10 Thoughtful Hostess Gifts That Aren’t Wine

Tis the season of dinner parties and gatherings. Show your hostess your gratitude with these thoughtful, (mostly) local gifts for foodies.

1. Simple Soirees: Seasonal Menus for Sensational Gatherings, $5

You already know your hostess loves entertaining. Give her the gift of inspiration with this lovely cookbook filled with approachable, eye-catching recipes.

2. Healthy Harvest Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $20-35

As essential to any gathering as wine, extra virgin olive oil begs to be shared around the table. Not only will it enhance the flavor of any meal, you’re giving the gift of health as well.

3. Steady Stick Wine Glass Holder, $8.47 set of two

Your hostess can enjoy wine hands-free at picnics, concerts, and other outdoor get-togethers with these wine glass holders.


4. Our Go-To Recipe Book from Period 6, $8

Hop on over to Period 6 Studio in Golden for ANY occasion that requires a gift, but for hostesses, we love this adorable recipe book to fill in with favorites.

5. Succulents

Succulents beautify any space, fit almost anywhere, and require very little upkeep. They’re such a nice way to add life to your host’s home. Visit your local farmers market for a great selection.

6. Rewined Candles from Period 6 Studio

I told you Period 6 has the best gifts. We’re back for more with these hand-poured soy candles that give wine bottles another chance at life.(Yay for upcycling!) Plus, they even smell like wine! Chardonnay, anyone?

7. Colorado engraved Copper Mugs, $43 set of two

Who doesn’t love a refreshing Moscow Mule in the summertime? These cute mugs are made from 100% recycled copper and hand engraved in Colorado Springs.

8. Healthy Harvest Greek Olives, $10.99-12.99

Happy hour anyone? Olives are such a simple, classic snack. Eat them alone, or add bread, cheese, and wine for an elegant hor d’oeurve. Our olives are raw, low sodium, probiotic, and support small business.

9. Slate Cheese Board Vintage and Vine, $21.95

If you’re near Boulder, stop at Peppercorn for this gorgeous soapstone cheese plate. It’s got pretty rope handles for easy carrying and your host can customize it easily with chalk.

10. Healthy Harvest Balsamic Reduction, $21.99

We only have a few cases of this Boulder-made Balsamic Reduction left, so get one for you AND your hostess! As timeless and essential to dinner parties at wine, but even harder to find the real thing, our Balsamic will blow your hostess away.

Bonus! Just because a good wine is always in style..

11. Bookcliff Vineyards Colorado Wine

Made in Palisade from 100% Colorado grown grapes, Bookcliff has a variety of award-winning wines for any meal or budget. Find them at the Boulder Farmer’s Market on Saturdays.

What are YOUR favorite go-to gifts for party hosts? Share your favorite gifts, artisans, and stores with us in the comments below or tag us on Facebook and Instagram @healthyharvests

Gather round good food always!

Amy

Zucchini Roll-ups with Herbed Goat Cheese and Olives

vegetarian zucchini herbed goat cheese rollups with olivesImagine you’re having guests over for dinner and you need a quick snack before the meal is ready…or you’re going to a party and you definitely want to bring something homemade, but it has to be easy…This is the perfect recipe for you. It is light, fresh, and perfect for spring. It looks classy, but takes zero effort. And in the spring and summer, you’ll likely have the ingredients on hand.

You can make these using a saute pan, but grilling the zucchini will really enhance the flavor and eye appeal.

You simply cut the zucchini into 1/2 inch thick slices, brush them with Healthy Harvest Greek Olive Oil, grill a few minutes on each side, add the goat cheese and olive mixture, roll ’em up, and voila!

Related: Read why Healthy Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil is better

You could add your own favorite herb mixture to a plain chevre, but we took the easy road and used our local favorite Haystack Mountain goat cheese. You’ll find us next to them at the Boulder County Farmer’s Market starting April 1. We can’t wait! Local produce, friends, fresh air…What else could you ask for on a Saturday?

So grab these 3 simple ingredients at your next local market (See our Market Calendar) and let us know how these Zucchini Roll-ups with Herbed Goat Cheese and Olives turned out!

Click here to buy your raw, fermented Greek Koutsourelia Olives for this recipe.

Zucchini Roll-ups with Herbed Goat Cheese and Olives
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Quick and easy vegetarian appetizer that looks fancy but takes zero effort.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer, Vegetarian
Serves: 8-10 rolls
Ingredients
  • 1 very large or 3 small zucchini
  • Healthy Harvest Greek olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3½ oz. herbed goat cheese (We love local Haystack!)
  • 1½ oz. (about 7 or 8) kalamata olives, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat grill to high heat or saute pan to medium-high.
  2. Slice a strip lengthwise from the zucchini to expose the inside of the vegetable. Discard or reserve for another use. Cut the 2 ends from the zucchini to make straight edges. Cut the zucchini lengthwise into ½-inch strips.
  3. Brush both sides of the zucchini pieces liberally with Healthy Harvest Greek olive oil. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Lay the zucchini pieces on the grill at a 45-degree angle (for more attractive grill marks). Cook until the zucchini is very tender, but not mushy, about 3 minutes per side.
  4. Remove zucchini from the grill and drape over cooling rack.
  5. Place goat cheese in a medium bowl. Stir olives into the goat cheese.
  6. Spread a layer of the goat cheese mixture onto one side of each zucchini piece. Gently roll each piece of zucchini. Serve.

 

Organic vs Conventional Produce

There are a number of reasons why people choose to eat organic. Some eat organically in hopes of providing better nutrition to their families. Others aim to avoid chemicals and pesticides in their foods. And still others choose organic to protect the soil and the freedom of farmers.

But does buying organic really make a difference? The USDA and the chemical giants like Monsanto insist that pesticides and genetically modified crops are safe. Is it really worth spending the extra money?

I recognize that just trying to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and cut out processed foods can be a challenge in and of itself. It can seem hard to know where to start. But all lifestyle changes start with small positive habits that stick. We’re not here to condemn anyone. We just want to share just how good life can be with a little mindfulness.

Here are a few reasons why our family at Healthy Harvest choose to eat organic, preferably from the local farmer’s market.

Taste

Even if all the research in the world couldn’t compel you to eat organic, I would encourage you personally experience the overwhelming difference in taste between the produce you buy in grocery stores and the produce sold at your local farmers market.

In the year that I have worked for Healthy Harvest, I have had the best apples, plums, peaches, melons, greens, squash, eggs, mushrooms, and garlic I have ever tasted in my entire life. Eating these foods was an EXPERIENCE. My face literally lit up with joy when those incredibly vibrant flavors hit my taste buds. It made me seriously question what I had been eating for the 26 years before.

Put it to the test. Organic food tastes better. And local organic food is as good as it gets. Produce in the store is usually picked before it’s ripe so that it has time to travel across the country or the globe without going bad before it gets to you. When you buy from local farmers, your fruits and veggies are often only HOURS old, slow ripened by the sun, making it even more nutritious. Which brings me to my next point…

Nutrition

There is much debate as to whether organic foods are more nutritious. However, a 2014 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition analyzed 343 studies of organic and conventional foods over the past several decades and found that “organic fruits and vegetables deliver between 20 and 40 percent higher antioxidant activity.” Antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals.

Honestly, considering most Americans’ diets, we’d be better off just eating more fruits and vegetables in general, regardless whether they are conventional or organic.

Safety

However, even if the nutrition is up for debate, it is clear that organic produce has less residue from harmful pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals.

According to Consumer Reports, “Almost a third of the produce the USDA tested had residues from two or more pesticides. ‘The effects of these mixtures is untested and unknown.'”

Consumer Reports also notes “In a 2010 report on environmental cancer risks, the President’s Cancer Panel (an expert committee that monitors the country’s cancer program) wrote: “The entire U.S. population is exposed on a daily basis to numerous agricultural chemicals. … Many of these chemicals have known or suspected carcinogenic or endocrine-disrupting properties.” Endocrine disruptors can block or mimic the action of hormones, even at low doses. “Endocrine effects aren’t sufficiently factored into the EPA pesticide-tolerance levels,” Crupain says. “And there’s concern they could cause reproductive disorders; birth defects; and breast, prostate, and other hormone-related cancers.”

While the residue on conventional produce is usually lower than EPA standards, there are still much bigger risks for farmers. Studies have linked long-term pesticide exposure to increased risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease; prostate, ovarian, and other cancers; depression; and respiratory problems. And why should we want our farmers suffering?

Soil

Although the debates around nutrition and safety still lack compelling evidence, it is widely agreed that organic farming is better for the environment. Studies prove that organic farming is better for the soil, leaving it full of nutrients and greater diversity of microbes that keep the soil fertile. Organic soil also helps to sequester carbon into the soil, helping to regulate carbon in the atmosphere.

According to the Washington Post, “The organic systems in the USDA test:

●Have more-fertile soil.

●Use less fertilizer and much less herbicide.

●Use less energy.

●Lock away more carbon in the soil.

●Are more profitable for farmers.

The conventional systems:

●Have higher yields.

●Are best at reducing erosion (when a no-till system is used).

As you can see, there is still much room for debate. Scientific evidence is rarely conclusive, and when it comes to GMOs, the large majority of research is funded by chemical companies who create GMOs.

So rather than using this article to sway you either way, I really hope to encourage you to do your own research. And as you research, follow the money!

And regardless of conventional or organic, I invite you to support your local farmers and hometown economy by purchasing at least some of your groceries from farmers markets.

 

Sources:

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/07/11/330760923/are-organic-vegetables-more-nutritious-after-all

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/health/natural-health/pesticides/index.htm

http://www.ask-force.org/web/Organic/Maeder-Organicfarming-2002.pdf

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/is-organic-agriculture-really-better-for-the-environment/2016/05/14/e9996dce-17be-11e6-924d-838753295f9a_story.html

Superfood Oatmeal with Berries and Maple

One of my favorite go-to breakfasts in the winter is oatmeal. It’s a warm, filling comfort food that actually gives me energy to use throughout the day.

But not just any oatmeal will do. I like to amp mine up with tons of mix-ins and toppings that add flavor and texture and make it even more nutritious. Plus, with just a hint of sweetness from the maple, it satisfies my sweet tooth to double as a bedtime snack.

 

 

 

Berries are the lowest in sugar and highest in antioxidants, so they’re a great fruit to start the day. Almonds, chia and protein powder all add protein to give you energy and keep you full longer. Plus, chia seeds have healthy omega-3s (like in olive oil!) and help you detoxify. Coconut adds a nice flavor and texture. Cinnamon balances blood sugar, and the collagen helps heal our gut and joints. Grass-fed butter adds a healthy fat and that touch of saltiness all sweet treats need.

So ditch the sugary cereals, and try this oatmeal you’ll want to come back to over and over again.

This recipe is so easy, I don’t even measure, but you can start here and then customize based on your personal favorites.

Superfood Oatmeal with Berries and Maple
 
Cook time
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A comforting, filling breakfast with tons of mix-in to give you a boost of energy for the day.
Author:
Recipe type: breakfast
Serves: 1 serving
Ingredients
  • ½ cup organic quick oats
  • water or milk (or milk alternative)
  • ½ cup mixed berries
  • ¼ cup slivered or chopped almonds
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut
  • 1 tablespoon protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon collagen powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon maple
  • 1 tablespoon butter
Instructions
  1. Combine dry ingredients in small saucepan over medium heat. Add enough water or milk to cover the mixture and stir occasionally, adding more water depending on what consistency you like. Stir in butter. Serve in a bowl and drizzle with maple syrup. Top with additional chia, coconut, almonds, or berry for garnish.

 

 

Healthier Resolutions? Eat These Foods to Detoxify

If you’re like us, you probably strive to take better care of yourself and your family year round. But with the holidays behind us, now is as good of time as ever to kick-start healthy habits.

And no, that doesn’t mean starving yourself or spending a ton of money on supplements. Just adding a few of these readily available fruits and vegetables into your weekly menu can help boost your energy and detoxify your body.

Cinnamon – Put a dash of cinnamon in your coffee or oatmeal to help balance blood sugar.

 

 

Ginger – Ginger has been used thousands of years for its medicinal benefits. Add it to soups, curries, tea or smoothies and it can improve your digestion, speed up your metabolism, and break down and eliminate toxins.

Pineapple – Enjoying this tropical fruit gives you digestive enzyme that helps cleanse your colon and improve digestion.

 

Beets – A long-time favorite of juicers, beets help flush your liver and gallbladder. Try roasting them with other roots veggies or enjoying over a salad.

 

Sesame Seeds- Sprinkle them on salads or use tahini in your homemade hummus to support the liver.

 

Onions and Garlic- How beautiful is it that something you likely cook with every day can be so good for you? Onions are high in sulfur which helps detoxify the liver, as well as flush out heavy metals. Garlic also stimulates the liver, as well as providing antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Cilantro – You can top just about any dish with fresh cilantro for a boost of freshness and color. Plus, it helps eliminate heavy metals

 

Lemon – Drinking hot lemon water first thing in the morning is a great way to jumpstart your metabolism, aid digestion, and purify your blood.

 

Apples – Apples give us lots of fiber and help stimulate bile production, which the liver uses to release toxins. The soluble fiber in apples, pectin, is helpful in removing heavy metals and food additives from our bodies. Be sure to eat only organic apples, as conventional apples are some of the most heavily-sprayed foods around.

Green Veggies – The chlorophyll that makes plants green rids the body of environmental toxins, heavy metals, herbicides, and pesticides. Aiding in detox, increasing oxygen content, and purifying the blood, greens are key at every meal.

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-7748/top-10-foods-for-detoxing.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/03/25/15-detox-foods_n_2950173.html

2017: A Mission to Serve

food philanthropy volunteering My whole life, my biggest goal has been to help people. From collecting donations and cooking meals for people who are homeless, to teaching cooking classes and shopping tips to low-income families, to raising money and distributing supplies after the earthquake in Nepal last year, my life is most meaningful when serving others.

My role at Healthy Harvest is no different. Of course selling olive oil is our livelihood, but why we really got into this business is to connect people to the life-giving power of real food, not to mention honoring the earth by supporting organic practices, and connecting with small, local producers.

Karl has spent the last 10 years attending conferences, meeting farmers, and studying research, all of which have taught him the many ways that nature can heal even the most debilitating illnesses. And since I joined the team a year ago, I’ve heard numerous stories of how changing diet or using natural remedies have dramatically changed people’s lives.

That’s why we will always personally know the source of our products, why we will never offer GMOs or chemicals harmful to our bodies or the environment; and why we are growing a skincare line safe enough to use on our own families.

So, as we move toward a new year, I want to know: how can we better serve you in 2017? What can we do to help you live life more in harmony with your body, your neighbors, and the environment?

Are there products you’re looking for that we can offer?

Do you need inspiring, yet practical recipes that your whole family will love?

Can we help connect you with locally-grown or nutrient-dense foods in your area?

Are you looking for a community get together with like-minded foodies?

What are your goals and how can we help?

To a happy and healthy 2017!

Healthy Harvest

P.S. If food-centric philanthropy calls to you, here are some of the amazing organizations we’ve previously worked with who can make magic with your gifts of time or money.

 

Slow Food Denver – provide opportunities for people to interact with local food producers, to learn about food production, and to support other organizations with missions and goals similar to ours. They host farmer’s markets, dine-arounds (farm-to-table dinners hosted in local homes), farm tours, and other fun ways to get people back in touch with where they get their food.

Denver Food Rescue uses the sustainable method of bicycle power to save good produce from farms and grocery stores that would otherwise end up in a landfill. We then redistribute it to organizations that work with food insecure and low-income communities.

Denver Urban Gardens -operates over 155 community gardens throughout Metro Denver, including more than 40 school-based community gardens

Family Promise – partners with congregations and civic organizations to provide shelter, meals and hospitality to families experiencing homelessness within the Denver-metro area

Cooking Matters – helps families to shop for and cook healthy meals on a budget, as part of Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign.

 

 

Make It Easy to Eat Seasonally Pt 2

root-veggiesEarlier we posted about making it easy to eat in season, meaning your ingredients are fresh, full of flavor, and didn’t have to travel across the ocean to get to you. Eating in season goes hand in hand with eating local and supporting the farmers in your own community.

But what if you’ve never cooked with some of the vegetables most readily available over the winter? No worries! We’ve put together a collection of recipes to keep you inspired until next year’s farmers markets

Daikon

Daikon is a mild radish that is low in calories and high in Vitamin C. It’s great on salads or pickled with carrots. But I discovered an ingenious recipe that uses spiralized daikons as “noodles” for a tasty 30- Minute Veggie Pho.

Turnip

Turnip is a root high in Vitamin C. It can be used in place of potatoes in several cases.

  • Turnip “Hash brown” Breakfast Tacos
  • Roasted Turnips with Parmesan
  • Turnip “fries”
  • Lemon Roasted Turnips
  • Pickled Turnips

Potatoes

Okay- so potatoes are pretty common, but what you can run out of ideas when you have a full box full.

We make breakfast potatoes, french fries, baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, gratins, potato salad, potato-leek soup, pot roast, and more.

Sweet Potatoes

Of course you can use sweet potatoes for a lot of the same recipes as potatoes, but we especially love Bacon Brussel Sprout Sweet Potato Hash (throw eggs on top and make it a breakfast dish, too!) or even putting mashed sweet potatoes with cinnamon and brown sugar into re-sealable bags as a quick energy snack for runs or hikes. Cut off the corner and squeeze. Fun, easy, and not loaded with sugar like most bars or energy chews.

Other ideas: sweet potato chips, sweet potato pancakes

Leeks*

*be sure to clean leeks thoroughly or you’ll end up with dirt in your dinner!

 

Share your favorite winter recipes in the comments below!

 

6 Ways Oregano Oil Can Help you Stay Well During Cold &Flu Season

healthy harvest oregano oilDoctors, naturopaths, and a number of other health professionals have long touted Oregano Oil as one of nature’s most potent medicinal plants. Oregano oil also has antiseptic, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties.

According to natural health expert Dr. Mercola, “The most therapeutically beneficial is the oil produced from wild oregano or Origanum vulgare that’s native to Mediterranean regions.”

Healthy Harvest’s Oregano Oil is made using only wild Mediterranean oregano and certified organic olive oil and is much more concentrated than options sold in stores.

Although oregano oil has numerous benefits, here are 6 reasons it is especially helpful during cold and flu season.

  1. Ward off or ease infections. Our concentrated Oregano oil is a powerful antimicrobial to fight off infections.
  2. Alleviate sinus infections and colds. Put a few drops of oregano oil in a pot of steaming water, and then inhale the steam.
  3. Get the nutrients your body needs. Nutrients like vitamins A, C, and E, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, potassium, manganese, copper, boron, and niacin are also found in oregano oil.
  4.  Prevent or heal Respiratory infections.
  5. Eases sore throat.
  6. Disinfects the home.  Combine four drops of oregano oil with 10 drops of lemon oil and a quarter-cup of white vinegar, and then add to a bucket of water. Use this mixture to wipe and clean surfaces.

Do not use for children. Consult doctor before using if pregnant or nursing.

Healthy Skin Starts From Within

img_20160925_112614
Amy with Stephanie Tourles, aromatherapist, herbalist, esthetician, and author

Every market, every show, it never fails…someone always asks me, “What do you use on your face?” While I’d like to point to a miracle product, the answer is a bit more complex.

I have been lucky my whole life to have clear skin – yes, even through those hormonal teen years. And yes, I do religiously use our Organic Facial Oils every. single. day. Despite extremely sensitive skin, they revived my glow from the shriveled depths of dry, cold Colorado winters.

healthy harvest essential olive oils

But what I really want to tell people is that healthy skin starts with a healthy diet. It doesn’t matter how expensive or “scientifically proven” the creams you put on your face are if you’re not giving your body the nutritional building blocks for vitality.

Every day, I consume tons of fresh fruits and veggies, lots of water, and of course extra virgin olive oil. Pure, extra virgin olive oil contains tons of antioxidants, Vitamin E, and healthy fats for our body to glow from the inside out. 

Building on the foundation of healthy organic diet, free of processed foods and toxins, yes, it does matter what you put on your face. I think there are a lot of people paying twice as much for organic foods and still putting harmful chemicals on their skin. And our skin is our biggest organ!

As I was researching the skincare industry before we launched our facial oils, one study suggested that as many as 1 in 5 beauty products are linked to cancer! Not to mention, the first two ingredients in most store-bought beauty products are water and glycerin, which are pretty useless.

Stephanie Tourles, the herbalist and esthetician who formulated our facial oil blends has said,

“If you want to have beautiful, healthy skin for life, then you’ve got to stop slathering it with crap (and stop eating a diet full of crap – that’s a given) – plain and simple. Pardon my frankness, but that’s the truth. Let me explain why I say this . . . and I deliver this message during every presentation that I make about skin and body care: Your skin EATS!”

And once we eat clean, drink water, and stop putting junk on our face, makeup becomes obsolete, even the”all natural” brands. We no longer have to spend our precious dollars and time to hide behind a veil of powders and foundation. So paying a little more for good food and high quality skincare really pays off.

Take care of your skin from the inside and you will shine!

For more info on the ingredients in our Essential Facial Oils, read here.

 

Are Healthy Harvest’s olives really that different?

garlic olive slider

It seems everyone loves olives these days. While people might have once only been familiar with canned black olives or the pimento stuffed versions in martinis, most local grocery stores now carry a wide variety of olives at “olive bars.”

So what makes Healthy Harvests olives different?

Karl, olives, greece
Karl

Unique Heirloom Variety

Both our green and black olives are Koutsouralia olives, an heirloom variety of Kalamata olive that account for less than four percent of olive trees in Greece. 

 

 

jake in olive orchard
Jake at the olive estate in Greece in 2015

Farm-to-table

They have been grown with care and picked by hand for four generations on a 160-year-old organic estate in Sparta, Greece. We have sourced directly from this family for nearly 10 years. No distributor, no middle men. Just one small family business supporting another. Also, we sell out of each year’s crop, so you receive only the most recent harvest.

lemon-treesSimple Ingredients

Our olives contain no additives or preservatives and have never been processed with lye. Our green olives contain only lemon juice, spring water, sea salt, wild savory, and organic garlic or wild Greek oregano. Our black olives are brined in organic red wine vinegar, spring water, and sea salt.

Both the lemon and red wine vinegar brines are made from organic fruit grown on the same estate, and the mineral-rich sea salt is hand harvested from the Mediterranean Sea.

healthy harvest olive oil coloradoNutrient Dense   

Not to mention, at 6% sea salt, they’re considerably lower sodium than store bought varieties. Cold brining in sea salt ferments the olives, meaning they require no refrigeration.

But perhaps the biggest difference is that because our olives are completely raw and unpasteurized, they still contain live active cultures from fermentation that help your body’s digestion.

Federal law requires that olives sold in stores must be pasteurized, or boiled at up to 280 degrees to kill dangerous bacteria. However, the heat also damages the healthy bacteria and most of the nutrients.

Since our olives are only available at farmer’s markets, we have the unique opportunity to offer them completely raw. In their original state, they are full of free radical fighting antioxidants, healthy fats that protect your brain and keep you full, and other vital nutrients like vitamin E, iron, copper and calcium.

healthy harvest golden olive oilLife-changing Flavor

 

Finally, our olives are recently harvested, hand-picked when perfectly ripe, raw and unpasteurized, low-sodium, and contain pits, which all add up to out-of-this-world flavor you would never find in stores. Our customers tell us on a weekly basis that our olives are the best they’ve ever tasted.

Try for yourself and share your thoughts in the comments below!