Boca Style is a beautiful magazine and I was lucky enough to be asked to contribute to their July Issue! Don Schnurr-Publisher and Marti Schnurr-Editor, are right on point with their idea for this article to help inspire us to stay hopeful and positive until the world opens up to us again. Books are the perfect way to help us have adventures and travels without ever leaving our home. In my article, I recommend 3 books that I hope will inspire you in many unexpected ways to grow you and your life more beautiful! Thank you Don, Marti and Boca Style for this fun opportunity.
Grab a sneak peek of the magazine piece below. Articles can be found later this month at Citylifestyle.com and a complete copy of the monthly magazine at Lifestylepubs.com.
I feel there are many gifts wrapped up for us during Quarantine, if we can just take a deep breath and choose to open them. One of them is un-rushed time in the kitchen with family. I’ve got all 3 of my daughters back at home during quarantine, so we thought it would be fun to broaden our cooking skills and master some new techniques. We’ve been looking for recipes that challenge our usual run-of-the-mill meals and also make for a fun and festive evening. It’s been giving us a little something fun to look forward to on these quarantined weekend nights. It’s also proving to give us some special, positive memories during such a crazy and negative time.
Last week was homemade traditional pasta, this week we took on “gnocchi”. (nyow·kee, ˈnȯ-kē, ˈnyȯ-, ˈnä) Gnocchi is also known as potato dumplings or “pillows of love”. Just like pasta, gnocchi’s texture is so much better if it’s homemade. I’m allergic to wheat, so I challenge myself to make gluten free recipes where my family can’t taste the difference. I think we have all decided over the years that many of the gluten free flours even have more flavor and a better texture for certain recipes. The recipe I’m leaving for you can be made with all purpose white flour or gluten free flour. (See link in recipe)
We had a lot of fun making the recipe and also trying to figure out the correct pronunciation. Ask five different people how to say it and you’ll get five different pronunciations. Regardless, it’s hard to say without getting the giggles. However, if you make your own, you don’t have worry that you’re not pronouncing it correctly to the waiter, and you can “speak gnocchi” however you want 😉 Enjoy!
1 cup of fresh grated parmesan cheese (more for topping when serving)
In a large stock pot boil potatoes with their skins on. The skins will protect the potatoes from getting water logged and mushy. Don’t over fill the pot with water just enough to cover the potatoes. Depending on the size of the potatoes, it should be “about” 15-20 minutes of boiling. You want them to just be fork tender, no more, no less. Cooking them too long will make the potatoes too mushy to grate/rice.
Drain all of the water well. Remove potatoes. Allow them to cool for just a bit in a colander.
Peel the boiled potatoes. At this point it’s easily done by hand.
Now rice the potatoes. If you have a potato ricer use that. If not you can just use a grater. That’s what we did and it worked well.
Mound the grated potatoes on the middle of a large cutting board or on a very clean, dry countertop. Top with flour. Sprinkle with salt.
Using your hands, make a well by scooping out the center of your mound.
Drop the eggs into the center of the well. Whisk the egg with a fork.
Very gradually start pulling in the flour to the potato and egg mixture with the fork. Then begin to use your hands to really combine ingredients to form the dough. Make it a slow purposeful roll so you combine it but not over work the dough as you knead. Don’t be tempted to keep adding flour at this point or it will give you dough that’s hard to work with and in turn, hard gnocchi. Eventually shape the dough into into large rectangular shape.
Then cut the rectangle into into 8-10 pieces of dough, about 4 inches long.
Roll each piece into a long rope by gently pushing softly with your fingers spread. Try to make an evenly sized ropes.
Using a sharp, non- serrated knife (a pastry cutter is quicker if you have one!) cut dough ropes into pieces. We cut into 1-inch pieces. You can play with various shapes and sizes but make the whole batch as uniform as possible so it cooks evenly.
To prevent sticking try to cook the gnocchi as soon as its made or at least keep it in a cool area. Be sure to toss them with a little extra flour while they’re waiting to be cooked.
To cook, drop them gently into a large boiling pot of salted boiling water. If you have a hand strainer, that works great to drop them in without getting burned or smashing their shape. Cook gnocchi until they start floating. They shouldn’t take more than about 2-5 minutes so taste test after 2-3 minutes. Remove them from the water with a hand strainer or slotted spoon.
At this point there are lots of sauces and ways to prepare it. We immediately dropped them into a greased baking dish that had a layer of marinara sauce already down. (We preheated the sauce) After all the gnocchi was in the baking dish, we lightly tossed them with the sauce and with a cup of grated fresh parmesan cheese. We saved a little sauce for the top & topped that with fresh sliced mozzarella and fresh basil leaves-Then baked it off quickly until the cheese was melted and sauce was bubbling. About 10 minutes at 350.
We watched a few tutorial videos online and found that very helpful. It’s pretty straightforward and easier than we thought it would be!
As if going to the grocery store right now isn’t stressful enough–We work up the courage to go, then as we play human checkers, we seem to be on a scavenger hunt to find what we went there for. I’m sure everyone who is overly “stocking up” has their own reasons, but it certainly is making grocery shopping even more challenging during such an already challenging time.
I love to get in my greens and fresh veggies of all types but I’ve been feeling a little nervous about eating uncooked fresh produce right now. With 5 of us trying to work out of the house, lunch time can sometimes last for hours by the time each person frees up time in their schedule, comes to the kitchen and pulls out their choices, etc. It’s a lot of different ingredients to keep an inventory of when you’re trying to eliminate some trips to the grocery store. It also creates a lot of different messes, so I decided making a giant pot of healthy soup here and there might help with some of that.
I have a couple of go-to healthy vegetable soup recipes I like to make, but this last shop at my local market had me scratching my head for usual ingredients. Many things were cleaned out so I found myself substituting quite a bit for recipes. With some of our favorites gone, I bought the produce that was left unloved. I’ll admit it: fennel and rainbow chard aren’t regulars on my list, but they sure will be now.
I couldn’t find cannellini beans or canned tomato paste either, so I subbed in garbanzo beans and tubed tomato paste for the soup I was trying to make. The unexpected substitutes made a soup so delicious, it deserves to be in my regular repertoire. Since many of us are finding ourselves in similar positions, I thought I’d share my make shift recipe with you. It’s very forgiving so you can also substitute where needed.
As terrible as Coronavirus and quarantine time is, I really feel it’s telling us so much if our hearts are open. I don’t mind life teaching me to be more flexible, creative, patient, healthy, generous…and loving among many other things. It’s funny, shortly after I worked so hard to “score” my items, I was asked to donate to a local group collecting food for people in need. Of course I did because we need to help take care of each other. Everywhere I’m turning, I’m seeing opportunities for spiritual renewal and growth. That’s what’s bringing me comfort through this whole experience.
I hope you enjoy this soup, my family loved it. It felt especially meaningful to eat a warm and healthy bowl of soup all together, at the same time today in our kitchen. With busy schedules and locations we haven’t been able to do that too often in recent years. I think I’ll call this recipe: Healthy “Quarantine Hug”-Soup for the Soul.
There is a tumultuous storm named Coronavirus (Covid-19) pounding and drenching the world right now. It’s frightening for many reasons but for most of us, the sky is NOT falling. Many weren’t fortunate to have warning. Their tragedy began striking before they knew what was even happening.
We’re hearing a lot of screaming around us. The Chicken Little crowd is loud and wants to always force us to see only doom and gloom. However, if we’re wisely adhering to precautions, it can be just a very dark storm and the sun will shine again soon.
I don’t want to discount the big disappointments for all of us. There will be financial repercussions for most. There are many beautiful plans being cancelled left and right. It seems every day we’re forced to give up something a bit more from our “normal” life as we know it.
Things are very weird and chaotic and yes, it feels scary and unsure. Let’s feel our feelings and validate them. Let’s validate other people’s feelings about it too.
These feelings associated with this pandemic have been piled on top of what we were already facing.
This will challenge our character.
Our flexibility, creativity, and resilience are being dared by the minute.
Whenever life knocks me down, I try to get back up as soon as possible. Standing up quickly makes me feel powerful and in control, regardless of the situation. Part of getting up is quickly looking for positive perspective.
We’re all feeling the same way. How often is the whole world on the same team? How often do we all wake up with same problem to solve? We’ve all been sucker punched by Coronavirus. But if we don’t have it, let’s stand back up as quickly as we can. Let’s not let Coronavirus make us feel like we’re sick patients if we’re not. Let’s punch back at it and see how many beautiful and healthy things it actually may bring.
There isn’t a lot we can control in life. We can only control our perspective and they way we receive the things that happen to us. We gain a sense of control when we build ourselves to have a beautiful perspective. We do have control of the beauty happening inside our minds and hearts.
If we’re following safety protocol, we will have more time on our hands than we’ve had in a long time. I don’t want this virus to make us act sick if we’re not. Let’s find the beauty and all of the silver linings right in front of us. Let’s create them. Let’s be brave and brilliant, not bored. Let’s use this unusual time to pray, meditate, value and thank. Let’s exercise, rest, sleep and rejuvenate. Let’s dream, imagine, think, solve and create. Let’s read, learn, strategize and plan. Let’s love, be present, listen, connect and help. Let’s cook and sing! Let’s build. Let’s evolve and excel. Let’s make beautiful contributions to ourselves and others.
I’ve said on many occasions, cooking for my family and friends is one of my favorite ways to show them how much I love them. I can’t think of a better “holiday” than Valentine’s Day to prepare a special food dish that is sure to warm their heart. I really enjoy making risotto, especially in the Winter. It’s pretty cold and rainy in the Pacific Northwest so a bowl of comfort food always feels warm and cozy to the soul. This week I felt inspired to take my Risotto recipe (I’ve been tweaking it for a few years) and add fresh, healthy beets to get a Valentine’s feel as well as a healthy boost! I wasn’t sure how the color red would translate into the dish but the final look was beautifully appealing and appetizing. The deep red crimson color of the beets was absolutely gorgeous!
I’ll be honest, it makes for messy red hands and fingers during the prep but it easily washes off with dish soap and the recipe is so easy it’s worth it!
If you’re looking for some Valentine gift inspiration, this will make a beautiful and delicious personal present from your own hands and heart. I’m a latecomer to beets myself but this dish will win over any daring beet skeptic…especially when you add the 2 cheeses! So yummy!
This Beet Risotto is filled with amazing flavor, health and beauty! Beets are low in calories and a great source of vitamins, nutrients and fiber-with health benefits ranging from assisting in lowering blood pressure to helping fight inflammation. They’re a great Valentine’s gift for a heart you want to help keep healthy!
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
6 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped
3-4 medium beets, peeled and shredded (easily done against a hand shredder)
3 cups arborio rice
2/3 cup of red wine
Approximately 5-6 cups of Chicken Broth
1/3 cup of goat cheese
2/3 cup of fresh grated Parmesan Cheese
Shredded Parmesan cheese for garnish
Melt butter and add oil in heavy large skillet/wok or Dutch oven saucepan over medium heat.
Add onions to coat, then beets and garlic. Sauté until onion and beets are soft, about 3-4 minutes.
Mix in rice and let rice get a bit toasty.
Then add wine and mix well until dissolved into the rice-onion-garlic-beet mixture.
Add about half of the broth first. Increase heat; bring to a small boil. Reduce heat to medium-low.
Then slowly keep adding broth by 1/2 cup until it’s absorbed. Simmer uncovered until rice and beets are a desired texture. About 20-25 minutes.
Add goat cheese and stir until completely dissolved.
Shut off heat and add parmesan cheese.
Spoon into white bowls to appreciate its beautiful color. Sprinkle with fresh basil and or Italian parsley and shaved Parmesan cheese. Enjoy❤️
For an even more colorful and healthy bowl, you can add roasted beets and brussel sprouts.
There are tragic events that happen in our country and in our world every single day. Do you ever ask yourself why we can feel the real for some of them and others we seem capable of distancing ourselves for self preservation? Since learning of the tragic helicopter crash on Sunday morning, I have found myself weeping on and off for people I don’t personally know. My heart has been aching for these special lives lost and all of their beloved families.
Losing Kobe, Gianna, John, Keri, Alyssa, Sarah, Payton, Christina and Ara feels so personal. Thinking of the magnitude of loss for their families also feels so personal. As I’ve talked to family and friends about it, watched and listened to interviews and witnessed the outpouring of emotion on social media, I’m so struck how personal this feels to all of us.
But something beautiful is also happening. Have you noticed? All of America feels like one big family caring about one big family loss. We are all heartbroken together for the families of these 9 people that suddenly feel like our family too.
At first, I think many people felt such an impact because it was Kobe Bryant and his beautiful daughter. But then, something even deeper happened. We began to see and feel all of them. We see ourselves and our families in every one of the 9. The beautiful and heart-breaking images of them connected us. We can relate to their bonds, love and dreams.
As I’ve prayed for the 9 beautiful souls and their devastated families, I’ve asked God to help all of us grasp some purpose and light. The number of them keeps coming into my heart. Nine. I’m not well versed in spiritual numerology and I’m certainly not an expert in biblical interpretation but it’s safe to say there is significant, divine, prophetic, spiritual meaning in 9.
Number 9 symbolizes the completeness of God. Number 9 represents the fruits of God’s Holy Spirit. It represents faith, spiritual enlightenment and energy without motive. It represents universal love. The fact that so many of our hearts are in unison at this moment over these “9” feels like something important we should stop and take note of. It feels like a spiritual gift if we want to open it and receive it.
At least for today, we are blessed that we are able to get back to the normality of our lives. That isn’t the case for the families of these 9. May we honor them all by not quickly forgetting this universal love they made us all feel. I feel the divine from this 9.
If you’re not aware of one of the latest crazes in entertaining, “The Grazing Table”, then I’m excited I get to be the one to introduce it to you! I love entertaining and I’m always looking for ways to be a relaxed hostess so I can enjoy my friends. The Grazing Table is easy, fun, festive and a delicious way to feed everyone!
For the last 22 years, my daughters and I have hosted a Mother & Daughter Cookie Exchange. It’s more like a Soirée! Sure, we all “swap” homemade cookies but it’s also a festive party and celebration of Christmas, friendships and the bond between Mothers and Daughters.
For our party food this year, we decided to take on the Grazing Table! I’ve been seeing them in wedding & event photos and everywhere on Pinterest! My daughters and I feel like appetizers are one of the most fun parts of a festive dinner anyway, so why not turn it into the meal?! We also enjoy creating beautiful charcuteries so why wouldn’t we make a giant one? It was really fun to create our party’s Grazing Table and it turned out pretty cute for being our first one. They’re awesome and you can go so many different directions with them. We had everything from Sushi to shrimp, from chicken tenders to grilled chicken, baked brie to other assorted cheeses , veggies, olives and nuts. Our party guests were all ages, so the Grazing Table allowed us to have something for everyone! Hope you get to create one or at least enjoy one soon. Come follow me on Pinterest for more inspiration!
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It’s been hard finding the time to write lately. It settles me to put my heart into words. Tonight, it feels especially important to put my 2020 hopes and “resolutions” into my new planner and out into the universe.
The rest of my family is out tonight, all doing fun things. That feels really nice so I put my perfect date night with “myself” into motion. I know I want to write but I want it to be inspired and not forced. So, I take a quiet bubble bath, something I haven’t slowed down to do since my achy last half marathon a couple of years ago! Next, I make my favorite dinner of salmon, enough for my 14 year old lab because I feel worried she hasn’t been eating enough. It’s dark, cold and raining so I pour a glass of an elegant Oregon Pinot Noir to give it a cozy feel. After, I grab my computer. I light a fire in the fireplace. I sit on the floor with my furry best friend all snuggled up next to me. Together, we peacefully coexist. She’s happy to have me still and next to her. I feel the same so I’m inspired to begin.
Rather than a whole list of resolutions (that are often too enthusiastic and unrealistic anyway), it has always helped me to just choose 5 words to grow by. This year, I’ve chosen Faith, Love, Health, Discipline and Growth. I believe keeping those words close to me will lead me to make good decisions within my 2020 days and year.
Reflecting is helpful. I’m older now. My mature heart longs to be less selfish and have more substance. I want to make sure my “resolutions”/goals are all in line with that desire. My mature heart is what drove me to write my book. But my heart still wants to do more. I know my ability to write is a gift from God and it feels purposeful. I have always felt there is power and magic in the written word. In the last few years, I feel guided to write. So I’m listening, I’m writing. I’m hoping it touches the right hearts.
Whenever I try to figure out my direction, sometimes I find it easier to listen to what I don’t want. It always seems to guide me to what I do. I have goals in all areas of my life but as I said, my mature heart longs to have a life filled with real meaning. The world pushes “superficial” on us and it leaves us feeling stressed, anxious and some depressed. Accomplishments, possessions, perfection, etc. etc. In my opinion, that’s not what fills us up or calms us down. It’s being a loving person and being surrounded by loving people that is the key to our joy. I will make my decisions for all parts of my life with this in mind and heart. This leads me to writing about what I don’t want in 2020 so that it steers me to what I do want to be and what I want my life to mean.
I don’t want to lead a busy, busy life doing things that don’t bring me joy. I don’t want to be someone who isn’t grateful for my blessings. I don’t want to be someone who doesn’t understand that our struggles are also blessings, filled with lessons for our journey. I don’t want struggles to make me bitter.
I don’t want to be a wife who doesn’t take time to really look at my husband and hear his dreams and his struggles. I don’t want to be a family member that is removed from needs of my whole family. I don’t want to be a mom who doesn’t help my kids dream, or that drops the ball or misses a cry for help.
I don’t want to be the friend that doesn’t answer your text or can’t keep our plans. I don’t want to be the friend that doesn’t lift you up or make your dreams important to me too. I don’t want to be too busy or self involved to ask you if you’re ok. I don’t want to be too busy to ask if your loved ones are ok too.
I don’t want to spend my life “online” and always be plugged in. I also don’t want to be totally disconnected from the world and people I care about. I don’t want to be the person on social media that spreads negativity, ignores your pain or resents your joy.
I don’t want to be a writer that writes inspiration-I want to be an inspired person who writes and shares. I don’t want to spend my days trying to be an “influencer” or following them…but I hope to always be a good influence. I don’t want to be a person who wants to have a big “following” and never values people enough to follow them back.
I don’t want to be the neighbor that doesn’t see you outside or that you can’t ask for help. I don’t want to be the one who lets everyone else always pick up the tab. I don’t want to be the person that never volunteers. I don’t want to be the person that doesn’t take time help people in need.
I don’t want to be the one who pushes my political views on you or makes you feel bad for yours. I don’t want to claim to be a good Christian but then judge you or make you feel bad. I don’t want to talk about my friends behind their back.
I don’t want to spend time with people who don’t make me feel good. I don’t want to ignore my physical, spiritual or mental health. I don’t want to have unhealthy habits as a way of life. I don’t want to have bad manners. I don’t want to treat people in my life in bad ways that affect their health or mental health.
I don’t want my year to be about just what I want. I don’t want to be shallow. I don’t want you to be shallow with me. I don’t want to be ignored. I don’t want to ignore you. I don’t want us to forget that we’re connected. I don’t want us to not include each other in our resolutions and goals.
Happy New Year! I’m wishing you don’t have a lot of things you don’t want. I hope this helps inspire clarity to what we do want and need in 2020.
For these first 10 days of November I’m inviting ALL of you (all ages women & men) to join me on a journey to “Open our hearts to a deeper gratitude”. Each day on my Instagram: Author_sharoncaldwellpeddie I will have a new gratitude thought for us to incorporate on our journey.
Living with a heart full of gratitude makes us and our life feel more beautiful. I believe that so much I devoted an entire chapter in my book to “Thankfulness and Gratitude”. Life keeps us so busy we can forget to really open our hearts to notice and truly “receive” our blessings. When we do we become healthier, more joyful, peaceful and feel so beautiful. We are then able to share our beauty with others too. For fun, on your calendar today, rate your joy on a scale of 1-10 and rate how beautiful you feel on a scale of 1-10. We will check back in ourselves on Nov. 11 and see if we’ve “grown ourselves more beautiful”. 🧡