Happy Monday!

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Good morning!! How are you today? Are you feeling happy or dragging about just a bit?  Despite a scare this weekend with my mother-in-law, I am feeling really peppy. Almost annoyingly so. I have my instrumental holiday music playing today at work and that and my tea has me in a good mood.

As I mentioned, my mother-in-law gave us quite a scare this weekend. She experienced really high blood pressure along with a few other symptoms that led her to the emergency room.  She’s home now, feeling better and I am scheduling some follow-up appointments for her to ensure her well-being. She is a pretty healthy woman so this took us all by surprise. Yesterday I bought groceries and we went over and cooked dinner and spent time with her and my father-in-law. I’d like to think my cooking was the magic but the grand kids seem to cure all.  I am really excited for her because in a few weeks, she will be flying to Florida to spend the holiday with our family out there and she will get to yum up her other grand kids. So there’s some more medicine for the soul coming her way!

I also spent Saturday with my crafty girlfriends (Ashley you were missed!) and eating homemade soups, and of course major desserts was great fun. I primarily worked on my faith journal. I will have to take some pictures to share with you. It’s a fun art journal I created to contain great quotes from the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I also have one I use with quotes from my spiritual studies. It’s a fun visual way to place these words in front of me more often.

Today I need to chug away at more Chirstmas cards. This is the latest I have been at getting them out! I am only hand making a few and the rest are boxed cards but I still have managed to let it slip! Oh well.

By the way, the photograph above is of Jingle our Elf on the Shelf and yesterday he sat on top or our mini tree in the kitchen and Leao thinks he might not choose this location again from the splinters in his butt!

I am off to get some work done! Have a blessed day my friends.

Belinda

 

Wellness Wednesday: Let’s talk Coconut flour

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While wandering the cookbook aisle at my local library about two months ago, I came across this amazing little cookbook, The Healthy Coconut Flour Cookbook by Erica Herwien. I loved all the photos on the cover and then I read that it contained more than 100 grain-free, gluten-free, paleo-friendly recipes for every occasion. So I had to check it out. I brought it home and couldn’t believe how many recipes I wanted to try. After renewing the book twice I decided to buy my own copy.

I never really intentionally cooked with coconut flour before so I looked forward to exploring with it in my kitchen.

First let me share a few health benefits and why it might be something you might want to incorporate into your recipes:

It’s naturally high in fiber ans low in carbohydrates (let’s face it, we need that especially with all the yummy temptations over the holidays every little bit helps.)

It’s better for our blood sugar because the fiber content in coconut flour is low in digestible carbohydrates so it doesn’t have the same effect on our blood sugar compared to other carbohydrates such as wheat grains and rice.

Typically when we eat carbohydrates they are broken down into glucose that can cause a rapid rise in blood sugar, which forces our body to work hard to respond to it. This quick rise causes stress on the body and over time, high blood sugar levels can lead to or complicate some of our big health concerns such as diabetes, heart disease,  weight gain and our overall health. But with coconut flour you don’t get that sugar spike and the high fiber makes you feel full and cleans out the residue before leaving the body.

So using it as an alternative to traditional all purpose flour is a great thing. It also is a great alternative for that small percent of people that have gluten intolerance.

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So today I tried making the Chocolate Banana Bread recipe from the cookbook. It is gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free and paleo-friendly. I am lactose intolerant so the fact that the book includes ways to remove the dairy makes me happy.

I couldn’t find my smaller loaf pan so it came out more of a long wide shape. I also tried a new dark chocolate brand which I used the food processor to shred it.  Well I had three tasters including myself. Leao, who is working from home, said he liked it but wanted more banana flavor. Apollo and I loved it. I liked the moist inside with a slight crisp to the edges. It pairs well with my Honeybush tea from Numi. It’s perfect for the drab rainy day we are experiencing today.

I will try to write posts as I try some of the other recipes in this book. I hope they are all just as yummy as this one. I also noticed that I didn’t feel sleepy after eating it. So I didn’t get the normal sugar spike like many desserts and breads tend to do to me.

If you do use coconut flour let me know what you think.

Have a blessed day!

Belinda

 

Happy Monday! Nope.. it’s Tueday!!

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Hello everybody! It’s taking me a little bit of time to gather myself and sit down and write after our current election. I was truly devastated and shocked and really had to take time to fully process what happened. One thing that’s very important that I have learned from the past is that I have to stay engaged and not allow what I believe is a setback to push me out of the arena.  It’s the time to for me to educate myself further with regards to our country and our politics. Rather than take a passive stance and complain, I will aim to be more active moving forward.  No that doesn’t mean I’m going to run for a political office, but I would like to push my activism more to the forefront and to increase my knowledge especially in areas that are important to me. Part of being a citizen in this country is to be a part of the democratic process and the only way that we can do that is through active education and an engagement. So as I learn things I will share some things on here with you all and I hope that everybody feels inspired after this election to take action and to be involved. Now enough of that, and onto my meanderings.

As for my work, I managed to miss my launch date twice: first with house guests and this last week, I lost all motivation to do anything after the election results. But I am going to push on and get this latest release out. The timing is off but can’t be helped. The beauty of cards is that some people buy seasonal cards for use next year, so it isn’t a total loss for me. I will be sure to let you know when my new products finally make it on the shelf.

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Friday was Veteran’s Day so the boys and I headed out to catch the parade. Apollo brought his iPad so he could record the parade.

nov15cI love seeing the old cars in the parade. The owners are always so proud and friendly. It adds to the charm of the parade.

nov15dThe boys wanted to walk down to where the memorial is in the town center to hear the talk. So off we went and I couldn’t resist taking a photo of our shadows as we walked. I love the sprinkling of leaves.

nov15fAs we got there we managed to find a spot that was unfortunately closer to the back of the crowd so I could barely see the speakers. But I could hear them when they approached the microphone. So while I was listening, a part of me was peekint to see the people standing behind the speaker and noticing not one person of color or female for that matter. So I drifted off into thought and complained about the lack of diversity.  When all of the sudden the crowd shifted and I couldn’t see the speaker anymore and he began to introduce his keynote speaker. Well what do you know, he introduced Lieutenant Colonel Gayle-Bennett as the keynote speaker and as he began to talk, I was thrilled to find the speaker was a female and African American. Below is a little bit I pulled off the internet about her:

Lieutenant Colonel Gayle-Bennett has been an officer in the U.S. Army National Guard for more than 20 years and has completed several active duty tours.  During her employment to Iraq, she worked as a Physician Assistant providing medical care for soldiers. She currently serves as the Deputy Commander of Medical Command for the Army National Guard and is now the most senior ranking African-American woman in the Massachusetts National Guard.  LTC Gayle-Bennett is also a pediatric Physician Assistant with the Harvard Vanguard Medical Group.

In 2010, LTC Gayle-Bennett led the Massachusetts National Guard Command Resiliency Team in organizational support for soldiers at mobilization and demobilization sites.  She also facilitated the identification of wounded soldiers and served as an advocate for them during the wounded warrior process. The daughter of Jamaican immigrants, LTC Gayle-Bennett is also a wife and mother of five children.

As soon as the ceremony was over, I rushed over to meet her, shake hands and thank her for her service for our country. The boys seemed excited too and I was so happy we decided to attend this year’s parade. After our photos with the Lieutenant, Apollo grabbed a seat on a bench to see the parade re-assemble to complete the second half of their march through town. Despite my feelings of despair from the election, I found the parade and the speeches including Colonel Gayle-Bennet’s moved me towards a place of hope.

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I hope you all have a blessed week and I plan to resume my posts with a new series starting tomorrow.

Belinda

Happy Monday – Letting go of Busy and Embracing More Stillness

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Hello and happy Monday! I had a really nice weekend with family and now I’m recharged and ready for this week. This is Nick’s final week of summer so I want to make sure we put some fun into it!

I was listening to a podcast this morning while exercising about being busy. I like when something makes me pause and think about it a bit so I thought I would spread the word.

It seems like our current culture puts a high value on being “busy” and devalues stillness.  I remember the days prior to smartphones and tablets even prior to pagers. But now down time has been squeezed out by 24-hour access to anyone and everything. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy using my iphone and computer and e-reader.  But somewhere along the line, we lost the value of stillness.  So much so that we find it hard to do both physically and mentally. We associate stillness with laziness and feel guilty if we engage in it.

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Today, with this beautiful weather, I am working out on my deck listening to the breeze in the leaves while I work. This is something I love to do, I imagine it’s an ocean and the waves are cresting.  I enjoy spending Spring, Summer and Fall months on this deck. But lately I have noticed that I don’t stay long enough to be still. I won’t just sit with nature and be, I will grab a book (which is great) or try to knock off something on my to-d0 list. I want to be still but guilt creeps into my thoughts and I move onto something else.

I’ve read that when we start forgetting things, we automatically think dementia or Alzheimer’s is our fate but the fact is that we are over worked and stressed. We have too many things on our lists and we don’t take natural stillness breaks.  I say, why not build it into your day. It’s not a natural occurrence but we can make it a new habit that can benefit us in many ways. Start small with a 5 minute stillness break each day and then add more throughout your day. You don’t have to meditate, you just have to be still and move towards comfort with it. So when I finish this post, I am going to silence my phone, go sit on my comfy chair on this deck and be still for a bit without guilt.

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I thought I would share photos of Apollo watering my flowers this weekend. I hope that one day, when he owns his own home, he will grow a garden and find ways to fit stillness into his days.

Have a blessed day!

Belinda

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