To Paleo, or not to Paleo….that is the question

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Along with aging comes change…..in everything!  Some of that change is welcomed, like a new sense of self and not being concerned with what others think.  And some is not so well-received, like white hair, bags under the eyes and the digestive system constantly changing the rules for our metabolism on a daily basis.

I never had a care in the world when it came to food.  I suffered no allergies.  I was not a victim to food sensitivities.  I had absolute freedom in my culinary world.

But something has drastically shifted over the last couple of years.  I have heard of this phenomenon but never thought I would have become a statistic in this game of “what do we cut out of the daily diet today”.   Choosing what to eat has become more like Russian Roulette.  One misfire and that bullet of discomfort is going to rocket through my intestines.

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(image credit)

I’ve been looking at the Paleo Diet and it seems to cut out all the components that could potentially cause inflammation or general malaise without necessarily cutting out the options for a very tasty selection of meals.  I have already become the person who puts beets and turmeric in my breakfast smoothies, so I think I’ve pretty much taken the first step in admitting that I’m not the girl who is able to eat what she wants anymore.   And that recipe in the photo looks delicious!   Wish me luck…..I’m goin’ in.

 

 

Table for one?

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This time of year my office is a much quieter place than it is in the summer and the first thing on my mind when I get home is to change into some comfortable track pants and relax with a glass of wine.  Curling into a corner of my couch should be enough to soothe the winter blahs I feel at the end of a long day, but it isn’t.

What relaxes me most, what softens the reality of a dark winter day, is cooking.  And although I typically cook only for myself, I enjoy creating a food experience rather than just making something to eat.  I like to think of food as an encounter more than just a necessity.  Food should nourish but food should be enticing.  I don’t just put my dinner on a plate.  I want my meal to have an attraction beyond taste and, even if I am only cooking for one, I will put that effort into the presentation of my meals.

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There is something truly invigorating about inhaling a combination of smells that you know blend into an amazing taste medley.  And the effort of cooking these meals for one is not as taxing as people would think.  A simple preparation of “real” food takes a few more minutes than opening a package of processed food and putting it in the oven, but the benefit far outweighs the effort.

Perhaps the artsy side of me weighs heavily on my plating but, regardless of the reason, I continue to put a concerted effort into each dinner I create.  I take great pride in knowing that I nourished, not only my body but, my eyes and my mind.  Food feeds the soul as much as it feeds the engine and as I dig into my meal I always feel happy knowing I didn’t reach for that can of Alphaghetti!

Drawing from the things that matter

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A couple of weeks ago, my friend Mike wrote this post about creating his family seal.  It originated from a homework assignment that was given to his son but it really sparked something in my mind.  My need to create went into overdrive and I spent many days thinking about the things that are most important to me and the things that would warrant space on my family shield.

What I thought would be a daunting task became relatively simple once I stripped away the trivial matters and whittled my thoughts down to the basics, getting in touch with the things that are at the core of my life, and coming up with this.

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My family and friends will always be first.  They are the anchor that hold me in my place.  They keep me honest and that truth allows me to enjoy all of the other aspects of my day-to-day living.

My home, albeit small and in need of updating, is my castle, my sanctuary.  Its walls are my defense shield and its roof, my shelter.  In this home I allow the chef hidden inside to come out and create tasty and aesthetically pleasing meals, even though most days I cook for one.

After the kitchen has been cleaned of any signs of being inhabited, I sit down for a quiet evening filled with words.  Whether I am ingesting words written by someone else or spewing forth words of my own, language envelops me and keeps me company in the waning hours of daylight.

During those evening hours I become lost in language, my puppy is ever-present.  Her eyes watch my every move and if she falls behind in her duty, the owls and butterflies that frequent my landscapes remind me that my mother and father are still making sure that their past exists in my present and my future.  And if life ever begins to get my down, I remember my dad always saying “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”.

I am thankful that I took the challenge to strip my life down to the basics, to really look inside myself and understand what are the most important things in my life.

If you were to take the same challenge, what would your family shield hold in its strong embrace?

 

 

 

Cooking for one doesn’t have to mean Kraft Dinner

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I am the only living creature in my home who consumes “people food”.  Callaway likes to protest as often as possible which results in some fibrous vegetables going into her mouth and subsequently my ruing that decision once the foul odor of processed cucumber and lettuce assaults my senses.

Living alone has its challenges but cooking for one is not even on the list.  I love to, not just cook but, create in the kitchen.  Just because I am only cooking for myself does not mean I take the easy route and buy horribly processed pre-packaged easy to serve meals.  I opt for the more labor intensive, home-cooked, real food.

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This meal took 30 minutes to prepare and was delicious.  Fresh beef, a portion of a bag of small potatoes and an onion created this tasty home-cooked meal fit for one.  It took one pan and two small pots, one for mashed potatoes one for fried, dusted onions.  The preparation was easy, the cooking process was simple and the taste was phenomenal.  The result was so much better than a store-bought meal.

Cooking for one doesn’t have to be intimidating but it does take some practice.   There are a plethora of options that are easy to prepare, that are healthy and that make great leftovers for lunch.  You can even make a full recipe and freeze it for future meals but I spoil myself most of the time and buy fresh ingredients each day.  I find I spend less money doing that than I do buying in bulk and freezing food that I may forget about and never eat.  And fresh is always the best.

What is your favorite meal when you are cooking for one?

 

 

Removing the obstacles – a lesson in housekeeping

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clutter

I would never describe myself as a minimalist.  I do love some of the comforts I have afforded myself.  But the bits of collected stuff that seemed to have congested my life have been eradicated, tossed, vanquished.

I live in a small home that suits my needs and the needs of my dog.  We have a vast amount of space outside and ample room inside to be quite comfortable.  I have never been one to have rooms just for the sake of having rooms.  Our life is simple, our life is comfortable and our life is manageable.

The largest room in our 600-square-foot home is the kitchen.  This is why I chose this house.  I remember standing on very high snow banks to peer into the windows before I began renting.  As soon as I saw the kitchen, I knew this was meant to be my home.  My kitchen is my haven.  I love to bake and I love to cook.  And even though I am currently cooking for one, creating food is a passion and not just a necessity.  When I finally bought this home from my landlord, my renovation money was easily focused on the kitchen.

Over the years the clutter began to accumulate but, it wasn’t just the physical pieces that had been stashed into the corners, it was the collected bits of memories and regrets that had also been piling up in the invisible spaces in my house.  These piles of intangible things had been standing between me and the life I was willing to move towards.  It took a small dumpster and a great deal of courage to rid myself of the physical and mental obstacles in my life and be able to live free of the clutter that had been threatening to topple over and bury me under its weight.

After a few hundred dollars and several hours of intense labor, I was finally free of the clutter – all of the clutter.  The physical reminders of a life that had failed and the mental reminders of things that were never meant to be were finally gone.  For the first time in a long time, I felt free.  I truly felt that the life I wanted now had a way to find me without having to circumvent all of the barriers I had created.

A little Spring cleaning can go a very long way and it can eventually clear the path that you were meant to follow.