Quinoa Salad


Hello! This is such a wonderful summer salad. Eat it for lunch or as a side at dinner.


  • 1 cup quinoa (I used this quinoa)
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 medium red onion, with paper peeled off
  • 1 avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1 orange bell pepper, cored and stem removed
  • the juice of one lemon
  • real salt or pink Himalayan salt to taste


  1. In a fine mesh sieve, thoroughly rinse and drain 1 cup of quinoa under cold water until the water runs clear.
  2. Place quinoa in a medium saucepan with 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth and bring to a fast simmer.
  3. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Reduce heat to maintain a low simmer and cook for about 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat (keep covered) and steam for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.
  5. While quinoa is cooking, dice red onion, avocado and bell pepper.
  6. Add red onion, avocado and bell pepper to a mixing bowl.
  7. Add cooked quinoa to the same bowl and mix everything together.
  8. Add lemon juice and mix again.
  9. Add salt to taste, if needed.
  10. Eat this dish right away or place in a glass storage container and eat the next day.
  11. Salad will be more delicious the next day and even more so on day 2.
  12. Will last covered in the refrigerator for two days.

Chocolate Blueberry Zucchini Bread

ACS_0259This is an update from last July’s chocolate zucchini bread. I used a touch less sweetener, added some blueberries and made muffins too, so bake time for that is below.

If you are looking for a “veggies for breakfast” option, a healthy snack for after work or school, or even a dessert, this quick bread might do the trick. Enjoy!


  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini (squeeze excess water out of the shredded zucchini)
  • 2 pasture-raised eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup grade b maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pint organic blueberries



  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the almond butter, maple syrup and cacao powder and combine well.
  3. Add eggs and fold them in as well.
  4. Next, add vanilla, baking soda and salt.
  5. Over another small bowl, shred your zucchini until you have one full cup.
  6. Put shredded zucchini into a clean towel and squeeze out excess water.
  7. Add zucchini pulp to the mixture and stir.
  8. Fold in blueberries last.
  9. Place mixture in a lined or greased 5×9″ loaf pan (I greased my pan with coconut oil). Or use regular-sized muffin tin.
  10. Bake for 40 minutes (for loaf) or 25 minutes (for 1 dozen muffins). When a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center, it is done.
  11. Let sit for about 20 minutes before serving.
  12. Enjoy!



Banana Walnut Bread


This bread came to be yesterday because I had a bunch of bananas that needed to be used, and the grocery store was out of hazelnut and almond meal, which are my favorite baking “flours” for muffins and shortbreads.

Using walnuts as “flour” showed me a couple things: (1) if you have a blender or a coffee grinder, you have your own “mill” and you can make nut flours or meals, and (2) cooking and baking is not always about precision, rather it is about having fun and experimenting!

This result of this preparation is a very moist bread that is almost like a bread pudding, so I ate my slice(s) with a fork! Here you go:


  • 4-5 ripe bananas mashed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of real salt or sea salt


  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  • In a large mixing bowl, mash bananas
  • Add eggs and vanilla and stir gently
  • In your blender, coffee grinder or a food processor, pulse to grind walnuts into a meal
  • Combine all dry ingredients into a separate bowl with the walnut meal and then add to wet ingredients
  • Stir all ingredients until batter is smooth
  • Pour batter into a very well greased loaf pan
  • Bake 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
  • Allow bread to sit for at least 30 minutes before slicing
  • Slice and serve, warm or refrigerate over night if you want to serve it the next morning
  • Enjoy!



Mango Kale Smoothie


This smoothie makes two servings and has some great nutrition, including 7g of fiber per serving and is rich in vitamins B2, B12, and E and the mineral calcium.



  • 2 cups cashew milk, although you could use another nut milk like almond milk (I used Forager Project brand, and cashew milk is very easy to make at home too).
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 1 cup mango, peeled and cubed (you could also use frozen mango for this recipe)
  • 1 cup organic kale (about 4 leaves)
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • *optional* 1 teaspoon of vitamin C powder (I use Dr. Ben Kim’s Vitamin C powder)


  1. Add all ingredients to your high-speed blender.
  2. Blend thoroughly.
  3. Makes two 16-ounce smoothies.

Easy Avocado Toast


Eating avocado toast is always a good idea.

This recipe is easy, flexible and vegan, and it gives me the opportunity to talk about bread…. There is no other food that outplays toast in the comfort department, and while many people are abstaining from glutenous foods and gluten-free grains as well, there are many who like toast and want to know: Is bread bad?

The answer is: Some bread is bad, and some is not. To the extent you can make your own bread, do it. Bread is a living food when made by human hands. If you can’t make your own, source from a baker who is doing it the right way using quality ingredients and techniques, even so far as grinding their own whole-grain flours onsite like Josey Baker is doing at The Mill in San Francisco.

When choosing high-quality bread, a great option is sourdough (either gluten-free or the original variety … you choose based on your dietary needs). It’s all in the name: SOUR. Sourdough bread is fermented and bacteria that proliferate in the bread’s starter pre-digest the proteins in whatever grain flour is being used, so sourdough can prove easier on the tummy when made the right way.

I am using SRSLY bread today, but with whatever bread you choose, this easy avocado toast is guaranteed to satisfy. And like I have said before: Avocado toast wins in all categories: for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and appetizers. Let me know how you like it!


  • 1 medium avocado, peeled, pitted and masked with a fork
  • the juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp of sea salt or real salt
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • dried crushed red chili peppers
  • 2 slices bread of choice


  1. Toast your bread to desired goldenness.
  2. While bread is toasting, mash your avocado with a fork and add lemon juice and salt.
  3. Drizzle toast with olive oil immediately after it comes out of the toaster.
  4. Top your toast with your avocado mixture.
  5. Top the avocado toast with dried crushed red chili peppers.
  6. Enjoy!

Hazelnut Breaded Chicken


This recipe is an update of the versatile and easy chicken recipe I shared with you last autumn, which used almond flour and grated parmesan cheese as the “breading.” This one makes for an even more delicious breaded chicken dish, great for any night of the week, for entertaining and casual meals alike.

I usually use this breading with chicken, but you could use it to bread vegetables if you want to experiment with vegetarian options. You’ll simply adjust cooking time according to what you’re preparing!

The reason I started experimenting with hazelnut flour is because I was out of almond meal one night, and my family gobbled up this recipe saying they liked it even better than the previous version.

The other benefit to mention is that almonds can be overdone with the amount of almond milk and almond butter many are consuming. Don’t get me wrong — almonds are a wonderful food — but it is important to get a variety of nutrients from an array of foods, so mixing it up is a good thing!


  • 2 organic chicken breasts with tenders, remove tenders by cutting them off with kitchen scissors
  • 1 pasture-raised egg
  • 1/2 cup hazelnut meal (can be found in the baking aisle of your grocery store)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon real salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon grass-fed butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Lightly beat the egg in a shallow dish and set aside.
  3. Make grain-free “breading” in another shallow dish by mixing hazelnut meal, grated parmesan cheese, salt and black pepper.
  4. Remove the tenders from the breasts if they are still attached.
  5. Heat a large oven-safe sauté pan over medium-high heat.
  6. Add the butter and oil and bring to a shimmer.
  7. Run each tender and breast through the egg to coat it thoroughly.
  8. Cover tenders and breasts in dry mixture, turning each over and covering them entirely with the breading mixture.
  9. Add the chicken breasts to the pan. Then add tenders to the pan.
  10. Cook each piece without turning until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
  11. Turn each piece and cook until equally brown on the other side, about 5 minutes more.
  12. Baste browned sides with butter and oil from the pan.
  13. Keep breasts and tenders in the sauté pan and place in the oven.
  14. Remove tenders after about 15 minutes, or until their internal temperature is 165F. Remove breasts after about 30 minutes, or until their internal temperature is 165F.
  15. Let sit for about 5 minutes and serve with a vegetable. Enjoy!

Sunshine Turmeric Smoothie

sunshine_turmeric_smoothieI just got my hands on some beautiful Hawaiian turmeric from Good Eggs and I wanted to share this bright, shiny smoothie recipe with you, in case you can grab some turmeric too. Hawaiian turmeric is very mild, almost like the mix of a sweet carrot and ginger root. It is a wonderful antioxidant, and this smoothie will add some sunshine to your January days.

This smoothie makes two servings and has some definite high points, including almost 7g of fiber per serving and about 60% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C per serving (based on a 2,000 calorie diet).



  • 1 cup cashew milk, although you could use another nut milk like almond milk (I used Forager Project brand, but cashew milk is very easy to make at home too).
  • 1/2 cup coconut water (I like the Harmless Harvest Brand)
  • 2 seedless clementine oranges, peeled
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 1/2 avocado, peeled and pitted
  • about 1 inch fresh turmeric root, peeled
  • some extra turmeric peeled and grated on top of your smoothie is optional


  1. Add all ingredients to your high-speed blender.
  2. Blend all ingredients thoroughly.
  3. Makes two 16-ounce smoothies.

Sweet Potato Almond Ginger Soup

20170802-nicole0281It stands to reason that wherever you are, temperatures have started to drop, days are getting much shorter, and, with Thanksgiving upon us in the US, the need for coziness is in full force.

This usually means a full transition away from cooling, cleansing foods to more warming, grounding foods, like root vegetables, spices and citrus, and definitely soups and stews. When you think about early winter, don’t you think about oranges and cloves and roots like sweet potatoes and yams pulled from the root cellar?

There’s a great reason for those foods … they boost immunity. Add them to soups and stews, and the body will get an extra boost in its digestive process because those cooking methods help with digestion. With the kick-off of soup and stew season, I want to share the vegan version of a Food and Hearth favorite: Sweet Potato Almond Ginger Soup. It was fun to make this soup with my friends at Filbert and Co. (for more about our day together, head here.)


  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (I like to make my own because it’s so easy and adds a lot of vibrant veggie love to all your recipes. My recipe for vegetable stock is here)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced (2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup smooth almond butter
  • 1 cup baby spinach (or any other winter green, like chard or kale)
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and grated/minced fresh ginger
  • Real salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lime
  • 1 avocado


  1. Heat olive oil in a stock pot over medium/high heat, until shimmering.
  2. Add onion and garlic and sauté until fragrant.
  3. Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil.
  4. Add sweet potato and ginger.
  5. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover.
  6. Let simmer for about 20 minutes.
  7. In a small bowl, whisk together the almond butter and 1/2 cup of the soup mixture into a thick paste.
  8. Stir in the almond butter paste.
  9. Season with salt and pepper.
  10. Add the spinach simmer, covered, for 5 more minutes.
  11. Ladle the soup into bowls, and top generously with cubed avocados in lime juice.




Thank you to Nick Brown of www.nickbrown.com for the gorgeous photos of The Beach Kitchen, the soup and us!



Vitamin C and E Smoothie

circulation_vitE.jpgLast week, I wrote about how the air quality has been very poor in the Bay Area because of the wild fires to the north of us. Tens of thousands of acres of precious land and homes have been destroyed, and worse, lives have been shattered or taken in the midst of this unthinkable natural distaster.

I am in awe of all the helpers, especially the first responders who risk their own lives and health to save others.

As promised, below is a recipe for a very quick and easy smoothie which will give you an abundance of Vitamin E, especially the lung healing form if it: alpha-tocopherol.


  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 1 avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1/2 cup frozen organic blueberries
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon beetroot powder* (I like this one) *optional but great for circulation. you can also throw a small cooked beet into this smoothie.
  • 1/2 teaspoon vitamin c powder (I like this one)
  • 2 cups water


  1. Place all ingredients into your blender and blend for 45 seconds.
  2. Makes 24 oz. one 12 ounce smoothie for now and one for later.

Is cooking going by way of sewing?


I recently read an article in the Harvard Business Review which states:

“I’ve come to think of cooking as being similar to sewing. As recently as the early 20th century, many people sewed their own clothing. Today the vast majority of Americans buy clothing made by someone else; the tiny minority who still buy fabric and raw materials do it mainly as a hobby. If that’s the kind of shift coming to the food industry, change leaders and corporate strategists will have their hands full.”

As a Certified Nutritionist, I know that doing more of my own food sourcing, prep and cooking has been one way to harness the vital energy and power of nutritious food.

I have long hoped that the Slow Food movement (a movement that that promotes local food and traditional cooking) would keep its momentum, and that more and more people will experience the holistic benefits of sourcing and handling their own ingredients, cooking with friends and family and feeling the benefits of an intimate relationship with their food.

It’s a part of how I guide clients towards food intimacy, all in the name of healing ourselves at a deep level.

My hope is that the kitchen becomes the heart center of homes again, that my clients become savvy, earth-conscience shoppers, and that we use cooking as a tool to balance this important triad: (1) nourishing one’s self, (2) healing emotionally, and (3) better understanding the interconnectivity of all things.

Change is inevitable. Progress is good. Grocery shopping, food prep and cooking need to be modernized, yes. It can’t feel laborious or be expensive or demand perfection. If you cook one more meal this week that you did last week, know that you are bucking the trend, and that’s a good thing! Here’s to cooking!

Photography by Nick Brown www.nickbrownphotography.com