Yumm Bowl

Yumm Bowl

I was asked by a mother-daughter group in Gig Harbor, Washington to teach a class on healthy meals that lend to the bonding experience our kitchens can provide between parent and child.  I was more than excited for this class because of my strong belief in creating deeper relationships with our loved ones through richly nourishing meals. I grew up in a home where we worked as a family to create these foundations of our health. What better gift than to teach our children how to prepare real food. Because of my parents commitment to whole food and healthy living, I now enjoy the making of my families memories while preparing our delicious traditions in the kitchen.

I created my own version of this Yumm Bowl from a recipe that was introduced to me by my Tante (aunt in German and Swiss) Meg.  Like I do with most recipes that inspire me, I modified this one to tailor to my families food sensitivities and to add even more colorful nutrients.  This recipe is perfect for families as children tend to have different taste buds that can be fickle from one day to the next!  With so many vegetables to choose from, our little ones can choose their favorites for this meal. Have your children appreciate the rainbow of colors in this dish and realize that the color of the vegetables is where the rich nutrients come from, which allows our bodies to have a healthy immune system.  I went to my local farmers market to pick up all the delicious ingredients.  Be flexible with this recipe to make it your own, such as using vegetables that are in season.  Have fun and enjoy!

Servings: 4-6

Yumm Sauce:

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup grape seed, canola or extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup almond meal or finely chopped almonds (sunflower or pumpkin seeds are fine here for nut allergy replacers)
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 cup cooked garbanzo beans
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried cilantro

Yumm Bowl:

4 cups brown rice, cooked
2 cups black beans, cooked
1 cup, diced fresh tomato
1/4 medium purple cabbage, thinly sliced
1 avocado, pit removed and thinly sliced
1 bell pepper, stem and seeds removed and chopped
1 medium yellow squash or zucchini, ends removed and grated
2 medium carrots, peeled then grated
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 can black olives, sliced

Directions For The Yumm Sauce:

  1. Combine the water and lemon juice in a small bowl and set aside.  Measure out the oil and set aside.
  2. In a food processor or high powered blender, blend the almonds, nutritional yeast, garbanzo beans, garlic, salt, curry, oregano, and cilantro until almost fully ground.
  3. While still blending, add the lemon juice and water mixture.  Next, slowly add the olive oil and blend until smooth.
  4. Transfer the sauce to a jar or gravy mote for serving.

Yumm Bowl Preparation:

  1. In an individual serving bowl, scoop some brown rice and place black beans on top.  Drizzle desired amount of Yumm sauce over the beans and rice.
  2. Next add the remaining vegetables and cilantro to garnish to your taste.



Garlic Ginger Stir-Fry

Garlic Ginger Stir-Fry

I make stir-fry when I want a quick meal after a long day at work.  Between chopping and stir-frying, I am usually serving the meal within 30 minutes.  I will start the brown rice first as it takes 30 minutes to steam. You can avoid the extra carbohydrate if you are avoiding grains or have difficulty with blood sugar management. I will then cut up the meat if I choose to use meat, such as organic chicken and then the vegetables on a separate cutting boards.  I have found that stir-fry is a great way for my family to consume a lot of vegetables, always a plus in my book.  I even have chopsticks for the kids, adding a fun and playful aspect to eating, while developing there fine motor skills.  You can find chopsticks for kids at most specialty kitchen stores or online.

Another aspect I love about stir-fry is the flexibility in the ingredients.  I usually look in the fridge and see what I have.  If I only have broccoli, carrots and onions, that’s what I am using for the meal.  I also will use, green beans, cabbage, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, celery, mushrooms and bean sprouts to name a few.  Vegetables are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber.  Vegetables do not require pounds of grain in order to yield one pound of produce, unlike meat. Therefore, vegetables are very sustainable for our environment.  Studies have shown that  a vegetarian diet can reduce ischemic heart disease most likely related to the reduction of animal saturated fat consumption.  There is currently a large study underway of more than a half million people called the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). This study will bring new data on the relationships between diet, lifestyle and environmental factors and the incidence of cancer, cardiovascular and other chronic diseases.  A vegetarian diet is also a form of food restriction and therefore in our overfed society with obesity rates sky rocketing, caloric reduction is a healthier option.

To reduce the caloric value, while benefiting from the dense nutrient value of vegetables, reduce the amount of higher glycemic vegetables like carrots.  For my patients with diabetes, I usually recommend consuming one serving or less of higher glycemic vegetables per day.  Examples of one serving of high glycemic vegetables includes one half medium potato, yam or sweet potato, or one medium carrot or beet.  Adding organic chicken, wild caught salmon or tofu to the stir fry is an excellent way to get protein while further improving blood sugar status.  Protein digests slower than carbohydrates and therefore will not spike blood sugars while sustaining good energy throughout the day.  I recommend this for my patients with hypoglycemia as well.  If weight management is an issue, I recommend a similar diet to those patients as well to reduce additional storage of carbohydrates as fat.  For a vegetarian option, add cashews or tofu or both.

Servings: 4

2 medium organic chicken breasts or 1 pound of wild caught salmon or firm tofu, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 heads of broccoli, florets and stem (cut the fibrous outer part of the stem and chop the remaining for the stir-fry
4 stems celery, sliced at an angle into 1/4 inch pieces
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut at an angle into 1/4 inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
5 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4 cup tamari or gluten free soy sauce (I will also use coconut aminos, a soy sauce alternative)
2 tablespoons grated ginger, peel removed
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste


  1. Steam brown rice or quinoa for the grain.  Rinse the grain and then add 2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth to one cup of grain.  Rice takes 30 minutes to steam and quinoa takes 15 minutes so plan accordingly.
  2. Cut the chicken, fish or tofu into pieces, approximately 1 inch pieces and set aside.
  3. In a stir-fry or large frying pan, over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoon of olive the sesame oil .  Add all the vegetables, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and pepper until carrots and celery are slightly soft yet have some crunch left to them.  This takes approximately 10-15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium frying pan, place the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and meat or fish into the pan.  Sauté until cooked then add to the vegetables.  Sauté an additional 5 minutes to allow the chicken to absorb some of the stir-fry flavor and serve on a bed of rice or as is.  If using tofu,  I will add some more sesame oil, garlic and soy sauce with the olive oil and fry them in one inch slices.  Tofu will break apart easily so I will flip the slice after 3 minutes so long as each side is golden brown and garlic is caramelized.


Robust Tomato Soup

Robust Tomato Soup

Last night we invited our good friends Heather and Jon over for an impromptu dinner. I found Heather painting the grape hyacinth flowers my daughter Etta and son Luca picked for her the evening before. It was that perfect spring day in Washington where the weather was fickle, alternating between a sprinkle of rain to warming sunbursts.  I decided to make tomato soup and fresh pesto with a dollop of homemade coconut kefir for our guests. You can use my pesto recipe and homemade coconut kefir from earlier posts.

This meal is low glycemic and good for individuals who struggle with blood sugar control.  I would not recommend this for those individuals who have rheumatoid arthritis or eczema or other inflammatory conditions as the tomato is a nightshade and may increase your symptoms. We have a small garden on the south side of our home.  The winter greens are beginning to burst with fresh foliage.

I love watching Luca munch on the greens pretending to be one of the deer that frequent our fenced in miniature garden.  Remind me to have my husband Tony build a 10 foot fence next year, as apparently this is the height you need to keep the deer out of your garden in North Tacoma!  Or I could just be at peace with the fact that the deer were here before we were and therefore I need to just plant more kale.  Lots more!

Before Jon and Heather went home that evening they asked me for the recipe so here it is. Enjoy a steaming bowl of robust tomato soup while watching your deer consume all your spring vegetation.  Hopefully with peace in your heart.  This recipe freezes well so if you are a small household just make one batch.  If you are a large household or are cooking for a bigger crowd, double or triple the batch.

Serves: 6-8

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 sprig fresh or 1 tablespoon dried rosemary, remove stem from fresh
6 medium carrots, ends removed and grated
4-28 ounce cans diced tomatoes (I use the BPA-free canned tomatoes, usually labeled on the can)
32 ounces of organic chicken or vegetable broth
sea salt to taste
fresh ground black pepper to taste

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil.  Sauté the diced onions and garlic until onions are translucent, approximately 5-7 minutes.  Add the herbs and grated carrot and sauté an additional 5 minutes.
  2. Next, add the cans of diced tomatoes, chicken broth, sea salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer until the soup reduces in liquid and the carrots are well cooked, approximately 45 minutes.  Dollop fresh pesto and coconut kefir as condiments and added nutrients!  You could even use raw or roasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds to sprinkle over the soup.




Vege-full Meatloaf

Vege-full Meatloaf

I love spicing up a traditional recipe. I add lots of vegetables, herbs and spices to enhance this protein rich dish. Protein is a major building block for our muscles, hormones, neurotransmitters and immune system to name a few.  I also love the simplicity and flexibility of  this recipe. Prep time is approximately 15 minutes, an additional bonus.  I always triple or quadruple the recipe to throw three other meals in the freezer for a later date. I freeze the meatloaf raw.  Use any ground meat that you prefer or 3 cups of cooked French lentils for a vegan or vegetarian approach. If you have access to elk or venison, please use these meats as they nourish the blood while being anti-inflammatory. Elk and deer graze on their natural diet of grasses and shrubs, thus concentrating richer amounts of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Grass fed organic beef is also higher in omegas than grain fed beef.  This translates as being healthier for you by lowering your cholesterol consumption while getting the rich source of iron that meat provides. I will recommend to my patients who are iron deficient to eat meat as heme iron sources are easily absorbed compared to vegetable sources of iron. For those patients who do not eat meat, I simply recommend adding lemon or other rich sources of Vitamin C to their vegetables to help absorb the iron.

Serves: 4

Temp: 350 deg. F

1 pound ground meat
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 onion, diced
1 large carrot, grated
1 cup spinach, chopped
2 tablespoons Worcester sauce
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 egg or the equivalent of 2 egg replacers
8 oz. tomato sauce

  1. Combine all ingredients and mix until well blended.
  2. Place meatloaf in a bread pan. Pour 8 ounces of tomato sauce over the top of the meatloaf and bake for 45 minutes or until sides are bubbling and center of loaf is well done.


Deliciously Gluten, Dairy and Egg Free French Toast

Preheat oven to 350 deg. F

1 cup raw cashews or mix of raw nuts and or seeds of your choice
1 cup rice milk or milk alternative
1 1/2 tablespoon flax meal
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon gluten free vanilla extract
4 slices gluten and egg free bread
  1. Lightly oil the bottom and sides of an 8×8 baking dish.
  2. In a food processor or high power blender combine the above ingredient, placing the bread to the side for later. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour half the batter on the bottom of the baking dish and smooth evenly with a spatula. Place the bread in the dish and pour the remaining batter over the top of the bread and again smooth evenly covering the bread.
  4. Place the French toast in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is lightly golden brown. Serve with all fruit jam and or maple syrup.


Vegan Lasagna

Vegan Lasagna

I love this meal for many reasons.  The rich and savory flavors from the robust marinara, the pesto and the mushrooms that infuse into the sweet and creamy cashew cheese are delicious.  I usually make extra and freeze a couple for quick meals in the future.  The cashew cheese is rich in good fats and minerals.  The mushrooms will pack an extra immune punch with their antiviral properties, not to mention they are also rich in chromium, a nutrient that helps to balance blood sugars.  Pesto is an excellent way to eat your greens.  Leafy greens are a great source of calcium, magnesium and potassium for healthy muscles, bones and blood pressure to name a few.  The zucchini replaces the pasta, so relax and enjoy this low glycemic, heart healthy dish!  I did not have a picture of my vegan lasagna so you get a sweet and savory picture of my Etta instead.

Serves: 6

4 cups marinara sauce (see recipe below)
2 cups pesto (see recipe below)
3 cups cashew cheese (see recipe below)
4 medium zucchini, peeled into thin strips
¾ lb mixed mushrooms, crimini and shiitake mushrooms, sautéed (see recipe below)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 ⁰ F.  In a 9 x 13 baking dish, begin layering lasagna beginning and ending with the marinara sauce. Use a quarter of each ingredient per layer.  After the marinara sauce, next layer with the cashew cheese, pesto, zucchini, and then the mushrooms.  Repeat process four times ending with the marinara sauce.
  2. Place the lasagna in the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes or until bubbling and hot around the edges.

Robust Marinara Sauce

Yields: Approximately 8 cups

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
6 large cloves garlic, diced
1- 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1- 28 oz. can tomato sauce
½ cup oil packed sundried tomatoes, diced
1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

  1. In a large sauce pan over medium heat, sauté the olive oil, onions, garlic, thyme and oregano for approximately 3-5 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until evenly blended.  Reduce the heat to medium low and let simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and set aside.


Yields: Approximately 2 cups           

2 cups fresh packed basil
2 cups packed arugula, kale (stems removed) or Italian parsley (stems removed)
2/3 cup walnuts
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 large cloves garlic
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

  1. In a food processor or high powered blender, pulse the walnuts, garlic and greens until coarsely chopped.
  2. Add the lemon juice then slowly add the olive oil in a thin stream while the food processor or blender is on.  Scrape the sides of the processor occasionally until the pesto is evenly blended.
  3. Sprinkle the salt and fresh ground pepper in the pesto to taste.

Cashew Cheese

Yields: Approximately 1 ½ cups

1 cup raw cashews
¾ cup water
¼ cup nutritional yeast
½  teaspoon sea salt
3 cloves garlic

  1. In a food processor or high powered blender, combine all ingredients and blend until the consistency of ricotta or until somewhat smooth.

Sautéed Mushrooms

Yields:  Approximately 4 cups

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¾ pound mixed mushrooms, crimini and shiitake (washed, trimmed and cut into ¼ inch slices)
4 cloves garlic, diced
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

  1. Over medium heat, sauté the garlic and olive oil for 1-2 minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients and sauté for approximately 8-10 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.  Remove from heat and set aside.



French Lentil Soup

French Lentil Soup

This is a deliciously hearty soup.  You will not miss the meat with this meal and it is very cost effective.  Lentils like all beans are rich in fiber, which is great for lowering cholesterol and preventing constipation.  In addition to being a great source of fiber, lentils and other beans are rich in magnesium, folate, iron and protein.  The high fiber also helps to stabilize blood sugars after a meal, and are low in calories per cup (about 230).  Another reason I love to cook lentils is you do not need to soak them before cooking.  Therefore, an easy pick for a fast meal.  I double the batch and freeze half for later meals.  I shared this soup with a couple of my friends, one of them suggested using this recipe as a meat alternative in burritos.  Great idea, Aimee!  One suggestion would be to have the  burritos the day after you cook these lentils as they will absorb the remaining liquid and will thicken perfectly for burritos.  I also want to thank another foodie friend, Doug, for introducing me to the delicious combination of spices that make up Garam Masala.

Serving: 8

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Garam Masala spice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cups French lentils or lentil of your choice
8 cups organic chicken or vegetable broth
1- 15 oz can diced tomatoes
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil until the onions are translucent (approximately 5 minutes).
  2. Add the carrots, Garam Masala, cumin and oregano and saute an additonal 5 minutes.  Sauteing the spices in the oil really helps to bring out the flavor within each spice.
  3. Add the lentils, broth, tomatoes, salt and fresh ground pepper and bring to a boil then reduce to simmer.  Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the lentils are soft.  Serve with a large green salad or baked leafy greens.



Lemon Basil Cod

Lemon Basil Cod

Tonight we walked down to Northern Fish Company on Ruston Way.  I love to buy our seafood from them because it is always fresh and delicious.  I wanted to buy some cod for a quick and healthy meal for our friends who were coming over.  I had just ten minutes of preparation time before they arrived.  I turned the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for the fish.  I quickly put 2 cups of organic quinoa and sprouted rice mix  from TruRoots into four cups of water with a dash of sea salt and covered with a lid.  I placed it on the stove to bring to a boil and then reduced it to a simmer for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile,  I pulled the cod out and began its quick preparation while the oven preheated and the grain simmered.  Who says healthy cannot be in minutes!  I love cod because it is not as expensive as other white fish such as halibut, it cooks within 20 minutes, and it is a great protein source without being high in Mercury.


Serves: 4

2 pounds cod, rinsed and dried
1/4 cup fresh basil,  removed from stem and sliced into thin strips
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons  extra virgin olive oil
1/ 2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place rinsed and dried cod on parchment paper or aluminum foil on a baking sheet with sides.
  3. Drizzle the lemon juice and olive oil evenly over the cod.  Sprinkle the sea salt, pepper and basil evenly over the cod.
  4. Place the cod in preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes.  The cod should easily flake but not be dry when done.


Immune Boost Soup

Immune Boost Soup

Today was a perfect day for a warming immune boost soup.  My family raked up the last of the cherry leaves from our yard and my husband needed a warming and enriching soup to help him fight his common cold.  I decided to use lots of garlic, onions and leaks for their antiviral and antibacterial properties.  I chose ginger root to improve circulation and to sooth and drain mucus membranes, particularly  helpful for common cold symptoms.  Shiitake mushrooms added an extra immune boost as they contain compounds that inhibit viruses from multiplying and have anti-cancer properties.   I topped off the soup with lots of bok choy to add some crunch and lots of vitamins and minerals for healthy bones and muscles.  Organic chicken broth was my base for its richness in flavor, though you can easily add vegetable or mushroom broth.  Add fresh crushed garlic to your soup just before serving if you need more of an immune boost.  Fresh garlic is more antiviral and antibacterial and will ward off anyone from getting too close to you if you are sick, thereby preventing others from getting sick!  Chalk it up to you just looking out for the common good.  Serves well with baked fish or tofu and a fresh salad.  Feel free to modify the recipe by adding tofu or a poached egg  for extra protein, which is also important for a healthy immune system.


Serves: 4-6

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
5 large cloves garlic, diced
2 leaks, rinse, remove the fibrous tops and root and thinly slice
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons ginger root, peeled and diced
1 cup fresh Shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
4 cups bok choy, chopped
8 cups chicken, vegetable or mushroom broth
fresh ground pepper and sea salt, if needed, to taste

  1. In a large soup pot over medium heat, saute the onion, leek, garlic and ginger in the olive oil.  Saute until the onion is translucent, approximately 3-5 minutes.  Add the sesame oil, pepper, and Shiitake mushrooms and saute for an additional 2 minutes.
  2. Add the broth to the soup pot.  Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to simmer.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes, allowing for the ginger to release its medicinal properties and flavors to infuse the broth.  Remove from heat and toss in the bok choy just before serving.



Herb Roasted Chicken

Herb Roasted Chicken

Serves: 4-6

Oven Temp: Preheat oven to 400 ⁰ F

1 whole fryer chicken
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juice ½ and use the other half inside the bird
1 teaspoon fresh or dried marjoram
1 tablespoon plus 1 sprig fresh or dried rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

  1. Rinse and pat dry the chicken with a paper towel.  Remove and discard any cavity contents.  Place breast up in a baking dish.
  2. Stuff the inside of the chicken with ½ lemon and rosemary. Squeeze the lemon inside the chicken as you add it to the cavity of the bird.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, marjoram, rosemary, sage, sea salt and pepper.  Blend all ingredients until well combined. Lift the skin away from the breast meat at the tail end of the bird and stuff some of the olive oil and herb mixture under the skin for extra flavor and moisture.
  4. Place in the preheated oven for 30 minutes then reduce heat to 350 ⁰ F for approximately 1 hour.  Depending on the size of your chicken give or take 15-20 minutes.  Baste every 30 minutes to ensure a golden brown bird.