Heirloom Tomato and Golden Plum Salad

Enjoy the best of summer with this spicy, sweet, savory salad!

Ingredients:

Salad: 2-3 cups fresh baby arugula, lightly tossed in olive oil 2-3 heirloom tomatoes of different colors, cut into 1/4-inch slabs and lightly salted 3-4 small golden (or purple) plums, cut into wedges 1/4 cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped Pansies, marigolds, and/or fresh berries for garnish

Dressing: 1/4 cup grapeseed or mild olive oil Juice of 1/4 lemon 3 Tbs. balsmic vinegar 5 ripe blackberries 1 drop lemon doTERRA essential oil Salt to taste *Optional: 1/2 tsp. honey if you like sweeter dressing

Method:

Salad: Plate a small handful of arugula on a plate Stack a few slabs of heirloom tomato on the side of the arugula Top tomatoes with a few wedges of plum Scatter a few pistachios over the whole salad Salt to taste

Dressing: Place all dressing ingredients in a small food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Add a few berries or a little more oil to reach desired consistency.

Finish: Drizzle dressing over the salad. Adorn the plate with fresh flowers and berries for extra beauty and deliciousness. Bon apetít!

Benefits:

Arugula: Arugula is a rich source of folate, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and B-complexes (such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, which are essential for optimum cellular enzymatic and metabolic functions). This is a low-cal lettuce leaf that packs a nutritional wallop, so don’t be afraid to ask for a second helping! See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Blackberries: Blackberries are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They contain powerful anti-oxidants which help soothe internal inflammation, boost heart and digestive health. They also abound with vitamin K, which helps with maintain healthy blood and bones. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Lemon Essential Oil: Lemon oil has many properties including antidepressant, antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic, and antioxidant. It is refreshing and invigorating, had can be used to help lower blood pressure, improve memory, ease sore throats and anxiety, help dissolve cellulite, boost energy, calm digestive problems, cleanse the lymphatic system cleansing, and promote a sense of well-being. It is also miraculous for removing grease, gum, oil, and unwanted marks and spots. See here to learn more about doTERRA essential oils.

Pistachios: These nuts are rich with antioxidants, phytosterols, unsaturated fats, vitamin B-6, and thiamin. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information. Many suggest that soaking nuts (and grains, legumes, and seeds) before consuming them enhances their nutritional quality.

Tomato: Tomatoes are packed with antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene. They also contain high amounts of manganese and vitamin E. Multiple studies have shown that tomatoes are wonderful for heart health. See here for more health benefits of tomatoes. Heirloom varieties of any flora and fauna are dear to my heart. I’ll write more about this later. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

 

Farm Fresh Spring Salad

Everything is better topped with a fried egg!

Ingredients:

2 bountiful handfuls of the fresh greens of your choice (mixed, spinach, baby kale are yum!) 3-5 sprigs of fresh asparagus 1-2 radishes, sliced into rounds 1 egg 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil Juice of 1/4 small lemon 1 drop doTERRA lemon essential oil *Optional: 1/8 teaspoon sweetener of your choice 1 teaspoon of any fresh herbs you have on-hand (basil, thyme, and tarragon are lovely choices...), chopped

Method:

Place the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon oil, optional sweetener, and herbs in a bowl. Whisk together.

Mix the salad greens in the salad dressing and toss to coat.

Blanch or lightly sauté your asparagus.

Fry an egg.

Serve the salad mix (or just leave it in the same bowl).

Place the fried egg and asparagus atop the salad mix. Enjoy!

Benefits:

Asparagus: Asparagus is packed with vitamins K and A, as well as iron and folate. It is also a powerful anti-inflammatory and abounds with antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin E, and the minerals zinc, manganese, and selenium. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Lemon: Lemons are vitamin C powerhouses. Great for immunity, vitamin C can also be helpful for preventing the development and progression of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Lemon Essential Oil: Lemon oil has many properties including antidepressant, antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic, and antioxidant. It is refreshing and invigorating, had can be used to help lower blood pressure, improve memory, ease sore throats and anxiety, help dissolve cellulite, boost energy, calm digestive problems, cleanse the lymphatic system cleansing, and promote a sense of well-being. It is also miraculous for removing grease, gum, oil, and unwanted marks and spots. See here to learn more about doTERRA essential oils.

Mixed Greens: Salad greens abound with vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, calcium, folate, fiber, and other phytonutrients. Make sure to rinse them thoroughly before eating. See here for more health benefits and safe handling instructions and nutritional information.

Olive Oil: Olive Oil is packed phytonutrients including polyphenols. Most of the polyphenols in olive oil function as both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients in the body. When eaten in moderation, olive oil can be very beneficial to our gastrointestinal and cardiovascular health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Radish: These easy-to-grow root veggies are a good source of riboflavin, bitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, copper and manganese. They're also low in cholesterol and high in dietary fiber. See here for more nutritional information.

 

Sliced Spring Radishes with Herbed Cream Cheese

Enjoy the flavors of spring with garden fresh radishes and herbs in a swirl of cream cheese.  

Ingredients:

5 fresh radishes (the wider the better) 1/4 cup organic cream cheese (full fat, please!) 3 mint leaves 5 basil leaves A little sprig of rosemary A little sprig of tarragon Any other herbs you'd like to include 1 drop doTERRA lemon essential oil A pinch of sea salt

Method:

Scrub and de-stem the radishes. Cut them into quarter-inch thick "coins."

Lightly salt your radish coins.

Rinse and mince the herbs, and stir them into the cream cheese until well-mixed.

Slather the cream cheese mixture onto the radish coins (to taste), serve with a sprig of the herb of your chose as garnish and enjoy!

Benefits:

Basil: Basil contains flavanoids called orientin and vicenin, which protect us at a cellular level. It also has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Basil is also high in vitamin K, so is great for our blood health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Lemon Essential Oil: Lemon oil has many properties including antidepressant, antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic, and antioxidant. It is refreshing and invigorating, had can be used to help lower blood pressure, improve memory, ease sore throats and anxiety, help dissolve cellulite, boost energy, calm digestive problems, cleanse the lymphatic system cleansing, and promote a sense of well-being. It is also miraculous for removing grease, gum, oil, and unwanted marks and spots. See here to learn more about doTERRA essential oils.

Peppermint: Peppermint is a good source of vitamins C and A, as well as manganese and copper. It is also great for the digestion and has antimicrobial properties. See here for more health benefits.

Radish: These easy-to-grow root veggies are a good source of riboflavin, bitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, copper and manganese. They're also low in cholesterol and high in dietary fiber. See here for more nutritional information.

Tarragon: Tarragon is an excellent source of minerals like calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, copper, potassium, and zinc. It has also been used in various types of traditional medicine as an appetite stimulant, and as a remedy for anorexia, dyspepsia, flatulence and hiccups. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Minty Fruit Salad

This fruit salad is minty fresh.

Ingredients:

1-2 kiwis, peeled and sliced into coins 1/4 small cantaloupe, de-seeded, de-rinded, and cut into 1" hunks 1 cup strawberries, de-stemmed and sliced 1 grapefruit, peeled, and sectioned (then peel each section so that all that remains is the glistening flesh) 4 mint leaves, minced Juice from 1/4 lemon 1 drop doTERRA lemon oil

Method:

Gently toss all ingredients together until fruit is coated with lemon and mintiness.

Serve and enjoy.

Double or triple the recipe if you have more than 1-2 hungry hippos partaking of your masterpiece fruit salad, and feel free to get creative with what fruits you add.

Benefits:

Cantaloupe: This melon is a plentiful source of vitamins A and C, as well as potassium. It is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory fruit, which means it can help us to fight off unwanted inflammation and oxidative stress in the body. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Grapefruit: This citrus fruit is packed with Vitamins C and A. The pink varieties are an excellent source of the phytonutrient, lycopene, which has been touted for its ability to battle cancer-causing free radicals. Grapefruits also contain phytonutrients called "limonoids" which help inhibit tumor formation and growth. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Kiwi: This little antioxidant-packed gem abounds with vitamins C, K, and E. It's also a great source of copper and dietary fiber. A very tasty way to support your heart, lungs, and colon! See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Lemon: Lemons are vitamin C powerhouses. Great for immunity, vitamin C can also be helpful for preventing the development and progression of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Lemon Essential Oil: Lemon oil has many properties including anticancer, antidepressant, antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic, and antioxidant. It is refreshing and invigorating, had can be used to help lower blood pressure, improve memory, ease sore throats and anxiety, help dissolve cellulite, boost energy, calm digestive problems, cleanse the lymphatic system cleansing, and promote a sense of well-being. It is also miraculous for removing grease, gum, oil, and unwanted marks and spots. See here to learn more about doTERRA essential oils.

Peppermint: Peppermint is a good source of vitamins C and A, as well as manganese and copper. It is also great for the digestion and has antimicrobial properties. See here for more health benefits.

Massaged Kale Salad with Globe Grapes Goat Cheese and Sauteed Veggies

Start with a base of "massaged kale" and add whatever fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds, cheese, or protein you have on hand. The result will be delicious! I always have at LEAST one bunch of fresh kale in the fridge. Kale makes a great base for a lunch or dinner salad. Plus, it's a great food to favor in the month of February, as our metabolism is getting ready to rock-n-roll for spring. Hangry and need instant food? Have a whole bunch of leftovers, but nothing that's dinner worthy? Put them on a base of massaged kale and, tadaaa! Dinner is soived.

Massaged kale is a lovely canvas for raw or cooked veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds, cheese, legumes, meat protein, whatever sounds good. Each meal can be one of a kind, and a delicious way to enjoy your masterpiece. Bon appétit!

Ingredients:

1 head of kale (purple, lacinto, dino...your call), rinsed Healthy slathering of extra virgin olive oil (2-ish tablespoons) Juice of 1/2 a lemon 1 drop doTERRA lemon, lime, or grapefruit essential oil 1 pinch sea salt Ground pepper to taste Any other fixins that sound good. (The version pictured includes sauteed zucchini and jicama, globe grapes, and herbed goat cheese.)

Method:

Gently tear the kale leaves off of the vein in the center of each leaf.

Shred or chop the kale into bite-sized pieces.

Place the kale in a bowl and add lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Massage the kale in this mixture until it is soft (a few minutes).

Allow the kale to sit for a few more minutes as you peruse the pantry and fridge for the rest of your fixins.

Dress up your salad with other yummy ingredients, serve and enjoy!

Benefits:

Kale: Kale is a powerful green which has been proven to help lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of various types of cancer including bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate. It has powerful detoxifying properties and is an excellent source of vitamins C, K, and A. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Lemon: Lemons are vitamin C powerhouses. Great for immunity, vitamin C can also be helpful for preventing the development and progression of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Lemon Essential Oil: Lemon oil has many properties including anticancer, antidepressant, antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic, and antioxidant. It is refreshing and invigorating, had can be used to help lower blood pressure, improve memory, ease sore throats and anxiety, help dissolve cellulite, boost energy, calm digestive problems, cleanse the lymphatic system cleansing, and promote a sense of well-being. It is also miraculous for removing grease, gum, oil, and unwanted marks and spots. See here to learn more about doTERRA essential oils.

Olive Oil: Olive Oil is packed phytonutrients including polyphenols. Most of the polyphenols in olive oil function as both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients in the body. When eaten in moderation, olive oil can be very beneficial to our gastrointestinal and cardiovascular health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

*NOTE: Not all essential oils are created equal. I only use doTERRA because their oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade, which is suitable for internal, external, and aromatherapeutic consumption.

*NOTE: All doTERRA Essential Oils are extremely potent. I’d recommend 1 drop per batch. Otherwise, just know that you will have a VERY strong-tasting snack!

Click here to learn more about doTERRA Essential Oils.

Warm Pickled Beet Salad with Goat Feta

Cleanse your blood and please your palate with this tasty pickled beet salad!

This recipe was inspired by A Thought For Food.

February marks the last bit of winter. In Ayurveda it is "kapha" season, which means that our digestion and our bodies might feel sluggish. It's an important time to start to boost our metabolism of fat in preparation for spring cleansing. So in order to assist our gall bladders and livers rev up their fat-busting super powers, we should favor natural cleansers such as vinegar, lemons, beets, kale, and beans.

Beware of too much dairy this time of year, as it can keep our systems slow and sludgy. If you're going to partake, then try to include goat dairy, as it is generally easier on the digestion than most cow dairy.

In terms of seasonal eats, there's not much growing outside in February, so it's nice to have stocked up on some canned or pickled items (I just learned how to make pickled beets in November...Thanks Tamlin!). And folks who are fortunate enough to have a greenhouse or cold frame might have some greens growing. So thus was born this warm pickled beet salad with arugula and goat feta. Feel free to add whatever kinds of herbs to your vinaigrette that sound tasty. I personally liked the basil/mint combo, but get creative and enjoy!

Tamlin and me, having a domestic goddess day in our frilly aprons. She taught me how to can beets. So fun!

Ingredients:

1 Pint jar of pickled beets (or you can just roast or boil 4 beets that have been trimmed, peeled, and sliced into rounds) 1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil 2 Tablespoons ghee 3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar 1 Clove garlic, minced 1/2 Teaspoon ground allspice Salt and pepper 1/2 Drop doTERRA basil essential oil 1/4 Cup chopped mint, or 2 tablespoons dried mint 1/4 Cup chopped basil, or 2 tablespoons dried basil 1 Small red onion, thinly sliced into rounds 4-6 Cups arugula (you can use spinach or watercress in its place too...) 1 Cup goat feta cheese, crumbled

Method:

Drain the pickled beets. (If using fresh beets, roast or boil them to your liking, skin, and slice them into rounds, and allow them to cool a bit.)

In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, vinegar, garlic, allspice, salt and pepper to taste, the mint, the basil. Then dip a toothpick in the doTERRA basil oil and stir it into the mixture.

Heat a medium saute pan over medium heat, add the ghee, and the onions. Allow the onions to brown, then add the pickled beets. Saute them together for a few minutes until sufficiently warmed. Add a bit of the dressing mixture into the pan to coat the beets and onions.

Toss the arugula in remaining dressing. Put it into serving bowls (2 for a meal-sized salad, 4 for an app-sized salad), then adorn each bowl with a bit of the beet onion mixture.

Crumble some goat feta atop each one. Serve and enjoy!

Benefits:

Arugula: Arugula is a rich source of folate, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and B-complexes (such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, which are essential for optimum cellular enzymatic and metabolic functions). This is a low-cal lettuce leaf that packs a nutritional wallop, so don’t be afraid to ask for a second helping! See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Basil: Basil contains flavanoids called orientin and vicenin, which protect us at a cellular level. It also has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Basil is also high in vitamin K, so is great for our blood health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Basil Essential Oil: Basil has powerful anti-infectious, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antioxidant, and antiviral properties. It can be used to boost alertness and concentration, ease anxiety, nervous depression, headaches, mental fatigue, and insomnia. See here to learn more about doTerra essential oils.

Beet: A great source of phytonutrients called betalains, which provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support. They are also an excellent source of folate, which is a crucial nutrient especially for those who are (or are looking to get) pregnant. They are also very high in manganese and fiber. These root veggies contain nutrient compounds that help protect against heart disease, birth defects and certain cancers, especially colon cancer. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information (raw) (cooked).

Ghee: A favorite among Ayurvedic practitioners, said to help cure ailments from tight muscles to memory loss. Ghee is essentially clarified butter that has been separated from the milk solids and saturated fats. I highly recommend replacing your regular butter with this. Read up on the health benefits and nutritional information.

Peppermint: Peppermint is a good source of vitamins C and A, as well as manganese and copper. It is also great for the digestion and has antimicrobial properties. See here for more health benefits.

Apple Beet Salad Stacks

Tired of boring tossed salads? Get architectural and stack which ever veggies you have on hand for a new take on salads! Autumn is one of my favorite times of year because a huge variety of produce is in season. I'm happy to report that the veggies in this salad were grown locally. I'd say they weren't harmed in the making of this salad, but I'd be lying. They were all gobbled up (with love and appreciation, of course!).

If you're looking for a new and delightful way to enjoy fruits and veggies, I highly recommend engaging your creative streak and stacking your veggies to towering heights. It's important to tickle all the senses while preparing and eating one's food, so may you build glorious vegetable stacks. (Sorry, Mom...I guess I'm telling people to play with their food.)

What other stackables can you imagine? Squash? Peppers? Eggplant skyscrapers? Other potential items to crumble over the top: bacon...maybe I'll just leave it at that. (Apologies, vegans...a little chopped avocado would be delicious too...) Bon appétit!

Ingredients:

Salad: (Serves 2)

Large handful or two of local, organic mixed greens 1 large apple, sliced thinly (honeycrisps are my personal favorite: sweet, tart, and crisp!) 2-3 medium sized beets, boiled or roasted until soft Balsamic glaze for drizzling *Optional toasted walnuts or pecans *Optional blue cheese crumbles

Dressing:

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil squeeze of 1/2 a lemon 1/2 teaspoon local honey hefty pinch of salt 1-2 drops doTERRA lemon essential oil

Method: Mix dressing ingredients and set aside.

Skin and slice the beets to match the width of your apple slices.

Toss the greens in the dressing in a mixing bowl.

Plate the greens.

Atop the greens, stack slices of the beets and apples, until you've reached your desired level of stacked-ness (new word?)

Sprinkle with nuts and cheese and drizzle with balsamic glaze.

Serve and enjoy!

Benefits:

Apples:  My, what balanced phytonutrients you have, oh beloved apple. Apples contain a wide array of polyphenols which help regulate our blood sugar. They're also a great source of Vitamin C and other antioxidants, and fiber. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Beet: A great source of phytonutrients called betalains, which provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support. They are also an excellent source of folate, which is a crucial nutrient especially for those who are (or are looking to get) pregnant. They are also very high in manganese and fiber. These root veggies contain nutrient compounds that help protect against heart disease, birth defects and certain cancers, especially colon cancer. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information (raw) (cooked).

Lemon Essential Oil: Lemon oil has many properties including anticancer, antidepressant, antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic, and antioxidant. It is refreshing and invigorating, had can be used to help lower blood pressure, improve memory, ease sore throats and anxiety, help dissolve cellulite, boost energy, calm digestive problems, cleanse the lymphatic system, and promote a sense of well-being. See here to learn more about doTERRA essential oils.

Mixed Greens: Salad greens abound with vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, calcium, folate, fiber, and other phytonutrients. Make sure to rinse them thoroughly before eating. See here for more health benefits and safe handling instructions and nutritional information.

*NOTE: Not all essential oils are created equal. I only use doTERRA because their oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade, which is suitable for internal, external, and aromatherapeutic consumption.

*NOTE: All doTERRA Essential Oils are extremely potent. I’d recommend 1 drop per dish. Otherwise, just know that you will have a VERY strong-tasting snack!

Click here to learn more about doTERRA Essential Oils.

Wilted Spinach Salad with Peaches and Goat Cheese

Autumn is the perfect time for "warm" salads. Toss some greens in a pan with vinaigrette, top with yummy fruits, veggies, nuts, or cheese, and you've got your self a real meal! 'Tis officially autumn, and the harvest is bountiful. This salad is a delicious way to enjoy the last fresh peaches of the season. Combine sweet peaches, savory spinach, healthy fats of goat cheese and nuts, and acid of the vinaigrette to create a very well-balanced dish. The flavors pair together perfectly.

And with the cooler weather, give your digestion a head start by warming up the greens of the salad. Your taste buds, and your tummy, will thank you. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

For the salad:

3-4 cups fresh local organic spinach 1 ripe local peach, sliced 1 handful toasted walnuts 1-2 tablespoons goat cheese

For the dressing:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 1 teaspoon honey pinch salt pinch cumin and/or garlic salt

Method:

Place the dressing ingredients in a little jar and shake to blend, set aside.

Warm a large sauté pan and add the dressing ingredients until warm.

Add the spinach and toss in the warm dressing until just wilted (don't overcook! Will turn into sludgy greens!)

Divide the wilted spinach between two serving bowls and add the remaining ingredients. Serve and enjoy!

Benefits:

Olive Oil: Olive Oil is packed phytonutrients including polyphenols. Most of the polyphenols in olive oil function as both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients in the body. When eaten in moderation, olive oil can be very beneficial to our gastrointestinal and cardiovascular health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Peach: Peaches are high in a number of nutrients such as niacin, thiamine, potassium, and calcium. They are also high in beta carotene, an antioxidant that converts to Vitamin A (which is essential for healthy hearts and eyes). Some say the darker the peach’s color, the richer it is in Vitamin A. The antioxidants may also help in maintaining healthy urinary and digestive functions. Eastern cultures consider peach tea as a powerful kidney cleanser and is used in detoxification. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Spinach: Spinach is a rich source of vitamin K (think blood builder/purifier!), vitamins A, C, B2 and B6, as well as manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, calcium, and potassium. Popeye apparently knew how to protect himself against inflammatory problems and oxidative stress-related issues, while promoting his cardiovascular and bone health. AND he got the girl! See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Walnuts: Walnuts are powerful medicine. They are packed with valuable antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients such as omega fatty acids, manganese, and copper. Walnuts have been studied and proven to help decrease risk of certain cancers,  including prostate and breast. They also help prevent cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information. Many suggest that soaking nuts (and grains, legumes, and seeds) before consuming them enhances their nutritional quality.

5-Minute Mediterranean Wraps

Make these wraps in a snap. Throw a few ingredients in a bowl and voilá, a healthy snack or meal. Eating out of a can is not my forte. However, when the moment calls for an instant snack, sometimes a can of beans is a lifesaver. With this recipe, I just scavenged leftovers from the fridge, added a can of garbanzo beans, a huge dollop of pesto, and rinsed a few cabbage leaves. Presto change-o, there was lunch. Other potential additions: cucumber, chopped red onion, Greek olives, fresh or sun dried tomatoes, feta cheese, avocado, or even hunks of leftover fish or chicken. Perhaps a few more herbs like flat leaf parsley or cilantro would be nice. No wrong way to make a wrap! Enjoy.

Ingredients:

1 large can garbanzo beans 1 can black, green, or Greek olives 1 jar roasted red peppers 1-2 tbs. capers 1/4 cup pesto (or you can just use olive oil, spices, salt and pepper to taste...) Juice of 1/2 a lemon Zest of 1/2 lemon 1-2 drops doTERRA lemon oil Hefty sprinkle garlic salt Sprinkle cumin Salt and pepper to taste Cabbage or lettuce leaves for wrapping

Method:

Empty garbanzo beans into large mixing bowl.

Chop the olives and peppers and add to the bowl.

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until well-combined.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Scoop a dollop into your leaf of choice. Serve and enjoy!

Benefits:

Bell Peppers: NOTE! Bell peppers, a member of the nightshade family, are not for everyone. They are on the "dirty dozen" list of pesticide laden produce (when not organic), and have been known to cause inflammation in some people. HOWEVER, they have lots of health benefits too: Sweet bell peppers are high in vitamins C and A, and contain other antioxidants. Don't cook over high heat or they loose some of their nutritional wallop. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Garbanzo Beans: Also known as "chickpeas," these beans are particularly high in insoluble fiber, which means you have a squeaky clean colon and feel fuller for longer when eating these legumes. They are also extremely high in lots of nutrients such as manganese, folate, and tryptophan. They are a great source of plant-based protein. If you find legumes make you gassy, try pre-soaking them for easier digestion. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.  Many suggest that soaking nuts (and grains, legumes, and seeds) before consuming them enhances their nutritional quality.

Lemon: Lemons are vitamin C powerhouses. Great for immunity, vitamin C can also be helpful for preventing the development and progression of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Lemon Essential Oil: Lemon oil has many properties including anticancer, antidepressant, antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic, and antioxidant. It is refreshing and invigorating, had can be used to help lower blood pressure, improve memory, ease sore throats and anxiety, help dissolve cellulite, boost energy, calm digestive problems, cleanse the lymphatic system, and promote a sense of well-being. See here to learn more about doTERRA essential oils.

Olives: The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of olives abound, making them ideal cancer fighting food. Olives are also rich in iron, fiber, copper, and monounsaturated (read "healthy") fats. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

*NOTE: Not all essential oils are created equal. I only use doTERRA because their oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade, which is suitable for internal, external, and aromatherapeutic consumption.

*NOTE: All doTERRA Essential Oils are extremely potent. I’d recommend 1 drop per dish. Otherwise, just know that you will have a VERY strong-tasting snack!

Click here to learn more about doTERRA Essential Oils.

Grilled Veggies Chickpeas and Pesto (a.k.a. the easiest lunch ever)

Toss some leftovers in a bowl, swirl with pesto, and voilá! Lunch! I love pesto. So much that I often snag a spoonful from the jar all by itself. But when I feel like not being a barbarian, and actually putting a full three minutes into lunch preparation, pesto of any variety (cilantro, basil, or arugula...whatever you have on hand) is quite a treat when mixed in with veggies and beans.

If you're on the Paleo diet, then you can replace the beans with diced chicken or hard boiled egg for protein. It works with just about any type of grilled or sauteéd veggie you have on hand. What's your favorite combo? Bon appétit!

Ingredients:

1 cup of chopped sautéed or grilled veggies, diced (for this batch I used grilled zucchini and carrots) 1/3-1/2 cup garbanzo beans (or the beans of your choice) 2 tbs. pesto of your choice (I used basil pesto) Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Stir all ingredients in a bowl.

Serve and enjoy!

Arugula Carrot Salad

This hearty salad makes a great base for a meal, or a delicious side dish.

This recipe was inspired by the N.Y. Times.

Oh, the joys of summer cooking! Or rather, summer "food assembling." (Some of my favorite dishes are just sliced, diced, and plated...no cooking required!). Where I live, summer is always abundant with farm-fresh produce. Last week I picked up, no joke, a 20-lb. bag of fresh produce from our farmer, Dave Banga. So exciting! However, once one has 20 lbs. of veggies to enjoy, one has to decide what to do with them so they are preserved and enjoyed at their peak of freshness...So, what does one do with two massive bags of carrots? Or a mountain of arugula? Enter this salad. It's a fantastic way to highlight the sweet carrots and the spice of the arugula, and doll it up with some healthy fat from your nut of choice. I like walnuts to orchestrate the flavors, but pecans might be nice too. And a few fresh or dried herbs can enhance this salad too. Feel free to be liberal with your herb use. (I feel like I should enter a "wink wink" at the end of that sentence, but I truly just mean tarragon, rosemary, basil...you get my drift.)

Anyway, may you enjoy this salad, and your myriad garden-fresh dishes!

Ingredients:

Salad: 4 cups baby arugula 2 cups grated carrots 1/4 cup broken walnuts 1-2 tbs. finely chopped fresh tarragon *1/4 cup grated Parmesan or crumbled blue cheese (optional)

Dressing: 1 tbs. fresh lemon juice 1-2 tbs. sherry vinegar 1-2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar Himalayan or sea salt to taste 1 tsp. Dijon mustard 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 drop doTERRA lemon essential oil *1 pinch of dried oregano (optional) *1 small garlic clove, pureed or finely minced (optional)

Method:

1. Combine the arugula, carrots, walnuts, and tarragon (and optional cheese) in a salad bowl.

2. In a small glass jar with a lid, combine all the dressing ingredients. Secure the lid and shake to combine.

3. Shortly before serving, toss the salad with the dressing.

*Advance preparation: You can combine the salad ingredients several hours before serving and refrigerate in a covered bowl. The dressing will also hold for several hours, in or out of the refrigerator.

Benefits:

Arugula: Arugula is a rich source of folate, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and B-complexes (such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, which are essential for optimum cellular enzymatic and metabolic functions). This is a low-cal lettuce leaf that packs a nutritional wallop, so don’t be afraid to ask for a second helping! See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Carrot: Carrots are well known for their rich supply of the antioxidant nutrient, beta-carotene, which is GREAT for our eye health. However, these root vegetables are also a great source of a variety of antioxidants and other health-supporting nutrients such as vitamins A, C, K. Studies have shown their effectiveness in the prevention of colon cancer, and their benefits to our cardiovascular health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Lemon Essential Oil: Lemon oil has many properties including anticancer, antidepressant, antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic, and antioxidant. It is refreshing and invigorating, had can be used to help lower blood pressure, improve memory, ease sore throats and anxiety, help dissolve cellulite, boost energy, calm digestive problems, cleanse the lymphatic system, and promote a sense of well-being. See here to learn more about doTerra essential oils.

Olive Oil: Olive Oil is packed phytonutrients including polyphenols. Most of the polyphenols in olive oil function as both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients in the body. When eaten in moderation, olive oil can be very beneficial to our gastrointestinal and cardiovascular health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Tarragon: Tarragon is an excellent source of minerals like calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, copper, potassium, and zinc. It has also been used in various types of traditional medicine as an appetite stimulant, and as a remedy for anorexia, dyspepsia, flatulence and hiccups. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Walnuts: Walnuts are powerful medicine. They are packed with valuable antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients such as omega fatty acids, manganese, and copper. Walnuts have been studied and proven to help decrease risk of certain cancers,  including prostate and breast. They also help prevent cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information. Many suggest that soaking nuts (and grains, legumes, and seeds) before consuming them enhances their nutritional quality.

*NOTE: Not all essential oils are created equal. I only use doTerra because their oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade, which is suitable for internal, external, and aromatherapeutic consumption.

*NOTE: All doTerra Essential Oils are extremely potent. I’d recommend 1 drop per dish. Otherwise, just know that you will have a VERY strong-tasting snack!

Click here to learn more about doTerra Essential Oils.

Pecan Pesto

Slathered on bread, tomatoes, or to dress a salad, this pesto is tops!

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh organic local basil 2 cloves fresh organic local garlic (or a sprinkle of garlic powder) 1/2 cup raw pecans 1/4-1/3 cup nutritional yeast, or same amount of a grated hard cheese such as Parm, Pecorino, or Romano if you're into that sort of thing... 1/3-1/2 cup olive oil 1 drop doTERRA basil essential oil Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Combine the garlic (or garlic powder), basil, and pecans in a food processor. Pulse several times to roughly chop the mixture.

Add nutritional yeast (or cheese) and pulse again until ingredients are a course and sandy texture.

Put mixture into a bowl and add the drop of basil essential oil and the olive oil. Mix until well-blended.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Put a hefty spoonful over noodles, zuccini strips, slather on tomatoes with mozarella, or add a bit more olive oil and dress a salad. There's no wrong way to eat this pesto.

*Note: This also freezes will in ice cube containers or mini-tupperwares. Delicious in the middle of winter when there's not a vegetable in sight!

Benefits:

Basil: Basil contains flavanoids called orientin and vicenin, which protect us at a cellular level. It also has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Basil is also high in vitamin K, so is great for our blood health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Basil Essential Oil: Basil has powerful anti-infectious, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antioxidant, and antiviral properties. It can be used to boost alertness and concentration, ease anxiety, nervous depression, headaches, mental fatigue, and insomnia. See here to learn more about doTerra essential oils.

Garlic: Garlic has long been touted as a health promoting food. It is high in sulfur (and while that might make us a little, ahem, stinky, this may be an important part of a our otherwise sulfur-deficient diets. Garlic is also rich with manganese and is a very good source of vitamins B6 and C, as well as selenium. This "stinky rose" also protects our blood vessels from inflammatory and oxidative stress, but its other health benefits abound. See here for nutritional info. Please note: due to its rajastic nature, garlic and onions are NOT part of the traditional Saatvic diet.

Nutritional Yeast: Nutritional yeast is a staple source of protein, particularly for vegans and vegetarians. It is one of the few non-animal sources of B-12, is rich in folic acid and other nutrients and amino acids. Nutritional yeast is free of the Candida Albicans strain, making it safe for those concerned with candida. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Olive Oil: Olive Oil is packed phytonutrients including polyphenols. Most of the polyphenols in olive oil function as both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients in the body. When eaten in moderation, olive oil can be very beneficial to our gastrointestinal and cardiovascular health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Pecans: Pecans contain a plethora of vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, a variety of B vitamins and zinc. One ounce of pecans provides 10 percent of the recommended Daily Value for fiber. Pecans are also a source of monounsaturated or "good" fat and protein. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information. Many suggest that soaking nuts (and grains, legumes, and seeds) before consuming them enhances their nutritional quality.

*NOTE: Not all essential oils are created equal. I only use doTerra because their oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade, which is suitable for internal, external, and aromatherapeutic consumption.

*NOTE: All doTerra Essential Oils are extremely potent. I’d recommend 1 drop per dish. Otherwise, just know that you will have a VERY strong-tasting snack!

Click here to learn more about doTerra Essential Oils.

Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil to a tablespoon of pesto and you've got a delicious salad dressing!

Shaved Apple and Fennel Salad

Super refreshing salad tastes "in season" any time of year and goes with almost any other dish.

Inspired by Epicurious.com

Ingredients:

Juice of ½ lemon 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1 tsp. honey 1 drop doTerra lemon essential oil Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 2-3 granny smith apples, cored and halved 2 bulbs fennel, thinly sliced

Method:

To prepare the vinaigrette: Whisk together the lemon juice, chopped tarragon, olive oil, honey, and lemon essential oil in a small bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To prepare the salad: Cut the apple into thin slices and place in a medium bowl with the fennel. Toss with the vinaigrette and season to taste with salt and pepper. Allow to sit at least 20 minutes before serving.

Toss, serve, and enjoy!

*NOTE: Not all essential oils are created equal. I only use doTerra because their oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade, which is suitable for internal, external, and aromatherapeutic consumption.

*NOTE: All doTerra Essential Oils are extremely potent. I’d recommend 1 drop per dish. Otherwise, just know that you will have a VERY strong-tasting meal!

Click here to learn more about doTerra Essential Oils.

Benefits:

Apples:  My, what balanced phytonutrients you have, oh beloved apple. Apples contain a wide array of polyphenols which help regulate our blood sugar. They're also a great source of Vitamin C and other antioxidants, and fiber. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Fennel: In addition to its abounding phytonutrients, fennel bulb is an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, folate, and potassium. It also has a unique licorice-like flavor and a ton of crisp crunch. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Lemons and Limes: Limes are vitamin C powerhouses. Great for immunity, vitamin C can also be helpful for preventing the development and progression of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Lemon Essential Oil: Lemon oil has many properties including anticancer, antidepressant, antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic, and antioxidant. It is refreshing and invigorating, had can be used to help lower blood pressure, improve memory, ease sore throats and anxiety, help dissolve cellulite, boost energy, calm digestive problems, cleanse the lymphatic system, and promote a sense of well-being. See here to learn more about doTerra essential oils.

Massaged Kale with Chickpeas and Avo in Tahini Dressing

Connect with your food! Massage your kale to soften it, rather than dumping it in a frying pan.

This recipe was inspired MyNewRoots.org

So, I'm a pacifist at heart. But when I read about massaged kale I was a little skeptical. First fruitarians, now this? But I gave it a try and it actually turned out to be a delicious way to soften the hearty green while making its nutrients more accessible to the average stomach. You can add anything to your massaged kale, but I just happened to have some leftover chickpeas and 1/2 an avocado that was calling my name. And thus this hearty, heart-shaped salad was spawned. What kinds of yummies would you add? Enjoy!

Ingredients:

For the massaged kale:

1 bunch kale, stemmed and sliced into ribbons Juice of 1/2 a lemon 1 drop doTerra lemon essential oil 1-2 tbs. cold-pressed olive oil Sea salt to taste

Other Yummies to Add:

1/2 can chickpeas 1/2 avocado (cut into chunks) *You can add anything else you like: fruits, veggies, cooked or sprouted grains and legumes, nuts and seeds.

Optional Tahini Dressing:

1 tbs. fresh tahini or almond butter 1 tbs. nutritional yeast 1 tbs. lemon juice Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

In a large bowl, dress kale with lemon juice and olive oil, and a pinch of sea salt.

Roll up your sleeves and massage the kale until it softens and its hue deepens to a deeper green (2 to 3 minutes).

Add the rest of your goodies. Serve and enjoy!

*NOTE: Once you’ve massaged your kale, you can store the unused portions in a tightly sealed container for up to 4 days in the fridge.

*NOTE: Not all essential oils are created equal. I only use doTerra because their oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade, which is suitable for internal, external, and aromatherapeutic consumption.

*NOTE: All doTerra Essential Oils are extremely potent. I’d recommend 1 drop per dish. Otherwise, just know that you will have a VERY strong-tasting meal!

Click here to learn more about doTerra Essential Oils.

Benefits:

Kale: Kale is a powerful green which has been proven to help lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of various types of cancer including bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate. It has powerful detoxifying properties and is an excellent source of vitamins C, K, and A. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Lemon and Lime: Lemons and limes are vitamin C powerhouses. Great for immunity, vitamin C can also be helpful for preventing the development and progression of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Lemon Essential Oil: Lemon oil has many properties including anticancer, antidepressant, antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic, and antioxidant. It is refreshing and invigorating, had can be used to help lower blood pressure, improve memory, ease sore throats and anxiety, help dissolve cellulite, boost energy, calm digestive problems, cleanse the lymphatic system, and promote a sense of well-being. See here to learn more about doTerra essential oils.

Olive Oil: Olive Oil is packed phytonutrients including polyphenols. Most of the polyphenols in olive oil function as both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients in the body. When eaten in moderation, olive oil can be very beneficial to our gastrointestinal and cardiovascular health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Homemade Almond Cashew Butter

Homemade nut butters go with anything, but my favorite way to partake is with a freshly sliced honeycrisp apple. I just learned a dangerous new skill: making nut and seed butters. They are generally less expensive to make at home, and you can control the ingredients so you don't eat any less-than-healthy hidden ingredients (like preservatives and sugar). But they are very delicious, so beware, or you might accidentally eat the whole container-ful in one sitting...NOT that I'm speaking from experience or anything.

Serve this almond/cashew butter with apple slices, veggies, slathered on good bread, added to your favorite smoothie...get creative, the combinations are endless. Good fats abound, and these butters are also a good source of protein.

*Note: If you're serving this with apple slices, try squeezing a little lemon juice and a sprinkle of sea salt to really make the flavors pop. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups organic roasted (not salted) almonds

1 1/2 cups organic roasted (not salted) cashews

1 tbs. organic canola oil

1 tbs. honey

Pinch salt

Method:

Vitamix: Pour all nuts into blender. Drizzle with oil, honey, and sprinkle of salt. Turn on low, then turn up to high. Blend and stir using tamper until creamy (1-2 minutes). WARNING: Don't process longer than 2 minutes or you risk burning out your motor.

Blender: WARNING: Not all blenders are created equal. Not recommended unless you have a muy strong blender or are ready to face the consequences if you're nuts are tougher than your blender...No, that is not supposed to be a metaphor for anything.

Food Processor: Same as Vitamix instructions, but you will need to turn off food processor and scrape the sides with a spatula as the consistency goes from chopped to meal to a creamy buttery consistency. See here for a beautiful photo tutorial.

Health Benefits:

Almonds: Almonds are a Supernut. High in monounsaturated fats (associated with reduced risk of heart disease), almonds contain high amounts of vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium. They are also high in protein, which makes them an ideal snack. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information. Many suggest that soaking nuts (and grains, legumes, and seeds) before consuming them enhances their nutritional quality.

Cashews: Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts, and approximately 75% of their fat is unsaturated fatty acids. What’s more is that about 75% of this unsaturated fatty acid content is oleic acid, the same monounsaturated or “good fat” found in olive oil. This super nut is also packed with copper, manganese, magnesium, and tryptophan (the “feel good” amino acid”). See here for more health benefits and nutritional information. Many suggest that soaking nuts (and grains, legumes, and seeds) before consuming them enhances their nutritional quality.

Harvest Arugula Salad

Toss this season's bounty in a bowl with some olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and a smidge of honey, and you've got yourself a meal! Hungry and pressed for time? Lucky for us, many cooler weather crops taste fabulous together. When in a pinch for a quick meal, I just chop up whatever we have in the larder and end up with a very tasty and filling salad. Don't be afraid of the fat in this salad. It's all the "good" kind, so as long as you're getting a little bit of movement into your day, it shouldn't add any girth to your midsection. And research shows that fat-soluble vitamins (such as beta carotene, vitamin D, and vitamin E, among others) require small amounts of healthy fat to optimally absorb into the body. So eat up and enjoy!

What's your favorite autumnal harvest salad combo?

Ingredients:

1-2 cups fresh arugula (can sub spinach or greens if you'd rather have a less spicy salad), lightly chopped

1/2-1 small honeycrisp apple (no really, finding a local honeycrisp is worth it), chopped

1 small handful raw, sprouted, and/or toasted pecans, chopped

1/2-1 small avocado, diced

1-2 Tbs. olive oil

Juice of half a lemon or 1 Tsp. apple cider vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

a teeny squirt of honey

*Optional: A little crumble of local goat cheese goes a long way!

Method:

Whisk together dressing ingredients (oil, juice or vinegar, salt, pepper, honey) in the bottom of your large salad bowl.

Place the rest of the ingredients in the bowl and toss well. (*Note: For optional goat cheese, crumble over the top before serving)

Serve and enjoy! Serves 1-2

Health Benefits:

Apples:  My, what balanced phytonutrients you have, oh beloved apple. Apples contain a wide array of polyphenols which help regulate our blood sugar. They're also a great source of Vitamin C and other antioxidants, and fiber. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Arugula: Arugula is a rich source of folate, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and B-complexes (such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, which are essential for optimum cellular enzymatic and metabolic functions). This is a low-cal lettuce leaf that packs a nutritional wallop, so don’t be afraid to ask for a second helping! See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Avocado: Avocado is an excellent source of healthy fats, fiber, folate, vitamins K, C, and B, and potassium. It also contains a wide spectrum of inflammation-fighting nutrients. Avocado also helps increase our intake of two key carotenoid antioxidants—lycopene and beta-carotene—when eaten with romaine lettuce, spinach, and carrots. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Lime: Limes are vitamin C powerhouses. Great for immunity, vitamin C can also be helpful for preventing the development and progression of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Olive Oil: Olive Oil is packed phytonutrients including polyphenols. Most of the polyphenols in olive oil function as both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients in the body. When eaten in moderation, olive oil can be very beneficial to our gastrointestinal and cardiovascular health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Pecans: Pecans contain a plethora of vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, a variety of B vitamins and zinc. One ounce of pecans provides 10 percent of the recommended Daily Value for fiber. Pecans are also a source of monounsaturated or "good" fat and protein. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Best Chicken Salad I Ever Ate...

This batch fed a roundup of hungry ladies at a baby shower brunch, served with buttery croissants. Yum.

...Meanwhile the meat/no meat debate continues...

Ah, the endless debate: If you are a true yogi, can you eat meat? That is for you to decide. But I will say this: the concept of "ahimsa," or unconditional love for all beings (as defined by Nischala Joy Devi in her heart-centered translation of the Yoga Sutras) must be applied to oneself too. Yes, it makes my being writhe to think of animals being abused and "dispatched" for human consumption. But if your body is in need of certain sustenance that only animal flesh can provide, and you prepare and eat it with love and gratitude in your heart, then I personally think it is ok in moderation. Granted, there are likely yogis, vegetarians, and vegans who would vehemently disagree. And that's ok.

My best advice is to listen to your own body and soul's inherent wisdom. But if you decide to go for it, try this recipe. The extra time it takes to shred the chicken meat is totally worth the effort. It's nutritious and delicious, and can be made in large enough batches to feed the masses...as long as they're not vegetarian. (In which case make any of the other recipes on this site.)

Ingredients:

4 cups cubed or shredded cooked chicken (about 1 3/4 pound)

*Note: 1) If you use breasts and thighs it tastes even better! 2) If you shred the chicken rather than cut it, it tastes even better-er! 3) Make sure chicken is completely cooled before mixing with other ingredients to make it taste the better-iest!

*Note: This is a GREAT way to use up leftover chicken and/or turkey meat.

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted and cooled

1 cup chopped fennel (can sub celery if you don’t have/like fennel)

3 sprigs finely chopped green onion

2 cups halved seedless purple grapes

1/4 cup mayonnaise (can use homemade Paleo-nnaise if that’s your bag, baby)

½ cup Greek yogurt (can use all Greek yogurt if you don’t like mayo)

2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh mint or 3-4 Tbs. dried

Hefty dash tabasco sauce

Hefty drizzle honey (1 Tsp.-ish)

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Toss together all ingredients in a large bowl until combined well. Can be served immediately, but is even yummier if allowed to sit for a few hours or even overnight.

Can be served solo, in sandwich or wrap form. This chicken salad is heavenly on a fresh croissant, but is also tasty when served in lettuce wraps or radicchio leaves if you’re doing the grain-free thing.

Health Benefits:

Chicken: If you're looking for a good source of protein that's also low in fat try an organic chicken breast. The thighs have a richer (read: fattier) flavor, but both are great sources of tryptophan, selenium, and vitamins B3 and B6. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Fennel: In addition to its abounding phytonutrients, fennel bulb is an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, folate, and potassium. It also has a unique licorice-like flavor and a ton of crisp crunch. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Grapes: Grapes are packed with vitamin C and manganese and contain a variety of antioxidant phytonutrients such as beta-carotene and resveratrol (think red wine!). These tasty little jewels are thought to help support the cardiovascular, respiratory, immune, and nervous systems. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Greek Yogurt: Greek yogurt is a thicker, creamier version of "regular" yogurt that boasts high protein, healthy bacteria which support healthy gut flora, and is a good source of calcium. It's a versatile addition to your diet and can replace higher fat dairy products. See here for more about the nutritional info and health benefits of yogurt.

Pecans: Pecans protect your brain, heart, and body. They're high in vitamin E, oleic acid, vitamin B1, thiamin, magnesium, protein, and an array of other vitamins and minerals. They are also great sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated (read: good fats), and are very low in saturated fat. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

You Say Tomato, I Say Caprese

Tomatoes, fresh mozza and basil, with a hint of truffle salt and olive oil. I could live on this combination in the summertime. Hi. My name is Celestia, and I'm a caprese-aholic. I love tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella in just about any form....From slabs of heirloom tomato with hunks-o fresh mozzarella and chopped basil, to an open-faced caprese sammy, I'm a sucker for any dish that resembles that magical combination of ingredients. It's an ultimate summertime favorite, so I had to throw this recipe in here before the chilly air takes the tomatoes away until next season. Enjoy...

Ingredients:

Heirloom tomatoes, sliced into thick slices

Fresh mozzarella cheese, torn or cut into pieces (to match the size of your tomato slices)

Fresh basil, julienned (Or homemade pesto)

High quality olive oil for drizzling

Pinches of salt (to taste)

*Optional: truffle salt OR truffle oil (but not both), balsamic vinegar or reduction, other types of cheese to replace the mozzarella such as goat or brie.

Method:

Arrange tomato slices on a serving plate or platter.

Carefully administer pinches of sea or truffle salt.

Arrange cheese on tomato slices.

Add julienned basil.

Drizzle with olive oil (and optional balsamic).

Keep your hands and arms away from the platter as each bite disappears.

Health Benefits:

Basil: Basil contains flavanoids called orientin and vicenin, which protect us at a cellular level. It also has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Basil is also high in vitamin K, so is great for our blood health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Olive Oil: Olive Oil is packed phytonutrients including polyphenols. Most of the polyphenols in olive oil function as both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients in the body. When eaten in moderation, olive oil can be very beneficial to our gastrointestinal and cardiovascular health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Mozzarella Cheese: Dairy products are not for everyone...but for those of us who can eat a bit of dairy, Mozzarella is a great source of  vitamins (such as niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, biotin and vitamin B6), minerals (such as calcium and phosphorus), and is high in protein. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Tomato: Tomatoes are packed with antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene. They also contain high amounts of manganese and vitamin E. Multiple studies have shown that tomatoes are wonderful for heart health. See here for more health benefits of tomatoes. Heirloom varieties of any flora and fauna are dear to my heart. I’ll write more about this later. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Caprese with brie and balsamic reduction.

Local, multigrain bread with tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, avocado, olive oil, and sea salt. Best summer lunch I can think of...

Zucchini Avocado Carpaccio

For this "simple man's" zucchini carpaccio, I used a potato peeler to create paper-thin zucchini ribbons. I've always been a glutton for delicious words like "kumquat" and "soliloquy." Diving into the world of culinary arts has opened up a treasure trove of new words that make me tingly just to say them. One such word is "carpaccio." I love the way it rolls off my tongue, especially when in the same phrase as multi-syllabic words like "zucchini" and "avocado." Call me a word nerd, but I don't care. I take almost as much pleasure speaking the names of these dishes as I do tasting them. So I present this beautiful dish, which was spawned from food icon, Patricia Wells' cookbook Vegetable Harvest, but I found and adapted this version from food52.com. It takes a few minutes to assemble, can marinate anywhere from 20 minutes to a few hours, and is absolutely divine. The tartness of the marinade is rounded out by the fat of the avocado and the salty creamy crunch of the pistachios. I didn't include lemon thyme in this version, but that would surely elevate the tasting experience even more. Enjoy!

 Ingredients:

1 Tbs. lemon juice

1/2 Tsp. fine sea salt, plus additional as needed

1/4 cup high-quality pistachio oil, almond oil, or extra virgin olive oil

4 small or 2 medium zucchini

1 ripe avocado, peeled and very thinly sliced

1/4 cup salted pistachio nuts, chopped

4 sprigs fresh lemon thyme, preferably with flowers.

Method:

Combine lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and oil in small jar. Cover and shake to blend.

Slice zucchini lengthwise as thinly as possible, using mandoline or very sharp knife...I used a potato peeler and had pretty good (albeit not perfectly even) ribbons.

Spread slices on platter and drizzle with lemon mixture. Tilt platter to evenly coat slices. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour.

Alternate zucchini and avocado slices on your platter (or individual salad plates), slightly overlapping each slice.

Sprinkle with pistachios. Season with salt to taste, garnish with lemon thyme, and serve.

Health Benefits:

Avocado: Avocado is an excellent source of healthy fats, fiber, folate, vitamins K, C, and B, and potassium. It also contains a wide spectrum of inflammation-fighting nutrients. Avocado also helps increase our intake of two key carotenoid antioxidants—lycopene and beta-carotene—when eaten with romaine lettuce, spinach, and carrots. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Lemon: Lemons are vitamin C powerhouses. Great for immunity, vitamin C can also be helpful for preventing the development and progression of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Pistachios: These nuts are rich with antioxidants, phytosterols, unsaturated fats, vitamin B-6, and thiamin. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Zucchini: Excellent source of manganese and vitamin C, and is a good source of vitamin A. Summer squash also retains its nutrients when eaten raw, lightly steamed, and/or frozen. And make sure to eat the seeds! Summer squash seeds contain omega 3 fatty acids which are helpful in the prevention of inflammation. The seeds are also thought to contain anti-microbial properties and are still used in some parts of the world to treat intestinal parasites. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Nectarine and Heirloom Tomato Salad

This 5-minute salad was one of my favorites of the summer...Sweet, tart, and tangy, I'm drooling a little just thinking about it. Nectarines and tomatoes might not seem a likely pair, but oooh, they are. Sweet yet savory, tart but smooth, the ripe flesh of both of these fruits (yes, tomatoes are technically a fruit) are a sultry match, like a tango in my mouth. I had to make an instant salad to go with dinner, and ended up enjoying this way more than the main course. So I offer it humbly, and hope the results are equally as satisfying to you.

Ingredients:

2 large or 5 small/medium RIPE heirloom tomatoes (I like the smaller ones as their flavor is more concentrated)

2 RIPE nectarines

2 Tbs. julienned basil

High quality olive oil and sea salt for marinating

*NOTE: This recipe can be made with ripe peaches as well for a similar effect, but I recommend using nectarines. If using peaches, peel them for less "mouth fuzz."

*OPTIONAL: If you're craving dairy, try a few crumbles of goat cheese for a nice variation on taste and presentation.

Method:

Slice tomatoes and nectarines into a bowl.

Drizzle with olive oil and salt to taste. Toss.

Sprinkle with basil and allow to sit 5-10 minutes (if you can wait that long!)

Serve and enjoy.

Health Benefits:

Basil: Basil contains flavanoids called orientin and vicenin, which protect us at a cellular level. It also has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Basil is also high in vitamin K, so is great for our blood health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Nectarines: Nectarines are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and beta carotene (read: high in cancer-fighting free radicals!), and are high in fiber. They are also a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps maintain healthy blood pressure. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Olive Oil: Olive Oil is packed phytonutrients including polyphenols. Most of the polyphenols in olive oil function as both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients in the body. When eaten in moderation, olive oil can be very beneficial to our gastrointestinal and cardiovascular health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Tomato: Tomatoes are packed with antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene. They also contain high amounts of manganese and vitamin E. Multiple studies have shown that tomatoes are wonderful for heart health. See here for more health benefits of tomatoes. Heirloom varieties of any flora and fauna are dear to my heart. I’ll write more about this later. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.