Scones are easy to make and they’re so, so tasty. This blueberry scone recipe is a favorite around here; my daughter loves those so much, in fact, that she was pretty skeptical when I recently made this orange date oatmeal version instead. She didn’t even want to try them at first, but she came around eventually. She still prefers the blueberry ones, but admitted these are delicious, too :)

scone

These orange date oatmeal scones are not too sweet and they have some “heft” due to the oats. They are adapted from a recipe in the lovely book Irish Pantry: Traditional Breads, Preserves, and Goodies to Feed the Ones You Love (I was sent a review copy). I made a few changes to the recipe in the book, one of which was to halve the amount of butter. I have absolutely nothing against butter (I love it, in fact!) but two sticks seemed like a lot to me.

orange date scone recipe | healthy green kitchen
orange date scone recipe | healthy green kitchen

You can use a food processor to make these if you want to speed things up (and a food processor does make incorporating the butter into the dough a snap), but I made the recipe by hand and it worked out fine. I imagine you can substitute another type of dried fruit for the dates: the recipe in Irish Pantry features currants, but raisins or dried berries would work, too…you take your pick. Lemon zest and juice can certainly be used instead of the orange zest and juice, if you like, but I do like the orange date combo, I must say.

orange date scone recipe | healthy green kitchen
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Change. It’s something I think and talk about quite a bit. I even wrote a whole book
on the subject :)

Sometimes I hear from folks who wish to make some sort of change in their life. They tell me they’d really like to get from point “A” to point “B”. But they don’t know how to make that happen.

What I always tell them is “congratulations!”. Because wanting to make a change (ie being motivated) is awesome…really awesome. It’s where change begins.

I think of the process of permanent habit change as a journey over stepping stones. Being motivated means you’re standing on the very first stone. Take the next step and you’ll be on your way.

As you travel over the stones, you may be tempted to take giant leaps in order to speed things up; maybe you think you can handle skipping over a stone or two. Try not to do that, though. Focus on going slow and on taking small steps.

You may trip and even fall; maybe you’ll take a step or two backwards. On these occasions you will probably find yourself frustrated and questioning the whole process…wanting to give up. Know that it is natural and normal to feel this way…setbacks are pretty much inevitable on any journey, including the journey of change.

Be kind to yourself when things aren’t going as you planned. It’s totally ok to stop and take breaks, and to rest, when you need to. But after you rest, keep moving forward. Keep taking those small steps, because with each small step, you’re practicing your new habit. You don’t have to be anywhere close to perfect…you just have to be consistent. Soon, your new habit will become a permanent change!

I have seen small steps work their magic in my own life many times. As an example, I recently went from from someone who had never touched a barbel to someone who lifts heavy weights at the gym 4 days a week (and loves it). This did not happen overnight, though: it has taken more than a year for me to get to this point.

squats 550

I was motivated to learn about and then progress with weight training, so I took the steps necessary to make that happen. These steps included finding a gym where I am comfortable, getting to the the gym on a regular basis, working with coaches, asking for and incorporating feedback, doing research on my own, tweaking the way I eat, and getting lots of rest.

It’s not all “rainbows and unicorns”, though. Some days I feel tired. Or sore. Progressing slowly often tests my patience and sometimes my workout doesn’t go as well as I planned. Sometimes I can’t go to the gym when I want to because: life. But week in and week out I do go when I can…I am consistent.

So if you want to make a change- any kind of change (diet, lifestyle, attitude, etc)- embrace the process as a journey. Focus on taking those small steps and on being consistent, not perfect. Keep moving forward (but don’t sweat the occasional stalls or steps backwards too much).

You’ll get there.

Happy New Year everyone! Yes, I know I am days late in wishing you my very best for the coming year, but my holiday break was pretty busy: my dad got married (yay!) and we went away to visit my husband’s family. (I also may or may not have spent a day or two in my pajamas binge-watching Drop Dead Diva but don’t tell anyone about that, ok?)

2014 has kicked off with me doing something new and completely out of my comfort zone: radio interviews to discuss my book One Simple Change: Surprisingly Easy Ways to Transform Your Life; I’ve done 6 so far. The very first one I did was LIVE and ONE HOUR LONG, with call-in participation from viewers. I was terrified beforehand and did a lot of sweating while I was on the call. The ones since then have been shorter but they are still a bit stressful for me, not going to lie.

During these radio interviews, I’ve been talking a lot about the overriding concept of my book…the idea of making one small change at a time. I’ve been talking about why it’s important to take things slow, and to become comfortable with the fact that permanent positive shifts in your health and well-being do not happen overnight. My feeling is that if I can convince one person to stop doing extreme things (such as lengthy juice cleanses, diets that eliminate carbohydrates, or exercising for hours a day) in the name of health, then I will have succeeded in what I set out to do in writing this book. Small tweaks to the way you eat, your lifestyle, and your attitude work just fine…they work better than fine, actually. Small changes can be really powerful if your goal is to have a happy, healthy life.

If you are wondering exactly what kind of information is in One Simple Change, you should know that while I do share my nutritional philosophy throughout the book, there’s much more to One Simple Change than that. I touch on many, many other things that come into play when you are approaching your health in a more natural and holistic way, such as sleep, exercise, and stress management. Some chapters are devoted to matters related to living in a more eco-conscious manner. There are also 15 nourishing recipes. My friend Kaela called it “The Self Help Book for People Who Hate Self Help Books” which made me laugh (but it’s really true).

I don’t expect everyone to love everything about the book, but I really do believe there is something for everyone in One Simple Change. I even find myself re-reading specific sections and applying them to my own life lately…this may seem ironic but I need to take my own advice sometimes!

The first printing of the book sold out but more are on the way. My publisher tells me One Simple Change should be back in stock Amazon.com and elsewhere next week, which is great. Once again, thank you to everyone who has purchased the book and let me know that you enjoyed it! Cheers to change! I plan to continue celebrating healthy, simple lifestyle changes on my blog throughout 2014 and I can’t wait to share many more posts with you.

As I mentioned above, there are 15 recipes in One Simple Change. These are recipes I chose to include because they are somehow related to the content of the book. This homemade yogurt recipe, for example, comes from the chapter titled “Cook More” but it’s also related to the chapter called “Get Some Culture”, which is about eating more cultured/lacto-fermented foods.

diy yogurt | healthy green kitchen

Yogurt made with live cultures is high in protein, calcium, and probiotics, which aid the digestive system. I’m a big fan of low-tech yogurt making; you don’t need any fancy equipment to make wholesome plain yogurt.

diy yogurt | healthy green kitchen
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How to make vegetable stock | www.healthygeenkitchen.com

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Glad in conjunction with their #SAVEITSUNDAY program. With #SAVEITSUNDAY, Glad hopes to educate the public about the consequences of food waste, and I am proud they’ve asked me to be a part of the program. I am being compensated to share my #SAVEITSUNDAY experiences; all opinions are 100% my own.

I make lots of soup this time of year and I rely on homemade stocks to get the most delicious results. I use chicken (or turkey) stock most of the time, but I occasionally use vegetable stock instead. Vegetable stock is an obvious necessity if you don’t eat (or if you are cooking for someone who doesn’t eat) animal foods, but I think its value is even greater than that.

Because I have been writing monthly posts about things we can all do to combat food waste, I am hyper focused on making sure I use up all the vegetables that I buy lately. Homemade vegetable stock is a really great way to get something out of vegetables that are a bit past their prime. It’s a way to avoid tossing something that’s still useful in the trash or compost.

By following Glad’s protection pointers, I’ve learned how to extend the life of many of the fresh foods that I purchase starting the day I buy them. But there are still the odd items that get forgotten at the bottom of the crisper, you know? I am talking about the carrots that get a little withered, the greens that turn a little not-so-green, and the herbs that don’t find their way into recipes. These, along with the scraps and trimmings (like cabbage cores and broccoli stalks) that I purposefully save can all be “upcycled” into a flavorful stock!

veggies for stock | www.healthygreenkitchen.com
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I have a lovely relationship with a few different publishing houses and I am so thrilled when they send me newly released cookbooks. I was looking at my shelves the other day and realized they’re positively bursting, though…I really have too many cookbooks right now. So I’ve decided to pass some of them on to a lucky reader; I’ll also give that reader a signed copy of my new book!

Big Book Giveaway | www.healthygreenkitchen.com

The copy of my book is brand new, of course, and most of the other books are very new, as well (about half have not been used at all). A couple are gently used and/or have a little tear of the dust jacket near the bottom of the spine. The Food52 Cookbook is a few years old: I am giving it away because I have an extra copy.

Here’s what’s included in this big book giveaway:

One Simple Change: Surprisingly Easy Ways to Transform Your Life: this is my book! It was released 2 weeks ago and the first printing sold out quickly. Here’s your opportunity to get a signed copy for free.

Glazed, Filled, Sugared & Dipped: Easy Doughnut Recipes to Fry or Bake at Home: make homemade donuts! This book is new: I made a few of the recipes and they are yummy.

American Heart Association The Go Red For Women Cookbook: Cook Your Way to a Heart-Healthy Weight and Good Nutrition: this one literally just arrived in my mailbox. It’s pretty but it’s not for me.

VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health . . . for Good: I flipped through this one but it’s not for me, either.

The Food52 Cookbook: 140 Winning Recipes from Exceptional Home Cooks: As I mentioned above, I have 2 copies of this book so it’s time to give one away. Two of my recipes are in here and it’s a great book :)

Ten Dollar Dinners: 140 Recipes & Tips to Elevate Simple, Fresh Meals Any Night of the Week: I like Melissa D’Arabian and this book a lot, but I don’t really cook from this book so I want someone else to have it.

The French Market Cookbook: Vegetarian Recipes from My Parisian Kitchen: this is a really sweet little book. Clotilde Dusoulier’s work is always charming.

The Casserole Queens Make-a-Meal Cookbook: Mix and Match 100 Casseroles, Salads, Sides, and Desserts: I haven’t even opened this book…casseroles are not really my thing.

Michael Symon’s 5 in 5: 5 Fresh Ingredients + 5 Minutes = 120 Fantastic Dinners: I haven’t had a chance to open this one either so I figure I should pass it along.

Nigellissima: Easy Italian-Inspired Recipes: I LOVE Nigella Lawson and her books. This one is lovely but I have too many Italian cookbooks already.

So, there you go: one of you will win all 10 of these books! So that I don’t incur crazy shipping charges, this giveaway is only open to my readers in the USA. The Rafflecopter widget will be open for entries until December 23, 2013 at 12:00 EST. I won’t be able to ship the books in time for Christmas but I will get them out to the winner asap.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ps If you are interested in other opportunities to win my book, please check out the following giveaways from some of my very favorite bloggers:

Food Loves Writing
Sassy Radish
Lucid Food