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!


cookies cookies and coconut

9 May

photo 1You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path; and that will make all the difference.

Wow. Those words are so true. That quote is from the late, great, amazingly great, Steve Jobs. What a motivator. Not only did he make the RADDEST computers, phones, what have you, on the planet, with the most efficient processing features that last forever, but he was smart. He basically came form nothing, and then was even kicked out of his own company for a little while, but overcame all of it, to achieve greatness. There are so many amazing things he has said, you should check some of his other quotes out.

This quote was sent to me at the perfect time. I’ve been really struggling with not being in control of my future. In searching for internship placement, a new apartment, figuring out how I will still work and intern and just determining how to get through my last year of graduate school, I’ve been so focused on that, and my future, that I haven’t taken not only time for myself, but time to enjoy the things I love to do again. I’ve been so overwhelmed by making others happy, that I have forgotten about myself. So it’s nice to know that not all the dots are connecting now, but they will. It’s all about faith. Faith and Grace, as my Auntie Jeannie would put it….and a little chocolate and wine…. I mean those two never hurt!

So. In terms of chocolate, I have TWO cookie recipes for you, but the first one, chocolate whoopie pies, aren’t done yet. I still need to frost them. It’s been SUCH a long time since I have posted a sweet recipe! It’s amazing how much I don’t bake anymore. Not only is is extremely challenging to bake gluten free, but there are so many flops! I have flopped so many recipes, what a waste! I have cut sugar out, a lot, so it’s rare I want something sweet! Which is HUGE since my family calls me “the Cupcake Queen.” Haha! I went to a gluten free bakery the other day and ordered a lemon tart. AMAZING. BUT, I ate like two bites and was done! One small step for Natalie, a huge step for my waistline!



  • 1/2 cup butter, melted or coconut oil (I uses coconut oil, melted)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coconut flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix coconut oil or butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla (I used vanilla bean paste, the link to an AMAZING homemade vanillaphoto 2 company is below), eggs, and salt together. Then add your coconut flour and mix really well. You can do all of this with a hand mixer if you’d like. Next take a wooden spoon and add all of your chocolate chips. I used the mini ones from the bulk department at Whole Foods.

Next take your dough and roll it into about golf ball sized dough balls. These cookies do not spread, so as you put them on your cookies sheet, line it with a silpat or parchment paper, they can be fairly close. Then smash them down with your hand. Place them in the oven and after about 5 minutes, take your spatula and smash them down a bit further. This is a very dense dough. Let them cook until you can see that the edges are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cool and enjoy!


protein protein protein and a life lesson

2 May

photoTrust. It’s something we all battle with. Trusting, caring for and loving people. I know I have issues with it, not the caring for and loving part, but the trusting part. People come in and our of our lives for a reason. They either teach us something, take a piece of our heart with them, give us a life lesson, or leave us with a life lesson. At 30, I’ve had people come in and out of my life constantly, but learning to trust the next person is what is most important. OR even learning to re-trust the person that comes in and out.

I have a couple people that like to pop in and out of my life every couple months. I still am not 100% sure why, I assume its because I am awesome, but I never truly know. Hopefully they can figure out in what aspect they would like me in their lives. I know what I want, it’s their turn to figure out what they want.

But this is what life is all about, right? Trusting, loving, caring and growing. I don’t think it’s about our career paths, 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. 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, I have to keep wadding through the mucky water to find that person.

But that goes without saying about friendships as well. I am VERY lucky for the friendships in my life, even if I only have 2-3 really close friends. We all sometimes take our friendships for granted. I’ve learned that a great deal lately as well. That sometimes, we need to step back and appreciate each other. Friends are important to me. I consider my friends my family since my family is all over the United States. We all are so constantly going after our dreams and what we want, we forget about the people that make that happen. The people that support us. I mean if I lived in my own personal dream, I’d own my farm to table children’s cooking school right now. BUT, that hasn’t happened yet. So I need to keep growing and dreaming and make sure the people that are growing with me are acknowledged, always. I am one of those people that wears my heart on my sleeve, so maybe you should too every once in awhile. So if you have time, and I know this isn’t my normal humorous post, take a second and tell someone how much you care about them, you’ll thank me later.

Completely unrelated, or maybe more related, I’m learning to love myself again. My body doesn’t like it though, that’s for sure. I’m definitely working out more, but we can’t change what our bodies want to do, or have control over it, but if we can take the reigns and eat healthy and workout, well, that’s half the battle, our body does the rest, and if you know me, as a Virgo, not having control over something drives me nuts. But, I’m learning to finally live with my curves, and the fact I have a booty….I mean this is the only body I’ll ever have. I’m working to make it the best it can be, but like most women, I need to accept it as it is as well. I’ll always be a short, petite, curvy, muscly girl, just the way life is. Genetics, damn those genetics. Haha!

Here’s where this recipe comes in.

In trying to eat healthy, I am trying to be more cognizant about the protein I put in my body. If any of you know me, you know that I am a veggie lover. Fruits and vegetables have always been my thing. And carbs…damn those carbs, but since I barely eat gluten anymore, if any, the carbs have pretty much ceased to exist. I found out I should, at 5 feet tall, 133 lbs, be getting 92 grams of protein a day! Well there’s no way I get that! So this breakfast is an easy, yummy, and good way to get it, and curb your sweet tooth a little bit! Enjoy! This is so super easy!



  • 1-2 scoops of your favorite protein. I use JAI performance plant power repair formula, it’s free of corn, yeast, wheat, soy, gluten, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. ARIA protein powder isn’t bad either and you can find that anywhere
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 3 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon organic, local honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 mashed banana
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
  • greek yogurt
  • nut butter of your choice
  • berries of your choice

Heat your skillet, I like to use a small skillet that is “pancake” sized, on medium/low heat. this pancake is fragile, so it could burn quickly on the bottom without the top cooking. Mash your banana REALLY good and mix it with your whisked eggs, honey, cinnamon and vanilla. In a bowl, scoop your protein powder, 1 large scoop or 2 small scoops, add your almond milk, and egg/banana/spice mixture. Now, if your mixture if too thick, add more almond milk until you get it to a thick, but still a little sloppy, pancake batter thickness.

Pour your “pancake” in your skillet. It will most likely fill the entire skillet, that’s why I use a small skillet. Once you see it bubble and the edges look cooked, flip it. NOTE: If it doesn’t flip and falls apart, that’s ok! That’s happened to me before, just starts mashing it all up in the pan like you make scrambled eggs, you’ll then have almost a banana bread-like tasting oatmeal that you can eat the same way!

Once it’s cooked, flip it on your plate, and top it with greek yogurt and berries! Yum! You can  eat this SO many ways. You could add raw cocoa powder and a little more honey to make a chocolately pancake for dessert, you could top it with PB&J, almond butter and more bananas….the options are endless and you are getting a ridiculous amount of protein! EAT UP, lovelies!

pasta pasta pasta. or anti-pasta if you choose.

25 Apr

photo 1I can’t BELIEVE today is the end of my second year of graduate school! Thank the universe! This is…..A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE! (inside joke, I’m a weirdo, you’d get it if you knew me). Haha. This has been by far the most grueling semester in graduate school and tonight’s last class and the knowledge that I handed in all of my papers, massive papers, and projects and am officially done is really satisfying. Now onto the important stuff, internship, and more importantly, how the H-E-double hockey sticks am I going to afford to live during internship year! Aye yey yey. One more year left, one more year.

Speaking of one more year, I don’t know if you live in Chicago, or the midwest, but can you believe this weather!? Um it’s almost May for crying out loud! We need some warmth! I feel likephoto 3 not many of my recipes have been anything but warm, hot, comforting food lately because it’s so cold. That also is because I have been in graduate school hell, so something warm and comfy always helps. Funnily enough, the recipe I am sharing with you today I am actually eating the leftovers for breakfast this morning! I am a firm believer that you can eat veggies and meat at any time of the day and it doesn’t have to be in the form of a frittata or breakfast hash to be breakfast food. If you want some kale, acorn squash and sausage for breakfast, go for it! Hmm….that may be a new recipe to try and make, kale and sausage stuffed acorn squash….that sounds delicious!

Also, at the end of this recipe, I want to talk about gluten free pasta types and share some articles I found that are useful. I don’t really eat much pasta, but when I do, like the brussels sprouts and bacon pasta recipe from a week or so ago, I like to make sure it is minimally processed, gluten free pasta. BUT, most gluten free pastas are AWFUL. God awful. They get gummy and mushy in about 2 seconds flat while boiling, and just taste disgusting. So I am listing my two favorites, and also a couple resources on gluten free pasta. Now onto the good stuff, the yummy food!



  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1 lb ground italian sausage, if incased, re move casings
  • 5 slices of super thick cut smoked bacon
  • 1 onion, diced
  • one container of sliced portabella mushrooms
  • one container of fresh spinach (or about 3 handfuls)
  • 1 jar of organic tomato sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil, chiffonade and chopped (about 1/3-1/2 cup this equals out to)
  • salt to taste

photo 2Heat an oven to 350 degrees. Cut your spaghetti squash in half and place fresh side down on an oiled cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the flesh is fork tender. Then you can either fork out all of the squash “meat” or you can fork it around so it’s easy to access and leave it in the shell so it can be eaten right out of the shell.

While the squash is cooking, heat a large skillet and add your ground sausage and diced bacon. cook thoroughly until the sausage is brown and the bacon is to your liking. The bacon I buy is pretty thick and meaty, so I cook it down until it is crisp, but also fleshy. Next, add your diced onion and mushroom and cook down until soft. Add your tomato sauce, black pepper, cayenne photo 4pepper and oregano and cook down all together. Then, chiffonade your basil and dice up your fresh spinach and add that. I chop my spinach up so it doesn’t cook into those long stringy spinachy things. Cook the basil and spinach until still bright green, but tender. Taste and add more salt, oregano, pepper or cayenne if needed. That’s it! SO easy!!!! Dish over your squash or into your squash “bowl” and eat up! The squash acts like the noodles. This is such a flavorful dish that noodles aren’t even really needed! You could eat this even plain or over some fresh kale. That’s how I ate my leftovers this morning, I heated up my half of squash, heated up my chunky rustic bolognese and then added some fresh kale to it. YUM!

NOW onto pasta. Gluten free pasta is a real pain sometimes. It’s taken me many messed up mac and cheese and spaghetti recipes to find the right ones that actually work. I try and make spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles, but sometimes I eat pasta, and my friends ate this bolognese over pasta, so I want to make sure they are getting healthy food in them as well! Spaghetti squash is super easy and zucchini noodles are made via the link below. These pastas are minimally processed and more importantly, I’ve found that they do NOT turn into a mushy mess like other gluten free and brown rice pastas do.

photo 1Trader Joe’s brown rice penne, is THE only brown rice pasta I have found that doesn’t crumble into a mushy mess when you cook it. This is great because it can be used for mac and cheese recipes or baked vegetable ziti, or whatever have you. Pasta salads with fresh veggies, I mean any place where you would use normal pasta as a shape. Trader Joe’s corn spaghetti is also not bad. I have found that corn pasta tastes exactly like regular pasta and it also does not cook up into a mushy mess. Trader Joe’s and Archer Farms Organics at Target are the easiest ones to get. I’ve tried brands from Whole Foods and most of them are mush.

DO NOT BUY TINKYADA pasta. That stuff is crap. Pure crap. It goes from not cooked to complete gummy mushy nastiness in literally 3 seconds. So if you need and want to eat pasta, get these brands! BUT my ALL TIME FAVORITE gluten free pasta is the Quinoa brand blended pasta. It is in an aqua box and there are a large variety of shapes. It is a quinoa blend and they sell it at Whole Foods, Mariano’s, I’m sure other grocery stores as well. It is absolutely the best tasting and best made pasta.

I’ve heard Cappellos gluten free pasta is good and even a couple people in the paleo world havephoto 2 tried it and liked it. It’s crazy expensive, though, and I’ve found in Chicago that nowhere sells it so I’d have to order it online. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ve heard it’s fantastic. Below are links to some gluten free pasta options, a guide to cooking gluten free pasta and the Cappellos website. Eat well, healthy and enjoy! We all indulge sometimes, so make sure it’s at least gluten free and healthy! Eat up, buttercup!

shaved brussels sprout and bacon gluten free pasta

21 Apr

photo 1Isn’t it crazy how time escapes you!? This insanely grueling semester is FINALLY over. (Well…’s over next week, but I am 97% done with my massive paper due, just have to edit it and turn it in, so I mean I consider myself done haha!) This semester has taken over so much of my time that I haven’t exactly been amazing with the blog. I have so many recipes sitting in the wings and this is one of them! This is amazingly easy and would actually probably even been good if made with spaghetti squash or zucchini noddles. If anyone has a good idea or tool they use to make zucchini noodles, send it my way because I’ve been looking for one for a while!

I am so pumped this semester is over. I can’t WAIT to intern and be done with grad school. There are lots of little infants and toddlers who need my help! (Entire superwoman Developmental Therapist with a hot pink cape and aqua knee high boots). I mean that’s the plan, right?! Do what you love and I am finally almost there to be finally doing what I love. The universe is amazing.

So anyways…the good stuff, the food. Here is a really yummy recipe that I know you’ll love and it’s super easy! I made it for lunch one day and ate it for a couple more meals. You know me…. with with and graduate school, I seriously need to make sure I have food that is versatile for many meals! Also, have you ever heard of shaved brussels sprouts!? I got a bag of them at Trader Joe’s. You can use them for salads and for this recipe! So awesome and then you don’t have to chop and shred them yourself!



  • 1 pound brussels sprouts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
  • 6 slices bacon, cubed (or use pancetta if you’d like)
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 pound spaghetti GLUTEN FREE (the quinoa corn blend is amazing)
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • salt and pepper
  • parmesan cheese, fresh grated

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Season generously with salt. Grab your bag of brussels sprouts, if you want to use regular ones and shred them yourself, trim the ends off of the brussels sprouts and remove the toughest outer leaves. Shred them in a food processor, using the slicing attachment (not the normal chopping blade). You can also slice them as thin as possible with a knife.

Heat a large skillet pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil or coconut oil. Add the bacon and cook until fairly crispy and cooked 2 Clear some space in the middle of the pan and add the shallots and garlic. (If you don’t have enough room in your pan to create space, you can remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon and add it back in when you add the sprouts.) Cook until the shallots are soft. While the shallots are cooking, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente.

Add the brussels sprouts and the chicken broth to the large skillet, season with salt and pepper, and toss all of the ingredients together. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the brussels sprouts are tender but not too soft, about 5 minutes.

When the pasta is finished cooking, drain and add it to the skillet. You can add a splash of the pasta water (or more broth) if the mixture seems dry. Add the pine nuts, toss everything together, salt and pepper to taste, and serve. NOTE: You can certainly add some freshly grated parmesan on top. We also think a couple of tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (added with the brussels sprouts) would be nice.

healthy smoothie and leftover ham stewy soup

18 Apr

photo 1I can’t believe this semester is almost over. if you have ever been in graduate school, you will know how grueling it is. The term “poor graduate school student” really is true. Even if you are working full-time and going to graduate school, like I am, you still spend every dime you have to make sure that you can pave your way. With being in Hell, oops, I mean class, 3 nights a week, and trying to fit in homework and working out (which dangit, isn’t happening as much as I would like lately) in, and working full-time, I try and make meals that I can eat for a few days, or even for a full week. I prep all the berries I want to eat for the week, and any veggies, and make meals that I can eat throughout the week on Sundays when I can. This may not be the funniest post I’ve written, but it has been QUITE the semester. I just turned in two papers and am waiting on edits for my last paper. Then I can break lose and have fun again. SO….as I was saying, in order to make sure I have healthy, or relatively healthy food for the week, I make meals that are easy to eat for the week. That was the inspiration for this stewy soup! I also had saved the ham bone from Easter (this recipe was made closer to Easter than I am posting it now) and wanted to make sure to utilize all of that delicious meat and flavor from it! This soup is super yummy, I hope you like it and it makes a ton!


  • 2 handfuls of fresh spinach
  • 8 strawberries, tops removed, use more if you’d like
  • 2 cutie tangerines or 1 large orange
  • 1.5 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh, local honey
  • you can add frozen blueberries or another frozen fruit if you like

This is SUPER easy. Add it all to the blender and blend away! You can add more coconut oil, or even coconut water if you need more liquid. This is aphoto 2 super fast, easy and yummy snack. The benefits of coconut oil are numerous. You can use it not only to eat, but as a conditioner for your hair, you can take a spoonful by mouth a day to aid digestion and skin and hair growth and strength, you can use it as facial lotion, body lotion, really you can use coconut oil for anything! LOVE it!


  • mirepoix (this is onion, celery and carrot diced up small. you can cut your own or trader joe’s and other stores have containers of it now!)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • your ham bone with all that yummy ham left on it
  • 2-3 quarts of chicken stock or vegetable stock (I had my own frozen that I had made, but any organic would do well)
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans
  • 1 can of cannellini beans
  • 1 can of black beans or another can or cannellini beans
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (if you don’t like thyme, omit this, but you can’t really taste it in the soup, it just adds something special)
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

photo 3This may be the EASIEST soupy stewy yummy dish to make. It smells and tastes AMAZING. In a large pot, add your coconut oil and melt on medium to high heat. Next, add your mirepoix mixture and cook until the veggies are soft. Add 1 tablespoon of black pepper. Next, add your ham bone, then add your stock. The stock should cover the ham bone completely. Use your discretion. you may need two quarts, you may need 3, I needed 2 and a half to do this. Next, rinse and drain all of your beans and add them to the soup. Add all of your spices and bring to a boil. NOTE: do NOT add your salt and pepper to taste yet, the ham is salty, so you very well may not need more salt. Cook this down for 3-4 hours. You’ll notice it is done because all of the ham will be off the bones, and you will have to take the bones out. The beans will also make this soup rich and thick. It’s really delicious. Lastly, add your spinach. Now if you are like me and was putting this in the fridge right away for a later meal, add the fresh spinach and just stir it in, let the soup cool and put it in the fridge. No need to cook the spinach because it’ll get wilty and yucky. The fresh spinach will cook nicely when you reheat it. If you ARE serving this right away, then cook the spinach in the soup until it is bright green and a little wilty, but not mushy and gross. Serve up your soup and bowls and enjoy!

lots of spring veggies and a big ol’ ham

14 Apr

photo 2Easter Sunday was one of my favorite holidays this year. I got to spend it with my “family” away from my family. My best friend, her parents, and others all came over for dinner, after church, and I cooked a giant spread. It has been really nice having a family away from my family. I’ve always considered my friends my family and I am super grateful for them, the far and near ones. Holidays that I get to spend with them are even more special. This is the first Easter that really felt like Easter in a long time and it was so awesome. Nothing better than cooking a bunch of yummy veggies and big fat old ham to fill everyone’s tummies and to just sit and laugh and share stories. I couldn’t have asked for a better Easter.

NOW, onto the GOOD stuff. The food. I made a honey and orange glazed ham, roastedphoto 1 asparagus with coconut oil and lemon zest, glazed carrots, cheesy potatoes (which I WON’T post on here because they are NOT totally healthy and people will kill me haha ;) if you want the recipe, just ask), and fresh green beans with bacon and balsamic. Don’t ask me HOW everything came out on time, but it did. BOO YAH! (and yes, I just said BOO YAH…..screw all that BOOM! stuff!) All of these recipes are REALLY easy. You can make these separately as side dishes as the season goes on and produce becomes fresher and more abundant!


  • one large ham, spiral cut, organic if possible, depends on your pricing because they can get expensive
  • 2 large oranges
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup orange juice, or squeeze your own
  • zest from one orange
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Turn your oven onto 275 degrees, or follow the packaging instructions for your ham. Most spiral hams are fully cooked already, or partially cooked sophoto 2 you are basically reheating it and cooking it some more. In a small bowl, mix all of the ingredients for your glaze, and slice one of your oranges into thin slices, then zest the other and juice it into the glaze mixture. Place the slices of orange in-between the ham slices every few cuts, then pour some of the glaze onto the meat. Place in the oven in a roasting pan and cook for an hour and a half, or per your instructions. Every half hour, reglaze the ham until it is nice and bright pink, cooked through, and ready to eat!


  • 2 bunches of fresh asparagus, green, white or purple (I used green)
  • one lemon
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil melted

photo 4Heat your oven to 350 degrees, (this can be done after the ham is cooked since the hame is still hot and the asparagus will cook fast. Or if making this as a side dish for another meal, and this is good with EVERY meal, then rock on and just go for it! Rinse and trim your asparagus. The easiest way to do this is to bend one piece of asparagus and see where it snaps. Then place them all on a cutting board and cut them all across that line so the ends are removed on all of them. I find no need to snap each one separately, they all tend to snap in about the same spot, easy peasy. Put them on a cookie sheet and drizzle the coconut oil over them. sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper and toss around to coat evenly. Roast in the oven for about ten minutes and then watch them. I like mine where they are bright green, the tips are a little roasted and they are nice and snappy still. After they come out of the oven, juice the lemon on top and then zest the lemon on top. SUBLIME.


  • 2 lbs of baby carrots, or regular carrots washed and cut
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 stick of grassfed butter
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Heat a pot full of salted water and toss your carrots in. Boil until they are al dente. Drain them. Next take the same pot and add your coconut oil andphoto 1 butter, melt it down, then add the brown sugar and pepper. This will make a nice glaze sauce. Toss your carrots in and cook them a couple minutes longer in the glaze to coat them. Growing up, we always made these with just butter, but I decided to twist it and use coconut oil as the main base, they were delicious and coconut oil is SO good for you. There are so many amazing benefits of coconut oil so adding it into your cooking is a really great idea and adds lots of flavor.

NOTE: There are a lot of articles going on about baby carrots and how they are washed in chlorine before they are packaged. Sometimes, when trying to save money and time, baby carrots are the way to go, but most of the time, I try to use real carrots. Give real carrots a try. You know what I mean….those long orange ones you have to cut and peel yourself….go for it. AND you don’t even need to peel them. Keep that peel on them. It’s good for you! Just scrub them down well!


  • 1 lb fresh french cut green beans
  • 1 lb bacon, you know what I use, that dang good stuff from Whole Foods, but use what you like
  • splash of balsamic
  • black pepper

photo 3Heat up a large skillet. Cut your bacon into cubes and toss in the skillet. Cook the bacon until nice and cooked through and crisp, leaving all of that amazing bacon fat behind. Toss in your green beans and give it all a nice stir. Tongs are amazing for this as you can grab and toss things together. Add the pepper, to your eye ball, about a pinch, but do not ADD salt because you will be adding the vinegar, and the bacon is salty. This will be way too much salt if you add extra salt to this recipe. Cook the beans until BRIGHT green and still crisp. Serve.

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