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The Collaboratory is ICT’s community hub for anyone navigating a career transition.

Focus and energize your job search with ICT’s 4-week all-inclusive onsite program to manage your work in-between work.

ICT, founded by MIT researchers, helps job seekers accelerate their job search. Our personalized, intensive, team-based program will help get you ready for your next opportunity.

Join our deliberately developmental community. We’re committed to your personal and professional growth as you navigate your job search.

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Simply Divine Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting

 

Strawberries are in season which usually inspires me to make strawberry rhubarb crisp or strawberry shortcake, but I had a request for cupcakes for a special occasion so I decided to try something different-  vanilla cupcakes with strawberry frosting.  After doing a little research, I discovered that using freeze dried strawberries would produce a really intensely flavored strawberry frosting and while I could have made a buttercream, I decided to make strawberry cream cheese frosting. The results were amazing! And the strawberry flavor really came through!

 

Simply Vanilla Cupcakes

 I had some coconut milk leftover and wanted to try it in vanilla cupcakes so I found this recipe and adapted it to be gluten free.  It called for cake flour which was a bit of a challenge, plus sour cream and milk…but I sifted my gluten free flour mix, added a tad more tapioca flour and substituted coconut milk for the sour cream and milk…the results?  Simply yummy!  The first time I just glazed them with a little honey lemon mix; the second time I made an easy chocolate frosting- both were delicious! And now, they’re paired with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting!

Adapted from: Sally’s Baking Addiction Simply Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

Please use organic ingredients; most of these came from Debra’s in West Concord!

  • 1 ¾ c gluten free flour with 2 T. cornstarch, or tapioca flour, sifted
  • ¾ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ c butter, room temp
  • ¾ c. Sweet Justice evaporated cane juice
  • 3 large egg whites, room temp
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Seeds scraped from ½ of a vanilla bean
  • 1 c. coconut milk (Aroya)

Preheat oven to 350.

Line a 12 cup muffin tin with cupcake liners, and another 4 in a second pan. (I have a 6 cup tin so this worked well).

Sift the flour, and add the baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Using a mixer, beat the butter for 1 minute, then add the sugar and beat on high speed for 2 minutes, until smooth and creamy.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg whites, vanilla, and vanilla bean.

Beat on medium speed until combined; then add the coconut milk and beat til smooth.

Scrape the sides and add dry ingredients just until incorporated with the mixer on low.

Do not overmix.  Batter will be slightly thick.

Scoop batter into muffin cups- fill 2/3 of the way.

Bake 20-22 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean or it bounces back when you press lightly with your finger. 

Cool before frosting. 

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

 You can get all these organic ingredients at Whole Foods!    cupcake2

  • 1 cup freeze dried strawberries
  • 8 ou. cream cheese, full fat
  • ¼ c butter
  • 2 ½ c confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Process the freeze dried strawberries in a food processor until powdery.  You’ll have about ½ cup or slightly less.  Set aside.

Using a stand mixer, beat the butter in the large bowl until creamy on medium speed for 1-2 minutes.

Add the cream cheese and beat 1-2 minutes until smooth.

Add vanilla and mix in.

Add confectioners’ sugar and strawberry powder.

Beat on low speed 30 seconds until mixed in, and then beat on high speed for 2 minutes.

Refrigerate to firm up before frosting cooled cupcakes.

If you want, put frosting in a pastry bag with piping tip and pipe on top.

Serve, or refrigerate frosted cupcakes.

Makes more than enough for 14 cupcakes; store leftover frosting up to 5 days in refrigerator or freeze and use later.

You could also use freeze dried raspberries, or even blueberries or mango for this frosting- experiment with them all!

 

Cauliflower Puree

I’m not a cauliflower fan, but this recipe from Once Upon a Chef charmed me into trying it by saying that it tastes remarkably like mashed potatoes…and so it does! Creamy, comfort food- for the holidays or not, it’s delicious anytime!

I used water instead of chicken broth, and Carrington organic ghee and coconut oil instead of butter (easier to digest). I’m sure the broth and butter are yummy too…your choice. I also added a couple of potatoes because I wanted the mix and had potatoes to use. Organic ingredients of course…

1 head cauliflower cut into 2 inch pieces (no need to keep florets intact)

3 fist size potatoes (golden are good)

1 cup chicken broth or water

1 tsp salt

3T butter (Carrington ghee and coconut oil spread)

1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

Freshly ground lemon pepper and additional salt to taste

In a large pot, bring the water/broth and salt to a boil. Add the potatoes and cauliflower; bring to a boil again. Cover, reduce the heat to low and steam for 20 minutes, until tender. Drain in a colander but save 3 T of the water/broth and transfer to a food processor. Add 3 T of water/broth and butter/ghee. Process until smooth. Add thyme. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper.

If Not Now, Then When?

“…There is no tomorrow, only a string of todays.”
Mark Nepo, Poet, Philosopher, Author, Cancer Survivor

It’s easy to get caught up in the future. We’re taught to dream and plan…always going somewhere, searching for happiness, setting goals, living the “have, do, be life”- if I have more, I can do more and then I’ll be more. We have to work out our problems, finish our to-do lists, fix ourselves, pay the bills, save for retirement, realize our potential…and of course, we’re never done! It’s the idea that the future holds everything that matters; it’s where happiness lies… Some day I’ll be happy and free…but not yet, not here, not now.

So we race and rush and we fix and strive and we wait… We wait for those ‘better’ moments, the next thing to happen, we keep dreaming forward… And in the waiting we overlook the fact that our life is happening, now…moment by moment…too often passing us by only half noticed.

When we’re always striving to get somewhere and have something else, we never fully arrive where we are, right here, right now, in this present moment…It’s as if we forget that life is not the future, or past, but now.

Dancing With The Flow…
How can we live each day as if it really matters?

Melli O’Brien says we should practice “Non-waiting” which doesn’t mean we should give up our dreams but rather bring our primary focus to how we meet each moment as it occurs and engage fully in the journey instead of waiting to arrive at our destination.

She says, “When we learn to stop leaning into the next experience – wanting and waiting for a particular outcome, we are finally free to know and experience life and this moment fully…Non-waiting allows us to show up and participate fully in the unfolding of our precious lives while we have them to live.”

Life happens…there will always be problems to solve, things to do, people to help; there’s always more to do! Mark Nepo says, “How often do we all rehearse this moment, putting off love, truth, joy, and even God, citing our many “Yes, buts” to ourselves, when all we have to do – hard and simple as it is – is to drop everything and Come Now.”

If we can dance with the flow, be present in each moment, not get stuck in what might be, and just enjoy the ride…then hopefully we’ll see the life we’re living, reap the rewards each day brings, and be grateful to be living in the Now.

Invitation to If Not Now, When? Meditation

If you’d like to practice meditating on If Not Now, When?, please join me Friday, June 14 Noon-1pm.
Click Here For Details

Muqueca- A Soup to Transition from Winter to Spring

Try this satisfying Brazilian soup/stew and you’ll be making it again and again…

Muqueca (Brazilian Fish Stew)

This is one of my favorite dishes!  I first tasted it at Nashoba Brook Café in West Concord, and decided I had to make it at home! My version is adapted from Saveur magazine and I think it’s the best!  You can make it with scallops, swordfish, and mix it up with shrimp, but it’s traditionally made with firm white fish like cod, catfish, or halibut.  You can spice it up with more cayenne, and you can use light or regular coconut milk. If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, use canned. You can also use fresh, raw shrimp but I always have large frozen shrimp, wild caught, on hand which speeds things up. And organic veggies of course!

  • 1 ½ lb. cod or any firm white fish, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 8 oz large shrimp, cooked, fresh or frozen
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large red pepper (orange or yellow)
  • 1 T. sweet paprika (not smoked)
  • 4 plum tomatoes (or small tomatoes), chopped
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 can coconut milk, 14 oz
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • ½ cup chopped Thai basil (if you can’t find Thai basil, use regular basil)
  • Pinch cayenne pepper

Toss the cod, shrimp, lime juice and 4 cloves of garlic in a bowl; set aside.

Heat olive oil in large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add onion, pepper, and cook until soft, 5-6 minutes.  Add paprika and tomatoes, and stock; cook until broken down, about 5 minutes. Add coconut milk and cayenne pepper.  Add fish and shrimp and cook through about 7 minutes. Add cilantro and Thai basil; season with salt and pepper.

Serve over rice. (I use brown rice, but traditionally, white rice is used.)

Spring is Here! Renew and Refresh!

Spring adds new life and new beauty to all that is.”Jessica Harrelson
What are you looking forward to this Spring? What is your energy taking you? What is beckoning or begging for your attention?

Springtime is nature’s season for giving us that subtle push to refresh and renew…
Spring has been the harbinger of growth and change. It has been worshipped as sacred, by countless cultures and religions, both ancient and modern. It is worth pausing to reflect on this time of renewal while it is happening around you. Let spring fill you up with hope, for spring is an energy which never looks back or allows regrets. Spring is the looking forward, the building up, and it is filled with optimism and promise. (Shared by a colleague; author unknown)

I love the fresh smells and colors of Spring… the first crocuses and daffodils, the birds chirping outside my window, the buds on the trees, and the grass starting to grow green. I have the desire to declutter and clean up the house and yard, to let go of the old and bring in the new. I want to cleanse my palate with Spring foods like asparagus, arugula, fiddleheads, and rhubarb.

What lights you up in the Spring? What sounds and smells are calling you? Where does your energy want you to go and grow? Pay attention to the subtle signs and follow them. Let yourself explore…and enjoy the ride.

Spring is a great time to make a Vision Board to capture your ideas and goals for any change you want to make. I’ll be running a Vision Board Workshop on May 10 from Noon-2pm! See listing under Classes and Events. I hope you’ll join me!

A New Year, A New Offering

curry

Happy 2019!

Time to try something new!  I have felt rumblings of change or flux for some time now but haven’t had a clear sign as to how that might manifest.  One of my visions has been to write a cookbook, but I’ve been spending more time in the kitchen cooking than typing recipes!  And while many suggested I blog my recipes, I resisted, thinking that it would take too long, be too difficult, and not be fun.  Well that was my story, but now, I’m ready to dive in and try it. I’m not a fan of typing or sitting at the computer… (friends ask me for my recipes and I never have them typed)… but it’s time for me to start sharing so that you too can enjoy my favorite foods!

The rough plan? Rather than create a new website..I’m going to add a tab on my existing site for recipes. If you’re a foodie like me and love trying different recipes, I hope you’ll stay tuned and check mine out!

Conscious Cooking with Clare

A little background on what kind of recipes I’m sharing and why…I have had IBS for almost my entire life, but in 2011, I got Salmonella and things went haywire.  I had antibiotics and my gut has never been the same.  Foods that I loved, I could no longer eat.  What to do?

After many, many tests and elimination diets, working with various health practitioners, as well as reading, researching, and learning about dysbiosis and the microbiome, and after very disciplined eating regimes, I can finally mostly manage my IBS.  So the recipes here will be healthy, clean (organic and non-GMO) and yummy!  They will also be gluten free, lactose free and limited in sugar but with many variations and substitutions so anyone can enjoy them!  I’m calling it Conscious Cooking with Clare…I hope you’ll join me as I embark on this new adventure!

Cooking Class at Emerson

If you’d like to sample some recipes and learn more about what I mean by Conscious Cooking, I’ll be teaching a class at Emerson on Feb 7th called Conscious Cooking for Your IBS – Take Control!  Details are on my website and at EmersonWellness.org.  Click here

If you’re not interested in the recipes, no worries…I will still be posting articles that pertain to your career and life…things that affect your job search, well being, and outlook and are important from my perspective…like mindfulness, compassion, gratitude, personality types, fears, energy levels, meditation, communication styles, perfectionism, believing in yourself, and more.  So stay tuned… in the meantime, here’s the first recipe:

kale_soup_blog

Immune Boosting Soup

Serves 6-8

This Tuscan style soup, with sweet potatoes, kale and garlic, contains lots of antioxidants that help boost your immune system. Don’t cut back on the garlic; it mellows with cooking.  Try different spices; I love cumin and turmeric, maybe a little chili powder…or sometimes a little salsa. You can also puree half of it if you like. This soup freezes well and is nice to have on hand when cold season hits.  You can get all these ingredients at Debra’s, Whole Foods and/or Trader Joe’s.

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1-2 tsp. Italian herbs, dried
  • 6 cups chicken broth (or bone broth)
  • 1 15 oz. can cannellini beans (omit if you can’t eat beans)*
  • 4-5 fresh tomatoes or 14-20 oz. canned tomatoes, diced
  • 1-2 sweet potatoes, diced
  • 4-8 oz. Kale, chopped coarsely
  • 9-12 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cayenne pepper to taste (I use about ¼-1/2 tsp)

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat.  Add onion and herbs; sauté until onion is soft and golden, about 5-6 minutes.

Stir in broth, beans, sweet potatoes, and kale.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes.

Add garlic and tomatoes.  Simmer until potatoes and greens are tender, about 20 minutes.  Add cayenne, salt and pepper to taste.

*If you can’t eat beans, you can substitute chicken or chicken sausage!

Enjoy!

Unwrapping Your Holiday Gifts

Unwrapping your holiday gifts…

The holidays are a time of celebration!  This year, Ginger is a year old! It’s been a year of training her and more work than I remember, but we’re having fun with her and look forward to more walks and seeing friends as time allows!  She keeps me mindful… you just have to be present and enjoy each event in the moment.  Although they are late, the most important things on my list are happening… like sending this holiday email, making Christmas cookies, and spending precious time with loved ones!

Each year, I send these questions as my gift to you… this has become a tradition that I do with all my clients at the end of December.  The idea is to take a few minutes, maybe with a glass of wine, or a cup of tea, and write your answers to them. Unwrap your gifts, celebrate your accomplishments, see what others have given you… what has 2018 brought you, what are you most grateful for, and what do you really want in 2019?

If you’d like to schedule a session with me to map out your intentions for 2019, and do these questions in person, please send me an email… Or, if you’re inclined to share, I’d love to hear from you!

In 2018…

  • What was your greatest accomplishment?  What are you most proud of daring to achieve/do (whether you did it or not)?
  • Where did you nudge yourself out of your comfort zone?
  • What gifts did you see in yourself?  What’s the most valuable lesson you learned?
  • What are you grateful for this year?
  • Who are the people YOU had the greatest positive impact on this year?
  • Who are the people who had the greatest impact on your life this year?
  • What’s one piece of unfinished business, and how might you complete it, address it, or let it go?
  • Overall, what was the theme of this year for you? (It’s your life story, what’s the title of this chapter?)

In 2019…

  • What will the theme be for you this year? (What’s the title of this chapter?)
  • How will this theme manifest in your life?
  • What are your intentions or goals for this year?  What dreams or passions would you like to pursue?
  • What have you learned from the past that you want to use this year?
  • What old habits, fears, or patterns might get in the way?
  • How will you overcome those obstacles or deal with those fears (what structures will you put in place) so that you can follow through and move forward?

Wishing you all the joy and magic of the season… may you enjoy it with family and friends in health, peace and love.  I am so grateful for all of you and look forward to hearing from you in the new year!

Warmly,

Clare

 

How Do You See Your Glass… Half Full Or Half Empty?

How to Develop a Growth Mindset

glass-half-fullWe’ve all heard this before:  Optimists see the glass as half full, while pessimists view it as half empty.  And evidently, the same is true for those with a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset, according to Dr.Carol S Dweck, Stanford psychologist.  She has found that “the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life.”

Our mindset comes from our own thoughts and beliefs and we have the ability to change our mindset when these thoughts and beliefs no longer serve us.  Here are 8 things you can do to develop a growth mindset and achieve goals with more success.

  1. Create a New Compelling Belief– believe that your talents and skills are valuable and work at mastering them.
  2. View Failure in a Different Light– Rather than giving up, see what you can learn from your mistakes; how can you build on what you have and improve?
  3. Increase Your Self-Awareness– Really hone in on your strengths and gifts as well as your weaknesses.  Take assessments, ask trusted friends,, family, or colleagues for their perspective so you can identify areas where you want to grow.
  4. Be Curious– Remember when you were young, and life was full of wonder?  Be like a child, ask questions, discover new things.  Be open to people’s stories and their experiences…what can they teach you?
  5. Befriend Challenges– People with a growth mindset revel in challenges.  They embrace obstacles and problems as a way to learn and grow; they are compelled to find solutions and persevere even after failure.
  6. Love What You Do– When you love what you do, obstacles don’t deter you from your goal.  With a growth mindset, your energy carries you through the barriers and fuels you to keep moving forward.
  7. Build Tenacity– Perseverance is key to a growth mindset.  There is no giving up, just a fierce commitment to a goal.  With tenacity, when you fall, you get back up and try again.
  8. Be Inspired By Others– People with a growth mindset love to help others on their paths to success.  Cheering others on keeps their energy flowing and keeps opportunities coming their way.

New Mindset New Results

 

If you tend to see the glass as half empty, change won’t happen overnight.  But if you’re willing to  commit to changing some of your long held beliefs, you can shift your mindset, and in doing so, increase your awareness, see things from a different perspective, and achieve new results.

 

Adapted from Shift to a Growth Mindset, Inc.com

The Power of Perseverance

hopepersevereI think we all know what perseverance is- “steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.”  And it’s an important trait to have in order to be successful in life. It means working hard to get things done regardless of any odds or obstacles that may come up, and when we persevere, we don’t give up.

Do you persevere in your job search or on projects? Or, after meeting rejection or difficulties, do you quit?

Here are some tips for building perseverance:

  • Develop a growth mindset; be open to learning new things
  • Know when to push yourself a little and when to take a break; if you can make one more phone call, then do it.  If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a break and try again later.
  • Set realistic goals that are meaningful to you; set yourself up to succeed and don’t compare yourself to others.  Making 3 phone calls a day might be enough for you and if you feel good about that, you’ll be more apt to make more calls the next day.
  • Acknowledge or reward your accomplishments
  • Be persistent; don’t give up!
  • Practice positive self-talk; when you find yourself thinking “this is too hard” or “I don’t know how to do this”, tell yourself, “I can figure this out, I can handle it!”  And surround yourself with positive-minded people.
  • Practice self care; connect with your breath, meditate, do yoga, take a walk outside-do things that nurture your body, mind, and spirit…
  • Visualize your success; believe in yourself!

One of my life stories…

Many years ago, when I was getting my Masters in Social Work, I decided I wanted a paid internship in Corporate Social Responsibility (those were the days!)  I did some research and found a couple of Public Policy Directors in major insurance companies who were willing to chat with me about the possibility of having an intern.  I was in Hartford, CT, the Insurance Capital, so I thought what better place to learn about CSR.  After several interviews, I found a Public Policy Director at Travelers who was very interested in having me work for her and offered me a nice stipend.  I was so excited!  It was May, and she was going to work out the details and get back to me.

After not hearing from her for 3 weeks, I called to check in.  Her secretary said that her boss had been in a biking accident and had broken her arm so she was recuperating at home.  Her secretary and I developed a nice phone relationship and while time was running out and I still didn’t have a Fall internship in place, I kept the faith, and kept in touch with this wonderful secretary.  If it had not been for her support and reassurance that they did really want me, I might have given up.  But I really wanted to work with this woman, so I persevered.  Sure enough, in the nick of time, the Director called me and thanked me for hanging in there.  And I not only got my paid internship, I also ended up living with the Director in her home for the year which turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life!

So I am fond of perseverance- it has served me well.  May it do the same for you!