Posts Tagged ‘Cheetah Learning’

Peachy Keen (Why eating in season makes delicious sense!)

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

A few years ago, my husband planted several apple, pear and peach trees on a sloped, sunny spot alongside our garden in the backyard.  We’d dream of the day when we could pick our own fresh fruit right from the tree – for free!  The first year, we got nothing, nada, zilch – Did we do something wrong? Were these dud trees or something?  Perhaps they were too young to bear fruit?

The next year, the trees grew larger and we started to get tiny little red pears on one of them.  They were so cute! A few days later, due to the dry weather, the tree snapped in half and all the little pears fell and never made it to ripeness.  The following year, a herd of deer (or something!) had a field day and devoured pretty much all of our fruit and most of our garden for that matter while we were on vacation – tomatoes and everything  – GONE!

So this year, we were not even going to get our hopes up – we pretty much gave up and were content with looking at our pretty, bare trees, feeding the wildlife, without tasting the fruit ourselves. Until one summer day in early August, there they were!  Beautiful, yellow, red and orange colored  (albeit smaller than store bought) PEACHES!!!  Finally!!!

We picked a dozen or so and they were DEE-VINE!  I’ve only picked and eaten apples and pears from PYO picking orchards before – the taste and juiciness of our peaches were amazing!  The natural fruit enzymes of the peaches popped in my mouth they were so fresh and alive.  We decided to make a peach cobbler, found a recipe online and tweaked some ingredients to make it a little healthier.   Our first, fresh Peach Cobbler was, to quote Rachael Ray, DEE-LISH!

Our fruit tree experience reminded me of the benefits of eating seasonally, locally and from your back yard (if possible).  The taste, cost, nutritional value and personal satisfaction of that peach cobbler couldn’t be bought anywhere!  It took some patience, yes (a few years!), but it was so worth it!

Oh, and before I share the Peach Cobbler recipe, let me share a little bit more of our peach story.  We decided to let the other 30 or so peaches that remained on the trees ripen and grow a little larger, so we left them alone for a few days.  Can you take a guess at what happened?

We came home from a weekend away and found that we were robbed again!! The herd of deer (or whatever “it” was/”they” were), sauntered in the backyard and ate them all – not one peach was left for us to enjoy!  (On the bright side, at least they left the tomatoes this time.)  The lesson learned was that you have to strike while the iron’s hot and harvest as soon as nature’s bounty is ready — or someone (or something) else will!

Here’s an easy Peach Cobbler recipe from Whole Foods.  I use most recipes as a template – feel free to substitute ingredients to suit your taste and dietary preferences:


6 cups peeled and sliced fresh peaches (we had about 8 cups of peaches)
1 3/4 cups flour (we used Gluten Free)
6 tablespoons sugar (we used about 4 T of Xylitol/Birch bark natural sweetener)
2 teaspoons almond extract (we used 1 t vanilla)
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
10 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces and chilled, divided (we used 5T)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup half-and-half (we used almond milk)


Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine peaches, 1/4 cup of the flour, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, almond extract and lemon zest and juice. Pile mixture into a 10-inch baking dish or pie plate, then dot with 2 tablespoons of the butter; set aside.

In another bowl, combine remaining 1 1/2 cups flour, 2 tablespoons of the remaining sugar, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry cutter, two knives or your fingers, work butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Add half-and-half and lightly toss together until a soft dough forms. Drop dough by the tablespoon onto peaches until surface is almost covered. Lightly pat down dough to evenly distribute over the top, but leave spaces for the peaches to show through. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and bake for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until top is golden and peaches are bubbling.


Per serving (221g-wt.): 330 calories (120 from fat), 13g total fat, 8g saturated fat, 4g protein, 50g total carbohydrate (2g dietary fiber, 31g sugar), 40mg cholesterol, 290mg sodium


About the Author:  Evelyn DeDominicis is a certified Holistic Health Coach and Workplace Wellness Consultant whose intention is to guide individuals and organizations on their journey to living in optimal, sustainable health and life balance.  She offers 1:1 coaching, group coaching, cooking classes and wellness consulting to individuals and organizations.  Evelyn recently joined the Cheetah family to launch Cheetah Wellness – a unique wellness education and behavior change approach using Cheetah’s Accelerated Learning and Project Management techniques.  You can learn more about Evelyn at and more about Cheetah at

Volunteering Boosts Your Bottom Line

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

As a PMP® and project manager, I see volunteerism as the perfect win-win. You get to stretch your wings and grow in a low-risk environment, gain experience that is relevant in the private sector, network and meet new people, and give back to a cause that you care about.

The non-profit organization you’re helping gets your time, expertise and passion for contributing. You get to show the time-tested Project Management techniques that can have a lasting impact on the organization. From establishing project agreements at the beginning of a project to capturing lessons learned at the end, basic Project Management approaches can make a big difference to any organization.

For you, it’s an accessible and inexpensive way to grow personally and professionally. For the non-profit, it’s a way to make the organization more efficient and effective without paying a consultant.
So, let’s get started. Here are ten steps to follow as you volunteer, grow your career and help an organization benefit from Project Management.

1. Choose an organization that connects to your personal passions or interests. Are you a political junkie who gets energized by the campaigns or a home improvement nut who loves to do one project after another? If politics is your passion, campaigns at the local and national level are always looking for volunteers. Home improvement zealots and those handy with a hammer can get involved with organizations like Habitat for Humanity. Whatever organization you choose, make sure it’s something that energizes you and fulfills you in a way that money doesn’t. Think of this as a virtual paycheck that your soul cashes.

2. Match your skills to their needs. Do your homework before you volunteer. Call the organization you’re interested in and find out what kinds of needs it has. If a web master recently left, and you’re an Internet hobbyist or professional, you could use your skills to have a real impact on the web presence.

3. Present yourself professionally. Don’t go into a non-profit and act like they should be lucky to have you. Instead, treat it like a job interview and prepare yourself beforehand. Know what your goals are that you want to achieve working with them, and position yourself to fulfill those goals for them.

4. Use your volunteerism as a resume builder. Is there a hole in your resume that has held you back? Maybe your boss thinks your leadership skills need some work, or maybe you have a weakness when it comes to managing budgets? Whatever your soft spot is, use your volunteerism to strengthen it and gain more experience. Also, use your volunteerism as a talking point in an interview. What you choose to do in your personal time says a lot about you to a prospective employer.

5. Create new relationships that expand your network. Don’t you just love it when people tell you to get out there and network? They make it sound like there’s a special park you can go to and just walk out there and network. Simple, right? In my experience as a business owner, networking comes from building relationships. It doesn’t happen by just walking into a room and making a dive for the coffee bar. It happens when people know you, trust you and get a sense of who you are — which is exactly what can happen in a non-profit where you are volunteering with other people who share a similar interest.

6. Spread your wings in a safe environment. Do you have a secret penchant for marketing but are afraid to explore it at work because you’ve never done it before? In our jobs, it’s easy to get cast in a department for life, but as a volunteer, you can become the star marketer and write the monthly newsletter or a feature article on the newest member of the Board of Directors. If you have a secret dream to cross departments or shift your skill set, a volunteer position is the perfect place to spread your wings and test your dream.

7. Assess the opportunity for a high-visibility project. Is there a project that is critical to the organization and that will offer exposure to the Board members of the non-profit? If there is, first assess the risk. You don’t want to choose a project that is so high risk that your volunteerism could back fire on you. Instead, look for an opportunity where you can showcase your skills and talent, and let leaders of the organization see you strut your stuff.

8. See where you can have the most impact. After you’ve worked at an organization for a while, you can begin to see their Achilles heel and where you might be able to help the most. For example, maybe you’ll see that they don’t have a consistent way of approaching projects or capturing lessons learned. If you can offer ways for them to incorporate some basic Project Management methodologies, the impact could be felt long after you’ve moved on to your next adventure.

9. Go to the annual event or fundraiser. If the organization has an annual gala or fundraiser, make sure you make it there. It shows you’re committed to the organization and gives you an opportunity to meet people at all levels of the non-profit. Doing the funky chicken with the Executive Director is something that will be remembered!

10. Service with a smile. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said: “Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.” This is an opportunity for you to serve and have fun at the same time. Savor the lessons and bring them along with you wherever your journey takes you.