Thursday, August 16, 2018

Recipe: Shrimp, Zoodles and Green Goddess "Pesto" (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

So you noticed that "Pesto" is in quotes, right?  There's no cheese in this one. (I know, a lot of you are saying "Booooo!"  But my Dairy Free friends are saying, "Yahooooo!")  Also, not sure if it is because I used a Magic Bullet, rather than a Food Processor (I'm not a cook remember?), but my "Pesto" came out delightfully creamy rather than "Pesto-y".  

Regardless, it was delicious--and totally healthy.  Lots of good veggies and herbs, healthy fats, and even some protein.  If you're not a shrimp eater, feel free to sub out with chicken, beef, beans, or whatever strikes your fancy.  It's all good!  Enjoy!

  • Spiralizer
  • Food Processor (or Magic Bullet!)


  • 2-3 Zucchini, washed, ends trimmed and zucchini cut in half
  • Coconut oil/Avocado Oil (if heating your zoodles) 
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves packed
  • 1/2 cup baby arugula packed
  • 1/3 cup hemp hearts
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped chives or green onion tops (NOT the white part)
  • 3 tablespoons cold-pressed olive oil
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon jarred capers, drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon of the caper brine (i.e., liquid from jarred capers)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
  • Freshly-ground black pepper to taste
  • Shrimp
  • Coconut oil
  • Garlic Powder
  • Lemon
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Chopped cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh Basil


  • Wash and dry your zucchini.  Trim the ends.  Cut in half.  Prep a plate with a paper towel to catch your freshly spiralized zoodles.
  • Use the "spaghetti" blade and make your zoodles.
  • Pat zoodles dry with paper towels
  • Now let the zoodles sit and go make your pesto

  • Take all pesto ingredients and add them to your food processor.  Blend.  Yup.  It's that easy.
  • Heat up your fry pan.  Add the oil.  Add the shrimp.
  • Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  • Cook until just firm.
  • Squeeze a little lemon on top.  Remove pan from heat.  Take shrimp out of the pan, put them on a plate.  
  • Choice is yours.  If you're a David Wolfe follower, maybe you like your zoodles crunchy and raw.  Me?  I like them just warm with a slight snap.
  • So...if you're like me, take your shrimp pan and wipe it out carefully with a paper towel. Please do not burn yourself.  That would not be cool (literally).  
  • Throw a little coconut or avocado oil into the pan and heat to medium high.  Once the pan is hot, toss in your zoodles and stir them around for 2 mins.  (They will still be a little crunchy.)
  • Do not overcook or you'll have a mushy mess.  Nobody wants that.
  • Put a little pesto over the top of your zoodles (if the pesto isn't runny enough, you can always add a little warm water to thin it out--there's totally enough flavor in there to do this) and mix it in.  
  • Shrimp goes on top.  

Maybe add some chopped cherry tomatoes on top and if you want to look extra fancy add a little sprig of basil.  Enjoy!  

Let me know how it goes or if you add your own little flair to the recipe!  

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Recipe: Cherry Banana N-ice Cream (Dairy free, Vegan, Paleo)

So I was super sad when I was told that I was allergic to dairy.  Like, suuuuuper sad.  

No butter, cheese, yogurt, milk, chocolate, cream, sour cream, creamy dressings, cream sauces, chowder, bisque, pizza, mac n cheese....and worst of ice cream!  Whaaaa???  How would I ever survive?  Especially during the summer!

Well, where there's a will, there's a way!  And here's the way!  I started making my own...sans milk/cream of course.  And it's easy breezy.

I even have a favorite flavor already.  It's cherry banana.  So here's my recipe for 
Cherry Banana N-Ice Cream.  (If you're wondering, the "N" stands for "Not". You can say it out loud like, "Nnnnice Cream".  Isn't that fun to say?)


  • Making this N-ice Cream requires frozen bananas. SOOOOO....When you buy bananas and they get to that stage where they're starting to get little brown spots on their gorgeous yellow peels, don't grumble and toss them out in a couple days.  Instead, peel them, cut them into bite-sized chunks and freeze them.  


  • I use a Magic Bullet (with only a slight's just on the edge of being not powerful enough!), but I'll bet you could use anything whirly--blender, food processor, Nutribullet, Vitamix, Ninja, etc.  
    • BTW, you may be wondering, if my Magic Bullet isn't quite powerful enough then why do I use it?  Well, it's sooo darn easy to clean...and I'm super lazy about washing dishes...true story.


  • 1/2  frozen banana (sliced)--you can guesstimate here as to how many slices make up 1/2 a banana
  • Frozen cherries (no sugar added, organic--after all, cherries are on the EWG's 2018 Dirty Dozen list)
  • Splash of liquid--water, almond milk, coconut milk, coconut cream, etc. (I use canned coconut cream from Trader Joe's.  Why?  Cuz it's organic and there are no weird ingredients like carageenan, guar gum, soy lecithin, or xanthan gum.)

  • Stick all the ingredients into your whirly thing and blend until it's the consistency you like (ie. Liquid-y like a shake or creamy like soft serve).  
  • Eat slowly!  Avoid brain freeze at all costs!
Image result for sliced bananaImage result for cherries

See?  Easy breezy!  Now, the fun part!  You can add stuff or take stuff out.  Like what, you ask?
  • To your Cherry N-ice Cream (AFTER blending) you can stir in cacao nibs, tiny chunks of Montezuma's Absolute Black 100% Cocoa (you can get it at Trader Joe's at the moment), and/or roasted salted pecans.
  • Swap out cherries for blueberries, strawberries, mangoes, power berry mix or whatever you like!  Just make sure there isn't any added sugar or other crap...cuz who needs that?
  • Add in other fun things like cocoa powder, PB,  cinnamon, or vanilla BEFORE blending.... or stir in nuts, toasted coconut, or similar fun stuff AFTER blending.
  • Maybe go totally crazy and add in mint leaves and chocolate chips, or pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice if you wanna go all Fall-like. (Please note...chocolate chips are most often not vegan or paleo if you're sticking to one of those ways of eating.)
  • Really, the possibilities are endless!  Have fun with it!

Image result for blueberriesImage result for strawberriesImage result for pecans


Friday, July 27, 2018

Are You Dying Slowly...or Living Vibrantly?

A lovely friend of mine posted the following poem (Muere Lentamente) written by Martha Medeiros and translated to English by Pablo Neruda.  

You Start Dying Slowly

Kinda thought-provoking and beautiful, right?  
And then I thought...why do we have to go down that path? Why can't we change our direction...change our mindset...focus on the positive?  So here's what I've got...

So my wish for you today is that you find ways to live vibrantly.  Let me know how it goes!

Hugs to you!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

A Confession....

 Hey Lovely Humans!
I need to tell you something.  I'm going to post more recipes on my blog.  A lot of them.  But I have a confession to make.  I'm not a chef.  To be honest, I might not even be that great of a cook!

But bear with me.   I'm trying.  I'm making an effort to eat at home as much as I can.

Why?  Lots of reasons.  Like a million reasons.  But I'll only list my top 5 here.

First Reason.  Veggies.  Real ones. 

Honestly, when I go out to eat, my veggie of choice is usually fries.  Or maybe sweet potato fries (Because for some reason, in my head, those are more healthy.  Maybe it's the orange color?)  Regardless, eating at home means more real veggies (you know, the green ones?) and less fries, which we all know are not good for you.

Image result for leafy greens

Second Reason.  Additives and Preservatives 

Yeah, I'm talking about all those weird chemicals they add to food to make it last longer, look better, improve the texture, or cause you to want more.  (Feel "addicted" to some foods?  Yup, you're not crazy.  There's an actual chemical reason for that.)   Besides, a lot of those weird additives (preservatives, stabilizers, food coloring, sweeteners, flavor enhancers, etc.) have links to really serious stuff like headaches, asthma, rashes, anxiety, hyperactivity, diabetes, nerve issues, thyroid problems, chromosome damage, fertility problems and cancer.  And here's the REALLY scary part...a handful of those additives are banned in other countries, but not here in the U.S.  What?  Yup.  How does THAT make you feel?

If you need a little eye opener, check out this great little article on Food Matters: .   It gives you some specific creepy chemicals to look out for--and the best part is...if you cook at home, you can avoid them altogether!

Image result for scientist

Third Reason.  The Cost of Health

So you know I'm trying to eat healthy, right?  Well, the "healthy" menu items (steak and veggies, baked fish, organic items, farm to table stuff, etc.) always seem to come with a crazy price tag.  So what do I do?  "Burger please!"  And there I am with this ginormous hunk of commercially raised, antibiotic and hormone stuffed meat topped with day-glow cheese, sugar-sweetened sauces, probably bacon, and enveloped in a big doughy bun (made doughy by those nasty chemicals mentioned above).  And oh yeah, there's the fries again!  Enough for six people.  And I eat them all!   I just can't help myself!  

BUT, if I eat at home, I can spend the same amount of money, get rid of all the creepy chemicals, have delicious healthy food (organic, even!), in normal sized portions, and make four servings for the same price as feeding just little old me!   It's a win, right?  Financially, it just makes sense!

Gefällt 4,620 Mal, 73 Kommentare - GoodEatsInLa (@goodeatsinla) auf Instagram: „You can definitely never get enough of curly fries. Pair that with a monstrous burger, and you can…“

Fourth Reason.  Vitamin L

OK, get ready, this is going to sound a little hokey.  But trust me, it's a thing!  

So, Joshua Rosenthal, the founder of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, talks a lot about Vitamin L and its importance to our health.  Vitamin L is Love.  He says you can eat all the broccoli and kale in the world, but if you don't have love you still won't be nourished enough to be healthy and happy.  

So when I eat at home, there's a lot moreVitamin L than there would be when I eat out.  It's intertwined with thoughtfulness when I'm thinking up what I might whip up for hubby or guests that will make them feel cared for and loved.  It goes into the food prep when I'm peeling and chopping as I hum along to my favorite song (Have you seen food prep in a restaurant?  Not always a lot of Vitamin L or positive vibes...).  And, most importantly, there's a lot of Vitamin L when I get to sit down with hubby, family, or friends and share food and stories without being surrounded by a bunch of noisy people, having big screen TV's in every corner, or staring at the water glass sitting in front of me that has someone else's lipstick still smudged along the rim (gross).  

Plus, it makes me feel really good when I see hubby dig into some strange new recipe I decided to try out...and he actually likes it!  :)

Fifth Reason.  Practice makes Progress.

I'd love to say, "Practice makes Perfect", but we all know, nobody is perfect!  :)  

Like I said, I'm not a great cook....right now.  

But the more I cook at home and the more I experiment, the better I'll get.  And I want to be good--not just so I can feel confident nourishing my family and friends, but so I can help others do the same.  

As a health coach, I want to be a great resource for others...  

Want to make meals that are quick and easy?  Need something gluten-free, dairy-free or egg-free?  Need something vegetarian that tastes great?  Want to get rid of that sugar addiction?

I want to have options for people--options that are nutritious, healthy, and promote bio-individuality (not every meal works for every person's dietary needs).  

So I'm going to practice.  

And you can practice too.  I'll post a recipe.  You try it.   Let me know what you think.  How would you tweak it to fit your needs?  Is it something your family would like?  

Is there a recipe YOU make all the time that you just LOVE?  Share it with me!  I'll try yours too!  

Cooking at home should be fun...and easy!  We don't have to make some big fancy thing every night.  Just something fresh and nutritious made with Vitamin L!  It is possible!  Let's give it a try and Live Better!


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Recipe: Instant Pot Balsamic and Tomato Chicken with Greens (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

We hosted a small cookout at our condo on the 4th of July.  I bought a Costco-sized package of tomatoes for slicing and to chuck into  a bean salad I was making, but I still ended up with a TON of leftovers (I'm clueless when it comes to figuring out how much people actually eat!).  So anyway, rather then waiting a week and then throwing a bunch of tomatoes out once they went bad, I decided to be proactive and find a yummy, healthy recipe and use them up.  

I think I found a winner!

But be warned...

Taste=10     Looks=4  

LOL!  Not the prettiest dish.  

So I'm thinking if you're a gluten eater, you could pair this with pasta (and a crusty bread to soak up all the nice liquid).  If you're not, you could serve with brown rice, polenta, quinoa, or even riced cauliflower.  If you eat dairy, I can imagine it would be fabulous sprinkled with a little Parmesan or Romano after its been plated!


  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I cut them into big chunks, but you can also leave them whole)
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt (divided)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, cut into chunks
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 C balsamic vinegar
  • 3-4 large tomatoes, chopped (or 1 28 oz can chopped tomatoes)
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 bunch of  coarsely chopped greens (power greens, spinach, baby kale...whatever)
  • Cooked pasta, brown rice, polenta, quinoa, or riced cauliflower

  • Prep your chicken.  Cut off extra fat.  If you like, you can cut the thighs into large chunks.  Sprinkle with 1 tsp of the salt and some freshly ground pepper on both sides.
  • Place your Instant Pot on the counter...make sure it's not under your cabinets (if you're new to the Instant Pot, you'll see why later.)
  • Remove the lid from the Instant Pot and hit "Saute".  Add the olive oil.  When the oil is hot, add the onion and saute until just tender.  Press "Keep Warm/Cancel".
  • Now add the chicken, remaining salt, garlic, balsamic, tomatoes (juice included), rosemary, thyme, basil and oregano.  Stir until well mixed.
  • Put the lid back on, secure it, and be sure the vent is turned to "Sealing".
  • Press "Manual" and then press the + or - button until the timer is set for 12 minutes (or a minute or two less if you cut your chicken into chunks).
  • Walk away and let the pot do it's magic.  For those of you new to the Instant Pot, it may make some noise as it comes to pressure.  Once it is at pressure, the red button on the lid pops up and the timer starts to count down.  The pot will signal when it's done cooking so no worries.
  • When the Pot signals that your cooking time is done, open/turn the vent CAREFULLY to vent.  (Don't hold your hand over the top of the vent--the steam comes out forcefully!  BTW, this is why we don't set the pot up under the cabinets. They don't like that much steam! If you have painted cabinets, it might peel the paint off!  LOL!)  So I like to lightly drape a paper towel or regular towel over the vent--again be careful not to burn yourself--because sometimes the ceiling gets moist from all the steam.        
  • So once the steam has vented and the red button goes down, open the pot.  
  • Stir in your greens and serve immediately over pasta, rice, polenta, quinoa or riced cauliflower.  (BTW, if you think you'll have leftovers...maybe stir the greens into each individual bowl rather than the whole pot...greens tend to get soggy as leftovers!)

Friday, July 6, 2018

I'm Going To Be A Health Coach! A Whaaa?

Me:          "I'm almost done with my training."
Friend:    "Training for what?"
Me:          "I'm going to be a Health Coach!  I'm SO excited!"
Friend:    "Did you say 'Health Coach'?  Ummmm.  Okay.  I have NO idea what that                              means..."

Oh, Friend, you are not alone!  There are even some health coaches who aren't really sure what it means. (On that note, if a health coach claims they can diagnose you, cure your serious disease, medicate you/take you off medication, save your soul, or be your doctor/nutritionist/psychologist...RUN the other way! That is NOT what health coaches are trained to do!)   

But I digress.  I'm here to give you the lowdown on what a health coach actually does do!  So here goes...

A Health Coach...

Listens Well

Ever been at the doctor's office and felt like they had their hand on the door handle the whole time just waiting for you to stop talking?  (No offense to the is the nature of the system.)  Most primary care doctor appointments are 15 minutes or less. Crazy, right?  I mean, this is your health--the most important thing there is!   

It's different with a coach. You talk.  A health coach listens. No judgement. You are heard and valued and un-rushed.  Telling your story is feels good to let it out to someone who really cares and wants to listen.  

Asks Questions

A coach knows you are an intelligent human being and that you know, in your heart, what is going to make you look and feel your best.  We ask questions to get you thinking--out loud.  Have you ever heard your inner voice aloud?  It's amazing how hearing that voice can really increase your self-awareness.  And guess what?   Self-awareness creates behavior change!


OK, so your health coach isn't going to tell you what to eat, how to exercise, what time to go to bed, who to date, or what to do with your time off.  Your health coach IS going to help you to figure all that out for yourself.  Remember?  We ask questions...lots of them.  These questions help you to figure out what's important to you and what's not.  You create your OWN goals and your OWN steps to reach them.  That way your goals come from within and are meaningful to you.  You have to care about something in order to make real, lasting change.  

Motivates You

First, your coach will help you figure out WHY you want to work towards certain goals.  That way, they are meaningful.  For example, losing 30 pounds is great, but knowing that you're losing those 30 pounds so you actually have the energy to play with your kids at the playground is so much more motivating. A coach will help you uncover the reason for your desire to change.  

Makes it Easier For You

Breaking bad health habits takes work. A health coach can make it a little easier. They can give fun tips and tricks for success, such as helping with time management, finding affordable healthy foods, and recommending resources for recipes, apps for food tracking, videos for exercise workouts, books to read, meditation name it!  

Takes a Holistic Approach

There are so many things that affect our health. It's not all about our leafy greens.  Sleep, hydration, stress management, environment, relationships, exercise, career, self care, joy...these all impact our overall health. A health coach will help you figure out if anything feels out of balance for you.  If it does, your coach will guide you to make goals in the areas that need a little boost, and celebrate those areas that are going great!

Stays With You...Every Step Of The Way

Attaining good health is a journey.  And not always an easy one.  A health coach is there for you when you hit that plateau or for when you fall off the wagon and land headfirst into a giant hot fudge sundae.  A coach picks you up, dusts you off and gently places you right back on the wagon so you don't go through some crazy downward spiral lined with negative self talk and chocolate chip cookies.  We're looking for progress, not perfection. Setbacks are normal.  We are, after all, human.  Your coach will stick with you through these setbacks and help you use them as learning moments, finding strategies for dealing with temptations and triggers.

Holds You Accountable

So once you make your goals, a coach is going to check up on you.  Regularly.  And it's no surprise that people are way more likely to stick to their goals when they know they're going to be held accountable.  

Celebrates With You 

Getting healthy and feeling your best is a journey.  EVERY step in this direction (no matter how small) is cause for celebration.  Your coach wants you to succeed and will totally do the dance of joy for even the smallest steps towards better health.  It's awesome having your own personal cheerleader! you feel a little more comfortable saying you know what a health coach does?  If not, let me know.  I'll help out and clarify where needed!

Take care, Friends!


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Breathe First...And Try New Things: GroupEx Classes

Do you take GroupEx Classes?  

I know they're not for everyone, but I just love 'em.  I've been taking a whole bunch of them lately and experimenting with different ones.  I belong to the Bellevue Family YMCA AND the North Kirkland Community Center's Move It! Program.  Yup.  Two different "gyms".  To be fair, I also work at them.  But by working at them, I see what these "gyms" stand for...and different gyms stand for different things. 

Here's what I know about the Bellevue Family YMCA and the NKCC Move It! Program:

I know my bosses care about their GroupEx Staff and respect what they do.  

I know that these gyms center on community and acceptance.  There's no "Gym Dude" attitude or dirty looks if you happen to throw your workout clothes on in the dark and end up with mismatched socks (not that that's ever happened to me...).  😜

I know that the instructors LOVE their jobs.  They put their heart and soul into their classes and their biggest concern is making sure everyone is safe and feels welcome.  They throw all their energy right at you and it fills you right up!

I know the members of the gym are real people--they're not there to look at themselves in the mirror, they're there to get healthy, make connections, and leave class with a smile.

So if you haven't checked out your local community center or YMCA or other human-centered gym or yoga studio, I highly suggest you give it a try.  Zumba, Yoga, Bootcamp, PiYo, Tai Chi, Circuit Training, Sculpting...whatever floats your boat...  

Get your body moving.

Workout with a friend. 💖

Smile at someone.

Be Zen.

Don't take yourself too seriously. 

Have fun! 

Namaste, Friends!