Hope Wissel

A Birthday Milestone

Another year, a BIG milestone….. believe it or not, today is my 65th birthday!

Do I feel 65?  Not on most days but I will admit, MS has kicked my butt a little bit more this year.

I have been doing an annual reflection since I started blogging… and this year is no different filled with lots of gratitude!

As the world returns to “normal” (whatever that is) I struggle with stepping out of my comfort zone.  This introvert is content to be home with hubby.  I am grateful NA meetings have opened up and hugs are shared again.  This year, I have continued to learn so much about me. But mostly, I learned I am okay being with me which is HUGE!

I am blessed to have woken up this morning.  No matter what the day may bring, I know it will be WONDERFUL!  Am I always this optimistic – NOPE!   I’m determined to be positive and make the most of each day.  I no longer live in negativity or want to be surrounded by drama.  Thankfully, brain fog mornings have been few and far between.  I have accepted using my brace when I leave the house and will be doing some walking.  The scale hasn’t really changed much but the inches are slowly melting away.  I will take that any day, what about you???

The “birthdays” of the past where they were just another day are gone.  The days of low self-esteem, a lack of confidence and nasty inner gremlins who made me feel like I didn’t deserve a celebration have been let go. Today, I was blessed to wake up without expectations.  Expectations lead to hurt feelings and resentments so why have them, right?  Just for today, I like myself.   I am grateful for whatever the day may bring.  Birthdays are milestones in our lives.  As children, they are a day (or sometimes a week or even a month) where the focus is on us.  Filled with presents, parties, family, friends and of course cake and ice cream.  As the years go by, life “happens” and things change.  Whatever the celebration is like today – it will be okay!

I stepped down as a Director with Thirty One this year.  I will always be a Thirty One girl.  I am happy to share my love of the products without the stress of hitting numbers.  Yup, I can easily get wrapped up in the shoulda, coulda woulda as well as the comparison game which steals my joy.  As a result, I am still a walking billboard happy to help anyone solve their gift giving or organizational challenge. I can’t believe it has been 11 1/2 years with this amazing company.

Angels by Hope has a busy Etsy store which I do take on the road locally for some craft shows.  I love sharing my angels with everyone.  Gifting my angels has been the greatest blessing to me this year… it allows me to bring a smile to the face of others as they heal through their latest struggle.  Allowing the creative juices to flow has been exciting and actually has been a form of therapy.  It helps with processing thoughts the same as working my puzzles help with eye hand coordination.  Puzzles are my jam (do they still say that?) and I average about one a week.

Because of my new love for cooking and trying new recipes, I have joined Epicure. Good food, fast and easy in 30 minutes or less including prep!   We are eating cleaner – much less processed, more organic, and definitely gluten free.  Hubby has even jumped on the bandwagon – willingly. LOL.  Check it out if you are looking for healthy meal solutions (allergen free).

I hold fast to my mantra “every day is a gift from God with a blessing to be found.”  It seems like this is turning into one of those “holiday letters” you get from people you only hear from once a year…. LOL. Or maybe the makings of a Hallmark movie.

I have to admit the tears are starting to flow and I am okay with feeling the feelings.  With the help of my NA family, a new home group and a new sponsor, I am learning to live life on life’s terms.  Working on steps and sharing at meetings has definitely helped this “old lady” to heal and grow.  I’m grateful and blessed to say God willing, we will have four years on the 22nd!

There are many people I could (and probably should) thank or talk about from this past year.  Please don’t feel slighted… you have all been a blessing in my life.  This has been a great year and I am looking forward to the blessings God has for me in this new year.  I can’t believe I am actually 65 years old – okay, so it is only a number, right? Now, I am really “over the hill” and not like I was when I turned 40 (that is a story for another day! LOL)

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Have a blessed day!

Feel Good Friday, Hope Wissel, Tasty Tuesday Recipes

How to Make a Charcuterie Board

The term “charcuterie” refers to the preparing of cured meats, like prosciutto, bacon, salami, etc., but these days when people say charcuterie, they are usually referring to a fun, meat and cheese board.

It is a perfect way to nosh yummy goodies over a glass of wine, a cocktail, or even a mocktail.  It’s a fun way to get creative and add pops of color to your menu to impress your guests. From the board up, here’s how to make an epic charcuterie board.  Whether you are hosting a party or enjoying a family movie night, these are alway a lot of fun.

 

THE BOARD

You don’t have to get fancy here! A simple flat, sturdy surface will work—in any shape or size. You’re going to add layers of goodness on top, so any wooden cutting board, platter, or plate will do the trick.

COLOR & TEXTURE

What makes a great board pop is layers of color and texture. Think bright: reds, greens, yellows, and oranges—strawberries, cherries, olives, sliced peppers—and texture, shiny and smooth, along with rough and edgy—think figs, crackers, and dips.

START WITH DIPS

These are essential – they deliver the extra punch of flavor to each bite. Put your dips in small bowls, along with olives and pickles, cubed cheeses, jellies, and mustards, placing them on your board first, then build the rest of the ingredients around them. This will anchor your ingredients and you can use different shapes and sizes to add depth and variety.

Try:

Nacho Cheese Dip Mix – best served with tortilla chips, salsa, and sour cream

Ooey Gooey Queso Hot Dip – serve with tortilla chips, pretzel bites, veggies

CCB Dip – delicious with raw vegetables, potato chips, or crackers

MEAT & CHEESE

Have fun with the style here—serve cheese in cubes, slices, and wedges, including brie, bleu, fresh cheese, and cheddar. Genoa Salami, Italian Dry Salame, Peppered Salami, Prosciutto are great additions to your board—variety is what will make it stand out! You can even wrap Prosciutto around pickled asparagus spears and layer them on the board. Don’t forget your

CRACKERS, CHIPS & BREAD

This part is important – the delivery vehicle for all that goodness! Try to add two to four different kinds here. Get fresh baguette from your local bakery and make home-made chips and crackers to really take this over the top! We love the versatility of Whole-Grain Rosemary Crackers because you can make them with sesame, sunflower, or chia seeds in place of the flax seeds in the recipe…or a combo of all three!

Whole-Grain Rosemary Crackers – pictured

Everything Bagel Crackers

Pita Chips

FRUIT, VEGGIE & GARNISH

After you’ve stacked your board with your bread, chips, and crackers, it’s time to fill in the gaps with fresh fruit, veggies, and garnishes. There are no rules here! Just go with what you have on-hand, and what makes sense to you! Apple slices and grapes are obvious choices, but you can go nuts here—really! Add almonds, walnuts, cashews, along with apricots, kumquats, and more! The possibilities are endless. Garnish with fresh rosemary, mint, or parsley to add that festive green colour.

And, one last tip, try to add something sweet, savoury, salty, and spicy to every board to perfectly balance the experience and suit every taste in your bubble!

What are your best tips for making “boards”?  With summer coming, what will you add to yours to make it POP?  Share your ideas with us…

Have an Epic Day!

Hope Wissel, Tasty Tuesday Recipes

5 Simple Tips for Healthy Habits

As many of you know, I have been on WW for an eternity. LOL.   I lost my initial 105 pounds and am happy to say, I have kept most of it off.  MS has caused some weight gain – the only thing I can attribute it to since I track and am stepping. I’m not beating myself up over it.  It is all about healthier eating and NOT the numbers on the scale.  Now if I could only remember that, all would be well.  Are you focused on healthy eating or the numbers on the scale?

Here are five tips to help you adopt some new healthy habits:

1.     START WITH A PLAN 

Planning out your meals for the week is a great way to set you up for success. I started doing it so I didn’t have to deal with MS struggles over what to fix for dinner.

My advice – Keep it simple. 

I usually plan out on Friday or Saturday knowing I will grocery shop on Sunday or Monday.  Pick least busy day of the week and take a few minutes to pick out some recipes and create a grocery list. I have a meal planner I post on the fridge so I can not only plan meals but also not repeat the same ones constantly.  For some, having “Meatless Mondays” or “Taco Tuesdays” can make it a lot easier!  Epicure has several collections with pre-made grocery lists, swap options, perfectly balanced plate suggestions, and pro tips throughout!

2.     MAKE TIME FOR COOKING 

Now for the fun part—preparing those delicious recipes you picked out!  Making time for cooking gives you the opportunity to try out new recipes, make good food choices, or even remake your favorite takeout dishes in a healthier way at home! YES, it’s also a great way to lower your food bill. Meal prepping looks different for everyone.  For some, it may involve prepping a variety of foods in larger quantities, so you don’t have to worry about it during the week. For others, it is cooking once and using the meat in several meals during the week.  Of course, you’ll need plenty of containers to store your meals and keep things fresh. Our storage solutions make it simple to portion out your ingredients and tackle hassle-free meals on the go!

3.     EAT COLORFULLY 

Adding color to your plate is a simple way to ensure you’re getting a variety of nutrients. Keep an eye out for recipes with more vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds. These foods are full of antioxidants, fiber, protein and healthy fats—key components to maintaining good health! Plant-based foods are also friendlier to our environment as they require fewer resources and greenhouse gases to produce. You’ll be reducing your carbon footprint while also benefiting from the amazing nutrition benefits these foods bring to the table.  Check out some of our favorite plant-based recipes here!

4.     MAKE USE OF HERBS & SPICES 

Many people consume more sodium than they need. It’s easy to exceed the dietary recommendations, but the good news is salt is a largely acquired taste. So, over time you can actually sensitize your pallet to embrace lower levels of salt. Changing to sea salt or himalayan pink salt is better too. Seasoning your food with more herbs and spices is a great way to limit your sodium intake without missing out on flavor!  Epicure’s hand-crafted spice blends are perfect for creating low-sodium meals while also simplifying your time in the kitchen!  Many of them have NO sodium too!

5.     DON’T SKIP OUT ON DESSERT! 

Toss out the idea there are morally “good” and “bad” foods!

A healthy, sustainable diet won’t leave you feeling deprived and miserable. Food is meant to be enjoyed and your journey to good health should be no different. By giving yourself permission to eat “bad” foods, they lose their novelty and we’re less likely to obsess over them. Remember it’s not about restricting yourself, rather making balanced choices. Give yourself the freedom to consume the foods you love and your health journey will be a lot more enjoyable.  PLUS you’ll be more likely to stick to your routine long term.  Take a look at some of our favorite healthy dessert options !

The journey towards getting AND keeping healthy habits can take time so be kind to yourself. There may be challenges along the way but try to view them as opportunities to learn and grow. I am always here to bounce ideas around with you.  Remember, you are NOT alone. If you’re looking for motivation, support, and dietitian-approved tips, we invite you to join our online community and #EpicLife Challenge starting on May 10th!

Have an Epic day!

Clear the Clutter, Hope Wissel, Unclutter Your Life

Top 5 Cooking Hacks

Kitchen hacks are clever solutions to every day kitchen dilemmas which could save you time, money and maybe even help to avoid an embarrassing situation.

If you are an avid cook, you probably know lots of them, right?  Maybe they are things you found out by googling a question.  Or, they were passed down in your family – you know like those “old wives tales”.  I have found each time I am in the kitchen making a recipe – I am googling another question and then am amazed at the results.  Sometimes it is even the same question over and over because I forgot the answer. LOL.  You would be surprised but sometimes you get different answers.

1 – Removing Eggshell Fragments

This is one of those hacks I thought wouldn’t work because it seemed too good to be true BUT I was wrong!

Simply use a larger piece of eggshell to scoop up those pesky little fragments. It’s like magic.  I am surprised how often I use this especially in the mornings when I haven’t finished my first cup of coffee  and am fixing breakfast.

2 – Evenly Portion Batter

Use an ice cream scoop to evenly portion out muffin batter or cupcake batter or anything you are using individual pans for. The kind with the trigger release makes it easy to transfer the batter to the muffin tin: no trying desperately to get the batter off of a spoon.  If it is a “sticky” batter, spray pam on the scoop FIRST, then scoop.  The batter will slide out, easy peasy.

3 – Freeze Flat 

OMG!!! I wish I knew this when we lived in the condo.  Our freezer was small and when I pulled one thing out, it all could come tumbling.  LOL. Whether it’s soups, stews, or ground meat, the flatter and wider you can get them, the faster they’ll freeze and defrost.  Place foods in heavy-duty freezer bags, squeeze out all the air, lay the bag flat, and use your hands to work the contents into as flat and even a shape as possible.

4 – Dry Bean versus Canned Beans

It has taken me awhile to learn this AND I usually google it every time I get ready to make something just to be sure.   REMEMBER…. 16 oz of canned beans DOES NOT equal 16 oz of dry beans. Dry beans DOUBLE in size when cooked. Yup, I have made this mistake more times then I can count.  LOL. If I am using the crockpot, I just rinse the dry beans off and throw them in – no pre-soaking here.

5 – How To Reduce Bacon Shrinkage

I was skeptical of this one too!  I had heard rinsing the bacon would cut out some of the salt BUT was surprised to find out it did even more.  To reduce bacon shrinkage, I first trim off the excess fat, then I rinse it off with cold water.  I used to cook bacon in the fry pan just like my mom and grandmother BUT not any more.  With smaller quantities (just for hubby & I) I put it in the air fryer for 10 minutes, turning it half way through.  If we have company, I cook it in the oven at 375F for 10 minutes or more until crispy.

Want more tips and tricks?  Check out Hope’s Healthy Kitchen on Facebook.  Have a hack you want to share…….comment below or send me an email.  If I use it in my blog post, I will send you a free gift as a thank you.

Have an Epic Day!

 

 

 

 

 

Hope Wissel, Unclutter Your Life

Finding My Purpose

We have been home from an amazing vacation for a few days and are adjusting to the cold weather.  UGH!  I do like the change of seasons BUT I am NOT a fan of cold weather. Sunshine definitely helps me to clear my head and is good for my MS.

My word for this year is ACCEPTANCE so let’s recap the first month. January was full of playing the comparison game especially in my business.  I have been digging deep to find  my “why” and as of today, it is still not clear.  To say the least, I have been beating myself up a little.  After 11 years, you would think I would be jumping on the bandwagon to kickstart my business in the new year with excitement, yet I can’t seem to find it.   Acceptance for me is about living in the moment, being grateful for the gifts God has given me and trying NOT to fix, manage and control things.  I can say I ended January with a win.  🥰  As we got ready to go on our road trip, the weather on the southern track was getting bad (an ice storm was coming to SC, NC & GA).  So, we changed plans.  Left a day early, drove longer than we originally planned, rescheduled hotel reservations & beat the storm.  In the past, I would have been a hot mess but with God’s help, we were blessed with safe travels and an amazing week.

I know…. what does all of this have to do with finding my purpose, right?  I was able to unplug in the hopes of finding my purpose.  I was able to stop and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation.

I have been thinking about “What is my MAIN reason for my business?”  Believe it or not, it has become just a way “to make some extra money”.  No it hasn’t always been the  FIRST thing on my list.  Crazy, right?  It has always been to make a difference then it was about the money.  How the money can help me to make a difference.  Through working the steps in my recovery, I have been learning about me. I still want to make a difference in the lives of people but I’m not sure what it actually looks like.

 

Here are some ideas from the Direct Sales Education Foundation on Finding YOUR Purpose

  • Listen to your inner voice and hold off on asking others what they think. Before you start seeking opinions on what your purpose should be, tune into your inner voice for inspiration.  Once you have a definitive idea, then it’s time to gather opinions from others.  As a people pleaser, I struggle with this one.  I don’t want to disappoint people.
  • Follow what is exciting, not what is easy. In business, just as in life, the easy choice may not always be the best one.   WOW!  This is so true.  The grass may not always be greener on the other side.  If you are excited about your choice, you are then willing to do the work!
  • Tap into your instincts and emotions rather than logic. You obviously don’t want to ignore logic completely, but when finding the purpose for your business (or in your life), your instincts should take over. Instincts and emotions are powerful enough to guide us to do great things. When faced with a difficult question or decision, listen carefully to your initial gut reaction. This does not mean to act impulsively, but rather to let gut feelings lead the way on your journey.  For many hard-working and ambitious people, this is not always the easiest thing to do, but it certainly is important if you want to find your true purpose which drives you toward success.

I was never out to change the world, some may say the results of my work does it but it was never my purpose.  As a Social Worker, I wanted to help people improve the quality of their life – no matter how small a change it was for them.  As I look to work my businesses this year, I want to make a difference – one smile at a time.  The end result will be success in my business and in life while helping others get what they want.

What have you done to find your purpose? Would you add to our list? Please share your ideas in the comments section below!

Have a blessed 💝  day!