Tag: rachel druckenmiller


I have some VERY exciting news!

This has been a lifelong dream of mine, and I can’t contain how thrilled I am to share it with all of you, especially those who have been following Rachel’s Nourishing Kitchen for the past six years.

I’m officially the Founder & CEO of my own business! 🙂


Here’s the story of how it all came to be!

I’m the daughter of two teachers turned entrepreneurs.

Growing up, I never saw my parents hate work. I assumed it was normal to enjoy what you did. I saw my mom succeed in the male-dominated field of finance. I saw my parents create their own reality and fall more in love as they got older, after nearly breaking up when I was a little girl.

I believed all of that was possible for me, too.

As a high schooler, I told my counselors I wanted to be a nutritionist, doctor, singer, psychologist and writer. I’ve found a way to combine elements of each of those professions into the work that I do as a speaker, writer and trainer. I’ve overcome my fear of speaking and singing in front of people and now incorporate both into my work.

I took my lifelong interest in health and wellbeing and created my role as Wellness Coordinator in 2007 at a benefits consulting firm. I built up our wellness initiative to be nationally recognized and award-winning and helped our organization and our clients earn recognition as Best Places to Work.

Through my journey, I had several health breakdowns and breakthroughs that led me to do the work I do today, empowering leaders to live and lead more intentionally, so they can thrive in all areas of their lives.

In 2019, I paid attention to the nudges telling me to spread my wings and launch my own business: UNMUTED.

Here’s why I did it and why I believe it’s important for ALL of us to stop silencing ourselves and to live an “unmuted life.”

Unmuting Our Lives

We put so much pressure on ourselves to act like we have it all together, even when we’re struggling underneath.


We live our lives on autopilot, going through the motions and living the life other people expect us to live instead of living on our own terms.

We don’t express what we really want or think or feel because we’re afraid people will think we’re being selfish, too much or not enough.

We silence ourselves, and we hide who we really are. We feel frustrated, unfulfilled and unworthy.

Do you ever feel like that?

I get it. I’ve been there.

For much of my life, I silenced myself, too.

I’ve always been an overachiever, the “good girl.” I only let people see the put-together version of who I was. When I needed help, I kept quiet instead of asking for it because I didn’t want anyone to think I was inadequate or incompetent. I didn’t share my fears or insecurities or pain with people and kept them bottled up inside, like so many of us do. I loved singing and writing but didn’t give myself permission to share them with people because it felt too exposing.


It’s like I was living my life on mute.

Many of us are.

We silence ourselves and struggle with self-doubt and relentless and brutal inner critics. We feel disconnected in our relationships at work and at home. We sacrifice our health and wellbeing in our quest to get ahead. We’ve gotten so used to living our lives based on other people’s expectations that we don’t even know what we want anymore.

We feel checked out and burned out, and we don’t know what to do about it.

Sometimes we have one of those “here’s your sign” moments, those nudges that wake us up and compel us to live differently.

For me, that moment came when I burned out and got mono at the age of 32.

But the sickness was a gift. It made me realize how exhausted, unhappy and unfulfilled I was in my life and how disconnected I was in my relationships.

It was the catalyst I needed to UNMUTE myself and to transform my life, health and relationships.


On the other side of my healing, I found my purpose.

I found a life of freedom, not fear.

A life that is lived by design, not by default.

A life that is full of hope and possibilities.

That’s what I’m here to help you find, too.

It’s time to UNMUTE your life.

Through compelling keynote speeches and inspiring, hands-on workshops, I release possibilities and bring out what’s best in people. I remind people that they are worthy of the full, connected life they want — at work and at home.

Here’s a look at one of my speaker reels 🙂

IMPORTANT: As of March 2019, I will not be posting any new content on this site. I will keep it active, as I know many of the recipes and articles on here are still accessed by and helpful to thousands of people each year!

To connect with me on my new platforms, visit my website, connect with me on LinkedIn, and connect with me on Instagram.

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 OrganicHelene’s KitchenJinji ChocolatesKIND, Mamma Chia, and yours truly, Rachel’s Nourishing Kitchen. 🙂

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! 🙂

An Inspiring Day of Hope, Happiness and Integrative Health in Baltimore

I first saw signs advertising the University of Maryland’s Center for Integrative Medicine’s Health & Wellness Conference a few years ago.

The topics and speakers always sparked my interest, but the timing never seemed to work with my schedule, so I never went.

After spending the past three years learning how to listen to my body, help it heal from years of medication use and poor diet, and optimize my health, I’m more passionate about the power of functional, integrative medicine than ever before, and I knew I had to go.

For the first time ever, the conference was held downtown at the Institute for Integrative Health’s facility on Fleet Street in the old Broom Corn factory. The recently renovated building has been converted into an open, inviting, vibrant space designed to provide an environment for innovative thinking, convene leaders and visionaries to promote true health care, reverse the sick care crisis, and educate the community about integrative health. Health is extremely important and it has been known that marijuana can have medicinal purposes, this includes physical and mental health, you can check out a medical marijuana card provider. A marijuana card provider is handy to get yourself a marijuana card – looking after your health!


Attending events like this and being surrounded by such brilliant, passionate, like-minded people energizes and inspires me and reminds me of why I do the work that I do.

As I wrote back in January, there is a special gift that comes from being with “your people.”

The conference started with some mingling and breakfast provided by my go-to healthy and nourishing meal choice in Towson – Zia’s Café – and Belvedere Square – Plantbar.

Daniela Troia, who owns Zia’s Café and Plantbar at Belvedere Market, uses whole, unprocessed, nourishing, vibrant food as a platform to promote health and wellbeing in Baltimore and beyond.

Not only did they serve breakfast, but they also provided snacks of veggies and hummus, fresh cold-pressed juices, wraps and salads for lunch and a chocolate ganache brownie for an afternoon snack. YUM!


Following the morning mingle, everyone convened for a Welcome to Wellness led by a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, Dr. Brian Berman. He is the President and Founder of the Institute for Integrative Health and Director of the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine.

Dr. Berman has dedicated his career to researching and promoting complementary and integrative medicine, and in 1991 he founded the first U.S. academic medical center-based program for integrative medicine.

He started the conference by asking,

“What is wellness? What is health?”

Those two words have a range of meaning depending on whom you ask.

Dr. Berman’s comment about how integrative health can change the future really resonated with me. I share his vision:



I firmly believe this to be true and am honored to be part of such a transformational movement that has already helped and will continue to help so many people restore and optimize their health.

We were then led through a centering morning chanting session with monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery, who will be at Baltimore Yoga Village in Mt. Washington speaking, singing, praying and creating a sand mandala from now until May 14th.

To learn more about these events, click here.


The rest of the day was filled was passionate speakers sharing the latest research and life learnings about a variety of integrative health topics.

While we know food is important to overall health and is something I write about a lot on this blog, non-food nourishment is equally important.

The conference was filled with both forms of nourishment and truly focused on integrative health and the connections between our mind, body and spirit.

The first session I attended was about the science of happiness and forgiveness and was co-led by Drs. Delia Chiaramonte and Dahlia Hirsch.


A whopping 50% of our happiness is hard-wired and inherited while a mere 10% is influenced by our circumstances. That means 40% of our happiness is changeable. We have the power to influence that.

The most fascinating thing I learned in the session on happiness was that writing and talking about negative things in our lives increases our happiness, while intentionally dwelling on and THINKING about positive things that happen boosts our happiness. Talking and writing about positive things doesn’t change our happiness, but dwelling on the negative decreases it.

So, when bad things happen, write or talk about them, but try not to mentally dwell on them. When good things happen, think about them over and over again.

We can actively increase our happiness by doing these things:

  • Identifying and using our strengths and making note of how we’ve used them each day
  • Looking for the good, even in tough situations
  • Purposely ruminating over positive experiences (instead of forgetting them and fussing over the not so good stuff)
  • Nurturing social connections
  • Committing to a gratitude ritual, whether it’s keeping a journal, reflecting on three appreciations before bedtime each night or writing a gratitude letter to another person and reading it aloud to them

As we shifted from happiness to forgiveness, we were challenged by Dr. Dahlia Hirsch to consider,

“What ideas are running your life? Your body?”

This resonated with me, as I’ve been struggling with some negative thought patterns lately and feeling “stuck” in my thoughts and my body. It can be so hard for us to forgive ourselves and other people.


She reminded us that we CHOOSE what to focus on. We can either focus on being frustrated, stuck, annoyed or angry, or we can choose to forgive to free ourselves from those feelings.

The question that stuck with me the most was this:

“What do I have to give up to have peace?”

It’s something each of us can ask ourselves.

Whether it’s a feeling, a relationship, a job, a wrongdoing, or something else entirely, what are you holding on to that is preventing you from having peace in your life?

We transitioned from happiness and forgiveness to the healing power of touch. I’ve experienced this myself in the past through massage therapy, chiropractic care, and most recently, acupuncture. Donna Audia, the main speaker for the talk, is an integrative therapy nurse and team lead for the integrative Inpatient Care Team at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

She opened with talking about the anti-inflammatory response of shock trauma patients to acupuncture and had to make a shift in her own mindset from “intubating and sedating” patients to using healing touch to help and heal them.

Donna captured her patient philosophy in one brief statement:

healing patients

I LOVE that.

Imagine if every health care provider adopted that same mentality. The epidemic of health that Dr. Berman is calling for could be here sooner than we thought!

What stuck with me the most from our session was the knowledge that 20 seconds of continuous touch releases the bonding, trust, and safety hormone oxytocin – for both the giver AND receiver – assuming the touch is wanted.

As part of the session, each of us had an opportunity to buddy up with someone else at our table and alternate giving each other light back rubs. My partner was a beautiful young woman named Maura, who at the age of 19 is discovering what health means to her, as she has battled with weight and smoking, but is determined to change her life. I encouraged her that what she is going through and growing through will ultimately be used to help and inspire others.

It’s in our struggles that we become relatable and real and connect to other people. Imperfect people are the greatest inspirations.

I plan to stay in touch with her, so I can continue to follow her journey. She will be a voice of change one day, and her story will impact more people than she ever thought possible.

She said something so profound that I had to write it down:


Wow. Wisdom from a 19-year-old. Isn’t it true for so many of us?

We’ve so deprived ourselves of genuine, meaningful, healing human touch and connection that we reach for other things to satisfy and fill us – from food to alcohol to cigarettes and even credit cards.

The next time you hug a loved one, see if you can hold it for at least 20 seconds or offer to give them a back rub for at least that long.

There is healing power in touch.

Before heading to lunch, I attended a session on increasing sustainable, healthy local food led by Louise Mitchell, who has worked with one of my company’s clients, Meritus Medical Center in Hagerstown.


Louise taught us about the importance of eating locally, which usually means the food has traveled under 250 miles from farm to table, whereas most conventional food has traveled anywhere from 1,500 to 2,400 MILES before it reaches us.

A lot of the tips she shared about how to make eating sustainable, locally grown food more affordable are captured in this blog post about how to eat organic without going broke.

She also shared great information about the harmful health effects of pesticide use (what is sprayed on conventional, non-organic produce to keep it looking “perfect” and bug-free):


I learned about the work of Dr. Jim Duke, and the “green farmacy” he grows on his farm in Fulton, Maryland, where anyone can volunteer. I plan to check it out this summer! To learn more about his work and the farm, click here.

One of the most useful tips Louise shared was how to pick the highest quality and safest meats and poultry, so here you go. We want to eat:

  • Pasture-raised pork and poultry
  • Grass-fed and grass-finished cows, dairy products, and lamb. This means they are fed grass throughout their entire lives rather than being grain-finished, which is what helps “fatten up” and marble beef, but is not how cows are designed to eat. Check out the Eat Wild website to find sources for this type of meat near you.

Also, I teach this in the workshops I lead, but it’s worth reiterating that the word “natural” on a food label is unregulated and has nothing to do with how the food is produced. Don’t buy the marketing hype!

To learn more about sustainable farming, check out these resources:

After lunch, I was honored to attend a keynote presented by Dr. Chris D’Adamo, a nutrition researcher who is an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine. He also teaches workshops at the Institute for Integrative Health.

With Dr. Berman and Dr. Chris D'Adamo before his keynote

With Dr. Berman and Dr. Chris D’Adamo before his keynote

We learned the top tips to optimizing gut health, which many of you know is a passion of mine because of my own healing journey. I’ll be sharing those tips in a separate post because there was just so much great information that I can’t do it justice by summing it up here!

Dr. D’Adamo shared how over 50% of our immune system activity is in our “gut,” which starts in our mouth and ends, well, you know where 😉

Because of poor diet, stress, alcohol intake, and years of antibiotic and medication use, many of us have compromised our health and immunity and are dealing with the consequences in the form of everything from bloating, abdominal pain, reflux, allergies, and colds to rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, and anxiety.

According to Dr. D’Adamo, the bottom line is this:


That’s right. We can heal and be well. The body is incredibly resilient. We just need to give it half a chance to do its thing.

Dr. D’Adamo will be teaching a series of workshops about What Science Says about Dietary Supplements in May and June, and I will definitely be attending! Click here to learn more and register.

After going through an energizing movement routine led by Lynne Brick, we finished out the day by attending a few more workshops.


The first was a healthy cooking workshop led by Jennifer Helene, who emphasized the message that it’s not about deciding between being healthy OR enjoying food.

It’s about having it all.

Healthy food can be both nourishing and delicious, and I seek to constantly reinforce that point in every recipe post I share on this blog.

She said it’s about becoming the best version of ourselves and planning for the space between where we are now and where we want to be. It’s about making a commitment to our health and ourselves and not letting excuses get in the way.

As Jennifer said,

“Invest today to save tomorrow. Be in action every day without guilt.”

She shared some delicious recipes with us, and you can find more of them on her website.

The second part of the experiential workshop was led by Susan Weis-Bohlen, an ayurvedic expert, who taught us about the different doshas – mind/body constitutions that are reflected in our physical characteristics, temperaments and emotional traits.

My friend Susanna having her ayurvedic pulse points read by Susan Weis-Bohlen

My friend Susanna having her ayurvedic pulse points read by Susan Weis-Bohlen

I learned that I am DEFINITELY Pitta dosha, known to have a “fiery nature” in both spirit and body.

According to the Chopra Institute, “Pittas have a powerful intellect and a strong ability to concentrate. When they’re in balance, they are good decision makers, teachers, and speakers. They are precise, sharp-witted, direct, and often outspoken. Out-of-balance Pittas can be short-tempered and argumentative.”


Want to discover your dosha? Check out this free quiz.

To learn more about Susan’s ayurvedic and vegetarian cooking classes at her home in Reisterstown, check out this link.

The day closed with a workshop that dove deeper into digestive health, specifically as it relates to adverse food reactions, allergies, sensitivities and intolerances led by Erin Peisach, a registered dietitian who sees patients at the University of Maryland’s Center for Integrative Medicine. I’ll include the highlights from her workshop when I share the write-up about Dr. D’Adamo’s session in a future post.

Reflecting on the day, a few key insights stood out to me that summarize the mindset behind the day.


Sue Berman, Dr. Berman’s wife and Executive Director at the Institute for Integrative Health, noted,

“It’s great to have a day to be nourished in so many ways.”

I wholeheartedly agree. I wish more people could experience what TRUE nourishment looks and feels like and how transformational it can be for our health and our lives.

So many of us look to a TV show, book, “expert,” or doctor to “fix” us and tell us what to do. Part of what I’ve learned along my journey to healing my body and boosting my health is that I have responsibility in the process. I had to start listening to my body and stop ignoring and suppressing the signals it was sending me about how I felt.

That’s the secret.

At the close of her session on ayurveda, Susan Weis-Bohlen declared a truth that captures the essence of functional medicine and integrative health and the gist of the day. I hope it resonates with and inspires you to start paying attention to your body and take back YOUR health!

power within

Happy Blogiversary To RNK! Top 10 Posts of the Year & Exciting Updates for 2015

I can’t believe it! It’s been exactly one year since I started this blog. 140 posts later, that means…


When I clicked “Publish” for the first time on January 14, 2014, I had no expectations of how Rachel’s Nourishing Kitchen would develop or grow. Here’s how it began:

I’ve started this blog to share what I’ve learned.  I love sharing how eating (and cooking!) wholesome, nourishing, real food can be affordable, fun, and doable. We can look and feel better and be healthier by making some simple changes.

I take a holistic approach and consider how everything we do is connected, so most of the posts on here will be about food – new recipes we’ve tried, staples in our pantry, kitchen gadgets we love, books and movies that are inspiring us, and helpful tips, tricks and knowledge we’ve learned along the way.

Other posts will be about life beyond food, about lessons I’ve been privileged to learn that have shaped the way I see the world and experience life. I will be honest and vulnerable. 


I jumped in without much of a plan and very little knowledge about how to do this blogging thing. (It took me two hours to figure out how to get the little Pinterest icon to show up on the side bar!)

I knew that I liked to write and had a desire and passion to share what I’ve learned along my health and food journey.

I’ve personally experienced the benefits of upgrading my diet (adding in the good stuff!) to nourish my body and transform my life.

I’ve remained open to listening to my body and what it is trying to tell me about how to help it be well and optimize my health. I don’t just want to “get through” my days – I want to thrive through them.

And from what I’ve learned and lived, I can say with confidence that what we eat affects us, our health, our energy, our mood, and our ability to fight off disease and illness.

One of my goals has been to be a consistent, positive voice about eating wholesome food – to be someone who provides hope that it is possible and inspiration to keep going.

I appreciate the kind words and comments so many of you have given me over the past year – from taking the time to leave feedback about a recipe or post or simply sharing one with your friends or family.

My friend Lindsay sharing a fun, smiling picture on Facebook along with this kind comment! "Yummy Caribbean Island breeze smoothie for breakfast. Thank you Rachel Druckenmiller for the recipe! We loved it! I highly recommend."

My friend Lindsay sharing a fun, smiling picture on Facebook along with this kind comment! “Yummy Caribbean Island breeze smoothie for breakfast. Thank you Rachel Druckenmiller for the recipe! We loved it! I highly recommend.”

Tahini, hemp seeds, nutritional yeast, and Medjool dates might not have been at the top of your grocery list at the beginning of this year, but chances are you’ve at least attempted to find one of them or have even used one in a recipe.

We build confidence as we give ourselves permission to try new things, including food. Maybe we won’t like it…but what if we do?

And this is coming from a formerly picky eater – someone who would have never tried something like kale, collard greens, or curry powder.

As we look back on the past year, here are the top 10 blog posts based on the number of views from you, my readers. I’ve also included a brief poll below, so you can give me YOUR feedback about what you’d like to see more of in 2015.

top posts2014

  1. How I Lost 20+ Pounds, Got Back to My High School Weight & Kept It Off 
  2. Eat Your GBOMBS (Anti-Cancer Eating Tips!)
  3. Top 10 Places for a Healthy Lunch in Baltimore & Beyond!
  4. Chocolate Peanut Butter Bliss Balls
  5. My Energizing Morning Detox Drink (AKA Fire Cider)
  6. MYO Chipotle Style Bean Burrito Bowl in 7 Minutes or Less!
  7. How to Stock a Healthy Pantry: My Top 10 Everyday Essentials
  8. Comfort Food Classic Makeover…Creamy Caulifredo Sauce
  9. Taste the Rainbow Super Food Kale Salad
  10. 6 Keys to An Amazing Marriage: How We Nourish Ours

As year #2 of blogging begins, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your support, encouragement, and kindness and to give you some exciting updates for 2015!

  • The blog is getting a facelift! I’m working with a web designer to help me “brand” Rachel’s Nourishing Kitchen! From designing a logo and picking my colors to creating a more user friendly interface (like including Print Recipe buttons!), we will be working together to completely revamp the look and feel of the blog, so it really reflects me and my mission. You’ll see the new and improved look in March, but the blog will still be up and updated with new posts in the meantime.
  • I’m serving as a guest speaker at a Women’s Retreat in Gettysburg in February 2015 and will be speaking about Eating for Energy, Beauty & Optimal Health. I can’t wait!
  • I will be hosting/teaching more cooking classes and cooking parties covering a variety of themes – all featuring deliciously dairy-free and gluten-free foods that everyone will love! Sign-ups will be available directly on the blog. Let me know if you’re interested in doing a cooking class with your friends!
  • I will continue sharing gluten-free, dairy-free real food recipes and give you tips and tricks for upgrading your diet so you can nourish your body.
  • I will be doing giveaways and contests of some of my favorite foods, so you can learn more about them and try them yourself. I’ll promote ONLY what I use personally, so don’t worry about this turning into an ad.

I’d love your feedback on what you’d like to see more of in 2015! I already have ideas up my sleeve but please take a second or two to fill out the little survey below. Thank you again for your support! 🙂

Thank you again! Here’s to a healthy and happy new year! 🙂

Sign Up for My First LIVE Cooking Demo on December 5th: Energy-Boosting & Inflammation-Busting Recipes!

I’m SUPER excited to share this post (and am pinching myself that this is actually happening!!). 🙂

I’m ready to kick off my FIRST event to share what I’ve learned about how to use food for energy and healing along with 6 yummy recipes that you’ll get to try and learn how to make yourself.

I wanted to make sure YOU, my loyal blog followers, knew about it before anyone else.

On Friday, December 5th from 7:00-9:00 pm, I will be hosting a LIVE 2-hour, interactive healthy cooking demo in the Overlea/Fullerton area in Baltimore. Check out the description below to see what you can expect if you come! I have space for 8 people, so make sure you sign up below if you want to be a part of it 🙂

Inflammation-Busting, Energy-Boosting Upgrades


Creamy Alfredo sauce. Cheezy pesto. Chewy pecan pie bites.

What do all of these foods have in common?

#1 – They’re decadent and delicious.

#2 – They’re nourishing, satisfying, and anti-inflammatory.

#3 – They’re gluten-free and dairy-free.

#4 – You’ll learn how to make all of them (plus 3 more recipes!) if you join my cooking class on Friday, December 5th!

For many of us, inflammation is triggered by foods we eat every day and is one of the main reasons many of us are prone to getting sick or holding on to weight.  Symptoms we think are “normal” because they’re common – like asthma, allergies, pain, swelling, joint pain, reflux and even headaches – can often be linked back to inflammation, a “fire” inside our bodies.

From overcoming chronic bronchitis, acid reflux, and ear infections to achieving long-term weight loss, clear skin, and all-day energy, I’ve learned the secrets to eating in a way that helps the body “cool” the fire inside, and I want to share them with you!

Photo courtesy of Photography by Kat

Photo courtesy of Photography by Kat

Join me for this interactive, 2-hour workshop as we explore:

  • The top foods that trigger inflammation and keep us sick and overweight AND foods that fight or “cool” inflammation in our body
  • How to make a kale salad that will convert any kale hater into a lover
  • How easy it is to make your own noodles…out of zucchini!
  • The gadget I use to make mincing garlic a cinch and get rid of that lingering garlic smell on your fingers!
  • The secret ingredient in my creamy Alfredo sauce
  • A quick recipe that a recovering Parmesan cheese addict uses as a substitute
  • My favorite sweet treat that creates a caramel taste and texture…naturally!

**The cost is $40 per person and includes the demo, tastings, recipe packet, and handouts. The class can hold 8 people, so sign up below by noon on December 4th if you want to reserve your spot!**

Stuffed Rainbow Peppers {Vegan, Gluten-Free}


Stuffed peppers are one of our go-to recipes to make when we have a lot of veggies to use up and want something delicious for dinner.

You can use any veggies you want and any grain that you like to stuff these peppers, so the possibilities are endless!

We opted for a few basics (carrots, onions, celery & garlic), fiber-filled and gluten-free brown rice and chickpeas, and some chunky tomato sauce to bring it all together.

This is a meal you will make again and again. It’s filling, delicious, comforting, and is a great alternative to meat as a meal. Try it for a Meatless Monday (or Tuesday!) meal. Believe it or not, something like this will often be cheaper than giving everyone at the table a full portion of meat!

I’m not a vegetarian but over the past few years have used meat more as the side dish and the veggies more as the star of the show. I eat high-quality (local, humanely raised, grass-fed/pasture-raised) animal-based foods (eggs, chicken, meat, seafood) a couple of times a week.

On the other days, I get my protein from vegetables, beans and lentils, grains like quinoa, and nuts and seeds. Despite what many of us have been led to believe, meat is not the only quality source of protein, so change up your proteins and try something new!

Veggie-Stuffed Rainbow Peppers



  • 1/4-1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 2-3 cups water (enough to fill the bottom of the pot you’re using for steaming – see instructions below)
  • 4 bell peppers, top cut off & seeds removed
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice (we use the steamable bags in the frozen aisle of the grocery store for convenience)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (We use the Eden Organics brand)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking pan with aluminum foil.
  2. Fill a pot with enough water to steam the peppers and put the seeded peppers on top of a steamer basket. Bring the water to a boil, cover the pot with a lid and steam the peppers for 10 minutes. You want them to still be a bit firm so they stand up on their own. Steaming helps to partially cook them and make them easier to fill with the stuffing. IMG_6207
  3. Place peppers in the foil-lined baking dish. Do not leave them in the covered pot after steaming or they will overcook.
  4. While the peppers are steaming, saute the onions, garlic, carrots and celery in a few tablespoons of vegetable broth, adding more broth to prevent the onions from sticking.
  5. After about 10 minutes, add the diced tomatoes (with their juices!), brown rice, chickpeas, chili powder, garlic powder, cinnamon, and salt, stirring until everything is combined.IMG_5173
  6. Fill each pepper with the rice mixture, reserving about 1/2 cup of the mixture to top off the peppers. Roast peppers in the oven for 20 minutes. We roasted ours in the toaster oven.
  7. Remove from oven and top with 1-2 spoons of the extra rice mixture. Serve and enjoy!IMG_6209

We like to top ours with a few shakes of paleo parmesan cheeze!

My 30 Truths @ 30

Celebrating my first birthday 30 years ago in my parents' backyard! That standup piano must have been my introduction to music!

Celebrating my first birthday 30 years ago in my parents’ backyard, surrounded by friends, family and neighbors.

I’ll be 30 tomorrow. 

I’ve been tremendously blessed over the past 30 years and am incredibly grateful for all of the amazing people whose paths have crossed mine during that time.

I’ve been loved by and learned countless lessons from my family, friends, neighbors, church communities, teachers, classmates, co-workers, clients, and those I’ve been privileged to serve.

I’ve grown and been stretched through school, work, sermons, retreats, service, health coach training, and studying abroad.

Last weekend, my husband, friends and family schemed together to throw me a surprise party to celebrate my 30th. They ordered food, treats, and an amazing carrot cake from my favorite places (Great Sage & Jinji chocolates), hung rustic birthday banners in my favorite colors, made quinoa/veggie centerpieces, and truly surprised me.

I felt loved and special.

A few shots from my surprise party. They got me!

A few shots from my surprise party. They got me!

Due to the encouragement of a wise friend, I gave myself an extended weekend by taking off today and tomorrow, so I could have an opportunity to reflect on what I’ve learned over the first 30 years of my life and to help me refocus going forward.

Last night, Bill and I were looking through pictures to print out and hang up on the walls in our basement. I have to admit that I was a bit saddened by one of the first realizations that crossed my mind as I was reflecting.  

Over the past year or so, I’ve been taking more pictures of food than I have of the people in my life.

This is true despite the fact that I’ve intentionally spent more time in community in the past 5 years than ever before – having friends over for dinner, hosting our small group from church, meeting up with friends while Bill catches up with his buddies, and expanding my family through marriages and births.

Sure, the nature of what I do, including writing this blog, lends itself to taking way more pictures of food than I ever thought possible, but it’s no excuse.

I’ve had some time of quiet reflection today to take stock of what I’ve learned through all of the wonderful people in my life and from transformational books I’ve read to come up with “My 30 Truths @ 30.” Here they are:

  1. If you value it, you will find time for it.
  2. We are more alike than we are different. We all need to feel valued, accepted and affirmed. (Brene Brown)
  3. Shower yourself and other people with grace. We’re all doing the best we can, with what we have, where we are.
  4. Don’t rely on outside forces to confirm your reality. Be an intentional creator of your life. (Danielle LaPorte)
  5. If you have been called in a specific direction, you have all the skills you need to be successful. (Andrea Beaman)
  6. There’s plenty of healthy food that tastes good. You don’t have to eat what you don’t like.
  7. Improvement is a far more realistic goal than perfection. (Brene Brown)
  8. Don’t compare yourself with other people. Comparison is the biggest form of unhappiness. (Robert Notter)
  9. Allow yourself to feel worthy. You are worth it. You are important. You are worthy of your desires. (Danielle LaPorte)
  10. Be thankful for what you have, you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. (Oprah)
  11. Everything that has happened in your life has happened for you, not to you. Tune in to that distinction. (Marilena Minucci)
  12. The energy of your food creates your energy. Fuel your body with real food, food that was once living, as the life in food gives us life.
  13. In the heart of the pain is the healing. (Paul Epstein)
  14. Everything that feeds us doesn’t come on a plate.
  15. Don’t quit your daydream. Live the life you have imagined.
  16. Get out of your own way.
  17. Allow yourself to honestly and boldly respond to the prompt, “Wouldn’t it be great if…” and then go do that thing.
  18. Remember how far you’ve come, not just how far you have to go. You are not where you want to be, but neither are you where you used to be. (Rick Warren)
  19. You can’t be all things to all people. Your best will be good enough for some and not enough for others. That’s okay.
  20. Take as good care of yourself as you do your pets. (Bernie Siegel)
  21. Be who you came here to be. (Carol Roth)
  22. You cannot shame or belittle people into changing their behaviors. (Brene Brown)
  23. Be nice to yourself. It’s hard to be happy when you’re with someone who’s mean to you all day.
  24. What you put at the end of your fork is more powerful than what’s at the bottom of any pill bottle. (Mark Hyman)
  25. We are not alone in our struggles. We are not the only one. (Brene Brown)
  26. Ask and answer this prompt, “If I didn’t have to do it perfectly, I’d try…
  27. Everyone’s perception is not a clear objective reality, but it is a perception worth hearing.
  28. It’s not about “being healthy.” It’s about what health allows you to do. Health is a means, not an end. (Annemarie Colbin)
  29. When your reason “why” is compelling, you’ll figure out how.
  30. Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. (Howard Thurman)

And one to grow on…

31. Take more pictures of and with people 🙂

Celebrating summer with my Link Group from church

Celebrating summer with steamed crabs & my Link Group friends from church!

Unexpected “Fries” Surprise! (+ A Kickin’ Tomato Dipping Sauce)

I like eggs. I love plants

But for some reason, I’ve never been much of a fan of eggplant…And really, couldn’t we have come up with a better name? It’s called “aubergine” in French. Doesn’t that make it sound more appealing? 🙂

I’ve eaten it a few times, mixed in with a ratatouille, fried as “chips” when I was in Spain, and probably thrown into a soup at some point (people are sneaky!). I don’t know if it’s the texture or what, but I’ve never been crazy about this odd-looking vegetable.


As I experiment with recipes each week, I like to incorporate foods I’ve never eaten before or try them using a new preparation. In my Hometown Harvest bag this week, I came across none other than…eggplant!

I’ve never actually bought or cooked eggplant before, but I’m up for the make-eggplant-taste-good challenge!

Whenever I need inspiration for recipes, I check out the dozen or so cookbooks I have, browse through my favorite blogs, or search on Pinterest. I found two yummy recipes and am sharing both with you today!

Baked Eggplant Fries & Kickin’ Tomato Dipping Sauce

**The KEY to making sure these don’t become limp, soggy eggplant mush is to put them on a paper towel on a baking sheet and sprinkle salt on them to pull out the water. Let them sit for about 25 minutes and pat them dry. The more moisture you pull out, the “crispier” the fries will be.**


The crispy baked fries are on the left and the easy paleo fries are on the right


Eggplant Fries – Version 1
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 cup almond flour/meal + 2 tablespoon arrowroot powder OR 1 ½ cups cornmeal (Both work – your choice!)
1 ½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt, divided
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil, melted
2 free-range organic eggs

Almond meal/flour can be on the pricy side, but I usually find a good deal at Trader Joe’s, or you can click here for how to make your own

Spicy Tomato Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 14 oz can crushed red tomatoes
zest of half lemon
1 tablespoon oregano

Click here for the full recipes for the crispy fries and tomato sauce! Also, check out my step-by-step pictures below for how to make the fries!

Here is the recipe for the Easy Paleo Eggplant Fries – Version 2

I didn’t know what to expect because I have only really ever had mushy eggplant, but the “breaded” fries held up really well! There is a nice crunch when you bite into them, and the breading is delicious. The kickin’ tomato sauce is really tasty, and that is coming from someone who doesn’t like “spicy” food!

Cut the eggplant discs into matchsticks after you peel it

After you peel the eggplant, cut it into discs and then into matchsticks

Lay the sticks out on a paper towel-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt to pull out the moisture

Lay the sticks out on a paper towel-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt to pull out the moisture

Dip the sticks in the egg base and then coat with almond and herb mixture before laying on baking sheet

Dip the sticks in the egg base and then coat with the almond and herb mixture before laying them on the baking sheet

Prepare the kickin' tomato sauce dip while the fries are roasting!

Prepare the kickin’ tomato dipping sauce while the fries are roasting!

Rotate the fries halfway through cooking for even browning and then dip in tomato sauce - YUM!

Rotate the fries halfway through cooking for even browning and then dip in tomato sauce and enjoy – YUM!

It was my first time cooking eggplant, so I have a lot more I want to learn, but I would say this first attempt was a success 🙂

What did you think? Do you have any other eggplant recipes that you like to make? Feel free to share any of your favorites in the comments below!

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