Broccoli doesn’t have to be a dinner time bore

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” — Virginia Woolf

The recipe for joy requires specific ingredients. To prepare a delicious life, one must have a personal pantry. If the shelves of your pantry have become bare, replenish them with the items that will restore your faith, sharpen your appetite and stimulate your soul. To feed the body and nourish your natural state of being, discard what is out of date and replace the barren shelves with fulfillment.

When we become mired in the day-to-day routine of completing the most immediate and necessary tasks, we can lose sight of our inner selves. When we are so busy caring for children, parents, coworkers, customers, and all our other daily duties, we often bypass the very things that are so essential for our own survival.

How can we refocus and reenergize? How can we continue to be our best selves so that we can best care for others? By eating healthy foods, drinking pure water, making time to exercise, spending quality time with those who fill us with laughter, listening to music, breathing deeply and slowly, eliminating stress and finding ways to play, will all provide a sense of balance and peace.

Calmness can begin in the kitchen. When we consume specific stress relieving foods, we begin to rebuild ourselves. Dark, leafy greens and green vegetables can help strengthen immune systems, while internally cleansing, clarifying and detoxifying. Greens impart positive energy to the body and may help lift the spirit and eliminate depression.

Green foods such as broccoli are a delicious source of strong, grounded energy. Introducing more green foods into the diet can also crowd out food cravings that do not support the body in a healthy manner. Green foods can additionally benefit the body by purifying blood, reducing cancer risk, improving circulation and optimizing liver, gall bladder and kidney function.

The color green symbolizes rebirth, renewal, refreshment and vitality. How wonderful to celebrate the coming of spring with plenty of bright green foods. Each new day represents the opportunity to renew yourself with the powerful flavors of preparing a delicious life.

Joyful Bowl of Broccoli

Serves 4-6

1 large bunch of broccoli (washed and chopped into florets)

4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic or white balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoons capers (optional)

3/4 cups olives, chopped (kalamatas are nice)

1/4 cup fresh oregano, (washed and chopped)

1/4 cup fresh parsley (washed and chopped)

1/4 cup fresh dill (washed and chopped)

1/4 pound feta cheese, crumbled

Fill a saucepan with enough water to cover broccoli. Bring water to a boil over medium high heat. Add broccoli and cook until crisp-tender, about five minutes. Remove broccoli from water and drain well. While still warm, toss broccoli in a large serving bowl, with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, a pinch of sea salt and a grinding of black pepper. Add capers, if using, olives, herbs and feta cheese and stir gently until well mixed. Serve immediately or hold in the refrigerator for several hours.

Add a tablespoon or two of chopped cherry peppers for a bit of spice if desired.

Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP, “The Conscious Cook’’ writes about preparing a delicious life and presents healthy food workshops throughout New England. She is a professional cook, organic gardener and a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Columbia University Teachers College.