Coaching Kitchen #115 Embracing the Adventure and Each Other

Vacations are great. And, even more so, when you fully engage and go for the gusto. Just back from spending time with my family in Iowa, I am relaxed and thinking about all the fun we had.

From being soaked in a water balloon fight, to going to a musical with my niece, nephew, and my best friend from high school and college, it was really a great time. My mom made what possibly could have been her most delicious cherry pie ever, along with a raisin custard pie and apple dumplings•both very tasty also. I had long talks with my sibs, and a long drive in the country. My cousin visited from my old home town, and brought lots of corn for us to prepare for the freezer. Next winter, I’ll be enjoying the taste of good ole Iowa sweet corn•and I mean sweet.

Mark had a good time too, riding three of the seven days of RAGBRAI (the Des Moines “Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa”). He teams up with a group that my brother-in-law organizes each year, and they really enjoy the scenery, food, small town hospitality, and camaraderie • and probably the bike riding, as well. He also packed in a couple rounds of golf, which is a vacation must for him.

One of the many things I love and appreciate about Mark is his engagement with my family, and his willingness to travel to various locales to see them on a pretty regular basis. He often does more planning and organizing for these trips than I do and seems to really enjoy the times we all spend together. Of course, there are moments when all the hubbub gets to be a little too much.

Like Christmas dinner last year, when he was preparing the turkey and had children under foot, side dishes to juggle, and two dogs chasing through the kitchen. But, he is a good sport, and generally goes along with the “program.” My life would not be nearly as good, if he didn’t make those trips with me and take part in the way that he does.

I also very much appreciate my family and their places in my life. When we get together, it is generally close quarters and we•re all balancing nap times, meal choices, activity preferences, and emotions. Yet, through patience and love it all works out, and we•re left with great memories and the experiences that bind us even more closely together.

We won’t be back in Iowa for awhile, but these happy times sustain me, along with email and phone calls. I cherish being a part of each others• lives and building relationships with my nieces and nephews as they are growing up. We are already planning our next get together, and I have to smile just thinking about it.

Ross• Shepherd’s Pie • (During our vacation, my nephew, Ross, ate this for dinner, breakfast, and lunch, until it was gone. His sister, Leila, loved the mashed potato part.)

2 cups mashed potatoes (I use the ready prepared version, sold in the refrigerated section of the store. I also use all of the package and extra of the other ingredients to make a bigger dish in a 9″ by 11″ pan.)
1 cup shredded pizza or Italian blend cheese (3 oz)
8 oz lean ground beef (or buffalo)
4 oz bulk sweet Italian sausage
• cup chopped onion
2 cups sliced zucchini or yellow summer squash
1 can 14 oz diced tomatoes, un-drained
1/3 cup tomato paste (1/2 of a 6 oz can)
• teaspoon pepper
Paprika, optional

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 9″ by 11″ pan with cooking spray. Combine the potatoes with 3/4 cup cheese and set aside. Brown the meat, sausage, and onion on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Drain off the fat. Stir in zucchini, un-drained tomatoes, tomato paste, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat.

Spread the meat mixture into the baking pan. Spoon the potato mixture into mounds on top, and sprinkle with remaining cheese (and paprika, if desired). Bake uncovered until bubbly, about 25 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes.

Coaching Inquiries: What activities provide real relaxation for you, and take you away from your normal day to day? Do you share those times with others and use them to build deeper or broader relationships? Have you found ways to let go of control, and to allow a more natural and easy unfolding of the activity? See what fun and adventure you can find for yourself and others this week.

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May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Kate Kriynovich (
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH

Telephone: 614-488-4659
Fax: 240-465-5848

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