Saturday, April 2, 2016

Develop Your Own Compass, And Trust It.

Not to be morbid, but a new month also means one less month on earth.  Just as a new years means the ending of someone's life sooner than later....

Recently, a friend and I sat down and chatted about life and meaning behind things.

We’ve both been alive for 40-something years. The first decade was somewhat a blur, but also our foundation and the fundamental character-building years. The second decade—our roaring twenties—we made impulsive decisions, fought for love, fought for career, saved some money, spent a lot more than we made.  My brothers and I lost our mom to breast cancer and it was a huge eye opening and difficult time accepting and then telling her it was okay to let go.  Then one day we woke up and we were 30.

Now, in our thirties, we had (some) clarity and, finally were investing a little in retirement funds, built a house or two, moved, possibly changed careers or started a new business and found structure. Some of my siblings had children, others did not by choice or chance and we all were making the best of our situations come heck or high water and sometimes amid both.

And suddenly we were in our forties and when  the heck did that happen??  According to my calculations and family history, we are about halfway through our lives. If we count on our good gene pool, and a little luck, lots of healthy eating and exercise, we are still about halfway through the most active years of our life.

I told my friend what I wanted to do during this next decade of my life, and he responded without hesitancy:

Do it.

But, I said.

Do it.

I sat and stared. The list of all my responsibilities came to mind (many job/travel/family commitments, schedules to follow, meals to cook, places to be)—all of which did not seem as important as the fact that, no matter what, I have to live my life, so how do I want it all to look? Feel? Be experienced?

He turned to me and said, we get one chance to walk this planet.

This. Is. It.

Today, I feel empowered to make all the changes I want to make in order to live my most vibrant life. Tomorrow, I may be scared (actually, I’m sure I will be scared). Either way, those dreams and desires are beckoning. They are calling. They are waiting to be lived.

In the spirit of the new month, new quarter of the year, new beginnings, many new moons, know your vibrancy.

Know that you are given one chance to really experience life in this unique body, in this unique form.

You are given one chance to roam with these phenomenal legs and tremendous eyes and unique voice.

In another decade, you might not have the ability to do what you love. You may not be able to write furiously or teach yoga with agility; you may not be able to travel with ease or make love with fervor. You might not have the love of your life by your side through a purposeful separation or through a terrible loss.  I cannot imagine life alone but we must imagine ourselves living with fervor while we CAN.

So today, I encourage you to do it.

Do it all with no regrets.

Do it all without asking for permission.

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”
~ Rumi

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

My Comforting Shepherd's Pie Means "I Love You"

It has been a long hiatus for me and I thank you for your patience.... lots of traveling so the good news is I have lots to blog about coming up this spring!  Adventures everywhere from Paris to London to Dublin to Vegas to the Blue Ridge Mountains and the northeast and even a glamping adventure on a dude ranch!!  Think of all the yumminess and great places I have to share!

During my time traveling away from my blog, I have shared quite a few tips and fellow bloggers great recipes and ideas on my face book page over the last few months and I hope you will check them out at

In the meantime, I have a special treat in honor of the heartfelt love that is shared during this month of February and chilly days and lots of savory spoonfuls of deliciousness!

This week I made the most amazing Shepherd's Pie for my husband (if I do say so myself) and a few extra for the freezer. Wow -you have truly got to make this ASAP -it really can be simplified or as complex as you would like!

You can use ground turkey and lamb like I did or any variation of meats- the key is in the farmer's market rainbow carrots and a great stout beer!  In the recipe I provide to you below I tweaked a little from the original and also added two splashes of  worcestershire sauce and halved the original suggested full bouillon cube and a couple splashes of a good red wine to further deepen the flavor.

The original called for instant mashed potatoes but why not take the extra few minutes and slowly boil your own.  I was a bit surprised to see that the mashed potato mixture called for an egg yolk but boy did that make a nice difference in richness of these beauties!  I went with some chives and maybe a tad or two more cheddar handfuls than in the original recipe.

You can use one long casserole dish or baking pan but I opted to split it up for several meals easily frozen and easily broken down for just one person if needed.

Of course it is all about the layers of meaty juicy saucy veggie filled goodness, followed by those potatoes but nothing in the world beats a whopping layer of cheddar falling off the ramekins and overflowing from your pan with a splash of paprika.

The layers are a thing of beauty - this can go right into your freezer since it is completely cooked through or right into your oven and in 30 minutes you will have your family devouring it!

I think I may have to save one of these for my dad with heating instructions- I have a hunch he will adore it!

I may even have a few friends and neighbors knocking on my door -if you could just smell the incredible aroma in my home.

So, in this month of sharing love to your significant other and friends- consider sharing a love pie right from the heart!

Recipe (ingredient list is below):
Start with bowl of mashed Yukon potatoes. Add sour cream, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, chives, egg yolk, teaspoon of salt, and teaspoon of black pepper and stir until smooth. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat.

Add lamb and/or ground turkey and cook until browned. Pour off any excess grease, and season with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes with liquid and any preferred vegetable medley (it can even be frozen) and cook for 5 to 10 minutes.

While that is cooking, in a small saucepan heat beer and add beef bouillon (consider using only half- the salt just isn't worth that flavor). Bring up to a simmer and add cornstarch mixture. Then add that to lamb mixture and simmer until thickened.

Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish. Pour in lamb mixture. Spoon mashed potatoes over and make sure the potatoes cover all meat mixture. Top with 1 cup cheese and sprinkle paprika over the casserole. Pre-heat oven to 350'F.

Cook covered with foil until hot. If the the ingredients are still hot when it goes in the oven, bake 25-30 minutes. If the casserole ingredients are cold, bake for about 45 minutes.

Uncover and place under broiler until cheese is bubbly and golden, about 2 minutes, optional chive or parsley garnish.

-My recipe was adapted from Al Roker at

    • 5 cups mashed, boiled Yukon potatoes (shortcut: You could use instant potatoes)
    • ½ cup sour cream
    • 3 ounces cream cheese
    • 1 egg yolk
    • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
    • 1 1/2 pound ground lamb
    • 1 can of diced tomatoes with juice (16-ounce can)
    • 1 small bag of frozen vegetable medley (carrot, peas, onion, corn) or cut up fresh carrots, celery, etc.
    • 1 bottle of good stout beer
    • 1 cube beef bouillon (try using only a half)
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch, mixed with a enough cold water to make a paste
    • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
    • 1 ½ cups sharp cheddar cheese
    • 2 tablespoons chives

Enjoy and let me know what your secret is to a great valentine's homemade comfort food!
xoxo, Cathy