When you think of February, do you picture the color red, matters of the heart and that Hallmark holiday right in the middle of the month? I remember those old-fashioned paper valentines! Sitting at the table, filling them out, and taking them to school, one for every classmate. And the cupcakes parents would bring in, iced with colors not found in nature. And those hard little pastel, heart-shaped candies stamped with messages (BE MINE). As I got older, it was all about, am I going to get a valentine from a CERTAIN PERSON? And then, am I going to have a date?
You may not be surprised to learn that when I’m thinking about food to have on hand for the holidays, I’m thinking soup!
This is the time when you’re entertaining both formally and (more often than not) informally. Your kids are home from college, and their friends drop by. Your favorite Aunt just arrived hungry from Cincinnati. The family is suddenly hungry, and a quick, comforting impromptu meal is in order. Soup!
Thanksgiving can be full of joy, gratitude, warmth, friends, family, and of course, good food! But it can also be an emotionally wrought holiday, especially when it comes to food.
Referencing the old saying, Everything old is new again—all of a sudden, cooking at home is trendy! A recent article in Bloomberg Business with data about current eating habits says,
“Home cooking would be making a comeback if it ever really went away. Restaurants are getting dinged by the convenience of Netflix, the advent of pre-made meals, the spread of online grocery delivery, plus crushing student debt and a focus on healthy eating. Eighty-two percent of American meals are prepared at home [emphasis mine]-- more than were cooked 10 years ago, according to researcher NPD Group Inc. The latest peak in restaurant-going was in 2000, when the average American dined out 216 times a year.”
Take a look behind the scenes and join me (studio 306 A) and all my artist friends for Artists at Work at the ICB Building (Industrial Center Building) in Sausalito, California this Friday, September 28th from 1 to 8 pm PDT. Built in 1942 to produce cargo ships and tankers for the war effort, the building now houses 100+ artists working in media including painting, photography, sculpture, jewelry, weaving, basketry, new media, fiber art and more. Rather than just an open house, this is a rare opportunity to see the artists at work, watch their process and see how their art is created.
In the past decade we’ve placed SO much emphasis on whole foods, clean foods, paleo vs. vegan, gluten-free, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant... I think we’re there already, don’t you? We know what healthy eating is. ENOUGH ALREADY! I want to move beyond the research, the data, the shoulds, the restrictions (and the ensuing guilt), and plant my flag right here: are you really being nourished by by what you eat?
Do you have annual food rituals that you love? Making tomato sauce when the season's at its peak, freezing ripe blueberries or making stock when soup season begins in fall? The fizz of anticipation, the planning ahead, the sheer contentment when the treasure is stored away for future delight. If you haven't tried it or tried it with a friend yet, do! Working side-by-side with a dear friend in the kitchen is one of the most nourishing experiences in the world. Enjoy!
Have you got plans for Labor Day weekend? We're planning to enjoy every last drop of summer, with a feast featuring a little something something on the grill, colorful super-fresh salads, and the last of this season's oh-so-glorious peaches. Recipes all right here. Join me?
Summer heat getting to you just a little bit? Have I got the coolest, most refreshing ideas for you! Soundtrack included. 🙂 An excellent solution from the archives. Enjoy!
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.
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?
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!
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!
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.
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?