How will your family grow?

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.” – Dr. Seuss.

I know that this a quote about the environment but when I heard it today, I couldn’t shake the similarity I felt between children and real whole foods.

It is up to us as parents to make sure we teach our children to live a healthy life. It is not the responsibility of our school, our restaurants or our government. Only we as parents and guardians, can make the difference that can last a lifetime.

I know it isn’t always easy but nothing worth it ever is.



Spinach and Tomato Scramble with Fresh Dill

Here’s my favorite way to fix my fresh eggs that I talked about on Monday.  I had them this morning and they were super good, what a great way to start the day!  Just a very simple (5 minutes!) way to spruce up ordinary scrambled eggs and get a little extra nutrition in the process.

4 eggs

2 handfuls spinach

10 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1 T chopped fresh dill

1/2 avocado, sliced

Whisk eggs and 2 T water in small bowl.  Pour into large saute pan on medium low heat.  When eggs are just beginning to cook and you are able to push them to one side of the pan, add the tomatoes. Cook for about a minute and toss the spinach on top.  Saute until spinach is just starting to wilt and add fresh dill.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve with avocado slices. Also yummy sprinkled with crumbled goat cheese!


Peace and Greens  -Melissa

A New Take on a Turkey Burger

In effort to take a walk on the lighter side I decided to lighten up my turkey burger.  I do love the “real” thing every now and then but when it comes to a more frequent meal I like to substitute turkey for ground beef.  This rendition of the turkey burger is fresh, clean, delish and doesn’t leave you feeling like you need to take a nap after you eat it.  With all of it’s toppings, this burger could actually be considered healthy! I used a sandwich thin for the bottom bun and ate it with a fork but the rest of my family used both slices for their burger bun.  It’s a nice alternative if you want the bun but not a lot of bread.  I grilled the turkey burgers and topped mine with diced tomatoes, diced avocado, diced red onion and pea shoots.  I am looking for more energy and focus on these beautiful spring days and I like to feel good about what I’m eating. We still had the traditional favorite ketchup, mustard and pickles but it is nice to prepare one meal and still have it the way you want it. This was a great way to lighten up a family favorite.

Keep it Real. Keep it Simple. Make it Matter. – Andrea

Fresh Eggs!

Mae and I made a little trek to a small “henhouse” outside Apex yesterday for their delicious fresh eggs.  I scrambled some this morning and quickly remembered why the trip is worth every mile!  The yolk is almost orange and the taste is fresh and flavorful. As you will see in the video, the eggs we got are all different colors.  This means that they are from a variety of hen breeds.

Small henhouses are popping up all over our area so if you happen to see a sign alongside the road pointing you to fresh eggs, I urge you to go check it out.  See how the hens are being cared for and what they are eating.  It’s really fun for the kids to see exactly where their food is coming from!

Eggs are a great source of protein and, in moderation, are a good addition to any diet.  One large egg has about 186mg of cholesterol.  If you are watching (or trying to lower) your cholesterol too many eggs could be a problem.  But, in moderation, yum!

Tomorrow I plan to make my favorite egg, tomato and spinach scramble and will post a picture and recipe then.

Peace and greens,


Roasted Carrots with Goat Cheese and Citrus

Martha Stewart made these carrots last week on The Today Show and they looked so yummy I just had to try.  Carrots can get a little boring but this recipe is anything but boring!  I loved them!  I have 2 kids that don’t like goat cheese so they were less than thrilled.  Three of us loved the recipe. Some nights three out of five is as good as it gets:)

Carrots, bell peppers, oranges…a vitamin party on your plate!  Vitamins A, C, B6, and K, as well as magnesium, folate, fiber, and antioxidants are the superheroes here.

This recipe calls for orange bell peppers but I had red that I needed to use.  It also calls for hazelnuts but I omitted them since my son, Charlie, is allergic to nuts.  I think a sprinkling of almonds would be a nice addition so I plan on adding them (on the side) next time.

Here’s what you need:

2 orange bell peppers, halved and sliced into strips

5 medium carrots, trimmed, scrubbed, lightly peeled if needed, and sliced in half lengthwise if thick

2 T olive oil, plus more for drizzling

2 navel oranges or clementines, peeled and sliced

1/4 c goat cheese, crumbled

1/4 c toasted hazelnuts, chopped

1 T sherry vinegar  (I used a tangerine balsamic vinegar that was wonderful!)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Place carrots and peppers on foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Season with sea salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes. Flip and continue roasting another 10-15 minutes.  Carrots should be turning golden and tender.

Arrange roasted carrots and peppers on a platter with the oranges.  Top with crumbled goat cheese and hazelnuts.  Whisk vinegar and olive oil together, season with sea salt and pepper.  Drizzle over veggies and serve.

Veggie Love   -M

Put some “Spring” back in your step!

Spring has sprung everyone and it’s time to harness that forward moving energy that Mother Nature is giving us and grow with it!  As I sat down at my computer yesterday, excited to write a new post for the first day of Spring, I realized that I had so much to say but was having an awful time getting it out.  After about 60 minutes of scrapped ideas and a 30 minute blank stare followed by a “bleep” it,  I began to remember something that we have learned at IIN about Spring and how it relates to Chinese Medicine.  After doing a little more of my own research, this is the quick version of what I learned.

Spring is a time of rebirth, renewal and regrowth and is a great time of year for cleansing and rejuvenating your overall health.  In the Five Element Theory of traditional Chinese medicine, the element “Wood” symbolizes new growth and has the positive personality traits of being ambitious and motivated.  When the “Wood” element is out of balance, negative personality traits such as anger and frustration emerge.  The organ in our body that is associated with the “Wood” element is the liver and it’s yang side kick the gallbladder.  The liver is responsible for detoxing our bodies and regulating Qi (fundamental life energy) while the gall bladder’s function is to secrete bile for the digestion of fats and to regulate judgment, decision-making and the ability to execute a plan.

Signs of imbalance may be sore joints, head aches, migraines, digestive issues, stomach aches, anger and depression. Here are a few things that you can do to detox your liver, find your balance and get your energy moving in an upward and outward direction:

Eat greens: Tender baby greens such as sprouts, pea shoots, bok choy, baby spinach to name a few.  Greens improve the livers overall function.

Stretch: Try yoga or simple stretching exercises.  The liver stores blood and sends it to the tendons during activity.

Taste sour: Try putting lemon in your water.

Get outside:  In times of frustration take a walk, bike ride, hike or any activity you find enjoyable.

Be creative:  Take time for you and your personal growth.

Relax your eyes: Take a break from the computer and give your eyes a rest by closing them periodically or moving them side to side and up and down to stretch them.  The liver is connected to proper eye function.

Avoid: Heavy or fatty foods, greasy or oil foods and foods high in sodium.  These types of foods draw your energy inward.

So, I think that it’s time for some spring cleaning!  I spring clean my closet, my house and my yard so I may as well spring clean my overall health and wellbeing.  Along the way, I hope to find balance and direct my energy upward and outward to be more productive.   This experiment will be my first personal experience with traditional Chinese medicine and I’m excited to give it a try.  I’ll keep you updated along the way.  If anyone has any thoughts or an experience of their own to share, I would love to hear about it!

Happy Spring Everyone! – Andrea

How to Roast Asparagus

Now is the perfect time to bring home some fresh asparagus. Tender spears are just now arriving at the grocery stores and farmers markets and the peak season will run through July on the east coast.  I roasted some on Friday for dinner and we all loved it. With the few spears left over I made a goat cheese and asparagus omelet on Saturday morning. Henry declared it, “the best omelet ever!”  (two points for mom:)

Look for firm, skinny spears that aren’t too woody at the base.  For the full nutritional punch, prepare and consume within a day or two.  Loaded with vitamin K,  asparagus is also heralded as an anti-inflammatory and an anti-oxidant.  These properties are some of the best risk reducers on the planet for common health problems like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.


Peace and asparagus!