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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Wordless Wednesday Cary, NC

Lighted Fountain in Park at corner of S. Academy St. and Kildaire Farm Rd. 



Cary, NC is one of the south’s fastest growing towns and voted one of the best places to work and live in the country (Money Magazine). We visited there in the fall, and I'm finally able to post about it now.

I was so excited about going on the trip, that the night before I didn't sleep that well. Then, with fully packed airplane cabins during our connecting flights, we were anxious to land, stretch, and walk around.

My husband and I were grateful the downtown area, where our boutique hotel, the Mayton Inn, was located was only a quarter hour drive away from the airport. 





The Mayton Inn, in downtown Cary has custom built furnishings to reflect the feel of the 1920's, and environmentally responsible and green technologies were incorporated during construction and have been in place since it opened.



More About the Mayton Inn


Cary was a fun place for us to visit, because we spent quality time with family, had meals at delicious vegan friendly restaurants, and found great walking and recreational areas. 






We also discovered unique shops and things to do and see.







The revitalized downtown area has welcomed a fresh crop of new businesses, and is home to the Cary Arts Center and public library. Lovely homes, shops and restaurants, and street art line the brick walkways, with plenty of greenery interspersed.





Thanks for coming along with me to Cary, NC.

The quote for today follows: 

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” 
― Terry PratchettA Hat Full of Sky

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Before you go, please remember to comment and reshare. Have you been to this part of NC? Please let me know what you think you'd enjoy in Cary. If you're a native, what's your favorite place to hang out.

I appreciate the visit and hope you'll visit my blog again.




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Friday, December 29, 2017

Guilt Free Gluten Free Vegan Cornbread



Savor freshly baked Maple Cornbread with no guilt and no gluten. Follow along to discover how easy it is to prepare and serve this treat. 

Cornbread goes great with a piping hot bowl of Split Pea, Lentil, or Black Bean Soup, and makes the perfect side with Vegetarian Chili or a plant-based stew.

Perhaps you prefer cornbread as a snack, when you’re craving delicious taste without the bloat of wheat based bread and no cholesterol. This recipe is simple to make and doesn't include refined sugars. An added advantage is that home cooked meals save bucks. 

Prep time is approximately 15 minutes and cook time is 30 (cook time varies, and depends on your stove accuracy and elevation). There's nothing finer than munching on freshly baked homemade cornbread.


Slice of Cornbread with Organic Blueberries on Top


Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons ground flax seeds
4 Tablespoons warm water
1 cup ground cornmeal (if you like very flaky cornmeal use coarsely ground, for more cake-like batter use finely ground cornmeal)
1 cup gluten free flour of your choosing
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground sea salt
1 1/2 cups almond milk or other nut milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup apple sauce
Optional ingredients for a sweet tasting cornbread: cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, and coriander. For a southwestern style taste: add roasted poblano and red bell peppers, corn, and a pinch of cayenne.


Note: I use organic ingredients when available, because organic means nutrient content is higher and product is not genetically modified, not sprayed with chemicals, and is not grown in soil that contains chemical fertilizers.


What to Do:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Start by selecting a loaf pan (1.5 qt.-2 qt. size), and spray it with cooking spray or use a drop of olive oil on a paper towel to coat bottom and sides of pan.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flax meal and water and set aside for 15 minutes. This combo acts as your binding agent. 
4. While that's setting, get a large bowl, and place corn meal, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into it. Whisk ingredients together.
5. Then, get the bowl with the flax seed mixture and add milk, maple syrup, apple sauce, and any optional spices you like to it. Whisk to combine.
6. Pour milk mixture into flour and fold until there are no dry spots and batter is slightly lumpy.
7. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
8. If you're not eating it right then, place in an airtight container and refrigerate. To serve as a dessert or sweet snack, eat a delectable slice of cornbread with berries or fruit spread. Makes about eight-ten slices. For a Southwestern style cornbread add roasted poblano and/or red bell peppers, corn, and a touch of cayenne.

Wishing you a hearty appetite and mouthfuls of good flavor. Serve this scrumptious cornbread at a family dinner, solo meal, snack food, or at your New Year's Eve Potluck, and don't forget to give thanks for this bounty.

What type of cornbread do you enjoy? Sweet or savory? I must admit I like them both. I like savory with soups, casseroles, stews, and chili. Sweet is neat as a snack and dessert. Please comment below. When you try this recipe, please let me know how it worked for you.

The quote for today is from Jeremy Jackson. "But since you're asking me, I'll tell you my opinion: all cornbread is authentic, as long as it's good, hot, and made with love and fresh ingredients."




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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Wordless Wednesday Tucson Street Art

I'm having a love affair with Tucson, and thought you would like to take a peek at my photos this Wordless Wednesday. Street art and natural beauty are two of the reasons I fell in love with this city in 2001, and why I love it still.

Shadow on the street, my honey and me in silhouette


Sonoran Desert, Brotherhood, and Natural Beauty








Space and Places to Walk or Hike Outdoors



Mural Painted on the Side of a Building Downtown



My Quote for today is,

"Once a year go some place you've never been before.” Dalai Lama

💗
 I Love Tucson and wish you'd vacation here.
Be well and Enjoy the Winter Holidays.

Please take a moment to comment. Have you ever been to Tucson? What did you like about it? Please explain. 

What do you look for when you travel to a new place? For me, I first consider if there are vegan friendly restaurants (which there are) and natural sights to see (many). Don't you think those are good reasons? 

Please visit my blog again. An upcoming feature is going to be about some of my favorite places to eat. ☝

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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Tips to Boost Gratitude Today!

Scientific research reinforces what life experience suggests; it’s impossible to feel stress and tension when you're feeling grateful. Studies show it's a sound health practice to focus on what you are thankful for, rather than dwell on things you think you lack. 

The calming part of the nervous system is triggered by thoughts and feelings of gratitude, and works to make you feel refreshed and happy. 

An 
American Psychological Association quote adds to this good news. "A grateful heart is a healthier heart and a thankful outlook can lead to improved outcomes in heart-failure patients.” 


Don't you think practicing gratitude is worth a try?






To that End, I Offer Tips to Boost Gratitude Today!


Journal about gratitude and count your blessings. My investigation of the facts indicates gratitude heals, energizes, and transforms lives. Professor Robert A. Emmons from UC Davis, a science of gratitude expert, said expressing gratitude “can lower blood pressure, improve immune function and facilitate more efficient sleep. Gratitude reduces lifetime risk for depression, anxiety and is a key resiliency factor in the prevention of suicide."



Colors of Joy Provides Many Activities to Help You Draw Gratitude into Your Life


Amp up journal writings’ benefits with color. Use colored pens and markers to record your ideas about the goodness in your daily life. Perhaps you feel you have little time to write in a journal daily. Keep it simple. Take a few minutes, night or day, to do a colorful bullet list of things you are thankful about. Another choice is to do a mental gratitude list. Whatever you decide, know that colors bypass reason and work at the sensory level to make journal writing fun and transformative.

Meditate about gratitude. Define the word in your mind's eye and reflect on examples in your life. The definition I like best is an original, "gratitude is the human quality of being thankful, including readiness to show appreciation and kindness toward ourselves and others." How do you define it? 




Pamper yourself to make grateful feelings multiplyShower yourself with kindness. Joy and thankfulness are plentiful, when you are compassionate with yourself. Self-care has a ripple effect, and helps you respond to others in a loving way. See this for additional self-care tips.

Appreciate much and take nothing for granted. Life and the people in it owe you nothing. Treat every person and pleasant thing anyone does for you as an unexpected treasure. Look at your work, play, home, health, and social interactions as blessings in your life.

When you use your eyesight, hearing, sense of smell, taste, and touch, you "come alive" in the present moment, and tend to cherish and accept things just as they are. Do you know what I mean?
                                         
LIVE RIGHT NOW!


As the baseball player Wade Boggs said, "
Our lives are not determined by what happens to us, but how we react to what happens, not by what life brings us, but the attitude we bring to life."

Make the most of every day. Rather than complain the glass is half empty, see the glass as filled with stuff to meet your needs. Don't put off your enjoyment for another day. Reserve time to do fun things like walk or hike in nature, play a favorite sport or game, or undertake a project you’ve been putting off doing. When you complete it, give thanks. Be mindful to balance business and pleasure; it creates warm, fuzzy feelings in you.

Display humility and stand with others. When you have a realistic conception of your assets and strengths, and possess the ability to acknowledge mistakes, imperfections, and gaps in knowledge, you are on the high road to personal satisfaction. Combine this with the aspect of being interested in what others have to say and willingness to learn from them. All add up and make you a gratitude winner.

Give to others to multiply gratitude. Make a donation to your favorite charity or prepare a meal for someone less fortunate than yourself. Sharing your money, time, food, and clothing with others helps you open your heart more fully, than if you used your resources all on yourself.

Be generous with kind words and gestures too. Let your thoughts be intentionally appreciative, and give others the benefit of the doubt. In the long run, it helps you be peaceful and empathetic, instead of judgmental.

Thank you dear reader for your visit. I’m grateful to be alive, and realize none of us know what tomorrow will bring. That's why I set the intention to celebrate gratitude today, and I wish you would too!


My quote for today is "I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver." Maya Angelou  


Please take a moment to comment below. What people, places, and things are you grateful for? Do you participate in things that help you feel more grateful? What are they? Please re-share this post if you enjoyed reading it, and pick up your copy of Colors of Joy today. 
💖

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Monday, October 30, 2017

Ideas to Help You Stay on Track this Holiday Season

Is your stress level rising? Are you living in the future, projecting about ways to create the perfect holiday season for loved ones and yourself?  

When I used to try to people-please family and friends, it made me feel overwhelmed and anxious. I've learned that my desire to make everyone else happy at my own expense is unrealistic and impossible. Getting bent out of shape about a situation I can't control is fruitless. Instead, this is how I let go of my expectations about having the "perfect" holiday and find Easy, Economical Ways to Really Relax.




Fear not. I also share tips that can help you re-set priorities for work, health, and social time this holiday season and beyond. My suggestions are designed to cut through magical thinking and see the goodness the holiday season has to offer. 

While you're reading, take into account that each idea has changed my behavior in a positive way. Scientific research indicates that when we engage in positive thinking, it helps change our perspective. Whenever we feel we're making progress, we're better able to recognize what's working and let go of those things that aren't.

If you're a person who's on the brink of doing too much, or has already overextended your resources doing things or being with people that actually don't add to your sense of well-being, listen up. 

Even those who sail through the holidays and maintain their balance despite the holiday craziness around them, may learn a new thing or two about staying healthy and happy right now. 


Practical Ideas to Help You Stay on Track this Holiday Season


Eat more meals at home. You’ll be less tempted to overload on salty, fatty, sugary foods. Prepare simple plant based whole foods instead. Make double batches of food. Freeze half and serve it on a night you’re too tired to cook. Plan to eat out and attend parties, but be careful with your selections. Limit outside food functions to one a day. In the long run, it’s better to prevent unhealthy eating and weight gain than try to cure it. 



Read How to Use Your Journal to Create Self-compassion. This post shows you why journal writing can help you identify and process troubling emotions. When you're able to write things out on the page, it helps you feel less vulnerable and overwhelmed. Knowing what emotions come up about a situation or person is the first step in resolving conflict within yourself. For tips that help you develop self compassion, click the link above.










Allow for down time every day. Give yourself permission to nurture yourself, before you feel hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. Practicing self-care habits like meditation, yoga, or chatting with a friend, is a requisite that restores your sense of well-being. See more at Self-care Activities to Encourage Optimal Health and 6 Ways to Shower Yourself with Kindness. 

Schedule short spurts of physical activity before breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Small doses of exercise like bike riding, hiking, walking, and swimming are pleasurable and good for you. Time spent away from the kitchen and chips and dips reduces snacking. Exercise speeds up metabolism, and helps to improve circulation, digestion, and elimination. It also helps stave off moodiness.




Reserve Time to Socialize. Attend a concert, movie, or participate in a spiritual or religious function with friends or family, rather than focus on food as the activity for the day. 

Say “no” when you need to by bowing out of tasks you really don't want or need to do. Target and follow through on what’s most important to you. In the long run, setting boundaries with others and yourself by understanding you have a finite amount of time, energy, and money to work with, avoids building up resentments and stress about holiday visiting and gifting.

Get Adequate Sleep. The American Heart Association encourages you to “Try to get six to eight hours of sleep each night. If you can't sleep, take steps to help reduce stress and depression. Learn to use the color indigo and the third-eye chakra to help you get sounder sleep.. Also note, physical activity may improve the quality of sleep and life in general.

Plan to work early and balance it with play. Work in spurts by learning how to practice a 20-20-20 pattern. Every 20 minutes disengage from your computer screen or desk by standing up and looking at what’s going on 20 feet away from you. Do this for at least 20 seconds. Then get back to work for another 20 minutes. This habit saves eyesight, prevents eye and body strain, and keeps you at the top of your game. Also see4 Ways to Find Work-Life Balance During the Holidays.” 

Reward Yourself by Saving Room for Healthy Treats, those that don’t contain empty calories from additives and fillers. Try out this delicious recipe from Ilene Godofsky at the Colorful Vegan Kitchen, Vegan, Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Banana Sweet Potato Bread. When all else fails, keep calm and carry dark chocolate. It helps every situation, has nutritional value, and it's place in my life needs no explanation.

Beat the holiday blues, and know when they're something major. I've discovered through my own missteps and pain from experiencing the holiday blues, to be diligent with self-care. When I'm consistent with exercise, don’t skip or overindulge at mealtimes, follow through on work requirements, and meet personal needs for relaxation, it’s easier to prioritize my time. If I remember to don't have to do everything to perfection or by myself (I can ask for help), I'll maintain a positive outlook and have time and energy to connect with others.





  
How do you deal with stress and maintain balance during the holidays?

What holiday activities do you enjoy and which ones could you do without?

Do you have tips to help us stay on track this holiday season? Please share them in the comment section below. If you feel this post can help others, please re-share. I'm sending my best wishes for a HAPPY, HEALTHY, HOLIDAY SEASON!



The Quote for today is from Joyce Meyer"I believe that the greatest gift you can give your family and the world is a healthy you."  


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Thanks for Visiting

Hope you enjoyed your visit and will return again. Be well. Live well. Lead a colorful life! Warm regards, Nan