New Traditions & Yule Holiday Celebration

 

This Winter season marks the celebration of YULE.

Yule is rooted in our connection to Mother Earth and her cycle.

Becoming familiar with Pagan traditions gives you an eye-opening view into the Earth’s cycles & seasons. Each holiday honors the stage in which the Earth is currently in, taking note of the season & lunar cycles and their effect on our land and crops. They honor all circles of life and allows us the space to look at our own growth and how it is relevant and connected the greater world.

The reconnection to our Earth and the creatures living here is vital to the progress of our society & the joy of our individual lives. It’s both intimate and grand.

What is Yule?

In short – The celebration of Winter Solstice.

The Winter Solstice marks the beginning of longer days to come.

During Summer Solstice we are in the longest day of the year. The sun hangs in the sky and gives us more light on that day than any other day of the year, but from that point on the days are getting shorter and shorter. The darkness is coming in.

The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year and the end of that move from lots of light to little light.

That means, it marks the BEGINNING.

The BEGINNING of the light coming back in.

From Winter Solstice on, the Sun will hang out in the sky a bit longer each day and slowly we will move toward much light.

 

So…What is Yule?

The celebration of this new light coming in our lives.

For many, it marks a new beginning, a rebirth…a fresh start.

 

It’s a wonderful holiday and can be acquired to mean so much for us personally.

For that reason, I’ve began a tradition in my home this year to celebrate the light to come.

 

I wanted to share this tradition with you —

The making of a Yule Log.

 

Traditionally making a Yule log consists of cutting & sawing wood and drilling hole. (You can read about the history and traditions of the Yule Log here.)

I, unfortunately don’t have the time or space for that. Here’s my lovely alternative…

Take a walk and let your kids collect All. The. Sticks.

If you’re like me, you regularly walk around with a stroller full of sticks, so this shouldn’t be hard.

Find 3 candles

They can be long and skinny, or short and wide. Traditionally, a green, red & white candle is used, but not necessary.

Find a flat surface in your home to keep the Yule Log

Talk to your kiddo(s) about the tradition of Yule and what it means. There are many great children’s books about the coming light.

Bundle the sticks together

You will want to take your string & tie the sticks together a bit on either end. This will stop them from just being a pile of sticks. 🙂

This is where you can be creative. You can bundle them tight or lay line them flat or a combination of the two.

Position your candles

Place your 3 candles on top or in front of the sticks and position to your liking.

You can stick them in between the sticks or just lay them on top.

Be Creative

Decorate the “log” with other festive things and arrange on or around the log (Christmas tree trimmings, pine cones, berries, ribbon, ect)

 

This celebration and tradition is really fun and a wonderful way to talk to kids about seasons, life cycles and our own desire to move inward in the Winter months.

I hope you enjoy it and it brings smiles and joy to your home this month.

With Love,
Kim

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The secret to quick, healthy meals with your family…

Focusing on HOW you are cooking things as opposed to WHAT your recipe calls for is the beginning to freedom in your kitchen.

 

It not only opens up your creativity, but over time, it allows you to cook whatever. you. have. available. to make a kick ass, healthy meal in minimal time.

 

This mindset change has more implications than just quick, healthy meals too. It’s the beginning of your families new relationship with food. This relationship begins with quick, easy meals and ends with your ideal meal time on a regular basis.

 

But, right now your knees deep in shit to do around the house, work and making sure the kids still have what they need on a regular basis.

 

 

I get it, “your ideal relationship with food” is not top priority. And that’s ok. Parenting is hard and sometimes that means making hard choices that include putting your kids eating habits under making enough money for a roof over their head.

 

But it doesn’t have to be an either or situation

There is a way to provide your family with healthy meals that are quick and don’t take up all your time and mental space.

 

What if I told you that you don’t have to reread a recipe 10 times while making dinner, or measure every little thing because of your fear of screwing it up. Or that you can use whatever items you have in the fridge instead of going to the market for that 1 ingredient you’re only going to use ONE TIME.

 

It’s possible and I’ve seen people change their weeks around. How? They learn to cook with their senses and based on methods and techniques of cooking.

 

How do you cook with your senses?

By moving away from the question “WHAT do I cook for dinner?” and beginning to ask yourself “HOW am I going to cook dinner?”

 

Changing that one simple question will change your approach to cooking forever.

 

Thinking about the methods and techniques that you are using to cook is the beginning to freedom in your kitchen. Once you can do this successfully, you are well on your way to looking forward to dinner time and being able to even bring your kids in on the action.

 

And if you are already in a place of enjoyment in the kitchen, this will strengthen your skills and give you the foundation that will open up new flavor opportunities for you. Your creativity in the kitchen will blossom!

Stop Stressing About What’s For Dinner!

Download 4 steps to quick, healthy meals as a family.

 

As a chef for David Burke in NYC, I was forced to focus on my methods and techniques of cooking. It was how I moved from a new line cook to executive sous chef in just a year.

 

As a parent, these methods & techniques have served me well in getting a yummy, healthy meal on the table FAST.

There are two rules to cooking with your senses:

  1. Season as you go: do not just season in the beginning or only at the end of your meal. When you are cooking, you are BUILDING FLAVOR. To layer flavors, you need to season (salt and pepper) throughout the cooking process.
  2. Taste as you go: Since the flavors of your dish are being layered, that means that they are changing as the cook. Tasting your food throughout the cooking process trains your palette and allows you to learn how flavors develop with time. (i.e. You might not need some salt in the beginning, but as time rolls on, things might call for more salt.)

 

Now, all of this is great information to change your long game.

BUT WHAT ABOUT TOMORROW NIGHT?

 

What can you do to get a quick dinner on the table for your kids tomorrow?

Many people love a One Pot Meal. These are great, but take a TON of prep time. Even if you have a crock pot or instapot, you have to generally do a lot of cutting and prep work to get your ingredients to that stage of cooking.

I’ve put together a checklist for you.

Here are the top cooking techniques & their how to steps that will start you on the path away from recipes and allow you the freedom and joy of cooking with your senses (with your family).

Stop Stressing About What’s For Dinner!

Download 4 steps to quick, healthy meals as a family.

The #1 message for your kids about food…

 

For those of you who don’t know me. My name is Kim. I’m a mama of 2 insanely cute, but crazy as hell little kids. I have a calm as fuck husband who balances us all out and deals with all our insanity. I’m from Long Island, NY and spent most of my childhood growing up in typical suburbia. I didn’t eat farm fresh food from a mom or grandma that spent hours in the kitchen. My mom was a single, working mom who did everything she could for my sister and I (and anyone else in the area who needed it).

We didn’t eat out much because we didn’t have the money. She cooked simple, quick food. Lot’s of pasta, meat and potatoes and frozen (and even canned) veggies. Her specialty was Roast Beef and Mash potatoes with gravy. I didn’t eat crappy food, but it wasn’t anything steeped in culture either.

I always loved to eat though. And thank god, I was never taught as a girl that eating too much was something to watch out for. It was always something that tapped into that primal part of my brain and made me feel good. The more I ate, the more I learned, and the more I wanted good quality food. Not snobby stuff, just the best of whatever it was I was having.

Thinking about it now, I think that came from my dad. He’s always had this little Italian grandma sense to him. Always making you eat more and always spending money on the “good stuff”. Granted, the good stuff to us was Red Lobster and the Sizzler. But hell, we were high end middle classers. The point was that he always attached good feelings to food. Food was fun — exciting and adventurous.

As I got older, I didn’t mind investing my time into making something I could enjoy. The result was worth the effort. “Fresh” mozzerella (it wasn’t actually fresh, now that I know better — just less processed), tomato and basil for an after-school snack as a teenager was normal.

I could have eaten just ice cream from a bowl, but I wanted to take the extra time to make a waffle to pair it with. Hell, who doesn’t want a warm Eggo waffle and mint chocolate chip ice cream. — See!? You want it right now don’t you? 🙂

I realize now that the most important thing I got from my parents around food was something they did mindlessly. They instilled in me that food was ok. Food was fun and indulgent and worth your time.

FOOD IS WORTH YOUR TIME.

That is a message worth passing on to our kids.

That’s the message I model to Lucas and Thiago when I carve out the time for cooking dinner as a non-negotiable, even though I’m tired from being up all last night nursing an almost 2 year old like he’s a newborn (damn teething) and haven’t stopped moving since 6:30am AND I know I’m going to yell waaaay before bedtime even starts.

We have our days of tomato sauce and pasta, of take-out and plenty of leftovers.

But the thing my kids see on a regular basis — 

Good Food is Important.

And that’s the message I want to pass on to you.

Sending you love and Red Lobster,

Kim

xoxox