Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Beirut. Burundi. Paris. And untold, unacknowledged places across the globe.

Recent events have reminded me we live in a world full of humans and we humans have a powerful opportunity with every breath we take to poke holes in our world. These pinpricks can either offer us a glance into a parallel universe filled with beauty and hope and love and compassion and eternal grace or a devastating view into death and destruction and pain and heartache and loneliness and loss.

It's crushing when the latter is chosen.

I'm convinced the only way to respond to violence is to grieve deeply and then do the work of cultivating peace in our own souls. To find beauty and worth and truth in whatever takes our days from normal to holy. To invest ourselves in that which leads us to encounter the divine. To find whatever allows us to smile more honestly, to look deeply into the eyes of a stranger and find our own stories there, to pause within the course of a day and say "thank you" - to tap into whatever this is daily and give ourselves fully to this work of peace-making.

I paint for peace.

I practice yoga for peace.

I giggle and laugh and walk in the grass and breathe with intention for peace.

These are my tangible, flesh and earth and life prayers for peace.

These are the things that allow me to look into the eyes of the person behind the counter and smile with authenticity. These are the things that give me the grace to wave at daily unkindness and see a lonely, exhausted, and hurt person instead of cruelty. To acknowledge that I've been there too, I've felt that way too, I've acted out of those places too.

I don't know how I would handle what has happened across the ocean. I hope I never have to find out. My heart breaks for those who have lost so much. Here's what I do know: I can't solve all things, especially these big, global things. But I can do the work within that brings freedom and forgiveness and peace. And maybe, just maybe, that's enough.

May you find whatever fills you with joy and creativity and life, and with each moment know that when you take the time to entertain this thing you do, you are cultivating peace in this world. 

This dish is a mainstay in our house. Full of healthy fats, protein, vitamins, minerals, and beneficial bacteria, my kids and I try to get this in at least once a week. We mix up the grain and flavors, Indian-spiced rice [in lieu of quinoa], Chinese 5-spice [instead of paprika], and parsley or cilantro [rather than dill] being another favorite.  

Serves 2

2 wild caught Alaskan salmon fillets
1 - 2 T. ghee or pure, extra-virgin coconut oil
sea salt
sweet paprika
smoked paprika
1 c. uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 c. water
1 c. fresh herbs like dill, parsley, cilantro
1/4 c. raw sauerkraut
1 avocado

Place uncooked quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold water until water runs clear. Put rinsed quinoa into a medium size sauce pan and add water and a pinch of sea salt. Cover and bring to boil over high heat. As soon as the water boils, reduce heat to low and cook covered until all of the water has been absorbed [approximately 7 - 10 minutes]. Once the water has been absorbed, remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.

While quinoa is cooking, drain salmon fillets and pat dry. Sprinkle each filet with a generous amount of sea salt, sweet paprika, and smoked paprika. Set aside.

Heat ghee or coconut oil in a small cast iron skillet or stainless steel pan that has a cover. Once melted, the ghee or oil should thoroughly cover the bottom of the pan. Once the ghee or oil is just beginning to sizzle, carefully place fillets skin side up in the pan. Cover immediately and let cook on medium-high heat for 3 - 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for an additional minute or so. Gently remove skin if desired and discard [great for compost!].

Arrange cubed avocado, fresh herbs, sauerkraut and cooked quinoa on a plate. Place salmon on quinoa, drizzle with a little olive oil if desired, and sprinkle with sea salt.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

PEAR + BLUEBERRY CRISP with cardamom and ginger

The other day I made a visit to an acupuncturist I see fairly regularly. I may have just lost you there - that needle thing, ya know? Gave me the willies too.

But then I went and it worked and I'm hooked.

On this particular visit, I walked in and immediately started in on a "I love fall so much but my body hates it!" tirade [my kids get their drama from my husband, I swear!]. My skin is dry, my bones are dry, my organs are dry - everything is dry, dry, dry. Except my nose - that's running like an allergy-induced faucet. She patiently sat there and listened, shared a wealth of her knowledge and experience, pinned me, and wrapped up with instructions to "eat more pears. Oh, and dates and fats too". Chinese medicine is brilliant y'all.

In good student fashion I came home with a bag of pears, opened my cupboards, and got to work. I shivered with anticipation as I combed together ingredients. It was as if my body could feel the nourishment before it physically received the nourishment. And here's the kicker - in a moment of intuition bliss I actually wrote the recipe down as it came to me. People, this never happens!

It turned out good. Really good. Breakfast, lunch and dinner good.

So here it is - may food be thy medicine.

Many fall blessings friends.


For the filling:
5 - 6 pears
4 c. blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
8 medjool dates, pitted and chopped into small pieces
1 c. water
1/2 c. pure pear juice

For the topping:
2 c. whole, gluten-free oats
2 c. whole, gluten-free oats, roughly ground
1/2 c. coconut sugar
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. cardamom
1 c. coconut oil
1/2 c. pure [local if possible] maple syrup

Peel, core, and thinly slice the pears. Place in a 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish. Add blueberries, minced ginger, and chopped dates. Mix with your hands. Add water and juice. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large glass bowl mix together oats, sugar, sea salt, and cardamom. In a small saucepan melt coconut oil and maple syrup over low heat. Once the oil has completely melted pour it into the oat mix and stir to combine.

Spread evenly the oat topping of the fruit filling.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes uncovered. After 45 minutes, cover with tinfoil and bake another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool for 15 - 20 minutes before serving.

Monday, October 5, 2015

MASOOR DAL with onions and garlic

Today I found myself thinking, “If only we didn’t have to eat. I could get so much more done.”

Uh oh.

We were just back from a 10-day trip and woke up late [vacation-lag], finding ourselves rushing somewhat frantically throughout the morning, just trying to make it out the door with hair combed and shoes on. Food was the last thing I needed to be bothered with.

I've learned, with a lot of practice, to watch these kind of thoughts with curiosity. It came from somewhere within me and is probably less about what I actually think and more of a red flag gently warning me something is off. 

I watched and waited.

Pretty quickly I stumbled upon this: I was feeling rushed and out of control, unprepared and unsettled. My body and soul were at work, signalling my mind for a time of slow. Interestingly body/soul chose food as the medium, something I deeply care about. The point was so blatant, so obvious I had to listen. Give up food? Yeah. Right.

I wonder if the act of eating – the process of growing, storing, and preparing food is actually meant to slow us down. The act of creating anything really - food, music, tangible art, literature, children - all of it begs us to slow our steps. It tries to connect us to a more sustainable, livable pace. 

In the same way the seasons can act as a guide if we allow them. Right now the high summer energy is transitioning to the more hibernation-like energy of winter, a time to re-coup from summer. I think our daily meals can show us a similar pattern. Chew or gulp anything really quickly, especially while traveling in a moving vehicle or in a state of anxiety, and you’ll soon find yourself suffering bloat, heart burn, indigestion, constipation, and abdominal pain. Chew slowly and intentionally a meal prepared with care and you’ll find yourself nourished and connected in a deep way. Not a new theory, however I need to be reminded of most things 70 times 7 to finally grasp the importance. 


After a school pick-up, I settled my youngest in for a nap and took my oldest upstairs. We turned on music, shared kombucha, and painted together. We left everything urgent and delved into the truly important - finding meaning, purpose, beauty, and excitement in the now. We slowed down and created something. I listened to the soul within me and entered into an extremely holy moment. My world slowed down to one breath at a time, one brush stroke at at time, the sweet smiles and sacred glances from my child. 

My shoes were off. I was on holy ground.

The more I listen to the whisper within me, the more I find power and transcendence within the slow, the quiet, the creativity in the daily. 

After four hours had flown by and we set our paintbrushes down, I headed to the kitchen to cook dal. Simple ingredients, slowly cooked. Nourishing, warm, holy. 

May you begin to be curious about the thoughts that pop up throughout the day. May you enter into conversation with them as if old friends are stopping by, ones who know you quite well. May you create time to create simply for the sake of creating and, in the process, may you happen upon holy. 

Serves 6 - 8
Adapted from Rodale's Organic Gardening Masoor Dal

4-5 T. extra virgin, unprocessed coconut oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 - 5 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 T. whole cumin seeds, dried
2 tsp. ground turmeric or 2 T. fresh turmeric, minced
2 - 3 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. sweet paprika [and/or 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. cayenne for spice]
2 c. split red lentils [or masoor dal]
6-7 c. water
1 can regular, full-fat coconut milk [optional]
fresh cilantro, minced
cooked basmati rice

Begin by placing the lentils in a mine mesh strainer. Place under running water. Rinse the lentils until the water coming from the strainer runs clear [or really close to clear]. Set aside.

In a large stainless steel pot, melt coconut oil over medium-low heat. Add minced onions to the oil and stir to coat the onions with the oil. Cook until onions are translucent and beginning to soften [adjust heat as necessary to prevent browning]. Add cumin seeds and garlic. Saute 1 - 3 minutes or until cumin is slightly toasted and fragrant. Add turmeric, salt, coriander, and paprika. Stir to thoroughly combine. Stir in lentils and water.

Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat as necessary to retain small simmer. Cook uncovered until the lentils are very soft and consistency is a little thicker than a creamy soup, stirring occasionally [approximately 30 - 45 minutes]. If it becomes to thick, add water in 1/2 cup increments. Once the lentils are fully cooked, add coconut milk if you are using [milk is completely option - with or without is delicious].

Serve over a bed of basmati rice and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Thursday, July 23, 2015


One of my favorite restaurants has an amazing chicken salad I crave from time to time. This is my
homemade dairy, soy, and egg-free attempt to satisfy a craving and use up a turkey I had tucked away in the freezer around Thanksgiving.


1 c. water
1/2 c. hemp seeds
1/4 c. olive or caper juice [optional]
3 T. dijon mustard
2 T. raw honey
1 lemon, juiced [about 2 T. lemon juice]
1 - 2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. sweet paprika
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 - 1 c. loosely packed fresh dill leaves, stems removed, to taste
1/4 c. loosely packed fresh chives, finely chopped
breasts of one turkey or two chickens [organic, pasture raised, local if possible], roasted* or cooked and shredded

In a high-speed blender, combine water, hemp seeds, olive or caper juice, dijon mustard, honey, lemon, garlic, salt, paprika, onion powder, turmeric powder, smoked paprika, pepper, and oil. Blend on high until very smooth and creamy. Taste and add salt or pepper as needed. Set aside.

1/2 - 1 c. thinly sliced radishes
1/2 - 1 c. thinly sliced celery

Fill a medium bowl 3/4 of the way full with water and ice. Set aside. Bring water to boil in a medium stainless steel pot. Add radishes and celery and blanch for 1 minute in boiling water. Remove vegetables and place in ice water. Let cool for a couple minutes and then strain.

In a large glass bowl, combine cooked and shredded turkey or chicken and blanched vegetables. Slowly add prepared dressing a 1/2 cup or so at a time until the meat and vegetables are thoroughly covered. Serve warm as sandwich, on a bed of greens, or on a bed of kale rubbed with a little olive oil to soften or refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with raw sauerkraut, olives or capers, toasted nuts or seeds, avocado, pickles, etc.


1 lemon, washed and cut into wedges
1 large handful each of fresh dill and chives
1 - 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. sweet paprika
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 - 2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 - 1 tsp. freshly ground peppercorns

Thaw turkey in refrigerator. This may take a few days so plan ahead. Prior to baking, remove bag of giblets from inside of turkey. Place the bird in a large glass baking dish and rub whole turkey with a little olive oil, paprika [sweet and smoked], sea salt, and freshly ground pepper. Stuff inside cavity of the bird with the lemon wedges and fresh herbs

Fill baking dish with 2 - 4 cups of water or enough to have about 1/2 inch of water in the bottom of the dish..

Cover entire dish with tinfoil and roast at 325 degrees F for 2 - 3 hours or until the inner temperature [thermometer in thigh] reaches 165 - 170 degrees. Uncover for last 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes to cool enough to slice.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


When I saw this original recipe my taste buds demanded that I make it. What emerged from the oven absolutely lived up to the reaction elicited by my mouth. I hope you enjoy as much as we have!

Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens "Baked Asiago Hummus" Recipe

2 T. coconut oil
1 medium onion, chopped into small pieces
1/2 tsp. coconut sugar
1 c. cooked garbanzo beans
1 c. cooked butter beans
2 - 3 T. warm water
2 T. raw sesame oil, more if needed
1 T. toasted sesame oil
1 clove of garlic
1/2 - 1 tsp. snipped fresh rosemary
1 tsp. red Himalayan sea salt
6 T. grated local, organic goat cheese [optional, omit for dairy allergies]

In a medium cast iron or stainless steel skillet, warm oil over medium-low heat. Add chopped onion and coconut sugar and stir to combine. When the onions start to sizzle, reduce heat to low and cook until just browned and soft. This could take up to 30 minutes so start well before you need the hummus but I really encourage you to not rush this!

Meanwhile, beans, water, oils, garlic, rosemary and salt in a high-speed blender or food processor. Blend on high until very creamy. You may need to add more raw sesame seed oil to get it really creamy. Pour the hummus in a glass bread baking dish or small baking dish of choice.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Top the hummus with the caramelized onions and grated goat cheese.

Place the hummus in preheated oven and bake for 12 minutes or until cheese has melted and hummus is heated through. Remove and serve warm with vegetables, baked root veggie chips, or crackers of choice.

Thursday, July 2, 2015


Over the next week or so my family will be celebrating two rather big days: the first being in honor of this country we call home and the second, a birthday for my first born baby, now entering into the BIG 5th year. Similar to loving the act of celebrating the birth of a person, I cherish that we pause as a country one day a year to reflect on the freedoms we enjoy, most without much thought on a regular basis. In light of many of the devastating events that have occurred within these borders over the last month or so, I think it is vital to remember we live in a land founded on the dream of a better future. It is more important, now more than ever, to continue to heal the brokenness hidden within the cracks of the land and souls of the people.

And I think it's essential that on this day, this fourth of July, we take a moment to say:

Hey, we live in a country where we are able to make choices, and mistakes, and differences and this is awesome. We live in a country where we vote and have discussions and debate and give our opinions and this is an incredible gift and responsibility. We live in a country of wealth and land and beauty and have the ability to give freely and help and pray and sit in wonder. We can choose our faith and schools and doctors. We can follow our dreams and have opportunity even when it all falls apart. We can travel and be welcomed home. We have big problems and small but we also have amazing minds and courageous voices who are working tirelessly to encourage us all to do better - to care more about others and the world around us. We experience pain and heartache and beauty and joy, sometimes all in a matter of minutes, and we have the people around us to walk with us through it all.

I'd say this is worth celebrating. For one day I encourage us to hang up the political chatter and lay down our nasty online grenades. To surround ourselves with the people we love and drink champagne and eat dessert and big green salads and enjoy the fruits of our land. To find a body of water to swim in for hours and remember to say thank you because clean water isn't something to take for granted. I urge us to stay up late and watch the sunset or admire the fireworks. I challenge us to be present and pause and, rather than thinking of all the ways we and this country fall short - all of the destruction and damage and heartache we've caused - to instead remember the ways we've given and changed and healed and shown the world we are kind and compassionate and work for all to experience the freedom we do today.

And then I hope we enter into July 5 with a new sense of unity and humbleness and the drive to leave exclusion and segregation in history, exactly where it belongs. Be brave and share a message of love. Take courage and look at the darkness within the confines of your own soul. Let's face our own demons in an effort to bring a little more peace to this world. And may we pause and give thanks - celebrating summer and freedom, grace and redemption.

Happy Independence Day, friends.

A few years ago I was introduced to a coconut milk version of panna cotta and fell for it immediately. I love the creamy texture, the light dessert taste, the summer of it all. So in thinking of a special treat for this upcoming country-wide holiday, I immediately went to this. It's simple, light, and a lovely way to end a meal.


If your curious about tigernuts [and why their not actually nuts!], head over here

For the Panacotta:

1 c. tigernuts [I've used Gemini as well as Tiger Nuts] or substitute any milk of choice
2 1/2 c. room temperature water
1/4 - 1/2 c. pure [local if possible] maple syrup, adjust to fit your taste
1 vanilla bean, scraped [check out this video for instructions]
1 - 2 pinches of sea salt
a large pinch of cardamom powder
1/8 c. pure gelatin

Place silicone muffin cups on a small cookies sheet or serving platter. If you don't have silicone muffin cups simply grease small bowls with a little coconut oil and set aside.

Note: If the idea of making your own nut milk sends you into a mild panic, check out this video first. It will hopefully dispel all your fears and insecurities!

Place whole tigernuts in a blender and cover with water until the liquid reaches the three cup mark [this is approximately 2 1/2 cups of water]. Blend on high for a minute or until the liquid is white in color and very smooth. Place a nut milk bag in a glass bowl or four cup measuring cup in the sink. Carefully pour the nut milk into the bag. Gently lift up the bag and twist at the top to make sure none of the liquid squirts out. Once the top is secure, squeeze the bag slowly [all the while hold the top of the bag tightly closed] until all of the liquid has been pressed from the pulp. Set pulp aside and rinse out the blender.

In a small saucepan very slowly warm the milk to just higher than room temperature [warm to touch]. It is really important to watch as heating it too much will cause it to gel.

Return the warmed milk to the blender container and add syrup, vanilla bean seeds, salt, and cardamom to the milk. Blend on medium. Turn blender speed to low and slowly pour in the gelatin powder. Blend on low for an additional thirty seconds or so.

Pour this liquid immediately into the silicone muffin cups or greased glass bowls. Place in the refrigerator for about two hours - overnight. To speed up the process you can put the panna cotta in the freezer for about thirty minutes or until it is firm but be sure to remove before it freezes.

For the Coulis:

I'm taking a bit of a liberty [in honor of the holiday of course!] calling this coulis, as most traditional coulis' are strained. I prefer it a bit chunky so I skip that particular step but you could run the cooked berries through a blender and then strain the pulp if you choose.

4 c. of berries of choice, fresh or frozen [I used equal parts strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, and sour cherries]
juice of 1/2 a lemon or about 1 T. of fresh juice
pinch of sea salt
1/4 - 1/2 c. pure maple syrup or raw honey, local if possible [adjust to taste]

In a medium size stainless steel pot, warm berries over medium-low heat. Cover and allow to soften into a jelly like consistency, stirring frequently. Once the berries have become very soft, gently smash any whole berries with a fork or immersion blender. Add remaining ingredients and stir. Cook over low heat for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


The other day I was driving with my girls, rocking out to "I'm a Little Tea Pot" and was blindsided by a thought.

For the last few years I've been known to refer to being a mother as "my job". In so many ways this role I play seems to look the part. I wear many different hats, cater to all sorts of needs, plan ahead and predict mayhem before all hell breaks loose. As a mom, I work tirelessly to give my children a life of joy and safety, learning and adventure.

But that day in the car, as I sang along far from on key, I realized what I do everyday is not a job and believing it is has cheapened the part I play in the lives of my daughters. What I've come to find is labeling motherhood as a job fills an insecurity I've been unwilling to face. If I can dress this insecurity up in a suit and tie at least what I do every day will feel a little more legit, a little less like a waste of time and a college degree. If I give myself a title, a legit answer to "what do you do?", for a few minutes I can play a part in the "real" world, thinking they won't recognize me amidst their hustle of emails and phone calls and meetings and deals.

Instead on the days I stay in pajamas until evening or "dress up" in athletic wear, I find a touch of shame attached. If this is my job, I should dress for success, right? On the days I sit beside the water watching my girls splash away an afternoon, these lovely moments come with a touch of guilt. If this is my job, then I need to be achieving something, right? When my husband asks each evening "what did you do today" and all I have in response is color, or go to the library, or aimlessly walk the streets of downtown, I find myself scrambling for more task-like accomplishments to tag on because, of course I'm working and need to have done something "important". You know, like laundry. When leftovers are what's for dinner because I'm exhausted from the beach and Farmer's Market and picking berries, a little of the contentment of summer is replaced with disappointment. I run a restaurant, remember? If motherhood is my job I need to succeed, accomplish, work, push, aim, and have each and every minute accounted for. 

But it's not a job and I'm not getting paid and believing I am is stealing the joy of this amazing blip in time. Because these years with my young children are that, a beautiful blink, and I'm tired of working and guilting and shaming them away.

What I do every day is this dynamic mix of every emotion and skill and being that I have. Sometimes it brings me to my knees in exhaustion and frustration and devastation and the desire to scream "I WANT OUT!". However, most days I look into the eyes of my sleeply little girls as they crawl into bed for a few morning snuggles and tickles and giggles and I think "I can't believe I get to do this. I can't believe I get to be their mom." And then the demands for breakfast come and I'm snapped back into "FOR THE LOVE! LET ME WAKE UP!". In these moments this place of motherhood I've found myself in becomes so much bigger than a job.

Being a mom provides a space to be myself without holding back, in fact it requires it. It allows me to go outside and swing for hours. It gives me quiet space in the middle of the day to recharge and breath deeply before meals. I get to go on adventures and watch my babies grow into beautiful, caring, hilarious little girls. I am humbled by the width of my emotions and get the opportunity to practice saying sorry. I get to show my kids a world full of wonder and magic and miracles and at the same time show them how to be kind and compassionate. I get to kiss them goodnight at sunset and hug them [morning breath and all] as the sun rises. I get to watch them explore and fall down and get up and see the look of pride and courage on their faces. Being a mom refines me and remakes me and shows me all of the areas within myself still governed by my very stubborn ego. It challenges me to be a closer reflection of the true me and pushes me to examine the pain and hurt in my own life in an effort to not parent out of those dark places. Being a mom gives to me as much, if not more, than I give to it.

So fellow moms, let's stop the charade that being a mom is mimicking heading out in the morning for a day of work. For those of you who work a day job and then come home to a family, thinking mom-ing is a job can only lead to resentment and frustration. If you stay home, believing you'll work a 24/7 job 365 days a year for the rest of your life can only lead to resentment and frustration.

Instead, let's try sitting in this beautiful moment filled with uncertainty, tension, challenge, difficulty, joy, laughter and tears. Let's fully embrace the role we play, not being ashamed if we don't have the bank account to show for it. Let's stop the insanity of pushing ourselves to be perfect thinking somehow we'll be fired if we take a wrong turn or receive a promotion is we have all our ducks in a row. Let's remove the shame and guilt and "what-ifs" and replace them with presence and gratitude and creativity. Let's get out of bed with the thought that a miracle has occurred - it's a new day and we get to do it again. Let's rise in the confidence that we are enough without labels and titles and paychecks and accolades. And let's embrace being a mom.