Summer Soul Chopped Salad

Summer Soul Chopped Salad - finalYes! I’m still alive🙂 !  It has been a very busy, yet productive 3 months. I’ve let my posting go to the wayside a bit, which I am not very proud of, however I’m back in the swing of things with a ton of yummy things to share for everyone’s bellies these coming months. I have been inspired in a number of different ways over the last little while, that has gotten a lot of my creative juices flowing… and simply kept my soul fed and geared up to pass on to those that are interested.

My husband and I love soup and salad. We eat a lot of that combo during our week – simple and detoxifying, letting our bodies rest from possible indulgences from traveling, social activities, or just plain wanting to cheat a bit🙂. We tend to practice the 80/20 rule – 20% of the time we have some fun and experience not-so-“healthy” cuisine, and then 80% of the time we have our nose to the grindstone, whipping up fun, healthy creative meals.   Our soups can be hearty or light, depending on our appetite or season. Our salads are full of our favorite goodies like sprouts, mushrooms, seeds, avocados, etc.

This past week I was having a conversation with a neighbor about a Greek chopped salad she was making for a Memorial Day weekend dinner feast. It sounded lovely. I love chopped salads, although I never really see much on menus, nor have I ever made one myself. Funny enough, I read an article the same day about a Southwestern flare chopped salad that sounded divine, although I would have to eliminate the corn that was in it (I don’t care for it, and neither does my Blood Type or digestive system😦 ) .  Anywho, needless to say, my creative juices started moving around up there and I decided that I was going to invent my own chopped salad recipe with some scrumptious and healthy ingredients. It turned out wonderful. I’m craving it now… I think there are leftovers🙂 !  It is hearty as well, and made a great main dish, instead of just a side or dish to pass, although it will work quite nicely as one, with summer BBQ’s and other gatherings these coming months. There are a lot of health benefits in several ingredients (all of them actually – bonus!)  Chop away!


  •  Large head of Romaine Lettuce
  • 15 oz. can Cannellini Beans, rinsed and
  • 1 large Yellow Bell Pepper
  • 1 ½ cup Grape Tomatoes
  • 1 cup cut Fresh Green Beans – ends snipped and
    cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 to 1 ½ cup Cucumber
  • 6 Green Onions


  • ½ cup fresh Dill, chopped OR 2 heaping tbsp of dried Dill
  • 1 large ripe Avocado
  • ½ fresh Lemon Juice, more to taste
  • 1 large Garlic Clove
  • ¼ to ½ cup Olive Oil (eyeball it)
  • a small SPLASH of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. Sea Salt
  • ¼ tsp. Black Pepper

** adjust any of these ingredients to taste


Make the dressing: puree all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Finely chop romaine, bell pepper, tomatoes, green beans, cucumber and green onions. Place all salad ingredients in a large bowl.

Summer Soul Chopped Salad - collage

Recommendation: **If serving individual salads, take around 2 cups of chopped salad mixture and place into a small mixing bowl and then add 2-3 tablespoons of the dressing – mix well (give or take the amount to taste) stir to combine and serve on individual plates. **If serving as one big, chopped salad (say at a get together) combine the chopped salad mixture and dressing into a serving bowl, then serve as desired/needed. TIP: Keeping the chopped salad mixture and dressing mixture separate is key if it is just an intimate dinner for two, so storing the extra salad in fridge overnight can stay fresh, so it doesn’t get soggy if combined. Making fresh dressing for a second day of salad delight is advised. You may have leftover dressing, but it is delicious with other things, i.e. as a dip with crackers, breads or veggies.


PRINT RECIPE: Summer Soul Chopped Salad

As I said above, this salad has a lot of goodness for bodies in it…

Green Beans – high in folic acid and calcium…

White Beans – high in calcium…

Avocado – a SUPERFOOD – high in calcium…

Tomatoes and Peppers – high in vitamin C…

Go ahead, try it out – It will become a staple!


Momma Said Knock You Out… Powerhouse Hot Cocoa

Superfood Hot ChocolateWAIT!! February! Don’t leave me without just getting one post in!!!🙂

It has been a CRAZY last 45 days! When I’m not whooping it up in the kitchen, reading health articles or my current paperback, practicing yoga, spending time with my hubby and kiddo Chuckie, I’m sometimes running the highways in various states, laying the land for our wine company. Yes, vino.  We’ve been in and out of town, working and growing that part of our focus the last month-ish. It has been our family business for going on 8 ++ years now. Creating brands and selling wine to the “restless wine consumer”. A fun part of our lives, taking us on travels as we build that business, learning about varietals and regions, etc…. Although a super neat business, working with boutique brands, learning about the families that harvest that fruit that ends up in that attractive looking bottle on the local market’s shelf, meeting and connecting with new people, our soul’s are fed in a lot of other ways… Hence the next few paragraph’s subject matter🙂

So… Once again, this winter season has been bringing a lot of us folks across the U.S.A. some pretty nasty weather! You got the North in minus single and double digits, ice covering things all over the South, and grocery stores out of bread and milk! Stand back, people! Anyone wonder what the next storm is going to be named…? Sheesh. With all that said, it can be many days, holed up in the house, craving something hot, soothing and satisfying to the tummy. I remember adoring my after school snack, around the age of 9, on those cold, Michigan, winter days – a cup of cocoa with just the right amount of marshmallows on top, and graham crackers on the side. TIP: letting those crackers soak for about 10 seconds in that yummy goodness and then taking a bite was like a little bit of heaven. Well, I’ve been playing a bit with different concoctions – totally nothing original or difficult – when it has come to that treat of my past-time hot chocolate. Then, I came across an article/recipe on MindBodyGreen a month or so ago that looked super interesting  – and DELICIOUS. After a few tries, a couple alterations, and different times of the day drinking it, I found a staple in the recipe collection! Can maybe even replace my coffee/tea/even breakfast some days! It not only is soooooo tasty, it gives you a serious, positive boost in your day. Drink it in the morning or have it as an afternoon pick-me-up snack, this Powerhouse Hot Cocoa is to die for! Move over Nestle, Swiss Miss and Carnation… There is a new hot chocolate on the block! This isn’t just your average delightful, creamy, warm, rich, marshmallow-topped, past-time beverage – this is a SUPERFOOD hot chocolate. Packed with several powerful ingredients, this comforting cocoa will satisfy that sweet craving, as well as nourish your body!

~Makes 2 Servings~😉 Share the love…

  1. In a saucepan, add the non-dairy milk of your choice, as well as the MCT Oil or Coconut Oil and bring to a simmer where it is slightly bubbly
  2. Add all ingredients with the liquid into a blender (I use a Nutri Bullet) and blend well until frothy
  3. Serve in your favorite mug

PRINT RECIPE: Powerhouse Hot Cocoa

Learn More About the Powerhouse Superfood Ingredient Benefits…

**JUST SAY NO! Learn more about Carrageenan:


Just For Now…

Start-Living-In-The-NowAs I sat in my parents living room this morning, watching the beautiful, silent snow fall gently on the grass, trees and roofs of nearby homes, my mind drifted to the annual hype of making New Year’s Resolutions, it being already a few days into January and all😉. I’m not being a smart a@! by referring to it as “hype”, I was just reflecting on how much we get focused (including myself)  on what we are going to change once the clock strikes 12:00 AM every January 1st.

Our stay so far in the Mitten State for the holidays has been a whirlwind, with the last 2 weeks events being unexpected and not the “norm” for what usually our December trips hold. My husband’s grandpa passed away on Christmas, with him spending most of the day at the hospital with his grandpa until he moved on that evening. I was blessed to be able to call him my grandpa as well, the last 15 years, as he treated me as his own grandchild, growing into the family as a girlfriend, fiance, then an in-law. He hadn’t been well, however a surprise health challenge a couple days prior turned into his soul’s journey home. Although sad to think about, I thought it was such a special moment for my husband to be able to be present as his grandpa gently and peacefully drifted out of this physical world. It is the cycle we go through in this life, and it was precious for him to be able to be there, giving his loving energy to his grandpa as his soul moved on. This event, along with a few others that I’ve reflected on over the last few years of my life, including the death of my paternal grandpa in 2010, are just small reasons as to why I sat this morning in a reflection mode, letting thoughts of a New Year float around in my head. With all that said, these moments in time make you realize how important it is to be IN those moments, every second of that moment, as we never know when our last moment will be. Everything is happening right NOW…

To step back to my original comments above about getting pumped up about all the changes we are going to make because it is a New Year, a fresh start, a blank canvas, etc… The big holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, often bring on a little bit of chaos – excessive shopping, deadlines, overeating and drinking, busy schedules, getting out of a routine, and so on. People are enjoying themselves and let their minds take a break from the other 10 months of the year. But when December 31st rolls around, whether you are gearing up for a big blow out night, or curled up on the couch with plans to drift off before midnight, the thoughts are in full force about what is going to be different for the next day and the 364 days to follow.

I think it is great to have goals and resolutions for oneself for a New Year – something to work towards and try to accomplish, for stretching and aiding oneself in growth of one’s soul. However, when I started to think more and more about the ending of 2014 and the beginning of 2015, and my thoughts surrounding what my goals/resolutions were going to be, I stopped myself and remembered how I had recently been thinking about the importance of living in the now. IT IS HAS BEEN HARD TO DO! There I said it! It has drove me NUTS when I’ve tried and and then caught myself NOT doing it🙂 OK, purge over… :-)  I had learned of a book 3-4 years ago by Eckhart Tolle entitled The Power of Now. I was familiar with its content and it was always a book of interest that I had anticipated picking up one day, however hadn’t purchased it yet. A couple of months ago, while sitting in easy pose before a Tuesday yoga class, my instructor read a small excerpt from the book. I had been recently struggling personally with the concept of living in the present moment, prior to that class, knowing of its importance for ultimate peace of mind, and took the reading as a sign to get the book ordered up, which I am now reading. Although only a few chapters in, I’m excited to implement the words that will aid in more enlightenment of my soul. One of the few things I’ve read thus far by Mr. Tolle in his book, with reflection on a piece of my own growth, was this snippet: “The single most vital step on your journey toward enlightenment is this: learn to disidentify from your mind… Your mind is an instrument, a tool. It is there to be used for a specifics task, and when that task is completed, you lay it down. As it is, I would say about 80-90% of most people’s thinking is not only repetitive and useless, but because of its dysfunctional and often negative nature, much of it is also harmful. Observe your mind and you will find this to be true. It causes a serious leakage of vital energy.”

if-you-are-depressed-you-are-living-in-the-lao-tzuWith respect to taking on our New Year’s resolutions, our mind can be helpful in that task mode if used properly, or it can majorly hinder the whole concept of setting and accomplishing those goals. Wayne Dyer said in his recent  message post on Spirit Library: “Any resolution that involves making decisions about future behaviors is a waste of time. It also reinforces the self-defeating notion of living in the future… This day that you’re living right now is the only day you get. Period. You can resolve to be skinny when next July rolls around, or to quit smoking next month, or to write that book you’ve been meaning to…The New Year is a good time to initiate a plan so you can make some changes and help live your life to the fullest. See if you can practice thinking differently. Decide very specifically what it is that you would like to change about yourself in 2015. If you have some goals in mind, vow to work on them day by day rather than making them a year-long project…Remember, you are in control of all thoughts in your head. When you are using up your present moments to worry about the future, constantly reviewing the past to come up with how you should have done it differently, or contemplating disaster, remind yourself that you are wasting this particular present moment.”

Let me just say that I’m not trying to offend anyone, push anything on anyone, or say that the intentions or plans for an individual’s New Year are pointless and bunk. They make a person grow and accomplish, but if you don’t get to the ultimate result that was in your mind or was your expectation, shake it off and appreciate the moments you were/are in. Otherwise, we can beat ourselves up in some way, shape or form, hindering the process of our soul’s purpose here, in this life. We will learn one way or another, and our journey is already mapped out as to how we are to ride on through these experience’s, but maybe this year’s focus could be living in the NOW, processing, appreciating and embracing each moment whether “good” or “bad”. I’m chatting with myself more than trying to impose thoughts on someone reading this, but maybe it will help someone’s thought process that they were struggling with, if wanting to break out of an old way of thinking.

I have my own set of goals that I would like to implement into my own routine for the New Year, however I’m approaching it differently daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. I would like to try to live more in the present moment and not stress out about the past or the future. It will require some work, as I break out of a mold and old way of thinking, but I think that the top “goal” on that list will be being more mindful about living in the NOW, and observing when I may step out of that process. Not get down when catching myself “slipping up”, because there is no such thing – it is just a part of our own process of growth.

These are some thoughts for implementation in my next 100 New Year’s Resolutions lists, and at the top of that list I’d like to always put LIVE IN THE NOW – be present always.  I’m not an expert on these subjects, a spiritual teacher, a psychotherapist, nor do I play one on TV. These thoughts and events have just been feeding my soul lately. Maybe they will feed yours, too.



Rockin’ Gluten-Free Stuffin’

Gluten Free Stuffing_2So, the holidays are in full swing. Lots of parties being hosted, corks being popped, tinsel being hung, smooches under the mistletoe being had, and all that festive jazz that we look forward to this time of year. And we can’t forget the most delicious, yet most dreaded part of the season… EATING. All of those scrumptious appetizers, decadent cakes, pies and candy treats, and get-together dinners full of anything and everything = heaven AND hell (as it applies to a large percentage of people’s New Year’s resolutions and shedding the added poundage, am I right?)  Anyways… I look forward to this time of year because of the extraordinary, enjoyable noshing we get to do, along with spending quality time with families and special friends. I get excited to participate in the “dish-to-pass” shin-digs and all that is involved at creating a recipe to share with everyone. Whether it be inventing something or tweaking an already established recipe – making it my own in some way is the most fun part for me! A lot of the time that I do “make it my own”, is the time when I transform a recipe to be more healthful or allergen-free (if possible), when it comes to the things that my personal diet needs to obey or those in my sphere of influence would benefit from (and of course others that find them helpful whatever their health goals may be), while still enjoying yummy goodness ;-)  One of my FAVORITE things about the Thanksgiving day menu is stuffing. This item most often makes it in to the Christmas holiday season as well. Back in the day, it used to be straight up Stove Top Stuffing. Then, it elevated to homemade, family heirloom-type stuffing dishes. Well, nowadays, I have an opinion on ingredients that are in the average stuffing recipe, mostly having to do with the grains that wreak havoc on our bodies that have a sensitivity to them, i.e. wheat, gluten, etc.  I learned several years ago I’m not supposed to have wheat, therefore I try to oblige by the recommendation of my naturopath and avoid this controversial ingredient. From the research that I’ve done, the wheat grain of today is not that of our ancestors and does things to our digestive systems that can be extremely harmful to our overall health. So, this Thanksgiving I attempted to make a gluten-free stuffing and it shocked the heck out of me! I was blown away how much it tasted like the good ol’ Stove Top and Grandma’s family recipe I’d grown to love, pre-wheat/gluten-free days. There are are some stuffing recipes that have been created that are gluten-free, but definitely don’t resemble the ones we are so fond of during the holidays. This recipe is a definite exception to those, and a home run. Using all organic, clean ingredients is preferred, if at all possible.

  • 1 pound (loaf) of Gluten-Free Bread (I prefer Sami’s Bakery Millet Sourdough Bread)
  • 3 tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 2 Onions, diced
  • 3 stalks of Celery, diced
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh Sage (you can use 2 teaspoons of Sage powder, if need be)
  • 1 teaspoon of dried Thyme Leaves
  • ¾ teaspoon of Sea Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper to taste
  • 2 cups Vegetable Broth (gluten free)
  • 2 organic, free range Eggs

Gluten Free Stuffing_1


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 3-quart baking dish with some olive oil.
  2. Cut bread into cubes about 3/4-inch square and spread onto a baking sheet.
  3. Bake the bread cubes in the preheated oven until crisp, 12 to 17 minutes.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir onions and celery in the hot oil until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir sage, thyme, salt, and black pepper into the vegetables. Mix toasted bread crumbs, chicken broth, and eggs into vegetables.
  5. Spoon dressing into the prepared baking dish and cover dish.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, uncover, and bake until top of dressing is crisp and lightly browned, about 10 more minutes.

PRINT RECIPE: Rockin’ Gluten Free Stuffing

**Sami’s Bakery

Sami’s Bakery is a family-owned bakery in Tampa, FL and have been in business since 1978. They make fabulous handmade breads, delicious desserts and other baked goods. You can order online through their website, however a lot of natural food stores throughout the country have their products on the shelf. I have been using their “gluten-free” breads and other products for a few years now. Some of their breads or snacks, although aren’t made with any wheat or gluten containing ingredients, may not say “gluten-free” simply because the facility where that particular product was prepared may have had other items prepared there that contained wheat, etc. therefore they can’t put that on the packaging. So, use caution if you are highly sensitive to wheat, gluten, or have celiac severely, to be safe.

Happy Holidays!


Healing Turmeric Spice Latte (Dairy-Free)

Turmeric LatteIt has been a little chilly the last couple of days over here on the East Coast of NC. No, I know it isn’t Polar Vortex cold, but it’s been frosty enough for me! I’ve been craving warm things like creamy soups, spicy teas, hot chocolate, and cozy fleece blankets that were a thoughtful Christmas craft of Mom’s. Although I often Vita-mix up a smoothie when I return from yoga class, for breakfast or lunch, today my body was saying a big NO when I was trying to satisfy my tummy. I was initially wanting my Turmeric Smoothie I love so much, but after realizing the shivery, damp air had made it into my bones, I opted to nibble on some egg avocado salad with a few sprouts and get creative with Turmeric in a way that would allow me to enjoy it warm in a favorite mug at my desk, instead of in a glass tumbler with my mittens on. I’ve read a lot about turmeric teas, golden milk a.k.a. turmeric milk, so I knew I could whip up my desired beverage with this healing spice.

Turmeric is affectionately coined by Ayurveda as “The Golden Goddess” and been used for centuries in the 5,000 year old natural healing system of India. For sooooo long, many different cultures have used this amazing, versatile herb to treat a infinite list of diseases and ailments. The most well-known medicinal action of Turmeric is that it is used as a powerful anti-inflammatory. It also acts as an analgesic, antibacterial, anti-tumor, anti-allergic, anti-oxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic – a lot of anti’s! Read more about Turmeric and Ayurveda here. Also, another powerful article I have most recently come across talks about why it might be the most important thing in our spice rack: 600 Reasons Turmeric May Be The World’s Most Important Herb

Anyway… I’m sold if you couldn’t tell!  And now on to my little creation – my Healing Turmeric Latte (and of course, Dairy-Free). This is now going to be a staple, especially on these more frigid kind of afternoons. Happy sipping!

~ Makes 2 Servings ~

  • 2 cups of Almond Milk, Coconut Milk, or other non-dairy milk (I use this one)
  • 1 teaspoon of Turmeric (I use this one)
  • ¼ teaspoon of Black Pepper (when you combine black pepper and turmeric, the absorption of turmeric is actually enhanced)
  • 1 inch piece of Ginger, sliced
  • ½ teaspoon of Cinnamon
  • ½ tablespoon of Coconut Oil (I use this one)
  • Raw honey to sweeten (if desired)

*From what I’ve read from several different sources, if you have an intestinal issue where there were to be anything ulcerative, don’t include the black pepper, as it could be problematic. Black pepper sometimes can make small cuts in the bowels of those that have Crohn’s disease.*

Turmeric Latte prepTurmeric Latte prep2

  1. In a saucepan, add all of the ingredients (except the honey) and whisk them together
  2. Heat the mixture over medium heat until it begins to slightly bubble
  3. Reduce heat to low and simmer for around 5 minutes so the flavors mesh together
  4. Strain out the piece of ginger
  5. Add honey to desired sweetness
  6. Blend briefly in a blender, Bullet (Nutri or Magic), so it becomes whipped and slightly frothy
  7. Serve in your favorite mug

PRINT RECIPE: Healing Turmeric Spice Latte

Stay warm!❤


Thanksgiving + Football = Bacon-Wrapped Avocados

Bacon Wrapped Avocados

Well, it is almost that time of year – actually less than 24 hours away! We are all collectively drawn together this particular Thursday in late November to conjure up meals that consist of new recipes, the good ol’ traditional recipes, recipes altered to fit new lifestyles, and so on. Most often, the precursor to the turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie, there are the spreads of appetizers that make you sometimes too full to eat the main course! Originally, we made this snack on Super Bowl Sunday and it was a crowd pleaser to the football get-together attendees.

If you are looking for something different to add to that display of the Thanksgiving snacks, which pairs lovely with the traditional pigskin (no pun intended) chaos going on the TV all day, this is a great one to plug in. You can use TURKEY BACON if you aren’t into pork. With this recipe we of course used uncured, organic bacon. Although we have not attempted it, I’m sure this recipe can be made sans meat, using a VEGAN bacon product. So maybe this recipe can be for all diet lifestyles😉

  • 1 package of Bacon (pork or turkey) – for pork we used Applegate Organic Sunday Bacon – uncured, minimally processed, casein, gluten and dairy free – this company has wonderful Turkey Bacon that we use, as well
  • 2 and 1/2  Avocados (organic)
  • Chili Powder
  • Sea Salt – optional (for light sprinkling after done baking)


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  3. Cut the avocado into equal slices
  4. Wrap each avocado slice with bacon – one piece of bacon should be good for 1-2 avocado slices
  5. Sprinkle chili powder over the slices of bacon-wrapped avocado; line them up on the baking sheet
  6. Put in the oven and bake 12-15 minutes

PRINT RECIPE: Bacon-Wrapped Avocados

Have a blessed day!


***Original recipe adapted from PaleoLeap

Garlic Cauliflower Mashed “No-tatoes”

mashed cauliflower potI was shocked when I tried this recipe… SHOCKED! I love mashed potatoes. Always a past-time at Grandma’s Sunday dinner (alongside her fried chicken, of course), present at every holiday get-together, the epitome of comfort food. It is hard not to love them. Well, I had a head of cauliflower one evening, had heard of this concept, and decided to play. A GREAT alternative to mashed potatoes for ANY occasion. And the two biggest holidays are just around the corner… Crazy, I know, but maybe this is a must try for those family shindigs!  I’m addicted to these and I’m O.K. with that! Because my hubby was in for some comfort food this particular evening, we paired it with some “fried chicken”, HOWEVER, this chicken was battered with an EGG WASH and some ALMOND FLOUR – totally gluten-free, grain-free. Just lightly fried up in some olive oil at a moderate heat, and it made a nice fried-like coating, perfect complement to the mashed “no-tatoes”🙂

  • 1 head Cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 5 large cloves of Garlic (using pre-peeled garlic makes this easiest)
  • To taste – Salt
  • 2 tablespoons of Grass-Fed Butter (preferably organic)
  • To taste – Black Pepper

Let’s get mashin’….

Fill up a large stock pot with a couple inches of water and set on stove on high, using a steamer insert in the pot, and cover with a lid. While you wait for the water to start boiling, cut up the florets and stems of the large head of cauliflower. Then, slice up the cloves of garlic. It’s easiest to use already peeled garlic that you can grab at most markets, but you can peel your own if you’d rather. Once the water is boiling, throw into the pot the stems, half of florets, and garlic. Salt everything liberally. At this point, put in the rest of the cauliflower, season with a bit more salt, replace the lid, and steam everything until it is soft, approximately 10 minutes. Test with fork to make sure the veggies are tender and don’t need to steam longer. Once the florets are done, put everything into a colander and let it drain. Once done draining, place everything into a food processor and add some black pepper and the butter. Process everything until smooth. Taste test for seasoning adequacy. Serve right away, place on a very low heat in a crock pot/warmer OR low heat on stove, to keep warm for ongoing enjoyment (at if at a gathering, etc.)

PRINT RECIPE: Garlic Cauliflower Mashed No-tatoes

fried chicken 2fried chicken and cauliflower mash