Month: February 2019

Berry Banana Blast Smoothie

Smoothies are a great way to get a lot of fruits, vegetables and protein into your system quickly. Especially when you’re rushing to work or need a quick snack after a workout, it’s the perfect thing to drink on the go.

I prefer the NutriBullet blender to make smoothies, because of the high powered motor, and the ease of cleaning compared to a regular blender. I can throw in apples with the peels, nuts and seeds, and it all blends together smoothly, making it easier for your body to absorb the nutrients.

My husband was skeptical when I first make him a smoothie, due to the green (or in this case, purple) color. But once he tasted it, he was hooked! He said that he definitely felt more energetic during his workout after drinking it. To this day, he still calls it “green slop.”

When I make smoothies, I always add either spinach or kale (organic), a bit of fruit, as well as flaxseed and nuts, and some kind of protein powder. In this case, I’m using egg white protein.

This time I had some fresh bananas on hand, but I also like to use frozen berries to make the smoothie cold, thick and creamy, like a shake.

I find that blending the spinach, fruit, nuts and water first works best, then I add the protein powder last. I have had some protein powders expand once I added them to the liquid, which would loosen the lid of my container during blending and start leaking. Not good!

So just add the first bunch of ingredients, blend thoroughly, open the lid and throw in the protein powder, and blend once again for a few seconds.

You can even prepare it the night before if you find that you are too busy in the mornings.

Berry Banana Blast Smoothie

Servings:  1

  • 1 cup (packed) raw organic spinach (or kale)
  • 1 cup mixed fruit (bananas, strawberries, blueberries), preferably frozen
  • 1 tablespoon ground golden flaxseed
  • 1 tablespoon raw walnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 scoop (3 tablespoons) vanilla egg white protein powder, (naturally sweetened with stevia)


Add the first 5 ingredients to a high speed blender cup, such as the Nutribullet.  Add 1 cup of water and blend until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.  Add protein powder and blend for a few more seconds.  Serve.

The smoothie can be prepared the night before and stored in the refrigerator for breakfast.  Just stir and enjoy.

Variations:  You can substitute any fruits that you prefer, such as blackberries, raspberries, apple or pineapple.  Use whey or pea protein powder, as long as it doesn’t contain sugar or artificial sweeteners. Instead of walnuts, use almonds, pecans or cashews.

Caesar Salad

One of the very best, simple salads! It’s such a treat to have it prepared tableside at an upscale restaurant. But when that’s not an option, it’s super easy to make at home.

I like to add extra shredded Parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper to each serving. I know that many people love the crunchy croutons that usually accompany Caesar salads, but I prefer to leave them off and save the excess carbs. Plus, it’s still delicious without them! I have served this to guests many times and no one has questioned me about the missing croutons.

To make the salad a full meal, just add some protein, like grilled chicken or shrimp.

Caesar Salad

Servings:  1 entrée or 2 side salads

  • 3 generous handfuls of organic romaine lettuce, torn into bite size pieces (approx. 3 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons Caesar Dressing
  • 2 tablespoons shredded or shaved Parmesan cheese


Add lettuce to a large bowl.  Drizzle with Caesar dressing and toss to coat evenly.  Sprinkle with cheese and serve.  Add more freshly ground black pepper, if desired.

Variations:  Add grilled chicken,  steak or shrimp.

Caesar Dressing

This is one of my favorite dressings. It’s creamy, rich and lemony, along with the salty tang of anchovy paste and Parmesan cheese.

I know, a traditional Caesar dressing contains raw egg, but I prefer to avoid the potential risk for salmonella, which could be a concern. Instead, I substitute a high quality mayonnaise.

Some store bought versions are way too thick, and very salty. Try making your own, and see the difference!

Caesar Dressing

Servings:  8

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice, (approx. 1 lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, preferably made from avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil


Add the first 5 ingredients to a measuring cup and whisk to combine.  Add enough lemon juice to reach 1/3 cup.  Add mayonnaise, cheese and pepper, then slowly add olive oil while whisking until you reach 1 cup.  Transfer to a sealed container.  It will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.

Cabbage Soup with Chicken

I like to make a variety of soups in the winter. It’s so comforting on a cold day, as well as nutritious and filling.

I usually make a big batch, then freeze the leftovers in individual portions to make it easy to heat up later.

This recipe is reminiscent of minestrone, but without the starchy pasta and beans. It’s full of delicious, healthy vegetables, and a small amount of chicken to add a bit of protein. It’s not a very heavy soup; you can add less broth or more tomatoes if you like it thicker. I serve it with a big green salad to round out the meal.

I start by sauteing vegetables in avocado oil in a large soup pot.

While the onions, carrots and celery cook, I slice the cabbage.

Once the vegetables start to soften and brown, I add all the other ingredients.

Now you just have to cover it and let it simmer for an hour. Remove the chicken and shred it before returning it to the pot. Then add a handful of chopped fresh basil. It really adds a nice bright flavor. Here is the finished soup, ready to enjoy!

Cabbage Soup with Chicken

Servings:  8

  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 large celery stalks, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 head green cabbage, cored, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 2 organic boneless,skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 2 quarts low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 10 leaves fresh basil, finely chopped


In a large pot, saute onions, carrots and celery in oil over medium heat until starting to brown.  Add the garlic and cabbage and cook for another minute.  Add the chicken, tomatoes, stock, and all spices except fresh basil. 

Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer.  Cook gently, partially covered, for 1 hour.  Remove chicken and shred the meat, then return it to the pot.  Add the basil.  Taste to adjust seasonings.

Variations:  Add cooked macaroni, cooked beans, or freshly grated parmesan cheese.  If you prefer a more tomato-based soup, replace some of the chicken broth with a can of tomato puree.

Easy Deviled Eggs

If I’m in the mood for a savory snack that’s creamy, rich and satisfying, one of my go-to recipes is deviled eggs. I can prepare a batch on the weekend, and keep them in a sealed container in the refrigerator to snack on all week. They make great appetizers for a party, too.

One of the most difficult parts of making deviled eggs is cooking perfect hard-boiled eggs. I have over cooked them, under cooked them, and then had the peels stick to the eggs so that half of the egg white would peel off along with the shell!

Then I received an electric Dash egg cooker for a gift, and it changed everything! It comes with a tiny device that you use to prick a hole in the top of each egg shell before cooking, which makes it easy for the shells to slide right off when they’re finished cooking. The instructions tell you the amount of water to add, you plug it in, turn it on, and the whole process is very quick.

My one complaint is the loud noise that the machine makes when the eggs are finished…it can be quite startling! And I found that I need to keep the eggs in the cooker for 5 additional minutes after the buzzer sounds, so that they are perfectly cooked.

If you don’t have an egg cooker, no problem! I also provide instructions for cooking eggs the usual way.

Easy Deviled Eggs

Servings:  6

  • 6 large eggs, free-range
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise, preferably organic and made from avocado oil
  • 1 scallion, green parts only, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Paprika


Using a Dash egg cooker, add the specified amount of water and place eggs on the tray. Close the lid and turn on.  When the timer goes off, turn off the machine and unplug, but leave the lid on for 5 more minutes.  Fill a bowl with ice cubes and cold water.  Place the cooked eggs into the ice bath and let cool.

To cook the conventional  way, place eggs in a pot covered with cold water.  Bring to a boil, cover the pot and turn off the heat.  Let stand for 12 minutes.  Fill a bowl with ice cubes and cold water.  Place the cooked eggs into the ice bath and let cool.

Tap the cooled eggs on several sides to loosen the shells, then peel under running water.  Place the eggs on paper towels to dry.

Cut the eggs in half lengthwise, and drop the yolks into a small bowl.  Mash the yolks with a fork until smooth.  Add the mayonnaise, scallion, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste, and mix well.  (Note that the mustard is quite salty, so you may not require additional salt.)

With a small spoon, fill each egg with the mixture and sprinkle with paprika.

Variations:  There are endless combinations…you can add diced bacon, jalapenos, roasted red peppers, celery, pickles or relish, minced parsley or other fresh herbs, cayenne pepper or hot sauce.

Low Carb Chicken Enchilada Casserole

I love Mexican food, the spicier, the better, and would be happy eating tacos or burritos every week. Unfortunately, chips, tortillas, beans, corn and rice are all too heavy for me.

I wanted to come up with a dish that had the same wonderful flavors as chicken enchiladas, but without the starchy tortillas.

Each component had to be seasoned well and able to stand alone, so that when they were assembled in the casserole, the combination of flavors would be that much better.

The base of the casserole would be a version of Spanish rice, using riced cauliflower instead of regular rice. I started by cooking some peppers and onions in a bit of avocado oil.

Sauteed peppers and onions

Then I added garlic, tomato paste, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, along with frozen riced cauliflower.

After everything was cooked and the vegetables soft, I poured the rice mixture into my casserole dish. The next step was to take shredded chicken, and toss it with a spicy sauce. Using prepared rotisserie chicken saves time.

Looking at a popular brand of canned enchilada sauce, I realized it contained a few ingredients that I’d rather not use: Wheat Flour, Vegetable Shortening, Caramel Color, Red Color No. 40.

Instead, I used a small can of tomato sauce, and just added my own spices. Then I tossed the chicken with half the sauce.

I added the chicken to the casserole dish, then poured the rest of the sauce on top, followed by shredded cheese.

After baking for 30 minutes, it was ready to eat! My husband didn’t even know that it contained cauliflower.

Low Carb Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Servings:  4

  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil (or olive oil)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 (12-ounce) bag frozen riced cauliflower
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Spicy tomato sauce (see recipe below)
  • 3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
  • 4 ounces shredded pepper- jack cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro


Heat a large skillet, add the oil and saute the onions and peppers over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until softened.  Add the garlic, tomato paste and red pepper flakes and continue cooking for about a minute, then add the frozen cauliflower rice, salt and pepper.  Stir to combine everything and cook for 5 minutes to thaw the cauliflower.  Cover the pan, reduce heat to low and let cook for another 10 minutes, until all the vegetables are soft.

Spicy Tomato Sauce:

  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Mix tomato sauce and spices together. 

To assemble:

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Spoon cauliflower rice mixture into a 9 x 9 inch square casserole dish.  In a separate bowl, toss the shredded chicken with half of the Spicy Tomato Sauce, and layer the chicken on top of the rice.  Pour the remaining sauce evenly over the chicken.  Finally, sprinkle the cheese on top.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, removing the foil for the last 15 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.  Sprinkle with cilantro.

Notes:  You can assemble the casserole ahead of time, and refrigerate until ready to bake.

Using prepared rotisserie chicken from the grocery store saves time.  You can use any size casserole dish that you have handy:  square, round or rectangular.

Salad with Mixed Greens, Goat Cheese and Roasted Nuts

I am a big fan of salads and all leafy greens. Because of their high content of antioxidants, green leafy vegetables may be one of the best cancer preventing foods. They have anti-inflammatory properties, and are a good source of fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium.

I eat a large salad for lunch most weekdays, but have been known to eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner, especially after over-indulging during holidays or vacations.

My husband complains when I serve them too often, but he eats them anyway!

When I lived in Los Angeles, one of my favorite restaurants served a fantastic salad with goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and toasted pine nuts. This is a variation that’s just as delicious with a variety of textures, tangy dressing, creamy cheese and crunchy nuts.

Salad with Mixed Greens, Goat Cheese and Roasted Nuts

Servings: 1 entree or 2 appetizers


Add lettuce to a large bowl, crumble goat cheese on top. Drizzle with Vinaigrette and sprinkle with nuts. Toss to combine.

Red Wine Vinaigrette

It’s so easy to make your own salad dressing, plus it saves money!

You can control the ingredients, use high quality extra virgin olive oil, and adjust the amount of salt and other spices you add. This is a simple dressing that I make often.

Red Wine Vinaigrette

Servings:  8

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil


Add all ingredients to a shaker bottle with a tight lid and shake to combine thoroughly.  The dressing will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.

Sweet and Salty Roasted Nuts

I often eat raw nuts as a snack, but sometimes they can be a bit boring. One day, I noticed some almonds that I had purchased weren’t as crunchy as they should have been…perhaps they were slightly stale. So I decided to roast them. What a drastic improvement! They were completely transformed into crunchy, flavorful, sweet and salty perfection.

The great thing about roasting them yourself is that you can control what kind of oil you use and the amount of salt, and you can vary the spices that you add. I like mine lightly salted and slightly sweet, so I add some sea salt and granulated stevia.

This recipe is so simple and only takes 10 minutes. You can serve these nuts as a snack, sprinkled over salads, or ground up to use in a pie crust.

Sweet and Salty Roasted Nuts

Servings:  16

  • 2 cups of raw nuts of choice (walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, etc.)
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 packet (or 3/4 teaspoon) granulated stevia sweetener
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Toss the nuts with the oil, sweetener and salt and spread evenly on the tray.  Bake for 10 minutes, stirring after 5 minutes.  Be careful not to burn.

Cool completely, then store in an airtight container.  They will stay fresh at least 2 weeks.

Variations:  Add additional spices such as cayenne or black pepper, any dried herbs such as rosemary, thyme or oregano.  For a sweeter treat, add a touch more stevia, plus cinnamon and nutmeg.