…Oh, Bring Us Some Figgy Pudding…

~The Story Behind My Figgy Pudding Recipe~

My Christmas Figgy Pudding Adventure
It all started one evening, as I was watching a Christmas movie on TV. A couple of characters encountered a group of carolers singing, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” As the carolers finished, one of the characters proudly proclaimed to the other, “Did you know figgy pudding does not contain figs nor is it pudding. It’s more like cake.”

As an American, I didn’t know much about some of the gloriously English traditions like figgy pudding. I wondered if this information was true, or not.

Search for the Real Story
Since I’m curious by nature, I started investigating. It turns out the movie character was only partially right. Figgy pudding is frequently known as Christmas pudding, especially when it doesn’t contain figs. But it does have plenty of dried fruit in it—and can have (and frequently does have) figs in it. But it is more like a cake, than a pudding. The descriptions I read reminded me a little of bread pudding.

Wikipedia (which cites several sources, including the Oxford dictionary) has this to say about figgy pudding.

Figgy pudding is a type of Christmas pudding which was originally made with figs.[1] It may be baked, steamed in the oven, boiled or fried.[2]

Figgy pudding dates back to 16th century England.[1] Its possible ancestors include savory puddings, such as crustades, fygeye or figge (a potage of mashed figs thickened with bread), creme boiled (a kind of stirred custard), and sippets (croutons).[3] In any case, its methods and ingredients appear in diverse older recipes, for instance in Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management.[1]

Today, the term figgy pudding is popularised mainly by the Christmas carol “We Wish You A Merry Christmas,” which includes the line, “Now bring us some figgy pudding”.[4] A variety of nineteenth-century sources state, in the West Country of England (from which the carol comes), “figgy pudding” referred to a raisin or plum pudding, not necessarily one containing figs.[5][6][7]

How interesting? Since it can be steamed, an idea came to me. I wonder if I could make figgy pudding in my new Instant Pot?
I LOVE my new Instant Pot!

Finding the Right Recipe with the Right Method
More research ensued. I found several recipes—specifically (more…)

I Bring You Some Figgy Pudding…

Instant Pot Figgy Pudding Recipe

What follows, is my adaptation (for high-altitude of about 5,300’ where notated) and other adjustments I found necessary after my trial run with Jo’s wonderful Christmas Pudding recipe at EveryNookAndCranny. You might find you need to make further adjustments. Just Have Fun!

~Something to consider ahead of time—You’ll need some sort of “oven-proof” bowl (or “pudding basin” as the British call it) that fits into your Instant Pot—for cooking the pudding in (see step 5). I used a simple, stainless steel mixing-bowl that measured just under 7 inches across. I tested ahead of time, to make sure it fits into my Instant Pot and on to the trivet. It’s a 1½ quart bowl—perfect for this.
You will also need parchment paper and aluminum foil, and some string or a large rubber band.

If you use a ceramic bowl, you’ll probably need to add another 5-10 minutes to your cooking time. Jo says it’s hard to “overcook” a Christmas pudding—so good to know!

Ingredients:

~First step:
AHEAD OF TIME–Decide which dried fruits you’d like to include. Measure them out dry.

1 1/3 cups dried fruit* Combine a few like figs, cranberries, raisins, pineapple, blueberries…
1/3 cup dried dates (about 1.8 ounces)
3-4 Tbsp. candied ginger

And soak them… (in liqueur or strong tea—at least overnight, but a week or two would be great.)

~Next step:
1/3 cup softened butter (I messed-up & I used a bit more, one stick. But it was great!) (more…)

Holy Clock Towers, Batman!

How is it possible? Christmas has come and gone already! It seems like it was just Easter. Time seems to slip by so quickly. I know I’ve said it a few times before, but holy time-warps… Obviously, I need to improve my time-management skills!

“Time-Crunched”

I guess I’ve been spending SO much time working on business-building, that I forgot to come here and update you on all things… happening. I ask your forgiveness.

I’m actually juggling 2 businesses now, but they are related. Taking Back Wellness is my… I guess you could call it my “umbrella” company. No, I’m not selling umbrellas– I mean umbrella in that it “houses” my other business.

I started Taking Back Wellness in… the spring of 2013. But as of April 2017, I created Taking Back Wellness, LLC and under this, is my “DBA” (Doing Business As) company, Holistic Wellness Writers. While I am still a certified holistic health coach, I’m also a writer and a terrific editor. My niche is helping Holistic Health Practitioners write more professionally and credibly, so they shine their brilliance out into the world. In this way, their clients can find them.

I’ve spent the last year working within a Business Mastermind, sharpening business skills, laying the foundation to grow my business, and learning different ways to offer my services. I’ve been working on building my Holistic Wellness Writers site, but apparently, overlooked updating you over here. (Sheepish grin) Sorry about that.

From this moment forward, I promise to become better at more consistent posting–on BOTH sites. Six to twelve times a year (or better) for each site. Ok? Ok.  Alright. I need to go fix dinner for my husband now. It’ll probably be something in my new Instant Pot. I love that thing! I’ll post later.

Be Well,
~Paula

Office Reclamation Progress… Show-n-Tell

How Goes the Ol’ Office Progress?
I thought you might be curious about my office reclamation process. As it turns out, I had started this post about my progress with my office. But as things sometimes happen, the post fell through the cracks and got stuck on the back burner. It’s been a “draft” for ages! I think I was probably waiting to upload photos and got distracted.

I believe the last photos I showed you were of the extreme, overwhelming disarray–stacks of… stuff from my April 2016 post, you can see to the right (->).
Uggh! Talk about stressing me out!?

So here (to the left) is May 12, 2016, when I decided to move things around, create space and add some color–to make this reclamation process more fun. I really needed to get moving on it. The longer I waited, the more stressed I became. I figured adding the color might inspire me. Please enjoy my story in photos (22 of them), as I walk you through the process.
(more…)

A Little Book Brag

I wanted to brag just a little– Ok, maybe a lot. My dear friend and fellow Health Coach Karen Thomas has written and published her first book. It’s called, Overwhelmed & Undernourished: Use Food as Medicine and Turn Your Life Around. It’s available at Amazon.

But for me, it’s actually kind of a double brag– on one hand, it’s a brag on my friend Karen, yes. But on the other hand, it’s also my brag because I was the Chief Editor. Not only did I do all the substantive, developmental edits, and help her whip it into shape for publishing, but I also formatted it for submission and co-wrote the introduction.

It was a labor of love. Her book started out as a first draft in rough shape. She told me she was a “crappy writer” and she had no idea how to write something like this. I told her I was pretty sure I could help her.

She got started writing her book in the Launch Your Dream Book® course through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition®, where we both graduated in 2015. There were a few hundred students in this book writing course. They all had the option to enter their books into a Top 10 Author Contest (by a deadline). It became a prime motivation for all the students to shine their best work possible.

Although I never knew the exact number of submissions, it’s estimated there were over a hundred submissions into the contest. The prize was reimbursed tuition, a book blurb from the esteemed school founder, and a special listing of their winning book on the Institute’s website.

After I’d begun helping Karen work on her book, she told fellow students how happy she was with my work. Karen recommended (more…)

Adding to the Mix

Health Reassembled

Healthy RecipesAnother quick check-in today. I’ll gradually get things put back together. . . although in a somewhat different form than before. The reclaiming of my scary-cluttered, extra room– into my Home Office space, is also coming along.

Rebuilding a website is. . . interesting. So many things to do!  Soon, I’ll be re-posting some First Steps. Those can help get you started on your Taking Back Wellness Journey. For now, I’ve rounded up a few videos in the “Video” tab (appropriately enough). A few in the “Like-Minded People” tab. . . of my Heros of Health & Wellness, and one in the “Recipe Videos” tab, of David Wolfe showing how he makes one of his many blended vegetable drinks. I’ve also grabbed a juice recipe for you, under the Recipes tab. There will be lots more to come.

I expect things might get shuffled around a bit, as I re-establish a nicer “theme” for the site, and settle on a different “look.” Things may need to be re-organized, so please bear with me.  It’s coming along!  And that’s kind of how it’s been working with the taming of my office too.
I’ll be back soon with another post for you. In the meantime . . .
Thanks for your patience,
Be Well,
~Paula

Life Happens!

Sometimes, life has a habit of tossing curveballs our way or raining on our parade. And when it does, we’re usually best off Lightning in Tucumcari, NMjust rolling with it. That’s not always easy, but ya do the best you can. Don’t let the stress get to you. Breathe. When storms roll in, enjoy the lightning and look for the rainbow.

Today, just a quick note to check in and let you know I’m still alive. LOL
When I started rebuilding this website in December 2015, I thought I was going to be back at it full-time. But things came up. Life clouded me up with some stuff to deal with, and too many things to get done– all at once, or so it seems. It has taken more time than I’d anticipated. Funny how that happens. Then, there is always the thing with overwhelm. See? You’re not the only one who finds themselves stuck in overwhelm.

“Oh My God, It’s Full of Stars!”
No, not really, I just always liked that quote from the movie, 2001.
Have you ever had one of those rooms– a guest room, a study, or some other “extra room,” in your home, where stuff just accumulates. It becomes so full of– stuff, that it’s hard to navigate in there. Perhaps you have “plans” for it, and you want to clean it up, clear it out, or some other form of organizing it. Then, you can finally use it for your greater purpose.

But every time you open the door– you’re hit with a fright, your breath gets caught in your throat, you swallow a little scream, squeeze your eyes shut, and quickly close the door. Only then can you seem to breathe again. “Whew! That was scary! I can’t possibly go in there. It’s just too much.”

Yeah, I have one of those rooms I’m working to turn into my Home Office (& Radio Room). And these are only three angles. (shiver) It’s the one project hanging me up this year.

But the other one– and I keep allowing it to create a sense of overwhelm– is the rebuilding of this website. It seems when I have one of these “scary-big” projects, the ones I somehow keep avoiding, they almost always end up not being nearly as bad as the dread was making it seem. Once I figure out how to “chunk it” out, it becomes easier. So let’s breathe together, and get to it.

Pace Yourself
I eventually realized, maybe I’d put too much on my proverbial plate. This took some of the stress off of me. It’s hard to work on the website when I really have no space in which to work! I decided, “One thing at a time!” The clearing of my office needs to come first. And as you can see, I’ve got my work cut out for me.

Once I get about halfway through it, I’ll have a space to work undisturbed (mostly). I can then continue to chunk away at it, while I periodically work on rebuilding the site. Then I can also finish creating the programs I want to be able to offer you.

Another way I’m working to de-escalate the stress– I’m putting systems in place. Some work better than others. For now, I simply have to be kind to myself and realize I am one person. I can only do so much in a day. I will get these tasks (more…)

Welcome Back!!

Thanks for visiting Taking Back Wellness.
Del Rey Beach, Florida PalmIf this is your first visit, then Welcome. I appreciate your time and attention. I don’t take it for granted, and it’s my intention to deliver to you valuable content and services.

If you are returning, you will notice everything looks different now. Yep! I had some technical issues. I wasn’t equipped for them, but it’s taught me a thing or two about security. I was right in the middle of a year-long course of study. Life was tossing wrenches into the works, every which way! Then the hack. Ugh!
I’ve had to hit the reset button!

~This was my first Taking Back Wellness site.

What’s New and Different?
In summer 2015, I completed my year-long study and earned my certification as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I was about to add more content to this site (Yay!). . . then– I had a death in my family. So I needed to hit the pause button for a time. I had to deal with and process the loss before I could get back to getting this site put back together.

Crazy thing is, the older I get, the more people I lose (physical death is a part of living– sigh). I’ve actually been through a couple of such losses in the last several months. But Life (for me anyway) goes on. Onward! Next, I’ll be adding that content I promised and I’ll be putting together some awesome services and package programs for you.

Oh– and I’m expanding services. Initially, I was going to have just my Holistic Health Coaching packages and services offered. But now, I’ll be adding– Oh what to call it? It’s more than just editing services. I suppose I’ll call it, Editing, Book-Doctoring, and Communications Coaching packages and services– specifically for Holistic Health Practitioners.

So I’m back to this website building thing again. Unfortunately, it seems most of the former information and pages were lost. So I’m starting from scratch. . . again. I know! Kind of a bummer, as I don’t even remember what all was there. I had a backup. . . somewhere. But I’ll be darned if I can find it now.

But. . . NOT the end of the world as we know it, right? Maybe it’s best to start fresh. We will simply BREATHE through it and bring it back in an even better form.

You Might Be Asking, “What exactly, IS Taking Back Wellness anyway?”Lotus

In a Nutshell . . . Taking Back Wellness is my website & business which offers you information, resources, and services– for guiding you back to your most vital and energetic health and wellbeing. It’s guidance for you to reclaim your best YOU!

If you have been searching for why you feel sick and tired, and no one has been able to help you– stick around and visit frequently! I’ll have lots of information and services here for you (as I re-build).

It Does NOT Have to be That Way!
If doctor after doctor, after doctor, has told you, “It’s just part of aging. You might as well get used to it.” I call BS! They simply don’t have (more…)