How to Eat Healthier and Support your Local Farmer

My latest discovery to help people eat healthier .. local farm fresh produce that’s delivered to your doorstep from April-November.
Disclosure: I am partnering with The Produce Box, mentioned in this post. I have received a produce box free of charge. I am reciprocating by writing this blog post to inform my readers of the service (and because I’m passionate about health education).  Opinions are my own.

I hear it all the time, I want to eat healthier.  So today I’m sharing my advice to get it done.  Hint, it involves supporting your local farmer. WIN! WIN! Enroll here and order a Produce Box weekly. Then use it. All of it.

It’s no secret,  a diet high in fruits and vegetable can reduce the risk of disease  and  play an important role in weight management. Yet, Americans are falling short of meeting recommendations for fruit and vegetable consumption (5-a-day) and some individuals don’t consume vegetables daily (you know who you are).

Ordering a produce box (North Carolina Residents only) is easy and flexible. There are several box choices; you pick what best  fits your needs. I choose the ‘Sprout’ box because it had so many of my family’s favorite salad making ingredients…

photo-1-3This weeks sprout box included:

2 heads of fresh Romaine Lettuce from the farm of Randy Massey in Castle County, NC

3 pickling cucumbers from Cliff Pilson, Cameron, NC

2 yellow squash from the farm of Randy Massey in Castle County, NC

5 cups organic green beans (or roughly 1 1/2 pounds) from Cottle Farms in Rose Hill, NC

1 pint of blueberries from American Blueberries, Rocky Point, NC

6 ounces blackberries from Sweet Southern AG, in Clinton, NC

The area manager, Robyn, also threw in an extra pint of blueberries and 2 beautiful ripe tomatoes, cause that’s how they roll!

My box was delivered on Thursday and we’ve consumed one head of Romaine lettuce ( in salads), along with 2 cucumbers and 1 tomato. We ‘re going to use the second head of Romaine  lettuce this weekend in  an entree  salad with the yellow squash (shaved), the second tomato, the last cucumber (along with shrimp and corn and a sweet cilantro vinaigrette). The blueberries and blackberries are holding up great (still look fresh) and I will be serving them tonight with a little whipped cream for dessert.

Monday I’ll use the second yellow squash in kabobs. The green beans will get used up on Tuesday in a green bean casserole recipe that was included in my box. (Each Produce Box comes with storage usage tips and recipes that come in handy;  I’m following the advice of storing unwashed green beans in a plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper where they should keep for up to 7 days.) Wednesday is the next delivery day and a new order of farm fresh fruits and vegetables! Join me in weekly meal planning around the fruits and vegetables in YOUR Produce Box!

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Deconstructed Summer Roll with Asian-Inspired Caesar Dressing

 This variation of the classic Caesar salad is just one example of the versatility of Davidson’s Safest Choice Eggs, a necessity for all your recipes using raw or gently cooked eggs.IMG_1940-copy

Disclosure: I received coupons for free samples of Davidson’s Safest Choice Eggs mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time. 

What’s your go to summer meal? Mine is something grilled atop a big Caesar salad. In my humble opinion, it’s the Caesar dressing (the raw egg yolk in particular) that gives this meal it’s richness  and swagger! Although I have never been squeamish about eating raw eggs, I have been concerned about the risk of Salmonella. Not any more. I use Davidson’s Safest Choice Eggs because the natural pasteurization process uses a warm water bath that eliminates the risk of Salmonella in eggs, but does not change the taste or nutritional value. So I can add raw eggs to smoothies and  salad dressings; whip up a no cook mousse; and gently cook scrambled and poached eggs- all with peace of mind.

So you see,  SafeEggs are versatile. And so is my  classic Caesar salad; today I’m adapting it to something new and different (but keeping the richness and swagger).  That’s how this was born…

IMG_1941_edited-1Just the sight of  this meal says hello summer.  It boasts the flavor and  goodness of a traditional Caesar salad, but with an Asian flare in only  390 calories and a healthy 37 grams of protein. The nutritional value is light & lean, and the taste is BIG and flavorful!

Deconstructed Summer Shrimp Roll with Asian Inspired Caesar Dressing (serves 4)

by Diane Boyd


    for the Asian Inspired Caesar Dressing

    • 1/4 cup cooked edamame, shelled
    • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
    • 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1 Davidson’s Safest Choice Pasteurized egg yolk
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 1 teaspoon wasabi paste
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    For the grilled shrimp

    • 1 pound large wild caught shrimp
    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil for brushing shrimp
    • Chinese 5 spice
    • 2 lemons, halved

    for the slalad

    • 1 head of romaine lettuce, cleaned and dried
    • 2 ounces thin vermicelli rice noodles, cooked
    • 1/2 cup thinnly slice radicchio
    • 1 cup cooked edamame, shelled


    for the Caesar Dressing

    Combine ingredients edamame through wasabi in a blender and process until smooth. Gradually add olive oil to combine. Pour into glass jar and refrigerate until ready to use.

    for the Grilled Shrimp

    1. Preheat grill.

    2. Butterfly shrimp by slicing almost through lengthwise, but leave shell on shrimp (this will keep shrimp tender while grilling over high heat).

    3. Brush shrimp with oil and season with Chinese 5 spice. Grill 2 minutes on each side, until shells are pink and shrimp is opaque.

    4. Place lemons on the grill for the last minute. Remove from grill and set aside to serve with salad and  squeeze over shrimp.

    To assemble salad

    Combine chopped romaine, radicchio, and noodles in large bowl. Divide among 4 plates. Top each plate with grilled shrimp and squeeze grilled lemon halves over shrimp. Sprinkle each salad with edamame. Serve immediately with Asian-Inspired Caesar dressing on the side.

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    No Cook Ricotta Mousse

    Don’t sweat the small stuff. Use Davidson’s Safest Choice Eggs in all your raw or gently cooked recipes including salad dressings, sauces, ice cream, poached and sunny side up eggs, and this no cook ricotta mousse.IMG_1952_edited-1

    Disclosure: I received coupons for free samples of Davidson’s Safest Choice Eggs mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time. 

    Some of my best recipes come from difficult scenarios. Like finding out at 5 p.m. that company’s coming for dinner, while I’m  still in my garden with dirt underneath my fingernails and  coating brow like breadcrumbs.   On these days, I realize the  truth of some proverbs such as…

    Necessity is the mother of invention..

    …because it’s how I managed to concoct this dessert in only 5 minutes!


    Who knew? Not only is it quick, it’s delicious and nutritious. The mousse (sans toppings) is made with only 3 ingredients and there are infinite ways to  top it off  including with  strawberries, almonds and balsamic glaze, as pictured.  It would also be yummy with my reduced sugar blueberry sauce. Egg yolks make this dessert creamy and because I used Davidson’s Safest Choice pasteurized egg yolks, I was able to use them raw. Safest  Choice elminates the risk of Salmonella in eggs without changing the nutrition or flavor.  The mousse pictured, clocks in at 250 calories making it a smart dessert choice.  In my opinion, the fact that it’s a very good source of calcium and also packs in 14 grams of protein per serving puts in this category: acceptable for breakfast. (Great  motivation for getting out of bed in the morning!)   You work hard, don’t sweat the small stuff! When company calls this summer,  opt for this quick and easy dessert. Remember, use Davidson’s Safest Choice Eggs, and safely  enjoy all your favorite recipes using raw or gently cooked eggs!

    No Cook Ricotta Mousse (serves 4)

    by Diane Boyd


    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • 2 Safest Choice pastuerized egg yolks
    • 1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
    • 4 tablespoons sliced almonds
    • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
    • 1 Tablespoon balsamic glaze
    • arugula for garnish


    1. In a small mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer, blend honey and egg yolks. Add ricotta cheese and blend until light and fluffy. Spoon into individual serving bowls.

    2. Top each bowl with almonds, strawberries and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Garnish with fresh arugula. Serve immediately.

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    Posted in Fitness, Health and Wellness, Inspiration, Recipe Redux, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

    Purple Quinoa Salad + Juicy Giveaway

    The five ingredient Quinoa Salad that even  your children will love!IMG_1897Disclosure: This is my recipe for Welch’s Recipe Contest.  I received coupons for Welch’s 100% Grape Juice Products mentioned in this post, for creating a family friendly  recipe and for the giveaway. I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

    The quinoa craze  reminds me of the story  by Hans Christian Anderson, The Emperor’s New Clothes. No one wants to come right out and say, I don’t like quinoa, much like no one wanted to confess they couldn’t see the Emperor’s new duds, without being labeled a fool. Sigh!

    So guess what? Today I am sharing a recipe with you that will make you really want to eat this translucent grain, for reasons beyond it’s good for you (’cause you already know it’s nearly a complete protein, high in fiber, and gluten free.)

    There are 2 parts to preparing foolproof quinoa, that even a child will love. The first part is cooking technique (thank you America’s Test Kitchen) and the second part is a purple cooking ingredient. Here’s how to  to make quinoa tender with a satisfying bite  (bye bye messy soggy quinoa).:

    1. First toast quinoa in a pan over medium high heat until you hear a popping sound and the  quinoa is fragrant (5-7 minutes).

    2. Alter the  common ratio 2:1 of water-to-quinoa to equal amounts.

    Now for the the purple ingredient that will forever banish bitter, earthy tasting quinoa… Welch’s 100% Grape Juice. Not only does this ingredient boost the flavor,  it also  has the power of purple Concord grapes.

    photo-276This photo is so cheesy, I apologize, but it calls attention to  my message regarding grape research. For more than a decade, researchers have been exploring an important mix of plant nutrients-polyphenols- found in Concord grapes and the effects they have on the body, including possible benefits in supporting heart health. In addition, emerging research is being conducted to determine whether Concord grapes play a role in supporting a healthy mind and immune system. Click to see research.   Using Welch’s 100% Grape Juice is a simple way to sqeeze more flavor and better nutrition into foods you prepare for yourself and your family. Please try this recipe and enter to win!


    Purple Quinoa Salad (serves 4)

    by Diane Boyd


    • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
    • 1 1/4 cup Welch’s 100% Grape Juice
    • 1/2 cup cucumber sliced and quartered
    • 12 yellow grape tomatoes, halved
    • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped


    1. Toast quinoa in medium saucepan over medium high heat, stirring frequently, until quinoa is fragrant and make a popping sound, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

    2. Add Welch’s 100% grape juice to medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat.

    3. Stir in quinoa and reduce heat to low. Simmer until grains are just tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat .

    4. Let sit covered for 10 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork and stir in cucumber, tomato and oregano. Serve immediately or refrigerate for later.

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    Must be a U.S. resident and at least 18 years old to enter.   a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Posted in Fitness, Health and Wellness, product review, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

    Grilled Southwest Stuffed Peppers

    Disclosure: I am  member of the Cabot Cheese Board and  I receive periodic shipments of some of their products including the ones mentioned in this post.   My familiarity  with the World’s Best Cheddar makes it easy to share recipes and tips. I was not expected to write this post, opinions are my own.

    It was the first holiday weekend of the summer, and I pulled a switcheroo!   When it comes to grilling, my family looks forward to meat, chicken, fish or shrimp. Rarely do I grill vegetables, and  when I do, they’re usually on a kabob accompaning…yes.. meat, chicken, fish or shrimp.  But on this occassion, inspired by Cabot, I  changed things up with these vegetarian babies..


    Not only did this meal exceed all grilling expectations, but my kids and my husband agree  these  Southwest flavored stuffed peppers are a new grilling favorite! The barbie adds a light smokiness that pairs well with the gooey melted Cabot Monterey Jack and pintos. Omnivores will love  them as a side to a burger or bbq chicken breast; vegetarians can make them a meal! You’ll love the ease of making them ahead of time and simply heating on the grill to serve to guests. Find the recipe at cabotcheese and  get the grilling season off to a healthy start with vegetables and plant based foods!

    What are your grilling favorites? Which vegetables and plant based foods do you like on the grill?




    Posted in Fitness, Health and Wellness, Inspiration, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments