By Deb

Here's what you'll need:

2 zucchini's
1 pound cooked chicken, diced
2 TBL flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 carrot, shredded
1 rib of celery, chopped
3/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese (divided)
1/4 c. blue cheese, crumbled (OPTIONAL)
3 TBL buffalo sauce
3 TBL blue cheese or ranch dressing

Preheat oven to 350.  Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking oil.  Set aside.

Cut each zucchini in half horizontally.  Scoop out center, reserving 1/2 - diced up for filling. 

In a bowl, mix together chicken, flour, salt, pepper, carrot, celery, 1/2 c. shredded cheddar,
blue cheese crumbles (if using), buffalo sauce and dressing.

Place zucchini hollow side up on baking sheet.  Fill boats with filling until heaping.  Sprinkle with
remaining cheddar cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes or until zucchini achieves desired softness.
 

By Deb

The above quote by Victor Borge is so true ~ a smile IS the shortest distance between two people.  When we take the time to sit back and think about our lives, we might wonder how to be happy and make it better in the future.  It doesn't always have to be a big plan with goals and results.  The easiest way is with a smile. Even if you're feeling a bit down, you can start smiling and you'll begin to feel better.  

It's interesting that we are born with this ability; smiling is not something we have to learn.  It's part of that universal language that everyone knows.  It not only makes others feel comfortable, welcome and happy, it makes you feel that way too. This is one of those contagious things that is actually really good and healing for us.

Smiling is a generous gesture of loving kindness.  Share all your smiles today.  You can be a day maker for others, and yourself! 

By Deb

Like many of you, I love to read.  Just the thought of holding a book makes me happy!  One of my favorite new books is WELLTH (How I Learned To Build A Life, Not A Resume) by Jason Wachob.  If accumulating toys and money is no longer satisfying to you ~ this book is for you.  Make the shift.  Find your wellth.

By Deb

What do happy people do differently?  It's more than looking at a glass as half full...it's being CONTENT and GRATEFUL that the glass is half full, and it's also being hopeful that it can be refilled.  :D  We really DO choose our attitudes.  We choose each day to think positive or negative thoughts.  The world can be viewed as a very cruel place with so many sad and frightening stories on the news, but there are soooooooo many good news stories out there if you look for them.  There are websites dedicated to GOOD NEWS!  Surround yourself with people who are happy and you'll find yourself feeling happier.  Read about good news and the world and your surroundings will look brighter.  And here's some incentive to think happy thoughts:  Studies have shown that happy people live longer!  Let your focus this year be about creating more happiness in your life and you'll be surprised by the end of 2016 how bright the future is!

By Deb

Massage is very effective at helping to manage pain, anxiety, stress and difficulty sleeping.  Have you ever noticed your shoulders burning or neck feeling fatigued while sitting at your desk?  Do you experience headaches?  Is your back sore?  There are many techniques massage therapists utilize specific to your aches and pains that encourage and assist your body's natural pain defenses: endorphins!  Massage is a natural and effective way to target the root of muscular and soft tissue problems which will help to relieve symptoms ~ and regular massage will help to keep NEW problems from arising.  People who suffer from chronic muscle pain, headaches, arthritis, fibromyalgia have benefited greatly from massage.  Don't mask your pain with pain medications that provide only temporary relief.  Try massage along with physical therapy, chiropractic and acupuncture care.  Remember that you are increasing your ability and longevity to do the things you love - you are investing in your overall future self!

By Deb

Sleep is an important part of being healthy.  While you sleep your body repairs and resets itself for a healthy and successful next day.  Having ongoing sleep deficiency has been linked to all sorts of terrible health problems such as heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure and stroke.  It's important to get your Z's - so let's look at ways to improve your sleep:

Quit the caffeine at 2 pm.  It takes five to seven hours for half of the caffeine in your system to dissipate after having a cup!

Nice, clean sheets can make you more comfortable.

Avoid blue light - all electronics emit blue light that messes with your body's natural clock.  Avoid all electronics a few hours before bed.  Most importantly: keep the bedroom an electric-free zone.

Pay attention to temperature.  We get our best sleep in a cool room; usually around 65-72 degrees is ideal.  Although keeping your feet warm is a good idea, having cold feet will keep you from falling alseep.  So, cool room-warm feet.

Aromatherapy can help.  Certain essential oils have been shown to help with falling asleep.  Anything with lavender helps.  My personal favorite is Aveda's Stress Fix oil.

Some foods are really good for gearing up for bedtime.  Trying having one of the following: warm milk, bananas, cherry juice, turkey, almonds, honey or herbal (caffeine free) tea.

Get more in touch with nature!  People who experience early morning sunlight on their skin tend to have a better nights sleep.  It helps reset the body's internal clock, similar to how avoiding blue light at night does.  Also doing something like "earthing" or "grounding" can help - which is simply taking off your shoes and socks and putting your feet directly on the ground (weather permitting, of course).  

REPAIR ~ RESET ~ SLEEP 

By Deb

Over the past year I have experienced great tragedy.  I have lost three very important people in my life ~ all unexpectedly.  It's very easy to fall into anger, sadness, grief and confusion.  Life can throw you some pretty hard curve balls.  My heart hurts and my spirit feels broken, however, I have learned a valuable lesson through tragedy.

Life is short; you have to make the most out of each day.  So often we hold onto anger towards one another; so often we mean to do this or that, to call or visit someone, but we never get around to it.  Life gets busy and we get into our routines without reaching out to the ones that are important to us.

I've learned there is no going back.  I've learned we HAVE to make time for those we love.  I've learned to let go of anger and live each day as if it's my last because we just never know; it may be the last time we have to say, "I love you," or "I'm sorry," or "I forgive you." 

Take time for the ones you hold dear.  Find the beauty in each day, hold peace in your heart, breathe in the good and let go of the bad.  Most importantly, make the most of each and every day.

By Deb

"Everything you've ever wanted is on the other side of fear." ~ George Adair.

Have you ever wondered what your life would look like, who you would be today, if you never let fear control your life?  To me, there are two types of fear; one helps preserve your life and is extremely important to heed to.  The other suffocates you and keeps you from living life.  The sad part is, the later one, usually gets confused with the former - and we, as humans, end up missing out on truly living.

So let's talk about this.  Ask yourself, "Why don't I do certain things in my life?"  Like:  dancing, speaking in front of people, trying a new food, trying a new hobby, wearing a new outfit, being spontaneous, singing karaoke, the list goes on.  I think if we're honest, the answers to those questions are pretty obvious.  We don't want to be made fun of, or look stupid.  It's a fear of MAN.  But this question can go even deeper.  Why don't you do your best at work?  Maybe because you don't want to look like a 'brown-noser'. Why don't you take the time to care about your health and actually do something about it?  Perhaps because you're afraid that if you care about yourself some strong emotion of past issues may arise.

You see, fear is a tricky thing.  It makes you believe whatever you fear...is...reality.  The TRUTH is that fear is FALSE EVIDENCE APPEARING REAL.  If you don't catch fear trying to choke you out, a time will come that you will realize that you're no longer LIVING life.  Even if it's in a small degree - fear robs you of living.  I don't know about you, but I'm DONE with being afraid.  I'm done being afraid of succeeding.  I'm done being afraid of looking stupid, or like a suck -up, or an over achiever, or a letdown, or a bad mom, or a bad wife, or a bad Christian.  I'm done fearing new adventures, or extreme hobbies.  I'm done fearing what people think of me.

I have committed to living a life that is not just fear-less, but FEAR-FREE!  Join me!  Choose to live life with me!  Sometimes what you're most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free!  I want to be set free.  I want you to be set free.  Let's do this! 

By Deb

Saw the titled quote and had to think about that ~ am I the type of person I would want to meet?  While I have some good qualities, there are also areas where I fail.  But it has made me more determined to remind myself of this quote whenever I am out-and-about.  What a difference a smile can make to someone.  I think about the kinds of people that I DO like to meet:  friendly, honest, fun, spiritual, thoughtful, reliable, optimistic, kind, respectful and passionate.  I think about the businesses I return to and why; it's because they offer something of quality and are friendly.  Being mindful of this quote each and every day will hopefully make me a better person, and, a better employee.  So, ask yourself the question:  are YOU the kind of person you want to meet?

By Deb

You may love the pampering and relaxation you feel when receiving a facial, but there are a multitude of other benefits your skin is getting during your treatment that offer you health and wellness!  Some facial treatments are designed to deep clean the skin, while others offer moisturizing benefits, and still others help to relieve stress.  Be assured that with each type of facial, you are increasing circulation and increasing oxygen to skin cells which gives your skin that healthy glow and helps to plump up the skin reducing the look of fine lines and wrinkles.  You're also relieving stress through this soothing treatment with aromatherapy and oils that encourage peace of mind and contentment.  And while there's no way to stop the aging process, technology shows that regular facials SLOW the skin aging process and offer you more youthful, supple skin.  Don't wait!  Get on a regular skin care regimen that includes facials - you'll be surprised at the results!

By Deb

You may love the pampering and relaxation you feel when receiving a facial, but there are a multitude of other benefits your skin is receiving during your treatment that offer you health and wellness!  Some facial treatments are designed to deep-clean the skin, while others offer moisturizing benefits, and still others help to relieve stress, which often causes acne.  Be assured that with each type of facial you are increasing circulation and increasing oxygen to skin cells which gives your skin that healthy glow and helps to plump up the skin reducing the look of fine lines and wrinkles.  You're also relieving stress through this soothing treatment with aromatherapy and oils that encourage peace of mind and contentment.  And while there's no way to stop the aging process...technology shows that regular facials SLOW the skin aging process and offer you more youthful, supple skin.  Don't wait!  Get on a regular skin care regimen that includes facials and you'll be surprised by the results!

By Deb

Ingredients:
8 oz. linguine
2 TBS unsalted butter
1 lb. med. shrimp, peeled, deveined
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 c. white wine
1/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Zest of 1 lemon
2 TBS chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 c. grated parmesan

Instructions:
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to pkg. directions - drain well.  Melt butter in large skillet over med. heat. Add shrimp, garlic, red pepper flakes.  Cook, stirring occasionally until pink (about 2-3 minutes).  Stir in white wine and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a simmer; remove from heat and stir in pasta, lemon zest and parsley.  Serve immediately, garnished with parmesan, if desired.  SERVES 4. 

By Deb

Why are so many of us at war with ourselves?  Perhaps it happened gradually with the way we were raised, words we heard at school when we were younger, TV and commercials that keep you comparing yourself with others.  It was created from a place of fear.

Now is a good time to say “no more.”  No more self deprecating thoughts.  It’s over – declare PEACE!   It’s time to create your life with love.  You can learn from the past, but don’t dwell on it - it’s over.  We are in charge of our own thoughts.  Affirm yourself, give thanks for all that you are, all the lovely things you have and enjoy, and know that more good is to come.  

Be aware of your feelings, because they let you know what you are thinking.  As soon as you realize you’re falling back into old habits, tell yourself what you really want, (not what you don’t want).

Peace is not merely a ceasefire, but acceptance of the love that fills everything.  It’s time, and it’s ok to love yourself!

By Deb

When it comes to businesses knowing how to create a great customer experience, WillowBridge gets an A++.  It's often the little details that customers remember ~ even more than the product they purchased or the service they received.  Little details that make customers not only feel good about making the purchase or having the service, but purchasing the product and receiving the service from YOU.  WillowBridge's attentiveness to each client from the moment they are greeted at the door to the personalization of their service provider remembering whether  they like tea, coffee or lemon water - it's the details!  Beyond great service and conversation ~ they genuinely appreciate those who patronize their business ~ especially after their relocation to Isanti.  Most impressive ~ they send hand-written thank you notes to clients! This nearly forgotten art still lives in the hearts of those employed at WillowBridge.  "The sum of the parts is greater than the whole."  Meaningful, memorable, fun experiences influence the way clients perceive us.  Little details are of more value than even WE realized ~ and in some cases, causes clients to pay more because they feel they get more - and they recommend us to everyone they know.  Anyone can do the big things - but it's the little details that influence customer's choices.  Attentiveness and kindness cost nothing.  But they sure do make a valuable difference.

By Deb

As Christmas and New Years have come and gone, I thought I'd share one of my family's favorite warm holiday beverages.  During these special days we usually have a large pot of this mix simmering on low on the stove.  There is a delicious aroma in the air and a warm mug ready for sipping by the fire, fellowshipping with loved ones and taking in the season.  ENJOY!

CRANBERRY GINGER GLUGG (I prefer organic ingredients)

Fill a large stock pot half full with cranberry juice
Add apple cider to taste (I add one jar)
2-4 cinnamon sticks
Orange peel to taste
Peeled and sliced ginger (I grate for a stronger ginger flavor)

Why not enjoy this recipe on the cold, winter days ahead! 

By Deb

YOU'LL NEED:

1 Bag Frozen Cinnamon Rolls in 9x13 greased cake pan (recipe is for 2 pans)

1 c. vanilla ice cream

1 c. brown sugar

5 TBL butter

~

Let rolls thaw and rise overnight in oven ~ don't cover!

On Christmas morning, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

In saucepan over med. heat, melt butter, ice cream and brown sugar until blended - bring to boil.

Pour over both pans of rolls and bake according to cinnamon roll package directions.  Metal pan

works best.  ENJOY!

By Deb

Sometimes it takes a bit of thinking for me not to get caught up in the stress of life, work, family, the holidays, food prep, gifts to buy and chores.  This is what I do to handle the challenges of life:

Breathe deep and take a few minutes to relax.
Take time to study someone's smile until I am smiling too!
Keep life simple, focus on the little things in life and look through the eyes of a child.
Count the things I am thankful for.

My favorite holiday soup to make is CHICKEN WILD RICE:

Fry 1/2 lb. of bacon, cut in small pieces
Saute' a large chopped onion
Saute' 8 oz. portabella mushrooms, sliced
3 cups cooked tender wild rice

Add:
2-3 tsp. chicken base (purchased)
Bacon, onions, mushrooms
2 cans cream of potato soup
1 1/2 sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups water
1 pint half and half
Salt, pepper, roasted garlic to taste 

Heat thoroughly (be careful not to scorch)
Double recipe for 10 qt. pot 

By Deb

SALMON PATTIES

1 (7.5 oz.) can red salmon - drained
1/4 c. finely diced onion
1/4 finely diced red pepper
1 TBL chopped parsley
1 egg
1/2 c. fresh whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tsp. olive oil

Instructions: Place drained salmon in a bowl and mash with fork.  Mix with onion, red pepper, egg,bread crumbs and parsley.  Shape into four patties - heat oil - cook about 5 minutes or until browned and cooked through - turning only once.

ENJOY! 

By Deb

What use to be a gimmicky gift (chia pets) are now the new health food craze!  Chia seeds on their own do not have a strong flavor which makes them so easy to introduce into your diet - and for good reason!
 
*When chia seeds come into contact with liquid, they expand and gel up - helping you to feel fuller, longer and possibly helping with weight loss
*Balance blood sugar.  Chia seeds have soluble and insoluble fiber which helps steady the absorption of the energy from the food you eat.  Great addition to a diabetics' diet!  
*Don't like fish? Chia seeds are the best plant source for Omega 3's!  No need to worry about the mercury content of your fish - just add chia to your diet for these healthy fats
*Chia seeds are a great source of energy.  Add them to your breakfast to substitute for your coffee and you'll get your energy boost!
*Chia seeds have anti-oxidants which help tame the free radicals in your body that cause premature aging

1 oz. of chia seeds = about 2 tablespoons and contain:
139 calories
4g protein
9g fat
12g carbs
11g fiber

Chia seeds are loaded with protein and packed with calcium, manganese, and phosphorus.  And...they're gluten-free!

Introduce chia seeds SLOWLY to your diet - remember - they have a large fiber content and too much, too quick could cause an upset stomach.

So versatile - you can sprinkle them on salads, cereal, veggies, yogurt, add them to drinks and baked goods. 

 

By Deb

How often do you hear people complain about the circumstances in their life?  Yeah, all the time - and it drives me crazy!  Sure, you can't control the things that happen in your life, but you CAN absolutely control how you react to the things that happen.

You teach people how to treat you by how you react to things.  If you don't stand up for yourself you will get walked all over.  Which, in turn, will cause unhappiness.  You can't expect other people to make you happy - you hold the key to your own happiness.

If you don't like something about your life - CHANGE IT!  Don't like your career, CHANGE IT!  Don't like the people in your life, CHANGE THEM!  Life is too short to be unhappy.

Don't sit back and wait for your life to happen.  Get up and get what you want.  NOW! 

By Deb

The warm breeze blowing across your face, the radiant sun warming your skin, the feel of smooth sand between your toes, but all you can think about is, "Man, I really should have shaved 'the girl' before I put on this hot, new swimsuit!!!!  

Worrying about 'your girl' can ruin a good day at the beach.  It can ruin a lot more than that too!

FACT:  Shaving your, ahem, "V" can cause itching, irritation, razor burn, and a variety of other uncool side effects.  
FACT:  Sugaring your special places has little to no negative side effects. 

Now, don't get me wrong...it's painful!  Like, top five most painful things I've ever chosen to do myself.  There is a small risk of bruising - and - if you don't treat her right...a few ingrown hairs.  BUT...the benefits of a Brazilian Sugar far outweigh the risks.  You can achieve the smooth, clean, non-itching, long lasting effects of a Brazilian Sugar in less than one hour - in less than a half-hour if you have got some kahoonas!

The first time is the hardest part.  We establish a foundation.  We do EVERYTHING.  No hair left behind (pun totally intended).  You'll ask yourself why you waited so long to give this a try...and your significant other will too!  Voila!  You're hooked!  

Maintenance (on average) is every 4-6 weeks.  Your only job in between that time is to make sure you're keeping her clean and exfoliated.  Sure, you may cuss, cry, bargain, plead and work through some emotional issues during the process, but that quickly fades when you are left to gaze at your new best friend.  

As far as things go on my end?  All I see is hair...and the need for it to be removed.  Second, I cannot wait for you to experience the awesomeness of the Brazilian Sugar! 

By Deb

Freedom is a big word right now, as we celebrate Independence Day.  It can mean different things to different people, depending on individual experiences.  I think a lot of people think of it as escaping from a bad situation, but here is another way to look at it:

Freedom is not the absence of commitments, but the ability to choose - and commit yourself to - what is best for you (Paulo Coelho). 

You are the only one who can make the choice to live the life of your dreams.  The old memories seem to like to pop back into our lives, triggering the old behaviors that can take control, but you can be aware and change your thoughts.  Empowered living is constantly remembering your goals, how you want to change and committing to it again.

Realize that our spirituality was created in the likeness of God; we are already free and always will be.  Make wonderful choices! 

By Deb

 

“There are some who bring a light so great to the world that even when they have gone, the light remains.”

 

For whatever reason, last Father’s Day was difficult.  Naturally, I get melancholy because my Dad passed away in 1999, but it seemed like it was only yesterday he was here…playing with grandkids, fishing, telling jokes and laughing.  Oh, how I wished to hear his laugh again!  Try as I might to think about all the great Dads we still HAVE in our family, I just couldn’t shake the sadness of not having my own father here to celebrate.  And then it happened!  As I was going through a drawer in my hutch, I found it…a letter I’d written to my Dad for Father’s Day in 1991!  He’d put it in a plastic protector with other items he’d saved and placed it in his safe – only to be discovered after he was gone.  Time stopped as I sat down to read it.  I wrote that I wouldn’t be giving him the traditional shirt or fishing gear for Father’s Day, but rather ‘memories’ that had so enriched my life.  I remembered childhood lunches and playdates, high school drama and heartaches.  I remembered him teaching me to ride a bike along with every single neighborhood kid until we’d all made the passage from training wheels to freedom!  I remembered giving him each and every term paper I’d ever written and him being my greatest critic, but also my biggest fan.  I remembered the last time we went fishing when I was still his daughter and not yet someone’s wife.  I remembered the treasured moments of him playing with my daughter, the child of his child.  I remembered his life-changing advice and so much more.  I ended the letter thanking him for being my protector, my mentor, my rock.  I knew without a doubt, I wouldn’t be so happy a wife and mother, had I not been so lovingly fathered.  Yes, I was a daddy’s girl.  I had no fear of the world as long as my father was in it.  Maybe that’s why, some days, like this past Father’s Day, I’m gently reminded that I am making my way through the world without him –and I miss him.  I will have moments where I yearn for the safety of his arms and his words, no matter how old I get.  I will always be his daughter – I will always be HIS girl. 

By Deb

You are deserving of love.  Give yourself a chance to love and be loved.  It's a wonderful feeling to know someone is always there, through the good times and the hard times.   Don't give up on people.  People who give a lot of love, receive a lot of love!  Love creates love.  It can be great!  Love is a force of nature.  Act lovingly towards yourself and do things that nuture you, make you stronger, and make you proud of who you are and how you live your life.  You have to love yourself first, then others.  Never take anyone for granted.  Learn how to appreciate everyone.  You never know when your life will end, so love often.

By Deb

Evidence from numerous surveys show people receive better customer care and service locally, because we know each other!  Local businesses value you; their reputation and repeat business is what helps them survive.  Most people can get to local businesses more easily, which is important for the elderly and those who don't drive.  Local businesses are more generous in their support of local charities, schools and community events, which makes a financial impact on the community.  Local businesses employ local people.  People fall out of the habit of shopping locally and then are surprised by the range of products and services available.  Please be mindful of this.  Remember, if shops disappear, so do salons, banks, grocery stores, restaurants, etc.