Saturday, March 28, 2015

Wild Outside People...a challenge for April!

Or perhaps that should read: Get Wild Outside, People! For your own health, both physical and mental.

And you don't have to trek, hike, ride mountain bikes or traverse zip lines over precarious ravines while wearing spandex neon clothing. While it's certainly cool if you enjoy doing that, it's not a requirement to being an outside person.

Just like an enjoyment of hunting, fishing, and camping are not requirements of being outdoorsy. It seems we're always categorizing and labeling and defining ourselves in terms of whether or not we are this or that depending on how well we fit a definition coined by someone else.

We need nature. We were born a part of it, and we need to stay a part of it; whether we fit the definition of outdoorsy or not, our well-being suffers when we do not spend enough time in nature. Just Google well-being and time in nature and you'll find the research.

And so, I challenge you, for the month of April, to shed your notions about what being outdoorsy or an outside person is and get outside! In nature, in nature, in some way, every day. Join me and others around the world as we participate in Rewild Your Life's 30 Day Challenge! You can also join via Facebook!

Thirty days, with time spent in nature carved into each one. You don't need to travel beyond your own community; time spent in nature doesn't need to be adventurous or expensive.

It just needs to be spent.

Hope to see you being wild outside with us during April!!


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Mediterranean Cauliflower Nom Nom Nom...

I spend a lot of time, especially on weekends, with food - washing, cutting, baking, and prepping it so that lunches and evening meals for the week can be easily prepared. Sometimes when it seems like so much work, I remind myself how wonderful it is to sit down to a healthy, delicious lunch at work and be able to quickly prepare my son his favorite dinners on busy school nights.

I genuinely believe that we are creating our health care plans with every bite we take. That being said, here's a favorite recipe in our home that is sure to become a favorite in yours as well - Mediterranean Cauliflower! It's simple, healthy and delicious!

First, you'll need to visit your local farmer's market (or grocery store) for a head of cauliflower. Mine is tucked in the bottom left of this bag of Saturday's treasures, under the leeks and beet greens!

Next, you'll need a bottle of McCormick Mediterranean Spiced Sea Salt. I found mine at my local Publix. You'll also need coconut oil.  I recommend always using organic for the full health and taste benefits, as heavily processed oils can lack nutrients and flavor.

Wash the cauliflower thoroughly and cut tips from base. Preheat the over to 350 degrees and grease a cookie sheet with the coconut oil. Arrange the cauliflower tips onto the cookie sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil. Next, sprinkle with the Mediterranean Spiced Sea Salt blend until all pieces have a light dusting of the seasoning.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes, until cauliflower is tender. Then, enjoy!

We have this as a side, but I also use leftovers to jazz up my lunchtime quinoa salads, and it is delish! I'm sure it would be yummy in rice as well!

Happy Cooking!


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Lessons from The February Challenge

Towards the end of January, my friend Debby told me about a personal challenge she and her son were participating in. For the entire month of February, they were not going into any stores but food stores. No shopping for anything other than food products, and those would be primarily limited to fruits and vegetables.

It sounded like an amazing experiment with self-discipline. Not only was there to be no shopping for anything other than food, but there would also be no idle store wandering, no window shopping, no perusing shops online. Instead, the focus would be pursuing more opportunities to support the arts and enjoy new experiences. To challenge one's self. To think. To grow.

I was right on board with this idea,and thus The February Challenge was born!

Being involved in the challenge with others who would hold me accountable made it much more fun! In addition to supporting one another, we also shared ideas and experiences. Visiting the mysterious Georgia Guidestones outside of Elberton, Georgia, has long been on my agenda...and we made that part of February's fun!

A windy cold day calls for Hello Kitty!

There was also a visit to music mecca Athens, Georgia, one of my Southern favorite towns! Dining at The Grit, visiting The Georgia Museum of Art to see a Guerilla Girls exhibit, and a trip to Daily Groceries Co-op.  These wonderful places are all in close proximity to us, and yet we hadn't been in ages!

Sighted along the way - we take the back roads, much more visually engaging!
We also took in a free theatrical production in our town and finally experienced Uchi E, a new Korean restaurant I've been keen to try.

Determined not to cave, I had to search for creative solutions whenever a situation arose where I might need to make a purchase. And I learned patience...hardly one of my virtues, but I found that in patience I discovered solutions that did not require spending. My son was totally on board with the challenge, and together we discussed why it is important to stick to financial goals.

I won't lie, though...I had to resist temptation that kept creeping my way. While I am hardly a shopaholic, I do love clothes, especially refashioning - altering and/or combining items to make new items! During the challenge, I shopped my own closet and refashioned a few things that weren't working for me whenever I wanted something 'new'. In addition, I reacquainted myself with my love of upcycling jewelry, making myself a few new pieces from junk jewelry and/or jewelry I no longer wear to match refashioned outfits. I've been on such a roll I'm even considering opening the shop again!

And the most amazing thing was, I felt so much joy during this personal challenge! Towards the end of the month, I will admit, I was counting the days until I could do a bit of thrift shopping - my favorite place to find items to refashion/upcycle , but I learned so much about how I spend not only my money, but also my time. It was humbling to, as they say, check our privilege as well. So many people don't shop for anything other than food because they can't. Every day for them is a challenge of finding creative solutions when shopping is not an option. I think this was the most valuable lesson my son took away from the experience, and I hope it is one that stays with him. He already has a strong social conscious, so I think it will!

Grounded. Grateful. Overflowing with creativity. Inspired. Happy. Culturally enriched. This is how the challenge left me feeling, and the lessons I learned will stay with me. I encourage you, if possible, to challenge yourself in this same way - take a month and shop for nothing but food. Get the kids on board, too! I am so grateful to Debby and her son Ethan for including us in this challenge. And now, as this sunny Saturday rolls in, it's time to keep those lessons firm and strong. A beautiful day means time in nature, enjoying the sun at sidewalk cafes, taking the dog on long walks, prepping the garden for planting - not wandering department stores and malls for things we don't really need!

Off to the Farmer's Market!

Much Love,

Friday, March 6, 2015

Love Knows No...

Happy Friday Everyone! Today's post was going to be about lessons learned during The February Challenge, and then someone shared this amazing video by Trendy Joe with me and I was so moved, I simply had to share it with my readers! So take a moment, or rather, about three minutes, and watch. Think about your biases (if any) and what you believe love should look like.

And then let this video shatter those illusions...

It's amazing what we can see - the love persons share - when outward appearances are stripped away.

What does your heart see?

Have a wonderful weekend! I'll share the post about our February Challenge on Sunday!