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Tasty Tuesday by Ruth Heisler, CDM: Food for thought

Last week I proposed that we should spend time with your family and friends creating a meal based around one herb (and other invited herb friends). This week we are exploring the benefits of spending that time with your family and friends.

Studies show that spending time with family has profound benefits:

  • A six year study at the University of California which focused on 1600 elderly revealed that of the seniors who died, 14 % had regular visitors. In contrast 23% had no family or friend visits. Bring a meal and share with your elderly parent or neighbor, the companionship will benefit that person and you can often hear some of their great life stories.
  • Spend time with children; sit down for dinner so you can have conversations with them, then after dinner go for a walk with your children. Family time builds children's self-esteem, creates family bonds, nurtures positive behaviors, creates memories, healthy lifestyles and relieves stress.
  • Make time for your spouse or significant other; start out the day together, having a quick breakfast of cup of coffee is an excellent way to connect.
  • Stay in touch with relatives; remember those relatives that annoy you? Spending time with them may help you more than you realize.
  • Friends you haven't seen in a while, invite them over, cook a great herb based meal, invite them to help you cook or visit while you cook.

Today's Harvest Home Café herb based meal will focus on Basil and here are some of the benefits of Basil:

  • Basil contains flavonoids that can help protect cell structure in our bodies.
  • Basil has been shown to protect against unwanted bacterial growth
  • Reduces Inflammation and swelling
  • Contains nutrients essential for Cardiovascular health

Harvest Home Café Menu today will feature: Lemon Basil Marinated Chicken, w/Herbed Pasta, Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction and Focaccia Bread with Homemade Pesto Butter.

Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction

Recipe by: stefychefy

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 large tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 (16 ounce) package fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves 
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Stir balsamic vinegar and honey together in a small saucepan and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the vinegar mixture has reduced to 1/3 cup, about 10 minutes. Set the balsamic reduction aside to cool.
  2. Arrange alternate slices of tomato and mozzarella cheese decoratively on a serving platter. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper, spread fresh basil leaves over the salad, and drizzle with olive oil and the balsamic reduction.

Sources: *Life Advancer, "6 Reasons Spending Time With Family is More Important Than You Think" by Michelle L. **Medical News Today, "Why everyone should eat basil" by Joseph Nordqvist ***the world's healthiest foods, "Basil"

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