Going Nutty

On a recent visit to San Francisco’s Rainbow Grocery, I discovered a wonderful Hazelnut Almond Butter from Riverview Orchards. Nut butter is a pantry staple in my home. It is perfect on toast, seasonal fruits, morning oatmeal, in baked goods…  So why do nuts get such a bad rap?  Yes, nuts contain fat (good fat, mind you) and have a naturally higher caloric content then, say, a rice cake- but eating a healthy serving nuts has many health benefits. If you are calorie-concerned, might I suggest these nifty 100-calorie packs in a variety of flavors.

Here’s a shortlist of my favorite nuts and just some of their health benefits:

Almonds:  One ounce has as many heart-healthy polyphenols as a cup of green tea and 1/2 cup of steamed broccoli combined; it may also help lower LDL cholesterol

Hazelnuts: Rich in arginine, has high levels of vitamin E, Folate, and B vitamins

Cashews: Rich in Copper, Magnesium, and Calcium and  high in oleic acid (a monounsaturated- read, good fat, found in olive oil

Pecans: Highest overall concentration of disease fighting antioxidants among all nuts.  Plus, just one ounce contains 10% of your daily fiber!

Pistachios: A daily serving or two may decrease LDL cholesterol levels by as much as 12% and are a good source of potassium and iron.  

Brazil nuts: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids (great for your skin and combating depression), and selenium

…Put the rice cake down and step away slowly.  

Happy, healthy snacking!


Arugula Pecan Pesto *Cheese Free*

I absolutely love making pestos in bulk.  I store and freeze them in 4-ounce containers. They thaw beautifully and are so versatile. Use pestos for salad dressings, marinating meats and fish, or simply instead of jarred pasta sauce.

But a cheese free pesto, really?  Yes.  Here’s why.  

1. They freeze better and last longer without the dairy.

2. What’s a finished pasta dish without some cheese, right? By omitting it in the original recipe, there is less guilt involved when loading on the parm!

3. Ever have a vegan or lactose-free friend come by for dinner?  I see a lovely dairy free pasta dish in their future…

Need I say more?…

You can substitute a plethora of fresh baby greens and herbs like spinach, basil, cilantro, even parsley. Pecans are less buttery than the traditional pine nut pesto, but still add some protein and substance. Try using almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, or omit if you’re allergic!

Arugula Pecan Pesto


5 (packed) cups baby arugula (this is about 1/2 a pound)

1/2 cup pecans

2 large cloves garlic, halved

1 t Celtic sea salt

1/2 t freshly ground pepper

1 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil


Place all ingredients except olive oil in a blender or food processor.  Pulse until greens and nuts are finely chopped.  With the motor running, pour in the olive oil until just blended. Over-processing your pestos may cause your greens to turn brown (and really, who wants a brown pesto?).  Pour pesto into 4-ounce plastic, or freezer-safe glass containers.  Label and store.  Your pesto will keep up to 2 months in the freezer.  I prefer to thaw at room temp or in the fridge overnight. Enjoy!

Creamy Rosemary Potato Leek Soup

This soup is great for Fall weather.  Easily made vegan with the substitution of vegetable stock. It also freezes well and is easily scaled up for crowds.  Perfect as a meal, as a side or starter.  Serves 4-6.


3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

3 Cups sliced leeks, (white and light green parts-discard the fibrous tops)

1 clove Garlic, minced

1 sprig fresh Rosemary, or 1 t dried

6 Cups Chicken (or veggie) stock

1 1/2 pounds Potatoes, skin on, cut into 1” dice (I like to you red potatoes, but if using a heartier variety, like Russets, I recommend peeling)

Salt and Pepper to taste


In a large pot, heat 3 T olive oil.  Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic & rosemary and cook for half a minute, careful not to burn the garlic. Add the stock, potatoes. Cover and simmer gently for about 30 minutes, until the veggies are fork tender.

Remove from heat. Remove the rosemary sprig. I highly recommend blending with an immersion blender, but a regular blender or vitamix will do as well.  Puree until smooth and creamy.  Serve with a sprinkle of parsley.  I sometimes like to add a dallop of greek yogurt, too!

Raw Zucchini Ribbon Salad

Those of us in the Northeast are experiencing a cold snap!  While Fall is upon us, you can still snag summer veggies at your local greenmarket!  I love this raw zucchini salad.  The vinegar lightly pickles the zucchini and the tomatoes add a bit of sweetness.  Enjoy!

Raw Zucchini Ribbon Salad


3 Zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds)

2 Yellow Squash (about 1 pound)

1 cup Grape or Cherry Tomatoes (one medium sized heirloom tomato works well, too!)

1/2 cup fresh herb, chopped (I like flat leaf parsley, basil, or cilantro)

1/4 cup Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 T Lemon Juice

1 Garlic Clove

1/2 t Celtic Sea Salt

Pepper to taste


1. In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, lemon juice, herbs, salt, pepper, garlic, and olive oil.

2. Wash and trim ends off squash and zucchini.  Using a peeler, shave zucchini ribbons directly into vinegar mixture.

3. Toss well, add pepper to taste.

4. Halve the tomatoes (if using cherry or grape).  If using a larger heirloom tomato, chop into medium dice.

Something to look forward to…

Hello All!

It’s been a busy summer.  Apologies for lack of posts, here are some upcoming posts to look forward to:

Adrianna brews kombucha at home

Coconut Water Controversy: What’s the buzz all about?  Why you may want to add coconut water to your hydration regimen.  Also, we’ve tested out all the most popular (and under-the-radar) brands.  You’ll get a firsthand report on which are the tastiest!

Brilliant Breakfast Ideas: from smoothies to scrambles, Adrianna will share some healthy and satiating ways to start your day off right.

Post Labor Day Summer Detox:  Simple recipes and tips to getting yourself back in the swing of things.

Chipotle Lime Sweet Potato Fries

Memorial Day weekend is upon us and so is barbeque season!  This recipe for Chipotle Lime Sweet Potato Fries is a healthy twist on the conventional spuds and couldn’t be easier to make. This recipe will feed a crowd, but you can scale it up or down very easily.

Chipotle Lime Sweet Potato Fries

4 pounds peeled sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch wedges.

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 t chipotle powder

1 T Maple Syrup (optional)

1/3 cup fresh lime juice

1 t celtic sea salt


1. Preheat oven to 400*.

2. Whisk evoo, chipotle powder, salt, lime juice, and maple syrup (if using).

3. Place potato wedges into a large bowl and toss with liquid mixture.

4. Arrange wedges in a single layer on a baking sheet.

5. Cover pan lightly and roast for thirty minutes, tossing every 10.

6. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes.

7.  Sprinkle chipotle powder and any additional salt, if needed, toss, and enjoy!