Tag Archives: whole foods

Super Summer Fruit Salad

Summer is the easiest season to stay healthy and eat light. Not only is it too hot for fatty rich foods but who wants to turn the stove or oven on in sweltering 91-degree heat? It is so easy to throw a no-cook option together for breakfast, lunch…or dinner. There are cheap fruit stands on every corner and a local farmer’s markets in nearly every neighborhood–pick something up on your way home–no excuses!

It is a very good source of B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, niacin and folates. These vitamins are essential since they function by acting as co-factors to help body metabolize carbohydrates, protein and fats

This recipe was inspired by a video by Iswari Super Foods starring yogis Lea and Tarik of www.loveashtangayoga.com.

ALL of the ingredients are available in the States in the exotic fruit section of any grocery store–perhaps in small towns it is easier to stick to the basic fruits and order the supplements online. You can also modify the recipe to suit your taste.

SUMMER SUPER SALAD INGREDIENTS (for the fruit salad in the video)







Spirulina (raw/natural powder)

Chia Seeds

Hemp Seeds

Raw Cocoa Nibs

Cashew Nuts

Iswari Super Foods also features other fruits such as Mangosteen and Longan, which are not included in their salad but should definitely be a part of your exotic fruit basket. They’re super tasty and super good for you…

Longan is said to invigorate the heart and spleen, nourish the blood and have a calming effect on the nervous system.

Mangosteen "The Queen of Fruit"

In my breakfast-version of this fruit salad I used Yogurt as a base and added some fruit with spirulina and semp seeds on top. I’ll pick up Chia seeds on my next visit to Bell Bates.

The deep green color of the Spirulina with the vibrant orange and yellow of the fruit mixed with the creamy white yogurt makes me think of an art project but it was DELISHHHHHHH!!!


Greek Yogurt




Hemp Seeds

I picked everything up in Chinatown from street vendors or at my favorite Hong Kong Market on Hester Street. The supplements are from Bell Bates (Reade Street b/n Chuch and W. Broadway). I found raw Spirulina at Whole Foods for double the price of Bell Bates…if I can’t afford to support the local farmers I can at least support small business in New York!

Rambutans are high in vitamin C, plus copper, manganese, and trace elements of many other nutrients such as potassium, calcium, and iron

What I found is that for new and exotic fruits it’s important to ask a lot of questions about how to select, prepare and store everything but if that’s not an option (my communication with the kind little old ladies running the fruit stands in Chinatown were limited to nodding and pointing…) try the next best thing: Google.

I also used the Papaya peel as directed in the video and my skin was GLOWING! Not only does papaya help with digestion but it also contains papain, a leading ingredient in skin whitening products. It is a natural enzyme that promotes skin renewal and cell turnover. Wash your face first to clean the skin, then just rub the fruit side of the papaya peel on your face (coat the fruit all over your skin) to exfoliate the skin and help reduce the signs of aging. You can also use the seeds for tenderizing meat or like peppercorns–just place them on a plate/paper towel to dry for a week or so.


If you’re like me you might have a few creative shortcomings when it comes to planning a decent meal. I have spent more time that I’d like to see in writing standing in my kitchen oscillating between cupboard and refrigerator trying to build a meal with random ingredients. And I won’t tell you how many times I’ve settled on pasta aglio olio for sustenance. Inspiration is easy when I’m strolling down the fresh produce aisles at Whole Foods (whole pay check) but before long those overpriced fruits and vegetables start producing penicillin in the back of my fridge. I’m trying to work within my unemployment budget and avoid defaulting on my student loans so stretching a dollar is important. I also spend so much of my energy searching for easy recipes on Food Network or AllRecipe that by the time I actually eat the slop I managed to put together–I’m exhausted and OVER IT.

I found this great website called Supercook that shows members, “how to waste less food, how to use up perishable or seasonal ingredients, how to keep track of everything in the kitchen, how to save time and money.” It is basically a virtual pantry that links to all of the online recipe content.

Let’s say you just picked up some gorgeous scallops from the tall-dark-dreamy fish monger at your local farmer’s market–you can select a main ingredient from your to work around and Supercook will list available recipes found online using what you have in your “pantry” (less random searching.) The recipes listed are not shady, they’re from reputable sources like Food Network and Martha Stewart. You can also filter the recipe results by starters, entrees and desserts AND you can list exclusions for recipes to eliminate certain foods like dairy, meat, shellfish, gluten or nuts depending on your current dietary restrictions.  It will indicate that “you have everything you need for this recipe” or  list missing ingredients for certain recipes as a shopping guide. I literally take my laptop into the kitchen and list ALL of the ingredients I have. Yes, even the baking soda and sea salt.

My latest recipe took all of one minute to find via Supercook: Martha Stewart’s No-Knife Pasta Recipe (I will have to add some protein to my “pantry” later this week):


  • 1 pound pasta
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 medium tomatoes (about 2 pounds) cored and torn into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup coarsely torn basil leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely torn oregano leaves
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 1/4 pound fresh mozzarella, torn into 1/2-inch pieces (optional)


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and
    cook until al dente, according to package directions.
  2. While pasta is cooking, in a large bowl, combine tomatoes, basil, olive oil, oregano, garlic, and red-pepper flakes; season with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature up to 8 hours.
  3. Drain spaghetti in a colander and add to tomato mixture. Add mozzarella and toss to combine. Garnish with basil and serve immediately.


I’ve been having trouble with my food shopping. I’ve been trying to make the move to eat local and healthy but I also can’t seem to figure out what’s in-season and how I should be eating it… I could ask a million questions at the Farmer’s Market but that just results in mean-mugging from the hurried Union Square shopper behind me who has an expendable income and doesn’t have to rationalize her purchases or ration serving sizes to make an eggplant constitute three meals. I’m sure that I can have a different cuisine every night if I shop smart even at Whole Foods (in the canned, bulk or frozen foods aisle)… But in addition to reducing my carbon footprint (have you seen the amount of packaging on the 365 brand goods? AND where are those canned goods coming from?) I’m trying to support local farmers and small businesses–which means higher price-points for things like eggs and meat, as well as carefully planned weekly meals. Rather than continue to line the pockets of billionaires I think we should all make the effort to help our local/small businesses flourish!

I found this nifty local foods wheel at McNally Jackson (an independent bookstore on Prince Street) and it is really helping me understand local foods.

GrowNYC is also a great sourse to locate local farmers markets around New York for each day of the week. The Union Square market is the easiest because it’s open Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 8AM-6PM, year round. It is a few stops on the train in the winter and a nice walk from Battery Park (my nabe) in the warmer months. If I wasn’t so terrified to ride a bike I could be super green and peddle my way around.

Every Wednesday they have cooking demonstrations with local chefs, restaurants and Union Square Market Managers and FREE cooking advice from Josh Stokes of Grill-A-Chef (9am-12pm). His most recent blog post is a super easy pasta recipe. Pasta is my go-to dish because it’s easy to make and super cheap…and I’m Italian, we all know Italians can have pasta three meals a day and never tire of it.

Simple Pasta for Four

  • 1 lb. Pasta (fresh or dry)
  • 2 cups Chicken Stock (low sodium)
  • ½ cup Aged salty cheese, grated
  • 2 tbsps Butter, cut into little chunks
  • 2 tbsps Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1. In a deep pot bring at least a gallon of salted water to a boil over high heat. (1 tsp of salt to every qt.)

2. Once you reach a rolling boil, drop in the pasta and stir immediately, continue to stir every 30 seconds or so for the first three minutes. It’s these first minutes when the pasta will bind together, so keep it moving.

3. In a large skillet bring the chicken stock to a boil and reduce by about half. (Ideally it is reduced about the time the pasta is ready to go)

4. Once cooked to your liking, strain the pasta. Add it to the simmering stock.

5. Working over medium high heat, add the butter, olive oil, and cheese; season with salt and pepper. Moving the pan in a circular motion, use tongs to stir the pasta briskly. (you can pick the pan up and toss it if you’re comfy with that.) Good movement is imperative to mixing the stock and the fat (butter and oil) into a sauce while melting the cheese.

6. This is where the learning curve comes in. You have to taste and adjust your sauce. If it’s not saucy enough, add more stock, if it’s too saucy allow it to cook down a little longer over the flame. If it needs salt, give it a pinch or reach for some more cheese.

Josh also recommends adding in any combination of extras at the end.
Here are a few items from my local foods wheel that are available: Onions, Mushrooms, Arugula, Garlic and Brussels Sprouts.