Fresh Vegetable Juice #SAVEITSUNDAY

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 am a really big fan of fresh juice. I don’t drink it every day or anything (nor do I engage in juice fasting), but I’m always happy when I do get the juicer out to make a nourishing drink. I enjoy all sorts of fruit and vegetable combinations (depending on what I happen to have in the refrigerator): I even included a chapter on fresh juice in my book.

Carrots and beets are both root vegetables and they are both quite sturdy (meaning: they keep extremely well). It is because of this sturdiness that I wanted to highlight them this month, since my #SAVEITSUNDAY posts are all about being mindful of “loving food more to waste it less”.

Carrots and beets can last for up to a month if you store them correctly: it’s best to keep them unpeeled (remove the tops if they are part of a bunch) in the refrigerator. The folks at Glad recommend placing the unpeeled carrots and/or beets in a large plastic bag (such as a zipper quart or gallon-size bag) and squeezing as much air as possible out of the bag when sealing. They’ll then do best in the crisper drawer. (To learn more about the best ways to prepare and store your produce, please visit Glad’s Food Storage Protection Pointers.)

carrot, beet, apple juice | www.healthygreenkitchen.com

It’s Valentine’s Day…why not make fresh vegetable juice for yourself or someone you love? Not just today, but any day? It’s an excellent way to bump up the amount of raw foods in your diet and each glass is extremely nutrient dense. Plus, this juice has such a lovely hue thanks to the inclusion of beet.

What about all the pulp, though…the fibrous by-product of juicing? We don’t want to waste that, right? Well, The Kitchn’s got you covered with 7 ideas for its use, Vegetarian Times has 20 suggestions for using pulp, and here’s a whole Pinterest board dedicated to not wasting the pulp when you juice.

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Meyer Lemon Ricotta Bars

If you’ve been reading my site for some time, you likely know that I do not label the way I eat. I don’t follow any particular diet or identify with any particular eating strategy. I eat whole/real/nourishing foods the majority of the time but I also eat things that don’t fit these descriptors when I want them…I don’t exclude anything from my diet unless I don’t like it. This moderation approach works really, really well for me.

Recently my friend/writer extraordinaire Peter Barrett interviewed me about my book for a local publication called The Chronogram. He really captured what I am about- he called the piece The Moderator!- and I could not be more pleased with the article. I encourage you to read it here.

lemons | www.healthygreenkitchen.com
lemon bars | www.healthygreenkitchen.com

In other news, January was a rough month. It was cold and filled with a lot of bad news. I am hoping for warmer, happier days in February, and these Meyer Lemon Ricotta Bars symbolize that hope.

lemon ricotta bars | www.healthygreenkitchen.com

If super tart is what you seek in a lemon dessert, these may not be for you (try these lemon bars instead). Meyer lemons are sweeter than regular lemons and the ricotta cheese “mellows” these bars, so they won’t make you pucker up. They are bursting with lovely citrus flavor, though; you can find the recipe I used for inspiration over on food52. (The easy crust recipe comes from One Bowl Baking: Simple, From Scratch Recipes for Delicious Desserts.)

There is sugar in this recipe and as Peter wrote in the Chronogram article, my stance on sugar has really softened in recent years. Though I wrote in my book that it is best avoided, I currently eat sweet foods, such as these lemon bars, without any guilt or worry. Do I eat 5 of them at a time on an empty stomach? No. I cut them very small and eat one or two at a time after a meal. This is moderation in action. You can find my current thoughts on sugar in this post, if you’d like more clarification on this topic.

I sure hope your February is as lovely as these Lemon Ricotta Bars :)

lemon ricotta bars | www.healthygreenkitchen.com

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Seared Scallops with Gremolata

Thank you all so very much for your kind words after my dog died. We miss Jezebel tons but we are keeping busy (and showering her brother Jake with lots of extra attention)…we’re doing okay :)

For the past week and a half, my husband and I have been home while our kids are away at camp. It’s been a really wonderful “staycation”…the type of experience I recommend for all parents, if possible! My husband usually travels quite a bit for work and is only home on the weekends, which means we don’t get to spend that much time together. Having almost 2 straight weeks for just the two of us to hang out has been really, really amazing.

Earlier in the summer, we came to the realization that our house was in major need of deep cleaning, some painting, and a bunch of small fixes here and there. We also hatched a plan to redecorate our kids rooms. With the kiddos gone, we’ve been working steadily to accomplish these tasks (except for the painting…we hired someone to do that) and it feels really good. We rented a 10 yard dumpster and got rid of SO many things that were cluttering up our home; we’ve also donated lots of items and even sold some at a yard sale.

In addition to all the working (and multiple trips to Ikea), we’ve played a lot, too. We’ve gone on lots of walks and hikes, and watched a bunch of movies…Crazy, Stupid Love was my favorite! We’ve also been cooking a lot. Because our kids don’t really like fish or seafood, and we don’t eat it much when they are around, we’ve had it for a lot of our meals. We thought this Seared Scallops recipe was really terrific.

Scallops with Gremolata | Healthy Green Kitchen

I adore scallops. They are a great source of protein and they are SO quick to make…seriously, this recipe only takes about 10 minutes. I adapted it slightly from my friend Lynda and it’s a keeper, for sure.

I love the idea of the Pea Purée on which Lynda served her scallops, but peas aren’t in season now so we enjoyed ours over chopped broccoli and yellow squash (from our garden) sautéed with garlic and olive oil instead. I think these scallops would also be great over rice (or any grain, really); pasta would work, too (but seriously…when does pasta NOT work?).

I LOVE the Alaskan Weathervane scallops from Vital Choice(<--affiliate link). They are pricey but delicious, and wild/sustainably harvested. I think they are worth the occasional indulgence, but otherwise just use the best quality scallops you can find. As for the gremolata, you can play with it, if you like: parsley and mint are more "traditional" gremolata ingredients, I believe. I like using preserved lemon rind because it's so flavorful (instead of "regular" lemon zest); if you do this omit the salt in the gremolata, since preserved lemons are already quite salty.

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Eating for Health and Happiness, plus Yellow Cake with Lemon Curd

Lemon Cake from Healthy Green Kitchen

Lemon Cake from Healthy Green Kitchen

I wrote this post about my brief experience with Paleo, and it seems to have ruffled some feathers. I did not expect a slice of cake to be so controversial.

A few people seem to think I said Paleo was not a good way to eat. I never said that. I said I loved the whole foods emphasis and that it may be beneficial for people with certain health concerns, but that it’s not right for me. I don’t have health issues and I don’t do well with restriction. If you’re Paleo (or vegan, or something else) and what you are doing works for you, that’s great. I mean that and I said so in the article. But I do feel very strongly (and I said this in the article, too) that you don’t have to follow a restrictive diet to be a healthy person. I wrote that piece for everyone trapped in the mindset that you must to go to extremes with your food to be healthy. I want you to know that it doesn’t have to be that way.

Yes, elimination diets can be helpful. I wrote about why you may want to eliminate wheat, gluten, and grains here. I wrote about dairy here. And sugar here. There’s a chapter on food sensitivities in my book (hooray! my book’s already up on Amazon! The cover is going to change a bit, but still! Can you tell I am excited?).

But it’s my feeling that elimination diets should be a temporary aspect of healing. Work on strengthening your digestion so you’ll be able to eat the foods that cause you trouble again someday (not with celiac disease or a life-threatening food allergy unfortunately though…you must stay away from those foods for good). Focus on ultimately eating more, not less.

Let’s be reasonable and use common sense here, folks. Let’s eat lots of real foods. Traditional foods. Eating like our ancestors did is great, but I really don’t think we need to go back and emulate the cavemen (who’s really sure how they ate anyway???). How about we just try to eat more like people did before all the processed foods, GMOs, and other undesirable stuff came along? How about we learn to cook and do that more often? How about we eat as organic and local as we can? And how about we don’t freak out SO much about gluten (again, unless you really cannot tolerate it or you have celiac disease) and sugar? I used to tell everyone not to eat gluten and sugar and I used to avoid them for the most part myself. I did that for many months before I even tried Paleo, and it did not make me feel any better than I do now that I’m back to including these in my life. (In fact, I feel healthier now because my mind is at peace since I’m no longer forcing myself not to eat things that I like. When I designate foods as “forbidden”, it brings back the feelings I had back when I used to basically starve myself as a teenager…I think I’ll pass on reliving that.)

Eat plentifully of wholesome stuff and don’t eat so much of the stuff that’s not. But please don’t be “on a diet”: don’t eat for weight loss…eat for your health. Your body needs food (all different kinds and and plenty of it) to do everything it needs to do. Don’t eat too few calories. Or fats. Or carbohydrates. Don’t deny yourself real foods that you enjoy. Move your body! Get lots of deep sleep, and some sunlight. Learn to properly manage stress. Strive for balance in terms of what you eat and in your life as a whole: I think that will go a long way toward helping you get and stay healthy. And happy.

Now here’s that cake I was talking about :)

Yellow Cake with Lemon Curd from Healthy Green Kitchen

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Deb’s Whole Lemon Bars

lemon bars from the smitten kitchen cookbook

As you probably already know (unless you live under a rock), Deb Perelman is one heck of a cook and a seriously terrific writer. I’ve loved her blog for years and years and had a feeling her first cookbook was going to be all sorts of awesome.

It is.

For some reason (probably because I’ve met her a few times and I think she’s a sweetheart), I associate Deb with sweets. I think this is why, upon receipt of her book, I flipped right to the desserts. I love treats that feature citrus in the wintertime, so the Whole Lemon Bars were the first recipe I tried, and I was not disappointed.

lemon bars from the smitten kitchen cookbook

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