Perfect Pasta Salad

Perfect Pasta Salad

Perfect Pasta Salad

Perfect Pasta Salad

The Perfect Pasta Salad


  • 1 Box Elbow Macaroni cooked al dente and cooled
  • 2 Carrots, diced
  • 4 Scallions, sliced
  • 6-7 Small Sweet Red, Orange & Yellow Peppers, chopped
  • 1 carton Cherry Tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 small or 1 large Cucumber, seeded and diced
  • 1-2 small inner Celery Stalks WITH GREENS, diced
  • 3 Hardboiled Eggs, chopped
  • 8 oz Colby Cheese, cubed
  • Handful of Fresh Basil, chiffonade
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


* Mix all dressing ingredients together. If too thick, thin out with a little more buttermilk. Pour dressing over cooled noodles. Add all the gorgeous veggie toppings. Mix until combined. Enjoy!!!



There are so many options for Pasta Salad.  To make it more healthy, use Whole Wheat Pasta and Fat Free or Low Fat dairy ingredients.

If there is a veggie you don’t like, LEAVE IT OUT and substitute it with something you do like.

Swap out the Fresh Basil for Fresh Dill and add 1 tsp Dried Dill to the Dressing.

The best thing about Pasta Salad is, its almost impossible to mess it up!!! Get Creative!


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Southern Tomato Pie

Southern Tomato Pie

Summertime, Summertime, Sum-Summ-Summertime!!!

 Absolute perfection in two words: Tomato. Pie.

Sweet, Juicy, Ripe & Plump. Little colorful bursts of heaven.

Easily grown with a HUGE variety: Heirloom, Big Boy, Chocolate Cherry, Yellow Pear… these delightful tomatoes serve up spectacular dishes from snacks and apps all the way to the main course!

Savory Sweet Southern Tomato Pie

Savory Southern Tomato Pie


As Elegant and Lip-Smackin’ Good as this dish is,it is surprisingly,fabulously, summertime-tasticly, super simple to make!  Thank the Summertime Gods for smiling down on us with ripe, juicy tomatoes-a-plenty!  Here’s a tasty solution for what to do with your overabundance!  Lemme Break it down for ya.

This is what it looks like right before popping into the oven.

This is what it looks like right before popping into the oven!

Now, first things first.  Slice up those juicy plump tomatoes and lay them out on a couple layers of paper towels. Sprinkle them with Salt.  DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!!!  If you do, you will have a watery pie…and NO ONE likes a watery pie!  It’s best to let them sit out for at least a half hour on the paper towels.  Then, be sure to blot the topside as well with a paper towel before layering!  I only had a few gorgeous red tomatoes, but mixing up heirloom and different varietals in this recipe is always a plus!

Salt Tomatoes to Release Excess Moisture

Salt Tomatoes to Release Excess Moisture


To simplify tonight, I even used a pre-made piecrust and just jazzed it up a little.  Karified it! 🙂

Savory Rosemary Crust

Savory Rosemary Crust

Press a little fresh Chopped Rosemary and Coarse Ground Black Pepper into the unthawed pre-made piecrust lightly with your fingertips.  Bake 400 10-15 mins until just brown, or per instructions.

Rosemary Black Pepper Crust

The aromatic Rosemary will make your Kitchen smell divine!


While this is baking in the Oven, you want to go ahead and make your Shallot/Cheese Mixture.  Here’s whatcha need:

Shallots, Garlic, Chiles

Shallots, Garlic, Chiles

Finely Chop Shallots, Garlic and a few Chiles to taste!

Kitchen is starting to smell AMAZING!!!

Kitchen is starting to smell AMAZING!!!

Cook the garlic just a minute or two until fragrant, be careful not to burn it or it will turn bitter!

Gather Your Ingredients

Gather Your Ingredients


You can keep this super simple and just use Mayo and Cheddar Cheese, but…who are we kidding…When have I been know to do that?!?!?!  This is gonna be SO MUCH BETTER!!!

Add Ingredients to Garlic and Shallot Mixture

Add Ingredients to Garlic and Shallot Mixture

Horseradish, Duke’s Mayo, Herbed Goat Cheese, Shaved Parmesan, Lemon Zest, Salt & Pepper

Leave Mozzareall

Do NOT add Mozzarella, Chiles and Lemon Juice yet!

Fresh. Basil.

Toss is a few handfuls for Freshly Torn Basil

Next, Mix to combine cheeses.  The Shallots should still be warm, which will make this step easier.  Use Lemon Juice to thin out the mixture.  Depending on the size of your lemon, you will need about 1/2 to  the whole lemon.  I had a large lemon and only needed to use half!  You don’t want your mixture runny, just a thick but spreadable consistency.

Spread a THIN Layer onto your pie crust

Now, Let’s start assembling this Tomato Pie!

Start by spreading a THIN LAYER of the cheese and shallot mixture onto the bottom of the Pie Crust.  This extra step will help in keeping the bottom crust from getting soggy!

Layer your Delicious Tomatoes

Layer your Delicious Tomatoes

Next, add a Layer of Tomatoes

Cheese/Shallot Mixture & Fresh Mozzarella

Goat Cheese/Shallot Mixture & Fresh Mozzarella

Dollop the Goat Cheese Mixture and tear some Mozzarella on top the Tomato Layer

IMG_2443 IMG_2440


 Repeat if needed:

<— Tomato Layer

Cheese Layer —>

Absolutely Gorgeous!

Absolutely Gorgeous!

Finish Pie with Goat Cheese & Mozzarella.  Top with Shredded Parmesan, Fresh Basil, Chiles & EVOO.  Season with Salt & Pepper.

Oh My, now THAT'S A PIE!

Oh My, now THAT’S A PIE!



Pop in the Oven and Bake.


Fresh Out of the Oven!

TIP: Do NOT serve Immediately!

TIP: Do NOT serve Immediately!

As hard as this will be…..LET THE TOMATO PIE COOL for at least 15 mins.  It needs to set!!!

Best served warm with lightly dressed mixed greens

Best served warm with lightly dressed mixed greens

For a quick, healthy side….serve with leafy greens.  I dressed mine super simple and it was perfect.  Squeeze the last half of the lemon over Greens. Drizzle 1 tsp EVOO.  Season with Salt and Pepper. Toss. Serve.


Southern Tomato Pie

1 PreMade Pie Crust

2 Sprigs Rosemary, chopped

Coarse Black Pepper

2-4 Ripe Tomatoes, sliced

Handful Basil, torn


2 Shallots, minced

2 Garlic Cloves, minced

Chiles or Jalapeño, minced (to taste)

1/3 Cup Duke’s Mayonnaise

2 T Horseradish

8 oz. Herbed Goat Cheese Log, crumbled

1/2 Cup Shredded Parmesan, divided

4 oz. Mozzarella, torn & divided

1 Organic Lemon, juice & zest

Sea Salt

Fresh Ground Pepper

*Preheat Oven 350.  Slice Tomatoes and place on paper towels.  Sprinkle with Salt and allow to drain.  Set Aside.  Next, take pre-made Pie Crust and sprinkle with Rosemary and Coarse Black Pepper.  Press lightly with fingers into crust.  Bake according to piecrust instructions until just browning.  Remove from Oven and let cool.

*Meanwhile, Add 1 T EVOO to small Sauté Pan and sweat Shallots, Chiles, s&p about 3-5 mins until translucent.  Turn down heat to Med-Low.  Add Garlic and cook 2 mins more.  Stirring some so you don’t burn the garlic! Next, add your Dukes Mayo, Horseradish, Goat Cheese, 1/3 Cup Parmesan, Lemon Zest, Torn Basil, Lemon Juice, salt & pepper.  Mix to combine.

*In Cooled Savory Pie Crust, spread a THIN LAYER of Goat Cheese Mixture on the bottom.  Add a Layer of Tomatoes.  Then a Layer of dollops of Goat Cheese Mixture and Torn Mozzarella.  Add another Layer of Tomatoes.  Top with Goat Cheese Mixture, Torn Mozzarella, Torn Basil, and a few fresh chiles.  Drizzle with 1 T EVOO and Season with Salt & Pepper.

*Bake 350 for 30 Mins or until top is brown and bubbly!

*Let cool for 15 mins before serving!



  • Substitue ANY cheese you like.  Swap the Goat Cheese for Feta.  Use Shredded Mozzarella if you need to.  Swap Parmesan for Asiago. Really, anything goes here.
  • Even if you DESPISE MAYONNAISE… REALLY REALLY REALLY need it for this recipe.  I cut it down to a super small amount.  I PROMISE you won’t even know it’s in there.  My hubby HATES mayo, and he LOVED this!  Trust me.
  • If you want to make your own crust….go for it!  Add the herbs in at the end as its coming together!  Using a pre-made pie crust that you roll out…no worries.  Simply add the Rosemary and Pepper on top and press it in with your fingers or a rolling pin before you lay it in the pie plate.
  • For the Love of All Things Soggy…..DON’T FORGET TO SLICE, SALT & DRAIN YOUR TOMATOES.  I can not emphasize this enough.  That’s the last I’m gonna say about that…
  • If your Crust Starts to get to brown, use a pie crust shield or some foil around the edges to prevent burning!
  • Experiment with different types of tomatoes.  The result is sure to be Gorgeously Delicious!!!


And that’s that.

My Version of Southern Tomato Pie, Baby.

Enjoy! Kari






Drunken Punkin’ Chili

Drunken Punkin’ Chili


Guilt-Free Chili!  Super Healthy except for the Beer!

Guilt-Free Chili! Super Healthy except for the Beer!

It’s Fall Y’all!   Happy October 1st.  I don’t know about you, but I’m in the mood for all things pumpkin.  Super healthy and super versatile, it’s simple to take from sweet to savory.  Oh the Joys of Pumpkins.  Nothing says Happy Fall better than a house full of pumpkins.  From Food to Decor, Pumpkins are Perfect!  You can even imbibe in a delicious Pumpkin Beer.  Hence, the name for my chili: Drunken Punkin’ Chili.  Now, Let’s get this party started!!!

Gather Your Organic, Local or HomeGrown Ingredients

Gather Your Ingredients and get to Choppin’

And, as always, try and use Fresh Organic, Local or Homegrown Ingredients as much as possible.  Mine is Organic Drunken Punkin’ Chili (all except for the Beer).


Chopped: Red Pepper, Green Pepper, Carrots, Red Onion, Yellow Onion

In a LARGE SOUP POT Heat 2 T EVOO.  Add 1lb. of Ground Pork seasoned with Salt & Pepper (or your meat of choice. You can substitute Chicken, Turkey, Beef, or omit the meat altogether to make Vegetarian Drunken Punkin’ Chili).  After Meat is Nice and Brown, Add in Chopped Veggies.

Yes, this is a LOT of Veggies!!!!

Yes, this is a LOT of Veggies!!!!

Sprinkle with Salt & Pepper. Simmer on Med-High about 5 – 8 mins until Veggies start to turn translucent.  Meanwhile…

Slice Your Shrooms

Slice Your Shrooms

When Veggies are softened, Add Mushrooms to the Pot.

Simmer Shrooms until Softened

Simmer Shrooms until Softened.  DO NOT SALT!

Next, Add Garlic and Spices

Garlic and Spice Goodness

Garlic and Spice Goodness

Simmer the Garlic and Spices for about 5 mins.  Your house should start smelling heavenly right about now…

Add Fresh Tomatoes

Add Fresh Tomatoes, Seasoned with Salt and Pepper

Simmer until Tomatoes start to BURST.

Pumpkin Beer

Pumpkin Beer

Add 1 Bottle Pumpkin Ale and bring to a Boil.

Tomato Paste + Pumpkin

Tomato Paste + Pumpkin

Add 2 T Tomato Paste and 1 can Pumpkin.  Reserve about 2 T of the Pumpkin and set aside.

Should look something like this....

Should look something like this….

Add Cans of Beans and Simmer.

Handful of Fresh Greens

Handful of Fresh Greens

About 5 mins before serving, toss in a handful of sliced Tatsoi.

Drunken Punkin' Chili....DONE!

Drunken Punkin’ Chili….DONE!

Garnish with Scented Sour Cream, Parsley & Oregano

Garnish with Scented Sour Cream, Parsley & Oregano

Drunken Punkin’ Chili w/ Scented Sour Cream

1 Pumpkin Beer

1 lb. Ground Pork (chicken, beef, turkey, or omit for Vegetarian)


1 Red Onion diced

1 Yellow Onion diced

1 Red Pepper diced

1 Green Pepper diced

3 Carrrots diced

1-2 cups Whole Cherry or Grape Tomatoes

1 lb. Baby Bella Mushrooms sliced

2 cups Crushed Tomatoes no salt added

2 T Tomato Paste

1 Can Pumpkin (reserve 2 T)

4-6 Cloves Garlic minced

2 T Oregano

3 T Chili Powder

2 T Ground Roasted Cumin (or regular)

1 T Smoked Paprika

1 t Saigon Cinnamon

1/4 t Cayenne

1/8 t Red Chili Flakes

1/8 T Allspice

1/8 T Nutmeg

2 Cans Black Beans

1 Can Red Kidney Beans

1 Can Chili Beans

Handful of Tatsoi (or kale, chard, spinach…any hearty green)

Brown Meat in Large Soup Pot.  Add Chopped Onions, Peppers & Carrots. Season with Salt and Pepper. Simmer 8-10 mins until softened.  Add Mushrooms. Cook about 5 mins until Shrooms are cooked a bit. Add Garlic and Spices. Simmer 5 more mins until house is fragrant. Add Fresh Tomatoes and cook until they start to Burst.  Add Pumpkin Beer and Boxed or Canned Crushed Tomatoes. Bring to a Boil.  Drop Heat to Med-Low and Add Tomato Paste and Canned Pumpkin. Simmer 15-30 mins. Taste for Seasonings. Adjust. Add Beans. Simmer till Dinner!!!


Pumpkin-Scented Sour Cream

1 Cup Sour Cream

2 T Reserved Pumpkin Puree

1/2 t Cinnamon

1/2 t Cumin

Mix to combine.  Refrigerate until ready.


Healthy & Satisfying

Healthy & Satisfying


Again, feel free to adjust the seasonings and spices to your tastes.  And you can switch up the beans as well. Use up what you have on hand! I was thinking about adding corn, but went with the greens instead. You could try adding a cup or so of frozen corn in at the end and omit the greens.

Always use ingredients that YOU like!  If you hate mushrooms, like my Mom, leave them out or chop them in smaller pieces.  If you don’t have any Fresh Grape or Cherry Tomatoes, use and extra cup or so of canned or boxed diced tomatoes.  Or, if you don’t like them whole, chop them up before adding!

Also, in many Pumpkin Chili recipes, you see chipotle peppers in adobe sauce.  It is basically a super smokey jalapeño. I, personally, do not care for them. But, if you like it: use 1 or 2 peppers (seeds scraped out) and a few spoonfuls of the sauce.  A little goes a long way with these. Instead, I use a good Hot Sauce when serving, if need be. In this recipe I replaced it with some Cayenne Pepper. If i had a a fresh jalapeño, serrano or thai chile pepper, I would have sautéed those up with the veggies.

This recipe makes a HUGE Pot.  If you want to make it for yourself or a couple, cut the onion and pepper down to one and only 2 cans of beans.  And be sure to cut the spices in about half.

Also, I will adjust the seasonings at the END and take out a few ladlefuls to cool in bowls for the kids.  Then, I add the Hot Sauce or a tad more chili powder, or whatever else I think it might need.  That way I can add a bit more spice for the adults, but still keep it kid friendly!

Chili is one of the most versitile and forgiving dishes.   So easy to modify and make your own. I don’t think I have ever made a pot of chili that tasted the same as the next!  It all depends on what I have in stock in the pantry or what veggies I need to use up!  You could also change out the pumpkin for squash!

Really, With Chili, Anything Is Possible!



Greek Smothered Hummus

Greek Smothered Hummus

Crisp, Cool & Creamy

Crisp, Cool & Creamy

It’s that time of year…..It’s FOOTBALL TIME!!!!!  Heading to parties, get togethers, or just staying home to tailgate….this season can really pack on the pounds.  Here is the perfect Healthy appetizer to make that is bursting with delightful, refreshing flavor.  It’s easy on the thighs and on the wallet!!!!  A few fresh ingredients take a basic dip and turn it into a masterpiece.  Use a cute serving dish to make it fancy, y’all!  I used my Grandma Sarah’s dish…Green…in honor of the Packers for the Hubs.  (Go Pack Go!!!!)  All you need is a few fresh ingredients, hummus, and a knife; and you’re good to go!


Fresh Organic or Homegrown is best!

Fresh Organic or Homegrown is best!



Diced Tomatoes

Diced Cucumbers

Diced Red Onion

Diced Red Pepper

Minced Garlic

GOOD Quality Feta

Hot & Spicy Oregano




TIP:  Drain excess water from Toms and Cucs by dicing and spreading in a single layer onto a paper towel.  Sprinkle generously with Salt (and pepper if you like).

TIP: Drain excess water from Toms and Cucs by dicing and spreading in a single layer onto a paper towel. Sprinkle generously with Salt (and pepper if you like) and let sit for at least 10 mins.  I always dice these guys first so they have time to sit while I prepare the other ingredients!

Next, locate a fancy dish to match your team colors!  Spread a layer of Organic Hummus on the bottom.  (I actually made my Hummus from scratch.  It was a Cilantro-Jalapeño Hummus and it was tastetacular.  However, it is quite time consuming and you have to soak the chickpeas overnight and shell them for a supercreamy hummus.  I’ll post the recipe sometime…But this Smothered Version is packed with so much flavor from the Fresh Veggies & Herbs, I would omit that step and simplify it.  Just purchase a GOOD Organic Store Bought Hummus that you like or just make a quick Garlic-Lemon Hummus from Organic Cans of Chickpeas.  TIP FOR USING CANNED CHICKPEAS:  After Draining and Rinsing, be sure to simmer in fresh water for about 10 mins first before using….that will help take out the metallic taste from the can!!!)

Cilantro-Jalapeño Hummus on the bottom layer

Cilantro-Jalapeño Hummus on the bottom layer

Now, simply mix together all Ingredients in a bowl.  Add a couple swirls around the bowl of EVOO (2 T) and season with Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper.  Crumble the Feta on top and toss.  You can substitute any fresh herb for this that you like.  I used my Homegrown Organic Hot & Spicy Oregano and Parsley.  I was going for a Smothered Greek Hummus, with the Oregano and Parsley, but had to change it up when I realized I didn’t have any Olives or Artichokes to add.  They are a SUPER TASTY addition to this….and another way to change it up!

You Veggie Mix should look something like this:

You Veggie Mix should look something like this.  Fresh & Crisp

Last Step is to spoon the Mixture right on top of the Hummus.  So Simple, right?!?!

Quick & Healthy.  Your friends (and thighs) will Thank You!!!!

Quick & Healthy. Your friends (and thighs) will Thank You!!!!

I served mine with Sea Salt Pita Chips, Carrots & Snap Peas

I served mine with Sea Salt Pita Chips, Carrots & Snap Peas




KickAss Crostini

KickAss Crostini

Simple & Delicious

Crostini. One of the Most Versatile Appetizers In Existence!!! There are so many topping options, the possibilities are endless. (Bruschetta, Olive Tapenade, Roasted Red Pepper & Feta, Garlic & Herb, Salmon, Cream Cheese & Capers, Pimento Cheese & Chive, Pear & Brie, Roast Beef, Rosemary & Horseradish, Lox, Red Onion & Dill, Nutella & Berries….Seriously, I could go ON and ON!!!)

Nothing better than a crisp, delicious blank canvas to deliver simple culinary bliss. Ingenious, I say! Now, all you have to do is master the basics of making a scrumptious Crostini, and Appetizer Heaven is within your reach!

To do this, all you need is One Little Thing.

garlic. Garlic. GARLIC.

One Simple Garlic Clove

One Simple Garlic Clove

That’s it. Just one itty bitty clove of garlic. It doesn’t matter if the clove is fresh and raw or if you have been using it beforehand to make a quick Garlic Infused Butter or Olive Oil.  Regardless, don’t waste that tiny morsel that is about to take your basic Crostini to a whole other level!  Waste Not, Want Not.

Organic Butter, Organic Garlic Clove, Salt & Pepper

Organic Butter, Organic Garlic Clove, Salt & Pepper

Organic EVOO, Organic Garlic Clove, Salt & Pepper

Organic EVOO, Organic Garlic, Organic Parsley, Organic Garlic Chives, Salt & Pepper


1. Cut Baguette (Local and Organic, if possible! Or even better, HOMEMADE!!!) into slices on a diagonal.

2. Drizzle EVOO over BOTH SIDES.

3. Put on Hot Grill, Grill Pan, or Broil in Oven a few minutes.

4. Flip, and let other side get browned.

*Be sure to watch closely during Steps 3 & 4 so you don’t burn the crostini. DO NOT WALK AWAY from the grill, stove, or oven!!!!

5. Place on Platter HOT SIDE UP!!!!


*The Garlic Oil will penetrate the Crostini and allow you so smear garlicky deliciousness all over the slice. YUMMMMM………

7. Top however you choose! Crostini Nirvana is YOURS!!!


Oil BOTH sides

Oil BOTH sides


Rub Garlic Clove Over Hot Side



Here I was doing a Bruschetta Topping: Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella, Balsamic Vinegar

Beautiful & Delicious!

Beautiful & Delicious!

Hope you Enjoy and Utilize my Simple Secret to KickAss Crostini!

Let the Crostini Madness Begin!!!



Salmon, Bruschetta, Potatoes…..OH MY!!!

Champagne Dill Mustard Salmon

Accordion Garlic Herb Potatoes

Killer Bruschetta

Champagne Dill Mustard Salmon, Accordion Garlic Herb Potatoes & Bruschetta

Champagne Dill Mustard Salmon, Accordion Garlic Herb Potatoes & Bruschetta

Tonight’s dinner was simple to make, not too many ingredients, and pretty healthy (well, except for that small amount…. OK, hearty amount, of butter!) But the rest…healthy, healthy, healthy!!!

Let’s start with the Salmon. Easiest item on the menu.

Champagne Dill Mustard Salmon over Greens

Salmon, Champagne Dill Mustard, Organic Coconut Oil Spray, Pink Salt, Tricolor Peppercorns

Salmon, Champagne Dill Mustard, Organic Coconut Oil Spray, Pink Sea Salt, Rainbow Peppercorns

Simply Spray a foil lined pan with Coconut Oil

Season Salmon with Salt & Pepper

Coat Salmon with Mustard

Cook 400

20 mins or until desired doneness

Serve it over Fresh Organic Arugula and Spinach.  TIP: Squeeze 1/2 Fresh Lemon, Drizzle GOOD EVOO, s&p over Greens.

Serve it over Fresh Organic Arugula and Spinach ~TIP: Squeeze 1/2 Fresh Lemon, Drizzle GOOD EVOO, s&p over Greens~

Serve it up with my Accordion Roasted Potatoes

Serve it up with my Roasted Garlic Accordion Potatoes

OK. Like I said, pretty simple, eh??? Now, onto those potatoes. These were simply AMAZING!!!

Organic Garlic, Organic Parsley, Organic Garlic Chives, Potatoes, Organic EVOO, Organic Butter, Salt, Pepper and WOODEN SPOON

Organic Garlic, Organic Parsley, Organic Garlic Chives, Organic Potatoes, Organic EVOO, Organic Butter, and WOODEN SPOON

That’s right. I said, WOODEN SPOON. SuperHuge TIP: The spoon acts as a holder for your potatoes when you are slicing them super thin. Holds them still and acts as a stabilizer! Pretty Neat! Let me show you:


Now, slice your garlic superthin and insert 4-6 cloves in each potato.

Slice Garlic Thin

Slice Garlic Thin and Insert a few Slices

Use the Wooden Spoon to Stabilize

Use the Wooden Spoon to Stabilize

Repeat until you have enough potatoes to fill up your dish.

Arrange in pan

Arrange Evenly around Dish

Now, for the decadent part:

Parsley Chive Butter Sauce

Melt Sick of Unsalted Butter, 2 T EVOO, s&P

Melt Sick of Unsalted Butter, 2 T EVOO, Season with S & P

Chop Parsley & Garlic Chives

Chop Parsley & Garlic Chives, Reserve for later

Spoon 3/4 of Melted Butter mixture (without herbs) over Potatoes

Spoon 3/4 of Melted Butter mixture (without herbs) over Potatoes. Season with Salt & Pepper

Bake in Oven 400 about 45 mins

Take out of Oven

Baste with Pan Drippings

Grate a little Fresh Parm Overtop Potatoes

Bake about 10 mins more

The outside should get crisp and delicious!

TIP: Before Serving, Spoon Reserved Butter Mixture with Herbs Mixed In Overtop Potatoes. Creates a bright green finish!


Now, for one last tip. And listen up, this is a good one.

It’s going to change the way you make crostini for the rest of your life.


What to do with that itty bitty clove of garlic that has been bathing in the butter/oil/herb mixture?

USE IT to make a Bangin’ Bruschetta!!!

Oil both sides of Crostini and Grill on Grill Pan

Oil both sides of Crostini and Grill on Grill Pan

After both sides are done, RUB THE GARLIC CLOVE all over the hot side of the crostini. The side that just came off the pan. This releases a subtle garlic flavor on the crostini without having to bite into a huge chunk of garlic.

It is delicious.


You will thank me later for this one!!!!

Now. let’s kick it up one last notch and make it into a healthy Bruschetta.

Simple Bruschetta

Simple Bruschetta

Lay Down a Basil Leaf of the Crostini

Top with a Mixture of Tomatoes, Mozzarella, Garlic, Shallots and Basil

Season with Sea Salt and Fresh Pepper

Drizzle Aged Balsamic


Seriously.  Good.

Seriously. Good.

Now, Sit Down.



Honestly, with a few simple ingredients, a healthy gourmet meal was created

Honestly, with a few simple ingredients, a healthy gourmet meal was created

Bon Appétit!!!




Kicked-Up KEEN-wah

Kicked-Up KEEN-wah

Quinoa.  For those of you who are not sure how to pronounce it….KEEN-wah.  Hope that helps!  A super versatile seed, treated like a whole grain, and chock full of protein and fiber.  Once you start using it, you can’t get enough.  So simple to prepare, and a million ways to switch up the flavor.  For this recipe, I packed it full of superfood greens and other veggie goodness.  Serve topped with fresh, salty sunflower seeds.  Hope you enjoy!

SuperFood Quinoa

SuperFood Quinoa

Check out your fridge and see what awesomeness you have ready to use.  I had:



ORGANIC: Cherry Tomatoes, Shallot, Cucumber, Lemon, Kale, Feta & Garlic  (the poor, sad garlic did not make the picture for some reasson!)

Chop It UP!

Chop It UP!

TIP: Be sure to Salt your Cucumbers & Tomatoes first and lay them on a towel to release extra moisture

Fresh Herbs

Fresh Organic Herbs and Arugula from my pots!

I used my Garlic Chives, Parsley, Mint & Arugula

TIP: Mint, a little goes a LONG way, but use it if you got it because it adds a whole extra layer and level of flavor!

Chop or Tear

Chop or Tear

I used scissors to give them a rough, rustic cut.

Cook the Quinoa per instructions

Cook the Quinoa per instructions

TIP: Organic Low Sodium Veggie Broth and Garlic Clove boost flavor!

Add Kale

Add Kale

I added the Kale first while the Quinoa was still warm.

O Zinfandel Vinegar

O Zinfandel Vinegar

You can use ANY vinegar you like.  I was going to use Balsamic, but changed it up at the last minute.


2 T Vinegar, 2 T EVOO, Salt & Pepper

TIP: When using Vinegar and EVOO, in any dish, ALWAYS ADD VINEGAR FIRST!!! That way the vinegar has a chance to penetrate the ingredients.  If you added the EVOO first, the vinegar would bounce off and not stick!  The same goes for ANY acidic ingredient (lemons, limes etc) VS ANY oil (grape seed, avocado, coconut, etc).  Always add your acidic ingredient FIRST!


Toss &  Add Lemon Juice & Zest

It should look something like this now!

Combine Remaining Ingredients minus Feta

Combine Remaining Ingredients minus Feta

Mix.  Taste.  Add more Vinegar/EVOO, s&p if needed.

Lightly Toss to Combine, then Add Feta

Lightly Toss to Combine, then Add Feta

TIP: Flavor Change Up: Substitute Goat Cheese for Feta!

Delish, Healthy & Filling!

Delish, Healthy & Filling!

TIP: Top with fresh, salty Sunflower Seed for a nice nutty crunch!




You’ve got the basics down, I’m sure: Lettuce

But here are some ideas for healthy, flavorful toppings

Very Veggie

Very Veggie

Mix Cherry Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Carrots, Kalamata Olives, Blue Cheese or Feta Crumbles, Cucumber, Corn off the Cob, Sliced Avocado

This one is awesome to do in the summer when you have leftover grilled corn and an excess of veggies from the garden!  Dress lightly with a homemade vinagrette or simply Oil and Vinegar.

Going Greek

Going Greek

Mix of Carrots, Cucumbers, Kalamata Olives, Artichokes, Feta Cheese, Sprouts

Greek Vinaigrette & Fresh Black Pepper

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower Seeds

Light & Crunchy! Mushrooms, Carrots, Cucumbers, Yellow Pepper, Radish, Lettuce, Spinach, Chicken, Sunflower Seeds

This one is great to make with leftover Chicken!  The dressing was Dijon, Lemon, EVOO, agave, s&p

Kale and Salmon

Kale and Salmon

One of my favorite Kale Salads (served here with Salmon)

Shredded Kale, Shredded Carrots, Shredded Red Cabbage, Sesame Seeds

Tossed with a Sesame Soy Dressing. Soy Sauce, Rice Wine Vinegar, Garlic, Sesame Seeds, Sesame Oil, S&P.  YUMMY!


Crisp & Creamy

Served one night with Steak Tacos…will post the taco recipe soon….

Lettuce Mix, Red Pepper, Orange Pepper, Cucumber, Snap Peas, Scallions

Dressing: Greek Yogurt, Dijon, Red Wine Vinegar, EVOO, S&P


Steak & Chard Rigatoni

Steak & Chard Rigatoni

Using Fresh Ingredients, I created a healthy, satisfying dinner

Using Fresh Ingredients, I created a healthy, satisfying dinner

This was a super easy dish, very satisfying, and delicious!  And it was great hot off the press, room temp, and I ate it cold the next day for leftovers.  YUMMY!!!!  In order to create a recipe, the best thing to do is to look and see what you have in your fridge/pantry that you need to use up!  This is what I found, and the result was wonderful!

Here are some of the Fresh Ingredients I had that I needed to use up!

Here are some of the Fresh Ingredients I had that I needed to use up!

First I wanted to make the Dressing.  I wasn’t in the mood for a heavy, hot pasta dish, so I decided to go with a light Balsamic Dressing.  It was AWESOME!!!!  Simple and delish.  Here’s how to do it:

First Mince 3 Shallots & 3 Cloves of Garlic.  Add S&P

First Mince Shallots & Garlic. Add S&P

Second, Add 5 T GOOD QUALITY Balsamic Vinegar, 3 T GOOD QUALITY EVOO, 2 T Dijon Mustard

Second, Add Balsamic Vinegar, EVOO & Dijon Mustard

Last, Add some Chopped Parsley and Torn Basil. Mix & Set Aside.

Last, Add some Chopped Parsley and Torn Basil.                Mix & Set Aside.


3 shallots, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

5 T Good Quality Balsamic Vinegar

3 T Good Quality EVOO

2 T Dijon Mustard

1-2 T Chopped Parsley

1 T Torn Basil

Mix and Set Aside!



Get Fresh Ingredients Ready!

Get Fresh Ingredients Ready!

Tear Swiss Chard into medium-sized pieces.

Chop Green Onions & Chiffonade Basil.

Get Steak & Onion on Grill.  For the Steak I Karinaded it overnight.  For the Onion, I cut it up and added 1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar wrapped it up in foil and threw it on the grill.  Boil Rigatoni so pasta will be ready!  Be sure to add a  tad of EVOO and salt to your pasta water when it comes to a boil!

Balsamic Onion from Grill

Balsamic Onion from Grill

Grilled Steak with Karinade

Grilled Steak with Karinade

Fresh Tomatoes

Chopped Fresh Tomatoes


Throw in a couple of handfuls (half) of the Swiss Chard and add a few T of the Balsamic Dressing from earlier.  Toss and Mix. Then, add half the drained hot pasta on top.  Next, layer the rest of the Swiss Chard then the remaining pasta on top.  This will make it easier to mix and combine!  Add the remainder of dressing on top!

It should now look something like this:

It should now look something like this.

Next add the Tomatoes & Onions.  Toss with Tongs to Combine!

Add Tomatoes & Onions

Add Tomatoes & Onions

Use Tongs to Toss!

Use Tongs to Toss!

Basil & Green Onions & Cheese

Add Basil & Green Onions & Cheese.  Toss.

And Voila, Dinner is Served!

Bon Appétit!

Bon Appétit!

Don't forget the Grilled Bread.  Makes a fantastic accompaniment!

Don’t forget the Grilled Bread. Makes a fantastic accompaniment!