A mid-​winter slump begs for more choices in the week night meal rota­tion. Soup and sand­wich riffs take some pres­sure off any­one respon­si­ble for putting food on the table.

Afford­able and sat­is­fy­ing, a grilled cheese sand­wich and tomato soup combo are pretty hard to beat.

Their warmth and com­fort goes past those Campbell’s Soup com­mer­cials. Think of other nat­ural pair­ings and get into the spirit of a lunch or din­ner that don’t require much home­work.

Explore cream of cel­ery, French onion, Thai aspara­gus, veg­etable, potato — leek and mine­strone soup pro­files. A vast cat­a­log of recipes are avail­able to assist.

Spicy ver­sions of tor­tilla, Mul­li­gatawny and pho take us to great exotic tastes from around the world. Chile pep­pers, curry, lentils, gin­ger root, mush­rooms and gar­lic make for excep­tional soup starters.

Read more: Soup Plus Sandwich →

Nearly any­thing stuffed will con­vince us that there is a cel­e­bra­tion in the mak­ing.

That could mean an easy week­night din­ner party if the vehi­cle used for stuff­ing is a por­to­bello mush­room.

In North­ern Italy, this over­sized mush­room is called “cap­pel­lone” which means “big hat”. It makes sense as the shape resem­bles a large cap or top­per (just right for stuff­ing).

To be clear, once a cri­m­ini mush­room reaches between four to six inches in diam­e­ter, it is offi­cially called a por­to­bello or porta­bella. Yes, they are one in the same vari­ety, with a dif­fer­ent matu­rity level dic­tat­ing its name.

A porta­bello is rec­og­nized by it’s open, flat sur­face (cap). Because it’s left to grow larger, the gills are fully exposed. This means that some of the mushroom’s mois­ture has evap­o­rated. The reduced mois­ture con­cen­trates and enriches the fla­vor and cre­ates a dense, meaty texture.

Read more: Good Stuff →

Tulips carry a very sto­ried past. They have the abil­ity to cap­ture hearts (and break them), make for­tunes (and lose them), inspire poetry and art and influ­ence cul­ture.

The tulip orig­i­nated cen­turies ago in Per­sia and Turkey, where 80 or so wild vari­eties were grown in very arid regions.

The tulip in Iran (Per­sia) rep­re­sents par­adise on earth and of hav­ing divine sta­tus. Euro­peans gave tulips their name, mis­tak­enly, derived from the Per­sian word for “tur­ban”.

As Euro­peans began tak­ing to tulips, the flower’s pop­u­lar­ity spread quickly, par­tic­u­larly in the Nether­lands where a phe­nom­e­non dubbed tulip mania set in at one point dur­ing the 17th cen­tury. The Dutch use a tulip to rep­re­sent a human’s brief time on earth.

Tulips became so highly-​prized in the 1600’s that prices were sent soar­ing and mar­kets crash­ing. Tulips are now grown through­out the world, but peo­ple still iden­tify cul­ti­vated vari­eties as “Dutch tulips.”

Read more: Per­fect Love →

Few hum­ble ingre­di­ents pro­vide such com­fort and sus­te­nance as greens and beans.

By beans, we nat­u­rally mean legumes– that class of veg­eta­bles that include lentils, peas and beans of all types.

Can­nellini, Ital­ian, chick peas (gar­banzo), black, white, navy, north­ern, lima, fava, Adzuki and but­ter top the list of pow­er­house beans.

Legumes are typ­i­cally low in fat, con­tain­ing no cho­les­terol, and are high in folate, potas­sium, iron and mag­ne­sium. A good source of pro­tein, legumes can be a healthy alter­na­tive to meat.

Due to their blend of fiber, pro­tein and nutri­ents, legumes aid in blood sugar reg­u­la­tion more than almost any other food group, a key qual­ity for dia­bet­ics and those con­cerned with main­tain­ing sta­ble insulin response.

Read more: Greens & Beans →

Good­bye mon­key, hello rooster”. The Lunar New Year begins on Jan­u­ary 28, with fif­teen days of cel­e­bra­tion and feast­ing ahead.

Shrug off the shenani­gans of 2016 (those mis­chie­vous­ness mon­key traits) and usher in the con­fi­dence of the rooster.

Always well dressed, other rooster traits include loy­alty, talk­a­tive­ness, punc­tu­al­ity, hon­esty and hard-​working dis­ci­pline.

As the two week Spring Fes­ti­val cel­e­bra­tions take place, fam­i­lies and friends travel great dis­tances to be together over shared meals and spe­cial events.

Read more: Rule the Roost →

No sur­prise that the Fit­bit App was one of the top ten free apps down­loaded after the Christ­mas hol­i­day.

No doubt, there are many other cool ways to track fit­ness on var­i­ous devices these days. Any­one with a smart­phone is capa­ble.

Get­ting moti­vated and set­ting goals are what is required for a road to well­ness.

Real­is­tic, approach­able tar­gets will be the ones that stick. A thirty minute a day min­i­mum approach to exer­cise is a good start for those more seden­tary folks. Walk­ing is an activ­ity that is acces­si­ble to most every­one. No mem­ber­ships required.

The gen­eral rec­om­men­da­tion is to walk 10,000 steps per day. This is a good goal for some­one just get­ting started. Fit indi­vid­u­als can and should strive for more.

Read more: Road to Wellness →