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
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 http://gabbyb.tv/

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

Oct 032014

Recently an email landed in my inbox from a gentleman named Sam. I clicked it open and the first line was a question.

Have you heard of Food Patriots?

In light of it being non-GMO month, I was intrigued by the name and read more.

This story is about a Midwestern mom, Jennifer, whose son became really sick from contaminated chicken. This prompted her to start asking questions about our food system.

Talk about an interesting parallel to my own life, and the lives of so many of us in the US. My daughter had major food allergies which was the reason I stopped to ask that one little question…..


Watching the family’s food journey was both funny and enlightening. What started from a sickness led to a backyard garden, to adventures with a chicken coop and a visit to those trying to bring back an urban version of the Victory Garden.

USDA Victory Garden messages flashed by on the screen encouraging people to do unheard of activities such as growing a garden, canning and (gasp!) owning chicken coops.

Imagine a USDA ad that said “Save Money the Easy Way, Grow a Garden. It’s Thrifty! It’s Patriotic! Plant Today!”

My how things have changed from the old days.

Now we get “Where’s the Beef?”, and “Got Milk?” (All packed with hormones and antibiotics.)

Because of current standard agricultural practices, and indirectly, governmental subsidies, we are battling what the Midwestern Mom’s son battled. Increasing instances of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Not only are we prescribed antibiotics like candy, they are fed to our cows, pigs and chickens to enable them to live in unsanitary conditions that would cause any normal animal to perish.  Her son almost died from this. Thankfully for all of us he was a strong football player and lived to tell the tale.

Just last week my friend’s young son also was diagnosed with an antibiotic resistant strain of Staph and when I messaged her about it, she said she knew of four others in the past six months. SCARY. But what can we do about it?

The message throughout the movie is one of acceptance that change is not easy, but every little bit counts. Event 10% change.

Here is what this looks like – instead of getting a Coke, Fries and Burger, forgo the coke and get water. Instead of conventional meat, get grass fed, organic meat (or better yet, try forgoing meat all together and eat more plant based meals….but I don’t want to get ahead of myself here.)

Get out there and garden, even if you don’t know what you’re doing. Another theme through the movie is sense of community this builds. You will always find likeminded people that care and that want to do good things.

Not shockingly, when they approached the government with their story they were met with apathy and indifference. Even at their town level, the officials debated on whether chicken coops would bring down already low property values and if they allowed chickens they would be forced to allow all sorts of crazy farm animals. Like goats.

How can one person, making 10% change help?

If everyone buys 10% more local, fresh and organic we can make some major changes.  We are voting with our forks. It is time to DEMAND change. If the public school system continues to be indifferent to our children, it is up to US to take charge and vote. We get three votes a day. Talk about food and the state of food, but don’t force it. Enjoy the change. Savor it.

As Jennifer said, it’s “The Pleasure of doing the right thing.”

 In the end, after viewing the movie, I realized that the gentleman that sent me the original email, Sam, is the very son of the Midwestern mom that survived to tell this tale. Kudos to you Sam, and thank you for allowing me to promote your movement.

At this time, Food Patriots is available for private screenings – click here for the details.

(FREE Online Screening for Food Day Oct 23rd, 2014! Join Here!)

Victory Gardens

Victory Gardens


Sep 142014

North African Spiced Vegetable Kebabs with Coconut Tahini Sauce. Fragrant olive oil, fresh ginger, cumin, cinnamon and allspice – oh my!

North African Spiced Kebabs

North African Spiced Kebabs

The other night I wanted something a little different.

Something with some SPICE to it. And a creamy sauce to balance it out.

 North African, or Chermoula, spiced kebabs with a coconut tahini sauce. Perfect.

Ethnic food is so exciting to create – new flavors and textures to be discovered. These kebabs in particular made me realize how much I miss the creative side of food. Life has gotten so busy since leaving my corporate job (ironically enough). I have resorted to discovering delicious semi-homemade dishes due to lack of time, but I love the times I can slow down and savor.

I had be researching different ethnic foods when I came across the definition of Chermoula. It sounded so appealing, but of course I threw in a few variations.

I added fresh ginger for a bit of a kick and fresh lemon – though preserved lemon would be delicious too.

As I was chopping my vegetables and mixing my sauce I got to thinking.

How old is this dish? Who originally created Chermoula? Is it more healthful to eat the way our ancestors did?

National Geographic has had a really interesting series on how we will feed the population of the future and the state of health, food and nutrition. The article in this month’s issue, written by Ann Gibbons is fascinating. She dissects the origins of the Paleo diet. This diet asserts that there are a few experts saying that we should eat what the cave man ate.

But who was the cave man? Did every population across the globe eat the same exact foods?

The author asserts, “As we look at 2050, when we’ll need to feed two billion more people, the question of which diet is best has taken on a new urgency. The foods we choose to eat in the coming decades will have dramatic ramifications for the planet. Simply put, a diet that revolves around meat and dairy, a way of eating that’s on the rise throughout the developing world, will take a greater toll on the world’s resources than one that revolves around unrefined grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables.”

“Until agriculture was developed around 10,000 years ago, all humans got their food by hunting, gathering, and fishing.”

There are very few indigenous tribes left and scientists are rushing to study their habits before they disappear. Why are there such low instances of diseases from every population from the meat eating Inuit Indians to the plant eating populations of rural China. What are they doing that we aren’t doing?

The Paleo way of life suggests that if we eat what we think our ancestors ate, we will be eating healthfully. Free range meats, fish, no dairy or grains and select fruits and vegetables. But what about HOW they obtained their food?

There are a few things that we forget when we think Paleo. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors had to hunt their food, on foot, with a spear. The kind of energy this requires is astronomical, therefore they craved more caloric, energy dense foods.

That being said, no one actually ATE meat all that often. “Everybody thinks you wander out into the savanna and there are antelopes everywhere, just waiting for you to bonk them on the head,” the article states. When meat was scarce, which was OFTEN, they relied on plants. Even the Paleolithic man’s diet was mostly plant based – 70% or more, and many times, completely plant based, depending on the season and location.

When it comes down to it, humans have survived on just about anything. Our hallmark is our adaptability, the article stresses. It is when we adopt the diet of today that the diseases begin to run rampant- the GMO foods in everything from plants to the feed of livestock and dairy cows, the salt and sugar, the amount of processed foods, and our lack of exercise.

Experts actually say that we have the Paleo diet wrong. It does well to focus on unprocessed foods and no dairy; however, the focus on meat, albeit free range, is not in line with how the Paleolithic man actually ate, nor is the activity level near what would be required to offset the meat consumption.

I think Michael Pollan sums it up well – Paleo diet or not.

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

And I’ll add in – and get up and move.

North African Spiced Kebabs

North African Spiced Kebabs

North African Spiced Vegetable Kebabs with Coconut Tahini Sauce

Serves 4
Vegetarian, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

*Vegetable Marinade and Dressing

1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sweet paprika
½ tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/8 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch allspice
¼ tsp minced fresh ginger
Juice ½ lemon
3-4 Tbsp olive oil


1 Japanese eggplant
1 small zucchini
1 small yellow squash
½ red onion

Coconut Tahini Sauce

¼ cup unsweet coconut milk
½ tsp raw honey
¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
3 Tbsp water
½ Tbsp white miso
½ Tbsp tahini


1. Preheat oven to 375F; soak wooden skewers in water.

2. Mix marinade ingredient in a small bowl and set aside. Blend coconut tahini sauce ingredients in a small blender and set aside.

3. Slice kebab vegetables; thread onto wooden skewers; brush marinade over vegetables evenly; set remaining marinade aside for dipping later; roast vegetables for 30 minutes, or until golden. Serve 1 skewer over garlic Naan or Garbanzo Bean Garlic Naan; top with coconut tahini sauce.

*In a time crunch, try subbing 1 tbsp Za’atar, Curry or Vindaloo seasoning blend and adding the lemon and olive oil.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 217.2
Total Fat 15.4 g
Saturated Fat 2.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3.8 g
Monounsaturated Fat 8.7 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 12.8 mg
Potassium 630.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 19.2 g
Dietary Fiber 6.1 g
Sugars 3.6 g
Protein 4.3 g

Vitamin A 14.2 %
Vitamin B-12 3.1 %
Vitamin B-6 16.2 %
Vitamin C 25.7 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 25.1 %
Calcium 7.0 %
Copper 15.9 %
Folate 17.3 %
Iron 7.0 %
Magnesium 12.4 %
Manganese 27.3 %
Niacin 9.1 %
Pantothenic Acid 10.1 %
Phosphorus 16.9 %
Riboflavin 8.4 %
Selenium 9.3 %
Thiamin 10.2 %
Zinc 6.1 %

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

9-5-2014 3

Aug 192014

Last year I was mad as hell seeing what kids at my daughter’s school were eating. It could NOT be called food! Join my crusade to FIGHT BACK. This is my post on healthier plant-based vegan back to school lunches.

You guys – we need to start getting PISSED about what kids are eating. Let’s control for ourselves and make the time to help our children eat healthy. We cannot rely on the government with their “do as I say, not as I do” mentality. On one hand they support eating fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, all the crop subsidies go to GMO corn, wheat and soy. They consider fruits and vegetables a “specialty crop”. What?! Talk about mixed messages. For those of us not on subsidized meal programs it’s time to boycott school lunch!  Support programs such as Tour de Fresh – organizations working to bring fresh salads and education to schools.

This is a real example of a kindergarten school lunch last year. These children are not in an impoverished area. Compared to the rest of the world, this district is considered affluent, with some of the best schools in the country. What a great “balanced lunch” option.



Yes there was a vegetable option but do the kids choose it? NO! Kids need EDUCATION. Studies show they are more likely to choose healthier options if they are taught what the healthier option is and why. Getting them involved is also essential. Join a farm share and have them pick vegetables for themselves!

Ha! Good timing. KyV’s Farm Share is available for fall right now!  


Let’s give up the excuses and start packing a variety of healthy lunches that aren’t packed with puss filled dairy and nitrate-filled processed meats and GMO wheat.

WE need to eat healthy first. Use these ideas for your own lunch!

Do not let your child end up like THIS:



Tons of Bento Box ideas, Veggie Bento Love

Vegan Lunch Recipes (with downloadable cookbook), Eating Well

50 Vegan Sandwiches, Connoisseurus Veg

 Veg Kitchen, ideas and recipes!


  • Make lunches for two or three days in a row so you can grab-and-go.
  • Ditch the plastic bags! Use re-usable containers, utensils and washable napkins. You will save money in the end. Promise.
  • When in doubt try Pinterest for ideas.
  • Use your muffin tin to create quinoa, NON-DAIRY cheese and veggie meal muffins.
  • Break out the cookie cutter to cut fun shapes out of fruits, veggies and sandwiches!
  • DO be sensitive to kids with allergies. Even if your child doesn’t have them – it is horrific for parents that do. I just paid $253.00 for an epi pen AFTER insurance AND a coupon. It SUCKS so don’t complain if you can’t give your kid peanut butter. You could be buying epi pens instead.
  • For children on subsidized lunch programs – there are ways to make very inexpensive and healthy lunches. With planning it can be done. Contact me and I will walk you through it.



Collard Sushi

Collard Sushi

Crazy Collard Sushi (Minus Sprouts)


Fu Wrap

Fu Wrap

Fu Wrap

BB, Banana and Hummus Wrap

BB, Banana and Hummus Wrap

Black Bean, Banana and Hummus Wrap (subtract the onion)

Mini Pizzas (Photo care of Lunch Box Bunch)

Mini Pizzas (Photo care of Lunch Box Bunch)

Mini Pizza from Lunch Box Bunch!

BBQ Bella Tempeh Joe

BBQ Bella Tempeh Joe

Is your kid a Sloppy Joe lover? Try this BBQ Bella and Tempeh Sandwich


Watermelon Gazpacho, Eating Well

Watermelon Gazpacho, Eating Well

Gazpacho Recipes (Cold Soups), Eating Well

Bowl Licking Good Lentil Soup

Bowl Licking Good Lentil Soup

Bowl Licking Good Lentil Soup. Kid tested, mother approved.


Apple Fried Rice

Apple Fried Rice, from Swasthi’s Recipes

Apple Fried Rice from Swasthi’s Recipes

Sweet Citrus Barley

Sweet Citrus Barley

Sweet Citrus Barley with Pistachios

Pineapple Fu with Basmati Rice

Pineapple Fu with Basmati Rice

Pineapple Fu with Basmati Rice


Nut butter, Raisin and Barley Salad

Nut butter, Raisin and Barley Salad

Nut butter, Raisin, Apple and Barley Salad (Sub sunflower seed butter for peanut butter.)

Quinoa Salad in a Jar

Quinoa Salad in a Jar

Salad in a Jar

Veggie Pasta Salad

Veggie Pasta Salad

One of my favorite pasta salads! Add any protein. Use brown rice pasta for gluten free option.

Snazzy Salad

Snazzy Salad

I love this idea for making a “salad” with fun shapes they can dip. Photo care of Parenting Mag.


Breakfast for lunch!

Overnight Oats

Overnight Oats

Overnight Oats

Fruit and Yogurt Calcium Bowl

Fruit and Yogurt Calcium Bowl

Plain, non-dairy yogurt with fresh fruit

Cereal for Lunch

Cereal for Lunch

Cereal for lunch! I love these ONE INGREDIENT puffs. Add a side of homemade non-dairy milk and fresh fruit. Fun!


All Natural Zucchini Muffins

All Natural Zucchini Muffins

All Natural Zucchini Muffins, All-Time Top Reader Fav

Roasted Sweet Potato Hummus

Roasted Sweet Potato Hummus

Roasted Sweet Potato Hummus,
Serve with celery, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes etc. (See that snazzy salad above!)

Nut and Gluten Free Granola

 Here is a delicious snack and topping idea for yogurt or banana ice cream. It is nut, grain and dairy free. Enjoy!

Nut and Gluten Free Granola

Nut and Gluten Free Granola

Nut and Gluten Free Granola

Serves about 8 1/4 cup servings
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe


1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup dried bananas
1/4 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped crystalized ginger (optional)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup non- dairy chocolate chips
1/8 tsp sea salt


1. Spread coconut oil over a small baking sheet; toss all remaining ingredients together directly on the baking sheet to coat with coconut oil; toast 3-4 minutes, or until just browned.

Nutrition Facts
8 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 151.2
Total Fat 8.8 g
Saturated Fat 4.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.4 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 36.8 mg
Potassium 97.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate 16.4 g
Dietary Fiber 2.0 g
Sugars 13.2 g
Protein 2.4 g
Vitamin A 0.5 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 2.2 %
Vitamin C 0.4 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 10.2 %
Calcium 0.8 %
Copper 4.5 %
Folate 2.4 %
Iron 3.7 %
Magnesium 1.7 %
Manganese 5.4 %
Niacin 1.8 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.9 %
Phosphorus 5.1 %
Riboflavin 0.9 %
Selenium 4.6 %
Thiamin 0.8 %
Zinc 1.5 %

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

For the grand blog-post finale, my biggest secret surprise is that my daughter and I just self-published our first children’s book together on Amazon and Kindle……

It is called The Adventures of Agnes and the Martian!

The Adventures of Agnes and the Martian

The Adventures of Agnes and the Martian

Most parents want their children to be able to discover and live their passion, achieve their dreams, and succeed at what they put their mind to. 

One year ago I left my 13-year corporate job to take on the world and make it a better place, and wanted to pass that determination on to my daughter. Together we created our book, the Adventures Agnes and the Martian.

This book is our way of inspiring children on the path to following their dreams.

As a thank you for getting this far in the post and listening to me blather on, for a limited time I would like to offer – drum roll please -

A free digital copy of our book, The Adventures of Agnes and the Martian!

 email me at dawn(at)floridacoastalcooking.com for your copy!

I know, I know, you are overcome with emotion. Seriously though, it is a cute book if I do say so, and since I love ya – I just have to share. It is for readers from preschool through 1st grade. Preschool and kindergarten my need some help with the reading.



I would love to get your thoughts on this book as I attempt to learn how to market a self-published book with no background in marketing. Who knows, I might fall flat on my face, or I might help my daughter soar with the eagles!

If you like it, and could share it on social media, or even better, review on Amazon, I would forever be in your debt.

She acted out the scenes in all the photos, and then (with a bit of help) tried her hand at drawing in the “Martian”. This was a bedtime story my Nana used to tell me as a child, and now I get to pass it on to my daughter, and children everywhere. We are even planning the next book already and I’m thinking we might call it, Camping Madness with the Martian and Agnes. What do you think?

Jul 302014

 Your alarm wakes up out of a dead sleep and you hit the snooze button…. four times. Finally you drag yourself out of bed, get dressed and when you walk out the door a wall of heat and humidity hits. It is time to fight back naturally with hydrating FOODS for Summer.

Hydrating Foods

Hydrating Foods

Recently I led a workshop at Native Sun about fighting summer fatigue and having more energy naturally.  The research is so surprising, I just can’t keep it to myself!.

Interestingly, one of the primary ways to fight back is through proper hydration, and hydrating foods should always be first on your list. The chart above shows some top hydrating foods. One of the BEST and simplest salads to hydrate is mixture of fresh berries, cucumber and watermelon.

Now let’s talk about the effects of dehydration.  Dehydration impairs your thinking, digestion, energy, how you move, aches and pains and can even age your skin.  It can be one of the main reasons for headaches, dizziness and irritability.

Taking in too little fluid is a major cause – your body loses fluid and electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals in your body fluids that carry an electric charge. Why is this important? Because they affect the acidity and pH balance in your body, they regulate the amount of water you retain, and they are not found in water. They are in natural sodium, calcium and potassium to name a few.

Water Content of Fruits and Vegetables


In turn, one great way to hydrate properly in the summer is not only through water, but also through sodium balance!

The right kind of sodium is key to proper body function. It keeps fluids in balance, maintains blood pressure, digestion and metabolism, supports muscles and nerves, and is key for calcium absorption. It has even been called the “youth mineral” because of it’s benefits for our joint and ligaments – keeping them young and healthy.

A word of caution when it comes to sodium balance and endurance athletes or anyone working outside in the heat – you are at higher risk of hyponatremia. Hyponatremia is when your blood sodium falls below a level 135 of milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L). According to the National Institute of Health, the normal range is 135 to 145 mEq/L from depleting your sodium stores through sweat and drinking too much water. Because you lose sodium through sweat, drinking too much water during endurance activities, such as marathons and triathlons, can dilute the sodium content of your blood.

Fresh Berry and Yogurt Bowl with Mila

Fresh Berry and Yogurt Bowl with Mila

Don’t simply add table salt.

Table salt (NaCL) is mined from underground salt mines, processed, refined and stripped of the natural sodium and then anti-caking agents are added. What you want is the true organic sodium (Na). Most Americans are actually deficient in Na and consume way too much NaCl. While table salt stores in our bodies, any excess in natural sodium will be excreted.

Instead of adding table salt to your diet, add some foods that naturally contain sodium. Natural sea salt, fruits and vegetables.

  • Beets 65 milligrams sodium per beet
  • Celery and Carrots 50 milligrams in one stalk or one carrot
  • Spinach 125 mg per cooked cup
  • Swiss chard 300 mg per cooked cup
  • Also, asparagus, barley, lentils, coconut, okra, kale, raisins, red cabbage
Fresh Berry and Yogurt Bowl with Mila

Fresh Berry and Yogurt Bowl with Mila

The organic sodium in these foods actually alkalizes the body and helps neutralize acidity from fried foods, meats, cheeses, alcohol and any processed foods etc. Without organic sodium, our bodies are clever, they will neutralize the acid from the mineral stores in our bodies – including our bones.

Finally, add Omega 3’s to your diet. Many people think flax when they think Omega 3’s; however, flax is a phytoestrogen like soy, and can alter the body’s hormone balance. The best form of plant based Omega 3 I have found is milled chia. I eat two tablespoons daily of a blend called Mila and have been doing so for three years. Mila specifically has been cleaned of mold, dirt and insect pieces that you find in generic chia. It is then carefully milled, or sliced open, to create more surface area for your body to suck up the nutrients. Finally, each crop is tested for nutrient content and blended for consistent levels of fiber, Omega 3 and other vitamins and nutrients. The fats in Omega 3 foods hold on to hydration in the body and help it from being excreted. Chia has extreme absorption qualities and can absorb many times it’s weight in liquid, keeping you hydrated longer. If you have ever heard of the book Born to Run, chia is the food utilized by the Aztec Indians of the Copper Canyon. They would take chia on their long and arduous runs for nutrition and hydration!

* Info on Mila * To try some use US11065661 * Video *

Have you heard of these ideas on fighting fatigue, tiredness and dehydration? What are some of your tips?

If you liked this post, please comment and share with others!

Fresh Berry and Yogurt Bowl with Mila

Fresh Berry and Yogurt Bowl with Mila

Fresh Berry and Yogurt Bowl with Mila

Vegan, Gluten Free
Serves 2
Printable Recipe


1 cup non-dairy yogurt
1 pint fresh berries
2 Tbsp milled chia such as Mila
Sprinkle of natural sea salt


1.  Pour 1/2 cup yogurt into each bowl; top with 1 Tbsp Mila; divide the berries evenly; sprinkle natural sea salt.

Nutrition Facts
2 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 142.3
Total Fat 5.3 g
Saturated Fat 0.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 188.5 mg
Potassium 109.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 16.3 g
Dietary Fiber 7.1 g
Sugars 8.2 g
Protein 8.0 g

Vitamin A 1.5 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 1.3 %
Vitamin C 19.7 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 3.6 %
Calcium 0.5 %
Copper 2.2 %
Folate 1.1 %
Iron 3.7 %
Magnesium 6.4 %
Manganese 10.2 %
Niacin 1.3 %
Pantothenic Acid 0.7 %
Phosphorus 6.3 %
Riboflavin 2.1 %
Selenium 0.6 %
Thiamin 2.3 %
Zinc 0.6 %

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

Jul 102014

Fresh summer produce gave me the idea for this Easy Vegan Three Bean Salad. There is nothing better than vine ripened tomatoes, hearty edamame and garbanzo beans, and crisp-tender green beans dressed simply with olive oil and sea salt.

Perfect Pot Luck Salad!

Perfect Pot Luck Salad!

For cookouts, beach days, and everyday life, this is the PERFECT summer base salad. What is a base salad? Something you can add to; sautéed tofu, cashew cheese, or any protein or cheese you like.

July 4th was a whirlwind.

There was lots of time for fun and a few points of reflection.

The holiday kicked off with a cookout, followed by a beach day complete with paddle boarding and body surfing, and later that evening we watched our daughter see fire works for the first time on the boat….now THAT was cool.  There was even an unexpected limo ride the next day!

We were at our second cookout of the weekend, when suddenly there was a limo at the front door. Our friend’s landscaper/part owner of a new restaurant had sent a limo by to fetch us to enjoy food and drinks at his new place.

Then the unthinkable happened.  I got a call from my mom who had been rushed to the emergency room with chest pain.

With thoughts of my Dad‘s sudden passing in my head, I drove to the hospital. After many tests and a weekend of hospital food, she was diagnosed with severe gastrointestinal issues (not from the hospital food, but that’s a whole other story). Since she never complains about aches and pains, the pain must have been really bad at the time.

On the way home I reflected how fragile life is. After losing Dad so suddenly, I could clearly see the possibility of losing both my parents, and what was left was devastating. It made me so grateful that she is ok and back home and that I have been able to make the changes I had yearned for – leaving Corporate America, becoming self-employed, loving every minute with my small daughter and relishing the ability to be creative. Every. Day.

Has it been easy? Not always. But worth it? Yes.

I further reflected on what kept me where I was for so long.


Fear that I might fall flat on my face, fear that I might be embarrassed, fear that I would have to work so hard and hate it, fear of failure.

There’s an old saying, if you love what you do, you never have to work a day in your life. 

It is SO true. Yes I work hard, but I enjoy every day now.

And guess what else I found out. Failure is part of success.

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. ~ Wayne Gretzky

This is my wish for you. Live every day as if it is your last. If you don’t like where you are in life now, begin to take steps to change it. Don’t stay where you are out of fear. Turn off the TV. Read books that will help you in life, like How to Win Friends and Influence People. Study people like Marie Forleo and Tony Robbins. Get up early, start dreaming, planning and taking action. Take a chance, let yourself fail, get back up and keep on going.

Don’t wait.

And while you’re dreaming, I have the perfect salad to fuel you.

Are you where you want to be? Do you have changes you need to make in life? What is holding you back?

Easy Vegan Three Bean Salad

Easy Vegan Three Bean Salad

Three Bean Salad

Serves about 10 rounded 1/2 cup servings
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe


1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
12 oz fresh green beans
12 oz shelled edamame
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup red onion (optional)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp coarse ground sea salt
1/8 to 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 to 3 Tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice


1. Steam green beans until crisp-tender; about 10 minutes; remove from steamer and run under cold water and let drain. Cut into bite sized pieces.

2. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss well.

Nutrition Facts
10 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 151.6
Total Fat 5.8 g
Saturated Fat 0.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 234.8 mg
Potassium 233.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 18.7 g
Dietary Fiber 4.1 g
Sugars 0.8 g
Protein 7.3 g

Vitamin A 13.0 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 14.1 %
Vitamin C 18.2 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 3.9 %
Calcium 6.2 %
Copper 6.7 %
Folate 12.6 %
Iron 9.7 %
Magnesium 6.6 %
Manganese 20.1 %
Niacin 2.7 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.6 %
Phosphorus 6.5 %
Riboflavin 4.0 %
Selenium 2.4 %
Thiamin 4.2 %
Zinc 4.2 %

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

Three Bean Salad 

Jul 012014

My sunny state of Florida is such a great place for plant-based food lovers to indulge. Those of us that live here know this well; however, I have many followers that live outside the state and I encourage you to visit and taste what we have to offer! Tasting Florida

This part of the world is a real melting pot for different cultures, which presents itself in the richly varied types of dishes that can typically be found in Florida. There are tons of inexpensive options for traveling to Florida, many times last minute deals are readily available, and securing one of these flights means that visitors to Florida will have extra money to spend sampling the state’s many delicious dishes.

Seafood Alternatives
The Florida Keys region is famous for its seafood; however, there are lots of options for those of us on a plant based diet that are concerned about ocean sustainability. Try delicious black beans and rice, fresh salsas, and vegan options such as tofu or tempeh. Ballyhoo’s in Key Largo has a entire vegan menu!



Photo credit to Ballyhoo’s

Swamp Cabbage
This simple yet delicious vegetable dish is made from the core of the sabal palm tree, which can be found growing all over Florida. The vegetable is boiled with cabbage and served with tomatoes and cream; however, soy or coconut creamer could be easily substituted here and would be even more delicious!

Swamp Cabbage

Swamp Cabbage

Creative Commons Photo Credit

Key Lime Pie
People who have a sweet tooth are sure to love this local dessert, which originated in the Florida Keys. Normally this dessert is made with lime, sweetened condensed milk and egg yolk, which is whipped together and then cooked in a pie crust. After cooking, the key lime pie is topped with meringue, but you can save your arteries and try a delicious VEGAN version at the Café in Key West.

Vegan Key Lime Pie

Vegan Key Lime Pie

Creative Commons Photo Credit

Locally grown fruit and vegetables such as strawberries, boiled peanuts, grits and okra are popular snacks in Florida that can be eaten at any time of the day or night. They are sold at roadside stands throughout the state of Florida.

Boiled Peanuts

Boiled Peanuts

Creative Commons Photo Credit

One of the most exciting parts of travelling to new countries and exploring new cultures is trying all of the authentic food and culinary delights from the independent local outlets. Florida certainly has plenty to offer.

 Posted by at 7:12 pm
May 292014

Created just for you – Cleansing Life Classes! Let me tell you a little story about how these came about and share a video of what they are.

Cleansing Life

Cleansing Life

(Beautiful Photo Source)

See all the info here and a yummy cinnamon bronzer recipe at the Cleansing Life Page

I think back to when my daughter was born. Her brand new skin soaking up everything she came in contact with.

Diligently I cleaned the bath tub with Tilex, Comet, Clorox or other cleaning products – thinking that I needed to keep germs away from her.


Little did I know, many cleaning products contain chemicals such as chloroform, formaldehyde and benzene – linked to reproductive disorders, asthma, and even cancer, and the likelihood of completely rinsing these toxins away is very low. My daughter was then soaking in a warm bath – essentially absorbing any of the remaining toxins like a sponge.



The next time I cleaned, I stepped into the shower and inhaled that clean smell, thinking it smelled….clean, right?

Have you heard how many toxins we absorb through our feet? Any cleaning chemicals that the shower was rinsing down the drain was ending up right at my feet and I was breathing in the fumes.

Later at the grocery store I remember standing in the cleaning product aisle at the grocery. Before turning down the aisle I could already smell the chemicals.  When I stood there, staring at the dozens of options, a second fact hit me (other than almost passing out from the fumes). The price. Have you seen the prices of cleaning products nowadays? Outrageous!

And finally, the environmental impacts of these toxins are vast.
I just got back from a trip to Manatee Springs State Park last weekend. There had been some flooding so there was no swimming allowed. This spring was literally black with grunge. We were allowed to go kayaking and the sludge stuck to the kayaks when we got out took 20 minutes to scrub.  The rangers said the grunge was from pesticides, fertilizers, toxic cleaning products, oils etc. that leeched into the waterway.



According to the EPA, “Ingredients containing phosphorus or nitrogen can contribute to nutrient-loading in water bodies, leading to adverse effects on water quality.”

I started researching. As I did so, I became more and more upset – wondering how can these toxins be allowed into our grocery stores? Not just cleaning products, but beauty products with coal tar, somatic cells in dairy, toxins in sunscreen, formaldehyde in new carpet and furniture….the list goes on and on. When I found out what many of these toxins do in our body I decided something has to be done. The current state is unacceptable.

I furthered my research for months and months, compiling the information took even longer. I edited and experimented and found the answer. Cleansing Life Classes!

You may have seen my simple guide to organic essential oils….that was one of the top read posts ever on my blog.
There is a huge need for this.

Let’s do this! Learn the realities! Become outraged! Join my crusade against companies lining their pockets by taking the easy and cheap way out and let’s make the world better for our kids and future generations.

See all the info here and the recipe at the Cleansing Life Page

May 082014
Me, the Food Blogging Ninja

There are TONS of tips out there on blogging.  Write quality content, don’t make spelling mistakes, be authentic….but what are the APPS we use? What about all the technical stuff? How the heck do I ever make money blogging? Here are my Top Secret Ninja Tips for Food Blogging as well as some tips from a few of my successful blogging friends.

 Let’s start with the basics. How do we even get started with this crazy thing called blogging? What IS a blog?

According to the on-line dictionary a blog is the following:

noun: blog; plural noun: blogs
  1. 1.
    a personal website or web page on which an individual records opinions, links to other sites, etc. on a regular basis.
verb: blog; 3rd person present: blogs; past tense: blogged; past participle: blogged; gerund or present participle: blogging
  1. 1.
    add new material to or regularly update a blog.
    “it’s about a week since I last blogged”

 Ok great. So lets get on to……

Getting Started

I’ll start off with Joanne Bruno who writes Eats Well With Others. Fabulously funny, Joanne adds humor to her innovative dishes. A girl after my own heart, she has multiple passions. Not only is she has been a featured blogger in Cooking Light, she is a marathon runner and MD/PhD student in New York City!

Joanne Bruno

Joanne Bruno

 Start out on WordPress! My biggest mistake was to start out on Blogger and then it was expensive and really stressful to have to switch after almost five years of blogging. WordPress offers much better SEO tools and helps make your blog look more professional!

Alissa from Connoisseurus Veg Alissa is a yogi-artist-intellectual property attorney that just so happens to also be a food blogger! She shares TONS of delicious and easy plant based dishes. I am always astonished at what she comes up with. Whether you are new to eating healthy or an established health nut, you will enjoy her blog!



My number one tip for anyone that wants to start a food blog is to just do it. I literally decided to start a food blog one day, and was photographing my dinner the next night, despite having no idea what I was doing, getting frustrated with my camera, my food and the entire process of writing down every step of my recipe.  I did this because I knew it would be easy to talk myself out of it/procrastinate/try to learn everything before getting started, but the truth is, the best way to learn is by doing, and getting started without hesitation will get you started on your learning journey faster than anything else. (My first post, by the way, is still up there and it’s pretty bad, but who cares? Lots of food bloggers can probably say the same.)
Web design: If you use Blogger or WordPress you can find lots of free and inexpensive templates online. It’s relatively easy to learn to design your own as well. If you want help from someone who really knows what they’re doing, check out Etsy (that’s what I did) – there are lots of talented designers on there that can help you for a reasonable fee.


Yours Truly

Yours Truly

Ok so now I have a tip for ya! My first and most FAVORITE secret of my Top Secret Ninja Tips for Food Blogging is how I have grown my email subscribers from 1,000 to over 1,000 within a matter of months is a little plugin called Squirrly.

A Plugin is sort of like an app on your cell phone. You can search out there for something that would be handy, find a good fit and plug it in! Not only have they helped me generate TONS of new traffic from Google. I can also make money now as their affiliate. This is one way you can monetize your blog. Remember the old catch 22. How can I get experience if the only businesses that are hiring want experienced workers? This solves that. They grow your traffic and you recommend them because they grew your traffic and then you get paid. WIN WIN WIN.


Instead of buying Photoshop, I use a website called PicMonkey for $30 bucks a year. SUPER user friendly and SO fun!

Be SURE to invest in a digital SLR and great light source such as a Lowell ego. The camera I have is a Canon 30D body that I got refurbished off ebay for around $300 and I bought a new lens separately. Since I mostly shoot at night, I finally caved and bought a Lowell Ego light for around $100. Those two tips helped me revolutionize my photographs.

Susan Voisin, FatFree Vegan Kitchen Susan writes a revolutionary blog that features DELICIOUS plant based AND fat free recipes. Why did she become Vegan? To better her health and the health of her family. In fact, she lost over 100 pounds by changing her lifestyle! For any delicious low fat, vegan recipe under the sun, she is THE resource with over 1400 recipes!

Susan Voisin

Susan Voisin

 My tips would have to do with photography: Find a window with bright but indirect natural light, and set your camera and a table up there–even if it’s in the bathroom! Natural light looks so much better than even the most expensive photography lights. Don’t forget to use a reflector, a simple piece of white poster board, on the side opposite the window to soften the shadows and even up the light.

 What does she do for photo retouching? Her answer: I use Lightroom to do most of my photo editing and then resize and save in Photoshop because I like the control it gives me over file size and quality.

From Cara Lyons, Caras Cravings Fabulously creative dishes and a personal friend of mine. She loves lifting weights and anything with pumpkin (need I say more?). She has been featured in Clean Eating Magazine and Southern Living and is a writer for Gluten Free Magazine. I’m so proud to call her my friend!

Cara Lyons

Cara Lyons

 I am absolutely going with photography on this one! After all the time you spend developing a recipe and lovingly arranging it on a plate, it deserves more than a poorly lit phone pic. You don’t have to spend a ton, but definitely invest in a good light source. With great light, even a moderate camera will take better photos. Edit to brighten backgrounds and enhance colors, but don’t go crazy with filters. Save those for fun candids on your instagram account!

Alissa at Connoisseurus Veg

Photography: I use natural light as much as possible. During the winter months this might mean photographing breakfast or lunch instead of dinner, making dinner early in the day, photographing it and then reheating for dinner, or when possible, photographing dinner leftovers the next day. For photo editing I use Picasa (free) and an old version of Corel Paintshop that has many of the same features as Photoshop but only cost me fifteen bucks on Amazon.

Social Media

Create social media for your site – a facebook page, twitter and Instagram are musts. Check out Bloglovin – not really social media, but a great way for people to follow you.

I use a free application called “bufferapp” that lets me pre-load posts for facebook and twitter and disperses them intermittently throughout the day.

Vine is the next upcoming social media. Learn it!

Hosting/Website Design/Technicalities of blogging

I use ipage for my hosting. I get 24/7 service and it is very inexpensive. The 24/7 service is so, so, so worth it as you begin to compile hundreds of posts equaling LOTS of hours of work. Should your site go down for any reason, iPage will be there to help. I remember when I didn’t have anyone to go to after 600 posts and I went to post a killer blog post and my entire Blogger blog was GONE. It was like the bottom dropped out of my stomach. Not a nice feeling.

SparkRecipes is an easy way to get nutrition info onto each post. I encourage you to use the nutrient information. It just gets people thinking.

A great way to make a clean “printable” recipe is Google Sites. Yes I make a little site for each and ever recipe and link to it.

The recipe catalog page I use is Recipage (Also used by Angela Liddon at Oh She Glows. Thanks Angela, for this tip.) The hard part is having to copy and paste the recipe into yet another site, so I’ll admit, I’m a bit behind, but I like the clean format.

How to make money blogging

Some great ways to make money blogging are through affiliate programs for products and services YOU love and use. Honestly being passionate about these items is how you will make money. I have many affiliate programs through Amazon, PicMonkey, iPage, Squirrily and I can honestly say I love them all so much if I wasn’t married, I would marry them all and consider switching to Polygamy.

Alissa from Connoisseurus Veg

Making money blogging: Check in with lots of different ad networks. Find out how they pay and how much. Keep an eye on your ad stats and if your ads aren’t making money, try another network. Affiliate links are great too. I link my readers to Amazon for any hard-to-find ingredients and earn a commission when they click the link and buy something – it doesn’t even matter if they buy something different from what I linked them too, as long as they click the link and buy something within 24 hours without logging out of their Amazon account!

Building a following

You must have a way to collect emails. They are going to be your best and most valuable resource. These are people that love your content and will share information about you and your blog. Right now I use mailchimp but I’m looking for some other sources. Any tips for ME out there?

Alyssa Queen of Quinoa Alyssa’s drool-worthy quinoa recipes are both creative and inventive – how one person can create this many quinoa recipes is beyond me! She lost 15 pounds by changing her diet and feels better than ever – now she is helping us do the same! She is the creator of the cookbook Baking with Quinoa that features everything from Pumpkin Pie Quinoa Bars to Gluten-Free French Baguettes!

Alyssa Queen of Quinoa

Alyssa Queen of Quinoa

Building an email list should be priority number one. As you’re growing your following and attracting new readers, you want to have an area where they can subscribe to your site for email updates. Once you have their email, you can work on building an even stronger relationship with them.

Another one of my great tips for food blogging is be sure to post your great photos to Foodgawker and Tastespotting to drive traffic to your site. Don’t be sad if they don’t use your first few photos. They have very high standards!

Alissa at Connoisseurus Veg

Building a following: Seek out different ways to promote your blog and share your posts. Foodgawker and Tastespotting are great, but there are lots of similar sites you might be ignoring. I also submit my recipes to Finding Vegan (www.findingvegan.com) and Potluck (potluck.ohmyveggies.com), both of which get me lots of pageviews and are easier in terms of getting photos accepted than Foodgawker and Tastespotting. The more exposure you get, the more followers you’ll likely get.

Consistency and Balance 

Be sure to post regularly! Readers will know what to expect and won’t be surprised to get more than the usual weekly email or be looking for additional content if you decide to post monthly.

Janet from the Taste Space My friend Janet is a runner, biker and whole foods, plant based blogger. When I was changing my eating habits I happened to come across her blog and started printing out recipes that I liked. After about 50 recipes I figured I’d better stop printing and just meet this crazy-awesome girl! We have become friends over the years and she always impresses me with her creative Indian and ethnic dishes.

Janet from Taste Space

Janet from Taste Space

My biggest tip is to keep everything in balance, real life and blog. Blogging is a minor part of my life but one that I have streamlined to be easier. I use Picasa for photo editing. I schedule posts. This helps for my sanity and readers likely appreciate the regularity. I aim for 2-3 posts a week. My time is precious and thus I don’t have duplicating social accounts on Facebook, twitter, etc. It is all about your priorities. Hope this helps! Smiling face (black and white)

I hope you enjoyed my Top Secret Ninja Tips for Food Blogging. As I come across new and interesting information, I promise to update! A BIG thank you to all of my food blogging friends that shared their juicy nuggets of wisdom!
Me, the Food Blogging Ninja with Tips for Food Blogging

Me, the Food Blogging Ninja with Tips for Food Blogging

What are YOUR top secret tips for blogging (even if it isn’t food blogging?)