Wellegance

Cultivate a Life of Vitality, Pleasure, Passion and Purpose


Leave a comment

Recipe: Mesclun Salad with Pear and Gorgonzola (GF)

This salad has become my new “go-to.” I served it at Thanksgiving dinner and it was such a hit that I ended up bringing it to Christmas dinner, as well. And I’ve made it twice since then. Yup, when something works, I stick with it!

The tender leaves of the mesclun are the perfect base for slivers of Bosc pear, sweet onion, Gorgonzola cheese and crunchy pecans. It’s all dressed in a basic balsamic vinaigrette – super easy to put together and a very elegant start to almost any meal.

I prefer Gorgonzola to Bleu cheese because Gorgonzola is a bit less pungent, but you can certainly substitute Bleu, if you’d like. Same for the pear – I like Bosc, but any other variety may be used. It’s the combination of the pear’s sweetness and the sharpness of the cheese that’s just fantastic! And it looks so pretty on the plate that it’s a great one to keep in mind when you’re entertaining. Below is the recipe.

Buon Appetit!

Karen

Print

Mesclun Salad with Pear and Gorgonzola Cheese

The tender leaves of the mesclun are the perfect base for slivers of Bosc pear, sweet onion, Gorgonzola cheese and crunchy pecans. It’s all dressed in a basic balsamic vinaigrette - super easy to put together and a very elegant start to almost any meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 5 ounce box of mesclun lettuce
  • 1 ripe Bosc pear sliced
  • ½ sweet onion thinly sliced
  • ½ cup Gorgonzola cheese crumbled
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large salad bowl, place the first five ingredients and toss to combine and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Stir well and add desired amount of salt and pepper.
  3. Pour dressing over the salad and give it another toss. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Serves 8-10.

DID YOU GET YOUR GIFT YET ?  CLICK HERE to Grab your (FREE) guide –

Wellegant™ Mind, Body, Life: Nourish Your Body and Feed Your Soul

It contains my best healthy living tips, recipes and other resources to help you live your most Wellegant life. Enjoy!

 

SaveSave


Leave a comment

Using the Breath to Increase Energy

When I was going through my yoga certification program two years ago, one of the trainers began a lesson by stating, “The breath is my Guru.” I had absolutely NO idea what that meant. None.

Fortunately, the instructor went on to clarify what he meant. He discussed how our breathing tells us a lot about the state of our mind and body – it can tell us when there is ease, dis-ease, tension, anxiety, etc. But the part that fascinated me most was that, as he explained, we can learn to use the breath to affect our state of mind and body. In fact, that’s really the heart of the study of yoga: becoming tuned into our own body so that we can “read” it, determine what it needs, and then use the combination of movement and breath to deliver energy to those areas in need. A well rounded yoga practice is like an energetic tune up for the body. And, if we become adept at understanding the breath – how to “read” it and how to work with it – it can be an invaluable tool in maintaining/improving our health. (It can be our ‘Guru’…now it makes sense, right?)

One of the many ways that we can use the breath is to combat fatigue. Notice that I didn’t say, “to increase energy.” That’s because fatigue is usually not due to a lack of energy in the body, but more to the stagnation of energy. In order to energize the body, yogis believe that we must move energy from the lower chakras, where it tends to stagnate, to the upper chakras (For an in depth explanation of the chakra system, you’ll want to check out this post). This balances and stimulates all of the chakras/energy centers. When more energy is delivered to the upper chakras – the heart, throat and third eye points – we feel stimulated and “energized.”

There is one breath technique, in particular, which is super-effective at doing this. It’s called “Breath of Fire” and, as the name implies, it will fire you up!

Below is a short video, where I explain this technique in detail and model it for you. As stated in the video, you can start with 15-20seconds and work your way up to 1-3 minutes. I do it for one minute each morning (usually after I’ve meditated)  and I’ve found it to be a great way to wake up the body, mind and spirit.

Namaste,

Karen

DID YOU GET YOUR GIFT YET ?  CLICK HERE to Grab your (FREE) guide –

Wellegant™ Mind, Body, Life: Nourish Your Body and Feed Your Soul

It contains my best healthy living tips, recipes and other resources to help you live your most Wellegant life. Enjoy!

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave


Leave a comment

Weekly Wellegant Find: MAC ‘Velvet Teddy’ Lipstick

I love the idea of a nude lip but, as someone with very fair skin, I often struggle to find a shade that works for me. There’s a wide range of shades under the category of ‘nude’. Some are very light and can make the complexion appear washed out. Others are too dark, too orange, too brown…you get the idea.

In my opinion, what makes a great nude is a shade that offers just a bit more color than one’s natural lips and works well with many other color palettes. I found just such a shade in MAC’s “Velvet Teddy” lipstick.

For one thing the color is spot on – it is neither too brown, too orange nor too pink. It enhances the lips without offering too much color or competing with the eyes (makeup artists advise going for a bold eye and a nude lip OR a bold lip and a neutral eye…one or the other, but not both). Several friends of mine use this color and, although we all have very different skin tones, it seems to look beautiful on every complexion.

The other thing that I love about this lipstick is the texture. It’s creamy, it goes on smoothly and it blends well. At this time of year, when lips tend to be chapped, the last thing we need is a lipstick that feels like it cakes onto the lips and creates more dryness (as so many of the long wearing lipsticks tend to do). My experience has been that this lipstick lasts a good long while. In fact, it lasts most of the day – through meals, etc. – but the creamy texture keeps my lips soft and prevents them from drying out. 

If you like a nude lip, make sure to check this one out.

Pucker up, my lovelies!

xoxo,

Karen

DID YOU GET YOUR GIFT YET ?  CLICK HERE to Grab your (FREE) guide –

Wellegant™ Mind, Body, Life: Nourish Your Body and Feed Your Soul

It contains my best healthy living tips, recipes and other resources to help you live your most Wellegant life. Enjoy!


Leave a comment

Recipe: Winter Root Vegetable Soup

At about this time last year, I was interviewed for an article in Newsday, one of the Long Island newspapers. The newspaper has a regular column called, “Who’s Cooking?” And this column features a local person who enjoys cooking and shares one of his/her favorite recipes.

It was a fun experience and during the interview, I discussed (among other things) my passion for food/cooking, my creation of the Wellegance blog and tips for success in the kitchen. Note: I would provide a link to this article, except that you can’t access it without a subscription to Newsday’s online service 🙁

I shared this recipe for Winter Root Vegetable Soup, which is a seasonal favorite of mine. This soup combines hearty root veggies like carrots, parsnips, potatoes and leeks with fresh dill, lemon, ginger and turmeric. It packs a real flavor punch and is loaded with antioxidants and other anti-inflammatories. It’s also fantastic when someone is fighting a winter bug, or just wants to warm up on a cold day.

Comfort food…Health food…Soul food…

Buon Appetit,

Karen

Print

Winter Root Vegetable Soup

This soup combines hearty root veggies like carrots, parsnips, potatoes and leeks with fresh dill, lemon, ginger and turmeric. It packs a real flavor punch and is loaded with antioxidants and other anti-inflammatories. It’s also fantastic when someone is fighting a winter bug, or just wants to warm up on a cold day.
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 3 large carrots peeled and sliced
  • 2 stalks of celery sliced
  • 2 parsnips peeled and sliced
  • 1 large potato peeled and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves peeled and chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Turmeric
  • 6 cups water
  • Slice of fresh ginger approx. ¼ inch thick, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. Fresh dill chopped (plus more for garnish, if desired)
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Place the leeks, carrots, celery, parsnips, potato, garlic and olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the turmeric, then cover the port and “sweat” the vegetables over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the water and ginger to the pot. Turn the heat to medium high and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the veggies can be easily pierced with a knife. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly (approximately 5 minutes).
  3. Stir in the fresh dill. Purée the soup in batches, using a blender, food processor. Stir in the lemon juice, salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Ladle isn't bowls and garnish with a lemon slice or a sprig of fresh dill. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Makes 8 servings.

DID YOU GET YOUR GIFT YET ?  CLICK HERE to Grab your (FREE) guide –

Wellegant™ Mind, Body, Life: Nourish Your Body and Feed Your Soul

It contains my best healthy living tips, recipes and other resources to help you live your most Wellegant life. Enjoy!


Leave a comment

2018 – A Year of Joy!

Happy New Year, my friends!

I hope that you enjoyed the holidays and that the new year is off to a beautiful start for you. In a recent newsletter, I shared that I’m heading into 2018 with one and ONLY one intention and that is to experience as much joy as I possibly can. As many of you know, 2017 was a challenging year for me, as I ended my marriage of 24 years.

Anyone who has gone through this can tell you that, even when you’re the one ending the relationship, it’s a grieving process that takes time. The death of a relationship is not unlike the death of a loved one. During these last nine months, I’ve experienced the full range of emotions – everything from concern for my children to disappointment, anger, feelings of betrayal, fear, and the pain and sadness that come from the fact that people change and some circumstances are simply beyond our control.

In fact, this past year, MOST circumstances were beyond my control. I had, however, two important realizations during this time that quite literally kept me afloat during the toughest times:

(1) I have complete control over my choices. No matter how difficult the situation, I have the power to choose what to do, think, say, and focus my attention on. The actions and choices of others (including how they treat me) do NOT have the power to define me or reduce me. In every moment, I have the power to choose who I want to be and how I want to operate in the world (and it’s important not to mistake kindness for weakness; I saw that I could act with grace, integrity and kindness and STILL maintain strong boundaries). I assumed full responsibility for my choices and my recognition of this power was hugely comforting.

-and-

(2) I can ALWAYS access joy. Even on the worst, longest, hardest days, I found things that made me feel good and grateful. Yes, some days, I had to work harder at it than others, but there hasn’t been a single day that I haven’t been able to experience at least one moment of joy. Which led to my understanding that my joy, like my choices, is completely up to me. Whereas happiness is created by outside forces – landing the job, getting the guy/girl, buying the shoes, etc. – joy is strictly an inside job. Whereas happiness is fleeting, joy is always available if we choose to find it.

These realizations – particularly the second one- have been so empowering that I decided to make the pursuit of joy my major intention in 2018. I am committed to living a JOY-full life and making choices that align with that. Here are some ways that I’ve found to do that. Of course, there are many more, but these simple commitments are a great place to start.

1-Spend time with people you love, people who inspire you and people who share your values. Seek out people who lift your spirit and contribute positively to your life and avoid those who don’t. It’s that simple. Create the cast of characters you wish to surround yourself with and that will naturally bring more joy to your days. But also remember to…

2-Enjoy your own company. There is a peace and freedom in being ok with being alone. Take time to get to know yourself on the deepest level. Make time for yourself each day: journal, take a bath, prepare a meal, go for a walk, etc. People who struggle with spending time alone often just don’t find themselves that interesting or pleasant to be around. Love yourself enough to nurture this relationship (it’s the most important one you’ll ever have).

3-Follow your curiosities and experience new things – hobbies, interests, books, music, foods, etc. Joy is often found in the unknown.(For more about this, check out this post.)

4-Travel and explore. I’ve found no better way to find wonder and awe than in seeing this big, beautiful world we live in!

5-Eat good/real food. Your body deserves the nourishment and your senses deserve the joy and pleasure that a good meal provides. (I wrote an entire guide on this – with some recipes – called, “Wellegant Mind, Body, Life: Nourish Your Body and Feed Your Soul.” You can download a copy here.)

6-Declutter your surroundings. A space that’s cluttered usually results in a mind that’s cluttered. More space=more clarity=more room for joy.

7-Demand quality in all areas. Whether clothing, home decor, groceries or anything else…be willing to have fewer, but better things in your life. And speaking of quality…

8-Cut back on social media. It’s a time suck and, often, an energy suck as well. I’ve cut back considerably on the time I spend on Facebook and other social media sites. I’ve also stopped following a bunch of people/accounts that tend to be “downers.” It’s made a huge difference in how I feel. Be discriminating about how you spend your time and those you allow into your mental space. If, for whatever reason, something feels negative…unfriend/unfollow/unsubscribe. Remember, move towards joy…

9-Allow yourself to feel everything (even the tough stuff!) and rest in the knowledge whatever storms you face will pass. We can’t outrun pain or other negative emotions. We can find ways to numb and/or distract ourselves from pain for only so long. Eventually, it catches up to us (and often packs a harder hit when it does!). Instead, allow yourself to feel both the good and the bad. It’s called being alive! How can we expect to live a full life if we spend our time and energy running from anything that doesn’t feel good and avoiding the very things that challenge us to grow? (And the great irony is that when we don’t run from the hard stuff – when we face it head on and feel it, fully and deeply – it passes more quickly and leaves us with the gifts of clarity, wisdom and an even greater capacity for love and joy.)

10-Celebrate everything! Don’t wait for holidays and special occasions to celebrate. Have dinner on the good china, just because. Pop a bottle of champagne, just because. Invite friends over for an impromptu dinner party, just because. Buy yourself a beautiful bouquet of flowers…well, you get the idea. You’re alive and there’s beauty and love and goodness all around you. Is there any better reason to celebrate than that??

So, let’s celebrate the many ways in which we’ve grown during 2017 and all the joy that we will experience in 2018!

Sending you love and light,

Karen

Image: Source

DID YOU GET YOUR GIFT YET ?  CLICK HERE to Grab your (FREE) guide –

Wellegant™ Mind, Body, Life: Nourish Your Body and Feed Your Soul

It contains my best healthy living tips, recipes and other resources to help you live your most Wellegant life. Enjoy!


Leave a comment

Weekly Wellegant Find: Day Designer Planner

It seems to me that there are two distinctive groups of people: those who love a planner and wonder whether they can live without one – and – those who find the very thought of a planner to be tedious and boring. I most definitely fall into the former category.

I’m a goal-oriented person and I love the process of looking at my day/week/month/year and planning how I will use my time. On the one hand, I have a lot to do and this process helps me to figure out how it will all get done. On the other hand, I love the sense of anticipation that I feel when I look forward to the things that I’ll be doing.

But, perhaps most importantly, seeing my time mapped out in front of me helps me to be very intentional about how I spend it. After all, our time and energy are our most precious resources. If we’re serious about our commitment to living well, we must make conscious choices about how we’re investing these resources. And my planner gives me a sense of whether my life is balanced and, if it’s not, it provides me the opportunity to bring in whatever is lacking. Too much work and not enough fun? I can plan a lunch date with a friend. Not enough exercise? I’ll pencil in a fitness class or allot time for a walk. Burning the candle at both ends? I can make sure to schedule some time for self-care – a massage or a manicure, for example.

Now, I realize that some people believe that this type of planning takes the spontaneity out of life and that it results in a series of boring routines. I completely respect the fact that we’re all different and how one manages their time is extremely personal; by all means, if you don’t find a planner helpful or life-enhancing, don’t bother with it. But, that hasn’t been my experience. For me, using a planner gives me a sense of security (I know I won’t forget anything important that needs to get done), balance and excitement for the future.

Over the years, I’ve used a bunch of paper planners (and some electronic ones) and this Day Designer has been my favorite one for a couple of years now. They come in lots of fun colors and patterns, they’re a great size and the page layout offers lots of space for daily/weekly appointments, to do lists, notes, and reminders. The company also offers some great planning pages, a blog that’s full of time management tips, and other resources at their website, www.daydesigner.com.

If you’re looking for a system to plan the beautiful new year that’s stretched out in front of us, you may wish to check it out.

However you manage your time, I wish you a new year that’s full of everything that you desire. May 2018 bring much health, joy, peace and love!

Buon Annee!

Karen

DID YOU GET YOUR GIFT YET ?  CLICK HERE to Grab your (FREE) guide –

Wellegant™ Mind, Body, Life: Nourish Your Body and Feed Your Soul

It contains my best healthy living tips, recipes and other resources to help you live your most Wellegant life. Enjoy!


Leave a comment

Recipe: Swiss Chard and Mushroom Frittata

Ok, let me begin by saying that my daughter had NEVER agreed to eat Swiss chard OR mushrooms until she had this frittata. I made it for myself a few weekends ago (I had it along with a big salad for lunch) and it smelled so good that my daughter asked to try it (I, of course, concealed my excitement over the fact that she wanted to eat something loaded with veggies!). She loved it, as I did, and the two of us ended up having a big slice of it for lunch that day and another for breakfast the next morning.

Something about a frittata feels special…a big step up from an omelet. And this one is full of flavor – sautéed onions, green chard and mushrooms folded into eggs, seasoned with pepper and Parmesan cheese and beaten until they’re super fluffy. The frittata is partially cooked on the stovetop until it begins to form a crust on the edges, then the entire pan is put into a hot oven, where it finishes cooking and puffs up into a little pillow of veggie goodness!

During a time of year when food tends to be rich and heavy, this is a light breakfast that’s full of protein, fiber and nutrients. Add a bowl of soup or a salad and it’s a warm, satisfying lunch. Healthy comfort food, for sure!

Buon Appetit,

Karen

Print

Swiss Chard and Mushroom Frittata

This frittata is full of flavor - sautéed onions, green chard and mushrooms folded into eggs, seasoned with pepper and Parmesan cheese and beaten until they’re super fluffy. The frittata is partially cooked on the stovetop until it begins to form a crust on the edges, then the entire pan is put into a hot oven, where it finishes cooking and puffs up into a little pillow of veggie goodness!

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ medium onion sliced
  • 1 cup button mushrooms sliced
  • 3-4 large leaves of Swiss chard
  • 5 large eggs
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4-5 leaves of fresh basil sliced into ribbons

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Remove the leaves of the Swiss chard from the stems and chop the leaves. Set aside.
  3. In an ovenproof, nonstick skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. Of the oil over medium-high heat, until shimmering. Add the onions and cook until translucent (approximately 2-3 minutes). Add the mushrooms and cook until they turn a light golden brown (approximately 4-5 minutes). Add the Swiss chard, salt and pepper and continue to cook for another minute, until the leaves are wilted. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside. Wipe the skillet clean and set it aside.
  4. Beat the eggs and 2 Tbsp. Of the Parmesan cheese until well combined.
  5. Heat the remaining 2 Tbsp. Of olive oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet and allow it to set until a light crust begins to format the edges. Add the vegetable mixture on top. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese and place into the oven.
  6. Bake for approximately 5 minutes or until the frittata puffs up a bit and turns a light golden brown on top.

Recipe Notes

Top with ribbons of fresh basil and additional Parmesan cheese, if desired. Slice into quarters. Serves 4

DID YOU GET YOUR GIFT YET ?  CLICK HERE to Grab your (FREE) guide –

Wellegant™ Mind, Body, Life: Nourish Your Body and Feed Your Soul

It contains my best healthy living tips, recipes and other resources to help you live your most Wellegant life. Enjoy!