Don’t these look yummy?


Courtesy of

I’ve made these frozen bananas quite a few times and they really are a nice sweet treat.  They couldn’t be easier to make, and they are a refreshing bite of fruit and chocolate on a hot day.  They can also be red, white & blue as seen here to fit in with your Fourth of July festivities.

I know we’ve all heard it before, but it’s worth repeating…

Holiday Survival Guide:

  • Do enjoy the company of family and friends tomorrow.
  • Do bring a dish you prepared and know is good and good for you.
  • Do remember it’s a one-day holiday.
  • Do fit in exercise so you get a healthy start on the day.
  • Don’t go for that old mainstay of flag cake – try something new!
  • Don’t eat to avoid talking to your family.  Go for a walk instead.  Or play with the kids at the BBQ.
  • Don’t use this one-day holiday as an excuse to go off the rails till Monday July 8th (I’ve been there, believe me, it ain’t fun coming back from that)

Happy Independence Day everyone!  Let me know on Facebook or Twitter how you spent the day – the good and the bad!

Here are my frozen bananas – still tasty but not nearly as well art directed as Skinnytaste 🙂

With nuts, I didn't have sprinkles on hand

With nuts, I didn’t have sprinkles on hand

Go Somewhere New

July 2, 2013

I made this deliciousness Monday night.


Wild Mushroom Frittata – for dinner!

I have been lessening my dependence on meat the past few months mostly because I recognize the impact it has on the environment. Not to mention our own personal health. I’ve been buying organic meat as much as possible because I know that every dollar I spend on organic is a vote for a different food industry than the one we have today. So as part of that movement I try to eat meat only once per day and not every day. For this week’s Meatless Monday I wanted to do something I could serve to my whole family. I started poking around online for a frittata recipe because they are easy to make and something new for my family. And I knew my husband wouldn’t object to it! (Kale with beans for dinner might not have gone over so well!)

I found a recipe for Wild Mushroom Frittata that seemed hearty and easy to prepare.


I served it with a huge salad and we loved it. The leftovers were great for lunch today as well.

I used organic eggs, milk and an assortment of shiitake and baby Bella mushrooms. Using high quality ingredients really makes a difference in the overall taste. It made this dish mouth-watering instead of just some dry eggs for dinner.

Click here for the recipe.

What do you make for Meatless Monday? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter!

I bought a juicer a few weeks ago after watching this documentary called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.

The man behind the documentary, Joe Cross, goes on a 60 days juice fast to heal himself from disease. I’ve done a juice fast for 3 days and at the time I thought that was quite enough for me, although I’m not nearly as sick as Joe was at the start of the film. Just to think about food as medicine seems kind of weird at first right?

We’re so programmed to go to the doctor for a prescription for things that the idea that the food could be the culprit is outside the box for most of us.

I do believe there are many instances where the doctor and the prescriptions are necessary, and I have great respect for doctors because it is one of the toughest jobs in the world. But, I have to admit that I am noticing more and more the connection between the food we eat and how we feel. Is it a simple case of “you are what you eat?”

According to “Savor” by Thich Nhat Hanh, “you are MORE than what you eat”.  Now there’s something to ponder.  How could I be MORE than the calories I take in?  Isn’t it all, calories in has to be less than calories out?

That’s what I always believed, until very recently when I learned about Primary Food.  The Institute for Integrative Nutrition says primary food is, ” Elements such as a meaningful spiritual practice, an inspiring career, regular and enjoyable physical activity and honest and open relationships that feed your soul and your hunger for living all constitute primary food.”  Understanding this definition has been eye-opening for me.  As I start to work with clients in my new health coaching practice, The Family Plate, I am realizing more and more that the concepts I will be helping people with most are not what foods to eat, but understanding Primary Food.  Of course, there will be plenty of discussion about what to eat, but being more than what you eat will be a larger component than I ever could have dreamed.  I’m so excited to get going with my clients to unfurl this idea with them.  The idea that maybe at the end of the day you need a good hug from your spouse instead of a bowl of ice cream could be revealing for some.

To put this idea to the test, I am going to do a little experiment.  What if every night when my husband comes home, I stop what I’m doing, go over to him and give him a long hug?  You know how crazy 6pm can be in a home, dinner’s going on the stove, baby needs a playmate, dog barking to go out – its mayhem sometimes when Ran gets home.  But I’m going to stop and hug him, and hopefully nourish us both with a little calorie free primary food.  Once I’m done with that hug, I’m going to grab up my baby and hug him too.  I want my family plate to be filled with love and not just the love of food, but the love of each other. I can’t say it better than the Beatles, All you need is Love.  Word.

Check out the trailer for this documentary, it’s available to watch on Netflix and is worth giving it a look.  Discover how a lack of primary food has led some of us to a dangerous place in our own bodies and how turning it around can create a wonderful positive ripple effect in the world.  Then, if you get the juicing bug, you can try my personal juice blend.  Happy Friday all!

@affairwitcheese  @thefamilyplate


Is vegetable a dirty word?  Sometimes I feel like it is.  I bring it up a lot with people (mostly my family) as in, “Are you going to serve any vegetables with that?”  I don’t mean to sound judge-y, but are you going to serve any vegetables with that?  I know that I need vegetables in my diet for many reasons: to feel full, to eat less meat and dairy, to feel regular (I went there!) and to maintain my weight.  I find most people don’t eat as much veggies as they should for 3 reasons:

1) vegetables are more expensive

2) vegetables are boring / I don’t know how to cook them

3) I don’t like salad

And all of these fall under the umbrella of “I don’t know why vegetables are important”.  We’ll get to that in a moment.

I’ve eaten my fair share of meals that are vegetable deficient.  Sandwiches come to mind, countless bowls of pasta with meatballs, even pizza.  I love all these foods, but they are seriously lacking in the vegetable department.

Did you know the FDA considers the tomato sauce on pizza a vegetable for school lunches?  I remember when I was in school that french fries were also considered a vegetable.  SCARY.  I just took a look on the FDA School Lunch website and some of my favorites horrors from these guidelines are below:

FDA says, “Select vegetables with more potassium often, such as sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white beans, tomato products (paste, sauce, and juice), beet greens, soybeans, lima beans, spinach, lentils, and kidney beans.”

Marie says, “Potatoes are a starchy vegetable that should be eaten in moderation.  They are also delivery vehicles for some very fatty toppings (sour cream, butter, oil, cheese) that must be monitored closely if you want to maintain optimal weight.”

Please instead of potatoes, try some green veggies like kale or spinach.

FDA says, “Order a veggie pizza with toppings like mushrooms, green peppers, and onions, and ask for extra veggies.”

Marie says, “Ok yes order a veggie topped pizza, but please don’t expect that to equal a vegetable serving.  Having one slice of pizza with a green salad would be a better solution.”

I love pizza, and I don’t want to discourage people from eating it, but it’s really gotta be served with a salad otherwise it’s not a complete meal.

So why are vegetables so important?

The make you feel full, they provide fiber and countless vitamins and minerals.  Plus they are a non-animal derived food which makes them more sustainable to the environment.

I always do my best to buy organic vegetables because they taste better and if I’m gonna eat and serve veggies I want the best!  There are other good reasons below…

The definition of organic when talking about food is, “Simply stated, organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.” (Taken from

But, sometimes there aren’t organic versions available in the grocery store or your budget won’t allow for it.  This is a handy guide you can use when shopping that outlines what’s called the “Dirty Dozen” – the list of the MOST contaminated fruits and vegetables (so you know to always buy those organic) and the “Clean Fifteen” highlighting the LEAST contaminated crops.  Take a look here! You can even download a wallet guide or an app for your phone here: (download a copy of the wallet guide)

So when I offered to bring some veggie crudite to a father’s day gathering last week there was a bit of shock and horror from my Grandmother (for more about Grandmother Nora, click here).   She really couldn’t understand why I had done it.  She made all this delicious food (pasta, meatballs and a pork roast) so why did we need vegetables?  She made a salad to go with it.  She was dumbfounded.  The truth is, I gotta crowd out the bad stuff with vegetables, I need to constantly be thinking about how to eat more vegetables otherwise I don’t eat them.  I want to eat meatballs, but it order to have balance I need the vegetables too.  Salad just won’t be enough.  So once she settled down and we were cleaning up the appetizers she yells to my father to pack up for the vegetables for me because “You’re daughter likes vegetables”.  She said it like it was a bad thing, like I liked pornography or CSI:NY.  Could you imagine if I’d become a vegan as I once toyed with? Yikes!

But I soldier on, bringing vegetables to a new level at home and away.  Someone shared this delicious recipe with me this week and it went over like gangbusters when I had a vegetarian friend over this week. Delicious Eggplant Roasted in the Oven.

Maybe I’ll bring that next time grandmother has me over!

My good friend Abby passed on this recipe to me because she knows I am a choco-holic and I love a good recipe that uses my Vitamix.  I made this pudding over the weekend for a few non vegans and it went over great!  The trick is that it tastes DELICIOUS so people don’t care if it’s “vegan” or “dairy free” – it’s just YUMMY!

Abby’s 4 Ingredient Chocolate Pudding

1 Can Coconut Milk (must be full fat) or Coconut Cream, chilled

4-6 Dates, pitted

5 tablespoons of cocoa powder

2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

Place can of coconut milk in the refridgerator for a few hours to create coconut milk solids.  When ready to eat, scoop coconut milk solids into a blender or food processor along with dates, cocoa powder and vanilla extract.  Pulse a few times to combine ingredients.  Add coconut milk liquid to achieve desired consistency.  Pour into ramekins and eat right away, or refrigerate.  The amount of servings you will end up with depends on how much solids and liquids you use.  Expect at least 2.  The pudding can be rich for those without a sweet tooth, so small servings are ideal.  If you don’t like the bits of dates you can strain them out, but I think they add a nice texture and should be left in.  Enjoy!

Now that the weather is warmer I crave a cold sweet treat at the end of the day. While watching my beloved QVC over the weekend, I got some new inspiration for desserts using my Vitamix blender. Tonight I experimented with what has to be the easiest recipe.

Vegan Mango “Faux-Yo”
1 cup soy milk
1 cup frozen mango
*makes 4 servings, half recipe to make 2

Add to blender, blend about 1 minute on high setting until 4 mounds form. Enjoy!

I added a tablespoon of semi-sweet chocolate chips on top for added pizzazz. (They happen to be vegan as well).

The texture is more soft (not super hard like ice cream). Perhaps adding a few ice cubes would give you a firmer result. I liked the faux-yo soft though.

I prefer this to buying sorbet or fro-yo because there is no added sugar, chemicals or preservatives. You whip it up and eat it fresh. (It doesn’t make very good leftovers, so best to eat right away). Plus, you can make a different flavor every night since frozen fruit is so convenient to keep on hand.

I can’t wait to try something else tomorrow! Happy blending!

Banana “faux yo” (in the style of Yonanas but made in the food processor) was YUMMY last night as a sweet treat.  Simply freeze a banana, then toss it in the food processor, add some chocolate chips, peanut butter, whatever you like! and simply pulse it 10 or so times until you reach a creamy consistency.  I added milk chocolate pieces of Dylan’s easter bunny and it was delicious.  Next time I’m going to try a spoonful of peanut butter. Enjoy!

Living in a small apartment (that’s already got way too much kitchen gear) I’m not really up for buying a Yonanas machine.  I got great results with a food processor but if you have room and love bananas, go for it!

This recipe from Skinnytaste features the Yonanas machine and some lovely photography!

Marie’s Menu 1/22/13

January 22, 2013

My weekly cooking continues as I’ve picked up some days of work outside the home and am worried that I won’t have something healthy for dinner.

This morning while I was home with the little one I cooked up Skinnytaste Pork chops with mushrooms and shallots. I used boneless chops that turned out to be more like pork medallions because its what I had on hand. Served them tonight for dinner for my son and husband.

This evening – after a quick call to my stepdad for advice – I attempted tilapia for the first time. I cut lemon slices, placed the fish on the slices on a baking sheet, salt and peppered them, sprayed them with EVOO using my misto, then topped with 1 tsp whole wheat breadcrumbs. 10 minutes at 350 degrees, then 5 minutes under the broiler on high. It was delightful! The breadcrumbs gave it a nice flavor and texture. The tilapia was perfectly cooked and basically melted in my mouth. I am trying to get more fish into my diet and this was definitely a recipe to keep around. I am taking a leftover piece for lunch tomorrow!

I served the tilapia with organic kale that I sautéed, salad, and half of a sweet potato. It was a great meal. I felt satisfied after, but not stuffed. And I love the idea that I am eating high quality food. It just feels better, you know?

I already got one great fish recipe from a friend via Facebook, but I’d love more – so if you have any please send them my way!

Happy cooking everyone!


Easy Mushroom Barley Soup

October 9, 2012

family-plate-5-blurOk, if you love mushrooms and you love soup then you want to make this recipe.  It’s a soup my mother-in-law taught me last year when I was on maternity leave and had time to make soups!  Seriously, it’s very easy and yields many servings so I usually freeze half and enjoy the rest all week.  I make it even easier by using the pre-sliced mushrooms. We had some last night before dinner and it was full of flavor and very filling.


3 10 oz. containers of pre-washed and sliced mushrooms (feel free to mix varieties of mushrooms)

1-3 cloves of garlic, finely minced or put through a garlic press

1 tsp olive oil

1/2 onion chopped

3 tablespoons Osem Mushroom Soup Mix

8 cups of water

1/2 cup barley

Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions: Saute onions (with a dash of salt) in olive oil in a large pot until they are translucent, add garlic, let saute another 1-2 minutes, add mushrooms and saute for 5 minutes or until all the mushrooms are softening.  Add pepper if desired. Add 8 cups of water and Osem Mushroom Soup mix and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer.  Add barley, let simmer on low heat for 30-40 minutes until barley is soft. Should make at least 8 servings.  Enjoy!

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