Moroccan Lamb & Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

I’m so excited to be continuing my partnership with Superior Farms in 2017. For my first assignment, I was asked to create a cold-weather comfort food dish using ground lamb. Appropriately enough, the day I developed the recipe, Seattle received a healthy doze of fresh snow.


For me, comfort food usually involves potatoes, but looking around my kitchen, I only found sweet potatoes. And that’s where the idea for Moroccan Lamb & Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie originated. To bring everything together, I added harissa, the North African condiment made from roasted red peppers, chile peppers, garlic, coriander, olive oil, and other spices. Harissa packs a lot of flavor and is so handy to keep in your refrigerator.


Moroccan Lamb & Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie


4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into thirds
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
4-6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 pound ground lamb
4 tablespoons harissa, divided
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup pitted and sliced green olives
green onions or cilantro for garnish


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Place potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Add a pinch of salt, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer potatoes until tender, 15-20 minutes.

3. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, bell pepper, garlic, and lamb. Stir and cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Continue to crumble up the lamb as it cooks. Drain excess fat.

4. Add 3 tablespoons of harissa and cook for a minute. Add chickpeas and tomatoes, stir, and simmer for another 5 minutes, or until most of the juices are absorbed. Stir in olives and season with salt.

5. Drain potatoes and mash with the remaining tablespoon of harissa and season with salt.

6. Spread potatoes over the lamb, drizzle with olive oil and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. For extra color, broil for a few minutes and garnish with green onions or cilantro.


I’m typing the recipe after snapping photos and helping myself to a serving of the pie (ok, 2 servings, but who’s counting?). You guys! It’s seriously good. Definitely comforting. Definitely flavorful. So colorful! Please make it and let me know your thoughts!


Coconut Carrot Soup with Za’Atar Hazelnuts

Soup is a staple in my kitchen throughout the year. During the fall and winter months, I gravitate toward creamy, hearty, bright bowls. I hope you’re going to love this carrot soup with coconut milk. As delicious as the soup is, the topping is equally as good. If you’ve never tried za’atar spice blend, you’re in a for a treat.

This is a recipe I developed during the second round of Whole30, so you know it’s gluten-free, dairy-free, and has no sugar or dairy. You won’t miss any of those though – it’s seriously delicious.  I shared bowls of soup with my Whole30 tribe during our dinner potluck.

Coconut Carrot Soup.jpg

Coconut Carrot Soup with Za’atar Hazelnuts



  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 pounds of carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 can of coconut cream
  • salt to taste
Za’atar Hazelnuts:
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup raw hazelnuts
  • 1 tablespoon za’atar
  • pinch of salt


1. Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 5-7 minutes.

2. Add carrots and cook for another 5 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the pot, and continue to cook until carrots are completely soft, about 15 minutes.

3. Puree the soup, in batches if necessary, until completely smooth. Return the soup to the pot, stir in coconut milk and cook over low heat until heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt.

4. Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add nuts and za’atar and cook until the nuts are toasted, 5-7 minutes.

5. Serve soup topped with nuts.


Cold Brew Coffee with Cashew Milk

I drink cold brew all year long. But when I started Whole30, I gave it up for almost a week, because I didn’t think I could drink coffee without half&half and I didn’t like the taste of it with almond or coconut milk. This recipe for cashew milk was a game changer! Cold brew came back into my life, and later when the weather changed, I enjoyed cashew milk with hot coffee as well.


Cold Brew Coffee with Cashew Milk


  • 1 cup finely ground coffee

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews

  • Drop of lemon juice

  • Pinch of kosher salt

  • 1 ½ -2 cups filtered water


  1. Add coffee grounds to a standard coffee press. Fill with filtered water to the top and stir. Cover the press (do not press) and leave out at room temperature for 12-24 hours.

  2. Add cashews to a large glass jar, along with a drop of lemon. Cover with plenty of filtered water and soak for 2-4 hours.

  3. Drain cashews and rinse. Add cashews and a pinch of salt to a high-speed blender. Pour in 1 ½ cups of filtered water and blend until completely smooth. Thin out with extra filtered water, as needed and store in the refrigerator.

  4. Press the coffee and pour over ice. Add a splash of cashew milk and enjoy!


Happy New Year – May 2017 Be Sweet


Happy New Year to you and yours. A week or so later, but I am wishing you a sweet, successful, healthy year. I started the year with this honey and walnut cake with sour cream frosting and bubbles. The cake was made by my mom, and is one of my favorite cakes.

What are you goals for the year, both in and outside of the kitchen?

Do share.

Roasted Salmon Salad with Potatoes and Dill


Salmon Salad with Potatoes and Dill



1 tablespoon garlic aioli (or compliant mayonnaise)

1/2 tablespoon pickle or lemon juice

1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped

1/2 cup slowly roasted salmon, flaked
1/2 cup diced English cucumber
4 baby potatoes, boiled, cooled, and quartered
1 tomato, diced
3 green olives, sliced


1. Whisk together dressing ingredients.

2. Gently mix the dressing with the salad ingredients. Serve right away or refrigerate until ready.

Blasted Broccoli & Cauliflower Recipe

Blasted Broccoli & Cauliflower Recipe 3

A few days ago I had a large plate of blasted broccoli at one of Seattle’s restaurants. I couldn’t stop myself from eating the charred, salty, and slightly spicy florets. And so, I decided to recreate the dish adding my own twist of sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. Plus, I mixed in a bunch of cauliflower florets. Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did.

Blasted Broccoli & Cauliflower


1 pound broccoli florets
1 pound cauliflower florets
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (I like the combination of white and black)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Blasted Broccoli & Cauliflower Recipe 4


1. Place a baking sheet on the middle oven rack and preheat the oven to 450F.

2. Mix broccoli, cauliflower, extra virgin olive oil, and salt in a large bowl. Spread on the preheated baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes.

3. Whisk sesame oil, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, and pepper flakes in the bowl. Add in roasted broccoli and cauliflower and stir to coat.

4. Transfer back to the baking sheet and roast for additional 5-8 minutes.

Blasted Broccoli & Cauliflower Recipe

These are best when they are still hot, right out of the oven. If you do have leftovers, chop them up into salads or add into your morning omelets. And truth be told, I have snacked on some of them straight out of the fridge.



Watermelon Agua Fresca with Mint and Lime

Here is a refreshing, sugar-free beverage to help you celebrate the last few days of summer. Made with watermelon, mint, and lime juice, this delightful pink drink is perfect on its own, but can be jazzed up with a shot of rum and sparkling water.


Watermelon Agua Fresca with Mint and Lime


1/2 watermelon, peeled and cut into chunks
2-4 cups water
1/2 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon mint leaves


1. Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.

2. Strain through a mesh strainer or cheesecloth and refrigerate until ready to drink.

3. Serve garnished with lime and mint.

Optional: serve over ice with a shot of rum or vodka and finished with sparkling water.

Chicken Salad with Grapes & Apples


Sweet, savory, and fruity, this chicken salad has a little bit of everything. Try the salad over mixed greens, serve it with cucumber slices, or try it stuffed into a tomato or avocado. This makes a big batch, perfect to have on hand for leftovers and packed lunches.

Chicken Salad with Grapes & Apples


2 roasted chicken breasts, diced
1 cup green grapes, sliced
1 red apple, diced
2 stalks of celery, minced
1/4 cup chopped basil
1/4-1/3 cup Homemade Garlic Aioli
salt to taste
Garnish: chopped toasted walnuts


1. Combine all ingredients and season with salt to taste.

2. Garnish with chopped walnuts.


Happy Eating!

Homemade Garlic Aioli Recipe

Homemade Garlic Aioli Recipe

This recipe is a happy accident. I started out wanting to make mayonnaise, just to find out I only had extra virgin olive oil on hand. And as some of you might have discovered for yourself, mayonnaise made out of extra virgin olive oil does not taste right.

The truth is, the oil adds too much flavor. Not wanting to waste a batch of homemade mayonnaise, I added a pinch of ground cayenne pepper, an extra squeeze of lemon juice, and garlic. Voila! A happy accident turned into this versatile spread and dip.

Homemade Garlic Aioli


1 egg, at room temperature
1 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cloves of garlic, grated (tip: use a Microplane)
1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
pinch of ground cayenne pepper


1. Add all ingredients to a cup of the immersion stick blender. Place the head of the blender at the bottom of the cup. Turn the stick blender on, and move it slowly up, while blending the ingredients. Once incorporated, taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking.

Homemade Garlic Aioli Recipe 3

Now for the best part – trying to figure out what to do with this batch of aioli. Use it any place you’d add mayonnaise – sandwiches, salads, dips for vegetables of fries. Go wild!

Homemade Garlic Aioli Recipe 2



How to Make Gazpacho with Poached Shrimp

The summer in Seattle has been especially hot lately, and this spicy tomato gazpacho with poached shrimp is exactly what you want to be eating. Cool, refreshing, requiring hardly any cooking, this vibrant meal will also take care of your abundance of garden tomatoes and herbs.


Spicy Tomato Gazpacho with Poached Shrimp


3 cups tomato juice
4 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 Hatch pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/4 small onion
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup cilantro
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt to taste


2 bay leaves
raw, peel-on shrimp

Garnish with: avocado, basil, olive oil


1. Add all of the gazpacho ingredients to a blender or food processor and puree until desired consistency. Adjust with salt, as needed.

2. For the shrimp, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add bay leaves and reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the shrimp and set the timer for 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp immediately and peel. Serve right away on top of gazpacho with avocado, basil, and a drizzle of olive oil.


Happy eating, friends!

How to Make Sweet Potato Toast with Pesto & Avocado

Just in time for my second round of whole30, sweet potato toast is sweeping the nation. Truth be told, I’ve been enjoying this culinary delight way ahead of its time in the headlines, but its sudden 5 minutes of fame (or will it be 15?) reminded me that I haven’t made it in some time. And so here it is, my version of the sweet potato toast.


Let’s be honest. If you expect it to taste like toast, you’d be greatly disappointed. Because really, it doesn’t taste like toast. What it does taste is a perfectly balanced vegetarian breakfast or lunch entree that’s a bit sweet, savory, and stunningly beautiful.

Sweet Potato Toast with Pesto & Avocado


2 teaspoons olive oil
2 slices of sweet potato, 1/3″-thick
1/4 cup Kale & Basil Vegan Pesto
1/2 avocado, sliced
Balsamic Fig Vinegar
Kosher Salt


1. Heat olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add sweet potato slices and cook until tender, about 5 minutes per side.

2. Arrange slices of sweet potatoes over a bed of arugula. Spread pesto over each slice and top with slices of avocado. Drizzle with balsamic fig vinegar and sprinkle with salt.

This is just a beginning! Imagine these topped with a poached egg, or crispy prosciutto. Where would your imagination take you?


Kale and Basil Vegan Pesto Recipe


Kale & Basil Vegan Pesto

I don’t often make my own pesto, but this year, the basil on my patio is out of control, and as I’m continuing my journey on whole30, I decided to add this bright, vibrant condiment into my kitchen collection. Since I had some kale hanging out in the refrigerator, approaching its death, I decided to save it and mix it in with the basil.

This pesto has no cheese in order to be whole30 compliant, so it’s perfect for those who keep to a vegan lifestyle as well. Since I was making the pesto in my Vitamix, I was able to combine all ingredients at once and blend together. If your mixer or blender is less powerful, pulse the basil and kale first with walnuts and garlic, before drizzling in the olive oil and lemon juice. And as always, be sure to taste and adjust to your liking.


Kale & Basil Vegan Pesto

Kale  & Basil Vegan Pesto


2 cups basil leaves
1 cup kale leaves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
1/3 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2-4 cloves of garlic
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


1. Combine all ingredients in the food processor or a blender. Pure until desired consistency. Adjust with extra oil for a thinner pesto.


Kale & Basil Vegan Pesto

I’ve served this kale and basil pesto over sauteed sweet potatoes with the spiralized chicken and apple sausage. I can see it going into eggs, zucchini noodles, and salads during next week.


Quinoa, Chicken, and Kale Salad Recipe

Find out how to make one salad that will be your lunch for the entire week. No more sad desk lunches! This vibrant quinoa salad with rotisserie chicken and abundance of vegetables is going to get your through the work day keeping your stomach happy and satisfied.

I’ve been making salads like this one for the last couple of weeks. I prep the whole batch on a Sunday night and divide it up among 5 containers. Then each morning, I pop one of the containers out of the fridge, chop up some tomatoes and fresh basil from my garden, and head to work, counting down the hours until it’s lunchtime.

Quioa, Chicken, and Vegetables Salad Recipe

Quinoa, Chicken, and Kale Salad


1 cup quinoa
8 ounces Lacinato kale, chopped
2 rotisserie chicken breast halves, diced
2 bell peppers, seeded and diced
4-6 rainbow carrots, peeled and chopped
1 English cucumber, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt

Daily add ins: chopped tomatoes, basil, avocado


1. Add quinoa and 2 cups of water into a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the saucepan and cook until quinoa is tender and all the water is fully absorbed, 15-18 minutes. I’m a fan of using red quinoa, but any variety will work here.

2. Cool quinoa lightly and mix with kale. This wilts and softens kale just the right amount without cooking it or leaving it entirely raw.

3. Add the rest of the ingredients. To be honest, I rarely make formal dressings. Instead, I drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over the salad, add salt, and gently toss it together to incorporate. Be sure to taste. Add more lemon juice (sometimes I use rice vinegar) or salt, as needed.

4. Divide the salad among lunch containers and refrigerate. In the morning, add chopped tomatoes, diced avocado, and basil to the day’s lunch portion and head out to work.

As the salad hangs out in the refrigerator, the texture changes, but the ingredients never become soggy or inedible. Instead, cucumbers turn almost slightly marinated, while the kale softens further, and quinoa plumps up as it absorbs the dressing.

So, you guys! Make this salad and don’t have another sad lunch desk ever!

Paleo and Whole30 Tuna Confetti Recipe

On August 1st (tomorrow!), I’m starting my second round of whole30. My first one was in December, about a year and a half ago. I made it through, but didn’t experience the promised euphoria and the non-scale victories promised by the program and experienced first-hand by many of its participants.

This time around, I’m armed with more time, experience, and most importantly, support of many friends who are joining me on this journey.

To keep things quick, simple, and easy, without too much shock to your system, here’s a whole30 compliant recipe for tuna salad. Enjoy!

Paleo and Whole30 Tuna Confetti Salad Recipe

Tuna Confetti Salad


1 can of white tuna, packed in water, drained
1 tomato, chopped
2 pickles, minced
1/2 bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons sweet onion, minced
1 tablespoon capers, minced
1 tablespoon basil, chopped
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper to taste
Napa cabbage leaves for serving


1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Serve in Napa cabbage leaves, if desires.

If you love your tuna salad on a creamier side, you can use whole30 compliant mayo, or stir in half of a mashed avocado.

Overnight Oatmeal with Chia Seeds, Walnuts, Blueberries, and Candied Ginger

Try this fantastic recipe for overnight oatmeal made with yogurt, chia seeds, and water. You can top it with anything you’d  like, but I love a combination of walnuts, blueberries, and candied ginger.

Overnight Oatmeal with Walnuts and Blueberries

My breakfast routine has never been the same since I’ve discovered overnight oatmeal. For someone like me, who doesn’t like the taste of traditional hot oatmeal, this has been life changing. I usually make 5 individual containers on Sunday, grab one each morning and add my mix ins. Eat up!

Overnight Oatmeal with Chia Seeds, Walnuts, Blueberries, and Candied Ginger


1/3 cup oats
1/3 cups plain nonfat yogurt
1/3-1/2 cup water
1 tsp chia seeds

Mix ins: blueberries, chopped walnuts, chopped candied ginger


Mix together and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, mix in blueberries, walnuts, and candied ginger.


Beet Hummus Recipe

Here’s a recipe for a homemade Beet Hummus spread with Za’atar. If you’re like me, and love beets and hummus, you might’ve seen and tried the combination of the two from your local restaurants and grocery stores. In fact, I’ve seen beet hummus on display at both Costco and Trader Joe’s within the last few weeks.

I came across the Shocking Pink Beet Hummus recipe in  The Picnic: Recipes and Inspiration from Basket to Blanket by Marnie Hanel, which was the latest selection for our Cookbook Club. This was the perfect recipe to use on my continued quest of converting everyone into beet lovers.

Here’s my adaptation of the recipe. Enjoy!

Beet Hummus Recipe (1)

Beet Hummus with Za’atar


2 medium beets
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin

For serving

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon za’atar
pita chips

Beet Hummus Recipe (3)


1. Scrub beets and trim the ends. Place in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until beets are tender, 30-45 minutes. Drain beets and cool completely. Peel the beets, and reserve 1/4th of one of them. Chop the rest of the beets into about 1/2″ pieces.

2. Add chopped beets with the remaining ingredients into a blender and puree until completely smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning with extra salt and lemon juice as needed.

3. Spread the hummus onto a serving plate or bowl and garnish with the reserved 1/4th of the beet (finely diced), olive oil, and za’atar.

Beet Hummus Recipe (4)

And that’s all! You get the most unbelievably gorgeous vibrant color of hummus. The addition of beets bumps up the nutrients and vitamins and cut down on the starchiness of the traditional hummus. Plus it’s fun and tastes awesome!


Taco Tuesday: Steak & Eggs Breakfast Tacos with Guacamole

You might want to sit down for this one, because in this post, I’m combining some of my favorites: Taco Tuesday, Breakfast for Dinner, and Southwestern Food. That’s right, all three in one easy, simple, delectable recipe. Let’s do this!

Steak & Eggs Breakfast Tacos 2.jpg

The inspiration for the recipe came from Sabra’s latest innovation: Guacamole Veggie Fusions. The guacamole comes in 3 flavors: South Western, Mango Lime, and Garden Vegetable. In addition to being ready at your slightest guacamole craving, these creations have 30% less fat than a classic guacamole and are made with 7 different varieties of crisp vegetables.

What’s not to love? In case you’re curious, the South Western Guacamole that I chose for this recipe included Hass Avocado, Onion, Yellow & White Corn, Black Beans, Tomato, Red Bell Pepper, Red Chili Pepper, Salt, Cilantro, and seasonings.

Steak & Egg Breakfast Tacos with Guacamole


Steak & Eggs Breakfast Tacos.jpg

2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons of water
salt to taste
4 corn tortillas, warmed
1/4 cup Sabra South Western Veggie Fusions Guacamole
1/4 cup chopped cooked steak
1/4 cup crumbled Queso Fresco
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
lime juice to taste


1. Heat oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Whisk together eggs, water, and salt. Add to the pan and scramble to your liking.

2. Assemble tacos: evenly divide guacamole among 4 tortillas and top with eggs, steak, cheese, cilantro, and lime juice.

3. Get your napkins ready and devour!

Steak & Eggs Breakfast Tacos 3.jpg

Get your coupon for $1 off at

If you love the recipe, please pin and share with hashtags #VeggieFusionsGuac and #VeggieUpYourGuac

Disclosure: I was provided with the product by Sabra and compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

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Baileys and Coffee Fudge Brownies with Walnuts

Sometimes in life you need chocolate.
Sometimes in life you are short on time and need to take a shortcut.
Sometimes in life you need a shot of Baileys.

For those times in life, you’ve got to make a pan of these Baileys and Coffee Fudge Brownies with Walnuts.

Baileys and Coffee Chocolate Brownies with Walnuts 1.jpg

These brownies are dedicated to my friend Mariah, the funny, nutty, sweet lady that I got to know at The Pantry over the last 6 months or so. Alabama is lucky to have you back, but we’re going to miss you here in Seattle.

These brownies are indulgent, over-the-top, and decadent. To make them, start with a box of Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Brownie mix, sub in olive oil for vegetable oil, replace water with a combination of Baileys and cold brew, add in chopped walnuts and chocolate, and cut down on the baking time. That’s all!

Baileys and Coffee Fudge Brownies with Walnuts


Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix (20 ounce)
1/2 cup Baileys
1/2 cup cold brew coffee
1/2 cup olive oil
1 egg
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, divided
1/4 cup roughly chopped semi-sweet chocolate


1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and grease a 10×10″ glass dish.

2. Whisk together Baileys, coffee,  olive oil, and egg. Stir in brownie mix and 1/2 cup of walnuts. Spread into the prepared dish and bake for 30 minutes.

3. Sprinkle remaining walnuts and chopped chocolate over the brownies and bake for another 5-7 minutes. Cool in the dish completely. Serve in small portions – these guys are super rich!

Baileys and Coffee Chocolate Brownies with Walnuts 2.jpg

And now that the post is written, I’m tempted to make another batch to take more photos and to showcase the gooey, fudge-like texture of these chocolate bites. Any takers?