Zucchinicanoes

Image: pinterest.com

This no fuss recipe of turkey chili turns a humble zucchini into a satisfying meal. Top your boats with a dollop of salsa, a sprinkle of shredded cheese, or other favorite chili add-ins. It is super easy-peasy to make and a great meal the kids will love.

Ingredients:

4 medium zucchini (about ½ pound each)

1 pound lean ground turkey

1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 egg

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp. chili powder

½ tsp. salt

Salsa, shredded Mexican cheese blend, or other chili topping for serving

 

  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Trim off and discard the ends of each zucchini, then halve them lengthwise.  Trim a thin slice from the curved side of each portion so that it sits flat.  Scoop out and discard the center flesh of each zucchini to form a canoe.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir the ground turkey, corn, onion, egg, garlic, chili powder, and salt together until well blended.  Evenly distribute the mixture among the zucchini halves, packing it in and mounding it slightly.
  3. Arrange the canoes on a baking sheet.  Bake for 40 minutes.  Serve with salsa, cheese, or your family’s favorite chili topping.
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Raisingthebar

Image: aloha.com

 

Do you want really good chocolate for a special occasion? Have I got a chocolate bar for you! Not only is it organic, but each bar has a sweet message. I couldn’t believe the ingredients when I read the label. This handmade organic chocolate bar is a revolutionary and delicious dairy-free treat made with fair-trade cacao and packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and greens that are the equivalent of one serving of fruits and vegetables. Can you believe it?! I think of it as a healthy indulgence. Receiving this superfood chocolate was such a Shining Moment for me! Check it out at aloha.com. They retail for $9.

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wanderingmindImage: mxcc.edu

Have you ever been sitting on a conference call and your mind starts to wander while the others on the line are talking? You start going over all the things you need to get done, the things that should have gotten done yesterday, or just about where you wish you could be instead of enduring the call at that very moment. And then…. the line gets quiet for a moment and you snap back and realize that it’s your turn to talk, except you have no idea what question you were even asked! While this may never happen to you, it happens to me ALL.THE.TIME and I’m at the point where I’m feeling like I am going bananas!

According to a recent study conducted by Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert, 47 percent of adults (from a 2,000 person sample) were NOT focused on what they were currently doing throughout their day. Another finding from the study suggested that when people’s minds wander, they tend to be less happy. Check and check.

So how do we stop our minds from wandering? To begin with, it is important to find good ways to strengthen our focus and stop the mind wandering. The best way to do this (and one of my favorite things to do!) is meditate.

Ironically, mind wandering is a central element of focused attention (FA) meditation. In this specific style of meditation you are required to keep your attention on a single object (believe me it’s harder than it sounds!). Typically, you start with just focusing on your breathing. Try it for a few minutes and see what happens!

If you are anything like me, before long your mind will start to wander away from your breathing and venture into planning, analyzing, etc… you know the drill. By training yourself to recognize when your mind starts to wander away from your primary focus you are building your brains mental strength (shining moment). After much FA meditation practice, you will be able to know when your mind is slipping away in a meeting and be able to deliberately bring yourself back to the moment. That ability only improves with training.

The key here is to learn how to become aware of your mental tendencies and use them purposefully, rather than letting them consume your mind. Meditation can and will help you better train your mind to stay the course.

Now, where was I…?

 

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The difference between a good life and a bad life is how well you walk through the fire. ~ Carl Jung

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Zucchini Caprese

Image: Myrecipes.com

What are you going to do with all of your home grown zucchini from your garden! Boy, oh boy, have I got a recipe for you that is absolutely scrumptious. I found it in Cooking Light magazine and can’t get enough of it. It’s a true showcase for you garden treasures.

Ingredients:

2 zucchini (about ¾ pound), each cut diagonally into 12 slices

Cooking spray

½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic glaze

1 garlic clove, minced

4 heirloom tomatoes, each cut into 6 (1/4-ich-thick) slices

3 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 16 slices

16 cherry tomatoes, halved

Fresh basil leaves

 

  1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Coat both sides of zucchini with cooking spray. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Arrange on grill; grill 4 minutes on each side.
  3. Combine oil, glaze, garlic, remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.
  4. Arrange 8 tomato slices on a platter; top each with 1 zucchini slice, 1 tomato slice, 1 cheese slice, and 1 zucchini slice. Drizzle balsamic dressing evenly over stacks; sprinkle with cherry tomatoes and basil.
  5. Tuck the extra basil between layers for more flavor!

It’s so De-Lish, right?!

 

 

I can’t wait to for you to try this recipe! Let me know how you like it!

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shiningmoments

Image: Stevetaboneblog.com

In April 2008, I learned immediately how life changes instantaneously with the snap of a finger. My tranquil life was interrupted in an unexpected, indescribable way when I felt a piercing pain in my left breast. Suddenly, I began the long twisting ride through the town of Cancerville.

 

I’ve always been a positive and half-full kind of girl.  When I was diagnosed, my first thought was: This could have been much worse.  It was at this moment, literally from the time of my diagnosis, that I became conscious of the need for optimism and began looking for (and finding) Shining Moments while always wearing my mother’s diamond stud earrings to help me find my courage.

 

Here’s what I know for sure about Shining Moments:

 

They come in pocket-sized and immense packages. From watching a red-breasted robin outside of my bedroom window (because I was too sick to stand) to being cancer-free (after enduring the lengthiest and most excruciating year of my life), Shining Moments are present. All you have to do is look for them and learn to be present every single day.

 

Shining Moments don’t take away the discomfort and pain, but they do provide a sense of balance and perspective on life. Pain, anguish, and unhappiness are valid and significant feelings that need to be managed during and after any awful experience. The beauty of Shining Moments is that they don’t take away the storm.  Rather, they provide an umbrella or raincoat.

 

Finding Shining Moments is a choice. Sometimes it may not be so optimal, instead it could be a very difficult alternative.  For example, one day I was in the boundless pit of despondency and found myself laying on my cold tile bathroom floor unable to get to my bedroom (located next to the bathroom), I looked for a Shining Moment. I just knew that one would appear. At the exact instant I looked for the Shining Moment, my two cats came into the bathroom and cuddled with me until I could gather the strength to get to my bed.

 

One Shining Moment of my breast cancer experience is that I have learned that incomprehensible tragedy generates an opportunity to take righteous anger and melancholy and turn it into a power for doing good. Is it easy? No way. I would never sugarcoat the fact that it can be tough, challenging, and sometimes just plain taxing. But what I do know for sure is that dumbfounding situations and even anger can be redirected, conveyed, and guided into action that yields encouraging outcomes. This is the ultimate Shining Moment.

 

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Image: bikerumor.comridearainbow

Known for superior craftsmanship and retro styling, bicycle manufacturer, Electra is offering sporty two-wheelers in seven colors that are dead ringers for beautiful spring colors. It’s such a sporty way to coast into spring and summer. I can see myself riding this bike down the shore. Check out the bikes at electrabike.com.

 

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DreamyvationImage:  momza.blogspot.com

It’s already the middle of summer. Can you believe it?  Have you had a vacation yet in 2015?

Vacations are, I believe, as important as work. So many people say, “I don’t have time for a vacation.” I’ve learned to make time for vacations, and you should, too! I always feel bad when people say this. I think, really?  Why – the f-bomb – not?

I happen to be a big fan of vacations. They are great for a whole lot of reasons.  They:

  1. Cultivate creative inspiration
  2. Promote flexible and imaginative thinking
  3. Give perspective on everyday life
  4. Improve your mental health
  5. Stave off burnout
  6. Refresh body and spirit
  7. Promote overall wellbeing
  8. Strengthen relationships
  9. Expand cultural horizons
  10. Relieve stress

A vacation doesn’t have to be three weeks on a beach with a cabana boy delivering fancy schmancy drinks all day long…though go ahead and take a minute and think about how lovely that would actually be. Sometimes I take a day-long vacation (e.g. Pajama Day)! that is just as relaxing especially if the Boyfriend of the Year (BOTY) is my cabana boy!

Recently, I’ve been looking at magazines, and boy, oh boy, am I finding  pretty drool inducing stories on summer vacations…as in the aspirational dreamy variety. Ahhhh….

 

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A diamond is just a piece of charcoal that handled stress exceptionally well. ~ Unknown

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fruitpops

Image:  Womanshealthmag.com

What’s summer without delicious fruit pops, right? I usually buy them from my local grocery story, but found this recipe and wanted to share it with you ASAP! It’s so easy and so much fun. Oh, did I say how yummy these treats are? Seriously.

 

Ingredients:

1 lb fresh frozen fruit, such as blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, peaches or nectarines

2 Tbsp granulated sugar

2 cups lemonade

Ice pop molds (I used Cold Molds medium)

10 ice cream sticks

 

Cut the blackberries in half, slice the strawberries and cut the peaches or nectarines into thin pieces.  Toss the fruit, either separately or combined, in small bowls with the sugar.  Let set, tossing occasionally, for 30 minutes.

 

Divide the fruit and any juices among the molds, then add the lemonade, leaving ¼ in. of space at the top of each mold.  Insert the sticks according to package directions and freeze overnight.

 

So easy, and so GOOOOOOOD!

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