Updated 12/21/16, 2:59 p.m.: This article was updated to clarify that Shara Bunis is the author of the Festive Green Beans recipe.
When Holistic Health Coach Shara Bunis was 11 years old, her mother planted a lush fruit and vegetable garden – and Bunis has been in love with food and healthy eating ever since. By the time she started sixth grade, she would arrive home from school to find a note taped to the wall with instructions on how to start preparing dinner, which included vegetables from their fall harvest. As she moved past the simpler preparations, she soon began cooking whole meals from scratch.
“The constant exposure to activities involving meal preparation allowed me to develop a comfort in the kitchen. Pretty soon I was cooking meals from start to finish.” says Bunis. “Ultimately, cooking became a safe place for my creative exploration, and I continued to cook the family dinners until I left for college.”
Cooking for the family using fresh produce and herbs was also her introduction to growing her own food and to what is now referred to as local produce.
“To this day, I still seek out farmers and their wares, overwhelmingly preferring them to grocery store ingredients. I’d love to say I was the wonderful vegetable gardener my mother was but I am still better at the preparing, rather than the growing, of food,” she says.
Yet it wasn’t until after the birth of her first child that Bunis discovered first-hand how what one eats can make a big difference in how they feel. She developed some chronic illnesses, including Lyme disease, that caused her to take a long hard look at how she was living her life.
“That time began a painful and frustrating journey of sickness and dis-ease that changed me forever. I had no idea that doctors would not know how to fully cure me and I would have to find my own path to healing,” says Bunis.
She decided to go back to school and became a holistic health coach, opening the Center for Holistic Wellness in Ashland, VA, then moved to PA where she spread the word through public speaking engagements and cooking healthful meals for others. A year ago, she bought a house in Gulfport, and now prepares bulk meals for clients with the goal of helping them improve their health and teaching them how to maintain a healthy lifestyle with the right foods and spices.
“My passion is food,” Bunis says, “and I want to help people learn to stay healthy while eating food they love.”
Festive Green Beans
Recipe by Shara Bunis of Healthy Chef For You (healthychef4you.com)
This a beautiful, nutritious and forgiving recipe. It is delicious eaten immediately or can be prepared and refrigerated for up to three days before heating and serving.
1 pound green or yellow beans, trimmed and halved (can use frozen in a pinch)
1 med. yellow onion, chopped or cut into thin slices
1 small red, yellow or orange pepper, chopped or thinly sliced and cut in half
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 Tbsp high heat oil of choice, such as sunflower, avocado or coconut oil
Juice from half a lemon
1/2 to 1 tsp Italian seasoning, to taste
Sea salt to taste
Generous sprinkling of hemp seeds (recommended but optional)
1. Cook green beans by steaming method or immersion in boiling water for 5-7 minutes or until al dente. If using frozen green beans cook to al dente using package instructions. Set cooked green beans aside. (Please note that this step can be done up to two days ahead of time. Refrigerate cooked green beans until using.)
2. Warm oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook a few minutes until translucent. Add peppers, cook a few more minutes. Finally, add the garlic and cook until golden.
3. Add green beans to the skillet. Season with salt, and Italian seasoning, to taste. Stir and cook for a minute or two until flavors meld and beans are cooked through.
4. Drizzle with lemon juice and hemp seeds. Give it a final stir.
5. Serve and enjoy!