Jul 142012
Tropical Grilled Pineapple Salad with Creamy Mango Avocado Lime Dressing
Oh my goodness I am one busy girl.  Not only has work been crazy but I’m also taking care of a sick little one, sharing Mila, doing yoga, hitting the gym, writing a food blog and cooking (to name just a few).  
And I have some exciting new to share with you!  I was asked to do a presentation at Baptist Beaches Hospital this Wednesday for an MS group there, Native Sun is now carrying some of my recipes (check it out!) AND I was invited to an exclusive media dinner at the Casa Monica’s restaurant, 95 Cordova, to review their new summer menu on August 10th!
Things are really moving along and gaining momentum.  In fact, last week on Tuesday I made the decision, after a particularly stressful day at work, to make peace with where I am in life and really have gratitude for what I have.  So I started a “Gratitude Board” where I write something I’m grateful for every day and really try to think about WHY I’m grateful for it.  Also, I began writing in a journal my goals and dreams in great detail as if they have already happened.  This little trick sets your subconscious up to be looking for ways to achieve what, in writing, has already happened.  I made a conscious decision to think of myself as a lucky person – and guess what.  I was on Native Sun’s blog and entered a little contest by guessing a secret ingredient and actually won!  The fact that it’s just a little (but VERY delicious) smoothie doesn’t matter….it’s the fact that when you get your mind right the universe responds to you.
Here are some of the things I wrote in my journal in a nutshell.
My first goals are to go back to school to the Institute of Integrative Nutrition to become a Certified Health Coach like my friend Michelle at Find Your Balance.  To get there I will greatly grow my business with Mila so that I can share Mila with LOTS of people and change their health forever.  I want to continue doing seminars and presentations on health and nutrition and continue being the volunteer coordinator and event planner for KYV farm.  
I will make the world a better place than I left it. Ultimately, I strive to make a positive impact on people’s health and the environment.
How is that for a deep subject on a Saturday?  So where does food and recipes fit into this you ask?
I’m not sure, but the universe must have been telling me to try Cara’s Spicy Tomato Coconut Sauce because I found something my husband and I both love.  This was very surprising to me because I actually made this sauce for myself he isn’t a fan of tomatoes or coconut. I know, very selfish of me but I had been dying to try it.  Cara – the universe is talking and it’s telling the world to make Spicy Tomato Coconut Sauce.  It is perfect over some GF pasta.
Spicy Coconut Tomato Sauce

And for the salad – mangoes were on sale at Fresh Market 10 for $10 so I bought some and then decided on a tropical salad so grilled pineapple fit the bill.  I made this dressing for my friend Suzanne and her husband Dan who are oil free vegans that also eat Mila and lost a TON of weight. This dressing is sweet and creamy from the avocado and mango and the onion adds that hmmm factor and helps, along with the lime, to keep the avocado from oxidizing.

Tropical Grilled Pineapple Salad with Creamy Mango Avocado Lime Dressing

I will definitely be grilling more pineapple in the future. I haven’t done it in ages and I’ve been missing out. It turns even sweeter and caramelized on the outside….you don’t need dessert after this salad!

Tropical Grilled Pineapple Salad with Creamy Mango Avocado Lime Dressing
Tropical Grilled Pineapple Salad with
Mango, Avocado and Fresh Lime Dressing
Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free


4 slices pineapple, sprayed with organic cooking spray

1 ripe mango, skin removed and chopped
1/4 avocado
1/4 red onion
Juice 1/2 lime
1/4 tsp sea salt

6 cups spinach blend
1/4 red onion, sliced
1/2 cucumber, sliced
1/2 green pepper, sliced


1. Preheat grill to medium high.  Add pineapple – grill 5 to 7 minutes per side or until nice grill marks form.

2. Meanwhile mix the dressing ingredients in a Magic Bullet or blender – set aside.

3. Mix the salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Slice grilled pineapple into wedges.  Serve 2 cups salad mixture, 1 sliced pineapple around and a few Tbsp dressing on each plate.  The dressing can also be mixed in beforehand.

**You will most likely have dressing left over to reserve for another use.

Nutrition Facts Salad
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 59.6
Total Fat 0.6 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 37.1 mg
Potassium 399.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 13.9 g
Dietary Fiber 2.4 g
Sugars 9.4 g
Protein 1.9 g

Vitamin A 86.3 %
Vitamin B-6 10.5 %
Vitamin C 65.2 %
Folate 25.5 %
Iron 9.2 %
Magnesium 12.7 %
Manganese 91.2 %

Nutrition Facts Dressing
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 54.0
Total Fat 1.8 g
Saturated Fat 0.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 147.4 mg
Potassium 145.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 10.3 g
Dietary Fiber 1.8 g
Sugars 7.7 g
Protein 0.5 g

Vitamin A 8.3 %
Vitamin C 27.1 %

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

Apr 272012
Vegan and Gluten Free Pasta
A while back I wrote in a post that I wasn’t going to buy and cook meat for my family any more. I will admit, sticking to my guns was tough at first – particularly because my daughter is allergic to soy and nuts.  I’m still working to overcome all the reservations of my family – but what has made the transition a lot easier is that my daughter absolutely loves Nutritional Yeast (a.k.a. “cheese”).  I know I’ve said this before, but don’t deterred by the name. It’s such a wonderful product!
I’ll only steal one bite Momma.
Vegan and Gluten Free Pasta
Nutritional Yeast has 8 grams of protein, 4 grams fiber, tons of B vitamins and only 70 calories per serving it is the perfect quick and healthy alternative to meat and delicious substitution for macaroni and cheese.
Can’t I eat YET?
Vegan and Gluten Free Pasta
My three year old daughter will eat just about any vegetable as long as it has Nutritional Yeast on it, so my go-to, super quick and no-thinking meal for when I’ve got lots of fresh veggies is this sort of pasta dish.   It is simple, takes only 15 minutes and dirties only one dish and one strainer.  I chop up whatever veggies I have on hand, throw them in with the cooking pasta to blanch, and top with Nutritional Yeast.
All three of us went back in for seconds.
Kid Friendly Vegan and Gluten Free Pasta

 Kid Friendly Vegan and Gluten Free Pasta with Mixed Beans, Sugar Snap Peas and Garlic

 Serves 6 (about 1 1/4 cup) servings
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Soy Free


3 cups gluten free brown rice pasta, I use Tinkyada (or any pasta will do)
3 cups fresh beans and/or peas; I used wax beans, green beans and sugar snap peas from KYV Farm
3 cloves garlic
1 bunch broccoli rabe, sliced into ribbons; I used KYV Farm
½ cup nutritional yeast, I use Red Star
Salt, pepper and garlic powder – to taste


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reduce heat and add rice pasta; set timer to package directions. During the last five minutes of cook time add the beans, garlic and broccoli rabe. Pour about ¾ of the mixture out at the end of the cook time, reserving some of the liquid. Rinse the strained veggies and pasta under cold water to stop the cooking process and return to pot to warm through. Stir in ½ cup nutritional yeast; season with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.

Nutrition Facts
6 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 202.0
Total Fat 1.3 g
Saturated Fat 0.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3 g

Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 276.4 mg
Potassium 445.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 32.8 g
Dietary Fiber 7.8 g
Sugars 1.3 g
Protein 12.7 g

Vitamin A 68.3 %
Vitamin B-12 88.7 %
Vitamin B-6 320.0 %
Vitamin C 66.7 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 0.0 %
Calcium 16.9 %
Copper 7.3 %
Folate 46.2 %
Iron 18.1 %
Magnesium 7.2 %
Manganese 12.6 %
Niacin 196.1 %
Pantothenic Acid 6.7 %
Phosphorus 13.8 %
Riboflavin 381.2 %
Selenium 21.3 %
Thiamin 437.2 %
Zinc 14.0 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Mar 142012

Welcome to Wine Down Wednesday where I will feature some lovely wine pairings with a vegan dish – in this post, Garlic Balsamic Mushroom Pasta. This all came about a few weeks ago when my friend Gregg and fellow yogi (who also happens, lucky for me, to be the VP – Director of Sales for Broadbent Selections) approached me with a suggestion to do a wine pairing.

Here he is with Adi, the wine maker of the Chenin Blanc.
Gregg is the one in the white.

I was excited about this prospect as I rarely see wine pairing suggestions with anything other than meats or seafood -what a unique opportunity to offer an alternative!

Going into a wine shop can be overwhelming because of the numerous wine regions and the multitude of grape varietals.  While I’m no expert, I’m thrilled to learn more about wine. It will be nice to take this in small bites of two-at-a-time learning about the background of each wine to give it more depth in my mind. This informal section will post several Wednesdays a month.
Thanks Gregg!
  The selection suggestions for this dish are as follows:
BADENHORST ‘Secateurs’ Chenin Blanc 2011,
(Swartland, South Afria)
The proprietors, Hein and Adi Badenhorst, make the wine as naturally and biologically as possible.  The vines are un-irrigated and are grown from vines planted in the early 60’s.  Chateau Musar Jeune Rouge, (Bekaa Valley, Lebanon).  In Lebanon, this wine is known as Cuvee Rouge and it is a blend of grapes; Cinsaut, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.  It’s all organic and has only a tiny trace of sulphites. 

The Categories
Category #1 – How well my dish turned out.
Category #2 – How well I (and fellow tasters) like the wine.
Category #3 – Pairing notes – How well each wine pairs with the dish.
Official Wine Rating Scale
Bleck -This wine is pretty bad.
Ho Hum- I would drink it if I was at a football game and there was nothing else in the cooler.
Nice -Good table wine. I would keep this in the wine cooler if it was a good value.
Yum – This is good, I would pay a fair bit more and have it for a special occasion.
Damn that’s Good – Self explanatory.
** We will use the same terminology for how the dish turned out and how well it paired.

Category #1 – The dish
Balsamic Garlic Mushrooms over Pasta
Rating of Damn that’s Good.  If I do say so myself.

This dish couldn’t have turned out better and is going under “favorites”. It had a great balance of flavor – tart, salty, sweet and aromatic. I preferred the mixed mushrooms as they had a bit more bite than the portabellas I tried this with first. The key is definitely the little dash of agave or honey. You don’t really know it’s there but it brings out the sweetness of the balsamic.

Category #2 – The wines

BADENHORST ‘Secateurs’ Chenin Blanc 2011, ( Swartland, South Africa)
Rating of YUM.
It was light and refreshing.  It reminded me of peaches and sweetness but without the sweetness, if that makes any sense.  It was nice and dry – just like I like it!
The Chateau Musar Jeune Rouge
Also Rating of YUM; however, two of the others that tried this gave it a Damn that’s Good.
Possibly because it was red I was thinking berries more than peach.  It had a bit more body than the white without being heavy. Interestingly this wine is similar to the chenin as far as being a dry wine with the perception of sweetness.
Category #3 – The pairing notes

The rating for the pairing on both wines gets a Damn that’s Good.  It was interesting how the two wines paired with this dish. I loved the meatiness of the mushrooms with the Jeune Rouge and the sweet/tart balsamic with the Chenin Blanc. Lip smakin’ good.

Since half the group really loved the red I would probably serve this dish with the Jeune Rouge but if it was just me I would go with the Chenin Blanc. I prefer dry to semi dry white wine because it seems to just go with the warmer weather in Florida.

Where to buy

All the wines will be for sale locally at the Grotto in San Marco. You can contact Mitch Woodlief, grottomitch@aol.com with questions and pricing and anyone outside the Greater Jacksonville area can contact E-MAIL: info@broadbent.com PHONE: US +1 415-931-1725.


Garlic Balsamic Mushroom Pasta

Garlic Balsamic Mushroom Pasta

Garlic Balsamic Mushroom Pasta

Inspired by Mushroom Stroganoff, E2 Diet
Serves 2-4
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
10 oz mixed mushrooms, I used Woodstock Farms Organic Frozen (or any mushrooms you like)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tsp agave or honey for non-vegan
Coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
4oz Fettuccini, I used Tinkyada Brown Rice
Chives for garnish, optional
1. Heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add onions and cook about 5 minutes, lower heat, add garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes; add mushrooms, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper.  Simmer about 20 minutes or until balsamic vinegar has cooked down to a sauce.
2. Meanwhile cook pasta to package directions.
3. Divide pasta and mushroom mixture over four bowls, garnish with chives.  Serve with BADENHORST ‘Secateurs’ Chenin Blanc 2011, (Swartland, South Africa) or CHATEAU MUSAR Jeune Rouge 2009, (Bekaa Valley, Lebanon).
Nutrition Facts
4 Servings

Amount Per Serving

Calories 263.7
Total Fat 13.8 g
Saturated Fat 2.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 10.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 54.9 mg
Potassium 304.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 29.7 g
Dietary Fiber 2.2 g
Sugars 3.5 g
Protein 4.5 g

Vitamin B-12 0.5 %
Vitamin B-6 5.6 %
Vitamin C 5.1 %
Vitamin D 13.5 %
Vitamin E 8.9 %
Calcium 0.7 %
Copper 12.0 %
Folate 3.7 %
Iron 4.7 %
Magnesium 2.1 %
Manganese 3.6 %
Niacin 21.4 %
Pantothenic Acid 11.0 %
Phosphorus 6.8 %
Riboflavin 17.7 %
Selenium 9.4 %
Thiamin 12.4 %
Zinc 2.8 %

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

Dec 112011
Last week was my second trip to Jersey for work.
The big plan had been to drive into the city on Wednesday but after a really long work day- the weather, gloomy and rainy-we ended up debating on where to eat locally.
We scrolled through the pamphlet of local restaurants provided by the hotel and settled on an Italian restaurant called Scalini Fedeli in Chatham, NJ.
The two men in the group drove there straight from work and the ladies went back to the hotel to freshen up.
When we arrived at an old house converted to a restaurant, the hostess took our coats before we walked in to find the two guys awkwardly sitting at alternate sides of an eight person table, gripping their drinks in the most manly fashion they could muster.
This was probably because the decor was-shall I say-romantic. Low lighting, candles, “Its interior features high vaulted ceilings, antique pine floors, and a sense of style, which evokes a distinctly Tuscan feel.”, apparently created with a female touch.
We stopped in our tracks to laugh for a minute or two before joining them because they just looked so awkward.  As we opened the menu immediately we noticed there were no prices.
Uh oh.  We aren’t allotted that much for company meal allowance.

Diane said I’m not comfortable with this.
We went back and forth, debating on whether to stay, for what seemed like 15 minutes-meanwhile the poor bread waiter, leaning over me with a basket of fresh, homemade bread and tongs, was asking me if I wanted rye or multigrain.
Um…I’m not sure.  I looked around, eyes darting back and forth as we are still debating.  There aren’t many people in the restaurant so it would be glaringly obvious if we got up and walked out.
Oh jeez. My hand went towards the basket and away from the basket while he looked at me with a, lady, for God’s sake it’s just a piece of bread, look on his face. 
Finally I stammered, Um, can you please just give us a minute?
The bread man looked semi disgusted about my indecision with taking a damn piece of bread, unaware of the debate going on at the table.
Finally, the sales guy in our group, David, convinces us all to stay for the $52 prix fixe menu consisting of a choice of appetizer, main and dessert, reasoning that if we had made it into NYC, it would have been even more expensive.

As soon as the pre-appetizer of a single shrimp in a buttery Dijon sauce with fresh peas came out, we knew it would be worth every penny. We all had to refrain from licking the plate. 
The menu featured fresh pasta, savory sauces and unique desserts-it one of the best meals I have ever had actually.  At the end the waiter asked, most embarrassingly, was it worth it? Why yes it was.
Friday I got home after a smooth flight, completely exhausted and so thankful to be home.  I have to hand it to any of you that have to travel a lot.  It’s just not for me.

Saturday at lunch, the dreaded indecisiveness hit me again. I’m hungry, what the heck should I eat?

I went and opened the fridge door and stared in until it started beeping at me.  

Then I walked over to the pantry and stared in there. 

And back to the fridge I went, finally pulling out what was in front of me.

This time it was broccoli, pigeon peas and some pre-cooked rice pasta as I contemplated what I could do with it to make a meal.  Sometimes the simplest and delicious meal is right in front of you, without a ton of prep work and cooking.  Like this dish of broccoli, pigeon peas and pasta.

Broccoli and Pigeon Peas with Pasta, Sea Salt and Garlic Topping
Serves 2
Gluten Free, Vegan

1 head broccoli
1 cup pigeon peas
1 cup cooked rice pasta (or pasta of choice)
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (or grated parmesan)
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp olive oil


1. Steam broccoli and pigeon peas for about 17 minutes or until destired tenderness.

2. Meanwhile, mix nutritional yeast through olive oil in a small bowl.

3. Divide broccoli, pasta and sea salt mixture between two bowls.  Enjoy unshelled peas as you would edammame; biting peas out from shell.
Nutrition Facts
2 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 361.5
Total Fat 7.3 g
Saturated Fat 1.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.7 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 294.6 mg
Potassium 1,520.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 60.6 g
Dietary Fiber 17.7 g
Sugars 0.0 g
Protein 20.9 g

Vitamin A 93.8 %
Vitamin B-12 66.5 %
Vitamin B-6 266.3 %
Vitamin C 472.2 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 27.9 %
Calcium 18.7 %
Copper 21.1 %
Folate 108.3 %
Iron 25.1 %
Magnesium 31.2 %
Manganese 58.4 %
Niacin 160.5 %
Pantothenic Acid 23.9 %
Phosphorus 38.6 %
Riboflavin 306.7 %
Selenium 32.5 %
Thiamin 348.8 %
Zinc 23.7 %

*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 192010

My new thing on Sunday (starting as of last week) is to make a different big salad for lunches instead of soup as the weather is warming up a bit.  This was my first try and it is perfect for a snack or a light meal with the addition of a protein. 

Best Veggie Pasta Salad
(Altered from Weight Watcher’s Pot Luck Pasta Salad)
About 12 servings
Generous one cup serving
3 WW pts per serving
Printable Recipe


1 1/2 cups whole wheat pasta (about 4 ounces)
2 small zucchini, diced
2 small yellow squash, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 green bell pepper. seeded and diced
1/4 purple onion, diced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup of fresh or frozen (thawed) green peas
1 cup broccoli


1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 packets Truvia (or sweetener of choice)
1 Tbsp coarse ground mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried oregano


1. In a large bowl mix the salad ingredients.

2. In a small bowl whisk the dressing.

3. Pour the dressing over the salad mixture and toss to coat. 

***To make this into a meal add some grilled tempeh or grilled chicken