So good, nobody notices. When I saw this article title, the voice in my head said: “stop the bus.” Not because I disagreed. But because I felt like it was reading my mind or eavesdropping on recent conversations. I’ve had the chance to get out and see some other operators lately. This is enlightening on many levels, but…as relates to this…I am amazed at what others “get away with,” from the food to the presentation to the customer service. I have said in my head and even privately to others: “if we looked like this at ______ (insert nearly any MG location) for one meal we’d be fired.” We do so many things to make MG dining special…perhaps so consistently special that…it goes unnoticed. But consider for a sec what might happen if we didn’t?
Incremental excellence will never be as sexy as the thrill of the new because the better you get the less noticeable the difference may be. But it can be every bit as valuable.
2 T butter
1 head garlic, halved crosswise
1 c whole milk
1 – 15 oz can chickpeas, with liquid
1 – 15 oz can white beans, drained & rinsed
1 thyme sprig
2 sage leaves
1 bay leaf
⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
4-6 kale leaves, ribs & stems removed, cut into 1″ strips
Garnishes: shaved parmesan, olive, red pepper flakes, crusty bread
1. Melt the butter in saucepan on med-high.
2. Add garlic, cut side down, cook 1-2 mins to golden brown.
3. Stir in milk, chickpeas, white beans, herbs, nutmeg, s&p.
4. Bring to boiling, reduce heat and add kale.
5. Simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 15 mins.
6. Remove herbs & garlic head, cool garlic & remove soft cloves with fork.
7. Serve beans with shaved parmesan, drizzle of olive oil, pinch of crushed red pepper.
8. Spread crusty bread with soft garlic cloves & serve alongside beans.
Some people love fall. Some struggle with it (I know I do). Days are shorter, colors are fading… and, eventually, the landscape will turn to gray. Yes, Mother Nature enters hibernation mode from the bugs to the grass. But work keeps going… and now… without as much daylight! It’s so common to struggle with this that they’ve given it a name: SAD (seasonal adjustment disorder). The change in seasons, holidays, and anticipation of a “new year” can also surface thoughts about where we are in our lives. Sometimes questioning is it too late to do _________. As well, in an operations business like ours, we are always pushing to be better, stronger, more efficient, more effective. We are challenged to change habits, routines, tools, “to start” doing ________. But, is it too late to try? I saw this meme the other day and it stuck with me. Maybe you’ll like it too.
Caramel Sauce Makes 1 Cup
1 box high quality brownie mix
Cook according to package directions
1 c sugar
6 T butter
½ c heavy cream
1 t vanilla extract (optional)
1. In heavy bottomed 2-3 quart pan, caramelize sugar on medium high, stir constantly until melted & amber. (Careful gets very hot).
2. Whisk in butter, until melted.
3. Remove from heat & whisk in cream, continue to whisk until smooth.
4. Let cool & then spread on brownies.
Note: can pour into mason jar & refrigerate for other uses.
Nobody said it was going to be easy… to get through school, to find that first job, to finish that race, to deal with disappointment, to lose a loved one. It is anything but easy. And, yet, as we experience (or maybe better put, survive) these life events, we are growing: up, older, wiser, and perhaps more at peace with the unending number of things we cannot control. Life and even survival, physically and emotionally, call on us to keep moving.
“One can choose to go back towards safety or forward towards growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.” – Abraham Maslow
1 T vegetable oil
1 T sesame oil
1 lg eggplants (about 1 ½ lb), peeled, ¾” strips
1 c onion, medium diced
2 t fresh garlic, minced
2 t fresh ginger, minced or grated
2 t asian garlic chili sauce
2 T fresh lime juice
green onion & fresh cilantro (garnish)
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F
2. Combine vegetable & sesame oils. Toss 4 t with cut eggplant & onion, roast on baking sheet until tender, 10-15 min.
3. Sauté garlic & ginger in remaining 2 t oil. Add chili sauce, lime juice & roasted vegetables, season with s&p.
4. Serve hot with green onion & fresh cilantro garnish.
Makes 1 loaf
1 ½ c vegetable oil
2 c sugar
2 ½ c flour
2 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
1 t salt
3 c fresh apples, chopped
1 c pecans (optional)
1 t vanilla
1. Blend oil & sugar, add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well.
2. Sift dry ingredients together, add to egg mixture.
3. Stir in apples, pecans & vanilla.
4. Pour into greased 10″ loaf pan.
5. Bake at 350F for about an hour.
Who doesn’t love to hear a guest say, “that was a perfect meal”? But, how many times have you heard that from one guest, only to have another say “that meal was meh.” This happens all the time because food is personal. Some like spicy, some not so much. Some like steak, some not so much. So to preserve our inner peace, we have to lose this idea that we and our food must be perfect. Perfection, like beauty, rests in the eye of the beholder. And, there are some downsides to chasing it:
- Creating anything without flaw or defect (if it’s even possible) takes more time, doing and redoing. Most people don’t recognize perfection making those redos a waste of valuable energy and resources.
- It’s a “breeding ground for my way or the highway thinking which is a death knell for diversity of thought, opinion, and perspective.” It reduces playfulness and willingness to take risk. Even worse, it can leave people feeling inferior and unappreciated.
- It will make you sick: perfectionists are at greater risk for depression, high blood pressure, anxiety.
So let’s do our very best, treat everyone with unrelenting kindness, accept good enough, and rejoice that tomorrow is…another meal!
As I gear myself to head “back to school” with the local college students, I am reminded of the importance of my work, which includes counseling for students with nutritional issues. A great majority of my clients are students who battle with body image struggles, the majority of which began in childhood. The lifelong effects of dieting at such young ages have been detrimental to their mental & physical health. When I first began my career as a registered dietitian, I never imagined I would view dieting as a negative. As aspiring dietitians, we were taught that fat is always equivalent to poor health & the final goal was a “healthy” bodyweight, which really was code for thin. Luckily, scientific research & clinical experience has proved us wrong. There are many different body types that are considered healthy & many of those don’t fall under the standards of what society considers “skinny.” As a responsible clinician I feel it is my duty to educate others about the importance of healthy living that does not involve any form of dieting. That is why this op-ed was so profound for me. Christy Harrison I a registered dietitian whose practice focuses on helping clients recover from disordered eating. I strongly encourage you to read these op-eds written by Harrison in response to the release of Kurbo, a kids “dieting” app released by Weight Watchers.
Why you should never give your kids this app
It’s the way we were born eating
Just a few takeaways:
“As a registered dietitian who specializes in helping people recover from disordered eating, I strongly recommend that parents keep this new tool — and any weight-loss program — away from their children.
Our society is unfair and cruel to people who are in larger bodies, so I can empathize with parents who might believe their child needs to lose weight, and with any child who wants to. Unfortunately, attempts to shrink a child’s body are likely to be both ineffective and harmful to physical and mental health.
Over the last 60 years, numerous studies have shown that among people who lose weight, more than 90 percent gain it back over the long run. For example, a 2000 study [CW: weight-stigmatizing language and numbers used] of adults 20 to 45 found that less than 5 percent lost weight and kept it off long term. And a 2015 study [CW] of more than 176,000 higher-weight people age 20 and older found that 95 percent to 98 percent of those who lost weight gained back all of it (or more) within five years. A 2007 review [CW] of the scientific evidence found that most people likely gained back more.”
1 large fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
(15 oz) can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
3 celery stalks, very thinly sliced
½ c fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
4 T fresh lemon juice
4 T olive oil
½ c grated parmesan
1. Toss together fennel, chickpeas, celery, parsley, lemon juice & olive oil.
2. Season with s&p to taste, chill.
3. Before serving sprinkle with grated parmesan.