Mindfulness Revisited: The Importance of Words

enjoy the peace

At the start of a new year, many folks think about going on a diet. The word is not often accompanied by feelings of joy.

When you think of eating a cookie as failing or “breaking” your diet, you might berate yourself … or “give in” and go for more forbidden bites which makes you feel as if you personally are a failure and just cannot succeed with a diet. You are not a failure. That sort of thinking is the result of what you have been trained to think when you see the word diet.

Read more here.


Recipe of the Week: Black-Eyed Peas, Creole Style

Start the New Year off right with a southern meal designed to create plenty of luck for everyone at the dinner table. Black eyed peas form the solid foundation of a tasty southern New Year’s Day tradition. To bring financial good fortune, serve up a side of your favorite leafy green. Mustard greens are standard, but you can use any leafy green you love – spinach, cabbage, or the interesting greens from sweet potatoes.

What delicious New Year’s Day traditions do you enjoy?

Happy New Year!

Ingredients:

4 oz bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
4 oz ham, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, deseeded and chopped
1 cup celery, chopped – include some of the delicious leaves
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, deseeded, and minced
2 t Creole seasoning mix
1 t dried thyme
3/4 t dried oregano
1/2 t dried basil
2 bay leaves
1 pound black-eyed peas, sorted, rinsed, and soaked
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken stock
Water as needed

Garnish: sliced green onion

Click here for directions.



The Three Meals of Christmas

The tree will be fresh cut, the decorations will be nature or music inspired, the wreath my Grandma made will be hung, the nutcrackers shall increase in number, and books and music will rule the gifts.

While I schedule like a pro, I am not big on planning too far ahead for meals. It’s more fun to think about what I want to eat that day and make it! But, as stores are closed or have limited hours, holidays are a different story. And so, I plan, chat with my favorite butcher at the meat market, and shop accordingly.

Fortunately, it’s really quite easy to create a list of meals for our family’s traditional Three Meals of Christmas. Tradition is the buzz word in that sentence. I am allowed a certain amount of experimentation, but the food tradition basics, just like the decorative elements, must remain the same. I’ve come to terms with this and gradually tweaked the menu to make me happy to repeat it.

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Cranberry Relish

Ingredients:

16 oz bag of fresh cranberries
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 t grated ginger

Spoon Mage™ Notes:

If you prefer, sub in orange zest for the juice and replace the juice with water. Or sub in Grand Marnier for the juice. If you don’t have fresh ginger, use 1/8 t ground ginger. If you really hate sweet relish, reduce the sugar by half, but taste it before removing it from the stove in case you regret that. As long as it is still warm, the sugar will incorporate. Or, if you prefer – use honey or your favorite sugar substitute. Read More


Italian Sausage Stuffing

Italian Sausage StuffingIngredients:

1(1 lb) loaf Italian (or French) bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 8 cups)
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
3 oz pancetta
1 stick butter
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 large celery rib, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 t dried poultry seasoning
2 T Italian parsley, chopped
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 cup Parmesan, shredded or grated
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste Read More


Blackened Shrimp Tacos

Shrimp ingredients:

1 lb large fresh or thawed from frozen Gulf shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed
2 T Cajun seasoning, or your favorite brand of blackening seasoning (I prefer Prudhomme’s Magic Seasoning)
1 T butter

Broccoli Slaw Ingredients:

1 (12 oz) package of broccoli slaw* (without dressing)
1 green onion, sliced
2 T mayonnaise
1/2 t rice or apple cider vinegar
1/2 t honey
1/4 t Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Pico de Gallo Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
2 serrano peppers, deseeded and chopped
1 T cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced

Serve with:

1 avocado, sliced
2 limes, quartered
8 corn tortillas or corn and wheat flour combo tortillas Read More