The New Year has finally arrived, and with it people all over the world are making promises that THIS year will be their healthiest year yet. While some plan to take an already healthy lifestyle to the next level, others are making a commitment to take the initial steps to taking better care of themselves.
No matter the stage you may be in; we at My Olive Tree want to encourage you to keep going! So we are providing a few healthy recipes that can assist everyone —wherever they may be on their journey toward better health.
This appetizer, courtesy of “Martha Stewart’s Hors d’Oeuvres Handbook.” Is simple and heart healthy. Olives and extra virgin olive oil are always great health choice ingredients when seeking to improve your health, as they help to lower cholesterol, aid digestion, and also are proven to improve brain function, as well.
- 2 cups Picholine olives (8 to 10 ounces)
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon mixed (red, white, green) peppercorns, slightly crushed
Place olives in a medium bowl; set aside. Heat 1-tablespoon olive oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic; cook just until golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer garlic to paper towel to drain, and let cool; set aside. Bring 2 tablespoons vinegar and red onion to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat; reduce by half to 1 tablespoon. Add remaining ½ cup olive oil, ¼ cup vinegar, bay leaves, and peppercorns; bring to a simmer. Stir in garlic. Pour warm mixture over olives, and marinate at room temperature for at least 2 hours. Olives may be made 1 week ahead, and refrigerated in an airtight container. Return to room temperature before serving.
This delectable soup is chalk full of nutritious ingredients that allow you to enjoy a warm robust soup without all the calories of a store bought brand. When paired with this sourdough bread recipe it makes a one of a kind meal that your family is sure to enjoy!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons sweet smoked paprika
- 1 cup dried brown lentils (or green lentils)
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- ½ teaspoon salt , fresh black pepper
- 1 24 oz. can fire-roasted tomatoes
- 4 cups fresh baby spinach (or chopped spinach)
- 3/4 cup roughly chopped kalamata olives
Preheat a 4-quart soup pot over medium high heat. Sauté onions in oil with a pinch of salt until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 15 seconds or so, then mix in the thyme and paprika. Add the lentils, broth, salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn heat to medium and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lentils are almost tender. Add the tomatoes, crushing the tomatoes with your hands to get them into small pieces, as you add them. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer for another 20 minutes or so, or until lentils are very tender. Add spinach and olives and stir frequently until spinach is wilted and velvety. Add water to thin, if necessary. Taste for salt, and let sit for 10 minutes or so for flavors to marry, then serve!
Remember that as you continue to strengthen your body with nutritious meals and snacks like the ones shared above, your body will actually be able to experience sustainable growth that produces greater energy throughout the day. Focusing on making healthy eating choices will lead you toward greater productivity throughout the day, this in turn will help you to feel better about yourself and the work you’ve accomplished. It’s a cycle and we at My Olive Tree are so excited to hear about how you are taking advantage of this New Year to be the best you can be in all aspects of your life!
To start your own journey toward healthier eating purchase a bottle of My Olive Tree’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil here.