Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Resolution: Block Out Negative Self-Talk

We all have them:  interior prompts that chatter on during every waking moment, some of them friendly and encouraging, others negative, put-down voices that attempt to undermine our best efforts. “You’re old – you can’t expect to do what you did twenty years ago.”  “Working out is too exhausting.” “You might get injured if you lift weights.”  “It’s too much trouble to prepare a real meal; easier to open a box of cookies.”  Sometimes these comments turn into extended monologues that capture our attention for minutes at a time.  Lately I have discovered a technique for turning off unwanted voices:  I say, “Quack, quack, quack!”  If I’m not in a public place I say it out loud.  Then I laugh.   

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Cutting Up Vegetables on Christmas Eve

A friend of ours is coming for dinner tomorrow.  I am doing some of the prep work today so I won’t have to spend all of Christmas day cooking.  For vegetables, I am fixing Bulgur Salad with Lightly Roasted Vegetables, which I found online at

I vary the recipe by toasting the bulgur in a dry pan for a few minutes before adding the water, which brings out the nutlike flavor of the grain.  Bulgur Salad is a pretty dish - the picture with the recipe doesn’t do it justice – and the red and green vegetables are perfect for Christmas.  Hope everyone will have a wonderful holiday!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sound Medicine

On Sunday evenings at 6 I often listen to Sound Medicine on public radio.  This program, which is produced by the Indiana University School of Medicine and WFYI public radio, covers a wide range of topics relating to medical care, public health, and the latest medical research.  Doctors and other scientists discuss their current work with host Barbara Lewis and often provide valuable insights on how medical knowledge has evolved in recent years.  A recent series on healers was especially illuminating.  The program, included archived episodes, can be heard or downloaded at the Sound Medicine web site,

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Good Food Made Easier: Beautiful Soup

On a cold, dreary winter day there are few things more welcome than a bowl of hot soup.  Twelve Months of Monastery Soups is a collection of recipes, arranged by month, that are clear, uncomplicated, and made with everyday ingredients.  Even though most of the soups are simple to make, the flavors are often rich and savory.  One of my favorites is Spicy Carrot and Orange Soup, which includes leeks, nutmeg, paprika, cayenne, and ginger.  Red Bean and Rice Soup is good fall and winter fare, as is Butternut Squash Soup, Portuguese Style.

The author of the book, Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila LaTourrette is originally from the French Pyrenees and has spent time in Italy and Spain.  The recipes evoke the flavors of the south of France and the Mediterranean; tomatoes, onions, beans, and green vegetables appear frequently as ingredients.  The book is illustrated with small woodcuts of religious subjects accompanied by short texts, mostly about food or about saints.