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For my birthday this year, I was given an amazing present from my dearest friends and family…a brand new SLR digital camera! I was overwhelmed with excitement (no, really…I literally cried) because now I can bring out the true beauty in the recipes I create and share with all of you. Cooking is such a huge passion of mine and I’ve wanted to take beautiful pictures for a really long time in order to convey that food can not only taste good, but feed our visual senses too.

From the first day I got the camera, I couldn’t put it down. I had to see the difference between these photos and those that I was taking with my iPhone previously. I was amazed, excited and blown away by how delicious my food was looking through the lens. I couldn’t stop taking photos of everything around me. Food, flowers, cards, bowls of change, you name it. I had to see them all through these new “eyes.”

Using this beautiful piece of equipment reignited my passion for photography once again. Fun fact…I had originally majored in photography when I went to college. However, after earning my associates, I realized it wasn’t so much a career path for me as it was a passionate hobby. From there I went into the graphic design world and then eventually found my true calling as a health and lifestyle expert.

We all go through our own journey to find out what it is we are truly meant to be doing…our purpose. It doesn’t matter how long it takes. it just matters that you put one foot in front of the other and keeping making choices to figure out what that purpose is. And I promise, once you find it, you will know it.

Healthy cooking is a huge part of my lifestyle and an integral part of what I teach in my coaching programs. It can be exciting, therapeutic, fun, sensual, and simply, rewarding. Who doesn’t get excited when they make something delicious that they can share with others and see joy come over their faces? And it doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful at all.

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What I want to show is that there is true beauty and transformative effects in good, clean, whole foods. What we put into our bodies affects almost every facet of our lives, so why do we often not pay enough attention to it? Why do we abuse it and take it for granted? Now, through my lens, both figuratively and literally, I will be able to show this to you in visual ways that will tell that story.

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For me, the camera isn’t just a gift. It’s a way for me to share my love for healthy, nourishing food with the world, with you. It gives me another chance to experience a lost passion of mine (photography), which feels like a new one. I encourage you to always find new things to experience and new passions to dive into. It’s what keeps us alive and engaged with our purpose and our true selves.

Beet, orange and avocado salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:
4-6 beets (mix of red and yellow), washed
4 oranges
2 avocados
Unsalted pistachios
Baby spinach (you can also use arugula, kale or mixed greens)

Dressing:
Lemon chia dressing recipe here

Directions:
1. Bring water to boil in a large pot. Place a steamer basket in the pot and add in beats. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Steam for 20-25 minutes. Time depends on size of beets so you might have to check them by poking the with a fork towards the end of the cooking time.
2. Once tender, but not overcooked, remove beets from pot and let cool.
3. In the meantime, cut the peel off of the oranges and slice them into small chunks.
4. Cut the avocados into chunks as well.
5. Once beets are cooled, peel. I use a small knife to just scrape the skin off. Dice the beets.
6. To assemble: Toss spinach with a little bit of dressing. Put a few handfuls of spinach on each plate, followed by oranges (1 orange, diced, per  plate), mix of yellow and red beets, 1/2 avocado per plate.
7. Toss in about 2-3 tablespoons of pistachios on each plate and then drizzle with a bit more dressing.

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