Sweet and Savory Apricot Salad

apricots in basket

Apricot Harvest!

Our first apricot harvest was quite a surprise. We just walked out back one morning and there they were, ready to be picked! Literally two days before, they were not ready.

They turned out to be very good eating so I didn’t want to cook them. I opted for a simple fruit salad but with a little twist.

The apricots were washed, pitted and cut into halves. I added some blueberries and dressed them with a drizzle of olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, lemon zest, chopped raw almonds and topped with coconut flakes. You could easily imagine an herb in there such as a touch of sage. A pinch of sea salt would enhance the sweetness, too.  I didn’t add salt this time because I didn’t want the salt to pull out more purple blueberry juice than I already had!

Fresh, light, sweet and slightly savory!

SWEET AND SAVORY APRICOT SALAD PAINT

Sweet and Savory Apricot Salad – not just for breakfast.

What’s Hiding in My Pancakes?

Wait just a minute!

What is hiding in my pancakes this morning?!

They look pretty normal. In fact they look pretty darned good. They tasted really good too. They had something extra—a taste, a texture, an additional je ne sais quoi!

HIDING IN PANCAKES PAINT

What’s hiding in these pancakes? (Hints:  A full serving of veggies but you can’t see them even on the inside. Yellow and stringy but so tender there’s no telltale sign of it. Delicate in taste, but so subtle one might never know.)

Did you guess?

I cup of cooked spaghetti squash mixed into organic, whole grain pancakes.

Inspiring and Refreshing Summer Cooking

It was love at first sight when I spied their cute little round white heads peaking out from a cluster of delicate verdant leaves.

All it really takes for me to get inspired is a single outstanding element and an entire meal results. And what better time than early summer to find that inspiration! These baby turnips ooze summer, light refreshment!

REFRESHING SUMMER LUNCHEON

Baby turnips and greens with summer squash dressed with fresh ginger and coconut white balsamic vinaigrette.  

Cooking method for turnip and greens salad starts with the tiny turnips cut in halves and dropped into salted boiling water until just bright and slightly tender then take them out. Next the sliced summer squash is dropped into the same water for just a few seconds and removed. Finally the greens, sliced, get dropped into the water and removed as soon as the color turns bright green—less than a minute!  Drain and let it cool.

The vinaigrette consists of freshly grated ginger, coconut white balsamic vinegar, olive oil and sea salt.

The rest of the meal soon followed: Easy BBQ tofu, leftover radish pickles and corn and quinoa medley.

BBQ TOFU

Barbecued Tofu made with quick-grab-what’s-available homemade BBQ Sauce.

Barbecue sauce has got to be tangy, slightly sweet, slightly (or more than slightly) hot and its got to be thick and finger-lickin’ good.  No measuring occurred here – just thrown together country barley miso, barley malt syrup, aged balsamic vinegar, chipotle pepper sauce, garlic and a little mirin. It came out real good! Tofu doesn’t have any flavor on its own so these firm tofu triangles were marinated in the sauce for half an hour and then the whole shebang got baked at 350 for 30 minutes.

QUINOA AND CORN

Quinoa, corn and scallion medley.

While my tofu was marinating I washed up a cup of quinoa. Quinoa has a coating of saponin on it and that stuff tastes very bitter. So wash the quinoa thoroughly before cooking. I use 1 1/2 cups of spring water for one cup of quinoa and once it’s brought to a boil, simmer until all the water is cooked away — 20-25 minutes.  I cooked mine with 2 crushed and sliced garlic cloves and a pinch or two of sea salt. At the end I added the corn which has got to be organic. The sliced scallions and some roasted chopped almonds were tossed in last along with a bit of olive oil.

And the radish pickles?  See this post. Only this time I didn’t include the radish greens.

A note on choosing your inspiring vegetable or fruit

The later we get into summer, of course, the less “baby” veggies we’re going to see because, well . . . those little sprouts sure do grow fast don’t they? You can go ahead and make this turnip salad with regular turnips and turnip greens no problem. It can be just as refreshing as long as you choose your veggies wisely and that’s what I want to talk to you about.

As you’re shopping or harvesting from your garden, know that bigger is not always better. Vegetables that are allowed to grow really big are less flavorful, have more seeds and can even be pithy. You might be impressed with that giant baseball bat of a zucchini, but the little skinny one is going to taste better and sweeter.

I don’t pick the biggest onion or the biggest of any veggie or fruit. I pick what is not overgrown and not harvested too late.  I can’t think of any example where it’s better not to do that.

Happy inspiration and Happy Cooking!

How to do the Hokey Pokey

Hokey Pokey

How do you have your body trained?  Is it trained to be overweight? Trained to want lots of bread, pasta and sweets?  What about what most people call, “comfort food,” which is generally soft, sometimes gooey, and often sweet?  Like Mac n’ Cheese, Pot Pie or Ice Cream?

There is a term I learned in fifth grade science — “homeostasis.”  Dictionary.com defines it as “the tendency toward a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, especially as maintained by physiological processes.”  That’s about right.

Did you ever go on some kind of diet, actually lose a lot of weight, and think you had it made only to find out that your body weight crept back up over time. My friend Kate reminded me of this just a few weeks ago.

It’s because of homeostasis.

Homeostasis is in play especially if you try to lose the weight fast and/or with dramatically different dietary choices.  Your body is trained to be a certain way and is not going to easily be persuaded to make and maintain a sudden big change.  So you get cravings and thoughts that you “need” to eat something you may have been trying to avoid.

It works the other way around, too, if you trained your body to do something good or healthy.  For instance when I was younger, I worked out in a gym very regularly for many years. I was used to weight training and did it most of my adult life.  Then along came a period of time (years)  when I didn’t belong to a gym and didn’t work out at all. One day I got myself a new gym membership and signed up for a personal trainer to refresh my weight-training skills.

Almost from the beginning—once I got over being “sore” — it was as if my muscles remembered how it used to be. I got back into the workout routine incredibly fast and got very fast results. I was back to homeostasis.

I believe understanding the body’s need to maintain homeostasis is the key to making healthy changes. I do not support “fast” weight loss plans. I already know they will fail because they violate the survival drive of the body to maintain the status quo.

There are some times when someone needs to make very drastic and complete changes to their diet for health reasons, such as they are trying to save their life! This takes extraordinary, long-term determination.

It is possible to make drastic, complete changes and do well with them even if you aren’t trying to save your own life. I’ve done it. I made a complete, turn-around, change-everything, 180 on my dietary habits when I started macrobiotics in the late ’70’s. How did I make that kind of change so successfully?  I moved into a house owned by two extremely experienced macrobiotic teachers, one of whom was a highly trained macrobiotic cook. She not only knew superb macrobiotic cooking—how to balance the diet, how to make the most delicious food in the world—she knew how to take one look at any one of us living there and understand what one ingredient or dish we needed if we were starting to crave our old ways or getting off balance in any way.

I ate her food/cooking every day for about two years while I learned to do it myself.  By the time I was done and living in my own house, my body had achieved a new training in how to “be” and what foods now represented “homeostasis.”

There are places you can go to learn how to cook this way, meaning the cooking, the balance, the understanding at a glance what food would help at any given time. There are schools and individual cooking teachers around the world who teach this.

So what do the rest of us do who aren’t going to live in someone else’s house and be fed every day while studying how to completely makeover our lifestyle?

Do the Hokey Pokey and, (you know the words)!

  • Consider finding a teacher who’s right for what you want to do and take a few cooking classes!  I taught cooking for over 35 years and have gotten many people off to a great start in pursuing healthier cooking and eating. For some people, taking ANY kind of cooking class would be good because many people are way, way too dependent on the short order cook at the fast food restaurant, or the factory production manager at the frozen food plant, or the good folks at the pizza delivery outlet. Go on! Pick up a knife and a carrot and see what you can accomplish!
  • Do read up. Books and blogs are full of all kinds of food and dietary advice. I know—this is difficult because there is so much out there. How do you know what’s right? (I’d love to say, “gut feelings.”  Is that a funny joke?) A lot of the advice out there is pure nonsense but one thing I do know is that whatever route you take, YOU have to be interested. YOU have to decide it sounds good.  YOU have to invest your time and attention in something that makes sense to you. If it doesn’t turn out to be so great, you can always change your direction!
  • There are some really basic things that should be present no matter what kind of dietary advice you decide to try.
  1. Quality of food is extremely important. It should be organic and not have any genetically modified ingredients in it. (Non-GMO)
  2. Do not try to eliminate a whole major food group such as “carbohydrates.” That’s ridiculous because just about everything has carbohydrates just like nearly all food has protein to a greater or lesser degree. Worried about so-called “carbs?” Educate yourself to know the difference between a whole grain and a doughnut. All “carbs” are not the same and all are not bad.
  3. Until you learn how to balance your meals for optimum benefit, think “Variety.” Variety of colors, cooking styles, veggies, fruits, whatever it is. Variety will actually take you a long way toward your goal to eat healthier.
  4. Chew. Whatever it is you’ve decided to eat, whether right or wrong, it has got to be chewed very, very well. More info on that in my previous post.

Realize that unless you have an emergency health condition requiring immediate, drastic and extraordinary change, the healthy changes you decide to make amount to re-training your body so it becomes accustomed to a new state of homeostasis that can be maintained.

Marketing Word Games

so delicious PAINT sugar free cocunut milk

Have you seen this?  

It’s just a little tricky thing some of the alternative milk companies are doing.

The label on the front says “No Sugar Added.” You might think you’re getting something without sweetener.

No. You’re not. You’re getting something that doesn’t have sugar but does have some kind of other sweetener added that you may or may not want.

They used to just say “unsweetened” and that was that. But now there is “unsweetened” and this other, “No sugar” label.  They are definitely not the same.

To be fair, there is nothing on this label that tries overtly to make you think there is no sweetener at all in this product. But I know food shoppers and I know that many of us don’t actually read every label and if we do, we might not get all the ingredients that we aren’t familiar with defined for us before we buy and consume them.

I just bought a box of So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk. That was after first picking up and reading the one that said “Sugar Free.” The sweeteners were “Reb A,” which is a stevia extract and “Monk fruit” which is a small, exotic Asian fruit that one writer called the “latest darling of the alternative sweetener world.”

Monk fruit sweetener, however is usually mixed with other things such as erythritol, a sweet substance extracted from certain lichens and algae, along with molasses and sugar. Another monk fruit sweetener recently marketed also contains corn-derived dextrose.

Right off the bat when I see one of those words ending in “ose” I know that it is a simple sugar that can wreak havoc with our bodies just like any refined sugar does. I personally stay away from foods with any “-ose” ingredients and that has been a very workable way to avoid unhealthy sweeteners.

Then there’s the matter of “corn-derived,” which should raise another red flag if you’re interested in avoiding genetically modified foods. Corn, unless it specifically says “organic,” is most likely GMO. The exception is when you buy corn at a farmers market, can talk to the farmer himself and he says he doesn’t grow GMO crops and you trust his integrity. But then you aren’t buying a corn-derived extract from him, so he can’t help you with the monk fruit sweetener problem.

I don’t know which type of monk fruit sweetener the folks at Turtle Mountain (who manufacture the So Delicious line) used. But I know that I’ll avoid it altogether and stick with the “So Delicious Unsweetened” which I like very much.

The moral of the story is 1) Read your labels thoroughly, and 2) Understand what the ingredients actually are before trusting you should consume them.

Gentle Cleansing with Hato Mugi

HATO MUGI SPRING STEW

I decided to go a bit Asian with my menu and cook with Job’s Tears—in Japanese “Hato Mugi.”  Hato Mugi resembles barley and is sometimes called “Pearl” (not “pearled”) barley. But it is actually not related to the grain known as “barley.”

Hato Mugi is great for spring because it is said to be a cleansing grain. I am not into big, dramatic cleanses or fasts for spring but prefer to adjust my cooking, starting in early February, toward spring and toward not only lightening up the menu, but choosing foods that do help the body get rid of excess fats, dairy and other animal products that may have been consumed over the winter.

Hato Mugi is an ancient grain that has not been hybridized as far as I know and it is gluten-free.

It is purchased dried and should be soaked for as long as twelve hours to make cooking easier. Before you cook Hato Mugi, sort through the dried grains for any dirt or stones or whatever. Wash it quickly in cold water and then soak it in spring water until it has expanded and softened somewhat.

I am using some other mildly cleansing foods with this dish including kombu seaweed and shiitake mushrooms—both of these can help break down excess fat and dairy.

Hato Mugi has a rich, earthy flavor and I love to pair it with young spring vegetables such as leeks, scallions or dandelion greens.

Hato Mugi Spring Stew

  • 6 inch piece of dried kombu seaweed
  • 1 cup of Hato Mugi (Job’s Tears)
  • several dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 cup of cooked black beans
  • shoyu (soy sauce)

There’s a lot of soaking you’ll need to do in advance.  Sort through the hato mugi removing any stones or other items that don’t belong (yes it does sometimes happen!) and then wash thoroughly in cold water. Soak the hato mugi in spring water for several hours. Overnight is fine.

Brush off the dried kombu and soak it in a medium-sized pot in a little spring water. The kombu will expand as it softens. When it has done that (takes maybe 10 minutes) then remove it from the pot leaving the soaking water there. Cut the kombu into bitesize pieces (any shape you like—squares, strips, etc.) and put the cut kombu back into the bottom of the pot.

The mushrooms also get soaked in spring water. I just grab a small bowl for that. When the mushrooms are soft enough to slice, remove any stem parts because they are tough and don’t soften in cooking. Then cut the shiitake up into bite size strips.

While things are soaking you can wash and dice a large carrot.

Next is the cooking method which is layering:  the kombu is at the bottom along with the water you soaked it in, then add the shiitake mushrooms and you can use that soaking water too, then the hato mugi on top of that. Cover with water and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and let it all simmer with a lid on it. Cook it for about 30 minutes. You don’t stir it around, you leave it cooking in layers. If the water cooks away but the dish is not finished you can add a little more water.

Toward the end of cooking is when I like to add the carrots because in spring and summer I’m not looking for stewy soft vegetables. I like the carrots to keep their bright color and cook until just soft enough to fit in with the other ingredients..

I used a can of organic cooked black beans for this and added one cup at the end of the cooking time so the beans would heat up.

Once everything is done, season with some soy sauce and now you can stir it up to distribute the seasoning.

Garnish with some ginger, some parsley, slivers of scallion or whatever you wish. I did serve this with a side of fresh spring dandelion greens sauteed in olive oil and garlic and a side of salad.

Hearty and filling, yet not heavy.

Where to buy Hato Mugi?

I have seen hato mugi in Asian grocery stores but I can never tell for sure if it is organic. My primary requirement for food is that it is labeled organic which also encompasses the question of whether it is GMO (Genetically Modified Organism). Organic includes being non-GMO.

My local natural food stores don’t carry hato mugi. If there is a store near you that has a really good selection of macrobiotic foods, you might find it there. Otherwise I highly recommend ordering online from Gold Mine Natural Foods. They have all the good healthy stuff that the commercial natural food stores are no longer willing to carry. This is because enough of us aren’t demanding the very highest quality and variety of foods and so they don’t use shelf space for it. But it doesn’t hurt to continually ask for things to be brought in and create a little ruckus over the fact that natural food stores (not naming names but you probably know which ones) are becoming more and more “homogenized” — to put it politely.

It’s easy to say, “They are only interested in making money.” Well, of course they are. It’s a business and they are supporting as much of the healthy choices as they can and still make a profit. But that’s the point. They are CHOICES as in, yours and mine. If we don’t choose healthy, there is no way the stores are going to be able to make money stocking healthy. Right?

Balancing with Sea Veggies

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I don’t know about you but around here, the long sultry summer has announced its arrival and I’ve been preparing. How? By lightening up my cooking over the past weeks and infusing more fresh, crisp, biting crunch to the menu.

That is one way to be in balance during the hot season. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have some of the old summertime favorites like potato salad. Of course you can! I just make a few changes that lighten it up and let it help me and my family to feel refreshed and ready to play The Healthy Cooking Game despite the heat.

One of the foods I use to create balance in our diet is sea vegetables. They are awesome sources of naturally occurring minerals and trace minerals. By using sea vegetables you can accomplish so much in such a delicious way.

If you are thinking, “Eeeeewe!  Sea Weed?” don’t panic. Yes. I am talking about seaweed–a traditional food in many parts of the world. Sea VEGGIES, as I prefer to call them, are not only great sources of minerals, some are awesome antioxidants too. They help balance excess protein and fat you may have consumed and help the body to get rid of that excess. If you have been indulging in dairy foods, you will find eating sea vegetables will help your body eventually get rid of that excess too.

You may also already know that eating sugar can deplete your body of minerals faster than you can say “Cherry Garcia,” and sea veggies are very effective in getting minerals back in.

Because of these excesses, you may not like the taste of sea veggies now as much as you will when you are more balanced. So here’s a great little purple-red sea veggie to start with.

Dulse is a mild tasting sea vegetable chock full of minerals and antioxidants. Did you ever get a little washed out from sweating in the heat of summer? Dulse will replenish your potassium.

Here’s how I put all this good data to use in my potato salad recipe:

Wash, slice and boil your potatoes until they are cooked but still firm and cool them down. Add all the other veggies and whisk up the lemon juice, olive oil, umeboshi vinegar and pepper. (Umeboshi vinegar is both salty and sour so you won’t need to add salt to this. Also there is sodium in dulse.) Dress the salad and mix in the dulse flakes.

Truly yummy!

The Healthy Cooking Game is a series of posts about finding what is right for you to eat so you can achieve your dietary goals. It is not about making anyone’s diet wrong or telling you what you have to eat to be healthy. It is a guide for creating balance in your menus and being able to make the changes you want to make. The Healthy Cooking Game is a project that I have undertaken with my friend, Kate Ryan, who is a truly talented cook and food consultant.

The Healthy Cooking Game

It’s Breakfast Time

It’s Breakfast Time!

SCRAMBLED TOFU BREAKFAST

Good Morning!

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A big part of The Healthy Cooking Game is that in order to play like the pros, you need to start finding out what foods do for you.  

Huh?  What foods do? Don’t they get somewhat chewed up and digested and, voila! You don’t need any more for a little while?

Yes. Yes, that’s right in the most basic sense. But there’s so much more to know! Take breakfast for instance. If you eat eggs, do you know what they do for you?

The Incredible Edible Egg website says an egg has about 6.2 grams of protein, 4.8 grams of fat (1.6 of that is saturated), 186 grams of cholesterol and a few vitamins and minerals. But the nutritional data is not the only thing I’m talking about.

Eggs are a very concentrated food. After all, a fertilized egg is the beginning of an entire chicken. Technically speaking, you could consider an egg to be a whole food for that reason. When a food is so concentrated with fat and protein, it takes much longer to digest and in order for your body to really break it down to become useful, you’ve got to be able to balance that egg with things that help with that breakdown and assimilation. (Cruelly, bacon, hash browns and pancakes with butter and syrup just don’t do the trick.)

I would think that in order to create BALANCE with an egg, you would eat at least 3-4 times the volume of dark leafy greens and other vegetables. You might want to know what veggies are really great for helping to break down that fat, too. Like shiitake mushrooms and daikon radish. Or that throwing in some ginger, onions and garlic could be helpful.

But are you sure you would want to eat that egg? Lately I’ve been very concientious about not eating foods that are genetically modified (GMO). You probably know that corn and corn products are big GMO foods unless they’re organic or officially labeled “non-GMO.”

Try going to the natural food store and finding eggs that you can be 100% certain have not come from chickens who were fed any GMO corn or other feed. You’ll see all kinds of “free-range,” “naturally fed,” and “from down on the farm.”  In order to be truly GMO-free, your egg has got to be organic and so does the chicken it came from and so does the food the chicken ate. They are there on the shelves too, for a price. You’ve really got to read that carton to be sure what you’re getting!

Why not skip all that worry and have your scramble and your balance?

Scrambled Tofu

Serves Two

  • 8 oz of firm organic tofu (I prefer sprouted tofu—very digestible)
  • 1 large shallot, sliced thin
  • 1 cup of diced yellow summer squash
  • 1/2 cup of fresh chopped parsley
  • tumeric
  • red chili pepper flakes (optional)
  • olive oil
  • sea salt

Put about a tablespoon of olive oil into a heavy skillet and let it start heating up while adding the shallots. Add a pinch of sea salt here to bring out the flavor of the shallots. When the shallots are translucent and pretty soft (they will have a very sweet taste cooked this way) add your diced yellow squash and another pinch of salt and stir fry that for a minute or two.

Add the tumeric – about a half teaspoon. The tumeric will release a bright yellow color and you want that because when you add your tofu, it will become yellow too—just like scrambled eggs!

Take your tofu and squish it up with your hands so it looks like scrambled eggs and drop it into the pan. I love adding the chili pepper flakes at this point. Season the tofu with some sea salt. Stir the tofu around until it has become a lovely, “eggy” color.

Throw in the parsley at the end and turn off the heat. The parsley will cook a tiny bit with the heat already in the pan/food but will stay bright green. So pretty!

And what, hopefully you are asking, will scrambled tofu DO for me?

Four oz of tofu—such as one serving of this delicious recipe—contains about 10 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat and zero cholesterol! (Sorry egg people, you’re just not all that incredible.)  Tofu has many phytonutrients and known minerals and vitamins naturally occurring. Tofu is also highly digestible and won’t take hours like the egg will. (Note though, that soy beans are another crop that is pretty much across-the-board GMO unless it is certified organic.)

And the rest? Veggies including green parsley for additional vitamins and minerals and blood-cleansing chlorophyl. Plus fiber! Sea salt cooked in the food and not added on top of food at the table helps break down the food and make it taste sweeter and more delicious. Turmeric is well-known as a super hero in fighting inflammation. Plus it contributes a lovely yellow color! Chili pepper flakes are one of my favorite ways to get a little hot taste and help get the ol’ circulation going.

Talk about Breakfast of Champions!

The Healthy Cooking Game

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In the healthy cooking game, there is no such thing as “running out of ideas for meals.” 

When I look at the various ways people eat, one of the first things I notice is that when you include or base your meals on whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables, there is an infinity of things you can create. I myself have not eaten the exact same dinner twice in decades except for a few favorites that I intentionally repeat.

Seem like an exaggeration?  It’s not! I Googled “how many edible vegetables are there?” Most sites I found such as Ask.com and wiki.answers just said “thousands” as in—too many to count. One website points out that there are over 4,000 varieties of tomatoes alone.

The point is that you will never run out of interesting and unique combinations of grains, veggies, fruits and beans. (Ask.com says over 400,000 varieties of beans) You’ll never run out of new ways to put foods together!

Just for comparison I checked how many types of animals for eating there are. Couldn’t find a definitive answer or even an estimate. I did find a lot of places where the discussion was mainly cows, pigs and lambs chickens, turkeys, plus dog, horse, guinea pig, rabbit, squirrels, buffalo, elk, deer and I’m sure there are others. But the fact that I can pretty much list them out here should tell you something. There are quite a few more edible fish and sea life and that extends the list of choices much further.

The different preparations and cooking methods also have to be considered as do the use of seasonings, spices and herbs which change the taste and presentation of food. (By the way, when I say “cook,” I’m really saying “food preparation”: and I include raw and fermented foods in “cooking.”)

No matter what kinds of food you are eating—meats, no-meats, vegetarian, vegan, etc.—eating a wide variety of foods made different ways has never been easier.

In the cooking game, the freedoms we have are enormous. One freedom is that we have fast shipping of foods from any part of the world. If it is winter in your hemisphere, you can get summer fruits and veggies from the other hemisphere.  It’s right there in your food store.

The ability to procure foods from anywhere in the world seems so convenient.  Except that it makes it so easy to ignore an important condition for healthy cooking:

BALANCE

There’s a lot of ways to look at balance. In the healthy cooking game, it means that you are  choosing, preparing and eating food in the best possible way in order to fulfill your goals and purposes for eating.

Say what?

That is a very broad statement, I know. But the concept of “balanced diet” or “balanced cooking” covers every aspect of this part of health and living. Balance is something to achieve no matter what kind of food you choose to eat. I will talk about balance more but for now I’m talking about choosing which of the gazillions of possible foods, combinations, seasonings and cooking methods should you use for “balance?”

Think about how things were less than 100 years ago. We could not easily get foods from other parts of the world. We did not go to SUPER markets to shop. Most people had their own garden, access to locally grown foods only at their market, and what was there to purchase was also in season.

If you lived in Minnesota and it was January, you didn’t see fresh pineapple in the market or growing outside in your garden. And if you did get hold of some tropical foods and eat them in Minnesota during the winter, you would have a harder time staying warm. Because tropical fruits balance the hot climates in which it grows. They make one cooler!

Why would you start eating foods that for the most part are in season and grow in your area or climate and forego the flown-in rambutan from Queensland? Because foods that grow in your area and in season are already naturally balanced for your environment! How much easier could it be to know what foods are generally in good balance with your climate where you are living?

rambutan 2

Rambutan is a tropical fruit is native to Southeast Asia.

In the Healthy Cooking Game, we have the freedom of an international selection of foods at our fingertips and we have the challenge of balancing our food choices so we make the most of our ability to create the effect we desire with our meals.

More to follow.

Another Pretty Thing

Finding pretty things for spring is what I do—in the clothing store, on my outdoor ventures and in my kitchen. Here’s another pretty thing I whipped up for a whole-grain salad. This time I chose a gorgeous ripe mango to make a piquant sauce for quinoa and black bean salad.

MANGO SAUCE ON QUINOA SALAD

Sweet and Sour Mango Sauce

Find a ripe, un-bruised mango and remove the meat. Throw the mango into a high-speed blender or food processor with juice of half a lemon, a pinch of sea salt and a flavored white balsamic vinegar of your choice. (I used a Hawaiian coconut white balsamic and it was absolutely fabulous!) If you don’t have a flavored vinegar, it is still going to be delish with just a well-aged white balsamic.

The quinoa salad is simply cooked quinoa, black beans, celery, red onion and quite a bit of parsley. I know you’ll improvise here as well!

The outcome? Couldn’t get enough of this! It was nearly gone before I even had a chance to take a picture.