I’ve been writing “Debbie’s Favorite Things” yearly since 2007. I’m kinda obsessed with Oprah and I figured if she could do it, why couldn’t I ?! 🙂 It quickly became a tradition for me to list 10 of my favorite things from the previous year….and it also became my favorite newsletter to write each year. View past years: Debbie’s Favorite Things 2014; Debbie’s Favorite Things 2012; Debbie’s Favorite Things 2011; Debbie’s Favorite Things 2010; Debbie’s Favorite Things 2009; Debbie’s Favorite Things 2008; Debbie’s Favorite Things 2007.
On to this year’s favorites….
- Bialetti pan. If you have known me for any length of time, I am always on the quest for the perfect pan! I love my stainless and cast-iron pots for soups and stews but have found both too frustrating (or heavy!) to use for everyday foods such as eggs or sautéed veggies . I’ve tried the gamut of “healthier non-stick” (PFOA, PTFE free) pans of all price points, and have learned to hold onto my receipt, as they inevitably start out great and then quickly disappoint. I may be speaking prematurely but these amazingly affordable ceramic coated pans have become a favorite in our house for the last 6-months. We own two and they are still holding strong, even with ALL the cooking we do. Yes, only time will tell…..but they hold great promise so far, especially for their price.
- Coloring books. If you haven’t heard, coloring is not just for kids anymore! My sister in law, who lives in Israel, brought our kids beautiful mandala coloring books similar to these. Our five year old fell in love with them immediately. We’d sit at the table coloring each page together for hours. Then, I’d start coloring my own page….and Roy his own page…..and then we’d find ourselves sitting and coloring ALONE! The beautiful pictures and small, detailed spaces truly make coloring a meditative process. The grandparents have even joined in! When my mom (the former preschool teacher) got involved, she knew exactly which pens we needed…..gel pens that would be vibrant and colorful but not bleed though the paper (like the thin-tipped sharpies I had naively purchased). They have taken our families’ coloring to a whole new level!
- Mason jars. As I sit here typing this newsletter, I am drinking water from my favorite mason jar. Not just for canning anymore, mason jars are back—and with a multitude of uses. First of all, you can find them almost anywhere in super-cute colors like these at Target and these at Bed & Bath. They also have tons of “accessories” to go with them….making your jar double as a straw cup (our kids love these)….or a soap dispenser, piggy bank, flower arrangement, candle holder, and more like these!
- Nose oil. Winters have certainly been harder on me with three kids at home and my work at a pediatric office! A few years ago, I started doing nasal irrigation daily. That helped a lot, but even with a humidifier going all night long, I still woke up feeling very dried out in my sinuses and throat. Then I saw this video from a local Ayurvedic practitioner, and it was the “ah-ha” I was looking for! Although there are many benefits to using saline nasal irrigation, the salt water can actually leave your mucous membranes drier (similar to when you get out of the ocean at the beach and the dried salt water on your skin feels tight and dry). Enter nose oil. I started adding the nasya nose oil to my daily routine and it made a HUGE difference the very first night…and (fingers crossed) seems to be further guarding me against respiratory infections!
- Kukicha twig tea. I feel like I must have consumed Kukicha tea by the gallon when I was in nutrition school 16 years ago. My school was run by a professor with a background in Macrobiotics and so we practically had it on-tap. Over the years, other teas have entered my repertoire and sadly kukicha fell to the wayside until one of my friends and mentors reminded me of it again this year. It is made from the twigs and stems of the tea plant, has minimal caffeine, is loaded with nutrients and is believed to alkalize the body, balance blood sugar levels, and decrease sugar cravings. And did I mention, it’s delicious!
- Delicata squash. ‘Tis the season for winter squashes! Despite being my favorite variety, I am not sure that I’ve ever given delicata squash the honorable mention it deserves! Simply cut the delicata squash lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, and bake (cut side down) on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper at 400 degrees until fork tender. We then add coconut oil and sea salt (mashed in, like a baked potato) to enjoy!
- “I Am” Meditation. This year marked the passing of Wayne Dyer, one of our favorite authors and teachers and the man lovingly referred to as “the father of motivation”. Several years ago, I purchased Wayne Dyer’s book, Wishes Fulfilled, and it came with a CD of the “I am” meditation. It’s a 20-minute meditation with no words, just the beautiful sound of tuning forks. You can listen to it here. We love it and listen to it nightly.
- You are the Placebo. Last year, I mentioned loving the book Mind over Medicine by Lissa Rankin, M.D. Earlier this year I read Joe Dispenza’s newest book, You are the Placebo, and then went back and read his previous book, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself. Both Roy and I became intrigued by the role of the mind (your thoughts, beliefs, intentions, etc.) in health and healing. For anyone interested in understanding more of the mind-body connection, these are great reads! (We also attended Dr. Joe Dispenza’s progressive workshop in Denver this summer, which was also fantastic.)
- RuMe Baggie All. Hang out with me for 10-minutes and you would know that I LOVE ORGANIZATION! It’s just one of those things that came programmed in me. Ask my mom 🙂 That’s why I love the RuMe Baggie All. Compact (yet not too small), 3 zippered pouches to keep things separate (but also together), and cute designs that meet a myriad of organizational needs! I recently made a travel toiletry bags for each member of my family using these.
- Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. This spring I organized a group of 20+ moms to join me in taking the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Course based on the work of John Kabat-Zinn. MBSR is an 8-week intensive training in mindfulness meditation, based on ancient healing practices, which meets on a weekly basis. Mindfulness practice is ideal for cultivating greater awareness of the unity of mind and body, as well as of the ways the unconscious thoughts, feelings, and behaviors can undermine emotional, physical, and spiritual health. The course I took was great and if this work resonates with you, it is offered in cities all over…and locally here and here.
Those are my 2015 favorites! I’d love to know what were some of YOUR favorites this year? Share below…..