Humans are (still) social creatures wired to connect. It’s true.
And since in addition to loving food, we love people and serving others, we will always keep the conversation going about how to have a better conversation: one that leaves you and the other person feeling inspired, engaged, and basically — really good.
Watch this short TED Talk: 10 ways to have a better conversation
(It’s not just about eye contact…as she says: there’s no reason to show you are paying attention…if, in fact…you are paying attention!)
1. Don’t multi-task (physically or mentally). Be present.
2. Don’t pontificate: if you want to state opinions without discussion, write a blog! Enter every conversation assuming you have something to learn.
3. Use open-ended questions: what was that like, how did that feel, what do you think.
4. Go with the flow – meaning, let thoughts come as you are listening but let them go. Don’t check out of listening because you’re cueing up that random thought or story you want to share.
5. If you don’t know, say you don’t know.
6. Don’t equate your experience with theirs. All experiences are individual.
7. Try not to repeat yourself, it’s condescending and boring.
8. Stay out of the weeds. That detail you are trying to remember (exact year or place) really isn’t that important to others.
9. Listen. This is the most important skill humans can develop. No man ever listened himself out of a job (quoting Calvin Coolidge).
10. Be brief.
Do all of these and be prepared to be amazed.
In an effort to simplify my life this holiday season, a theme that resonates with me every year, I have been thinking about ways to pare down my life. This thought started with a simple trip to the grocery store where I noticed the shelves were filled with an overabundance of holiday food items, that sadly, go to waste. It goes without saying that we live in a world of abundance, particularly when it comes to food. Of course, this is not a blog about world hunger, but it certainly gives you something to think about in this season of plenty.
Obviously, being a nutrition professional, I have a love of food so I am not going to totally forgo the joy of baking, just stick to my favorites that I know will be savored by family & friends alike. My personal favorite holiday treat is Hazelnut Maple Biscotti; nothing beats this divine combination of chocolate and hazelnuts.
So, I will savor my biscotti and all the simple pleasures the season has to offer.
Hazelnut Maple Biscotti
Hazelnuts (a tree nut) are a good source of folate & dietary fiber.
½ cup pure maple syrup
½ cup hazelnut butter (I ground my hazelnuts which is actually pretty simple)
¼ cup butter
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1-tablespoon hazelnut liquor (optional)
3 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
½ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup lightly toasted hazelnuts
Semi-sweet or Bittersweet Chocolate for drizzle
Preheat oven to 325. Line cookie sheet with parchment or silpat. In a medium bowl, cream together maple syrup, hazelnut butter and butter. Add eggs, vanilla and liquor, blending well. In a larger bowl, combine flours, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir to blend. Make a well into dry ingredients, add egg mixture and mix until incorporated. Add nuts. (Knead by hand if necessary). On a lightly floured board, divide dough into half and roll into 2 14-inch logs. Place logs on prepared sheet, then flatten about 1 inch high. Bake for 25 minutes or until loaves spring back when touched lightly. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Reset oven to 300. Slice cookies on the diagonal. Place slices flat on baking sheet, and bake for 25 minutes (a lot of this process is trial and error; I like my cookies crisp so I bake longer). Remove from oven and let cool. Drizzle with chocolate (or dip in chocolate) if desired.