy blood sugar levels, blood pressure, blood oxygen, breathing, cholesterol levels, heart rate…etc. When you get your vitals and blood work under control, your weight loss will follow.

You’ll be amazed at how great you can feel after changing your diet to fit your needs even if you’re not at your ideal weight! You’ll also be at ease  and relaxed about going to the doctor when you know you’ve been eating better.

If you’re ready for a change, ready to take positive steps toward your health and you would like your own personal health coach, let’s talk! Having me on your side, guiding you along the way at your pace is fun, very easy to transition yourself, informative and very affordable.

Want to talk to see how your own coach can help? Contact me at Dawn@initiatewellness.com and let’s make a connection!

Your Health Coach,

Kale Chips & Other Green Things

Kale Chips & Other Green Things

20160127_123922It’s the end of January and my craving for fresh greens is kicking in strongly right about now. My fix? Kale is a winter green, citrus is in season, avocados, celery, apples & pears are all colder weather crops so I feed my desire on these things.

Last night while dinner was in the oven I made my go-to green smoothie that will last 2 days for a quick grab and go snack – see recipe below.

After roasting veggies and a turkey meatloaf in the oven, I cleaned, dried and seasoned kale and roasted it for about 40 minutes in a 225° oven, two batches to be exact. I found an easy way to season kale for chips: add kale to a bog bowl, drizzle with olive oil or another light oil, add garlic powder, lemon juice, and massage into the leaves then lay the leaves in a single layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet – sprinkle with nutritional yeast for a nutty-cheesy flavor and bake.

These two items are terrific midday or after dinner snacks. Have you ever tried making your own kale chips or green smoothie? I know a lot of folks like fruit smoothies; those are fine on occasion, but they lend to a good amount of unnecessary sugar too. Mixing 1-2 fruits in a green smoothie sweetens it up enough to taste less earthy without a sugar load.

Try each of these recipes for yourself and share your experience & opinions with us.

Kale Chips: prepare as written above, nothing was measured, just drizzled & sprinkled.

Green Winter Smoothie

Clean all ingredient well before using! I soak them in vinegar & water or hydrogen peroxide & water for 10-15 minutes then rinse and drain well.

1″ piece of ginger

small handful of parsley

1 very large handful cleaned organic kale – organic ensures no pesticides were used

1 apple cored – peeling isn’t necessary

1 peat cored – not peeled

3 stalks celery, cut into large chunks

1 avocado

juice of 1/2 lemon or squeeze of lemon juice

juice of 1 orange

1-2 Tablespoons chia seeds

2 Tablespoons ground flax seeds good sprinkle of cinnamon (adds sweetness without sugar and is a blood-sugar stabilizer

Add all ingredients to blender carafe, add filtered water within 1″ of top of carafe, cover and blend on low first then on high…blend it for a good few minutes. I take this time to clean up and get my bottles ready. I use small glass bottles so one can be taken with a homemade lunch and I put the rest into a quart bottle for glasses of goodness at home. When it’s well blended, pour into prepared bottles and refrigerate until used. Should last up to 3 days…more is okay but using it at its freshest is best.

Releasing Anxious Thoughts & Feelings

sandpiper walkConnect with yourself. Give yourself credit for what you have dealt with or are dealing with. Accept where you are and appreciate it for being better than where you could be.

Get warm. Warmth eases tension, imparts calm – try a hot shower, warm bath, blankets, whatever helps you feel toasty and cozy.

Yoga breathing. There is a simple breathing exercise that you can do several times a day without really having to fit it into your schedule…you just have to remember to breathe. It goes like this: pay attention to the air as you breathe in fully, as you exhale fully; note the smell around you, the temperature of the air and repeat 5 times a few times a day. For a deeper breath practice try “748 breathing” inhale for a count of 7 – hold it for a count of 4 – exhale for a count of 8, repeat this 3-5 times several times a day.

Walk. Take a walk, preferably in the woods, along the shore, in a field – nature is healing. All you need is 20 minutes. Take 20 minutes to be with yourself and nature even if you live in the city you can use this practice to decompress. All you need to do is walk 10 minutes away and you’ll need 10 minutes to get back – your 20 minutes will go by quickly and you’ll feel refreshed. Want more time? Take a longer walk…just get out and walk.

Mindful meditation. Don’t know how to meditate? No sweat! Start with just 5-10 minutes of sitting comfortably quiet. Pay attention to the present moment, your breathing, let your thoughts come and go – don’t judge, don’t analyze it – just BE. Do this at least once a day, more if you feel the desire.
Exercise. Get regular daily or weekly exercise. This warms you, releases the ‘feel good’ hormone, energizes your body and helps keep your body fit.

Key Notches & Success

20160106_153349-1When you open a lock with a key you must put the key all the way into the keyway in order to successfully open the door, drawer or whatever it is you are attempting to open. In the same way, you must commit fully to a goal that you plan to reach.

When you map out and attempt to reach a goal you will only meet success if you are fully engaged in accomplishing it.

Write down your goals. Map out your path to reach success. Get help if you don’t know where to begin or to help keep you on track and accountable, take yourself seriously – while still having fun of course!

Find or buy yourself an interestingly different key and keep it with you as a reminder to go all the way in your commitment and endeavor.

The key to success is yourself!

Working from home? A healthy, fast lunch is easy!

20151105_124319Today I invited my neighbor, whom also works from home, over for lunch. About an hour or so before lunch time I popped a whole butternut squash, one large peeled onion and 2 large cloves of elephant garlic in a baking dish and into a 375° oven. The house smelled so good while it roasted and while I got some work done. When it was time for lunch, I took the stuff out of the oven, peeled the squash, simple when baked whole, (get rid of the seeds) and put the squash, onion and garlic into a stockpot with almond milk, salt, and thyme, I added a splash of lemon juice for brightness, about 3 sprigs of parsley and heated it through. I didn’t measure, I made it on the thick side for heartiness. When it was lightly bubbling…or in my case bubbled out of the pot a few splashes…yikes! Use your immersion blender to puree and make it smooth.’

My friend brought over a hot Pumpkin-beer bread to have alongside it and we enjoyed lunch on the back porch on this beautiful autumn day.

Don’t work at home? That’s okay, you can still bring this healthy dish into work. Make it the night before while your dinner is cooking…or make this for dinner and bring leftover soup! For dinner, while the veggies are roasting you can get stuff done around the house to lessen your chores after dinner.

Healthy isn’t complicated. Be creative, have fun and cook! 20151105_124256

Getting Grounded-Feeling Connected

20151011_153706If you’re a warmer weather lover, the warm days left of the year are few. Take full advantage of getting outside and grounding yourself with nature.

Being outdoors awakens the senses and restores wellness. There have been scientific studies done showing that nature can give the immune system a boost, reduce pain, relieve stress, lower blood pressure and heart rate and relax our muscles thus relaxing our whole self.

Take a walk, sit or play in your yard with your child or pet, visit a park, lake, garden, or take a hike in the woods and don’t forget to hug a tree! Close your eyes and feel the ground, the air, the sun and sky; breathe it all in.

Finding peace in nature is just a step away.

Roasted Onion, Garlic & Butternut Squash Soup

20151005_182542This was by far the best butternut squash soup I’ve had and it’s so simple to make.

I bought a box of butternut squash from a local farm and with the weather cooling down, I knew soup was going to be a welcomed meal. I didn’t follow a recipe so I thought I’d share my creating with you and I hope you try it out and enjoy it as much as we did!

Here’s what I did:

  • 1 large squash cut in half length-wise and remove seeds
  • 1 large onion peeled and cut in half
  • about 1/4 cup or more of Garlic cloves peeled – I used my own homegrown garlic as well as 2 large cloves of elephant garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Parsley – Chopped and added last
  • 1 cup cream, milk or non-dairy milk such as coconut, almond or soy milk

Coat squash halves with oil. salt & pepper and lay cut side down on a foil lined baking pan. Do the same with the onion. Put all the garlic into a garlic baker, small covered baking dish or foil – drizzle with oil and close it. If foil and you have room, put the foil packet in the baking pan with the squash and onion; otherwise put the baker beside the baking sheet on the oven rack.

Bake all of it at 375° for about an hour and a half or until the squash is soft and cooked through.

*Meanwhile get your large saucepan ready with 8 cups of broth or water.

Remove all from the oven. Begin heating your broth while you remove the flesh from the butternut and add to the broth. Add all of the garlic and onion. Simmer for a few minutes, add salt and pepper and with an immersion blender, blend the soup until it’s smooth and creamy. Add the parsley & cream or milk and blend together.

Serve and enjoy!

Farro Salad

farro saladFarro is a whole grain that comes from wheat. It is a healthy alternative to pasta, rice, potatoes, and other grains because it is a good source of complex carbohydrate which is beneficial to regulating blood sugar, lowering cholesterol, staving off hunger and supporting the immune system. It’s also a good source of fiber, protein, vitamins, especially B3, and minerals, especially much-needed magnesium.

Farro can be used in hot soups, as a hot rice type dish, as a breakfast cereal and as a salad or any other creative ideas you might have.

For the summer months when we often eat lots of pasta, macaroni and potato salad, try substituting Farro for the main ingredient.

Farro Salad

1 1/2 cups Farro
4 cups water
2 tsp. salt

Add the Farro, water and salt to a saucepan, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for about 35-40 minutes until tender. Drain and put into a bowl to cool.
Chop 1-2 cups vegetables, choose from or use all:
celery, tomatoes, cucumber, sweet Vidalia, scallions or red onion, 1-2 cloves garlic, fresh or frozen peas, carrots, asparagus, green beans, bell peppers, broccoli florets, edamame, corn kernels(especially when local fresh), chopped cabbage, sprouts, and any other vegetable of choice  that is in season.

basil, parsley, mint, oregano, rosemary, chives, dill

Add 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil and 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar and about 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Add Himalayan pink salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, toss well and chill until serving.