Eggciting Veggie Frittata – My Paleo Breakfast Staple!

Paleo breakfasts can be difficult because you need to eat a lot of protein and who wants a steak for breakfast every morning?  I’ve done the Paleo thing before and this is what I had for breakfast pretty much the entire time.  It’s super easy to make and lasts a while.  I usually triple the recipe so it lasts me all week.  Rob’s sister and brother-in-law got me a cast iron skillet for Christmas so now I really have all the tools necessary to make it.  I swear it tastes even better from cast iron!

eggs with beater

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced

1 garlic clove, minced

2 oz white mushrooms, thinly sliced

4 large pasture raised eggs, beaten

onions, red peppers, and mushrooms in cast iron skillet

Showing off my new Lodge cast iron skillet!

Preheat oven to broil.

Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over medium flame.  Add pepper, onion and garlic.  Saute while stirring for about 5 minutes or until tender.  Mix in mushrooms and continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Pour in eggs and continue to stir occasionally for 2 additional minutes.

Place in over and broil for 3 to 4 minutes until eggs are brown on top and firm to the touch.

vegetable frittataI usually add a little salt and pepper before I put mine in the oven but if you want to be truly Paleo, leave it out.  I use this recipe all the time and switch out different veggies to keep it interesting.  Hope you like it as much as I do.  Happy cooking!


St. Patrick’s Day Slow-Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage

It was recently St. Patrick’s Day and I had never made corned beef and cabbage. I had an event to go to during the day so I had the bright idea to do slow-cooker corned beef and cabbage.  Martha Stewart had a recipe that looked fairly simple so I tried it out!

IMG_17162 celery stalks, cut into 3-inch pieces

3 carrots, cut into 3-inch pieces

1 small yellow onion, cut into 1-inch wedges (root end left intact)

1/2 pound small potatoes, halved if large

6 sprigs of thyme

1 corned beef brisket (about 3 pounds) plus liquid or spice packet that comes with or 1 tablespoon pickling spices

1/2 head of savoy cabbage, cut into 1 1/2 inch wedges

Grainy mustard, for serving


In a 5-to-6-quart slow cooker, place celery, carrots, onion, potatoes, and thyme.   Place corned beef, fat side up, on top of the vegetables and sprinkle with picking spice or liquid; add enough water to almost cover the meat (4 to 6 cups).  Cover and cook on low for 8 hours until beef is tender.  Arrange cabbage over corned beef, cover and cook on high until cabbage is tender, about 45 minutes.  Thinly slice corned beef against the grain and serve with the vegetables, cooking liquid, and grainy mustard.

IMG_1719And there’s your easy corned beef and cabbage!  I forgot to serve mine with mustard but when I go home tonight and eat it again I will certainly add that in!  The meat is very salty so I’m sure the mustard will help cut that.  Happy St. Patrick’s Day and happy cooking!



Curry-Spiced Fish Cakes with Mango Salsa

I’m always on a quest to find new and interesting things to serve for dinner.  When I came upon these fish cakes I just had to try them.  I did a few things wrong with mine.  First of all I made them WAY to spicy.  Rob and I were both suffering. On top of that I made them WAY too salty (which is the exact opposite of what I usually do) so it took us a while to get through dinner.  Make sure you measure with this one cause it’s already a pretty salty dish.  And make sure you know what kind of pepper you’re putting into it.  I just grabbed a red one that wasn’t labeled.  Wooooeeee it was hot!



2 cups cod meat (mackerel, haddock, or other white fish will work too)

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger root

1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro

1 dried or fresh red chili pepper, chopped finely (careful here!  It’s supposed to be a high heat pepper though)

1 heaping tablespoon curry spice powder

1 tablespoon unrefined sea salt (I would put less)

1 medium organic pasture-raised egg

2 tablespoons whole wheat panko bread crumbs

1 tablespoon coconut oil


For the Mango Salsa:

1 ripe mango, chopped into medium dice

1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes

1/4 cup minced red onion (I unthinkingly put in the whole onion.  Don’t do this!)

2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro

Juice of 1 lime



To prepare salsa, gently toss all of the salsa ingredients in a bowl, then let sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.

To prepare the fish cakes, heat the coconut oil in a frying pan and cook the fish on medium high heat on both sides until tender and the flesh becomes white and flaky.  Let the fish cool and place into a food processor.  Pulse it into small pieces, but avoid over processing; the cakes will need some texture.  Place processed fish into a bowl, add ginger, cilantro, chili pepper, curry spices, and sea salt.  Mix well.  Stir in the egg, then the bread crumbs.  Form equal portions of the mixture into cakes of desired size (4 is perfect).

Heat the coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Brown each side of the fish cakes, continuing to cook them until they are hot all the way through.  Remove from pan and serve with mango salsa.



I found that some of my cakes fell apart while cooking and others didn’t.  Make sure you really mix in the egg and bread crumbs.  With the tweaks these will be really good. Rob loved them even though he could barely handle the spiciness.  Be careful with your salt and peppers and you’ll be good to go.  Happy cooking!

Send me your recipes and I’ll make them healthy!

So I had a bit of an epiphany last night while I was sitting in a lecture on digital marketing (woo hoo yay I know).  I was thinking to myself, what is my thing with cooking?  What do I do that’s unique?  And it occurred to me that when I’m not cooking out of a healthy cookbook, I take regular old recipes and transform them into healthy, real food meals.  Lots of recipes call for canned goods and sauces and things that are processed but I rarely use those ingredient, I substitute real food in.  So, I want to get you, the reader, involved.   Send me a recipe that you think looks delicious but may not be the healthiest thing on the planet, and I will transform it into a healthy, real food recipe.  I’ll make its, taste test it, and then share it on my blog and let you know if its a win or a lose.  If you live close by, I may even invite you over to taste test it!  Email your recipes to  I look forward to your submissions!



Lunch Time Goodness! – Quinoa Salad with Fragrant Spices

I’ve been taking soups and stews for lunch recently so I decided to try something new when I came across this quinoa salad recipe.  Every time I eat this I’m left wanting a second helping.  There are so many different tastes in it you can’t get bored with it! I made a double recipe of it because it’s only supposed to serve 2 or 3.  I’m not sure I needed that much.  I gave Rob a bunch to take home with him!




1 1/2 cups quinoa

1 tablespoon ground turmeric

1 crisp apple, cut into small chunks

3 celery stalks, cut into thin half-moons

1 small red onion, minced

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

1/2 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 to 2 tablespoons raw cider vinegar

1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds, toasted

1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds

Unrefined sea salt

1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup pomegranate seeds (if available)



Before preparing this recipe, it is very beneficial (but optional) to soak and sprout the quinoa.  I did not have time to do this with mine but I will give you the directions for both ways:

Soaking the quinoa:

Soak the quinoa in a bowl in 3 cups of water.  Lit it sit at room temperature for 2 hours, then strain and rinse well.  Return the strained quinoa to a bowl and let it sit at room temperature for another 8 to 12 hours.  You should see little tails shooting out of each little quinoa seed.  Rinse again.  In a sauce pot, bring 2 3/4  cups water to a boil, then add the quinoa.  Cover and simmer over medium heat for a total of 10 minutes, but around 5 minutes into cooking, add the turmeric to the water.  Once done cooking, turn off the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes before emptying the quinoa into a bowl. Cool to room temperature.

Not soaking the quinoa:

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a sauce pot, then pour in the quinoa and lower the heat.  Simmer covered for 12 to 15 minutes.  Repeat the same final steps described above, adding the turmeric and letting it cool.

Once the quinoa has fully cooled (I put mine in the freezer cause I didn’t want to wait), stir in the apple, celery, onion, cilantro and parsley.  Stir in the olive oil and apple cider vinegar.  Season with the cumin and coriander, and a touch of sea salt, as desired.  Garnish with the pumpkin seeds and pomegranate seeds, if available.



This is a good one.  I hope you all enjoy it as much as I have been this week!  Happy cooking!

Mary’s Yelp Review of My Kitchen!

Mary has kindly written a review of her evening in my kitchen.  Yay, my first review!  Read it here:

IMG_1414“With school soon to be behind me, I decided I would start cooking a meal once a week.  Now, for a girl who barely cooks two meals a year (unless you count those gourmet microwave dinners), this was going to be no easy feat.  Luck would have it though that one of my nearest and dearest MBA partners in crime, Laura, had started a cooking blog!  Not only was it healthy and delicious looking food, but this girl is just as busy as I am, so doable.  Shortly after this decision, during a “post-MBA plans” discussion, I mentioned my upcoming culinary journey as well as my desire to practice my underdeveloped photog skills… Wait a second – cue light bulb – why not spend a night with Chef Cepeda herself and do both?  And so, my MBA afterlife was jumpstarted with a swift kick in the buds (of the taste variety) from some Japanese curry.

Let me give you just a little background before we get to the good, and I mean tasty-delicious-mouth-watering good, stuff.  Going into this, Laura posed the question, and I quote, “Hmmm what’s your fav thing ever?”  Now, I don’t know about you folks, but along with my “fav things ever” come some serious standards, but no, that didn’t scare this girl off.  After tossing around a few ideas, you could almost hear her inner Iron Chef exclaim “challenge accepted!” as she chose the recipe that she had never made before… Japanese curry.

Which brings us to last night.  Veggies were chopped, seasonings were sprinkled, and rouxs were rouxed.  You heard me.  My desire to take acceptable pictures slightly outweighed my desire to take acceptable cooking notes, so please see Laura’s post for additional details.  After way too much fun was had during the food photo shoot, we finally sat down to take a bite. Now, let us remember earlier when I mentioned that this is one of my favorite foods, so, you know, standards… Perfection!  I do not use that word lightly, but I, without a doubt, was eating the best Japanese curry I have ever had!  I know what you’re thinking, “clearly she’s never had *insert Japanese curry restaurant here*.” Well guess what, clearly you’ve never had Laura Cepeda’s homemade curry.  It was just spicy enough, full of flavor, and more than you could ever ask for from a plate of curry.  As soon as I am able to work up some culinary courage, this will be the first meal I try!”

~Mary Colleran (Yelp’s Mary C.)


Guest Photographer! – Japanese Curry

The photos are here and its finally time to post about my evening with Yelp Elite reviewer and student food photographer Mary Colleran! First, a little background, Mary is one of my fellow LMU MBAers.  She recently graduated and expressed an interest in learning how to cook.  I, on the other hand, have been wondering how to get some better pics of my cooking.  I LOVE my little Canon Elph but it’s not really up to the task of really great up close food pics.  So Mary and I decided to do a collaboration.  I cook, she watches/learns and takes photos.  Problem solved!  I wanted to cook her something she really likes since she’s taking the time to drive to my place and wait around while I put everything together so when she said she was really loving Japanese curry at the moment I thought “why not?  I’ve never tried that before!”.  I found a recipe from the Japanese Food Report.  I wanted it to be as authentic as it could be coming from a “white girl’s” kitchen.   So here it is!

IMG_1346 (2)All photos are styled, shot and chosen by Mary Colleran.

IMG_1359 (2)10.5 oz beef brisket (you can also try short ribs or other cuts but I used brisket), cut into bite-sized cubes

Salt and pepper for the beef

2 1/2 tablespoons butter

14 oz onions, sliced as thin as possible

2 teaspoons ginger, finely grated

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large carrot, peeled and cut into wedges, ringiri style (I had to Google this one.  See photo)

1 large apple, peeled and coarsely grated

5 cups beef stock

1 tablespoon salt (I used half this)

10.5 oz new potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces


4 tablespoons butter

7 tablespoons flour (I wanted to use whole wheat but there was an unfortunate mishap the prevented it.  White flour was fine)

2 tablespoons curry powder (Japanese preferred but I used Madras and it worked well)

2 tablespoons garam masala

1. Season the beef with salt and pepper.

2. Melt the butter in a stock pot large enough to hold 5 quarts of liquid, over medium heat.

IMG_1365 (2)Add the onions, ginger, garlic, carrots and beef.

IMG_1373 (2)Stir and cook for about 5 minutes until the onions become translucent and the beef browned.

IMG_1377 (2)Add the apple, beef stock and salt, and simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

IMG_13783. Meanwhile make the roux.  In a skillet, melt the butter over medium heat

IMG_1381and add the flour.

IMG_1383Stir, stir, stir, stir, stir until the butter and flour fuse and swell.

IMG_1384Don’t stop stirring or the roux will burn!

IMG_1386After about 20 minutes or so, the roux will become the “color of a fox” as the say in Japan, or a deep tan color.


At this point, add the curry and garam masala, and cook and stir for 30 seconds, until the spices release their aroma.  Turn off the heat, add a ladlefull or two of cooking liquid from the stock and mix into the paste.

IMG_14014. Add the roux paste into the stock pot and stir to combine.  Add the potatoes.

IMG_1409Simmer uncovered on low heat, stirring occasionally.  Cook for about 1 hour, or until the beef becomes tender and the curry thick.  Serve the curry with Japanese short grained rice (I used brown to be healthy) on the side.

IMG_1423I have to give a big thanks to Chef Nobuko-san from the Japanese Food Report.  I don’t often brag about the food I make but I honestly think this is the best thing I have ever made.  It was so delicious that after Mary had gone for the evening, I stood over the pot on the stove eating spoonfuls of the stuff.  It really turned out well.  I hope it does for you too!  A huge thank you to Mary!  Happy cooking!

Happy 2013! – Forgotten Jambalaya

Happy 2013 to you all!  I hope you had a wonderful NYE with friends and family.   Tonight I am serving something new.  Usually I cook a traditional Brazilian meal for New Years but I decided to go back to some different roots and serve Jambalaya!  My paternal grandmother is originally from New Orleans so this is my tribute to that part of my heritage!  I used my brand new slow cooker to make this and my brand new slow cooker cookbook, both things I got for Christmas from my cooking wiz mom.

IMG_14871 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained

1 can (14 1/2 oz) beef or chicken broth (I used boxed and weighed it out with a kitchen scale)

1 can (6 oz) tomato paste

2 medium green peppers, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

3 celery ribs, chopped

5 garlic cloves, minced

3 teaspoons dried parsley flakes

2 teaspoons dried basil

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 pound smoked sausage, halved and cut into 1/4-inch slices

1/2 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

Hot cooked rice

1. In a 5-qt. slow cooker (mine’s 6-qt but it worked fine), combine the tomatoes, broth and tomato paste.

IMG_1489Stir in the green peppers, onion, celery, garlic and seasonings.


Stir in chicken and sausage.


2. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours or until chicken is tender.

IMG_1502Stir in shrimp.  Cover and cook 15-30 minutes longer or until shrimp turn pink.  Serve with rice.

IMG_1521This one turned out really tasty.  Rob mentioned that next time I should add okra and I couldn’t agree more so if you feel so inclined, toss some in!  Happy cooking!

Acorn Squash

I’m getting ready to head out of town for the holidays so I’m trying to eat all the food in my frige. I got an acorn squash in my last box so I decided to fix it for dinner last night. I LOVE squash but I usually just bake it and eat it plain and that’s too boring for a cooking blog. So this is what I came up with!

Only three ingredients! Super quick and easy!  This recipe is from


My squash was a little on the small side so I didn’t use quite as much of the ingredients.

IMG_1449I also think I over cooked it a little.  I did what the recipe said for a normal sized squash. It was still good though.

IMG_14501 medium acorn squash

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Turn acorn squash upside down onto cookie sheet.  Bake in a 350 degree oven until it begins to soften, approximately 30 to 45 minutes.

3. Remove squash from the oven and turn onto a plate so that the flesh is facing upwards.  Place butter and brown sugar into the squash, and place remaining squash  over the other piece.  Place squash in a baking dish.

4. Place squash in the 350 degree oven and bake another 30 minutes.  Remove, spoon squash from skin and serve.

IMG_1451There you go!  Quick and easy side dish!  Happy cooking!