30 minute cod chowda

This dish was inspired by a recent visit to Boston. You might say I tried a few different chowders during my stay. Crab and of course New England clam chowder stood out. The best was the crab chowder at The Four Seasons. I’m sure there are many amazing chowders out there but I only had three days and much more to tick off my list.
The chowders I’m speaking of are usually laden with cream and milk so I thought I’d lighten it up with my version.
So here you have it, Cod chowder.
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INGREDIENTS:

3 tbsp virgin organic coconut oil
1 bunch of leeks, washed and thinly sliced
3 cups of diced butternut squash
2 stalks celery washed and thinly sliced
1 box organic chicken or fish broth ( see picture below)
1 236 ml clam juice
1 400 ml can lite coconut milk
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger ( or jarred puréed ginger)
3-4 lbs wild Atlantic cod fillets, cut into large chunks ( available at Costco)
Salt and pepper to taste
Freshly chopped parsley

PREPARATION:

Start by prepping your vegetables. Slice your leeks, celery, and squash. In a Dutch oven or heavy bottom pot melt your coconut oil, add to it the leeks, celery and diced squash. Cook on medium heat while stirring, about 7 minutes or until the squash has softened.
Add the broth, clam juice and can of lite coconut milk. Increase heat, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium for another 5 minutes. Add in the ginger, stir.
Using a hand held immersion blender, partially purée the chowder, leaving it a little chunky. This will help to thicken the chowder.
Add chunks of cod, cover with lid and cook 6 minutes. Taste. Add salt and pepper and a little freshly chopped parsley.

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Winter Asian pork stew

Pork stew

When it’s cold outside there is nothing better to warm your belly than a nice bowl of stew. And this pork stew with Asian accents will do just that. I was searching for something other than the traditional beef stew and stumbled upon this one, which came from Fine Cooking. I tested it out and made a minor adjustment. Now, IMO it’s perfect. 😉
It is relatively inexpensive to make as it utilizes pork shoulder or pork butt (same thing). You may ask your butcher to trim off the excess fat, and there will be quite a bit. Don’t fret about removing all of it. Some will add flavour and the excess can be removed after the cooking process.

You will need a heavy bottom pot, or Dutch oven.

INGREDIENTS:

3 lbs boneless pork shoulder, fat trimmed and cut into 1-1/2 to 2 inch pieces
3 tbsp olive oil, more as needed
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 medium celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp minced fresh lemongrass
2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp ground coriander
1 or 2 Thai bird chillies or 1 rounded tsp of red chilli flakes
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups onion wedges ( 3/4″ wedges)
2 cups butternut squash (1-inch dice)
2 cups diced red pepper( 1″ dice)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp fresh lime juice, more to taste
1 tbsp fish sauce, more to taste

PREPARATION:

Position rack in the bottom third of your oven and heat oven to 325’F
Spread the pork on paper towels to dry for 10-20 minutes before browning. If the meat is very wet, pat it dry. Use this time to chop the onion celery and carrot.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pot (6 quart), until it is shimmering hot. Season 1/4 of the pork with salt and pepper and arrange it in a single layer in the pot( leaving 1/2 inch space between pieces. Brown well on all four sides, adjusting the heat if necessary. Each batch should take about 10 minutes to brown. Transfer the pork to a large bowl in batches. Repeat with the remaining pork pieces. Once all the pork is browned remove the pot from the heat and let it cool a few minutes.
Leave about 2 tbsp of fat in the pot and if there isn’t enough fat then add in oil equal to 2 tbsp. Return the pot to medium heat, add the chopped onion, celery and carrot. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, cook stirring often and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spatula. Cook until the vegetables have softened (about 5 minutes).
Stir in the garlic, ginger, lemongrass, coriander and chillies and cook stirring about 1-2 minutes.
Add 1 cup of water, stirring to dissolve any of the brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Raise the heat to medium high and boil to reduce by about 1/2, 5-8 minutes. Add the chicken broth and the additional 1-1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Return the pork to the pot along with any accumulated juices. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer.
Crumple a 12×16-inch piece of parchment, then flatten it out.
(crumpling makes it easier to handle)
Place the parchment directly on the surface of the stew, allowing the ends to come up the sides of the pot. Cover with a lid and place in the oven for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes of stewing, add the onion wedges to the pot. Cover with parchment and lid and return to the oven another 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, add the squash and bell peppers. Cover with parchment and lid and return to the oven, cooking another hour until the pork is fork tender.

Stir in the cilantro, lime juice and fish sauce and taste adding more if necessary. Degrease the stew by laying a paper towel over the surface of the stew and gently pushing it into all the bumps and dips, then quickly peeling it off. Once the stew is chilled, lift the solidified fat off the top with a slotted spoon. Reheat over medium-low heat to serve.

This stew can be made ahead up to 2 days.

African chicken almond stew

It’s time to stew. This little gem came to me by way of Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. The original recipe was a peanut stew so I replaced peanuts with almonds, a little less almond butter, a bit more heat from cayenne and boneless chicken leg pieces to speed up the cooking time. Serve with my curried cauliflower rice and it is a perfect cold weather warm you up meal. Here we go!

INGREDIENTS:

3 lbs. boneless chicken legs and or thighs
3 tbsp olive oil or virgin coconut oil
1 large onion chopped
A 4 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1-15 oz can crushed tomatoes
4 cups organic chicken stock or broth
1/2 c + 3 tbsp almond butter
1/3 cup toasted almonds*see note below
1 tbsp ground coriander
11/2-2 tsp cayenne pepper or to taste
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

PREPARATION:

* note: toast your 1/3 cup almonds in a frying pan over medium heat about 4 minutes and set aside.
Heat a large cast iron pot or heavy bottom pot over medium heat,and add the olive oil. Pat the chicken pieces dry and season both sides with salt.
Brown them in batches, making sure not to crowd the pot. Look for a nice brown sear on the chicken. Set aside in a large plate.
Sauté the onions in the same pot for 3-4 minutes scraping down the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté another 1-2 minutes, then add the sweet potatoes stirring well to combine.
Add the chicken, chicken broth,crushed tomatoes, almond butter, toasted almonds, ground coriander, cayenne and stir well to combine.
Bring to a simmer, uncovered and taste for salt.
Cover the pot and simmer gently for 60 minutes.
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Plate over cauliflower rice, sprinkle with chopped cilantro or parsley and sliced almonds. Enjoy 🙂

Serves 6-8

Velvety butternut squash soup

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With Thanksgiving around the corner, I thought I’d share a few of my make ahead recipes with you. This one is yet another soup that is perfect for fall and winter. Make ahead, keep it frozen or refrigerated, warm and … Continue reading

Soups on!

Featured

I love soup! It’s so easy to make and now that it’s harvest time, there are so many vegetables to choose from. Just throw in your favourite, add liquid, simmer and you are done. Its really that easy.
I came up with this combo because I had these vegetables in my fridge.
This is also a great detox soup.

INGREDIENTS:

3 tbsp organic olive oil
4 leeks washed and chopped ( or 1 medium onion)
2 celery stalks chopped
4 medium carrots chopped
4 small zucchini chopped
3 litres chicken stock or broth or vegetable stock )
2 cups tomato purée
1 bunch lacinado kale ( any kale will do) stemmed and chopped
2 cups water ( if needed)*
Salt and pepper to taste
Crushed chilli peppers to taste
Hemp hearts (optional BUT yummy so get some)

PREPARATION:

Heat oil in a heavy bottom stock pot. Add leeks and cook on medium heat 7-10 minutes. Add celery, carrots and zucchini.
I add a good tsp of chilli peppers to the vegetables because I like the heat. Cook on medium heat another 5-10 minutes to soften the vegetables and bring out their natural sugars. Add stock and tomato purée. Add chopped kale and enough water to completely cover the vegetables.
Cook on medium-high heat bringing it to a gentle boil then reduce to lowest heat, cover and simmer 30-45 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Sprinkle a few tbsp of hemp hearts on your soup*
Note: if you don’t have broth or stock, use water instead.

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NUTRITION FACTS:

CELERY contains bone-beneficial silicon and cancer-fighting phenolic acids and may even help reduce blood pressure.

KALE can provide you with some special cholesterol-lowering benefits if you will cook it by steaming. The fiber-related components in kale do a better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they’ve been steamed. When this binding process takes place, it’s easier for bile acids to be excreted, and the result is a lowering of your cholesterol levels. Raw kale still has cholesterol-lowering ability—just not as much.
Kale’s risk-lowering benefits for cancer have recently been extended to at least five different types of cancer. These types include cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate. Isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from glucosinolates in kale play a primary role in achieving these risk-lowering benefits.
Kale is now recognized as providing comprehensive support for the body’s detoxification system. New research has shown that the ITCs made from kale’s glucosinolates can help regulate detox at a genetic level.
Researchers can now identify over 45 different flavonoids in kale. With kaempferol and quercetin heading the list, kale’s flavonoids combine both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits in way that gives kale a leading dietary role with respect to avoidance of chronic inflammation and oxidative stress.

LEEKS, like garlic and onions, belong to a vegetable family called the Allium vegetables. Since leeks are related to garlic and onions, they contain many of the same beneficial compounds found in these well-researched, health-promoting vegetables.
Given their substantial polyphenol content, including their notable amounts of kaempferol, we would expect to see overlap with garlic and onions in terms of support for many health problems related to oxidative stress and chronic low-level inflammation. These health problems would include atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, and allergic airway inflammation. We would also expect to see leeks providing measurable amounts of protection against several different types of cancer, mostly likely including colorectal cancer. It’s important to remember that even in the absence of research studies to confirm health benefits, leeks still belong to the same allium vegetable family as onions and garlic and contain many health-supportive substances that are similar to (or identical with) the substances in their fellow allium vegetables.

ZUCCHINI: Several recent studies have underscored the unique contribution made by summer squash to our antioxidant requirements. While not as rich in some of the more widely-publicized antioxidants like beta-carotene, summer squash is a very strong source of other key antioxidant nutrients, including the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. Since the skin of this food is particularly antioxidant-rich, it’s worth leaving the skin intact and purchasing organic summer squash to help avoid potential unwanted contaminants.

ZUCCHINI is one of the very low calorie vegetables; provide only 17 calories per 100 g. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. Its peel is good source of dietary fiber that helps reduce constipation and offers some protection against colon cancers.
It is a very good source of potassium, an important intra-cellular electrolyte. Potassium is a heart friendly electrolyte and helps bring the reduction in blood pressure and heart rates by countering pressure-effects of sodium.

TOMATOES are widely known for their outstanding antioxidant content, including, of course, their oftentimes-rich concentration of lycopene. Researchers have recently found an important connection between lycopene, its antioxidant properties, and bone health. A study was designed in which tomato and other dietary sources of lycopene were removed from the diets of postmenopausal women for a period of 4 weeks, to see what effect lycopene restriction would have on bone health. At the end of 4 weeks, women in the study started to show increased signs of oxidative stress in their bones and unwanted changes in their bone tissue. The study investigators concluded that removal of lycopene-containing foods (including tomatoes) from the diet was likely to put women at increased risk of osteoporosis. They also argued for the importance of tomatoes and other lycopene-containing foods in the diet. We don’t always think about antioxidant protection as being important for bone health, but it is, and tomato lycopene (and other tomato)

Much of the research on CARROTS has traditionally focused on carotenoids and their important antioxidant benefits. After all, carrots (along with pumpkin and spinach) rank high on the list of all commonly-consumed U.S. antioxidant vegetables in terms of their beta-carotene content. But recent research has turned the health spotlight onto another category of phytonutrients in carrots called polyacetylenes. In carrots, the most important polyacetylenes include falcarinol and falcarindiol. Several recent studies have identified these carrot polyacetylenes as phytonutrients that can help inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells, especially when these polyacetylenes are found in their reduced (versus oxidized) form. These new findings are exciting because they suggest a key interaction between the carotenoids and polyacetylenes in carrots. Apparently, the rich carotenoid content of carrots not only helps prevent oxidative damage inside our body, but it may also help prevent oxidative damage to the carrot polyacetylenes. In other words, these two amazing groups of phytonutrients in carrots may work together in a synergistic way to maximize our health benefits!antioxidants) may have a special role to play in this area.

HEMP contains:

* All 20 amino acids, including the 9 essential amino acids (EAAs) our bodies cannot produce.
* A high protein percentage of the simple proteins that strengthen immunity and fend off toxins.
* Eating hemp seeds in any form could aid, if not heal, people suffering from immune deficiency diseases. This conclusion is supported by the fact that hemp seed has been used to treat nutritional deficiencies brought on by tuberculosis, a severe nutrition blocking disease that causes the body to waste away.3
* Nature’s highest botanical source of essential fatty acid, with more essential fatty acid than flax or any other nut or seed oil.
* A perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 Linoleic Acid and Omega-3 Linolenic Acid – for cardiovascular health and general strengthening of the immune system.
* A superior vegetarian source of protein considered easily digestible.
* A rich source of phytonutrients, the disease-protective element of plants with benefits protecting your immunity, bloodstream, tissues, cells, skin, organs and mitochondria.
* The richest known source of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids.

Nutrition facts from whfoods.org

Gazpacho

A tomato-based vegetable soup from the Andalusia region of Spain. GAZPACHO
is intended to be served cold and is especially good on hot summer days. Which of course were here a few days ago.

Ripe tomatoes are the key ingredient in this recipe. Most GAZPACHO recipes allow for raw ingredients so by all means try this recipe RAW.
I prefer the flavour that roasted red peppers impart and because I roast and freeze my peppers I always have some on hand. If you like you can use jarred roasted red peppers.
*stale bread is also traditionally used to add bulk to this soup, so if you choose you may remove the crust from 1/2 a baguette, soak the bread in a little water and add it to the vegetables in your blender

INGREDIENTS:

2 lbs ripe tomatoes (6 medium)
1 cup roasted red peppers puréed (or 1 raw seeded and roughly chopped)
1 large cucumber seeded, peeled and roughly chopped
1/3 cup raw onion roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves pressed
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
1/2 cup really good olive oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp hot smoked paprika
1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
2 1/2 tsp sea salt

PREPARATION:

Start by scoring your tomatoes with an X, place them in a preheated oven 350′ for 30 minutes
Once cooled, the skin will peel off nicely.

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Then toss the tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, onion and garlic in a blender for about a minute. *add the soaked bread with the vegetables if you choose
The mixture will look a bit chunky. Empty the contents into a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Add the olive oil in a steady stream, stirring to incorporate. Then chill for several hours and days. It tastes better several days later, so it’s perfect to make ahead.

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This soup is quite thick so I’ve used it as a salsa in shot glasses with grilled shrimp. Garnish with some finely chopped peppers and cucumber.
Or serve in soup bowls with sliced avocado.

Thinking ahead to St. Patrick’s Day

So,  it appears that winter is back this week after a teaser of a few days. And it’s  my hope that we’ll only have to deal with a bit of cold weather for a few more weeks.  So, I figured I would address both the cold weather and the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day with one blog and recipe. Today I’ve chosen a simple Beef Stew made with Guinness.  My personal favorite 😉

I acquired a taste for Guinness nine years ago while at a family wedding/vacation in Ireland.  Oh no!! This is supposed to be a blog about food and health and fitness and here I am talking about drinking Guinness.  Well, get over it!  I am human.

 And if the opportunity to travel to Ireland should arise, go ahead.   Be warned!  Bring an umbrella and raincoat because it will likely rain everyday.  Also, try the bread, as there is nothing else like it.  And eat the butter. And have a few pints.  Get out of your Paleolithic world.

Beef stew with Guinness

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 lbs boneless chuck roast or top blade trimmed of fat and cut into 1 1/2-2″ pieces 
  • 1 large yellow onion coarsely chopped
  • 2 large carrots chopped into 1 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 parsnips chopped into 1 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 yam peeled and chopped into 2″ pieces
  • 1 pint of Guinness
  • 2-3 cups of beef stock 
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

 

 

PREPARATION:

Preheat oven to 375′
Place your meat on paper towels and pat dry. Heat a large dutch oven or heavy bottom pot on medium high heat. Add 2 tbsp grape seed, olive or coconut oil to the pot.
Add 1/4 of the seasoned(salt and pepper) meat in a single layer being careful to leave space between pieces.
Brown meat on all sides. This should take about 10 minutes per batch. Once all meat is browned, transfer using a slotted spoon to a large bowl. At this point you may need to add a bit more oil. Add onions, carrots, parsnips and thyme. Cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon for about 5-6 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add 1 pint of Guinness to deglaze the pot, scraping off any brown bits with a wooden spoon. Raise the heat and bring the liquid to a boil cooking another 5 minutes. Add the tomato puree and paste. Return the meat to the pot and add enough beef stock to completely cover the beef. Cover with a lid and place the pot in the oven for 2 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven adding the chopped yams, cover and cook 30 minutes more. Remove from the oven, let cool slightly and serve.

17 Minutes of my yesterday

Yesterday marked the first day of the Reebok Crossfit Open competiton. The competition is open to anyone and everyone in the world. Over 110,000 people have signed up to compete this year. If you are part of a Crossfit affiliate then you know exactly what I’m speaking of. If not, you can check out this link http://games.crossfit.com for a full description.
With every day leading up to this competition many athletes speculated on what Crossfit HQ would throw at us for a first workout or WOD13.1. Here it is:
Workout 13.1
17 minute AMRAP( as many reps as possible) of:
40 Burpees
30 Snatch, 75 / 45 lbs
30 Burpees
30 Snatch, 135 / 75 lbs
20 Burpees
30 Snatch, 165 / 100 lbs
10 burpees
Max rep Snatch, 210 / 120 lbs

Yay burpees!! Not so much. I don’t know a lot of people who enjoy burpees, or snatch. For a description of what a power snatch is you can check this out. (http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/OlympicLifts/PowerSnatch.html)

I had decided to complete this workout yesterday. Was I nervous? Duh?, yes I was! Broken and taped together,( a fact, not a plea for sympathy) I gave it my best shot. It’s done. Sigh!! Could I have gone faster, could I have completed a few more reps? What could I have done differently? Oh, so many questions. In the end I’ve ascertained that I did do my best on the day. Would the competitive me have wanted to squeeze out a few more reps out. Hells ya!
Upon reflection, I know that I’ve done what I could do to prepare for this. This past year, my body has been breaking down from time to time. I know I’m not the only one facing the challenges of being an older, well, I prefer ‘seasoned’ athlete. I have to trust that my training has prepared me for anything or any workout this competition throws at me. If I haven’t prepared properly, it’s too damn late now to worry about it.
I’d rather celebrate it. 🙂 Now, it’s time for me thank my body with a good long therapeutic massage. And a good glass of wine. Cheers

Grilled salmon alla pizzaiola

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Pizzaiola owes its name to the fact that it contains similar ingredients to a pizza topping-tomatoes, garlic and oregano. It is a specialty of Naples however it is common everywhere and there are variations on this sauce. The usual ingredients are plum tomatoes, capers, anchovies, lots of garlic, olive oil and parsley. For this application, I decided to use shallots instead of garlic for a milder flavor. I’ve also added red wine vinegar as it adds a nice acidity. Just my little twist 🙂

INGREDIENTS FOR PIZZAIOLA SAUCE:

12 cherry tomatoes (split in half and seeds squeezed out)
3-4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp salted capers ( or brined capers, rinsed under water)
1 medium shallot chopped
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp anchovy paste
1 tbsp chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste if necessary (careful as the anchovy paste and salted capers are already salty)
TASTE BEFORE ADDING SALT!

PREPARATION:

Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add olive oil and shallots, saute about 5 minutes, add capers, seeded tomatoes, tomato and anchovy paste and vinegar. Cook another 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add chopped parsley. This sauce is enough for 3 salmon fillets.
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Grilled salmon fillets:

Heat bbq or grill. Place salmon skin side down. Grill 5-6 minutes, until the skin begins to crisp, then carefully turn to grill the other side another 5 or so minutes. Remove the skin. If you like your salmon less cooked then remove it from the bbq or grill and plate it. If not turn it one more time and cook another 2-3 minutes.

Plate and pour pizzaiola sauce over salmon fillets. Add some chopped parsley and enjoy!

Role Models

Positive role models:  

 I have to admit,  I’m not one for holding people up on a pedestal.  Perhaps this is partly due to the fact that I grew up in a family with two sisters and one brother, the latter who never committed a wrongful act(or at least was never accused of it). It’s an Italian thing I suppose.  I was just born this way.  It’s not my fault.  And I wished I was a boy, because life would have been so much easier. The boys in Italian families get away with more.   It’s just a simple fact.  With that said, my big brother did have a very positive impact on my life.  As a young boy, he would have liked to play hockey, the National sport of Canada, however our family didn’t have the means to support this so he borrowed some skates from a neighbourhood friend and taught himself how to skate on a local pond.  I followed by borrowing a pair of skates which were too small and skated for hours in the bitter cold until I couldn’t feel my toes.  I remember this day as if it was yesterday.  There I was, 7-year-old me, screaming in pain while my father rubbed my feet.  He thought he was helping.  If you’ve ever had frostbite you know that this would NOT be the course of treatment.  

So back to my brother.  Growing up his little sister, I watched him get into any sport he could.  He had such a passion for sports.  He played basketball, football, tennis, track, pond hockey and even raced annually in our neighbourhood soap box derby.  He excelled at everything he did because he had heart and passion and dedication.  He wasn’t the most gifted athlete,yet still managed to become the most valuable player in every sport he played.  He really was a great athlete and continued to be well into his 40’s, playing touch football at the National level with men half his age. 

It wasn’t easy to follow in his footsteps.  I did the best I could do.  When he trained for football and basketball I would run with him and participate in speed and agility drills.  He pushed me and I pushed myself even more because I wanted him to be proud of his little sister. 
Several years later as adults he once told me I would have been a great athlete had I not discovered boys. hmm… I took it as a compliment. More to the point, was his positive influence on me.  No matter what I do in sport or otherwise, even though I may not be the best  or most gifted I will always try my best.  

 

My husband is the most important role model in my life.  He too, grew up in hard times.  Worked as a child on the family farm.  Was operating a tractor at age 8, hauling bushels of grapes during wine season every day after school.  Even though he would have liked to be playing soccer with his buddies. 

 He’d try escaping his chores during football and soccer season. Knowing full well that he had chores, he would stay after school to participate in a practice session when his father would show up, and with one whistle he’d drop everything, run to the car go home and do his chores.  There were no exceptions or choices.

Somehow, he managed to play and excel at sports and academics.  The evidence is in the multiple trophies and awards his mother gladly packaged up for me when we wed.  With so much being demanded of him, he learned how to manage his time at an early age.  

When our first son was three we enrolled him in a house league soccer team. The teams were mixed and many of us moms did a lot of hand holding on the field.  Some kids were more interested in picking dandelions.LOL  But as the years passed, they too learned how to pass a ball and work together as a team. My husband has played an active role in coaching both our boys. They both started playing soccer at the tender age of three. He has always found the time in his hectic schedule to dedicate and share his passion and knowledge for soccer.  Over the years, he has taken boys of no skill whatsoever and has instilled in them the confidence they need to play with more naturally talented boys.  No easy feat.

It’s exciting for him to see his players articulate those skills in a game which he has taught in practice sessions.

In one particular indoor soccer season, he was allotted a group of mixed talented twelve-year-old boys, a few of which had never had contact with a soccer ball.  With every week that advanced, we witnessed the growing confidence of these boys.  My husband received several thanks from parents both during and the end of the season.  One particular thank you stood out and spoke volumes.

 “Dear Coach Terry,

Jason has been having a great season – I really appreciate how you make the practices fun, emphasize the importance of good sportsmanship and also the positive reinforcement.

There are lots of lessons in not winning and giving it your best shot. It has been pretty pleasing to watch the boys continue to try to work together even when things aren’t going their way.

Thanks for giving of your time.”

If you have a story of someone who has positively influenced your life, share it with me.