Summer is officially here and one of my favorite activities are picnics! There are so many great places picnic! Sidle up to a tree, cozy up to some water, or keep it simple and dine in your back yard. You can even brown bag it while at work and eat outside for an extra boost of nature to see you through the rest of your day. Dining outdoors is an indulgence and you can soak up lush beauty of the season. Be sure to pack some special dishes to make the event more exceptional. However you choose to celebrate the season, make it—take it—and enjoy!
It’s April and spring has sprung! This time of year yields rains to wash away remnants of winter and nourish the earth in preparation for fresh blooms of the season. This is a great time of year to release our energy of the necessary stillness of winter and support the renewal of mind and body through a fresh change in our menus.
February is the time for hearts, loving ourselves, others and a great season for warming, nourishing foods. The heart is more than just a muscle (or a place where we feel twitters around that someone special) but an important facilitator of communication TO the brain and rest of the body.
I love the end of the year because it heralds a time to celebrate all of the things we’ve enjoyed, endured, and endeared to our hearts in the past year. Celebration is important because it validates all that we are, and when desired, to others who witness our becoming. In the celebration of the season nourish yourself by spending time with loved ones, self-care in the busy pace and, of course, enjoy delicious treats that are sustaining and supportive during this stressful time.
More than a staple for autumn decorations, pumpkin is an amazing and nutritionally dense food, packed with a bounty of supportive nutrients. This portable gem is rich in potassium, which can help regulate blood pressure, and loaded with antioxidants, which support the body in a myriad of ways. The beta-carotene in pumpkin can help support eye health and may offer protection against asthma and heart disease. The seeds and pulp of the pumpkin can assist in the absorption of glucose, helping to regulate blood sugar. However you cook it up, take the pumpkin from the porch into your kitchen and discover new ways to support well being. Eat in good health.
Avocados are an amazing fruit, and are available throughout the year, but they are in season in California now! Rich in important nutrients, including the fat soluble vitamins K and E, which helps nerve function, it also contains folate to support healing and growth, potassium (even more than bananas) and B vitamins to soothe mood and support healthy thought patterns. Loaded with fiber and monounsaturated fatty acids, this is great for your heart health! So enjoy the height of summer with these fun and delicious recipes.
June is a great month to harvest some green beans! This often overlooked veggie contains so many health benefits—don’t miss out on this amazing gift of nutrition. This vegetable is packed with fiber to support heart and digestive health, while also providing some daily protein requirements. Other important vitamins packed in these goodies include A and C which help your immune system and eye health, as well as B6, K and folic acid, all which help with nerve transmission and cell repair. Enjoy these resources and eat in good health!
While we often think of cherries as a summer fruit, they come into season beginning in May, and there is no time like the present to start enjoying this powerful fruit. Cherries are often grouped into two categories: sweet (Bing) and tart (Montmorency).
It's spring and the artichokes are blooming! The best part of the plant is the “heart” but the meat of the entire plant provides powerful a burst of vital nutrients. Low in saturated fats and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, this delicious member of the thistle family of flowers gifts us with vitamin C, B-6, B-12 (important for vegetarians and vegans), E and D! Artichokes also contain calcium, iron, potassium and zinc, to name just a few. These antioxidants provide support for the immune system, heart function and improve blood pressure while supporting the digestive system. In addition, bone health and improved brain function are great reasons to work this delicious vegetable into your diet.
Spring is just around the corner and this is a great time to clean and support the body as we move from the warming foods of winter to fresh invigorating nutrition of spring. Asparagus contains a lot of folic acid, as well as Vitamins A, K, C and B1. These nutrients offer lots of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Asparagus also acts a diuretic and nourishes the digestive track. Along with the nutrient dense qualities of asparagus, the pistachios in the recipe add some good protein and B6! This is a great recipe to energize the body as we burst into the new season. Eat in good health!
You can treat your heart right in February when you incorporate more avocados into your diet! Avocados contain potassium (more than bananas!) and heart-healthy mono-unsaturated fats and are loaded with fiber. This recipe is a great comfort food while also supporting your body. Enjoy a little treat and eat in good health!
This time of year we seem more susceptible to colds and flu and can generally feel run down. This broth is a magical creation, makes for a fantastic soup base, and heats up for a delicious and body warming beverage. I instantly feel better physically, emotionally, and mentally when I drink a hot cup of broth. The core ingredients are packed full of minerals that nourish the immune system. Plus, they hold tons of vitamin C, B vitamins, potassium, manganese and niacin that give life to your cells. While it takes an afternoon to boil and simmer, the broth freezes well after cooled so you have a delicious, nourishing and healing broth throughout the winter months.
This spicy twist on a traditional snack dip will add some zing to your holiday spread. The sweet potatoes contain anti-inflammatory properties along with immune boosting vitamins C, E and A. So swirl up a batch of this amazing hummus and celebrate the holiday season with this delicious choice.
This recipe is a great belly warmer and chock full of nutrients! The squash (or pumpkin) is packed with Vitamin A, which strengthens the immune system, and potassium, which supports a healthy nervous system—both of which are taxed during this busy time of year. The quinoa in this recipe is a great source of fiber and antioxidants, along with the garlic and tomatoes, which add more of the same. Put this easy recipe together for a twist on Thanksgiving and eat in good health!
October ushers in the fall festivities of homecomings, holidays and hearths! This autumn beverage will warm you up from deep within, bringing comfort and soothing. This recipe contains turmeric, ground ginger and black pepper. Curcumin, a substance in turmeric, can help reduce the inflammation that cold can bring, improve blood flow and even help boost immunity to ward off some viruses of the season. Use this recipe with any type of milk product (almond, hemp, coconut or dairy) and enjoy warming up the chill in the air.
As leaves begin to turn and autumn unfolds, our bodies begin to look for the warming foods of fall. If you are baking up some delicious breads or sweet potatoes, this spread is just the topping to warm you up and add comfort to the season. This recipe comes from my new friend, Annette Licitra, Integrative Health Coach at Passionette Palate. Annette is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and holds a degree in Culinary Arts. Her recipes are made from whole food ingredients with a commitment to supporting the body to reach its potential. This delicious treat is gluten free, dairy free and absent of refined sugars. The apples provide powerful antioxidants to support the immune system and one apple equals up to 12% of daily fiber requirement. So spread the goodness with this healthy treat!
We have a treat for you this month! Candace Olander, my dear friend and chef, shares one of her favorite summer recipes adapted from her favorite place: Paris! In 1994, Candace began working in the kitchen of Charlie Trotter and discovered two secrets to a great recipe: quality ingredients and working to preserve the natural flavors and beauty of the food. This recipe is a fresh twist on pasta salad and is a great addition to your kitchen in these last days of summer. The base of the salad is versatile, allowing for a variety of protein sources. My favorite is salmon for its brain strengthening fatty acids. My next protein pick is egg, which is a miracle food by itself. Included is a recipe for a light and easy salad dressing by Patricia Wells. Bon apétit!
Summer doesn’t feel complete to me without the succulent burst of strawberries! One of my favorite chefs, Rebecca Katz, cooks with a mission to help others in the most delicious way. This recipe will tempt you while it cooks and delight you as you taste. Strawberries provide powerful antioxidants through Vitamin C, which supports skin and eye health and may help decrease cholesterol. The rich phytochemicals in this ruby gem can also help to decrease the inflammation and pain of arthritis. Eat in good health!
June is busting out all over which means that tomatoes are back in season! Tomatoes are an amazing fruit filled with vitamins A, C, and K in addition to B vitamins and folate. These vitamins support a healthy immune system, strengthen nerve function and are good for the eyes and skin. Tomatoes are also a good source of potassium and magnesium. Next time you start up the grill, try this surprising salad to add some powerful nutrients to your body and happiness to your taste buds. Eat in good health.
Broccoli is one of my all-time favorite spring vegetables! There's still time to add this crown jewel to your grocery list this May. Broccoli is chock full of vitamin C, K, folate, B6, potassium, selenium and other important compounds that help fight disease and strengthen the body. This emerald treasure also contains tryptophan, an amino acid, which aids in the creation of serotonin. Serotonin, in healthy levels, helps improve mood and can increase concentration.
This gluten-free pasta dish and sauce is a great backdrop for this amazing food, and the recipe adds good protein and fiber. Eat in good health.
I love spring for the cleansing wind and rains. It's a time for clearing the dust of winter from our spirit and rehydrating the soil of our souls for new growth. Our body can benefit from spring cleaning by eating greens, lean proteins and cleansing citrus fruits. This easy recipe supports the body by providing protein and fiber with edamame; the watercress helps boost immunity; and the sesame seeds provide important vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, zinc and folate. The lemon and lime juice help the body clean itself of unwanted toxins. So mix up the ingredients and eat in good health!
In kindergarten, Ms. Putnum asked us to color the apple on the page and stay inside the lines. Staring at the frowny-face sticker on my assignment, I felt shock and bewilderment. I needed to know why I didn't get the smiley-face sticker and I challenged her.
My grandma used to say, “Bless your heart,” as a way to say thank you. Bless your own heart with this amazing recipe that includes the February favorite: chocolate! The antioxidants in the chocolate help support the immune system and heart function, while the quinoa and spinach support the blood with good B vitamins and iron. This delectable meal has great fiber to keep the heart pumping beautifully. So, go ahead and indulge in this recipe and feel your heart thank you back!
Beets are a great root vegetable to use in the winter. Also abundant in spring, the warmer climates in the country provide us with the amazing food during the colder months. The folate present in beets can help improve blood flow to the brain, helping concentration, while nitrate helps increase energy. In addition, the amino acid present in beets keep the liver functioning well. The nuts in this recipe add protein and fiber. So, when winter has you down, spread this unique pate on some whole grain toast points and treat yourself to a snack full of energy, focus, and health.
If you want to wow holiday guests this season, roll up a batch of these amazing low fat treats! The walnuts in this recipe can help support your memory, while the chocolate is a great mood booster and antioxidant. Have a blessed holiday and enjoy the sweet and complex flavors in this soon to be favorite on your holiday menu.
I love November— the beautiful colors and time change. Most importantly, my favorite holiday is right around the corner—Thanksgiving! If you are cooking for the holiday, this potato dish can create fun at the table and is a nice substitute for traditional mashed potatoes. The quinoa and cheese adds protein and earthy depth while the peppers and other spices add some zing! Enjoy all the blessings of the season.
Fall is finally upon us! This is a great time of the year to enjoy the harvest of apples, squash and pumpkins. My friend, and self-described foodie, Pam, shared this delicious pumpkin-oatmeal recipe to pass along. The pumpkin contains lots of vitamin A to help you see fall colors, fiber to assist with weight loss, beta carotene, which is a cancer fighting anti-oxidant and lots of vitamin C to support the immune system. The vitamin E and magnesium found in the pecans can help reduce inflammation and aging of cells. So bundle up this fall and enjoy this warm start to your healthy day!
The first subtle breeze of autumn is beginning to turn, which means it’s time to shift from cooling foods to warming foods as the season changes. This hearty recipe for stuffed acorn squash is a concoction from my own kitchen, but inspired by many good recipes that use squash as a base for any nutritional goodies. Acorn squash is high in fiber and low in fat and contains immune boosting vitamins, including C, A, and several B-family nutrients. It has a cornucopia of minerals, many of which contribute to muscle and tissue health and growth, fluid balance, bone health and improved blood pressure. Follow this recipe, or dream up favorite ingredients to include with this fall gem.
Take time to enjoy the succulent moments of the summer while they are ripe for the picking. This salad is a special treat with a fruit of the season: peaches! Still in season in August, peaches provide powerful doses of beta carotenes, improving eye health and blood circulation.