I wonder how often barley ends up in meals? I see it on occasion listed as an ingredient in different ready-to-eat cereals and granola bars, usually as barley flour. Besides beef-barley soup, I rarely think about using it to cook with. For me, it is still not a common food choice, but I have a couple recipes I use it in. What do you do?

Nutritionally, 1/4 cup dry pearl barley contains around 180 calories, 1g fat, 40g carbohydrate, 8g fiber, 5g protein, and is a source of vitamins and minerals, including niacin, folate, magnesium, and zinc. Barley contain almost no sodium.

How are your gardens doing? This summer, I have heard a mix of folks who have a great crop of tomatoes, while others are struggling.

Consider trying these stuffed tomatoes this summer for a quick dinner. Since the tomatoes will soften with cooking, try stuffing these tomatoes in advance and only cooking what you want to eat.

With lots of veggies (and a kick of heat), watch how to prepare this recipe in the video.

Tuna-Stuffed Tomato Melt (Serves 4)

The United Nations declared 2016 the International Year of the Pulse. Now the question is, what is a pulse? These are a variety of different leguminous plants, including dry beans, dry peas, and lentils. Black beans are included. (For information on black eyed peas, see the post from January.)

In case you had not heard, avocados are good in other recipes besides guacamole. This chips and salsa accompaniment has taken life with many new recipes and an appreciation for its healthy fats.

Nutritionally, 1 medium avocado contains around 325 calories, 30g fat, 17g carbohydrate, 13g fiber, 2g protein, and is a source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, E, and K, folate, phosphorous, and potassium. Avocados contain almost no sodium.

Welcome to 2016! I wish that this be a great year for you, and that this blog be a guide to encourage you to try new foods.

What food is good to start the year with? I picked black eyed peas, since they are considered a "lucky" food in the new year. (They must be, since black eyed peas are the only dry legume (besides lentils) I have luck cooking successfully.)

Whether they bring you luck this year, black eyed peas are a nutritious and economical choice worth adding to your plate.

Phew, hot summer, yes! Remember to drink water and be hot weather-safe. Berries feel like a light, summery treat, so this month will be about blackberries. Many storage and preparation recommendations are similar to raspberries.

Nutritionally, 1 cup of blackberries contains around 60 calories, 14g carbohydrate, 8g fiber, 2g protein, and is a source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, folate, and potassium. Blackberries contain almost no fat or sodium.

There are so many foods that remind us of summer. What is yours?

While raspberries may not be on your list or high on it, consider them: sweet, tart, juicy, delicate, finger-staining raspberries to enjoy in a bowl on your patio in the summer sunshine.

Nutritionally, 1 cup of raspberries contains around 64 calories, 15g carbohydrate, 8g fiber, and is a source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, folate, and potassium. Raspberries contain almost no fat, protein, or sodium.