‘MG Blog’

New Day

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Yes, there’s no “year’s” in between those two words!

 

“…you can go about resolving until the cows come home, and you still have to live your life just like everyone else on this planet – ONE DAY AT A TIME… What you can do is set up day-to-day goals for yourself… for example, instead of deciding you are going to give up sugar for a year, resolve to go one day without eating sugar. Anyone can do virtually anything if it is for only one day. When you go for one whole day without eating sugar (or any other new behavior), you are a totally different person at the end of that day. Learn to let that totally different person decide on the second day whether to do it again on this new day… let the new you make the decision and then you”ll be living in your present moments.”  Dr. Wayne Dyer

 

So, whether you are waging an effort to give up a habit, or are trying to establish a routine you think will make your life better… or even if you are undecided about whether you want to improve anything at all… commit and take advantage of a structured time to process your day, everyday. Reflect, let go, and start again.

Adult Pimento Cheese & Bacon Flatbread

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Serves 2-4

1 lg clove garlic, crushed

¼ c diced pimentos

2 c Sharp white cheddar, coarsely grated

1 c Sharp yellow cheddar, coarsely grated

⅓ c Greek yogurt

sea salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper

2 ”Flatout” 6 x 11 flatbreads

4 slices Applewood smoked bacon, crispy pieces

1 c Baby spinach (optional)

 

Adult Pimento Cheese:

1. Combine garlic, pimentos (with liquid) & cheeses

2. Stir in yogurt, salt & peppers, to taste

 

Flatbread Assembly:

1. Preheat broiler

2. Spread 1 c+ pimento cheese, top with crispy bacon pieces

3. Broil 2-3 minutes, until melted & golden

4. Enjoy with or without fresh spinach topping

 

Note: use high quality cheddar cheeses

From difficult to delightful

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Dan Pink’s new show Crowd Control (on National Geographic) evaluates through some very interesting and interactive exercises…with willing human participants…what drives our behaviors and what it takes to change them.

 

Occasionally, we need to change (or develop or grow or modify – whatever word works for you) our behaviors, yes?  Maybe to get along better (or more effectively) with our kids, partner, co-workers? Maybe to get and stay organized? Maybe to tackle a personal goal, quit a habit? Yes?

 

Dan summarizes it for us (but read the short article for more great insight), especially as we lead teams and individuals who may need or require some help with a difficult behavior:
  • First, get their attention
  • Telling people what to do doesn’t work, showing them does
  • Make them feel something
  • When nothing else works, distract
  • Tell them why

 
The New Year is coming…great time for tackling “difficultness”…practice on you!

Creatitudes

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With a little holiday down-time in front of us, here’s a question: got creative attitude? Check out this list. Recognize any “killers”?

 

1.  I know this problem
2.  I know the solution
3.  I’m a hard nosed realist
4.  I’m an expert
5.  I see things as they are

 

Instead of sinking a tire in an old pot hole (again), find a different road. Stuff happens that we can’t control (or don’t see coming), but for those recurring challenges…un-stifle our creative attitudes (lose the killers!)…and ahhh, new road!

Pumpkin Sage Soup

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Serves 4

2 T butter

1     med onion, diced

2     carrots, peeled and diced

1     apple, peeled and diced

1 T fresh sage leaves, chopped

2 c pumpkin, canned or fresh, puréed

3 c vegetable stock

½ c evaporated milk

pepita seeds

Stockpot Over Medium Heat

  1. Melt butter; sauté onion, carrot, apple & sage 8-10 min
  2. Purée above mixture with pumpkin in processor or blender
  3. Return purée to stockpot, add stock & simmer 15 min
  4. Add milk and simmer 5 min
  5. s&p to taste
  6. Garnish with pepita seeds &fresh sage

Two words

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Things move fast in the kitchen, and when the day is done, things move fast…out.
This article came advertised as “how to communicate in two words.” I’m thinking…this could be a good thing in a place where there’s not much extra time!

 

“Words are tools of influence. At the beginning, you say things you need to say. As time passes, you learn to say what others need to hear.”

 

Two words can..

deflate (“you lose”)
prompt action (“what’s next”)
help when things go wrong (“forgive me”, or “it happens”)
compliment when things go right (“love it”)
challenge (“try again”)

 

As we hustle and bustle in our ever-busy work and personal lives:

  • Speak to make things better.
  • Be courteous (or…kind, positive and gracious). Good manners matter most when you feel like ignoring them!

Ben Franklin

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Twice in less than four weeks a quote from Mr. Franklin has been a source of inspiration. At MG’s Foodie QA meeting last month (thank you team Hollins for graciously hosting us!) we started our day with this: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” A great reminder that when we include and engage one another, we can…and do…accomplish so much more.
 

But, inevitably, we are faced with an unhappy “customer” (guest, client, or even a team member — “internal customer”). In Angry Client?  Listen and Keep Your Cool, there’s some guidance on how to turn their frown upside down (including a second quote from Ben):
 
1.  Attitude: when approached (in person or through email), decide how you will feel — attacked or empowered? YOU get to decide this. Really. These situations are always a chance to prove your value (and MG’s), so decide that you will.
2.  Detach: be professional (depersonalize), suspend judgment, and….move to step 3.
3.  Listen: someone unhappy wants and needs to be heard…give them that. Keep your entire focus on them, their words, and what’s behind them (even if they’re wrong and even if you don’t understand).
4.  Focus: seek that temporary, partial or even total remedy. They are coming to you because you CAN do something to help them (even if it’s just to listen).
5.  Examine: here’s the second piece of Ben Franklin advice: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Can you say process check? Figure out how to avoid this situation in the future. Is it communication? Is it logistics? Whatever it may be, you’ll find out if you do a process check.

Tuscan Garbanzo Bean & Kale Stew

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Serves 16

¼ c            olive oil

½ c ea       celery, carrots & onion, finely diced

6 lb           fresh mushrooms, quartered

4 t             fresh garlic, minced

3               15.5 oz cans garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed

28 oz        canned diced tomatoes, with juice

1 t ea        crushed red pepper, dried thyme leaves, ground coriander

3               bay leaves

24 oz       tomato sauce

3 ½ c        water

1 lb          kale, stemmed, cut in ½” strips

                shredded parmesan

s&p

 

In Medium Stock Pot

1. Heat olive oil on medium

2. Add celery, carrots, onion & mushrooms; cook, stirring 6 min. Add garlic, cook 1 min

3. Stir in garbanzo beans, diced tomatoes & spices. Cook 2 min

4. Add tomato sauce & water. Simmer 20 min

5. Add kale, simmer another 10 min

6. Remove bay leaves

7. Sprinkle each serving with parmesan

*Can sub swiss chard for kale

Believe in Wellness and Balance

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That’s the core value that maybe makes your eyes roll this time of year. Seriously, “how CAN I get it all done!!?”, “…and still have time for my _____?!”, <–fill in that blank with whatever means the most to you.

Planning for your personal time can make you much more productive and focused at work.

Eric Barker offers a few tips on how you can get tons of stuff accomplished during the week, feel less stressed and even have more fun on your days off. See his article: How The Most Successful People Manage Their Time. Have you set your personal WIGS (Wildly Important Goals)? It helps to start there, and approach your personal wellness and balance with the same time management expertise you’ve mastered at work! Use your mornings to score tremendous victories for yourself and set the tone for your day.

  1. Do a time log. See how long things take and when your best windows are.

  2. Plan the whole week. Focus on your core competency and what makes you happy.

  3. Have a morning ritual that gets you closer to your long term goals.

  4. Set 3-5 anchor events for the weekend.

  5. Plan something fun for Sunday night.

“The best morning rituals are activities that don’t have to happen and certainly don’t have to happen at a specific hour. These are activities that require internal motivation… The best morning rituals are activities that, when practiced regularly, result in long-term benefits.”- Laura Vanderkam

Butternut Squash Lasagna

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Serves 12

2 lb        butternut squash, peeled, seeded, 1” cubes

1 T         olive oil

¼c          water

1t. ea     s&p

1c           part skim ricotta

¼c          butter

¼c          flour

3½ c      skim milk

1pinch  nutmeg

4t          fresh thyme & sage, finely chopped

9oz       lasagna sheets, no boil

2c         part skim mozzarella

½c        grated parmesan

1. Cook squash, oil, water, s&p in microwave covered, 10-15 min

2. Purée squash in processor or blender. Remove & mix with ricotta. Set aside

 

Herb Sauce

1. Melt butter, add flour, cook 1 min

2. Whisk in milk, bring to boil, reduce

& simmer 5 min until thick

3. Stir in seasonings

 

Assemble in well sprayed 11×14 casserole

1. ⅓ sauce, ⅓ sheets, ⅓ squash pureé, ⅓ c mozzarella

2. Repeat 2 more layers

3. Cover with foil, bake on 375°F @ 40 min

4. Remove foil, top with remaining mozzarella & parmesan

5. Bake for 15 more min

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