6 Fresh Ways to Get Fresh Air

Fresh air. We all know what it is, yet we don’t get nearly enough of it. Nowadays, it seems like it’s difficult to squeeze in time for a cup of coffee, let alone get some nature time. I’m here to tell you that getting fresh air during the day doesn’t have to be very hard.

Sitting inside all day often makes us more tired and bored, and Americans spend 90% of their lives inside. Getting some time in the great outdoors, even for a little, can do wonders for your mental and physical health. Air is all around us, but in enclosed rooms, we tend to feel more drowsy and unmotivated. The good stuff can be found outside, and imagine how much better we’d feel if we snuck in some of that good stuff. Read on for some easy ways to do so.

1. Let the birds join your meeting

Not by bringing them inside, but have a meeting for work or school outside. Switching up a meeting to a beautiful spot in the park could even make for a more productive and happy group.

2. Going for a walk is simple, but is aimless walking not your thing?

Walk and explore the hidden gems in your community.  There may be parks or other spots around your local area that you haven’t noticed. Take up the opportunity to walk outside with your kids, friends, or alone and you could even discover a new hidden gem of your own. To make it a challenge, go on a photography hunt to find the most picturesque outdoor spots in your town.

3. Ditch the Gym

No, you should still workout. This is still a blog about living a healthy lifestyle after all. But to make your workout even more refreshing, move it outside. There are several apps you can use for an at home (aka outdoor) workout where the only equipment you’ll need is your body. And your lungs will thank you.

4. If you think retail therapy is better than outdoor therapy, combine the two

Instead of spending hours inside a huge mall, opt for a strip mall or outdoor outlet center. The outdoor walk between stores may not seem like much, but it is definitely better than being indoors all day.

5. “PLAY BALL” and join an outdoor sports league or group

Organized sports aren’t only for kids; there are adult sports leagues of all breeds, including softball, baseball, basketball, running, even kickball. There are leagues all over upstate, including the Rochester, Buffalo, and Syracuse regions.

6. Take the scenic route where you wouldn’t normally

Meaning, park a little farther away at the grocery store, work, school, or anywhere you have to go to soak up more time outside.

Finally, if all else fails, don’t miss a huge window of opportunity. Let the fresh air in by opening the windows in your office, house, or in the car during your commute.

This Tasty Recipe Won the “Chompionship!”

Congrats to the big winner of our Munch Madness “Chompionship.”

The Winter Squash Bake recipe “squashed” the competition to earn the coveted crown.  The chef behind the winning dish was Lauren “All Day” Daley, a chef with a knack for super simple comfort food.

Lauren “All Day” Daley, the chef behind the winning dish.

The Winning Recipe in Action

Here is my (video) attempt at making the dish. I skipped the red pepper flakes (a no-no with our kiddos) and may have accidentally used regular ground sausage instead of poultry sausage. (Don’t ask – It’s been a long week.) Enjoy!

Check out her recipe: Winter Squash Bake 

Interested in tasting the other recipes in our Final Fork Chompionship? Read: Munch Madness.

Or, click on the following recipes:

Southwestern Two-Bean Chicken Soup

Freezer Meal Chicken Parmesan

Honey Sriracha Wings




Hidden Gems: LaMora Farms Garden Gazebo

Have you ever stopped at a fresh produce stand and found the perfect healthy recipe to feed your very picky kid(s)?  While by chance I did!   Just 25 minutes east of Rochester, off Route 104, the LaMora Farms Garden Gazebo is an enchanting hut that offers a wide variety of locally grown fruits and vegetables at very affordable prices.

Ava LaMora’s Tasty Zucchini Pizza Bites

My sons and I discovered the gazebo last year when we were in need of corn.  We stopped by the stand and were greeted by the friendly farm staff and quickly discovered what many locals already knew: This is a great place to get local fresh fruits and hardy vegetables.

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The produce is grown at LaMora Farms, a 90-acre farm in Ontario, Wayne County.  The Gazebo also offers recipes.

My oldest son, 7, found a recipe card for Ava LaMora’s Tasty Zucchini Pizza Bites (see recipe below) and insisted that we buy the biggest zucchini I had ever seen.  (Did I mention the prices are extremely affordable?  My local grocery store offers zucchini at half the size for double the price!)

Not only did we easily make the zucchini pizza that night, but my son has continued to request the meal on a weekly basis.   (Eating every last slice!)  Check out their website for weekly recipes using your favorite fruits and vegetables: http://www.lamorafarms.com/recipes.html .

The perfect family apple

Zucchini is one of our family favorites.  We discovered another favorite last year when we tasted the farm-grown Honeycrisp apples. This is the only type of apple that met both the sweet and tart tastes of my entire family.

In full disclosure, my youngest son and his kindergarten class also enjoyed sampling them, as the LaMora’s kindly shared some of their harvest as an opportunity for the children to learn about healthy eating.

Check out the LaMora’s decadent apple dessert recipes at: http://www.lamorafarms.com/recipes.html

A family in the community

The owners, Lindsay and Earl LaMora, focus on sharing easy and healthy farm fresh food.  Lindsay is always looking for healthy ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables into snacks and meals.    Daughter Ava, 10, the namesake of the beloved zucchini recipe, and her son Chase, 5, also help mom and dad on the farm.

This year, the first-generation farmers opened the doors to their farm for U-Pick opportunities, starting with strawberries, apples and pumpkins.  (Check out their website, www.LaMoraFarms.com, for the schedule.)    They are also sharing their life as farmers in their blog, Out on a Limb (http://blog.lamorafarms.com/growwithus/).  And that beloved gazebo?  This year there will be two gazebos to accommodate more fruits and vegetables.

In addition to selling produce at the garden gazebos, the farm can also be found at the CNY Regional Market (Row D) on Saturdays and the Ginegaw Farmers Market on Tuesdays.  In addition, they sell to The Good Food Collective, Upstate Collective and several other food collectives and retail/wholesale outlets.

Best time to visit

While the late spring and summer are great times to visit the garden gazebo, my favorite time to visit is the fall.  The gazebo is always lovingly decorated. But the fall is when the true pumpkin lover, Lindsay, shows off her craft skills. She hand decorates many pumpkins that are available for purchase.


The Details

LaMora Farms Garden Gazebo

Website: http://www.lamorafarms.com

Healthy Quinoa Summer Salad

There are a lot of great things about the return of warm weather: more sunshine, more time outside, and of course, more fresh veggies. This quinoa salad makes the perfect addition to any backyard barbeque or porch picnic. Filled with a bright colorful mix of spring and summer veggies, you’ll enjoy how easy this healthy dish comes together. —Erika Gruszewski

Print Recipe
Quinoa Summer Salad
Veggie Mix
Veggie Mix
  1. Add the quinoa/rice mix, water and salt to a medium sauce pan. Heat to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover for about 20 minutes.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, cut up all of the veggies and place in a large mixing bowl
  3. In a smaller bowl or dressing container, mix in all of the dressing ingredients.
  4. When it has finished cooking, add the quinoa to the large mixing bowl and top with the dressing and feta cheese. Toss everything together.
  5. Serve and enjoy! Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to a week.
Recipe Notes
  • Beans of Choice: You can’t go wrong here, so try your favorite bean. I like using chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans or black beans.
  • Quinoa: Don’t like quinoa? Swap in another grain like brown rice or couscous.
  • Vinegar: Don’t have rice vinegar or red wine vinegar on hand? Try apple cider vinegar, white vinegar or even balsamic vinegar.