Roasted Artichoke with Tarragon Garlic Butter Sauce

Roasted Artichoke with Tarragon Garlic Butter Sauce

A cool spring rain storm came through the other night and made everything outside perfectly fresh and clean. I'm pretty sure heaven smells like the desert when it rains. It seemed like just the right time for nibbling something savory and simple. I just so happened to have some fresh artichoke that were just waiting to be eaten. There was a time I didn't use fresh artichoke because I wasn't really sure how to prepare or eat them. If you're like I was then here's a link to a quick video on how to prepare an artichoke. You can either leave it whole like in the video or cut it in half like I did. Either way works. The point regardless is to get to the meat at the ends of each spiky leaf and the nutritious heart in the middle and stem.Artichokes are one of the most underappreciated super foods. That's right, super food. Fresh artichokes are high in natural phytonutrient antioxidants, fiber, and folate (folic acid). Artichokes are also high in vitamin K, which aid in brain health as well as bone health. These thorny green veggies also supports healthy liver function, blood pressure, the immune system, and metabolic function.Now add all that natural artichoke goodness to this savory organic butter, tarragon, garlic, and lemony-hinted dip. I'll admit, I was that kid who used to just eat straight butter. When it's organic butter from free range cows with this kind of flavor...let's just say I may revert back to my childhood tendencies. It's so good! Remember, despite the fat-free craze that was pushed for so many years, new research supports a diet rich in healthy fats for weight loss and overall health. If you'd like to read about it here's a great research article to learn more.

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Mango Guacamole

Mango Guacamole

Want something simple, healthy, and and quick to make? I made some yummy crock pot enchilada chicken with homemade enchilada sauce for dinner one night and this guacamole was the perfect topper for it. It's really great for any taco Tuesday night special and comes together in minutes. I like mine with big chunks of mango and avocado, but if you prefer your guacamole more blended then just use a fork and mash them up a bit.Be sure your mango and avocado are nice and ripe. The mango should give a little when you gently squeeze and have a nice sweet smell. If it smells like a pine tree it's not ripe yet. You can tell if an avocado is ripe by this same method. The avocado pit should come out easily by using a sharp knife. Act like you're going to chop right into the pit with your knife and when it gets stuck in the hard nut just pull up the knife and out will come the pit with it.

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Pan-Fried Sweet Potato Fries

Pan-Fried Sweet Potato Fries

It's hard to resist the smell of fries when you're hungry. And whether you love it or not you can't seem to get through childhood in America without them either! So, when I want to give my kids all the wonderful experiences of hamburgers and fries without the health risks I make Pan-Fried Sweet Potato Fries!This seriously is so quick and simple to make and will definitely hit the spot! I used an O'Henry white sweet potato. Normally I use the orange Covington, but the white is slightly less sweet and holds up a little better than their orange cousins.

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Watermelon Bruschetta With Marinated Basil Cucumbers & Feta

Watermelon Bruschetta With Marinated Basil Cucumbers & Feta

 Okay, don't these just look pretty? You could serve them up as a side to some Hawaiian Pork Shish Kabobs or Fired Up Pork Ribs or as an appetizer. I'm thinking a 4th of July picnic or barbecue may feel just a bit fancier and be a bit healthier with these Watermelon Bruschetta with Marinated Basil Cucumbers & Feta in place of a bag of chips. FYI: Just as fair warning, these yummy appetizers are, not surprisingly, a little messy between the watermelon juice and the cucumber marinade. Be sure to serve on a plate with adequate napkins. Start with your bruschetta. You'll need approximately one quarter of a medium-sized seedless watermelon, rinds removed and sliced into small 3/4 inch thick rectangles.Basil Cucumber Marinade 1 large or 2 small cucumbers quartered and chopped. About 2 cups worth1 small sweet onion, finely chopped (I used a Vidalia onion, but a sweet red onion works too) 1/4 cup raw honey1/3 cup apple cider vinegar1 tbsp. olive oil1/2 tsp. ground mustard1/2 tsp. sea salt1/4 black pepper1 garlic clove,  minced3 sprigs parsley, chopped (or 1 tbsp. dried parsley)5 basil leaves, roughly chopped (chopped extra if you have it for garnishing)Chop the cucumber and onion. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the marinade and whisk together. Pour over the cucumber and onion and stir. Put a lid on and set in the fridge for 1-3 hours to marinate. When you're ready to serve, set the watermelon bruschetta out on a plate and top each with a tablespoon of the cucumbers. Sprinkle a little crumbled feta cheese and the extra basil on top. This can serve a crowd, but is best cold so only put it all together when you're ready to eat. Enjoy! 

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Plum Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Plum Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

 The first little sunburn of the year after an afternoon playing at the park reminds me that spring is coming to an end and summer is almost here. It also reminded me of this time a year ago, right after Miah was released from Primary Children's Hospital for Celiac crisis. They had just removed the PICC line that had been sending nutrients straight into her veins and she was finally gaining weight and eating again. My sweet neighbor at the time, Guilma - who also happened to be a chef and mother of a child with Crohn's disease - invited us over for a tea party and to teach me how to make some yummy gluten free dishes. She walked me through making tapioca rolls and spring rolls. We ate them all as we sipped raspberry tea sweetened with big globs of honey.  

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Caprese Portabella Bruschetta

Caprese Portabella Bruschetta

There's a little restaurant tucked into an old building off Main street in St. George called Cappalletti's.  The food was authentic and amazing!  As an appetizer I had the caprese bruschetta on a crispy baguette, which was the inspired for this delicious recipe!  An Italian classic served in a guten free way.

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Autumn Greens with Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Pears

Autumn Greens with Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Pears

The leaves in the mountain just above my house are an explosion of beautiful fiery reds and oranges. It's official...it's FALL!!!! I love this time of year.  There are many wonderful things about fall such as: kids are in school, the windows stay open and let in cool night breezes and I get to light my pumpkin spice candle.  And one of the best parts is the food.  I try to cook and eat what's in season and this time of year there are so many yummy, colorful things to eat.  Just look at what's in this warm side salad.  This is fancy enough for entertaining with a balsamic vinegar reduction drizzled over top.  Plus you can grill up some chicken and toss in with it to make it a light dinner.

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Quinoa with Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes

Quinoa with Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes

I can't believe I haven't put this recipe on my blog sooner.  I love quinoa, but especially with tomatoes roasted in balsamic vinegar, olive oil and Herbs De Provence. This warm salad is a perfect side to something grilled or by itself as a light meat free dinner.  Eat it right away while it's nice and warm or munch after it's cool. Either way it's filling, healthy and oh so yummy!

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{Homemade} Mango Salsa

{Homemade} Mango Salsa

I love mango salsa. I love mango anything really. So why not make your own homemade mango salsa. 

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Rosemary Hummus & snack platter

Rosemary Hummus & snack platter

This is my kids favorite way to eat lunch.  Throw some food on a platter: pick, dip and eat!  I usually make this simple rosemary hummus to go along with the veggies and pita chips.  The fruit and cheese are just to round things out!Rosemary Hummus:1 can garbanzo beans (or any white beans you like), drained and rinsed1 tbsp dried rosemary or 2-4 fresh rosemary sprigs, leafs stripped1 clove garlic1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oilsalt and pepper to tastePut everything but olive oil in food processor and blend for a minute.  Then add oil a little at a time, blending as you go until everything is incorporated.  Salt and pepper.  To kick it up a notch, use crushed red pepper flakes instead of black pepper. That's it!  Serve with sliced celery, carrots, bell peppers, pita chips or tortilla chips.* Beans kind of have it all.  Fiber, check.  Protein, check. Iron, vitamin B, antioxidants and other trace minerals.  Check.  Remember that obnoxious song you used to sing when you were a kid.  "Beans, beans, the magical fruit the more you eat. . ."  You probably know the rest, but as obnoxious as that song was it's remarkably accurate :) It's true that the more beans you eat "the better you feel."

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Melissa Cornwall has spent years researching and implementing nutritionally-based approaches to health and wellness. Her lifelong love of food and health evolved from a hobby to a passion when her daughter was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease.

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