paleo

Filling my cup and how you can fill yours....or just make chocolate peppermint cups (recipe)!

Homemade peppermint coconut cups

Homemade peppermint coconut cups

Four-day weekends should be a thing at least once a month, don’t you think?

During these four-day holiday breaks from work, I’ve:

  • slept. A lot. Man did this exhausted mama need it!

  • read.

  • tidied up the pantry, the bane of my existence craft cupboard, and tomorrow will be for my children’s messy room. Shhhh, don’t tell them I’m in a purging mode.

  • taken my time at the gym.

  • made yummy, chocolate treats. More on that below.

  • Taken at least one Epsom bath so far.

  • watched both seasons of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. I highly recommend it. I may have even shed a tear when Season 2 concluded.

Most importantly, I’ve connected with family, friends, and my community.

Today I hit up my local, Walnut Creek farmer’s market to visit my friend Chris at the smoked salmon stand. Since I get most of my produce from Imperfect Produce and rarely need anything else during the week, grabbing a salmon filet (and possibly a waffle from Rooted) is the only reason I go to the Farmer’s Market. Strange, I know!

Anyway, I knew Chris was taking January off, so it would be a good 5 weeks until I got my salmon fix. Prepared to buy more than usual, Chris, pleased to see me, went on to bless me with 3 salmon filets, for FREE. What? He said it was a gift because he enjoyed seeing me and the girls on Sundays.  We’re far from regulars, but I’ve made a point to not only consume but take my time and get to know him. We banter with his neighbor vendor, the sweet potato pie guy, and genuinely like to chat. There’s something about having friends and being known, even if it’s not a deep relationship.

Before the crowds became too overwhelming, we hugged it out and I wished him well until I saw him again in February.

This interaction reminds me of the vendors I befriended at Seattle’s Pike’s Place Market, when I lived near the market and was a SAHM. Everyday I’d push my babies through the market, to say hello, grab some veggies or eggs, and just be a kind face in the sea of consumers.

That’s how you get to know people anyway, right?

A simple hello, a smile, some kind words…..it doesn’t take much. Or as Ed Sheeran says, “Love can change the world in a moment…”

Last night, I was also able to sneak out with some moms from school. Turns out 3 hours at True Food was just the thing I needed – perhaps what all three of us needed. If we hadn’t shut down True Food, I’m sure we could have talked the night away drinking our pomegranate kombucha! Ha!

Connection, let alone sharing stories that make you feel not so alone, is important. We may come from all sorts of backgrounds, but we share common denominators of being moms, working moms at that, trying to figure out this life as an adult, being transplants - moving across stateliness, even countries, to name a few.

It’s refreshing to commiserate, as well as celebrate this moment in our lives; share our worries and fears, hopes and dreams, question our school’s hippiness and horrible math homework, and our awkward conversations with our kids about sex, the internet, and gender. Who knew back in the 80’s that we’d have so many different gender pronouns in 2018! Sheesh! And why in the world have they changed the way they teach math?!

Anyway, I implore to get out. To connect. To smile at a stranger. To say hello and ask them out.


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Moving on to tasty things though.

I was on dessert duty for Christmas and made some deliciously rich peppermint fudge cups I saw on the eating evolved website here. They were a hit. You’ve been warned though, they’re very rich and one is sufficient, even for this chocoholic. As well as Santa!

Earlier in the month I also made my own peppermint coconut cups which were just as wonderful. They’re very similar (i.e easy) to make as outlined in the recipe above, but I’ll note it here:

Coconut center Ingredients:

  • 1 cup homemade or premade coconut butter

    (To make homemade coconut butter, simply dump 16oz of shredded coconut  - feel free to lightly toast beforehand - with a pinch of salt in a food processor an let ‘er whirl until you have a smooth consistency, about 10 minutes.)

  • 2-3 drops or an ⅛ tsp peppermint oil - a small amount goes a long way

  • 1 crushed candy cane--optional

Chocolate Cup Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup dark chocolate melted

Instructions

Filling Instructions:

  1. Once you have your coconut butter, add the peppermint oil and blend again until mixed.

Chocolate Cup Instructions:

  1. Take a wax lined cupcake liner OR silicone cupcake liner an spoon 2 tablespoons of melted primal chocolate into bottom. Swirl around, covering the ¾ of the cupcake liner. Place on a flat surface and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Assemble:

  1.  Drop 1-2 tbsp of the coconut butter into the bottom of the chocolate cup (with the liner still on). Liquid coconut butter is easier to work with, so you may need to warm it up slightly, but be sure it’s not hot otherwise you’ll melt the chocolate! Let harden some – 5 minutes in the fridge should suffice.

  2. Pour another tbsp of chocolate over the top, spread to the sides, and place back in fridge for at least 20 minutes.

  3. Enjoy!


How did you relax this holiday season and what did you make? I’d love to know!

P.S. If you need help weaning yourself from chocolate and all of the sugar this season, or simply need some inspiration on how to create healthy habits or a kick start a healthy eating plan come January, reach out or join my January 21-Day Sugar Detox group! I’ve got you covered.

C is for cookie, that's good enough for me. A holiday cookie round-up!

Cranberry jam thumbprint cookies and gingersnaps

Cranberry jam thumbprint cookies and gingersnaps

Neither Halloween, nor the pumpkin spice November craze, phase me. It’s the peppermint this time of year that calls to me and entangles me in all of it’s minty goodness. In particular, the eating evolved peppermint coconut cups (which you can now only purchase on Thrive Market or make your own - recipe to come) are by far my favorite.

That being said, I’ve created a short cookie round-up for you. Don’t be fooled by it being “short.”

While I appreciate the 80-recipe round-ups, I know I don’t have time to look through 80 recipes, nor whittle it down to my top 10, nor bake said top 10 different cookies. The thought of the mess alone kills me.

I doubt you have the time either!

Since our little family has been going a mile a minute lately, we hunkered down this weekend and made several different cookies, got crafty, and watched Elf and the pbs series of Little Women (I may have shed a tear or two!).

Without further ado, here are the COOKIE RECIPES I think you should get busy making this winter season:

Cranberry Jam Thumbprint Cookies

We adapted Caroline Potter’s gluten free blackberry jam thumbprint cookies to be a delicious cranberry jam thumbprint cookie. We made enough jam to go on top of oatmeal or eat by the spoonful after we topped our cookies.

To make the jam:

Ingredients

1 lb fresh cranberries

¼ cup water

4 tbsp honey

2 tsp fresh squeezed orange juice

1 ½ tsp grass-fed gelatin

Directions

Warm a skillet to medium-low heat. Add the cranberries and water and heat for 10 minutes.

Use the back of a spoon to crush the cranberries, releasing their juices.

Stir in in the honey, orange juice, and gelatin. Heat for an additional 10 minutes, allowing the jam to simmer slightly.

Remove from heat and let cool.

If you like it chunky, leave as it, otherwise use an immersion or high-speed blender to puree the jam.

Refrigerate.

 

Gingersnap Cookies

You can’t let the Christmas season go by without making gingersnaps. These cookies, created by Danielle Walker, are my Charlie Bear’s favorite.

Or if you want to get super fancy, try these iced gingersnap cookies.

 

Chocolate Orange Cookies

A new treat but one we’ll be keeping! Note, this recipe is NOT gluten-free or even paleo for that matter. I repeat, this is not GF or paleo…yet. I paleofied it today but it still needs a few tweaks. To get this into your hands now, this is the real deal, sugar laden cookie. I’ll repost soon when I have the paleo version in a better state.

 

Keto Sugar Cookies

Say what?! Yep, it’s a thing, and Brittany Angell kills it again!

 

No Bake Peppermint Hot Cocoa Bites

I’ll take it! Once again, I’ll need to post my recipe for peppermint coconut cups another time, but this recipe for peppermint hot cocoa bites Is divine, with an extra boost from the collagen peptides.

 


I hope you slow down to make a few of these yourself. If you do, let me know which ones you decided to make and what you thought of them.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

Basically my wild children all weekend. I don’t think the cookies helped!

Basically my wild children all weekend. I don’t think the cookies helped!

Eat your veggies! Another recipe to help fulfill your veggie quota.

I get asked these questions all the time:

  1. How do I get my kids to eat veggies?

  2. How do I get my kids to lay off XYZ?

  3. How do I make healthy meals that everyone will eat?

 

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You can see my previous post that addresses some of these items.

But let’s start from the top and break it down.

First and foremost, you know yourself and your family best.

You know your time commitments or what you’re willing to do to make healthy cooking and eating a priority.

These values are the foundation we need to establish. Simply ask yourself:

  1. Do I have time to meal prep?

  2. Do I even want to meal prep?

  3. Would I benefit from meal prepping?

  4. What is my definition of health?

  5. What am I willing to sacrifice to be healthy?

Answer these questions and you’ll free yourself from any guilt you may have around not having it all together, in addition to understanding the parameters you’re working with to establish a new routine.

If the answer is Yes to most of these questions, let’s begin…..

Stock up on the items y’all love and don’t mind eating on repeat. These may include:

  • Chicken

  • Fish

  • Ground beef or steak

  • Veggies

  • Fruit

  • Eggs

  • Butter

  • Jerky

  • Salad fixings

  • Smoothie fixings

  • Avocados

  • Frozen fruit and veggies

     

    Come meal prep time, simply cook more!

    Heat up the grill and grill chicken, flank steak, portobello mushrooms and onions, a salmon filet, foil wrapped asparagus, sweet potatoes, and bell peppers.

Don’t have a grill?

  

Roast a whole chicken in your oven alongside roasted beets, fennel, and sweet potato. Perhaps even some egg muffins. Or simply make some hard-boiled eggs for on the go protein.

Take that chicken carcass and throw it on your instant pot to make broth, to either sip throughout the week or to make a carrot ginger or minestrone soup (see post from June 14th).

 

Not into meal planning?

That’s ok!

Buy a rotisserie chicken, or easy to heat meals such as frozen items from Trader Joe’s, or use a meal planning program such as Good Eggs, Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Acme Farms & Kitchen, or even Uber Eats.

What about hiding those veggies?

Smoothies, soup, scrambles, meatballs, and even chocolate pudding are an incredibly easy and tasty way to get your kids to eat their greens.

These combinations allow you to pack a punch with nutrient dense veggies, with little to no acknowledgement they’re even there. When my kids regularly ask for these meals or treats, I secretly smile knowing all the goodness hiding behind the yum factor.

For example, this meatball recipe was a hit this past week. I typically do some combo of meat and veggies for meatballs, but this time I added some green curry powder and it was fantastic. Delicious and happily devoured even when cold!!!!

Curried Meatballs
 

Ingredients

4 mushrooms

½ an onion

3 garlic cloves

1 tbsp butter, ghee, or coconut oil

3 carrots

1 tbsp curry

1 lb ground meat

Directions

Preheat oven to 400

Over medium heat, melt fat of choice and sauté mushrooms, onions and 1 clove garlic for about 10 minutes and let cool.

In food processor chop 3 carrots, 2 cloves of garlic and 1 tbsp curry powder.

When the mushroom mix has cooled, add to food processor and mix lightly.

Add 1-pound ground meat and blend again until just mixed. You want to still be acble to see chunks of carrots!

Bake for 30 min.

We ate these babies in a variety of ways, but like most protein in my life it ends up in a salad. Have fun and get creative with how you dish them up. Or simply eat them plain, they're that good!

 

P.S. I also can’t say enough about organifi. On those days when you feel you’re not hitting your green quota, reach for this dried Superfood Greens Powder. (I'm not an affiliate, just love the stuff!)

 

Since I have your attention, humor me two more minutes!

As most of you know, I still take part in the 9-5 hamster wheel as a Marketing coordinator for an engineering firm.

To rewind the scene, I’m taking you back to summer of 2003.

Fresh out of college and totally green, I began my career. It was unrealistically easy to get this job. For one of my journalism classes I interviewed an architecture firm, and in turn, they offered me a job. Yeah, ok!

The thing is, they weren’t sure what to do with me. My beloved, quirky Marketing Manager had worked for a number year on her own. Having this young, naïve person in her space, though there to help, was challenging. As a dog lover, she treated me like a puppy. Are you hungry? Should we go for a walk? She was hesitant, unsure, grateful but inexperienced as a leader.

Yesterday my Marketing Assistant joined our crew. Though younger than my original counterpart, I find myself in a similar position. Judging myself as her mentor and leader, judging her as being a new graduate. How much hand holding do I offer? How much do I share? How much does she care? I have two kids. She’s young, free, and grappling with her new-found home in California, as a new graduate, living with her boyfriend and working in San Francisco. Suddenly I feel old. Disregard the number of years, so many life experiences, separate us.

But I was once her.

I had the boyfriend, the new job, the excitement of years before me. Nothing but money and time to burn, and travel adventures to be had.

As a mother, I tenderly look at her and I wonder if she knows what she’s getting herself into. I wonder if this is her dream or just a stepping stone. I wonder, I wonder, I wonder……

And then I’m grateful for the chance to intersect into her life to mentor her. It will take time, as all things do, but I‘m sure we’ll learn from each other.

Perspective is funny like that, and life never fails to come full circle.

Susie, I get it now….

 

What trip makes the best Spring Break?


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From the desert to the ocean, we chased one sunny adventure after another on our Spring Break.

We began our trip in the wee hours at the Oakland airport, where we were welcomed with a short security line, and a pleasant gift of Peet’s Coffee from a fellow mother who obviously recognized my valiant effort of traveling alone with young kids! Coincidentally, she was traveling with her grown daughter to San Diego to look at colleges.

Sidenote: I feel like this day will be here sooner than I want! Please time, slow down!

Shortly thereafter, and eager to get the party started, we boarded at Southwest Gate 23, where the pilots gave my girls 15-seconds of fame by inviting them to “fly” the plane. Let’s be honest, sitting in the cockpit when you’re under 8 years old is like winning the lottery.

But let’s back up a hot second to the gear we were carrying aboard.

Once you become a parent you realize your life will never be the same. Not only will you always have a little sidekick, but you will also be the proud owner of a bazillion pieces of, sometimes unnecessary, paraphernalia.

Especially when it comes to traveling.

I like to keep it minimal, especially since it’s only me that will be doing the heavy lifting, but traveling with kids requires some strategy and superfluous goods. 

For Easter, the girls were gifted hatchimals, a cute bunny purse with a couple of dollars tucked inside, and a personalized Spring Break adventure journal. These items were not so neatly thrown into their backpacks (I’m realizing more and more how much it’s up to me to teach these children of mine to NEATLY put things where they belong!) along with the snacks they had picked out: epic bars, Thrive market jerky, Rx bars, larabars, olives, dried mango, cuties, and some foursigmatic elixirs (which were more for me!)

Snack attack - bags loaded and ready!

Snack attack - bags loaded and ready!

 

Charlie had a few books, and Sam had me for her entertainment. The iPad was charged and ready, if needed. However, I try not to rely on it and have them use their imagination before turning on screens.

Landing in Ontario, we grabbed our rental car (which wasn’t that simple, but I’ll save you from that debacle), downloaded The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett to listen to on audible, and off we went for the hour and a half drive to Joshua Tree.

Arriving hungry, we promptly bought some smoothies to cool down and fuel up for the rocky afternoon.

Stopping at The Natural Sisters Café, the girls decisively chose the Killer Bee smoothie (more for the fun name than the ingredients) and I, wanting some greens, picked the What the Kale smoothie. Both were delicious! Despite being surrounded by mile high, veggie packed plates of food other diners were enjoying, we drank our smoothies and selected somethng to munch on from the plethora of goodies out of our snack bag, such as the Manzanilla olives from Trader Joes.

I highly recommend this small pit stop to stock on snacks, or to sit down and enjoy the people watching.

Smoothies at The Natural Sisters Cafe

Smoothies at The Natural Sisters Cafe

The girls slurped and munched, while I wondered how the rest of the day was going to unfold. The older I get the more I try to practice the power of now - of being intentionally present - but sometimes that mama brain kicks in and various scenarios begin to unravel in my mind.

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect.

Our glamping trip to Yosemite last summer was simply bearable.

While I never regret getting out into nature, like most solo parenting, your limit of directing, disciplining, and sometimes simply talking, approaches sooner than typical.

Plan and simple, our trip to Yosemite needed two adults to make it work comfortably. We had glimpses of fun, but it was difficult with big emotions and four little legs that didn’t care to walk.

With this as my foundation to work with, I was a little nervous to venture out into the desert with creepy, crawly critters and only hard, dangerous surfaces to climb. This wasn’t your everyday Gymboree class folks!

But like most things, I nearly always opt to brave the adventure. One way or another we were going to have a good story to tell.

At the Joshua Tree visitor center on Park Boulevard, I introduced the girls to the animals and vegetation they were about to experience, grabbed our junior ranger guides, a few $1 bottles of water, and off we went.

Once we paid our $25 pass fee, all plans I had researched went out the window. After a morning of planes trains and automobiles, we jumped out at the first outcropping of rocks. I’ve never seen my girls so excited - they jumped out of the car, ran as fast as they could, and went for it.

Let’s be honest, no one needs instructions to boulder.

It’s only natural to start climbing and aim for the tippy top, as they did. Yet somehow I wasn’t prepared for that.

After all, they’re 4 and 6.

There’s two of them and one of me.

The rocks are not forgiving.

My joyous heart was so proud of them for enjoying themselves and being brave, but it was also in tension with the thought, “Oh shit, they could actually get really hurt up here!”

Thankfully their own defenses restrained them and they were cautious enough.

As beads of sweat culminated on our brow, we eagerly climbed, spotted many of lizards including a huge chuckwalla, pounded the water (note: bring more than you think you’ll need!), and pretended to be queens of the world when we were perched high, looking out above the surreal desert floor.

Sheer gratitude set in, and my heart was so happy! How long had it been since I had been on vacation with these two? Since we took time out of the everyday grind of work, school, laundry and go, go, go?

Simply too long.

It’s sad to say, but sometimes it takes vacations to recapture the wonder and beauty of your family!

Regardless, it was glorious.

Charlie Bear spotted this Chuckwalla for us!

Charlie Bear spotted this Chuckwalla for us!

JT2.jpg
JT4.jpg

 

Getting back to the plan though. I had only allotted two days in Joshua Tree, so off we continued to Skull Rock, to work our way backwards to the entrance.

At this point though, a certain 4-year old was hitting her witching hour.

“Carry me”

“I need more water”

“It’s too hot”

“I have to pee.”

“I don’t want to do this.”

We tried to muster up enough excitement to explore Skull Rock: we crawled through caves, climbed to dead ends, and bumped this rock and that rock. But the hot afternoon sun wasn’t doing us any favors. We were running on fumes.

We returned to town to rest our weary heads for a millisecond before heading out for dinner. I found us a little Airbnb within 2 miles of the main strip of Joshua Tree that was just the right size for us. It didn’t have a kitchen but I figured we could go without for one night.

This meant a dinner date, and I had heard rave reviews for Pie for the People. At only 5:30, off we went.

First of all, I can’t remember the last time I had pizza, and second, who were we, eating a dinner so early?

Well, we weren’t the only ones. The line was already out the door when we arrived, which was a good sign.

And needless to say, their gluten free pizza rocked. As did the Greek salad, even though it didn’t have cucumbers! Next time I’ll order two pizzas and my own salad though. These girls can eat!

All attempts to convince the girls to watch the sunset in the park failed. C'mon, who was I going to tell if they stayed up past their bedtime? Yet as it usually does, the whining won and I succumbed and I took my party poopers home!

Thankfully National Park passes are good for 7 days, so we went back for a quick rendezvous the next morning, after a healthy and bountiful breakfast at Crossroads Café, another joint I highly recommend.

I’ve been known for tornado style road trips, and this was one of them. Our next destination: San Diego!

However, the three hour jaunt south only felt long the last hour in the car when I was ready to eat and move my legs. We owe it to our fine Taylor Swift sing-a-long for our mighty survival, albeit arriving hungry!

There’s no shortage of excellent eateries in San Diego, but we were hungry and as we edged closer to the San Diego city limits, everyone had different opinions as to what they wanted to eat. My mama superpowers hedged bets that Tender Greens would appease even the pickiest of eaters.

Off to La Jolla we went.

With full bellies we meandered around the mall and read some books at the amazon bookstore. Despite it being a bit overcast and most definitely cooler than Joshua Tree, my antsy legs and tired butt couldn’t keep myself or these girls in the car for much longer. We opted for a round of miniature golf.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, not realizing this would only be their second time playing. They HAD NO CLUE how to do it.

Remember what I said about having to teach your children EVERYTHING?

Not quite getting the hang of it!

Not quite getting the hang of it!

I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. Was this hilarious or absolutely the most painful hour of my life?

We may have lost two golf balls in the process, but we completed the course! Praise the Lord!

Seeing that we were staying with my stellar friend, Erin, whom I’ve known since 6th grade, we hit up Trader Joes for easy dinner fixings and a bottle of wine. While she may not appreciate her doorbell ringing when you come to town, her company, as well as her dog Captain, are top notch. If you opt for an Airbnb, with a kitchen, I recommend finding the closest Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods to cook up a good meal like you would at home.

For us, dinner on the patio, with wine in hand, included spaghetti squash with a tomato meat sauce (sautéed ground beef smothered in your preferred sugar-free tomato sauce), and a side salad with easy toppings like artichoke hearts, olives, tomatoes, and avocado.

Our hearts were happy, full, and tired!

The adventures didn’t stop there though! Isn’t Spring Break just the greatest!

Now Thursday, and more than pleased to take on the mothering role, I whipped up some scrambled eggs featuring some leftover tomato sauce, warmed up some water for coffee, and sent Erin on her way to work with a nice breakfast in her bag. Making sure Captain had done his business, we were on our way as well!

Gosh, I miss being a SAHM and making sure everyone is taken care of! But I digress…..

By now the girls were ready for their second breakfast and I wanted to see some architecture!

Did you know that I studied architecture, and my first job out of college was with Miller Hull? Yep!

Somehow I had forgotten about their work on Point Loma, so we went in that direction making a pit-stop at Liberty Public Market for snacks, which was sadly closed. Thankfully the beautiful Moniker is next door. We chose to grab a matcha (for me) and cinnamon almond milk steamers for the littles before continuing on, checking our adventures off of the list.

The Wharf at Point Loma. Check!

The San Diego Zoo - ALL DAY LONG! Check!

Monkeying around at the zoo!

Monkeying around at the zoo!

Sadly Friday was our last day there, and it came all too soon.

We said goodbye to Erin, and Captain, and meandered ever so slowly to Mission Beach to meet up with my cousins, who also happened to be vacationing in SD.  

For the next couple of hours we basked in the glorious sunshine, caught up on life, attempted boogie boarding, dug for sand dollars, and of course snacked. Our snack game was still going strong! But so was my sunburn. Why is that I remember to apply sunscreen to my children but forget about my exposed, paler skin. Where’s my mom when I need her?

With the polar opposite weather up north in the Bay Area, where it was complete downpour and storms, we were fortunate to stay a couple of extra hours due to a delayed flight.

Out of the goodness of their heart or my super negotiating skills, we managed to keep our rental car without paying more. We took advantage and took in the sights, sounds, and smells of Balboa Park. If I lived here I think I’d wander through the park every day, there’s just something about it!

Yet even with a delayed flight, the minutes quickly passed and like that, our trip was coming to an end. Back to reality, and the very wet Bay Area we went. Spring Break 2018 was over.

We not only survived the very few meltdowns and new environments, we made some very special memories that I hope my girls treasure and recreate with their families someday.

Until next time San Diego….


It's not obvious but click the name of the place, snack item, or book below to find out more information.

Joshua Tree restaurants:

The Natural Sisters Café

Pie for the People

Crossroads Café

Joshua Tree Coffee Company

 

San Diego family friendly, healthy restaurants...and a place to get healthy:

Tender Greens

True Food

UTC Dining Options

CrossFit Invictus (my favorite gym!)

 

Airbnb:

EchoLove Casita with Glenn

 

Essentials:

Snacks

epic bars and bites

larabars

RX bars

Thrive market jerky

Fruit

Veggies

Foursigmatic Elixirs

Water

 

Entertainment

Coloring paper and crayon or pencils

Ipad

books

Binoculars

Camera

Magnifying glass

 

Personal Items

Sunscreen

 

Books I brought but didn’t touch:

Miracles Now

How to win friends and influence people

The Circle Maker



 

WEDNESDAY WISDOM: Step One.


Now this is the story all about how
My life got flipped, turned upside down
And I'd like to take a minute just sit right there
I'll tell you how I became the paleo queen of my home affairs


Long story, not-so-short:

Like a lot of people, I first got into nutrition by healing my own body. You can read more about it on my website.

Around the same time, I married into a CrossFit gym, and was introduced to what seemed like the wacky world of paleo. I was already gluten free but this was no doubt taking it up a notch. I turned into the friend who made raw brownies (aka larabar bites since desserts were off limits), made every meat dish under the sun, used my crockpot to make the spiciest adobo ever, and basically spent all of my time looking up recipes. Sadly, it was the early 2000's and Pinterest was not a thing back then! Shocking, I know!

And by the way, I was not a good cook….yet!

Most of the time I got the evil eye because I turned into that friend who made social gatherings awkward when it came to food.

Ultimately my fascination with paleo and continuing my journey of healing my body through food, included my vision to step up my involvement at the gym by creating create a nutrition program to coincide with the intense training of these beasts. I also wanted to become a better chef. These interwoven aspirations spurred my pursuit of going back to school for nutritional studies, or naturopathy, or Chinese medicine, or holistic cooking.

Side note, sometimes I can be really indecisive!

While I knew a fair bit from my own studies, my intention and dream was to go to Bastyr. After attending an info night, going on a tour, and sitting on the shores of Lake Washington to pray about it, I felt certain this was the road to take. I truly felt like the world was my oyster.

And yes, I’m a total nerd and LOVE school.

After a quarter of prerequisites in the books, I got pregnant with my first daughter. Working full-time, going to school part-time, and being pregnant, was interesting. When the fatigue hit and I’d fall asleep mid-sentence of a conversation, I decided something had to give, and my dream got derailed….for a bit.

Funny how life throws you curve balls once you think you’ve figured it all out!

Then one day, now with babe in arms, I picked up a little book called Practical Paleo at Costco.  Or perhaps I ordered it from Prime, charging it to the business! At this point mom brain has set in and the timeline gets a little fuzzy!

This not so little book, in case you’re not familiar with it, is essentially the Paleo gospel. Every ailment is addressed, from adrenal health to thyroid health – with a meal plan; to how to live a paleo lifestyle – from getting started to eating out to getting your friends on board; to healing digestion to managing stress. The 470 page book truly covers it all.

I was a quick fan.

Since Practical Paleo was such an inspiration to me, I later, nearly a year post-partum after my second daughter, decided to try my first 21-Day Sugar Detox (21DSD).  Although I only did Level 1 (Elleno’s guava greek yogurt was too hard to give up, and I may have slipped in a bag of popcorn along the way), I was amazed when I noticed my abs making an appearance.

Please believe me when I say it’s not about the aesthetics of my body, but the sheer excitement of how simple shifts (um, wasn’t I already eating clean paleo?), made such a difference.

Needless to say, Diane Sanfilippo became my kitchen buddy and guru.

When she launched her 21-Day Sugar Detox beta coaching group, I was naturally curious. I was a SAHM, now with two daughters, and it was nearly 4 years between when I took the first step toward my nutrition education, with nothing to prove for it.

At this point there were so many more options to choose between. NTA was just starting, IIN was big, Bastyr was still there, FDN was gaining traction, and on and on. I felt overwhelmed with the different avenues, time and financial commitments. Did I already mention I was indecisive?

The 21-Day Sugar Detox Coaches group felt like a happy medium – and an easier commitment for my little family to swallow. It was a platform in which I could get my feet wet, have the structure and support I needed, while shedding the fears and doubts of starting a business from the ground up.

Since I was already helping other mamas sort out what the heck to feed their kids, meal prep, and navigate their grocery store outings, I jumped into the 21DSD beta group.

Now let me get one thing straight - I’m not one for doing one thing at a time. Once I decided to join the beta group, I also started studying with Precision Nutrition (which I’m now certified in) and continued cooking for the frozen paleo meal service I started for some clients at the gym. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention I started that a few months prior when a coach persuaded me to help his client dial in his food. Eeek!

It was a slow start but I have fond memories studying my Precision Nutrition, the more science heavy chapters, and listening to the 21DSD coaching calls at the South lake Union Whole Foods, or while slurping up pho on wet PNW nights, and while drinking chai at Uptown Espresso in Belltown.

I have visceral memories of these Wednesday nights, which was my “night off” as a mom and wife. As I pursued these things that fed my mind and future, they quickly became my favorite evenings around town.

And of course during all of this, I was raising two babies, battling infidelity in my marriage, and trying to figure out what the hell to do with my life!

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, there’s NEVER a perfect time for anything.

There’s no doubt about it, with what you have at any given moment, make the wisest decision you can. But remember, you have the power to course correct at any time. Life is about constant change; and life rarely unfolds as well as you expect or plan for.

Now, nearly four years later (if you haven’t noticed TIME FLIES!):

  • I’m divorced.
  • I’m living in the Bay Area.
  • I’m Precision Nutrition Certified.
  • I’m still a 21DSD coach.
  • I have a nutrition coaching business.
  • I'm a Beautycounter Educator and mentor
  • I also have a FT marketing job.
  • I solo parent – making all the lunches, doing all of the laundry, meal prepping, and cleaning all of the toilets!

And somehow, I make it work. Even on the days when too many people comment, “I don’t know how you do it all,” and I want to slap them in the face - seriously, this comment is not helpful and really, what kind of answer are you trying to elicit? – we survive.

This not the end game.

Sure, everything takes longer than I expect. I’m tired. I don’t get to read as much as I desire. My house never stays clean as long as I’d want it to. Nor do I don’t exercise as long or hard as I’d like to.

But hope remains!

I know this is only a season.

Somedays it’s easier than others to crank out the gratitude, yet I'm always thankful and grateful for:

  • Podcasts, audible, and the kindle app for the long BART rides (does this count as my tribe?);
  • Unique chances to learn
  • For trial and error
  • For pushing myself out of my comfort zone
  • For new opportunists to create healthy streams of income
  • For fresh starts every morning
  • For cuddles
  • For the little sleep I do get
  • For my body, living room, and kettlebell allowing me to creatively break out into a sweat session.

I don’t wear any of this as a badge, but rather to thoughtfully share with you that this is the messy life I live right now. And that if I can pursue dreams and goals, so can you.

At this point in time, I get to connect with and help men and women, mamas and grandpas, across the country connect the dots between their health and nutrition.

For me, this is a stepping stone toward creating a platform for busy, career parents, in the throes of raising young kids, to find confidence, balance, and happiness in their kitchen, skin, and life.

What is it for you?

Have you forgotten that you’re stronger, more powerful, and more creative than you think?

Your beautiful mind is waiting for you to crack it open and try something new. To break free from the mold you think you’re supposed to fit into and shine brighter than you have before.

It’s about taking the first step. Putting one foot in front of the other until you get enough momentum.

I can’t say you ever gain enough confidence to never fear, even a little bit, but it’s getting up and getting in the race that will get you closer to your goal.

So again, what is it for you?

  • If it’s nutrition, call me!
  • If it’s writing more, write your 500 words today.
  • If it’s that guy over there that gives you butterflies just looking at him, go talk to him.
  • If it’s going back to school, enroll.
  • If it’s joining a gym, get your membership tomorrow.

Just please, don’t wait. Don’t sit on the sidelines waiting for the right moment.

One way or another, the time will pass. Embrace it because in a year, or five or ten years, I want you to have a really good story tell!

Why you should set your expectations low, low, low (and the easiest damn salad recipe)

easiest damn salad-sm.jpg

Does anyone talk on the phone anymore?

In the age of texting, Instagram, FB messaging, and skype, when was the last time you had a phone conversation?

There are times I certainly avoid it, for sure. Yet reminiscent to my junior high days, when I would pick up the phone the second I got home to talk to the same people I had seen all day, there are a select few I’m more than happy to talk to, old school style, for hours.

Just last night I talked for nearly two hours to a dear friend I’ve known for 25 years (what? seriously how old am I?), as she drove home from a work trip. We ran the gamut of updates, laughed, sighed, dreamed, and overanalyzed, as girls do. What was more a nod of releasing our expectations and control over external circumstances and people, we laughed over setting our goal of low expectations for 2018.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big dreamer, ambitious AF (overly so), but what I’ve come to realize is that to stay mentally in the game, I have to LET GO of external expectations, especially when it comes to people.

I can only control my thoughts, my actions, my responses, my dreams, my life.

I’ve heard it before, but have you?

All that you have at the moment,
you’ve attracted by the person you are

Does that bring a grateful smile to your face, or a punch to the gut?

I was recently reading Jim Rohn’s “Leading an Inspired Life.” Though simple and straightforward, the reminders of how discipline, whether the focused attention to or the lack of discipline, will sow the consequences of either action and growth or neglect and stagnation. It’s simple, but we easily choose comfort, fear, excuses, and carelessness over growing in our habit of discipline.

None of us have control over the external matters in our lives, but we can control what’s internal, especially the 3 pounds of flesh between our ears. Pick up a book and learn something new, take a class to up your game, bite your tongue if you have to stop yourself from speaking unhelpful words, whatever it is, redefine your success by taking whatever step needs to be taken.

Take heart and have discipline. Period.

Quite simply, begin by taking baby steps. And by all means, don’t lose the momentum by letting fear or laziness in. It’s far too slippery of a slope.

Rohn highlights Ben Franklin’s three principles of success:

  1. Number one: big achievements come one step at a time, one day at a time.
  2. Number two: you have the power to mold your life. You can make it whatever you want. You can shape it and reshape it.
  3. Number three: success is measured through pleasure. This is the key principle. You’ve got to be happy along the way. You’ve got to learn to give yourself a pat on the back. You need to tell yourself, “I’m proud of me today!” You’ve got to learn to enjoy the process.

If you haven’t read this book already, I highly recommend it. I may have highlighted every other paragraph. It’s just that good.

The same week I was reading Rohn’s book, Bedros Keuliian was interviewed on Shawn Stevenson’s Model Heath Show. This interview was hard core and I also highly recommend you listen to it for inspiration. He says it best, “if you want to be a high performer in life, in a relationship, in your diet, in your fitness, in your business, in anything, at work, you've got to be disciplined, structured, and do the highest value stuff first. Take care of yourself...to me discipline and structure equal freedom…I have more freedom because of structure and discipline than I ever had before.

Boom.

Create structure in your life and carve out the time for the most important items that align your life with your values and mission. For me, it’s waking up early to meditate, pray, and to exercise; to meal prep on the weekend to eat healthy all week; to read and listen to podcasts to continue to learn.

At the end of the day, when you align life with your values, you show up as the best version of yourself. You’ve taken care of yourself and feel good in your skin, you vibe higher, you spread more love and joy. In effect, you create more and radiate. You’re contagious.

So, set your expectations high for your dreams, but release the expectations you have for everyone else. Let them be themselves. Forgive, accept. Forgive and accept yourself.

Be generous with your kindness and love. Be you.

P.S. If you’re all about inspirational talks, I also recommend Simon T. Bailey’s talk on “This Is What’s Holding You Back From Brilliance”:


“It’s not who you are that holds you back from brilliant success,” Bailey says. “It’s who you think you’re not that holds you back. And sometimes we focus on who we think we’re not instead of who we are.”

"Find an environment where you are celebrated not just tolerated. That environment should invite you to be a vitamin not an aspirin."

Now that you'll be kicking some ass, you'll need a quick, healthy salad to keep you going. Better yet, if healthy eating is a goal of yours, start by little habits such as starting your day with room temperature lemon water, or swapping one of your meals to include double the veggies you typically eat, such as this salad, the world’s easiest damn taco salad, with ingredients from Trader Joe’s:
 

Easiest Damn Taco Salad

INGREDIENTS

  • Arugula or favorite green mix
  • 1 cup tomatoes, sliced
  • ½ avocado, sliced
  • 4 mini sweet bell peppers, diced
  • Black olives
  • Chicken
  • 2 tbps Salsa Verde
  • lime wedge for an extra kick
  • 1 Sliced green onion, optional

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a medium sized bowl mix all of the ingredients with the salsa verde
  2. Squeeze with lime and garnish with green onion

 

when life gives you balls, you juggle them

Jump down to the end for the recipe....I kind of go off on a tangent!

Jump down to the end for the recipe....I kind of go off on a tangent!


Standing at the kitchen sink washing a pan, I gaze out to see Charlie maliciously wave a dirty mop in her sister's face.

That was it.

I had just told her an hour ago that there is never a reason to hit her sister. And now this.

Perhaps I should have just kept my mouth shut, but I immediately begin to mediate and tell her to go to her room. While she was at it, to clean up the earlier tornado that hit that section of the house.

Stomping off, the wailing begins.

I shout, "crying about it won't get you closer to the goal."

I can't believe I utter those words. Yet in sheer frustration, the darkness and humbling truth is usually revealed. Were those words for her or for me? 

Quite plain and simple, I'm tired. 

There's no doubt a laundry list of reasons why exhaustion burdens me. Parenting alone, however, tops the list. Cuddling, having fun, playing games, and cranking up the music for dance parties is easy. On the flip side, discipline, and understanding the bigger picture of not only my legacy, but the minds, and the legacies of these little people I was blessed with, is created in the minor moments of loving correction. This is hard. These moments continue to beat me down, and make me feel I'm doing something wrong. Like I know better but can't learn the lesson myself. 

Relationships are funny, intricate things.

And then there are moments like this - 

Yesterday at a 6-year olds birthday party, I was caught in the crossfire of a dad exchange:

With empathy one dad asks, "How long is your wife out of town?"
The tired dad replies, "She was in London last week and will be in Charlotte next week. So two weeks."
"Oh geez. You need a raise and a 'World's Best Dad shirt' for that kind of stint," the empathetic dad responds, but with a hint of disgust.
"Yes, yes I do!"
I blankly stared forward, thoughts swirling in my head.

Really? I guess I knew men felt this way when their wives went away, but I had never been caught in the middle of the banter. Seriously, how do you think your wives feel when you go away? Why is this even a discussion? Is equality still this skewed? It took both you to create these children, so buck up!

Well, that's only the beginning of my G-rated version.

Shaken from my stupor, I feel the kids racing up the stairs for cheesy pizza and cupcakes. It was time to choose my own battles with my children. To choose gluten or not.

I certainly don't stew on the following ideas, but I was reminded of them through various conversations this weekend:

  • I didn't get married to boast I had a husband who cheated on me multiple times. I don't need to share this, but some people give you the look of "why are you divorced?"
  • I didn't get married to end up a single mom. Though it's hard and not what I intended, I don't want your pity.
  • I didn't get divorced to be judged on whether or not I made the right decision to move to a different state to be closer to family. You don't know the full picture and boundaries had to be defined. Period. 
  • I didn't get divorced to feel a special kind of overwhelm. That kind of just comes with the territory when you're playing the role of both mom and dad at all hours and doing it all. Even with shared custody, the "overwhelm" doesn't go away.

So with that, that's where we land today. In the here and now. We make it work. Though I'm so very tired of doing it alone, especially at 2am when there's no one to nudge to ask to take this shift for the night, I know things won't always be this way. Apparently there's an actual Law of Rhythm that dictates this fact, establishing the seasons of life. Sometimes it's hard to see beyond tomorrow, which looks a lot like today. Yet like a pendulum, we swing to the left and back to the right - in constant motion, growing, changing, learning and evolving. Thank goodness! 

So with a deep breath, I keep moving forward, knowing anything is possible, especially when I dare to create it. With eyes in my own lane, focused on my end goal, keeping the balls in the air long enough to learn what I need to learn, and teach both myself and my little ladies. This one life is precious and I want to live it to the fullest, providing a rich and vibrant environment for all of us.

This post definitely took a different turn than I intended, but I guess I had to get some things off of my chest.

With that note, speaking about balls, how about some homemade energy balls, or bars, that are easy, quick and totally satisfying?

We made both mango and chocolate versions, but at the end of it, the girls voted their favorite was chocolate. So here it is. Email me if you want the mango version!

Double Chocolate Date dates

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened toasted coconut
  • 1/3 cup dry roasted and salted macadamia nuts
  • 10 pitted dates
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 squares of dark - 70% or higher - chocolate cut up to little pieces 
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder, optional

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a food processor, pulse the macadamia nut until they're just chopped. Any longer and it will become nut butter. Remove from food processor and place in a big bowl.
  2. Add dates into the food processor and pulse until just blended. Add coconut. Pulse again until it's a nice paste.
  3. Add to the nut mixture. Add in chocolate pieces.
  4. Form into balls with your hands or press into an 8x8 roasting dish to make bars.
  5. Roll the balls in the cacao powder for some extra chocolate love.
  6. Refrigerate and enjoy.

 

 

Coco for coconut

Right before it became pumpkin spice coconut butter!

Right before it became pumpkin spice coconut butter!


Back in the day when I used to shop at Costco, the bi-weekly staples were bacon, meat, fish, veggies, fruit, a huge ass jar of coconut oil, and bags upon bags of nuts – almonds, walnuts, and pecans. On special occasions I’d splurge for macadamia nuts and proceed to nosh on them on the ride home to appease my traffic woes through downtown Seattle.

The superfluous amount of nuts was a two-fold dilemma: 1) our favorite chocolate chip cookie used solely nuts as the base instead of flour, and 2) being a SAHM, I basically survived off of nuts, smoothies, and the leftover bites on itty bitty plastic plates (yep, I know, disgusting).

Then one day it happened. I had hit my quota and my body purely rejected nuts.

If I feel like getting a headache, having my stomach distend as if I was 7 months pregnant, and have gut issues for a few days, I may partake in a nut. But let’s be honest, it’s not a nice predicament to willingly put myself in.

I say all of this because perhaps you have mild symptoms of eating too many nuts also. They’re
delicious, full of healthy fats and vitamins, and an amazingly easy snack to consume. But let’s face it, it’s easy to overdo it. I only say this so that you’ll pay attention the next time you reach for a nut. Stop and see how your body truly feels when you eat them. If you think you may want to eliminate your handful of almonds (like every health magazine has told you to eat at 3pm), you may want to turn to another lovely fatty friend and my favorite nut replacement - coconut.

Fun fact, coconut is not a nut. I repeat, it’s not a nut! It’s in fact, a fruit.

Back to the story - not knowing how I’d replace my beloved nut fetish, I quickly discovered my love for coconut butter. Okay, okay, I guess I did have an adjustment period, and it did take some time to acquire a taste for it. But once that all fell into place, there wasn’t a week that went by where I didn’t make my own coconut butter and have fun with different flavors.

A spoonful here and a spoonful there, and I barely missed my crunchy nutty friends.

Now that I’m working again and eating real food throughout the day, I don’t make it as often anymore. Which, when I think about it, is such an oxymoron. These days I have less time yet I meal plan and therefore have a stocked fridge. Unless of course you come over on a weekend and I haven’t gone grocery shopping.

Anyway, when I do make coconut butter, it’s usually to make chocolate coconut cups. I love
myself some Eating Evolved coconut cups, yet my budget does not. I can’t just buy one package you know. So I make my own.

When I saw that they had pumpkin coconut cups, I felt up for the challenge.

First things first, I don’t understand the pumpkin spice craze come fall. I do have a soul
and like pumpkin bread but I by no means run out as soon as the first yellow leaf succumbs to the season change and frantically buy every pumpkin spiced item in town. But that’s beside the point. Making your own pumpkin coconut butter may just be the easiest thing in the world. Making the chocolate pumpkin cups on the other hand, can be quite the feat. Not hard, but difficult for this impatient heart of mine.

Are you ready? Here's what you do:

  • Grab a bag of shredded coconut.
  • Fill food processor - nearly to the brim
  • Blend until smooth – 5-10 minutes
Get yo'self some shredded coconut. Trader Joe's has the best deal!

Get yo'self some shredded coconut. Trader Joe's has the best deal!

Throw a pinch of sea salt in there and let it whirl!

Throw a pinch of sea salt in there and let it whirl!

You can proceed from there and add fun things such as:

  • Salt
  • Vanilla
  • Dehydrated fruit – strawberries are a favorite
  • Cacao powder
  • pumpkin spice

From there, drizzle it on everything, replace your mid-afternoon snack attack with a
spoonful, or try one of these recipes:

  • Warm coconut butter on a freshly roasted sweet potato with cinnamon. Yes please!
  • PaleOMG’s apple pie bites. Hot damn!
  • Make mint chocolate coconut cups. Mmmmm.
  • Drizzle over berries or coconut oil sauteed apples. Sure thing!
  • Add 1-2 tbsp and blend into your favorite morning drink. Bring it!

Do note, unless it’s summer or you live in a sauna, coconut butter will harden.


If you don’t want to do any of that, try Eating Evolved and use my code (ERINHTMT) for a special treat when you place an order.

What else do you do with coconut butter??

Wednesday Wisdom: Do these pants make me look fat? And other fat lies.

Scanning through radio stations (am I the only one that still does this?), I heard something about coffee. With my attention piqued, I left the station be. Apparently there is recent report that said something to the effect of drinking 1-3 cups a day reduces your risk for a host of diseases like stroke and cancer. You can read it here. However, the thing that really caught my ear were the recommendations for what to put in your coffee.

Someone called in with essentially their bulletproof recipe of blending coffee, butter, and coconut oil. The DJ immediately responded with, "well that takes away all of the health benefits right there, not to mention will make you fat."

Rewind. What?

Um, Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore! 

It's official, I live in my own little Paleo bubble. 

I wanted to call in to say, "you think those 4 packets of sugar are better than a tbsp of butter in your coffee, blah, blah, blah."

Luckily for me, I arrived at BART, trading these dirty little thoughts for other dirty little thoughts about my ecstatic love affair with this ancient silver bullet that transports me to San Francisco. (just to be safe, since you can't see my face, enter as much sarcasm here as necessary). 

Okay, so where y'all at? Who read the most recent claims from the American Heart Association (AHA) about coconut oil being bad, bad, bad, and recommending polyunsaturated vegetable oils, such as corn, canola, and soy as good, good, good?

Rewind. What?

Um, Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore! 

What is happening to our country?

Obviously, and despite my naivety, not everyone is on the health wagon with me. 

I'm no doctor but last time I checked, the AHA also approves cocoa puffs as a nutritious staple in your diet. So, why the debacle?

For the full recap, you can read the reports and responses from Dr. David Perlmutter, author of The Grain Brain; biohacker Dave AspryDr. Hyman; read 21 arguments for and against coconut oil; and a couple of articles from the Observer; watch a panel discussion about the benefits of coconut oil with Robb Wolf, Gary Taubes, and others; and read a blog post from Liz Wolfe written in 2013 about the "demonization of saturated fat and cholesterol." 

Of course there are plenty more articles to agonize over, but this is a great start to help you formulate your own decision and path to take with coconut oil.

For me and my household, unless our bodies utterly reject coconut someday, I will not take it out of our diets. Back in 2011 as a newlywed, I remember walking up the steepest part of Madison Street from downtown Seattle to our little 1br apartment reading the Coconut Oil Miracle. It was mind-blowing and life changing.

Bottom line:

  • not all saturated fat is bad for you, especially the “good fats” in coconut oil - medium chain triglycerides
  • our body needs cholesterol, and is a fundamental component of every cell of our body. We need to know the difference between our personal LDL and HDL.

Wednesday Wisdom: Keep it Fresh


The moment we've all been waiting for is here. Windows are down, the swimsuits are ready, and the sunscreen has been applied. It’s SUMMER y’all! 

Yeah, yeah, it may have snowed last weekend in the Sierras but I'm fairly certain that was nature's last attempt to keep California drought free. We'll see if it worked. Ever since I was a kid I've been on drought watch so it's rather peculiar to say it's over!  

But summer, sun, and all things hot. With Farmer's Markets in full swing, ripe with summer's most delicious bounty of stone fruits, now is the time to make the freshest of fresh meals. I miss my friendly vendors at Pike Place Market and post-church, Sunday Ballard Farmer's Market in Seattle, but a close third is the Lake Merritt Farmer’s Market, in Oakland. My sweet find of english sweet peas induced a foray into buying all of the verdant veggies: baby kale, english peas, and asparagus. 

This salad is so easy, kid approved, and has a good kick of nutrients to boot. Give it a try today.

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 cups baby kale
  • 1 lb asparagus
  • 1 cup English sweet peas, minus the pod
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 2 T olive oil, separated; or just enough to dress (not drown) your greens
  • 2-4 chicken breasts (or a rotisserie chicken)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Roast, grill, steam or sauté:
1 lb asparagus
1 cup English sweet peas, minus the pod

Grill or roast
2 chicken breasts, preferably marinated in lemon juice for 10 min.

I grilled the asparagus and peas by wrapping them in foil with a bit of olive oil and salt. I then put them on a hot grill for about 15 minutes. You could also roast them in the oven at 400 degrees for the same amount of time. I had a roast chicken, however, an easy way to make chicken is to let it sit in lemon juice, salt and pepper, a minimum of 5 minutes per side. Grill or roast.   

While you’re cooking the asparagus and peas, massage the kale with the lemon, s+p,  and olive oil. Once the veggies are done, toss together with the kale and chicken. Could be topped with shaved Parmesan and pine nuts or almonds.