BLOG

Food

  • Wild Orange Balls

    Wild Orange Balls

    WILD ORANGE BALLS

    These balls are a hit everywhere I bring them. The only modification I make is to serve them with sunflower seed butter instead of almond butter, as the original recipe suggests. (Both options are delicious!)

    Healthy sources of fat and protein, mixed with the sweetness of a raw, local honey is a winning combo - and one you can feel good about!

    I serve them at every essential oils class I teach - and we devour any (if there are any!) leftovers within a day! 

    Ingredients:
    1 cup finely shredded coconut, divided
    1 cup sunflower seed butter
    1 cup dried cranberries
    1/2 cup raw honey
    1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    2 tablespoons chia seeds
    3 drops Wild Orange essential oil

    Instructions:

    • Combine 1/2 of the coconut and all other ingredients in a larg bowl
    • Roll into balls (about 1-inch in diameter is awesome!)
    • Roll balls into remaining coconut
    • Store in fridge - and enjoy!

    Hope you love the as much as we do!

    -----

    Curious about the versatility of high quality essential oils? It's my passion to share the beautiful and incredibly empowering world of natural health with others. Reach out anytime to learn more! 

  • My Two Cents On: The Culinary Nutrition Expert Program

    My Two Cents On: The Culinary Nutrition Expert Program

    Today is the day!

    If you're a fellow CNE, you'll know this mantra well.

    It's a line from Academy of Culinary Nutrition (ACN) founder Meghan Telpner's official creed, and it's become something of a battle cry for those in the program.

    Today's the day:
    To dare to live life differently,
    To say yes to your heart,
    To chase your dreams,
    To make things happen, and
    To infuse it all with a whole lot of love, community, and integrity.


    When I first stumbled upon Meghan's blog, I was finishing up my training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN).

    I was in search of deliciously nourishing real-food recipes, and oh-my-goodness did I find them! Meghan's are still some of my all-time faves!

    The last year and a half had been an adventure in learning to eat to live.

    Changing the way I ate had given me my health and my life back and catapulted me onto a new path that felt so right I could hardly stand it. But something was missing.

    I wanted to feel confidently comfortable in the kitchen, learn to create awesome recipes, and take a deep dive into the world of food for healing.

    So when I saw the announcement about the debut of an online Culinary Nutrition Expert (CNE) program, it was an immediate yes(!) for me.

    I knew, in my gut and my heart, that I had to do it. 

    What I didn't know was how incredible it was going to be, how it would challenge and transform me, or that I'd meet some of my best friends there.

    It remains one of the best programs I've ever completed.

    And here, my friends, are just a few of the reasons why:

    1 - IT'S THE REAL DEAL

    This program is legit.

    Meghan and team are committed to providing a rigorous, professional level, high quality, potentially life-changing experience. No fluff. They deliver on everything they promise and more.

    It's not easy. It requires dedication, time management, and organization. It assumes you are passionate about the study of culinary nutrition and challenges you to rise to the occasion and make the very most of your time in the program.

    When you receive your congratulatory letter and official certification at the conclusion of the course, you'll know that you earned that baby, and it will feel darn good.  

    2 - SERIOUS CULINARY NUTRITION KNOW-HOW

    Research, shared learning, and hands-on experience make for a powerful combination!

    You'll be asked to develop your own unique food philosophy, read the best culinary nutrition books out there, watch inspiring documentaries, create condition-focused recipes and meal plans, plan and teach a cooking class or workshop, and prepare amazing meals in your kitchen every week.

    By the end of the program, you'll have developed a comfort level in the kitchen like you'd never imagined.

    3 - CUTTING EDGE TECH, ONLINE PRESENCE, AND VIRTUAL EXPERIENCE

    This ain't your grandma's cooking school!

    The small-but-mighty ACN team has gone to great lengths to provide a high quality, visually appealing, professional level experience.

    You'll find beautiful images, awesome videos, and smoothly integrated tech. Whether you're an experienced online learner or brand new to the concept, you'll receive the support, guidance, and resources you need to succeed.

    The Academy is also well represented across the various social media platforms and committed to staying current and connected, which is something I appreciate and admire as an entrepreneur with my own online presence.

    4 - STELLAR SUPPORT

    You're so not alone here.

    You'll find an amazing community (more on that in a moment) in your fellow CNE students and alums.

    You'll also get to connect in real time with Meghan and your classmates on the weekly live call!

    You'll find an incredible support and beautiful soul in Ashley, the Academy's Director of Outreach and Customer Happiness.

    And, of course, you'll have your Program Coach (it could even be me!), who will offer valuable feedback and support throughout the program. 

    5 - THE CNE FAM

    Saved the best for last!

    The friends I've made as a result of doing this CNE program are the absolute best thing about it! They are co-creators, inspiration, motivation, expert resources, colleagues, business partners, team members, and so much more to me.

    There is something so extremely empowering to be said about finding your tribe, your peeps.

    Intentionally connecting with likeminded people, especially when you're in the natural health world, can be one of the most transformative things a person can do for themselves. It's a gift of shared enthusiasm, feeling understood, and finding the support and encouragement you've been looking for. 

    Here are just a few of the beautiful people I've been fortunate enough to meet (and snap a photo of) in person! So many of my CNE buddies have become dear friends, and I can't wait to meet them in person! 

     

    I'm often asked to share my CNE experience with folks who've been thinking it over and seriously considering the program. I hope this post helps!

    Today, I use what I learned in the CNE program without even thinking about it. It's become second nature, a part of what I do in all areas of my life and work. My clients, customers, family, friends, and team members have all been touched by what I learned at the Academy of Culinary Nutrition.   

    I love connecting with you, learning a bit about you, and answering any specific questions you might have. If you're local, let's grab a cuppa tea and chat. If not, a virtual tea date works for me!

    Feel free to reach out anytime. Perhaps today's the day?!

  • Real Food Anti-inflammatory Must-Haves (+ Recipes!)

    Real Food Anti-inflammatory Must-Haves (+ Recipes!)

    There's nothing better than getting presents in the mail!

    Am I right?!

    And if you're as enthusiastic about raw honey, beautiful loose leaf teas, hemp hearts, and turmeric as I am (and that's pretty darn enthusiastic, let me tell you), then you're going to love today's feature! 

    Last month, my friend and fellow culinary nutrition expert Julie Tadeson, wrote to let me know her incredible company, Jule's Wellness, had officially begun shipping to the United States!

    Cue happy dance!

    What it comes down to is this: If you love sampling and collecting carefully curated health + wellness goodness (food, skincare, supplements, and more), you will definitely want to check them out. (And their monthly subscription box is only $34.32!)

    Happily, I got to sample the April Anti-Inflammatory box (thanks, Julie!), and I thought you might like a little peek at what was inside. 

    If you read my blog, then I have a feeling you'll appreciate each of these items just as much as I do!

    Food is powerful, and we can harness that power for good: Overall wellness, immune support, and more! That's what this box is all about. So let's dig right in, shall we?

     

    1 - APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

    And they weren't messing around! They sent me a whole bottle of the good stuff: Certified Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar. It's my favorite brand, and this bottle even comes with "the mother", a strand-like sediment that contains raw enzymes and gut-friendly bacteria! ACV (as it's affectionately known) is majorly anti-inflammatory, supports a healthy immune system, supports healthy weight management, and maintains healthy looking skin! Try it in this addictive Garlicky Kale recipe!


    2 - TURMERIC

    I like to think of turmeric as "the king of spices". It packs a serious anti-inflammatory punch, as it's rich in curcumin and other phytonutrients! This beautiful little package appears to have been sealed with a personal touch, and it's from Fairtrade certified Cha's Organics! I use it in lots of things, but probably most often in my favorite immune-boosting Turmeric Powerhouse Tea.


    3 - RAW HONEY

    I admit it: I have a little bit of a raw honey obsession. The new and most impressive honey section at our local MOM's Organic Market makes me swoon. I was so excited to find a jar of Dutchman's Gold Raw Honey in the box! Because it's raw and unfiltered, we get the extra benefits of the tiny bits of beeswax and bee pollen. I use raw honey in a lot of my sweeter recipes. Try it in my Get-Happy Ginger Cookies or Blackberry-Pear Chia Jam!

    4 - OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS

    It's been mainly just in last two years that I've dug into and discovered the value of high quality omega-3 fatty acids. The average American gets about a 20:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, while a healthy ratio is more likely around 2:1! Fish oil is one option, and it's a good one for those who consume seafood! But for those who are strictly plant-based, there are other great options to consider, like chia, spirulina, walnuts, and flax. Beyond promoting strong bones and teeth, fish oil offers many other health benefits. Check out this awesome article for more on its many benefits! My April subscription box came with a brand called NutraSea+D, which appears to be eco-friendly and to have been sourced sustainably! 

    5 - CINNAMON + CAYENNE

    But more specifically, loose leaf tea that's got the anti-inflammatory giants of turmeric, cinnamon, and cayenne in it! I am loving this gorgeous blend from Lemon Lily

    6 - HEMP HEARTS

    Hemp hearts are a constant in our home, and Manitoba Harvest is my favorite brand! Impressively, hemp hearts contain 10 grams of plant-based protein and 10 grams of omegas (plus vitamins, minerals, and fiber) in every 30 gram serving. They're also super versatile. We use them in smoothies, dressings, dips, salads, and so much more. Sprinkle that stuff everywhere, guys! Try them in this Kale Berry Goodness Smoothie

    BONUS:

    There was also a bonus item, which I devoured immediately. These Martin's Crispy Apply Chips hit the spot!

    Interested in learning more about snagging your own Jule's Wellness monthly subscription box? I loved this one, and I hope to try many more in the future!

    Keep that real food love alive, my friends!

    And if you need a little extra love + support along the way, reach out! 

  • Pears + Parsnips + Market Love

    Pears + Parsnips + Market Love

    Pears + Parsnips

    What a weekend we had! I'll take all the sunny days I can get before the gray of winter sets in.

    Our normal CSA is gone from the Farmer's Market these days (to return again in the summer), but there are still delicious offerings on hand and several other great farms representing.

    We love to split a cup of Hex Ferments kombucha and indulge in a sweet (or savory) treat from Harmony Bakery. B'more Dills Fresh Pickles are thebomb.com, the Farm to Face Falafel wraps (try yours in a collard) are mouth-wateringly awesome, and the it's nearly impossible to walk by the folks from Locust Point Flowers

    When it's in season, clean, and locally available, we get most of our produce from the Farmer's Market. Otherwise, we generally get it at our local Whole Foods. These ingredients were sourced from both!

    And there really is nothing quite like roasted root vegetables, especially when they're in their prime! This week's recipe is a winner, especially great for those who haven't tried parsnips (I hadn't until a couple years ago), which, it turns out, are super delicious. (Particularly when paired with pears and walnuts!) 

    As the weather turns colder, warm up - and get grounded - with some roasted roots. Comfort food for real:


    Ingredients:

    3 pears, diced
    3 parsnips, peeled and roughly sliced
    3 carrots, roughly sliced
    1 red onion, roughly chopped
    2/3 cups walnuts, roughly chopped
    1 tbsp dried parsley
    1 tbsp dried basil
    1 tsp smoked paprika
    1 drop rosemary essential oil or 1/2 tsp of the dried variety
    1 tsp sea salt
    1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper 
    2 tablespoons EVOO

    How To:

    • Preheat oven to 400F
    • Add all ingredients to large bowl and toss to combine thoroughly
    • Spread mixture over parchment-lined baking sheet
    • Bake for 30 minutes
    • Devour

  • Creamy Zucchini Hummus + The UnDiet Cookbook

    Creamy Zucchini Hummus + The UnDiet Cookbook

    Many of you know that I studied Culinary Nutrition (aka: Food As Medicine) with nutritionist Meghan Telpner a few years ago.

    When it comes to food, Meghan's philosophy is very much in line with my own, which you can read more about here, in How To: Start Eating Clean + Feeling Awesome Again

    Michael Pollan's now famous Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants. sums it up quite well. And it's a simple philosophy to remember:

    Cut out the processed, chemical/hormone/pesticide-laden, genetically modified crap. And embrace clean, local, seasonal, humanely-raised, nutrient-dense options instead.

    The result?

    You'll feel better than ever and your body with thank you for it!

    I remember when I first happened upon Meghan's blog. I was drawn to her laid-back, eat-clean, labels-are-for-tin-cans approach right away.

    I don't believe in counting calories or that one single diet is right for every person. And I feel strongly that there is so very much we can do ourselves to help our bodies to heal themselves, which is something else Meghan knows a lot about.

    Her first book UnDiet: Eat Your Way to Vibrant Health was (and still is) a staple in our home.

    And her new book, The UnDiet Cookbook, is even better! It's a much more in-depth collection of beautiful, nourishing, delicious, gluten-free and dairy-free recipes. And it's a must-have resource for people who want to eat clean and feel great again.

    If you're looking for that one book that will give you miles of culinary inspiration and never seems to disappoint, this right here is it.

    After graduating from the flagship Culinary Nutrition Expert certification program, I was approached by Meghan to come on board as a Teaching Assistant (we're now called Program Coaches). 

    Through my coaching at the Academy of Culinary Nutrition, I've been very fortunate to have been able to remain a part of this special community, where people support and respect one another - and where we do our best to empower others to play a bigger role in their own health and happiness: To share the health!

    And it is with this in mind that I get to share one of the awesome recipes from The UnDiet Cookbook with you: Creamy Zucchini Hummus.

    I made this one for our first ever Baltimore Cookbook Club, and it was a big hit! I'll definitely be putting it into regular rotation!

    Enjoy, my friends. To your health! 

    CREAMY ZUCCHINI HUMMUS
    Nut-free / Soy-free / Grain-free / Raw

    PREP TIME: 15 minutes
    MAKES: 1 1/2 cups

    Ingredients:
    1 zucchini, peeled and chopped (about 2 cups)
    1/2 avocado
    1/4 cup tahini
    1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1/2 inch ginger
    1/2 clove garlic (or a full one, if your friends can handle it) 
    Pinch of cayenne (optional)

    Make It Like So:

    • Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.
    • Stop occasionally to wipe down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
    • Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

    Excerpted from The UnDiet Cookbook: 130 Gluten-Free Recipes for a Healthy and Awesome Life by Meghan Telpner. Copyright © 2015 Meghan Telpner. Photography Copyright © Maya Visnyei and Catherine Farquharson. Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Random House of Canada Ltd., A Penguin Random House Company. Reproduced by arrangement by the Publisher. All rights reserved.

  • Turmeric Powerhouse Tea

    Turmeric Powerhouse Tea

    This one's for when you're under the weather and need a little BOOST. 

    I'm sharing my favorite Turmeric Powerhouse Tea, originally inspired by this gem.

    The base of it is suuuper simple to make ahead of time - and makes it easy to quickly whip up multiple cups of this goodness, when you otherwise don't feel like doing much of anything. (Like me, today.)

    Ingredients
    Raw honey, organic and local is best
    Turmeric, ground
    Black pepper
    Raw apple cider vinegar, aka "ACV" (I love Bragg's.)
    Freshly squeezed lemon juice
    H2O

    How-To

    • Prep a BASE: Equal parts honey and turmeric, with a generous addition of freshly ground black pepper (crucial, if you want to take advantage - and you do! - of all the benefits turmeric offers). You can save this base in a mason jar, taking a bit here and there when you make the tea.

    • For 1 mug of tea: To the mug, add a spoonful of the base honey-turmeric-pepper mix. Add 1 tablespoon of ACV and 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice (about half a lemon). Top with warm-to-hot water, stir to combine, and sip away!

    Feel better soon, love! 

    XO

  • Butternut Kale Salad

    Butternut Kale Salad

    I've been spending a lot of time on the couch in my office this weekend. Something's hit me - and it's hanging on tight.

    The good news: I've got everything I need to tackle this thing, and I'm loading up! Garlic and raw honey. Ginger + echinacea tea. My turmeric powerhouse concoction. Miso soup. My oils. And rest!

    The bad news? I've been spending a lot of time on the couch in my office this weekend.
    Wallowing a bit, if I'm being honest.

    I can't smell.
    And I can only partially breathe (through my mouth).

    And I figure maybe if I do basically nothing, my body will have the energy to heal and recover faster.

    But it's getting boring.
    And a little frustrating.
    And: You'd think my aim would've improved by now. But, sadly, you'd be wrong.
    I guess I'm mainly just sort of throwing things in "that general direction" at this point.

    Eddie's away at his annual Alumni Soccer Game (they won!) day-long extravaganza, and our housemates are out, so it's just me here. And as much as I'd love for someone (Mom?) to come take care of me, it's just not gonna happen. 

    I decided it was time for a change of pace.
    (1) I was craving kale (need those healing greens!), and
    (2) it looked gorgeous out. (Figures.)
    Sunshine and fresh air and...kale. All good things.
    And it was up to me to make it happen.

    So I did. 
    I got dressed.
    I tied my hair up in a knot on top of my head.
    And I savored the walk (in the sunshine and the fresh air) to the market.
    It was lovely!

    And then I came home - to make a kale salad.
    I was hoping someone would bring me this one or make me this one.
    But since I never actually communicated that to anyone...
    And since it's just me here...
    I decided to throw something else together.
    And here's what I got:

    It's a winner! So I'm sharing it with you:

    BUTTERNUT KALE SALAD
    Serves 2

    Ingredients 
    4 cups baby kale, roughly chopped
    1 apple, diced small
    1 small-ish butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, and diced small
    1 tablespoon olive oil + a drizzle for the diced squash
    2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (I like Grade B.)
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    1 tablespoon hemp hearts
    2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

    How-To

    • Toss diced squash in a light drizzle of olive oil (about a tablespoon) and bake at 350F for about 25 mins, until just soft.
    • While the squash bakes, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing: Olive oil, maple syrup, Dijon, turmeric, salt, and pepper.
    • In a large bowl, combine kale, apple, baked squash, hemp hearts, pumpkin seeds, and dressing. Toss well to combine.

    Grab a fork and enjoy!

  • Here's to the simple things + Acorn Squash

    Here's to the simple things + Acorn Squash

    Autumn. 

    The sweet spot between Summer and Fall.
    And my most favorite time of year. 

    Open the windows, build a fire, breathe in those gorgeous turning leaves.
    Before they've fallen to the ground, all brown and lifeless and gone.
    Until the Spring. 

    A time for getting grounded. For introspection. 
    For checking in.
    And seeing how you're doing.

    How's it going these days?

    Are you feeling more up than down? I hope!
    Comfortable in your skin? More so every day? 
    Or are you itching, stretching, can't stand it anymore, ready for a change?

    What change?
    What do you want more of?
    How do you want to feel? Who do you want to be? 
    And how thrilling to be on the verge of a shift!

    As much as I know there's a whole season between now and the new year, I can't help but feel like I've already begun to reflect on 2015. And it's been quite a year. (Too much to process just now. But that's coming.) Another post. Another day.



    For now, I'm content to pause.
    And appreciate the still-mostly-green leaves on the trees in the backyard.
    To slow down when my body says it needs to.
    To not push, even when my head says don't stop.
    To reflect on all the goodness. All the joy. All the love in my life. 

    I've got my head in the clouds.

    Still dreaming, believing, creating, achieving, and growing.
    Into the person I am.
    And the person I'm always becoming.
     
    Sometimes I stumble. 
    Sometimes I screw up. 
    Sometimes I fall.
    Or overdue it.

    But I can come back from that.
    Can right my ship and adjust the course. 

    And my feet on the ground.

    Grounded.
    Not always, but as often as possible.
    I'm reconnecting. 
    Appreciating.
    Offering up gratitude.
    For all that I have and all that I'm able to do.
    Even when it's small.

    Especially then.



    Here's to the simple things.

    Like acorn squash at the market!

    The smallest of pleasures. 
    The changing of the seasons.
    The going on of life.
    And taking the time to notice. 
    And celebrate.
    Even if you do it quietly. 

    Even if you do it by yourself.

    Especially then.

    Sending you LOVE, my friends.
    And squash. :)





    ACORN SQUASH, SUPER SIMPLY:

    1. Wash it.
    2. Halve it.
    3. Drizzle it with oil.
    4. Bake, flesh sides down, for 45 minutes at 385F.
    5. Sea salt, pepper, and good maple syrup. Ahhhhmaaazinggg.

  • How To: Start Eating Clean + Feeling Awesome Again!

    How To: Start Eating Clean + Feeling Awesome Again!

    A few weeks ago, I sent my top five tips for transitioning to cleaner eating to the fine folks over at Jule's Wellness, an awesome Canadian wellness company on a mission to help you feel healthy, strong, and more conscientious in your life. (Love their stuff! I've got my eye on their monthly subscription box!)

    Eating "clean" isn't nearly as complicated as you might think, but with all the different points of view and diets out there, it's easy to get overwhelmed and confused! I know I used to be. 

    It took getting sick (asthma, IBS, allergies, acid reflux, relentless colds), taking a bunch of meds that didn't work, and feeling hopeless, for me to finally find my way.

    And I'm still learning every day! But that's, I'm quite confident, how it's supposed to be.

    The secret?

    There really is no one-size-fits-all diet. Not in my book, anyway. We are all individuals with unique bodies and needs, so it only makes sense that we would need to take a similar approach when it comes to food!

    Here, I'm breaking the whole "eating clean" thing down into five simple steps. Start where you are, and remember: It's not a race. It's a journey.

    The idea here is to do a little better all the time.

    1 - EDUCATE YOURSELF

    I have a Bachelor's in Secondary Education, a Master's in Science, and 5+ years working as a Trauma/Emergency Department registered nurse, and I still had to go back to school to figure all this stuff out!

    Your story, surely, will be different from mine. And I'm not saying you need to do everything I did! But in some form or another, you're going to need to begin to dig a little deeper and explore a little further than what you've always heard about health and wellness. (Hint: Counting calories, buying non-fat, and opting for "magic pills" will not be getting you to where you want to be, my friends. At least not in any lasting way.)

    For me, it all started with the documentary Forks Over Knives. (You might like Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead or GMO OMG!) From there, I devoured book after book on the subject of food as medicine. A few early favorites were The Omnivore's Dilemma, Keep It Simple, Keep It Whole, and UnDiet. If you haven't read these yet, I assure you they will shed new light on old "truths". 

    Having experienced what felt like was my own "health miracle", I craved expert guidance, to deepen my understanding of nutrition. And I felt a very clear calling to help others begin to take back their health, too.

    I enrolled in T. Colin Campbell's Plant-Based Nutrition course, followed by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, which truly expanded my vision of health (so much more than food!) and taught me the concept of bioindividuality, that what works wonders for one person might not be what's best for another. It was throughout my time at IIN that my vision of health and wellness (and happiness!) began to take shape. 

    If you're anything like me, you'll find that what makes you feel happiest and healthiest may (and likely should!) change over time. Be gentle with yourself as you explore and, ultimately, discover what works best for you. Consider hiring a coach to help you along the way. There is truly something extremely powerful about having a loving, supportive, empowering person in your corner, especially when you're taking on big changes like these.

    2 - THROW AWAY THE CRAP

    As soon as you start re-educating yourself, you'll likely begin to feel like there's a lot in your fridge and pantry (and perhaps hiding under the bed or some other secret stash location?) that simply must go!

    Warning: This could be a little painful. You may want to enlist the help of a supportive friend (maybe after watching one of those awesome documentaries together!), family member, or coach. 

    But, I promise you, this is a critical and crucial part of getting you feeling amazing again!

    You must must must get rid of the bad if you wish to bring on the good. (And I know you do!) If it hurts too much to throw it away, consider donation. Remember: The longer you keep it around, the longer it will take for you to get healthy again! This is something you're going to want to go "all in" on.

    CRAP: I mentioned earlier than I'm of the belief that what's best for me might not be best for you. That being said, my experience and education has taught me that there are a few key offenders that seem to cause a lot of trouble for people. If only for a while, I urge you to consider removing things like dairy, gluten, and processed sugar/sweeteners. Processed anything, really, should go!

    What you want left over is, quite simply, real food. (Not the creations of the food "industry", not those long ingredient lists of unrecognizable items, and definitely not those "fake" and "imitation" animal products laden with processed soy, sodium, and other questionables.)

    3 - REPLACE IT WITH THE GOOD STUFF

    Hint: Good stuff = Real food.

    And here's where it gets fun again! (And the produce department of the grocery store becomes your new best friend!)

    Think seasonal, local, and organic whenever possible.

    Wary about spending more on organics? This little video on The Organic Effect will inspire you to choose "cleaner" options. I also love the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists, which help you choose the cleanest options while also being budget-conscious.

    Shopping the perimeter of the grocery store is another great tip! (Allows you to skip the a bunch of the processed stuff in the middle sections.)

    A couple of my favorite rules of thumb from Michael Pollan (and your great-grandma) that I like to use are: (1) Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much. And I also love Rule No. 19 from his fabulous book Food Rules: (2) If it's a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don't.

    Beyond these, if you're eating animals, please be mindful of their source, what they were fed, and how they were raised. Always look for words like pastured, organic, and non-GMO. If you'd like to learn more about conscious "clean" farming, check out the work of Joel Salatin.

    And if you're looking for another all-around excellent guide to help you identify the crap (and get rid of it), check out Meghan Telpner's down-to-earth and inspiring take-back-your-life book UnDiet. You will love it!

    4 - EAT THE GOOD STUFF

    And make it delicious!

    After throwing together random "plants" for a year or so, I realized I should probably actually learn how to cook! As much as I'd always loved food, I'd never really felt comfortable in the kitchen - until I found Meghan Telpner and the Academy of Culinary Nutrition.

    Mind = Blown!

    I learned that health-supportive, nourishing, healing food can (and must!) taste mouth-wateringly delicious. And I learned that even I could make amazing food! (This shocked me, I tell ya!)

    I started by just watching her free videos, reading her blogs, and experimenting with some of her recipes, which are - to this day - some of my favorites to recommend to clients, friends, and family!

    If you're not used to cooking with a lot of plants and doing it in a way that is nourishing and healing to the body, just do what I did and start trying out a bunch of different recipes - until you find the ones you looove!

    Over time, as you practice and play and experiment in the kitchen, you'll develop a natural intuition about food and ingredients, and you'll begin to find it easier and easier to throw together something that's both delicious and nutritious for you and your family.

    I've got a bunch of recipes here! A couple other favorites (I have so many) are Rachel's Nourishing Kitchen, Green Kitchen Stories, and Sondi Bruner. Oh - and definitely take some time to browse through all the awesomeness in the Academy of Culinary Nutrition's Top 50 Clean Food Blogs!

    5 - REPEAT (WITH FRIENDS!)

    And there you have it! Educate yourself (lots of great books, documentaries, and classes out there to explore), get rid of the bad (seek support if you need it), bring in the good (lots of plants, think seasonal, local, and organic), make it delicious, and eat it - with friends!

    That's how you transition to cleaner eating. In a nutshell. 

    But the learning doesn't stop there, and there are certainly going to be ups and downs as you find your way. So, I'd like to say a word about your support system. 

    Finding a group of supportive, encouraging, like-minded folks will do wonders for your health, both mental and physical! If you can't find one you love, join mine!

    Making changes to the way you eat isn't always easy. You're going to need to have someone(s) to turn to when you looking for an answer to What the heck do I do with rainbow chard?, or your husband isn't exactly thrilled about your newfound plantiful ways, or you just want something sweet to eat, for God's sake! - but you don't know which ingredients are best.

    Why? Because this is the important stuff. This whole "figuring out what to eat" thing will keep you living and thriving and loving life for a very long time. It's completely changed my life, and I have a feeling it will do the same for you!

    YOUR TURN NOW

    Now it's your turn to share!

    Where are you in this whole process? Wherever you are, I hope you've found something useful here. What's been your biggest takeaway, and where would you like more support?

  • Seasonal Wellness: Top 6 Natural Solutions Here!

    Seasonal Wellness: Top 6 Natural Solutions Here!

    It's that time again. 
    But don't worry, I've got you covered!

    I feel your pain. A few years ago, I too was struggling to build and support a healthy immune and respiratory system, to combat irritating (to say the least) seasonal and environmental threats.

    After quite a bit of time experimenting with various options that made me feel foggy, sleepy, and just generally like I wasn't myself, I was fortunate enough to learn that by changing my diet, I could change a lot of other things, too. Including my health issues.

    This blew my mind. And I knew, immediately, that there was a whole world out there that I needed to explore.

    Since then, I've been on a mission to learn as much as I can about natural healthcare, and to share my experience and knowledge with others. Here, I'm sharing what I've learned about managing seasonal threats naturally.

    There is hope!
    And if you have something awesome to add, please, leave a comment. I love hearing from you!

    1 - EAT + DRINK CLEAN FOOD

    It always starts with food. That's been my experience, anyway. Transitioning to clean eating has been hugely beneficial to my overall wellness. Why? A massive portion of our immune systems is located in the gut. Clean up what you're putting in there, and you'll start to notice a shift in how you're feeling pretty quickly.

    What can you do right now? Begin to move in the direction of a whole food, plant-based diet. That doesn't mean you have to become a vegan. Or paleo. Or anthing in particular, really. But it does mean paying attention to where your food comes from and how it was grown/raised. Some of the most common triggers to avoid include processed/packaged "foods", overdosing on sugar, conventional dairy, and (for some) gluten.

    We are all different. This is the concept of bioindividuality. What makes your body feel amazing might do the complete opposite for someone else. If you think you could use some help sorting that out, consider hooking up with a health coach for a seasonal cleanse (elimination diet approach) or a few personalized sessions. Every body is unique.

    2 - SPOONFUL OF HONEY

    Wild, raw, and local, to be more specific. And just a quarter (tea)spoonful or so at first. Why? Those beautiful bees, as they're buzzing about doing their thing, pick up pollen from their environment. The result: By consuming a bit of wild, raw, local honey, a little at a time, you may help to desensitize your body to the pollen. You'll want to start with a smaller amount in the beginning and gradually work up to the full spoon.

    3 - ESSENTIAL OILS

    Until about a year ago, I had no idea how significantly these guys would change my life. When a friend of mine introduced me to essential oils, touting, specifically, their therapeutic properties, I was hesitant and skeptical at first. But I just kept hearing more and more good things about them. Eventually, wanting to really understand the why behind essential oils and their theraperic properties, I took a leap and ordered myself a kit.

    And I am so glad I did. Lemon, Lavender, and Peppermint essential oils are known for their ability to support clear breathing and a healthy inflammatory response when combined together. Used by both veteran and novice essential oil users, this well-known blend is frequently diffused or mixed together for its respiratory health benefits. A little goes a long way.

    4 - HERBS & SPICES

    In conjunction with eating clean, a couple of standout herbs and spices that are really worth mentioning here are turmeric and nettle. 

    Turmeric's active ingredient, curcumin, is a phytochemical with many beneficial properties. One of my favorite simple turmeric recipes is "Turmeric Tea", from 101 Cookbooks. Super simple, soothing, and delicious.

    Nettle is another great one, as it contains ingredients believed to support a healthy inflammatory response. Used regularly, many report significant improvement. And it's wonderful for lots of other things, too. Side benefits. My preference is nettle tea from Traditional Medicinals

    5 - OIL PULLING

    Oil pulling is thousands of years old and comes from the ancient practice of Ayurveda, the science of life. I love it because it's an age-old, all natural option for improved overall oral health, clearing out toxins hiding in the mouth and sinus cavities, combatting seasonal threats, supporting a healthy respiratory system, and freshening breath.

    I also love how simple it is. All you need is oil! Coconut, sesame, and olive oils are great options. But stick with the cleanest, most natural version you can get your hands on. 

    How does it work? The fat cells in the oil pull out the bacteria and other harmful toxins from your saliva and around your teeth, tongue, and gums. It’s super easy, painless, safe, and affordable. See the simpe how-to right on over here.

    6 - BREAK OUT THE NETI POT

    The neti pot is another old standby when it comes to respiratory health. The concept is simple: Flush out the problem before your body's had time to mount a major attack. Most folks recommend using the neti pot morning and night to most effectively clear the invading substance(s). 

    Have you explored any of these natural options for combatting seasonal and environmental threats? Any others you swear by and would love to add? Please share, if you like. I love reading your recommendations!

  • Mango Cacao Smoothie

    Mango Cacao Smoothie

    Mango Cacao Smoothie
    A healthy + delicious solution for the 3pm slump.

    This one is the perfect afternoon pick-me-up, especially as the weather turns warmer. It's refreshing, nourishing, and satisfying. Skip the coffee (and sugary snacks) and whip up one of these instead.

    Ingredients
    1 cup frozen mango
    1 tablespoon hemp hearts
    1/2 tablespoon raw cacao powder
    1/2 - 1 cup water, according to desired consistency
    Pinch of sea salt

    Blend until smooth - and enjoy!

  • Chocolate Bark in Minutes

    Chocolate Bark in Minutes

    Make Your Own Chocolate Bark
    Great to throw together for a party or just enjoy at home.

    This is a really fast and easy solution to the all-too-common "I've run out of chocolate" problem so many of us experience. (Happened to me last night.) If you have raw cacao powder, coconut oil, and sea salt, you're covered. How cool is that?

    High quality, organic, fair trade chocolate is not only decadently delicious, but can also good for you. Just don't go eating it all day long. My feeling on chocolate is that it's meant to be savored and enjoyed, a little at a time.

    Cacao beans (where all real chocolate begins) are rich in magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, and manganese. And they contain more antioxidant flavenoids than red wine, green tea, or blueberries. They're also high in resveratrol, a potent antioxident that protects and supports the immune system.

    What's the difference between cacao and cocoa? Good question, my friend. What you're looking for here is "raw cacao". Why? Here's the low-down, straight from the folks over at foodmatters.tv:

    Raw cacao is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocao beans. The process keeps the living enzymes in the cacao and removes the fat (cacao butter). 

    Cocoa looks the same as cacao, but it's not. Cocoa powder is raw cacao that's been roasted at high temperatures. The roasting changes the molecular structure of the cacao bean, which reduces the enzyme content and lowers the overall nutritional value.

    Making your own chocolate with raw cacao is where it's at! And it couldn't be easier.

    Ingredients:
    1 cup coconut oil
    1 cup raw cacao powder
    1/2 cup maple syrup (or raw honey)
    pinch of sea salt
    pinch of cinnamon, optional
    pinch of cayenne, optional
    chopped nuts/seeds/dried fruit, optional

    Instructions:

    • Over the lowest possible heat, heat coconut oil in a small saucepan. You can even create your own double boiler to further remove the cacao from the heat.
    • Once coconut oil has melted, remove saucepan from heat, and immediately stir in cacao powder and maple syrup, until well combined.
    • Mix in sea salt. (Mix in cinnamon and cayenne, if you like.)
    • Pour mixture over parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
    • Sprinkle with optional nuts, seeds, dried fruit.
    • Place in freezer to harden.

    Note: 
    It will melt quickly (remember that coconut oil is liquid at room temperature), so don't leave it out too long, unless you're planning on eating it all in one sitting -- with your friends, of course.

  • Sesame Garlic Garbanzo Sauce

    Sesame Garlic Garbanzo Sauce

    Sesame Garlic Garbanzo Sauce

    Making my own sauces is one of my favorite things to do. You can play with the different ingredients and consistencies and personalize things to your taste. No hidden, scary ingredients. No overload of salt or sugar. It's the best! Simple, clean, and nourishing. So you can feel free to drench your veggies in deliciousness!

    Ingredients:
    1/4 cup sesame seeds
    1/4 cup garbanzo beans
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1/2 cup water
    2 cloves garlic
    2 teaspoons tamari
    2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
    1 teaspoon maple syrup

    Instructions:

    • Add all ingredients to high speed blender
    • Blend completely, until creamy and even
    • Optional: Add an additional 1/8 of water to thin (that's what I did), depending on desired consistency
  • Yogi Tea

    Yogi Tea

    Yogi Tea

    I have a feeling you're going to love making (and sipping) this warming, soothing yogi tea. I first learned how to make yogi tea during Culinary Nutrition School. It's believed to strengthen the immune and nervous systems, energize the body, and calm the mind. I've also read that it helps to purify the blood, lungs, and circulatory systems - and cleanse the liver. It's a warming, spicy blend of cardamom, peppercorns, ginger, clove, and cinnamon, sweetened with a touch of local raw honey.

    Ingredients:
    2 quarts (8 cups) water
    5 sticks cinnamon
    1 tablespoon whole cloves
    1 tablespoon whole cardamom seeds
    1/2 tablespoon whole peppercorns
    1 inch ginger root, freshly sliced
    almond milk, optional
    raw honey, optional

    Instructions:

    • Place all ingredients in a medium-sized pot
    • Simmer for 20-30 minutes
    • Serve alone or with a touch of milk and raw honey

    Note:
    You can simmer much longer (2-3 hours, even) if you like, but 20-30 minutes will do the job.

  • Coconut Veggie Curry (Plant-Based + Gluten-Free)

    Coconut Veggie Curry (Plant-Based + Gluten-Free)

    Coconut Veggie Curry

    This easy veggie curry is super simple to throw together, tastes amazing, and will last you about a week! My über talented husband, Eddie (inspired by my dad!), was the brains behind this one. And I was the sous chef. He sat down with me last night to type it all up for you. It was a big hit at my Afternoon Tea + Oils event last week, and we hope you love it, too.

    Ingredients:
    3 tablespoons coconut oil 
    1 onion, roughly chopped
    5 cloves of garlic, minced
    2 cups carrots, chopped
    4 stalks of celery
    1 crown of broccoli, roughly chopped
    1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
    1 tablespoon curry powder
    1 tablespoon dried parsley
    1 tablespoon dried basil
    1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne, more to taste
    1 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
    1 teaspoon ground black pepper, more/less to taste
    1 teaspoon ground ginger
    1 BPA-free can diced tomatoes, fire roasted
    1 BPA-free can coconut milk
    8 cups vegetable stock (or water), more or less depeneding on desired consistency

    Instructions:

    • Heat coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat
    • Add all vegetables to the pot
    • Add spices and sautée until just softened, about 10 minutes (stirring frequently)
    • Add diced tomatos, coconut milk, and vegetable stock/water
    • Bring to a boil, then decrease the heat and simmer (uncovered) for 30 minutes
    • Allow to cool (enough to transfer to the blender)
    • Puree soup (we used the Vitamix), then return pureed soup to pot, rewarming as needed
  • In Words + Photos: Afternoon Tea & Oils

    In Words + Photos: Afternoon Tea & Oils

    Back in January, I posted a photo on my Facebook page from a Tea & Essential Oils gathering I'd hosted the night before.

    I'd invited a couple of friends over who'd expressed an interest in learning more about essential oils. I served tea and chocolate, shared my essential oils story, and taught my friends the basics of essential oils. It was a lot of fun! Super laid back and chill.

    About a week later, I was on the phone with a friend from upstate New York. She'd seen the photo and had a crazy [awesome] idea.

    For at least two decades now, she, her sister, and their mother have been getting together once a year for a mother-daughters afternoon tea. They'd meet somewhere special, spend a few days together exploring the area, and, of course, have tea. They've been all over New York City, in various other cities and states, and even had tea at the beach one year! 

    And this year, my friend was thinking, maybe it was time to come to Baltimore! Inspired by my photo, she wondered if I'd be interested in hosting a "culinary nutrition" style Afternoon Tea & Oils class for her, her sister, and her mom. 

    I instantly said: Yes! 
    And then thought: What the heck will I do?!

    I've been to one high tea before - at the Ritz Carlton, with friends of mine, in elementary school. (With our American Girl dolls in tow, if I'm not mistaken.) So I certainly was no expert on planning tea parties. But I reminded myself that my friend had invited me to get creative, do what made sense to me, and to give it the culinary nutrition twist that she knows I love.

    And here's the thing: I love tea, food, and essential oils. So to get to plan a day around those three most wonderful things, for three incredible women, was going to be amazing! And adventure? Yes. But definitely amazing. What an opportunity!

    PREP

    My tea party guests had booked their flights and hotel and were Baltimore-bound, flying in from New York the day before the big event. They'd be staying at the Inn at the Black Olive, a luxury organic-themed, eco-conscious boutique hotel tucked just between Fells Point and Harbor East. I'd heard wonderful things about it!

    I stopped by that morning to drop off a welcome card and gift: A bottle of Grapefruit essential oil. Just a drop in your hands, cupped in front of your face and breathed in deeply is instantly uplifting. It's also awesome in a glass of water, adding the perfect amount of flavor (I use two or three drops) and helping to support the metabolism and curb cravings. I thought it would make a refreshing welcome for weary travelers.

    If you haven't yet been to the Inn, I recommend putting it on your to-do list. The Agora Organic Market on the ground floor is lovely! Green juices, smoothies, organic cafe fare, and even a selection of biodynamic wines. 

    That evening, with help from my best bud, I set the table with some of my favorite colors, textures, patterns, and flowers: A table runner from our trip to Bali, gorgeous cloth napkins from Anthropologie, a sugar jar Eddie brought home from México, and a bright bouquet of red tulips, gifted to us by a recent guest. Thank you, Kath and Mel.

    Next up? Prepping the menu. I wanted to feature a mix of my favorite brands, Baltimore makers, and homemade items. Here's what I came up with:


    TEA

    The first course was Tea. In keeping with my culinary nutrition theme, I decided on a traditional yogi tea, which, according to Ayurvedic wisdom, helps to purify the blood, lungs, and circulatory system and cleanses the liver. It's a warming, spicy blend of cardamom, peppercorns, ginger, clove, and cinnamon, sweetened with a touch of local raw honey. Simmer for about 15 minutes and you're good to go. It was a hit! On the side, I offered coconut palm sugar, homemade maple hemp milk, and a local organic milk (just in case). 

    In addition to the yogi tea, I offered a selection of some of my favorite organic teas from Traditional Medicinals: Ginger, Raspberry Leaf, Cup of Calm, and Peppermint, each of them soothing and health-supportive in its own way.

    Yogi Tea

    Ingredients:
    2 quarts (8 cups) water
    5 sticks cinnamon
    1 tablespoon whole cloves
    1 tablespoon whole cardamom seeds
    1/2 tablespoon whole peppercorns
    1 inch ginger root, freshly sliced
    almond milk, optional
    raw honey, optional

    Instructions:

    • Place all ingredients in a medium-sized pot
    • Simmer for 20-30 minutes
    • Serve alone or with a touch of milk and raw honey

    Note: 
    You can simmer much longer (2-3 hours, even) if you like, but 20-30 minutes will do the job.

    The last of the teas was, I think, an unexpected one: Kombucha, from Hex Ferments, which I picked up at our local Farmers Market the morning of. Hex is awesome because they use organic tea, organic free-trade cane sugar, filtered water, and local, organic and wild foraged herbs to create their super lovely and unique kombuchas. For our afternoon, I chose the Butterfly Lime (the purple one up there) and Parsley varieties.

    Kombucha is a big culinary nutrition player because it's a natural source of probiotics, which help to keep our guts (where nearly three quarters of our immune systems live) strong and healthy. 

    SNACKS

    For the savory portion of the menu, I served a beautiful Coconut Veggie Curry, which my incredibly talented husband (primarily) whipped up the night before. He's so amazing with food, and - having witnessed my "food as medicine" journey and hearing me teach about the importance of understanding the quality of the food we eat/buy - he's very much on board with what I do these days. He's the greatest. Thanks, Babe.

    To accompany the curry, I made the most adorable little tea sandwiches, inspired by the one and only Meg, of Beard & Bonnet. Hummus, lentils, cucumber, dill. Simple flavors that came together very nicely, I thought. Loved them. And have already made them again several times.

    Coconut Veggie Curry

    Ingredients:
    3 tablespoons coconut oil 
    1 onion, roughly chopped
    5 cloves of garlic, minced
    2 cups carrots, chopped
    4 stalks of celery
    1 crown of broccoli, roughly chopped
    1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
    1 tablespoon curry powder
    1 tablespoon dried parsley
    1 tablespoon dried basil
    1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne, more to taste
    1 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
    1 teaspoon ground black pepper, more/less to taste
    1 teaspoon ground ginger
    1 BPA-free can diced tomatoes, fire roasted
    1 BPA-free can coconut milk
    8 cups vegetable stock (or water), more or less depeneding on desired consistency

    Instructions:

    • Heat coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat
    • Add all vegetables to the pot
    • Add spices and sautée until just softened, about 10 minutes (stirring frequently)
    • Add diced tomatos, coconut milk, and vegetable stock
    • Bring to a boil, then decrease the heat and simmer (uncovered) for 30 minutes
    • Allow to cool (enough to transfer to the blender)
    • Puree soup (we used the Vitamix), then return pureed soup to pot, rewarming as needed

    SWEETS

    My favorite course, of course, was the Sweets. And this one I've gotta share a little story about.

    Synchronicity. God. The Universe.
    Whatever you believe, somebody had my back and believed in this tea party.
    And I have proof.

    First, I made a trip to Jinji's (chocolate genius) the day before the party, to pick up a few items. All of her ingredients are raw and vegan, and she does everything in the most creative, quality, heart-filled way imagineable, with the most interesting flavors and combinations. On top of that, she is just the nicest - and so is the whole Jinji's team!

    And would you believe that, just as I arrived, she was putting the finishing touches on a green tea truffle?! It was obviously M.T.B. Meant to be. She sent me home with a collection of Matcha Gunpowder, Mace Stuck Pot Rice (a new favorite), and Lavender Lemonade beauties.

    And then: I wandered over to PlantBar to see if they might have anything there that would fit the occasion. And guess what!? They had a raw Chai Cheesecake. Craziness! And oh my goodness was it good.

    Inspired by a recipe my aunt brought to our Easter get-together this year, I also created a batch of Lemon Blackberry Melts, but with a raspberry surprise in the middle! Such a genius idea, and one I'd never seen before. The only thing I changed was: I used a combination of fresh-squeezed lemon juice and three drops of Lemon essential oil. They were a challenge to recreate, but so worth it. 

    OILS

    To finish off the afternoon, I planned an Introduction to Essential Oils class. 

    What are essential oils?
    How long have they been around?
    How can I use them?
    What can I use them for?
    What do I need to know in choosing the right essential oils for me and my family?

    All this and more was covered, along with a lot of sampling and smelling of the oils, discussing common uses, and sharing some of my favorite resources. We even did a little DIY session, creating customized fresh air sprays and sugar scrubs for the bath or shower. Lavender, Vanilla, Frankincense and Orange, Grapefruit, Clove, Peppermint. A feast for the senses, to be sure. Want to learn more about my favorite oils? Shoot me an email here.

    The sun was starting to set as I waved goodbye to my friends. It had been a beautiful day, getting to know these three beautiful women and, I hope, providing a space to sip, savor, relax, connect, and learn together.

    I am beyond grateful to have been invited to be even a small part of such a longstanding, special tradition. I hope they enjoyed themselves! And I hope it won't be long until they find themselves in Charm City again.

    They'll always be welcome here. With love and tea and oils.

  • Travelogue: Tulum

    Travelogue: Tulum

    We're back! 

    A couple months ago, Eddie and I decided it was time to get away. Time for a little rest + relaxation.

    Ever since full-time entrepreneur life began, I've had a hard time closing my laptop and focusing on taking care of me. Why? I love the work!

    But I've learned that it's completely up to me to set these self-care parameters for myself, and it will only get better with practice.

    We both agreed that we needed sunshine, and we didn't really feel like doing too much. Just needed a place to park ourselves and stop go, go, going all the time. Unplug. 

    The solution? Tulum, way down along the east coast of the Yucatán peninsula in beautiful Quintana Roo, México. Home of the Mayan walled city of the same name (pictured above). And, I was told, a fairly holistically-minded type of place.

    Awesomely, Southwest Airlines is offering non-stop flights from BWI to Cancún these days, so we cashed in some miles and started making plans.

    Well, mainly Eddie made the plans. Don't get me wrong: I was DEFinitely psyched! I love México. It's mi segunda patria. It's where my love of Spanish and all things Latin American culture began.

    But I didn't really get involved until the day before we left. That's when I happened upon the New York Times article 36 Hours in Tulum. And got really excited!

    We pretty much always find places to stay using Airbnb. If you haven't tried them yet, you really must. Best tip: Find places with excellent ratings - and a lot of them. It's kind of hard to go wrong (knock on wood) with that approach. And especially if you've got a bit of an adventurer's spirit, I bet you'll love it. 

    The first two nights, we stayed inland. In a hut. In the jungle. With two of the most lovely people (and hosts) we've come across!

    Elisa and Alfredo are kind, caring, gifted people. Both artists, but in different ways. Everything about them is so genuine and warm. They've created a beautiful space, tucked away in the trees, barely visible from the dirt road that leads you there.

    We stayed in the Mayan Room, a small hut constructed in the traditional Mayan style. Gorgeous, simple, everything you need.

    You sleep in a hammock or on the floor and see by candlelight (and flashlight) at night. Oh - and walk to a separate bathroom/shower hut across the property, complete with a super eco-friendly composting toilet. Very cool!

    In addition to being a joy to talk to, Elisa and Alfredo also cooked us delicious food, gave us wonderful fresh mango and papaya in the morning, introduced us to café de olla, and even shared an impressive home-brewed stout (compliments to Elisa) with us. 

    We hope we'll see them again one day. So very grateful for their hospitality. Books they recommended checking out, in case you're heading their way anytime soon are:

    Diego de Landa, RELACION DE LAS COSAS DE YUCATAN 
    Sylvanus Morley, THE ANCIENT MAYA

    If you ever find yourself in the Tulum region, definitely make time for a trip to the ruins of the city of Cobá.

    You'll be tempted to skip it and just visit the more popular seaside Tulum ruins, but trust me, you'll be glad you made the trip.

    Less crowded, much more to see, lovely tree-lined streets.

    You can walk, rent bikes, or hire a bike taxi to get around. And here, unlike at Tulum, you're still allowed to climb the big pyramid, which (at its peak) is the highest point on the peninsula.

    On your way out of Cobá, ask the guy at the entrance for a ticket to Multun Há, which Eddie has declared his favorite of all the cenotes. (Another recommendation from Alfredo and Elisa - thank you!)

    What the heck is a cenote? It's a sinkhole, more or less, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes fresh, azure-blue groundwater below.

    The guy will sell you a ticket and give you a map. It's not far from the ruins.

    Once there, you'll walk down three stories of a wooden spiral staircase (into a hole in the ground, essentially) before it opens up to one of the coolest scenes you've seen. 

    Just wow. These picture don't even do it justice. 

    Rent a mask and snorkel and hang out for as long as you like. We practically had the place to ourselves. Amazing!

    Back in Tulum, over on the beach side, we hit up some pretty great spots for food.

    Zamas, with tables practically on the beach, was the perfect start the second half of our trip. Eddie got the famous huevos rancheros and I got fresh pressed green juice (with a base of chaya, somewhat similar to spinach), and fruit with homemade yogurt and granola. YUM!

    With full bellies, we headed to the Tulum ruins. I'd been to this part of México twice before and am embarrassed to say I never went to see Tulum. (Too busy sipping fruity frozen beverages by the sea. Shameful.)

    Tulum is beautiful, but it was somewhat painfully hot and crowded. If you're going, go early (or late) to miss the crowds and scorching sun. And probably best to hire a guide! They seem to have a wealth of information to share.

    Since leaving teaching, the details I once remembered about this gorgeous place have gone foggy. I really wish I'd read those books Alfredo and Elisa recommended before getting to México! Time to backtrack, I guess. :)

    We ended our trip to the ruins with a swim (Eddie did - I forgot my suit) and homemade popcicles of mango and coconut. Perfectly refreshing doesn't even begin to describe them! Ahhh.

    Our next stop was lunch at the fabulous Restaurare, a popular vegan restaurant we'd read about in the New York Times article. It did not disappoint! I got fresh pressed cucumber and mint juice and Eddie ordered a local craft beer called Akumal.

    The food was phenomenal: Mushroom ceviche, a gorgeous seasonal veggie dish, and loads and loads of mole. When in México!


    Our second Airbnb rental, a Treetop Cabana deep within the biosphere of Sian Ka'an, was the next stop.

    To get there, you've got to get to the very end of the main drag in Tulum, and then just keep on driving down a (seemingly endless) dirt road.

    For nearly an hour.

    It's pretty far out there. Which was exactly what we needed.


    The place was just perfect.

    Right on the beach.

    Beautiful views.

    Sea breeze.

    Warm water.

    Fresh fruit, corn tortillas, and limonadas every dang day.

    A private bathroom.

    AND you didn't even have to get out of bed to see the sunrise! 

    We were very happy.

    And yes, that had a lot to do with the fact that we were at this crazy gorgeous place on the beach.

    But also - a lot to do with the insanely lovely people we met there! Friends we hope we'll stay in touch with for many many years to come.

    Not to mention this little sweet pea.

    It makes my heart so happy to have been able to share our trip with them. We even all piled into our SUVs and trekked back into town to have a special night out together at the completely dreamy Posada Margarita.

    Hand rolled pasta, fish poached in sea water. Vino. Fresh greens. Pistachio gelato. It was heavenly! Go, you must. (Gluten? What gluten?)

    On the way back to Highway 307, our last morning in México, we stopped at Maya Tulum.

    We'd hoped to make it to one of their traditional temazcal (sweat lodge) ceremonies, but timing just didn't work out, unfortunately. Friends have told us it is a must.

    It'll have to wait until next time for us. Instead, we had breakfast.

    Watermelon juice for me, followed by more fresh fruit, homeade granola, and yogurt.

    With happy bellies and full hearts we hit the road for the Cancún Airport. Hard to say goodbye, so we'll just say until next time. And thank you

    Hasta la vista, México. Gracias por todo.

  • Real-Food Shamrock Shake

    Real-Food Shamrock Shake

    Shamrock Shake? Do you KNOW what's in those things?!?

    Seeking a healthier, real-food version of this seasonal treat? Gotcha covered!

    Try This:

    2 cups packed greens
    1 tablespoon moringa
    1 tablespoon hemp hearts
    1 tablespoon ground flax
    1 banana
    1 tablespoon chocolate chips
    2 drops Peppermint EO
    1 cup water (or non-dairy milk)
    Handful of ice, to taste

    Blend and enjoy!!

  • Watermelon Cooler

    Watermelon Cooler

    It's National Watermelon Month! Why not, right? (Thanks Hungry For Change!)

    Don't let that gigantic melon go to waste. Blend it up with a bit of ice and enjoy!

    It's one of my favorite drinks in the summer - and oh-so-easy!

    And did you know you can also blend up the rind? 

    Try adding a spash of lime juice (to taste), ice, and water for a refreshing concoction!

    Not only does the rind contain plenty of health-promoting and blood-building chlorophyll - it actually contains more of the amino acid citrulline (for a healthy heart, immune system, and beneficial in healing from >100 health conditions) than the pink flesh. #foodasmedicine, y'all.

  • Almond Butter Banana Smoothie

    Almond Butter Banana Smoothie

    Ran out of greens today, so it's a banana, almond butter, hemp, flax, chia kind of morning for me. Delish! Join me?

    Almond Butter Banana Smoothie

    Ingredients:

    1 banana
    1 tablespoon almond butter
    1 tablespoon hemp hearts I love Manitoba Harvest!
    1 tablespoon flaxmeal
    1 teaspoon chia seeds
    1/2 cup ice (about 4 pieces)
    1 cup rice milk

  • Avocado Peach Salad + Coconut Dill Dressing

    Avocado Peach Salad + Coconut Dill Dressing

    I loooove how easy it is to throw together a gourmet salad in the summer. Stock your kitchen with fresh produce, a big container of greens, and your favorite body-loving salad accessories - and you're golden!

    Avocado Peach Salad + Coconut Dill Dressing

    Salad:

    Plate full of mixed greens I love Organic Girl!
    1 peach, chopped into bite-size pieces

    1 avocado, diced
    1 tablespoon raw sunflower seeds

    Dressing:

    2 tablespoons coconut milk
    1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

    1 teaspoon EVOO
    1/2 teaspoon dill
    1 teaspoon raw honey
    sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

    Instructions: Fill your plate with greens. Sprinkle with peaches and avocado. In a separate bowl, mix together dressing ingredients until well-combined. Drizzle over salad. Garnish with sunflower seeds.

  • Anytime Acorn Squash

    Anytime Acorn Squash

    Here's qne of my favorite (easiest, most delicious, and perfect for winter weather) breakfasts!

    How to:

    1. Wash squash.

    2. Cut in half.

    3. Rub flesh sides with very light layer of coconut oil (or other high-heat-tolerant oil).

    4. Place (flesh sides down) on parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake at 385F for 45 mins.

    5. Slice yourself off a piece.

    6. Dash of sea salt, cracked black pepper, cinnamon, and drizzle of maple syrup. Perfection!

  • Blueberry Hemp Smoothie

    Blueberry Hemp Smoothie

    Here's another simple morning smoothie you can throw together in no time at all!

    Blueberry Hemp Smoothie

    Ingredients:
    1/2 cup (frozen) blueberries
    1/2 cup packed spinach
    1 tablespoon ground flax

    1 tablespoon hemp hearts
    1 tablespoon almond butter
    1/2 banana
    1/2 cup almond milk
    1/2 cup water

    Instructions: Blend everything together. Enjoy!

  • Food for a Cause: From Scratch is here!

    Food for a Cause: From Scratch is here!

    Oh, just one more reason I love the Academy of Culinary Nutrition!

    Their mission reaches beyond the "classroom" and beyond the kitchen.

    They're out to change lives and empower people to take back their health and create the lives they desire and deserve!

    What does this latest compilation, From Scratch, from the Culinary Nutrition Experts have to do with changing lives? 

    Well, for one: The recipes are downright dreamy: Gorgeous photos of food-for-healing style recipes, created by yours truly and a whole bunch of my extremely talented friends!

    But much more importantly, 100% of the proceeds (your donations!) will be donated to Kiva, an amazing lending program that helps people around the world kickstart their own businesses - and change their lives!

    This year's edition of the From Scratch Cookbook includes:

    • 35 plant-based, entirely gluten-free recipes
    • Options for vegan, dairy-free, and allergy folks
    • Culinary nutrition tips

    AND it's all available at pay-what-you-can pricing!

    But only through March 6th, 2015!

    So, come on! What are you waiting for?

    Jump on over here and grab your copy:

    I've already donated and downloaded my copy! (It's stellar!!)

    And THANK YOU for supporting this special project. It is truly an honor to be a part of this awesome community. 

  • Chewy Chocolate Cranberry Bites

    Chewy Chocolate Cranberry Bites

    Welp. We ran out of dark chocolate yesterday. Never a good thing! I like a piece of high quality dark chocolate from time to time. And my husband looks for it every night!

    After the success of the Wild Orange Power Bites at my essential oils class last week, I was really wanting to put together a chocolate-themed "bite" *for all the lovers* this Valentine's Day. (Or any day!)

    These are super easy, satisfying, and frankly, quite healthy! Throw them together today, pop them in the fridge, and enjoy throughout the week. Warning: They go fast! 

    Ingredients:
    1 cup almond butter
    1/4 cup dried cranberries
    1/4 cup sesame seeds
    1/4 cup hemp hearts
    1/4 cup maple syrup
    1/4 cup cacao nibs
    1/4 cup cocoa
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla
    1/8 cup chia seeds
    Several dashes cinnamon
    Pinch of sea salt

    Instructions:

    • Place all ingredients in mixer bowl.
    • Mix thoroughly, until well combined.
    • Shape into 1-inch balls.
    • Place in fridge to store.

    And enjoy!

    Happiest Valentine's Day to you and yours! Lots of love from me! 

    Katie
    XO

  • Warm Sweet Potato Spirals

    Warm Sweet Potato Spirals
    Ah, the sweet potato. Love it or leave it, this tuberous root veggie is a nutritional powerhouse, packed with tons of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory goodness. 


    But it's not just good for your body! Its sweet, beta-carotene orange flesh is rich in magnesium, which promotes relaxation, calmness, and a good mood, according to Psychology Today. 


    And don't be afraid to add healthy fats to the mix. Aside from being vital to keeping our bodies functioning optimally, healthy fats (such as olive oil and avocado), when eaten along with sweet potato, help the body to more efficiently absorb beta-carotene!


    De-stress and give your body some love with these simple Steamed Sweet Potato Spirals. This recipe is so super simple, and it works great as a nutrient-packed veggie side or a mini-meal. 


    Serves: 3
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Cook Time: 10 minutes
     
    ​Ingredients:
    Spiralizer (Or something similar. Even a simple veggie peeler will work.)
    1 medium-size sweet potato, peeled
    1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    1/2 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed (More to taste)
    Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
    1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds, to finish
    Avocado, sliced lengthwise (Optional)


    Instructions: 
    • ​Spiralize the sweet potato.
    • Fill the bottom of a large pot with 1/2 of water, place steamer basket in pot, and place sweet potato spirals in steamer basket. Steam on medium-to-high heat for 10 minutes, checking occasionally to ensure desired tenderness.
    • While sweet potato steams, mix EVOO and lemon juice in a separate dish.
    • Once steamed, remove spirals from steamer. Add EVOO-lemon juice mixture, tossing to lightly coat. Taste test: Add more oil and/or lemon juice as needed.
    • Finish with sea salt, pepper, and sesame seeds to taste.
    • Garnish with avocado slices.

    Enjoy!

  • Turn Up The Beet (Chips)

    Turn Up The Beet (Chips)

    This is the simplest recipe ever - and super delicious! Get yourself some beets and throw these together for a snack or a side. Easy peasy.

    Not nearly as good for you as fresh pressed juice, which is what I'd originally intended to do with my beets, but these babies are delicious. A fun treat from time to time!

    Ingredients:
    1 beet
    1 tablespoon healthy cooking oil
    sea salt and ground pepper

    Instructions:

    • Preheat the oven to 385F.
    • Use a mandolin slicer to slice very thin slices of beet.
    • Place the beet slices in a bowl, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of healthy cooking oil. I recommend an oil that can withstand high temperatures, like coconut oil (make sure the beet is room temperature, or the coconut oil will harden when it hits the cold flesh of the beet) or avocado oil.
    • Lightly sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, mixing to evenly distribute.
    • Place beets on parchment-lined baking sheet.
    • Bake for 20 minutes, flip each beet, and continue to back for about 10 minutes, checking frequently at the end to avoid burning!

    Enjoy!

  • Superfood Hot Chocolate

    Superfood Hot Chocolate

    It's another snowy morning here in Baltimore, but I'm warm already just thinking of how much I'm going to enjoy this totally awesome hot chocolate recipe I created a few weeks ago.

    MindBodyGreen is featuring the recipe on their website this week.

    It's all the good stuff. None of the bad!

    With warming spices like cinnamon, cacao, and just a pinch of cayenne, you'll be feeling cozy and energized in no time. Maca, coconut oil, and turmeric are few more of the powerhouse ingredients you'll find here. 

    Don't be put off by the turmeric! This one's a winner, my friends.

    When you're feeling like you need a little afternoon pick-me-up (power up!), this will do the trick. Works every time. 

    Whip one up this afternoon and let me know what you think!

  • Chocolate Chili & Cinnamon Cornbread

    Chocolate Chili & Cinnamon Cornbread

    Oh heeeey there!

    I didn't see you there behind my giant heaping bowl of chocolate chili and stack of cinnamon cornbread. You have got to try this one! (Recipe and cookbook giveaway coming up!)

    It's packed with plant-based power and it's super hearty, to satisfy all! Plus, it has chocolate in it! (What?) Yes. It's true!

    Especially as my days and nights grow busier with all the holiday happenings, I'm loving having my friend Michelle Pfennighaus' Winning at Kitchen, A Budget-Conscious Cookbook + Mealplans on hand.

    Michelle Pfennighaus is a fellow Holistic Health Coach and graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She suffered for years with debilitating IBS and anxiety, until finally healing herself through changes in diet and lifestyle. Now, she helps others do the same. (And you know I'm all about that!)

    Sure, I know how to make meal plans. And sure, I know how to cook up some delicious, nutritious food!

    But sometimes even a health coach just wants some new done-for-you ideas, to take the stress out of deciding what's for dinner -  and to add to the standard rotation! I'm keeping things interesting over here!

    So far, I've loved everything I've tried! 

    Another nice thing about the Winning at Kitchen recipes is that they're family-friendly! Michelle knows what it takes to get her little people to eat their veggies. In fact, she's kind of an expert at that. 

    We could all use a little more time in our days, right? And a little more money in our pockets! With Winning at Kitchen, you'll get:

    • 25+ recipes for breakfast, dinner, dessert and money-saving staples using real food ingredients.
    • 4 weeks of no-fuss dinnertime meal plans spelled out for you.
    • Recipes are dairy-free, gluten-free and pain-in-the-butt-free. Some vegetarian meals, some with meat.
    • You’ll get printable grocery shopping lists and make-life-easier prep instructions. Start right away, or whenever your schedule allows.
    • You’ll also get Michelle's comprehensive budget shopping guide. Do you know how to edit a recipe to be less pricey? Are you buying organic and wondering if it’s worth the cost? I’ve been honing my money-saving skills for decades and can’t wait to share my secrets with you!
    • AND you’ll have 24/7 access to Michelle's online forum for extra help, ingredient substitution questions, recipe exchanges, kid-friendly ideas and more. In other words – you’re not alone. That sort of support is something you don’t get with other cookbooks or meal plans out there!

    So what do you say? Wanna snag a copy for yourself? Click right here to buy your copy right now. And, while you're here, why not enter the free giveaway, too!?


    WIN YOUR OWN COPY
    Click HERE to enter!!


    And here's the recipe you've been waiting for:

    Chocolate Chili & Cinnamon Cornbread
    Makes 8 Servings
    Prep Time: 20 Minutes
    Cook Time: 1 Hour

    Ingredients:
    1 Tbl. coconut oil
    1 onion, minced
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 large sweet potato, diced
    3 large Swiss chard leaves, minced
    15-oz. can diced tomatoes
    1 quart chicken or vegetable stock I used vegetable.
    2 15-oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained

    2 15-oz. cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
    1 Tbl. cumin
    1 Tbl. cinnamon
    1 Tbl. chili powder
    2 Tbl. cocoa powder
    1/2 tsp. salt (or more, depending on how salty your stock is)
    Hot sauce We skipped the hot sauce.

    For Cornbread:
    1 cups cornmeal
    1 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. baking soda
    2 tsp. baking powder
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    1 egg, beaten I used a "chia" egg*. 
    1/4 cup coconut oil, plus more for pan

    1 1/2 cups unsweetened milk of choice I used homemade almond milk.
    2 Tbl. raw honey

    *1 chia egg is easily made by combining 1 Tbl. ground chia seeds (I use a spice/coffee grinder) with 1/4 cup warm water, mixing well (I use a coffee mug), and setting aside for about 10 minutes to fully gel. 

    Instructions:

    • In a large stock pot, heat coconut oil over medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic, and sweet potato. Mix and cook for about 5 minutes. Add Swiss chard, tomatoes, stock, beans, spices, and salt. Bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for 1 hour. Serve with hot sauce.
    • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400F. Great a 12-inch cast iron skillet or an 8-inch pan and set aside.
    • Combine all cornbread ingredients in a large bowl. Pour into prepared skillet or pan. Bake 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.

    And enjoy! It tastes amazing - and even better the next day!

    Love,
    Katie
    XO

  • Delicata What?

    Delicata What?

    Hey Loves!

    It's been far too long since we've connected here. Time to nip that in the bud! I've missed you!

    How are you? How's life going for you? 

    The last few months have been a bit of a wild (and awesome) ride for me. I've been TA-ing for the most wonderful Culinary Nutrition Expert program, teaching people how to use essential oils to improve their (and their families') lives, and working on a very cool group coaching program!! (Definitely keep an eye out for that one - because I'll be sharing all the details very soon!)

    Lots of good things! And lots to be grateful for. 

    But in the midst of a lot of professional goodness, I found that my self-care routine had been taking a bit of a back seat. (Raise your hand if that sounds familiar.) I know I'm not the only one who struggles with maintaining self-care and work-life balance! 

    It's an ongoing thing. Life is always gonna be busy, right? Things are always gonna happen.

    So what are we gonna do about that? Well, I've decided that I've got to stop putting myself last. And you know what's kind of awesome and amazing?

    I'm finding that my relationships, my body, and my business will ALL benefit from my re-commitment to self-care.

    You can't take care of others if you're not taking care of yourself.

    AmIright? So from here on out - and I'm putting it out into the interwebs for all of you to hear...and hold me accountable - I'm recommitting to doing what I need to do in order to love and respect myself AND be able to serve all of you best

    Let's start with food! Today, I've got a delicious delicata squash salad for you. It's seasonal, simple, and so delicious. If you haven't had delicata squash before, then you need to try this. It's a personal fave, inspired by a recipe a dear friend of mine sent me last year! Ready? Here we go:

    Super Simple Delicata Salad

    Ingredients:
    1 delicata squash
    1/2 tablespoon EVOO (or coconut oil)
    1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
    Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
    Leafy greens Enough to fill a plate. (I used mesclun and spinach.)
    1/4 cup of walnuts (roughly chopped)
    1 tablespoon of dried cranberries

    For salad dressing:
    1/2 tablespoon EVOO
    1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    1 teaspoon dijon mustard
    Splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice

    Instructions:

    • Wash squash and slice it in half long-ways. Scoop out the seeds. 
    • Slice squash into half-medallions (as pictured) and place in a medium-size bowl.
    • Add EVOO, maple syrup, and sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper. Toss to combine/lightly coat.
    • Place on parchment paper-lined cooking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 350F.
    • Place greens on plate, and sprinkle walnuts and cranberries on top.
    • In a small bowl, mix all salad dressing ingredients together.
    • When squash is finished baking, add it to the top of your salad. The warmth of the squash will warm your salad just the right amount, making it a nice salad for cold weather.
    • Drizzle with salad dressing, and enjoy!

    Let me know what you think! And take me up on this self-care challenge: Do at least one thing today to take care of yourself. What will it be? You are so worth it, my friend. XO

    Love,
    Katie

  • My New Favorite Pie & A Super Simple Crust!

    My New Favorite Pie & A Super Simple Crust!

    You guys!! If you haven't seen me posting about this raw Peach Cream Pie from my teacher, Meghan Telpner, then now's your chance to get in on the action!

    Right off, here's the link to this awesome creation. Meghan always brings her best to the table and lets real food shine! She's got so many great recipes on her website, so please bookmark her page.

    This one is a WINNER, I tell you. Go out and get the last of the summer's peaches (so sad!) and whip this one up for your friends and family. YUM.

    When I first made this pie (have made it twice in two weeks now), I made an unintentional fabulous discovery. I accidentally missed a couple of the crust ingredients when I went grocery shopping, so I had to improvise.

    Thanks to the google, I found a few different options. 

    But the one I want to share with you today was the easiest (and best) recipe ever for a raw pie crust. Thank you Shivie Cook!

    I will be using this all the time now. Think of the possibilities!

    Ingredients:
    1 cup Brazil nuts
    1/2 cup walnuts
    1 cup almonds
    4 tablespoons organic, cold-pressed coconut oil
    3 tablespoons organic coconut butter
    pinch of sea salt

    Instructions:

    • In a food processor, pulse Brazil nuts, walnuts, and almonds until finely ground. No big chunks.
    • Transfer to a bowl, and - using a fork - mix in coconut oil, coconut butter, and pinch of sea salt.
    • Transfer to pie dish and mold to even/desired thickness, carefully working it up the sides of the dish. Take your time.
    • Add desired contents, freeze (mine took a couple of hours to fully freeze), and voilà: Pie!

    Note: You can use any combination of nuts for this and can easily sub more coconut oil for the coconut butter, if you don't have it. So easy!

  • Miso Soup For The Soul

    Miso Soup For The Soul

    Who needs chicken soup when you've got miso?

    This satisfying concoction is ridiculously easy and soothingly delicious.

    But first, let's talk miso. What's so great about it?

    Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting soybeans with salt and the fungus Aspergillus oryzae, known in Japanese as kōjikin, and sometimes rice, barley, or other ingredients. 

    Because it's fermented, miso is a natural probiotic, which is super healthy for the gut

    The World's Healthiest Foods recommends choosing certified organic soy miso, since 90% of U.S. soybeans are genetically modified (GM) these days. The "certified organic" seal offers a lower risk of unwanted contaminants. No need to mess with the bad stuff.

    Ok, ready to get cooking? 

    Ingredients:
    2 teaspoons coconut oil
    1/2 onion, sliced thinly
    2 carrots, sliced thinly
    3 cups water
    2-3 tablespoons miso
    2 portabella mushrooms, halved and sliced thinly

    1 broccoli crown, chopped into bite-size pieces
    2 sheets nori, torn into bite-size pieces
    1 avocado, sliced
    sesame seeds, to taste


    Instructions:

    • In a medium-sized pot, heat oil over low-medium heat.
    • Add onions and sauté until just translucent.
    • Add carrots and sauté until just tender.
    • Add water, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
    • Add miso, mushrooms, and broccoli, and simmer for another 5 minutes.
    • Remove from heat. Stir in nori.
    • Add avocado, to taste.
    • Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

    Enjoy!

  • Banana Chia Pudding: Healthy, Delicious, Satisfying, Easy

    Banana Chia Pudding: Healthy, Delicious, Satisfying, Easy

    This stuff is GOOD.

    And so easy!

    It's sweet (from the banana and cinnamon) and satisfying, too (because of the chia). It really fills you up.

    Whip this up right after dinner, give yourself some digestion time, and then head back to the fridge (I usually give it about an hour) for the finished product. 

    Just blend together:

    1 banana
    2 tablespoons chia
    1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    1 cup non-diary milk

    Transfer to a bowl, pop it in the fridge to allow the chia to "gel" up, and grab it in an hour or so for the perfect dessert!

  • Kale Berry Goodness Smoothie

    Kale Berry Goodness Smoothie

    Another winner this summer:

    This Kale Berry Goodness smoothie! 

    To make, simply blend together:

    2 leaves of kale
    1/2 cup blueberries
    1 banana (Use less for less sweetness.)
    1 tablespoon hemp hearts
    1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
    1 - 2 cups non-dairy milk (Use less for thicker smoothies.)
    ice cubes, to taste

    Serves two!

  • {Chia} Blackberry-Pear Jam

    {Chia} Blackberry-Pear Jam

    Chia jam!

    This is one of my new favorite things.

    What's not to love?

    Blackberries 
    Pears
    Lemon juice
    Raw Honey
    Chia

    Let me assure you: There is nothing complicated or scary about making jam this way.

    It will only take a few minutes - and it might not last that much longer!

    I saw this recipe over at The Kitchn a couple of weeks ago. And it just so happened that I'd snagged a little carton of blackberries at the market the day before.

    You know what they say about synchronicity, right?

    It was simply meant to be. :)

    My version is only slightly different from the original.

    Here's what you'll need: 

    1 heaping cup of blackberries
    1/2 ripe pear, cut into small pieces (~1/2 inch cubes)
    2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
    1 tablespoon raw honey
    2 tablespoons chia seeds

    And click here for the instructions, straight from the source

    Enjoy!

  • Dreamy Super Greens Salad

    Dreamy Super Greens Salad

    I love a meal that lasts. The kind that you can twist and turn and use a bunch of different ways throughout the week. That peanut sauce I made yesterday, recipe over at Food52, is just that. And it's all real, whole food. Nothing processed. Just DIY goodness that loves you up. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to make it!

    Last night's soba + homemade peanut sauce extravaganza was a success!

    And today, I decided to use the leftover sauce as salad dressing. It worked perfectly! And thankfully, there's still a LOT left. (I can't get enough.) :) My favorite base these days? It's Organic Girl's  SUPER GREENS! mix.  

    Here's the beautiful salad I created today. Really simple, super nourishing, and delicious.

    Creating beautiful, nourishing food is a form of self-love and self-care. And when you do it for others, you're extending that same love and care to them.

    Plus: It's fun to get creative with your food!



    What are your favorite dishes to make that stretch throughout the week? Do double or triple duty? Take a minute to share below!

    Have a great rest of the week, guys!

    LOVE,
    Katie
    XO

  • Sharing My Story

    Sharing My Story

    I'm so honored to have been featured on the Institute for Integrative Nutrition's blog. I stumbled across this post this morning and felt like this was exactly the time to share it with you. 

    My journey to becoming a Holistic Health Coach began with sickness and hopelessness. Now, my life is so very different.

    And I want others to see that this is possible for them, too.

    Today is the first day of this awesome new class I'm taking, and I was asked to introduce myself by answering these two questions:

    1. What do you do? 
    2. Why do you do it?

    Here's what I said: 

    What Do I Do?: I support and empower women (and some pretty awesome men, too!) to heal and thrive naturally - so they can stop feeling stuck and do more of what they love in the world.  

    Why Do I Do It?: It's what I'm most passionate about. I believe everyone deserves to have the knowledge and support (this part is crucial) they need to make their dreams (health, happiness, career, relationships) a reality. I've been on the other side of thriving and happy, and it truly felt like there was no way I would be able to turn things around. Hopeless, depressed, stressed-out, frustrated, angry. But when I began to pay attention to the way I nourished my body, mind, and spirit, everything changed. Now, I'm exactly where I want to be and trust that there are more good things coming.

    Truly, the most important message here is that change is possible. And I am here to help. Sometimes asking for help is the one thing that turns everything else around. 

    Here's the original article, in case you want to check it out:


    Have an awesome rest of the day, guys!

    Much love!
    Katie

  • Smart Snacking For Sports {Review + A Coupon Code Especially For You}

    Smart Snacking For Sports {Review + A Coupon Code Especially For You}

    Photography by Marianne Rothbauer for Smart Snacking for Sports e-book. Shared with permission from Inspired Bodies

    Happy Saturday Loves!

    I've got something a little different - and really special - to share with you today. And it comes with a veeeery generous coupon code just for you! You've got today and tomorrow to take advantage of this offer - so jump on it!

    My friend and fellow Culinary Nutrition Expert Michelle Vodrazka has written an awesome new e-book called Smart Snacking for Sports. If you've been following along with me on Facebook or Instagram, you may have seen some posts, several months back, about the most delicious kale chips ever.

     

    At the time, I couldn't share the recipe with you. But now you can find it - along with so many other lip-smackin' good-for-you snacks - in Michelle's jam-packed e-book. 

    Smart Snacking for Sports contains 40 nutritious and delicious snack recipes to fuel your active lifestyle. All recipes are gluten-free and dairy-free and have even been kid-tested and approved! Here's what else you'll find inside:

    • Indicators whether a recipe is Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, Vegan or Vegetarian
    • Full page color photos of each recipe (by the incredibly talented Marianne Rothbauer)
    • The most Frequently Asked Questions about what to eat before, during, and after your workouts, and
    • Tips on how to fuel and hydrate for optimal performance

    So whether you're already working out/keeping active on the regular or just starting to get back into the action, there's something there for everyone.

    And with Michelle's super generous offer to extend a special coupon code to my readers through the end of the month, you can snag this baby for 60% off! This is a steal, guys! Just hop on over to her page, and use the code CNE2013 to save on the PDF version of the book

    And let me tell you, Michelle knows what she's talking about. Michelle is the owner and operator of both Inspired Bodies and Mommefit — a pre- and post-natal fitness company. She is a certified fitness, yoga, pilates, and spinning instructor, a certified sports nutritionist, and the proud mom of 4 children.

    Ok, so right about now you might be wondering about those beauties in the picture above. Those are Michelle's Maca Balls. These raw organic balls will re-energize your body and replenish your mineral stores after a hard workout. But be sure to pop them in the fridge after you make them or you might end up eating them all!

    MACA BALLS!
    GF, DF, EF, V, Veg


    Ingredients:
    3/4 c raw cacao powder
    1/4 c maca powder

    1 c walnuts
    1/2 c dates, soaked
    2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
    1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    1/2 tsp sea salt

    1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    2 tbsp organic agave nectar or maple syrup
    1/4 c shredded coconut, for rolling

    1/4 c toasted sesame seeds, for rolling
    1/4 c cacao powder, for rolling

    Instructions:

    1. Mix the first 9 ingredients in a food processor until a lightly textured dough forms.

    2. Shape into Ping-Pong sized balls then roll in either coconut, toasted sesame seeds or cacao powder (or make some of each).

    3. Chill in fridge for at least 30 minutes or store in the freezer to stop yourself from eating them all!


    Enjoy the weekend guys! Much love!

  • Build The Perfect Salad, A FREE Guide

    Build The Perfect Salad, A FREE Guide

    Hello Loves!

    Summer is in full swing here in Maryland, and with it comes a massive amount of fresh, seasonal, delicious produce. What better way to dress up a boring salad than to pack it with the fruits (often quite literally) of the season?

    In the Spring, my Nutrition School released its FREE "Spring Salads Guide". It's full of tons of awesome salad recipes from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition students and grads. And did I mention it's FREE?

    What's even better about it is that it's applicable throughout the year - not just in the Spring. :) 

    Click on any of the images below to grab it for yourself and your family - or share it with a friend.

    There's even a quick recipe for an anytime salad dressing. My tip? Add a touch of raw honey to the mix for a little extra sweetness.

    Enjoy! 


  • Avocado Pesto Pasta

    Avocado Pesto Pasta

    This Fourth Of July was lovely!

    Skipped the fireworks and booze and parties to enjoy a peaceful, beautiful day spent with some of my best friends + a homemade meal that satisfied the belly and the soul. All set to a backdrop of motown hits and an open appreciation for the stuff that really matters in life.

    Friendship. Love. Taking care of ourselves. And taking care of others.

    The star of the dinner table was this Avocado Pesto Pasta, the ultimate in summer comfort food. It was inspired by a longing for a pesto I made while at the Academy of Culinary Nutrition last year. Soooo good! Here's a little variation on the original recipe from my mentor Meghan Telpner. 

    Ingredients:
    1 package gluten-free pasta This one's my favorite!
    1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced
    1 teaspoon EVOO
    1 bunch basil leaves
    1/2 tablespoon tamari
    1/3 cup sunflower seeds
    1/3 cup olive oil
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 avocado
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1 1/2 cups tomatoes, sliced
    Sea salt and pepper, to taste

    Instructions:

    • Cook pasta according to package instructions.
    • Sauté mushrooms in 1 teaspoon EVOO, until tender. Set aside.
    • Place basil, tamari, sunflower seeds, 1/3 cup olive oil, minced garlic, avocado, and lemon juice in blender. Blend until smooth.
    • Drain and transfer pasta to a large bowl. 
    • Mix in mushrooms, tomatoes, and pesto until pasta is coated and all ingredients are evenly combined.
    • Add sea salt and pepper to taste.
    • Enjoy!

    So what was YOUR favorite Fourth Of July moment? I'd love to know! I hope you had some time to rest and soak up all the love around you. 

  • How's That Breakfast Working Out For You?

    How's That Breakfast Working Out For You?

    What's your breakfast situation?

    Coffee? Bagel? Cereal? Smoothie? 

    Whatever it is, I want you to ask yourself an important question:

    Is your breakfast living up to your expectations?

    I need my breakfast to be wholesome, clean, and satisfying. I need it to last me through till lunch time - because I don't always get a chance to eat before then. And I like it to be homemade, from scratch. That's how I know it's all good stuff - none of that chemical, "food product" business. 

    Real food is the way.

    And on that note, I want to share with you my latest favorite breakfast. More than any other breakfast, I find it lasts me through until lunch. And it's super delicous, too! 

    I also love that it only takes about three minutes to make a batch for the whole week!

    Do this tonight, and you'll be set for the week ahead. Let me know what you think.

    Ingredients:
    3 cups rolled oats
    1 cup puffed brown rice
    1/3 cup sunflower seeds
    1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
    1/3 cup hemp hearts
    1/4 cup chia seeds
    1/2 cup almond slivers
    1/2 cup dried cranberries
    1/3 cup dried coconut shreds
    1/2 cup raisins
    2 teaspoons cinnamon, which helps to regulate blood sugar and satisfies a sweet tooth, too!

    Instructions:
    Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. I like to put mine in a big container, put a lid on it, and shake to combine. 

    Feel free to add fresh fruit and mix and match the ingredients. Enjoy as you would cereal: with milk of your choosing. I'm partial to homemade almond milk. But that's just me. 

    And that's it! Simple, clean, and deliciously satisfying. Hope you love it! 

  • Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

    Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

    Nom nom nom.

    I feel super lucky to live right next door to an awesome year-round Farmers Market. (It's part of why we chose this neighborhood in the first place!) But the Spring and Summer months are especially exciting! So many fresh, vibrant colors to take in - and recipes to plan!

    This weekend I put together a little Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble, based on my many recreations of Meghan Telpner's crumble - from her must-have (seriously, you must have it) book UnDiet

    It was my first time using rhubarb - and it was sooo good! I picked up the rhubarb on a whim last week at the market. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it, but it was too beautiful to pass by. Its super tart taste pairs perfectly with the sweetness of fresh strawberries.

    Ingredients:

    For the filling:
    Two cups strawberries, quartered

    Two cups rhubarb, sliced into half-inch thick slices 
    1/4 cup raw honey
    3/4 tablespoon arrowroot starch

    For the crumble:
    1/2 cup sprouted spelt flour
    3/4 cup rolled oats
    1/2 cup slivered almonds
    1/4 cup coconut oil, just melted
    1/4 cup raw honey, just melted
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon allspice


    Instructions:

    • Preheat the oven to 350F.
    • In a medium-sized bowl, combine the ingredients for the filling.
    • In a second, medium-sized bowl, combine the ingredients for the crumble, mixing well to combine.
    • Pour the filling layer into an oven-safe baking dish, to create the first layer of the dish.
    • Evenly sprinkle the crumble over the filling, creating the second layer of the dish.
    • Bake for 40-45 minutes, until slightly golden on top and the layer of fruit bubbles below.

    Enjoy!

  • Culinary Nutrition + Lemon Lentil Veg Soup

    Culinary Nutrition + Lemon Lentil Veg Soup

    I was not a natural in the kitchen.

    I loved watching the Food Network and eating amazing food! But it used to be that my husband's asking me to take care of dinner (a rare occasion, since he was the only one who could cook in our relationship) would be an anxiety-provoking experience.

    What to make?
    How to make it?
    How long will it take?
    What will it taste like?!
    Can't you just make it? Pleeease?

    Fortunately, that's no longer an issue. In fact, now I probably take care of dinner just as often as he does - if not more!

    What changed? 

    My first attempts at cooking were the result of changing the way I ate - in order to heal myself and get on with my life. It worked! But the food wasn't always that impressive. It tasted good to me, but there was very little rhyme or reason behind the "recipes" (if you could even call them that!). 

    Now, things are very different.

    It's easy for me to make dinner. I'm more-than-comfortable in the kitchen. I love it, actually! I'm even confidently creating my own recipes. (It's crrrazy dude!)

    I knew a lot about nutrition, but I'd wanted to up my game (take it to the next level) and finally learn how to prepare awesome food for myself, my family, and my coaching practice

    From the moment I saw Meghan's Culinary Nutrition Expert program, I knew I had to do it.

    I just had a sense that I needed that program - personally and professionaly. 

    And I was right. But what I got so far exceeded my expectations.

    It's an information-packed, challenging-but-totally-worth-it, life-changing course.

    And if you're thinking about going for it this time around, then do yourself (and your family, friends, and clients) a favor - and take the leap!

    Today is the day, guys. Life's too short not to do what you love. 

    Here's a peak at what's on the other side:

    • Real time pre-recorded workshop videos
    • Accompanying course materials (resources + recipes)
    • Weekly live-stream office hours with Meghan (includes demonstrations and Q&A)
    • Reading materials
    • Meghan’s business coaching workshop
    • Goal setting workshops
    • Home study & cooking assignments

    Use my link to learn more - and tell them I sent ya! 


    And in the meantime, give this recipe a shot! It's a super easy-and-delicious Lemon Lentil Vegetable Soup, and it's the "Meghan recipe" I've made and remade most often.

    Ingredients:
    1 tablespoon coconut oil (or olive oil)
    1 medium (average-sized) onion, diced
    4 carrots, sliced
    5 celery stalks, sliced
    3/4 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained*
    3/4 cup green lentils, rinsed and drained
    3-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    6 cups water
    1 teaspoon sea salt (more to taste)
    1/2 teaspoon cayenne (more to taste) 
    1/2 avocado (garnish)
    * Or just use all red or all all green lentils.

    Instructions:
    Heat oil over low-medium heat. Sauté onions until just translucent. Add carrots, celery, lentils, lemon juice, water, sea salt, and cayenne. Cover, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. (I've found that you'll need a little longer if you're using green lentils.) Add avocado as garnish. It's such a creamy, delicious addition!

    Notes: I also love adding broccoli (2 cups, chopped up small) and 2-3 cups of sliced-up greens (spinach, mesclun, kale) at the end. I'll turn off the heat, mix in the broccoli and greens, and then re-cover to let the hot soup cook the broccoli and greens with no added heat. Hope you love it!

    And, if you'd like to see the original recipe (not much different from what you see here), you can find it on Meghan's page: http://bit.ly/1o5Vq19

  • Easy Chickpea & Quinoa Salad (Vegan & Gluten-Free!)

    Easy Chickpea & Quinoa Salad (Vegan & Gluten-Free!)

    Whip up this super easy, light-yet-satisfying lunch: Chickpea & Quinoa Salad! It's plant-based, vegan, and gluten-free. Aaand it's delish. 

    Ingredients:
    2 cups quinoa (cooked)*
    1 can chickpeas
    1/2 cup diced red onion
    2 tablespoons dried cranberries, unsweetened
    1 tablespoon dijon mustard
    1 tablespoon EVOO
    1/2 teaspoon curry powder
    2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
    Juice of 1 lemon
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

    Directions:

    • Combine all ingredients.
    • Allow to sit for 1-2 hours, or enjoy immediately.



    *Making quinoa is super easy and fast! To cook quinoa, rinse 1 cup of quinoa until water runs clear. Combine rinsed quinoa and 1.5 cups of water in a pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool 5-10 minutes. 

  • How To Stay Healthy + Happy On Your Vacation

    How To Stay Healthy + Happy On Your Vacation

    Summer vacation is coming up - and you've been feeling pretty good lately. You're excited about the trips you've got planned, but kinda nervous, too.

    Why? You're worried about how you're going to feel and what's going to happen.

    Will you be able to maintain your healthy habits? The ones that are making you feel happier and healthier than ever before?

    Or will things just fall apart? The last thing you want is to feel like crap on your awesome vacation. Right?

    If you're like me, you're just not willing to compromise anymore. It took me a good long time feel better, and I know what did it. In a nutshell? Good food and good living. 

    Now, I'm in a really good place. And part of that means not missing out on the things I love. Like packing up and going on adventures!

    I caught the travel bug a loooong time ago. Finding ways to immerse myself in and among new places, cultures, people (and food!) is a super important part of my life. It just takes a little extra planning now.

    So today I'm going to share with you my best tips for traveling. (And staying happy and healthy along the way!) 

    • Do your research. Get on the google - and check out the situation ahead of time. I like to search for "best vegan restaurants" for wherever I'm headed. Websites like www.happycow.netwww.vegginoutandabout.com, and www.urbanspoon.com are some of my favorites. And a search for the closest Whole Foods Market is always a must. Many times you'll find restaurants that are "vegan friendly" or "vegetarian friendly". You'd be surprised at how many good restaurants are willing to whip you up something special upon request.
    • Pack ahead. Sometimes you'll find yourself heading into a bit of a "food desert" when it comes to high quality food options. (You'll know this because you've done your research.) In such cases, it's a great idea to stock up on healthy snacks beforehand. I like to bring organic dry foods, like nuts, seeds, fruit, seaweed, dark chocolate, granola, and tea. Packing ahead gives you a sense of control and comfort going into a somewhat questionable food experience - and allows you to supplement accordingly.
    • Bring a natural first aid kit. I like to bring along a few key items to help keep my body healthy and strong while I'm away. Teas like echinacea + elderberry (for immune support) and ginger (to calm an upset stomach) are great. I also bring along essential oils - and am really in love my essential oils. (Email me to learn more about my favorite oils!)
    • Stay hydrated. If you're like me, you do a lot of walking and exploring on your trips. Always have a water bottle on hand to make sure you're staying well-hydrated. I just take mine through security (empty, of course) and fill up at a water fountain on the other side. Easy. 
    • Find your people. It seems like it's getting easier and easier to find likeminded people while your traveling. I find them at health food stores, yoga studios, Whole Foods Market - and beyond. They're great resources for places you'd probably love to check out, whether for food or other activities, while you're visiting.
    • Choose your travel companions wisely. It always helps to surround yourself with people who understand you and support you. This doesn't mean they have to do everything the same way you do! They just need to be understanding and supportive when you need to do things a certain way. If they question your choices (skipping the deep dish pizza, for example, or choosing not to drink alcohol), simply explain that you feel really great and don't want to risk feeling sick on this awesome vacation! It's just not worth it. That being said, there will be times that you feel you MUST eat or drink something that you normally would avoid. Go with your gut. Sometimes a little slip is worth it. Other times? Not so much.

    The whole point is to enjoy the experience. Taking the time to explore your options before and during your trip makes things a whole lot easier on you - and ensures that you'll be healthy and happy enough to get the most out of it. Until the next one!

    Do you have other tips to add? Share them in the comments!

    And in the meantime, here's to your happy, healthy vacation ahead!

    LOVE,
    Katie
    XO

  • Taco Night Done Right

    Taco Night Done Right

    Happy Earth Day, guys! Wondering how else you can give Mother Earth a little more love this year?

    I’ve got the perfect thing for you: A totally plant-based, super easy and delicious recipe that you can throw together in minutes. This one is always a winner at our house.

    Now, you might be wondering what this has to do with Earth Day. Actually, quite a lot. According to the Environmental Working Group:

    Americans’ appetite for meat and dairy – billions of pounds a year from billions of animals – takes a toll on our health, the environment, climate and animal welfare. Producing all this meat and dairy requires large amounts of pesticides, chemical fertilizer, fuel, feed and water. It also generates greenhouse gases and large amounts of toxic manure and wastewater that pollute groundwater, rivers, streams and, ultimately, the ocean. In addition, eating large quantities of beef and processed meats increases your exposure to toxins and is linked to higher rates of health problems, including heart disease, cancer and obesity.

    So, if you want to give your mother a little extra love this year, consider taking a look at the foods you consume - and where they come from.

    A plant-based diet (based mainly on eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) is generally more Earth-friendly than the alternative. Bonus points for paying attention to how far your food has to travel to get to your table. This is super important. Local is best!

    Here's a recipe you can feel good about - that loves you back and is easy to put together fast! 

    Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos

    Ingredients:

    The Filling:
    3 cups sweet potato, diced small

    1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
    1 can corn, drained
    2 avocados, diced
    1/2 cup red onion, diced small

    The Dressing:
    4 tbsp lemon juice

    2 tbsp olive oil
    2 tbsp raw honey (or use agave or maple syrup if you prefer)
    1/2 tsp ground cumin
    1/2 tsp ground cayenne
    1 tsp sea salt

    Tortillas:
    We like to use soft, organic corn tortillas for our tacos.

    Instructions:

    • To steam diced sweet potato, add 1/2 inch of water to the bottom of a medium/large pot, sit steamer basket in the pot, and add sweet potato. Steam, covered, on medium/high heat until tender. (About ten minutes.)
    • While the sweet potato is steaming, place black beans, corn, avocados, and onions in a large bowl. Once tender, add the diced sweet potato.
    • In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, raw honey, cumin, cayenne, and sea salt until well combined.
    • Pour dressing over filling, and mix gently to combine well.

    We use a cast iron pan to warm our tortillas. Low-to-medium heat does the trick. The tortillas will soften quickly. Give them a flip to be sure they've warmed throughout. Add as much filling as you like - and enjoy!

    So, what do you think? Easy enough, right? And it does not disappoint. I would love to know what you think – and I’d love to hear what your go-to healthy meal is. Let me know in the comments below!

  • My Real Food Philosophy

    My Real Food Philosophy

    Food should be real.

    It should be whole and unprocessed, and it should come from the earth. No GMOs. No laboratories. No complicated labels or ingredients. Less is more.

    Grow your own food. If you can’t – find someone who can, naturally. Go to the farm. Meet the farmers. Understand and appreciate the process.

    Eat locally, seasonally, and organic – as much as possible. Eat mindfully and gratefully. Eat with loved ones and new friends. Remove stress from the equation. Eat slowly and peacefully.

    Cook your own food – and do so often. Let the food itself shine through. Appreciate the colors, shapes, smells, and tastes.

    Enjoy your food. Make it beautiful. Take your time.

    Drink water. Skip the coffee. 

    Stick with plants whenever possible. And change things up. Variety is the spice of life.

    Eat animals? Do so consciously – minus the cages, chemicals, drugs, and pain. Choose wisely and with compassion.

    Consider the process. Consider the environment. Consider your health.

    What works for one person may not work for another. Let your body be your guide.

    The healing power of food is undeniable. Got a story? Let’s hear it.

    Learn as much as you can – and keep learning. Share what you’ve learned with others.

    Read the labels. Do your homework. Don’t fall for the advertising. Don’t turn a blind eye. Don’t forget.

    If you know better, do better. Some folks don’t know better. Don’t judge. If you can, help them understand. Empower them.



    If I had to sum up my philosophy *in three words*, I'd say they'd be REAL, FRESH, and PLANT-BASED. What about you?

  • Get-Happy Ginger Cookies: Easy, Gluten-Free, & Plant-Based!

    Get-Happy Ginger Cookies: Easy, Gluten-Free, & Plant-Based!



    SUPER EXCITED to have
    my new Get-Happy Ginger Cookies on MindBodyGreen today!

    These are super easy to throw together - and they're entirely plant-based AND gluten-free. Happy bellies all around! 

    Snag the recipe HERE.

    Let me know what ya think!

    LOVE,
    Katie
    XO

  • *April Freebie* Whole Grains & Beans: How To Pick, Prep, & Cook Them

    *April Freebie* Whole Grains & Beans: How To Pick, Prep, & Cook Them

    Hey Guys!

    If you've been following along for the last few months, you may have noticed I've been creating a series of *Health Coach Approved* freebies.

    This month's freebie is a guide to Whole Grains & Beans: How To Pick, Prep, & Cook Them

    It's a perfect little quick-reference tool for you if you've ever asked yourself:

    "Um, is this gluten-free?" OR
    "How long should I soak these for?" OR
    "How much water should I use?" AND
    "Is there ANYTHING AT ALL I can do to reduce the flatulence factor?" (There is!)

    Use this link to get your copy!
    http://katiehussong.com/goodandfree 

    LOVE,
    Katie

  • How To Make The Most Of Your Lunch Break

    How To Make The Most Of Your Lunch Break

    On Sundays the atrium is a quiet place. Light fills the open space, flowing in from above and all around, creating a peaceful calm that’s difficult to find in a busy city hospital.

    It’s not often I sit here on my lunch break. Because most days aren’t like Sundays.

    When I first started working here, I’d go to the cafeteria every day. I’d eat with my wonderful preceptor – and we’d talk about work, life, and recipes. She was a model of a nurse. Honest, full of integrity, and genuinely concerned with the health of her patients. I was lucky to have her.

    After orientation, when I was on my own, I’d often allow myself fifteen minutes of my break to catch up on charting. Something my preceptor highly discouraged.

    This is your break time. Get faster/better at keeping up – or catch up later. Take this time for you.

    She was right.

    Now that I no longer need to catch up on my lunch break (it just comes with practice), I seek a quiet spot. An empty room, a tiny green space outside (when it’s warm), or the break room (when it’s not full).

    I know what I need to slow my heart rate, breathe, and disconnect for those precious 45 minutes. Maybe I’ll catch up on a few personal emails. Call my love. Or listen to an audiobook. I’ll steep a cup of peppermint tea, listen to a favorite song, or take a walk outside – if only for a few minutes. 

    This break is important. Essential. I’ve been saying for years that we should have naptime built into our schedules. Imagine how much more focused, productive, and positive the rest of the workday would be!

    Even when I’m working from home, I need this midday pause. A mindful lunch, a music break, a moment to look around and appreciate the world and what I’ve got. 

    You’re out there doing awesome work in the world. You’re driven, passionate, determined. So don’t forget to stop and breathe. And eat. And take care of yourself. So you can keep doing what you do best. 

    Need some ideas to make the most of your break time? 

    1. Stop doing work. Leave your workspace. And minimize screen time.

    2. Take several slow breaths – in your nose for five seconds, out your mouth for five seconds – before you eat.

    3. Eat real food, preferably the kind you made at home.

    4. Eat mindfully. Give thanks for your food. Chew it well. And put your fork down between bites.

    5. If possible, go outside. Go for a walk in the sunshine.

    6. Do something that relaxes you. Get some music therapy. Today I can’t stop listening to this song. Or make yourself a cup of tea. (I love peppermint because it's energizing.)

    7. Make new friends. Eat lunch or have a conversation with someone you haven’t before. You might be surprised at what you’ll learn.

    8. Catch up with people you love with a quick phone call, message, or email.

    9. Read a book. Or listen to one.

    10. If time allows, squeeze in a little shut-eye or simply lie down and breathe for a few minutes.


    OVER TO YOU


    The underlying message here is to take this time for you.
    So how do you make the most of your lunch break?
    And is there one thing you'd like to try from the list above?  

    LOVE,
    Katie
    XO

  • Creamy Red Bell Pepper Sauce

    Creamy Red Bell Pepper Sauce

    Creamy Red Bell Pepper Sauce With A Kick

    Ingredients:

    1 teaspoon coconut oil
    1 carrot, diced
    1 small potato, diced
    1 red bell pepper, diced
    1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
    1/8 teaspoon cayenne
    1/2 teaspoon sea salt 
    1 cup water
    Freshly ground black pepper

    Instructions:

    • Melt coconut oil in medium-sized pot over medium heat.
    • Add carrot, red bell pepper, and potato. Stir.
    • Stir in smoked paprika, cayenne, and sea salt.
    • Sauté until warmed throughout. 
    • Add water and continue to allow veggies to cook until just soft. 
    • Remove from heat and pour into blender. 
    • Blend until smooth.
    • Add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

    This made enough to coat 2 1/2 cups of my favorite 100% organic brown rice pasta in creamy deliciousness. Perfect as a side - or a meal!

    Enjoy!

    LOVE,
    Katie
    XO

  • Recipe! Irish Soda Bread Bites

    Recipe! Irish Soda Bread Bites

    Hellooo deliciousness! 

    Recipe: Irish Soda Bread Bites

    This one is really special! Obviously, it's perfect for celebrating St. Paddy's day - but it's also near and dear to my heart because it comes from one of my amazingly talented friends, Kathleen Bradley, CPC. Keep an eye on her! She's doing awesome things. 

    Ingredients:

    1/3 cup honey
    1/4 cup almond milk
    1/2 cup rolled oats, plus 1 cup
    1 TSP caraway seeds, plus 1 TBL
    1/2 cup coarsely ground nut "flour"
    1/2 cup raisins

    Instructions:
    In a small saucepan, mix and warm (but do not boil) honey and almond milk.  Set aside.  In food processor, pulse 1/2 cup rolled oats and 1 TSP caraway seeds until coarsely fine.  Pour onto plate and set aside.  In same food processor, add 1 cup rolled oats, 1 TBL caraway seeds, nut flour and raisins.  Process until a ground mixture forms.  Add to honey/milk in saucepan, stir.  With moist hands, roll 1 TBL portions into balls; then roll in dry, plated oat/seed mixture.  Store in fridge to firm.  



    LOVE,
    Katie
    XO

  • Recipe Review: Avocado Chocolate Mousse

    Recipe Review: Avocado Chocolate Mousse

    This right here is seriously good stuff.
    Chocolate mousse!
    Made out of avocados!!
    Um, yes please.

    I've been seeing these recipes pop up from time to time - but hadn't gotten around to trying any yet. 

    Until last night. When, as fate would have it, we had an unusually large perfectly ripe avocado - but had already eaten dinner. What to do?!

    Make mousse, of course. 

    That's right, dessert that's actually good for you.

    Let's review:

    Raw Cacao is anti-bacterial, immune supportive, an antioxidant, and cardiovascular system-friendly.

    Raw Honey is anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial, a powerful antioxidant, and immune-boosting.

    Avocados is a source of heart healthy fat, great plant-based protein option, rich in Vitamin A, and anti-inflammatory (Vitamins C and E, carotenoids, selenium, zinc, phytosterols, and omega-3).

    The Kitchn to the rescue! Recipe? Right over HERE


    NOTE: I used raw honey (you know how I feel about raw honey, right?) instead of raw coconut nectar. It's what I had on hand. Aaand it's the greatest. I also used my KitchenAid mixer instead of a food processor - just mixed everything together and popped it in the fridge. Worked beautifully!

  • {Recipe} Chocolate Pecan Cookies (Vegan + GF)

    {Recipe} Chocolate Pecan Cookies (Vegan + GF)

    Feeling the LOVE over at MindBodyGreen today!
    Grab the full recipe HERE.  

    Addictive {Chocolate Pecan Cookies} #vegan #plantbased #glutenfree #culinarynutrition @MindBodyGreen pic.twitter.com/bURKHf9A1v

    — Katie Hussong (@KatieHussong) February 13, 2014

  • Calling Out Sick + February Freebie

    Calling Out Sick + February Freebie

    My husband rarely gets sick. 

    We always say he's got the Brazilian GI tract of steel. He can eat or drink just about anything and feel just peachy in the AM. Meanwhile, the rest of us are lying listlessly on the couch, wishing we could take (give?) it all back.

    Somtimes he comes down with a little cough+sneezing fit. Says he feels like hell for a few hours. And next thing you know? Good as new!

    He says it's because of how he grew up. None of this fussing over bacteria we seem to have here. Cheese? Oh, we leave that out on the counter. Pot of beans on the stovetop? Oh, we let that sit out all night. It's fine. 

    Meanwhile, we're sanitizing, spraying, and wiping everything down over here. Covering things with saran wrap and putting everything in the fridge to keep the bacteria at bay. Question any of this, by the way, and my dad will tell you all about his days in the Microbiology Lab.

    Sigh.

    This week was a little different. He was a mucousy, runny-nosed, aching-all-over sneezing mess. Poor buddy. In bed for the good part of several days.

    Now that's saying something! He was very much no bueno.

    Aaand while I felt perfectly fantastic during his bout with whatever that was (making him tea and good food, taking care of him, and trying to get him to use the dang neti pot already!), it is with great sadness that I write to you this morning.

    From the Kleenex-covered confines of my bed.

    Why? Had to call out sick today - to let my body take care of itself and get better. (Getting there, I think!) But UGH.

    Isn't it the worst?

    Since I've been all up in the natural remedies this week, I thought it'd be the perfect time to put together a freebie resource for you guys. 

    Enter the... 

    When it comes to treating cold and flu viruses (of which there are many many strands), I like the idea of working with my body, instead of against it. AKA, suppressing the symptoms.

    The goal here is to pump up the immune system. So it can take care of the bugs faster.

    There's simply not a whole lot of evidence out there to suggest that over-the-counter meds do much anyway. And frankly, ever since I read that FoodBabe article about Nyquil (and the like), I question the contents of such products.

    I'm just not a fan of artificial sugars, artificial colors, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or chemical preservatives. And what the heck are they doing in our "medicine"?

    Meh.

    I've got big things coming up and I need to be healthy darn it. Heading to Haiti in about a week to do some volunteer work. Aaand working on some very cool new offerings for YOU! 

    I love love love my one-on-one coaching clients! But it's time people had more options.

    Over the last year, I've had a bunch of people ask about group programs. And cooking classes. And a few who've asked for a la carte sessions. A little extra support goes a long way. 

    It's good to have options.

    I don't have all the details worked out just yet, but there's definitely a group program in the works. AND a 21-day option for folks of the more get-results-fast persuasion. Thinking a springtime debut sounds about right. Stay tuned for updates...

    For now, I'm heading back to bed.

    SO MUCH LOVE
    & GRATITUDE,
    Katie
    XO

    P.S. Let's build our anticold+flu arsenal together! Tell me YOUR go-to natural cold and flu remedy OR tell me which new remedy you'll be adding to the mix.

  • Peanut Butter Cinna-Banana-Sparugula Smoothie. Easy Peasy.

    Peanut Butter Cinna-Banana-Sparugula Smoothie. Easy Peasy.

    Haven't been doing a lot of green smoothies lately. How 'bout you guys? What is easily a once-a-day routine in the warmer months just doesn't come very naturally to me now . It's too coooooold. 

    Instead, I wrap myself in thick scarves and wool sweaters (yes, plural) and hunker down with pots and pots of endless tea to keep warm. 

    Ok, maybe I'm a bit of a baby about it. 

    Time to woman up and eat my greens. Because there does come a time, I've found, when your body starts to scream for greens. 

    My solution? Cinnamon. It's delicious, warming, sweet, and (bonus!) amazing for stabilizing blood sugar.

    This recipe is too easy. 

    Just put:

    • one banana
    • two handfuls of greens I used spinach and arugula.
    • one tablespoon raw peanut butter 
    • a generous dash of cinnamon
    • and one cup of nut/seed milk
    ...in your favorite blender, blend it up, and voilà! Deliciousness.

    And if you're up for yet another (not tea) beverage this week, head over to my friend Jaclyn's page to snag her Nut-Free Cinnamon Sesame Shake. It's killer.  

    Your turn! What's your favorite way to warm up? 

    Katie
    XO 
  • Morning Pages

    Morning Pages

    Cold, rainy, gray day. 

    So what'd I do? I made myself a cup of turmeric tea, threw an acorn squash in the oven, lit a bunch of candles, and pulled out my journal. 

    Morning pages. It's something I discovered in nutrition school. Sit and write. Pen to paper. (Before I check my cell phone or open my laptop.) 

    First, whatever comes to mind - how I'm feeling, what I'm obsessing over, what I want, what I need, what's good and bad.

    Next, gratitudes. Three things. Today I wrote: 

    • a warm, dry, loving home
    • time and space to create
    • this right now; light and love and excitement
    I keep it simple. After that there may be more to get out. Or maybe not. I keep it simple. The whole thing takes about 15 minutes.
     
    This simple practice keeps me grounded and grateful, but also dreaming and creative. Do you do your own morning pages? Or have a special morning ritual of some sort? Share with me in the comments below! I'd love to hear about it.

    Katie
    XO 
  • Sharing the Curried Butternut Squash & Lentil Soup LOVE

    Loves!

    Sooo excited and grateful to see the very awesome Be Well By Dr. Lipman (I'm a big fan!) shared my Curried Butternut Squash & Lentil Soup recipe on twitter today! Have you tried it yet? It really is perfect for a cold day. 

    Check out the full recipe over on MindBodyGreen

    LOVE,
    Katie
    XO 

  • It's Really NOT All About The Vegetables

    It's Really NOT All About The Vegetables

    Health Coaching the very natural and obvious answer to a question I'd been asking myelf for years.

    How can I do what I love and make a meaningful difference in the world?

    My personal struggle with intense gastrointestinal problems and debilitating asthma led me, quite unexpectedly, to a plant-based diet. To my great amazement, I healed what doctors and pharmaceuticals had been unable to heal - simply by changing the way I ate. 

    I became a very loud advocate for the whole food, plant-based diet. I began to explore other natural healing modalities: yoga, in particular, and massage, herbal supplements, essential oils, meditation. The list goes on.

    This very "give me the facts" and "show me the science" type of gal now fully and completely believes in the power of integrative health. And in questioning what's best for me, instead of accepting what I'm told at face value - or because it's just "how things are". Eastern and western. Alternative and conventional. Yin and yang. One is simply incomplete without the other.

    So I invested in myself - went back to school (more than once) and started my health coaching practice. The journey has been amazing. But there is so much more to this story.

    What I understand now, more than ever before, is that there is no one right way to heal your body - or live your best life, for that matter. Every body - every person - is different. 

    There's no question in my mind that the whole foods, plant-based diet is a very healing diet. But that doesn't necessarily mean you have to eat that way forever. Will plants always make up the majority of my diet? Absolutely! No question.

    But what's most important is that we pay attention to what our bodies need. What our hearts want. What lights us up and satisfies our souls. Makes us come alive. And gives us peace. 

    And that, dear friends, is what lights me up right now.

    It's not about how many vegetables I eat. It's about being true to myself and living my vision - more and more each day. 

    So what does my body need? Clean, nourishing foods, a vigorous yoga practice, and the human touch. What does my heart want? Deep connection, love, and friendship. And what gives me peace? Feeling good about what I'm putting into the world and knowing I'm making a difference.

    And now for an invitation.

    In the comments below, tell me. What's it all about for you? Why do you choose to take care of yourself - mind, body, and spirit? I'm guessing there's more to it than vegetables.

    Lots and lots of love, from me to you. XO

    Join me for more love notes.
    Find me on Facebook.
    Reach out to me here

  • POWER UP BREAKFAST {MAKE YOUR OWN}

    POWER UP BREAKFAST {MAKE YOUR OWN}

    Think you don't have time for breakfast? Think again. This is the easiest breakfast to throw together just before you go to bed - and have waiting for you in the morning! Just grab it and go. No cooking. Minimal prep. Five minutes and you're done. 

    It's so simple! Mix and match grains, fruits, and spices to keep things seasonal or change things up whenever you like. Totally grateful to the FoodBabe for turning me on to this. I ate it straight from the fridge this morning. Yum. I used to do this with just oat groats, buckwheat groats, water, and a dash of cinammon, which was great - but I really loved the combination here. Here's what I used in my mix. Try this tonight:


    1/4 cup oat groats rinsed and drained
    1/4 cup steel cut oats
    1 teaspoon chia seeds
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1 tablespoon raisins unsweetened
    1/2 cup homemade almond milk 
     half an apple, diced small

    • place all ingredients in a glass or jar
    • refrigerate overnight
    • mix and enjoy the next morning 

    Love it? Let me know in the comments. 
    XO 

  • ALMOND MILK {MAKE YOUR OWN}

    ALMOND MILK {MAKE YOUR OWN}

    The world of wellness can be pretty overwhelming.

    I'm here to make it less about stress, calories, and scales - and more about living, growing, and thriving. To that end, I'm thinking it might be time for a little make your own magic.

    Through a new series I'm calling Make Your Own, I'm bringing this wonderful world to you. Sharing my journey, the things I'm learning along the way, and - most importantly - helping to ease you into a life of greater health and happiness. Why? So you can thrive. So you can live. So you can do everything you want to do.

    One of the most important elements of living well is understanding that how we choose to fuel our lives is ultimately up to us. Too much is missed in school, in the media, in the textbooks - about the power of plant-based nutrition. And there is still so much to learn. 

    This one goes out to all my health-conscious peeps trying to make better choices and buy responsibly. You've heard about the dangers of consuming conventional milk, and you want to do better for yourself and your family. So, what'd you do? If you're anything like me, you headed on over to the Whole Foods and swapped it for a box of almond milk, rice milk, or soy milk. A great idea, in theory, but - as usual - there's more to this story.

    Many of these boxed milk alternatives come with unwanted guests. Preservatives and additives that may not be the safest of options when it comes to our health. One of those additives is called carageenan. It's the concentrated extract of Irish Moss (which, in its whole form, has many health benefits), and it's been linked to gastrointestinal inflammation, lesions, and even colon cancer. And friends, who wants any of that?

    So, today I'll show you how to make your own {MYO} almond milk! It's delicious, better for you, and super easy. But first, a few tips for when you feel you must go with store-bought. First, always choose organic. Second, opt for the "original" flavor over vanilla or chocolate. And third, read the ingredients list. (This is the most important!) Most brands use carageenan. It's used as a thickener/emulsifier in many products. If you see it listed on the back of the box, put it back and keep looking. Your gut will thank you. Deal? Ok, good. Now, let's get milking.
     

    1 cup raw almonds, unsalted
    soaking water
    4 cups fresh water
    2 dried medjool dates, pitted
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    pinch of salt
    blender
    large bowl
    nut bag (yup, you read that right)/fine mesh strainer/cheesecloth 
     

    • Start by soaking the almonds. Cover the almonds with one to two inches of water and refrigerate. Six to eight hours is pretty standard. Overnight it great, too. This will make blending the almonds easier. It's also gentler on your digestive system.
    • Rinse the almonds well and discard the soak water.



    • Add rinsed almonds, four cups of fresh water, and two pitted dates to the blender. Blend until well combined - about one minute should do it.
    • The next step is to strain the almond-water-date mixture. Place a large bowl on the counter, and begin to pour the mixture through the nut bag, straining out the almond/date pulp. This takes a couple of minutes. Be sure to squeeze out all the liquid.
    • So that all you've got left is a bowl of milk and a bag of pulp. Save the pulp for granola, bread crumbs, or even to make your own natural face scrub/exfoliator.
    • Now, pour the milk back into the Vitamix, add the vanilla and pinch of sea salt. Blend well. Transfer to storage container, and refrigerate. It will keep for two to four days. Enjoy!

    Sidenote: You can easily swap out almonds for cashews, hemp hearts, and other nuts and seeds to create a different variety of nut/seed milk. 
     

    If you liked this post - and you'd like to see more of the Make Your Own series - then "like" this post and tell me what you think in the comments below. Looking forward to more make your own magic!

  • MONDAY LOVE: BILL WITHERS

    MONDAY LOVE: BILL WITHERS

    Happy Monday Gratitude Friends,
    Today's Musical Medicine selection comes from the great Bill Withers. I'm so thankful to my dear friend who introduced me to Mr. Withers. He's my favorite to run to - I often end up dance-running as a result of hearing him sing! Love this one? Google "Grandma's Hands". Super good stuff. And if you wanna get your food-pics-fix on, hop on over here to see what I've been up to lately!
    LOVE,
    Katie
    XO 

    Lead Photo Credit: http://pulmyears.wordpress.com/2008/09/04/wither-thou-bill-withers/

  • BRANDI CARLILE + COOKING WORKSHOPS

    BRANDI CARLILE + COOKING WORKSHOPS

    Hello Loves!

    It's Monday - and that means it's time for a little CNE update and some musical medicine for your soul.

    Here in Charm City it's a drizzly day - the kind I love to be inside looking out at, sipping some tea, and letting the creative juices flow.

    It's hard to believe we're into Week Four of my Culinary Nutrition Expert program!! This week was Raw Food Power week, and the star of the show was a raw take on the oh-so-traditional spaghetti and meatballs. I give you...

    Zucchini Noodles +
    Marinara Sauce +
    Walnut UnMeat Balls:

    It was delicious!! Even Eddie (and out Italian dinner guests) said so. I mixed a bit of GF spaghetti into what was leftover the next day to make it last a little longer. But can I just say how satisfying it is to make everything from scratch, using local, fresh ingredients? And not hard either! Very very yum.

    Quick advertisement for Meghan Telpner's (my amazing teacher's) incredible online cooking workshops!! Last day to register is TODAY - so get yourself over to her page, and sign yourself up for something amazing. There's a lot to choose from. This is an investment you will not regret. She's the best! 

    And if you wanna see more pics of my CNE creations, jump on over HERE - but be prepared to get hungry! 

    Now for some music. And oldie but a goodie. What are you listening to today?

    Enjoy, my friends. XO

    Brandi Carlile "Follow" At: Guitar Center from Justin Paul on Vimeo.

  • AL GREEN + CAULIFLOWER MILLET MASH

    AL GREEN + CAULIFLOWER MILLET MASH

    Guys! Cooking school is seriously THE BEST. I'm making so many delicious things - and trying all these new ingredients. It's so satisfying and fun!

    It's also a lot of hard work. Meghan is so down-to-earth and right on in her approach to food and nutrition. But this is a serious course. There are lots of reading assignments, live and recorded classes, multiple homework assignments (relating to recipes and otherwise) each week, and an awesome community to connect and interact with throughout the whole experience. I also have a TA to whom I report directly, who sends me awesome feedback and tips with love (so far!). I'm working hard - but really loving every second.

    Today I made this addictive Cauliflower Millet Mash (you can see it in the pic above). O.M.G. Soooo good! I may or may not have eaten four servings of this bad boy this afternoon. I had to just put it away (out of sight, out of mind) so I'd stop eating it. Seriously. (And with a little sprinkle of sea salt and cayenne? Ooooh yes!)

    Wanna try it? You can actually find the recipe published on Meghan's blog in the Mashed Topping section of her No Meat and No Potato Sheperd's Pie.

    Wanna see of my other creations? You can check them out right here and often here, too. And if you're a real-food-and-wellness-obsessed person (like I am!) and you'd like to hear about getting in on the Spring 2014 CNE Program, hit me up for details. I know you'll love it.

    In other news, Eddie and I are back from a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful weekend away. Mountains, fresh fall air, golden leaves on trees, and the incredible generosity of friends. Now THAT'S medicine for the soul, right?  Aaand today's Eddie's birthday - which just makes me feel extra super grateful. I'm so full of love (and cauliflower millet mash) right now that I could burst. XO 

    Ok, Loves. Signing off for today. Enjoy the music! Love and happiness, my Baby. Always and always.

  • WITH A TWIST!

    WITH A TWIST!

    WHO DOESN'T LOVE A GOOD COOKIE? My husband is the cookie's number one fan - especially when it comes in the chocolate chip variety. Ever since I made those irrisistible Trail Mix Cookies, Eddie's been asking for more.

    So this morning, I hopped on over to Meghan Telpner's blog, where I found her recipe for Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. They were my inspiration, but I threw in a few extra delicious ingredients in rememberence of the Trail Mix Cookies from last week. Meghan's is amazing, and she's my teacher in the Culinary Nutrition Expert program that begins in a couple of weeks. I'm so excited!!!

    I signed up for the Culinary Nutrition Expert program to get comfortable in the kitchen and to do so in a way that's aligned with my own nutritional beliefs. I eat plant-based whole foods. They're the kind my body likes best, and they're loaded with nutritional benefits. Bonus? They taste amazing! And that's what this program is about. Listening to our bodies, celebrating life with healthy, delicious food, and "making loooove in the kitchen", and Meghan would say. She's all about living with intention, and I am right there with her.

    My cookies are Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies - With a Twist! I prefer chewy, by the way, so these aren't the crunchy ones Meghan describes. Check out the recipe below - and let me know if you give them a try! 

    Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies - With a Twist!
    VEGAN + GLUTEN-FREE 

    1/2 cup coconut oil, softened (pourable)
    1/2 cup coconut sugar
    2 tablespoons maple syrup
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 chia egg* (or one egg, if you prefer)
    1/2 cup brown rice flour
    1/4 cup buckwheat flour
    1 cup gluten-free oats
    1 tablespoon arrowroot starch
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda 
    1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon sea salt
    1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
    1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
    1 tablespoon shredded coconut
    1 tablespoon flax seeds, ground
    1 tablespoon dried cranberries, chopped
    1 tablespoon raw sunflower seeds 

    *1 chia egg is easily made by combining 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds with 1/4 cup warm water, mixing well (I use a coffee mug), and setting aside for about 10 minutes to fully gel. I use a spice (coffee) grinder to grind my chia seeds just before making the chia egg.

    1. Preheat oven to 350.
    2. In a large bowl, combine coconut oil, coconut sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, and chia paste.
    3. In a separate medium-sized bowl, combine flours, oats, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
    4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, mixing to combine.
    5. Add and mix in remaining ingredients.
    6. Form into ~1.5-inch balls and place on parchment-lined baking sheet.
    7. Bake for 16-18 minutes, until golden on top.

    Makes about 18 cookies. 

  • STAY COOL BALTIMORE

    STAY COOL BALTIMORE

    Maryland is SO stinking hot right now. I was putting an IV in today and overheard a news reporter saying it was "107 degrees" outside. REALLY? That had to be a joke. 

    I love summer, but apparently it's nicer in Florida right now than it is in Maryland. Sheesh.

    In true Floridian spirit, last night I whipped up a raw, vegan, grain-free key lime pie I saw on the very awesome The Clean Dish. That Rose knows what's up. And how beautiful is that pie?! 

    Unfortunately, I missed the part in the recipe that mentioned a two-to-three-hour freeze time and a one-to-two hour thaw. As a result, I had to wait until midnight last night to sneak a slice. 

    But oh MAN was it good! The crust, in particular, is so lip-smackin delicious. Once you start, it's hard to stop. (I recommend making this for a party...a group of people, so as not to be tempted to return, again and again, to the fridge for more.)

    Want to make your own? Here's the recipe! Don't say I didn't warn you...

    Stay cool out there, friends! Water, water, water. And here are a few other tips to beat the heat, including another genius use for my hot water bottle. YES.

    Buen provecho!

  • Quinoa Summer Salad & The CSA Way

    Quinoa Summer Salad & The CSA Way

    We've had a ton of produce in our fridge lately (just how I like it), most of which is coming straight from our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Signing up for a CSA has allowed us to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. We pay in advance, and every Saturday we pick out a certain number of items (already paid for) from our CSA's stand at our local Farmers Market

    There are lots of benefits to going the CSA way.

    It's healthy: for us and for the planet. As consumers, we get the freshest food, full of flavor and nutrients (food medicine) and untarnished by long transport times, processing, or preservatives. And because the food is local, it doesn't require the kind of packaging, storing, processing, preserving, and transporting so many others do.

    A chance to get up close and personal. It's also an opportunity to actually meet and get to know the people growing our food - at the market and on the farm, and to get the dirt on how it all goes down. 

    It's fun! Our CSA puts on a number of awesome family-friendly events throughout the summer. Farm tours, food, music, and more - fun for all ages. 

    Here are a couple of shots from the One Straw Farm tractor tour/concert in the field event last year:

    Good for farmers. CSAs are great for farmers, too. They get to spend time marketing their food earlier (before the days of 16+ hours in the field begin), they get paid earlier (which helps with the farm's cash flow and keeping everything up and running), and they get to meet the people who are reaping the rewards of their hard work. 

    If you want to join a CSA, be sure to pick the one that's right for you. Do some investigating. Ask questions about:

    How much of the food is actually grown on the farm? If it's anything less than 100%, ask where the rest comes from.

    Farming practices and seeds? Organic, heirloom, genetically modified, etc.

    Share options? Often you can buy a half-share, for example, if that better suits your needs. You can go halvesies, too, with another couple or family. Also ask about pick-up, drop-off, and market locations.

    Favorite farms? Friends, family, neighbors, co-workers: you probably already know someone who's doing a CSA this year. Ask them about their experience and their advice.

    This is our second year with a CSA, and we've actually increased our share. But there are many who opt not to renew. It seems that the number one reason people don't rejoin a CSA is that they feel guilty about food waste.

    To really get the most out of your CSA membership, food prep, meal planning, and self-control are crucial. Things have to be kept fresh, ready to use, and easily accessible. This was certainly a struggle for us last year - but we're doing MUCH better this time around. You also have to learn to "resist the lazy." So many days I wanted to walk down the street and order up a lunch at a local favorite spot. Now, I find a way to eat what's in the fridge. 

    To really get the most out of your CSA membership, food prep, meal planning, and self-control are crucial...You have to learn to "resist the lazy".


    Ok, so the only thing reeeally summery about this Quinoa Summer Salad is that it's deliciously light and refreshing, with a touch of sweetness - just what I want on a hot summer day. It's also super easy and fast to put together. My incorporation of spinach and basil, by the way, is an example of my "resisting the lazy" approach to food. It was the perfect (healthy) addition to this salad. Here's how to make it happen:

    • Add 1 cup of (rinsed and drained) quinoa to 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.
    • Reduce to simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Uncover and set aside to cool.
    • In a large bowl, add: 1/4 cup of dried cranberries (unsweetened), 1/4 cup of raw (unsalted) sunflower seeds, 1/4 cup raw (unsalted) almond slivers, 5-7 dried apricots (unsweetened), roughly chopped, 8-10 leaves of fresh spinach (thinly sliced), and 10-12 leaves of fresh basil (thinly sliced).
    • In a small bowl, whisk together: 1 tablespoon raw honey, 1/4 cup cold-pressed olive oil, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon dijon mustard.
    • Add cooled quinoa and dressing to large bowl. Fluff together to combine. 
    • Serve and enjoy! 

    Hope you love it! I'd love to hear what you think. And if you haven't already signed up for my monthly newsletter, you can take care of that right here. Already subscribed? Remember, your chance to save 15% on one-on-one coaching expires at the end of this month. Happy summer, loves!!

  • CULINARY TALES & GARLICKY KALE

    CULINARY TALES & GARLICKY KALE

    My sister's getting married in September(!), and she's planning a pretty amazing wedding, with lots of DIY awesomeness. It's going to be sooo beautiful, and I can't wait to celebrate. There will be a barn, gourmet vegan pizza (for the plant-based folks), and LOTS of dancing! Cool, right?

    In preparation for the big day, a few of us Baltimore-based bridesmaids are having weekly meet-ups to get things organized. Our first (planning) session was last week, and I wanted to bring along something delicious for us all to eat.

    So I turned to Meghan Telpner. This woman has finally gotten me SERIOUSLY into the kitchen! Her awesome book UnDiet is a bestseller - and rightly so! It's not so much a cookbook as a lifestyle book, and it's completely aligned with my own beliefs about food and life. Her own healing journey with food is much like my own - except that hers was with Crohn's. And mine was asthma and IBS. Sorry, friends, if that's TMI, but we gotta keep it real up in here. Point is: I love her. 

    I love her so much, in fact, that I've signed up to become a Certified Culinary Nutrition Expert, through her pretty friggin' amazing online program. It starts this fall, but I've been doing a lot of prep work to get ready. It's boosting my kitchen confidence and creating a whole new source of information for my coaching clients.

    Meghan is the inspiration for and source of so many of my delicious meals lately. And while I can't really give away her recipes here on my blog (that wouldn't exactly be legal - or nice), I am urging you to get her book. Its a keeper! For reals.

    All this to say, one of the ingredients I bought to make Meghan's Curry Chickpea Burger was kale - which was great, because I love kale, and I'd been missing it. (Hadn't had it in a while.) Kale is full of health-supporting goodness, and it tastes great!

    Especially when coated in garlic. My absolute favorite recipe for kale is Garlicky Kale. I get it at my local Whole Foods whenever possible. And, since I had to buy a GINORMOUS quantity of it just to get the small amount I needed for the Curry Chickpea Burgers, I had a ton left over. What to do? Obvio: Make a ton of Garlicky Kale. There are a few recipes out there for Garlicky Kale. Mine is just about the same as this one I found on epicurious, which claims to be the same as the Whole Foods version - and I'd say it pretty much hit the nail on the head. Here's how you do it:

    • Rinse and shake dry your kale leaves.
    • Break off bite-size pieces of kale (discard woody stems - or save for juicing!).
    • Place kale in medium bowl.
    • In a blender or food processor, puree 2 tbsp tahini, 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp tamari, 4 tbsp nutritional yeast, and 3-4 cloves minced garlic. (I had to add 1-2 tbsp of water to fully puree mine.)
    • Pour half of dressing on top of kale and massage into kale. Taste. Add remainder of dressing to-taste, massaging into kale. 
    • Serve and enjoy!

    Stay cool out there people. (Eating your greens will help with that!) And if you're not signed up for my monthly newsletter already, please do! Lots of healthy summer advice coming your way later today! This month I've rounded up a bunch of healthy tips for loving your body, beating the heat, and making potentially life-changing choices this summer. (Don't miss a special summer savings offer only available to my subscribers!)

  • ICE CREAM THAT LOVES YOU BACK

    ICE CREAM THAT LOVES YOU BACK

    This one's a must share. When I first read about this, I was kinda mad no one had told me about it sooner. Delicious, nutritious, and SUPER easy. Doesn't get any better than that!

    Here's what you'll need:


    And here's what you'll get:
    BANANA ICE CREAM WITH DARK CHOCOLATE + WALNUTS
    Ingredients
    1 banana, broken into pieces
    Palmful of walnut pieces
    2 pieces dark chocolate

    Instructions

    1. Place pieces of banana in freezer until frozen (about 2 hours).
    2. Once frozen, place banana pieces, dark chocolate, and walnuts in high-powered blender.
    3. Blend. Scrape down sides. Blend again. (Too thick? Add a spash of almond or rice milk.)
    4. Serve and enjoy!

    Prefer firm ice cream? Refreeze to your liking.
    Not big on dark chocolate and walnuts? Try adding a spoon of raw almond or peanut butter instead.
    Give it a try. Let me know what you think! ♥

  • CONFESSION

    CONFESSION

    Confession: I am not a great chef.

    For someone who loves (and talks about) food as much as I do, you'd think I'd be a master in the kitchen, right?

    Not so much. Do I totally understand and appreciate what I'm eating? Yep, sure do. Am I a reliable food critic with pretty darn high expectations? Sure am. 

    And yet, I'd say I generally fall into the "sous chef" category (at best) at our house. I never had to get creative (or especially skilled) at cooking, because I was blessed with a husband who is an amazing chef and loves to cook.

    His initial reaction to my decision to eschew animal-based food, however, was not so amazing. (Fortunately, he is now very much on board! But that's a story for another day.) Point is, I was forced to learn to cook things for myself. (And I use the term "cook" very loosely here.) 

    Since becoming a plant-based foodie about a year and a half ago, I've gotten a lot more up close and personal with food than I ever used to be. Why? I was forced to. I told my husband I didn't care what he decided to eat (lie), but that I was going to be changing my diet (so there). The fact that I was willing to take on food preparation is a testament to how committed I was. 

    Early on, my most common approach to cooking was picking a few ingredients, throwing them together, heating them up, and then eating them. Not much rhyme or reason. Not much use of (the many, fabulous) cookbooks I enthusiastically purchased, or the multitude of spices and seasonings at my disposal.

    Fortunately, my newly-acquired taste buds (they change when you start eating this way) loved all those crazy concoctions. It all tasted great to me! But not everyone had taste buds like mine...

    I want to create healthy, delicious meals that I'd be proud to share with my family and friends. This is my goal, and I'd like to share that journey with you. Whether you're an amateur or an expert, I hope you enjoy the recipes I'll be sharing here from time to time. 

    And please share your favorites with me, too! Together, we can build an arsenal of healthy deliciousness. 

    Buen provecho! 


    BROWN RICE PILAF
    WITH BABY BROCCOLI AND EDAMAME
    Serves 3-4 

    This one was a winner.

    Ingredients
    1 cup brown rice
    2 cups water
    1/4 cup raisins
    1 teaspoon cumin
    1/2 cup diced onion
    almonds (sliced)
    1-2 cups broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
    1-2 cups frozen edamame 
    sea salt and tamari sauce to taste 

    Instructions

    1. Combine water, brown rice, raisins, and cumin in medium-sized pot. Cover and bring to boil.
    2. Once boiling, reduce heat, stir once, recover, and simmer for approximately 45-50 minutes, addiing chopped onions to top of mixture after about 20 minutes of simmering.
    3. While the pilaf is cooking, prepare broccoli and edamame. Place aside.
    4. Remove pilaf from heat, uncover, and fluff with fork. Allow to cool for approximately 10 minutes.
    5. I served equal parts pilaf, broccoli, and edamame, sprinking sliced almonds over pilaf and drizzling less than a cap-full of tamari over the whole bowl.
    6. Enjoy!
       

    And for dessert:
    CHOCOLATE CHIA PUDDING
    Serves 1-2
    Don't knock it till you've tried it!


    Ingredients
    1 cup chocolate almond milk
    1/4 cup chia seeds

    Instructions

    1. Combine milk and chia seeds.
    2. Mix thoroughly.
    3. Wait approximately 1 hour.
    4. Mix thoroughly.
    5. Enjoy!