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Light for Life
June 3  |  By Rose McAvoy Special to The Herald
Roast strawberries to get the most out of them I don't need a calendar to tell me summer is almost here. As a lifelong Northwesterner, I have always marked the beginning of summer with the start of strawberry season. Little green pints of scarlet, seed-freckled berries appear just after the first whiffs of charcoal smoke but before the sharp smell of cold sprinkler water on sun-soaked pavement.

Strawberries are an essential component of summer. There are as many ways to enjoy strawberries as there are days in the...

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May 29  |  By Rose McAvoy
Slow down for the weekend with this citrusy cocktail There is a fairly long list of things I ought to be doing at this moment.

Our current stretch of beautiful weather has me feeling like a post Memorial Day high school senior. My brain is halfway into summer so don't bother asking me to do anything harder than showing up and looking pretty.

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May 20  |  By Rose McAvoy Special to The Herald
Creamy broccoli salad makes the perfect potluck side dish I have a heart for feeding people. I love sharing my favorite food with as many people as possible. I also like to show off the fun side of healthy eating.

This time of year people are booked solid with food-filled social events from graduations and family reunions to barbecues and patio parties, and it all kicks off this weekend with Memorial Day picnics.

Each event is different but they all come with the same question: "What are we going to eat?"...

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May 13  |  By Rose McAvoy
Easy marinara chicken for too-tired-to-cook days Even on days when I have more time than energy to put a meal on the table, it is temping to call Mike and have him bring home some fast food for dinner. However, I can help overcome those "I just don’t want to," days with a few easy recipes made from key ingredients on hand in my pantry and freezer.

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May 6  |  By Rose McAvoy Special to The Herald
How to use tea as key ingredient in everyday dishes Settling down with a fragrant cup of hot tea is among my top daily pleasures. Brewing a cup of tea is a ritual that feels relaxed and familiar. You can't hurry the process, each step takes the time it takes.

Recently a new book coaxed me to explore tea not as a beverage but as an everyday recipe ingredient. At first the concept of recipes with tea seemed strange, but the nuance of each variety has so much flavor to offer. It now seems like the sky is the limit for ways to...

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May 1  |  By Rose McAvoy, Special to The Herald
Enjoy fancy restaurant-style pulled pork tacos at home There is a restaurant near our house where I like to go to when I feel a little fancy but still need a place we can take the kids. I almost always order the pulled pork tacos. For about $12 you get a pair of tacos served on little corn tortillas topped with cabbage slaw, avocado crema, and crispy onions. Randomly, the pulled pork tacos come with a side of rice pilaf and sautéd broccoli (the broccoli is actually my second favorite part about the meal). Visually the tacos have...

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April 22  |  By Rose McAvoy Special to The Herald
Rhubarb plays the lead role in these cookies One of my dad's favorite desserts is strawberry-rhubarb pie with vanilla ice cream. In his mind, the ice cream is so crucial, he's been known to leave a piece of pie sitting on the table while he ran to the store for a half-gallon of French vanilla.

For years I thought the only thing you could pair rhubarb with was strawberries, and the only time you could eat rhubarb was during June when strawberries are in season.

A few years ago I planted a large rhubarb...

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April 8  |  By Rose McAvoy Special to The Herald
Tasty yellow pea soup — hold the grundtål
You probably haven’t tried the yellow pea soup at IKEA because, like any normal Swedish-furniture-buying person, you go to the restaurant for the meatballs. Emotions aside, I gave up the meatballs to facilitate my weight loss. Happily, that choice created the opportunity to try the yellow pea soup.

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April 1  |  By Rose McAvoy
Cheesy pasta proves food fast doesn't need to be fast food When eating healthy is your goal, it is important to have a handful of easy dinner ideas that use ingredients you are likely to have on hand. This cheesy pasta with vegetables is one of our family's favorites. I whip it up on days when I get to 5:30 and realize there is no dinner plan - or as I call them,"I would rather be on the red wine and popcorn diet but these darn kids need to eat" nights. I learned the basic sauce technique from my mom. Like me she was juggling kids, work,...

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March 17  |  By Rose McAvoy Special to The Herald
Bread from the motherland as Irish as it gets I grew up in a family that strongly identifies as Irish-American. We wear shamrocks all year and celebrate St. Patrick's Day for most of the month of March.

I am pretty sure my maternal grandfather, born and raised in Seattle, spent his free time imagining life as a character in "The Quiet Man." When he talked about thatched roofs and stone walls I hung on his every word.

From a very young age, I was aware that my mom spent part of the summer after...

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March 13  |  By Rose McAvoy
Tell me if this sounds familiar?

"I just want to get to a point where I don't have to think about it."

The "it" in this case is eating for weight loss.

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March 4  |  By Rose McAvoy Special to The Herald
Quinoa pilaf is fun to say, even better to make Our family has been eating quite a lot of this pilaf. I think my oldest just loves to say the word: Peeee-laaaffff. It has a lovely way of dancing into a conversation.

If you're not yet familiar with quinoa, it is a wonderful grain to add to your pantry staples. Full disclosure: quinoa is actually a seed but you can cook and use it just like a grain. It is notably high in fiber and protein, making it a stellar swap for rice as a side dish.

Our family really...

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February 28  |  By Rose McAvoy
Feed a hungry crowd with no-fuss crock pot cabbage and kielbasa If you are looking to feed a pack of hungry folks with no fuss, this recipe is your new best friend. Toss everything into the slow cooker and let time take it from there. In two hours your nose will remind you that something yummy is on its way. In four hours you will have a pot of juicy sausages with a side of beautifully braised sweet & sour cabbage.

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February 18  |  By Rose McAvoy Special to The Herald
Make thoughtful choices when you give the gift of food Shortly after our second son was born my friend brought us a batch of the most amazing homemade chicken sausage patties. The gift of food when you have a newborn is tremendously helpful.

What made this particular gift especially sweet was the thought she took in choosing the recipe. When I asked her later for the recipe she added that she wanted to make us something reflective of the way my husband and I prefer to eat.

Her thoughtful choice of postpartum...

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February 4  |  By Rose McAvoy Special to The Herald
Add a smokey twist to mini meringues If we are going to be friends, there are three things you should know:

I have decided traditional American cuisine is tragically lacking in recipes featuring cardamom.

I like to experiment with ingredients that, at first glance, taste or smell unappealing.

When it comes to baked sweets, my go-to treats are oat topped fruit crisps and mini meringues.

I had been curious about cacao nibs for some time (you may say cocoa nibs if you like). A...

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January 30  |  By Rose McAvoy
Pigs in a blanket are the ultimate Super Bowl snack I've never been much of a sports fan but I happened to watch one football game this year. It was a good one. What a thrill it was watching the Seahawks drag themselves through the first half of their final playoff game against Green Bay only to come back in the final moments in an absolutely astounding rally for the win. Even I jumped out of my seat to yell at the television in those last seconds!

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January 21  |  By Rose McAvoy Special to The Herald
Shhh! It's the secret to losing weight All right folks, here it is: the all-time-absolute-best-tip for losing weight is ... drink more water.

That's it.


A few years ago I overheard a conversation at the gym (I love eavesdropping!) between a woman and her trainer. She was complaining that she'd been working out for a year but had only shed a few pounds.

It was phrased like she was baiting the trainer. Her confession caught my attention. A long list of questions...

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January 15  |  By Rose McAvoy, Special to The Herald
Cooks of any skill level can tackle this chipotle bean soup recipe In general I do the cooking in our house. If I ask my husband to make dinner he is likely to respond with a blank stare and some fumbling words. He is very good at many household tasks (including laundry) but, for the most part, the kitchen has become my domain. He steers clear of the majority of its contents and happily takes the family out to eat when I am in need of a break.

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January 8  |  By Rose McAvoy
I had a very disrupted night last night and all I wanted to do this morning was curl up inside a warm cinnamon roll and eat my way out. Fortunately, I didn't have any pastries within reach. Instead I hugged my cup of coffee and let the music on the radio get my head in a better place.

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December 28  |  By Rose McAvoy
Forget what you think you know about tofu, this recipe's a winner Start the year off with a burst of flavor and an ingredient that may be new to you.

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December 28  |  By Rose McAvoy
I wonder if you are among the millions who will wake on New Year's Day saying, "This is the year I get healthy! The year I eat right, exercise and, finally, shed those pesky pounds." Will you lace up those walking shoes that have been collecting dust in the back of the closet? Will you choose something loaded with fiber and protein for breakfast?

Maybe you and your new resolve will roll out of bed, stumble into the kitchen, and on your way to the coffee pot,...

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December 16  |  By Rose McAvoy Special to The Herald
This cake has classic holiday flavor and works great for birthdays, too Our family has two December birthdays. I am not one to shy away from a reason to celebrate, but December birthdays do come with their own set of challenges.

"Happy Birthday! Now say goodbye to your presents and get in the car. We're spending Christmas at Grandma's house and we need to beat the traffic."

This was the sound track to my husband's childhood birthdays. At least the way he remembers them. Ask Mike about the birthdays of his youth and...

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