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The written word has always been a joy for me.  I can not remember a time in my life when I did not have books. Before I was able to read them, my mother read books to me. As soon as I could read independently I was never without a book in my hands or very nearby.  As years passed, writing developed into a passion for me as well. I tried novel writing while home with my two children during their early years and was challenged to focus on the craft.  I never gave up the love even when I had to give up the pursuit.  Now, with grown children and the fact I am sitting on the other side of fifty I can pursue my dream of writing.  I have continued the reading quest but now the writing is attainable as well.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Lighten Up, Y'all: Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy and Wholesome

One of my great passions is cooking. A second is visiting the Southern United States.  I have made many trips to the southeastern states and my true love is eating my way from state to state.  Southern cooking has an amazing array of flavors and ingredients that make it a true foodie comfort cuisine bonanza.
As much as I love the food of the south, my waistline has suffered because of this love affair.  Now there is a solution to my problem in the form of a cookbook.  Author, Virginia Willis has outdone herself with her cookbook “Lighten up, Y’all; Classic Southern Recipes made Healthy and Wholesome.”
Willis has taken traditional southern comfort food recipes and remade them with healthier ingredients.  Yet, she has not sacrificed the essence or flavors of the dishes. 

One favorite of mine is her recipe for baked broccoli macaroni and cheese.  There is nothing like creamy pasta to comfort the soul. Lighter fat cheeses and whole-wheat noodles make this dish a healthier choice without sacrificing the taste.  Another recipe of Willis’s that I enjoyed was the Peach Basil Chicken.  The entrĂ©e is such a sweet and savory dish, and an innovative way to enjoy chicken.  I am excited to try all the recipes in Willis’s book and heartily recommend it to anyone who enjoys the foods of the South and the comfort obtained from their wholesome hospitality. I received my wonderful copy of "Lighten up Ya'll" from Blogging for Books.com!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What I thought I taught my daughter, and what she actually taught me.

            When my children were growing up, I was always careful what I said.  One reason was because I had taken various classes in college that gave instructions on how to speak to children.  The professors explained what a child hears and how to relate information in a way a child best understands.  I was also cautious to protect their feelings and self esteem.  I was an overly sensitive child so I wanted to be certain that I did not hurt them with a careless comment or action.  I was also a child that struggled with body image, I was chubby.  My children inherited their mother’s genes more than their father’s.  As children they were never fat, but not media thin either.  I never told my children to watch what they ate; I never made them finish their food.  I fed them when they were hungry and I accepted their statements that they were full.   I did this because I was teased about my size as a child and it hurt.  I never said a thing to my children that would make them feel bad about themselves, what I didn’t realize though was that they were watching me.
            What I didn’t say to them, I said about myself.  I complained about my size.  I spoke with my friends about how fat I was.  I picked apart my thighs, stomach, butt , and any other body part I thought was  lacking.  I went on diet after diet.  I lost many pounds over the years, only to eventually return to my size fourteen physique over and over again.  I counted each and every calorie and I weighed myself each day.  Most of all, I disliked not only myself but also my body in the process.
            My daughter and son are now grown adults.  My daughter is a dietetic student.  In a recent conversation she helped me realize how I treated myself when she was a child affected her. When I was telling her about my weightlifting regimen at the local gym and how much I was enjoying the exercise, but felt frustrated that I was not losing any weight, in fact I was gaining. My daughter told me it was okay to say things about myself now, if I must, but when she had children there would be no negative body image talk around the children. 
            Wow, what an eye opener.  I never realized that being derogatory toward my own body had undone my careful actions toward my children.

            Being the strong beautiful woman she is, my daughter regularly tells me that she is content with her looks and size, and that she wouldn’t change anything about herself. I am proud of her for her outlook on life and also for the lessons she is teaching me.  Now I am hoping to pass her positive outlook on to others.  Everything we do and say our children learn.  It is important to speak well to and of our children but equally important is to speak well about ourselves.  I’m trying to be content with myself and embrace health and not size.  My daughter and son deserve this. If I can learn so can others.  I challenge others to dump the negative self image dialogue. Do it for yourself, do it for your children.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Soup Club Cookbook

Completely in love with this book!  The Soup Club Cookbook by Courtney Allison, Tina Carr, Caroline Laskow and Julie Peacock has stole my heart and transformed my love of soup and friends to a whole new level.  
It is not a farfetched remark to say I completely love to cook.  I can bake, but I have a great passion for cooking.  This beautifully inventive cookbook melds the savory essences of soup and the comforting addition of good friends to create a concept that warms not only the stomach but the soul.  
Home cooking will never lose its appeal, but the time to complete the effort of making a warm meal is often at a premium.  My children are grown, so I have more time, but I work at a public high school and I see families rushing from one activity to another on a daily basis.  The idea of a soup club, with four other families or friends is very appealing idea. One week of the month each member of the soup club makes a substantial pot of soup and then   delivers the soup and garnishes and sides to each of the other soup club member’s homes.  One   person cooks supper that night, then for the month, that member is done.  The following week another member makes soup and delivers the soups and garnishes or sides to homes.  One week work, three weeks cook free weeknight.   Brilliant!
Not only does the book include soup recipes, every type of soup recipe, but the  book also has many other recipes. Main dishes, breads, pickles, sides, this book is very versatile.  I have tried the zucchini lasagna, amazing!  I also loved the cheddar cornbread. Spiced Pumpkin soup and Winter Corn Chowder were also incredible.  I want to try every soup in this book and the other food recipes as well.  I don’t often write over the top glowing reviews, but this book sold me from the concept beginning and only became more attractive as I delved into the pages. Thank you soup club cookbook authors for your innovation and  wonderful book! I received my wonderful copy of "The Soup Club Cookbook" from Blogging for Books.com!