July marks two special birthdays near and dear to Ashley Addiction Treatment, the birthdays of Micki Thomas on July 23rd, and her sister Mae Abraham on July 24th.
“Feminine genius” is a term coined by Pope John Paul II in his groundbreaking 1995 Letter to Women, and is the perfect way to describe two influential women that Ashley will honor in the month of July. According to the late pope, women have a particular set of gifts that complement those of men, which can lead to great things. This is exactly what co-founder Mae Abraham possessed, as she was a driving force behind Fr. Martin’s dedicated efforts to found a safe, compassionate recovery center in Havre De Grace, Maryland—Ashley Addiction Treatment—and causing it to thrive. Together, this team combined their diverse talents and backgrounds to create one of the top addiction treatment centers in the nation.
Mae’s sister, Micki, is also a pioneer in the addiction treatment industry. Micki worked tirelessly alongside Mae and Fr. Martin as Ashley’s first program developer and supervisor. She formed what would be the world’s very first inpatient relapse track, and later created a children’s program, with the help of former First Lady Betty Ford, that provided support for the children of recovering parents. Micki went on to pursue a counseling career for women in recovery through The Homecoming Project. Together, both of these influential women forged new inroads in the addiction recovery landscape, and Ashley Addiction Treatment is honoring them this month.
In memory of these impactful women, why not whip up some comfort food—Southern style as a nod to their Blue Ridge Mountains roots? This flavorful macaroni and cheese dish beckons warm memories of those fulfilling meals from the past that we all love to turn to now and then. This recipe actually offers two preparation options, one with all the yummy ingredients when we have that ‘devil-may-care’ attitude, and one with healthy substitutions for when we are being more health-conscious. You pick!
Featured Recipe: Salt Cured Ham with Macaroni and Cheese
- ½ lb. salt-cured ham – diced ¼ inch thick
- 1 box cavatappi whole grain large size noodles
- ½ cup sharp cheddar – shredded/diced
- ½ cup Monterey Jack cheese – shredded/diced
- 1 quart heavy whipping cream
- ¼ tsp. fresh chopped garlic
- 1 dash of hot sauce
- 1 stick of butter, melted
- ½ cup breadcrumbs to toss with melted butter
- Cook pasta (al dente) and set aside
- Lightly sauté ham for 3 minutes with no oil or butter
- Heat heavy cream(do not boil)– fold in cheeses, garlic, and hot sauce
- Once the cheese is melted take off heat fold in pasta and ham.
- Place into a baking dish top with breadcrumbs and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
Prep: 15min Cook: 25min Total: 40min
Even in comfort foods, there can be a lot of nutrients, including this delicious dish:
- Choosing ham is a leaner option compared to other meats
- The heavy cream in the recipe can be substituted with half-and-half, reducing the fat content by half without sacrificing flavor and texture. Substituting with low-fat options – including the cheeses in the recipe – means fewer calories, too. Choosing lower fat and calories means less saturated animal fat and LDL cholesterol, which aids in weight loss while lowering the risk of such health conditions as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
- Using whole-grain pasta rather than enriched white pasta adds fiber to the dish. Fiber has many functions within our bodies, including lowering LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol), blood pressure, and inflammation. Fiber can also help to control blood sugar levels for those with diabetes. Because fiber takes longer for our bodies to digest, the slow release of sugars, a byproduct of the whole-grain pasta, allows for a steady release of glucose, and that helps blood sugars not to spike.
Self-Care in Recovery
There are a variety of personal choices and actions we can take to enhance wellness in recovery. Being kind to yourself is one of them. This means consciously choosing to improve our psychological and physical health through purposeful actions, such as:
- Regulating stress. Know your stress triggers and actively manage exposure to them. Practice stress-reducing activities such as deep breathing exercises, mindfulness, meditation or prayer, keeping a journal, being creative, and taking yoga classes.
- Get better sleep. We need a minimum of 7 hours of quality sleep each night. Take steps to improve sleep quality by establishing a regular sleep schedule, limiting caffeine intake, avoiding late heavy meals, and replace smartphone use with reading before bedtime.
- Get moving. Nothing will do more for your health and your recovery than getting regular exercise. Abundant health benefits, both mental and physical, are attributed to a regular exercise routine, such as walking, jogging, hiking, cycling, swimming, and dance fitness.
Ashley Addiction Treatment is a luxury residential addiction recovery center in the Chesapeake Bay. For more information about the program, please contact the team at (866) 698-1956.