Month: June 2015 Page 1 of 2

My #1 Secret to Resist Food Temptation

Most of us have good intentions when it comes to eating well.

But sometimes, despite the best of our intentions, tiredness and temptation get in the way.

We know we “should”¬†eat what tastes good and leaves us feeling satisfied and energized, but most of us struggle to actually do that on a daily basis.

The next time you’re in a social situation where food is involved and you’re feeling pressured to make a choice you really don’t want to make, I’m going to let you in on a little secret – the main way I¬†respond when someone offers me something I would rather not eat.

I first heard it in Hungry for Change (one of my favorite food documentaries!), and it has stuck with me ever since.

Instead of saying, “I want it, but I can’t have it,” say:


See what we did there??

The first response¬†is all about the deprivation-oriented¬†dieting mentality and makes it seem like we’re not choosing what we eat. But, we’re all adults, and we know that everything we eat or drink IS our choice, so let’s own that.

The new way is a freedom-based response. It says,

“Sure, I can eat anything I want because I’m an adult and make my own choices.

BUT I care about my body and want to fill it up with food that makes me feel good and energized, so I’m choosing¬†to eat something nourishing. Thank you.”

I don’t know of anyone in my life who would continue to bug me after getting a response like that.

Be firm and confident about WHY you’re doing what you’re doing.

After all, it’s YOUR¬†life, so you have the final say about what goes at the end of your fork ūüôā

Upcoming Events: Sweet Confessions on July 23rd

Join me on Thursday, July 23rd at 5:30 at the Institute for Integrative Health for “Sweet Confessions.”

We’ll start with a healthy happy hour at 5:30 with an engaging talk by Dr. Chris D’Adamo and me starting¬†at 6:30. The event is FREE but space is limited, so please register here.

SweetConfessionsFBtimeline 2

Punchin’ for Patti: The Power of Being a Contribution

How will I be a contribution today?

What if we were to ask ourselves that question everyday?

What if we were to throw ourselves into life as people who make a difference, accepting that we may not understand how or why?

This past weekend, I was part of a special group of people who were a contribution and made a difference.

Earlier this year, my brother’s mother-in-law, Patti, was diagnosed with brain cancer.

Always the one to take care of others and put their needs first, she was suddenly thrust into a new reality that she, the perpetual caregiver, would have to become the receiver.

layne patti2

It came as a particularly tough blow because her daughter, Layne, my brother’s wife, was one month from her daughter Raleigh’s due date. Not only that, but Patti’s sister Diane, who coached lacrosse at Loyola University for years, passed away from brain cancer over a decade ago.

This is the worst kind of de ja vu.

Two women in the same family – sisters. What are the odds??

Each year in September, our family takes part in a memorial 5k at Loyola University to support Aunt Di, as she is lovingly remembered.

But this weekend was about Patti.

Over two dozen friends and family showed up at Goucher College to rally around Patti for the Keep Punching 5k, a race focused on raising money and support to prevent and eradicate brain cancer.

team patti

My family is pretty competitive, so my parents, husband, and brother and a bunch of other friends were all racing, but a recent foot injury sidelined me.

As I was leaving the house that¬†morning, the words from a book I’m reading called The Art of Possibility, came to¬†mind.

Instead of being bummed out about not being able to run the 5k and compete, I thought to myself, “How can I be a contribution today?”¬†

I grabbed my camera.

I knew Patti would be at the race and that it would be the first time I would see her since her diagnosis. She would be surrounded by friends and family, including her grandchildren and our niece and nephew – Raleigh & Braxton.


What better opportunity than this to capture the support, love, and joy that would be sure to characterize the day?

It was a humid morning, and our team of over two dozen supporters – “Punchin’ for Patti” – trickled into the race start. Friends, co-workers, and family showed up to support the cause.

And then the guest of honor arrived. 

Seeing such a vibrant woman who has always been full of life and energy confined to a wheelchair took me aback at first. It’s one thing to hear about what someone is going through when they’re battling cancer.

It’s another thing entirely to see them.

The first round of radiation and chemo caused her to lose her signature blond hair, but I was only momentarily distracted by that as her radiant smile emerged.

She showed determination almost immediately, as she rose out of her chair, so she could walk with the support of her cane.

patti pops

Patti is a fighter, and she wanted to show us how far she’s come.

You couldn’t help but smile and cheer her on in that moment!

“F*ck cancer!” she declared, as¬†she started on the first of what would be many loops around the track, alternating between walking and being pushed¬†around in her wheelchair.

I had the opportunity to walk with her and capture these moments by camera.

patti girls layne pattigma and brax victory

Once the race was finished, the awards ceremony began. My parents each won their age group and gave their medals to Patti.

After all, everyone was running for her. We all knew that she was the real winner that day.

Just as the ceremony was wrapping up, it was announced that there would be two awards given to the most spirited teams.

Punchin’ for Patti came in second!

We all cheered as she went up to accept her award.

She beamed with pride as she held up her plaque.

patti handshake patti plaque

Never one to take herself too seriously and always a woman with a sense of humor, Patti looked at her plaque and laughing and smiling said,

“I never win anything. I had to get brain cancer to win an award!”

We all had a laugh with her, and then I took a few moments to ask her how she was really doing.

She told me how she spent months feeling angry, confused, and upset about her diagnosis and what she was going through. Her voice cracked as she shared the guilt and sadness she felt¬†that she couldn’t be with her daughter for the birth of her granddaughter. She expressed fear that her grandchildren wouldn’t know her.

She said everything really brought her down for a while.

But on Sunday, you could tell something in her had changed.

She had hope.

With renewed determination and a new¬†lease on life, she said she’s¬†committed to doing everything she can to fight this. While she knows it will never go away, she’s going to make the best of it. She told me even if she has another 5, 10, 15 good years left, she wants to be here for her¬†kids and grandkids as long as she can.

You couldn’t help but tear up as you watched her hold her granddaughter. She worked hard in physical therapy, so she would be able to hold Raleigh in her arms.

Her grandson, Braxton, looked like a king on his throne as he sat on her lap while she was pushed around the track.

3 girls 3 generations

What an incredibly inspiring and emotional day.

All because a group of people decided to be a contribution.

Sometimes we’re the giver. Other times, we’re the receiver.

Sometimes we’re the medal winner. Other times, we’re the cheerleader.

Sometimes we feel strong and determined. Other times, we feel weak and defeated.

But no matter what we are or how we’re feeling, we can make a difference in someone else’s life.

As we were leaving, I hugged Patti and¬†told her¬†she’s an inspiration. I told her how many people love¬†and care about her.¬†She said it took her a long time to realize how many people love her and how much, regardless of whether she is taking care of them or doing something for them.

She is loved simply because she is.

Don’t all of us need that reminder sometimes?

So, Patti, from all of us who love and care about you and see the feisty fighter in you:

“Keep punching. Keep fighting. And know how very much you are loved.”

patti smile

If you want to donate to Keep Punching to support the fight against brain cancer, click here.

54 Healthy Summer Cookout Recipes {Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free}

It’s that time of year again.


As a summer baby who got married to a summer baby in the summer, this time of year is something I look forward to because of all of the celebrating that happens.

Like many of you, I’m also invited to lots of picnics and cookouts and always make sure to bring a yummy dish with me.

In my last post, I shared my top 10 tips to upgrade your summer cookout spread, and today I’m going to be breaking it down and giving you LOTS of recipe options¬†for each course. My goal is inspire you to actually make one of them instead of sending them to the Pinterest black hole ūüôā

Rest assured, most of these recipes have been taste-tested by my husband, friends, family and co-workers. Some are newbies I haven’t made¬†yet but am excited to try.

If the recipe links to a post within my¬†site, you’ll know that it’s gluten-free, dairy-free, free of refined sugar and that I’ve made it and have gotten two thumbs up! ūüôā


Our¬†FAVORITE veggie burgers are from Hilary’s Eat Well. Bill eats them every week. If you opt for beef hot dogs or burgers, make sure they are grass-fed and don’t contain any nitrites or nitrates (it will say on the package!). Applegate Organics is a great option to try for hot dogs.¬†For chicken, buy “pasture-raised” and for seafood, look for “wild caught.” After all, we ultimately eat what the animals eat, and¬†we don’t want to be eating hormones, antibiotics or pesticides!

sides and salads

Well Plated’s Red, White & Blue Quinoa Salad

dips spreads



If you have any cookout-friendly recipes you’d like to share, feel free to post them below!

Join Me for a “Sweet Confessions” Event in Baltimore on July 23rd!

Back in February, I was printing business cards in preparation for¬†a presentation at a women’s retreat.

I checked Facebook and saw that my Facebook page for Rachel’s Nourishing Kitchen had a new “Like” from the Institute for Integrative Health.¬†

“That sounds like a neat¬†place,” I thought to myself as I clicked on their map to see where they were located.

Imagine my surprise when I found out they are right here in Baltimore!

In addition to being a beacon of hope for health care and focusing on integrative and holistic health, the Institute offers a variety of free and fee-based programs throughout the year to spread the message of hope, health and happiness to the community.

I’m so excited¬†to be partnering with them¬†and one of their nutrition gurus, Dr. Chris D’Adamo, to teach a fun¬†workshop called “Sweet Confessions” on Thursday, July 23rd at their center on¬†Fleet Street in Baltimore.


Before the talk, there will be a Healthy Happy Hour featuring yoga mini-sessions, raffles, and special discounts along with¬†complimentary drinks¬†and snacks from B’More Organic,¬†Helene’s Kitchen,¬†Jinji¬†Chocolates,¬†KIND, Mamma Chia, and yours truly,¬†Rachel‚Äôs Nourishing Kitchen. ūüôā

During the talk, Dr. D’Adamo and I will¬†be sharing what we’ve learned in a way that is fun, engaging and refreshing. We’ll help clear up all of the confusion and give you the scoop on everything from agave to xylitol!

I’ve had my own challenges with sugar over the years (I’ve always had a sweet tooth!) but¬†have learned how to make the best choices for sweeteners for my body without guilt or judgment.

I’ve also learned how to prepare delicious sweet treats using real,¬†whole foods instead of refined sugar and flour and will have some¬†of them to sample during the Healthy Happy Hour!

The event is *FREE* but space is limited, so make sure you register here as soon as possible.

I hope to see many of you there! ūüôā

Top 10 Tips to Upgrade Your Summer Cookout!

Hot dogs, potato salad, chips, soda, and ice cream.

It seems like when we’re in social situations, especially at events like summer cookouts or picnics, we temporarily stop trying to¬†eat¬†well. We know how we’re going to feel later, but we decide it doesn’t matter as much as feeling good in the moment.

I’m here with some great¬†news!

We can eat nourishing AND delicious¬†food at cookouts without feeling deprived…or bloated, gassy and tired ūüôā

The¬†next time you’re headed to a cookout and want to make the best choices possible for yourself and your friends and family, check these out!


1) Bring a nourishing dish/side/drink. Most of the time when we are going to an event someone else is organizing, we tend to cop out and pick up something cheap and quick at the store, without taking into consideration how that food will make everyone feel. If you bring something nourishing that you like to eat, you’ll be guaranteed to make better choices while you’re there…and help others in the process!

Try this Tomato-Basil Pasta Salad. It’ll be a HIT!

Tomatoe Basil Salad

2) Instead of mayo as the base in different salads, try using an oil-based vinaigrette or mashed avocado. I used to hate avocados (before ever trying them), but they have almost no flavor, so they won’t mess with the flavor of whatever dish you put them in.

3) Load up on veggies. Whether you throw them into a pasta salad or greens salad, put them on a kabob or roast them in a foil pack, make sure you load up on veggies. Whenever I go to a cookout or picnic, if there is a platter of roasted vegetables, it gets eaten up quickly!


4) Add in some minced veggies to your burger patties. If you finely dice them, no one will notice, and they will add flavor and moisture to your burgers. Try things like onions, garlic, mushrooms, celery, diced peppers, and herbs.

5) Don’t char your meat. As much as some of us might love the taste of charred meat, we should avoid it to reduce our exposure to cancer-causing compounds. Charring, burning or grilling meat, poultry and fish over high temperatures causes cancer-causing compounds to form, which can damage our¬†genes,¬†raising the risk for stomach and colorectal cancers. Marinating your meat for 30 minutes prior to cooking can reduce that risk dramatically. To learn more about healthy grilling, click here. We also want to make sure we’re upgrading our meat and fish to grass-fed beef, pasture-raised poultry and wild caught seafood. Check out LocalHarvest to find a supplier near you.

6) Go bunless. Sometimes we do things out of habit. Grabbing a bun to go with our burger is one of them. If I have a burger, I just cut it up and treat it like a mini steak – no bun needed. Another option is to wrap lettuce leaves around it, just like you would a lettuce wrap and eat it that way.

7) Go for simpler chips. When it comes to chips, focus on upgrading your options from things like Doritos to Way Better Chips, Jackson’s Honest Chips, Kettle Chips, and even kale chips! Look for chips with as few ingredients as possible.

Dairy-Free Queso Dip with Way Better Chips

Dairy-Free Queso Dip with Way Better Chips

Jackson's Honest Sweet Potato Chips

Jackson’s Honest Sweet Potato Chips

8) Upgrade your dips and spreads. Instead of heavy, cheesy dips or things like ketchup, mayo, and BBQ sauce (which is just like pancake syrup in terms of sugar content), try guacamole, hummus, salsa, bean dips, queso dip (dairy-free!), sauerkraut, or mustard.

9) Instead of sugary drinks, sweet tea or lemonade, try infused water. From lemon-lime to strawberry basil and orange/pear, infused waters are refreshing and flavorful, and the variations you can make are limitless!

10) Focus on fruit for dessert. Make it fun, and try simple popsicles made with coconut milk and fruit, a fruit salad with mint, or grilled fruit kabobs with a honey glaze.

This berry peach crisp is always a hit, too!

Delicious Berry Peach Crumble

Delicious Berry Peach Crisp

**Bonus Tip #11**

Focus on FRIENDS and FAMILY instead of FOOD.

It can be SO easy to become consumed by all of the smells and sights at a cookout or summer party.

See what happens when you are intentional about focusing more on the people at the party¬†and less on the food on your plate ūüôā

Celebrating summer with friends

Celebrating summer with friends

In my next post, I’ll be sharing a bunch of recipes (from entrees and sides to dips, drinks and desserts) that will help YOU answer the following¬†question:

“What exactly should I bring to the¬†potluck?”

Creamy Curry Hummus

I write this blog to give you a refreshing approach about what to eat and how to live in a way that makes you feel energized, inspired and alive.

Today’s post is about two of those things – eating well and feeling inspired.

It isn’t often that we come across celebrities, especially professional athletes, who are not only talented but also motivating, gracious and humble.

In the process of doing a fact check for this post, I came across the MVP acceptance speech from the person whose name inspired today’s dish – Stephen Curry from the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors.

Talk about someone who is energized, inspired and alive!

Even if you’ve never watched an NBA game in your life, it’s worth listening to his acceptance speech. In his closing, he had this to say:

Be the best version of yourself in everything that you do. You don’t have to live anybody else’s story […] It doesn’t matter where you come from, what you have or don’t have […] All you need to have is faith in God, an undying passion for what you choose to do in this life and a relentless drive and the will to do whatever it takes to be successful in whatever you put your mind to.

Make sure you live in the moment and work your butt off every single day. And I hope I inspire people all around the world to just be themselves, be humble and be grateful for all the blessings in your life.

WOW. Pretty incredible, right??

I had the opportunity to watch Steph Curry play in person back in 2008 during Davidson’s upset over Gonzaga in the NCAA playoffs. My family was spending Easter in Raleigh, North Carolina, and there happened to be a few playoff games that weekend that we got tickets to see.

Curry (#30 below) scored 40 points in that game, with 30 of those points coming in the second half alone. You could tell there was something special about him. He is always in my fantasy basketball team without fail! Curry always seems to send me right to the top of the fantasy basketball rankings.


Now, it’s time for the “Curry” recipe that his name inspired! ūüôā

Curry is a blend of spices that is common in Indian food and serves as the flavor base for this EASY hummus recipe.

Growing up, I was never very adventurous when it came to food, but over the past few years, I’ve learned to love the bold flavors of spices like ginger, coriander, turmeric, and cumin that often make up a traditional curry powder.

This curried hummus has a little bit of a kick to it (and that’s coming from someone who is SUPER sensitive to anything remotely spicy), but it’s not overpowering.

It’s loaded with flavor and would make a perfect dip for veggies, crackers, chips or whatever other dippables you have on hand!

currycurry bite


Creamy Curried Hummus

This Indian-inspired hummus makes a delicious dip for your favorite veggies or pretzels (I love Mary’s Gone Crackers’ brand!) or as a spread for sandwiches.

  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 cloves garlic (peeled and chopped)
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice (fresh)
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (extra virgin)
  1. Put all ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor and process until mostly combined. Scrape down the sides with a spatula as needed.

  2. Stream in olive oil (through hole on top of food processor) and process until hummus is creamy. Serve immediately or store in a glass container in the fridge. It won’t last long!

Curried Hummus

If you like curry, check out these recipes for curry roasted potatoes, fancy pants curried cauliflower steaks and mash, or one of my favorite dishes ever – this curried lentil and rice casserole.

Tomato-Basil Pasta Salad {Gluten-Free}

Pasta was one of my absolute favorite foods growing up. I ate it multiple times a week, usually with butter and a hefty helping of Parmesan cheese.

Today’s recipe is an upgrade to my childhood pasta meals.

I served it for the first time yesterday during a workshop I taught at my church about Summer Food Upgrades. It was a big hit!

You could serve it for lunch or dinner or take with you to a picnic or cookout. It’s super simple to make and will definitely be a crowd-pleaser.

Tomatoe Basil Salad

I made it gluten-free by using brown rice pasta and dairy-free by using this paleo Parmesan cheeze.

I used cannellini beans to boost the fiber and protein, which help keep us feeling full, and added some diced tomatoes and fresh basil for a pop of color.

By making your own (simple!) dressing you’re also avoiding all of the extra gunk that tends to be in bottled salad dressings.

This dish is an all-around upgrade to the traditional pasta salad and tastes great, too!

pasta salad

Servings: 8


  • 1 pound rotini brown rice pasta (we use Tinkyada)
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (we like the brand Eden)
  • 2 cups grape¬†tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves,¬†thinly sliced like this
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 lemon, juiced (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • black pepper, to taste
  • Optional: 1 medium zucchini spiralized


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, and rinse under cold water; drain and put into a serving bowl. Add beans, tomatoes, and basil.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk garlic, sea salt, lemon juice, olive oil, and black pepper. Pour over pasta, and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Take out 15 minutes before serving to allow to come to room temperature or keep it cold. Your choice!
  3. Sprinkle with this paleo Parmesan cheeze. An optional step is to add some spiralized zucchini noodles for an extra veggie punch!

1 Broken Jar + 6 Stitches = 5 Lessons on Life

I’ve been getting around a bit more slowly than usual this week.

But it hasn’t been by choice.

I usually rush through my day, moving from one commitment to the next with few breaks in between. Because I’m so passionate about the work that I do, I tend to say “yes” to a lot of things and am always on the move.

I was abruptly reminded about the need to slooooow down on Monday night.

I was in the kitchen about to make this dessert for a co-worker’s baby shower.


I grabbed a glass jar of coconut flour from our lazy Susan and was lifting it up by the lid to set it up on the counter top.

Within a matter of seconds, the side of the jar and the edge of the countertop collided in such a way that the bottom of the jar blew out and fell to the ground, lacerating the top of my bare right foot in the process.

I yelled as I realized what happened and started to see blood. Bill came running in to see what was wrong.

He grabbed our kitchen first aid kit and tried to stop the bleeding and after one look, he said “We need to go to Patient First“. With hindsight, I know that I am lucky that I don’t have to worry about the costs of things like urgent care. Many people have to rely on crowdfunding and similar things to cover their bills. But nevertheless, at the time I panicked and complained. Bill calmly wrapped the wound, and I then hopped to the car.

When we arrived, they sat me in a wheelchair, so I didn’t have to put pressure on my foot, and I waited patiently until I could be seen.


The nurse who initially helped me was the same nurse who saw me last year when I ever so gracefully cut off part of the tip of my finger with a chef’s knife.

“Oh yeah, you’re gonna need stitches,” she said.


I threw a pity party for the next hour or so as Bill held my hand and I texted a few friends about my unfortunate accident.

My friend, Corinne, provided some comic relief (friends are the best!) in the midst of my less than awesome night. Don’t mind some of my misspelled words ūüôā


When the physician’s assistant finally came in to numb me and sew me up, she prefaced what she was about to do with, “When I numb this, it’s going to hurt, burn, sting. You can scream, cuss, or yell, but please don’t hit me.”


I braced myself.

I had a death grip on Bill’s hand and started DEEP breathing and exhaling while the area was numbed. It’s amazing how much that stuff from yoga, meditation and singing ACTUALLY WORKS. I hardly felt a pinch ūüôā

I left with a mini boot so that I could walk more comfortably and keep it protected in the bandage the next day. Super cute, right??


By the time we got home, it was after 11:00, and I had yet to make the dessert for my co-worker. Bill did it for me, even though he had to wake up early to get to school to set up field day, which is fully in his hands as the phys ed teacher.

As I fell asleep, I was feeling sorry for myself in a big way and was asking, “Why is this happening TO me??”

When I woke up Tuesday morning with a sore foot and spent the morning hopping around the house, I took some time to reflect on what this situation could be teaching me.

Almost immediately, I was reminded of a friend of mine who was injured at work. She had a nasty fall at work and ended up needing to take a significant amount of time off. In the end, after speaking to an attorney she even decided to file a personal injury lawsuit.

If ever you are injured at work and you suspect that the negligent behavior of someone else might have contributed towards your accident, there is a chance that you could be entitled to compensation. That being said, personal injury law can be confusing and so reaching out to a legal expert is always in your best interest.

Ultimately, my accident happened in my kitchen in my own home so I was quite lucky in this respect!

So, what if instead of asking,“Why is this happening TO me?” I asked…

happening for me

As I’ve thought about that over the past three days, here’s what has come to mind for me:


I’ll be honest, with my entrepreneurial spirit and passion, I tend to be running 100 miles per hour most days of the week. I can easily get caught up in all of the ideas, dreams, visions and activities in my life and forget to take a moment to slow down, pause, and check in with myself.

When I was at the urgent care clinic, the physician’s assistant who was treating me made a comment that resonated with me because it’s so true of most of us. Patients come in all the time and say things like:

“I don’t have time to be sick. Give me a pill.”

So many of us tend to do that, don’t we? We “don’t have time” to be inconvenienced or slowed down. But sometimes it takes something like this happening to make us realize we’re rushing through life instead of fully appreciating each day.

2) I’m grateful I can move my body freely in ways that I choose.

Whether I want to go for a morning walk, a jog around the harbor, a hike in the park, or shake what I’ve got in Zumba or Nia, I generally move in ways that make me feel good without thinking about it. I used to force myself to exercise in ways that weren’t fun or enjoyable for me, but I’ve realized life is too short to do that. I’m committed to moving in ways that bring me joy.


With my friend Lola after taking her Nia class. SO invigorating, freeing and joyful!

This week, my injured foot has felt “tight” and a bit swollen, so I haven’t really been able to exercise. I’m really looking forward to when I can move freely again and know I will appreciate it more than I have in the past.

3) Having needs doesn’t make you “needy.”

We all have needs. Sometimes we give more than we get, but at other times, we get more than we give. Growing up in a home of ambitious, independent, self-starters, I was never very good at asking for help or what I needed or wanted. I didn’t want to be a burden or look like I couldn’t handle something. But then I think of times when people need my help. I don’t think they’re “needy” and I’m more than willing to help them. When I’m in the midst of trying to “do it all” myself, I lose sight of that.

From the guy who held the door open for me and made me laugh on the elevator to my friend Laura coming over to pick up the dessert, Dulaney going to my car to get business cards and Kat helping me carry boxes out to my car, people were more than willing to help me.

I just had to be open to receiving it.

4) The body has an amazing capacity to heal.

The day after my injury, Bill looked at my foot and commented how it was already starting to heal. Isn’t the body amazing? It WANTS to heal. Inside and outside. Most of the time, we just refuse to get out of its way.

Several years ago, I had surgery on my hand and ended up with a scar over the knuckle of my left ring finger. When I first saw the stitches, I was horrified. This was my wedding ring finger.

Ring Finger Scar

It took 3 months of physical therapy to rehab my hand and get it back to where I could use it normally again. I was diligent about massaging the scar and patching it at night, and most of the time I don’t even notice that it’s there.

I’ve been equally nervous about my foot and the 2-inch-long scar that is now very visible just beneath my toe line.

I’m going to be partnering with my friend and mentor, Katie Hussong, to use healing oils to aid my body in its healing process. After all, they were the first form of plant-based medicine we ever had, so I might as well try them! I’ll be reporting back how the healing process goes and am optimistic it will go well!

5) Unconditional love is a wonderful thing.

I’ve been blessed with an incredibly selfless husband who loves me at my worst when I’m acting anything but lovable. I’ve struggled to feel “worthy” of this kind of love. But this is what real love is about – sacrifice, selflessness, patience, kindness, grace and forgiveness.

It’s about saying, “I don’t love how you’re acting, but I still love YOU.”

That’s how I’ve felt this week. And for that, I’m grateful.


In the midst of our challenges, we can be open to learning lessons we’re often too busy to see when we’re hurrying through life.

I’m thankful for the lessons I’m learning through this one.

Easy Tangy Apple Cider Vinaigrette

I used to HATE salads.

Okay, maybe “hate” is too strong of a word.

But I didn’t like them for a¬†long time. I didn’t eat salads¬†until I was just about forced to as a freshman in college (because I was too picky to eat anything but cereal and pasta!).

I started slowly by eating some basic raw vegetables like lettuce, carrots and celery, but it took time to build up to adding in all the creative things I now toss into my salads (everything from lentils and sprouts to pumpkin seeds and broccoli!).

I don’t know if it was a texture thing or what, but for the first year or so that I ate salads, I didn’t use salad dressing.¬†It wasn’t for health reasons either. I was just grossed out by the idea of a gloppy dressing being all over my raw veggies.

I started with squeezing some lemon juice on top. Gradually, I worked my way up to where I am now, making homemade dressings.

I haven’t looked back since!¬†It’s just so stinkin’ simple to make your own salad dressings!

ACV Vinaigrette

You basically just need oil/fat + vinegar/acid (citrus) + herbs + optional sweetener and other flavorings. Not only that, but you avoid all of the unnecessary added ingredients that extend the shelf life and flavor of the store-bought stuff (i.e., sugar, soybean oil, xanthan gum, potassium sorbate, etc.).

If you do get store-bought dressings, please please please look for as few ingredients as possible and do not buy Fat Free or Lite dressings!


The vitamins in leafy green vegetables are best¬†absorbed in the presence of fat¬†(they’re fat-soluble), so we need to eat fat with them. Plus, when companies¬†take fat out of dressings, they add in cheap, refined oils, sugar and other stuff.

No bueno ūüôā

Today’s vinaigrette dressing is one of the simplest to make but is full of great flavor!

It’s a¬†little lighter than my FAVORITE dressing (the tahini-based kale salad dressing), so it’s perfect with a fresh, crisp salad on these warmer days we’ve been having lately. Try it out and let me¬†know what you think!

Tangy ACV


Easy Tangy Apple Cider Vinaigrette

This simple salad dressing is versatile and can be used on any salad. Raw apple cider vinegar is particularly beneficial for digestion!

  • 1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar (with "The Mother")
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 1 cup olive oil (extra virgin)
  1. Put all ingredients in a blender until combined OR put everything in a mason jar and shake until combined. Use about 2 tablespoons with a big bowl of your favorite salad fixins’!

*The fresh thyme adds an extra pop of flavor but the dressing will still taste good without it!

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