Making dinner during the week most often involves what I call “functional cooking”—menu planning, repurposing leftovers and utilizing foods I have on hand. Doing the shopping, the prepping, the cooking, and the dishwashing. Nourishing myself and my husband is a good cause but it kind of becomes a means to an end. Making it work, day after day. But cooking for friends? That’s inspiring! In fact, when I get in a dinner rut, I know it’s time to have some friends over.
Did you know that fresh herbs and spices don’t JUST 10x flavor (as if that weren’t enough), but that they have magical healing powers, too? Many contain compounds capable of modifying gene expression to potentially keep cancer and other diseases at bay, plus providing immune support, controlling inflammation, and warding off bacteria and viruses—i.e., they have superpowers! So we’re not talking just enhancing taste, but improving wellness and possibly increasing longevity when you reach for that spice jar or throw some chopped herbs in whatever you’ve got cooking.
I’m delighted to share one of my favorite posts from the archives on this topic. If you haven’t seen it before, take a few moments to absorb this truly remarkable knowledge developed over the past decade of nutrition research. Plus get 2 superb recipes, including one of my most popular potato recipes ever. Serious yum!
Are you an egg fan? Then you know what I’m talking about! A delicious, versatile, nutrient-dense food unlike any other. You can add an egg to anything. In fact, a favorite mantra of mine is, when in doubt throw an egg on it! It can be the answer to all your meal planning questions, such as what’s for breakfast? lunch? Or dinner? Eggs can fill the bill. But did you know how great they are for your brain?
Have you experienced hangry? I recently got called on it. I had worked myself into a snit in conversation with my friend when she turned to me and said, “When’s the last time you ate?” I looked at her wide-eyed, and thought, Oh my God! When was the last time?
Don't you get to the point on hot summer evenings when all you want to eat are fresh, crispy salads? Here's a deliciously special post from the archives with the salads of your dreams—and a fun video showing you chef's secrets for how to properly dress a salad. I'm telling you, this is a game changer!
You know I’m passionate about cooking and creating art… but did you know I’m also obsessed with my garden?
This is my favorite time of year! In July, before it gets too hot, the dahlias, the showgirls of the garden set, are prancing around. The orange Gerber daisies are vibrating next to magenta petunias next to peach-colored baby petunias (which have become great favorites) next to electric blue lobelia. Just when I think I’ve seen it all—and I look at my garden every day—THESE colors suddenly appear in an explosion of color!
It's that season of the year when we need to be especially mindful to stay well hydrated! Good, clean water is needed every day to support our health and wellness in every way. I assure you, this post from the archives will convince you of the need AND provide you with recipes that will do a great and delicious job of hydrating you to a fare-thee-well. :)
Calling all caregivers: what do you cook when the person you care for (including you!) is not that hungry? When your energy is low. When you just don’t have it in you to do anything the least bit fancy? When you really need the nourishment, but all that washing and prepping just is not going to happen? We know better than to disconnect from healthy food; but how do we stay connected during busy or challenging times?
My dears, we are approaching picnic season! Including the grandaddy of picnics, 4th of July. I've got you covered with potluck etiquette, recipes and strategies to help make hosting or participating a delicious—and delightful—success!
Are you snapping up those gorgeous fresh herbs appearing in farmer's markets? Herbs are exceptionally powerful for both health and flavor, so go right ahead! But you won't want to let any go to waste. Here's a useful guide from the archives to help you enjoy every smidge. :)
We think of seasons: Fall. Winter. Spring. Summer… but it’s really more like transition to spring, late spring… summer… then late summer. Memorial Day feels like the pivot point, marking the start of summer; but you really never know what transition times will bring. Right now in the Bay Area, we’re having unseasonably cool temperatures and rain is predicted. For us, that’s like a blizzard coming! It’s a big deal. We may have harbingers of summer, but we’re not quite there yet.
When you’re a baby of a chef and culinary nutritionist and you’re named Olive, you know you’ve got the cards stacked in your favor! Your mom is definitely going to get creative, wholesome and fun!
So cute, they’re adorable! But so brash. They can be a little bossy, a little assertive. A wake up call! Of course I’m talking about radishes, the charming but somewhat overlooked actors waiting in the wings of our kitchen stage. Let’s talk about their myriad facets, and the many roles they are ready to play on our plates!
With Mother’s Day coming up, you don’t mind if I share about my dog children, do you? I am, after all, their devoted mom.
My first canine child, Bella, a Portuguese water dog, has been featured in two of my cookbooks, The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen and The Longevity Kitchen. Her favorite food was carrots. In fact, she was the only dog in my experience who preferred carrots to bacon. For every carrot that went into a pot, one went into her mouth. She was very chatty. Whether I was chopping a vegetable or an animal protein, she would be vocalizing. No manners whatsoever when it came to trying to get food out of me!
Arugula is my number one go-to green. I put it on EVERYTHING! I like a little bit of bitter, and it has good tooth—texture you can sink your teeth into. Arugula plays well with others, especially seasonal fruits like blueberries, roasted cherries, apricots. Throw it in with other lettuces, in a frittata, into a pesto. Throw it on top of soup! Top it with sardines. Throw it in at the last minute of scrambling an egg. On top of toast with smushed avocado. The topping looks like green hair! Like that girl in school who had that curly kind of crazy hair? Like that.
Vegetables are ALWAYS a good idea, and this post is a good reminder to eat the rainbow! A plate full of color means you are loading up on the important phytonutrients that can do better than anything else on the planet to balance your immune system, reduce inflammation, and make you FEEL better. My advice? Go for it.
When it comes to healing, our notion of time can behave very strangely. It might speed up or it might be infinitely slow, like molasses. When we are eager for a loved one to get better, as I am now, it can seem like forever. The body heals at the rate that it heals. I remember Rachel Naomi Remen saying disease is a weird thing; it reveals itself when it’s ready to reveal itself. It can be frustrating when all sorts of symptoms appear, but no prognosis is certain. You are left wondering...where am I?
Are you curious what the deal is about inflammation? And what you can eat to cool it down? Let me make it super simple.
Inflammation can be appropriate and helpful when it’s in response to an acute injury. The swelling and redness surrounding a cut on your finger are visible evidence of the body’s troops rushing to heal injury and prevent infection.
But what if inflammation goes off the rails?
Load up your Netflix list and get ready for a trip around the world with a cascade of visually lavish food-related movies guaranteed to stimulate your taste buds and warm your heart! For of course though each of these movies is centered around cooking, the food serves as a medium to tell the stories of families, relationships, and life experiences.
Julie Burford, my beloved Soup Sister and neighbor about whom I’ve frequently written (watch us making soup together here) is always on the frontline of cooking for people in need. She’s the Florence Nightingale of the kitchen, the one in our neighborhood who absolutely shows up with something nourishing or comforting or both when someone is sick or struggling. Her husband Stan says, “She’s the edible therapist!”