Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tip of the Week!

Artificial food dyes.

There has been much debate regarding artificial food dyes and their safety in humans.  The Center for Science in the Public Interest is a group that has been vocally arguing the need for stricter regulations for artificial food dyes for years.  Requesting that the FDA require health warning labels attached to foods that contain artificial foods dyes and the health risks associated to each.

Many of the health risks include cancer, hyper activity and behavioral changes in children and allergies just to name a few.  You can find an excellent article on the subject here.

I thought what better time to rethink artificial dyes is Easter.  A time for dying Easter eggs can be done naturally.

You can find step by step instuctions here to have natural Easter eggs this year!

Happy Easter everyone!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tip of the Week!

Chia Seeds!

Chia is an evidence-based registered variety of Salvia hispanica L. and is nutritionally superior to flax and soy. Chia is the richest non-marine whole food source of Omega-3 and dietary fiber currently known to man. Listed below are a few of the health benefits of chia seed.

Promotes Cardiovascular Health:
According to the American Heart Association, Omega-3 fatty acids can normalize blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels, while helping promote healthy heart and blood vessels.

Assists Joint Function & Mobility:
With six times more calcium than milk, and with greater amounts of high-quality protein than the one found in soy, Chia also helps strengthen muscles and bones.

Improves Digestion & Natural Detoxification:
Chia can absorb a whopping 12+ times its weight in water – flax seed only absorbs 6-8 times its weight. Chia´s insoluble fiber reduces digestive transit time and removes toxins as it passes through the digestive

To sum it up: Chia Seeds are great for you
This weekend I made a vegan Chia Seed quick bread while visiting my brother and his family. My daughter and niece both have a dairy allergy, I thought this recipe would be perfect! Similar to a Lemon Poppyseed bread, this bread is light and refreshing with fresh lemon juices. The Chia Seeds are nutrient packed and replace the original poppyseed.

2tbsp Chia Seed
1/4 cup Lemon Juice ( fresh)
1/2 cup Rice or Soy Milk ( I used Rice)
1/2 cup Margarine (Non-hydrogenated) ( I used Earth's Balance)
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1 cup 1/2 Unbleached White Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
2 Tb Granulated Sugar
1 Tb Lemon Juice

Combine the chia seeds, lemon juice and milk. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Cream together the margarine and sugar until smooth. Slowly add the chia seed mixture and blend well. Add the dry ingredients and blend until just combined. Scoop into a greased 8-inch loaf pan and bake at 350°F for 45-50 minutes. When taken out of the oven, combine the sugar and lemon juice for the glaze and pour evenly over the top. Slice and serve when cooled slightly. Makes 12 servings.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Tip of the Week!


If you're looking for more Vitamin D in your diet, consider mushrooms. They are the only source of Vitamin D in the produce aisle. Mushrooms are also the leading source of the essential antioxidant Selenium in produce. Antioxidants, like Selenium, help strengthen the immune system and protect body cells from damage that may cause chronic illness.

Fresh mushrooms can be added to everyday dishes for an extra serving of vegetables and important nutrients.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Bean and Barley Soup

Just a few days ago I was gushing over the beautiful, spring like weather. Today, not too much to gush about. Gray skies, raw temps and rain. But it is New England after all; the weather changes with a blink of an eye.

A hearty pot of soup is perfect for a day like this; to warm you from the inside out. I decided to try a Bean and Barley Soup. Barley is one of my personal favorite grains. It has a mild nutty flavor and a "meaty" bite. It's one of the world's oldest grains and perfect in salads, stir fries, soups and even cereal.

The soup also has a generous amount of spinach, another family favorite. Spinach is on the Dirty Dozen list so be sure to buy this organic.

From EatingWell: January/February 2013

Yield: 4 servings, 2 1/2 cups each
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

1 1/2 cups cooked barley along with the broth in Step 2.
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium fennel bulb, cored and chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 15-ounce can cannellini or other white beans, rinsed
1 14-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
3/4 cup quick-cooking barley
1 5-ounce package baby spinach (6 cups)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (omit if vegan)
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, fennel, garlic, and basil; cook, stirring frequently, until tender and just beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes.
Mash 1/2 cup of the beans. Stir the mashed and whole beans, tomatoes, broth and barley into the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the barley is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in cheese and pepper.

I served this along with vegan drop biscuits. My husband declared this is his favorite soup!


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Spring is coming!

What a gorgeous day here in New Hampshire! Blue skies, warmer temps, day light savings and the kids outside playing. Yes! Today was a very good day!

Tonight, I made French Onion Soup. Loaded with onions and traditionally a beef broth base, I switched it up using vegetable stock. The soup still has it's deep, rich brown color when you use a good quality veg stock.

I served the soup with Gruyere cheese (except for Sophia), which Roman declared smells like stinky feet. And some home made crusty bread.

French Onion Soup
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (I used Earth's Best to keep it vegan)
3 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove minced
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
4 cups (1 32 oz box) low sodium vegetable stock
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1cup crusty bread, cubed
1. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
2. Add the onions and salt and cook until onions start to turn golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
3. Add the garlic, sugar, thyme and bay leaf and cook an additional 10 minutes.
4. Add the stock and worcestershire sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the onions are very tender, about 10 minutes.
5. Heat the oven to broil. Place the bread cubes on a baking sheet and broil for 3-5 minutes, or until crisp and golden.
6. Ladle the soup into oven-proof bowls. Top each bowl of soup with a handful of croutons and a handful of cheese.
7. Place under the broiler until the cheese is melted, about 2 minutes.


Friday, March 8, 2013

Tip of the Week


A lifetime of good eating habits and good health can be established early in childhood. Rich, creamy avocados are a kid-friendly fruit in many ways: They provide great taste, fun texture and they contribute valuable nutrients including:
  • 8% of the recommended Daily Value (DV) for folate
  • 4% DV for fiber and potassium
  • 4% DV for vitamin E and more
Next time you're at the market, pick up an avocado for your child to try.  Cut up into small cubes, it is great for a toddler's pincer grasp. A sandwhich served on multi grain bread, sprouts, avocado and cheese is a great lunch time meal for older kids!


Thursday, March 7, 2013


Ahhh.... just the title makes me smile.  And sigh.... and smile again.

This past week my family and I spent some time in Florida.  It was so good to get away for a bit.  We've had quite the winter filled with colds, just like many of you.  A good dose of Vitamin D was exactly what the doctor ordered.  Although the temperatures were a bit cooler,  60's, 70's a couple of days, the sunshine was bright!  And that made me smile. :)

To watch my kids run through the ocean waves, make sand angels, and just play without any toys at all was pure bliss. Spending quality time with my family without the interruptions of work, school and media is priceless.  A quiet dinner with just my honey, perfect.  Yes, there was plenty of merry making all around.  Times you want to savor.


Sadly, all things come to an end.  "Until next time."

There comes a time, for me, when I feel, Ok...I'm ready. To be back in the fold of our home.  Our comfort place.  It's just as nice to come home as it is to get away.

When on vacation, there are more times of eating out than there normally would be at home.  And as healthy as we all try to eat, the idea "We're on vacation" makes you bend, just a little.  So what's the first thing I can't wait to do when home?  Cook!  Truly!  I couldn't wait to make dinner for my family.  Just the four of us around the table talking, relaxing and eating a home cooked meal.

And that's just what I did!  It's so nice to be home.