Monthly Archives: July 2011

Happiness

I went to the Topanga Film Festival this morning to see the documentary Happy and I started thinking about happiness, the concept, the reality and the possibilities. I have been following The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin for about a year now and enjoy the daily quotes and reflections, but I wondered,  how can I spread happiness, encourage happiness and find areas in my life to insert happiness? 

Encouraging signs are popping up everywhere, for example, my husband was given the book Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert awhile ago and it was mentioned in the movie today,  and this quote that showed up today on Facebook from Weight Watchers:

                                “Life has no remote. You have to get up and change it yourself!”

So I know what I can do to make myself happy: 

incorporate a healthy lifestyle into my daily life,


                                                

read,

allow creativity to be a priority

spend time with my family

connect with my close friends

practice kindness and tolerance

Now I want to expand by giving more happiness:

sharing what I have to give

helping worthy causes

creating more happiness in my home

creating more happiness in my classroom

It is a commitment, but also a choice, to surround oneself with happiness.  It is a road I am choosing to walk.

1 Comment

Filed under choice, Family, Focus, Life thoughts

Soup’s On!

I was inspired by my wonderful Weight Watcher leader, Michelle, to cook roasted vegetable soup last Saturday and I thought I would share both the recipe, and my documented soup-cooking journey.  Michelle shared the recipe at our meeting and although you will never notice, this soup has only 1 Points Plus point!  It is amazingly delicious and fairly easy to make.
 
Step 1:
Spray 3 baking sheets with non-stick spray ( I also lined mine with tin foil because I really don’t like to scrub baking sheets).
 
Step 2: 
Chop the following vegetables into chunks:
10 Roma tomatoes
6 stalks of celery (peel the fibers off with a vegetable peeler first)
3 yellow onions
3 yellow peppers
5 zucchini
 

Aren't the veggies beautiful?

Step 3:
Put all of the vegetables on the baking sheets and add rosemary and thyme sprigs (a few) and lots of cloves of garlic!  Mist each baking sheet with olive oil (or drizzle if you don’t have an oil mister, but I suggest you get one. 
 

Mmmmm, lot's of garlic!

Step 4:
 Roast the vegetables at 400° for one hour.
 
 
Step 5:
Meanwhile, put one box of low-sodium vegetable broth, and one box of low-sodium tomato soup in a large pot and warm.  When the veggies are done, put them all in the pot and blend with a nifty Cuisenart Smart Stick. 
 

I love my Smart Stick!

 
If you don’t have this handy blender, you can blend the vegetables in a regular blender first and then add to the broth.  After the veggies are blended, at 2 more boxes of vegetable broth and one more box of tomato soup.  Bring to a simmer and enjoy!
 
Option*
If you would like the traditional grilled cheese with your soup, try this:
40 calorie bread or 80 calorie double fiber wheat bread spread with Laughing Cow lite cheese mixed with a drop of Greek yogurt and diced tomatoes.  Spray a grill, panini maker or other type of sandwich press with non-stick spray and grill.  Just a couple of Points Plus points for a yummy meal.
 
Thanks Michelle!

2 Comments

Filed under food, Life thoughts

Life is not always a bowl of cherries.

It occurred to me the other day, that the saying “life is a bowl of cherries” is a little confusing.  Taken literally, comparing life to a bowl of sweet, plump fruit, I am confronted with the basic fact that life certainly isn’t always sweet and ripe with potential.  Life can be sweet and I can think of many sweet events in my life: my wedding day, the births of each of my three daughters, watching recitals, concerts and musicals my daughters performed in, bat mitzvahs, and graduations.  Like cherries, those events and moments are small, bite-sized bits of deliciousness, a little fruit, eaten in one bite, but life is also filled with hidden dangers, little landmines, hazards, and potential debilitating stones on our path to happiness and contentment.

Cherries really rise to the occasion when they reside in cherry pie, sweet, kind of sloppy and held safely within a firm crust.  I can trust these moments because the crust guarantees that the cherry filling won’t slide away.  I can enjoy it all, licking the plate if I want to, no morsel wasted. 

Cherries are delectable in jam, pureed into sweetness that I can spread on more solid bases and use it to make the most ordinary, special.  The memories evoked by the smell and the taste of the cherries take me to places where I enjoyed the first bite of summer fruit, long lazy summer days when I had nothing more to do than enjoy a bowl of fresh cherries. 

The hidden part of cherries, the pit within, is a reminder that even the sweetest parts of life have peril, sometimes, hidden inside of “normal” events are parts of life hard to deal with and dangerous to swallow.  There are times when our bodies betray us and hide deadly disease, and times when a toxic secret is revealed in a relationship.  There is nothing to do with a pit, swallowing it can choke the life out of you. The only reasonable thing to do is to spit it out and move on to the next bite. 

Cherries offer the best surprise when they are hidden among other fruit.  A fruit salad filled with flavors, some tart, some tropical and then, when you are least expect it, a sweet, ripe, juicy cherry, a reminder that the variety of flavors in life offers chances and challenges, changes and character building opportunities.  If all of our experiences were prepared for us, pitted, where would the excitement be?  Predictability has a place, but I prefer to live in awareness, being present to the moment, pits and all.

1 Comment

Filed under Life thoughts