Beet Kvass

When I first head about a drink made out of soaked beets, I just couldn’t wrap my taste buds around the whole concept. When offered a glass, I literally puckered-up like I was about to sip poison, but I was pleasantly surprised! It tasted earthy, a bit salty, a hint of sour, yet a titch of sweetness and a light effervescence that I wasn’t expecting. I liked it!

The history of beet kvass is that the Ukrainians and Russians have been drinking it for over a thousand years–czars and peasants alike. An electrolyte drink, this lactose-fermented beverage could be called the traditional, real-food version of Gatorade since it provides great hydrating balance.

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Call in the Cauliflower!

“How’s your cruciferous vegetable intake?” asked the doctor never.

When concerned with anti-aging strategies, fighting off cancer, and reducing inflammation, cruciferous vegetables should be on your plate.

In general, cruciferous veggies are jam-packed with dietary benefits. They are low in calories, and high in fiber, calcium, iron, vitamins A and C, and beneficial enzymes.

Crucifers contain important disease-fighting phytochemicals that may help lower your risk of cancers. In lab studies, the phytochemicals found in cruciferous vegetables – sulforaphane, indole 3-carbinol and crambene – stimulates enzymes in the body that detoxify carcinogens before they can damage cells.

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Give Us This Day…But I’ll Skip the Bread

My students used to ask, “If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island, what two foods would you bring?”

My standard answer used to be bread and cheese. But several years ago I started toying with the idea of giving up bread in my diet…Crazy idea, huh?

Bread is everywhere in our American diet! It’s in some form at e-v-e-r-y meal and given freely at restaurants to tide us over while waiting for the plates to come. A handful of crackers, a piece of toast or half a bagel is an easy snack to grab between meals. In fact, toast slathered in peanut butter or topped with a fried egg was my grab-and-go breakfast most morning as I rushed out the door to teach.

 

How do you go without toast in the morning? And how do you eat a sandwich without bread? Will I be able to keep from uncontrollably stuffing delicious, crusty artisan bread in my mouth during monthly book club meetings if I’m depriving myself day to day? What will I use to sop up that delicious pasta sauce/gravy/broth without a warm loaf of sourdough or French bread? No Chonga bagel, banana bread or scone with morning coffee? These questions vexed me as I thought about the challenge I was delivering myself.

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Zucchini Boats

Happy first day of summer! Here in the Pacific Northwest, we joke that summer doesn’t actually start until after the 4th of July. The last couple of years our weather has been so cold in the spring that tomatoes didn’t grow very well or produce much at all. Squash? Never a problem, is it?

This year we’ve had bouts of warmer than usual weather…followed by periods of chilly, wet days when we wish our tomatoes were getting more heat. I have my fingers crossed that this will be a great year for my heirloom varieties and I’ll be harvesting plenty of tomatoes to can, dry, freeze, and, of course, eat off the vine by August.

With the activities of summer swinging into high gear, before we know it we’re going to have oodles of tomatoes and tons of zucchini squash. You can’t give all your squash away so I think we should plan ahead.

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Sweet On Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes aren’t just for Thanksgiving! I found this recipe for Chili-Bathed Sweet Potatoes from the NYT. Drooling over this mix of hot and sweet flavors on a cold winter’s night made me want to share the benefits of enjoying this incredibly delicious vegetable with you. Keep it simple and bake one for dinner, or make some baked sweet potato fries with lunch, or have a bowl of left-over mashed sweet potatoes with crumbled bacon for breakfast. Sweet potatoes also make a great dip or spread for snacks, appetizers or even on your morning toast. Check out some recipe ideas I’ve included below!

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Kale Salad with Grapefruit and Avocado

Have you noticed how gorgeous the grapefruits in your market are this year? Why not get a few Ruby Reds or Rios on your next visit for a refreshing, tangy pick-me-up full of many micronutrients including vitamin A and C, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, manganese, folate and many B-vitamins. Some of the health benefits attributed to grapefruit include treating colds, fever and pneumonia, weight loss, boosting the liver, breaking up gallstones, lowering cholesterol, lessening joint pain, and promoting better digestion and immunity.

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