Building a Healthy Pantry

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BEFORE

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AFTER

Like most of us, at some point in life you have probably come home from work exhausted and in no mood to cook. But the other people you live with are hungry so that job most likely falls in your lap. What if you were able to whip something up from ingredients you had on hand in just 15 minutes…alas, help is here!

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Mexican Cauliflower Soup

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It’s just about time to move my Dutch Oven to the back and make room for my spring and summer utensils…but this soup deservedly gets my time and attention.  It’s a delightful spring recipe made with cauliflower and potatoes and lots of garlic.  The Mexican flavors take it over the top. Click to continue reading »

Apricot Blueberry Crisp

The Napa farmers’ markets are bursting with fresh fruit…and these two gems will disappear in just two weeks!  Apricots have been scare the last two years so I am stocking up on my supply for desserts, sauces and jam.  The very best come from our good friend, Michele Bera, who indulges us at market with her stone fruits from Vacaville.  And if you think blueberries are mild with flavor…then you have not tried Stokes!  In a word: explosive.

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Grapeseed Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you follow this blog, you know what a goof I am for coconut oil.  And recently there have been several posts from other like minded writers who list over 200 ways to use it!  In addition to all its health benefits, coconut oil has a high smoke point and is great for baking.  But there’s another healthy oil to cook with, and this one just so happens to come from my neighborhood – the Napa Valley.  It’s grapeseed oil and it’s made by Salute Santé.

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Roasted Green Beans with Smoked Olive Oil

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As most of you know I tend to be a ‘theme’ cook, meaning I like to center a meal around a series of spices or international flavors. And during the holidays, you can throw in color…especially red and green.  This seasonal green bean recipe comes from a favorite restaurant in Sonoma County called Rosso Pizzeria which features an ingredient that is an exciting discovery: smoked olive oil.

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Local Food Revolution

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In case you haven’t heard…there’s a revolution going on!  It starts in the ground, is grown to feed the earth and to nourish its inhabitants. Food.  A precious yet vital source and the key to sustainable health.  For some, access to food is more difficult than others.  Here in the Napa Valley, we live in a climate that is temperate and suitable for planting a variety of crops.  Sure, we’re known for our grapes, but there are so many possibilities for additional food production that we are just beginning to uncover…

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Figalicious!

‘Tis the season for figs and so many are now available at the farmers market – Black Mission, Kadota, Brown Turkey, Adriatic and Strawberry (in photo) just to name a few.  Figs are easy to eat on the go and provide a wonderful dose of fiber and manganese, which helps fight free-radicals.  Figs are also good for the heart as an excellent source of phytosterols which can block cholesterol, and from potassium which helps control blood pressure.

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White Beans with Pancetta and Zucchini

Some dishes are appropriate year round.  And in that camp, I would include beans.  Beans are one of the best plant sources of protein on the planet, not to mention low on the calorie index.  They are super high in fiber, which is great for reducing cholesterol and regulating blood sugar.  And…they are loaded with antioxidants, in some cases more than blueberries!

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Raw Slaw

I have been on a kale kick lately.  Sounds pretty strange, doesn’t it?  Ah, but the reward is how good I’m feeling!  So while I may preach ‘all things in moderation’…I’m actually OK with indulging in a bit of healthy greens for a spell.  And truth be told, the dishes I’ve been making are uber delicious.

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