Grilled Summer Salad

I’m all about inventive grilling.  I often slather a little oil on whatever food I have on hand and then throw it on the barbeque.  Mango, bananas, bacon, whatever.

So, why not salad?

Romaine lettuce provides lots of crunch, and holds up well over the flames.  The charred green onion is a throwback to one of my favorite traditional Guatemalan dishes, and adds depth, sweetness, and a little spice.  Top with tomatoes and Goddess dressing, and you have one of the best salads ever.  Of all time.

Also, if you’re looking to impress folks at a cook out or win over a friend or family member to Team Salad, this is The dish. It’s simple, surprising and full of flavor.

Don’t have a grill?  No problem!  Use a stove-top grill pan instead.


  • 2 hearts of romaine, sliced length-wise
  • 4 campari tomatoes, chopped (trust me, they’re worth the money!)
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • olive oil spray
  • dried Italian herbs
  • dressing of your choice, though I prefer something creamy like organic Goddess dressing with extra white wine vinegar for some pucker


  1. Mist romaine halves and whole green onions with olive oil.
  2. Place romaine halves flat side down on the grill, and allow to char a bit.  Flip over and allow the rounded sides of the romaine to wilt and brown up.
  3. While lettuce is grilling and wilting, char green onions on the grill.
  4. When lettuce is charred and wilted, remove from grill and sprinkle with herbs, salt, pepper, dressing. Top with green onions and tomatoes.

Prepare to have a new favorite summertime dish!  You’ll need a fork and knife for this salad and it is well worth it.  Even veggie-hating littles will love this.

What lights your fire?

Creamy Avocado Zoodles {Paleo Vegan Raw}

My friend, Feather, is hilarious.  She’s also kind of a genius.

We met when our babies were still safe little blueberries, growing fast in our bellies.  I offered Feather my drink tickets at my husband’s office Christmas party.  She declined, telling me she was pregnant.  Then I got (too) excited and exclaimed “Me, too!” and thus a friendship was born. And then our babies were born shortly after.

Our kids, E and Rosebud, were born exactly one week apart and Feather and I have been able to support and love each other on every part of this parenting journey.  We are often grateful that our babies conspired to bring us together, because everyone knows babies are magic and can totally do that.  E and Rosebud knew we would need each other.  They were right.  Because Magic.

One day, when our babies were about 6 months old, Feather texted me about a new product she had purchased called the “Vegetti”.  We giggled and turned into 14 year-olds immediately, and then spent an afternoon volleying inappropriate jokes back and forth between diaper changes and bottle feedings.  Because new moms need lots of distraction and laughter, even if it involves bathroom humor.  Maybe especially if it does.

Of course, I had to buy a Vegetti immediately. The Vegetti is a vegetable spiralizer and uses fresh vegetables, like carrots and zucchini, to make noodles.  I experimented and played with it, and came up with a really yummy dish (and several more jokes) that satisfied me for several hours. It also provided a big boost of healthy fat and nutrient dense veggies, which I desperately needed.  It was a fast, healthy lunch, and with a handful of cashews or some uncured ham, it was a complete meal for me.


*If you don’t have a spiralizer or don’t want to invest in one, you can use a carrot peeler and make wider noodles. It will work just as well, and create a slightly different texture.  You can also add some shredded parmesan to add depth and a hint of buttery flavor.

  • 1 large zucchini, spiralized, shredded or peeled
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 8-10 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3-4 leaves of fresh basil, chopped or ribboned
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • sea salt and pepper


  1. Put noodles and basil in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Mash avocado, adding salt and pepper and lemon juice.
  3. Add mashed avocado to the zucchini, and mix thoroughly.
  4. Add tomatoes and stir until they are coated in avocado and well incorporated.
  5. Serve immediately with fresh cracked pepper and a little extra basil on top.

Feather and I are still making jokes, supporting each other in the middle of our crazy times, and raising our babies together.  We even had a mommy getaway last year and Cannon Beach gave us this amazing moment because it somehow knew we needed it. Or maybe our babies knew we needed it and arranged it with their Baby Magic. Who knows?  But we definitely loved our wine and beach sunset. Kind of like you will love the zoodles.


Vegging and Vegetti-ing,


Daikon Fries

Doing a 30 day cleanse is no joke. A couple of days ago, I surpassed the halfway mark, and thought to myself “I’m not done yet?!” Nope. I still have many many many days to go.

So, remember how I told you I wasn’t going to white-knuckle my way through this? Well, I started to feel my grip tightening this week. I felt my resolve shaking and the draw for a piece of cake grew larger. This was no longer an issue of commitment, it was the beginning of deprivation.

Deprivation is NOT okay. Deprivation sends me (and you, too) into really unhealthy mindsets and behaviors. So, how do I deal with my deprivation and still stay the course?

I compromise.

I add rice noodles to my chicken and veggie soup when I’m feeling white-knuckly. I make some healthy chocolates. I grill a burger, top it with tomatoes, homemade pickles, fresh cilantro, and then I wrap it in butter lettuce.

I found organic daikon radishes at the salvage grocery store last week for less than $1. I had no idea what to do with them. I knew they would be slightly spicy, an unusual texture and fun to play with. So, what’s a girl on a white-knuckle free cleanse to do?


Daikon Fries

Those nagging feelings of deprivation, the unhealthy beginnings of berating myself while feeling out of control while attempting to exert ALL the control evaporated.  I gave myself permission to eat, to enjoy a compliant treat. I just needed to think outside the box for a minute.

Full disclosure: These are oven fries. They don’t get super crispy. They are also naturally spicy on their own, which I love but my friend didn’t. But I thought they were damn tasty and I would eat them again, cleanse or not.

Daikon fries would also be great with some siracha mayo, especially if you’re a fan of spicy food. (Siracha mayo recipe: add siracha sauce to mayo and stir until combined. Rocket science, right?) The fries were plenty tasty on their own with just a little salt and paprika, though.


  • 2 large daikon radishes
  • 2 Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • paprika
  • sea salt


  1. Peel daikon radishes like a carrot.
  2. Cut into matchsticks. (The skinner the cut, the crispier the fries will be.)
  3. Coat in melted coconut oil, and spread evenly on a baking sheet.
  4. Sprinkle with paprika, and bake at 400 degrees for 45-50 minutes, turning fries over halfway through the baking process.
  5. Remove from oven and sprinkle with a tiny bit of sea salt.  Eat immediately.

You could probably deep fry these as well, and they would taste super amazing.  I’ll probably try that sometime when I’m feeling like I need some deep fried goodness.  Until then, the oven is great, and the daikon might be my new favorite veggie.

Fries Forever,




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,

The Joy of Detoxing…and Fried Chicken

Can we talk about fried chicken for a hot second? I know this post is about detoxing and other super fun stuff , but I want to talk about fried chicken first.

Here’s the deal. I LOVE FRIED CHICKEN.

Not just regular fried chicken, but a Certain Southern Chain Restaurant’s fried  chicken. It was my first real job at the tender age of 15. I washed dishes, prepped the chicken, made coleslaw by the gallon using vats of industrial mayonnaise (gross), and rung up combo meals for mall patrons, all with a “How may I serve you?” and a smile. (Yeah, that was weird.)

My second brother, who happens to be a pretty funny guy and chicken-lover himself, wrote a song about me and it went like this:

This is my actual senior photo from 1997. Also, making chicken wasn’t really that fun.

Needless to say, I’ve changed quite a bit since my teens, but this song lives on in iconic mid-90’s jingle glory, and bunch of illiterate cows took my job as A Certain Southern Chain Restaurant’s mascot.

I continued eating A Certain Southern Chain Restaurant’s fried chicken long after I quit my job at the tender age of 16, and that same chicken fueled me well into my 30’s. When we visit family in Texas, I still try to eat it…but then I feel awful because it’s full of all kinds of things that don’t agree with my body. Like MSG and wheat. Super duper SAD FACE.

I lost a bunch of weight several years ago while we lived in Texas. You can read about it here, but that’s not the point of this story. I experienced some success, lost several lbs and was feeling fantastically good. And I mean good like my energy was returning and my hormones were evening out and I was starting to remember what it felt like to live without chronic inflammation. I was within spitting distance of the weight range where I felt (feel) strong, and I could begin thinking about slipping into my favorite little black dress that had been collecting several years’ worth of dust in the back of my closet.

So, I was on my way to work one morning, during a phase when I was eating from a very specific menu but feeling basically bionic , and I passed A Certain Southern Chain Restaurant’s fried chicken. I passed this particular location twice a day on my commute to work, and before I started my detox, I ate there a couple of times a week. But on this day, with my weight dropping and my hormones balancing and my energy vibing, ALL I WANTED WAS A DAMN CHICKEN BISCUIT.

My palms actually started sweating. I could taste the buttery, fluffy biscuit surrounding the perfectly pressure-cooked, deep-fried chicken and crispy tater tots posing as hashbrowns. My pulse raced. I envisioned myself taking the exit, pulling up to that drive-thru and eating the crap out of that deep fried goodness. The thought of the instant, flavor-filled. orgasmic mouth joy was so powerful, I took my foot off the gas pedal.

And then I took a mental pause.

I could eat a chicken biscuit. I would enjoy the hell out of it. I could give myself permission to veer from my restricted menu for one meal and then get right back on track. But there was a bigger issue at hand for me.

That chicken biscuit represented something far more powerful than an indulgent meal or comfort food.

It represented joy.

This is the moment I realized how unhappy I had been for years. The only consistent joy I found was in food. Not in my friendships, not in my marriage, not in my community, not in my career. Those all seemed complicated and often stressful, but food? Food was JOYFUL. It was simple. It was a happy escape with instant gratification.

I put my foot back on the gas pedal, and continued on my drive to work. With every mile I put between me and crispy chicken joy,  I became increasingly and acutely aware of how desperately I needed to find other joyful things. So, I started a list of things that brought me joy, in addition to food.

  • Adventures in Nature
  • Traveling
  • New Experiences
  • Reading
  • Dates with My Husband
  • Community
  • Hate-watching The Real Housewives of NYC
  • Creating Recipes
  • The Beach
  • The Mountains
  • Settlers of Catan
  • Yoga

Pretty fun list, right?

So, here’s The Thing. Finding joy in food was never the issue. Food being my only source of joy was, though. And this is why I love a good cleanse/detox/whateveryouwanttocallit. It gives me an opportunity to become present to my life, my food, my choices, my cycles of self-sabotage, my passion, and pushes me to do hard things and become stronger in areas that have zilch to do with eating. It also helps me reconnect to the joy of living, of really tasting and anticipating what’s is in front of me. And if I’m ever disconnected from those truths, if it becomes about deprivation and white-knuckling or a number on the scale, I stop. Because my mental and emotional health drive my physical health, and I will not sacrifice one for the other.

Every part of me matters.

There will be no Before and After pictures. Not here. The internet is full of those shots, and that’s not my style. I am not ashamed of how I look now, and I am proud of my body at any size. Anyway, PICTURES LIE. Just ask the creators of Photoshop and every celebrity ever.

There will be no How To Detox plans or tips, other than EAT REAL FOOD. And maybe avoid sugar, refined flour, too many salads, and cold foods (Yep, I’m looking at you, Juice Cleanse). Drink water and be gentle with yourself.  The end.

There will be an invitation, though. You’re welcome to rediscover what brings you joy as I reconnect with mine over the next 28ish days. I’m going to share my #platesofinspiration, both what I’m eating and other food I’m loving from around the internet, over on Facebook and Instagram. I’ll be posting my original recipes here, and if you click “subscribe” at the bottom of this post, we can keep track of each other, encourage each other, and share some great food along the way.

I still love chicken.  But these days, it looks more like this.
I still love chicken. But these days, chicken looks more like this.#platesofinspiration

And just so you know, if you need to stop and get a chicken biscuit, there’s NO SHAME IN THAT GAME. Because chicken.

Forever Buttering Buns,