Deborah Madison Shares From Her Own Cozy Kitchen


When searching for answers to life’s questions we like to defer to the masters, and Deborah Madison certainly falls into that category. She was cooking from an enlightened perspective long before it was fashionable or even acceptable in many circles. From the San Francisco Zen Center to Chez Panisse, Madison has taken every opportunity to engage in the deepest examination of vegetarian cuisine.  And now a lifetime of expertise has been condensed into her latest book, In My Kitchen, a collection of favorite vegetarian recipes she serves at home.

We must start by highlighting the mouthwatering Romanesco sauce inspired by a trip to Spain. This deep, complex, sunny blend is oh so satisfying. We added a big dollop to soup, but honestly we want to slather this winner on everything in the kitchen including the roasted cauliflower recipe she pairs it with in the book.

A crisp, sweet, spicy citrus and avocado salad with lime-cumin vinaigrette atop shredded greens is the definition of invigoration and the ideal accompaniment to heavier dishes of beans or animal protein. Deborah is not interested in pushing lifestyle choices down anyones throat and is thrilled that in this day and age one can choose to be vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian or omnivore on any night of the week it calls to them.

That is not to say that vegetarian and vegan dishes can’t be supremely satisfying.  Their hardiness is clearly demonstrated in her potato and chickpea stew with sautéed spinach. It’s a memorable bowl sure to warm the hearts of all who dive in.

Deborah’s rubarb-rasberry compote couldn’t be easier and the tangy, tart, mildly sweet flavor is a winner served with cookies, over ice cream or as a side dish, transforming any weeknight dinner into a special occasion. It is beyond scrumptious and all we had to do was throw a few easy ingredients together, 3 to be exact. We made a triple batch and enjoyed it for a full week before finally scraping the bowl clean.

Worried Deborah’s healthy style will deny you sweet treats? No need, her walnut nugget cookies pair surprisingly well with the rhubarb and raspberry compote.

While encouraging readers to nourish themselves in the fashion that best suits their mood, Deborah makes the process surprisingly easy and we greatly appreciate that. Those ready to dive into a healthy dose of mother natures best would be wise to pick up Deborah Madison’s, In My Kitchen and transform their cooking with instruction straight from the cozy kitchen of one of the shining stars of the culinary world. Bon Appetit.

 

Diving Deep Into The Vegan Pool

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We strongly recommend finding experts to guide the way when exploring new cuisines. We took our own advice and enlisted the expertise of Zel and Reuben Allen, the masterminds behind Vegetarians in Paradise.

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They eased the way through the menu at the new Vegetarian and Vegan restaurant, Vegetable, in Studio City.

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We were first struck by the official stamp proclaiming all organic produce, with a seasonal and local standard to boot. We jumped right in and were oh so pleasantly surprised by the intensely flavored meal that was delivered one small plate at a time.

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Floored is the best way to describe our reaction to the savory, salty, sweet, spicy mix of flavors and textures incorporated into the butternut squash toast. Roasted garlic and butternut squash “butter” top grilled sourdough. And if that isn’t exciting enough, baby tomato, fried leek, crushed red chili pepper, flake sea salt, fresh oregano and a balsamic reduction sent us into states of ecstasy some of us did not know vegan food could conjure.

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Moving deeper down the rabbit hole, a crisp edged saffron infused savory corn cake turned out to be a beautiful assemblage atop spicy chickpea sweet onion stew and a salty garlic lacinato kale. A kiwi and serrano pepper pico de gallo adds a bit of heat as does the smokey Sriracha aioli. While the drizzling of balsamic reduction incorporates just the right amount of sweet tang to the mix.

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The meaty sautéed baby portobello mushrooms in a balsamic vinegar with sweet onion and chives are beyond addicting and we could make an entire meal of these with a loaf of grainy bread.

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For comfort food, not much beats mac and cheese, which at Vegetable is made with Andean Dream gluten-free quinoa pasta shells, savory garlic cashew cheese sauce, baby tomatoes, and a garlic walnut crumble topping.  All we know is that it’s rich, creamy and satisfying. No cheese?  Really?

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We finished off with a crisp edged, gluten free blondie loaded with shredded coconut and a vegan peanut butter ice cream that simply must be tried to be believed. No dairy?  Tasted like the real deal to us.

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Thank you Zel and Reuben for the palate and mind-blowing introduction to Vegetable and the delights of a vegan diet. We’re on board with team vegan and are excited to make vegan and vegetarian cuisine a part of our health diet.

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Vegetable, 3711 Cahuenga Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604
Phone – 818-754-1149         web site – vegetablela.com

Rainbow Acres Brings Health And Wellness Home

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Always on the lookout for exciting options, we find Rainbow Acres, a local institution since 1981, to be a great education. They are a locally owned, full service food and lifestyle store offering healthy options for almost every area of life.

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The body care section is staffed with trained team members to assist in sorting through products, ensuring customers choose the best remedies for their needs.

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By purchasing from manufacturers and businesses dedicated to raw, vegan, gluten free, organic, healthy, wholesome and sustainable products, we are able to contribute not only to our own health but also the health of the planet.

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A certified organic produce section beams with colorful fruits and vegetables.

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Bulk items allow us to purchase just the amounts we need from canisters of grains, nuts, cereals, snacks, coffee, spices and more.

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We are also excited by the concept of cleaning products that are all natural and do their job without harming us, our family or the environment.

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A full service deli provides breakfast Monday through Friday plus a daily juice bar, salad bar, sandwich bar and hot food case. Everything is clearly labeled if gluten free, free range, etc, and lists ingredients so patrons can make informed choices.

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We love the juice bar which is always busy cranking out wheatgrass shots, fresh juices, smoothies, milkshakes and non dairy shakes.

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We couldn’t resist a kale, green apple, ginger and cucumber juice that radiated hot and spicy from the ginger and pure refreshment from the organic greens.

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For a serious immersion into the world of health and wellness for home and daily life, Rainbow Acres is a great spot to ask questions, try products, learn about healthy brands, eat fresh and nourishing cuisine and drink a shot of wellness in a cup. Not a bad way to spend an hour of our time.

Rainbow Acres Natural Foods, 13208 West Washington Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90066
Phone – 310-306-8330           web site – rainbowacresca.com

Indian Cuisine Made Easy With Crack The Code

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The charming Nandita Godbole has come out with the second edition of her inspired book, Crack The Code, Cook Any Indian Meal With Confidence. This latest version contains more recipes and supports fine tuning of the culinary skills involved in the preparation of Indian food.

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The ancient secrets behind the multitude of spices, herbs, techniques, skills and kitchen supplies necessary to craft this wondrous cuisine are simplified and spelled out in detail by Nandita who has created a curry cravings code cheat sheet to help along the way.

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Ms. Godbole’s previous book, A Dozen Ways To Celebrate: Twelve Decadent Indian Feasts For the Culinary Indulgent, is a beginners guide to Ayurvedic principles and how they influence Indian cooking, allowing readers to enjoy both delicious and health propagating meals. In-depth sources for information on Ayurveda are available in her bibliography.

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A proponent of healthful eating, she supports procuring the best quality, unadulterated ingredients possible, such as those sold by Melissa’s produce embracing organic, locally sourced and environmentally sustainable attributes.

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Recipes suitable for vegetarians and omnivores alike fill her books and she includes guides for basic indian spices and how to create your own spice blends.

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Soups, salads, snacks, entrees and side dishes from exotic regions in India are easily broken down into bite sized morsels, so even those with relatively little cooking experience can master them.

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Nandita’s daughter and husband are heavily involved in the preparation, cooking, recording, public relations and photography surrounding her books.

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For those interested in capturing the essence and techniques of the Indian kitchen, Nandita’s books offer easy to read and understand, beautifully illustrated guidebooks to the cuisine.  For access to Crack The Code by Nandita Godbole as well as her previous book A dozen Ways To Celebrate, please click on the titles to be transported to Amazon where you can purchase electronic copies for your iPad or Kindle.

 

Thrive Market Offers An Education On What’s Healthy For Us And The Planet

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We love buying organic, non-GMO, local sourced, sustainable, nourishing food and healthy products. However these goods are often expensive, difficult to find and we honestly don’t have the time to research and substantiate their claims. Then we saw an ad for Thrive Market, whose tag line is, wholesome products, wholesale prices. They believe nutritious food and sustainable items are a right and not a privilege and they are on a mission to make it easier for us to buy what’s good for us, our families, our communities and our planet.

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By going directly to the leading brands, they eliminate mark-ups on the highest-quality products, and then pass those savings on to members. For every membership they sell, Thrive Market donates a membership to a low-income American family so we can all thrive together.

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We love the concepts, and with the 30-day free trial membership and gifts offered, they made it easy for us to give it a try.  Membership offers access to natural and organic products at wholesale prices as well as special promotions, contests and educational content. The membership is $59.95 for the year, which comes out to just under $5 a month. Free trials begin upon placement of the first order and roll into a paid membership 30 days later.

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Excited to get started, we went shopping online and were pleased with the accessible ways goods are presented.  We chose from categories such as gluten free, Moms, paleo, raw, staples or vegan. We were also able to scroll through food, beauty, bath and body, health, home, pet, babies and kids sections. We learned a lot just browsing the site, because each item showcases pertinent information including a description, ingredients, nutritional information and values each item possesses such as, fair trade, non-GMO, certified organic, etc.

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Our first order came in just two days and was sustainably packed in alignment with their philosophies.

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There is free shipping on orders over $49.00 and we took advantage of that little perk.

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Our first order came with both a 25%  and a 15% off coupon. We used them both, one to stock our pantry and one to set ourselves up with green cleaning and household products.

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Our free gifts for trying their service included a 15 ounce jar of Nutiva organic coconut oil and an Exo protein bar made with cricket flour. At least we know where the protein came from.  Haven’t worked up the courage to eat that one yet.

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We just started our relationship with Thrive Market and are currently checking prices on goods and doing the math, but it looks like $5 a month to have access to wholesale pricing, easy online shopping, free delivery with $49.00 orders and daily updates on products, recipes, and advice on living cleaner and healthier lives is going to be a good investment for us.

Thrive Market – thrivemarket.com

 

 

 

 

 

Hidden Farmers Market at Kaiser WLA

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Today we found ourselves at Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles, searching for a cure to our lovely bout of vertigo, when we stumbled upon their Wednesday farmers Market. Waiting to see a doctor, we decided to check it out.

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The small but well rounded market boasts vendors selling produce, juice and healthy lunch options. Ken’s Top Notch Produce offers fruit and vegetables that are certified organic.

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Other stands, such as Buenrostro Farms, grow their natures bounty in Turlock, California.

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Bright, fresh vegetables abound, a testament to Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to the healthy lifestyle their commercials promote.

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Pure pomegranate juice, free from water, sugar and additives is available in an assortment of sizes.

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Baba Food offers Mediterranean dips, chips and salads that we couldn’t pass up.

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The sun dried tomato garlic dip made with whole food ingredients, is a kick of garlic in an intense, rich dip that went well with their Greek flat pita bread, also free from additives and preservatives.

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The California Juicery will squeeze out your favorite mix of fresh juice.

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While Salsas Poblana offers samples of their fresh spicy salsas, guacamole, sour cream and chips to help customers chose salsas most suited to their taste.

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The fat packages from Jumbo Tamales are made without lard or preservatives.

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We chose the chicken tamale with green sauce, a lighter masa version stuffed with tender shredded chicken and a tangy green salsa.

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By the time we arrived at 1 PM, Good Morning Vietnam was completely sold out of everything, meaning no banh mi, pho, spring rolls or green papaya salad at all.  We now have an opportunity to revisit this market to find out why.

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For a little nibble of sweetness from natural, chemical free, freshly baked bread and pastries, Delices de France Bakery brings the goods.

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These pastries called to everyone in the courtyard.

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The farmers market sets up Wednesdays from 9 AM to 2:30 PM in the courtyard in front of Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles.  You can pay $2.00 for an hour’s parking in their lot or find free spots on one of the adjacent streets and get a bit of exercise while taking advantage of the healthy offerings at this hidden market place.  Live long and thrive.

Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center, 6041 Cadillac Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90034
Phone – 323-857-2000      web site – kaiserpermanente.org

 

 

 

 

 

80 Years of Fresh Nuts, Seeds, Candy, Jerky & Dried Fruit

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An adorable red building that houses A & Z Nut Wagon in Boyle Heights, feels like a stroll down memory lane.  Open the doors to find a shop that looks like it hasn’t changed in 80 years and thats just the way we like it.

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Shelf labels list the nuts they sell from plain roasted fresh, crunchy nutrient dense gems to spiced chili and lime, butter toffee, cayenne, honey roasted, salted, unsalted, smoked or raw.

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A sweets box of cajeta, sweetened caramelized milk or jamoncillo, a milk fudge,  tempts.

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In addition to nuts, sweets and beef jerky (which they are famous for), dried fruit is available including banana chips, chili mango, apricots, figs, papaya and pineapple.

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Other snack foods such as the addicting spicy sesame sticks, peanut brittle, jelly beans, Boston beans, chocolate raisins and cashew or coconut brittle can be found.

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Prices are a deal for nuts that set us back over $15.00 a pound at Trader Joes and we appreciate the savings wherever we can find them.

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The dried fruit here also saves us money and comes in packages of convenient sizes so we can pick and choose whatever amount is best for us.

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We can attest to the freshness, great flavor and savings found on goods sold at A & Z Nut Wagon and recommend the adventure of stepping back into the 1930’s for a taste of salty crunch and a trip down memory lane.

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A & Z Nut Wagon, 816 South Lorena Street, Los Angeles, CA 90023
Phone – 323-267-1695

The Blender Girl Smoothies Are Outside The Box

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The always effervescent Tess Masters, also known as The Blender Girl, has just released The Blender Girl Smoothies, her collection of 100 inspired, healthy and scrumptious blender concoctions that make adding fruit, vegetables, herbs, spices, healthy oils and superfoods to our diet an absolute delight.

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The book is broken into headings, Light and Fruity, Clean and Green, An Exotic Ride and Dessert, so we can design our smoothies around how we’re feeling at any given moment.

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We’ve sampled a number of her recipes and are particularly thrilled with the cohesive balance and tangy, sweet, spicy blend of Pineapple Salsa (pg. 118) as well as the Raspberry-Lemon Cheesecake (pg. 186), where raw cashews mimic the flavor, creaminess and delight of the rich dessert.   We are looking forward to checking out the Spicy Mango Magic (pg. 140) and her Pina Colada (pg. 112). 

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Tess turns us on to the myriad of ingredients we never imagined pulling together over our yogurt, banana and arugula smoothies that we have been repeating for over a year.  Wheatgrass, natural extracts, orange blossom water, flax seed, chilies and cacao are just a fraction of the healthy options available to boost both flavor and healing properties in our morning or anytime smoothie routine.

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Blenders of all sorts work beautifully with Tess’ step by step instructions, from order of ingredients added to secrets for sneaking in the super healthy stuff.

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We have been using Melissa’s Produce in our smoothies, from their sweet seedless pearl sized champagne grapes to their super spicy arugula, with stunning results.  It’s important to remember that the higher quality, pesticide free, chemical free, non GMO, locally sourced produce we use, the greater the benefit to the body.  We are now intent on making sure we buy organic within the dirty dozen category.

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For a little help in the health and wellness arena that tastes wonderful, Tess Masters and The Blender Girl Smoothies book gives us a new perspective and a ton of options to spice up our life and our wellbeing. Thank you Tess.

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For more information on Tess Masters and her vegan, gluten free world, check out her web site healthyblenderrecipes.com                                                               

Also at:

Facebook – The Blender Girl   Pinterest – The Blender Girl                                 Twitter – @theblendergirl       Instagram – @the blendergirl

Emporium of Asian, Latin and American Goods

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Echo Park is home to a wonder of a market, warehouse, department store or however else one classifies A-Grocery Warehouse Supermarket.  We stopped by today to get out of the rain and were inspired in every aisle.

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Dry goods, cooking supplies, tools, utensils, household goods, all fill one building and just when we thought we’d come to the end, we found another entire building filled with the market part of this emporium.

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We were thrilled to browse the selections and embrace super low prices on shiny new merchandise.

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Stacks of plates, bowls, cups, serving trays, olive holders, tea sets, sake sets, little saucers of all shapes and sizes, starting under a dollar and moving up just a bit for larger pieces.  We consider this place one of our best finds due to the breadth of products and pricing the way we think it should be, in our favor.

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A wide selection of American, Asian and Latin goods are available, everything we need to pull together a stellar meal.

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Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai and Japanese imported and locally produced products entice and we feel called to explore and incorporate them into delicious and healthy dinners.

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The fresh building, as we are now referring to the second side , contains a butcher shop, fish counter with live fish tanks, fresh produce section as pristine as any we’ve seen in traditional markets and everything is offered at a fraction of the prices we normally find.

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We filled a large bag with fresh fruit and handed over slightly more than $10, now that in our book is a great way to spend a rainy day.

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The Maui Gold pineapples are ripe and juicy, as are the super sweet plump blueberries.

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Asparagus and bananas are also an easy choice, with their colorful appeal.

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A-Grocery Warehouse even has a decorating section if you feel called to embrace Asian decor.

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We strongly recommend a visit this mega, all inclusive store, first to experience the amazing variety and then to save a ton of cash on some of the most delicious and fresh produce we have had the pleasure of enjoying this summer.

A-Grocery Warehouse, 1487 West Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90026
Phone – 213-482-4803

 

Healthy Eating Made Scrumptious

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Amy Riolo has a new book out to add to her exciting collection.  The Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook delves deeper into the benefits and delights of the world’s healthiest diet.

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She divides her book into the following sections: whole grains, fruit, vegetables, legumes and nuts, olive oil, fish and seafood, dairy, poultry, eggs, meat and sweets, each with nutritional benefits, history, culture, lore and recipes.  In the fruit section we are quenched by her revitalizing North African fruit “cocktail” (page 50) of orange juice, strawberry puree, pomegranate syrup as well as the seeds.  We drink and eat this with a spoon to make sure we get the crunch of pomegranate seed in every sip.

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From her vegetable section, we find the green beans, potato and cherry tomatoes with pesto (page 70) a well balanced blend of fresh produce, natural textures and herb driven flavors.

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Quinoa, arugula and fig salad (page 40) from the whole grains section, has us embracing healthy dining with new vigor.

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Citrus marinated salmon with fennel creme (page 116) is an easy to make dish that tastes like it was slaved over for hours.

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And we love the fact that she doesn’t demonize dessert, but instead makes the fresh and wholesome into healthy treats like raspberry citrus clafoutis (page 174).

For those looking to explore the benefits of the Mediterranean diet and expand their repertoire with easy, whole food recipes, Amy Riolo’s, Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook is a first-rate resource.