Hope everyone is well, healthy, and happy on this wonderful Thursday.
Today's post is about self image.
Yup! I'm going to get on my soapbox!
I'd like to share a few thoughts that I've been having recently. Actually I've felt this way for a long time, but some recent conversations with friends and clients have started me thinking that I'd like to share some of them with you all
Uh, oh- yes, you are going to get some of my ramblings and you may learn a few things about me that you didn't know before.
As many of you know, we recently got back from a trip to south Florida. It's actually looking more and more like that's where Casa Bramasole might be headed, but that's for a future post. While we were there, we couldn't help but notice (and believe me, I TRIED) that quite a number of women and young girls- even as young as Allie!- were seeing, or had seen, surgeons for "help" in achieving what they thought they needed to "look good".
They were all already beautiful!
Some of you know that I work several jobs. I teach cooking classes, I cater small parties and dinners, I'm a decorator/ stager, and I'm a highly certified personal trainer/ nutritionist.
In that capacity, I speak to present and prospective clients every day about their health and body image.
And I write this blog.
Those of you who read it know that food is a tremendous part of my life. When clients visit our home, they're always amazed at what I serve them. My husband likes to tease and tell them that I feed them for "job security"!
The fact is that I do not subscribe to the notion that some trainers do that food is for sustenance. Food is, and should be, one of the great pleasures of life. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone with any knowledge of healthy eating who doesn't tell you that the "Mediterranean" diet and lifestyle is the healthiest. Well, guess what?? Go to Italy and you'll see Italian families eating pasta almost every day. Along with bread at every meal and wine to boot! And they wouldn't even know what whole wheat pasta is- they're making it and eating it the same way they have for centuries.
Here's the difference- portions are smaller, the largest meal tends to be at mid-day, they are MUCH more active than Americans, and they eat much less processed food than the average American. My Nonno was always amazed at the number of out of shape Americans when he visited- it just wasn't something he was used to seeing.
And they live life passionately!
But the point of this post is this- nobody's self image should be tied to what society, clothing designers, the movie industry, or the latest trends tell us. I wanted to cry hearing that parents were giving their daughters an appointment with a plastic surgeon as a graduation gift!
Are they telling their daughters that they are, indeed, "less than perfect"?
And to the women AND men who come to me trying to "fix" themselves- (here's where you learn about me)-
I am a 50 year old wife, mother of 6, grandmother of 2, sister, daughter, and friend. I have travelled the world with a son who worked as a child actor (yes, you'd probably know him). I have survived cancer and 2 recent heart attacks. I became a trainer after the cancer to help other patients beat it as I did. I have competed in natural bodybuilding AND figure competitions and won. I've worked with amazing teenagers running a community service organization. I've been a scout leader for my daughter and my sons. I chair my neighborhood ARB. I've been PTA president and worked all the Board positions at various times. All these things have contributed to making me the person I am, but none more so than raising my amazing children.
I have a bit of cellulite and some laugh lines. I'm proud of those- they show that I laugh! I've earned them all!
And if someone wants to judge me based on a wrinkle, or a tiny jiggle, or a sagging knee (yes, I hear that complaint ALL the time from clients), then I choose to believe that it's their problem- and their loss. Those things aren't what make me who I am or who I want to be
Exercise for your heart, your health, to prevent diabetes, heart disease, and high cholesterol. Run and play with your children, grandchildren, and friends. Take a walk after a wonderful meal. Visit your local Farmer's Markets and try something new! Use real, whole foods and shop the perimeters of your supermarkets- produce, bakery, seafood, meat, and dairy- most of the center aisles are processed foods.
And smile! It burns calories!
Be the best person you can be- beauty comes from the inside out
Today's table was set for dessert with a very special friend.
set by the window in the study...
an old copy of Veranda which holds the inspiration picture for the room we're working on in her home
An old drawnwork cloth and vintage hand embroidered linen tea napkins
Old and worn, but beautiful :)
Grandma Josie's silver and my Waterford- past and present come together...
Silver and crystal for a special friend
handled soup cups work well for today's dessert...
True decadence- hot chocolate cherries with cognac...
and a fresh lemon tart
We'll run together tomorrow :)
Coffee and homemade chocolate ice cream....mmmmmm...
Fresh Lemon Tart
1 sweet pastry crust- The one I used is below
grated zest of 3 lemons
1 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup superfine sugar
6 tblsp. creme fraiche or heavy cream
6 eggs plus 4 egg yolks
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out pastry and line a 10 inch tart pan with removeable bottom. Prick well. Line the pastry shell with foil and fill with pie weights or beans. Bake for about 15 minutes until the edges are set and dry. Remove foil and beans and bake an additional 5-7 minutes till light golden.
Beat the zest, juice and sugar till combined, then gradually add the creme fraiche and beat till blended. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then beat in egg yolks and pour filling into crust. Bake for 15-20 minutes till set. If pastry starts to brown too much, cover edges with foil. Cool and dust with confectioner’s sugar before serving
Pastry crust; 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 tablespoons sour cream
place the flour, butter, and sour cream in food processor and pulse to combine. When the dough forms a ball, roll out and place in a
n ungreased 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and 1/2-inch sides. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the crust is set but not browned. Let cool while preparing the filling.
I can't even tell you how insanely good these cherries are. I served then with homemade chocolate ice cream which you'll find here
Hot Chocolate Cherries
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup caster sugar
2 large strips of lemon peel- not the white part
1 1/2- 2 pounds sweet cherries- I used yellow Rainier today
2 TBLSP unsweetened cocoa
good pinch salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup cherry cognac (or mix 3 parts Amaretto with 1 part maraschino cherry liquor)
Bring water, sugar and lemon peel to a boil, stirring frequently to dissolve sugar in a heavy saucepan. Add cherries, return to a boil and simmer, stirring for a minute. Remove from heat. Remove cherries with a slotted spoon and put them in a flameproof casserole dish which has been sprayed with Pam. Set pot of syrup aside- discard lemon peel.
Put the cocoa powder and salt into a small bowl and whisk in cream till smooth. Stir chocolate cream into syrup till smooth and return pan to heat. Bring to a boil stirring frequently, reduce heat to very low and simmer about 10 minutes till reduced to about half. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Preheat broiler. Turn off heat and stir in liqueur. Pour sauce over cherries in casserole and broil 3-4 minutes till bubbly- watch carefully. Serve over cake or ice cream
We're linking up today to Susan's Tablescape Thursday party at Between Naps on the Porch. Come join us for one of Blogland's best events!
Join us tomorrow for Foodie Friday at Gollums's- and come hungry!
Do you have any quick, healthy, and delicious favorite meals or desserts?? Email me through our profile page and we'll be sure to share!
Buon Cibo, Buon Amici,
Pattie and Allie