Nov 052014

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

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

Bean Burger, Avocado and Sweet Potato Stacks over Kale Salad

Bean Burger, Avocado and Sweet Potato Stacks over Kale Salad

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

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

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

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

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


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

Bean Burger, Avocado and Sweet Potato Stacks over Kale Salad

Bean Burger, Avocado and Sweet Potato Stacks over Kale Salad

Bean Burger, Avocado and Sweet Potato Stacks over Kale Salad

 Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe


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

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


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

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

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

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

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

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

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



Oct 162014

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

Healthier Uncrustables

Healthier Uncrustables

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

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

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

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









Ingredients purchased at Native Sun Natural Food Market

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

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

JELLY: Dates, Water, Himalayan Salt


Healthier Uncrustable
Healthier Uncrustable

Healthier Uncrustables Alternative

Vegan, Wheat Free


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


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

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

Nutrition Facts
1 Serving
Amount Per Serving

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

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

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


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

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 

Jun 162014

Tender sweet potatoes, rich curry and toasted bread are the feature ingredients in my crunchy, delicious Sweet Potato Sliders with Curry Pesto.

Sweet Potato Sliders with Curry Pesto

Sweet Potato Sliders with Curry Pesto

Well known as the home of the controversial Paula Deen, Savannah Georgia is one of my favorite places on earth. It is rich with history, has a great food scene and an amazing farmers market in Forsyth Park.

I visited last week, camping in my mom’s new camper at Skidaway Island State Park. If you ever stay in the area, definitely plan on the market Saturday morning. It runs from 9am to 1pm.

The mission of the Forsyth Farmers’ Market is to promote understanding and participation in a local food system that supports sustainable production and increases access to local products.”

Forsyth Farmers Market

Forsyth Farmers Market

Last week’s market held a special surprise through a gentleman named Michael Maddox; the manifestation of my dream to build a community around an organic farm. TRUE community supported agriculture. Think of the possibilities! A school, homes and families all focused around health, food and a connection with nature.

I can’t help but wonder how many of us could grow our own food if we needed to. How many kids know where vegetables come from, or even what many vegetables even taste like?

Green Bridge Farm

Green Bridge Farm

Meet Michal from Green Bridge Farm, about thirty minutes northwest of Savannah. I spoke with Michael and he is now selling lots around his organic farm, with a school just nearby. This land has been in his family since the 1700’s and he is personally funding this project.

A Sustainable Community Project

An ecologically-friendly development of twenty five wooded acres in Effingham County, Georgia.

An existing 20 year old organic farm is the center piece and shared community space on this otherwise wooded acreage. Lots for sale in sizes of 1.2-1.6 acres each, priced at $50,000.00 per lot.

Green Bridge Farm

Green Bridge Farm

There is even now a Tumbleweed home for rent! Tumbleweed homes are small homes, sometimes on wheels, that help people live simple, inexpensive, uncluttered lives. To me – that sounds like real freedom. The blog notes state,“We now have a Tumbleweed house for rent. Anyone interested in visiting the farm and staying overnight can now stay in this little home for  small fee.  Call me for details. 912-667-1118.” 

Here are the details of the main lots.

Community Space

There are approximately four acres set aside for community space including existing organic vegetable gardens and fruit orchards. Gardening is not mandatory but this project provides a unique opportunity for those interested in growing their own food. The four acre lot and gardens will be maintained by the neighborhood association.



I would love for projects like this to begin popping up all over the US. Pure utopia. It would be amazing to live in small communities, utilizing solar power if possible, and spending spare time learning how to self-sustain. No produce from Chile and Argentina, no trucks from halfway across the US. Think of the energy savings!  My next dream is to build lots that have gone vacant and build tumbleweed communities – where one family once was, now there are five, with a garden in the middle. Sort of like this one in Somoma but with the organic garden in the center.  America’s “bigger is better” mentality is unsustainable, this would be a solution to this problem. No trees would be cut down to clear new land, and families would still have the joy of owning their own space. Who wants to join me with this project?!

Forsyth Farmers Market

Forsyth Farmers Market

Back at the campground we created a lovely meal from the fresh produce we got at the market as the children played at the playground. What I love best about camping is the family time – no technology distractions. It is an inexpensive and fun way to take lots more vacations throughout the year!



One of the last days we were in Savannah we tried to visit our favorite Green Truck Pub, but much to our dismay, it was closed that day! We resorted to a small café next door to a natural food store and my mom happened to order the most delicious looking sandwich.

Sweet Potato Sliders with Curry Pesto

Sweet Potato Sliders with Curry Pesto

A sweet potato on ciabatta with a creamy pesto. It was VERY heavy, but I loved the concept and it simply had to be recreated at home….so here it is! Crunchy, sweet, delicious and with a little twist of curry on fresh baked, organic bread. Nothing better!

Sweet Potato Sliders with Curry Pesto

Sweet Potato Sliders with Curry Pesto

   Sweet Potato Sliders with Curry Pesto

Serves Estimated 8-10
Printable Recipe


2 large sweet potatoes
1 baguette
1 10 oz pkg baby lettuces
1/3 cup raisins

Curry Pesto
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
2 tsp curry powder
2 Tbsp melted curry coconut oil (such as Ziggy Marley) + extra for greasing baking sheet and potatoes
1 clove garlic
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground ginger


1. Preheat oven to 450F; grease baking sheet with coconut oil and rub additional on potatoes; poke holes evenly over skin of potatoes with fork; rub with salt; bake for 30 minutes; flip and bake additional 20 to 30 minutes; remove from oven, let cool and slice.

2. Meanwhile blend curry pesto ingredients; slice and toast or grill baguette.

3. Layer 1 slice baguette, spread 1 – 2 tsp pesto, a few raisins; two slices sweet potato; a few lettuce leaves, top with second baguette slice.

**Please note: un-flavored coconut oil works just fine. Feel free to use that as well!

Estimated Nutrition Info
**There may be some pesto left, so calorie count may be lower. When I created the calorie count I had to include the calories and fat from all the pesto.
10 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 225.6
Total Fat 4.7 g
Saturated Fat 2.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.7 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 348.2 mg
Potassium 152.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 32.8 g
Dietary Fiber 2.6 g
Sugars 5.8 g
Protein 5.8 g

Vitamin A 67.5 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 5.4 %
Vitamin C 41.9 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 1.9 %
Calcium 3.2 %
Copper 5.1 %
Folate 1.7 %
Iron 11.7 %
Magnesium 3.8 %
Manganese 8.1 %
Niacin 3.2 %
Pantothenic Acid 4.1 %
Phosphorus 4.5 %
Riboflavin 2.4 %
Selenium 0.6 %
Thiamin 2.7 %
Zinc 1.8 %

*Percent Daily Values for Sweet Potato Sliders with Curry Pesto are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

May 142014

My Teriyaki Tempeh Lettuce Wraps are as simple to make as they are delicious. Whether you put them in a tortilla to make a taco, or chop the tempeh and throw it over some salad – this is a versatile, filling and scrumptious meal.

Teriyaki Tempeh Lettuce Wraps

Teriyaki Tempeh Lettuce Wraps

Summer is on the way and sometimes we want something lighter for lunch or dinner. For this dish I swapped out the tortilla for some fresh lettuce from KyV Farm to lighten things up.  In fact, these Teriyaki Tempeh Lettuce Wraps can be made outside on the grill during a BBQ or picnic. Instead of cooking the tempeh slices in a skillet, simply oil and place on the grill – cook each side for about 5 minutes, or until char marks appear, then toss in the Teriyaki and you are good to go!

Try as a taco too!

Try as a taco too!

If someone still wants theirs in taco form (as you can see my daughter couldn’t wait to grab her taco – that is her little hand in the photo), bring along some tortillas to change it up. Another option is to chop the lettuce and make a salad by adding the red onion, cilantro and maybe some sautéed mushrooms and broccoli or grilled asparagus.

Teriyaki Tempeh Lettuce Wraps

Teriyaki Tempeh Lettuce Wraps

 Teriyaki Tempeh Lettuce Wraps

Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe


1 block tempeh, sliced into strips
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup Teriyaki sauce
8 fresh lettuce leaves (I used fresh from KyV Farm, but any Bibb or Romaine will do)
4 tsp Spicy Red Pepper Miso Mayo or Vegenaise
Sliced red onion
Handful fresh cilantro

4 tortillas


1. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat; add tempeh and cook 5 minutes; flip and cook an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat; add Teriyaki sauce and stir until both sides of tempeh are coated.

2. Place two lettuce leaves on each of four plates; divide tempeh over servings; top with 1 tsp each Miso mayo or Vegenaise; sliced red onion and fresh cilantro.

Turn into tacos by layering fresh lettuce, tempeh and remaining fixings over tortillas!

Nutrition Facts 
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 187.8
Total Fat 12.4 g
Saturated Fat 1.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 6.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 727.9 mg
Potassium 352.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate 9.5 g
Dietary Fiber 0.4 g
Sugars 2.8 g
Protein 11.9 g

Vitamin A 20.2 %
Vitamin B-12 0.8 %
Vitamin B-6 14.4 %
Vitamin C 2.5 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 3.0 %
Calcium 18.6 %
Copper 23.2 %
Folate 16.1 %
Iron 26.3 %
Magnesium 33.2 %
Manganese 39.8 %
Niacin 14.6 %
Pantothenic Acid 5.0 %
Phosphorus 37.4 %
Riboflavin 18.6 %
Selenium 0.3 %
Thiamin 7.0 %
Zinc 5.7 %

% Percent Daily Values for Teriyaki Tempeh Lettuce Wraps are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

May 022014

The secret is in the sauce with my Garlic Black Beans over Rice Pasta. Extra garlic, onions, Kalamata olive paste and sundried tomatoes are tied together with a dash of balsamic for pure perfection.

Garlic Black Beans

Garlic Black Beans

What is the first thing you are usually thinking about when you get up each morning?

If I wake up before my alarm, my brain tends to go towards what I need to get done that day and I automatically guide it towards what I’m grateful for. If it is my alarm that wakes me up on the other hand, I’m thinking how tired I am already before I can start directing my thoughts towards a more positive place.

I’m thinking about it this morning because I came across this amazingly eye opening video by Marie Forleo interviewing Arianna Huffington. Marie writes, “Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post, has been wildly successful, but was working so hard at one point in her life that she found herself sick and burnt out, overworked, and boggled down with things to do.

In her book Thrive, Arianna Huffington shares the secret to how changing your mindset and a few habits in your daily routine can help you unlock your true wisdom, allow you to come up with your best ideas, and be your most creative self.

She’s learned from experience that following these simple steps can lead to a more productive, less stressful, and more joyful life where you’re not strangled by your to-do list and have enough time to actually accomplish (and enjoy) the things in your life that matter most.”

How to be more productive and less stressed? Sign me up! The most eye opening part for me was when she said if you start becoming fearful or stressed, change the channel.

What the hell does this have with Garlic Black Beans over Rice Pasta? Because this was a night that I was harried, stressed, tired and the last thing I could think of what to make for dinner. I had a bunch of things I needed to use in the fridge or it would be too late (and I loathe waste) so, as much as I wanted to, I didn’t go out and buy dinner. This choice would save time and money in the end.

I had to stop and tell myself that there is nothing else I can do in this moment while I’m making dinner – effectively “changing the channel”. I was able to refocus, look at what I had, and create this meal that came out deliciously, surprisingly well. Instead of traditional Cuban or Mexican spices, the olives and sundried tomatoes give this dish almost a meaty texture and taste and the balsamic vinegar at the finish adds a tangy layer of depth that simply makes the dish. We all went in for seconds – it is even going on my favorites list!

What is the first thing you usually think about in the morning? If you watch this video, what was your favorite tip?

Garlicky Black Beans

Garlicky Black Beans

Garlicky Black Beans over Rice Pasta

Serves 6
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe


1 tsp EVOO
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp sea salt & dash fresh ground pepper
2 cups chopped kale
4 1/2 cups well cooked black beans (or 3 14.5 oz cans, rinse and drain only one, reserve liquid from second)
2-3 cups veggie broth or water (depending on how thick you prefer)
3 Tbsp Kalamata olive spread, such as Organic Divina
3 Tbsp julienned sundried tomatoes
2 tsp course ground prepared mustard
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
10 oz rice pasta, cooked to package directions


1. Heat a stock pot over medium high heat; add olive oil; sauté onion about 5 minutes (add a tbsp of water if onions begin to stick); reduce heat; add garlic; cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute; add salt, pepper, kale, black beans, veggie broth, olive spread, sundried tomatoes and mustard. Simmer about 20 minutes or until soup has thickened. Stir in balsamic vinegar. Serve over rice pasta.

Nutrition Facts
5 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 426.4
Total Fat 7.0 g
Saturated Fat 0.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.7 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 766.1 mg (use water to reduce to 424 mg)
Potassium 670.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate 66.6 g
Dietary Fiber 14.2 g
Sugars 1.6 g
Protein 16.1 g

Vitamin A 146.2 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin 6 9.8 %
Vitamin C 39.7 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 2.8 %
Calcium 7.5 %
Copper 17.2 %
Folate 41.2 %
Iron 20.1 %
Magnesium 21.9 %
Manganese 38.7 %
Niacin 17.1 %
Pantothenic Acid 3.5 %
Phosphorus 17.5 %
Riboflavin 6.7 %
Selenium 3.2 %
Thiamin 32.1 %
Zinc 9.2 %

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

Apr 022014

  This Easy & Delicious Vegan Spanakopita Recipe has a healthy little secret – within that oh-so light and flakey crust it is stuffed with savory, seasoned greens and tangy sun dried tomatoes nestled inside. My whole family enjoyed each bite!

Vegan Spanakopita Recipe

Vegan Spanakopita Recipe

Getting kids involved in cooking is fun.

Especially with plant based cooking. No worries of contamination or icky pathogens – just good clean fun.  The best part is that it is time well spent together (electronics-free), AND gives kids a skill that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

When I graduated college I do believe my best dish was spaghetti with jarred sauce that I typically managed to still mess up. I remember all the waaaaaay back to my dorm at FSU – there was a shared kitchen with one of those old stoves with the coil.

Visions of a Dorm Room

Visions of a Dorm Room

The “kitchen” was more of a closet with other students occasionally also cooking spaghetti or a processed cheese product that could last a nuclear ice age – you know the one I’m talking about.

Cooking in the Dorm

Cooking in the Dorm

Very funny photo source. If you want to be entertained – click the link. 

A well trained cook, my mother was not. Fish sticks, chicken pot pie and tuna noodle casserole all the way baby.
Love you mom! Please don’t be mad I’m telling everyone about the frozen fish sticks!

My Nana, on the other hand, was an excellent macrobiotic cook. But, unfortunately I didn’t think macrobiotics were cool when I was growing up, so I didn’t learn how brilliant my Nana was until later in life.

Now that I have learned so much about food, our food system in the US, and cooking, I have vowed to bless my daughter with knowledge and skill. She will know what kohlrabi is, how to make her own bean burgers (and be able to eat the raw mix if she wants), the importance of fiber, why staying away from dairy is key, and the state of the commercial farming industry. She is one of the people that will help shape our future – and the future looks better than today.

Part of our future is electronics. I’ve learned to embrace it, but respect it’s power. One of the ways I have planned to embrace it is by doing more videos on how to cook. My problem is timing. By the time I get home from a long day of business meetings, appointments etc. my daughter needs to start her homework  and I have to get dinner on the table before she tries to eat me out of house and home. The last thing I seem to be able to do is put makeup on and film a video.

But I have good news. I’ve discovered a great medium for the busy cook who wants to get into the video segment.

The Vine Video. In 7 seconds I can give a quick overview of how a dish was made. No one really wants to sit down to a 20 minute tutorial before they eat anyway, right? Right? (At least that’s what I’m telling myself.)

Well here it is. You can pause it at each frame but just don’t pause it on my oh-so-fresh and un-made up face. Lord knows I’m not in my college days any more.

Did you grow up cooking? If you have children, how do you get them involved?

Vegan Spanakopita Recipe

Vegan Spanakopita Recipe

Greens Spanakopita

Serves 4
Printable Recipe


8 sheets fillo dough
Olive oil spray
1 onion, sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 bunches kale, bok choy, spinach or mixture of any greens (about 5 cups), chopped
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/3 cup julienned sundried tomatoes
2/3 cup non-dairy cheese (such as cashew cheese, Daiya or tofu cheese)


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat; spray with olive oil; sauté onions, about 5 minutes; reduce heat to medium-low; add garlic and greens, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Cook an additional 5 minutes or until greens are wilted.

2. Place one sheet fillo on pan prepared with parchment; spray with olive oil; top with next sheet; repeat. Top with greens mixture, cheese and sundried tomato; fold edges over so top is completely covered; flip and spray top with additional olive oil; bake for 25-30 minutes or until fillo is browned. ** Cut into four triangles.

**Watch the fillo closely because it can go from undercooked to overcooked in minutes!

Nutrition Facts (with 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil)
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 204.8
Total Fat 9.6 g
Saturated Fat 1.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.8 g
Monounsaturated Fat 4.2 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 508.0 mg
Potassium 599.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 26.4 g
Dietary Fiber 4.3 g
Sugars 4.5 g
Protein 5.8 g

Vitamin A 296.1 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 12.6 %
Vitamin C 86.9 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 8.5 %
Calcium 9.5 %
Copper 14.1 %
Folate 9.3 %
Iron 12.7 %
Magnesium 10.1 %
Manganese 33.8 %
Niacin 6.1 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.4 %
Phosphorus 7.0 %
Riboflavin 7.3 %
Selenium 3.0 %
Thiamin 7.5 %
Zinc 3.4 %

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

Mar 242014

Flavorful marinated mushrooms stuffed with a soft vegan cheese are topped off with tart, tangy and sweet sundried tomatoes in my Vegan Marinated & Grilled Stuffed Mushrooms.

Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms

Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms

In the middle of the night last night, thoughts started coming to me – rolling in like thunderclouds. Dark, worrisome, brooding.

 It started with losing my dad and ran the gamut through all of the things I need to get done. I started wondering why we as humans occasionally wake in the middle of the night and start worrying. For one, we can’t do anything about it at that time and secondly, worrying typically doesn’t accomplish anything other than making us feel terrible.

Suddenly, I remembered an excerpt about time travel from a book I’m reading called Choose Yourself, by James Altucher. Not time travel as in “I want to go back in time to see the dinosaurs”, but as in be in the NOW. When you think about the past or the future you are time traveling.

Grilled Mushrooms

Grilled Mushrooms

So I began to have gratitude for what I had RIGHT THEN. A warm, comfy bed, my husband snoozing next to me, and my daughter nestled in her bed. A roof over our heads. Running water. An abundance of food, an abundance of knowledge, family and friends, residing in sunny Florida.

Next I remembered something in this month’s Oprah magazine called 4-7-8 breath. You breathe through your nose for 4 counts, hold for 7 counts and exhale from your mouth for 8 counts. Repeat.

Next thing I knew – I was off to dreamland.

Upon waking I knew I had my topic for this post! It flows perfectly with another realization I came to recently. While I’m cooking I never am really present. I’m rushing around trying to do twenty things at once and sometimes burning what I’m cooking in the process. Vivian from KyV Farm recently said she has been cooking all her food for the week on Sunday and she calls it her “me time”. I decided there was no reason I couldn’t do that, so while I was cooking these mushrooms I decided to be present. I grabbed a glass of wine and my magazine and sat on the porch as the mushrooms were grilling. My daughter set the table, we lit candles and sat as a family. We made a sort of mini-production out of it. What a difference this makes! It gives us time to chat about our day, or even just to be quiet together. And that is what life is really about, right?

I hope some of these experiences help you to be more present in your day, to not “time travel”, and to live your best life!

What are your favorite ways of staying in the moment?

Vegan Marinated Mushrooms

Vegan Marinated Mushrooms

Now for the recipe – I have a tofu tip for you.

To press the tofu of water, I love using a TofuXPress (see how it is used in this post.). I finally broke down and bought one a while back and it is probably one of my most favorite tools. It both presses blocks of tofu with no mess, and has a cover so you can marinate right in the press. It is worth the splurge on it. If you want to check it out I have a link to one…look just to the right under “I recommend”. I promise you will NOT be disappointed.

Vegan Grilled Mushrooms

Vegan Grilled Mushrooms

Vegan Marinated & Grilled Stuffed Mushrooms
with Sundried Tomatoes

Serves 4 – 8
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

Please note that tofu will need to be prepared a day or two prior to making this recipe. Feel free to make the marinade ahead too!


1 block organic, extra firm tofu
2-3 Tbsp miso
8 Portobello Mushroom Caps
6 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 Tbsp prepared mustard (I like coarse ground)
2 Tbsp maple syrup, honey or agave (honey is not vegan)
1/2 cup non-dairy shredded mozzarella (such as Daiya)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup julienned sundried tomatoes


1. Press tofu of water – 1 hour to overnight; slice into three sections lengthwise. Spread each slice evenly with miso and let sit overnight.

2. Wipe down mushroom caps and remove stems. Mix balsamic, olive oil, garlic, mustard and maple syrup in a large bowl with a lid. Place mushroom caps inside and gently toss in marinade. Let sit 10 – 20 minutes.

3. Mix miso, tofu, cheese and garlic powder in a large bowl with hands until all ingredients are well incorporated.

4. Heat grill over medium heat, to around 350F; place mushrooms on grill racks, gill side
down; cook 7 to 10 minutes; turn and stuff each mushroom cap with 2 rounded Tbsp of tofu mixture; grill an additional 10 minutes or until “cheese” is heated through. Top each with a few slices of sundried tomato.

**Reserve any leftover marinade for another use.

Nutrition Facts
8 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 168.4
Total Fat 8.8 g
Saturated Fat 1.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.3 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 338.3 mg
Potassium 616.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate 14.7 g
Dietary Fiber 2.3 g
Sugars 6.2 g
Protein 8.9 g

Vitamin A 0.8 %
Vitamin B-12 0.1 %
Vitamin B-6 3.4 %
Vitamin C 3.4 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 2.1 %
Calcium 7.0 %
Copper 8.9 %
Folate 4.5 %
Iron 8.3 %
Magnesium 12.5 %
Manganese 41.2 %
Niacin 2.7 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.3 %
Phosphorus 11.4 %
Riboflavin 3.1 %
Selenium 10.3 %
Thiamin 3.6 %
Zinc 7.0 %

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

Feb 272014
Loaded Falafel Burger

These easy Loaded Falafel Burger with Roasted Vegetables use fresh roasted veggies along with premade burgers to save time on a busy weeknight.

Could there be anything better than eggplant, tomato and onion all roasted and caramelized? I think not.

Falafel Burgers

I give no apologies when it comes to dinner on busy weeknights.

Meals from scratch are best, but when it comes to getting home after a busy day and wanting to take a few shortcuts, I’m all for it. One of the cleanest burgers I’ve found is Sunshine Burger, and the falafel is delicious!

Here are the ingredients:

Organic cooked brown rice, organic cooked chick peas, organic ground raw sunflower seeds, organic cooked yellow split peas, organic Tahini (organic ground toasted sesame seeds), organic cumin, organic garlic, organic parsley, sea salt.

These are definitely something you can feel save feeding your whole family.

I don’t talk a lot about my personal life on my blog – I lean more towards chatting about the actual recipe and the benefits, but I’ll share a little of what has been going on and why I’ll be doing a fair amount of clean semi-homemade recipes instead of from scratch. Since leaving my corporate job in August life has been a whirlwind. Mornings (still) start by 5AM and I get right down to business. I’m a morning person though. I like to be sleeping by 9:30 or 10PM. I work for a few hours on events with Native Sun, my blog or my business. At around 7AM I get my daughter up to get ready and take her to school then head right to my workout to start my day. This has never been an “if I can make it” thing. No exceptions to working out! I head home and then it is off to meetings at Native Sun or business meetings. I absolutely love being out of the cubicle and in a self-directed environment. Sometimes I walk out of a meeting at 2:00 and into the sunshine wanting to yell – I’m FREE! I pick my daughter up from school and help her with her homework and sometimes take her paddle boarding on the river. Then after she goes to bed, many times it is back on the computer to take a training course, do an on-line business presentation or two or catch up on anything else. Self-development is another must. I never. stop. learning. We all are students, and if we don’t continue to learn, grow and change we cannot move forward. No, I don’t have time to watch much TV any more, but the old saying is so true – if you love what you do, you never have to work a day in your life. After losing my Dad in May, I vowed that on my last two minutes of life I would look back with pride. I would not wonder what if. I will know that I did everything in my power to achieve my goals and dreams. I am not special. I am not unique. I simply made a decision to wake up and say to myself – I want more. It was a choice.  Though I have failed many times, and I will fail many times more, I look at each failure as an opportunity to learn. In the past two years I have learned more about people, how to listen and how much I enjoy helping others than the previous 34 years of life. I have found that through helping others, I naturally move closer to my goals and dreams.  On the days I think to myself – how am I going to do this? Am I deserving of making this work? I then think about all the successful people out there – many of them came from a world of hardship and rose to greatness. We all have 24 hours in a day. It is what we do with that time that sets us apart.

Plus, now you have this delicious sandwich to save you time.

Is there anything you would love to accomplish in your life? Are you moving towards it? If not, what might be holding you back?

Loaded Falafel Burger

Loaded Falafel Burger

Loaded Falafel Burger with Roasted Vegetables

Serves 4
Printable Recipe


1 eggplant, sliced
1 roma tomato, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 Tbsp oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground pepper
4 falafel burgers, such as sunshine burger
4 Organic thin style sandwich buns
1/4 cup prepared hummus

Yogurt Sauce (Optional – use extra hummus if omitting)
1 container plain non-dairy yogurt (preferably Greek style)
1 Tbsp fresh parsley
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1 clove minced garlic


1. Preheat oven to 350F; spray two baking sheets with oil or cooking spray; top with eggplant, tomato and onion slices; drizzle 1 Tbsp oil, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper; roast 25 minutes, turning vegetables half way through cook time.

2. In a small bowl, mix yogurt sauce ingredients if using.

3. Heat falafel burgers to package directions; toast thin buns. Spread bottom thin bun with 1 Tbsp hummus; top with one burger, 1/4 of the roasted vegetables and 2 Tbsp yogurt sauce; add top slice of thin bun and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 434.4
Total Fat 21.3 g
Saturated Fat 1.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 638.1 mg
Potassium 206.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 53.0 g
Dietary Fiber 13.6 g
Sugars 7.7 g
Protein 19.7 g

Vitamin A 0.4 %
Vitamin B-12 3.8 %
Vitamin B-6 6.4 %
Vitamin C 8.0 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 2.4 %
Calcium 16.9 %
Copper 5.8 %
Folate 5.8 %
Iron 24.0 %
Magnesium 5.4 %
Manganese 11.4 %
Niacin 1.4 %
Pantothenic Acid 3.3 %
Phosphorus 9.5 %
Riboflavin 6.5 %
Selenium 1.4 %
Thiamin 5.3 %
Zinc 2.6 %

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