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Everyday Maven

Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salmon Seafood

Arugula Chimichurri over Roasted Salmon and a Virtual Baby Shower

Salmon with Arugula Chimichurri // Karista's Kitchen

I remember when my oldest daughter was about four years old and we were hanging out on the living room floor, reading books and talking about how someday she would have a baby brother or sister.

As we were chatting, she turned her rosy cheeked, sweet blue eyed, blonde head to me and said “Mom, how did you know to pick me?”  I was a little surprised by the question and I asked “what do you mean?” She replied “you know, how did you know you wanted ME?”  The question caught me by surprise and as I tried to recover I said “Well… Dad and I saw all the baby angels playing in heaven and that’s when we spotted you. We instantly fell in love and knew we wanted you for our baby.”

Everyday Maven's Baby Celebration


Now, I know some of you might think that’s one tall tale to tell a four year old, but honestly, that is what I came up with.  My heart was so warmed by the question, I wanted my answer to reflect how much we wanted her and how much we cherished our little sassy blonde girl.

Salmon with Arugula Chimichurri

She clung to those words for years to come and when our second daughter arrived, my sassy little gal said to her Dad, “I guess this is the one you picked?”

As you know, I have two sassy gals now and they are the food for my soul.  Motherhood and parenting have been a wild ride and I wouldn’t trade a minute.

My Two Sassy Gals on Mother's Day 2014

My Two Sassy Gals on Mother’s Day 2014

I’m truly honored to have been asked to participate in my sweet friend’s virtual baby shower.  Alyssa, of Everyday Maven, her handsome husband and their adorable little boy will soon know the joy of welcoming a new baby boy to their family.

Several years ago, I met Alyssa at a blog conference in Seattle – while noshing on the most divine appetizers.  I liked her immediately.  A breath of fresh air, exuding a warm and genuine personality, Alyssa is a most beautiful and lovely lady.

I’m happy to say, we’ve been friends ever since.

Alyssa writes the delicious food blog Everyday Maven and has published two fantastic e-Books.  Her recipes are drool worthy and written with good health and nutrition in mind. I think one of my favorite Everyday Maven recipes has to be the Cabbage Rolls.  And of course her guest post for my blog, Karista’s Kitchen,  gluten free Banana Chip Cookies.

Today, several other bloggers and myself are hosting a virtual baby shower for Alyssa.  A plethora of delicious recipes to celebrate but also recipes to prepare during the first few months after the new baby’s arrival.  Recipes to comfort and nourish with ease of preparation for a quick meal or leisurely weekend.  Although as we know, there is nothing “leisurely” about a new baby in the house; just lots of love and smiles and hopefully, soon to be restful nights.

Congratulations Alyssa and family!

Here is a list of Alyssa’s Virtual Baby Shower Recipes, lovingly prepared by some fabulous food bloggers!


Fried Egg Topped Curried Sweet Potatoes from A Beautiful Bite

Chocolate Orange Protein Smoothie from The Lemon Bowl

Spaghetti Squash Hash from Eats Well With Others


Hearty Garbanzo Soup from Sweet Life Bake

Pumpkin White Bean Soup from Blue Kale Road


Slow Cooker Red Wine Pot Roast from Jeanette’s Healthy Living

Slow Cooker Beef and Bacon Stew from Girlichef

Lemon Pepper Chicken with Arugala from Virtually Homemade

Roast Chicken Ratatouille from An Edible Mosaic


Spiced Honey Nut and Seed Snack Mix from Fake Food Free

Charred Brussel Sprout, Bacon, and Toasted Sesame Guacamole from Baker by Nature

Quick and Easy Cucumber Bites, Three Ways from Hip Foodie Mom

Arugula Chimichurri over Roasted Salmon

About 1 1/2 cups

Arugula Chimichurri over Roasted Salmon


  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup fresh baby arugula leaves, packed
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes


  • In a food processor or blender, add all the ingredients and blend until ingredients are pureed into a smooth sauce. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve over pan seared or grilled halibut and serve with wild rice pilaf, white rice and/or roasted veggies.
  • For a step by step pictorial on how to pan sear salmon, click here
  • Notes

    I love serving this Arugula Chimichurri with roasted salmon, but it's also fabulous with pan seared or grilled scallops and makes a tasty dipping sauce for grilled or poached shrimp.

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    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sweets

    Banana Chip Cookies from Everyday Maven

    Nut Free Paleo Cookies from

    I’m so pleased to present this most delicious Guest Post and recipe by my friend and fellow food blogger, Alyssa from Everyday Maven.

    I met Alyssa last year at a blogging conference here in Seattle and we’ve been friends ever since.  Alyssa is an NYU Graduate and a dynamic, beautiful young woman on a mission to help others achieve a healthy, active lifestyle through delicious whole foods.    Her recipes are mouth-watering and feel indulgent, although prepared with the enticing flavors of whole foods.

    Alyssa has so graciously developed a dessert recipe for Karista’s Kitchen and I for one am thrilled!  I’m not much of a baker so the sweets posted here at Karista’s Kitchen seem to be few and far between.  Huge thanks to Alyssa for this lovely post and decadent Banana Chip Cookies.

    BANANA CHIP COOKIES (grain free, gluten free, nut free) FROM EVERYDAY MAVEN ~

    Hello Everyone and a huge Thank You to Karista for hosting me here today!

    My name is Alyssa and I publish Everyday Maven. Everyday Maven is where whole foods meets weight watchers – real food recipes for the home cook who wants to keep their food clean and their waistline trim.

    A couple of months ago, my family started down the road of eliminating gluten and most grains from our diet. This was no small undertaking and a huge sea change for us as we were used to baking and cooking with all kinds of whole grain flours. I will admit that it was somewhat of a reluctant change for the family. Add in a 3+ year old self proclaimed, “chocolate chip cookie monster” who is about to lose his precious cookies and you are pretty much on the verge of a crisis.

    Obviously, I needed a Grain Free and Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie in my repertoire to help bridge the transition and make everyone happy. I searched high and low and tried at least a dozen recipes.

    The majority of the recipes I found contained some type of nut flour (almond, hazelnut, etc.) which is fine for us as we don’t have any nut allergies but my son’s preschool is nut-free and I wanted a recipe that was safe to bring to school functions and would make all of the toddlers (and their parents) happy.

    After some trial and error, I finally settled on this version. These have a great chocolate chip flavor with a slight banana undertone. They are naturally sweet from the banana and only need 1/4 cup coconut palm sugar for 2 dozen!

    Nut Free Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies from

    The tapioca starch helps them crisp up a bit more than just using coconut flour and they keep well for a couple days. These are a softer cookie and tend to stay that way, even when stored in a cookie tin overnight. However, these Banana Chip Cookies disappear really fast so you may not even wind up with that problem.

    I hope you’ll visit me over at Everyday Maven for more real food recipes!



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    BANANA CHIP COOKIES by Everyday Maven
    1 Points Plus Per Serving — Individual Serving is 1 Cookie — Recipe Makes 24
    {Gluten Free, Grain Free, Nut Free, Paleo, Primal, Kid Friendly}
    1 1/2 large frozen banana, cut into chunks and thawed
    1 large egg
    1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
    2 Tablespoons organic coconut oil, melted but not hot
    1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
    1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
    1/8 teaspoon baking soda
    1/8 teaspoon sea salt
    3 Tablespoons sifted coconut flour
    1 Tablespoon sifted tapioca starch
    1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
    1. Preheat oven to 325F. Grab a baking sheet and line with a Silpat. If you don’t have a Silpat, use parchment paper. I have tried these cookies on both and really prefer the results using a Silpat.
    2. Combine thawed banana chunks, egg and coconut palm sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with the beater attachment. Start off by beating slowly (setting 1 or 2) and work up to 4. Beat for 2 to 3 minutes until banana chunks are broken down.
    3. With the mixer still running, pour in the melted coconut oil. Continue beating for another minute and turn off mixer.
    4. Add in the vanilla, cream of tartar, baking soda and sea salt. Beat until well combined.
    5. Finally, add in sifted coconut flour and tapioca starch. Beat on low speed until completely mixed in.
    6. Remove bowl from mixer and gently stir in chocolate chips.
    7. Use a tablespoon to drop batter onto the baking sheet. You do not need to leave a lot of room around the edge of these cookies as they do not spread very much. I usually fit all 24 on 1 baking sheet. Use your finger to spread the cookies and form them.
    8. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven when edges begin to brown.1-IMG_8940
    9. Allow cookies to cool for 1 or 2 minutes and transfer to a wire cooling rack. Once completely cool, store in a cookie tin or wrapped in tin foil. Enjoy!

    Nut Free Paleo Cookies from

    Adapted From: Coconut Flour Chocolate Chip Banana Cookies from Ditch the Wheat

    Karista's Kitchen Salad vegetarian

    Mediterranean Couscous Salad

    Mediterranean Cous Cous Salad from Karista's Kitchen

    Last June I decided it was high time I got out-and-about my local area and begin meeting some of my fellow food bloggers and food writers.  After all, I can’t just hang out with my chicken girls all the time. 😉

    While attending various food and blogging events, I met Alyssa from Everyday Maven.  A lovely, creative and intelligent young woman who is as passionate about healthy and delicious food as I am.

    Today, I am honored to guest post at Everyday Maven.  This Mediterranean Couscous Salad is one of my favorite spring and summer salads, filled with pure deliciousness and enticing flavors.  Once you take a bite, you’ll hear spring and summer calling.

    Thank you Alyssa for the pleasure of guest posting at Everyday Maven.  Head on over and check out Everyday Maven for this recipe and many more mouth-watering nutritious and delectable dishes.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,