Charcuterie Boards and Covid

Charcuterie Boards and Covid

One of the hottest trends over the past year has been the Charcuterie Board or Platter.  The mix of different cheeses, meats, nuts, berries, fruits, dips or spreads with crackers seems to be always the perfect solution for so many occasions.  The week of my Birthday, I had planned to meet some friends at a restaurant.  But, because of Covid, I decided that it would be best for us to meet up in an open-air setting with some wine and a Charcuterie Plate.

It was a lot of fun to plan, buy for and assemble.  First, I asked my niece where the best place to pick up specialty cheeses were.  Here in Michigan, the Kroger in Brighton was the best choice.  My niece, who entertains a lot suggested merlot cheese, a brie and a cheddar.  And sure enough, I stepped up to the cheese counter and the women working there knew exactly what to purchase.  She suggested the Merlot BellaVitano, Triple Cream Brie and Horseradish Cheddar.  They were all so tasty.  The Merlot was a little sharp, brie was melt in your mouth like butter and the cheddar tasted like mild horseradish with a smooth cheese.  I was really happy with the purchase.

The Cheese Lady suggested some salami and sea salt crackers, dotted with a fig jelly.  Along with this, I decided to pick up a few Michigan apples and make a quick Chocolate Bourbon Caramel Sauce.  Yes, this does sound work intensive.  But, I have my Thermomix, that creates the chocolate sauce in under 1 hour.  And best of all the cleaning-up process is easy!

I used the smooth Buffalo Trace Bourbon in the sauce and used 1 ounce more bourbon 1 ounce less water for a bit stronger taste. This sauce can be used to dip pretzels, fruit or as a drizzle on ice cream or cake.  It also makes for a great gift when put into Mason Jars.  I’ll attach the Cookidoo ingredients below for the Thermomix appliance.

Assembly was a lot of fun and I loved that I could be creative.  I started with smaller wooden bowls that I had found at TJ Maxx and my oblong white platter from Pottery Barn.  The platter has been in my life for about 8 years and it is truly a staple and classic piece to have in the kitchen.  I set the small “pinch” bowls on the platter first and began to place the cheese and meat.  I used fresh sage leaves and flowers from my garden to top it off and to help give the platter some depth and texture.  Being creative and thinking outside of the traditional cheese plate makes for an interesting and delicious treat.

The evening was amazing, as we hadn’t seen each other in almost a year due to the stay at home orders.  Some wine, yummies and great conversation was just what our doctor had ordered.  We all need that human connection, more now than ever.

Enjoy!

XO- Lindy

Chocolate Bourbon Caramel Sauce

Easy, 5 min prep, 40 minutes total, 8 jars

Ingredients:
10 oz  Sugar
46 oz Water
1tsp Fresh lemon juice, squeezed
24 oz Semi-sweet chocolate chunks, or morsels
3 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon
2 oz Vinegar

Preparation is in the Thermomix appliance, if you are interested in a virtual demonstration, please contact me at email:  Lindy@bebravewanderlust.com

A DIFFERENT TYPE OF YOGA

Stepping into a class for the first time can be embarrassingly awkward.  The first class that I attended was an impromptu one in a small town that I had been living in.  I didn’t know all but one person and of course, it was the instructor.  I wasn’t sure what I was in for, but after realizing that we were all there for the same experience, it was easy to let go and just be in the moment.  As a newbie, I first needed to ditch everything I was taught in my yoga certification studies.  For the student, I would say forget wearing your cutie yoga clothes, jeans will work, just wear something comfortable and forget downward dog, tree and warrior poses.  All you need is a bottle of water, maybe a tissue in case you cry when you laugh and some strong pelvic muscles.   And remember, everyone else is doing this with you.

The philosophy behind this yoga is pretty simple, whether you force it or it is a true laugh…something triggers the physiological responses and while pretending to do it, you’ll almost always end up actually doing it!  And so, as you are standing as a group the instructor will begin to use prompts, in turn these prompts will start making others laugh…including yourself!

There are different kinds of techniques that bring out the laughter in people.  It depends on your instructor.  Some may have you chant words that make no real sense, others will have you clapping and skipping around the room.  Other’s may have you partner up and watch each other doing certain dance moves while singing and starting to laugh.  Getting your blood pumping is key.  This helps your endorphins to release and boosts your immune system, there is something to be said about laughter being the best medicine for you.

With all the stress that we have experienced with the Covid-19 Pandemic, many of us have had our lives void of laugher.  And as we get older, it’s common that we tend to shy away from the childlike play and laughter we once had.  And so, in a safe and non-judgemental space these yoga classes offer a great way to regain the lightheartedness and euphoria feelings. 

Just think about when you have a really good, shameless belly laugh.  What muscles do you use?  Facial, heart and core, among others.  It only makes sense to realize it is great exercise. While working on a medical journal article in the 1990s, a Mumbai doctor came up with the idea that there are health benefits of laughter.  There are now clubs in 70 countries around the world, ranging from schools to corporations.  And so, people are really seeing the benefits within their own communities. 

It’s not just a childlike playfulness and carefree hour that is great about these classes, it’s that these are and can be readily accessible to anyone anywhere.  You just need to be brave enough to try it once.  After that, you will know that you feel great all day afterward and may even become addicted!

Look for my upcoming Giggle Laughing Yoga classes offered in the Be Brave Wanderlust Network, coming in December 2020.

TIPS FOR DEACTIVATING FIGHT OR FLIGHT

TIPS FOR DEACTIVATING FIGHT OR FLIGHT

For many centuries yogis have known that the way to find serenity and achieve calm is to practice yoga. The techniques that connect yoga and meditation to the mind and body have been studied in recent years and the results have shown a significant positive effect on our mental health and physiology.  Treating the mind and body as a whole system has it’s advantages.
Over the past 6 or so months people’s health has been greatly affected mentally and physical due to the uncertainty stress from the Covid Pandemic.  It only makes sense that we work on learning coping skills that help us get through our own “Fight or Flight” response when we are faced with situations that raise our emotions and stress on our bodies . But, how do we cope with these situations when many of us were never taught the tools? I’ve trained with one of the Yoga and Mental Health leading experts, Ashley A. Turner in the field to not only help myself, but to help others.

Here are two easy tips to practice in order to ground yourself and transition a fight or flight response to a calm.

Begin to deactivate your response, we do this by practicing:
1. Breathing – Yes, it’s true. Taking breaths and counting will help. But, do it in a way that is very mindful, not just counting.  

Extend your inhale breath, hold and then extend your exhale breath.
Start by inhaling 4 counts, hold for 4 counts and then exhale 4 counts. Do this 4 times. Then, on the end of the exhale, begin to hold 4 counts before inhaling for 4 counts.
Do this as many times last you feel necessary. But, within a few rounds you should begin to feel the calm settle in. Your whole body should start to relax more.

2. Move – After soothing yourself with extended breaths, being moving.  Movement or shaking can be seen in animals who go through nervous or dangerous situations. The shaking is a result from excess energy. An animal who has just been threatened may begin to walk back and forth also. Both of these result in a depletion of excessive energy and is soothing.  In humans, dancing, walking, running, shaking or any form of positive movement will bring on calmness, yoga included.

By beginning to use these 2 simple tools when situations arise, you’ll begin to automatically switch from the “Fight or Flight” response to a more effective way to deal with stressful situations.
xo- Lindy

MARYLAND CAMPS, ORCHARDS & WINERIES

MARYLAND CAMPS, ORCHARDS & WINERIES

At a Harvest Host Winery in Maryland
In about 5 years of travel camping I’ve had to stay in at least 5 parking lots overnight. Ranging from Walmart to Cabela’s. For me it’s usually because I’m tired and desperate to sleep right at that moment. I just couldn’t go another mile to find a campsite. But now, I pulled the trigger on a new adventure for myself, I became a Harvest Host member. And since October 10th, it has already paid for itself.
The historic town near the Pokomoke River and Snow Hill was a perfect retreat away from the hustle and bustle of Ocean City, MD. There were even hiking trails that are in excellent shape to hike. The dogs and I both felt great after a hike and sleeping in a completely quiet space.
The second and third Harvest Hosts were both different. One an Orchard and the other a winery. Both owners were equally as friendly and I had a great time learning about their farms. The orchard located in Federalsburg owned by the Blades family has easy parking off a main road. It reminded me of the old time pull-off picnic and rest areas you’d see in the 60’s and 70’s. I liked it so much that I stayed 2 nights.
Blades offers pumpkins, apples, hard cider, cider and fresh baked cider donuts. The donuts were made the night before from scratch by the owner. I hate to say, but I ate all 4 myself. The apples I purchased were a type I had never heard of before and were honestly the best Apple I’d ever eaten. I need to learn the name! If you are looking for a laid back place to stop or camp on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, not far from Delaware, Blades Orchards is where to go!
The winery is not far from the orchard and in a little tiny town near the Black Water Refuge. The property has great vibes and the vines are well taken care of. On Saturday the winery was really busy with a bridal shower and a tour bus from DC. And so I waited until Sunday for tasting. Their wine was unique and I ended up buying 2 bottles at about $20 each. Supporting the local businesses is always important to me and it was well worth the stop.
I give the this weekend 4 Shiny Silver Airstream out of 4. My nomad camping experience was top notch.