Curried Lentil Soup

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I love this soup with a passion!  (And it mashes up nicely for baby food! But it does contain honey, so omit that if you want to feed this to a child under a year. Our 16 month old grand daughter downed it for lunch today!)

3 potatoes, diced

3 carrots, sliced (I substituted a sweet potato for carrots yesterday)

2 slices bell pepper

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves (or more if you appreciate garlic!)

3/4 cup red lentils

4 cups water

1 chicken bouillon cube (I like Edward & Sons Not Chicken cubes)

2 tsp Real salt

I barely saute the vegetables in butter, then add the water and spices and cook slowly on the stove top or in a slow cooker. When the vegetables are tender, add:

1 Tbs coconut oil

1 can coconut milk

2 Tbs curry powder

3 shakes red pepper flakes

1/2 cup peanut butter (I prefer Adam’s)

2 Tbs raw honey

(If you use the slow cooker, I’d add these last ingredients to the veggies after about two hours.  Then keep cooking. So plan for about four hours in the slow cooker altogether.)

I’m sorry I don’t have a picture for you today, I’ll work on it!  But, this is definitely one of my favorite go-to’s!

What else nourishes like warm, thick, soup?  Especially when the weather is so indecisive!

Happy spring!

Jacque

Under the Influence

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Have you heard the phrase, “they were at an impressionable age”?

While I realize that children, in their innocence and inexperience and state of phenomenal growth are very impressionable, I don’t think we ever outgrow that completely.  In fact, I believe that we were created to be influenced, and likewise to be influential.

And I think this is the first decisive part of being an agent!

It’s not a matter of will we or won’t we be influenced by someone, or whether or not we will influence others, but a matter of by what and whom do we choose to be influenced?  And knowing that we are influencing people and circumstances minute by minute, what kind of influence do we choose to be to others?

What influences do you choose?

I think the answer is found in these questions:

How do you spend your time?

To what do you give your greatest attention?

What music do you choose?

What do you read? What do you watch?  What thoughts do you entertain? What kinds of conversations do you have?

If we want to be an influence for good on our children and spouse and friends and community, we’d better get extremely good at choosing the things that will influence us for good.  We are impressionable, and there’s no getting around it!

And on a personal note, I sincerely hope that this blog will be an uplifting and empowering influence to those who read it, so thank you for spending some of your precious time with me.

Love ya!

Jacque

“If you want the consequence, make the choice!”

 

 

 

You Already Are

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You are one in a million!  You are brave.  You are kind.  You are growing.  You are learning. You are inspiring. You are dedicated. You are fun!  You are optimistic. You are grateful. You are faithful. You are gracious. You are humble. You are sweet. You are curious. You are stretching. You are supported. You are joyful! You are determined. You are tenacious. You are wonderful. You are teaching. You are ready to learn.

You are whole.

You are divine.

Sincerely,

Jacque

P.S. Change these statements to “I am” and read them through 10 times!  Doing so will change your brain.

P.P.S. Help your children to say them too!

Glow Girl

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I remember a scene from the Dick Van Dyke show, when Laura bleached her hair blonde one afternoon, and then she was scurrying to get it dyed back to brown before Rob came home.  Did you see that one?  At the end of the show, a probably seven-year-old Richie declares that he doesn’t care what color her hair is, he ‘just wants Mommy to look like Mommy!’

That touched me. I thought of all of the times I have felt terribly dissatisfied with something about myself.  All the times that I hoped that a new hairstyle or color or a new dress or jewelry or something else would make me feel better.  I think that I wasted a great deal of time trying to find that feeling of self-acceptance by changing external things. And that feeling of dissatisfaction colors my memories so much and I’m sure it impacted my children.

I have long loved peace roses, like the one pictured here.  And I particularly love this one because it is beautiful, while not being perfect.  It has a story to tell.  It looks as though it may have been pelted by hail, torn on one side and obviously wasn’t perfectly symmetrical to begin with. But it certainly is unique and lovely amid the scars of living that it shows. I love the light that seems to come from inside this variety, the soft pink on the edges and the warm, glowing center!

I hope that as women we can practice easing up on ourselves, spending less time worrying about externals and more time doing the things we love with those we love.  I hope that self-acceptance, scars and all, will help us to shine our unique beauty on everyone we meet.

Be well.

Love,

Jacque

“I love and accept myself today.  I am loved and appreciated and valued.  I was designed to shine.”

 

I Love Your Guts

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A few thoughts for you about that ecosystem that lives inside every human being, the bacterial world that works with us to digest our food and to keep a healthy reign on the bugs and bacteria that can make us sick.

I heard someone ask the question recently,

“What do we know about how the food preservatives that are in so many processed foods effect our guts?  Food preservatives are after all, put into food to prohibit the growth of bacteria, right? So what happens to your healthy gut bacteria when you consume them?

The answer (from a scientist) was, we don’t know.

That got me to thinking about the one thing that is most widely used to preserve things; sugar. You know when you store sugar, you don’t really have to make any efforts to keep bugs out of it because they won’t eat it.  And we know that if we put enough sugar with something, like with fruit, to make jam, it keeps bacteria from growing and it can sit on a shelf for a long time. So what does heavy consumption of sugar do to our internal ecosystem?

Then I heard a question posed (on a TED talk), how many feet of sugar cane would you have to eat to equal the sugar in 34 ounces of Mountain Dew?

The answer, 8.5 feet.  And of course if you ate that much sugar cane it would take a long time and you’d get a lot of fiber and minerals with it!  I thought that was a great illustration for how we are dumping crazy amounts of a substance into our bodies that we were not designed to handle in a short time-frame and in those quantities.

On another tangent, I was doing some research on liver health, and learned that consuming a lot of sugar can cause liver damage, just like alcohol can.  Think soft drinks.

A few days after reading these studies, I came across others that claim that no study shows that our current standard American diet (SAD) is good for mental health. And in fact, the rates of mental illness are dramatically on the rise.

But there are studies that do bear out the common sense conclusion one might draw about the fact that a whole food diet lowers depression and anxiety. In fact, while medications don’t seem to be making the mental health problems we have as a society better on the whole, changing lifestyle and diet to a healthier, more active and whole version, does.

As Michael Pollan says, “Cheap food is an illusion.”

We pay for it one way or another.  We can realize that nutrition matters and put some time and energy and resources into what we eat, or we can pay the cost of ill-health in hospital bills and drug costs and in the misery of living with preventable disease.

I hope you’ll love your guts and take good care of them by:

cutting out processed foods, especially refined sugars,

becoming more active,

spending more time outdoors and in nature, (spring is coming!)

and lowering the amount of stress in your daily life.

Gotta love feeling good!

Love,

Jacque