CNN Hero: Michelle Javian

Harboring Hearts co-founder Michelle Javian has been selected as one of this year’s CNN Heroes, which highlights everyday people changing the world.

The Gambinis, Gomez’s and Daquain Jenkins — families and individuals involved in Harboring Hearts’ Emergency Support Program — were filmed while undergoing heart treatment at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Harboring Hearts is honored to be featured alongside the brave and inspiring families we have had the pleasure of working with. We are thrilled to announce that the Gambinis and Daquain Jenkins — among other families — will be special guests at Harboring Hearts’ June 23rd Summer Soiree at the Rubin Museum of Art.

We hope to continue the momentum of providing relief, community, and a sense of normalcy for those who find themselves in a sudden medical crisis. Get involved and help us make a bigger impact by purchasing a Summer Soirée ticket or making a donation today.

Learn more about Michelle’s story and Harboring Hearts by reading CNN Heroes’ A lifeline for families hit by heart disease.

For behind the scene pictures, follow @HarboringHearts on instagram and twitter and be sure to like us on facebook!

Aveeno Grant Winners!

This past year, the AVEENO® Brand launched the Be An Active Natural™ Fund to award more than $300,000 in grants to individuals and organizations that create positive change in their communities.

Co-founder, Yuki Kotani, was nominated to receive one of eight Aveeno “Be An Active Natural” $10,000 grants and won on behalf of Harboring Hearts. This is an amazing accomplishment! We are thrilled to be recognized by Aveeno, a community that shares our efforts to celebrate natural and inner beauty as well as promote an active, healthy lifestyle. Harboring Hearts is using the generous Aveeno grant to kick-off our emergency fund, which is helping heart patients and their families meet various forms of transportation and other needs.


Heart Healthy and Delicious Fall Recipe!

“Oil-Optional” Vegetable Chili with Hemp Seeds

by Rebecca Johnson, Certified Plant-Based Nutrition & Wellness Expert, The Plant Rich Life


There’s nothing like a great chili to kick-off the Fall season as the temperatures begin to cool. Although beans grow best in the winter, easily storing them for later in the year is one of their great appeals for meal budgeting and planning. Beans are a filling, comforting option for a heart healthy meal. This recipe includes the nuttiness of hemp seeds, which lower “bad” cholesterol and provide more Omega 6. Hemp seeds can be eaten as a snack, and they make a great topping for salads and stir frys.

1 quart low sodium vegetable broth

½ cup onions, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 tbls tomato paste

1 cup tomato sauce

3 tbls agave nectar

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp smoked paprika powder

1 tbls oregano, fresh and dried

1tbls thyme, fresh or dried

½ tsp Himalayan sea salt

½ tsp cayenne pepper

½ tsp black pepper

1 small celery stalk, chopped fine

7 sun dried tomato halves, chopped fine (optional)

¼ cup bell pepper, red or green

2 cups red beans

½ tsp jalapeno pepper, minced

Additional Vegetable Broth as needed

1 tsp coconut oil (optional) can be added to onion, garlic mixture if no health concerns exist.

Soak beans overnight. Rinse beans and boil in low sodium vegetable broth. Sautee onions and garlic in ½ cup vegetable broth. After five minutes, sprinkle with a dash of salt. Cook for another five minutes. Add tomato paste, tomato sauce, agave and spices, stir well. Add vegetables, then beans and simmer for 45 minutes. Add vegetable broth as needed.

After your meal masterpiece is complete, scoop the warm chili into your favorite bowl served over brown rice, quinoa or millet.  You can also add chopped Swiss Chard or any dark green to balance the look and flavor. (Did you know you can roast the ribs and add them too?)  Yum!

Nutrition Facts

 Beans have B-complex vitamins niacin and folate, magnesium, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids and soluble fiber and help to decrease inflammation.

 Hemp seeds contain all 10 essential amino acids and 3 tablespoons have 11 grams of protein! Plus they have a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 (healthy) fat. In addition, hemp seeds contain GLA (gamma linolenic acid), an especially beneficial type of omega-6 fat that helps lower LDL cholesterol and improve cholesterol ratio.

Ingredients like hemp seeds are becoming much more available in neighborhood markets. Otherwise, they can be found at any health food store and most specialty food markets.

 About Rebecca Johnson

Rebecca started cooking with her chef Dad when she was 6 years old. But it wasn’t until he fell at 63 to a heart attack and she was diagnosed with a pre-cancerous condition that she discovered the connection between nutrition and health. After decades in restaurants, catering and health-related roles, she received a Certification in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell University and became a Certified Health Minister at Hallelujah Acres.

Now, Rebecca teaches nutrition education and culinary classes in NYC public and charter schools through Plant Rich Life and plans healthy cooking classes and cooking demonstrations for Fortune 500 clients and non-profits through the event company, Celebrevents, LLC.

Plant Rich Life provides creative wellness solutions to help people transition from a low-nutrient Sad American Diet (SAD) rich in fat, sugar and animal protein to a nutrient-dense, low fat, plant protein HAPPY diet that restores and maintains health. Find recipes, nutrition information and more on Rebecca’s blog at, on the Web at and on Facebook at The Plant Rich Life.

The Spring Gala’s Online Auction

The Spring Gala’s online auction starts now until June 12th, 2012! We have amazing items to bid on: tickets to fashion shows, private golf courses, sports tickets and custom made clothing.

A Golf Foursome at Trump National Golf Club in Hudson Valley

2 Tickets to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at NYC Center

2 Tickets to the Oscar de la Renta 2013 Spring Fashion Show in NYC

Food Blog: A New Year, A New Start to Your Day!

With the holidays in full swing, everyone has a lot on their plates. But as Christmas quickly turns into the New Year, there might be one more thing we all need to add to our plates: a heart healthy breakfast. It is the time of the year for making resolutions, after all.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about new beginnings. With New Year’s come fresh goals and plans to make 2012 even better than 2011. After Harboring Hearts started this food blog, I’ve had a goal to become more conscious of my eating habits. I know that living a healthy lifestyle can help me do that. This year I’m focusing on eating less refined sugars and more fresh fruits and whole grains for breakfast. Also, when I think of the passing of my own father from a heart-related disease, it inspires me to help even more people through Harboring Hearts Housing. I’m finding motivation for change and improvement all around me—and I’m sure you can think of some in your own life.

And what better way to start off a new year than thinking about the start of each day—with breakfast? When I was growing up, my mom made sure my brother and I ate breakfast every single morning, and I’m glad I obeyed—it really is the most important meal of the day! Breakfast is especially important for children, whose growing bodies and brains rely on the regular intake of food. Children are also proven to perform better in school if they eat something first thing in the morning. For adults, skipping breakfast can actually make weight control more difficult. In fact, studies have shown eating breakfast actually makes it easier to lose weight. So when I started thinking about New Year’s, new beginnings, and what I would write for this food blog, breakfast was the first thing that came to mind.

Even though I love breakfast, I also know that finding that perfect, heart-healthy recipe can sometimes be a challenge, so I turned to my friend Sophia Brittan for help. Sophia is the creator and chef of the charming Victory Garden found in NYC’s West Village, home to goat’s-milk ice cream and other delightful foods such as sandwiches and cakes—most of which are of Sophia’s own creation. In a word (or two), Sophia is a recipe genius. She’s also a healthy breakfast enthusiast herself, and makes sure to serve health-conscious breakfasts at Victory Garden. I asked Sophia to share with me a delicious, heart-healthy recipe for starting off the New Year right and, of course, she did not fail me. In fact, she was generous enough to share not one, but two recipes!

The first recipe is for an Alpine Red Berry breakfast. This recipe calls for strawberries and raspberries, both of which are full of anti-inflammatories that reduce the risk of heart disease. This breakfast also contains pumpkin and poppy seeds, which are great sources of protein, iron, and fiber.

Alpine Red Berry Breakfast

2/3 cup Swiss- style yogurt (Emmi brand is perfect)

3 T creme fraiche

1 T sugar (or, if you want to avoid sugar, try 1 T of coconut sugar which has a low glycemic index!)

1 cup strawberries and raspberries

1 T rolled oats (you can also use spelt flakes)

1 T pumpkin seeds

1  tsp. poppy seeds

  1. Rinse the berries and dry them well.
  2. Slice the stems off the tops of the strawberries and cut them into quarters.
  3. Place the raspberries in a bowl and use a fork to mush them up a little bit, so that they are bruised slightly, and their juices are released.
  4. Mix in the strawberries and sugar. Let them macerate for an hour if you have time.
  5. Combine the creme fraiche and the yogurt in a bowl.
  6. In the serving dish, place the berries with a little bit of juice on the bottom, covered with a nice even layer of the yogurt cream.
  7. Toast the rolled oats and pumpkin seeds lightly, and let them cool off.
  8. Decorate the top of the desserts with the oats, pumpkin seeds, and poppy seeds for a delightful texture.

Serves two.

The next recipe is for Sophia’s Chocolate Quinoa. This quinoa contains dark chocolate, which is high in anti-oxidants. Also, quinoa has more calcium than milk and is a good source of iron, zinc, phosphorous, B vitamins, and Vitamin E.

Sophia’s Chocolate Quinoa

1 cup quinoa, rinsed

2 cups water

Pinch of salt

About 1 T of dark baking chocolate powder, like Droste or Valhrona brand (but any dark baking chocolate powder will do)

Agave nectar or honey to taste

  1. Bring the water, quinoa, and salt to a boil.
  2. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa is cooked through.
  3. Stir in the chocolate powder and agave.

Yields two – three servings.

A Winter Cocktail at the Rubin Museum of Art

Film by Krishna Yalla of Yalla Studios

Join us at Harboring Hearts’ first annual fundraiser at the Rubin Museum of Art, with special support from Credit Suisse, The New York Pops, Jarvik Heart, Warren Tricomi, and Alyse Zwick – Miss New York.

Harboring Hearts Board of Directors:

  • Michelle Javian, Co-Founder
  • Yuki Kotani, Co-Founder
  • Sean-Patrick Hillman
  • Kevin Mallen
  • Dr. Roxana Mchran
  • Ryan Mclkonian
  • Jessic Mclore
  • Megan Sterret

Host Committee

Alexandra Baker, Julian Brand, Sabrina Chapman, Peter Christodoulou, Theodore Cleary, Antonella Commella, Camilla Dorment, Adams Foldes, Tamara Goldstein, Magee Hickey, Nicole Liarakos, Jackie Markot, Erin Murphy, Sumit Nihalani, Brad Numann, Joanna Pallante, Christopher Powell, Saara Pritchard, Sasha Siegel, Joel Tricomi, Teddy Van Beuren, Alexandra Wasp, Daniela Weber, Nichole Wright, Sally Wu, Pree Yerramilli

Pre-Event Press

Post-Event Press