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Spotlight on the Outstanding Benefits of Being a Volunteer

Martin Luther King Day has become not just a holiday but an united effort in "giving back." Thus it has become a National Day of Service. We are called to challenge ourselves with ways to give back to our communities by volunteer service.

Did you know that there are significant health benefits with the simple act of volunteering? Not only can it increase your health, but volunteering helps us to stretch ourselves with unlimited learning opportunities.

Volunteering doesn't have to be an act that is out of your comfort range. It can be contributing in a way that shares your unique talents be it with children, the environment, the elderly or the whole world. 

Get more details in my latest blog: Spotlight on the Outstanding Benefits of Being a Volunteer.

Mushroom Risotto

This recipe was created by Jamie Oliver for Hello Fresh, a meal kit service that delivers straight to your door. Risotto needs to cook slowly and this recipe takes approximately 45 minutes to make. We were impressed with the delicious results.
Photo Copyright vertmedia/123RF Stock Photo

Serves 2

1/3 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 stalk of celery
1 Tbs. olive oil
8 spears asparagus
4 ounces button mushrooms
4 cups organic vegetable stock
1/4 bunch of fresh Italian parsley
1 oz. Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup Arborio Rice (risotto) rice
3 Tbs. white wine
1 lemon

•    Wash and dry all produce.  Put a small pot of water on to boil.
Place the porcini mushrooms in a small bowl, cover with boiling
water and leave to rehydrate. Bring the vegetable stock to a boil in a
medium pot then turn the heat down to low.
•    Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic, then trim and finely chop
the celery. Slice the lemon into wedges. Snap off and discard the woody
ends from the asparagus, cut off the tips and roughly chop the stems.
Roughly chop the button mushrooms. Pick, finely chop and reserve the
parsley leaves, then add the stems to the pan of stock.
•    Heat 1 Tbs. of olive oil in a medium pan over medium-low heat, add the
onion, celery and a splash of water, then cook for around 5 minutes, or
until softened but not browned, stirring occasionally.
•    Finely chop the porcini mushrooms and add to the pan, along with the
soaking water. Leave any gritty bits behind.
•    Place another pan over a medium heat, drizzle in a little oil, then
add the garlic, button mushrooms and a small pinch of sea salt and black
pepper. Cook gently for a few minutes, or until softened, then set
•    Once the onion and celery are soft, stir in the rice and cook,
tossing, for 1 minute until translucent. Pour in the wine, and keep stirring until absorbed.
•    Turn the heat up to medium, then add a ladleful of hot stock (avoid
the parsley stems – these are there to add flavor, but not to be
eaten!). Keep stirring and adding stock, a ladle at a time, waiting for
the rice to soak it all up before adding the next ladleful. Continue
until you’ve added two-thirds of the stock.
•    Stir in the asparagus and cooked mushrooms into the pan, then keep
adding the remaining stock until the rice is just cooked and the risotto
has a nice oozy consistency – if you run out of stock, use boiling hot
•    Remove the risotto from the heat, and stir in most of the Parmesan
cheese. Taste, and if needed, season with salt, pepper and a squeeze of
lemon juice, then cover with a lid and leave to sit for 2 minutes.
Divide the risotto between your plates, scatter over the remaining
cheese and then parsley. Enjoy!

Recipe by Jamie Oliver for Hello Fresh

A Constant Student...

I’m a firm believer in the concept of life-long learning. It’s one of the reasons why I consistently seek new opportunities to learn and grow.

I'm a certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT), HeartMath provider and Ayurveda Health Educator specializing in Stress Management and Wellness Coaching. Click here to learn more about coaching with me and upcoming programs open to the public.

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