spring vegetable detox soup and the end of grad school, the beginning of who knows what

13 Jun

ImageWelp. I am officially done with graduate school…. pending the massive five hour exam I took last Saturday. AND my licensure finality which may take until the end of the summer, but that leaves me with lots of decisions and avenues I need to consider. Which seemed scary at first because all I wanted was to be a therapist, but in some ways I already am. I utilize my therapy skills with the children I am with everyday and have practiced therapy as an intern over the last year.  Let’s seriously pray I pass that exam, though.

As I’ve finished up graduate school, I’ve sadly realized how alone I am sometimes. I have been studying and writing papers for so many months now that I have left my social life behind. Not because I wanted to, but because I kind of had to and after the dating experience I had last fall in the midst of everything going on with my Uncle Moof (love you, buddy), I kind of needed a break from dating. I have this curse and a blessing of being too nice. Yep. Happens to me pretty often. “You’re great, no really, you ARE, how are you even on the market? You’re so joyful and pretty…..yadda yadda.”

You’re right, I AM all those things, I am pretty lovely, so stop being fearful of what could go wrong and imagine what could go right! I’ve really put my heart out there since I became single in October 2012 and I continue to, especially lately, I mean the worst you can do in life is not try and we all know, I wear my heart on my sleeve. Kindness is the only way to live. Because I figure no matter who you are, or how you feel, if someone sends you a text telling you they hoped you had a great day and that they think you are pretty great….. you’d smile. So that’s what I try and do, make people feel good about themselves because its what I feel like I was put on this earth to do, heal and make people smile.

Which is something I am learning to do for myself. It’s a slow process and I used to count it as being extremely humble, but I’ve realized that I don’t see what others see.

Yesterday I was told that I have a beautiful heart, a beautiful soul, a beautiful personality and am also physically beautiful, but I don’t see it. I guess I just see myself as a normal gal, which takes modesty to a whole new level apparently ha!

Now that I am done with graduate school, I have time for dating again and for making or repairing friendships. However, I don’t think you should drop your friends because they are trying to finish up graduate school so they can achieve their goals and dreams. I mean heck, I still have quite a few hoops to jump to go into Developmental Therapy with infants and toddlers with special needs, but I have worked my ass off and made sure that the people in my life I care about, always knew I cared, I just couldn’t always be there (or out at the bars in River North) because I had to finish up my capstone and these last exams. These last couple months have been a hermit hell with all the studying and writing and working. My entire degree is riding on this exam I took June 7th. But, finishing up graduate school has made me a lot more aware of what I want and what I don’t want in people in my life.

I want love. All kinds of love because I try to put out there the love that I want. I am extremely sensitive (shocker, haha!). But I am. My friend the other day told me I am the “Ted Mosby” of the real world….oh, and a girl. Ever seen “How I Met Your Mother”? Ted is the hopeless romantic who is crazy sensitive, loves his friends so much, is just an all around nice guy, just wants to be accepted and just wants nothing else but to find the person that is right for him so he can fill THEIR life with joy.

Enter Natalie Brooke Kellogg. Since I can remember, I’ve been wanting to find THE guy that is right for me, or at least give me a chance to see if we are right. Now, more than ever, I feel like I have that chance. I finally have a chance to train for the marathon I want to run, read the books I want to read, look the way I want to look, do the work I want to do, go out when I want, have the time to take care of myself and have the time to take care and really put even more effort into the people in my life…. which hopefully will include someone to share my life with. I deserve a successful, ambitious, caring, funny, smart, attractive guy in my life. Someone that is everything I want because I am everything someone else should want. Heck, I’m finally asking the universe for it! At 32… wait, shit, I’m only 31…. close to 32….I’ll be 32 in September, I’ve learned so much over the last couple years and that the people in your life really matter. That how can a life be so amazingly great if you have no one to share it with?

That’s what I think anyways. So, single dudes… I’m ready to date again. Bring it on. However, don’t bring it on if you’re a douchebag….you know who you are. (Just a friendly disclaimer) Haha.

Also, I know how to cook. BOOM.


  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 (28 ounce) cans of diced tomatoes
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 2 zucchini chopped into one inch pieces
  • 1 yellow zucchini squash chopped into one inch pieces
  • enough water to round out the pot
  • 8 ounces of uncooked ditalini pasta
  • 12 thin asparagus spears, stems removed and cut into thirds
  • 1 cup of frozen sweet peas
  • 1 bag of container of power greens (these essentially are kale, spinach, frise, etc.)
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated romano cheese + more for topping
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon (or to taste) of cayenne pepper


You can make this in the crock pot or a regular pot. If you make it in a regular pot (I used my Le Cruset for the second time around to cut the cooking time), it won’t take as long, maybe about an hour and a half/2 hours. Below is the crockpot recipe.

Add diced onions, garlic, carrots, the whole can of diced tomatoes, cannellini beans, stock and water to your crockpot. Cook on low for 4-6 hours, stirring once or twice if you can.

About 10-15 minutes before serving, add in asparagus (I like mine with some crunch, add it earlier if you want it softer), spinach, and peas. Cook the pasta separately so that you can either have it or not have it, but you want it al dente and cooking it separately will make sure it always stays nice and tender and does not get mushy. Cook on low for another 10-15 minutes. It’s soup, you really can’t mess it up. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired. I used about a 1/2 teaspoon of each, but it will depend on the sodium levels you have in your vegetable stock. You can then serve it in bowls with more cheese on top, or leave the cheese out! Leave the pasta out as well. Either way!

This soup tastes absolutely amazing the second and third day. The veggies get a little mushy, but the flavors really meld together.

car accidents and chocolate cake

14 Feb

photo 2It has been FAR too long since I’ve been on here, but I decided today was the day. I really should write about food, but life seems like a better topic, food will come later, and really, I don’t even have that exciting of a recipe to share this time haha! BUT, sometimes veggies and green things and healthy things need to be tossed by the wayside for some chocolate sometimes!

I was in a car accident yesterday. Nothing life changing….well life changing for my poor new little 2014 Jetta, but wait…I’m wrong, it was life changing. Life changing for my back and life changing for the amount of F words that came flying out of my mouth at the time it happened….whoops! It made me realize, yet again, that life is too short and you have to put yourself out there, because you know what? The people that are meant to be in your life and love you for you, will be there. For me, that means that they’ll love how thoughtful I am, or how excited I get over silly things, how I tell stories, how feisty I can get sometimes (Norma Rae for life), how I work with children, my RIDICULOUS obsession with Lululemon (and JCrew), how I can apparently make people feel good about themselves and how I can hopefully take something bad and learn from it.

One of my best guy friends wrote me a text the other night when I was telling him about God knows what, I’m assuming we were talking about where my life is headed, and it said,”Cut that shit out. Whether you believe it or not, you are someone worth being with. Keep doing what makes you happy and that person will find you. And if not, then you’re still going to make your mark on this world. You do the right thing, and you make people around you feel better about themselves. You give up on that and you let all the shittyness in the world win.” Sometimes, people are just honest and open. I love that about all of my friends (I’m sure his girlfriend loves that about him as well). I mean 11 years of friendship and he can still tell me how it is. I never looked at myself like that. I have heard a lot over the last week that I am someone who people look forward to talking to, who they seek for advice, who they know will turn things around because I am so positive.

I am definitely not positive all the time, but I try. This last semester in graduate school, and all the obstacles I have overcome in life have taught me that. Heck I mean a little over two years ago I was battling all kinds of awful stuff with my ovaries and went through some pretty heineous surgeries and recoveries, yet here I am. Alive, pretty happy, and constructively working towards my goals. I may have a heart that is bigger than most, and I may feel too much at times, but I would rather care too much than not at all.

Recently, as in like 3 days ago, people were trying to be bring me down and make me feel like I am not competent in my field or as an photo 3individual. That hurt, bad. But you know what I realized? They don’t know me, who I am, where my heart lies, what I am trying to do with my life, so they take my confidence in my graduate studies and in my Developmental Therapy field as a threat. They take my confidence in knowing I WILL make this world a better place, even if it’s in a small way like healing a child, or making someone happy. I don’t want to be a threat to anyone, I just want to care about everyone and make everyone happy. It’s hard when all you want to do is heal the world and find someone that can make it a better place with you. Last week, before the text message, my guy friend also told me that I would be crazy to give up on meeting someone who wants to take a chance with me. That someone out there is looking for me, or most likely has already met me, and if I give up, they will never have a chance to be in my life and that will take two good people out of this world and take the chance of having more good people out of this world. I didn’t realize I made that much of an affect on people. It made me smile. That just my small acts of kindness can make people so happy or rather believe in me so much. I definitely am one of those people that knows what I want out of life, and I’m not too afraid to go after it, but sometimes that gets challenging. Yet, again, I’ve been through more than most people have in their lives, so that makes me not afraid to try. 

I guess in the long run, it isn’t what we do, how we do it or where we are, but it’s how we make each other feel. I hope that I can make lots of people feel good and I also hope that I can meet someone that wants to take a chance on me. Who knows, maybe I already have. Life is fickle that way.

That being said…let’s take a damn chance on some chocolate. Last night, after getting home from the day from HELL… aka when my poor 2014 Jetta died (I don’t wish ill on people, but I could curse the girl who caused this accident), I needed my couch, some Goldbergs and some chocolate and I needed it FAST. I scrounged the kitchen for what I had around, and here’s what happened. AND it was glorious and not unhealthy either….woot!

Chocolate Mug Cake with Whipped Cream

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons spelt flour, 1 tablespoon coconut flour (or white, or Arrowhead Mills gf)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2-3 tsp coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons milk of choice
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Homemade whipped cream or whipped cream of choice

Combine dry ingredients and mix very well. Add liquid, stir, then transfer to a little dish, ramekin, or even a coffee mug. I used these cute little mini dutch ovens I got for Christmas. Microwave 30-40 seconds. EAT!!! BUT it’s AMAZING. It is. Warm and gooey. I topped mine with whipped cream. The lovely thing about this is it isn’t too sweet and really, 1-3 bites and you’re done, so share!

zucchini, zucchini and some asparagus

14 Sep

photo 2WELP. It’s been WAY too damn long since I wrote a post and now that my 31st birthday just passed on September 7th, I felt like it’s been a little over a year since I decided to do this thing. Not very well I may add haha! I’ve been fairly bored with cooking lately. I know. ME? Bored with COOKING?!? Yes ma’am, I am bored with cooking. I haven’t been super innovative lately and maybe that’s because it was summer. Now that summer is over and my favorite time of year is here, football and pumpkin season, I’ll cook a LOT more I am sure and write more!

This also may sound silly, but I really like having someone to cook FOR and lately I don’t really have anyone to cook for, just little’ole me. So I’ve lost some of my creativity in the kitchen. I also am bombarded with zucchini, and school happening again, so, therefore, this recipe is super crazy unbelievably easy and geared towards that.

31. Yep. I’m 31. I’m over that “turning 30″ hump and I’m ok with it. I don’t mind “being in my 30s,” but what I do mind, is the fact that I work so hard in life to achieve all the goals I want, and I still sometimes feel like I’ve gone nowhere, or maybe backwards? Which clearly isn’t true whatsoever. I have a ridiculous amount of degrees. I’m working on my Master’s in Early Childhood with an Infancy Specialization, I’m working on a Farm-to-Table research grant with UW Madison which opens up the possibilities of a PhD, I have probably the most amazing internship on this earth, two good jobs, I mean…. I’ve done pretty well for myself, I think. The only thing I’ve realized in my life though, is that as positive as I can be and try to be, and generally am, people always trip me up. I don’t understand why some come in and out of my life so often. I feel like life is about decisions and if you can’t decide if I am right to be in your life, then why try at all? Why continuously tell me that I am a great person and a great girl and am perfect to be in your life, when really you aren’t sure? That stuff trips me up because I am worth it. I am an amazing friend, girlfriend, student,  what have you. AND yes, I’m tooting my own horn ha!

I am really straight forward and honest. I wear my heart on my sleeve; which can be a good and a bad thing. I generally take care of everyone around me, particularly when it comes to food. I AM a great girl. It may have taken some time to figure that out, but I am. I am awesome! Haha!

I feel like we need to follow our hearts and just go after what we want. Because…..heck, isn’t that what life’s about? Taking chances? Because life is toophoto 1 short not to. It’s too short to stay in a place you aren’t happy, to be doing something you aren’t happy with, or to just be wafting along until something happens. We all need to just take a leap and go for it. Which means sometimes, unfortunately, we will get hurt, I know that all too well, but I don’t regret anything, at least I tried. It’s silly. People are silly. They crack me up and confuse me all at the same time, but I figure someday, I’ll have people in my life that won’t confuse me and won’t come in and out because they don’t know what they want. I’m really thankful for everything in my life, particularly at age 31, but I’ve come to realize I’m ready to move forward in my life. I’m ready for a lot of things, so it’s time. 31 has to be the year!

As the summer as went on, I’ve gotten pretty lax about cooking. I just haven’t had anything creative come up, or have been, frankly, just not home enough. I also, as I said, like to cook FOR people. So I mean, when that doesn’t happen, I don’t cook as often.  A couple things I have made over this summer though, that have been really easy, are zucchini and asparagus. Super crazy easy. So here are those!


  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • sea or kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • coconut oil

EASY PEASY. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Trim the ends off of your asparagus. Lay them flat on a sheet pan. Then melt your coconut oil in the microwave until it is liquid, about 1-2 tablespoons will do. Next, drizzle the oil on the asparagus, add salt and pepper and pop in the oven! Roast until they are bright green and al dente, about 10-15 minutes and enjoy!


  • 2 medium sized zucchinis, halved
  • 1 lb italian sausage, out of the casing
  • marinara of your choice
  • goat chevre or ricotta or BOTH
  • olive oil
  • sea or kosher salt
  • black pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. slice your zucchini length wise and scoop out some of the inside. drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast these in the oven until tender, about 30 minutes. While those are cooking, break open that sausage! In a large skillet, break up and cook your sausage until browned and cooked thoroughly. Set aside. When your zucchini are done, layer your sausage inside the boats. Then layer on your favorite marinara sauce and top with either goat chevre or ricotta or both is yummy! If needed, pop back in the oven to heat up. Then enjoy! these are super easy and a GREAT alternative to pasta!

beach beach beach, sunburn, coconut oil, waffles and friends

22 Jul

photoIsn’t it amazing how location changes your entire life? I moved to the beach area of Chicago literally only a few weeks ago (hence the delay in any sort of recipe because everything and it’s mother for cooking was packed up). Also…due to the fact that I have lived my life over the last couple weeks at work, school, pulling all nighters for papers, the beach, out with my friends, etc., basically living life, I haven’t had much time or the will to cook. I know, crazy right? Of ALL people who haven’t felt like cooking, it was me. Probably because living on the beach is my new favorite thing!

Oh and FYI – put coconut oil on your sunburn. It’s a miracle oil. Really!

I feel like my life has done a 180 since I moved here. It’s been amazing. Not that life wasn’t amazing before, but it’s funny how location and opening up your heart to more possibilities in life can really make a ton of positive changes. There is still a lot of stuff that is completely confusing to me right now, but it’ll all work itself out. I’ve realized I am pretty much open to anything right now and for me, that is rare because I like to have control over what is happening in my life; I made the life I live, and I am a great girl, so I like to continue to know what is going on. But, sometimes it’s good to not know what will happen; it gives you the opportunity to let life happen as it happens. Life is all about taking chances to find what will ultimately make you happy.

This recipe below made the gals I nanny for really happy, so hopefully it’ll workout well for you too! I tend, as you know, to experiment with gluten free recipes a lot, even though I feel like I’ve eaten completely unhealthy lately HAHA! (whoops!) I also am all about easy lately, and for whatever reason, I am fairly certain I am Leslie Knope from Parks and Rec…not only personality wise, but also because I have a fascination with waffles! Yay waffles!



  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1 scoop of your favorite protein powder (I use ARIA)
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 heaping tbsp coconut milk
  • 10 drops liquid stevia (mine was vanilla flavored)

NOTE: This makes like one waffle, so double, triple, or quadruple the recipe for more! Basically mix everything together well, toss everything then into your waffles maker, cook until they are as dark as you want and BOOM you have waffles!

vegetables. just eat them. and another pearl about life.

18 Jun

photo 4So I’m not going to lie. This blog post has really nothing to do with food. SHOCKING, right? Well, minus the fact that everyone should eat their vegetables; especially during this season. This is THE single best season for vegetables, summer. Currently, asparagus is in abundance, as are onion, two amazingly nutrient rich vegetables that you should just eat. Grill them, roast them, do whatever you want to make them taste even more amazing and get them in your belly. I mean this first picture is a whole load of veggies and fruits that I juiced. If you have produce that isn’t quite good anymore, juice it. Juicing is seriously the best way to always get good use out of your produce, AND it’s good for you!

Now onto the pearl of wisdom before I teach you the extremely easy way to cook raw vegetables. I’m going through a crazy amount of transitions right now. All good transitions, but a lot at once and sometimes all these transitions get lonely, but doesn’t everyone get lonely sometimes? I am getting research together for my farm to table research grant, which is kicking into full gear right now because of the summer vegetable season; I am moving in two weeks (ahhhh!); I am weeding people out that are bad for me and taking people into my life that are good for me; I am learning the ways around my heart; I am preparing for internship in the Fall; AND I am job hunting for August/internship year. That’s a lot of changes all at once, and big ones at that. At least the employment/apartment/internship are all BIG BIG big important things to nail down. Yet, I don’t know, in the grand scheme of things, how important they are (minus my internship since it’ll lead to my future career In Developmental Therapy with infants).

So here is the pearl of wisdom that my good friend Chrissy gave me, “Not one that I have found in all my searching equaled the one that found me when I finally stopped.” Now this can apply to a variety of situations. I feel like in my life, I am so ambitious and want to achieve so much, that I am constantly looking for something. I am so driven when it comes to school and work that I sometimes should take a backseat to that. I’m always looking for a way to be better, looking for a way to be stronger, looking for a way to run that extra mile, looking for a way to make others in my life happier, looking for a way to excel in my job, school, research, you get the idea.

But here is the issue: In all of those “looking”s, I’ve never sat down and thought about what I deserve and what I want. I know what I want to achieve career wise. I know that I want to move back south, anywhere south, once I graduate in a year, I know that I eventually want to own my own therapeutic cooking school and get my PhD. BUT where does that say anything about what I am “looking for” personally? My friend Kate has been talking a lot about self-fulfillment and taking time for yourself, and figuring out what you want, which I am awful at doing. I have such a big heart and I care so much, that I put others before myself all of the time and don’t realize it because making others happy makes ME happy! I am the constant cheerleader for everyone in my life, and I am glad I am, I love my personality and that I make people smile, but I deserve that as well. I mean, this is an amazing quality to have, but it also leaves you open to everything.

So. I am spending a lot of time lately thinking about what I want. I wrote a post a couple weeks ago about how I know that I will always be the girl that is single, and that’s where Chrissy promoted the quote that she sent me. But, I feel like that quote serves a purpose in so much in our lives. When you are single, and openly admit that for right now you are ok with it and have accepted it, you open yourself up to a lot of “you never know” and “don’t worry, you’ll find someone” encouragements. Which is silly, because deep down, I know I will. But the thing is, Chrissy is right, I don’t need to look. If I’m meant to date someone, or be in someone’s life, they’ll find me. OR maybe they already have? I don’t know.

I’m fairly oblivious to that stuff, so maybe that’s what I need to look for, a CLUE! Haha! All I know is, that at some point in my life, I hope someone thinks that I am as wonderful as I know I’ll think they are. I see so much good in everyone, that I deserve for someone to see that in me as well. Someone that isn’t one of my friends or family who is OBLIGATED to see those things in me haha! Until then, I am perfectly fine with nailing down all of these great things in my life because they make me a better person. I mean like I said, I am so oblivious to this kind of stuff, that maybe someone already thinks I’m wonderful and I have no idea? Knowing me, that’s probably the case. But they’re out there.

So now, I’m going to say this again, because I think it is important:

This is what life is all about, right? Trusting, loving, caring and growing. I don’t think it’s about our career paths (even though those are extremely important to a person like me who has worked so hard), how much money we do or do not make, the clothes we own, the cars we drive, the mundane things that fill up our lives, but I think it’s about relationships and friendships. I know that when I grow old, I want my friends and family there by my side, not my school books, job, or material things. I want relationships. Being in the hospital taught me that. Going through being so sick alone, reinforced how important I want people in my life to know I care about them. I would do anything for anyone in my life. Anything. There are many people in my life who have yet to learn that, and I hope I can teach them how special humans can be. Or maybe how special I can be. I know that someday I’ll make someone happy, until then…here I am. Continuing to hopefully spread some smiles to the people who are in my life right now. Which makes me feel good.

So, speaking of feeling good, let’s tie this into vegetables. Vegetables make you feel good. SO just eat them! Food is medicine. It really is. I currently am working on a research grant all about that. So here are some simple ways to make some yummy veggies that I’m pretty sure take about ten minutes to do!



  • 1 large bunch of asparagus, I had about 30 spears in mine
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher slat
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • the zest of this entire lemon

Trim your asparagus. The easiest way to do this is snap one where it breaks, then add it to the rest of the bunch and trim them all. This will6306_550350665011004_1384930127_n generally be 1-2 inches off the bottom of the stems. Next, in a large ziplock,toss all your asparagus in. Add the olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon zest and also squeeze all the juice from the lemon into the bag and toss that lemon right on in. Squish them all around so the asparagus is evenly coated and put it in your fridge for about an hour. This will help them marinate. Fire up your grill to about 400 degrees and then toss the asparagus on! Seriously, this is crazy easy. Let them cook until they are bright green and al dente, where the flowery tips are a bit crunchy. That’s it! Done! Like ten minutes! Eat up and enjoy.

bbq pork, gorgonzola coleslaw and a hospital visit

5 Jun

photo 1WELL. Here I am. Day 3 in the hospital at Northwestern Memorial. Luckily, today I’m feeling much much MUCH better. Hopefully I get released today. How do you get a kidney and liver infection anyways? It’s painful as heck, I can tell you that for sure; and the fevers have been brutal! But, luckily I am feeling better and hopefully can get out of here today! It’s funny how healthy I eat, but how sick I can get sometimes. My immune system must hate me!

Speaking of healthy, here some healthy and unhealthy food since it was Memorial Day last week! BBQ was definitely the same of the game and I LOVE BBQ pork. LOVE it. When I lived in North Carolina for 6 months, I pretty much lived at this little place by my Dad’s house called “Dixie Belle’s” and man is Dixie Belle’s goooooodddd. I could eat the BBQ pork from there for every meal if I was given the chance. My Dad actually inspired me to make this because he posted a picture of his wonderful BBQ pork on Facebook (yes my parents are awesome and have facebook) over Memorial Day weekend.



  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons coarse sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 (5 to 7 pound) pork roast, preferably shoulder or Boston butt
  • one large white onion, roughly chopped into strips
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 jar of your favorite BBQ sauce (I use “Two Fat Guys” because it’s all natural, gluten free, and yummy!)

Heat a large pot over medium heat and add your tablespoon of olive oil and the onion. Cook the onion for just a minute or two to get it going. photo 3Next, pay your big hunk of meat down with paper towels and in a small bowl, combine the paprika, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, brown sugar, dry mustard, black pepper, and coarse seas salt. Rub it nicely into the meat and toss the meat into the pot. Add the water and apple cider vinegar and bring to a small boil, then turn your heat down to low, cover and let it cook. This should cook for about 4-5 hours. You’ll be able to tell when your meat is fork tender and pulls apart. After your meat is fork tender, and the onions are cooked thoroughly so they are soft and translucent,  drain them meat and onions in a strainer then put it back in the pot. Start pulling it apart with two forks and add your BBQ sauce. The BBQ sauce can be to your discretion. I added about a cup and a half to mine because I didn’t want it too saucy. Then you are ready to serve!



  • 1 head of green cabbage
  • 1 lb bag of broccoli slaw
  • fresh gorgonzola cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups plain greek yogurt
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 tablespoon garlic powder

photo 2This is SUPER easy and yummy! Shred your cabbage or cut it using a knife so it is roughly chopped and shredded. In a large bowl add the cabbage and the broccoli slaw. Next in a smaller bowl, combine your greek yogurt, salt and pepper to taste, parsley and garlic powder. Then chop your gorgonzola and add that. Mix it all together and TADA, you have coleslaw! This coleslaw is amazing if you top your pork with it. You get the spicy and tangy taste of the pork with the cool crisp coleslaw. Super yummy!



  • 1 bag of fresh, organic arugula leaves
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Shaved parmesan (or grated, I used grated this time around, but shaved is even better!)

In a small bowl, juice your lemon, and start whisking in your olive oil to emulsify the photocombination. Add your salt and pepper and whisk well. In a large bowl, lightly toss your dressing with the arugula. Make sure you do not over dress this salad, so you may have more dressing than you need and can save it for a future salad. Crack more pepper on top and toss in the parmesan cheese. I used an asiago blend that had rosemary crust on the rind, which was really yummy, but use whatever you have! I also grated this, but the shaved big chunks of parm are even better! Enjoy!


chocolate coffee cupcakes with vanilla bean goat chèvre frosting

27 May

photo-1Good grief. Ok, so I’ll admit that I used a cake mix for these, but Pamela’s is such a PERFECTLY amazing and well made gluten free cake mix with great ingredients that it’s so easy to use AND I am also going to, below, give you a mixture for egg and dairy free cake using this cake mix that is primarily rice flour. Now, everyone knows that coffee and cake go well together, but mix coffee in while making your cake batter….amazing. It seriously enhances the chocolate flavor. It’s so yummy and I’ve realized as I continue to learn about gluten free baking, that gluten free baking is not only moister (is that even a word?), but it also retains the flavor much better than regular baking.

Now you’ll ask why I have told you how things are going in my life lately, huh? HUH? I’m sure ya’ll are curious. Well, I’m in this weird job/apartment/work/internship limbo right now where I am looking for ALL of those things, at once. So my brain isn’t quite ready to spill the beans yet. Let’s just say I went apartment hunting today, interviewed for an amazing internship and am going on a job interview tomorrow. So that could be a bunch of things knocked out, right away, in one weekend. Memorial Day weekend, SHA-morial day weekend. Who has time for fun!? I gotta get my life together ha! Fun will happen next week….or so I’ve been told (wink).

Here’s to the really fun part now, the baking. Have you had goat cheese frosting before!? Holy cannoli it’s delicious. It is like a lovely cloud of goat cheese wrapped in the tangy sweetness of cream cheese fell into your mouth. So yummy. Yummy yummy yummy. I know that before I said I would live in a tent in Garden Patch Farms cornfields, but wow, I would live in this if I could. Just right on top of a cupcake. Now, that’s heaven.



  • 1 bag Pamela’s Chocolate Cake Mix
  • 2 eggs, large
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut or olive oil (coconut oil will give it a tinge of coconut taste)
  • 1 1/2 cups cold coffee
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 ounces goat chèvre
  • 4-6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips melted
  • 1/2 cup butter at room temperature

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins (this makes about 16-20 cupcakes depending on the size of your cupcake tins). In a large bowl mix your Pamela’s mix, the 1 1/2 cups cold coffee (cold brewed coffee would be amazing for this, or even buying a venti iced regular coffee at Starbucks, drinking some of it and saving 1 1/2 cups), your eggs, coconut or olive oil and blend very well until no lumps are present. Pour your cupcake tins to about 3/4 full. Place in oven and bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean (oven temps will vary).

Let your cupcakes cool and while they cool, cream together your goat cheese, cream cheese and butter. Next add your white chocolate chips and either a scrapped and split vanilla bean so you are adding all the seeds, or vanilla bean paste. Mix well and then add your powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until the frosting is nice and thick and is not runny whatsoever. You want to keep adding powdered sugar, even if you need more than 6 cups, so that your frosting is nice and thick and lays nicely when you grab it with a spatula.

Take your frosting and put it in a pastry bag, or the cheap and easy way is put it in a large gallon Ziplock bag and then push it all into a corner, cut the corner and BOOM! you have a pastry bag! Pipe your frosting onto your cooled cupcakes. Then refrigerate the cupcakes until the frosting sets. When ready to serve, let them sit out to about room temperature, they taste better this way. But always make sure leftover are stored in a covered container in the fridge. DEVOUR!

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