Friday, October 22, 2010

Learning to Say NO

This morning was a pivotal moment for me.  Like every weekday morning I arrived in the kitchen at 7:00 am to fix breakfast for my two teenage girls before they leave to catch the bus at 7:35.  It is something I do as a mom to ensure they always start their day with a full tummy and good nutrition for their brain and body.

But this morning I was surprised to see the coffee pot on the counter full of coffee and a mug nearby full of the same.  Alicia, my eldest, my 16 year old.  She got up very early this morning to get herself ready for a busy day.  It's homecoming week and as a cheerleader, Friday of homecoming is a monumental day.  I was upset to see the coffee pot.  I've been watching her struggle with the highs and lows of sugar and caffeine cravings and though she consciously knows that caffeine sends her down a dark path of feeling unwell, she was caving in.

She arrived at the kitchen table for her breakfast and I asked her about the coffee.  Her reason for the coffee?  She likes the taste.  Well I know that wasn't the truth, coffee smells good, but it doesn't taste good until she fills it up with sugar.

At that moment, I made the decision to tell her NO.  NO, she was not going to drink the coffee or take a mug of it to school.  Her 16 year old independence flared up and I could see the anger blazing forth from her eyes.  "WHY?"  she demanded in her best "Housewives of Orange County" head shaking attitude. 

Instantly time seemed to stand still and I felt deep inside of me a conviction and commitment to my NO.  A conviction and commitment that for the first time I was able to hold onto.  I could see that in the past I would relent to soothe her anger so as not to lose the love of my child.  And because of my inability to say NO, I was allowing her to struggle with addictions that in her 16 years she couldn't handle. 

I could finally see that in saying YES in the past I was fooling myself into thinking that this was how I showed her my love when really saying YES came from a place of fear, a fear that she would not love me if I said NO.  Now it was so clear to me that saying NO was actually the true way to show her that I loved her enough to stop her from doing something that was harming her.

I gazed right back at her and stood my ground unwavering in the commitment I had made.  So I replied.  "You can be mad at me, but I am your mom and therefore responsible for you which includes your health, so I am saying NO.  I can not stand back and watch you harm yourself."  She glared for a minute longer and then quite suddenly her demeanor changed.  I swear I saw relief come over her body and my happy-go-lucky child came forth.

Over the years in my attempt to allow her to have choices and independence, I came to see that I had given her too much independence and responsibility in taking care of herself.  It is enough for her to take on cheer leading, Earth Club, honors classes, P-SATs, friends, her bedroom, her laundry, preparing for college, and all the fabulous things that come with being in high school.  But asking her to take responsibility for her food choices was just too much.  It is my responsibility to feed her well, to keep her healthy.  Very soon she'll be out on her own, and will have to make those choices.  For now she only wants to be concerned with eyeshadow colors, decorating her room and texting her friends.

But what caused me to be able to finally say NO and mean it?  In the past I've said no many times, but could never sustain the NO.  Why now?  While going for a walk, it dawned on me why.  Because I've finally healed myself of those same addictions.  When I was addicted to sugar and caffeine, I would try to say NO to her, but my own addiction would override the NO because my body was still saying YES.  It wasn't until I made the commitment these past 3 months to finally heal myself, that I can now say NO. 

And so this morning was a pivotal moment.  I can feel that I've turned a corner in my life.  I've made an amazing discovery and in the process not only deepened my connection to my daughter, but took a burden off her shoulders that she did not want to carry.

And so the quote goes "Healer Heal Thyself" ~ thank you, I understand.

Alicia and me, her Mom

Monday, October 18, 2010

Beef Stew

It's finally raining!  Oh how I've waited so long for some rain!  I didn't get very much of it though.  Darn clouds are just teasing me.  A little storm with some thunder and lightening would make me a happy girl but alas I must be grateful for what I can get.  Summer in the foothills of California are hot hot hot and dry dry dry!  And they last FOREVER!  So when fall does finally make an appearance I am more than ready!

These cold rainy cloudy days make me want to cook hearty stews and soups and bake breads and other delectable treats.  Nothing makes me happier than lighting some candles, playing a little Paganini, drinking hot tea and creating magick in the kitchen!  Well I guess there are other things in life that make me happy too, like a good hair cut and color and french manicured toes!! 

So today my kitchen smells of homemade bread and raspberry blueberry scones, mmmmmmm.  And for dinner how about a hearty beef stew?  Double mmmmmmm.  And how about dipping that homemade bread into the delicious sauce!  Triple mmmmmm!!!

Beef Stew
  • 3# beef chuck, cut into cubes
  • olive oil
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp flour or arrowroot powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 1# medium onions, cut into chunks
  • 1# small white or red new potatoes, halved if small, quartered if large
  • 1# carrots, cut into 1 1/2 in lengths
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp dried thyme
  • 3 cups water or beef broth
  1. Place beef and onions in a large pot with a little olive oil and saute on medium-high heat.  Once beef is almost brown, add garlic and continue cooking until all the beef is browned and the onion is translucent.
  2. Add tomato paste, vinegar, and flour or arrowroot powder.  Season with salt, pepper, thyme and bay leaf. 
  3. Add 2 cups water or beef broth, bring to a boil and simmer for 2 hours until beef becomes very tender.
  4. Add potatoes and carrots to pot with rest of water or broth.  Bring back to a boil and simmer for another hour until potatoes and carrots are cooked through.  Remove bay leaf before serving.

A delicious bowl of beef stew makes me warm and happy inside

I always like to make more sauce, so I'll add another cup of water or broth into the pot that I've mixed with a tbsp of arrowroot powder.  Feel free to add more spices or even more vegetables ~ for example this last pot of stew I made, I added cut up acorn squash that I roasted and peeled ahead of time.  Stews are great with lots of various root vegetables, so get creative!

If you don't have that much time to make this stew, go ahead and throw everything into a crockpot in the morning, turn onto low and in the evening you'll have a pot full of yummy goodness!

So I welcome fall with great relish and appreciation!  And I will continue to cook delicious meals made with the treasures of the season.  Now to find myself some persimmons!

What rituals and foods do you love to create in your home when fall arrives?


Still have some zuchinni leftover from the summer harvest?  Check out my notes section at Kitchen Witch Coaching Facebook page for a wheat-free gluten-free Zuchinni Bread that'll knock your socks off!

Kitchen Witch Coaching website has been updated!  Have a peek!

November Newsletter is coming!  I know you won't want to miss a single issue, so if I don't have your email, post it here in the comments section and I'll be sure to put you in my contacts list.