The Simple Side dish YOU must make! Baked Cauliflower

Cauliflower can be such a plain veggie.  Growing up I ate it raw only if covered in Ranch dressing or steamed only when lathered in butter, neither of these methods being even remotely healthy.

The Cauli Facts-

The nutrients in this brainy looking veggie help support the body’s detox system, antioxidant system, and anti-inflammatory system. These three systems help the body function optimally and protect the body from illness and even cancer. The nutrients in Cauli have been linked to warding off such cancers as bladder, breast, colon, prostate, and ovarian!*

Roasty-Toasty Cauli-

Cauliflower is somewhat taste-less on its own and will take on whatever seasonings you use. The fun about that is it is a blank canvas for you to play on!

I served this Roasty-Toasty Cauli with a big juicy burger so I wanted it to explode with flavor!


  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • garlic powder
  • pink sea salt
  • cayenne pepper
  • paprika
  • tumeric
  • 1 lemon
  • olive oil


  1. Rinse cauliflower very well. Shake dry. Break into pieces then set on paper towels to fully dry. Slice the larger chunks of cauliflower for even baking.
  2. Preaheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Spread foil on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil.
  4. Spread cauliflower evenly on baking sheet.
  5. Season evenly with garlic, sea salt, cayenne (to your spice desires), paprika, tumeric, and drizzle with olive oil.Cauliflower
  6. Bake 20 minutes. Flip and stir cauliflower.
  7. Baked another 20 minutes.
  8. Check for done-ness by by poking a large chunk of cauliflower with a fork- should go in smoothly. If not done stir and return to oven, checking every 5 minutes.
  9. Remove cauliflower from oven and top with fresh squeezed lemon juice.Cauliflower
  10. Serve with your choice of protein, I picked this burger-Burger



*Check out more Cauli Facts here:


Mmmm Mondays~ Delicious Vegan Baked Yellow Squash

Yellow squash is so very versatile.  It can be prepared so many ways!  One of my favorite ways to prepare this fabulous gift from the ground is baking it!  Baked yellow squash becomes soo incredibly juicy and takes on whatever seasonings you decide to glitter it with!  This baked yellow squash is the perfect side dish to any protein!  Leftovers of this baked yellow squash also are great on top of a cold salad.

The ingredients and preparation  may look simple… that’s because they are but they surely come together deliciously!


  • 2 yellow squash, sliced length wiseBaked Yellow Squash
  • basil
  • garlic
  • black pepper
  • olive oil


  1. Preheat toaster oven to 400.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with olive oil.
  3. Lay Squash on baking sheet.  Top with garlic, black pepper, and basil (as much or as little as you want).  Drizzle squash with olive oil.Baked Yellow Squash
  4. Bake for 20 minutes until squash has softened and ends are a touch brown.
  5. Cool a few minutes before serving.
  6. Enjoy!Baked Yellow Squash

Bonus Post: Cheezy Vegan Roasted Broccoli

I cannot remember the last time I had broccoli covered in melty cheddar cheese.  I have been cow’s milk free for over a decade.  I honestly never really missed it… broccoli is so delicious on its own!  But then I found Nary Dairy… this delicious treat is 100% cashew cheese.  I first came across Nary Dairy at the Studio City Farmer’s Market.  Nary Dairy cheezes come in a variety of fabulous flavors and are great used in dishes or as a quick pick me up snack.  These stuff is so much better than the other non-dairy cheeses I have tried because of its texture and flavor.  It melts perfectly and spreads like a champ!

Try this cheezy fabulousness and you will never be able to live without it!

Serves: 2-3 people


  • 3 c chopped broccoli1
  • 1 tbsp walnut oil
  • 1 tsp dried garlic
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp Nary Dairy Beddar Cheddar


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spread broccoli on foil lined baking sheet.  Top with walnut oil, garlic, and black pepper.2
  3. Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove and stir broccoli.3
  4. Cook an additional 5-10 minutes until broccoli is crisp and a touch light brown.4
  5. Add the secret ingredient.5
  6. Mix thoroughly.6
  7. Serve & Enjoy.7

Check out Nary Dairy’s website to immerse yourself in this delicious treat:

Spicy Kale Mushroom Sautee!

Mmm… kale is one of my favorite greens (can you tell from last weeks recipe as well?) and it’s not because it is just on “trend”.  Kale is one of the healthiest greens out there and can be devoured in so many ways!

This dish is Asian inspired and works fabulous served with a filet of white fish.


  • 1-2 tbsp Grapseed oil
  • 2 tsp fresh chili paste
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (soy sauce alternative)
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 2 c sliced mushrooms
  • 4 c chopped kale


  1. In a large skillet heat grapeseed oil, chili paste, and shallot on medium for 3-5 minutes.  Shallot should start to soften.
  2. Add mushrooms to pan.  Stir thoroughly.  Cook another 3-5 minutes or until mushrooms begin to soften.
  3. Add kale and sesame seeds.  Stir well.  Reduce to low and cover until kale leaves begin to soften.
  4. Top with sesame seeds.20140120_175202
  5. Enjoy!20140120_175705

Bulk up Your Bruschetta!!

It’s Friday!!  Are you having any parties over the weekend?  Having people over to watch the game?  Looking for an easy and healthy appetizer you can share with friends?

I love this because it is super cheap, easy, healthy and can be put together ahead of time making it great to take on a picnic!  All ingredients can be picked up at your local Trader Joe’s!  My good friend Heather Helfand first introduced me to this delicious recipe!


  • 1 jar of Trader Joe’s Bruschetta IMG_20130928_170440_492
  • 1 box Trader Joe’s cooked lentils
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • **Optional 1/4 crumbled goat cheese or chopped vegan cheese
  • 1 bag Trader Joe’s Veggie ChipsIMG_20130928_170428_817

Directions: (why this is sooo amazing! Easy as 1-2-3)

  1. Open the lentils and place them into a large mixing bowl.  Break apart the lentil chunks.
  2. Mix seasonings, bruschetta, and cheese (if you would like).
  3. Enjoy!IMG_20130928_170256_909

So good my dad (Mr. I Must Have Meat in Every Dish) scarfed it down! I didn’t tell him the dish was vegan/vegetarian but he was enjoying it to much I couldn’t break it to him ;).


Giving the French Fry a Healthy Make-Over!!

I don’t think I have ever met anyone who did not LOVE a good batch of steaming greasy french fries! In college we had a place completely dedicated to making them, Bel Frites. The place had average business throughout the day but late nights watch out! Bel Frites was located in downtown SLO in the middle of all the bars…after a night of drinking and dancing who doesn’t want to indulge in this fabulous treat!? The line was always out the door! Genius business idea and location if you ask me :).

As a health and fitness professional with an emphasis in nutrition coaching I know there is no real health benefit to eating this delectable treat.  I know potatoes are a great source of potassium…but after they absorb all that oil the health factor really becomes erased :(.  I know but they are soo good!  I love fries just as much as the next person and yes I do sneak a few off Anthony’s plate when he orders his occasional burger…but shhh don’t tell him that :).

So I decided why not make a fry that you could feel good about eating and most important feel healthy and energized after eating!  Thus the eggplant almond fry was born!  Well…somewhat born out of trying to make a GF eggplant parm that just didn’t work out so well in the toaster oven….but sometimes the greatest things are discovered by mistake!

Serves: 2-3


  • 1/2 large eggplant cut into fry shapes (cut thin or thick whatever you like)20130814_185714
  • 1/2-1 c Trader Joe’s Just Almond Meal
  • 2 eggs (egg replacer for my vegan friends!)
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp pink sea salt
  • 1 c of Trader Joe’s Organic Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce


  1. Preheat oven (in my case toaster over) to 350.
  2. In a small dish mix the eggs with a touch of water. In another dish mix almond meal, basil, oregano, garlic, pepper, and salt.
  3. Place a handful of cut eggplant into the egg /egg-replacer wash station then over to the seasoning station. Try to allow excess egg/egg-replacer to drip of each eggplant stick…otherwise it gets a bit messing in the seasoning station :)….letting you know from experience ;).20130814_185822
  4. Place each eggplant fry onto a foil lined baking sheet.20130814_185830
  5. Bake 10-12 minutes. Flip the fries. Bake another 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and eggplant is cooked thoroughly (how to know…try one…perks of being the chef).
  6. Heat up Marinara Sauce and serve in a “dipping dish”. Your guests will be impressed :).
  7. Enjoy!20130814_19483820130814_194912



Friends, Food, and The Outdoors

Need I say more?

My three favorite things in the world…food, friends, and the outdoors! This past weekend Anthony and I joined our landlord and some friends to celebrate a birthday at Malibu Wines, yes my fourth fav! 😉 This place is a wonderful location for a picnic like this because of the great live music and gorgeous grounds!

We had a fabulous time and were about to enjoy some incredible bites! Each of the individuals whom joined us brought a dish from their unique culture. We savored: El Salvadorian Guac, Italian Crab Pesto Pasta Salad, Asian shrimp and beef spring rolls, Spanish Fruit Salad, European Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus, and our American Mixed Green Salad & Goat Chevre with Peach Red Chili Jam. Much better than any restaurant could offer!

This Goat Chevre is one of my favorite simple appetizers! Trader Joe’s has this incredible three pack. Offering plain, red pepper, and fresh herb seasoned cheese. I enjoy paring these with some of Trader’s Savory Rice Crackers! Place the cheeses out on a nice board. Top the plain with some spicy Peach Red Chili Jam (available at Whole Foods) and you have some deliciousness!

I also threw together a hearty green salad. A nice salad complete with spinach, arugula, red bell pepper, green onion, avocado, marinated artichoke hearts, cucumber, topped with a little goat feta and tossed with my homemade lemon vinaigrette dressing! Simple healthy, and delicious!

And who doesn’t love ending the delicious chilly afternoon with a glass of wine by fire?? I love Malibu Wines. It is the perfect place for a great picnic!

A Taste Down Memory Lane

This warm spring weather reminds me of my dad’s amazing BBQ’d dinners. One of my favorite BBQ’d side dishes, which often times turned into my main dish, were his BBQ’d portabella mushrooms. As always I was not going to let this no stove, no oven, and no BBQ living situation stop my cravings! So I created a stuffed portabella mushroom that can be made using the hot plate and toaster oven. With the small cooking area I really focused on making this stuffed mushroom a complete meal. And man did it come out soooo good and hearty! Even Anthony, Mr. Anti-Mushroom, loved it!

Serves: 2

Time:  1 hr


  • 1 ½ tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp garlic
  • 2 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 yellow squash, chopped
  • 1 c sliced yellow and red cherry tomatoes
  • 1 diced shallot
  • ½ c prepared lentils (Trader Joe’s)
  • ½ c cooked quinoa or brown rice
  • 2 c spinach leaves
  • 1 lemon, juice
  • 2 portabella mushrooms, remove stalks and chop
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 tbsp goat cheese


  1. Preheat toaster oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Heat a fry pan to medium and add coconut oil, garlic, and shallots. Cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add squash and mushroom stalks to mixture and cook for 5 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
  4. Add lentils, quinoa/rice, tomatoes, basil, and paprika to fry pan. Cook an additional 5 minutes.
  5. Season the cleaned portabellas with olive oil and Italian seasoning.
  6. Add spinach leaves and lemon juice to fry pan. Cook 2-5 minutes until spinach has wilted.
  7. Stuff mushrooms with completed stuffing. Top with goat cheese.
  8. Cook mushrooms for 20-25 minutes until goat cheese is melted and mushroom caps are cooked.

This flavorful creation is one that you will want not only for dinners but also can be used for appetizers using the mini portabella mushrooms! Skip the goat cheese and you have a vegan meal!

Baked Brussels!!

As a child I absolutely hated brussel sprouts…the smell, the taste, even the look of the strange things! This year I finally grew up and gave them a second try. The trick…marinating the mini-brussels of lettuce and then baking them. I mean who doesn’t like something crunchy and full of flavor??

Serves: 2

Makes a great side dish or snack!

Time: 40 mins


  • 2 1/2 c quartered brussel sprouts
  • 1 tsp spicy brown mustard
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • crush black pepper
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar



  1. Preheat oven 400 degrees.
  2. Mix the spicy brown mustard, garlic, olive oil, and crushed black pepper.
  3. Pour onto the quartered sprouts and allow marinate 5-10 mins.
  4. Place brussel sprouts on a foil lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 18-20 mins
  6. Remove from oven drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Put back in the oven for 5 mins
  7. Enjoy.