Health Shouldn't Be A Battle

Life's Better With Friends, Comfort, & Cream Sauce

As you all know by now, the food-mood connection is HUGE in the HP household (some might even say it's a bit on the annoying side ::shrug::). If you're a client, then you are probably shaking your head vehemently in agreement!
Well, as it turns out, I'm not the only one who feels this way. Without further ado, let me introduce my dear friend, Sherrie. She will be sharing a little bit of her own comfort and cream sauce with us today! xoxo

I’m Sherrie from With Food + Love and I am so honored to be guest posting for Holistic Peace. The connection between food and mood is something I can relate to oh so very well. Throughout my childhood and into my twenties I ate to feel a sense of calm, protected from the world and from all of my insecurities. I ate to feel happy and I ate to feel liked and loved, I ate to just feel.

Remember what a bowl of macaroni and cheese felt like for you when you were a kid? The moment it touched your taste buds you were in pure bliss. It left your belly full and your soul warmed. A bad day at school or an argument with your friends, there was nothing that bowl of mac n’ cheese couldn’t fix. Most people find eating to be a pleasant and a rather rewarding experience, I am no different. But, as I get older and wiser and more in tuned with my emotions and feelings, I’ve adopted an EAT TO LIVE mantra. I’ve become mindful of each and every bite that enters my body. I ask myself, “Will this food serve my body well?” But, that doesn’t mean I can’t or shouldn’t enjoy the dopamine inducing effects of eating a big old bowl of pasta. In fact I will eat that bowl of pasta with a giant smile on my face, savoring each and every last bite.

Today I’ll share with you my recipe for {Spicy} Tomato Basil Cream Sauce; the perfect dairy-free real-food sauce to be served over your favorite type of pasta. I love this recipe for a lot of reasons, but most importantly I love it because it is comforting. Every serving of this sauce + pasta will make you feel brand spanking new. This {Spicy} Tomato Basil Cream sauce is rich but oh so soothing - it's on another level people. It's a big bowl of naughty goodness. But actually in this case - turns out it's not so naughty after all.

With a sauce this creamy and flavor packed - who even needs dairy, you know? Lately, I've been pretty obsessed with cashews. These little powerhouse nuts are chock full of magnesium and loaded with fiber and essential healthy fats. They're so incredibly versatile. Fantastic for munching, yes! But, these beauties are even better when soaked and blended. Now, that's when the real magic begins. You don't need a lot of time or any fancy tools. Just raw cashews, water, pinch of sea salt, a couple hours to soak and a blender or food processor.



1 small onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced or finely grated
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes, I used Muir Glen Organics {its lining is BPA-free}
1 cup cashews
2 1/2 cups filtered water
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper {optional}
large handful of fresh basil leaves
sea salt + coarse ground pepper, to taste

Prior to making the sauce - soak your cashews in 2 cups of filtered water with a pinch of sea salt for anywhere between 1 and 4 hours. Do not soak longer than 5 hours or your cashews could end up tasting a little bitter. Once they are done soaking blend with a 1/2 filtered water until they become completely smooth. Keep in mind this will yield slightly more cashew cream than needed. Set aside.

In a saucepan or deep skillet heat the olive oil on low, saute onions and garlic for about 5 minutes. Then add in the tomatoes. When I use the whole canned tomatoes - I like to pull them apart into chunks with my hands. This part can get messy!

Then add in the oregano, crushed red pepper and season with sea salt and pepper. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

Now you are ready to add in your cashew cream and fresh basil. It is completely up to you how creamy you want it to be. I like mine pretty creamy so I used about 3/4 of the mixture. If you use that much you'll achieve the color in the photo above. But you can add it all in or use only half. It's up to you!

{gnocchi serves 2-3 per box + sauce serves 6}


I’m Sherrie Scaglione Castellano, the girl behind With Food + Love. I’m a Board Certified Holistic Health Coach {AADP} specializing in digestive wellness and eating clean. I help women and families eat naturally gluten free with real food, veggie power galore + lots of love. You can find me in Philadelphia, PA with my husband enjoying life's simplest pleasures like, snuggling up with a big cup of earl grey tea or catching a flick at their local independent theater. You can connect with me on Facebook, Twitter Pinterest and Instagram.


Using Food to Beat the Rainy Day Blues

April showers bring May flowers, right? Well, sometimes April showers continue through May and early June. Although spring is a time of new beginnings, hope, renewal, and detoxification, the rainy days can also trigger feelings of sadness and depression. I'll be honest, I know that our weather pales in comparison to what has been going on in Oklahoma and Texas, but all of the dreary rain is still getting to me (this is probably one of the reasons I dream of sunny islands, palm trees, and coconuts...note: these are not things typically found in NJ!)

There is no better way to beat the "rainy-day blues" than through the healing power of nature's own medicine, food. Let's break it down by ingredients, shall we?

Asparagus is packed with Vitamin B6 which is known to boost serotonin levels. It's also an excellent source of potassium which, when properly balanced with sodium, is a key component in mood stabilization.

Tomatoes are a source of lycopene, a fat-soluble phytonutrient that helps protect vital brain fat and has been known to stop the buildup of pro-inflammatory compounds linked to depression.

Lemons are loaded with Vitamin C, which has been known to ease fatigue, loss of appetite and other effects of depression.

Quinoa is a grain-like seed that has small amounts of the right type of high-protein carbohydrates needed to boost your serotonin levels. Plus, it provides additional B vitamins that are critical to brain health and in the manufacturing of all neurotransmitters, including serotonin.

Walnuts are essentially mood "superfoods". They are filled with Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamin E, vitamin B6, folate, and protein. Consider that combination to be a powerful punch of "Happy"!

Here's a quick and easy recipe filled with all of these ingredients that are sure to keep the rainy-day blues away!

Lemon-Dijon Quinoa & Asparagus Salad

1 lb asparagus, cut into 1 in pieces

1 c quinoa

1 c corn

1 c grape tomatoes, halved

½ c chopped parsley

¼ c chopped walnuts, garnish


1 c dry quinoa

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 c water

Lemon-Dijon Dressing

1/4 c Water

1/4 c Dijon Mustard

3 T Fresh Lemon Juice

1.5 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Garlic Cloves, Minced

Black Pepper, to taste

Rinse and drain quinoa. Place quinoa, water and sea salt in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus & cut into 1 inch pieces. Place the trimmed asparagus in a large pot of boiling water. Cook for 9-12 minutes or until almost tender. Drain and rinse under cold water.

Add dressing ingredients into a bowl. Whisk until they are thoroughly blended.

In a large bowl, mix prepared quinoa and asparagus with corn, tomatoes, and parsley. Add dressing and stir gently until it is mixed through the salad. Add chopped walnuts as a garnish.


Budget Tip: Put the Veggies Down & Step Away from the Trashcan!

So, you just finished prepping the world's most AH-MAY-ZING chili and you're left with a pile of veggie scraps and unused parts. Whatever you do, DON'T THROW THEM AWAY!

Seriously, most veggies aren't funded by huge government subsidies, so their prices aren't artificially low (Yeah, that's right, I'm giving you the side-eye meat & should hang your head in shame!)

I digress...If you are concerned that you spent your entire paycheck on fresh vegetables, then make sure you're using them for all they are worth. So, here's what you can do...

Gather up all of your scraps (you can store them in the fridge until you have about 5 cups) and turn them into a homemade stock. (Don't cringe at "homemade"- it's not nearly as hard as you think, I promise!)

What can you use? Pretty much anything!

Garlic, shallots and onion tops and peels
Broccoli and cauliflower stems
Potato peels
Herb stems
Celery greens
Carrot peels
Pea pods
Chard and kale stems
Leek greens
The possibilities are endless!
1. Place scraps in the 5 quart stock pot. Fill to the top with cold water and  season with sea salt and pepper.(This is a HUGE PLUS in my book. You are in complete control over whether you want it to taste like veggie stock or a salt-lick!)

2. Bring water to a boil, turn heat down, and let simmer, uncovered, for about an hour. (Periodically check for floating "ick" and skim off. What is floating "ick"? Trust me, you'll know it when you see it!)

3. Carefully strain scraps out of the stock

4. After stock has cooled completely, store in fridge for a few days or freeze.

See? Easy peasy AND you just got a whole lot more bang for your veggie buck!



Why I Wear Purple

For most of my life, I've battled in my own personal hell. Every day (even on the "good" days), I was at war with the Eating Disordered voices in my head. Some days, I won. Most days, it won.

When I started my recovery process, I wore purple for my husband. At the time, I couldn't do it for myself. At the time, I didn't value myself enough. But, I loved him and I valued him. The ED was a barrier between us and Mr HP meant the world to me. I had to try.

When I was pregnant, I wore purple for the baby I was desperately trying to take care of. At the weight I was maintaining, I should've been dead. My body should've been shutting down. Instead, it was growing a life. It was giving me hope. It was giving me another reason to keep on fighting. When I gave birth to my beautiful, perfect, healthy baby boy, I wore purple for him.

I've worn purple for my friends. So many of them have struggled with finding that "happy place" between society's standards and our own. I've worn purple for my family. I want to be someone my younger siblings can admire, not someone they have to pity. I've worn purple for my fellow survivors. I've worn purple for those we've all lost along the way. I've worn purple for those that are still out there struggling with no clue where to turn next.

This year is different. This year, I'm wearing purple for me! Every day, week, month, or year in recovery is a fresh start and a new chance to grow. This year, I'm wearing it for myself. This year, I know that I'm worth it.

 There is so much left to explore in this world. I hope that we can experience it together!


This week, in honor of Eating Disorder Awareness week, I want to celebrate you, me, and all of the beautiful people that make up this world! From now through Saturday, 3/1, post a picture on my Facebook page or send it to me via private message and tell me why you wear purple.

You will automatically be entered to win Angela Liddon's cookbook AND her bonus bundle of recipes that didn't quite make the cookbook! (psst...she's the awesomeness behind Oh She Glows!)

** This was originally posted 2/2014**