The weather cools, leaves change to glorious combinations of gold, red, orange, plum.  Air seems fresher and the smell of musty leaves is warm and deep.  Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year.

Autumn sets the tone for the remaining months of the year-spending more time inside, sitting before a fire, sipping a glass of red wine.  And seeking warmth in the food we eat.  I begin to eat ‘comfort’ food. For many that means heavy food.  And that doesn’t need to be the case.  It means full of flavor and depth, spices and unexpected tastes.

When I want comfort food, I often turn to soup. To that end, I give you fall in a bowl.


Beauty Shot:




Pumpkin Curry with Shrimp Soup


1 lb. Shrimp  raw peeled and deveined  ( I like jumbo prawns feels more luxurious)

1 can 15 oz. Pumpkin puree`

2 cups roasted chopped Butternut Squash

2 Shallots sliced very thin and fried crispy

1 C Vidalia Onion chopped

3 T chopped Cilantro

1 T minced Garlic

1 T minced Ginger

2 T Lime zest

juice of half a Lime, plus Lime wedges for serving

1 Plum tomato, chopped, seeds removed

1 C Coconut Milk   (make sure to include some of the cream. I use have cup cream and half cup milk)

2 Cups Chicken Stock

1/4 tsp Cayenne

1 1/2 T Curry Powder

Plain Greek Yogurt for serving

2 C cooked Brown Rice  (use the remainder of the chicken stock from a box to cook the rice.  Add more stock if needed)  Note:  If you are doing keto, leave the rice out of serving

Olive Oil for cooking

Putting it Together:

Peel and remove seeds from butternut squash.  Chop and place on rimmed baking sheet.  Toss lightly with olive oil and place in oven heated to 375.  Roast till browned.  Personally, I like crispy edges.  Do this first- can do the rest while soup is cooking.


In a soup pan, add 3 T olive oil and heat to medium.  Add chopped onion and garlic.  Cook until onions are translucent appx 8 minutes.  Add in ginger.  Heat till fragrant.


Add in chopped plum tomato, and can of pumpkin puree`.  Cook till pumpkin turns golden- for me, takes about 5 minutes of stirring frequently.  Do not let it burn!


Add in chicken stock, curry powder, coconut milk, cayenne pepper.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Stir often.



(coconut milk being added)

While the soup is simmering, fry the shallots.  When crispy, remove to plate lined with paper towels.


At 20 minutes, add in juice of 1/2 a lime,butternut squash, and shrimp.  Simmer again for 20 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.



Scoop a healthy 1/2 cup of brown rice into a large soup bowl.  Ladle in the pumpkin curry over the rice.  Top with a large spoonful of Greek yogurt, then chopped cilantro.  Add lime zest and finish with fried shallots.



You will thank me.










In the late part of summer, the gardens and farms are laden with fruit and veggies.  What an amazing opportunity for eating fresh and healthy.  And when I eat all these wonderful veggies and fruits, I feel great.  And I feel great supporting a local farmer or gardener.   Subscribe to your local farmers delivery service and support your local farmers markets.

This recipe IS the freshness of the season.  Is there anything better than fresh tomatoes with salt?  Still warm from the sun?  NOPE.  NOTHING.


Beauty Shot:


Gazpacho with spicy citrus shrimp



64 oz. Tomatoe juice (try to use organic and only tomatoes as the ingredient)

1 T. Worcestershire Sauce

2 T. Kikkoman Soy Sauce

1 tsp Celery Salt

5 garlic cloves finely chopped

1 heaping T of Better than Bouillon Beef base

2 Avocados chopped + 1/2 of one for serving

3 Ripe Roma tomatoes chopped

3 Persian cucumbers chopped

1 Yellow Bell Pepper chopped

1 Large Jalapeno chopped

1/2 Large red onion chopped

2 Ears sweet corn charred on grill, kernels cut from cob  (if you are doing keto, leave this out)


Small bunch of green onion chopped for serving

Fresh Cilantro for serving

4 Limes

1 Lemon

1 T Red pepper flakes

1/4 C EVOO

1 lb Large shrimp or prawns

Red Tabasco Sauce, to taste

Sour Cream for serving

Salt and Pepper.


Putting It Together:

In a soup pot, put all the tomatoe juice, chopped garlic, soy sauce, beef base, Worcestershire sauce, celery salt.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Heat till just below simmering.  Cool the soup base.  Drizzle with EVOO.

While soup is cooling, chop the vegetables.   When soup has cooled, add the veggies.  Stir and add Tabasco.  I like it spicy so I add 10 hearty shakes to the soup.  Return to refrigerator to allow flavors to blend.

While soup is sitting, prepare the shrimp.

Spicy Citrus Shrimp

2 limes pressed for juice

1 large lemon pressed for juice

1 T red pepper flakes

1/4 C EVOO

1 lb of shrimp (make sure shrimp is clean, patted dry and tails and veins removed)


Grab a large Ziploc bag and add all ingredients.  Let marinate for at least an hour.   Put the shrimp on skewers for grilling.


Start your grill and cook till done.  These can be served warm or cooled.  Personally, I prefer cool.  Especially on a hot summer evening.



Spoon soup into bowl.  Add 4-6 shrimp into bowl as an entree serving.  Top with a dollop of sour cream, handful of chopped green onion, avocado, chopped cilantro and additional Tabasco.  Top with Salt flakes or Red Salt if desired.



Can’t you just taste summer in this bowl?







There are things in life that make you appreciate everything or small things.  Holding a new puppy in your arms, watching an incredible sunset, turning a corner on a hike and having the world open up before your eyes, seeing your children grow up to be kind and wonderful humans.  Each of these makes your heart well up~ And we should have moments like this every day.  Go out there and find your happiness!

I love food that’s filling and you can find joy in preparing and eating them.  So to that end, I give you marinated steak salad with blue cheese.  Get your grill on!

Tasty Beauty Shot:


Wild Strawberries foraged while fly fishing.   Such intense flavors!  Spent an hour hunting these tasty morsels.  Got multiple handfuls.


Marinated Steak Salad with Blue Cheese


2 lbs sirloin steak  (You will have leftovers.  Yum!  Make a french dip the following day for lunch!)


1/2 C EVOO

4 cloves smashed garlic

Juice of half a lemon- large

3 green onions sliced diagonally

Salt and pepper to taste



1/2 container baby arugula

2 soft boiled eggs

grape tomatoes

1/2 cup of crumbled blue cheese

Sliced green onions, 2-3 sliced diagonally

French fried onions  (optional)

Lemon Olive Oil Dressing:

3/4 cup EVOO

1 Heaping T of Grey Poupon

Juice of 1 lemon, medium

Salt and Pepper to taste.

Dash of Celery Salt (I LOVE this condiment.  I personally add a tsp to dressings)


Putting It Together:

Marinate the steak for at least an hour, preferably 2-3 hours.   Then remove from the refrigerator and bring to room temp.  Fire up the grill. When the grill is ready, place the steak on the grill and cook till medium rare.  Please use a meat thermometer as steak thickness will definitely impact cook times and finish.

Remove steak when cooked to desired level.  Cover with tin foil and let rest.  While steak is resting, create your salad.  Chop romaine and place on platter.  Toss lightly with salad dressing.

Add tomatoes and blue cheese.  Slice the steak across the grain and arrange steak slices on salad.   Cut eggs into quarters lengthwise.  Place artistically on salad.  Drizzle with a bit more dressing.  Salt and Pepper to taste.  I love the french fried onions for added crunch.  And I use the Kroger Gluten-free brand.  tasty!









Yes, I am full.  Full of the political wrangling and lack of facts presented daily.  Tired of the pontificating.  Self-indignation on both sides.  Let’s focus on the good things- love, friendship, sunshine, making a difference.  I know that my life changes little on who is in the Presidents office.  I know many won’t agree.  My point is to make a positive change where you live.  Volunteer.  Mentor.  Make someone’s life better for knowing you.

I love salads that fill me up.  Salads that have a lot of goodies- not ones that just have two types of lettuce and a dressing.  Give me bits & bites- a salad should be an adventure.  Every bite a discovery of tastes and combos.

To that end, I give you Loaded Cauliflower Salad.

Beauty Shot:


Loaded Cauliflower Salad




1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into similar size florets  Trim off any dark spots.

1 C Mayo  (or Veganaisse-Personal Fave!)  Use good mayo, or make your own.

3 T Grey Poupon Mustard

1/2 tsp Paprika

1 tsp celery salt

1/2 C Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese

1 large Shallot, small chop (or less depending on taste.  Some shallots can be intense.)

4 Hard Boiled Eggs, chopped + 1 slice for garnish

1/2 C chopped dill pickles.  ( I like to use baby kosher dills for the firmness)

3/4 C shelled  cooked Edamame.

6 slices thick cut bacon, cooked and chopped into bite-size pieces.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Putting It Together:

Put a medium sized sauce pan on stove and turn to medium.  Add water and cauliflower and cook till al dente.  Should take about 10 minutes.  Drain and cool.



While cauliflower is cooking, make the sauce.  Combine mayo, mustard, paprika, celery salt and stir till well mixed.


In large bowl, add cooled cauliflower, edamame, shallot, pickles, chopped egg and bacon.  Stir in sauce.  Salt and pepper to taste.


Serve on platter with additional sliced hard boiled egg and sprinkle with additional paprika.



P.S.  Top with a bit of Falk Salt too.


P.P.S.  Served with Beer marinated Hatch Chile Brats, grilled Ancho Chilies,sauteed mushrooms and onions with Balsamic Glaze.








Sometimes things just hit you upside the head.  Like finally realizing your mother DID know most things.  Or driving with the windows down and the air conditioning off does NOT give you better mileage.  Or, maybe understanding, and appreciating what you have is more important then what you want.

And this time, it was testing a Kung Pao sauce and recognizing I will never buy it again.  And it goes on virtually everything.  Chicken, shrimp, veggies, pork tenderloin.  It will NOT work on popcorn.  Not at all.  Though I am working on a spice mix that will give the same type of flavor profile.

So, I offer you this recipe.   But triple the sauce.  And don’t eat the peppers.  Unless you are a true daredevil.



Kung Pao Sauce with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Almonds.


2 lbs.  Brussels sprouts

2 cloves Garlic  (Hack: use minced garlic in the jar.  Drain well.  Use 2 T.)

3 Green onions, sliced on diagonal.  Use white and bright green parts.

1/4 cup slivered Almonds, toasted

2 tsp Apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp Olive oil

1 tbsp Sesame oil

2 tsp Garlic chili paste

1 T Hoisin sauce

1/2 cup Soy sauce

1 tspBlack pepper, Freshly ground

1 T  Swerve granulated.  (Note: if you are not making this Keto, use brown sugar)

1 T Cornstarch

1 tsp Kosher salt

3 dried Chile de Arbol, lightly crushed

1 tsp sesame seeds for garnish.


Putting it Together:

Turn on oven to 425F.  Clean and thoroughly dry the Brussels Sprouts.  Cut off ends and slice in half horizontally.  Put on rimmed cookie sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Place into oven for 15-25 minutes.  Should be browned and have crispy bits.


While the Brussels sprouts are cooking, make the sauce.

In a medium sauce pan, add the sesame oil.  Add minced garlic to sesame oil and heat till fragrant.  Should be 1-2 minutes.  In a separate cup, whisk the cornstarch and water together.  Be sure to slowly add the water to avoid lumps. Set aside.

Add Soy, vinegar, hoisin, Swerve or brown sugar and chili paste to pan.  Stir well.  Add the lightly crushed, (big pieces-like 2 or three per chili), salt and pepper.  Add the cornstarch slurry to the pan.  Turn heat up to medium and bring to boil.  It will thicken in about 2-3 minutes.


Remove Brussels sprouts from oven.  Put in bowl or platter.  Drizzle with sauce.  Top with almonds, sesame seeds and green onions.


Serve with extra sauce.  Eat and Repeat.




Sometimes it is important to lighten up. And that could be via commitments, partners, “so called friends”, food, jobs, cities. So many things weigh us down and perpetuate drama that we don’t need.. The energy that is drawn away from elements in our lives that actually add positivity and value often gets lost in the mire of every day life and societal commitments. It’s OK to say no. Or begin to cull what is truly important. Focusing on quality of engagements vs quantity is truly what it is about. Take the time to prioritize your life. Go for what makes you happy. And norms be damned.
I love to eat light in the summer. Quality food that gives me energy and pleasure is where I like to be. I recently came across such a recipe. And I could eat it every day. It is truly a labor of love. And pairs well with glazed salmon. Or a grilled chicken with lemon chive marinade. I say it is a labor of love because it takes a while to prep and slice the snap peas. I wouldn’t want to take this to a party unless I sincerely care about the people I am with. Or family.  Or your really want to impress someone.  With love.


And one picture for pure beauty’s sake. Because everyone needs beauty in their life.


Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Buttermilk Dressing (Courtesy of Bon Appetit) With adjustments.
3 T Whole milk Greek Yogurt
3/4 C buttermilk
8 oz. sugar snap peas, ends and string removed
3/4 c buttermilk
2 T lemon juice (use fresh. Makes such a difference)
Zest of a lemon, split into two equal parts.
2 heaping tsp of minced garlic (can use jarred to save time and effort)
1 tsp minced dill
Olive Oil + some for drizzling.
Salt and pepper. Be generous.

Putting it Together
Start with making the buttermilk dressing. In a medium sized bowl, add buttermilk, yogurt,  garlic, and a pinch of kosher salt, whisk together. Add lemon juice and whisk again. Add ½ of zest, dill, salt and pepper and whisk again. Set aside.

After you have cleaned and prepped the snap peas, slice each one horizontally. Should get about four to five slices in each one. This is the labor of love component I was telling you about.

Toss the peas with olive oil and other half of lemon zest. Pour buttermilk dressing onto platter. Place dressed snap peas on top of dressing. Drizzle with olive oil.  Salt and pepper to taste.


Lovely, fresh and I could eat it every night. No really. Every night.





Even though it is raining outside and 45 degrees, it is Spring.  You can almost watch the peonies grow by the minute.  And we definitely need the rain.  Come Monday, the desert will be bursting in flowers- dwarf delphinium, tufted evening primrose, lupine forming buds.

I feel the same about eating in spring.  Colorful food, light and delish, packed with flavor and nutrients.  To that end, I offer Inez Melvin’s Marinated Vegetable Salad.  And it’s flexible and can be Keto-friendly.  In fact, that is how I make it.  Leave out the sugar and use Stevia.  No calories, and same contribution to the marinade.  And if you prefer other veggies, as long as they are hearty and can stand up to the marinating process, go for it.  I love snap peas in this.  And sometimes I had chopped salted peanuts just before serving.  Great snack, side dish and potential main if you add tofu or grilled chicken.  Have fun with it.  And let me know what you think.

Inez Melvin’s Marinated Vegetable Salad



1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets

1 head of broccoli, cut into florets

1 can of black olives (change this to other varieties to change the profile)

1/2 lb of mushrooms, quartered

1 bunch of green onions, sliced diagonally.  (Use the white parts and bright green parts)

1 container of grape tomatoes


1 C good olive oil  (Use the good EVOO here.  Makes a world of difference)

1/2 C red wine vinegar

1/2 C sugar  (I use Stevia to keep it Keto)

1 tsp Salt  (I use kosher)

1  T paprika

1 tsp celery salt

1 T minced garlic

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Putting it together:


Clean and chop your vegetables.  Drain the olives and add to the veggie mix in a large bowl. In a separate bowl or mason jar, add in the marinade ingredients and blend thoroughly. Pour the marinade over the veggies.  Mix lightly.  Now is the hard part, cover the bowl and put in in the refrigerator for 24 hours.  Mix a couple of times over the next 24 hours.  And yes, of course i cheat.  Every time I stir the salad, I nibble bits of goodness from the bowl.


Enjoy this bright filling salad.  Chock full of goodness.  And relish this time of year full of promise and freshness.






As if the colors in this photo aren’t delish enough???  These are trading beads; beads were traded for goods between trappers, soldiers, Native Americans, pioneers.  Many of the beads pictured here are more than 200 years old.  Sourced from Europe, Africa, China.  A myriad of locales and countries.  What a visual feast for the eyes.  (BTW, if you want to see these and thousands more, come to the Mountain Man Rendezvous in Fort Bridger, WY over Labor Day weekend)

Every once in a while I need a sweet- as I generally prefer salty and crunchy.  So I decided to make some Keto cookies.  No grains, no sugar.  I took these tasty tidbits to my gym, (7KFit- ) People started complaining that some classes got them and others didn’t.  Next time I need to quadruple the recipe and share with EVERYONE.  This is an easy refrigerator cookie; no rolling pin, no cookie cutters, no frosting.  NO heavy lifting.

Keto Pecan Shortbread Cookies


2 cups Almond Flour  ( I use Simple Truth or Bob’s Red Mill)

1 tsp Real Vanilla

1/2 c chopped pecans  (Pistachios work equally well) Note:  i would chop the pecans smaller than a rough chop- if they are a bit smaller, easier to cut dough later.

6 T butter @ room temperature

1/2 cup Confectioners Erythirtol sweetener ( i like Swerve)

Plastic wrap

Put it Together:

In a mixer, add butter, vanilla and Swerve.  Mix together until light and well creamed.  Add in Almond flour in 1/2 cup increments.  Dough will not form a ball.  Remove from mixer and stir in pecans.

Take a large handful of dough and place on a large piece of plastic wrap.  Roll into logs-try to make the ends square so all cookies are consistent in size.  Your dough should now be sticking together well.Tightly wrap plastic wrap around cookie dough.  Place in refrigerator for at least half hour.  Repeat with remaining dough.

Note: if you don’t feel like baking all the cookies, (roughly 16 in two logs), freeze one.  I typically make a double batch then thaw the dough when I want a warm cookie.)

Heat oven to 350 Fahrenheit.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Remove cookie dough from refrigerator.  Unwrap and cut the dough log into slices appx. 1/2 inch thick.  Place on parchment lined baking sheet and put into oven. Will take between 12-14 minutes.  I like mine just turning light brown on the edge.


This is all that’s left of a double batch. And the little ones are a bit crispy.  But still delish.  I hope they become on of the staple treats in your house.

Yield: 16 cookies

Nutrition: 14 g Fat, 4g Protein, 1.6g net carbs  145 calories per cookie.











We are lucky to have so many food options available to us in the United States.  We can shop globally for that unique ingredient at our local grocery store.  We have abundance-we don’t need to trek for miles to find bread. And ten more miles to get butter.  Or milk.  To that end, I ask you to contribute to a local food effort to feed those in need.  My personal favorite is Backpacks for Hungry Kids.  Pick one that speaks to your heart and make a difference.  For me, no child should be hungry.  That is a travesty.  And tragic.

This recipe is about abundance-plenty of veggies, luxuriant cream cheese, artichokes, rich flavors.  And as I write this, we just received 2″ of snow!  And it’s April 17th!  I think alot of the frustration is that we were in the southwest last week- and I am so ready for spring!

Let’s do this!

Spinach and Artichoke Soup


  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, minced (Hack: use the jarred minced garlic in Olive oil)
  • 1 – 9-ounce pkg. Frozen Chopped Spinach, drained and squeezed dry
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 – 14 ounce can Artichoke Hearts, drained and roughly chopped OR use a thawed package of Trader Joe’s Frozen Artichoke Hearts.  Will need to rough chop for soup
  • 1- 1½ cups Heavy Cream  (may want to adjust to personal taste)
  • 1 – 8-ounce pkg. Cream Cheese, room temp and chopped into 6 pieces.
  • 1 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 lb. shrimp
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Hungarian Paprika (optional)
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • 2 T Olive oil
  • 1 T Butter
  • Additional Shaved Parm for garnish


Putting it Together:

Add the 2 T butter to soup pot and melt.  Add the onion and cook till translucent.  Should take about 7-10 minutes on medium heat.  Add the garlic to onion and watch closely.  Don’t want garlic to burn.  Add spinach to pot; break up any chunks with spoon.


Add chopped drained artichokes to soup pot.  Add in broth.  Add in salt and pepper.  Add in garlic and onion powder. Mix in the cream cheese bit by bit- actively stirring each hunk until melted in.  Slowly stir in the heavy cream till thoroughly blended.  Reduce heat to simmer, do not allow to boil.


Note: I like to use chop sticks to break up stuff- like spinach or stirring scrambled eggs into pretty little curds.

While the soup is simmering, heat deep saute pan to medium. Add in the 2 T olive oil and 1 T butter to the pan.  Sprinkle in the crushed red pepper, garlic and paprika.  Heat till fragrant (only about 1 minute).  Add in the cleaned and detailed shrimp.  Cook till pink and cooked through. Reduce heat.


Back to the soup- mix in the cup of Parmesan cheese.  I would mix in in 1/4 cup increments. May want to adjust salt and pepper at this point to taste.

Let simmer about 5 more minutes.   Ladle into shallow bowl.  Place a few or more shrimp in each bowl.  Drizzle with a bit of the oil/butter mix from shrimp over top.  Sprinkle with additional shaved parm.  I also like a bit of fresh crushed pepper and some chopped cilantro, but that is optional.


Let me know what you think,






Sometimes being away from home is a blessing.  And sometimes it’s for unpleasant things as well.  Even when you are far away from home, it gives us the time to reflect, take in new beauty, breathe deep and appreciate the blessings we do have in our lives.

The last time I was away from home, I had the opportunity to eat at a wonderful discovery- Golden Harvest in downtown Lansing.  My sons had been telling me about it so we needed to make the run.  What a find! THIS IS GOOD FOOD!


The food was wonderful, the vibe and staff fun and friendly.  We sat at the bar and laughed with the cooks.  If you are someone who is uptight, driving for a hard deadline for eating lunch/brunch or have zero personality and are demanding- this is not the place for you.  Stay away.  I don’t want someone messing with my zen thank you.


My son had waffles with strawberries and cream.  With a side of bacon and their spicy home fries.   I had the Garden Omelet with avocado and sausage added.  It was served with homemade white bread, ( i did not specify what toast I wanted), and those delicious home fries.  Sorry you didn’t see the whole omelet, but I lost my mind for a moment and dove in.

IMG_5691 (1)

We watched the team make a peanut butter chocolate waffle-if decadence has a name, that is it.  Warm waffle, with chocolate chips. And did I mention the caramelized bananas added? Drizzle of hot peanut butter sauce, plenty of whipped cream and hot chocolate drizzle.  I think Elvis would eat two.  Maybe three.

You have to respect anyone that uses a skull and fork & knife for their logo.  Death by fantastic eating?  Perhaps.  But bring cash.  No CC’s here.  And remember to tip your cooks- the ones that will bring you back again and again.