Cooking Better for Stress

When there is upheaval and stress, eating patterns change as energy patterns toss and turn. Sounds like 2020, eh? Bread, sugar, and day drinking abound. Well, just to make life a bit nuttier, Lance and I recently moved. I needed to change my air, mix it up, expand my food business. All in the name of better mental health and creative growth. And since I’m a cook, I know that what I shove down my gullet directly influences my mental health and creative ambition. 

You know how it goes; you’re so exhausted from packing, hauling, Tetris-ing the truck, making and revising lists in your head that you eat fast crap for fuel. Packs of flavorless tacos, greasy chicken tenders with gummy sauce. Then, half a bottle of wine and an ibuprofen to knock you out to sleepy land. Well, after a few weeks of that it was time to refocus. We needed simple, fresh, and relatively fast meals. Besides, I was trying to find my bearings in a new kitchen!


The following two recipes hit the spot. They have few ingredients, are super fresh, and filling to boot. The fatty omega-3s in salmon always give me a clean fill. Plating it with vitamin-packed asparagus and antioxidant-loaded blueberries make for a lovely dinner. You can’t wear white and eat salad after Labor Day, said no one. This winter salad recipe celebrates fall ingredients while giving a nod to the long-gone summer with a zippy lemon vinaigrette. It’s a texture dream. 


Cook better, feel better. 



One Pan Salmon


Serves 2




2 salmon filets, about 1.5 thick and 4 inches long

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 teaspoons garlic powder

Dash Kosher salt and cracked black pepper

5 stalks of asparagus, whole or chopped

1 Tablespoon olive oil

6 mushrooms, stalks carefully removed

Cheese mixture:

3 Tablespoons ricotta

2 Tablespoons Parmesan

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried parsley




Preheat oven to 425. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. Rub tops of salmon with spices, salt and pepper. Place skin side down on baking sheet. Toss asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet, don’t overlap. Spoon cheese mixture into mushroom caps and place on baking sheet. Roast for 15-20 minutes until salmon is cooked through. Top with chopped scallion and cashew “Parmesan” (cashews, salt, and nutritional yeast blitzed in a small food processor).




Winter Chopped Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette


Serves 4




2 Romaine hearts, chopped

4 ounces of crumbled feta cheese

4 ounces of dried cranberries

4 ounces of crumbled bacon

4 ounces of toasted, chopped pecans

4 ounces of favorite apple, chopped

As many pomegranate seeds as your heart desires!


2 Tablespoons olive oil

3 Tablespoons lemon juice

1 Tablespoon lemon zest

1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup

Dash Kosher salt and cracked black pepper




Make vinaigrette by shaking all ingredients in a small jar. Gently toss all salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Pour desired amount of vinaigrette over salad and toss carefully with spoons or use your hands to mix and coat all ingredients evenly. Serve with crostini or crusty sourdough and whipped honey butter.