It's tomato time again! This re-post from last summer will help you utilize all the gorgeous largesse. If you haven't yet tried slow-roasting tomatoes, you MUST! This caramelizes and intensifies the flavor, creating an unparalleled summer treat!
On my countertop right now I have a collection of tomatoes. It looks like they’re having babies! We’re at the pinnacle of tomato season, when they’re the juiciest, the most flavorful, the most irresistible. I can’t THINK of anything I don’t want to incorporate them into!
Soup is not just for winter!
The last thing people think of when it’s boiling hot outside is soup! We have this notion that soup is a warm, nourishing hug. So true! But it’s even more. Soup can also be that deliciously chilled, tastebud-thrilling tonic we need in midsummer. It’s like that quick dive into the swimming pool — bracing, flavor-packed, nutrition-full.
What, I ask you, could be more sublime for summer than salads?
I have a history with salads. When I was growing up, my father was called the Condiment King, because he manufactured salad dressings and mayonnaise. Our fridge was always filled with sample jars of the latest dressings, so we were very on trend salad-wise. My father truly loved salads. He had his Sunday salad, his Thursday salad, his Saturday salad, and they were all different. In other words, salad was a BIG thing in our house!
Variety isn’t just the spice of life; it will also keep you from falling into a food rut. People often tell me that they love salad but get bored with the same old version they always make. This disenchantment can lead folks away from the greens their bodies really need. If that sounds like you, let this salad serve as a springboard for endless seasonal variations. Eating with the seasons isn’t just a catch phrase. Each season brings new foods just hitting their peak; in this case, strawberries and arugula, some of the welcome early harbingers of the spring. In addition to having an incredibly sweet taste, strawberries have anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, when combined with mint and a lemony balsamic vinaigrette, they make for a salad that feels like Pop Rocks going off in your mouth.
What you can drink during the summer months that’s refreshing and different? And not soda!
The reality is, sodas are bad for your health. Want details?
Harvard School of Public Health: Soft Drinks and Disease
13 Ways That Sugary Soda is Bad For Your Health
Diet Sodas Tied to Dementia and Stroke
Ok, but it’s summer! Summer means that we tend to get a little more dehydrated because of the heat, and we’re THIRSTY for something really refreshing. Soda isn’t the right solution, and water just won’t do. Something with a little fizz, a little delight, right?
You KNOW I’m not going to leave you in the lurch :)
Kale is quirky; with the right touch it shines like an emerald and tastes delish, but if you ignore a few key steps it can resemble Astroturf. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to get on kale’s good side. Once it’s ripped and stripped it loves a bath in olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. This spa treatment break down the kale’s fibers, making it easier to digest (the olive oil’s fat also increases the bioavailability of kale’s fat-soluble nutrients). I’ve included mint, parsley, quinoa, cumin, and coriander in the dish and added one additional surprise: red grapes. There’s something about chomping on a sweet grape that’s just joyous, and the anthocyanins that give the grape its deep color are also phenomenal antioxidants, with other studies showing they may also enhance memory.
Did you know that two-thirds of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease are women? And that we don’t know why? Maria Shriver founded The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement™, a global alliance, to help find out. This month I participated in her annual Move for Minds event, a day focused on the mind/body connection and raising funds to wipe out Alzheimer’s. As Maria says, “Women are at the epicenter of the Alzheimer’s crisis. That’s why we must be at the heart of the solution.”
It’s that time of year! We’re invited to block parties, 4th of July fests, family reunions, picnics, and potlucks of all shapes and sizes. This is when we’re supposed to show up with the PERFECT dish that everyone loves, something that won’t wilt in the heat, will go with whatever everyone else brings (or at least out shine all those other dishes).
Last week I had my family for dinner, including my absolutely engaging, never-can-do-wrong 10-year old grandson Brandon (who loves broccoli). I have a rule at my table: there are no screens of any kind. Nobody pulls their phone out, for any reason (which is much harder for my husband than anybody else!). Dinner is family time.
Does this question drive you crazy? Here's a favorite post from my archives to provide some useful help!
You buy a bunch of parsley so you can chop a tablespoon-full for a favorite recipe. Rather than let the rest of the bunch wither in the fridge... what can you do with it?
First I want you to know what you would be tossing away.
Bunches of fresh herbs literally, nibble for nibble, gram for gram, offer more cancer-fighting, brain-boosting and longevity-promoting properties than any other foods because the concentration of phytochemicals is so great!
One day my friend, Mat, was reminiscing to his mom, Clair, about an ice cream store he worked at while in college. “I told her that I got so sick of ice cream that for two years after I quit I couldn’t go near it.” At which point Clair mentioned that as a girl she worked for years at the chocolate counter at Gimbel’s, one of New York’s famous retailers. Gimbel’s let you eat as much chocolate as you liked on the job, so long as you didn’t take any home. “I asked Mom if she ever got sick of chocolate. She just looked at me like I was nuts and said, ‘Why would I?’” Which brings us to these little morsels. For chocolate aficionados, nothing provides a better fix than a truffle. My friend Wendy, an incredible chocolatier, designed these confections from a scrumptious mélange of chocolate, dates, orange zest, and ground nuts, all rolled in coconut. I could tell you that the reason to eat these is because they’re high in protein and phytochemicals, but how ’bout we just call that a nice side benefit of yum! Since you’re going to indulge in a chocolate dessert, be sure to make it the best by using high-quality chocolate.
What is it about the Mediterranean diet that is SO healthy?
Study after study reveals notable benefits of the Mediterranean diet for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s -- so many chronic diseases. This breast cancer prevention study zeroed in on olive oil. And while the olive oil is most certainly effective, I’m equally sure that it’s only part of the reason. We Americans always look for the one magic bullet to solve our problems! But the beauty of the Mediterranean “diet” is that Mediterranean cultures have orchestrated the whole health package: diet PLUS lifestyle.