Wednesday Night is Family Dinner Party Night

Parents, you know how hard it is to get the entire family seated in the same room, at the same time, to enjoy a “real” meal together.  The 9 year old boy just wants to play xbox.  15 year old girls just want to text.  Frankly, you’re too tired to get it all done, so you give up before you even begin.

Last week I invented  the family themed dinner party.  It was Mexican night.  We had fish tacos (we made a cheese quesadilla for the 9 year old), beans and rice, homemade guacamole, fancy frozen drinks and we found a Spanish mix on Pandora.  It worked.  30 minutes of togetherness.

The next week, Italian.  I found this fantastic recipe from Bon Appetit.  It is super easy and looks like something you would get at a fine dining restaurant.  I served it with pasta, white bean salad, and kale chips.  We rolled out white craft paper on the table, added a few crayons, put the kids drinks in wine glasses and Pavarotti on Pandora (the boy hated the music).

“Strange to see how a good dinner and feasting reconciles everybody.”
― Samuel Pepys, The Diary of Samuel Pepys    

Salmon with fennel and blood oranges

Printable Version

Ingredients

  • 1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 blood orange, very thinly sliced, seeds removed
  • 1 Meyer or regular lemon, very thinly sliced, seeds removed
  • 1 red Fresno chile or jalapeño, with seeds, thinly sliced
  • 4 sprigs dill, plus more for serving
  • Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 2-lb. skinless salmon fillet, preferably center-cut
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • Sea salt
    

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 275°. Toss fennel, orange slices, lemon slices, chile, and 4 dill sprigs in a shallow 3-qt. baking dish; season with kosher salt and pepper. Season salmon with kosher salt and place on top of fennel mixture. Pour oil over.
  • Roast until salmon is just cooked through (the tip of a knife will slide through easily and flesh will be slightly opaque), 30–40 minutes for medium-rare.
  • Transfer salmon to a platter, breaking it into large pieces as you go. Spoon fennel mixture and oil from baking dish over; discard dill sprigs. Season with sea salt and pepper and top with fresh dill sprigs.
  • From www.bonappetit.com
How do you get everyone together to share a meal?

It’s Friday, Be Happy

It’s Friday, be happy for no reason today, just because you can.  Channel your inner child and smile and giggle and laugh for no reason.  Enjoy your day!

Breville Juicer and Vitamix


“Instead of being oppressed by the Tyranny of the OR, highly visionary companies liberate themselves with the Genius of the AND – the ability to embrace both extremes of a number of dimensions at the same time. Instead of choosing between A or B, they figure out a way to have both A AND B.” Success Built to Last,  Jim Collins
 

Having posted a lot of smoothie recipes I get asked what type of juicer I own and my answer is, it depends on what you want to do and what your tastes are.  In my case, I like delicious fruit smoothies (and these are an easier sell to the 9 year old boy) AND I like smooth fresh vegetable juice.  To have both you need different equipment.  If you want to choose between brands, like Vitamix OR Ninja then the Tyranny of the OR applies.  You do not need two machines that do the same thing.  On a side note, spend the money and get the Vitamix.  If you want smoothies AND smooth juices without pulp then Embrace the Genius of the AND and purchase both a blender and a juicer.

VITAMIX OR AND BREVILLE

Vitamix



Creates smooth, thick, recipes that depending on the ingredients, may be chewy

Best uses: soft fruit such as:
    bananas
    mangoes
    citrus
    berries
    greens
recipes that add ice or liquid
recipes that add a liquid sweetener such as agave
 
Not the best for: hard fruit and vegetables such as:
    carrots
    apples
    beets
    ginger
The powerful motor in the Vitamix will certainly handle the above items, but it makes a chewy juice that will be a difficult sell to young ones.

 


 

Breville Juicer

Creates pulp free smooth juices
Best uses: hard fruits and vegetables such as:
    apples
    carrots
    celery
    ginger
    greens
 
Not the best for: soft fruit and vegetables such as:
    bananas
    mangoes
juice that adds ice to the recipe
juice that adds sweetener to the recipe
 
When shopping for a machine remember that you do get what you pay for.  I highly recommend both the Vitamix (I have the 6300) and Breville (I own the Juice Fountain Elite).  The quality of juice and smoothies is not only better, care and maintenance are much easier with these machines.  This is super important for saving time and enjoying the experience.
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Difference Between Won’t and Can’t; Raising Kids Today

“The scholars who research happiness suggest that more money stops making people happier at a family income of around seventy-five thousand dollars a year. After that, what economists call “diminishing marginal returns” sets in. If your family makes seventy-five thousand and your neighbor makes a hundred thousand, that extra twenty-five thousand a year means that your neighbor can drive a nicer car and go out to eat slightly more often. But it doesn’t make your neighbor happier than you, or better equipped to do the thousands of small and large things that make for being a good parent.”  ~    Malcolm Gladwell, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

I find that as a leader I am more often wanting growth and development for people more than they want it themselves.  For instance, I want so badly for them to want more, be more, do more, and to have more. What I have found is, when I run into an individual that is working on self development I get a little overboard with excitement.  Like the case with the 4 Hour Body.  When a friend was excited about reading it I bought it and read it in one day.  So, when a colleague mentioned he was reading David and Goliath, by Malcolm Gladwell I downloaded it immediately on Audible.  Reading the reviews and doing a little research on the book I found that it was a perfect fit for discussing in a reading group on LinkedIn. If you would like to join in on the discussion click here Art Van Reading Group.  The group is open to everybody.  We only ask that you don’t just visit; you participate!

The Laws of Attraction

The Laws of Attraction (you draw to you what you think about) were at work when I listened to Malcolm discuss how happiness can increase when income increases, but only to a certain point.  At that point any additional income is meaningless to your overall happiness and in fact can make matters more difficult for you.  In the case of parenting the difficulty comes in having to explain to your children why we won’t do something versus why we can’t do something.

Can’t is Easier.

Can’t is easy for both parties.  The deliverer of the message simply cannot do what is requested and is not faced with having to make a decision at all.  They only have to explain that it can’t be done.  The receiver just has to understand that can’t is can’t.  Disappointing, but there is no bad guy.

Won’t Travels a Much Slipperier Slope.

Won’t involves decision making and influence.  The requested party must decide and then be able to defend the decision.  It also requires the discipline necessary to stick to your guns.  The requester must be open minded and able to accept no for an answer.  Not so easy for young ears who want what they want when they want it.

Here’s an example from my own experience.

I was confronted with this on Sunday night.  We were shopping for school pants for my son.  He has blown through the knees in all of his and while struggling to get him into anything but athletic wear my daughter asked for a pair of Converse.  If we couldn’t purchase the shoes I could have explained to her that we simply can’t buy the shoes.  It would have been honest and easily understood.  Disappointing, but end of story. Instead, I was faced with having to explain to her why we won’t buy the Converse.  Not as easy to do and not as easily understood.  In fact, I must have blown it because the Converse matter came up the next day.

How do you balance working parent guilt with not spoiling your children?  Comment below.

Indoor Cardio; Speed Intervals

Do you know which one is me?

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”  ~Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

I am going to share a secret with you…. I don’t enjoy running.  I wake up with the same dreadful feeling towards running as most people do.  The only difference is that I remind myself of how fantastic I feel after running and get up and do it.

Nothing compares to the exhilarating feeling of getting outdoors for a run.  The worse the weather, the more empowering it feels to be out there doing it.  When it’s raining out it reminds me of my college days when, on rainy days in East Lansing, during marching band practice we would yell out “it’s snowing in Ann Arbor”. I still do that sometimes when I am out running in bad weather, but my most common battle cry is “we’re doing it”!  It reminds me and my hubby that we are out doing what most made an excuse not to do.

This winter has been too brutal for even us diehards and we have resorted to many more dreadmill runs than we would like.  To keep it interesting I prefer to do interval training.  The same pattern in this workout can be used for any cardio exercise: bike, elliptical, running.  This workout is one that you should work casually towards.  Replace 1 minute segments with 20 or 30 second segments until you build up the endurance.  You can also increase speed by 1/2 mph increments instead of 1 mph increments and build up from there.

Printable Version

30 Minute Run – LT’s Speed Intervals
Time
Tempo
Comments
5 min.
Casual run         (I start at 6 mph or a 10 min. mile)
This should be a comfortable pace.  You are jogging, but you can breathe easily through your nose.
2 min.
Increase speed 1 mph
This is Pace B
2 min.
Starting pace
Recover
2 min.
Pace B
 
1 min.
Increase speed 1 mph
This is Pace C
2 min.
Pace B
 
2 min.
Starting pace
 
2 min.
Pace B
 
1 min.
Pace C
 
1 min.
Increase speed 1 mph
This is Pace D
1 min.
Pace C
 
2 min.
Pace B
 
2 min.
Starting Pace
 
1 min
Pace B
 
1 min
Pace C
 
1 min
Pace D
 
2 min
Starting Pace
 
Cool down at a comfortable pace and then stretch

Pin It on Pinterest