Recipe – Roasted Vegetable Dip/Spread

Ready for Hot? Here It Comes.

The jalapeño, one of the most favored varieties of warm peppers, has been used for centuries as a key ingredient to flavor a spectrum of culinary delights. It is a member of the nightshade family Solanaceae, and closely related to paprika, bell peppers, and cayenne peppers. The name “jalapeño” is derived from the Spanish word Xalapa, a provincial capital in the city of Veracruz, Mexico, where early settlers cultivated the crop. Later, it was introduced to the rest of the world through Spanish explorers, and today, these hot peppers are widely grown across the globe.

Jalapeños are commonly consumed when green, but occasionally, they are allowed to completely ripen until turning red, yellow, or orange. These small, fiery peppers provide more than a zest of flavor to chili, tacos, pizza, hummus, salads, breads, and many more delicacies. They also are teeming with health benefits.

Low in calories, the jalapeño abounds with nutrients including vitamins A, C, and B6, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.

Sources:; Top 5 Health Benefits of Jalapeño

Top five Benefits of Jalapeños
Contains capsicum, which is effective in killing over 40 types of cancer without harming normal cells.
Regulates blood pressure and lowers the risk of heart attack.
Prevents strep throat through its strong antibacterial activities.
Aids in weight loss.
Soothes migraine headaches and provides incredible pain relief.

Recipe – Roasted Vegetable Dip/Spread


1 medium onion, roughly chopped

1 medium red bell pepper, roughly chopped

1 large eggplant, peeled, cut into chunks

1 medium tomato, chopped, or 14 cherry tomatoes

7-8 cloves garlic, peel intact

1 jalapeño pepper, deseeded, chopped

1 ¼ tsp. sea salt, divided

3 Tbs. avocado oil, or less

3 Tbs. tahini

1 Tbs. lemon juice, or to taste

½ tsp. ground cumin

¼ cup parsley, finely chopped


Place all vegetables into a bowl. Add 1 tsp. salt and oil; mix well. Transfer to a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake at 375-400°F for about 40 minutes or until vegetables are roasted. Remove from oven and let cool. Remove garlic peel and transfer all to a food processor. Add tahini, lemon juice, cumin, and ¼ tsp. salt; process to preferred consistency. Spoon into a bowl, add parsley and mix. Chill for 1-2 hours. Serve as a delicious dip with carrot and celery sticks, and pita bread, or use as a sandwich spread.

Recipe – Cannellini Bean and Spinach Soup

Cannellini Beans

Cannellini beans are white kidney beans with a mild, nutty flavor and smooth, tender texture. Also known as Italian white kidney beans they resemble kidney beans in size and shape, but are creamy off-white in color. Popular all over the world, cannellini beans are integral to the classic Mediterranean dishes, particularly Italian cuisine. It’s not surprising as few foods can compare in nutritional properties and the benefits that they can deliver to health.

The nutritional and healthful qualities of cannellini beans, as well as those of many other legumes, have been thoroughly investigated. Researchers have come to the conclusion that their rich insoluble fiber, protein, minerals, amino acids, and vitamins makes them a real “superfood.”

3.5 oz. of dry cannellini Contains
(% of daily value)
calcium 24% phosphorus 43%
iron 130% zinc 33%
manganese 78% potassium 38%

These beans are a very good source of several B-complex vitamins like folates, pyridoxine, thiamin (vitamin B1), pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and niacin. Most of these vitamins work as cofactors for the enzymes in carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism. Dry cannellini beans hold 388 μg (mcg) of folates (97% of daily value). Folate, along with vitamin B12, is one of the essential cofactors for DNA synthesis and cell division.

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating about 3 cups of legumes per week. To meet the weekly Dietary Guidelines for legumes, eat half a cup of beans every day. Round out the meal by incorporating cannellini beans in salads, pasta dishes, spreads, and soups.

Sources:; beans

Recipe – Cozy Cannellini Bean and Spinach Soup


2 Tbs. olive oil, or water

½ medium red onion, finely chopped

1 large carrot, cut in small chunks

¾ tsp. salt

2 Tbs. flour of choice

1 cup unsweetened oat milk

3 cups vegetable broth

2 ½ tsp. Italian seasoning

1 ¼ tsp. garlic granules or powder

½ tsp. dried tarragon

2-15 oz. cans of cannellini beans, drained, rinsed

3 Tbs. nutritional yeast (optional)

1 packed cup baby spinach


In a large pot add olive oil or water, and onion. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring often. Add carrot and salt, and stir. Cover pot and cook for 4-6 minutes. Stir flour into vegetables until coated. Gradually pour in milk while stirring. Add broth, seasonings, beans, and nutritional yeast. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and stir in spinach to wilt. Serve soup with crackers, sourdough bread, pita bread, or flat bread.

Recipe – Panna Cotta with Mixed Berries


Berries are usually juicy, round, brightly-colored, sweet, sour, or tart, and do not have a stone, although many pips or seeds may be present. Common examples are strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, red currants, black currants, huckleberries, bilberries, and bearberries.

A true berry is a fruit which grows from one flower with one ovary. Cranberries and blueberries are considered true berries since they grow from flowers containing one ovary. Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, and boysenberries are considered aggregate fruits since the flowers they grow from have more than one ovary, so the fruit is actually dozens of tiny fruits growing together. These tiny fruits, or bumps, are called drupelets. The number of drupelets that make up the berry is directly connected to the number of times a bee has landed on the berry flower to pollinate it.

The tiny hairs on raspberries and blackberries are called “styles,” which serve to protect the berry from damage. The silver color on the exterior of the blueberry is called “bloom,” which acts as a natural barrier to seal in moisture.

Berries are bursting with nutrition. They average nearly 10 times more antioxidants than other fruits or vegetables, are high in flavonoids and vitamins, and provide an excellent source of fiber.

Berries are simple to add to your diet. Toss them in smoothies, sprinkle on cereals, incorporate into desserts, or simply enjoy them fresh from the vine.


Recipe – Panna Cotta with Mixed Berries


1 14 oz. can full fat coconut milk

¼ cup maple syrup, amber-colored, or brown rice syrup

1 tsp. non-alcoholic vanilla flavoring

¼ tsp. salt

½ tsp. agar agar powder or 1 Tbs. agar agar flakes

3 cups fresh or frozen mixed berries (blackberries, raspberries, blueberries)


To a saucepan, add coconut milk, maple or brown rice syrup, vanilla flavoring, and salt. Whisk to combine. Bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to low, sprinkle in agar agar powder or flakes and immediately whisk well. Let simmer 2 minutes, whisking frequently. Divide mixture evenly between serving jars, place in refrigerator to set—at least 25-35 minutes—until bouncy. For fresh berries, warm in saucepan until tender. Add a little maple syrup for sweetness, if desired. For frozen berries, allow to thaw until no longer cold. Top panna cotta with thawed and warmed mixed berries and mint leaves.

Recipe – Polenta Pizza


Corn is the third-most cultivated crop in the world, following wheat and rice. Originating in the Americas—but grown on every continent except Antarctica—over 440 million tons of corn are harvested yearly throughout the world. In 2019, US farmers planted 91.7 million acres of corn—the equivalent of 69 million football fields.

There are six main varieties of corn that come in different shades and combinations of white, yellow, red, blue, purple/black, and green. An ear of corn has about 800 kernels in 16 rows, always an even number with one silk strand for every kernel. A good ear of corn is juicy and sweet on its own, but can also be used in soups, chili, salsas, salads, breads, and crusts.

DID YOU KNOW? One variety of corn grown in Peru has kernels so large that they are eaten individually.

Eighteen nations of the world consume corn as their primary food source—twelve in Latin America and six in Africa. In the United States, corn is used in the production of so many foods that the number of products without at least a trace amount of corn is smaller than the number of those that contain corn.


Recipe – Polenta Pizza


2½ cups water

½ cup almond milk

1 cup cornmeal

1 tsp. sea salt

¼ tsp. dried thyme, or to taste

¼ tsp. dried oregano, or to taste

¼ tsp. dried basil, or to taste

1 Tbs. olive oil

Tomato Sauce

2 cups tomatoes, chopped

6-8 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tsp. lemon juice, or to taste

½ tsp. salt

Olive oil

Topping suggestions: sliced cherry tomatoes, red onion, bell pepper, olives


Bring water and almond milk to a boil in a pot. Reduce heat to low. Add cornmeal and whisk until clumps are reduced and mixture thickens. Add salt and herbs. Continue to whisk for another 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat. Brush a baking sheet with oil and pour half the corn mixture on one side forming a ½-inch thick circle. Pour the remaining mixture on the other side of the sheet, making two pizzas. Cover the sheet and refrigerate until mixture thickens, about 30 minutes. Combine tomatoes, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and a drizzle of olive oil in a blender; blend to combine. Adjust seasonings. Remove crusts from refrigerator, top with tomato sauce and toppings of choice. Pop pizzas in the oven; bake at 375°F for 15 minutes or until crust is crispy.

Recipe – Cashewgurt


A new study, published in the May, 2023, issue of the scientific journal Frontiers in Nutrition, compares the nutritional benefits of plant-based yogurts to dairy-based yogurts. The study analyzed different types of dairy and non-dairy yogurts to determine which option is the most nutrient dense.

The study’s researchers collected nutritional information for different yogurts from the Mintel Global New Products Database. They then placed the yogurts into different categories based on their main ingredients. The categories were full-fat dairy, low and nonfat dairy, coconut, cashew, almond, and oat. Then, they analyzed the nutritional contents of the different yogurts using the Nutrient Rich Foods Index. This index is “a comprehensive food guidance system that assigns a score based on the nutrient density of individual foods,” according to the authors of the study.

After analyzing the results, researchers found that two types of plant-based yogurts, almond and oat, are more nutritionally dense than dairy options. They outscore low-fat, fat-free, and full-fat dairy yogurts. Cashew and coconut yogurts were found to be less nutritionally dense than dairy products, but higher in iron. Soy-based yogurts were excluded from the findings due to a small sample size. However, soy-based dairy alternatives are often found to be the most similar to their dairy counterparts, having protein counts comparable to dairy yogurts and delivering healthful, unsaturated fats. Compared to dairy yogurts, plant-based yogurts contained significantly less total sugar, less sodium, and more fiber, the study indicated.

The probiotic benefits that yogurt provides—live and active cultures that help in digestion—are extremely important for the balance of our gut.


Recipe – Cashewgurt


1 cup raw cashews, plus water for soaking

2/3 cup filtered or distilled water

1 Tbs. maple syrup

1 Tbs. vegan live, active yogurt to use as a starter OR 2 vegan probiotic capsules


Pour cashews into a good-sized bowl, cover with water, and soak for 4-8 hours. Rinse and drain well. In a blender, combine cashews and water, and blend to a smooth paste. Add the maple syrup and starter culture. If using a probiotic capsule, open capsule and empty powder into the blender and blend until mixed. Transfer to a sterile glass jar. Cover jar loosely with a towel and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours. Mixture should be thick and tangy. Serve with berries, nuts, or granola.

Recipe – Apple Oat Bran Muffins

Some Facts About Apples

Originating in central Asia, there are 75,000 varieties grown worldwide. If a person ate one a day, it would take more than 20 years to try every variety.

Some apple varieties have red flesh instead of white. Varieties such as Pink Pearl and Kissabel have flesh that ranges from pink or orange to bright red. Some of these apples are even yellow or green on the outside and red on the inside.

A real-life Granny Smith discovered the apple that now bears her name. Back in the late 1800s, Mary Ann Smith from Australia discovered the apple tree in her backyard and began cultivating the now-popular variety.

The Red Delicious apple tree was discovered in Iowa. It might be the most commonly known out of all the North America 2,500 varieties.

Crab apple trees are native to North America and Asia. They were once called common apples and actually belong to the rose family.

It took over 30 years to develop the Honeycrisp apple. This sweet, aromatic apple is grown in Minnesota, and has soared in popularity over the last decade. The Honeycrisp apple became a parent (along with the Enterprise apple) to the Cosmic Crisp. Breeding between the varieties began at Washington State University in 1997, and 20 years later, the Cosmic Crisp was born. It is characterized by its dark-red skin, dense firm flesh, and expanded shelf life. First available in 2019, it has become a favorite of consumers.

Did you know? It takes the energy from 50 leaves to produce one apple. And that one apple makes about 1/3 cup of apple juice.

The average American eats close to 20 pounds of fresh apples per year—and even more when factoring in applesauce, apple juice, and other apple products.


Recipe – Apple Oat Bran Muffins


1 ½ cups Golden Delicious apple(s), cut into chunks

¼ cup apple juice concentrate or water

1 cup smashed banana

¼ cup light honey or maple syrup

1 tsp. orange zest

¼ cup almond or cashew butter

1 cup quick oats

1 cup oat bran

⅓ cup shredded coconut, unsweetened

⅓ cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

1 cup dates, finely chopped


In a saucepan, lightly cook the apple chunks in apple juice or water until just wilted. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add next 4 ingredients and mix together. Add the oats, bran, coconut, nuts, and dates; stir to combine. Spoon into paper-lined or prepared muffin tin ¾ full. Bake at 375° F for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Makes approximately 8 muffins.

Recipe – Spiced Lentil Soup

Red Lentils

Red lentils, also known as masoor dal, are a type of legume that is native to the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Small, round, and reddish-orange in color, red lentils have a smooth, creamy texture when cooked and are the quickest and easiest to prepare among lentil varieties, which is why they are the perfect ingredient for traditional Indian stews, dal, curries, and thick creamy soups.

Considered to be a superfood, red lentils are a powerhouse of essential nutrients. One of the main nutritional benefits of red lentils is their high protein content. One cup of cooked red lentils contains approximately 18 grams of protein, making them an excellent source of this essential nutrient. In addition to their high protein content, red lentils are also a good source of fiber. One cup of cooked red lentils contains about 16 grams of fiber. They are also low in fat, with just 1 gram of fat per cup of cooked lentils.

A ½-cup serving is an excellent source of folate and manganese, and a great source of thiamin, iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and B vitamins. Masoor dal is high in antioxidants, which is known to boost the immune system and protect the body from diseases and infections.

Look no further for a simple, nutritious, and delicious way to improve your diet.


Recipe – Spiced Lentil Soup


1 ½ Tbs. olive oil, or water

2 cups onion, diced

5 garlic gloves, minced

2 tsp. ground turmeric

1 ½ tsp. ground cumin

¼ tsp. ground cardamom

1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes

1 14-oz. can full fat coconut milk

¾ cup red lentils, rinsed and drained

3 ½ cups vegetable broth, or water and vegetable bouillon

½ tsp. salt, or to taste

red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)

1 5-oz. package baby spinach

2 tsp. fresh lime juice


In a large pot, add oil or water, onion, and garlic. Sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes until the onion softens. Stir in turmeric, cumin, and cardamom, cooking for 1 minute until fragrant. Add tomatoes, coconut milk, lentils, broth, and salt. Add red pepper flakes, if desired. Bring to slow boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes or until lentils are tender. Stir in spinach until wilted. Add lime juice. Serve.

Recipe – Nut and Seed Bread

Nuts and Seeds

The Global Burden of Disease Study, the largest analysis of risk factors for death and disease in history, calculated that not eating enough nuts and seeds was the third-leading dietary risk factor for death and disability in the world, killing more people than processed meat consumption. Insufficient nut and seed intake is thought to lead to the deaths of millions of people every year, 15 times more than all those who die from overdoses of heroin, crack cocaine, and all other illicit drugs combined.

Major studies have shown that people who eat nuts appear to suffer fewer deaths from cancer, heart disease, and respiratory disease, as well as living longer. Indeed, our life span may be increased by an extra two years by eating nuts regularly—one handful (or about a quarter of a cup) five or more days a week.

PREDIMED, one of the largest interventional dietary trials ever performed, followed more than 7,000 men and women at high cardiovascular risk randomized into different diet groups. One group received a free half pound of nuts every week for four consecutive years. Compared with other groups, the added-nuts group appeared to cut their stroke risk in half. If this works as well in the general population, 89,000 strokes a year, or ten strokes every hour, would be prevented in the United States alone simply by adding walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts to the nation’s daily diet.


Recipe – Nut and Seed Bread


1 cup raw sunflower seeds

½ cup flax seeds, roughly ground

2 Tbs. chia seeds

½ cup hazelnuts, almonds, or any nut, roughly chopped

4 Tbs. psyllium seed husks or 3 Tbs. psyllium husk powder

1 ½ cups rolled oats, not quick or instant

1 to 1 ½ tsp. salt

2 Tbs. maple syrup

3 Tbs. coconut oil, melted

1 ½ cups water


In a bowl, combine well all dry ingredients. Whisk maple syrup, oil, and water together. Add to dry ingredients and mix very well until everything is completely saturated. Transfer to oiled or parchment paper-lined loaf pan. Smooth out the top with a spatula. Let sit on the counter for two to eight hours. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan, place upside down directly on the rack and bake for another 40 minutes. Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool completely before slicing. Keep refrigerated. Makes delicious toast.

Recipe – Edible Flower Salad

Edible Flowers

It is generally believed that nourishing foods consist of fruits, vegetables, nuts, greens, and proteins. But have you ever considered flowers? They are exquisite extensions of plants, fortifying the pollinating community of birds, bees, and other wildlife. We tend to forget that some flowers are edible, full of vitamins and minerals, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and are a beautiful way to elevate any dish. There are up to a hundred varieties to grace your plate.

It is essential though to correctly identify a flower to deem it safe before ingesting.


Name Description
Nasturtium These showy flowers have a sweet, peppery tang. The leaves are also edible, delicious in salads while providing a high concentration of vitamin C.
Violet Sweet and aromatic, the blue, purple, white, and yellow flowers—high in vitamins A and C—help alleviate pain, reduce headaches, and sooth coughs due to their mucilage content.
Tulip Rather than eating a stuffed pepper, try a stuffed tulip! The flavor depends upon the color. Red petals are sweet, while white have a slight pepper aftertaste.
Hibiscus The large colorful blossom has properties to boost the immune system, treat inflammation, and prevent cell damage. Often used as an ingredient in teas, it is similar in taste to the pomegranate.
Rose Rose petals have a refreshingly sweet, smooth texture, rich in vitamins and antioxidants. Consider sprinkling the petals on a salad, or use to improve the flavor of water.
Squash blossom These bright yellow and orange flowers are high in vitamins C and A, calcium and iron. Delightful stuffed, baked, or added to soups and salads.


Recipe – Edible Flower Salad


5 cups mixed greens

½ sweet onion or 2 small shallots, thinly sliced

4 radishes, sliced

2 Tbs. pine nuts, pistachios, or sunflower seeds

Edible flowers

Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

⅓ cup olive oil

2-3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

1 Tbs. lemon zest, or to taste

⅛ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. garlic powder or small garlic clove

⅓ cup packed fresh basil


Blend all dressing ingredients until smooth. Arrange salad in a bowl and, just before serving, drizzle with desired amount of dressing and toss. Sprinkle nuts or seeds and flowers over salad. Beautiful and delicious.

Recipe – Watermelon Apple Salsa


Is watermelon a fruit or a vegetable? Interestingly, it can be considered both. Watermelon is botanically a fruit like the pepper, tomato, and pumpkin, and a vegetable like squash and cucumber. This large, sweet fruit originated from southern Africa.

Did you know? Watermelon is 100% edible.

There are 200-300 varieties of watermelon from different parts of the world. Watermelon has a smooth exterior rind and a juicy, sweet interior flesh. It is most often eaten raw, but can be added to desserts, salads, and beverages, and can be cooked, grilled, or baked.

The seeds have a nutty flavor and can be ground, dried, or roasted. The rind contains fiber and potassium, and is rich in citrulline. You can pickle the rind, use it in a smoothie, and make rind preserves and gazpacho.

Farmers plant seeds or seedlings in a nursery and then transplant them into well-drained rows or raised beds of soil. They are grown in warm, sunny climates. One plant grows into multiple vines, 6 to 8 feet in length. Honeybees are needed to pollinate the yellow blossoms from which the watermelon grow. The melons are ready to harvest in about 90 days.

Watermelons are packed with water and nutrients, have very few calories, and may help lower blood pressure, improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce muscle soreness.

Watermelons are available today with seeds, seedless, and in mini size. Picking the best watermelon is as easy as, “Look, Lift, Turn! Look for a firm watermelon that is free from bruises, cuts or dents; light scratches are all right. A watermelon is 92% water by weight and is therefore very heavy. When turned over, the underside should have a creamy yellow spot from where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun. Farmers do not recommend thumping, patting, slapping, flicking, or knocking. But if you insist on trying the thump, a ripe watermelon will have a dull, muffled, or hollow sound like a pong; an unripe watermelon will have a metallic, clear ring like a ping.


 Recipe – Watermelon Apple Salsa


1/2 of a medium-sized watermelon

2 granny smith apples

1 Tbs. olive oil

2 Tbs. fresh mint

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

Zest of 1 lime

1 Tbs. fresh lime juice

A pinch of sea salt


  • Cut the watermelon and apples into 1/4”-thick matchsticks.
  • Chop the mint and cilantro.
  • Zest the lime and squeeze out the juice.
  • Toss all ingredients gently to mix together.
  • Best served chilled and before the apples begin to brown.