An honored elder

The Puyallup Tribe of Indians’ House of Respect in Tacoma was decorated like Bourbon Street for a Mardi Gras-themed Elders Luncheon. Lorelei Evans, the Honored Elder (middle of picture), received a tribal blanket and cedar hat. Others in attendance at the February event won cash prizes in a raffle.

Mediterranean recipes that boost brain and mood

Research shows that eating a Mediterranean diet is one of the most effective ways to protect and enhance brain health, halt inflammation, improve symptoms of depression, and help reduce daily stress.

Building off their best-selling cookbooks “The 30-Minute Mediterranean Diet Cookbook” and “The Sustainable Mediterranean Diet Cookbook”), registered dietitians Serena Ball and Deanna Segrave-Daly offer new recipes layered with Mediterranean flavors and a focus on the most potent brain-boosting ingredients for all meals and gatherings. Here’s one of them.

Fettuccine with Prosciutto, Prunes, and Black Pepper

  • Serves 4. Prep time: 15 minutes. Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Intrigued by a pasta recipe calling for dates, Deanna swapped in the prunes she had in her pantry and—long story short—she created one of her very favorite dishes, ever. While pairing dried fruit with pasta might not seem typical, Mediterranean cuisines regularly match grains with the intense natural sweetness of dried fruit to balance out other flavors—here, salty prosciutto, savory Parmesan, and spicy black pepper. Dried fruit-like prunes can enhance a dish’s appearance and serve as a concentrated source of vitamins and minerals that help maintain brain health and mental activity.
  • Recipe:

1½ teaspoons kosher or sea salt

½ (1-pound) package fettuccine

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ red onion, thinly sliced in half rings

2 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced

8 pitted prunes, chopped

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving (optional)

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Fill a large stockpot with water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the salt and then stir in the pasta. Cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente (a slight bite to the noodle) according to the package instructions.

While the pasta cooks, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened–5 minutes.

Add the prosciutto and cook, stirring frequently, until crispy–3 minutes.

Add the prunes and black pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant–2 minutes.

Add ⅓ cup reserved pasta water and stir until everything is mixed well. Using tongs, transfer the cooked fettuccine to the skillet and toss to coat. Stir frequently until the liquid is almost all absorbed, about 1 minute, and then add an additional ⅓ cup reserved pasta water. Continue to stir frequently until almost all the liquid is absorbed, about another minute. Add ¼ cup cheese and mix well. Mix in 2 to 3 additional tablespoons reserved pasta water to help incorporate the cheese and toss well. Remove from the heat.

Mix in the remaining ¼ cup cheese; toss well until the pasta is coated and almost all the liquid is absorbed. Top the pasta with more black pepper, if desired. Serve immediately. 

  • Healthy kitchen hack: Experiment with other chopped dried fruit in this recipe. Pitted dates, dried figs, or golden raisins are all fabulous flavor swaps for the prunes. And if you have different types of peppercorns, like red, pink, green, or white, try those, too.
  • Per serving: Calories: 409. Total Fat: 12g. Saturated fat: 4 g. Cholesterol: 10 mg. Sodium: 569 mg. Total carbohydrates: 61 g. Fiber: 2 g. Protein: 16 g.


In their newest book, “The Smart Mediterranean Diet Cookbook,” scheduled for release in May 2024, dietitians Serena Ball and Deanna Segrave-Daly share more than 100 recipes formulated with brain and mood in mind.They include Mediterranean Sun Gold Granola, Berry Smart Seeded Dressing Over Greens, Green Falafel Fritters with Red Pepper Sauce, Sizzling Shrimp and Peppers with Cilantro, Chicken Kebabs with Grapes and Olives, and Moroccan Spiced Hot Chocolate. Segrave-Daly, who lives in Philadelphia, and Ball, of St. Louis, each have 25-plus years of experience as nutrition experts. More information and their books are available at 

Not all protein is created equal

The American Heart Association recommends eating healthy sources of protein (mostly from plant sources); regularly eating fish and seafood; substituting non-fat and low-fat dairy products in place of full-fat versions; and for people who eat meat or poultry, going for the lean and unprocessed varieties. The reasons are plenty.

Fish and shellfish are good sources of protein. Examples include anchovies, herring, mackerel, black cod, salmon, sardines, bluefin tuna, whitefish, striped bass, and cobia. As part of a heart-healthy diet, omega-3 fatty acids in fish can help reduce the risk of heart failure, coronary heart disease, cardiac arrest and the most common type of stroke (ischemic).

Food from plants that contain plenty of protein include beans, peas, lentils and nuts. There are many types of beans – pinto, kidney, garbanzo, soybeans – and they’re all good for you. Put lentils, split peas and black-eyed peas on the list, too. Plant sources of protein don’t have saturated fats and provide dietary fiber and other nutrients. Nuts, peanuts, and soybeans also contain healthy unsaturated fats.

Now for you meat-eaters. In general, red meat (such as beef, pork and lamb) has more saturated fat than skinless chicken, fish, and plant proteins. Saturated fats can raise blood cholesterol and increase risk of heart disease. So choose lean meat, skinless poultry, and unprocessed forms. And eat healthy portions,

such as three ounces. The size of a three-ounce portion is the size of a deck of cards for red meat, a small chicken drumstick or thigh, three-quarters of a cup of flaked fish, and two thin slices of lean roast beef.

You can get all the nutrients you need without eating meat. A one-cup serving of cooked beans, peas, lentils or tofu can replace a two-ounce serving of meat, poultry or fish. Two ounces of peanut butter equals an ounce of meat.

On that note, here are some suggestions for mixing non-meat protein and other healthy eating into the three main daily meals:


• Add beans to breakfast tacos, scrambled eggs, or a vegetable omelet.

• Replace bacon and sausage with low-sodium, nitrate-free turkey or veggie bacon..

• Stir nuts or yogurt into cooked cereal.

• Use non-fat or low-fat milk or yogurt.    


• Slice leftover chicken or turkey for sandwiches.

• Have a bowl of bean or lentil soup with added veggies.

• Eat a tuna sandwich on whole-grain bread (swap out some of the mayo with ripe avocado).

• Make a chicken salad with leftover baked or roasted chicken.


• Grill, bake, or microwave chicken breasts. Remove skin before cooking.

• Bake fish fillets sprinkled with lemon and salt-free seasonings. Or bake or grill a whole fish in foil with lemon and onion slices..

• Top a salad with beans, nuts, fish, or skinless chicken.

• Add beans to a soup or casserole.

• Make burger patties from black or garbanzo beans.

And when preparing meals, there are ways to come out with the healthiest results. For instance, flavor any type of protein with salt-free spices and herbs, garlic, and onion. Trim fat from meat and remove skin from poultry before cooking, and pour off any melted fat. If roasting a whole chicken or turkey, remove the skin before carving and serving.

One more tip: Chill meat juices after cooking so you can easily skim off the hardened fat. Then you can add the juices to stews, soups and gravy.

Sources: American Heart Association and U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

69 years of government service come to an end

Two longtime leaders of King County government made 2024 their swan songs.

The end of the year saw Christie True retire as director of the Department of Natural Resources and Parks, an agency she worked in for 39 years. And Jeanne Kohl-Welles stepped down from the County Council, ending 30 years in public office.

True started her career at King County in 1984 as a water-quality technician, advancing to become director of the Wastewater Treatment Division, the largest of the department’s four divisions. County Executive Dow Constantine appointed her as the department’s director in 2010.

During her time at the helm, tje county parks system expanded to include 200 parks, 175 miles of regional trails, and 30,000 acres of open space. And the natural resources division developed the region’s first-ever strategies for dealing with extreme heat and reducing the risk of wildfires.

True “has consistently reinforced King County’s reputation as a leading and trusted environmental steward,” Constantine said. “Her integrity and leadership have helped King County make good on our steadfast commitment to protect and restore this place we love.”

True expressed gratitude for what she called “an extraordinary privilege to spend an entire career advancing a mission you believe in and working alongside people you trust.”

Kohl-Welles chose not seek re-election in last November’s election to the council. Her district, which she represented since 2016, covers parts of Seattle.

Before her council time, she served in the Legislature from 1992 to 2015, first as a representative and later as a senator for the 36th Legislative District.