Harvest Chard

harvest chardA little bit sweet, sour, and spicy. Rainbow Chard is one of my favorite vegetables because of it’s dual nature with the crunchy stems and leafy greens. One vegetable seems to take on the life a full salad. Chard is dressed up with fortifying fall flavors in this quick-fix warm salad. Because the chard leaves cook down so much, this recipe should be doubled if serving more than one. This recipe makes enough for a main dish salad with a little leftover for later.


  • 1 Tb. oil – I’m using Walnut Oil for this recipe but anything will do
  • 1 small Shallot – small dice
  • 1 bunch of Rainbow (or other variety) Chard  – strip leaves from stems, chop stems and leaves separately
  • 1 small Apple diced – reserve a few Tb. of chopped apple to top salad
  • a handful of Golden Raisins
  • Mix together — 1 Tb. Apple Cider Vinegar, 1 Tb. Water, 1 tsp. Dijion Mustard, pinch of salt, pinch of Chili Powder
  • Handful of chopped Walnuts


  1. Saute shallot in oil, and when softened a bit, add the Chard Stems, 3/4 of the Apple bits, and Raisins over med/high heat
  2. Cook for about 8 – 10 minutes until Chard Stems and Raisins have softened slightly
  3. Add Chard Leaves and Cider cooking water to steam the leaves – cook just until tender – only a couple of minutes
  4. Top warm salad with remaining apple pieces and chopped walnuts

Enjoy and Namaste ~Kate


Power Packed Veggie Burrito with Avocado Creme

Today’s recipe was inspired by Kristie’s “The Mostly Vegan” blog. Here’s the link to her recipe. http://www.themostlyvegan.com/page/4/.

I forgot to soak the cashew’s for her Chipotle Cashew Crema so as usual there was some improv happening in our kitchen. With the kids home for summer break, I’m trying to keep many balls rolling and am working while the kids are home. I was so happy to have my 11 year old step up and do the veggie chopping and cooking! Way to go B! Here’s what we came up with for dinner tonight…

Veggie Saute for Burrito Filling
In a large saute pan, layer in:

  • 1 Tb. olive oil
  • 1 sweet potato, small dice
  • once the sweet potato has softened add: 1 large zucchini, small dice
  • cook for a few more minutes and then add about 15oz. cooked & rinsed black beans
  • about 1.5 cups (non-GMO) corn kernels

Avocado Creme
Mix in a high speed blender:

  • 1 avocado
  • small handful of cilantro leaves
  • juice and zest of 1 lime
  • (many recipes use 1/2 cup of yogurt or sour cream – you can use some olive oil – or just skip)
  • 1-2 Tb. water to bring it to the consistency of your liking
  • a little heat – I like a few drops of Jalepeno Tobasco or Dried Chipotle Pepper – chili flake or black pepper all would be fine
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder – a fresh clove would be just as good
  • salt to taste 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. should do nicely

Wrap it up!
We went for tortillas but the healthier choice as suggested in the original recipe is a nice strong lettuce leaf.

Savor and Enjoy!


My (current) Food Manifesto and Go-To Green Salad with Actual Avocado Dressing

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(Recipe Below)

Recently someone asked me what my food blog slant was. My journey to a healthy relationship with food has been a winding road with many ups and downs. For now, these are my priorities in no particular order: Fast!, Healthy for our Bodies and Healthy for our Environment, Affordable, if it’s got to be fast – there’s also going to be an element of Ease – though I have learned a few tricks along the way to make fast food feel Special, of course Flavor, and Family Friendly. My kids are still in elementary school and though they have been through “taste bud boot camp,” I still like to be considerate of their preferences. We are mostly vegetarian here at home but the family eats meat on occasion, and….. with that being such a hot topic, I will save that conversation starter for another day.

Our relationship with food truly is the most intimate one we have. What we consume literally becomes a part of us and gives us the energy to thrive (or not.) I have a great respect for the power of food beyond it’s capacity to bring sensation to the tongue and belly. I would love to see food acknowledged more and more for what it truly is: a life force energy. In our Yoga practices we acknowledge that all energy including that which we consume through our mouths, eyes, ears, etc. is a form of prana – or life energy. A few years back I was inspired to add more Raw Foods to my warm* weather menus when I read Natalia Rose’s, Raw Food Life Force Energy. This recipe is likely very close to the original because it hits all the marks on my priority list.

Actual Avocado Dressing & Basic Green Salad
(With a high health factor and low energy use to prepare this meal, it’s a perfect recipe to share on this Earth Day – don’t forget to compost – or learn to compost your veggie peelings.)

Makes 2 Servings

In a medium bowl, add the following ingredients and mash them up

  • 1 peeled ripe Avocado
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • Drizzle of Honey (no honey for vegans! Stevia is a good alternate)
  • 2 – 4 Tb. of Water – the mixture should end up thin enough to dress your salad greens

Load your salad components on top of the dressing and toss well to coat the salad with this sumptuous sauce. I like to use a mixture of crisp Romaine and oxidant rich field greens with some cucumber for crunch and sunflower seeds to boost the amino acid complex which your body will use to make protein.

Enjoy! …..and feel good about and because of what you choose to eat.

*As I incorporate Ayurvedic principles in my personal diet, I save cold salads only for bright warm days to help keep my constitution in balance. 


Good for Anything – Smokey Red Pepper Sauce

smokey red pepper sauce
Quick & easy – Smokey & Raw Red Pepper Sauce with basic roasted sweet potatoes & boiled broccoli.

The truth is I live on the edge of overwhelmed. My life is busy and full. I enjoy life and all it’s possibilities. I put myself out there and I like to offer the same opportunities for my kids – as long as they want them. That leaves us short on time but full on adventure. Meals need to be quick and healthy to keep us both going and grounded. This quick sauce is the perfect complement to pretty much anything and makes quick cook veggies feel a little more special. My intention for starting this blog was to record and share healthy lifestyle habits. This recipe was worth taking the time to sit down and write it out;-)

In a blender, whiz up….

  • 1 roughly chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 small tomato (you could also use a couple Tb. of tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup slivered or basic blanched almonds
  • 1-2 cloves of smashed garlic – or – 1 shallot diced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tb. balsamic vinegar (I’m sure any vinegar would be fine)
  • 1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce (more if you like it hot)
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt

Once veggies are blended…. stream in a couple of Tb. of olive oil with the blender still running to give the sauce volume. enjoy.


Tangy Tuscan Vegetable & Bean Soup

Tangy Tuscan Vegetable & Bean Soup



This soup is my perfect antidote to the rich & over-indulgent holiday food kick I’ve been on lately! This soup is light, refreshing, and deeply fortifying. 


Into a nice soup pot over medium heat, layer in* the following ingredients:

  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 small diced onion
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced into bite size rounds
  • 3 stalks of celery, sliced into crescents
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 Tb. tomato paste (or a can of diced tomatoes)

*I’m grateful to have learned Rachael Ray’s “chop and drop” time-saving cooking method. Generally I drop ingredients in an order based on which will benefit from the longest cooking times. I like the onions almost melting away – so they always go first. While one ingredient is cooking, chop the next one. Just be sure to keep stirring the pot and add a little stock or water if the veggies start to stick and before they burn.

Once veggies are all in the pot, add:

  • 32 oz. of vegetable stock (you can also just use water to save a few $)
  • 1/2 tsp. to keep it light (add more to taste at the end)
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary** (crumble needles before you drop in)
  • 1/4 tsp. dried chili flakes**

Raise heat and simmer until veggies are soft to your liking. If you are making soup ahead and will serve it later, stop here for now.

So that these ingredients don’t get “mushy” warm the soup jus before serving and add:

  • 2 small zucchini sliced first lengthwise and then across into crescents or half crescents (feel free to add any other veg. here – I was just really craving the light and lively quality of a summer squash;-)
  • 1 can of kidney beans
  • 1 can of white beans

** As a mom of growing children, I believe I can benefit them by helping to “build their palates.” I try to give them the opportunities to become accustomed to many flavors without over-whelming them. If I were making the soup for myself, I would probably add a bit more rosemary and chili flake to warm me up!

Winter was made for wishing. I wish you a clear path toward your heart’s desires in this coming New Year.



Celebration Salad with Spiced Pecans & Pomegranate

This festive salad features spiced pecans, chopped dates, pomegranate seeds, and a special balsamic vinaigrette. The extra time it takes to toss this special salad is totally worth it. It’s fruity, delicious, and…. makes leftovers you can feel good about. I sautéed an apple and had a warm healthy salad that felt as good as it tasted after last night’s over-indulgence! The whole process takes about 40 minutes – but there’s a lot you can do ahead of time if you pre-plan.

Start with your choice of a green salad base. I like to mix classic leafy greens with a baby greens field mix of spinach, kale, and red leaf lettuce.


Prepare the Spiced Pecans*

  • Prepare a baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper to cure your pecans after they are prepared.
  • Toast 2 cups of pecans in a cast iron skillet – watch carefully and stir often so they don’t burn. Cook over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes until they smell toasted.
  • In a small bowl, prepare the spice mixture:
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
    • dash cayenne pepper (use up to 1/2 tsp. if you like a lot of heat)
    • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Coat the pecans: add 4 Tb. unsalted butter to the pan of pecans. (Use an oil instead if you are making this vegan.)
  • After the pecans are coated with melted butter (or oil), add your spice mixture
  • Add brown sugar + 1 Tb. water to your pan — (I used about 2/3 cup brown sugar per the directions – but will likely try to reduce this next time just for the health factor)
  • Cook and stir for about 3 more minutes until pecans are thickly coated
  • Transfer nuts to sheetpan and separate them to air about. Mine stayed sticky in the salad – no problem!
  • Original recipe says they can be stored in an air tight container for up to 3 weeks.


Flip-out the Pomegranate Seeds

  • Fill a medium-sized bowl with water
  • Slice 1 Pomegranate in half
  • Dunk 1 half into the bowl of water and then flip it inside out. This will make it easier to slide the seeds out without getting messy.
  • Let the seeds sink to the bottom. The little bits of pith will float to the top – making it much easier to get the seeds out clean.


Combine the Fix-ins

  • Mix together your green salad base, spiced pecans, pomegranate seeds, and add 10 chopped dates.

Fig & Walnut Balsamic Vinaigrette (any balsamic vinaigrette will be fine)
These special ingredients are worth having just for this salad. Actually I use the Walnut Oil for my muffins because of it’s health benefits. (Learn more here.)

Combine following ingredients in a glass container and mix well:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup walnut oil
  • 1/4 cup Fig Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Juice of two tangerines / or 1 orange
  • Dash of honey (skip – or use another sweeter for vegan)

Dress your salad with vinaigrette just before serving to keep the greens crisp. Enjoy!


Holiday Breakfast Salad
I knew better and saved a serving or two of the pecan, pomegranate, and date mixture. There were no leftovers. For a sweet and savory breakfast salad:

  • Salute one apple with a little walnut oil.
  • Mix with fruit & nut mixture
  • Toss with just a touch of green salad
  • Enjoy!

Wishing you a happy & healthy holiday season, Kate

* The spiced pecan recipe was based on a recipe from Alton Brown. He also included some dried orange zest which I’m sure is a a great complement.



Bok Choy Stir Fry & Noodles with Peanut Sauce

If I had to claim a favorite veggie, it just might be Bok Choy. I love the combo of crunchy stem and leafy greens. Versatility is something I adore in life. That appreciation of versatility shows up here. This dish is really three recipes in one. The stir fry would be great on it’s own or over rice. The sauce would be great for dipping (minus the water) and of course the noodles go with anything.

Bok Choy Stir Fry – (really you can use any veg you like for your stir fry)

  • In a wok or large saute pan get the flavors going with this “stir fry starter”:
    – 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
    – 2 shallots (or one small onion) diced thin
    – 1 clove garlic – minced
    – 2 inch piece ginger – either grated fine on a microplane or diced very small
  • Add florets from one bunch of broccoli & add about 1/3 cup water to help it steam
  • Slice the bok choy stems and add to the pot – save the greens for the end
  • Slice a handful of mushrooms of your choice – add to the pot – and add the greens
  • Cook until warmed through

Meanwhile – cook a package of Udon Noodles – or another of choice – according to package directions

Peanut Sauce

  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 water (reduce amount if you want a dipping sauce)
  • 2 Tb. soy sauce
  • 1 Tb. honey (don’t use if you are making a vegan dish – you can use brown sugar, stevia, agave)
  • 1 Tb. rice wine vinegar (I use Umeboshi Vinegar – plum wine)
  • 1 inch piece grated ginger
  • dash of red pepper

Mix sauce with noodles, top with stir fry, and this Crunchy Herby Topper

  • 1 Tb. per person roasted peanuts
  • small bunch of herb – diced – I like Thai Basil but Cilantro or Chive would also be great

This recipe was a huge hit around our family dinner table. It also now holds a special place in my heart because my 7 seven year old just ate the mushrooms that he has resisted until now! It was a great feeling! My approach to feeding my kids as nourishing “palate training.” I’ll admit that the evil words, “I don’t care if you don’t like it” have passed my lips more than once. They have had to eat at least one bite of all the new foods that have graced their plates in order to help their little taste bands enjoy a wide spectrum of healthy flavor. But mushrooms – that has been the one free pass.

Tonight I tossed them into a recipe for the first time in a long time (rather than keeping them out separate) and just didn’t even bother to mention them. Our dinner time goes by in a blink of an eye and while I know its supposed to be great for the family to sit down and eat together – it just doesn’t happen very often here and we make up for it in other ways. He took the bowl to the table in the other room and started to eat while I served up the rest of our dishes. With anticipation I waited for the response. I couldn’t believe when the little voice threw back…. “there are mushrooms in here! and… they aren’t too bad. I must be getting a big boy taste.” Seriously – music to my ears. Mushrooms are noted for their benefit on the immune system and with my vegetarian diet I really have missed all the options they provide for recipes. I can’t say he loved them… or he won’t complain about them next time…. but for now…. mushrooms have won a sweet victory!


Roasted Roots & Crispy Chickpeas with Balsamic Vinagrette


Warm, hearty, sweet, and crunchy…..
just what’s needed when the first fall winds blow in.

Preheat Oven to 425°

Roasted Roots & Crispy Chickpea Salad Ingredients:
4 cups of potatoes cut into bite size pieces
1 cup of onion – chopped
2 cups carrots – bite size pieces
2 cloves garlic – minced
1 sprig rosemary – chopped fine – or 1 tsp. dried & crushed between fingers
1 can chickpeas (garbonzo beans)
2 Tb. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
sprinkle of pepper

image> Chop & drop veggies into a roasting pan. Drizzle oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary on top. Mix well and roast for about 45 minutes – until potatoes and chick peas are crunchy on the outside and
soft on the inside.

> Eat as is – or add to a bowl of leafy greens. This Honey Mustard Balsamic Vinagrette is a perfect complement.

Honey Mustard Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 balsamic vinegar
2 Tb. dijion mustard
1 Tb. honey
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
dash of cayenne

Mix well & Enjoy!


Summer = Time for Simple Salads (#1 white bean, tomatoes, olives)

Salad with White Beans and Balsamic DressingThere is no time like summer to eat in tip top form! And with fresh ingredients abound you can prep a healthy, mouth-watering meal in no time flat. Here’s a salad with lots of veggie protein so you can skip “cooking” all-together.

Super Simple Lite* Balsamic Dressing
Just whip the following ingredients up in a little bowl:

  • 2 Tb. olive, sunflower, or your oil of choice
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Prepare your salad
In a large bowl, combine:

  • 4 cups of mixed leafy greens
  • 1 can of drained and rinsed white beans
  • 2 diced tomatoes
  • 12 sliced kalamata olives (or more for your taste)*

Toss salad with dressing and you are good to go. Enjoy!

*My amazing hubby has lost 55 pounds in the last year with the Weight Watchers program. So salad dressings always go lite around here. You can add more oil – or add a little water to stretch the dressing further without the extra fat.