Food has always played an important role in my life. Not as you would normally consider it as sustenance and fuel, but as the center of a lot of emotion. Often, I tend to eat not because I am hungry, but because I am stressed, tired, or otherwise emotional. So, while I am eating, the voices in my head say, “you shouldn’t be eating this,” or, “don’t have more,” or, “you should be eating more healthily.” In short, a lot of negatives and shoulds, which generally lead to eating more and enjoying less.

I was sick recently and, although my appetite stayed healthy, I was only able to eat small amounts of food very slowly. The silver lining around the illness cloud was that I learned once again to savor every bite with enjoyment and gratitude; because I was eating so slowly I fully realized when I was satiated and when I had consumed enough. I even had cookies and ice cream, but in small, reasonable quantities, without any guilt. I feel as if I was given a gift of a healthy, appropriate relationship with food and intend to do everything I can to keep these good habits going. It’s so much more gratifying to eat this way!

Here are a few easy recipes that I have enjoyed recently; I hope you enjoy them as well.

Easy Weeknight Pasta

  • 1 lb rotini pasta, preferably whole wheat or “pasta plus”
  • 4 tablespoons ultra-premium, fresh extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
  • 2 cups broccoli or other firm vegetables
  • 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes, with juices
  • 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to instructions on package. While pasta is cooking, sauté broccoli in 2 tablespoons of EVOO in large sauté pan over medium low heat. (I used F. Oliver’s Heady Garlic EVOO.) When pasta is cooked and broccoli is tender, toss pasta with broccoli in sauté pan. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of EVOO (I used F. Oliver’s Favolosa Single Varietal, additional Heady Garlic, Fresh-Pressed Meyer Lemon, or Fresh Bright Basil EVOOs would be good as well.) Remove sauté pan from heat and add tomatoes and parmesan cheese. Thoroughly combine and serve. This recipe can be easily cut in half or makes terrific left-overs.

Vanilla Greek Yogurt with Balsamic and Fresh Fruit

This one couldn’t be easier! Simply select a fresh fruit you choose to serve on your Greek Yogurt. (I like sliced strawberries, blueberries, chopped peaches, or banana slices.) Mix fruit with a healthy drizzle of balsamic vinegar of choice. (I like F. Oliver’s Dark Chocolate, Raspberry Treat, or Café Espresso) and place on top of a portion of vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt. If you like you can top with a tablespoon of granola; better than a fruit crisp!

The Perfect Vinaigrette (from

  • 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 5 tablespoons ultra premium fresh extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • Ground white pepper

Whisk together vinegar and Dijon mustard in small bowl, then whisk in honey. Gradually whisk in oil. (I used F. Oliver’s Sicilian Cerasuola; it is EXTREMELY important to use the best, freshest EVOO you can get for a vinaigrette as it is a critical flavor component.) Season vinaigrette to taste with salt and white pepper. Do ahead Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover. Chill if making more than 1 day ahead. Use vinaigrette at room temperature.

I served the vinaigrette over a mixed green salad with a good sheep’s milk cheese and dried cherries. Be sure to dress your salad so that the greens just glisten with dressing, but are not laden or soggy.

I wish you happy, healthy, and thankful eating. Enjoy!