Summer Succotash

Late Summer Succotash

Admittedly, I didn’t really know what succotash was until I googled it a few days ago. All I knew is that it had corn in it, and that it was fun to say. I learned that traditional succotash contains lima beans and okra, neither of which I’m a huge fan. So I decided to substitute white beans and peaches. Seems logical, right? This is a loose variation of succotash, but delicious none the less. As summer draws to a close, I want to celebrate the season’s produce and take advantage of its availability while I still can. I included Sungold tomatoes and fresh herbs from my garden (which is about all I have growing right now, my garden skills are weak), and everything else I got at the local farm stand.

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Balsamic vinaigrette and lemon herb vinaigrette salad dressing

Simple Salad Dressing-Two Ways

With these 100+ degree temps we are experiencing here, the last thing I want to do is turn on my oven or stove and cook dinner.  It’s too damn hot to roast a chicken or boil potatoes. That’s why I am turning to salads and smoothies to keep me fueled throughout the day. They are cool and refreshing, and if you do it right, they can easily be turned into a balanced meal.

Today I am sharing my top tips for how to build a drool-worthy salad into a meal so you don’t have to turn your oven on and heat up the whole house. I also have two super simple salad dressing recipes for you, made with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. 

Smart Salads

  1. Start with organic, locally grown greens: I love arugula, romaine, red leaf lettuce, spinach, and butterhead. Use whatever you can find at the farmers market, or better yet, grow the greens yourself! I also like adding fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro (both are detoxifying).
  2. Add colorful veggies: Make your salad interesting by adding different colors and textures. My salads ALWAYS have carrots, purple cabbage, and red peppers. That way I know I am getting a variety of phytonutrients to help fight disease. I also like adding cucumbers, celery, jicama, and tomatoes (if in season). Now, you could call it good there, but if you want a full meal you MUST follow the next 2 steps.
  3. Add protein: Some of my favorites are salmon and tuna (fresh or canned), shredded chicken, and hard boiled eggs. Sardines are great if you like to eat them (I’m still working on that). You could also add beans or lentils. I don’t consider them a great source of protein, but they are a good option if you don’t eat meat or eggs. 
  4. Add healthy fats: This step is very important! Healthy fats will make your salad go a lot further in terms of fueling and satisfying your body. Examples include avocados, olives, nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans), pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and olive oil. 
  5. Top it off with a simple homemade salad dressing

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White Bean Summer Salad

Temperatures are heating up, and for me that means keeping meals light and simple (and the oven OFF). I love eating fresh, seasonal salads for lunch and/or dinner in the summer because they are easy to make, have a cooling effect, and are so very nourishing. This White Bean Summer Salad is the kind of meal I’ve been craving lately. 

The components of this salad are simple, flavorful, and come together quickly. Plus, it contains great sources of protein and healthy fats, so this salad can act as a meal when you don’t feel like cooking. You can use any fresh greens you have on hand. I like arugula for its spiciness and romaine for its crunch, but baby lettuce or spinach would also work well. The lemon vinaigrette pulls it all together, and adds brightness and a touch of sweetness to the salad. Continue Reading

nontoxic skincare, safer skincare

Avoid These Harmful Skincare Ingredients

By now you probably know that I have been focusing more on safe skincare. I am on a journey to heal my own acne-prone skin, and I want to share what I am learning with you. But don’t worry, you can still count on me to share healthy recipes on my blog.

Did you know that the beauty industry is virtually unregulated? There are enough loopholes in the U.S. federal law to allow the cosmetics industry to put unlimited amounts of chemicals into personal care products with no required testing, no monitoring of health effects, and inadequate labeling requirements. In fact, cosmetics are among the least-regulated products on the market. The U.S. has not passed a major federal law to regulate the safety of ingredients used in personal care products since 1938. Continue Reading

Two happy girls! #sitathedog #rescuedog #pnwonderdogs #adoptdontshop #lovethisgirl

My journey to healthy skin

I’ll be the first to admit that I do not have perfect skin. I wish I could title this post “How I healed my acne,” but the truth is, I still break out sometimes. I haven’t found all the answers yet, but in the last few years I have made some significant changes to my diet and skincare routine and my skin has drastically improved.

My struggle with acne began when I was in college and has continued into my adult life. It has caused me a lot of pain, tears, money, and contributed to my insecurities, anxiety, and extreme lack of confidence and self worth. 

I am already a shy person, but the embarrassment of walking around with pimples all over my face made me become even more introverted and socially awkward. It’s hard to be fully present, happy, confident, and strong when you have to hide behind layers of makeup and hear a constant voice in the back of your mind saying “you’re not pretty, smart, or good enough”. This might sound silly to you, but it’s what I went through everyday before my skin started to heal.  Continue Reading