What started as a "use the random bits of leftover veggies" type of meal ended up being a great vegetarian meal.

What you need:
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • Asparagus
  • Red bell pepper
  • White onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Shaved Parmesan
What you do:
  • In a large sauce pan, add 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water. Boil until water is absorbed.
  • Wash asparagus and pepper; chop or mince desired quantity of all vegetables.
  • While the quinoa is cooking, begin by sauteing the asparagus in olive oil. Once it is slightly browned, add the peppers, onions and garlic. Continue cooking until onions are clear.
  • Add the cooked quinoa to the vegetables and saute a few more minutes.
  • Spoon into a serving dish and top with shaved Parmesan.
High in protein, quinoa is an excellent grain choice for vegetarians, as well as those with wheat or gluten allergies. It is also an alkaline food, helping to balance the body's pH.
When it comes to coffee, I've always been a "cream, no sugar...thanks" coffee drinker. At a brunch with friends, I watched one scoop a big spoonful of honey from the jar and stir it into her cup of coffee. What?! It seemed so wrong, but as I found out, tastes oh-so good.

I've been using raw, creamed honey and stirring an entire spoonful of the sweet, solid substance into my cup of coffee every morning. Choosing raw honey over sugar gives the benefit of an unprocessed sweetener and beyond that, raw honey has antibacterial properties and never spoils.

Make an extra tasty cup of coffee by adding cinnamon to the grounds before brewing, and then stirring a spoonful of honey into your coffee. Mmm!
The great debate: brown or white rice? You've likely heard that brown rice is the healthier option. But why? White rice has had the bran (the coating that gives brown rice its color) removed, or has been "polished." With the bran still on the grain of rice, brown rice has more fiber (3.5 grams/cup for brown rice; less than 1 gram/cup for white). Because white rice has been stripped of the bran, it tends to be fortified with other nutrients. Brown rice naturally has higher levels of magnesium, zinc and manganese.

This is a tasty and easy recipe to make as a side dish for a meal, and you may find that everything you need is already in your fridge and cabinets.

What you need:
  • 1 cup rice
  • Vegetable stock, broth or bouillon
  • Vegetables
  • Olive oil
What you do:
  • The vegetables I already had and decided to use for this recipes were carrots, celery, chopped broccoli, garlic and a sweet white onion. Prep your veggies as necessary - washing, peeling and cutting to desired size.
  • I chose to saute the minced garlic and onion in olive oil to bring out the flavor.
  • While working on the garlic and onion, I measured one cup of brown rice, poured it into my cooking pot (without water) and turned the heat on low. For about 5 minutes, lightly toast the rice grains and they will cook to perfection!
  • Next, add two cups of cold water, the chopped veggies and your broth, stock or bouillon to the pot with the rice. Follow concentration instructions for bouillons; for stock or broth, substitute for all or part of the 2 cups of water. My vegetable bouillon of choice is Better Than Bouillon (be sure to check out the product review!). 
  • Bring the water to a boil for about 5 minutes, the cover tightly and turn the heat to low, stirring periodically until the water has been absorbed and the rice is fluffy.
The flavor of this rice is excellent from the combination of bouillon and fresh veggies. And if you ask me, almost anything tastes a little better with sauteed onions and garlic! Mmm.
For the past few weeks, I have been eating the Amazing Grass Berry Green SuperFood mixed with yogurt. I stepped it up a notch and have been making fruit smoothies with my awesome new food processor (I love this appliance so much!).

After seeing pineapples for only $2.50 (!) at the produce market a couple blocks from my house, I bought one and stared at it every day, impatiently waiting for it to ripen. When the time had come, I sliced it up and started adding it to my morning blends.
My first smoothie contained half a banana (fair trade and organic), frozen strawberries and blueberries, pineapple, orange juice, organic vanilla yogurt and a scoop of Berry Green SuperFood.
For my next smoothie, I decided to exclude dairy, and instead substituted half an avocado. It also included half a banana, frozen strawberries, frozen blueberries, orange juice and a scoop of Berry Green SuperFood. The avocado was great. The texture is smooth and the taste mild enough that it easily mixes in with the other ingredients and adds the creaminess of yogurt.

As an environmental awareness plug, I strongly advocate using locally in-season produce. Fruit gets a little difficult because so many of the fruits we love come from tropical climates. I try to do the best I can by carefully choosing the lesser of all evils. I purchase organic, fair trade bananas at my co-op which ensures that the growing process is as easy on the land as possible (shipping is still an issue, since they're from Central America). While berries are starting to show up in stores, they're not local berries. Our crops won't be ready until late summer, and I will happily wait to be able to enjoy those delicious berries. Instead I'm buying frozen berries which were picked in-season. They're not losing any significant amount of nutritional value by being frozen. Most of these early season berries don't have a lot of flavor and can have gross textures...think of all the miles these delicate fruits travel in trucks! As for the pineapple and avocados, I do buy the conventional versions of both fruits. Organic options for those are often very sparse, and the prices are a little out of my range. While I sometimes wish I could buy more organic or local products, I'm happy for now that I do what I can in at least supporting some of those options.