If I’m recalling correctly, December is the last produce guide I have left to do! It was fun while it lasted, so I’ll have to think of another food-related series I can start on the blog. I love plugging in recipes, so maybe I can find a way to incorporate that into a series.

Anywho, the year is winding down, and that means holiday cooking and baking is in full force. December is the prime month for some of my favorite fruits and veggies, so I hope you find this guide helpful!


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Pomegranates are probably my favorite fruit in season this month, and my mom has already taken to buying several at the grocery store. They may be a bitch to eat, but it’s all worth it when you have a bowl of sweet, gem-like pomegranate seeds. Not only are pomegranates indisputably delicious, they’re also pretty good for you! Pomegranate seeds are a rich source of dietary fiber, and one serving of pomegranate seeds yield 12 percent of your daily vitamin C intake. They’re a perfect sweet snack for those cold winter months, so consider picking one up the next time you go grocery shopping. 


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Celery had to be included on this list because it’s a crucial ingredient of one of my favorite holiday dishes- stuffing. You can say what you want about raw, uncooked celery, but Thanksgiving stuffing slaps and you all know it. There are a ton of health benefits associated with eating celery, including weight loss and healthy blood sugar levels. Celery also has high amounts of vitamins C, K, and A, so you can feel good about incorporating it into your diet this holiday season. I highly recommend the Trader Joe’s stuffing mix if you’re looking for a new Christmas staple- it’s the perfect combination of savory veggies and buttery bliss. 10/10 recommend. 

Trader Joe’s Stuffing: https://www.amazon.com/Trader-Joes-Cornbread-Stuffing-12-4Oz/dp/B00A0X6WRC


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You all know by now that potatoes hold a very special place in my heart. They’re cheap to grow, rich in nutrients, and make delicious treats year-round. Here’s a random fun fact for you: potatoes were first domesticated in South America up to 10,000 years ago. Also, a baked potato on a winter’s day makes an economical, warming, and nutritious snack. In theme with winter holidays, here’s the link to an amazing five-star latke recipe. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also a perfect dish for vegetarians (and can easily be customized for vegans). 

Classic Latke Recipe: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1015533-classic-potato-latkes


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Lemons, limes, and basically all citrus fruits are in season for the month of December. Lemons and limes can be grouped together nutrition-wise because they share many of the same properties, including a ton of vitamin C. I personally love to drink water flavored with slices of lemon and lime; not only does it look aesthetically pleasing, it has also been linked to burning fat and increasing energy levels. For my wine drinkers out there, you’ll love a citrus-infused sangria this holiday season! Here’s the link to one of my family’s favorite drinks around the holidays:

Mint Citrus White Wine Sangria: https://minimalistbaker.com/mint-and-citrus-white-wine-sangria/


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Winter squashes encompass a wide variety of foods, including pumpkins, but my personal favorite variety is the classic butternut squash. Butternut squash, as I learned this Thanksgiving, is my all-time favorite holiday side dish. Seriously, I had tons of it. My mom’s squash recipe is my favorite; she simply boils it as you normally would, but then she adds salt, pepper, butter, and a little bit of nutmeg. It’s one of my favorite homestyle dishes to enjoy, especially during the colder months. You can rejoice in the fact that butternut squash is low in calories and high in nutrients, especially vitamin C and potassium. 


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Last but certainly not least, cranberries are in season in the month of December. Did you know that cranberries are considered a superfood? You’ve probably heard that cranberries are linked to reducing urinary tract infections (UTIs), but did you know that cranberries can also improve immune function and decrease blood pressure? I don’t currently have a favorite cranberry dish, but I did come across this Cranberry Christmas Cake on the blog “Barefeet in the Kitchen.” It looks absolutely amazing, so I’m thinking about making it this month with my mom! What is your favorite winter cake flavor? Let me know in the comments!

Cranberry Christmas Cake: https://barefeetinthekitchen.com/cranberry-christmas-cake/

My favorite month is FINALLY here, and I’m ready to go all-out with the fall content. I do have a ton of fun things planned for this month, including a visit to a haunted goat farm. More to come on that.

Anywho, let’s talk produce. Pretty much all of my favorite fruits and veggies are in season this month, so I’d love to schedule some fruit picking to use in baking. I’m not an incredible cook, but it’s a lesser-known fact that I’m pretty good baker. You’ll just have to trust me on this one. 


Pumpkins | Reducing Chronic Diseases

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It shouldn’t be new information that October is PUMPKIN month. Technically, pumpkins are a type of winter squash, but I truly believe the pumpkin deserves its own entry. Not only are they delicious for baking and Starbucks drinks- you can also carve them into jack-o-lanterns for Halloween night. We love a spooky, well-rounded healthy snack. Pumpkins contain antioxidants, which can help protect you from chronic diseases, different cancers, and skin damage. Pumpkins are also filled with nutrients that can improve your immune system- something I especially appreciate during allergy season. Below I’ve included a link to a basic pumpkin pie, which you can make dairy-free by opting for almond milk instead. You can also make it vegan by using applesauce instead of eggs!


Bananas | Heart Health & Weight Loss

Bananas are one of my favorite fruits to eat year-round. They’re extremely delicious and highly convenient to eat, and (of course), they are also perfect for baking. One banana only has around 100 calories, and they consist almost entirely of water and carbs. Because bananas have such a low calorie count and fill you up fast, they are an ideal snack for those seeking to lose weight. My mom makes the most amazing banana bread on the planet, but sadly, I don’t have her recipe on hand. However, I do have this delicious recipe from Allrecipes, which comes up as a close second. Just replace the butter and the sour cream with vegan replacements, and you’re good to go. 


Apples | Dietary Fiber

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Just like pumpkins, apples are a staple of October that deserve love and recognition. I haven’t gone apple picking in forever, so I’d love to make time for that this month! Apples are a fantastic source of dietary fiber, which can help prevent the development of certain diseases. Consuming apples has been linked to the prevention of obesity, diabetes, strokes, dementia, and other neurological disorders. Less healthy than eating an apple (but arguably more delicious) is an apple pie, and my personal favorite version is the one by Marie Callender. It’s 100 percent vegan, completely by accident, and it tastes deliciously homemade. I have an entire article about accidentally vegan snacks, so I’ll link that below, too.


Greens | High in Vitamins, Low in Calories

Leafy greens include kale, herbs, spinach, cabbage, arugula, and romaine lettuce. I am admittedly a little picky about the leafy greens I like to eat, but most of them can snuck into a smoothie undetected. A kale smoothie might not strike you as a typical fall meal, but it’s one of the best ways to get some raw kale in your body (especially if you hate the taste on its own, like me). Also, a fall salad with some grapes and nuts actually sounds delicious to me ATM, and as we all know, those leafy greens are fantastic for your health. Consider combining some of the other produce in this guide to make your perfect fall salad, smoothie, or breakfast meal!


Potatoes | No Fat, Sodium, or Cholesterol

You may not think of a potato as being particularly healthy, but it’s actually not a bad choice. Like the subtitle states, potatoes contain no fat, sodium, or cholesterol, and they’re packed with healthy nutrients. Potatoes are also naturally gluten-free, making them an iconic staple in the vegan + gluten-free community. I found a great recipe for vegan mashed potatoes on Allrecipes, so I’m going to link that down below for you too! Also, real talk, can we make potato picking a thing? I would be 100 percent incented to go to a potato picking farm as a charming fall activity. 


Raspberries, Strawberries, and Cranberries | Healthy Skin

Technically, strawberries aren’t a berry, but their high antioxidant count is very similar to that of a berry. Antioxidants aid in a variety of wonderful things for your body, notably, they can even help prevent wrinkles and skin damage. Berries are also excellent for fighting inflammation, which helps to defend your body against infections from injury. In regards to cooking, there are a multitude of great ways to bake with berries and strawberries. Below I’m going to link a Triple Berry Crisp recipe, which can be easily customizable with different fruits, and easily made vegan as well. 


Winter Squashes | Vitamin C

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Last but certainly not least, winter squash is in season for the month of October. Did you know that squash is actually a fruit? (I did not know until I started writing this article). I love squash for its sweet, nutty taste, and its versatile properties in both summer and winter dishes. Squash is packed with a variety of different vitamins, most notably vitamins C and A. The benefits of eating squash include boosting your immunity, regulating your metabolism, and even preventing infections! The notorious winter cold is just around the corner, so eat up on your veggies and get in as much squash as you can!


Nutrition sources: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/pumpkin#section2

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-benefits-of-bananas#section1

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/267290.php

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/leafy-green-vegetables

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-reasons-to-eat-berries#section5

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/butternut-squash


Pumpkin Pie: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/23439/perfect-pumpkin-pie/

Banana Bread: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/17066/janets-rich-banana-bread/?internalSource=hub%20recipe&referringContentType=Search

Vegan Mashed Potatoes: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/254779/vegan-mashed-potatoes/?internalSource=hub%20recipe&referringContentType=Search

Triple Berry Crisp: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/52547/triple-berry-crisp/


Accidentally vegan snacks: https://diplomatsdigest.wordpress.com/2019/07/18/my-favorite-accidentally-vegan-snacks/

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Apples | Fiber & Antioxidants

Fact: It’s not fall without apple-themed activities. I haven’t been able to go apple picking in a hot minute because I’m always away at school and don’t have many opportunities to do so. Let me tell you, I am going to make a valiant effort this year. Not only are apples delicious and versatile in cooking- they’re also extremely good for you! A diet high in fiber prevents spikes in low blood sugar, meaning you won’t get hungry again soon after. Eating a lot of fiber also reduces your chances of developing colon cancer, because it keeps your intestines healthy by cleaning out bacteria. It’s noteworthy to add that although many fruits contain fiber, fruit juice does not, so you can’t get in your fiber by downing tons of apple juice. Sorry about that. 


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Grapes | Vitamins C & K

Grapes are one of those foods I can eat mindlessly, and before I know it, half of the cluster is gone. I could have worse eating habits- after all, grapes are a fantastic source of vitamins C and K, and can even help prevent certain chronic diseases. Vitamin C can help protect you from immune system deficiencies, prenatal health problems, and even reduce the appearance of wrinkles on your skin. In a nutshell, a heavy dose of vitamin C will just help you live longer. The vitamin K in grapes can help to improve your bone health, heart, and can even aid wound healing. I’m not too familiar with any ways to cook with grapes, and I’m not a raisin person, so my favorite way to eat them is fresh off the bunch, or tossed into a fruit salad. I heard somewhere that grapes in chicken salad is actually really yummy, so I’ll have to try a vegetarian version and put that to the test!


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Green beans | Folate & Cell Growth

Green beans are adorable- try to change my mind. They’re also a perfect vegetable side dish, cooked or not, and come with a variety of health benefits. Green vegetables in general are recommended for decreasing your chance of heart disease and obesity, and some studies have shown that green veggies can even brighten up your skin! I personally enjoy eating them raw, because canned green beans can contain a lot of sodium unless you rinse and drain them properly. In regards to other health benefits, green beans can promote cell growth, a healthy metabolism, and even fertility. This has to do with the high iron content in green beans, which is yet another nutrient essential to the vegetarian/vegan diet. 


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Corn | Eye Health & Digestion

Have you ever met a person who didn’t like sweet corn? Seriously, I want to know. There’s nothing quite like the smell of pulling apart some fresh farmstand corn and shucking off the ears, especially on a crisp fall evening. Maize is one of the most widely used staple foods in the world, and sweet corn in particular is one of the most popular types. The high fiber content of corn makes it excellent for digestion, and also contains carotenoids that benefit eye health. It’s an extremely versatile food to work with, and one of my favorite recipes with corn is Beth Moncel’s loaded enchilada pasta. I can’t find a copy of it online, but it’s featured in Budget Bytes, a cookbook I previously mentioned on my blog. I also enjoy buying bags of frozen corn, and will heat some up when I’m in need of a sweet snack.


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Carrots | Weight loss Friendly

Similarly to grapes, carrots are one of my favorite things to snack on. My dog loves them too, and when I’m home we like to munch on them in bed together. Messy, but adorable! Carrots are a great snack for your dog and can keep his teeth healthy, but be sure to cut the carrots into small pieces (or give your pet baby carrots). It’s a little known fact that carrots can help to prevent vision loss, but they can also protect you from different kinds of cancer and cardiovascular disease. The great thing about carrots is that you can use them in a variety of dishes- savory, sweet, juiced, pureed, whatever you’re feeling. I’m going to include a link to a vegan carrot cake at the bottom (WITH vegan frosting), so let me know if you try it!


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Zucchini | Anti-inflammatory Nutrients

Squash in general is in season this month, so be sure to pick some up at your local farmer’s market. I love zucchini because it’s nearly impossible to fuck up- even my college dining hall serves some pretty delicious baked zucchini. Zucchini is an extremely nutrient-dense fruit (yes, a fruit), packing fiber, potassium, and manganese. It also contains no fat and has an extremely high water content, making it a great snack if you’re trying to lose weight. To get those anti-inflammatory boosts from the vitamins C and A, you should eat the skin of the zucchini together with the flesh (that’s where large amounts of these nutrients are found). Once I eventually have my own garden, I’d like to grow zucchini myself to make sure I always have access to these health benefits. But first, I need to learn how to keep my basil sprout alive. 


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Cauliflower | Learning & Memory

I’ve definitely written about cauliflower in another produce guide, but for those of you who aren’t up to speed, cauliflower is a delectable and healthy snack, renowned by vegans for their invention of “buffalo cauliflower bites.” I’ve said I’m going to make those for months now, but I promise I’ll get around to it. The choline in cauliflower is what helps with improving learning and memory, and the antioxidants can even protect against cancer. There are so many unique ways to cook with cauliflower, including soup, pizza crust, and mixed in with fried rice. It’s always been a go-to vegetable for me, because the taste is mild and responds well to other flavors. I’ll link the buffalo cauliflower bites I’m interested in making below, so let me know if you end up trying them as well! It’s very easy to sub in dairy-free options with this recipe.


There were a few other fruits and veggies in season, but I’ve written about many of them before and don’t want to sound like a broken record. If you’re interested in reading my other produce guides, you can find them all under my Vegetarian Journal tab. 

Vegan Carrot Cake: https://www.loveandlemons.com/vegan-carrot-cake-macadamia-frosting/

Buffalo Cauliflower bites: https://theforkedspoon.com/easy-buffalo-cauliflower/ 

Sources: Healthline.com

Coming up next: My Numbers Have Colors: Synesthesia

Summer break is winding down, and though I want to, I sadly haven’t done any fruit picking thus far. That being said, there’s still time, and there are a ton of delicious fruits and veggies currently in season. Most of the produce in season isn’t too far off from last month’s, so don’t be shocked if you see any repeats. As always, I’ll also include recipes that I see fit with the produce I mention!

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I’ve mentioned my love for cantaloupe before on the blog, so it’s no surprise that I have to mention melon is in season. My other favorite variety of melon is honeydew, because it tastes absolutely delectable and almost dessert-like. That being said, melon is much healthier for you than what you may traditionally think of as “dessert”! Melons are mostly made up of water, so they’re an ideal snack to have on a hot day when you have a higher risk for dehydration. Although melons are high in carbohydrates, they’re actually considered ideal if you’re trying to lose weight! (I’m not quite sure how that works, but I’m sure Wikipedia knows. I’ve been kind of into tossing cantaloupe into my salad, which sounds kinda weird but is actually hella good. 


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Blackberries are another one of my “fan favorites” in the fruit department, and they’re extremely easy to work into recipes for baking. Like many other berries, blackberries are very high in vitamin C and can assist with healthy immune system functioning. One of my favorite blackberry desserts is blackberry tart, because easily customizable to be vegan and doesn’t require a lot of ingredients to make. I’ll drop the link below if you’re interested in making this delicious French dessert yourself!


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Peaches are debatably the most adorable fruit. They’re fuzzy, sweet, and apparently used in a lot of marketing for makeup. Seriously, I swear all of the cutest makeup is peach-themed. Not only are peaches delicious in a variety of different dishes, they’re also very good for you! Just like blackberries, peaches are loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C. Peaches can also aid in healthy digestion, so if you struggle with constipation or some other charming bowel movement, consider adding some more peach to your diet! Peaches are well-known for being great in baking, so if you’re interested in trying an amazing peach crisp recipe, I’ll leave the link below.    


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Plums, just like peaches, are yummy stone fruits with a juicy flesh and large pit. I actually remember having a plum tree in the backyard of my childhood home, and always being drawn to the beauty of it. Plums are less sweet than peaches, but I actually enjoy eating them just as much. Plums are low in calories and high in water, making them another ideal summer snack for humid, hot days. Although they taste fantastic on their own, I personally like them a lot better when they’re made into dishes and jams. I’m really interested in making this plum orange jam, because it’s already vegan without needing any tweaks. 


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Admittedly, I used to not be a fan of any peppers. I’m still not a big fan of anything spicy, but bell peppers have definitely grown on me. Fresh green peppers are always welcome in my salad and pizza, because they’re fresh flavorful without being too overpowering. In fact, I’m actually cooking with bell peppers for next week’s installment of Taco Tuesday! Peppers are a rich source of vitamin C, and actually contain 97% of your daily value. They’re also a good source of vitamin B6, which aids with the conversion of food into energy. Like I said, I’m picky about peppers, but I think this vegetarian chili with bell peppers sounds absolutely amazing. I’m a huge fan of Cookie & Kate, and I actually have one of their cookbooks on my shelf. I’m really looking forward to making this chili, especially once the weather cools down. 


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Squash is genuinely one of my favorite fruits (that’s right, it’s a fruit!), and it’s always a treat to serve it up as a side dish on Thanksgiving day. It has a naturally buttery, nutty taste, and even though it may not feel healthy for that reason, squash is actually pretty good for you. My favorite variety of squash is butternut squash, which is chock-full of a variety of different vitamins and minerals. It’s also a great source of carotenoids, which aid in anti-inflammatory health. Squash is fabulous on its own, of course, but I felt really inspired by this summer squash sauté. It’s simple and easy to make, but incredibly rich at the same time. It might be time to up my Thanksgiving game with this dish.


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Lastly, it’s time to finish up with a vegetable I actually hate: the very spongy, elusive eggplant. I actually really like the smell of eggplant, but as soon as it touches my tongue it becomes something completely different. I’m hoping that I can slowly develop a taste for it by starting simple, maybe with the eggplant Parmesan from my favorite Italian restaurant (minus the Parmesan). Eggplant is high in water but relatively low in essential nutrients, so I don’t feel that bad for not liking it. Nonetheless, I am trying to extend my taste palate, and I’m happy to start anywhere!


Recipes:  

Blackberry tart: https://juliasalbum.com/blackberry-tart-recipe/

Peach crisp: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/231532/moms-peach-crisp/

Plum orange jam: https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/plum-orange-jam/ 

Vegetarian Chili: https://cookieandkate.com/vegetarian-chili-recipe/

Summer Squash Sauté: https://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/summer-squash-saute/

Coming up next: Taco Tuesday: Making Tofu Tacos from The Sims 4

Summer has arrived, and living here in New England, it’s the perfect opportunity for fruit and vegetable picking at local farms. Unsurprisingly, fruits like blueberries and strawberries are at their peak for picking in June, but there are also a few other delicious foods to get your hands on. Below, I’ve compiled a few of my favorites.

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Blueberry picking with my mom is one of my fondest summer memories as a child. It’s such a versatile food that I love to include in breakfast or desserts, and it’s also a treat that my dog can enjoy in small amounts. Not only are blueberries delicious, they’re also extremely high in antioxidants and low in calories. Like kale and avocados, blueberries are often referred to as a “superfood” for their nutritious benefits. There are the obvious ways to incorporate blueberries into meals, like blueberry pancakes and muffins, but you could also step it up and make a gorgeous vegan blueberry lime cheesecake. I’m dying to make it myself, and I’ll leave the link at the bottom of the page if you’re interested in making it, too.


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Strawberries are also a perfect fruit-picking option in June, and personally, they are my absolute favorite fruit. Almost every fruit-flavored item I buy is of the strawberry variety- cereal, pop tarts, granola bars, seltzer water, etc. Not only is it super sweet and delicious, but they also help with blood sugar regulation. As someone who has suffered from quite a few blood sugar spikes, I personally love eating strawberries for this health reason now. One easy way I like to get in strawberries is by topping them on my overnight oats, which is one of my favorite quick breakfasts. I’ll include a link to a basic overnight oats recipe at the bottom, and from there, it’s really easy to customize with your favorite fruits. Even though the serving size may look small, it actually keeps me full for up to four hours.


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On the topic of sweet fruits, mangoes are also in season in June! You may not be able to hand-pick them at your local farm stand, but you can still take solace in the fact that they are at their flavor peak. Surprisingly, mango contains a lot of iron, and 80 grams of mango only have 53 calories! If you’re looking for a guilt-free and easy-to-make dessert, I found this vegan mango ice cream recipe on a blog called Jessica in the Kitchen. With summer now here, it’s never the wrong time for a cold dessert, and this ice cream only contains three ingredients! I’ll leave the link at the bottom of the page so you can check it out as well.


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Rhubarb, as I’ve mentioned before, is another one of my favorite plants for cooking. Although rhubarb is usually incorporated into sweet, fruity dishes, it is actually a vegetable- similar in appearance to celery. Rhubarb was originally used for medicinal purposes, and although it can be consumed raw, I prefer to eat it cooked and paired with strawberries (big surprise!). One of the medicinal purposes of rhubarb is as a laxative or purgative, so if you do choose to consume it, make sure you don’t eat too much. (Unless you want to have the big poops). Strawberry rhubarb pie is a delightful treat, and I found a delicious recipe on allrecipes. If desired, you can easily make it vegan by subbing the eggs for applesauce, and using a vegan butter instead of regular butter.


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We all remember the iconic video of the Jamaican man singing about how wonderful cucumbers are. At least, I do. Cucumbers are so versatile and can be used for a variety of different things- not just cooking! As we’ve all seen from movies and cartoons, cucumbers can be placed on the eyes as a refreshing beauty regime, and it can also be used to relieve sunburn. Cucumber is mostly made up of water, so it’s a great summer snack to help combat dehydration. I always love to add a little bit of cucumber to my water when possible, because it somehow manages to make water taste even fresher. One website in particular that I visited states that cucumber makes water a more “attractive” drink, and honestly, I agree.


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Did you know that there are over 130 different varieties of  green beans? Me neither. Like many of the other fruits and veggies I have covered, green beans are low in calories and high in nutritional value, making them a healthy snack and addition to your favorite dishes. Interestingly, green beans have also been shown to combat depression, because they block interference with feel-good chemicals like dopamine and serotonin. Green beans are also a great snack for aiding in weight loss and increased energy, so if you live an active lifestyle, you may want to consider eating more of your healthy greens! I found a recipe for a five-star rated vegan green bean casserole, so if you’re interested in that recipe, I’ll leave it down below with the others!

Thanks so much for tuning into my June produce guide! I’m looking forward to doing some fruit picking this summer with my friends and family, and incorporating that fresh produce into some new dishes. Which ones are you excited to try? Let me know in the comments!


Recipes to try:

Vegan blueberry lime cheesecake: https://prettypies.com/recipe/blueberry-lime-cheesecake-vegangfpaleo/

Easy overnight oats: https://feelgoodfoodie.net/recipe/overnight-oats/

Vegan mango ice cream: https://jessicainthekitchen.com/vegan-mango-ice-cream-3-ingredients/

Strawberry rhubarb pie: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/12612/rhubarb-and-strawberry-pie/

Vegan green bean casserole: https://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-green-bean-casserole/

Coming up next: New Crystal Haul: Buying Crystals from Amazon

With summer looming in the near future, it’s almost time for fruit picking and farm stand adventures. I am fortunate enough to live in the Northeast, where rural fields and farmers markets are abundant in the summer and fall. There’s something about being surrounded by nature that makes me feel utterly at peace, especially when there are animals around me, too. I think I could be totally content to live on a large square of land with just some cows and goats to keep my company, and maybe a few chonky cats as well.

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As I’ve said before, it’s always a good idea to shop in season when you can. Not only will it save you money, but it’s also good for the planet! Strawberries are in season in May, which makes me extremely happy. They are one of my favorite fruits- right up there with blueberries and raspberries. Like these other berries, strawberries are full of fiber and antioxidants, on top of just being absolutely delicious. Fresh strawberries sprinkled with sugar is a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth, if you’re looking for a healthy dessert alternative. Additionally, they’re a great sweet snack to feed your dog, especially on a hot summer day. Just don’t feed your dog too many, because they’re very high in sugar!


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Another delicious fruit that’s in season is cherries, which are another great source of antioxidants and vitamin C. Additionally, cherries have a high level of melatonin, a hormone that promotes healthy sleep. There have been studies done on men and women that show drinking tart cherry juice can add up to an hour of sleep in your schedule, so if you struggle with insomnia, consider drinking up! Another fun fact: cherries can help reduce post-exercise pain, which is definitely something I’m going to utilize this summer. 


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When I was younger, I used to drink cans of pineapple juice constantly. Although it is very sweet, pineapple is very low in calories, and it has been shown to boost your immune system. As someone who constantly seems to be sick with something, I love boosting my immunity in as many ways as possible- especially with my diet! Thiamin is also very present in pineapple, which aids in energy production and conservation. If you’re not exactly a morning person, consider incorporating some pineapple into your breakfast to give you a zap of energy.


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Moving onto vegetables, zucchini is my favorite veggie that’s currently in season. As a plant-eater, zucchini and squash are some of my favorite hearty staples to include in my diet. There are a number of dishes you can incorporate zucchini into- lasagna, casseroles, muffins, you name it. Zucchini is also packed with nutrients, like fiber and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, which improves digestion and reduces constipation. And hey, who doesn’t like a little less constipation in their life? I’ll include a link to zucchini noodles at the bottom of the page, which can easily be prepared vegan.


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Spring peas, or just green peas, as I call them, are one of the healthiest vegetables you can feed your body! Peas are a very low-fat food, and can even lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. I love peas because they’re very easy to prepare, and they make a great side dish with roasted potatoes or mac and cheese. One of my favorite comfort dishes to prepare is the Amy’s dairy-free mac and cheese with a veggie medley on the side, like corn or peas. Fun fact, peas are actually considered legumes, just like peanuts.


I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about all my favorite crops in season, and if you get the chance, stock up on some goodies at your local farmer’s market!

Zucchini noodles: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/172398/zucchini-noodles/

Sources: https://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month

The New England transition from winter to spring is always an interesting experience. It was snowing last week, then it was sunny and fifty degrees, then it rained, and now…it’s snowing again?

@globalwarming, what are you doing?

Anywho, with the changing of seasons comes a whole bunch of new fruits and veggies in season! Not only is it more environmentally friendly to eat in season, it’s also considerably cheaper. Some of my absolute favorite produce comes from the month March, and I’ve included some of my favorite recipes at the bottom as well. Let’s get into it!


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Avocado seems to have a reputation of being overrated, which I can understand to a degree. Yeah, maybe avocado is extraneously smothered on every dish you can imagine, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s so darned good. You’ve probably heard avocado referred to as a “super food”, because its health benefits are extensive and large-scale. Avocado is a healthy fat, so there’s no guilt in packing it onto your toast or sandwich. Avocados are a great source of vitamins C, K, E, and B-6, and have even been shown to improve skin health.


White Cauliflower

Another versatile plant readily fresh in March is cauliflower, or “albino broccoli”, as I call it. The great thing about cauliflower is its ability to be easily flavored and transformed into a brand-new dish. Take cauliflower buffalo wings, for example. It may sound questionable, but they smell and taste absolutely delicious, and are perfect as a vegan party dish. Cauliflower also aids in weight loss, making it a guilt-free snack for those trying to eat healthier. 92% of cauliflower is made up of water, which means the calorie count is significantly low!


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Spring greens like spinach, lettuce, and arugula are also extra fresh in the month of March. Leafy green plants don’t just have to go into salads- you can incorporate these plants into just about anything. If you’re trying to up your spinach intake but you hate the taste, try sneaking it into already flavorful dishes. Throw a handful of spinach into a breakfast smoothie, a tray of lasagna, or into a pesto sauce, and be amazed at how delicious your dishes come out (without an earthy flavor)! As a vegan, it’s crucial to meet your daily nutritional needs of iron and calcium from plant sources, and spinach is a great way to fit those in.


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On the topic of green vegetables, peas are also in season for the month of March! Green peas are one of my absolute favorite comfort foods, especially in the form of a veggie medley with some black pepper sprinkled on top. I always like to have a bag of frozen peas or mixed veggies stashed in my freezer, so I can use them on-hand as an easy side dish for dinner. Peas are also relatively high in protein, and one of the most filling vegetables you can include in your diet. Because they’re also high in fiber, they can even assist in digestion (something I struggle with quite a bit, as a soy-eater). Green Pea Soup is an elegant dish, might I say, so I’ll add that link to the bottom of the page.


There are quite a few other fruits and veggies readily fresh in March, but these are my top four favorites. Even if you’re a picky eater, like me, I’m sure you’ll find these recipes below just as delicious as I do! And, of course, feel free to comment some of your personal favorite dishes as well. Spring is just around the corner, so hang in there!

Sources: https://cookieandkate.com/2015/march-fruits-and-vegetables/ 


Recipes

Vegan Cauliflower Buffalo Wings: https://www.noracooks.com/vegan-cauliflower-buffalo-wings/

Vegan Lasagna (with lots of yummy spinach): https://www.noracooks.com/best-vegan-lasagna/

Green Pea Soup

http://www.greenkitchenstories.com/green-pea-soup/

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When you think of the word “February”, I imagine fresh fruits and vegetables are not the first images to pop into your mind. In fact they’re not the first images that pop into my mind, either; I think about dirty snow, deadlines and crying alone on Valentine’s Day. Oops.

That being said, there are quite a few fruits and veggies in season for the month of February. Some of my favorites, in fact. I’ll be linking some of my favorite recipes that correspond with the produce at the bottom of this article, so be sure to check those out!

green broccoli vegetable on brown wooden table
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Broccoli seems to have a reputation for being kind of blah, which seems unfair. Seems like most of the broccoli haters I know have never tried broccoli drizzled in olive oil and sea salt. Also, lo mein. How can you have lo mein without broccoli?! Not only is broccoli delicious (in my opinion), it also comes with a handful of health benefits. Broccoli is a great source of vitamins K and C, so if you feel yourself missing the sunshine this winter, broccoli may be your saviour. Vitamin C also builds collagen, which can help cuts and wounds heal faster. It probably won’t heal your broken heart on Valentine’s Day, though.

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Citrus fruits of all kind are also readily fresh in the month of February. Before I did my research, I assumed this meant only oranges, but you can also find fresh kiwis, clementines, apples, tangerines, lemons, and grapefruits! I rarely ever just pick up an apple/orange and eat it, but I do enjoy putting slices of these fruits in my water to naturally flavor it. Lemon water in particular is super yummy, and can even help to improve the quality of your skin. Many people find themselves dealing with dry skin during the winter, so if that sounds like you, drink up on your citrus water!

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Kale also seems to have its own hate bandwagon, which I can kind of understand. In its natural state, I agree that kale tastes like salty, crunchy hair. That being said, it’s an excellent addition to fruit smoothies, because that disgusting flavor is overpowered by the taste of fresh fruit (and you still get all the kale health benefits!) I probably don’t need to remind you again how good kale is for you, but I’m going to anyway. Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, which means even a little can go a long way. Toss some kale into your next fruit smoothie, and feel yourself become an unstoppable superhuman.

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Potatoes are amongst my favorite vegetables of all time. They’re versatile, they’re delicious, and they have a surprisingly low calorie count. Obviously, the junk we add to potatoes makes them not so great for you, but the actual potato itself isn’t going to hurt your health. (And even if french fries are unhealthy, who gives a crap? I personally like having a food baby at all times). Potatoes are also great because you can incorporate them into any meal of the day! Breakfast potatoes in a garbage plate are absolutely crucial. Trust me.

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I know pomegranates are kind of a bitch to eat, but I firmly believe the taste makes it all worth it in the end. Like many of the other fruits and veggies on this list, pomegranates are a great source of vitamin C and antioxidants. There is also evidence that shows eating pomegranates can lower your risk of developing arthritis and cancer later in life, so adding it to your diet certainly won’t hurt. And, if you don’t feel like cracking open a pomegranate to harvest the seeds every week, you can always just buy some pre-made pomegranate juice. Problem solved.

Sources: https://cookieandkate.com/2015/february-produce-guide/

Some recipes to try!

Broccoli: https://chooseveg.com/blog/9-vegan-broccoli-recipes-super-easy/

Citrus fruit: https://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/bright-beautiful-citrus-recipes/

Kale: https://minimalistbaker.com/kale-chip-nachos-30-minutes/

Potatoes: https://holycowvegan.net/cheesy-vegan-breakfast-potato-casserole/

Pomegranate (and kale): http://www.wholesomelicious.com/kale-pomegranate-avocado-salad-zesty-tahini-dressing/

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Admittedly, I am a bit of a hermit in the wintertime. And that’s actually one of the top reasons that winter is my favorite season- it’s the perfect excuse for me to stay inside and cook some of my favorite comfort food dishes! Lately I’ve been on a bit of an Italian food kick, so a lot of my favorites this season is are pasta and cheesy dishes that cook quickly in the oven. I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do! All of the recipe links will be included at the bottom of the page.


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First and foremost, my absolute FAVORITE new recipe is this vegan stuffed shell dish by Nora Cooks. In my personal experience, a lot of vegan dishes struggle to replicate cheese, but this one actually does a really fantastic job. That’s mostly attributed to the use of nutritional yeast, which has a naturally cheesy taste. Nutritional yeast is also an excellent source of B12, which is crucial for a vegan diet in order to stay healthy. On top of being nutritious and authentic, this recipe is also simply delicious and very filling. I’ve already made it twice in the course of a month, and I don’t see an end in sight.


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If you’re looking for a fatty, salty, carbolicious way to fill the void in your heart this winter, I highly recommend you dedicate an entire evening to making a garbage plate. What is a garbage plate, you ask? It’s a beautiful yet disturbing concoction of macaroni salad, breakfast potatoes, spicy chili meat sauce, and two hamburgers slapped on top. Oh, and then you smother it in mustard and ketchup and mix it up. I came across this recipe by watching a Jenna Marbles video, who also happened to prepare her garbage plate vegan. Making a garbage plate is extremely time-consuming, especially since most of what I prepared was made from scratch, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. And the entire plate ends up being HUGE, so you have enough leftovers to ask you the rest of the week. I think the perfect way to spend a snowy night would be to throw a garbage plate party, so call up your friends and get one started asap.


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This is (kind of) connected to the garbage plate, because this recipe is a component of the garbage plate, but I wanted to include it separately nonetheless. For all my southern hemisphere babes who are living up the summer, you’ll love this vegan macaroni salad recipe. I like to think that it’s somewhat healthier than regular macaroni salad, because it uses apple cider vinegar instead of real mayo, but I swear it tastes exactly the same. In fact, I would argue it tastes better- it has a light, delicate smell that won’t stink up your kitchen or your fridge. I was never a fan of macaroni salad before, but after trying this recipe, I’m officially hooked. The recipe I’ve linked below isn’t vegan itself, but you can just opt out the eggs and use a vegan mayo instead of regular mayo if you want to prepare it vegan. This macaroni salad is really good on burgers- I highly suggest you try it yourself.


Besides those three recipes, I mostly just ate fruits, veggies, and tons of soup this winter. That being said, the season isn’t over, so let me know some other vegan recipes you’d like me to try! I’m always open to trying new recipes as the seasons change.

Stuffed Shells: https://www.noracooks.com/vegan-stuffed-jumbo-shells/

Garbage Plate Recipes (You should also check out Jenna’s video for a more detailed description of the preparation, and how to make vegan substitutes. Someone even posted her entire recipe in the comments): https://www.thespiffycookie.com/2013/05/16/homemade-garbage-plates/

Macaroni Salad: https://www.foodiecrush.com/how-to-make-classic-macaroni-salad/

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white ceramic teacup with saucer near two books above gray floral textile
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Admittedly, tea was an acquired taste for me. The first sixteen years of my life were spent trying to avoid the earthy leaf water my mother and friends so often drank, so when I did discover I had a liking for it, I was rightfully shocked.

That being said, the only tea I would bring myself to drink at first was an iced chai with cinnamon and nutmeg. If you too find yourself struggling to acquire a taste for tea, chai is a great place to start. A good chai latte tastes rich and sweet, and reminiscent of a vanilla-flavored coffee. From there, I extended my liking of tea to a variety of herbal teas, bought myself a teapot, and invested in a ridiculous collection of mugs.  

To this day, I’m still a bit picky about what teas I enjoy drinking. The less the tea tastes like murky groundwater, the better, so I like to stick with fruity-flavors. Here are some of my favorites that I’ve picked up over time, and which health benefits they pack. Both my mother and I’s favorite brand for tea is Pukka, so you’ll be seeing that name quite a bit.


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Chai tea, as I’ve said before, is a great place to start if you’re struggling to get on the tea bandwagon. The taste of chai is very uniquely different from other teas: it’s naturally very creamy and sweet, with a little hint of spice in it. Chai is one of the most popular types of tea found in cafes and restaurants, and I think it tastes equally delicious both iced and hot. If you’re looking for a perfect holiday drink to slide into the new year with, consider whipping up a chai latte with cinnamon and nutmeg. Not only does chai taste delicious, but it also has a wide array of health benefits. Chai tea has been proven to wake you up more, alleviate nausea, improve digestion, and support your immune system.  


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Peppermint tea is another one of my favorite naturally sweet teas. Crisp and clean in both smell and taste, peppermint tea is an excellent way to fight sinus infections and bad breath. Peppermint tea has also been proven to treat menstrual cramps, reduce stress and anxiety, and prevent headaches. For those reasons, if you find yourself struggling both physically and emotionally during your period, peppermint tea could be the perfect hot beverage for you! Three Mint tea by Pukka is my favorite-  it contains a lovely blend of spearmint, fieldmint, and peppermint. However, if you are pregnant, doctors agree it is best to stay away from this tea, as consuming it can lead to miscarriages in very extreme cases.


Here’s a little fun fact about Earl Gray tea- it is actually named after former British Prime Minister Earl Charles Gray. Loved for its soothing taste, Earl Gray is actually a blend of various Chinese teas. Well-known for its healthy reputation, the benefits of this tea include increased energy, enhanced digestion, and even dental aid. Fluoride occurs naturally in Earl Gray, so you can take pride in the fact that you are fighting cavities with every cup of tea. Although I myself am a coffee-crazy fanatic, Earl Gray is a much healthier alternative due to its non-dehydrating ingredients.


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Cinnamon is widely cherished as powerful healing substance, so it comes as no surprise that the tea form is just as fabulous for you. In fact, evidence of cinnamon healing properties dates all the way back to ancient Egypt. Today, cinnamon is recognized for its powerful anti-inflammatory effects and prevention of heart disease. Similarly to chai, cinnamon has warm, sweet-n-spicy taste that many novice tea-lovers can enjoy this holiday season. The lovely kosher Three Cinnamon tea by Pukka is a lovely mix of cinnamon from Indonesia, Vietnam, and India.


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Even if you’ve never tried it, I’m sure you’re familiar with green tea. This tea originates from China, but over time, its production and manufacture has spread to many other countries. Studies have shown that drinking green tea can improve brain function and mental performance, burn fat, lower your risk of type II diabetes, and even lower your risk of various types of cancers. Supreme Matcha Green by Pukka is a delicious matcha powder combined with green tea leaves, packed with antioxidants in every sip. Although green tea can certainly be an acquired taste, there are many ways to slowly ease yourself into it. Starbucks also makes a delicious Matcha green tea frappe, so you can always consider starting there. And that, my friends, is the tea for today!


More of my favorite teas by Pukka are Revitalise, Womankind, and Night Time.

Fact sources and further reading: https://www.cupandleaf.com/blog/chai-tea-benefits https://www.thespruceeats.com/peppermint-tea-benefits-765056 https://food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/8-surprising-health-benefits-of-earl-grey-tea-1670071

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-proven-benefits-of-cinnamon

https://www.sunsaferx.com/health-and-wellness/health-benefits-green-tea/

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