Spicy Cauliflower Salad

Spicy Cauliflower Salad 2016

Salads of all sorts get me feeling light and fresh and nourished so I make them all the time. They are also capable of dazzling my taste buds. I definitely love meat and potatoes and other things, but salads…you can do anything with a salad! I suppose it helps to love vegetables, but part of what makes them special is what you do to them. If you haven’t found a way to prepare cauliflower that you like yet, maybe just keep going! Or zucchini or broccoli or green beans. Keep trying different preparations and maybe you’ll discover that they’re pretty delicious after all.

If you’re already a veggie-lover, then here’s another little something to throw together and serve with something grilled. Crunch from the cauliflower, tender roasted peppers, a little kick from the sport peppers – yum!

Spicy Cauliflower Salad


1 bag frozen cauliflower florets

1 roasted red bell pepper

1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 c. black olives, sliced

8 sport peppers, minced about 3 Tbsp. (or pepperoncini)

3 Tbsp. minced fresh chives

Salt and pepper to taste


2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. red wine vinegar

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 small clove of garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

A pinch of salt and pepper


  1. Steam the frozen cauliflower lightly (the instructions called for 6 1/2 minutes, I cooked it for 4 minutes). Drain and place in a large bowl.
  2. Slice the roasted bell pepper into strips and add to the cauliflower along with the halved cherry tomatoes, sliced olives, minced peppers, and chives. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and pour over the salad.
  4. Mix well, tossing until everything is coated.
  5. Allow the salad to rest in the fridge for 15 minutes or more so the flavors can meld.
  6. Adjust the seasonings with a little more salt and pepper if desired and enjoy!

Paleo Clean-up: Day 1

Whole30 post

And so it begins! Day 1 of any endeavor is always an exciting time, I think. You don’t really know what to expect, but you can sense that change is on the horizon. You know that there will be challenging times, but for now they remain a mystery. And you can see yourself overcoming anything, sailing through full of enthusiasm and conviction. It does get hard at times, I know, but on Day 1 it’s all about the anticipation of an end result to be proud of.

Here’s what I ate today.

4:30am – Black coffee

7:30am – 2 eggs in 1/2 tsp. coconut oil, kale salad, 1/4 avocado, blueberries, vinaigrette

11:30am – Roasted broccoli, Cherries

1:30pm – Cauliflower salad with salmon, Cherries, Coffee

5:00pm – Snap peas

6:00pm – Grilled pork chop, Spicy Cauliflower Salad, Cherries

7:30pm – Hard boiled egg, Snap peas

A few notes…I didn’t intentionally eat cauliflower salad at both meals, and it wasn’t the same cauliflower salad either. I had a different plan to go with dinner but didn’t have all the ingredients so I had to switch on the fly. Turns out that it was one of those easy and tasty recipes that I’ll have to post as soon as I can.

The other thing is that I love cherries and right now they are so good and on sale and I can’t get enough of them. I like the gorgeous Rainier ones that are plump and not quite as sweet and I like the dark Bing cherries that are super sweet. It really doesn’t matter much and I try not to eat more than a handful at a time, but don’t judge me; they’ll come up a lot. I ate a little more fruit than I do typically, but it’s summertime so I can hardly resist.

I felt really hungry after dinner and realized that I didn’t have anything to eat after my workout this afternoon. There wasn’t any fat to speak of in my dinner either and when I drop my carbs, my body still needs fuel. I prefer to give it in the form of good fats like avocados and olive oil and nuts. I have to be careful with nuts though because I have a tendency to go a little crazy with them. If I don’t need them then I try to pass. I went for an egg and another handful of veggies, which worked out great.

Something to keep in mind when eating for your healthiest self is that it isn’t about starvation. This isn’t a diet. It’s about finding the right food for you, the best way to fuel your body in a sustainable, delicious, give-your-body-what-it-needs kind of way. The early days can have some cravings that might be difficult to decipher, but once you’re past those, it’s all about tuning in. In the beginning it can be a bit of an experiment to figure out how much you need to eat and when. And all that might change as your body adapts. So stick to your Paleo choices, do the best you can to eat for true, physical hunger rather than emotional/head hunger, and make a plan for the next day.

And remember to love your journey. It’s important!

Plan, Prep, Play

planHaving a plan is one of the most important things you can do to be successful during a Whole30. I would even argue that having a weekly plan for your eating, no matter what you choose to eat, can help you stay on track with your goals and keep you moving towards success.

Imagine coming home after work or running errands or however you spend your time and being hungry. You open the fridge and find…nothing. You start trying to find something to eat, and you really want to stick with your Paleo eating, but after a handful of carrots, you’re still hungry. And there isn’t anything that will really satisfy you.

Now imagine what happens under those same circumstances when you open the fridge and find carrots and guacamole, a few meatballs, and some roasted cauliflower. Suddenly you have a meal or snack that is delicious and that makes you feel cared for and strong. You eat well and feel healthy and ready to tackle anything else that your day holds.

The work on the front end is definitely more than just winging it, but truly it’s not that difficult either. It’s more about having a plan.

The Plan

I like to start my week with a few minutes and a pen and piece of paper. I also like to surround myself with cookbooks and ideas and anything that might inspire me. I will either consider what’s in the fridge and build a menu around that or, especially if the fridge is pretty empty, I simply go with what is seasonal and what looks good.

Then I make two lists: What am I cooking? And what do I need to purchase?

It’s important to consider all your meals because when doing a Whole30, you cook real food. A lot. If it comes from a box, it probably isn’t going to fit the plan. There are a few exceptions, and in fact more and more Paleo products are appearing on grocery shelves, but for simplicity, think fresh and whole.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks all need to be considered. Don’t get overwhelmed, though. Consider the same breakfast for a week and then change it up the next week. For dinner, make more than you can imagine eating – then you have leftovers! They will save you from extreme hunger and can make the entire process easier. It’s time to love your leftovers.

The Prep

Once you have a plan, it’s time to get the prep taken care of. I’ll just touch on it briefly here because there are so many different ways to get yourself ready for the week. Here’s the thing – don’t let it make you crazy. I didn’t have a lot of time because today was a holiday and the whole weekend has been quite busy, but I took a few moments to do this:

  • Store: Cherries, berries, melon, canned tuna, eggs, salad, slaw mix, celery, giant pot roast
  • Cook: Hardboiled 8 eggs and peeled them, cut up melon, washed celery and stood it up in a container with water, cooked pot roast

There’s no great secret here. I bought and cooked whatever looked easy. It’s a busy week and I just need to eat right. So it’s not pot roast season, but it was on sale and I could put it in the oven while I was doing other things. Now there’s a couple pounds of meat that can be turned into any number of concoctions, from salads to omelets to snacks to stuffing for other veggies…all sorts of things.


The idea is to get the job done without too much stress. It’s just food! This is easy, really. Hungry? Grab some beef, cook it briefly in a pan and add some chili powder and garlic and cumin, toss it with some slaw, add some bell pepper slices, tomatoes, and avocado. Splash on vinegar or olive oil or add in whatever veggies suit you. Have fun with it!

That goes for this whole journey. This isn’t a sentence to misery around food. Actually, I find that whenever I tighten things up, I usually end up feeling more engaged and energized in the kitchen. Something tasty comes out of it because I have to get creative. Just go with the flow and try new things and embrace the experience.

Eating the right things for your body is empowering so go after that feeling of radiant energy and enjoy!


To Feel Amazing

love life

Every once in a while, I feel the need to really clean up my eating habits and get a little more strict with my Paleo rules. I have, on a few occasions, completed a Whole30 and blogged about it on here for people to follow along. This time, however, I only have 10 days before I leave on a trip to CA. That’s not to say that I couldn’t complete the challenge despite my travels, I know that it is absolutely possible to do so, but over the years I think I have actually gotten better at balance in my life and this vacation will have some indulgences and some wine and a few other things…and I want it to. It’s not a falling off the wagon sort of thing, it’s about living my life to the fullest and experiencing the joy and pleasure that I get from sharing delicious food and wine with friends.

There are times when I’m feeling uncomfortable in my skin and I need to do a Whole30. There are times when I’m feeling out of control and I need to do a Whole30. There are times when people I care about, even total strangers, seem to need a Whole30 and so I do it then. All of these are good, valid reasons in my mind to do a Whole30. This time, though, the decision to do one was a little more subtle.

It’s true that I’m not all the way at my goal weight or as lean as I’d like to be and my eating isn’t as consistent as I want. I’ve probably had a few too many evenings where I was having a glass of wine because it was summertime. And Tuesday. Or Thursday. Or raining. I’m sure you get what I mean. But I don’t feel horrible about my choices or where I am in my life. I actually feel pretty good. Not perfect, mind you. Not by a long shot. But what is perfect anyway? One of my sisters reminded me once that she really doesn’t even like the word “perfect”. Nothing really is. Although I think sometimes everything is. Perfect in its very own existence. But that is a topic for another day.

I was thinking the other day about motivation and dreams and reaching goals, or maybe amending goals as life unfolds, and it just came to me. I feel pretty good…but I want to feel amazing! I have learned in the past three or four years that I feel amazing when I’m eating Paleo all the time, or very nearly all the time, and exercising in a variety of ways every day. My activity is pretty rock solid right now so I’m going to keep going with that, but I’d like to get a little closer to that feeling of amazing and that has to do with what I feed my body.

Strict Paleo gives me all day energy and an upbeat mood that is difficult to sway, regardless of what’s happening around me. I love it! The energy is clearly related to the food – nothing that hurts my stomach, no sugar to give me a headache, no alcohol to change my mind. Every single one of my cells loves it when I’m strict Paleo. My brain feels clearer, my body almost vibrates with all the energy, I don’t feel hungry or have any cravings. It seems easy.

So why ever eat any differently? Well…that’s life. It’s my life, anyway. I like living a little more freely and savoring different flavors and celebrating with friends in a familiar way. I’ve realized this past year that it’s fine for me to do that. I used to feel so much guilt around food choices and that piece of my puzzle is beginning to fade. I’m so glad. No more guilt around food. That is also a topic for another day.

Today is all about saying that I’m looking forward to Tuesday, excited even(!), when I will stick to my Paleo guns for 10 days so that the start of my trip has me feeling like my healthiest self. I’m sure that will also keep me making healthy choices a little more frequently while on the trip too. Maybe, just maybe, what was once a pendulum swinging like crazy for me will actually be more steady. More balanced. More me.

Excited also means that I’m in full-blown planning mode. If you’ve never done a Whole30, the one piece of advice I would give you is to get prepared. This journey is so much easier when there’s a bunch of fresh produce and cooked meat in the fridge. It almost doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s there and ready to eat. Don’t get caught out hungry with nothing to grab because that’s how we make careless choices and then are frustrated when we don’t feel successful.

All of my energy these next 10 days will be focused on giving my body, mind, and soul what it needs to feel wildly healthy. I don’t plan on thinking about something I might be missing (like wine…) but instead thinking all about what I will be getting, like bubbly water, fabulous iced teas, delicious food, constant energy, and an abundance of happy in my heart.

I hope you’ll join me on this quick little journey into health. If you have the opportunity to do all 30 days, go for it! If you make it 5 and need to start again, that’s fine too! If you’re just following along and thinking about it, that’s cool…but maybe consider just jumping on in. It’s totally worth it.

Truffled Cauliflower Rice

Truffled Cauliflower Rice 2016-001

Want to know what my favorite pizza is? (Shhhh….I know. Pizza and I are sworn enemies. It always hurts me. But sometimes it happens. And sometimes it’s gluten-free or Paleo or meatza, but sometimes it’s not. Then I’m reminded that we don’t get along and I pick myself up and move on.) But anyway. Favorite one? Mushroom. I love it a lot.

To get around the whole pizza-and-I-aren’t-friends-but-I-really-love-mushrooms-thing, I cook with them often. And I’m considering making some that taste a lot like pizza so I can have a happy mouth and a happy mind and body too. They’re great in so many ways and here they make an appearance with truffle oil to enhance all that is earthy in both. Years ago we went to Tuscany with friends to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary and we tasted truffle oil that I can still feel. I can’t exactly taste it anymore, the memory is too far back, but I remember what it felt like to smell it and taste it and covet it. In the years that have followed, truffle oil has made its way closer and closer by way of specialty stores and, in this case, Trader Joe’s. Is it the same quality? Sometimes, maybe. Not this one. But it still gives depth and a heady, lush quality to certain dishes that is irresistible to me.

I love it here with cauliflower, that humble vegetable that takes on so many personalities. I really, really wish that cutting cauliflower and ricing cauliflower didn’t leave all those teeny-tiny bits everywhere, though. I know it shouldn’t be a big deal, but it bugs me, which means I do it less often than I would if it didn’t get everywhere. Sometimes these days, I’ve taken to buying a giant bag of the florets and tossing them in the food processor. Faster, easier, and neater. And I know that you can get it already riced now at Trader Joe’s, and probably other places. I think that’s great if you need it in an instant, but I usually want more than what comes in the bag. So it’s a trade off. And truly, more often than not, I tell myself to quit being silly and get the cauliflower. I know. A little crazy.

This is comfort food that settles and grounds my heart.

Truffled Cauliflower Rice 2016Truffled Cauliflower Rice

1 head of cauliflower

2 tsp. ghee, divided

1/2 onion, chopped

5-6 large mushrooms, thinly sliced

2 Tbsp. fresh chives, minced

Zest from 1/2 a lemon

1 Tbsp. truffle oil, plus more to serve

Salt and pepper


  1. Start by quartering your head of cauliflower. Pulse each quarter in a food processor fitted with an s-blade about 10 times. You want it to look like grains of rice without being mushy. Put in a large bowl.
  2. Add a generous pinch of salt to the cauliflower and stir around. Cover loosely and microwave for 6 minutes.
  3. Remove from the microwave, take off the cover, and set aside.
  4. Melt 1 tsp. ghee in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onions, sliced mushrooms, and a pinch of salt.
  5. Sauté for 5-7 minutes until onion is translucent and mushrooms have released their water and are cooked to your liking.
  6. Add 1 tsp. ghee and the riced cauliflower. Stir to combine.
  7. Turn off the heat and stir in the chives, lemon zest, and truffle oil.
  8. Taste and season with salt and several turns of freshly cracked pepper.
  9. Plate and serve with additional truffle oil for drizzling.

Serves 4

To be inspired

Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” –Golda Meir

Where does inspiration come from? I wish I knew. Sometimes I get so far off track that it feels like it will take super-human strength to get back to the life that I love, a wellness that shines, my wholeness. I stumbled across this quote the other night and it inspired me to write to you.

It was those few simple words: “…fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility…”

Tiny, inner sparks.

Do you feel those sometimes? Do you recognize them for the potential that they are? Lately I’ve been very sensitive to them, and unfortunately, I keep brushing them away or, sadly, stifling them and drowning them and destroying their potential.

I keep asking myself why I do this and the answer is, of course, so many layers deep and so personal that the vulnerability it would take to share it here in this blog is too much for me. But that’s okay, I think. What’s perhaps more important is recognizing the act and acknowledging the pain of limiting potential joy. And then sitting upright and knowing, deeply, that the sparks are still there. It’s not one and done, but a burst of sparks. A firework exploding inside and I may have missed one or one hundred different sparks, but I don’t have to miss the next one. The next spark can be the one that inspires me to more.

I think that throughout our lives we go through various periods of growth and retraction, creation and destruction. Energy shifts through the phases, but it is continuous, endless, infinitely present. Think of a seed, buried beneath the soil, waiting for spring. As the earth is warmed and moisture touches it, it begins to open and seek the sun. At that moment, when the seed splits – or the egg cracks or the heart opens – what once was is inevitably destroyed. There can not be growth and transformation without the destruction of what was.

The energy of light, of that tiny spark of inspiration, destroys the darkness that protected it. But from that destruction comes the creative process of becoming. And THAT is exciting.

Looking at this in the context of transforming oneself, I can understand better why I keep wanting to put out the spark. Destroying what I know, stepping away from the habits and patterns that have protected me for so long, is scary. A friend of mine once reminded me that the difference between scary and exciting is the breath. Panicked and shallow or full and ready – the good news is that we can control the breath and shift the energy away from fear and towards the thrill of new.

Two years ago I felt like I totally found my groove in terms of my health and lifestyle. It was a period of big growth and I felt really engaged and invigorated. Then splat. I hurt. I felt vulnerable. I retracted. I returned to patterns of protection that are really anything but that. The thing is, my most comfortable way of protecting myself, the faded jeans and cozy sweater of security for me, is food. I imagine there are others of you who recognize yourselves in this pattern too. We use food, unhealthy food that we might not even like (!), to fill a void, stifle a sensation, cover up our wounds, and hide. It’s dangerous stuff. In the end, no one is fooled – least of all, ourselves.

I have some work to do and I’m considering doing some of it here. It means I’m vulnerable, but I am beginning to realize that I can’t go BACK to the flow that I felt 2 years ago. Instead I need to go FORWARD with the knowledge that certain things make me feel great and others don’t. I can handle each moment as it comes and choose to be open or choose to hide. Hiding helped me at a different stage in my life but it no longer serves me and it’s time to let it go.

Expansion. Thinking about navigating each day in a more open and vulnerable way, with the possibility of failing or embarrassing myself, is still scary. Writing this is scary. So I’m breathing and trying to embrace that terrified feeling and turn it into one of anticipation for what might be out there.

I want to inspire. And be inspired. I want to be true to my nature and my energy and I want to find joy and delight in each step of the journey. Even the hard ones that require commitment and persistence and digging in…and an open heart. Inspiration is in every single day just waiting to be discovered and fanned into a flame. Believe. Breathe. Ignite the spark.

Cucumber Eggs with Turmeric

Cucumber Breakfast with Turmeric 2016Spring is here! It’s sunny and beautiful one day and then drizzly and cloudy the next. It doesn’t bother me; I love the weather variation. I particularly like days like today that make me want to sit down with a cup of coffee and connect with you for a while.

I figure it’s about time that I share a version of what I eat for breakfast almost every day. It’s all about the eggs for me. Scrambled almost every time. But not the fluffy, tender, delicate kind of scrambled eggs that some chefs aspire to perfect. I’m a down and dirty, get the eggs on my plate and don’t use an extra bowl to scramble them, kind of girl. Seriously.

Since discovering a Paleo lifestyle, my breakfast has been surprisingly consistent. Really, scary consistent even. No matter where my head (or stomach) is, I really like to have eggs and veggies on my plate in the morning. It means I have to cook and do dishes every day, which is probably why I just scramble my eggs in the pan, but it’s totally worth it because I feel fueled, happy, and satisfied. I’m not sure how I got that habit nailed down. I really wish I could remember the beginning because it might help with a few other habits I’d like to put in place, but I’m typically someone who likes variety in my meals. So much so, in fact, that before starting this blog, my husband would joke about how even when we loved something, it was unlikely to make it back on the menu because I would be off chasing a new recipe. For whatever reason, eggs don’t fall into that category. I never get bored with my eggs.

It might be because I mix up the flavors and veggies all. the. time. This particular variation came about for a number of reasons and it’s just unusual enough, and delicious enough, that I felt like it should be shared.

Many people might think that cucumber for breakfast is strange to begin with. And maybe it is, in which case, eat it for lunch or a snack. For me there are some days when I feel like something cold rather than hot and this works perfectly. People might also think mixing scrambled eggs with cucumber is weird. I guess it could be. So try hard boiled eggs. Or try the scrambled and fall in love like I did.

I have a whole other post waiting that talks about all the benefits of turmeric, which I’ll get out there soon. It’s an amazing root, fresh or dried. One quality it has is as an anti-inflammatory and I hurt my back this past weekend so I wanted to do a few things to help out the healing process. I’m pretty active and being sidelined is hard on my body and my psyche. Especially because I’ve been emotionally off-kilter for a while anyway and it’s had a definite effect on my overall health and well-being. I was excited to get back into the swing of things only to be knocked down. Ugh. But then I started looking for inspiration in some different places and cooking is good for me like that.

This breakfast has a number of things going for it. Hydration and cleansing with the cucumber. Anti-inflammatory with the turmeric. Protein and happiness with the eggs. I also grabbed some fresh chives from the garden (bliss!) and if you have some of those, go for it! They definitely added a lovely dimension.

Anyway, this recipe (if I can even call it that) is crunchy, creamy, hot and cold with an earthiness that comes from the turmeric. I recently found that my local stores have begun stocking the root near the ginger. It’s great! I toss the little knobs into the freezer and when I want some, I just use a microplane and grate it over whatever is calling for it. You could easily sub in the dried powder form. I’d start with an 1/8-1/4 of a teaspoon and go from there. Dried can vary a lot in potency depending on its freshness. And be sure to crack some fresh pepper over it. Research says the pepper helps the body absorb the turmeric even better.

Let me know if you try this. If you’re getting tired of the same old eggs, this just might reinvigorate your morning!

Cucumber Eggs with Turmeric

1/4 tsp. coconut oil

2 eggs

1 cucumber

1 tsp. Paleo mayonnaise

1 1/2 – 2 tsp. fresh grated turmeric (more or less to taste)

salt and pepper

1/4 avocado

fresh minced chives (optional)


  1. Melt the coconut oil in a small sauté pan. Scramble eggs to your preferred doneness. Place in a bowl.
  2. Peel and seed cucumber, if necessary or desired. Cut the cucumber lengthwise down the middle. Then cut each long half lengthwise again. Slice thinly into small 1/4 moons. Add to the bowl.
  3. Add the mayonnaise, turmeric, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Stir everything until it is well distributed.
  4. Add the avocado and chives, if using, and stir gently to combine all the ingredients.
  5. Love your breakfast!

Serves 1