Zion Nat'l Park, Columbine

Snow. Sun. Sweat. Sweet.

A sunny day after the storms. No “must do’s” to accomplish. A spontaneous trip up the hill to the winter wonderland for a day of spectacular sunshine and snowshoeing. What an incredible workout! We did a lot of uphill climbing, enjoying pristine un-tracked snow, stopping to examine animal tracks, admire the incredible views, and listen to the birds singing. After 2 hours of trekking around, I was pleasantly tired, winded, and very happy! A Sunday to savor.

Live Healthy Nevada County

On the second Friday of the month, a group of volunteers meet at the Briarpatch Community Room to discuss, plan, create strategies, and share their enthusiasm for introducing, reinforcing, and supporting locally grown and sustainably cultivated foods into our county schools. I am honored to be a new member of this Food and Nutrition Action committee.

Much has been accomplished in the nearly two years of the committee being in existence. And so much more needs to be accomplished…which in no way reflects the energy of the committee, but more so the common government/county agency logistic and implementation challenges that arise. Not that it slows down this group–they persevere, brainstorm, research the successes and the work of other counties, and cheerfully maintain forward motion with their mission.

This intention of enhancing the health of our community, and of the planet, by connecting local farmers to schools, planting organic gardens on school campuses, facilitating assemblies for the students to cook/taste/understand locally grown foods and the benefits of sustainable agricultural practices, is a noble intention, indeed. As our entire country is making small steps towards eating well, Nevada County is enjoying the benefits of the many dedicated volunteers on this committee, as well as those involved in other county projects that support eating real food.

If you have a chance, consider volunteering: the school closest to you will either have a garden already or one is in the works to be planted–even if you don’t have a child attending school–jump in to support our next generation in Nevada County.

Your Hearts In Rhythm, an interactive workshop

In celebration of National Heart Month, I will present a workshop entitled “Heart Matters: Your Physical and Emotional Hearts In Rhythm”, on Monday, February 22, from 6:30 – 8 PM in the Briarpatch Community Room.
Join me at this interactive workshop! You will learn science-based principles and simple strategies to achieve and maintain your optimal cardiovascular health, in addition to reviewing the benefits of mindfulness for the health of your emotional heart.
Your physical and emotional hearts are one—they work in harmony and reflect the choices you make in the life you are living.  Achieving optimal heart health invites the opportunity to make choices that support eating well, maintaining routine physical activity, and taking time each day to quiet your mind. Both the physical and emotional hearts benefit when you greet each day with the intention to nurture and nourish yourself.
Seating is limited. Your pre-registration makes you eligible to win a 3-month behavior change/optimal life-management program. To register, call HeartMatters at 477-2361 or please go to the HeartMatters website at http://heartmatters.pro.

Passion Into Action Conference

From one of my Business and Professional Women, Nevada County club sisters, from an email sent to our local members: “If you were unable to attend what I can describe only as the premier womens event of our era in Grass Valley.  The Passion into Action conference featured inspiring speakers, practical workshops for action, and incredible networking opportunities and sharing of success stories.   The conference’s success — sold out at 250+ attendees — is a testament to the media and PR savvy of its SeeJaneDo organizers Elisa Parker and Jesse Locks, but more importantly, to the desire of local women to gather, learn from one another, and put our passions for positive personal and/or social change into action.  BPWNC can be proud that two of our members, Christina Hills and Robin Mallery, contributed their passion and expertise by hosting workshops on social media and on nutrition.

The closeout consisted of a panel of four women leaders exhorting us to put our passions into action, and offering their visions and examples of how women might effect trans-formative change.  Rachel Barge spoke about how she took action to raise the money needed to implement an existing, but on-the-shelf, plan to make the Berkeley campus environmentally sustainable.  Last year she raised $16 million to replicate the plan’s sustainability projects in other campuses across the nation, while raising funds for herself to attend the UN Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen.  Gloria Feldt, a former teen mom who later became president of the national Planned Parenthood organization, is now is a nationally recognized author, public speaker and frequent media commentator.  She spoke of a recurring dream of driving an uncontrollable car going on roads she did not want to take, and later realizing that she held the keys in her own hand, a metaphor for her deciding to use her own power to put her passion into action.  Linda Tarr-Whelan, a nurse who rose to become ambassador to the UN Commission on the Status Women and is now a premier expert on womens leadership, spoke of her new book Women Lead the Way:  Your Guide to Stepping Up to Leadership and Changing the World and her vision of the “30% solution” — increasing womens political representation from its current 15% to 30% by 2020, so that our nation can have more balanced leadership.   Nina Simons, a New York transplant to New Mexico, co-founder and President of Bioneers, a major environmental organization, spoke of her personal journey to find her own purpose in life, begun when she visited a garden in New Mexico that changed her view of the natural world.  She was further mobilized when she saw an historical video on witch burning, and made the connection between this holocaust and women’s fear of speaking up on unpopular stands outside the mainstream — a cultural legacy of the gross imbalance of power between the sexes.  Stressing the importance of language, one spoke of the difference between the (feminine) exercising of the “power to” do things and the (masculine) image of wielding “power over” others.

I hope that others will follow up by going to the SeeJaneDo website, which will have much more information and which offers a forum for women wanting to communicate with others about putting their own passions into action.  SeeJaneDo is holding an Extraordinary Jane essay contest folks may want to consider”.

Elaine Sierra

P.S.  Regarding Linda Tarr-Whelan’s call to action for a 30% solution, note that attendee Christina Billeci, Mayor of Marysville, is running for Dan Logue’s 3d Assembly District.  And, note that the conference was bracketed with remarks by women mayors Lisa Swarthout of Grass Valley (who noted that 50% of Grass Valley businesses are women-owned) and Reinette Senum, Mayor of Nevada City.

In Support of PUB (push-up buddies)!

Build more muscle, burn more fat: http://tinyurl.com/yepvt4m was written and posted by me last fall. Perfect timing now to re-post as part of the PUB program (push-up buddies)! Join the fun!

A virtual fitness program, this small commitment will add to your intention of optimal health. Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday: 3 sets of push-ups. Start with what you can comfortably accomplish, 3 or 5 or 10 push-ups–using either a wall, bent-knee, or plank position–3 sets total with a brief rest between each set (click on the link above to read more about proper and safe technique). Send me a message on Facebook capturing your desire to participate, then send three times per week updates of your progress with this fun little exercise. Ready?

Pasta dinner in less than 30 minutes

John’s favorite pasta dish, this is simple, delicious, and makes a great leftover lunch!

Prep time: less than 30 minutes

onion and garlic, chopped
large can of diced tomatoes
kalamata olives (cut in half, if you’d like)

1. Saute the onions until they are soft but not mushy.
2. Add in tomatoes, olives, and capers. Note: put pasta water on to boil at this juncture.
3. Bring the sauce to a boil, then turn down to simmer until pasta water is boiling.
4. Place the pasta into the boiling water, add a smidge of salt, and cook the appropriate amount of time, depending on what type of pasta noodles you are using. THEN, add chopped garlic (I use a lot!) to the sauce, turn off the burner, cover the sauce pot and let it rest while the pasta is cooking.
5. Drain pasta, return to pot, pour the sauce on top, and mix gently until the pasta is covered with this savory sauce.
If you would like, Parmesan cheese–freshly grated or packaged–is delish on top.

SIDE DISH NOTE: I almost always prepare greens to go with this dish; either kale and chard combo (plenty of garlic!), brussel sprouts (think garlic),  green beans (guess what I add to this–yep, mo’ garlic) or if I am feeling adventurous, grilled zucchini. All of the side dishes can be prepared and finished while the sauce and pasta are cooking. It’s that simple! Check it out:

1. Wash and stem the chard and kale leaves.
2. Chop up plenty ‘o garlic.
3. Put them both together in heated up olive oil and saute for approximately 5 minutes. Allow the greens to stay somewhat crunchy! Sprinkle a tad of salt, and voila! You have a nutrient dense, fabulously flavored and gorgeous looking side dish.

1. Place brussel sprouts, a few at a time, in your food processor, using the slice blade.
2. Add them, with plenty of garlic, to heated olive oil and saute with a pinch of salt for just a few minutes. Al dente rules!
3. This brussel sprout recipe will blow away any previous nightmares you have had since childhood, when your mother boiled the BS into a mushy, horrid mess.

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Take the stems off the green beans.
3. Place them and a bunch of chopped garlic in a glass baking dish, toss with olive oil. Mix well.
4. Sprinkle with black pepper.
5. Bake for 10 minutes, stirring them around once or twice. They will come out of the oven crisp, garlic-y, and a perfect compliment to pasta.

1. Slice zucchini into long strips, not too thin and not too thick.
2. Rub with a little garlic infused olive oil.
3. Place the strips on a cookie type sheet and broil on low for 2 – 3 minutes on both sides. At the last nanosecond of broiling on the second side, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, which will then become a chewy, yummy, crusty topping.

Tech Tumult

Well, well. I learned an important, albeit unwanted, lesson this evening. It was my mistake. I suppose this means that the impact of the lesson will stay with me, which is admittedly a good thing. But, I am a bit chagrined to know that the newsletter that I worked so hard on was sent out with nonfunctional links. It’s been fixed now, and I am more savvy about Constant Contact as well as the back end of my website, so for that I am glad, but this particular discovery has been disconcerting for me–someone who like orderliness and accuracy and expected outcomes. Live and learn, eh?

"Robin Mallery has been working with me for over a year now. During this time, she has introduced me to many different thought and choice options--most importantly she has helped me understand that I am the most important choice. Her passion for living right and feeling even better brings a human support to a process that could easily have been uncomfortable and unsuccessful. She is tireless in her unending support. Her talent for listening heightens a nurturing coaching relationship. I recommend Robin for those that have chosen to change; she will help support that decision, and you will be pleased that you chose to change and that you chose Robin as your coach."

---B.B., restaurant and business owner, Northern California

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