Fresh Plate

….Freshly prepared recipes, thoughts, and meditations

Lavender infused honey

I just started growing lavender in my garden and have been looking for some ideas to put it to good use in my kitchen. I stumbled onto an interview with Kelly Ripa where she’s talking about some of her favorite foods and one of them is lavender infused honey.  I’m not going to say honey isn’t deliciously floral on its own, but I gave it a try by dropping just a bit into the honey jar (stem and all).  The results were amazing! The lavender perfumes the honey with a fresh, astringent aroma. It was lovely drizzled over yogurt topped with fresh blueberries and granola!

Another variation to try: a sprig of rosemary or a bay leaf!

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“What I ate Wednesdays”

I try to eat as clean as possible during the week. Things like: eating plenty of  fruits and veggies, measuring portions, and getting enough protein are essential to keeping up my energy (and mood)! While I always have the best of intentions on Sunday, I’ll admit that by the middle of the week things don’t always go according to plan. So I’ve started “What I ate Wednesdays” to keep myself in check.

Here’s a snapshot of my dinner from this week’s “What I ate Wednesdays”!

On the menu:

Pan seared wild salmon fillet

Side salad w/greek dressing – spring mix, spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, and carrots

Unsalted cottage cheese with just a bit of pepper

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Tomato Mango Bruschetta

Ok, I’ll confess: I’m a picky tomato eater! Thats right…I’ll hold out on fresh tomatoes (opting for canned all year long) until those few precious weeks during the summer when they are at the peak of homegrown ripeness. I have a special place in my heart for the heirloom varieties! I slice and season with just a drizzle of olive oil and a touch of salt and pepper.  They are a cool, fresh side at almost all of my meals during the hottest months of the year.

Sometimes I like to spoof ’em up a bit with a simple bruschetta. This is my version of the classic Italian dish. I’ve been putting mangoes in mine for as long as I can remember! Their sweetness tames the acidity of the tomatoes and is a compliment to the fresh basil.

Tomato Mango Bruschetta


2 medium tomatoes (any variety, the tastiest you can find)

1 ripe mango

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

1 clove garlic

3 T  balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil



First, chop the tomatoes into small, bite sized cubes. Then, peel and chop mangoes into cubes (same size that you did with the tomatoes). If you don’t know how to cut up a mango, check out this link for instructions (  Place tomatoes and mangoes into a large bowl.

Next, finely chop the basil into very thin ribbons and place into the bowl as well.  After that;  smash, peel, and finely mince the garlic before adding to the bowl. Drizzle in the vinegar, oil, and salt/pepper to taste. Gently fold all ingredients together, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use. It’ll keep for 3-4 days, and gets better with time as it macerates.

There are numorous options for serving. In my opinion, the best application is on grilled bread that has been sliced and rubbed with a bit of garlic. Sometimes I take it a step further and pile on top of grilled fish, chicken, or grilled pizza dough. And when I don’t have anything to put it on…I’ll add some cubed buffalo mozzarella and eat it as a side salad on its own!


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All Purpose Chicken

Next time you need cooked chicken “at the ready” for any recipe, try this roasting technique and you’ll come out with moist, flavorful meat. I cube it up for chicken salad, shred it for tortilla soup, and slice it for sandwiches! If you’d like to add a little flavor, slip some herbs, lemon zest, and chopped garlic under the skin before putting it into the oven.

All Purpose Chicken


2 Bone in, skin on, split chicken breast

Olive oil



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is heating set the chicken on a foil lined baking sheet so it can come up to room temperature.  Don’t worry, a good 20-25 minutes is perfectly safe. Next, drizzle each breast with olive oil and sprinkle of salt and pepper. Be sure to season well, since you will end up taking the skin off anyway. Put the chicken into the oven and cook for 35-45 minutes, or until fully cooked.

Remove the sheet pan from the oven and let the chicken cool. Wrap up in foil and store in the fridge until needed. To serve, peel off the skin and remove the breast from the bone using a sharp knife. Depending on the application you can cube it, shred it, slice it, or eat it whole.

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Don’t skip a beet

I didn’t always love beets. In fact, up until a couple years ago I downright hated ’em! But to be fair, the only ones I had tasted were either canned or boiled to complete mush!  Still, I was always drawn to their color…bold reds deeper than the color of rubies, shades of gold brighter than the sun, and of course the candy cane variety that fills you with the joys of christmas (even in mid-July).

Determined to conquer my aversion, I went up to our local farmers market to give it another try. The farmer behind the stand suggested that I try simply roasting them with a bit of olive oil and salt. It worked like a charm! Instead of the usual “dirty” taste that made me cringe, I tasted the sweet, caramelized earth…and earth tastes GOOD! After a year or so, I decided to enhance those earthy flavors and came up with a delicious beet salad recipe.

If you’re used to passing on the beets, give this simple recipe a try!

Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad (serves 4)

3-5 medium sized beets (any variety works)

2 oz soft goat cheese

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup chopped, toasted pecans (optional)


Olive oil

Simple Dressing:

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup olive oil

1 T Dijon mustard

salt/pepper, to taste


Ok, so first you’ve got to roast ’em. Preheat the oven to 375.  Place each beet on a sheet of foil and drizzle very lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with just a pinch of salt. Wrap them up and place on a sheet pan. Depending on size, they’ll take anywhere from 35 to 60 minutes to cook. You’ll know they’re done when a fork will slide easily into the beet (I start checking around the 40 minutes and adjust cooking time accordingly).

Once they’re done, let them sit for 15 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Remove the skin, using your fingers (or a paper towel) to rub the skin right off. Slice into cubes and set aside.

To make the dressing, place all ingredients into a bowl and whisk. Slowly drizzle desired amount onto the beets and toss.  Then top with parsley, goat cheese, pecans, and serve room temperature or chill until ready to use. If covered,  the salad will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.




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Food Haiku

It was Hippocrates who said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.  These words come to mind each time I write a recipe, stir the pot, or smell whats baking in my oven. I decided to meditate on it during yoga this morning and came up with my own version.

A Food Haiku

Food as nourishment

Filling one with good karma

Bringing peace and strength

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Mojo Madness!

Cilantro….while some people crave the fresh zesty taste of this herb, others actually conjure up flavors of soap and laundry! It’s probably one of the most polarizing foods I have come across as a chef. Personally, I love it in everything from pho to fish tacos. Even better? It’s a nutritional powerhouse, boasting high levels of vitamins A and K as well as a good source of minerals like magnesium, calcium, and potassium.

If you happen to love it as much as I do, try out my version of a mojo inspired yogurt sauce. I use this to add a zippy lime flavor to flank steak, shrimp or fish tacos, potato salad, chicken enchiladas, and even as a dip for plain ol’ tortilla chips!  This recipe became an instant hit in my house….needless to say, it usually doesn’t stick around for too long!

Creamy Mojo Sauce

1 bunch of fresh cilantro

1 garlic clove

1 T sherry vinegar

1/2 t cumin

1/4 t chili powder

Juice of 1 lime

1/4 c extra virgin olive oil

1/4 c plain, non-fat greek yogurt

Salt/Pepper to taste

Get out your food processor (or blender). Using a knife, scrape as many of the cilantro leaves off the stem as possible. Don’t worry about getting a few stems in there, you just want mostly leaves. Place cilantro leaves, garlic, vinegar, cumin, lime juice, salt and pepper into the processor and give it a good spin until pureed. Then, with the processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Once its incorporated, stop and add yogurt. Give it a couple quick pulses and you are done!

Place in a conatiner and refrigerate until ready to use. It gets a little thicker as it chills and will last about a week!

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This is a place where I like to share my love of clean eating, along with daily yoga practice, meditation, and written expression!