My adventures into healthy cooking

Nov 11, 2013 | Life in Progress

Had an unexpected and super sweet visit from @myriamjoseph for the weekend. Got an epic lesson in grocery shopping and cooking from her. And I got to spend the weekend with her adorable and crazy chill baby. And there was shopping too. #lovemesomemyriam #
You guys,
I’ve been working really hard these last few weeks to not just eat whole foods, but to actually prepare my meals ahead of time. This has required learning how to do some basic cooking. Confession: Although I can make simple dishes (pasta!), I have very little know how when it comes to seasoning and cooking veggies or meat. Quite truthfully, I’ve been loading up on carbs my entire life, and preparing and eating veggies/meat has never been a priority. This aspect of my life has been a huge hurdle for me. Luckily, John is the cook in our family, but nowadays, as I’m trying really hard to get healthier, it was time for me to get in the driver seat of my own health bus. 
So, when my dear friend Myriam (the most amazing whole food chef I know!) came to town recently, she took me to the grocery store and literally had me take notes while she gave me a tour of the entire joint. Imagine a grown lady (me) standing in front of the veggie section, getting a very thorough lesson about what this is and what that is, etc etc. It was 1 part hilarious, 1/2 part embarrassing, and a million parts useful and life changing. 
We left the store with that week’s essentials and went home and cooked it all up together. Myriam showed me how to cook everything, how to season it all, etc. She made me write it all down in my book, which I’ve been referring to every weekend when I do a 2-3 hour cooking session for the following week’s meals. 
Feeling mighty proud of my new cook self. Cooked and prepared for the week: yams, green chicken salad, black beans, chic peas, quinoa, baked chicken, mixed greens.  Not pictured : salad dressing, green dip/sauce. All delicious and flavored well for my pic
Here’s what we brought home, and here’s a snapshot of how I’ve been using it:

Sweet potatoes: boiled, skins left on. I’ve been eating them with a little feta sprinkled on (SO GOOD!) or in my bowls with chicken and spinach and advocado.

Chicken: Baked with lemon, garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary. I’ve been putting some of it aside for chicken salads or bowls (chicken, lentils, greens, advocado) and created a green chicken salad with the rest of it (blender: advocado, basil, lemon, lots of spinach). The salad dressing recipes that she taught me are below (delish and easy).
Black beans: Flavored with cumin, salt, pepper, bay leaf. I’ve been eating scrambled eggs with black beans and a little advocado in the mornings with a sprinkle of lime juice. Delish!
Lentils: A whole batch of them, cooked with veggie broth and seasoned with salt/pepper. I’ve been keeping a batch of soupy lentils and a batch of drained. Drained for salads and soupy for bowls (with chicken, spinach, advocado, sauce, maybe sweet pot).
Chic peas: cooked and drained for salads/bowls. Turns out I love chic peas as they come. 
Quinoa: Cooked per the directions on the box, using veggie broth instead of water. Season with a tiny bit of salt. I’m eating quinoa in either bowls or salad (spinach leaves, chicken, a bean/lentil, and a sauce. 
Not shown: chili, ground turkey, fruits, nuts, lara bars, yogurt, hard boiled eggs, almond butter (with banana = new fave snack) 

Here’s another view of food prep day in our kitchen. I love spending 2 hours on the weekends getting it all ready for the week. It’s so true what they say – that preparing it well ahead of time is KEY. That, and I feel capable. The capable part is really big for me. Empowered. 
I’ve been eating like this for about 3-4 weeks now. I’m trying to use the 80/20 rule and not fuss too much when I eat a giant bowl of pasta now and again. But I have to say that my late afternoon, late night sugar cravings are not an issue anymore. I start eating about an hour after I wake up and I eat about 6 small meals a day – my blood sugar is happier and I’m feeling pretty darned good. 

Apparently these last two weeks are the weeks for milestones. Potty training. Check. Preschool. Check. Second week of consistent workouts. Check. First week of eating whole foods, like six times per day. I made my first salad dressing via directions from
Here’s a photo of one of my bowls (salad greens, sweet pot, feta, chicken, lentils) with the homemade dressing. Really good. 

Post workout green smoothie! Spinach, yogurt, frozen fruit blend. Yum!
Still doing a green smoothie just about every day, too. Our vitamix has been the best investment ever for green smoothies (like butter, smooth) and other sauces. In the smoothie: loads of spinach, water, frozen fruit, yogurt, chia seeds, flax oil, and almond butter sometimes).
Getting there, friends. It’s not about losing weight. It’s about having more energy. Period. I need more energy for the kind of life I want to live. This is the biggest step I’ve taken toward my long term health in a long time. It doesn’t feel hard or limiting or unfriendly or restrictive. The prep work has been the key. I’m eating more than I was eating before, actually. Feeling powered up, motivated, and committed. I want to grow old with John and watch True grow old, too. 
Kelly Rae
ps: Got great whole food EASY recipes? Send them my way. I need to insert some more variety, and fast 🙂
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Sending much love,

Show/Hide Comments (13 comments)
  1. Sylvia Dewy

    These days I am completely into healthy eating and green smoothies are one of my favorite dish. Thanks for such wonder tips.. its really helpful. 🙂


  2. MadreLuna

    This is the first time I leave you a comment, although not the first time I browse your beautiful blog. Just wanted to mention that I have been doing exactly the same thing you are doing now, for the last two months and it has made a world of change. I suffer from arthritis and had to stop painting because I'd get horrible cramps on my hands from carpal tunnel and pinched nerves (the beginning of the fibromyalgia perfect storm). So I eliminated all processed foods from my pantry and am eating fresh, local and organic as much as possible. Here in NY I can get everything I want at the farmers market with a token system that exchanges my food stamps for farmers market "coins" to pay for all my fresh veggies, fruit, meats, honey, breads… well, you get the idea. I stopped coffe and milk/milk products. Just have meat/chicken and/or cheese once every seven or eight days. The rest of the time is root vegetables, greens and other veggies and fruit. A bigh fruit-only shake (no yogurt, milk, juice or water)in the morning after taking my son to school. First thing is my green tea with honey and ginseng. I eat a small meal every three hours and try not to eat anything after 6 pm. But the main thing has been leaving all wheat products. Although not a celiac allergy sufferer, I've heard so many stories of people whose pain has dinminished considerably by leaving wheat, that I decided to give it a try. It has made a huge difference… Keep up the good work, I'm leaving my pain medication little by little and plan to be med free by next Spring.

  3. Anonymous

    Thank you SO much for taking the time to share so many great ideas. This is so incredibly helpful I am printing it out to keep on my desk as I have very much struggled with the exact same thing and this post is a total godsend. Thank you!
    Alexandra in Portland

  4. Brittney T.

    Thank you so much for sharing this Kelly! I have been struggling with how to start doing this since I go to school full time and work full time. I have been eating fast food way more than I should be and I honestly just feel like crap! I need to start taking control of my eating habits. Plus I signed up for Kale Yeah!!

  5. CanvasPics {Interior HeART still life}

    Oh thank you so much for the tips…sometimes it is so time consuming to look for healthier go-to meal ideas, thank you for that {smile}

  6. corinne

    This one is so easy and so delish! Put six chicken breasts in a crock pot with a jar of cheap salsa, half that jar of water, a bag of frozen corn (Trader Joes has awesome frozen corn) and two cans of drained black beans. Cook on low all day – at the end of your day, the chicken is so tender you can literally stir it with a spoon and it will fall apart. Add it to salads, tortillas, rice bowls, etc. Easy to freeze. I'm trying to eat better too – thanks for the post! xo

  7. Anonymous

    Would love to be that organized – I am trying to overhaul what I eat and eat more wholesome foods. But I just love cake and I found some great recipes on the web site belonging to Teresa Cutter also know as the Healthy Chef. She has tons of fabulous recipes on her website – well worth a look – here it is for those interested…
    My favourite is her 'Really Good Chocolate Cake'.
    Lisa C

  8. Brittany

    I love these Ideas you shared! One of my fave breakfast recipes is egg muffins. Beat 12 eggs well, mix in any chopped veggies you like such as zucchini, squash, mushrooms, green onions, peppers, broccoli, etc; breakfast meat (cooked) if you want; any kind of grated or crumbled cheese; milk or almond milk (just a splash); and any spices that you like with eggs (chives, dill, etc). Mix all ingredients together and pour into sprayed muffin tins. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes. They keep well for the whole week. Each morning I heat one up and add plain greek yogurt, yellow grape tomatoes, and avocado. If you search 'egg muffins' in Pinterest, lots of recipes and variations come up! Super easy to make for the week ahead!

  9. beth

    we're trying a new way of eating, too….the paleo diet and so far so good.

    he wants to drop a few pounds and i want to feel better….no bloating, no headaches, no joint pain….and this is our start.

    no dairy is sooooo hard and no sugar has been easier than i thought it would be. not eating crackers or chips….i like crunchy things….has been hard, but they've been replaced with seeds and nuts.

    so here's to feeling better 🙂
    thanks for sharing !!!

  10. Gabrielle Fabian

    Good for you, Kelly Rae, and your family too!! I changed my eating habits at the end of September and I have days now where I feel like a million bucks!! Those sorts of days are becoming more frequent. I love to cook so I have a couple of cookbook recommendations: Well Fed, by Melissa Joulwan; Practical Paleo, by Diane Sanfilippo. They both have fabulous recipes as well as great strategies to make this approach manageable in a busy lifestyle. The latter book also does a fantastic job of explaining the details of the health benefits of eating this way, and specific 30 day starts to specifically address particular health concerns. I have a friend who's daughter has MS, and the daughter is the one who persuaded me to try this out. She looks fantastic, but more importantly, her health is so great that she has been able to forego implementing some of her meds for treating the MS. Her neurologists are amazed and still monitor her condition, but have no argument that favors the meds at this time. Powerful testimony indeed.
    Love you, love your beautiful work and inspiration, looking forward to your next steps all ready xxxxx

  11. Bella

    I loved reading this post & am taking away so much from the info you shared!

    Here's a savory breakfast tip for a cold day: I buy the all whites (egg whites) in the large milk carton size. It lasts about a week in my family of 3. I keep zip lock bags of a half cup chopped veggies (red, yellow, green peppers, diced carrots, kale, a nice variety of crunchy ones). Having them ready makes the cooking breakfast part easier.

    With a little olive oil in a mini pan, sautee the veggies to your liking. Season lightly with salt & pepper.

    Pour in 1/3 cup of egg whites (equivalent of 2 eggs) *At this point you can decide if you want extras like shredded cheese to make it savory or 1 tbsp. of quinoa for added crunch? It's up to you!

    Let the sides turn golden brown while you swirl the pan to spread the whites around evenly.

    Once the middle begins to set, using a spatula, flip one side over the other, folding in half like an omelet. Cook for 1 more minute on each side. Slide onto plate. Give it one more tiny sprinkle of salt & pepper.

    *Also, with your vitamix, you are sitting on a gold mine for savory, thick soups! You can roast some butternut squash or pumpkin until tender & golden ~ take skins off ~ put pieces into your vitamix with warmed chicken or veggie broth, salt, pepper, cayenne, cinnamon, and a dash of cream for a great autumn soup and a perfect lunch on a cold day.

    Here's a recipe I found from vitamix for pumpkin:

    Lot's of luck!

  12. CJ

    Very inspiring Kelly. A healthy diet affects every part of life I think. I always feel so much better when I don't eat any sugar at all, it has such a poisonous effect on me. Tofu is nice sliced to half a cm thick, then fried in a little sunflower oil with shoyu (natural soya sauce – no added sugar or flavourings) on it. Eat it hot or cold. Also, I do sunflower and pumpkin seeds this way – put them in a pan with a little oil, sprinkle them with shoyu and stir regularly until they are uniformly lightly browned. Eat as a snack or sprinkle on salads. I make a huge jar of these, and they're popular with children too.


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I’m Kelly Rae Roberts

Before I picked up my first paintbrush at the age of 30, I was a medical social worker. I followed my creative whispers, and today I’m an artist & Possibilitarian. I’m passionate about creating meaningful art and experiences that awaken and inspire our spirits.

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