Six Tips for Staying Healthy & Immune Boosting Vegetable Broth

Despite the heat, fall is here and with it comes the inevitable cold and flu season. Stay as healthy as possible this year and recover more quickly when you do catch a bug with the following tips:

Wash your hands. sounds obvious, but more frequent hand washing for 20 seconds with soap is one of the best ways to stop the spread of germs.

Hands off! Be mindful of keeping your hands away from your face. Germs enter our bodies through the eyes, nose and mouth. Avoid touching our face to reduce your chance of picking up something unpleasant.

Get more sleep. A rested body is better able to fight off a virus once it enters your system and makes you less vulnerable to getting sick.

Rinse your nose. Add a netti pot rinse to your daily routine. Rinsing your nasal cavity with heated and cooled salt water flushes out virus particles that have entered through your nose and flushes any accumulating mucus which lowers the risk of infection build up. The saline is naturally anti-microbial.

Exercise. Daily, moderate exercise boosts the body’s ability to fight off illness. But be careful, all out body blasting and working to exhaustion can fatigue your body making you more susceptible to illness.

Eat yourself healthy. Citrus foods, ginger, garlic, elderberry, mushrooms, almonds and yogurt are all foods that are known for immune boosting properties. Increase the amounts of these foods in your diet during cold and flu season.

Piedmont Avenue Health Coach and nutrition Consultant, Michelle Dwyer has provided us with a recipe for immune boosting vegetable broth and offers the following tips for using it:

“When making broth to really support the immune system, add a LOT more ginger and garlic. You can also add dried or fresh shiitake mushrooms, oregano, reishi mushrooms and/or astragalus root for extra immune boosting support.

Broth is really great to drink when recovering from surgery, illness or chemotherapy. It is a great way to get nourishment for your body without putting too much stress on your digestive system.

You can add a little tamarin, Bragg’s amino acids, coconut amino acids or miso to your finished broth for a little added flavor or some coconut oil for a bit more substance.

Broth can be sipped alone or used as a base for any soup. To store leftover broth, divide among mason jars to sip during the week and freeze the rest.”

Immune Boosting Vegetable Broth


1-2 unpeeled carrots, cut into thirds

1-2 unpeeled medium onions, including peels/skin, cut into chunks

3 stalks celery, including the heart, cut into thirds

1 head of garlic, including peels/skin, roughly chopped

few inches of fresh ginger root, roughly sliced

1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 sweet potato or yam with skins on, quartered

1 8-inch strip of kombu seaweed (available at Whole Foods or online)

2 bay leaves

12 black peppercorns

4 whole allspice or juniper berries (optional)

1 tablespoon quality sea salt (note: if I’m going to cook beans with the broth, I leave the salt out)

Important: Adjust the amount of ingredients to the size of your stock pot. Other vegetable choices (depending on the flavor profile you want and what you have on hand) can include mushrooms, leeks, fennel, greens, fresh herbs, parsnips, and potatoes.


  1. Rinse all the vegetables well to remove any dirt.
  2. In a large stockpot, combine all the ingredients except the salt. Fill the pot to 2 inches below the rim with water, cover, and bring to a boil.
  3. Remove the lid, decrease the heat to low, and simmer a minimum of 2 hours. As the stock simmers some of the water will evaporate. Simmer until the full richness of the vegetables can be tasted. I like to try and simmer mine for as much as 4 hours or more.
  4. Add the sea salt and stir (unless you plan to use the broth to cook dried beans).
  5. Let broth cool in pot until room temperature.
  6. Strain the stock using a large coarse-mesh strainer (remember to use a heat-resistant container underneath) and/or cheese-cloth or clean linen towel. Compost the cooked vegetables.
  7. Makes 6 to 7 quarts, depending on stockpot size.

Spicy Portugese Potato & Kale Soup (Slow Cooker Recipe)

This recipe is the epitome of what a slow cooker recipe should be: simple, healthy ingredients, super easy, hardly any prep work, and delicious! Just when I had given up hope of really loving anything that came out of my slow cooker this recipe came along and saved the day. Adapted from Slow Cooker Revolution. I hope you enjoy it, let me know if you give it a try …. #lifebalancemassage

  • 1 onion, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2  tsp. minced canned chipotle chile in adobe (add a little more to your preference)
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 Lb. red potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 8 oz Chorizo sausage, halved and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 8 oz. kale, stemmed and leaves sliced 1/4 inch, or half of a bag of precut kale
  • Salt (to taste)
  1. In a microwave safe bowl combine onion, garlic, oil and chipotles. Microwave for 5 minutes until softened and transfer to slow cooker.
  2. Add broth, potatoes and chorizo and salt to slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours.
  3. Stir in kale, cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Taste seasoning and add salt as necessary.

Orzo Salad with Shrimp and Feta

A quick and easy weeknight dinner that is perfect for a warm summer night when paired with a crisp green salad. The whole thing can be done in about 20 minutes.


  • 8 oz. Orzo Pasta (you could easily sub and small pasta you prefer here)
  • 1/2 lb large shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • Grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint
  • 1/2 cup chopped dill (optional)
  • 1 cup diced english cucumber
  • 4 oz crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 Tbsp halved kalamata olives


  1. Preheat the broiler and bring a pot of salted water to a boil
  2. Add the pasta to the water and cook till al dente – drain, rinse, stir in a few drops of olive oil and cool
  3. Toss the shrimp on a baking sheet with 1 Tbsp olive oil, chopped garlic, salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer and broil, turning once until opaque and just cooked through. (about 3 minutes)
  4. Coarsely chop the shrimp and toss into a bowl with the pasta, lemon zest, lemon juice, scallions, mint, dill, cucumber, feta olives and remaining olive oil. Check for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
  5. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Bring up to room temperature before serving.


3-Minute Peanut Sauce with Noodles, Scallions and Chicken

I know I’m in love with butter and I really like peanuts, so what’s not to love about peanut butter? I love it for breakfast I love it for lunch and I definitely love it for dinner if it’s in the form of this peanut sauce I recently made to serve over noodles. The sauce doesn’t require cooking and everything can be finished in the time it takes to boil the noodles! My husband is a little more protein happy than I am so I’ve included a generous serving of shredded chicken on top to make sure all factions were satisfied but if you don’t do meat, skip the chicken and the dish is still scrumptious.  Continue reading

Bran Muffins – A Fiber Lover’s Dream

Do you know the muffin man? Well, I don’t either. But if I did – I’d ask him to make me these super yummy bran muffins that I would then proceed to eat warm out of the oven and slathered in butter. The following recipe has been modified from one I found in the America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook. I’ve added a few extra ingredients to up the nutritional punch and moistness of the of the original. Slabs of butter non-withstanding (I refuse to apologize for my love of oh-so-delicious butter) these muffins are so incredibly good for you and make a great on-the-go breakfast when combined with my Banana-Almond Smoothie. Round your morning meal out with some protein in the form of a hard boiled egg and you’re good to go! Continue reading

Just What the Doctor Ordered: Spicy Chicken Soup

The recent week or so of high 60 degree weather may have lulled us West Coasters into mislaid dreams of warm spring hikes and short sleeves, but unexpected attacks of “winter jacket weather” sadly snaps us back into the reality that it is, in fact, only February. And though it may be sunnier than just about anywhere else this time of year and our “winter jacket weather” may be laughable to a good majority of the country – it’s not so funny how many people are still succumbing to the nasty flu season we got hit with this year. And the colds! In my opinion the only thing crueler than having a cold is having a cold when it is blazingly sunny and cheerful outside. So in light of the spate of people I know who have gotten sick this week and with fingers double crossed that my family remain immune – this week I’m posting up my chicken soup recipe. Nothing is more satisfying when you’re feeling crummy and I’ve packed mine with good-for-you stuff like ginger, scallions and leafy greens to help your body heal. I also like it spicy, especially when a head cold has my sinuses clogged up. When I’m sick a big, steaming bowl of this soup is like the biggest, best hug I’ve ever had. Continue reading