Heirloom Tomato Salad with Herbed Breadcrumb Topping

tomatoesI wait all year long for farm fresh tomatoes. Living in Lancaster County, I’m a stone’s throw from Washington Boro and its world-famous jetstar and heirloom varieties. But how many caprese salads can a person eat in one summer? My boyfriend’s answer would be “all of them.” I’d like to agree with him, but I wanted to create something different that has less cheese. Mission accomplished. Luscious thick slices of room-temperature tomatoes, crunchy, garlicky breadcrumbs, and freshly chopped herbs…yes please!

udisFor this salad, I prefer using Udi’s gluten-free bread to make the breadcrumbs for the topping. No matter what you choose, use fresh bread – it’s just better. Here’s what you need and how to put this recipe together:

RECIPE: Herbed Breadcrumb Topping

  • 2 slices of bread (pulsed in a food processor until crumbs form)
  • 1 clove chopped garlic
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 heaping TBSP chopped basil
  • 1 heaping TBSP chopped flat leaf parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  • shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano for garnish
  • balsamic glaze* for garnish

DIRECTIONS: Breadcrumbsbreadcrumbs
Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and saute shallots until they become translucent. Add garlic to pan, followed by breadcrumbs. Toss until breadcrumbs appear evenly coated in olive oil. If they appear too dry, drizzle a little extra. Stir over medium heat for 6-7 minutes so they brown slowly and become crispy. Remove from heat and stir in chopped herbs. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool.

Slice tomatoes and arrange on plate. Sprinkle liberally with breadcrumb mixture. Top with a couple shavings of freshly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, drizzle with balsamic glaze and finish with a couple turns of freshly cracked black pepper. Enjoy!plated

*NOTE: Balsamic glaze can be found in the vinegar aisle of the grocery store. You can reduce balsamic at home if you wish, but personally I’m not a fan of what that process does to my nose or my house.

Frozen Pineapple Slushy

I just made a batch of these for a Saturday night treat.photo 1

Take one can of unsweetened pineapple and add it to the blender. Fill up the blender with ice and whiz the heck out of it until the ice is so fine that it’s the consistency of a slushy you’d get at a convenience store on a hot day. You won’t believe how incredibly delicious it is – and it doesn’t have any preservatives or weird colors that have numbers assigned to them.

This recipe happened by accident one day when I opened a can of pineapple for something and then changed my mind. I’m sure you can use fresh pineapple too, but you’ll need to add a little water and agave nectar to the the appropriate sweetness and consistency. You can also add fruits to change the color and flavor. Strawberries are a good addition. A handful of fresh mint in the blender will give you a more grown-up version and your slushy will have pretty little green flecks all throughout.

Also a great base for a nice adult cocktail, if you know what I mean.pineapple_slushy

One 20oz can + all the ice = three 12-oz glasses, or two pints.

Enjoy…but be careful of the brain freeze!

Turkey Florentine Meatballs and Marinara with Parmesan Cauliflower & Roasted Spaghetti Squash

A quick weeknight meal that doubles as lunch the next day. I included two sides that go well with the meatballs and are much healthier than pasta. Perfect for anyone watching their carbs.

MEATBALL INGREDIENTSflorentine_meatballs
1 1/2 lbs lean ground turkey (I use ground turkey breast)
1 box frozen spinach (defrost on counter or microwave, depending on time)
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves chopped garlic
1/4 cups milk (cow, goat or unsweetened almond all work fine)
3/4 cup oats
1 egg
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and freshly cracked black pepper
a little olive oil

Before you assemble the meatballs, make sure to wring the liquid out of the defrosted spinach or you’ll have a giant soupy mess. In a small bowl, add milk to the oats and set aside. In a large bowl, add the spinach, onion, garlic, egg, grated cheese to the turkey. Now add the oat mixture to the turkey and mix well with your very clean hands. Roll into balls (golfball size) and place on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, flipping meatballs after 10 minutes. Makes 12-15. Serve with marinara (recipe below).


olive oil
1 finely chopped onion
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
dash of honey
1/2 cup fresh basil
salt and pepper, to taste

Over medium heat, heat oil in a large pot until hot. Add onion and garlic, saute for a few minutes until the onions begin to appear translucent. Stir in the tomatoes, dried herbs, honey, salt and pepper. Lower the heat and continue to simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered. Stir occasionally. Just before you turn off the heat, stir in fresh basil.

To serve, spoon sauce on the bottom of plate, top with meatballs and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

The florentine meatballs go great with these two sides:

Toss a head of cauliflower florets with 2 TBSP olive oil and 1/4 tsp salt in a large bowl. Spread in 1 layer in a 9×12 glass baking dish and roast, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden brown, approximately 30-40 minutes, give or take a few. Sometimes I cover with foil for the first 20 minutes so it can steam a little and then uncover it for the last 20 so it can brown. Try it and figure out the way you like best or how your oven cooks. Grate or sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serve warm.


Cut the squash in half and scrape out the seeds, just like you would do any winter squash or pumpkin. Drizzle the inside with olive oil, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. Put the halves flesh side down on a sheet pan and roast for 35 – 45 minutes, depending on size of the squash. Let cool enough to handle, then flip the squash over and scrape out the cooked strands with a fork. You can serve with more marinara and parm, or simply on the side of the meatballs, if you wish.

Mochi Churros y Chocolate

If you’ve never had a churro, you’re missing out. This cinnamon sugar-coated deep fried ‘donut’ is usually sold by street vendors and eaten for breakfast in Spain and Latin America. Here in the states, they are eaten more often as a snack or dessert and typically found at county fairs and…Costco. Wow, they sure are delicious – but have absolutely no nutritional value whatsoever. A gluttonous delight of deep fried white flour rolled in sugar and dipped in hot chocolate.mochi_coconutoil

This one was a challenge to make healthy. But I thought maybe Mochi had some potential to transform this dessert. Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made from cooked whole grain brown rice that is pounded into paste and molded into a shape. Don’t let the words ‘rice cake’ turn you off. It’s not the dry, crusty wheel of nothingness that people choke down when they’re dieting. Mochi, when baked, comes out of the oven brown and crispy on the outside and chewy in the center.

Mochi Churros is one of those recipes that I thought was a great original idea. Nope. It had been done and was blasted all over the internet. Since this is more of an assembly process than a recipe, there isn’t a whole lot of variance in approach. But the chocolate sauce is an original recipe and can be used for just about anything. In fact, I have a hard time not just eating it with a spoon. All-in-all, this traditional treat is now void of all of its unhealthy qualities and is now packed full of whole-grains and flavor, is sweetened with natural, low-glycemic sugars and there’s even protein and anti-oxidants in the dipping sauce. Plus, it’s gluten and dairy-free. Enjoy!

RECIPE: Mochi Churros

  • 1 pkg of Mochi (can be found at any health food store in the refrigerated section)
  • 1 TB coconut oil (melted)
  • coconut sugar (or raw sugar or maple sugar – whatever granulated sugar you like)
  • cinnamon

Mix equal parts sugar and cinnamon and set aside. Cut the mochi in strips about the size of your pinky and bake at 425 for 10-12 min until they puff. When they come out of the oven, brush or toss in a little melted coconut oil so the sugar and cinnamon mixture will stick when you toss it in a in a paper bag or storage container with a lid.


Chocolate Sauce

  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 TBSP raw honey
  • 2 TBSP dark cocoa powder
  • 1 TBSP nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1 TBSP almond milk

Combine the coconut oil and raw honey in a small bowl. Microwave for 20 seconds until it’s melted together. Stir in the cocoa powder until smooth. Once combined, stir in the greek yogurt. Slowly add almond milk to thin out the mixture to the perfect consistency. Because you’re using cocoa powder instead of melting chocolate solids, adding liquid will not cause the sauce to seize up. It’s very easy and completely forgiving. Adjust the amount of cocoa and sweetness to your liking. This recipe makes approximately 1/2 cup of sauce. Enjoy!


It might take a few times to decide how well-done or chewy you like the mochi, and how sweet or tart you like the chocolate sauce.

All Kale Caesar!

This has to be one of my all-time favorite salads. I first ate it at Vinaigrette in Santa Fe. This restaurant happens to be a client, so actually I was doing a little ‘market research.’ The owner, Erin Wade, has basically nailed the concept of eating healthy and enjoying food at the same time. I love everything about her restaurant –and all of her salads are to die for. If you ever find yourself in Santa Fe, don’t miss out on the chance to eat there.

Okay, onto the salad. Raw kale is my absolute go-to superfood and a fantastic ingredient that many people claim to hate. I eat it all the time, but mostly when I feel like crap. If I’ve missed a few workouts, ate more ice cream than I should have, or after a long road trip where I haven’t had the chance to cook or eat anything but snacks for days. Well, throw out everything negative you’ve ever thought about kale and try this salad. It’s an eggless version and dairy is optional. As a classic caesar, it’s not suitable for vegetarians because there are anchovies in the dressing. Yes, there are anchovies. (I’m always shocked at how many people who cringe over the thought of eating anchovies, yet love caesar salads as long as there aren’t anchovies on top. I have news for you – there are always anchovies in the dressing.)


RECIPE: All Kale Caesar Salad
They key here is the dressing should be blow your doors down salty and acidic, because the lemon and the salt actually cook the kale – in the same way it would cook seafood in a ceviche. That’s what keeps the kale from being a rough as you would imagine it would be to chew. The amount of anchovies is really your call. The recipe calls for 6 to 8 anchovies, but put more if you like – I do! Plus they are high in vitamin D.

For the dressing:

  • juice of 1.5 lemons (or 2)
  • at least 8 anchovy fillets depending on size and their oil (a whole can will do)
  • splash (2 TB) of champagne or white wine vinegar
  • almost but not quite one TB of regular (creamy not grainy) dijon mustard
  • 1 small shallot or half a big one (rough chop)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (start with that and add more if needed)
  • 1 TB of water
  • salt and pepper to taste (sea and freshly cracked, if you have it)

Put everything in the blender to emulsify. Like any salad dressing, adjust to your taste. But remember the blow your doors down intensity, so don’t imagine drizzling this on baby spinach when you make your adjustments.

For the saladkale_chopped

  • head of kale
  • macadamia nuts
  • freshly grated parmesan or parmigiano-reggiano (NOT the stuff in the green can)

Finely chop the leafy part of green curly kale (pull the leaves off the stem, but don’t worry about the veins, those are fine. What’s more important is that you chop the leaves fairly fine because kale is so intense, so more like a fine coleslaw size, like an 1/8th to a 1/4 inch slices. I usually do something like a chiffonade (stack the leaves, roll it up as best you can and slice it like you would do to basil).

Toss the kale with your preferred amount of dressing – start on the conservative side and add more as needed. Add a good amount of chopped macadamia nuts and a generous handful of grated parmesan (optional – I skip this if I’m having an extra clean, non-dairy week, but it’s not nearly as good without it). You can also toss in some more rough chopped anchovy if it doesn’t seem like the flavor is coming through enough for your taste. And a little extra freshly cracked pepper never hurt anyone. This is a really bold, but really delicious and balanced salad. Not to mention how insanely good it is for you.

Add ons
To make this a complete meal, serve it with grilled chicken, sliced pork tenderloin, grilled shrimp, salmon, sliced filet or other lean cut of beef – whatever floats your boat. I always cook a bunch of chicken breasts on Sunday afternoon so I have protein to add to salads all week long.