Monday, June 27, 2016

Orange & Pistachio Endive Boats

"When you love and laugh abundantly you live a beautiful life"
Today’s post is coming to you from 34 000 feet on my way home from a great weekend away visiting amazing friends. 

The weather was absolutely fabulous and we ate almost every meal outside soaking up the gorgeous sun and fresh, early summer air. It always amazes me what sharing a meal really means - it is not only nourishment for your body it is time to laugh, talk, share, try new things and learn more about the people you love.

Today's recipe is perfect for sharing...And perfect for the hot summer weather!  The orange adds a hint of sweetness against the lightly bitter taste of the endive and is a great source of fibre and vitamin C. The pistachios are a good source of protein and iron and the cinnamon and olive oil both provide heart healthy antioxidants. 

This is a great appetizer or shared plate - try it out next time you are sharing a meal and some laughs with friends or family.


2 navel oranges, peeled and cut in small pieces
2 tsp olive oil
2 heads endive, bottom cut off and leaves separated
1/2 cup roasted pistachios
1/2 cup hummus
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Fresh ground sea salt to taste

In a medium mixing bowl, toss the orange pieces and pistachios with olive oil, cinnamon and sea salt. Set aside.

On a platter, arrange the endive leaves and then spread a little hummus on each one.  Top each one with some of the orange pistachio mixture from the first step.  Serve promptly.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Roasted Asparagus with Garlic and Lemon

Eating local produce is so good for you.

Your body is acclimated with its surroundings and climate and when your food is grown in the same climates and surroundings it contains the nutrients and vitamins your body needs for that season. Obviously local produce isn't always available to us all the time so we should take advantage when we can.

Other great reasons to eat local:
  • supports the local economy
  • food is fresher
  • produce ripens naturally
  • less pesticides and toxins
  • better for the environment/air quality
Right now my fav local veggie is asparagus. I like it roasted with a hint of garlic and lemon as per the recipe below. Test it out - I'm sure you are going to love it!


Roasted Asparagus with Garlic and Lemon
1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed*
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced
juice from 1/2 a lemon or 1 Tbsp of lemon juice
Fresh ground sea salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

In a large mixing bowl , toss to coat the asparagus spears with the olive oil. Sprinkle in the garlic, nutritional yeast (optional) and sea salt and pepper. 

Arrange the asparagus on the baking sheet in a single layer and bake until lightly tender - anywhere between 10 and 15 minutes depending on the thickness of the spears. 

Top with lemon juice before serving. 

*To remove the ends of the asparagus, hold each end of the asparagus piece and bend it until it snaps - it will naturally break off in the correct place

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Arugula Lemon Salad

"Summertime is always the best of what might be..."
~Charles Bowden

Happy Summer Solstice.

Today has the most amount of sunshine and the least amount of darkness and is the start to Summer.

It is the perfect time to soak up the sun and honour all the beauty nature gives us in these amazing warm, gorgeous months. The beginning of summer marks days ahead filled with hot, sunny mornings, lazy afternoons, dinner al fresco and endless effortless joy.

Solstice brings with it energy shifts and turning points. And just like the solar system is making a turning point so can you. It is a perfect time to set new goals or habits for yourself and release what isn't serving you. Maybe it is eating healthier, cooking more meals at home, drinking more water, exercising more or spending quality time with those you love. Take a small peek inside and see what you can do better for you in these upcoming summer months.

As the days get warmer, your body naturally wants lighter, cooler food to maintain balance. Today's recipe is a light, arugula salad with wonderful flavours of dill, fennel and paprika. Quick and easy to make - but it looks and tastes like you spent hours on it ;-)


Arugula Lemon Salad

6 cups arugula
1 cup cucumber, thickly sliced
1 cup fennel, finely sliced
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
fresh ground sea salt

Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder and paprika in a bowl and whisk to combine or in a jar with a lid and shake to combine.

On a large, shallow bowl or dish, arrange the arugula and top with cucumber and fennel. Sprinkle with dill. Dress the salad lightly with the dressing you made in the first step and grind some fresh sea salt to taste on top.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

What's in your salad dressing?

Store bought salad dressings are made with cheap, unhealthy oils, contain lots of sugar and are full of preservatives. This is counterproductive when you make yourself a gorgeous fresh salad loaded with healthy vitamins and antioxidants.

Instead of buying salad dressing, you can whip up this delicious vinaigrette in no time and then you know exactly what you are getting - heart healthy olive oil and inflammation fighting apple cider vinegar.

It is quick to make using dried herbs. If you have a little more time you can chop up fresh herbs and garlic making it even more delicious.


Basic Healthy Vinaigrette

1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp garlic powder or 1 garlic clove, minced
fresh ground sea salt

Whisk everything together in a bowl or shake it all up in a mason jar with a lid.
You can store this in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge.

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Monday, June 13, 2016

Fresh Lemon Garlic Zucchini Noodles

"Be grateful, eat more vegetables and love others."
~Louise Hay

Eating more vegetables is one of the keys to good health!

I realize this is not breaking news.

I'm sure you are well aware of the amazing health benefits of eating more veggies...disease prevention, healthy immune system, happy digestive system, this list goes on. The issue is actually eating enough of them every day.

Some easy ways to get more are:

  •  drink a green smoothie in the morning with spinach or kale or whatever greens you like to put in
  • have a salad at lunch, load up your sandwich or wrap with tons of veg, use lettuce as a wrap, have veggie soup, snack on cut carrots, bell peppers and cucumbers with hummus
  • sauté greens with dinner, have a salad with dinner (or as dinner) or make a veggie stir fry or bowl (a great way to use up veg from your fridge) 
  • disguise the veggies as something else - use zucchini for noodles, cauliflower for mashed potatoes or baked sweet potato slices as chips
Today's recipe uses zucchini as noodles or as they are affectionately called, "zoodles". The texture and taste works prefect with whatever you usually like to put on your pasta - tomato sauce, olive oil and herbs, or even a plant based creamy sauce like the one in this recipe. They are super easy to make. If you have a spiralizer you can use it to make skinny, spaghetti like noodles or a mandolin or peeler for thin, wider noodles. All you do after that is sauté them a bit to warm them up. Give them a try - your tastebuds and your waistline will thank you!

Fresh Lemon Garlic Zucchini Noodles

serves 2
2 medium zucchini
1/4 cup gluten free breadcrumbs
6 brazil nuts, chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil divided
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
juice form 1/2 a lemon with grated zest
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped fresh ground sea salt and pepper

Wash the zucchini and trim off the ends. If you have a spiralizer use that to make the zucchini spiral "noodles" (like spaghetti). If you don't, you can use a mandolin or a peeler to make wider, thin "noodles". Set the noodles aside.

In a large fry pan, sauté the bread crumbs and brazil nuts in 1 Tbsp of olive oil over medium heat until they are lightly browned - about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside in a bowl.

Using the same pan, sauté the garlic in 2 Tbsp of olive oil over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, nutritional yeast.

Add the zucchini noodles to the pan with the cooked garlic and lemon juice. Add in the toasted bread crumbs and brazil nuts from the second step and heat it all on medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the zucchini noodles are warmed through. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley.


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Snazzy Sautéed Kale

Green vegetables are the most commonly missing food in people's diet today.

This is a sad statement because greens are literally amazing!

  • they improve liver, gallbladder and kidney function
  • they clear congestion, especially in the lungs
  • they fight cancer
  • they strengthen your immune system
  • they purify your blood
I think that is more than enough reasons to try and get more glorious greens in your day!

As much as I love salad - and trust me - I LOVE SALAD - sometimes I prefer my greens cooked. This recipe for sautéed kale is interpreted from one of my fav restaurants. The slivered almonds add a dash of extra protein and vitamin E and the grapes give a hint of sweetness that offsets the tang of the kale. It makes a fab side dish or I like to add some kidney beans and eat it as an entree. 


Snazzy Sautéed Kale

1 large bunch of kale, torn and tough stems removed
1/4 cup slivered almonds
12 red grapes, halved
1 Tbsp olive oil
juice from 1/2 a lemon
a dash of crushed red pepper (optional)
fresh ground sea salt and pepper 

Sauté the kale and slivered almonds in a large sauté pan on medium low heat with the olive oil until it it starts to soften. Add the grapes, crushed red pepper (optional), sea salt and pepper. Cook for a couple more minutes until the kale is your desired tenderness.  Spritz with lemon juice before serving.

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Monday, June 6, 2016

Are you ready to get healthy?

"If  you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten."
~Tony Robbins

I have been writing the Picky Diet blog for over two years now and have loved every minute. I learn so much everyday and am constantly striving to be better to bring you great recipes, useful nutritional info and hopefully some smiles and inspiration.

However up until now I had no professional education in nutrition. How could a girl that has only ever sold car parts be giving you advice on what to eat???

I am excited to tell you that I am now a certified Nutrition and Wellness Coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. It was an amazing course and I learned so much more over the last year than I ever could have imagined - including a lot about myself.

I feel this gives me a better foundation to bring you all the healthy info you need to be your best self.

This also makes me available to you personally as a health coach. If you are interested in working with me on a program to reach your personal health goals in an easy, attainable way without crazy diets or food restrictions please reach out to me via email

The coaching program can be done in person, over the phone or with face time. I will work with you to set your personal nutrition and wellness goals and work toward reaching them by giving you a deeper understanding about food and lifestyle choices that will help you look and feel your best. This program gives you a set of skills you will be able to use for the rest of your life.

To clarify, Picky Diet is all about plant based recipes but my nutrition coaching is an individualized program and isn't meant to turn you vegan if that isn't what works for you. Every person is different and one way of eating does not fit all.

If you would like more information on personal or corporate nutrition and wellness coaching please drop me a line at  - I would love to hear from you.

Sending you sunshine, happiness and love,

Spring Green Rice Bowl

"Rice is great if you are really hungry and want to eat 2000 of something."

Lots of  people are "carbophobic" - yep that's a word - at least it is in the nutrition world.

But here is the real truth...

White, over processed, refined carbs are not good. Their nutrients and vitamins have been stripped during processing. These foods make your blood sugar spike and then crash raising your insulin levels - leaving you with low energy and making you hungry again shortly after you have eaten. Some examples are white pasta, white bread and any processed breakfast cereal.

Whole grains (and I'm not talking about the ones that claim to be in Frosted Flakes) are literally whole - they still have all their nutrients, vitamins and fibre. They digest slowly keeping your blood sugar levels steady, giving you good energy and keeping you feeling full. Some examples are quinoa, whole oats and brown rice.

Brown rice is a grain that has been around for thousands of years. It contains fibre, protein, iron and magnesium. It gives your body healthy, usable energy and is extremely good for your heart and your brain. Don't get caught up in it being a "carb" in a negative way it is actually a positive whole food for your body and your health.

Today's recipe uses brown rice as a base in a delicious spring green bowl. It has kale, broccoli and green beans along with cashews for added crunch and protein. It is one of my favourite dinners.

This recipe calls for tamari - which is a wheat free soy sauce that has a richer and milder taste than traditional soy sauce. It is thicker and less salty. It is a Japanese form of soy sauce as opposed to the traditional Chinese soy sauce. You can pick it up at your regular grocery or health food store.

Spring GreenRice Bowl

makes 2 servings
1 1/2 cups uncooked brown rice
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 cup cremini or white mushrooms, sliced
1 cup broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
6 kale leaves, torn into small pieces
1 cup fresh green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp tamari
12 cashews, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp red onion, diced
Fresh sea salt and pepper to taste

Cook the rice according to package directions. I usually start the rice and then chop up the veggies while its cooking.

In a large sauté pan, warm the garlic with 1 Tbsp of olive oil on medium low heat for 2 -3 minutes. Add in the broccoli pieces and green beans and cook for 5 - 7 minutes on medium heat. Add in the mushrooms and kale and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in the cooked rice to combine the cooked vegetables with the rice.

Divide the cooked rice and veggies between two bowls and drizzle each one with 1 Tbsp of olive oil and 1 Tbsp of tamari. Top each one with 1 Tbsp red onion and half of the cashews.  Season with fresh ground sea salt and pepper.


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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Apple Almond Butter Breakfast

"Skip ropes, not breakfast..."

Some mornings I want a simple easy breakfast that will fuel me until lunch but isn't a big undertaking.

Your morning meal is super important as it gets your metabolism fired up for the day. A healthy breakfast sets you up to make better food choices throughout the day. It is a good time to eat fats and protein because your body has all day to use them up.

A current staple for me these days is an apple cut up and topped with almond butter, ground flax seed and cinnamon.  It also makes a great afternoon or after school snack.

The apple gives you lots of fibre and antioxidants and helps keep you full until lunch.

The almond butter has tons of protein and iron to fuel you for a busy morning plus vitamin E for smooth skin.

The flax seeds of course have omega fatty acids to fire up your brain and keep your heart healthy.

The cinnamon has amazing cleansing properties for your liver - plus it gives yummy flavour.

1 apple of your choice, preferably organic
1 -2 Tbsp almond butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground flax seeds

Obviously I made this pretty for the picture (#Instagram) but you don't necessarily have to core it and slice it as shown. You can cut it up any old way you like and then smear a little almond butter on each piece and sprinkle with ground flax and cinnamon. If you are taking it to go and don't want to cut the apple until you are are at work - put a couple tablespoons of almond butter in a small container and stir the cinnamon and flax in to make a super healthy "dip" - this is a perfect way to "hide" the flax from people who think they don't like it ;-)


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