“The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created Spring.” — Bern Williams

Hope is on my mind these days. Hope that soon the doors of our homes will be wide open to each other. Hope that soon we can gather with family and friends in our kitchens to prepare a delicious life. Hope that the sick be healed, and that fear and anxiety will be replaced with confidence, and yes, even joy.

Joy can be found in the eternal beauty of spring. One moment beaming rays of sunshine warm our souls, while the very next day the wind howls and sudden snowflakes flurry through the sky. How grateful I am for the tough yet tender beauty of our New England seasons. There is such joy in watching daffodil shoots press their way upward towards heaven, and spying the vibrant purples and yellows of stalwart crocuses. This magnificent cycle of life reassures and settles me and prompts me to reflect upon Matthew 28:20 ; “Be sure of this: I am with you always.”

As spring reawakens nature, our own inner landscape responds as well. We begin to crave lighter, brighter dishes, full of color and more delicate flavors. During days of high stress, invigorating the body with fresh fruits and vegetables will arm you with the nutrients you need to survive uncertainty. Tropical fruits such as mango, are an excellent ingredient to enjoy until local gardens begin to bear their bounty.

Perfectly ripe, fresh mango can currently be found at many supermarkets, but frozen mango chunks are a superb option also. A delicious departure from citrus fruits, mango has a particularly lush and exotic flavor. Versatile, vivacious mango can be transformed into velvety sauces, savory salsas, gorgeous salad dressings, sunny soups, delectable desserts or sumptuous smoothies.

With high levels of fiber, pectin and vitamin C, mangos may be effective at lowering cholesterol and boosting immune systems. The fiber content may assist digestion and elimination. Bursting with goodness, mangoes provide the body with antioxidants that could potentially stave off cancer cells. Saturated with vitamin E, mango is an excellent natural beauty aid that may help clear clogged pores and eliminate pimples. Mango contains copious amounts of vitamin A, valuable for eye health, possibly preventing night blindness and dry eyes.

Start your spring mornings with a mango lassi. So simple to whip up, lassis are a smoothie-like beverage combining fruit and Greek yogurt. The yogurt is high in calcium and riboflavin which will rev up your metabolism, while the live cultures promote superior digestion. Adding a dash of nutmeg will enhance the flavor and is reported to be an effective brain stimulant.

Stay hopeful and joyful as you prepare your delicious life!

Joyful Hopeful Mango Lassi

Serves 2

1 cup frozen mango chunks

1 cup plain Greek yogurt (non-fat is fine)

1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional)

2 tablespoons water

1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pinch of sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until very smooth. If too thick, add a little water and blend again.

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.