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Holiday Maple Kale Pecan Salad

Holiday Maple Kale Pecan Salad

Kale me crazy, but I just love Kale. All kinds of it. curly kale, baby kale. I like kale that is chopped, torn or whole. I put it in everything from smoothies to soups. Kale is great source of fiber and chock full of vitamins, minerals like folate and magnesium. Although I love kale, I also love other greens that are less bitter like spinach and arugula! I created this salad when I was staying with my sister in law and brother after they gave birth to their beautiful baby girl. October is when the leaves start changing and crisp cool air comes through and I love these flavors together. To me they scream comfort….well…as much as a salad can scream comfort. You know what I mean.

Maple Kale Pecan Salad

Yield: 5

Maple Kale Pecan Salad


  • Dressing:
  • 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 2 tsp Real Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • Pepper to Taste
  • Salad:
  • 6 C of Lacinato or "Tuscan" Kale De-Stemmed & Torn Into Pieces
  • 1 Thinly Sliced Fuji Apple
  • 1/2 Thinly Sliced Fennel Bulb
  • 1/2 C Pecans
  • 1 tsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 tsp Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • Optional:
  • 1/2 C Cooked Quinoa
  • Lean Protein: Apple Chicken Sausage, Salmon, Shrimp or Grilled Chicken
  • Organic Cheddar


  1. Dressing:
  2. Combine vinegar, mustard, maple syrup salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in olive oil until dressing is combined. Set aside. Feel free to double, triple or quadruple this recipe. It will stay good in the refrigerator up to a week.
  3. Salad: Melt oil in a pan over medium heat. When warm add the pecans and coat with oil. Turn heat to medium low. Let warm through. After nuts are warm turn heat up a bit and add maple syrup and honey. Mix and set aside.
  4. Wash, de-stem and tear the kale into bite size pieces. Pour a light drizzle of dressing over the kale and massage for two minutes to break down the kale fibers. This "massage" will make the kale easier to digest. Top with fennel, apple and pecans and optional drizzle or organic cheddar shavings.
  5. To turn this salad from a side dish to dinner add 1/2 C of cooked quinoa and top with lean protein of your choice.

Kale is a winter staple in my household because it is a hearty and filling green that can go in just about anything. If you find the large leaves are too tough simply chop them up as fine as you like. This salad will be ready in no time, but will wow your dinner guests! Your hubbies will love it too.

Gluten Free Vegetable Stuffing

Gluten Free Cauliflower Stuffing

***This recipe was created by Baptist Health South Florida. As always all opinions are my own.

Gluten Free cauliflower stuffing you say? Yes I do say and it is delicious! Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday you guys. Family and friends getting together for a great meal and to make memories that will last a lifetime. I had a conversation a few weeks ago with a girlfriend about Thanksgiving.  Her thanksgiving meals were a time to create fall recipes that were chock full of nutritious color, texture and the beautiful flavors of fall. For me, a traditional Thanksgiving meal is not complete without turkey, gravy, stuffing, stuffed mushrooms and of course green bean casserole. I am also famous on both sides of the family for my leftover “Thanksgiving Sammy”. Basically all the food you eat at 2 P.M. dumped on a sandwich at 8 P.M. that you dip in gravy and immediately crawl into bed.

As I get older I still love all of the flavors of a traditional holiday meal, but I also love to incorporate new and lighter dishes that everyone in the family will love like a torn kale salad with roasted pecans, cranberries and organic cheddar shavings with tangy apple cider vinegar dressing. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! You may have even seen a couple of months ago when I attended the plant based chefs training with chefs from Baptist Health South Florida. We made chickpea water whipped cream that rivaled even the most sumptuous fresh cream around and it was such an eye opening experience.

Gluten Free Vegetable Stuffing

Healthy plant-based food does not have to sacrifice flavor at all! It can be both healthy and delicious. So as you are preparing your thanksgiving meals I  want to encourage you to add a few more non-starchy veggies to your table. Use spices like sage and rosemary and reinvent your Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving feast.

Give this Gluten Free Cauliflower Stuffing a try or roast off some yummy brussels sprouts or re-think your green bean casserole. With a little creativity and a whole lot of fun you can create lightened up versions of your favorite meal or serve them on the side. I do love my “sammy” and I only eat it once a year and this year will be no different! So you do you boo! This post is not to discourage you from eating your favorite foods, but to encourage you to have some fun with food in a nutritious way this holiday season. Enjoy every bite.

If you want to try this Cauliflower stuffing then watch the full video below or get the full recipe here.

Taco Tuesday With Rubio’s Coastal Grill

***This post has been sponsored Rubio’s Coastal Grill. Your one stop shop next Taco Tuesday.

Rubio's Coastal Grill

It’s almost Taco Tuesday, kind of my favorite day of the week after Fri-YAY! Give me a tortilla, some protein and fresh avocado and I am one happy girl. When I moved to Florida, fish tacos became a staple in my diet. They are usually on the healthier side yet still satisfying enough to keep you sublimely full and happy. I have my go-to Miami taco spots and often make my own taco bowls, burritos and casseroles in the TWF kitchen. When I go to Pilates in North Miami Beach I often find myself at Rubio’s Coastal Grill. I absolutely love their healthy, protein packed 550 calorie and under menu.

Langoustine Lobster

Rubio’s seafood is sourced from responsibly managed fisheries that maintain healthy fish populations and eco-systems. Their responsible food mission is completely in line with mine. Rubio’s believes that when food is prepared with delicious, quality ingredients, great experiences happen! Fresh produce arrives weekly, they make their salsas fresh in-house daily and all of their food is free of artificial flavors, sweeteners, added MSG, high fructose corn syrup, added food coloring and partially hydrogenated oils.

Rubio's Coastal Grill

Rubio’s original fish taco is Wild Alaskan Pollock sourced from the icy ocean waters of Alaska. 100% of genuine Wild Alaska Pollock is certified as a responsibly managed in accordance with the FAO-Based Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) Certification. Even though they use the highest quality ingredients, you average lunch or dinner will only run about $10.00.

Lobster Taco

I love all kinds of tacos and toppings, but after trying Rubio’s Langostino Lobster with warm basil butter tacos I wanted to enjoy the whole meal again. The lobster is sweet and melts in your mouth and hey! I put butter in my coffee so lobster is a no brainer! I kind of wanted to cry/eat twelve more because they are only available in store for a limited time.

Rubio’s Coastal Grill is satisfying all year round and since I have been trying to incorporate more fish in my diet it is a win-win! With locations all over Florida and one in Colorado, Rubio’s is the perfect restaurant a quick and healthy on-the-go lunch or dinner! Make sure to click here for your free taco coupon today! I am #oFISHallyobsessed.

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Healthy Butternut Squash Mac and

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Ah mac and cheese…the ultimate comfort food. Why is it that so many of the foods we love and crave are not the foods that are healthy for us. My goal was and has always been to create recipes that are healthy, delicious and leave you feeling satisfied. Last week I purchased a butternut squash and was determined to use it in two completely different ways. I ended up creating a yummy squash-ginger soup (coming soon) and this broccoli cheddar macaroni and cheese.

Healthy Broccoli and Cheddar Butternut Squash Pasta

I loaded this dish with tons of veggies, lean protein, whole grain pasta and of course a bit of full-fat delicious cheese. The squash helped create the beautiful golden color that mimics cheese sauce,  but with only a cup of added real cheese this dish is perfect for everyone in the family! You can indulge without any of the guilt. Serve alone or with a side salad for an added punch of nutrients. I used whole wheat penne in this dish, but would have rather used elbow macaroni; however, I had to make do with what the store had in stock. THANKS IRMA.

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

I would suggest roasting off a couple of squash on a random afternoon just to make cook time with this dish shorter. You can cut the squash in half, remove the seeds, coat in olive oil and drizzle with nutmeg, dried ginger, salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for 1 hour or until fork tender. Scoop out flesh and set aside for smoothies, pancakes, this macaroni and cheese or the butternut squash soup!



1.5 Cups roasted butternut squash

¾ C Shredded Cheddar Cheese + and Extra Tbsp. for Drizzle

¼ C Goat Cheese + and Extra Tbsp. for drizzle

2-3 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Stock

1 Cup Cashew Milk

½ C reserved Pasta Water

Optional: ¼ C Vital Proteins Bone Broth


Feel free to use all fresh frozen veggies for convenience!

1 Tbsp. Ghee or Grass Fed Butter

1 tsp. Olive Oil

2 Shallots

2 Garlic Cloves

3 Carrots Sliced

1 1/2 Chopped Broccoli Florets

½ C Sliced Mushrooms

1 tsp. Nutmeg

½ tsp. Dried Thyme

¾-1 Lb of pasta

2 Thin Sliced Chopped Chicken Breasts

Salt and Pepper to Taste

2 Chopped Green Onions


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Use pre-made chicken like the one used in my flexible meal-planning guide or cook two thin chicken breasts in a little olive oil before adding butter to the same pan and cooking the vegetables below.

Healthy Mac and Cheese

In a pan heat butter and oil. Add carrots and begin to cook down about 3-5 minutes. Add shallot and cook down an additional 2-3 minutes. Add broccoli and mushrooms and cook until fork tender yet still firm. Add garlic, a dash of salt and pepper and set aside in a small bowl.

Healthy Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Add butternut squash to the same pan and cook over medium heat until the squash starts to get warm and thin out. Add in 1 cup of chicken stock and cashew milk and whisk continually until smooth. Add nutmeg, thyme, black pepper and a dash of salt. Whisk in cheese and the additional cup of chicken stock. Bring to a boil and let simmer about 5 minutes.

Cook pasta according to package and reserve some of the cooking liquid.

Add the reserve pasta liquid to the squash cheese sauce and mix in optional Vital Proteins Bone Broth. Once smooth, add in chicken, vegetables and add pasta gradually ensuring that you have enough sauce for your pasta. You can always add a little extra cashew milk as needed.

Add pasta mixture to a greased dish and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp cheddar cheese, 1 Tbsp goat cheese and black pepper and bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Once cooked top with fresh green onion and serve immediately.

Make this recipe vegan by using vegan cream cheese, shredded cheddar and vegetable broth!



Grilled Buffalo Chicken

Can you believe it is the weekend again?! Wahoo! I am so excited. If you are anything like me then you are still trying to detox from the long holiday, but are looking forward to another couple of days off. Lately, I have been trying to find ways to re-create some of Cory’s favorites, but still keep them light enough for me. On the 4th of July we skipped the burgers and dogs and went for grilled buffalo chicken with hummus and a vegetable tray. We were full and satisfied and did not get the dreaded food hangover! Give it a try this weekend and have a fantastic couple of days off.


4-5 Thin sliced chicken breasts

1/2 Cup of your favorite buffalo wing sauce

4 Celery stalkings chopped or sliced thin

1/4 Chopped red onion

1 Tbsp. blue cheese crumbles for each breast

Olive oil


Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Grill about 3 minutes on each side a few inches away from direct flame. Warm up buffalo sauce. When chicken is done, coat in buffalo sauce and top with celery, onion and blue cheese crumbles. Serve immediately!


One Bag of Lentils: Three Recipes

Lentils have been a pantry staple in the TWF kitchen for a while now. Not only are they super low in cost ($1.99-$2.79), but the tiny bean is totally versatile and packed with tons of health benefits!  Today, it is my hope to encourage you to begin to add them to your diet one soup, wrap or snack at a time! You can make them in a crockpot or on the stove for an easy weeknight or weekend meal that is not only comforting, but also awesome in that no-muss/no-fuss kind of way!

Health Benefits of Lentils Include:

High in Fiber: The insoluble fiber acts as a sweeper in your digestive tract and helps to eliminate waste. So although you may feel gas and bloating when you begin to add these little gems to your diet, adding water can speed up the elimination process and leave your tummy feeling flat and happy.

Lower Cholesterol: Lentils have high levels of soluble fiber which in turn help to keep cholesterol levels low and decreases your risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke by keeping your arteries free and clear.

Weight Loss: Lentils are great for waistline management! They contain important nutrients like protein, fiber, vitamins  and minerals with very little fat! A whole cup runs you about 230 calories and will keep you full and energized for extended periods of time.

Helps Manage Body pH Levels: Lentils are one of the most alkaline inducing foods you can consume. Processed foods turn the gut into an acidic place which can lead to an overgrowth of bad bacteria. A healthy pH level leads to healthier more balance digestive system and healthy  levels of good bacteria.

Here are a few ways to use a whole pot of lentils throughout the week!

Soup: Start the week by making my recipe for lentil soup . Add a handful of greens to your hot bowl and a sprinkle of parmesan and red pepper on top.

Wrap: Use a whole wheat or gluten free wrap and strain and warm 3/4 C of lentils. Add lentils to wrap and top with greens, red onion, 1/3 avocado or 1 oz. feta cheese and tomato. Serve with a small side salad or cucumber chips.

Spread: Add 2 Cups of lentil soup  to a blender with 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar or more to taste. (I have also used sherry vinegar and YUM! Blend and spread on toast with whole grain mustard or serve as a dip with crackers, carrots and radish chips.

I really love easy meals that have staying power! You can find lentils in the same aisle as the rice and grains! If you have a lentil recipe you love. Make sure to let me know below.

Chicken Soup Soba Noodle Pie

Soba Noodles

Guys! This recipe was a total happy accident. I really did not feel like going to the grocery story so I decided to play ‘Chopped’, Taylor Walker Fit style. Cory and I have been traveling a ton so I have not had much time to cook. I know the blog has been a bit light on the recipe side, but hopefully this one will make up for it!

Soba Noodles

I have used buckwheat soba noodles in this Veggie Stir Fry recipe. As I have stated before, buckwheat or soba noodles are fat, cholesterol and gluten-free. They are a great source of manganese, lean protein, thiamine and carbohydrates. Studies have also shown that soba noodles are a better source of carb for diabetics because it has been concluded that glucose is released into the blood stream at a slower pace after consumption than its wheat counterparts. You will find soba or buckwheat noodles in the international food aisle. They come in pre-portioned bundles and cook in under three minutes!

Soba Noodles

So Let’s Eat Shall We?

Make Homemade Chicken Soup! Here is my favorite recipe.

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Super Bowl Shrimp and Hash From Baptist Health South Florida

Super Bowl

Potato Skins, Wings and Beer! Are those top on your list for Super Bowl weekend? Honestly, in our household, buffalo chicken dip reigns supreme on game day. It is not something I make often because Cory and I can  literally consume the whole bowl in one sitting. Add in an extra long toasted french baguette, and we are ready to hit a calorie fueled, indulgent coma, and usually pass out before the game ends. I always say everything in moderation is OK, but for something like Buffalo Dip….I just can’t control myself.

This year, I want to try a couple of dishes like cauliflower ‘buffalo wings’ and maybe this award-winning shrimp recipe from Executive Chef Edgardo Llopiz Rivera. It has such flavor and flair that it won the coveted Grand Slam honor at the Taste of Miami 2016 competition. “Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring. It’s a matter of being creative and putting passion into the dish,” said Chef Llopiz, who worked with a culinary team from West Kendall Baptist Hospital to compete against chefs from some of South Florida’s top restaurants.

Chef also says: “Exploring ways to improve your health can be exciting,” said Chef Llopiz, now executive chef for Miami Cancer Institute. “Especially when it comes to food.”…Now that is a philosophy I can stand behind!

If you would like to lighten up your game-day menu…then head on over to Baptist Health South Florida for the full recipe and make sure to follow along on my healthy options Pinterest Board for inspiration. All you need are the ingredients listed here (many of which you probably already have in your pantry):


32 ounces fresh diced butternut squash (approx. 3 cups)

1 cup diced red bell pepper

1/2 cup diced carrot

6-8 medium fresh shallots, peeled and diced

1 Fuji apple, peeled and diced

2 cloves white garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons wine rice vinegar

2 tablespoons amber light honey

½ tablespoon chili paste

2 ounces nitrite-free applewood bacon

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Grow2Heal Community Garden at Homestead Hospital-Baptist Health South Florida

Grow2Heal Community Garden

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. No truer words have ever been spoken by Hyppocrates. When I started my blog, I was just beginning to learn the effects of food on the body. As stated above, food can be medicine, food can be memories, and unfortunately food can also be detrimental to your health. If I tell you that every morsel I put into my body was organic, whole and nutrient rich, that would be a lie. The chicken pot pie in my belly right now would tell you otherwise; however, what I have created in my household is strong sense of responsibility for what we consume, where we shop and how we prepare it. It takes effort and energy, but knowledge is power, and learning how to create dishes with seasonal ingredients and getting your children in the kitchen will spark an important dialogue missing from most American households.

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Crispy Baby Artichokes

Baby Roasted Artichokes

Hi Lovelies! I am in Vegas on my last day with Zappos for the week, and guess what?! It is my three year anniversary! Cory surprised me, and showed up at my hotel door on Monday night, and to say I was shocked would be the understatement of the year! Cory and I have been together for almost eight years, and he always finds a way to make me feel special. Some days I just want to shout it from the rooftops; however, not every day was a pleasure cruise…..I did mention we have been together almost eight years right?! Anyway, we both love artichokes, but I have never cooked them before, and I decided to make them before I left last week for New York. They were a lot easier than I thought, and these would be a great addition to any dinner party or add them to your weekend snacketizer menu!

Baby Roasted Artichokes


1 Package Baby Artichokes

Olive Oil

2 Lemons

4 Tbs  Mayonaise

2 Tbs Dijon Mustard

Salt and Pepper


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peal artichokes of the hard outer layers. Cut off tops and bottoms. half and place in an ice water bath with the juice of a lemon. A little oxidation is ugly, but normal. Dry artichokes with paper towels, toss in olive oil, salt and pepper. Lay face down on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce: Combine mayonaise, dijon mustard, juice and zest of one lemon. Salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve. Logo