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Learn about heart-, brain-healthy cooking at Carmichael event

Workshop focuses on how plant-based diet can promote better health

Amy Myrdal Miller is the co-author of “Cooking a la Heart.”

Amy Myrdal Miller is the co-author of “Cooking a la Heart.” Photos courtesy Amy Myrdal Miller

What you eat has a direct impact on your heart. (It’s important for your brain, too.)

Gardeners know eating a wide range of vegetables and fruits goes a long way in promoting better health. But so does your choice of fats, proteins and carbs – especially when it comes to keeping your heart and brain fit and functioning.

Learn ways to keep your heart and brain happy while pleasing your stomach and taste buds, too, at a special presentation and book signing, “Cooking a la Heart: Discover Easy, Delicious Recipes for Promoting Health.”

Set for 1 p.m. Sunday, March 19, at Carmichael’s Milagro Centre, this in-person workshop features Amy Myrdal Miller, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and food consultant. She’ll offer advice and answer questions about making healthier food choices part of your daily diet.

With Linda Hachfield, Miller is co-author of the newly released fourth edition of “Cooking a la Heart” (The Experiment, Hachette Books, 384 pages). For this revamped edition, Miller and Hachfield focused on foods that promote heart health, support brain health and reduce inflammation while also being downright delicious and easy to prepare.

Their approach uses the latest nutritional research on heart-healthy diets from around the globe. The new book’s 500-plus recipes put an emphasis on plant-based ingredients, healthy fats and thoughtful use of dairy, poultry and lean red meat.

A publicity shot of a cookbook“The Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating patterns are scientifically proven to be the healthiest for our hearts, and they even have added brain health benefits,” they explain. “Combined, they make the MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet, which further reduces the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Cooking à la Heart incorporates all three into one nourishing, wholesome, environmentally friendly cookbook.”

At the March 19 workshop, Miller will be sharing tips for home cooks about how to prepare heart-healthy dishes that are as delicious as they are good for you. During the presentation, guests will sample appetizers and small bites from the cookbook’s recipes as well as have a chance to get a copy of Miller’s book (at $25, a $10 discount).

Tickets are $25 and available via eventbrite at Presented by the Sacramento chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International, the event supports the chapter’s scholarship fund. All proceeds will go towards helping women pursuing careers in farming, food and beverages.

“Cooking a la Heart” will be held at Event Center by Bella Bru at Milagro Centre, 6241 Fair Oaks Blvd., Suite D, Carmichael.

For more details:


Updates on weekend events, for anyone who missed the info earlier:

--The UC Davis Arboretum Plant Sale set for Saturday has been canceled outright.

-- The Sacramento County master gardeners' March 11 Open Garden Day has been canceled officially because of safety concerns related to our current storms. But depending on weather Saturday morning, the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center may be open informally during the planned hours of 9 a.m. and noon.

Read more about these cancellations here.

-- The Shepard Spring Sale, at last hearing, is still planned for Saturday and Sunday at the Shepard Center for Garden and Arts in McKinley Park.


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Garden Checklist for week of June 23

Get to work in the mornings while it’s still cool.

* Irrigate early in the day; your plants will appreciate it.

* Generally, tomatoes need deep watering two to three times a week, but don't let them dry out completely. That can encourage blossom-end rot.

* Let the grass grow longer. Set the mower blades high to reduce stress on your lawn during summer heat. To cut down on evaporation, water your lawn deeply during the early hours of the morning, between 2 and 8 a.m.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.

* Avoid pot “hot feet.” Place a 1-inch-thick board under container plants sitting on pavement. This little cushion helps insulate them from radiated heat.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.

* Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants. Mulch to conserve moisture and reduce heat stress.

* Cut back Shasta daisies after flowering to encourage a second bloom in the fall.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, melons, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes. 

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* It’s also a good time to transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

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