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Baby Kale Health


Parents are always telling me how they have to make several different meals for dinner because of their family’s dietary restrictions, preferences, schedules, etc. Plus, the meal has to be on the table ready to eat 5 minutes ago, right? I totally get it!

***My number ONE tip for families is:


· Stir fry with rice

· Homemade flatbread/pizzas

· Pasta bowls

· Buddha Bowls

· Salad Bar Night

· Panini Night


I love eating like this and feeding my family like this not only because I know we all like different things, but also because it still puts the things they might not like in front of them so they can explore without actually tasting or eating! Yes, simply having a food on the table does help a child (or adult!) “get used to something”.

So, when I stumble upon something that fits the “customize your dinner” category, I gotta share. I love my NEW FAV: Thai Peanut Noodles!

thai peanut noodles

I found Gluten Free Rice Ramen Noodles at Costco, and decided to try them with stir fry and peanut sauce. I’ve made this sauce before, but something magical happened the other night…my kids TRIED it AND LIKED IT!

The noodles take very little time – so keep an eye on them and as soon as they are cooked, strain, rinse and put some soy sauce or tamari sauce on them to prevent them from sticking. You could also try a little olive oil or sesame oil, too.

Sauté your choice of veggies. I love the combo of red peppers, broccoli and pineapple! The fruit adds a burst of sweetness and juiciness to balance the salty sauce, which is the real star of the show if you ask me! You could sauté them each separately to encourage more customization, or just throw them all together. Your family can pick out what they don’t like;) I also add a minced clove of garlic and a little bit of fresh ginger (Super tip: Have your family smell fresh ginger after you cut it! So good.).

If you need a little boost of protein, you could cook chicken, beef, shrimp, salmon or tofu to add to this dish, but there is protein in the peanut sauce and some veggies.

Okay, so here’s the recipe for the sauce! You can play with the flavors and texture to make the sauce your own. I even use it for a salad dressing sometimes!


1/4 c. peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)

2 Tbsp. tamari (Gluten Free)

1 lime, juiced

1/4 c. warm water

Pinch of cayenne or crushed red pepper (optional)

A few drops of Toasted Sesame Oil (optional)


Assemble and customize your bowl with noodles, veggies, protein and sauce. For an extra special touch, chop peanuts, jalapenos and fresh cilantro to top your bowl with! If your kids don’t want the sauce, have them go for a little straight up soy or tamari sauce.

Baby Kale Health

Vegan and Gluten Free Thanksgiving


Oh my goodness, time flies! It’s already Thanksgiving Day next week!

A couple weekends ago, I provided healthy food for the Taspen’s Organics Monthly Wellness Fair like I always do. The menu was a vegan/gf play on some typical Thanksgiving dishes. I made Butternut Squash soup with a spicy seed topping (I LOVE toppings for my soups), Balsamic Green Beans and Mushrooms, an autumn salad, Chickpea and rosemary flatbread…AND PUMPKIN PIE TARTS WITH COCONUT WHIPPED CREAM! Everything was gluten free and vegan, as usual!

I received rave reviews on everything, but the pumpkin pie tarts were the star of the show. I promised I would share the recipe, so here it is.

Baby Kale Health

Spring Into Shrooms

Spring in the mountains of Colorado is extremely temperamental giving us rain one day, warm sunshine the next, and then dumping a quick 6 inches that night. However, there are tiny changes taking place everywhere. The aspens are just waiting to burst and red-winged blackbirds have arrived. I’ve also noticed the appearance of fresh spring produce at our local grocers.

Spring produce includes:

· Asparagus

· Mushrooms

· Artichokes

· Strawberries

· Radishes

· Broccoli

· Beets

· Cabbage

· Cauliflower

· Avocado

· Mango

· Leeks

· Peas

· Rhubarb

I don’t necessarily stick to only what’s in season, but seasonal produce does influence and INSPIRE what I’m cooking. This past weekend, I featured a Springalicious menu at Taspen’s Organics First Saturday Wellness Fair. The Vegan and Gluten-Free items on the menu included:

· Mushroom & Thyme Soup

· Asparagus, Sunflower Sprout & Avocado Salad

· Beet, Carrot and Apple Salad

· Lemon Bliss Balls

· Iced Matcha Mint Tea

EVERYTHING was gone at the end of the day! However, the Most Valuable Player on the menu was definitely the Mushroom Soup, which, by the way, was soooo simple with only 6 ingredients. I wanted to share the Mushroom Soup recipe with you, so that you have one really good, but simple standby for all those rainy, chilly, snowy, muddy, windy spring days to come!

mushroom soup

Mushroom Soup

Inspired by www.pancakewarriors.com

1 large white onion, diced

1 package white button mushrooms (8 oz) sliced

1 package crimini mushrooms (16 oz) sliced

10 stalks fresh thyme, leaves removed

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 32 oz. boxes of organic vegetable broth

5 Tbs. tapioca flour

1 dried bay leaf

2 Tbs. Balsamic Vinegar

½ tsp. salt

freshly ground pepper


Options: As with anything I cook or share, there’s always options to switch it up. So with this recipe, use whatever mushroom combo you want. You could use all button or all crimini. I also like to dice some of the shrooms to add interest in texture. Also, try adding rosemary to the club!


Step 1

Saute onions.


Step 2

Add mushrooms and cook down until the liquid from the mushrooms is gone. Add salt to draw out the moisture from the mushrooms.


Step 3

Add garlic, thyme, rosemary or whatever herbs and spices you want.


Step 4

Deglaze the pot with Balsamic Vinegar…you can also use soy sauce or tamari.


Step 5

Whisk the tapioca flour with the broth. Then add to the mushrooms.


Step 6

Simmer for a few minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

BrAiNsToRm!! I was thinking you could also use this as a Foundation recipe! It could easily be a gravy with less broth, and what about adding asparagus or peas to this...maybe even raw & shaved over the top for some crunch! I've also thought about adding a grain like rice, quinoa or even small pasta shapes to the soup. And, one more thought, was to add Fire-Roasted Tomatoes to this. Hmmmm...so many options!





Baby Kale Health

Baby Kale Spices It Up With Chipotle Peppers

Chipotle peppers with butternut squash

I didn’t really like the smoky taste of chipotle peppers over a year ago, but something has switched in the past year. I now appreciate that smoky flavor and actually, CRAVE it every once in a while. More specifically I love that flavor in soups and side dishes, not particularly in salsas, but I keep trying it. So maybe I like it as a background or base flavor instead of the star of the show.

Chipotle peppers are actually smoke dried jalapenos. They are jalapenos left on the plant until they turn bright red. Then they are smoke dried for a number of days, giving the peppers that smoky flavor. You can find them in their dry state or canned in adobo sauce. I use the canned in adobo peppers.

Chipotle peppers provide and support a number of health benefits, including:

· Cancer Prevention – Certain chemicals in the chipotle pepper, most specifically capsaicin (what gives the pepper heat) causes cancerous cells to die off.

· Decreases Risk of Cardiovascular disease – Chipotle peppers reduce cholesterol and capsaicin widens and relaxes blood vessels creating a wide passage and lower blood pressure.

· Supports Immune System with high amounts of vitamin C.

· Supports Digestion – Chipotle peppers have a high amount of fiber.


I made a side dish last week that I am absolutely obsessed with now! I wanted to share it with you right away, but I had already planned out my blog post for that week. Let me tell you, it was soooo hard to wait until this week to share it. This is another Robyn Original, so work those cooking skills and tasting habits!


Chipotle Butternut Squash & Kale
By Robyn Johnson

1 Butternut Squash

½-1 red onion

2 cloves garlic

1-3 chipotle peppers in adobo, to taste

1 Bunch Lacinato Kale

1 Bottle of craft beer

Step 1

Preheat pan. Dice Butternut Squash & Red onion. Chop kale after removing hard stem.

Step 2

Add a little oil to pan and add squash and onion. Add a little sea salt. Sautee until squash softens.

Step 3

When squash and onions are soft, add smashed and diced garlic, and chipotle peppers. Cut the chipotle peppers in half and scrape out the seeds. Then chop them up a bit. I started with one pepper and then waited to taste after a little while and added one more. Remember, you can always add, but you can’t take out! Let the garlic and peppers heat up for about 30-60 seconds, stirring to get all there love mixed in to the veggies.

Step 4

Add the kale. Stir everything. Let the kale cook for a few minutes.

Step 5

Deglaze with ½-1 whole bottle of beer. You could use stock or water, too. Let the simmer for a little while. Test the squash to see if it’s done to your liking. The dish will be done when the squash is done. If it dries out add a little more beer or water and cover the pot.

You could eat this plain, as a topping for rice or any other whole grain, you could use it for a filling in a wrap, or quesadilla. I used it as a topping on a quesadilla with a little dollop of Greek yogurt. SOOOOO GOOOOOD!!

Side Note: Chipotle flavors go REALLY great with mango, too – match made in heaven for that sweet and spicy flavor!