Meadow Linn is a chef and health/vitality coach who’s been passionate about good food since she was old enough to crawl into the cupboards. She is the founder of The Mystic Chef® training and the co-author of The Mystic Cookbook, which was listed by PBS Food as one of the “Top 5 Cookbooks for the Holidays,” and it inspired a keynote address live to 3,000 people and streamed worldwide. Meadow’s recipes and articles appear in numerous publications stateside and abroad. www.MeadowLinn.com

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Do Unto Others… Recipe for Broccoli and Apple Soup

Broccoli and Apple Soup

Although the Golden Rule is not a new idea, I’m still awed by it. Years ago while dining in Washington DC, there was an unexpected interlude between courses that was just as wonderful as the food. The experience reminded me that the more trusting I am, the more others will trust me and vice versa.

 

A friend and I were having dinner at Restaurant Nora, the first certified organic restaurant in America. We decided to go all out and get the 4-course tasting menu. It was a big splurge, but it was my birthday. The manager assured us that if we placed our order quickly, we’d be able to finish in time to make it to the Kennedy Center where we had tickets for the symphony.

 

Suddenly, however, it was 20 minutes to eight and we hadn’t yet had dessert. The manager, Jack, appeared at our side. He told us we should leave if we wanted to make the concert. I asked if we could settle our bill first, but he said we needed to hurry. He told us to enjoy the show and come back afterward for dessert and drinks. We could pay then. He trusted us to walk away from a sizeable bill.

 

True to our word, we hurried back to Nora as soon as the performance ended. We had a delicious dessert, and were even treated to sauternes wine on the house. We paid our bill and left knowing we’d had a magical evening.

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Eat What You Love and Love What You Eat

Eat What You Love and Love What You Eat

Many years ago, my boyfriend (at the time) and I were invited to dinner at the home of his friends. The conversation was good, but no matter how much I tried, I just couldn’t enjoy the food on my plate. What struck me about this meal was its emptiness. It was devoid of joy and bland in flavor and vitality.

 

The couple that had kindly asked us into their home was accustomed to an all-American diet, but a doctor had recently told the husband he needed to make a change. So, the cupboards were stripped of snack foods and the fridge was filled with “health foods,” such as turkey bacon, egg whites, and low-fat cream cheese.

 

This couple wanted to be healthy, but they didn’t know how to change their habits. So, they chose poor substitutes for the foods they were accustomed to eating, and they assumed that eating healthy foods meant that they would forever be relegated to dull meals. There was no joy in the food because they felt no joy in this new way of eating.

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The Gold Star Experiment

Meadow-Linn-Gingerbread-cover-pic

When I was a schoolteacher, I carpooled with a woman who went to the gym every day, rain or shine.

 

I’m not like that.

 

Actually, I enjoy exercise, but it just takes a lot to motivate me. Justification for not doing it flows from me with the ease of water breaking through a poorly built dam. It’s too cold, too hot, too late, too early. I’m too hungry, too full, too busy, too tired.

 

When I was teaching French to elementary school-aged children, I used a reward system that worked incredibly well. Every student got a gold star for the day if they made an effort to speak French. It was remarkable to see how hard they worked for this seemingly small token.

 

I wondered if I could apply this same tactic to my own life. So began my Gold Star Experiment.

 

On the first of the month I posted a calendar on my fridge. Each day contains the words “Exercise” and “Vitamins.” I made it simple because I knew if I set my expectations too high there would be a greater chance I wouldn’t follow through. The goal: take vitamins and do something active every day, no matter how small.

 

Keeping track of each day is very helpful. Otherwise, I have a tendency to put things off until tomorrow. But then tomorrow becomes another tomorrow and so on. This way I’m accountable every single day. To sweeten the deal, I promised myself a gift if I received 31 gold stars in the month.

 

The experiment was a success. It seems…Gold stars aren’t just for children!

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4 Ways to Make the Holidays Blessed Instead of Stressed

4 Ways to Make the Holidays Blessed Instead of Stressed

The Holidays are a time to gather with friends and family and give thanks for the many blessings in your life. However, this can also be a stressful time. Family knows exactly how to push your buttons, which doesn’t always bring out your best self. There are a million and one ways that this time of year can be challenging; however, there are just as many ways that it can be a magical time, filled with fun and laughter.

 

Here are my top four tips for getting the most out of this season. These simple exercises will help you remain cheery and upbeat, no matter what chaos there is around you.

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Savor Your Food, Savor Your Life

savoringfood

Eat Slowly, Connect to Your Soul Purpose

It may seem surprising, but you really can eat your way to a deliciously enlightened life! When we think of a spiritual path, we often envision meditation, yoga, fasting, chanting, or prayer. We don’t usually consider our everyday meals as a potential gateway to mystical transformation. Yet, the food you eat and your approach to it can be one of the most powerful pathways to spiritual renewal.

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Dream Big: Allow for the Limitless Possibility of Your Potential

DreamBig

 

Climb high
Climb far
Your goal the sky
Your aim the star
 
~Inscription at Williams College, my alma mater

 

Are you playing small? Are you dreaming big enough to reach your fullest potential? What if Oprah had only dreamed of an afternoon book club with her closest friends? What if Steve Jobs had never believed in the possibility of a handheld device that could connect us with the world? And, what if Gandhi had only hoped for friendship among a few people?

 

What could you do? Who could you become? And what gifts could you share with the world if you allowed for the limitless possibility of your own potential?

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5

Count Your Blessings

Count Your Blessings - Dip

While preparing Christmas Eve dinner a few years ago I sliced the tip of my finger on a sharp blade. Although it wasn’t a particularly bad cut, it was deep. I wrapped it tightly and went outside to catch the final rays of evening light. While I was sitting on the porch, feeling sorry for myself, a neighbor popped over. As we chatted over the fence, I held my finger in my palm and grumbled about having cut myself. After offering me a pair of latex gloves so I could continue making dinner, he told me that he’d had a difficult few days. A close friend of his family, a woman with four children, had died in a tragic accident.

 

The weight of his story sunk in deep. I kept picturing the children without their mother on Christmas, or any future Christmases. In an instant, the life of this family had been irrevocably changed.

 

I returned to my house with a heavy heart. I felt deeply for my neighbor and the family dealing with this awful tragedy, but I realized that my sadness wouldn’t serve anyone in that moment. My sorrow would never bring back the wife and mother, nor would it put their family back together. The only thing I had control over was my feelings. I could continue to feel sad, or I could say a prayer for the family and make a greater effort to appreciate every moment. And, so that’s what I did.

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Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, and naturally sweetened)

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Anyone who has ever been on a rollercoaster with me will tell you that I’ll scream until I’m blue in the face. But, what they don’t know is that the uphill section is often the scariest part for me. Going up in a rollercoaster, I hold my breath, clench my jaw, and repeat over and over again, “oh no oh no oh no!” That’s when my muscles are the tensest and I feel my heart beat the fastest. After so much buildup, screaming on the downhill is a fun, cathartic release.

What if rollercoasters were all downhill with none of the uphill? Would we react the same way? Sometimes anticipation is necessary to building excitement. Waiting for these cookies to bake and smelling their heavenly aroma makes that first bite—of warm chocolate mixed with crunchy nuts and chewy oats—even better.
 

Ever since going gluten free, I’ve been craving a cookie with a cookie-like texture. Many GF cookies are crumbly or overly soft, but these (in my opinion) are perfect. Plus, they have lots of good things in them. Coconut flour is full of fiber and almond meal is packed with protein.

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Rainy Day Soup

Rainy Day Soup

Last night I dreamed I was applying to universities and had been rejected from every single one. However, hidden underneath the pile of rejection letters, I found a small envelope offering me a free ride to a school in the Caribbean, even though I hadn’t even applied. In my dream, when I went to visit the tropical island that was home to the university, I inhaled the scent of plumeria and heard the gentle sea breeze rustling the palm fronds, and I realized that sometimes what we least expect far surpasses what we plan for.

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“In the Flow” Apple Pancakes (Gluten- and Dairy-Free)

“In the Flow” Apple Pancakes (Gluten- and Dairy-Free)

I nearly ran out of gas this morning. The orange light glared at me from the dashboard with its menacing, ominous glow. There’s a gas station just a couple blocks from my house, but I’d left my purse at a friend’s home, and there wasn’t enough fuel in my car to retrieve it. So, I ransacked my bedroom looking for cash, but apparently I’d already spent my “in case of emergency” stash. Then, I overcooked my eggs and tripped on the dog’s food.

Although there are myriad causes for feeling out-of-sorts, it can be valuable to ask yourself: “Am I stressed?” Often when I feel like the world is imploding around me and nothing seems to be going right, the root cause is stress. Once I acknowledge that my life doesn’t actually suck; I’m just feeling overwhelmed, I can find a way to change my state. It might feel unproductive to take time away from your busy day, but when I’m in a good mood and feeling relaxed, I’m both more joyful and more productive. Spending time outdoors seems to help me the most, but I’ve also found that exercising, cleaning the house, or meeting a friend for a meal can get me out of my head. In many ways, it’s like hitting the “restart” button on the computer.

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5

Grain-Free Maple Pumpkin Muffins

Grain-Free Maple Pumpkin Muffins




 

Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Naturally-Sweetened

“When God closes a door, he opens a window.”

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4

End of Summer Raw Heirloom Pasta Sauce

End of Summer Raw Heirloom Pasta Sauce

This sauce is the epitome of late summer. Before we head into fall—the season of apples and pumpkins—grab onto those last few tastes of summer with this fresh and vibrant sauce. It’s best made with summer heirloom tomatoes (the more colorful the better!); however, you can also use “regular” tomatoes.

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Roasted Red Pepper Dip

dip

Are you riding the Transition Train? If so, welcome aboard! It seems as though nearly everyone I know is moving, ending a relationship, leaving a job, or embarking on a new venture. Change can be scary, overwhelming, frustrating, exhausting, and even paralyzing. But, it can also be exciting, reinvigorating, and inspiring.

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