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Ratatouille and My Promise to You

My promise to you: I will keep showing up. Every Wednesday I will keep sharing a recipe that is made with healthy, whole ingredients. Every Thursday, I will keep sharing my fitness update and tidbits.

I also promise to you, I will keep it real — within reason.

There is the real, sailor-swearing version of me that I try NOT to be on a daily basis. (Which may be more interesting to some, and completely off-putting to others.) Then there is the adult, matured, evolved version of me that I desperately fight to be each day. So I will promise to give you the latter; the REAL version of myself which I TRY to be every day. Being positive, making healthy food choices and choosing to stay active are all CHOICES I make daily. Some days, I wake up and the old, negative side of me wants to rule the day. Will it benefit you if I share that side of me? I certainly don’t think so; because energy spreads like wildfire.

If I post in a negative way, when I am having a bad and negative day – that just feeds the negativity which may already be brewing inside of you, because maybe you didn’t have a great start to the day. There is already enough negativity circling the globe right now, and I REFUSE to add to it. I may feel like I’m swimming upstream sometimes, but that’s ok. I’m very much an “everything is gray” person — typically able to see both sides to every story — and therefore I am equipped to swim upstream. Does it get old and tiresome? You bet. But when it comes to spreading positivity versus negativity, that is ONE thing I know for certain. POSITIVITY is paramount.

So I promise you that I will keep showing up, and I will remain REAL and positive. That is my vow to you, and the vow I’m making to myself.

Now, onto today’s recipe!! This is not ratatouille as most people may know it, but it is a “coarse stew”, which is how ratatouille originated. (Thanks Wikipedia!) It’s a great way to smash in a bunch of veggies all in one sitting and get nice and full.


1 purple onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 large carrots, chopped
1 large turnip, chopped
1 large rutabaga, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup cabbage, chopped
1-16 oz. bag frozen cauliflower (just toss them in whole, as is)
2 zucchini, chopped
1 yellow squash, chopped
1-8 oz. package baby portobello mushrooms, chopped
2 cups frozen peas (just toss them in last, as is)
1-26 oz. package of Pomi Chopped tomatoes
1 TBSP Italian seasoning (mine is a combo of thyme, garlic, marjoram, onion, rosemary, oregano, basil, savory and sage – huge time saver)
1/4 tsp. Real salt

*NOTE: You can use any combo of your favorite veggies, this is what we had on hand and felt like eating. We were also trying to use up some veggies from the fridge that were about to go bad (turnip, rutabaga, cabbage).


  1. In a large stock pot, add about 2 TBSP. of water and turn heat to medium. Once the water starts to get little bubbles, you can add your chopped onion. Cook for a couple minutes until they become aromatic. Add the minced garlic and stir.
  2. For the remaining veggies, chop and cook as you move along down the list of veggie ingredients. So while the onions are cooking, chop the carrots. Once those are chopped, add them to the pot and stir. Continue in this manner chopping, adding to the stock pot, stirring and chopping until you get to the frozen peas – just dump those in as is. Basically, you add the veggies that take the longest to cook, first – essentially all the root veggies – so they have the longest amount of exposure to the heat and cook time.
  3. Once all the veggies are in the pot, you can add the chopped tomatoes, Italian seasoning and salt. Stir well to combine, cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes. You can add 1/2 cup of water, if you want it to cook a little faster and provide a little more steam action!
  4. When the root veggies are fork tender, it’s ready to serve!

Serves 2 people, large portions as a complete dinner for 2 days. We had this for dinner Monday night and last night; it was fantastic reheated on the stovetop! You can also add a dash of Cholula or your favorite hot sauce, or even add a teaspoon of coconut or olive oil to your individual serving, to add some healthy fat. (You don’t want to add it when cooking, because oils break down in an unhealthy way when heated above certain temps. They are best added last, just before serving.)

I also wanted to take a minute to direct you to my Shopping List Sunday posts which have been shared on both Instagram and Facebook the past 3 weeks.

Give them a peek if you haven’t already, and comment on any one of them if you’d like for me to keep doing them. Remember, I want to be providing value to readers, but I don’t know if it is valuable, unless you engage and let me know. Thanks!

I’m open to other suggestions as well. Feel free to email me or comment below with other suggestions.

Shopping List Sunday Posts

Jan. 21st – Week 1

Jan. 28th – Week 2

Feb. 5th – Week 3

Feb. 11th – Coming up!

Clif Organic Energy Food Review and Giveaway

I have always been a huge fan of Clif products, because I can read and understand all of their ingredients AND their bars taste GREAT. Recently I had the opportunity to try a new product of theirs called Organic Energy Food. (Of course this opportunity was through the awesome local running group, Run Eat Tweet AZ.) When I first heard about these, I thought they sounded PERFECT! Organic, vegan, gluten free, non-GMO, simple ingredients and delicious sounding flavors! (Sweet Potato with Sea Salt, Banana Mango with Coconut, Banana Beet with Ginger and Pizza Margherita.) On the morning of my long run a couple weeks ago, I decided to try the sweet potato flavor, which contains 200 calories, 21g carbs, 12g fat and 4g protein. I have to admit, I was a little hesitant to actually TRY them once they were in my possession, haha! I unscrewed the lid, squeezed a little out, stared at it and then tried some… interesting… I could definitely taste the sweet potato, but what overpowered it was the salt. I’m not a big salt person – I think a little goes a long way! And for me personally, this was just too salty. I was a little bummed. I wanted so badly to like these! But Mr. Zucchini Runner tried it later, and he didn’t think it was too salty – so everyone is different! I’m sure if I consumed this mid run, I would feel differently. With the Arizona heat however, warm sweet potato didn’t sound good mid run, so I opted to try it before my run.


The next flavor I tried was AMAZING and absolutely made up for the sweet potato – banana, mango, coconut. YEP! Now THAT was great. This is the lightest food, weighing in at 100 calories, 17g carbs, 2.5g fat and 1g protein. I put it in the fridge the night before so it was nice and cold, and sucked it down right before heading out the door for a 10 mile bike ride. It was perfect and hit the spot. Great flavor, great texture – it even had little bits of coconut too. So far these flavors were 1 to 1…


On my next long run I wanted to try the Energy Food during my run, like the label suggests. 🙂 So I carried it in my Nathan hydration vest, in the front pocket for easy access. At the halfway point of my run, I pulled it out, quickly unscrewed the cap and again, sucked it all down – Banana Beet with Ginger – another delicious flavor. I wanted MORE! I kept squeezing the tiny pouch, hoping I could eek more out, but no luck. I screwed the cap back on, and stuck it back in my pocket. I REALLY liked that. It was easy access, and didn’t make a gooey mess on my hands, clothes or vest. My only regret is that I didn’t bring a second one along for that run. I was out there for 2 hours and 11 minutes and by the end I was STARVING. I really could have used the banana mango, on top of the banana beet! Banana Beet with Ginger is another lightweight with only 110 calories, 23g carbs, .5g fat and 2g protein. I would say for anyone worried about beet flavor, it was non-existent. I only tasted banana and a slight hint of ginger. It sat well in my stomach, no upset at all.


And now for the last flavor I’m sure you are all DYING to know about… Pizza! Of course I saved it for last, because, well let’s face it I was terrified to try it. Most days I run at 5:30 a.m., so there was NO WAY anything about pizza anything sounded good to me at that hour. I opted to simply taste test pizza one evening instead. I was AMAZED. It actually tasted GOOD! My immediate thought was that it would be wonderful if I was doing an endurance run, in the evening and wanted something that resembled comfort food. It was basically just pizza sauce in a tube. 🙂 Well done Clif, well done!

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Overall, I am impressed by the Clif Organic Energy Foods, with the exception of the Sweet Potato with Sea Salt, I really liked all the flavors – and I’m willing to give it a second chance. The packaging makes using them convenient and easy, too. Of course my number one favorite thing, is the organic and simple ingredients.

Want to taste test some for yourself? Run Eat Tweet AZ is hosting a giveaway on their Facebook page, head over to enter today! Deadline to enter is Wednesday (7/22) by Midnight.