Lentil Soup and Adventures in a Minimal Kitchen

Lentil Soup and Adventures in a Minimal Kitchen

As you may or may not know, things have recently changed for me.

I have been in Cusco, Peru  for a month learning Spanish, and will be spending another month here before gallivanting around South America. Our home is a tiny apartamento.

And as I expected, things are very, very different here.

For example, eggs are sold in bags.

egg edited

And pineapples look like this:


And as far as home-making goes, the biggest change? We only have one piece of cooking equipment:


No oven, no microwave, no toaster, just this little guy.

And these are just the changes of home living. The streets, shops, restaurants, and everything here seem to function differently. Its not bad. In fact, its beautiful, and I feel incredibly lucky to be able to experience a different part of the world. So lucky.

Of course, being a person who has a one track mind (food), that is what I am going to focus on.

So far, we have eaten some incredible meals, like the vegan stand in the fresh market who makes the best falafel and soup I have ever hand. And on the other hand, we have had some hilarious kitchen mishaps (like beans we cooked for 2 days that were still hard, and quinoa stir fried with rocks). But honestly, there are many things you can do with a just a stove- I even found a recipe for stove top cookies, and those will definitely be tried very soon.

lentil meal

Lentil soup is something I have been making for years, and its wicked easy. And Honestly, if there were one piece of nutrition advice I could give people it would be: EAT MORE LEGUMES.

lentil up close

The tough thing is though, most people have never cooked lentils, and don’t know how to cook them. I personally make them at least once a week, and find them to be versatile and filling. And since its pretty cold here, lentil soup hits the spot.

Wanna know what I wear as a hat? A lentil

The good thing about this recipe is that you do not have to follow it to a T. I’ve used turnips, celeriac, shallots, and green onions in place of the vegetables and it always turns out great. The hardest part of the whole thing? Remembering to soak the lentils beforehand. Remember to do that, and you’re a superhero.

I promise that this will satisfy the legume skeptics and the meat die hards. It really is tasty.

Lentil Soup


1 cup of dried brown lentils, soaked and drained*

2 tsp of olive oil, vegetable oil, or butter (whatever oil you have on hand is fine really)

1 cup of diced carrots

1 cup diced celery

1 cup diced white onion

3 cloves of garlic

4-6 cups of broth (chicken and/or vegetable work well)

2-4 tsp of your favorite spices (I like oregano, rosemary, chives, sage, or turmeric)

salt and pepper to taste

*Soak lentils in water the night before you plan on making this recipe. Soak in a container large enough to have at least three inches of water over the lentils as they will swell with time. Alternatively, you can use the quick cooking method: combine 3 cups of water to 1 cup of dry lentils in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover tightly, reduce heat and simmer until  tender (usually takes about 45 minutes.)


In a large soup pan, place your oil, and heat on medium heat until glistening. Add in onions and saute for 2-4 minutes. Add garlic, and once fragrant, add in celery and carrot, as well as a dash of salt and your spices.

Saute vegetables until soft, and feel free to add in a bit of broth if they begin to stick to the bottom of the pan. You can also put on the cover and let them sit for a minute or two, you don’t have to constantly stir.

Once vegetables are soft, add in your drained lentils and your broth. Keep the heat on medium until boiling, then turn to low and let simmer for about half an hour. Taste the lentils to make sure they are soft, and add salt and pepper to taste. If they need to cook for a little bit longer, keep on low, and depending on how watery the soup is at this point, you also may want to add in a bit more broth. At this point, I like to mash some of the lentils either using an immersion blender or just the cooking spoon to make the texture more thick, but you can also skip this step.

Serve hot in a bowl with a big chunk o’ bread. Avocado is also great in this soup if you have it.


Summer Zucchini Salad

Summer Zucchini Salad

One of the things I love most about food is how easily it can evoke certain memories within us.

This summer, I’ve been volunteering with an amazing breastfeeding group in Providence, called Baby Cafe. We always have snacks available for the attendees, and one of the toddlers offered me some of his animal crackers, which I hadn’t had in a long time. They were in the little red cardboard box with the string  (does anyone remember these??!)

At my first taste, I was thrown back to grocery shopping with my Mom at Stop and Shop, and munching on them while in the supermarket cart seat.

Its long been known that memory recognition can be triggered by taste and smell, but I still find it to be pretty miraculous.

For me, this zucchini salad happens to be one of those foods. Here’s why:

A few years ago on an August morning, I woke up in a hotel room in the middle of Washington D.C. with a lot on my mind. I stayed the night in D.C. to break up the 12-hour drive to Rhode Island from Goldsboro, NC, where I had spent the summer completing a sustainable agriculture internship (that’s me in the orange shorts posing on the tractor). That morning, I woke up super early to finish and submit an essay in my online class before rush hour started.

But this wasn’t just any essay- it was the last assignment in the last class of my undergrad career. Once I handed it in, my bachelors degree would officially be completed. And on that day,  I was rushing home especially fast because my long-distance boyfriend, who had been living in California for a year, would also returning home to RI for good on that very same day. And in just a few short weeks, we would together embark on a cross-country road trip of our own- to live and work in Washington State.

As I was completing the assignment, one of my good friends texted to me to tell me that she wished I was coming home because she had an extra ticket to Newport Folk Festival the following day, with no one to give it to. For anyone not familiar, tickets for this typically sell out within a few hours and are super hard to come by. “Wait”, I texted back, “I will be home tomorrow! I’ll take the ticket!” I intermediately looked up the lineup for the festival, and saw that one of my favorite bands Trampled By Turtles would be playing. I couldn’t believe my luck, or the sheer craziness and significance of all the things happening to me that day.

Long story short, I completed the assignment, and made it back to RI to reunite with my boyfriend just as the sun was setting.

The next day, I quickly packed up a lunch for the festival, which included this salad, which I ate straight out of the container with a fork. I washed it down with a beer as I swayed and listened to one of my favorite bands. I felt so incredibly good. I was done with college. I was reunited with the man I loved. I was enjoying a band I had wanted to see forever. And I would be moving to the West Coast in just 3 weeks- a long-time dream. Everything in my life was coming together.

Every time I eat this, it brings little part of me back to that time.

And now, I’m embarking on another journey, except this time we are traveling to Cusco, Peru to learn Spanish and spend an unknown (!) amount of time traveling throughout South America.

I share this recipe with you because I think you will enjoy it- its easy to make, delicious, and something perfect to eat on a hot summer day. But I am also sharing it because it is a food that is significant to me, and a food that brings me joy. I hope that you are also finding joy in your life this summer, and that you have foods in your repertoire that can also elicit fond memories, joy, and happiness.


Happy summer, happy journeys, and happy eating. And thanks to my Mom for this recipe!

Summer Zucchini Salad (6 servings)


2 medium zucchini, shredded and drained*

1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup of fresh chopped herbs (parsley, basil, and cilantro all work well here)

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

chopped dried or fresh herbs such as oregano, Italian seasoning, or thyme (optional)

** For zucchini, shred with a cheese grater and squeeze out over a colander to remove excess water. If not done, salad will be a bit more watery but still delicious.


Combine vegetables, chopped herbs, and shredded cheese in a large bowl. In a separate smaller bow, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix with vegetables and combine.

Lasts in the fridge for up to 4 days and can be served room temperature or cold.


6 Tips on Securing Preceptors for Distance Dietetic Internships

6 Tips on Securing Preceptors for Distance Dietetic Internships

This is a blog post I wrote for Student Scoop, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics blog for students. If you’re not in the field of nutrition, this may not apply much to you, but feel free to read on anyways! View the original post and student scoop blog here. 


Photo: gpointstudio/iStock/Thinkstock

Many students rule out applying to distance programs because they think it’s too hard to find preceptors. Don’t let this be you! I don’t regret one second of my distance program, which allowed me to stay in my location of choice while saving a boatload of money. Here are six tips to help you find preceptors and create the internship of your dreams.

Follow Your Passions

Before you start picking your rotations, ask yourself what your interests are and see if you can match them to your rotations. Doing this will not only create a more enjoyable experience for you, but also will help you get your foot in the door and make connections in the area you want to work in. In my opinion, this is one of the biggest advantages of a distance program. You can tailor it to you!

Reach Out Way Earlier Than You Think You Should

Reaching out early makes a potential preceptor more likely to say yes because they will have a clearer calendar and lots of time to prepare. Most internships will require you to at least have your clinical rotation — the hardest one to find! — set up when you submit to DICAS, so starting the process at least a few months before the deadline is a good idea.

Really Do Your Research

When I was contacting potential preceptors for my clinical rotation, I played phone tag for weeks with one RDN. When we finally connected, I learned her facility was a rehabilitation hospital. My internship required an acute-care clinical setting, so her facility would not qualify. If I had just done a little bit of research on the hospital’s website I would have known this and could have saved my time and hers. Bottom line? Do your research and know who you are calling before you pick up the phone.

Have Your Info Ready

If a potential preceptor asks how many weeks you would need at the facility and you don’t know, that doesn’t help them or you. At a minimum, know the date you would be starting, how many weeks/hours are required, the specific projects and duties you need to complete, and if there are any forms or contracts they need to fill out.

Become a Private Investigator

Use any avenue you can to find preceptor contact information. LinkedIn is an excellent and underutilized resource for this. Let’s say you are looking to intern with an RDN at X Hospital. If you type “X Hospital Dietitian” into the LinkedIn search bar, an RDN working at X Hospital just might come up, as well as their contact info. Attending your local Academy affiliate meetings is another great resource, and don’t forget that the Academy also has a great preceptor database!

Stay Hopeful

Don’t expect everyone you contact to say yes to you right away. I probably contacted 20 people before I got a yes for my clinical rotation. If you keep on keepin’ on, eventually you will find an awesome placement! This process truly is a great lesson in persistence, networking and putting yourself out there — and you will be better for it.  Don’t give up hope!

Feeling Our Fullness- Something We Are Born With- Spilling the Beans Guest Blog Post

Feeling Our Fullness- Something We Are Born With- Spilling the Beans Guest Blog Post

I feel really lucky to have been a guest blogger on my South Dakota friend Amanda Lambrechts’ blog Spilling the Beans! She is putting her spin on the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating, so I took on Principle #5- Honoring Your Fullness.

During my time as a  breastfeeding counselor, I learned a lot about honoring fullness- babies are expert teachers on this topic.

Super stoked to have people like Amanda out there spreading the word about intuitive eating and health at every size. Check out her blog or her Instagram for more info about the 10 Principles, as well as some great recipes.

Principle Five_ Feel Your Fullness



Back in 2016 when I underwent training to become a Certified Lactation Counselor, one of the first concepts I learned was the importance of feeding on demand. In plain terms, this means feeding infants when they are hungry and stopping when they are full- and can apply to both breastfed and formula-fed infants.

Here’s how it works: If an infant is moving their hands or fists into their mouth, making sucking noises, or moving their arms and legs and whimpering, these are cues they may be hungry and should be offered a feeding. On the other hand, if they close their mouth, stop sucking, or turn away from a feeding, these are cues they could be full.Even the tiniest of newborns can communicate these hunger and fullness cues to their caregivers, which is pretty cool!

With the exception of pre-term infants or infants with certain medical conditions2, knowing exactly when, how much, and for how long to eat is an innate knowingness that infants are born with—that we are ALL born with!

Principle 5 Quote Pic

However, for an infant caregiver or parent who may be accustomed to feeding based on portion sizes and food rules, feeding on demand can look very irregular. If fed on demand, some infants may do something called “cluster feeding”, where they want to eat every hour for a number of hours (eating more than you could imagine!)- then go many hours without wanting to feed at all. Unfortunately, clinicians taught by conventional diet culture may also see this type of feeding as abnormal, and may prescribe feeding certain amounts at certain times.

But on a regimented schedule, infants are forced to eat when they are full and refused food when they are hungry.3 Besides not allowing them to trust their innate biology, enforcing this structured feeding can lead to an infant developing side effects like reflux, gassiness, colic, or even rapid or slowed growth. When this happens, a caregiver may want to stop breastfeeding altogether, in favor of some “special” formula to relieve their infant’s “symptoms”- which may never have never have existed in the first place had they fed according to their infant’s hunger fullness cues.4,5

Why I’m bringing this up is to point out that for so many of us, our ability to honor our fullness is skewed before we are even able to walk. And even if you were fed on demand as an infant, chances are your internal regulation may have been skewed as you went through childhood. Clean plate club anyone?

We are taught from a young age that we cannot trust our bodies to know how much to eat. Diet culture tells us there is one recommended portion size for each food, and that this portion size should be used for all people. That’s kind of crazy, considering how different everyone is physically, mentally, and metabolically. Portion sizes have nothing to do with how you should eat. How you eat should be determined by what makes you feel good, and honoring your hunger and fullness.

Trying to find what fullness means for us can be a struggle. I hear you on that. Many of us may have no idea what comfortable satiety looks like. Sure, we may know what it feels like to overeat and be stuffed, but actually feeling full eludes us. A big reason why I named my blog Feeling Full Nutrition is because I want to help people to know what it feels like to feel a sense of joy and satisfaction after a meal. Even if this seems like a far-off dream for you, it is something you can do, because you were born knowing how.


First, take the blame off yourself for having difficulty feeling your fullness. This is not a personal character flaw. I hope from this post, you’ve learned that diet culture, portion sizes, and feeding schedules are instilled in us from a young age.  Its something that’s been drilled into you. Know that you can and will unlearn this.

Secondly, learn what comfortable fullness actually feels like. Here are some descriptions by clients of the authors of the Intuitive Eating Book:

  • A subtle feeling of stomach fullness
  • Feeling satisfied and content
  • Nothingness- neither hungry nor full6

The sensation is unique to everyone, and is difficult to describe. The authors of Intuitive Eating even compare it to describing what snow feels like- you can describe it endlessly, but you have to feel it yourself to truly know.

Once you have thought about this, work on conscious eating to develop a comfortable fullness level for yourself. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Pause in the middle of a snack or meal to check in with yourself. Check in with how your body and taste buds feel. Does the food taste good? Or are you eating it just because it is there? Does your body feel comfortable? Are you still feeling physically hungry? Are you beginning to feel physically full?
  • Don’t feel obligated to leave food on your plate, or finish it all. As chronic dieters or chronic members of the clean plate club, this can be difficult. But instead of thinking about how much you are eating, be fully present with the sensations in your body to tell you when you are finished.
  • Whenever do you finish eating, ask yourself where you are with your fullness. You may want to use the scale back from principle number two.

Remember to be patient with yourself and know that this is a process.  It may take you a long time to get to the point where you feel comfortable feeling your fullness. But remember, you were born knowing how to do this. And even if it may be a feeling buried deep within you, its there.

Here are some journal prompts to work through for the fifth principle.

Principle 5 Prompts

Special thanks to Amanda for this opportunity!


  1. DiSantis, K, Hodges E, Johnson S, Fisher J. The role of responsive feeding in overweight during infancy and toddlerhood: a systematic review. Int J Obes. 2011;35:480–492.
  2. McCormick F, Tosh K, McGuire W. Ad libitum or demand/semi-demand feeding versus scheduled interval feeding for preterm infants. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;2:138-139.
  3. Fildes A, Cornelia H, van Jaarsveld A, Llewellyn C, Wardle J, Fisher A. Parental control over feeding in infancy. Influence of infant weight, appetite and feeding method. 2015;91:101–106.
  4. Hodge S, Murphy P. Crying Newborns: The colic and reflux situation in New Zealand as depicted by online questionnaires. Int J Community Based Nurs Midwifery. 2014;6(8):97-107.
  5. Ventura AK, Inamdar LB, Mennella JA. Consistency in infants’ behavioural signalling of satiation during bottle-feeding. Pediatr Obes. 2015;10(3):180-7.
  6. Tribole, E. & Resch, E. (2012). Intuitive eating, 3rd edition. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Griffin.
  7. Iacovou M, Sevilla A. Infant feeding: the effects of scheduled vs. on-demand feeding on mothers’ wellbeing and children’s cognitive development. Eur J Public Health. 2013;23(1):13-9.
  8. Rodgers RF, Paxton SJ, Massey R, Campbell KJ, Wertheim EH, Skouteris H, Gibbons K. Maternal feeding practices predict weight gain and obesogenic eating behaviors in young children: a prospective study. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2013;10:24.
  9. Tylka TL, Lumeng JC, Eneli IU. Maternal intuitive eating as a moderator of the association between concern about child weight and restrictive child feeding. 2015;95:158-65.
  10. Lampl M, Johnson M. Infant Growth in Length Follows Prolonged Sleep and Increased Naps. 2011:34(5):641-650.
  11. Brick, N. Ad Libitum or Demand/Semi-demand Feeding Versus Scheduled Interval Feeding for Preterm Infants. Clin Nurse Spec.

Chocolate Coconut Bites

Chocolate Coconut Bites

I’ve struggled with iron deficiency since I was young. Having been a vegetarian from age 7-16 but also a picky eater, I almost exclusively ate bread and cheese for every meal. And french fries. When I first found out I was iron-deficient in high school, I started really paying attention to nutrition, so much so that I decided to make it my LIFE! Who knew? Now that I am an omnivore who eats mostly plant-based, my iron has improved- but I still pay close attention to it. In fact, when I used to work at WIC, we checked all of our patient’s hemoglobin (a bio-marker of iron levels) using a finger stick- so I got to check my iron all the time!

Iron is a component of our blood, and it helps bring energy to our muscles and cells. Women lose a large amount blood every month through menstruation, and also during childbirth. Interestingly, iron deficiency is not a common problem for grown men, and it also is less of a problem for women after menopause. If you experience heavy menstrual bleeding or are pregnant, you may really want to pay attention to your iron intake. You can find out more about the importance of iron, and iron deficiency, and good sources of iron here.

Cacao is a good source of iron, as well as magnesium. I mention this because magnesium, in conjunction with calcium, is involved in muscle contraction and blood clotting. Soooooo, during menstruation, it would make sense that a woman might crave chocolate, because it could replete the nutrients lost, and could also help with cramping! Yes!!! Make sure you tell that to anyone making fun of you for having chocolate cravings. Then, proceed to give them some of these chocolate bites. 

This is a recipe that I made up about a year ago after realizing how delicious coconut butter is. I’ve had friends, family, and co-workers try this and its always been a huge hit. I often get asked for the recipe, but I haven’t been able to give it until now- usually I just throw the stuff in a bowl and I use different ingredients every time! Today I decided to measure my amounts, so what follows is a basic recipe.

However, these little guys are pretty versatile- I’ve also added protein powder, hemp seeds, hemp meal, and flax seeds to these on other occasions and they’ve always been delicious. I also once used cocoa powder in place of the chocolate bar, which you can do, but they won’t hold together as well. These little guys are full of iron, magnesium, fiber, and a bit of protein. They are great for women at that time of the month especially, but can be enjoyed by anyone all the time!

Coconut Chocolate Bites 

choc balls

Should make about one dozen bite sized treats

  • 100 grams or one large bar of at least 70% dark chocolate (I personally use this brand because I love their chocolate and they are fair trade. Learn why that’s important here. Another good brand is Equal Exchange. A RDN who works for them also explains iron in chocolate here.)
  • 1/2 cup coconut butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (or any other liquid sweetener of your choice. I’ve also used honey in this recipe and it worked well.)
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup to 1 cup of nut meal (I’ve personally used almond and hazelnut, both worked great)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)


Break the chocolate bar into individual pieces and place in a large glass bowl, with the coconut butter. Place in a microwave for one minute, stopping at 30 seconds to stir, or, use a double boiler until all of the chocolate is melted.

Once mixture is melted, slowly add in your sweetener. This is actually a really cool step. When you add your liquid sweetener you will see that the chocolate begins to seize up into a paste! This is because even in a liquid state, chocolate is a relatively dry product, so adding any sort of liquid to it will cause it to act like flour and create a paste. #foodscience

Next, add the chia seeds and incorporate well so they start doing their binding gelling magic. Then, add in nut meal, vanilla, and sea salt. At this point, your mixture should be clumpy and should easily be rolled into balls. If it’s too liquidy, you can add more nut meal, and if its too dry you can add in some water or milk of your choice.

Form the clumps into bite-sized balls by using your hands. Optional step: place unsweetened coconut flakes in a bowl or on a plate and roll in chocolate balls (this is best to do when they are still warm so the coconut will stick. I also think rolling in nut meal could be good here if you don’t like shredded coconut!). Store in a Tupperware or on a covered plate in the refrigerator for up to 12 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

choc balls close up


What does Health Look Like?

What does Health Look Like?

Here are two memories:

The first is when I was 14. I came down with severe food poisoning. It felt like I was dying. The only things I could get down my throat for two weeks were small sips of water and grapefruit (very weird I know). My mom and I both thought maybe I had E. Coli, but the various parasites/bacteria/ the like I got tested for all came back negative, so to this day I do not know what the cause was. I was treated with antibiotics and slowly started feeling better.

I remember feeling so happy to be returning to school after two weeks of being home. On my first day back, during my last period history class, one of the “popular” girls came up to me and said “Oh my God, Cate! You look so good! You look so thin!”

I remember this moment vividly because at the time, her words made me feel good. I felt good that I had gotten sick and that I looked thinner. I felt good that I had probably lost about 10 lbs in 2 weeks. I felt proud.

The second is when I was 22. It took me 5 years to graduate college. My last year, I lived at home with my parents. I had a full course load and two part-time jobs, and my parents were always on my back about improving my grades. I was in constant fear that I wouldn’t graduate that spring due to my grades (and I came really close). I was probably getting an average of 5 hours of sleep a night, and it was during this time that I had one of the only two panic attacks I have ever had in my life (the second was during the swimming portion of my first triathlon. I am not a good swimmer.) I was also taking medication for my learning disability which made me have virtually no appetite, so I was eating whatever I could scrap together whenever I remembered to, and I was dealing with all this stress by running 5-6x/week. It was probably one of the most unhappy and unhealthy times in my life.

During this time, I also got into rock climbing. It was a good way to relieve my stress. I remember one night I was climbing with my friend when a girl from my major at school that I had known for years came up to me and commented on my weight, saying how good I looked. “Wow, are you running a lot or something?”, she said. “You look really thin.” I told her that yes, I had been running a lot, and again, I remember a looming feeling of proudness about my thinness.

At some of the sickest, and most unwell times in my life, I have had people go out of their way to come up to me and tell me how good and healthy I looked, as compared to the times when I was actually really very well.

This really gets me wondering: what does health look like? Thinness? Quick weight loss? Hollow faces and protruding collarbones? I am not saying thin people can’t be healthy- there are all types of bodies, and they can all be healthy- including thin people- but the general consensus seems to be that fat = unhealthy and thin = healthy, but guess what?

The gravitational pull of your body mass to the universe has absolutely NOTHING to do with health. You cannot tell how healthy someone is by how thin/fat they are. I speak with patients every day, many who have cancer, or GI issues, or major depressive disorder, or other disorders, who are losing weight very rapidly, and let me tell you, this is NOT HEALTHY. So why do we praise people for losing weight, regardless of the context or cause?

I want to re-direct where this blog is going and incorporate more thought-provoking pieces about these types of issues. There will still be recipes on here, but if I didn’t talk about all the issues at hand, I would disservice the nutrition community, and public health in general.

If you want to read about pioneers (including health professionals and dietitians) who are also questioning the relationship of weight to health, check out the Health at Every Size movement. Its a concept I am just diving into, but it makes so much sense.

I entered into the field of nutrition initially because I thought eating things like kale would save the world, but along the way I found there were bigger fights to fight. We put weight on such a pedestal that we sacrifice our health at the expense of losing weight. And that, my friends, is the opposite of what I personally set out to do, so I won’t promote that. Ever. 

There is SO.MUCH.WORK.TO.DO. Let’s get to it.

How to Grow Your Own Food Year Round

How to Grow Your Own Food Year Round
A window box herb garden I put together

As a twenty-something living in a tiny apartment in a busy city, you can imagine I don’t have much room to grow my own food. As someone who grew up gardening and working on organic farms, this can be a bit frustrating. There is really nothing like growing and picking your own food! Though there is not much greenery in my neighborhood, I have done a lot of experimenting with vegetables during the summer to see what grows well in pots, and feel I have gotten this down pat! One of the best parts about growing in pots? No weeding! Since I have been doing this for a few seasons, I figured I could share some tips with you, especially when it comes to growing in the wintertime.

I have found that swiss chard, heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, kale, and herbs all grow relatively well contained in pots. I tend to just put them on my steps on lining my driveway in the summer, and I can usually pick from them all summer long. The problem with living in New England however, is that the growing season here is relatively short. Most farmers switch to greenhouse growing or tunneling during the winter to continue to grow during the winter, but that is quite an undertaking to do on a city block. To see what grows in your state, check out Pick Your Own’s Harvest Calendars by State.

First kale harvest! And some of my pots in the background.

But one thing you can grow year round is herbs, and they can be a wonderful addition to your cooking! Some of the best year round herbs tend to be some of the heartier types- my favorites are lemon balm, mint, rosemary, oregano, and thyme. Basil is my most favorite herb of all time, and it grows really well here in the summer. Sadly, it is not too well-suited for winter. Every winter however, I still try to give it a go and end up with a measly and browning basil plant that looks really sad. Oh well!

Another way to continue growing food in cities is by joining community gardens. The garden I joined last summer is called Peace and Plenty Garden (how cute is that name) and doing so was one of the best decisions I have made since moving to Providence. Stepping into the garden feels like entering a world different from the hustling bustling streets of Providence. One of the best parts of joining and growing is the interaction with other gardeners, who can give you tips and share tools and seeds. At Peace and Plenty, we have a lot of gardeners from other countries, who grow their own cultural foods. Some of the friends I have made there are growing the coolest things like Long Beans, and Habanero Peppers. We often get together for work days in the garden, and I love talking to other gardeners about how they grow and cook these foods.


Peace and Plenty Garden, ft. cute signs made by local schoolchildren.

There are so many beautiful gardens throughout Providence and in Rhode Island, if you are looking to join one in Providence specifically, check out this resource  from Southside Community Landtrust.

For community gardens in Rhode Island, look at this guide from Farm Fresh RI.

Or, if you don’t live in RI, check out community gardens where you live here.

Happy growing!

A Green Drink

A Green Drink

I think everyone has their version of this drink. It’s a great way to get in your greens for the day without woofing down a salad. But not all green drinks are created equal.

If you own a juicer, you will have noticed all that gobbeldy gunk that gets extracted as you make the juice, known as the pulp. You might also notice how many gosh darn fruits and veggies it takes to make one ounce of juice.

That is because when you juice something, you are taking out the fiber. And fiber is  an important, and ESSENTIAL part of every diet. It helps ya poo. It helps ya feel feel full- and without it, ya gut goes: “Hay, whaddabout me?”

You see, the lil’ microbes in your gut actually eat the fiber you eat. This keeps them happy and doing all the things they need to do. Without it, they get pretty sad and tired, and tend to back you up and make you bloated. Not to mention that there are a ton of nutrients bound to that fiber that you are loosing when making a juice. Juice has no fiber. 

Of course juicing can be a delicious and healthy habit, but don’t equate drinking a green juice with eating a whole bunch of kale. Its not the same thing.  A better option is to throw all the things in a blender. They’ll be chunkier, but your gut will thank you.


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A Green Drink

(this is a great one to start with, but I would encourage you to create your own!)

1/3 cup frozen mango

1/3 cup frozen pineapple

1 cup of greens like kale, swiss chard, or spinach

1 tsp fresh grated ginger

1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon

1 cup of coconut water (plain water works too)

1 tsp spirulina powder (optional)

1 tsp matcha green tea powder (optional)


Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend until all the greens and fruit have pureed to a juice consistency. Pour in a glass and enjoy.




Cauliflower Quesadillas

Cauliflower Quesadillas

cauliflower quesadilla

Cauliflower is trending. Cauliflower is the new thing. Cauliflower rice, cauliflower steaks, cauliflower mash, etc, etc. Its really only a matter of time before people start grinding it up and putting it in their hair as a leave-in conditioner or leaving a floret hanging down from their rear view mirror as an ornament or something like that.
I first experienced this taste explosion at Diego’s in Newport, RI, which is one of my all time favorite go-to Mexican restaurants. You can learn more about them here . This is a unique quesadilla substitute for the average chicken-filled Q.

Cauliflower Quesadillas Recipe

(Adapted From Diego’s Newport)


(makes 4)

1 medium head of cauliflower, chopped into bite size pieces

1/2 medium red onion (chopped fine)

1 can black beans (low sodium), drained

2 small garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

1 jalapeño pepper, diced.

8 medium corn tortillas

3/4 cup cheddar cheese (or your favorite cheese), shredded

olive oil

salt and pepper

cilantro for topping (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 425. Spread chopped cauliflower on a baking sheet and toss with salt, pepper, and olive oil to coat. Roast for 20 minutes or until they begin to brown.

Meanwhile, heat up one medium size saute pan on medium heat with 2 tsp olive oil. Saute red onion until translucent, then add chopped garlic cloves and jalapeño. Cook for 1 more minute then add black beans until hot. Remove from heat. Once cauliflower is done cooking, add to bean mix and season to taste. 

Lay out 4 tortillas and spread 1/8 cup cauliflower filling and 1/8 cup shredded cheese to each. Place second 4 tortillas on top as lids. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, coat lightly with olive oil and reduce heat to medium-low. Add uncooked tortillas with filling to pan and cook until slightly charred. Flip and do other side. repeat with remaining 5 quesadillas.

Beet Latkes

Beet Latkes

A couple of years ago we were celebrating my hippest friend’s graduation from the Rhode Island School of Design, and visited a local vegetarian restaurant The Garden Grille. When perusing the Menu, her veg-skeptical father shouted “Beet Latkes!?!” and so I ordered them and forced him to try. Man, were they good.

I love a good latke, there is really nothing like them. I have been picking up beets almost every week here at the farmer’s market, and had been looking for easy ways to prepare them, when I had a vision of those latkes we celebrated with not so long ago. And guess what? My friends father? He loved ’em!! (And if Fred likes them, so will you).

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Beet Latkes

(Warning: Your kitchen may be filled with pink smudges after this cooking adventure)

2 Beets, Shredded

1 Potato, Shredded

1 Onion, Shredded

2 Large eggs, Beaten

1/4 cup of AP Flour

Salt, Pepper, and Spices to taste

About 4 Tbsp Olive or Vegetable Oil

Shred veggies with a vegetable (or cheese grater like I did) and combine in a large bowl. Add 2 beaten eggs and mix thoroughly. Mix in flours and spices to taste.

Heat vegetable oil or olive oil in a large skillet, enough generously cover the bottom of the pan. Turn stove top to high heat, until glistening. Add 1 Tbsp latke mix and press down with fork. After 2-3 minutes, or until brown, flip to cook other side. Transfer to a plate covered with a towel to collect excess oil, and repeat until batter is gone. Makes about two dozen. Enjoy on salads, or alone to dip in your favorite sauce or sour cream.