Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Today I spent the larger portion of my day under a big blue sky and ended lunch with this crisp - warm and fresh, just like the sun. There is nothing like meditating on a paddleboard, walking in freshly greened grass, digging in dark, rich dirt, or swinging as high as you can for no other reason than the simple joy it brings. Throw these ingredients in the Crockpot [prep takes all of 10 minutes] and get yourself outdoors!


Fruit Filling

6 c. blueberries [frozen or fresh] or fruit of choice
1 tsp. ground Ceylon cinnamon
1 T. arrowroot or tapioca starch
1 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 T. coconut sugar

Crisp Topping

2 1/2 c. old fashion rolled gluten free oats
1 1/2 c. oat flour
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. sea salt
1 c. coconut oil
1 c. maple syrup or raw honey
optional additions: chopped nuts, dried fruit, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, ground cardamom

Mix fruit filling ingredients together in 6 quart or larger Crock Pot.

In a large glass or stainless steel bowl, combine oats, oat flour, cardamom, ginger, and any optional additions you choose. In a small saucepan melt coconut oil, sea salt and sweetener of choice over low heat. Once the oil is completely melted, pour into oat mixture and stir until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Spread this crisp topping over the blueberry mixture in the Crock Pot.

Cover and cook on high for two hours or low for 4 hours or until blueberries are very tender and bubbling. Turn off the heat and remove the cover. Let the crisp cool in the Crock Pot for 30 minutes or until the topping has hardened just a touch.

Serve alone or with whipped topping / ice cream of choice and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


About this time two years ago, my body started poking at me, giving gentle nudges and indications that something wasn't quite right. I was aware of the issues but at the time in survival mode - processing through the aftermath of a house fire, a baby who wouldn't sleep more than 3 hours each night, and a number of other things my family found ourselves in the middle of. Looking back on it now I easily see the progression, but in the moment my life was lived minute by minute. Over that year things very quickly spiraled downward and my body simply stopped accepting the foods I was eating regularly. I knew there was a problem, yet the healing tools in my arsenal and the very minimal energy I had in the storehouse just wasn't enough. At some point I realized this was more than I could manage on my own. Both conventional and functional medical systems were stumped. Tests were run, procedures done, nothing found. Frustration and desperation overload.

Eventually I was existing on quinoa and a small handful of vegetables my body could digest. I needed more. Clearly.

I had eaten meat-free for a number of years beginning in college. I felt good and didn't crave meat so I figured, hey!, this must be my groove. What I neglected to consider is that my body didn't have one mode - a setting I could figure out, click into, and cruise on throughout life. I understand now my body changes from day to day, week to week, month to month, year to year, season to season. I consistently hear [and say] as a parent everything is a phase - nothing lasts forever. It's true for parenthood, for our bodies, and for life.

While I was pregnant with my first child my body screamed for burgers and bacon and cheese. Rather than finding the best version of these I could, I quieted the voice with what I assumed to be "healthier" choices. When my second came around that same voice upped the volume yet my stubbornness and head knowledge took over, convincing me once again this inner voice was somehow incorrect. It couldn't really be asking me to eat meat, right?

Although both babies were healthy [so much gratitude for this!], I came away exhausted, depleted, and malnourished. My body stopped receiving the nutrients from the food I was feeding it and I was feeling every bit of the effect.

And so I started eating meat. There are oodles of books on animal cruelty and the detriment of eating meat with extremely convincing scientific studies. I don't doubt the validity in this way of thought and I do believe as a nation we eat far too much tragically raised animal products on a regular basis. What I do doubt is that a meat-free way of eating is feasible for all. The Ayurvedic tradition uses meat as medicine and I love this. I love that meat holds a respected place in this system which also values animal rights, care, and protection. 

So I ate - minimally at first but then with a vengeance. Let me make this very clear, meat wasn't the only thing that healed my body. Healing took a lot of work on many levels and continues to do so. I have been so blessed by the skillfulness, kindness and knowledge of a naturopath, body/energy worker, and acupuncturist and most of my healing is a direct result of the work I've done with each. But meat did act as a catalyst. Eating meat taught me grace, humility, and a different form of ahimsa [non-harming] than I had been practicing. 

And it gave me hope. Something I desperately needed at that time.

These days, meat is still a part of my diet but it plays a far less prominent role. I rely more on gelatin and bone broth and have been able to slowly bring back some of my favorite meat-free staples. My forage into consuming animals has shown me balance and perspective are two things worth making friends with and practicing as much as possible. It's not easy, especially that perspective thing, but it provides the ability to understand situations in a way tunnel-vision simply doesn't allow.

Most importantly I've learned it takes a community. It takes a group of people to help each of us live well, heal well, and offer us the love and grace to learn the tough, uncomfortable lessons of life.

My hope is that this part of my story encourages you in yours and extends permission to explore releasing the areas of life you grasp so tightly. Many blessings.

Recipe adapted from this Killer Quinoa Salad Recipe

2 c. quinoa
4 c. cold water
1/2 tsp. sea salt
zest and juice of one lemon
2 T. raw apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
sea salt + freshly ground pepper
4 T. extra virgin olive oil
3 medium yellow onions, cut into very thin slices
5 - 6 small garlic gloves or 3 large cloves, cut into very thin slices
1 bunch of kale cut into very thin ribbon-like strips
2 c. or one 15-ounce can of cooked garbanzo beans
2 fresh green onions, cut into thin slices
1/3 c. dried cranberries
1/3 c. sliced almonds, lightly browned or toasted

Begin by warming 2 tablespoons of olive oil and onions in a medium size skillet over medium-low heat. Once the onions begin to sizzle, reduce the heat to low. Carmelizing the onions will take about 45 minutes so it's important to begin with this. Occasionally stir the onions to prevent them from getting too brown. At about the 30 minute mark, add the slivered garlic to the onions. Continue to stir occasionally until the onions are a deep golden color and very soft. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

While the onions cooks, place the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold water until the water runs clear. Put the rinsed quinoa into a medium size pot and add water and 1/2 tsp. sea salt. Bring the water to boil, reduce the heat low, and cover. Cook until all of the liquid has been absorbed [about 15 minutes]. Once the water has been absorbed, turn off the heat and remove the lid. gently fluff the quinoa in the pot with a fork every 10 minutes or so until the quinoa has cooled to room temperature. If you're short on time simply spread the cooked quinoa out onto a couple rimmed baking pans to cool.

While the onions and quinoa are cooking, mix the lemon juice, lemon zest, apple cider vinegar, cumin, coriander, and a pinch or two of salt and pepper in a small glass jar with a tight fitting lid . Secure the lid tightly and shake for 30 seconds. Place dressing in refrigerator.

Place 2 T. olive oil and the cut kale into a large skillet over medium-low heat. Stir frequently until the kale becomes soft and turns a bright green color. Add the garbanzo beans, saute for 1 minute or just enough to warm, remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Once the onions, kale and quinoa have cooled to room temperature, place the quinoa, onions, kale and garbanzo beans in a large glass bowl. Add green onions, cranberries, and slivered almonds [if using] and gently stir to combine. Drizzle the entire salad with dressing and carefully stir well to combine.

Serve immediately or refrigerate. Salad will keep for 1 week or you can freeze to enjoy later.

Makes approximately 15 meatballs

A special note: In eating meat, I think it's extremely important to mention my family and I try hard to support our local farmers who raise animals in a respectful, loving way. We bless the animals blessing us and we've chosen not to consume the meat of any animal who has suffered through a heartbreaking life. We believe eating meat is both a privilege and a responsibility - something to be taken seriously and done with great care. This can be done by choosing local, organic, pasture-raised meats, eggs, and dairy without added chemicals, hormones, or antibiotics. Better yet, make a visit to the farm you purchase your meat from. See how they raise the animals and get a sense of the heart of the farmer. You may just land yourself a friend in the process. 

1 lb. organic, pasture-raised ground lamb
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, finely chopped [if using dry cumin and coriander] OR fresh parsley, finely             chopped [if using dry parsley and oregano]
1 tsp. each cumin and coriander OR parsley and oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
freshly ground pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium-size glass bowl and mix well using a spoon or your hands. Form into small meatballs and place in a glass baking dish. Cover and refrigerate for 30 - 60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place meat balls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the inside of the meatballs are no longer pink.

Remove from the oven and serve immediately.


1 c. plain Greek yogurt or unsweetened dairy-free yogurt of choice
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 c. fresh cilantro or dill, chopped finely
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients in a glass bowl and mix well. Taste and adjust as you need. Cover with a secure fitting lid and refrigerate for 30 - 60 minutes or make the night before.

Friday, April 3, 2015


Today I had a serious hankering for a smoothie, a treat I haven't enjoyed in quite some time. Something in me was begging for smooth and creamy yet light. Sweet with a little tang. Yet in the same moment I wanted that thing to be nourishingly warm. Spring has only recently arrived at my doorstep and on this cool, overcast April day my body was beginning to transition into the new season yet the winter chill hadn't completely passed.

I spent the few precious minutes I have while my kids rest fully absorbed in a new cookbook that happened upon my doorstep this morning. Truly inspired, I headed into the kitchen for a scavenger hunt and a little play time all in an effort to fulfill my body's gentle demand. My pantry didn't disappoint and from there I give you this recipe: creamy, warm, sweet and tangy, with a hint of the pulsing energy so clearly felt outside my door.


If you're unfamiliar with bee pollen, I hope you give it a chance. It's rich in antioxidants, contains almost every nutrient the body needs to survive, has an impressive protein content, and a subtle floral taste.

Ginseng or "sang" is commonly used as a preventative herb and balancing tonic that really aids the entire body. Asian ginseng builds heat in the body [great for fall - early spring] while American ginseng has a cooling effect [good for summer]. Ginseng can be very restorative if used over a long period of time. That being said, wild American ginseng is considered an at risk species so it's really important to find organically cultivated or woods-grown ginseng.  

Maca is a wonderful source of minerals, essential fatty acids, sterols, fats, fiber, carbs, protein, and amino acids. I think it's sort of malty in flavor making it a no-brainer addition to smoothies.

Serves 2

1 c. frozen blueberries
1 c. milk of choice
1 c. apple, pear, or pineapple juice
2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 T. maple syrup
pinch cardamom
1/2 avocado
1 T. extra virgin coconut oil
1 tsp. maca powder
1 tsp. bee pollen
1/2 tsp. ginseng powder

Combine blueberries, milk, juice, lemon juice, syrup, and cardamom in a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until blueberries are soft and liquid is warm.

While the blueberries are heating, place avocado, oil, powders, and pollen in a blender.

Pour warm blueberries with liquid into the blender and blend on high until very smooth.

Serve immediately.