Archive for ‘Recipe’

September 1, 2012

Benefits of Gardening

Samantha Cianci, Gardener, Dancer

Samantha Cianci, Gardener

By: Dana Baardsen

I invite you to explore Samanciland, an abundant oasis of green which would make any organic gardener wiggle their toes. Though the name might sound playful, Samanciland is more than just a pretty garden. It’s a source of nourishment and “therapy” for it’s owner.

Meet Samantha, an inspiring gardener and dancer who executes her ability to care for her plants extremely well.

I’ll let you be the judge!


gardening, organic garden, green thumb, healing garden, benefits of gardeninggardening, organic garden, green thumb, healing garden, benefits of gardening

gardening, organic garden, green thumb, healing garden, benefits of gardening

gardening, organic garden, green thumb, healing garden, benefits of gardening

gardening, organic garden, green thumb, healing garden, benefits of gardening

Not only does Sam grow and harvest the plants in her whimsical garden, but she cooks with them too! …Pretty impressive, huh?

gardening, organic garden, benefits of gardening, green thumb
gardening, organic garden, benefits of gardening, green thumbgardening, organic garden, benefits of gardening, green thumb

Samantha is definitely onto something, as scientific research supports the benefits growing a garden at home.

Here are five reasons why you should start:

1.Sweet Serenity: Planting and gardening elevates the  levels of “happy hormones” in our bodies as well as decreasing feelings of stress and anxiety.

2. Gets the Blood Flowing: Maintaining a garden is actually a relaxing yet effective form of exercise. Burning those extra calories is definitely a plus!

3. Veggie Heaven: Gardeners are more likely to indulge in a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

4. Earth is My Mother: Working with floral, fruit, herbal, and vegetable plants will strengthen your precious bond with nature.

5. Ah, Satisfaction Baby: Wouldn’t it feel nice to know that your centerpiece or meals actually came from something you planted, grew, and harvested?

…So what are you waiting for? Go out there and plant something! Even if you don’t have the space outdoors, you can grow potted flowers and herbs indoors. Just remember, the most fruitful and rapidly growing plants are those grown with healing and loving hands. 🙂 NB

All photos in this blog were provided by Samantha! To check out more from Samantha’s garden– view her gardening and cooking albums.

August 14, 2012

Health Benefits of Basil

Basil, health benefits of basil, healing properties basilBy: Dana Baardsen

This fragrant herb serves as a beautiful, tasteful and healthful addition to the food you prepare.

Basil is an abundant source of Vitamin K and contains trace sources of other vitamins and minerals like Vitamin A, Iron, and Manganese.

This low-cal pop of flavor also provides flavanoids which protect our cell membranes along with “volatile oils” which fight unwanted bacterial growth.

Grow and harvest fresh basil leaves or purchase at your local food store!

You can toss into a garden salad, layer into a sandwich, or chop and sprinkle over your favorite pastas and sauces. Pour some ice water over basil leaves and garnish with a lemon for a rejuvenating, cleansing drink.

Incorporate this herb into your life for some flavoring accompanied with undeniable health benefits. NB

August 3, 2012

Happy Watermelon Day!!

watermelon, diet, fitness

By: Dana Baardsen

Watermelon is a summer-fruit staple. Aside from attracting admirers of all ages, this drippingly-good treat is packed with Vitamin C and Vitamin A. Score!watermelon salsa, nutrition, health, diet

Watermelon also helps regulate the electrolyte balance within our bodies which can be offset during excessive sweating. It’s like this fruit was designed for the hot days!

There is no better way to celebrate National Watermelon Day than by biting into a piece yourself.watermelon drink, watermelon soda

Try a delicious watermelon salsa, with chopped red onions, cucumbers, even pineapple. Sprinkle with fresh basil and serve with multigrain chips. Enjoy this refreshing dip!

Then, cool off with a yummy sparkling watermelon drink. Add fresh watermelon juice to sparkling water and splash with lime juice. Garnish with a lime wedge and some mint leaves! NB

June 14, 2012

What the heck is Jicama?

Jicama

By: Dana Baardsen

Alright, so you may or may not have heard of the South American root vegetable- Jicama. Either way, you should know that it is a great food to incorporate into your diet. Here’s why:

First of all, it’s delicious. Jicama has a crispy sweet flavor which is somewhere in between the flavors of an apple and water chestnut.

Secondly, It’s easy. Jicama can be eaten raw or cooked. It is easy to slice, chop, julienne, or whatever you feel like! You just have to peel off the outer layer first.

Thirdly, Jicama is low-cal, fat-free and nutritious. It provides lots of fiber and Vitamin C.

There are three main nutritious qualities about Jicama which actually contribute to weight loss:

  • Jicama contains Vitamin C which utilizes glucose for energy rather than storing it as fat.
  • There are significant amounts of fiber in Jicama. Fiber is what helps your body eliminate waste. Without fiber your body would begin to harbor harmful toxins and it would also become more difficult for you to lose weight.
  • The most unique quality about Jicama is that it contains significant levels of ellagic acid. Ellagic acid actually will help you control and lose weight because it takes the calories from food and helps the body use those calories for energy, rather than storing the unwanted cals as fat.

My favorite way to eat Jicama is to either chop it fresh and toss into a salad, or make Jicama Fries. It’s so simple, all you have to do is coat your chopped Jicama with a small amount of olive oil, and let them bake in the oven. You can season the fries with whatever you like…the flavor of Jicama is so versatile you could season the fries with anything from garlic to cinnamon. NB

March 20, 2012

Happy Ravioli Day

View this excellent post at foodimentary.com. Here is actually where I learned that today is National Ravioli Day!

My favorite is delicious fresh ravioli with spinach and riccotta. What’s yours?

Source: pastabasta.nl via Dana on Pinterest

March 1, 2012

Quinoa Kick!

quinoa, village harvest, calories, recipes

Village Harvest

By: Dana Baardsen

What IS this stuff?

Quinoa is the only natural grain which provides a complete source of protein. If this doesn’t sound exciting enough to you then you should be aware, protein is made up of amino acids- nine of which are essential. Not only is Quinoa a protein powerhouse (often used by body builders) but it is an absolute complete source of these amino acids. This stuff is great!

My favorite brand of Quinoa, Village Harvest, states “the ancient Incas knew that quinoa was the best source of plant protein on earth. We have rediscovered quinoa, because of its nutty flavor, chewy texture and all essential amino acids”.

The Low-Down:

Brand: Village Harvest Quinoa (Premium Whole Grain) Blue Bag

Nutrition: 1/4 Cup

  • 160 Calories
  • 27g Carbs
  • 6g Protein
  • Contains: Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Copper

Cooking Instructions:

Rinse 1 cup quinoa until water runs clear.

Combine quinoa with two cups of water and bring to a boil. Turn down heat to low and simmer until water is completely absorbed, usually 25 minutes. The germ ring will be visible when the quinoa is fully cooked. Fluff with fork and serve.

Delicious Quinoa Salad Recipe:

Refrigerate Quinoa until it is cooled. Add in chopped onion, celery, parsley, and carrots to taste. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Enjoy.

Wonderful additions to the salad are grilled chicken or chopped avocado for veggies, like me! NB

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