If you’re asking me, broccoli and cheese go together just like peanut butter and jelly or milk and cookies. When creamy melted cheese, particularly cheddar, crosses with the green vegetable, a little magic happens. Of course, adding a little dusting of cheese can punch up nearly anything, but these recipes prove that broccoli and cheese share a beautiful union that can’t be denied (and still manages to be healthy). Though the mention of cheese might raise a few red flags for the health buff, broccoli and cheddar share a friendship of good influences, as a little dose of the good stuff sure goes a long way. Especially if getting your little ones to eat this cruciferous vegetable is a nightly challenge, uniting it with a much-loved indulgence is a sure-fire way to please. Read more
How did This Mama Cooks! On a Diet get started?
I started posting Thanksgiving recipes on my mom blog. Since I love cooking at Thanksgiving, it made sense to start a new blog just to document what I planned to cook that year. From there This Mama Cooks! morphed into a diet blog and then a healthy food and lifestyle blog.
What’s the best tip you can give to busy people looking to get healthy?
Small changes! If you do it all at once, you’ll be overwhelmed and won’t be successful in changing your life for the better.
Which This Mama Cooks! On a Diet recipe do you recommend for someone looking to please everyone in the family?
Chili made in a slow cooker. My favorite is Healthy Slow Cooker Pumpkin and Bean Chili (pictured above). You can quickly put it together before leaving for work. It’s delicious. And the kids won’t notice that you snuck in healthy vegetables and high fiber beans.
Tell us your story. Why did you embrace a no-salt diet?
Shortly after my twenty-first birthday, I went from wrestling for the perfect dorm room to fighting for my life. The autoimmune disease, Lupus, was aggressively attacking my kidneys and brain. After three months of chemotherapy, dialysis, and amazing medical care, I survived; my kidneys, however did not.
From the beginning, though, I was determined to do whatever I could, on top of medicine, to give myself the best chance of staying strong. That meant taking on a strict, no-salt, low-sodium diet. But as a very stubborn twenty-something, I was equally resolute to taste and experience everything life had to offer me. That meant rewriting the low-sodium rules.
Today, I live on medication and diet alone, having been off of dialysis and the kidney transplant for over seven years. I cook with love and respect and joy. I eat more adventurously than I did before restrictions.
How do you go about altering your favorite recipes?
I love the task of “salt-freeing” super salty recipes. Like an Iron Chef challenge, I feel like I get total creative license in order to successfully use the secret ingredient (or, in this case, not use it). Which means that I start with a traditional dish, and using imaginative and playful swaps, then I end up with something familiar but new and fun.
Oftentimes, we go to great caloric lengths to cool down, whether it’s slurping down a fluorescent margarita by the pool or downing a teetering ice cream cone. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
If there’s anything that melon’s good for, it’s cooling you down. And the refreshing capabilities of cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon go far beyond the category’s prominent presence in fruit salad. On the contrary, melon does wonders in a salad, adds creaminess to a cool soup or can be transformed into something entirely unexpected. Melon fettuccini, anyone? Unlike other ultra-tangy, sugary fruits, melon serves as a foundation for bigger things. Seriously, the options are endless.
After gaining inspiration from healthy blogs, Gina Matsoukas embarked on a major lifestyle change two years ago. Ever since, Gina has been an avid runner and a healthy eater—with a healthy blog to match. Gina’s goals don’t stop at her own body. She created Running to the Kitchen to share her healthy lifestyle and to demonstrate the possibilities within reach for everyone. With each post, she inspires others with her wholesome recipes, exercise musings and excitement for healthy living.
What are some of the healthy blogs that inspired you to adopt a healthier lifestyle?
Some of the first healthy living blogs I read were Kath Eats Real Food, fANNEtastic Food and Daily Garnish. Those were just the tip of the iceberg though, there were hundreds that I found through those girls that I could literally get lost in for days at a time. I’d look up after starting to read one and realize it had been an hour. Total time suck. But those initial three really opened my eyes to healthy food and making exercise fun again.
How has writing a blog helped you keep up with your own health and wellness?
I first started Running to the Kitchen because I wanted to help inspire others by telling my story through healthy food and workouts. What I didn’t realize at the time was how much I’d be inspired myself to constantly keep up with it. I have a Google Reader filled blogs with that range from healthy eating to fitness to baking. All of them inspire me in one way or another on a daily basis. I just joined a CrossFit gym that opened nearby, something I would never even have heard of if it wasn’t for blogs. I’m also part of a group called FitFluential that has over 800 ambassadors, all of us “fitness minded” in some way, shape or form. It’s a group that connects on different social media platforms and events and has been such a huge source of inspiration for me, whether it’s in the form of an impromptu workout, a creative recipe or help with blogging related things. At the risk of sounding completely lame for talking about people (most of whom I’ve never met) this way, blogging has helped me feel like part of community that continually supports my health and wellness efforts.
Sliding a knife through its glossy skin, the pepper’s crunchy disposition is immediately audible. We hear it when we’re chomping away on a raw slice and we relish it still when it’s cooked off into a sweeter, softer version of itself. Unlike a scorching hot chili pepper, the bell pepper is known for its unique, refreshing sweetness. Whether red, green, orange, purple or yellow, bell peppers can take us from breakfast to dinnertime, breathing color and texture into our meals.
Looking for ways to incorporate abundant, in-season bell peppers into three main meals? Take a peek out our list of breakfast-to-dinner recipes.
Coupling healthful recipes with stellar photography, Edible Perspective’s Ashley McLaughlin sees food not only as something to eat, but something beautiful to look at as well. With a passion for recipe development in particular, she focuses on vegan and gluten-free combinations that are completely natural. With her dSLR camera by her side, this blog is Ashley’s way of documenting and sharing her wholesome recipes.
How did Edible Perspective come to be?
Edible Perspective actually started to avoid boredom. Nearly 3 years ago, my husband and I decided to make a cross-country move from Charlotte, NC to Denver, CO. He was unemployed and I was ready for a change, so we decided to make the trek out west. We lived with Chris’s brother and wife for the first four months and searched for jobs day in and day out. Chris was looking for a job in Civil Engineering, and I was on my way to becoming a licensed Architect. While job searching I decided to cook for the family each night as a token of our appreciation for letting us stay in their home. I knew absolutely zilch about photography and a little bit about cooking. After previously writing off Chris’s “fancy” dSLR camera, I decided to pick it up and start documenting my creations. Since that day my life has been anything but predictable.
There’s the bottle of ketchup in the fridge. A weightlifter’s load of canned tomatoes in the pantry—crushed and whole, of course. You’ve got your tomato paste, your bag of sun-dried, your jar of marinara, your jarred salsas and your canned tomato soups. You could survive a natural disaster with the amount of tomatoes in your house. In its preserved form, the tomato is your lifeblood, your fallback. A sauce injects limp pasta with life and tomato soup reinvigorates grilled cheese with just a dip. It graces the tops of our favorite pizzas and finds its way on top of our hotdogs. Tomato products—keyword: products—build the foundation of our kitchens and is one of the only products that we do not insist on freshness. And that’s fine, up until a certain point.
Charity Mathew’s decision to cook and eat well isn’t just a personal goal; it’s a mission that she has for her entire family. After serving as Vice President of Digital Programming at MarthaStewart.com, she now lives with her three-year-old, one-and-a-half-year-old and newborn in Rome, Italy. She dreams for her children to eat real, natural, “often organic, rarely processed, sometimes ethnic, food,” and her cooking is fresh and honest as a result. Her blog, Foodlets, documents that dream as she posts her favorite kid-friendly recipes and family anecdotes.
How did Foodlets come to be?
It’s an idea I’ve had for a long time; I’d meet people with remarkable kids who seemed to be fearless little eaters. Something about that seemed amazing to me, even before I had kids of my own. Now that I do, eating together, with an emphasis on healthy, whole food has become the priority I always hoped it would be. But it’s a lot of work and not always easy. Some dishes are met with cheers while others get crossed arms and a frown. Usually someone spills their milk and the floor is always peppered with peas but the moment you hear a 3-year-old say “Mmm. This is a good meal,” “Thanks for dinner!” or my new favorite, “This is magical,” it’s all worth it again.
I know I’m not alone, so I wanted to start a website where I offered my greatest hits but also honest (and hopefully funny) accounts of crashing and burning big. Eventually I’d like to have much more interaction with other parents, amassing a great collection of user-generated recipes and tips, all tried-and-true family favorites from around the world.
There are more uses for the juicy plum than eating around the pit and nose-crinkling when a prune comes into view. People love plums, of course, but they haven’t reached the status of the heavy hitters: the oranges, apples and bananas. Even when it comes to antioxidants, that pesky pomegranate gets all of the attention. However, like many of our favorites, this stone fruit has some serious culinary chops, especially when they’re in season and literally overflowing with ambrosial juices. Not to mention, this purplish-red beauty is brimming with nourishment and health benefits. It’s about time we rethink the perks of the plum, people.