If your meals leave you unsatisfied, it’s may not be insufficient food … it may be insufficient attention and time given to the overall process. Every aspect of the meal is part of the full cycle of satisfaction, and rushing through any of it can leave you dissatisfied and full of cravings for more. Maybe the secret to the slimming, healthy Mediterranean diet is less about the food itself, and more about the complete lack of rushing around the meal. Worth trying!
Looking for a quick dish for dinner? This quick sautéed asparagus is great tossed over pasta, sprinkled hot over a cold salad, or eaten straight out of the pan :-). Quantities are totally flexible – adjust them to your taste and level of hunger. Enjoy!
This is the first of several quick-fix high-flavor-high-nutrient dishes I’ll be posting. (If this was forwarded to you and you want to be sure to receive the rest, go to www.eatyourselfwell.com to subscribe. And if you forwarded it, THANKS!)
So, today is my birthday – one of the ones that end in “0” and cause you to pause to take stock of where you’ve been and where you’re going with the time you have left. This morning, I’m taking a few moments to give HUGE thanks to the body that has somehow been able to withstand all of the craziness I’ve thrown at it for so many years, and has provided a healthy, strong place to live through it all.
Of course, the LAST thing I want to do to celebrate this milestone is to violate myself with foods that will gunk up the works and negatively impact my health … so I’m making my own version of this “fruit cake!”
Totally wish you all could be here to share it with me – but here’s how to make your own!
Healthy Birthday Fruit Cake!
– One large seedless watermelon
– In-season fruits: melons, blueberries, strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, blackberries, dragonfruit, cherry, apple, bananas, pears, oranges, figs … anything!
Lay the watermelon on its side. Using a large, non-serrated, sharp butcher knife, cut both ends off to form parallel straight edges. Turn the watermelon so that it is sitting flat-sides up and down. Carefully slice within the rind to remove it, leaving a round form. If you’re anything like me, there is still quite a bit of cutting to do to make it even, but all of the trimmings are delicious!
Pro tip: place two plates (slightly smaller than the diameter of the watermelon) on either side of the cake – one on top and one on bottom, and use the plates as guides for your knife. Voila – perfect circle!
Arrange whatever fruit is fresh atop the cake and around the bottom. To make shapes, use a cookie cutter, and then use toothpicks to affix them to the cake (be sure to remove toothpicks from fruit before kids serve themselves).
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve (serve same-day). For serving, it helps to have an additional bowl of fruit so that you can simply slice the watermelon and spoon the fruit from a bowl.
My favorite season? Easy, tomato season. I wait for this all year … and when it hits, I’m the first to the Farmer’s market to buy beautiful slicing heirlooms, and then the last to the Farmer’s Market to buy up the scratched/dented/bruised tomatoes for sauces and jams, at a discount. Actually, I owe a shout out to the nice folks at Crystal Organic Farms who are nice enough to set aside their “seconds” for me each week now!
Last week, I decided to turn the bumper crop of beautiful Black Krims into a homemade tomato jam. I made a few different batches to play around with the ingredients and ratios, and this one produced the hands-down favorite!
Lemon Ricotta and Homemade Tomato Jam Crostini
Fresh bread – whole wheat baguette or sourdough are my favorites – thinly sliced on the bias for 4-6 large slices
Fresh whole-milk ricotta – about 1/2 lb
Fine zest of 1 organic lemon
Homemade tomato jam (see recipe, below)
tiny pinch of salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh basil, washed and torn by hand
Zest the lemon into the ricotta, add pinch of salt, and stir. If you can, let sit for 30 minutes or so to let the ricotta come to room temp and to give the lemon a chance to flavor the cheese.
Turn on broiler to start warming. On the stove in a seasoned cast iron pan, grill the thin bread slices on both sides (sure, you can just use a toaster, but grilling is tastier and just as easy!)
Spread the ricotta onto the bread slices and put under the broiler for a few minutes to let it warm and slightly brown. Remove from oven and spread the homemade tomato jam over the ricotta. Top with fresh ground pepper and torn basil to taste, and serve.
Homemade Tomato Jam
About 6 pounds of Black Krim tomatoes, with the cores and seeds removed (NOTES: I do this by coring the tomatoes and then squeezing them – some of the seed are left and I’m OK with that. Also peel them if you’re a purist – I usually just pull the skins out while cooking, and am not bothered if a skin or two is left.)
1 cup cider vinegar
5 garlic cloves, peeled and pressed
4 tablespoons grated fresh turmeric (substitute ginger if you don’t have fresh turmeric)
1/4 cup raw sugar
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon (be sure to use organic since you’re using the peel)
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Put all ingredients into a large pot (do not use uncoated cast iron). Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat then reduce to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally (more often as it reduces), until jammy. Depending on how well you squeezed the tomatoes, this can take 3-5 hours.
To can the jam: ladle the jam into 3 hot sterilized canning jars, leaving ½ inch of headroom. Seal with hot lids and process the jars for at least 10 minutes.
To store for <1 month (it doesn't last anywhere near that long in my house): store in a covered glass jar in the fridge. Other usage ideas for jam:
Serve over warmed brie, feta, or pretty much any other cheese
Serve over quick-sauteed spinach, swiss chard, or kale
Serve alongside pretty much any egg dish, like quiche or omelettes
Serve on toast in the morning – delicious!
Stir into pan-sauteed fresh corn
Eat straight out of the jar (seriously)
I’m recently home from a vacation trip to Italy and have SO much to share about the food (recipes coming as soon as I recover from jet lag and a backlog of work!).
But the most meaningful thing I can share isn’t a recipe for a meal, but the overall Italian approach to eating/ food as art. In two weeks of meals, I never got one plate that wasn’t photo-worthy. The foods were all beautiful, vibrant, simple, whole foods presented beautifully. There were no distracting sauces or over-salting … rather, each food was an invitation to enjoy one clean flavor at at time. The crunch of fresh lettuce. The bite of basil. A sweet, ripe tomato. Soft eggplant, a spoonful of creamy ricotta.
With this sort of attention coming from the kitchen, I found that my attention to the food – and my enjoyment of it – were naturally heightened as well. And as a result, I was MORE than satisfied with a bit less food than usual.
Which left room for a bite of tiramisu 🙂 (recipe coming soon, I promise!).
Also, one traveled 1000+ miles to reach me, the other traveled 20 miles.
Hold onto this to send to people when they complain that organic is “too expensive.” This organic tomato looks like a bargain when you look at it this way, doesn’t it?
Rich Roll and Julie Piatt – endurance athletes, food influencers, lifestyle gurus, expert podcasters, and all-around amazing people – are releasing their incredible cookbook, The Plantpower Way, on April 28, and they were kind enough to partner with Eat Yourself Well to give away two copies!
To enter, simply comment below or on our Eat Yourself Well Facebook page. We’ll draw two names randomly on April 28 and announce the names on Facebook and via the blog (be sure to Subscribe here so you don’t miss the announcement)!
Also – don’t miss the Pre-order bonuses that Rich and Julie are offering – extra recipes, and more!
We couldn’t be more excited: Eat Yourself Well will soon be rolling out our first few (of the soon-to-be-many) wellness retreats! The first 4 will be spread throughout the US – locations to be announced shortly – and we’ll be adding more outside the US later this year!
We’re still finalizing the details, but first want to hear from YOU to make sure we’re making the best choices to meet your needs. We’d love to get your feedback to our brief survey about how to make the retreat work best for you (location, length, etc.), and we’re GIVING AWAY one full retreat (all meals and services included!) to a fan willing to help us out by answering the survey, and who is lucky enough to be chosen in the random drawing in May!
About the Retreat:
Eat Yourself Well’s wellness retreat series, Retreat Yourself Well, is your chance to reclaim your healthy connection to food – REAL food. Over a few days, you’ll (deliciously) disconnect from the disordered food culture created by food marketers, and will reconnect with the healthy foods your body recognizes, and truly loves. You’ll enjoy deliberate, beautiful, high-energy meals, several of which you’ll help create during live cooking events! You’ll hear from experts on self-care, and on creating habits that serve your highest good, learning how vibrant health can be second nature, rather than the constant struggle you may be feeling now. And you’ll go home with a tasty to-do plan for sustaining your changes as you re-enter your busy “real world.”
Want to be first to receive our full announcement with dates, rates, and details? Again, click here to answer the short survey, and be sure to choose “contact me” on the final question so that we add you to the list!
Notes on the drawing: Entries accepted through May 1, drawing to be held shortly thereafter, but no later than May 5. Winner will be contacted via email. By entering this drawing, winner acknowledges and agrees that his/her name (first and last initial) may be used for marketing purposes, including the announcement of the winner via this blog and related social media channels. Prize is not transferrable and has no cash exchange option. Retail value depends on Retreat length, which is not established as of this announcement. Winner is responsible for their own transportation to/from the event, and for any taxes related to the acceptance of the prize.
A nice plan for all of life, not just eating, right? Love this quote from Gregg Krech’s book, The Art of Taking Action: Lessons from Japanese Psychology. Isn’t it interesting that how we approach part of our life becomes how we approach all of our life … gulping and cramming and acting thoughtlessly in any area tends to spill into others.
Conversely, acting thoughtfully, consciously, and with intention in one area also tends to spill into others.
Give yourself the gift of taking time to savor the day! Start with food, or start anywhere that makes sense for you.
This recipe will make chard-haters lick the bowl, I PROMISE. It has a flavor that is hard to explain until you try it … and it’s so easy, fresh, and healthy, you’ve gotta try it!
~ 1 large bunch multicolored rainbow chard
~ 2 tbsp. olive oil
~ 5 garlic cloves, crushed (you get more flavor and nutrition by crushing them!)
~ 3 tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
~ 1 tsp red chili flakes (more if you like it spicy)
~ 1 tbsp raw honey
~ 1/2 lemon, juiced
few pinches of sea salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
How to Make:
Wash and clean the chard. Fold the leaved in half, and using a small, sharp knive, separate the leaves from the stems. When done, take the stems and slice them in pieces about 1.5 – 2 inches long. Put the leaves in a rough pile (this doesn’t have to be perfect), roll them up, and slice crosswise into 1/4″ strips.
This dish looks so pretty because the stems and leaves are cooked separately, so the stem colors stay strong and they really pop on the plate. You can cook them at the same time in different pans, or one at a time, stems first, in one pan.
First, start your pasta (any kind, enough for 2). It can cook while you’re cooking the chard, but you’ll want it to be ready when the chard is ready.
To cook the stems: place them in a small pan with a few tablespoons of water, a bit of salt, and about 1/2 tsp olive oil. Bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer for about 10 minutes. Add just a bit of lemon juice when you’re adding lemon to the chard leaves, and toss.
To cook the chard leaves: add about 1.5 tbsp of olive oil to a large pan. Add the crushed garlic, chopped rosemary, red pepper flakes, a pinch of salt, and honey. Let cook on medium to medium-high for about 4 minutes until bubbly and just starting to think about browning. Add the chard strips and toss, letting cook for another 5 minutes or so, or until soft and tasty (yes, please taste as you go and correct the salt if needed!). About 2 minutes before it’s done, sprinkle the lemon juice over all and continue tossing. NOTE: the broth flavor in this recipe is AMAZING, so I usually make sure that it has a nice brothy bottom by adding about 1/4 cup of the water from the pasta along with the lemon juice, and cook it down just a bit.