I’m Dawn – a health food nut, yoga lover and camping aficionado. I develop and test plant based (and mostly gluten free) recipes, research food allergies, plan events for a local natural food store.

Jan 252015

Exclusive Healthy Food Tips for Camping, Backpacking and Outdoor Lovers.



There is something about the excitement of planning a camping trip. So many of us spend much of our days hunched over a computer, driving in a car with a cellphone attached to our ear, or parked in front of a TV – forgetting that there is a whole world out there to explore and connect with. Once we finally wake up and say hey – I’d like to get back to nature, game on.

The outdoors is in my blood.

It started way back with my parents. Their first date was camping in the deserts outside San Diego, California. During my childhood growing up in the North East we rotated between tent camping and camping in slide-in campers that sit on the bed of a truck.

Three times we tent camped in the deserts of Arizona for two weeks at a time – what experiences to remember.

Once I moved to Florida, camping was a whole different ballgame in the summer. Namely the HEAT. If we wanted to camp year round I would need to figure something out to make it bearable. So I got this little beauty and restored her. Now my 6 year old daughter has been camping more times than we can count – starting when she was 8 weeks old.

Princess the Camper

Princess the Camper

But enough about me.

You’re here for the tips.

Keep in mind – these won’t really help if you plan to throw a couple of hot dogs on the fire and call it a day. I’m trying to keep you healthy here.

Camping Food Tips ~ Florida Coastal Cooking

Camping Food Tips ~ Florida Coastal Cooking

1. Plan your meals. Tossing a bunch of food in the cooler and expecting to come up with a brilliant plan upon arrival doesn’t work. Trust me. I tested this one out. Give yourself some time beforehand and think about what you’d enjoy given the time of year.

If it is hot out, the worst thing is slaving over a camp stove. Think sandwiches and fresh foods. When it is cold, there is nothing better than a warm soup or chili and you’ll enjoy the warmth of the fire.

5 Exclusive Healthy Food Tips for Camping, Backpacking and Outdoor Lovers

5 Exclusive Healthy Food Tips for Camping, Backpacking and Outdoor Lovers

2. Prep most of the food before you leave. Want to bring along some whole grain rice or beans? It is sort of a bummer if you’re stuck sitting at the fire for 45 minutes while everyone else is off doing a scavenger hunt. Try cooking the rice or beans first and freezing it in zip top bags proportionate to serving size. By the time you get to the campground it will be thawed in a cooler and you can just reheat. Same thing with veggies. Wash, dry and chop before leaving. You can store them in zip top bags with a few paper towels to keep the moisture in but stop them from getting mushy. (Remember to recycle your bags and not throw them out.)

3. Seek out farmers markets in the area you’ll be camping near. One of our favorite campgrounds is Skidaway Island near Savannah – through the Slow Food network I found the Forsyth Farmers Market. It. Is. Awesome. And anything we are missing, we can pick up there.

4. Reuse empty small bottles for condiments and spices. My family loves to go out to breakfast so I make everyone save their syrup bottles for me to put mustard, ketchup, vinegar, hot sauce, salt, pepper etc.

Tiny Bottles  - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Tiny Bottles – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

5. Buy some super-awesome, healthy pre-made food.

AH. Now we’re getting to the best tip. The real meaning for this post is to introduce you to a company with values that surpass most others in the realm of convenient food. I think you are gonna love it as much as I do!

Outdoor Herbivore launched it’s website in 2010. Owner, Kim, started the company after seeing a real need for healthy food on the backpacking trails and found a solution.

Outdoor Herbivore

Outdoor Herbivore

On one fateful trip she landed in the town of Damascus that was hosting a festival/reunion for backpackers. There she overheard many fellow backpackers talking about the lack of healthy and convenient food options and the idea for the company was born.

Coincidentally, during the festival she stayed in a little bed-and-breakfast where a strange machine was running. It was a dehydrator! At that point she put two and two together and realized she could learn to dehydrate and create healthy meals for backpackers across the US. She quit her corporate job and three months later she had her business up and running.

Healthy. What impresses me most about her business model is her commitment to whole, healthy and high quality foods and the variety of plant based meals.

She focuses on obtaining the majority of her ingredients from inside the United States so that she can verify sourcing, thereby processing as minimally as possible.

Dehydrating is one of the oldest and most healthful methods of preservation. It is used by many raw food enthusiasts because dehydrators work at such low temperatures that the enzymes stay intact.

Switchback Soup from Outdoor Herbivore

Switchback Soup from Outdoor Herbivore

Convenience. Many of her delicious meals are no-cook or only need hot water.
Some of her tasty options are:
Blueberry Maple Crunch
Sunrise Tofu Scramble
‘Cheddar’ Mac
Basil Walnut Penne
Chickpea Sesame Penne
Lemongrass Thai Curry
Switchback Soup & Stuffer

They are reasonably priced at around $5.99 for 1-2 meals. The average non-backpacker can easily get two meals out of these.

Although I haven’t done backpacking as of yet, it is definitely in the plans. I am a camping lover and saw so many different uses for these meals that I ordered five to start.

They are perfect for any outdoor activities such as camping, biking and boating.
If you are traveling, they are great to pack in your suitcase or travel bag.
For kids in sports, bring some along for a long day at the field.

Please note: Outdoor Herbivore in no way endorsed or paid me to do this post. I simply stumbled across her site and fell in love with her food.

Are there any healthy eating camping, backpacking or outdoor tips that you live by? If so, please share in the comments below.

Did you like this post on my 5 Exclusive Healthy Food Tips for Camping, Backpacking and Outdoor Lovers? If so, please share with your friends, subscribe and like on facebook and follow on twitter.

Get Outside

Get Outside


 Posted by at 3:48 pm
Jan 202015

The buzz words for this year are detox and cleanse! If you are jump starting your system this year, these Cleansing Cucumber Rolls will fit the bill perfectly.

Cleansing Cucumber Rolls

Cleansing Cucumber Rolls

Who isn’t detoxing or cleansing these days?

People have all kinds of methods of rebooting their internal systems. One of my favorite ways is to combine real, whole foods with organic cleansing systems. I have done a 7 day detox and a 21 day detox and feel AMAZING after booth – but the key is to continue with the clean foods after your stricter detox period ends. Right now I’m mixing some herbal cleanse products along with fresh lemon and raw apple cider vinegar in warm water each morning, followed up by a green smoothie of filtered water, raw kale, citrus and a greens product that has organic dried mushrooms for increased vitamin D, improved immune function, as well as weight management.

One thing to keep in mind - if you are in it for the weight loss you’re doing it for the wrong reason.

Doing something for temporary weight loss is never sustainable. Make the decision to cleanse and eat healthy so you feel better. The weight loss will come along with it, and you won’t be stressing about every pound. In fact, I don’t even weigh myself any more. I simply notice difference in sleep, energy, and as an added benefit, my clothes are a bit looser.

Which foods are the most cleansing? There are so many! Here are my top 10 and why. 

Top 10 Cleansing Foods ~ Florida Coastal Cooking

Top 10 Cleansing Foods ~ Florida Coastal Cooking

Lemon: Aids in breaking up built up toxins so your body can flush them away. Clears digestive tract.
Chia: Acts like a sponge, sucking up acid and toxins and scrubbing your intestines. Use organic chia grown along the equator that has been opened for highest nutrient content and absorption. My favorite pick!
RAW Apple Cider Vinegar: Natural cleansing and healing properties. Antibiotic and antiseptic.  Alkalizes the body.
Garlic: Used in traditional medicine to cleanse colon and liver.
Greens: Super high in antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and nutrients. Scrubs intestines of junk and makes you glow!
Red Bell Pepper: One of the most powerful sources of Carotenoids and Vitamin C on the planet. Has fiber and nutrients to help fuel the body’s natural cleansing functions.
Pink and Red Grapefruit: Ranks among the highest in antioxidant content. May slow the progression of atherosclerosis. High in Limonin which is a cancer fighter. Clears digestive tract.
Cayenne Pepper: Stimulates circulation and neutralizes acidity. My grandfather used to drink two teaspoons in water every morning (among other macrobiotic regimens) and lived for over 25 years with ALS. Coincidence?
Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. High water content to flush toxins.
Cleansing for the liver

These Cucumber rolls are perfect to go along with your cleansing regimen!

They are light, crisp, raw and satisfying – the hint of lemon gives it a perfect balance of acid and carrots add a bit of sweetness. Use any kind of hummus you like – even a raw one made from soaked cashews.

Cleansing Cucumber Rolls

Cleansing Cucumber Rolls

Cleansing Cucumber Rolls

Makes 8 Rolls, or 2 Servings of 4 Rolls Each
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe


1 cucumber, sliced thinly lengthwise
2 carrots, chopped into matchsticks
1/2 cup sunflower seed sprouts
1/2 cup thinly sliced purple cabbage (about 4 leaves)
3 Tbsp hummus (plus extra for dipping)
Sea salt (Optional)
Juice 1/2 lemon


1. Lay out each of 8 cucumber slices; divide evenly and layer the carrot, sprouts, and cabbage towards one end of each cucumber; spoon 1 teaspoon of hummus over the vegetables; sprinkle with sea salt if desired; roll cucumber slices around vegetables to make a roll; finish with a squeeze of lemon over all rolls.

Estimated Nutrition Facts
2 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 91.7
Total Fat 2.4 g
Saturated Fat 0.4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.9 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 208.7 mg
Potassium 534.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 15.9 g
Dietary Fiber 4.9 g
Sugars 4.0 g
Protein 4.0 g

Vitamin A 158.7 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 12.2 %
Vitamin C 50.6 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 2.2 %
Calcium 6.3 %
Copper 10.4 %
Folate 14.3 %
Iron 7.5 %
Magnesium 11.3 %
Manganese 21.8 %
Niacin 6.0 %
Pantothenic Acid 5.6 %
Phosphorus 10.1 %
Riboflavin 6.4 %
Selenium 1.2 %
Thiamin 9.2 %
Zinc 6.4 %

*Percent Daily Values for Cleansing Cucumber Rolls are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Eat Whole Foods

Eat Whole Foods

 Posted by at 2:37 pm
Jan 112015

Luscious Lemon Citrus Dressing is perfect for the beautiful, sun-drenched Florida citrus that is in season right now. It is delicious massaged into a kale salad, or even just over a bed of lettuce.

Luscious Lemon Citrus Dressing

Luscious Lemon Citrus Dressing

Let’s Talk Trends

There are TONS of 2015 trend predictions out there. Some of them I’m not so sure about, such as the new MC Hammer Yoga Pant.

MC Hammer Yoga Pant

MC Hammer Yoga Pant

And a disturbing food trend towards butter – not only for the ethical reasons, but also for health reasons.

Others are so tremendous that they should be adopted as classics. My three favorite such trends for this year are…..

1. Whole Foods. It’s about time! Predictions state that we will start turning our backs on processed foods and start focusing our attention on REAL FOOD. I can’t tell you how many times I am checking out at the grocery store when someone behind me has soda, Gatorade, chips, frozen dinners, breads and desserts – spending exorbitant sums of money on nutrient deficient food-like substances.

2. Unique Produce. Kholrabi, Daikon radish, Calabaza squash, Romanesco cauliflower – things most people don’t normally eat. Consuming this variety of produce will give people a diversified number of vitamins and minerals that are so beneficial for health.

This is the perfect time for me to mention joining a CSA/Farm Share. CSA is called shot for Community Supported Agriculture. People come together at the start of the growing season and pay a farmer for a share of their vegetables that season. You pay up front and then collect your vegetables every week, or every other week, depending on what you decide. If you are in North Florida be sure to check out KyV Farm as well as my Green Resources page for additional options.


Luscious Lemon Citrus Vinaigrette

Luscious Lemon Citrus Vinaigrette

3. Fermented Foods. I recently received my copy of the Beauty Detox Solution by Kimberly Snyder that I had mentioned in my last post (yay!) and in one of the chapters she discusses fermented foods – fermented vegetables in particular. She has a recipe for a probiotic and enzyme rich salad made by sealing raw cabbage in container and allowing the natural lactobacillus bacteria to grow and create a wholesome, probiotic-rich food.

The Beauty Detox Foods: Discover the Top 50 Beauty Foods That Will Transform Your Body and Reveal a More Beautiful You

I can’t wait to try all her recipes – including a fermented salad recipe. You can find lots of her yummy recipes here.


This Luscious Lemon Citrus Dressing fits well into the first two categories. I simply combined a variety of vegetables from my own garden and my CSA with KyV Farm such as several kale and lettuce varieties, heirloom tomatoes, green onions etc. and topped them with this mouth-watering, fresh citrus vinaigrette made from Meyer lemon and a variety of fruits pulled off the trees around my home. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does!

Do you have any food predictions for 2015? What would you like to see? Are there any that disturb you?

Lucious Lemon Citrus Vinaigrette

Lucious Lemon Citrus Vinaigrette

 Luscious Lemon Citrus Dressing

About 5-6 2-Tbsp Servings
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe


1/4 cup fresh citrus juice (I used Meyer lemon, orange and Satsuma)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp agave, coconut nectar or local honey
1/4 to 1/3 cup cold pressed, unrefined olive oil


1. Blend fresh squeezed citrus, salt, pepper, mustard and sweetener in a blender; slowly drizzle olive oil until emulsified.

Estimated Nutrition Facts
5 Servings (2-Tbsp)
Amount Per Serving

Calories 117.9
Total Fat 11.2 g
Saturated Fat 1.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat 8.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 188.7 mg
Potassium 32.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate 5.6 g
Dietary Fiber 0.1 g
Sugars 4.0 g
Protein 0.1 g

Vitamin A 0.1 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 0.7 %
Vitamin C 18.7 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 0.1 %
Calcium 0.2 %
Copper 0.4 %
Folate 0.8 %
Iron 0.1 %
Magnesium 0.4 %
Manganese 0.3 %
Niacin 0.1 %
Pantothenic Acid 0.3 %
Phosphorus 0.2 %
Riboflavin 0.2 %
Selenium 0.1 %
Thiamin 0.5 %
Zinc 0.1 %

*Percent Daily Values for Luscious Lemon Citrus Dressing are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Make Time to Do What You Love

Make Time to Do What You Love

**Please Note: This post contains and affiliate link for the Beauty Detox book – something I’m sharing with you that I’m so excited about! If you choose to purchase it too, you will be supporting Florida Coastal Cooking at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Jan 052015

Garlic Kale Pesto Pasta is my new seasonal favorite dish – easy to prepare, full of flavor and is versatile enough to continue changing with the seasons.

Garlic Kale Pesto Pasta

Garlic Kale Pesto Pasta

It was like stepping into another planet when we got out of our truck to visit our friends from college, Don and Kathy, who live in South Florida. It was a world of Ferraris and Lamborghinis, of personal shoppers at Neiman Marcus, thousand dollar shoes, of late night partying, glitz and glamour.

Being a girl from New England that grew up in a middle-class American family I am amazed at the differences between how people live.

Everyone I met was so nice and genuinely were caring people. I just couldn’t help but feel out of place. I’ve come across people with wealth – my next-door neighbor lives in a beautiful home on the river and is rich by definition.

 I can’t say I live in poverty either. I have been very blessed and Chris and I have worked very hard. But compared to the group we met, we are paupers.

We knew Don and Kathy from the time they lived modest lives, working hard to get them to the point of affluence. We are so proud of them and are so grateful to know such genuine and loving people. They have a BEAUTIFUL home and tons of nice things – yet are so grounded.

It was their friends, Craig and Melanie that we were visiting on New Year’s Eve that are off the charts wealthy. They live in a huge, extravagant development employing an army of landscapers, maids, butlers, and other various staff. As the story went, Melanie’s grandfather had started a business and later sold it for $400 million.

 Four. Hundred. Million. Dollars.

 It’s hard for most of us to even imagine. All of the money was then willed to Melanie’s dad who shared it with his family. They spend their days doing philanthropy work and run an event business.

As I mentioned in my previous post I have been reading Napoleon Hill’s book, Think and Grow Rich. In the book, the plan encourages one to set the level of wealth they wish to acquire and fixate that in their mind with a clear plan of what they intend to give in return. As a diehard lover of camping, and the show Tiny House Nation, I began to grapple with the idea of desiring such a lifestyle. People in this community live in cavernous homes, most of the rooms never to be used. Here I am, reading my book and supposedly planning for wealth beyond my wildest imagination when I suddenly began to struggle with the question:

 Do I really want all this?

I suppose you don’t have to have such a large house and attend swanky soirées. But do I even want the responsibility that goes along with obtaining such wealth?
I mean, how does one know if one’s friends are real or if they only associate with them because of wealth?

I suppose just by writing this I have answered my own question.

I don’t ever want to try to keep up with the Joneses. It is exhausting.

It would be one thing if the money dropped in my lap, and a totally different scenario to desire it enough to focus on that amount and make the decision to do anything it takes to get there.

 I know in my heart that I do have a burning desire for a significant income so that I can help others and live a comfortable life myself, but not necessarily to obtain more stuff. After working for so long in corporate America, sitting in a cubicle in order to acquire material things, I realized what I really value is time, a connection with nature, and my family. It was never more apparent than when I lost my dad so suddenly.

He passed away and all his material things were still left. You can’t take them with you.

Though I’m not where I want to be as far as income goes, I’ve made the decision to enjoy the ride, to always be learning, and to make real connections with people.

I’m so glad we went to visit our friends because it helped me make a few decisions about the direction I want to go. And I even learned a few things that inspired me.

 Kathy is a healthy eater too. She prepared a delicious pesto pasta dish before our night out at Melanie’s. The pasta was so delicious that I knew I had to recreate it when I returned home. The pesto was the perfect dressing for the warm pasta – and she used fresh tomatoes from her garden.

This dish is my version of the one she made; but using kale from my garden and sweet peppers from my CSA at KyV Farm since I didn’t have tomatoes on hand.

Kathy’s fresh pesto inspired me to make a few positive changes in my diet.

A few of the changes I want to make when it comes to diet are to eat more raw, dehydrated and fermented foods.

While we were there visiting, Kathy pulled out a book to try and find a recipe before she made the pesto. I browsed through and fell in love and ordered it right away! SO many simple, fresh and raw recipes – stay tuned for variations of them this year!

The Beauty Detox Foods: Discover the Top 50 Beauty Foods That Will Transform Your Body and Reveal a More Beautiful You

Consuming raw foods is such a great way to preserve the enzymes that are lost in the cooking process.

Garlic Kale Pesto Pasta

Garlic Kale Pesto Pasta


Next I plan to use my Excalibur dehydrator more. It is a great way to add variety to raw foods and to preserve extra fruits and veggies.

 Excalibur 3926TB Food Dehydrator, Black

Garlic Kale Pesto Pasta

Garlic Kale Pesto Pasta


Finally, I want to add more fermented foods. My daughter’s naturopathic doctor has added fermented foods as part of the recovery of her diagnosed Leaky Gut. I think that fermented foods would do us all good. Fermentation is when a food goes through a lactofermentation process that preserves the food, creates enzymes, probiotics, B-vitamins and Omega 3’s. The key for my 6-year old is the probiotics to aid in digestion. I was told these German fermentation crocks are the best – but one can also ferment in glass jars as well.

7 L (1.9 Gal) K&K Keramik German Made Fermenting Crock Pot , Kerazo F2

Garlic Kale Pesto Pasta

Garlic Kale Pesto Pasta

Garlic Kale Pesto Pasta

Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe



8oz quinoa pasta noodles
1 bunch kale, de-stemmed
Handful fresh green onions
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup cold pressed olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp pine nuts
2 Tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup sliced sweet peppers


1. Cook pasta to package directions and set aside.

2. Blend kale, green onions, garlic, olive oil, salt and pine nuts in a blender; toss over pasta; stir in sweet peppers.

Estimated Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 275.3
Total Fat 11.5 g
Saturated Fat 1.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 226.6 mg
Potassium 548.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 39.7 g
Dietary Fiber 7.3 g
Sugars 2.8 g
Protein 7.7 g

Vitamin A 485.3 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 16.9 %
Vitamin C 229.9 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 12.1 %
Calcium 12.7 %
Copper 20.8 %
Folate 8.2 %
Iron 17.1 %
Magnesium 17.1 %
Manganese 67.0 %
Niacin 6.6 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.4 %
Phosphorus 9.9 %
Riboflavin 12.5 %
Selenium 2.5 %
Thiamin 14.3 %
Zinc 10.7 %

*Percent Daily Values for Garlic Kale Pesto Pasta are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Please note:
The names in my story were changed for privacy.

This post contains affiliate links. These are products I love or that I’m saving for. My dad left me his gorgeous Excalibur dehydrator when he passed away and it is something I treasure. The fermentation crock is something I’m saving for. For now I am using jars. Should you choose to purchase any of these items I would be so grateful if you would use the links I provided. This will support the cost of running this blog – I receive a few pennies on the dollar at no additional cost to you. Many thanks!

Do the Best

Dec 292014

Time to get back to my roots with Sautéed Beet Greens with Zucchini and Brown Rice. Simple. Seasonal. Delicious.

Sautéed Beet Greens with Zucchini and Brown Rice

Sautéed Beet Greens with Zucchini and Brown Rice

…one of the tricks of opportunity. It has a sly habit of slipping in by the back door, and often comes disguised in the form of misfortune or temporary defeat. Perhaps this is why so many fail to recognize opportunity. ~ Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

A shocking email landed in my inbox just before Christmas. My consulting work with one local business that I really enjoyed had been absorbed into other internal roles. After a year of event planning – cooking demos, workshops, dinners and more, that experience had come to a very sudden end.  Though I knew there would be changes coming, and it was not personal, my ego was bruised because I wasn’t told in person and the timing of the holidays made it tough to answer questions about how my favorite consulting gig was going.

Thoughts are things.~ Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

Instead of being defeated, I got up and brushed myself off. I made the decision to shift my focus. I picked up my book “Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill”, about the power of positive thinking and visualization.

I took a moment to be grateful for the side business that I started in 2012.

My network marketing business. I can feel the eyebrows raising, so let me first explain. Network marketing, the REAL network marketing, is something everyone should do. Not the hyped up, over the top, say-anything-to-swindle-me kind of thing that exists in everyone’s imagination (that exists in corporate America too), I’m talking about the develop yourself, empower yourself, confidence building, seek to help others, overcome negativity, give hope and health kind of business. If it wasn’t for that business, I would never have come across this book. Though my side business doesn’t define me, it is not all I’ll ever do, it is part of how I have become who I am, and as I shift focus to my passion of finding a way to help children, animals, the environment and people in general, I use my business knowledge as a stepping stone to get where I want to go.

One of the weaknesses of mankind is the average person’s familiarity with the word “impossible”. ~ Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

For 2015 here is what I’ve decided to do.

I will gather myself, take a step forward every day towards my dreams and goals, and always be open to opportunity. Working with this business was only part of my consulting role (though a large part that I loved). I also enjoy educating others about food, cooking, essential oils etc. I will continue on with that, as well as continue with my own education.  I will always consider myself a student.
I am working on a product that will combine all the areas I’m passionate about. I will finalize and launch this year.
I will consider and make a decision about creating a mastermind group – a group of business minded and open minded people just as concerned about health, environment, animals and people as I am. Once the decision is made, I know we will find each other.

I will finish the cookbook I spent the day working on after I received that email and will have it published by the end of January.
I will figure out how to revamp this blog to get rid of formatting issues. Somehow the photos end up scattered and I can’t figure out why!
I will continue to seek ways to increase my photography skills.

I will spend time each day reading a motivational and inspirational work.
Each morning I will continue my focus on visualizing the future I desire as if I have already achieved it; focus on gratitude and spend time being present.
Once per day I will watch a video that enriches my spirit. I found Gabrielle Bernstein’s website and signed up for her email updates at

What I’m letting go of:
Self judgment
Self doubt
Worry and anxiety

 As Marie Forleo says, the best discussions happen after the post. I would love to hear from you.

Have you been dealt a surprising setback at an inopportune time? How did you deal with it?
What are your focuses for 2015? What do you want to let go of?

Leave a comment and someone else that has experienced the same thing!

Did something in this post resonate with you? If so, share with others!

These greens were perfect to get me back on track. Tender zucchini and flavorful and nutritious beet greens were just what I needed. It is so nourishing for body and spirit to eat simply and seasonally. Beet greens are rich in carotenoids such as beta-carotene and lutein/zeaxanthin ~ high in antioxidants and provide wonderful benefits for the eyes. They may even aid in the prevention of macular degeneration.

Sautéed Beet Greens with Zucchini and Brown Rice

Sautéed Beet Greens with Zucchini and Brown Rice

Sautéed Beet Greens with Zucchini and Brown Rice

 Vegan, Gluten Free
Serves 4
Printable Recipe


1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 onion, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 zucchini, chopped (Kyv Farm CSA)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Fresh ground pepper
4 cups of beet greens (KyV Farm CSA)
2 cups cooked rice
1 tsp cider vinegar
Hot Sauce or crushed red pepper, to taste


1. Heat skillet over medium high heat; add olive oil; add onion, sauté about 4 minutes; add garlic sauté 2 minutes, add zucchini, cook 7 minutes; add beet greens 5 minutes; add cooked rice and vinegar; taste and re-season if necessary.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 163.3
Total Fat 4.6 g
Saturated Fat 0.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.5 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 234.4 mg
Potassium 512.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 27.9 g
Dietary Fiber 4.1 g
Sugars 1.0 g
Protein 3.7 g

Vitamin A 58.1 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 6.0 %
Vitamin C 25.1 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 3.2 %
Calcium 5.7 %
Copper 6.3 %
Folate 4.0 %
Iron 7.7 %
Magnesium 9.7 %
Manganese 14.4 %
Niacin 1.9 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.7 %
Phosphorus 4.2 %
Riboflavin 6.3 %
Selenium 1.2 %
Thiamin 4.4 %
Zinc 1.9 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

You have the power

You have the power

Dec 182014

Everyone is looking for last minute gift ideas – how about an idea for some last minute homemade gifts that are super easy and everyone will appreciate?

Just for you I paired everyone’s two favorite scents together to bring to you my top secret formula.

Lavender Peppermint Holiday

This is my FAVORITE of the last minute homemade gifts I have created. Peppermint is wonderful for cold and flu fighting, is great for focus, memory enhancement and stress relief.  Pair this with the relaxing smell of lavender – with it’s wonderful anti-anxiety properties, and you have a winning combination that everyone will appreciate.

I use this during and after my yoga class to promote focus, after bath or shower, and even in my car to add a lovely fresh, scent.

You can use the same formula to mix up any scents you like and make a variety of gifts. Try clove for men and fresh for air freshener and cleaning.

Lavender Peppermint Spray ~ Florida Coastal Cooking

Lavender Peppermint Spray

Lavender Peppermint Spray

Serves 1
Printable Recipe


10-15 drops lavender essential oil
10-15 drops peppermint essential oil
1/2 tsp vegetable glycerin
Filtered Water


1. Add essential oils to bottle; add vegetable glycerin, fill remainder of bottle with filtered water; shake well.

2. Tie twine around the neck of the bottle; print free downloadable labels or any label; using a hold punch a hole in the label and secure with the twine.

Where to Purchase Ingredients On Line:

Essential Oils:

The brand of oils I use is called Genesis Pure – they are 100% certified organic and ultra-pure, but feel free to use any brand you like – just be sure to stick with the purest forms. They should smell like the plant – not synthetic home fragrance. If you wish to order Genesis Pure, you can use my number US11065661 to do so.

Here are a few other brands you can try:

NOW Foods Lavender Oil, 4 ounce

Peppermint Essential Oil 4 Oz Quantity!

Everything else you’ll need:

Twine to hang your tag!

Vegetable Glycerine, 4 Ounce

4oz Cobalt Blue Bottles – Set of Four


Find Free Printable Holiday Gift Tags Like These on Pinterest

holiday1 Tags

These are by InkTreePress

Finally, remember to be present during the holiday season. So many times we are in such a rush that we forget to enjoy ourselves and the festivities.

DISCLOSURE: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. That means, if you use that link to buy something from Amazon, I will earn a few pennies on the dollar at no additional cost to you. I only like to products I like and use myself.

Dec 072014

What better way to start the holidays than planning the menu?  Christmas parties, visiting families and fun times with friends usually all center around food and drink. Hopefully my Best Vegan Holiday Recipes from around the web will give you some great ideas to make your holiday special!

This year I will be celebrating Christmas at my mother in law’s house. Luckily we don’t have to travel far! Both my mom and my husband’s parents live five minutes away, and his sister and her husband are about twenty minutes away. I’ve yet to come up with what my contribution will be. My mother in law typically makes a roast, cheese covered vegetables and traditional butter-laden Christmas cookies, so I will be coming up with a delicious side, main and dessert that everyone can enjoy (vegan AND omnivore).  I’m thinking garlicky greens, Jamie Oliver’s nut roast and my Samoa bites made with sunflower seed butter. Hmm…I do think I’ve figured out my contribution just while writing this!

What are you doing this holiday season? Do you have to travel? If so, do you bring your own food?

Hopefully you gain inspiration here! Let’s start with breakfast!

Eggless Breakfast Taco – be sure to serve with LOTS of yummy sauce!

Eggless Breakfast Taco ~Made with Chickpea Flour

Eggless Breakfast Taco ~Made with Chickpea Flour

French Toast Casserole – Paula Deen Style (But Vegan) – PETA

Sweet Potato Skillet Hash – My New Roots

Sweet Potato Hash - Image and Recipe Credit to My New Roots

Sweet Potato Hash -Recipe and Photo from My New Roots


Roasted Rutabaga and Parsnip Soup – by Gena Hamshaw, Care of Kris Carr

Roasted Rutabaga and Parsnip Soup - Image and Recipe by Gena Hamshaw, Care of Kris Carr

Roasted Rutabaga and Parsnip Soup – Image and Recipe by Gena Hamshaw, Care of Kris Carr

Unconventional but delicious. Cheesy Chia Seed Soup

Cheesy Chia Seed Soup

Cheesy Chia Seed Soup


Lemony Artichoke Dip – Terry Walters

 Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms – Pea Soup

Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms - Image and Recipe Credit to Pea Soup

Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms – Image and Recipe Credit to Pea Soup

Grilled Balsamic Bruschetta

Grilled Balsamic Tomato Bruschetta

Grilled Balsamic Tomato Bruschetta


Vlad’s Very Garlicky Greens – Alton Brown

Chestnut Stuffing – Terry Walters

Roasted Baby Leeks with Thyme – Jamie Oliver

Roasted Baby Leeks - Image and Recipe Credit to Jamie Oliver

Roasted Baby Leeks – Photo by Jamie Oliver

Balsamic-Maple Brussels – Kristy Turner, Care of Taste Space

Balsamic - Maple Brussels - Image by Chris Turner and Recipe by Kristie Turner, Care of Taste Space

Balsamic – Maple Brussels – Image by Chris Turner and Recipe by Kristie Turner, Care of Taste Space


Lentil, Apple Walnut Loaf (One of my all time favs.) – Terry Walters

Nut Roast – Jamie Oliver

Nut Roast  - Image and Recipe Credit to Jamie Oliver

Nut Roast – Jamie Oliver


Raw, Vegan Carrot Cake – by Christine Roseberry, Care of Kris Carr This one is not traditional but who doesn’t love carrot cake??

Raw, Vegan Carrot Cake - Image and Recipe by Christine Roseberry, Care of Kris Carr

Raw, Vegan Carrot Cake – Image and Recipe by Christine Roseberry, Care of Kris Carr

Chocolate Tahini Macaroons – Taste Space

No Bake Samoa Bites will be the hit of the party for ANY party, cookie swap or just to have on hand. They are TO DIE FOR. Reminiscent of the Girl Scout Cookie – but healthier.

No-Bake Samoa Bites

No-Bake Samoa Bites

Raw Vegan Eggnog from My New Roots

Raw Vegan Eggnog - Image and Recipe Credit to My New Roots

Raw Vegan Eggnog – Image and Recipe Credit to My New Roots

I hope you enjoy the Best Vegan Holiday Recipes. Happy Holidays from Dawn!

FCC Christmas Photo

FCC Christmas Photo

Nov 222014

Change things up this Thanksgiving with this Vegan Caesar with Arugula and Kale. TO. DIE FOR. You may just lick the bowl. Right in front of the whole family.

A few exciting things have happened.

Vegan Caesar with Arugula and Kale

Vegan Caesar with Arugula and Kale

1) My CSA/Farm share just started up, 2) I got arugula in my first basket and 3) I figured out a way to prepare it where I actually enjoy it. Thank you Kris Carr. She posted links to 9 awesome arugula recipes and the first one I tried by Isa at Post Punk Kitchen was this Arugula Caesar recipe.

With just a few tweaks to make it my own, I knew I had found a gem. As a side note, my daughter was not nearly as thrilled about the recipe as I was. Hmpf.

Speaking of my daughter, allow me a shameless digression to plug our work; we just finished our second children’s book together in a series called Agnes and the Martian. The book is called Agnes and the Martian’s Camping Adventure. Shocking I know – if you know me, you know we love camping. We even have a blog about THAT.

 Back to the story at hand. Thanksgiving and this salad. What do you plan to make? Are you going to try something new this year? I plan to make coconut pumpkin soup (vegan version), a veggie lentil loaf, roasted Brussels stuffing, and this salad.

Vegan Caesar

Vegan Caesar

Vegan Caesar with Arugula and Kale

Serves 6
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup water (plus more for thinning)
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh grated garlic (see note)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
2 teaspoons whole grain dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 bunch kale, chopped
Handful of baby arugula
15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 avocado diced
Fresh black pepper to taste


1. Mix dressing ingredients in a blender. Place kale in a large bowl; massage dressing into kale; stir in arugula until well coated; top with chickpeas, avocado, and black pepper; toss well.

Nutrition Info
6 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 253.8
Total Fat 11.4 g
Saturated Fat 1.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 500.3 mg
Potassium 691.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 31.0 g
Dietary Fiber 9.5 g
Sugars 1.9 g
Protein 10.2 g

Vitamin A 304.4 %
Vitamin B-12 22.2 %
Vitamin B-6 112.5 %
Vitamin C 88.0 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 8.0 %
Calcium 18.0 %
Copper 27.7 %
Folate 39.8 %
Iron 19.5 %
Magnesium 18.0 %
Manganese 60.5 %
Niacin 55.7 %
Pantothenic Acid 10.3 %
Phosphorus 23.0 %
Riboflavin 106.3 %
Selenium 10.6 %
Thiamin 122.2 %
Zinc 15.9 %

*Percent Daily Values for Vegan Caesar with Arugula and Kale are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.


Nov 052014

Bean Burger, Avocado and Sweet Potato Stacks are a delicious way to start celebrating the Thanksgiving Season.

Creamy avocado and tender sweet potato proudly stand atop a bed of hearty kale for this feast – perfect as a unique dish for a dinner party and simple enough for a weeknight meal.

Bean Burger, Avocado and Sweet Potato Stacks over Kale Salad

Bean Burger, Avocado and Sweet Potato Stacks over Kale Salad

There is so much to be thankful for this year. In this post (that is long overdue) I thought I might list a few of these wonderful blessings.

I spend time each morning doing three things when I wake up. I quiet my mind for just a few minutes, visualize where I want to be in life, as if I’ve already achieved it, and spend a few minutes focusing on gratitude.

I have a safe, warm home to live in.
Running water.
My health.
My husband and daughter.
A loving family.
Wonderful friends.
Plenty of healthy food.
Time. Time to be quiet and time with my family and friends.

Though my blog has been taking a bit of a backseat to a few projects I’m working on, it is a wonderful outlet, and I’m so grateful for all of my readers. Thank you to all of you. Over the years I have met so many other bloggers and readers that I’m blessed to be a part of this amazing community.

May you spend today focused on gratitude as well, and may it bring back to you love, joy and positivity!


Before I leave you with the recipe – I’ll share information about my next upcoming live cooking demo. It will be on November 18th at Native Sun in Mandarin, 6pm. You will leave with a belly full of pumpkin soup, delicious samples and tons of tips on having a stress free holiday. The details and how to sign up will be released soon on Native Sun’s Event Page. Seating is limited so save the date and I hope to see you there!

Bean Burger, Avocado and Sweet Potato Stacks over Kale Salad

Bean Burger, Avocado and Sweet Potato Stacks over Kale Salad

Bean Burger, Avocado and Sweet Potato Stacks over Kale Salad

 Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe


1 large sweet potato
1 tsp coconut oil
1/8 tsp Himalayan salt (or any salt will do)
4 bean burgers, premade, like Sunshine Burgers, or homemade
2 ripe avocados, peel and seed removed and sliced
1/4 red onion, sliced

Kale Salad
1 bunch kale
1/4 red onion
1 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp raisins


1. Preheat oven to 375F; massage sweet potato with oil and sprinkle with salt; poke holes event over skin with fork; wrap sweet potato in foil; bake 40 minutes or until soft. Remove from oven and cool.

2. Meanwhile, remove leaves of kale from stems and chop; slice red onion thinly and top kale; mix olive oil; mustard; maple, balsamic and garlic in a small bowl; pour over kale and onion mixture; massage until kale begins to break down and fibers soften. Top with raisins.

3. Heat bean burgers; slice sweet potato; layer 1/4 kale mixture, one slice sweet potato, two slices of avocado, bean burger, another slice sweet potato; another slice avocado and some fresh onion on each of four plates.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 498.2
Total Fat 28.3 g
Saturated Fat 4.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 9.4 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 425.9 mg
Potassium 979.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 53.4 g
Dietary Fiber 19.3 g
Sugars 9.2 g
Protein 11.6 g

Vitamin A 529.5 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 30.2 %
Vitamin C 131.9 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 14.8 %
Calcium 16.3 %
Copper 25.9 %
Folate 25.4 %
Iron 15.3 %
Magnesium 15.1 %
Manganese 53.1 %
Niacin 15.3 %
Pantothenic Acid 18.6 %
Phosphorus 12.3 %
Riboflavin 16.7 %
Selenium 3.2 %
Thiamin 13.3 %
Zinc 8.4 %

*Percent Daily Values for Bean Burger, Avocado and Sweet Potato Stacks over Kale Salad are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.



Oct 162014

I have it! Just for you, a (MUCH) healthier Uncrustables alternative!
Whole grain, sugar free, wheat free, nut free, dairy free, preservative free, GMO free, kid tested and easy to make!

Healthier Uncrustables

Healthier Uncrustables

My daughter has many demons to battle – food allergies and chronic ear infections. I have written many times about her allergies, but I haven’t spoken much about her ear infections. Recently, upon a order from the pediatrician to have her third set of tubes in I put the breaks on. WHY is this happening? Obviously the tubes are a bandaid covering up the real issue.

After a trip or two to Naturopathic Doctor, Dr Jon Repole, we are working through a proper diagnosis that engages several holistic methods including diet, probiotics, chiropractic adjustments, massage, essential oils and agitating the lymph system. After discussing diet, I realized I had been adding quite a bit of wheat back in and she was consuming too much sugar in the form of jelly, honey etc. Though her external allergies were ok, it may be part of the cause of the fluid and inflammation in her ears.

Part of my process of changing her diet, and the diet of our whole family, is to read ingredients on food labels and look for healthier alternatives. Dr Repole made the suggestion to switch from Ezekiel bread to a local company called DeLand bakery with a very simple ingredient list.

I know how hard it is to change a child’s diet in an attempt to make it healthier and want to help parents out there struggling with the same issues. I sometimes eat lunch at my daughter’s school and the processed and packaged “food” is typically on the plates – Uncrustables and Lunchables are commonplace for kids that bring lunch from home. Though this is a few more steps – the nutrient content, exclusion of preservatives and GMOs is well worth it.









Ingredients purchased at Native Sun Natural Food Market

BREAD: DeLand Oat Bread: Oat bran, Oatmeal Flour, Filtered Water, Sea Salt, Baking Powder (Gluten Free option is available.)

SUNBUTTER: MaraNatha Sunflower Seed Butter: Roasted Sunflower Kernel Seeds, Sea Salt.

JELLY: Dates, Water, Himalayan Salt


Healthier Uncrustable
Healthier Uncrustable

Healthier Uncrustables Alternative

Vegan, Wheat Free


2 slices DeLand oat bread
1 Tbsp date “jelly” (see directions below)
1 1/2 Tbsp MaraNatha sunflower seed butter


1. Lightly toast bread; spread on sunflower seed butter and date paste; cut off crusts.

**Date “Jelly” Directions: Soak 1 lb pitted dates in 1 cup water overnight. Blend dates, water and 1/8 tsp Himalayan salt until a smooth paste is formed.
***I haven’t tried this yet, but make a bunch up and place them in the freezer and pull out as needed. I bet they will work great!

Nutrition Facts
1 Serving
Amount Per Serving

Calories 330.0
Total Fat 12.0 g
Saturated Fat 1.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 6.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 290.0 mg
Potassium 120.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 44.8 g
Dietary Fiber 5.0 g
Sugars 16.8 g
Protein 7.8 g

Vitamin E 20.3 %
Calcium 2.5 %
Copper 18.8 %
Iron 7.0 %
Magnesium 18.8 %
Niacin 9.0 %
Zinc 7.5 %

*Percent Daily Values for a Healthier, Whole Food Uncrustables alternative are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.