Thanksgiving Gamechangers

TurkeyDinnerRollsLargeThanksgiving is an interesting day for a vegetarian. Yes, the option of having a “bread turkey” has been visited, but I have never been one to get on board for swapping protein for carbs. I’ve had black bean burgers on my plate for many years, and frankly, it’s a little sad. I have friends that opt out and go for Noodles mac&cheese, but to my last points, I am determined this year to be more included in my favorite holiday.

This year, whole foods it is. Regardless of a specialized diet, it’s great to have options that you will be happy with during the feast that won’t leave you in a food coma. I promise these recipes are tried and true, even by coworkers terrified of kale. Let’s get cooking:

Autumn Salad

-2 cucumbersIMG_3690
-2 honeycrisp apples
-2 cups steamed/sauteed kale (optional)
-1/4 french baguette*
-1/2 chopped red onion
-3/4 cup dried cranberries (note: not craisins but just a health preference)
-3/4 cup chopped walnuts
-cover in balsamic vinegar** and olive oil
*If celiac sensitive: swap for quinoa, or leave out.
**Little known fact that I love to share: balsamic vinegar is amazing to pair with anything starchy (bring some for those mashed potatoes!) because it slows the spike in your blood sugar that comes from digesting carbs. On Thanksgiving, my blood sugar will take any help it can get.

The BEST Apple Butternut Squash Soup
(this is actually a Martha Stewart recipe, not a Sarah Reed original but I make it a lot so that counts for something, yes?)

I swap the chicken stock for vegetable broth and butter for coconut oil- highly recommend!

Balsamic Eggplant & Tofu
This is like my version of meat and potatoes, the end result is just about as colorful but don’t be fooled, this is filling and nutrient packed.

thanksgiving2 eggplants
1 package of extra firm tofu (TJ’s has my favorite)
Coconut oil
At least 2 cups balsamic vinegar
Cayenne pepper, sesame seeds, other seasoning as desired
1-2 handfuls raw almonds

Dice eggplant and place large pot with simmered 2 tbsp coconut oil. Pour 3/4 cup water over eggplant and cover
Stir occasionally, around 15 minutes until eggplant will be soft. Drain excess water and pour enough balsamic vinegar to cover top layer, cover again. Cook for 5 more minutes, or until balsamic is absorbed. Add sesame seeds & serve. (4 servings)

Slice tofu into diced quadrants, and soak in bowl of balsamic vinegar for 10 minutes. Add tofu to simmered coconut oil in sauce pan, flip tofu slices once golden brown (about 10 minutes). Expedited route: add balsamic vinegar to tofu after flipping, instead of marinating. Add in almonds while the second side browns, or add at end. (2-4 servings)

ENJOY and as always, let me know what you try!


My Why

“I don’t know why anyone does what they do,” I confessed to my coworkers, “I know why you’re good at your jobs, but I don’t know how you ended up in them or why you’re passionate about them. So here’s my why.”

Hosting a marketing lunch & learn for my coworkers, I realized what drives every element of my life—passion—has yet to be communicated to the majority of the people in the room, despite the small size of our group.

H&C 2014 - CopyI explained that I was originally drawn to Work Effects for the apples and discussion of “health” I saw on the website. It turned out this referred to organizational health (aka not being a toxic workplace) and with time that has caught my interest as well. 40 hours a week (and often more) is a lot of time to spend in one place, and I take pride in contributing to those 40+ hours being healthier and happier.

The presentation was designed to give people an idea of what I do, but that couldn’t be explained without why I do it-

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 10.45.10 PM1. Brands tell stories: There is so much more that goes into why you buy one brand over the other, which brands you follow on social media, and how you think of an organization. I love interpreting, creating, and telling these stories. Whether that’s through writing, images, or events, stories draw me to content creation.

2. Create the best version of oneself: This is where my worlds cross. Out of the office, I am dedicated to helping others nurture the best version of themselves through health and fitness. I get to do this in a very different way with brand management, and make strategic choices to create a brand’s story.

3. Plan to execution: There’s something extra rewarding about being involved in each step of a process. Expertise is proud in when needed, but I love playing an active role in the strategy, creation, fine-tuning, and execution of an idea.
Webinar 1 Promotion

4. Give attention where it is deserved: I think marketers have the unique opportunity to decide what and who is in the limelight. For example, Work Effects was recently asked to speak at an Organizational Development Network event. There was many other similar organizations being considered, but they were most interested in our approach to culture and wanted to reward that quality of work.

There is so much about our daily lives that is unique to who we are. Even if the activity, role, or organization is the same, how each person got to the present moment is a different journey. I believe in sharing these stories, which sometimes calling for going a bit off script and blurring lines of our personal and professional lives. I don’t want my coworkers (or anyone for that matter) to understand my role, I want them to understand me.

So, tell your story. What is your why?

3 Reasons to Recharge

“Your name, and the best news you have received in the last week.” This is what I was recently asked to share as part of an ice breaker introduction. I jogged my memory for the best thing that happened in the last week, and oddly enough it was the time that was originally placed on my calendar as a chore.agd

“Hi, I’m Sarah. This isn’t really news,” I explained, “but I am a Recruitment Specialist for my sorority, and I feel like this week I really just got my shit together.” Followed by some laughs, the leader of the group asked if there was anything in particular that I did to get a handle on my work. My eyes lit up. “So I made this spreadsheet,” I started, and I think I lost everyone after that. But that’s okay, the enthusiasm of how great it feels to organize my life carried through.

I think of this as admin time, something we would understand as part of any job description, but often forget to pencil into our own lives. Whatever the specifics may be for you, the time to recharge is now:

1. Honesty is the best policy: This quality time with my laptop and excel came after weeks of not giving my position and chapters the attention they deserve. Not so surprisingly, ignoring my shortcomings was not making them any less real. This catch up time allowed me to be honest with myself and others, and start working towards solutions. It’s only when we make the conscious choices to push through what doesn’t come easily that we get to enjoy that weight-off-the-shoulders/shit-together utopia. Shout out to Nicole Mardell for reminding me of this.

2. Healthy habits: Like anything, this reminds me of yoga and fitness. Once you know how good you can feel, it’s hard to go back. Since this revelation, I’ve made habits of being consistent with this out-of-work commitment, and creating routines the same way I would for work responsibilities. When something is top of mind, it’s much easier to squeeze in or block time off for the task. This week I tried a new routine: focusing on myself in a favorite Alchemy workout, then going to Spyhouse next door to send emails and finish reports. It was perfect. I was so focused that I tried to stay longer even when the coffee shop began playing “Closing Time,” and dimming the lights, until I was personally informed that it was time to go.

3. Be present: If something doesn’t relate to working out, it relates to recruitment. This is how my world works. This morning, when I was getting on the bus I sat down next to an older man, who was sitting crookedly, not by choice. I left a seat between us to leave room for his legs, but at the next stop a woman my age sat between us. The man explained to her he had to sit this way, and apologized for his legs being in her way. Instead of nodding and sitting quietly the rest of the time like all other 8:00 a.m. passengers, she assured him it was not a problem and that she would help him if needed. They talked the remainder of the bus ride, and because I was eaves dropping instead of actually reading my book, I know that they made a great connection. She found out what happened to his leg, heard stories of his motorcycle rides in California, and learned about his connection to Minneapolis. At the surface, they had nothing in common and had no reason to engage. These connections are only able to occur when we are present, not looking at our phones, and have enough inner peace to start seeing the world through others.

Screen Shot 2014-12-27 at 3.37.17 PMInner-peace starts with the removal of inner-chaos, and ridding your life of the habits that nourish chaos. Had I not taken care of myself first by going to yoga this morning, would I have been present enough to notice how the old man was sitting, or their conversation? I can’t say.

What I can say certainly, is that it’s easier to disengage. It’s easy to go through the motions. But that’s not what recharging is about. I didn’t organize contact information or sit in a coffee shop because I felt like I had to, that wouldn’t be rewarding in the slightest. The first step in this admin time is remembering why you do what you do, remembering what you are missing when chaos is present, and most importantly remembering to only give your time to what could contribute to the best news of your week.