I’m always game to try new recipes so I was happy to attend a cooking demo recently at the Napa Rose restaurant at Disney’s Grand Californian. This healthy foodie event was hosted by Cigna and highlighted easy week night meal preparations that included exotic fruits and micro greens. I never would have considered adding these ingredients to the dishes I normally prepare. But after researching these locally grown food gems, I discovered they have significant healing properties.
The talented Latina actress and singer Laura Flores was also in attendance as Cigna’s spokesperson, I was quite excited at the chance to meet her and chat with her!
Cigna persuaded me to take a little more time in the preparation of my family’s meals. I am always on a mission to find healthy recipes that my kiddos (picky eaters) will actually eat. Part of it is presentation. How lovely do these small dishes of nectarine slices look?
Simple, exotic and nutritious ingredients that can be easily added to smoothies, salads, and your favorite recipes:
- Micro Basil: Microgreens can easily be garnished on fruit, salads, and soups. When these tiny seedlings are just a few inches tall, they are packed with antioxidants and other health promoting nutrients.
- Cotton Candy Grapes: I had seen them at the supermarket, but was a skeptic. I didn’t believe that they would actually taste like cotton candy. I tried them at the Napa Rose and can actually say they taste like cotton candy!
- Cactus Pears: These are so delish! There are numerous health benefits in exotic fruit. They include a whole array of phytonutrients, including vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.
- Kale: Kale is not my favorite food, but in the right recipe it can be tasty. This “superfood” has tons of health benefits. It can lower blood pressure, lower the risk of developing asthma, improve bone health, improve blood glucose in diabetics, and it can lower the risk of cancer.
- Agave: This is a delicious ancient healing ingredient. Agave nectar is a natural sweetener. It can be used in moderation by dieters, some diabetics, and health conscious cooks – to replace high-glycemic and refined sugars.
Napa Rose provided this great recipe to start your morning
Blueberry and Cactus Pear, Oatmeal Smoothie Recipe
- 2 tsp. Agave (I would add more hehe)
- 1 cup fat-free Coconut Milk
- ½ cup unsweetened frozen Blueberries
- ½ cup Cactus Pear- you may want to strain and puree before adding to your smoothie
- ½ cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
- ½ to 1 cup ice
Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
The Incomparable Laura Flores shared how she balances “Life and Health.”
Cigna has inspired me to experiment with new exotic ingredients. I can’t wait to hit up my local farmer’s market to look for more native foods!
Thank you Cigna for inviting me to your cooking event. All opinions are my own.
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