This chilly January weather has me bundled up and and cozy in my home.  As I’m sure many of you are getting stir crazy inside with this cold winter, I’ve decided to create a list of fun veggies to bring out the excitement and fresh sweetness of soon to be Spring. Well, it’s not too far off, right?  April will (hopefully) be here before we know it, but for now, these January days of eating chili and drinking hot tea are here to stay.

So, I thought…why not bring a little fun into my life with fruits and veggies … natural sweetness and pure, wholesome foods that you can feel good about at every meal and snack.

Here are a few that I’m falling in love with lately.

Toss them into salads, smoothies, soups, stir-fries and even dips such as guacamole and salsa.

Go ahead, get creative. It’s January, and we’ve gotta few more months of hibernating inside so we might as well make some good use of our kitchens and start choppin’, slicin’ and dicin’ fresh fruits and veggies.

Who knows, you may just come up with a new dish for this Spring…

Ahhh, just the thought of warm weather and flip flops has me smiling.

Day dreaming of Spring…

How about you?

What I’m Falling In Love With Right Now…

  • Grapes

Sweet and juicy, these little guys are full of flavonoids, antioxidants that give their beautiful color and may help reduce the risk of heart disease.  The deeper the color, the higher the flavonoid concentration.  1 cup of grapes (approximately 18) contains 20% of your daily vitamin C needs. Healthy Tip: Making Salsa? Use 1/2 the amount of cherry tomatoes and add in 1 cup of grapes for a naturally sweet salsa.

  • Tangerines

Also known as Mandarin oranges, these citrus fruits are easy-to-peel and therefore, a quick on-the-go snack.  With less acid than an orange and 30 milligrams of vitamin C, these babies account for 1/3 of your daily needs.  Healthy Tip: Create a smoothie or vinaigrette with tangerine juice.

  • Cranberries

These tiny berries are rich in anthocyanins, antioxidants that may prevent urinary tract infections.  Healthy Tip: Toss cranberries into your recipes for scones, muffins and zucchini bread for an extra sweet kick.

  • Pears

From the firm Seckel and Bosc pears to the soft Bartlett, Comice and Anjou pears, there are so many amazing ways to use these fruits whether poached or baked.  Pears contain approximately 4 grams of fiber, making them a great afternoon snack or dessert. Healthy Tip: Create pear chips by lining a nonstick baking pan with pear slices, sprinkle with cinnamon and drizzle with agave nectar. Bake at 250 degrees F for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

  • Pumpkin and Winter Squash

These delicious varies of squash are rich is carotenoids, whose pigments are responsible for their bright color.  1 cup contains 400 milligrams of potassium.  Healthy Tip: Create a spin on mashed potatoes by combining pumpkin, winter squash and sweet potatoes; process in a food processor until smooth and serve with cinnamon and a dollop of Greek plain yogurt.

  • Brussels Sprouts

A part of the cruciferous veggie family, these sprouts contain indoles, which are linked to cancer prevention…they also happen to be one of my favorite veggies.  They’re so easy to pop into your mouth and enjoy anytime of the day.  Healthy Tip: Slice Brussels Sprouts in half, drizzle with olive oil, fresh ginger and chili powder.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F, then sprinkle with ground cashews.

  • Turnips

Quite easy to grow and store, surprisingly, right?  Each cup of these root veggies has more than 2 grams of fiber and many of the same cancer fighting indoles as their cruciferous veggie friends.  Healthy  Tip: Julienne turnips and toss into salads and stir-fries.

  • Parsnips

The nutty, mild flavor of parsnips offer 7 grams of fiber and a dose of vitmain E, selenium and zinc in every cup. Kitchen Tip: Create parsnip fries by slicing into fry like shapes and baking in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.

  • Cauliflower

Another favorite of mine, this cloud-like cruciferous veggie contains just as many indoles, a cancer fighting compound as it’s broccoli cousins delivering only 25 calories per cup. Healthy Tip: Use cauliflower in lieu of white potatoes to create a soft, sweet mash that can easily be made in your food processor with cooked cauliflower, fresh lemon zest and rosemary.

  • Celeriac

You may have noticed this brown root hiding behind the other veggies at your farmers market, but this guy packs 3 grams of fiber and 468 milligrams of potassium in 1 cup.  Healthy Tip: Add julienne celeraic to stir-fries and salads.

What veggies are you falling in love with lately?

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  1. A good list with tips. I especially like the cauliflower mash with lemon and rosemary. Also, since my husband is such a Brussels sprouts fan, the slice and bake idea. Will have to give those a try.

  2. I’m glad you mentioned tangerines! I love anything orange related. I need to start making some tangerine smoothies, sounds delicious.