We all need a little inspiration. 

I find inspiration in so many different things in my life. Right now, outside my window, my eyes drink in spring flowers blooming, lavender growing, and my beloved Meyer lemons. My garden is so inspiring to me! I find inspiration in other people’s stories, in faces, in COLOR, in gorgeous food photography, and in paintings by Watteau and Monet. I’m inspired by my farmer buddies and the glorious kaleidoscope of produce as the seasons change at the farm market.  

I’m inspired by the grandmas, those remarkable cooks all over the world who’ve brought healing and flavor and comfort to their families for centuries. I’m proud to be part of this lineage, and to further understanding of how to use beautiful, healthy foods to enhance our lives. 

I’m inspired by my cooking tools, by using the right implement to cook with ease and grace. A few simple tools can transform cooking from a struggle to a meditative pleasure. 

Come along with me and explore!

I’m excited to share that I’ve created a new Inspiration page on my website, with books and kitchen tools and a few favorite food brands. You’re invited to purchase or just browse to your hearts content :) My inspirations change all the time, so look for frequent additions. 

There are books that inspire me because of the narrative, the subject matter or the author. A book by favorite author Diana Henry with artichokes (a favorite food) on the cover! A topic I don’t know much about might intrigue (fermentation) or delight because it’s a long-time favorite and I want to dig deeper (Roots). Pun intended :)

What’s for dinner? I struggle with that question just like everyone else! There are days when the answer comes easily and times when a little inspiration is called for. I might consult my friend and food connoisseur Andy Weil’s cookbooks, or the talented Tess Masters for the breezy, plant-based meal recipes and exquisite food photography in The Blender Girl. The Flavor Bible has been on my shelf forever. If I’m looking for something to pair with something else, I’m heading there for inspiration. 

Life-changing inspirations

As you know, inspirations can be life-changing. The great Annemarie Colbin’s Food and Healing literally set me on my path. At 37, I knew I wanted to go to culinary school; as a result of reading Annemarie’s book, I chose her culinary school, the Natural Gourmet Institute. That was a game changer. 

My dear friend Kathie Swift has inspired me since I met her at Food As Medicine in 2003, sitting in the lobby in a white pantsuit (she’s gorgeous). Her incredible teaching inspired me to go back and get my Masters of Science in Health and Nutrition Education at Hawthorn University. Kathie’s books are TOPS on gut health, and her easy, healthy family recipes have been tested by four generations of Swifts! 

My favorite equipment

I can’t wait for you to see my small collection of favorite kitchen tools! These are the essentials that make cooking a pleasure. The microplane that allows me to grate ginger in a trice -- and equally important, clean up in the blink of an eye. My citrus squeezer! I could rhapsodize! My cutting boards that don’t slip, my giant stock pot for making Magic Mineral Broth, and, of course, my Vitamix, which those of you who have seen me teach will know, I CANNOT live without. 

A few favorite food brands include kombu for Magic Mineral Broth, something those of you who live far from healthy food stores struggle to find. It’s a quick click away. Spicely Organics can help with spices you may not be able to source locally. They’re lovely! As their website says, “wildly fresh...crafted in small batches… and I’m happy to add, reasonably priced!

Inspiring recipes!

Before you rush off to explore my Inspiration page (if you haven’t already!), I want to share some very simple, inspired recipes. It’s not always about reinventing the wheel! Small inspirations can add big flavor. 

Roasted Olives with Citrus and Herbs

I thought I’d experienced olives every which way possible until I watched as my friend, Carolyn Brady, an incredible artist, popped a bunch of olives in the oven and roasted them. The results were incredible. In my version, I’ve added garlic, fennel seeds, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and Meyer lemon -- as simple as it is elegant.

Diana’s Sugar Snap Peas with Olive Oil and Mint

I went out with Andy into his magical vegetable garden and picked the peas. Then I had a thought: what if… we added a little mint? That just took this lovely recipe over the top.