Wellegance

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Weekly Wellegant Find: Purely Inspired Organic Protein Powder

I was recently turned onto this plant based protein powder by the brand Purely Inspired. I had never heard of this company before, but had been on the hunt for an organic protein powder that doesn’t contain whey or other animal protein (You’d be surprised at how many unhealthy ingredients are contained in most protein powders!?)

I’d researched and tried a couple of other brands, but wasn’t happy with the flavor or the texture. Then, my chiropractor (a health nut like me!) recommended this one. Much to my delight, it’s delicious and made with 100% organic, plant based protein (pea protein and brown rice protein). It’s free of any artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors and it contains 7 grams of fiber in each serving.

This protein powder comes in a variety of flavors but, so far, I’ve only tried the Decadent Chocolate which is, in fact, pretty decadent! It’s pretty widely available, but I purchase it from Amazon.

If you enjoy protein shakes as a meal or a snack, you may wish to give this one a try.

Cheers!

Karen

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Recipe: Chicken Française

This chicken recipe is perfect for a Francophile like me (mostly because, in addition to being very French, it’s extremely quick and simple to make!). Most Chicken Française recipes call for a lot of butter, which makes the dish much richer. However, I prefer to use a tiny bit of butter along with some extra virgin olive oil, as it lightens it up considerably.

Lots of fresh lemon, lots of fresh parsley…all you need to round out the meal is some brown rice and a vegetable (steamed spinach, roasted broccoli and roasted asparagus work especially well with the lemony sauce). Trust me when I tell you that this a recipe you will reach for on busy weeknights but, also, when entertaining at home.

Buon Appetit!

Karen

Chicken Française

Most Chicken Francaise recipes call for a lot of butter, which makes the dish much richer. However, I prefer to use a tiny bit of butter along with some extra virgin olive oil, as it lightens it up considerably. Lots of fresh lemon, lots of fresh parsley...all you need to round out the meal is some brown rice and a vegetable (steamed spinach, roasted broccoli and roasted asparagus work especially well with the lemony sauce).

Ingredients

  • 1 egg beaten
  • ½ lemon juiced
  • 1 cup all purpose flour gluten free flour may be substituted to make the recipe GF
  • ¼ tsp. Garlic powder
  • 1 pinch paprika
  • 6 boneless and skinless chicken cutlets pounded thin, if they’re not already cut thin
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 additional lemon juiced
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a shallow bowl/dish, mix together the egg and the juice of ½ lemon. In another shallow bowl/dish, combine the flour, garlic powder and paprika. Dip each chicken cutlet into the egg mixture, then the flour mixture.
  2. Heat butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken cutlets and cook until golden brown on each side.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the broth and the juice of 1 lemon. Pour this mixture over the chicken cutlets in the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for approximately 8 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Add the chopped parsley and salt/pepper, to taste.

Recipe Notes

Serves 6.

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Lagom: a Home (and Life) in Balance

Several years ago, Maria Kondo came onto the scene, promoting her version of extreme minimalism. And I do mean EXTREME; her book, The KonMari Method, insisted that any objects that do not bring joy should be eliminated entirely from the home. This inspired many of us to fanatically declutter our homes in the pursuit of the peace and freedom that Kondo assured us we would feel. While I absolutely agree that clutter can be burdensome and a feeling of space in the home is healthy, this type of extreme minimalism often feels cold and somewhat institutional. Meaningful, personal objects and touches are the things that bring warmth and humanity to a space, after al. I mean, who wants their living room to resemble the waiting room of a doctor’s office?

Then, the pendulum swung in the opposite direction with the Danish concept of Hygge (pronounced ‘Hoo-gah’). This philosophy is all about warmth and coziness, both as a lifestyle and as a concept in interior design. Hygge is all about enjoying each moment and all aspects of one’s daily routine. Hygge promotes filling a space with colors, objects, textures, art, etc. to enhance one’s comfort in and enjoyment of the space. Where KonMari is about stripping away, Hygge is about adding to. But where KonMari’s approach can create a cold, impersonal space, Hygge can create a fussy, cluttered one. For many people (myself included), neither approach hits the mark.

Now (thankfully!), along comes the Swedish concept of Lagom (pronounced ‘La-gum’). The word Lagom translates to “the right amount is best” and it’s a lifestyle and decor philosophy that promotes moderation. Synonyms for Lagom include ‘enough, sufficient, perfect amount, balance, just-right,’ and this is a concept that’s clearly NOT supported by a consumerist culture. Nonetheless, it’s the very same commonsense advice that we’re given with respect to eating, exercise, fashion and everything else. Like Goldilocks, our job is to find our “just right”

I know what you’re thinking…how do we know what is the ‘right amount’ of stuff? What is ‘moderate’ when it comes to home decor? How do we achieve this state of balance in the rooms of our home? (These terms are so subjective.) I had these very same questions. As someone without a degree in design, this type of balance and moderation seemed difficult to achieve. But, as someone who also places a high value on simplicity AND comfort in my home environment, I was interested to explore this further.

I started with Linnea Dunne’s book, The Swedish Art of Balanced Living, and here is the best advice that I found on the subject:

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Keep your space clean and neat. This may seem almost too simple, but we can’t adequately evaluate (and enjoy) any space if it’s not neat and clean, so allow that to be the starting point.

Stick to just a few colors (preferably ones you find calming). Scandinavians love a neutral palette with different shades of white, grey and beige.

Begin with what you have. The Scandinavian way is all about living with what you’ve got. Resist the urge to buy, buy, buy. Take stock of what you have and work with that (at least, initially).

Whenever possible, use natural materials. This can provide the perfect backdrop for a calm and relaxing atmosphere.

Utilize hidden storage in order to minimize clutter. We all have areas of our home which tend to be “chaotic” (especially when we share our space with kids!). Taking advantage of creative storage solutions is a great way to create harmony in these places.

Include plants and greenery into the home. Not only do plants remove pollutants and help to keep the air in your home clean, but bringing the outdoors in tends to promote a sense of wellbeing, as well.

Use glass surfaces and mirrors to reflect the light and make your space appear larger.

Pay attention to space and remember that “less is more.” Don’t stuff a room full of furniture but, rather, allow each piece of furniture in a room to “breathe.” in other words, leave enough space around each piece to allow for movement. While we don’t need to be overly minimalist, we do want to make sure that the environment created is simple and functional.

Create one focal point in a room, rather than several. It could be a wall hanging, a piece of art, or a statement rug. Eliminating a lot of distractions allows this piece to have more impact.

If a room feels cold or impersonal, add warmth by adding a few well-chosen elements, such as a knitted throw, a beautiful candle, or a bouquet of flowers. Start with one thing and see how it feels. Then continue to experiment in this way until the space feels “just right.”

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As a lifestyle, Lagom promotes a positive outlook on life that’s borne of simplicity and conscious decisions around spending and the environment. Lagom encourages people to be happy with what they have and to be discriminating about what we allow into our life and our environment. It’s not about restriction or indulgence, although it is understood that there are times in life when each is appropriate. Instead, Lagom is about knowing ourselves and finding our own, very personal “happy medium.” Sounds like a very Wellegant approach, if you ask me 😉

Have a lovely weekend,

Karen

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Weekly Wellegant Find: Book, In the Company of Women

“The lesson I’ve learned over and over is not to compromise on quality. Even though it might take twice as long to attend to all the tiny details necessary to make something shipshape, it’s worth the effort.”

I received this beautiful and inspirational book from a dear friend recently – it’s titled, In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists and Entrepreneurs. The author, Grace Bonney, happens to be the founder of the popular blog, “Design*Sponge” (in which she explores her passion for interior design, among many other things). In this book, she has interviewed over 100 women – creatives and change-makers – and collected the wisdom and insights they’ve gained. As one would expect from an interior designer, the book is also a visual feast…beautiful photos of the women, their workspaces, homes, beloved objects, etc. Each page is something to savor!

If you can get your hands on a copy of this book, please do! And keep in mind that this is also a unique and beautiful gift to give a special woman in your life. It’s a coffee-table book, for sure, but one that’s more than just a decoration or accessory. You’ll find yourself turning to this one again and again, whenever you wish to celebrate and elevate yourself and others. It’s ‘girl-power’ at its best!

Here are a few more nuggets to chew on:

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“My best asset cannot be measured or copied or calculated – it’s my mojo. I always lay that on the table first.”

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“Most times, my inner voice tells me in a flash what I want and need, and whom to trust. I’m learning to honor that inner voice.”

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“Women are the eyes and ears of the Universe.”

_____

Have a beautiful week!

Karen

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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

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.

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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

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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!