Carrots with Fennel, Ginger and Lemon

These carrots are incredibly aromatic and exhibit a bit of a floral taste. The combination of lemon juice, crushed fennel seeds, and ginger create a beautiful flavor with the sweetness of the carrots. The flavor is definitely not for everyone, but if you like all of these ingredients, you’ll probably be a fan. If preferred, you can always add the ginger sooner to the pan to mellow it out more or opt for a lesser amount. I personally like the the fresh, vibrant ginger taste, but know it can be overpowering for some.

Also, make sure you don’t skip the step of crushing the fennel seeds. This allows the fragrant oils to be released and ultimately, creates more flavor. For those unfamiliar, fennel has a slight licorice-like flavor and is subtly sweet. It’s also a flowering plant in the carrot family, and native to the Mediterranean.

Meanwhile, combine this side dish with green veggies and protein of choice, and you’ve got yourself a complete meal. I even enjoyed adding a couple scoops of these to my big salad bowl I eat at lunchtime. It was delicious and a nice way to mix things up.

Cheers and enjoy!

P.S. – Tomorrow is my birthday and I’m feeling great about turning 33! It’s my auspicious year and a very exciting one to boot!


  • 4-5 large carrots, peeled and sliced into ~1/4″ pieces
  • 1 Tbsp pasture-raised ghee or coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Optional: 2-3 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped


  1. Melt ghee or coconut oil in large pan over medium heat. Place the fennel seeds on a cutting board and slightly crush using heel of hand on the back of a chopping knife. Add to pan and toast 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant.
  2. Next, add the chopped carrots to the pan, along with the sea salt and lemon juice. Toss well and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook 7-8 minutes or until carrots are tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Lastly, add the fresh ginger and stir well. Cook for another couple minutes. Remove from heat and garnish with fresh cilantro, if using. Serve.

*Note: if you’re not big on ginger, you can add it sooner to mellow out the flavor or opt for a little less.



Dairy-Free Butternut Squash Nacho “Cheese” Dip

It’s amazing what you can do with vegetables. Seriously. So many possibilities and fun ways to experiment. In this recipe, I used roasted butternut squash as a base for a nacho “cheese” dip. Nutritional yeast and coconut milk help give it a creamy texture and cheesy flavor, and there’s a little punch from smoked paprika, cayenne, and fresh jalapeño. It’s wonderful served right away, while it’s fresh and warm. I recommend serving this with grain-free tortilla chips, as seen in the photo, but veggies, plantain chips, and sweet potato chips are all great options too. You can even spread it on a grain-free tortilla (this variety is my favorite) and add some shredded chicken to make a quesadilla or taco. Regardless of how you eat it, it’s another tasty and healthy option to have at a Super Bowl party (that is this weekend, after all).

Also, know that I made this as a thicker dip, but you can water it down more for a thinner/saucier consistency, if desired. This does thicken after being in the fridge as well, so keep that in mind.

Cheers and enjoy!


  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped (about 3-4 cups)
  • 1-2 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tsp + 1/4 tsp smoked paprika, separated
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 small jalapeño, finely chopped (leave desired amount of seeds in, depending on how spicy you want it)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup filtered water or more if you want a thinner “cheese”


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place squash on a large sheet pan (use parchment, if desired) and toss with avocado oil, 1 tsp of the smoked paprika, and sea salt and black pepper, to taste.
  2. Roast squash in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until tender.
  3. Once squash is done, add to food processor with remaining ingredients (don’t forget the extra 1/4 tsp smoked paprika). Process until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Taste and adjust spices to your liking. If you want a thinner “cheese,” add more water until you reach your desired consistency.
  4. Serve warm with grain-free tortilla chips, veggie slices, plantain chips, etc.

Dairy-Free Buffalo Chicken Dip

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…I am not a sports person. I only bring this up because the Super Bowl is right around the corner. Naturally, I don’t plan to watch the game or attend any parties, but obviously, many of you will. That’s great…it’s just not my thing! I’ll admit that I sometimes watch the halftime show, but it’s usually always after the fact. Oh, and per usual, I have no idea which teams are playing this year. Like I said, not my thing!

However, I am happy to offer a recipe for all you Super Bowl partakers and of course, it’s a healthier version of a party classic. I know buffalo chicken dip or wings are common football food and even outside of a football context, I’ve never had buffalo chicken dip and am straight up not a chicken wings fan. With that said, I opted to make a healthier, dairy-free version of buffalo chicken dip, so it was my first time ever having something of the sorts. And, I liked it…a lot! If you’re looking for other healthier versions of party food to share at your Super Bowl gathering, be sure to check out my spinach artichoke dip too.

Also, I’ll be making this recipe on KATU Afternoon Live next Friday, February 2, so stay tuned! Oh, and if you didn’t get my update on Facebook and Instagram, my January segment that I recorded earlier this month will be shared at a later time. It was recorded, but the main host and producer were sick, so they had to do things a little differently that day. I’ll be sure to share it once it’s released! UPDATE: watch the replay of my segment HERE.

Cheers and enjoy!


  • 4 cups boneless skinless chicken breast, shredded
  • 1 cup homemade avocado oil mayonnaise or a high-quality brand like this one
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce (I used Frank’s Original — it’s straight forward and clean)
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried onion
  • 1 tsp onion granules
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 3/4 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Fresh chives, chopped, for garnish

Options for serving:


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Add shredded chicken to a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the mayo, hot sauce, and all the spices except for the chives. Pour over shredded chicken and stir to coat.
  3. Pour chicken mixture into an 8×8 baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until edges are bubbly and light brown. Garnish with chives and serve warm.


Cocoa Roasted Sweet Potatoes

First off, happy New Year! I hope all of you had great holidays and are enjoying 2018 thus far. I have so much excitement surrounding this year and am feeling giddy, energized, and joyful. There is so much good to come.

On another note, just because the holiday season is over does not mean that chocolate is out of the question! I know many of us had our fair share of treats, but who says you can’t have chocolate with your vegetables? It might sound wild, but in this case, I’m talking about a dusting of unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder on roasted sweet potatoes. It’s a match made in heaven with the natural sweetness and a decadent way to mix things up. For a little spice, I added a dash of turmeric and black pepper too. It’s a magical combo. Also, I know it may appear as if the sweet potatoes are burnt, but I assure you, they’re not. That’s just the covering of cocoa powder.

Meanwhile, just add your protein of choice and some greens, and you’ve got an epic meal. My recommendation would be baked chicken breast and sautéed kale. Perfecto!

Cheers and enjoy!


  • 2 medium-large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1-2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1.5 Tbsp cocoa or cacao powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place chopped sweet potatoes in a large bowl. In a small dish, whisk together melted coconut oil, cocoa powder, turmeric, sea salt, and pepper. Pour mixture over sweet potatoes and toss to coat. Place in an even layer on the baking sheet.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Oven-Baked Grain-Free Party Mix

I grew up eating homemade Chex Mix every year during the holiday season from the time I was a little kid on. It was something I ate copious amounts of (along with all the Christmas cookies mom made) and thoroughly enjoyed. I even adored its salty aroma when it was baking in the oven and it lured me into the kitchen every time.

Naturally, like any person, I picked out the stuff I liked best. For me, it was the cashews and wheat Chex, especially the pieces that were extra coated in seasoning and stuck together in a chewy sorta way. Anyone else know what I’m talking about here?

Anyway, after discovering I was allergic to gluten several years ago and then later going completely grain-free, I thought my Chex Mix days were over. It would have been doable when I was just gluten-free, but no grains at all is a different story.  And, honestly, for a long time, I didn’t miss or think about this salty snack mix much, but something struck me this year and I really wanted to create my own version. I also assumed there were many others that wanted a grain-free party mix as well. So, I figured it out and let me just stay that it’s amazing, salty, and still addictive.

I recommend using the best quality nuts/seeds you can find, meaning raw and sprouted whenever possible. Feel free to swap out any of the nuts for other varieties as well. For instance, hazelnuts and pecans would be amazing in this recipe. Macadamia nuts too. The plantain chips add some extra crunch and variety, and the big flakes of coconut take on the flavor of the seasoning while adding another layer of texture. Speaking of the seasoning, it is spot on and meets all the requirements. Also, I opted for coconut aminos and fish sauce to create a Worcestershire-like flavor because I don’t like the Worcestershire sauce options out there. It proved to be a winning combo.

If you give this recipe a try, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Cheers and happy holidays!


  • 1/4 cup melted grass-fed butter, ghee, or avocado oil
  • 1.5 cups raw almonds, preferably sprouted
  • 1 cup raw cashews, preferably sprouted
  • 1 cup raw walnuts, preferably sprouted
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, preferably sprouted
  • 4 oz package roasted plantain chips (I like this brand)
  • 1 heaping cup unsweetened coconut flakes (not shredded)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut aminos (find here)
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce (I like this brand, which is gluten-free and unsweetened)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic granules or powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion granules or powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • Pinch of cayenne


  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. In a large roasting pan, mix together the almonds, cashews, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes, and plantain chips. In a small bowl, whisk the melted butter or ghee (obviously you don’t have to melt avocado oil, if using) with the coconut aminos, fish sauce, and all the seasonings.
  3. Pour the seasoning mixture over the nut mix and stir to coat. Bake in preheated oven for 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Once cooled, store in airtight container.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Delicata Squash, & Cranberries

roasted squash, Brussels and cranberriesThanksgiving may be over, but the holiday season is officially in full swing. Although, I’ll be honest, it doesn’t totally feel like it yet. Anyone else feeling that way?

Anyway, with the holiday season here, there will be plenty more dinners, parties, and get togethers, and I’m willing to bet you’re going to need side dish recipes to share. This festive, healthy, and colorful bounty is perfect. And, not only is it visually pleasing, it’s delicious too. I especially love the pop of color and burst of tart flavor from the cranberries. Also, you may notice that the Brussels sprouts are purple (or would it be red?). I had never seen this variety before and couldn’t resist the beautiful color. If you can’t find the purple ones, green work just fine and taste the same.

Meanwhile, I hope all of you had a lovely Thanksgiving last week, and enjoyed time with family and friends.

Cheers and enjoy!

roasted vegetables with cranberries


  • 2 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced in half
  • 1 medium delicata squash, sliced in half lengthwise, seeded, and cut into half moons
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place Brussels sprouts, cranberries, squash, and shallot on a large baking sheet (line with parchment, if desired) and drizzle with the avocado oil. Sprinkle the thyme, sage, sea salt, and black pepper on top. Toss to combine and spread out in an even layer.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are crispy and browned. If desired, give a gentle stir halfway through cooking time.

Savory Sweet Potato Casserole

I was never one for the sugar-laden sweet potato casserole and truly, never understood it. That as a side dish and then pie for dessert? Made no sense to me, but traditions, I suppose. Even as a kid, I was never interested in that super sweet casserole, but honestly, it was probably more the sweet potato part that turned me off because I liked marshmallows, and brown sugar was okay in my book then too.

On the flip side, a savory sweet potato casserole is something I can totally get behind, and this one fits the bill. It has a nice mix of flavor and bite, plus some “cheesiness” from the nutritional yeast. If you’re not sure about the nutritional yeast, start with half the amount, taste, and add more if desired. Alternatively, you could use good-quality Parmesan cheese as a replacement, if tolerated and desired.

Meanwhile, I wish all of you a happy Thanksgiving tomorrow! If any of you make this recipe to go with your holiday meal, please let me know how you like it!

Cheers and enjoy!


  • 2 medium-large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp grass-fed butter or ghee, plus extra for greasing dish
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chanterelle mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp granulated onion or onion powder
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp vegetable, chicken, or turkey broth
  • 2 eggs, preferably pasture-raised
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts, roughly chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 casserole dish with a little butter and set aside.
  2. Add sweet potato chunks to a large pot and add enough water to cover. Then, add a couple pinches of sea salt to the water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until sweet potatoes are fork tender, about 6-8 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large pan over medium heat, melt 2 Tbsp of the butter. Once melted, add the onion and sauté 1-2 minutes. Then, add the chanterelles and garlic. Season with a little sea salt and black pepper. Continue to cook until mushrooms are softened. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Add the remaining 1 Tbsp butter to the pot with the cooked sweet potatoes and mash. Then, add the nutritional yeast, onion granules or powder, cayenne, nutmeg, Dijon, vegetable broth, sea salt, and black pepper. Stir well. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Lastly, add the eggs and stir into mixture.
  5. Pour sweet potato mixture into the greased dish. Sprinkle walnuts on top in an even layer. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.