Celebrating 31 years
Celebrating 31 years

 

Today the Best Male Cook and I are celebrating our 31st wedding anniversary.

We were married on a hot September Labor Day weekend in Lexington, KY.

Warren is an incredible person and loving father. He owns an old New Braunfels grill of which he is a master (follow my Instagram stories @greenapron to see the holey-grill) and he brews “liquid bread” for all to enjoy.

The fact that we’re celebrating our anniversary doesn’t have a lot to do with cookbooks, specifically, but I do believe there are a few similarities between long-term, committed relationships, and writing and running a business. If you’ll humor me, I’ll expand a little bit.

When I married Warren I made a decision to be married and to stay married to him. I also made a pact with myself: to hold up my end of the bargain to take care of myself and provide for my own happiness. I’ve always known that Warren isn’t here to make me happy. That’s my job and completely within my power. His job is to be here for me to love. And he does that well as a steady, consistent presence in my life.

With my cookbooks, coaching clients, and business I decided to think the same way. I hold up my end of the bargain. In order to cook, be on my feet in a kitchen, write, and manage my business, I take care of myself physically and emotionally. I value health so that I can show up to cook, write, and coach every day. My books and my business aren’t here to make me happy. It’s my job to manage my thoughts and have fun all along the way so that ideas and inspiration and motivation flow and so that I have a happy life, and not wait for the perfect book, clients, or situation to make me happy. Then, the offshoot is that I can write and create and teach from that good-feeling place. In turn, my books help you and you, in turn, can share your value with the world you live in. That’s the awesome, rippling power of making clear decision to do something.

After I decided to be married, I committed to Warren and to the idea of being married. I’m not saying that it was always easy, but it’s certainly been possible. I looked to create the future I wanted. I found friends who are examples of committed relationships. We spent time with them and valued what they did to remain committed. This commitment shut the door on entertaining other options and wow, that freed up so much of my brain power to do other fun things.

In a similar fashion, with my cookbooks, coaching clients, and business, I am committed to them all as well. Once I sign a contract, I finish the book. When a client enrolls in coaching, I show up and stick with them as long as they are gaining benefit from the coaching relationship. I commit to …

6 Tips for Well-Being
6 Tips for Well-Being

Being a mom can sometimes feel lonely. How can that be when surrounded by hustle, bustle, kids, and activity.

I venture to guess that in the absence of other mental illnesses, what we are lonely for is a connection with ourselves. When we’re raising children, we often lose touch with the best version of who we really are.

I’m here to say it’s not selfish to connect with you. Here’s my recipe for well-being that I try my best to practice.

1. Rest and sleep. There’s no heroism in sleep-deprivation. I literally used to love nap time when my kids were really little because I could take a power nap too. That’s not as necessary now, because my nighttime sleep isn’t interrupted, but I can’t overestimate the power of rest and sleep for your self-care.

2. Eat well. Choose foods that fuel your mom-self and give you energy. For me this means I limit sugar, alcohol, and simple carbohydrates from chips, crackers, cakes, cookies, and ice cream. I drink a lot of fresh water, eat a lot of colorful vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats. My energy levels are great and I feel good most of the time. I attribute that physical feeling of well-being to what I eat and to my sleep.

3. Choose thoughts that serve you. Your environment will prove true whatever you think, so deliberately focus on what you want to show up in your life. If you think you’re kids are cranky, or that you’re crazy busy guess what? Your kids act cranky and you feel crazy busy. (Below is my favorite YouTube video on this brainpower center called the Reticular Activating System.)

4. In quiet sit, every morning, for at least 10 to 15 minutes. No phone. No TV. Just you and quiet. Try to avoid the mental to-do list. Just sit and listen and be.

5. Play with people who are fun and have fun with your kids. They aren’t always going to want you around, so if you have a craving to play, now’s the time. Picnics, nature walks, banging on pots and pans. Embrace this chance to do what other adults don’t always take the time to do – play and have fun. I used to tell myself having kids felt was like I was on vacation. And we had a lot of fun for sure.

6. Enjoy inputs that uplift – music, books, TV, movies. Uplifting generates good thoughts which drive positive emotions and actions. This is why the Hallmark Channel is so popular.

When we show up for ourselves and be the best we can be, we’re easier to be around. We don’t mind solitude, and we don’t look for people and activities outside of us to make us feel better. And, if you do feel lonely, and if you feel darkness overcomes you more often than not, please reach out to someone. You’re not alone.


Cookbook author, editor, and Culinary Dietitian Maggie Green, RDN, LD coaches first-time cookbook

Anthony Bourdain
Anthony Bourdain

It comes as no surprise  – the death of Anthony Bourdain has touched so many. Bourdain’s post-chef career as a food writer, author, and travel show host was launched by his writing, Don’t Eat Before Reading This, published in The New Yorker in April 1999.

Shortly after this no-name chef told his story about what happens behind closed doors in restaurants, he was offered a contract for his first book Kitchen Confidential. The rest, as they say, was history.

What captivated me was his willingness to go where most wouldn’t dare. His honest, descriptive, and shocking appraisals of life in a restaurant kitchen weren’t liked by all, but, by and large, his I-don’t-give-a-flying-you-know-what attitude and the sheer act of being himself created fans who loved and admired him for writing like he talked and being who he was.

Bourdain, interviewed on the occasion of his 60th birthday for First We Feast quipped, “I joke about not giving a f*** being a very good business model for me,” he said, “but it’s true. The absolute certainty that nobody was going to buy or read or care about Kitchen Confidential was what allowed me to write it. I didn’t have to think about what people expected. I didn’t care. And as a result, I was able to write this book quickly and without tormenting myself. And that seemed to work out and I learned from that experience and I tried very hard. Whether I’m meeting with a group of television executives or telling a story, I don’t think about ‘the fans’; I don’t think about what audiences expect, and I’m not afraid of what will they think of me, or what if they don’t like it and I’m not on television anymore.” And then the kicker, the thing that got the audience pumping, “You know, I’ll go back to brunch….. I don’t care.”

Here’s what I think is the saddest part of the whole turn of events this past week with Bourdain, and even in the same light, Kate Spade.  His fan’s love and admiration for him, and his bad-boy ways, wasn’t enough to overcome the darkness and despair, and maintain the energy required to continue to live life as he knew it.  So, he made the decision to leave it all, including a sweet 11-year old daughter.

My hope and belief is that he is now at peace connected to Love in a way that none of us have ever experienced. I for one would love to know what he really thinks about this “place”. For if there’s one mortal person I know I could count on for the full report it’s Anthony Bourdain.


Cookbook author, editor, and Culinary Dietitian Maggie Green, RDN, LD coaches first-time cookbook authors during the pre-publication phase of writing a cookbook. 

Would you like to write a cookbook, but feel alone in the pre-publication phase of writing?

Are you stuck thinking about your cookbook idea or has you project fizzled?

Do you feel

5 Secrets to Consistent Content Creation
5 Secrets to Consistent Content Creation

One of my superpowers is creating consistent content for my business.

*Regular blog posts since 2010

*Four cookbooks since 2011

*Weekly newsletters since 2012

Do you struggle with regular content creation? Do you start strong with a good idea for a book, blog, or newsletter, but then fizzle out and lack consistency in the producing of the blog posts, newsletters, or cookbooks?

Consistency is king. Customers like consistency. It’s trustworthy. Publishers like consistency. It’s dependable. Your readers like consistency. They want to hear from you. They like what you write about.

In order to help you move from struggling and overwhelmed, I want to share my five secrets to consistent content creation.

1. Decide if you want to create consistent content. You can do this if you want to. If your answer is yes, then let’s do it! If your answer is no, that’s ok. Quit beating yourself up and move on to another way to spend your time.

2. Pick one day and a specific time: I write newsletter and blog post content once a week on Mondays. I spend no more than two hours to do this. I get it done and don’t have to worry about the newsletter or blog post until the next Monday. On Mondays, my sweet spot is between the hours of  8 – 10 am. I set myself up for success. I don’t schedule phone calls during this time. I don’t run errands during this time. I don’t go get coffee with a friend during this time. This time is for my content. Each and every Monday morning. For you, it might be midnight – 2 am. The time doesn’t matter. Just pick a time where you are awake, alert, focused. And I hear what you’re thinking: but I’ve got little kids, I have a job, I have so much to do, I’m so busy. If that’s the case, go back to #1 and decide.

3. Get yourself in a good feeling place before you write. I like to show up on Mondays (and every day, quite frankly) refreshed and ready. For me, this means I have completed my morning routine and I’m cleaned up for the day. I can’t produce when I’m sitting around feeling and smelling like I just crawled out of bed. I work better when I’m clean, dressed, smell good, and my household tasks that I do on Monday mornings are underway.

4. Show up at your computer or laptop. Sit down (or stand up if you want to), and write (or create). By the time I actually sit down, I have a topic in mind to write about. These topics pop into my head in a variety of ways, but most often they occur to me during my morning routine. (This routine is a no-brainer and consists of some quiet coffee time, breakfast with my son, clean up the kitchen, shower, and morning notebook time.) You’d be amazed how many ideas pop into my head when I’m focused …

You're On The Team!

My youngest son’s basketball team qualified for the Kentucky High School Sweet Sixteen (state basketball tournament.)

Out of over 200 teams, 16 are left.

He gets to ride the bus with the team. Stay in a hotel with the team. Eat with the team. Warm up with the team. Play with the team.. He’s so excited for this opportunity. It’s really the icing on the cake.

Back in January, he hit a wall. Practices were becoming a grind. He asked me if it was all worth it.

I said yes, but you’re either in or you’re out. And if you’ve chosen to play the sport, and they’ve chosen you to be on the team, you owe it to them to be all in.

Do you ever feel like that as a mom, first-time cookbook author, business owner? Hit the wall? Ask if it’s all worth it?

Here’s my advice:

  • Go all in.
  • Do it all because you’ve chosen to be a mom and to own your own business.
  • Drop the hard, struggle, overwhelm.
  • Frame your life differently.
  • Enjoy the freedom and flexibility running your own business brings.
  • Plan ahead and spend Thursday morning at a pep-rally or help with a spelling test at school.
  • Lead with your life.
  • Practice. Hit the wall. Bounce back. Enjoy your reward.
  • You’re on the team and the team needs you.

Cookbook author and culinary dietitian Maggie Green coaches aspiring cookbook authors in the process of writing cookbooks, cookbook proposals, and building their author platform. Download her checklist “Am I Ready to Write A Cookbook?”

Worry Has No Upside
Worry Has No Upside

My oldest son left last Friday to study abroad in Austria for 5 months.

He was so sweet telling me goodbye at the airport and as his mom, I feel a whole range of emotions, from pride to worry.

I hugged him and told him if there’s anything at all he needed or that I could do for him just give me the word. As a mom, you all know this. We’d do anything for our kids.

I’ve never had a child so far away from home. I must admit – it feels really strange. Suddenly,  it feels like part of my body is walking around on the continent of Europe. He’s been in college for over 2 years, so it’s not the separation that is new. It’s the distance that makes this experience feel unique.

Despite the distance, I have decided not to worry about the million things I could worry about.

There is no upside to worry. I’d rather sleep, eat well, run my business, have fun, and trust that all is well than worry.

Worry takes up space in my brain. I could use this space for inspiration, ideas, and creativity instead.

Worry is a feeling that comes from my thoughts.

I can control my thoughts and make deliberate choices about what I’ll think about.

Here are the thoughts I choose to think about his being away for 5 months:

  • All is well
  • He is ready for this
  • This is an amazing opportunity for him to study the German language and learn
  • I appreciate all the ways his university has set up this program for their students to take advantage of
  • He has succeeded in applying and getting to Austria
  • He has always wanted to do this and now’s his time
  • He paid attention to other students, learned from them, and here he fulfilling a dream
  • He coordinated the efforts that studying abroad requires from applications to student visas and immunizations to airline reservations
  • I can handle this
  • He can handle this
  • I focus on what I can control while he is there
  • I am learning as a mom grow to from situations such as this

Those thoughts make me feel good, peaceful, and calm.

And, that’s a much better place than worry.

And it’s all possible with a change in the way I think.

If you tend to worry, ask yourself what are thoughts that make you worry.

Make a list of alternative (believable) thoughts instead and then practice them.

It’s time to kiss worry goodbye.

Cookbook author and culinary dietitian Maggie Green coaches aspiring cookbook authors in the process of writing cookbooks, cookbook proposals, and building their author platform. Download her checklist “Am I Ready to Write A Cookbook?”

The Possibilities That Different Holds
The Possibilities That Different Holds

Yesterday afternoon my oldest son came home right after school for the last time. Sports are over and today he goes to work. Next week Senior exams and the following week he graduates from high school. It’s been an exhilarating 12-year run of elementary school, middle school, high school. He’s excited about his college plans and so am I.

Yesterday was my last, “Hello, are you hungry?” with his backpack slung over his shoulder and his car keys twirling on a UC lanyard at the end of his finger. Yesterday was our last chat about his school day while he lives under this roof.  Yesterday was the last time he “fills me in” on something on his mind from a long day at school. I knew this day was coming.

In preparation I made one of his favorite snacks: guacamole. I also bought Oreos and brewed iced tea and made simple syrup for his sweet tea. He gave me a hug, ate some chips and guacamole, and then left to meet his friends to watch a soccer game at a local Irish pub. I smiled when he left. He’s happy and optimistic. I am too, but honestly the happiness comes in waves, between watery peeks through my eyeglasses.

He’s been with me through numerous cookbook projects. He tasted and commented on just about everything I’ve ever cooked and baked for our family over the past 18 years, as well as on every recipe I’ve developed, tested, or prepared for cookbook projects. By choice, my work blurs the lines between  him as family and as recipe taste tester. Between my office and our kitchen. Between being his mom and meeting work deadlines. Between writing my own books and articles and reading and commenting on his written work.

I knew in 2003 when he marched off into his 1st grade classroom with his lunchbox in hand, packed with an olive-nut cream cheese sandwich and apple slices,  that this day would come. I also knew deep down in my gut that he and his sister and brother were the reason  why I had to blend my family and my work – my test kitchen with their home kitchen.

As a result he’s grown up exposed to some tasty food experiences, wonderful cookbook authors, and fun book tour events for various cookbook projects including my own. Little did he know as he grew taller, stronger, and wiser that I would grow up too. Older yes, but most importantly appreciative of the times when his world revolved around our family and home with my test kitchen in the middle.

This fall, the after-school hours will be different. I won’t have to cut three avocados when I make guacamole. Only two. We won’t buzz through a pack of Oreos so quickly, and the simple syrup will last a bit longer. I’m not sad as much as I am stunned. It’s truly been something to watch a curious, talkative, boy turn into a smart, articulate, well-dressed young …

Paying Attention the Wonder In Our Lives
Paying Attention the Wonder In Our Lives

Over the summer, I developed a habit of listening to audio books using the Audible app on my iPhone or iPad. Yes, I do still enjoy reading physical books, particularly at night, but I made the decision to use my time to catch up on some books I’ve been wanting to read instead of listening to the radio or watching the news while driving, folding laundry, or working in the kitchen.

One book I listened to recently was, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Ariana Huffington. In her book, Huffington encourages “readers” (or in my case “listeners”) to develop their “third metric” and to work to redefine success in their lives “beyond money and power”.

One concept presented that resonated with me was creating, or recognizing, wonder in our daily lives. Huffington asks readers to pay attention to the small details that often go unnoticed or under-appreciated as we move through our day. She argues that we’ve gotten so busy in our quest for career advancement and moving ourselves, and our children, up the ladder of success that we’ve lost our sense of wonder.

So, I decided to be more intentional and to pay attention to the small details of things that delighted me. First, the faithfulness of my pet dog “Maggie” – her favorite place is in the same room with me. Not on my lap, but nearby, ready to give me a tail wag or a look in the eye. I also noticed the beauty of the handmade Shaker broom one of my sisters gave me as a gift. It’s the perfect tool for sweeping up Maggie’s hair and the ever-present crumbs of food on the kitchen floor. Made here in Kentucky, in the traditional Shaker style, it’s all a broom should be. And, finally at dinner last night, I wondered at the eyes of my 17-year-old son as he smiled and told me about how great his senior year in high school was going.

Little did I know before I read Huffington’s book that Arianna Huffington and I share the same birthday, smack dab in the middle of the summer. According to Huffington this would be no coincidence. For when we look at the world through eyes of wonder we realize there are no coincidences. It’s just up to us to open our eyes to our own well-being, wisdom, and wonder, and to not brush off coincidences as mere chance, but instead, to see them for what they are – a gift of wonder in our lives.

If you’d like to read the book: Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder

And here’s a link to the Audible audio-version of the book for your listening pleasure: Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder

Cookbook author and culinary dietitian Maggie Green coaches aspiring cookbook authors in the process of

Limit Time to Make Time
Limit Time to Make Time

At the beginning of July we took a trip to the beach. We live in a land-locked part of Kentucky so we drove 11 1/2 hours to dip our toes in salt water. When we travel by car such a distance we pull out of the driveway at “o-dark-thirty” with the hope of arriving at our destination before supper time. This trip, to a barrier island off the coast of South Carolina, was a new vacation spot for us. The island was beautiful and our side trips to Charleston, SC fun. We even ate at HUSK with Chef Sean Brock at the helm and Stephen Colbert sat at the table right next to ours. Other good news was that my ATT iPhone didn’t have good service much of the time. (You’ve seen the maps.) Most of the time instead of bars I saw the words “no service”. So what’s a girl to do other than enjoy the time disconnected?I’ll tell you what I did: I spent time watching the sunrise, took morning bike rides with the best male cook I know, read the daily newspaper, worked the daily crossword puzzle and Sudoku, sat under a large red umbrella on the beach, splashed in the ocean with my kids, and floated on a raft in the pool. These activities are what this vacation was made of. It’s an understatement to say I enjoyed my time away from the normal routine of home, office, computer, and smart phones.

We’re home now and the iPhone has full bars and service, but I’m trying to look differently at how I spend my time. I’m limiting my time at the computer, limiting my time poking around on my iPhone and my Kindle, and limiting the time I sit down to write. And guess what? I feel more productive than I felt before I left for vacation. I think for me by limiting my time, I make more time, if that makes sense. Seems counter-intuitive, but with more focus and limited time the work seems to get done quicker. Or maybe it was just the time off work?

With this vacation in mind I think I’ll add a one-speed bicycle to my Christmas list. Then I can mosey around the neighborhood Pee-Wee-Herman-style recreating one of the simple enjoyments of my vacation. I’ll enjoy filling the time I’m creating by not spending unlimited periods of time thinking I’m being productive with my electronic devices in hand and my computer screen in view.

Hope you’re having a great summer and that you are taking some time to enjoy your favorite people, places, and simple enjoyments!
"All I need is a kitchen table"
"All I need is a kitchen table"

 

On New Year’s Day I hosted a brunch for my family. In addition to an overwhelming need to have a party, I extended the invite for other reasons too: my nieces were in town and we hadn’t seen them at Christmas; Barbara, one of my sisters, leaves in mid-January for a 10 week sabbatical at Oxford; and another sister, Theresa, had extended her visit from New York to help my mother get her house ready to sell.

Mom still lives in our family home. After 37 years, the time has come to sell the place. Back in the day we were a family of 10 and, as you can imagine, the red brick home on Summit Drive buzzed with activity. As it stands now, Dad has been gone for almost 5 years and other than a few nights around Thanksgiving and Christmas, Mom spends most nights alone in that house. I don’t anticipate this transition being particularly easy for Mom, but I hope this move allows her to forge ahead without the expense and burden of a large house.

So, on New Year’s Day we sat around my kitchen table and chatted about many things – our cousin who had surgery for prostate cancer, our niece who’s off studying abroad in France, and the odds of UK beating U of L in basketball. This scene is pretty typical. When we get together we have a lot of catching up to do, and more than likely we sit at a kitchen table. Sure, we share a meal first and then we, well, talk. Sometimes my sister Anne multi-tasks, crocheting while talking, but for the most part we just sit and talk.

As Mom packed up her stuff to get ready to leave my house she commented, “Well, when I move I guess all I need is a kitchen table.” And you know, after further reflection, I think she’s probably correct. A fancily decorated living room, or a roaring fire in the fireplace, can’t keep us out of the kitchen or away from sitting together at the table. As a family, a table has brought us together for many reasons and at various locations to share meals and stories, laughter and tears.

After Mom moves, and no matter where we gather, we’ll continue to make our way to a kitchen table and pick up where we left off this past New Year’s Day. We’ll listen to Barbara’s tales about Oxford, and Anne might discuss the pros and cons of campgrounds she visited over the summer, and of course we’ll discuss our plans for the fall, Christmas, and 2010. It’s inevitable – time marches on. We grow, change, and live our lives. But one place remains – our kitchen table. It patiently waits for us to return and talk about days gone by or our future plans. For you see nourishment at our kitchen table comes not only from what we eat, but also, if not more importantly, from whom we meet.…

I'm Not At My Table

For the next several days, my kitchen table will be filled with food, laughter, spilled milk, and stories about the weekend and school – but not me. The table is short one person. This is all for good reason. I’m in Chicago, attending the FNCE (Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo) of the American Dietetic Association. This annual gathering of food and nutrition experts is quite impressive and I never leave feeling uninspired. Dietitians from every walk of life, keeping abreast of hot nutrition topics. It’s so fun. The biggest give aways at the trade show, from what I can tell, are reusable grocery bags. There’s a lot of “green” talk this weekend. Frito-Lay is causing quite a stir for their talk of sustainability, but some wonder if they really espouse the tenants of the organic movement in the potatoes they use in their chips. Much to chew on, so to speak.

I’m so excited for another reason.  I just attended a session about Healthy Kitchens, an initiative where cooking (YES, my beloved cooking), mindfulness, sharing food and good nutrition was presented as an all-encompassing way to prevent and treat chronic disease. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. More to come on this topic. I might just have to open a healthy kitchen of my own where I teach some real life cooking skills to those at the most risk (children and college students).

I just finished looking for some lunch. The $10.00 tuna sandwich at Au Bon Pain wasn’t doing it for me, so I think I’ll head into the trade show and down a cup of yogurt. Probiotics are all the rage.  Then I’ll look for a chair, relax a bit, and think about a time when more kitchens become the focus of treating and preventing chronic illness.

I’ll be honest. I miss my kitchen at home, but know all young eaters there are in the hands of the best male cook I know. I even heard that last night there was a marshmallow roast after dinner in that said kitchen. Now those are some good times. Making memories with food. I hope the stars were out.…