Roasted Broccoli with Nutritional Yeast

It has been a very long time since I felt like cooking even the simplest things. Cooking for the past six months or so has been a chore. In fact, I found myself going out for meals more often than not which was not good for my wallet or my waistline. Then about two months ago I found out about a woman in the Hilltowns who has a CSA which provides home cooked meals. I started ordering from her. You can either join the CSA or order al carte each week which is what I do.

Alice grows her own organic GMO produce and sources locally when possible. About three-quarters or more of the menu is gluten-free. And, so without realizing it or even trying I began eating gluten-free and felt terrific.

I had suffered from a low-grade depression after having gone off an antidepressant in March. I won’t bore you with the details which lead up to why I stopped taking a medication I had been on for 20 years or the resulting difficulties but I didn’t want to go back on it even though I was struggling. Then as good fortunate would bestow on me I began eating gluten-free and the world changed for me.

Good fortune again revealed itself to me when by happen stance I received notification of a webinar conducted by Dr. Kelly Brogan, the author of A Mind of Your Own. After reading about the seminar and its hefty price tag I decided instead to buy her book. She is an advocate for treating depression with diet, not pills, and getting people off of antidepressant which she feels treats the symptoms not the cause. After reading her book I feel like a textbook case of the snowballing effects of taking antidepressants.

Granted when I started taking the magic pill I was not of the frame of mind I now am. Twenty years ago I was under stress in so many aspects of my life, I would have found it difficult to garner the discipline it takes to follow Dr. Brogan’s protocol. Plus for the past five years I’ve had a meditation practice which has helped tremendously. Meditation is also part of Dr Brogan’s plan. I guess over the past several years I had been naturally drawn in the direction of Dr. Brogan’s protocol with the only missing and major part being following her diet. I am so happy to now follow the gluten, sugar and dairy free diet. Knowing how well I feel, it is easy to follow. Or at least has been for the past month. I have lost 4 pounds which I have tried very hard to do. My short-term goal is another 5 pounds to get back to where I was before gaining so much since March with a long-term goal of another 25 pounds. From there I will see where I go.

Over the past 5 years or more there has been such an increased awareness of the harmful effects refine carbohydrates have on the body. From the inflammation which causes heart disease to perhaps Alzheimer’s disease and now depression, I feel fortunate to have a new way to treat my chronic depression. I don’t know if it is right for others but this new way of eating is working for me.

Thanks to the wonderful food I’ve enjoyed from Alice’s Kitchen and how much better I am feeling I have begun to enjoy cooking again. That doesn’t mean I will be doing it every night which is something I have to reckon with now that I am no longer in NYC with a dozen restaurants just steps from my apartment. I will continue to order from Alice’s but supplement it more and more with my cooking adventures.


A roasted large head of broccoli was a treat I enjoyed in one sitting!! I hadn’t meant to eat it all but it was so good I couldn’t control myself. Fortunately, it is low in calories. Buying several more heads and roasting them is on my to do list.

Roasted Broccoli with Nutritional Yeast
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 2 servings
  • 1 very large head of Broccoli
  • 6 cloves of Garlic thinly sliced
  • 1½ tbsp melted Coconut Oil
  • Himalayan Salt and ground Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
  • Lemon juice to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Slice the Broccoli including some of the stem. Peel the thick part of the remaining stem and slice into bite size pieces.
  3. Place broccoli on rimmed baking sheet along with the sliced garlic.
  4. Pour the melted coconut oil over the broccoli and garlic. Add salt and pepper and toss to coat broccoli.
  5. Roast for 25 minutes. Stirring once about halfway through. Once broccoli starts to brown it is done.
  6. Place roasted broccoli in a bowl.
  7. Sprinkle with Nutritional Yeast
  8. Squeeze the juice of half a small lemon to taste.
  9. Toss and enjoy.

Spiced Candied Walnuts

Maybe it is because I am in New England or that I have the time but I am enjoying being in the Holiday spirit of giving and thinking about family and friends both new and old. Even though it is unseasonably warm which I don’t mind, as I still expect any number of difficulties ahead for my first winter in the country, the holiday season is evident everywhere. During the day animated winter scenes dot the country roads and at night festive lights aluminate houses along otherwise pitch black roads. If only I were a passenger as I was in my childhood rather than the driver I could enjoy the display with more delight. I fondly remember piling into my father’s car for excursions through different Pittsburgh neighborhoods to see Christmas decorations on front lawns celebrating the holidays. Read more

Two Favorites — Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts— Roasted Together

It’s the saturday after Thanksgiving and I am craving some traditional holiday fare. This year’s celebration while throughly enjoyable forged a rather untraditional direction as far as food went. A cousin and her husband who I hadn’t seen in nearly a decade came to my home for a nibble before setting out to a restaurant in Pittsfield. Chosen by my cousin for it menu which didn’t include traditional holiday’s fixing, it was delicious. Read more

Country Comfort — Banana, Apple, Raisin, Walnut Bran Muffins

After a two-year exhaustive search for a home in the country, I finally found the perfect house in one of the Hilltowns of Pioneer Valley in Western Mass just east of the Berkshire. I’ve been in my new digs for exactly two months now and it already seems like my life in New York City was a distant nightmare. Living in a small town in the middle of nowhere is where I am meant to be. I so welcome the peace and quiet of the country and feel like I am finally HOME. Changing from city life to country life — apartment living to home ownership — has not been without its challenges but more on that later. Read more

Celeriac, Kale, Quinoa and Fig Salad

During the winter months a favorite root vegetable of mine is celeriac or celery root. Not a big fan of celery I am partial to the milder flavor of celeriac and was so happy to be introduced to it several years ago through my CSA.

Celeriac is a cousin to anise, carrots, parsley and turnips and tastes like a milder form of celery with a hint of parsley. Unlike most root vegetables it has very little starch. An ugly brownish hairball of a vegetable, it must be peeled of its outer layer. To get rid of the skin I use a knife to cut it away. I guess a vegetable peeler could be used but I have never tried it because of the bulb’s irregular shape. Read more

Vegetable Lentil Soup

Spending a week at my rental in Western MA, the first thing I did was make a big pot of yummy Vegetable Lentil Soup. Believe it or not I still had some root vegetable from my last few CSA distributions rolling around in the fridge’s produce draw and I wanted to use them. Soup, of course, came to mind as the perfect vehicle. I wanted to make a versatile soup that I could have on hand for quick meals during the week as well as freeze for when I came back during the winter months. Making a basic lentil soup that I could vary by adding a variety of vegetables or yogurt each time I heated up a portion made sense so I wouldn’t get tired of eating it. And, since getting protein at most meals is a challenge as a vegetarian making the lentil soup helped to satisfy that need as well. Read more

December’s Book Club was all about Sharing

The Menu

Mustard Roasted Broccoli with Leeks and Lemon
Curried Tomato Chickpeas Stew
Wild and Brown Rice Ghee and Lemon
Tossed Salad
Christmas Surprise Cake
White Wine

December’s Book Selection

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows


Everyone contributed to December’s book club meeting both by bringing food or wine and sharing their thoughts about the charming book we read. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was the prefect book to read in December. With everyone’s hectic schedule we needed an easy read that was on the lighter side. And, this fit the bill. While light and breezy to read it was charming and sweet without being saccharin. The same can be said for our dinner. Read more

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

The Guernsey Literary and potato


Nobody in the book club wanted the The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society to end. The characters in the novel were so vivid and alive you felt as if you had made new friends and the book’s ending was the end of that friendship.

The novel is a series of letters written to and from Juliet Ashton, a writer living in England after WWII, and her publisher and the inhabitants of Guernsey Island. A chance letter written to her from a man living on the Island of Guernsey who happened to find her name in a book by an author he is enamored with grows into a correspondence with him. Read more

Wild and Brown Rice, Ghee and Lemon

I’ve wanted to experiment with ghee and while it is butter it may not be as bad for you as unclarified  butter. Of course, it is still one hundred percent fat so I take any health benefits with a grain of salt. It is however good for cooking at high temperature and has a wonderful flavor. The clarifying process increases the shelf life and it doesn’t need  refrigeration. Although some people do store it in the fridge. Read more

Mustard Roasted Broccoli Pate with Leeks and Lemon

Not too sure about what everyone was bringing as things kept changing up until the last-minute, I decided to make an appetizer to go with the prosecco I had on hand. I am glad I did as it was a big hit.  I got the recipe for this super easy to make wonderfully zingy pâté from The First Mess blog. How could you go wrong with broccoli which I love dressed up with a grainy tangy mustard and my favorite ingredients, lemon and lemon zest. Read more