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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.

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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. 

  • Portobello Pasta

    Portobello Pasta

    I'm getting ready to do a two-day fresh-pressed juice cleanse (more on that in another post), so I needed to use up some of the food in the fridge. 

    It's so awesome to have access to fresh produce - but one of the challenges is to actually use all of that food. It kills me to have to throw rotten food away.

    We had tons of greens from our Therapy Garden, a random portobello, and some coconut milk left over from that bomb Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream I made last week. 

    Th result? A very simple, yet super delish Portobello Pasta.

    Takes about 15 minutes to make. Do it. Thank me later. :)

    Ingredients:
    1 cup orecchiette pasta
    fresh salad greens, torn into bite-sized pieces
    1 teaspoon coconut oil
    1 portobello mushroom, halved and thinly sliced
    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    2 tablespoons coconut milk
    1/2 tablespoon nutritional yeast

    Instructions:

    • Get the pasta cooking.
    • Prep your greens (rinse and tear into bite-sized pieces).
    • Plate the greens.
    • Warm coconut oil over low heat.
    • Add sliced mushrooms, sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
    • Allow mushrooms to cook (over low heat) to desired tenderness, moving them around the pan frequently to prevent burning.
    • At this point the pasta should be just about done. Strain and drain - and add pasta to mushrooms.
    • Add coconut milk and nutritional yeast. More sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
    • Pour over salad greens.

    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

  • 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!