New Year’s Resolutions

resolutionsNew years resolutions, we’ve all made them whether it be to exercise more, eat better, drink less, etc. What are you focusing on this year? If you make too many resolutions or make them too vague or too strict they likely won’t last. You need to pick one lifestyle change that you can put into action and hopefully continue throughout the year without February going back to your ways of 2018. One great idea is to resolve to cook more. Cooking is a great step toward better health. When you cook for yourself you have control over the ingredients, the quantity and the quality of the food you are eating. Food eaten out often has more fat, salt and sugar than what you would prepare at home.

You can start small. Even if it simply be one dinner per week. Pick a night that will be your “cooking night”. If you already cook a lot this night can be a night to resolve to cook a healthy dinner/meatless dinner/experiment with new recipes dinner, whatever is more tailored to your needs now. Perhaps you cook often but are getting bored of the usual meals, use this evening to try a new recipe each week. If you cook a lot but are looking to lose weight or be healthier use this one evening to cook a healthy recipe full of veggies and healthy proteins. Or even make it a meatless meal to experiment with more plant based foods which are great for your health and the planet. Whatever you decide works best for you, picking a night each week to focus on cooking will point you in the right direction. Once you’ve mastered one night, add another! Some ideas could be a hearty vegetable minestrone soup, a frittata for dinner with a salad, a Sunday roast chicken that will leave you with delicious leftovers…. The options are endless!

You should look at cooking not as something you don’t have time for but something you will make time for. Just like other priorities in your life, cooking should be a top priority. Because when you eat well, you feel better and are healthier. Not to mention the joy and satisfaction that comes with cooking a healthy meal for your family. When your family is well nourished you are setting everyone up for success in the classroom, at the workplace or on the sports field. The healthier you eat, the less cravings you have for junk food, resulting in looking and feeling your best. So this year, resolve to cook more. Starting small and then with time build on it!

Happy New Year and Happy Cooking!

Honey Ginger Tea

ginger teaThe fall season is one of my favorite seasons. Such a beautiful time of the year with the leaves changing and cooler temperatures. But it’s also the time of year a lot of people are catching a cold and feeling under the weather. As the days get shorter and winter approaches people spend more time inside and germs seem to multiply. At the first hint of feeling under the weather I make a fresh ginger tea which is my true elixir. It seems to kill whatever bug is trying to get in. Or if you are already sick it’s a great tea to help you recover more quickly. The three ingredients are fresh ginger, honey and lemon. All superstars for immunity and a good source of antioxidants. All three have been used in folk remedies for centuries. Ginger has anti-inflammatory and disease fighting compounds. Lemons are a great source of vitamin C and honey is rich in antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

This tea is equally great if you are feeling cold during the winter months as ginger has long been recognized for its warming properties.  So the next time you are feeling under the weather or just want to warm up this fall and winter try a cup of this fresh ginger tea and hopefully you will see the benefits for yourself.

Fresh Honey Ginger Tea

  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup of boiling water

Place grated ginger in a mug and fill with hot water. Let the ginger steep in the water for 4-6 minutes. Then add the lemon and honey and stir to combine. Enjoy!

*You can also strain out the pieces of ginger before adding the final ingredients but I personally like to drink the ginger pieces with the tea.

Homemade Salad Dressing

Homemade honey mustard dressingI took the month of August off from writing which is why you haven’t received a post since July. Thank you to those who have reached out to say you miss my posts! It’s September, I’m back now and getting into the full swing of early Fall. Vacations have ended, kids are back to school, work has picked up again and we are all back to a more regular routine. It’s also a great time to get back on track with your diet if the summer months have taken their toll.

Today I want to talk about salads. We all know the wonderful benefits of eating salads. They are chock full of nutritious vegetables and you can have a true rainbow of colors in one meal with a salad. The base is the all mighty dark leafy green that has so many health benefits. Dark leafy greens are packed with vitamins and minerals, they add healthy fiber to your diet and help eliminate toxins. Then you can add lots of color to the greens with red tomatoes, orange peppers, purple beets, etc. which have complementary nutrients your body needs to thrive. Now we have this truly nutritious salad in front of us, but then we drench it in some store-bought salad dressing which can often include sub-par ingredients and additives. A lot of people don’t even realize that their salad dressing may include ingredients they should be avoiding.

The solution is to make your salad dressing at home, and it’s so easy! I haven’t used a store-bought dressing at home in years. I have a variety of different salad dressing recipes from easy to a bit more time consuming but all delicious. Today I want to share with you a vinaigrette dressing that is a delicious and healthy addition to your salad.

Vinaigrette Dressing

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until combined. Then store it in the refrigerator in a mason jar or salad dressing jar. Shake vigorously before using.

Yes, sometimes we are in a rush and don’t have time to make a dressing. I have a go-to for that as well! A super simple balsamic vinaigrette. I’ve even used this for get togethers with friends and I am often asked what the dressing is, as they find it so tasty. All it is made of is a high quality extra virgin olive oil and an equally high quality balsamic vinegar. I do believe it is very important to select high quality ingredients to really get the most out of this dressing. Don’t let the simplicity of this fool you. The mere act of vigorously combining the ingredients does wonders. Do try it!

Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine in a mason jar or salad dressing jar. Put the lid on and shake vigorously to combine. Toss into your salad. Store remaining dressing in the refrigerator.

I hope that you will try to make your own salad dressing at home. As long as you choose good quality, pure ingredients you will be delighted with the end result. Bon appétit!

Garden Fresh Zucchini Soup

Cream soup made of broccoli on table. Traditional European food.At last summer is in full swing. The farmers markets are back in business and home vegetable gardens are seeing lots of activity. It is great for your health and the environment to eat seasonal and local produce. From late spring through the fall I get the majority of my vegetables from the farmers market or my own backyard garden. Having a small garden of your own is a great project that has endless reward as the summer progresses. My kids love to head outside and see what delicious produce has grown. I highly recommend planting something of your own.

Another option is your local farmers market. Shopping this way promotes local and seasonal eating and helps your small local farmers. When you shop locally the food you are buying isn’t transported across the country or the world for that matter.  The food is fresher, often times picked that morning and brought to the market. The flavors and nutritional punch are so much better when eating fresh picked produce.

Eating in season keeps your body in rhythm with the seasons. In the summer we eat more salads, chilled soups, smoothies, and lighter meals to keep us cool. While in the winter we are eating more cooked vegetables, stews, and hearty soups, to keep us warm and grounded.  We all should try to eat more locally grown foods. And farmers markets also tend to sell local eggs, cheeses and pastured raised meats. To find a farmers market near you, you can visit for locations and times.

One of my early summer vegetables is zucchini. I’ll walk over to my garden and notice that all of the sudden I have a multitude of big zucchinis that need to be brought in. When this happens one of my favorite dishes to make is a zucchini soup. It is delicious served warm or chilled. It’s easy to make and then you can have it in the fridge for the week for a quick lunch or supplement to dinner. Zucchini might not be the first vegetable you think of for a soup but believe me, it’s delicious. So take a trip to your local farmers market, buy some onions and zucchinis and you’ll have a very healthy, farm to table soup to serve yourself and your family!

Zucchini Soup

  • 4 medium zucchinis
  • ½ an onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3.5 cups chicken stock
  • 1.5 teaspoons curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Slice the zucchini into ¼ inch slices. Warm the olive oil in a large pot and add the onion and zucchini. Cover and saute for 10 minutes, stirring often. Cook until the zucchini is soft but not browned. Once cooked add to a blender with the remaining ingredients and blend. Soup can be served hot or chilled. Enjoy!


Mint and Watermelon Cooler

Watermelon juice.Early summer is upon us! The weather is warm, the days are long, everything is a vibrant green, farmers markets are back, and my home garden is full of activity. As I must wait patiently for some vegetables there is one herb that always buds first and is abundant in my garden now. That is Mint. Seeing it inspires me to use my recipes that include mint! From mint tea, to fresh pea and mint soup, a quinoa salad with fresh herbs and a mint-watermelon cooler. Nothing says summer quite like this. Made with fresh mint, juicy watermelon, fresh squeezed lime juice, and club soda. It’s deliciously thirst quenching on a hot day and made with only the freshest ingredients. It is loved by adults and kids alike. I often make a pitcher before friends come over and while it sits the flavors are enhanced.  If you don’t have mint in your own garden, it is plentiful, fresh, and inexpensive at farmers markets.

I always like to highlight the health benefits of my recipes. The fragrant herb, mint, supports good digestion and contains antioxidants for good health. Watermelon is hydrating, low in calories and high in nutrients including vitamin A and lycopene. Finally, with the lime juice you get a good dose of vitamin C. Yes, there is a small amount of sugar, but in moderation can be enjoyed.

Mint and Watermelon Cooler

  • 1 cup of mint leaves
  • 1 cup of pureed watermelon
  • 6 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice (about 3 limes)
  • 3 Tablespoons of simple syrup (recipe below)
  • 1 cup of club soda

Muddle the mint leaves in a pitcher. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Let it sit for an hour if possible to let the flavors meld, though not necessary! Fill 4 cups with ice, pour and enjoy!

*Note: Add 1 cup of high quality rum to this recipe and you have a delicious watermelon mojito, an amazing summer cocktail.

Simple syrup

Combine 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan. Heat on medium, bring to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes and stir to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.