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I love cooking with fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley, mint and chives but coming home after a busy day and chopping herbs can be a drag, don’t you think? I know many of you feel the same way and this is why it is so important to prep your food for the week so your beautiful fresh foods won’t go bad.

I’m sharing one of my favorite kitchen tips for you. For most herbs like the ones mentioned above, quickly rinse and thoroughly dry by shaking the bunch outside or letting sit in the sun for a few minutes and then wrap in a clean kitchen towel and press gently to remove any excess moisture. Once dry, chop herbs like you see in the pictures below and store them in clean glass jars, leaving at least an inch on top for you to place a bunched up dry paper towel (preferably unbleached) to cover the jar completely but loosely and refrigerate.

I have stored cilantro and parsley like this for ten days in the fridge and it remained bright green until the last day. Chives and mint will store for about five days.

I love adding herbs to any dish because they bring a fresh brightness to it as well as tons of antioxidants and minerals. Also, on a busy week, adding herbs elevates the most simple foods like boiled potatoes, pastas, tuna salads and grains and it feels so great to indulge in something so beautiful that took so little effort and time to make..

Basil and other herbs are not meant for this method but for tips on how to prep those and and your other fresh foods from the market join me for a Shop, Prep and Cook class at the Santa Monica Farmers Market‬ ‪and ‎Mar Vista Farmers Market.‬ Just stay in the loop on my Facebook page for classes, website and ebooks launch and culinary tours too. xo

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It’s Pollinator Week this week so I wanted to reach into the archives and consolidate some of my most relevant posts that will help you be a connect better to your honeybee friend and her liquid gold honey.

Eating local honey has been touted as the only way to choose honey for generations but does this rule of thumb still reign supreme in our modern world? With our environment and honeybee population in peril and every person needing to do their part to help tilt the fate in a more positive direction, I say it is more important to consume honey made by happy and healthy bees than local honey so if that means choosing honey from Wyoming because your beekeepers in Montana use acid in their hives, then so be it.

To make these kinds of decisions we need to engage the beekeepers that provide us our honey. There are two ways you can do this; either meet your beekeepers face-to-face at farmer’s markets and other community / farm / apiary hosting events or email brands and visit websites and social media pages of honey brands you are interested in purchasing. Once you do one of these two things you can ask some very important questions and determine if that beekeeper maintains a sustainable and treatment-free practice. Continue Reading »

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As many of you may already know, I have a GINORMOUS issue with nut milks! Like my other enemy, canola oil, nut milks are marketed as healthy when in fact though they pose different risks than conventional dairy, they do come with their own set of problems. Ingested regularly, many of them definitely pose a burden to your body.

Like cosmetics, food is loaded with fillers, additives, flavors and emulsifiers that have never been safety tested for human consumption and so now that you know this, I suggest you do your absolute best to avoid those ingredients. Carrageenan, guar gum, xanthan gum, maltodextrin, tapioca starch, natural flavors and added sugars and fats are wreaking havoc on our health and we don’t even know it. We just keep blaming gluten.

Try your best to find packaged food products that are exactly what they say they are. Ideally almond milk would be almonds and water but that’s almost impossible to do on a mass scale so instead narrow your findings down and find the best alternative with the least ingredients.

Below I listed some of the cleanest packaged nut and soymilks that I could find. I also made sure to link recipes to make your own nutmilks and offer some great Budget For Organic tips. Continue Reading »

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Budget For Organic.

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If you shop smart are flexible and open to new foods and prep your food for the week, eating well does not need to be expensive or so time consuming! Let me explain…

Have An Open Mind and Get Creative.

I made the most delicious dinner yesterday with six small blue potatoes from the farmer’s market, one carmerlized yellow onion and about 1/3 of a bag of frozen organic peas. With onions carmelizing in grapeseed oil with a little salt, thyme and a small Thai chili, I boiled my potatoes and drained them in a colander over the frozen peas.  While they sat, I let onions get a tad more brown and finally when all was done, I took my little potato masher, crushed my potatoes and peas in a bowl with a tad salt,  tad butter and some olive oil and topped with carmelized onion and chopped parsley (I already had it chopped and stored in fridge for easy breezy access). This delicious meal was fast, super inexpensive at $4 max and comforting. It was also clean food: no additives, no canola or vegetable oil and lots of nutrients, fiber and protein from those peas. Now that’s value!

If you think outside the box, combine whole  foods you already enjoy and keep it simple, you too can create fast and tasty meals for pennies on the dollar.

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Be Versatile, Buy Bulk and Use Your Freezer.

My porridge with buckwheat groats, flax and hemp seeds is a perfect nutrient and fiber rich base that is not only super filling, loaded with heart healthy oils, and inexpensive but also very versatile. Think a breakfast porridge with toasted pecans, maple syrup and fresh berries or a savory porridge with roasted tomatoes, braised greens, fresh herbs and a fried egg on top. Think using this to make a sweet griddled brunch cake topped with warm jam and ricotta or using the base with greens, beans and other veggies for a hefty veggie burger that is loaded with protein. You can even add a heaping tablespoon or two to your favorite smoothie!

Buy these ingredients in the bulk section for super savings and guess what else? This porridge is completely gluten-free, grain-free and tastes great after freezing so make plenty to always have on hand.

Ask For What You Want.

If you engage your farmer, use all the green tops that come with your carrots, beets, fennel and turnips and buy in bulk, the farmer’s market doesn’t have to be expensive. Cook those greens! Also, at the farmer’s market you don’t have to spend more buying everything certified organic. Engage your farmer and learn about their practices and you will come to find out that many are just as sustainable as a certified organic farm but for financial and other reasons, have chosen not to certify their land.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask for a few things: Tomatoes for example are super expensive BUT if you don’t mind yours bruised and battered (great for stewing and sauces) then you can get them for so much less if you ask your farmer if they have any because guess what? They usually do and they put them aside for folks just like you but you’ll never know if you don’t ask. This also goes for apples, peaches, avocadoes and apricots and other soft fruits and veggies. A farmer would much rather sell them than feed them to their pigs.

And keep in mikd: Don’t be afraid to ask for a deal on all your farm fresh goodies ONLY if you are buying a lot from one stand. I do not recommend buying one bunch of carrots and asking for a discount because that is not being thoughtful to the expense and labor the farmer exhausts to bring us their bounty BUT if you are buying a few bunches of this, a few of that with some of this and some of that, definitely ask!

Some more tips on shopping the market on a budget courtesy of Food52

Stretch Your Dollar With Animal Protein.

If you still believe that you must eat meat with every meal, you are doing a disservice to your budget and your health but if you must then be smart about it. Eat less and learn how to make it last through the week. One chicken breast can be three chicken salad sandwiches if you add lots of herbs, potato, celery, red onion, carrots and lettuces. Make ragus, soups and stews because you can use more grains and veggies to stretch the dish and favorites like shepherd’s pie and casseroles are perfect budget-friendly meals.

Also, if you are on a budget (or not) never throw away your bones! Make stock to make more meals (soups, pilafs and beans). Less waste + more mindfulness = a little extra for a rainy day.

xo

 

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