Summer, 2015

We love summer! So much of this feeling is because we know that our good partners at Urban Oaks Organic Farm, Satur, and Hepworth Farm, will arrive with the freshest, most flavorful and healthy summer produce. Right now, we're enjoying the organic Swiss Chard,  Asian eggplants, Squash Blossoms, Kale, and Fig Leaves, Patty Pan Squash, and of course, those "we wait all year for" summer heirloom tomatoes. We respect these limited time only vegetables by preparing them in ways that allow for their real flavor to come through.  We love to combine Swiss chard with French Lentils and fresh herbs from Urban Oaks Organic Farm for a totally delicious and very healthy meal. Swiss chard and lentils are loaded with Vitamins A and C, iron, and fiber, protein, and magnesium. All good news for your heart and entire body.  You'll see the fresh squash blossoms in fritters, over a light San Marzano tomato sauce, or in our Quesadilla Especial with fresh Epazote. Epazote is an herb that tastes like a cross between thyme and oregano and is a delicious match with squash blossoms in Mexican dishes. Asian eggplants, tender and gorgeous, are  perfect in our stir-fry dishes with other summer produce, changing each day depending on what is best. Where would we be without fresh Kale from Urban Oaks Organic farm! KaleABunga, our favorite green smoothie gets it's delicious flavor and health benefits of iron, vitamins A and C, and magnesium from this lovely and fresh kale. Aromatic fig leaves will wrap a combination of fresh ricotta, and mozzarella cheeses, with a reduction of really good balsamic vinegar. Patty pan squash are tender and filled with summer flavor reserved for fresh, really fresh produce, the kind we can get only during these summer months. A light brushing of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt are all they need before a trip to the oven for our Roasted Vegetable Plate. Tomatoes rule! We use these summer only tomatoes in salads, Chilled Gazpacho, bruschetti, sauces, and dressings. Happy Summer! We wish you every blessing as you Savor every delicious bite. 

Starting clean for the New Year - inside and outside:-)

Switch that sweetened iced tea to an iced blueberry, black cherry, or pomegranate green tea for a natural sweetness with no sugar needed. Squeeze fresh organic lemon into a glass of water, into your iced or hot tea, and, before squeezing the lemon onto your salad, grate some of that healthy organic lemon zest onto your salad then squeeze on that healthy juice and toss the salad with extra virgin olive oil, a little sea salt and black pepper for a bright flavor and those healthy antioxidants. Peel a fresh organic orange for your smoothie for added flavor and antioxidant - better than just adding orange juice. 
Think about a big variety of vegetables and fruits - There is NO ONE Superfood:-) Like people, they are all a little different and each one adds a little something extra special to your life. Aim for 7-9 servings a day for optimal health. Try to add at least one serving of fruit and/or vegetable to every meal, every snack - sliced organic apple on that oatmeal or cereal, a quarter avocado spread on your whole grain toast, a banana with a tablespoon or two of real peanut butter on the side, a big salad, vegetable and bean soup, lots of vegetables with a little pasta and sauce rather than lots of pasta with a little vegetables and sauce, a vegetable or fruit smoothie for a snack, mashed bean dip with carrots/cukes for a snack, two sides of vegetables at dinner. 
A great nighttime snack is A bowl of warmed frozen organic strawberries - freezing them makes them sweeter, and then top the warm berries with a sprinkle of cinnamon for more flavor and antioxidants and a dollop of plain yogurt w/a drizzle of honey and flax seeds. 
Clean your windows and your house with all natural cleaners , wash your clothes with all natural cleaners, skip as much dry cleaning and chemicals as you can, buy all natural creams, shampoos, etc, and read those labels - it's your one and only body and our one and only earth. 
And, smile - everyone loves a smile. 

YOU MATTER! Happy, healthy, joyful New Year, friends. xx Claire