Being Marge: November 2016

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Few Healthy Holiday Tips

The holiday rush has started. Take a deep breath and use the word, Healthy, as your mantra.

As you get ready for holiday entertaining, think about something new and different this year.

Add some spice to your life with this healthy cauliflower snack!!1872

Take care of yourself by implementing these healthy tips.


Eight Tips to Stay Healthy During the Holidays

Monday, November 28, 2016

Video of Kids Trying to Stump Alexa, the Voice of Amazon EchoDot
 Amazon EchoDot

We've been enjoying our Amazon EchoDot for about six week, and I don't know how we lived without it!

We use it to check the local weather and the weather in the cities where our kids live. It can tell us recipes and jokes, play music, place Amazon orders, find Amazon deals, read the news, and set multiple alarms simultaneously. If you want it to control other smart home devices, it can do that, too.

It's voice-activated, so you can get a lot more done around the home with this handy digital helper.  

When we visited our older son in Louisville for Thanksgiving, he made a really cute video with our grandchildren and some of the children of his staff at the CNET Smart Home Division.

See for yourself, why Amazon EchoDot is for all ages!

Video of Kids Trying to Stump Alexa,

the Voice of Amazon EchoDot

 What a perfect holiday gift!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving week! My husband and I are headed to Kentucky to meet up with two of our kids and their families. The anticipation of a few fun-filled days is building, and we are so grateful to be able to spend time with them!
Before I leave, I wanted to share a valuable, FREE ebook with you. It's something you might use over the holiday weekend to start preparing for 2017.

More than 30 thought leaders, influencers, and high achievers all share their top strategies for
starting the year off with a bang. You can get the whole PDF (no cost) here:

You'll recognize many of the names as they include multiple best-selling authors, speakers, and
leaders of their respected fields.
People like:
Tony Robbins
John Maxwell
Dave Ramsey
Marie Forleo
Andy Andrews
Jeff Walker
Amy Porterfield
Lysa TerKeurst
Andy Stanley
Chalene Johnson
Lewis Howes
(and many others)

It's all available here:

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Here in North Carolina, we harvest tons of sweet potatoes. You probably haven't tried sweet potato cakes, so here is the recipe for your weekend pleasure!

Sweet Potato Cakes

Ingredients for Sweet Potato Cakes
  • 1 pound peeled and cubed sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil + more to brush in pan
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs (1 egg if using whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 cup coconut flour or almond flour + more for kneading
  • salt and pepper to taste.

Preparation and Cooking Instructions for Sweet Potato Cakes

  • Peel and cube the Sweet Potatoes
  • Place cubes into a large pot of water and boil until soft.
  • Drain the potatoes and mash in the oil and salt.
  • When the mashed potatoes are still warm (NOT hot!), quickly stir in the eggs.
  • Add the flour and stir until you have dough.
  • Turn the dough out onto a work surface, and gently knead by hand, adding flour as you go. Remember, this is very soft dough. You want to add enough flour to keep it from sticking to everything, but not so much that flour is all you taste when you eat them.
  • Press or roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness.
  • Using a small glass or round cookie cutter to cut out circles
  • Place cakes in a skillet with warmed oil.
  • Cook on low to medium heat until brown on both sides. They will burn if the heat is too high.
Serve Sweet Potato Cakes with maple syrup or savory toppings such as salt or raw cheese.

Check out more healthy recipes at my health and fitness blog,

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Never, Never Give Up!

I just complete David McCullough's book, The Path Between the Seas, The Creation of the Panama Canal 1870 - 1914. Normally, I wouldn't categorize an historical book of non-fiction as a personal growth book, but this time I have to make an exception.

Today we take the existence of the Panama Canal for granted. If you read The Path Between the Seas, you'll have a new awareness of the epic story behind the most challenging engineering feat ever completed in the world at that time.

This truly is a tale set on the world stage with diverse characters from many countries who play their parts in a complex political and financial drama that spans the 44-year span of this best-seller.
One of the most riveting characters is the country of Panama itself, with its unyielding terrain, disease-ridden jungle, and work-stopping rainy seasons.

When I complete the book, I had a much better understanding of the world politics and healthcare advances during the time of the building of the Panama Canal. Its seems a miracle in the end that the Canal was ever completed, in view of the never-ending and immense obstacles that stood in the way of maritime progress.

Each time it seemed that the project would never be completed, a new leader emerged to guild it through the next stage. Many good men and women sacrificed their mental and physical health and for many their lives, in the many years it took to complete the Panama Canal. I could never visit this site without thinking of the hardships that resulted from man's attempt to battle Mother Nature.

The fact that there was always a champion when needed to ensure the continuation of the Panama Canal project is why I recommend this book for personal growth. It will inspire you to never, never, never give up!

David McCullough is one of my favorite authors. I had the opportunity to meet him at a book signing on Martha's Vineyard. I treasure my signed copy of another of his best-sellers, John Adams. McCullough has a knack for presenting top quality non-fiction works with a common theme of never giving up in the face of great obstacles. Don't stop with The Path Between the Seas. Check out his other works more more inspiration to stick to your big goals. Several of his other well-known, detail-rich books include The Johnston Flood, The Wright Brothers, Truman, 1776, and The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of The Brooklyn Bridge.

  I'm a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

10 Healthier Thanksgiving Desserts

Even with your family’s traditional dessert recipes in demand, you can insert some new and healthier desserts this Thanksgiving.

Get all the recipes here:

Pumpkin Pie with Whole Wheat Crust

Healthier Thanksgiving Desserts
This is the real deal here: a sweet, spiced pumpkin custard with a tender crust that will certainly appease any pumpkin pie devotees. It’s not as sweet as store-bought pies, and the crust is far more interesting than a conventional frozen or prefab pie crust made with all-purpose flour. Our version combines whole wheat flour with old-fashioned oats and ground almonds to create a shell that’s hearty without being too dense.

Pecan and Sweet Potato Pie

Healthier Thanksgiving Desserts
This one’s for those who waver between the pumpkin or sweet potato and pecan pies at the dessert table… and end up getting slice of each because they just can’t choose one. Instead of granulated sugar and corn syrup, our version is sweetened with pure maple syrup, dates, and sweet potatoes. A touch of ginger adds a spicy, autumnal note and makes this pie unique.

Banana Honeymoon Shakeology Pie

Healthier Thanksgiving Desserts
Banana cream pie, anyone? Even better: Peanut butter and chocolate banana cream pie! We snuck in extra protein with two scoops of Chocolate Shakeology… not that anyone’s counting macros on turkey day, but still. A high-protein dessert for less than 300 calories per slice is called winning.

Pumpkin, Pumpkin, and More Pumpkin Recipes

Pumpkin Coconut Custard

Healthier Thanksgiving Desserts
This elegant, slightly exotic-tasting number is ideal for more formal dining (read: the adults’ table) when you plan to serve dessert as the final course. These tender, creamy custards are baked in individual ramekins — perfect because no one will want to share the addictive combination of coconut and pumpkin spice.

Pumpkin Cookies

Healthier Thanksgiving Desserts
These cookies are like handheld crust-free mini pumpkin pies. Created with the familiar flavors of the quintessential Thanksgiving pie, you get pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves studded with chopped pecans for extra richness.

Pumpkin Bread

Healthier Thanksgiving Desserts
Paleo pumpkin bread may not sound like the treat your kid brother and uncle will be vying for the last piece of, but this bread simply uses coconut oil instead of vegetable oil or butter, and a mix of almond and coconut flours instead of white flour. You get the same moist pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spices, and extra cinnamon that you’d expect from this seasonal staple.

Peanut Butter (and Pumpkin) Shakeology Cups

Healthier Thanksgiving Desserts
So this one seems like it might make more sense for Halloween, but the chocolate-covered peanut butter gets moisture (and a boost of fiber and vitamin A) from pumpkin puree — this also brings it closer to the texture of the peanutty goo that’s inside the brand-name peanut butter cups.

Apple Recipes

Apple Crisp

Healthier Thanksgiving Desserts
This is the autumn dessert for people who don’t like baking. All you have to do is peel and chop apples, mix ingredients together in two bowls, put the spiced apples into a baking dish topped with an oat topping and you’re done. Keep an eye on the crisp after it’s been baking for 25 minutes; once the apples are soft and the oats are browned, it’s ready to devour.

Slow Cooker Baked Apples

Healthier Thanksgiving Desserts
This recipe could be even easier than the crisp mentioned above, and it has built-in portion control. While most of the other traditional Thanksgiving recipes vie for a spot on the stove or in the oven, this dessert can be prepped in minutes and placed in the slow cooker. You can literally set it and forget it for two hours while it perfumes your kitchen with apples and cinnamon.

Apple Raisin Cake

Healthier Thanksgiving Desserts
Redolent of an apple Dutch baby or a German apple pancake — minus the puffy exterior — this cake is light, tender, and moist. Instead of butter or vegetable oil, it uses small amounts of extra-virgin olive oil and chopped walnuts to give the cake just enough richness and texture.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Winter Pansies

After relocating to North Carolina from Connecticut, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that pansies stay in bloom all winter in the North Carolina climate. They are the one flower that can brighten up the brown winter landscape. Granted, the winters in North Carolina are certainly less harsh than those in New England, but we do have our share of gray skies here and the trees lose their leaves during the darker months. It's wonderful to be able to count on a bit of color from those perky pansies!

I'll share a few fun facts about pansies. The word, pansy, is derived from the French word, pensée, which means thought. Universally pansies are known as a symbol of remembrance and romance, and they have often been referenced in literature with images of lovers lost in thought about their soul mates.

Pansies are related to violets. The difference is that pansies have four petals pointing upwards and one pointing downwards, and violets have two petals pointing upwards and three pointing downwards.

Pansies can survive light freezes and snow cover. They are not very heat-tolerant.

In addition to their many hybrid hues, pansies are available in yellow, orange, gold, purple, red, white, violet, and a purple that is so dark it looks black!

Pansies are the symbolic flower of my college sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta. We believed our sorority flower stood for friendship, and me and my sorority sisters had plenty of pansy jewelry to cement our sisterhood.

As long as they have good drainage, pansies will thrive either in the ground or in containers.

It's time for me to get some Miracle Grow for my pansy pots so the flowers stand tall!