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.



Citrus Minted Melon

Citrus Minted Melon

This recipe is perfect for the heat of summer when crisp, sweet melon is paired with the cooling freshness of mint and mouthwatering effects of fresh lime.  I also love bringing this dish to a summer barbeque as a delicious, yet simple recipe.

I always have mint growing in the garden at this time of year.  The kids love running over and picking a leaf to munch on while playing outside. I enjoy watching them chew on the various herbs in the garden; mint being their favorite in addition to lemon balm.

Lemon balm is also in the mint family and would be a delicious addition to this dish along with lemon thyme.   Mint is cooling and helps with most stomachaches and can be invigorating to the brain in the essential oil form.  Lemon balm is relaxing to the nerves and perfect for unwinding after a long day in a glass of iced tea. All these herbs are easy to grow.  I recommend growing mint and lemon balm in a pot as they will take over your entire garden if given the opportunity.  I don’t mind having extra mint, so I let it roam at will in my garden.

Mint is one of those herbs that will root itself if you pick a sprig and put it in a vase.  I love mint also for flower arrangements in my summer bouquets.  It will last for a few weeks and by then will have rooted itself.  I often will send my guests home with a fresh bouquet of herbs from my garden so they can plant the mint, sage and rosemary in their gardens in a few weeks.  I especially love this because the plants I have now are ones that my mother originally planted in our garden when I was a child over 25 years ago.  It is so satisfying to send my friends home with a piece of my family history.

How do you pick out a great watermelon? My mom and Kansas-born father taught me how to pick out a good watermelon.  You want the watermelon to sound snappy when you slap it.  It will sound resonant and crisp versus a flat thud.  This is because a ripe, crisp watermelon has tight cells that hold in the juice of the melon.  If the watermelon is overripe the cells will start to degrade and get mushy therefore giving you that flat thud sound. I like to hold the watermelon in both hands.  Then with one hand I slap the melon and see if I get that resonant and crisp snappy sound and feel the vibration that travels through the tight, crisp cells to the other hand.  If it sounds dull and my other hand doesn’t feel a strong vibration I know I have an overripe melon.

Watermelon is rich in a phytonutrient called lycopene.  Lycopene is particularly important in cardiovascular health and some budding research has shown that lycopene may also be important in bone health.  In addition to lycopene,  watermelon has a rich source of an amino acid called citruline.  Citruline can be converted in our kidneys and other organ systems into arginine, which is particularly important in dilation of blood vessels, important in cardiovascular health.  Watermelon holds a power punch of Vitamin C, phenolic antioxidants and flavonoids to boot.  So sit back and create your summer memories with a crisp, sweet, minty and citrus rich bowl of watermelon.


8 cups of watermelon, cut into cubes
2 large sprigs of mint, stems removed and thinly sliced
1 lime, juiced
Optional: vanilla salt or a dash of sea salt to contrast the sweetness and to draw the flavors of the fruit forward

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Gently combine the mint and lime with the watermelon by scraping the sides of the bowl and turning the ingredients inward and repeat several more times until ingredients are well combined.
  2. Serve in a shallow clear, white or green serving bowl if you have one to allow the mint and bright red color of the watermelon to stand out.  No worries of you do not of course.


Blueberry Popsicles

Blueberry Popsicles

Today we made some blueberry popsicles.  Luca has a sore throat and was requesting that we make some.  I literally made them in 2 minutes while the kids were in the stroller ready to get some fresh air during our morning walk.  I love blueberries because they are rich in bioflavonoids that are great for lowering inflammation that comes with a  sore throat.  I also love them in the form of an icy popsicle.

Bioflavanoids give blueberries their deep purple color.  In addition to lowering inflammation in the body, I use bioflavonoids for the following: to strengthen blood vessels preventing them from rupturing or leaking such as in varicose veins, hemorrhoids and heart disease; as an antioxidant preventing cells from excessive damage and for enhancing the power of Vitamin C.

A nice little tip about blueberries I love to share with people is that when they are frozen their cells burst and release the bioflavonoids that are so beneficial to health.  This release of bioflavonoids make them easier for you to absorb, especially if you struggle with digestion.  Anther quick tip, if you do not have a high powered blender at home, just freeze your kale ahead of time.  Freezing the greens will burst the cells just like frozen blueberries.  The cells will burst and will blend smoothly rather than having fibrous pieces of kale in the popsicle.


3 cups frozen blueberries or frozen fruit of your choice
3 cups rice milk or milk of your choice
2 cups packed spinach or kale

  1. In a high powered blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour liquid into popsicle containers and freeze approximately 5 hours.
Spring Greens

Spring Greens

Etta and Luca found the Spring greens delectable this past weekend. We went outside between rain showers to bring in Swiss chard, mustard greens and mizuna from our mesclun mix we planted in the Fall. Mesclun is a mix  of young greens ranging from mild to spicy. Many seed companies will make their own signature mesclun mix.  Spring is a perfect time to plant a mix that suits your taste buds as a way to add more leafy greens to your diet. I often recommend leafy greens for many reasons.  Leafy greens are rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron, which make them excellent for the treatment of muscle spasm, constipation, and iron deficiency anemia. Plant based iron is more difficult to absorb compared to iron from red meat so just add lemon to the greens as Vitamin C will help iron to be absorbed in the small intestine.  You can also purchase an organic Spring mix from your local grocery store or farmers market if you do not have a garden.

A little side note, for those individuals who have hypothyroidism, I recommend they limit goitrogenic foods like spinach, cabbage, broccoli and soy (for a more complete list visit and type in goitrogenic foods).  These are typically wonderful for your health, however if you have hypothyroidism, goitrogenic foods can block the production of thyroid hormone.  Steaming goitrogenic foods will reduce their goitrogenicity.  Now say that three times!  Here is a quick salad I made for my family.


Serves: 4-6


5 ounces spring mix
10 medium to large organic strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup raw or roasted sunflower seeds
Sea salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons coconut or dairy kefir

  1. In large salad bowl combine the spring mix and strawberries.
  2. In small jar combine the dressing ingredients and whisk until we’ll blended.
  3. Add the desired amount of dressing to the salad mixture and toss. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds salt and grind some fresh ground pepper and serve.



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.


Purple Cabbage Slaw

Purple Cabbage Slaw

I grew purple cabbage in the garden this year.  I love going into my raised bed garden and grabbing something fresh and flavorful to add some rich color that vegetables bring to the table.  Purple cabbage, also known as red cabbage, is one of my favorites for many reasons.  The antioxidant rich purple color, the anticancer benefits of the brassica family, l-glutamine, an amino acid, richly found in cabbage that helps to heal the gastrointestinal tract, and last but not least, the crisp, sweet flavor!  Here is a go-to recipe I use frequently for a quick and fresh side for my fish, chicken or vege burrito meals. Enjoy!

1/2 medium head purple cabbage, core removed and shredded (thin slices)
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
fresh ground pepper and sea salt to taste

Combine all ingredients and toss until evenly blended.  You can easily combine purple cabbage, Savoy and green cabbage to create more color and texture.  This particular evening I combined, homemade black beans, organic flank steak, heirloom tomatoes, avocado and cilantro on the bed of slaw and made a salad.  I also sprinkled the salad with raw sunflower seeds.  My taste buds were very happy!  Leave out the flank steak and substitute chicken, fish or no meat for a more anti-inflammatory meal.

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.



Amaranth Pudding

Amaranth Pudding

I love to make amaranth for a quick breakfast or dessert.  Amaranth is a gluten free whole grain that is native to Peru and was used extensively by the Aztecs.  According to the Whole Grains Council, amaranth has one of the highest protein contents among grains as well as being rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron.  I suggest amaranth to my patients for its rich source of protein to help with blood sugar control and as a good gluten free alternative.  I like to use organic canned coconut milk to make it more like a rich pudding after the amaranth has been cooked.  I suggest this to parents when their children need to gain weight or for prevention of weight loss in patients with such diseases as cancer.  To make a lighter version, just use light organic canned coconut milk or any other milk alternative such as almond, rice or hemp.


Serves: 4

2 1/2 cups water
1 cup amaranth
1 cup canned coconut milk
3 medjool dates, pitted
fresh berries, apples, pears, nuts, seeds or unsweetened shredded coconut to garnish

  1. In a medium covered saucepan, bring the water and amaranth to a boil then reduce to simmer.  Simmer for 15 minutes or until the amaranth has absorbed the liquid.  Remove from heat.
  2. In a blender, combine the coconut milk and medjool dates and blend until smooth.
  3. Pour the blended coconut milk into the amaranth and combine until evenly blended.
  4. Garnish with the desired fruit, nuts,seeds or shredded coconut and serve.