Roasted Beet Pasta Sauce with Thyme (V/GF)

Roasted Beet Pasta Sauce with Thyme (V/GF)

Creamy and addictive, this roasted beet pasta sauce with thyme (Vegan and Gluten-Free) has a secret ingredient: avocado!

In the Kitchen 101 Series

With every recipe I create, I love to share some behind-the-scenes cooking and nutritional info with the hope of getting you excited and informed about cooking and your health!  Here’s what we’re learning today:

The wonders of blending an avocado.

At what point in a recipe should you add fresh herbs to your dish?

A super simple way to enjoy kale! (no, it’s not raw)

Hi everyone!  This week I have the pleasure of being featured in my friend Miky’s Slow Living Blog.  Miky and I got to know each other through Instagram.  Her posts are always so thoughtful and lovely, you’ll find yourself wanting a cup of tea or coffee and curling up on the couch to read them! If you’d like to check out her blog and read a bit more about me, here you go!

In other news that’s not really news at all, we have already hit mid-November!  For me, this is just kiiiiind of mind-blowing.  This may have something to do with a certain someone turning 30 in February  (Yes, yours truly). Maybe not.  Either way, with the end of the year approaching, I’ve started to reflect on 2017 as well as give thought to my goals and plans for 2018.

In February I’ll begin my studies in holistic nutrition at Baumann College.  I’ve been thinking about studying nutrition since our time in Ireland in 2014, and now that it’s about to become a reality I have so many ideas popping around in my head with what I would like to do!

Concerning the blog, there will be some exciting changes taking place for 2018!  I will not be writing as much these next two months in preparation for these cha-cha-changes, so expect maybe only one more new recipe until the new year!

And now on to the beet pasta sauce….

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If you have never blended an avocado before, you are in for a real treat.  The creamy texture you get from a blended avocado is incomparable to any other ingredient, except perhaps soaked cashews.  It may sound like I’m exaggerating, but it realllllly gets me going.  When you add an avocado to your smoothie or nice cream, a chia pudding, chocolate frosting, or as we find out here – in a pasta sauce – you get the texture you’re looking for without sacrificing the taste of the main flavor you’re hoping to highlight. In this case, it’s the beets.

When making a recipe that calls for fresh herbs, it’s always best to add in the herbs close to the end of the cooking time.  This will preserve more of the flavor.  However if you’re planning on adding in dried herbs or spices, adding them close to the beginning of the recipe is best.

I love adding roasted kale to this recipe, and it’s a very easy add-on. All you need to do is wash a few stalks of kale, rub some olive oil on them, and stick them on the pan with the roasted beets the last 4-5 minutes before the beets are done! Easy peasy.

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Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

This recipe will be more than enough for 500g of pasta, be it spaghetti or a penne.  And talk about the color – kids will love it!  And, um, adults too….. wink wink 😉

If you make this dish, tag me #sproutingradiance !  I love seeing you do how you do.  Give me a holla @marypardoux on InstagramFacebook, or Pinterest!

Roasted Beet Pasta Sauce with Thyme 


  • 1 1/2 cups roasted beets, peeled and diced (about 3-4 beets), some will be leftover for topping
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water (a bit more for a thinner consistency)
  • 1-500g bag of pasta of choice (gluten-free if on a GF diet)
  • 2-3 stalks of kale (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • optional toppings: sliced almonds, fresh thyme leaves


  1. Heat oven to 400F/204C.  Toss diced beets on a baking sheet with coconut oil and a dash of salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until tender.  When they have about 5 minutes left, add the kale to the pan, if using (see directions above in post).
  2. Bring a pot of water with 1tsp salt for the pasta to boil.  Cook pasta as directed on package.
  3. While the beets are in the oven and the water is being brought to a boil, dice the onion.  Saute in a lightly oiled pan for 7-8 minutes until translucent.
  4. While the onions are sauteeing, add the avocado, lemon juice, thyme, oil, and 1tsp salt and pepper to a blender.  When the pasta is done, reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and add it with the other ingredients to the blender.
  5. When the beets are finished, add 1 1/2 cups to the blender along with the sauteed onion and blend all ingredients on high for 1-2 minutes, or until you reach a creamy texture.  If you like the sauce thinner, add in more pasta water.
  6. Mix the pasta and sauce together in the pot or pan.  You may not need all of the pasta sauce – your call! Top with sliced almonds, fresh thyme leaves, any leftover beets, and kale.

A (healthy) fat-filled smoothie bowl

A (healthy) fat-filled smoothie bowl

Super simple yet oh-so-delicious, this versatile smoothie bowl (V/GF) is chocked full of healthy fats!

In the Kitchen 101 Series

With every recipe I create, I love to share some behind-the-scenes cooking and nutritional info with the hope of getting you excited and informed about cooking and your health!  Here’s what we’re learning today:

Which fats are good for you and why?

How do I get my smoothie to have a super thick consistency (you know, like the kind you need to eat with a spoon), aka smoothie bowl?


I first made this smoothie this summer when the temps were high.  I know, I know, fall is already in full swing and the smoothie bowl cravings are at an (almost) all time low, what with the cold weather upon us.  BUT I had to share this smoothie bowl recipe before I forgot about it.  And, come on – who still doesn’t enjoy the occasional smoothie bowl/ice cream in winter?? I know I can’t be the only one…

This smoothie has coconut milk, avocado, and flax seeds in it.  Yes, a lot of fatty-filled foods – but they’re the GOOD kind.

Yes, there is such a thing as good fats.

Now, I’m not an expert on fats (at least not until I start my studies), and so I’m not going to get into a big debate between saturated and unsaturated fats today.  Even the “bad guys” (saturated fats) can sometimes be the “good guys”, as you’ll see below.

No, today we’re just going to focus mainly on UNSATURATED fats.

Okay, yes, we’ll call them the good guys.

These good guys can help lower cholesterol and lower your risk for heart disease.  There are two kinds of unsaturated fats: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.

Polyunsaturated fats are required for normal body functions.  HOWEVER, your body cannot make them, therefore you need to get them from the food you eat.  These fats are required for blood clotting, muscle movement, and inflammation.

Let’s take a look at the kind of fats in MY smoothie:

Avocados: High in monosaturated fats.  Monosaturated fats fight heart disease, strengthens bones, and may even boost your mood!

Coconut milk: Contains lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that is technically a saturated fat.  But don’t fear!  The fat found in coconut milk has been shown to build muscle, prevent fatigue, and improve heart health.  HOWEVER it’s best to limit your consumption to 1/4-1/2 cup at one sitting.

Flax seeds: High in omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat.  Omega-3’s help your cardiovascular health, lower inflammation, and boost your immunity.  Just a few things among many other benefits!


……Now, let’s switch gears a bit.

Have you ever seen those drool-worthy smoothie bowls and thought man, how do they get their smoothies to be so thick and creamy??

The trick is in the amount of liquid you add.

Seems kind of obvious now, doesn’t it?  But it’s actually a little bit trickier than it sounds.  Here’s what I like to do:  I add in all of my ingredients, and start blending to see if it will start coming together without any liquid.  If not, then I start with just ONE tablespoon of liquid (usually water, maybe a plant-based milk).  Start blending again, and if after 30-40 seconds it still hasn’t started coming together and you’ve already tried stopping to mix it with a spoon, add in another tablespoon of water.

Basically, just keep adding a tiny bit of water until it starts blending together.  DON’T add in a lot of water at once in the beginning.  Take it slowwwwww.

I like this smoothie because it’s very versatile – in place of the raspberries, you can add whatever berry you like.  In place of flax seeds, try adding chia seeds, which are also high in omega-3’s.

Don’t forget to tag me #sproutingradiance if you make any of my creations!  I love seeing you do how you do.  Give me a holla @marypardoux on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest!


A (healthy) fat-filled smoothie bowl


  • 1 /2 avocado
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 TBSP ground flax seed (or chia seeds)
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries (or berry of choice)
  • 1-2 TBSP water or plant-based milk, if needed
  • Optional toppings: frozen fruit, puffed grains, coconut flakes, nuts, seeds, nut butters, etc.


  1. Add all ingredients to the blender.  Blend on high for 1-2 minutes.  If the ingredients do not start coming together after 30-40 seconds, keep adding in 1 TBSP water until it starts blending together (though you should need no more than 2 TBSP, 1 should do the trick).
  2. Pour into bowls and add toppings!


apple and white bean soup with homemade sage croutons

apple and white bean soup with homemade sage croutons

Say hello to fall with this apple and white bean soup topped with homemade sage croutons!

In the Kitchen 101 Series

With every recipe I create, I love to share some behind-the-scenes cooking and nutritional info with the hope of getting you excited and informed about cooking and your health!  Here’s what we’re learning today:

What the heck is a roux and how to make one.


On Instagram I am collaborating with more than eighty other food bloggers to share a fall-ingredient recipe! (actually, I’m in two different fall-themed collaborations! Check out the other one here.) And if you haven’t guessed it already from the title, yes-it’s apples!

Apples always bring sweet recipes and memories to mind…apple strudel, apple picking, bobbing for apples as a kid (are kids still allowed to do that in schools?). And while I looooove desserts that feature apples, I wanted to try something savory.  And I landed on soup.

There are many delicious soup recipes out there that have apples in them, but they are usually in accompaniment to the main player such as squash or sweet potatoes.  I wanted to see if I could make a soup that featured apple as the main flavor, a soup that you knew off the bat that there was apple in it – but still keeping it a main dish and savory.

Enter white beans.

Apples and white beans.

And I can never leave my soup un-topped, so I thought some croutons would taste nice in there.

Sage-flavored croutons.

Nothing says fall like a creamy soup, so I decided that even though you end up blending the soup in the end, I wanted to make sure it stayed extra thick, enter the roux.

A roux is a technique used for thickening (mainly) soups and sauces.  Pronounced “roo”, it’s an equal combintion of fat (typically butter, but oil will do) and flour.  Basically you heat the pan, add the fat, then add the flour in, and then SLOWLY add in a liquid (broth or milk) and keep stirring, and I say slowly because otherwise the sauce or soup you are trying to create will not thicken as it is supposed to and you will get verrrrry frustrated because you missed out on the extra creaminess factor.


If you are deciding on using a dairy milk with a higher percentage of fat for your milk of choice, there may be no need in making the roux.  But since I don’t drink dairy milk I haven’t tried it, so if you do give it a shot without the roux, let me know how it turns out!

This soup really made me smile and put me in quite the fall food mood, and I hope it does for you too!

I love getting feedback and seeing your creations so please be sure to give me a holla on Instagram @marypardoux, facebook, or leave a comment below!

And while you’re in the fall mood, be sure to check out the blogs below (underneath the recipe) to see what everyone else has made!


Apple and white bean soup with sage croutons



  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • 2 cups cooked white beans (about 1 1/2 cans)
  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • 1 1/2 cups broth
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 medium-sized apples of choice (I used Elster), 1/2 reserved for toppings


  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2-3 large sage leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup bread, torn or cut into small cubes



  1. Heat 2TBS oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot.  Add in the onion.
  2. After a few minutes add in the garlic, celery, and sage.  Season with salt and pepper and stir for about one minute.
  3. Start making the roux.  There should still be a bit of oil left with the veggies (if there’s not, add 1-2tsp extra).  Add in the 1/4 cup flour to coat the veggies.  Then slowly add in the 1 1/2 cups broth, stirring constantly until it is thickened.
  4. Add in the white beans, apples, and milk.  Bring to a near-boil and let simmer for 5-7 minutes.
  5. Working in batches, add the soup to a blender and mix until creamy.  You can also use an immersion blender and blend right in the pot.
  6. Serve into individual bowls, and top with chopped apple, sage leaves, and sage-flavored croutons (instructions below).


  1. Pre-heat oven to
  2. In a large bowl, coat the torn or cut bread cubes with the oil and season with the chopped sage, salt, and pepper, and spread out onto a baking tray.
  3. Bake in the oven for


Want more apple inspiration? Check out what everyone else made below!

Cloudy Kitchen’s Salted Caramel and Apple Babka

Square Meal Round Table’s Chai Spiced Tarte Tatin

The Wood and Spoon’s Maple Apple Cake

The Cooking of Joy’s Deep Fried Apple Dumplings with Miso Caramel Dipping Sauce

Pensive Foodie’s Mini Bacon Crusted Apple Pies

My Kitchen Love’s Bird’s Nest Caramel Apple Cake  

More Icing Than Cake’s Apple Butter Pretzels with Rosemary Cheddar Dip

Casey Joy Lister’s Waldorf Salad’s Twisted Sister

The Kitchen Sink’s Apple Cheddar Loaf

What Should I Make For’s Apple Puff Pastry Tarts

Jessie Sheehan Bakes’ Apple Fritters

Smart in the Kitchen’s Gluten Free Apple Cranberry Crisp

This Healthy Table’s Cardamom Apple Tart

Figs & Flour’s Apple Purple Potato Pizza

Something New for Dinner’s Savory Bread Pudding with Apples, Sausage, and Pecan

Always Eat Dessert’s Apple Spice Scones with Maple Bourbon Glaze

Rezel Kealoha’s Rose Poached Apples with Rosewater Reduction

The Soup Solution’s Fennel Sausage and and Apple Dressing (Stuffing)

Lemon Thyme and Ginger’s Smoky Maple Apple Dutch Baby

Gobble the Cook’s One Pan Pork Chops and Sausages with Apple

Hola Jalapeno’s Fluffy Apple Chili Biscuits

Salt and Wind’s Pomegranate Ginger Apple Cider Punch

What Annie’s Eating’s Butternut Squash/Apple Soup with Asiago and Sage Croutons

Flours in Your Hair’s Brown Butter Bourbon Apple Pie

Confetti Kitchen’s Kale Salad with Chicken and Apple

Salted Plains’ Gluten-Free Apple Crumb Cake

Easy and Delish’s Fun Candy Corn Apple Pops

This Mess is Ours’ Easy Baked Apple Custard

Butter Loves Company’s Gingerbread with Brandied Apples

Zestful Kitchen’s Puffed Apple Pancake

Sweet Pillar Food’s Apple Honey Brie

A Farmgirl’s Dabbles Peanut Butter Apple Cookies

Amee’s Savory Dish’s Peanut Butter Protein Dip

Especially Southern Dishes’ Apple Pie Egg Rolls

Pie Girl Bakes’ Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Cocoa and Salt’s Vegan Apple Stuffin’ Muffins

Saltnpepperhere’s Honey Apple Muffins

Worthy Pause’s Thanksgiving-in-Your-Mouth Paleo Stuffing

Baking The Goods’ Apple Cheddar and Thyme Scones

Smart in the Kitchen’s Gluten Free Apple Cranberry Crisp

Measuring Cups Optional’s Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake

Inspired by the Seasons’ Brussels Sprout & Apple Slaw

Sprouting Radiance’s White Bean and Apple Soup

Feed the Swimmer’s Apple Buckwheat Galette with Halva and Maple Tahini

It’s a Veg World After All’s Individual Microwave Apple Crisp

Farm and Coast Cookery’s Apple Cider Donut “French Toast”


a fall-flavored muesli recipe

a fall-flavored muesli recipe

homemade muesli with flavors of fall

In the Kitchen 101 Series

With every recipe I create, I love to share some behind-the-scenes cooking and nutritional info with the hope of getting you excited and informed about cooking and your health!  Here’s what we’re learning today:

the benefits of making your own muesli or granola vs store-bought

what is maca powder and why do I add it to my muesli

how to toast your muesli



I’ve had quite the love affair with muesli over the past few years.

When I first tried muesli, I thought I was eating oats that somebody mistakenly forgot to cook.  I have to admit, I wasn’t a big fan at first, and I definitely didn’t see what all the fuss was about this cereal in Europe.  I missed the familiar crunchy texture of granola and muesli seemed just a little too soggy for me.

I’m not sure what happened since now and five years ago, but I am proud to say that I am now a full-on muesli convert.  I have gotten in the habit of making a large batch to last me a week.  Sometimes I may buy my muesli at the store, but if I have the time, I like to make my own.  Why? A couple reasons.

I always prefer homemade to storebought muesli (or granola) because you have total control over what you want in your cereal.  If you are craving more protein in your diet, for example, then you can add in more nuts or seeds.  I also choose homemade because storebought usually has added sugars, a big NO-NO and in my muesli, the only sugar I’m adding is from dried fruits.

Each week I like to vary the recipe a little as to keep things interesting, and this past weekend I fall-flavored muesli.  Before I shell out the recipe, here are the basic guidelines to making your own personalized muesli:


How to make your own muesli step-by-step:

  1. Decide on your base
    • Start with some grains such as oats (most common), puffed grains, or toasted buckwheat groats
  2. Add in something crunchy
    • Chopped nuts such as cashews, alonds, pecans, or walnuts and seeds such as chia, hemp, sunflower, pumpkin, or sesame.
  3. Decide on your sweetner
    • Dried fruit. Apricots, apples, raisins, or dates. Coconut flakes lend a nice flavor, too.
  4. Give it an extra boost with some superfoods
    • bee pollen, maca powder, dark chocolate, cacao powder, carob powder
  5. Experiment with some spices.
    1. Think cinnamon, cloves, all spice, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, etc.

Mix them all together and pour it in a jar with a tightly sealed lid.  For ingredient measurements, simply go with your gut/preferences or see recipe below for my basic measurement guidelines.

Tip: try adding in a spoon of nut or seed butter after you pour your bowl for some extra flavor and added protein!  Frozen or fresh fruit is always a good idea, too!

If you can’t seem to come around to muesli (believe me, my 2012 self feels you), you can always try sprinkling it over a smoothie bowl or in yogurt.

From the ingredients listed above, no matter what recipe batch I’m preparing, I always add in maca powder.  Maca powder comes from the maca root grown in high altitudes in Peru and contains a number of benefits including high magnesium and has a positive effect on hormonal balance and energy levels.  It’s worth noting that, like other adaptogens, you may need to consume maca for a number of weeks before starting to experience its full benefits.  I personally take around 1 tablespoon a day, and find that having it already added to my muesli makes it much more convenient-and I like the taste of it in my cereal!

If you’re still not on board with the muesli texture or it’s just not sweet enough, you could always try toasting your muesli….  

To do this, mix all your ingredients EXCEPT FOR the dried fruit in a large bowl.  Pour onto a baking sheet, and evenly distribute 1/4 cup maple syrup over the mixture.  Toast in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 375F/190C.  Shake the pan in between and keep an eye on it to prevent it from burning.  Take out of the oven and when it’s cooled off, mix in dried fruit, and pour into a sealable jar or glass container.

Have you tried muesli before?  Let me know if you’re a muesli nay or yay kind of girl or guy, and if so, what your favorite combos are!  I always love hearing about and seeing your creations so please leave a comment or tag me #sproutingradiance on Instagram @marypardoux !


Fall-flavored Muesli


  • 3 cups large rolled oats (GF or regular)
  • 1 cup puffed amaranth (a different grain or another cup of oats is fine, too)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried apple
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup bee pollen
  • 1-2 handfuls of chopped pecans
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp cinnamon


  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Pour into sealable container.  Keeps for a couple of weeks (but mine is always gone by the end of the first week!)
  3. To serve, eat alone with milk of choice or top on smoothies or smoothie bowls, or yogurt.


the return of kale + a simple Mexican kale salad

the return of kale + a simple Mexican kale salad

This easy kale salad with a spicy cashew dressing (GF/V) will have change the mind of anyone who says kale can’t be enjoyed raw!

In the Kitchen 101 Series

With every recipe I create, I love to share some behind-the-scenes cooking and nutritional info with the hope of getting you excited and informed about cooking and your health!  Here’s what we’re learning today:

Why you should leave your sweet potato skins on

Are red bell peppers better than green?

How to give kale a massage (sounds racy, I know.  Just you wait.)

It’s here!  It’s here!

That’s right, my friends, kale has returned to the grocery stores and farmers markets here in Germany.  After a long, long spring and summer without, we are now in fall and that means…well, you guessed it – kale.

I heard through a German source here that Germans are not accustomed to eating kale raw and in smoothies, and instead treat it like the cabbage it is and put it in stews and warm dishes of that sort, equating it with a cold-weather dish.

I was never a huge kale addict, but with having no kale option these past six months I began to realize how much I miss it.  I’ve been telling this to Adam and he thought I was being overdramatic until he saw my face at the grocery store, when I pointed and let out a whoop, exclaimed, “kale!”, and ran over to snatch up the 10 stalks that were left.

What to make with this precious vegetable of the brassica family?   I decided on keeping it simple with a kale salad, recipe shared below.

I hope to share another kale recipe soon, but I may have to wait…my last three visits to the store were un-kale-successful.


Eating kale uncooked is a trial for some.  It definitely was for me, until I found out the proper way to eating it raw.  Let’s start at the beginning:

  1. DO NOT EAT THE STEM.  Cut off the leaves and compost the stems.  They are chewy and hard and you will not like eating them.
  2. Tear or cut the kale leaves up into the size you’d like to eat them.  I personally don’t like them that big, and non-kale enthusiasts may not either.  Then give them a good washing, as lots of dirt can get trapped in those curly leaves.
  3. Pat the water off of them and transfer to a bowl.  Add in around 1 teaspoon olive oil (sometimes I’ll use flax oil) and massage the leaves, tearing them into smaller pieces if desired.
  4. Continue massaging for around 3 minutes.  The kale will turn a lovely shade of green and will be easier for your stomach to digest!

I chose sweet potatoes as the kale’s main vegetable accompaniment, although with autumn in full swing a butternut squash might taste nice, too!  When using sweet potatoes, I prefer to leave the skins on (ONLY if they are organic) as the skins have a HUGE amount of nutrients that if peeled, these spuds could not offer. Nutrients such as beta carotene, an antioxidant which is converted into vitamin A in your body, as well as an excellent source of fiber, helping to regulate blood sugar and bowel movements.

And as for the bell pepper?  Red bell peppers are just ripened green bell peppers! They also have a sweeter taste.  Since they are ripened, they also contain more nutrients than the other colors, so it may be in your best interest to stick to red peppers over green.

Enjoy the recipe!  I always love hearing about and seeing your creations so please leave a comment or tag me #sproutingradiance on Instagram @marypardoux !

Simple Mexican kale salad



  • 5-7 stalks of kale
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 1/2 cups black beans (or 1 15-oz can, drained)
  • 3/4 cup corn
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lime
  • 2 cups chopped and roasted sweet potato (skins on)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tsp freshly ground coriander
  • 1 tsp freshly ground cumin
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Spicy cashew dressing

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour (8 hours is best to achieve a creamy consistency)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 TBS sriracha or other hot sauce (optional, omit for less spiciness)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 TBS lime juice (or lemon)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper


  1. Heat oven to 425 F/220 C.  Dice one sweet potato (skin on is best) into small cubes and toss with melted coconut oil and salt and pepper.  Lay out on a tray and roast for 30-35 minutes, or until done.
  2. Wash and massage kale as instructed above in a large bowl and add in 1/2 juice of the lime with the 1 TBS olive oil.
  3. To the prepared kale, add in the red pepper, red onion, corn, black beans, garlic clove, spices, avocado, and the cooled roasted sweet potato.
  4. Add in the other half of the lime juice, or more according to taste.


  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high for 1 minute, or until a creamy consistency develops.  Toss a portion of it with the salad (it makes a large quantity so you probably won’t end up adding it all.  Equaling leftovers, yay!)

Coming off a running injury

Coming off a running injury

I started running when I was 19 years old.  Before that the farthest I had run was probably one or two miles.  For as long as I could remember, my Dad had always been a runner, and by the time I was 19 he had run 7 marathons.  I always thought he was kind of crazy but at the same time admired how strong your body and mind must be in order to put yourself through such a feat.  So at the age of 19 while in university, a friend and I started running.  It started off with 30 minutes, and gradually increased.  A few months in, we had the idea that maybe, just maybe, we could run a marathon.

About eight months after we started running, I ran my first marathon with my Dad the next spring.  We weren’t concerned about time, just the finishing part.  We clocked in at around 5 hours and 15 minutes.  That fall I ran my second marathon with my friend in the Twin Cities, our time around 4 hours and 45 minutes.  My third marathon I ran the following spring again with my Dad, and while I would still run off and on, that marathon would be my (and his) last to date.  Why?

The dreaded knee injury.

Dun dun dun….

For those of you runners that have had a knee injury (which are quite a few), you know how devastating this news can be.

I started feeling pain along the side of my left knee.  I had an X-ray and the doctor told me that the bones holding my knee cap in place were not fully formed, allowing my knee cap to shift outwards every time I ran, causing friction and pain.  He told me the words that no runner wanted to hear:

You are no longer allowed to run.

Being the stubborn woman I am, naturally I didn’t listen.  The next week I was off and running again. Since then, almost eight years later, I have tried running on and off, only to be met with an injury each time.  What I didn’t know all these years is that I hadn’t been training properly.

All those years my training program consisted of only running long distance at whatever pace I felt like that particular day.  If I knew then what I know now, I may have been able to avoid those constant injuries.  Today I’m sharing my tips with you.  Keep in mind that these tips are what have been working for ME, and every body is different.  It’s important to listen to your body (number four on the list) and see a professional for advice or help when needed.

Seven things I practice to avoid a running injury

  1. Start small and praise my small accomplishments

Every time I would start my running program, I would compare it to what I had accomplished before (a marathon), despite the fact that I now had to take it slow and work my way back up.  Today I give myself praise for every accomplishment I make.  I ran three minutes and the other day two? Accomplishment!  I finished my first 5k?  Accomplishment!  FOcus on where you are today, and don’t compare yourself to others or your old self.

  1. Build up your core and leg strength

Before, I would do absolutely no core or leg workouts.  This is a recipe for disaster!  You need to build up your leg and core strength so that your knees and ankles do not take a pounding.  Now I do high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts  for my lower body twice a week, and try to do 5-10 minutes of core every day.

  1. Practice speed work

My favorite kind of speed work is alternating a fast pace with a slower pace.  First I walk for five minutes then jog for a few to warm up my body.  Then I might do something as run for 1 minute, then jog for 90 seconds, repeating this a certain number of times.  I like to do this about once every other week.  When first starting out, I would alternate walking 5 minutes and jogging 1 minute, gradually increasing the number of reps and walking:jogging minutes.

  1. Get enough rest and listen to your body

This can not be emphasized enough.  Often we want to (or at least I want to) go all out and complete every workout on our training plan, no matter the cost to our body.  This is sure-fire road to injury.  If your legs are killing you and it’s not your planned rest day, take the rest day early!  Work your training schedule around your body and how you’re feeling.  Be sure to not run through a injury.  Stop if it hurts, and take a few days (or longer) off if need be, and don’t be discouraged!  Trust your body.

  1. Arnica oil

Whenever my muscles are feeling sore, I’ve gotten into the routine of massaging arnica oil into them and I love it.  I’ve used a couple different products that I love equally: Weleda and

  1. inflammation prevention and recovery

When your muscles are inflamed you are more prone to injury.  Certain foods can trigger internal inflammation and certain ones can reduce it.  In my daily smoothie I make sure to add turmeric, a great way to reduce and prevent inflammation.  I never take ibuprofen (though it will help), as I stay away from taking pain killers as much as possible.

  1. Icing and ice baths

This one has been under debate for the past couple of years.  It used to be take an ice bath after a long run or you’re feeling sore to relieve swelling and reduce muscle tears.  Today there is evidence suggesting that ice baths may actually hinder your legs from adapting to your training.  I myself tend to be a huge wimp when it comes to ice cold water (is anyone not?), so I do not do ice baths. However I will occasionally ice my knees or wherever the pain is while keeping my legs elevated.  My husband, who is also a runner, told me about spraying cold water on your legs after a long run while in the shower to help soothe the soreness and swelling, and I’ve just recently started doing this.

I hope these tips might help! Remember I am not a doctor and can not tell you what is best for you and your body.  If you have any tips that work for you, please share it in the comments below!

The first week of my elimination diet

The first week of my elimination diet

Week One of my Elimination Diet (and meal prep!)

A few weeks ago I started looking into doing an elimination diet to see if it could help solve the issues of my fatigue and acne.  I started this past Monday, after making sure I meal prepped, etc.   Here’s how my first week went:

My Elimination Diet, Days 1-7:

Well, pretty much easier than I had thought it was going to be!

This was largely due to my meal prepping, which prevented me from making any slips and reaching for something that was easy to do, like throw a pizza in the oven or a PB sandwich.

The most difficult part so far is definitely the no sugar part.  No gluten, no dairy, no soy, okay, fine-I can deal with that.  But no sugar!?  I hadn’t really noticed before, but by the time my son’s afternoon nap rolls by I’ve developed the naughty habit of raiding my pantry for anything sweet and plopping down on the couch.  This week I was actually getting kind of pissed that I couldn’t.  So I reached for my other snacks I had prepared, which were a healthy breakfast cookie and hummus.  My husband made some energy bites, which were a little bit sweeter, and I ate both of mine on Thursday when my sugar craving was at it’s highest yet.

Also, it’s pretty ridiculous how many products sugar can be in at the grocery store.  I slipped up a few times and ate some things that contained some raw cane sugar in it, like a curry sauce, some coconut crackers, and some vegan mayo.  Oops.  I’ll know better for next week.

Last but not least, the minor complaint of having to check the labels on everything at the store for no sugar, no dairy, no soy, and no gluten.  That took some extra time and I almost threw my hands up in the air at one point and decided to give in right then and there.

Really the main reason this week was so successful (meaning I pretty much stuck to eating only what I could AND it wasn’t at all bad) was the meal prep.  I’ve tried to cut out gluten or sugar before, and it just didn’t work because I hadn’t really prepared for it properly.

My meals this week were mainly salads and buddha bowls from the veggies that I had prepped.  If I wanted gluten free grains and beans with any of my veggies then I would just soak them the night before or the morning of and cook them right before eating.  Easy peasy!  Here’s a quick run-down of some of what I ate in pictures:

(starting at the top left corner, going across each row)

  1. Breakfast bars, recipe based off of Rachel Mansfield
  2. Cauliflower pizza crust with my cooked veggies, recipe from Nutrition Stripped
  3. Sweet Potato Curry
  4. Breakfast smoothie bowl with half sweet potato, half raspberry
  5. Afternoon snack of peaches, figs, and puffed amaranth with almond butter on top of coconut crackers
  6. breakfast smoothie of blackberries and frozen cauliflower
  7. Green Goddess pasta salad
  8. Buddha bowl
  9. Morning gluten-free oats topped with fruit and turmeric and ginger

Follow my Instagram to keep up with what I eat every day.