Garden Fresh Ratatouille 

If you didn’t know, I have a small vegetable garden. This season, I planted cherry tomatoes. I never DREAMED I would end up harvesting about 100 of these little guys in just one week! Therefore, I shall share one of the recipes I made this week for dinner. Ratatouille is a traditional French vegetable dish that features tomatoes and several other key ingredients like eggplant, zucchini, onions, and garlic and seasoned with various herbs. I used my mini crockpot for this, and it turned out great! I even had some for breakfast this morning. It is a great filling for an omelet!

Ratatouille

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

  • 2 cups eggplant, diced

  • 2 cups zucchini, diced

  • 1/2 cup onion, diced

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 sprig rosemary

  • 1 sprig thyme

  • 1 teaspoon herbs de provence

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • Salt and Pepper to taste

  • Parmesan cheese

Place diced eggplant into a strainer. Lightly salt and allow to sit for at least 10 min. Rinse and pat dry. Place all ingredients, except the sprigs of herbs, into a bowl and stir to coat. Pour the vegetables into a crockpot and top with sprigs. Cook on low for about 2-4 hours. Time will vary depending on the cooking temperature of your crockpot and how tender you like your veggies, so it’s best to check after 2 hours and determine if you want them softer or if they are perfect. Serve warm, topped with cheese.

Other Tomato Dishes that we will have had OR will be having very soon:

Tomato and Carrot Balsamic Salad

Green Bean, Tomato and Mozzarella Pesto Salad

Balsamic Chicken, Tomato, and Mozzarella Skewers

Dried Herbs on Evergreen Boughs

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Looking for a way to continue to enjoy your dying Christmas tree? Try using it as a drying rack for your fresh herbs. I simply pulled (or touched at this point!) off some of the tree’s needles. I cut fresh basil, rosemary, and mint and tied them with yarn to the tree limb. I started them off by my kitchen window (as seen in this picture), but then read where the moist and aromatic air of the kitchen is not the ideal place for them and neither is the sunlight. So find a place that lacks sunlight and has dry air, hang your herbs there, and enjoy the drying process (1-4 weeks) and the last of your Christmas tree! Use your herbs in your favorite dishes or in a decorative fashion.

Top Hydrating Foods

Most of us will be outside tomorrow enjoying our Nation’s Birthday. Eat up and stay hydrated AND healthy!

Hydratingveggies

My Organic Facial – Ahhhhhhhhhhh!

I have been keeping my schedule as clutter-free as possible the past few weeks so that I could get “all my ducks in a row” for the beginning of my hummus-making career. I know life is about to get somewhat crazy, so today I sent all the kids off to school, the husband off to play golf (he was devastated I’m sure), and me off to run the causeway and then indulge in an organic facial.
I recently met a friend of my cousin-in-law who owns the Blue Morpho Organic Skinspa in Indialantic. Kate purchased some hummus from me and she showed me around her spa when I delivered the hummus to her. Last week, she gave a presentation to me and a couple of friends on what she does and the benefits of her services, the products she uses, and the foods that are vital to healthy skin. Here are three of the products that she uses and recommends:

Naturopathica Holistic Health

Tamahra’s Secret

Sequoia Beauty

My 45 minute facial included cleansing, a mask, a serum, eye cream, and all the pampering that comes with it- including a foot massage! She told me there was no rush and to take my time getting up, so I was tempted to stay right there and take a nap for the rest of the afternoon. 🙂
I know you’re thinking that this facial probably cost me an arm and a leg, but she charges a very reasonable $45. She also offers a 75 minute and a 90 minute facial. So if you are in need of a gift for someone or yourself, please contact Kate and schedule a facial with her. You won’t be disappointed, and you (and your skin) will be renewed!
Thank you Kate for sharing your talent and expertise with our community!

“Yes to” Facial and Body Care Product Review

Today, Plum District is offering a deal for “Yes to” Facial and Body care products. You can get a $35 voucher for $12 ($15 and the 20% off with promo code “PDBDAY”). I’ve been using the Yes to Carrots Face Wash for some time now and love it. The products are free from petroleum, sodium laurel sulfates, phthalates, and parabens. With my deal, I bought 2 face washes, 1 daily moisturizer with SPF, and 1 tinted lip balm. So I am now set for the rest of summer!

Foods to Eat and Foods to Avoid to Keep Inflammation at Bay

For the past several months, anything that has anti-inflammatory properties is something I have been seeking since I am having issues with my eyes. So when these posts popped up on my FB page, I checked them out. Each list has 10 foods and reasons why these foods are or are not beneficial in helping the body fight inflammation. I’m glad I like foods on the “good” list! Just ate some sweet potatoes, broccoli, and olive oil!

Top 10 Inflammatory Foods to Avoid Like the Plague

Top 10 Anti-Inflammatory Foods You’ve Got to Know

Summer Cooking Class – 2 Weeks Available!!

If you live along the Space Coast and are looking for something to keep your kids occupied, I am planning on doing two  camps this summer. Each 4-day camp will be 2 days of cooking, 1 day of meal planning (the kids will choose from one of three menus) and grocery shopping, and the 4th day will be making what they planned and shopped for. The cost will be $50 per student per camp, or $90 for two siblings. The dates are:

Tuesday, May 29th-Friday, June 1

and

Monday, June 18th- Thursday, June 21st

Each day will start at 10:30 and will end at 12:30. This is a hands-on class where they learn cooking and baking techniques, how and why to make healthy food choices, and have the opportunity to enjoy and savor their handiwork! Please let me know ASAP if you are interested. This is first come, first serve.

Click here and here to see some pictures from last summer’s classes.

Brewed Chocolate for Your Monday Morning (And Every Other Morning!)

Recently, I was introduced to Choffy- 100% pure cacao beans roasted and brewed for a coffee-like drink. It is great by itself or mixed with your morning cup of coffee. Here are some Choffy facts:

  • Has an ORAC rating of 4874.4- more antioxidants than 2 servings of blueberries
  • Only 20 calories per 8 oz cup
  • Contains Theobromine- a long-lasting stimulant that makes the heart’s job easier by dilating the cardiovascular system
  • Contains flavanols which help to prevent vascular disease

Get more information about Choffy here, and if you live along the Space Coast, Tina Descovich can help you get your first bag of Choffy. And it goes fabulously with your morning whole grain toast and sweet hummus!

Bursts of Energy

Here are some helpful tips to increase your energy levels and keep them up throughout the day.

Take a brisk 10 Minute Walk – This elevates your energy levels for 2 hours afterward.

Drink Water– 2/3 of Americans do not drink enough water (I’m guilty!) which can cause dehydration that leads to loss of energy. Drink plenty of water and eat water-based foods such as cucumbers and watermelon.

Eat Nuts– They are loaded with nutrients such as copper, magnesium, selenium and calcium which are needed for balanced energy levels.

Rosemary Spritz– Dr. Oz recommends using a  rosemary energy mist. Place  a sprig of rosemary into a spritzer bottle, fill it with water and let it sit over night. Take it with you, shake it up, and spritz your face for an afternoon energy boost.

Boost the Benefits of Green Tea

A study done at Purdue University found that a squeeze of citrus juice in a cup of green tea significantly increased the absorption of tea’s catechins. Catechins are the antioxidants found in tea that may help battle cancer cells.  When drinking green tea on its own, your body absorbs about 20% of the catechins. But, if you squeeze in a bit of lemon juice, that absorption level jumps to 80%! So enjoy your cup ‘o tea with a squirt of citrus.