Jan 192014

We’re all hearing about the benefits of superfruits ~ in this post I’ll review the Mangosteen and share a delicious recipe for Superfruit Mangosteen Dressing!

It’s all over Dr Oz, the internet, health blogs – you name it – superfruits are hot. It is hard not to buy into the hype so I always do some research.  I rarely discuss supplements because I’m here to promote food first.  Human nature is to say shoot, I can eat whatever I want and then just take these supplements and I’ll be fine.

Baloney. First and foremost we need to eat a balanced and nutrient dense diet of mostly plants, and then add any supplementation on top of that. (And remember – always be sure to read the ingredients!) My daily regimen includes eating Mila every day, taking a liquid coral calcium & liquid daily vitamin, sub-lingual complex b-vitamin and I’m trying a few of these superfruits to see what I think.




The Mangosteen is a tropical evergreen tree that primarily grows in Southeast Asia. The fruit is sweet, tangy and juicy ~ but it is the purple “pericarp”, or rind, that is high in tannins and contains an organic material called xanthones. The astringent rind of the fruit has been used in a variety of ways ~ to treat pain, inflammation, allergies, various infections, eczema and wounds, dysentery and urinary tract infections, and is also said to be an immune booster.

Superfruit Mangosteen Dressing

Superfruit Mangosteen Dressing

From doing my research please keep in mind that yes, the rind has a high nutrient content; however, it should not be used to cure any ailments, so please do not believe false claims.

Any food or nutrient can only help build your very own body’s defenses against various ailments. Our bodies are amazing symphonies of biochemistry ~ but it is up to us to treat it right. If we ingest fast food drive from the through every day and then drink mangosteen juice, we cannot expect our body to be able to defend itself against ailments.  It is much better to cleanse our bodies of toxins by eating healthfully, balance our bodies through exercise and eating a variety of colorful, organic foods and build our bodies’ defenses through nutrient dense foods ~ such as mangosteen.

Variety of organic and nutrient dense foods is one of main reasons to consider the mangosteen. This is the same reason you may want to consider joining an organic CSA/farm share ~ it enables you to obtain a variety of high quality vegetables you may not normally find at your grocer. Conventional soils are depleted in the US ~ to think that we can lay down some man made fertilizer and believe we are adding everything to the soil that it needs is ridiculous, nature is infinitely more complex, so by choosing organics you are also choosing healthy soil. This is not to say that all organics are without shortcuts and are perfect by any means; however, it is a step in the right direction.

If you ARE looking for a high quality mangosteen product ~ I have a great one in my wholesale membership club with Genesis Pure  and I do feel comfortable supporting and recommending it like I do Mila. I checked out a variety that are available out there and this one is really good. If I found anything in it I didn’t agree with, I wouldn’t talk about it ~ even though it is a product supplied by my own company. It is wild harvested and has no added preservatives or sugars.

I do suggest that you compare other products and do your own research first, any time you are looking to try something out.  Google “mangosteen juice products” and see what comes up.

Other than drinking it, making a light dressing is a great way to use it ~ especially over the organically grown veggies at KyV Farm or Native Sun. It is gently sweet and really pleasing ~ no need to add additional sweeteners!

Superfruit Mangosteen Dressing

Superfruit Mangosteen Dressing

Fresh Salad with Superfruit Mangosteen Dressing

Serves 4
Printable Recipe
Vegan, Gluten Free


4 cups fresh chopped lettuces and greens such as kale or bok choy
1 large fresh tomato, chopped
1/4 red onion, chopped
1 cup sliced cucumber
Salt & pepper, to taste

1/4 cup mangosteen juice
2 Tbsp roasted garlic extra virgin olive oil (plain will be fine too)
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp honey


1. Divide lettuce, tomato and onion evenly over four plates.

2. Whisk dressing ingredients in a small bowl; pour 2 Tbsp dressing over each salad; season with salt and pepper.

Here is Dr Duncan talking about what the mangosteen is good for.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 64.1
Total Fat 2.4 g
Saturated Fat 0.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.7 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 44.2 mg
Potassium 195.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate 10.5 g
Dietary Fiber 1.2 g
ugars 8.0 g
Protein 1.1 g 

Vitamin A 29.7 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 2.2 %
Vitamin C 24.3 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 2.8 %
Calcium 2.3 %
Copper 1.7 %
Folate 19.7 %
Iron 4.0 %
Magnesium 1.5 %
Manganese 19.4 %
Niacin 1.7 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.2 %
Phosphorus 3.0 %
Riboflavin 3.7 %
Selenium 0.3 %
Thiamin 4.2 %
Zinc 1.2 % 

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

Jan 012014

This Eggless Breakfast Taco is a simple and flavorful twist on a traditional breakfast burrito.

Get your new year started off on the right foot – with an easy, healthy, delicious and light breakfast. If you are tired of the same old oatmeal, this recipe will knock your socks off!

Plus I’ll share my food trend predictions for 2014!

Eggless Breakfast Taco ~ Made with Chickpea Flour

Eggless Breakfast Taco ~ Made with Chickpea Flour

I’m officially declaring this year to be the year of the chickpea ~ more specifically, chickpea/garbanzo flour. In the past few weeks alone I came across several delicious recipe ideas using this versatile ingredient. The first was when my friend Vivian mentioned making tortillas from chickpea flour and then, when challenged with creating an eggless vegan breakfast taco without tofu, I came across a recipe using the chickpea flour as a replacement for eggs. Of course I had to take it a step further and add a bit of delicious nutritional yeast and smoky coconut bacon.

Eggless Breakfast Taco ~ Made with Chickpea Flour

Eggless Breakfast Taco ~ Made with Chickpea Flour

While we’re at it, I’ll call the second hot ingredient for this year…..nutritional yeast!  Ok, so maybe this won’t be one that the experts predict, but I’ll go ahead and say it should be on the hot trends for this year.  If you haven’t tried it yet you simply must go out and grab some from the bulk bin. It is high in protein and b-vitamins and has a wonderfully cheese-like flavor.  What I love about mixing the bean flour with nutritional yeast (aside from the fabulous taste and texture) is that this mixture is both high in protein and high in fiber.  This combination is something you cannot get from animal foods since they do not contain fiber.  What you won’t see in this recipe is cholesterol, so for anyone battling heart disease this is a great alternative to eggs.

Eggless Breakfast Taco ~ Coconut Bacon

Eggless Breakfast Taco ~ Coconut Bacon

Miss the bacon you say?   I have a product you will fall head over heels for.  Coconut bacon!  Top your taco with this and say bye to pig forever.  You can even make a BLT with this product! Yes it is a bit on the pricier side, but a little goes a long way.  So while you are at Native Sun grabbing the nutritional yeast and chickpea flour, add coconut bacon to your list.  Plant based “bacon” is my third prediction as a hot item for 2014.

Eggless Breakfast Taco ~ Perfect with Fresh Coffee

Eggless Breakfast Taco ~ Perfect with Fresh Coffee

My hope for this year is that awareness for locally sourced foods will finally take hold with the mainstream population ~ that people learn what a CSA is and become wary of genetically modified foods.  As gas prices increase and access to fossil fuels decreases, prices for food that must travel long distances will go up.  This one factor may help people start to question why this is happening. My second hope we begin to realize that we need to consume a greater variety of vegetables than the standard lettuce, onion and tomato.  Cauliflower is supposedly this year’s “it” vegetable, so how about kicking it up a notch and looking out for Romanesco cauliflower? Time to diversify our intake of produce, just like we should diversify our portfolio!

What are your food trend predictions for 2014?

[If you like the sound of this recipe – please share it with your friends! Many thanks and may your 2014 be your best year yet!]

Eggless Breakfast Taco ~Made with Chickpea Flour

Eggless Breakfast Taco ~Made with Chickpea Flour

Eggless Breakfast Taco

Inspired by Oatmeal with a Fork
Serves 4 small tacos. For larger meal, double taco mixture.
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe



2 tsp coconut oil
3/4 cup chickpea/garbanzo bean flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp onion powder
1-2 green onion(s), chopped
1/4 cup coconut bacon (optional, omit if soy-free is desired)
4 small gluten free (or regular) tortillas

Optional Mustard Sauce (makes extra)

6 Tbsp mustard (coarse ground, prepared)
6 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 cup reduced fat or regular Vegenaise
1/4 cup unsweet original non-dairy milk
1 Tbsp agave (or local honey)


1. Mix chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, water, salt and onion powder in a medium bowl; stir in the green onions. Mix mustard sauce in small bowl (if using.)

2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat; add 2 teaspoons of coconut oil and coat bottom of skillet evenly; pour the chickpea mixture into skillet and let sit 3-5 minutes, or until the edges begin to set and center bubbles; gently turn with a large, flat spatula and break apart mixture to create bite sized pieces with an egg-like consistency and the mixture is fully cooked; about 1-2 minutes.

3. Divide mixture evenly between 4 tortilla shells; top each with 1 Tbsp coconut bacon and 1 Tbsp mustard sauce (if using).

**Note: Non-dairy cheddar style cheese would be delicious as a substitute for the mustard sauce in this recipe.

Estimated Nutrition Info
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 192.8
Total Fat 8.0 g
Saturated Fat 3.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 628.1 mg
Potassium 188.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 22.0 g
Dietary Fiber 8.3 g
Sugars 2.4 g
Protein 13.4 g

Vitamin A 0.2 %
Vitamin B-12 66.5 %
Vitamin B-6 240.4 %
Vitamin C 0.7 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 0.1 %
Calcium 9.4 %
Copper 3.2 %
Folate 30.3 %
Iron 10.8 %
Magnesium 2.7 %
Manganese 3.0 %
Niacin 140.1 %
Pantothenic Acid 5.1 %
Phosphorus 8.7 %
Riboflavin 282.6 %
Selenium 16.1 %
Thiamin 320.2 %
Zinc 10.6 %

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

Mustard Sauce: Per Tbsp
Nutrition Facts
21 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 24.8
Total Fat 1.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.7 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 122.9 mg
Potassium 48.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 2.0 g
Dietary Fiber 0.6 g
Sugars 0.0 g
Protein 1.2 g

Vitamin A 0.1 %
Vitamin B-12 19.0 %
Vitamin B-6 68.6 %
Vitamin C 0.0 %
Vitamin D 0.3 %
Vitamin E 0.6 %
Calcium 0.4 %
Copper 0.9 %
Folate 8.6 %
Iron 0.6 %
Magnesium 0.8 %
Manganese 0.7 %
Niacin 40.0 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.4 %
Phosphorus 2.5 %
Riboflavin 80.7 %
Selenium 4.6 %
Thiamin 91.4 %
Zinc 3.0 %

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

Dec 192013

Serve these Ultra Gooey Peppermint Brownie Cupcakes straight from the oven and delight the guests at your next dinner party.

(Shh don’t tell them these are from a box and are vegan!)

Peppermint Brownie Cupcakes

Peppermint Brownie Cupcakes

It has been said that the fastest way to win a girl’s heart is through peppermint and chocolate.

(Or maybe it was I that said that.)

Think molten lava cake.

Gooey. Oozing with warm chocolate-y goodness and a hint of peppermint for Christmas cheer.

Be warned however; these should be eaten while warm. Once they cool overnight the magic “molteniness” will be gone.

Peppermint Brownie Cupcakes

Peppermint Brownie Cupcakes

Did I mention how simple this recipe is? The reason is that there is no mixing of flour and sugar etc. is because it is all in the box!
But wait! Before I lose you, this isn’t your average box o’ brownie mix with genetically modified ingredients, hydrogenated oils and cocoa processed with alkali….
See the difference for yourself!

Pillsbury brand:

Peppermint Brownie Cupcakes

Peppermint Brownie Cupcakes

Madhava Blend:
Madhava Sweetener Blend (organic cane sugar, organic coconut sugar), organic wheat flour, organic cocoa powder, Ancient Grains Flour (organic spelt, organic KAMUT®, organic farro), organic vanilla, salt

Which one would we rather put into our kid’s bodies?


Tell us, what is your favorite dessert to make for the holidays?

Peppermint Brownie Cupcakes

Peppermint Brownie Cupcakes

Ultra Gooey Peppermint Brownie Cupcakes

Serves 12
Printable Recipe
*On sale at Native Sun Natural Food Market Dec 7, 2013-Jan 6, 2014


1 box Madhava Ooey Gooey Brownie Mix*
1 Tbsp ground chia + 4 Tbsp water
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup water
2 peppermint candy canes, crushed*
2 drops peppermint extract


1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Mix the chia and water and set aside. Mix the brownie mix and melted coconut oil until blended; add the water and mix again; stir in crushed candy canes and peppermint extract; spoon into 12 muffin tins lined with baking cups.

2. Bake 35-40 minutes or until edges begin to firm.

Estimated Nutrition Info – (Madhava brand was not available)
12 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 225.6
Total Fat 13.2 g
Saturated Fat 8.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.9 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.7 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 87.6 mg
Potassium 5.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 25.9 g
Dietary Fiber 0.4 g
Sugars 16.9 g
Protein 1.8 g

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

Dec 042013

 This sweet, spicy and savory Raw Thai Noodle Salad is easy to make and as an added bonus is also naturally gluten free and vegan.

Raw Thai Noodle Salad

Raw Thai Noodle Salad

Walking through Native Sun last week I stopped and did a double take. Kelp noodles. Hmm. Interesting.
I’m embarrassed to say I have never worked with these noodles of the sea. I bought them and then visited the noodle website on line for more info.

“Kelp Noodles are a sea vegetable in the form of an easy to eat raw noodle. Made of only kelp (a sea vegetable), sodium alginate (sodium salt extracted from a brown seaweed), and water, Kelp Noodles are fat-free, gluten-free, and very low in carbohydrates and calories. Their noodle form and neutral taste allow for a variety of uses including salads, stir-fries, hot broths, and casseroles, while their healthful content provides a rich source of trace minerals including iodine, which kelp is well known for. Their unique texture completes the package, making Kelp Noodles a one-of-a-kind healthful and tasty alternative to pasta and rice noodles. Best of all, no cooking is required. Just rinse and add the noodles to any dish and they are ready to eat!”

Love the healthy convenience of a ready to eat raw food! One of the main reasons raw is great is because the healthy enzymes stay in tact since they are not heated above 115 to 118F.



Raw Thai Noodle Salad

Raw Thai Noodle Salad

Once I opened the bag and rinsed, I had to dress them up. I chose fresh carrots, sesame seeds, raw broccoli and aromatic cilantro to add to the noodle base and, in just a few minutes time, was able to whisk a spicy, sweet and salty sauce to massage into the mixture.  This mixture can be heated, but it was delicious cold! This salad has a wonderful crunch from the veggies that work so well with the thin, semi-chewy noodles that have the perfect amount of bite.

 Have you tried kelp noodles? What do you typically do with them?

Raw Thai Noodle Salad

Raw Thai Noodle Salad

Raw Thai Noodle Salad

Serves 5 1-cup servings
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

**On sale now at Native Sun Natural Food Market Nov 7 through Dec 6, 2013


1 pkg kelp noodles, rinsed and drained
1 small head broccoli (and stalk), chopped **
2 green onions, sliced
1 cup chopped red cabbage
3 carrots, julienned
2 Tbsp black sesame seeds
2 Tbsp white sesame seeds
Handful fresh cilantro, chopped (Fresh from KyV Farm)

1/4 cup raw nut butter of choice
2 Tbsp liquid aminos
1 Tbsp ume plum vinegar (or rice vinegar will be fine)
1 Tbsp raw organic agave or raw local honey (non-vegan)
2 tsp organic chili sauce (Sriracha)
1/2 Tbsp raw sesame oil (optional)


1. Whisk sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl and set aside.

2. Add salad ingredients to a large bowl; pour dressing over salad mixture; mix with hands to combine and coat the noodles and vegetables evenly.

Nutrition Facts
5 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 174.2
Total Fat 11.6 g
Saturated Fat 2.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 751.3 mg
Potassium 394.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 14.5 g
Dietary Fiber 4.1 g
Sugars 6.9 g
Protein 6.1 g

Vitamin A 99.1 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 11.8 %
Vitamin C 62.0 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 10.9 %
Calcium 11.4 %
Copper 17.6 %
Folate 14.1 %
Iron 10.4 %
Magnesium 15.4 %
Manganese 19.9 %
Niacin 13.4 %
Pantothenic Acid 4.0 %
Phosphorus 13.2 %
Riboflavin 6.0 %
Selenium 3.6 %
Thiamin 8.2 %
Zinc 8.0 %

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


Oct 302013

 This Low Fat, Vegan and Gluten Free, Creamy Pumpkin Mac-n-cheese with Maple  Mushroom Bacon is so good….it’s scary.

Creamy Pumpkin Mac-n-cheese with Maple Mushroom Bacon

Creamy Pumpkin Mac-n-cheese with Maple Mushroom Bacon

I wanted to make something a little special because I’m celebrating.

 TWO events in fact.

Creamy Pumpkin Mac-n-cheese with Maple Mushroom Bacon

Creamy Pumpkin Mac-n-cheese with Maple Mushroom Bacon

I got my certificate in Plant Based Nutrition!!!!

Dawn Hutchins Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition

This has been on my “vision board” for quite some time now and I’m so excited to have achieved this goal.  I learned more than I  imagined I would about how and why plant based lifestyles work. I’m not perfect by any means – I occasionally will have some local honey or a bit of olive oil – but as a whole I’m growing and learning and will always consider myself a student. I plan to host talks on plant based nutrition, incorporate the facts in any cooking classes I do and possibly run some detoxes.

The second huge milestone I reached (on my vision board even longer) was that I am expanding my relationship with a natural food store in my area that is all about the community and education….Native Sun! My cousin made a comment that I could use this as a stepping stone to get to the WalMart of natural food stores – you know the one I’m talking about. I told her if I had wanted to do that I would have. The reason this particular business was on my vision board was along the same lines as the reason I support KyV Organic Farm. Sky-high standards. Quality. Passion. I’ll be out there with Native Sun at Vegfest next month and I hope you will come visit me!

So I say – what better way to celebrate than with something a little decadent and pumpkin-y with maple bacon, right?! This recipe is super rich and creamy but without all the fat. I used veggie broth to loosen the sauce – feel free to add more as needed, especially if you need to re-heat. As an alternative, feel free to use a non-dairy milk. That would be just as delicious but will add just a few more calories. This was also my first time at trying mushroom bacon. I heard about the idea quite a while ago from this video and now the idea of cruelty free, non-pig bacon is taking the blog world by storm. I have even seen coconut bacon! As I began to create a unique version of the recipe, I created a crisp, salty-sweet mixture with a hint of acid. A perfect texture balance with the creamy pumpkin mac.

Creamy Pumpkin Mac-n-cheese with Maple Mushroom "Bacon"

Creamy Pumpkin Mac-n-cheese with Maple Mushroom “Bacon”

Creamy Pumpkin Mac-n-cheese with Maple Mushroom Bacon

Serves 6
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe


Maple Bacon

3 Portobello mushrooms
3 Tbsp liquid aminos
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Pumpkin Mac-n-Cheese

12 oz dry brown rice pasta, Tinkyada
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp vegetable broth, divided
1 cup chopped carrots
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 14.5oz can cooked pumpkin puree
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp sage
1/2 cup non-dairy cheese, Daiya
1 Tbsp white vinegar


Mushroom Maple “Bacon”
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Slice portobellos very thinly.  In a large bowl mix liquid aminos, oil, maple syrup and vinegar; add portobellos and toss; drain excess liquid and place on baking sheet lined with parchment.

2. Bake 10 minutes; blotting any excess liquid and toss gently with spatula; bake 10 minutes, toss gently; bake a final 10-20 minutes, continuing to stir periodically until crispy. Mushrooms will crisp a bit more as they cool.

Pumpkin Mac-n-Cheese
1. Cook pasta to package directions. Spoon into baking dish. Preheat oven to 375.

2. Meanwhile, preheat large skillet over medium high heat; add 2 Tbsp vegetable broth; saute carrots and onion about 7 minutes; stir in pumpkin puree, remaining vegetable broth, nutritional yeast, bay leaf, sea salt, and sage; cook 5 minutes; add cheese and white vinegar, cook an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is incorporated.

3. Pour pumpkin mixture over pasta; cover and bake for 15 minutes or until heated through. Top with Maple “Bacon”.

Estimated Nutrition Facts Mushroom Maple “Bacon”
6 Servings

Amount Per Serving
*Note that about half of liquid remains after tossing mushrooms and is therefore not counted in nutrition info.
**Liquid can be reserved for another use such as marinating tofu or tempeh

Calories 28.7
Total Fat 2.4 g
Saturated Fat 1.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 92.3 mg
Potassium 40.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 84.9 g
Dietary Fiber 0.1 g
Sugars 1.3 g
Protein 0.9 g

Vitamin A 0.0 %
Vitamin B-12 0.1 %
Vitamin B-6 0.7 %
Vitamin C 0.5 %
Vitamin D 2.2 %
Vitamin E 1.7 %
Calcium 0.2 %
Copper 1.9 %
Folate 0.5 %
Iron 0.5 %
Magnesium 0.4 %
Manganese 3.1 %
Niacin 2.2 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.7 %
Phosphorus 1.0 %
Riboflavin 2.8 %
Selenium 1.5 %
Thiamin 0.7 %
Zinc 0.9 %

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

Nutrition Facts
6 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 282.9
Total Fat 2.7 g
Saturated Fat 0.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 449.6 mg
Potassium 572.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 55.6 g
Dietary Fiber 6.4 g
Sugars 2.2 g
Protein 10.5 g

Vitamin A 121.7 %
Vitamin B-12 88.7 %
Vitamin B-6 324.3 %
Vitamin C 9.6 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 0.6 %
Calcium 3.1 %
Copper 8.3 %
Folate 43.6 %
Iron 10.3 %
Magnesium 6.3 %
Manganese 10.1 %
Niacin 204.3 %
Pantothenic Acid 8.8 %
Phosphorus 14.8 %
Riboflavin 380.8 %
Selenium 21.7 %
Thiamin 444.6 %
Zinc 15.7 %

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

Apr 222013

Let me take a personal journey for a moment in hopes that I will help someone else be able to say, I won the battle with depression and got off antidepressants.”  

Sunny Mila (Chia) Dreamsicle Smoothie

Sunny Mila (Chia) Dreamsicle Smoothie

I felt like a three ton weight was pressing on my shoulders and wanted to just lie in my darkened closet and not come out.

One of the hardest parts was that I looked normal.

It is not easy to share the details of my life in a public forum like this, in fact I’ve had this post written for a while and continued to put off posting it because I just wasn’t sure I wanted to put it out there, but I’m going to do so in the hopes that I might be able to help someone else.

My life was (and is) seemingly perfect. I have a supporting and loving family, husband and daughter, a wonderful home, a job, I have figured out my passion, I have all my limbs and hey, I live in Florida, how bad can things actually be?

I was suffering from major depression. What made it worse was that I should NOT be depressed, right?  I should have felt only happiness and gratitude.  And I DID, but I also had a cloud that hung over my head and no matter how much I tried to talk myself out of it, read positive books, think positive thoughts, it would still be there.  It was so bad that I would cry almost every day on the way on the drive to work and many days on the way home. When I got to work I would blow my nose, put some cover-up around my eyes, slap on some powder and put my glasses on to cover it up.  I was exhausted all the time, so much so that it felt like physical pain.  I would tell my mom this almost daily. Mom I’m so tired it hurts.

I had an aging (and very noisy) Labrador, Madison, that would wake me at night and afterwards I wouldn’t fall back to sleep which made the exhaustion worse.  One particular weekend stands out in my memory.  Some friends, Matt and Stephanie, came in town and several couples were going out for dinner. My hubby was busy doing something that I can’t recall so I was going to go myself.  I put on a beautiful new dress that had the colors of the ocean, blues and greens, and drove to my friend Justine’s house 45 minutes away from mine to see them.  Everyone was chatting and gathering their things to head to dinner. I tried to put on my game face but I was so worn down that I was wrestling with myself.  Just suck it up and go, you’ll be fine. And the next thought, I’m so tired it hurts. I just want to sit at home and wallow. The exhaustion won. I said I’m so sorry, I can’t do it. I have to go home. I’m exhausted.   I envisioned everyone mentally rolling their eyes at me.  Of course they weren’t, but I was so embarrassed. I’m still embarrassed about that day and sad that I missed seeing Matt and Steph. I was too young to be that tired. Anyone is too young to be that tired.

That memory always fades into another; my husband and I were staying in St Augustine to celebrate the “February Birthdays” with about five other couples, and I was so worried about even making it to dinner, never mind out afterwards for drinks and music.  I was so tired that I wanted to forgo dinner at the Floridian and just stay in my hotel room at the Edgewater by myself. I drank two red energy drinks and one and a half of those little energy bottles and was still exhausted.  I was so embarrassed that I would resort to drinking such chemicals when I have a food blog about eating a healthy, plant based diet.

The story of how I won the battle with depression and got off antidepressants.

The story of how I won the battle with depression and got off antidepressants.

I was on the highest dosage of Bupropion I could be on and I had tried many of the other antidepressants. Nothing seemed to work.  My poor mom is a saint for listening to me through all the crying.

On a particularly dark day I said enough was enough and called my physician to see if she would increase my dosage again. I told her I just want to be a zombie. Get through the day. Go home.  I don’t want to feel this weight any more.  She said no. You are on the highest dosage.  It can not be increased any more, Dawn.  I cried about that.

My hair was falling out so I fired my hair dresser thinking that he had over-processed my hair.

Then one day I got an email from my mom’s neurology nurse practitioner, Megan.  (My mom has Multiple Sclerosis.) Megan, asked me if I would do a talk on food, nutrition, recipes and my CSA (KyV Farm) for her MS group she runs and I told her of course, I would love to.  She said my mom had been telling her about my food blog and she got very excited because she is vegetarian.

Things would come up and I didn’t get around to it, but we continued to talk and become friends. She became a regular follower of my blog and we would occasionally discuss recipes offline.

A while later I did a few posts about flax and chia seed.  Once again she contacted me and said she saw I was eating chia seeds. I said yes, and told her how I was eating lots of organic chia and freshly ground flax daily.  She asked if I had tried Mila, a raw seed blend.  I said no and asked if it is organically grown and non GMO.  She said yes to organic and no to GMO. She said I’d be happy to share some with you.  I said as long as it’s one ingredient and is a whole, raw food, send it on over. I’d try it.

A few days later I got a large bag of seeds. Being the health nut that I am I cracked it open and began eating it.  About three weeks into it I noticed better digestion, more energy and I was falling back to sleep after Madison woke me up at night. Hmm…well that was nice.  The seeds I was eating before hadn’t had the same effects.  I started getting low and asked her for more.  About three months into eating it I noticed something about my depression. Not that I wasn’t getting upset, but that I wasn’t crying all the time. I seemed to be able to get over the hump easier.

Eager to get off any pharmaceuticals, I decided to cut out one day a week of taking them, after a week or two I cut out two days. And so on and so forth.

After a few months I was completely off pharmaceutical antidepressants, and for some reason I didn’t put two and two together.  But I finally thought about it and the ONLY thing I had changed was this food.

I did some research.  I found many studies about high amounts of Omega 3’s helping the symptoms of depression.  The blend I was eating has 3000mg per serving, I know other brands do as well, but for some reason the organic kind I was eating before didn’t touch the depression.

The fact that I had no idea this was one of the “side effects” of eating this whole, raw food until after I was off the meds was what really moved me.

My hair started growing back in.  I didn’t realize that many people experience hair loss on high dosages of antidepressants, so now that I was off them, my hair started growing back.  Now, over a year later, I don’t even take one medication, my weight is lower and I have more energy. I can’t remember the last time I drank a disgusting red energy drink or took those little energy bottles.  I have a cup or two of coffee in the morning because I enjoy it, and that’s all I need. I get up between 4:15 and 4:40 am and typically get to bed around 9 or 10 pm.

I’m so thankful that Megan sent me that purple bag of seeds that was so different than everything I had tried before that I think of her daily with gratitude.

The best part is that the three ton weight is gone.  And I’m happy to say I finally did do that talk for the MS group and had a great time.

This is my story. I’m not embellishing or exaggerating.  I still absolutely do get upset about things but am able to deal with them a bit better and find my moods much more even.  I did join the business with Megan in order to share information about my story and the food that helped me so much and I’m so proud to represent it.  I tell people about it like a good movie or good restaurant. If they want to try some, great and if not, that is fine too.  I am NOT by any means saying that what I found will cure anything whatsoever, and I’m NOT giving any advice on how to get off antidepressants, all I know is my own experience and how it helped me. Everyone’s bodies are different and react differently to foods.  Please also notice that I said it took THREE months. If I had been expecting the effects of this food I probably would have gotten impatient. Because I didn’t know this was a benefit of this food, it was like an added bonus. And what a bonus!

All I ask is that you treat yourself with love and consider the side effects of taking any sort of pharmaceutical BEFORE you start.  Your doctor will most likely NOT try to treat any ailment through food and nutrition before going to pharmaceuticals.  There are a very few like Megan and if you have found one, hold on to them like gold.

I have no idea what other ailments my body was suffering from those high dosages of antidepressants, not to mention the energy drinks but I am so thankful, every day, that I found this food.

I am so blessed to be able to say “I won the battle with depression and got off antidepressants!” If you have questions about my experience please contact me at chefdawn (at) hotmail.com.

“If you’re concerned about your health, you should probably avoid products that make health claims. Why? Because a health claim on a food product is a strong indication it’s not really food, and food is what you want to eat.”
Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto

Sunny Mila (Chia) Dreamsicle Smoothie

Sunny Mila (Chia) Dreamsicle Smoothie

Sunny Mila Dreamsicle Smoothie

Serves 1
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe


1 cup vanilla almond milk
2 mandarin oranges, peeled and sectioned
1/2 frozen banana, chopped
1 scoop (2 Tbsp) Mila
**If using unsweet vanilla almond milk, you can add a bit of agave, honey or sweetener of choice


1. Blend everything together and enjoy!

“While it is true that many people simply can’t afford to pay more for food, either in money or time or both, many more of us can. After all, just in the last decade or two we’ve somehow found the time in the day to spend several hours on the internet and the money in the budget not only to pay for broadband service, but to cover a second phone bill and a new monthly bill for television, formerly free. For the majority of Americans, spending more for better food is less a matter of ability than priority. p.187”

― Michael PollanIn Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto

Nutrition Facts
1 Serving
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 252.4
Total Fat 6.8 g
Saturated Fat 0.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 184.5 mg
Potassium 460.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 43.9 g
Dietary Fiber 11.2 g
Sugars 28.2 g
Protein 6.5 g

Vitamin A 10.8 %
Vitamin B-6 14.6 %
Vitamin C 7.7 %
Vitamin D 25.0 %
Vitamin E 50.7 %
Calcium 53.3 %
Copper 4.6 %
Folate 2.4 %
Iron 10.9 %
Magnesium 7.7 %
Manganese 20.9 %
Niacin 1.4 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.3 %
Phosphorus 14.0 %
Riboflavin 5.0 %
Selenium 0.8 %
Thiamin 1.5 %
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.

Everyone knows pills are the answer and wants to be able to say “I got off antidepressants“. If you want to try mila for yourself click this link and then click “shop” and use US11065661. Mila is retail $55 and wholesale membership club $45 for a monthly supply.

Feb 042013

For my Kale and Tofu Sandwich scroll down!


And the winner of the giveaway is #13 Anna Rabhan! Please check out her article at her website the Organic Adventurer on Palm Oil and Orangutans.


The long ago day when I overheard people talking about the book the China Study was the day that changed my life.  I had already been leaning towards a plant based diet, but the facts about the proteins in animals and dairy scared me enough to finally make that change.  The authors studied the instances of cancer, diabetes and heart disease in populations of rural China that ate little to no animal foods. They then took these findings back and performed laboratory studies where they found they could turn on and turn off cancer cells with the addition of the protein found in milk.

Even if it isn’t true the more I ask questions and facts I learn about the treatment of animals, especially dairy cows in most of the commercial farming industry, the happier I am that I found this book and the more I celebrate plant proteins like tofu, tempeh and legumes!  Do you ever wonder…..What happens when it is time to retire that dairy cow? What happens to the male goats? What about male chicks in the egg industry?   How do we harvest down and foie gras? 

Ultimately each person is free to make their own decisions absolutely free of judgement.  I encourage all of us to simply make informed decisions.  Just like in all areas of life, it is so important to edcuate ourselves on the facts as best we can and then select what is right for us.


For those of you that are thinking about adding more plant based foods into your diet but don’t know what to do with tofu, the first thing you need to know is that you have to press the water out of it to get a firm texture that is reminiscent of animal protein.  You can do this by putting a bunch of paper towels under the tofu and placing two plates, one on top and one on bottom, and topping with some weight (usually heavy books work well) for an hour up to overnight.  OR you can get this super easy tofu press!  My tofu press I bought from TofuXpress years ago is one of my all time favorite kitchen gadgets that gets used at least weekly.  I can’t tell you how much I love this thing! No more plates and messy towels – this press will not only press the water out, you can marinate right in it!

TofuXpress Giveaway from FCC!

TofuXpress Giveaway from FCC!

I am so excited to bring you a giveaway of a TofuXpress!

This press is a $40 value and I will ship to anywhere is the continental US.

To enter for THREE chances to win – tell all your friends!

Leave one comment: Entry #1 What is your favorite kitchen gadget? (Please share the love and share this giveaway with your friends!)

Leave a second comment: Entry #2 Like Florida Coastal Cooking on facebook AND share about the giveaway (If you are already a follower, thank you! Please simply share the giveaway and leave the comment you did so.)

Leave a third comment: Entry #3 Follow Florida Coastal Cooking on Twitter and tweet about the giveaway (If you are already a follower, thank you! Please simply share the giveaway and leave the comment you did so.)

The giveaway will end in one week on Monday, February 11th, 2013 5:30AM EST

Good luck!

Saucy Kale and Tofu Sandwich

Saucy Kale and Tofu Sandwich

This is one of my favorite ways to eat pressed tofu – SIMPLE, with kale, seasonings and a great dressing.  Lately a kale, tofu and Annie’s Light Goddess dressing salad is all I bring for lunch. The great thing is that the hearty kale can stand up to being dressed that morning so I don’t have to worry about it turning to mush and at the same time it can marinate to the tofu. Yesterday for lunch I decided to try it as a sandwich and it was really good. The toasted bun gives it a nice crunch and the flavor of the Annie’s dressing is a soy/tahini/cider vinegar base which gives it a nutty and slightly salty flavor.

It is important to season firm, pressed and uncooked tofu because, just like any animal protein, it needs some flavor.  Have you ever tried an unseasoned piece of chicken? I remember what it tastes like – bleck!

If you are not sure about leaving the tofu uncooked – you can marinate it in the dressing and then roast, grill or pan sear it.

Saucy Kale and Tofu Sandwich

Saucy Kale and Tofu Sandwich

Easy Saucy Kale and Tofu Sandwich

Serves 1
Printable Recipe


1 bagel thin, I used Rudis Whole Wheat Flatz
2 curly kale leaves
1/4 block pressed organic tofu
Coarse sea salt, fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/8 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp Annie’s Light Goddess Dressing


1. Toast bagel thin; top with 1 kale leaf; top with tofu; sprinkle salt, pepper, garlic powder and dressing; top with remaining kale leaf.

Full Nutrition info not available for this recipe
225 cals
12.8 grams protein
1/2 your daily calcium
Enjoy my Easy Saucy Kale and Tofu Sandwich!

Jan 212013

This recipe is gonna blow your mind.

Cheesy and Creamy Mushroom and Spinach Alfredo Lasagna

Cheesy and Creamy Mushroom and Spinach Alfredo Lasagna

Oh so cheesy and creamy and SUPER decadent.

Cheesy and Creamy Mushroom and Spinach Alfredo Lasagna

Cheesy and Creamy Mushroom and Spinach Alfredo Lasagna

Not only is this dish easy – using the short cut of Victoria Vegan Alfredo sauce with a base of cashews instead of cream – it is healthy with zero cholesterol, vegan and gluten free.

For anyone who says meatless is tasteless, make this up and bring it to them. I guarantee they will be eating their words!


I confess that when I made this recipe and tasted it, I felt so guilty – here I am trying to eat lighter and enjoying a large slab of creamy, cheesy, mouth watering lasagna!  Then I calculated the calories and fat….under 250 calories and only 2.5 grams saturated fat and poof! No more guilt.

This basic recipe can have any veggie subbed for the mushrooms and spinach that you have on hand so feel free to get a little crazy!

Creamy and Cheesy Mushroom and Spinach Alfredo Lasagna

Creamy and Cheesy Mushroom and Spinach Alfredo Lasagna

Cheesy and Creamy Mushroom and Spinach Alfredo Lasagna

Serves 6
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe


5oz Brown Rice Pasta Lasagna Noodles, Tinkyada
1 Tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
1 ½ pkgs (15oz) frozen organic mushrooms
½ pkg (5oz) frozen organic spinach
1 Tbsp wheat free Tamari
1 jar Victoria Vegan Roasted Pepper Alfredo Sauce
½ cup non-dairy cheese, Daiya


1. Preheat oven 350F. Cook noodles to package directions and set aside.

2. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in pot pasta was cooked in; add onion, cook 5 minutes; add mushrooms, spinach and tamari; cook until softened and well combined; about 5 to 7 minutes.

3. Layer in a 9×9 baking dish, ¼ cup sauce, row of lasagna noodles, ½ mushroom mixture; repeat. Top with a third row of noodles, the last of the Alfredo sauce and ½ cup cheese. Cover and bake 45 minutes or until warm and bubbly.

Step by Step Lasagna Layering

Step by Step Lasagna Layering

Estimated Nutrition Info
6 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 243
Total Fat 10 g
Saturated Fat 2.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.7 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 739 mg
Potassium 354.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 30 g
Dietary Fiber 4.5 g
Sugars 3.9 g
Protein 7.9 g

Vitamin A 28.5 %
Vitamin B-12 0.5 %
Vitamin B-6 6.8 %
Vitamin C 8.6 %
Vitamin D 13.5 %
Vitamin E 1.9 %
Calcium 3.3 %
Copper 13.3 %
Folate 8.8 %
Iron 5.9 %
Magnesium 5.5 %
Manganese 12.3 %
Niacin 21.1 %
Pantothenic Acid 11.1 %
Phosphorus 7.9 %
Riboflavin 19.6 %
Selenium 9.6 %
Thiamin 12.0 %

Zinc 3.6 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Enjoy my Outrageously Cheesy and Creamy Mushroom and Spinach Alfredo Lasagna (Healthy and Naturally Vegan and Gluten Free)!

Nov 142012

How many times have you grabbed a seasoning mix to save time and looked at the ingredients and wondered what the heck some of the ingredients were?  

If you haven’t done this, I encourage you to do so.  Start reading your labels. More important than just fat, calories and carbs, we should be looking at what the item’s ingredients are.

Take a look at this McCormick potato seasoning.


Notice there is bleached wheat, sugar, maltodextrin and whey.  The wheat is most certainly genetically modified and we get so much wheat in our diets that it is the most likely reason for all the gluten sensitivities.  We are not meant to eat that much wheat – period – and it’s in EVERYTHING.

Secondly, malodextrin is a food additive. Wikepedia has this definition: Maltodextrin is an oligosaccharide that is used as a food additive. It is produced from starch by partial hydrolysis and is usually found as a whitehygroscopic spray-dried powder.[1] Maltodextrin is easily digestible, being absorbed as rapidly as glucose, and might be either moderately sweet or almost flavorless. It is commonly used for the production of sodas and candy. It can also be found as an ingredient in a variety of other processed foods.

Sure it may be ok in a minuscule amount but think about the amount of processed foods that most Americans eat.

If this seems a bit overwhelming just keep it simple.  Get back to basics and start reading the ingredients.

Now let’s take a look at this hand blended seasoning mix from All Spiced Up. The ingredients are clearly labeled on the front and we can read and understand each one without having to google it.

Garlic Unleashed

 And the taste? It can’t be compared!

This seasoning would normally be used on roasted potatoes but I tried it here in soup and the garlic flavor really shines.  What a great alternative to simple salt and pepper and it’s something you can feel great about feeding your family.

Is there someone on your gift list that loves cooking?  This would be a great gift!

Nov 102012

Yesterday was our FIRST delivery of the CSA season and what a great start!

In our bags we got squash, onions, broccoli, broccoli rabe, spinach, bok choy, peppers, radishes, beans, lettuce, purple kale and more.

Kohlrabi, Broccoli Rabe, Radishes

To celebrate – by popular request, I am posting my very first video on how to store and prep kale and lettuce! Please keep in mind I was at work at 6:30AM, worked through lunch, got my daughter, ran straight to the farm to grab my veggies, got home, took photos and then started dinner and made this video.  Since this is my normal life, I decided the videos are going to be really spontaneous.  Real life! My hair and makeup won’t be perfect and these won’t be scripted or edited.

Store those wrapped greens in the fridge and simply remove the amount you want for each dish!

What came of this spontaneous video was one of the most delicious salads I’ve had in a long time.  I have fallen in love with the new line of dressings that KyV Farm is carrying and the one I tried last night was Tomato Basil.

Vidalia Valley Dressings

Think of the best homemade tomato sauce you ever had and turn that into a dressing.  A perfect balance of sweet, acid, tart and aromatic basil.  I remember enjoying Outback Steakhouse’s tangy tomato – and it doesn’t hold a candle to this organic blend.  I’ve had three servings since yesterday.

Hiding underneath that dressing is the tart sun dried tomatoes, red onions with a bite, crunchy nuts, and even Mila, nature’s healthiest whole raw food, decides to join the party on top of this blend of purple kale and lettuce. 

Purple Kale and Sun dried Tomato Salad

 Raw kale? 

Yes! This tender kale can be eaten raw! And isn’t that almost always the best way to eat a vegetable?

Purple Kale and Sun dried Tomato Salad

 Purple Kale and Sun Dried Tomato Salad

Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe


4 cups chopped purple kale, KyV Farm
4 cups chopped lettuce, KyV Farm
4 Tbsp Mila 
4 Tbsp sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained
4 plum tomatoes, quartered
1/3 cup mixed whole nuts
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 green onion, chopped
8 Tbsp Vidalia Valley Tomato Basil Dressing (Buy some right at KyV!)


1. Place 1 cup kale, 1 cup lettuce,  1 Tbsp Mila, 1 Tbsp sun dried tomato and one tomato on each of four plates; add the nuts, red onion and green onion over evenly. Top each with 2 Tbsp dressing. 

Nutrition Facts (not including dressing)
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 149.0
Total Fat 8.0
Saturated Fat 0.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.3 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 106.3 mg
Potassium 680.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 15.6 g
Dietary Fiber 7.4 g
Sugars 2.9 g
Protein 7.1 g

Vitamin A 383.9 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 12.4 %
Vitamin C 113.5 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 9.8 %
Calcium 16.5 %
Copper 20.1 %
Folate 25.1 %
Iron 16.7 %
Magnesium 14.1 %
Manganese 63.4 %
Niacin 8.6 %
Pantothenic Acid 3.5 %
Phosphorus 17.3 %
Riboflavin 10.8 %
Selenium 2.1 %
Thiamin 10.9 %
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.