Category Archives: AIM’s

Dinner Tonight!

I am excited to begin sharing recipes with all of you, but more, I am looking forward to your comments, feedback, and contributions!

For my first contribution I chose to provide you with a complete meal. It contains: A whole grain, a lean protein, and a non-starchy vegetable. Both recipes contribute to a family dinner that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. They are simple, clean, and easy to prepare. Props to my mother-in-law Michelle Haddad who introduced both of these recipes to me. I have been adding both to the weekly rotation ever since.

Recipe 1:

Chicken Chili:

Ingredients:

1/2 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

1 lb. organic ground chicken (white meat is preferred)

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1  8 oz. can of Muir Glen Organic Tomato Sauce

Method:

1. Sauté chicken and  garlic in EVOO until chicken starts to brown.

2. Add tomato sauce, and continue stirring over medium-high heat until the mixture begins to boil for 3-4 minutes.

3. Serve over Brown Rice, (if preferred, you can use Quinoa, Bulgur or any other whole grain)

Suggestions:

1. You can also throw this chili right over some mixed greens for a delicious dinner salad.

2. For a spicier dish add crushed red pepper, or hot salsa.

3. If your family prefers a sweeter chili add a sautéed onion as well.

Recipe 2:

Fresh Broccoli sautéed With Garlic and EVOO

This recipe sounds like any other, but for some reason when I follow my mother-in-law’s exact directions it really comes out perfect. So here it is:

Ingredients:

1 head fresh broccoli (organic if possible), cut into florets

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon EVOO

Method:

1. Place broccoli in boiling water for 1 minute exactly. Remove and immediately rinse under COLD water.

2. Sauté garlic in EVOO until nicely browned, then add broccoli and continue sautéing over medium heat for about 3 minutes, or really until desired degree of doneness. ENJOY!

Note: I usually double this recipe for a family dinner, as one head of broccoli really doesn’t cut it!

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I’m Back!

Hi everyone! I’m back at it, but this time I’m armed with some new minimalist recipes. As a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I am a certified health counselor. Healthy eating and cooking are definitely a passion of mine. My first principle in healthy eating is a CLEAN, mainly WHOLE FOODS diet: Meaning, our foods should come from mostly unprocessed, minimally preserved ingredients, like fruits, vegetables, organic lean proteins, healthy oils and fats, and complex carbohydrates in (carbs their whole form like brown rice or whole wheat flour versus white rice and white flour). As part of a WHOLE FOODS diet, I also believe in using natural sweeteners like maple syrup versus white sugar.

The recipes will be MINIMALIST in terms of the number and types of ingredients, and also in terms of preparation necessary. Lastly, I invite you to share your recipes with me. As long as they meet the criteria, I will be glad to post them. So stay tuned for some minimalist recipes!

PS: The recipes I will be providing are not necessarily creative or original. They are merely recipes I have taken from cookbooks, family members and friend  that I feel are nourishing and tasty, and of course well-received! I am also looking forward to suggestions and comments on how to improve, change and tweak the recipes, as we all have something to contribute.

Recap: Recipe Criteria:

1. Whole Foods

2. Minimalist in terms of prep

3. Well-Received

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Tech/Wire Control: IKEA’s Gone Minimalist!

I love when companies just know how to do everything right! For instance, Amazon.com, is there anything more user friendly and pleasurable when it comes to online shopping? So, here’s to IKEA. If you’ve been inside my home, you will know that it is pretty much an ad for IKEA. A majority my storage closets, bookcases, and furniture are from that amazing store. If you’ve been to my home you would also notice that items like printers, remote controls, DVD players, and pretty much any other clutter-creating objects, are hidden and out of sight, allowing for a neat, sleek, minimalist appearance. To that end, I have drilled holes in the backs of my units in order to squeeze wires through, and have also out up wire blockers on my walls, which I then covered with picture frames, etc. So I was pleased to read this:

IKEA Shows Other Retailers How It’s Done

by Elaine Misonzhnik April 17th, 2012

Swedish furniture giant IKEA continued on its mission to take over the world this week with the announcement that it was going to start selling consumer electronics, including televisions, sound systems and CD/DVD/Blu-ray players.

IKEA saw the opportunity in the electronics market because of the difficulty people have with all the wiring that goes with those products, creating clutter in their homes. So it formed a partnership with Chinese firm TCL Multimedia for products that will be designed specifically to fit in with IKEA’s furniture, save space and hide the unseemly cables.

The products will be rolled out in all of IKEA’s markets by 2013, with the simplest system/furniture combination costing $960.

Here’s a video outlining how the combinations will work.

In a world where electronics retailers and furniture sellers are seeing their market share shrink, this is not a bad move on IKEA’s part. This can make its stores popular destinations for people looking for both furniture and electronics.

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I Confess!…Our Toys are not Minimalist!

Yes, we have a lot of toys! We are also grandchild number 1 on two sides of the family! So cut me some me some slack!

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Quote of the Day: AIM 5:

AIM 5: START NOTICING YOUR USE OF PROACTIVE VS. REACTIVE BEHAVIORS, SPECIFICALLY, LANGUAGE. KEEP A LOG OF ALL OF THE TIMES YOU SPEAK IN THE NEGATIVE TODAY. WHEN YOU CATCH YOURSELF, THINK ABOUT HOW YOU COULD HAVE REPHRASED YOUR LANGUAGE IN THE POSITIVE.

EXAMPLE: NEGATIVE LANGUAGE: “I CANT BELIEVE SHE CANCELED ON ME, NOW MY WHOLE DAY GOT MESSED UP! I’M SO FRUSTRATED! SHE PUT ME IN A BAD MOOD!”

REPHRASE IN POSITIVE: “SHE HAD TO CANCEL, NOW I HAVE A FREE HOUR, LET ME SEE WHAT I CAN CROSS OFF MY LIST. I WILL RESCHEDULE WITH HER FOR ANOTHER TIME.”

Our thought patterns are a huge indicator of what happens in our lives. I remembered hearing about a book written by Dr. Stephen Covey-The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I remembered that he spoke about the power of positive language, so I googled him and found his website: Dr. Stephen R. Covey.

I haven’t read Dr. Covey’s book, but I thought it might be nice to experiment with some of his 7 Habits, (There are more than 7 now). I’ve decided to stick to my minimalist motto and isolate each habit as an AIM in and of itself. The catch is that I did not skip ahead to read about the 2nd habit- in this way my focus will be completely on HABIT 1.

Dr. Stephen Covey: Habit 1: BE PROACTIVE: Books – 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Habit 1: Be Proactive

-Your life doesn’t just “happen.” Whether you know it or not, it is carefully designed by you. The choices are yours.

Proactive people recognize that they are “response-able.” They don’t blame genetics, circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. They know they choose their behavior. Reactive people, are affected by their physical environment. They find external sources to blame for their behavior. If the weather is good, they feel good. If it isn’t, it affects their attitude and performance, and they blame the weather.

-External forces act as stimuli that we respond to. You have the freedom to choose your response. One of the most important things you choose is what you say. Your language is a good indicator of how you see yourself. A proactive person uses proactive language–I can, I will, I prefer, etc. A reactive person uses reactive language–I can’t, I have to, if only. Reactive people believe they are not responsible for what they say and do–they have no choice.

-Problems, challenges, and opportunities we face fall into 2 areas– Circle of Concern and Circle of Influence.

Circle of Concern:-things over which we have little or no control: the national debt, terrorism, the weather.

Circle of Influence: things we can do something about: health, children, problems at work.

Proactive people focus on the Circle of Influence. 


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Passover and Renewal:

When we think about Passover, many of us become overwhelmed with thoughts of cleaning, preparing, shopping, cooking, etc. But we all know that in life, it is only our perception of things that matters. When I think about Passover, I think about Spring cleaning, and a chance for a new beginning. It is not often that we have a chance to really sort through everything we own. I am inspiring you to take advantage, and be thankful for this opportunity.  With this mindset, I believe that typical Passover dread can be overcome.

That said, I would also like to share an article written by Michelle Haddad, Holistic Health Coach (to view her website go to http://www.liveclean.me) It is a about renewal and new beginnings, and I think you will enjoy this read. Please comment, and let me know what you think.

Getting Out of Your Own Way: by Michelle Haddad

Get out of your way so the REAL you can shine through! What exactly does that mean? How many times have you made New Years resolutions only to realize about a week later you already broke those private promises you made?  The infamous resolutions to start a diet, begin an exercise program, end a bad relationship, leave a job where you’re not happy at, or get the courage to tell that one person how much you love them. The list can go on and on and on. So what do you do about this? You get out of your own way! You get in touch with the person you know is inside, the person you always long to be but always stop short on the road to achieving.

You are probably saying to yourself, ‘Okay, that sounds good, but where do I begin?’ The first step to any change is awareness; awareness of the changes you want to make in your life; emotionally, spiritually, nutritionally and so on. You can build awareness by using The Circle of Life chart that I have provided below.

When we make changes in our life, we often experience the “trickle effects.” The “trickle effect” is a term used to describe the way in which changes in one or two areas of life, tend to affect many other areas simultaneously. Here is an example: Say you’re in a bad relationship, a relationship that makes you feel insecure and unhappy. Okay. So what happens? You come home from a date; you just had a fight with your boyfriend and now your definitely feeling “less-than.” What to do? Ahh the refrigerator, NO, better yet, the pantry closet. That will make you feel better. Maybe at first that seems like a solution, but a half an hour or even an hour later you seem to feel worse than when you started. You get into bed and you start berating yourself for the poor choices made. What is next? Of course, the next morning is. Ugh, that dreaded next morning when you have to get up for school or work feeling so lousy. You are leaded down, with no energy due to all the sugar you consumed the night before. So you vow to starve, or eat as little as possible that day in order to make up for that horrible, dreadful night that you just want to forget. Perhaps you skip breakfast, grab a coffee, skip lunch, and maybe grab an apple to go with your second cup of Starbucks Venti. Now it’s 5 o’clock and your stomach is starting to grumble, so you have a salad. Can’t be much harm in that, right? Wrong. You just set yourself up for another late night binge, and here you go again.

The trickle effect can also be positive. Here’s another scenario: You have a bad night for whatever reason. You get home late and you’re not feeling so great about what just went down. The pantry idea quickly flashes through your mind, but you disregard it immediately. You know where that path leads. So you go upstairs, take out your journal, and start writing. Or you call a trusted friend. Now you’re beginning to think more clearly, and everything looks different. Not always better, but different. You feel more in control. You get a good night sleep, and wake up to a new day. A new beginning on how you- not your emotions- chose to handle what happened the night before. You then proceed to have a nutritious breakfast, which begins a bright new day.

I’m sure the first scenario resonates with a lot of us. Maybe we tweak the story a little- a bad day at work or school, a fight with your mom, best friend or spouse, or maybe just a crazy day with the kids. Whatever the story , we have all been there. We all want to resolve our issues once and for all. The trick is to start with one step at a time. The Circle of Life chart is the very first step you need to take.

When you look at the chart you will see Primary foods and Secondary foods. The concept  is based on the idea that the foods you eat are secondary to all the other things that feed you. Your Primary foods are your relationships, career/interests, spirituality, and exercise routine- things that make up your emotional self. Your Secondary foods are the actually foods you eat- your diet. Recognize that Primary foods and Secondary foods are very closely related.   When we are in control of our emotions, we can be more in control of our food choices. By choosing fruits, vegetables and whole grains, while avoiding processed foods and refined sugars, we can be more in control of our emotional choices. The choice is yours. Choosing to take care of your mind, body and soul, will allow you to live a more stable, sustainable, and enjoyable lifestyle. A healthy mind, body, and soul, will provide you with increased energy and vitality, a strengthened immune system, healthy weight control, a glowing complexion, a reduction in mood swings, and that “light on your feet, ready to go” feeling.
There is a beautiful you in there waiting to be set free. Life is a journey and it is your choice how to take it. Make your first move NOW to start getting out of your own way, allowing your real self to shine.

Before filling out the chart below, go into a quiet room, do a calming breathing exercise, and introspect. Really think about yourself and try to feel all of those emotions that are holding you back from your dreams- feel the pain, sadness, or anger. When you reach this point begin to fill out the Circle of Life chart as follows:
1. Put a mark close to the perimeter of the circle for the areas in your life that you are satisfied.

2. Put a mark somewhere in between the perimeters for the areas you wish to improve.  (Marks closer to the middle signify less satisfaction in that area).

3. On a separate sheet of paper, write down all of these areas, beginning with the least satisfied and ending with the most satisfied.

Circle of Life:

This exercise will help you to discover which primary foods you are missing the most.
The Circle of Life has 12 sections. Look at each section and place a dot on the line marking how

satisfied you are with each area of your life. A dot placed at the center of the circle or close to the middle

indicates dissatisfaction, while a dot placed on the periphery indicates ultimate happiness.

When you have placed a dot on each of the lines, connect the dots to see your circle of life.

You will have a clear visual of any imbalances in primary food and a starting point for determining where you may wish to spend more time and energy to create balance and joy in your life.

 

 

 

 

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Am I in Good Company, or is it just ME…?

It’s that time of year again- everyone needs some fresh new clothing- and so it begins…the vicious cycle of online orders and returns, orders and returns…I have a problem in that I over-order because I don’t want to keep ordering if the size is wrong, or miss out on an item because I ordered the wrong size. So I end up with a big job of trying on and then sorting out returns from stores like Zara, Gap, etc. It gets overwhelming and it needs to stop, but it is sooo much easier then going to the store (especially because most of the items are for my children) ! I am torn…Any opinions?

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