Tag Archives: nutrients

Easy Holiday Skincare Tips

22 Nov

‘Tis the time of season where the “to do list” seems to stretch beyond time. It can make your skin pucker and crinkle with wrinkles at the mere thought.

You don’t want your skin to age or breakout because of a few weeks of stress cheer; do you? We don’t either, so we’ve come up with a few suggestions. And since, we don’t want to add to your holiday burdens…um…fun, you can easily incorporate them into your busy schedule.

christmas girlStay Hydrated.

Water hydrates cells, reduces fluid retention, and flushes out toxins.  Alcohol dehydrates and is hard on the skin, so flush it. Coconut water is good for this.

Take a Supplement.

Stress depletes levels of nutrients. The B vitamins and magnesium are good for stress; vitamin C is a skin healer, and vitamin D helps with lack of sunshine in winter. A multivitamin will cover all the basics.

Eat More Fresh Vegetables and Fruit.

They will help to balance the effects of holiday foods and drinks that may not be so good for you.

Put Down the Salt Shaker.

Salt draws moisture from the cells and leads to water retention that results in puffiness around the eyes and to drier skin.

Do This Yoga Pose: Legs Up the Wall.

Ten minutes lying on the floor with legs resting up against a wall rejuvenates skin and you. Place a cool cloth or eye mask over eyes while in the pose.


People tend to breathe shallowly when stressed. Breathe deeply and slowly; expand the belly on the inhale and deflate it on the exhale.

Just Say “No.”

Say “no” to some of the sugary treats and to people. Sugar affects collagen production. Stress from doing too much negatively affects skin.

Exfoliate Regularly.

Exfoliation removes dead skin cells, and makes it ready for regeneration of new skin cells.


Hydrate your skin more than normal. Organic or natural facial mists are great for on-the-go hydrating and is refreshing for the spirit. Moisturizing will keep your skin looking refreshed, reduce appearance of wrinkles, and keep skin from becoming dehydrated.


Laugh, sing, dance, or find things to appreciate in everyday this holiday season.  It will make you glow and when you glow, your skin will show it.

 REMEMBER: The holidays come every year like clockwork; there’s always next year…. HoHoHo!

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Yum Friday Recipe: Roasted Vegetables

15 Mar
Roasted Carrots, Beets & Sweet Potatoes

Roasted Carrots, Beets & Sweet Potatoes

We tell you over and over, eat your veggies for healthy, beautiful skin. So, maybe you have been including more of them, but have become bored with raw or steamed vegetables.  We’ve got good news for you.  Roasting vegetables livens their taste; it is very easy to do, and it is a great way to maintain their nutrient value. Roasting is also a good for trying vegetables you may have not liked in the past.  It is also easy to add herbs/seasonings to the vegetables for even more and varied flavors.  We have a few flavorful suggestions at the end of the recipe.

Yum Roasted Vegetables – serves 4        Oven: 425 degrees

4 cups of vegetables–cut into about 2 inch pieces (broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, brussel sprouts, carrots, mushrooms, beets, parsnips, onions – you get the idea.)
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or any quality oil, such as coconut or peanut)
1 minced garlic clove or 1 tsp organic garlic powder
Salt/pepper to taste

Clean and cut vegetables.  Put oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Add vegetables and toss vegetables in the bowl to coat with oil.
Place vegetables on a baking sheet.  Bake until soft/crisp and slightly brown – about 10-12 min.

You may need to experiment with the time and oven temperature because ovens vary.

Roast vegetables at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  This is a way to have roasted vegetables without the browning.

A mixture of different vegetables can be roasted at the same time.  Just make sure they are similar in texture so they are done at the same time.  For example, roast carrots, potatoes, brussel sprouts on the same baking sheet, but asparagus and scallions will need to be baked separately.

Try seasoning with different herbs.  Try these herbs: thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil, fennel, sage, curry, or freshly grated ginger or nutmeg, etc.  Mix herbs in with olive oil mixture.  Combine different herbs together.

Add a tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice or lime juice to the olive oil mixture.  The juice can also be tossed on vegetables after cooking.

Balsamic or champagne vinegar added to the olive oil mixture or tossed with baked vegetables adds a nice dimension to the flavor.

Grate a few tablespoons of Parmesan cheese on top of roasted vegetables immediately after they come out of the oven.  Or top roasted vegetables with a couple tablespoons of feta or goat cheese.

Allow vegetables to come to room temperature and mix with greens for a salad.

Grill vegetables on an outdoor grill.  May need to cut vegetables larger if grilling directly on grill, or place in a grill pan.

 About the Recipe’s Nutrients

Without going into detail about all the different vegetables, suffice to say that fresh vegetables are incredibly healthy.  Roasting or grilling them also helps to maintain their highest nutrient value as compared to cooking them in water.  We say this over and over, and we will say it again: To have healthy, beautiful skin you need to eat fresh vegetables on a daily basis.


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Yum Friday Recipe – Watermelon Gazpacho, Watermelon Mint Julep, & Salad

10 Jun

In our ongoing whole-body approach to skincare, weekly we share our healthy and delicious recipes.We have three  recipes using watermelon today.  Watermelon Mint Julep is our take on the mint julep; Watermelon Gazpacho is our version of the traditional summer soup, and we round it off with delicious Watermelon Feta Salad. 

Watermelon–the fruit of kings.  Watermelons are native to Africa, but were first cultivated in Egypt where watermelons were so valued that they were placed in some kings’ tombs. Watermelon is rich in vitamin C, carotene (vitamin A converter), and lycopene.  All of which are antioxidants.  Eating watermelon can help reduce inflammation, something most of us carry around in some degree.  Lycopene has also been shown to help prevent many cancers.  These antioxidants fight free radicals that contribute to wrinkles and sagging skin.  And the vitamin B’s found in watermelon are also skin loving.  Due to its high water content, watermelon gives you more nutrients per calorie than other fruits and vegetables. Watermelon is great for hydrating the body and skin since it contains 92% water.
And uhhhh…..um….certain men may be interested to know that watermelon does the same thing in the body that Viagra does.  Watermelon helps the body to make nitric oxide and expand blood vessels.  Watermelon has, however, fewer side effects than Viagra. Nitric oxide also lowers blood pressure.
BTW – watermelon rind is also edible and is where higher levels of the nutrients are.

Buying a Watermelon
Buy a watermelon that looks heavy for its size.  Also look for a side that has a yellowish tone to it–the side that sat on the ground while it was growing.  If there isn’t any yellowish tinge, it indicates that the fruit was picked before it was ripe and will not be as juicy or sweet tasting.  Also, the riper the fruit the more antioxidants that are present in it.  When you get the watermelon home, be sure to wash the watermelon in warm water and  some white vinegar. 

If you don’t use a seedless watermelon, then remove the seeds for the salad and gazpacho recipes. 

Watermelon Mint Julep – serves 2 – 3
This julep is sans the alcohol.  Alcohol is not skin friendly.
4 – 4 ½  cups of watermelon, seeded
2 cup loosely packed mint
1/2 cup lime juice
2 – 4 Tablespoon agave syrup
lime slices and mint leaves for garnish

Blend on high or puree the watermelon, mint, lime juice and agave syrup in a blender. Taste and add more agave if necessary; the amount will depend on the ripeness of the watermelon. Julep means sugary syrup, but sweeten it to your own taste buds. Strain mixture into a pitcher.  Add ice and additional mint leaves to tall glasses, pour watermelon mint julep into the glasses, garnish with mint leaves and lime slices.

Watermelon Feta Salad – serves 4 – 6
8 cups watermelon cut into bite size chunks
1/3  cup finely chopped red onion
1/3 cup chopped mint
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
Salt/Pepper to taste
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Gently toss all ingredients together in a bowl.  Garnish with extra feta and mint leaves.

Watermelon Gazpacho – serves 4 – 6
1 cup watermelon finely chopped
2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded, finely chopped
4 plum tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
½ red onion, finely chopped
1 cucumber, halved, seeded and finely chopped.  Leave the skin on.
1 jalapeño finely chopped (optional)
½ cup finely chopped cilantro
8 cups watermelon cubed, seeds removed
2 cups tomato juice
¼ lime juice
salt/pepper to taste

If you use a food processor to chop the vegetables, process them one at a time.  Chop the watermelon by hand.  Place the watermelon, vegetables, jalapeño, and cilantro in a bowl.  Season with salt and pepper and toss.  Set aside.

Place the 8 remaining cups of watermelon in a blender, puree it. Add the tomato juice and lime juice and blend thoroughly.
Pour the watermelon/tomato juice mixture in a noncorrosive bowl or saucepan.  Add the vegetable mixture and stir.  Taste to adjust seasonings.  Like all gazpachos, this one also gets better as it sits and the ingredients have time to meld.  So, you can make it a day or two ahead.

Recipes by: Denise Karson and Mackenzie Karson
copyright: Abhijit Chandra, LLC 2011

Friday Recipe Time! Quinoa Fiesta Taco Salad

6 May

This looks long and complex- but it’s not at all!  Super Easy and Super Fresh!  It’s in honor of Cinco de Mayo.  Yes, we know Cinco de Mayo was yesterday, but now it’s the weekend–we have more time to CELEBRATE.

This salad is  always a crowd pleaser when we serve it.  And the meat eaters are always impressed that it contains no meat.

The star of this food show is quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wha).  Quinoa rocks.  First, it’s looks like a grain, but it’s a seed that belongs to the same family as spinach and swiss chard.  Secondly, it delivers a powerful punch of protein, and it is a complete protein.  A complete protein has all nine of the essential amino acids the body needs. Quinoa is filled with other nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, vitamin A, folate, and others.  While it does have some carbs, they are complex carbohydrate aka good carbs. Thirdly, quinoa is versatile.  It can be eaten for breakfast as a porridge; it can be added to baked goods, or used in a savory dish like this recipe does.

This salad is chocked full of other skin loving nutrient such as avocados, tomatoes, lime, garlic, and onions.  Did you know that it is said that cilantro helps to remove metal toxins from the body?

Yum Quinoa Fiesta Taco Salad   6 – 8 servings

This salad has different components to it.  So, we’ve broken it down by each component, but we’ve listed all the ingredients for the entire salad first.  The parts of the salad are the dressing, pico de gallo, quinoa “taco” mixture, grilled vegetables, and putting it all together.  Of course, we believe in using organic ingredients whenever possible.

3 large or 5 medium ripe avocados
1 bunch cilantro (enough to make 2 cups chopped)
3 med. to large limes
4 cloves garlic
3 large tomatoes
6 scallions
1 zucchini (or yellow squash)
1 large green pepper
1 red pepper
8 mushrooms (enough to make 2 cups diced)
1 onion
8 – 10 oz of spring lettuce mix (can substitute other types of lettuce)
½ cup uncooked red or white quinoa
3-½ teaspoons chili powder (Mexican)
3-½ teaspoons cumin
2 cans pinto beans or black beans (can have a combination, but do not use chili beans)
Bag of tortilla chips
½ cup extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil plus extra for sauteing
Salt and Pepper

Soak the quinoa in a bowl of water; set aside.
Open the cans of beans; rinse them under water, and set aside to drain.
Wash all the vegetables (except garlic and onion) and set aside.  Wrap the cleaned cilantro in a paper towel or very clean kitchen towel.

Make Avocado-Cilantro Dressing-
Ingredients go in a food processor or powerful blender.
Cut 1 large (or 2 med) avocado in half; remove the seed and scoop out the fruit with a spoon and place in processor or blender.
Take a fistful of cilantro and using a pair of scissors cut pieces into the processor or blender.  (This is about 1 cup chopped, but much easier to do this way.)
Squeeze the juice of 2 limes (catch or filter any seeds) into the dressing mixture.
Add the 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil.
Add ½ teaspoon salt and some fresh ground pepper.
Process or blend the dressing until smooth.

You want to add enough water to the dressing to make it smooth and pourable.  Start with about a ¼ of a cup; gradually add enough water until you get a dressing consistency.
Taste and adjust seasonings.  Place finished salad dressing in a cruet or pourable container and place in the refrigerator.

Pico de Gallo
Place following ingredients in a bowl and mix together then set aside.
3 diced tomatoes
2 chopped scallions
1 finely chopped or minced garlic
1 cup chopped cilantro (can use the same system as for the dressing)
juice from ½ lime (set aside the other half)
salt and pepper to taste

Cook Quinoa
Retrieve the bowl of soaking quinoa; place you hands in the water and rub the quinoa between your hands several times to remove any possible remaining bitter saponins.  Place quinoa in a strainer and rinse under running water.

Place the quinoa in a saucepan with 1 cup of water.  Add 2 teaspoons chili pepper, 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 clove of garlic and a small piece of the onion.
Bring the quinoa to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer and cover.
Quinoa takes about 12 – 15 min. to cook.  It’s done when water is absorbed and quinoa has a soft/crunchy bite, and you can see little “tails”. 

Prepare Remaining Vegetables While Quinoa Cooks
If quinoa gets done before vegetables are prepared, set it aside.
Chop the remaining part of the onion.
Chop the 7-8 mushrooms (about 2 cups). Set aside on a cutting board or in a bowl.
Chop 2 garlic cloves. Set aside on a cutting board or in a bowl.
The scallions, zucchini, green and red pepper can all be placed in a bowl together after preparing them.
Scallions – after removing the root part and any damaged green parts, slice on the diagonal about 2 inches in length.
Zucchini – slice the zucchini so that you have thin “stick” slices about 3 inches long.
Green Pepper – cut in half remove seeds and stem.  Cut into 3 inches long thin slices.
Red Pepper – same as green pepper.
2 Avocados – cut in half, remove seed and scoop out the fruit.  Slice each of the halves lengthwise in thin to medium thick slices.  Place in a bowl.  Squeeze the juice from the remaining lime over the slices.  Cover and set aside.

Quinoa Taco Mix
You’ll need the diced onions, mushrooms, chili powder, cumin, quinoa, salt and pepper, and about ¾ cup water.

In a heated skillet, add 2 Tablespoon of olive oil, add the diced onion.  Sautee onions for 2 minutes, then add the mushrooms.  Sautee until the onions and mushrooms are golden brown–about 10 minutes.  Add 2 teaspoons chili powder, 2 teaspoons of cumin, salt/pepper to taste, the chopped garlic, and quinoa. Stir and cook for 1 – 2 minutes.  Then add the water.  Cook until water is absorbed.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Set aside.

 Grill Vegetables
This is a handy way to grill vegetables without using a grill.  Try to use as little oil as possible and stir continuously.
Have scallions, zucchini, green and red pepper ready.
Over medium high heat to high heat, place 1 -2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet.  After pan is hot, carefully add scallions, zucchini, green and red pepper.  Stir-fry vegetables until they reach a soft/crunchy texture.  Some vegetables will have a nice brown grilled look to them.

Bringing the Fiesta Together
In a large salad bowl add in layers:
drained beans
quinoa “taco” mixture
grilled vegetables
avocados (lay slices decoratively in the bowl)
pico de gallo

You can add the lettuce, crushed chips, dressing, and toss.  But we like to serve the lettuce and chips in separate bowls from the layered vegetable mixture and have each individual fix their own bowl of salad. 

To serve individually, each person fills their bowl with chips (can crush them), the vegetable mixture, and lettuce.  Pour the dressing over.  How do you say Yummy in Spanish??  Apetitoso!

Suggestions:  Serve sliced pickled jalapenos on the side.
Serve wedges of lime on the side to squeeze over the salad.
Instead of Avocado/Cilantro Dressing, drizzle about ¼ cup EVOO and juice of a lime over the salad.
Use pinto or black beans made from scratch.

Recipe by: Denise Karson
copyright, Abhijit Chandra, LLC 2011

New Friday Feature: Yummy Recipes- Good for Body and Skin

29 Apr

We believe what you put on your skin is just as important as what you put in your body.  Conversely, what you put in your body affects your skin.  Research is now backing-up what we’ve believed all along: your skin reflects what you eat.  Although, the study of how food, nutrients, or lack-of influences skin is in its infancy, preliminary research shows that these nutrients, A, B’s, C, E, A, K, alpha-lipoic acid, copper, selenium, sulfur, zinc, and omega 3 fatty acids are healthy skin nutrient leaders.

Okay, so it’s one thing to have this information, but figuring out how to implement it in your diet is another thing.  Consistently eating fresh vegetables and fruits is the way to go, especially eating dark leafy vegetables.    But, wouldn’t it be nice if someone gave you yummy recipes that had the skin glowing nutrients in them?  Starting today, every Friday we will post a recipe that is good for the skin… and what is good for the skin is good for the rest of your body.

By the way, the earlier you start taking care of your, the better your skin will age.  And it’s never too late to start; your skin will reflect what you eat no matter your age.

Choose organic when you can, especially for spinach and celery, as they are on the Environmental Working Groups list of Dirty Dozen fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide residuals.

YUM Spring Salad- serves 4 – 6
4 cups baby spinach
2 cups watercress
1 red onion
1 large green apple (can substitute a red variety, but make it a crunchy one)
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
3-4 tablespoon of olive oil
½ lemon
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Wash and dry spinach and watercress.  Slice red onion in thin rings.  Core apple and cut into quarters and and then into large dices. 

 Put spinach, watercress, onion, apple, celery,  and walnuts in a bowl and toss.  Drizzle olive oil over salad mixture followed by squeezing the lemon over it (catch or filter seeds).  Add salt and pepper.  Toss, taste, and adjust seasonings if necessary.  Garnish with thin lemon slices overlapping one another in center of the salad.  Serve.  Sooo yummy!

Sprinkle crumbled goat cheese on top or add slices of roasted garlic.
Plate salads individually
Want to make a salad ahead of time?  Add all ingredients but the greens in a layer in a salad bowl, place the greens on top. Cover and refrigerate.  Just before serving toss, add dressing, toss salad again, and serve.
This salad goes well with salmon (another healthy skin food).

If you like onions, but they don’t like you try this suggestion from chef Jacques Pepin.  Blanch prepared onions in boiling water for 5 seconds and then immediately submerge them in ice water to cool them.  Pat dry the onions slices with a paper towel or clean cloth and then add to the salad.

Carrots, Attraction, Happiness, and Bugs Bunny, huh?

25 Mar

Ha.  Wondering how these will get connected?  Read on.

A study done by the University of Bristol showed that fresh fruits and vegetables high in carotenoid give skin a healthy glow. . People with a light yellow hue (we’re not talking sun yellow or anything) are considered more attractive.  It turns out that yellow undertones are more attractive to the opposite sex than tanned skin.  Although the study was done on Caucasians, the researchers belief this holds true across all ethnicities.  The yellow undertone is interpreted as healthiness to the opposite sex.  It becomes important when someone is looking for a mate.  As part of the evolutionary process, a person wants a healthy looking partner in order to procreate. Carrots are high in the yellow undertone-making nutrient, cartenoid.

In his book, “The Secret of Water,” Masaru Emoto measured the energy vibration of different vegetables.  Carrots came out to be high on the happiness chart.  Okay, some people question the validity of his research.  I’m going with it because how can eating carrots make you unhappy?  And besides, there is Bugs as proof.

Carrots are all that Bugs Bunny ever eats.  He is adored by millions and over several generations.  And even when facing the barrel of Elmer Fudd’s gun, he is calm and happy.  No matter what Elmer (“that pesky wabbit”) does to Bugs, Bugs takes it in good humor.

So, there you have it carrots equal attractiveness and happiness as proved by Bugs Bunny.

You know what else makes you attractive and happy? 

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