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  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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! 


  • 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! 

  • Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (It's vegan!)

    Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (It's vegan!)

    And you thought eating healthy meant no ice cream!

    Think again, my friends. 

    Eating a whole foods and a mainly plant-based diet can (and frankly, should) be oh-so-delicious! And this recipe proves it. 

    Growing up, my favorite ice cream was always mint chocolate chip. There was just something about that flavor combination that really did it for me. No other variety would do. 

    These days, I'm not so much into the dairy. My body is much happier without its pro-inflammatory ways.

    But I still like a sweet treat from time to time! And this Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream is totally hitting the spot.


    THE CHALLENGE

    A few weeks ago - and all thanks to my being a graduate of Meghan Telpner's extraordinary Culinary Nutrition Expert program - I was approached to create a signature dessert recipe for an incredible company called Organics 4 Orphans.

    They're putting together a charity recipe book to raise funds for their cause - which is pretty friggin' awesome, by the way. You can read more about that here.

    But there was a catch!

    The recipe had to include moringa leaf powder.

    I'd been hearing a lot about moringa leaf over the last year or so, so I was immediately intrigued - and up for the challenge.

    But I did have a question...


    WHAT IS MORINGA?

    Welp. It's a powerhouse - is what it is! 

    Gram for gram, moringa leaves contain:

    • 7x the Vitamin C in oranges
    • 4x the Vitamin A in carrots
    • 4x the calcium in milk
    • 3x the potassium in bananas
    • 2x the protein in yogurt
    • an entire multivitamin complex of Vitamins A through Zinc
    • and all the essential amino acids + arginine and histidine (two essential amino acids for infants)

    In addition to my Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, the moringa plant is also used in:

    • cooking oils
    • high protein animal fodder
    • disease prevention
    • ointments
    • fertilizers
    • insecticides
    • herbicides
    • lubricants
    • dyes
    • plant growth enhancers
    • food condiments
    • honey production
    • cosmetic grade oils
    • wind barriers
    • water treatments
    • erosion control
    • and bio-gas production

    AND the list of illnesses that have (thus far) been proven to benefit from moringa include:

    • AIDS/HIV
    • anemia
    • anxiety
    • asthma
    • bronchitis
    • cholera
    • colitis
    • conjuntivitis
    • diabetes
    • diarrhea
    • dysentery
    • eye and ear infections
    • fever
    • gonorrhea
    • high blood pressure
    • intestinal worms
    • jaundice
    • malaria
    • inflammation of joints
    • respiratory disorders
    • scurvy
    • skin infections
    • stomach ulcers
    • tuberculosis
    • and tumors

    (I know!)

    The most amazing thing about moringa, though, is that it probably has the highest nutrient value of any plant in the world - and yet it only seems to grow naturally where there is extreme poverty. 

    Pretty incredible, right?


    MORINGA IS AWESOME! NOW HOW 'BOUT THAT ICE CREAM?

    Okay - I hear you!

    Let's get to the recipe. It's super easy! (The best kind, right?)

    VEGAN MINT CHOCOLATE CHIP ICE CREAM

    Ingredients:

    2 bananas, peeled and frozen

    1 avocado, peeled*

    1 can coconut milk, solid portion only (scoop it out with a spoon)

    2 tbsp maple syrup

    6 drops Peppermint essential oil (Email me if you're curious about my favorite essential oils!)

    1 tsp moringa leaf powder**

    4 tbsp vegan carob chips (I like the "mini" version); or use your favorite dairy-free chocolate chip 

    * Or substitute a third frozen banana for the avocado

    ** Not 100% necessary, but clearly important for this project - and obviously super good for you!

    Instructions:

    1. Combine bananas, avocado, coconut milk, maple syrup, peppermint essential oil, and moringa leaf powder in high-powered blender. Blend to combine.
    2. Transfer mixture to bowl.
    3. Add vegan carob chips, stirring to combine.
    4. Freeze to desired consistency.
    5. Enjoy!

    And there you have it!

    Feel free to play around with proportions, according to taste. This one's just my personal preference.

    And it sure feels good to know I'm supporting an awesome cause AND eating a green superfood in my ice cream!

    I'll keep you posted on the recipe book! XO

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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!