Eating healthy does not have to be a boring helping of broiled chicken breast sitting forlornly next to a pile of broccoli. Even though I love chicken and broccoli, it is not the only option when trying to eat healthier.
As many of you know, with a few exceptions here and there, I mainly eat a Paleo Diet. It is sometimes also called the Caveman’s diet or even a Primal Diet. Basically, you eat as our ancestors did, before we started to process our food. They ate the meat of animals they hunted or fished. They ate vegetables and fruit, which they grew. And they foraged for nuts and seeds, or whatever they could find.
Now, while I think it would be pretty nifty to have my own huge garden from which to feed to my family, I live in suburbia, it’s not happening. I also couldn’t hunt my own meats. Yes, I’m one of ‘those people’.
So, I hop into my SUV and schlep the one mile to my local grocery store and get the healthiest meats, veggies, fruits and nuts I can find.
There is a plethora of information out there about the multitude of health benefits from following the Paleo diet. So I’m not going to list them all here. I will give you a resource though that I believe is fantastic and truly recommend! It’s a book written by Diane Sanfilippo called Practical Paleo. I enjoyed this book as much for the delicious recipes as I did for the easy to digest (no pun intended) information on WHY the Paleo diet is healthy and how it can literally change your health. What I particularly loved is all information on how eating Paleo can drastically help in the struggles dealing with auto-immune issues and other disorders.
Should you want to try to incorporate the Paleo diet into your life, I have another resource for you. It’s an iPad App written by Michelle Tam called Nom Nom Paleo. You guys, this app ROCKS! I’m not kidding. Whether you want to eat ‘paleo’ or not, this is packed with delicious recipes with gorgeous pictures and easy to follow instructions. I wouldn’t lie to you.
With all that said, I’m going to give you a couple of recipes I made recently. One is a salad inspired by one I had at a fabulous local restaurant last weekend. The salad at the restaurant had seasoned grilled chicken, figs, pears, spicy walnuts and blue cheese dressed in vinaigrette. My mouth watered reading the menu and I couldn’t resist trying it. I was not disappointed. It was one of the best salads I’ve ever had and I can tell you, I eat a LOT of salads!
My version is a little different. One, we had it on one of my ‘no cook’ nights, so I borrowed a little help from my grocery store and brought home a fully cooked rotisserie turkey breast. So right away we’ve switched from chicken to turkey.
What I used:
Mixed Greens plus some romaine hearts
2 ripe Bartlett pears
Walnuts – about ¾ cup
Crumbled blue cheese (a NON-Paleo item- but I only used 3 oz for a salad feeding 5)
*I couldn’t find figs in my grocery store, so I’ll add those next time.
Dressing: red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, cracked pepper and kosher salt
Directions: I seasoned the walnuts with the tiniest amount of olive oil and then some smoked paprika and chili powder and then roasted them in a pan on my stove.
While I kept a close eye on my walnuts, I chopped and dumped all the other ingredients into a large salad bowl. I added the warm nuts when they were done, sprinkled on some vinegar, seasonings and drizzled the oil and tossed!
Next I’m going to walk you through the steps I took to make the most delicious ‘breakfast for dinner’ that we had last night. I got the idea for the eggs nested in the avocado from Michelle’s Nom Nom Paleo App I mentioned above. It worked perfect!
Ingredients on hand:
Eggs – free range, farm fresh, organic … the best you can get if possible.
2 large avocados – washed because peel will remain on them for cooking
baby portabello mushrooms, sliced
fresh tomato, chopped
fresh baby spinach
Slice your avocados in half. Then make another slice about ½ inch on either side, all the way around, so that when you take out the pit, you’ll have an avocado ring with a hole in the middle.
Heat some fat in a pan (coconut oil, butter) and put in your avocado rings. Then surround your rings with mushrooms so they can sauté at the same time.
Crack an egg into the center of each of your avocado rings.
Add your chopped tomatoes to your mushrooms around the edge of the pan.
When you eggs have set a bit, flip the entire egg-filled avocado slice over to cook the other side.
*NOTE: if you like your yolks runny, like sunny side up, you can ‘tent’ or cover your pan and not flip the avos!
As the eggs finish cooking, sprinkle the fresh spinach over your mushrooms and tomatoes so it can wilt a bit.
Transfer to a plate and truly ENJOY!!
I interrupt the regularly scheduled WritersButt Wednesday post to ask you a burning question. And by burning, I mean raw, itchy, strawberry-allergy-nose, question.
A friend of mind who shall remain nameless, and it’s definitely not Liz Jasper, believes that Kleenex tissue with lotion is the best option for chronic dripping. I disagree completely. I firmly believe the only tissue that shall be allowed to wipe my tender allergy nostrils is Puffs Plus with Lotion.
You all have to help me set her straight. Tell Liz which tissue is best and make sure you answer Puffs Plus with Lotion.
And to make sure you feel sorry for me, so that you’ll absolutely agree with me, here’s a little video that clearly demonstrates what I’ve been doing since last week and only subsides if I self-induce an antihistamine fog complete with glassy, vacant eyes.
Something just happened in my day that compelled me to write this blog. I love how the universe works sometimes. Before I get into my story, I have a question for you all. In the past 16 months of WritersButt Wednesday, I have shared quite a lot of information with you on health, fitness and nutrition and how they can positively impact your creativity. When I come upon some nugget of inspiration or what I think is helpful information, I share it with you. I love sharing my family recipes with you. And I’ll never tire of inspiring you, if I can, to add more movement and fitness into your day.
What I want to know is … What do YOU want? I’d love to know what you’d like me to blog about in relation to health and creativity. Do you want more workouts? Do you want to learn more about healthy eating? More recipes, and if so, what kind are you most interested in? My goal with this weekly segment is to help, support and encourage you to live your life in the healthiest way possible to support your creative endeavors. This applies for all my writing friends, or other artists, or just anybody looking to become more fit and healthy.
So, if you have a topic you’d like for me to cover, or cover more thoroughly … let me know!
Now, back to what inspired me today. I had a phone conversation with a new CrossFit client who is going to start this week. She was so enthusiastic and friendly on the phone that I’m really looking forward to meeting her, and told her so. I even called my husband to tell him we have a really fun woman who will start this week.
This woman, why don’t I call her ‘Mary’, informs me that we have some common acquaintances, some clients and a couple friends. I remark that one of them is a very good friend of mine. Less than an hour after our conversation, Mary sends me a text thanking me for the encouragement and then tells me what a blessing I have in having one of our common acquaintances as a friend.
She proceeds to describe my friend using words like: genuine, kind, good and with a tender, precious heart.
I could not have agreed more with her assessment of my friend. It made me feel even more blessed to call this woman one of the dearest people in my life. It also made me think so highly of Mary … to reach out to an almost perfect stranger to shower another with kind words. What an amazingly giving thing to do, a gift from the heart. The first thing I wanted to do was tell my friend of these kind words, not only because they are true because I know it will make her feel wonderful.
It also made me consider how I live my life and how I impact others. What would someone say of me? I can be opinionated (and I don’t mind sharing them!), bossy, sarcastic and stubborn. I don’t think these traits are all bad, mind you, as long as they are controlled and never aim to hurt others. I do actively work at this.
But when I read Mary’s compliments, it made me want to be a better person, the best person I can be. It made me view myself through others’ eyes. That is not to say that I would live my life solely to gain approval or compliments from others. Not in the least in fact. But it did make me see myself from a different perspective and take note. Do my outward actions and words represent who I am inside? I believe you can be yourself, true and honest, and still offer genuine kindness and consideration and respect to those around you, like my friend does.
I’m going to try to be the sort of person who would receive the same kind of appraisal as my friend so richly deserved.
What about you? Have you ever thought about how others view you? Does is change how you act, your choice of words or how you interact with other people? Do you have someone in your life who makes you want to be a better person?
I can tell you, it’s given me something to think about.
Sorry I went a little MIA on you. I’ve been super focused on the online class I’m teaching through WriterU on Building a Blog. It’s been a lot of fun and unbelievably, we’re already half done!
I also just come out of a writing retreat with my amazing critique partners. I’m going to give that experience its own blog post. Suffice it to say, my mind has been stretched and creativity is bouncing off the walls. I’m going to miss my friends, who all fly home today. ~sniff~ But, it’s time to head back to my little family.
So, I popped into my spam folder to empty it and got caught up with many kind and thoughtful comments from various people interested in, well, enlarging my manhood. First, I’d have to find this manhood and then once I do, I’d have to assess and we’ll talk about whether it needs to be enlarged. Thanks!
Since I got a good chuckle from some of the comments, I thought y’all might as well. Here ya go, yanked straight out of my SPAM:
Thank you for making this website so relaxed to conceptualize assemblage. solid foul. Saving this one for afterwards.
***SOLID FOUL? Are you being mean to me?
Extremely intriguing journal post. Highly intriguing and surface enclosed article. Cheers over again – I will arise backrest.
***Why are you laying down reading my blog?
Wow! This could be one component of the most effective blogs We’ve e’er succeed across on this thing. Actually Superior. I’m also a physician in this theme so I can interpret your sweat.
***I can interpret my sweat too. Means I’m hot. I live in Texas. It happens a lot.
Highly intriguing and well penned article. Cheers over again – I module come hind.
***I got nuthin’ for this one? You??
AND – My favorite …
I cant imagine youre not more popular since you definitely have the gift.
***Wait … who says I’m not popular?
For those of you with blogs, care to share some of your lovely spam ‘compliments’? I’d love to hear them.
I hesitate to write this blog because I know I’ll get some teasing from it. For I am going to tell you a true story. A story about how I was traumatized by chicken thighs, for real!
At the risk of committing a writing faux pas, let me give you some back-story.
I’m kind of wimp when it comes to preparing meat. What is raw is often visually unappealing NASTY. Normally I buy boneless, skinless, chicken breasts. When I buy them, I look at all the packages and choose the one which has the least amount of ‘extras’ attached to it. Sometimes when I get home and go to prepare the breasts, I’m appalled that the packager managed to tuck up the yucky parts so they wouldn’t show through the film. That’s false advertising! Now I buy the all natural, hormone free — and all that good stuff – chicken and it’s pretty clean. Yay!
Lately I’ve been trying to mix up our meals more, give my family, and myself, more variety. I love to cook and I’m trying to branch out. I don’t eat red meat but I’ve started to prepare it for my family, in addition to my poultry and fish. This makes my teenage sons and my husband really happy. BEEF – it’s what’s for THEIR dinner. But that beef stuff always comes with blood. Turns my stomach. But again, I try to take one for the home team and just grimace and get through it. (Or I ask my husband to handle it and wrestle it into whatever pot, pan or grill I’m using. He’s my Superhero!)
So, back to chicken thighs. In one of my new cookbooks there are many delicious looking recipes which use chicken thighs, some boneless and some not. I have a good friend who insists that her family inhales chicken thighs like they are a bowl of M-n-M’s.
So last week when I was with this friend I announced, “I bought something at the grocery store I’ve never purchased before.”
She was naturally curious and waited in rapt anticipation for my revealing admission. (Okay – that part may have been in my head.)
I proudly said, “I bought chicken thighs. Three pounds of them.” (She may have laughed. Alright, she did laugh.)
Then she warned me, “Now, Ginger, you will have to clean them up a little. There will be stuff.” She then proceeded to give me advice on how to cook them.
Back at home, I girded my loins (how does one actually gird a loin?) and sliced open that package of boneless, skinless, chicken thighs. I’m thinking with no bones and no skin, how bad could it be?
It was bad.
Not only was there fat, which I can deal will, there appeared to be many flappy bits. Like, who knew a chicken’s thighs had so much detail, and pockets and extra appendages hanging on for dear life.
I’m thinking chickens need to do more squats, pump up those thighs a bit, so they can looks as lovely as their breasts can. Instead, they are flimsy, flappy and foldy.
Since my loins were quickly losing their girding, I threw some spices on the suckers and tossed them in the pot with the coconut oil, covered em up and prayed they’d turn out edible.
Which, they did! Family loved them. Gobbled them up. I nibbled them with trepidation for the image stuck with me. The experience left a mark. I cannot lie.
But since the meal was met with such appreciation and there was much devouring of chicken thighs, I feel compelled to share the recipe with you, should you fare better in the prep department than I.
Savory Chicken Wraps
*Prepare your chicken thighs. This is the hardest step. If you survive, proceed.
*Liberally coat them with spices. I used smoky paprika, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, kosher salt, cracked pepper.
*Heat your oil in your pot. I used coconut oil in cast iron.
*Get rid of Gently add thighs to oil and don’t move them! Let them sear and brown. When you can turn them without them sticking to the pan, turn them, and repeat. Once they are all browned, check your thickest one to test for doneness.
*Transfer your cooked thighs to a cutting board. Slice those flappy thighs into strips. They will start to look better now.
Serve with lettuce wraps. I love red or green leaf, butter lettuce also works well. Or you can serve in tortillas, which is what my kids did. Garnish with fresh salsa, large chunks of avocado and sliced cherry tomatoes. My kids added shredded cheese and sour cream.
Now tell me I’m not alone people! Are there some things that you struggle to prepare for healthy meals? I mean, I don’t even like chicken breasts on the bone because, you know, I see the chicken’s little ribs and stuff. And yet, I can power through some boiled blue crab like nobody’s business.
It’s a mystery!
I’m teaching an online class next month!
Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.
I’m just so excited to tell you about an opportunity I was given … which I snatched up in a nanosecond. Early last year, one of my favorite writing instructors, Mary Buckham asked me if I’d be willing to teach an online class about how to build a blog. It is to be part of WriterUniv’s new Indie Track, classes geared toward writers opting to go the Indie route of publishing.
Needless to say, I was more than willing and completely thrilled with the opportunity. I’ve known about this for quite some time, time I’ve used to plan this month-long class so that it is as good as it can possibly be.
If you or anyone you know has thought of starting a blog, I’d love to be the one to walk you through it! I’ve written the course with writers in mind, but it can absolutely be applied to any sort of blog; photography, foodie … anything at all!
And, I have PRIZES! At the end of the course, I’m giving away numerous books, fiction as well as books on the craft of writing. Also, I have a grand prize! I started my blogging adventure in the fall of 2011 when I took an amazing blogging class taught by Kristen Lamb. After taking my Building a Blog class, students will have a brand new blog to call their own, at which point they will be eager to take their blogging to the next level and join forces with a huge community of bloggers and writers like the ones who hang out at WANA-International.
Kristen has graciously offered one of her basic blogging courses ($99 value) as a prize to one of my students! Thank you, Kristen!
I would be extremely grateful if you could help me spread the word on social media about my class. And if you are someone thinking about starting a blog and want to take the plunge, sign up! I promise to be a nice teacher and to make class a lot of fun!
Keep in mind, class starts in just 2 weeks on April 1st, so don’t dilly-dally with your decision! ~grin~
Here is the direct link to the class description and links to register.
Thank you very much for any support. I truly appreciate it.
I’m sorry for a fly-by post today. I’m literally buried in writing work (Yay!!) as well as surrounded by my two snoring dogs. So, in lieu of a full post today, I hope you’ll forgive my indulgence in pulling this post out of the vault and reblogging it for you. I have so many new followers (Thank You!!) that perhaps you’ve not seen this one. Although, it made the rounds on Facebook, so probably you have. In any case, it’s totally worth the 1:21 minutes of awesome!
What does this sweet dog have to do with WritersButt. Well, it’s about food (high protein even!) and watching it will make you laugh and feel good … I believe that is WritersButt Approved!!
I watch from time to time because it always ALWAYS makes me laugh.
I’m very excited today to have wonderful author and fabulous friend Myndi Shafer here to talk to you about the inspiration behind her Shrilugh series. Don’t you just love to hear about where and how writers get their inspiration? I do. I especially love how Myndi’s inspiration so personal and connected to family. It makes her stories that much more meaningful to me. So I’ll hand over my blog to Myndi and let her tell you a little about her series. BONUS: DARKENING (Book 2) released TODAY! For those of us who already read Shrilurgh, we can gobble up Darkening right now. (squee!!) The rest of you can buy them both and enjoy fun-filled trek through Myndi’s worlds. Yes, I said worlds, plural!
Author Myndi Shafer currently makes her home in Kansas with her husband and four children. Her bestselling book, SHRILUGH, was released in August of 2012. THE DARKENING is the second book of the Shrilugh Saga, and is available for purchase at Amazon, Smashwords, iTunes, Barnes & Noble and others.
Both Shrilugh and The Darkening take place in two different worlds: a fictional version of ours, and another world accessed through a mystical Door atop an old abandoned silo. Originally, both books began as one and were called The Silo Door because I went into writing that first draft with the mindset of the story centering around the Door. Soon, however, the story grew, the plot thickened, and the Door itself became secondary. Which meant (a) there was going to be more than one book, and (b) I needed to find another name for the first book, and the series as a whole.
The name of the other world is Archethenia. (That’s never mentioned in the the first book for two reasons: the main character, Aydan, never thought to ask, and the secondary character, Rein, never thought to tell.)
Archethenia isn’t terribly different from our own world: its occupants look human (though they’re not). They eat similar foods, have families, live in houses. But it’s a more rustic world – no electricity, no machines. It’s a more formal world – women wear dresses, servants and slaves abound, and there is a social caste.
It’s also a more sophisticated world – though there is little technology like our own, there is a fineness to what they do have. Their carriages are sleek and move with more grace than our automobiles. Their architecture is handcrafted and made with intention, with symbolism carefully integrated in unexpected places. As we get into the pages of The Darkening we’ll find that they are not quite so limited in technology as we thought – it just looks different than our own.
One of the differences between our world and theirs is found in nature – specifically, the trees. Not all their trees, but one species in particular, called Shrilugh. When dusk settles in, the Shrilugh trees begin to glow, lighting the world around them with a warm, inviting light.
Part of my inspiration for these trees came from a simple, childhood-driven love for Christmas tree. Growing up, I was always fascinated by our family Christmas tree. My mom loved Christmas, and our tree would be laden with lights, sparkly gold garland, lights, more ornaments than you can count, and more lights. The woman had a knack for stringing the lights and placing the ornaments in a way that took our tree from looking like the fake that it was to a Glowing Glorious Thing That Deserved Your Awe.
I remember looking at that tree, and then looking out my bedroom window at night, wishing the trees that lined the river in the distance would glow too. I was especially fond of a very tall cottonwood, whose branches stretched up higher than the rest, and oftentimes found myself praying with all my child-like might that God would light up that tree, just for me.
When we moved back to Kansas from Hawaii, one of the first things I noticed was how darn short the trees are here. They have to be. The winds that come howling across these plains make it tough for a tree of any height to survive.
Cottonwoods are the exception. They’re sturdy buggers who aren’t afraid of the wind; in fact, I’d have sworn the one I favored as a kid longed for it. While the other trees around it seemed to hunker down and wait out the gales, that tree seemed to dance in it.
The Kansas landscape seemed so brown and desolate compared to Hawaii. Short trees, little water. It could have been a pretty depressing shift, but three things saved it for me: the stars at night, the lazy sunsets, and the cottonwood trees.
One cottonwood in particular. Along Highway 196, between Whitewater and Newton, on the north side of the road, stands a giant. He’s right at the crest of a hill, standing watch over the travelers as they pass by. I like to think that he and the cottonwood of my youth are related somehow – cousins? Brothers?
So that’s how Shrilugh trees came to be – a combination of my love for my mom’s Christmas trees, and my love for a couple friendly cottonwoods. And since these glowing trees (and the mythology behind them) are ultimately central to the plot of the series, it seemed natural to give the first book (and the series itself) their name.
Where you can pick up a copy of The Darkening:
For Nook, iPad, etc: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/288557
Hi everyone. Sorry I was MIA last week. Whew — I am crazy busy, with all good things, but I missed you!! I had this whole post planned for you today about breakfast, and the healthiest choices to give you energy, clear thinking, and not leaving you frantically searching for a ‘fix’ come 10 am. The post will of course come with pictures of some breakfast meals that I’ve prepared recently for myself. I also have a great book review planned for you for a paleo book that I seriously believe every single person should read. I really believe that, no exaggeration. It’s called Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo. (Full review coming soon!)
All that is fine and good but I’m shoving those plans aside today. I saw a video this morning on Facebook, posted by Susan Wiggs, that so filled my heart with smiles and my eyes with tears that I want to talk about and celebrate the concept of saying YES.
“Yes to what, Ginger?” you ask me.
“Yes to YOU!”
Do you say no to yourself more often than yes? Do you hold back on things, for one reason or another, things that will bring you joy? This happens to most of us more often that you might believe. We deprive ourselves because we believe that we don’t deserve it. In fact, I’ll argue that we frequently live our lives engaged in activities we don’t want to do. We even hang on to people in our lives who do not bring us joy because they are comfortable or we feel they ‘need’ us.
Well, you need yourself too! If you let everyone else have all of you, what’s left? It’s time to say YES and open the floodgates of happiness and joy.
Top 5 things that NEED YOUR YES!
1. Yes to your PASSIONS – Do what you love. I know there are dreams inside of you desperate to be alive. Give them life. Tell them yes for the love of Tinkerbell. Do you have songs to be sung, books to be written, a role to play, images to capture, an invention that will change the world? Or do you have the need to educate and guide, to heal or comfort? Whatever it is, it’s speaking to you. Listen to its pleas and SAY YES!
2. Yes to your SOUL – Your soul is the essence of you. It’s where your tears live, and your smiles and your laughter. Experience things that speak to your soul. Smile at the sunset that fills your eyes with beauty. Let your tears fall if they need to fall. Your soul is trying to release them for you. Laugh out loud! Don’t stifle your laughter, in fact seek it out at all costs. It’s a balm to your soul like nothing I’ve ever found. (Note: This may not be advised in church but as I found out, your Pastor will still hug you after the service even if your teen self couldn’t hold back giggles, multiple times, at inopportune moments.)
3. Yes to your BODY – Your body wants to be nourished well, hydrated, pushed physically and rested. Yes, it really does! If you can’t say yes to this, let me do if for you, loud and insistent, until you figure out how to say it yourself. YES!!!
4. Yes to your SPIRIT – Life is crazy. It’s scattered. It’s packed with things, noises, people, obligations, and demands. Say yes to some quiet every day. Let your spirit take a breath. You don’t have to do full on meditation, although that would be great. Just a few minutes to let your breathing settle down, to let your body be actively restful, to let your mind travel inward. If you listen carefully, you might hear your soul talking. I’d pay attention!
5. Yes to your HEART – I left this one for last because it segues the video below, but it in no way is least important. Your heart has no limit on the love it can hold. It wants to expand, to wrap itself around more and more, until it’s fit to burst. Embrace love. Love yourself. Love your sweetheart. Love your family and friends. But don’t forget to love acts of kindness. Love your world, as flawed as it may sometimes be. Love your planet. It’s our home. And appreciate and love others’ love, their relationships. If we focus on things that expand our hearts with goodness, we will leave no room for the rest.
Happy Valentines Day.
This isn’t my most favorite holiday. I know, where’s my heart, right? But there are so many expectations on this day that it’s ripe with the prospect of disappointment. Am I cynical or what?
So, in the effort to be festive and spread the love, or at least some good cheer, I decided to give my darling husband some pole dancing for Valentines Day.
Sexy. Athletic. Awesome. How could I miss?
I’m such a giver, I thought I’d give some pole dancing to all of you too. So sit back and enjoy the show!