My Favorite Fall Smoothie

Now that the leaves are slowly changing, the air is getting cooler, and sun is setting earlier, it’s time to break out my favorite autumn smoothie recipe. It’s warming, satisfying and even provides some kick to fight off those allergies and cold symptoms.

Be sure to sue organic apples in your smoothie. According to the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list, apples have been found to contain the most pesticide residue (a total of 47 different types of pesticide residues) of conventional fruits and vegetables. And since eating the skin of the apple is a great source of fiber, but also where many of the pesticide residue resides, paying a little bit more for organic is essential to stay healthy.

applesWarming Apple Smoothie

1 Organic Apple
1/4 cup organic greek yogurt (I prefer full fat)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger
1 tablespoon hemp protein powder
1 tablespoon organic peanut butter (or your favorite nut butter)
1 cup almond milk

Blend all the ingredients together in your favorite mixer and you’re set! It’s the perfect way to use some of those apples that are ripe for the picking this time of year!

Enjoying Fresh Spring Produce!

I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t be happier with the amount of fresh produce making its way onto my plate lately. The cold winter of the Northeast made way for a shaky spring, but now we’re reaping the benefits. Just as summer is approaching, we’re seeing an array of vegetables from every lettuce you could imagine to an assortment of radishes, peas, and cauliflower.

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Fresh Spring Lettuce

If you’re lucky enough to have your own garden, you know all about the radishes and lettuces. I’m having lots of fun eating my radishes raw, cooking them with some butter, and adding them to pretty much every salad, sandwich, and taco I’ve made in the past few weeks. From Easter Egg radishes to Cherry Belles and even French Breakfast, I can’t get enough of them. Oh, and don’t even think about throwing away those radish tops – they’re delicious thrown in salads!

Eating locally and in season guarantees the best tasting produce. It’s also what our body naturally craves – right now. There’s a reason that lettuce grows right before the hot days of summer hit – we need to freshen and lighten up after all that hibernating we’ve been doing all winter! Listen to what your body is craving and enjoy the vegetables of the season. Spring weather offers so many great healing and detoxifying foods for your liver and blood including garlic, onion, and dandelion greens. It’s the perfect way to rejuvenate your body for the hot months ahead.

Less miles = fresher food. And in the spring, summer and fall months we should be enjoying the freshest food possible since we do live in the “Garden State!”

Now that you know how good it is for you, it’s time to make your way to the local farmer’s market. Shopping at the farmer’s market will introduce you to the taste of food – the real taste of food. You’ll be eating food that was picked literally yesterday (or maybe the day before), which when compared to supermarkets that offer food that was picked a week or more ago, way before it was ripe, is a tremendous taste improvement. When you’re there, be sure to ask the farmer about their practices. Many small farmers may use organic practices, but are unable to afford the certification by the USDA. You can also give yourself a pat on the back for being environmentally conscious when you purchase the spring kale from your local organic farmer rather than the kale at the supermarket that was grown across the country.

Now that you’re salivating, here’s a list of produce that’s in season in Zone 7 (aka New Jersey). Head out to your local farmer’s market and enjoy the produce!

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Just Picked Produce!

Fruits: Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Rhubarb

Alliums: onions, Garlic Scapes (MY FAVORITE!), Spring Garlic, Chives, Leeks, Scallions

Vegetables: Peas, Kohlrabi, Squash Blossoms, Hot Peppers

Greens: Kale, Collards, Spinach, Chard

Salad Greens: Arugula, Spring Mix

Root Vegetables: Radishes, Beets, Young Potatoes, Carrots

Herbs:Rosemary, Thyme, Mint, Sage (the list goes on and on!)

 

Not sure where your local farmer’s market is? Check out Local Harvest where you can enter your zip code and be directed to your nearest farmer for produce, eggs, milk, and meat.

 

It All Starts with DIRT!

Dirt!The weather is finally starting to get warm. The sun is higher in the sky and staying out past it’s winter bedtime. The shades of winter are blossoming into the bright greens of Spring. All this means summer to me. Hot days (which I love), warm nights, and fresh produce.

What’s a better way to hang out with Mother Nature than to start your own garden in your backyard? You’ll enjoy the fruits of your labor while spending some quality time getting down and dirty.

So what are some of the things you need to know when you start an organic garden? Well, you need to know your soil. If you live near the ocean, you may have sandy soil or maybe it’s clay or silt (or loam). It’s best to understand what your soil needs to be in balance so you can grow great tomatoes, cucumbers, and one of my favorites – herbs, all types of herbs!

 

Soil TypeHere’s a quick tip on how to figure out what soil you have:

  1. Fill a quart jar with a third of topsoil, then top with water until almost full.
  2. Screw the lid on tight and shake until all of the soil has dissolved.
  3. Leave the jar alone and let the large particles begin to sink to the bottom.
  4. After a minute, the sand portion of the soil will sink to the bottom, mark it on the jar.
  5. Now go do something fun and leave the jar alone. As you’re out having fun, the finer silt particles will settle into the sand leaving you with an array of different colors indicating various types of particles.
  6. The next morning, check on your jar and mark the thickness of the next layer, which is clay. On top of the clay will be a thin layer of organic matter while the erst of it will be floating in the water. If there’s no organic matter in the water, you probably need to add some to help your soil out, but more on that later!

So now that you know what type of soil you have, you can be more prepared on how to balance it and make it the optimal home for your fruits, vegetables and herbs. In my next post, I’ll give the elements of a balanced soil and help you turn your sandy, clay or silt soil into a vegetable’s dream!