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Happy Monday, VIA and Quinoa

Posted Dec 13 2010 12:00am

Good Evening and Happy Monday!

I have had a really nice day today and am enjoying the benefits of starting the week off right.  Nothing particularly good happened today but that may just be the point.  I just had a very normal non-exciting day today and loved every minute of it.  I was able to go to my favorite class at the gym this morning and then forced my hubby to take a walk and get some fresh air before his first law school final today.  I am thinking about him right now because he should have completed his first hour of his(4 hour) Torts final.  Good Luck Honey!  I can't believe how fast his first semester has gone and I will be so excited to be able to say that we SURVIVED the first semester of LAW SCHOOL next week.  I think all in all we have transitioned quite well.  We hit a couple of bumps along the way but we all seem to have adjusted to the new schedule and life just has a way of working out.

On that note, I have got to tell you how much I am enjoying my Wellness Coach Training.  We are coming to the end of training soon and then I have a big written and oral exam and then hopefully I will become a certified Wellness Coach.  Yah!  I am really enjoying my work with my practice clients and being "coached" myself.   One of the cool things we did last week was to take the VIA Survey of Character Strengths.  This survey is from Martin Seligman's Authentic Happiness book and I would highly recommend the book and taking this survey. Check out www.authentichappiness.org .

Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman, Ph.D

Drawing on groundbreaking psychological research, Seligman shows how Positive Psychology is shifting the profession’s paradigm away from its narrow-minded focus on pathology, victimology, and mental illness to positive emotion, virtue and strength, and positive institutions. Our signature strengths can be nurtured throughout our lives, with benefits to our health, relationships, and careers. Seligman provides the Signature Strengths Survey along with a variety of brief tests that can be used to measure how much positive emotion readers experience, in order to help determine what their highest strengths are. The life-changing lessons of Authentic Happiness help us identify the very best in ourselves, so we can improve the world around us and achieve new and sustainable levels of authentic contentment, gratification, and meaning.

As part of our training we all took the survey and then shared them with our class and discussed how we can embrace our strengths and how to use them to be a better coach.  My top five Character Strengths are:

Your Top Strength

Humor and playfulness

You like to laugh and tease. Bringing smiles to other people is important to you. You try to see the light side of all situations.

Your Second Strength

Gratitude

You are aware of the good things that happen to you, and you never take them for granted. Your friends and family members know that you are a grateful person because you always take the time to express your thanks.

Your Third Strength

Zest, enthusiasm, and energy

Regardless of what you do, you approach it with excitement and energy. You never do anything halfway or halfheartedly. For you, life is an adventure.

Your Fourth Strength

Hope, optimism, and future-mindedness

You expect the best in the future, and you work to achieve it. You believe that the future is something that you can control.

Your Fifth Strength

Curiosity and interest in the world

You are curious about everything. You are always asking questions, and you find all subjects and topics fascinating. You like exploration and discovery.

The survey lists out 24 strengths and then ranks them for you based on your answers from the survey.  I found it very enlightening.   I of course, jumped to all things that I was not and to the things that I want to work on and was promptly told by my instructor that I am missing the point.  I need to embrace my strengths and develop and nurture who I am.   I made my husband take a break from studying and take the quiz to give him perspective on his own strengths.  Interestingly, he has the following top 5 Character Strengths:

Your Top Strength

Curiosity and interest in the world

You are curious about everything. You are always asking questions, and you find all subjects and topics fascinating. You like exploration and discovery.

Your Second Strength

Love of learning

You love learning new things, whether in a class or on your own. You have always loved school, reading, and museums-anywhere and everywhere there is an opportunity to learn.

Your Third Strength

Gratitude

You are aware of the good things that happen to you, and you never take them for granted. Your friends and family members know that you are a grateful person because you always take the time to express your thanks.

Your Fourth Strength

Capacity to love and be loved

You value close relations with others, in particular those in which sharing and caring are reciprocated. The people to whom you feel most close are the same people who feel most close to you.

Your Fifth Strength

Judgment, critical thinking, and open-mindedness

Thinking things through and examining them from all sides are important aspects of who you are. You do not jump to conclusions, and you rely only on solid evidence to make your decisions. You are able to change your mind.

He found the quiz surprisingly comforting in the midst of all the stress of finals.  I think he is embracing his love of learning and developing his judgment, critial thinking and open-mindedness throughout this process. 

The survey only takes about twenty minutes to get through and there are also some other really interesting questionnaires that you can take such as a Gratitude, Optimism and Happiness surveys. 

So onward and upward, we will move onto the food portion of this post.  As you know, I am a huge fan of Trader Joe's and one of my friends told me about making this awesome Black Bean, Roasted Corn & Avocado Salad on a Bed of Quinoa that is right on the box of the Trader Joe's Red Quinoa.  She was right this recipe is a keeper! 

 

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Isn’t this a thing of beauty.  I served it along with some Falafel Chips that I have been wanting to try and this was absolutely Delicious!  Yum.  I have tons of leftovers so I will be eating off of this for days and am really excited about it.

 

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These chips are relatively guilt-free and you can eat about 10 chips for 118 calories with only 6 grams of fat and they have 4 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein.  Love it.  They are also very tasty. 

 

Trader Joe’s Black Bean, Roasted Corn & Avocado Salad On a Bed of Red Quinoa

1 cup Red Quinoa, cooked with broth

2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1-15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups roasted corn kernals

1 avocado, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup red onion, finely diced

3/4 cup Cilantro Salad Dressing ( I omitted this and it still turned out fantastic)

1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

Zest of lime

sea salt & pepper

 

Cook quinoa with broth according to package directions.  While Quinoa is cooking, combine beans, corn, avocado, tomatoes and onion.  Top with salad dressing and gently toss once more.  Set aside.

When quinoa is cooked, toss with olive oil; add salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside to cool.  When ready to serve, spread quinoa on a large serving platter and top with corn and bean mixture.  Garnish with remaining cilantro.

Serves 6 as a side dish.

 

That is it for now but I have been asked by one of my client’s to share my typical  “Back on Track” diet days.  I must talk a lot about getting back on track and I do actually have a rolodex of meals that I eat when I need to get back on track and jump start myself into better habits.  Therefore, tomorrow I will be sharing what I usually do to get myself “back on track” and would love to hear from all of you about what you do.  If you feel like sharing please leave a comment so we can all help each other.  Thank you and have a great evening.

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