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

How It All Started: Bullying – The Visible vs the Invisible

I know it is Tuesday and we usually do a Tastefully Tuesday BUT this is a milestone for me.  I swear it has been longer BUT the internet doesn’t lie, right?  LOL.  So, 9 years ago today I took the first step towards blogging.  For those who don’t know the story………it was a challenge issued by the AMAZING Vanessa Coppes to step out of my comfort zone.  Well, I did it!  It was the start to a daily  blog posting for many years.  Since MS, I have cut back to about once a week but I’m excited to be writing again.

My heart breaks that this still goes on today.  Bullies come in all shapes & sizes; young & old.  If you know someone who is making you uncomfortable in your surroundings (home, work or neighborhood)… guess what you are being BULLIED!  No one deserves to live like this…. With the advancement of social media, the bullying techniques have changed; sadly it now is more prevalent than ever before.

This is MY first every blog post… yes there are grammar mistakes, yes there are some typos.  I didn’t change anything about it because it was from the heart ❤ and I wanted to share my heart with you………

I just wanted to share how “bullying” can be hidden by our children. It doesn’t mean you are a bad parent, it just means that you may have taught your child coping skills to help deal with the bullying from school mates. Bear with me as I share some background information..

As a single mom for 14 years who worked full-time trying to provide all of the things that I had when I was growing up and more for my daughter, Belinda. Isn’t that every parent’s wish – to give their child more?  I moved to a double wide trailer in a trailer park in an area that had a good school district, lots of children my daughter’s age and it was affordable.  My daughter was involved in a lot of activities outside of school – first competitive gymnastics, then field hockey then all-star cheering. This was my way of making sure Belinda stayed away from the “wrong crowd”. She went to public school until she was a Sophomore in HS when she asked to be changed to a private Christian school where our Pastor’s family taught and went to school. Her reasons made sense so we juggled the budget and Belinda graduated from Pilgrim Academy – smiling, happy, ready for college & still living in the trailer park. Belinda traveled 13 hours to go college – Western Carolina University. I was heart-broken that she was so far away but after the first semester, she excelled – graduated with honors in the Honors College program.

Here is when the “clueless mom” found out what had really been happening…My daughter is a social worker that loves working with troubled kids. As she was preparing her applications for grad school for her Masters in Macro-Social Work, she had to write some essays as to why she felt she would belonged in this field. Since I am a grant-writer, she asked me to review her essays (like she usually did) to check grammar, etc. This is when I found out the “horror” of my daughter’s school years….

Belinda recounts many tales of verbal abuse from school mates because we lived in a trailer park that as the years passed became like the “projects” of the Township. She only invited her closest friends back to our house for sleep overs, parties, etc. I never really thought about it since I was working, juggling her activities and making sure that her homework was done. The truth was very few parents wanted their children to come over because of where we lived – not necessarily our home but the neighborhood. Belinda talks about how people used to call her “trailer trash”. The outside sports activities along with my example of what a strong woman could do is what she attributes to her success. Some called her a “snob” because she was involved in outside sports.  Then when she became active in church, more verbal abuse came.  Some of her friends from the trailer park fell into the lives that people expected – sexually active, lots of unsupervised parties, drugs, alcohol and more. I was blessed, Belinda didn’t do any of that. 

Many believe that if I was clueless about the verbal abuse, I would be clueless about everything else…My daughter and I had and still have an amazing relationship. When I asked her why she never told me, her response “I didn’t want to hurt you because I knew you were doing the best you could. The material things didn’t matter because you were always there for me”. My daughter has amazing attributes – self confidence, speaks her mind (sometimes without tack) and is forever looking to help the underserved youth in her community.  She tells me on a regular basis how she hopes to accomplish all that I have both professionally and personally. 

I wanted to share this to let people know that bullying isn’t always visible, it can happen to any child. As I travel back to our old hometown, I look around and ask my husband – was I that “clueless” about what life was like. His response is always the same – “You did what you had to do to make sure that Belinda had everything she needed even if it wasn’t always what she wanted. As a result, she is a bright, intelligent & confident woman who wants to take on the world to make it a better place”.

Thank you for taking the time to read this….share this with someone who may need to know they are not alone….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Inspires, Hope Wissel, Relax, Reflect, Recharge

5 AFFORDABLE WAYS TO PRACTICE SELF-CARE

 

What is self-care?

The “technical” definition is: the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider”.

I’m all about holistic or natural treatments so would you think I would have this down to a science, right?  NOPE!  I struggle with practice self-care, like I’m sure many do.  The benefits of better physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being should be enough of a reason for me to at least attempt it once a month, right?  Research suggests self-care promotes positive health outcomes, such as fostering resilience, living longer, and becoming better equipped to manage stress.  I definitely could use some more tools in managing stress!

Self-care can get pretty expensive but you don’t have to break the bank or carve out lots of time to reap the benefits.  These may seem like no-brainers BUT the truth is, how many of us actually do them?  

#1 – DON’T SKIP USING YOUR VACATION TIME

Vacations can be expensive, but it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some time off.  Did you know,  most Americans, cumulatively wasted 768 million vacation days in 2019. I know, then COVID hit so many used their vacation time to stay home to care for family.  Time off from work can improve your mental and physical health, give you a mental edge when it comes to productivity, and keep you excited about your job — and your life.

Vacation can be more affordable with a little bit of creativity. Consider going with friends or family and getting a vacation rental.  We loved the cabin we stayed in when we were in Florida.  Instead of shelling out for a hotel, share a comfortable home, condo, or apartment then enjoy everything your destination has to offer. When you save on accommodations, you can splurge on great local restaurants, music, and water recreation, too. 

#2 – CARVE OUT TIME FOR PROFESSIONAL HELP

No matter what your struggles are in daily life, speaking with a counselor might help. This one was always tough for me.  I was afraid it would be considered a sign of weakness.  Counseling helps people identify negative patterns, make changes to take control of their lives, and discover their personal strengths.  I’m grateful for the 12-steps in my recovery program to help me do this too.  Cost should no longer be a reason for not seeking help – if you have employer-sponsored healthcare, a policy through a health insurance exchange, or Medicaid, mental health is likely part of the package.  Check it out!

#3 – GET BETTER (AND MORE) SLEEP

Did you know a lack of sleep can affect your mental health and your overall psychological state?  I know we feel grump, or at least I do, when we don’t get enough sleep.  I was surprised that it also worsens depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety issues, and ADHD.   Do you have a bedtime routine?  Remember how we always had one for the kids?  Guess what?  We need one too.  I have found  sticking with a schedule helps me decompress and prepare for quality rest. I may not get the recommended 7 – 9 hours sleep (who does) but I do average between 6 – 7 hours which definitely makes a difference for me.  Some tips for getting into a sleepy mood: journaling, reading or meditating before bed can help.  TURN OFF your electronics about an hour before bed.  I know this could be the toughest thing.  LOL. Try to keep your bedroom as neat as possible; if the place where you sleep is a disorganized mess, you may find this level of chaos is causing a spike in your stress levels, which can disrupt your sleep.

#4 – GET A LITTLE EXERCISE

You know exercise is great for your body. However, you don’t need a gym membership to take advantage of the benefits  Plus, there are mental health benefits built into your sweat session, no matter where you have it. Physical activity can decrease depression and anxiety.  You don’t need to pay for a gym to lift weights or use machines. Old-fashioned bodyweight workouts require minimal, if any, equipment, and it can be just as effective as hitting the gym.  How many of you have exercise equipment (stationary bike, elliptic or something like this) you bought and it is collecting dust in the garage?  Pull it out!  We bought a stationary bike about 15 years ago and it wasn’t until we moved to our forever home I started using it every day for 15 – 30 minutes.  Not a lot but it is definitely making a difference.

Here’s a plus for seniors: If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you can take advantage of the SilverSneakers program, which allows you to enjoy workouts at participating fitness facilities without having to pay any additional fees. 

#5 – STEP OUTSIDE & ENJOY NATURE

There are multiple benefits by walking in nature for your mental health — and it’s free. Spending time outside can reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and myriad other conditions.  No matter where you live, there’s likely a park or nature trail nearby you can take advantage of. Take a walk around your neighborhood. Enjoy the sunshine (things are warming up in NJ), smell the flowers (spring is coming), and start feeling more energized without spending a dime.

Although you can spend a lot of money on self-care, it’s not necessary. With these easy ideas, you can glean all the stress-reducing benefits of self-care right away.

What self-care strategies work for you?  Share your best tips with us.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Hope Inspires, Recovery, Thankful Thursday, Unclutter Your Life

Thankful Thursday: Struggling with Acceptance

Today is a difficult day…….I’m struggling with ACCEPTANCE.

After 10 years of being a Director with Thirty One, I will revert to a Senior Consultant.  WOW! I will admit I am struggling.  My ego is deflated.  My pride is hurt.  I have weathered many storms over the years fighting to keep my title.  Today I just have to have acceptance.  Could I point fingers and play the blame game?  YUP!  But the truth is life (and the inner gremlins) caused me to think I was less then when the struggles came along.  Yup!  I played the comparison game.  I dabbled in another direct sales company but my heart wasn’t really there.

Acceptance is defined as “the action or process of being received as adequate or suitable, typically to be admitted into a group“.

Believe it or not, as welcoming as the other group was and still is – it was not where my heart was.  I missed the relationships I had built over the years with team members and customers.  I struggled to fit in playing the comparison game yet again.  My addiction & MS makes building relationships hard for me.  The double whammy has also given me double the number of inner gremlins.  They usually have me acting in fear instead of being faithful to God’s will.  When I opened my eyes, stomped on the gremlins; I was able to see God winks telling me to remain faithful to my heart during the turmoil.

Over the last 3 years through recovery, I thought I had started to accept who I am or at least think I am.  I’m usually ready to stomp the inner gremlins when they start wanting to play the comparison game.   I still worry about disappointing others.  I still worry about whether I am good enough (just not as often).  Working a 4th step and taking an inventory can be a blessing and a curse – those who know, know ❤

Not sharing my business struggles sooner as a result of PRIDE left me feeling alone.  Over the last 3 months, those secrets of inadequacy kept me sick (and on the road to losing my title)…I was afraid of what my upline would think.  Unsure if they would accept me broken and struggling yet again.  I hate being the “needy” one.  Pride and fear kept feelings stuffed away.   The inner gremlins had me convinced my time with Thirty One was over.  The reality was………my upline loves me unconditionally and when I stepped up even at the very last minute to “vomit” my feelings, they were loving and supportive.  My team has been there through the struggles too so why would I think they wouldn’t be now.

I am learning to accept what is in my life – the good, the bad and the ugly.  I am learning to accept I am wonderfully made even on my worst days.  I am learning to accept (very slowly) my struggles with MS, having faith in the fact it is all part of God’s plan.  Do I think God’s plan was for me to make a mess of my life?  NO!  I do know he has helped me through the struggles.  He accepts me for who I am – no matter what.  But can I accept me, is the real question?

I accept:

  • I am a addict recovering from the disease of addition
  • I am a child of God as he wraps his loving arms around me
  • I am a better me today than I was yesterday
  • I am open to God’s plan whatever it may be
  • I am an MS warrior and I will not let it defeat me
  • I am a giving, loving person who wants to make a difference

Today I have acceptance for where I am in my business and in my life.  I accept this is just a bump in the road.  I accept this will be part of my story to share with someone else who may need to hear it.  I’m not giving up.  Thirty One has been the blessing which saved me on my darkest days in more ways than I can count.  It helped me get out of credit card debt.  It helped me learn how to build relationships.  It helped me in my walk with God.  It has helped this introvert come out of her shell even when I don’t want to.  Being uncomfortable is good sometimes – in business, in recovery and in life.

Today, I am learning to thankful…Being thankful helps you get through life’s tough times, because you can easily call to mind all of the good things in your life.  Being grateful just makes you happy and being happy can help keep your mind and body healthy!

Accept who you are, without relying on outside influences.  Accept we are not perfect and it is okay.  What are you thankful for today?

Have a blessed 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!