Summer Reboot

 

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Summer is always a great time for a reboot. This year, it means I am back in the saddle dusting off the beautiful road bike my husband custom-welded for me a few years ago. I don’t ride like I used to, and I was never race material. But what I did have was a connection with the bike as a vehicle for getting me out and free from the day-to-day.

 

Truth is, we don’t need to wait for summer to start or restart something. Anytime we can clear the fog and see the big picture, that we are not stuck where we are and that we can move forward. All it takes is a realizing and recognizing of what is going on in the moment and a motion to change direction.


3 Simple Ways to Set an Intention

 

Teaching yoga and wellness coaching have taught me to become a better listener and learner. They’ve also helped me to make small intentions for myself throughout the day. For me those intentions are designed to make me healthier and happier beginning from the inside and working its way out. For instance, today I made it to hot yoga for the first time in a long time-giving me a letting go and a mental detox that I truly needed.

 

Setting an intention during the day sets you to act in a mindful way and give thought to your actions. It’s how I started getting healthy and it’s helped me become a coach. These intentions help constantly make new patterns, get rid of the old unwanted ones, and push me forward. I keep intentions for myself, as well as goals for my clients, simple so that mindfulness doesn’t become mind-boggling. Here’s how:

 

  1. Start small. Maybe your intention is to have one healthy meal today or just to remember to breathe in a stressful moment. Well-set intentions are tiny and doable.

 

  1. Nail it down. Make your intention clear and concrete. For some of us, that means we write it down. It also means it has one step or maybe two, but not more.

 

  1. Let go of the worry. Don’t expect to be perfect. Your intention is meant to help you rock your day, but not dictate it. Roll with the imperfections and the moments you forget to stay present.

Springy Soup!

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Living in New England, in spring it’s not all that unusual to have your flip flops pulled out of the back of the closet, only to have a nor’easter blow through the next day. Whatever. Spring is a relative term, designed only to create 4 neat sections of the year, but only in theory. Weather aside; today I needed something to warm my insides but also to keep my spirits light for spring. This soup, which I adapted, was the thing:

Lemony chickpea arugula soup:

 

1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

 

4 cups of vegetable (or chicken broth)

 

2 cloves of garlic, minced

 

1 small leek, chopped

 

1 handful of arugula (spinach will work too), rinsed

 

juice of ½ a lemon

 

salt and pepper

 

2 tablespoons of olive oil

 

Pour oil into a dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Cook garlic and leek until soft. Add broth. And chickpeas. Cook another 10-15 minutes. Throw in arugula and cook until wilted. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper. The lemon adds a springy flavor and the arugula a sassy, peppery bite.

 

 

Happy lunching!!!

 


Snow day slow down:

 

 

What does a snow day do for your health?

 

Good things come when we slow down. The brain hits a reset button. This in turn allows it to let go, realign and recreate all of its workings into something new. Rest is purposeful; it’s a power down for the body and the brain, getting us ready for a more productive power up.

 

The time lends itself to use for moving, creating, baking, writing, and endless cups of tea. I can reassess, get in a work out, and yes, sometimes even catch up on work. Any down day sends us out of the busy routine, and into a slower more deliberate one. Once we’re off autopilot, we can really see what is important. Finding a connection with those around us or with what is within us is often more possible.

 

So on your down day don’t worry so much about what you’ve missed. Let the brain relax and it will naturally come to what you do next. And don’t leave it for just a snow day; pick a day of the week as a regular day of rest, doing nothing, or doing something fun and frivolous.

 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get busy doing nothing at all.


Sometimes adventure lies within your kitchen [Alternate title: easy homemade yogurt]

 

About 2 weekends ago I decided I wanted to make yogurt. A week passed before I remembered to buy whole milk for the recipe. The weekend passed, and my husband rediscovered his liking for creamy coffee, but my yogurt recipe remained untouched. This past weekend, I remembered to buy whole milk and sterilized a mason jar. Then I realized the magazine with the recipe in it had disappeared. Fortunately there are lots to be found online.

 

The result is a yogurt so mild and creamy that you don’t need a whole lot of jam/ honey/sweetener if at all. I fully expected the tartness of plain yogurt but got none. This is perfect for eating, or any sauce or replacement for sour cream.

 

Here’s my version of a recipe (so simple!) which makes one large mason jar full and a little extra:

 

4 cups of whole milk (I used half of a half gallon since I wasn’t sure how it would all go)

 

Heat milk to 180 degrees (you need a candy thermometer)

 

Take milk off the stove and cool to about 110 degrees

 

Whisk a cup of the milk with 1/8 of a cup of yogurt (the recipe I had called for plain, but I happened to have Greek vanilla)

 

Pour the yogurt-milk combo into the rest of the milk and then all of it into your sterile jar.

 

Place the jar in the oven with only the oven light on (for just enough heat) for 6-8 hours. Ok, honestly, mine was closer to 6 because I needed to go to bed. Refrigerate the yogurt! I swear it works and is a super easy and creamy, mild yogurt.

 

 


Sometimes to be well means standing still

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In my world, wellness means grabbing any spare minute you can and living in that moment. Sometimes that is 5 minutes in the shower without someone wandering in, mid-sentence, to ask you a question. That’s why I decided to join a group going on a northern Maine getaway, even though I only knew 2 of the 6 other people. That, in and of itself, put me out of my comfort zone.

This came at the end of an interesting and maybe a little stressful week- one of those weeks where you wonder if you should crawl back into bed. That too short weekend was just what I needed, a weekend of hiking, snowshoeing, sitting by the fire chatting away. Some artwork, some knitting and some occasionally raw conversation embellished it.

When I got home, I felt refreshed and looked at my challenges for the next week with new eyes. I knew the weekend had been perfect when my son asked me what I had done that weekend, listened thoughtfully and said: “Mom, that sounds really boring.” From the point of view of many of my weeks, fraught with driving someone from place to place, figuring out where I will squeeze in work, a workout, and an ‘I forgot’ trip to the grocery store, happily, it was.


Happy New You!

I always think that New Year’s resolutions should begin mid-late January, so that I can tap in to the peace of the season, the one that extends beyond the official holidays. Now’s the time when I examine the goals beginning to form in my head. I need the quiet without the bustle and lights to distract me.

It takes me a while to think about what I really want, what I am willing to sacrifice for and achieve. It comes to me in the seriousness of the winter, without drama or glitz. It’s where I really start fresh in the new year. Take the time to hash out your goals and resolutions and map a plan. Change is not easy or quick, but when it is thought through it is worthwhile and lasting.

Here’s to deep, dark, restful nights, cozy sits by the fire, and the glow of your goals and ambitions just within reach in front of you.

To your resolutions and a happy new you!