Dec 032012

Living in Florida is such a blessing.  Not only was I able to take my cream colored Labrador, Tally for a walk yesterday without a jacket on (a fact I can really appreciate from growing up in Massachusetts), but the citrus trees are all heavy with fruit – including my Meyer lemon tree.

When you think of barley or grains you probably thing of savory dishes – so I wanted to change things up and bring sort of a sweet, salty, tangy dish. Your tastebuds will be dancing!

This makes a great side dish, snack, breakfast or even dessert!

Take a bite and you’ll get the crunch of pistachios but the creaminess of the barley slowly cooked over 40 minutes.

And talk about easy! I threw this dish together in under ten minutes – shelling and all.

Tell me what is your favorite thing to do with fresh citrus? 

Sweet Citrus Barley with Pistachios

Sweet Citrus Barley and Pistachios

Serves 4, 1/2 cup serving
Vegan Option
Printable Recipe


1 cup barley
2 cups water
1 orange or Satsuma
Juice 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
2 to 3 Tbsp honey or agave for vegan
1/4 cup shelled pistachios


1. Rinse barley well in running water; add to small pot with water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover; cook 40 minutes; remove from heat cook an additional 10 minutes.

2. Peel orange and blend in Magic Bullet or blender with juice of lemon, salt and honey or agave; mix well and pour over 2 cups of the cooked barley, reserve the remaining barley for another use; spoon barley mixture into large bowl.  Chop pistachios and top barley mixture.

Nutrition Facts 
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 184.0
Total Fat 3.8 g
Saturated Fat 0.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.9 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 148.2 mg
Potassium 211.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 36.3 g 

Dietary Fiber 4.4 g
Sugars 11.8 g
Protein 3.6 g
Vitamin A 2.0 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 12.3 %
Vitamin C 26.5 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 2.3 %
Calcium 2.8 %
Copper 10.2 %
Folate 6.2 %
Iron 8.0 %
Magnesium 7.5 %
anganese 15.7 %
Niacin 9.0 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.2 %
Phosphorus 8.6 %
Riboflavin 4.4 %
Selenium 10.7 %
Thiamin 10.5 %
Zinc 5.7 %


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

Nov 282012

Ready to get a little crazy?

How about THIS instead of your same old green bean casserole?

Fresh green beans, Meyer lemon from the tree out front, a hint of aromatic garlic and some crispy onions – what is not to love?

According to one of my favorite websites, World’s Healthiest Foods, green beans are full of carotenoids – just like carrots and tomatoes! They are high in vitamins C, K and A and even have some of those B Vitamins that many of us just don’t get enough of in our diets.

Green beans are also the perfect diet food – high in fiber and low in calories.  I confess that I wasn’t too excited about green beans -  I had gotten bored.  I needed a new and fresh way to prepare them, so I broke out one of my favorite cooking tools, the Flavor Bible.  It is a must have for every cook that wants to create their own recipes.  For each ingredient, the book offers what flavors pair best and there was quite a list for green beans.

The Flavor Bible

I have a feeling that if you are bored with the same old casserole, with this recipe you will fall in love with green beans all over again!

Green Beans

Simple Lemon Garlic Green Beans with Crispy Onions

Serves 2
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe


10 oz fresh green beans
1 tsp coconut oil
1/8 tsp coarse sea salt
1 clove garlic, minced finely
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp crispy onions, (Loebs)


1. Heat 1 tsp coconut oil in large skillet; add green beans and salt; cook about 1 minute; reduce heat to medium low, add 1 Tbsp water and garlic; cover and cook 5 minutes.  Uncover, stir; cook an additional 5 minutes; add fresh lemon; spoon onto plate and top with crispy onions.

Nutrition Facts
2 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 90.5
Total Fat 4.2 g
Saturated Fat 2.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 116.3 mg
Potassium 313.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 13.0 g
Dietary Fiber 4.8 g
Sugars 0.3 g
Protein 2.7 g 

Vitamin A 18.7 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 6.4 %
Vitamin C 47.8 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 2.9 %
Calcium 5.5 %
Copper 5.2 %
Folate 13.3 %
Iron 8.3 %
Magnesium 9.0 %
Manganese 16.3 %
Niacin 5.4 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.5 %
Phosphorus 5.6 %
Riboflavin 8.8 %
Selenium 1.5 %
Thiamin 8.3 %
Zinc 2.4 % 

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

Jun 272012
One of the best things in life is meeting new people and experiencing new things.  Last Saturday was one of the most fun and memorable.  My friend Gregg, who has been supplying me the wines for the Wine Down Wednesday posts, and his wife Kerry (I hope that is the correct spelling!) had us over for dinner.
  A dinner party turned Karaoke night around the piano.
Think Elton John. Rocket Man.

We wined and dined and had an amazing time.  He showed us around his vintage home in Riverside – complete with wine memorabilia from Bono no less!
Also in attendance were my friends Alyson and her husband Chip, who brought a meteorite from their back yard as a dinner conversation piece, and Mark and Sheri – we all do yoga together so it was great to meet up off the mat.  I can’t wait for us all to meet again.

To detox after a night of wine I got it into my head that I wanted to make a macro (macrobiotic) bowl with grains and veggies but when I looked at my acorn squash I just couldn’t remove the skin – it was too pretty – so I thought, why not turn the squash into the bowl? 

Secondly, I’m always looking for new ways to eat my Mila. Because I write about Mila a lot, I created this little info blurb.  That way any frequent visitors that already know the benefits can skip over that and head right to the recipe.
What is Mila?

Mila is an organically grown, non-genetically modified blend of chia seed that is cold pressed and sliced to make it more bio-available. 

It is RAW, GLUTEN FREE, AND VEGAN, perfect for cooking and baking.

It is super high in OMEGA 3s – equal to fish oil pills per serving.  

A single serving also has FIVE GRAMS OF FIBER, more antioxidants than blueberries, more iron than spinach and many more benefits.

This little seed has anti-inflammatory properties, is excellent for brain function, energy, elimination, sleep and the best part?  It’s a FOOD!




Acorn Squash from KYV Farm
I got this unique acorn squash from Vivian at KYV Farm (CSA SIGNUPS ARE GOING ON NOW)  I’ve never seen such a thing in the grocery store.  I usually see the typical green acorn squash that has a tinge of orange but this one is the beauty queen of squashes.



Stuffed Acorn Squash
Stuffing them with onions and garlic during cooking imparts a LOT of flavor.  This technique is perfect at Thanksgiving.  While everyone is stuffing their bird you can stuff your squash.



Macro Acorn Squash Bowl with Mila, Massaged Kale and Tahini Sauce
Macro Acorn Squash Bowl with Mila, Massaged Kale and Tahini Sauce
Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free


2 acorn squash, cut in half and seeds removed
1 onion, quartered
4 cloves garlic, crushed
Olive oil spray
Sea salt
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup cooked black beans
4 Tbsp Mila (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste.

Massaged Kale
1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped
2 Tbsp ume plum vinegar (or sub any vinegar you like)
2 tsp olive oil
Sea Salt

Tahini Sauce
2 Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp miso
2 Tbsp fresh lemon
1 Tbsp raw agave


1. Preheat oven to 375.  Arrange squash, cut side up on baking dish, stuff with 1/4 onion and 1 clove garlic; spray with cooking spray, sprinkle with sea salt; bake 1 hour.

2. Mix kale ingredients together in medium bowl, massage kale until wilted, about a minute.

4. Mix tahini sauce in a small bowl.

3. Remove squash from oven.  Remove onions and garlic; chopp and mix with rice, season to taste.  Mix Mila with black beans if using.  Stuff 1/4 cup black beans and 1/4 cup rice into each squash. 
Serve each half squash with 1/4 kale and 1/4 tahini sauce.

(**Rosted potatos on the side optional – roast along with squash)

Nutrition Facts (includes Mila)
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 392.8
Total Fat 11.9 g
Saturated Fat 1.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 5.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.4 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 67.0 mg
Potassium 1,423.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 63.5 g
Dietary Fiber 16.8 g
Sugars 3.3 g
Protein 14.0 g

Vitamin A 369.1 %
Vitamin B-12 0.1 %
Vitamin B-6 31.7 %
Vitamin C 141.5 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 8.0 %
Calcium 30.4 %
Copper 30.8 %
Folate 33.4 %
Iron 31.9 %
Magnesium 34.4 %
Manganese 78.5 %
Niacin 14.7 %
Pantothenic Acid 11.7 %
Phosphorus 36.6 %
Riboflavin 11.9 %
Selenium 5.7 %
Thiamin 39.7 %
Zinc 11.5 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Jun 152012
The day I was reading through my VegNews magazine I happened to be relaxing on a sunny day, kicking back in a lawn chair, clad in bathing suit and floppy hat when I came across the recipe for tofu feta.  It sounded so intriguing that I got up and made it right then. Little did I know, the tofu I had in my fridge happened to be the pre-cubed version – what a time savings!
I threw it together and have been eating it on a whole variety of dishes; anywhere you would put feta cheese. The extra firm tofu and salty brine are really satisfying when eaten along with Greek dishes. It’s not real feta, mind you, but it’s a great vegan sub if you have cut out cheese. In addition, there are tons of benefits to eating organic, non-GMO soy in moderation. They have lots of the 9 essential amino acids, lots of lean protein and calcium.
As for the salad, I mixed an oil free version for my friend Suzanne at work to try as well since she is an oil free vegan. The sun ripe tomatoes and cool cucumbers were perfect with just a squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper; I didn’t even miss the oil.
Greek Salad with Herbed Tofu Feta
Inspired by Veg News Herbed Feta and Classic Greek Salad
Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free
Tofu Feta
1 16oz package organic, extra firm, cubed tofu (or you can buy the block and cut it into 1/2 inch cubes)
2 cups water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 Tbsp Italian seasoning blend (with basil and oregano)
Raw Tomato Salad
2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 large cucumber, chopped
1/4 red onion, sliced
Handful parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
(2 Tbsp olive oil optional)
1. Heat all ingredients for feta in a saucepan heated over low heat; simmer about 30 minutes.  Cool and refrigerate overnight.  The longer you keep it in the fridge marinating the better it gets!
2. Toss the salad mixture in a large bowl.
3. Whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
4. Drain the feta and add to salad bowl, pour dressing over evenly and toss mixture gently.
*Alternatively you can mix the salad and dressing and simply add the desired amount of feta on top.
Salad Nutrition Facts
4 Servings

Amount Per Serving

Calories 37.9
Total Fat 0.4 g
Saturated Fat 0.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 302.7 mg
Potassium 342.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 8.4 g
Dietary Fiber 1.9 g
Sugars 1.3 g
Protein 1.5 g

Vitamin A 20.9 % 
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 5.8 %
Vitamin C 30.9 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 2.4 %
Calcium 2.2 %
Copper 5.1 %
Folate 7.6 %
Iron 4.8 %
Magnesium 5.2 %
Manganese 8.4 %
Niacin 4.0 %
Pantothenic Acid 3.8 %
Phosphorus 4.1 %
Riboflavin 3.8 %
Selenium 0.6 %
Thiamin 5.2 %
Zinc 1.9 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Tofu Feta Nutrition Facts

4 Servings (Or you may get more depending on how much “feta” you want.)
Amount Per Serving

Calories 116.8
Total Fat 7.1 g
Saturated Fat 1.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.6 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 1,755.8 mg (sodium will actually be lower since you are draining the liquid but in creating the recipe in the builder I had to include the entire amount of salt)
Potassium 189.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate 4.9 g
Dietary Fiber 0.6 g
Sugars 1.3 g
Protein 12.0 g
Vitamin A 0.3 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 3.2 %
Vitamin C 24.3 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 0.1 %
Calcium 12.0 %
Copper 10.9 %
Folate 8.4 %
Iron 10.9 %
Magnesium 20.7 %
Manganese 54.2 %
Niacin 2.1 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.0 %
Phosphorus 18.6 %
Riboflavin 3.0 %
Selenium 18.3 %
Thiamin 4.3 %
Zinc 8.6 %

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

Mar 272012
These breakfast bars were a unplanned weekend creation. Originally they were intended to be a dessert; however, with over 5 grams fiber, 6 grams protein and 0mg cholesterol, they are perfect for a filling and satisfying breakfast as well. I sprinkled a bit of coarse finishing sea salt over top and that brought out more of the sweetness of the agave. When they are just a bit chilled, the creamy filling with the tang of lemon is perfection – a healthy version of the Little Debbie oatmeal cream pies I loved as a child. They should still be enjoyed in moderation due to the calorie, carb and fat content, but that also means that these will stick with you longer than the empty calories of processed foods.

Complex carbohydrates are slower burning and the fat content also helps regulate the blood sugar to keep it from spiking and then dropping causing you to be even hungrier.


Also over the weekend I attended a family dinner.  My mom was a March baby so to celebrate her birthday we went over to TPC Sawgrass for dinner.

For anyone that is local, Nineteen at TPC has a wonderful buffet on Sundays – brunch in the morning and a dinner buffet after 5pm for $15.  They have lots of vegetarian/vegan options; two salads, a pasta bar with lots of veggies and a red sauce, gorgeous fresh fruit and green beans.
Me and Mom
Dad and Mom


Vegan Oatmeal Cheesecake Bars

Vegan Oatmeal Cheesecake Bars

Oatmeal “Cheesecake” Bars

Breakfast Oatmeal “Cheesecake” Bars
Oat mixture inspired by oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, Clean Food, Terry Walters
Serves 16
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Oat mixture

2 cups rolled oats, I used Bobs Red Mill Gluten Free Rolled Oats
1 cup brown rice or all purpose flour, I used Bobs Red Mill Gluten Free Brown Rice Flour
¾ cups unsweet shredded coconut, I used Bobs Red Mill Unsweet Shredded Coconut
1 Tbsp cinnamon
¼ tsp sea salt
½ cup oil
¾ cup agave (or honey if not vegan)
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract

“Cheesecake” Mixture

2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight in water
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup agave (or honey if not vegan)
¼ tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla


1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Mix the oats, flour, coconut, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Add the oil, agave, lemon and vanilla extract; stir until well combined.

2. Blend the cashews, lemon juice, agave, salt and vanilla in a high speed blender or food processor until smooth and well combined.

3. Spray a 9×9 baking pan with cooking spray and press half the oat mixture in. Spread the cashew mixture evenly over. Pour the remainder of the oat mixture over the entire surface evenly and press gently.

4. Bake 40 minutes or until top is browned. Refrigerate and enjoy.

Nutrition Facts
16 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 395.6
Total Fat 23.0 g
Saturated Fat 7.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 4.3 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 179.2 mg
Potassium 84.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 43.4 g
Dietary Fiber 5.3 g
Sugars 23.1 g
Protein 6.1 g

Vitamin A 10.7 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 17.2 %
Vitamin C 3.3 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 7.8 %
Calcium 7.6 %
Copper 3.4 %
Folate 9.3 %
Iron 23.0 %
Magnesium 6.8 %
Manganese 42.8 %
Niacin 13.0 %
Pantothenic Acid 3.0 %
Phosphorus 8.2 %
Riboflavin 7.0 %
Selenium 7.6 %
Thiamin 15.5 %
Zinc 4.1 %

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

Mar 062012

Last season I created this unexpected recipe to utilize the gorgeous tops of my fresh carrots from the farm.  I just couldn’t bear to throw them away!  Since I got a few bunches with my last pick up I had to create it once again, this time using some chickpeas to create a light meal.

I love the mild parsley-ish taste of the carrot tops and the crunch the carrots add to the texture.  The mint makes this super fresh and the lemon adds a tang factor.
Tip: You can save a ton of money buy cooking dried beans in salt free veggie broth and freezing them in 2 cup packages to pull out for later use.
The carrots, scallions and tomatoes came from KYV farm and the mint, parsley and lemon from my garden and my dad’s tree. Now that’s local and seasonal produce!
Tip: Use your food processor for this one to make quick work of the chopping or if you don’t have one, bribe a friend to help chop.
Carrot Top Tabbouleh with Chickpeas
Serves a LOT - bring this to a pot luck or eat it all week and share with friends
Vegan, Dairy Free, (Gluten Free Option)
**Tip: For gluten free option, replace the bulgur wheat with white quinoa (cook to package directions using appropriate amount of veggie broth.)


1/2 cup bulgur wheat**(see above for gluten free)
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 bunch carrots with tops (say about 6 small 51/2 inch long)
Handful fresh mint
Handful fresh parsley
1 bunch scallions, chopped
5 small organic tomatoes, chopped
2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 can, drained, will work too)
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice 1 lemon
Salt and Pepper
3 cloves crushed garlic


1. Heat the bulgur and broth to a boil, stirrings constantly, reduce heat, cover and simmer about 10 to 12 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Set aside to cool while you process the veggies.

2. Place the carrots, tops removed, into a large food processor (or in front of bribed friend), pulse several times to rough chop; add the carrot tops, mint, parsley and scallions, pulse until desired texture is reached, I like mine finely chopped.  Pour into a large bowl and add the tomatoes and chickpeas.

3. Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and crushed garlic in a small bowl.  Pour over carrot top mixture and toss well.  Reseason with salt and pepper, to taste.


Nutritional Information
Total Recipe
Amount Per Recipe
Calories  1255.4
Total Fat 46.9g
Sat Fat 6.2g
Polyun Sat Fat 6.3g
Monoun Sat Fat 31.2g
Cholesterol 0.0mg
Sodium 2357.8mg
Potassium 2156.1mg
Total Carb 151.7g
Dietary Fiber 32.5g
Sugars 17.2g
Protein 29.1g
Mar 032012

My secret to health and weight loss is one that isn’t mainstream yet, but it’s slowly growing in popularity.  I still am amazed to find people every day that haven’t heard of it.

The wide variety of vegetables I receive has enabled me to get more veggies into my plant based diet by keeping things interesting.  Broccoli, kohlrabi, onions, cauliflower, tomato, spinach, brussels, eggplant, beans, potatoes, cabbage, beets, Swiss chard, squash, collard greens and kale are just some of the veggies I have tried and loved.
There is no way I’d be able to eat just lettuce every day and not get bored.

For anyone that doesn’t know what this is, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.

A CSA/farm share is when, before the start of a season or growing period, you pay a farmer for a “share” of the crop. Yes, there are risks to this, for instance, there could be a hot or cold snap that affects the crop, but the rewards far outweigh the risks.

Experience is the second reason I joined a CSA farm share.  It is that intangible thing that you won’t find in that random delivery farm bag where the veggies come from a variety of farms, and we surely can’t get it in the grocery store at the corner.  In our busy world today, a CSA allows us to take a break.  Get away from the electronics for a few minutes and visit the earth.  I bring my daughter to reconnect with nature and discover where real food comes from.  When I joined, I became part of a like minded community that embraces health and nature.

Which is why you should join one too!
Whether you pick your veggies up from a drop off point, or actually go to the farm and select the freshest from the bin, you are part of that family.  There are events such as workshops, pot lucks and dinners. You can meet your farmers and occasionally get a chance to dig in the earth and pull up some veggies with your very own hands.

When you visit the grocery store, those vegetables or fruits were picked by people you don’t know and likely shipped from around the world.  We don’t know the conditions these farmers and workers work in, we don’t see the facility and we don’t know the actual farmers.  In fact, the farm we think our food comes from is not typically the case.  Those idyllic pictures of a cow grazing and a red barn are just good marketing – that’s not where WalMart is getting it’s veggies, milk and meat.  You will only find that image is reality at a small local farm.  Agribusiness is big business. There is a lot of money being thrown around and the ones that benefit are the executives that pocket their fat bonus checks and their concern is only the bottom line.  Those folks may not have even stepped in the soil, yet they are making decisions about the food we put in our bodies.

Life for the small farmer is not easy and not glamorous.  It’s a up before dawn, home after dark, out in the elements, seven day a week job.  But they love every minute of it.  The small farmer is passionate.  They do it because they love it, and it shows (and tastes) in the food they produce.

I know that those times I have brought my daughter to pick up our weeks vegetables, see the animals, and pick beans or potatoes in the field, are times that she will never forget.  She will have lifelong memories and knowledge of where food comes from.

Join a CSA and support your community, your farmer and your health and lose weight while you’re at it.  In the off season, support your local, small, natural food grocer.

If you want to try a share out for a shorter period, KYV is offering a mini share for the end of the season so this is the perfect time to check it out if you aren’t already a member.  Contact them at or email me and I’ll help you get all set up.  If you don’t know what the heck to do with one of the veggies, just contact me and I’ll walk you through it and send you some recipes.

This broccoli came from the farm so here is one to try. What is best about this recipe is the broccoli is raw so the flavor really comes through.  It’s sweet, tangy deliciousness!

Broccoli Raisin Apple Salad

with Creamy Honey Lemon Dressing
Inspired by Native Sun Deli
Serves 2
Vegetarian, Dairy Free, Gluten Free


1 small head broccoli, chopped
2 Tbsp raisins
1 apple
2 Tbsp chopped red onion
2 Tbsp reduced fat Vegenaise
Squeeze of lemon
2 Tbsp honey (or agave)
Sea salt and Fresh ground pepper


1. Mix the broccoli, raisins, apple and red onion in a medium bowl.  In a small bowl mix the Vegenaise, lemon, honey, salt and pepper.  Pour over broccoli mixture and toss.

(I’m trying to get the nutritional info in here but having weird
formatting problems so I will just give you the basics.)

Nutrition Info
2 Servings
Amount per Serving

Calories  135.5
Total Fat 3.1
Cholest   0.0mg
Sodium  126.0mg
Carbs     27.2g
Fiber      5.8g
Sugars    15.3g
Protein   4.8g

Vitamin A 47.5%
Vitamin C 241.40 %
Calcium    8%

Feb 222012
There is a group of girls that are my lunch friends.  The same group gets together about every other week and we typically choose sushi or, our favorite Mediterranean restaurant, Mandaloun.
This is one of those hidden gems that is tucked away in a non-descript strip mall.  No one would ever know it was there other by word of mouth. 
Lucky for them I have a pretty big mouth.
The owner’s name is Pierre and he is originally from Lebanon.  His family has a history of catering and hospitality that dates back to the 30s when their first restaurant was opened in the mountains of South Lebanon.

It’s no wonder that anyone I bring there is delighted. My two favorite items to order are an authentic, insanely and deliciously tangy, fresh fattoush salad and a salad bar-complete with naturally vegan options-lentil soup, steaming soft pita, creamy hummus, babaghanouj and beans, salads and a hot bar.
This was another plus to this restaurant. When I cut out meat and dairy, I could still come and get exactly the same thing I would normally get.
Such as this balila. They only make it a few days a week and it was so amazing I asked him what was in it. This is my (much quicker) interpretation.
Lebanese Chickpea Balila
Inspired by Mandaloun Mediterranean and this recipe
Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 cup organic, sodium free vegetable broth

4 tablespoons lemon juice (about one lemon)
¼ cup parsley, chopped

¼ cup toasted pine nuts (optional)


1. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic and cumin about two minutes, stirring constantly. 

2. Add chickpeas and salt, cook 3 to 4 minutes.  Smoosh about 1/3 of the chickpeas with a fork.

3. Add broth and lemon, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 7 to 10 minutes or until thickened.  Top with parsley and pine nuts

Jan 232012
Growing up in the Northeast was tough.  Especially since my dad kept the heat just high enough to keep the pipes from freezing.

At night I slept with five blankets-when I first got in bed it was like diving into an 30 degree mountain stream. Finally by morning the bed was warm from body heat, but I couldn’t feel my feet due to lack of circulation from the heavy blankets.
When the alarm went off the next morning, I would open one eye and stare at the clothes hanging on my door.

They had icicles on them.

I bolted out of bed, grabbed the clothes and ran to the shower.  I turned it on full blast and threw my clothes outside the curtain to warm from the steam, then ran back to the warmth of my bed.  Ten minutes later, when the shower finally had some heat and my clothes were lukewarm, I would run back to the shower to break the Olympic record for speed-showering before the hot water heater spilled all it’s contents.

When that happened I was in big trouble.

Mid lather, I suddenly found myself with the ability to cut glass (if you get my drift).
At this point I was usually running late, so I headed out to the bus stop with wet hair-at which point my hair would freeze straight.
And you wonder why I decided to go to FSU.  I vowed never to leave Florida.
I’m so thankful to live here.  Every day.  Very thankful.  In fact, just this past Friday I rode home with the windows down, the 74 degree breeze blowing in. 
Another plus?  My CSA runs over the winter.  Last Thursday I even got potatoes!
Gorgeous, tender and sweet, new potatoes.
After yoga on Saturday we hit Native Sun to do some food shopping.  At the deli case I sampled several of the pre-made salads, including a lovely potato salad with peppers and green onions.  Great idea! 
I went home and made some up.  I added a citrusy splash with lemon-Meyer lemons are in season and they add the perfect brightness to this satisfying side dish. Enjoy!

Florida Winter Potato Salad

About 10 1/2 cup servings
Inspired by Native Sun’s pre-made potato salad I tasted yesterday
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free


2 lbs of new potatoes (or any potato you have on hand), cut into bite size pieces
Water for boiling, enough to cover
1 tsp salt

1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/4 c reduced fat Vegenaise (or mayo for non-vegan)
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice


1. Boil water and 1 tsp salt; add potatoes and boil 15 minutes or until tender but not mushy. Drain and rinse with cool water. Let cool.

2. Mix remaining ingredients together.

Nutrition Facts

10 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 104.1
Total Fat 2.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.4 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 100.8 mg
Potassium 472.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 20.0 g
Dietary Fiber 2.6 g
Sugars 0.9 g
Protein 2.3 g

Vitamin A 12.8 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 17.3 %
Vitamin C 72.3 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 0.5 %
Calcium 1.5 %
Copper 6.2 %
Folate 5.0 %
Iron 4.9 %
Magnesium 6.5 %
Manganese 9.1 %
Niacin 5.9 %
Pantothenic Acid 3.3 %
Phosphorus 6.3 %
Riboflavin 2.2 %
Selenium 0.6 %
Thiamin 6.3 %
Zinc 2.2 %

*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 032012

Goodbye 2011, you were a good year. 
Let’s see…..I gave up meat and most dairy (that is a work in progress), hosted a farm to table dinner and held a Free Range Yoga workshop at the farm, went on LOTS of campouts, trips to St. Augustine, took an amazing trip to the Keys and finally, am at a point where I’m comfortable with myself.  For one, I don’t step on the scale every day any more, I don’t record every bite, and I’ve lost weight and feel better than ever.  After trying every diet in the book, I have finally settled into the aforementioned meat and dairy free diet.  I’ll admit I thought I was going to be tired, but I have more energy than ever.  In fact, on New Years I didn’t get to bed until 3AM!  I used to have to drink 5 Hour Energy and sugar Free Red Bull just to say awake until 11:00.
One of the biggest challenges was (is) not cutting meat from my diet, but how the people around me reacted and the availability of animal free foods at social events and during travel.  I can’t say how many times I’ve been told it is unhealthy to not eat meat and been asked how I get my protein and calcium. I have learned to still participate in social events but to bring along something delicious that everyone can eat and to not make a big deal about my abstention from meat.
For the New Years Eve party I attended, I decided to make a pesto with the fresh Meyer lemons that my friend Gregg brought me to yoga that morning and I paired it with herbs straight from my garden.  As “dippers” I skewered a small tomato, a bit of fresh beet green and broccoli-both fresh from the farm.  For the folks that weren’t into the “salad on a stick”, a loaf of sliced Cuban bread and a whole grain baguette were on the side as well.  It turned out so well I am going to make another batch for a dressing and sandwich spread.
As for my 2012 New Years Resolutions….. I finally settled on two.
  1. Meditate daily
  2. Stay in the present moment
A BIG, HUGE thanks to everyone that has visited my site, supported me, tried my recipes and even introduced themselves to me when I’m out and about.  It is so fun to meet some of the folks that actually read my posts!  I love, love, LOVE every comment, suggestion and insight.
So THANK YOU and I look forward to the new year!
Now tell me…..what are your resolutions this year?
Fresh Meyer Lemon Pesto with Tomato, Beet Green and Broccoli Skewers
Inspired by Epicurious
Vegan, Dairy and Gluten Free
2 packed cups of fresh herbs, I used basil, oregano, chives and parsley.
3 cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp coarse ground mustard
Zest and juice of one fresh Meyer lemon
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
For the skewers
1 pint grape tomatoes
4 fresh beet greens, stems removed and torn into bite size pieces
1 large head broccoli
  1. Add herbs through lemon zest and juice to a food processor or blender and pulse to chop finely; slowly stream in the olive oil until blended. Season with salt and pepper, taste and re-season if necessary.
  2. For skewers, thread one tomato, a rolled bit of beet green and a broccoli floret onto a toothpick.