Not Your Nona’s Lasagna

I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting recipes. But when I saw a recipe for pumpkin and kale lasagna, I shuddered and moved on. However, it kept calling my name and I looked at it more closely.

It certainly intrigued me. After all, I love pumpkin, and I love lasagna. I even love kale, with certain reservations. But the recipe was loaded with heavy and calorie-laden ingredients that seemed unnecessary, and kale sauteed in garlic added to pumpkin was too much for me to even think about.

I had a few other misgivings as well, so I incorporated a few of my sneaky ninja moves, as well as substituted almond milk for whole milk to come up with something that might be palatable.

One weekend afternoon, it was time to test it. However, before tying on my apron, I warned my husband that we might be doing take-out at the last minute. We didn’t. The lasagna was delicious, and we ate the entire pan in 3 days. It’s not your typical Italian lasagna, which is why I call it “Not Your Nona’s Lasagna.”

2 15 oz cans 100% pumpkin puree

2 eggs

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp white pepper

10 oz fresh baby spinach, chopped

2 TBSP butter

2 TBSP flour

2 cups unsweetened almond milk

1 tsp ground nutmeg

8 oz mozzarella cheese

1 cup Parmesan cheese

2 1/2 cups sliced almonds

About 8 ready-to-bake lasagna noodles (Or, you could boil traditional noodles, but who’s got the time)?

In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, eggs, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. In a small bowl, combine the mozzarella cheese with the Parmesan and mix well. Lightly spray a large baking pan with non stick spray or olive oil. Spread half of the pumpkin mixture in the bottom of the pan. Top with 1 cup sliced almonds, followed with half of the spinach, and then half of the cheese mixture. Add a layer of ready to bake lasagna noodles.

Spread the remaining pumpkin mixture over the noodles, followed with 1 cup of sliced almonds, the remaining spinach and then the rest of the cheese mixture. Add another layer of noodles.

In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk well. Slowly add the almond milk, stirring constantly until slightly thickened. Add nutmeg and white pepper, remove from heat, and pour evenly over noodles. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese to taste and remaining sliced almonds. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake in a 350 degree over for 1 hour. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Chicken Dijon

I was going to name this recipe after my favorite mustard, Grey Poupon, but my husband advised me not to. He said that Poupon Chicken didn’t sound very appetizing, and I guess he had a point.

After doing diligent research, I discovered that Grey Poupon is a dijon mustard and has a small amount of white wine in it. No wonder why I like it so much. I also learned that the word poupon means little baby, or baby doll. Who knew cooking could be so educational? 

I used a few of my ninja tricks to combine a few recipes, cut what I didn’t like, kept what I thought would work, used my imagination, and came up with a variation on a theme. So here it is, my Chicken Dijon, and Poupon too!

6 thinly sliced chicken breast fillets (I buy them already sliced thin. No need to pull out my sharp knives, especially if I’m in one of my moods).

1 TBSP light butter

sea salt and pepper to taste

2 TBSP chopped shallots

8 oz sliced fresh mushrooms

1 TBSP Dijon mustard (I use Grey Poupon. Of course I do).

1 cup chicken broth

1 tsp dried parsley

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Rinse the chicken and pat dry, and season with salt and pepper. In a non stick frying pan, melt the butter on low heat, then increase the cooking temperature to medium.

Cook the chicken fillets until slightly browned on each side, careful to not overcook or the chicken will be tough. Place chicken in a baking dish, cover with foil, and put in oven to keep warm.

Add the shallots to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until soft. Add the chicken broth to the shallots and stir in mustard. Add mushrooms, parsley and cook until mushrooms are cooked thoroughly. Pour the sauce over the chicken, cover with the foil, and cook for an additional 15 minutes to blend flavors. Enjoy!

Patience, Perseverance, and Number #1 Best Seller

Patience and perseverance are two valuable principles I learned in my martial arts training. It means that our focus is on the journey, rather than the end result. And it explains why the students that come to our dojo with their primary goal of becoming a black belt are usually gone in just a few months. Because everything takes time and effort.

The same applies to every aspect of life. Focus on the journey, put in the time, the effort, and see what unfolds. That’s exactly what happened when I published my first book. I just focused on the journey, even though it was incredibly labor intensive.

When I heard that the “real work” in writing a book begins after it’s published, I found it hard to believe. After all, it took me two and a half years to write it. In reality, it actually took a lifetime, since it was the result of a culmination of life experiences, including the good, the bad, and the ugly.

When the book launched, I was delighted with the number of sales I received, as well as a few great reviews. And I was over the moon when I received two awards.

But then, sales dropped off. I spent hours of my time promoting the book, giving endless talks and presentations. I talked until my throat was raw. And I sold a few books, here and there.

It was frustrating. It was discouraging. But I never gave up, because I truly believe in my message. Patience, perseverance. Time, effort, mindset. Persistence. Incomparable stubbornness. I just knew that my target audience was out there, waiting to hear my message.

Finally, three years after the book was launched, my persistence paid off when I became a #1 Best Seller on Amazon in EIGHT categories. It was amazing. It was humbling. It was a miracle. But it took patience, perseverance, and a little help from my friends. Especially from the incomparable Polly Letofsky, who is the master of focusing on the journey. She is the first woman to ever walk around the world, and no, I am not kidding or exaggerating.

She also is the founder and owner of My Word Publishing, a company that helps newbie authors like Yours Truly get their work out into the world. And she certainly does it well. Thanks to Polly along with a healthy dose of patience, perseverance, persistence and unbelievable stubbornness, I am now a Best Selling as well as an award winning author. And, as you can see from the photo, I owe her lunch. And that’s one tab I can’t wait to pick up!

Episode #54: Awareness, Intuition, Trust, and Self-Worth

Meet Nicole Jansen, Business Breakthrough Coach and Behavior Specialist who has helped thousands of clients transform their lives and achieve extraordinary results in business. However, her greatest accomplishment is her own personal experience in overcoming adversity through quiet introspection to regain physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Download this episode to hear Nicole’s secrets in this gentle, uplifting, and enlightening interview, and how you can apply them to your own life. You do not want to miss this!   

 www.DiscoverTheEdge.com

LeadersOfTransformation.com

https://www.facebook.com/nicolejanseninc

https://www.facebook.com/DiscoverTheEdge

https://www.facebook.com/LeadersOfTransformation

https://twitter.com/nicolejansen

https://twitter.com/DiscoverTheEdge

https://twitter.com/LeadersPodcast

https://www.instagram.com/nicolejanseninc

https://www.instagram.com/leadersoftransformation

The Best Defense

As a practicing ninja, I know a thing or two about defense. Most of the time, the best defense against an attack is usually the simplest and the most obvious. Just don’t make yourself vulnerable.

It’s cold and flu season, and I’m a germaphobe. Not an over the top crazy kind of germaphobe, but a sensible kind. After all, I spent forty years working in health care, so I also know a little bit about infections, especially how to prevent them.

And it’s so simple….wash your hands. Wash them often and wash them well. You don’t need any special equipment or antibacterial soap. All you just need is mild soap and warm water.

Wash your hands before and after you eat, use the bathroom, blow your nose, sneeze, cough, touch your face, touch commonly used public surfaces, etc., or anytime you feel like you need to wash them.

And please….I am begging you on bending knee, don’t sneeze or cough into your hands. Turn your head and sneeze or cough into your elbow. I actually saw a dancer in ballet class meticulously wipe down the ballet barre with an antibacterial cloth, then promptly sneeze into her hands before touching every surface around her. Yikes!

And you might want to be careful around uncovered food in public. I know, I’m being paranoid. But I once brought freshly baked bread to a networking event and set it on the food table. A young man approached the table, sneezed into his hands, and began slicing the bread. I almost fainted.

Common sense is the best defense, and it really is so simple. Let’s all share the love but not the germs, and let’s make it through cold and season with our health and wellness intact. Here’s to your health!

Episode #53 Pelvic Health and Awareness

Margaret Woodward, one of the leading pioneers in pelvic floor physical therapy health,explains how dysfunction in the pelvic floor can result in back, knee, hip, and even neck pain, and what we can do about it.  Margaret also shares her personal story of facing her own health crisis as well as the proactive steps she took to get her life back on track. 

Download this information-packed and educational episode to learn more about pelvic dysfunction, interstitial cystitis, pelvic pain, and how you can be proactive and take charge of your health. Knowledge is power!

Links: https://www.hopeptlakewood.com/about

https://www.pilatespluslakewood.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pilatespluslakewood/

Episode #52: Alternative Health and Healing From Trauma

In a follow up episode, Dr. Elva Edwards shares more of her personal story about surviving a terrible car accident that took the lives of her mother, father, and beloved grandmother. Although nineteen month old Elva and her four year old sister survived, they were orphaned by an event that turned their lives upside down. 

Many of the details were left a mystery to Elva and her sister, because none of the adults wanted to discuss the details of the accident with them. Download this episode to learn how Elva did exhaustive research to find out what really happened that night, and how she was able to be a voice for the parents she lost all those years ago, as well as her passion to help other people heal from childhood trauma. 

www.drelvaedwards.com

Groundhog Day–Again

It’s Groundhog Day. Again. It always reminds me of the movie with Bill Murray where he finds himself reliving the same day over and over again. Repeating the same day and the same patterns drives him bonkers, until he sees a way of turning the situation to his advantage.

Quite simply, he changes his patterns, and magic happens. We all get stuck in habits and patterns that aren’t serving us well, and we end up getting stuck in a rut. The good news is that we can crawl out of that rut with just a few simple changes.

Here are a few tips that sound really easy and downright silly, but trust me, they work.

1). Sleep on the “wrong” side of the bed. It might sound strange, but it can give you an entirely different perspective on bedtime. You might even sleep better.

2). Change your morning routine. Instead of turning on the (ack!) news or checking your email, turn on some music instead. Give yourself the opportunity to enjoy the morning and wake up gently, rather than jarring yourself awake with a cattle prod.

3). Use your non-dominant hand to comb your hair, wash your face, and brush your teeth. This lights up your nervous system in a gentle way and makes you more alert, aware, creative, and curious.

4). Drive a different route when you drive to and from work. This increases your cognitive awareness, makes you a safer driver since you will be playing closer attention to your surroundings, and can even improve your reaction and reflexes.

5). Learn a new skill such as dance, music, writing, knitting, learn a new language, join a book club, etc.

And at least trying something (anything) new or different is certainly better than listening to loops of Sonny and Cher singing “I Got You, Babe.” Because, in my humble opinion, nothing could be sillier than that.

 

Episode #50 Sugar and Gluten and Soy–Oh My!

Kimsey Self, owner of Progressive Health and Wellness returns to The FemiNinja for a follow-up episode to share even more clarity on health and healing. In Kimsey’s own words, “Healing the physical body is a gateway to optimizing your entire life.” And she’s here to tell you how.

https://www.facebook.com/ProgressiveHealthandWellness/

Instagram: @progressivehealthandwellness

Website: www.progressivehealthandwellness.com

Episode # 49 Lifelong Learning and Endless Possibilities

Mariah Ehlert, Certified Neurosculpting® Facilitator, Master Nutrition Therapist and Portrait Photographer extraordinaire returns to The FemiNinja Project to share the secrets of creating your own inner sanctuary and the power of forgiveness. She also explains how to rewrite your story, rewire your life, and releasing the magic of the mind-body connection. The possibilities are endless!

https://www.mariahphotography.com/

https://www.therebelbrain.com/

https://www.facebook.com/MariahEhlertPhotography/

https://www.facebook.com/TheRebelBrain/

https://www.instagram.com/mariahge/: