Cherimoya – a Symphony of Flavors

CherimoyaEntering Whole Foods on my weekly shopping trip, I spotted a very different fruit. First I thought it looked similar to an artichoke, but in the fruit section? Coming closer, I discovered that what I thought were leaves really were just a design on the fruit. Not knowing what it was, I asked an employee for some information, and she offered to let me taste it. What an experience! First, the flesh was whiter than I expected with big black seeds (not edible), and the texture was very different from what I had expected, more creamy and silky. I cannot describe the flavors that exploded in my mouth, a combination of various fruits with a hint of some spices, maybe? It is very delicious, sumptuous really, and I would strongly recommend adding it to your next food shopping. It is on the expensive side, very seasonal and hard to find, but my husband and I shared one fruit and we were satisfied.  I bought two fruits, one ready for consumption the other for ripening. I asked the clerk how do tell when it is ready to eat, and she told me that the Cherimoya becomes darker in color and feels soft.

ICherimoya always find it so gratifying when I find new fruits and vegetables to try and to add them to our meal plan. It adds interest and excitement to our diet, stimulates our imagination, and lets us be adventurous.  I suppose that’s how early explorers must have felt while discovering new worlds with different vegetation, fruits, animals etc..  Bringing this kind of stimulation into our daily lives keeps us young, connected, and healthy.

Please find below two links for more information on this delicious fruit and how to eat it.
Bon appetit!

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Life and Wellness Coach, Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherimoya#Postharvest_handling

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgOx0n8k64o

Thought Provoking

CloudsIn our busy lives we need moments to relax, unwind, and spend time nurturing ourselves and finding the balance and peace within. Most of us are longing for these moments. For me, going to the theater and enjoying a good play will do it every time. We went to see “Other Desert Cities”, presented by the Arizona Theater Company, and it was an amazing show. The staging was an elegant home in Palm Springs and even featured a pool. The acting and story were superb. No wonder it was so highly acclaimed.

But, without giving the story away, the end of the play was a surprise. It made me think and reflect on how we look at people. Something happens and everyone has his or her own impression and conclusions. And then we act without asking the question: was that really what happened? I made a deep commitment to stay more open and not come to conclusions that might not be based on reality at all, but only on my limited perception.  Much misunderstanding and pain can be avoided when we ask ourselves if we are missing something, and whether we have all the facts? The play forcefully makes this point and it is such a thought provoking concept that I wanted to share it with you.

Isn’t that what a play is all about? A good drama is often a captivating story, with great acting. The best plays stimulate us to think and reflect on a subject of importance. I felt energized and uplifted. It was fun to discuss and exchange thoughts about this play with my husband on our way home.  I feel it makes me a better, more caring, and more loving person because of it. What a great wellness activity!

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Life and Wellness Coach, Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

 

 

Our Pets

MignonneGrowing up without a pet, I often visited some baby kittens and rabbits belonging to a neighbor when I was very little. I always wanted a dog, and so, when I was an adult and in a position to make this dream come true, I chose a little Yorkie puppy and named her Sunny. She shared my life in Belgium and immigrated with me to the United States. Sunny had to learn English, she was French speaking, but until the end of her life she only took commands in French.

When I met my husband Steve in New York, the first thing he had to do was learn some French so he could talk to her. Tough for a Texan with no linguistic experience! Moreover, Sunny was in a long coat with bows in her hair, and he had to get used to walking this prissy little one. At that time, Yorkies were not so common in the US, and he got some strange looks for sure. But he fell in love with her and soon enjoyed their public strolls.

After she passed leaving us with broken hearts, two little Yorkie puppies joined us, Gigi and Bijou. They were two adorable darlings, and lived with us for many years. After they left us, Mignonne came into our life and is still with us. Mignonne  is now 13 1/2 years old and aging with grace. But she truly gave us a scare last week. She refused to eat, then her digestive track was very troubled and she got so dehydrated that she hardly could stand. All our care didn’t have the desired result, and so off we went to the emergency clinic. Test, meds, simple diet, fluids etc. etc. and we took her home. She is improving and my heart is rejoicing.

Why do pets play such an important role in our lives? I believe it is because they love us unconditionally, they don’t judge or criticize, and they are always are ready to do whatever we want to do – cuddle, play, listen to us or simply “love us”. It is so special that when we experience this unconditional love, we don’t want to live without it. We can love them without limitations, we can express our love without fear and it makes us feel whole. Our pets open a door within us that allows us to feel our connection to our higher self, the higher power, our source. We can feel this connection in our heart and mind. This is why dogs can make such a difference for aging people, children, and recovering veterans, just to name a few areas where they perform therapeutic functions brilliantly.

Our pets, whatever species or breed, are an important part of our lives. Let’s cherish them and thank them for all the blessings they provide. So, if you haven’t discovered this joy yet, or perhaps you are debating whether you want to have that experience, you might want to give it a try. Sometimes we make decisions or have convictions that are based on past beliefs and happenings, like the pain of loss, a fearful event, hesitations to make such a commitment and so on. If those feelings are solely based in the past, it might be time to reconsider. Pets are not for everyone, but they can bring a lot of joy when we let them into our lives.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Life and Wellness Coach, Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com 

 

The Trip

The TripBeing married to a Texan and hearing “do you know how big Texas really is?”  is a common event in our life.  When I came across this picture, not a real map just an illustration “how big Texas is!!”, it was like a light went on in my mind and I said to myself “no wonder….”. Please let me explain.

We lived in Paris (France) in 2001 and at the end of that year, my husband had a severe heart attack and became very sick. When we got back to the States in 2002, he wanted to move to Tucson and felt, that if there was any hope for him to live, it was in Arizona. He also didn’t want to fly, but decided it had to be a road trip. Having traveled a lot but mostly by airplane, I had no idea how far it was and I asked myself “how difficult can it be?”. We checked one of our cars out of storage and off we went.  With a seriously sick passenger next to me, I tackled this road trip, which I would call nightmarish, looking back. And contemplating this illustration, it confirmed how far it really was. Of course, I am aware of the fact that we crossed multiple states, but the stretch in Texas is unforgettable. Seemed like it will never end and in effect, it felt like the illustration above. As a European, it is truly mindboggling. Through how many countries would I have had to travel to cover such a distance in Europe?

During that trip, I learned how to pray with all my heart, and I know I wasn’t alone. A higher power was driving with me every day. When I worried about my husband who was not always conscious, and questioned the sanity of such an ordeal, a calm voice made me remember that Steve felt that Tucson was his destination to getting well, and I put my doubts aside and had faith. I never had paid much attention to the “H” signs at the side of the road, but they became a welcome sight, a place I could run to if things would get worse.

We made it, exhausted but in one piece. And Tucson was his destination. After he was told in Paris, New York and initially in Tucson as well that there was no hope, a doctor entered his life, who believed in miracles and in his skills. And it happened. Steve is well and enjoying life to the fullest. There is lots of gratitude in my heart for the right people arriving at the right time and all the good things that can then happen. Why do I call it “the trip”? It was a trip including feelings like fear, worry, uncertainty, and self-doubt, but also love, hope and faith. Yes, it was and still is “the trip “for me.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Life and Wellness Coach, Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com 

A Clean Slate

Off to SchoolAt this beginning of the year the metaphor “wiping the slate clean” came to my mind and the image of me as a little girl on my first day in school appeared. Why, you might ask. The wiping clean of the slate reminded me of the black slate board, framed in wood, which I carried to school, safely tucked away in my back satchel. My mother had lovingly made the two little customary wipes, hanging out of the satchel, allowing me to “wipe the slate clean”. I wrote with chalk on this slate board. It was so vivid in my mind that I dug out the old photo and as you can see, I carry my leather satchel, the two little wipes, and the big cone in my hands was a tradition for the first day in school. It was filled with goodies, which was very special since I lived in postwar Germany. It was a special day indeed, and I fondly went down memory lane.

From time to time I decide to wipe my slate clean, so to speak, and to start a new chapter. It is a metaphor, based in my childhood but it still speaks to me. I learned then that starting new, or wiping the slate clean, is a good thing, although I wasn’t aware of the deeper meaning and only enjoyed a beautifully written slate board after a few attempts.

Later in life, wiping the slate clean is not as easy. We still have the desire, but the questions we ask ourselves make us hesitate, sometimes over analyze, and often we just stay where we are. It feels more like it is written in ink, cannot be erased and starting new is too involved. Is this really the case, or is it only our imagination?

At the beginning of a new year, wiping the slate clean and writing a new chapter is a great opportunity. There might be a few areas in our life needing some attention, some “cleaning up”, physically and mentally.

My cleaning of the slate this year includes removing clutter in my physical life and also in my mind. Much has accumulated hindering the flow of new energy and the embracing of new things. How will I do this? The physical part is easy. I have already started with the garage and am quite proud of the result. The mental part will need more work and the results will most likely not be immediately noticeable. I am focusing on meditation, paying attention to my thoughts, and discarding the ones, which don’t make me feel good. I am filling the void with joyous and better feeling ones and it is already starting to work! Like exercising, it requires discipline and continuous effort. Remember the saying: how does one get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice ….

Perhaps you want to wipe your slate? Make it the best year ever!

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Life and Wellness Coach
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

 

 

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