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These Recipes Prove that Berries and Herbs Go Together Like Milk and Cookies

Call us crazy, but we love the berries-and-herb combination even better than milk and cookies. It's sweet. It's a bit savory. It's unexpectedly good. And it's the best way to make the most out of summer's bounty! With berries and fresh herbs in season, these recipes will have you impressing your guests and their tastebuds.

Lemon Basil Sherbet

(via Food52)

Sherbet is a grossly underrated in our humble opinion. And this combination of lemon and basil is absolutely perfect for warm summer evenings, relaxing in your backyard, the perfect end to a delicious dinner. It is an especially great solution for the unavoidable excess of basil plants you end up with every single summer.

Check out the recipe over at Food52.

Grilled Halloumi with Strawberries and Herbs

(via Epicurious

It's true. We love halloumi. What's not to love about grilled cheese? This recipe calls for that, along with some strawberries and herbs to lighten up what may otherwise be a bit of a heavier meal for some.

Find the recipe on Epicurious.

Watermelon, Tomato, and Four-Herb Salad

(via Food52)

Is there anything more refreshing than watermelon in the summer heat? What about some fresh tomatoes? And what about all of those things, but also with mint, tarragon, and basil? This watermelon, tomato, and four-herb salad is an excellent option for those potlucks that you never know what to bring.

See the recipe at Food52.

Fruit Salad with Thai Herbs

(via 101 Cookbooks)
We know that we've already featured one salad, but summer is all about salads. There's nothing quite like a refreshing one during this season, is there? This summer fruit salad with Thai herbs will transport you to the Southeast Asian nation, featuring a medley of lemongrass and mint, as well as hints of toasted coconut.

The recipe can be found over at 101 Cookbooks.

Berries with Lemon Mint Syrup

(via Food & Wine)

Sometimes it's okay to feel like you can't be bothered. Summertime is the best for that. For a muss-free, fuss-free dessert, here are some berries with lemon mint syrup. Delicious. Simple. Perfect.

Find the recipe on Food & Wine.

While herbs such as basil is a perfect summer plant, they often fail to make it past the autumn months. With an Urban Cultivator, you can grow basil year-round, which means you can enjoy these recipes anytime and be transported to summertime.

Featuring a wide variety of herbs and microgreens for you to grow, Urban Cultivator appliances are perfect for your culinary adventures.

What's your favorite berry and herb recipe? Let us know in the comments section!

Here's Why You Should Keep Hydrated (and What to Eat to Make Sure You're Hydrated)

"Eight glasses a day," the illusive "they" say. Hydration is important. This is something that's most likely been hammered into your head since grade school. But why is it exactly so important? According to the USGS, up to 60% of the adult body is comprised of water. So, the logic follows: if 60% is not fully there because you're dehydrated, it makes sense that you wouldn't be the best version of your bright, shining self.

Here are some reasons as to why you should keep hydrated every season, but especially throughout the summer.

1. It can help to increase mental alertness

One of the biggest side effects of dehydration is sluggishness. Proper hydration can help with your energy levels and your mental alertness, as studies have shown that staying hydrated before, during, and after a workout can help reduce fatigue and improve endurance. So keep that water bottle filled for your next workout—you're going to need it!

2. It can help lower the risk of heart diseases

The risk for heart attack increases when your arteries are blocked with cholesterol and plaque, and even though one may try his or her best to avoid such foods, you may still fall risk to narrowed arteries. Proper hydration can prevent strain on your heart, helping to increase the amount of blood circulating through your body. When you're dehydrated, your heart rate can increase and you can feel palpitations as a result.

3. It can help clean your body from the inside

Yes, your kidneys do help naturally remove waste from your body, but your kidneys can't work alone. They need water in order to function properly, which is why you need to stay hydrated to help them do their best work. When your body is properly hydrated, you can help your body eliminate waste more efficiently.

4. It can help promote weight loss

If weight loss is your goal, you know about the importance of hydration. It's the best kept non-secret of those in the fitness world. Not only can it help with your workouts, but staying hydrated can also help suppress hunger. According to some studies, thirst is actually often mistaken as hunger, too. So before you dig in, maybe drink some water and see if that helps.

5. It can help improve your complexion.

Celebrities always talk about this one, and while this type of endorsement may not have you reaching for your water bottle, proper hydration actually can help improve your complexion. When you are dehydrated, your skin can appear dry, flaky, and tight, and wrinkles can seem more pronounced. Though hydration won't prevent wrinkles or get rid of them, it can help your skin appear more elastic and supple.

6. It can help improve your mood

One can't possibly be in a chipper mood when dehydration is taking over. Known to cause headaches, it's one of the biggest reasons behind cranky behavior. Studies have shown that even mild dehydration can affect one's mood. Feeling down? Chug a glass of water and see if that helps.

Sometimes remember drinking water can be hard—we get it! But it can really affect your day-to-day functioning. You may not be very hydrated if:

  • You're not urinating very much
  • Your urine is very yellow
  • You have dry mouth
  • You're dizzy, lightheaded, or you have a headache
  • You are extremely fatigued

If you have trouble remembering to drink water, there are lots of foods that can help you stay hydrated, too. We touch on that here, and our favorites are of course lettuce and peas, because we can grow microgreen versions of those in the Urban Cultivator! When you grow in an Urban Cultivator, it's even easier to incorporate those hydrating foods into your diet. From pea to lettuce, you can grow an enormous variety of microgreens and herbs that will keep you and your body happy, healthy, and hydrated.

Our challenge to you is to stay as hydrated as possible. Get out there and enjoy the sun—but be sure to take care of your body, too! Consider this your reminder to finish that glass of water.

What's your favorite way to hydrate? Let us know in the comments section!

How to Embrace Cauliflower-Mania

Cauliflower is, of course, not new, but there seems to be a refreshed interest in this cousin of broccoli. From cauliflower rice to pizza crusts, this dynamic vegetable is inserting itself into every meal.

The proof? There's been a steep increase in the popularity of packaged cauliflower products, according to Nielsen. And it's no surprise—in addition to being delicious and versatile, cauliflower is also incredibly good for you.
Continue reading “How to Embrace Cauliflower-Mania” »

What's in Season Right Now? (Spring 2019)

Seasonality of what you consume is more important than ever. Not only are restaurants adopting the practice of creating dishes that use ingredients that are in season, but many grocery stores are also beginning to do the same.

One of the most important things you can do is to arm yourself with the knowledge of what's in season during certain months so you can make the most out of the produce.

In-season produce not only tastes better, but you're also supporting the local farmers and eliminating your carbon footprint by minimizing orders for items that aren't available in your area, but are grown across the world and have to be shipped.

Here's what's in season during Spring 2019. Continue reading “What's in Season Right Now? (Spring 2019)” »

Healthy Meals to Make For Valentine's Day

Rose pedals

Valentine's Day is right around the corner, and if we're all being honest to ourselves, sometimes, Valentine's Day plans get put on the back-burner.

If you're a bit behind with the planning, don't worry, as we've got some healthy alternatives to the nightmare that is going out for dinner on Valentine's Day.

Featuring fresh herbs and vegetables, these dishes will leave you and your date feeling good. Here are some healthy meals to make for this Valentine's Day. Continue reading “Healthy Meals to Make For Valentine's Day” »

Alternative Milks That Don't Require Milking a Cow

Dairy milk, though still a staple in many families, is slowly being edged out for alternative milks like soy and almond. Whether this decision is due to health or animal welfare, we're seeing in a soaring popularity of alternative milks, with oat being in with the latest trend.

Of course, each alternative milk provides its own benefits as well as properties that some drinkers should be aware. Below, we explore a few of the most popular varieties. See which one fits your lifestyle the most!
Continue reading “Alternative Milks That Don't Require Milking a Cow” »

8 Ways to Help You Eat Better in 2019

The new year is all about starting a new, which means there's no better time than now to create some resolutions to help you live a better 2019.

We understand that resolutions can be hard to keep. Without the proper steps to achieve your goal, it can all come crumbling down in one fell swoop. One particularly difficult resolution to follow through with is eating better.

In school, we learned that it was best to KISS your goals, or to "Keep It Simple, Silly." So, we've set out some simple guidelines that can hopefully help you eat better in 2019. The goal isn't to deprive your body of good food; it's to change your relationship with food into a more sustainable, healthier one.

Here are eight ways to help you eat better, without sacrificing all the good flavours that fresh food has to offer. Continue reading “8 Ways to Help You Eat Better in 2019” »

What's in Season Right Now? (Winter 2018)

Seasonality of what you eat is more important than ever. Not only are restaurants embracing the practice of creating dishes that use ingredients that are in season, but many grocery stores are now doing the same.

One of the most important things you can do is to arm yourself with the knowledge of what's in season during certain months so you can make the most out of the produce.

In-season produce not only tastes better, but you're also supporting the local farmers and eliminating your carbon footprint by minimizing orders for items that aren't available in your area, but are grown across the world and have to be shipped.

Here's what's in season during Winter 2018. Continue reading “What's in Season Right Now? (Winter 2018)” »

The Perfect Indoor Plants For Your Home

Indoor plants are all the rage, but it can be hard to get started on finding the perfect one for your space. We at Urban Cultivator are big fans of growing plants in the comfort at your own home, which is why we've gathered some info on our favorite indoor plants to help you turn your home into a beautiful greenhouse.

Here are some perfect indoor plants for your home.

Snake Plant
The snake plant is also hilariously known as mother-in-law's tongue because of its sharp leaves, and it's a great, low-maintenance plant for gardening beginners. Thought it's able to handle low light, these plants really thrive in spaces with lots of light. Be careful not to overwater, though, as they're prone to root rot.

Preferred light: Bright spaces, but will be fine in low light as well

Pothos
Pothos come in a number of leaf patterns and colors, making them a fun variety to have in your home. They are easy to care for, and manage in low light.

Preferred light: Medium light

Spider Plant
The spider plant has become one of the most popular houseplants, since they're easy to grow and suffer from very few problems. Spider plants are named as such because new growths dangle from the mother plant, much like spiders from their web.

Preferred light: Medium light, though are capable of surviving in low light conditions, including artificial light

Philodendron
Philodendrons are hard to kill! They are very common and can be found at your local gardening center, and come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes.

Preferred light: Best in medium or bright light, but can tolerate low light

Peace Lily
Peace lilies are some of the easiest plants to care for and blossom beautifully. The more light you provide for your peace lily, the more flowers will grow. Less light will result in plant more akin to a traditional foliage plant.

Preferred light: Medium to low light

Succulents
Succulents are adorable and near impossible to kill. Be sure not to overwater them, though, because they don't need a whole lot to survive!

Preferred light: Bright light

Rubber Plant
Rubber plants are show-stopping plants, and will grow to quite a large size while developing hardier leaves with age. Be sure to avoid direct sunlight, and let the soil dry out before you water your rubber plant.

Preferred light: Medium to bright indirect light

Dracaena
Dracaena plants are popular due to the fact that they look highly exotic. Like the rubber plant, be sure to allow the soil to dry between waterings, and make sure your pets don't get a bite of them as they can be very poisonous.

Preferred light: Medium to bright light

Yucca
Yucca plants do great in a partially shaded area of bright and indirect light, which will yield vibrant leaf colors. They're also great for those who forget to water their plants, as they have low water requirements.

Preferred light: Indirect bright light

You know what's even better than indoor plants? Growing plants that you can eat! With an Urban Cultivator, you can grow a wide variety of microgreens and herbs, indoor and all year-round. Learn more about the Urban Cultivator Residential here.

What's your favorite indoor plant? Let us know in the comments section!

Perfectly Spooky Recipes to Share on Halloween

Halloween is almost here, and everyone is busy putting together last minute Halloween costumes. Instead of simply serving buckets of candy this year at your Halloween gathering, why not make some deliciously ghoulish dishes instead?

Here are some spooky but fresh recipes perfect for Halloween, featuring herbs, microgreens, and vegetables. Continue reading “Perfectly Spooky Recipes to Share on Halloween” »

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