Monthly Archives: June 2012

Arugula Salad with Orange Slices and Basil


Summer is here!   Time for crazy schedules,  lots of activities, and a houseful of guests…at least in my world.    I love this time of year!  Farmer’s Markets, outdoor music concerts, playing by the river with the kids, hiking, rafting, camping, art festivals, and all the wildflowers.   It always seems to fly by but I am hoping to really live in the present moment this summer and enjoy all it’s craziness.   Maybe it will last longer that way.   The good news amidst the hectic schedules  is that food in the summer months can be quick and easy.

It is the season for cooling foods, simple eating,  easy meals.  If there was ever a time for a raw diet, this would be it.

Seasonal eating is basically eating what nature provides during that time.  It’s the time for platefuls of salads, fresh smoothies, simple pastas with basil and fresh tomatoes, lots of sweet fruits and plenty of greens.   Save all your heavy recipes  for fall and winter.

Here is a simple salad for summer.  A little peppery with a side of sweet.

Arugula Salad with Orange Slices and Basil

Bunch of Arugula

1 orange, sectioned and cut in small pieces

handful of basil, chopped

 Parmesan slices

handful of walnuts or slivered Almonds


Zest of 1 Orange

2  TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar

1/2 tsp of Raw Honey

To make: Combine Arugula and Basil and toss.   Add the Oranges and Walnuts.   In a bowl or small jar, mix the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey and orange zest.   Stir or shake well and pour over the salad.   Toss and add the Parmesan slices on top.


Polenta-Stuffed Swiss Chard with Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce


Here is one for all you garlic lovers!

Walking into a house to the smell of garlic roasting in the oven is so pleasing and comforting.

Garlic is said to have many healing properties and it is my go-to remedy when I start feeling a cold coming on.   My mom gave used to give it this to me as a kid and I still use it today.   You chop up a clove of garlic, put it on a spoon with a little raw honey on top and swallow it down.   I swear by it.   If you are worried about garlic breath, just have your significant other do it too.

This is such a great meal and not too time consuming.  I love polenta (as  you may have noticed) and how versatile it is.  You can eat a bowl of it like porridge with raisins and nuts, or with melted cheese and basil,  you can put it in the fridge so it gets hard and  make polenta cakes or fries, or as you will see here, you can use it as a stuffing.    This is another recipe I adapted from RIPE by Cherly Sternman Rule.  I have tried this with Chard and with Kale and while both taste great, the Chard leaves are bigger and make for easier burrito wrapping.  You could top if with your favorite tomato sauce if you don’t have time to make mine.  One night I was in a hurry and I used a spicy salsa and that tasted great too.  So do what you have time for.

Happy Eating!

Polenta-Stuffed Chard(serves 4-6)

3/4 Cup of Polenta-   the cooked polenta needs to be refrigerated for at least 1 hour

1 TBS Butter

1 tsp salt


1 Cup grated Parmesan  -divided

6 Large leaves Swiss Chard

Garlic Roasted Tomato Sauce (makes about a cup and a half)

1 Onion,  thinly sliced

4 Large Tomatoes

2 whole, unpeeled Garlic Cloves, top 1/4 inch chopped off

1/8 + Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

3 TBS Vegetable Broth or Water – or more

salt and pepper to taste

To Make Tomato Sauce: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.   On a baking pan, lay out a sheet of parchment paper (for easy cleaning).   Lay out the onions.  Core and quarter the tomatoes and lay on top of the onions.  Place the garlic bulbs around the tomatoes and drizzle olive oil on top, and sprinkle with salt.   Bake for 45 minutes or until tomatoes look shriveled.    Squeeze out the insides of the garlic cloves into a blender.  Put the tomatoes and onions in the the blender and all the juices.  Blend until smooth.

To make the Polenta-Stuffed Swiss Chard: In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups of water and 1 tsp salt to a boil.  Whisk in the polenta and reduce heat.  Cook until thick, about 10 minutes, whisking occasionally.  Remove from heat, stir in the butter and 1/2 cup of  grated parmesan cheese and a pinch of pepper.     Let cool for a 10 minutes.   Meanwhile, coat the bottom of a square pan.  Pour the polenta into the pan and smooth the top.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and boil some water.   Remove the thick stem on each piece of Chard by making  a v-shaped cup down the middle.  Put leaves in a large bowl and cover with boiling water.   This makes the leaves easier to work with.  Remove after 3-4 minutes and pat dry.     Cut the Polenta into about 8 rectangular pieces.   If the piece is too big for the Chard, just make it smaller.

Spoon 1/4 cup of tomato sauce on the bottom of a baking pan.  Lay a piece of chard on a cutting board and place a piece of Polenta horizontally on the bottom part of the leave.  Fold the leave on each side over the polenta, encasing it as you would make a burrito.  Transfer to the baking pan, seam side down.  Repeat until finished.   Pour another 1/4- 1/2 cup of sauce over top the chard burritos and then sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 10 minutes, the put under the broiler for another 1-3 minutes to brown the cheese.  Serve hot.

Colorful Slaw with Pecans


My family and I were vacationing in Florida last month and I would frequent the health food store in the little town of Anna Maria for select items.   I was chatting with the owner one day and somehow we started talking about antioxidants.  Maybe it was the bag of Goji Berries I had in my hand.  Anyway, she asked me if I would like to take a quick test to check my antioxidant level.   I was intrigued, the test was $20 and I didn’t hesitate.   The test only takes 90 seconds, but it took her about 15 minutes to turn on her computer and get things going.  While I was waiting (and trying hard to be patient as my precious beach minutes were ticking by) , she had me watch a video of  a Dr. Oz show where he used this machine to check his audiences antioxidants levels.  The women at the store showed me the chart and a low number is in the 10,000 -30,000 range and that optimally you want to be at 50,000 or above.  Most of the audience in his show were between 10,000-30,000, which he said represented most of Americans.  She showed me how the test worked, by placing her hand around the machine and after 90 seconds, it reads the carotenoids in your cells and she scored a 51,000.   It was my turn and I was getting a little nervous.  I was thinking, What if I have a low number?   I have changed my diet a lot in the last several years but what if I am not eating the right foods?    After 90 seconds of second guessing all my food choices over the last few years, a 61,000 popped up in the screen.  Yah!   I did a happy dance in my head and  left with my baggy full of antioxidant-rich goji berries.

If you are curious, here is a link to find a biophonic scanner operator near you.

We all see and hear things about antioxidants and it seems to be a big buzz word right now.   It should be.  With the rising rate of disease, you want to eat your antioxidants!  I stayed clear of the science lab in school and headed towards the art wing but here is my understanding of anitoxidants.   First, there are thousands of different antioxidants in our food supply.   They protect healthy cells from free radical damage that cause diseases such as cancer, and heart disease.  We get free radicals from stress as well as environmental toxins like cigarette smoke and pollution. Free radicals are floating solo in your body so they join to healthy cells, destroying them and creating more free radicals and more disease.   We need the antioxidants because they block these free radical.   Aside from that, Dr Oz talks about how antioxidants can prevent cancer from growing because they starve cancer cells!  Certain antioxidants are anti-angiogenesis- preventing the cancer cells from growing new blood vessels.  Here is an article by Dr. Oz.

Berries, fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts  are your source for antioxidants.  Some fight cancer better than others , some protect the skin, some prevent heart disease.    So try to eat your rainbow and meditate everyday!     And guess what I have for you? Read the rest of this entry

Lemon Blueberry Cake


Eric and I have been talking about building a vegetable garden since we moved into this house about a year and a half ago and the weekend to start was finally here.   Our friend was remodeling a deck so Eric picked up the old redwood decking and we were ready to begin.   Now when I say “we”, I really mean Eric.  At this point with only thing I have done is watch.   Watch him rake the land and create a level spot, watch him saw wood, watch him hammer,  and really, I stopped watching after a short time and went on to do other stuff.  But I am so appreciative and am lucky to have such a willing husband!!  I will be actively participating once we get some soil and starters!

We were having some friends over that night so I was busy in the kitchen trying out some recipes and this is one I had to share.   It is the perfect summer dessert.  You could even get away with eating it for brunch.   This is a recipe I adapted from Ina Garten- The Barefoot Contessa.  I swapped some ingredients and added the blueberry twist.    I made this twice, once  with pastry flour and without added blueberries in the cake and the other time with blueberries in the cake batter and using a gluten free flour mix.  Both were great!  My son, Max, prefers it without blueberries but says “I looooooooove lemon cake.”

The party was fun and we had lots of food.  I made homemade foccacia with rosemary and grapes from and some homemade egg rolls, Eric grilled up some shrimp and friends all brought dishes.   And for dessert, while the kids were busy make smores in the fire, the adults got to indulge in this cake.



(adapted from Ina Garten)

1 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour ( or use GF flour blend)

1/2 Cup Almond Flour

1 Cup Whole Milk Vanilla Yogurt

3 Farm Eggs

1/2 tsp Salt

1/2 cup Coconut Sugar

1/2 cup Sugar

1/2 Cup Coconut Oil, melted

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Zest of one Lemon

1/2 Cup Blueberries (optional)

For the Glaze

Juice of 2 Lemons

1 Cup Blueberries (frozen or fresh)

1/3 cup powdered sugar

TO MAKE:  Heat Oven to 350 degrees.   In a small bowl add the flours and salt and mix well.   In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, yogurt, sugars, oil, vanilla extract, and lemon zest.  Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir until well combined.   (Add 1/2 Cup of Blueberries if you so choose) Pour into a greases  pan ( I used a 8″ square pan but whatever you have is fine).    Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Here is one with blueberries added, and one without.  

Now for the Glaze…In a blender add 1/2 Cup Blueberries, Juice of 2 lemons and 1/3 Cup Powdered Sugar and blend until there are no chunks.  Once cake had cooled. spread the glaze over top.