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


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  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:


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!


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!




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,

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!

What’s Good For You?

I’ve been reading a lot lately about the need for more self-compassion, notably Brene Brown’s, The Gifts of Imperfection, and what I’ve been noticing is how often we tend to self-criticize.  Whether it’s calling ourselves “banana brain” when we forget something, or “stupid woman” when we make a mistake, negative self-talk, even seemingly funny, has a detrimental effect on our overall self-worth.  Putting ourselves down and criticizing ourselves under our breath can create tension, feed anxiety and fear, and make us feel miserable.  That critical inner voice is our subconscious talking and if we let it, it can diminish our motivation and energy.  Even if our conscious brain is saying, “you’re not stupid, you’re an intelligent talented woman”,  if we’re beating ourselves up inside, it’s our subconscious thoughts that rule.

We need to learn to treat ourselves with kindness and self-compassion!  This will boost our energy and motivation and reinforce our belief in ourselves. We’ll be more resilient to stress, able to do more of what we want, and we’ll just be happier in general.

Here are 3 tips to practice being kinder to yourself:

  1. Say calm, soothing words to yourself like, “Nobody’s perfect.  We all make mistakes sometimes,”  or “I’m me, and that’s a good thing!
  2. Do something every day that’s good for you, feeds your soul, nurtures you…it can be anything that makes you happy- taking a yoga class, going for a walk, baking for someone, or listening to music.  Take a break your way and enjoy it!
  3. Practice self-care and compassion…if you’re stressed or suffering about something, pause and notice what you’re feeling, and maybe where you’re feeling it in your body. And then, ask yourself, “what do I need to feel better?”  Maybe it’s calling a trusted friend, or getting a massage, or maybe trying a loving kindness meditation.

Here’s one of my favorites…I start my day with this meditation:

May I be happy, may I be healthy in body and mind, may I be safe and protected from inner and outer harm, and may I be free from fear, the fear that keeps me stuck.

After you say it to yourself, you can say it to anyone you love, friends, and to everyone in the world.

Kindness is contagious- embrace who you are, believe in yourself, and share your gifts with the world!


Free Meditation Session


Free Meditation Session on Friday, July 13, Noon-1:30pm!

If you want to find out how meditation and mindfulness can help you feel a sense of well being and peace, wherever you are in your life, whatever you’re dealing with, then join me Friday July 13.  All are welcome…

To register, send me an email with Free Meditation in the subject line and I’ll send you the logistics…or call me.  I look forward to meditating with you…

Work and Well-being

NeverGiveUpICT (Institute for Career Transitions) held a workshop Saturday, June 23rd on the status of work and well-being.  I wasn’t there, but I wanted to share some of the highlights with you.  If you’re a job seeker, you’ll relate and realize you’re not alone.


Headlines are missing key facts:

  1. If under-employment is factored in, unemployment is around 7.5%.
  2. 15% of college-educated people earn < $15/hr and 1 in 5 are under-employed.
  3. 20% of unemployed are LTU (Long-term unemployed).
  4. 30% of age 50+ unemployed are LTU.
  5. For workers >= age 62, between the years 2005 and 2015, the % of people earning <= $15k went from 10%to 15%.
  6. Full time employment (FTE) continues to drop overall as a % of all jobs.  The % of contract and part-time jobs continues to rise.

Don’t let the headlines get you down! It’s tough out there, but keep going…your fellow job seekers are your biggest allies.

Qualitative Data:

More people are exhausting their retirement savings and/or are on programs such as SNAP.  People are turning to survival jobs- renting out rooms on AirBnB, driving Uber and Lyft.

Older, well educated workers are finding it harder to get a job like the one they had before, so they look more broadly, either going down, or transitioning to a new field.  Going down levels leads to objections that they are over-qualified; switching to a new field leads to objections that they have no experience.

A growing number of people are in emotional crisis which leads them to self-blame, isolation and heightened stress  and makes it hard to focus and conduct an effective job search.

What Works:

Networking!  It’s not easy for some and it takes time to network effectively which can lead to more stress.  Building rapport and long term relationships is “an incredibly difficult feat” for people in emotional and financial lows.

“This game sucks.”  We need to change the game, but individuals who must play the game can’t change it.  There is no Magic Formula and many job seekers are disappointed.

Ofer talked about the Collaboratory and its strategic and social/emotional benefits.  Members meet 15 hrs/week and help each other in a place where they feel valued, a sense of belonging and accountability, decreased isolationism, and affinity with others.

Someone asked about a recent Boston Globe article on older workers being unable to gain employment in this “robust economy”, and how Governor Baker’s office is building a list of older-worker friendly companies.

Ofer saw this before when he was invited to the White House during the Obama administration.  Companies included their names on a list but there hasn’t been follow through by them or the government.

The majority of workers in the USA face issues, not just the unemployed. Many are unhappy, have lost benefits, are under-employed, stressed, but afraid to quit or ever take time off.

3 Questions Asked:

As one of my clients said, “What people wrote in response to these questions is so moving and true to life.” The unemployed continue to amaze me in their perseverance, their determination to keep going, and in their humanity.  It is hard not to get emotional reading these now; I can only imagine how it was to be in the room.  Our country really ought to be serving them better…

  1. I am most proud of:
  • The friends I have
  • My unpaid public policy advocacy
  • Getting my fashion biz certificate (64 unemployment)
  • Helping people who are important to me when I don’t feel I can
  • Reinvented my career with recognition worthy success
  • Family
  • Helped others to find path to make positive change
  • Not sure anymore; there are things I enjoy; a great meal I’ve created
  • That my children are living the values that I feel are critically important to how a good life in community should be lived
  • My 401K (sounds awful to say but represents 15 years of night/weekend work invested
  • My teaching; my kids
  • Being non-judgemental and forgiving and raising my children with similar values
  • I have had the courage, repeatedly, to leave jobs that were inauthentic and treated employees as ‘pieces not people’ and creating life supporting options
  • Helping people build and develop their skills
  • My 2 adult children (boys); proud of who they are and what they’ve done and our relationship
  • Spending my life helping people
  • When I inspire others to believe and use their strengths
  • Of my achievements at previous jobs
  • Perseverance; creativity; resourcefulness; relationships where people have stuck by me regardless of my emotional state
  • Being reliable, supportive, caring, open-minded
  • My work ethic, especially in the face of adversity
  • Being part of an improv group (I am an introvert)

2. The most challenging part of being unemployed/underemployed/no meaning in work (besides financial) is:

  • All the extra stuff that fills my non-work time
  • I am so bored
  • How I feel about myself
  • Not being able to contribute/use my skills
  • Staying positive
  • Not knowing if anything  I’m doing is making a difference
  • Meaning (lack of)
  • Life is passing by and I am wasting it
  • Trying to be productive; fill your day to check things off your list; taking advantage of your new found free time
  • Meaningless job; irritation; depression; I want out
  • The feeling that I’m not hitting certain life ‘mile stones’ that others in my age group (and younger) seem to be completing or entering (owning home, married, more degrees)
  • Being perceived as a has been; defective somehow; undesirable
  • Feeling that you lose yourself
  • Isolation; missing stimulation of ideas and colleagues; not feeling comfortable knowing how to talk about ‘situation’ without burdening others or ‘complaining’
  • Not being able to contribute fully because it took too much to be managing day to day
  • Emotional challenge
  • Losing sense of self worth
  • Not using skills
  • Friends moving for jobs and to pay for less expenses; friends not understanding; periodic negativity and sadness from disappointment
  • Loss of perceived status- it really hurts to feel lesser/lower than
  • Sense of having no control; being powerless
  • I’m not doing my part to contribute- wasted resource
  • Keeping my intellectual spirit high and not mentally checking out
  • The fact that I derive so much of my value and sense of self-worth from my work and when I am not producing tangible, quality outputs, I begin to lose my confidence and experience a feeling of incompetence and less worth

If I had 2 more hours before I went to bed, I’d:

  • Write (mentioned 7 times)- write in my journal, compose, creative writing, hand write letters to friends
  • Listen to motivating Ted Talks or books on tape
  • Meditate/Guided meditation (mentioned 3 times)- meditate/reflect
  • Art/Writing/Collage
  • Read (mentioned 12 times)-about fashion, about people’s different stories, read more fiction, read without worrying, reading my journal, read for fun
  • Watch TV, watch friends stories on Instagram, watch shows on You Tube
  • Play musical instruments and sing
  • Yoga; yoga/stretch; yoga for an hour
  • Dance
  • Unwind; relax; rest
  • Do something just for me
  • Photography
  • I’d spend more time creating: canvas, painting, crafting, drawing etc.
  • Have sex
  • Be outside at night for more than 2 hours
  • Rethink the current direction of our World
  • Play
  • Improve the appearance of my home, make it more welcoming
  • Hug
  • Spend more time with family and friends

Wow, that was powerful and moving for me just to type and take in- now, what can we do about the situation?  I don’t know but I think we need to raise public awareness big-time:  About ICT and the work they do, about how companies could be hiring LTU and workers over 50 more, about what legislators could do, and about how we can retrain workers for new jobs to name a few.  What do you think?  Please share your ideas with me or Ofer Sharone at ICT.  It’s going to take a village…

I’ll be offering a free meditation session on Friday, July 13 at Noon-1:30 for anyone who’s interested.  Details are on my website…hope to see you there!

Have Do Be or Be Do Have

Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you really need to do, in order to have what you want.

~Margaret Young

Most people live according to the Do Be Have model- in order to have something, we must do, do, do, and then we’ll be successful. We’ve been taught this. For example, if we want to have career success, we must do something, like work 80 hours/week, and then we’ll be happy. This becomes a neverending treadmill of always needing to do more in the pursuit of happiness, which can lead us to stress and worry so much that we block potential possibilities.

Being Requires Reflection and Connection

In truth, if we stop the constant striving, worrying and planning every moment as a human doing, then life flows, and we can live more authentically, as the human beings we were meant to be. If we can take time to figure out our “why”, our purpose or intention, from a place of love and mindfulness, envisioning ourselves as happy, then the Universe will fill in the “how” and we can take advantage of opportunities as they come. Be first, then do, and you will have all that you need.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this since my trip to Brittany. I felt like more of a human being there and it was wonderful! I was relaxed and happy. My days flowed from one joyful moment to another… I enjoyed precious time with my daughter as we filled our senses with art, flowers, food and the beauty of the villages in the area, speaking a little French and connecting with locals who were more than happy to share stories with us. Yes it was vacation and we had no real “to do’s”, but we were present being as we were doing things.

“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” ~Brene Brown

In Brittany, I was living authentically…I was being me. I vowed to keep this feeling when I got home- not to worry, or get caught up in other people’s treadmills, or spend my time doing things that don’t really matter to me. It has been a challenge, but I’m committed to making it part of my daily mindfulness practice to be more human. If I feel myself starting to slip into Eeyore mode, worrying about not getting enough done, or meeting people’s expectations, I go to my toolbox and choose from my energy boosters- meditation, yoga, walking, connecting with a friend, going to a music or dance performance, or going to my kitchen and cooking or baking something delicious…and pretty soon, I’m back in my flow, being me…

Be, Do, and Have…

happybeingyou (1)

What about you? Do you feel like a human doing or a human being? The choice is really always yours. Take some time to reflect and just be…Set an intention for the life you really want and take small steps towards it every day with messages of loving kindness to yourself…We can’t get away from doing things that need to be done, but we can come from a place of love and enjoy being while we’re doing.