Living Lite

Katherine's Spicy Fresh Watermelon Salsa

August 22, 2016

Salsa is traditionally made with tomatoes, onions, hot pepper, cilantro, lime juice and salt. But I like to add seasonal fruits and vegetables to keep it interesting. In the spring, I add strawberries, in the summer, it's watermelon, which is especially sweet this year. You could even add celery, carrots, greens, mangos - really, anything goes. In the winter, use canned Italian plum tomatoes.
excerpted from "Diet Simple Farm to Table Recipes: 50 New Reasons to Cook in Season."

I usually use vine-ripe tomatoes for my fresh salsa, excerpted from my book, Diet Simple. But watermelon is a surprising and exotically delicious substitute for all the tomatoes, or just half of them - as in this version. Serve this salsa with grilled salmon, chicken or beef... even tortilla chips... whatever you may traditionally use salsa with. My friend, Marc Marzullo, said this salsa was "refreshing, light, and delicious, and I especially like the vegetables chopped in larger chunks." Since this salsa is getting eaten up today, I didn't bother adding the lime juice. If you would like your salsa to last longer in your refrigerator, use vinegar instead of lime juice.

22 servings


1 lb vine-ripe, fresh tomatoes, coarsely chopped (start with about 1-1/2 lbs)
1 lb chopped watermelon, seeds removed
1 large candy onion, peeled and chopped (about ½ pound)
3 – 4 jalapeno peppers (1 – 2 ounces) - or other hot seasonal peppers, to taste
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ tsp salt, or to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 – 4 Tbsp fresh lime juice (1 – 2 limes), optional, or vinegar if you wish for the salsa to last longer in your refrigerator

Add the onion to the tomatoes and watermelon. Finely chop 2 of the jalapeno peppers to start with. Taste. If you desire more heat, add 1 – 2 more jalapenos. Mix in the cilantro. Add the salt and pepper, depending on your taste. Mix in the lime juice, if you wish.

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Melon Chunks with Crumbled Feta and Fresh Mint

August 14, 2016

This season's melons are velvety and sweet. Buy them every week until local supplies last! This recipe is an unusual combination of flavors and textures, and a delight on the palate. Use any kind of melon that happens to be in season. Excerpted from, "Diet Simple Farm to Table Recipes: 50 New Reasons to Cook in Season!"

Serves 8

2 pounds melon chunks (about 1 small cantaloupe or seedless watermelon)
½ pound Feta Cheese or other similar cheese
8 small mint leaves, Chiffonade (Basil will also work)

Combine ingredients in a large bowl and serve! 

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Yogurt & Kefir Inhibit Cancer Causing Bacteria

August 7, 2016

You've all heard about the health benefits of the probiotic bacteria found in yogurt and other similar fermented dairy products such as kefir. This recently published study provides more evidence of yogurt cultures' actions against serious disease-causing pathogens, such as Fusobacterium nucleatum. 

F. nucleatum can cause diseases in the mouth, teeth, brain, pleura, lungs and liver. It induces fetal death in pregnant women and can lead to colon cancer by binding to the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, according to a recent study in the journal, Functional Foods in Health and Disease.

In this study, when yogurt and kefir were added to a petri dish filled with F. nucleatum and incubated for 3 days, there appeared clear zones where the yogurt and kefir were placed. Thus showing inhibition of the growth of F. nucleatum. Interestingly, the plain milk used for the yogurt and kefir did not show an inhibitory effect, but the higher the concentration of the kefir and yogurt probiotic bacteria, the more F. nucleatum's growth was inhibited.

"Previous studies have indicated that fermented dairy products can cause probiotic effects such as improvement in digestive system health, serum cholesterol reduction, and improvement in lactose tolerance, improved immune function, control of irritable bowel symptoms, as well as anticarcinogenic properties. Kefir is known to have positive effects on health and especially intestinal health. Therefore, these findings are important for showing an inhibition effect of fermented dairy products against a pathogen and possible carcinogen. These results suggest that regular consumption of natural fermented dairy products especially kefir should be included in a functional diet. The impact of these cultured dairy products could be promising and warrants further investigation with in vivo studies," according to the authors of the study. 

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