1c coconut milk, full fat
4 sprigs fresh mint
½c beet juice**
2c chocolate chips, bittersweet
1t vanilla extract
1. Heat coconut milk, on med, to simmering
2. Remove from heat, add mint, cover & seep 30 mins
3. Combine cornstarch & water in bowl, stir to mix
4. Strain coconut milk, discard mint leaves
5. Reheat coconut milk, med heat
6. Add cornstarch mixture, stir until thickened, 2+ mins
7. Stir in beet juice, vanilla, chocolate; mix until smooth
8. Pour into 4oz ramekins
9. Serve warm or cold
**Note: beet juice at Whole Foods, or other specialty
In an effort to simplify my life this holiday season, a theme that resonates with me every year, I have been thinking about ways to pare down my life. This thought started with a simple trip to the grocery store where I noticed the shelves were filled with an overabundance of holiday food items, that sadly, go to waste. It goes without saying that we live in a world of abundance, particularly when it comes to food. Of course, this is not a blog about world hunger, but it certainly gives you something to think about in this season of plenty.
Obviously, being a nutrition professional, I have a love of food so I am not going to totally forgo the joy of baking, just stick to my favorites that I know will be savored by family & friends alike. My personal favorite holiday treat is Hazelnut Maple Biscotti; nothing beats this divine combination of chocolate and hazelnuts.
So, I will savor my biscotti and all the simple pleasures the season has to offer.
Hazelnut Maple Biscotti
Hazelnuts (a tree nut) are a good source of folate & dietary fiber.
½ cup pure maple syrup
½ cup hazelnut butter (I ground my hazelnuts which is actually pretty simple)
¼ cup butter
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1-tablespoon hazelnut liquor (optional)
3 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
½ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup lightly toasted hazelnuts
Semi-sweet or Bittersweet Chocolate for drizzle
Preheat oven to 325. Line cookie sheet with parchment or silpat. In a medium bowl, cream together maple syrup, hazelnut butter and butter. Add eggs, vanilla and liquor, blending well. In a larger bowl, combine flours, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir to blend. Make a well into dry ingredients, add egg mixture and mix until incorporated. Add nuts. (Knead by hand if necessary). On a lightly floured board, divide dough into half and roll into 2 14-inch logs. Place logs on prepared sheet, then flatten about 1 inch high. Bake for 25 minutes or until loaves spring back when touched lightly. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Reset oven to 300. Slice cookies on the diagonal. Place slices flat on baking sheet, and bake for 25 minutes (a lot of this process is trial and error; I like my cookies crisp so I bake longer). Remove from oven and let cool. Drizzle with chocolate (or dip in chocolate) if desired.
Humans are (still) social creatures wired to connect. It’s true.
And since in addition to loving food, we love people and serving others, we will always keep the conversation going about how to have a better conversation: one that leaves you and the other person feeling inspired, engaged, and basically — really good.
Watch this short TED Talk: 10 ways to have a better conversation
(It’s not just about eye contact…as she says: there’s no reason to show you are paying attention…if, in fact…you are paying attention!)
1. Don’t multi-task (physically or mentally). Be present.
2. Don’t pontificate: if you want to state opinions without discussion, write a blog! Enter every conversation assuming you have something to learn.
3. Use open-ended questions: what was that like, how did that feel, what do you think.
4. Go with the flow – meaning, let thoughts come as you are listening but let them go. Don’t check out of listening because you’re cueing up that random thought or story you want to share.
5. If you don’t know, say you don’t know.
6. Don’t equate your experience with theirs. All experiences are individual.
7. Try not to repeat yourself, it’s condescending and boring.
8. Stay out of the weeds. That detail you are trying to remember (exact year or place) really isn’t that important to others.
9. Listen. This is the most important skill humans can develop. No man ever listened himself out of a job (quoting Calvin Coolidge).
10. Be brief.
Do all of these and be prepared to be amazed.
2c rinsed garbanzo beans
½c pumpkin purée
1/3c olive oil
1T chopped Italian parsley
1½t apple cider vinegar
½t+ chopped garlic
1½t maple syrup
to taste s&p
toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
chopped fresh chives
1. Blend all (except chives) in food processor until smooth
2. Add a little hot water to thin to desired consistency
Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds, chives & maple syrup drizzle
Both are gifts you can get and give; but our presence is available at no charge to us and at great benefit to those around us.
Human beings cannot multitask. What we are capable of is handling a number of serial tasks in rapid succession, or mixing automatic tasks with those that are not so automatic. That’s one of the reasons the NTSB reports that texting while driving is the functional equivalent of driving with a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit. You just can’t effectively attend to two things at once – even the superficially automatic ones.
So, how do we stay present? The first thing to recognize is that, try as we might, we really can only do one thing at a time, so we ought to do that thing wholeheartedly.
Ways to foster our own “presence” include focusing on our breathing (and taking a deep breath); stepping back and observing ourselves; letting go of things that are not actually happening in the moment (meaning, the past and the future).
A busy food service operation is a great place to practice being present. Let the giving begin!
Last month’s blog covered Part 1 of habits for weight loss & maintenance. The article outlined the 7 Habits of People Who Lost 30 + Pounds & Kept the Weight Off As stated previously, while none of this is earth shattering, it is another reminder that successful weight loss & maintenance require life long healthy habits.
5. Daily exercise is a priority
Almost all (90 percent) registry participants exercise for about one hour every day. This habit is especially effective because nutrition & exercise work hand in hand for weight loss. Additionally, working out can help build more defined muscles. The most effective ways to change your body composition is to add strength training and/or high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to your workout routine.
6. Weekly Weighing
Seventy five percent of registry participants weigh themselves at least once each week. While weighing may not be the best tool for everyone, for some, the number on the scale can also be a motivation to implement healthy habits in the first place. For the study participants, hitting an “all-time high in weight” is a common trigger for someone to want to lose weight. Frequent weighing also helps participants avoid the scale creeping up without noticing. Monitoring weekly can catch a one- to two-pound weight gain. It’s a good idea to weigh in occasionally, but guilt-tripping yourself each time you step on a scale is a big no-no. Instead, think of that number as a valuable data point that can help you troubleshoot and plan for the coming weeks.
7. No Binge TV watching
Finding time for healthy habits can be challenging so why waste your precious time engaging in a sedentary activity like TV watching. This doesn’t mean you have to give up television to see success, but you should limit your screen time. Most registry participants watch less than 10 hours a week. By limiting screen time, they can make more time for other activities (i.e. exercise).
The Bottom Line
It would be nice to think that these people are privy to some super secret way to lose a lot of weight and keep it off. But the simple truth is that there is no secret; it takes hard work, consistency and patience to see results that last.
1T olive oil
1lb brussels sprouts, quartered
1 firm, tart apple, diced
1 med yellow onion, diced
3oz thin pancetta, coarsely chopped
2T sherry vinegar
3 3/4c pure maple syrup
1/8t crushed red pepper flakes
½c spiced pecan pieces
1. Heat oven to 400°F
2. Combine brussels sprouts, apple, onion, oil, s&p; toss to coat
3. Roast 20 mins, until tender
4. Sautée pancetta in large skillet over med heat until crisp; transfer to paper towels to drain
5. Whisk together vinegar, syrup, red pepper flakes
6. Toss brussels mixture with ½ (or more) dressing & pancetta
7. Top with spiced pecan pieces
Last month’s blog covered the topic of long-term weight loss success. The age-old question, how do I lose weight and keep it off? The recent article titled 7 Habits of People Who Lost 30+ Pounds — and Kept the Weight Off is certainly relevant to that question. The study participants are on the National Weight Control Registry & have successfully lost weight that has been maintained for at least one year. While none of this information was new or earth shattering, it is a good reminder that successful weight loss & maintenance require life long healthy habits, not a diet.
They eat fewer calories than the average American
Over the years science has shown a calorie is not just a calorie. It’s the quality of calories that is important. 100 calories of fiber-filled apple slices can help you feel fuller longer than 100 calories of licorice. Counting calories is helpful, but can be a tedious process that is not conducive to your lifestyle. This is where portion control can help; controlling portion size will help you determine the right amount of food (i.e. calories) for you.
They eat often, up to five times a day
While research has not always consistently shown that people who eat more frequently weigh less-the registry participants in this study eat more frequently. Eating 5 times a day breaks out to 3 meals & 2 snacks. Eating more often may be a good strategy to help with hunger; a ravenous state often results in poor food choices. Aim for well-balanced meals that contain plenty of fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein & healthy fats. Snacks can include things like nuts, fresh fruits & veggies, string cheese & Greek yogurt.
They stick to a consistent diet
Weight loss participants eat a fairly consistent diet, whether it’s a weekday, weekend, holiday, or vacation. Results show that those who ate a consistent diet the entire week were 1.5 times more likely to maintain their weight within five pounds. This was over the course of one year compared with those who ate a healthy diet strictly on weekdays, while indulging on the weekends.
They don’t skip breakfast
More than half the study participants eat breakfast daily. Aim for a breakfast with a balance of protein, fat & carbohydrates— like two eggs scrambled with vegetables and maybe 1/4 of an avocado, 1/2 cup of oatmeal, and one cup of fruit — can set the tone for the rest of day. All this can build up to better food choices throughout the day & minimize the risk of making poor food choices resulting from ravenous hunger.
Read full article here
We recently heard Simon Sinek’s messages about empathy. He suggests that to practice empathy in the workplace we must — daily — make the well-being of others (our teammates, our customers, our health inspector, etc.) a conscious, visible, intentional priority.
This theme also connects with this article about the mood elevator.
The Mood Elevator is an awareness tool…used to describe our moment-to-moment experience of life. It encompasses a wide range of feelings and together, these emotions play a major role in defining the quality of our lives as well as our effectiveness.
Behaviors found on the “higher” (positive) floors of the mood elevator include:
1. Positive spirit/vitality. Creating an environment where there is teamwork, mutual support (AND EMPATHY), and cooperation…where people are fun to be around, proud of what they do, and willing to put in the effort that is beyond normal expectations.
2. Collaboration/trust. Creating frequent and open two-way communication… maintaining openness and trust…with high levels of (EMPATHY) feedback and coaching.
3. Appreciation/recognition. And rewarding performance.
4. Agility/innovation/growth. Encouraging people to innovate, create, and be open to change. Empowering people, and having a bias for action and an urgency to move forward.
5. Customer/quality focus. Having a high focus on, and awareness of, quality and customer service.
6. Ethics/integrity. Acting with honesty…Core Values and ethics are very important and decisions are made for the greater good of the organization. Seeing healthy differences and diversity as strengths.
7. Performance orientation. Having high expectations for performance and accountability for actions and results. Being a self-starter.
8. Direction/purpose. Providing a sense of direction and purpose…with clear alignment and connection with the organization’s strategic goals.
Live the above and you’ll be more creative, joyful and productive. Promise.