Tales from a Cookbook Junkie

CookbooksSarah’s Rap: Ever since I was a young girl, I’ve loved to pore over cookbooks. I read recipes like some do magazine articles and usually head to the cookbook section in a bookstore before anything else, despite my already overflowing shelf of cooking and baking manuals. I don’t usually watch sitcoms, but sit me in front of the Food Network, Cupcake War or some other foodie cooking show and I’m sucked in. Or at least I used to be. Now that I can’t eat many of the things they are cooking on those shows, and frankly often don’t want to, I find them less appealing. Despite the fact that I started a Paleo diet because that was all I could eat, I actually prefer to fill my body with healthy foods. I love the way it make me feel and firmly believe that a daily diet full of fresh veggies, fruits, nuts and healthy meats and fish is the best way to nurture both the body and the mind.

Over the last seven years, my shelf full of high-sugar, grain- and dairy-filled cookbooks has transformed to be chock full of Paleo, anti-inflammatory, gluten-free, and grilling cookbooks. Wherever I look, stores are selling books and cookbooks on these topics as well as Clean Eating, Whole 30, the Mediterranean diet, the Ketogenic diet, and more. Every body is different, so a Paleo diet might not be the right choice for everyone, but there is no mistaking that cutting out sugar, gluten, corn and unhealthy oils can improve anyone’s health. There are so many great options out there for people who want to change their way of eating to one that will improve or promote better health. Continue reading

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Build a Network of Love and Support

network

Sarah’s Rap: If you look at any truly successful, happy or healthy person you will notice that they do not stand alone. They are surrounded by people that love and support them. Synergy, one of my favorite words, is “the combined power of a group of things when they are working together that is greater than the total power achieved by each working separately.”* This is what a human support system can do for each of us. As this month of love closes behind us, continue to grow the love in your life by finding a Bert to your Ernie, a Brady Bunch to your Alice or a cheering squad for your own personal pep rally.

That all sounds well and good, you say, but how? Well, don’t despair! Sometimes the sources of love and reinforcement can surprise us. One thing I’ve learned in recent years is that just as one needs multiple pieces to build a puzzle, so does a support network requires multiple people of varying “shapes” to make your life feel complete and your own puzzle piece to feel surrounded and stable. That’s why it’s called a support “network”, not a “pair”. No one person can provide you will all the different types of support you may require, whether you are suffering from heartbreak, job loss, illness or just life’s general stresses. Continue reading

Family Craft: Fall Table Topics

fallcraft2Sarah’s Rap: I used to be so crafty. No, not the cunning and deceitful variety, but the soap-
making, sewing, homemade-paper and make-cool-stuff-from-scratch kind. This was, of course, before the kids arrived and my free time plummeted at the same pace as my energy. My youngest son though loves art and with several recent craft projects he’s designed and executed without help from anyone, he has inspired me to dig deep and dust off my craft-loving side. The holidays also help to motivate me as this was always the time of year that I’d start making homemade ornaments, prepare for lots of creative cookie making and make gifts for friends and family. I’m not sure I’m quite that ambitious this year, but I am very excited about this fall craft that will be perfect for Thanksgiving.

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The Working Parent’s Exercise Conundrum

Sarah’s Rap: As a working mom, I find it difficult to fit in two things on weekdays:  exercise and fun time with my two boys. I leave for the office around 7 am and I return just in time to prepare the evening meal or if I’m lucky, sit down to eat what my husband has cooked. Sometimes I have doctor’s appointments or other errands after work which pushes everything even later.  Our post-dinner routine typically includes clean-up, showers, reading and the kids entertaining themselves while I make lunchboxes or prep food for the next day. By the time they are in bed, I feel like all I’ve done is work. My body is antsy and craving exercise, but I talk myself out of it: it’s too dark now; I’m too tired; I don’t want to exercise so close to bedtime; I gotta work on my book/blog to do; yada yada… Inevitably, this means that my weekdays are a blur of work at the office, work at home, work on my computer, a little reading and a bedtime crash. Then I  wake up and do it all again. Any exercise and fun kid time I get is on the weekend.  Sound familiar? If so, let’s make a pact together to change this pattern!  Continue reading