The glory of gardening
Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds, the harvest can be either flowers or weeds. — Unknown
Gardens, like relationships, require copious amounts of time, effort, and plenty of loving care. Without these necessary nutrients, the relationship we have with ourselves and with others cannot flourish.
It is vitally important to fertilize the seeds of our imagination, our hearts and our spirits, so that the garden of life will be filled with beauty and generate proper nourishment.
Just as a well-tended garden yields beautiful results, with the same type of consistent care, the body and mind grows strong and healthy enough to meet life’s physical and emotional challenges. When we choose to feed ourselves with delicious and life-sustaining garden-fresh foods and limit processed foods, our lives are greatly enhanced by healing benefits.
Strawberries are a succulent, sweet gift from the garden that are available locally in June. Not only are strawberries full of sensational flavor, and blessed with an extraordinary scent, they are an exceptionally nutritious food.
Rich in vitamin C and manganese, strawberries also contain plenty of dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins B5 and B6. This immensely popular berry can help protect the heart, while potentially safeguarding against cancer, inflammation, macular degeneration and rheumatoid arthritis.
Luscious strawberries add sweetness and succulence to so many early summer dishes. A delightful addition to a bowl of cereal or oatmeal, strawberries are superb when blended into smoothies, or added to pancake batter or muffins for an occasional Sunday morning treat. A healthy day can begin by topping yogurt with sliced strawberries, then drizzling with a bit of honey and chopped walnuts. For a spectacular salad, place cubed strawberries atop baby spinach leaves, dress with a balsamic strawberry vinaigrette and embellish with chopped pistachios and goat cheese. Strawberry salsa is a bright and festive way to enliven grilled pork, chicken or fish and a silky strawberry soup will lend seasonal sophistication to a dinner party.
If you are lucky enough to live near a pick- your- own strawberry farm, enjoy an outing to the field and support your local farmers who work so hard to cultivate this delicious, dynamic food. If purchasing at the supermarket, look for bright red, unblemished, berries with an intoxicating aroma. They are quite perishable, so plan to use your strawberries within a couple of days. Store them in the refrigerator, unwashed, until ready to use. Rinse very well under cool water and prepare to enjoy!
May you enjoy a healthy harvest as you sow the seeds of your delicious life!
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and finely diced (2 cups)
½ cup finely diced sweet red pepper
1 jalapeno, stems and seeds removed, very finely diced (optional)
½ cup finely diced sweet onion (Vidalia)
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped (substitute parsley if you don’t care for cilantro)
Juice of 1 lime, lemon or a small orange (2-3 Tablespoons)
1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar
Toss all ingredients together gently, until well combined. Taste and season with just a bit of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with cinnamon pita chips or use a topping for grilled fish, chicken or pork.
Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP, “The Conscious Cook”, is a passionate food and wellness professional who earned her certification in holistic health counseling from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Columbia University Teacher’s College. She earned her cooking experience in the kitchen! Robin specializes in teaching healthy cooking classes to children and adults utilizing, fresh, natural ingredients and simple, delicious recipes. She conducts cooking demonstrations for many local organizations and is available for cooking parties and private instruction as well. For more information go to www.theconsciouscook.net. Robin’s blog is confessionsofaconsciouscook.blogspot.com.