Weekly Wellness Lessons

CamAndLeigh

It’s barely Thursday, but I have a brain full of lessons, ideas, inspiration and things that make me want to vomit. I’m pretty pretty honest, so if this isn’t your thing, I totally get it if you close this window. But since you’re here, thank you for stopping by.

This week has been so great so far. Every God-given day truly is. I’d like to see it that way. You know, Instagram is a funny funny place to park your car and stay for awhile. You do what you want with it and you can either open up, spectate and sometimes be unexpectedly moved. It’s no secret that I’ve come to learn so much about myself and how every journey intrigues me, especially my own. Whether I’ve known you my whole life or I’ve just bumped into you in a trinket store, I somehow can easily be all-ears and it will open me up. For some reason, for some imaginable reason – it matters to me.

In the last 72 hours I’ve received messages and comments that were crazy-kind. For anyone to stop what they’re doing and write me anything more than one letter is a present to me and I will always always think so. And they mean so much more than the average assumption. Thank you guys. I’ve been so blessed to get a number of direct messages and posts and reposts and comments from people who are family, who are like family, complete strangers and from people I have somehow touched. And the last three days, and in three separate messages, three separate people used the would ‘loyal.’

Now when I think of the people and their character who have impacted me, whether they are still here or not, it is their character that I carry in my mind. Somehow with all the busy-ness in my head, I find adequate room for all those details that I admire.

Wellness means being free and honoring yourself. It means taking care of yourself and whatever it takes to be completely raw, shaken, moved and you. It’s that feeling you get when you’re feet are light, you feel good and you’ve managed to put on your wings instead of leaving them home that morning.

When I read those separate sentences, with that word ‘loyal,’ it affected my ‘wellness’ (this week) because I was suddenly reminded of all the people who doubted me and who told me those doubts to my face as a child and a young adult. There was an intimate flashback where I recalled the taunting. The people who were unkind, un-loyal and took no pauses to stab me in the back allowed me to learn what loyalty IS and was. They showed me what I didn’t want to become. This isn’t a sob blog – I don’t want you to feel bad for me. In fact, I held a heavy heart earlier because of the way I now project wellness and perseverance.  And of course how I view it and define it. Maybe I didn’t understand that as a child and young adult, we have places here. We’re suppose to be here. That those interference completely and absolutely had to do with the voids that they had in them. I was a walking target. I wasn’t full comfortable in my skin compared to these days. And my lesson learned is this, I can’t change the past. Nor do I have a need to. How I react is my karma, which is what my idol Wayne Dyer taught me. Rest in peace Dr. Dyer.

We each belong here. We each have stories to tell. It is your sole choice to decide what affects you and your well-being – and you have control over that.

Being a person who listens and who makes people laugh and makes people think, comes naturally to me, I feel. My character is important to me and what I stand for.

Lesson: there is something quite special when you are authentic. There is something to it. There is honesty to creating your own world – where you feel more comfortable doing the opposite of what everyone else is doing. Don’t be anything less than you because being you is everything that will ever ever ever matter.

 

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Veggie Tales & Secrets

A72B4A97-D76E-4CA1-AFEE-07F981E25758One of the most popular questions I get is, ‘how do I get my kid to eat vegetables?’ To me, it’s not just a valid concern or a common concern, but a serious situation. Truth is, I grew up eating lots of vegetables and loving it because my parents were big on Exploration. They allowed me to figure out what texture differed from others and they wanted to expand my palette. And for that, I am so grateful.

Naturally, I’ve done the same for my kids – throwing everything I could find while they were (and are) so young. And I’d like to think I’ve taken many of my Parents lessons and have evolved creatively.

There are so many gorgeous types of produce available compared to when I was little. The colours scream at me and it is not unusual for me to do cartwheels at our local market.

Here are a few of my tips that have been successful for me:

1. Just like a dessert bar, create a cute and bright salad bar. This doesn’t mean they ‘have’ to eat leafy greens, it just means that introducing greens or other vegetables (and fruit) can be unconventional. It gets them in there and they will be able to take ownership for their choices.

2. Salad toppings! Man, this really works! I roast a lot of veggies. And I also dry fruit. When many of them caramazlizes and crunch up, they are so much more appealing and tasty for kids. I don’t ever remember giving my kids croutons, not that I’m against it, they’ve just had fresher items to choose from. Roasted tomatoes, crispy onions, roasted radishes, crunchy fruit like dried apples and dried peaches are favs; the list does go on.

3. Something strange and often different can capture your kids attention. But instead of adding gummy worms or m&ms in their bowls, try things that they never ever would see elsewhere. Seaweed, pretzels, shrimp, edamame beans, dark chocolate, green-peas, toasted tortillas and so on. Make it weird!!

3. When you’re out and about at a farm, or markets or even the grocery store, get the kids a basket. Encourage them to add items that look interesting, curious and vibrant. Feature each choice on a platter (when you get home) – give them the spotlight – and get each family member to try it and make notes on what they thought and tasted. One or two of these could easily be the new family favorite!

You’ll get there!!

xx Leigh

Getting to know Me

 

Hey! I’m writing on an early Tuesday morning, while a thousand pieces of clothing is set for my laundry day – that awaits suds, attention and the enthusiasm I have to find. I never thought in a million years that I’d be blogging and answering questions about myself. The Instagram community that has been so supportive and such a learning tool has opened up this platform – where I’ve been able to meet incredible people. So THANK YOU!

SeedsOfThree on IG wasn’t anything planned. My parents instilled in us the importance of healthy eating, however a lot of the recipes and habits and shortcuts I’ve been using, came from the survival mode we all tend to be thrown in as a new Mom. As a child, I naturally gravitated to a lot of produce. Anything green was a love and my taste-buds were formed that way earlier on. But it was when I was pregnant with my second that things suddenly woke me up. Okay, it didn’t wake me up, it shook me and hard! You know that dreaded sugar test that pregnant Moms have to take at a certain point of your term? That cute orange bottle, that isn’t so cute after the first sip? And first gag? Well, after I completed it and congratulated myself that I actually kept it down, I received a call at work (soon after) that I had ‘Gestational Diabetes.’

Gestational Diabetes is a condition that pregnant women attains where high blood sugar levels are reached. In the long haul, the kids are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes or can become overweight. It basically means, it is caused by not enough insulin in the setting of insulin resistance.

I have to admit that without fully knowing what it was, I freaked out. I immediately informed my boss of the steps. There was a full class that my hospital/OB provided, which was so informative and gave me so much peace. I was also matched with an amazing Dietitian who quickly told me that my case wasn’t as serious, that because I was borderline; I wouldn’t need insulin shots. From that moment, and after seeking as much information as I could and from the right resources, I knew I had to make a lifestyle change. I knew that there is always room for improvement. And I knew that I wasn’t just doing this for me. The fear that took place after that first initial call, meant that I had to lead by example. It meant that I had to instill more that just a made-up vegetable song; we had to apply these new steps and as a family, it was imperative that it was priority.

In the fall of 2016, I created a Instagram profile to document my hits and misses when it came to meal prep and introducing new foods to my family. Mind you, my family already ate a lot of healthy options – I just needed to step it up, but most of all, I had to communicate what we were eating and list all the reasons why.

After time, it wasn’t as challenging and the words behind all those Instagram filters, meant something more to me. I was sharing recipes and my techniques to people who cared. It slowly became this place of pride and encouragement. It was totally unexpected but continues to be so delightful. I knew I could make a difference after I was pleasantly surprised that many many many people around the globe, we’re in a similar place that I was in.

If you’re new to my feed, welcome! And thank you! On my blog and on Instagram, you will quickly see a lot of food and lifestyle photos. Because I absolutely dislike being in the kitchen for more than 35 minutes, I’ve incorporated easy, fresh and nutritious meals that you probably will create over and over again. I’m that mom who really wants to spend all my time playing with my kids and family, and not stand in the kitchen stirring and mixing and baking and then more stirring while I miss all the fun. You’ll also notice that my sense of humor gets me through the challenges that sometimes arises from being human. And you’ll probably understand right away that I don’t believe in depriving one from your favorite foods and dishes. It’s quite nice to enjoy ‘sometimes’ foods – and it’s very very nice to replace certain unhealthy options/ingredients with other foods you will grow to love.

TIP: One of the biggest things I write with my posts is about preparation. I truly believe that 90% of the work happens in the grocery store. How, you might say? Assembling and prepping your meals can only be done in a stress-free environment when you are prepared and have stocked up your fridge. Some of the meals I make, have 4-5 main ingredients, but because their fresh, they’re satisfying and good for you.

Thank you for all the DMs and messages, I answer every single question! Sending you love and light and support with the life you lead and with anything you could be struggling with. xx Leigh

Chef Spotlight on Lynne Tolentino

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It’s quite amazing how things change and evolve. When I was younger, I remember everyone cooking all around me. I can still smell the aromas coming from the kitchen. It’s intriguing what smells and sounds stick with you. The loud voices that accompanied the loud banging of the kitchen pots and pans, while some family members were so quiet in the kitchen – both produced my childhood taste-buds, and I thank them. They were the faces that represented what Filipino meals looked like to me. However, there were absolutely no professional Chefs on TV or in magazines, that represented my heritage and culture. But it’s incredible. Now, 2018, our world is saturated with talent from all countries and from all walks of life. You hear stories all the time of those who quit their corporate office jobs to pursue their dreams.

I think one of the best things that has come out of this evolution and this internet-age is social media.  Through social media, there are no limits on who you can meet. The variety of meals and how meals are prepped are endless. We have a bigger platform where we can use voices and share our dreams. You can meet people who share your culture or maybe come across individuals that represent a culture you don’t know anything about. But I think chasing dreams and making them happen is a universal and unbiased part of living. Creating the life you want truly corresponds to taping into your passion and that state of mind that can sometimes be uncomfortable. And I think taking those leaps of faith can bring fear and doubt; I have so much respect for people that design their life – the way they say, and the way they want. It’s brave. It’s authentic. It demonstrates the fact that we were all created differently and the people around us, our peers, the individuals young and old could possibly be inspired by those same people who are their own leaders – and music makers.

I found Lynne Tolentino through another friend who happens to be a part of a largely successful podcast called TigerBelly via Youtube streams, so thank you Gilbert. Lynne’s feed on Instagram instantly caught my attention. Getting to know her has been is pretty amazing, our mini interview has made me proud to know that we share ancestors from the same country, The Philippines. Please read further and get to know one of the top Chefs in California. Lynne, it was a pleasure and I can’t wait to collaborate even further and I’ll see you in Cali girl!

What type of Chef are you?
I was trained Classic French Fine Dining. But now I cook Filipino French Fusion.

When did you find this passion?
I always had the passion to cook since I was 8 years old. As I got older I went to medical school and became a Nurse. As I worked as a nurse I was incredibly unhappy and bored. I made the decision to quit and put myself through culinary school and work my way up the ranks within the kitchens I worked in.

Does it run in your family?
Absolutely, Both of my Parents cooked my entire childhood and as well as both grandparents on each side. Our main conversations I remembered as a child were always revolving around food.
What is your nationality? And what does your culture and heritage mean to you?

I am Filipino, African American, & Italian. My culture and heritage are the most important to me. Growing up, food was for us to survive. My father had a garden where we were taught how to plant and harvest. We were always taught to respect and be thankful to have food in our home, as for some families they didn’t have any. My culture and Heritage have me humbled to cook with respect and love.

What do you enjoy most about creating and cooking?

What I enjoy the most about creating and cooking are putting ideas together. And that anxious feeling to see if what we were brainstorming comes out to what we were expecting. And if it was a fail, then thats more exciting because we learned something new and now trying to figure out what we can do to make it better. I really enjoy learning everyday. Keeps me on my toes and keeps me from being stagnant. I was taught early in my career that learning something new everyday is the most important.

What challenges did you face to get to where you are now?

The biggest challenge I have right now is running the entire restaurant on my own. We don’t have a General Manager at our restaurant because we are  a pop-up so I would have to be the Chef & GM. I have a great team for FOH and BOH. We all work great together and make sure that our communication is solid.

Are there favourite dishes you love to prepare? 
It totally depends what season it is,  but right now my favorite dishes I like to prepare are Soups and Desserts. Recently added our Arroz Caldo (Filipino Rice Porridge) to our menu and our guests love it. It’s really comforting and simple. It has great flavors of rice, onions, garlic, ginger, and fish sauce. We garnish the dish with Seared pork cheeks, Circulated Egg, Quail Eggs, chicharron, and calamansi. I love putting together dessert dishes because its one of the things I feel that I need to work on because I am not a pastry chef. I like to take filipino desserts and incorporate it into something completely different but still have the authentic filipino flavors.
How have you evolved as a person?
I definitely evolved as a person. Being in this industry opened my eyes to hospitality and seasonality. Food makes the world go round, without it we will not survive. I trained under great chefs who were great leaders and I learned a lot from them all. I went from Nursing to the restaurant industry. Two totally different fields but both have one main focus, Customer Service & Hospitality. Having experiences from both fields definitely evolved me to be more Strong, Patient, Humble, respectful, and always hungry to learn.
What advice would you give a young girl or boy who has similar dreams?
My advice to the youngsters: This is a very hard field. Be ready to work many many hours and be underpaid. Its a field of passion, drive, and devotion. Anyone can have passion but without having the drive and devotion, you’ll feel stuck. Things you see on TV are not exactly how it is in the kitchen. Be ready to Sweat, Bleed, and Cry. All of this, will make you a stronger person inside out. Always be hungry to learn. Always be a team player. A chef will ALWAYS BE A COOK, Chefs are nothing without their cooks on their team. Many chefs would say “One Team, One Dream” its absolutely true. The kitchen will be your life and your family. If one fails we all fail. If one succeed, we all succeed.
You can find Lynne Tolentino and her original creations here:
Instagram:  @lynneTolentino
Papilles Bistro
6221 Franklin Ave.
Los Angeles, California
90028

Green Bean Parm Casserole Recipe up!

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Are you counting down? The holidays are fast approaching! I will be posting new recipes; you can find them on the RECIPE tab! These quick solutions can mean a whole lot of difference between camping out in the kitchen or having true quality time with loved ones! Hope you enjoy them while spreading love and cheer with your family & friends!

Photo credit: Corinne Taylor

10 Tips for Grocery Shopping

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A trip to the local store or fresh market sounds easy enough, right? Well, it is however there are little tricks you can do to save money, be a little more pantry-organized and good to your body.

  1. Lists, lists, lists! Whether it’s a memory thing or an organizational thing or even an OCD thing, a good old fashion list can make or break your budget. Instead of going through the same aisles 3-4 times or buying things that you really really don’t need, a list can save you from all that trouble. I don’t miss those guessing-game visits only to find I bought the same thing twice two weeks ago. Preparation is also a grand tool.
  2. Cupboard/Fridge walk-through: Have you ever stared at certain product on a store shelf, asking yourself if you’re out of something or if you have it in stock – looking at the label like it’s gonna jump out and tell you? Doing a quick run-through of what you have, need and don’t have can be a time-saver. It only takes a few minutes before you leave the house.
  3. Big box, little box: If you’re making a run to the market and head for the carts, you might start filling that big empty space with items you probably don’t need. Sticking to the list can be a challenge for some already; so grabbing a smaller size basket instead, will steer your way through the store with a clearer mind.
  4. Purchase in bulk: Thank you Costco! Is there anything that needs to be said for buying in bulk? Whether you are buying a large amount of quinoa or extra large jugs of olive oil, you’re always going to save on time and money. Thinking ahead, preparing yourself and your home are always feel-good plans.
  5. Scheduling: Often times it seems like common sense to complete all errands on the weekends. Is it a fun idea when everyone in your town thinks so too? Shopping during less-traffic hours of operation can help you achieve a smoother trip. When there is more space to concentrate and less bustle, you’ll most likely make better decisions. Making a visit Monday – Wednesday after work will cut down on distractions.
  6. Nutritional Facts is a fact: It’s almost produce-law that the more hands that touch your food, the more unhealthy it is for you. And chances are, the items found without a label are smarter choices. Have you ever seen someone check the nutritional facts as they grab a handful of green beans? That never happens! Good choices lead to good habits.
  7. Full belly shopping syndrome: It’s an old theory that you should never go grocery shopping with an empty stomach. You probably hear it a lot, and that’s because it’s very true. Arriving at a place that has access to your favorite foods and sometimes sample tables can really alter your purpose. You’ll end up purchasing items you probably don’t need, which stems to a bigger issues: wasting time, wasting food and wasting money.
  8. What’s in a label? I never believed in torture or depriving yourself of something. Moderation is definitely key. However, when you are shopping with a plan with your consumption on the horizon, checking ingredient lists can be a good thing. If you start paying attention to what you are buying from the middle section of the store, you might find ingredients that you either can’t pronounce or have no idea what they are. And that should pose for some concern if not a huge red flag, what are these chemicals that you are feeding your family? And is it worth looking into replacements?
  9. Lessons in Exploration Your attitude with about your food intake and reasons for breathing can impact so many areas in your life. There’s tons of good, nutritious foods out there that are calling your name. Be adventurous and brave when it comes to stepping out of your comfort zone. Try healthier options. Even something as simple as picking up a different colour pear or an odd looking vegetable can enhance the course of your intentions. Maybe cooking a whole meal without any packaged/manufactured food could be a good start for you. Small changes can truly truly create better long term health.
  10. Conscious Purpose! The point of replenishing your home is to replenish you and your families well-being. Creating an understanding of the importance of fresh food and less-manufactured items will really help you and your family get ahead. And get healthy! Being conscious of the consequences with junk food and what it really does can affect your mood, what you need to accomplish, it affects your lifestyle and future. Happy shopping and have fun!

 

Shortcuts & Holidays

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It took many frozen and burnt turkeys to get to a place of kitchen-calm. I’ve learned a long time ago that my dishes had to be created with strategy. I promised myself that it was time to enjoy family and share meals that didn’t take very long to put together. And with time, short-cuts evolved, ingredient replacements evolved and the biggest one of all, I found myself with new confidence pertaining to cooking, planning and living. On my site, I share it all and I am willing to learn how to improve. Hope you enjoy! And if you ever decide to create my recipes, make them your own and then let me know how it goes!! Check Recipe tab for new recipes weekly! Leigh xx

 

Photo credit: Corinne Taylor