Fresh, seasonal produce is so yummy—especially if you’ve grown it yourself. Fruits and vegetables pack a punch of nutrients. The more colorful they are, the more phytonutrient-rich. Think bright orange carrots, deep red strawberries, bright green lettuces, yellow squash. All this produce is rich in antioxidants such as beta-carotene, full of iron and folate, and bursting with vitamin C. And this translates into beautiful benefits outside and in: glowing skin, shiny hair and a healthier heart, just for starters.
Running out of lunchbox ideas and still another month of school? Use your garden to help out! Think of planting a pot of fresh herbs. Everything will taste better without having to add salt to your food. If you have little hands to help you, get them to pick the herbs themselves. Let them taste them and see what they like. Maybe it’s basil, maybe it’s cilantro, or perhaps dill.
Up the ante and plant a trellis of peas. Do you know just how healthy peas are? So rich in vitamins A, C and K, and full of folic acid (great for women of child-bearing age as it has been shown to prevent birth defects). If you’ve already got kids, they can help here, too. Maybe they’ll start by watering them, then harvesting… and if you’re lucky, maybe even shelling them for you!
And when you have those fabulous peas and fresh herbs, try this great recipe from Food52:
Sweet Pea Hummus (Serves 6)
2 cups garbanzo beans, cooked
1 1/2 cup green peas, lightly steamed (frozen is fine, but do steam before using)
3 tablespoons sesame tahini
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh herbs like dill, parsley or basil, optional
If you’re cooking beans from scratch: Submerge 1 cup dry garbanzos in about 3-4 cups water and let soak overnight. The next day, rinse beans and submerge in a few inches cold water. Bring water to a boil, and simmer beans for 45-75 minutes, or until beans are tender. Salt the water at this point if you wish to, and let beans sit and absorb salt. Drain beans, which will be ready to use.
Place beans, peas, tahini, lemon juice, sea salt and garlic into a food processor or high speed blender. Pulse to combine a few times, and blend at a regular speed. With the motor running, drizzle in 1 tbsp olive oil and keep blending until ingredients are creamy and smooth. You can add a little extra olive oil or water if the mixture is too thick.
Taste the hummus and adjust seasonings to taste. Pulse in lemon zest and herbs, if using.
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