Paula Recommends ...Tomato Beet Salad w/ Peaches, Mint & Walnuts

Take advantage of the last of summer's sweet produce with this vibrant salad. Gem-colored peaches and beets boast healthy amounts of fiber, potassium and vitamin C, as well as anthocyanins and polyphenols and their potent antioxidant properties. Plus, this recipe is easy, quick and delicious. - Paula Meyer, Mission Training Center Nutritionist 


2 medium cooked red beets, sliced  ½-inch thick
2 medium tomatoes, sliced ¼-inch thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups diced peaches without skin (fresh or frozen)
1/3 cup toasted chopped walnuts
¼  cup crumbled goat cheese (or feta)

1 small shallot, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons minced mint leaves (reserve a few sprigs for garnish)
1 teaspoon minced thyme (reserve a few sprigs for garnish)
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon honey

1. On individual plates, arrange beets and tomato slices in a stack. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine shallot, mint, thyme, oil, lemon juice and honey. Stir well to combine. Add peaches and gently toss to coat.
3. Arrange peach mixture over beets and tomato stacks.
4. Top salad with walnuts and cheese.
5. Garnish with mint and thyme sprigs and serve.

Nutritional info (per serving): Calories 197; Fat 11g; Sat Fat 2.5g; Carbs 21g;  Fiber 2g; Sodium 58mg; Protein 6g

6 Tips to Boost Your Mood and Metabolism

From  |  By , Medically Reviewed by Pat F. Bass, III, MD, MPH

Did you know some foods can actually boost your mood? Think bananas, avocados, dried apricots, walnuts and other foods high in the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan has been found to increase levels of feel-good serotonin in the brain, which adds to feelings of optimism and calm. Talk about comfort food!

Excerpt: 'By making a few simple adjustments to your diet, you can elevate your mood and boost your metabolism. The benefits are potentially huge: Maintaining a good mood will help you stick to a healthy diet, be more productive, and increase your self-esteem."

For the complete article including six simple tips to help you eat to boost your mood and metabolism, click here.


Make Room For Mushrooms

From Medical News Today  |  By Megan Ware RDN LD

What’s not to like about mushrooms? They add a savory, meaty bump to nearly any dish for very few calories. While they are classified as vegetables, they are not technically plants. Rather, they belong to the fungi realm, but still pack a hefty nutritional punch that can help protect you from a wide range of diseases and health conditions including cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.

That’s because mushrooms contain high levels of phytochemicals, antioxidants and beta-glucan (a fiber), all of which help reduce inflammation, which adds to their disease-fighting properties. Mushrooms even help your complexion and hair and energy levels.

For more on the many health benefits of mushrooms, click here.

Paula Recommends... Risotto with Scallions, Fresh Peas and Mint

This delicious dish combines wonderful fresh green bounty with a nourishing simple risotto ...dotted with sweet peas, pleasantly pungent scallions and refreshing mint. Peas are rich in high-quality amino acids providing a surprising amount of plant-based protein. - Paula Meyer, Mission Training Center Nutritionist 

2 cups of blanched freshly shucked peas
8 cups warmed chicken broth
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1⁄2 cup finely chopped shallots
1 bunch of scallions, light-colored portion of scallions finely chopped about 1 1⁄4 cup
Large pinch of sea salt
1 large clove garlic, grated
2 cups Aborio rice
1 cup white wine
Green portion of scallions finely chopped
3 Tablespoons chopped mint, plus whole mint leaves for garnish Freshly grated parmesan, to taste.

1. Heat salted water in a small pot and blanch peas. It takes about 1 -2 minutes and they will float to the top. Drain and submerge peas in ice water and set aside.
2. Warm chicken broth in small saucepan.
3. Heat olive oil in a heavy bottom pan over medium high heat. Add shallots, light- colored portion of spring onions and a large pinch of sea salt. Saute until alliums are translucent, about 4 minutes. Don’t allow them to brown, lower the heat if necessary.
4. Add grated garlic and stir constantly for 30 seconds then add rice and sauté for another 4 minutes. Again, avoid browning.
5. Add white wine and allow to cook off and absorb into rice. Using a ladle, add broth one ladle at a time until absorbed. No need to constantly stir, but it is a good idea to keep an eye on it and stir frequently.
6. While rice is cooking , take 1 cup of peas and blend in blender with a few ladles of warmed chicken broth. Set aside, and when you have finished all of the broth in your sauce pan add the green pea broth and allow the rice to absorb it. It takes about 40 minutes for the rice to absorb the liquid.
7. At the 40 minute mark, check the rice for doneness, it shouldbe creamy and slightly al dente. Also add salt to taste at this time. If you are using homemade broth, it will likely need more salt than store bought broth.
8. Stir in chilled blanched peas, chopped scallions and mint.
9. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan and mint leaves. Serve immediately.

Nutritional info: Calories 320; Fat 8g; Sat Fat 1.8g; Carbs 46; Protein 9g; Fiber 2.7; Sodium 196g

Paula Recommends ...Cucumber Melon Soup

This light summer soup served cold is low in calories and fat, but high in protein and phytochemicals, which research shows boosts immune function and fights disease. It’s easy and delicious!  Perfect for when the weather’s warm.  - Paula Meyer, Mission Training Center Nutritionist 

1 large seedless cucumber, or a medium peeled
2 cups of sliced or chopped cucumber (about 1 regular-sized cucumber)
1 and 1/2 cups honey dew melon, cubed
¾  cups greek style yogurt
Cilantro - about a dozen sprigs, including stems
Mint - the leaves from about 4 sprigs of mint
Salt and Pepper

1. Cut the cucumber into large chunks – about 5 or 6 pieces.
2. Put all ingredients into a blender and process.
3. Serve soup with a few small mint leaves as a garnish and a sprinkling of sea salt over the top.

Note: Taste will vary a bit according to the sweetness of the melon, the tartness of the yogurt etc. You may like more mint or cilantro or salt. Adjust the amounts to your taste.

Makes 4 (1 cup) servings

Nutritional information per serving: 64 calories, 2g fat,  8.5g carbohydrate, 3g protein; 1.5g fiber


Fun In the Sun: The Health Benefits of Vitamin D

From Medical News Today  |  By Megan Ware

 …at least in sensible doses, exposure to the sun is important for maintaining healthy bones and teeth, and for supporting the immune system, lung function, heart health, the brain and nervous system. It may also protect against cancer, type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis. It’s all thanks to the Vitamin D our bodies synthesize through exposure to the sun, sensible sun exposure that is.

Estimates indicate that 5 to 10 minutes 2 to 3 times per week allow most people to produce sufficient vitamin D, but vitamin D breaks down quickly, which means stores can run low, especially in winter.

Good food sources of Vitamin D include swordfish, salmon, tuna canned in water, eggs, fortified skim milk and sardines.

To read more about the health benefits of Vitamin D, click here.


Paula Recommends ...Avocado Zucchini Soup

This refreshing good-for-you soup combines crisp zucchini and creamy avocado for a delicious side or meal in and of itself. Fiber from summer squash and the avocado's healthy monounsaturated fat helps you fill up and stay fuller longer.  - Paula Meyer, Mission Training Center Nutritionist 

For the soup
1 cup vegetable broth
3 cups chopped zucchini (about 2-3 medium-sized)
1⁄2 cup thinly sliced green onion, divided for soup and some for salsa
1 medium Hass avocado
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin, optional
3⁄4 cup unsweetened plain almond milk

For the cucumber salsa
1 cup peeled, seeded, diced cucumber (medium sized)
1 1⁄2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 1⁄2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided half for soup and other half salsa.
Salt to taste

1. In large saucepan over high heat, combine broth, zucchini and 1⁄4 cup onion. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover, reduce heat and let simmer 6 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
2. To make the salsa, in a small bowl combine cucumber, remaining onion, cilantro and 1 Tablespoon lime juice. Season with salt to taste. Toss well, cover and refrigerate.
3. In blender, combine zucchini mix, avocado, cumin, remaining 1 Tablespoon lime juice and almond milk. Cover and puree until smooth. Leaving soup in blender container and refrigerate.
4. When ready to serve, re-blend soup. Add additional almond milk or broth for thinner consistency, if desired. Pour into serving bowls. Top with salsa and serve.

Makes 4 (1 cup) servings

Nutritional information per serving: 108 calories, 7.5g total fat (1g saturated fat),  10g carbohydrate, 3g protein; 5g dietary fiber, 285mg sodium 

Go Garlic!

From Medical News Today |  By Christian Nordqvist

Excerpt: 'Garlic has been used all over the world for thousands of years. Records indicate that garlic was in use when the Giza pyramids were built, about 5,000 years ago. Richard S. Rivlin wrote in the Journal of Nutrition that the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (circa. 460-370 BC), known today as "the father of Western medicine," prescribed garlic for a wide range of conditions and illnesses. Hippocrates promoted the use of garlic for treating respiratory problems, parasites, poor digestion, and fatigue. The original Olympic athletes in Ancient Greece were given garlic - possibly the earliest example of "performance enhancing" agents used in sports.'

Garlic is now widely used for several conditions linked to the blood system and heart. It is also used today by some people for cancer prevention and for its anti-inflammatory effects. For more information, including examples of scientific studies from peer-reviewed academic journals about the therapeutic benefits (or not) of garlic, click here.


All About Tomatoes


Technically a fruit, tomatoes are often considered a vegetable. Either way, they are a great source of lycopene, a plant compound that has been linked to heart health, cancer prevention and protection against sunburns. Lycopene is most abundant in the skin of ripe tomatoes and generally, the redder the tomato, the more lycopene it contains. But that’s not all, this delicious fruit is also full of Vitamin C (antioxidant), Potassium (for blood pressure control and cardiovascular health), Vitamin K1 (for bone health) and so much more. For the complete scoop on just how great tomatoes are for your health, click here.