Clementine Cake

Proof that grain free and sugar free is as delicious as can be!

Grain-free eating can be very intimidating. For our whole lives we have been eating breads, cereal, pasta, cookies, rice, crackers, and, least we forget, cakes! Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg of grain-based foods. So, to say that you are going to remove all grain from your diet can seem completely overwhelming. However, it doesn't have to be. Knowledge is power, and perception is reality. My suggestion to you is to learn about how, and why, you can remove and substitute grains before you actually take the actions to do so. Some great sites to get started are:

Mark's Daily Apple
Robb Wolf


Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

Long time no type! Lots of changes in my world over the past month; new job, new apartment (in less than 2 weeks!), new car, new phone, school semester finishing... It's been a little hectic! The new job has me in the car all day and traveling overnight one day a week. Getting ready to move and finishing the school semester has put quite a crunch on time. Shall I mention that I recently ran the Philadelphia Marathon?!? It was a lot of fun; good "bucket list" item to have crossed off :)


"Make it Paleo" Book Review!

The wait stops here! For the past few months you have seen the cover of a long anticipated cookbook from Paleo connoisseur's Bill Staley and Hayley Mason, who started an absolutely outstanding blog, The Food Lovers Primal Palate. Some of you many have even clicked on the book and checked out the site. Maybe even looked at the book preview. Well, I am here to tell you, Make it Paleo is worth every penny, and then some!


Roasted Beets, Eggplant, Onions & Scallions

Yep, another beet recipe! A little different that the last recipe, but equally as delicious. At first I was starting to get overwhelmed with the amount of beets I have been getting from the CSA, but I have really grown to like them. And these dishes freeze well which will come in handy when winter comes!


Paleo Portuguese Kale Soup

What is that?!? Celery, silly! No, I did not take this picture, but I like this one because it shows you the coolest component of our recipe today. Celeriac, aka celery root, is a super delicious vegetable that lent itself exceptionally well to this soup. Sometimes I think the gnarliest looking foods make for the best!


Dinner fit for a Queen

Well hello! Long time no talk :( I'm just stopping in for a quick visit, though. Over the next month I will be a little hard pressed for time. But I can't just leave ya high and dry! You guys are the reason that I do what I do. I appreciate your support and you are essential to the success of this site :)

I would also like to thank you guys for helping me clench a copy of The Food Lovers Primal Palate's new book Make it Paleo. I am holding my breath that by the time I get it I will finally have some time to cook! I can't wait!

Today's food features a delicious menu fit for a queen (me! haha). Bacon wrapped filet mignon topped with mushroom ragout, green beans with maple candied toasted almonds and dried cranberries, and garlic roasted blue fingerling potatoes, finished off with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Yes, my friends, you should treat yourself to a ridiculously fulfilling, nutritious, exceptional meal whenever time, money and resources allow you. Now excuse me, I have some food to immensely enjoy :)


Beef Medley

Let me start of with yes, I know white starchy potatoes don't have much of a place in Paleo cooking. However, I keep getting these gorgeous new potatoes from my CSA every pick up for the last month, and I can't throw them out (and I bet sweet potatoes would be a super sweet substitute :) So we finally got our first cold snap this afternoon (Fall is so close I can smell it!) and this recipe just seemed so fitting. Besides, for someone who's working out pretty intensely on a weekly basis would totally benefit from a protein-carb-fat dense meal such as this!

Beef Medley


Garlicky Dandelion Greens

So quick one today. I am bogged down with school work (and it's only the second week!), tons of stuff going on with work, and trying to have a life (CrossFit, picking up delicious CSA goodies, cooking, taking Momma out for her birthday...). And when things get crazy is when it's the easiest to loose control. It's the easiest to slip up and have that scoop of ice cream (guilty!), grab that bag of potato chips, snack on the candy bar from the convenience store. But this is when you need to be strongest. You might think it's quicker to grab this stuff from the store than to cook at home, but it doesn't have to be.


Grass Fed Beef Heaven

So have we covered all the basics? Eat only food our earliest ancestors had access to; check. Walk around a lot; check. Sprint sometimes; check. Lift heavy things; check. Spend most of your time outdoors; check. Sleep long nights; check. Fabulous. Knowledge is power, people, and with a stronger understanding of why and how we can better ourselves we are more likely to do it. Who has cleaned up their diet? Who has taken a stroll outdoors? Who has made a commitment to 8 hours? I bet all of you have taken at least one step towards betterment. And It's okay if you haven't taken the plunge into all of them yet. Baby steps. We gotta crawl before we can walk.


Zzzzzsleep... Fennel & Cabbage Slaw

**YAWN** Sleep. Who doesn't love it? Remember when we were kids and we could sleep for hourssss?!? Or when we were in college and took naps like they were going out of style? So why is it that now, as adults, we are so deprived of sleep? We typically spend less than 7 hours sleeping at night, when we really should be getting 8 hours or more. Why? Well, where should I start? "Muscle repair, memory consolidation and release of hormones regulating growth and appetite" are the major phases the body goes through during sleep. But that's just the tip of the iceberg, my friends. It can help improve your mood and reduce stress, which is something more people in this world need.


Outdoors If You Do & Sauteed Mushrooms with Onions and Garlic

August is the time of year that reminds me of why I love the great outdoors so much. The temperatures are starting to give way in the morning and evening while remaining bright, sunny, and warm in the middle of the day. Fall crops are really taking hold and coming to the peak of their season. School is just a few weeks away and fall sports are starting, if not well into, their pre-seasons. So, fellow healthy-living enthusiast, stand up from your desks and couches, back away from your keyboards and remotes, turn off that AC and STEP OUTSIDE!


London Broil with Seared Swiss Chard

Perfect topic for tonight seeing as I just got off the phone with my brother and one of our discussions was about lifting. Being female, I apparently am not allowed to carry heavy boxes, move large shelving units, or slug bags of stone into customers vehicles. Well let me tell ya something, sweetheart, I lift weights as a hobby. Why? For starters, I enjoy the fact that I'm not helpless. If something is in my way, chances are, I can move it. If someone faints in front of me and they need to be picked up, I can move them. If I have children I will be able to pick them up and carry them whether they skin their knee or are being chased by a monster. And, on a final note, my physique is rather enviable (oops, is that a bit forward ;).


Roasted Beets, Kohlrabi, and Collards in Garlic and Oil

Next topic, sprint sometimes. The theory behind this is that back in the day our ancestors walked around a lot (gather) and sprinted to catch their food, or run from it (hunt). Now I am going to take a completely different approach to this topic, seeing as we aren't running for (or from) our dinner. But we do need to sprint sometimes. To the bank before it closes, to the kid's soccer game after a long day at work, to get that proposal in before the deadline. However I want to stress the "sprint sometimes", ironically because stress plays a huge factor.


Barefoot & Chocolate Coconut "Fudge"

Are you a runner or an avid walker? Have you ever suffered from a knee or hip problem? Did the doctor tell you to get better running shoes with a thick heel to absorb the impact? If you answered yes to the first two questions, I am going to assume you will answer yes to the third as well. In that event, I suggest you get a different doctor.


Banana Almond Bread with Pecans

 Second topic up for Paleo discussion is walk around a lot. On average, men walk just of 7000 steps and women just over 5000 according to a 2004 study by Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke. That's about 3 1/2 miles for men and under 3 for women. However, it is suggested that we walk at least 10,000 steps (about 5 miles) per day. And under paleo "standards", that child's play. We should spend several hours walking each day. Not just the recommended 1 hour and 40 minutes.


Dark Chocolate Coconut Muffins

Starting a paleo/primal lifestyle is one thing. Staying on track is another. Sure, the concept is simple: only eat foods our earliest ancestors had access to, walk around a lot, sprint sometimes, lift heavy things, spend most of your time outdoors, and sleep long nights. But we live in America in the 21st century, people. We aren't that naive. The good thing is, we don't have to be.


Do Unto Others & COOKIES!

This one is for my Ma. She requested a baked goods recipe a few weeks ago and I finally got some time to bake something. Which, I might add, is one of the things that I make an effort to do as often as possible since it is something I highly enjoy doing, and as we know, it is important to do things for yourself. In this case it benefits many, something I believe that many of you will find to be the case with anything you do "for yourself".


Time for You & Mexican Style Ground Turkey

When was the last time you did something for yourself? I mean really put everything aside, took some time out, and did something you enjoy doing, just for you? Today I took 2 hours out of my afternoon and laid on the hammock and read my book. Sure, I had other things I could have been doing such as bill paying, practicing my presentation for class, house cleaning, or even writing a post. But what does it all matter if you are so go-go-go all the time you can never stop to smell the flowers?


One Step at a Time & Kale Chips

I work at a farm market that also has a deli with a full line of gourmet style prepared foods and sandwiches. It is absolutely fascinating to see what people purchase on a daily basis. Some come in weekly for produce, eggs, and some of our college raised beef. Others come in occasionally for our line of specialty sauces and dips. Many come in daily for their lunches, the majority of whom purchase sandwiches, sodas, and chips.


Stuffed Chicken with Savory Coconut Cauliflower

On the flip side of "can't" to "won't" to "will try", sometimes "can't" is okay. However, it's more of a "can't" to "shouldn't" to "can do this instead". Example? I ran a 5k this weekend. I started at the pace I usually do and quickly realized I was not going to be able to keep that pace. In a panic I almost stopped at about 1/2 a mile in. I could barely catch my breathe and my legs felt like rubber. However, not finishing was not an option for me. 


Maple Glazed Grilled Chicken with Grilled Sweet Potatoes and Zucchini

 For some of you CrossFit FiveStar followers, this post may look similar to one Shawn posted a little while back. It's about the word "can't". The word can't, otherwise known as cannot, is a just word, right? WRONG! It's a dirty word in disguise. It's an evil word masked behind a seemingly innocent word.


Apology! CSA & Butter Steamed Kale

Okay, so the truth is, I am super busy! I apologize for taking so long in between posts. In fact, I only have just a few minutes to get this down before I have to run out the door again. Spring/early summer is the busiest time for a garden center and I'm taking classes as well. I hate to make it sound like an excuse, but I feel terrible for not at least giving you a reason that I haven't been as active on the site recently.


Tandoori Chicken and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Balance is a skill for most of us. We have to learn it, use it, practice it, and, possibly the most difficult, learn to be flexible and create a new balance. This has become evident in my life recently as I have started a new job, am taking MBA courses, have change in gym classes, and would like to fit in a personal life, as well. Before my new job, new MBA courses, and new gym class times, I had much more personal time. I had ample time to plan my week's meals, create well thought out grocery lists, fit in extra running and biking on the weekends, and consistently get to bed by 10pm. But as the world spins it is inevitable that our lives will change. For better or worse, we must learn to adapt and change with it, without losing that balance we worked so hard to find.


Tips & Guest Recipe!

So it has almost been one week; how are you making out with the elimination of grains in your diet? Going farther back, are you doing okay with the Zone blocks? Personal experience suggestion: print out the Zone proportions, black out the grain blocks, and keep the page on reference in your kitchen, car, work desk, or where ever you prepare/eat most of your meals. I laminated mine for durability. Keep it out when you are making your meals or ordering food so you know exactly how much to put on your plate.


30 Days

But Bonnie, I can't give up grains. There's no way I can do paleo.

Oh really, how do you know? Have you ever tried?

No one said changing your diet was going to be easy. In fact, in the beginning, it's probably going to $uck. But all I'm asking is 30 days. That's right, 4 weeks and 2 days. One short month. Common, you have the whole rest of your life. And by the end of that month, when you realize that ya don't really miss the grains, and you feel a million times better, the rest of your life just got a little longer.


Paleo Part 2 & Shad with Carrots and Peppers

In the words of Greg Glassman, CrossFit founder, ‘Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar.” Or as stated in Mark Sisson’s words of MarksDailyApple.com rules for living, “1. Eat lots of meat, insects, and plants”. Even the theme of Michael Pollan’s book In Defense of Food, "Eat Food. Not too Much. Mostly Plant",. basically sums it up. Personally, I just eat food. Whole food. I mean food that looks like its ingredients. Like eating carrots (ingredients: carrots). Or grilled steak (ingredients: beef (or venison, bison, caribou, whatever works…)) Even almond butter (ingredients: almonds, processed until smooth). Simple. Delicious. Nutritious.


Paleo Intro & Roasted Asparagus and Bison Burger

I got a great comment the other day on my previous post on The Zone diet. It was a suggestion to read a book called A Life Unburdened: Getting Over Weight and Getting ON With My Life, by Richard Morris. This gentleman lost over 100 pounds by stopping all dieting methods. I will certainly look into this book and report on it in the future.

It does bring up an interesting concept, however, that ties in nicely to today's post. No dieting. Now, if you remember, several posts ago I made clear my stance on the term "diet". As defined by conventional wisdom of strict limitations of amount and/or types of food for a specific period of time with the intentions of weight/loss or improved health, I hate the term. As defined CORRECTLY, a diet is the sum of all foods consumed. And, when coupled with nutrition, a diet is a huge part of nourishing humans. It should be attainable, sustainable, and enjoyable.


The Zone & Garlic Pulled Pork

The diet style that I really want to look into first is the Zone. This is the meal plan prescribed by CrossFit and definitely is effective for losing weight. The Zone also does not strictly prohibit the consumption of any particular food. The two biggest components of the Zone are portion control and balance. 

The Zone diet works off of a block system; each food is categorized in a particular macronutrient (carbohydrate, protein, fat) and assigned a serving size. Each serving size is one block. The blocks are designed to provide each meal and snack with a macronutrient break down of 40% carb, 30% protein, and 30% fat. 


My Diet Experience & Sweet and Sour Carrots and Celery

Now that you know how I feel about the word "diet", I want to dive into two "diets" that I do support from both personal experience and expert advice. The two diets, of which you may be familiar, are The Zone and Paleo/Primal. 

First, I want to give you a little background on my personal experience with these two diets. When I graduated college it dawned on me that I had packed a bit extra baggage to take home. I moved back home and started a cardio kickboxing program at the karate school I attended as a kid. I also started training for a half marathon in November. I switched to eating mostly whole grains and lower fats since that was what most of the articles I found on MSN health and other sites suggested. Also, continuing with the "carbo-load" mindset from high school track, I ate tons of pastas and breads before a long run along with high carb "recovery" snacks after cardio class. October hits and I realize that I haven't lost a pound; if anything, I had gained more. So I started counting calories. I found an awesome app on my iTouch called Lose It!. It had me enter my weight, goal weight, and birthday (as a goal completion date). Soon I got the hang of it and slowly started losing weight. At first I tried to keep my fat intake below 20%, protein around 20%, and carb around 60%. After 5 long months I was down about 15 lbs. I was also super agitated, irritable, not quite approachable... 


Sweet Potato, Apple, Sausage and Spinach Medley

Today's post might look a little familiar to some of you; I am literally copying and pasting a previous post I did several months back. I feel that it is worth reiterating especially for our newcomers...

First I should say that I hate using the word diet. The majority of the American race incorrectly defines the word diet as a strict limitation to either amounts or types of foods to take place or a specific period of time with the intentions of weight loss and/or improved health. After their "diet" is complete they will go back to the way they were eating prior to the change. This definition is much more correctly defined as dieting (still a cr@ppy word).


Better Way to Start Your Day

If I had to describe the word nutrition in one sentence, it would be "nutrition is the key to life". Literally! If we do not provide our body with nourishment, it will perish. However, there are several levels of nourishment that we can attain. Let's use the USDA Beef grading system terms to define. At the top, we have Prime nutrition where our diet and lifestyle provide us with the necessary macronutrients, micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals to thrive in this world. Next down is Choice nutrition where we have to supplement our diet and lifestyle to access all of the necessary macronutrients, micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals to sustain in this world. A step down from that is Select nutrition where we follow a diet and lifestyle to loosely progress towards better nourishment, however we are usually caught in the tangled web of nutrition information available and not sure where to go. Lastly, and I believe this is where most people fall, is the Standard nutrition. People's diet and lifestyle is providing them just enough nourishment to survive, and many have no idea how to access the higher levels of nutrition.


My Commitment to Your Betterment!

Attention all Naked Kitchen Fans!! Brace yourself for a new path to health and wellness!

In conjunction with my box, CrossFit FiveStar, The Naked Kitchen will be serving as the platform for our nutrition program. I will continue to post recipes and informational ramblings. In addition, the posts will be heavily based on nutrition facts, theology, methods, and anything else that is pertinent to reaching our goal of optimal nutrition.

If there is any topic you specifically wish me to touch on, let me know! Also, please ask questions through e-mails and comments whenever possible! I could talk about what interests me all day, but I would rather talk about what interests you :)

Enjoy :)


Mission Impossible: Pancakes

My mission: cook pancakes every weekend. Enjoy life :)

So this post is a long time coming! Thanks for being patient, those of you whom I've promised that I was going to post it. 

My favorite part of my weekends is pancakes. It started when I was a kid. My Mom, Dad and I went to the cafe at the golf course right down the road from my house every Sunday for breakfast. Mom got the Belgium waffles topped with fresh fruit and a side of bacon. Dad got the western omelet with toast and bacon. I got the short stack of pancakes. Everyyyyy week until I was about 16 (when I entered the official working world). It was great; Dad would read the "snooze"paper, Mom would read the USA Today, I read the Comics; we all ate together and chatted causally about life with the sun shining down on us (we ate on the patio), the golfers practicing on the putting green, everyone with a smile on their face... ahh, memories!


Coconut Shrimp Bisque

As an American society we tend to look at rules as more of guidelines. Yellow light means slow down, but to 99% of us, we speed up. Sick days are supposed to be used when we're sick, but most of us use them to take the kids to the zoo. Legally we can't drink until 21, but.... you get the point!

Cooking on the other hand, should be viewed as guidelines, but most of us read recipes as if they are the be-all-and-end-all to the meal. I am here to tell you NO! Be as unruly as you want! Change the spices up, use a shallot instead of an onion, grill the chicken instead of broiling it, be bad! Really though, if a recipe calls for ingredients or a cooking style that you don't have or aren't comfortable with, change it up.


Tilapia with Parsley Pesto and Roasted Peppers

Doing something that you've never done before can be scary. It can be stressful. It can be daunting. Will you be able to do it? How will it turn out? Will people accept it?

But perception is reality, people. Look at it as doing something new. New is exciting. New is enriching. New is fulfilling.

Doesn't sound so bad now, huh?!? If you open your mind to the doors that can be opened by trying something new you will wonder what took you so long to walk that path. Stepping out of your comfort zone is  one of the best ways to grow yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically. Check out this article on stress management and how stepping out of your comfort zone is beneficial to your health. Or this journal entry from CrossFit; the second fitness standard explains how constant variation in exercise is beneficial.

How on earth will you know how something will effect you until you try it? Worst case scenario, if it doesn't work out, at least you will know to never do it again. Better case scenario is that you will gain insight on another way to try it. Best case scenario you see the light at the end of the tunnel and you ain't never turning back!


Venison Meatloaf Wrapped in Bacon

Last night at my CrossFit Box I had one of the most frustrating WODs (work out of the day) yet. It consisted my full foot box jumps (okay, no worries), push ups (one of my arch nemesis), and toes to bar (generally, no worries). Well, to my dismay, the push ups went over relatively fine, but the toes to bar literally held me back about 5 minutes. My kip (the swinging motion to gain momentum) was totally off and I  was so caught up in my frustration that I could not mentally get up on the bar. It was horrible. Yes, I scrapped two toes to bar because my toes didn't hit, and I wouldn't have it any other way. But I was determined to finish. And finish them well. When I did, I felt better.

Frustration can be a very beneficial thing. Maybe not in the moment, but it is a total signal of something that needs attention. What is causing the frustration? How can the frustration be overcome? From here you can set goals and make plans. Starting Wednesday at our box we have been on a mission to identify and "beat" our "goats". Colloquially defined as "things you hate to do or need improvement on", they are the source of your frustration. I certainly have quite a few. The WOD we did yesterday identified a huge goat that I need to work on- toes to bar.

So now that I identified my goat I made a goal to complete 3 sets of 15 toes to bar unbroken by April 15. My plan is to work on my kip this coming week, then 3 sets of 5 unbroken, 3 sets of 10 unbroken, and reach my goal the following class.

That's nice, you're thinking, but what does it have to do with me? Well, I've just demonstrated a S.M.A.R.T. goal and given an example of an execution plan. First, lets talk S.M.A.R.T. goals. This should be the only way you ever set goals.


Roasted Butternut Squash with Fresh Herbs

The use of fresh herbs always puts a smile on my face. Especially this time of year, knowing that soon enough I will be inundated with a daily fresh supply through my CSA membership. Additionally, I always keep a container of chives indoors to add to my omelets in the morning; my plants recently came out of dormancy into full growing fury!


Hunters Pie

In honor of the Great St. Patrick's Day, I raise my glass of stout to you, and cheers for the feasts and festivities that this day brings!

I love holidays. Any of them. Especially ones like St. Patrick's Day that are observed globally, even though it is a traditional Irish holiday. There is something about it that reminds us that we are all part of the same human race. We all get together, regardless of background, and celebrate whatever the occasion may be.

They are also a great time to show your appreciation for others. Whether you pick up some green-iced cupcakes from the supermarket to share with co-workers, cook a corned beef brisket for your family, pick up a 6 pack of Guinness for your buddies, or just simple and say "Thanks! Happy St. Patty's Day!" to the stranger who held the door for you, doing things without expectation of return will reward you ten fold in the future.

I made a primal-style Irish Soda Bread for my CrossFit Gym's St. Patrick's Day party tonight; did you do something similar?


Coconut Shrimp with Vegeable Stir Fry

My brother posted a tip on his blog the other day that reminded me of a super good practice. It may sound totally obvious, but I think that way way too many of us ignore it anyway. I know I do. 

Nutrition Tip of the Day: Avoid Poisonous Things. Whether this be plant (ivy), animal (bear), grains/beans/processed foods/hydrogenated fats (wink, wink), or even some of the people in your life – the easiest way and best way to get healthy is to simply avoid them. This includes the cookie tray at work (my weakness – thanks to Doug Gable’s amazingly talented wife)! Or, in a lot of cases, a person who whenever they are near causes you stress – except your boss, that is. This can be a tough one! Below Mark Sisson outlines a sometimes poisonous food. Nightshades. How can you know if something is poisonous in your life? Give it the 30 day challenge! Cut it out completely for 30 days – then give it a reintroduction. Don’t feel well? Stressed? Sick? Tired? Etc? Then it is not a good choice for you. I can’t do some types of dairy – but maybe you can. I can eat tomatoes though so sometimes it works out. We heard from Katie yesterday about the reintroduction of bread into a little ones meal and what the affect was. Many of you have commented to me privately of similar feelings. My uber realtor Sharon (also a member here!) told me just Tuesday about the affect she had after a recent reintroduction of a food long removed from her diet. The stories are all the same. Just give it 30 days. That’s all I can ask. Do you have a story to share? Click Reply All or Comment and let us know!

So what do you think? This recipe below contains peppers, a nightshade, however I have no adverse affects from them. However I consistently poison myself everyday with a job that constantly undermines my desires and abilities. Unfortunately the 30 day trial is uber difficult to meld into the working environment...


Seasons Change, try the Orange Thyme Halibut

Today while on my daily lunch break walk I saw the heads of tiny crocus' popping their cheery little head through the soil, the trees are starting to pop buds, and the birds are chirping bright in the morning as the sun is coming up earlier and earlier.

A change of seasons can be a great opportunity. Take this time to change, too. Use this weekend to tackle that mud room that looks like a hurricane hit it and turn it into something Better Homes and Gardens worthy. Change your morning routine to add 10 minutes of yoga (best season change I've made yet!) to get that flexibility you had as a kid. Go through your closet, get rid of anything you only like, and replace it with something you love. Try a new cooking method you've just been dying to learn. Remember, when it comes down to it, your life is all about you. And if you aren't happy with it, do something about it. This is your excuse to do so.


Grateful For... Pan Seared Steak with Peppers and Onions

Everyone has something they are grateful for. Unfortunately, we forget about that many times. When you're having a bad day it's easy to say "everything sucks", throw your hands up, and stomp around like a baby. And when you're having a good day it's easy to take it for granted. But at the end of the day it is important to reflect and recognize those things you do have, the people who are there for you, and the opportunities that lay ahead. By doing so you can realize an array of health benefits (check out this article from MDA)

Try this exercise: Before you go to bed grab a little notebook and number 1,2,3 down the left margin. Then, next to each number, jot down something you are grateful for. Don't think about it, just write the first thing that comes to mind. The events of the day will certainly have an impact of these three items, but that's what important. Be true to yourself. This isn't for anyone else's eyes but yours. And don't worry if the only things you're grateful for today are the bed your sleeping in, the air you breathe, and clothes on your back. Tomorrow you might be grateful for the letter from you're Grandmother, the bird's chirping in the first morning light, and the way your kitchen smells after you bake a fresh batch of cookies...


Shrimp Soup

Have you ever heard the expression that some of the most important things in your life will happen when you least expect it? Has anything important or life changing happened to you lately? Are you too caught up in your "responsibilities" to notice...?

Sometimes you've got to stop and smell the roses. Don't get so caught up in life. Granted certain responsibilities are, well, responsibilities (like feeding the baby, walking the dog, putting gas in the car). But stressing about things like work, relationships, finances, the ozone layer... can really reek havoc on your body and mind. Dissect each situation one at a time. Remember that you are accountable for your actions, and you have the ability to affect each situation. And don't ever forget, live for you.


Shrimp Scampi over Cauliflower Rice

One thing I love about being young is that I keep learning new things. Now I know that we will consistently learn new things throughout our life, but the younger you are generally you are more open to new ideas and can absorb them quicker. And I'm not just talking about education (although that is something I am huge into). I am mostly referring to life lessons.

Over the summer I attended a conference; I met numerous great people, gained a lot of insight to the industry, and, most importantly, learned the value of accountability. It was a small part of one of the many presentations over the 3 days, but it really struck a chord with me.


For the Love of Marinated Venison Tenderloins

Valentine's Day is right around the corner, a time to show your love and appreciation to those closest in your life. That's right, don't just focus on your partner- tell your mom and dad, siblings, close friends, co-workers, neighbors, the post man... anyone who means a lot in your life, that you love and appreciate all they do for you.



Hi Everyone!

I am really pleased to announce that my site is "official"! Please note the new web address:

Thank you all for your continued support. Continue to enjoy the blog and please, please share with anyone who thinks "they just can't follow that lifestyle" to see how easy it really can be. And for that matter, just share with anyone!

Enjoy :)


PS- If there is ever anything you have questions on, would like to hear my opinion, or would like to see how I would prepare, please leave a comment!

Chicken Vegetable Soup

Groundhog's day was just last week and Mr. Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow. Prediction: Early Spring! Unfortunately even an early spring is still 6 weeks away. In the meantime, here is an easy slow cooker chicken soup recipe that is sure to keep you warm.


Party Planning and Recipe for Salmon Pate

With Super Bowl Sunday coming up many of you may be trying to figure out what kind of snacks. appetizers, and finger foods you are going to have that aren't sugar laden, carbo dense, sodium packing, and full of mystery preservatives. Well, my friends, it is not as hard as you'd think! You just have to be willing to take a few minutes pre-game time and whip up a few delicious and nutritious treats that everyone will love.


Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Ever since I discovered winter squashes I have wanted to try a butternut squash soup recipe. I have some across tons of variations that sounded tempting, but all seemed more involved than I was really looking for. While I was home over the weekend my Mom was getting ready to discard a jumbo Fuji apple that she nor my Father had any plans of eating. Not being one to allow food to be wasted, I grabbed it right up. Later on that day I stumbled across this recipe on Everday Paleo; perfect timing! I had just picked up a package of pre-cut butternut squash from Wegmans and I always have onion, broth, and coconut milk on hand.


Almond Crusted Grouper and Sauteed Vegetables

We have all heard the health claims about including more fish in your diet, so what's holding you back?!? If you are worried about the price, shop for what's in season. It will not only be cheaper, but it will likely be fresher. Or maybe you are worried about the sustainability. Never fear, just download one of these handy guides and ease your concerns. Just because salmon reaps most of the hype, it doesn't mean that any ol' filet from the seafood counter is the best choice.

One of the nice things about fish is how simple it is to cook. Most firm white flesh fishes take on a lot of flavor (similar to chicken). You can pan sear, broil, poach, roast, grill, even microwave most fish in a matter of minutes. You can even pressure cook it to infuse flavor and keep it super moist. I do suggest staying away from using it with slow cookers, however, unless you add it in the last 30 minutes-1 hour (depending on size).


Roasted Chicken Thighs and Kale

I was recently asked if I someone could pay me to cook for them for a week. What a gig; I would love that! Regardless, the reason this questions was asked of me is because of my eating habits. I regularly eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, and several snacks throughout the day. My food intake is well rounded and whole foods in nature. I bring my snacks and lunch with me to work everyday and cook most of my own food. This baffles most people. However, it is not as daunting as it seems.


Shrimp and Sausage Salad

I love cooking, but I must admit that I enjoy the opportunity to have my meals served to me on occasion. A nice, relaxed atmosphere, where I do not have to worry about anything but picking what to have someone else prepare can be a welcome change of routine. It is even better when it is on someone else's dime! So when work sent me to a trade show earlier this week I embraced the experience of eating out. Plus eating in a whole-foods fashion can be a fun endeavor amidst the conventional American diet found on most menu's today. However, that being said, it also enforces my desire to teach as many people as possible about the faults and pitfalls surrounding that diet.

Many American's are now coming around to having good intentions about their diet. Unfortunately, many of the "conventional wisdoms" that they believe are incorrect. Or at least wrongly understood. Take this for example:


See, We Aren't Crazy!

When you tell people that your diet consists of low carbs, mainly achieved through elimination of all grains and other starchy food sources, and consists of high fat/protein, they tend to look at your funny. Especially when you are my size; 5'7" and 120 lbs soaking wet, and have the ridiculous amount of energy I have. Some are amazed and want to hear everything about it even though they have their doubts. Some will actually listen to some of my suggestions and start to change their diet. Some will down-right argue with me (bring it on!). I pray for the second group. Start with baby steps. That's what I did along with virtually everyone else I know that follows the same basic diet premise. And none of us are complaining. Why? Because we are right.

And for those of you who don't believe, who want more proof, or who want extra backup in the case for a healthier life, READ THIS. Rock on, LA Times. Spread the love.

Now, to figure out how to express this to America without another "fad" and/or extreme adaptation.... 


Non-Chili Lovers Beef "Chili"

Chili is one of those dishes that give just about everything you could need; vegetables, meat, fat, and flavor in one warm, easy to cook meal. However, I have never been a big fan of the chili flavor. But everything else this dish provides is right up my ally. I had to do something!

So I am not sure if this recipe can actually be considered chili since technically, there is no chilies or chili powder in it! But according to Wikipedia, my version it does have all of the other basics of this classic wintertime stew; peppers, onion, garlic, cumin, and beef. Additionally, my version gets its bulk from tomatoes, celery, and carrots, and flavor from paprika, dried basil, dried oregano, ground cinnamon, and a dash of cayenne pepper. For my first official pot of "chili", delish!


Kielbasa and Pineapple

I must admit, summer is my absolute favorite time of year. I was born and raised going down to the Jersey Shore just about every weekend growing up, and have made a solemn vow to myself to never be further than a few hour drive to an ocean. I thrive in the heat and highly enjoy wearing ** ahem** the least amount of clothes possible.

When at a recent company lunch party where I came across this (similar) dish, I was immediately reminded of summer. Being that it put me in such a positive mood, I knew I needed to find the recipe and whole food-ize it ASAP. And then share it with the world so they, too, could bask in the daydreams of summer.


Roasted Butternut Squash

You've been there, standing in the produce aisle at the supermarket with big, beautiful orange butternut squashes staring back at you with a can't beat price of $.79 per pound, locally grown non the less. You pick up the prettiest one without even thinking of how or when your going to cook it. Its a squash; they last forever, right? Then one day, you look down into your produce bowl at home and realize it's been a few weeks, maybe a month, and you should probably cook this baby. Oh no! you think, dinner has already been planned for the week and it totally does not include butternut squash!

Never fear, roast her up anyways. There is always use for some roasted butternut squash.