Healthy Recipe – Cilantro Kale Salad With Buttermilk Dressing

Here’s a spring salad recipe to brighten your day. You’ll need a food processor and a sharp knife. Try it and let me know what you think.

p.s. I get super annoyed when I’m scrolling a page looking for a recipe and they post it waaay down at the bottom, so I’m starting with the recipe here. If you’re wondering why buttermilk is “healthy” keep reading down below the recipe for my notes.

Cilantro Kale Salad With Buttermilk Dressing


  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 5 oz baby kale
  • 5 radishes
  • 5 Tbsps buttermilk
  • 3 Tbsps sour cream
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper


  1. Wash and de stem cilantro. I usually soak mine in cold water, swish them around real good, and drain. Do this three times to get all the dirt off. You’ll be using the stems in the dressing, and the leaves as garnish. If you really like cilantro, and you are short on time or patience, you could put most of the leaves and stems right in the processor and not even mess around with picking the leaves off which is the most time consuming part of this recipe.
  2. Rinse (if needed) and roughly chop your baby kale into bite sized pieces. Spin the leaves in a spinner or pat them dry in a kitchen towel to remove as much moisture as possible before you dress your salad. (if you bought prewashed kale you can skip this step).
  3. Thinly slice radishes.
  4. Make dressing – combine buttermilk, sour cream, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and either the cilantro stems, or about half the bunch of cilantro (if you’re doing the lazy way I mentioned above) in a food processor. Process until combined.
  5. In a large bowl toss kale and radishes with dressing. Garnish with cilantro leaves.

This is a great, sturdy make ahead salad you could bring to a potluck, or meal prep on the weekend for your lunches during the week.

A note about my “healthy” recipes.

Buttermilk gets a real bad rap. Buttermilk is the sour probiotic laden liquid left over after churning milk to make butter.

Years ago I can remember my grannie enjoying a cold glass of buttermilk. She was raised out in the country during the depression and they did not waste anything. When she was a child, her family churned their own butter and as a result they had buttermilk they kept in the ice box.

Recently I had some leftover buttermilk from a cake recipe, so I stated researching it. I compared the labels with the yogurt I eat regularly and turns out buttermilk has more protein and less sugar than yogurt. It can also be easier on your tummy if you are sensitive to dairy. My schedule and meeting with clients means I’m moving my body throughout the day and sometimes I struggle with timing my meals. A small glass of buttermilk comes in handy when I need a light snack but don’t want a bloated belly.

If you enjoy kefir or other drinkable yogurts but want a lower sugar option, the next time you are at the grocery store compare labels and see how buttermilk stacks up. Look for grams of protein, and grams of sugar and you might be surprised.

As with all these recipe and dietary suggestions, you are in charge of taking good care of you! I’m a personal trainer and licensed massage therapist. I am not your doctor nor am I providing and dietary prescription for you.

Please see your medical professional for specific dietary advice.

Fiesta Beef And Cornbread Casserole

My sweet neighbor Margaret passed away this month and I wanted to share her recipe.

Click here to read her obituary.

Margaret grew up in Oklahoma and often shared with me fascinating stories about her childhood. As kids during the depression they were lucky if they got one new pair of shoes each year. She moved with her family to California, then later to Sellwood, and her and her husband raised their kids here. In addition to her biological family, she was known for “adopting” people. She made sure everyone she knew was well taken care of.

We would joke about the very Southern tradition of never returning an empty tupperware (so very rude!) so if I had given her something, and she didn’t have anything to give me in return, she would put an orange, or a cookie or something small in the container before giving it back to me. Most of the time it was her giving me yummy treats, from her famous chocolate chip cookies, to casseroles, cakes, and fresh veggies out of her garden. I rarely went home empty handed.

Here she is posing with me at her 90th birthday party.

Almost right up until her death, she kept up her house, cooking and sharing food with her neighbors and friends. She loved working in her yard, and feeding the squirrels, and crows. One day she shared a funny story about seeing a crow in her birdbath washing off a hot dog. I’m not sure where the hot dog came from, or how the crow dragged in up into the birdbath, but you know how crafty crows can be.

She made pickles every year and gave them away as Christmas gifts. She shared tomatoes and roses from her garden. A few years ago she made this fiesta casserole. I told her how much I liked it and she wrote out the recipe by hand (see photo below). Oh to have this penmanship!

If you’d like to pay your respects, or share stories with her friends and family, a memorial will be held for her February 5th at the Living Room coffee shop 8524 SE 17th from 4-6 pm.


I made her recipe, with a few changes. I used fresh peppers and tomatoes rather than jarred salsa, and organic beef from Trader Joe’s. I also doubled the peppers and added zucchini so this ended up making two batches of chili. I doubled the cornbread as well (I wanted to make sure there was plenty on cornbread on top). If you are not feeding an army you could easily cut this recipe in half.


Check it out and let me know what you think.

Fiesta Casserole

Chili Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 2.25 oz can sliced black olives
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (or 3-4 cups fresh)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels (thawed)
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Cornbread Ingredients:

  • Two boxes of Jiffy cornbread mix
  • two eggs
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk (or whole milk)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (plus more for garnish if you like)
  • 4 oz can of green chilies
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large, deep, ovenproof skillet, sauté onions, celery, peppers, zucchini, garlic, and beef til meat is no longer pink, and veggies are soft (6-8 min).
  3. Add tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, oregano, olives, tomatoes, corn, broth, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 5-10 minutes.


Prepare cornbread:

  1. Mix cornbread per package directions (mix + eggs + milk).
  2. Add chopped cilantro and green chilies to cornbread mixture. Stir until just combined (there may be lumps). Spoon cornbread mixture over chili.
  3. Bake 30-35 minutes until cornbread is golden and cooked through.
  4. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese, and put under the boiler. Broil on high until the cheese is bubbling (watch it closely so it does not burn).
  5. Let stand for five minutes before serving.


Anne McCranie is a Portland (Sellwood), Oregon based personal trainer and licensed massage therapist. She offers this recipe to tickle your taste buds. Please see your medical professional for specific dietary advice.

Moroccan Lamb Stew Recipe

How does a warm, spiced, hearty bowl of stew sound right now?

Have I told you how much I love my crock pot? I use it once or twice a week. It’s a great option for me because I have sort of an unusual schedule. I see clients from 10 to 7, with breaks during the day. I prep meals during my breaks, then our dinner is cooking away while I work, and ready to eat after I wrap my last class.

This type of stew actually tastes better the next day, so it’s great for leftovers.

A note about crock pot cooking, the liquid does not cook out like it would if you were making this on a stovetop. Start with the listed amount of broth, then once its cooking, you can check it to see if you like the consistency. If you’d like it more “soupy” and less “stewy”, add more broth.

You can also make this on the stovetop, in a large stock pot. When you get to step 6, just turn the heat down low, and cover the pot, Check it every thirty minutes or so to make sure it still has enough liquid.

Your whole house is about to smell amazing!

Try this stew and let me know what you think…


  • 2 pounds lamb stew meat cut onto 1 ½ inch cubes (I found a 2.5 lb shoulder roast and had the butcher cut into cubes). 
  • 2 teaspoons of each: salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, and cumin seeds.
  • 1/2 red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil.
  • 1 onion, diced.
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped. 
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste.
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar.
  • 2 tablespoons honey.
  • 1  1/4 cups chicken stock.
  • 1, 15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained.
  • ¼ cup raisins or dried apricots (chopped).
  • 1 bunch of collard greens, chopped.


  1. Rub the meat with all the spices. 
  2. Let it rest, covered, in the fridge for a couple hours.
  3. In a large stock pot, brown meat in oil for 5 minutes, stirring every so often.
  4. Add onion and garlic and saute for 2 minutes.
  5. Add tomato paste, vinegar, honey, and chicken stock, and warm it through (stir it for another minute or so).
  6. Carefully transfer meat mixture to the crock pot and put the lid on.
  7. Cook on high for 4 hours.
  8. Add chopped collards, and garbanzos and cook for another 2 hours.

Serve with cooked couscous or rice.



Looking for more recipes? Here are my most popular:

Dark Chocolate Bark

Ahi Poke

Green Soup

Broccoli Salad

Baked Oatmeal

Quick And Easy Steamed Broccoli

Steamed broccoli. It ain’t sexy, or edgy, but it is one of my favorites!

At my house we eat this side dish just about once a week. Think of it as the food version of squats. A solid move, good to keep in the regular rotation, with lots of ways to make it more interesting.

My sweetie loves steamed broccoli. It’s quick and easy. And, any leftovers I can put with eggs the next day for a veggie heavy breakfast.

One of my girlfriends was complaining recently about how when she tries to steam broccoli, she ends up with an overcooked green mush, so I decided to offer this tutorial.

The trick is to not overcook it, and the secret to that is – do not walk away once you’ve turned on the heat.

Seriously, don’t leave the kitchen. Watch it like a toddler holding a bag of glitter, cuz the second you go check your phone, it’s all over but the crying.

Broccoli bath time

My other tip is to play with your spices. Start with salt and pepper then add whatever you and your family like – red pepper flakes, garlic powder, fresh herbs, grated parmesan, a splash of citrus or vinegar. These toppings will really make this dish go from blah to WOW!

Also, please do not skimp on the fat or salt. If you are eating a whole foods diet, and you prepare most of your meals at home, you are typically not going to be overdoing it on the salt. Highly processed, pre packaged foods, and restaurant meals do tend to have higher salt, fat and sugar content.

Strain it

One last note, as a nutrition coach I offer yummy recipes that I hope you will enjoy. I am not diagnosing your condition, or prescribing a dietary plan for you. Please see your medical professional for that.

this much water in the pot

Here goes…

Quick and Easy Steamed Broccoli

First, get out all your equipment. You will need:

  • large bowl
  • colander
  • steamer basket
  • pot with a lid (the pot should be big enough to fit the steamer basket inside)
  • cutting board
  • sharp knife
  • one bunch of broccoli
  • salt, pepper and your choice of spices (see below)
  • Olive oil


  1. Chop it. Cut broccoli into bite sized pieces.
  2. Wash it. Put broccoli in a large bowl, fill the bowl with water, and swirl it around, washing off any dirt or debris.
  3. Strain it. Place colander in the sink. Strain broccoli into colander (leave colander in the sink, you will need it again in a minute).
  4. Fill pot with an inch or so of water. You want enough water that it won’t cook off, but not enough to come up over the bottom of the steamer basket (otherwise you’re boiling it, not steaming it).
  5. Place steamer basket in pot.
  6. Place broccoli in steamer basket. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (I add red pepper flakes here as well).
  7. Put lid on pot, turn the heat on to med/ high. Do not walk away. In fact, set a timer for 5 minutes if you think you may get distracted. The last time I made this, I timed it, and it took about 5 minutes for my water to come up to boiling, and 2 minutes for the broccoli to cook.
  8. Check for doneness. Once you hear or see the water boiling, keep an eye on the pot. After the broccoli has been boiling for a minute or two, take the lid off, poke broccoli with a fork to check for doneness. I like mine bright green and still a little crunchy. It will continue to cook after you take it off the heat.
  9. Strain broccoli. Once broccoli is cooked, carefully take the pot to the sink and dump the broccoli back into the colander.
  10. Zaz it up. Place strained broccoli back in pot, and give it a good douse of Olive oil (2-3 tablespoons) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir to combine. (*You could also add shredded parmesan, a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, a splash of lemon juice, or vinegar if you like those flavors.)
next the steamer basket goes in

add spices, lid on, then wait just a few minutes for the magic

strain it again

back in the pot one last time to zaz it up

Zucchini Tots Recipe

Are you looking for creative ways to eat up all your zucchini?

Rather than trying to pawn off your bumper crop on your friends and neighbors, try this yummy and easy recipe for zucchini tots (like tater tots, but made with shredded zucchini rather than potatoes – get it?).

Here’s a giant zucchini from my mom’s garden in Florida

The trick to making your tots stick together in a tot like shape is squeezing as much of the moisture out as you can. This recipe (like all my favorite recipes) is easy, with minimal steps and only a handful of ingredients.

Keep reading for the full recipe below.

The basics: Shred your zucchini and dry it out. Mix it with spices, an egg, and breadcrumbs to bind everything together. Shape them into tots, and bake them in the oven.

Serve them with ranch, blue cheese, ketchup, bbq sauce, or your favorite dipping sauce.

Try this recipe and let me know what you think!

Zucchini “Tots” Recipe


  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • pepper
  • (optional) 1 tsp cayenne powder


  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Grate zucchini into a large bowl. Add 1 tsp. salt (this will help pull out the moisture) and let it sit for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Wrap shredded zucchini in a kitchen towel and wring it out, straining as much of the liquid as possible.
  4. Dry your bowl, and put strained zucchini back in the bowl.
  5. Add egg, breadcrumbs, and seasonings and mix together.
  6. Form into a tot like shape (or a little cube, or ball- about a tablespoon each). This will make about 15 – 20 tots.
  7. Place tots on a parchment lined baking sheet with a little space between them.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes, flip them over and bake for another 10 minutes, or until they are crispy and browned on top.
  9. Serve with your choice of sauce (I’ve been digging Toby’s ranch dressing lately).