‘Blog’

The R’s in April

In case you missed it as you were scraping the snow off your car, spring officially began over a week ago. But the signs are there, with more every day! Among other things, spring is characterized as a season of renewal, rebirth, refresh, re-imagining. Sometimes that means cleaning up or cleaning out; donating clothes and stuff; planting flowers, fertilizing, pruning.

How do these activities and intentions manifest at work? April tends to look like an episode of Survivor in the MG world. Thinking about anything other than the work at hand is difficult if not laughable. And, yet, as we plow through the busy day-to-day demands and #allthatextracatering, we still have our own spirit to nurture and tend as well as the spirits of our teammates.

“Life is like an echo, what you send out comes back to you.” —Chinese proverb

Miriam’s Tortilla Soup

Miriam’s Tortilla Soup

Serves 8

1 T olive oil

2 ea corn tortillas

½ c ea celery & onion, diced small

1 ½ t fresh garlic, minced

2 ½ c marinara sauce

1 ¼ c canned diced tomatoes, with juice

1 qt vegetable broth

3 T fresh cilantro, chopped

Procedure
Heat oil in saucepan, medium heat. Fry tortillas until crispy, remove. drain well, set aside.

Add celery & onions to pan, sweat 6-8 mins

Add garlic, sweat 1 minute

Add marinara sauce, diced tomatoes & broth. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium, simmer 30-45 minutes

Crush up fried tortilla, add to soup. Simmer 10 minutes

Use immersion or traditional blender, puree until very smooth

Garnish with cilantro

Miriam’s Tortilla Soup

Serves 8
1 T olive oil
2 ea corn tortillas
½ c ea celery & onion, diced small
1 ½ t fresh garlic, minced
2 ½ c marinara sauce
1 ¼ c canned diced tomatoes, with juice
1 qt vegetable broth
3 T fresh cilantro, chopped

Procedure
1. Heat oil in saucepan, medium heat. Fry tortillas until crispy, remove. drain well, set aside.
2. Add celery & onions to pan, sweat 6-8 mins
3. Add garlic, sweat 1 minute
4. Add marinara sauce, diced tomatoes & broth. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium, simmer 30-45 minutes
5. Crush up fried tortilla, add to soup. Simmer 10 minutes
6. Use immersion or traditional blender, puree until very smooth
7. Garnish with cilantro

All About Weight?

Does weight loss equal improved health? This is one of the questions that a recent article sought to answer by talking to various health experts about weight and health. It’s no secret our sedentary society is predominately overweight & seemingly always on a diet. Yet, only 20 % of people are successful at long -term weight loss. We know that obesity is a series risk to our physical health, yet our tactics to lose weight often backfire, introducing anxiety about foods, body dissatisfaction and eating disorders. What is the ultimate solution? One expert’s common sense recommendation is to take the focus off weight loss and on how to improve our fitness & nutrition, which is a far more achievable long-term goal. Rather than defining our health based on a single scale number, we can make positive lifestyle choices such as being physically active, eating healthy & not smoking.

Check out the full article here:
Why you should stop trying to lose weight

Yoda, Ron Merricks, and other teachers

For almost 24 years, MG has served Chatham Hall and for our entire tenure, we have reported to Ron Merricks…until today. Today, along with many others, we celebrated his last day at Chatham Hall and the start of his retirement. Ron, like Yoda and other philosopher-teachers, is known for his “isms” — incredible wisdom contained in compact sentences. A couple favorites from Ron:

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” (Ron said this a number of times over the years and always as he was explaining why he still chose to do business with MG.)

“Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.”

And from Yoda:

“Try not. Do, or do not — there is no ‘try.'” Yoda also said, “The greatest teacher, failure is.” In other words, be willing to make mistakes, always learn from the past, let go of old traditions or methods that keep you from growing or seizing new opportunities.

*Picture from Ron Merrick’s retirement party

Pot Roasted Cauliflower Piccata

Serves 8
1 head cauliflower, bottom & leaves removed, head intact
2 T olive oil
¼ t ea s&p
3 T butter
1 T fresh garlic, minced
3 T ap flour
1 ¾ c chicken broth
1 T fresh lemon juice
2 T capers, with a little juice

Procedure
1. Place cauliflower in cast iron skillet, drizzle oil, s&p
2. Cover with foil, cook 40-60 minutes, 400° oven
3. Sauté garlic in melted butter, in saucepan
4. Combine oil & flour to make paste, add to pan, cook until golden brown
5. Add chicken broth slowly, add lemon juice & capers, bring to boil, simmer 15-20 min
6. Remove cauliflower from pan, top with sauce

Notes:
– to make gluten free use 1 T arrowroot instead of flour
– sub vegetable broth for vegetarian

Food Messaging.. What does it tell us?

As I was prepping dinner one night, my 5-year-old sauntered by and declared in his most dramatic voice “wow, she lost a lot of weight.” My initial thought was utter cluelessness and then I realized he had caught sight of the Nutrisystem TV commercial showcasing drastic weight loss. Mind you, this is a happy go lucky 5 year old who is generally unaware of the pressures of everyday life, so his comment gave me great pause. This was followed by my 4 year old daughter quoting “bye-bye belly fat” followed by a flurry of giggles. Why did this weight loss commercial catch their attention? I pondered; what are we teaching our youth about their bodies? Already, two young ones, who in reality probably never gave their own body weight much thought, are picking up the messages that fat = bad and skinny = good. Already receiving messages of shame regarding our food choices & body weight. Yet, despite the shame & constant messaging that our life will magically improve with weight loss, we as a nation are still overweight, still depressed & still sedentary. We have turned food into the enemy, putting it in the same category as other addictive substances. The catch is, food is essential for life; we cannot sustain ourselves without it. Yet, we still are unable to make peace with food & stop thinking of food as the one barrier to our life of everlasting skinniness.

The intuitive eating & mindful eating movements have made great strides in changing our toxic relationship with food. However, they don’t offer the quick fix of diets & many people are simply unwilling to put in the long-term effort (i.e. slow results) required for healthy lifestyle weight loss success. Next month’s blog will highlight some of the main principles of these eating movements (notice the absence of diet) and how we can incorporate them into our life.

Lastly, it is useful to remind ourselves, that health isn’t always about weight. An extreme crash diet, may achieve your weight loss goal, but does it accomplish your long-term health goals?
There is obviously a reason diets are advertised over and over, they do not achieve sustainable weight loss. Sustainable being the key word.

It’s not all good all the time

Who doesn’t love the good times? Those special events that go so well. That account makeover that has long-time partners all a twitter. That simple, wowsy addition to a regular lunch meal that has the kids going crazy.

But, it doesn’t – always – go that way, does it?

Continuing on our road to Resilience, next time your team has a disappointment, practice these messages from “Feel Your Disappointment, Then Move Forward”:

We’re told not to be emotionally attached to the outcome. I couldn’t disagree more.
I want you and your team to care about results. The easy emotion is feeling the rush of excitement when your team nails it. It’s the uncomfortable feelings we try to avoid: disappointment, regret, and frustration. I used to dismiss uncomfortable emotions. I’d rally the troops with “it’s all good” and look for the “silver lining” and the “lessons learned.” While there’s still value in seeing the bright side, it wasn’t until I finally let the disappointment hit our shared ego and pride that powerful progress was made.

Speak calmly and plainly. Talk about failed promises to the customer. Talk about commitments to excellence. Ask who is willing to be the best. And when folks say “me” – ask everyone (yourself included) to share what they will do, specifically and concretely, to step up. And, boom. If you do this, you will make the most of whatever went wrong, and your team will ignite a greater feeling of pride and shared responsibility.

Pimento Cheese Grits

Serves 8
2 ½ c water
2 ½ c milk
1 c white grits
2 c pimento cheese
s&p

Procedure
1. Bring water/milk to boil, add grits, reduce heat, simmer 20 mins
2. Stir in pimento cheese, s&p to taste
3. Serve immediately
4. Can chill & reheat in casserole, 350° for 30-45 mins

Love Food, Love the Experience

After reading Loving Your Food, I thought long and hard about my current eating habits. While I enjoy the process of cooking, I admit the pleasure I derive from eating pleasure is less than desirable. My eating life has turned into a multi-tasking marathon; it is far easier for me to stand up and complete unfinished tasks as I mindlessly shovel food in my mouth (OK, maybe not shovel, but certainly not eating in the most dignified manner). Obviously, as an RD, this is certainly not good practice as half the time I don’t even realize what I am eating. This article was a good reminder that the act of eating is one of pleasure that should truly be enjoyed. When we rush and multitask while consuming food, that pleasure is gone. Furthermore, we miss the benefit of making mindful choices that not only taste good, but also are also good for us.

The last few days I have tweaked some of the habits that crept into my daily life. I actually sit down and look at my food., I take the time to drink water throughout the day & am taking time to make foods that I alone enjoy. I’m rediscovering that eating is for sustenance and pleasure.

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