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Is quick mindfulness possible? Yes!

Is quick mindfulness possible? Yes!

Posted by Sonya on Oct 15th 2018

For years I thought that mindfulness was too hard for me to put into regular practice. My understanding of the concept was that it took up lots of time and I was simply too busy to figure out the "right" way to practicing mindfulness. Not that I have perfectionist tendencies or anything like that ?. "Quick mindfulness" seemed like such an oxymoron.In reality, I didn't need to dedicate hours daily to a mindfulness practice and neither do you! Mindfulness is simply focusing attention on the present moment and anyone can do that anytime, anywhere. Those little quick mindfulness moments really do add up and help me feel more grounded.I came across this short video, 10 Ways to Practice Mindfulness in One Minute or Less, the other day and thought I'd share it - for anyone else caught up in perfectionism and missing the big picture.
Healthy Snacks - Flashback Friday

Healthy Snacks - Flashback Friday

Posted by Sonya on Oct 12th 2018

We've been away for a couple weeks and don't have a new Simply Plated recipe for you from Christine this week, but wanted to share this older video with some ideas for healthy snacks for you and your kids.Back in 2010 Sarah Caron (at the time, a local here in Connecticut) stopped by so we could record a video on healthy snacks. It was clearly one of our earliest attempts at video as you can see the lighting and focus here are not the best. That said, we loved having her here and the yummy ideas and the recipe she shared are timeless.We talked about cute, eco-friendly water bottles, snack, sandwich, and lunch containers/coolers. Sarah shared some of the healthy snacks that she was packing for her kids at the time and this delicious Sundried Tomato Basil Hummus Recipe.
Flavorful Turkey Chili - Simply Plated

Flavorful Turkey Chili - Simply Plated

Posted by Christine Tyrrell on Sep 15th 2018

It's still tomato season here in Connecticut, so this week's farm fresh recipe makes use of delicious fresh tomato, zucchini, and peppers for a flavorful turkey chili. While the recipe calls for jars of crushed tomatoes, if you've got lots of fresh tomatoes on hand, you can also simply take a couple of pounds of them and either grate them or run them through your blender until they're crushed. Ingredients: olive oil 1 zucchini, diced 1 yellow onion, diced 8 oz white mushrooms, sliced 1 jalapeño, finely diced 1 green pepper, diced salt & freshly ground pepper to taste 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1 pound ground turkey 2 18 oz jars crushed tomatoes 2 carrots, diced 1 tomato, diced 15 oz can black beans 2 ears cooked corn, cut off the cob (or 15 oz can corn) 2 tablespoons chili powder sour cream, for garnish shredded cheddar cheese, for garnish Directions: In a saute pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Once pan and oil are hot, add zucchini, onion, mushroom, jalapeño, green pepper, garlic powder, and salt & freshly ground pepper to taste. Saute until browned to draw out their flavors. Set aside. In a large pot, over medium-high heat, cook the ground turkey until browned and crumbled. Add the sauteed veggies, crushed tomatoes, carrots, fresh tomato, beans, corn, and chili powder to the pot. Stir well. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat. Simmer for 30 minutes. To serve, top each bowl with sour cream and shredded cheddar. Add some fresh diced tomato on top for a pop of color and serve alongside some warm cornbread for a hearty, comforting dinner.
Meet Christine - Simply Plated - Healthy Recipes

Meet Christine - Simply Plated - Healthy Recipes

Posted by Pam Davis on Sep 11th 2018

We are excited to announce that Christine Tyrrell will be our contributing recipe blogger. I've already shared some of her amazing recipes here. We're thrilled that she's going to be a regular contributor now. She will be providing easy, quick, and healthy recipes that are simply delicious! A registered nurse and nutritional coach with over 25 years of experience supporting health and wellness both clinically and in the community, Christine learned early on that healthy nutrition is the best preventative medicine. Working for a local home health agency, All About You Home Care, gives her the opportunity to share this powerful knowledge with others. So many conditions can be reversed through diet! The healthier you eat, the less medical attention you need. While her infectious smile and kind heart are what draw people to Christine, her cooking is what makes them want to stay! She is an instinctual cook who knows how to combine ingredients that are healthy and satisfying. Each of her recipes has that wow factor – leaving you wondering how she can pack so much flavor into every bite. Cooking is clearly a family affair for Christine. Her 91-year-old grandmother shared with her love of nurture, nature, and good food. Her two children are able to enjoy and reap those benefits. They spend Sunday mornings chopping and prepping while listening to her husband Adam’s favorite playlist. Later in the day, their large extended family shows up for a weekly dinner. Her mother and brother arrive with their own amazing twists on food. Each one more excited than the next to share their creations. They all know that eating for health makes cooking a joy. Christine's Motto: Life, Love, Family Look for Christine's recipes each Friday on our blog.    
Roasted Eggplant Parmigiana with Ground Turkey

Roasted Eggplant Parmigiana with Ground Turkey

Posted by Pam Davis on Sep 7th 2018

I'm so happy to share another farm fresh recipe from my friend Christine! I love having such a good friend who is a whiz in the kitchen. This week eggplant was abundant at the farmers market so Christine whipped up this delicious meal. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!Ingredients: 1 lb ground turkey 3 medium eggplant 1 jar marinara sauce 1 8 oz package mozzarella ½ cup parmesan Olive oil spray Italian seasoning Garlic powder Sea saltDirections: Spray 2 cookie sheets with olive oil and preheat oven to 425. Peel eggplant if desired, then cut into 1/4" thick slices. Place slices in single layer on cookie sheets, it's ok to slightly overlap the layers. Season with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and salt. Roast for 20-30 minutes at 425 Flip the slices after 15 minutes and rotate trays so all slices brown. While the eggplant is roasting, saute ground turkey until browned and crumbled, set aside. In a 13x9 pan, place a layer of sauce on the bottom Add the following layers: eggplant sauce ground turkey shredded mozzarella sprinkle of parmesan eggplant sauce ground turkey shredded mozzarella sprinkle of parmesan eggplant sauce shredded mozzarella sprinkle of parmesanBake for 30 minutes at 350. Cut into 12 servings.
Spicy Grilled Shrimp over Harvest Fresh Salsa

Spicy Grilled Shrimp over Harvest Fresh Salsa

Posted by Pam Davis on Aug 30th 2018

It's the peak of summer vegetable season here in Connecticut and as a result, our farmers' markets are loaded with a vibrant medley of harvest fresh veggies! We've had another hot and humid week here, the kind where nobody wants to be spending much time in the kitchen. So when my amazing friend Christine came over the other day, she used lots of the fresh veggies I'd picked up at the market this week to whip us up this light, refreshing dinner. A little time chopping in the kitchen and then outside for a quick grill of the shrimp skewers. Packed with fresh summer veggies and flavorful grilled shrimp, I think it may be my favorite dinner ever! Here's a quick tip for the corn, cook a couple extra ears when you're making fresh corn on the cob. It'll keep for a few days in the fridge and as a result, it'll be easy to cut the cooled corn off the cob for your salsa! Ingredients Shrimp Marinade: 1/2 Lime 1 tsp chili powder 1 tsp garlic powder 1 tsp sea salt 1/4 cup olive oil 2 lbs Jumbo (21-26 ct) shrimp Salsa: 4 fresh tomatoes 1 green bell pepper 1/2 red onion 1/2 jalapeno pepper 1 clove garlic 2 ears cooked corn, cut off the cob 1 can black beans, rinsed & drained fresh cilantro, to taste chili powder, to taste lime juice, to taste salt, to taste Accompaniments: sour cream or plain Greek yogurt avocado slices lime wedge Directions Mix together marinade ingredients, then add the shrimp and marinate for 30 minutes. If using wooden skewers, begin soaking them in some water now also. While the shrimp is marinating, dice your harvest fresh tomatoes, pepper, and onion. Finely dice the jalapeno and mince the garlic. Toss the veggies, corn, and beans into a bowl, then add cilantro, chili powder, lime juice and salt to taste/ Remove shrimp from marinade and skewer and grill over direct, medium heat until brown to bring out the flavor (3-5 minutes per side). Finally, serve the shrimp on a bed of salsa and garnish with sour cream, avocado, and a lime wedge. P.S.  I just love those linen placemats because they're such a great blend of rustic, yet elegant!
Roasted fresh tomatoes and garlic chicken sausage

Roasted fresh tomatoes and garlic chicken sausage

Posted by Pam Davis on Aug 24th 2018

Because It’s tomato season we are featuring my favorite cherry tomato recipe!!! Fresh tomatoes are my favorite Farmer’s Market treat, I love these colorful pints that my favorite farmer was selling at the market this week. This week, for our Farm Fresh Friday recipe, my friend Christine has done it again with a super simple, super flavorful, and super healthy recipe that stars loads of them. Enjoy! Ingredients Big container tomatoes/ or 3 pints of cherry tomatoes 2 packages garlic chicken sausage, cut into bite-size pieces White beans 1-2 cans (any combo cannellini/northern/etc) Balsamic vinegar Red wine vinegar Apple cider vinegar Olive oil Sea salt Oregano Fresh Basil Fresh Parsley Fresh Rosemary Fresh Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Place tomatoes in a roasting pan Drizzle with olive oil Sprinkle on some Sea salt Drizzle on a bit of each: red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and balsamic vinegar Sprinkle with fresh herbs: parsley, rosemary, basil, oregano Roast at 425 for 30 minutes Add the cut up chicken sausages Roast for another 20 minutes Add white beans (drained and rinsed) And Roast for another 10 minutes
Practicing Gratitude - Mindful Mondays

Practicing Gratitude - Mindful Mondays

Posted by Sonya on Aug 20th 2018

When life gets busy and overwhelming, it can often be hard to keep a balanced perspective. Developing and sustaining a practice of gratitude can help you keep an even keel when life does hand you lemons (or, occasionally, throws them at you like a game of dodgeball ?). Coping with Life's Lemons I first realized the power of a daily gratitude practice during an intensely overwhelming period in my life. Ending my day by writing down, either on paper or a social media post, 5 things that I was grateful for that day truly was my saving grace. Particularly on days that I didn't think I could handle one minute more of the chaos, pain, exhaustion, and uncertainty of the time. I vividly remember one day when I was *really* struggling to find those five different things. I didn't want to use any I'd previously written down. Suddenly I remembered the shampoo bottle slipping from my hands and hitting my toe in the shower that morning. I'm all about minimizing the use of plastics, but at that moment I chuckled as I realized I was grateful my shampoo wasn't in a glass bottle. My gratitude practice fell to the side after I got through that period. Another challenging season arose a couple years later and renewing my gratitude practice kept me afloat, reminding me of many reasons to smile. Over time it was easier to remember that these challenges are just temporary hurdles in life. Alas, I've let that gratitude practice slip again. Life isn't overwhelming now, thank goodness. However, I've realized that, when I'm practicing gratitude, life just has a bit more joy and ease. So I'm challenging myself to renew my own practice - because finding balance and joy in my busy life is well worth a few minutes of daily focus. How Others Find Joy and Balance Talking to some friends about gratitude recently I learned that we each had embraced this practice for at least one phase in our lives, though we had all used different methods: writing daily in a formal gratitude journal counting as many blessings as possible during each shower beginning the day at the breakfast table with each family member sharing one thing they were grateful for And finally, the fourth method, which resonated with me deeply. This friend keeps a large glass jar on her counter and writes down those things she's grateful for on little strips of paper whenever the thoughts pop into her head. During the course of the year, that jar fills up and is both a visual guide to the wealth of good in her life and a resource. Whenever she's struggling, she'll spend some time with that jar – pulling out the slips of paper and letting her mind drift to the sweetness in her life rather than the lemons life has handed her that currently seem so sour. And you? I'm going to leave you with one of my favorite, refreshing and inspiring videos on gratitude, but before I do, please share in the comments below if, and how, you sustain your own practice of gratitude.
Farm Fresh Fridays - Easy Corn on the Cob

Farm Fresh Fridays - Easy Corn on the Cob

Posted by Melissa McKee on Aug 10th 2018

This is my husband's trick to perfectly cooked farm fresh corn on the cob (which we get at our weekly farmers market). We send the boys out to the porch to husk the ears of corn while we prepare the grill for cheeseburgers. We cut huge slices of fresh tomato from the market for our burgers. The kids eat their tomatoes cut in wedges sprinkled with a little salt and pepper.   Boil a big pot of water. Add the corn and bring it back to a boil. Once it’s returned to a boil cook for 2 minutes. Cover the pot and turn off the heat. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes or until you are ready to eat it. It will stay warm for serving for an hour. Just add butter, salt, and pepper and you have perfect corn on the cob with no fuss!  
Blueberry Smoothie - Farm Fresh Fridays

Blueberry Smoothie - Farm Fresh Fridays

Posted by Pam Davis on Jul 26th 2018

Pick-Your-Own farms are a great (and yummy!) summer activity. With blueberry season in full swing here, I wanted to share a blueberry smoothie recipe I created recently. Mommy Mixologist I love my morning smoothies.  My kids laugh at me as I walk around the kitchen throwing things into the blender.  The more ingredients the better.  I add anything with nutritional value. Because I don't follow a recipe,  sometimes it is a hit and sometimes it is a miss.  This one was a hit! Blueberry Smoothies 2 cups organic wild blueberries 2 ripe bananas 4 strawberries turmeric - 1tsp cinnamon 1 tsp 1 cup almond butter almond milk - 2 cups sesame seeds - handful flax seeds - handful almonds - handful Walnuts - handful 1 tsp vanilla Ice 1 cup water Directions: Add all ingredients to blender and blend on high until smooth What's your favorite way to use up all those fresh berries?
ZOODLES! - Farm Fresh Fridays

ZOODLES! - Farm Fresh Fridays

Posted by Melissa McKee on Jul 19th 2018

Zoodles My oldest son loves zucchini season because of this dish: (click here) Zucchini Noodles with Avocado Cream Sauce. It’s not the fastest zucchini dish we make (wait for our easy roasted zucchini wedges if you like quick) but it’s still super easy if you have a spiralizer. I like to put my son to work making the zoodles with the spiralizer while I make the sauce. He loves to see just how long he can make the noodles. We enjoy this dish alone for those hot nights when you are looking for something light, but we’ve also eaten it with turkey meatballs or grilled chicken thighs. If you have a spiralizer, what veggies do you turn into noodles?  
Buddy Walk - Mindful Mondays

Buddy Walk - Mindful Mondays

Posted by Pam Davis on Jul 16th 2018

Buddy Walk - I could not have made it through my kids teen years without my friend Joanne. One day at a kid's sporting event she gently suggested that maybe I would like to join her for a walk. What I thought was going to become an exercise routine, turned into something so much more.  It became my sacred time as a mom to center myself and work through whatever I was struggling with at the moment. I would like to share what I learned and encourage you to do the same. First of all choose this friend wisely! Find a Good Listener - Find a person who is willing to listen Upbeat Positive Person - I can’t emphasize this enough, the goal is not for you to take on the other person’s problems, but, to uplift each other so that you both feel rejuvenated after the walk. Similar Interests Trustworthy - someone that you can confide in without fear of telling others Choose a Great Location Choose an area in town that allows you to connect with nature. Preferably somewhere that is not super crowded that you will get interrupted. Start Slowly Let it build organically, so that you start to crave it as opposed to adding another “to do” to your list Commit to 3x a week 1/2 hour at a time Weather - agree to go out in all kinds of weather (it adds to the mindfulness as you go through rain and snowdrifts) No Electronics agree to put the cell phones aside so that you can be focused on your walk and your time together Pet Optional Let your dogs in on the action. Warning:  side effect may include toned legs. Share with a buddy that you think would make the perfect walking partner.  
Farm Fresh Fridays: Easy Peasy Snap Peas

Farm Fresh Fridays: Easy Peasy Snap Peas

Posted by Sonya on Jul 5th 2018

One of the things I love about farmers markets is the ease of introducing my kids to different types of produce with free samples that I can feel great about!  This week I was reminded of that when one of the organic farmers had open containers of snap peas that they urged customers to try. Seriously, what could be an easier side dish than a handful of raw snap peas! If your kids are the kind that insist on some sort of sauce (back in my nanny days, I took care of 2 that insisted ketchup went on *everything* including cantaloupe...), a dollop of ranch dip or hummus pairs nicely. But, if you want to jazz up those peas just a tad, these crunchy, lemony snap peas take just a few minutes to throw together. The longest step is de-stringing the peas, which, honestly, is something I'd never done before this summer. Ingredients: 1 lb snap peas 1 lemon 1T avocado oil (or olive oil or butter) salt  Preparation Steps: De-string your peas Zest and juice the lemon Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once it's hot enough (a drop of water sizzles), add your oil. Place peas in the pan and toss to coat them in the oil. Let them sit for 15 seconds before stirring again. Stir a couple more times, roughly every 15 seconds, just until heated through. The goal is warm, bright green peas. This took me just over 2 minutes. Transfer peas to your serving dish, add the lemon zest and a pinch of salt then toss to evenly distribute. What do you think, is it necessary to de-string your peas? What is your favorite way to eat snap peas - tell us and others in comments below!!