Aug 042013
Succulent Zucchini Vegetable Lasagna
Vegetable Lasagna with Zucchini, Spinach and White Beans

Vegetable Lasagna with Zucchini, Spinach and White Beans

Every since the last time I made this Outrageously Cheesy and Creamy Lasagna I’ve been dreaming of lasagna. This time I wanted to make something the whole family could eat.  The last recipe I made contained cashews – so this tomato based version stuffed with delicious veggies is a all-in-one meal.

Vegetable Lasagna with Zucchini, Spinach and White Beans

Vegetable Lasagna with Zucchini, Spinach and White Beans

Even the most die-hard meat lover will enjoy this version! The beans and zucchini provide a hearty texture  and the bit of cheese makes this recipe just rich enough to feel like you’re cheating just a little bit – but at 325 calories per serving – you can enjoy your slice of heaven guilt free!

Vegetable Lasagna with Zucchini, Spinach and White Beans

Vegetable Lasagna with Zucchini, Spinach and White Beans

Vegetable Lasagna with Zucchini, Spinach and White Beans

Serves 9
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe


1 10 oz pkg gluten free rice noodles (for non GF use semolina) (Tinkyada)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 small zucchini, chopped
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning, divided
10 oz pkg frozen spinach (Cascadian Farms)
14.5 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes with garlic (Muir Glen)
2 cups cannelini or butter beans, or 1 15oz can
36 oz pasta sauce (1 1/2 jars) (I used home-made but you can use any jarred sauce.)
1 pkg non-dairy cheddar cheese (Daiya)


1. Preheat oven to 400F.

2. Cook rice pasta to package directions; rinse under cold water to stop cooking and gently separate noodles that are sticking. Store in a fresh pot of cold water until ready to use; then remove from water and pat dry.

3. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium high heat, add vegetable oil, cook onion and zucchini 7 minutes; add 1 tsp Italian seasoning, reduce heat; add garlic, cook an additional 3 minutes.

4. Cook spinach to package directions; squeeze water and place in large mixing bowl. Add fire roasted tomatoes (undrained), beans, 2 tsp Italian seasoning and zucchini mixture. Stir to combine.

5. Ladle 1/2 cup pasta sauce into a 13×9 baking dish and spread evenly; layer three lasagna noodles; 1/3 vegetable mixture-spreading evenly, 1 cup sauce, using back of spoon to spread; sprinkle 1/4 of the cheese; repeat twice and end with layer of lasagna noodles; pour the remaining sauce over the top and top with remaining cheese.

6. Tent pan with foil and bake 25 minutes or until hot; remove from oven; cool about 10 minutes before cutting.

Nutrition Facts (will vary with canned beans/sauce)
9 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 325.5
Total Fat 5.5 g
Saturated Fat 2.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 359.2 mg
Potassium 304.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 59.8 g
Dietary Fiber 5.4 g
Sugars 16.0 g
Protein 11.4 g

Vitamin A 73.9 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 5.4 %
Vitamin C 49.9 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 1.5 %
Calcium 9.3 %
Copper 4.8 %
Folate 9.8 %
Iron 18.7 %
Magnesium 7.9 %
Manganese 18.5 %
Niacin 10.3 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.1 %
Phosphorus 4.1 %
Riboflavin 4.1 %
Selenium 1.1 %
Thiamin 11.5 %
Zinc 2.1 %

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

Jun 112013

Quinoa Florentine

Before I get to my Savory Quinoa Florentine recipe – I’ll share a tidbit I learned over my long 35 year life. ;)

Laura S Walker State Park

Laura S Walker State Park

Make the time to do the important things.  What are the important things?

Think about what means the  most to you. How would you feel if that thing was no longer there? Could you just get another one?

Ah – there is the key.  With material things, we can always get another one.  But the people and the experience can’t be replaced.

When people ask me why I love camping “in the dirt and bugs”, experience is why I love it.  In a hotel room, you most likely won’t be outside as much. You might do some sightseeing during the day, go back to the hotel and watch some TV as you get ready for dinner. But CAMPING gets you outside – getting to feel, hear and see nature. (As long as you aren’t in one of the converted buses with your satellite dish outside.) No electronics in sight.

Some of the best things about last weekend’s trip…..

Watching my friend Justine enjoying the sunset as her son fishes. Taking my daughter kayaking.
The stillness by the water in the morning.

Laura Walker State Park

Laura Walker State Park

Chatting by the fire as a cool breeze blows, sipping a glass of chilled chardonnay.

Laura Walker State Park

Laura Walker State Park

My daughter – so proud of her little camper.

Laura Walker State Park

Laura Walker State Park

Roasting the perfect marshmallow.

Laura Walker State Park

Laura Walker State Park

Quietly spending time with my mom.

Mom Laura Walker State Park

Mom Laura Walker State Park

The kids fishing for Lilly pads.

Fishing at Laura Walker

Fishing at Laura Walker

 One thing that struck me recently while cleaning out my dad’s office was that all these things – small mementos, things he collected, art work….he wasn’t able to take anything with him.  He’s moved on to another place and all he can take with him is love, his experiences and the journey.

I came across a quote in a book about “the dash” that fits perfectly.  The dash is that space between the date of someone’s birth and death.
“For it matters not how much we own; the cars or the house…the cash, what matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.  So think about this long and hard….are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left that can still be rearranged. If we could just slow down enough to consider what’s true and real, and always try to understand the way other people feel. And be less quick to anger, and show appreciation more, and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before. If we treat each other with respect, and more often wear a smile….Remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.” – Linda Ellis

Take the time to enjoy life.  Put the phone down.  Cook a meal that nourishes your body and soul.

Quinoa Florentine

Quinoa Florentine

I love cooking with quinoa because it is one nourishing food we can take the time to cook.  15 minutes is all – and a quick five of rest.

Quinoa Florentine

Quinoa Florentine

Quinoa is versatile, and can be dressed up or eaten simply on it’s own – with a bit of salt.

Quinoa Florentine

Quinoa Florentine

This quinoa Florentine is more of the dressed up version – but simply and elegantly – with tomatoes, onions, garlic and spinach; cooked just long enough to give the vegetables a nice sweet caramelization, adding the spinach at the last minute to quickly steam it down and save those important vitamins and minerals.

Quinoa Florentine

Quinoa Florentine

Quinoa Florentine

Serves 4 rounded 1-cup servings
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe
**Items on sale now at Native Sun Natural Food Stores, June 7 through July 6, 2013


1 cup quinoa**
1 1/4 cup water or veggie broth
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
1/4 tsp salt (plus extra, to taste)
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp to 1/4 cup white wine
7 oz to 10 oz baby spinach


1. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add onion; cook 7 to 10 minutes or until translucent; add garlic, cook an additional 2 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat water or broth over high heat; rinse quinoa with a fine mesh strainer; add to boiling water or broth; reduce heat and cover. Cook 15 minutes; remove from heat; let sit an additional five minutes.

3. Add tomatoes and salt to onion mixture and 1 to 2 Tbsp white wine; cover and cook 20 minutes or until tomatoes burst; uncover cook an additional 5 minutes, adding additional wine as needed; add spinach, cover and cook 2 minutes, or until wilted; uncover and stir well.

4. Reserve 1/2 cup quinoa for later use; stir in spinach mixture; toss gently.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 181.5
Total Fat 5.5 g
Saturated Fat 0.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.5 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 196.0 mg
Potassium 312.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 26.9 g
Dietary Fiber 3.6 g
Sugars 1.0 g
Protein 6.4 g

Vitamin A 101.9 %
Vitamin B-6 6.6 %
Vitamin C 36.1 %
Vitamin E 7.1 %
Calcium 7.3 %
Copper 3.9 %
Folate 25.8 %
Iron 24.5 %
Magnesium 10.8 %
Manganese 27.5 %
Niacin 2.0 %
Pantothenic Acid 0.5 %
Phosphorus 3.1 %
Riboflavin 6.1 %
Selenium 1.2 %
Thiamin 3.1 %
Zinc 2.1 %

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

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.

Feb 102012
Just a few veggie photos from today’s CSA first.  Too gorgeous not to share.

My simple salad recipe. 
Press and marinate the tofu a day or so ahead and have it ready in your fridge when you’re pressed for time.

I once heard a critique of Rachel Ray that she simply re-edits her recipes rather than creating lots of originals, and is mainly an entertainer as opposed to a teacher.

Rachel Ray and I have something in common-I’m definitely no Martha Stewart either.  We take our favorite simple recipes and remake them.  I always have grand plans to make something original from-scratch, but then life seems to get in the way.

I left work five minutes later and it took me 45 minutes instead of 25 minutes to get home from work.  By that point everyone was really starving, so I threw together this salad.

I promise to post the casserole dish using the caramelized onion sauce soon.

Pinky swear.

Today’s world is so busy that I’m sure many of you are short on time just like me, hopefully you won’t mind if I pull a Rachel Ray and remake something similar to what I’ve done in the past.  Consider it fast food made from Slow Foods!

I got the spinach and tomato from my farm and whipped up some of my favorite oil-free 3-2-1 dressing, inspired from the Forks Over Knives companion book.  (If you don’t have it, buy it! The recipes are fabulous.)  Instead of making the marinade, I used a quality pre-made one, which shaved an additional few minutes.  In the time it would have taken for me to drive to a restaurant and go through the drive-thru, I had made a delicious meal at home. 

Island Teriyaki Salad with Fresh Spinach, Tomato and
Balsamic-Mustard-Maple Dressing
Serves 4
Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan
1 block Organic firm tofu
1 cup organic Island Teriyaki marinade, I used OrganicVille (or marinade of choice)
8 cups fresh spinach, chopped
4 plum tomatoes, sliced and quartered
1/2 sweet onion, sliced thinly
Coarse sea salt and Fresh ground pepper, to taste
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp coarse mustard
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1. Press tofu of water for 1 hour to overnight.  See how here. 
2. Cut tofu into cubes; pour marinade over and place in refrigerator overnight.
3. Preheat broiler; place tofu cubes on pan prepared with non-stick spray.  Broil about 20 minutes, turning cubes every five to 7 minutes to brown all sides evenly.
4. Meanwhile, mix dressing.
5. Place 2 cups spinach on each of 4 plates, top with 1 chopped tomato and 1/4th of onion.  Divide tofu evenly among plates.  Divide dressing evenly over plates.
Estimated Nutrition Info
4 Servings

Amount Per Serving

Calories 150.3
Total Fat 8.3 g
Saturated Fat 1.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.7 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 511.7 mg
Potassium 707.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate 20.2 g
Dietary Fiber 4.4 g
Sugars 7.2 g
Protein 15.5 g

Vitamin A 123.1 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 13.1 %
Vitamin C 40.5 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 7.6 %
Calcium 62.8 %
Copper 22.6 %
Folate 38.1 %
Iron 23.8 %
Magnesium 26.6 %
Manganese 88.3 %
Niacin 5.9 %
Pantothenic Acid 3.4 %
Phosphorus 20.9 %
Riboflavin 13.6 %
Selenium 25.4 %
Thiamin 14.8 %
Zinc 12.8 %

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

Jan 092012
By Sunday I still couldn’t see into my fridge with all the veggies waiting to be eaten, so something had to be done before my hubby went into a fridge cleaning spree. 

I had a gorgeous bunch of collards, beet greens that had been washed and prepped and a bunch of fresh spinach.  Being short on time as usual, I needed something super quick and easy.  I searched around the web and so many of the green recipes call for ham or turkey that it was tough to find many options.  I finally settled back on my usual sautéed greens but with some inspiration from Epicurious, I added the fire roasted tomatoes as well-I loved the tanginess they added.  The addition of the white beans turned it into a complete meal. 

I actually hadn’t planned on posting this one, but it came out so well that I resorted to a photo of the leftovers on my phone. Delish!

Collard, Beet Green and Fresh Spinach Sauté with White Beans
Inspired by Epicurious
Serves about 4
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free


1 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/4 tsp Cajun seasoning (with salt)
1 14 1/2-ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes in juice
1 141/2-ounce can vegetable broth
8 cups coarsely chopped assorted greens (I used collard, beet greens and spinach)
1 15-ounce can great northern, drained (or beans of choice)


  1. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 6 minutes. Lower heat, add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juice, Cajun seasoning and paprika, stir to combine and cook 2 minutes.
  2. Add broth and greens; bring to boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until greens are wilted and tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Gently stir in beans and simmer 1 minute to heat through.   
Nutrition Facts
4 Servings

Amount Per Serving

Calories 236.2
Total Fat 4.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.5 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 1,354.6 mg
Potassium 668.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 40.0 g
Dietary Fiber 9.4 g
Sugars 6.5 g
Protein 10.9 g

Vitamin A 121.8 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 14.4 %
Vitamin C 83.2 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 10.4 %
Calcium 21.2 %
Copper 14.9 %
Folate 48.5 %
Iron 25.3 %
Magnesium 16.0 %
Manganese 41.1 %
Niacin 4.0 %
Pantothenic Acid 4.4 %
Phosphorus 11.8 %
Riboflavin 8.9 %
Selenium 4.5 %
Thiamin 10.7 %
Zinc 9.1 %

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

Nov 302011

Is everything as crazy for you as it is for me?  The holidays, extra responsibilities at work, taking care of a 3 year old and keeping in touch with friends and family all contributes to the craziness.  But the other day, I was lying in bed, looking up at the ceiling, thinking WOW, I have it good.  Instead of getting overwhelmed I stopped and took a moment to be thankful for what I have….. 
….A crazy/awesome family, a supportive and loving hubby, a healthy baby girl (after many trials and tribulations), a way to get around, a roof over my head, a job to go to every day, both legs/eyes/arms and health, just to name a few.
It is so easy to get bogged down with all I have to do around the holidays and all the details that I have decided to make it my intention to STOP and focus on the present moment.  Just this morning I was in the bathroom getting ready for work and noticed the light shining through this beautiful glass vase made with all the colors of the sea; blues and greens, and realized that is what it’s like to be in the present moment.  I thought, how often do I even look at this vase?  I rush through the morning just trying to get out of the house, rush to drop my daughter off, rush to work as I’m usually running late, and rush home to get my baby girl, rush to make dinner, rush to the grocery….see a pattern?  I don’t think I’ll make it through this season unless I stop and take the time to appreciate where I am at that moment and all that I have.  We really do have a decision to be happy or unhappy.  I want to wake up each morning and make the decision to be happy.  Easier said than done some mornings, I know, but I will make it a habit and hopefully it will stick.
This dish was created as I was still had Thanksgiving in my thoughts.  I’m a big fan of cranberries so I had bought two fresh bags and decided to cook them up.  It’s SUPER easy and super tart.  If you like sweeter cranberry sauces simply add enough to suit your taste.  Paired with the sautéed organic spinach from my farm, scented with the hint of thyme and sage make dish somehow light but comforting at the same time.
As an FYI the nutrition info will be a bit off because there will be a LOT of cranberry sauce left over.  To create the nutrition info I had to list all the ingredients though so the calories will be a bit lower.

Cranberry Bowl with Sauteed Spinach, Black Eyed Peas and Couscous
***If you want sweeter cranberries add 1/4 cup brown sugar or agave.
Serves 4


1 bag fresh cranberries
1 tangerine, peeled and chopped
1 cup apple juice
1 can black eyed peas
1 bunch fresh spinach
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 head roasted garlic or 2 fresh cloves, minced
1/8 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp sage
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
2 servings couscous, cooked to package directions


1. Wash and pick through cranberries, add to a medium pot with tangerine and apple juice; bring to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes.

2. Heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium high heat; add onions; sauté 5 to 7 minutes; add garlic and cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes; add spinach, thyme, sage, salt and pepper and stir until wilted, about 3 minutes.

3. Serve each of four bowls with 1/4 cup couscous, 1/4 cup cranberry mixture, 1/4 spinach mixture and a large heaping spoonful of black eyed peas.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 247.8
Total Fat 4.6 g
Saturated Fat 0.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.5 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 319.5 mg
Potassium 641.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 47.5 g
Dietary Fiber 11.5 g
Sugars 6.4 g
Protein 7.8 g

Vitamin A 179.7 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 14.2 %
Vitamin C 71.5 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 10.8 %
Calcium 23.4 %
Copper 9.7 %
Folate 44.7 %
Iron 21.7 %
Magnesium 19.9 %
Manganese 56.4 %
Niacin 5.8 %
Pantothenic Acid 4.9 %
Phosphorus 7.1 %
Riboflavin 11.6 %
Selenium 17.4 %
Thiamin 8.8 %
Zinc 4.9 %

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

May 302011


There is still one more day to leave a comment to win a Table for Two!  Click here for details.
Hypothetically speaking you could be invited to a BBQ today and be asked to bring a salad or “whatever is easy”.
Brain wracking ensues to be sure that you, the food blogger that you are, brings something sufficiently impressive in order to fulfill the group expectations (or maybe it is simply your own expectations that you are placing on the group).
You decide on using some of the white and purple eggplant from your last farm share thinking about what a perfect conversation piece it would be. 
Typically you would just slice it, coat it with olive oil and seasoning and grill it. But nooooo this time you decide to slice it and coat it in salt because that is what you’re supposed to do with eggplant.  They all say so.  You aren’t actually sure who “they” is though.
Said eggplant drains of water and juices for several hours and then is laboriously rinsed of salt and dried with paper towels, then each piece is sprayed with oil and placed on a preheated grill and checked intermittently.  Each time the pieces looking drier and drier and when one piece is sampled it is very….salty.  So you decide that instead of making the eggplant the centerpiece of the entire salad, layered with fresh heirloom tomato and topped with aromatic organic basil from your garden and some fresh mozzarella, maybe you will continue to grill the eggplant slices on low heat until they become chips.  For several more hours.
Once the eggplant slices are done drying and turning into gray chip-like forms you taste them and they are then overly salty and horrible, you toss the entire thing and come up with plan B. 
You spend five minutes slicing some tomatoes, basil and mozzarella, throw it over some spinach with some pre-chopped sun dried tomatoes and make your go-to balsamic dressing that you make for everything.  Seven minutes later (in total) you’re done and everyone raves about the salad.
You think…why did I not just make the spinach salad in the first place instead of trying to get all fancy?
May you have a happy Memorial Day and I leave you with a piece of hypothetical advice, just skip plan A all together and go right to B.
Spinach Caprese Salad with Sun Dried Tomato and Balsamic Vinaigrette
Serves 8


8 cups fresh organic baby spinach
4 small tomatoes, sliced
1 8oz pkg fresh, part skim mozzarella, sliced then torn into smaller bite size peices
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes packed in oil and drained well
1 bunch fresh basil, chiffonade cut
Coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Dressing (not pictured)
3 Tbsp good quality balsamic
3 Tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp coarse ground mustard
Coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste


1. Layer in a large bowl spinach, half the tomatoes, half the basil and half the sun dried tomato; top with mozzarella, add the remaining tomatoes, basil and sun dried tomato. Season with fresh ground pepper and salt, to taste.

2. Whisk dressing ingredients.  Pour over salad when ready to serve.


Nutrition Facts
8 Servings
Amount Per Serving
Calories 84
Total Fat 4.7 g
Saturated Fat 2.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.3 g
Cholesterol 16.4 mg
Sodium 210.8 mg
Potassium 259.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate 3.0 g
Dietary Fiber 0.9 g
Sugars 0.8 g
Protein 8.0 g
Vitamin A 61.5 %
Vitamin B-12 3.9 %
Vitamin B-6 4.4 %
Vitamin C 15.9 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 3.5 %
Calcium 21.7 %
Copper 3.8 %
Folate 15.8 %
Iron 6.0 %
Magnesium 8.7 %
Manganese 16.2 %
Niacin 2.1 %
Pantothenic Acid     0.9 %
Phosphorus     15.3 %
Riboflavin 9.0 %
Selenium 6.4 %
Thiamin 2.6 %
Zinc 6.6 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.


Nutrition Facts
8 Servings
Amount Per Serving
Calories 58.4
Total Fat 5.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.7 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 66.4 mg
Potassium 1.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 2.9 g
Dietary Fiber 0.0 g
Sugars 2.9 g
Protein 0.0 g
Apr 052011
With this recipe I came to a realization.

Everything is better with (almond) butter.

I had not planned on posting this recipe but it was SO good I knew I would want to repeat it.  My original idea was simply to use agave and tamari and then stir in the almond butter but as I threw in the other few ingredients it added pleasing layers of flavor rather than detracting from the three main flavors.  The Sriracha added a bit of spice and the garlic powder, a subtle savory taste.

Don’t feel like you need to use all these veggies.  When I came up with this on my drive home I was only going to use bok choy, cabbage and green onion but in the end I threw a bit of everything I got with my csa in there.

Looks like a lot of veggies right?  Yes, I realize I put only 5 servings but this shrinks down by at least half. 

With all these goodies in here you must take a moment to scroll down to the nutrition info.  I’m not talking about fat and calories, I’m talking about the vitamins and minerals.

I think Michael Pollan would be proud.

 Sweet, Salty and Nutty Veggie Sauté with Quinoa
Serves 5-6

(Estimated) Ingredients

2 heaping Tbsp Almond butter
3 Tbsp Agave
1 Tbsp Tamari
Garlic powder
High heat cooking spray
3 dashes Sriracha, (Asian hot sauce)
Water as needed

1 large head bok choy
1 bunch fresh spinach
1/2 head cabbage, shredded
2 bunch green onion, chopped
2 large broccoli florets
Handful sugar snap peas
1 to 2 cups left over quinoa (I had about 1 1/2 cups)

Handful cashews for garnish


1. Spray wok with high heat cooking spray and heat over medium high heat.  When hot add veggies and sauté until crisp-tender, adding a few tbsp water as needed to prevent sticking. Mix agave and tamari, pour over vegetables.  Add the Sriracha and with garlic powder.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  Remove veggies from heat.  Thin almond butter with a tbsp or two of water; stir into veggies. Stir in pre-cooked quinoa.

2. Divide mixture into five bowls, top with a few cashews.

***(You will have to estimate the actual cup size due to variations in the volume of your veggies but I’m thinking this is around 1 1/2 to 2 cup servings). 

Nutrition Facts

5 Servings
7 WW Pts Plus
Amount Per Serving

Calories 280.0
Total Fat 10.6 g
Saturated Fat 1.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.9 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.3 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 344.6 mg
Potassium 994.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 39.2 g
Dietary Fiber 7.5 g
Sugars 6.7 g
Protein 12.8 g

Vitamin A 189.6 %
Vitamin B-6 17.9 %
Vitamin C 161.9 %
Vitamin E 19.7 %
Calcium 15.8 %
Copper 17.3 %
Folate 51.9 %
Iron 31.8 %
Magnesium 30.7 %
Manganese 57.0 %
Niacin 7.5 %
Pantothenic Acid 4.7 %
Phosphorus 40.3 %
Riboflavin 67.8 %
Selenium 5.6 %
Thiamin 10.5 %
Zinc 8.9 %

Mar 032011
 Gnocchi are pillow soft pockets of warm potato.  I’ve you have never had them this is a good time to try them.  A bit of white wine, garlic, fresh grilled asparagus and tofu with those smoky char marks that remind you of summer.
This dish started with the simple idea of skillet gnocchi I had come across long ago in Eating Well.  I always wanted to try it but the high carb content between the white beans and gnocchi held me back.
Today I happened to have some tofu on hand as well as the gnocchi that had been calling my name from the front of my pantry for too long. I couldn’t ignore it any longer!
This recipe looks like a lot of ingredients but by utilizing the grill the same time as sauteing there is a big time savings.

 Sautéed Gnocchi, Spinach and Mushrooms with Grilled Tofu, Asparagus and Onions

Serves 6 (1 1/2 cup) servings
Printable Recipe
1 block tofu, pressed of water and sliced into 4 equal parts
1 bunch fresh asparagus, washed and ends trimmed
1 onion, sliced into rings
16 oz mini gnocchi
8 oz fresh spinach
8 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms
2 cloves garlic
1/8 cup white wine
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes with Italian spices such as basil, oregano and garlic
2 Tbsp oil of choice (I used virgin pecan oil), divided
Coarse sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Garlic powder
Italian seasoning mix
12 Tbsp shredded non-dairy mozzarella cheese (Daiya)
1. Preheat grill to medium high heat and place a large skillet over medium heat.  Lay out about a 2 foot sheet of foil.
2. Rub 1/2 tbsp oil over tofu and season with salt, pepper and a generous amount of garlic powder. Place asparagus and onion on sheet of foil, pour 1/2 tbsp oil over and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Lower grill heat to medium, place tofu and foil with asparagus and onion on grill.  Cook about 8 minutes, once browned, flip tofu, turn vegetables and cook an additional 8 minutes until tofu is browned.  Chop tofu and vegetables into bite size pieces.
3. Pour 1/2 tbsp oil into preheated skillet; add gnocchi, season with garlic powder and Italian seasoning, to taste; stir frequently for approximately 8 to 9 minutes or until browned.  Set aside in bowl.
4. Lower heat in skillet to medium-low and pour remaining 1/2 tbsp oil in, turn to coat.  Add spinach, mushroom and garlic; season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and Italian seasoning.  Stir frequently to wilt spinach, about 4 to 5 minutes; add wine to prevent sticking. Add gnocchi, tofu, asparagus, onion and tomatoes to spinach mixture.  Stir gently to combine.  Divide into 6 (1 1/2 cup) servings.  Top each serving with 2 Tbsp of shredded mozzarella.
Estimated Nutrition Info
6 (1 1/2 cup) Servings
Amount Per Serving
Calories 264.4
Total Fat 6.8 g
Saturated Fat 1.4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.4 g
Cholesterol 38.0 mg
Sodium 657.9 mg
Potassium 530.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 36.8 g
Dietary Fiber 6.1 g
Sugars 3.8 g
Protein 13.6 g
Vitamin A 80.3 %
Vitamin B-12 1.2 %
Vitamin B-6 15.9 %
Vitamin C 56.6 %
Vitamin D 3.3 %
Vitamin E 13.2 %
Calcium 13.3 %
Copper 12.3 %
Folate 40.8 %
Iron 12.0 %
Magnesium 12.5 %
Manganese 28.8 %
Niacin 18.8 %
Pantothenic Acid 5.8 %
Phosphorus 11.5 %
Riboflavin 14.6 %
Selenium 9.9 %
Thiamin 10.9 %
Zinc 5.3 %  
(If you like the 1 cup serving size this makes 9 servings)
Nutrition Facts
9 (1 cup) Servings
**4 WW Pts Plus
Amount Per Serving
Calories 176.2
Total Fat 4.5 g
Saturated Fat 1.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.3 g
Cholesterol 25.3 mg
Sodium 438.6 mg
Potassium 353.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 24.5 g
Dietary Fiber 4.0 g
Sugars 2.5 g
Protein 9.1 g
Dec 202010
Why is it that people push me so hard to eat more and more when I’m trying to not overeat?  Especially over the holidays.
They say, It’s the holidays, you HAVE to indulge.  And then seem to get almost angry if I do not wish to gorge myself until I look and feel like a large, jean wearing sausage.
The way I figure it, there is ALWAYS something to celebrate.  Birthdays, weddings, baby showers, vacations, Fourth of July and, my all time favorite, February 5th, World Nutella Day.  And what do celebrations all include?  Lots of eating and usually drinking too.
My key to the holidays is moderation, but let me tell ya, the average Joe doesn’t like it.  Not one bit.  I am looked at like I have three heads but I have decided to give myself full permission to moderate.  Enjoy but not overdo it.   BUT, if, for some reason I do, I will not beat myself up.  And I will get “back on the horse” and make this very delicious and seemingly indulgent frittata. 
Or make it even when I haven’t overdone it just because it came out so tasty.

Spinach, Mushroom and Tomato Frittata with Feta

Altered from Weight Watcher’s Tomato and Feta Frittata
** 3 WW Pts Plus (Yes I’m not kidding. Only THREE)

2 spray cooking spray
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 large eggs
4 large egg whites
Tony Chachare’s Cajun Seasoning, to taste (or simply sub salt and pepper)
1 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup spinach (I used frozen organic)
2/3 cup shitake mushrooms (I used frozen organic)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 Tbsp dried bread crumbs, panko variety*


1. Preheat broiler.

2. Spray a large heavy-bottomed ovenproof skillet with cooking spray; set over medium heat. Add onion, spinach, tomato and mushroom; cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 to 7 minutes.

3. Beat eggs, egg whites and Cajun Seasoning in a medium bowl; stir in tomato mixture.

4. Spray bottom and sides of same skillet with cooking spray; set over medium heat. Pour egg mixture into skillet; cook until almost set, loosening edges of frittata occasionally, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle cheese over eggs; top with panko.

5. Place skillet under broiler, 4 inches from heat; broil until cooked through and panko browns, about 30 seconds to 1 minute (watch carefully to avoid burning). Remove from broiler immediately and let sit for 1 minute; cut into 4 wedges. Yields 1 wedge per serving.

 *Panko are light, coarse bread crumbs available in the Asian section of the supermarket.
Sprinkle with fresh basil if desired.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 131.0
Total Fat 6.7 g
Saturated Fat 3.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.8 g
Cholesterol 122.9 mg
Sodium 475.0 mg
Potassium 270.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 6.4 g
Dietary Fiber 2.0 g
Sugars 0.5 g
Protein 12.1 g

Vitamin A 79.6 %
Vitamin B-12 9.6 %
Vitamin B-6 11.0 %
Vitamin C 12.9 %
Vitamin D 6.6 %
Vitamin E 1.5 %
Calcium 17.8 %
Copper 7.0 %
Folate 18.6 %
Iron 7.4 %
Magnesium 10.7 %
Manganese 24.3 %
Niacin 5.7 %
Pantothenic Acid 8.1 %
Phosphorus 15.0 %
Riboflavin 25.9 %
Selenium 18.5 %
Thiamin 6.3 %
Zinc 8.4 %