Monday, February 16, 2015

New Blog Site

In the past month, I have been starting a new adventure as a food allergy coach where I help people with a newly diagnosed food allergy work their way through figuring out what they can and cannot eat while supporting them during the myriad of emotions they will feel. It's felt so rewarding so far and I'm looking forward to working with lots of amazing people.

As much as I've loved writing here on Blogger, I've felt a bit too confined by it for quite a while. I debated about going to wordpress, but it has such a steep learning curve that I didn't want to bother.

Because of this new adventure, all of my new recipes and blog posts will be on my website If you would still like to be included via email, click here to sign up for my newsletter.

I am looking forward to this new chapter in my life and hope that you will join me in it!

Thanks for the wonderful years, Blogger. I'll miss all of you!


Friday, January 30, 2015

Rigatoni with Tomato Bacon Sauce

Mark and I were watching Diners Drive-Ins and Dives the other day. It's one of our favorite shows to watch on the Food Network. In that episode, Guy Fieri was in Tuscany exploring all these amazing restaurants, making us drool over the pasta. So of course, we had to make our own.

I wanted some garlic and sun-dried tomatoes, while Mark wanted cherry tomatoes and bacon. Since he was off at a function, I got to make the pasta my way and it was amazing! Both of us had seconds because it was so good.

I layered all the flavors with three tomato products to add extra depth: cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes and tomato paste. I added in garlic, along with some basil, chicken base and a splash of red wine for color and flavor. It was so good! I am definitely going to make this dish part of my regular repertoire.

Rigatoni with Tomato Bacon Sauce

Serves 4

1/2 box rigatoni
3 slices thick cut bacon, cut into 1/2" slices
1 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tsp chicken base
1/4 c. red wine
1/4 c. water
1/4 tsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
6 leaves basil, sliced

Bring water to a boil in a large stock pot, then cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

For the sauce, heat a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add bacon pieces and cook for 5 minutes until bacon is crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon, leaving behind bacon fat if desired. Otherwise, pour bacon fat into a small bowl and wipe pan with a paper towel. 

Using bacon fat or 1 tbsp olive oil, cook garlic over medium heat for 30 seconds, then add in sun-dried tomatoes. Cook for another 30 seconds, then add in cherry tomatoes, chicken base, red wine, water, tomato paste, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and half the basil. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes to thicken, stirring often. Add pasta to pan and stir to combine. Serve with basil and bacon sprinkled over the top. 

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Shrimp, Avocado and Grapefruit Salad

Making a salad in winter can be tough sometimes. There's not a whole lot of produce that is available that doesn't require some sort of cooking. That's why I love using avocados and citrus fruits in my salads in winter! One of my favorite winter salads is making a shrimp, avocado and grapefruit salad. I love the citrus notes with the creamy avocado, which I serve with a nice lemon parsley vinaigrette. I also use bay shrimp since they are already cooked and so my prep time is much shorter.

If you aren't a fan of shrimp, feel free to use cooked chicken pieces. And if you don't like grapefruit, orange slices are wonderful too. Just don't leave out the avocado! That's the best part. Yum!

Shrimp, Avocado and Grapefruit Salad

Serves 4

1 lb bay shrimp (sometimes called shrimp meat)
2 avocados
1 large or 2 medium grapefruit
your favorite greens (I like baby kale)


6 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

To make dressing, combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Alternatively, combine ingredients in a small jar, top with lid and shake to combine. Set aside.

For salad, rinse the bay shrimp and set aside. Cut the avocados in half, remove pit, then slice. Remove skin by scooping out avocado flesh with a spoon. For the grapefruit, cut off the top and bottom to create a flat surface, then using a knife, cut away the peel and the pith (white bitter stuff), leaving the pink interior. Cut along the membranes to create slices. (For a more on-depth tutorial, click here

Arrange greens on 4 plates, then top with grapefruit slices, avocado slices and bay shrimp. Whisk dressing to emulsify, then drizzle over the top of the salad. Enjoy!

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Lemon Garlic Steamed Clams

When I went to Long Beach, WA last November for my boyfriend's birthday, we ate out almost every night. We tried Castaways (pretty good, but buttery!), the Lost Roo, and a few other places I can't remember. Our favorite was the Lost Roo. It had this relaxed feel inside and great food. My favorite that I got twice was the bruschetta. Holy moly it was delicious!

I mean look at the photo! Doesn't it look amazing??

The one night we didn't eat out, we had stopped in Oysterville for some oysters. They only had pint sized containers or larger and Mark definitely could not have eaten all of those oysters! So we settled for clams and stopped by the store to pick up some garlic, lemon and wine, plus a few other items.

We cleaned the clams, then sauteed some garlic in oil, added lemon juice and white wine and let them steam until they opened. I had never cooked clams before, and I was surprised at how easy it was. The broth was so flavorful and we wish we had bought some bread to dip it in! Seriously, if you haven't cooked clams before, you should definitely try them!

Lemon Garlic Steamed Clams

Serves 4

2 lbs. clams
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, juiced and zested
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. white wine, plus more to drink
salt and pepper

Add clams to a large bowl and fill with enough water to cover the clams. Let stand for at least an hour to wash out all the grit. Toss any that don't close when you touch them. Drain and rinse. 

In a large stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for about a minute or until fragrant and just turning light brown. Add juice, zest, wine and clams. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, then check to see if they have opened. Stir and cover cooking another 2 minutes or so until all the clams have opened. If any do not open, discard.

Serve clams in a large bowl with lots of bread to soak up the juices. 

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Brussels Sprout Pasta with Ham

Brussels sprouts are one of those vegetables that people either really love or really hate. I'm definitely in the love category, but I mostly eat them in soups or roasted with bacon! This was the first time I had tried them in a different form: with pasta.

I took kind of a German/Czech spin on this dish, which was based off something I ate as a kid: Schinkenfleckerl (aka Ham and Noodle Casserole). My mom made it a lot, but unfortunately it has a lot of butter and eggs in it. So I decided to make a fresh version with shredded Brussels sprouts. 

And it was delicious! I sauteed the Brussels with garlic and olive oil, then added in some chopped ham and served it over linguine. It was quick, easy and absolutely delicious. This dish is perfect for any cold winter night!

Brussels Sprout Pasta with Ham

Serves 4

1/2 lb Brussels sprouts, cut in half then sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 lb ham
1/2 lb linguine

In a large stock pot, bring salted water to a boil, then cook linguine according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add oil, garlic and brussels sprouts. Saute for 5 minutes or until Brussels are wilted and beginning to turn brown on the edges. Add in the ham and saute for another minute to heat, then add in the pasta. Toss to combine and serve hot. 

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Monday, January 12, 2015


Minestrone is one of my favorite winter time soups. It's filled with veggies, pasta and beans that I just find so comforting. Unfortunately, some places add Parmesan to their soup as its cooking, which makes it difficult for me to eat in restaurants.

Lucky for me, minestrone is a fairly easy soup to make. You simply cook the veggies down, then add in the beans and pasta and cook until the pasta is done. How easy is that? You can easily make this meal on a weeknight and then freeze it for a quick busy night meal. Bonus: It can be easily made gluten free by using gluten-free chicken stock and gluten-free pasta. Yummy!


serves 6

1 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, sliced
14 oz can diced tomatoes
2 tsp Italian herb seasoning
6 c. chicken or vegetable stock
14 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 c. macaroni
salt and pepper

In a large stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring often, for about 6 minutes until onion becomes translucent and the vegetables begin to soften. Add the tomatoes, Italian herb seasoning, stock and beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes until vegetables are tender. Add in macaroni and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for 5-7 minutes, or according to package. Add salt and pepper, then serve hot. 

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Friday, January 9, 2015

Pumpkin Spice Vanilla Rooibos Tea Latte

I am so bummed that Starbucks discontinued their Vanilla Rooibos Tea Latte. I loved having a caffeine free drink that I could get anytime of the day that was creamy, but still have tons of flavor and not be coffee! I'm not much of a coffee drinker and so I always go for tea lattes. Chai tea lattes, earl grey tea lattes, and now pumpkin spice vanilla rooibos tea latte!

I know it's a mouthful, but it's so tasty and perfect for this time of year. It's a caffeine free drink so it can be made late at night as a soothing drink just before bed. The pumpkin spice and vanilla go so well together and make it feel extra special. I love to use my Capresso Milk Frother to make it extra foamy, but I've included directions for if you don't have a milk frother and just want to steam the milk in a saucepan. All you need is pumpkin pie spices like cinnamon and nutmeg and some vanilla rooibos tea. Try this delicious drink tonight!

Pumpkin Spice Vanilla Rooibos Tea Latte

makes 1 drink

1 c. milk or alternative milk (I use soy milk)
1/2 c. water
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1/8 tsp cinnamon, 1/16 tsp nutmeg and 1/16 tsp allspice)
1 tbsp sweetener of your choice
1 vanilla rooibos tea bag

In a medium saucepan, combine milk, water and pumpkin pie spice. Heat over medium heat until hot, but not boiling. Add tea bag and let steep for at least 6 minutes. Remove tea bag, stir in sweetener, pour into a mug and enjoy!

If you have a milk frother, combine milk and pumpkin pie spice and froth in milk frother. Heat water in microwave for 1 minute, then add tea bag. Pour frothed milk over water, add sweetener and enjoy!

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Allergy Free Lifestyle

Hello there!

Do you suffer from food allergies? I did, but not anymore. After nearly 5 years of experimenting on how to eat dairy and egg free, I have learned so much on how to be healthy and avoid getting sick. I would now like to share this information with you!

I am here to help you learn how to navigate through difficulties of a food allergy, sensitivity or intolerance. It's not exactly easy in this world to have a food allergy, but I can tell you it's possible and can be made easier with just a few tips and tricks.

A little bit about me:

I have had food allergies my whole life. Growing up, I was allergic to wheat and would always suffer horribly from pet dander and environmental allergies. In my first year of college, I underwent a huge change in my life and began to have migraines, anxiety, and general fatigue. I finally went a got an allergy test on my 19th birthday and it showed I was allergic to dairy and eggs, along with lots of other environmental allergens.

That was in February 2008. I continued to eat dairy and eggs, pretty much being in denial that it didn't effect me that badly. I kept telling myself that I was a cook who had to use cream and milk and eggs in my recipes because that was the only way to cook.I started a new job after graduating and my symptoms only got worse. I was using sick leave as soon as I earned it and sometimes had to take leave without pay because I would wake up feeling nauseous and just plain sick. 

A co-worker suggested to me that I take dairy and eggs out of my diet completely for a week. I upped the ante and did it for a month. March 2010. Over two years after my diagnosis, I finally did the right thing. I have learned so much since then on how to eat healthy while avoiding dairy and eggs, along with being able to soothe my cravings for baked goods and mac n cheese without making myself sick. I have also learned the ins and outs of eating a restaurant, including making many mistakes that I had to learn the hard way so you don't have to. 

I'd love to have a conversation with you to start you on your new journey to being happy, healthy and allergy-free! Come chat with me today!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Contest Time!

So I'm sure you have seen this lately:
Like this recipe? Sign up for my email list to get weekly recipe digests, updates on events and be entered for a monthly drawing for a free copy of one of my cookbooks (Up to a value of $31.95. Limit one per person). Next drawing is on the 15th of January!

Well, be sure to sign up! And if you click here, you can refer friends to enter and get more chances to win!

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Good luck :)


Monday, January 5, 2015

How to Save Money at the Grocery Store

I am so excited you guys! I've finally finished something that has been 2 years in the making.

While I was at my previous job, I had this idea to give tours in grocery stores and teach people how to save time and money while eating healthy. Great idea right? Well, I finally put mouse to mousepad and made an online version to help lots more people out.

What is is a grocery store class? Let me explain!

Do you always end up spending more money at the grocery store than you expected? Do extra items just seem to fly into your cart without you even noticing? Then you need my grocery store class!

In this class, I will teach you tips and tricks to help you save money at the store and time in the kitchen. Included in this class:

-2 free printables to keep you organized-12 easy delicious recipes-plus tons of tips to help you save lots of money!

Come take this class today and start saving!

Did I mention that I am offering it for free? It's normally a $50 class, but yes, you read that right, I'm offering it for free! If you sign up here, then I will send you the special code to get this whole class for free, but you have to sign up before January 22nd, which is the date you will get the class sent to you.

But I can't wait until January 22nd! I want to start saving now! Well, lucky you because this course is now 30% off! Just click here to buy!

Seriously, this course will save you lots of money and time at the grocery store with simple tips and tricks that anyone can remember. 

So what are you waiting for? Get yourself signed up for this amazing class!

Once you take the class, remember to tell your friends that they should take it too so they can eat healthier and save money!

And on the topic of sharing, why don't you share this post with all your friends using this ShareThis buttons below. 

Enjoy your savings!


Pineapple Chicken Stir Fry

I love stir frys. They are probably the number one type of meal I make on a regular basis. It's so easy to switch them up and make a new one with just a tweak of ingredients. I was really craving some sweet and sour chicken the other day, but wanted to avoid the deep frying that is so delicious, so I made my own, minus the deep frying. It's basically a pineapple chicken stir fry with bell peppers and scallions. It's sweetened with pineapple juice so there is no added sugar or coloring. Just simple deliciousness!

I served this over brown rice for extra nuttiness and fiber, but feel free to just eat it as is. It's definitely one of my favorite stir frys now!

Pineapple Chicken Stir Fry

Serves 4

8 oz can pineapple chunks, drained with juices reserved
1 lb chicken breasts, cut into 1/2" strips
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 scallion, sliced

juice from pineapple, about 1/3 c.
1/4 c. soy sauce (tamari for gluten free)
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp cornstarch

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for sauce. Set aside. Heat a saute pan over medium high heat. Add chicken strips and cook until no more pink remains on the outside, about 2-3 minutes, constantly stirring to prevent sticking. Add bell pepper and garlic and cook for another minute, then add pineapple. Add half the scallions, then the sauce, whisking before pouring into the pan. Bring the sauce to a boil, then simmer until thickened, stirring constantly for about a minute. Serve hot over rice.  

Like this recipe? Sign up for my email list to get weekly recipe digests, updates on events and be entered for a monthly drawing for a free copy of one of my cookbooks (Up to a value of $31.95. Limit one per person). Next drawing is on the 15th of January!

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