Veggie-Stuffed Butternut Squash

I came home after a long day at work and wanted to use up the vegetables I had on hand. I often hear reports on how much food is wasted in our society and recognize how my small family of four contribute to this problem. With that in mind I set to work on my veggie drawer. I pulled out green beans, onions, garlic, celery, zucchini and yams and started chopping. Mom instilled in me and my siblings the importance of being able to open up the fridge and create a meal. Still grateful to mom for that culinary gem.

Serves: 4

Preheat Oven to 350 deg. F

1 butternut squash, cut in half and cleaned

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, diced

2 small zucchini, chopped

2 handfuls green beans, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 unpeeled yam, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

1 tsp Italian herb blend

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds and fresh shaved parmesan or feta crumbles.

Sauté the onion in olive oil over medium high heat until till almost translucent. Add the garlic, herbs, salt and pepper and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the rest of the veggies and sauté for an additional 5 minutes. Scoop the sautéed vegetables into the butternut squash and bake at 350 deg. F for 45 minutes or until thickest part of squash is tender.

Serve and Enjoy!




you are beautiful

We are perfect. We are whole. We are beautiful.

I am saddened by how many patients walk into my clinic with extreme emotional pain. I often can see the direct link from their spiritual and emotional pain to their physical state of health. As if seeing a strand of ribbon that begins from one point or origin and ends at their current state of mental/emotional and physical health.

When I meet people for the first time from the objective vantage point of a physician, in the spiritual space of healing, I can feel and see their deep pain. I can also see their deep perfection, deep wholeness and deep beauty that is dampened into embers. I use the analogy of wanting to fan the embers of their health into a great flame. I have patients discover again what they love either at work, through volunteering or at play. This combined with nourishing whole food, movement, quite time in prayer/meditation and working on healthy communication in relationships can support healing on all levels.

When we hold and stuff our pain and do not share with others our common human experience, we lose the opportunity of being authentic with others. We lose the opportunity to live vulnerably. When we mask and armor up to not reveal our pain, we drive the pain deeper and can feel ashamed or judgmental of our experience and feeling like we are the only ones who struggle. What if you were able to find your tribe that is uniquely created by you with people who align with your values to share our human experience? It may just allow for community building. It reminds me of a quote that I find to be good emotional medicine. “I am struck by how sharing our weakness and difficulties is more nourishing to others than sharing our qualities and successes.”

― Jean Vanier

Additionally, I recently listened to an interview of Seth Godin, an early internet entrepreneur and now thought leader. He was discussing with the interviewer, Krista Tippett, about marketing in our post-industrial “connection economy”. She paraphrases Seth during the interview in saying, “We choose who and what we belong to. It’s not just about survival. It’s about connection and flourishing.”.  What if our medicine is connection with our community? What are ways we can reach out in our unique and individual way to connect with others to heal ourselves? What if we discover our perfection, our wholeness and our beauty through being community for others?

Anna Colombini ND


“We are perfect. We are whole. We are beautiful.” Jill Bolte Taylor 


Connect to nature, find grounding

I love picking flowers. My earliest memories are of being on the small farm I grew up on near Mount Rainier and picking bouquets of wild buttercup, daisies, and mint. There is nothing more grounding for my busy self like being in nature and picking flowers.  To this day, every lunch hour during my work week, I go for a run down a rural road in Gig Harbor and pick the wild mint and flowers that line the roadway.  I bring them back to my clinic and fill the reception area with nature’s treasures.  Every time I go to fill up my tea in between patients I see the wild flowers and it regrounds me in the middle of whatever I am doing. I try to practice this mindfulness in all that I do every day.  I am not perfect at this, nor do I try to be; I know that life requires patience and flexibility in order for me to be truly happy.  Because I have small windows of time to breathe as I transition from home life to work life and then back home again, I honor these tiny moments of mindfulness that connect and make up my life.

Find what connects you to nature and helps to ground you and repeat.  It can be making the perfect cup of herbal tea, spending time with your children when they ask you to play with them and really be present, taking a few deep breaths outside, going for a run or walk, visiting someone who may be suffering or lonely.  Whatever it is that enriches you and allows you to connect and ground in this life, then practice, practice, practice.

Yours in health and happiness,
Anna Colombini
Peninsula Natural Health Center
President, Medical Director