Yogurt Bread

Yogurt Bread

In my last year of college, one of my housemates and best friends was a guy who knew how to make the best potato breads I’ve ever tasted. That was my introduction to bread making, and I’ve loved it ever since. Making bread at home is a pretty basic DIY skill that anyone can master with a little practice, and basic bread requires few ingredients – flour, water, sugar, salt, and yeast. Check the store brands you buy – most have added ingredients, and if you see a lot more ingredients in that list than the ones I’ve named above, then you know the bread is over-processed, full of preservatives, and possibly contains chemical substances – like phosphates -- that have been linked in clinical studies with intestinal inflammation, kidney disease, osteoporosis, and heart problems when they are eaten on a regular basis. Store-bought breads are also not cheap, and a single artisan loaf or “healthy” brand can cost $5 or more.

So learning to make bread at home can not only save you money, it can also help you avoid some of the health problems that come with regularly eating processed foods.

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Turkish lentil soup

Turkish lentil soup

This fast, easy, and healthy recipe for kırmızı mercimek çorba, or (Turkish) red lentil soup, is one of my family’s favorite. My 8-year old requests it every week. It’s one of several ways that this soup can be made: you can omit the carrots and Hungarian paprika if you prefer, or take more time and strain the soup through a sieve if you like, creating a thinner consistency (which is the way you will usually find it being made in Turkey). You can also add more water to make it less thick and hearty.

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creamy potato-sweet potato soup (recipe)

creamy potato-sweet potato soup (recipe)

(vegan option)

This is a thick, rich, and creamy soup that is perfect for the cold season. Even better, it is quick and easy to make – 45 minutes from start to finish! It has a number of different variations you can try to suit your particular tastes, variations that range from the sweetness to the thickness to spices used in this soup. You can even choose to make it vegan by skipping the last part, that adds a dollop of plain yogurt to the finished soup.

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Jeff's Luscious Red Pepper Sauce

Jeff's Luscious Red Pepper Sauce

This was a recipe invented by my ex-husband Jeff, who besides being a gifted gardener and landscaper who could revive even the saddest-looking plants, is also a great cook. This recipe is fast and easy to make, and the sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in in the freezer for up to 3 weeks.

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Back-to-school healthy eating: starting out right, staying the course

Back-to-school healthy eating: starting out right, staying the course

With the beginning of another school year comes the inevitable question for every parent whose child has dietary restrictions, or whose kid’s school doesn’t have a cafeteria: what should I pack for lunch? In the first weeks of school this may not be much of an issue: you try the old standbys, only to eventually become bored with them. Maybe this year you want to make more of an effort to pack healthy (healthier) lunches. Maybe you are weaning your kids off packaged processed convenience foods that you know are not healthy for them.

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Three factors that influence unhealthy food choices (they have nothing to do with being rich or poor)

Three factors that influence unhealthy food choices (they have nothing to do with being rich or poor)

A few weeks ago I woke up and read a Twitter conversation sparked by an article written by award-winning food writer Jane Black. Since then, I have thought a lot about the article and the conversations that followed in the Twitterverse. Jane’s guest column, on the website of the Stone Barnes Center for Food and Agriculture, points out how elite foodies are fundamentally out of touch with the reasons behind why less-affluent, rural, and/or poor families hadn’t made a switch to healthier eating.

What struck me most about her essay was her observation that one of the main obstacles preventing less affluent people in red-state America from eating healthy didn’t have anything to do with ignorance, lack of desire, or rebellion against elite coastal foodie cultures. It did have to do with economics, but not in the way you might think...

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A cheaper green? How to shop for healthy and eco-friendly products on a budget

A cheaper green? How to shop for healthy and eco-friendly products on a budget

A couple of weeks ago I was shopping at Whole Foods and noticed that the person in the aisle next to me had a shopping cart full of items. In fact, while wandering through the store looking for a marinade I used to use years ago, apparently no longer sold by Whole Foods (maybe too overpriced?), I noticed quite a few people with shopping carts full. None of them seemed to be to be the type of people who had money to burn. Now looks alone are no judge, but I wondered, how the heck can people afford to do so much of their grocery shopping at Whole Foods? Very few of the people I Having joked with the staff on many occasions about how it was impossible to get out of the store for under $30, I was pretty surprised to see more than a handful of people buying what struck me as hundreds of dollars’ worth of groceries.


There are cheaper options than Whole Foods, of course.

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