Super Foods for the Superbowl!

January 26, 2011 by Barb Scala  
Filed under Bloomin in the Kitchen, What's New, snacks

Snacky-crunchy pumpkin seeds

Sweet & savory pumpkin seeds

Oh so fresh salsa and snacky crunchy pumpkin seeds!

In the peak of summer when ingredients were coming off the vine, I taped a Bloom with Barb test pilot with Mary Ann Wasil Nilan, Founder of The Get in Touch Foundation.

What does this have to do with the Superbowl? Well, we went “bloomin’ in the kitchen” with healthy and yum snacks that are fresh, easy and delicious (and in the summer many ingredients can be found locally). PERFECT to please a crowd any time of year and for your Superbowl night of snacking!

Video: See these recipes prepared below in my Bloomin in the Kitchen segment.

7 Spice Sweet & Savory Pumpkin Seeds

2 cups raw unsalted pumpkin seeds (peppitas)
2 tablespoons agave nectar, maple syrup or honey
1/2 teaspoon each: allspice, chili powder, cinnamon, ground corriander, cumin, nutmeg and sea salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup raisins, or dried and juice-sweetened cranberries or cherries

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix agave, syrup or honey and spices in a bowl and set aside. Spread 1 1/2 cups pumpkin seeds on parchment lined cookie sheet and bake in oven for 20 minutes. Add seeds to the bowl and stir spices to coat. Return pumpkin seeds to the oven on the cookie sheet and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Break into clusters and toss with raisins, cranberries or cherries and remainder of the raw pumpkin seeds.

Oh so fresh salsa!

Oh so fresh salsa!

Garden Fresh Salsa

2 cups grape or plum tomatoes, chopped
1 tomatillo, chopped
1 jalepeno pepper, minced
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 - 3 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon chill powder or more to taste
sea salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl, toss all ingredients and serve with a variety of chips (blue tortilla, multi-grain and rice chips). Best if ingredients marinate before serving.

Bloom Party!

January 12, 2011 by Barb Scala  
Filed under Blog, What's New

Turn a regular day into one bursting with inspiration, ideas, goals, visions and dreams!

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Already blooming!

Last Sunday, a group of wonderful women gathered at my home for tea. The invitation read,  “Let’s plant your seeds for success and make a Bloom Plan for the New Year and beyond!” And that’s just what we did.

img_2810I was ready for creative juices to flow! With markers, scissors, hole punchers, scrapbooking paper, glue sticks, crayons and more, we started to create our visions for 2011. In no time at all, posters were filled with exciting ideas and visions. Some were bursting with healthy lifestyle choices, business ideas and personal projects, while others had question marks about which path to follow and what direction to take.

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Shhh! Bloom Plans in the works.

All good stuff. The first step is to get your ideas in visual or written form and then you can work on shaping or molding them so they can grow. When what’s up in your head is down on paper, you may realize that your idea is really fabulous or even find out that it won’t work after all. Does it need to be more flexible, is it realistic, does it need to go back to the drawing board or be completely tossed?

It’s about taking the initial step and courage to get your vision out into the world to find out if you can make it happen. Is it a pipe dream? Or can you start moving forward to see where you can go with it?

One more thing. While we were cutting, pasting, laughing and dreaming, worries began to surface. “What will everyone think?” ” What if I’m not smart enough?” “How can I make this dream grow?” “Do I really have what it takes to make changes in my life.”

The "weed" board

The "weed" board

Ahhhh yes. Our weeds.  Those self-sabotagers and even excuses which suffocates our growth. So, I asked everyone to take a moment to tune into their internal dialogue and voluntarily post their negative self talk on a board. One by one, volunteers came up to list their inner fears. Soon the “weed” board was filled. “That’s what we really want to work on. Not many people are void of ideas. It’s our weeds that get in the way … and when we let them take over, our goals, visions and dreams are often put on hold, changed to someone else’s vision or completely abandoned. ”

Tea sandies - gluten free!

Tea sandies - gluten free!

So, how do you grow your Bloom Plan this year? Start by recording your plan on paper and then work on weeding fears, sabotagers and worries.  Continually plant the five Seeds for Success into your daily life and always fertilize by getting the support and resources to help you keep going.

I wish you all a blooming 2011!!

I would love to meet you and your friends and get everyone blooming! Contact me if you would like to host a Bloom Party.

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TV: Barb on CT Style making a Bloom Plan

Making a Bloom Plan on CT Style

January 3, 2011 by Barb Scala  
Filed under Press Room, What's New

screen-shot-2011-01-03-at-25420-pmGrow your goals, visions and dreams in 2011! How? With a Bloom Plan!!

78% of us do not have success with our New Year’s resolutions. Barb tells us why good intentions fail and how to set yourself up for success to grow a healthy lifestyle, launch a business idea or get going with other goals on your list.

Find out her Seeds for Success formula so you can make your Bloom Plan for a productive, fulfilling and energizing year!

Bloom with Barb: wtnh.com

WORKSHOP: Make a Bloom Plan - Jan 13th, Guilford CT

BLOOMIN In the KITCHEN: Arugula Apple Fennel Salad

January 2, 2011 by Barb Scala  
Filed under Bloomin in the Kitchen, What's New, salad

img_2703A colorful salad with a refreshing twist!

My friend Liz makes a wonderful fennel salad with currants, red onions and granny smith’s. Looking for an exciting new salad to serve over the holidays, I borrowed her idea and switched juice sweetened cranberries for currants and added arugula for a burst of color and flavor.

I love the contrast of tart and sweet, the crunch of the fennel and apples and how “clean” the flavors blend. With a splash of lemon juice and olive oil, it’s loaded with everything I look for in a great dish: fresh, healthy, organic and yummy!

3 fennel bulbs ~ cut into julienne
4 granny smith apples ~ peeled, cored and sliced
2 cups arugula ~ torn into small pieces
1/2 cup juice sweetened cranberries
1 large red onion ~ sliced into thin rings
Vinegarette to taste: Juice of 1 lemon and approx. 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (ratio: 1 part lemon juice to 2 parts olive oil)
Sea salt & pepper to taste

In a large bowl, toss all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to serve (up to 2 hours).

*Organic ingredients really “cleans” up this dish

Blog: Cleaning up Holiday Recipes

BLOG: Make a “Bloom Plan” for the New Year

December 9, 2010 by Barb Scala  
Filed under Blog, What's New

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2011 is right around the corner.  And I want to be ready with a plan for the new year.

With so many ideas swirling in my head, I grabbed a  large sheet of poster paper and marker.  Many people make flow charts, vision boards, graphs and charts, but I have found that a visual “garden” of ideas works well to organize my thoughts and plan ahead.

I started out with a “bloom” statement.  Ironic that mine is a bloom plan about Bloom, but any overall goal, project or dream will do.  Say you want to transition to a new career next year, eat healthier or put your financial life in order. You can make a bloom statement with your particular objectives in mind and post it in the center of a large flower. The petals can be subset goals within the overall plan. For me, revamping my website is a subset “petal” of my bloom statement to inspire people to live an inspired, balanced and healthier (and more natural) life/lifestyle.

What about all of my other ideas….and more dreams? They became my “sprouts” at the bottom and I can have an endless creative supply listed so I don’t forget about them. How can I keep blooming when faced with challenges, low energy or lack of time? My Seeds for Success listed on an upper corner reminds me to be positive, love what I do, organize, own my life and keep moving forward. How am I going to make this plan grow, happen, materialize? With “fertilizer”  to sprinkle in from time to time which I list in the upper right corner. What about things I really need to help my plan grow further, such as a new computer or helping hands? I list these items under my  ”gardening tools” wish list. And we can’t forget about the never-ending To Do list. This I call “sun and water” because these are essential things any plant or plan (hey, just drop the “t”) needs on a daily basis. Here’s where you can go crazy with a laundry list of things to do to get started with your bloom plan, changing it as you tick things off the list and add on new things.

Most people start out with their list of things To Do and get lost and overwhelmed before they even get started. That’s the mistake. Marching orders are really the ending point after the main mission or vision statement is in place. It all starts with a vision and then execution falls into place.

If you don’t have a vision, nothing happens. ~ Christopher Reeve

There! A great visual with my whole plan on one sheet which I taped to my office wall. If your vision is already flushed out in your head, then you can get going with a Bloom Plan too.  If it’s not, this exercise is a start to organize all your mind clutter.

And those of you who would really love get your Bloom Plan out of your head and onto paper but need a bit of help with gaining clarity, focus and formulating clear objectives and goals, I’ll be running a Bloom Plan workshop right after the New Year. Date and time to be announced…stay posted!


Cleaning Up Holiday Recipes

December 8, 2010 by Barb Scala  
Filed under Blog, What's New

img_2683Over the years I’ve been cleaning up my act with what I eat and what I cook.

I even thought of writing a cookbook with a clean concept in mind, using “clean” in the title. Then, I discovered several websites already using my favorite cooking word and a wonderful cookbook, Clean Food by Terry Walters. Since Terry lives and cooks in my home state of Connecticut, I invited her as a guest on Bloom Talk and we dished out several delicious recipes from Clean Food and her new cookbook, Clean Start.

What does “clean” cooking, food and eating mean anyway? I think it means different things to different people as we try to learn more about our food, where it comes from, how to cook and prepare it and what’s healthy. For me, it’s about cooking with natural, fresh and unprocessed ingredients. I’ve been letting go of bleached flours opting for less processed grains such as spelt, teff and fava bean flours, and using more maple syrup and honey to sweeten things up instead of refined sugars. I also seek out grass fed meats, free range poultry and organic produce whenever I can because how our livestock eats and how we fertilize our crops is an important part of clean food.

So here’s my dilemma. How to bake and cook old traditional recipes with a “clean” spin? Take one of my favorites - pecan pie. The oohy-gooey yummy-ness comes from lots of sugars and syrups like molasses, brown sugar and corn syrup.  I’m not a trained chef so I started to experiment with a step by step approach. Since unsulphured blackstrap molasses is the most natural variety found at many grocery stores, I didn’t go for change there.  Even brown sugar comes organic (try Hain’s brand), so I decided to keep it in the recipe ~ for now. But corn syrup had to go and I felt butter should be reduced or altered a bit. Keeping my fingers crossed,  I decided to substitute organic maple syrup for corn syrup and ghee - clarified butter rid of the mild solids and casein - in place of traditional butter. The filling tasted even better!

The crust was another hurdle as a butter and white flour Pate Brisee was my traditional crust although my grandma ~ the best pie baker in the world ~ used shortening. Then I remembered Terry’s nut crust  when her Blueberry Tart was debuted on Bloom Talk in the summer. The crust is made from almond meal and coconut oil instead of  butter or shortening and is pressed into a tart pan (rather than rolling out dough).  Can almond and pecan go together? Why not? But, drats!  I didn’t have enough almond meal in the pantry (or almonds to grind up) so I used half almond meal and half spelt flour. It worked!  It made a great nutty crust that held together well with the slightest hint of coconut.

So my sinfully delicious pean pie was changed a bit this season into a pecan tart trying to use more natural and organic sweeteners and a shortening (ghee) that many claim to be healthier.  It made a hit at several holiday gatherings and was the main event at my dessert buffet on Christmas day. Although it’s not totally cleaned up, hey it’s a start!  I’ll keep experimenting and let you know if I can clean it up even more.

Now what am I going to do about my old scallop potatoe recipe my daughter requested for a holiday dinner? It’s loaded with buttter, cheese and gruyere cheese! Oh well, I guess eating clean is for most of the time but a once-a-year dish that I can’t figure out how to begin to clean up will just have to be that - a once-a-year dish.

Happy clean holiday cooking!

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Bloom Talk: Smarter Food with Terry Walters

Not Your Usual Bowl of Oatmeal

November 30, 2010 by Barb Scala  
Filed under Bloomin in the Kitchen, What's New, breakfast

img_2646Superfoods jazz up morning breakfast. You can even go gluten-free!

Since I’m not much of a microwave fan these days, even I had doubts if I could make a warm yummy breakfast in a flash. But I’m happy to report that in less than 4 minutes, I whipped up creamy oatmeal with gluten-free oats.

Laced with maple syrup from the farmer’s market, raw walnuts, fresh pomegranate seeds and topped off with a dollop of ghee (clarified butter skimmed of milk solids), this was one satisfying superfood breakfast on the go that is a far cry from the goop I ate as a kid.

1/3 cup oats (gluten free can be found in most natural food stores)
1 cup water, milk, rice or almond milk
1 Tbsp chopped walnuts (roasted or raw)
1 Tbsp pomegranate seeds
Pinch of sal
t

Combine oats, water or milk and salt in a saucepan and stir over medium heat until desired consistency or follow cooking instructions on the oatmeal box. Ladle into bowl and top with nuts, pomegranate seeds and syrup.

Serves 1

Healthy & Yum on Vacation

November 8, 2010 by Barb Scala  
Filed under Blog, What's New

img_2599Who says you can’t eat good-for-you foods on vacation?

Walking through Central Park NYC this past weekend on my way to Wollman Rink for some ice skating, I stumbled upon this organic food cart. Boy, was that grass-fed burger great and just the protein needed to spend the next a couple of hours dodging other skaters and working on my spins (only kidding).

Many places are sprouting up offering fresh, local and organic foods on the go. With just a quick tour on the web, anyone can find healthy, affordable  joints in the town or city of your next get-away. Also, scout out restaurants that offer healthy and delicious cuisine for when you’re not on the fly and crave a nicer meal. I pulled up several menus before traveling and made reservations at cafes and bistros serving organic salads, free-range chicken and wild fish.img_2603

So, after a weekend of organic baby greens, wild salmon terrine and a few special requests - olive oil instead of butter and egg-white omelettes - I enjoyed a fun and healthy weekend.

Now if I can only get my triple toe loop perfected. Yup, kidding again!

Mary Ann Wasil Nilan: Jumping for Breast Health!

screen-shot-2010-10-19-at-33454-pm On February 4th, 2004 I found a lump on my breast. On February 5th, I had a negative mammogram, an ultrasound and a surgical biopsy to remove it and was told it was malignant.

Breast cancer…ugh!

One woman, two breasts, eleven lymph nodes, eight chemotherapy treatments, five hospitals, eight surgeries, one stroke, two 10mm amplatzer asd devices in my heart, thirty-seven months, one arm, three casts, twenty one physical therapy appointments, six fills, two silicone implants, double nipple reconstruction. $591,846.33 in total (not including prescriptions).My life priceless!

That’s my story along with being a mother of three teenagers, public speaker, former police officer, spent nearly ten years on the ABC soap opera “All My Children” and now health activist as the founder of the grassroots non-profit organization, The Get In Touch Foundation.

Get In Touch’s cornerstone mission is the Get In Touch Girls’ Program & Daisy Wheel, a breast health initiative educating girls in grades 5-12 on the importance of, and how to do a breast self exam – for life!

The September 2009 launch of the Get In Touch Girls’ Program has already resulted in its implementation in 40 states, Washington, D.C. and 13 countries, with a goal to be in every state in the US by 2011.  The program, available at no cost to schools, has already been made curriculum in the Milford, CT and New Haven, CT public school systems.

My message and challenge is one of wellness and breast health. For girls and women to “get in touch” with their bodies, information and each other and to live happier, healthier lives.

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Be Positive: In the middle of the most challenging moment of your life, you can discover grace when you realize that others can be inspired by how you respond to that challenge.  Whatever you do, do it with faith and grace and style and show others that they can do it, too.

screen-shot-2010-10-19-at-33333-pmFounder of The Get In Touch Foundation, Mary Ann Wasil Nilan recently won the Oprah Magazine CoverGirl “Giving Beautiful Back Award,” as well as honored by the WNBA New York Liberty as one of their 2010 “Women Who Inspire.” She will speak at The Women’s Conference 2010 spearheaded by Maria Shriver and is currently working on her book “A Diary of Healing.” www.getintouchfoundation.org

Off the Air Withdrawals

September 16, 2010 by Barb Scala  
Filed under Blog, What's New

CB062571It’s Thursday at 3:30pm. Usually at this time I’d be right in the middle of  interviewing a guest on my radio show Bloom Talk or tossing a topic around about sprouting ideas, cultivating a healthy lifestyle or growing goals, ambitions, dreams! But, alas, the show is “on hold” due to changes with the web radio hosting network. And I miss it!

I miss doing all the prep work it takes to get up to speed on the subject matter and sift through all the wonderful people who I can talk to. From booking guests to introducing them to my audience, I miss the silence right before I go on the air and my adrenaline rush once I start the show.

I think I’m actually having withdrawals from the “high” I feel when I’m inspired by people’s stories and learning something new. But most of all, I miss connecting with my Bloom community and sending updates on who’s blooming, a new healthy & yum recipe and what’s coming up.

In the last week, I have talked with so many women about blooming and received your kind emails on how you’ve enjoyed the show and want it to continue. You loved listening to how-to’s like:

  • Organize Your Life
  • Women Talking Money
  • From Idea to Author

…and you enjoyed my conversations with famous guests:

  • Deborah Santana
  • Supermodel Emme
  • Lee Woodruff

Other shows you enjoyed are:

  • Work with Passion
  • Are Your Ready to be Cherished?
  • Lessons from Pretty Smart Women

So, thanks for all your support as I’m working on my next steps. In the meantime, I want to hear from you and post stories in the Who’s Blooming section on www.bloomwithbarb.com.  Send your ideas, your thoughts and stories about people who are blooming to me at barb@bloomwithbarb.com.

And remember to keep sprinkling your Seeds for Success: Be positive, Love what you do, Organize and Own your life and Make it happen!

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