Category Archives: Freshitarian Kitchen~Recipes & Confessions

Fit Piglet’s GMO Briefing

GMO is not just another buzz word; it’s serious business. Someone is playing with your food before it gets to you, and I’m certainly have some feelings about that. There are a lot of arguments and politics around this subject, but for now, I’m only interested in discussing how it personally effects you and your family. So let’s first establish, what does GMO mean?

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can be defined as organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally. Selected individual genes are transferred from one organism to another, even between non-related species. These methods are used to create genetically modified plants – which are then used to grow GM food crops.


The initial objective for developing plants based on GM organisms was to improve crop protection; introducing chemical products in the name of insect resistance, virus resistance, and herbicide tolerance.

Here’s how it goes down:

“Gene insertion into plants is done by shooting cells with a “gene gun” or using bacteria to infect the cells. Then the cells are cloned into plants. The DNA of GMOs, for example, can have hundreds or thousands of mutations, and the activity of up to 5% of their natural genes can be significantly changed. Even the inserted gene can be damaged or rearranged, creating proteins that trigger allergies or promote disease.”

The list of studied health effects for GMO is long, and still new. What we find out over the long term has yet to be seen. For now, here is a short list of health risks associated with these foods:

Reduced digestive enzymes, impaired digestion
Reproductive problems, fertility problems
Decreased immune function
Accelerated aging
Increased, uncontrollable allergy symptoms

GMO food companies created a false perceived advantage that translated to the consumer as lower prices and/or greater benefit (more durable/increased nutritional value). Recent studies are showing this to be false. The truth is, you get what you pay for.


So now what? Where do we go from here? How do we know what is what? The best place to start – awareness. Spread the word! Most people don’t realize that there are GM ingredients in an estimated 70% or more of all processed food. Here are a few tips to keep you a step ahead:

~Eat Freshitarian! Buy and consume whole, organic foods. Prepare simple, delicious meals for yourself. Inflate your imagination and maximize nutritional benefits.

~The major GMO crops are soy, corn, canola, cotton, sugar beets, rice, and alfalfa. Each has added bacterial genes, allowing plants to survive a deadly dose of weed killer, like Roundup; avoid them. Also, Hawaiian papaya and a small amount of zucchini and yellow crookneck squash are engineered to resist a plant virus, so watch those labels… Which brings me to my next tip!

~Know the secret produce codes! If it’s a 4-digit number, the food is conventionally produced. If it is a 5-digit number beginning with an 8, it is GM. However, do not trust that GM items will have a PLU identifying it as such, because labeling is optional – for now. If it is a 5-digit number beginning with a 9, it’s organic. There is a pop quiz on this later… Squeal! Just kidding!

~If you must purchase a labeled product, be sure the label says 100% organic. Also, just because something says “organic” on it does not mean that it doesn’t contain GMs. In fact, it can still contain up to 30% GMs, so be sure the labels say organic.

~And finally, shop local. While more than half of all GM foods are produced in the US, most of it comes from big time, industrial farms. This Saturday, visit your local market and talk to the farmer. Ask them about their farming practices and feelings about GM foods.

Remember, eating fruits and vegetables is what’s really important. So if organic or local farmers markets are not available to you, just do the best you can. Always clean and trim all your produce, get lots of exercise, and plenty of rest. Healthy is the new skinny! Oink!

Soups, Stews and Chili


Warm and hearty plant-based soups are the perfect staple to have on hand throughout the week. With so many creative varieties to make, from stock-based to starch-based, there are an endless number of combinations for satisfying meals. In this post, we will discuss a variety of plant-based soups, including stock-based, bean-based, tomato-based and starch-based soups! Squeal!

Basic Vegetable Stock Recipe The best stock to use in any recipe is one that is made from scratch. Being able to create a flavorful vegetable stock with real, whole foods, is not only a huge money saver, but it gives you more control in terms of quality ingredients, sodium levels, and flavor preferences. Store bought stocks are convenient, expensive (up to $5 per container), and often contain low-quality ingredients, additives, high amounts of sodium and sometimes monosodium glutamate (MSG). If you need to purchase stock, as always, make sure you read the label!

While stock is a great way to use slightly blemished vegetables as well as scraps and peels, you also want to use whole vegetables that you would want to eat. Here’s a recipe for fresh vegetable stock which can be used in a number of recipes:                                                                                      4 carrots, peeled and chopped 
1/2 head celery, chopped
2 large onions, chopped
1 leek, white and green parts, chopped
3 to 6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
2 qt cold water
1/4 cup sun–dried tomatoes
1 small handful of fresh parsley
a few sprigs of thyme

First, gather and prepare. To start the stock, add all ingredients to a large stockpot. Bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer. Allow to simmer, uncovered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. To finish the stock, allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes. Place a fine mesh strainer or a cheese cloth over a medium bowl and pour the stock into the strainer, allowing the liquid to pour through. If not using immediately, quickly chill or freeze and store until ready to use.

Bean Based Soups  From a hearty bean and vegetable base to delicate peas and lentils for a creamy savory texture, bean soups are filling, comforting and nourishing. Here is one of my favorite bean soup recipes… and those of you who know me, know I love coconut anything!             1 white onion
2 tbsp minced ginger
1/2 red serrano pepper
1 tbsp coriander seed
4 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 1/2 cups red lentils
4 cups vegetable stock
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
1- 1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt and 1- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper                                             2 tsp coconut or grapeseed oil*
2 fresh lemons (2 tbsp zest + 5 tbsp lemon juice)
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
1 ripe avocado
dried chile flakes, garnish

Once you have gathered the ingredients, dice the onions and mince the ginger and serrano pepper. Then heat a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Toast the coriander and cumin for approximately 1-2 minutes, or until they just start to smoke and release their aroma.
Next, add the oil, followed by the onions and serrano pepper. Cook for approximately 5 to 7 minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent, (just before they brown). Next, add the ginger, lentils, stock, coconut milk, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, turn the heat to low, cover and let cook for 40 minutes or until the lentils are totally soft and broken down. Stir occasionally to ensure the lentils are not sticking to the bottom of the pot. If needed, add more stock until you reach your desired consistency. Have the lemon zest, lemon juice and cilantro ready; to finish the soup, add these items and stir. Top with diced avocado and more cilantro and/or chili flakes in warmed bowls and serve! Oink!

Tomato Based Soup For many of us, a warm bowl of tomato soup is simple and satisfying. This soup base can also be flavored in many different ways to create many different recipes with a potential variety of flavors ranging across cultures.                                                                                       1-2 tbsp olive oil
medium white onion, diced
1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 -28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 cup roasted bell pepper, chopped
2 – 2 1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt and 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

First, gather and prepare your ingredients. In a medium pot over medium heat, add the olive oil and onions and sauté quickly until the onions begin to caramelize. Next, add the garlic and fresh thyme, and continue to sauté for about a minute, or until they become fragrant.
Next, add the crushed tomatoes, roasted peppers, vegetable stock and salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a simmer, lower the heat and let cook 20 to 30 minutes. To finish, remove from heat, and with a blender, carefully blend until smooth. Season to taste. This soup is good with a crunchy piece of toast topped with avocado spread and dipped into the soup! Squeal!

Vegetable Chili This is the easiest, most hearty, nutritious and tasty chili recipes in the world! You can change up the vegetables to meet your personal preferences or to create variety of recipes of time.                                                                                                                                                  1 onion, diced
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 sm head cauliflower, stemmed, cut into small florets
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp chili powder (or to taste)
1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 – 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 – 15 oz can whole tomatoes, seeds removed and roughly chopped
2 cups cooked kidney beans
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 to 2 avocados, diced (optional)

To make the chili, heat a large stew pot over medium high heat and sauté the onions in the oil. Once the onions are translucent and just starting to brown, add the garlic and let cook for 30 seconds or so. Next, add the carrots and let cook for about 5 minutes, or until they start to soften a bit. Then add the green pepper, cauliflower and cook until they start to soften slightly, about 5 minutes or so.
At this point, add the cumin, chili powder, vinegar, tomatoes, kidney beans and 1 cup of water. Bring the chili to a boil and then reduce the heat and let cook for 45 mins to an hour. Stir and test the chili occasionally; if the chili seems too thick, add a touch more water. Once the vegetables are cooked through and tender, the chili is done.
Lastly, check for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste.
To serve the chili, top with diced avocado and garnish with freshly chopped cilantro! Oink!

Cream soups: That’s right, you can make creamy vegetable soups without a starch or cream—by using the vegetable to thicken the soup. Even non-starchy vegetables can be used to create a smooth and creamy texture. Here are the basics of making flavorful, creamy vegetable soups:
~Add just enough stock to cover the garlic, onions and the vegetable, and then just a little bit more. Too much stock will make the soup too thin and water it down. Remember, you can always add more water if it gets too thick… but it’s hard to go the other way.
~Simmer until the vegetables are tender.
~Once the vegetables are tender, you can serve the soup as is. Or, you can blend it to obtain a creamy consistency.

Use these tips to create your own creamy soups! I love using cauliflower and cashews with some stock; gives it a white, cheesy presentation, texture and taste! You can also use butternut squash, pumpkin, broccoli, zucchini, or other seasonal produce to create variety. Once you ahem blended your creation to desired consistency, you can add whole veggie pieces for a chunkier version of your favorite flavors! Oink!

Have fun, experiment, and learn. Its a wonderful process of tapping into your imagination and discovering different flavor profiles, and creating your very own recipes, making your journey to wellness that much more exciting! Squeal!

Summertime Green Smoothies!


If you’re looking for a quick, energy-packed breakfast on the go, a green smoothie just might be the answer.

In the world of nutrition, smoothies have been met with mixed reviews because drinking your food can lead to unnecessary, increased caloric intake. However, smoothies can also be a great, nutrient-dense choice for your first meal of the day.

Smoothies are an excellent way for both children and adults to get some greens in, and are nutritionally a complete meal. For this reason, they should be considered more than just a beverage, and should not be consumed with other breakfast items.

How to build a Smoothie:
Although a smoothie is made simply by placing ingredients in a blender and blending until smooth, there are certain steps you can take to ensure your smoothie is delicious every time. First,you must have a blender. Then, gather and prepare your ingredients, making sure you have all the fresh produce you need to achieve your ideal flavor and nutrient compound. Put all ingredients in the blender, making sure there is enough liquid to blend to a smooth consistency. Once blended, taste, adjust flavor and texture as necessary, pour and enjoy.

How to vary the formula:
This is a great base formula for any smoothie. Choose one ingredient from each of the following categories:                                                                                                                                                       Liquid, (such as water/non-dairy milks such as fresh almond milk/juices)
Dried, fresh or frozen fruits.
A few of handfuls of greens, (kale or spinach)
A dash of your favorite spices, (vanilla, cinnamon or nutmeg)
Additional powders/supplements, (superfood powders, nut/seed butters, hemp/flax seeds, plant-based protein powders)

To get those creative wheels turning, I have added a chart for suggestions regarding how to build your own variety of smoothies. Squeal!


But I don’t have time to cook everyday…


The key to staying organized is planning ahead—and in particular, to spend a bit of time each week preparing your weekly menus in advance. Batch cooking (cooking more than you need in one sitting) is an important technique that will ensure you can cook and eat a variety of nourishing foods throughout the week.

I like to focus on the importance of planning, as it not only saves time and money, it offers a great deal of flexibility and variation in your daily or weekly meals. Batch cooking encourages us to acknowledge and integrate which foods we really enjoy and desire, and what we know we should eat. The fact is, you’re unlikely to prepare foods that you wouldn’t eat as part of your weekly repertoire. So, plan to cook the foods you crave for flavor and nutrition.

Let’s touch on some basic strategies for batch cooking grains, legumes and vegetables.

Batch cooking can mean different things to different people, but the concept is the same. For some, it might mean cooking two quarts of beans; for others it may be a much larger quantity. Regardless, the point is to make the most of your time in the kitchen. It takes the same time and effort to prepare two cups of quinoa as it does to cook six. So if you eat quinoa on a regular basis, you might want to prepare a large batch that you can have it ready all week.

First, be sure you have all the necessary items for the recipes you will be preparing; it’s a good idea to make sure you plenty of these ingredients on hand. The bulk bins at your supermarket or natural grocery store is a good place to start. Given that grains and legumes are dried items with long shelf life, it makes sense to always have them on hand.

Here are some suggestions for common staples that you may want to have prepared for the week. Keep in mind that how much you prepare will depend on your personal preferences and how many people will be eating your meals. Cooking for yourself and cooking for a large event or family require vastly different quantities.

Keep prepared on hand (recommendations):
A batch of beans
A batch of grains
A starchy vegetable, such as sweet potatoes
Grilled, roasted, steamed or marinated vegetables
Raw vegetables                                                                                                                                             Seasonings/Sauces
By batch cooking these staples in advance, you just need to add a few fresh vegetables and seasonings to create a variety of yummy, nutrient-dense meals in a just  a short amount of time.

For this to work, it needs to be a priority, so it is important to plan cooking time. For example, if you do your grocery shopping on Saturday, you may want to do your batch cooking on Sunday. Or, you may want to schedule your cooking day for the same day as your local farmer’s market. You know your schedule best, so choose a day you’re able to set aside some time; typically a 90 minute block of time, once a week is sufficient. Within that time period, you can simultaneously simmer a pot of beans or a soup, clean, slice and store some produce, make your favorite sauce, dip or dressing, and prepare some grains. Oink!

Here are some efficiency tips to ensure your 90 minutes goes well:
~Clean/sanitize your work surfaces.
~Ensure you have all the correct equipment: pots, cutting boards, knives, ample storage            containers, etc.
~Gather all the ingredients you need.
~Have a plan for the order you will prepare your food, (otherwise, they’ll just sit in the refrigerator until you throw them out). For example, the beans and grains have longer long cooking times, but the active time to prepare these simple items takes a few short minutes. Prepared them first, and then leave them to simmer while you prepare your produce  for the week.  Even if you don’t plan on cooking them yet, you can prepare vegetables/fruits that need to be washed, chopped, seeded and peeled. Store these ingredients in airtight, sealed containers, refrigerating as necessary.
~Have some idea of how you will stretch your ingredients throughout the week. How will you use your beans and grains throughout the week in different ways?                                                           ~If you aren’t able to finish eating your prepared ingredients during the week, store the excess beans and grains in airtight/sealed containers and freeze them. They’ll last up to six months in the freezer, and can be quickly thawed for future lightning-fast meals.

How would you take an ingredient and stretch it through the week into multiple meals? Grains and legumes are great candidates for stretching meals. Here are a few example:                 ~Cooked grains: Add to a tortilla or wrap, then top with salsa and vegetables for a quick lunch. Grains can also be added to salads and are also the base of meals in bowls!
~Cooked beans: Toss into a soup or stew to add bulk/texture/nutrients.
~Grilled/roasted vegetables: Add to a warm stir-fry or grain bowl, top with your freshly made sauce.

Most beans and peas take a while to cook, so they’re an excellent candidate for batch cooking. There are so many delicious ways to incorporate legumes into your weekly repertoire, so make more than you anticipate consuming and freeze the excess in an airtight, sealed container for simplicity down the road!

I love using a variety of beans in tacos/wraps because they are infinitely flexible; you can add nearly anything to a shell, (flour or corn tortilla, a coconut wrap or even a lettuce wrap!) like salsa, spinach, mushrooms, avocado, seeds/nuts, grains, different herbs and lots more, to make an easy to eat hand-held meal. There are also some great recipes for bean burgers out there! But I’m saving that for another post! Squeal!

I hope this helps you find simplicity and variety in the kitchen. We have to retrain our imagination wheels and, depending on how long you’ve strayed away from cooking, that could take a little time, so be patient, creative and bold. Try new recipes, explore flavors, and save time and money all while getting healthy! Oink!



Pantry Clean Out!


Getting your kitchen prepared for your new lifestyle can be fun and will be helpful keeping you on track and ‘sticking with it’ when meal time rolls around!

Instead of listing what to get rid of, lets talk about the key items to keep stocked in your Freshitarian Kitchen pantry.

First, pantry items can be defined as elements that can be stored at room temperature, in airtight, sealed containers.

Dry Grains & Legumes
There are many different types of legumes, and each provides your body with good-quality protein needed to build muscle and tissue.                                                                                             Brown rice
Quinoa and Quinoa Flakes
Dry lentils
Dry beans

When choosing dried herbs and spices, look for non irradiated, organic spices that are free from fillers. Almost all herbs and spices are beneficial to your health. They’re often antimicrobial and will boost metabolism.
Himalayan Sea Salt
Black pepper (in a grinder)
Your favorite herbs and spices
Nutritional yeast
Vanilla bean/extract
Oils – Choose oils that are unrefined, organic and cold-pressed when available. ex: extra-virgin olive oil (lower heat) and virgin coconut oil (high heat)
Raw nuts and seeds such as cashews, almonds and flax seeds.
Apple Cider Vinegar

Dried fruits such as dates, mangos and apricots (to make fruit paste)
Pure maple syrup
Canned, Boxed & Jarred Goods
These items should be used less frequently. The fresher you can eat the better. However, these items can help you make healthy food in a pinch. Read labels to make sure these are BPA-free.
Canned Beans (I always have black beans and chickpeas on hand)
Tamari/Shoyu or Bragg Liquid Aminos
Nut butter (I never run out of cashew or peanut butter)

Non dairy milks
Garlic, ginger
Use the freezer to capture your favorite out-of-season nutrient-dense treats.                             Frozen Vegetables (spinach, green beans, butternut squash)
Frozen fruit for smoothies (strawberries, pineapple, bananas)



It doesn’t get any better than this! Avocados are the perfect substitute for this creamy deliciousness and can be interchanged with silken tofu for added nutrients and a creamy texture.

You will need:                                                                                                                                                   1 1/2 cup cocoa powder, raw or toasted unsweetened
4 very ripe avocados
1/2 cup date paste (soak dates in water for 45min & blend to create paste)
1/4 cup liquid sweetener, or more date paste
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
fresh berries (for garnish)

How:                                                                                                                                                                     First, gather and prepare ingredients.
In a food processor, add all the ingredients and blend until smooth. Be sure to scrape the sides to ensure it’s all blended thoroughly.
Spoon into glasses and serve with fresh berries.

Yes… it’s that simple and ridiculously yummy! So good that it will not only trick, but knock the socks off someone with a sweet tooth! Squeal!

My Favorite One Pot Meal ~


Coconut Braised Chickpeas w/ Spinach & Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Chickpeas, fresh spinach and sun-dried tomatoes are slowly simmered with garlic, ginger, lemon and coconut milk. The result is one highly-flavorful and satisfying dish ~ Squeal! Here is what you ‘ll need and how to do it!


1 yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp fresh ginger
1 whole lemon
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes*
2 cups cooked chickpeas (1 – 15 oz can)
1/2 tsp chili flakes (or to taste)
1 tbsp coconut oil**

1/2 lb fresh spinach*

1 – 14 oz can coconut milk
1 tsp ground ginger
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 bunch cilantro (to garnish)


To prepare, first dice the onion and mince the garlic and ginger. Next, zest the lemon. Juice the lemon and set aside for later. Measure out the sun-dried tomatoes. *Note: If using sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, make sure to drain them first.
Drain (if using canned) and rinse, then measure out the chickpeas. Gather the chili flakes and coconut oil. **Note: If desired, replace the oil and cook the onions with a bit of vegetable stock or water.
To cook the dish, heat a large/deep sauté pan over medium heat and then add the oil, followed by the onions and a good pinch of salt. Let the onions sweat for about 10 minutes or until translucent. Once soft, add the garlic and ginger and let cook for another minute or so. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, lemon zest and chili flakes. Let cook for another minute or so.
Next, add the chickpeas and stir to coat in the tomato mixture. At this point, turn up the heat slightly and sort of fry the chickpeas a bit. Keep an eye on them though so they don’t scorch. You just want them to have a little color. This should only take a few minutes. Once the chickpeas are heated through, turn the heat down slightly and start to add the spinach, a handful at a time. Once the first bunch of spinach has started to wilt, add in the next handful. Continue until all of the spinach has been added.
*Note: If using baby spinach you can add it as is. If you are using regular spinach, you will need to chop or tear it up a bit.                                                                                                                           To finish the meal, add the coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Stir to combine and then add the ground ginger and some of the reserved lemon juice. Taste for seasoning. Add more lemon juice, salt and/or pepper as needed.
Once everything has heated through, serve immediately. The spinach will start to lose its color and it won’t look as green. Serve it with brown rice or any grain of your choice. Garnish each plate with a healthy serving of fresh cilantro and enjoy!

I can’t get enough of this one! Its full of flavor, has great presentation,  and actually quite simple to make! Enjoy! Oink!