fuel yourself

The whole of my external world would fit every Frozen location set if need be. Snowbanks line my drive, icicles hang from the eaves, and everything is stuck in stillness. A weak sun battles the fairly constant cloud cover, as we dash about in fairly constant flurries. The temperature this past week fought to even reach single digits, and the windchill only added to the instinct to hibernate. But venture out we must. Adding layer upon layer folks find a way to get outside, to ski and take advantage of the snow in any possible way. The woods are filled with trails and ring with voices even as that north wind bites through our insulated gloves. Northerners have a well-earned hearty reputation, and I find inspiration being among so many who get outdoors regardless of what weather one must contend with.

snowy woods in Vermont

To keep one’s mindset in the positive it is important to keep fueling yourself with all sorts of activities, outside when possible, and inside when not. There is something about moving that just makes you feel better. “Endorphins are only one of many neurotransmitters released when you exercise. Physical activity also stimulates the release of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These brain chemicals play an important part in regulating your mood” (healthline). The science of the brain spells it all out, but the real trick is finding movement that makes you smile while doing it. For me, time on the mat or in the pool are just as uplifting as a swift run. Daily, I set my schedule to include something physical, with enough time to feel fabulous afterwards.

And then there is what you put into your body. Even during the winter months we try to fuel ourselves with as much local and nutritious food as possible. The farm up the road sells eggs, another is a four-season veggie provider; keeping green in our diet, keeping seasonal and local a priority, and planning our meals, all work together to maintain health. The proverbial saying ‘You are what you eat‘ is just truth. In winter it is easy to eat heavy, and while that might feel comforting, we do include some extra summer-like salads to lighten too.

I am lucky to live with a brilliant and ambitious illuminator. Every December our home gets a chance to shine in the darkness, and we leave those lights going well into January, which just makes me happier at the end of a long day when I drive up the hill. I imagine all the weary travelers feeling the same way, and that just adds to my joy. It isn’t about flash or show, it is only a little sparkle, a subtle twinkle, and then, you take an easier breath.

house at night

Don’t forget to treat yourself too. There are days when looking out at the wind, and deciding to curl up with a book and some cocoa would just bring all the rest and relaxation of a spa day to your house-bound day. Take good care my dears. Fuel yourself for those long summer days by living well right now. With marshmallows too.

hot cocoa with marshmallows

 

I ❤️ Italia

There is nothing about Italia I do not love. I know I sound like a blushing bride, all floaty and superficial, but as we traversed quickly from one region to the next, I was made drunk on the beauty, the language, the history, and certainly the food. Yes, in love, indeed.

Most, I am certain, have seen these sights before, if not with your own eyes then in photos, so there is little use of me writing another travelogue; but I do hope you come along with me all the same. This trip, two years in the making, finally underway, took a team, all smiles, from the moment we touched down until… well we’re still smiling.

A view of Venice from the waterways

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Fast Foodies

I am one of the lucky ones. I live with someone who treats me to fabulously yummy meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner. We eat mostly vegetarian, but sometimes fish or the occasional poultry or red meat are added, and sometimes strictly vegan; regardless, we eat with health in mind. We keep it local, mostly, and organic, mostly, and gluten free, mostly, but always delicious. Now don’t get me wrong, we often have little time to whip up mid-week gourmet dinners. We work full-time, arrive home dog-tired after long-days, and are hungry. So, we try to keep what might be the answer to what’s for dinner? on hand and simple to put together.

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“Savage Beauty” once again

fire

Oh my! I’ve been out straight this week, with work, and life, and all the madness we march to on this crazy planet. But as I sit relaxing for a moment in front of a welcome fire, I realize, suddenly, it’s Thursday and time to post a blog; so, I scroll back through the years to discover an oldie but hopefully goody for you all tonight. Originally titled, “Savage Beauty” and posted in March of 2012, you will find a winning recipe of Irish Soda bread to bake for your St. Patrick’s celebration next week. Enjoy my lovelies. I promise to have some ‘new words’ next time!

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The Perfect Tonic

For over a decade I have heeded the advice of Dr. Pratima Raichur, an Ayurvedic healer. Her council has become invaluable to me, in terms 1stof physical and mental health, and I am not alone in reaping these benefits. “Pratima has provided the gift of healing to thousands of men, women and children for over 40 years” (Pratima). Seasonal and simple eating, while paying close attention to one’s nature, are at the heart of her wisdom. “Recognizing that human beings are part of nature, Ayurveda describes three fundamental energies that govern our inner and outer environments: movement, transformation, and structure. Known in Sanskrit as Vata (Wind), Pitta (Fire), and Kapha (Earth), these primary forces are responsible for the characteristics of our mind and body. Each of us has a unique proportion of these three forces that shapes our nature. If Vata is dominant in our system, we tend to be thin, light, enthusiastic, energetic, and changeable. If Pitta predominates in our nature, we tend to be intense, intelligent, and goal-oriented and we have a strong appetite for life. When Kapha prevails, we tend to be easy-going, methodical, and nurturing. Although each of us has all three forces, most people have one or two elements that predominate” (Ayurveda). As happens when life’s stresses knock us about, our delicate balance can be thrown off, but thankfully there are natural remedies to once again restore your order and health.

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Stuff an Acorn Squash

Despite the #SeptemberSummer we are experiencing these days even in far Northern Vermont, our farm stands and Farmers’ Markets are exploding with winter squash and root vegetables. Time to think about oven cooking, right? Well, that’s what we thought too. Here’s a fast, vegetarian, (and easy to convert to vegan), gluten free, and low calorie meal you can whip up during cocktail hour, and eat before 7:00! Ready to stuff an acorn squash? Well, here we go…picisto-20131003180413-668808 Continue reading

Spring Dressing

salad1

Looking for a quick and tasty dressing for your spring salad? The following recipe is guaranteed to satisfy anyone wanting to top those delicate greens showing up in our grocery stores. Right now I can’t get enough of parsley, sunflower and pea shoots, young spinach and early strawberries on my plate. Along with this fabulous dressing, composed of honey, lemon and flax seed oil, you will have created something sensational!

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