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4010 Mt Diablo Blvd.
Lafayette, CA, 94549

Located in the Bay Area, CA, we're a family-owned garden center offering unusual and hard-to-find plants & gifts. Established 1946.

Life is Beautiful Blog

Healthy Recipes For the New Year!

Blaire Benson

It’s that time of year – hopefully you had a restful and somewhat indulgent holiday season, but now it’s time to get back into your regular routine. You might be thinking about how to jumpstart your year with renewed energy and a focus on your health; well, we’re here to help! Below we share three unique and delicious recipes from Kaiser Permanente that are good for you and those you love!

First up, Smashed Cucumbers! This recipe is a quick and fun way to add a refreshing side dish to just about any meal.

Servings: 4

Cooking Time: 10 minutes


4 Persian cucumbers, or other small thin-skinned cucumbers
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
A few mint leaves, minced
1 sprig oregano, minced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper


Trim the ends of the cucumbers and cut in half lengthwise. Next, cut crosswise or on a bias into 1-inch pieces. With seed-side down, gently smashed the cucumbers with the side of your knife or the heel of your clean hand. Leaving some of the seeds on the cutting board, transfer the cucumbers to a bowl and toss with the lemon juice, olive oil and minced herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For those frigid January days when you crave warmth, we recommend this Kale and Roasted Vegetable Soup!

Servings: 4


3 medium carrots, cut into ½ inch slices
2 tomatoes cut into wedges (or one 15 ounce can of no added salt tomatoes if tomatoes aren't in season locally)
1 yellow onion cut into 6-8 wedges
6 big cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes (You can substitute eggplant if you’d like!)
1 bunch of kale, stacked, rolled up then thinly sliced
1 can cannellini beans, drained or 1 1/2 cups freshly cooked white beans
6 cups vegetable stock
1 heaping teaspoon dried thyme or a palm full of fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a rimmed baking pan. Arrange the carrots and squash (or eggplant) on one end and the onions, garlic and tomato on the other. Roast until everything is slightly browned – about 30 minutes. Scoop the onions, tomatoes and garlic into a blender. Puree the vegetables briefly. Add the stock and mix briefly. Bring the stock with blended veggies to a simmer. Add the kale, thyme and bay leaf. Cook until the kale is tender - about 30 minutes. Add the carrots, squash (or eggplant) and white beans. Cook for about 5 more minutes. Remove the bay leaf and the thyme sprigs if you used fresh thyme. Season to taste and serve hot.

And finally, for a healthy and easy way to start your day, try No-cook Overnight Oatmeal!


1/4 cup uncooked old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup skim milk
1/4 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried chia seeds
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon honey, optional (or substitute any preferred sweetener)
1/4 cup diced mango (approx. half of a small mango)


In a half pint jar or container, add oats, milk, yogurt, chia seeds, almond extract and honey. Put lid on jar and shake until well combined. Add mangoes and stir with fork until mixed throughout. Return lid to jar and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days. Eat chilled.