Twisted Chicken Tortilla Soup

Do you ever have a super long to-do list, but get in a mood where you can’t tackle it until the entire house is cleaned? No? Just me?

I felt like that today, but not only did I get into a cleaning frenzy, I got into a cooking one, too. I’ll be honest, I’ve been pretty lazy this past week with creating meals. There have been quite a few salads, plain eggs, and simple dinners. There’s a pear crisp I’ve been meaning to make for weeks, but I should really do it today, since I think our pear season is just about over. I’m looking forward to the holiday break when I’ll just be home writing and cooking.

On an unrelated note, I love getting things in the mail. LOVE it. In the last 48 hours, I’ve gotten my Birchbox (complete with purple eyeliner and a crackling chipotle chocolate bar), a new rolling pin, a book of poetry, Great Lakes gelatin, a new jacket and plaid shirt, two magazines… and yea, a bunch of bills. But next you should know that at least half of them were gifts. I don’t have a shopping problem. I swear. (:

I didn’t pick up much at the markets last weekend, so I had to invent a meal using all ingredients I had at home. I keep a large quantity of organic chicken broth on hand at all times, so I thought a soup would be great. I also wanted to make something substantial that would keep me full for a while. This has a good mix of healthy fats, carbs, and protein.

Think of this as a mix between chicken tortilla soup, chicken noodle, and some kind of gluten free alternative Thanksgiving dish that uses quinoa and sweet potatoes. Haha. (:

Twisted Chicken Tortilla Soup

Twisted Chicken Tortilla Soup:
You will need:
-6c organic chicken broth
-1c tri-colored quinoa
-1 large onion
-5 small carrots
-3 stalks celery
-2 sweet potatoes, peeled
-1 leek
-roasted chicken
-1 avocado
-coconut oil
-1 red or green pepper
-1.5T smoked paprika
-1t onion powder
-1T garlic powder
-1t dry cilantro (fresh is fine, if you have it)
-1t sea salt
-1/3t white pepper
*Note: for Whole 30, just eliminate the quinoa.

1. Scoop a generous spoonful of coconut oil into a stock pot and heat on low.

2. Chop your carrots, sweet potatoes, onion, pepper, leek, and celery. Add to the pot.

3. Cook for 10 minutes, until potato is getting soft (not mushy!)

4. Add your spices, stir, and cook for 2 more minutes.

5. Add your chicken broth, chicken, and quinoa.

6. Bring to a boil.

7. Turn the heat between low and medium and cover with a lid. Cook until the quinoa is finished (about 30 more minutes).

8. Top with avocado!

Twisted Chicken Tortilla

You can adjust the spices as you see fit, but I love a good smoked paprika in soup. It adds nice depth and flavor to the broth.

I cleaned out the fridge today and wanted to share the lovely colors of my fruit and egg sections. Yes, I have labels to show where things go. Yes, I also have those in my cupboards. (:



Eggs for days. This is what happens when you work next to the chicken/egg farmers at the markets. (: They’re so fresh, though, that they last WAY longer than store-bought eggs.

Anyway, cheers! Enjoy.


Rainbow BLT Salad and Mulled Cider

Hi everyone!

I’m just loving fall this year — the cool morning air, pumpkin patches, bonfires, fiery red leaves, and most importantly, apple cider.

This mulled cider recipe comes from one of the lovely market managers in the Bay Area.

mulled cider

Mulled Cider
You will need:

-1/2 gallon cider (this is from Rainbow Orchard: unpasteurized, cold-pressed, nothing added)
-1 package organic mulling spice (or make your own)
-1 lemon, sliced
-2 small persimmons, sliced

Boil on the stove for 10-20 minutes until the flavors combine.

And if you want something light on the side, try this super easy salad:

rainbow BLT salad

Rainbow BLT Salad
You will need:

-1 package mixed or power greens (mine is from Happy Boy Farms)
-20 cherry tomatoes, halved
-1/2 red onion, diced
-2 carrots, julienne-peeled
-1/2 zucchini, julienne-peeled
-1/2 yellow squash, julienne-peeled
-1/3 radicchio, sliced
-6 slices smoked Gouda, diced
-6 slices Canadian bacon, diced
-dressing of choice (I encourage you to use Tessemae’s… their ingredients are the BEST. It’s really fresh and delicious, too)

Sometimes my goal when I make meals is to try to use every color of the rainbow. Blue is the hardest, unless it’s summer and I can throw in some blueberries. Have you ever noticed that there really aren’t blue vegetables? Except corn, but I don’t count that as a vegetable. (:

red = lycopene and anthocyanins (tomato)
orange = beta-carotene and folate (carrot)
yellow = beta-carotene and folate (tomato, squash)
green = vitamin C, E, K, phytonutrients lutein, and zeaxanthin (mixed greens, zucchini)
purple = anthocyanins, flavonoids, and ellagic acid (radicchio, red onion)

rainbow BLT

Enjoy! Happy fall.


Raw Veggies and Rice Bowl

I’m always looking for quick ways to prep food when I’ll be out of town for a few days. My “go-to” is usually spinach salad for lunch and a big stir fry for dinner. I wanted to try something similar but still new… a little hybrid between the two I usually make. Raw veggies and rice!

raw rice bowl

You Will Need:

-1/2c cooked brown rice (soak it for 12 hours before cooking for extra benefits/easier digestion)
-lettuce or spinach
-1 carrot, julienne peeled
-1/2 zucchini, julienne peeled
-1/4 red onion, chopped
-red cabbage, chopped
-cherry tomatoes, diced
-scoop of hummus or dressing on top

Assemble together in the bowl and you’re all set!

rice bowl prep

rice bowl with hummus

My hummus is garlic and chive, from Hummus Heaven out of San Leandro. They sell at many farmers’ markets around the Bay Area. They also sell pita chips and pita bread. Check them out!

Kale Pom Green Juice + a Pumpkin Patch

Pom Kale Green Juice

I haven’t made green juice in a while, and I usually have every ingredient in the house I could ever need… besides a juicer. It’s kind of a pain to blend and strain through a nut milk bag, but I decided it would be great to get in some extra veggies today after my eventful day yesterday…

Yesterday I was up at 5:15 am, worked a farmers’ market, drove a few hours up to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, hosted our Homecoming tailgate + flag football game against a neighboring art school, then stopped at a pumpkin patch in the city to pick up a few things for a fall date night, then drove a few hours to get home.



Phew! Today I have off, so I’ll get back on track with cooking and food prep.

Note: buy all organic ingredients whenever possible

Kale Pom Green Juice
You will need:

-1 bunch curly kale
-1/2 bunch celery
-1/2 bunch Swiss chard
-1 cucumber, ends removed
-2 lemons, peels removed
-handful spinach
-1 inch knob fresh ginger, peeled
-1 Granny smith apple
-small handful cilantro
-1/3c fresh squeezed pomegranate juice

1. Chop all ingredients into smaller pieces, add to blender, blend

2. Strain through a nut milk bag

*Note: buy pomegranate juice with nothing added… it’s so tart and delicious! Bonus if you can pick it up from a market. It would be great mixed with sparkling water or something to thin it out a bit, too. I bought mine from my friends Bill Ferry Ranch. They grow oranges and pomegranates and also make juice. Check them out on Facebook.

pom juice

green juice 2

It’s not the prettiest juice I’ve ever seen, but it has a nice kick of ginger and cilantro to it! Yum. Lots of vitamin A and C!

Comfort Food: Cauliflower Chowder

So I normally post super healthy recipes, but it was time for a bit of comfort food. This soup still has four different veggies in it to help you get your daily intake, and also the super spice turmeric, which is anti-inflammatory and has tons of benefits.


You will need:

-1 head of cauliflower (mine was orange)
-3 carrots
-3 stalks celery
-1 onion
-3 cloves garlic
-4c chicken broth
-1/2c heavy cream (sub milk or coconut milk if you’d like)
-1/4c almond flour
-7 pieces Canadian bacon
-1/2t turmeric
-1/4t white pepper
-1/2t Himalayan sea salt
-1/4t garlic powder

1. Cook the Canadian bacon briefly, chop, and set aside.

2. Add 3T ghee to a stock pot.

3. Chop onions, carrots, garlic, and celery and add to stock pot. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.

4. Chop cauliflower and add to pot. Cook for 5 more minutes.

5. Add almond flour, stir, and cook for 1 minute.

6. Add chicken broth, heavy cream, and all spices. Bring to boil then simmer for 10 minutes.

7. Use immersion blender to blend the chowder to desired consistency.

8. Add chopped Canadian bacon to top!


Whole 30 Day 30 and Tips for Starting Your Own Whole 30

I’m officially finished! Well, except for the reintroduction phase. I’m not sure if I’m going to follow that fully, because I have done it before and know which foods cause inflammation for me. If you’re doing Whole 30 for the first time, I would DEFINITELY recommend following the reintroduction protocol in the book, It Starts with Food.



Bone broth
Salsa potatoes with avocado

I didn’t feel well this morning (just congestion and sore throat), so I started with bone broth and had the potatoes later. As you can see, I’m still a bit sick of eggs. (:



Spaghetti Pizza Bake

Leftovers. Easy meal when you’re feeling lazy. (:


-Porkchops with Dijon Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

-Rubbed in sea salt, pepper, garlic, dill, smoked paprika
-Seared on the stove on both sides for a few minutes
-Cooked in bone broth

Dijon Brussels Sprouts
You will need:
-15 Brussels sprouts
-2T Annie’s djion mustard
-1/2 red onion
-1 lime
-3 cloves garlic, smashed
-sea salt, pepper, smoked paprika
-olive oil

1. Cook Brussels sprouts, garlic, and diced red onion in olive oil on the stove for 10-15 minutes, until soft.

2. Then, add dijon, lime, and seasonings. Stir!

Food prep: dinner

Feeling/Morale: I feel like I just ran a marathon. I’m envisioning myself crossing the finish line. I did it! Whenever I finish, I just want to plan my next Whole 30 month. It’s a great accomplishment.

This is the third time doing a Whole 30 month, so I thought I’d share some advice with you in case you’ve never done one.

Whole 30 Advice:

1. Stock your kitchen with the proper appliances. It will make your life so much easier and allow you to take shortcuts while cooking. Here are the ones I recommend.

-Julienne Peeler/Spiralizer (to make “noodles” out of zucchini, carrots, sweet potatoes)
-Food processor (to make sauces, dips, pesto, and to chop veggies)
-Cast iron wok
-Cookie sheet
-Casserole dish
-Can opener (for coconut milk)
-Stock pot, regular pot
-Sharp knives

-Crockpot (this was hard to me to decide between Highly Recommend and Must Have. It’s convenient and quick, but I actually barely used mine during this Whole 30. If you work full time and have more time to prep at night, this would be a great idea)
-Blender (for juices, smoothies, almond milk)
-Nut milk bag (for straining juices/almond milk)
-Immersion blender (for homemade mayo, bisques)
-Muffin tins (for individual sized fritattas)

-Pressure cooker/canner (if you want to make meals faster or can items)
-Fruit infusion pitcher (has a chamber to add fruit combos)

2. Have your family/spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend/friend join in.

It’s probably easiest if your entire household could do the Whole 30 together, but I know that’s often not possible or realistic. At the very least, try to convince a friend to endure the journey with you. If not, know that you can do it on your own. It’s 30 days that you’re investing in yourself and your health.

3. Hide non-compliant foods.

If you can box up the cookies and chips, or at least put them on a separate shelf in your closet, it will help you avoid those foods during the month. Personally, I just moved the honey, brown rice, etc. up to the top shelf in my cupboard. My fridge and freezer actually didn’t have any non-compliant items in them, since most of my food comes from farmers’ markets. If you live alone, this will be easier. If it’s not in the house, you won’t eat it!

4. Shop at Costco.

There are some items you’ll realize you’ll want to buy in bulk. For me, it’s raw almonds (to make almond milk!), organic/grassfed meats, chicken stock, spinach. You’ll probably find items, too, that make sense to buy in bulk during your Whole 30 journey.

5. Become a super meal planner.

I recommend making a Pinterest board for each of your four weeks of Whole 30. Spend some time browsing recipes and pinning ones you’d like to make. Check to make sure each board is balanced: do you have at least one breakfast recipe? Enough veggie side dishes? Are you repeating a lot of ingredients? Will it be enough food for the whole week? I tend to add 1-2 extra meals beyond what I think is enough, especially meals that I could make and freeze for the following week if I do have enough food.

When I first started Whole 30, I only pinned 4-5 recipes a week. That was not enough to live off of. Now, I pin 12-14. Some recipes will be JUST the meat, or JUST a veggie side. And keep in mind, some you may be able to eat for leftovers, especially if you’re cooking just for you. Obviously, adjust this according to how many people will be eating Whole 30 with you.

6. Make one shopping list and stick to it.

For cost purposes, I would make a shopping list with JUST the ingredients from that week’s Pinterest recipe list and stick to only that. You may find that you enjoy buying whatever you feel like eating at the store without recipes in mind, and that’s fine. Just once, try planning it out this way and see if that helps you keep on track. I found it actually saved me money, especially if I planned my meals around what I already had in the freezer and fridge. Some weeks, I only have to buy 10 items in order to make ALL my food for the week.

When I make this list, I make section headers: Produce, Protein, Herbs/Spices, Dry/Other. It helps me know which section of the store to tackle. Then, I’ll click on each recipe on Pinterest, add the items to the shopping list, and add a tally after each item if I needed more than one. It makes shopping quick and easy, and I only went to the store ONCE a week.

7. Designate at least one meal prep day.

It worked for me to shop on Saturdays (maybe make a meal or two Saturday night), then meal prep ALL day Sunday. Yes, it is exhausting, but you’ll be happy to have a stocked and prepped fridge for the work week.

8. Speaking of meal prepping, invest in glass Snapware/Pyrex containers (or something similar) and Mason jars. You’ll also want some Ziplocks in various sizes, foil, and plastic wrap.

You can find the glass Snapware sets at Costco for $20 some dollars. I bought two entire sets for two people to complete the Whole 30, PLUS two sets of Pyrex glass food storage containers. That’s a lot, but when I was prepping work meals for two people for the week, it sure came in handy. Also, you’ll want to freeze some leftovers or meals, so they do get used up.

Mason jars in different sizes are perfect for drinking water, homemade smoothies, or freezing bone broth (just be careful to leave lots of space, because they can crack).

Ziplocks are handy (though not as green) to have on hand for a variety of reasons. My favorite reason is for freezing/blanching veggies to use later.

In my freezer now, I have frozen chopped peppers, leeks, onions, tomatoes, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries. I got all these items fresh from the market and looked up how to freeze them online (actually, tomatoes were the only ones I really had to blanch). Then, once they’re chopped, freeze them on a cookie sheet. Once frozen, transfer to a Ziplock and they won’t clump together in the freezer.

9. Stock a big spice cabinet.

You can have most spices on Whole 30. Over the last few times I’ve done the program, I’ve accumulated maybe 30 different spices. Here are some that I use frequently:

-Celtic/Himalayan sea salt
-garlic powder
-onion powder
-smoked paprika
-cayenne pepper
-red pepper flakes

If you don’t have a lot of spices in the house, wait for a sale. Many times, they’ll be on sale buy two get one free. Also, Whole Foods has bulk spices and that’s a cheap option instead of buying the whole container.

10. Read the book It Starts with Food.

This is where Whole 30 began. You’ll learn the rules properly (there are some tricky ones, like no corn, no legumes (peas!) etc.). You’ll also learn WHY the rules are the way they are and what certain foods to do your body. There is a beginning recipe list in the back. I would NOT recommend starting Whole 30 without reading this book in its entirety.

11. Drink a LOT of water.

Your body will be detoxing. Flush out those bad toxins with lots of water, especially in the beginning week, but all throughout.

With the fruit infusion pitcher, you can make flavored water without “cheating.” Some of my favorites were strawberry mint, orange/lemon/lime, watermelon basil. Play around! You can do the same with mason jars, but the pitcher holds the fruit all in the same place so you don’t have to deal with the chunks.

12. Be open to new foods.

I never bought coconut milk, ghee, or coconut oil before Whole 30, but now they’re all staples in my house. I also didn’t really cook spaghetti squash, Brussels sprouts, or beef AT ALL. It’s really changed my relationship with food in a positive way.

13. Be prepared for questions.

It’s inevitable that people at work will question your meals in the breakroom. Be prepared with an answer you’re comfortable with. I actually told co-workers ahead of time, because I was excited to start, and also for extra accountability.

You will probably hear jokes about your “rabbit food,” or questions about, “what CAN you eat?” but maybe your healthy month-long endeavor will inspire those PBJ+Lean Cuisine-touting co-workers to add some good veggies to their repertoire.

14. Make some other health goals during your month.

Maybe you’d like to walk every other day, or do yoga twice a week. For me, it was trying to be consistent about oil pulling, meditating/yoga, and walking.

Make a calendar count down if you’d like. I would record which “extra” I completed that day, just to have a record.

15. Seek online support.

Check out for forums, recipe ideas, rules. Also, the Facebook page is helpful for questions.

There’s a timeline that shows how you might feel during the process.

Just be careful, because not everything on the internet tagged “Whole 30” is actually Whole 30. That’s why you should know the rules for yourself!

16. Have fun!

It will be a time of experimenting, trying new recipes, maybe throwing some away…😦 but just remember to enjoy the process. You’re taking this time to heal your gut and change your relationship with food. Be proud! Try new things.

Maybe take pictures, blog, or journal. That can help keep you accountable, too!

Any other Whole 30 tips?

Whole 30 Day 29

One. More. Day.

After I’m done with Whole 30, I’ll go back to some of the regular art/Stuff We Love posts. Don’t worry. (: Cooking has been consuming most of my time outside of work and classes.


-Hardboiled eggs
-Fruit salad


Spaghetti Pizza Bake
-Green beans

Lunch in a zen garden? Yes.


-Sweet potato with cubed turkey and pesto

Food prep: None

Feeling/Morale: You know, on days where I don’t have food prep, this detox seems really easy. Then I think about going home and having to spend a whole day cooking. It will be nice to have quicker meal options in the house when this is over!