Zesty Kale Chips


Kale chips, by far, is my most frequently requested recipe outside of desserts.  Friends, family, readers, and remarkably self-aware Portland toddlers demand good kale chips.  There are a million ideas on the interwebs, and I feel as though I’ve tried them ALL.  And I don’t love them, I’ll be honest. Well, except for this brand.  I can eat that spendy kale goodness all day long.  But in general, I can’t quite get used to the bitter flavor of the brittle, crispy kale.

However, I’m always up for a challenge unless it involves something that I don’t want to do, like running a marathon or laundry.  Then I’ll gladly say Uncle! and curl up on the couch with a good book and glass of wine.

Given my love of kale and your great interest, though, I actually feel morally compelled to find a kale chip recipe that is not only passable, but doesn’t make me want to eat a whole cake afterward just to get the taste out of my mouth.

Cake Is A Liar

So, when I created a kale chip recipe that I wanted to eat compulsively, I did a little kitchen dance of joy. These little guys took  about 6 tries before I was satisfied with the results, and I ate them until I was almost full. Because you can’t REALLY get full on kale chips.

They taste wonderfully spicy, a little cheesy, and satisfied my snack cravings.  The only problem?  I wanted more.  I also used coconut oil which helped with the bitter flavor.  It is my favorite oil to use on the kale chips by far.

So, I give you Zesty Kale Chips!


  • 1 bunch of kale, washed, de-stemmed, and dried thoroughly
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil or melted coconut oil  (This coconut spray worked REALLY WELL, but I can’t vouch for it’s nutritional value or purity.)
  • 2 tsp favorite salt-free seasoning mix (I chose a Grill’n Chop kind, but Spike would work.)
  • smoked sea salt (which you can find at Trader Joe’s for cheap, or in the bulk bins at Whole Foods)


  1. After you’ve torn the kale into bite-sized pieces, put in a mixing bowl and spray or drizzle oil over leaves.  Mix well.
  2. Spread leaves over a baking sheet in a single layer.
  3. Sprinkle nutritional yeast over the kale, and then follow with salt-free seasoning and a very light sprinkle of salt
  4. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven.
  5. Kale should be dark green and even a tiny bit brown in some places, but crunchy.  Consume immediately.

So, there you have it.  My You-Don’t-Want-To-Eat-Cake-After-Eating-These-Kale-Chips Recipe.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

All Hail The Kale,

Crispy Quinoa with Chef Ricardo Zaraté

A couple of weeks ago, I met this fantastic chef.  His name is Ricardo Zarate.

Chef Zarate

He’s Peruvian, and is taking the culinary world by storm with his transformational, modern Peruvian fare. Jessica and I frequented his booth at the Natural Products Expo in Los Angeles embarrassingly often.  But we just couldn’t get enough of his exotic cuisine and mouth-watering cocktails.

It turns out, Chef Zarate has appeared on Knife Fight, has won numerous awards, and has been nominated for three James Beard Awards, which is kind of like an Oscar for chefs, but more prestigious.  Who knew?  He was such a down-to-earth guy and took time to talk to us about his food.

The common denominator in the deliciousness factor for my favorite bites was crispy quinoa. I loved the fish, I adored the ravioli. The cooked quinoa was wonderful on it’s own.  But there was something so satisfying about eating a slice of velvety sea bass sashimi with the satisfying, earthy crunch of quinoa. Chef Zarate was kind enough to give us a little tutorial in the middle of a trade show.  Here’s a quick tutorial on How To Make Crispy Quinoa:

In case you missed it, here’s the oven method.


  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt


  1. Rinse quinoa under running water until water runs clear.
  2. Put quinoa, water, coconut oil and a pinch of sea salt in a small pot.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook uncovered for about 15 min or until the water evaporates.
  3. On a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, spread a thin layer of cooked quinoa as evenly as possible.
  4. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes, stirring and redistributing the quinoa EVERY 5 MINUTES.  (This is super important!)
  5. When quinoa turns just a shade darker and is slightly crunchy, remove from oven and allow to cool.
  6. Store in an airtight container and sprinkle on everything for the next two weeks.


It never occurred to me to use quinoa as a garnish or to add crunchy texture.  Now, I eat it on EVERYTHING.  My toddler loves dipping his finger in the crispy quinoa and licking it off.  Kind of like a Lick-a-Made, but healthy.

If you are interested in more of his cuisine, check out his cookbook, set for release on in October.

Thank you, Chef Zarate, for taking the time to teach us how to make perfect, crispy quinoa.  Your cocktails weren’t too shabby, either.

Still Crispy,


Paleo Biscuits {Four Ways}

Red Lobster Cheddar Biscuits

Most of us have guilty pleasures.  My husband, who is an indie music aficionado, loves a little Brittany Spears.  It’s not uncommon for him to rock out to “Toxic” while taking a long run. An old boss of mine, who was a MAJOR wine snob, loved the occasional bottle of Boone’s Farm. My very health-conscious BFF can’t resist a spoonful of Cool Whip in all of it’s chemical creaminess, especially when it’s frozen.  No matter what your “thing” is, you almost undoubtedly have a guilty pleasure.

Or, if you’re like me, your guilty pleasure list rivals your regular {translation: acceptable} pleasure list.

At the top of my foodie GP list?  Red Lobster cheddar biscuits.   Fluffy, cheesy, herby, and comforting baked heaven. I hate that I love them, but it I just can’t help it.  Maybe they’re rooted in childhood nostalgia.  Maybe I love bread and cheese a little too much.  Maybe I’m a secret lover of chain restaurants.

Or maybe I just like what I like.

At any rate, I can’t eat those little biscuits from heaven without feeling like I’ve been dragged through hell the next day.  I’m sure the less-than-quality ingredients have at least a little something to do with it.  Also, wheat is my mental/emotional/physical kryptonite. I turn into a puddly mess approximately one hour after eating it and it takes me a full 24 hours to recover.

So, I did what any other carb-loving, cheese-worshiping home cook would do: I adapted it.  No gluten, no fuss, no troublesome dough or wheat-induced weeping.  Just good, old-fashioned guilty pleasure food.  Minus some of the guilt.


  • 1/3 cup coconut flour, sifted
  • 3 Tbsp butter, cubed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1-2 Tbsp chives (dried or fresh)
  • 1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning (optional)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)


  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, butter baking powder, eggs, honey, and apple cider vinegar until completely incorporated. (Butter will be slightly lumpy, and that’s okay.)
  2. Add chives and red pepper flakes then combine, and fold in cheese last.
  3. On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, drop biscuits with a spoon and flatten slightly.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.  Allow to cool almost completely before eating.


Maybe you don’t love cheese.  Maybe you just want plain biscuits.  THAT’S OKAY, TOO.  There is no wrong way to eat these bad boys.  You can omit the cheese and herbs, and you’ll be left with a simple coconut flour biscuit perfect for Eggs Benedict or a snack on the go.

If you’re craving sweet over savory, omit cheese and herbs, and add 1/4 cup raw chopped pecans, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp of vanilla extract, and 3 Tbsp of raw honey or Grade B Maple Syrup.

And finally, if you’re totally into cheese but are strictly paleo or dairy intolerant, sub 1/4 cup nutritional yeast for the cheese and add two tablespoons of unsweetened almond milk. This is my favorite variation for savory sandwiches.

Guilty Forever,


Chocolate Chip Scookies

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m a chocoholic.


I come by it honestly.  My oldest brother had a friend in high school who went to Belgium and brought back a 5 lb chocolate bar for him as a present.  My brother kept it in the freezer, woke up every morning, cut off a chunk and started his day with the world’s best chocolate for a few weeks.  My other brother, parents, and I would all look on with chocolate-lovers jealousy as we chewed our stale Cheerios in reconstituted powdered milk.  If we were lucky, we would get a taste.

We weren’t lucky very often.

In my adult life, I try to incorporate chocolate into my diet as much as possible.  In moderation, keeping it very dark, fair-trade certified, blah blah blah.  But there is something very satisfying about ending the day with a square of 80% cacao chocolate.  There is also something slightly indulgent about beginning the day the same way, too.

I had to give up grains entirely when my baby was small because many foods seemed to upset his stomach.  Almonds were always a pass, and so was chocolate.  THANK GOD.  Because honestly, I don’t know what I would have done to keep my milk supply up and my sanity intact. Dark chocolate made the busy days of exclusive pumping and caring for a baby while working 30+ hours a week mentally possible, and almonds made it physically possible. In fact, if I could give awards to food, almonds and chocolate would win the Food Oscar every time.

Breakfast has always been the hardest meal of the day for me to plan and prep.  I always crave something fast and healthy, with minimal effort. (Okay! I crave this every other meal of the day, too.  Breakfast is worst, though.)  So, I started experimenting in my little kitchen and came up with these simple and delightful breakfast treats. Really, they’re not limited to breakfast, and make a great snack as well. They fall somewhere between a scone and a cookie, so my midwife nicknamed them “scookies”.  The name stuck.  And then my clients started ordering them, offering to pay me way too much money for a dozen of these paleo breakfast treats.  Since I love cooking but lack the desire to become a full-time paleo baker and the Department of Health permits to do so, I gladly share this with those clients, friends, families, and now the Internets.


  • 1 16 oz jar unsalted almond butter (Raw is best, but roasted works, too.)
  • 3 large eggs  (I use duck eggs because they are super rich and my son is allergic to chicken eggs.)
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tsp natural sea salt (I prefer kosher style)


  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine eggs, almond butter, vanilla extract and honey.  Stir well.
  2. Add baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Combine thoroughly. (You can use a mixer, but I prefer using a sturdy spatula.)
  3. Fold in mini chocolate chips.
  4. On a parchment lined baking sheet, spoon dough in golfball-sized portions, leaving plenty of room to expand during the baking process.
  5. Sprinkle with a dash of kosher sea salt and bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven and altitude.
  6. Remove from oven and transfer to a baking rack to cool for 10 minutes before devouring them.


Eating a protein packed breakfast doesn’t have to be hard.  And it can even be full of things you like that fuel you, body, mind, and chocoholic spirit.

Peace, Love and Chocolate,



Sunbutter Brownies

Photo of Sunbutter BrowniesOne of my nieces, C, has a wicked peanut allergy.  It’s the epi-pen-everywhere-she-goes kind of peanut allergy.  She’s dealt with it all of her 11 years, long before it was the popular allergy to have. C was my first exposure to the reality of how profoundly devastating food allergies can be. I vividly remember my sister-in-law cleaning out their pantry and offering me a box full of nuts and nut products. The gentle reminders via email or phone call from my brother about their new nut-free home before weekend visits and family vacations in an effort keep C safe.

At the time, I didn’t grasp how drastically every social interaction changed for my brother’s family the moment C’s allergy necessitated an epi pen. It was a very serious condition for such a tiny human to deal with, and although I was fully committed to keeping her safe, I still forgot to leave the cashews in the car sometimes or check the label on her treats to make sure they weren’t made in a facility that processed peanuts. Luckily, my brother, sis-in-law, and oldest niece were vigilant and wouldn’t let anything that even hinted at peanuts to cross the threshold. (As it turns out, it was crazy hard to find toddler treats processed in a peanut-free facility 10 years ago. Now, it’s a bit easier because food allergies are so prevalent. ) I wish I could go back to 20-something year-old Carrie and give her a good shake about the reality of food allergies, and the sonic effect families with food allergies experience.

In spite of her challenges, C has always had a resilient and sunny attitude, even when it meant missing out on a special treat or experience with her friends or big sister.  C bounces along, continually looking for the silver lining, sharing her bright energy and outlook with the world. I wanted to create something especially for C, since nuts of all kinds are off limits now, and her family is trying to cut back on sugar. She’s a total chocoholic (it runs in the family!). Of course you can always sub a different seed or nut butter, but these are so yummy, there’s no need!


  • 1 16 oz jar of smooth sunbutter
  • 2 eggs
1 avocado (yep, you read that right) or 1/4 cup coconut oil…but it won’t be as good as the avocado.
  • 1 cup coconut crystals
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
20 drops liquid stevia
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 bar of 90% dark chocolate, chopped
pinch of salt


  1. Mash the avocado until totally smooth. You can put it in the food processor if you’d like.
  2. Add sunbutter, vanilla extract, stevia, eggs, and blend VERY WELL.
  3. Combine baking powder, cocoa powder, salt, and erythritol in a separate bowl, then add to sunbutter mixture, mixing well.
  4. Press mixture into 9×13 glass baking dish, and spread evenly. (A smaller dish is fine, too.)
  5. Sprinkle dark chocolate chunks over the top of the batter.
  6. Bake at 325 degrees for about 30-40 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool for 30 minutes before cutting.