Conscious Cook: Start the new year with clean eating

Another fresh new year is here…

Another year to live!

To banish worry, doubt and fear,

To love and laugh and give!

— William Arthur Ward

There is something so wonderfully rehabilitating about a new year. Suddenly there is a joyous opportunity to begin anew, to rewind after a hectic holiday season, and refocus on preparing a delicious life.

The new year’s body is ready to be cleansed and refreshed. It may be a gradual process, after a constant diet of fatty, salty, and sugary foods, but by cutting back on indulgences little by little, the body can begin to detox and redirect.

Remembering to drink plenty of water, whether cold or hot with lemon, is an excellent way to rehydrate and start flushing out toxins and overstimulated systems. Eating several small meals during the course of a day may help keep consumption of unhealthy treats at bay. Try satiating snacks such as raw, unsalted,  whole almonds or walnuts, a bowl of oatmeal with fresh berries, peanut butter on whole grain bread, and seasonal citrus fruits.

For a larger meal, nutritious casseroles created with vegetables, eggs and a bit of tasty cheese are a delectable option for healthy eating. The protein in eggs satisfies and provides energy, while restorative greens such as spinach and kale provide immune boosting vitamins and minerals. Plenty of onions in any winter dish help reduce inflammation, which can be exacerbated by excess sugar consumption.

But perhaps most importantly, a warm, comforting meal full of luscious flavor will calm, nurture and soothe conscious cooks as they venture into all the adventures of a new year!

Use kale to make a health Soothing Strata.
Use kale to make a healthy Soothing Strata.

Soothing Strata

Serves 8.

2 Tablespoons butter

1 large sweet onion, diced

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 large bunch fresh kale, washed, well dried and cut into ribbons (cut away center rib of each kale leaf)

8 ounces of sturdy bread cubes (can be made from stale sourdough or a French baguette)

8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese

2 ounces grated asiago or parmesan cheese

9  large eggs

2 ¾ cups milk (skim is ok to use)

2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, cook until soft, translucent and turning golden. Be careful not to burn. Stir in kale and ½ teaspoon of salt. Cook for several minutes more, until kale wilts a bit. Remove from heat and set aside.

Butter a 9×13 casserole. Layer bread cubes, cheeses and cooked kale, making 3 layers.

Whisk eggs and milk together, add mustard, remaining salt, black pepper and nutmeg. Pour over bread mixture in pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove pan from refrigerator and let sit until room temperature. Bake for 45-60 minutes until edges are browned and pulling away from the edge.

Remove from oven, let cool for 5 minutes, then slice and serve!

For more on Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP , “The Conscious Cook”, go to