4.2018

Zion Nat'l Park, Columbine

My heart and the state of our world

The breach was a small thing, inconsequential really. Except that it wounded my already fragile heart. In the grand scheme of life, the tiny annoyance caused when this HeartMatters website was breached barely warrants a mention, especially in comparison to physical violation or hunger or homelessness or the many other true tragedies experienced daily by my fellow humans all across our planet, this is surely a small thing.  

It’s just that I am so emotionally fragile now. SO MUCH BAD STUFF is happening right this very minute that I feel as though I do not have the personal bandwidth to learn of one more iota of unkindness or greed. And, I know that others of you feel the same way. YET, there is so much in my life for which I am deeply grateful — people love me, I am healthy and energetic, I am engaged in meaningful volunteer and community work, and I savor Mother Nature’s abundant beauty, to name a few.

Google’s greed prevailing over humility and humanity when they agreed to build a search engine for China that would be a weapon of their government to censor citizen information; GM’s priority of paying their shareholders over keeping their factories open and people working; asylum-seekers being denied access to our country; virtually everything about this current administration, ohmygosh I could go on and on and on to name daily injustices and unkindnesses that breaks my heart. So, when these low-level Bad Guys messed around with my site to open 25 new websites in my name using my credit card, the cumulative Bad Guy effect brought me to my knees with despair. The next thing I knew, I was crying to the Support Desk guy at Network Solutions about the inhumanity of it all…

Thankfully, I’ve learned a few things on this life journey. I know now that, for me, recovery from despair begins when I open my heart to the perpetuators of injustice. I acknowledge that these people are incomplete humans–they do not know self-love, they do not revel in the joys of love and kindness, they are empty in spirit and they live without grace as their guiding light. With intention, I send them blessings for an opening of their heart so that they may know self-love, become familiar with authentic joy, revere Mother Earth — the traits about myself which I cherish so dearly. I send my love for them, and these blessings, into the universe so that I may cloak my own spirit in goodness, so that I do not become bitter, or afraid, or withdrawn…Which is what I did this morning on my dog walk with Grace (yes, her name is intentional). As I breathed the cold Midwest air, I expressed gratitude for my warm clothing, the kiss my husband gave me when he left for work, that I would go back to my kitchen to make a delicious meal for friends coming to dinner, and then I dropped into my contemplation of Bad Guys, coming full circle with opening my heart. It really is a joyous life peoples, which those of you reading this post add to immensely. For you, I am grateful. xoxo

Grace, the dog.

Holiday Survival: Eat Well, Eat Smart!

Do you equate the holidays with food free-for-all time? Is it possible to enjoy, yet survive, holiday eating? Can you maintain your commitment to optimal health through the holidays? Yes! With a little forethought and awareness, you can eat well, eat smart, and enjoy the holidays. These sensible tips are my holiday gift to you.

Remember the basics:

  • Eat 5 small meals per day. This approach to food is recommended to maintain efficient metabolism and minimize hunger, allowing for healthful food decision-making. You know what happens when you become ravenous—you will eat any and all food put in front of you!
  • Choose from the plant foods. The carbohydrates from grains, beans, legumes, vegetables and fruit are filling. They will take up room in your stomach, perhaps diminishing the chances of choosing high fat or processed foods. Not to mention the many physical health benefits of eating plant foods, such as the antioxidant, mineral, and vitamin properties.
  • Drink plenty of water. Water can be filling, and again, this may diminish hunger and allow for healthful food decision-making. You can dilute juice drinks with water, which will lower the amount of sugar and calories you take in. If you are partying, I recommend alternating water with alcoholic beverages—to prevent overdoing the alcohol as well as decrease your simple carbohydrate and calorie intake (and minimize the morning after headache…).

Survival Skills:

  • Nibble on a healthy fat, 10 minutes prior to sitting down to a meal or leaving for a party to activate the satiation hormone. Examples are 1 ounce of nuts, ¼ avocado, or 1 teaspoon of nut butter; the richness of the fat, as well as the time it takes to digest, will again, displace feeling hungry and allow for healthful food choices later.
  • Plan ahead, balancing your food intake for the day. If you are going to a party in the evening, choose well for your two earlier small meals and small in-between-meal snacks. If you have had an indulgent family holiday breakfast, eat lean and light for the remainder of the day.
  • Arrive with a success strategy, which will allow you the permission to splurge, but to do so with intention and awareness.
  • State a positive affirmation prior to arriving at the party or family dinner. Consider “I will nurture my health and eat well” or ”I intend to enjoy small tastes of my favorite foods”. Positive affirmations are very powerful and will influence the outcome of your choices.
  • There is no need to deprive yourself! You might however, cruise the buffet table before taking a plate, to increase your chances for choosing wisely. Use a small plate, and take small tastes of several well-chosen foods.
  • Select what you eat wisely. Combine protein and carbohydrates, such as veggies, bean salad, grain casserole, cheese, smoked fish, and chicken skewers from the buffet table. Eat these foods prior to considering desserts.
  • Bring a healthy dish to share, increasing your chance to eat well.
  • Move away from the buffet table. This will minimize the temptation to keep nibbling. My formula is: standing + talking + laughing + nibbling = overeating.
  • Sit down to eat. Create a meal mentality. Eat slowly, savoring the distinct flavors and textures. That old adage to put your fork down between bites really does work!
  • Eggnog and punch or any beverages with alcohol, when consumed sensibly are perfectly reasonable holiday choices. If you have 2 generous portions of eggnog however, you might consider modifying the food choices you make later in the evening, or better yet, have a couple of small sips of eggnog, eat well at the party, and enjoy a glass of red wine with your meal!
  • Wait at least 15 minutes before selecting dessert. This trick will allow time for your brain to catch up with your stomach. You might get lucky and realize that you are not hungry for dessert! If you do have dessert, take a small piece of whatever you choose, and eat it slowly, savoring the flavor.
  • Be prepared with a cheerful retort or two when the hostess, or your mother, tries to give you seconds: “What a fabulous meal, I am so satisfied”… or “Thank you, I am taking a break to make more room”…
  • Brush your teeth! After you have eaten slowly, and have enjoyed each bite on your small plate, excuse yourself to the bathroom. You will change the flora of your mouth and feel less inclined to eat more food. This works! (I carry a travel toothbrush and paste with me, always!)
  • If it is in your house, it will end up in your mouth! Do yourself a favor and leave the goodies to be enjoyed at the party, restaurant, or someone else’s house.
  • Cultivate mindfulness to balance holiday stress. Find alternative self-soothing techniques such as intentional relaxation or regular physical activity.

Happy Holidays!

 

 

Quiche! It’s what’s for dinner. Or breakfast. ‘Cuz it’s got a potato crust!

Who doesn’t appreciate a good quiche? Exactly! So when I posted a photo on Facebook of the local greens and eggs I was using to make 3 quiches (yep, that’s 3),  and when friends asked about the recipe, I thought, “why not share this deliciousness with the rest of the world?”, which led to this photo/recipe/post!

 

aficionado-farms-greens

 

I started with these gorgeous greens from local Evansville farmers Clint and Brandi at Aficionado Farms. This mixture of  green goodness, called Energy Mix, contains small leaf kale, chard, and spinach. Because the greens were still moist having been recently picked, no oil was needed–I only had to toss them in a pan with chopped garlic and salt until they wilted.

 

 

Ah, those eggs! Isn’t the color of the yolk positively dreamy? They came from the very happy and healthy chickens on Turning Point Farm in New Harmony, IN, about 40 minutes up the road.  I mixed 18 of those jewels into the sauteed greens.eggs-greens

To which I added whipping cream and grated cheese, so it looked liked this liquidy heaven:     greens-egg-cheese-cream

Next up was the roasting of the veggies. Easy-Peasy –> just toss veggies of your choice with olive oil and salt/pepper. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes total, stirring things up at the 10-minute mark. roasted-veggies

 

 

 

 

 

The secret to this fabulous quiche is the potato crust, which is super easy and fun to make! Shred red potatoes and purple onion in a food processor; mix with egg whites; add salt and pepper, then bake. Bam! And while the crust is baking, that’s your window to be making the filling and roasting the veggies.

finished-crust

The recipe below will provide the details so you too can create potato crust magic.

 

Layer the roasted veggies into the finished crust and ladle in the filling. Note that the filling will ooze down into the cooked crust, before more baking. That’s a good thing!

                                           egg-in-crust

 

 

pre-bake

 

Here are the masterpieces, assembled, prior to baking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

At this point, you can either freeze the quiche to enjoy at a later time or bake it. To freeze, since one of my containers had a matching lid, it went right into the freezer. For the other quiche which was prepared in a baking dish without a matching lid, I used heavy-duty foil that I crimped at the top, after having created a “tent” in the foil. This makes it less likely that the foil will stick to that rich filling, while the quiche is freezing. I’m giving that one to a friend who has recently had a baby. She’ll simply thaw the quiche for 6 hours, then bake it. This meal, regardless of whether she eats it a 0300 or for dinner is rich with healthy fat, protein, micronutrients from the veggies, and it’s full of flavor. Not to mention love…fridge-ready

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, viola! this is the finished quiche, cooked to perfection! Check out the recipe, below. Enjoy! xoxo

baked-x-30-mins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robin’s Quiche Recipe:

Ingredients:           

Crust:

  • 2 large red potatoes, grated
  • 1 small purple onion, grated
  • 1 egg white, beaten (add the yolk to the quiche filling)
  • ½ -tsp salt

Filling:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Sautéed greens
  • Sautéed veggies
  • Dill, fresh or dried
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the over to 400 degree; oil a 9-inch pie pan.
  2. Combine grated potato and onion, salt and egg white in a bowl, and mix well.
  3. Transfer to an oiled glass pie pan, pat into place, building up the sides.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes, then brush the crust with olive oil, and bake it for 10 more minutes. Remove from oven, and turn the temperature down to 375.
  5. While the crust is baking, roast or sauté the veggies lightly, and set aside. Sauté the greens, and set aside.
  6. Beat the eggs, add the cheese and cream, and blend well. Add the greens. Season with dill, salt and pepper.
  7. Remove the baked crust from the oven, line with sautéed veggies; pour over the egg mixture.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes, checking at 30 minutes; if the top is getting brown, cover with foil for the remaining of baking time.
  9. Test doneness with a sharp knife in the center; it should come out clean.
  10. Let the cooked quiche set for a few moments before cutting. Yum!

 

 

Turn Salad into a Meal — a cooking demo on WEHT, Evansville

In preparation for an upcoming cooking demo, I am posting these educational handouts to which I will be referring. Happy reading!

Turn salad to a meal

Eat Often

90-Minutes of Kitchen Zen™

Local Food resources

TEDx Evansville, Chocolate Mindfulness Exercise

A new visitor to my website has kindly pointed out that I had not posted the TEDx Talk I gave last October. Here it is — Enjoy!

Evansville Podcast — we’re talking about local, cleanly grown food!

EVV podcast logoI had the pleasure of sitting with the delightful Jason Burton several months ago to discuss the burgeoning local foods movement in Evansville, IN. Not only did we have a lot of fun, but we learned a thing or two from each other! Have a listen! https://player.fm/series/evansville-podcast/robin-mallery-river-city-food-co-op-and-heart-matters

New Pantry, Evansville

Eat Well In Your Busy Life — Evansville New Pantry!

During a recent presentation at the Evansville Bar Association, I was asked whether I provide grocery shopping tours to better explain label interpretation as well as which brands of basic pantry staples are the “best” choice; while yes, I do take folks into grocery stores as a learning opportunity, I also have this New Pantry list that I have used often in the cooking classes that I teach. Until I coordinate a grocery tour, I have embellished the New Pantry list with the brand names and/or details that I consider in my shopping.

I am a dedicated food activist, with strong feelings and opinions about supporting small companies that provide clean, healthy and nourishing foods–and have done so from their initial foray into the food market. This commitment is to be supported, as opposed to many of the corporate food giants who are only now looking at the ingredients in their products, be it GMO, organic, processed, etc. because it’s what is being asked for by consumers. By that I mean that small, organic companies have provided healthy and nourishing food because it was the right thing to do–for our health and for the health of the planet, whereas the corporate food companies care not for our health or the environment, but only for their bottom line and profits. They’ve slowly adapted to what is being asked for not out of concern for us, but because they want a piece of the profits from organic and low-processed foods.

While this list says Evansville on it, across the country, all natural foods and Co-op markets will have these products and brand names. The choices are fewer here in EVV than they were when I lived in NorCal, hence the lack of true variety in the brands that I mention.

As always, I’ll start with the suggestion of shopping at small natural foods and Co-op markets to support local commerce and local farmers. I also suggest organic whenever possible and using/buying glass containers for food whenever possible.

Grains, Breads, Starches

  • Pasta: whole grain products; Bionaturae organic
  • Rice: brown, wild, basmati; choose whole grain, avoid instant and quick-cook rice; buy in bulk, not in plastic sacs; Lundberg Farms
  • Beans & lentils: all kinds; dried or canned, low or no sodium, no added fat; buy in bulk or cans; look for BPA-free cans; Field Day organics
  • Millet
  • Quinoa
  • Bulghar
  • Polenta (cornmeal): coarse texture for dinner, ground texture for cornbread
  • Rolled oats: whole oats, not instant; Bob’s Red Mill
  • Couscous
  • Barley
  • Bread; whole grain; Ezekiel, Alvarado Street Bakery, Dave’s, Rudi’s
  • Crackers: whole grains of any type; avoid white and/or enriched flour products; Mary’s Gone Crackers or Doctor Kracker, Late July PB or cheese crackers
  • Chips: Luke’s, Late July, Lundberg’s
  • Cereal: 100% whole grain; note what type and amount of sweetener and oil; Ezekiel, Nature’s Path, Bob’s Red Mill
  • Yams instead of potatoes

Oils & Fats

  • Olive oil; Spectrum
  • Coconut oil; Nutiva
  • Ghee (clarified butter); Purity Farms, Organic Valley
  • Mayonnaise; Spectrum
  • Salad dressings: Homemade: olive oil, balsamic vinegar or lemon, and spices; plain yogurt/dill dressings; Bottled: check sodium, sweetener, and preservative content; Bragg’s

Nuts

  • All types! 1 – 2 ounces Everyday! sunflower, almonds, cashews, flax, sesame, pecans, walnuts, pumpkin, brazil, and peanuts; avoid salted types or those roasted in oil

Herbs

  • Cumin, black pepper, cayenne, salt, curry, dill, thyme, cardamom, nutmeg …

 Meat

  • All types of wild meat
  • Store bought; consider organic, sustainably farmed and raised; Mumford Farms, Fischer Farms, Stonewall Farms

Dairy Products: organic whole milk products recommended

  • Milk; Trader’s Point, Organic Valley (highly pasteurized)
  • Yogurt without artificial sweetener or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS); Trader’s Point; Stonyfield Farms,
  • Cream cheese (Organic Valley)
  • Ricotta cheese (Organic Valley)
  • Yogurt drinks (smoothies) without artificial sweetener or HFCS
  • Butter (Organic Valley)
  • Sour cream (Organic Valley)
  • Crème fraiche
  • Oat, goat, almond, soy, or rice milk in place of cow milk

Instead of the Meat Counter, Consider…

  • Beans or lentils mixed with grains (contains all the amino acids of a complete protein)
  • Fish: avoid farm-raised (http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/conservation/research/seafood-watch)
  • Albacore tuna, canned: packed in water, sustainably caught
  • Salmon, canned: packed in water, sustainably caught
  • Eggs: Local, free-range eggs from happy chickens, no antibiotics, avoid GMO feed
  • Cheese: all types used as a condiment; Steckler for local source; Organic Valley
  • Nut butters: grind your own type; or from a jar—without added fat or sweetener, try almond or cashew
  • Soy: non GMO, fermented tempeh and miso

 Condiments

  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Tamari (soy sauce)
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Garlic-infused olive oil
  • Salsa
  • Nuts: walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, peanuts, in that order… 1 ounce per day!
  • Mustard
  • Ketchup (without HFCS)
  • Pesto (home-made—it’s so easy!)
  • Chutneys
  • Red pepper/cashew sauce
  • Jams or jellies (without HFCS)
  • Sriracha sauce
  • Sweet chili sauce
  • Raisins and other dried fruit without sulfur

 Packaged/convenience foods

  • Frozen, packaged, or canned: avoid sodium over 300 mg per serving and syrup; fruit, veggies, beans
  • Check for ingredients that you cannot pronounce!
  • Leave it in the store: partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated oil laden foods, as well as those with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), corn syrup solids, and artificial sweeteners, food dyes, and the multitude of other ingredients that are too difficult to pronounce; avoid caramel coloring!

 

"There aren't many people with your combination of medical expertise and caring for the whole person. Your incremental approach to helping me develop better health habits really works. I never feel judged and always feel encouraged and cared about. Thank you!"
---S.R., Nevada County

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