puttanesca style zucchini noodles with olives and cherry tomatoes

Zucchini Noodles with Cherry Tomatoes & Olives

Zucchini noodles with cherry tomatoes and black olives

I think pasta might be making a comeback. I keep seeing recipes everywhere for fun, light, summery dishes using orzo, penne, and spaghetti.I admit I long for the days when I could feast on pasta and not feel like I’m committing  a crime. Is pasta bad for me? Probably not. Can I eat an “appropriate” amount and feel satisfied? Definitely not. Especially when my mom is the one making it. That’s why I love zucchini noodles. I can be a little glutinous and still feel good about myself.

puttanesca zucchini noodles - Foodconfidence.com

Last week I shared this cold zoodle salad with you. This week I went with a warm dish. Pasta Puttanesca is actually a childhood favorite. I love anything with olives and although this is not a traditional Puttanesca sauce, it worked perfectly for me.

heirloom cherry tomatoes

These fancy cherry tomatoes were my inspiration. Aren’t they amazing? They made a lovely base for my sauce. I sauteed them in a pan with some olive oil, garlic and anchovy paste until softened. Then I added the capers, olives and fresh basil. My house smelled gorgeous while this sauce was cooking up. To me, there’s not much better a smell than that of sauteed garlic — it’s always the start of something delicious!

zucchini puttanesca

It’s such a simple dish, yet it has so much flavor. If you love Puttanesca, you will love this sauce! So tell me, have you tried substituting your favorite pasta dishes with zucchini noodles yet? I promise, you won’t be disappointed. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be so happy you can start to enjoy pasta again without feeling “bad” about it.

Here’s the recipe. Enjoy!

Zucchini Noodles with Cherry Tomatoes & Olives


  • 3 zucchini, spiralized
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced (or to taste)
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 handful fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tsp anchovy paste (I use the kind in the tube; vegetarians -- feel free to omit)
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Crushed red pepper, optional


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil. Once heated, add garlic and anchovy paste, if using. Cook until anchovy dissolves and garlic browns. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook until softened about 5-8 minutes. Then add the capers and olives. Simmer for about 5 minutes more, or until the tomatoes make a sauce. Add salt, to taste. Stir in the basil. While sauce is cooking, spiralize the zucchini and place in large bowl (I cut my noodles with a kitchen scissor so they are easier to eat). When ready, toss the sauce with the zucchini and eat immediately.
lemony zucchini noodles

Lemony Zucchini Noodles with Spinach, Cherries & Pine Nuts

lemony zucchini noodles

Summer is officially here and for me that means….zucchini! One of my favorite ways to enjoy the bounty of zucchini coming my way is by making zucchini noodles. I love transforming my favorite pasta dishes into light, low-carb spiralized meals that satisfy and delight.

What is a spiralizer? A spiralizer is a way to turn zucchini into long strands of noodles. There are a few different ways you can go about it, depending on what shape you’re after.

fettucine zucchini noodles

You can use a regular vegetable peeler to make flat, fettuccine-type noodles.


Or you can use this julienne peeler to make shreds, like these.


Or you can use my favorite, the spiralizer, to make spaghetti-style noodles like this. I use this hand-held spiralizer to get this type of noodle.

Let me give you some tips for working with zucchini noodles. First off, I rarely heat my noodles first. If I want a warm pasta, I use a warm sauce. When I make a sauce in the Vitamix, I just toss it with my zucchini noodles straight from the blender. For me it’s a texture thing, heating will make the noodles soft, which I don’t like. Also, the noodles are going to release water…they are mostly water, after all. That being said, go easy on the sauce. Use less than you normally would with traditional pasta and just be comfortable with the fact that there will be some watery sauce left at the bottom of the bowl. You could use a cheesecloth and squeeze out your noodles, but that’s just going to take away the crunch of the zucchini and leave behind a mushy noodle.

Lemony Zucchini Noodles with Spinach, Cherries and Pine Nuts

This recipe was inspired by a delicious supper club dish made with orzo and arugula. You can use any shape of noodle for this dish, it really doesn’t matter! It’s such a delicious mix of flavor, I love the combination of pine nuts and dried cherries. This would be great to take to a picnic or barbecue, or just for an amazing weekday lunch.

I hope you’ll try zucchini noodles this summer and especially this recipe!

Lemony Zucchini Noodles with Spinach, Cherries & Pine Nuts


  • 3 zucchini (one per person), spiralized
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 6-7 leaves fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped


  1. 1.Place pine nuts in small non-stick pan on medium heat and toast until browned.
  2. 2. Wash zucchini, leave stem end on but chop off other end. Holding stem end, place zucchini into the spiralizer and twist until spiraled. Place noodles into a large bowl.
  3. 3. Add pine nuts and remaining ingredients to noodles, toss well to combine.
  4. 4. Serve cold or room temperature.

 lemony zucchini noodles with baby spinach and dried cherries


The Most Delicious Watermelon Gazpacho…EVER!


Our supper club theme this month was colors. We each got assigned a color and had to bring  a food to match it. My assigned color was pink/red, so I had to make a pink or red appetizer.

At first, I was uninspired.

Then I saw the big ole’ watermelon I had just bought staring at me on the counter.

Being one of those people who gets a cheap thrill using up stuff in my fridge (thanks, Mom) I was suddenly inspired to slice that big boy up.

But what to make with watermelon that could pass muster as an appetizer? Thinking this thought out loud, I heard “watermelon gazpacho” coming from the other room. Hany had just been raving about a wahoo ceviche with watermelon salsa he had in Miami last week.  Brilliant! Okay, now I was getting excited about watermelon gazpacho! Not because I love it…I actually had never had it before. I was thinking more about being able to make it without leaving the house! I had the most important ingredient on hand…the watermelon. Did I have cucumber? Check. Fresh herbs? Check. Red pepper? Of course. The only ingredients I didn’t have were the jalapeno pepper and shallot. Dang it. But still, not bad for a Thursday night fridge clean out.

I know the picture here is not my best, but this soup got scarfed down long before I could get creative with my food styling — and my supper club gals have little patience for my picture taking antics. However, I did manage to pull off this somewhat usable pic from my cell phone! I always document my supper club fun on Instagram, you can search my past dinners here via hashtag #supperclub.

This soup is deliciously flavorful, so refreshing, and has the perfect sweet to tangy balance. If you think you don’t like watermelon gazpacho, you’re wrong. You do. You really do. And so will everyone else.

Why not give it a try this weekend and find out? Here’s the recipe.

Watermelon Gazpacho


  • 8 cups finely diced seedless watermelon
  • 1 medium English cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 Tablespoons red wine or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons minced shallot
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced


  1. Finely dice veggies and watermelon and mix with jalapeno, basil, cilantro, vinegar, shallot, oil and salt in a large bowl. In batches, puree about 6 cups of the mixture into a blender until smooth. Transfer soup to a large bowl. Serve in bowls or cups and top each with 1/4 cup or so of remaining diced mixture. Serve chilled.
Smoky Kale Salad with Egg 2

Brassicas Cookbook + Smoky Kale Salad with Egg

Smoky Kale Salad with Egg 2

I love a good cookbook, especially one unencumbered by meat. For a plant-based eater like myself, there’s nothing better than perusing through a cookbook full of gorgeous dishes that I can actually eat! This is why I’m excited to share a new cookbook with you. Yes, it’s a veggie cookbook, but one that meat eaters will enjoy, too. Why? Because it’s chock full of recipes for what might be the hardest veggies to cook…the brassicas.

What are Brassica vegetables? They are cauliflower (my favorite), kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, leafy greens like mustard, collard, arugula, watercress, bok choy, radish, turnip and the lesser known rutabaga, kohlrabi and mizuna, just to name a few. These are the veggies my clients tell me they don’t really know how to make taste good. I can relate…I’ve never made rutabaga or kohlrabi and don’t really know how.

But now we can all get confident about cooking up the world’s healthiest vegetables! Laura Russell has written an easy to use cookbook that’s perfect for us home cooks. The recipes are smart, too. She skillfully uses cheese, dried fruit, and fat (like nuts and olives) to balance out the sometimes bitter flavor of the brassicas.

smoky kale salad with egg

I tested this delicious and super simple smoky kale salad with egg for lunch. I love the flavor from the smoked paprika and to me, kale is quite filling. I was able to whip it up pretty easily using ingredients I had on hand. I even improvised a bit to suit my tastes (and my recent obsession with pumpkin seeds).

Here’s the recipe:

Smoky Kale Salad with Toasted Almonds & Egg


  • 2 eggs, hard boiled
  • 1 bunch kale, center rib removed, leaves finely shredded
  • 1 Tbsp sherry vinegar (I used white balsamic vinegar)
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds (I used pumpkin seeds)


  1. Place kale in a salad bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, paprika, salt and pepper. Add the oil and whisk to combine. Pour dressing over kale and massage into leaves until kale wilts and gets soft. Add the almonds (or pumpkin seeds) and eggs and toss again. The original recipe states to crumble the eggs into the salad, but I just placed mine on top. Taste and adjust seasonings.

All of her recipes are gluten free with vegan variations and tons of gorgeous pictures. Some other recipes I’m looking forward to trying are the Creamy Cauliflower Gratin, Greek Shaved Cabbage and Fennel Salad, Broccoli Rabe with Romesco Sauce,and the Spicy Soba with Wilted Watercress.  Is your mouth watering yet?

I want you to make these recipes too, that’s why I’m hooking you up with a chance to win this fabulous cookbook!  Enter below for a chance to win a copy of Brassicas by Laura Russell.  Here’s how to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway ends Monday, June 16th at noon Eastern Time.  Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the Brassicas Cookbook. 


Formula Meals: Simple Stir Fry


If you’re like me, you pass on recipes with long ingredient lists and complex cooking methods.  You won’t find me making a soufflé or poached eggs anytime soon. That’s definitely going to end in tears.

I’m really all about simple, easy food. I may not use common ingredients (I love my kelp noodles, miso paste and cocoa nibs) but my style of cooking is still simple.  Many of my clients get caught up in the complexities of dinner prep. If I had a dime for each person who told me they don’t make salad because of the prep time, well…I’d have enough dimes to buy this cute salad bowl.

So what is it about cooking that makes you crazy? Is it not having everything you need on hand? Is it a lack of confidence in the kitchen? Is it not knowing what to make?  Well, I can’t fix everything today, but I can help you keep it simple. How?

Formula Meals.

So many dishes out there are just variations on a theme. Once you figure out the “template” being used, you can sub-in anything you want to create easy weeknight meals in minutes.

Take a smoothie, for example. Pretty straightforward, right?  You mix about 1 cup of liquid with 1 cup of fruit and then you’ve got your add-ins:  a little fat (think flaxseed or peanut butter), some protein (like Greek yogurt, protein powder or hemp seed) and maybe some greens, too if you’ve done my detox. Then you just blend ‘er up and you’ve got yourself a delicious shake. You can’t really mess this up, right?

Well, that same principle applies to many other meals, too. I’ve written about my chili before, so today let’s look at another staple, stir fry. Many people are intimidated by this simple dish.


 This awesome photo is reprinted with permission from www.thecleandish.com and www.healthyaperture.com. If you click it, it will take you to the recipe!

What’s the Formula?

Here’s the fun part. Once you learn the formula for making stir-fry, there’s really no recipe required. You just repeat the formula again and again, using what you have on hand. Once you master this, you can whip up a mean stir fry in a moment’s notice for easy weeknight meals. You can even keep a bag of frozen stir-fry veggies or shrimp in the freezer for when you really have no food in the house.

2-3 parts veggie: choose from broccoli, snap peas, bok choy, asparagus, corn, Brussels sprouts, carrots, diced eggplant, garlic, onion, bell peppers, mushrooms, parsnips, turnip, kale, green beans, peas, sprouts, celery, etc.

1 part grain: choose from white rice, brown rice, wild rice, rice noodles, udon noodles, vermicelli, etc.

1 part protein: choose from chicken, shrimp, ground turkey, ground beef, strip steak, tofu, tempeh, scrambled egg, etc.

Always the same: oil, soy sauce/tamari, water/broth, vinegar, salt and pepper

Optional toppings: sliced green onions, sesame seeds, chili flakes, lime juice, avocado slices, fresh herbs

You don’t need a wok either. Just chop the veggies into similar sizes and toss them together with some hot oil. Start with the veggies that take longest to cook. Then add in your protein and the sauce ingredients.  You can use the store bought stir-fry sauce or make your own. And finally mix it all together with your grain of choice! I like to top with lime juice and green onions, but you can sprinkle on whatever you like!

As I mentioned, once you do this a few times, you’ll know how much of each ingredient you like. As with anything, practice makes perfect, right? So don’t get discouraged if your first attempt doesn’t come out amazing, you learn something from every kitchen mistake and you get more and more confident each time.

What’s your favorite stir-fry combination? I love the one above from The Clean Dish. She uses two of my favorites — kelp noodles and tempeh! YUM!

matcha green tea

Matcha & Pumpkin Seed Crusted Salmon

matcha green tea

Matcha tea is my latest obsession. I love the color and the texture and I’ve been adding it to pretty much everything. Lucky for me, this month’s recipe redux challenge is cooking with tea:

Tea cups around the world are bubbling up with bold new flavors: From cardamom chai and sencha green to bubble teas and veggie teas. We wish we could attend the World Tea Expo the end of this month – but in lieu of a plane ticket, we’ll be cooking and baking and stirring up tea-inspired healthy dishes.

I immediately thought of doing a matcha smoothie but soon realized that was terribly boring and it’s been done a million times. Just type matcha smoothie into a Pinterest search and you’ll see what I mean. I decided instead to focus on something my clients ask me about all the time…new ways to cook salmon. So this tasty little salmon number is inspired by you!

Now, you might be thinking, why matcha? Well, for one it’s a little different than regular green tea because you consume the ground up whole leaf rather than an infusion of the leaves. You can see in the picture above, the tea itself is a powder. It’s also super-rich in the polyphenol EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which is a potent antioxidant known for its cholesterol lowering and cancer fighting properties. The taste is unique too. It’s got a grassy, green leafy vegetable vibe.

matcha tea and pumpkin seed crusted salmon

I was really excited to test out my tea-infused salmon idea. Although I love combining salmon with nutty flavors (remember my delicious salmon lettuce wraps with pistachio cream?), this time I went with pumpkin seeds. I think this combination is just as delish. I started by blending just the pumpkin seeds and matcha tea. Then I added a bit of almond meal for texture, and my go-to Herbamare seasoning for flavor. I felt like it still needed a little something, so I tossed in bit of Parmesan cheese. Oh yes, this mixture is some serious good eats!

You can substitute the Herbamare for any sea salt seasoning blend, but I think the Fish and Seafood Blend has great flavor. I always season my fish with it. I got it at Wegman’s I think, but you can always find it online. The best part about this recipe is that from start to finish it took only about 20 minutes. So simple and satisfying…and of course, healthy.


I hope you’ll give it a try. And don’t forget to scroll down to find a ton more healthy tea recipes from my fellow reduxers!

Matcha & Pumpkin Seed Crusted Salmon


  • 2-3 fillets salmon
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp matcha green tea powder
  • 1/2 cup almond meal/flour
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1/2 tsp Herbamare Fish and Seafood blend
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In your blender or food processor, process the pumpkin seeds and the matcha until seeds are chopped. Add almond meal and seasoning salt and process for a few seconds. Then add Parmesan cheese and process for a few seconds. The texture should be like very coarse sand.
  2. Place salmon fillets onto glass baking sheet. Squirt lemon juice over fillets. Season with a bit of salt if you want. Place matcha-pumpkin seed mixture onto salmon fillets. Roast for 15 minutes or until cooked to your liking.


Travel Eats: My Plate Recap While Eating On The Go

I had fun last week traveling to San Francisco to visit the home of Clif bar. They invited a group of dietitians out for their annual “RD Summit” to educate us on their product line and how they run their company. They are a pretty impressive organization to say the least, and I can see why many of their employees don’t ever leave after landing a job at Clif. The perks are pretty amazing. My favorite benefits are the in-house day care, the dog-friendly offices, and their commitment to the health and wellness of their employees.


A few highlights of my trip were getting to tour San Francisco via bicycle for a scavenger hunt on Friday morning (so fun!) — and our amazing RD team winning first place!

making bars

I also got to make my own Clif bars with fellow RD and friend Vicky Retelny and enjoy some delicious food and camaraderie with fellow RDs.

I tried to document my eating adventures while I was there, but the whole “keeping track of my meals” thing is not that easy to do, especially when traveling. Many times I remembered to snap the photograph after I was halfway through my meal, or worse, finished with it! And since I was traveling on Wednesday, I didn’t get to post What I Ate Wednesday from last week. So instead I recorded how I ate while on-the-road, something that I get asked about ALL THE TIME. Indeed, travel-eating is a stickler for many of my clients. My philosophy for eating away is pretty much the same for eating at home: plan and choose. Here goes.

Travel day: my morning started early enough that I didn’t make time for breakfast. I normally would have grabbed some peanut butter toast, but instead I opted for coffee and a hard-boiled egg and then just through a few goodies into my purse to eat on the plane.


Definitely a fan of finger food, I grabbed an entire pint of fresh blackberries and a bag of Sunshine vegetable chips from Nature Box. 


When I arrived in San Francisco, I needed a little boost so I tested out Oprah’s new iced chai latte from Starbucks for the cab ride to the hotel.


Once I got to the hotel, I went for a walk to check out the area. When I returned, I rummaged through my Clif bar swag bag for a Mojo bar. I met a friend for dinner that evening and ordered a shrimp salad and had a few pieces of bread before the meal. I also had about a glass and a half of wine with dinner. Unfortunately I ate my entire meal without taking one pic. I totally forgot!


Breakfast the next morning was at the cafeteria at the Clif offices and I chose some big beautiful berries along with a slice of olive bread and some scrambled eggs.


We tested Clif bars all morning after breakfast so I wasn’t terribly hungry for lunch, but I ate anyway. It was catered and I chose the salmon salad and veggies. I didn’t eat the quinoa patty.


Dinner that evening was out again at The Central Kitchen. I had a few fun veggie apps and my vegetarian entree was potatoes with artichokes. There was wine, too. Dessert was an amazing layered chocolate pudding concoction that was really one of the best I’ve ever eaten. I joyfully ate every ounce of it!


The next morning we had breakfast before our fun scavenger trip. I had a bowl of yogurt with fruit and coffee. Yes, forgot the pic again (it was early). After biking around the city all morning, my team and I shared a bowl of luscious ice cream from Humphry Slocombe. Lunch was a salad with portobello mushrooms, which I didn’t finish because I was full from the ice cream (and I forgot to photograph…again).

airport options

When I arrived at the airport to head home that afternoon, I had a ton of healthy and delicious-looking options to choose from. San Francisco airport is amazingly healthy!  This deli offered two different kale salads, curry cauliflower with carrots, Brazilian quinoa, beet salad, and couscous with beets. Pretty sad if you compare it to just about any other airport I’ve traveled through. Unfortunately, I wasn’t hungry so I just got a chai tea.

So these are the real-life chronicles of my two day travel-eating adventure. My best advice for eating on the go is to eat as you would as if you were home (aka, eat “as if”). Make sure to go into eating situations with a plan: perusing all your options first and then consciously decide what you’ll eat. Don’t get side-tracked by foods that look good but that you would normally never eat at home. And if you do decide to indulge a little in some fun local cuisine, that’s okay, just get back to normal eating the next chance you get. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the food and culture of a city without feeling guilty or stuffing yourself, just be selective!

Disclosure: Clif bar paid for my trip to San Francisco, but opinions here are all mine. 


What I Ate Wednesday


As someone who tells other people what to eat for a living, I try not to talk too much about what I eat. In part because I don’t want you to think you should be eating like me. And in part because I don’t want to be judged, one way or another. Because eating “healthy” food comes naturally to me, I consider myself lucky. I thank my mom for feeding me home cooked meals growing up that were centered around real, whole foods. But I know that not everyone eats like me, or even wants to. So my decision to do this was not without much thought. I did do it a while back when the Washingtonian asked me “what does a nutritionist eat?” I was actually the first person they interviewed for the “Food Diaries” series on their well+being blog. In case you’re wondering, here was a typical day for me back in 2012. Fast forward to 2014 and my diet hasn’t changed all that much. I’m thinking I might be a boring eater?

So last week I was “tagged” by a fellow RD buddy, EA Stewart (aka The Spicy RD) in a “What I Ate Wednesday” post. Have you heard of this? It’s when a blogger posts each week what she ate on the previous Wednesday. It started as a way to share and inspire others, embrace new foods, and find new ways to eat your old favorites. I think the “RD edition” of What I Ate Wednesday is a positive thing. For one, it’s interesting to see the truth in how we nutritionists eat. I also think there’s some value in sharing what I eat with you, being that I find myself all too often trying to explain something I’ve made for myself or my family. I’m hoping this series will evolve over time and allow me to explain in more detail why I choose certain foods, where I buy them and other useful stuff. So here goes, this is what I ate last Wednesday.

avocado toast

I started the day around 7:00 am with my beloved French press coffee. I use real organic half and half and a variety of different sweeteners, but mostly it’s a blend of real sugar and Nu Naturals stevia. Last week I was on a toasted bread and avocado kick for quite a few days. I had it with cherry tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs and on this particular day, sourdough bread with balsamic glaze. It was okay, but I liked the hard-boiled egg version the best.

cereal swag

Since that sourdough bread has no fiber, I was pretty hungry again around 10:00 am. That’s when I poured a bowl of muesli cereal. It’s my own concoction of oats, raw buckwheat, hemp, chia, currants, goji berries and lots of other good stuff. We sell it at The Detox Kitchen but I make it for myself all the time. I had 1 cup of cereal (I scoop it out with a measuring cup) with unsweetened coconut milk and little bit of stevia for some sweet.

green margarita

Lunch time came around 1:30 pm and it’s pretty much always a smoothie for me! Last week I was testing new recipes and created this refreshing kale margarita smoothie. The recipe is pretty simple: 5 leaves of Dino kale, juice from 2 limes, 2 dates, 1 cup coconut milk and 1/2 cup frozen pineapple. Although not many ingredients, it was still very satisfying.

salmon salad

I skipped my afternoon snack, which is not typical at all. I was out on appointments and just did not prepare. Because of that, I was really looking forward to dinner. My infamous salmon salad was on the menu. I adore salad. I eat it pretty much every day. I know salad is not for everyone, but I just don’t feel satisfied unless I have it with dinner. You can’t really tell from this picture, but I make a really, really big salad. It could feed four people easily. I used three different kinds of lettuce (Boston bibb, always one endive, and some Romaine), bell peppers, lentil sprouts, cucumber, tomato, avocado, pumpkin seeds, and hearts of palm. I made my own dressing using miso paste, white balsamic vinegar and olive oil. I crave this salad and eat it several times during the week!


Usually I have some dark chocolate as a night snack but I’ve been obsessed with these Lime bars from Trader Joe’s. I was hooked on them years ago and we parted ways, but now we are in love again. I crave the tart limey flavor, it really hits the spot. I forgot to take a picture before I ate the last one, but here is the box.

And that’s it. That’s my day. Hopefully my future WIAW posts will be more exciting. But all in all, it was a typical day. It’s actually Wednesday today and I’m going to a luncheon, so in next week’s post I can show you what I choose when eating out.


The WIAW Dietitian Tag! #WIAWRD

This blog post is a part of a ‘dietitian tag’ to see what other registered dietitians from around the world really eat!

To carry on this tag all you need to do is:

1) Copy and paste this section (marked within the ******) to the bottom of your WIAW blog post.

2) Tweet/Facebook the link using the hashtag #WIAWRD (What I Ate Wednesday Registered Dietitian).

3) Add your blog post link into the section below.

4) ‘Tag’ 2-3 other dietitians to carry on the tag via email!

I tag — Anne at Fannetastic Food and my RD Bestie Colleen at Colleen Gerg Nutrition. I can’t wait to see what my RD friends are eating!

Italian Carrot Salad

Italian Carrot Salad

Italian Carrot SaladThis month’s recipe redux post is honoring treasured cookware. I could not think of a better item to showcase than my mom’s famous white serving bowl. This simple white bowl is not much to write home about; if you saw it on my table you wouldn’t think anything of it. But this nondescript bowl is over 45 years old. I have seen it on my mother’s table my entire life.

heirloom white bowl

This bowl is older than me and it looks pretty much as good as new. I asked my mom for the scoop on this bowl and this is the story I got. In the 1960’s, at the tender age of 29, my mom and her bestie Liz would go yard saling in their Baldwin, New York neighborhood. Neither of them had a car (or a driver’s license) at the time, so the sales had to be within walking distance of St. Lukes Place. At one such sale, clearly pre-Pyrex era, she set her eyes upon this bowl. Excited to find a white serving bowl with a lid, she snatched this gem up for a mere 10 cents. I’m pretty amazed that this bowl has survived so much. Many moves across three states, three marriages, three kids, two divorces and just…life.

My mom’s treasured cookware deserves a treasured recipe, as well. This Italian Carrot Salad is so simple, yet with just one bite, it takes me back to my 1970’s childhood in New York, my beloved Italian Grandma, and my taste for simple dishes. This salad was a constant at every holiday and Sunday dinner, and can still hold its own against many a fancier side dish. I’m sure you have a few dishes like that in your family cookbook, too.

italian carrotsalad

Simple ingredients and and simple preparation. I hope you’ll try it.

Italian Carrot Salad


  • 1 bag organic carrots, peeled and sliced into thick matchsticks
  • 1/2 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper


  1. Place 1 bag washed, peeled and sliced carrots into a microwave safe bowl and cover. Microwave for 6 minutes. Let cool. Once cooled, dress with olive oil and vinegar, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Toss well to combine and serve cold.


Why Do I Eat Clean?

toxinsLast month I finished copy edits on my first cook book — Skinny Juices, 101 Juice Recipes for Detox and Weight Loss (coming out in June!). This week I’ve been busy prepping for the launch of  my sixth group detox program. So detox is on my mind! But more specifically, toxins. Mostly because I keep seeing quotes and stories online suggesting that toxins are not something we really need to be worrying about. This is really upsetting for one because it’s misleading. But mainly because it’s just not helpful. I write a lot about eating clean, but I don’t really talk about why I eat clean, and why it’s so important to me.

So here’s an example of an unhelpful comment that got me crazy:

The idea that your body needs help getting rid of toxins has no basis in human biology. Your organs and immune system handle those duties, no matter what you eat.

This is a quote from a Harvard-trained medical professional. I have to ask, is this all the medical profession has to offer us in response to legitimate concerns about toxic exposure? Okay, yes he is correct. Our liver and kidneys do handle those duties. But it ain’t pretty, people. And it’s not that black and white.

So let’s talk some truth about toxins. You don’t have to dive deep into research to know that we are confronted every single day with toxic chemicals. It really can’t be helped when there’s over 80,000 chemicals currently being used today, most untested for safety. It’s also a well-documented fact that many of these chemicals have taken up space in our bodies. And because they’re a part of us, they become a part of our family line…they will be in our children, their children, and their children. The Environmental Working Group studied the umbilical cord blood of 10 American babies and found over 413 different chemical toxins. Some were neurotoxins that had been banned over 30 years ago. The industry who uses and creates these chemicals wants us to think that the exposure we get is too low for it to matter, that the “parts per billion” is so low that none of the chemicals can have any real effect. But no long-term safety studies have been done on these chemicals. So the argument that there’s no research  to show any harm really makes no sense when there is no research. There are, however, tons of safety studies done on a certain class of chemical toxins that we use everyday…these are called prescription drugs. And guess what? Turns out very low doses do matter. They’re called side effects. At levels less than 30 parts per billion (which is not a lot), over 13% of the prescription drugs on the market today have serious side effects.

Having a hard time losing weight? Well, there are even special toxins that make us fat. They’re called obesogens. Obesogens are special chemicals that mess with your endocrine system. They tell your body to make more fat cells, decrease your metabolic rate, and make you hungry…all the time. Two of the most ubiquitous obesogens out there are BPA and high fructose corn syrup. I’d like to ask Mr. Harvard how well his body is “handling” them. I can tell you, not so good…considering 93% of us have BPA in our bodies. So yes, BPA, a chemical that has been linked to everything from cancer, infertility, obesity, early puberty, and heart disease is now a part of your body. Is that okay? Is that what he means by “handling” it?

So yeah, I do have an issue with toxins. Few people know that decreasing toxic exposure is one of the reasons I started my detox program. I know that I can’t prevent the use of toxic industrial chemicals in our society. Nor can I control what’s in the air I breath or the water I drink. But I can make choices about what I eat and the products I put on my skin. I can control, to some degree, the amount of toxic exposure I encounter on a daily basis by eating clean. And so can you.  

A client told me I should call my detox the “re-inventing eating” program and I love that. Because that’s what we are doing. We are re-inventing healthy, we are reviving choice, and we are literally changing the way we think about what’s in our food. And I love it. I’m so grateful to guide my detoxers on this journey. So when I read the generalizations being made about how our bodies handle toxins just fine and that detox is not necessary, it really bothers me. Not because I think my detox program is going to remove all toxins from our bodies. Obviously that’s not going to happen. But we are doing something very important. We are detoxing away from a toxic lifestyle. We are removing the destructive, inflammatory foods we’ve been eating our whole lives and have been told are healthy. We are learning so much about our bodies — which foods make us feel good, which makes us feel great, and which cause us pain. I think it might be the most important work that I do. 

But hey, I’m not in the convincing business, I’m in the healing business. I know that my clients feel better eating clean. They feel better when they don’t eat toxic food. They feel better when they can lose weight without deprivation. They feel better when they start choosing their food and not being numb to what food can do to their mood, vitality, and overall wellness.

So if you want to learn more about toxins and living a cleaner lifestyle, I hope you’ll join us while we eat clean for 21 days…straight. We start prepping next week and space is limited. You can learn more and register here.

black bean pasta with olives and cauliflower -- gluten free, high in protein and fiber

Black Bean Pasta With Olives & Cauliflower

black bean pasta with olives and cauliflower 1

I found this black bean spaghetti at Costco. Surprisingly, it’s organic, gluten-free and pretty much clean eats. There are only 2 ingredients: black beans and water. Can’t get much cleaner than that, right?

How does it taste? I was thinking that, too. So much so I never thought I would actually make this pasta. I have a few of those items in my pantry, stuff that looks interesting in the store, but I never feel inspired to actually cook. But tonight, I got adventurous. I figured you can’t go wrong with pasta, right?

black bean pasta with olives and cauliflower 4

I approached this challenge the same way I would any pasta dish. Toss it with some olive oil, a few veggies and call it a day. I make this sort of dish regularly for Norah, but I actually stopped eating pasta years ago when I realized I could no longer eat half a pound all by myself and not suffer consequences. Since then, I’ve kind of gone cold turkey. Except for the occasional last bites of Norah’s bowl or my summer love affair with raw zucchini pasta, I just don’t eat it. Nor have I ventured into the gluten-free or low-carb pasta world. I had a short stint with whole wheat pasta, but our relationship didn’t last. I grew up eating Italian food. And a lot of pasta. I’ve mentioned before, my Italian mom would toss pasta with just about anything — peas, eggs, cauli, zucchini, eggplant, beans, tomatoes. I didn’t matter. It always tasted awesome. So to recreate that flavor with wheat pasta, well…I’d rather go without.

black bean pastaEnter this black bean pasta. Let’s not kid ourselves, this is not at all what I grew up eating. It definitely has that slight grainy texture as the whole wheat stuff. But, with one main difference. It is so filling! There’s no way I’m stuffing my face with this stuff. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so satisfied (and full) from any pasta before. Another benefit? It’s jammed packed with protein. A two ounce serving has 25 grams (that’s a little over three ounces for those wondering).  And yes, it’s very low carb. Only 17 grams per two ounce serving and 12 of those grams are fiber! That means net carb: 5 grams.

black bean pasta with olives and cauliflower 2

Seriously, back in the day I would have eaten half of this serving plate. That’s the thing with pasta, right? You keep going back for more! I didn’t even put a dent in this stuff. I was full after just a few bites, and that says a lot!

Will your family like it? I think so. Norah was definitely intrigued by the “brown pasta.” She eagerly tried it and gave it the thumbs up. I will say though, by one quarter luck and the rest perseverance, she is an adventurous eater. I hope you’ll give it a try! Here’s how I made it:

Black Bean Pasta With Olives & Cauliflower


  • 1 big handful black bean pasta
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup diced onions
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Herbamare Italian Blend Season Salt (or any Italian herb blend)
  • 1/8 tsp salt (plus more for pasta water)
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • Parmesan cheese, optional


  1. Boil pasta in salted water, according to package directions. In a saute pan, heat olive oil and onions until golden brown. Add cauliflower and season salt (or just salt). Saute until cauliflower is just tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in chopped olives. Then add fresh parsley. Stir well to combine. Add 1-2 ladles of pasta water to saute pan. Taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if needed. Drain pasta and place in large serving bowl. Toss cauliflower and olives with pasta. Serve with Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Green Papaya and Carrot Salad

Green Papaya and Carrot Salad

Green Papaya and Carrot SaladHave you ever had green papaya? If you’ve ever eaten at a Thai restaurant, you probably have. Green papaya is actually just unripened papaya. It has a super mild, almost tasteless flavor that becomes sweet and crispy once it’s massaged with dressing.

Ryan and I made this Thai-inspired salad at our Detox Kitchen cooking class last month and I’ve been making it ever since. So clean and refreshing, it’s such a great way to celebrate the spring! I love the fact that you can make it your own by adding in anything you have on hand. I’ve thrown in chopped jicama, julienned cucumber and a bit of ginger and it always tastes great.

This is exactly the kind of food I love eating all spring and summer long. It’s also the type of food you’ll enjoy making if you join me this month in the spring session of my 21 day clean eating detox.  Fresh and delicious food that cleanses your body and is super easy to prepare. What’s better than that?

Early bird pricing ends this Sunday at midnight!  Don’t miss out. Click here to learn more.  

Green Papaya and Carrot Salad


    For the vinaigrette:
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons nama shoyu (or soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce, optional
  • 1 red chili pepper, thinly sliced
  • 3 to 4 drops liquid stevia to sweeten (optional)
  • For the salad:
  • 1 medium green papaya, peeled and julienned
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and julienned (or use shredded carrots in the bag)
  • 1 cup haricots verts, sliced in half on a diagonal, optional
  • 1 cup jicama, peeled and diced
  • Handful of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • Handful of cilantro
  • 1 dozen mint leaves


  1. Prep all your vegetables. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the vinaigrette. In a large serving bowl, toss the rest of the salad ingredients and add the vinaigrette.
Apricot and Almond Granola

Sweet Apricot & Almond Granola

Apricot and Almond GranolaI’ve never made granola before. Not sure why, I just never thought I would like it. I had no idea I was totally missing out. I made this apricot granola as a request from the hubby, who was mesmerized by Bobby Flay whipping some up on The Food Network. He only recorded the last 5 minutes of the episode, but I saw just enough to take a stab at it.

Apricot granola1

What you’re seeing here is attempt number two. The first batch started off really lovely going in…I used my cereal swag as the base, thinking that the currants and goji berries would go great with the apricot. Yeah…that batch came out with the dried fruit resembling black sticks and twigs. I learned that 30 minutes is about 10 minutes too long for bake time.

Sweet Apricot Almond Granola

The second batch came out much better. Beautiful, if I don’t say so. I didn’t use my cereal swag the second time, but stuck with the gluten free oats as the base. I mixed in all my favorites: thinly sliced almonds (I love the dry roasted slivers from Trader Joes — so thin and crunchy), raw pumpkin and sunflower seeds, big coconut flakes, some flax and wheat germ. And I got smart and added the dried apricot after baking it.

It’s so dang tasty I’ve eaten more of it than Hany has. He likes everything a bit sweeter than I do, and he actually said this was not sweet enough for him. Which means that it’s perfect for me! So feel free to adjust the sweetness as you see fit. Mix some into your Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, add it to your salad, or sprinkle over banana soft serve.

Sweet Apricot & Almond Granola


  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1/4 cup agave
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla powder (or extract)
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 2 tablespoons wheat germ
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup diced dried apricot (or any fruit you want!)


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Mix the oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, wheat germ, coconut flakes, and salt in a large bowl. Using a whip, mix together the oil, agave, honey, cinnamon, brown sugar and vanilla extract in a small bowl until smooth. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir, making sure everything is evenly coated. I used my hands for this part and had to break up the small clumps that formed. Spread the mixture evenly onto a prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
  2. Remove the granola from the oven and let cool. Toss with the dried apricots or any other dried fruit you have on hand!
Apricot Orange Energy Bars - gluten free and delish!

Apricot Orange Energy Bars

Apricot Orange Energy Bars

This weekend I did some snack prep! Much more fun than dinner prep, right? I had some dried apricots that needed using and settled on these apricoty, orangey pecan and almond bars with a sinful orange icing.

Apricot Orange Energy Bars with Orange Icing

I’m eating one right now with some tea, and it’s quite the perfect breakfast. Not too sweet, not too nutty…with just a bit of orange accent. I adapted the recipe from Elana’s Pantry. I’m not one to bake, and especially to bake energy bars (raw is my go-to for snack bars) but these were so simple I will definitely make them again. I can easily use different ingredients to mix it up. I’m thinking dried blueberries and lemon zest next time or maybe some ginger? Yum.

apricot orange energy bars

I made the icing because I felt like they weren’t sweet enough for the husband (there’s no added sweetener in the recipe, just the apricots). It was definitely a decadent add-on, but really makes the bar special. Next time I might make a batch for him with a bit of real maple syrup or honey, but for me, they were perfect as is.

I also made some apricot granola, look out for that post later this week!

Apricot Orange Energy Bars


  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon Celtic sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla powder or extract
  • ½ cup cacao nibs (or chocolate chips)
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • For the icing: 1 cup confectioners sugar, juice from 1 orange, zest from 1 orange.


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Combine apricots, almonds and pecans in a food processor. Pulse until well chopped, mix should resemble coarse sand. Add in eggs, orange zest, cocao nibs, salt and vanilla. Pulse until until mixture forms a ball. If using chocolate chips, stir them in at the end. Spread mixture into a greased 8 x 8 inch baking dish (or use parchment paper). Bake for 25 minutes. In a small bowl, prepare icing by stirring together the confectioners sugar, orange juice and zest. Drizzle over sliced, cooled bars.


guilt free, fat free potato corn chowder

Creamy Potato Corn Chowder


Disclosure: I received a gift card to offset the expense of my ingredients. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Milk Advisory Board and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

When you think of potato and corn chowder, what do you think of? Let’s face it, the first word that comes to my mind is…indulgence. I mean come on — potatoes, milk, cream and corn? Who gets to eat that? Well my friend, you are in for a big surprise. Because this chowder I created is not only amazingly delicious, but it’s fat free. Yes, I said it…no fat involved.  Okay, well I did use a little butter when sauteing the onions, but besides that…nada. Intrigued?

Well first off, let’s talk about why I even created this masterpiece. Yes, you know it…another contest. Stop laughing, I actually might win someday, remember this winning recipe from 2011? Today’s contest is sponsored by the lovely folks over at the California Milk Advisory Board.  They have challenged us recipe reduxers to lighten up a favorite recipe using Real California dairy products.

potato and corn chowder

At first, I will admit, I was intimidated. I mean who knew there were so many Real California dairy products to choose from. Wow! I had no idea how to pin down which product to use, much less what to make with it???

And then it happened. After all the snow had melted and spring was on the horizon, we got Winter Storm Titan. And I got my answer. As much as I could not stomach another snow storm, I also couldn’t stomach another batch of chili, so I decided to lighten up a big ole’ pot of potato corn chowder.


I know, you’re probably thinking how could this luscious bowl of creamy potato-y goodness be healthy? Here’s how I did it: instead of using half and half, I used one of my all-time favorite yogurts from back in the day, when yogurt was much more simple. Brown Cow yogurt. Ever tried it? They have a few varieties now, including a non-fat Greek version, which is what I used in this recipe. If you ever get a chance to try their cream top variety, you should, it’s really a treat. But I didn’t just throw in a container of yogurt and expect greatness. Instead, I pureed the yogurt with 2 cups of roasted corn in my Vitamix. This created a “corn cream” which, in my opinion, rivals the likes of any half and half. This technique was the perfect way to create a creamy consistency without having to use any fat. The cream corn became the base of the soup, along with sauteed onions, Real California milk, more roasted corn, red potatoes and thyme. I garnished with Real California crème fraîche, and chopped scallions. Delish!

So thank you Real California dairy, for showing us that potato corn chowder should not be feared! In fact, it can be a part of a healthy diet. And now that I’ve created this amazing corn cream, I can see that the possibilities are endless. I expect I will be using yogurt to make broccoli cream, cauliflower cream and carrot cream as a luscious veggie base for many a soup and chowder. Won’t you?

Here’s the recipe:

Creamy Potato & Corn Chowder


  • 1 pound red potatoes, quartered
  • 1 tsp Celtic sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp Real California butter
  • 1 bag frozen roasted corn
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 6 oz container plain, non-fat Real California Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups Real California Fat Free Milk
  • 2 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tsp Herbamare seasoning, or salt
  • Real California Crème Fraîche, for garnish
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped, for garnish


  1. Place potatoes and 1 teaspoon salt in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook 5-6 minutes more or until just fork tender. Remove from heat. Drain.
  2. Place 2 cups corn kernels in blender with one container Real California Greek yogurt, blend until smooth.
  3. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large sauce pan or chowder pot. Add chopped onions, herbamare and thyme. Sauté until soft, 3-4 minutes.
  4. Stir in potatoes, remaining corn, pureed corn, nutmeg, and Real California milk; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. When serving, garnish with Real California Crème Fraîche and scallions.

Entering this contest also provided an opportunity to learn more about the Dairy Council of California and what they do to help educate children. Since 1919, they’ve been innovative in providing nutrition education to school-age children and contributing to community health by producing balanced nutrition education programs and resources (which are free in California) for schools, health professionals’ offices and workplace wellness programs. Pretty impressive, if you ask me.

Wondering what else you can make with Real California dairy products? Check out my competition below. :)

Straight From The Heart Vegan Cookbook

[Book Review] Popcorn Salad + Straight From the Earth Cookbook

Straight From The Heart Vegan Cookbook

I am in love with this amazing cookbook! It’s one of those books you read cover to cover because the pictures are so pretty and the food looks so delicious. It’s called Straight from the Earth, Irresistible Vegan Recipes for Everyone and it’s written by Myra Goodman and her daughter, Marea Goodman. You may have heard of Myra…she is  the co-founder of Earthbound Farm. If you choose organic products in the grocery store, you’ve eaten their food. Back in 1986, they were the first company to successfully launch pre-washed, packaged salad for retail sale. And the rest is history, right?

Okay, you might be thinking, vegan?? I’m not a vegan, this book won’t work for me! But don’t you worry about that. The recipes are so versatile and utilize fresh, seasonal veggies that you’ll forget they’re vegan! Think of it more as a great go-to cookbook for interesting and creative plant-based dishes that everyone will love — vegans and meat eaters alike!

I wanted to get my family on board so I went right to a fun recipe from the appetizer section.

Popcorn Spinach Salad

As I was making it, Norah was watching and said to me “popcorn salad…interesting” — hence the name.

Popcorn Spinach Salad

Yes, there’s baby spinach in there! As odd as it may sound, it’s really tasty — this bowl was gobbled up by the meat-eating husband in less than 10 minutes. The baby spinach in there surprisingly works,  and it’s a one-of-kind appetizer, too! The flavor is a combination of herbs and spices, lemon and nutritional yeast (for a cheesy taste), but you could really make this popcorn your own by using your favorite toppings.  I made it my own way, air popping the corn and using a few different spices —  it came out great.

Okay, so I know you are intrigued now and want a copy for yourself, right? Here’s your chance! I’m giving a free copy away to one lucky reader of my blog! Yes, that’s you my friend, so get ready to win! You’ve got two ways to enter, by leaving a comment below telling me your favorite popcorn topping and  by “Liking” my Facebook page. Use the giveaway box below to do both!!  GOOD LUCK!

Enter Below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway ends Thursday, March 7th at 9 am Eastern Time. U.S. residents only, please. 

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Straight From the Earth. 

radish grapefruit apple juice

Radishly Radical Apple Grapefruit Juice

radish grapefruit apple juice

Today I’ve got a little surprise in store for you. I thought it would be fun to combine this month’s recipe redux with a sneak peak inside my upcoming book, 101 Skinny Juices for Weight Loss and Detox!

It works out perfectly because February’s theme is all about that which is served in a mug, glass, or stein. Healthier drinks is on the redux — hot or cool, kid-friendly or happy hour worthy, we’ve got you covered. We did this a few years ago as well, and I made an awesome skinny margarita, remember?

Radishly Perfect Ingredients

My radishly perfect juice is the result of a “what’s left in the fridge” moment that was so dang delish it made it into my book. In my opinion you can juice just about anything with an apple and some ginger and it will taste amazing.

healthy clean juice

After a quick pass through the juicer out came this amazingly refreshing juice! I just love the pink color. I love the tangy, sweet taste. I love the hit of cinnamon. I just love it all. And you will, too. For those of you wondering, yes, you can make this delight in your blender, so no fancy pants juicer required! I really hope you try this awesome kicked-up twist on apple juice. The warming ginger, the spicy radish, and the sweet apple blend perfectly with the tangy taste of pink grapefruit. Am I tantalizing your taste buds, or what!?

And don’t forget to check out what my fellow reduxers have whipped up below!

Radish-ly Radical Apple Grapefruit Juice


  • 1/2 grapefruit, peeled
  • 1 small apple, cored
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 5-6 radish
  • 1-inch piece ginger
  • Dash cinnamon


  1. Peel grapefruit and core apple. Juice. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Serves 1.

Grocery cart

How To Eat Processed Food

Grocery cart

I eat processed food.  And so do you.  It’s almost impossible not to. Food is “processed” as a matter of course to get it from the farm (or factory) to your table.  But wait, if you’ve done my detox or worked with me privately you know I’m all about clean eating and avoiding processed food.

So what’s the deal? Well, let’s start with what the word processed really means. Aside from what you can just pick and eat, most foods are processed in some way. At the same time, there are foods that people call “healthy” that to me are so processed they’re not even food.

Look at heart healthy olive oil. It needs to be processed in order for the oil to be extracted from it, right? So how do we differentiate between the good-processed and the bad-processed foods? You  might say that a good-processed oil is one that is naturally pressed and unrefined. A bad-processed oil is one that is chemically pressed and refined. Because we live in choice-overload at the grocery store it can be confusing. My clients send me emails all the time asking are these crackers better than those? Which yogurt is better? And one of my favorites, would YOU eat this?

So let’s clear up the confusion about the “P” word, starting with what I consider to be good-processed and bad-processed foods. Oh, and I can’t speak to every single food out there so here’s just a sampling of what I eat.

Good-processed foods

  • bagged veggies (yes, those are processed)
  • frozen fruit and plain frozen veggies
  • miso
  • oils (as noted above)
  • raw or dry roasted nuts and seeds (I’m not talking Planters)
  • oats and plain oatmeal
  • single whole grains (i.e., quinoa, millet, wild rice, etc.)
  • canned beans (BPA-free like Eden foods) OR boxed beans (Whole Foods has these)
  • tuna and salmon in a can (high quality stuff like Vital Choice, Tonnino, Wild Planet)
  • dried fruit (no sugar added)
  • Plain and organic yogurt (this is a sketchy area; lots of good yogurt that’s not organic or plain)
  • goat cheese
  • salsa
  • granola (like KIND, Purely Elizabeth)
  • crisp bread crackers (like WASA, Orgran, Finncrisp)
  • energy bars (like Lara, KIND, 22Days)

I’ve got a bit of a hierarchy going with the good-processed foods. For one, I look for minimally processed items. These potentially boxed or bagged foods contain ingredients that I recognize and that I would use at home to prepare the food myself.  Yes, this means that I take a bit more time while shopping to read the ingredients. I don’t mind this because the grocery store is my partner in eating clean. It also means that just because a food is gluten-free or is made with quinoa or greens — that doesn’t mean it’s clean eats. Take, for example, this roasted garlic chicken frozen dinner, a gluten-free gem made with spinach from Lean Cuisine.

Ingredients: Water, cooked chicken tenderloin (chicken tenderloins, water, seasoning), modified corn starch, sugar, potassium chloride, yeast extract, dextrose, spice, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika), soybean oil, isolated soy protein, sodium phosphates), spinach, skim milk, onions, carrots, 2% or less of modified corn starch, cheese flavor (cultured milk, salt, enzymes), soybean oil, white white, butterfat, Asiago cheese, salt, cheese flavor (cheddar cheese, cultured milk, salt, enzymes), water, salt, enzymes, cultures, phosphoric acid, xantham gum,  seasoning, (autolyzed extract, flavors, water, chicken powder, chicken fat, sugar, sodium lactate, sodium, phosphate lactic acid) potassium chloride, roasted garlic, dehydrated onions, basil, enzyme modified Parmesan cheese, puree, whey, yeast extract, whey, carrageenan, spices, caramel color, chicken fat flavor, cultured whey, turmeric. 

I don’t cook with many of these ingredients. For me, I just don’t want the added chemicals (read: toxins) clogging up my cells. I’ve got enough of those coming in from just living and breathing. I’m thinking you probably don’t either. So my answer to this is simple: I don’t buy the Lean Cuisine. Instead, I buy some chicken breasts, sprinkle on some spices, and cook at 375 for about 25 minutes. It really is that easy. I can do it and I don’t even eat chicken.

Bad-Processed Foods

The list of these foods is long and I will not even try to do it justice here. I will just say that these foods are extensively processed in order to be edible, they are not found as is in nature, or they are foods processed using chemicals that I don’t want to be eating. I’m talking mostly about GMOs, additives, preservatives and artificial flavorings. Now some in the food industry might argue that the healthiest food in the world is processed. And that food fortification plays a large role in meeting our nutrient needs. And that processing helps enhance and preserve food quality. All of that may be true. Whole grains are processed and I encourage you to eat them. However, you can get your whole grains in their natural state (see my good-processed list above). You don’t have to buy into this (yes, this is an extreme example):

Kelloggs Froot Loops cereal

Ingredients: Sugar, corn flour blend (whole grain yellow corn flour, degerminated yellow corn flour), wheat flour, whole grain oat flour, oat fiber, soluble corn fiber, contains 2% or less of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (coconut, soybean and/or cottonseed), salt, red 40, natural flavor, blue 2, turmeric color, yellow 6, annatto color, blue 1, BHT , Vitamin C (sodium ascorbate and ascorbic acid), niacinamide, reduced iron, zinc oxide, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B1 (thiamin hydrochloride), vitamin A palmitate, folic acid, vitamin D, vitamin B12.

Froot Loops lovers are cringing right now. Please don’t be fooled into thinking that a bowl of bad-processed cereal in the morning is good for you because it has whole grains in it. Because it also has red 40 and blue 2. Oh, and yellow 6. And blue 1.

If whole grains are what you’re after, it’s safe to say that this would be a cleaner, good-processed choice:


Ingredients: Whole grains (gluten free oats, brown rice, buckwheat, amaranth, millet, quinoa), evaporated cane juice, flax seeds, chicory root fiber, canola oil, molasses, cinnamon, sea salt, Vitamin E

Processed food does not have to be a curse on society. It can be a part of a healthy, clean eating lifestyle —  if you choose good-processed foods most of the time. But to me, eating clean is about more than just choosing the right nutrients on an ingredient list. It’s about how your food is prepared. It’s about eating food mostly in it’s natural state.

Yes, processed food is convenient and sometimes necessary, but preparing your own food is a necessity, too. One that takes a little more time, a little more confidence and a little more knowledge of cooking than does tearing open a bag or box and digging in. But I promise, the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it, and the more you’ll appreciate it. 

pistachio pairing

Pistachio, Dates and Smoked Salmon Plate

pistachio pairing

Disclosure: By posting this pairing I am entering a contest sponsored by Pistachio Health Institute and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Ever wonder what goes well with in-shell pistachios? I have, and I know the answer. I’ve been in the kitchen playing with pistachios! Why? Because the folks over at the Pistachio Health Institute challenged us Recipe ReDux bloggers to come up with a creative pairing using in-shell pistachios.

So…what is the perfect pairing for in-shell pistachios?

Dates: Have you tried dates stuffed with pistachios? So simple, yet so addictive. And delicious. Seriously, I had to stop myself from eating all of these dates before I could take the pictures.   I absolutely love dates with pistachios — and you will, too!

Smoked salmon: I really wanted to combine salmon with the pistachios, especially after making my pistachio cream last week. I never realized how well the two flavors work together. I decided to roll the salmon in mozzarella balls to make it a really satisfying bite, and then I sprinkled chopped pistachios over the top for a salty crunch.

smoke salmon and pistachios

If you haven’t discovered in-shell pistachios, you should! They are a staple in my house. Norah loves to snack on them (keeps her hands busy) and you can always find them in the pantry. I like the huge bang for my calorie buck when it comes to snacking on these little guys. A typical one-ounce serving is 49 nuts! That’s a hefty little snack. They’re great for feeding husbands, too. That nifty little shell makes it a bit more work for him to eat the entire bag in one sitting. This concept was actually tested in a study. People who ate in-shell pistachios consumed 41% fewer calories than those who ate pistachios without shells. So yes, it’s probably wise to keep those empty shells in full view as a visual reminder of how much you actually ate.

pistachio and salmon pairing

Besides the snacking factor, I also love that pistachios are easy to cook with. You can add them to sauces, homemade snacks, and throw them in salads.

pistachio stuffed dates

For this duration of the week long contest, my fellow Recipe ReDuxers will also be sharing their creative pistachio pairings, so check back and see what they’ve come up with below. I’d love to hear about your favorite in-shell pistachio pairing, too!

salmon lettuce wraps 4

Salmon Lettuce Wraps with Pistachio Cream

salmon lettuce wraps with pistachio cream

I’m entering a pistachio pairing contest this weekend so I’ve been experimenting using pistachios with different foods the past week. This salmon lettuce wrap with pistachio cream is not part of the contest, but it came out so delicious I just had to share. Pistachios are a common snack in our house and a bag doesn’t usually last that long. We usually just eat them right out of the shell or throw them onto salads.

I don’t eat meat, but I do eat salmon a few times a week and I was looking for a way to incorporate the pistachios into my salmon. Who knew they would be so delicious as the base of a creamy sauce?

salmon lettuce wraps

Seriously, if you love wraps (or even tacos) my pistachio sauce rivals anything you’ll get at  a restaurant — and I’m thinking it’s probably better for you, too. It’s so tasty I made salmon just to eat the leftover sauce. If you’re a lettuce wrap fan like myself, I think you’ll love this sauce, too. Give it a try!

And if you love pistachios in the shell, stay tuned for my post on Saturday with a delicious pairing — perfect for Superbowl Sunday snacking!

{recipe} Salmon Lettuce Wraps with Pistachio Cream


  • 1 avocado
  • 4 leaves Boston Bibb lettuce
  • 4 slices salmon
  • chili powder
  • 1/3 cup pistachios
  • 1/4 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped fine
  • 1 Tbsp lemon or lime juice
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • salt, to taste


  1. Place salmon pieces onto cooking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Spray with cooking spray and coat with fresh lemon. Season with salt and chili powder. Place in broiler for 6-7 minutes. While salmon is cooking, place whole pistachios into blender and blend until nuts resemble chunky sand (kind of like chunky peanut butter size). Reserve 2 tablespoons of pistachios to sprinkle on top of wraps. Add yogurt, salt, garlic, lemon/lime juice, and cilantro to blender and blend until desired smoothness. Remove from blender. Place mixture into the corner of a snack size baggie and snip tip with scissor. Place salmon onto lettuce leaves and top with avocado slices. Squeeze pistachio cream onto salmon. Sprinkle with reserved chopped pistachio pieces.

salmon wraps

cauliflower pizza

Cauliflower Pizza with Greens

cauliflower pizza

Homemade pizza and I have an uncomfortable past. It’s not the cheese, the sauce, or the toppings…it’s the whole “dough making” piece. Like a few boyfriends of days gone by, pizza has sent me to the bathroom crying more than a few times.

But then I met a new love. Cauliflower pizza. And we are so happy. We don’t fight, there’s no tears, and we really enjoy each other’s company. If you’ve never met a cauliflower crust, let me introduce you. To make, you just process the cauliflower into rice, mix it with a few ingredients, and roll it out. It’s really as simple as that!

Cauliflower pizza

Why do I love Cauliflower crust?

  • It’s low carb, but high fiber. So if you love your pizza but not the carbs, this crust is grain-free and full of fiber.
  • It’s gluten free. If you haven’t had pizza in a while because of a gluten issue, problem solved.
  • It’s light. If pizza normally leaves you feeling like you overindulged, you’ll love how you feel after a few slices of cauliflower pizza.
  • It’s healthy. Did I mention it’s made from cauliflower?
  • So easy to make. No more fighting with the dough, worrying if it’s too thick, or biting into a raw center.

cauliflower pizza

Still not convinced?  Well the best reason is the taste. It’s flavorful and pizza-like with just an essence of cauliflower. It gets gobbled down in my house pretty quickly, if that says anything. I topped my pizza with some sauteed dandelion greens and a little mozzarella cheese. It was perfect!

Wanna make it? Here’s how:

Cauliflower Pizza with Greens


  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Sliced or shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 bunch dandelion greens, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • For Tomato Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 roma tomatoes
  • Few sprigs of basil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 5-6 sun dried tomatoes


  1. 1. Preheat to 450 degrees F.
  2. 2. Saute dandelion greens in oil until wilted and soft. Set aside.
  3. 3. In Vitamix or blender, add tomatoes, garlic, basil, olive oil, salt, sun dried tomatoes. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
  4. 4. Cut small head of cauliflower into florets and place in a food processor. Pulse until the cauliflower looks like rice. Transfer to bowl.
  5. 5. Place bowl in microwave, cover and cook for 4 minutes.
  6. 6. Lay a dish clean towel on counter. Remove cauliflower from microwave and place cauliflower into the dish towel, let it cool for a few minutes and then, using your hands, wring out as much liquid as possible.
  7. 7. Place drained cauliflower back into mixing bowl and add cheese, dried herbs, egg, almond flour and salt. Mix to combine.
  8. 8. Roll cauliflower into a large ball of dough, and place on a sheet of parchment paper. Place a piece of wax paper (or another piece of parchment paper) on top and using your hands smash cauli-dough into a pizza shape (you can also use a rolling pin).
  9. 9. Remove top layer of wax paper and transfer bottom sheet with pizza crust onto a pizza stone or baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Then remove from oven and top with sauce, greens and cheese. Put back in oven for 5 more minutes or until the cheese is melted.
  10. 10. Remove from oven and sprinkle with Parmesan and red pepper flakes.

And don’t forget to check out my fellow reduxers take on homemade pizza pie!

miso broccoli quinoa salad

Miso Broccoli and Quinoa Salad


Ever wish you had a “how to eat” manual that was chock full of eating strategies, yet small enough you could keep in your purse? If so, I’ve got the answer for you. Meet my colleague and fellow RD/Nutritionist, Lauren Slayton (@foodtrainers) who recently wrote The Little Book of Thin, Plan-It-to Lose It Solutions for Every Diet Dilemma. And she wasn’t kidding. She’s got the answer to pretty much any dieting situation you might come across. From what to order on a date, to how to slim down pre-vacation, she’s got the solution. I especially love her “ten-steps to svelte” and “what to eat cheat sheets.” Did you know a lipstick case was the perfect portion size of cheese? Brillliant!

Lauren is also my go-to girl for all things nutritionally hip in NYC. Unfortunately, I don’t get the scoop on all the cool nutrition food finds and gadgets here in the burbs of Northern VA — but she keeps me in the know.  I love perusing her online shop for a new find. Like my now favorite Sweetriot 25-calorie dark chocolate lovelies.

So if you’re looking for a few strategic nuggets of wisdom for staying slim (and who isn’t, really?) you will love her advice. Here a few of her traveling tips that I think are just genius:

  • To beat jet lag, try Eboost, a powdered green tea for antioxidant and anti-inflammatory power
  • For “plane puffies” (as she calls it) try drinking detox tea with cardamom and fennel or chew on fennel seeds.
  • For the dreaded “vacation constipation” try CocoChia (chia, coconut and probiotic packs) which she says are effective, but not too effective (wink, wink).

She also provides some solid “starter recipes” (aka, not at all complicated) and I couldn’t resist making this quinoa and broccoli salad with a super easy miso vinaigrette. Oh, and EA, if you’re reading this, I totally made this before reading your post. I swear.  :-)

miso broccoli quinoa salad

 I made some changes to the recipe based on what I had on hand, but it came out amazing — and detox friendly, too for my detoxers that are reading!

Miso Broccoli and Quinoa Salad


  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon white miso (I used red)
  • 3 Tablespoons rice vinegar (can use apple cider vinegar, too)
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 3 cups steamed broccoli florets
  • 2 cups baby arugula (I used cabbage and baby kale)
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds (I used pumpkin)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I didn't use any)


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, miso and vinegar. Toss with the broccoli, quinoa, seeds and greens.
wild blueberry hand pie

Wild Blueberry & Goat Cheese Hand Pies

wild blueberry hand pie

[Disclaimer: By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.]

It’s a blueberry fest today. Wild blueberries, that is. Ever tried them? If not, you should — these are not your average berries. In fact, they’re very different from the fresh blueberries you find in the produce aisle. These guys are smaller and have a much more intense blueberry flavor (which I happen to love). They also have double the antioxidant power of any other blueberry on the planet! This is mostly due to a flavonoid called anthocyanin. Anthocyanin is found in the berry’s deep blue pigment and is responsible for their awesome antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers. You can find them growing in the fields of Maine, Eastern Canada, and Quebec where they are frozen at harvest, locking in their perfectly fresh, intensely blueberry flavor. You can also find them in the frozen section at the grocery store. And if you’re worried about buying them frozen vs. fresh, don’t. As a recent University of Georgia study points out, frozen is actually better for you than fresh these days!

And yes, I would be saying all of this even if this post wasn’t a part of a contest sponsored by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America. I’ve been using and recommending these amazing super fruits for years!

wild blueberry pastry

Okay, so on to the contest. The WBNA challenged the members of The Recipe ReDux to create healthy recipes highlighting the unique flavor of wild blueberries.

I had the best time with my mom in the kitchen creating this little hand pie. I’m calling it a hand pie, but it started out as a bonnet. I was trying to use up some biscuit dough I had leftover from my famous Christmas monkey bread. Well, after several attempts at bonnet making, we realized it just didn’t work…it tasted too much like a biscuit. We decided to go the pie dough route and came up with this apple-shaped creation.

What’s inside? It’s a delicious blend of spicy ginger, wild blueberries and tangy goat cheese. This mixture is so delicious, I would serve it on a cheese plate, too! It would be an awesome spread for a cracker or sliced baguette. Oh yes, it’s that good.

Here’s how you make it:

Wild Blueberry, Ginger & Goat Cheese Hand Pie


  • 2 cups Wild Blueberries, thawed
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 6 oz log goat cheese, softened
  • zest from half a lemon
  • 1 roll refrigerated pie crust
  • White sparkling sugar sprinkles


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. 2. In small sauce pan on medium high heat, warm blueberries, honey, ginger and lemon zest for 2-3 minutes.
  3. 3. Place softened goat cheese in small mixing bowl.
  4. 4. Strain blueberries, saving blueberry juice.
  5. 5. Gently stir blueberries into goat cheese.
  6. 6. Place reserved blueberry juice back into sauce pan and heat on med-high heat until thickened, about 10 minutes.
  7. 7. Once thickened, add juice to goat cheese mixture.
  8. 8. Roll out pie crust with rolling pin. Using a cookie cutter, cut out 12 sections.Place 1 tablespoon of goat cheese filling onto 6 of the sections. Place remaining sections on top of filling and use fork to fasten the top layer to the bottom.
  9. 9. Using a pastry brush, brush mini pies with cold milk. Shake on sugar sprinkles.
  10. 10. Place on baking sheet and bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.

21-days clean eating detox

You’ve Got Questions, I’ve Got Answers

21-days clean eating detoxOn January 1st, I shared that my Clean Eating Detox is open for enrollment.

I’m excited to get started and already love the incredible community that’s forming. I can’t wait to support my detoxers as they experience a transformation in the way they think and feel about food — along with dropping some excess weight, ending bloat and shlumpiness, and just feeling good.

We start our Detox as a group on January 20th (prep week starts January 13th), but if you enroll by 12:00 midnight ET, January 5th, you can save $40 and get exclusive access to me on the community page before we get started. You’ll even get an Early Bird gift — my Fearless Cooking ebook, so you can detox your kitchen and pantry, too. Getting your mind, body and kitchen ready can make all the difference when you detox, and it will give you the confidence you need to rock it out, right from day one!

So if you’ve been thinking about detox, the time is now!  You can join us by registering here.

Still have these questions?

I have young kids and I’m concerned I won’t be able to do this and feed my family. How time consuming will it be and will I need cook/eat separate from them?  

detox food​We eat fresh, whole foods during the detox. There is nothing that you will be eating that your kids cannot also enjoy.  The level of “newness” will really depend on what you are feeding your kids now and how much that differs from a whole food approach.

Is coffee and other caffeine out? What about decaf?    

Yup, coffee is not in your cup during detox, decaf included. Coffee is acidic and dehydrating and caffeine is a stimulant that is not a friend to your detox organs. However, I’ve got you covered with some awesome coffee replacements that will have you saying coffee who?

Will I be hungry on the detox?

This question comes up a lot because many people associate eating healthy with feeling hungry or deprived. My detox is not about putting you on a calorie restrictive diet. It’s about feeding your body delicious, nourishing food that will satiate you. While you may feel a little hungry the first 2 days as your body adjusts to this new way of eating, you can always enjoy one of the delicious snack options in your detox cookbook.

I live on the go, all of the time. Is a detox for me?

I’m a busy mom and business owner, so I understand busy!  I designed this detox to work with a busy lifestyle, however, if you currently eat out every meal or rely wholly on prepared foods, you will have to spend some extra time in the kitchen. You will receive your detox recipes and meal plan in plenty of time to go food shopping and do some food prep the weekend before the detox starts.

What is the format of the group calls?

The group calls are accessible by telephone. On the calls I will share the relevant “how” and “why” of each phase of the detox, review the protocol and guidelines for the entirety of the detox, explain how to transition out of the detox, and provide support with live participants in a Q+A section.

Is there time for Q & A on the call?

There is ample time for live Q+A for whoever can make it to the live calls. I also provide 24/7 dedicated support on the private group Facebook page. This is where the bulk of your questions will be answered throughout the duration of the detox, as you’re living through it.

What if I can’t make the calls live?

If you can’t make it live, no worries. The link to the recording (including the MP3 for download) of the class will be emailed and posted on your Facebook page soon after the live session, so you can listen whenever it’s convenient for you.

Will we receive handouts or materials, in addition to the call?

The 21-Day Clean Eating Detox delivers comprehensive print materials including:

  • A daily protocol and cookbook including sample meal plans and tons of recipes to carry you through the 21 day experience – and beyond!
  • A Detox Guidebook containing all you need to know about detoxification, plus detailed information on food rules, supplements, detox replenishers, and lots of other goodies to support your detox
  • A Pre-Detox Questionnaire to compare your results before and after the detox, plus daily logs for keeping a journal of your experience
  • Transition guide for moving out of your detox and back into your life
  • Handouts and tip sheets for eating out, travelling on detox, and ways to enhance your experience
  • ….and more!

Can I adjust the recipes and daily protocol to accommodate my particular dietary needs?

Yes! All the recipes are gluten free and dairy free. If you have specific food sensitivities or allergies, just let me know and I will help you adjust as necessary. As you transition out of the detox, you might discover sensitivities you hadn’t noticed before. I will help you figure this out on the Facebook page so you can make permanent dietary changes that will allow you to continue feeling great, long term.

What if I can’t start the detox on January 20?

You can start the detox any time after January 20th. I recommend you listen to the class recordings before you begin and still use the Facebook page for questions and additional resources. The detox is fully supported through February 16th so you can start up any time before that and still receive support.

Can I participate if I live outside the United States?

Absolutely! You can participate from anywhere in the world.

Can I do the detox when I’m traveling?

I don’t recommend doing the Detox during any long travel plans or vacation time, but it can be done while on short 2-3 day trips. I will help you prepare for this – just ask me how on the Facebook page!

Have additional questions? Email me at Danielle@foodconfidence.com and ask!  Otherwise, head on over here to get yourself registered!

Prep week begins January 13th  —  but the Early Bird pricing ends Sunday night at Midnight Eastern. Register NOW and save $40.

You Can’t Have It All…But You Can Have This

I recently learned something pretty amazing and I can’t stop sharing it. I heard it from Monique Greenwood, the former editor-in-chief of Essence magazine and owner of five bed and breakfast inns along the East Coast. It’s something I’ve heard many times before, but not in the way she said it. Like many of us, she moves at a fast pace, she takes on a lot, she runs a successful business and has a busy personal life. But there’s one big difference between her and many other successful women out there. She openly declares that despite her success, she doesn’t have it all… she only has what matters.

I have not stopped talking about having what matters since I heard it. I coached two clients just this week about having what matters. I have a sticky note on my computer reminding me that I have what matters. Especially this time of year when expectations are mounting, perfectionism is at a high, and your to-do list is overflowing, I beg you to ask yourself: are you trying to have it all or what really matters?

Let me tell you how it’s worked for me.

I’m not particularly passionate about the Thanksgiving meal, but I was willing to prepare it and provide the “experience” for my family. I will admit, it was stressing me out. It was getting closer and closer to the date and we still hadn’t made any plans for what to do. After weighing all the options and focusing on what was important, we decided to do something different. Although not what I would ever have done in the past, we decided to eat out on Thanksgiving. The end result of this simple decision was pretty great. I had a stress free week leading up to a usually stressful day. I got to spend some quality time with Hany and Norah. I didn’t have to cook or clean a thing. And at the end of the day, I still had what matters.

I normally feel the need to go all out decorating the house for the holidays and make it  feel “Christmasy.” This year, I’m kind of not into it. The thought of lugging everything up from the basement, sorting through it, and then hauling it all back down just doesn’t sound fun. That feeling was a sign to me to step back and ask myself what really matters. I asked the family what was most important to them. Neither Norah or Hany could care less about decorations, but Norah really wanted a tree (where would Santa put her gifts?). So I decided to have her pick out a small-ish tree in which she very happily decorated all by herself. No, it’s not easy on the eyes, but hey, I’m looking at what matters here. I left most of the decorations in the basement and just put out a few candles. It’s still festive in my house, she got to decorate the tree, and I’m not stressed about getting anything done. It may not be the solution in the years to come, but this year, I focused on what really matters.

I know that you have a long list of to-do’s before the end of this year. I know that if you’re like my clients, you are probably stressed out — it’s absolutely the number one issue I talk about with them. Work stress, family stress, food stress, being perfect stress, money stress, shopping stress, time stress, control stress…I have heard it all.

So in the spirit of focusing on having what matters instead of having it all, what are 2-3 things you can scratch off your list this month? Perhaps you don’t absolutely HAVE to decorate each and every room in your house? Or maybe you don’t volunteer this time to help at the school? Or maybe you buy cookies for the cookie exchange instead of spending three nights baking?

What can you decide NOT do to that will take a huge weight off your shoulders right now, today?


Food Gifts From The Kitchen


Rosemary Infused Olive Oil

This month’s recipe redux theme is food gifts from the kitchen — adding merriment to mixes. I don’t know about you, but I love giving food stuff for hostess and holiday gifts. My initial idea was to bottle up my famous homemade lara bars. But then I thought to myself, that gift would actually require work on the part of the giftee. They would have to pull out their food processor, mix up the bars, and then clean up! And I know how people feel about the cleaning up part.  :)

So I decided to go with something everyone could use right away and would require no skills, no directions, and no clean up.

olive oil rosemary gift

This rosemary infused olive oil smells fantastic. I used my very favorite California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil and fresh rosemary. Their olive oil is so fresh and tasty, I use it on everything. You can also attach a holiday ornament like the one you see here. My amazingly talented sister made that cute cross-stitched spool ornament for me a few years ago. Yes, she got all of those genes. No, really, she did. Check out her handy work here.

So the recipe is pretty simple. You just warm up the olive oil in a sauce pan with the rosemary and heat in on low for about 5 minutes. Then let it cool. Once cooled, add the rosemary to the jar first, then pour in the olive oil. Easy-peezy. You can use this oil for cooking, bread dipping, salad dressing, roasted potatoes, and pretty much anything!

I hope you’re inspired to make some DIY gifts from your kitchen this year. If you are, check out some great ideas below from my fellow reduxers!


dinner party

How Do You Eat While Being Social?

dinner party

What’s your social eating personality?

Do you have a game plan going in to the party for what you eat or drink?

Do you eat before the party so you’re not tempted on an empty stomach?

Do you tell yourself ‘hey, it’s a party’ and not care what you eat because you’re there to have fun?

Do you drink instead of eat — and then overeat when you get home?  

Have you ever even thought about it?

Many of my clients struggle with overeating at social gatherings. And it’s not just during the holidays, but also at kid’s birthday parties, happy hours, work events, conferences, girl’s night out, at the movies, or anywhere food is free and catered. Do you struggle with this, too? You probably do. Studies show that most of us eat differently while being social. Why does this happen? For one, we often mimic the people around us, especially in a small group. How many times have you had “another” just because someone else did? We tend to under-eat and overeat depending on the company, because we take on the eating habits of who we’re with. I can’t tell you how many times this has happened to me. At a kid’s birthday party, the other mom’s that I’m talking with often won’t eat the pizza or have a slice of cake — unless I do. Just me being there changes their behavior.

Eating habits are contagious. It’s true! Back in 2007, Harvard researchers analyzed 32 years’ worth of data from a social network of about 12,000 adults. They found that your chances of becoming obese increased 37% if your spouse had become obese, 40% if your sibling had, and 57% if a friend had.

So not only do we mimic what others eat, we also begin to let our guard down. Studies also show that if you socialize with people who overeat, it changes what you perceive as normal eating. It not only raises your tolerance for overeating, but it tempers the social stigma of being overweight or obese, both in ourselves and those around us.

Eating with family is another overeating zone. When at a family gathering, there’s no putting on airs! We tend not to care how it looks to eat the whole block of cheese, finish off that bottle of wine, or eat three slices of cake.

So what’s the remedy? I believe just knowing this information is powerful. When you know better, you choose better.  And that’s my goal for you — to choose your food. Going into the social situation with a game plan and a mindset of mindfulness is half the battle.

Here are a few more tips that may help as well:

  • Peruse, then choose — my own personal strategy. Always decide what you’ll eat before loading up your plate. We tend to start at the front of the table without really looking to see what all the options are. Also, fill half your plate with salad and then opt for a taste of what else looks good.
  • Keri Gans, an RD friend of mine who wrote the book “The Small Change Diet” has a great idea for the ladies. Carry a clutch in one hand and your drink in the other so you don’t have any free hands for munching. This will keep you mindful that you have to put everything down in order to eat….that definitely makes eating a deliberate choice.
  • Get away from the food table! We tend to socialize in the kitchen in my house and it’s so easy to just stand there and nibble on what’s in front of you. Make a conscious effort to socialize away from the food and you will forget it’s even there.
  • If you’re the host, serve lots of vegetable-based dishes and cut back on calories where you can. Instead of hummus and chips, serve hummus and veggies. Use cucumbers slices instead of French bread for bruschetta. Serve guacamole with jicama sticks. You will be surprised how much everyone will appreciate this! I have yet to meet the guest who said, “Oh I wish they had served more fattening food.”

Oh, and don’t forget to have some fun, too!  :)


Pomegranate guacamole

Clean Eating, Football Style

Football season is in full throttle and if you haven’t already attended a game day get-together you probably have one on the calendar. Unfortunately, the food that’s served at most football gatherings can be incredibly…fattening. Not a word I use often, but kind of applies here. I’ve been to a few tailgates and have witnessed some high calorie grub being being mindlessly consumed over the course of several hours. Add alcohol to the mix and things can get even more out of hand.

My clients struggle with this as well, especially when coming off my clean eating detox. How do you eat clean at these events? It’s a good question and one that needs to be addressed. Just remember, you always have a choice! My best strategy for pot-luck type events is to bring my own “safe dish.” A safe dish is one that you know you will be able to eat. You can always build your plate around that.

Here are a few tasty, healthier, clean (but still fun) snack options for your game day feasting!

Gaucamole-Based Dips

Mostly made with just avocados (full of a heart healthy monosaturated-fat), fresh tomatoes, onions, cilantro and lime juice – quacamole is a great starter dish. I love to health it up a bit by blending in baby spinach or kale leaves. Nobody is the wiser and you get in an extra dose of greens for the day! Also, instead of scooping it up with tortilla chips, opt for sliced veggies like baby carrots, celery, bell peppers or my favorite, jicama sticks.

Pomegranate guacamole

This is my famous Pomegranate-Mandarin Orange Guacamole — it’s to die for. Try it.

Hummus-Based Dips

Hummus has become a catch-all term for dip and it’s really a secret weapon for anyone who owns a food processor. Don’t like beans? No problem. You can make hummus with just about anything these days. I’ve seen pumpkin, sweet potato, spinach, eggplant, and sun-dried tomato hummus! There really are so many ways to make it interesting. I do suggest you stick with some kind of bean base though, just to get the benefits of the fiber and protein — which will keep you full and may even stop you from gorging on Frito’s and cheese dip. Aside from being fast, easy and relatively cheap to prepare yourself- you can also buy store brands for added convenience. You can use a variety of veggies to dip into your hummus or use it as a base for veggie wraps.

pumpkin hummus

Here’s  a great idea for Pumpkin Hummus from Closet Cooking. Looks devine.

Make Your Own Trail-Mix

Looking for more a sweet and salty snack? While most varieties of store bought trail mix have tons of added sugar and salt, you can make your own and keep it clean. Just mix together in a bowl the following ingredients: dry roasted, unsalted nuts and seeds like almonds, pecans and walnuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds; a dash of dried fruit like goji berries, ginger, unsweetened cherries or dried blueberries (I also love to toss in freeze-dried strawberries or raspberries); a sprinkle of unsweetened coconut flakes, and for a little chocolate boost, throw in a handful of cacoa nibs or dark chocolate chips. Delish!


 So easy. You just need a bowl.

Grilled Buffalo or Chicken Wings

I’m not a meat-eater but I realize most football fans are. Instead of bringing store-bought fried wings to the party, why not opt for grilling them up yourself? This little tweak will save you loads of fat and calories without losing any flavor. And everyone will be impressed, which is always nice.

grilled wings

Here’s simple recipe for grillin’ these up from Kiss My Whisk. You can use whatever dipping sauce you like!

 What’s your favorite healthy football watching dish?

Confident Kitchen Tip: Bring a healthy dish that you want to eat so you always have a choice!


Kitchen Sink Crock Pot Soup


I usually reserve the crock pot for Hany’s dinner. I throw in some chicken, lamb, ground beef or some other meat with some veggies and he’s good to go. I have it easy in that department.  But I hardly ever make anything for me because I end up getting sick of it after two days and start force feeding it to anyone who’s hungry. Norah wants a snack? Have some soup! Hany’s hungry after dinner? Here’s some soup! Nevertheless, I decided this month for recipe redux to treat myself to a crock pot vegetarian meal.

Kitchen Sink Soup

I find it hard to create a ton of flavor out of veggies from a crock pot. You definitely need to spice things up. This dish really serves more as inspiration to you than anything else.  I just threw in what I had on hand, and so can you! The main template for a vegetarian crock pot stew or soup is liquid + spices + veggies + starch. It’s pretty simple. I used up the last of my California Sweetpotatoes, a bag of frozen spinach, 2 cans of beans, 2 carrots, a can of diced tomatoes and some veggie broth. I seasoned it up with Italian spices and Herbamare salt.

It was pretty cool after a long day to be the one who got to eat from the crock!!


Here’s the full recipe:

Kitchen Sink Crock Pot Soup


  • 2 California Sweetpotatoes, chopped into cubes
  • 1 can Butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can Garbonzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 bag frozen spinach
  • 16 oz organic vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp Italian herbamare seasoning


  1. Place all ingredients except spinach into crock pot and cook on high 4-5 hours or until potatoes are soft. Add spinach 30 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.