Sunday, March 6, 2011

My Latest Comfort Food {recipe included}

Anyone who knows me well understands my issues with cooking. Basically, I don't like it. However, part of my commitment to health and wellness has been forcing myself to learn to cook different types of foods. It's easy for me to cook a frozen or boxed dinner, or warm up a can of soup, but in the long run I don't want to be stuck with only that option. DM, friends, future husband, and kids will probably appreciate this step quite a bit. So, that's the background to this latest health food I've added to my diet. I'll also say that I store this food in a container next to the candy in my apartment, and given the choice, I'll almost always grab this food. All that to say I really do love it. At least in this form...

Until a few weeks ago, I had never eaten kale, and would have politely passed it on if it had been offered to me. Something about the name and the looks just sounded disgusting to me. However, after reading about Kale being a super food in the February Real Simple Magazine, and seeing numerous people talking about it on twitter, I decided to check it out for myself. I have to be honest-even buying it I felt nervous as I knew I'd actually have to try some of it. So, with trepidation, I set out to make some kale chips. (excuse the lower quality of the pictures-they were taken on my phone)

Take the kale and cut the leafy part away from the thick stalk:

Then tear the leafy parts into smaller, chip sized pieces. Wash and dry.

Spread on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sea salt, and cook on 350 degrees for 10 minutes. YUM!

Don't worry, they become crunchy, and they are absolutely delicious! I could eat them all day! Seriously, in the course of 8 days I ate a huge clump (4 baking sheets worth) of them all by myself! Oddly enough, even though I had lots of Valentine's Day candy sitting around, I chose instead to eat these... something MUST be wrong with me! Simple, delicious, and healthy-my idea of the perfect recipe!

What's one of your favorite comfort foods? Are there any other ways you've used kale in recipes?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Beauty in the Journey...

I've actually had this particular blog since I was in my 1st semester of counseling in grad school. However, due to some formatting issues I couldn't figure out how to fix (surprise...I'm not great with computer related formatting issues), I decided to completely clear everything and start over again. So, here I sit, on a Saturday night, with a blank blog in front of me.

I guess I'll explain the title for this blog. As a counselor, I have the privilege to get a peek into someone's life, and play a small part in their journey of life. This journey includes pain, loss, joy, hope, laughter, and pretty much every emotion in between. It's no surprise that life is messy, chaotic, and crazy. I THINK THAT IS BEAUTIFUL. I think there's something beautiful in pain and sorrow, just as I find beauty in the joy and laughter. I think we learn to hope through the experiences we've had, and that hope follows us along our journey. Sometimes it feels like all we can do is hope for the future to get here quickly. The journey is beautiful. I get to see that beautiful journey not only in my life, but in the lives of my family, friends, and each client I come in contact with throughout the week.

My own journey so far has been completely crazy and unpredictable. There's been more laughter, joy, amazing experiences, pain, and sorrow then I could have imagined. When I entered grad school, I had no intention of being involved in research, and especially of doing a thesis. That was one of the things furthest from my mind. However, a crazy twist in my journey led to spending almost 40 hours doing research every week, and being the 1st person in my program to do a thesis. This thesis was on health & wellness of the individual, and through my research I began to learn and grow.

Sometimes I think we expect health and wellness in our life to occur naturally. However, this is absolutely not true. For health and wellness to exist, there needs to be an intentional and active focus on it. A huge part of my journey right now is trying to increase wellness in areas of my life as I adjust from being a student to being a Counselor and Speaker.