I’m not just a writer. I can also bite hearts right into my apples. I know, I know. A pretty special talent. I agree. I can share feelings not just with words, but with chomps!
Have you ever thought about writing a book? If you did, what would it be about?
Still by Michelle Novak ~ Releasing Soon!
For a synopsis of Still and my other works, please visit: https://inspiredbyvenice.org/about/
Today’s work lunch – had to eat all my veggies at midday so I can just eat cookies for dinner. Cookies for supper! I mean, it’s Friday night. Let’s get crazy!
Just kidding…or am I? I’m still deciding…
Today’s work lunch – see how I placed the cheese front and center?
Merry Christmas to you!! Happy and healthy wishes ~ with all my heart!
May God keep and bless us all!
Authoress Michelle Novak shares what inspires her!
What inspires you?
In the past few years, health has been an important focus for me.
When I say focus however, I actually don’t do much thinking about it. I made some changes a while back, committed to them, and then put my brain on autopilot. But only because I knew it was important. My body was sounding the sirens. So I listened.
I could improve. Walking is a great love. I could do it more, and kick up that speed! I also can’t ever be satisfied with a wholesome breakfast. If it isn’t a muffin or pastry, I will cry in my cereal the rest of the day.
Muffin! Muffin! Muffin! – one of my favorite words in the dictionary.
I could also vary my vegetarian diet. I like kale, yet never purchase it, even though I know it’s good for you.
Note to self – Michelle, eat your kale.
In any case, I was thinking about health the other day. In spite of my shortcomings, I really do make a serious effort to eat for my health. And I thought – for all the vegetables I eat, aren’t we told that something magical happens? Like unicorns and glitter and stuff? I’m supposed to feel amazing, right?
I don’t have a direct example of who has done this brainwashing. The media, I guess. But I feel the message is always, if you do this-and-this-and-this, then you’ll have so-much-energy! And you’ll look fabulous. And you’ll glow. And you’ll probably have lots of friends, and a great personality too!
I eat more spinach than Popeye, yet I still crawl to the coffee every morning.
Now, I’m just joking around here, but I was thinking about these ideas. That they were kind of funny. Yes, doing good for your body has many benefits. But for me, it’s been more of a, reaching for neutral ground sort of journey. Aspiring to just feel normal. Because, I’d lived it up in this body for so long, I’d forgotten what normal was. Or was supposed to be. If I ever even knew in the first place.
I’d forgotten to listen to my body.
I had to relearn.
To sum up, I think I’ve finally eaten enough carrots now, to just feel more or less, normal.
But glowing and full of energy and perfect skin and happy all the time? HA! HA! In this human and rebellious body – yea right!
What I mean to say is – don’t listen to all that noise out there. Just listen to you. Listen to your body.
It will tell you what you need.
Greetings friends! Can you believe it is November 1st? It’s election day on Tuesday, and will certainly prove an interesting (yet I pray peaceful) week ahead, here in the U.S.
Hold on to your hats folks!
In other news, I’m under the weather. It started with sneezing last Thursday and has gone a bit downhill from there. Fortunately, not a straight crashing fall downhill. More of an uneasy tumble. Therefore, I gather, it’s simply hyper seasonal allergies and general fatigue. Or, a light head cold.
Either way, I’m taking it easy and drinking my cure-all (organic juice!). I’m also considering an order of supplies, to keep myself absent from my local grocery for a bit…
Strange times. To be made uneasy by the sniffles.
I’ll tell you what else made me uneasy. I was reading a true book of ghost stories last night…because, when am I not? And just as I turned out all the lights and closed my eyes to sleep, a terrible noise went in my house. Scared me to death. I’m not joking. My poor heart.
[Real Police Ghost Stories by Zachery Knowles – read it in one night – scary stuff.]
My eyes burst open, and I tried to think very hard as to what logically could have just made that noise. I felt relieved to remember that a little suction-cupped mirror with a light that my mama gave me for my birthday (so that a gal can see all the wiry goat-hairs on her chin for plucking…not that I have any of those), sometimes loses hold and falls from the larger bathroom mirror to the floor…
Normally, I would just go check. I’m not scared of nothin’. I’m more the – where’s the baseball bat – let’s check the house – type. Only, I was scared. Of course, I was thinking some pretty ghoulish thoughts just before bed. Therefore, I couldn’t bring myself to inspect. But anyway, it was just that little mirror, crashing against the tub.
Only, when I went to the bathroom not much later, in the dark, I saw that it was not. And I was creeped out enough to have to turn on the lights to wash my hands and peer around for what it had been. There was nothing. No dish to have slipped to the floor, no fallen broom. Nothing.
Yet another visit to the bathroom later, not turning on the lights this time, I believe I see a strange shadow shift in the kitchen when I’m washing my hands. I scurry back into bed. And then I hear something else strange. Something from the kitchen. Like a shuffling of my trash bag…
What the heck.
[Image by Capri23auto from Pixabay]
A few weeks ago, a similar and continual noise kept coming from what I believed was my kitchen trash bag. I imagined settling trash (that kept settling), or that I’d somehow acquired a little house mouse, scratching around for crumbs in the bottom of the bag. It was strange, so I just listened and didn’t go look. Because, then I’d have to go through the whole – I’m here to rescue you – you little house mouse trapped in my garbage bag.
I’m pretty certain he can manage to crawl out if he managed to climb in. And, I don’t need to get bit by a frightened mouse, and have to explain the situation to my doctor when my finger swells up.
Yes, that would happen to me.
To end this story, I still don’t know what these sounds were, especially that awful cracking crash. I know the difference between a muffled bumping from a neighbor above or below. And this was something cracking loud in my house. I still need to review my antique windows for any breaks…
I never felt uneasy here before, until last night. That’s the power of a wild imagination. Or perhaps it was something else…
The moral of the story is, I think I’ll stop reading ghost stories for a while. At least for one night, maybe two…
Hello Friends! I hope the sun is shining for you today!
It isn’t shining here in Evanston. We’re in for thunderstorms, and then rain for some days more. That cold wet chill has also returned. But our springs seem always to cling to winter’s hand until the bitter end!
This just means, I’ll have to make my own sunshine!
Fortunately, I’ve a knack for stirring up my own mirth and entertainment. Probably because I was an only child. Today I’m working on something fun that I’ll share with you soon…
For now, please excuse my piercing kissing noises in this video, but when this baby squirrel plunked his head down like he was pouting (I think he was trying to get a nap in), it was just a little too cute!
And to the spider that popped out of my Kleenex box early one morning when I needed a tissue, scaring the wits out of me before I’d had any coffee…
That’s not nice. I like spiders and all, but please don’t test my nerves.
Another nature sighting, a beautiful mother rabbit and her three babies…
That’s my car. I had to move it the other day for street cleaning.
Are cities still ticketing if residents are supposed to be keeping to their houses? I wasn’t taking any chances.
As I pulled up, I saw three itty-bitty-baby-bunnies pressing up against a street utility box. I thought, what a precarious place for a nest of bunnies. But as it turned out, there was a ground nest just beside the street. The babies were spending a little time outside the nest. Mama came back, and all the babies went to her and started nursing…
Sweetest little things God ever made. I was glad I parked there. I don’t move my car much, so maybe it will give them a little block from the road traffic.
I digress, but isn’t my mama’s painting so pretty. I wish I could paint whimsical little scenes like this…
[Make your radishes swim in cold water in the fridge to keep them crisp and fresh.]
I further digress, but I think radishes are one of the most delicious things that grow in the dirt. I’m nuts for radishes. What’s your favorite veggie?
I roam even further, but if you want the easiest supper ever, and like me, you enjoy a lot of green on your plate, do try avocado toast…
Simple and made in minutes. I like to top mine with arugula, sea salt and ground pepper. Finish the meal with cookies, of course…
My best friend Jessy sent me a gift in the mail this week. A miniature library to construct and personalize myself! I’m going to have a field day with this one. Some of my own books might appear in miniature in this little library!
Don’t ya’ just love best buds?
And then there’s my little indoor potted herbs. I’m disappointed to report that the cilantro is beginning to fail. Of the 4 variety herbs I potted, only cilantro and basil grew, and now I fear I’ll just have the basil left…
It’s for the best anyhow; I have a cilantro allergy. You know, it isn’t as easy as one would figure, trying to keep indoor plants alive!
I have a philosophy about that though. Plants weren’t really meant to be indoors. Outside, bugs visit, plant matter decomposes in the soil and brings nutrients, the rain adds its own magic elements I’m sure. Inside, a plant is just stagnant. That’s not right.
Sounds a little like all of us! We all need a bit of sun and fresh air ourselves these days, and visits with others, don’t we? People weren’t meant to be stagnant either…
Nonetheless, as I glanced over my basil the other day, I said a little prayer.
Bless my basil!
Wouldn’t it be glorious if I could get it to flourish?
And about that tiny prayer…
No matter how trivial or dire, small or great, He hears you…just sayin’.
And here’s something, also so small indeed, but I thought it was special…
See the far left basil sprout? When it popped up, the hard seed shell and dirt never fell away, so that it could not grow. Only the stem stood. One day, I thought I could try to pluck it off with tweezers, hoping I wouldn’t pluck the whole sprout out. I did this ever so carefully, with success. But as I looked at it, I supposed it still wouldn’t grow. It was too late for this sprout.
But you know what? I was wrong. It spread two little leaves, and is now growing out more between.
I was inspired to think…given the chance, it’s never too late to grow.
Hello, hello! The sky here in Chicago is blue, and for that I am thankful! What could be more uplifting than a blue and sunny sky?
It is at least offsetting the fact that I’ve come down with my second virus in a single month. Simply terrible, I say! Who sneezed on me?!
There is this line in the 1996 film Emma (played by Gwyneth Paltrow) that always makes me chuckle. Mr. Elton (played by Alan Cumming) says, “There is nothing worse than a sore throat. Its effects are exceedingly bleak.” Very true, Mr. Elton. Very true.
But before I settle in with tea, edits, and a nap, I wanted to share a simple and delicious salad that I made last weekend. It would make a great weeknight meal, if you need an idea! In winter, it is of course the first temptation to eat all the heavy comfort foods. I’ll have a slice of Chicago deep dish pizza, one plate of roasted potatoes, and a slab of lasagna please. Oh, and a slice of tiramisu…and some french fries. This salad was my attempt to still try and keep some focus on the veggies. It was delicious!
Start with some rice, arugula, and veggies of choice. I went with a roasted red pepper & basil quinoa & brown rice mix, fresh red pepper, onion and cucumber…
Start up your rice (which I cooked in my handy-dandy rice cooker since I lack the talent for making a proper pot of rice without it)…
Cut up your veggies and let the rice cool off…
And then mix it all together! For two days, I enjoyed this wonderful salad for lunch. Healthful, and the recipe cost less than $10! I plan to make this again, perhaps even as a meal prep when I know I’ll be on-the-go and will need something healthy to come along…
So…Chicago is expecting severely low temperatures tonight and tomorrow, after the blizzard-like conditions we had the last few days. Did I mention two saintly dudes on the street helped me push my car out of the snow yesterday? Thank you, you good Samaritans you! Tonight will drop to negative 20, and tomorrow will be a high of negative 12. Additionally, the wind chill will make conditions even more dangerous. I might just have to have that slice of deep dish pizza for supper tonight, as buffer against the cold, and for my sore throat of course.
Stay warm! Stay safe! Eat your veggies! Don’t sneeze on anyone and give them a sore throat! Be a good Samaritan! Stay inspired!
Next on my list of Lovin’ That! is Soul Vegan’s vegan lasagna! Soul Vegan is a wonder food provider in Chicago that makes the most amazing, healthy, tasty dishes…
Even as a vegetarian, I indulged in their lasagna regularly. They sell pre-packaged slices, wraps and full meals at the Whole Foods in my area, and according to their website, they also provide for the local Mariano’s…
The first reasons why I love this lasagna is that it’s delivered to the store very freshly made, is only chilled (not frozen), and provides a perfect portion size that doesn’t leave me hungry…
Further, I like meals that can be thrown together quickly. I get home, slide two or three bake dishes into the oven, and done. Especially on a chilly, dark night! (I’m not a fan of microwaves when I can help it. I prefer putting a few things into the oven and stepping away to relax before supper). When I return to the oven, voila! The perfect meal!
I also love this lasagna because someone else made it (lasagna takes quite a bit of time to make). I enjoy it further because it’s a healthier version of this dish. But most especially, I love it because it tastes AMAZING. I prefer this delicious slice to any lasagna I’ve ever eaten in my entire life. It’s so good, I could eat it every day. I even served it to handsome and he said, “Mmmm, this is better than real lasagna.” That’s coming from a meat eater…
What I also really like is Soul Vegan’s message. Love life. Live life. Care about your community. Lovin’ That! You can check out their values and offerings here. If you are in Chicagoland, be on the lookout for Soul Vegan’s delicious meals. Try this lasagna and tell me it isn’t simply divine!
*Soul Vegan did not fund my obsession with their crazy awesome lasagna. I stumbled on these addictive slices all on my own! All opinions are mine, all mine.
Love Life, Live Life! Stay healthy! Stay Inspired!
I’ve always gotten a kick out of reading other bloggers’ favorite things lists. Lists such as my favorite beauty products, or my favorite places to get a donut, or here’s what I got for for Christmas this year, or my list of best food trucks ever! I guess it’s entertaining to see the spectacular diversity in what others cherish and enjoy. These lists are always colorful, amusing, lighthearted and often informative…
So, I’m starting a new string of posts called Lovin’ That! to share some of my favorite things with you!
First up, Mercato At Starbucks. Mercato is a new lunch menu that Starbucks recently launched in Chicago and Seattle. Now, I usually don’t stop at Starbucks because I make my own coffee each morning. But occasionally when I’ve run out of grounds and I’m in a hurry, I stop to treat myself on the go…
That’s what happened a few weeks ago, and while waiting in line, I spotted what looked like some pretty tasty salads. I snatched up a cauliflower tabbouleh side salad with vegan written clear on the label and decided to try it for lunch. It was delicious and very healthy. I wondered if there was another salad that might be vegan too? Well, if you don’t indulge in the little cup of creamy salad dressing served with the green goddess avocado salad, then you’re good to go! A second green and healthy favorite on the menu!
The point of their new menu serves two purposes. One, adding lots of tasty variety, including lovely looking sandwiches. Their roasted turkey and dill havarti sandwich sounds dreamy, along with everything else. Starbucks planned delicious new items that covered a variety of tastes and dietary considerations. Lovin’ That! But the second part of this menu, is that Starbucks donates all leftovers at the end of the evening to the hungry. Lovin’ That!
The Mercato menu is a tasty step up from their past on the go lunch offerings, are made fresh daily, and any extras are given to those in need. Even though I don’t frequent Starbucks, as someone trying to eat a plant-based diet, I was very happy to find something that I could grab on the quick when I’m out and about. Eating vegan is tricky. It’s hard to find fresh, fast options. If you’re not in Chicago or Seattle, I hope they extend this to a city near you, so you can try it too!
*Starbucks did not fund my eats on the go. All opinions are my own.
Rock on friends…stay happy, stay healthy, stay inspired!
Hands down, the best plant-based meal I’ve eaten of late was at one of our local favorites, Roka Akor in Skokie. This Japanese grill smells heavenly, the ambiance is always hip and relaxing, the service is excellent, and the food is ever amazing…
The amuse-bouche was a beet puree topped with a hint of greens. I’m nuts for beets, so I was very pleased to start the meal with this flavorful spoon. I could have eaten a bowl of this…
Handsome started his meal with tender grilled scallops. I’ve had them before at Roka and know just how exquisite they are. Though my chopsticks did not sneak across the table to steal one this time, I was very tempted…
The amuse-bouche had me wanting more beets, so I started the meal out by going to town on this salad. Not an almond sliver, or carrot shred, or beet medallion was left on that plate. Isn’t this dish so colorful? I could eat this fresh salad every day…
For the meal, I ordered up the mushroom hotpot. Inside this cooking vessel above, the metal of which is inadvisable to touch due to its lava-like temperature, a steaming mushroom and rice mixture awaited. As our server dished out a bowl for me and a bowl for my date, I secretly wanted to snatch up both bowls. NO sharing the mushroom hotpot…mine, all MINE! Ha-ha-HA!
I also had grilled vegetable maki with broccoli and sweet potatoes. You could taste the grill on those potatoes…
Handsome ate a lobster. It was pre-cracked to display the most succulent morsels of meat for ease of eating. Though I did not partake, it was another temptation. I envisioned a snatch and run. My partner would later find me in the parking lot, broken lobster claws scattered around my feet, a crazed look in my eyes, not a single bite of lobster meat left…
But I did not exact my shellfish fantasy, and instead inhaled a plate full of Brussels sprouts. The marinade on these sprouts rocked my taste buds! These sprouts also had a hint of seafood flavor to them. Ethereally thin bonito flakes (a Japanese tuna) were lightly sprinkled over the top. Definitely not a plant-based topper…oops!
Another fresh and savory meal at Roka, with plenty of options for this veggie lover! The smell alone coming off that Robata grill keeps us ever coming back for more. Holy beets and Brussels sprouts!
Today feels like a summer’s day! 81 degrees and sunny, the birds are singing joyfully and everything is as green as ever after recent thunderstorms. Thus, for the first time since the weather was fine last summer, I can be found in one of my favorite nooks…
My little writing table on the front porch, mostly private from the sidewalk, where I can look up to the trees and the sunny skies and feel happy, refreshed and inspired. I’ve just made a healthy salad for lunch. Delicious!
For the rest of the afternoon, I’ll be typing away on my stories and there’s no better place for it. Spending time out-of-doors is said to have a lovely impact on your health!
My front porch chipmunk is keeping me company. I’ve bribed him with some strawberries and blueberries, hoping they will keep him distracted so that he doesn’t get curious about my bare toes. I think they think toes are peanuts. Don’t nibble my toes Chippy!
I can definitely say, on a beautiful day like today, I’m just where I want to be…
Here’s wishing you a great many such beautiful days, and that you’ll find the time for yourself to enjoy them!
Caprese, Caprese! One for me, one for you! Make in spring or in summer, anytime! Just do!
Caprese, Caprese! One for you, one for me! So fresh and delicious! Makes life better, you’ll see!
Caprese, Caprese, I adore you, you’re mine! I’ve loved many a’ salad, but must say, you’re divine!
Here’s to the small pleasures in life, and to your good health and happiness!
Some of my favorite local restaurants that serve healthy food options also provide earth friendly containers to take your food away in. Who wouldn’t be pleased to take their food to go, and eat out of, a container that is both compostable, but also serves up less chemicals to the body like plastics and styrofoam items?
In an effort to cut back on a run of unhealthy lunches (and an insatiable daily craving for potato chips) after the holidays, I revisited thoughtful lunch prep. I also purchased a bulk of earth friendly bowls and lids from World Centric. These bowls are fantastic, for they are roomy, stackable and convenient…
For lunch, I like to toast up some healthy wild rice or grains and let cool. Next comes a plentiful handful of greens, covered in whatever chopped veggies I have on hand…
I also plop on a good spoonful of hummus or guacamole (or both), and maybe some pine nuts or almond slivers for crunch. I also love to put sriracha sauce on my hummus to jazz things up! Some fresh cracked pepper, a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and I’m ready to eat my veggies!
I find that when I prep ahead in the evening when I’m cooking in the kitchen anyway, it frees up precious time in the morning and I don’t feel so rushed and grouchy at the start of a new day. And though I love eating out for dinner when I’m not cooking (evidenced by dozens of my posts), I prefer to make my own lunch. I make my lunch almost every day of the year…
Now, I’m no expert on healthy eating (or on chemical-laden tableware and environmental practices for that matter), but I thought I’d share one small way I tried to do better for myself. More veggies for lunch, in a plant-based, less toxic, compostable container that I don’t feel guilty tossing…
Now who’s ready for some delicious, good-for-you greens?! ME!
Here’s wishing you good health today, and everyday! And here’s a pat on the back for making even little changes that lead to a happier, healthier you!