Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I'm letting you in on a secret...

Do you need help in order to eat more healthfully? Live more naturally? Would you like samples of free products that help you live a more natural, healthy lifestyle? Or books and resources to assist you in your quest?

And would you like it all for FREE?

Well, get ready—a fabulous bundle is headed your way! I'm delighted to share today that my cookbook Whole Foods for the Everyday Cook will be included in the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle. The bundle will contain a whole host of e-books, as well as e-courses and free natural food and living products—over $1000 worth of products—all for one awesome low price.

A really exciting feature of this upcoming bundle is that YOU have the opportunity to get it all for FREE by helping us spread the word!

Here's how.

Sign up here (all you have to enter is your email address), and you will be notified once the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle goes on sale. You will also receive a link that you can share with your friends.

1. Refer one friend and you'll get $5 off the price of the bundle

2. Refer 5 friends and you'll get a free 12-session audio e-course.

3. Refer 10 friends and YOU GET THE BUNDLE FREE.

The friends you refer do not have to purchase the bundle in order for you to get these offers. They simply need to sign up to be notified about the bundle's release. 

Now that's pretty cool!

I think you're really going to like this bundle. It's full of cookbooks geared around whole foods and allergy-free foods; there are resources for learning to live more naturally, from yoga to using essential oils; and there are truly some awesome free products included.

I can't wait to highlight some of my favorite books, resources and freebies that are included in the days ahead.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Easy Summertime Caponata

Summertime is the season where I try to keep the oven off and cook a little less. I veer away from hot meals like soups and casseroles and instead offer room temperature and cool, refreshing meals like—

—main course salads, like our family tradition of Bleu Steak & Pear Salad or Tuscan Bread Salad
—cool barleyquinoa or bean salads
—chilled meat dishes, like my kids' favorite Chicken Salad with Dried Apricots, Green Onions & Pecans.

When we think of eggplant, many of us probably think of the not-so-hot-weather-friendly eggplant parmigiana, but there is so much more you can do with eggplant. It's really quite versatile and can become some delicious, summer-worthy additions to your meals.

In my recently released cookbook Whole Foods for the Everyday Cook I share one of my favorite eggplant dips. Flavored with garlic and lemon, cool and creamy Roasted Eggplant Dip is a fabulously easy and creative way to put another veggie on the table, especially on a hot summer day.

But today I want to share with you another favorite eggplant dish of mine called caponata. Caponata is delicious served warm, room temperature or chilled, making it ideal for summertime heat. I typically make caponata in advance (perhaps early in the morning when it's cooler), and it's one of those dishes that tastes even better the next day.

You can spread caponata over dry toasts like a crostini. Top them with fresh basil and a light sprinkle of mozzarella and throw them under the broiler for just 1-2 minutes to melt the cheese. You can also serve caponata as a dip for crackers, or as a spread for a crusty loaf of bread. Leftover caponata is delicious spooned over pasta or rice. Caponata makes a delicious topping for roast chicken or chicken breasts too.

Really, it's such a versatile little dish—you've got to try it!

Easy Summertime Caponata
Can generously serve 8-10 as a condiment, topping, or spread.

1 small-medium eggplant
1 lb cherry or grape tomatoes
1 T butter
1 small onion
3 cloves garlic
1/3-1/2 jar tomato or pasta sauce
1/4 cup dry red wine (optional)
up to 2 T honey (optional)
salt, to taste
olive oil

Preheat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Mince the garlic and add to the skillet. Dice the onion and add to the skillet. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching and let cook 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile, dice the eggplant into 1/2-inch cubes and add to the skillet. (You can cut and add as you go along.) Quarter the grape tomatoes (or cut the cherry tomatoes into similar sized pieces) and add to the skillet. Continue to stir occasionally to prevent scorching.

Once the eggplant darkens and softens, add tomato sauce to the skillet. Start with 1/3 of the jar, adding up to 1/2 as needed. Caponata should be saucy and chunky, but not overly saucy. (You can always add a bit more sauce at the end if needed. Better to under-sauce than over-sauce.) Add the wine, if using.

Cover the skillet and turn to low. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring every now and then to make sure the caponata isn't scorching. Add the honey, to taste, if desired. The honey brightens the caponata and sweetens it just a smidge. By this time the eggplant and tomatoes should be pretty cooked down and spreadable, while still containing some chunkiness and texture. If not, cover and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Add salt to taste. You will likely need more salt than you think. As you add salt, you will see what I mean! The flavors will really begin to come out as you season with salt. (It's always a good idea to use unrefined salt.)

Remove the caponata from the heat and allow to cool. Before serving, drizzle a little olive oil over top.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

To Eat Or Not To Eat: Thoughts On Whole Foods and Balance

I used to approach healthy eating by what I was NOT eating. I didn't eat foods with artificial dyes or flavors, I didn't eat foods with preservatives, I was careful about my sugar intake, and I definitely didn't eat hydrogenated fats!

Some significant health issues made me re-think that approach.

I grew to focus on (and value) what I DO eat. It's not just about the foods I don't eat, but for me it's also—even, moreso—about what I actually eat on a regular basis. Grass-fed and pastured meats and dairy, wild-caught seafood, a rich variety of vegetables, fresh fruits, choice whole grains and beans, beneficial and anti-inflammatory fats, some nuts and seeds and a few carefully chosen, nutrient rich supplements.

When the focus is on what you DO eat, you will find more enjoyment in shopping, cooking and eating. You will also be more inclined to create and consume a more balanced diet because you are more aware of the food you are eating and the nutritional benefits of each. When you're simply focused on "don't eat this" and don't eat that," healthy eating quickly becomes a rules-game. The joy is gone. (And I think it's also easier to get a chip on your shoulder and come across in a condescending way toward others.)

So, dive in! Start researching whole foods. Learn why leafy greens are so good for you, what nutrients you get from red peppers or yellow squash, and why plain old potatoes are actually good for you. Learn about how canola oil contributes to chronic inflammation in your body but fish oil decreases inflammation. Read about the difference in the nutrient content of grass-fed beef vs. corn-fed beef. And lots, lots more!

Value what you eat. 

For some of you, that encouragement might be all you need to get you going. However, if you don't know where to begin, you may find my new cookbook Whole Foods for the Everyday Cook a useful resource. While it is primarily a cookbook with a wide variety of fresh, simple whole foods recipes, it is also a resource to learn more about whole foods and beneficial methods of cooking. Most sections start with an introduction that teaches you about the food and how to prepare it, and there are also three appendices in the back.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

20 pounds of blueberries

Have any of you watched the classic movie Anne of Green Gables? Do you remember when Marilla, exasperated at Matthew, mumbles to herself "Twenty pounds of brown sugar!" For some reason that phrase has always stuck with me. Well, I don't have twenty pounds of brown sugar to deal with, but we are working our way through twenty pounds of blueberries. (A much better "problem" I think!)

Every year a friend of mine organizes a massive order of blueberries by the 20 pound box. The price is always phenomenal. Normally I order two boxes and freeze at least 20 pounds for us to eat over the course of the year. This year, because we're moving soon, I ordered just one box, and we've been enjoying fresh blueberries galore.

"Twenty pounds of blueberries!"

Here are some of our favorite ways to eat fresh blueberries:

We LOVE sourdough blueberry pancakes—either blueberries in the pancakes or on top of the pancakes!

Blueberry muffins are almost always requested...

...as is blueberry Breakfast Cake—which is a lightly sweetened bread in reality, but calling it "cake" and topping it with freshly whipped cream is much more fun!

Of course, we eat tons of the blueberries fresh, adding them to our plates at lunch and snacktime.

We also add blueberries to our yogurt or to a fresh fruit salad.

And we love our Blueberry Breakfast Quinoa. Cream, maple syrup, blueberries, quinoa—need I say more?!

Blueberry Shortcakes are good too (a honey–whole wheat recipe is here)—just sub in blueberries for the strawberries in both recipes.

And don't forget the simplicity of a light summer dessert of blueberries and freshly whipped cream.

What about you? How do you enjoy fresh blueberries?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Roasted Cabbage

We are currently living with my in-laws as we've sold our house but haven't yet moved. My mother-in-law is enjoying belonging to a CSA for the first time. But, as you know with CSAs, you get what you get—whatever the farmers have grown. This has left us at times with produce we want to use but maybe it's not our favorite or we're not inspired to cook it. It's actually been a great exercise of ingenuity and experimentation!

When it comes to cabbage, I'm not a huge a fan of it. I don't really enjoy cole slaw, and in the summer I'm normally not in the mood for many hot stirfries. I have this favorite cabbage soup of mine with coconut milk and chicken that's included here, but we didn't have the right ingredients on hand for that. So we experimented and roasted the cabbage.

Whether or not you're a fan of cabbage, I'd encourage you to try it roasted. Not only is roasted cabbage very easy to prepare, it is truly delicious. You can see in the photo above we added some leftover radishes, just tucking them in between the cabbage slices. Last week we roasted a cabbage again, this time adding thick slices of onion. Delicious! Next time I think I may experiment with adding whole carrots.

Roasted Cabbage

1 head of cabbage
olive oil
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400.

Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage, rinse and dry. Slice off the bottom of the cabbage. Slice the head of cabbage into 1-inch slices.

Lay cabbage slices on a lightly greased (or parchment-covered) cookie sheet or roasting pan.

Drizzle olive oil generously over the cabbage slices. Sprinkle with coarse, unrefined salt (I used Hawaiian red in the photo) and freshly cracked pepper.

Roast for 50-60 minutes until the slices are tender and the edges tinged in brown.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Easy Homemade Sunblock

My husband and I are currently lounging on the sunny shores of the Caribbean enjoying a special time away together. As I packed for our trip, I made sure that I slipped some of my homemade sunblock into our bags.

I haven't bought sunblock (or sunscreen) since I began making my own several years ago. (Except once when I ran out of an ingredient and didn't realize it until it was too late—oops!)

All natural sunblock is truly very easy to make. It takes about ten minutes start to finish to make about 8 ounces. And those 8 ounces of pure, natural, nourishing-to-your-skin ingredients cost me just over $3.00! You won't find any product in the stores as pure as this anywhere near that price. But beyond the cost, your skin will love you!!

It was not just the natural ingredients, the ease of making, and the low cost that won me over in the end, but what really won me over was how soft and nourished my skin was after a week at the beach using this amazing stuff.

Have I piqued your interest yet? I hope so! Here's how I make our sunblock every summer.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sweet Roasted Corn Salad

Hot summer days are the days for simple meals, cook-outs with family and friends and using the oven as little as possible. Do I hear an amen?! In the summer I veer far away from most roasted meats, casseroles, stews and heavy meals and instead gravitate towards the lighter, more refreshing fair of main course salads, chilled meat dishes, fresh fruit, side salads, seasonal veggies and light fruit-based desserts. Many of my favorite simple summertime recipes can be found in my newly released 196-page cookbook Whole Foods for the Everyday Cook.

To continue reading, please head over to For The Family, where I am sharing the recipe for this super easy, refreshing, summer salad!