Crown Point, IN

September 28, 2023

Why You Can’t Stop Eating Junk Food

“Who ate all these chips?!” You look around and, alas, not even a dog to blame. Oops. It’s not your fault.  If you’ve had this experience—r

September 21, 2023

Harvesting the Balance of Autumn

September 23rd ushers in the autumn equinox, a time when day and night are in perfect balance. It also opens the official season of cozy sweaters, pum

September 14, 2023

More Brain-Boosting Foods

Last week I shared a list of brain-boosting foods with the promise of more to come. Here are some additional foods that you may choose to include in y

September 7, 2023

Ten Brain-Boosting Foods

Thank you for the many recommendations of farm stands with tasty corn on the cob. Mr. Non-Compliant happened to be in the vicinity of VanDerGriends Fa

August 31, 2023

Mr. Non-Compliant’s Unwavering Passion for…Corn

Mr. Non-Compliant LOVES corn on the cob. Since the corn season is rather brief, I do my best to oblige him with this indulgence. And as my dear cousin

August 24, 2023

Tips for a Sluggish Thyroid

Lately, I’ve been getting lots of questions about the little gland known as the thyroid. It seems to be underperforming for many of you. Hypothyroid

August 17, 2023

Healthy Anytime Toast

Since my encounter with bar food last week, I’ve been focused on eating more plants. I came across this idea to enjoy “toast” and get more veggi

August 10, 2023

Confessions from The Antler

What does one eat when in a bar? Bar food, of course. The bar options: The Brown Bear vs. The Antler: Horniest Bar Around (There were deer heads with

August 3, 2023

6 Ways to Enjoy a Staycation at Home

August. Already. Is summer slipping by too quickly? Feel as though you’ve not experienced enough lazy days? Can’t manage to get away for one reaso

July 26, 2023

The Wonder of Apricots

When I think about the abundant fruits of summer, apricots make the list. Although some of you may not be fans, I ask that you consider giving this da

Ever try butter on saltines?

I’d forgotten about this childhood treat until a friend of mine mentioned it. We’d gathered for an informal dinner, and the next thing I knew we were all snacking on Glutino gluten-free crackers topped with Earth Balance (dairy-free) buttery spread.

It was almost like eating saltines with butter.

Of course, this was in addition to the veggie tray.   

This treat led to some other fun childhood summer memories like:

*Catching lightning bugs and keeping them in a jar with air holes in the lid. I put my jar in the freezer. Why I did this, I’m not sure, however catching them was a favorite summer night pastime with my neighborhood buddies.

*Eating fresh peaches and nectarines and the juice running down my chin.

*Riding bikes with my friends and staying out until it got dark and our moms made us come in.

*Homemade ice cream on Sundays when friends came to visit—banana, vanilla, or peach. Never chocolate because my dad didn’t like chocolate ice cream.

*Having more time to read Nancy Drew mysteries.

*Running through the sprinkler on really hot days.

*Setting up a Kool-Aid stand and ending up in the red. I think I employed a few too many friends.

Consider taking some time to live summer like a kid. I got my bike out for the first time in ??? years. It was fun, although I need to toughen up my “sitting on a bike seat” muscles.

It’s Fruit and Veggie Time

Many people I consult with are practicing the art of increasing their fruit and vegetable intake. This is a great aspect of eating to focus on, and one that is much easier now that more of the produce is local.

A simple way to do this is to take note of the number of servings of vegetables and fruits you typically eat in a day. Practice increasing it by one a day over time. I find that eating a tossed green salad almost daily is an easy way to add 2-3 vegetables.

Take a handful or two of greens, and add any of the following: chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, sweet peppers, zucchini, carrots, etc.

Toss with a simple dressing of extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper. Easy.

The ultimate goal is 10 servings per day. A good ratio is 3:1 vegetables to fruits, 5:1 if you’re interested in weight loss.

It’s easy for me to reach my fruit intake, tougher to get in the suggested number of veggies. I continue to practice. 

Just try to do a little bit better.

Whatever health challenge you’re facing today, I’m here to support you.

Much love,

“Summer was our best season: it was sleeping on the back screened porch in cots, or trying to sleep in the tree house; summer was everything good to eat; it was a thousand colors in a parched landscape…” — Harper Lee

Beware of the Buggy Bandit

This week, my client and I were enjoying a peaceful grocery shopping field trip at Whole Foods. We were in the produce department reviewing the list of fruits and vegetables we needed.

When my client went to put carrots and green beans in her buggy, she couldn’t find it. Thinking she’d left it in another area, she began searching the entire produce section. 

Her buggy had vanished. Poof. Gone.

The worst part: she had found the perfect avocados for her breakfasts to go with her veggie omelets. They were in the missing buggy.

Don’t you just hate when that happens?

She quickly took off to search other areas of the store and had no luck. We began again, filling a new buggy and keeping close watch.

We had almost finished restocking the second buggy when her initial buggy appeared next to the apples. She was never near the apples, didn’t plan to buy apples, yet there it was, next to the apples.

 The good news: nothing was missing from the cart and she had her beloved avocados back.

We then proceeded to return all the produce from the second buggy.

This same thing has happened to me in the past.

The moral of the story: beware of the buggy bandit. And if you happen to be a BB, at least grab one with really great avocados.

 A Fun Strawberry Fact

It’s strawberry season here in the Midwest, and U-Pick farms are open for picking.

I remember taking my sons to pick berries when they were little. We’d ride a hot, dusty school bus out into the fields and pick our buckets full.

While we were picking them, we’d often stop, stick our heads in the buckets and inhale the wonderful aroma of the best strawberries anywhere.

June strawberries in Indiana are amazing.   

I just learned that strawberries help with longevity. Yes, that’s correct. They’re delicious and they have anti-aging properties!

Strawberries contain a plant compound called fisetin which acts as an antioxidant, reduces inflammation in the body, and kills senescent cells. Senescent cells have lost their ability to divide but do not die, leading them to accumulate and inflame surrounding cells. This is characteristic of aging.

UGH! Try to eat ½ cup of strawberries daily or several times per week in order to keep this aging process from happening to you.

And on that note, I wish all you dads a very Happy Father’s Day! May you and your families enjoy a delicious celebration on Sunday, as we also ring in summer with the Solstice.

Much love,

“One way of celebrating the Solstice is to consider it a sacred time of reflection, release, restoration, and renewal.” —Sarah Ban Breathnach

A Delicate Summer Surprise

Apricots are a hidden gem of a fruit. While the delicate little apricot is not even in the running of most popular fruits in the world, it has a special charm of its own.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, they are smaller than peaches and share the tartness of purple plums.

They have been showing up frequently in my local grocery, so I decided to do a bit of research on these golden beauties.

More than 90% of the apricots grown in the United States come from California. The season runs from late April to the end of July.

Now is their time.

Of course, apricots have many nutritional benefits.       

They contain fiber, potassium, loads of antioxidants, are very hydrating, and may contribute to improved eye, skin, and gut health.

When selecting your apricots, be gentle. DO NOT SQUEEZE THEM! A light touch will tell you if they are firm or soft.

Ripe apricots yield slightly to the touch. Those that are very soft are overripe. Look for small fruit for the sweetest and best flavor.

A ripe apricot will be fuzzy and soft on the outside. It will have a deep orange or yellow hue, but you might also notice a red or rosy tinge to the skin. Those that have a green tint or are light yellow are underripe.

If they smell delicious, they probably are. They are perfect when you can break one open easily with a slight twist.

Store ripe apricots in the produce drawer of your refrigerator. If you find that they are a bit underripe, keep them at room temperature until they are just right.

Purists will enjoy these “au naturel.”

For something a bit more exciting, split them open, remove the pits and fill the soft hollow with rich strained yogurt drizzled with honey and topped with toasted, slivered almonds.

You can substitute them for peaches or plums in most recipes.

Apricot marmalade is quite a treat and makes a tasty glaze on pork near the end of grilling time.   

If you haven’t tried an apricot lately, take the apricot challenge and buy a few. The more variety we have in our diets, the better.

Cheers to trying something new,

“Five tender apricots in a blue bowl, a brief and exact promise of things to come.” –Frances Mayes

A Special Pasta Dish Just for You

I was fortunate to work with my friend, Chef Lynn and make this special recipe with her. She recreated it from her favorite dish at Popolano’s and likes her version even better than the original.

Since it was simple to make and extremely yummy, I got permission to share her Spicy Chicken Rigatoni with Gorgonzola Sauce with you. Thanks, Chef Lynn!

Here’s the direct link to the recipe: Chef Lynn’s Spicy Chicken Rigatoni with Gorgonzola Sauce

Oh, and I made notes on how to make it without dairy and gluten too.

 It’s the month of summer, strawberries and peonies.

Be on the lookout for farmer’s markets to get your freshest local berries and other produce. I have 3 strawberry plants in my garden; however, I have to be quick in order to beat the bunny family to them.

I think it’s time I put up a small garden fence.       

My peonies are in full bloom for the next couple weeks. We transplanted them from the farm when my parents moved here over 20 years ago.

Mom used to fill as many vases as she had with peonies for the house. I take after my mom.

It’s a great month to spend some time sitting on a porch or patio and watching the world (or bunnies) go by. The bugs and humidity haven’t shown up to the party yet.

June 14th is flag day, so if you need to update your flag, you have plenty of time.

June 20th is Father’s Day and Summer Solstice—the first official day of summer. The Spicy Chicken Rigatoni can be made ahead of time for your celebrations.

Enjoy your June.

Much love,

” Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.” —John Lubbock