Why You Might Knead to Make Some Bread

One of the things that alot of people are doing since the start of the pandemic is making sourdough bread.  I came across it quite belatedly and I was puzzled.  Bread making really?

Not that I don’t like homemade bread.  I do. Until recently I actually had two bread makers (don’t ask) and there is nothing better than walking inside from the cold and  having the aroma of  fresh bread  envelope me. It immediately makes me happy and fills the air with warmth, love and togetherness.

My grandmother used to bake bread all the time.  She sent me the recipe when I was first married and it was just recently that I decided to try it.  I have baked many loaves of bread but never with her recipe.  It made me smile as I read the recipe in her very distinctive and familiar handwriting.  I saw her fussing about the kitchen with every spare spot on the counter covered with a bowl, an ingredient or a spoon.  She was famous for using EVERY flat surface and we loved her for it.

Why now though?  I had a very good theory until I read a recipe on sourdough bread and realized that it is considered an artisan bread therefore no kneading necessary.

I still think my theory holds water or bread.  You choose.   So here goes.

Since this whole crazy pandemic started we have been socially distancing, not hugging, not seeing loved ones  (especially the elderly) not shaking hands.  In other words we were suddenly thrust into a world of touch deprivation.

If you are a hugger like me it is sooo hard.  Not only do I love hugs, but I love giving them and I’m really good at it.  We humans need touch.  Babies that don’t get touch will actually die from what is called Failure to Thrive.  Human touch is essential to their well being.

It is for us grown adults as well!

So bread making is a form of touch..maybe not sourdough but it is an act of creating with your hands.  As much as I love my bread maker that has the dough cycle and does all the kneading for me, I found myself letting the bread maker gather dust as I rolled and folded the soft, warm dough.  Not only could I pound on it to relieve anxiety but the constant kneading and folding it over  and over again  was very soothing.  I imagined  my grandmother doing this daily, shooing my grandfather out of the kitchen.

Hubby’s first attempt at Artisan Bread

Much like running gets those endorphins rising so does bread making or cooking a favorite family  recipe.  I believe it is the act of creating.  The warmth, the fragrance, the memories of family gatherings and the hopes of having a house filled with laughter and our families again (even the annoying ones 🙂 brings us a level of peace.

Despite the fact that bread can add to our pandemic pudge it is worth doing. Even if you get a mix and just dump it in the bowl and follow the directions..it still counts.  It gives a texture to touch, something active to do, and then we get to share it with those in our households.

It also gives our pets a rest, although my elderly golden retriever  will take all the cuddles and pets he can get.  I do believe the big rate of new pet ownership is companionship and unconditional love and a real live being to touch.  Added bonus..pets won’t add to our pandemic pudge although they may make your wallet skinnier.

So I am challenging you to rise to the occasion..pun intended.  Grab some yeast. Funny story..last time I bought some I could not find it.  The young employee who helped me find it had no idea what it was…so bread making can be accidentally educational as well.

Enjoy the process….take your time.

What else can you do to add texture to your life?

Let me know if you want some coaching on moving forward and  making today YOUR day ,

Now go make your someday..today…you knead to do it now!   Jennifer

The Most Powerful Words I ever Heard…

Happy New Year!  No I am not confused.  Today is the start of my 2021.  I always give myself grace and time as the previous year ends and new one begins.  Time to rest and recuperate from the hectic holidays, enjoy our many January birthdays and basically get my ducks in a row for the new year.  I am on my own timetable by my own choosing.

It is not too late for you to do the same.  You can reboot 2021 and make it whatever you want.  Sometimes I reboot several times in the same year.  There is energy around a reboot.  Plus while there are a lot of rules in this life that need to be followed there ARE some that we can control and starting the new year when we want to and doing a reboot are two of them.

Lots of people are rehashing 2020 and already lamenting 2021.  I am not one of them.  I am a possibility thinker and at heart an optimist.  I also like to plan.  AND I like to have a safety net for those plans so often there is Plan A quickly followed by Plan B, C and D.  If I have to fall back on Plan D you can be assured a whole of something hit the fan quickly.

All that being said I am not married to any of my to do lists or calendars or action lists.  I leave room for flexibility although I have learned that too much flexibility like too much chocolate can wreak havoc on my life.

If you live where it is the dead of winter it may be hard to stay motivated.  The weather can make us want to hunker down under a blanket and wait for spring.  What motivates me?  Honestly since 2017 it is the most powerful words I ever heard.

The words came from my parents.  Actually my Mom but let me give you a little back story.  For years, actually about 3 decades, my parents always told us kids the same thing at the beginning of the year:

” We have a plan.  We have a two year plan to get this house cleaned out and sold.  If you want anything, let us know now, otherwise it is all going.  And if you left anything here, come and get it.”

This “plan” started before my Dad retired.  It was a good plan and yet it was flawed.  My parents did not have a plan, they had an intention.  They had no action plotted out with the plan, no real deadline.  Yes they said two years but two years is a really really long time.  They never broke it up into doable segments and 30 years after the infamous two year plan intentions were declared they were in the same house, more stuff and no real progress had been made.

In the end they were right.  It took me and my siblings and our spouses two years to clean out the house and get it updated to sell after my father died and my mother moved to assisted living.

Honestly it made me sad.  There were so many things they never got to do or kept themselves from doing because of this two year plan.  On top of all this when my father died my mother was utterly clueless to paperwork, documents, and all the items that need to be pulled together to get an estate settled and get her into assisted living.  It required many hours  of detective work on our part and a lot of time spent digging through piles of papers.

So those powerful words came the week after my Dad died as my husband and Mom headed to the bank to start the process of settling my Dad’s estate.  She looked at Paul and said ”  I kept asking you father in law to explain things to me so I could be knowledgeable about all the paperwork and our finances.  He always said ” Great idea, we can do that next week”  And then she said the words I will never forget:

                           IT”S NEXT WEEK 🙁

And she softly began to cry.

Not only are those words powerful but for me they are also a bit painful.  Still it was one of those moments my husband and I have never forgotten.

So as I begin this new year I think of those words often.  I can plan all I want but if I don’t take action the plan is worthless.  I fight against procrastination ALL THE TIME.  I often joke I have a PhD in it  but I know if I just take one tiny step forward in the things I really don’t want to do I will keep going and get it done.

I do have a plan for 2021 with action steps to go with it.  It is constantly evolving.  I have learned to be present, to not wait on the fun things I really want to do, and do the stuff I really don’t want to so I can do those fun things.  I try not to wallow in the negative, and cherish my friends and family.  Do I get off track? Of course.  I am human. Things get to me, I get mad or sad and sometimes stuck.  And then I remember those three powerful words and how I hope I never say them.

Your SOMEDAY is TODAY…it is not next week or the week after.  You CAN take steps ( even baby ones) toward your dreams, your goals, whatever it is you want.

It is a New Year…whether you started 19 days ago or today.  We think next week will always be there for us and for most of us it will be but I am not taking that chance.  I hope you don’t either.

Here is to 2021..may it be full of all that  you want it to be NOW !

Cheers,  Jennifer

P.S.  Want help getting started?  Contact me at my email: Jennifer@healthcoachingforwomen.com for a 30 minute intro to coaching session.  I would love to work together to get your year going and make your someday TODAY!

 

It’s about time..or not! Living without a clock for a day…what I discovered!

As promised I am posting about my day without all the time keepers in my life.  And as promised I am posting it “soonish” which has become my new favorite word.

So in my previous post ( find it here) I had a new awareness about time and what a hold it has on me.  I promised to go a whole day without using my watch  ( I’m addicted to the point that I wear it to bed) or any other of device that displays the time.

Before anyone says “Who has the time for this?”  I will share that it is such an anomaly that I would have a day free to do this and it was a luxury.   I even started to back out on Sunday night ( because seriously who has the time for this!) but since I coach people on how to get out of their comfort zones and since I am always hearing how people don’t have time to eat well, exercise, journal, meditate, or even just take some time for themselves I KNEW I needed to make good on my promise.

I reluctantly gave up my watch when I went to bed and wondered what the day would bring.  Oh I also covered up the most obvious time displays ( oven, microwave, computer, phone).

I actually didn’t officially start until 12:30 am thanks to my cat who woke me up because she got trapped in the garage and I had to disengage the alarm system to get to her…and there was the time shining at me on the wall display…I was half asleep so it wasn’t really my fault.

So in  nutshell here is what I discovered:

  • It was surprisingly easy to NOT know what time it was.  I was aware and careful and as the day progressed I REALLY didn’t care or want to know the time.
  • Couldn’t use the sun to gauge  it since it was raining and cloudy..oh well.
  • I was very focused and got a lot done ( this was a surprise)!
  • Without the clock and all those little voices in  my head telling me I was wasting hair loss time, I actually DID NOT waste time.
  • It was relaxing with no pressure to hurry up.
  • Some of what I think about time is habit and some of it is lies I tell myself ( no time for this, I can do this later etc).
  • With no clock to tell me what to do or how long to spend on things I found my own rhythm for the day.
  • I try to control it all the time but it really controls me.
  • I try to cram way too many things into one day which frustrates me and makes me feel unaccomplished.
  • Eating when I was hungry and not because it was lunch or dinner time was much more satisfying although my body went from “a little bit hungry” to “I am starving” in a very short period of time.

To be honest I thought I would hate this kind of day.  I thought I would be unproductive and frustrated and go through withdrawals without my watch or some other form of time keeping and it ended up being just the opposite.

I thought I would be all upside down without it and what it did was really turn me back to right side up!

I actually miss not keeping time and I quit wearing my watch to bed.  I don’t think I cured my procrastination habit but I certainly have some new awareness of how focused or unfocused I am…for some reason not looking at the time quieted all those “squirrel” moments that distract me from my intended tasks.

And in the end it was not about the clocks, watches or any other displays of time in my life.  It was and is about my perception of how much time I need, how I spend it and how I value or don’t value it.

So how about you?  Are you ready for a timeless day?  Want a little coaching about it?  Let me know here and we can get started.

And here is my favorite clock of all in my  house that loudly reminds me to “Go out and have some fun with your time”  Don’t you just  love it?

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Why October is the best month to….

I could fill this in with so many things but lets stick with our Fun with Food thing!  Not to be confused with Sheldon’s “Fun with Flags.”fun with flagsOops it looks like he is having fun with food as well!

So why is October one of the best times to focus on food and really get a handle on what we put on our plates and what goes into our mouths?  Because we know what is coming! ( Imagine scary music right HERE)

The ultimate in food fests is heading our way and as much as we try to deny it we cannot.  It is coming right at us like a missile and we won’t know what hit us until we step on the scale on January 1st and instead of that pesky 10 lbs we intended to lose its now 18lbs.  Yikes!

The average weight gain over the holidays is 8lbs.  Yup 8 lbs.  Think of the last thing you saw that was 8lbs.  It could be a baby, a sack of potatoes, a ham.  Puts it in perspective right?

That 18 lbs I mentioned earlier might be the size of your Thanksgiving turkey.

Wow…anybody else besides me think I just sucked the fun right out of “Fun with Food” ?

We do equate being social and having fun with eating.  Can you think of one event that does not have a food component?  That’s a tough one.

So while it may not be fun in the truest sense it will make you breathe a little easier come January if you start to have an awareness around the holidays, the food, the parties, the drinking and figure out how you want to be with it.

You get to choose.  YES it IS a choice and YES you can still enjoy the food and have fun and not cry and beat yourself up on January 1st if you dare to get on the scale.

Think about all the reasons excuses you use to have a free for all from Nov 1st – Dec. 31st.

Maybe yours include the following:

  • I have to have this, Aunt Tilly only makes this ONCE a year so its a treat.
  • Mom will be hurt if I don’t eat alot, its her way of saying she loves me!
  • It’s the holidays, time to let loose!
  • I dance better when I’ve had lots of wine
  • I need insulation for the upcoming winter months.

Any of these look familiar.  I think I have said every one of those except for the last one.

So in a rather long run on sentence ( my English teacher is doing spins in her grave) here is why those excuses don’t hold up.  Aunt Tilly only makes her special 1000 calorie a bite dish once a year because it is an evil antibiotics plot to keep you all coming to her house over the holidays since she won’t share the recipe and Mom is an undercover food pusher who could guilt even the toughest guy into eating more than he could ever imagine (she is actually an undercover agent for the government that specializes in making the enemy talk or in her case guilting them into talking) and if letting loose means your pants then go for it but if you really think you dance better after half a bottle of wine then go check out the videos your cousin posted on you tube and if the last one is true then get rid of your sweaters and your coats because you will be plenty insulated.

Phew… Hope you are laughing or at least smiling.

So have some fun with making up stories about how you are to navigate the holiday buffet, avoiding the things you can’t stop eating much like a ship avoids icebergs.

 Picture your Mom holding a piece of cake in front of you except you are not in your home you are in one of those interrogation rooms with a single light bulb ( remember she is undercover for the government)!

Figure out how you will get Aunt Tilly’s famous recipe and maybe even make it a little healthier.

The point here is that NOW is the time to figure out how you want to be with the “food thing” over the holidays.  If instead we have fun with our families and less with the food we will probably be happier when January rolls around.

I’m not saying it’s easy.  I’m just saying you can have a good time, celebrate, enjoy the food but not act like its your last meal. I can say this because I have been there and  when I did plow into the food like there was not tomorrow January 1st was not fun and I wished I had made different choices.

An upside down moment for sure.

If you are having trouble figuring out what what will work for you then how about trying out a complimentary coaching session?  Go here to get that on your calendar and get a head start on your plan for the holidays.

Lastly, if you do have relatives that make a family favorite please make sure someone has the recipe or knows how to duplicate it ( even if it is 1000 calories a bite)  I would love to have some of my grandmothers famous dishes, especially her buckwheat pancakes but sadly no one has the recipe. 🙁

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And my grandma really did know how to have fun!’

If this finds you hanging upside down then don’t forget to enjoy the view!