Healthy Choices


TM Transcendental Mediation – health benefits                                                                                      

Looking for a non-drug treatment for ADHD? Children who practice the TM technique for a few minutes twice daily report that their ability to focus improves and their stress level goes down.
The TM technique has been scientifically demonstrated to relieve the symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in veterans, such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Reduced substance abuse, increased calmness, and reduction in high blood pressure are more of the many benefits of this effortless process.
Spices With Super-Healing Powers
from Yahoo Health
Spices and herbs can do a lot more than add pizzazz to your cooking — they can also promote heart health, fight cancer, reduce inflammation and more.
Here are a few super spices and herbs that are good for you and taste good, too.

Cinnamon is a nutritional powerhouse, with antioxidant properties that keep cells safe from oxidative stress and dangerous free radicals. Antioxidants help fight such diseases as cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and Parkinson’s.

Cinnamon is a powerful weapon against cardiovascular problems. Cinnamon helps the hormone insulin work better, which reduces blood sugar levels. That’s great news for the one in ten North Americans with type 2 diabetes and the millions more with prediabetes. Keeping blood sugar low can help treat diabetes or even stop it before it starts.

Cinnamon may also help prevent Alzheimer’s. A study in 2011 found that an extract from cinnamon bark inhibited the formation of amyloid plaques in mice with Alzheimer’s.  It even helped restore cognitive levels and correct movement problems in the animals.

Sprinkle a little on fresh fruit, a steaming bowl of oatmeal, or a scoop of peanut butter, or add to fish, chicken, or lamb dishes — especially with cumin and chili powder — for a Middle Eastern slant on your normal fare. No time to cook? Sprinkle some cinnamon on your morning coffee or tea for a nice antioxidant boost.

You know that stuff in your cinnamon jar? It’s probably cassia, not cinnamon. True cinnamon, often labeled “Ceylon cinnamon,” has higher levels of antioxidants, so seek it out if you can.

Sage has been shown to help with memory and mood. A study in 2005 gave essential sage oil to healthy young volunteers and found that participants tended to remember things better and feel both more alert and calmer after taking sage.

Sage might also help those with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. Like prescribed Alzheimer’s drugs, sage inhibits an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase, which in turn may improve cognitive function.

In an open-label study, six weeks of treatment with sage resulted in improved attention and decreased neuropsychiatric symptoms in participants with Alzheimer’s. A separate study in 2006 found that rosmarinic acid, an active ingredient in sage, protected mouse cells from the amyloid peptides that are thought to contribute to Alzheimer’s.

Sage is also great for digestion, and it has estrogen-like effects, which might help curb hot flashes and other symptoms in women going through menopause.

Sage’s earthy flavor epitomizes comfort food, like casseroles and stuffing. Try it sprinkled onto roasted sweet potatoes, snipped into butternut squash soup, or rubbed on a simple roast chicken. You can also make a simple sage tea — add boiling water to a teaspoon of chopped fresh sage and let steep for 5 to 10 minutes before straining and drinking.

Want to keep sage fresher longer? Snip off the ends of the long stems and put them in a glass of cool water, just as you would with flowers. Then cover the herbs — glass and all — with a clean, dry plastic bag and put them in the fridge. This method should keep herbs fresh for at least a week, and it works with parsley, cilantro, and other long-stemmed herbs as well.


Turmeric has been used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine for millennia, and Western science is starting to catch on. Its active ingredient, curcumin, is a strong antioxidant that’s been shown in test tube and animal studies to fend off cancer growth, amyloid plaque development, and more.

Turmeric might also boost heart health — a 2012 study showed that adding turmeric and other high-antioxidant spices to high-fat meals could help regulate triglyceride and insulin levels and protect the cardiovascular system.

Turmeric is also a powerful COX-2 inhibitor — like a nonsteroidal anti-inflammitory but without the nasty side effects. A human study in 2009 found a daily dose of curcumin just as effective as ibuprofen for osteoarthritis in the knee.

Turmeric may also help regulate the immune system — a series of studies in 2010 and 2011 showed that curcumin might have positive effects on people with autoimmune disorders, such as multiple sclerosis.

Turmeric is best known for the bright yellow color — and flavor — it adds to Indian dishes. Add a big pinch to a pot of lentil soup, or use with curry powder, raisins, and Greek yogurt to dress a curried chicken salad. Like sage, turmeric works well as tea. You can buy teas commercially from companies like the Republic of Tea or Yogi, or make your own by chopping up an inch of fresh turmeric root and infusing in hot water for 15 minutes.

Like all herbs and spices, however, too much turmeric might not be a good thing — it can inhibit blood clotting in large doses and may exacerbate gallbladder issues, so check with your doctor before using more than a typical culinary amount.
Thyme is a popular herb used for all types of cooking. It is  a good digestion aid, helping to reduce gas and other discomfort, and it’s good for the scalp and hair
Thyme is sort of the savory version of cinnamon — you can pretty much put it on anything. It’s great with chicken, fish, and root vegetables. It also goes well with lemon, including in summery cocktails.
If you’ve used Listerine or a similar mouthwash — or even some green household cleaners — chances are it contained thymol, a volatile oil component of thyme. A 2004 study showed that thyme oil was able to decontaminate lettuce with Shigella, a particularly nasty type of food poisoning, and other studies suggest it’s also effective against staph and E. coli.

Fresh thyme should keep about a week in your refrigerator’s vegetable drawer, especially if wrapped in a damp paper towel inside an open plastic bag.


Ginger has been used in both ancient and modern medicine for its stomach-settling properties. In a series of human and animal studies, ginger has been shown to help quiet nausea, speed food through the digestive tract, and protect against gastric ulcers.

Small studies have also shown that ginger can help with pain, including menstrual cramps, muscle pain, and migraines. Ginger is also a powerful COX inhibitor, so it’s a great choice for anyone with osteoarthritis or other chronic inflammatory conditions.

Ginger’s strong, bright taste is an essential component of most Asian and Indian cooking. Try a pinch of ginger in milky black tea, along with cinnamon and cardamom, for a heady chai-like beverage, or dice it and add to a zesty Thai soup. It’s also great in baked goods, from gingerbread to gingersnaps. Try adding chunks of candied ginger to pear or apple muffins for an extra zing.

It’s best to check with your doctor before ingesting large quantities of ginger, though, since it can cause heartburn and gas, worsening of gallstone issues — and it may interact with some medications, including warfarin.
-  Rosemary  has been associated with memory since ancient Greece, when students would wear it in their hair when studying for big exams. Modern science agrees: Carnosic acid, a component of rosemary, is thought to protect the brain from free-radical damage and therefore to lower the risks of stroke and Alzheimer’s.

Rosemary  is also full of antioxidants; a recent study from the American Association of Cancer Research linked carnosol, another component of rosemary, with inhibiting cancer growth.

Rosemary is another spice that easily bridges the sweet-savory gap. Sprinkle some on roasting chicken or vegetables, or add some to summer fruit crisps and crumbles.

“When herbs and spices are used together, they actually have even more benefits”. Try using rosemary in combination with thyme and sage for increased health benefits and added flavor.

Like any herb, feel free to use rosemary in moderation. But check with your doctor before rushing out to buy rosemary supplements. In large quantities, it’s been linked to seizures and inefficient iron absorption. And avoid serving a rosemary-heavy dish to a pregnant woman, since it’s traditionally been used to induce abortion.

Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. Grown mostly in the Middle East, saffron threads are actually the stigmas of a particular kind of crocus, each of which needs to be carefully gathered by hand.

Still, its high price might be worth it for some of its health benefits. According to a 2007 animal study, saffron had antidepressant properties similar to Prozac. And a small human study in 2006 showed antidepressant effects higher than a placebo.

Another study showed that saffron increased blood flow to the brain, which might help increase cognitive performance, and a 2009 study in Italy showed that saffron had beneficial effects on the genes regulating vision cells, potentially slowing or reversing degenerative eye diseases.

Crumble a few threads into water or stock for paella, risotto, or other rice dishes — including a subtly spiced Indian dessert called kheer.

The flavor and health benefits of most spices decline over time, and saffron is a particularly delicate spice. Make sure to keep your saffron bottle in a cool, dark place, and buy only the amount you think you can use in three to six months.

Basil, while often associated with Italian food, actually comes from India, where it’s traditionally used to treat asthma, stress, and diabetes.

Like thyme, basil has strong antimicrobial and antiviral properties, even against nasty bugs like Listeria and E. coli. Basil is a natural COX inhibitor, which means it’s especially great for anyone with arthritis or other inflammatory health problems.

Basil is also a great source of beta-carotene, which turns into vitamin A, as well as magnesium, iron, and calcium.

Basil epitomizes summer foods, such as cold tomato or pasta salads. But don’t stop there. Add it to pizza, pasta, or anything with tomatoes any time of year.

Having trouble finding good basil when it’s not summer? Check your freezer section. Several companies freeze fresh basil in single-serving pop-out containers — and since its frozen while fresh, it retains most of its nutrients. You can also freeze herbs yourself when they’re in season.


Indian Lentil-Vegetable Stew

from The Daily Green

We love the warm flavor that garam masala brings to this lentil stew!


1 1/2 cups brown Basmati rice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons minced, peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala (or 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder plus 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
1 garlic clove, chopped
4 cups water
2 cups green lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes
2 cups vegetable broth
1 bag (9 ounces) fresh spinach or 1 package (10 ounces) frozen leaf spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1. Prepare Basmati rice as label directs.

2. Meanwhile, in 6-quart saucepot, heat oil over medium heat until hot. Add onion and cook 8 to 10 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Stir in ginger, garam masala, and garlic, and cook 1 minute. Add water, lentils, potatoes, tomatoes, broth, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; heat to boiling over high heat.

3. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 25 minutes or until lentils and potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Add spinach; heat through. Serve stew with rice.  Salt to taste.


Blueberry & Maple Granola Bars

from Best Ever Cooke Collection

Make sure to use real maple syrup to get the best results for these delicious bars!

SERVINGS Makes around 16 bars

3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 large egg (or egg substitute)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried blueberries

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, making sure there is a 1-inch overhang all around the sides of the pan. These will be used as “handles” to remove the granola bars from the pan once they are baked. Set aside.

2. Spread the oats, walnuts, and sunflower seeds on an ungreased baking sheet and bake until they are lightly toasted, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes. This should take about 10 minutes. Remove baking sheet from the oven and allow the mixture to cool completely before proceeding.

3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt until well combined.

4. In a large mixing bowl combine the canola oil, brown sugar, and maple syrup until the mixture is smooth and well blended. Stir in the egg and vanilla extract. Stir in the flour mixture until it is just incorporated. Stir in the oat mixture until everything is well combined. Stir in the dried blueberries.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake the granola bars until they are set, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

6. Lift the foil “handles” on either side of the pan to remove the slab of granola bars from the pan. Place them on a cutting board. Cut into desired size and shape bars.


Tangy, Creamy Black Bean Spread

from The Daily Green

Use this creamy, zesty spread in sandwiches, wraps or as a dip

Servings 4-6

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1½ tablespoons ketchup
2 teaspoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or low-sodium soy sauce
½ teaspoon ground cumin
⅛ teaspoon cayenne                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     4oz. cream cheese

Blend all the ingredients together in a food processor fitted with the S blade, stopping to scrape down the sides once or twice. Blend until smooth. Fold in cream cheese, season with salt if desired.


Vegetarian Barley Risotto with Peas

from Good Housekeeping

Pearl barley, high in soluble fiber and vitamins, is one grain we should eat more often.

3/4 cup minced onions or shallot
1 teaspoon minced garlic, 2 cloves
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups vegetable stock or water
1 1/2 cups pearl barley
1/4 cup dry white wine (non-alcoholic if you prefer)
1 cup diced fresh tomato
1 cup frozen or fresh peas
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmeggiano cheese

1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Add the garlic and onions and cook them for 2 minutes over medium high heat.

2. Add the pearl barley and cook it for 5 minutes to slightly toast the grains. Add the white wine and cook for a minute then add 3 cups of the stock or water, the tomato and some salt. Bring the barley to a boil then cover and reduce the heat to medium. Cook the barley 25 minutes.

3. Add the peas and the remaining stock or water. Cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the cheese and correct the seasonings.


Cream of Pumpkin Soup Topped w/ Curried Pecans

from Quick-Fix Vegetarian
A delightful cruch of pecans tops this sweet & spicy vegetarian soup!


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
2 cups vegetable broth
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup pecan pieces
1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk

1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion. Cover and cook until softened, 5 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the curry powder and the pumpkin puree, then whisk in the broth until smooth. Add 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup and season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes to allow flavors to develop, stirring occasionally.

2. While the soup is simmering, make the curried pecans. In a small bowl, combine the pecan pieces with the remaining maple syrup and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the remaining curry powder, tossing to coat. Place the pecans in a small baking dish and bake until toasted, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

3. Meanwhile, use an immersion blender to puree the soup right in the pot. Otherwise, transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Stir back into the pot. Return the soup to the stovetop, turning the heat to low. Whisk in the coconut milk, taste to adjust seasonings. Heat until hot, do not boil. Serve the soup garnished with the pecans.


Roasted Root Vegetable and Apple Soup

from The Daily Green

Pureeing winter root vegetables together and enjoying them in soup is a great way to extend their flavors.


2 sweet potatoes, large, peeled and diced
8 parsnips, peeled and diced
2 small onions, peeled and diced
2 apples, peeled and diced
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon five spice powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup Marsala (optional)
2 ounces dried apples
3/4 cup creme fraiche

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Place the diced vegetables and fresh apples on a baking sheet and toss with the walnut oil, honey, rosemary, five spice powder, salt and pepper. Roast, turning often, until vegetables are softened and lightly caramelized, 30 to 35 minutes.

3. Combine the vegetable broth, Marsala, and dried apples in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; simmer until reduced by one-third, about 20 minutes.

4. Working in small batches, puree the roasted vegetables with the reduced liquid in a blender; transfer to a saucepan. If the soup is too thick, thin with hot water or more broth.

5. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle a little creme fraiche over the top of each serving and swirl with a skewer or a knife. Serve immediately.


Lemon Risotto with Basil

by The Big Book of Quick & Healthy Recipes

Lemon and basil are a flavor match made in heaven. Add them to risotto for a perfect dish!

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 leek (with half the top), sliced
2 stick celery (with leaves), sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
3/4 cup risotto rice
1/3 cup dry vermouth (or non-alcoholic)
2 1/4 cups vegetable stock, heated
1 lemon, quartered and sliced
3 tablespoons basil, chopped
2 tablespoons Parmesan
1 tablespoon brewer’s yeast flake

1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based Dutch oven and gently stir-fry the leek and the celery until soft.

2. Add the garlic and the rice, stir for 1 minute, then add the vermouth. Stir for a further minute, then add the stock. Bring to a boil, cover, and very gently simmer until the rice is cooked.

3. Add the lemon pieces and most of the basil, gently stir, and heat through.

4. Sprinkle with Parmesan or brewer’s yeast flakes and the remaining basil, and serve immediately.


Mexican Avocado Soup

from The Big Book of Quick & Healthy Recipes
The creamy and delicious soup is simple and satisfying!

2 tablespoons corn oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon wheat flour
4 1/3 cups vegetable stock
1 large avocado, pitted, peeled, and mashed
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 cup almond milk/light cream
Salt to taste
1/2 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 teaspoon paprika

1. Gently fry the onion in a Dutch oven with the oil. Sprinkle with the flour and stir-fry until the onion is well coated. Continue to stir, and slowly add the stock.

2. Bring to a boil, add the avocado and the cayenne pepper, and gently simmer for 5 minutes.

3. Sir in the almond milk or cream, season, and serve garnished with red and yellow bell peppers and paprika.


Mixed Grain Risotto with Radicchio

from The Daily Green

Why not add a delicious bit of creamy whole grain wellness to the dinner table?

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup diced onion
1 1/2 quarts vegetable broth
1 small head of radicchio, quartered, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 cup uncooked pearl barley
1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
1/2 cup uncooked wild rice
1/4 cup dry white wine (non-alcoholic if you prefer)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Heat the olive oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Stir in half the radicchio and the grains and cook another 2 minutes. Mix in the white wine and cook until reduced to about a tablespoon. Cook, stirring occasionally until thick and slightly soupy and the grains are tender, about 50 – 55 minutes.

4. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, stir in the remaining radicchio. Remove from heat; stir in the Parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately.


Vegan Crudités with Pumpkin Sage Pâté

from The Daily Green



1 pound winter squash, such as red kuri, pumpkin, butternut or buttercup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (dry pack)
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2/3 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

1. Peel the squash, cut open and remove the seeds. Cut the squash into 2-inch chunks.

2. In a large pot over high heat, add the water, squash and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil then lower the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain the pumpkin and reserve the cooking liquid.

3. In a small saucepan over high heat, add the tomatoes and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil then turn off the heat and set aside for 10 minutes to soften.

4. In a sauté pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onions and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, until they soften and begin to brown. Add the walnuts, garlic, sage and red pepper flakes and sauté gently for 5 to 7 minutes.

5. Drain the plumped tomatoes and transfer them to the bowl of a food processor. Add the sautéed vegetables and pumpkin chunks. Puree until creamy, adding the reserved pumpkin water if needed, until the desired consistency is reached, season with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Serve chilled with favorite crudités and chips or crackers.


Rosemary-Roasted Winter Root Vegetables

from Totally Vegetarian

Seasonal root veggies get a fragrant toss of rosemary.


1 head cauliflower, pulled apart of cut into small florets
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
6 to 10 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 shallot, coarsley chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 to 4 whole sprigs rosemary
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Combine the cauliflower, squash, garlic, and shallot in a roomy work bowl. Drizzle the olive oil over the vegetables, season with 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper, and toss to coat. Pile the vegetables into a roasting pan or terra cotta baking dish. The vegetables shouldn’t be in a single layer–they’ll stay moist and steam each other when piled into the dish. Arrange the rosemary sprigs all around. Sprinkle with the pine nuts.

2. Roast the vegetables for 20 minutes. If they become a bit dry, drizzle with additional oil and add a few tablespoons of water–not a lot, just enough to bump up the moisture. After 20 minutes or so, the vegetables will be browning on top, so turn them with a spoon and continue roasting another 15 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender and caramelized on the bottom of the dish. Remove the baking dish from the oven. Adjust the seasonings and sprinkle with parmesan, if using. Cover the baking dish lightly with foil to allow vegetables to sweat and rest. After 5 minutes, the rosemary should be soft and fragrant. Any leaves remaining on the twigs can easily be pulled off and mixed with the juices.


Cranberry Apple Crisp with Oatmeal Streusel

from The Daily Green

Because fresh cranberries are usually only available in the fall, you might want to pick up extra bags and stick them in the freezer for later on in the year. Then you can make this delicious crisp anytime.

SERVINGS Makes one 13 x 9-inch crisp

1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 whole wheat flour
1/4 cup unbleached white flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and diced

24 ounces cranberries
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons apple juice or cider
1 1/4 pounds firm apples (about 3 medium), peeled, cored, cut into cubes

1. Combine the brown sugar, oats, flours, and salt in large bowl and toss to blend. Add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles crumbs. Refrigerate while preparing the filling.

2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13 x 2-inch glass baking dish.

3. Combine the cranberries, sugar, and apple juice in a large pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often for about 2 minutes. Stir in the apples and cook until the cranberries are softened and their juices thicken slightly, about 4 minutes more. Transfer the mixture to the prepared dish and sprinkle on the topping.

4. Bake until the filling bubbles thickly and the topping is brown, about 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.


Baked Mashed Potato Casserole

from Whole Foods Market

Mashed potatoes get gussied up in this easy to make recipe. Bits of chopped sautéed vegetables enhance your choice of russet or red potatoes. Quickly prepare and pop in the oven to finish while getting the rest of your meal ready.


4 medium russet or red potatoes, cut into quarters
2 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 to 4 tablespoons milk
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 large stalk celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup red pepper, finely chopped
sea salt to taste
white pepper to taste
2 tablespoons freshly grated Fulvi Romano Cheese (optional)
paprika to garnish

1. Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender, about 15 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 450°F.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Sauté the onions, celery and red pepper for 7 minutes, or until tender, stirring often. Set aside.
4. When the potatoes are done, drain them well and return to the cooking pot. Add the butter and the milk. Mash together well. Add the sautéed vegetables. Season the mixture to taste with sea salt and white pepper.
5. Spread the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in an 8×8 or 9×9 casserole dish. Spoon mashed potatoes into the dish and sprinkle with grated Romano cheese and paprika. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

(Based on individual servings)
200 calories (80 from fat)
9g total fat
3.5g saturated fat
4g protein
26g total carbohydrate
2g dietary fiber
3g sugar
10mg cholesterol
230mg sodium


Sweet Potato Fries

from Vegetarian Meat & Potatoes Cookbook

Nutritious sweet potatoes make a colorful and tasty side dish.


3 to 4 sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly oil a large baking sheet and set aside. Peel the sweet potatoes then cut them in half lengthwise. Cut each half into 1/4-inch wide strips. Place the sliced potatoes into a large bowl and add the oil, salt, and pepper. Toss gently to coat the potato slices well and spread them on the baking sheet in a single layer.

2. Bake until the potatoes are lightly browned and crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, 25 to 30 minutes, turning once about halfway through. Serve immediately sprinkled with the cranberries.


Mocha Pumpkin Cheesecake

from Organic Valley

Delicious alternative to the traditional Pumpkin Pie


5 tablespoons butter, divided
1 1/2 cups finely crushed chocolate graham crackers
3 tablespoons finely ground coffee beans
3 packages (8 ounces each) Neufchatel or Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup organic sugar
5 large organic eggs
2 cups cooked pumpkin puree or 1 can (16 ounces) solid pack pumpkin
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
4 tablespoons hot strong coffee
chocolate-covered coffee beans or chocolate-covered raisins

1. For crust: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter; combine with crushed grahams and ground coffee. Press into bottom and partially up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake 10 minutes.

2. For filling: Use electric beaters at medium speed to cream Neufchatel or cream cheese for 3 to 4 minutes. Gradually beat in sugar and continue beating 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in pumpkin and vanilla. Add the melted chocolate and vanilla and beat until combined.

3. For cheesecake: Pour filling into crust. Bake until instant thermometer inserted in center reads 160 degrees F, 70 to 75 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 6 hours or up to 3 days.

4. For glaze: Melt chocolate and remaining 2 tablespoons butter in double boiler, or a bowl set over a pan of boiling water. Remove from heat; whisk lightly, then whisk in hot coffee. Cool 10 minutes. Press top of cheesecake to even out the surface and “mend” any cracks. Spread chocolate glaze over cheesecake.

5. Decorate with chocolate-covered coffee beans or raisins. Chill to set topping.


Creamy Celery Soup

from Good Housekeeping

Rich and nourishing celery soup takes center stage for today’s meal.


1 large bunch celery with leaves (about 2 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion ( or leeks – about 12 ounces) chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 cup white wine (non-alcoholic if you prefer)
3 cans (14 to 14 1/4 ounces each) chicken or veggie broth (5 1/4 cups)
2 medium all-purpose potatoes (about 6 ounces each), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 cups water

1. Trim ends from celery stalks. Reserve a few celery leaves for garnish; wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Slice celery stalks and remaining leaves crosswise into 1-inch pieces; transfer to colander. Rinse and drain well.

2. In 51/2- to 6-quart saucepot, heat oil over medium heat. Add celery and leaves, onion, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cook 20 to 25 minutes or until celery is soft but not browned, stirring occasionally. Add wine and cook 2 minutes or until wine is mostly evaporated.

3. Add broth, potatoes, and water to saucepot; cover and heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 10 minutes or until potatoes are very tender.

4. In batches, ladle celery mixture into blender; cover, with center part of cover removed to allow steam to escape, and blend very well until pureed. Pour puree into large bowl. Repeat with remaining mixture.

5. Return soup to saucepot; heat through. Ladle soup into tureen; sprinkle with pepper and garnish with celery leaves.


Carrot Soup w/ Cucumber Pistachio Relish

from Country Living

Some soups are just as tasty hot as they are cold. However you serve this soup, add the garnish at the last minute to preserve its contrasting texture. Play up the vibrant hue of this colorful soup in sparkling-white bowls.


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced or shallot
4 cups chopped carrots (about 10)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon curry
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon champagne vinegar
1/2 cup diced seedless cucumber
1/2 cup chopped pistachios
2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, diced
2 teaspoons chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons chopped mint

1. Make the soup: Heat oil over medium-high heat, add the onions, carrots, and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, curry, and cayenne and cook for 1 more minute. Add 5 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until carrots are tender – about 15 minutes. Puree soup in batches in a blender or food processor until smooth. Stir in the lemon juice and vinegar and set aside.

2. Make the relish: Combine the cucumber, pistachios, ginger, cilantro, mint, and remaining salt in a small bowl. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with relish.


Red Bean and Collard Gumbo

from Good Housekeeping

Gumbo is traditionally made with a variety of meats and shellfish, but you’re not likely to be disappointed with this all-vegetable version.


1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 medium red pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large stalk celery, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed with garlic press
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/ teaspoon ground allspice
1 3/4 cups vegetable broth
3 cups water
1 bunch collard greens (about 1 1/4 pounds), tough stems trimmed and leaves coarsely chopped
2 cans (15-19 ounces each) small red beans, rinsed and drained

1. In a dry nonstick 5- to 6-quart saucepot, toast flour over medium heat, stirring frequently, until pale golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer flour to medium bowl; set aside.

2. In same saucepot, heat oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion, red pepper, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender-crisp, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, salt, ground red pepper thyme, and allspice and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.

3. Whisk broth into toasted flour until blended. Stir broth mixture and water into vegetables in saucepot; heat to boiling over medium-high heat. Add collard greens, stirring until wilted; stir in beans. Heat gumbo to boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until greens are tender, about 10 minutes.


Fast & Healthy Breakfast Ideas

from Real Simple
Fruit & Cheese
Here’s a balanced, easy-to-assembel morning meal:
Grab an apple & slice it, wrap 1 to 2 ounces of Cheddar cheese, and toss ¼ cup of fiber- and protein-rich walnuts into a resealable plastic bag.
Nut Butter Waffles
A delicious choice on your whole-grain waffles.
Spread with 2 tablespoons of your favorite nut butter. For added flavor, sprinkle on 1 tablespoon of raisins or sesame seeds.
Morning Pizza
Take a slice of crusty bread, spread it with 3 tablespoons of low-fat ricotta, and add organic tomatoes. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil (about 1 teaspoon) and a little salt and pepper. Broiling is optional.



Cauliflower & Leek Soup w/brown butter & hazelnuts - a perfect soup for a cozy day
The Daily Green  

SERVINGS 8-10 servings

Sea salt
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
1-2 head of cauliflower (3 pounds in total), separated into florets
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 medium or 3 large leeks — tough green parts discarded, the remainder thinly sliced and thoroughly rinsed
1-2 quarts vegetable stock, preferably homemade
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup peeled hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
Finely chopped fresh parsley

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of salt and the lemon juice. Add the cauliflower and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Drain the cauliflower and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, in a heavy soup pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the leeks and stir to coat, season with salt and cook until very tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Adjust the heat as needed to prevent browning. Add the cauliflower and stock and bring to a simmer. With a slotted spoon transfer the leeks and cauliflower to a blender or food processor and puree with some of the stock until smooth. Return the puree to the pot.

3. In a small skillet, melt the butter. Add the hazelnuts, lower the heat and cook, stirring occasionally. Remove the pot from the heat when the butter stops foaming and the crackling sound stops, about 5 minutes. Drain the butter immediately into a small bowl, reserving the hazelnuts on a plate.

4. Bring the soup to a simmer, season with salt, white pepper and nutmeg. Whisk in the brown butter (or leave out for Vegans). Serve the soup garnished with the hazelnuts and parsley.



Apple Butter – spread on warm muffins, scones, biscuits and even pancakes as an added treat.

The Daily Green

SERVINGS Yields 3 1/2 cups

5 pounds cooking apples, cored and quartered
1 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar

1. Combine the apples, cider, and orange juice in a large Dutch oven and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft — 30 to 40 minutes.

2. Remove the pan from the heat. In small batches, puree the apples and any cooking liquid through a food mill.

3. Return the puree to the Dutch oven, add the sugars, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook, still stirring, until the puree thickens slightly — about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low, partially cover, and simmer for 1 hour.

4. Transfer the butter to a clean jar and cool completely. Store refrigerated for up to 1 month.


5 Bizarre Weight Loss Tricks that Work

Readers Digest 

1. Sniff a banana, apple, or peppermint 
You might feel silly, but it works. When Dr Alan R. Hirsch of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago tried this with 3,000 volunteers, he found that the more frequently people sniffed, the less hungry they were and the more weight they lost – an average of 30 lb each. One theory is that sniffing the food tricks the brain into thinking you’re actually eating it

2. Hang a mirror opposite your seat at the table.                                                                                                                 One study found that eating in front of mirrors slashed the amount people ate by nearly one-third. Seems having to look yourself in the eye reflects back some of your own inner standards and goals, and reminds you of why you’re trying to lose weight in the first place.

3. Surround yourself with blue
There’s a good reason you won’t see many fast-food restaurants decorated in blue: Believe it or not, the color blue functions as an appetite suppressant. So serve up dinner on blue plates, dress in blue while you eat, and cover your table with a blue tablecloth.  Studies find red, yellow & orange encourage eating.
4. Shoot your food
Rather than writing down every morsel, take a picture of it, and file the photos on your cell phone or computer. A visual account of your consumption may help you curb your intake. “Snapping photos and then looking back at them can make people stop and think before indulging,” nutritionist Joan Salge Blake says.  A visual reminder might be just enough to give you pause next time before you ladle on that double scoop of blue cheese dressing!
5. Tie yourself up
You could try fitness guru Valerie Orsoni’s “Le Petit Secret”: “A number of French women wear a ribbon around their waist and underneath their clothes when they go out for dinner. It keeps them conscious of the tummy-particularly if the ribbon starts to feel tighter as the evening goes on!”



Watch for the Big 5 ingredients most likely to be genetically engineered.
Center for Food Safety

•    Corn flour, meal, oil, starch, gluten, and syrup
•    Sweeteners such as fructose, dextrose, and glucose
•    Modified food starch
•    Soy flour, lecithin, protein, isolate, and isoflavone
•    Vegetable protein
•    Canola oil (also called rapeseed oil) 
•    Cottonseed oil 
•    Unless 100% cane sugar or evaporated cane sugar, sugar may be produced from sugar beets    which may be genetically engineered


Roasted Cauliflower in Lemon-Tahini Sauce

Vegetarian Times

Vegan                30 minutes or less
An avid cook and enthusiastic eater, Tim Miano says his experiments in the kitchen aren’t always successful. But he hit the mark with this delicious side dish that is deceptively simple—our judges were wowed by its speed, ease and incredible flavor. The sauce uses tahini, a Mediterranean paste of ground sesame seeds that can be found in most supermarkets. 1st Place, 2006 recipe contest.


  1. Place oven rack in top position. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Toss cauliflower with 2 tsp. olive oil, and season with salt. Spread on large cookie sheet, and bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until cauliflower is fork-tender and slightly browned.
  3. Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tsp. olive oil in small saucepan over medium heat. Sauté garlic in oil 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Stir in tahini, lemon juice, 5 Tbs. water and salt. Simmer over low heat 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Divide cauliflower among plates. Whisk sauce, then spoon over cauliflower. Sprinkle with parsley and sesame seeds, and serve.                                                                                                                  
  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets (about 1 1/2 lb.)
  • 4 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp.)
  • 2 Tbs. tahini
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbs. chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds