Friday, November 30, 2012

Outside of the Box: Soup and Sandwich

Another SOUPer day at Chuck's Produce & Street Market! Today, I whipped up my Simply Unforgettable Tomato Soup paired with Grown-Up Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (Provolone and White Sharp Cheddar). Bonus: I served Organic Honey Crisp Apple slices to go with.

Good eats. Good folks. Good times. I love what I do! 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

We are SMART

"We've been playing it safe." I said to the group. "I've been treading lightly with you all. But, it's time for us to up the ante. I want more for you. I want more for me."

Filling out the end of year survey
Last night, marked our final "5 or 50" meeting for 2012. As the facilitator, as the leader, I'm supposed to well, lead. I've spent the last five months getting a feel for my role (this is my first time ever doing this), but more importantly I've been learning who the women are that make up the group.

I want the group to be a safe place, a comfortable environment. Where we can share and grow. In order to grow, however, we are going to have to get a little uncomfortable. I told the ladies. "We have to come out of our comfort zones."

Now that I have a sense of who the regulars are that attend the meetings and their personalities -- it's time. It's time for me to really start helping them make significant life changes.

With a fist pump, I said, "We can't stay here and change."

I created the group with them in mind. I want to empower them to change and I want them to own the group. So for our meeting last night I put together a survey to get their feedback about the group thus far and to help guide our future time together.

"I want to start 2013 off STRONG." I said. "Let's claim 2013 as our best year yet."
"2013 will be our best year yet." The group said together in unison.

To gear us up for the new year I put together a SMART GOALS and ACTION PLAN packet (the Wellness Coaching class I took last year at Clark College in full effect). Then we went around the room going over small changes that we can implement between now and the new year. The SMART packets are our homework over the holiday break. When we come together for our first meeting of 2013 we will share them with one another and then get to work, making the changes. And, ultimately changing our lives.

We are beautiful, strong, capable, and SMART.

Gen and Peggy -- Newcomers

More about SMART GOALS---

A SMART goal is:
  • S is for SPECIFIC. Decide what you are going to do and how to do it.
  • M is for MEASURABLE. Keep track of how you are doing.
  • A is for ACHIEVABLE. Pick something you think you can do. Start with small changes. Is running a 4-minute mile possible for you?
  • R is for REALISTIC or (REWARD). Be realistic about the goals you set. Getting down to your high school weight after having 3 children may not be realistic. Set a goal that you can not only attain, but is in reason for you. You know yourself best.
  • T is for TIME-SPECIFIC. Give your goal a deadline.
SMART goals are to be written down in a certain way, it gives them even greater power. 

“Goals not written down are just wishes.”

The blog post that inspired the group:

Join us for our first meeting of 2013
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
6 - 7:30 p.m.
Cascade Park Community Library
Family Room
600 NE 136th Ave

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Home Ec

I love what I do! Sharing my passion for food and cooking with the community. The last couple of weeks, I've been relishing the time I shared with the Clark College Health 100: "Food and Your Health" students. Oh, what delicious fun we had! The students have been using my cookbook -- Shop, Cook, Eat: Outside of the Box for the past several weeks and their time spent with me was to help them step further OUTSIDE of the Box.

As much as I enjoyed our time together, it dawned on me and sadden me to realize that most of these young adults have never cooked.  Yet alone shopped in the grocery store.

I'm a child of the 70s. Probably the last generation before fast food and TV dinners replaced good home cooked meals. I grew up with a mother and grandmother who cooked and grocery shopped religiously. So I got to see first hand how it was done. Thank you mama and grandmama. As a reinforcement to what they taught me, I also took a Home Ec class in 7th grade. What ever happened to Home Ec classes? Have they been replaced with computer technology classes? I wonder.

I have fond memories of my time in the Home Ec classroom. There was a kitchenette were we practiced all sorts of basic cooking skills. Making chocolate chip cookies was always a sweet delight. There was a living space with a sewing machine and sewing items. I wasn't crazy about this area, but I did learn the very basics: how to stitch, sew on buttons, etc.

I wanna know...What happened to teaching our kids the very basic life skills (cooking, sewing, cleaning) at home? Is grocery shopping for real food a thing of the past? Is cooking from scratch a lost art? And, why did Home Ec get phased out of the curriculum?

For me cooking is an everyday essential skill. Instead of just pondering the questions, I'm doing what I can to help us return to the very basics. I'm on a mission to Bring Cooking Back and help folks step OUTSIDE of the prepared food Box!  The responsibility should not fall on only our school systems or on the shoulders of lil ol' me, but really starts at home.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Gettin' my walk on!

What a beautiful, crisp fall day it is! I just came in from getting my walk on. Those of you who've been following the blog from the beginning know that walking is how this journey of self-discovery/weight loss began in 2009. Whenever I'm feeling sluggish or need to rejuvenate -- I return to that place, that starting point. I'm a true believer in looking within for self-motivation. Chatting with loved ones, reading self-help books, and coming up with a game plan from trainers, are helpful tools and they all can play a role. At the end of the day, however, there's just me. So I lace up my tennis shoes, and put one foot in front of the other and try to figure it all out. How to maneuver from one point to another in this obstacle course called life.

For me walking is not so much about the physical exercise, but more about my mental health. Walking for me is cathartic. Taking in all the beautiful sights of nature, the fresh air, and just spending time with myself, thinking. Really thinking. Reflecting is what my walks are about. Walking does the mind and body good. So whenever I need a reboot, I get my walk on!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Reason, A Season, A Lifetime

For the month of November, to honor Thanksgiving lots of folks post what they are thankful for on their Facebook pages. Of all the Facebook interactions I find this one worthy. So every other day or so I try to chime in. Here's what I wrote on Sunday: "I am thankful for the support and love of so many. They may have entered my life for a reason, season, or a lifetime. No matter, I'm grateful. Thank you for helping me along this amazing journey. Everyday I get to help someone in some way. Through words. Through actions. Through food.  

I'd like to expand on this post a little. People enter our lives for many reasons and sometimes they are meant to be in our lives forever. Forever is a mighty long time, however, and everyone is not meant to be in your life in that capacity. That's okay.

You may come out to your car after a movie and find your car battery is dead.  A Good Samaritan gives you a jump. A reason. You are working on a major project and someone with a necessary skill set or product comes along and donates their time and resources. A season. Then there are your loved ones -- family and friends who will be there with you through thick and thin. A lifetime.

We may not be in contact anymore for whatever reason. Our time together has expired. But I still appreciate you and what you brought to my life. It's the sum of my experiences, exchanges with others that make me who I am. Forever grateful, thankful for reasons, seasons, and a lifetime.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Outside of the Box: Soups

It was a SOUPer Sunday. Delicious, soul warming soups and family. As often the case when I teach these classes, it's not just about the food, but it's about the people. Food brings people together. The most beautiful thing -- a family of five-- with kids, ages 7,9, and 13 joined the class. Parents YOU have to get them started cooking early. Thank you for involving them Josh and Jennifer. More family...there was also a sister trio (The Baker's) in the house.

On the menu: To Die For Southwest Chicken Soup from my first cookbook, Bringing Cooking Back and Sweet Potato Bisque from my new cookbook Shop, Cook, Eat: Outside of the Box.

Good food. Good folks. Good times.

Again, I say I love what I do...Sharing my passion for real food and helping more and more people step OUTSIDE of the Box

Friday, November 16, 2012

Clark College: Steps OUTSIDE of the Box - II

I'm beaming with pride. Over the course of two weeks, I held four grocery store tours/cooking classes and successfully helped 100 Clark College "Food and Your Health" students step OUTSIDE of the Box!

The store tours and cooking classes were the next steps in helping the students see just how simple shopping, cooking, and eating fresh, real food is. I even converted many of them into Brussels Sprouts lovers. How cool is that? Super-cool!

Thank you Clark College for believing in me and Chuck's Produce & Street Market for welcoming us into your beautiful store!

Clark College is OUTSIDE of the Box!

Class # 3

Class #4

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Northwest Personal Training: Steps OUTSIDE of the Box

It's always a fun time when Northwest Personal Training (NWPT) hosts an event. Last night, was delicious fun and I just so happened to be the hostess. It was a great honor and pleasure to be invited to share my story, my love for good real food, and passion for health, fitness, and life with NWPT clients.

The cool thing about doing what I do, is no matter the audience I mostly always reach them with new information, inspiration, encouragement. The NWPT folks last night would prove no different. Sometimes it could be a tidbit:  Kale can be frozen. A new found kitchen gadget. Fresh lemon juice adds a bright flavor without any calories to a number of dishes.

The more events I host I realize my concept of being OUTSIDE of the Box is simply a reminder to folks. A reminder of how simple it is to prepare real food.  A reminder that Shopping, Cooking, Eating OUTSIDE of the Box allows us to not only take control of our health and our lives, but it gives us freedom. Somewhere along the way, somehow we got BOXED in, and lost our freedom and creativity.  It's darn cool to show folks how simple it is to step OUTSIDE of the Box.  It's even cooler to end the evening with a hug from a lady who you met only a couple of hours ago.

NWPT you are more than a training studio, and I'm proud to be a part of the NWPT family. An extra-special thanks to Kristin for organizing everything and Cindy for being my personal assistant. You two are AWESOME.

NWPT is officially OUTSIDE of the Box.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Clark College: Steps OUTSIDE of the Box

What delicious fun we had on Friday! 50 Clark College "Food and Your Health" students and me -- Shopping, Cooking, and Eating. 

I've hosted many of cooking classes at Chuck's, but none quite as special as these two. It was a great honor to instruct these eager, young students. I loved seeing their light bulbs come on.

We started the store tour in the beautiful produce department:
- I discussed the different types of greens (Kale, Swiss Chard, Greens, Spinach, etc.)
- The countless varieties of apples -- we live in the Apple State after all                 
- Potatoes (aren't bad it's all the stuff we put on them)                                        
- Shallots versus onions
- The slight difference between sweet potatoes and yams
- Advising them to say no to convenient bagged lettuce, carrots, and bottled citrus juice
and opt for the fresh varieties

Bonus:  The produce gals gave the students samples (Kiwi berries, Hidden Rose Apples, and Sprouted Almonds).

Next, we quickly toured the dairy, meat, bread, and deli sections. Our tour ended in the bulk section -- Discovering how we could buy a little or a lot of honey, grind our own nut butters, and what dishes we could create with the endless grains, beans, nuts, and spices.

Then back to the classroom for the real fun. I loved seeing the students look on in awe as I pulsed and processed the dates to make the Cashew Whole Food Energy Bars. "Yes, it's that simple," I said. Watching Kate swing her crossed leg back and forth in sheer delight as she enjoyed the freshly roasted Brussels Sprouts. Naomi and Kate going back to scoop up the last few Kale Chips. The look of anticipation as I layered The Mexican Rice Bowl (my version of Chipotle's burrito in a bowl) with all the goods and finishing it with a fresh squeeze of lime. Bam! As Emeril would say.

At the beginning of each class, I told the students, "You can do this. I'm confident". I also gave them a few things I wanted them to take away from their time with me:
  1. Everything in a prepared food box can be made from scratch using whole, natural ingredients.
  2. How simple and fun it is to cook.
  3. We don't have to eat OUTSIDE of the Box all the time, but most of the time.
The sweetest reward: By the end of each class ALL 50 students said they could do it (cook at home) and promised they would.
Thanks to Clark College for believing in me to author the cookbook and Kristen Myklebust for allowing her students to take it a step further under my instruction.

Chuck's Produce & Street Market -- Thank you so much for graciously opening your doors to the students. An extra-special thanks to Angee Murray for getting us on the schedule and for everything else.    

I'm looking forward to making more delicious memories and helping 50 more Clark College "Food and Your Health" students step OUTSIDE of the box, next Friday, November 16. Until's some photos from the first classes.

Class #1

Class #2

The Obesity Epidemic is REAL!

The evidence of an epidemic is everywhere.

· Two-thirds, more than 190 million Americans are
overweight or obese.

· Obesity-related diseases are a $147 billion dollar
medical burden every year.

· Childhood obesity has tripled in the last thirty years

Source: CBS News