Raspberry Almond Pear Smoothie

I have made a discovery when it comes to smoothies: The right combination of fruit can make a huge difference. I have found that pairing a strong, tart flavored fruit with a mild and sweet fruit makes a winning combination.

Take for example blueberry. I personally find a smoothie with just blueberries “dull” tasting. However, adding a bit of orange juice or a whole orange makes the flavors “pop”.

Frozen strawberries can be bold and tart, but combining them with a mild and sweet banana is a classic combination.

The same applies with this raspberry pear smoothie. Pears are sweet and mild while raspberries are tart and in-your-face. The almond flavor adds interest, making this a unique and exciting smoothie. Let me know if you agree!

To get the recipe for this customizable granola with crispy clusters,  go here .

To get the recipe for this customizable granola with crispy clusters, go here.

Raspberry Almond Pear Smoothie

1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
a fist-sized amount of frozen raspberries
a fist-sized amount of frozen pears (about one whole pear)
1 T. almond butter
1 scoop protein powder
a few drops of pure almond extract (can substitute vanilla)
a few drops of stevia extract (or your favorite sweetener)
6 ice cubes (this will make a thick “soft serve” smoothie- omit if you want it to be drinkable)

Blend until smooth. Makes 2 servings.

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Pureed Parsnip and Butternut Soup

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I wanted to create a super-simple, family-friendly recipe using parsnips, so I came up with this soup.  After the work of cutting the vegetables is done, it is pretty much hands-off.

Cut up your vegetables like so and place in a pot to simmer.

Cut up your vegetables like so and place in a pot to simmer.

Pureed Parsnip and Butternut Soup

3 cups chicken broth
1/2 lb butternut squash (or any other kind of winter squash that you like) peeled and cut into         1/2" cubes, (about 2 cups)
1/2 lb parsnips, cut into 1/2" pieces (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 minced garlic clove
1 T grated fresh ginger*
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup cream (optional)

Place all the ingredients except cream in a large pot.  Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the vegetables are fork tender.
Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth.
After ladling the soup into bowls, pour 2 T. cream over the top of each bowl and gently swirl it in. Top with grated cheese and minced parsley. It’s also good with a dollop of sour cream or herb pesto.

Yields about 4 1/2 cups soup.

**Want to know my trick for always having fresh ginger on hand and ready to use?

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How to Saute Anything Green- A Foundational Technique You Need to Know

Sauteed kale and red onions garnished with pine nuts and edible chive blossoms

Sauteed kale and red onions garnished with pine nuts and edible chive blossoms

Sauteed kale with yellow onions

Sauteed kale with yellow onions

Sauteed kale with purple onions and carrot ribbons (made using a vegetable peeler) and garnished with pine nuts.

Sauteed kale with purple onions and carrot ribbons (made using a vegetable peeler) and garnished with pine nuts.

Sauteed swiss chard garnished with green onions

Sauteed swiss chard garnished with green onions

How to Saute Greens

The essentials:

  • 1 tsp oil/fat of choice (whatever you prefer)

  • 1/2 cup sliced onions

  • 1 bunch of chard, 1 5 oz bag of kale, or 1 5 oz bag of spinach (can also use radish greens or dandelion greens or nettles if you are adventurous!)

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Optional add-ins:

  • Carrots peeled into ribbons using a vegetable peeler

  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger

  • 1 T. coconut aminos

  • A handful of pine nuts

  • A handful of grated parmesan


Wash the greens, then tear or cut into 1" pieces.

Heat oil in skillet.

Add the onions, greens, and carrot ribbons (if using) to the skillet.

Cook for several minutes, flipping occasionally.  If you would like to retain some of the moisture in the greens, you can cover the skillet with a lid to trap the steam.

When the greens are tender and reduced in volume (but still green bright green), remove from the heat and add the seasonings: salt and pepper, ginger, coconut aminos, pine nuts and/or parmesan.


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My New Favorite Way to Cook Vegetables


With root vegetables, the normal method of roasting them uncovered in the oven tends to make them too dry and tough for my liking.  On the other hand, steaming tends to keep them pretty bland and boring. 

My new favorite way to cook root vegetables is to bake them in the oven in a covered dish. 

Covering the baking dish while cooking the vegetables keeps the moisture in, allowing them to steam, while at the same time developing a golden brown exterior and concentrating the flavor in the vegetables.  This method is simple and hands-off.  Let me know if you try it!

Cut up your vegetables and butter and place them in the dish like so.

Cut up your vegetables and butter and place them in the dish like so.

Baked Root Vegetables

~You could also use turnips or radishes
~ 2 T. butter

Preheat the oven to 350.
Using whatever quantity that your family needs, cut the vegetables into even slices that are 1/4" thick.  Place in a glass baking dish.  Cut the 2 T. of butter into small pieces and place it on top of the vegetables.  Cover the dish with a piece of tinfoil.  Bake for about 45 minutes, until the vegetables are almost fork tender.  Remove the tinfoil so that the liquid accumulating in the bottom of the dish can evaporate.  Stir the vegetables.  Return to the oven for about 15 minutes, or until fork-tender.

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Black Bean and Butternut Skillet


This is one of my favorite recipes to make EVER.  I am a beans and veggies kind of girl all the way, so it's no wonder this recipe if one of my favorites.

This recipe was originally supposed to have tortillas pieces stirred into it, but since we are currently grain-free/gluten-free, we leave those out.

For those of you who are cooking for a "where's-the-beef?" kind of husband, you may want to add some pre-cooked cut-up chicken or beef.  Adapt this recipe to fit your needs!

Black Bean and Butternut Skillet
1/2 T. oil
1 1/2 lbs butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes (about 4 cups)
1 T. oil
1 cup chopped onions
2 cups chopped peppers, any kind
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 T flour
1 1/2 cups chicken or beef broth
1 1/2 cups black beans, cooked and drained (equals 1 can)
1 tsp salt (more or less to taste)

Mix the first 1/2 T. oil with the cubed butternut and roast in the oven at 400 for 30 minutes or until tender but not mushy.
While the butternut is roasting, get out a skillet and prepare the rest of the dish.
Saute the onions and peppers in 1 T. oil until tender.
Add the minced garlic and saute briefly.
Add the chili, cumin, and paprika, and flour and cook briefly until fragrant.
Add the broth and simmer until thickened.
Stir in the black beans, salt, and roasted butternut.  Cook a little bit longer.
Top with cheddar cheese, minced cilantro, tomatoes, and sour cream.
Leave a comment if you make this!

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Dutch Baby with Apples and Almond Butter Sauce (gluten and grain free!)


If you've never had a Dutch baby before, let me introduce you!  A Dutch baby is like a cross between a pancake and a popover.  It will puff up in the oven, but don't be surprised when it collapses after you take it out.  The possibilities for toppings are limitless, but I usually like crunchy raw apples with a rich almond butter sauce that tastes like caramel for breakfast!

This particular Dutch baby recipe is grain-free, gluten-free, and sugar-free (not including the toppings).

Dutch Baby
2 T. butter
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
2 T. coconut flour
2 1/2 T. arrowroot or tapioca flour
1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 425.  Place the butter in a 10-12 inch cast iron skillet or a pie plate.  Place the pan in the oven while it is preheating to melt the butter.

Meanwhile, place the rest of the ingredients in a blender and mix until thoroughly combined.

Pour the batter into the skillet and bake at 425 for 15 minutes.

While it is baking, prepare the apples and sauce:

Chop one apple and sprinkle with cinnamon.

2 T. melted butter
2 T. almond or pecan butter
2 T. real maple syrup
a few drops vanilla
Mix all the sauce ingredients together.

When the dutch baby is done, sprinkle with the apples and drizzle with the sauce.
Serves 3-4.


Winter Squash Pasta with Roasted Eggplant


Winter Squash Pasta with Roasted Eggplant

1 eggplant
1/2 T. oil
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups fusilli or rotini
1/2 T. oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 garlic clove. minced
5 sage leaves, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup chicken stock or broth
1/2 cup cooked and pureed butternut, buttercup or any other kind of winter squash
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Parmesan cheese

1. Roast the eggplant:
Preheat oven to 425.
Peel the eggplant and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
Toss with 1/2 T. oil and 1/4 tsp salt. 
Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet or cast iron pan. 
Roast until tender and browned, about 20 minutes (flip the eggplant halfway through to cook evenly).

2. Cook the pasta:
Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta until done.

3. Make the sauce:
Heat 1/2 T. oil in a pot.
Add onions and saute until golden and tender.
Add the garlic, thyme, and sage, and saute briefly until fragrant.
Add the pureed winter squash, chicken stock, milk, salt, and pepper and cook until thick and bubbly.

4.  Mix everything together:
When the eggplant and pasta are done, add them to the pot with the sauce and heat through. 
Top with cheese and enjoy!

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The Best Way to Cook Spaghetti Squash


How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

Preheat oven to 400.
Stab the spaghetti squash with a knife several times in different places so that steam can be released during baking.
Place the whole spaghetti squash in a baking dish.
Bake for about 1 hour.
Remove from oven and cut in half.  But wait!  Make sure you cut it in half across the width- not the length.  The spaghetti "noodles" are wrapped like a spool of thread, so if you were to cut lengthwise, you would be cutting all those strands of noodle into shorter pieces.  You will get longer noodles if you cut it in half across the width.
Now scoop out the seeds.
If the spaghetti squash is not tender yet, return the squash to the pan with the cut-side down and continue to bake until tender.
When the spaghetti squash is done, you can use a fork to gently loosen and separate the strands.

A note from my experience:  The first time I ever tried spaghetti squash, I was so excited to cook it up! But unfortunately, the flesh didn't turn into noodles as it should, but was mushy and non-noodley.  I tried a second squash and this time IT WORKED!  So I want to encourage you that if you get one that doesn't behave properly, don't give up.   Just try another one!  I also occasionally get one that is bitter or has a rotten center.  Again this is not normal.  I always offer money back if you get a dud!

Of course, 99% of the time they are delicious.  I love to top my spaghetti squash with spaghetti sauce (duh) or get fancy and do sundried tomatoes, basil, and cheese.

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Baked Parsnips

If you've never had parsnips before, this would be a great recipe to try them for the first time.  I asked my family what they though of these and they said the parsnips tasted like a cross between a baked potato and a steamed carrot.  So there you go- parsnips are nothing weird!

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Baked Parsnips

Enough parsnips to feed your family
1 T. melted butter
Salt and pepper
An onion, sliced (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400.
Cut the carrots into 1/4 inch slices and toss with the melted butter.  Place in a glass dish with the sliced onions.  Sprinkle with salt.  Cover the dish (either with a glass lid or tinfoil).
Bake for 30 minutes, or until fork tender.

Pssst- low-carbers: You could mash these parsnips and they would be faux-mashed-potatoes!

Super Simple Sauteed Peppers

I am almost embarrassed to post this recipe- it's so simple.  But sometimes simple is SO GOOD.  

Need a quick vegetable side for a meal?  This can be thrown together in about 10 minutes.

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Note: You can use any kind of peppers you like- small or large, sweet or hot.

Super Simple Sauteed Peppers

1. Cut up some peppers and onions in about 1/4 thick slices.
2. Heat a little bit of oil in a skillet.
3. Saute the peppers and onions for a few minutes until brown around the edges.
4. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Enjoy!