Working from home? A healthy, fast lunch is easy!

20151105_124319Today I invited my neighbor, whom also works from home, over for lunch. About an hour or so before lunch time I popped a whole butternut squash, one large peeled onion and 2 large cloves of elephant garlic in a baking dish and into a 375° oven. The house smelled so good while it roasted and while I got some work done. When it was time for lunch, I took the stuff out of the oven, peeled the squash, simple when baked whole, (get rid of the seeds) and put the squash, onion and garlic into a stockpot with almond milk, salt, and thyme, I added a splash of lemon juice for brightness, about 3 sprigs of parsley and heated it through. I didn’t measure, I made it on the thick side for heartiness. When it was lightly bubbling…or in my case bubbled out of the pot a few splashes…yikes! Use your immersion blender to puree and make it smooth.’

My friend brought over a hot Pumpkin-beer bread to have alongside it and we enjoyed lunch on the back porch on this beautiful autumn day.

Don’t work at home? That’s okay, you can still bring this healthy dish into work. Make it the night before while your dinner is cooking…or make this for dinner and bring leftover soup! For dinner, while the veggies are roasting you can get stuff done around the house to lessen your chores after dinner.

Healthy isn’t complicated. Be creative, have fun and cook! 20151105_124256

Getting Grounded-Feeling Connected

20151011_153706If you’re a warmer weather lover, the warm days left of the year are few. Take full advantage of getting outside and grounding yourself with nature.

Being outdoors awakens the senses and restores wellness. There have been scientific studies done showing that nature can give the immune system a boost, reduce pain, relieve stress, lower blood pressure and heart rate and relax our muscles thus relaxing our whole self.

Take a walk, sit or play in your yard with your child or pet, visit a park, lake, garden, or take a hike in the woods and don’t forget to hug a tree! Close your eyes and feel the ground, the air, the sun and sky; breathe it all in.

Finding peace in nature is just a step away.

Roasted Onion, Garlic & Butternut Squash Soup

20151005_182542This was by far the best butternut squash soup I’ve had and it’s so simple to make.

I bought a box of butternut squash from a local farm and with the weather cooling down, I knew soup was going to be a welcomed meal. I didn’t follow a recipe so I thought I’d share my creating with you and I hope you try it out and enjoy it as much as we did!

Here’s what I did:

  • 1 large squash cut in half length-wise and remove seeds
  • 1 large onion peeled and cut in half
  • about 1/4 cup or more of Garlic cloves peeled – I used my own homegrown garlic as well as 2 large cloves of elephant garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Parsley – Chopped and added last
  • 1 cup cream, milk or non-dairy milk such as coconut, almond or soy milk

Coat squash halves with oil. salt & pepper and lay cut side down on a foil lined baking pan. Do the same with the onion. Put all the garlic into a garlic baker, small covered baking dish or foil – drizzle with oil and close it. If foil and you have room, put the foil packet in the baking pan with the squash and onion; otherwise put the baker beside the baking sheet on the oven rack.

Bake all of it at 375° for about an hour and a half or until the squash is soft and cooked through.

*Meanwhile get your large saucepan ready with 8 cups of broth or water.

Remove all from the oven. Begin heating your broth while you remove the flesh from the butternut and add to the broth. Add all of the garlic and onion. Simmer for a few minutes, add salt and pepper and with an immersion blender, blend the soup until it’s smooth and creamy. Add the parsley & cream or milk and blend together.

Serve and enjoy!

Farro Salad

farro saladFarro is a whole grain that comes from wheat. It is a healthy alternative to pasta, rice, potatoes, and other grains because it is a good source of complex carbohydrate which is beneficial to regulating blood sugar, lowering cholesterol, staving off hunger and supporting the immune system. It’s also a good source of fiber, protein, vitamins, especially B3, and minerals, especially much-needed magnesium.

Farro can be used in hot soups, as a hot rice type dish, as a breakfast cereal and as a salad or any other creative ideas you might have.

For the summer months when we often eat lots of pasta, macaroni and potato salad, try substituting Farro for the main ingredient.

Farro Salad

1 1/2 cups Farro
4 cups water
2 tsp. salt

Add the Farro, water and salt to a saucepan, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for about 35-40 minutes until tender. Drain and put into a bowl to cool.
Chop 1-2 cups vegetables, choose from or use all:
celery, tomatoes, cucumber, sweet Vidalia, scallions or red onion, 1-2 cloves garlic, fresh or frozen peas, carrots, asparagus, green beans, bell peppers, broccoli florets, edamame, corn kernels(especially when local fresh), chopped cabbage, sprouts, and any other vegetable of choice  that is in season.

basil, parsley, mint, oregano, rosemary, chives, dill

Add 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil and 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar and about 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Add Himalayan pink salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, toss well and chill until serving.

Kale Chips

2015-08-28 07.24.06I grow kale in my garden quite well, all summer, so I find different ways to use it up before it wilts and dies. I found a few recipes for kale chips recently so I decided to give one a try mostly because I was intrigued by the method of massaging kale leaves with a mixture in a bowl before laying on the baking sheet. It worked out quite well though I would omit the ground flax seed due to its clumping up.

Here are the steps and the results.


A bunch of kale leaves

2 Tbs. oil

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 Tbs. nutritional yeast – it has a cheesy/nutty flavor

1 Tbs. tahini

1 tsp. each of onion powder and garlic powder

1/4 tsp. salt

Wash leaves and tear them up into small bite sized pieces, add to a large bowl, mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl and pour over kale leaves. Massage with hands until all leaves are coated well. Spread in single layer on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake 1 hour at 300° or until crisp and dried.

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Gearing Up for Back to School and a Full Schedule

Books (640x383)As your schedule gets busier it’s important to eat healthy while on the run. It’s not always necessary to pick up take-out or heat frozen processed foods in the oven to feed yourself and your family. Cooking fresh ingredients can be done as quickly as tossing things into a pan and tossing the pan in the oven or stove top and they taste a whole lot better, have less calories and less sodium!

Keep your pantry and refrigerator stocked with a few quick essentials such as brown rice, barley, whole grain couscous, quinoa and whole grain pastas. Have a few different kinds of good quality beans on hand such as black beans, garbanzo/chick peas, white beans and kidney beans. Keep your refrigerator stocked weekly with fresh green vegetables, red and green peppers, squashes, cucumbers, leafy greens such as kale, bok choy, spinach and lettuces. Look for the fruits and vegetables that are in season. Visit your local farm or farmers market while you still can!

Keep chicken, pork, beef and fish on hand. Perhaps when you purchase them, separate into serving sizes, either singles or family portions, you can even preseason them with your own concoction of spices and freeze each portion for future dinners. To use: defrost what you will use in the refrigerator the night before. When you get home it’s simple to simmer rice or other grains while you bake, grill or saute the meat portion of your meal and vegetables can be quickly steamed.

Get creative, save time and pans and make a stir fry by quickly browning the meat, add olive oil or your favorite nut oil/coconut oil and toss in the veggies and stir fry until the veggies get bright in color, eat as is or serve over your whole grain of choice. You can have an entire meal in 20-40 minutes and you can feel good in knowing that you have complete control over what is in your food.

To keep your lunch and your children’s lunches healthy make sure you add healthy raw ingredients such as carrots, cucumber bites, apple, pear and peach slices(dipped in lemon juice to keep their color), red pepper slices, nuts, seeds, and leftover chicken or other meats cut into strips with hummus, apple sauce or nut butters to dip them in. This will make a filling meal for adults and kids alike. Use dinner leftovers as often as possible for lunches as they’re healthier than processed deli meats.

Whole Food ~ Live Food

july-2011-004.jpgEating whole unprocessed foods is easier than you think. Try it for just one week to start out. A whole food is anything that isn’t in a box or can, hasn’t been altered by preservatives, added chemicals and so-called flavorings such as sodium, sugar, oils, *spices (especially when they’re not listed individually) etc. A few examples of whole foods are fresh fruit, berries, fresh leafy greens, broccoli, squash, onions, potatoes (white and sweet), and anything else from the produce section of the store that is loose for your pick of the bunch. Other examples of whole foods are chicken, pork, beef, fish, but these items should be limited to lean lighter cuts and proper portion sizes which I will explain shortly. Whole grains are also and important part of your everyday meals. Whole grains aren’t limited to breads; some whole grains include brown rice, no, white rice isn’t a whole grain, its beneficial parts have been stripped off exposing just the insides, quinoa is a nutritious, quick whole grain, barley, bulgur wheat, and there are many more but I want to limit the list to whole grains that are quick to prepare.

Dried beans are a very nutritious whole food however most of them take a long time to cook with the exception of lentils, a perfect food in my opinion. To save time, it’s ok to use canned beans. Buy a good quality, low sodium brand and rinse them well in a strainer before using. Beans should be eaten a few times a week. A serving of beans is generally ½ cup. They can be added to grain dishes, soups, salad, and even eaten as a healthy snack. Try a variety as each bean has it’s special nutrients.

So, with the lists and explanation of foods above, you can pull together a filling, healthy meal in about 20-30 minutes. It’s that easy! And the nourishment you’ll receive far exceeds nutrients from processed foods and you’ll give your organs a rest from trying to process chemicals.

Proper portion sizes are approximately:

Fresh raw or steamed vegetables-unlimited! 5-13 servings/day

Whole grain- ½-2/3 of a cup 3 servings/day

Meat- the size and thickness of your palm, fingers excluded (this is enough meat for 1 full day)

Fruit- about the size of a baseball, whether it’s an apple, orange, grapes, cherries etc. 1-3 servings/day

An easier way to estimate portion control is the amount that fits in your opened hand can be considered a portion.

Try a new fruit, a new vegetable, and a grain you’ve never tried. Get creative in how you prepare them, abandon some of the rules but of course be sure to cook animal proteins properly. Use wild abandon when it comes to spices and other seasonings you use in your vegetables, grains and meat.


Chickpeas (aka) Garbanzo Beans

Chickpeas are a delicious high protein food for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. They’re high in insoluble fiber, which binds to cholesterol and removes it from the body; it also helps prevent digestive disorders such as IBS and diverticulosis. Its soluble fiber helps control cholesterol, and helps prevent strokes and heart disease.

Chickpeas may help prevent elevated blood sugar levels, making them a good choice for diabetics or if you have insulin-resistance or hypoglycemia.

Chickpeas are very high in folate, magnesium and potassium which help balance body fluids, protect against fluid retention and heart disease. They are also a good source of minerals including iron, zinc and calcium.

Chickpeas come canned or dried in the dried beans section of your store. If you used canned, be sure to rinse them thoroughly as they usually contain a high amount of sodium. If using dried, soak them for several hours or overnight then simmer for at least 1 ½ hours.

They’re very versatile as they can be used in any dish, salads, roasted for a crunchy snack and to make hummus. You can even sprout them!

Simple Hearty Chickpea Soup

2 ¼ cups chickpeas soaked in water overnight (or 2-15 oz cans rinsed and drained)

2Tbsp. Olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 lb. Swiss chard, washed, trimmed and finely sliced

2 fresh rosemary sprigs

14 oz. canned chopped tomatoes

pink sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

If using dried chickpeas, drain them and add fresh water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 1 ½ hours skimming foam off the top and adding water if needed. Drain peas reserving the cooking water. (You can use a cooking spider or a colander). Season chickpeas with salt and pepper and Place 2/3 of them into a food processor or blender with some of the cooking water and pulse until smooth adding water if necessary to achieve a soup consistency, set aside.

Add onion and garlic to the saucepan, cook over medium heat until soft. Add Swiss chard and rosemary, cook for 5 minutes and add tomatoes and remaining chickpeas. Cook about 10 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down to an almost smooth sauce. Remove the rosemary sprigs. Return the chickpea puree to the saucepan and heat through 3-5 minutes. Serve.

Roasted Chickpeas

1 (12 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt (optional)

garlic salt (optional)

cayenne pepper (optional)

You can use any combination of your favorite herbs or spices

Preheat oven to 450° (or roast on the grill in a grill pan)

Blot chickpeas with a paper towel to dry them. In a bowl, toss chickpeas with olive oil, and season to taste with salt, garlic salt, and cayenne pepper, if using. Spread on a baking sheet, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until browned and crunchy. Watch carefully the last few minutes to avoid burning.

Get creative! Add chickpeas to any combination of salads, stews, soups and whole grain dishes. The possibilities are endless.

5 Steps Toward Detoxification & a Body Reset

Zucchini & Crookneck squash with tomatoes, onions & garlic - roasted on the grill

Zucchini & Crookneck squash with tomatoes, onions & garlic – roasted on the grill

A good way to begin a healthy summer is by eliminating toxins from the body.       
What are toxins? Toxins are poisonous substances produced in living cells that are often responsible for causing disease, illness and negative side affects in our body. Toxicants are man made chemicals that can be absorbed into our bodies as well.

Both toxins and toxicants raise havoc on our health which quite often we don’t recognize as toxic overload. They enter our body through breathing the air, eating foods with these substances on or in them, and through the skin.

The ways we can clear them out of our body vary from fasting, to a cleanse, to daily clean eating. You can choose which one is right for you. The following are simple guidelines for clean eating detox.

1 – Drink plenty of pure water. Aim for at least 50-80 ounces a day of plain water.

2 – Clean out your digestive track and bowels daily. If you find it more difficult than you wish to admit to eliminate regularly, don’t stress, there are a few natural things that can help. Magnesium citrate is extremely helpful; you can get it in capsule form or powder form to mix as a drink, this product is called Calm and you can find it online or in most health food stores including Whole Foods. Some other help can be found by taking 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed and a good quality acidophilus supplement as well as drinking plenty of water as proper hydration helps promote healthy bowels.

3 – Eat clean, especially naturally detoxifying foods like dark green vegetables, leafy and cruciferous, as well as lemon juice, garlic and onions.

4 – eliminate processed foods – they are heavy with chemicals that are toxic and offer little nutritional value

5 – Daily exercise which includes breaking a sweat helps toxins move through and out of your body

6 – Eliminate ‘white’ foods such as breads, pasta, white rice, and potatoes-sweet potatoes and yams are always great to eat.

7 – Minimize or eliminate drugs that are especially toxic to the liver. When you detox the body, you often find less need for medications. As always though, NEVER stop taking a medication without the consent of your doctor.

8 – Relax daily. Clearing your mind also clears the body. Take time to sit quietly, walk gently, meditate and breathe fully and gently.

If you’d like to know more about a full cleanse or personal coaching to help you eat and live better please contact me and I will happily work with you. You can write to me at .

Do You Have Aderenal Fatigue?

Headaches, Tired, Craving Salty or Sweets, Feeling Overwhelmed, Dizziness, No Energy, Excess Thirst…are signs of adrenal fatigue.

If you feel overstressed, overwhelmed, no energy or feel like you have more energy after 6pm than you do all day maybe your adrenals are fatigued. Your adrenals are your stress receptors and if you’re constantly under stress your adrenals get overworked and end up not knowing what is a true stressor and what is daily stress. This causes them to work overtime and become drained.

Causes for adrenal fatigue are stress, overwhelm, too much responsibility and no time to unwind, slow down or relax.
Learn the signs and a few easy steps you can take to support your adrenals that are healthy for your whole body by reading Signs, Symptoms and Nutritional Choices for Adrenal Support 

In addition to eating and drinking properly it’s vital that you find ways to de-stress. As a health coach I work with my clients to find easy and do-able ways to find peaceful calm each day; I can help you too! Please feel free to contact me at or at 508-243-4523 to find out how I can help you on the road to better health, more energy and peaceful calm in your everyday life.