Arizona Seasonal Veggie Recipe

By Danielle Sharkey a recent ASU Nutrition Student

What is eating seasonal and why should we consider this way of eating?

How do we know what is seasonal in our area?

Eating “seasonal” is when you purchase and consume fruits and veggies that flourish in the different seasons (fall, winter, spring, summer). Different types of vegetables and fruits grow better and thrive at different points in the year. For example, squash grows best in summer and fall so you would consume squash within those seasons. For summer in Arizona, apples, tomatoes, and nectarines are just a few examples of what thrives in the summer season.

It is important to consider this because there are actually many benefits of consuming produce grown at their “peak”. For one, you will save money on in-season produce as it costs less for farmers to harvest and distribute seasonal produce. On top of the savings, the biggest benefit of eating seasonally is that you will be ingesting the most nutritious and best-tasting food! You can find what is seasonal for your area by simply searching online and pulling up a list.

Here is a recipe for a seasonal Arizona vegetable dish that I have been making with my mom for as long as I can remember.

Arizona Winter Veggies Dish


  • 1 large broccoli head
  • 2 beets
  • 1 pack of Brussel Sprouts
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 3 tbsp of Olive oil
  • Arugula
  • Fresh thyme
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Garlic seasoning
  • lemon


  1. Preheat the oven to 375*
  2. Chop the broccoli into smaller pieces and add to a large bowl.
  3. Peel and chop beets and add to a large bowl with broccoli
  4. Chop Brussel sprouts in half and add to a large bowl
  5. Peel and chop sweet potatoes add to another large bowl if no room in the first bowl
  6. Add oil over all the veggies as well as seasoning with salt, pepper, and garlic (to taste)
  7. Mix the veggies up with the oil and seasoning to ensure fully coated
  8. Place veggies on one or two large baking pans and add to oven to cook for 20 minutes
  9. After 20 minutes, pull out pans briefly and add pieces of thyme and rosemary all over veggies.
  10. Cook for 20 more minutes
  11. Pull out, cool for 5-10 minutes, add veggies over a bed of arugula
  12. Top with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice, serve and enjoy!

For more information on Arizona’s seasonal produce visit Fill Your Plate.

Share This:
Posted in Ag Facts, Arizona, Arizona farmers and ranchers, Cooking, Diet Tips, Farmer's Markets, Fill Your Plate, Fruit, Gardening, Grocery, Health Tips, Healthy Eating | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Morning Oats

By Sarah Beleski a recent ASU Nutrition Student


There are endless possibilities when it comes to cooking or baking with oats. Even out of the kitchen, oats are used in cosmetic products like facial masks1.


Oats have several healthy qualities, making them a perfect candidate for your morning breakfast. But what exactly are oats so healthy for you?


The soluble fiber, beta-glucan, is a major reason why oats are so beneficial1. This powerhouse fiber has been linked to help slow digestion, increase satiety, and even suppress appetite1. It’s no wonder that this breakfast staple has been recommended by nutritionists for years. Who wouldn’t want a breakfast that left them feeling full?


Oats are also helpful in reducing the “bad” cholesterol, otherwise known as your low-density lipoprotein or LDL2. They accomplish this by reducing the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream3.


According to the American Heart Association Eating Plan, 25 to 30 grams of fiber should be consumed per day from food alone, not supplements4. One serving of oatmeal can provide 3 to 4 grams of fiber, giving you a solid start to your day3.


Not everyone has the time to sit down in the morning with a hearty bowl of oatmeal, so prepared oats are the way to go! This recipe for breakfast cookies includes oats, bananas, and applesauce that will add more fiber to your morning meal. Keep these breakfast treats in the refrigerator, as they are highly perishable. Take them out when you are ready to eat them and enjoy!


Side Note: Although their name includes “breakfast”, don’t be afraid to eat these whenever you please. They work just fine as an afternoon pick-me-up!



Breakfast Cookies:



  • 3 ripe bananas (mashed)
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup almond or coconut milk
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips



  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Mash bananas in a medium-sized mixing bowl
  • Add milk to the mashed bananas and stir
  • Add the rest of the ingredients to mixture and stir until everything is fully incorporated
  • Place a heaping tablespoon of mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and continue until all of mixture is used up
  • Bake the cookies for 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned
  • Let cool completely on a wire rack and then transfer to the refrigerator for storage


*Will keep in the refrigerator for 5 days*






  1. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: The Nutrition Source.
  2. SELF Staff. Why Oatmeal Might Make You Gain Weight. Sept 2, 2011.
  3. Mayo Clinic Staff. Cholesterol: Top foods to improve your numbers. July 17, 2018.

Increasing Fiber Intake. UCSF Health. https

Share This:
Posted in Cooking, Diet Tips, Fill Your Plate, Food, Grain, Grocery, Health Tips, Healthy Eating, In the Kitchen, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

By Kenda Hettinger a recent ASU Nutrition Student


Mental health has become a major issue in the United States. According to the CDC, 1 out of 6 adults will have depression at some point in their lifetime and 3.2% of children ages 3-17 years old have diagnosed depression. The evidence is stacking up that diet can be to blame and can also be the fix. Signs and symptoms of depression are:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Moving or talking more slowly
  • Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight changes
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment

If you are thinking about suicide text HELLO to 741741.


In 2014, a systematic review was published in the American Society for Nutrition.  According to this analysis, studies competed on individual nutrients that were inconsistent and did not consider how nutrients work together in whole foods. The authors pooled 13 observational studies and concluded that a diet high in fruit, vegetables, fish, and whole grains is associated with lower depression risk. They also felt like more evidence was needed to confirm this finding.


In 2017, a meta-analysis turned the data around and linked a poor diet with increased depression risk. They found that high intakes of red and/or processed meats, refined grains, sweets, high-fat dairy products, butter, and potatoes with high-fat gravy increase your risk of depression.


The most recent study, published on October 9, 2019, found that even a brief diet intervention can reduce depression symptoms. This trial put young adults, who had previously eaten a standard western diet, on a Mediterranean-style diet. They were instructed to increase their intake of vegetables, fruits, wholegrain cereals, lean meats, tofu, legumes, fish, nuts, and seeds. They were also instructed to use the spices cinnamon and turmeric daily. After just 3 weeks on this Mediterranean-style diet, the members of the study improved in not only depression symptoms but also anxiety and stress symptoms. To take it a step further, the researchers called the members of the study back 3 months later and most of them had kept to the diet and were still experiencing a reduction in depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms.


There have also been numerous studies linking physical activity with decreased depressive symptoms. Including a study done in 2017 that focused on children and adolescents. You do not have to join a gym or pick up a sport to reap these benefits, it can be as simple as a daily family walk around the neighborhood.



If you or a family member is experiencing depression symptoms, examine your diet and lifestyle. There may be ways to naturally combat these symptoms and give your brain a fighting chance. Reduce your intake of ultra-processed and fatty foods, and consume more vegetables, fruits, whole food sources of fat, and good quality proteins. Make sure you are getting some movement in daily.




Lai, J., Hiles, S., Bisquera, A., Hure, A., McEvoy, M., & Attia, J. (2014). A systematic review and meta-analysis of dietary patterns and depression in community-dwelling adults. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 99(1), 181-197


Li, Ye, Lv, Mei-Rong, Wei, Yan-Jin, Sun, Ling, Zhang, Ji-Xiang, Zhang, Huai-Guo, & Li, Bin. (2017). Dietary patterns and depression risk: A meta-analysis. Psychiatry Research, 253, 373-382


Korczak, D., Madigan, S., & Colasanto, M. (2017). Children’s Physical Activity and Depression: A Meta-analysis. Pediatrics, 139(4), Pediatrics, Vol.139(4)


Francis, H., Stevenson, R., Chambers, J., Gupta, D., Newey, B., & Lim, C. (2019). A brief diet intervention can reduce symptoms of depression in young adults – A randomized controlled trial. PloS One, 14(10), E0222768.


Photo by Arek Adeoye on Unsplash


Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Share This:
Posted in Ag Facts, Cooking, Diet Tips, Fill Your Plate, Food, Green Matters, Grocery, Health Tips, Healthy Eating, In the Kitchen, In the News | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tea Time Scones

By Sarah Beleski a recent ASU Nutrition student

From a very young age, I have enjoyed having tea time with my mother and sisters. It is a tradition in our family that we still hold onto today. I suppose our obsession with Afternoon tea stems from our British roots but it has since evolved into so much more. It has allowed us to have time to relax and enjoy each other’s company.


During tea time, we like to enjoy our hot tea with a sweet treat. On a normal day, a cookie or tea biscuit will do just fine, but when we are in the mood for a more sophisticated indulgence, we whip out the scones.


My mother, sisters, and I have made hundreds of scones since I was a little girl but I have finally recently perfected my scone recipe. In this last year alone, I have made over 350 of these insanely delicious scones for bridal showers and various meetings. For the past couple years, I have considered myself to be a proficient baker, and these scones are my specialty.


Below is the scone recipe that has been tweaked and perfected over the years. I always pair it with homemade whipped cream and my favorite jam or lemon curd. Enjoy them with an English black tea (with milk and sugar, of course) and you have yourself an Afternoon tea!




  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 4 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
  • ½ Tsp Fine Salt
  • 5 Tbsp Chilled Unsalted Butter
  • ½ Cup Chopped Cranberries
  • 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 egg




  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Combine All-Purpose flour, baking powder, only 3 tbsp of the granulated sugar (the remaining sugar will be used near the end), and salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl
  3. Cut in butter (You can use a pastry cutter or even just your hands to break up the butter) It should resemble coarse meal when you are done. Make sure the butter is very cold before you cut it into the dry ingredients so that it does not melt immediately. If using your hands, make sure to work fast so that the butter does not melt from the heat of your hands. TIP: When measuring the butter, cut the 5 tbsp into cube shapes and put it back in the fridge until you are ready to use it
  4. Once the mixture resembles coarse meal, add the dried cranberries and mix
  5. Add the heavy cream to the mixture and use your hands to knead into a dough ball for 5-10 seconds.
  6. Transfer the dough to a clean, floured countertop and use your hands to flatten the dough into a ¾ inch thick circle. (It does not need to be perfect) From here, you can chose to use a cookie cutter to cut out your preferred scone size or you can cut the circle into 8 pie slices
  7. Place scones on a pizza stone (if you don’t have this, a baking sheet pan will work just fine)
  8. In a small bowl, whisk one egg and lightly brush the tops of the scones with the egg mixture
  9. Sprinkle each scone with the remaining sugar
  10. Place the scones in the oven for 12-15 minutes (or until golden brown) in the middle wire rack
  11. When they are finished baking, take them out of the oven and keep them on the pizza stone or sheet pan for 2-3 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to completely cool
  12. Serve with whipped cream and your favorite jam and enjoy!

Go to Fill Your Plate recipe section for more yummy recipes.

Share This:
Posted in Cooking, Diet Tips, Fall, Fill Your Plate, Food, In the Kitchen, Just For Fun, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fall Salad

By Sarah Beleski a recent ASU Nutrition Student


If you’re looking for a fall salad that will not disappoint, look no further! The first time I ever ate this salad, I couldn’t get enough! I could have eaten the entire bowl if my family would have let me.


This recipe calls for dinosaur kale (aka Lacinato kale) instead of regular, curly kale and this makes all the difference. My whole family eats this salad, from my 60-year-old father to my 3-year-old niece, which is saying a lot because they are very picky eaters. I prefer dinosaur kale over curly kale because of the texture.


Of course, if you wanted to use regular kale instead of dinosaur kale, that is perfectly acceptable and it will still taste great. However, the added bonus of using dinosaur kale is the look on a small child’s face when you tell them that you are using DINOSAUR kale.

Below is the recipe for the fall salad:




  • 1 bunch dinosaur kale, very thinly sliced
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice or wild rice (you could also use quinoa if you don’t have rice on hand)
  • 1 diced apple
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup sliced, toasted almonds
  • 2-3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled



  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (if you prefer less spice, substitute with black pepper)




  • For the dressing, place all ingredients in a glass jar with a lid and shake to combine. Set aside for later use
  • Place the dinosaur kale in a medium-sized mixing bowl, squeeze lemon juice over it, and massage for 2 minutes until its dark and softened
  • Add rice (once it has completed cooled), diced apple, cranberries, toasted almonds to kale and mix
  • Toss with ½ of dressing (set aside for later use) and sprinkle with goat cheese


*This salad usually keeps for up to 4 days in the fridge*

Wondering what produce is in season. Check out the Arizona Produce in Season section on Fill Your Plates website.


Share This:
Posted in Cooking, Diet Tips, Fall, Fill Your Plate, Food, FoodieCast, Green Matters, Grocery, Health Tips, Healthy Eating, In the Kitchen, Produce, Recipes, Reusable Grocery Bags, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment