October Recipe – Tandoori Chicken with Mixed Vegetables

Tandoori - Cumin, coriander, paprika, tumreic, garlic, chiles, ginger, charmushka, cardamom and more!

This one-dish meal is fast and easy and offers those fantastic tandoori flavors so famous to India.  This dish serves 2 however will be a great leftover.  If you double the recipe to save some, remove ½ at about 10 minutes into the final cooking period.  This way when you reheat the vegetables will not be overcooked.


7oz         Greek Yogurt

1 tsp      Crème Fraiche

1 ½ T      Tandoori seasoning mix[1]

1 T          Lemon Juice

¾ Lb       Chicken boneless skinless breast, cut into 1 ½“ pieces

1 T          Butter

1-2 T      Olive Oil

2-3 lg     Garlic cloves, minced

1 lg         Sweet Onion, chopped

1 lg         Tomato, chopped into fairly small pieces

1              Red Bell Pepper, chopped in ¾” pieces

1              Carrot, thinly sliced

1              Zucchini, cut lengthwise in quarters and then chopped across into ½” pieces

1              Crooked Neck Squash, cut lengthwise in half and then chopped across into ½” pieces

½ C         Chicken Broth

½ C         Raw Cashew pieces, toasted

Celtic Salt & Pepper to taste


Mix first 4 ingredients in bowl.  Mix in chicken and let marinate for 3-4 hours or overnight in refrigerator.


Heat a medium or large skillet to medium heat.  Add olive oil, butter, garlic, and onion to skillet.  Sauté for a few minutes until onion is starting to become translucent.  Stir in tomatoes and cook for a minute or so.  Then add bell pepper, carrot, zucchini, crooked neck squash and chicken broth.  Bring to boil.  Add chicken with marinade and mix thoroughly.  Allow it to come to boil, cover and reduce heat to med/low.  Simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables and chicken are cooked but not overdone.  S&P to taste.  Serve with toasted cashews on top.

Serves 2


[1] You can make your own or go to Savory Spice Shop  and they can mail it to you.  Note on their website the ingredients, in case you want to do it yourself.

September Recipe – Arugula & Chicken Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

This is a great meal in itself.  Also, the beauty of this salad is that you can make it even easier by using leftover chicken from another meal.  Just in case you don’t have any on hand, this recipe includes a great, easy way to bake chicken.

From my garden!
From my garden!


Arugula, Goat Cheese & Pine Nuts... Yum!
Arugula, Goat Cheese & Pine Nuts... Yum!










1 whole chicken, cut in half lengthwise and backbone removed (I get the butcher at Whole Foods to do this for me.)

2-3 T      Olive oil

Coarse Celtic Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper

For salad:

1 lg         Arugula bunch

1              Watercress bunch

3-4oz     Goat Cheese, plain

1/3 C      Pine Nuts, toasted

10           Fresh Raspberries

For Dressing:

1/3 C      Olive Oil, get a nice mild one

1 med   Shallot, finely minced

3 T          Champagne Vinaigrette

1+ C       Fresh Raspberries

1 tsp      Honey

Preparation of chicken:

Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Sprinkle chicken halves generously with celtic salt and pepper.  Heat large, oven proof skillet on med high.  Add olive oil.  Place chicken halves in skillet, skin side down.  Cook until skin is brown, approximately 5 minutes.  Leaving chicken as is, place entire skillet in oven.  Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until chicken is just about falling off the bone.  Remove from oven and place chicken on cutting board.  Cover with foil and let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

Preparation for salad dressing:

Place olive oil, shallot, vinegar, honey and raspberries in blender.  Blend until smooth.  Depending on size of the raspberries, add more if needed.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Place arugula and watercress in bowl.  Toss with vinaigrette.  Place slices of chicken on top of salad.  Top with crumbled goat cheese and pine nuts.  Arrange extra raspberries over top.

Note:  The salad dressing can keep in the refrigerator for several days so you can make it ahead or keep the extra for another salad.

Serves 2

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Fantastic Topping for Chicken, Veggies or Eggs!

Mushroom & Onion Saute
Mushroom & Onion Saute

Here is another idea for putting on top of those fluffy scrambled eggs.  You could also put this on top of  grilled vegetables or baked chicken to add delicious flavor and more nutrients.


1 TBSP       Butter

½                 Purple Onion, chopped

¼ lb            Mushrooms, chopped (I used trumpets as they have a nice thick texture.)

¼ C             White Wine

1 TBSP       Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

1.5              Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce, chopped fine

2 tsp          Crème Fraiche or Greek Style Yogurt

½ bunch   Cilantro, chopped

2 oz            Feta Cheese, crumbled

½                 Avocado, sliced

Salt & Pepper to taste


Melt butter in medium skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and mushrooms and sauté for 2 minutes.  Add white wine, pesto, chipotle pepper and crème fraiche.  Continue to sauté until the vegetables are cooked, approximately 4 more minutes.  Just before serving stir in the cilantro.  Sprinkle the feta on top of the eggs, chicken or grilled vegetables.  Top with this mixture.  Finish with the avocado slices nicely presented on top.

Serves 2

Cooking for Health, Nourishment, Relaxation and Connection. Why I Love to Cook!

Quote from the New York Times Magazine, August 2, 2009:

“The more time a nation devotes to food preparation at home, the lower its rate of obesity.  In fact, the amount of time spent cooking predicts obesity rates more reliably than female participation in the labor force or income.”

Why I love to cook!

I love the creativity of it all.  I get to think – but not too hard – what I could make that is delicious, pretty easy, will impress my friends and family and be healthy. 

I grew up with 2 working parents and although Mom prided herself in making home cooked (sort of) meals, they weren’t always that tasty and mostly had one spice ingredient – Lawry’s salt.  Now I have to give her credit for her efforts but she wasn’t my inspiration.  I ended up being friends with my sisters’ best friend.  I was 16 and she was 21.  Her name was Louise and she was a great cook.  In looking back, I can still hear my Mom say, ‘when did you learn to eat that?’  The ‘that’ included (now) staples like garlic, onion, spices, herbs, and so forth.  All I could ever tell Mom was ‘Louise taught me!’

From there I got into health food – that tasteless, no salt, old dried out herbs kind of food.  I stopped using salt, stopped cooking in aluminum pans, and stopped storing in plastic in the ‘80’s.  Now most of this thought pattern has continued but I have to say I sure have learned how to make food tasty!  At that time I was quite proud of what I cooked but anyone who ate it suffered!  I didn’t know this until about 6 years ago when I made a meal for my sister.  She wasn’t feeling well and laid down for a nap.  Upon awakening she came into the kitchen to see what smelled so good.  (You see she, my brother and I were together, just the 3 of us, for the first time in 18 years!)  I can still hear her remark about those bad meals she and her family had to eat when I cooked for them all those years ago.  I had no idea!

Well, she opened the oven and exclaimed, ‘oh, a whole chicken!’  I kind of looked at her and said, ‘yea, so?’  To think that she was a stay at home mom turned stay at home grandmother and yet she hadn’t cooked a whole chicken in years.  Instead she had the illusion that cooking whole things like a chicken was time consuming and difficult.  The result was that she mostly cooked things like potatoes from a box, reheated a ham, vegetables from a can or frozen package.  Things like that.  On the other hand, I have been working full time and managing a house for 26 years (at that time).  Obviously we had taken different paths on our lives.

Fast forward to today, 6+ years later and I have grown into a better, more self-confident cook.  But let’s not go there just yet…

The true credit for my initial cooking ability came from my friends Jan and Jeff.  I met them in the late ‘80’s when I was working for them in Hawaii.  We became fast friends and I had the pleasure (both socially and gastronomically) of sharing many meals with them.  They both cooked and did so mostly together.  It was, along with a martini, a social event; a place where they would come together after a long days work to catch up, share their day.  This was an experience completely new to me and I loved it.  It opened my eyes to not only cooking but a wonderful way of engaging.  I was hooked and, although single, wanted it to be a part of my life.  I truly enjoyed the connection and delicious rewards that came with the experience.

I left Hawaii in 1990 to move to Colorado and pursue a new career – one as a massage therapist.  Among the many things I brought with me was that fantastic, mouth watering joy of cooking great food and sharing it with friends.

I have continued to do so and have added a great dimension – a partner – a man that is vastly interested in the senses, including taste, and is appreciative of my cooking.  It has enabled me to be more creative (and less neurotic about precise measurements in recipes) and more risk taking.  I put together dishes based on nothing more than an idea and what I have available.  The results?  Mostly I end up with really yummy dishes.  Do I still read and try recipes?  You bet!  They give me inspiration to be more creative.

Why I’m telling you all this is because of a concern for where our society is heading.  I am reading more and more about junk food, fast food, pre-packaged food all dominating what we put in our mouths.  Pre-packaged food started in the ‘50’s.  It was marketed as the ‘new way’.  The unfortunate thing is along with it has come a tremendous increase in obesity (fact) and a decrease in communication and relaxing with each other while eating, in my opinion.

The obesity stems from foods that are low in nutrition and high in (bad) fats, sugar, and salt.  These are all ingredients that, in big enough quantities, can mask the disgusting taste of the other cheap denatured ingredients.  It is a sin!  What has made us rise above other animals is our ability to prepare and cook foods, our ability to plan, store, and create meals that enable us to spend time being together (and working) rather than grazing or hunting our time away.  It has provided us the luxury of sitting down, eating and connecting with fellow human beings.

Now I realize people will argue that we still do this while inhaling a meal together at McDonalds but is it really the same?  I think not.  Not only are we missing out on the nutrients but the care, love and pride that goes into a homemade meal.  We are feeding our guts but are we really nourishing any part of our selves?  As for the ‘I don’t have time’ concept, I don’t buy it.  I continue to work full time and manage a house yet I also cook about 80%-90% of the meals.  And they are meals that are healthy, focused on local growers, very nutritious, easy to make and delicious.  This is not to say I don’t enjoy going out to eat but it makes it a special occasion and it allows me to afford to go somewhere that is healthy.

My goal is to introduce you… entice you… encourage you… and to offer you meals that will take you down this fun rewarding path.  Oh and there are some side benefits – you will feel physically better, have more energy, possibly lose weight (if you need to), and save money!  Now what can beat that?

Try out the recipes on my website.  Meanwhile I am putting together an eBook titled 30 Meals 30 Days that will offer you a variety of dinners so you won’t have to plan a thing.  There will be a list of ingredients to keep on hand in your kitchen, a weekly shopping list, and short videos to show you just how easy healthy cooking can be! 

Check back regularly for the launch of the eBook or sign up for our mailing list (no I will not give your name to anyone!).  If you choose to sign up, I will let you know when it is available.  Meanwhile, eat healthy and share good food and great conversation with your friends and family!

August Recipe – Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Kebabs with Aleppo Pepper

I normally wouldn’t just share a recipe out of a magazine but I made this the other day and it was so delicious, inexpensive and easy that I just had to pass it on.  This was out of the July 2009 Bon Appetit.  I served it with Julie’s Caprese Salad and a green salad.




1 ½ TBSP      Aleppo Pepper[1]

2 tsp              Hungarian Sweet Paprika[2]

1 C                  Plain Yogurt, Whole-Milk Greek style

3 TBSP           Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 TBSP           Red Wine Vinegar

2 TBSP           Tomato Paste

2 tsp              Celtic Salt, coarse

1 tsp              Black Pepper, fresh ground

6 cloves        Garlic, peeled and flattened

2                      Lemons, unpeeled and thinly sliced in rounds

2 ¼ Lbs          Chicken Thighs, boneless, skinless and cut into 1 ¼ “ pieces


 Mix Aleppo pepper with 1 TBSP warm water in large bowl, letting it sit until it forms a paste (about 5 minutes).  Add yogurt, olive oil, red wine vinegar, tomato paste, 2 tsp coarse salt, 1 tsp black pepper, and 2 tsp Hungarian paprika.  Whisk until blended.  Stir in garlic and lemon slices and then chicken.  Cover and chill overnight.

Prepare BBQ on medium-high heat. 

Thread chicken onto steel skewers.  Discard marinade.  Sprinkle chicken with additional Aleppo pepper, salt and pepper.  Grill for approximately 10 minutes, turning half way through.  Serve on plate with additional lemon slices.

Serves 4-6 depending if you want leftovers


[1] This is a delicious dried pepper.  I found it at Savory Spice Shop.  You can mail order from them.

[2] Also from savory but you might be able to find this one locally.

Delicious Grilled Salmon

Here is a great easy dinner all planned out for you.  The only thing you need to do ahead is the glaze.  It takes no time to put together, just time to reduce on the stove.

Salmon with a Maple Ginger glaze grilled on a cedar plank.  Included in the dinner are grilled zucchini and crooked necked squash, Farmer’s Market tomatoes, and a field green salad with a Balsamic Champagne Vinaigrette.

For the Salmon:

1 ¾ Pound Fresh Salmon

1 bunch of Chives or Green Onions[1]

1 Untreated Cedar Plank (I purchased mine at Whole Foods.)

Soak a cedar plank in water for 12-24 hours. 


1 C              Maple Syrup, Grade B

2-3 TBSP   Ginger, freshly grated (see the best grater)

4 TBSP       Lemon Juice

3 TBSP       Tamari Sauce (I prefer San-J wheat free)

Prepare Glaze:

Place all ingredients in a small sauce pan and simmer until reduced to less than 1 cup.  I find in Colorado altitude this takes about 1 hour.  You can make this a day or two early.  Just reheat to use.  

To cook:

Place the soaked plank on a hot grill and let it blacken on one side, about 15 minutes.  (You will hear it start to crackle.)  Once it is black, turn it over.  Lay onions on plank.  Place salmon on top of that.  Pour ½ of glaze on top of salmon.  Close lid and grill on medium to high until salmon is cooked, approximately 10 minutes.  Note:  You may want to keep a spray bottle of water near by in case the plank starts to burn.

Zucchini & Crooked Neck Squash Grilled:

1-2              Zucchini, depending on size, sliced lengthwise into 3 or 4 pieces depending on thickness

1-2              Crooked Neck Squash, sliced lengthwise into 3 or 4 pieces depending on thickness

2 TBSP       Fresh Oregano, chopped[2]

2 TBSP       Parmesan, grated
S&P to taste

Olive oil to coat


Drizzle olive oil over both sides of squashes.  Turn skin side down on outside pieces.  On one side sprinkle oregano and parmesan over evenly.  S&P to taste.   Place on grill, olive oil only side down.  Grill for approximately 10 minutes or until squash is soft but not over cooked.


The basic salad I did was this one.  The differences is I used the following ingredients but the same dressing.

Field Greens

Yellow Bell Pepper

Toasted Pecan pieces

Applewood Goat Cheese

Dried Cranberries

Serves 4


[1] Chives are a perennial and are really easy to grow.  By having them in my garden, I can save money since I don’t have to buy them and they are a great substitute for green onions.

[2] Oregano is another perennial herb that is so easy to grow.  I planted mine years ago and it just keeps coming back in abundance every year.

July Recipe – Poached Catfish & Vegetables in a Wine Chili Sauce

I am often reminded that one of the reasons many people opt for fast food is the idea that cooking healthy takes way too much time.  One of the tricks is to always have the basics in the house.  Here is a list of what I like to have on hand.

In an effort to stop this myth, I am going to start giving you easy and yet incredibly nutritious recipes and meals that take very little time to prepare.    This recipe is just that – a meal in and of itself.  Enjoy!


3/4 lb     Catfish

1 TBSP   ½ & ½

1 TBSP   Butter

1 med   Purple Onion, chopped

1 med   Yellow Bell Pepper, chopped

2 lg         Roma Tomatoes, chopped

2 TBSP   Sherry

1 TBSP   Grade B Maple Syrup

½ C         White Wine

1 tsp      Green Chili Powder (more if you like)

S&P        To Taste

1 lg         Batch of Spinach, coarsely chopped


In a large skillet over low to med heat melt butter.  Add onion, yellow bell pepper, tomatoes, chili powder, sherry and maple syrup.  Cover and slow cook for about 15 minutes until the vegetables are softening.  Mix in the white wine.  Pour the ½ & ½ over the catfish, coating both sides.  Salt and pepper the fish.  Place the catfish on top of the vegetables and cover.  Cook for approximately 5 minutes.  Turn and cook the second side for another 5 minutes.  (Check for flakiness to know when the fish is done.)

Meanwhile in another (fairly large) skillet, place ¼ c of water.  Turn the pan on medium heat.  Once the water is hot, add the spinach and cover for about 1-2 minutes.  (I heat the water just after I’ve turned over the catfish so I can do the spinach just at the last minute of cooking the fish.)

Divide the spinach between two plates.  Place the mixed vegetables on top of the spinach.  Place a piece of catfish on top of this.  Finish by adding any extra juices over the top.  Serve immediately.

Serves 2

Julie’s Caprese Salad

Julie's Caprese Salad
Julie's Caprese Salad

Given the current economic situation, I believe we all are watching how much we spend on food.  I know my habits have changed dramatically.  Whereas before I would just pick up whatever I wanted, I now look at what is on sale and make more choices from this mindset.

Having said this, I still like to splurge occasionally.  Farmer’s Market in Boulder has a stand where they sell hothouse tomatoes.  They are expensive so I don’t often purchase them but sometimes it is just worth the money.  (I no longer buy tomatoes at the market most of the year because I find them tasteless.) 

I was so ready to celebrate spring that I decided Sunday afternoon was the day to splurge.  Late afternoon the sun finally came out and that meant it was time to relax with one of my favorite dishes and a nice glass of red wine.  Not only was it a treat but it was absolutely so tasty that I just had to share it with you!


3 Vine Ripened Tomatoes, thickly sliced (don’t even bother to make this unless you’ve got good tomatoes!)

1 container of Mozzarella Cheese, the kind stored in water, sliced almost as thick as the tomatoes

1 batch of Basil, sliced in slivers (this was also fresh at Farmer’s Market and cheaper than at Whole Foods)

1 ripe Avocado, sliced

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Good Quality Balsamic Vinegar

Celtic Salt

Fresh Ground Pepper

To Serve:

Place tomatoes on plate.  Drizzle with olive oil and celtic salt.  Sprinkle half of basil over tomatoes.  Top with mozaarella and drizzle with a bit more olive oil and celtic salt.  Place avocado slices on top and sprinkle with pepper.  Put the rest of the basil on top of this.  Drizzle with balsamic vinegar over the entire thing.  Sit down with a friend, relax and get ready for one of the best appetizers I can think of.  Enjoy!

Serves 2-4 depending on how much you want to eat!

June Recipe – Arugula Salad with Honey Dijon Dressing


Ok so I’ve been on a salad kick lately but hey, how can you not have a lot of great salads this time of year?  Besides, arugula is one of the best greens ever!  It is loaded with minerals and is considered a digestive tonic.

Arugula has a nice blend of bitter and peppery taste.  There are not too many foods that truly have that bitter taste.  In classical Chinese medicine, bitter is associated with the element metal, which is associated with spring.   This is a whole science in and of itself.  If you are interested in learning more about this, a great way to start is with the book, ‘Traditional Acupuncture: The Law of the Five Elements’ by Dianne Connelly.

Look for the freshest arugula you can find as the taste is better.  I am fortunate enough to purchase arugula the day it is picked.  Jay Hill Farm is an organic farm located in Boulder, Colorado where you can order your vegetables via email the day before.  They will be picked the morning you stop by the farm to purchase them.  I spoke with Ro, an amazing gardner and daughter running the farm, who said they are loaded with arugula right now.  If you  are anywhere near, I suggest you put in your order and go check out their farm.  It’s the BEST!

Salad Ingredients:

A bunch of fresh arugula, torn into bite sized pieces

Fresh parmesan, shaved or grated

Sliced avocado

Sliced strawberry for presentation


1 clove garlic, minced

1 TBSP Dijon Mustard

1/8 cup Champagne Vinegar

2 TBSP Lemon juice

1 TBSP Honey

Celtic Salt and Pepper to taste

¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Place all dressing ingredients except olive oil in jar.  Close and shake.  Add olive oil and shake again.  This will make more than you need, depending on the number of servings.  It will keep in the refrigerator for several days.

Mix some of the dressing with the arugula.  Place in individual bowls.  Sprinkle parmesan on top.  Top with avocado slices and strawberries.

May Recipe – Mixed Green Salad with Miso Dressing

This salad is especially great as it is loaded with calcium.  It is a great indication of just how easy it is to get an abundance of nutrients in one easy and delicious dish.

Serves 2

Note that the amount of calcium in milligrams is listed after each ingredient

Salad:                                                                                    Caluium

3 cups       Lettuce Mix                                                        45 mg

1 cup         Watercress                                                         41 mg

3 TBSP       Parsley, chopped                                            15 mg

6 tsp          Sesame Seeds, toasted                                178 mg

2 oz            Feta Cheese[1]                                                280 mg

1 cup         Strawberries, sliced                                         24 mg


½ cup        Olive Oil


¼ cup        Grapeseed Oil

¼ cup        Olive Oil


3 TBSP       White Miso[2]                                                     130 mg

3 TBSP       Apple Cider Vinegar

3 cloves    Garlic, minced                                                      15 mg

6-8              Basil leaves, chopped

Total Calcium                                                                          728 mg    Divided by 2 = 364 mg calcium per person!

Blend all dressing ingredients in food processor or blender.

Mix all salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Drizzle salad dressing over to taste, reserving balance of dressing in the refrigerator for future use.  Celtic salt and pepper to taste.

[1] I prefer sheep or goat feta as it is higher in nutrients, lower in fat and easier to digest.

[2] Miso is a fermented soy product.  It comes in a paste and is delicious to add to various dishes.